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We chose this cruise because of its very different itinerary which included Copenhagen as a starting point, 2 ports in Norway, 3 in Iceland, Halifax, and, finally Boston. We had had such a wonderful first-time transAtlantic experience with Princess in April that we were expecting a similar experience with Royal Caribbean. This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We are the kind of folks who look for great itineraries at the best prices (and always a balcony cabin). We have cruised on Princess three times, Carnival twice, and Norwegian four times (3 of those on the Nor. Pearl). So, we were able to compare several things and, unfortunately, this ship/cruise came up short. Here are a few of the reasons why: 1. Only ship that didn't welcome their first-time cruisers with some type of a get-together. 2. Only ship with such abbreviated buffet hours. Several times it closed down and even more "slow down" times. This was a problem when in ports and late returns from tours. 3. Only ship with such unorganized "anytime" dining. 4. Only ship with only one dining room choice. 5. Only ship with so few additional "complimentary" dining choices. In fact, the Park Cafe, in the Solarium, was it. 6. Only ship where buffet frequently ran out of cups for tea and coffee and even glasses for water and juice. TIP: Bring your own insulated coffee cup like I did, so you'll get coffee while others queue up. 7. Only ship where complimentary toilietries weren't automatically supplied (had to ask). Oh, and no chocolates on the pillow, although I heard if you asked, you could get that, too. 8. Only ship where the non high-loyalty passengers were made to feel as if they were in steerage. (I understand some of it, but when we were frequently herded out of rooms for Diamond members to get their free drinks and appetizers and often had to hunt hard for seating in the buffet while a large room with around 50 tables was reserved for Diamond Members and almost always empty--we did feel a bit of the steerage rating.) Okay, here's what I liked. 1. We loved our 9th deck balcony cabin. It is roomier than most and was well laid out. 2. Our cabin attendant was good. 3. We loved the Cruise Director--and I think everyone did. 4. The entertainment was fine. Maybe a little quirky, but we appreciated experiencing comedian, flutist, pianist, featured singers, magicians, and more. First time a ship also offered some of the headline acts in a matinee as well. 5. Great, great group of passengers to meet. 6. The gyroscopic pool tables were a blast and free to all. 7. Beautiful scenery for quiet times (when available) in Safari Club and Vortex. 8. Solarium for comfy use of pool and hot tub for chilly and windy days. 9. Although we were pretty annoyed with the crowding and disorganization in the dining room, the food served was well presented and seemed a bit tastier than our other cruise experiences. Now, although we are pretty mellow about food, this was the only cruise where we found many of the buffet selections quite unappealing (after trying). However, there was always fruit, salad, good bread, great cheeses. AND, we were happy to be able to put on some eating brakes. It's hard to be disciplined when there are just so many good things. Of course, the desserts were very appealing and we had to really work hard to avoid them. We never lacked for a good meal--except when we found the buffet and the dining room closed.

First and Maybe Last Time Aboard a Royal Caribbean Ship

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by mrsmacadam

24 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise because of its very different itinerary which included Copenhagen as a starting point, 2 ports in Norway, 3 in Iceland, Halifax, and, finally Boston. We had had such a wonderful first-time transAtlantic experience with Princess in April that we were expecting a similar experience with Royal Caribbean.

This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We are the kind of folks who look for great itineraries at the best prices (and always a balcony cabin). We have cruised on Princess three times, Carnival twice, and Norwegian four times (3 of those on the Nor. Pearl). So, we were able to compare several things and, unfortunately, this ship/cruise came up short. Here are a few of the reasons why:

1. Only ship that didn't welcome their first-time cruisers with some type of a get-together.

2. Only ship with such abbreviated buffet hours. Several times it closed down and even more "slow down" times. This was a problem when in ports and late returns from tours.

3. Only ship with such unorganized "anytime" dining.

4. Only ship with only one dining room choice.

5. Only ship with so few additional "complimentary" dining choices. In fact, the Park Cafe, in the Solarium, was it.

6. Only ship where buffet frequently ran out of cups for tea and coffee and even glasses for water and juice. TIP: Bring your own insulated coffee cup like I did, so you'll get coffee while others queue up.

7. Only ship where complimentary toilietries weren't automatically supplied (had to ask). Oh, and no chocolates on the pillow, although I heard if you asked, you could get that, too.

8. Only ship where the non high-loyalty passengers were made to feel as if they were in steerage. (I understand some of it, but when we were frequently herded out of rooms for Diamond members to get their free drinks and appetizers and often had to hunt hard for seating in the buffet while a large room with around 50 tables was reserved for Diamond Members and almost always empty--we did feel a bit of the steerage rating.)

Okay, here's what I liked.

1. We loved our 9th deck balcony cabin. It is roomier than most and was well laid out.

2. Our cabin attendant was good.

3. We loved the Cruise Director--and I think everyone did.

4. The entertainment was fine. Maybe a little quirky, but we appreciated experiencing comedian, flutist, pianist, featured singers, magicians, and more. First time a ship also offered some of the headline acts in a matinee as well.

5. Great, great group of passengers to meet.

6. The gyroscopic pool tables were a blast and free to all.

7. Beautiful scenery for quiet times (when available) in Safari Club and Vortex.

8. Solarium for comfy use of pool and hot tub for chilly and windy days.

9. Although we were pretty annoyed with the crowding and disorganization in the dining room, the food served was well presented and seemed a bit tastier than our other cruise experiences.

Now, although we are pretty mellow about food, this was the only cruise where we found many of the buffet selections quite unappealing (after trying). However, there was always fruit, salad, good bread, great cheeses. AND, we were happy to be able to put on some eating brakes. It's hard to be disciplined when there are just so many good things. Of course, the desserts were very appealing and we had to really work hard to avoid them. We never lacked for a good meal--except when we found the buffet and the dining room closed.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9232
We loved our balcony cabin which was much roomier than what we had on previous ships and the balcony itself was much larger as well. There was plenty of room to prop up your feet. The closet layout with a vertical shelving divider really worked out well for us. The room+reading lights could be controlled from bed so we didn't have to get up to turn off the lights. There were two outlets on the desk. TIP: We enjoyed the use of our 6 port USB charger to charge all of our devices. There was plenty of room under the bed to store our suitcases, so no need for crowding in the closet.
  Serenade of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Akureyri
    We walked around but would have enjoyed the port much better if we had known that the CITY BUSES ARE FREE!!!! When we found out we took one twice. If we're there again, we'll study the different lines to see where all they go. The one we took made a long loop that took us up the hills for wonderful views and a good look at where the locals live.
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  • Halifax
    We took the hop on/off bus. The guides were good, BUT it's costly for what it is. Some of our cruisemates got the taxi at the harbor to take them to Peggy's Cove and some other sites for only $200--for 4 people, so that would have been better for us. ANOTHER thought is that the very long cruise port extends into the town. I think the cruise lines reign supreme there because we couldn't purchase the hop bus there for a competitive price as we usually can when we buy in the port. When we were a the Wharf, we saw a sign for a lower price for the same bus--it would have been less than a 1-mile walk for us which we would have been fine with--if we'd known about it.

    THE BIG PROBLEM WITH THIS BUS IS THAT THEY MADE US EXIT THE BUS AT THE CRUISE STOP TO LET OTHERS ON. Long wait to get back on. This negated the attraction of the hop on/off idea. We usually sit for one entire loop to decide where we'll get off the second pass.
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  • Oslo
    We loved Oslo. Great to walk around. Enjoyed the sculpture garden.
    View All 374 Oslo Cruise Port Reviews
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