Sail Date: July 2019
We’d booked the Mediterranean cruise onboard Freedom of the Seas & wanted to try out the Baltic & Russia cruise with Royal Caribbean. We found the ship smaller but enjoyable but having been on the larger ship Freedom of the Seas ... Read More
We’d booked the Mediterranean cruise onboard Freedom of the Seas & wanted to try out the Baltic & Russia cruise with Royal Caribbean. We found the ship smaller but enjoyable but having been on the larger ship Freedom of the Seas it felt like a downgrade. No soda dispenser machine & awkward to be asking at a bar for soda top ups. Highlight was the cinema & the excellent movies. Hardly anyone ever went into the crown pub it was also awkward walking through casino to get to other places. Onboard entertainment in Tropical theatre was average. The one shore excursion we booked via RC wasn’t great. The independent tours we did book online were more superior. A charge of about €245 was taken from my account despite having paid a final statement of over €600. Waiting to get this back. Overall I’ll consider trying another cruise company or going on a bigger ship with more facilities Read Less
Sail Date: June 2019
I choose this ship because the itinerary that was excellent, specially for the 3 day stop at St. Petersburg (Russia). The embarkation process was very smooth and quick, no more than 5 minutes to complete all process. The ship is ... Read More
I choose this ship because the itinerary that was excellent, specially for the 3 day stop at St. Petersburg (Russia). The embarkation process was very smooth and quick, no more than 5 minutes to complete all process. The ship is small and quite old but it doesn't seem old just not modern. The Ship has all what you need to expect from a RCI cruise, big atrium, pools, kids zone etc... In this trip I had 2 staterooms, one oceanview (7008) and one Balcony (8056). The cabins were normal, not big but also not very small, good for 2 or even 3 people. The bedding was nice and also the storage spaces. What I really dislike was that the only amenity Royal gives to customers in Oceanview and Balcony was a 1 in 3 Shampoo-Conditioner-Shower gel....even MSC or Celebrity gives 3 different bottles for different products! The food was ok, not specially good. The Windjammer Buffet Is ok but always the same food for a 10 day cruise is absurd. The main dinning room was also ok, the service was good and food also good. I purchase the unlimited specialty restaurants and was good because the food at Izumi, Giovannis and Chops is excellent but the ship is so small that paying the unlimited specialty restaurants is not worth it (just for Serenade), in other Royal ships you have more choices and it make sense. If you like Coffee...its horrible, even the speciality coffee. The worst thing about the entire cruise was the entertainment, the night shows were horrible, definitely Royal needs to upgrade the shows at smaller ships, the company concentrates a lot in larger ships but not in smaller. Overall, the service was good, the cabins are spacious but they have a lack on amenities. the ports of call were amazing. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
We'd previously cruised to Eastern Caribbean ports and Western Caribbean; never had done Southern Caribbean, so we picked this cruise. It was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean. Ports were fine; we certainly liked that we ... Read More
We'd previously cruised to Eastern Caribbean ports and Western Caribbean; never had done Southern Caribbean, so we picked this cruise. It was our first time cruising with Royal Caribbean. Ports were fine; we certainly liked that we never needed tenders at any of our five stops. Royal Caribbean was OK -- not bad, not great. With a little bit of thought, they could do a better job. We took three excursions through the ship's desk and we had a little of everything -- one poor tour guide (Bonaire Highlights) whose English was substandard, one who was average (Panoramic St. Lucia) and one that was very good (Amazing Antigua). Food was average; a few times entrees were only warm. Our primary server in the main dining room, Viktoriia, was outstanding. Nothing fazed her. She was both pleasant and efficient, and her recommendations were very good. She was perhaps the best server I've had on eight cruises we've taken. On Day 3 or 4, we pointed out a problem with wine service, in which the server would arrive at the table with five or six glasses of wine, then ask people at the table to pass them around until the right glass arrived at the right person. We asked the person in charge of the dining room to fix this problem -- I doubt that's the way they were trained -- but it resurfaced a few days later. Breakfast in the main dining room was very good, a great way to start the day. At the end of the day, we didn't have anything served to us that made us say, "Hope we have this again!" Royal Caribbean gets an F grade for the amount of thought they give to when and where they schedule some of their live entertainment. They offer a pianist and an acoustic guitar player at different times in the Schooner Bar, but the place is so damn loud, you can only appreciate the musician's talent if you're seated 6 feet away. Kids are arguing over a checkers game, the bartender is ringing a bell for a good tip, group conversations carry throughout this open space, part of the space also serves as a popular walk-through to the Safari Club . . . this is an embarrassment to the musicians playing here. As I was called from being next in line to talk to a person about booking excursions, a band began its set in the Centrum, about 40 feet away. You could have heard them a mile away, which made my conversation with the tour booking rep close to a shouting match. WHEN DO WANT TO GO ON THIS TOUR? TUESDAY. IT'S TOO LATE TO BOOK THAT TOUR FOR TODAY. NOT TODAY . . . TUESDAY! 99 percent of the chairs in public seating areas (excluding the main theater) are absolutely terrible. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I will say the emarkment and departure went pretty smooth. The food was mediocre and the service just ok. This being my first cruise with royal Caribbean I was excited to hear about the high standards they had. I paid a high price for my ... Read More
I will say the emarkment and departure went pretty smooth. The food was mediocre and the service just ok. This being my first cruise with royal Caribbean I was excited to hear about the high standards they had. I paid a high price for my junior suite which was lovely - on the 10th floor with no refrigerator. The elevators were a nightmare and the people that were on them were very rude and acted like elevator gastopos. The same with trying to get a chair at the pool! What a nightmare! Previous passengers on this cruise were very proud of that fact and made sure to let you know that they were special. The towel attendant did put an end to saving chairs on the last two days of the cruise, which thoroughly upset the passengers that had came down early to put towels down then left and came back at any time of the day. My sister was down there the first two days at 7:30 am to get chairs the first two days of the cruise then finally just gave up. We were not the only passengers upset about this situation! Our time at the ports were lovely and the people were very kind and always had a smile, not so much on the ship. We will not be sailing Serenade of the Seas again and not so sure if we will even use Royal Caribbean. It would be nice if they tried to treat their first time customers a little special as well! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
