1. Home
  2. Cruise Destinations
  3. Middle East Cruises
  4. Middle East Cruise Reviews

16 Middle East Spring Break Cruise Reviews

You’re not just paying for a trip,you’re paying for an experience and a lifetime of memories... I had the worst small room(7144)too small...can’t even move around..food was very bad...it’s like you’re eating at a convalescent ... Read More
You’re not just paying for a trip,you’re paying for an experience and a lifetime of memories... I had the worst small room(7144)too small...can’t even move around..food was very bad...it’s like you’re eating at a convalescent hospital (buffet)they need to create more varieties of food,if you take other cruise lines they have so much different variety of food to offer .. pizza n burgers were outside very cold,please provide warm n good food ....casino stuff was very friendly but they never offered any champagne or wine...they weren’t too pleasing ...entertainment was good...friendly waitress n staff...housing keeping was excellent ...excursion staff was very friendly helpful specially the guy who worked there...excellent service.......very friendly service in pharmacy shop...inside the ship (Lirica) it didn’t have much to do...less entertainment or activities to participate in..over all..all the staff was very friendly helpful..Dubai was very beautiful..for shopping I loved Qatar Doha..very reasonable prices..great for gold shopping Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
H the same aving already taken an 8 night Cruise with the same Company but visiting Abu Dhabi and Oman, this time we wanted to see Bahrain & Quatar. We embarked at Abu Dhabi which we had already visited on our previous Crusie. ... Read More
H the same aving already taken an 8 night Cruise with the same Company but visiting Abu Dhabi and Oman, this time we wanted to see Bahrain & Quatar. We embarked at Abu Dhabi which we had already visited on our previous Crusie. Embarkation was quick & smooth. Our cabin was ready as soon as we went aboard. There has been a few changes to the ship which we had already sailed with on a Transfer Cruise . Changes for the best . 2 new theme restaurants and new larger shops. Fantastic selection in the Jewellery & Watch shop, also a vast choice of Tolietries,Make-up & Perfumes. General state of the ship is sparkling clean.Our cabin steward (Darma) was efficient & always available with a smile.Towels were changed twice daily. Bed & pillows were very comfortable and luckily we had no problems with the Air conditioning. No problems with Breakfast in our cabin. Always punctual. Also went to the La Reggia Restaurant for Breakfast. Vast selection on the Buffet & also a choice of cooked Breakfast available. Quality of food is good & variable especially in the Bora Bora Self-Service. However Dinner in the La Reggia Restaurant proved to be a disappointment. Meagre portions , rather tasteless and often just warm.Even the presentation could be improved. Service was excellent and our Waiters (Erwandi & I Putu) were always attentive and helpful. A surprise Birthday celebration by the Waiters improvising a Band was memorable ! Entertainment was very good. Beautiful Costumes ! Dancing & Singing top class in all Shows. Our day on Sir Bin Yas Island was very relaxing. Plenty of things to do . Good Self -Service lunch available. Bahrain proved alittle disappointing, Doha is in full expansion , 3 full days in Dubai were fantastic! Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
This cruise was part of a package whch seemed to good to be true at the price, We travelled as a group of 4 who are very experienced cruisers. The embarkation ran very smoothly and efficient, but we were some of the first to get on ... Read More
This cruise was part of a package whch seemed to good to be true at the price, We travelled as a group of 4 who are very experienced cruisers. The embarkation ran very smoothly and efficient, but we were some of the first to get on board. FOOD Whilst we were waiting for our luggage to arrive to our cabins we decided to go to the main restaurant to book our ANY TIME DINING as we had prepaid our gratuities to enable us to dine whenever we wanted. The receptionist advised us that the times we were looking for were not available due to all these times were apparently prebooked on line, we explained that we had prepaid our gratuities to be able to dine any time, she replied that the prepaid gratuities were her wages. No manager was available until the evening. We spoke to the manager that night who agreed that we should have priority for sittings but none were available and advised us to go to reception so that a refund could be arranged which we did but the refund took 25 days to arrive. The food at the restaurant was so dissapointing with reconstituted meat (ie. Chicken & Steak), the presentation was very poor and not very appetising and tasteless. LIVE SHOWS. There was only 3 glitsy shows during the week which was very disappointing. DRINKS PACKAGE We were advised by Royal Caribbean to take a drinks package as there was only tea & coffee available at breakfast and that all drinks (including water) would have to paid for, we concluded that it would be wise to have the basic non alcoholic package. When we got on board the ship there was plenty of free tea, coffee, fruit juices and water readily available to everyone. WHAT A CON WHEN THIS COST US £171.81 PER PERSON EXCURSIONS Very good with knowledgeable guides Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because they offered good value with kids going 'free' (apart from the flights). My wife's parents decided to join us so we ended up with two adjoining cabins with balconies with Fantastica level. I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because they offered good value with kids going 'free' (apart from the flights). My wife's