5 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Entertainment Cruises to Caribbean - All

A little background first, then a bit long, but ultimately fair review. I am a 61 year old widower with a decent amount of cruise experience.This was my 2nd with RCCL (although the 1st one was some 25+ years ago) to go with 4 on Carnival, ... Read More
A little background first, then a bit long, but ultimately fair review. I am a 61 year old widower with a decent amount of cruise experience.This was my 2nd with RCCL (although the 1st one was some 25+ years ago) to go with 4 on Carnival, 1 on Princess, and 1 on NCL. I traveled with my 32 year old single son. This was also his 2nd on RCCL to go with 2 on Carnival and 1 on Princess (all with me). We try to go on these cruises as often as possible as we don't live together and we don't see each other as often as we would like. We chose this cruise for many reasons...length, itinerary, and our schedules being the main reasons. We have been very happy with Carnival, but with RCCL having a good reputation we booked this 12 day repositioning cruise. Due to RCCL's reputation we expected a (slightly) superior experience than Carniva.This is where our disappointment originates. There were many areas that the cruise lines were equal, with Carnival superior in some areas.There were NO areas that we thought RCCL was better than Carnival. Plus there were several glitches/snafus that also contributed to this middling review. Let me first say, even though the remainder of this review will have the negatives, especially compared to Carnival, we still had a great time and given the variables of itinerary, cost, etc. we would not hesitate to take another RCCL cruise. Also, our cruise last year on Carnival was on a similar ship (size, age, etc.) so that it is a fair apples to apples comparison. Let me also say that the staff and crew were wonderful and faultless. All this being said, lets go to the review: Transfer from airport to ship: We prepaid for this transfer. Landing in Boston we found no one meeting us. We asked at information booth where the RCCL transfer people were, and were pointed to a couple of ladies nearby. Introducing ourselves, they said our names were not on the pick-up manifest.After a very short, pleasant discussion they said it happens every now and then, and it was no problem to bring us to the ship...Glitch #1. Embarkation/Check-in: Major line, very slow moving, took around an hour (maybe more)...in all of my previous cruises never more than 15 minutes. In later conversations aboard ship with other passengers, this opinion was pretty much consistent...Glitch #2. Dining Room: In booking this cruise we arranged for a table for 2, we were put at a table for 8 with 6 other passengers...glitch #3. (fortunately it was a great group and we all became very friendly). Informal (buffet) dining: While RCCL Windjammer buffet is basically adequate, Carnival has, in addition to the usual type buffet, "action" stations: Deli, Indian , make your own burritos, 24 hour pizza, a burger station (with tie in to Guy Fieri), a fresh Mongolian wok station, plus others...Major advantage to Carnival. Main dining room: Basically equal to Carnival....reasonable quantity of choices, well prepared, tasty, etc. One difference with Carnival, which may or may not matter to you: Carnival main dining experience much more festive...wait staff usually in aloha-type dress (except on formal nights) with a silly, nightly dance and/or song number with the guests. RCCL dressed in informal dress twice (of 12 nights), and sang on 2 nights...personally I really enjoy the festivity of the Carnival dining room. Room service: We didn't use it, but at the same time would have been disappointed to find out that except for the continental breakfast, it now contained a $7.95 fee... first time I've seen a cruise charge for room service . I wonder if the profit made on this will overcome the negative image it gives the cruise line. Beverages:Again an area where RCCL takes a back seat to Carnival. First, soda ....Where Carnival charged $2.25 for a soda, and a bit over $5/day for its unlimited package, RCCL charges over $8/day for its package. I had no intention of getting the RCCL unlimited package until I discovered they were charging $4 per soda. So I bought the package anyway. Later on I discovered my preferred soda, Coke Zero, was only available in a few of the venues. (available at all Carnival venues)...a day or 2 later I complained and was able to cancel the package (prorated). As for alcohol...I'm not much of a drinker, consuming less than a dozen alcoholic drinks in a year. I usually will have a couple or 3 drinks on a cruise. Day 2 I ordered a banana daquiari....only to be told that RCCL doesn't do them.Really???, not exactly an exotic drink! I had a strawberry daquari instead, which was my only alcoholic drink of the cruise . For the remainder of the cruise it was the free lemonade and iced tea....no soda, no alcohol... One plus for RCCL...they offered a 10 for $75 discount card for drinks, which my son bought. Activities: On par with Carnival, however