First 11 night cruise. I was surprised at the number of scooters in use, as well as walkers and wheelchairs. Most of the users were very polite and also friendly but as usual there were a couple that were not very polite. The dinner ... Read More
First 11 night cruise. I was surprised at the number of scooters in use, as well as walkers and wheelchairs. Most of the users were very polite and also friendly but as usual there were a couple that were not very polite. The dinner in the main dining room was not up to RCCL par. My wife wouldn't eat any of the meat dishes, after trying one, and on two nights she had ceasar's salad with chicken for dinner. I found shrimp pasta dish t be very bland and an assistant maitre de actually remade the dish with more shrimp and spices the following night. It was superb. I also found fault with the tiger shrimp. Although it was served with French Service the size was more like regular shrimp than prawns. The dish was served to me twice. The onion soup on this ship was not salty and very very good. One of the other people on my table had it every night of the cruise. One dinner had a milk allergy, and two had shellfish allergies. This made it a little difficult but during an 11 night cruise, and with forewarning, the waiters should have been able to handle that. The schooners bar had the best staff of any RCCL ship. Both Ivana and George were funny and friendly and got to know the regulars, all diamond or above members, that preferred it to the diamond lounge. Chops grill was very good. It was fun that we ran into so many couples we had met on other parts of the ship during dinner. The free drinks for diamond members could be better arranged because if you had a later seating, 8pm, you had to bring drinks into the dinning room as it was too late when dinner started. Don't miss the train ride on St Kitts. It is a pity Grenada landing was on a Sunday. A lot closed. Breakfast in the windjammer was well run. Omelets to order was very well controlled. I was surprised that lox was available every day. But the machine that cut the bagels has to be adjusted as it was very one sided. One size thick and one very thin. Also cream cheese needed to be kept cooler. But consider the age of the passengers, everyone was very friendly and conversations could be started at any table you sat at. Everyone washed their hands going into the windjammer or any eating facility. Without being asked. The ice cream machines were only used one at a time. But the ice cream was cold, as it should be, Yummy. Followed health advice and used plates and spoons rather than cones. operated the handle with a napkin. As was expected, on a sea day, people consistently saved chairs. The company that invented the towel clothing pin should be very wealthy, towels were held by these pins. We learned, on a sea day, to also use them to go into lunch or get a snack. The shows were were interested in; beatles, love and marriage, we went to. Others were quickly visited or skipped. We were annoyed that the new key , held seats that were empty till the show began. Another way of ripping off even diamond members. It is a new attempt to raise fares without seeming to do it. Very annoying. With all the extra costs now being attempted it is almost better to go to an up grade cruise line, even celebrity, where some of these things are included or normally better. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Have been on the Serenade twice before. I noticed that they seem to be cutting corners. Seems to be less crew to accommodate passengers. Noticed this in pool area -- no glasses at the self serve drinks near Park Cafe when they were ... Read More
Have been on the Serenade twice before. I noticed that they seem to be cutting corners. Seems to be less crew to accommodate passengers. Noticed this in pool area -- no glasses at the self serve drinks near Park Cafe when they were closed. No one cleaned up water around pool (till 10:35 AM )which had accumulated Saturday into Sunday( during the night)-- someone could have had a serious fall ! Several (2 evenings) with no entertainment in the Tropical Theater. Menus in Reflections Dining Room at dinner were repetitive ( especially appetizers and desserts) I doubt hat these cutbacks are only on the Serenade. Royal Caribbean may just be concentrating on its mega sized ships . The Guest Relations crew staff need to know where there are pharmacies close to the ports. It is inexcusable that they sent me to a pharmacy almost 20 miles from the port (in St. Thomas) when there was a pharmacy which was less than 1 mile and walkable from Crown Bay where we docked ! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 6th cruise with Royal Caribbean and our third on Serenade on the Seas. We were looking forward on cruising again with Serenade 9 years later. My husband and I were traveling with a young child and 2 seniors. Embarkation ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with Royal Caribbean and our third on Serenade on the Seas. We were looking forward on cruising again with Serenade 9 years later. My husband and I were traveling with a young child and 2 seniors. Embarkation On departure day, our hotel had a a shuttle taking us to the cruise terminal around 11 am. Embarkation went smoothly enough. We were early enough to grab some lunch at the Windjammer even though it was already a total zoo. I remember an announcement asking passengers to eat and leave promptly to let other people have a chance to sit down and eat - don't think it worked well. Cabin Our cabin was nice (standard) and fairly well maintained, although some fixtures, shelves and towels looked a bit tired. We got decent service from our stateroom attendant. Dining The Windjammer was a zoo, same as always. The food was quite adequate, however. We felt we always had to get there early to avoid being trampled or run over by scooters. Staff-wise, it was hit and miss. Most were friendly, but I found those working at the coffee and drink stations often inattentive and slow. In the Reflections dining room, we only went there for dinner. We tried breakfast on the first sea day and the service was so slow and mediocre that we gave up. Our dinnertime wait staff, Randolph and Marisol, and head waiter Oscar were efficient and friendly, especially when it came to our young son. On the second night (first formal night) we found a group in hawaiian shirts and shorts sitting at our table and eating our bread. I assume this was confusion on their part and not the staff's fault. I really hope so, anyway. We had to ask for a change of cutelry and bread baskets. As for the food, the menu was quite repetitive and the quality inconsistent. I believe it was the exact kids menu every day. I often went with our waiter Randolph's suggestions, which worked out pretty well for me. I can't say the same for my in laws, who were mostly disappointed in their choices and often went to the 'staple' choices. I wish they had less few huge tables (10-12 people). They are very loud and seem to drain way more attention and time from the wait staff. Not everyone is travelling in a huge group. We went to Chops Grille one evening, and Giovanni's Table twice. The atmosphere was quieter and the service more attentive at both venues, but I remember