Southern Caribbean Route Radiance Class: Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by rs3678

Serenade of the Seas 5
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Southern Caribbean Route Radiance Class

Sail Date: May 2011
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
We had the most wonderful experience ever on a cruise. First lets start saying that the Radiance ships are great since they are a bit smaller than the Voyager class there are very few waiting lines to contend with. We arrived in SJ on Friday 27, picked up our rental at Charlie's in Isla Verde ( i recommend) and stayed at the Wyndham Rio Mar...our son got this through hotwire and was something like $85 a night!!! Wonderful place but very pricey, so we used their pool facilities and for dinner went outside to many places where local food is very good and cheaper. for breakfast we visited a bakery at a local mall like 15 minutes away and had a really nice breakfast for only a few bucks. The mall also has Walgreen's if you need last minute items. On Sunday we returned our rental at El Condado site and they shuttle us to the Pan American port. The shuttle from Charlies has some connection with the baggage handlers because he called one , the guy took our bags and took us directly in front More of the line by the counters. Literally we were inside the ship in less that 10 minutes. Tip...make sure to have loose small change dollars for tips in a separate bag. We went up to the room and just relaxed!!!

The ship left on time and everyone went upstairs for the departure. In the past we had either music or a calypso party during departure but this time was subdued. We also noticed how the cruise line are cutting down on cost. Lobster was offered just on Friday and was very small. They has Mahi Mahi but was very small compared to the one we had at Iguana Joes in Aruba and didn't looked fresh. We liked the ship and is very different from the Voyager class we have cruised before. It lacks the long central area that has all the shops etc, it does contains a centrum area with a bar and there are walking hallways to walk but they are at different levels and are short. So there is a trade off for the smaller space but it was OK with us since the ship is smaller. Smaller means shorter lines and better service, so we were happy. Port will be discussed in the ports area. Disembark was a breeze, by 10am we were out, we called the car rental company and they came to pick us up since we stayed 4 more days in SJ. Every night the centrum was packed with different musical venues and people were just partying and dancing all night long. Overall the food was good, not great but good. The service was outstanding and the waiters and assistant waiters were super, we left extra tipping. Our cabin attendant from Colombia was excellent. The itinerary was great since we have been in three of the islands before we did different things this time. A snorkeling schooner in St Thomas to Christmas cove, we rented a jeep in Aruba at American Car and did the desert /beach thing, in St Kitts Jim/Roses taxi took me and wife the entire day on a personal tour around the island, let me say this , this is the best tour ever, i found them on trip advisor. We invited rose to eat lunch with us at cockleshell beach!!! In Curacao did the walk thru downtown, snapped pictures then at 1230 the fun beach express booked through the ship, they took us to the blue moon beach resort after a short ride downtown. Great beach for snorkeling. Overall i give this trip a 98% plus review. Forgot to mention that for entertainment we had a comedian, a juggler, a Vegas style performer. The show were not as elaborate as the Adventure of the Seas and Carnival Miracle we have been before. The productions were not too deep and you could tell. Very short and sweet. I guess a reflection of economic times. They were good but not great. The cruise director was very dynamic and funny, he was excellent!!!

On our room i am going to say that the only thing i dislike was the balcony was basically a triangle since this room is the last one on the hump, starboard side and on these ports always facing the ocean and never the port. so the balcony was ok on one side but very tiny on the other, just enough room to put a chair there and that was it! This room was next to elevators and it was not a problem, but the sound from the centrum party every night was really loud until 11pm so if you plan to sleep early good luck! The door was next to the personal computer room or Internet place. Less

Published 07/03/11

Cabin review: E37596 Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony

7596 balcony is really small on one side, is in triangular shape. Is on the starboard forward side of the hump above the boats. Great view forward and to the bridge but so everybody see you as well when standing next to the wooden rails. The toilet had to be flushed twice sometimes because water pressure was not enough to get it to empty and just talking about water alone, no solids. We brought extension cords and shoe plastic holders to place small objects hanging from the bathroom door, we got the tips here from other cruisers and worked well. We brought our ipad for pictures but got full on day 4 so had to stored them on the HD card. Next time bring laptop instead!!!

Read All Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony (E3) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Always fun to come here, it was a local holiday so shops were closed but we rented a jeep thru the internet with american car which by the way are no longer at the terminal and come from somewhere else so better don't rent with them, plus the vehicle was in a really bad condition, i mean it got us there but in bad shap, we took it because the price of $80 and all other jeeps were gone from the terminal companies. Here also bargain the price, the quoted us $85 in the net and got it for $80 after we told them that the other place had them for the lower price. Went to baby beach and was a great decision since the East side of the island was under a thunderstorm. We had blue skies!!!! We also found the natural bridge collapse but tourist goes there anyways!!!

Read 1290 Aruba Reviews

Best island!!! visited blue moon beach resort. Is a beach club that the fun beach express took us. We booked thru the ship. Very good for snorkeling and beach activities, very secured. We also did the ritual walk stroll downtown and visited and took pictures of the floating market from Venezuela and went inside the local market next to that, really neat.

Read 917 Curacao Reviews

Make sure you visit, the local beaches but we went to the west side of the island and visited Crash boat beach, a famous beach that is really close to what once was Ramey U.S Air Force base, a place where B-52's used to fly missions all over the world. The place is still an civilian airport with a U.S Coast guard station there. There is a light house and if you head south and get into Cabo Rojo and Boqueron there is a hidden tourist paradise there with smalls guest houses and inns rentals. The place is gorgeous. Now there is a ferry that for $169 takes you to Dominican republic. So if you already done the SJ shopping thing already then rent a car a go south or west. Do some research in the web the next time and stay a couple of extra days!!!

Read 2985 San Juan Reviews

Booked thru Rose and Jims, very nice couple and have a web page. Their tours are more complete than the ship's. Be careful with other hustlers in the port. Another group got scammed, a small drive and returned to the port. I got their names from trip advisor and were highly recommended. Make sure you visit the Brimm hill fortress!!!

Read 1324 St. Kitts Reviews

real short we did the schooner to christmas cove and turtle cove, really great tour. After swimming and watching the sea turtles grass and they literally come to your face, then set sail to water island. by this time you are filled with rum so don't do what i did an volunteer to swim to shore. they have a dingy for that. Looks really close about 100 yards but is really long since the water is soooo clear looks like a closer distance. anyway at the shore there is a banquet with BBQ/ribs and more drinks. I recommend it. Book thru the ship and ship if you never done so, is really neat and need to bargain.

Read 4003 St. Thomas Reviews

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