Here's my review of the NY - Canada (Halifax, St. John) cruise (our
cruise) of Serenade of the Seas. Note that I've cruised twice
recently on the Norwegian Dawn so any comparisons I make will be
Embarkation - It went very smooth. We got to the pier around 12 noon
check-in process took under 15 minutes.
Cabin - We had a category E1 cabin with balcony (#8138). The cabin
smaller than a similar one we had on the Dawn, especially in the
the cabin had a lot of storage space/shelves. Also, the closet was
configured with shelving in the middle of the closet rather than on
one side. This
would've made fitting any large suitcases in there hard if not
Luckily, we had a rolling garment and duffel bags. The balcony was
nice but with
Canada being chilly, we didn't use it as much as we'd like. The
two chairs and a small table but the chairs both had a fixed back
(the tilt of
the backs could not be adjusted like the chairs near the pool).
Food - The food was very good. We had dinner at Reflections, the
room every night (6pm main seating) and the service/food was
had breakfast/lunch buffet at the Windjammer Cafe and the food was
The waiter staff did some singing for the guests on two of the
were two alternative restaurants, Chops Grill and Portofino (Italian
which we didn't use because we found the basic dinner good enough.
Dawn had freestyle dining, which let you decide when you wanted to
dinner. Going back to a fixed dinner time took some getting used too.
Service - The service was also very good. Dinner courses were
quickly. The dinner took about 1 hour to 1 ¼ hour from beginning to
staterooms were cleaned twice a day.
Public Rooms - There were many places to explore on the ship. I
Schooner Bar - Safari Club area on deck 6. It was very relaxing and
area. There was also a piano player there who added to the
also liked the Centrum, the lobby of the ship. There was
every night. Unlike the Norwegian Dawn, which concentrated all its
on a 2-3 decks, Serenade had them more spread out, with at least one
area on almost every deck. Since it was chilly in Canada, we did not
much time in the pool. We did try the miniature golf on the sea
days, when it
wasn't as cold.
Entertainment - This was one of the best parts of the cruise. There
lot of different activities aboard the ship throughout the day.
two production shows, one focusing on Broadway musicals that were
movies and a "music legends" show. Other evening entertainment
comedians (Sal Desmone was the better of the two), a dance comedy
couple (think Fred
Astaire/Ginger Rogers meets the Marx Brothers), and a juggler. Just
left Halifax, one of the local Irish dance companies put on a show
passengers in the theater. The cruise director, Allan Brooks, was
over the ship and was very involved in many of the activities.
Excursions - Because we haven't been to either of the cities, we took
Halifax and St John's City highlights tours and enjoyed both of them.
gave an overview of each city. Our dinner table mates took the
Halifax Hop on
Hop off bus tour. It was cheaper and more flexible than the city
took so if you are going to Halifax, consider that one. At the
cruise shop pier,
there was shopping with local arts and crafts. The downtown of each
only a few minutes walk from the ship.
Disembarkation - This was also very smooth. We took the Express
option, which lets you off the ship first if you carry your own bags.
started letting us leave around 8am and we were off the ship around
Overall, it was a very good trip. I just want to note that most of
passengers were older, about 70% was at least over 55 and there
weren't too many
families on board. There was a kids center that seemed to keep them
The kids also made an appearance at one of the evening shows. This
first Royal Caribbean cruise and I would recommend this ship/cruise
Serenade is a beautiful ship, especially since this was only its 6th
If you have any specific questions, please email me at