My wife and I decided to try a 12 Day "Royal Caribbean" Mediterranean Cruise for our first cruising experience. RCL came highly recommended by friends and family.
The Serenade is 9 years old but doesn't show her age at all. The Crew make sure everything is spic and span and in ship shape :) She goes into Dry Dock in November for some refurbishments etc.
For a mid sized ship, the Serenade had lots to see and do on board for people of all ages. We spent most of our time on deck, by the pool or in the cinema. The shops are good as well.
The service on the ship was Exemplary! From our Stateroom attendant to our servers and Guest Relations staff; each one did more than asked of them, to make our trip really great.
Port & Shore Excursions:
We did 3 shore excursions with RCL and 3 with third party providers. One word of advice. Go with the 3rd party providers... We somehow felt like cattle with the ship excursions. Thought they were very nice, we didn't see half as much with the RCL excursions. Third party ones like Romeinlimo were fantastic!
Oscar, Oscar, Oscar:
On the 7th night, at 4:30am, the Captain blared on the ships announcement system that we had a man overboard. We later learned that it was a crew member. The ship stopped, turned around and the emergency rescue team deployed rescue rings and boats immediately. We searched for 12 hours but to no avail. We lost a day in Venice because of this. It was a very sad event and our thoughts go out to the crew members family.
Embarkation: was very smooth. They took our passports and gave us receipt tokens, to be used to get back the passports at the end of the cruise. That's the only thing that took time to process.
Stateroom: The room was 170 sq ft. Small. But had enough storage, nooks and crannys to store all our clothes and luggage. The bathrooms are microscopic, but I believe that's the norm on all cruise ships.
Dining: Excellent food and service in the main dining room. Windjammer was crowded and I felt the quality a bit diminished. It always took us a minute or so to find an available table. Staff were quick to clear old plates and clean tables for us.
Entertainment: Sub par, except for this stand up magician who was fantastic!
Disembarkation: No issues at all. We were off the ship in 15 mins.