Excellent SoCarib Rescue from plane-eating blizzard!!: Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by XSetMeFreeX

Serenade of the Seas 4
Member Since 2010

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Excellent SoCarib Rescue from plane-eating blizzard!!

Sail Date: February 2010
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean and only my second cruise overall. My first cruise was a 3-nighter with Norwegian to the Bahamas. Embarkation was from San Juan, PR. Having vacationed in Puerto Rico before, I could have arrived in San Juan a week earlier and stayed a week afterwards had I not employment responsibilities. I love San Juan and I hope to return to Puerto Rico soon to explore other parts of this beautiful and welcoming island.

I escaped two monster blizzards coming through the mid-Atlantic with hours to spare. Actually pulled my flight up by a day to make sure I made the boat.

Embarkation was quick and easy, though once you step foot on to the ship, it was a bit of a uninstructed free-for-all if you're unfamiliar with RC ship layouts.

The Serenade of the Seas was a very nice boat. Quite large with two pools - one indoor, one outdoor and two hot tubs. There is a pool bar and a second tier sundeck and bar. I think these features are More fairly standard. The ship was always very clean, very tidy, and staff walking around straightening, picking up and neating up all the time. One curious thing was that maintenance people were always around. Either painting, making small repairs - they weren't intrusive at all but they were always appearing places.

There is a 9-hole mini-golf and a rock climbing wall. There is a basketball court and a generously sized kids' play / pool area. The gym was stocked with LifeFitness gear and flat screen TVs.

The Casino got friendlier as the trip progressed. The slot machines were paying out and the dealers were very good about teaching me Craps and playing well with me at the Blackjack table. Roulette was not my friend at this location.

Other than that, there were the usual shops, art auctions, bars, cafes... The cruise was definitely catered to an older age group than myself (50 - 100's?) but this was expected. I just wanted a warm-weather getaway at an inexpensive daily rate which this was exactly that. I did one excursion - after all, if you've swam with one turtle, you've seen them, same for stingrays, dolphins, waterfalls, "hikes" through rainforest trails .... I was looking for lazy.

Service was excellent overall. From pool staff, restaurant service, table-side coffee service, drink service - there was always someone nearby. Cruise director Dennis was a little chatty for me, but he is a social event coordinator so I guess he has to be. Production shows were good but a little cheezy. Norwegian's was definitely better. Acts were so-so. We had Merril Osmond on and a comedian from Toronto who told the same jokes as all the other ship comedians. The ship photographers may as well have been paparazzi. They were overbearing and intrusive.

I will probably not sail with Royal Carribean again. Will go back to Norwegian where there is a generally younger crowd and I really like the free-style dining they offer. This Royal cruise had two formal nights.

Food was decent. Nothing to write home about. Again - Norwegian specialty restaurant food was far better, but you are paying a little extra for the restaurants. Less

Published 02/17/10

Cabin review: Q2004 Interior Stateroom

Lower level, port window. On the platform level, but far enough away from the center to not hear any noise and close enough to be convenient to drop stuff off at the room. Very quiet. This cabin is at the front of the ship but minimal rocking. Tight quarters as most standard rooms are. Plenty of closet space for 2, big king bed.

Read All Interior Stateroom (Q) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Bridgetown, Barbados - did a "Best of Barbados" tour which was one of the most boring experiences of my life. We had a very cynical and amusing tour bus driver. The Orchid "farm" was a big greenhouse of orchids, and a couple of other stops that were generally uninteresting. Did stop at St. John's Parish which is at the top of a peak that over looks the east coast (Atlantic) of the island for beautiful scenery. That was over by 12:30 and we headed to The Boat Yard which is where the crew hangs out and it's a general party going on there. What a fabulous beach. Baby powder sand, a big old retired fishing dock with a rope swing to swing from into the water. Could have stayed here all day. Wish I did. $3 cab from port. Use the sanctioned drivers. $10 admission into the Boat Yard includes beach chair, cushion, umbrella, a free Rum drink and a ride back to port. Really good deal.

Read 1223 Barbados Reviews

Roseau, Dominica - From the port, it looks like a lot of built up buildings. All facade. Limited shopping and this is a big rainforest excursion port. I heard from some it was great, others said it was so-so. We stayed on the boat for most of the day this day and had a marvelous time.

Read 669 Dominica Reviews

Stay and extra few nights in San Juan. There is much to see and do.

Depending on where you are staying, there are some fantastic deals close to port and a cheap cab ride into Old San Juan. See my review of Courtyard Marriott in Isla Verde (Carolina) on TripAdv for an inexpensive stay (screen name is XSetMeFreeX). The Hilton Caribe is a nice trendy hotel close to old San Juan, with a small beach. The Ritz Carlton in Carolina and the El San Juan Hotel and Casino are very nice, higher end resorts just outside of San Juan (about $20 cab into Old San Juan).

Read 2947 San Juan Reviews

Fredrickstead, St. Croix - Stay in Fredrickstead!!! There is nothing happening in Christianstead and the shopping is minimal and it's a 30 min drive (without traffic) across half of the island. Unless you're headed that way for an excursion, there isn't much out there. Instead, hit the public beach directly left of the port. You can see it from the docks. Quite rocky but not sharp so shoes can come off. Water is wonderfully warm.

Bassatterre, St. Kitts - $10 taxi to Frigates Bay. This is just a little ways down from a big resort community and while it is a public beach, it is in a cove which keeps the waters calm and warm. Beach chairs available.

Read 1319 St. Kitts Reviews

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas - Very nice. Not much if you're not looking for shopping. I walked around the stores and then headed for Magens Bay for beach. This was a decent public beach - apparently one of the nicest without venturing too far from the port. Bring your own towel. Rentals cost $.

Read 3995 St. Thomas Reviews

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