438 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We did the seven day New England itinerary with ports at St John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine. Our cabin 3576 was tended by Gede, great caring, very quiet, good location and Gede kept us tidy and ... Read More
We did the seven day New England itinerary with ports at St John, New Brunswick; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Bar Harbor and Portland, Maine. Our cabin 3576 was tended by Gede, great caring, very quiet, good location and Gede kept us tidy and neat. We opted for late dining our wait staff was Grace and Omar. No complaints at all. Felt the selections on the menu were very adequate and the food was always hot and well prepared. Bogdon, whom I believe was the Maitre 'D was great. Visited our table (325) each meal to insure we were satisfied. Dined at Chops twice, served by Diego whom we highly recommend. The food was fantastic, well prepared and plentiful. The Windjammer was typical for the buffet. I know a lot of folks complain about variety, but I say if you can't find something to eat there, you're too fussy. We had no complaints. Shows were good, we saw a comedian and an Elton John impersonater'esque. Both shows were good however there were a lot of empty seats. The casino took too much money from me, but thats always expected. Bar service throughout the ship was fine. Diamond lounge was great. Only had one little glitch. One evening a group brought in small children, Kinda threw me off as I felt that was an adult venue, obviously I wrong according to RCCL policy. Cleanliness of the ship was stellar. Considering they have 2,400 passengers every week walking through their living room so to speak, the ship was spotless and staff cleaning were always visible. Embarkation/Disembarkation: The best, quickest, easiest we've ever done. The longest line was going through security. My four star rating in no way indicates we had problems. We enjoyed every aspect of the cruise. Only disappointment was the weather in St Joh and Halifax, wet, cold and windy, we didn't get off the ship. Bar Harbor was windy and chilly, but tolerable and Portland had the best weather. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I always wanted to cruise the Norwegian Fjords and this cruise suited my available dates. I travelled with my teenage niece who was cruising for the first time - it was my 4th cruise holiday and first one with Royal Caribbean. The ship ... Read More
I always wanted to cruise the Norwegian Fjords and this cruise suited my available dates. I travelled with my teenage niece who was cruising for the first time - it was my 4th cruise holiday and first one with Royal Caribbean. The ship is impressive overall though, on closer inspection, is showing some signs of wear and tear. I was impressed with cabin size. The evening entertainment was good in the main though the main headline shows were very short - a maximum of 45 minutes. That's fine for a so-so show but far too short for a good one - and we had one excellent show in particular, Beatle Maniacs, a Beatles tribute band who were exceptionally good. I'd have loved another hour or so of them! The main restaurant was where we dined every evening, we had availed of the My Time dining option. The food was simply outstanding as was the service. We had the same waiters each night and they felt like old friends by the end. We had a la carte breakfast in the main dining room most mornings and, while the food was good, the service wasn't. In the main service in the mornings was slow, impersonal and, we felt, unprofessional at times. We witnessed staff arguing with each other in front of passengers a few times. We weren't very impressed with the Windjammer buffet restaurant in terms of food quality. There was usually an Indian selection but we found that far too spicy for our palates. The cost of port excursions was very high - prohibitively so in my view in most cases so we ended up just doing our own thing at most ports. Finally our cabin steward was wonderful - friendly, cheerful and very helpful. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We chose this cruise because of the 3 days in St Petersburg, adding a few days before in Copenhagen, and after with Stockholm, Norway in a nutshell, and Bergen. A long trip. Ports Stockholm Was so Hot! We enjoyed our Steves walking ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the 3 days in St Petersburg, adding a few days before in Copenhagen, and after with Stockholm, Norway in a nutshell, and Bergen. A long trip. Ports Stockholm Was so Hot! We enjoyed our Steves walking tours and meeting with a friend from home for lunch before he went home the next day. Lots to see and do, ran out of time. Helsinki- cold. Steves walking tour. Helsinkin library was a must see we may have missed if not told about it St. Petersburg- cold rainy. crowds, crowds, do a tour to get past them all. so much glitz. Peterhoff was a nice break. Tallin- warmer. very quaint town. Iron man competition was happening but navigable. Riga- Not much there, tried to do church but not easy to get around. Not as cute as we had hoped. Visby- a favorite spot for us. You have never seen a medieval festival till you have been here. The only ones not in authentic wear and gear was tourists from the ship. So amazingly authentic and not the hype of festivals we americans are used to. We were very disappointed the ship left so early so we couldn’t see the evening games. cute town easily walkable. Warnemunde- took tour to schwerin. Ok, but could have spent time seeing the incoming tall ships for the next day festival. Fredericia- rainy. we took the train to Jelling for a change, then walked around Fredericia till time ran out. 
Copenhagen- rainy. we were worried hot to get off the ship and what to do with luggage but it worked out to take it to our hotel early and store it there. Again lots to see and not enough time. Steves walking tour. Embarkation- lightening fast. Never had it so good and easy. Props for organization. Disembarkation- very fast and easy although there was much confusion among many passengers about when we had to actually get off the ship, and how. Transportation to and from ports each city was different. The Compass was to give information but one of our first ports was wrong in the compass. We had researched it and knew we needed a bus or taxi but compass said walking distance. Good thing we had already made our plans. City bus (bought the 2 day pass) for Copenhagen was a lifesaver. A few tours picked us up. Mostly we just walked to towns although we did spend for taxi a few times with luggage. Someone mentioned and there is lots of confusion over getting off in Russia. We had a private 3 day tour booked with Alla. We did not have visas. We did have have lines showing passports going thru checkpoints at the dock like everyone else. We got off like everyone else. We read you had to have a ‘sponsored’ tour to leave the dock BUT I saw plenty of people coming and going and taxi’s outside. Not sure if legal to do so. Our second day a few of us wandered out the door but were missing one. The guard there (not on the last day) wouldn’t let us back in to get the one who we could see inside and didn’t know we had left him…he eventually did. We waited outside for our tour leader. Dining: Main dining room Reservations for each night depending on the schedule. twice placed at a new location than our ‘regular’ spot. Waiters were very good. They remembered our evening requests like no ice, herb tea, and most importantly 2 plates of grilled veggies for the 6 of us (once we started asking for it). (veggies seem to be non existent on cruise ships). Background music got a bit too loud for conversations a few nights but they turned it down when we mentioned it. Food was hit and miss. We were told the first night that the bottom half of the menu stayed the same the entire cruise, that meant that only a few items in each category changed each night with many repeats. Unfortunately my favorite 2 desserts I had the first night were never again to be seen. Many nights a good portion of the dishes were variations of seafood. Fine if you like seafood, and I do, but not so many options ruling out other choices. Other nights most of the offerings had some type of alcohol which I don’t want so was limited. Some dishes were really good, a few were not. Among my group of 6 the hit was the apple ‘pie’, cheese plate, and sugar free variations. We were disappointed that there was no ‘local’ options or fresh seasonal fruits other than easy to store stuff. We did breakfast on the sea day with menu or buffet option (or as it turned out both). Our food took forever to come and was only mediocre. Buffet was better options. Better than the mobs upstairs but not the variety. Buffet Why is there so much indian and japanese food? No mexican or other options. I like indian but this was all too spicy (as some main dining dishes were when I asked for mild). Lots of variety of breads, eggs, healthy stuff. Short on fruit options other than the easy to store stuff like melon, apple, oranges…I am not a buffet type diner as I find food not as good and I eat too much but we used it for all breakfasts but one due to the schedule, and lunch on the sea day. Nothing great. I really wanted a chef salad as opposed to the basic, caesar, etc. and none were available so I resorted to creating my own and asking for a sliced hard boiled egg. It was the best meal I had there. We found it easy to find spots to sit with our group (we kept crossing paths) off to the sides, behind drink station, and in the wing which gets opened and is very nice, just away from the food. After hours dining Limited options. Period. Mediocre. I recommend grabbing a cheese plate at dinner