7 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Canada & New England

This cruise seemed interesting as I have wanted to visit Halifax for years. Hoping to see fall color as well as interesting ports of call we chose this itinerary. We have sailed on Serenade of the Seas before and liked the layout and ... Read More
This cruise seemed interesting as I have wanted to visit Halifax for years. Hoping to see fall color as well as interesting ports of call we chose this itinerary. We have sailed on Serenade of the Seas before and liked the layout and amenities the ship has to offer. Our cabin was kept spotless by our stateroom attendant and the Deck 8 location was ideal for us. Food at Windjammer has improved a lot since we last sailed on Serenade, dining room has gone down a notch or two, however. Shore excursions were all handled well and seemed to be a bargain.On the Acadia National Park excursion we had a lunch of lobster, mussels, potatoes, corn, bread and blueberry cake. All were yummy. It was great fun to explore the reversing rapids and the City Market at St John, New Brunswick. The thick and creamy seafood chowder was such a great addition to the tour. The last day on shore we took a tour called Best of Halifax which included a visit to the Citadel, the Museum of the Atlantic with a Titanic exhibit, a wonderful lobster roll lunch with great apple crisp and the beautiful lighthouse and postcard perfect village of Peggy's Cove. The cruise seemed to give me some bang for my buck. Such a wonderful way to celebrate the end of summer! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
One of the worst cruises with Royal we have been on. The food was terrible including Giovanni's. The food service in general on the entire ship was bad. Room service was a hit or miss, that is only the continental breakfast. One ... Read More
One of the worst cruises with Royal we have been on. The food was terrible including Giovanni's. The food service in general on the entire ship was bad. Room service was a hit or miss, that is only the continental breakfast. One day they were over an hour late but we had to leave, another day they only got half of the order.... The cabin was worn looking also, furniture has seen better days. The bathroom had rust in the shower and around the sink. The chrome was worn on the faucet. The carpet and furniture were torn in a couple of spots. The window also had rust and blistering paint. The excursion organization was non-existent. Overall we were NOT happy with this ship or most of the crew. Royal has changed since we last cruised 2 years ago and not for the better. Sorry to say but we are seriously thinking of switching cruises line for an already booked cruise on Liberty because it was that bad and we are very easygoing people not picky but we are paying for a vacation that should be better than this. 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
The main reason I (we) chose this cruise was because of the venue - fall colors. Although the colors had not yet peaked, the colors were turning and were quite beautiful It's all about timing (and luck). We were just a little too ... Read More
The main reason I (we) chose this cruise was because of the venue - fall colors. Although the colors had not yet peaked, the colors were turning and were quite beautiful It's all about timing (and luck). We were just a little too early to get the full advantage of the fall colors. But the venues were great - Hallifax, Portland, Bar Harbor and Boston - all great stops. Having sailed many time of Celebrity, I did see some difference in what was supplied in the staterooms. On Celebrity I always got shampoo, conditioner and body lotion. This did not happen on the RC cruise. We only got shampoo and we had to ask for additional bars of soap half way into the cruise. The crew on the ship were fantastic - very pleasant and helpful. We are looking forward to our cruise in February on the Serenade of the Seas to the Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
There were delays after delays its boading and disinbarking. The pillows and bedding were old and more then worn out. The pillows were hard flat rocks. All 4 of them. The couch in room was worn out to thread baren. Tours were very ... Read More
There were delays after delays its boading and disinbarking. The pillows and bedding were old and more then worn out. The pillows were hard flat rocks. All 4 of them. The couch in room was worn out to thread baren. Tours were very expensive and little to do in ports without tour. Food was uneatable! No table space in windjammer. Food cold and bad! Don't go. Overall the food was below par.ln the main dining room to add to the poor food we had a table of ten with one server and one backup.i felt the staff were trying their best but throughout the ship there was a noticible lack of staff. I had to chase a cocktail on more than one occasion. The room staff consisted of one young man doing his best. I felt that the cruise line was only interested in their bottom line but at the expense of the passenger . Overall a very poor cruise. Would not recommend it to my worst enemy, Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise because we had not been on this itinerary before and it seemed like a good alternative to the Caribbean. When we first booked the cruise, over 1 year before sailing, our travel agent told us that the only option for ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we had not been on this itinerary before and it seemed like a good alternative to the Caribbean. When we first booked the cruise, over 1 year before sailing, our travel agent told us that the only option for dining was my time dining. When we met with our travel agent he asked us which seating we had chosen and explained that he had earlier told us that there was no seating times and only my-time. So I am not sure if he messed up when we booked or that the cruise