19 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

A neighbor of our close friends researchers cruises for good prices and perks. Almost two years ago, our friends told us about this cruise. There were 28 people from our over 55 community here in Texas. Most of these people were doing back ... Read More
A neighbor of our close friends researchers cruises for good prices and perks. Almost two years ago, our friends told us about this cruise. There were 28 people from our over 55 community here in Texas. Most of these people were doing back to back on this particular cruise. We signed up for the second cruise. We have taken 14 cruises since we retired ten years ago.....10 with Celebrity and this being the 4th with RCCL. We realized that the Serenade had been around for a number of years. But the itinerary and the reputation that RCCL has/had was a good reason to sign up for it. Starting from the good to bad reviews, let me start with the good. Our room attendant and the wait staff were excellent. It was what you would expect, or wanted, on a cruise. The food was good. It could have been better, but we were okay with it. By no means was it outstanding. And, we definitely have experienced cruises with some above average appetizers, entrees and desserts. The entertainment usually held in the theater at two scheduled times was not good. There was no entertainment on two nights. Zilch. Oh, they did offer movies in a cinema room. But the big entertainment for the night was missing. Instead they called a movie their entertainment. And, this happened on the preceding cruise taken by many of our friends. I have to give this review a fair-good rating. A 5 out of 10 !!! I forgot to add that the overall status of the ship was in need of some major overhaul. Many areas appeared worn. I am not sure if they have had any refurbishing of this ship. 7610 Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
The Serenade of the Seas is an easy ship to navigate and the Cruise Port Boston staff is great. Security is tight in Cruiseport Boston (fine with me!) but the embarkation process is a breeze. Fun to see the airplanes flying overheard ... Read More
The Serenade of the Seas is an easy ship to navigate and the Cruise Port Boston staff is great. Security is tight in Cruiseport Boston (fine with me!) but the embarkation process is a breeze. Fun to see the airplanes flying overheard departing from Logan Airport in Boston, Staterooms were not ready til 1:00 PM so you can check out the ship's public areas. Stop by any bar and Purchase or Open your Beverage package and have a Bon Voyage drink. This is also a good time to take the Spa Tour and check out the Fitness Center, You can sign up for Spinning Class etc. Bingo was fun. Different prices each dat depending on what they were offering. I did not win. Someone did win a Cruise for Two at the end of the Cruise Bingo. The Quest was very fun as well as the love and marriage show. We want to go again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Serenade of the seas We chose this cruise liner because we wanted to visit the Baltics in Scandinavia We travelled 4 hour journey to Heathrow terminal 5 arriving at midnight in Stockholm which left very little time to look around ... Read More
Serenade of the seas We chose this cruise liner because we wanted to visit the Baltics in Scandinavia We travelled 4 hour journey to Heathrow terminal 5 arriving at midnight in Stockholm which left very little time to look around the city. We had no information or details provide as to what time Royal Caribbean that would be picking us up for transfer to the cruise liner. Grand Centre by Scandic hotel were unable to provide information, but mentioned RC rep would be arriving in the morning for transfers. 1 July 2018 in the morning of our cruise we checked again, hotel staff informed us they received an email and pick up would be 11:45am an hour delay instead of 10:45 Am. So if we wanted to go out we should arrive at the hotel by 11 AM Luckily we decided to return to the hotel by 10 am RC was present at the hotel transfers were 10.45 am so we should bring all our lunch gage down to the lobby at 10-30 am John our house keeper was very efficient and friendly. Our select to dine at 8-30 pm in the main dining room, But they were very flexible regarding the dining times. The waitress were friendly, comoared to our first cruise with RC dining wasn’t as nice experience, waiters were rushing about very busy serving guests, at times we had to draw their attention. Our main meals were lukewarm so I requested to ensure our meals could be served hot. There were quite a number of guests coughs and colds, many without covering the mouse was inevitable that it would be passed around . We both did finally catch a cold. Saturday early morning after midnight, my husband got out of bed he stood on the carpet outside the shower / entrance door which was soaking wet. He quickly moved our luggage to one side used towels to soak up the water. I was woken by the commotion To call r3cotion. Maintenance men at requested promptly resolved this issue Instead of leaving it till the next morning in Ashe the situation worsens. A hot air very noisy heater was left in our cabin the whole day to dry the carpet. It did cause some on convenience as we are unable to rest inou cabin. Last day of cruising was no toilet flushing water again this was dealt with very quickly by maintenance . We were offered a 10% discount for next cruise, which is based on the cruise fair paid for the current sailing and is valid for one year. With family commitments thank you we are unsure if we will be able to use this complimentary gesture offered ! Arriving at Stockholm airport at 11.30 am with many hours to spare before flight departure at 21-20 pm. Not feeling too well we just rested in the airport. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose the serenade because of the great destinations and with a 7 year old girl it felt like a convenient way to get around and see Scandinavia and Russia. Having said that we were very conscious that the ship itself was fairly old and ... Read More