parents decided to join us so we ended up with two adjoining cabins with balconies with Fantastica level. I thought it would be a good chance to see a different place everyday rather than just sitting on a beach. We paid for the drinks package (which cost a lot) and a 100 photo package for 89 Euros, which sounded a lot but turned out to be amazing. I couldn't get the Fun Package which I read about on this forum (unlimited formula 1 simulator and 4D cinema) but got it easily on the ship (35 euros for our cabin for 1 week - also very good value). We had overnight flights from Vienna to Dubai (Emirates airlines so pretty comfortable) so arrived early in the morning. We were picked up and taken to the ship and quickly registered so we could go on the ship. We were told that room weren't ready yet (it was 8am so we weren't expecting them to be ready) but our bags were taken to the rooms and we went for breakfast. The buffet was excellent. It gets busy but we never had problems finding tables and had breakfast at the back looking out of the huge windows down from the 14th floor of the ship. The windows are angled so we were a bit worried when our 2 year old decided to lean on them to look down! After breakfast we went upstairs to sunbathe on the deck and I went to get the room keys. We had been told where to go and go the rooms sooner than expected. The luggage had been delivered to the room. (more in next post) Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Itinerary was key to a revisit to the middle east, celebrating 50th year and wanted something that would be memorable to my family and myself We were not cruise newbies having travelled on RC and Celebrity Cruises in the past, this was ... Read More
Itinerary was key to a revisit to the middle east, celebrating 50th year and wanted something that would be memorable to my family and myself We were not cruise newbies having travelled on RC and Celebrity Cruises in the past, this was our first suite experience and we were very pleased with the facilities and the aurea package which is well worthwhile Excursions and team were varied and very good, additionally the ship facilities were very good value and on par with previous experiences. The food was top notch and we had my choice dining which was excellent Regrettably the balance of the really good experiences can be tainted by seemingly small experience. MSC have a policy of taking a service charge for each day for each member of the family unit which is fine if you receive the service element accordingly. Unfortunately whilst we had a excellent service from our cabin steward and waiters and waitresses at dinner and around the ship this didn't seem to extend to the bar staff who seemed generally quite rude. Additionally a change of schedule due to poor weather caused significant disembarkation mayhem in Qatar, regrettably which led to an hour plus wait for transfer buses from ship to outer port (we gave up in the end and the queues still extended for another hour, very poorly executed) Final disembarkation was also a little disjointed ( I am being kind in my comments) guidance and management was poor and I had mistakenly assumed that all MSC staff were there to assist and help, unfortunately I was wrong in my assumption, in that we were left floundering to understand which coach to board for transit to airport I approached the only MSC staff member available who happened to be a Yacht Club concierge, where he just simply ignored me. Another staff member from MSC apologized for his behaviour, highlighting he only dained to speak to Yacht club members, mistakenly I thought we were all customers of MSC, this is duly noted for any future cruises I undertake In summary, nice ship and facilities, but as you would expect of any ship in this class, itinerary was great, excursions varied and good. Staff in the main good, but overall experience could have been excellent without these niggles Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Last minute decision to book this cruise as it was a bargain not to miss - included Emirates flight. Have only travelled with RCI once before, usually go with P and O. Flight and transfer good. Arrived around 7.30am so we were ... Read More
Last minute decision to book this cruise as it was a bargain not to miss - included Emirates flight. Have only travelled with RCI once before, usually go with P and O. Flight and transfer good. Arrived around 7.30am so we were transferred to a hotel for breakfast, then boarded ship around 11am, allowed into cabins around 1pm. First impressions on exterior of ship we thought it looked a bit 'tired' i.e. deck/sun beds etc. Didnt spoil our holiday though, interior was OK ...cabin a bit small but not a problem. Unfortunately no cabins in centre of ship available so we had to have one at the rear of the ship. Drinks VERY EXPENSIVE, i.e. small Chardonnay 8 USD PLUS 18 per cent service charge, Proscecco 10 Dollars plus service charge, practically all lager was bottled around 5 USD. Evian water 6 USD - disgraceful!! My partner forgot his Bow Tie so hired one for the evening 8 USD....!! Of course no chance of buying alcohol on shore so we drank very little during the week. On deck/Windjammer buffet area there is tea, coffee, water, flavoured waters available free of charge, also ice cream. There is no kettle in stateroom but another passenger mentioned you could ask for one to be delivered to the room. Food in general OK but nothing special....more in keeping with an average 3 star hotel. Staff everywhere VERY pleasant and willing to please. Found the constant 'plugging' of their excursions, trying to persuade us to buy wine, spa etc quite annoying, in fact we hadn't even boarded the ship when we were accosted. Personally prefer P and O overall but can't complain as it was very good value for money. Tip: take a wide neck plastic bottle to fill from the water fountain if you don't want to keep buying cold drinks. They don't 'advertise" the fact that Shuttle Buses are available as they want you to purchase excursions. in Dubai there are shuttles provided by a couple of Malls, Abu Dhabi - ships shuttle to a Mall in City, we then took a taxi to Mosque, Emirates Palace etc 3 hour trip for 6 persons was around £20 per person. Muscat you can walk to the Souk and/or walk along the Corniche FOC. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Have been on a few Thomson cruises which we have enjoyed, this was the first time on the Celebration. We had a disabled room , cabin 100, which was a double, we had ordered a twin, so the steward brought us a very low put me up bed which ... Read More