and taking it to your room for an evening snack. The ship For 6 of us not into the bar and noise scene, we never really found an ideal place in 2 weeks to play games. The best we did was the safari club which was very underused and only the stage area for the most part. It had a great rearward view and was quiet unless a game was happening which was rare. The chairs are ok and table would be if it didn’t have an annoying mounted lamp in the middle we had to work around. The game room we had planned on using didn’t have any space. Safari was comfortable and our ‘meeting’ spot. People seemed to go there to read and have quiet. The dining areas were closed off during down time, so not usable Shipboard Pool- too cold and busy and was actually covered up each evening even though it was supposed to be open. Props for having life guards who looked official even if it wasn’t necesary. Pool table- it 2 weeks to get it Shuffleboard- we gave it a try on our sea day. missing ball, bent pusher. and the puck things were defective. After an hour we succeeded in only getting about 5 pieces on the game board. All others stopped half way or flew 3x farther than intended. We have played before without issue. so it wasn’t us. We couldn’t even get any points. Movie theater- same movie all day and not great ones. Ok, too bad there isn’t a popcorn or refreshment stand nearby. Activities We tried a few ship activities on our sea day and evenings. Have had much better on other ships. Dancing lessons in the atrium could have been fun if we wren’t stepping on each other and getting smacked by inconsiderate flying arms in the cha cha. Why not use the Safari lounge with so much more room and empty??? Who cares if passers by can see? The game ideas were good but completely dare I say ‘unfair’? Ok, I am being picky but if you go you have a hope of winning. The young people leading the games were so ‘whatever-ish’ that it was really a waste of time. The game where you try to find the unique answer…those of us at the beginning crossed off the answers others said Those at the end were talking and didn’t cross the answers we said a long time earlier. Trivia game, same thing. Scavanger hunt was for items in the ship but started early before we got there and we couldn’t find anyone to tell us what to do just ‘here’s your paper, go’. Then it ‘ended’ when someone said they had all the stuff but it wasn’t on their person. I would like to see a ship do a ‘digital’ scavenger hunt where you have to bring back photos of items pertaining to the ship itself, not things you may not have in your cabin or a big group may have. After the first evening show would have been a good time to have some games but there wasn’t. Entertainment What we saw was excellent for the most part. We went to the introductory night and was not impressed by the ships entertainers so didn’t go back to their night. We heard it was OK, but not great. The other entertainers were a range of good to excellent, and we were glad we went to them. We could hear bits and pieces of special musicians around the ship but again, they are always overlapped with other things we were doing, like the 5:30 -6 dinner and show afterwards. Guitarist was great as we passed by. I wish they were staggered more or someplace other than the atrium. If our cabin wasn’t just past the atrium on 4 we would have missed many happenings as we came and went. Medical- yes we did have to make a stop for something (never had before). Hubby got bit by something someplace unknown, and it turned really nasty looking. After trying what we could we headed downstairs where the nice Dr. took a look and told us we were doing what needed to be done. At least we had it documented. We were also pleasantly surprised we weren’t charged the full bill, one we could handle without contacting our insurance company. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We booked this Baltic Sea cruise because of the itinerary, especially because it spent 3 days in St. Petersburg and included a stop in Riga, Latvia (other cruise lines did not stop here). Having been on many cruises, on other cruise ... Read More
We booked this Baltic Sea cruise because of the itinerary, especially because it spent 3 days in St. Petersburg and included a stop in Riga, Latvia (other cruise lines did not stop here). Having been on many cruises, on other cruise lines, here's my impression about RCCL Serenade of the Seas: Check-in and embarkation is a breeze providing you have done all of the registration online and printed your Sea Pass prior to boarding. RCCL wants you to use their mobile app for many things, like setting up your profile and account, booking activities and restaurants, etc. The problem is the app doesn't work well and can be frustrating to use. Within the first hour of boarding, we were approached no less than 6 times about purchasing either one of the dining packages or the beverage package. We did end up purchasing the 5-dinner package, which allowed us to dine in the 3 specialty restaurants. During the cruise we were also told we could use one of our dinners for the Champagne Brunch and Galley Tour on the one sea day, which we did (it was very nice). Booking the specialty restaurants in advance is more expensive than waiting until you get on board, so wait. These restaurants were never full for the times we ate there so booking onboard should not be a problem. The specialty restaurants are Chop Grille, specializing in steaks. We ate here twice and had good steaks both times. If you don't have the dining package, the supplemental fee for this restaurant is $39.99 plus 18% gratuity. With the dining package we also got 40% discount on a bottle of wine. The second specialty restaurant is Izumi, the Japanese restaurant where everything is charged a la carte. We had not been told beforehand that we each had a $35 limit to choose from with our dining package. We may not have eaten here if we'd known that. The food was good, not remarkable, sushi, sashimi, typical Japanese offerings. The third specialty restaurant is Italian, Giovanni's. We had our best meal on the ship in this restaurant. The Osso Bucco was fantastic. The only downside is that there are no sommeliers on the ship and our waiter knew less about wine than I did. We ended up with an OK wine but it could have been better. Also, the restaurant insists on piping in music but right outside the always open doors is the piano bar of the Schooner lounge. So we kept getting a disparate musical background of lounge piano and Italian-themed music. We finally asked the maitre'd to lower the volume of the restaurant music so we could enjoy the piano music, which he did. Food in the main dining room is OK, not great. Our wait staff, however, was excellent. We did the My Time dining but probably should have booked our dinners in advance as our preferred time slot was fully booked most days. As for ship excursions, we only used RCCL for the 3-day tour in St. Petersburg, which was excellent. We had been warned by friends that those people on a ship excursion get to disembark first, and independent travelers or those on other tours disembarked afterwards. You must obtain a Russian visa if you are not on a ship's excursion and want to get off the ship. Our friends had gone the independent route and waited a long time in the passport line to exit. We had also booked the shuttle bus in the Warnemunde port stop to take us to/from Berlin (a 3-1/2 hour bus ride EACH WAY). We got a call the day before that the shuttle bus was cancelled because not enough people signed up for it, so we ended up not going into Berlin. At most of the ports of call (Helsinki, Riga, Tallin, Visby, Fredericia) you can walk into town from the cruise terminal. In Stockholm it would have been a very long walk, but there is a public bus that gets you from the cruise terminal area into town and back. For Copenhagen, you need transportation into the city. There is a public bus that goes from the cruise terminal into town but it only stops at the cruise port twice an hour. Depending on your interests, you may not need to book any ship's excursions in Riga, Tallin, Visby or Fredericia. All of these are smaller towns, easily walking distance from the ship, and easy to explore on your own, or look up free walking tours online before you go. The free tours operate on donations (tips) and are well worth it. Serenade of the Seas insists on doing almost everything in The Centrum, the atrium area at the center of the ship. On the main deck it has a small dance floor and most of the music for dancing was held here. The problem is that there are not enough chairs for everyone. The atrium is open all the way up to the 9th or 10th floor and there are seats on other levels that allow you to listen to music (but not dance). If you are sitting on the same level as the Casino, you will get cigarette smoke smell, since smoking is allowed in the Casino. Interestingly enough, there is a large dance floor with lots of seating in the aft of the ship called The Safari Club, but it was never used for music/dancing. No idea why. Overall, we're glad we went on this cruise because of the ports of call. Would I go on another RCCL cruise? Probably not. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose this ship because it was going where we wanted to at the time we wanted to at a price that we wanted. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, except that we were given the impression that you had to check your luggage on ... Read More
