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Embarkation: Since we didn't arrive until about 7:30 p.m., embarkation was a breeze. We were the only people checking in at that time. Cabin: I got a great rate on a guaranteed balcony cabin. The RCCL cabins are small, but the only real complaint I had was the size of the showers. I am not a large person and even I felt claustrophobic. Forget about the contortions necessary to shave one's legs! The cabin was clean and well appointed. Unlike Carnival, RCCL does not supply any toiletry items other than shampoo in the shower. Our cabin steward Liland was fantastic. Ship: Awesome ship with lots of glass. I have sailed Carnival many times and think RCCL ships have a much classier appearance. Plenty of chairs on the decks and lots for everyone to do. Dining: We ate in the Windjammer the first evening as our bags didn't arrive in time and my husband had worn jeans (I later found out that they do allow jeans in the dining room on the first night). Two of the three meals we ate in the Windjammer were very good with numerous options. We ate in the main dining room only twice and both meals were very satisfactory. Two nights we ate in the specialty restaurants: Portofino and Chops. They were excellent and I highly recommend spending the extra money if you can afford it. Staff in these restaurants was exemplary, too. We had signed up for the late seating, but next time we plan to do the My Time Dining. Seems like it would be a better fit for us. Ports and Excursions: I had hooked up with some people from the roll call for several private excursions. In St. Thomas, 4 of us went on the Rumbaba sailing and snorkeling charter in St. John and enjoyed a wonderful lunch with a choice of mahi, tuna or filet. Everyone loved their selections. It was a wonderful time. We took Herod's Land and Sea Tour in St. Lucia. Herod is a very nice young man who actually took us to "Mama's House" for a buffet luncheon on her veranda with a view of a piton! We had a nice tour of the island complete with fresh bananas at the plantation, freshly baked casaba bread and a visit to the volcano. After lunch we boarded a boat and went to a beach between the pitons for snorkeling which was very good, but you had to swim out a ways to see the bigger fish. The boat trip back to our ship was a bit hairy as it poured the entire time, but, overall, it was a fantastic tour. In Antigua, four of us went with another group on Gordon's Island Tour which was extremely informative and a good way to see the island. We went on the Silvermoon catamaran in Barbados, swam with turtles and snorkeled. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see too many turtles as there were quite a few boats there at the time, but it was still fun. Lunch was a buffet featuring flying fish which I had always wanted to try. It was another awesome day. We chose to take a taxi to Orient Beach in St. Maarten. Great, inexpensive day. The taxi was $14 (we waited for another couple and that cut the price by $4), two chairs and an umbrella for $10 and a bucket of beer for $9. Can't beat that! Other than Hawaii, this was my favorite cruise because of the ports involved. Each of the islands has something special to offer! Roll Call: Although I use CruiseCritic.com a lot and have cruised many times, this was the first time I had joined a roll call and I'm so glad I did! What a fun group of people I met. It was nice to have others on board with whom to chat and to have a group with whom to hang out on deck during our day at sea (my husband is not a sun person!). It was so much fun that I'm looking forward to getting together with this group (and any others who might join us) next year on the AOS. Shows: We are not big show people, but we did see the Elton John impersonator who was very good. I heard others complaining that the shows were not that good, but I've come to expect that on cruise ships. We did spend a good bit of time in the casino, but it wasn't very good to us! Many from the CruiseCritic.com group had a blast at the Quest which is a fun audience participation game. Disembarkation: Since our flight wasn't until the afternoon (and our airline wasn't one that will take the bags directly from the ship and hold them at the airport) we chose to do a walking tour of Old San Juan through RCCL. We were the first group off the ship and, once through customs (which was a breeze), RCCL handled the transfer of our luggage to the airport while we boarded a bus for the tour. Our guide, Virginia, was very informative and toured us through the fort, convents, and a cathedral. Once at the airport, we retrieved our bags, scanned them through the agricultural checkpoint, and then checked our luggage and received our boarding passes. The procedure went very smoothly overall. Our flight home was non-eventful. Next time we leave out of San Juan, I would definitely plan to arrive a day prior to the cruise. All things considered, the Serenade is a beautiful ship and I would highly recommend this itinerary.

High Time on the High Seas!