being more impressed with the food in our past Serenade cruises. Giovanni's pasta in particular didn't 'wow' me on this cruise - it should have - so I'm not certain what accounts for the decline in taste and quality. Entertainment I didn't attend the evening shows but I overheard favorable comments from other passengers. I enjoyed the guitarist and pianist playing in various lounges and bars and in the Centrum. There was a band playing a bit too loud in the Centrum at times - glad my cabin was not too close. My son enjoyed spending time at Adventure Ocean and in the kids' pool and slide. The staff were really friendly, patient and attentive; I guess it helps that there were very few children on this cruise. Overall appearance and layout The ship size offers a balance of accessibility and diversity. It is well laid out generally. I wish there was just a bit more in the shops. Not much in terms of clothing and always too much jewelry. How many watches do you need? Since cruising with Serenade 9 years ago, I noticed quite a few renovations and changes to the ship, most unfavorable in my opinion. The Centrum has been redone. I miss the lighted staircase. It is a high traffic area so it would benefit from more access points. The elevators were slow and packed as always. The 13th deck is a total mess. The Vortex has been massacred to house two separate areas, with an 'exclusive' Diamond club. The separation is artificial and looks awful, the view is gone and there is almost no seating space. The Hollywood Lounge is now a Concierge Club. To me, it seems the Safari club would be a better venue for private events and to host the frequent cruisers. I understand these senior cruisers need to feel pampered but Royal Caribbean should really concentrate more on attempting to cater to Platinum, Gold, and new cruisers. On the subject of elitism, it seemed to us the elevators seemed rigged to favour the 13th floor for these 'elites' - we kept seeing empty elevators bypassing our floors and going directly up top. Disembarkation Always my least favorite part, not just because the vacation is over. Having to get up as early as possible to try to grab a table at the zoo-like, completely packed Windjammer is never my idea of a good time. It seems everyone is a bit more rude than usual. We were able to get off in a timely manner, found our luggage fairly quickly and had to wait in line for a while to clear customs. We wanted a porter but weren't able to get anyone - none were available when we needed one. Oh well, at least we saved a few bucks. Other observations -The staff was not too pushy overall - good! I've been on cruises where the photographers and other sales staff were way more agressive. -Photography is really getting pricey. -Dress code: Would it be possible for Royal Caribbean to let passengers know in advance at the very least how many formal nights to expect? There used to be 'smart casual' and other theme nights, and 3 formal nights for longer cruises. Now it's all casual except for 2 formal nights, a suggestion that is taken very lightly by a large portion of the passengers. Had I known about these decreasing standards, I would have packed different clothes. Overall, the ship still looks great, the crew is friendly, and the cruise experience wasn't bad. The problem is that we saw a huge decrease in quality and service since we last cruised on Serenade. Royal Caribbean has been disappointing us in the past few years in favor of other cruise lines offering more value for money. What we noticed the most this time around, though, was the obvious favoritism towards the frequent/lifetime cruisers. We would not encourage first time or less experienced cruisers to cruise on Serenade. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We wanted to enjoy a long cruise seeing some beautiful islands. We stayed in a wheelchair accessible room and while it met all my needs, the view of the ocean was partly obstructed by the covering to the lifeboat of below. While we knew ... Read More
We wanted to enjoy a long cruise seeing some beautiful islands. We stayed in a wheelchair accessible room and while it met all my needs, the view of the ocean was partly obstructed by the covering to the lifeboat of below. While we knew this beforehand, we didn’t realize how big it was. I would never stay in a room like that again. I find it objectionable that they would place an accessible room there as those of us who cannot stand to peer over had a much worse view. The food on the ship was bland. The buffet was the same each day. Rarely did anyone assist with me in my chair and they expected my husband to to all of the work. Even after we complained to the manager, things never improved. Even the lobster lacked the usual sweetness I have had on other cruises. I asked for a small cup of drawn butter and a big production was made to get it. They tried to skimp at every turn. The only relief with the food was at their speciality restaurants. We went to Chops Grille, Izumi and Giovannis and they were wonderful. Unfortunately, Rita’s Cantina was closed. We never used the ship’s shore excursions, but rather, rented vehicles on all but St. Lucia. On St. Lucia, we booked a private Solomon water taxi tour to the Pitons since they could not accommodate my wheelchair. It was worth the extra cost and we received great treatment! We highly recommend them! I can easily say that our time was put to good use on each island where we could get away from the crowds and see the beauty of these places. And our overall costs were less than the typical excursions. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
A neighbor of our close friends researchers cruises for good prices and perks. Almost two years ago, our friends told us about this cruise. There were 28 people from our over 55 community here in Texas. Most of these people were doing back ... Read More
A neighbor of our close friends researchers cruises for good prices and perks. Almost two years ago, our friends told us about this cruise. There were 28 people from our over 55 community here in Texas. Most of these people were doing back to back on this particular cruise. We signed up for the second cruise. We have taken 14 cruises since we retired ten years ago.....10 with Celebrity and this being the 4th with RCCL. We realized that the Serenade had been around for a number of years. But the itinerary and the reputation that RCCL has/had was a good reason to sign up for it. Starting from the good to bad reviews, let me start with the good. Our room attendant and the wait staff were excellent. It was what you would expect, or wanted, on a cruise. The food was good. It could have been better, but we were okay with it. By no means was it outstanding. And, we definitely have experienced cruises with some above average appetizers, entrees and desserts. The entertainment usually held in the theater at two scheduled times was not good. There was no entertainment on two nights. Zilch. Oh, they did offer movies in a cinema room. But the big entertainment for the night was missing. Instead they called a movie their entertainment. And, this happened on the preceding cruise taken by many of our friends. I have to give this review a fair-good rating. A 5 out of 10 !!! I forgot to add that the overall status of the ship was in need of some major overhaul. Many areas appeared worn. I am not sure if they have had any refurbishing of this ship. 7610 Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Booked this cruise in June, 2017 as I had never been to any of these ports beforehand. Unfortunately, I suffered from an episode of major seasickness throughout the cruise, so I did not fully enjoy myself. That said, the activities I ... Read More