We chose the serenade because of the great destinations and with a 7 year old girl it felt like a convenient way to get around and see Scandinavia and Russia. Having said that we were very conscious that the ship itself was fairly old and small and we’d read reviews about everything that has gone wrong from embarkation to food to the service. But we were so pleasantly surprised right through the programme. Getting on the ship was an absolute breeze. We were taken into lunch at the Windjammer and by the time we’d finished the rooms were ready. The rooms also was just about right and clean with a cozy balcony. It was serviced twice a day with my child’s bunker bed put down during the evening turn down service. Our daughter absolutely loved the kids club activities in the adventure ocean club (9 am to 12pm; 2pm to 5pm and 7pm to 10pm). So much so that she didn’t join us in a couple of ports. This gave us ample time to lounge around, check the 16 bars without having to worry about her. This was such a blessing and the team at adventure ocean where thorough professionals providing fun educational ways to keep the children engaged. The service also was really exceptional and personalised. We got the same table in the dining room. But also in Windjammer. The staff is from all over and friendly and ever willing to engage in conversations. The food was amazing all through and surprisingly we did not get bored although we didn’t do any of the speciality dining. The staff is particular about hiegene and everyone follows through with sanitised hands. No cases of Nora virus was reported on the ship which was the other thing we were worried about. The other impressive feat was the way a helicopter landed to fly someone out. It was just the most amazing sight. And the copter looked too large but we didn’t feel a thing when it landed or took off. And there wasn’t any fuss at all. Entertainment on the ship was also quite nice in the tropical theatre, in the centrum and the safari club. Some of the home grown productions are quite good. The team really makes an effort and it comes through. We didn’t do shore excursions with the exception of Russia for visa. In all other places we were offered a shuttle service into the city centre for 10 dollars. There was no hassle getting out or in whatsoever and no preference was given to people on the shore excursions as we had read. All in all without having to spend on any additionals the cruise turned out to be a lovely experience and we are considering more such cruises. We will in all probability sail on the royal Caribbean. The ship offers gorgeous views of the sea with glass everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
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
Went with a large group. An item of sentimental value was stolen from our room on the first night. Dresser drawer was broken. In room safe was broken. Had them fix it the first time. Then just hoped the thief didn't steal anything ... Read More
Went with a large group. An item of sentimental value was stolen from our room on the first night. Dresser drawer was broken. In room safe was broken. Had them fix it the first time. Then just hoped the thief didn't steal anything else the last 5 days. On board activities were minimal at best.The food was bland, and service was slow. Never did see my waiter for our first breakfast in the dining room, waited 45 minutes. Finally the coffee server took my order and 30 minutes later I had a cold omlet, cold hash browns and toast. Never went back for any other meals ! The staff seemed friendly enough. Although the Casino staff in the cashier box were very rude and abrupt. The windows were all dirty so seeing out of them were impossible. No entertainment outside of the theater and centrium. My wife purchased a gold bracelet from the gift shop and the person who took our order made it the wrong size. We had to go back 3 times for her to get it right, and every time she would look at us like we were an annoyance. She shorted us on the size the first two times. I kept asking her to just size it for what we paid for (charged by the length) The third visit the clasp wasn't working ! I would not recommend this cruise to any others. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I'm usually a fan of Royal Caribbean and have had two previous cruises with them that I would rate as excellent, but this one wasn't. My wife and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary and I had pre-booked an ultimate ... Read More
I'm usually a fan of Royal Caribbean and have had two previous cruises with them that I would rate as excellent, but this one wasn't. My wife and I were celebrating our 20th anniversary and I had pre-booked an ultimate anniversary package, only to find that after I got on the ship it had been cancelled by Royal Caribbean without any notice to me. Then when I tried to re-book it, I was told that they don't carry the items on the ship and therefore couldn't provide it. Instead they offered the minimal. Hugely disappointed. Activities on the ship - not varied enough and fairly standard. Talent on the ship - below even cruise performers. No-one was notable and none of the performances were very inspired. Ports of call - okay, but not much variety in the shore excursions between each of the ports. Got "excursioned out" because the lack of variety. And too cold to hit the pool on the days of sailing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We took this cruise to see and visit areas we had not been to before. The shore trips we took were kind of boring. Need to research excursions better next time to really get the feel of what we want to see and do. The ship was great ... Read More
We took this cruise to see and visit areas we had not been to before. The shore trips we took were kind of boring. Need to research excursions better next time to really get the feel of what we want to see and do. The ship was great and our waiters at supper were so good at what the do. They made our experience so much better and fun. We had a great time with all the activitys on board. The deep tissue body massage was wonderful and the live shows in the Tropical theater were great also. We attended two art auctions, and were able to purchase some great art at great prices. The weather was beautiful. We had rain on one day, and that happened to be the day at sea! I really enjoyed our dinner companions at our table in the main dining room, and those we met at breakfast and lunch. Lots of new friends. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We choose Royal Caribbean because this was the destination we wanted. Also we have been on Royal Caribbean cruises before and have been pleased. I gave this boat a average rating . First of all maybe this is the trend all lines are ... Read More