Chose this ship because it was going where we wanted to at the time we wanted to at a price that we wanted. Embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly, except that we were given the impression that you had to check your luggage on boarding but we saw people who carried their own luggage on, which I would have preferred to do since we only had carry-on bags. The first day onboard you must attend a safety drill, which was not done well, they had us standing inside a hall near a bar, it was hot and they had us standing for over a half hour without any information or instruction, when they finally did give us info it was very sparse and took about 5 minutes. Awful! Finding where you were to go for certain things such as safety drill, disembarking on a daily basis, etc were not clear, the announcements were not always loud or clear enough and there was no signage on the decks to direct you. The food was very good, I was impressed with the quality and choices in the buffet, though we had dinner in the main dining room every night except one. The main dining room was lovely, our waiter (Francis) and assistant (Michael) were very attentive and personable. I felt the entertainment was just okay, no high end shows, etc. The Duo ArtMotion, Moroshka, and Tap Factory shows were very good. The Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers, Serge Massot and Roger Wright left a lot to be desired. In general I found the ship clean and neat but "tired", in need of updating, refurbishing and maintenance. Loved all the ports, but didn't do any of the ships excursions. Did a local tour in St. Petersburg with TJ Travel which gave us a discount for being a Cruise Critic member which was wonderful. Otherwise we explored on our own in the other ports and was happy that we did. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We've been cruising with Disney before RC, and even considering the fact that Disney is much more expensive, it left us with a feeling that it was much better, especially in the food, entertainment, and general feel ( there were 2 big ... Read More
We've been cruising with Disney before RC, and even considering the fact that Disney is much more expensive, it left us with a feeling that it was much better, especially in the food, entertainment, and general feel ( there were 2 big spots of rust in the indoor pool on Serenade). Even the free food court (near the pools) in the Disney Dream was much better. What I found most irritating the design of the beds, that for some reason are half arched toward their end, so if you are a tall person like myself ( 1.92 meters) , if you sleep with legs stretched, you ankles will be outside the bed. I was told it is the same in all RC ships, and it was not comfortable at all. The RC app is a very good idea - too bad it doesn't always work in the real world and needed many restarts during the day. We tried specialty drinks ( 1 coffee, 1 alcoholic and one mocktail) , the mocktail was good but the other terrible especially for the price of 12$ before 18% tip. Quality of food in main dining room - 7/10 Main dining room service 10/10 Quality of food in Windjammer (buffet) 7/10 Service at Windjammer 9/10 The specialty restaurants (extra charge) Chops Grille (American, Meat) Giovanni's Table (Italian) 10/10 If you get a discount, you should try these. The food is noticeably better than in the main dining hall. Breakfast in Windjammer - tends to be very very busy, and it takes some times to find a place to seat. Guest services staff 10/10 Service was terrific! All staff members tried to help and find solutions, smiling, positive. Service - We got Alemao and Dehiby as waiters in the main dining hall, and Ikomang as room attendant. They were all excellent 10/10 and we gave them an extra tip. Staterooms - very clean, but design feels outdated (and uncomfortable as mentioned) Entertainment - 8/10 Daytime Activities (Rock Climbing Wall, Mini Golf, Dance Classes, Pool Side Events, Contests, Enrichment Classes, Lectures,etc.) 7/10 Arcade - very small arcade, with around 20 machines. It was deserted when I visited it during rainy days, and it was July (many kids on board) General : * I wish they would state the names of the cruise piers in each destination in advance, as it might lead to confusion when you tour by yourself. * The cruise felt like it was best for the adult crowd, less for families with children. *Embarkation - Swift and easy. Leaving the ship on disembarkation was also a very fast process, while in Disney it took a long while. *Duty free or not, the shops on the ship changes the stock everyday, but the prices are pretty expensive. I saw there a Russian chocolate they sold for 7 Euros, found it was sold for 2 Euros in St.Petersburg. * The Itinerary is pretty good, since the cruise began and ended in Stockholm and that enabled us to visit the city for a total of 5 days. The stops in Tallinn, Visby and Helsinki were too short (last boarding time 15:30 to 17:00), but those city are much less to offer than Stockholm. St.Petersburg is a marvel - try to book a cruise that docks there at least 1 night (equals 2 days in the destination). Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Chose this cruise due to its unique ports of call and its timing with school holidays . We are aa family of 5 and booked two cabins one balcony and one internal cabin opposite each other. Ship appeared modern and well maintained, as its a ... Read More
Chose this cruise due to its unique ports of call and its timing with school holidays . We are aa family of 5 and booked two cabins one balcony and one internal cabin opposite each other. Ship appeared modern and well maintained, as its a smaller boat only additional activities offered are put put golf and rock climbing . Boarding was poor , we purchased the Key program which was meant to give preferred boarding but as we were unable to pre check in online (even after trying for weeks) we were given absolutely no preference at check in. In whole found The Key program disappointing with little preferential treatment. The cabins were extremely comfortable and gave the best sleep Ive had in long time- only tip is bring some tape to help with the block out curtains as the nights are very short. Plenty of storage space . Reflections restaurant service was stressed at busy times , Food quality was poor e.g. crab cakes using artificial crab sticks, prawn cocktail with no cocktail sauce. tried it twice then never ate there again. Preferred paying the extra to eat at the premium restaurants : Giovanni's and Chops Grille were excellent from both a food quality and service perspective although they could perhaps offer daily specials to add variety to the menu. The buffet restaurant was pretty good for breakfast and the occasional lunch if your still hungry. Gym was well fitted out but tended to be busy and not quite big enough . Even though the weather was cold the pool was warmed - probably about 22 deg C so cool but comfortable enough for a quick dip. Purchased the deluxe beverage package for myself which was well worth it especially with fresh juices at breakfast , coffee , bottled waters and open bar with some great cocktails- only point is the wines within the package weren't great and ended up paying extra for better quality wines . The kids didn't get any beverage package and it was fine. Bar options were good and never too crowded except maybe for Centrum. Kids club was great and kids spent most of the time there. We had a 2 yr old and left him a lot at the nursery where he was well looked after and reasonably priced. Entertainment on the boat was pretty average - went to a couple of shows and left early . Spent a few nights playing $5 blackjack in the casino and was a great way to meet fellow travelers. Staff extremely friendly and attentive throughout - except as noted during busy times in Reflections. Port of calls- Geiranger was amazing and if your fit enough get an ebike for assisted ride to enjoy the views . Tromso the most disappointing stop as we booked the huskies tour and on a 3 hr tour kids only got less than 20min with the huskies. Hannisverg just to walk around the town was nice, also good location to get an bike and head out for a ride for some great scenery and try and head over the mountain to the Cape ...I only made it halfway. Alesund, is a nice city just to walk around and explore. Flam is a really pretty town to walk around and the tour on Flam railway is the only tour of the trip we would recommend.Stavanger was pretty town but 3 cruise ships arrived at same time - did the Leyford cruise which was pretty boring with a lame lunch stop for waffles - would not recommend it - better to try a trip to Pulpit Rock. In all, apart from Flam railway the organized tours were disappointing. One of the good benefits of The Key program was the a la carte breakfast on the departure which was a relaxed way to finish the cruise. It was our first cruise and definitely enjoyed the experience and would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This is one of my favorite parts of the world and traveling into the fjords was a treat. The bright days and white nights near the summer solstice is a great time to see the scenery. RCL has done this for a long time and with a lot of ... Read More
