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Serenade of the Seas-- 5 night Short Mexico Cruise-- Oct. 16-21, 2006 This was a special cruise RCI added to fill the 5 day gap between the last scheduled Eastbound Hawaii cruise and an 8 night Charter. I was fortunate enough to get advance notice of this sailing from my RCI Sales Rep, and was able to get a jump start in blocking group space. I escorted a group of CCers, most of whom have taken my different ship tours and lunches over the years as well as some long time clients. Embarkation: This was my first time sailing from the Port of San Diego, and while it's the most convenient departure point for me, based on the experience there, I would much rather drive the 1.5 hrs to Los Angeles. There's only 1 word to describe the port of San Diego--- Inefficient! I had gotten an email from the ship advising they would not be arriving in San Diego until 1pm, so there was no hurry to get to the port early. I arrived at the port at 245pm and it was a madhouse. The "regular" check in line was a mile long and they were only at boarding group #3. Being Diamond Plus, I walked right up to the Priority check in desk and within 10 mins was onboard. Since the ship has disembarked the previous cruisers in Ensenada, all cabins were cleaned and ready upon boarding. Cabins: My group had a variety of different cabins from E3's to JS's and a GS. Everyone was quite happy with their accommodations. I had an E1, cabin 9010 which was perfect for myself. My cabin attendant, Joseph was excellent. The cabin had no wear and tear, although the new bedding was not yet onboard. Ship: The Serenade is my favorite all time ship and this was my 5th time on her since her launch in the Summer of 2003. I hadn't sailed on her in 2 years and was quite happy to see she's been well maintained over the years. Crew: Let's start with the good. The Bar staff, cabin staff, and dining room staff were all excellent. Guest Relations was hit or miss (mostly hit). The Loyalty Ambassador, Colleen was not only rude, but did nothing for the high level C&A Members including not even bothering to show up at the Platinum/Diamond brunch. The Concierge Juan Diego was also terrible, doing nothing extra and barely kept up with what little he did do. One thing that really stuck out to me was the unfriendliness of the Windjammer staff. Normally the greeter has a big smile-- not this one-- she didn't even acknowledge you were there. The rest of the staff was also not friendly at all and the tables were never cleared in a timely manner. I asked a crew member friend about this and he said the ship was previously under "bad management" from the F&B Dept. and the staff was not happy. Miami had flown in someone during our cruise to sort things out. Food and Beverage: I ate all breakfasts in the Windjammer and the food was hot and good. I had a lunch or two in the Seaview Cafe and again no complaints there except for the staff who didn't appear to be too happy. I also had a slice or 2 of pizza from the Solarium Cafe and it was also quite good. I dined in Chops on 1 night and the food was excellent as was the service. On another night I dined in Portofino and again excellent food and service. The food in the main dining room was also quite good with the exception of the NY Strip steak which was dry, tough and had little flavor. Entertainment: The one production show I went to was well done.. the singers were better than the dancers. The Poolside band Vibes who I've known from other ships was excellent and really got the crowd going. Matt Yee in the Schooner Bar was hilarious as always and packed them in as usual. The rest of the entertainment was provided by a few members of my group-- but sorry, that's classified information!! LOL Ports: As this was a special short sailing, we only visited Ensenada and Cabo with 2 days at sea in between. Ensenada was a "stay on the ship" day. I only got off for 2 hrs in Cabo to take some crew friends to lunch as they had the afternoon off. Overall: This was a nice little getaway on a great ship. I was able to secure nice amenities for the group including Dinner for 2 in the specialty restaurants, $10.00 in casino credits, a 2 hr private open bar cocktail party, wine and champagne and a fruit basket for each cabin and everyone received a ornament of the ship on the last night. Everyone had so much fun, they've asked me to start planning the next one-- we're thinking of Vision in Feb. If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.