We choose Royal Caribbean because this was the destination we wanted. Also we have been on Royal Caribbean cruises before and have been pleased. I gave this boat a average rating . First of all maybe this is the trend all lines are taking to keep over all costs down. I see a lower standard in food and entertainment. The food in the reflections restaurant was average quality and much smaller portions than I remembered from past cruises. I am a small person and had to order 2 servings of courses to get enough food. The food in the wind jammer was good. Also there were only 3 resaturants on ship that were included in cost of cruise and 4 that were extra. I guess that is the trend to get people to go the the pay resturants instead of eating the food from the ones included in prices. Also we requested early 6:00 dining with our group of 12 and it showed on our paper work we had recieved that request. Well they had no record of that and that took quite a bit of talking with staff and waiting in long lines to get this corrected . I also think the my time dining is not a good thing. I seen long lines of people waiting in lines for tables that did not have a specific time. Also that caused a problem with show times. We had to hurry over to show to even get a seat and lots of people standing in back did not get seats. when there were shows in the centurium area we never once got a seat because there was not very many. Another problem in the high traffic areas like deck 5 where entertainment was only 2 stalls in baths so long lines. Long lines at guest services , not enough staff working behind counters. Cabins could use a clock and a outlet in bath and tablet and pen. Boat was very clean and staff , our room attendant and table waiters were excellant. The ship needs updating, remodeling or maybe time to retire it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Cruise wasf OK, had balcony room on floor 8 and had best cabin person I have ever had. Christopher Williams was excellent and really did a great job. Ship needed painting and interior was OK. Shows stunk and were not good at all. Food has ... Read More
Cruise wasf OK, had balcony room on floor 8 and had best cabin person I have ever had. Christopher Williams was excellent and really did a great job. Ship needed painting and interior was OK. Shows stunk and were not good at all. Food has really gone down hill and they cut out lobster night. Lunch was OK and Breakfast was really good. Service was very good, and everyone friendly. Casino was not busy and everyone was complaining of loosing. Port of Call were OK, nothing special. We went to Iceland afterwords and wish we had gone there instead of cruising. Went to 12 floor for drinks and we were the only ones there, I know why now. Drinks were terrible and costly. Cruise Hawaii and you will enjoy that much better. in Geiranager Norway we rented the small cars and went up the mountain and had a blast. When I say small I mean small. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Our third cruise with Royal Caribbean but the first with a mid-sized ship. we occupied the cabin 9536 on the 9-th desk which it was fairly big and has a nice balcony. The cabin attended was very efficient and tried to meet all our ... Read More
Our third cruise with Royal Caribbean but the first with a mid-sized ship. we occupied the cabin 9536 on the 9-th desk which it was fairly big and has a nice balcony. The cabin attended was very efficient and tried to meet all our request, always with a smile. The Windjammer restaurant was very well assorted for breakfast and the main dinning room was also quite good. The cruise is the most comprehensive that we found for the Baltic sea but we think that Klaipeda in Lithuania and Fredericia in Denmark can be replaced or skipped. Since there it was a consistently a smaller ship then other we shipped with, the diversity of shops and the public area was a little bit too limited. Also so it was the central area of the ship in evening hours, too crowd to find a place to sit and hear the music or dance. The Cruise director, Toppi, was an amazing multi-talent guy. Yes, indeed, it was a very pleasant trip and the stop in St. Petersburg was entirely outstanding. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Royal Caribbean was so disappointing this time around. The staff did not seem sympathetic to our plight of lost luggage, and assured us that we would be able to shop for clothes on our excursions. We were not able to shop for any ... Read More
Royal Caribbean was so disappointing this time around. The staff did not seem sympathetic to our plight of lost luggage, and assured us that we would be able to shop for clothes on our excursions. We were not able to shop for any essentials on our excursions as we only went to souvenir shops. I suggested that Royal help us find a way to get to shopping and they did not. All they were able to give us for the five days that we had no luggage was a white t-shirt and sub very sub-par toiletries. They offered us laundry service, but the guest services desk lady must have not been very in touch with what was happening because when I asked how long our laundry would take to get to us she said "48 hours." Luckily, housekeeping was a bit more realistic and when we discussed it with them, they were able to turn our laundry around in a couple of hours. For formal night, she offered to give my husband a free tuxedo, but offered nothing to me. The lady at the front desk (Jasmine) told us she would locate our luggage, and then told us she couldn't locate it. When I asked her who she called, she told me SAS. To that I told her that we had a transfer from United to SAS and our luggage was most likely with United. She asked ME if I wanted to call United myself! My husband firmly recommended that she do it herself. Later that day, she told us she was able to locate it with United. So that caused an unseemly delay in getting our luggage because of her ineptitude. I came crying to the front office after four days of no luggage , no makeup and no toiletries and she offered me 100 dollars credit to my account (any outfit on the ship cost no less than 54 dollars each) and a night at one of their restaurants in her words "out of my own goodwill towards you." I was aghast at the lack of sympathy. She later told me our luggage would be waiting for us in Estonia on the morning before our excursion. To my dismay, we did not get our luggage as promised in the morning but at night. The ladies in the spa, were very gossipy and rude, even talking about guests behind their backs. The people working in the Windjammer never smiled or offered any table service. The whole crew (aside from a few people in housekeeping and in various bars) were amazingly lacking in customer service. After this trip, I will never want to board a Royal Caribbean trip again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Embarkation: Boarding the ship was efficient once we passed the security checkpoint which was typically inefficient. We required a wheel chair to board. Ship’s personnel were courteous and took my wife and I directly to the ... Read More
