First time cruise -- great experience: Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by gbsand81
Overall Member Rating
First time cruise -- great experience
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
Thirty minutes from the door of the taxi to being on the ship, and it seemed to to take even less time. Really quite painless. We were on the ship by 12:40 and room was available at 1:00. Two of our bags arrived by 2:00 but the other three bags didn't arrive until after 6:00 (for some unexplained reason), so dressing for dinner was problematic for our kids.
Despite an opening night snafu (see below), meals and service were absolutely superb, even by our admittedly high standards. We generally had breakfast and lunch in Windjammers and dinner in the dining room, although we occasionally had lunch outside at Seaview (you should do this).
The one downside was our first night. We had reserved a table for 5 three months ago for the 6:00 More seating, but when we arrived there were already people sitting at the table to which had been assigned. When we brought this up with the maitre-d, he replied that we were supposed to sit with this other family who were sitting at our table. There were two problems with this. First, we had expected a table for our family alone. (That seems like a reasonable expectation.) Second, even if we wanted to sit with the other family, there were not enough seats at the table. Clearly, they had screwed up but the maitre-d kept insisting that we "weren't happy with our table" as if it was our fault. He also said that there was no more room and that we would have to eat every night at 8:45. Only after we insisted on being seated did a table magically appear -- both for that night and for the rest of the week. Luckily, the somewhat officious attitude of the maitre-d was not repeated by the various waiters. They were absolutely wonderful.
My wife and I ate at Chops one night and Portofino another night. Both restaurants were half-empty (we ate at 7:00). Service was great and food was fine, but not worth the extra $$ in our opinion.
We booked four through RCI and they were a bit hit or miss. The Baths at Virgin Gorda was superb -- perfect first day. We then did the volcano hike on St Kitts. It poured rain, the hike (which was strenuous) was very muddy, and there wasn't much to see from the top. Not much fun. We went snorkeling in Dominica. The snorkeling was outstanding but the catamaran didn't have enough pairs of flippers (really??) and thus we only were in the water for 1 hour or a 3 1/2 hour excursion. The moral of the story: book carefully.Service
Outstanding in every way.
We took in two shows (beautiful theater). One was a magician/comedian who was superb -- funny, clever, and a little edgy in a way that appealed to our teenagers. The other was an aging crooner who made his name singing the "Happy Days" theme song. He was pretty awful. The casino was fun and the bands downstairs were pretty good. Our teens all found a lot to do (and had late nights).
We had two balcony staterooms on deck 10. Both were very quiet and perfectly fine in terms of size. We had considered a junior suite, but think we made the right choice saving money with these cabins.
This is a beautiful ship -- spacious without seeming to be overwhelming. So it was the perfect size for our first cruise. The week was a perfect balance between fun and relaxation. Less
Cabin review: D11072 Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony
Quiet, excellent location, small space but quite adequate. You can store empty suitcases under the bed. Balcony is nice but might benefit from chairs that are more comfortable.Read All Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony (D1) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Mount Liamuiga Volcano
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