1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Serenade of the Seas
This was our fourth Royal Caribbean cruise and one of our best. As with any vacation experience there were some positives and some negatives. So let's start with the positives. We flew in to San Juan, Puerto Rico two days before embarkation. We stayed in the Old Town San Juan Sheraton. The hotel was very nice and had a wonderful view of the bay. It is also within walking distance of many of the Old San Juan sites. While in San Juan, we did two excursions booked through the hotel. The first was a Bacardi Rum/Old San Juan Tour. Save your money. The Bacardi Rum tour was a waste. A 30 minute drive to the factory, a 30 minute Bacardi rum commercial, a visit to the gift shop, and a ticket for two Bacardi rum drinks. We had higher expectations and thought we would see the distillery and really how rum was made but this was not the case. The tour of Old San Juan was nice including a guided walking tour of Fort San Cristobal. The guide then dropped us off in town for an hour of free exploration. While the tour was informative, I would recommend saving your money and going to the forts on your own. The National Park Service provides guided tours. The second tour was of the El Yunque Rain Forest and was extremely informative and showcased some of the beauty of Puerto Rico. Embarkation Day was smooth and quick. Serenade of the Seas is a beautiful well laid out ship. We were most impressed with how Serenade seemed so clean and well maintained. In fact, she seemed newer and better looking than the younger Voyager of the Seas which we had sailed on the year before. Here are my quick opinions of the ship: Food - Excellent to Good. Dining room food was excellent. We definitely noticed the portions were smaller from previous cruises but we enjoyed this since we did not leave any meal feeling stuffed. Specialty Restaurants - We attended the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater in Portofino. The food in Portofino is excellent and definitely a step above the dining room. Windjammer - Well it's a buffet and it has not changed in four years. We used it mostly for Breakfast. Service: Excellent to Good. Our Dining Room main waiter, Ravi, was excellent. Our assistant waiter Joseph, while attentive, had short timer's disease as he was getting off the ship at the end of the cruise. I cannot blame him since he said he been on for eight straight months. Our stateroom attendant did a good job but was not as friendly or attentive as past attendants. Entertainment: Average to Poor. We feel that RCCL really needs to update their entertainment. The welcome aboard show and the Broadway review all seem exactly the same as they have for the past three cruises. Another disappointment was the Murder Mystery Theater. We had done this on Voyager a year ago and we had so much fun that we thought we would do it again. We were disappointed to find out that it was the same story with the same villain. Another couple told us that they had not changed the play in six years. On the other hand the bands throughout the ship were excellent. Activities: Average. Since this cruise had only one at sea day there was definitely a drop off in the number of activities offered. While I understand the lack of activities while the ship was in port, the evenings were also lacking. There were times when my wife and I looked at the cruise compass and were amazed there was not much to do besides the main entertainment offering.

