5 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Arctic Cruise Reviews

I gave the review a four has a compromise rating. We chose this sailing strictly for the itinerary and that truly delivered. This was our 38th cruise, 7th RCI and second on the Serenade, last one being the Inaugural TA in September 2003. ... Read More
I gave the review a four has a compromise rating. We chose this sailing strictly for the itinerary and that truly delivered. This was our 38th cruise, 7th RCI and second on the Serenade, last one being the Inaugural TA in September 2003. Our last RCI cruise was on the Freedom in 2013. The difference between the RCI product offered in 2003 and 2013 was very evident. The difference between 2013 and now is staggering, especially when it comes to the quality or lack their of for the food offerings and preparation. We are Diamond as a result of reciprosity with a sister cruise line. The itinerary was a 5+, service provided by wait and housekeeping staff a 5, and the quality of the food and presentation in both MDR and Windjammer a 2, at best. Most likely the reason you can now purchase 5 nights on the Specialty Restaurants for $100 per person. As for the entertainment, it was a mixed bag. While the singers and dancers were excellent, the production shows themselves need some fine tuning. Some Guest entertainers were better than others. Activities on Seas days have also dramatically changed. With the exception of Trivia and dance lessons in the Centrum, everything else is geared to selling something which is a definite turn-off. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Enjoyed the ports of call as there was great weather and scenery. We had minor rain only on one June day. Traveling above the arctic circle with having no sunset was expected, but still strange. You have to travel in winter to see the ... Read More
Enjoyed the ports of call as there was great weather and scenery. We had minor rain only on one June day. Traveling above the arctic circle with having no sunset was expected, but still strange. You have to travel in winter to see the northern lights. The two most northern stops were smaller and more desolate, but the southern ports were quaint to larger cities with deep fjords and greenery abounding. -5 stars Food and food service was excellent and would rate as good as or better than Princess with whom we have cruised 4 times before. Shopping seemed bland and specials not really special - 2 stars Shows were good, but most were way too loud. - 5 stars but you really have to pick you seats if you don't want to be blasted. Onboard activities- rather slow and for an experienced cruiser, rather dull - 2 stars Dancing- 2 stars, since the centrum is really not a place to dance and the dancing lounge was empty Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Embarkation at Copenhagen's Ocean Quay was fast and simple, we arrived at 10.50 and were enjoying our first drink at 11.30. The ship was, as expected, in great condition. The range of dining options is similar to other RCL ships and ... Read More
Embarkation at Copenhagen's Ocean Quay was fast and simple, we arrived at 10.50 and were enjoying our first drink at 11.30. The ship was, as expected, in great condition. The range of dining options is similar to other RCL ships and the food was good but not exceptional; there has been a deterioration in choice in recent years. This was our 21st cruise and will not be our last with Royal Caribbean. We ate in Chops and Giovanni's Table and had fantastic evenings. We never found time for Izumi, but our daughter and son-in-law (on their honeymoon) did twice and loved every moment. We did not eat at Rita's Cantina as the range of food did not suit our tastes. The Windjammer was always packed with guests who assumed they could live there if they wanted for the whole time it was open, regardless of anyone else. Some tables were occupied by people for hours, reading books and keeping chairs for 'friends' and not being challenged by staff - we think because of language differences. The same thing happened in the Vortex some times. We accept this as part of the cruise experience and as always work around the differences in culture and language to assure we do not adversely affect other people's cruises. We actually made several new friends whose first language is not English. As for the Vortex - we spent most of our relaxing time there. The views from there during the four days of constant daylight were amazing and the service was excellent. With only one exception the officers and crew were attentive, professional, helpful, caring and offered outstanding service. This one person, was in my view, very unprofessional, rude and ignorant and only after I finally confronted them on the last night, did they actually become polite (they were not an officer, wait staff, cleaner, bar staff, medical , engineering, security or our cabin attendant). We are diamond plus members and enjoyed all of the benefits offered, except one, where we were treated as second class passengers, rather than loyal RCL cruisers. The diamond lounge manager was helpful, informative, professional and dealt with our questions quickly and in a friendly way. We spent much of our time in the diamond lounge rather than the concierge lounge. My Time dining was very good mainly because we were part of a group who had arranged a table of ten and table of six, which we rotated through our group over the cruise. The waiter, assistant waiter, head waiter and dining room manager delivered a great experience. We had a few issues, all of which were resolved immediately on raising them with the correct person. One benefit we get is the help of the Concierge for bookings and queries