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My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas. I wanted to share some hints to others that may make their cruise a bit more enjoyable, and share some things I could have lived without. First the good. The Serenade of the Seas is a clean, beautiful, well kept ship. On-board activities were awesome. The food was fantastic. 99.9% of all personnel were very friendly. So lets address the .1% who were not. During one of our few trips to the formal dining room (which I despise), we attempted to use RCCL's "My Time Dining". We ended up in a line of passengers, and were asked to step aside to wait for a table. Another couple were then allowed to go before us to the table we were waiting for (an obvious lack of communication between the host and hostess). My wife was unhappy with the event and after airing her concerns over the event, she was told she was being rude. Then, while video taping and creating some memories around the ship, I specifically asked if I may video tape in a specific area of the ship, and was told yes by a crew member. Upon entering the area (a public area), I was seen with my camcorder by other crew members and even waved at. Then, at my suprise and displeasure I was approached by a gentlemen with a mob boss attitude and told to stop recording (which I did). I explained I had been told it was okay. He then questioned me as to who had given me permission (as if I was lying). So in a response to our treatment, let me now suggest the following ways the budget concious can save money, and keep it out of RCCL's hands: Do like we did, and book your excursions through independant operators on the islands. Spend your money locally while there. Eat in the Windjammer whenever you want, and save the money you would blow on gratuities for people you will never use the services of (head waiter, waiter). Also, precruise gratuity payments will stick you with possibly giving people money you'll never use. Use the local taxis instead of RCCL buses between the airport and the cruise terminal (both ways). Experience the locals and save 50%. Take lots of cash for cabs and tipping on the islands, and avoid the $6 fee at the ATM on the ship. Learn the exchange rate between Euros and the Dollar, and the East Caribbean Dollar and the U.S. Dollar. Don't waste your money and baggage space on formal clothing, a tux rental, or the formal night pics. Simply buy ONE of the boatload of pics they'll shoot of you when you get off in each port. Don't waste your money on the soda package. Tea, water, lemonade and coffee are free. There are only two outlets in each room. So if you have low wattage chargers for phones, camera batteries, a three way can come in handy (NO HAIRDRYERS or IRONS). Be smart, be safe. You will have almost no cell phone service, and the public computers are cheaper than the wi-fi service in the rooms. You will be thirsty ALOT. And the water in the cabin fridge is $3.95 a bottle. Pack a couple of bottles of water in your luggage and refill them with glasses of water from the Windjammer, and the ice bucket in your room. Ignore the boarding time in your cruise documents. They were boarding when we arrived at 3pm. Last but not least, liquor is high, beer is cheaper. Have fun!

Love RCCL, but...

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by islandman007

Trip Details
My wife and I just returned from a 7 day cruise on Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas. I wanted to share some hints to others that may make their cruise a bit more enjoyable, and share some things I could have lived without.
First the good. The Serenade of the Seas is a clean, beautiful, well kept ship. On-board activities were awesome. The food was fantastic. 99.9% of all personnel were very friendly.
So lets address the .1% who were not. During one of our few trips to the formal dining room (which I despise), we attempted to use RCCL's "My Time Dining". We ended up in a line of passengers, and were asked to step aside to wait for a table. Another couple were then allowed to go before us to the table we were waiting for (an obvious lack of communication between the host and hostess). My wife was unhappy with the event and after airing her concerns over the event, she was told she was being rude. Then, while video taping and creating some memories around the ship, I specifically asked if I may video tape in a specific area of the ship, and was told yes by a crew member. Upon entering the area (a public area), I was seen with my camcorder by other crew members and even waved at. Then, at my suprise and displeasure I was approached by a gentlemen with a mob boss attitude and told to stop recording (which I did). I explained I had been told it was okay. He then questioned me as to who had given me permission (as if I was lying).
So in a response to our treatment, let me now suggest the following ways the budget concious can save money, and keep it out of RCCL's hands:
Do like we did, and book your excursions through independant operators on the islands. Spend your money locally while there.
Eat in the Windjammer whenever you want, and save the money you would blow on gratuities for people you will never use the services of (head waiter, waiter). Also, precruise gratuity payments will stick you with possibly giving people money you'll never use.
Use the local taxis instead of RCCL buses between the airport and the cruise terminal (both ways). Experience the locals and save 50%.
Take lots of cash for cabs and tipping on the islands, and avoid the $6 fee at the ATM on the ship.
Learn the exchange rate between Euros and the Dollar, and the East Caribbean Dollar and the U.S. Dollar.
Don't waste your money and baggage space on formal clothing, a tux rental, or the formal night pics. Simply buy ONE of the boatload of pics they'll shoot of you when you get off in each port.
Don't waste your money on the soda package. Tea, water, lemonade and coffee are free.
There are only two outlets in each room. So if you have low wattage chargers for phones, camera batteries, a three way can come in handy (NO HAIRDRYERS or IRONS). Be smart, be safe.
You will have almost no cell phone service, and the public computers are cheaper than the wi-fi service in the rooms.
You will be thirsty ALOT. And the water in the cabin fridge is $3.95 a bottle. Pack a couple of bottles of water in your luggage and refill them with glasses of water from the Windjammer, and the ice bucket in your room.
Ignore the boarding time in your cruise documents. They were boarding when we arrived at 3pm.
Last but not least, liquor is high, beer is cheaper.
Have fun!
islandman007’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Once again the cabin is small but really all you need, with limited power outlets and limited space for luggage storage. However the balcony was great!
Beds were comfy. Rooms are quiet.
  Serenade of the Seas Deck Plans