We are both in our 60's and avid cruisers. Serenade of the Seas was a new ship for us but the Port of New Orleans was not. We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Hammond, La. We have stayed here several times. It is an hour from N.O. and less expensive than the city hotels. RCCL parking is in an outdoor parking lot (Whale Lot). Our GPS took us to the lot but we entered from the wrong entrance. This was confusing and not marked in any way Do not enter from Julia St!. Embarkation was a breeze. We were on the Lido deck in less than an hour.
Serenade is an older, smaller ship which is able to cruise the Panama Canal. She has been maintained well. This was the smoothest running ship we have been on. The captain told us she has airplane-type engines which are not as fuel efficient but much smoother running. We rarely felt any movement. The Centrum is lovely and is used a lot for entertainment. Our favorite area of the ship is an open aft area with tables where we ate breakfast and lunch while enjoying the wake of the ship.
Our balcony cabin 9018 was small but adequate. You can see into the bridge from the balcony.
The ship entertainment was wonderful. Very talented staff. The cruise director John was amazing. He did a tribute show to Neil Diamond and received a standing ovation.
We had early dining and had the best waitstaff we have ever had. It was hard to tell them goodbye. The food in the dining room and the Windjammer was excellent.
Our ports were Key West, Nassau and CocoCay. In Key West we walked and shopped and went to Irish Kevins Pub. Don't miss that! Lots of fun. We had been to Nassau before and weren't impressed with it. CocoCay was beautiful. Not my kind of beach as I like waves but very pretty.
We did the self disembarkation and were in our car by 7:30AM.
We liked this ship so much that we booked another cruise on her while we were onboard.
Stateroom was small but adequate.