Booked this cruise in June, 2017 as I had never been to any of these ports beforehand. Unfortunately, I suffered from an episode of major seasickness throughout the cruise, so I did not fully enjoy myself. That said, the activities I partook in on the ship were just average. There really isn't a heck of a lot of 'stuff' to do on the cruise either - even the pools were far too deep for my liking. The one thing I truly enjoyed were the outdoor movies, those were great! The shows though where just...not up to par with other shows I've seen on other cruise ships.The highly-regarded Vibeology was only OK. I really did not eat much on the cruise, but I will say the when we did go to the MDR, the food was a major disappointment! Seriously, stick to the Windjammar, at least there you have a good selection of food. The Park Cafe in the Solarium was pretty good though. The smell of cigarette smoke permeates the ship, and I could smell in the Centrium and the indoor movie theatre which was a major disappointment. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
Most of the itinerary was great! Ponce, Puerto Rico was a waste of time. We loved St. Lucia & Antigua the most! We booked this cruise to correspond with our wedding anniversary & the ports of call we had never been to. The ship ... Read More
Most of the itinerary was great! Ponce, Puerto Rico was a waste of time. We loved St. Lucia & Antigua the most! We booked this cruise to correspond with our wedding anniversary & the ports of call we had never been to. The ship & the cruise line were both new to us & unfortunately we would never book either of them again. It was an older ship with a lot of older people on it. The food & entertainment was just average. The Centrum area where they had the main nightly music & bar area was too small. There weren't enough seats for the number of people going there. Many had to stand. A lot of people became sick on this cruise, even a member of the band that played in the Centrum & pool area. Due to his illness, most of the time there was no live music at the pool. The large screen tv at the pool was missing panels, so it was difficult to watch the Sunday afternoon football game there. The towels we were given in our cabin had torn trim hanging from them. It just seemed there wasn't much attention to detail. The breakfast we tried in the MDR was cold. One night I had clam linguine in the MDR & it had a total of 4 small clams in it. Despite all of this, we had a great time because we were in the Caribbean & the weather was perfect! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We signed up for this cruise, for the ports of call, but mainly because we were going with friends who had sailed with RCI before. This was our first time on an RCI ship and because of the Lack of things to do, it will be the last time on ... Read More
We signed up for this cruise, for the ports of call, but mainly because we were going with friends who had sailed with RCI before. This was our first time on an RCI ship and because of the Lack of things to do, it will be the last time on an RCI ship. The pool side daytime movie screen entertainment was, day after day, the same mind numbing drivel. When the cruise line has paid for movies, why not show them during the day instead. And fix or clean the movie screen please, watching anything on a screen with multiple black spots is painful. The climbing wall was closed for maintenance for the first few days. Our cruise director, Carly B, seemed unable to offer any novel activities for those of us not on the geriatric treadmill. Our cruise was over half young or young at heart and yet the activities were almost nonexistent. Our friends, who sailed with RCI before, were equally disappointed. The food in the dinning room and windjammer, was boring, repetitive, and usually either cold, over cooked or unappealing. Despite signs around the pool not to save deck chairs, one couldn’t find one after 7 a.m. to use, staff never once removed towels or books on chairs that were obviously unused. The only saving grace was our ports of call, though some of the excursions were not well sourced out by the cruise line. One, a plantation and beach excursion, was a mixed bag. The plantation was great, very informative, but the beach portion was below par. Yes, there was a beach chair as advertised but you had to rent the umbrella for $5.00, the change room was the bathroom, and the showers were outside so that the sand one inevitably had in ones suit was impossible to get rid of. Another excursion offering a beach break was better and had inside showers, separate change stalls and toilets was much better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
Everything was just adequate. The staff was efficient and friendly but the activities were equivalent to Carnival ships — mostly games and related to buying a product or service. No education or culture offered. Food was ok, better in ... Read More
Everything was just adequate. The staff was efficient and friendly but the activities were equivalent to Carnival ships — mostly games and related to buying a product or service. No education or culture offered. Food was ok, better in the buffet than in the dining room. They tried hard and were as accommodating as they could be but the overall food prep was not as good as other RC ships and a far cry from the quality of Princess or Celebrity. Good for first time cruisers who like sun and sand and drinking. Strangest thing was cruise director reading the newsletter word for word every morning as if she didn’t know what was going on each day. Music was ok but they didn’t have properly timed music — always interferes with dinner or shows. Reasonable cost, sizeable rooms and balconies with very friendly and accommodating staff who go out of their way to help. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of leaving from Boston and the islands to be visited. The ship is very easy to get around on and the staff is pleasant. Some areas of the ship are in need of repair. In our stateroom ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the convenience of leaving from Boston and the islands to be visited. The ship is very easy to get around on and the staff is pleasant. Some areas of the ship are in need of repair. In our stateroom bathroom the mirror seemed to have a buildup of algae around the edges and after a brief rainstorm the floor of our balcony was covered in a muddy debris. The cabinets and table are scratched and worn and the bed not very comfortable. The biggest drawback was an extremely unpleasant odor in the hallway on our deck (8). It could only be described as the foulest of odors that one would find in a poorly maintained nursing home. Travel companions on deck 7 also noted this smell. Though it was not constant it was present daily at different times. Having sailed on Princess and NCL before I was expecting more from Royal Caribbean as I had always believed it was a step up. I was wrong. The entertainment, in my view, was extremely lacking compared to other ships I have been on. There was one Caribbean duo in the centrum who was very good and one night there was a Village People tribute band who were a lot of fun but