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5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
OUR GROUP: Three senior couple (65-71) traveling together during Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston as we boarded (late August) and Florida as we exited in Boston. Our 3rd cruise with the same group having done a Princess and Celebrity ... Read More
OUR GROUP: Three senior couple (65-71) traveling together during Hurricane Harvey hitting Houston as we boarded (late August) and Florida as we exited in Boston. Our 3rd cruise with the same group having done a Princess and Celebrity earlier. We felt of the 3 Celebrity was the premium product. All cruises were great experiences and we are happy to have done these with good friends. Our nightly dining at the MDR table for six offers many fond memories on all three cruises. One couple from WA state the other two from Phoenix. ITINERARY: Transatlantic - Copenhagen to Boston 26 August to 10 Sept. Two Norway stops, two Iceland stops, 5 sea days, a stop in Halifax and finally Boston. GETTING FROM PHOENIX TO THE SHIP IN COPENHAGEN In order to break up the long uncomfortable plane ride from Phoenix we have begun doing an overnight en route, this time flying PHX-DEN-YYZ (Toronto). Six hours total flight time with connections on United. Overnight at Fairfield Inn near the airport, our 2nd time with them. They offer a 24 hour free shuttle and free breakfast, nice rooms and reasonable, especially with the currency difference. Though the Toronto airport seemed very busy from curb to gate took 45 minutes. Fairfield also allowed a late checkout the next day as we flew Air Canada non stop to Copenhagen the next evening - 6 hours, 45 mins flight time arriving next day in Copenhagen. Customs and bag claim went well, we changed terminals to catch our shuttle to the CPH hotel, the Crowne Plaza near the airport, arriving 11am Danish time. They allowed early check in so this was great as well after no sleep overnight. Though not downtown this hotel is quiet and nice and reasonable as well and a short walk away from the Fields shopping center where there is shopping and many dining options plus there is a metro stop to get downtown at the center as well. The next day there was a shuttle from hotel to the Oceankaj terminal, took about 40 minutes and was under $20 USD each, hard to beat to get to the ship. THE SHIP AND CRUISE EMBARK: Oceankaj Terminal - we arrived about 1 PM, 45 minutes in line to get on board, once on board our room was available. Our Room: Oceanview 4th deck, front of ship right side. Room was quiet, 2 single beds placed together, comfortable, room temperature adjustable and good. Mini bar in room gone, entire fridge available; we brought soda and wine onboard. This floor was good as straight back was MDR each evening, theater was 1 floor up at the front. Found we used elevators very little being on deck four. DINING: MDR all but three nights, 530 PM traditional dining at our table for six. Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. Did do reflections a couple times for lunch and one specialty restaurant-Giovanni’s for lunch for $15 each - very good service and food with waiter Sandra. MDR menu weak this cruise - food variety and quality and waiter service with Reggie and Csaba inconsistent. Veggies and desserts weak. Three formal nights and they did nothing special for the formal nights; in the past I remember a better menu on these nights. PASSENGERS: 2100 with 1600 from US. Heavy load of Diamond and up; Diamond, Diamond Plus and Pinnacle were almost ½ of the entire passenger load. LAUNDRY: As Emerald we got a $5 off coupon for a bag of laundry so $34.99 minus $5 but what can be included is limited to underwear,socks etc, no big items but this was very helpful. PORTS: Always arrived and departed on time. Oslo - could have used more time here; only 8 hours. Kristiansand: 8-5; less time here. Reykjavik, Iceland 8-5pm - about right. Akureyri, Iceland 10-8, less time here, but coming here allowed us to cross the Arctic Circle. Halifax 8-5pm - been here several times but is a good stop. EVENING THEATER SHOWS: Had a good variety but for the most part to us seemed to be 2nd tier. They have cut the budget here or they need to spend more to provide a little more top notch entertainment, at least on a few nights. Once nice thing about their theater is the seats are large and comfortable - please retain these CASINO: 185 total slots - compared to Princess these were generous and a good number of small initial bet slots available. Also had blackjack and roulette. OTHER ACTIVITIES: A fairly good selection of things to do, especially on the 5 consecutive sea days - we regularly played dice games with our friends and the time went quickly. We were regular trivia players and even won several times. Also had exercise classes, enrichment lectures, craft making so I think most people would be happy with the options available to keep busy and entertained. WEATHER ON THE CRUISE: We were concerned about the 5 sea days crossing the North Atlantic to Halifax and wondered about the seas. We experienced no more than 8’ swells, usually were 4 or 5 feet. No sea sickness in our group. Did have fog a day or two during the crossing. Iceland had some sun, some clouds, some misty rain but was 50’s most of the time and very welcome to us from Phoenix. Halifax was about 75, sunny almost warm, Boston was 65 or so on disembarking, sunny and brisk. Really very good weather all around for us. DISEMBARKATION: