Cruisin with Hurricane Maria: Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by shortbread75

Serenade of the Seas 5
Member Since 2011
3 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Cruisin with Hurricane Maria

Sail Date: September 2011
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
The trip overall was wonderful.We were a couple- one person 40 and the other an active 56 on our fifth cruise together. We did have a scare with Hurricane Maria in front of our return. The captain monitored the path and notified us with updates. They could have been a bit more frequent. Especially since you could not hear them in your cabin. The San Juan port was closed awhile. There was confusion as to which flights were canceled Sunday morning or afternoon. They could have posted them on a screen so EVERYONE did not have to call their airline. Hotel arrangements needed were made by you -they gave you a list of recommended ones -if needed. A personal cell phone with international calling came in handy as did a lap top-bring one or both if possible during hurricane season especially. They had 6 phone lines to use -you took a number and waited. They also provided free wi fi for 5 hours-should have been longer.

Disembarkation- Going through customs and getting your luggage was More easy. All morning excursions were cancelled due to the storm so you had to plan what to do. You now have luggage to contend with. There were tour guides there offering city tours 25 dollars per person. They would either drop you off at the end at your hotel or at the airport. You can check bags up to 3 hours before your flight. They also have a suitcase scale (too many souvenirs-transfer extra to carry on) ,an agricultural checkpoint before you check your bags and a body scan. Plan time accordingly.

The ship- It was smaller but easy to get around. Beach chairs are abundant-surprisingly. Jogging track is an obstacle course chairs and people get in the way. Only at midnight is it clear jogging.The public areas were always very clean even behind the pictures! The glass elevators are very lovely. I love the days on the rug on the floor. Personnel on the ship were very accommodating for any special dinner request.We were late one night due to the flight arrangement confusion and they held our dinner. The food was delicious in the main dining room. Lobster was very tender as was the shrimp.They had a chocolate special every night. I liked the entertainment of the waiters on the fifth night. The ships entertainment was fair. The comedians were good but for a smaller setting as in the Safari club at night for an adult show not for the big theater.They were very funny. The dancers were good but just lacked the "show" quality. The costumes were lackluster. One of the male singers just did not have a strong voice. The best part of one of the shows was when they sang at the end and they had a transparent curtain in front of them. That was unique. I always have liked the show when the employees come out on the last night with their talent. We just had to give them applause no talent show. Plus then we had to rush to dinner - bad time planning.

Activities could have had more pool side activities- participated in a few inside- bingo,salsa dancing,trivia,wine tasting,casino, karaoke, cake decorating,acupuncture (had a treatment but did not help) Health club- could have had tai chi classes,nutrition or zumba classes machines were always busy Spa- very nice and relaxing-go for the special 5 deal 139.00 the 90 minutes are so worth it Money- just a note bring small bills "ones" for knick knacks-and smaller bills for tips for the excursion operators, taxi cab, bus operators or stores- if not you may get change in local currency Less

Published 09/19/11

Cabin review: F4552 Large Ocean View Stateroom

room was good size near to the Centrum but great insulation NO noise service was excellent\food was excellent from room service no intercom in rooms to hear announcements water pressure was great in room extra hanging bar in closet great need more ventilation in bathroom clothes never dried had 4 little towels one night instead of a bath towel need to have ice in room when you arrive refrigerator not cold enough 3 nights of towel animals only awkward place for light switch for bathroom need a night light mode in bathroom blue blanket needs to be folded and put away after first night-lay it on the sofa-if it is used for suitcases then I do not want it on my bed again when I sleep good clearance under bed for suitcases cold water not real cold- hot water great

