A week to remember!: Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by SOPOME

Serenade of the Seas 5
Member Since 2009
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A week to remember!

Sail Date: December 2009
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
We (DH and I) took a direct flight from Boston to San Juan, and arrived on Friday. We stayed at the Sheraton in Old San Juan. I had booked a AAA package, which included a free breakfast; and I have a frequent stay membership account with Starwood (although I don't have a huge number of points), and I think the combination of both is what landed us a great room - 8th floor, overlooking the harbor! In fact I was able to check in and get our room key around 1:30pm! We had a front and center view of the Serenade coming into port on Saturday morning. Breakfast was a buffet, and the food was very good. I would definitely stay at the Sheraton again.

We caught the (free) trolley outside the hotel and rode up to the Fort, took some pictures and then walked to the shopping area. (I brought a 20% off coupon with me from COACH and got a great price on a purse from the outlet store!)

Checked out from the Sheraton at 11am, took a taxi to the pier, and stood in line until More about 11:45 when RCCL started the check in process. By about 12:15 we were allowed to embark. We had a nice surprise when we got on board and were told our cabins were ready. Apparently the SOS was chartered the previous week, so there were no passengers disembarking before us. I guess the cabin stewards had plenty of time to clean up before the ship got to San Juan.

We spent the afternoon getting familiar with the ship. We chose MTD and really enjoyed the freedom to choose our dining time. Most nights we went to the dining room around 7:30pm. It took about 90 minutes from sit down to finishing dessert, and that worked well to go directly to a 9pm show after that.

We had one of the "famous" hump balcony cabins. The mid-ship location was great, and very convenient as previous reviewers have mentioned.

Be sure to find your way to the Sea View Cafe at some point during the week. It's kind of hidden up on 12, but well worth your trip!

We got room service for breakfast on the days we had early excursions. The other days we went to the Windjammer and ate outside in the back. That was really nice!

The muster drill doesn't require you to bring your life jackets which is really nice!

We found disembarkment very organized. We were off the ship by 9am and in a taxi by 9:45. Our flight wasn't until 2pm, so we had plenty of time to go through the agriculture scan, check in, and security at the airport.

We loved the ship overall - perfect size and plenty to do. Less

Published 12/20/09

Cabin review: E28592 Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony

Hump cabin, deck 8, great location, convenient, typical cabin & balcony size-wise.

Read All Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony (E2) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

This was the only port where we didn't plan a tour. Our ship didn't get into port until 11am and there were 4+ ships already there. I knew this ahead of time and figured it would be a crazy day. We like history, so we decided to take a taxi to the George Washington House and tour the property. It was really interesting and we are glad we went. The taxi cost us $12 from the pier and $10 to return. We were able to catch a taxi one street over from the GWH. (ask at the house for directions) We initially were going to go to Carlisle Beach after the GWH (which we could have walked to) but we decided to head back to the pier and do a little shopping. My DH ended up buying a watch, and found out later that he beat the price of the same watch on the ship -- that was a good feeling! (not to the salesperson on board though, when we asked!)
Read 1223 Barbados Reviews

We took an RCCL tour to see Fort Frederick, Grand Etang Lake, Annadale Falls, and a spice plantation. It was so interesting! The tour guide did a great job telling us about the 1979-1983 period of unrest on the island, and also the destruction from hurricane IVAN in 2004. It was all fascinating (and sad) to hear from someone who experienced it all. The island is beautiful -- the vegetation from the rain forest, the flowers, and the fruit and spice crops! One of the shoreline roads was damaged on the day we were there so the tour guide had to drive us up over the mountain(s) to get to all of our stops. I think we actually "lucked out" to be able to see what typically others would not. There are opportunities at each stop to buy spice souvenirs from vendors, so be sure to bring some home. The smell alone is amazing!
Read 531 Grenada Reviews

Technically the ship stopped in Tortola. But we chose an excursion to Jost Van Dyke and really didn't spend any time on Tortola to rate the island.

We LOVED Jost Van Dyke. We booked this through RCCL. We (about 20 of us) took a boat to White Bay Beach, which took about 45 minutes. We were on one end of this pristine white sand beach at a private catering spot for us. The excursion hosts set up a bar and barbecue for lunch. We had loungers for the beach. There were no umbrellas but there was shade beneath some trees. I had read about The Soggy Dollar Bar so we walked down the beach to find that. At about 10am we were sampling the famous PAINKILLER drink, and it was definitely worth the trip! When we arrived on the island there may have been 2-3 sailboats anchored off shore, but by the time we left around 1pm, I think there were 10+. What did we love about it? The seclusion of the island and beach, the setting, the scenery, the swimming, the relaxing, Soggy Dollar -- you get the idea! By the way, for any law enforcement people out there, Soggy Dollar has patches on display everywhere, along their ceiling. Bring one with you if you intend to go!

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Member Since 2009
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