We were to dock at 600am in Boston, right on time. They decided to bring the customs officials on board to clear us then we would exit. We signed up for express walk off & were suppose to be done by 630am. The custom people got on at 610 and did not see any passengers till 630. So we waited in line from 545 am to 635 am, got our luggage then got into another line from 650 until 800am when they finally cleared us for departure; so over 2 hours standing in two lines. Finally got a cab at 815 am for the four of and were at Logan in 10 minutes for $35.00 total. Our flight was at 9:20 am on SW and we could have made it but the flight was late so we did not leave until 1050 am. It was 10 minutes to the airport because it was a Sunday morning - early Sunday - and airport was not busy. Hard to believe we could exit the ship at 820 and make a 920 flight. This would not be possible on a Mon through Friday. We normally use express walk off and have never run into a delay like this - by far our worst disembark experience with RCL. ON BOARD BOOKING: They have re-done some of the features of this program and eliminated our $100 per person deposit which was one of our favorites. Also have gone to a refundable - non refundable fare and made other changes. We have found these to be very customer unfriendly and do not like the changes. All three couples booked on board but booked Celebrity as they still retain the old RCL onboard booking features, like the $100 deposit - hopefully Celebrity will not adopt the RCL program. MOST IRRITATING: During the day and night there always seemed to be loud music going in the centrum, entertainment, exercise, whatever. They have located the next cruise office, the customer service office and the internet right at the centrum so as we tried to book our on board Celebrity cruise we had to shout back and forth with their agent to hear one another. Please - move these 3 functions to a quiet place or move the loud centrum music to elsewhere - this is a horrible placement of these offices. DRINKS ON BOARD: Most mixed drinks were a flat $12 + 18% tip - this is too high. We avoided it by buying the drink of the day or using a punch card. Wine was more reasonable but not by much. Bear in mind you can bring 2 bottles of wine on board so that is what we did and was a good savings. 12 ounce cokes were almost $4.00 each total individually priced. OVERALL - we all felt the ship had slipped a little in quality, especially in the MDR for the evening meal. There were many things to like and enjoy - being with friends on the ocean with a beautiful sunset is something you cannot enjoy on many other vacation venues. No matter what happens to the other aspects of the cruise that is an aspect that is hard to top. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
I have to preface this review by saying the crew did an excellent job. Very friendly, courteous and did very well with what they had to work with. We have cruised several times with other cruise lines such as Princess and Norwegian. ... Read More
I have to preface this review by saying the crew did an excellent job. Very friendly, courteous and did very well with what they had to work with. We have cruised several times with other cruise lines such as Princess and Norwegian. Multiple times with Princess. The cruise itinerary included Norway, Iceland, Halifax and ending in Boston. After Iceland there was a 5 day at sea schedule that just didn't do it for us. It might have been different on a ship that actually had things to do but Serenade of the Seas provided lackluster entertainment and on board activities were mediocre at best. Definitely not worth calling it a 15 day cruise. But, we knew the itinerary before we signed up. Now on Princess Cruises we normally cruise around our anniversary and Princess (like all the cruise lines do) asked if we were celebrating anything. We told them it was our anniversary and when we walked into our cabin for the first time there was a nice little cake, champagne and balloons for the occasion. But Royal Caribbean? Nothing! The only time they recognized our anniversary were on invitations to buy things. Like the Spa. "Come celebrate your day" "buy this" "blah blah blah". Also mediocre was the food. We signed up for "my time" dining and some nights were better than others but for the most part, very mediocre. Whatever they served in the main dining room they also served in the cafeteria. Some nights we just went to the cafeteria and ate. And it seemed the "chefs" for the main dining room couldn't cook a steak (supposed to be a NY Strip???) to save their lives. One night I asked for medium rare and it was cooked well done. Another night I asked for medium rare and it was barely cooked. Very raw inside. One night we decided to go to Chops Grill. I ordered a filet and it was perfect. $35 more but it was worth it. Also, we choose inside cabins now. No need for a window when you're sleeping. But everyone has their needs. We loved Iceland and Norway which is the primary reason we went on this cruise. But I'll never do a cruise with more than 1 day in between ports. We rented a car in some ports while others were paying a premium to be led around seeing the same excursions and being told what to look for, what to look at, when to go here when to get on the bus.... We were able to take our time and go where we wanted and see things that most didn't get to. Who pays for a "walking tour"? In summary, Food (especially deserts) were very mediocre. The ship provided acts that were dismal. I'll give you an example....they had a ABBA tribute band that knew the songs but sounded nothing like ABBA. It was ok but no one would pay to go see an act like that. On board activity extremely boring. Most of the passengers were of retirement age and probably enjoyed sitting and reading and taking naps. I have to say again, the crew was very friendly and courteous throughout the voyage. We may cruise again but not with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