Have been on a few Thomson cruises which we have enjoyed, this was the first time on the Celebration. We had a disabled room , cabin 100, which was a double, we had ordered a twin, so the steward brought us a very low put me up bed which neither of could use so in the end shared the double, the disabled wet room was very good. We enjoyed the food in the Meridian most evenings meeting some lovely people to chat to, however the Lido buffet resembled a factory canteen with not much main course choice. The food in the Lido on formal night was very poor, surely the menu should be the same in both restaurants whether you want to dress up or not.. The entertainment was ok, nowhere near as good as the Dream last Summer, the show team were often out of tune and appeared to struggle. Enjoyed Dubai and Abu Dhabi, not keen on the other stops, Muscat was a no no with many people we spoke to. So all in all, it was ok, could have been better. The staff, as on all Thomsons ships were brilliant but as someone else said, its time this vibrating old ship got replaced. I believe the Discovery is wonderful, so the sooner they get the other Discoveries, the better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our second Royal Caribbean experience the first being the Voyager of the Seas in November last year. The Splendour of the seas is smaller and older. Smaller need not an issue but there are signs of aging in parts of the ship. ... Read More
This was our second Royal Caribbean experience the first being the Voyager of the Seas in November last year. The Splendour of the seas is smaller and older. Smaller need not an issue but there are signs of aging in parts of the ship. The Stateroom was a little jaded as were some of the public areas. Having said that the service was excellent as was the food. The entertainment was just about OK but the speakers, who gave briefings on the destinations, need to be changed or given training in public speaking. The facts may have been interesting but the delivery was flat, monotone and dull. This seemed to suit many in the audience who soon fell into a restful sleep. The deck pool and wirlpools were fine but on sea days you had to be up early to get a sunbed and up very early to get one in full sunlight. The staff did try and impose the rule that "a sunbed could not be reserved (with a towl etc.) for more than half an hour" but they were fighting an uphill battle. There was also an indoor pool that was actually better for swimming. We mainly judge by comparison which is why this ship doesn’t score to highly. But is this was the first time that I had stepped onto a cruise ship I would have been very impressed. Especially considering the price we paid. Return BA flights from Heathrow, seven night’s full board accommodation with more food than anyone could eat with visits to some interesting and exotic locations and all this for just seven hundred quid. The only question is “how do they do it?” Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
After seeing all the mixed reviews we kept an open mind on what to expect so here is mine Ship is really lovely, we have been on most other cruise lines and this is up there with the best if them Lovely atrium polite and friendly ... Read More
After seeing all the mixed reviews we kept an open mind on what to expect so here is mine Ship is really lovely, we have been on most other cruise lines and this is up there with the best if them Lovely atrium polite and friendly staff All inclusive drinks package is must and it's fab nearly everything in the bar list is included. Cocktails premium brand spirits sparkling wine we saved £100s Get some photos taken we don't bother very often now as we have loads but they are really good take lots if unusual posses and when buying a pack of photos they will do a deal Food in buffet is good food in dining room is not as good as other cruise lines and really dues need improvement not very often a good menu Entertainment was nit to our taste and vert geared to Europeans although it didn't worry uses we made our own fun Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
This just about scrapes an average but is more like a 2.5 star out of 5 as there is a big difference between poor & average. Boarding was very quick & straightforward which is not always the case when you start your holiday. ... Read More
