My husband and I just returned from a 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise on RCI's Serenade of the Seas. We were looking forward to several snorkeling venues. The boarding process on the ship was uneventful and efficient. We had booked a cabin on Deck 2. Although the description online had mentioned that the outside cabins on Level 2 had portholes instead of windows, we were disappointed by the small size and recessed location of the porthole, which was very difficult to see out of. It did let some light into the cabin, but there was no view to speak of. The location on Deck 2 was quiet. However, there were a number of days when there was a distinct odor in the passageway, which smelled like the septic tank was immediately underneath. The cabin itself was comfortable, with an excellent shower, quite a bit of well-organized storage, and a small sofa.
There were several nice aspects of the layout of the ship. The Shipshape gym and workout area was excellent, and was never crowded. The deck in front of the gym had chairs that offered shade an an unobstructed view of the ocean ahead of the ship. The pool offered bars on two levels, so it was usually easy to order drinks. The Miami Vice was a good drink, as were Mojitos.
It rained the first day, when we arrived at Tortola BVI. Our snorkeling shore excursion offered a refund, which we accepted. We made a beeline to the atrium and located lounge chairs inside, but near the atrium pool, right after breakfast, knowing that the ship would be full all day. This provided a peaceful place to read and relax.
The Windjammer provides a very nice venue for breakfast and lunch. There are many options, including a salad bar, sandwiches and wraps, pizza, and hot entrees. We liked the flexibility of this arrangement and we enjoyed finding seating in the window areas where we could see the port destinations each day before leaving the ship for sightseeing.
We ate dinner in the dining room each evening. We had chosen My Time dining, thinking it would provide greater flexibility. In fact, we ended up eating each night about 6:30, and we were able to sit at the same table with the same servers. One of the disadvantages of My Time Dining is the need to wait in line and the uncertainty about where tables will be available, but we missed that by settling into a routine. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very attentive, and they provided helpful information about port activities as well. The food itself was not remarkable, to say the least. We may be spoiled by the restaurants we are able to frequent in the Washington DC area, but most of the main dinner entrees were uninspired. The appetizers, salads, and desserts were much better. The vegetarian entrees were better than some of the other options. I ordered the salmon, which came out quite dry. The waiter seemed to anticipate this problem and brought me lots of lemons, which saved the day. The pasta options were good, and some of the seafood, such as a lobster tail and shrimp combo. The food came promptly, and considering the fact that 2000 meals were being served, I guess we should have been satisfied. But we were unimpressed overall with the quality of the cuisine.