Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by sonvoltken6: Best... Vacation... EVER!
Overall Member Rating
Best... Vacation... EVER!
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
We are frequent cruisers on Royal Caribbean, and several years ago we did a 7 night Med Cruise with my father. After getting a taste of Italy and Spain (not so much France!) I have been wanting to go back. We booked this cruise shortly after it was released, and managed to get a great deal on an Aft Balcony. We used FF miles for the airfare and cashed in RCCI points for OBC, so we were already money ahead! We flew in overnight the day before and stayed at Rivoli Ramblas. First great news - our room was ready at 10 am when we arrived!
We took a cab down to the port and arrived around 11:30. Check in was quite smooth at the pier, there were no lines even for the non-C/A lines. We headed for the Windjammer and after eating went to scope out our room. The room was wonderful - plenty of room for 2 people and 11 days worth of clothes. The balcony was quite deep.
So much to say about 11 nights on the ship, so here are the highlights and things we would change: More
We had excellent service all around. Our stateroom attendant was like a ninja - he was in and out without us hardly noticing. Our dining room staff were excellent and they had full stations every night. We ate in Chops 3 nights and were treated great there. Rami in the Concierge Lounge was excellent as well.
The food was quite good. I know there is a lot on the boards about the food on RCCI, but I can't think of a time when we didn't get good food. OK, my wife noted that the Red Velvet Cake in Chops has changed and it wasn't good. But all in all we were satisfied.
The guest entertainers were good. We had three musical acts (Bee Gees, Laura Broad and Emperors of Soul) who were spot on. The Comic Magician was funny. The first night was Los Pampos Gauchos, who we had seen before but were good. Other than Los PG, they were all British. I guess the travel costs are prohibitive for American entertainers. But I truly enjoyed them.
The itinerary - more to follow below but this was a great itinerary.
Not many for sure. The production shows are Vibe-ology and Stage to Screen. I mean, are these the same shows that are on every one of the old ships? I know I have seen S2S at least 6 times. So we skipped those two shows.
We were a bit disappointed by the thin activities during the 2 sea days. Now don't get me wrong, after 4 intense port days with 8+ hour excursions, I don't want to run all day. But it didn't seem like there was much going on.
We had a bit if a mix up on our Palma Tour. We selected the DIY tourist bus through RCCI. The sea day we ran into a couple we had met along the way, who informed us that this tour was cancelled. But we weren't notified. The excursions desk had no reasoning for not letting us know but sure enough it was cancelled.
Debarkation was the easiest BY FAR of any of the 20+ sailings we have been on. We left our stateroom at 7:15 to disembark, and we were at our hotel by 8:00 am. No lines anywhere, luggage was right there, and no going through customs. BTW, we stayed at HCC Montblanc post cruise for two nights. It was awesome as well - no our room wasn't ready at 8 am but they took our luggage and we explored the city.
All in all this is the best vacation we have done - period. Less
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Cabin review: 7676
The room was great - but sometimes a bit noisy since it is right over the Safari Club.
Port and Shore Excursions
So we loved Cinque Terre - absolutely worth seeing. Our tour however was crowded and chaotic. The walking path was closed and the boats weren't running, so we had to take the train from village to village. Us and thousands of our closest friends (and pickpockets). We loved CT and would love to go back on our own schedule.
Mdina Walking Tour
We did Mdina, Mosta and the handcraft village. We had a great tour, enjoyed it quite a bit (surprisingly the handcraft village was pretty neat too). Afterward we explored Valletta, and I only wish we had more time. It was an awesome little town with lots to see.
Pompeii Walking Tour
OK actually this was Sorrento and Pompeii both. And it was Salerno not Naples. Sorrento was on my list since we live in Sorrento Florida. We loved going to the farm outside Sorrento, then exploring Sorrento on our own in the morning. And our tour of Pompeii was different than what we had done before. Yeah, this was probably my favorite port day of them all!
We did the hop on hop off bus. We explored the Cathedral and surrounding area. We also explored one of the squares, where we had lunch and Gelato. And then we walked from Hard Rock cafe about 3 miles back to the ship. It was a beautiful day and we had a wonderful time!
This was the other one we booked independently. The operator and driver we had were awesome. He got us right up to the various sites for the morning visit to Rome, then gave us some great tips for the Vatican Museum. Doing the bus with only 7 of us was great. Probably my second favorite port day.
Archaeological Park of Nora
Nora was quite cool, though compared with Pompeii and Tindari, not nearly as impressive. This was also the worst tour guide we had the whole time. Afterward we planned on exploring the port town but it wasn't too exciting. All in all our least favorite stop.
We joined a group tour, and as luck would have it, the other 5 didn't show up. So for our price (115 Euro pp) we had a private van and a driver. It was awesome. No waiting for anyone - when we were done exploring, we were done. Period. Eze is cute but St. Paul de Vence is nicer and more to see. Monaco was quite cool as well as Monte Carlo. It was a great day for sure.
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This was a great itinerary.