This is one of my favorite parts of the world and traveling into the fjords was a treat. The bright days and white nights near the summer solstice is a great time to see the scenery. RCL has done this for a long time and with a lot of ships. Most things they have right, but some improvement is still possible. One example is the sail in to Geiranger, our first stop. The ride in is simply spectacular - breathtaking cliffs on both sides that goes on for hours. It is a very long fjord and we started in at 3am. We docked at 7am. If you waited until 6 to get on deck, all you saw was a complicated docking, all the scenery had passed. None of this was noted anywhere, or announced anywhere. We got up at 4:00 and were amazed at what we saw, fog swirling past cliffs and houses in impossible locations. Very nice. The pop soundtrack that came on about 5 did not enhance this. The other ports had various interesting images, but none so different as Geiranger. The staff was pleasant and effective. I do not understand the dining room's pursuit of self congratulations by stopping all the serving mid meal, calling out the staff to sing and dance rather than serving dessert and coffee. Once maybe, but three nights on a seven night cruise? Our balcony cabin was well layed out, especially the tiny bathroom. All was kept spotless by our steward. There were lots of clean handicap bathrooms, one by every regular public bathroom. That was appreciated. For room service they now charge $8. Besides having next to no port information ahead of time (history? people? What is the area known for?) the one place seriously lacking was the entertainment. It was dismal. I watched 2 singing and dancing shows and all I can say is that they were LOUD. If all you can say about a production is it would be better with earplugs, that's not a good thing. The juggler was fine. So all in all a pleasant cruise with a few details lacking. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise for its ports. Entertainment was good the first 10 days, but how many times can you listen to an island band play same songs night after night while making up words. Also headliner shows were too loud and not very ... Read More
Chose this cruise for its ports. Entertainment was good the first 10 days, but how many times can you listen to an island band play same songs night after night while making up words. Also headliner shows were too loud and not very good. One night was cruise director singing songs from early 1900, and a lot of people got up and left' Food was good, except for spare ribs in MDR. Couldn't even cut them off the bone. Wouldn't have served them to guests at my house. Windjammer food was good, but only thing hot was the soups. I like my food hot not tepid. Turn up the heat lamps. Shows in centrum were also very loud. Loud doesn't make it good. A lot of times you couldn't understand what they were saying. Ship was in good shape for its age, and staff was friendly. We had an ocean room cabin and it is just like any cabin on any other ship. We don't spend a lot of time in cabin, so we aren't hung up on cabin type. This is my opinion, and I am not trying to pursuade any one to choose this ship or not. I have never been on a bad cruise, even when we missed 2 days in Israel, or when we went around 2 hurricanes. We just enjoyed the new adventure. My take is we are all different in our expectations, God made us that way for a purpose, so get on board and enjoy the ride, Its a vacation, not a status. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We chose this review because of the new areas we have not been to. Ponce PR and Grenada. All in all we really enjoyed the cruise. The Pinnacle/Suite Concierge was very good and we really enjoyed the special party put on for Pinnacle/Suite ... Read More
We chose this review because of the new areas we have not been to. Ponce PR and Grenada. All in all we really enjoyed the cruise. The Pinnacle/Suite Concierge was very good and we really enjoyed the special party put on for Pinnacle/Suite Guests. It was so good to see Mario in the Diamond lounge again. The elevator's were the only problem for us. They were so small and key hole shaped. Not good. We have traveled on the Serenade of the Seas before in 2009 14 night Panama Canal Cruise and 2012 The 12 night Mediterranean Greek Isles Cruise and do not remember the elevators being like that. The dining rooms also have changed and not for the better. Would like a better menu. There were so many things I could not eat. I ordered Original Chocolate Ensure from Special needs and did not receive it for 4 days. I got mighty hungry before it showed up. They first sent me Vanilla on day 3 which I did not like... wish I knew how to expedite this on my next several cruises so I get it in my cabin on the first night. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are destination cruisers rather than loyalty cruisers. So we can compare the difference in cruise lines. We've sailed on Royal, Princess, Celebrity, Norwegian and Carnival. And this was a very nice cruise. It doesn't beat ... Read More
We are destination cruisers rather than loyalty cruisers. So we can compare the difference in cruise lines. We've sailed on Royal, Princess, Celebrity, Norwegian and Carnival. And this was a very nice cruise. It doesn't beat our best - the Norwegian Getaway -, but it was certainly worth the money. Embarkation was the best ever. There was no filling out paper work - just show your ticket and board. . Disembarking was confusing as the printed delivered document gave different information than the computer screen. It went quickly, though. We ate at Chops, Izumi and Giovanni's all of which were good. Surprisingly, we liked Izumi the best. I think because the waitress was so pleasant. If there were on thing we could complain about it would be the entertainment. There were a couple of good shows, but over all we felt it was greatly lacking. The service was excellent. We really enjoyed the Park Café as it was quiet enough to read or play cards. The hot tub needs to be replaced. There is only one in the Solarium and it is way behind the times. There were few children on the ship, I think we would try a different cruise line if we did it again so that we would have a fair measure. This is the longest cruise we have ever taken and found it enjoyable other than the lack of entertainment. It is embarrassing to say that we spent some time watching TV and we went to the Cinema on board. We would have preferred to see a good live show. In this area Norwegian is superior and it has more choices of restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Picked this cruise on Vision of the Seas for the destinations that we had not been to before. Really enjoyed Barbados, Grenada and especially Antigua. Did not enjoy Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and St. Lucia as much, but were a nice ... Read More
Picked this cruise on Vision of the Seas for the destinations that we had not been to before. Really enjoyed Barbados, Grenada and especially Antigua. Did not enjoy Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and St. Lucia as much, but were a nice experience to visit once. We took three land excursions and also three sea excursions. Really enjoyed the sea excursions (some through Royal and some outside companies. Fun time, weather was beautiful and the overall experience was as expected. Chops dining was very good service and excellent food. Show quality was not bad, and singers and dancers were very talented. The entertainment was good for he size of the ship (Vision of the Seas) and kept us entertained throughout the trip. Room attendant did an excellent job, and was very stealthy about room cleanings, but was available when we needed him. We have traveled Royal many times, and this was a nice trip on a medium size ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I spent a lot of time giving feedback at the end of this cruise on their survey. Below are my comments to RCI (with edits). We had sailed on the Royal Princess recently (I know it's a newer ship and a different class) so we could ... Read More
I spent a lot of time giving feedback at the end of this cruise on their survey. Below are my comments to RCI (with edits). We had sailed on the Royal Princess recently (I know it's a newer ship and a different class) so we could make direct comparisons easily. I hope they use some of the comments to improve the experience for others. This is not a new ship but well maintained with a very friendly crew. We enjoyed the rock climbing and tried to participate in many of the activities offered. We just sailed on the Royal Princess about 8 weeks ago so it was easy to compare our experiences. Both cruises were enjoyable BUT the Princess cruise was more enjoyable overall. We embarked in Ft. Lauderdale and it was not as nice looking a terminal as the Princess cruise from the same port. The buffet on the Princess cruise has a much bigger selection and really really good food and an insane variety of foods from different cultures. It was so good, we hardly went to eat in the dining room. To get superior food on the Serenade we had to eat in the dining room. We also enjoyed the buffet service better on the Princess cruise. There seemed to be more staff at the buffet to get our drink orders (no having to get up to get our drinks) and tables were cleared very often on the Royal Princess. The dining room staff on the Serenade were very good and charming. Also, little touches like water and wet face clothes after an excursion were not done on the Serenade. To return towels after an excursion we had to return on the Lido deck (long hike after a tiring day). Also we felt we were charged more for services like laundry (we loved the self-serve laundry on every deck on the Princess), photos, spa, etc. We felt the Princess had better value for us in general and a more pleasant overall experience. Our experience on the Serenade was good but it could have been excellent. We did love seeing Captain Aris around all the time. And the entertainment staff, dancers and singers were very fun. We loved the Switched On Band and tried to dance as a family overnight with the band! We participated in the mob dance (thanks Naomi!). We also enjoyed the Flag Ceremony and the Farewell Ceremony as we know the crew really work hard. We also thought the entire crew were friendly and charming from our Steward to the Wait Staff. In terms of hand washing, the Royal Princess has very efficient had washing stations before entering the buffets and restaurants