Embarkation: Boarding the ship was efficient once we passed the security checkpoint which was typically inefficient. We required a wheel chair to board. Ship’s personnel were courteous and took my wife and I directly to the Windjammer for lunch. Our cabin was available by one o’clock. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on the 9th deck. It seemed small compared to other Royal Caribbean ships we sailed on. There was ample space for our clothing, however. The location was near the forward elevators which was very convenient. The room was clean and fresh. But the balcony was a mess. Paint was chipped; there was noticeable rust, and it was not clean. While our cabin was cleaned daily, the balcony was never attended to. Our stateroom attendant was competent and cheerful. We never felt that he did any more than was required through the duration of the cruise. Overall Ship Condition: The Serenade of the Seas is a tired ship. Although commissioned in 2003, she looks and feels much older. There is evidence of rust throughout the exterior of the ship. Many public areas are in need of paint. She should be scheduled for an extensive yard period but I was told that this would not be done until 2017! This is by far the worst condition we have ever seen on a Royal Caribbean ship and we have over 100 sailing days with this cruise line. Dining: The Windjammer was well laid out and very easy to move about. The food is typical cruise fare: not great but not bad either. There was a good variety of items to choose from but toward the end of the cruise there was much repetition. Service was superb. The staff went out of their way to ensure that we had seating since my wife is handicapped. The main dining room food was above average. We had 1st seating which was convenient. Menu selection was good, although the Caesar salad was a poor imitation for the real thing. Dining room service was sub-par due mainly to the lack of training of the assistant waiter. The waiter himself was OK but having to cover for the assistant made the overall dining experience less that desirable. The main courses were served late, usually an hour after we were seated. We requested coffee with our desserts but rarely did this happen. I seriously considered reducing the gratuity for the dining room staff. Fitness Facility: The fitness facility had adequate cardio equipment that was well-maintained. There were a variety of weight machines as well as some free weights. My only criticism of the facility was the lack of fans. This is a constant problem on Royal Caribbean ships. I mention this in every evaluation but nothing ever changes. Adding station-mounted fans would move the air and make the room more comfortable for participants. Entertainment: The ship singers and dancers were average at best. The production shows themselves were terrible and not relevant to the guests on board. The ship’s band was very good but at times drowned out the singers….not unusual based on past cruises. The guest entertainers ranged from very good to below average. The magician-comedian was by far the best of the lot. Other than the theater, there was not much entertainment throughout the ship. Loyalty Program: Royal Caribbean has far and away the best loyalty program of all cruise lines. The Diamond Club was usually crowded but offered complimentary drinks and appetizers. Since this was a Crown and Anchor members’ cruise, there were numerous giveaways for members. The staff in the Diamond Lounge were friendly and attentive. Guest Relations: This is one area that really was outstanding. I had several issues come up during the course of the cruise. Each was handled expeditiously and professionally. The staff was very empathetic and prompt in responding. Without doubt, the best guest relations deck that we have ever experienced. Debarkation: We opted to walk off with our bags. Except for an initial delay for reasons unknown, the process went smoothly and without incident. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first RCI Crown & Anchor member cruise and first Radiance class ship. The fellow cruisers were so wonderful and there was a lot of interaction, probably because of it being a member cruise. However, I think the size of ... Read More
This was our first RCI Crown & Anchor member cruise and first Radiance class ship. The fellow cruisers were so wonderful and there was a lot of interaction, probably because of it being a member cruise. However, I think the size of the ship also helps - small enough so you frequently run into the same people. The cruise staff was above and beyond awesome for this cruise. The cruise director's staff is given the freedom to entertain guests in many ways, including their own singing and dancing numbers, and their joy spilled out to the guests. The other staff also was exceptional, and everyone seemed intent on making our cruise special. The entertainment was top-notch - a wide variety from comedians to singers to the on-board entertainment staff. This is one of the class of ships with the tall Centrum that allows for unique aerial shows; I only wish the aerial shows were longer. For best seating availability, go to the "second seating" shows. For the Centrum shows, you need to plan to show up at least 30 minutes in advance to get a good view. We ate at the main dining room, specialty steak and sushi restaurant, but mostly at the Windjammer buffet. Not only did the buffet contain almost all the dishes from the main dining room menu, it had two active grills with unique offerings each night. All of the food we had at the buffet was as good or better quality than the dining room, too. The buffet area, located at the back of the ship, gives a wide variety of seating options, from an open seating looking out the back of the ship to traditional dining tables. This was the prefect size and class ship to us, and that sentiment was echoed by many Pinnacle Club (highest member level) cruisers. Highly recommend any cruise on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I traveled with a group of 6 friends and my husband, we are ages 30-44 (I'm 30). I have a lot to say so I will break it down in an effor not to bore you with things you're not interested in. Here we go... Boarding and ... Read More
