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We are seasoned cruisers whom have sailed with most major lines over the past 11 years. We are in our late 50's and very active, preferring exercise over buffets (but love good food too!). We have learned with good experience, that ALL cruises require a level of patience and "go with the flow" attitude. Things cannot be 100% perfect all the time. It is with this positive mind-set that we approach (and try to enjoy) all ships. We had not been on RCCL for a long time. We selected this Serenade cruise for 2 main reasons: itinerary and highly rated ship (despite being a bit older boat than we prefer). We traveled directly to the ship for embarkation at 1p. Everything went smoothly and got on board within 30 minutes. It was especially helpful to see a sign on the hallway door to our room saying the time the room would be ready. Luggage came a couple hours later. We were in a balcony, deck 7, room 7066. Here is a short summary by category of all: ROOM: Not exactly clean. Personal items under bed. Half eaten bag of chips in corner. Sticky substance on counter (maybe old juice). Could have been worse but not what we've been used to. Age of ship evident. Scuffs and minor cosmetic deferred maintenance. Balcony door creaked all night in moderate seas. Was disappointed that our room was directly over life boat covers so we could not see down (and this did not show on deck plans nor was it disclosed anywhere that I could see). Average storage. Average overall. SERVICE: Below average. Quick examples. Asked for ice politely day 1, never showed. Asked for ice day 2, never showed. Scheduled Spa appointments multiple days then Spa called twice with mixed-up times (they argued but we had receipt-proof evidence that we were right). An attendant for 1 massage was so late, had to walk out to make another meeting on ship. Sea Pass account was mischarged/incorrect multiple times. Paid in advance for certain things but never got credit (until asked). Charged for drinks despite paid-in-advance package. Experienced some grouchy staff in the Casino. Etc. None of the above items made the cruise "horrible" by any stretch. But all of them are not consistent with most of our experiences on other ships and should be noted. (Honestly there were quite a few more.) On the positive side, the Captains daily communications were excellent. And most of the Staff were nice and accommodating. Certain bar tenders were great! ITINERARY/TRAVEL: Good. All stops enjoyable. Docking smooth and access good. Always on time. A bright example of "efficiency" on this trip. EXCURSIONS: Good. In particular let me address the infamous "St. Lucia Volcanic Hike" that many have complained about. Yes, it IS VERY difficult. 2,800 feet up and at times, seemingly straight-up over slippery roots and loose ground. (Only 14 out of 26 in our group made it.) Yes, the guides are sometimes loud and strong on the climbers. But we agreed, it was possibly our BEST EVER excursion. For the scenery, for the challenge, for the experience. Anyone who complains evidently did not read the description. Which says "VERY STRENUOUS". And the guides need to be loud and strong for everyone's safety. If you are overweight, out-of-shape and/or have limiting physical issues, do not go. (We are each 57 years old and made it fine.) DINING: Average to Good. Broad selection and decent quality at all times in Buffet. Tried two specialty restaurants, both very good. Main dining room average or below (except 1 formal night, prime rib and Maine lobster were excellent). Plenty of bland choices. DISEMBARKATION: We did early-off, carry-your-own bags and had no issues. But there was only 1 Customs officer on duty. And friends told us later they waited 2 hours to get through. Plan accordingly to make flights! So in SUMMARY: We are glad we tried RCCL again and sampled this ship. We did not have a bad time. But we are used to newer ships with more modern amenities. (NOTE: the Captain said the Serenade is due for its 5 year overhaul in November of this year.) And we prefer the extra service that comes with other (albeit a bit more expensive) lines.

Okay Ship and Cruise

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by Jeff Daigle

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Trip Details
We are seasoned cruisers whom have sailed with most major lines over the past 11 years. We are in our late 50's and very active, preferring exercise over buffets (but love good food too!).

We have learned with good experience, that ALL cruises require a level of patience and "go with the flow" attitude. Things cannot be 100% perfect all the time. It is with this positive mind-set that we approach (and try to enjoy) all ships.

We had not been on RCCL for a long time. We selected this Serenade cruise for 2 main reasons: itinerary and highly rated ship (despite being a bit older boat than we prefer).

We traveled directly to the ship for embarkation at 1p. Everything went smoothly and got on board within 30 minutes. It was especially helpful to see a sign on the hallway door to our room saying the time the room would be ready. Luggage came a couple hours later. We were in a balcony, deck 7, room 7066.

Here is a short summary by category of all:

ROOM: Not exactly clean. Personal items under bed. Half eaten bag of chips in corner. Sticky substance on counter (maybe old juice). Could have been worse but not what we've been used to. Age of ship evident. Scuffs and minor cosmetic deferred maintenance. Balcony door creaked all night in moderate seas. Was disappointed that our room was directly over life boat covers so we could not see down (and this did not show on deck plans nor was it disclosed anywhere that I could see). Average storage. Average overall.

SERVICE: Below average. Quick examples. Asked for ice politely day 1, never showed. Asked for ice day 2, never showed. Scheduled Spa appointments multiple days then Spa called twice with mixed-up times (they argued but we had receipt-proof evidence that we were right). An attendant for 1 massage was so late, had to walk out to make another meeting on ship. Sea Pass account was mischarged/incorrect multiple times. Paid in advance for certain things but never got credit (until asked). Charged for drinks despite paid-in-advance package. Experienced some grouchy staff in the Casino. Etc.

None of the above items made the cruise "horrible" by any stretch. But all of them are not consistent with most of our experiences on other ships and should be noted. (Honestly there were quite a few more.) On the positive side, the Captains daily communications were excellent. And most of the Staff were nice and accommodating. Certain bar tenders were great!

ITINERARY/TRAVEL: Good. All stops enjoyable. Docking smooth and access good. Always on time. A bright example of "efficiency" on this trip.

EXCURSIONS: Good. In particular let me address the infamous "St. Lucia Volcanic Hike" that many have complained about. Yes, it IS VERY difficult. 2,800 feet up and at times, seemingly straight-up over slippery roots and loose ground. (Only 14 out of 26 in our group made it.) Yes, the guides are sometimes loud and strong on the climbers. But we agreed, it was possibly our BEST EVER excursion. For the scenery, for the challenge, for the experience. Anyone who complains evidently did not read the description. Which says "VERY STRENUOUS". And the guides need to be loud and strong for everyone's safety. If you are overweight, out-of-shape and/or have limiting physical issues, do not go. (We are each 57 years old and made it fine.)

DINING: Average to Good. Broad selection and decent quality at all times in Buffet. Tried two specialty restaurants, both very good. Main dining room average or below (except 1 formal night, prime rib and Maine lobster were excellent). Plenty of bland choices.

DISEMBARKATION: We did early-off, carry-your-own bags and had no issues. But there was only 1 Customs officer on duty. And friends told us later they waited 2 hours to get through. Plan accordingly to make flights!

So in SUMMARY: We are glad we tried RCCL again and sampled this ship. We did not have a bad time. But we are used to newer ships with more modern amenities. (NOTE: the Captain said the Serenade is due for its 5 year overhaul in November of this year.) And we prefer the extra service that comes with other (albeit a bit more expensive) lines.
Jeff Daigle’s Full Rating Summary
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