This just about scrapes an average but is more like a 2.5 star out of 5 as there is a big difference between poor & average. Boarding was very quick & straightforward which is not always the case when you start your holiday. The ship is in my option looking a bit tired & jaded, the staff are very attentive & the food in the windjammer is very good as it always is on Royal Caribbean ships, staff are very friendly & attentive, but melamine plates past their sell by dates in the windjammer is a real no no in my book & all the cups for tea & coffee are in the main badly stained. The dining room itself did have atmosphere & the food was ok but food was rarely hot but that is something you often get in a busy main dining room, the staff here were excellent & very attentive The tables are constantly wiped but in the windjammer & solarium areas as well as poolside they are very tacky as in sticky & getting it re- wiped seems to make little difference, this also applies to many of the chairs round the tables & this was the view among many passengers that the whole ship needs a proper deep clean, something that will probably only happen when it gets a new owner. The ship certainly looks better from the outside than the inside, first time I have gone on a ship where no toiletries are provided in the cabin. The cabin itself was basic but clean & acceptable, people did enjoy themselves & many areas were still busy after midnight, problem is there is not too much of a choice of ship if you wish to do a Dubai cruise & they say you do get what you pay for. The first part of the holiday was a three night stay in a top hotel & from all accounts everyone was highly impressed by this part of the holiday which in a way highlights the misgivings of the cruise, but it does seem people are accepting that the cruise is " average " but they have paid a price that goes with that valuation I suspect the three nights in the five star Sheraton Grand would normally be the price I paid for the ten day holiday, if you don't expect a five star cruise then you probably wont walk away too disappointed. The excursion in Abu Dhabi was the highlight of the cruise for me, went to the Emirates Palace hotel for High tea, this amazing hotel is jaw dropping in every way & nothing I could say about it would be enough to do it justice. Be aware that the desert safari in Dubai literally has its ups & downs, your not exactly told how extreme the ride over the dunes is, if you like roller coasters you will love it if you don't then its definitely not for you, there is a lovely meal at the end of it in the desert if your stomach is still in a position to take it. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Had booked the cruise 10 months in advance as we really wanted to go and flights from Scotland are limited. Cannot complain about the staff, the food or the cabin we were in for the week. Only ever in a cabin to sleep and shower so went ... Read More
Had booked the cruise 10 months in advance as we really wanted to go and flights from Scotland are limited. Cannot complain about the staff, the food or the cabin we were in for the week. Only ever in a cabin to sleep and shower so went for an inside. The weather was windy, the sea choppy and it appears an inside was an advantage as spoke to people on lower outside cabins who had a disturbed sleep due to the waves slapping against the ship. However one thing no one can control is the weather. We managed to visit all ports including Thira where the tender boat ran for most of the day, heard a ship couldn't stop the day before. We mainly did our own thing and only booked excursions for Israel. Chose guided tour company in Israel as they were cheaper and offered small mini bus tour rather than a coach for Jerusalem and Bethlehem, unfortunately not enough of an uptake to do second day of Masada and the Dead Sea with them. Same guide the next day when we booked through ship so they must provide Thomson with guides. Expensive but worth it as we may never go back again. Both days full of history, fun and spiritually uplifting. Entertainment on ship was varied, comedian and shows were good and plenty to keep you busy day and night. Cannot comment on children's club or the waiter service dining as never used these facilities.Self service and specials on the Lido deck again had lots of variety and you could eat as much and as often as you liked. We had a drinks package at the reduced cost of £70 per person which worked out fine as it included most soft drinks, nice coffee, peppermint tea (which I drink)and a variety of alcoholic drinks without a supplement. However feel the full price is not worth it (£230) as you would need to drink lots to run up a bar bill of £35 a day per person.What was an issue, though I do not know how it could be easily resolved, is the flight delays incurred by most, the long queue at passport control at Paphos and the issuing of cruise cards. In total it took about 11 hours from leaving Stirling to boarding the ship, a long day. Overall we loved our cruise and am sure we shall sail with Thomson again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This is our first and last time we use this ship. It its said to have been refurbished, but boy, does it need another one! DO NOT get a cabin on A or B deck from the reception backwards especially A73 - the vibration when the ship is ... Read More
This is our first and last time we use this ship. It its said to have been refurbished, but boy, does it need another one! DO NOT get a cabin on A or B deck from the reception backwards especially A73 - the vibration when the ship is sailing, especially at night, will literally vibrate you out of your bed, and that's on a clam sea day! So many people had to change their cabins, We were moved mid-ship after the first nigh, wow what a difference! The management made out as if it was the first time anyone had ever complained, only later when we talk to regular "Swans" did the warn us. Stay in the mid 20's to 50 number rooms. B desk is really noise too at the back as you are literally on top of the propeller shaft. Staff made up for everything amazing service, always with a smile a credit to the ship. FOOD - First time ever I lost weight, and this is my 28 cruise! so much is tinned food, and the menus is very poor, 3 start quality at the most, and often cold! Also, they ran out of a lot of stock! the saving was they have rib eye steak and chicken on the menu every day, that saved the day too! Lectures and music /singers 5 star! which is the only reason I can think of, people would go on this ship! Sorry but never again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Where do I start? After reading many terrible reviews of the Costa Serena after I had booked this cruise I should've learnt my lesson & cancelled it! Several times I tried to contact Costa by email prior to departing with some ... Read More