otherwise none of the piano bar singers or musicians were appealing. The games, karaoke and trivia challenges were not conducted in any kind of organized manner and it was sometimes hard to understand the questions shouted over a microphone (on Princess the trivia challenge questions are usually displayed on a TV screen). I have a hearing deficit and because most of the hosts have some kind of accent I would be lost and would have to have my travel companions repeat the questions to me. I do enjoy the art auctions and did purchase a Peter Max that I love but don't feel that Park West was offering enough of a variety to appeal to a large number of people and that made the attendance rather scarce. As for the food, it was just ok. I was mostly satisfied with everything that I ordered in the dining room but some of my companions were not. Rubbery calamari and fatty beef are not desirable. If you can't make a creme brulee with a hard top then you might as well not make it at all. We did have great servers in Gerald and Hafifi in Reflections deck 5 and that made up for some mediocre food. Food on the buffet in the Windjammer is mostly salty and I stuck with hard boiled eggs, freshly made waffles, pizza or hamburgers and of course soft serve. All of the islands we visited have their own unique appeal. We took a private tour in St, Maarten which brought us to the shopping district where the same items were displayed over and over in booth after booth, and hour and a half stop at Orient beach ($15 for one chair and umbrella and constant harassment from illegal beach vendors). Antigua has the most beautiful beaches imo. We went to Valley Church Beach( the sand is not sand but made up only of crushed shells and te ones that are intact are just beautiful) where you can get a nice 1/2 hour massage for at Pam's Wellness Center (it's just a little hut but it was very inviting and relaxing) If you book online through Tripadvisor.com you can get a couples massage for $60. We didn't book ahead of time so my husband and I were only able to get separate massages but still it was good. In Barbados we went to Harbour Lights Beach at Carlisle Bay. Two chairs and umbrella were $20. Local vendors but not as intrusive as the ones in St. Maarten. Curacao, a tourist's mecca! Walk along the historical path to the moving bridge and into a great sopping district and don't forget to stop at the Renaissance Hotel for free wifi and some casino action. We skipped the beach in Aruba and went into town for more shopping and a little casino play($10 coupons were being given out for both the Crystal and Seaport casinos). All in all it was a relaxing and fun 12 days but in the future I will stick with Princess or NCL which have more to offer. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
So, we've been on The Jewel of the Seas before, and it was fine. Signed up for this one because of easy access to Boston, and we love Bermuda. We've been there several times. Checking in was easy and the ship was nice. A little ... Read More
So, we've been on The Jewel of the Seas before, and it was fine. Signed up for this one because of easy access to Boston, and we love Bermuda. We've been there several times. Checking in was easy and the ship was nice. A little frayed around the edges here and there but no big detriment. Our biggest complaint was not being able to get potable water easily. We need to drink a lot and brought several water bottles with us. The water in the bathroom sink was heavily chlorinated and tasted bad. The fountains all say not to fill your bottles there; well, we had to, as there was no where else! And every time we wanted water, we had to go up to the Cafe to get it. Why not have bottled water in the room fridge? They do not cost that much! Add $20 to each room fee to pay for it for crying out loud. Soda is another story. What does a can of soda cost when purchased in bulk? A quarter? Then why charge $4 for it? How about have soda/water machines on each floor where you can put in $1 and get what you want? It just leaves a bad taste in your mouth for being ripped off. I know they all do it, but why not have people clamoring to your cruise line to not feel ripped off? Be the first cruise line to provide free soda, it costs less than the fresh squeezed lemonade. Went to main dining room the first night. WHY do we have to sit with strangers, especially ones who ignore you? And the tables are so big, you can't even talk to the people across from you without shouting. Have an option for couples who are anti-social. (I know, why go on a cruise then? We like Bermuda, and it's the easiest cheapest way to get there!) So we opted to go to the buffet instead. A couple times we tried the main dining room again for lunch and breakfast, but were not impressed with what we ordered and then had nothing to eat. (Who's going to order another whole meal from the menu?) My husband ate salads, spaghetti, pizza and burgers every night. He complained the desserts were no good, (I found a couple I liked) and he has a huge sweet tooth. Also, it was very difficult to get a private table to eat at in the Windjammer. A could of times we had to go outside to the Cantina adjacent, which was a bit cool in October in the Northeast. The staff in the Windjammer were very efficient at removing your used plates and asking if you want coffee (I had to dilute the coffee with 1/2 hot water, as it was SUPER strong). The music in Windjammer almost drove us out. It was all modern girl bands shrieking and repeating the same lines (OK, I will admit I am 60, but 85% of the people onboard were ever older) The first day it was music I knew and liked, and then someone changed the channel! There were NO special food events like chocolate night or pool party BBQs; that made for a boring cruise, every day was the same old food, same old place. One night, they had a taco bar and there was a long line for it, it was great! Why not have that every night? People liked it! I can't see paying $50 each to eat in a "Specialty" restaurant, when you already paid to eat somewhere else.... it makes no sense to me! The entertainment was average. We've been on other ships where the comedians made you laugh so much that your face hurt. So I am not hard to please. And the shows, well, the singers and dancers were very talented and worked their tails off, costumes were delightful. But the shows they chose were a scrambled mismatch of snippets of something that I am unfamiliar with. And very loud. The best songs were when one singer did a solo; when they all sang together it sounded more like shouting, and you could not understand the words. The band was very brassy sounding, so maybe they had to sing loud to be heard. Trivia was OK, some really difficult questions and not many people scored higher than 10 out of 20. We won on other ships, this one, nothing. Maybe we got stupid over the years. Haha. The staff was not overly friendly or funny, except for Diego, he was hilarious. As many cruises, we felt that we were being squeezed for extra money everywhere we turned. I did ask to have the gratuities taken off, and paid our room steward in cash instead, as he was the only one we felt actually helped us in any way. We did not eat in the dining room and had to get our own food every day. The few drinks we had to buy had 18% added already (I figured out after adding another 20% the first time!) I will admit to being a cheapskate. $20 for a photo that costs a few cents to produce, and you are going to throw it away anyways if I don't buy it! Some things don't make sense to me. We did no excursions, but rented Oleander scooters in King's Wharf. For $55 each day (plus $30 one time insurance), they are the best and most fun way to see everything on the island and have our freedom to do as we pleased. We bring snorkel gear and go to Jobson's Cove, the best beach as far as we are concerned. In conclusion, I hope other cruise lines will consider departure from Boston to points southern and warm. I am tired of Norwegian and RC, but those are the options if you don't want to fly. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