that were enforced. We loved that. We know the Serenade is an older ship but during a retrofit, you should do that (safety first). The small outdoor movie screen also has a pixel issue. The app on the Princess allowed your party to text/message each other for FREE! The RCI app is looks beautiful but not as useful for our family to communicate with each other around the ship. Also your TV, doesn't allow people to select movie and shows on demand (which we had on the Royal Princess). We liked how it was announced by the captain on the first day that everyone fist pumps on the ship and does not hand shake. We enjoyed hearing from the captain as he seemed to really participate in the events. We enjoyed the dance classes by professional dancers (the dance team was very good) and we enjoyed the meet and great with the dancers and singers on the last day. Loved the live music around the ship and in the theatre! We liked the actual glass shower doors (no mess). The spa double charged me for a service (no way I could get my pedicure twice on the same day). I went to speak with Mina (spa manager, it was later in the evening). Instead of processing the refund right away, she said she would need to speak to her team first and find out the reason for the mistake. This is not good customer service - she should have processed my refund immediately and then spoken with her staff the next day. We enjoyed the egg drop, ship building battle (our kids won), mob dance, napkin folding, towel folding, bartender show, 70's night and 70's night dance training with Naomi. My husband showed up for the darts and table tennis contests but no staff were at the "events" so the passengers did their own "contests and games" which was too bad because he won both competitions. We thought this cruise's entertainment was more fun but our general feeling was that it could have been a better overall experience in the other areas. The Ft. Lauderdale terminal did not look nice at all on departure; it should be renovated so keep that nice ship feeling all the way through. The terminal didn't understand that Global Entry passengers should have a separate line to get to the customs agent! We had to speak to someone to help us with that and thankfully, he understood and helped us. Finally the kids club, our 10 year old preferred the one on the Princess and thought it was really restrictive on the Serenade and never wanted to go there as she wanted free time to do her own thing in the club. The photos, we liked the experience on the Princess better (they also retouch your photos for free on the Princess). As we "collected" the photos, they kept it for us so it wasn't a chore to find them all the time, we purchased them on the ship (we were told they didn't have enough room on the Serenade to do this). and they used the bar code to put the digital photos right away on a USB stick for us so I was not concerned about an email coming to me. The photo package for all the photos were also more affordable on the Royal Princess. It seems like such a waste of printed photos to have them all displayed and most of them trashed. All ships should have computer terminals that with a simple swipe of your sea pass card or medallion, you get to see all of your photos on a screen and get your digital files emailed to you or on a USB stick. Not environmentally friendly at all and waste of your staff resources. No more printed photos! Who really wants 8 x 10s! We just want to post on social media and be done with it or just print out a few at Costco. We loved how often we saw or heard Captain Aris around the ship. He looks like someone who enjoys his job! We would love to see a female captain one day. We enjoyed the dining room staff, especially manager Kaviraj and his staff Sheldon, Maynard and Hurray. Special acknowledgement to Adikash who made a wonder paper jumping frog for my child and her cousin. They loved it! We enjoyed the soft serve ice cream in the buffet and the sorbets in the dining room. Sanya, our steward was great and we loved to hear her laugh. Napkins should be available at the self service drink stations. We also thought the buffets hours were odd on the Serenade (they close at 9:00 and before lunch and before dinner) because it never closed on the Princess during the day and was open to 11PM every night! Tip for muster station info on the sea pass cards, put the deck number on it too. Hand sanitizers should also be located right by the food at the buffet too. I didn't trust that everyone had clean hands so after handling the food serving spooks and ladle, I sanitized my hands again but had to walk all the way back to the hostess or the front doors. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
My wife and I get to cruise once or twice per year, it is our light at the end of the tunnel. We love everything about cruising and this trip did not disappoint...mostly. Let's get the bad out of the way, this was the worst ... Read More
My wife and I get to cruise once or twice per year, it is our light at the end of the tunnel. We love everything about cruising and this trip did not disappoint...mostly. Let's get the bad out of the way, this was the worst entertainment staff we have ever sailed with. They were professional, courteous and pleasant but man were they boring. Worse was the cruise staffed performers, they had on excellent singer we wished they would have featured more. The other singers and dancers were like a really bad high school production. The costumes were cheap and made at times little sense and the choreography very blah. That being said the rest of the entertainment was fantastic, every day and night the entertainment was great from the Ship's orchestra to the comics to the solo bar artists the Caribbean pool duo. But the stars of the ship was a pop band from Mexico called Switched On. They had incredible range and great charisma, they had everybody rocking in a very good way. Serenade is an older ship but incredibly well maintained. We love her size, because it feels more quaint, easy to figure out and you see the same crew often which breeds comfortable familiarity. We also don't love a tender process and didn't have to do any on this cruise. Getting ashore and back on was efficient and painless. Windjammer is where we did most breakfasts and lunches at it had great diversity of choices we have come to expect. I like the Indian fare and the Omelet Station is great, they have it down to a science. Main dining room Reflections is just fine for us and the My Time Dining. We were seated with Waiter and Assistant waiter Sinaga and Ian. Find these two, Sinaga is hard working sincere and does fantastic close up magic, Ian is equally hardworking, has a mischievous glint in his eye and is delightfully funny. The Itinerary was fantastic; St. Thomas-We have been to this beautiful Island a few times so we opted to take the ship excursion to St. John Trunk Bay and it was great. A fun Island Girl Ferry over and back with a friendly crew, then a short bus ride.Good snorkeling was included for novices in crystal waters and a gorgeous beach. really nice facilities with food and drink available for purchase. St Croix- Cruise excursion to the Whim Estate, an old sugar plantation with cultural and historical guides. Then to the St. George Village Botanical Gardens a very nice walk with an informed guide, took some pics for ideas in my Florida garden. Then to the Captain Morgan distillery because Cruzan was closed. This part of the tour was mostly sales, however the staff were amazingly friendly and the rum tasting...well it was an intoxicating venture and the gift/liquer store prices were very good. Antigua- Ship excursion and short bus trip to Ffryes Beach, again crystal clear water and beautiful beach. Some tent shops with very polite salespeople and not pushy at all. Ffryes Beach Bar/ Dennis Restaurant where two drinks and a very tasty lunch was provided. St. Kitts- Research told me to pick a tour once disembarked, and it was spot on. Look for All Weather Tours run by Franklin, it is all you need to do. 30 years on the police force and corrections now turned to tour guide. $20 a piece gets you a comfortable open air, narrated bus ride by someone in love with his country and impassioned to share it. The tour hits all the highlights except the fort. He also carries a bar and mixes some mean cocktails. If you think you can hang ask for the Ting with a Sting" or his delicious "All Weather Rum Punch", just know your limits. Next time we go we will book him again, it was that much fun. Our favorite stop on this itinerary by far. St. Maarten- Ship excursion 6 Jeeps with walkie-talkie narration. a Good guide who was able to keep us together and handled some adversity very well. You have to drive aggressively which was a blast but one of our jeeps had an incident with a tourist's vehicle in which the driver who was to drive to drunk. This was our least favorite destination, it is crowded, not very friendly and ridiculously expensive. Not a fan of either side of the Island. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We boarded the Serenade of the Seas (myself and 2 friends) on Friday, 3/15, for a 10 day Caribbean cruise! Embarkation was incredibly easy! By the time we arrived at the port it was 1pm and there was no line at all. Our cabins were ... Read More