Where do I start? After reading many terrible reviews of the Costa Serena after I had booked this cruise I should've learnt my lesson & cancelled it! Several times I tried to contact Costa by email prior to departing with some requests but to no avail, they don't seem to acknowledge any sort of email enquiry. So why was I suprised that when I tried to call them they didn't answer the phone either? To my better judgement we decided to go ahead with the cruise, as we particularly wanted to see this side of the world & with only Costa available to this area we had no choice. We spent 3 wonderful days in Dubai staying in a lovely hotel before boarding the Costa Serena. (Wish we had stayed in Dubai now!) we wanted to board the ship during the day but all the information we had told us we could only board after 8pm. What utter rubbish!! We decided to go to the port early & try to get on board. Evidently people had been boarding since about 1pm, we got there about 4pm. My first impression was at the port, there was one girl doing the check in with a face like a fish and no courtesy what so ever. On other ships we had to leave a deposit on either on a card or cash, nothing was requested here? On arrival into the main atrium I found it dowdy and gloomy with not much light. The decor was appalling!! Then I noticed what sounded like drilling and chipping noises, LOUD!! When I looked up on the next deck there were maintenance men working on what would've been the shops? I just assumed that perhaps it was something they done when in port? How wrong was I, the work was continuous the whole duration of our cruise. The noise limits were endless. You couldn't sit to relax with a drink you couldn't hear the music being played for the horrendous sounds coming from the workforce above. We then ventured to other parts of the ship to find some areas divided where some areas were not accessible, workmen were walking around the ship carrying huge boards of plasterboards over guests heads?? What have we come to I asked myself?? As our cabin was not available until 8pm & we couldn't access our bags as all the doors to the cabins on each deck were not only shut but locked?? We had no choice but to arrive in the dining for our evening meal in the clothes we had travelled in.lucky for us we had a table of 6 & we were all English ( not many on board) the waiters were very attentive but we did seem to wait a while between each course. The choice was not very large (compared to other cruise ships) & the food was not very variable and tasteless. We were on the all inclusive drinks package & it was worth every penny as the drinks on board were expensive. Only trouble was you were not allowed a bottle of water it had to be a glass! The dining room was fine for the evening meal we ate in Vesta restaurant, but forget having breakfast or lunch there, it was a nightmare! We went twice to each then forgot it. The service was appalling & so was the food. Once I waited 20 minutes for a coffee?? So we went to the self service restaurant on deck 9. Although it was the same choice every day, breakfast was continental, cereals, fruit, pastries,anything that was suppose to be hot clearly was not & the waiters made no attempt to clear the tables until you walked away & had finished. At lunchtime there was pasta, carvery, salad, bread, soup & desserts of fruit, cakes of some description. It was not horrendous but the only trouble is after getting your food there were no tables available so by the time you found a table your food was cold!! The bar staff that continually parade around the restaurant conveniently chose to ignore the British guests unless you were lucky enough to grab one & ask them to serve you. The entertainment team were very amateurish & the shows were the worst I've ever witnessed. The first was a magician, we walked out half way through it was unbelievable! Most of the staff had a couldn't give a damn attitude & it became very stressful! The noise & dust from the continuous Maintenance going on around the ship really ruined our cruise along with the attitude of the staff, the dim gloomy cabins and dreadful decor on board, together with the awful entertainment and plain unimaginable food made this our worst cruise ever! The jacuzzi turned my new swimsuit brown (far too much chlorine in the water) when I complained to the guests services they were not interested & told me to claim on my insurance?! After a lengthy argument with them I demanded to see the Captain, who obviously doesn't deal with such trivialities!! I was told it will be dealt with & a letter will be with you within a few hours with a decision as to what can be done. After 8 hours I had heard nothing so returning to see them I demanded to see someone of higher authority. When speaking to her I was told nothing can be done on board & it has to be dealt with when I get home. With my previous experience of trying to contact Costa I don't hold out much hope?? There attitude was unbelievable & they really couldn't care less. The queue was so long when we had finished our meeting with her & everyone was complaining about one thing or another. There were several pools on board, we decided to use the "Adult Pool" at the Aft of the ship on deck 9. Unfortunately though this was not adhered to as plenty of European kids decided they would use it "bomb" every guest using it! The pool attendant asked them to use but as in the case of many situations they decided to ignore it!! The pool slide