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Serenade of the Seas 2/28/09-3/07/09 This was my second cruise with Royal Caribbean, the first being on the Adventure. This was my husband's third, his first was on the Radiance, then the Adventure. We flew down to San Juan a day early and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. We had no travel problems what so ever! The San Juan Airport has improved tremendously in the last few years. I was impressed. All of our luggage made it, and we easily found a taxi to our hotel. Saturday The next day we walked out to the ocean and enjoyed breakfast before heading to the ship. We arrived at the port at almost exactly 11:00 am. There was quite a long line waiting to get on the ship. I think all of us Cruise Critic members were a little over anxious. We were allowed on the ship at 11:30, and after ten minutes were enjoying lunch in the Windjammer. Our rooms were ready shortly after 1:00, just as promised. There were pool towels in our room. We had an E1 balcony on deck 7 near the front of the ship. It was wonderful, with a larger extended balcony. We met with our Cruise Critic meet and mingle group at 5:00, for drinks in the Schooner Bar. We organized this ourselves, as our meet and mingle was not until Tuesday and we wanted to get to know each other earlier in the sailing. We had first seating in the MDR. Our wait staff was the best I have ever had! Our head waiter was Emilie from Romania. She was incredibly friendly and came by to chat every night. Our waiter was Ronaldo from the Philippines. He was very friendly and always made sure everything was in order at our table. Our assistant waiter was Clovis from Brazil. He was so much fun. He kept teasing my parents, especially my dad. He made dinner very entertaining every night! They were all amazing. Muster was at 8:00, and only lasted 15 minutes. It went very smoothly and was painless. The ship sailed shortly after 10:00. We went to bed shortly after, seeing as how we were exhausted. The welcome aboard show was this night. We did not go and were glad. We found out that mostly the girl who does the guided shopping just got up and talked about Diamonds International. The drink of the day was Bahama Mama. The Portofino Wine and Dine dinner was this night. Sunday-St Thomas We arrived in port a little before 7:00 am. Our ship was the only one in port. It made it extra special to not have a million people to walk over in the shops. We enjoyed breakfast in the Windjammer, and then went out to wander the shops. We booked the Sail and Snorkel Adventure through Royal Caribbean. My parents, DH and myself, and one other couple went out with Captain Kevin on a sailboat. We sailed to Buck Island, about an hour out from St. Thomas. From there we snorkeled for about an hour. There were turtles everywhere! We saw some great fish. We sailed back to the ship and enjoyed some STRONG rum punch and crackers and cheese. It was an excellent tour. I enjoyed having very few people around. The snorkeling was very good, and Kevin was a wonderful guide. Formal night was Sunday. Most people were dressed up. Men were in suits and ties. I did not see too many tux's this night. The food in the dining room was very good. The escargot was excellent. The show that night was the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers stage show "From Stage to Screen". It was very good. I was not too impressed with two of the singers. I have heard better singers in my church congregation! The dancers were pretty good. I don't really go on a cruise for the entertainment, so it did not take away from the cruising experience in any way. The casino was smoke free on this night. We took advantage of this. It was quite pleasant to not have to smell the smoke while we played the slots. The battle of the sexes game show was this night. We did not go. The drink of the day was "Yellow Bird". It was very good. Monday-St. Maarten We decided to have a low key day on St. Maarten. We shopped in the morning, then took a cab to Dawn Beach. The rates were regulated, so for the four of us it cost $7 each, both way. The beach was beautiful, and not very crowded. We were once again the only ship in port, so that also helped keep the crowds down. We paid $10 for 2 chairs and 1 umbrella for the whole day. There was a restaurant and some hotels on this beach. The food was REALLY expensive ($18 for a sandwich!), but they were running Coors Light bottled beer for $1. We snorkeled from the beach, and it was actually quite good. With the exception of some pretty good chop, the snorkeling was quite enjoyable. Our driver picked us up at 3:30, and we headed back to the ship. It was casual night for dinner, and most people were in nice clothes. I did not see too many people in jeans or shorts. The show was an Elton John tribute act. We heard it was good, but we did not go. The drink of the day