This was our our 33rd cruise within 13 years. We are a Scandinavian couple who previous, in addition to have cruised with Royal Caribbean 16 times, also have sailed with other cruise lines.
Pre-cruise: We flew into Barcelona one day before the cruise.
Embarkation " fast.
The Ship: The Serenade of the Seas is a very nice ship,
Stateroom info- We had booked an aft. balcony stateroom on deck 8.
The crew: The majority we meet were very friendly. We will particularly emphasize the following crewmembers: Our stateroom attendant from the Philippines who was excellent in every way, Amir from Tunisia who was the bar waiter in the Diamond Club, and Cecilia from Chile. Cecilia had the difficult job of managing the seating for My Time, on the starboard side of the Reflections Dining room on deck five. Even with sometimes a very stressful job, she was still calm and friendly.
Dining - We had chosen My Time Dining, and we had for most evenings reserved 8.30 pm. Our reservation for dinner times for the whole cruise was confirmed to us by Royal Caribbean,before the cruise started. Unfortunately, for the first time with My Time Dinning on a Royal Caribbean cruise, we did not feel that our dining experience was excellent during the entire cruise.
It turned out that the Reflections Dining room on this cruise was undersized with respect to all who evidently had booked My Time Dining. The capacity problem become even worse when passengers who had chosen My Time, but without having reserved a fixed mealtime in advance, came to dine together with passengers, like us, who already had chosen a fixed mealtime. Several nights we had to wait up to 15-20 minutes before we would be seated. Unfortunately, we also experienced during a number of dinners, that our waiters were so busy that they had very little time to be in personal contact with us. But we do not blame the waiters for it, they had too many passengers to serve.
We think that the senior officer in charge of the Restaurants aboard the Serenade, maybe in cooperation with RCI´s headquarters in Miami, should look to how the capacity issues with My Time Dining on the Serenade, can be solved in the future!
The food for breakfast and lunch in the Buffet Restaurant Windjammer was good buffet food. In addition we are especially pleased with the design of the Windjammer on the Radiance Class of ships.The Windjammer also has a nice outdoor section.
We think the Park Café in the Solarium was a nice option for a lighter fare.
We had one steak dinner in Chops Grille, and it was excellent in all respects.
Public areas " pleasing.
Maintenance - we missed that the glass on the balcony and the windows in the Diamond lounge, were not cleaned during this 12-night cruise.
Entertainment " a lot of different entertainment on board. On this cruise, we especially liked the band that played during day time at Pool Deck. After the refurbishment of the Serenade, it is no longer just music entertainment in the Centrum, but among other things now also trapeze performances. One remark, generally we are now tired of watching so-called Musicals and Broadway Shows in the Theater, which unfortunately is not "the real thing”. The reason for this is probably copyright issues / costs for Royal Caribbean.
Itinerary " good. A mix of relaxing sea days and nice ports to explore.
The Crown & Anchor Society - we were very satisfied with the service in the Diamond Lounge. Unfortunately, there were other things we were not happy with " there was no bottles of Evian water, or a biscuit basket, when we got to our stateroom.
We had to call Guest Relations, and it was first delivered to us in the afternoon. In addition, we did not get any invitation to the Welcome Back Party.
Disembarkation in Barcelona - smooth. Very easy to find baggage.
Overall " We mostly enjoyed this cruise, but as said before in this review, unfortunately we this time was not too pleased with our dining experiences in the Reflections Dining room, during several dinners.