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Serenade of the Seas Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1615 reviews
12 Awards
Serenade of the Seas
Serenade of the Seas Dining
Serenade of the Seas Cabins
Serenade of the Seas Activity/Entertainment
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Editor Rating
4.5
Very Good

Serenade of the Seas is the third Radiance-class ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet. The 90,090-ton, 2,100-passenger vessel fits just within Panamax measurements (with one foot on either side to spare), which means it, like Radiance, Brilliance and Jewel of the Seas, has maximum geographic flexibility and can sail to and from just about any region.

That flexibility extends to the onboard milieu. Serenade of the Seas' greatest strength is that it offers plenty of options, from dining to entertainment, and yet remains a mid-sized ship. It's a good choice for a wide range of traveler -- including families, singles, couples and groups.

Royal Caribbean carries through this ship the Radiance-class' most interesting distinction is the nearly three acres of exterior glass employed in its design -- including glass elevators with ocean views -- that incorporates the outdoors, beautifully, onboard.

The effect is simply dazzling -- and there are remarkable views from nearly every public room. The decorating scheme itself emphasizes elegance, grace, and beauty, and creates quite a harmonious environment. The ship is very easy to navigate, with indoor public rooms concentrated on decks five and six and more-active areas -- sports deck, pools, spa, fitness center -- on decks 11 and 12.

Health & Safety

Royal Caribbean is mandating vaccination for those 12 and older on Serenade of the Seas sailings from Seattle. Guests younger than the required age will be tested at embarkation, meaning unvaccinated children are allowed on the ships, up to the CDC limits of no more than five percent of the crew and passengers are unvaccinated.

Royal Caribbean ships are sailing with reduced overall capacity.

Before Boarding

  • Proof of completed vaccination at least 14 days prior to sailing
  • Complementary rapid PCR testing is done at embarkation for unvaccinated children ages 2-11 (2-15 in July)
  • Pre-embarkation in-app health questionnaire
  • In-app check-in and arrival time slot required
  • Masks required for all guests over age 2 during the entire embarkation and debarkation process, and while on any form of transportation
  • Passport, or U.S. birth certificate (with photo ID for guests over age 15)

Onboard

  • Guests not required to wear masks onboard in their staterooms, outdoors, or indoors while seated and actively eating or drinking
  • Children under age 2 do not need to wear a mask
  • Unvaccinated guests are provided specific hours to utilize some facilities like the fitness center; others, like the Casino Royal and Casino Bar, will be unavailable to unvaccinated guests throughout the cruise
  • Vaccinated guests and children too young to be vaccinated receive COVID-19 Assistance in the form of no-charge onboard medical treatment for COVID-19 and more lenient refund policies for cancellations or changes due to COVID-19
  • Additional screenings are done as needed
  • Capacity limits in bars, restaurants, and entertainment venues
  • Buffet food is served by staff
  • Physical distancing is suggested
  • Dining reservations are strongly recommended; parties are limited to eight and must be with your travel party or those of a linked reservation
  • Muster drill done individually using the Royal Caribbean App and/or the stateroom TV, followed by a check-in with your muster station
  • Sanitizing and hand-washing stations all over the ship
  • End of cruise testing required for unvaccinated guests over age 2

Off the ship

  • Vaccinated guests may explore independently in all ports of call
  • Unvaccinated guests are limited to controlled tours in ports

Pros

Has both an indoor and outdoor pool, as well as multiple dining venues

Cons

Lack of Royal Caribbean's signature outdoor attractions might disappoint some cruisers

Bottom Line

Good value-for-money choice for families and groups

About

Passengers : 2,146
Crew : 884
Passenger to Crew : 2.43:1
Launched : 2003
Shore Excursions : 490

Inclusions

Included with your cruise fare:

  • Meals in the Reflections Dining Room and Windjammer Marketplace, plus snacks and meals at Park Cafe; room service breakfast (continental breakfast options only)
  • Shows in the main theater and most daily events and activities, unless otherwise noted
  • Use of the gym, but not most classes
  • Use of the rock climbing wall, Sports Court, mini-golf course and kid’s water slide
  • Adventure Ocean Kids club activities through 10 p.m.
  • Gratuities, only if you booked your cruise in Australia and New Zealand in AU and NZ dollars

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Daily gratuities of $14.50 per person, per day for anyone staying in a Junior Suite or below or $17.50 per person, per day for those staying in Grand Suites and above
  • Room service orders (except complimentary continental breakfast)
  • All drinks except water, tea (including iced tea), coffee, lemonade and select juices from Windjammer Buffet or Rita’s Bar
  • Most specialty restaurants
  • Spa and salon services, most fitness classes
  • Auto-gratuities (18 percent) added to all specialty dining reservations, as well as beverage, spa and salon purchases
  • Select activities including but not limited to arts and crafts classes, bingo, arcade play, alcohol tastings, sushi classes and casino gaming
  • Adventure Ocean programs after 10:00 p.m.
  • Shore excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Photos and art purchases

Fellow Passengers

While passengers onboard will vary based on itinerary and time of year, Serenade of the Seas has captured a wide ranging passenger demographic (older in non-school holiday periods, more families during winter and summer holidays). The ship's appeal is, like its other Radiance class counterparts, is its size. It's new enough to feature contemporary amenities (like balconies and alternative restaurants) and yet -- not so huge as Voyager class vessels.

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Dress Code

Daytime: The dress code onboard is cruise casual.

Evening: Expect a formal night and at least one "smart casual" dinner, which means business formal, thought not quite black tie (think dress slacks and nice sweaters). Only a handful of men wore tuxedos on formal night, and the majority of women passed on the full-length gowns in favor of shorter cocktail dresses.

Not permitted: Tank tops are prohibited in the main dining room and specialty restaurants at dinner. Shoes must be worn in all dining venues at all times.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.

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More about Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas

Where does Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas sail from?

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas departs from Sydney, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and Tampa

How much does it cost to go on Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas?

Cruises on Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas start from $116 per person.

Is Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas a good ship to cruise on?

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas won 12 awards over the years, including Best for Service in 2019.
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Glass and friendly staff everywhere.

RCL Serenade of the Seas-October 25 – 30--departing from Tampa Review for Cruise Critic: RCL Serenade of the Seas Glass, glass, everywhere!Read More
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Cruising in the Post Cruise Pause period

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Serenade of the Seas: Outstanding Ship-Excellent Cruise

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