Wonderful first cruise on the serenade: Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by cfly

Serenade of the Seas 5
Member Since 2010
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Wonderful first cruise on the serenade

Sail Date: January 2011
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
This was our first cruise and we were concerned that we might not like the cruising experience, that the ship might be crowded with line ups, the food might not be good, and that booking our own port excursions might not work out.

However we liked everything about the cruise. The ship was lovely. Everything was in good shape, and things did not look old or worn (except the main pool needs repainting) We enjoyed the central atriuum where we could watch happenings any evening. We sometimes took the glass elevators but usually took the stairs where we could enjoy the different artwork at each landing.

Our cabin, a large oceanview on the third floor, was comfortable, with lots of storage space. We did not feel very much motion and liked the fact that on the third floor, close to the stairs and elevator, everything was easy access. Getting off the ship on the second floor was a breeze.

We had a table to ourselves in the main dining room and ate there every More night. The service was wonderful, the staff friendly and helpful, encouraging us to order two plates if we couldn't decide and bringing us extra desserts to share so we could try more. Two evenings the staff did a singing and dancing routine to entertain us and it was great fun. The food was good-the mashed potatoes were delicious, the steak and rack of lamb were nicely done, and the desserts were heavenly-creme brullee and chocolate lava cakes were heavenly. We thought the coffee was fine and did not buy any coffee at Latitudes, the extra cost specialty coffee shop. We do not think there is any need to purchase dinner at the specialty restaurants either.

We ate in the windjammer cafe for breakfast and (late) lunches and thought the quality and range of food was good-something for everyone's taste. Our favorite spot was to eat outside on the deck of the Windjammer and look out at the harbor wherever we were-surprisingly this was never crowded because most people wanted to eat inside.

We also ate at the Seaview Cafe on the sea day and the food there was very good, and there is a nice outdoor area for eating too.

We went to the main theatre entertainment every evening and liked all the shows-two eveings of broadway type singing and dancing with the serenade of the seas band, a great comedian, and a ventriloquist and a gymnast who were both funny and entertaining.

All the ports were good. In St. Croix and Antigua we took taxis right to the beeach-no problem finding a nice beach nearby and we were never bothered by pushy vendors. In St Thomas we did a half day snorkelling excursion where we were the only people on the boat-a great day. Grenada was fun to walk around town on our own, and then water taxi to the beach.

On the sea day we slept in and when we went to to Windjammer for breakfast it was busier than usual but not too crowded. Went to the exercise gym and it was almost deserted but great to work out overlooking the ocean. The main pool was crowded and busy with activities-belly flop contest etc-everyone was having fun. We went to the adult pool and had no problem finding chairs-there was turnover by that time-mid afternoon.

Fellow-passengers-everyone was friendly and well mannered. We did not observe any cutting in lines and fortunately, there were very few lines. When one mother brought her 2 young children to the adult pool she was asked to take them outside. Smoking was allowed only in certain bars and outside areas of the ships and this rule seemed to be followed.

There were two formal evenings. A small number of men were in tuxes and an even smaller number of women wore long gowns. There were mostly suits and cocktail dresses. However some men wore only shirts (includidng short sleeves) and ties, and women wore dress pants. Less

Published 01/21/11
Helpful? Thank cfly

Cabin review: F Large Ocean View Stateroom

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Port and Shore Excursions

We left the ship and walked right out of the duty free shopping area into the town. We walked around on our own, to the market, the carenage (harbor area), up and down streets, for a couple of hours. I highly recommend going to the spice market-the vendors were friendly and the spices are excellent and an authentic purchase. The harbor area is very pretty, and it feels perferctly safe to walk around on your own.

We took a water taxi to Grand Anse beach $8 for a return trip, and there are always boats to take you back. The sand is white and soft, the water is warm and still. The beach is crowded with umbrellas and beach chairs-not a quiet secluded beach but great for swimming, and easy access. It also has the Grand Anse Spice Market right on the beach- it was quiet and not as much atmosphere as the market in town, but same basic products. We loved our few hours in Grenada.

Read 531 Grenada Reviews

We spent our time in Old San Juan. SJ Happy Tours picked us up at the harbor, kept our luggage for the day, and dropped us off in Old San Juan so we could explore on our own for 4 hours ($25pp) before taking us to the airport. The advantage of this over the cruise ship is that we had more time in Old San Juan. The tour was actually including new San Juan and some beaches and Cristoble Fort but those who wanted to explore on their own were dropped off in Old San Juan and picked up later. We went to El Morro on our own, and walked around town for several hours. There was a street festival that day so we ate street food, enjoyed lots of special entertainment, and had a great day. Old San is filled with interesting old buildings and little shops so it makes for a very pleasant, easy to manage self guided tour.

Read 2976 San Juan Reviews

We weren't expecting much from St. Croix and didn't want to book an expensive excursion or travel all the way across the island. Where the ships dock in Frderikstead there is not much to see but what is there is pretty, andthere were some interesting dancers and musicians. After s brief stroll throug the area we took a taxi to the Sandcastle beach, about ten minutes away $4pp. The beach was nice, a bit of a rocky bottom and a drop off, but warm ater and a nice stretch for walking. Umbrellas and beach chairs, a few beach vendors, and a restaurant to buy lunch if you want. So our day in St. Croix turned out to be a pleasant, quiet beach day.

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