could be scheduled better to limit conflicts, with some venues underutilized and others overcrowded (especially the "Centrum", the main center atrium of the ship...Too many activities there with minimal seating/standing space.) Entertainment: Another area RCCL inferior to Carnival. Where Carnival uses a lounge specifically for comics and each night has at least 1, and sometimes 2 comics, each sometimes doing a family show as well as an adult late night show...RCCL had I think 5 comics with only 1 doing a 2nd show for the entirety of the cruise, all in main theatre. The other "talent" is pretty much equal...a few "production" shows, a singer or 2, etc. Also, most shows only done once, creating conflicts with scheduling. Movies: While Carnival usually showed 2 movies on the big outside screen nightly (usually themed, with popcorn available), RCCL rotated maybe 6 movies for the 12 nights (same ones in multiple venues). Also, except for the movies, some football games and baseball play-offs, big outdoor screen usually displayed screen saver...on Carnival, most "dead time" filled in with music videos. Some comments on the ports, not really specific to RCCL: St. Kitts: We just walked the port area, shopped a bit, had lunch ashore. Pleasant enough. Antigua: Beach excursion with lunch included...pretty beach, adequate lunch, shopping at port. no problem. St. Lucia: BIG PROBLEM: another beach excursion, no lunch though. Asked tour guide if it was safe to leave stuff on beach chairs. She said no, and told us to leave wallets on bus where driver would be hanging out. While returning to ship, my son and I discovered we both had cash removed from our wallets (we figure $100-$140 total). I suspect driver, can't prove it though.Reported it to guest services, filled out paperwork, interviewed by ship security, but I expect nothing will come of report. Another, more minor issue, locals selling cheap trinkets to the tourists. Every few seconds another "vendor" would approach with his/her wares.A polite, "no" would send them away, only to be pestered a few moments later by another. Curacao: another beach excursion, prettiest beach of the 3...some more shopping, no problem. Aruba: submarine excursion.Went 150 ft. down, around reef, sunken ships....awesome...pricey, but worth it. Disembakation: went fine, no problems. To summarize: Surprised that RCCL gave me an inferior experience compared to Carnival, but none the less even with issues stated, had a great time, made new friends of former strangers sitting at table. Great staff and crew. Won't hesitate to cruise on RCCL in future, but if all things being equal, still would lean to Carnival.....until RCCL steps up its game. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We like the cruise because it was convenient for us leaving from Boston. This was our third time doing this repositioning cruise. The stops are really good. We booked again for next year. The ship was in need of a facelift and was ... Read More
We like the cruise because it was convenient for us leaving from Boston. This was our third time doing this repositioning cruise. The stops are really good. We booked again for next year. The ship was in need of a facelift and was heading to dry dock for some work after this cruise. They now have life guards that hover at the edge of the pool. I was swimming alone in the solarium pool and the guard stood over me. As I swam 20 feet to the other side he walked along with me. It felt very intrusive and could have been done better with some common sense. I saw eight people slip and fall on the pool deck. That seems to be the much bigger hazard. We had a great time at the Diamond Lounge. There were many fun loving people there and the bar tenders were great. We normally like to gamble every day but the table games that they had weren't great. There were several Black Jack tables that were always empty and the Caribbean Stud table was almost always empty. There was one 3 card Poker table that the dealer had to maker out a waiting list for. They could easily swap out one of the Black Jack tables for a Let It Ride Table. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
Liked itinerary, love the islands, especially St. Lucia. Relaxing and good food and service, also liked the music around the ship. Was a little upset that I did not receive body lotion in my cabin since I am diamond plus, don't ... Read More
Liked itinerary, love the islands, especially St. Lucia. Relaxing and good food and service, also liked the music around the ship. Was a little upset that I did not receive body lotion in my cabin since I am diamond plus, don't think it would have cost more than .30 cents, think Royal Caribbean is cutting back on so many things, but did without. The ship was clean, lot to do, had a very nice dinner table. Met friends I cruised with in the past and we had a lot to talk about, met a lot of new friends. We had a very nice table for eight for early dining, enjoyed going to dinner with a lot of conversation, very relaxing. Halloween party was very nice, danced a lot, and loved a lot of costumes? All in all it was a great relaxing cruise, this was our fourth time doing this itinerary and thinking of doing it again next year, we have not booked it yet. Our table at dining was 227, and Ben Amor and Hakim were excellent, could not do enough to please us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