was "Caribbean Sunset" Tuesday-Antigua We woke up early, ate a protein rich breakfast at the WindJammer and headed out to meet the Adventure Antigua boat for Eli's Eco Tour. This was the highlight of the trip. The tour was full, but the boat was not crowded. We picked up one other couple from Sandals and headed out. We were told about the smaller islands, some of the resorts, and the military base. Then we went to Bird Island for a nature hike, some swimming or snorkeling, and lunch. The BBQ chicken was really good. I loved the sauce. The food over all was very good. After a few hours at this island, we moved to the other side at Hell's Gate. We got to climb through the cave and up to the top. If you go on this tour, you will want good shoes with tread and a WATERPROOF camera. Otherwise, you won't be able to take pictures from above the gate. It was wonderful! Finally, they took us to a really big snorkel area. There were some of the biggest fans at this location. The coral was really pretty. There were lots of fish, and we saw a very large turtle. Our tour ended back at the ship. We arrived around 4:00. There was one other ship, The Vision, in port on this day, and another came in just before dinner. We did not do any shopping. The island was beautiful, from what we could see at it. Dinner in the MDR was very good once again. The Drink of the Day was a margarita. The show was the Love and Marriage Game Show. There was only one seating, and it was at 10:45. We did not go, but watched it played on our TV in the cabin over and over during the week. There was a midnight buffet by the pool this night, with dancing. It was not nearly as elaborate as the buffets in the past. Wednesday St. Lucia We woke up to see 5 ships in port!! It was a really busy port day, and probably the least enjoyable of all of our days. We had booked the Cosol tour, but because we were tendered, we had to cut the regular tour short. We still had to pay full price. The tour would have been good, but there were just TOO many people and too many vans. Our Driver, Mustin was polite and informative. He did his best to drive through all the traffic. We had 10 in our van, which was fine, but at every stop, there were people crawling all over each other. We stopped at a banana plantation, and it was just okay. We basically stopped on the side of the road, took a picture, and ate a banana. We then stopped for brunch, which was rum punch, beer, and samples of fruit and fish and bread. Nothing to write home about. Our van decided to cut out the beach tour, and we went to a waterfall (small and crowded) and a "volcano" which looked like a trash dump and smelled worse. The best part of the tour was the St. Lucia Moonshine. I had high expectations for this tour after reading all of the reviews on Cruise Critic. I was disappointed. I think it would have been much more enjoyable if there were half as many people on the tour, and only 2-3 ships in port. Cosol should consider this when booking. I know he makes more money when he has more people, but the experience is not nearly as enjoyable with so many people. DH and I dined at Portofino's this night. The food was everything I hoped it would be. I had the Carpaccio and it was excellent. The ribbon mushroom pasta is now my new favorite food, and my Filet was prepared perfectly. It was tender and full of flavor. I had the dessert sampler, and was not impressed with any of the desserts. It could have been that I was so full that I just could not enjoy it, but I really did not like any of four samples offered. The show this night was a comedian, Etta May. She was very funny, and had the audience cracking up. The drink of the day was the Mai Tai Thursday Barbados DH and I had originally wanted to do a zipline tour in St. Lucia, but since we had decided to go with the Cosol tour, we moved it to Barbados. This tour was booked through Royal Caribbean. The bus ride there was a bit of an adventure, we were probably safer on the tour than on that bus! The people running the zip line were extremely friendly. They were informative and always made sure we were safe. It was evident that safety was their number one priority. I was impressed. We had a lot of fun, although the zips were not very long. We did our last minute shopping here in Barbados. We started to notice lots of cleaning and the hand sanitizer stations were out all over the ship. We had to use them when boarding and before entry into any food venue. Our last formal night was this night. Almost everyone was dressed up. I saw many more men in tux's this night. Lobster was served, and it was very good. You could have as many as you wanted. My dad had two and the prime rib. The show was Royal Caribbean's stage show, Vibeology. It was a journey through popular music including Elvis, Beatles, Cher, Janet Jackson, and more. It was pretty good, but once again, the singing was just okay. Quest