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Serenade of the Seas Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1605 reviews
12 Awards

Trying to get back to normal

Review for Serenade of the Seas to Alaska
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Johncooks
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

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Additional details

Sail Date: Aug 2021
Cabin:

Apologize for the length - short version - embarkation sucked, rest of the cruise was good/great, debarkation was excellent

Our cruise was initially canceled due to sailing out of Vancouver. They redid the schedule to sail from Seattle, canceled Skagway and added Ketchikan. Pre-cruise, my wife and I did three days in Seattle, never been there and had a wonderful time. It's a walkable city as long as you avoid the major uphill climbs. Prior to cruise, we found out that we needed negative Covid tests to board, tests had to be within three days of sail date so meant we had to do them in Seattle. It was somewhat difficult to find walk up testing sites, a lot of them were drive up and required a car. Got appointments at the Polyclinic for Friday, about three hours after our flight was to get in, plenty of time.....until our flight was delayed, and delayed. I get on the phone while in the Phoenix airport expecting the worst and got the best. I got through to a person right away and she couldn't have been nicer, we canceled our Friday afternoon appointments and scheduled for Saturday morning. We got there, they immediately got us in and we got our tests. I cannot say enough good things about the Polyclinic on Broadway, it was a very stressful situation and everbody we interacted with was so nice and kind. Tests done, we did Seattle, which needs to be a whole 'nother post with five stars. My wife got her results about 11:00 pm Saturday night, mine didn't come in until about 7:00 am Sunday. Both negative, we can get on the ship!! We were traveling with our son, his husband and his mom (our son's mother-in-law). Now we all had negative tests and were good to go.

Embarkation - The worst part of the cruise. Our embarkation time was 12:00 to 12:30, the first slot available. Ubered to Port, dropped us off about 20 minutes early at exactly the right place, gave our luggage to the luggage collector guy and a very nice lady told us what line to get in. After being in line for a bit, our son-in-law noticed a sign indicating we were in the 12:30 - 1:00 line. Normally, wouldn't have been a big deal but we had paid for the ultimate dining package and wanted to have our first lunch at Chops which closed at 1:30. We wound up at the end of the 12:00 line and found a line inside, thought we found a short line but it was for families with unvaccinated children. As with grocery store lines, we were in the wrong one. We had no idea what the lady was doing but it was taking forever. One note, we were asked for proof of a negative covid test at least three times prior to getting to the initial check-in person. Anyway, we somewhat patiently stayed in line, we are all Diamond club level and our son was a bit miffed that got us nothing. Finally, a guy who had been helping the family line took pity on us and took us to his rolling kiosk. After getting there and starting the process, we realized what the issue was, bad equipment and very poorly designed systems. He had to take pictures of our negative covid tests and our proof of vaccination and enter the dates manually. The date entry system caused him to have to scroll to the month, day and year which takes a long time (in standing in line time which is 10x sitting on your butt in a comfy chair time). We could have easily entered the information and uploaded the pictures beforehand and all he would have had to do was verify. The other issue was he had to scan bar codes with technology from the 80's, shaky hands on both sides didn't help. Anyway, what could have been a two minute process took 10 or 20 depending on whose line you were in. Once we got through that process, we were told to put everything in our carryon to be scanned, did that, then had to get our boarding passes back out to be scanned. Finally, we were on our way to the ship. The concept of what they did was good, the execution was poor.

Cabin Review

Had a great cabin, aft facing, deck 9. Had privacy guards on both sides and about half the balcony was covered by deck above. The 180 view was great for an Alaska cruise and a few times when it was very windy, we just got a little breeze.

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