I traveled with a group of 6 friends and my husband, we are ages 30-44 (I'm 30). I have a lot to say so I will break it down in an effor not to bore you with things you're not interested in. Here we go... Boarding and Exit: Both were a breeze, we had no problems. Customs was fine too, I was able to take some small shells home with me that were packed in my bag. 5 of us also took some liquor aboard with us in our large luggage. We had no issues with this either, it was all in our bags when we got to our rooms. They were in their regular bottles too, we didnt try to hide them. Rooms: Bed, pillows, closet space was all good. Bathroom was fine, small shower but that was expected. Hot water was good every day. We had an interior stateroom on deck 8. It is very dark in there and there is no alarm clock only a clock on the phone that you can see if you have a light on. I left my phone at home so if I woke up in the night I had no concept of what time it was unless I climbed over my hubby and turned on the light. It was easy to set up wake up calls too. Our friends had a balcony room on deck 10 that was really nice and worth the extra $$. We saw dolphins from there one of the days swimming with our ship. Overall the rooms were better then I had expected. Food: Very good. We did the formal dining room every evening, and every day we left stuffed to the rim. It was no problem to order whatever, and as much as you wanted of every dish. Salads, shrimp, lobster tail, scallops, steak, chicken, indian dishes, lamb, duck, I could go on for ages here. Granted, not every dish was amazing, but if you didnt like it, simply order something else. Our group had our own table so we would share some dishes and our waiter would always bring an extra appetizer, entree, and dessert every meal for us to share. The Windjammer is the buffet on deck 11, we had breakfast every day there and it was good. We never ate any dinners there cause we loved the more formal sit down dinners. There was late night pizza bars and another cafe open late also. I was very happy with the food, and ate way too much of it. Service: EXCELLENT. Hands down, not sure if we were just lucky, but our waiters (same 2 guys every night in formal dining) were beyond any service I've ever had, and I'm an ex-waitress/bartender for years and kinda a stickler on customer service. Ash, our waiter, would actually cut up some salads, and help de-shell the lobster tails. Seriously on top of his game, drinks filled always, pulling chairs out. One of our group asked for mushrooms for her steak on the first night and every night from there on he had an extra bowl of mushrooms for our table to share. Very personable, just amazing. The same goes for our state room attendant, Ronnie. On top of his game, very good. No complaints at all. The rest of the staff was also very nice, quick to please, and very friendly. We were very satisfied in this area. Ports of Call: Our favorits were St. Marten and Antiqua. In St. Marten we went to the natural/nude beach. Not to go nude, but we heard it was the nicest. It was amazing. The nude beach is actually down the beach just a little bit,and the rest is just normal. The beach has a number of beach bars, and all I can say was that it was like being in a Corona commercial all day. Just beautiful. We did the zip-line challenge tour in Antiqua which was also so much fun and amazing too. Barbados was ok, the beach was nice, the city was nice too, but not great for me. St. Lucia was beautiful, we went on a 5 hour tour of the island to see the Pitons and a volcano etc...BEWARE: St.Lucia roads are basically continuous sharp turns up and down mountains over and over again, so if you get motion sickness, prepare accordingly!! St. Croix, we stayed close to the ship, not much for shopping, the beach right by the ship (walking distance) was great for snorkeling, but the island was dirty in that area. Such a shame to see litter all over the place, and a ton of broken glass in the sand. I suggest water shoes, but the beach water was good for swimming. If you have time in Puerto Rico hit up Old San Juan and the old forts. Amazing. Ship & Entertainment: Well, I don't have any to compare it to, but it was very nice and clean. Ricky, the cruise director was a riot, very entertaining,and got everyone involved. The shows were better then I expected too. The "Quest" show in the Safari Club, adults only, was fricken hilarious, and I was laughing so hard I was crying. Do yourself a favor and don't miss it. It is quest involved. Not too much pool side stuff, was kinda suprised by that. We always had something to do, and it was fun to explore the ship and find new stuff. Misc: I am motion sickness prone, and this was my biggest concern. I had a ton of people tell me it's a floating city and I would be fine. Ha! The first night I was in Hell, given, it was the roughest night for the waves. I'm suprised I didnt get sick, but I most certainly felt it. By mid day 2 the waves calmed, and I started to feel ok. By day 3 I was fine. I wore at ALL TIMES motion sickness bracelets I got at Rite Aid ($14) They saved my life, seriously. I was also eating Dramimine the whole time, but with that combo I was fine and actually quite proud of myself for finding my "Sea legs". You can feel the ship people! Or maybe it depends on the person, but go prepared just in case. Next time I will get the patch you wear behind your ear you get from a doctor, I was told this works great. Hope this helps some of you, and I hope you have a great trip. I will be back with Royal Caribbean in the future! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
What a great cruise! It cost a little extra for me to fly to San Juan to start the trip (than to Ft. Lauderdale, for example) but it was worth it since San Juan was great. We stayed at the Doubletree (priceline.com), and it had a great ... Read More