Serenade of the Seas - Mexican Riviera

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by RDeagazio

Trip Details
Serenade of the Seas-- 5 night Short Mexico Cruise-- Oct. 16-21, 2006
This was a special cruise RCI added to fill the 5 day gap between the last scheduled Eastbound Hawaii cruise and an 8 night Charter. I was fortunate enough to get advance notice of this sailing from my RCI Sales Rep, and was able to get a jump start in blocking group space.
I escorted a group of CCers, most of whom have taken my different ship tours and lunches over the years as well as some long time clients.
Embarkation: This was my first time sailing from the Port of San Diego, and while it's the most convenient departure point for me, based on the experience there, I would much rather drive the 1.5 hrs to Los Angeles. There's only 1 word to describe the port of San Diego--- Inefficient! I had gotten an email from the ship advising they would not be arriving in San Diego until 1pm, so there was no hurry to get to the port early. I arrived at the port at 245pm and it was a madhouse. The "regular" check in line was a mile long and they were only at boarding group #3. Being Diamond Plus, I walked right up to the Priority check in desk and within 10 mins was onboard. Since the ship has disembarked the previous cruisers in Ensenada, all cabins were cleaned and ready upon boarding.
Cabins: My group had a variety of different cabins from E3's to JS's and a GS. Everyone was quite happy with their accommodations. I had an E1, cabin 9010 which was perfect for myself. My cabin attendant, Joseph was excellent. The cabin had no wear and tear, although the new bedding was not yet onboard.
Ship: The Serenade is my favorite all time ship and this was my 5th time on her since her launch in the Summer of 2003. I hadn't sailed on her in 2 years and was quite happy to see she's been well maintained over the years.
Crew: Let's start with the good. The Bar staff, cabin staff, and dining room staff were all excellent. Guest Relations was hit or miss (mostly hit). The Loyalty Ambassador, Colleen was not only rude, but did nothing for the high level C&A Members including not even bothering to show up at the Platinum/Diamond brunch. The Concierge Juan Diego was also terrible, doing nothing extra and barely kept up with what little he did do. One thing that really stuck out to me was the unfriendliness of the Windjammer staff. Normally the greeter has a big smile-- not this one-- she didn't even acknowledge you were there. The rest of the staff was also not friendly at all and the tables were never cleared in a timely manner. I asked a crew member friend about this and he said the ship was previously under "bad management" from the F&B Dept. and the staff was not happy. Miami had flown in someone during our cruise to sort things out.
Food and Beverage: I ate all breakfasts in the Windjammer and the food was hot and good. I had a lunch or two in the Seaview Cafe and again no complaints there except for the staff who didn't appear to be too happy. I also had a slice or 2 of pizza from the Solarium Cafe and it was also quite good. I dined in Chops on 1 night and the food was excellent as was the service. On another night I dined in Portofino and again excellent food and service. The food in the main dining room was also quite good with the exception of the NY Strip steak which was dry, tough and had little flavor.
Entertainment: The one production show I went to was well done.. the singers were better than the dancers. The Poolside band Vibes who I've known from other ships was excellent and really got the crowd going. Matt Yee in the Schooner Bar was hilarious as always and packed them in as usual. The rest of the entertainment was provided by a few members of my group-- but sorry, that's classified information!! LOL
Ports: As this was a special short sailing, we only visited Ensenada and Cabo with 2 days at sea in between. Ensenada was a "stay on the ship" day. I only got off for 2 hrs in Cabo to take some crew friends to lunch as they had the afternoon off.
Overall: This was a nice little getaway on a great ship. I was able to secure nice amenities for the group including Dinner for 2 in the specialty restaurants, $10.00 in casino credits, a 2 hr private open bar cocktail party, wine and champagne and a fruit basket for each cabin and everyone received a ornament of the ship on the last night.
Everyone had so much fun, they've asked me to start planning the next one-- we're thinking of Vision in Feb.
If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask.
RDeagazio’s Full Rating Summary
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