This first-timer is hooked!
I am an avid "explore and conquer" type of vacationer, so always thought the cruising side would be too laid back, more like an all inclusive vacation where it was all sit around the pool getting drunk with several thousand others doing the same thing and nothing else really going on. Boy was I wrong! With five islands to explore, as well as all of the ship activities, it was almost too much to take in. I was exhausted by the end (always a sign of a good vacation in my book... should need a vacation from the vacation by the time you get home!)
I worried that the lines for embarking, disembarking, eating, etc. would be annoying and take away from the vacation experience. They have this down to a "T" on the Serenade, with very little waiting in line ever. Amazing how they can move this many people this quickly and keep the experience positive and far from feeling like a cattle call.
The ship is very nice. Yes, there are a few places showing her age. Nothing More
compared to the hotels we stayed at in San Juan (but that is for a different review...) Overall, it's amazing how well she is taken care of and the continuous work to keep her in top shape. We enjoyed the shows and activities, the pool scene, the fitness center, and dancing the night away. Almost hated to leave to go see the islands, and always looked forward to coming back. She has turned me into a cruisaholic, and I'm looking forward to my next fix! Less
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Cabin review: Serenade of the Seas Large Oceanview Stateroom Deck 2 8504
We were in cabin 8504. It was a lot larger than expected with a king bed, couch and chair in the sitting area facing the desk and tv. Bathroom was nothing special, but was fine for what we were needing. It is a walk to the front of the ship everytime you ate or hit the pool, but convenient to the showroom and casino.
Port and Shore Excursions
What a beautiful island! The water makes you want to jump in and never come out. I could see a week or two here just to discover all of the beaches (ok, a week or two probably wouldn't be near enough to discover all of them...) We chose a catamaran excursion from the boat with a lobster lunch which was fine (no sailing on the boat and no snorkeling which was also promised...) so ended up being a powerboat excursion with an incredible lunch and some beach time. Probably would have been thrilled with it if it had been billed as such, but a bit disappointed because of the expectations that were set. Overall, I can't wait to get my toes back in the sand on this island!
We didn't find much to appreciate in Grenada. We made the hike up to the fort, then walked the bay front. There was actually another lady and her daughter who joined up with us on the bay front (after the walk through that tunnel.... you'll know once you try that one!) because they were nervous with the lack of people, the pushy taxi drivers who about throw you into the cab to get their fare, and the general feeling of the area. Might be a great place and we just chose the wrong direction to tour, but won't be on our return highlight tour!
Can't be completely fair on this one... hard to enjoy all an island has to offer when it pours rain all day! It is a bit of a bother to have the ship dock on one side of the island, then have to pay $16 per person for a packed van to take you to the other side to see anything. Once you do arrive at the side where everything is, it is a nice stroll on the boardwalk (even in the rain) and a fort to tour around. We did eat at a microbrewery on the boardwalk (can't find the name in my notes, but it's the only microbrewery on the island!) and the food was good and the beer was better.
Wow. We had an absolute blast on St. Lucia, choosing a tour with Cosol Tours. The guides are fantastic, the tour is fantastic, the "blue bar bus" is a welcome site, and the locations they took us and the food they fed us just made for an absolutely perfect day. Highly recommended. The homemade spiced rum after the water taxi to the Pitons was a plus (my wife won't drink rum, but was up for seconds with this one!) They are very aware of the timing to get you back to the ship and will make it with plenty to spare. We even had time for some shopping and were still onboard an hour before schedule. I can't say enough about how much we enjoyed this tour!
Another rainy day for us, but lots to see and do. Walked the shopping strip on Main Street and around the bay. Beautiful area! Could only do so much dreaming in the jewelry stores, though, then back to the pier where we sat at Senor Frogs and enjoyed our last day of the cruise.