This was the seventh RCCL cruise for my wife and I and the second time we visited Hawaii. It was the second time we sailed with the Serenade of the Seas, the first being 39 days after its Christening. This was, also, the second time we left from San Diego. Arriving the day before we stayed at the Holiday Inn Downtown, about 4 blocks from the port. The hotel provided free pick up from the airport and free transportation from the hotel to the port.
Embarking to the ship was very easy. There appears to have been a longshoreman strike, but this did not effect us as we handled our own luggage. RCCL, after a short wait, took the luggage and we proceeded to a very hassle free check-in. Shortly after that we board our ship. After a very pleasant lunch we rediscovered our home for the next two week. It was as nice a ship as I remember from the first cruise.
Our room steward, Courtney, as very attentive to any request that we had. The cabin was spacious, compared to other we have stayed in. It was sometimes a challenge though to figure our where to put all the pillows that were on our bed (at least 6 of varying sizes and shapes) The couch in our room had at least 4 pillows of its own! The closet space was more than adequate for our needs.Daily, calling room service, my wife and I had coffee on our balcony, just watching the sea go by. The order of the day included a jacuzzi and swim in the Solarium before breakfast.
Daily, calling room service, my wife and I had coffee on our balcony, just watching the sea go by. The order of the day included a jacuzzi and swim in the Solarium before breakfast. Relaxation was the order for the day.
We ate breakfast and lunch more often than not in the Windjammer, as the Reflections dining room only had one menu for breakfast and only two for lunch which was alternated every other day. Dinner, however, proved to be a very nice surprise. It was always fresh and delicious. Our wait staff was always very attentive. We had the early seating so after dinner we went to the show. To have a different show each night with no repeats was a pleasant surprise.
Our shore excursions were very enjoyable overall. Tendering is not one of our favorite things. Kona was very warm but this is Hawaii. Lahaina, Maui was a nice tour, but our driver was basically monotone for 6 hours. Tendering back from Lahaina could have been handled better. The line waiting for tendering was about 200 passengers long when we got there and there were only two tenders operating. It would have been much better to have more tenders and a shorter wait for the passengers. Security did hold up the process up at each port, but that is the world we live in.
The tour in Hilo was the high point of the cruise for me. Though it was a long tour, our guide, Sharon, kept it lively and informative. She even sang to us and did an impromptu Hula (very very well, I might add)in the aisle of the bus. Her talks traveling from venue to venue were informative and made you look forward to arriving at your next stop. She was fantastic!
On the return from Honolulu the ship had to turnback to take care of a fellow passengers medical problem. This did cause some scrambling for flights and accommodations, but that it could have been anyone of us, the disruption seems small. If it were my family or friends, I would hope the same would be done for us.
Overall, I would say our experience was very positive and we look forward to our next RCCL cruise.