Excellent service, food and entertainment, but we chose this cruise for the itinerary (which included Iceland). Taking a northern cruise in late August/early September limits your pool time somewhat, but it is a great time to be walking ... Read More
Excellent service, food and entertainment, but we chose this cruise for the itinerary (which included Iceland). Taking a northern cruise in late August/early September limits your pool time somewhat, but it is a great time to be walking through ports. Repositioning cruises with multiple at sea days require a variety of entertainment and enrichment options to ensure a positive experience. Serenade of the Seas is large enough to support variety in these areas so there is virtually never a time when you cannot find something to do. The food is of great quality so the specialty restaurants are not needed by most people (although they do offer a different experience). Everyone should take a cruise that stops in Iceland. In addition to waterfalls, guysers and a unique landscape, you get to see where scenes from the Game of Thrones were filmed. Do take the Golden Circle tour (consider Iceland Guided Tours -- their guides are terrific and they use mini buses). Overall this cruise was a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
This was our 2nd TransAtlantic, our 1st was with Celebrity. Difference was striking! Royal used to be our favorite cruise line (we're Diamond Plus status) but they have really gone downhill. Cutting corners at every opportunity, even down ... Read More
This was our 2nd TransAtlantic, our 1st was with Celebrity. Difference was striking! Royal used to be our favorite cruise line (we're Diamond Plus status) but they have really gone downhill. Cutting corners at every opportunity, even down to eliminating shampoo. How ridiculous! Waitstaff was superb, but obviously running at breakneck pace due to staffing cuts. This led to frequent mistakes and collisions. Enrichment lectures were a joke. The only speaker worth attending was Dr Fischer, the other two were worthless. Some jerk who was totally unorganized and unprepared, babbling about Chinese facial expression reading and the Golden Globe Awards, and a former anchorwoman who was an egomaniac and almost broke her arm patting herself on the back about the great job she did with the Macon Police Department. In the theater the projection system was totally out of focus and slides were completely unreadable. A twenty-dollar projection system on a multi-million-dollar ship? And the AV system in the Safari Club didn't work, so that room was rendered useless for enrichment lectures and other such events. Food was great and staff was friendly but overworked in crowded conditions. Ship needs maintenance, which is taking place in November so hopefully all will be clean and working after that. Thanks, RCCL, it was fun while it lasted. We'll stick with Azamara and Celebrity in the future. And Oceania, Regent and Viking Ocean are looking better all the time! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2017
joined cruise following "cruiser" friends ; very professional organization , clean state-rooms (Yerri) and entire ship ; dining room staff - excellent (IVAN , Benjamin and Bhandarri) ; excellent food and staff; shows could be ... Read More
joined cruise following "cruiser" friends ; very professional organization , clean state-rooms (Yerri) and entire ship ; dining room staff - excellent (IVAN , Benjamin and Bhandarri) ; excellent food and staff; shows could be better (artists) though the orchestra was excellent ; the enrichment lectures (Alan Fischer) were very good ; Halifax was a bit disappointing and also Christansand was not very interesting ; however Acureiry , Copenhagen and Oslo as well as Boston were great. the optional services however were very expensive (behind scenes tour - 100$!! Photos - 20$ !! and VOOM (200$ for 15 days); the overall ship condition is good - but one can tell it is an "old lady"... I think that trans Atlantic cruise requires better entertainment artists. the MOVIES which were chosen are completely unsuitable for the usual crowd (elderly) and were poor choice (all kinds of "kids" movies - mostly sci-fi) ...could not enjoy any...outdoor(pool screen) were bit better - but irrelevant for the weather conditions so nobody was there). the overall impression however - is 10. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
Never did transatlantic or visited any of the countries before.The majority of shows were very good,particularly Stephanie Parker,Joe West,Joel.??,Abba tribute,and the ships Dancers and singers (although one of the male singers was ... Read More
