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My wife and I booked this cruise with our 9yr old twins and her parents. We had booked this particular cruise because of the itinerary, as we had always wanted to see Russia, and figured this was the most cost effective and easiest way. With all the other ships coming out of late, we had wanted and hoped that one of the bigger ships would of been offered. Overall because of the destinations and that we only really had one day at sea, we were preoccupied with the shore excursions to the point where the ship didn't really matter. It would of been nice to have the extra amenities that the new ships have, but with only one day at see and packed shore excursions, it was ok. The cabin was great, standard interior on the 3rd deck, with 2 pullman beds that come down. We put our suitcases under the bed (tip from another Cruisecritic post!) and had enough room for 4. Others have said that it is way too small, but we had 9yr old twins and us in the room, and we felt it fine. You could always use more room, but we were honestly only in the room to sleep (the old Vegas line!) so we didn't need more room nor would of wanted to pay for a bit larger room. Dining we stayed with the any time dining. We didn't choose any of the specialty restaurants, as I just feel they don't really give you that much more value or quality over what you get in the main dining room, at least with the restaurants offered on this ship (Giovanni's, Chops, Rita's Cantina and the Japanese restaurant). The only knock to the any time dining is you sometimes don't get to keep the same waiters, and we loved the first two we had, and had a hard time getting a table again in their section. At the same time, I guess if you didn't like your first two, that would also be a benefit. Entertainment and activities are on the regular side, given that we read up on what goes on in the new Oasis class ships. Again though, for us, after a long day on land, then dinner, with kids, we didn't really partake in anything as were too tired too. Service is always spot on, and always impressed with the cleanliness and speed of which they perform given the size and numbers they deal with, and always come across as if they really want too be there for you! Ports were amazing. St. Petersburg (so far the nicest city I have personally seen) is amazing. At every corner you turn, you walk into history, castles, mansions, etc... it is over the top. Helsinki was fun, but probably on the bottom of all the ports, but given the ports on this trip were over the top, it isn't a knock to Helsinki. Tallin is a medieval town from Europe that was awesome. We loved how you could have a modern day town that also could transport you back in time and make you imagine as you walk through the streets what it was like back in those times. Riga was a mix of both, and both my wife and felt that we could easily live in that city and retire there, as it was a gorgeous and clean and modern city, with friendly people, and still has the old world. Our kids did not participate in any of the kids clubs this trip, as we were in port for just one day, and we always got back to the ship before dinner. So I can't comment on them, but from the daily compass, the activities looked pretty good. The kids LOVED the cruise, and want to go on more. They love the room because they get beds that come down from the ceiling, and our kids thought it was awesome that you wake up and are in a different city every time. The staff were great to them, and they really looked forward to seeing our waiters every night. I would highly recommend this cruise, and like I said, the only knock would be that the ship is one of the smaller ones and doesn't come with that many onboard amenities like the Oasis class, but given that we were barely on the ship, that really didn't affect our trip at all. Already booked our next one to the Caribean on an Oasis class, where I figure we would be on the ship more!

Amazing Port of Calls with a Packed Itinerary

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by JasonC

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
My wife and I booked this cruise with our 9yr old twins and her parents. We had booked this particular cruise because of the itinerary, as we had always wanted to see Russia, and figured this was the most cost effective and easiest way.

With all the other ships coming out of late, we had wanted and hoped that one of the bigger ships would of been offered. Overall because of the destinations and that we only really had one day at sea, we were preoccupied with the shore excursions to the point where the ship didn't really matter. It would of been nice to have the extra amenities that the new ships have, but with only one day at see and packed shore excursions, it was ok.

The cabin was great, standard interior on the 3rd deck, with 2 pullman beds that come down. We put our suitcases under the bed (tip from another Cruisecritic post!) and had enough room for 4. Others have said that it is way too small, but we had 9yr old twins and us in the room, and we felt it fine. You could always use more room, but we were honestly only in the room to sleep (the old Vegas line!) so we didn't need more room nor would of wanted to pay for a bit larger room.

