Let's get three minor negatives out of the way first, particularly as they either were, or could be rectified quickly and at no cost.
The ship was badly let down by poor bar service on deck, in the theatre and in the Schooner Bar. However a conversation with the Bar Chief Steward (Bar Manager) soon rectified the problem and probably added $100s of dollars in bar takings.
Dining Room Stewards having to parade around the deck singing and waiving flags is embarrassing to them and to passengers, leave that to 3 star ships, it's not right for a ship of this Class that in my book is almost 5 star.
Also during the voyage, a Whale, a Shark, a Turtle and Crocodiles were spotted but no announcements made from the Bridge. Whilst at breakfast in the Reflections dining room we were delighted by the performance of a school of Dolphins but my request to a Chief Steward (head-waiter) for a tannoy announcement to be made was refused because 'at 0950 it would awaken passengers'. The shopping announcement at 1000 was obviously far more acceptable as were the countless and annoying announcements for art sales and bingo. The Master agreed with this and hopefully future Passengers will benefit.
Everything else was pretty near perfect:
The ship is stunningly beautiful and with a wow factor still there at the end of a two-week cruise. Her designers missed nothing and her builders got everything right. The full Crew from Captain through the Officers, to Stewards, Seaman, Engineers, Entertainers and Cleaners were friendly, polite, well organised and efficient (I still think of myself as a Passenger, not a Guest, so please excuse the lack of modern terms like Hotel Managers, Waiters, Barmen and Attendants)
Although filled to capacity, at no time did she feel crowded. The food was imaginative, well presented, plentiful and tasty. Dining room service was impeccable and I never experienced any long lines at self-service buffets. Iced drinks and beverages were available whenever needed and at no charge.
There were always plenty of deck chairs, towels for the pool and enough shade unless the sun was directly overhead. Cabins are well appointed; with plenty of storage space and getting a balcony without having to rent the Owners Suite was bliss.
Embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and well organised and apart from running out of tickets for the tender operation it generally went smoothly and without queues. Security is tight, very necessary in today's times, but polite and so unobtrusive you don't really notice it.
Others have already given a deck-by-deck tour of Serenade so I won't repeat that. I'll just say that everything good written about her so far is accurate. If there is a blip, talk to the right people and get it fixed rather than moan about it.
Serenade is a new Ship but my guess is that this crew will keep her clean and well maintained for many years to come. She looks like a ship; not a floating hotel and the fact that I slept through a hurricane suggests she handles like a ship, full marks to her Master for some superb Seamanship then and in some very tight spots in Ports. (Apart from Panama there wasn't a tug in sight and then it was only for effect)
Royal Caribbean has got her just right.
Bruce Tucker 13th May 2004 email@example.com