We boarded the Serenade of the Seas (myself and 2 friends) on Friday, 3/15, for a 10 day Caribbean cruise! Embarkation was incredibly easy! By the time we arrived at the port it was 1pm and there was no line at all. Our cabins were ready when we got there and our cruise pass cards were in our cabins. My friends had one balcony cabin, 8530, and I had 8532. Unfortunately, the balcony separator could not be removed on this ship, but it worked out ok. The cabins had a little bit of wear, but overall, they were clean with plenty of storage. The only negatives were the number of outlets (only 2), and the bed quality (really, really horrible). My friends had no complaints. I felt like I was sleeping on top of springs. My cabin attendant put a comforter under the bottom sheet and it helped, but the mattress should have been replaced. My room attendant, Irod, was a really nice guy who always had a kind word and a smile. Serenade has so many places where you can go and read or sit and relax! I love the center atrium because you always know what’s going on from any deck. It’s a nice gathering area. The ship is easy to navigate and never felt crowded. There’s a nice area with chairs and tables outside of the Windjammer that was a great place to sit and grab a snack after an excursion. Overall, it’s a very pretty, well-designed ship and I would easily sail on her again. The food was okay. Some meals were great (panko crusted salmon, lobster) and some meals were just eh. The menu repeated a lot in the main dining room, but there was always something for everyone. If not an entrée, then certainly a couple appetizers. We had My Time dining, but made a reservation for 5:30 each night. And each night we had the same table and the same waiter. I guess we did a modified, traditional eating plan! Our waiter, Julio, and assistant waiter, Wuh, were excellent. The windjammer was a typical buffet. Just pick your favorites and move on. I think the museli is enough of a reason to cruise!! I read a few comments from past cruisers who felt the staff looked bored and uninterested. I have to agree with them. Those that provided great service were the minority in the Windjammer and main dining room. We tried lunch a few times on sea days in the main dining room. Not only were the servers not interested in serving us, they were rude and unpleasant. Not all, but most. I bought a coffee card and Andres knew my name and drink of choice by the second day. That amazes me! He serves so many people, but remembers details like that. And he didn’t mind if you asked for more of this or less of that. Thank you Andres!! We had 5 stops and did 4 ship excursions and one private. Disembarkation was very easy and never a wait. Same with getting back on the ship. No problem whatsoever. We met our tour groups on the pier, which we preferred way more than meeting in the theatre and being herded off the ship. The first stop, St. Thomas, we took a ship excursion over to St. John. We went by boat and then boarded an open air truck to drive around the island. Very pleasant. Even stopped for rum drinks half way through. I wish we would have had more time to walk around the town, but the transfer boat wanted us back on by 2:30 and the tour ended at 2:10. The 2nd stop was St. Croix. We booked a private jeep tour with TanTan Tours and it was incredible! We had to take a taxi over to the Christiansted side of the island (about 30 min ride) and that was not easy. They did not like that we wanted one way and not round trip, it was total chaos trying to get a cab and they crammed as many as they could into every vehicle. We did eventually make it for $8/pp one way and walked a bit to meet our tour. The Jeep tour was amazing! I highly recommend it. A lot of off-roading and a stop to swim in tidal pools. Great fun! The third stop, Antigua, we booked a day on a private island. I think it was called Crusoe island. Although we enjoyed it, I would not do it again. Too primitive for me. My spoiled brain pictured rum drinks being served while lounging in chairs under umbrellas and on a nice beach. In reality, we were bussed to a hotel, crammed into an old, wooden boat for the 10 minute ride to the island. There were chairs to sit in, but zero shade. Every time we asked for an umbrella, we were told we had to wait for everyone to get there. That took about 2 hours. I don’t want to sit in the hot sun for 2 hours. They eventually put up a couple 10x10 tents and we did finally have shade. There was plenty of rum punch. There was one marine toilet for about 45 people. It did not work and even after asking twice for flushing directions, it never did work. The water was very pretty and they did offer snorkel equipment but you had to go out pretty far to get to water over your knees. The lunch was really great! It wasn’t a horrible excursion, but I thought it was kind of boring and not what I expected. In St. Kitts, we took the boat ride to Nevis and tour of the island. It took about 45 mins to get from St. Kitts to Nevis and then we boarded another open air truck. We stopped at the Alexander Hamilton museum but you couldn’t get out. Next stop was hot springs, then lunch at an outdoor restaurant. Food was okay. The highlight of the trip was seeing Prince Charles and Camilla back at the dock when we were leaving. You could go up and shake their hand if you wanted. It wasn’t the frenzy that it is here in the States. The islanders found it merely interesting. Our last stop, St. Maarten, was one of the best! So much devastation still there from the hurricane in 2017. Boats overturned in the water and buildings completely gutted. And then in between were signs of recovery and newly renovated places. We took the 3 Islands by Power Boat tour. We stopped a few places to snorkel and swim and ended with lunch on the beach. We really enjoyed this excursion! In summary, we greatly enjoyed our cruise and would definitely sail again on Serenade of the Seas! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Cabin/Ship: I thought Serenade of the Seas was a lovely ship. Even though she is older I found the staff keep her clean and tidy. She is smaller ship, which is fine with me. I prefer that to the mega ships. Our Cabin 3070 was your ... Read More
Cabin/Ship: I thought Serenade of the Seas was a lovely ship. Even though she is older I found the staff keep her clean and tidy. She is smaller ship, which is fine with me. I prefer that to the mega ships. Our Cabin 3070 was your standard cabin in a good location (quiet...cabins above and below). Our cabin Stewart, Hannibal, was terrific. Anything we requested we received promptly. Our room was clean, although the only negative was that our picture ‘port hole’ window, which was large, was like looking through a fish bowl. The glass was so that it was not a clear view but a bowed one…if that makes since. I did not mind the cabin being on a lower deck; I always take the stairs so I can have dessert and a few drinks and keep my weight in check. Dinning: We ate in both the main dining room and Windjammer for dinner. I found the food in both places to be good. For lunch we grabbed salads at the Solarium café, which were good. Breakfast at the Windjammer also good with lots of choices. The only disappointing thing I found was even though I called and specifically asked if the Solarium had a smoothie machine and was told yes they did not have one. They did have a smoothie drink from cartons but they are filled with lots of sugar. Excursions: St. Thomas - Caribbean Sail to Christmas & Honeymoon We have taken this excursion before. The first time it was on ‘The Bones’ schooner. This time it was on a catamaran. It was a smaller cat. I preferred the schooner myself. The snorkeling was not very good. The hurricanes did damage the reef systems. It is coming back but slowly. We did see a few turtles. The beach and lunch were good. Loved being on the water. All in all a good trip. St. Croix – Discover Scuba Diving Well my husband discovered he did not want to scuba LOL. He wears earplugs while swimming/snorkeling to prevent ear infections and cannot wear them while scuba diving. He decided not to try. I did try and was able to make it through the training with no issues. But when we descended further down in the ocean my mask started leaking. Tried to fix the issues a few times cut could not. As to not hold the others up I decided to end my experience. I would LOVE to try again someday. We went with Cane Bay Dive Shop and all of the staff was great. Thanks to Paul for all of his encouragement and patience. St. Johns, Antigua – Catamaran Cruise with Lobster Lunch We have taken this excursion before. The first stop is just ok. No chairs or umbrellas. The water is nice, beach is nice, can take a long stroll if you want. Basically they drop you off so they can set up Lunch; which is fine with us. The lobster lunch is always great! Lots of Rum punch! St. Kitts – Catamaran Fan-ta-sea to Nevis Weather could have been better but never the less a very nice excursion. The snorkeling was average. No reef but boulders and a shipwreck. We did not go to the beach with our stop at Nevis but stayed on the Catamaran due to the rain approaching. Those who did go to the beach, besides the rain, enjoyed it. Lunch was good and plenty of it if you wanted seconds. St. Maarten – Three Islands by powerboat with Lunch The island is still recovering from the hurricane. Excursion went through Cole Bay where you saw the extensive damage from hurricane Irma. Boats still submerged in the water. Homes boarded up, piles of wreckage everywhere. Very heartbreaking. For me brought back bad memories of having to rebuild with Super Storm Sandy. Otherwise the day and tour was very good. The reef is starting to come back at Creol Rock. You can see little staghorn coral growing. Fish were around and a 4 foot barracuda. Next onto Tintamarre Island. You will need to swim to island. Otherwise you could snorkel around the boat. Those who choose to stay on the boat saw some turtles. It is a sandy bottom, not many fish. Onto Pinel Island. Saw wild horses up on the ridge. Water and beach is nice. Next stop the restaurant for lunch. We sat outside, on the beach, picnic tables with shade. Lunch was good. On the way back to the ship we stopped on the water and had a few planes fly overhead and watched them land on the runway. Very pleasant day. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I booked this cruise for myself and two friends. I wanted to take a southern Caribbean cruise to some islands I hadn't visited before and this particular cruise fit the bill. I had sailed on the Serenade's sister ship and love ... Read More
