My husband and I decided to go on a cruise to The Southern Caribbean and were able to find a good price, so we booked a 10-day cruise leaving from Fort Lauderdale Florida on November 24th, 2017.
On the day we booked ( three weeks prior to the set sail) Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas was having a sale where if you bought one ticket, you would get another for half price, and this was for an exterior stateroom with a nice porthole window. The good price meant we could not choose our own stateroom, but the cruise line would choose one for us. They chose a stateroom on deck three, directly under the Tropical theater, which is forward on the ship.
We were ok with the location of the stateroom and weren't really bothered much by the theater noise. The cabin seemed to be well insulated from the next door cabins. We didn't really hear any noise from adjacent cabins or people walking down the hall.
We did find being so far forward required a lot of walking, as dining and the pool area were aft. That's something to keep in mind when booking.
The Serenade of the Seas isn't a really large ship, but it seemed to be well maintained. Being smaller, there were fewer people, which was nice. There were a lot of older cruisers, and we saw just a hand full of children.
The pool areas were really quite small, and they seemed to always be packed. It looked like the pool chairs were hard to come by, so we never took advantage of the pool.
There were lots of places on the ship that provided peace and quiet. We enjoyed Deck 5, although smoking is allowed in some areas of Deck five, so if you are bothered by cigarette smoke, you might not like it.
The headline entertainment was good, but the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers were just so so. Kind of cheesy, like a high school musical.
The main room dining was very good, and the service was exceptional, especially from Katrina and Alfredo.
The Windjammer buffet was not very good. The first day we ate lunch at the buffet and thought it was pretty good. By day ten, there wasn't anything in the buffet we wanted to eat.
The desserts looked better than they tasted, and you could not find 24 hour a day dining anywhere on the ship.
One thing we found very disappointing was that the ship visited Bridgetown, Barbados on the island's Indepencance Day. All of the shops were pretty much closed for the National holiday. You would think Royal Caibbean would check on national holidays before making a stop.
Another thing that bothered us was the constant trying to sell things on the ship. They pushed photo's and the drink packages, and the jewelry and gifts shops. It almost felt like we were living on the set of the Home Shopping Network.
Disembarking was easy but Royal Caribbean put my husband's luggage in the wrong area. We had priority disembarking because we had a shore excursion. We had disembarking number 3, and they put his luggage in area 16. You can imagine how frustrating it was to try and find his luggage among thousands of other pieces. Totally not acceptable.
We did have a good time on the cruise, but I don't imagine we'll cruise again with Royal Caribbean.
The cabin was small but had good storage. The twin beds were put together when we checked in, and we had requested twin beds. Our cabin steward Pandai was great to have the beds set up properly by the time we returned from dinner.
The beds were very hard, and not very comfortable, as well as the pillows. The beds were clearly worn, and there were body impressions. Clearly, the beds need to be replaced. The couch had some threadbare spots on the arm, and should probably be replaced as well.
The toilet was almost unusable. The toilet lid that you sat on was so narrow it really hurt to sit for any amount of time. The toilet sits quite high, and I couldn't touch the floor while I was sitting. I am not a short person, I am five foot seven inches.
The shower is tiny, but that is to be expected in such a small bathroom. Good water pressure though.
Drinking water from the state rooms were luke warm, but I understand we could have requested ice.
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