What a great cruise! It cost a little extra for me to fly to San Juan to start the trip (than to Ft. Lauderdale, for example) but it was worth it since San Juan was great. We stayed at the Doubletree (priceline.com), and it had a great (but small) pool area and spa and the entire hotel was very clean and updated, even with free laptops and wifi. We ate dinner in Old San Juan at a nice seafood place - very vibrant - Aquaviva, recommended by a local. On Saturday, we toured OSJ, including The Convent Hotel and El Morro, then stopped at the mall (Plaza des Americas, with 300 stores) for some forgotten items. What a great day! We got on the ship at about 4 pm, but could have gotten on much sooner. The ship was mid-size and beautiful, and well maintained for it's age. Lots of fun places tucked around corners where you least expected them; after a week, I still don't think I found everything. The food was outstanding in the main dining room; we ate here each night. Our waiter brought us extra appetizers and entrees and desserts to share each night - what great service. The bar waiter brought around fun shots at the end of each meal. The variety, the quality, the portion sizes - I can't find a complaint about any of it. The Windjammer was also great for casual breakfasts and snacks. The Schooner Bar was my favorite - low key, comfortable, centrally located, and with the occasional trivia game - though, of course, many others all over the ship. One of the bartenders participated in the cruise crew talent show - what a talent! The pools were both very distinct - the indoor, adults only pool was relaxed and refreshing. The outdoor pool was what you would expect, and refurbished during the first few days of our cruise, unfortunately for us, but great for future cruisers. The ports were the real stars, and I'll write about them below. GREAT itinerary. The only complaint I have is that the 9:00 pm shows could have been/should have been better (and the cruise director thought he was much more entertaining than he was), except the Newlywed Show which is always hysterical. But, we had plenty of other things to keep us busy, and I didn't mind terribly. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
Here's a quick rundown of what we did and some recommendations. Embarking - we got on the ship fairly late, around 6pm. We had flown in the night before but decided to play around at the beach at the Hilton hotel instead of checking ... Read More
Here's a quick rundown of what we did and some recommendations. Embarking - we got on the ship fairly late, around 6pm. We had flown in the night before but decided to play around at the beach at the Hilton hotel instead of checking in early. You'll find out below that we were glad we did. Had just enough time to explore, unpack, and dress for dinner. One tip - if you're looking to bring booze onboard, there is a small truck right outside the terminal selling it duty free. Buy a bottle there and back it in your suitcase protected with your clothing. 3 folks in our group did it and everyone got theirs - maybe the tip for the bag guys helped? And $11.50 for a liter of Absolute is a damn good price! We ended up only opening 1 bottle and gave the other two to our room attendant. Just too inconvenient to go back to the room to mix drinks. Day 1 - St Thomas. We went to gorgeous Magen's Bay. Definitely had fun. A little crowded. Taxi was $8 each way and it was $4 to get into the beach. Next time I may try to find a free beach closer to port. Definitely was nice to have the bar onsite making the frozen drinks all day though! There is a Kmart near the ship if you need to grab some misc supplies. Day 2 - St Maarten. Did the Rhino Riders tour through RCCL. Mixed reviews on this one. Driving the little boats was a blast but the tour was pretty short and the snorkeling was very poor (could only see about 2 ft in the water). You definitely get to see some amazing yachts on the way through the marina though. Since this is a short tour you could have more time to head to a beach near the ship. This was first formal night. Day 3 - Antigua. Tried to find our own sailboat but no one took us to the right place. We were taken to Dickenson Bay, which was an INCREDIBLE beach, but didn't have a marina like we needed. Since we couldn't find anything, we instead did the See Antigua by Sea tour through RCCL. It was a lot of fun too. Trip out to our destination was ROUGH. I would never take my 2-7 year old kids on it. But for the adults, the rough ride made the trip better (fun to sit in front and watch people get wet). Captain gave little tidbits on information along the way (not sure how true they all were) and kept the boat ride interesting. My only disappointment in the trip was the beach we stopped at. It was beautiful but had only about 100ft of nice beach. For 75 people that's just not big enough. Trip would have been perfect if the beach was nice. The ironic thing is Antigua is known for its great beaches! Day 4 - St Lucia. We got rain all day, but luckily had tour booked with Cosol. We enjoyed it. A little too much driving for my tastes, but it was an interesting view of the beautiful island. Tour driver, "Bumpy", was great. Loved the Piton beer, local foods, and especially the trip out to the Pitons. There is a really beautiful beach that we were taken to. You need to be on top of things if you want to swim and snorkel here as you only have about 50 minutes at this place. Gorgeous island, but it sounds like rain is very common here. Day 5 - Barbados. Started off with the Zip Line tour. It was only a few hours long but was a lot of fun. More mild than I was thinking it would be, but still fun. I'd definitely opt for a more advanced tour on another island if I could do it over. Longest zip line was about 300ft and wasn't high enough to get my heart pounding from adrenaline. I've heard some other places have lines over 1000ft long! Afterward, we all made our way to the Boatyard and had a blast. Beautiful beach, fun atmosphere, and lots to do! If you're young at heart I highly recommend it. Day 6 - At Sea. Glad we waited to check-in on the first day. Don't get me wrong, the ship is beautiful, and generally speaking we rarely felt like it was crowded. But the sea day was definitely the least desirable day from our perspective. The pools are small and busy, and when there are not big diversions like early dinner seating or the evening shows, the ship starts to feel smaller and a bit crowded. Day 7 - Disembark. Process was smooth and easy. Customs was a breeze. Three couples were flying out around 4pm and we were staying the night. We all went to the Marriott and played at the beach. Waves were big enough to body surf and have some fun in. Great way to end the trip! General Recommendations: - Chops and Portofino are absolutely worth it! Awesome food with great service. Loved those experiences. Would have likely done Portofino twice but only went there on the last day. - At dinner, don't be afraid to order multiple appetizers or entrees. Portions are a little smaller than normal and you don't have to clean your plate. You'll have some hits and some misses in the main dining room, so this is a little insurance. - Bring a clock for your room - Upgrade to a balcony if you can. Even with all the ports, we loved being able to spend time out there. One in our party was sick for some of the trip and the balcony really was nice for him. - Buy insurance. Would have saved that same guy $1600 in expenses from the Ship's Medical Center. Only cost us $50 per couple without cancellation coverage. - Visit the same bar often. Drinks got taller and stiffer on our repeat visits! - Sheraton in OSJ is nothing special. Fun nightlife in OSJ, but days stink. No beach and pool/exercise area is laughable. The Hilton is fantastic and Marriott's got a good beach. - For lunch, try out the Seaview Cafe. Great sandwiches and good views. Perfect when leaving ports. The fryer smell was a little strong toward the end of the trip so hit this one earlier in the week. - The breakfast in the main dining room is worth the wait. We all found the Windjammer to be a disappointment, especially any eggs. Try the french toast but skip the pancakes. - If you like frozen drinks, try a BBC or a Miami Vice. Awesome! Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
This is cruise #4&5. Previous all were with RCI. Finally we reached the level to experience a different line in Celebrity (Summit) back to back with Serenade of the Seas, albeit both under the parent company RCCL but each holding their ... Read More
This is cruise #4&5. Previous all were with RCI. Finally we reached the level to experience a different line in Celebrity (Summit) back to back with Serenade of the Seas, albeit both under the parent company RCCL but each holding their separate identity. A brief history includes sailings on Rhapsody, Jewel and Freedom. We were in a group of 5 couples ages from 44-57. EMBARKATION Both ships are docked back to back at the Pan American Pier (Frontier Pier) in San Juan. Check- in is in the same building but different areas. The process was fantastic for both ships fast, friendly, efficient. It took maybe all of 10 min from when entering pier to setting foot on the ship. It was so nice to get off one ship claim your bags and a simple 5 min walk down the building on the outside to the other gate. We highly recommend getting transfers from Airport to Pier from the cruise-line. This will save you a lot of headaches... at the airport, once you place your bags in the area you're told to drop off you don't see them until they reach your room. Both lines deserve A+ STATEROOMS We had 8172 CC Aft on the Summit. Nice size with large balcony facing the back with 2 chairs and 2 loungers and a good size table. Well appointed and stocked with water and ice. We asked the room attendant for OJ in room and a jug was present everyday after at no charge. Room is equipped with an array of shampoo, body wash, moisturizing cream, mouth wash and the use of an umbrella and binoculars. Room was very clean and in good order. Shower has a curtain and is quite small but does the job. Lots of pillows. A+ We had 1056 D1 Mid-ship on the Serenade. Larger room than the Summit and balcony was large but still smaller than the Summit. Balcony had 2 chairs and 1 lounger and a small table. Well appointed, ice but no water. Asked for OJ, room attendant told us to call room service, they deliver but at a cost of $2.25/glass. Only shampoo was available. Room was very clean and in good order. Shower has curved glass doors. We love the location, near elevators and 12 steps up you are at the windjammer or pool area. Only 1 set of pillows (Lack of the little extras) B+ PUBLIC AREAS Summit has very clean and sufficient public areas, but they lack character. The color scheme is very ordinary and plain. All rooms seem to be passive. We used the Martini Bar every day for pre-dinner cocktails. The Martini's were shaken to perfection. The Thalassotherapy pool was spectacular, warm salt water did the trick for those sore or tired muscles. B+ Serenade's public rooms were simply outstanding, very clean with a lot of character and color. Rooms were very vibrant and inviting. No Thalassotherapy pool (it would be very nice), but the Solarium pool is still OK. Enjoyed our pre-dinner cocktails in the Schooner Bar, never had a bad drink here. A+ ENTERTAINMENT Summit's over all entertainment value was just OK. They had a special headliner singing impressionist Karen Grainger from Toronto Canada who was very good. The Celebrity singers & dancers were good and put on a couple of OK shows. The resident live music entertainers did their best and pleased most of the crowd. The style and quality of the entertainment package was indicative of the age and style of the crowd on board. B The Serenade with all its hustle and bustle and jovial, younger crowd had an entertainment package to blow your socks off. The resident live music providers were very talented and pleased all attendee's in all venues. But in the Tropical Theater is where RCI excels, the Royal Caribbean Singer's and Dancers along with the Royal Caribbean Orchestra rival those of Las Vegas, with no questions asked. The headliner show Celebrity Showtime - Jonathan Kane - the only tribute act endorsed by Elton John World was fantastic; you will believe it was Elton John himself. RCI has the best package on the high seas. A+ SERVICE Both lines pride themselves having the best service on the seas. They are not lying. Excellent, courteous, refined and always with a smile, the crew really cared and expressed genuine interest in you the cruiser at all times, no matter what time or day. This outstanding service is very indicative of the pride the Captain and his senior management has. This reflects directly onto their individual staff. Summit gets A+ Serenade gets A- DINING ROOM It was absolute pleasure dining on both lines. The