I booked this cruise for myself and two friends. I wanted to take a southern Caribbean cruise to some islands I hadn't visited before and this particular cruise fit the bill. I had sailed on the Serenade's sister ship and love the size of the ship, as I prefer smaller ships (2600 passengers) rather than the larger ships (6,000+ passengers). We paid for a balcony cabin and there were three of us in the room, which means, but space was VERY tight even though we put our empty suitcases on the balcony. We were on deck 9, starboard and forward. The location was close to the theater and dining room but at the opposite end of the ship from the pools and buffet, but the walking was good for us. I was NOT happy about the cruise lines drink policy. Who can drink $39 worth of soda or $69 worth of alcoholic beverages in one day? I am the only person in our cabin who partakes of alcoholic beverages but policy is that all adults in the same cabin MUST buy the beverage package. So, I didn't drink much. I will admit that the drinks I had were all top shelf liquor, not skimpy on the alcohol and cost just slightly more than that same cocktails in bars where I live, so one nightcap a night was sufficient. Be warned, if you buy the soda package it does NOT include bottled water. The food was not the best I've had on cruises. The dining room had the same vegetables every night (broccolli, carrots and green beans). The menu included caeser salad, onion soup, shrimp cocktail and fresh fruit plate every night but changed up a second soup and one or two other "starters". They never offered a tossed salad or coleslaw. Prime rib was offered three times (on an 11 night cruise). I like prime rib, but thought that excessive. Food in the buffet was good, as buffet food goes, and the variety was good. Entertainment was typical (a comedian one night, a hypnotist one night, a juggler one night, two production shows and a movie one night). The show I enjoyed the most was a Motown tribute group from Detroit called "Horizon". They were a big hit and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. We didn't book any shore excursions through the cruise line, but booked independently on Aruba, St. Lucia and Bonaire. I have absolutely NO complaints about any of the staff and crew. Everyone works hard, always has a smile on their face and earn every penny of the money they make. The ship is lovely, is showing a little wear and tear, but was always clean. Also, kudos to RCCL for trying to enforce the "no saving deck chairs" policy. I actually witnessed one crew member removing items from chairs that had been unoccupied for more than 30 minutes. The cruise was, for me, a good balance of sea days (5) and port days (5) and I didn't have any trouble finding things to do on sea days. Will I cruise again? Probably, but not for a while. I have to get over being mad over the "nickle and diming" the cruise lines are doing in order to increase their profits, while not really offering anything new to the customers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We choose this 11 day cruise based on the itinerary and price. We also read comments from other cruise critic members that indicated the ship was very comfortable with lot's glass in the public areas that offered some great views. ... Read More
We choose this 11 day cruise based on the itinerary and price. We also read comments from other cruise critic members that indicated the ship was very comfortable with lot's glass in the public areas that offered some great views. The embarkation was very quick. Less than 15 minutes. We found the ship very comfortable, but did notice quite a bit of wear on the furniture. The food choices were pretty good, except that for the entire 11 day cruise, the main dining room served the same vegatables with ever meal. (carrots & broccoli) And yet other options were available in the Windjammer. The servers in the main dining room were exceptional. We found the entertainment overall quite good. Most of the headliners were very good and the ships singers and dancers were very talented. The stateroom was comfortable and our room steward did a great job of looking after all our needs. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Balcony, large with good view. Midship, 9610. This is our first 11 night cruise. It's also the smallest ship we've cruised on. It's also our first time back on Royal Caribbean. The embarkation was surprisingly smooth ... Read More
Balcony, large with good view. Midship, 9610. This is our first 11 night cruise. It's also the smallest ship we've cruised on. It's also our first time back on Royal Caribbean. The embarkation was surprisingly smooth and fast! RC has improved! Thankfully! Their online presence is improved greatly but still needs work! Ship has Has a small town feel. Fewer people. Less crowds. And less to do. Never much problem finding a seat for anything. My only complaint about RC is their annoying policy of removing reserved chairs. Got up at 6 am to get the seat we wanted. Ate breakfast and came back. No problem. Then it stormed. We left our blankets and went to Next Cruise to reserve our next trip. Came back and all our stuff was moved and a very proud new owner was in our place. Needless to say, I was not happy. Hate this policy especially on such a small ship. Understandably on a larger ship but not this one. The ship is notably dated and slightly dirty but acceptable. It's due for updating for sure. The beds are hard. Yet, I asked for two toppers which helped greatly. I hate RC tube showers. However, the water pressure is great. The gym is good. The thermal suite was not in good repair. I eat a strict keto diet. It was sufficient. Had one specialty dinner and that was amazing. Overall, at 56 and 48 yrs of age, we found we were among the younger guests. Hardly any 18 and younger. Nice cruise. Already booked a bigger ship for next year, same length. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We had never been to any of the southern Caribbean islands and this ship had the perfect itinerary. We knew it was an older ship but it got excellent reviews. The reviews were correct, The ship was in great shape and very clean. We found ... Read More
We had never been to any of the southern Caribbean islands and this ship had the perfect itinerary. We knew it was an older ship but it got excellent reviews. The reviews were correct, The ship was in great shape and very clean. We found most of the crew very welcoming and friendly. The food in the main dining room was very good and the food in Chops and Giovanni was excellent. The ports were great and we had some great excursions. My husband and I were sailing alone and I was celebrating my birthday. I was served birthday cake and everyone sang it was very nice.The new royal Caribbean App. was great it was very helpful and easy to use. It would be great if you could use it to be alerted when your luggage arrives at your door. We would definitely sail on the serenade again. We met many friendly people and had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Just the right size for us. Great crew but some dinners in MDR could have been a little better. Fried chicken one night was dry and mostly bones. Windjammer basically had the same offerings every day. Was very bored with their lunches. Our ... Read More
Just the right size for us. Great crew but some dinners in MDR could have been a little better. Fried chicken one night was dry and mostly bones. Windjammer basically had the same offerings every day. Was very bored with their lunches. Our room steward was excellent. He paid so much to detail. Best steward in my 22 cruises. Ship was very clean and no sickness as far as we could tell. Have been at all the ports before except Bonaire. We enjoyed all of them no matter how many times we have been there. Wish they would have more deck chairs. Sea days was impossible to find an open seat. Many saving of chairs. Very annoying. Spent every evening in the diamond lounge. Snacks could have been better. Mario the diamond concierge was wonderful and trying to keep everyone happy. Waited a little long for servers to take our drink orders. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
While the food was just average, almost everything else about this cruise was very good to excellent. The crew was friendly and efficient and the ports were very good. Boarding and disembarkation was very smoothly. We used My Time Dining ... Read More
While the food was just average, almost everything else about this cruise was very good to excellent. The crew was friendly and efficient and the ports were very good. Boarding and disembarkation was very smoothly. We used My Time Dining which went smoothly. Our regular waiters were good, Viktoriia and Maynard. Contrary to other reviews, we found the ship to be very clean and well maintained. It is an older ship, but we found it well cared for. The ports were interesting, particularly Curacao. The one exception is Bonaire, which has little of interest unless you like diving or snorkeling. We understand for other cruisers that the specialty dining rooms were okay, but not spectacular. The food in the main cafe, Windjammer, was quite repetitive. (By the way, the Indian dishes were weak even though we tasted all of them provided on a daily basis.) The dinners in the dining room were generally fine, but it turned out to be virtually impossible to get a truly rare steak. The evening bars were well done. Both comedians and the Motown review were very good, but the four regular production singers were weak. The best feature overall was the friendliness and efficiency of the crew. We found most of our fellow cruisers to be extremely open and friendly. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was a b2b cruise and the stops at all the ports were excellent. Used some of the ships shore excursions and satisfied with all of them. Really enjoyed all the live music happening around the ship. Cruise director Carly B was very ... Read More