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Port and Shore Excursions

As you can tell we are snorkelers. We do not snorkel at home in the NE so we swim as much possible when on vacation. On this day we went to De Palm Island. You go on a 1/2 hr ride on bus to the 5 minute ferry ride to the Island. The Island has a water park for the kids . Also a walk -in snorkel area and showers,changing rooms, beach area Plus other activities if you want to do them. The fish are abundant some really big blue ones-a large area to swim around. Deeper water escorted tours are available. You have unlimited access to the food and soda ,punch-which was NOT mentioned in the description of the tour. That is why it is higher priced. Make sure you find the meeting time to leave before you leave the orientation meeting. Again we had enough time to shower and go back out.Took a great tour of the city by the bus- info shack is just outside the terminal. 20 dollars per person was 2 1/2 hours -do not take the cab it was 80 dollars for 2.-outrageous-same tour

Read 1284 Aruba Reviews

This port is very easy to get around. You just have to walk to the floating bridge to get to the city. If it is not running there is a free ferry. It will cost you $15 for two for the taxi ride over the big bridge-easier to walk. We took a snorkeling trip to Caracas Bay. It was short ride to the dock and then onto a large boat. The scenery is gorgeous-all the sailboats dock in the harbour had to get away from hurricane season up north. The crew was not as accommodating and friendly as they were on the St Kitts trip. It was routine for them. No wow experience just okay-.You get a Jamaican patty, punch and some fruit after snorkeling.The fish around the boat and the sunken tugboat were abundant. You feed them some bread or melon and they come from nowhere and you are immediately surrounded. Swim near the rocks to see some different hiding fish. We also saw a couple of eels and snake like fish cruising the bottom. Notice the little "pike" fish just below the surface-tons of them-very hard to see but once you do you will be amazed how many there are.The trip back was leisurely and relaxing. Time enough to go back to the ship-shower-then out to the city to sight see. A must see- the floating market-interesting indigenous fruit and vegetables. Shop around for souvenirs prices are cheaper more inland the shops are off the beaten path. Be aware there are a lot of policeman around and cameras above the buildings. We were told it was for pickpocketing and for the drug crowd to stay clear. If you are young looking you will be approached to buy some as my friend was. By far our favorite Island. Clean, friendly, easy to get around and just plain pretty!!!

Read 913 Curacao Reviews

We arrived at the airport around 11am. We have always bought transfers to the ships we have boarded AT the airport. Buy your transfers from RC beforehand-it is cheaper. They would just charge it to our room. It is not allowed in San Juan so we had to get a taxi to the ship. Be warned you can not walk to Old San Juan where the Serenade of Seas docks. Carnival ships dock right at the base of the old city. So if you want to go back out to tour the city it is another taxi ride. Arriving early does get you checked in quickly- have lunch in the Windjammer-drop off excess luggage in your room by 1pm and then plan to go back out-they want you on the ship by 730 so you have time to explore San Juan. Even though you now have your "Sea Pass card" do not forget to take your passport (can you guess I did not have mine it was in the safe in my room) with you to re board the ship. We just discovered all the side streets and some great pastry and visited the forts. San Juan is a walking city wear comfortable shoes-it has cobblestone streets and is very hilly. We went for an air conditioned tour with a great guide called Angel when we came back from our cruise.

Read 2945 San Juan Reviews

We went on another snorkeling excursion . This one was with the Fun at Sea. We went to a place called Shitten Bay. You can snorkel out or just lay on the catamaran. It was a very relaxing trip out- snorkeling was very good.Had a great lunch on the beach.The trip back offered unlimited alcohol punch or beer. The crew were great. Kids can go but once the alcohol starts flowing there is some dancing and rowdiness. This was by far the best excursion.

Read 1318 St. Kitts Reviews

St Thomas has the stores within walking distance so you can discover them if you want. You will find they mostly all have the same items. We went on a champagne cat sail snorkeling excursion to St John. It was a beautiful spot called Honeymoon Bay. Went back to boat changed went back out. Remember you can take 5 bottles of liquor from here home. Ask before just in case it changes. No you will not be able to carry on small flasks to your room-even though the stores say you can. The ship WILL keep it till the end of the cruise.

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Member Since 2011
3 Forum Posts
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