was later that night. We did not go, but heard it was a riot. The drink of the day was the "Rum Runner" Friday-At Sea The ship did not at all feel crowded on this day. The pool chairs were taken around the pool by 10:00, but the staff did an excellent job of moving people's stuff if it had sat there for longer than 30 minutes. There were signs out reminding people not to save chairs, and there was a note about it in the compass. We had a little bit of rain throughout the afternoon, which also put an end to the chair hogs!! The belly flop contest was really fun to watch. Dinner was casual, as most people were packing up. I won $40 in the casino that night in the slots! The show was a Comedian, Miguel Washington. He was excellent. Best show of the week. The drink of the day was "Blue Seas" Saturday-Back at San Juan The only time the ship felt crowded all week, with everyone trying to eat breakfast in the Windjammer at the same time. We booked the Baccardi Rum tour, so we were among the first off of the ship. We quickly found our luggage, cleared customs in less than 10 minutes, dropped off our luggage with our tour group, and got on the van. We were actually early, so our driver took us to the capital and around the fort so we could take pictures! Bonus tour! The rum tour was okay, nothing super special. We got 2 tickets for drinks. We did not buy any rum at the distillery, but did in the San Juan airport once we were through security. It was super cheap. We were allowed to carry it on the plane in the sealed bag they gave us. Overall: Main Dining Room: Very good. Starters and main course were great. The desserts were not all good, but maybe I should have just gotten something else. The service was outstanding. Windjammer: Good food, but not a lot of selection variation between the days. Service was good. Seaview Cafe: Excellent onion rings, brownies, wings, and Reuben sandwiches. Cabin Attendant: Very friendly and super sweet. I wish I could remember her name! We always had ice, and had towel animals after the 2nd night to the end of the cruise. Cruise Director: Dennis was very nice, friendly, funny, and not overly cheesy. Ship: Beautiful! My favorite ship in the fleet. Great size. It never really felt crowded. There was so much to do. The pool tables are really fun to play on and even fun to watch. There were plenty of activities for us, but we did not stay up long enough for most of the late night activities. The solarium was our favorite place to sit in the afternoons and read a book and relax.

Best Ship in the Fleet! Great Itinerary!

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by Mokaheena

Trip Details
Serenade of the Seas 2/28/09-3/07/09
This was my second cruise with Royal Caribbean, the first being on the Adventure. This was my husband's third, his first was on the Radiance, then the Adventure. We flew down to San Juan a day early and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express. We had no travel problems what so ever! The San Juan Airport has improved tremendously in the last few years. I was impressed. All of our luggage made it, and we easily found a taxi to our hotel. Saturday The next day we walked out to the ocean and enjoyed breakfast before heading to the ship. We arrived at the port at almost exactly 11:00 am. There was quite a long line waiting to get on the ship. I think all of us Cruise Critic members were a little over anxious. We were allowed on the ship at 11:30, and after ten minutes were enjoying lunch in the Windjammer. Our rooms were ready shortly after 1:00, just as promised. There were pool towels in our room. We had an E1 balcony on deck 7 near the front of the ship. It was wonderful, with a larger extended balcony.
We met with our Cruise Critic meet and mingle group at 5:00, for drinks in the Schooner Bar. We organized this ourselves, as our meet and mingle was not until Tuesday and we wanted to get to know each other earlier in the sailing. We had first seating in the MDR. Our wait staff was the best I have ever had! Our head waiter was Emilie from Romania. She was incredibly friendly and came by to chat every night. Our waiter was Ronaldo from the Philippines. He was very friendly and always made sure everything was in order at our table. Our assistant waiter was Clovis from Brazil. He was so much fun. He kept teasing my parents, especially my dad. He made dinner very entertaining every night! They were all amazing. Muster was at 8:00, and only lasted 15 minutes. It went very smoothly and was painless. The ship sailed shortly after 10:00. We went to bed shortly after, seeing as how we were exhausted. The welcome aboard show was this night. We did not go and were glad. We found out that mostly the girl who does the guided shopping just got up and talked about Diamonds International. The drink of the day was Bahama Mama. The Portofino Wine and Dine dinner was this night.
