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We chose this cruise because of the timing (over Thanksgiving), we hadn't been to two of the four ports, size of the ship (not one of the mega ships) and great price for a balcony room at just $750pp. Overall, I can tell you we had a wonderful time and would go on this ship again if the opportunity to get the same deal came up again. Now for the details.... We were very satisfied with the room and our room steward. The embarkation process went very quickly -- loved that! We ate most of our dinners in the main dining room on 'my time diring." I would recommend making reservations for this early, as their schedule fills up very quickly. They also like to keep you with the same wait staff though out the cruise (so you're more likely to leave additional $$ tips), and I think that effects your ability to get the reservation you want. Looking back, I think we would have been better off mentioning that we didn't care about getting the same wait staff when we were told our desired time wasn't available. The food was very good considering the price we paid for the cruise -- nice presentation, good service. Served at correct temperature, and prepared well. Chicken was exceptional no matter how I ordered it. If you want higher end dishes (i.e steak, lobster, etc.), you will need to pay to upgrade to a specialty dining room. We didn't do that, and we were fine with it. The buffet in Windjammers was good too. Lots of variety. Breads were great. Bacon was always cooked perfectly. Scrambled eggs weren't my favorite -- very watery. But I found lots of choices that I did like very much -- French toast -- yum! The fitness area was very large -- lots of various kinds of equipment -- and not crowded. I just used the treadmills and bikes and they were high quality and in excellent condition. Very nice. They also had many free seminars there; and although we attended only one, it was well presented and very interesting. Live music though out the ship ranged from good at a minimum to excellent -- and there was plenty of it. Very nice. Line dance lessons looked like fun with many participants and lots of smiles. This ship doesn't have a real library area. What they refer to as their library is a few bookcases behind some pool tables. So when you're selecting a book, don't bend over! Selection was also poor. I really like HAL's library area where they have wonderfully comfortable recliners looking out on over the water, lots of games, jigsaw puzzles, and cases and cases of all sorts of books. RCI came up very short in that area for me. Room service was just so-so. They have many choices for free continental breakfast items. They charge $7.95 service charge on the entire order if you want eggs, meat, etc. They have that same charge on all other room service. Our breakfasts were usually late, and once they missed us all together. They lost another order for an evening snack -- took a few hours before it was finally delivered. Qualify of room service food was average at best. Shows were pretty much what most of the ships we've been on have. I can take it or leave it. Although I think they do have wait service in their theatre, we weren't offered service the two times we were in it. We had fun at their Bingo games, but I don't think I would go again. It was very expensive, and the prizes didn't reflect it. I think RCI probably took in more than $4K on their first Bingo, but there were only 3 games, and prizes added up to just about $1K. I expect them to make a profit, but that's a bit much, no? Their Cinema showed first run movies, and had stadium seating for 40, just like a real theater. If they had made popcorn available, that would change my very good rating to excellent! PHOTOGRAPHERS - worked hard and put out fabulous pictures. Well done. I sure would have liked a folder for my $20 8X10 though. It would have made it a lot easier to transport home without incident! Come on guys!! The ports we visited were GREAT! We've been to KEY WEST many times, but always love that place. This time we took the Hop on/off Trolley tour and were very glad we did. Our driver gave us lots of info about island history, places worth the visit and places to pass on. Very interesting and fun. ROATAN -- we took a "Sand and Sea" tour offered through cruises.com and it was AWESOME! We were out all day (7 hours) and saw/learned a lot about the island and its people. I recommend it very highly. Our guide, Andy, was extremely accommodating and a native of the island. If I went again, I would ask for him, but based on what I saw, I think they are likely all that good. The tour operator on the island is "RRI," I think. COSTA MAYA - The port was exceptionally nice, so we never even made it into town! They had a big free pool, lots and lots of nice shops, activities i.e. swim with sting rays, and many restaurants as well. They even had some entertainment going on though out our time there. Very nice. Bring cash if you go shopping though, as they clipped us a bit on an unreasonable exchange rate when we used a credit card for a purchase. COZUMEL -- I haven't been there in a long time, and lots of improvements have been made. The port area was much larger than I remember it, with many, many shops. We went on RCI's "JOSE CUERVO TEQUILA TASTING" and it was awesome. Our guide knew tequila inside and out even though he didn't look more than 20! If you like tequila, this is a MUST! You'll learn that Jose Cuervo makes a lot more tequila than you might know about! For $69pp, we learned a lot about tequila, with ample samples; toured a cool museum, walked through an area with many 1/25 replicas of various Mayan buildings/pyramids, had a delicious lunch (lots more than the taco bar they advertise), and a great frozen margarita with special seasonings on the rim instead of salt! Excellente!! Once again, we think that we got lots of value for our $$. Very enjoyable.

FIRST RCI CRUISE

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by dtchs

Trip Details
We chose this cruise because of the timing (over Thanksgiving), we hadn't been to two of the four ports, size of the ship (not one of the mega ships) and great price for a balcony room at just $750pp.

