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Serenade of the Seas

Itinerary

According to a recent World Happiness Report, the Danes are the happiest people in the world. Whether it's the high wages and low unemployment rate or something magical in Copenhagen's salty sea air, a cruising visitor will feel the positive vibe -- and no doubt bring a little extra "happy" back to the ship.

Sitting on the east coast of Denmark, Copenhagen has been the country's capital for 600 years, and it's the largest city in Scandinavia, with a population of 1.9 million people. It's home to the world's oldest monarchy (King Erik VII set up permanent residence in 1417), and its present Queen, Margrethe II, currently lives at Amalienborg Palace.

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  • Day 2

Since the days of the Vikings, Stavanger's fate has been tied to the sea. The region in southeastern Norway was first settled 10,000 years ago, and Vikings set forth on their seafaring expeditions from these shores. In more modern times, fishing was the city's moneymaker, and sardine canning was big business. Today, the North Sea oil industry rules Stavanger, which is often referred to as the Oil Capital of Norway.

Stavanger is Norway's fourth most populous city, but it won't seem like a bustling metropolis when you set foot off your ship. The harbor area where ships dock is easily walkable, with the small white cottages of Old Stavanger immediately to the west, a tangle of pedestrian shopping streets to the east and restaurants housed in old warehouses lining the harbor itself. Most major attractions, such as the Canning and Petroleum museums, are a quick stroll away.

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Bergen, known as the "Gateway to the Fjords," is Norway's second-largest city. But with only about 260,000 inhabitants, it projects the warmth and accessibility of a much smaller community. The Gulf Stream softens the weather there, and the winters are mild with little snow.

Shrouded in history, the city's streets are flanked with centuries-old churches and quaint shops and homes connected by a labyrinth of backyard pathways. Two picturesque and inviting landmarks make orientation easy: the wharf area and the museum-surrounded ornamental lake and parklands are within ten minutes from each other by foot. Most of Bergen proper's attractions and activities also lie within a short walk of those points, as does the main cruise pier.

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Alesund is located on a series of islands along Norway's coast. It is best known for its art nouveau architecture, which you can see walking through town and learn about at the Art Nouveau Center. After much of the town burned in a 1904 fire, the city was rebuilt in this striking architectural style.

Geiranger is a tiny little village, situated at the end of the UNESCO World Heritage-protected Geirangerfjord. The real draw is the fjord itself, with its green mountainsides, snowcapped peaks and fairytale-esque waterfalls. You'll get up close views of the fjord -- and the famous Seven Sisters and the Suitor waterfalls -- as you sail in and out of Geiranger; in summer, it'll be light out for both the early morning arrival and afternoon or early evening departure. The scenic cruising will be the highlight of a Norwegian fjords itinerary.

The town of Geiranger can be traversed from end to end in about five minutes. It's got the requisite souvenir shops, restaurants serving up reindeer and caramel-tasting brown goat cheese, a charming old church and the Fjordcenter to get your fjord 411. But mostly it serves as a jumping-off point for tours in the area. For a bird's-eye view of the fjord scenery, head up to scenic viewpoints like Dalsnibba or Eagle's Bend or take to the skies in a helicopter. Or go the other direction, and hop in a kayak to get closer to nature and feel the enormity of the mountains above you. For a bit of history and culture, visit a mountain farm and learn about how people live in this remote area.

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  • Day 7

Kristiansand is the fifth largest city in Norway -- lying on the southern tip of this Scandinavian country -- and offers picturesque streetscapes, traditional and colorful Norwegian architecture and cultural highlights, including the stunning waterfront Kilden Performing Arts Center.

According to a recent World Happiness Report, the Danes are the happiest people in the world. Whether it's the high wages and low unemployment rate or something magical in Copenhagen's salty sea air, a cruising visitor will feel the positive vibe -- and no doubt bring a little extra "happy" back to the ship.

Sitting on the east coast of Denmark, Copenhagen has been the country's capital for 600 years, and it's the largest city in Scandinavia, with a population of 1.9 million people. It's home to the world's oldest monarchy (King Erik VII set up permanent residence in 1417), and its present Queen, Margrethe II, currently lives at Amalienborg Palace.

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Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
4.5
1,389 reviews
Why Choose Serenade of the Seas?