Sunday-St Thomas We arrived in port a little before 7:00 am. Our ship was the only one in port. It made it extra special to not have a million people to walk over in the shops. We enjoyed breakfast in the Windjammer, and then went out to wander the shops. We booked the Sail and Snorkel Adventure through Royal Caribbean. My parents, DH and myself, and one other couple went out with Captain Kevin on a sailboat. We sailed to Buck Island, about an hour out from St. Thomas. From there we snorkeled for about an hour. There were turtles everywhere! We saw some great fish. We sailed back to the ship and enjoyed some STRONG rum punch and crackers and cheese. It was an excellent tour. I enjoyed having very few people around. The snorkeling was very good, and Kevin was a wonderful guide.
Formal night was Sunday. Most people were dressed up. Men were in suits and ties. I did not see too many tux's this night. The food in the dining room was very good. The escargot was excellent.
The show that night was the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers stage show "From Stage to Screen". It was very good. I was not too impressed with two of the singers. I have heard better singers in my church congregation! The dancers were pretty good. I don't really go on a cruise for the entertainment, so it did not take away from the cruising experience in any way.
The casino was smoke free on this night. We took advantage of this. It was quite pleasant to not have to smell the smoke while we played the slots. The battle of the sexes game show was this night. We did not go. The drink of the day was "Yellow Bird". It was very good.
Monday-St. Maarten We decided to have a low key day on St. Maarten. We shopped in the morning, then took a cab to Dawn Beach. The rates were regulated, so for the four of us it cost $7 each, both way. The beach was beautiful, and not very crowded. We were once again the only ship in port, so that also helped keep the crowds down. We paid $10 for 2 chairs and 1 umbrella for the whole day. There was a restaurant and some hotels on this beach. The food was REALLY expensive ($18 for a sandwich!), but they were running Coors Light bottled beer for $1. We snorkeled from the beach, and it was actually quite good. With the exception of some pretty good chop, the snorkeling was quite enjoyable. Our driver picked us up at 3:30, and we headed back to the ship. It was casual night for dinner, and most people were in nice clothes. I did not see too many people in jeans or shorts.
The show was an Elton John tribute act. We heard it was good, but we did not go. The drink of the day was "Caribbean Sunset"
Tuesday-Antigua We woke up early, ate a protein rich breakfast at the WindJammer and headed out to meet the Adventure Antigua boat for Eli's Eco Tour. This was the highlight of the trip. The tour was full, but the boat was not crowded. We picked up one other couple from Sandals and headed out. We were told about the smaller islands, some of the resorts, and the military base. Then we went to Bird Island for a nature hike, some swimming or snorkeling, and lunch. The BBQ chicken was really good. I loved the sauce. The food over all was very good. After a few hours at this island, we moved to the other side at Hell's Gate. We got to climb through the cave and up to the top. If you go on this tour, you will want good shoes with tread and a WATERPROOF camera. Otherwise, you won't be able to take pictures from above the gate. It was wonderful! Finally, they took us to a really big snorkel area. There were some of the biggest fans at this location. The coral was really pretty. There were lots of fish, and we saw a very large turtle.
Our tour ended back at the ship. We arrived around 4:00. There was one other ship, The Vision, in port on this day, and another came in just before dinner. We did not do any shopping. The island was beautiful, from what we could see at it.
Dinner in the MDR was very good once again. The Drink of the Day was a margarita. The show was the Love and Marriage Game Show. There was only one seating, and it was at 10:45. We did not go, but watched it played on our TV in the cabin over and over during the week. There was a midnight buffet by the pool this night, with dancing. It was not nearly as elaborate as the buffets in the past.
Wednesday St. Lucia We woke up to see 5 ships in port!! It was a really busy port day, and probably the least enjoyable of all of our days. We had booked the Cosol tour, but because we were tendered, we had to cut the regular tour short. We still had to pay full price. The tour would have been good, but there were just TOO many people and too many vans. Our Driver, Mustin was polite and informative. He did his best to drive through all the traffic. We had 10 in our van, which was fine, but at every stop, there were people crawling all over each other. We stopped at a banana plantation, and it was just okay. We basically stopped on the side of the road, took a picture, and ate a banana. We then stopped for brunch, which was rum punch, beer, and samples of fruit and fish and bread. Nothing to write home about. Our van decided to cut out the beach tour, and we went to a waterfall (small and crowded) and a "volcano" which looked like a trash dump and smelled worse. The best part of the tour was the St. Lucia Moonshine. I had high expectations for this tour after reading all of the reviews on Cruise Critic. I was disappointed. I think it would have been much more enjoyable if there were half as many people on the tour, and only 2-3 ships in port. Cosol should consider this when booking. I know he makes more money when he has more people, but the experience is not nearly as enjoyable with so many people.