Overall, I can tell you we had a wonderful time and would go on this ship again if the opportunity to get the same deal came up again. Now for the details....

We were very satisfied with the room and our room steward. The embarkation process went very quickly -- loved that!

We ate most of our dinners in the main dining room on 'my time diring." I would recommend making reservations for this early, as their schedule fills up very quickly. They also like to keep you with the same wait staff though out the cruise (so you're more likely to leave additional $$ tips), and I think that effects your ability to get the reservation you want. Looking back, I think we would have been better off mentioning that we didn't care about getting the same wait staff when we were told our desired time wasn't available. The food was very good considering the price we paid for the cruise -- nice presentation, good service. Served at correct temperature, and prepared well. Chicken was exceptional no matter how I ordered it. If you want higher end dishes (i.e steak, lobster, etc.), you will need to pay to upgrade to a specialty dining room. We didn't do that, and we were fine with it.

The buffet in Windjammers was good too. Lots of variety. Breads were great. Bacon was always cooked perfectly. Scrambled eggs weren't my favorite -- very watery. But I found lots of choices that I did like very much -- French toast -- yum!

The fitness area was very large -- lots of various kinds of equipment -- and not crowded. I just used the treadmills and bikes and they were high quality and in excellent condition.

Very nice. They also had many free seminars there; and although we attended only one, it was well presented and very interesting.

Live music though out the ship ranged from good at a minimum to excellent -- and there was plenty of it. Very nice. Line dance lessons looked like fun with many participants and lots of smiles.

This ship doesn't have a real library area. What they refer to as their library is a few bookcases behind some pool tables. So when you're selecting a book, don't bend over! Selection was also poor. I really like HAL's library area where they have wonderfully comfortable recliners looking out on over the water, lots of games, jigsaw puzzles, and cases and cases of all sorts of books. RCI came up very short in that area for me.

Room service was just so-so. They have many choices for free continental breakfast items. They charge $7.95 service charge on the entire order if you want eggs, meat, etc. They have that same charge on all other room service. Our breakfasts were usually late, and once they missed us all together. They lost another order for an evening snack -- took a few hours before it was finally delivered. Qualify of room service food was average at best.

Shows were pretty much what most of the ships we've been on have. I can take it or leave it. Although I think they do have wait service in their theatre, we weren't offered service the two times we were in it.

We had fun at their Bingo games, but I don't think I would go again. It was very expensive, and the prizes didn't reflect it. I think RCI probably took in more than $4K on their first Bingo, but there were only 3 games, and prizes added up to just about $1K. I expect them to make a profit, but that's a bit much, no?

Their Cinema showed first run movies, and had stadium seating for 40, just like a real theater. If they had made popcorn available, that would change my very good rating to excellent!

PHOTOGRAPHERS - worked hard and put out fabulous pictures. Well done. I sure would have liked a folder for my $20 8X10 though. It would have made it a lot easier to transport home without incident! Come on guys!!

The ports we visited were GREAT! We've been to KEY WEST many times, but always love that place. This time we took the Hop on/off Trolley tour and were very glad we did. Our driver gave us lots of info about island history, places worth the visit and places to pass on. Very interesting and fun.

ROATAN -- we took a "Sand and Sea" tour offered through cruises.com and it was AWESOME! We were out all day (7 hours) and saw/learned a lot about the island and its people. I recommend it very highly. Our guide, Andy, was extremely accommodating and a native of the island. If I went again, I would ask for him, but based on what I saw, I think they are likely all that good. The tour operator on the island is "RRI," I think.

COSTA MAYA - The port was exceptionally nice, so we never even made it into town! They had a big free pool, lots and lots of nice shops, activities i.e. swim with sting rays, and many restaurants as well. They even had some entertainment going on though out our time there. Very nice. Bring cash if you go shopping though, as they clipped us a bit on an unreasonable exchange rate when we used a credit card for a purchase.

COZUMEL -- I haven't been there in a long time, and lots of improvements have been made. The port area was much larger than I remember it, with many, many shops. We went on RCI's "JOSE CUERVO TEQUILA TASTING" and it was awesome. Our guide knew tequila inside and out even though he didn't look more than 20! If you like tequila, this is a MUST! You'll learn that Jose Cuervo makes a lot more tequila than you might know about! For $69pp, we learned a lot about tequila, with ample samples; toured a cool museum, walked through an area with many 1/25 replicas of various Mayan buildings/pyramids, had a delicious lunch (lots more than the taco bar they advertise), and a great frozen margarita with special seasonings on the rim instead of salt! Excellente!!


Once again, we think that we got lots of value for our $$. Very enjoyable.
dtchs’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1500
Very nice cabin. Plenty of room and storage space. Well laid out. Excellent water pressure. Would have liked to have a regular plug available in the bathroom though. We couldn't hear public announcements in our room even after playing around with what we think was the volume control.
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