Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by Ruud Hartog: Panama Canal Transit
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Panama Canal Transit
This was the Serenade of Seas annual repositioning cruise from San Juan Puerto Rico to San Francisco CA. We traveled via privately arranged air from Tampa to San Juan a day before the ship's departure. Embarkation was smooth and painless since we had obtained our "Seapass" on-line.
The Serenade is a beautiful ship, and is very well maintained. My wife and I have cruised 23 times and are partial to RCCL's "Radiance" series ships (We have been on all except the "Freedom" class ships. We have cruised TransAtlantic on the "Brilliance of Seas" before. There is a sense of space and uncrowdedness on this ship, even though she carried a full capacity 2200 passengers.
The itinerary was well balanced. There were 2 port calls, 2 days at sea, then the Panama Canal transit(all day),4 days at sea and 4 port calls on the Pacific side. Something for everybody. The sea was like glass for 11 days out of the trip, only on the last 3 days was there any perceptible ocean swell action More that I prefer, but the Serenade at 91,00 tons is too big to notice. One special aspect of this 14 day cruise was that the entertainment was spectacular. They had only two nights of the RCCL Singers and Dancers (not our favorite type), and the rest was top of the line feature entertainment. On-board activities were OK, but not excellent.
The service was excellent everywhere on the ship. The food was OK in the main dining room, but the beef (steaks etc.) was not very good. Over 14 days, my wife and I went to dinner 4 times in the Windjammer and actually preferred the food there. They have a Mongolian Bar-B-Que in the Windjammer that is to die for. Didn't use the "Chops" or "Portofino" upscale dining rooms.
Our Oceanview stateroom was OK, they are all about the same. Excellent storage facilities, and we love the new shower design. Our steward(ess) was absolutely great. Disembarkation is San Francisco was a disaster due to poor communication/publication of processes resulting in many disgruntled passengers, but then SFO is not a normal disembarkation point for RCCL. All in all a wonderful cruise, good value for the money spent. Less
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