I've cruised on Carnival and Celebrity in the past and thought RC's Serenade of the Seas was a couple of steps down from my other cruise experiences. The food was bland and usually overcooked, the port stops were way too short and we missed our private island stop entirely. According to the staff, they had been missing the stop for weeks on end. I wish I had done better research because I would have chosen another destination had I known that CocoKay had about a 50% track record.
We had a ninth deck stateroom with a balcony, which was lovely. Our steward was great, the staff was very accommodating and the dining service was excellent -- far better than the food. In the dining room you could order a dried out, overcooked, thin strip steak (I ordered rare and got well done) or you could pay an extra $13 for a "good" steak. The add-on sales tactics were insulting.
Because we missed our private island stop, we were at sea (a very rough sea) for more than 72 hours. The first at sea day was freezing, and despite the policy written on Royal Caribbean's website stating that they would let the kids use the solarium pool in inclement weather, the staff refused to let the kids in. We had to shiver on deck while droves of kids crowded into the two hot tubs. Meanwhile, the solarium pool was warm and completely empty. Apparently high winds, rain and cold temps aren't inclement enough to execute a written policy.
We ordered the drink packages, but when we got on board, we realized that they didn't save us anything. Drinks are very reasonably priced, so unless you have 10+ drinks a day, it's not really worth it.
The workout room was great with brand-new beautiful equipment, but RC charged for spin and fitness classes, which was a real bummer when you have to work off the crappy dining room steak. All the activities in the fitness area were annoying sales pitches.
On the sixth day of the cruise we were climbing the walls. Bad weather, missed ports, bland food and no limes for our mojitos. I decided to take the kids on a scavenger hunt, which would have been great if they didn't give us the wrong scavenger hunt.
I enjoyed cruises in the past, but after this experience, I am going to spend my money at a true all-inclusive resort or stay on land European style. I spent nearly twice what I would have spent at Iberostar Paraiso Maya for a week, including day trips and airfare.
We did not visit Cococay due to high seas. Staff told me that they had missed this port for weeks at a time. Royal Carribbean should make an alternate stop back in Key West, since we pass it so closely. Being at sea for three days in a row stinks.
The trolley tour was very convenient, but we only rode it for one stop. We could have walked to the places we wanted to visit
We did not have enough time to enjoy Atlantis, otherwise this would have been ideal. The slides, pools beaches and bars all closed at 5 and we didn't dock until 1p.m. four hours was not enough. At $160 pp it was a waste