We are Diamond Club members and have cruised with RCI and Celebrity for almost all of our 16 cruises. So when we selected Serenade for this cruise we were confident that it would be a great cruise. We were not disappointed. The high standard held by Royal Caribbean continues to grow. Of all of our cruises this one was the best, not only from the standpoint of the ship and crew but also the ports of call. I had been looking for a cruise that went to both Rome and Athens, and I was glad to see this one.
Traveling to the port, what a mistake I made, I didn't consider all the time changes associated with getting to Barcelona and didn't get us there earlier than the day of embarkation. What a mistake and we paid for it, jet lag for the first 4 days (my bad). We had not traveled that far prior and didn't realize the problems associated with it. We learned. The transfer from the
airport to the pier was well run and efficient. The embarkation precess was a trying process due to all the baggage checks between the front counter and finally arriving on board, trying but necessary now a days.
Our stateroom was somewhat small for a balcony but it had everything we needed. Our room stewardess) was one of the best we have had and was a welcome sight after a long day.
Our Cruise was the second to the last before refitting and dry dock so she showed a little of her miles but you had to really look to see them. She was very well maintained and cared for by her crew. Speaking of which, after so many cruises you get used to seeing the smiles that aren't smiles, but on Serenade they actually meant them, not just the normal crew members that you see everyday but everyone that you met in the halls and other ship locations.
They all seemed to be happy and ready to help you. Captain Karen has a most fabulous crew and it starts at the top. Due to weather conditions on our way to Cannes we were late getting into port and for those of us that had reserved an all day tour, she held the ship for us to take our arranged tour. That was a first for us, you always hear about them leaving you if you are not on-board when it is time to sail, Thanks Captain Karen it was appreciated.
After all that traveling of course we were hungry, the menu items in the Windjammer and in the dinning room were different than the ones that we were used to for the Caribbean cruises. The menu items did try to incorporate the local foods and it was a great experience for us. Our Waiter and assistant were very professional and personable. We had such a good time with them (we really did want to bring them home with us). The Diamond area for breakfast was wonderful, the specialty coffees and the attentive wait staff were everything they were supposed to be. Can you say PAMPERED.
This cruise was so port heavy that other than seeing the shows after dinner we were too tired to do much else. They did have a toga party one night but we missed it. Halloween was on one of the few sea days and the costumes were everywhere including the melon carvings and the veggies.
All of the ship services from the Pursers desk to the stateroom attendants was excellent. We usually pack enough to last for the entire cruise but weight limits on the airlines meant that we had to watch it. Packed for a week and had the laundry done on the ship (a first for us).
The entertainment depended on where you were. Most of the shows were very good and a few were so so, but all in all they were good.
Our return flight was scheduled for 1100 AM and we had tickets for disembarkation for 630AM. I wasn't even awake yet. Disembarkation went so smooth that I actually enjoyed it. Our luggage was where it was supposed to be and not lined up in endless lines so you had t waste time searching. The transfer to the airport went extremely smooth and efficient.
This cruise will be extremely hard to top for our next cruise. It just seemed that everything came together and made for a perfect time for us.