Pro

Has both an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as multiple dining venues

Con

Lack of variety in main dining room food and onboard entertainment might disappoint some cruisers

Bottom Line

Good value-for-money choice for families and groups

Serenade of the Seas Overview

Serenade of the Seas is the third Radiance-class ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet. The 90,090-ton, 2,100-passenger vessel fits just within Panamax measurements (with one foot on either side to spare), which means it, like Radiance, Brilliance and Jewel of the Seas, has maximum geographic flexibility and can sail to and from just about any region.

That flexibility extends to the onboard milieu. Serenade of the Seas' greatest strength is that it offers plenty of options, from dining to entertainment, and yet remains a mid-sized ship. It's a good choice for a wide range of traveler -- including families, singles, couples and groups.

Royal Caribbean carries through this ship the Radiance-class' most interesting distinction is the nearly three acres of exterior glass employed in its design -- including glass elevators with ocean views -- that incorporates the outdoors, beautifully, onboard.

The effect is simply dazzling -- and there are remarkable views from nearly every public room. The decorating scheme itself emphasizes elegance, grace, and beauty, and creates quite a harmonious environment. The ship is very easy to navigate, with indoor public rooms concentrated on decks five and six and more-active areas -- sports deck, pools, spa, fitness center -- on decks 11 and 12.

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Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary and we had heard a lot of good things about Royal Caribbean. Embarkation was smooth but we like to carry our own luggage on and we were not allowed to. Food selection in the Windjammer buffet ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Itinerary and we had heard a lot of good things about Royal Caribbean. Embarkation was smooth but we like to carry our own luggage on and we were not allowed to. Food selection in the Windjammer buffet dining room was exceptional and the food was very good. Staff was very friendly, very nice and accommodating. Cons: No ironing stations or laundry room. This was the smallest ship we had ever been on but it was no problem for us. We were also use to having a TV as part of the treadmill in the fitness room, it helps the time to go by faster for me while working out so that took a little getting use to. We booked our own shore excursions. One was via shoreexcursioneer for St Marteen. the skylift and Flying Dutchman combo and it was excellent. For Debarkation we did our own luggage carry off and it was the easiest debarkation we have EVER experienced on any cruise we have ever done. We have done 23 cruises not counting this one. Thanks to the staff, food and itinerary it was overall a very good vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
We booked this cruise based on the islands of the Southern Caribbean, and also the time of year was important for our schedule. Two of the five islands (St. Thomas, St. Martin, Martinique, St. Croix, and St. Kitts ) we never visited ... Read More
We booked this cruise based on the islands of the Southern Caribbean, and also the time of year was important for our schedule. Two of the five islands (St. Thomas, St. Martin, Martinique, St. Croix, and St. Kitts ) we never visited before, so it was very exciting to explore new islands. We had our three year old son with us, so that made it a little difficult to have many options as far as shore excursions go, but we still found something at every island and we all enjoyed our selves. Our favorite excusrsion was in Martinique, the Biological Zoo visit and old Disterry Rum tour. Our son enjoyed going to AquaNauts in Adventure Ocean on deck 12 for play time. On some days, they did family events and that was really enjoyable. For adult time, we took advantage of the Tropic Theater for onboard entertainment. Our most favorite show was ABBA (presented by Abracadebra band). Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
RCCL has made some changes that I do not like, but they are not just for Serenade. They have cut out providing toiletries in the bathroom so plan to bring your own. Also the little pat of soap was almost useless. I suggest bringing good ... Read More
RCCL has made some changes that I do not like, but they are not just for Serenade. They have cut out providing toiletries in the bathroom so plan to bring your own. Also the little pat of soap was almost useless. I suggest bringing good soap especially if you want to use an antibacterial soap. This class of ship is much easier to get around on and has the lovely Centrum instead of those boardwalks on larger ships. Music flows up from the bottom of the atrium where music is playing most of the time on the 5th floor. The staff onboard the ship is very attentive regardless if they are in the dining room or working in the staterooms. Since I had been on this ship last, the staff has had a significant increase in the number coming from India. This is only mentioned since some speak English very well, but there are some that people had trouble understanding due to their heave accent. I am assuming that they may be newer staff additions that are still working on their language skills. Read Less