was out of action the whole duration due to maintenance but actually no work was seen to be done? The 4D Cinema was not in English & had no sound!!! Unfortunately for everyone on board on Thursday we experienced a sandstorm which meant that we couldn't really get off the ship back in Dubai. This meant it was another day we had to endure the ship! There was no additional entertainment to enjoy and soon the ship became very full with lots of disgruntled guests hanging around. im not convinced that the ports of call in Oman were of any interest, in particular Khasab! We thought as many guests did that they should forget Khasab and have 2 days in Abu Dhabi where there was so much more to see & do & not enough time for only having 1 day. Probably though knowing all the savings Costa was trying to make this was just another? So to sum it all up, would I do another Costa cruise? NO WAY NOT IF THEY PAID ME!!! Someone recently wrote saying this was the Ryanair of cruise ships, this is an understatement!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Prior to the cruise I had linked up with others via the Roll Call. As a solo traveller this was a way of getting to know others prior to sailing. We met at the Sky Bar on sailaway and often met up during the cruise, either on various ... Read More
Prior to the cruise I had linked up with others via the Roll Call. As a solo traveller this was a way of getting to know others prior to sailing. We met at the Sky Bar on sailaway and often met up during the cruise, either on various excursions or around the ship. I had been staying with family who are based in Dubai so had already done a lot of sightseeing in Dubai. I made my own way to the port and embarkation went very smoothly. I was in my cabin by 1 pm and luggage arrived shortly afterwards. My cabin steward, Clinton, was there to greet me and throughout the cruise he kept the cabin spotless. He was efficient, friendly and always had a cheery greeting. The balcony cabin (D9062)on Deck 9 was spacious with plenty of wardrobe and drawer space. The shower was a good size and the water always hot. The balcony had two comfy chairs but the round table was a bit small. DINING - When I booked the trip I requested My Time Dining and this was confirmed and gratutities taken at the time. However, my SeaPass Card showed I had been put on 2nd sitting. Apparently My Time Dining was overbooked and a lot were not given the seating they had requested. I was unable to change to even the 1st sitting. Found the late dinner meant it was not always possible to see and do all I wanted to of an evening but I did manage to fill my evenings with an early show, pre-dinner drink and fun in one of the many bars afterwards. The food was very good with plenty of choice to suit all tastes. It was nicely cooked and well presented. My table waiters (Table 492) were efficient, curteous and made the dining experience most enjoyable. The Windjammer Buffet served good food but it got so crowded. I tended to have a relaxed breakfast in the Reflections Dining Room and did have Room Service on a couple of days. This was delivered at the requested time and is free of charge (plus a tip if you wish to the person who brings it). Lunch would be either in the Windjammer Buffet or at the Park Cafe which served delicious snacks and salads. I did eat at the Chops Grill one evening and this was such good value - the best steak I have ever tasted. BARS - Each Bar had something different to offer. The Centrum had a small dance floor and the group the Boogies certainly got your feet tapping. My favourites were the Schooner Bar, Safari Club and the Crown & Castle Pub. The bars around the pool areas were good and the staff very attentive. ENTERTAINMENT - This was not as good as on some cruise lines I have been on. However the YMCA NIght was superb; the Beatles - A Musical Celebration was fantastic with everyone singing along and even dancing in the aisles of the theatre. The Arabian Night around the pool was great fun. The highlight for me though was Jonathan Ansell (exG4)whose performance of classical, show music and rock could only be described as magical. He remained on board ship for a couple of days and even entered into the fun of the Belly Flop competition at the Main Pool. Needless to say when the judges realised who Jonathan From England was he scored perfect sixes and was awarded the Gold Medal. He was a very likeable person and did not fail to say hello if he met you around the ship. DRINKS - Prices were outrageous and I feel a 15% surcharge on all drinks is disgraceful. I am glad that I orderd a water package and the Soda Package. With the prices so high for wines and spirits I tended to stick with the cocktail of the day and was content with my Soda Package option. FACILITIES ON BOARD - The main pool could get crowded but the Solarium Pool (Adults Only) was much more relaxing. The water slide and children's pool area was nicely set out. I found no problem in finding a sun-lounger even on the day at sea. I did treat myself to a spa treatment (Seaweed Wrap with full body and head massage) This lasted 90 mins and was sheer bliss and I thought a reasonable price as spas at sea go. The rock climbing wall was impressive but having a problem with arthritis I was not tempted to try it. It was fun to watch others though. I instead had a leisurely game of golf and shuffleboard with some new friends - we had quite a few laughs going round the golf course - not as easy as it looks! I did visit the Casino and had a few goes on the 25c slot machines but did not win very much. Glad I made sure I had Dollars to hand because if you get dollars from the cashier and put it on your SeaPass, RCI will charge you 3%! There are some things I can give a miss - Can never understand the need for Art Auctions on board and the discount sessions in