DH and I dined at Portofino's this night. The food was everything I hoped it would be. I had the Carpaccio and it was excellent. The ribbon mushroom pasta is now my new favorite food, and my Filet was prepared perfectly. It was tender and full of flavor. I had the dessert sampler, and was not impressed with any of the desserts. It could have been that I was so full that I just could not enjoy it, but I really did not like any of four samples offered.
The show this night was a comedian, Etta May. She was very funny, and had the audience cracking up. The drink of the day was the Mai Tai
Thursday Barbados DH and I had originally wanted to do a zipline tour in St. Lucia, but since we had decided to go with the Cosol tour, we moved it to Barbados. This tour was booked through Royal Caribbean. The bus ride there was a bit of an adventure, we were probably safer on the tour than on that bus! The people running the zip line were extremely friendly. They were informative and always made sure we were safe. It was evident that safety was their number one priority. I was impressed. We had a lot of fun, although the zips were not very long. We did our last minute shopping here in Barbados. We started to notice lots of cleaning and the hand sanitizer stations were out all over the ship. We had to use them when boarding and before entry into any food venue.
Our last formal night was this night. Almost everyone was dressed up. I saw many more men in tux's this night. Lobster was served, and it was very good. You could have as many as you wanted. My dad had two and the prime rib.
The show was Royal Caribbean's stage show, Vibeology. It was a journey through popular music including Elvis, Beatles, Cher, Janet Jackson, and more. It was pretty good, but once again, the singing was just okay. Quest was later that night. We did not go, but heard it was a riot. The drink of the day was the "Rum Runner"
Friday-At Sea The ship did not at all feel crowded on this day. The pool chairs were taken around the pool by 10:00, but the staff did an excellent job of moving people's stuff if it had sat there for longer than 30 minutes. There were signs out reminding people not to save chairs, and there was a note about it in the compass. We had a little bit of rain throughout the afternoon, which also put an end to the chair hogs!! The belly flop contest was really fun to watch. Dinner was casual, as most people were packing up. I won $40 in the casino that night in the slots! The show was a Comedian, Miguel Washington. He was excellent. Best show of the week. The drink of the day was "Blue Seas"
Saturday-Back at San Juan The only time the ship felt crowded all week, with everyone trying to eat breakfast in the Windjammer at the same time. We booked the Baccardi Rum tour, so we were among the first off of the ship. We quickly found our luggage, cleared customs in less than 10 minutes, dropped off our luggage with our tour group, and got on the van. We were actually early, so our driver took us to the capital and around the fort so we could take pictures! Bonus tour! The rum tour was okay, nothing super special. We got 2 tickets for drinks. We did not buy any rum at the distillery, but did in the San Juan airport once we were through security. It was super cheap. We were allowed to carry it on the plane in the sealed bag they gave us.
Overall: Main Dining Room: Very good. Starters and main course were great. The desserts were not all good, but maybe I should have just gotten something else. The service was outstanding. Windjammer: Good food, but not a lot of selection variation between the days. Service was good. Seaview Cafe: Excellent onion rings, brownies, wings, and Reuben sandwiches. Cabin Attendant: Very friendly and super sweet. I wish I could remember her name! We always had ice, and had towel animals after the 2nd night to the end of the cruise. Cruise Director: Dennis was very nice, friendly, funny, and not overly cheesy. Ship: Beautiful! My favorite ship in the fleet. Great size. It never really felt crowded. There was so much to do. The pool tables are really fun to play on and even fun to watch. There were plenty of activities for us, but we did not stay up long enough for most of the late night activities. The solarium was our favorite place to sit in the afternoons and read a book and relax.
Mokaheena’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7540
Loved having the extended balcony. There is less privacy, but you get more airflow that keeps it cool. It does not get hot like the fully private balconies. It was nice to be close to the elevators. We did feel the ship move more, as we were up front, but it was not bad at all. It rocked us to sleep every night!
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