New England and Canada foliage tour. Good decor and clean ship for its age. Staff attentive and efficient. Main dining room food was somewhat disappointing. Buffet areas were surprisingly better than expected. Excursions and unboarding ... Read More
New England and Canada foliage tour. Good decor and clean ship for its age. Staff attentive and efficient. Main dining room food was somewhat disappointing. Buffet areas were surprisingly better than expected. Excursions and unboarding unorganized at times. Floor shows not top notch. Overall a good experience, staff did not seem overly happy and did not speak English well. Land excursions were very good, tour guides exceptional. Timing of most was good and returns to ship afforded some rest before dinner. We had a group of 12 and most were very pleased overall. Entertainment was not tailored to the passenger ages and missed the mark, except for the “Elvis guy” which was pretty good. Lot of extra cost on beverages and dining choices. Good ship, needing some updates, but pleasant decor. Bar areas very good, just pricy. Attentive staff in main dining room and quick service each meal. Service desk very good and helpful. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our second and most probably our last cruise. Having previously travelled with P&O, we were lead to believe that things could only get better. Our maiden cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was plagued with badly arranged events ... Read More
This was our second and most probably our last cruise. Having previously travelled with P&O, we were lead to believe that things could only get better. Our maiden cruise to the Norwegian Fjords was plagued with badly arranged events and a very poor attitude by the crew we encountered, The 'best' part of the P&O cruise was the time spent ashore and away from the boat. Royal Caribbean was recommended by the agents, IGLU, clearly to suit their own agenda and not ours. This cruise was Boston - Boston with 4 shore excursions to truly lovely places. The food and entertainment on board was also excellent. In particular the Cruise Director, Jamie Fentiman proved to be a spirited entertainer and got everything he was involved in 'going'. Now for the not so good news: The cabin or Stateroom (totally inaccurate description) was inferior to the cabin we enjoy on the Brittany Ferries vessel Pont Even - a ship we use from Portsmouth to Santander on a regular basis. We paid for a cabin with a balcony and seating area and while we got all of those - the amount of space was very cramped. Our P&O cruise provided at least 30% more space in this area. Before booking the cruise I reviewed many alternatives - with particular emphasis on the free to spend on board amounts. Having discovered that the headline price for a cruise is a distant relation to the actual cost you are eventually confronted with, I believed I had taken every precaution to avoid any chance of being mislead again.The unacceptable face is the area of 'Gratuity' giving closely followed by charging every onboard expense with an inbuilt gratuity. On boarding the cruise we were presented with a sheet of paper on which we were informed that a $14.50 per day gratuity would be charged to our cabin - I challenged this and had it removed. I believe that any gratuity is earned and I will determine the level - I will and did not accept the prescribed amounts. On leaving the ship I tipped the cabin steward because he did a good job, despite being harangued by his supervisor. When we used the bar we saw that every purchase carried an 18% 'Service Charge'. I believed I had paid for the service in the cruise cost. To add insult to injury there was a further opportunity to add an 'additional tip' to recognise outstanding service. This curtailed our use of the onboard facilities yet we still managed to spend $1,187 on excursions and speciality dining (very disappointing). I understand this to be standard practice on cruise ships as the people who work behind the scenes are seldom recognised. I countered this with one crew member by suggesting they pay proper salaries instead of lining the pockets of their shareholders. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This is an old design ship with no big comfortable areas for strolling and activities. Everything is in a specific area and feels old and claustrophobic. Its also an aged ship. Why would you choose such a ship when there are so many new ... Read More
This is an old design ship with no big comfortable areas for strolling and activities. Everything is in a specific area and feels old and claustrophobic. Its also an aged ship. Why would you choose such a ship when there are so many new and amazing ships available? The entertainment was quite disappointing and especially compared to my other cruises where the entertainment was excellent. Activities on board could be better in comparison to other ships. Dining was OK but not excellent. A more sophisticated menu would be nice. . . . . .. . Service is excellent. The crew is great. Some of the ports were unnecessary. I could skip Frederica, less days in Saint Petersburg and more in Copenhagen where its beautiful. Shore excursions are very good but you can do as well if you go to town by yourself. Embarkation and Disembarkation were smooth in all places. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
The main reason for choosing this cruise was the itinerary. In that regard, the cruise did not disappoint. The ship itself appeared a little old and in need of some upgrades in comparison to others of RCCL. The cabin was sufficient, ... Read More
The main reason for choosing this cruise was the itinerary. In that regard, the cruise did not disappoint. The ship itself appeared a little old and in need of some upgrades in comparison to others of RCCL. The cabin was sufficient, spacious balcony room. We were certainly glad we switched to the spacious category as the regular balcony would have been very small. This designation was not anything we were used to on RCCL. Usually their balcony cabins are pretty much the same size regardless of designation. The specialty dining was nice although Chops wasn’t up to the grade with other ships. Giovannis was excellent. The my time dining was nice as long as you had nice waiters and assistants which we did after the initial evening. The entertainment we felt lacking. The headliners were not of the same quality as other ships and there were several nights highlighting the ships crew. Although all very talented, we felt this was another cost cutting measure. The ship was incredibly understaffed in some areas, particularly the bar service. It wasn’t at all unusual to wait 10 - 15 minutes just to place an order then further time before the drinks were actually delivered. Not the fault of the waiters. There just weren’t enough of them. The ports of call were stellar. Very very beautiful scenery and certainly the reason and highlight of the cruise. We won’t be traveling to Norway again as there are other areas we have yet to experience, but I would recommend the itinerary. One other item, if you like to work out, there are no TVs on the treadmills, elliptical, or any other equipment. Take your own IPad, iPod, etc. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