the ships shops did not impress and I found the photographer's prices far too high. I managed to get some good pictures taken by other passengers so saved a lot there. There was so much to see and do on board throughout the day with something to suit all preferences. It was often difficult to fit everything in. SHORE EXCURSIONS - I opted for the ships excursions because as a solo traveller I did not want to venture out alone and the prices I felt were very reasonable. In Abu Dhabi I took the City Tour and Grand Mosque tour - absolutely wonderful; in Fujairah I did the East Coast Tour which was enjoyable but not that wonderful - a lot of on and off the coach for short periods. In all a little rushed but it was interesting nontheless. In Muscat I did the Mystical Muscat and this was very good indeed. Excursions were well organised and the guides very knowledgeable. GRATUITIES - As mentioned earlier my tips were deducted from the beginning as I had requested My Time Dining. However as I did not get my requested dining option I decided to ask for a refund of my pre-paid tips and requested I be allowed to tip those of my own choosing . The Purser's Desk was very obliging, there was no hassle and the money is to be re-imbursed. I then handed out tips to those I considered had earned them e.g. cabin steward, dining room waiters and certain bar staff. Serenade of the Seas is a lovely ship.It is spotlessly clean and the decor is well thought out. I can understand why people keep returning to RCI as their standards are so high This was my first cruise with RCI and although I feel I had a good deal on this cruise I will have to carefully look at their prices on future cruises because the single supplements tend to be quite hefty. I would however recommend RCI. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
We arrived on Sunday morning at 8am after a night flight. We could not embark on the ship till around 4.30pm. We sat in the terminal nodding off and walking around as we felt too tired to do anything else. We could have flown early on ... Read More
We arrived on Sunday morning at 8am after a night flight. We could not embark on the ship till around 4.30pm. We sat in the terminal nodding off and walking around as we felt too tired to do anything else. We could have flown early on Sunday morning and would not have had to sit around for hours. When we finally embarked we had to wait another two hours until our cabin was ready and a further 45 minutes until our luggage arrived.Drinks very expensive, beer 4.50 euros. Single spirit measure 6.25 euros and a mixer 2.50 euros + 15% surcharge on top of every drink purchased. Not allowed to purchase duty free spirits on board (you can on P & O at duty free prices). Ship design - very dazzling in places, bit glitzy. Not that many passengers follow the dress code - many wore casual wear on formal nights. We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 which was very comfortable - no complaints there. I had expected the food to be delicious as italian restaurants in England are always a favourite. Food was bland, most of the meat 'braised' and I'm afraid very bland. Despite the novovirus which can happen on ships, no one enforces the use of hand sanitizer on entering restaurants - although it is there! This was our fifth cruise and although I enjoyed Dubai and the other ports of call I was disappointed. The adult swimming pool at the rear of the ship says that children are not allowed to swim there but daily there were children using this pool and no one enforced the rule. I would not recommend this cruise line and have been advised to look at Princess Cruises next. I really fancied a grilled fillet steak for dinner but after a few days I was disenchanted with meat that was "braised". Also there were no vegetables served. If you had prawns they had not been cleaned, they still had their intestine tract! Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
This was our first time on a middle size ship, but we have previously cruised very happily on Celebrity Summit and Millennium, and expected, and got, the same quality of cruise. The Holy Land seemed to provide port visits which were a ... Read More
This was our first time on a middle size ship, but we have previously cruised very happily on Celebrity Summit and Millennium, and expected, and got, the same quality of cruise. The Holy Land seemed to provide port visits which were a little different from those we had always experienced in the Med, and, despite some apprehension as an attack on the Gaza strip had occurred only a couple of weeks before our cruise, and we felt there might be too obvious a police presence in some areas, we need not have been concerned as ashore throughout Israel and Palestine we felt quite safe. Azamara Quest was excellent in every respect. We believe that the total experience was in no small part due to the excellent sociability and attitude to his staff of the Swedish Captain, whose name I have now forgotten regrettably. The crew were not only courteous and affable towards the guests but towards each other. There seemed to be a family-like atmosphere amongst them. Because of some little difficulty in getting a Dollar card to work in the ATM, essential for payment of our account onboard, I did make a bit of a nuisance of myself with over-frequent visits to the Customer Services desk, but they all treated me with politeness and patience. The accommodation was very good, and the stateroom a little larger than we had felt it would be. As we had a veranda we were initially surprised to see that it had a sturdy wooden eating-height table and two wooden dining chairs, rather than the loungers we had expected; in the event we had several meals in-room and this configuration was of course much more sensible for that purpose. Certainly it would not have been