Never did transatlantic or visited any of the countries before.The majority of shows were very good,particularly Stephanie Parker,Joe West,Joel.??,Abba tribute,and the ships Dancers and singers (although one of the male singers was replaced by a dancer who mimed for the second show they did) and the orchestra were very good as always.The cruise director was,unfortunately,on an ego trip.His show and that of the entertainment manager,were well below par.You need to be able to sing if you want to perform to an audiance of this size.Pity they didn't put more effort into the guest talent show.Perhaps they didn't really want the competition.Some of the entertainment staff were good though,particularly the little Russian (I think) girl,Irene? who seemed to be doing most of the events on her own!Great energy and personality Will make a great Cruise Director as she is a natural and does not need to boost her ego!Our assistant waiter,Nuria,was the best ever and should be a senior waiter.Nothing was too much trouble and she was a pleasure to meet.Also some of the bar staff deserve a special mention.Mario at the indoor pool,Alexander on deck 4,David at the Schooner bar (who took a lot of abuse from some of the elderly American passengers,and just smiled and got on with it)and Hugo in the Theater.Overall,I had a very good time. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We chose the cruise for the ports. Copenhagen was a great city to sail from. Tivoli Gardens is a gem. Oslo and the fiords of Norway were pleasant. Iceland is so unique that there is nothing the can be done to ruin the experience, even ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the ports. Copenhagen was a great city to sail from. Tivoli Gardens is a gem. Oslo and the fiords of Norway were pleasant. Iceland is so unique that there is nothing the can be done to ruin the experience, even when the ship docks far from the city and the bus fare is very high. The Blue Lagoon was touristy and so worth a visit. All went well up to the Transatlantic crossing. Weather was sub optimal - cold and rainy and activities and entertainment were mediocre, often single one-off performers i.e. ventriloquists, magicians, that were second or third tier. Production shows were limited and the cast was enthusiastic but not terribly talented. Movies were recent but not hits and seating in the theater required advance tickets for the few popular shows. There were often one show a night equally inconvenient for early or late dining and totally inaccessible for anytime dining. Each day was an adventure which made it difficult to schedule dinner and show. We gave up on the shows because of the lack of quality. Overall service on the ship was adequate,except for Guest Services (a misnomer) and Specialty restaurants. Guest Services had no authority to reverse charges or correct reservations, requiring having to deal with each individual restaurant. They were useless in working out any problems. I'm not sure why there were even there. Food and service was most lacking at Giovanni's table. Our meal had to be sent back for being over cooked and pasta dishes went untouched - risotto hard and gorgonzola gnocchi was like lead and laking any flavor. Our wine selection was mislabeled as Amarone on the wine list and when the bottle was presented the label said valpolicella. Our waited tried to justify the mistake by saying the valpolicella was a "baby Amarone" rather than admit the error on the menu, We bought a dinner package, yet was charged full price for the specialty meal. We were promised a correction. Never happened. After speaking with the manager about out concerns about the meal, I'm not convinced this was not an intentional oversight, We found the Asian Restaurant to be a welcome change in cuisine from the monotonous main dining room menu. The sushi was fine, not outstanding. But totally different from the MDR. Nothing that was served in the MDR was bad, just uninspired and routine. Quality, Spicing and Flavor left a lot to be desired. Lunch was particularly boring as they repeated menus. Been there eaten that. We ended up eating in the Windjammer because we could control our selections and have more variety in food type and quantity. The ship was well maintained and easy to navigate. The trouble was during sea days there was little to do. Because of the weather, finding a quiet space indoor to read was difficult as the Centrum is used from game shows to dance classes and the sound travels around the ship. The Safari Lounge was closed frequently for special events and game shows. Balcony cabin on deck 8 was ample. Lots of storage and a terrific steward. Bed an pillows were not plush but comfortable enough. One disturbing part of the cruise was fellow passengers. Over half the passengers were the top two tier levels of Royal Carribbean Crown and Anchor Society. They were demanding and expected special services. The majority of the passengers were American and elderly. Often the ship felt like a floating nursing home. As well as a petri dish as an upper respiratory virus was rampant throughout the ship. Perhaps the worst was disembarkation. We elected to leave early and waited in a line that ran the whole length of the 5th deck from 5:45 till 7 AM for customs clearance inside the ship. It didn't;t help that customs was over 20 minutes late. Long lines without chairs or water or coffee. Then when we left the ship in Boston, we stood wrapped around the outside deck for another hour till the ship was cleared by customs. Again there were no chairs, no water of coffee and protection from the cold Boston morning. We were never given the option to remain inside the ship. There was little communication of what was happening. What a mess! It was the worst disembarkment we've ever experienced. Overall not a pleasant cruise or experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
