My husband and I sailed on the Serenade of the Seas for our honeymoon. It was a fantastic trip and everything was excellent!
Embarkation/Disembarkation: We used Royal Caribbean's airport transfers between the pier and the airport and vice versa. The representative was easy to spot when we got out of customs in Barcelona and we got on the bus and to the pier with no problems. Check-in was quick. Disembarkation was the same, very quick and easy. One note, we used Choice Air to book the flights and we had called them at one point to see if we could change our flight. They were very unhelpful and difficult to understand. Not sure if we would use them again, but having the peace of mind that Royal Caribbean knew where we were in the event of an airline delay was at least good (we also purchased Cruise Care Insurance) since we flew in the day of.
Stateroom: Balcony stateroom on Deck 7 midship. Great location, no noise from the Centrum, and easy to get to everything. More
Balcony overlooked the lifeboat covers but this did not bother us because you can still see out, just not straight down to the water. The room was very clean and enough space for the both of us. The bathroom is small but hey it's a ship, what can you do?
Service: Service onboard was excellent. Our stateroom attendant, Happy, was friendly and attentive. Our waiters in the main dining room, Ivo and Miguel, were phenomenal, as well as Romano the bartender at the Schooner Bar. All other staff were friendly and seemed to be doing their jobs well. One thing to note, the fridge in our room was very loud so we had unplugged it and reported it to guest services. It took a few days but eventually it was plugged back in and seemed to be fixed. However, this did not bother us as we did not need to use it; the noise was just keeping us awake the one night until we unplugged it. We also went to the spa for the Roman Holiday Special, $99 for about an hour for three mini services. The spa employees were nice and we felt that we got a good deal for what we paid. And Juan the photographer was very friendly and always made sure we had smiles on our faces! :)
Food and Drinks: The food in the main dining room was excellent, we pretty much liked everything. We also ate at Giovanni's Table, but with a limited menu for the Murder Mystery Dinner; but the food there was excellent too. Chops was definitely the best food on the ship; try the warm goat cheese and basil souffle, it was amazing! Windjammer was usually good but it's just regular buffet food, nothing too fancy. The English bacon for breakfast there was very tasty, though! Drinks at the bar were always good and definitely had a good ratio of liquor.
Ports and Excursions: This cruise had an amazing itinerary: Cannes, Florence (La Spezia), Rome (Civitavecchia), Sorrento (Naples), Venice, Ravenna, and Dubrovnik. We used Royal Caribbean for excursions in every port except Cannes. The excursions were all great, we were provided with good transportation and very informative tour guides. We did notice that the buses in Europe did not employ their restrooms, though, so sometimes on the longer tours (it took 3 hours to get to Florence because of traffic) it was a bit trying. It was a very port-intensive cruise so the one sea day in the middle and the two at the end were good for some relaxation!
Entertainment: We only went to one performance show in the theater on the last night, the Farewell Show. They had a speed juggler who was incredible, and then the staff sang and danced. We went to two shows in the Centrum, Jack & the Giant Beanstalk and Aquatronica. These shows utilized the acrobatics features in the Centrum and were very, very cool. We also saw the Love & Marriage Gameshow which was hilarious, and we participated in the Quest which was probably one of the most hilarious, insane, fun things we have done! We also participated in a few of the trivia sessions and karaoke. And, as mentioned above, we did the Murder Mystery Dinner which was cheesy (in a good way) but enjoyable. Overall the entertainment was good!
Ship: The ship itself was beautiful, it has so much glass so that you can look out into the sea from most places. Everything always seemed clean (although there were a few coffee mugs with lipstick stains in the Windjammer, but when you have to clean that many white mugs it's probably not a rare occurrence). The ship was renovated last year so the Centrum is absolutely gorgeous. It's also a very nice size ship, 90,000 gross tons, so not small but not insanely huge. We felt it was good size.
Summary: This was my husband's first cruise, and my eighth cruise (second with Royal Caribbean). He loved it and we made an open booking for another one! We highly recommend this ship and itinerary. Happy sailing! Less
Serenade of the Seas Cruises to the Western Mediterranean