We are back from our cruise on the Serenade of the Seas. This was our first ever cruise, and we really enjoyed the experience. I've broken the review down into segments concerning different aspects of the cruise.
Embarkation – I read several reports that Royal Caribbean does embarkation well at NOLA. Our experience is that these reports are true. From parking garage to standing at the entrance to the Windjammer was about 70 minutes. Well done Royal Caribbean. We did the early arrival, getting to the garage by 10:40 AM. Plenty of agents to check you in. Best service can be gotten by having everything ready – passport.ID, SetSail Pass, credit card, etc. We saw several groups having problems due to not having documents ready. Kind of a bittersweet revelation, though – when the Serenade leaves in April for Europe, it won't be returning to NOLA, nor will any Royal Caribbean ship, at least for the foreseeable future. Tip – when you get your SeaPass card, get it punched at the processing desk if you plan on using a lanyard. That will save you a trip to a busy Customer Service desk later in the day.
Get To Know The Ship – If you boarded early as we did, you probably have one to two hours before your room is ready for you. Take that time to explore the ship. After eating lunch at t,he Windjammer (nice view from the outside seating at the back of the ship), we walked up to the pool deck, thru the Solarium, took the elevator down to the Tropical Theater, walked thru the shops to the Centrum, and then our room was ready. And we knew the basic layout of the ship. Tip – every stairwell on the ship has different paintings and artwork on every landing. Take the time to see them. I suggest taking the elevator to deck 11 and walking down, as opposed to walking up. Extra points for finding the blue cows...
Our cabin was an aft balcony on the port side of the ship. It was good size room, large enough to have a full size 3 seat sofa, along with the king size bed. The balcony was not very deep, but the right side of the balcony wrapped around the side of the ship. It allowed us to have a very wide filed of view. There were two chairs with foot stools, and a small table. You could have possibly replaced the chairs with loungers, but they filled our needs for the cruise. We used the balcony alot. The sounds from the wake of the ship was like a large white noise generator and was very comforting. The bathroom was small but usable, the shower was round with two sliding doors. There was a dispenser hanging in the shower that had some tyoe of shampoo/body wash in it that was OK, but bring your own if you wish. The room was at the far end of a long hall, so there was not much traffic. It was located over the Safari Lounge, but we didn't notice any noise at all during the cruise.