This was a great vacation to take over New Years!
I was a part of a 25 member group. We wanted to go on a major brand cruise, such as Royal Caribbean, but on one of the smaller boats, which we find to be more enjoyable with smaller crowds and more personalized guest service.
The embarcation was a total breeze, after about 45 minutes, we were boarded with our baggage accounted. This ship is a mid-sized ship, which is great for me, because there are fewer people onboard and shorter lines. However, one problem I want to note out is that this ship only has nine elevators to cater to 2000+ people. This means that taking the elevator can take around 5 minutes. In addition, there is no aft elevator shaft, so the few elevators in the central atrium are very backed up. I found it much easier to use the stairs, so if you cannot use the stairs, this ship will be harder to traverse. However, this ship's sea front elevators are a great idea and something I love about this ship.
The whole boat was very clean, and there was staff everywhere cleaning windows, cleaning the floor, and even painting the wood accents.
The boat's exterior is covered with glass. Almost all rooms are sunlit, with windows pouring in lots of natural lighting. This also gives most rooms a view of the water outside. On some of the larger ships, the wider body puts rooms on the interior and decreases the connection with the ocean. The narrower body boat also makes it possible to look out either side in a single room.
While the Serenade is smaller, it has no shortage of activities. With rock climbing and basketball court for the kids, and spa and fitness center for the adults, this ship caters to all ages. Youth and teen programs are provided also, and there is a curfew for all children from 1 to 5:30 AM. Children were not much of a disturbance, so if you would like to relax, there are plenty of places to lie out on a lounge chair. One feature I used extensively was the wraparound promenade on deck 5. I often sat out on the bow of the ship and meditated several times, and I would stare off the stern at the froth behind the mighty boat. Also, during the morning and evening hours, it made a great running track.
The dining onboard this ship was stellar. Although it was not gourmet, it was very consistently delicious. At the dining hall there are different selections every night. Our party had some trouble, however, trying to reserve some tables. We had claims on 3 tables, but some of them had people not in our party, and some had only one person sitting at them. The dining room staff was very quick and glad to fix this problem, and by the second evening, the party's seating was fully organized. Food was delivered very quickly after order. We had a member of our party with a special dietary restriction, and her special menu was handled very well thoughout the week.
Live entertainment every night was very, well, entertaining. There were fewer of the "brodway-style" shows we typically expect, and shows included acrobatics, acapella, aviation, and many other shows that don't start with A! In all seriousness, the variety was great and always exciting. In addition to the main theater, unique aerial performances are held in the grand Centrum, a 9 story atrium in the middle of the ship. Films were also shown in the cinema. There were A LOT of pianos onboard, and if you were lucky, someone would be playing the piano for you there. In fact, I would occasionally play a few songs around the boat.
The main special of this itenerary was that it occurred over the New Year holiday, and there were planned to be three formal dinners instead of the usual two. However, the final formal dinner was cancelled, and the number was reduced to two. This evening had parties around the boat for young and old. The main party occurred in the Centrum, people were dancing, balloons dropping, drinks, and several centimeters of confetti on the ground. This was obviously a huge mess to clean up, but 6 hours later, when I woke up the next morning, it was completely cleaned up, everywhere! I was so impressed when I saw this, I think the crew was excellent to do this!
Over the next few days, this amazing work ethic of the crew slightly declined as the end of the cruise approached, but the workers still served with a smile, and were happy to get anything from a glass of water to an extra dish.
Debarkation was also a breeze, and within about 15 minutes, we were on a shuttle back to the airport.
Overall, this was a great cruise, I would definitely reccomend it. While there will not be another new years itenerary for another year, I thought the food and entertainment were thoroughly pleasing, the staff worked very hard, and the ship was very clean. I would reccomend this cruise to anyone with a week off!
A very clean room, very quiet. Kind of a long walk from the elevators, but this long hallway muffled out the noise from constant parties occurring in the Centrum. In addition, being two floors below the Deck 11 pool and eatery, Deck 10 served as a buffer to reduce noise.
I thought that this island was a great choice for shorter iteneraries like this.After extensive research, I found out that in order to ever get off the boat, you will have to wake up early and get in line well before tender ticket distribution starts. Because of this, three members of my party and myself were able to get tickets for the first tender. The island doesn't have much, it mainly focuses on relaxing on the beach. Essentially, the island is an extension of the cruise ship, where purchases are charged to the ship card. Food is served around 11:30 and consists of barbecue, macaroni, rice, fruits, and the usual drinks.I spent most of my time relaxing, but the rest of my party, around 10 people, decided to participate in the water playground excursion. Their tickets included a one hour block in that zone which included some obstacle courses and climbing "icebergs." They were provided life jackets and the area looked very safe. They said that it was very entertaining, but needed some maintenance. When I finally decided to step into the water, I quickly began to feel a sting in my feet. Some people from around the island said those things sitting on the ground that looked like coral were jellyfish. I was never warned about this, so I would advise you to wear sandals or beach shoes when walking in the water on the beaches. If you do get stung, you should go to the infirmary on the island. They will have the care you need. Leaving the island was slightly more difficult, the line to board was longer, and we barely made it onto a tender without waiting for another 20 minutes for the next tender.
This resort was advertised as a sparsely crowded, exclusive resort. This was definitely not the case, as lines to ride were very long. There were five cruise ships in the dock that day, and the resort was thus very crowded. Our party became separated very quickly upon arrival. The rides were fun and the food was good, and beach access was also included. Before booking, I would consider the desire to wait in lines, wait to get on a bus, wait to register, wait in general. Other people were already on their other excursions and we were waiting to debark.View All 765 Atlantis Resort Reviews