we chose this particular cruise for the destinations as we already been to most of the regular islands, this was our first and last cruise with royal Caribbean line. thee embarkation locale is dirty and guests are treated like cattle, we ... Read More
we chose this particular cruise for the destinations as we already been to most of the regular islands, this was our first and last cruise with royal Caribbean line. thee embarkation locale is dirty and guests are treated like cattle, we were booked in a superior balcony suite, it felt like a shipping container with a balcony, the bathroom is so small even the comedian joke about the only way to soap is first rub the soap on the walls of the shower and then roll. I can't even describe the bed because I was afraid to look underneath. they nickel and dime the passengers, no shampoo, or conditioner, our cabin person was non-existent we only saw him just a few times, the bedsheets were never changed, the room was dusty even after a request to vacuum, I made the mistake of opening the balcony door while the ship was moving, we paid dearly, the dust that came flying in from the curtains felt like we were next to a sand quarry so for the duration of the cruise we spent as little time as possible in the room. after the first day of visiting the windjammer cafeteria, we avoided it like the plague, the servers are the rudest peoples ever, but have to mention the staff in the reflection dining room ( Gerard and Heman) made up for the rudeness of the rest of the staff. The food were at best palatable( luckily we didn't get sick). the entertainment is ZZZ because I fell asleep almost every night, some of the cruise directors staff were terrible with the exception of one(Grant). the parties at night were ok and only because of the limitation of music selections. It is the first time I ever experience where staff members refers to guest as "hey Man" or "hey lady" when addressing guests. Be careful when returning from shore excursions because a few of the security guards are unprofessional and think that their are cops and treated the guest just like TSA agent do. Overall the excursions are decent. we met some nice and interesting folks both on and off the ship that made up for some short coming of management whose agents lies to get a sale, they make false promises i.e. onboard credits( when attempted to verify the guest is treated like a criminal by guest services,) or unrecorded diner vouchers sent to the homes that cannot be redeem. Oh I forgot to mentioned several ports the ship docked in freight terminal so in order to do anything in town one must take a shuttle. Overall we made the best of a bad experience, not coming back, we rather pay more on a higher quality line. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise because of friends that were also booked. If not for these friends and new ones we met it would be hard to find many positive comments other than the crew members. The flight to Boston was a breeze as was the taxi ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of friends that were also booked. If not for these friends and new ones we met it would be hard to find many positive comments other than the crew members. The flight to Boston was a breeze as was the taxi to the ship. To the best of my recollection check-in and boarding went smoothly. I recall seeing rust and paint bubbled as we walked along the deck to get inside the ship. When we went to our cabin on the inside we noticed the ship was really showing her age. Now it was time to get a bite to eat so off to the Windjammer to find the variety was not the same as other RCI cruises and this stayed the same for the next 12 days. Dinner in the Dining Room was less than exciting, we found it hard (some nights) to find something on the menu that looked all that appetizing. It used to be our evenings were planned around the show in the theatre but the quality of the entertainment was at an all time low. We went to two shows one of witch we should have got up and left. The in-house entertainment was so much better that the guest entertainment. Our favorite was the young man that played piano like no one I have ever seen. Now for the positive side: In the Diamond Lounge each evening we had one of the best bar tenders we've had on any of our 28 cruises. Over all the crew were exceptional from our cabin steward to the bartenders and fantastic wait staff in all eating venues. The young lady that made my omelet each morning was cheerful and just a delight. Best meal on the trip was at Chops Grill, great food and service. Would I cruise with RCI again, yes but probably choose a different ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
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

Find a Serenade of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click