Iceland is a very popular destination so we wanted to check it out. Done it and not impressed. If you had seen Niagara falls then the waterfalls in Iceland has nothing to brag about. The geysers are puny compared to the geysers in New ... Read More
Iceland is a very popular destination so we wanted to check it out. Done it and not impressed. If you had seen Niagara falls then the waterfalls in Iceland has nothing to brag about. The geysers are puny compared to the geysers in New Zealand and even the geysers in Yellowstone. What a mess it was in Copenhagen, the transfer from the airport to the port was totally disorganized. There was no one to greet the passengers or to direct us where to wait for our transfer. When we finally found a representative she directed us to a space in the terminal with no seats available and had to wait over an hour for the buses to be loaded. The disembarkation was a total disaster. Guests who opted to do the express (lagging their own luggage) were instructed to clear immigration at 6AM, didn't get close to seeing the immigration till 7 AM then we were herded to the outside deck on 5 and left there to wait and wait. We must have waited in the cold for almost an hour and a half. No one was told what was the delay. A lot of us missed our flights. We had a 10 AM flight that we almost missed. Until today no one from RCCL has said anything about the delay. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2017
We knew what to expect when booking the 2017 edition of Royal. The food and service are now mediocre and bear no resemblance to the Royal of a bygone era. However, the itinerary was fabulous, including 4 days in Iceland. In fairness, ... Read More
We knew what to expect when booking the 2017 edition of Royal. The food and service are now mediocre and bear no resemblance to the Royal of a bygone era. However, the itinerary was fabulous, including 4 days in Iceland. In fairness, the Park Cafe staff was friendly and on the ball and some of the Aquarius restaurant staff were helpful in correcting errors. Unfortunately, the cabin attendants, and guest relations staff were out to lunch. The Windjammer was absolutely gross, forcing us to eat off the ship when in port. Royal only has one dinning venue when the ship ports, that being the Windjammer. Izumi Asian restaurant was a nice evening alternative to the dinning room. The on board entertainment was average with the exception of the rock cover band, Rookie. Rookie was the best cruise entertainment I've seen in 60-70 cruises. The balance of the shows were the usual; magicians, card tricks and diva singing. In my view, most of it wasn't worth the time. Our cabin attendant was nicknamed the invisible man. He was never around, so if something was needed, the attendant done the hall helped. Royal seems to suffer from under staffing. The food in Aquarius featured cold fish, poorly executed sauces and indifferent service. It was so bad that the sauces were often indistinguishable from one day to the next. Royal is a cheap ticket to travel, don't expect an upscale experience. Despite the on board problems I'd repeat the trip because of the ten ports featured in the itinerary. On board, Royal is challenging NCL and Carnival for the low rent bottom. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2017
Maître d' Katharina provided exceptional customer service. It's good to see someone who so truly cares about making the customer experience exceptional every time. Our Giovanni's experience was ruined by being served items we ... Read More
Maître d' Katharina provided exceptional customer service. It's good to see someone who so truly cares about making the customer experience exceptional every time. Our Giovanni's experience was ruined by being served items we advised we had allergies to, then being ignored after being served so unable to correct. Divina (bartender in Diamond lounge) was excellent. We had to go to the Diamond Lounge most evenings because the Concierge Lounge was full. I find it interesting that they PENALIZE the most loyal customers this way. Robert Popescu - Diamond concierge also wonderful and spoke to each table each evening Pawan & Inacio in dining room were a great time and very efficient. Angelle & Chris (cruise director) were very entertaining and easy to approach or talk to. Love the option to ask a question via comment card and have it addressed on the daily talk. Cristian, IWayan & Reagan in the R Bar make up the best martini team on the seas! Their martini seminars were the highlight of the cruise. I highly recommend them. I was alarmed to see staff putting what they deemed unused silverware back into clean cutlery instead of washing it all. Any item put on the table should be washed. People sneeze and cough during meals, and even use their spoons and put them back in place after licking them clean. This practice needs to stop! It's no wonder so many people were sick by the end of the cruise... We always book The Chef's Table and have found it to be a very enjoyable experience and opportunity to meet other people. However the temperature of the room was so hot that you had to keep getting up to leave the room between courses to cool off! They did apologize for the heat, but were told they couldn't cool the room because when they do the cabins on the deck below complain it's too cold. It completely ruined the dining experience. The ship was wonderful. Read Less
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