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This was our first cruise, so we did read reviews about what to expect. Overall, we had an enjoyable trip and the things that we did not like, did not affect our trip in any way, so I will begin with the good things. The ship is beautiful and immaculate. The staff was always helpful and courteous. Our staff in the dining room, Maribel and Barbara, made our meals more enjoyable by anticipating our needs and being so pleasant, even though they were working so hard. All our requests were met and they were never put off by anything we asked for. The Schooner Bar is the prettiest bar on the ship and has the nicest atmosphere. We did go to the Safari Bar one night to hear the band at 8:45. There was no one there and we had to ask the band to play about 9:05. It seems the early dinner crowd does not enjoy this venue and the action begins after the late seating. We would have enjoyed this as an after dinner spot to relax. We did see the shows the first 2 nights. The second show, which was Vibe-ology was over rated and under-talented, so my sister and I could not get our husbands to go to any more of the shows. They spent time in the Casino, which does not have slot machines that are very generous, so the Casino was only a place to pass through or sit and watch people play. When gathering information about what to expect, we did find out that the ship offers, lemonade, iced tea, coffee and water at no charge. These are only available in the Windjammer Cafe (buffet) and only at certain times of the day. I asked for lemonade at the pool bar and was told I had to go to the Windjammer. I asked for lemonade at the Sea View Cafe, which is only open limited hours. They do serve food, have a bar, but again, no lemonade or iced tea. There was an afternoon barbecue on the last day, but it was soda, beer or bottled water, all of which you are charged for. I asked for lemonade in the dining room and was also told it was not available, but the wait staff did get some and had it every night at dinner thereafter. There are bars in almost every common area of the ship. For parents travelling with children and who would like to have a drink, it would make it easier if they could get lemonade or a glass of water without having to go to Deck 11. I also tried to get some lemonade at 10:30 in the morning, but was told it was only available after breakfast. I was also disappointed in the size of the shrimp used in the shrimp cocktail and the shrimp scampi. We had shrimp cocktails one night at Chops and they were very good and a nice size. The ones in the dining room were smaller then you would get in most restaurants. The pastry chefs are wonderful - all the pastries and deserts offered in the dining room as well as the buffet were excellent. The excursions we booked through the ship were also very good. The people who were the guides were knowledgeable and helpful and ran the adventures we were on quite well. For the most part, some of the sightseeing that the ship offers can be done on your own for less than the ship charges. All of the islands have just about the same shopping - especially the jewelry, so by the third day, you have basically seen all the shops there are to see. None of the announcements made on the ship came over the speaker in our stateroom and by the time we turned on the TV to the channel that we could hear it on, we missed most of what was said. The only other option was to open the door to hear the announcements in the hallway. The Sea View Cafe did not open until 2 p.m., so if you wanted lunch at 1, the Windjammer was the only spot available. Some days the dining room is closed at lunch and we never did see the menu for lunch. Food in the Solarium is also only available from 2-6 p.m. This leaves only 1 spot for lunch if you are on the ship. There was a good selection for breakfast, but several times we had to wait for coffee. The Sports Bar, according to my husband is the Soccer Bar. ESPN International is the only thing available, so if you expect baseball, football, basketball or any other scores, forget about it. If you take the early dinner seating, you will miss the sunsets, but you can always arrive late for dinner. Also, you can have your picture taken in every port as well as on the ship at dinner and on formal nights by various photographers. The photos will be available all week, so wait until you see all of them, before you start making your purchase. Getting on and off the ship was painless - we registered on line and it took less than 5 minutes to board. We were in the first group to get off the ship and were through customs and agriculture and at the airport in under an hour. Now that I am home, I miss having my room cleaned, clean towels twice a day and all my meals prepared.

Serenade of the Seas - Southern Caribbean

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by Susan Machin

Trip Details
This was our first cruise, so we did read reviews about what to expect. Overall, we had an enjoyable trip and the things that we did not like, did not affect our trip in any way, so I will begin with the good things.
The ship is beautiful and immaculate. The staff was always helpful and courteous. Our staff in the dining room, Maribel and Barbara, made our meals more enjoyable by anticipating our needs and being so pleasant, even though they were working so hard. All our requests were met and they were never put off by anything we asked for.
The Schooner Bar is the prettiest bar on the ship and has the nicest atmosphere. We did go to the Safari Bar one night to hear the band at 8:45. There was no one there and we had to ask the band to play about 9:05. It seems the early dinner crowd does not enjoy this venue and the action begins after the late seating. We would have enjoyed this as an after dinner spot to relax.
We did see the shows the first 2 nights. The second show, which was Vibe-ology was over rated and under-talented, so my sister and I could not get our husbands to go to any more of the shows. They spent time in the Casino, which does not have slot machines that are very generous, so the Casino was only a place to pass through or sit and watch people play.
When gathering information about what to expect, we did find out that the ship offers, lemonade, iced tea, coffee and water at no charge. These are only available in the Windjammer Cafe (buffet) and only at certain times of the day. I asked for lemonade at the pool bar and was told I had to go to the Windjammer. I asked for lemonade at the Sea View Cafe, which is only open limited hours. They do serve food, have a bar, but again, no lemonade or iced tea. There was an afternoon barbecue on the last day, but it was soda, beer or bottled water, all of which you are charged for. I asked for lemonade in the dining room and was also told it was not available, but the wait staff did get some and had it every night at dinner thereafter.
There are bars in almost every common area of the ship. For parents travelling with children and who would like to have a drink, it would make it easier if they could get lemonade or a glass of water without having to go to Deck 11. I also tried to get some lemonade at 10:30 in the morning, but was told it was only available after breakfast.
I was also disappointed in the size of the shrimp used in the shrimp cocktail and the shrimp scampi. We had shrimp cocktails one night at Chops and they were very good and a nice size. The ones in the dining room were smaller then you would get in most restaurants. The pastry chefs are wonderful - all the pastries and deserts offered in the dining room as well as the buffet were excellent.
The excursions we booked through the ship were also very good. The people who were the guides were knowledgeable and helpful and ran the adventures we were on quite well. For the most part, some of the sightseeing that the ship offers can be done on your own for less than the ship charges. All of the islands have just about the same shopping - especially the jewelry, so by the third day, you have basically seen all the shops there are to see.
None of the announcements made on the ship came over the speaker in our stateroom and by the time we turned on the TV to the channel that we could hear it on, we missed most of what was said. The only other option was to open the door to hear the announcements in the hallway. The Sea View Cafe did not open until 2 p.m., so if you wanted lunch at 1, the Windjammer was the only spot available. Some days the dining room is closed at lunch and we never did see the menu for lunch. Food in the Solarium is also only available from 2-6 p.m. This leaves only 1 spot for lunch if you are on the ship.
There was a good selection for breakfast, but several times we had to wait for coffee. The Sports Bar, according to my husband is the Soccer Bar. ESPN International is the only thing available, so if you expect baseball, football, basketball or any other scores, forget about it.
If you take the early dinner seating, you will miss the sunsets, but you can always arrive late for dinner. Also, you can have your picture taken in every port as well as on the ship at dinner and on formal nights by various photographers. The photos will be available all week, so wait until you see all of them, before you start making your purchase. Getting on and off the ship was painless - we registered on line and it took less than 5 minutes to board. We were in the first group to get off the ship and were through customs and agriculture and at the airport in under an hour.
Now that I am home, I miss having my room cleaned, clean towels twice a day and all my meals prepared.
Susan Machin’s Full Rating Summary
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