The crew were very good, friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward, was excellent and welcoming. The Vintages wine staff were great as well as all other bar staff. Zumba was great and climbing wall was fun. The ports and excursions were also ... Read More
The crew were very good, friendly and helpful. Our cabin steward, was excellent and welcoming. The Vintages wine staff were great as well as all other bar staff. Zumba was great and climbing wall was fun. The ports and excursions were also excellent. The choice of drinks was good, The buffet food in Windjammer was very good. The music around the ship was good but too loud as it dominated rather than being background. There was nowhere to quietly read a book apart from our cabin. The ship looks tired and in need of renovation. Our cabin toilet smelt and had wash back which our steward reported immediately. This was flushed out but although better was still odourous. We also had new shower screens fitted on day three or four which caused sealant smells for about 24hours. Although we agreed to this it should this not have been completed between cruises? The inside of the windows in the Windjammer (buffet) were covered in thick dust as well as the windowsills. The exterior of these windows were also dirty. This was on a cruise specifically designed for the scenery which was obscured by window dirt when in the Windjammer. We reported this to the restaurant manager but nothing had been done the following day, as we sat in the same seats. We ate about three times in the main restaurant. On previous cruises there has been a Wow factor in the menu. Any wow factor on this cruise required additional payment. The food was uninspiring and a little boring. On one night there was spaghetti Bolognese and Lasagne on the same menu. This is standard fare at home for the kids, not what we would expect on a cruise menu. There was a lot of menu repetition. We left a bottle of wine with the restaurant and went to collect it two evenings later to drink in the Windjammer. I waited 30mins while they had clearly lost the bottle. I was offered someone else bottle with a different cabin number on it and in the end the staff kindly offered a new one. The issues around the restaurant are the main reason for an average rating as the food on a cruise is, for us, supposed to be something special. I wouldn't expect a steak, couple of bits of broccoli and two boiled potatoes, a bit dull sadly. Overall we had a pleasant time, the scenery was beautiful with excellent ports of call, but the ship felt neglected. The front of our cabin draws constantly tried to come off and had exposed rawl plugs. The entertainment was good, specifically the magician and Beatles tribute band. This is our first time with Royal Caribbean and would probably now choose a different line unless this is the Cinderella of the fleet and the Wow factor has been saved for the larger newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2018
Used the ship because of the Norway itinerary, Fjords were grand. WE left from Copenhagen and visited Bergen, Geirenger, Alesune and Stavenger. We took small boat tours on two of the fjords. . The food was average. Breakfast just OK. ... Read More
Used the ship because of the Norway itinerary, Fjords were grand. WE left from Copenhagen and visited Bergen, Geirenger, Alesune and Stavenger. We took small boat tours on two of the fjords. . The food was average. Breakfast just OK. Dinner entrees were pretty good. The service was a bit better. Drink prices were about average with a dollar off draft beer for an hour each day. The ship was clean and easy to navigate. The clientele was suspect. Tattoos and poorly dressed. I guess there are standards but they are evidently not enforced. Jeans were worn everywhere and in all dining venues. It's not like it used to be. I hate having things for sale constantly pushed in my face as done on this cruise. Back to Oceania for this cruiser. I would not sail on this ship again and perhaps not even on RCL. We picked itinerary over cruise line. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
Service staff in general are hard-working, cheerful, and concerned about providing a pleasant trip. We found some managers less thoughtful, sometimes uninterested. There were stupid mistakes like running out of Purell and not being able to ... Read More
Service staff in general are hard-working, cheerful, and concerned about providing a pleasant trip. We found some managers less thoughtful, sometimes uninterested. There were stupid mistakes like running out of Purell and not being able to find a spare for over 2 hours- that's a managerial error. Moving the dispenser is not a solution. F&B staff should check the coffee machine before Diamond cocktail hour begins. It happens every day, so why don't they learn. Everywhere on the ship the sound system was too loud, especially in the evenings. We went to the "service" desk, but no one ever changed the volume or to our knowledge, even checked. It drove us out of the bars and lounges and when I explained that to mgmt, someone just laughed. The guests were walking around in outdoor jackets and scarves, they didn't reduce the air-conditioning, so we went back to our rooms where we could control the temperature. Food was great and beautifully presented. Chefs and servers were uniformly friendly and informative. Many of the common areas could use a little touch-up paint. One customer stated that the boat had been ridden hard over the years and needed some TLC. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
11 day cruise to some ports that we haven't been to before. Really good food and service. Better attention needs to be given to poolside so people don't reserve and hold all the chairs hostage. The prices for alcohol ... Read More
11 day cruise to some ports that we haven't been to before. Really good food and service. Better attention needs to be given to poolside so people don't reserve and hold all the chairs hostage. The prices for alcohol beverages and pop are outrageous. One thing I didn't appreciate, was being told at the art gallery that I couldn't afford the painting that I was looking at. Whether or not the person was kidding I didn't know but none the less it wasn't appreciated. The crew the people working on the ship work right here extremely courteous and friendly and I especially liked Herbert at the Windjammer and Rachel in the dining room and my room Steward Albert. I think some of the furniture in the card room could stand to be replaced and the the Billiards room needs to be better equipped. Some things such as karaoke lasted an hour needs to be longer. Some of the excursions that I booked online we're poorly represented such as the hot springs baths in St Lucia. In the online the hot springs appear to be natural springs and in fact when you got there they were just pools that were barely warm. And in Aruba we took a nice catamaran out to a beach but had no idea that we were only going to be on that beach for an hour that was sort of misleading. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Ship: Serenade RCCL Radiance class. It has a very accessible layout. The Centrum provides a focal point for activities. It is large enough to find privacy but still small enough that one doesn't wear themselves out getting getting ... Read More
