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Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
1,679 Reviews

We had a great first cruise on Serenade

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by nolafun985

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Mar 2015
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony

Hi! We just returned from the 3-28 to 4-4 Western Caribbean sailing on Serenade of the Seas out of New Orleans. We are still newbies, but I thought I’d post our experiences in case it helps anyone else. Prior to our cruise I learned so much from CruiseCritic! I really think it made our experience more enjoyable. Our family included myself, husband, 16 y.o. son, and 17 y.o. son. About a week before our cruise I read some not so great reviews of the Serenade and was a little scared, but honestly we had a great time and didn’t have any complaints. Well, the only complaint was the wifi unlimited package because it worked only some of the time for my husband and most of the time for me, but not worth 200.00.

Embarkation: We’re from the New Orleans area so getting to and from the port terminal was a breeze. We had a family member drop us off near the porters on Julia St at around 10:15 a.m. The only hiccup was that even though I had printed our set sail passes they had no record of it and we had to fill out everything again at the desk. Not a huge deal, but I was nervous and felt like I did something wrong. lol After that hiccup, we were on the ship playing mini golf by 10:45

Cabin: We had cabin 8604 and 8606. They were balcony cabins and 8604 was on the hump and had a deeper kind of pie-shaped balcony. My sons are 6’ and 6’4 and their feet kind of hung off of their beds, but all was good. Our cabin steward was great and always kept things clean and made awesome towel animals most days.

Staff: All staff we encountered were really great. I did not see one person that was not smiling and they went out of their way if we had a question or request. The cruise director, Carly, held our roll call meet and greet and I found her to be very warm and fun to be around. The whole cruise director staff worked really hard making sure everyone was having a good time all week.

Food: We ate in the main dining room (5:30 seating) every dinner and really enjoyed the food and selection. I would give the food an 8 out of 10. Our waiter, Kavi, and assistant, Videsh, were great as well as our table mates. My sons grumbled about wearing pants and dressing for dinner, but by the second day they were in a groove and didn’t complain because they really liked the food. We saw some shorts, but for the most part everyone around us dressed in pants (for the men) and sundresses or capris for women except formal nights. I did see a man in shorts on the second formal night and the server motioned to the maitre d, but I don’t know what they told him (he was already sitting) because we were on our way to our table.

We mainly ordered room service for breakfast and it was great to watch the sunrise on the balcony every morning and have coffee, fruit, pastries and yogurt.

On sea days, we sometimes ate lunch in the Windjammer, but it was usually crowded and the food was not the best, but it is probably because we don’t like buffets that much. We enjoyed lunch in the main dining room and the park cafe in the solarium also.

Drink package: I purchased the replenish package for my sons and I haven’t calculated to see if it was worth it or not. They did get several frozen non alcoholic drinks every day and frozen coffee. My husband and I just drink water or coffee so we didn’t get a package.

Entertainment: The live bands and shows were great on the ship. We loved the comedians, the pub singer, the Unexpected Boys and most of the entertainment staff shows. My sons did leave one show where they were acting and singing from different movie musicals. There was a nice instrumental guitarist, latin band and house band in the centrum that we really enjoyed listening to. Salsa dancing, 70’s party and cake decorating contest were fun too.

Photographers: This is the best surprise of the cruise for me! It is so hard to get my teenage boys to dress up and take a family picture…. I bought the whole package on the 3rd day because they had a 50.00 off special. I am sooo glad I did because we got a stack of about 50 great professional photos for less than a sitting fee at some photographers. We really loved one of the photographers too, he would always pop out at dinner and say, “It’s me again!” I am really thankful for all of the great photos.

Pools: We didn’t use the pools because they are small and were usually filled with little kids (main pool) or older people (solarium). It was nice to just lay out on a pool chair in the sun.

Casino: We mainly went for about 20 minutes in the mornings. The casino was really smokey, but in the mornings it wasn’t bad at all. They also did double points from 9-11 a.m. The left side is non smoking, but it still smelled at crowded times.

Things I learned: Luckily, none of us get seasick. We had rough seas one night and it was the best sleeping night for me. The bathrooms on ships are too small (like an R.V. bathroom). I also learned that I packed too much…

Grateful to CruiseCritic for: I am grateful for tips about bringing an automatic air freshener. It really helped to come back to a great smelling cabin. I also learned a lot about how dining worked and other research so that I could know what to expect.

Ports:

Jamaica: We actually loved Jamaica! The port was beautiful and organized. We did the Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin encounter with lunch. Our guide was Lyndal and he was great. Even though I read horror stories of vendors and such, we didn’t encounter one pushy vendor. Lynval had us on the falls in one of the first groups and the first group at Dolphin cove. The food was also really good there (except the hot dog).

Grand Cayman: We did a reef and wreck snorkel and it was fun. The port seemed chaotic and 6 ships were docked. It was also really expensive to eat there because everything was in cayman dollars so when it was converted if you weren’t expecting it, you could get a shock.

Cozumel: We love Cozumel and have been before (not on a cruise). We did the San Gervasio ruins with beach break. Our guide, Bianca, was great. Surprisingly, the souvenirs we bought there were cheaper for the same shirts than at the shops near the port. Our beach break was beautiful and we went to Pescadore restaurant right on the beach.

I am excited that we finished our first cruise and am sad that Royal Caribbean is leaving New Orleans. I will be booking again, but out of Galveston.


nolafun985's Full Rating Summary
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Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Cabin E2 8604

Cabin: We had cabin 8604 and 8606. They were balcony cabins and 8604 was on the hump and had a deeper kind of pie-shaped balcony. My sons are 6’ and 6’4 and their feet kind of hung off of their beds, but all was good. Our cabin steward was great and always kept things clean and made awesome towel animals most days.


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Dunn's River Falls

We actually loved Jamaica! The port was beautiful and organized. We did the Dunn’s River Falls and Dolphin encounter with lunch. Our guide was Lyndal and he was great. Even though I read horror stories of vendors and such, we didn’t encounter one pushy vendor. Lynval had us on the falls in one of the first groups and the first group at Dolphin cove. The food was also really good there (except the hot dog).

View All 256 Dunn's River Falls Reviews
Swim With Dolphins

We did the dolphin touch experience where you kiss and interact with the dolphin. It was nice, but short. The cove had really good jerk chicken buffet included with the excursion and we did rum tasting

View All 42 Swim With Dolphins Reviews
Snorkeling

The reef and wreck snorkel was fun, but short. They walk you down from the port to the boat and the snorkel is only a couple hundred feet from the shore. It did give us a couple of hours to eat and shop a little after.

View All 340 Snorkeling Reviews
Mayan Village and Beach

We loved the ruins and beach break. The ruins were small, but fun. We would have liked a little more time at the ruins. The Pescadore restaurant was right on the beach so you could order your food and swim while you were waiting on the food. They also had a mariachi band. The water is beautiful

View All 69 Mayan Village and Beach Reviews

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