I traveled with a teenager and an eight year old and the whole family struggle to fault this cruising experience. Firstly, getting on and off the ship is made as quick and easy as possible and all purchases on board are made with a sea pass card (also used to unlock your cabin) which means you don't have to carry cash around with you, when on board. These cards are replaced without question if lost. The elevators are like glass pods with a view of the whole ship, so in the unlikely event of them breaking, I know I wouldn't feel panicked! There is a wide range of tour bookings available and at a wide range of times, and the guides were all very knowledgeable and engaging.
DINING: The staff were a highlight of the holiday as they were always willing to help and were extremely friendly, especially towards the children! Any problems at all and they are willing to help. If you order something in the restaurant (included in price of holiday) that you don't like, you can order More
another dish for free, and if you're still hungry, you can have seconds! There is a different menu every day and there is always a pasta dish, a seafood dish and a meat dish etc. The waiters serve extremely well and food arrives very quickly indeed. On two nights the waiters got together and sang for all the guests, which was very entertaining! The food was tasty but not extra ordinary, but we still loved dining in Reflections. Other restaurants on board are not included in the price and we didn't feel the need to venture over to these, anyway!
ACTIVITIES: Everyday, our 'Cruise Compass' was packed full of many activities; something for everyone. There were language classes, napkin folding demonstrations, rock climbing competitions, bingo, themed music era nights and quizzes, themed balls and parties, amazing theater shows (for the whole family) and silly pool side contests such as 'Sexiest Man' and 'Best Belly flop'.
If you choose to share a table, they seem to try and seat with you with people from other places in the world. This makes dining more interesting and is a great way to make friends, on top of the activities for teens, kids and toddlers and receptions for honeymooners and those traveling alone.
KIDS FACILITIES AND OTHER FACILITIES: Do NOT worry about bringing Kids on board a RCI cruide. I hardly saw my kids because they were always begging to off at the Kids' Club! It seemed great. They had everything from water activities to free arcade nights, Nintendo Wii sessions, ball games and arts and crafts. The teen only lounge was also good and they had late night parties every night. The cabin corridors are looked after all evening so I felt safe leaving my kids asleep in the cabin while my husband and i relaxed in one of the lounges or bars. They have strict rules about good behavior on board and there is an adult only pool for those of you who don't like noise.
We were never bored! There is plenty to do; there is the gym, cinema, casino, arcade/games room (including air hockey, guitar hero, shooting games, games similar to Mario Kart on Nintendo Wii and a driving games in which you sit on and steer a motorbike), bars, mini golf, climbing wall, water slide, salt water pool, fresh water kids' pool (there are no lifeguards by any of the pools), table tennis tables, plenty of shops and sales, professional photo shoots, library, computer suites (the Internet costs 65p per minute) and more!
VALUE FOR MONEY: I was impressed with what was included in the price. All meals are included in price at self service and in the 'Reflections' restaurant, and so is lemonade, hot drinks, water and orange juice. Games in the games room cost money, but look out for the free nights. They have some good (free) films showing in various languages throughout the holiday and some amazing evening shows - very talented singers and dancers.
SHIP: The ship is decorated beautifully and has a great atmosphere. Even my eight year old learnt her way around quickly and we all felt very at home! None of us wanted to get off. Our cabin was small but we didn't need it any larger. The pol was, as you would expect, very busy when the ship was not docked but the pool bar and towel hire was very convenient.
My husband fell very ill on the last day and had to be taken down to the on board medical facility, and they were great English speakers and they catered for him very well, so much so that it didn't ruin our holiday at all. Sea sickness tablets are issued free but no rough seas were expected; apart from the final day, nobody would even know we were moving! The sea was calm and beautiful and the weather very hot. I thoroughly recommend Serenade of the Seas for families AND couples! Less
Serenade of the Seas Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean
size as expected, comfortable beds, spacious wardrobes, clean although blankets had holes and burns in them. only trouble was other cabins very noisy into early hours in the morning and state room staff did not ask them to be quiet. lots of shouting and frequent door slamming.
A beautiful city. The currency takes a bit of getting used to but we took a taxi to the old part of the city, and it was well worth the visit. The Croatian staff were rather hostile and don't like children picking things up, even if they are taking it to the till to buy it! But there are lots of fantastic buildings and as it happened, a fantastic street band playing. Such a great atmosphere and a great port to end on a high.
30 - 45 minute coach journey followed by fairly long walk if you visit Pisa, but worth it. The square where the Leaning Tower of Pisa is located is beautiful and full of history! our tour guide was fantastic and really knows her stuff. There is a massive queue to go up the tower because they only let people in in small numbers but I strongly suggest popping into the Baptistery on the half hour, because every half hour a an comes and sings a few notes to show you the amazing eight echoes. It sounds like a beautiful choir harmony! Looking around the town of Pisa itself isn't as interesting and you could visit Florence as well as or instead of Pisa.
Again, our tour guide was fantastic. We went to Pompeii, but other options were Capri and Naples etc. It was a fascinating place for all ages with moving stories, and the theater and mosaics are rather in tact and are fascinating, as are the bodies preserved in ash from the eruption. Not too much walking from where we parked to the ruins, and was thoroughly worth it. Such an amazing lost civilization.
Definitely our favourite port! Approaching Venice down the Grand Canal was absolutely stunning, but make sure you find a good viewing spot nice and early! What you see on the post card is what you get; we went into Venice at night and also in the daytime and we were blown away by it's beauty, appreciated by the children, too. Lots of lovely places to eat, especially down the traditional side pedestrian alleys, although Gondola prices are very high. It was 80 euros for the basic ride (per Gondola, not per person)and 110 for something further.
Two words of warning: make sure you take note of where your pontoon is, and be careful not to slip on the marble-edged bridges!
OUR NEXT PORT was Ravenna, but as it is not listed, I will quickly review it here. The ship charges rather a lot for a coach to a beach a few miles away, but there is a beach within meters from the port. Admittedly not the best or most clean beach, but there were lots of shells, muscles, crabs and fish that the children loved looking at.