This was a b2b cruise and the stops at all the ports were excellent. Used some of the ships shore excursions and satisfied with all of them. Really enjoyed all the live music happening around the ship. Cruise director Carly B was very good. One downside on the Serenade was the lack of more enrichment programs. Only talks were mainly port shopping or selling shore excursions. Would like to see some talks about the areas we were stopping at. Also very limited amount of craft programs, especially on sea days. Not everyone wants to play trivia games. Unfortunately, finding the quality and variety of food in the main dining room has gone down over the years. Service in the main dining room however is still excellent. Windjammer was decent for a buffet and morning omelet station definitely a four star. I can certainly recommend RC to friends but I would warn them in advance about a few of the downsides I noted. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because we had never been to the southern Caribbean islands on this itinerary. Our last two cruises ere on bigger ships so I was anxious to see if a smaller ship would still be pleasing or if it would feel less ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had never been to the southern Caribbean islands on this itinerary. Our last two cruises ere on bigger ships so I was anxious to see if a smaller ship would still be pleasing or if it would feel less glamorous than Allure of the Seas. I needn’t have worried; while not as spectacular in terms of entertainment and variety of activities, it more than made up for that with friendliness and the chance to get to know both staff members and fellow cruisers. Embarkation and disembarkation both went smoothly with few lines or holdups. We were aboard ship in record time. We bought the Key program (new to this sailing, I believe) which gave us priority boarding, but I don’t think it was necessary. Other perks were earlier access to our room and a sit down lunch in Chops. It was great to not have to fight the crowds at the buffet! We had a Jr. Suite. Our stateroom attendant was good, but not spectacular. Little things like finding a used washcloth left in the shower, a tube of makeup in a drawer, and coffee spilled and not cleaned on the pull-out writing surface kept me from giving him an A+. In the past, I felt I received more attentiveness to detail than on this trip. Dining was very good, both in the main dining room and the specialty restaurants. We bought a 5-night dining package so we went to Chops once, and Izumi and Giovanni’s twice each. I expected Chops to be the one I liked the best but the service wasn’t as personal as I am used to. Izumi had the freshest food and a great view. Giovanni’s won us over with fabulous service and extra attention from the manager, Rachel. The food was terrific, as well. We had My Time Dining for our other dinners and never had to wait for a table, whether we had reservations or not. With a couple of exceptions, all our meals were great. I think there was a fish dish we didn’t care for one night, which was quickly replaced with a different entree. Meats were cooked to requested doneness and everything was served at the correct temperature with no delays. We also did Chef’s Table, which was held in a private room off the Safari Club. Radu, our host, was incredibly knowledgeable and self possessed; we were stunned to find out he was only 22 years old! He’s a young man who will go far in th hotel/hospitality industry. The meal, prepared by Chef Kayson, was over the top. I was less impressed by the wines, which were fairly standard and easily available in grocery stores. Overall, I’d recommend this special activity; this was the third time we’ve done it. We booked our excursions through RCCL, as I live in fear of not getting back to the ship on time. All met our expectations. We had excellent tour guides, good transportation and experienced drivers, and interesting tours. Millers By the Sea beach, in Antigua, was our only beach trip and it was very nice. The Mount Gay Rum tour on Barbados was informative and the guide at the distillery was fabulous! And we made it back before boarding time every time! Activities aboard the ship were fun, sometimes silly, and always led by enthusiastic staff members. From trivia, sudoku, and charades to fitness classes and belly flop contests, it was nice to be on a cruise that had traditional things to do. My fellow cruisers were mainly older retirees and I think the activities were reflective of that group. Entertainment around the dinner hour tended toward ballroom dance music and more relaxing classical guitar and piano. Later in the evening, and around the pool, the music was livelier with more rock and roll. I have to say, I loved the musical entertainment on this ship. The classical,guitarist, Voytek, was amazing, playing everything from Metallica and Led Zeppelin to Pachabel’s Canon in D and Spanish Flamenco. Chester, on piano, was the life of the party, pounding the piano, singing and keeping us all smiling. Carlo had a beautiful voice and played ballads on the guitar. I didn’t take in too much of the theater entertainment, mostly because the seats hurt my back. I heard most of it was good but a couple of nights were only so-so. I can’t say enough for the staff on this ship. I felt special every day. Crew members remembered us by name after one meeting. (I had one waiter who brought me a drink in the Crown & Castle pub. The next day, at poolside, he remembered my name, my room number, and what I was drinking the previous evening. I was stunned!) Naomi, who taught us our routine for the “flash mob” dance on our last day was so cheerful and lovely at rehearsals, and wherever else we ran into her. The bartenders at the Centrum “r bar” were delightful, especially Roman who wowed us with his juggling/bar tending skills. William, at Vintages, remembered the wine I liked every time we stopped by. Radu, from Chef’s Table, always stopped to talk when we saw him around the ship. Even the people cleaning around the ship had a friendly greeting for us. By the end of the 11 days, I was truly sad to say goodbye. The Serenade of the Seas is still in good shape and well-maintained. Everything was clean and upkeep was constantly being attended to. This vacation was truly pleasurable and won’t be soon forgotten. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was my third cruise with Royal Caribbean. So I'm not much of a cruise fanatic. Kudos go to everyone. Boarding was a breeze despite computer problems. Security present and friendly. Carlos, my cabin steward, went above and beyond ... Read More
This was my third cruise with Royal Caribbean. So I'm not much of a cruise fanatic. Kudos go to everyone. Boarding was a breeze despite computer problems. Security present and friendly. Carlos, my cabin steward, went above and beyond the call of duty. Servers in Windjammer and the restaurant on top of it. Food in Windjammer better than ever. Entertainment surprisingly good. I was disappointed on the last cruise. Shopping Goddess, Maia, helped us get a great deal at Diamonds International. Leaving was piece of cake too. Ports: Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, St. Lucia, and Antigua. We picked this cruise due to the ports. Snorkeled at 4 of 5 destinations. Highly recommend Woodwind in Bonaire and Spencer Ambrose Tours Jalousie/Sugar Beach break in St Lucia. Book them early. They both have dedicated followers. Also loved Playa Puerto Marie in Curacao. Warning...it's $50 cab ride one way. But you will not find many tourists on the beautiful deserted beach with a great reef right off the beach. So it was worth it to us. More port/destination info on TripAdvisor. Things that need improvement. The sofa in my cabin was worn to the point that the fabric on the arms were gone. I know it's an older ship. But since they changed the back cushion, someone must have seen the damage. Next, when we went to the dining room at 530, the host said there was no record of my reservation. I showed my documents with the reservation scheduled during booking and pretty much the told me too bad. This was the only person who's service stunk. An apology would have been nice. Now I could only make reservations for 5pm or after 730. This was due to the significant number of seniors who had grabbed early times. Anyway, got a table after a 30 minute wait. Our server, Boy, was wonderful as was his assistant whose name I cannot recall. That being said, first time food in Reflections was disappointing. During my last cruise, food was vastly superior. The menu in Reflections was available in the Windjammer, so we gave up on the restaurant. Summary: I would probably try a different cruise line next time. Many of the hardcore cruisers were disappointed and suggested alternatives. But I got a great deal and sometimes you get what you pay for. Overall, had a great time. But the competition for my travel budget is fierce. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Serenade of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.6
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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