but he seemed happier to direct us to either guest services or shore excursions for dealing with our questions and issues. The ports were as expected, fabulous Norwegian Fjords, towns and over four days of endless daylight - and experience not to be missed. We use RCL for one excursion, after having it changed twice and being overcharged we enjoyed a fabulous visit to two fishing villages in Honningsvag. We skipped the North Cape as neither of us wanted the long coach trip. We saw it from the ship twice anyway, as we sailed by. Probably the most impressive change since our last visit was the use of the Sea Walk in Geiranger - thank you RCL for ensuring Serenade used it. We are too tired and fed up to use tendering if we can avoid it. On arrival back. In Copenhagen we chose an RCL city tour and airport drop-off, a three hour tour which was, after a confusing start, was great. One thing o watch out for though is that RCL assume everyone needs three hours to checkin at the airport. As we flew at 2.10pm they tried to get us to change our transfer. but for the UK and our airline we only needed two hours. This meant that tickets stating "suitable for flights after 3pm" were ok for us. This took some pursuading on my part though. We only went to two shows in the theatre, both very good, the rest were as we usually find, mediocre attempts at entertainment - that is of course a personal view - we just don't enjoy the shows. We did take advantage of the spa services and instead of going ashore in Tromso, we enjoyed a couples massage - at a very enriched price.... but a real treat for my wife's birthday. Overall an excellent adventure that actually helped us celebrate a wedding, a birthday and ten years of friendship with over 40 friends on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This cruise took us to places that we would never get to visit otherwise, a truly once a life time experience. The North Cape, midnight sun and Geiranger Fjord are all unforgetable. We ate mostly at the main dining room. Food: Steak ... Read More
This cruise took us to places that we would never get to visit otherwise, a truly once a life time experience. The North Cape, midnight sun and Geiranger Fjord are all unforgetable. We ate mostly at the main dining room. Food: Steak and fish at dinner are all excellent. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room have extra items, such as shrimp cocktail, whole strawberries and made to order tossed salad, at lunch, in addition to ordering from the menu. It is easier to get a seat there than trying to find a table at the Windjammer on Deck 11, as people want to see the views from there. Our party of ten (siblings and spouses between ages of 54-66) were able to sit together at all meals with My Time Dining. Service: Staff was always friendly and really seemed to want to see that the guests enjoy their time on board. We appreciate that there was no corkage fee on the wine bottles we brought to the dining room. The ship is on the older side, but well maintained. Onboard Activities: We tried to stay active with all the food we were eating. There were many dance and exercise classes to choose from. The dance classes were really fun and the instructors did a great job. I wish there were more information given on the places we visit, besides trying to sell the excursions. The excursions were quite expensive, but it was the only way to visit the North Cape while at Honningsvag. This is the first time we sail on Royal Caribbean after six crises on other cruise lines. We would be happy to go back on a Royal Caribbean ship in future. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
It was not a good start from Day 1 - when our luggage had not been delivered to our cabin after many hours I discovered them some distance away and delivered them myself. Some bags remained there until 8pm that night and people were asking ... Read More
It was not a good start from Day 1 - when our luggage had not been delivered to our cabin after many hours I discovered them some distance away and delivered them myself. Some bags remained there until 8pm that night and people were asking where their luggage was as they hadn't received it by then. The men's steam sauna never worked properly the whole Arctic cruise and when I mentioned this to the area's supervisor she was so rude to me that I didn't bother coming back while she was there. The women's steam sauna had similar problems according to my wife. We didn't see any ice or anything remotely Arctic in the Arctic Circle cruise - it was just another day at sea. In their advertising for this cruise Royal Caribbean have a photo of an iceberg but we certainly didn't see any. Also at Olden their photos advertising the glaciers for their shore excursions are nothing like what we ultimately saw because nearly all the glacial ice has gone and there is very little to see. The food in the Park Café was poor and the buffet was operating under what seemed restricted hours. However the food in the dining room was fine although some of the wait staff expected tips at the end of the cruise. Usually on a cruise the bed linen is changed after four days but we had to ask our cabin steward otherwise we don't think it would have been done and he expected extra tips as well. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Serenade of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 5.0 3.6
Public Rooms 5.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 5.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.9
Enrichment 1.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.4
Value For Money 5.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.3

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