Ship: Serenade RCCL Radiance class. It has a very accessible layout. The Centrum provides a focal point for activities. It is large enough to find privacy but still small enough that one doesn't wear themselves out getting getting around. Cabin: 8006 deluxe oceanview cabin was forward, spacious with an extra set of shelves behind closet doors, very comfortable and quite. Itinerary: This is our current most favorite itinerary. We prefer longer cruises but also want to visit different ports. We chose this Southern Caribbean sailing date because of the ports of call. The stops at Curacao and Aruba were new for us. We are hoping RCCL takes an active approach to maximizing the variety of their ports of call. Dining - we did not make it to Izumi this time... Giovanni's and Chops were, as always, consistently good. We used the Park Cafe for quick bites -- back in the days of room service we's return from a day ashore and have a bite to eat in our cabin - it is only slightly less convenient to drop off our day bags and go up to 11 for a snack and refreshments (the unlimited beverage package was definitely in play). The Windjammer is the Windjammer -- it was never too busy and the variety was acceptable. Then again we don't let our expectations dictate our mood - what is; is, so we can always find something interesting to eat in the WJ. I was making a plate of roast beef sliders for an afternoon sit down on Rosa's Cantina deck and asked for horseradish and spicy mustard and it was brought to the table asap. Main Dining: the first formal was a bit underwhelming. However, every meal there after was quite satisfactory. The dining hall staff were friendly and attentive. Their enthusiasm was evident and the officer of the mess was present and engaged. Again, one must keep their expectations in line with what is, this is institutional cooking --- we generally are very forgiving - if something isn't to our liking; we try something else... Entertainment and Activities: Plenty to do... Plan using the Cruise Compass -- you'll have to make some compromises because you can not be two places at once. The headliner shows are always energetic - again, this is a cruise ship not Broadway or Vegas - enjoy the shows, don't look for perfection --- look to the 100% every entertainer is putting into their performance. Service: Standard RCCL across the board. 99.99% friendly and attentive - the .01% who might have been a bit more "attuned to service, timing and providing a bit of wow" were new to the service industry and RCCL (we asked). Port of call: 1.Antigua, we use the same private driver exclusively. Rachael Joyce! Find her on What's Up -- Joyce Taxi Antigua. joycetaxiantigua@outlook.com. Rachael provides OUTSTANDING excursions for 1 - 14 passenger's. She has a new tour vehicle this year - we know because we were with her when she picked it up from the dealer. Joyce is the best way to go where the rest of the herd is not - the best local experience you could hope for. If you are a traveler spending the day with Joyce on her home turf is not to be missed. 2. St Lucia, we've driven ourselves to Soufriere, Sulpher Springs, the Botanical Park/waterfall and the Pitons. St Lucia is a JUNGLE on a MOUNTAIN... It is way cool, but drive very carefully because there is not a lot of room for error. Most of the time there will be a mountain on one side and a cliff on the other... If you are a "traveler", rent a vehicle and find the black sand beach next to Anse Chastanet. Anse Chastanet; an exclusive resort/hotel property mere mortals can not afford, where the beautiful people arrive by private yacht and motor launch... Park and skirt to the right along the edge of the resort property - follow the trail and you will end up at a very small but very nice beach. Bring your own towel, a wad of cash and remember this beach is also part of the resort - they will tolerate you being there - even sell you beer and cook you some food for a price - but stay humble and stay off their beach furniture. We've also done the RCCL Catamaran Sail and Snorkel to the Pitons... We had a great time on this one. The snorkeling is pretty standard but the ride to get there is scenic and the ride back is a off-the-hook beach party complements of the Captain, crew and very well made rum punch. A good time was had by all -- everyone on Serenade who saw us coming back to the ship wished they were with us on our private tiki bar - sailin', slurpin' punch and dancin' to the music... In short - we'd do it again. 3. Barbados - beautiful island --- lots to see. Great water. We hooked up with a tour at the dock... A group needed two more so they could get going. Just not our style - we wasted a day being tourists. It was o.k. at best. We'll be back and it'll be a planned tour with a local private driver, car rental or RCCL excursion. There is a lot to see and do so that means there is a lot of research required to maximize one's time and adventures ashore. 4. Curacao - we rented a car - we saw the island - we saw very few tourists after we left the main Queen Emma's Bridge shopping area - actually no one from our ship. We were on the back roads - actually off the of the back roads and in the bush more than once. Curacao is the place to snorkel and dive... the scenery is "stark". We went to Shete Boka National Park in the North - rough country - the waves hit the shore like sledge-hammers. If we go back there it will be to snorkel and dive - if cruising there, we'll be doing one of the RCCL excursions. 5. Aruba: DePalm UTV Tour - if you haven't, you should - nuf said!!! This is an island we will be going back to - again and again and again. We haven't even scratched the surface. We're quite sure that there are paths less traveled on the way to another bar at the end of the world - we would certainly appreciate any information from fellow travelers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2018
I chose this cruise because of the ports it sailed into we have started crusing the last three years and we try and pick very different ports. Which did not disappoint however some other aspects did. Ship was very nice older and ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the ports it sailed into we have started crusing the last three years and we try and pick very different ports. Which did not disappoint however some other aspects did. Ship was very nice older and smaller somewhat cramped but very clean. We had an Ocean view cabin was again very nice big with separate sleeping areas but older and a bit outdated. Food in the Dining Rooms as usual was Top Notch however the Windjammer started to go down hill as we got later into the cruise. Entertainment on the ship had movies which seemed to play over and over not much choice, the nightly entertainment Karaoke was good but the shows for the main theater needed some updating. The service from our Steward was top notch the rest not so top notch the Salon was horrible and the service in the bar and pool area was really slow. Read Less
Serenade of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

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