Cosmopolitan Restaurant on the Summit with its impeccable service, promptness and atmosphere is second to none. The food equates to that of a 3 Star Michelin Dining experience. Our wait staff and sommelier were superb (Table 525), we couldn't ask for better. However there was no Wine Package available. A+ Reflections Dining Room on the Serenade was also very good, however possibly as a result of our location, (table 494) 4th deck tucked away in the corner with low ceilings was a bit stuffy, noisy, hot and crowded. Many large tables were located here and the wait staff didn't have much room to maneuver, always running in to each other. The menu was not lacking any seafood, making it difficult for those who do not savor the taste of seafood. However there were alternatives, always something to please your tastes. Service was a bit tardy and seemed to be rushed. (We had early seating). B CASUAL RESTAURANTS Waterfall Cafe/Grill on the Summit was standard buffet counter which we felt made it confusing on finding your choice of foods. Lineup started from both ends causing a clog along the way. It took us a few days to remember the location of the kinds of food available and still didn't master some. We found it chaotic and unorganized. The quality of food and selection however were very good to excellent. Refreshments were available at fountains throughout the area with a selection of lemonade (fantastic), guava juice (fantastic), orange juice and water. Great ice cream. B The Windjammer on the Serenade is to be given high marks for its dEcor, organization and roominess. The separate well identified food stations were clearly beneficial to locating your type of food and reducing traffic congestion. The quality and large selection of food was very good. The refreshments of orange juice, water and lemonade were available on counters in pre-poured glasses. A+ SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS The Normandie on the Summit and Portofino's on the Serenade were both well worth the sitting fee. You must try these restaurants on the ships mentioned, you will not be disappointed. As much as I rant and rave about the great taste, service and choice of both the Main Dining Rooms, the above specialty restaurants beat them by a mile. Service simply was out of this world and the taste, presentation and quality of the food will compare to the utmost highest rated eating establishments in the world. Well arranged seating, privacy and comfort really allow the Dining experience one can enjoy and remember. A great amount of attention to detail was shown by the wait staff (3-4 per table) in both establishments. The highest rank goes to both lines. A+++ SHIP Summit was in very good shape, no complaints here. The interior in my opinion was a little lack-luster to my taste. Very clean, many hand sanitizer stations to use to avoid spreading of germs. Color scheme was very simple and toned down. Loved the newsletters available in different languages located at the Guest Relation's desk, you were able to catch up on the latest news happenings in your country. Many public areas to suffice anyone's taste and always available with an energetic smile and wisdom were the ship's crew. Fantastic crew to passenger ratio equated to plenty of extraordinary service and comfort. However the absence of a Centrum does lessen the overall experience. A Serenade in very different contrast was also in very good shape. The sparkling and very colorful interior was especially inviting to all guests. The Centrum does add to the richness and scenic view of the interior and events held in this area. This class of ship is the prettiest and richest looking of the RCI fleet. There are many areas to enjoy your taste allowing an array of activities to occur and consume your time on the ship. Staff ratio is a little lower than the Summit but they still manage the passenger to be serviced satisfactory. Awesome ship. A+ PORTS Great itinerary and when you total all the ports visited by both ships on this back to back cruise, I say no more. St. Maarten, St. Thomas, Antigua, St. Lucia, Dominica, Grenada, Barbados, Tobago. A+++ CRUISE DIRECTOR Gary Walker on the Summit was good and very professional. He was all over the ship. If you didn't see him often or outside the Theatre, you have had to be secluded to your room 24-7. B+ Dennis Charles on the Serenade is the best cruise director I've seen. Extremely personable with the added flare of humor he entertained you himself. With plenty of energy, exceptionally visible he was able to enhance your enjoyment on this cruise. There was no doubt he has an abundance of professional experience in the entertainment field. He sang, joked and told stories with an elevated skill level from the norm. He was always full of energy and willing to chat to anyone and everyone at any time. Top marks for a grand host who truly delivered. A+++ DISEMBARKATION Getting of the Summit was a breeze. They had you waiting in different comfortable rooms serviced with coffee, tea, water pastries until your color was called. A+ Getting off the Serenade was the same, a breeze and had only coffee available. We were extremely disappointed with the Transfers. The bus ride and dropping off our luggage at the pier was fine, but at the airport it was terrible. Your luggage arrived about 25-45 mins after your bus and they just emptied the truck of luggage on the curb. You had to gather around like cattle to spot your luggage so you can retrieve to clear room for the rest. Very unprofessional, I must say. It gives you the feeling that they want to rush you off the ship so they can prepare for next cruise and don't seem to care once your off the ship and gone. RCI you really must improve on this aspect as it seems to be your only weak link. I would recommend taking a taxi from pier to airport to simply avoid this mess. C OVERALL REVIEW Both cruise lines provide an exceptional vacation comparable to none. Folks these are the best cruise lines out there, so get out there and enjoy. Across the entire spectrum of cruising you will not find any better cruise experience for your money. Value rating is high. We will certainly cruise both lines again; in fact we are currently planning our next cruise on the Oasis or the Allure of the Seas. Completely satisfied. A+++ Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
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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