Some fun and a few disappointments: Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by el754

Serenade of the Seas 4
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Some fun and a few disappointments

Sail Date: January 2010
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
My husband and I just returned from a 7 day Southern Caribbean cruise on RCI's Serenade of the Seas. We were looking forward to several snorkeling venues. The boarding process on the ship was uneventful and efficient. We had booked a cabin on Deck 2. Although the description online had mentioned that the outside cabins on Level 2 had portholes instead of windows, we were disappointed by the small size and recessed location of the porthole, which was very difficult to see out of. It did let some light into the cabin, but there was no view to speak of. The location on Deck 2 was quiet. However, there were a number of days when there was a distinct odor in the passageway, which smelled like the septic tank was immediately underneath. The cabin itself was comfortable, with an excellent shower, quite a bit of well-organized storage, and a small sofa.

There were several nice aspects of the layout of the ship. The Shipshape gym and workout area was excellent, and was never crowded. More The deck in front of the gym had chairs that offered shade an an unobstructed view of the ocean ahead of the ship. The pool offered bars on two levels, so it was usually easy to order drinks. The Miami Vice was a good drink, as were Mojitos.

It rained the first day, when we arrived at Tortola BVI. Our snorkeling shore excursion offered a refund, which we accepted. We made a beeline to the atrium and located lounge chairs inside, but near the atrium pool, right after breakfast, knowing that the ship would be full all day. This provided a peaceful place to read and relax.

The Windjammer provides a very nice venue for breakfast and lunch. There are many options, including a salad bar, sandwiches and wraps, pizza, and hot entrees. We liked the flexibility of this arrangement and we enjoyed finding seating in the window areas where we could see the port destinations each day before leaving the ship for sightseeing.

We ate dinner in the dining room each evening. We had chosen My Time dining, thinking it would provide greater flexibility. In fact, we ended up eating each night about 6:30, and we were able to sit at the same table with the same servers. One of the disadvantages of My Time Dining is the need to wait in line and the uncertainty about where tables will be available, but we missed that by settling into a routine. Our waiter and assistant waiter were very attentive, and they provided helpful information about port activities as well. The food itself was not remarkable, to say the least. We may be spoiled by the restaurants we are able to frequent in the Washington DC area, but most of the main dinner entrees were uninspired. The appetizers, salads, and desserts were much better. The vegetarian entrees were better than some of the other options. I ordered the salmon, which came out quite dry. The waiter seemed to anticipate this problem and brought me lots of lemons, which saved the day. The pasta options were good, and some of the seafood, such as a lobster tail and shrimp combo. The food came promptly, and considering the fact that 2000 meals were being served, I guess we should have been satisfied. But we were unimpressed overall with the quality of the cuisine. Less

Published 02/01/10
Helpful? Thank el754

Cabin review: 2010

Quiet location, although billed as an "outside cabin," the porthole provided light but no real view.

Port and Shore Excursions

For shore excursions, we did the Catamaran Sail in Antigua, which was rather fun. It is a long ride (45 minutes) out to Paradise Reef, but there is a long (4 mile) reef in that area. We saw parrot fish and other varieties, and they served rum punch on the return. The crew was entertaining and fun.

Read 1191 Antigua Reviews

Grenada was our southernmost port on the cruise. The shopping there is somewhat limited, although there is a vendor mall around the cruise ship dock. We climbed the hill to the nearby fort, which provides a magnificent view of the area. The fort itself is where the insurrection took place in 1983, and it has not been well maintained. But there are cannons on top and you can look directly down on the cruise ship.

Read 531 Grenada Reviews

In St. Lucia, we had signed up for the Pitons/Soufriere/Waterfall excursion. The description gave the impression that it was an active excursion, with some hiking. In fact, it consisted mostly of riding in the bus, since the Pitons are across the island from where the cruise ships dock. The bus stopped several times to provide unscheduled "shopping" opportunities, where groups of vendors had clustered along the road, selling t-shirts and beads, or where there was a fellow with a boa constrictor snake offering photo opportunities. The waterfall part involved the only walking, which was some steps leading down to the warm waterfall and 3 pools. The waterfall turned out to be rather a minor attraction. There was only a 10-15 minute period of time at the pools, which were crowded with people, including other groups. The best part of the excursion was the magnificent views of the Pitons. The bus also passes a large banana plantation, and goes through two (poor) fishing villages, providing an up close view of the island life. So, while this excursion was not the active hike that we expected, the views and photo opportunities of the Pitons, which are quite unique, made us happy that we had gone.

Read 1134 St. Lucia Reviews

We had visited St. Martin/St. Maarten once before, when we flew in there on our way to spend a week in Anguilla. We felt we had seen much of the town, but were pleasantly surprised to see some upgrades around the dock on the Dutch side where the cruise ships come in. The shopping was pretty good in that area. We took a taxi on our own to Orient Beach for the afternoon. The taxi ride was reasonable, and the driver took us to a good location in the middle of the beach, to the Kakao resort. For $20, we got two padded beach chairs and umbrella, and the bathrooms there are clean. There was a tiki bar area, and the beach has beautiful white sand with turquoise water. This is on the French side, where the cultural conventions are more relaxed, so some women are topless on the beach. We walked all the way down to the end, and when we crossed a rock jetty area, we saw a sign saying "Orient Club" which signaled the beginning of the clothing optional beach, where both men and women are sunbathing nude. We had prearranged with the taxi driver to pick us back up at 2:00 pm. The taxis are regulated and the standard fare to this beach was $18.00 each way. It was a very nice place to relax.

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