Fun in the Southern Caribeen

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by Ecneps74

Trip Details
This was our fourth Royal Caribbean cruise and one of our best. As with any vacation experience there were some positives and some negatives. So let's start with the positives.
We flew in to San Juan, Puerto Rico two days before embarkation. We stayed in the Old Town San Juan Sheraton. The hotel was very nice and had a wonderful view of the bay. It is also within walking distance of many of the Old San Juan sites. While in San Juan, we did two excursions booked through the hotel. The first was a Bacardi Rum/Old San Juan Tour. Save your money. The Bacardi Rum tour was a waste. A 30 minute drive to the factory, a 30 minute Bacardi rum commercial, a visit to the gift shop, and a ticket for two Bacardi rum drinks. We had higher expectations and thought we would see the distillery and really how rum was made but this was not the case. The tour of Old San Juan was nice including a guided walking tour of Fort San Cristobal. The guide then dropped us off in town for an hour of free exploration. While the tour was informative, I would recommend saving your money and going to the forts on your own. The National Park Service provides guided tours. The second tour was of the El Yunque Rain Forest and was extremely informative and showcased some of the beauty of Puerto Rico.
Embarkation Day was smooth and quick. Serenade of the Seas is a beautiful well laid out ship. We were most impressed with how Serenade seemed so clean and well maintained. In fact, she seemed newer and better looking than the younger Voyager of the Seas which we had sailed on the year before.
Here are my quick opinions of the ship: Food - Excellent to Good. Dining room food was excellent. We definitely noticed the portions were smaller from previous cruises but we enjoyed this since we did not leave any meal feeling stuffed. Specialty Restaurants - We attended the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater in Portofino. The food in Portofino is excellent and definitely a step above the dining room. Windjammer - Well it's a buffet and it has not changed in four years. We used it mostly for Breakfast.
Service: Excellent to Good. Our Dining Room main waiter, Ravi, was excellent. Our assistant waiter Joseph, while attentive, had short timer's disease as he was getting off the ship at the end of the cruise. I cannot blame him since he said he been on for eight straight months. Our stateroom attendant did a good job but was not as friendly or attentive as past attendants.
Entertainment: Average to Poor. We feel that RCCL really needs to update their entertainment. The welcome aboard show and the Broadway review all seem exactly the same as they have for the past three cruises. Another disappointment was the Murder Mystery Theater. We had done this on Voyager a year ago and we had so much fun that we thought we would do it again. We were disappointed to find out that it was the same story with the same villain. Another couple told us that they had not changed the play in six years. On the other hand the bands throughout the ship were excellent. Activities: Average. Since this cruise had only one at sea day there was definitely a drop off in the number of activities offered. While I understand the lack of activities while the ship was in port, the evenings were also lacking. There were times when my wife and I looked at the cruise compass and were amazed there was not much to do besides the main entertainment offering.
Ecneps74’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Rates
Service
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Cabin 1602
1602 - This is an aft cabin junior suite. The view from the incredibly spacious balcony is fantastic. Because it is an aft cabin the balcony was at least twice as large as normal balconies with space for two lounge chairs + two upright chairs and a table. This was also a quiet location with the only noise coming from the windjammer above.
  Serenade of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Antigua
    View All 1,572 Antigua Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Antigua Cruise Port Review
  • Barbados
    Best port of the stop. While the ship was docked away from the cruise terminal the shuttles were quick and ubiquitous. The cruise terminal provides many of the same shops as other ports but they are indoor and air conditioned. We did the Harrison's cave and 4x4 excursion which were informative and fun. The cave has some neat features. We also engaged a cab driver to take us to a local beach. The beach was beautiful and felt very secure. We paid for a chair and umbrella $10 which we hardly ended up using since the water was so gorgeous.
    View All 1,550 Barbados Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Barbados Cruise Port Review
  • St. Lucia
    The most beautiful island of the cruise. However, we chose a poor excursion for this island. We did the Plantation House/Piton tour. While we enjoyed the Plantation house and the view of the Pitons the 1.5 hour drive on twisty mountain roads made this tour hard to endure. I am not prone to car sickness but was glad when we stopped. We had chosen this tour because we wanted to see the Pitons as they were a "Not to be missed item". Little did we know that the captain took the ship right by them and did a slow 360 degree turn so everybody would have an excellent view.
    View All 1,410 St. Lucia Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Lucia Cruise Port Review
  • St. Maarten
    St. Maarten was beautiful. You have to either take a water taxi or cab to get to downtown but prices are reasonable with an all day pass running you $6 for the water taxi. We did the Tiki Park Snorkel Excursion. This is a perfect way to lounge in the sea and sun and enjoy some snorkeling. Everything is at your own pace at the tiki hut including when you return to the ship. This was also a great excursion since there were only 10 of us. We did travel downtown and had a late lunch overlooking the bay at the Harbor Bay restaurant. We tried some local flavor and we were not disappointed. The Curry Goat with Macaroni was fantastic!
    View All 4,786 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Maarten Cruise Port Review
  • St. Thomas
    St. Thomas was beautiful. There is easy access to the ships and many shops right off the dock. We did the Coral World/Megan's bay beach break excursion. It was very nice. Coral World seemed to be a much worn out aquarium but it would be excellent for families with small children. Megan's Bay was nice but crowded. The water was cooler than expected but still most enjoyable.
    View All 4,726 St. Thomas Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Thomas Cruise Port Review