Dining we stayed with the any time dining. We didn't choose any of the specialty restaurants, as I just feel they don't really give you that much more value or quality over what you get in the main dining room, at least with the restaurants offered on this ship (Giovanni's, Chops, Rita's Cantina and the Japanese restaurant). The only knock to the any time dining is you sometimes don't get to keep the same waiters, and we loved the first two we had, and had a hard time getting a table again in their section. At the same time, I guess if you didn't like your first two, that would also be a benefit.

Entertainment and activities are on the regular side, given that we read up on what goes on in the new Oasis class ships. Again though, for us, after a long day on land, then dinner, with kids, we didn't really partake in anything as were too tired too.

Service is always spot on, and always impressed with the cleanliness and speed of which they perform given the size and numbers they deal with, and always come across as if they really want too be there for you!

Ports were amazing. St. Petersburg (so far the nicest city I have personally seen) is amazing. At every corner you turn, you walk into history, castles, mansions, etc... it is over the top. Helsinki was fun, but probably on the bottom of all the ports, but given the ports on this trip were over the top, it isn't a knock to Helsinki. Tallin is a medieval town from Europe that was awesome. We loved how you could have a modern day town that also could transport you back in time and make you imagine as you walk through the streets what it was like back in those times. Riga was a mix of both, and both my wife and felt that we could easily live in that city and retire there, as it was a gorgeous and clean and modern city, with friendly people, and still has the old world.

Our kids did not participate in any of the kids clubs this trip, as we were in port for just one day, and we always got back to the ship before dinner. So I can't comment on them, but from the daily compass, the activities looked pretty good. The kids LOVED the cruise, and want to go on more. They love the room because they get beds that come down from the ceiling, and our kids thought it was awesome that you wake up and are in a different city every time. The staff were great to them, and they really looked forward to seeing our waiters every night.

I would highly recommend this cruise, and like I said, the only knock would be that the ship is one of the smaller ones and doesn't come with that many onboard amenities like the Oasis class, but given that we were barely on the ship, that really didn't affect our trip at all.

Already booked our next one to the Caribean on an Oasis class, where I figure we would be on the ship more!
JasonC’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Ages 7 to 9
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Cabin Review

Cabin 3571
Clean and comfy. Standard inside state room with two pullan beds. I find it OK for a family of 4 (2 adults and 9 year old twins) as we don't really spend time in the room, and the time we did, you easily make do. A standard hotel room doesn't give you much more anyways. We find the value worth it and rather spend the money on excursions than upgrade the cabin for a small amount of room.

Perhaps on an Alaskan cruise or Mediterranean cruise where you may use a balcony given the sites it would be worth it, but for this European cruise, you don't see much as you cruise around the Baltic, and not worth it.
  Serenade of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Riga
    A mix of old world and new. You get the medieval nature of the old town, but then it is a very modern place. It really blew us away how you had the two contrasting time periods in the same city, and it just seemed to mesh together effortlessly. This is a city you could spend a lot of time in and enjoying the outdoor bars, cafes, markets, etc... an awesome city that we had no clue about!
    View All 68 Riga Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Riga Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    We booked a private tour through Alla-tours and had simply the most amazing tour guide in Maria Goncharenko. Was a fountain of information and interesting stories from a local, who took us through all the sites in St. Petersburg. I would highly recommend a private tour in the big cities, as we were bypassing lines at all the sites, ahead of all the RCI tours, and that allowed us to see a ton, probably 3x the amount if not more than what a ship tour would provide.
    View All 346 City Tour Reviews
  • Stockholm
    Stockholm is an amazing city. The people are very friendly, and given its international nature, you get a lot of English spoken all over as you have travelers from everywhere, so it makes it easy to navigate. Transit is great, and easy to use and gets you to every location you would want to go to. We arrived 4 days earlier and stayed to explore the city, and took in all the standard sites as well as just had time to walk around and explore. Gamla Stan, the old city, is easily walkable and you can see the entire place just by walking, including the Royal Palace. Lots of restaurants and food options are available, so it should satisfy any palette and price point.
    View All 839 Stockholm Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Tallinn
    Tallinn is a must see city. You feel like you are in medieval times, and it is hard to even describe. It is a beautiful small city with friendly people and a definite place to see. When we were there they even had a medieval fair going on with everyone in town dressed in time period clothing.
    View All 1,031 Tallinn Cruise Port Reviews
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