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by thebossfan

Trip Details
Embarkation: Since we didn't arrive until about 7:30 p.m., embarkation was a breeze. We were the only people checking in at that time.
Cabin: I got a great rate on a guaranteed balcony cabin. The RCCL cabins are small, but the only real complaint I had was the size of the showers. I am not a large person and even I felt claustrophobic. Forget about the contortions necessary to shave one's legs! The cabin was clean and well appointed. Unlike Carnival, RCCL does not supply any toiletry items other than shampoo in the shower. Our cabin steward Liland was fantastic. Ship: Awesome ship with lots of glass. I have sailed Carnival many times and think RCCL ships have a much classier appearance. Plenty of chairs on the decks and lots for everyone to do.
Dining: We ate in the Windjammer the first evening as our bags didn't arrive in time and my husband had worn jeans (I later found out that they do allow jeans in the dining room on the first night). Two of the three meals we ate in the Windjammer were very good with numerous options. We ate in the main dining room only twice and both meals were very satisfactory. Two nights we ate in the specialty restaurants: Portofino and Chops. They were excellent and I highly recommend spending the extra money if you can afford it. Staff in these restaurants was exemplary, too. We had signed up for the late seating, but next time we plan to do the My Time Dining. Seems like it would be a better fit for us.
Ports and Excursions: I had hooked up with some people from the roll call for several private excursions. In St. Thomas, 4 of us went on the Rumbaba sailing and snorkeling charter in St. John and enjoyed a wonderful lunch with a choice of mahi, tuna or filet. Everyone loved their selections. It was a wonderful time. We took Herod's Land and Sea Tour in St. Lucia. Herod is a very nice young man who actually took us to "Mama's House" for a buffet luncheon on her veranda with a view of a piton! We had a nice tour of the island complete with fresh bananas at the plantation, freshly baked casaba bread and a visit to the volcano. After lunch we boarded a boat and went to a beach between the pitons for snorkeling which was very good, but you had to swim out a ways to see the bigger fish. The boat trip back to our ship was a bit hairy as it poured the entire time, but, overall, it was a fantastic tour. In Antigua, four of us went with another group on Gordon's Island Tour which was extremely informative and a good way to see the island. We went on the Silvermoon catamaran in Barbados, swam with turtles and snorkeled. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see too many turtles as there were quite a few boats there at the time, but it was still fun. Lunch was a buffet featuring flying fish which I had always wanted to try. It was another awesome day. We chose to take a taxi to Orient Beach in St. Maarten. Great, inexpensive day. The taxi was $14 (we waited for another couple and that cut the price by $4), two chairs and an umbrella for $10 and a bucket of beer for $9. Can't beat that! Other than Hawaii, this was my favorite cruise because of the ports involved. Each of the islands has something special to offer!
Roll Call: Although I use CruiseCritic.com a lot and have cruised many times, this was the first time I had joined a roll call and I'm so glad I did! What a fun group of people I met. It was nice to have others on board with whom to chat and to have a group with whom to hang out on deck during our day at sea (my husband is not a sun person!). It was so much fun that I'm looking forward to getting together with this group (and any others who might join us) next year on the AOS.
Shows: We are not big show people, but we did see the Elton John impersonator who was very good. I heard others complaining that the shows were not that good, but I've come to expect that on cruise ships. We did spend a good bit of time in the casino, but it wasn't very good to us! Many from the CruiseCritic.com group had a blast at the Quest which is a fun audience participation game.
Disembarkation: Since our flight wasn't until the afternoon (and our airline wasn't one that will take the bags directly from the ship and hold them at the airport) we chose to do a walking tour of Old San Juan through RCCL. We were the first group off the ship and, once through customs (which was a breeze), RCCL handled the transfer of our luggage to the airport while we boarded a bus for the tour. Our guide, Virginia, was very informative and toured us through the fort, convents, and a cathedral. Once at the airport, we retrieved our bags, scanned them through the agricultural checkpoint, and then checked our luggage and received our boarding passes. The procedure went very smoothly overall. Our flight home was non-eventful.
Next time we leave out of San Juan, I would definitely plan to arrive a day prior to the cruise. All things considered, the Serenade is a beautiful ship and I would highly recommend this itinerary.
thebossfan’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1506
Great view, small but good storage, tiny shower but great glass doors that kept the water from leaking onto the bathroom floor, good balcony
  Serenade of the Seas Deck Plans