in any way possible to eat a full meal on the very very small occasional table provided in the stateroom itself, and the seating there would have made balancing plates rather a problem! As we enjoyed excellent weather for the whole of the cruise we had no problem, but if the weather had been unpleasant it would have been a different story, as whenever there is a very early start for a shore excursion we order in breakfast and would not have had space even for that in the cabin. The cleanliness and quality of the whole ship was outstanding, and, in particular, the public restrooms, this being only 2 weeks past the start of the Swine flu outbreak so all due care was being taken. The dining room service and choices were first class, but not quite up to Millennium standard perhaps; however that is a personal observation, and depended on one's menu choice to some extent. The speciality restaurants were on a par with the dining room, but not really particularly outstanding, although the service and location made the venue very worthwhile. One of the most noteworthy culinary events was the remarkable breakfast in the Windows Cafe; excellent combinations, very fresh soft fruits and the service impeccable. A big plus was the lack of pushy bar waiters around the decks - something to be deplored on the larger ships. As this was a port-intensive cruise the lack of entertainment onboard was not as noticeable as that we experienced in September on Journey. We would like to have had more boutiques to pass the time after dinner perhaps, or indeed some lectures as well as the really good enrichment lectures on the next day's location. The ethnic belly dancer and Turkish musicians were brilliant and a couple of the other shows were all right, but unfortunately the pianist in the Cova Lounge was offering music well beyond his somewhat limited range, and this made one less place to while away the between-times for us. One further thing which should be mentioned is the brilliant disembarkation and shore excursion filtering. We never had to wait. Everything was clearly indicated and the wait for taxis controlled with precision, not what we had experienced with another cruise line at the same port only last year, where utter chaos reigned! OK it was a much larger ship, but the control was just not evident then. The shore excursions: Loads of choices. We had an excellent time in Israel with Patra Travel, whose Jewish guide was so knowledgeable, not only on Judaism but in-depth information on Christian and Moslem sites. We visited the day before the Pope was to visit all the same sites, and although the Holy places were absolutely packed with tourists he and his Palestinian guide (they had to change at the Wall) never hassled or harried us and answered all questions fully. However sadly the same could not be said for our foray into Egypt, where we were to take a 10 hour tour to the Pyramids, Sphinx, Cairo market, and so on. We did all this at great speed (and the road from Alexandria is dreadfully bumpy and potholed), and although the young guide was very knowledgeable we were after all there to see the sights, as well as have the history lesson, and we arrived after 2 1/2 hours driving to be allowed only 10 minutes at the Pyramids, and this to include a rest stop! We had presumed that seeing the Pyramids would include at least a short look inside, but that wasn't possible in the time allowed. We then had to rejoin the coach whilst it stopped in a line of moving traffic! Onward to the market at Cairo (not the tour's fault it was a Friday and therefore many places were closed for religious reasons), but here again we were required to jump out of the coach and given 15 minutes to find our way through the little winding alleys and back, and certainly no real time to actually buy anything. Lunch on a Felucca on the Nile was included. Stupidly we had assumed that this would be moving a little way down the Nile, but it appeared to be moored on a long line and whilst the boat moved it didn't go anywhere. Still it was an experience and we got some good photos from it. On to a quite interesting Mosque and adjacent Museum, and the traditional visit to a Celebrity "safe shopping experience" where we saw Papyrus made - very very briefly - and were of course then exposed to the other items that outlet offered. All good quality probably, but we always feel a little trapped by these specially chosen outlets. (Incidentally felt the same way for the 2nd time in the same carpet manufactory in Istanbul we visited with Celebrity last year where the door was locked when we were inside!!). Back to Alexandria at breakneck speed (we touched 90km in the rush hour dash) and arrived 2 1/2 hrs early. Complained to Shore Excursions but of course heard nothing yet. If asked immediately following our return from Quest if we would go on that ship again, the answer would have been a resounding yes, but unfortunately we followed this up with a September cruise on Journey, which was a considerable disappointment. I shall bore everyone with that review shortly. Cheating here actually, as there isn't a slot for Paphos which is what we mainly went to see. Were sent on the wrong tour to Paphos and spent too long in a coach going around scrubland, with distant views of Paphosa. Did however visit a splendid small cathedral and the tombs of the Kings. Unfortunately the visit which we had expected to Paphos town never materialised, being given 30 minutes nearby at the harbour (too far to walk into the town and back in that time) whilst many of the rest of the coachload viewed the mosiacs. We regret not going to the mosiacs now having seen them on t.v. but had wrongly assumed we would have been able to go to the town when the choice had to be made. Read Less
Sail Date April 2009

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click