Great itinerary but some service issues: Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by Bisbee16

Serenade of the Seas 4
Member Since 2011
11 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Great itinerary but some service issues

Sail Date: June 2012
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
This was my 14th cruise and my husband's 10th. Embarkation went very smoothly and we were pleasantly surprised to see our luggage arrive more quickly than on any previous cruise. I should say that the luggage we checked in at the dock arrived. Delta/Air France had lost one small suitcase which unfortunately contained a lot of toiletries and our seasickness meds! Thankfully there was a pharmacy located at the dock (that is easy to overlook as it is around the corner from the main shops and the duty free liquor stores). Although the prices were exorbitant we were able to purchase toiletries, and seasickness bands and ginger pills. It made me nervous to embark on a 12 night cruise and not be at least somewhat prepared for rough seas! I have traveled too much to make such a rookie mistake but that was one time learning as our athletic shoes were also in this bag. My husband reported the loss of our bag to Guest Services and they were able to do something Delta/Air France More couldn't--they found our bag and had it delivered to us in our first port of call, Split, Croatia! Thank you Ana Morales! She even had a bottle of wine delivered to our room as thank you for allowing her to help us!

We enjoyed some of the entertainment such as Las Pampas Gauchos (three very skilled men who play drums and dance). We love the band ZigZag which was omnipresent at parties and in the centrum. They play diverse styles from ballroom dance to popular. The AbbaMax show was fun (an ABBA tribute band)as well as the 50's and 70's parties in the Centrum. In general Royal Caribbean has great entertainment and some of the best production shows we have seen on various cruise lines. The Stage to Screen Show was notable for the vocals and dance numbers. The West Coast show (a Beach Boys tribute)was fun. On the other hand we walked out of some shows that didn't interest us or that seemed subpar. Everyone's opinion of entertainment is different and we did talk to people who enjoyed shows that we didn't. The port lecturer wasn't that helpful and there were no dance lessons offered on sea days, something we have enjoyed on other ships.

One port was not covered in the dropdown list provided for excursion review and that is Ravenna. We took a marvelous tour to San Marino, a postage stamp sized country that is a step back into medieval times. We had a lot of free time here to enjoy a freshly made pasta lunch and to explore one of the towers. This is a wonderful tour that I would rate a 5+.

The quality of dining on this ship was uneven. The Windjammer buffet had a salad bar that was more geared to European tastes than to American tastes. There were very few items that appealed to me on this salad bar and these were poorly stocked and because of the elevation of the shelf on which the containers stood, the containers were difficult to see into. There were also very few vegetables on this buffet either cooked or raw. In general I did not enjoy the lunch buffet but the dinner buffet was better. The SeaView Cafe had a nice selection of made to order food, mostly sandwiches, and was well worth it. The Solarium Cafe was limited to sandwiches and pizza but the quality was also good. We enjoyed the food in the dining room and the service was very good. One surprise was that lobster was never offered in the dining room except if one paid extra for it. Typically on other cruises lobster is available in the dining room on one of the formal nights so this was a "nickel and dime" situation we did not appreciate.

Some crew also seemed to say whatever they thought the passenger wanted to hear with the hope that they wouldn't be around when the passenger found out differently. As this happened over and over on this cruise we thought that this was a real crew training issue and something that definitely needed improvement. On the other hand we did encounter numerous crew who went out of their way to be pleasant and to deliver exceptional service.

Beware that there are no self serve laundry facilities on this ship and that sending laundry out is expensive. Likewise the alcoholic beverages are expensive and Royal Caribbean forbids any carry-on of alcohol. As Princess does allow one bottle of wine to be carried on per passenger we definitely missed this policy on Royal Caribbean.

The Captain's party and the Welcome Back party for repeat passengers were very fun. Disembarkation for the independent passengers was a breeze.

All in all we would sail on this vessel again if the itinerary was desirable but (with notable exceptions) the crew attitudes towards service needs to improve. Less

Published 07/07/12

Cabin review: 7654

Our stateroom (7654) had an especially large balcony and seemed to have lots of storage. It is aft and in a very quiet area. The downside of this room is that there is a large metal plate below the room level (I believe it holds the lifeboats) so it is not possible to look down directly into the water from the balcony. This plate also softens the sound of the seas and we missed that.

Port and Shore Excursions

City Tour

The drive into Florence is quite long but was made interesting by the guide. Florence is gorgeous and the architecture is fascinating. We went into a cathedral where Galileo and Michelangelo are buried. The restaurant that the guide recommended was wonderful. We had a terrific pasta and some Chianti. The excursion lasted 11 1/2 hours with the bus trip, walking tour, free time, and tendering time.

City Tour

It is easy to tour this country independently but we took the tour. We found it helpful as our guide informed us that the palace has a wing which is tourable, and told us where to find the graves of Princess Grace and Prince Albert. We also got a ride over to the Grand Casino which was closed but we were able to see the outside and look at the fabulous cars parked near the casino.

We have been to Rome before and it was blistering hot so we just walked into Civetevecchia and had lunch at a cafe. There weren't alot of restaurants here and the food was disappointing but we did get to see the crew from 2 Royal Carribean ships having fun on their day off.

Amalfi Coast

The coastline is gorgeous. I wish I had been able to see it but a tourist who sat in front of me on the bus insisted on closing the curtains during this scenic tour. She wrapped the curtains around her so that she would not be exposed to sunlight and would not listen to feedback that she was blocking others' views. She refused to sit on the inside seat of the bus or to switch to an open seat on the shaded side of the bus. Her selfishness and stubborness made for an unpleasant trip. We handled this by switching our seats at the first possible opportunity but we missed some of the best views of the steep coastline because of that. This person(who all the time was covered head to toe) then had no difficulty jumping off the bus for photo ops in the bright sunlight! Go figure! I gave the low rating because of my experience with this fellow passenger and not because the tour itself was bad. One word of caution though: the windy roads do tend to cause some motion sickness in those who are susceptible.

Trogir Walking Tour

Split is a beautiful port and well worth the stop. Dolphins greeted us as we sailed into the port. We decided that we wanted to see some of the countryside so we took the Salona and Trogir excursion. Our guide was knowledgable and experienced. This was a worthwhile excursion involving a trip to a 2,000 year old Christian burial ground and to a walled city with labyrinth passages.

Venice Walking Tour

This was 3 hour walking trip that was enjoyable and informative. We were guided through the city while we heard about the history and architectural features of the buildings we saw. At the end we stopped at a cafe for our complimentary cookies and water, and then the guide walked us to a point where it was easy to walk to San Marco Plaza and split off from those who were returning to the ship. That was helpful as it would be very easy to get lost on the Venetian streets and alleys.

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Member Since 2011
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