line later added the two seating times. Our travel agent believes that with my-time you can just show up and let them know you would like to eat, that is far from the truth. Luckily I found on the cruise website that you can preset your my-time dining times as opposed to waiting until you are on the ship. There was always someone waiting to be seated that did not have a reservation and was handed one of the vibrating pagers waiting for a table to open up. The next big problem with the my-time dining is that the waiter is dealing with multiple tables that are in various stages of eating their meal, from waiting to order, getting their appetizer, getting their main course or waiting for their dessert. It really does take an organized person to be able to keep up with all of this. For the first three nights we were sat at a different table each night and found that the 3 waiter was struggling with all of this. On the fourth night we were seated at Yaser's table and we new we found a winner. Yaser made the dinner wonderful and we made sure we were seated at one of Yaser's tables each of the remaining nights. It was explained to me by a dining services manager that the servers in the my-time dining room are the more experienced servers, which makes sense when you realize how much they have to juggle. It has been about 3 years since our last cruise and I found that the food in the main dining room was not up to the level I expected or had experienced in the past. One night we had a pork dish that had very salty sauce. Another night I had a pork dish where I found the meat to be tough. Some nights we found the variety to be lacking as well. We used the Windjammer buffet for breakfast and lunch every day with the exception for two lunches we at while off the ship. I found the food to be very good for a buffet with one complaint about the breakfast. I like lox (smoked salmon) with breakfast and was disappointed to find it was not available on the breakfast buffet. I asked someone about it and was please when he said he would get it for me. I asked for lox probably 3-4 times and was gladly provided with it. So why not have it on the buffet? The other complaint was that on the last morning, departure morning, why are the usual assortment of pastries available when it appears the rest of the breakfast is normal? I really liked their chocolate covered doughnuts and was disappointed there were none. This cruise was our 25th anniversary and I had ordered a dozen roses for my wife 3 days before the cruise. When we got on the ship I was surprised to find they were not in the room but thought they might show up after dinner. They did not and I managed to slip away from my wife to go to guest services to ask about the roses on Monday. I was told by the representative that they would look into it and let me know. I told him not to leave a message as I didn't want my wife to get the message. I checked back with him later that day and he said he has not yet heard back from the corporate office and I should check back the next day. When I did he informed me that someone was getting them from the port we were in and I should have them later that day, saying he would call and ask for me if my wife answered. He called and said I could pick them up at guest services. I was able to sneak away from my wife and get down to guest services and asked him to please have them delivered to my room, since they should have been anyway. When we got back after dinner I was surprised to find a dozen roses sitting on the table, without water or a vase. I returned to guest services to ask them to please provide a vase which they did the next day. It would have been nice to have them from the 1st day and not half way thru the cruise. After a few days on the ship we found our message light flashing on the phone only to find that there was no message. I had reported this to guest services and it was still flashing. I also reported this to our room steward and she seamed to be able to get it cleared, but only for a few hours and then it came back on. The problem was we have three children in college and told them that if they needed us to call the cabin and leave a message. So each time we entered the room we had to keep checking the phone to see if someone left a message. When the light first came on it was noticed during the middle of the night and we thought we missed a call. Makes for a disturbing nights. I was told this happens, but you would think they would fix it. I found my cell phone would shift from land based cellular service to the ship based service when we were sailing but had difficulty in receiving text messages at times. Initially my wife and I had chosen 2 ship based excursions, one in Saint John NB and the other in Halifax. In Saint John I wanted to the the Bay of Fundy and Fundy trail. I specifically wanted to see the sea caves in St Martins. I had contacted the cruise line's excursion department to get specifics about the excursions. The usually responded in about 24-36 hours with answers to my questions but could not provide the exact information I wanted as to whether or not we would be able to walk out to the sea caves given the tour time and the time of low tide. I asked the excursion desk once on board the ship and was told they would look into it. It was not until the night before we were in Saint John that I finally got a message from the excursion desk telling me that they heard from the tour operator and that we would not be able to walk out to the caves. I had already cancelled the excursion anyway because I could not wait for them to reply. For Halifax we were going to take the excursion to Peggy's cove. After plenty of research on this website I realized that I could book my own excursions and not rely on the cruise line, and save a lot of money. We rented a car in Portland, Saint John and Halifax. In Portland we drove to six lighthouses, google it, and then went to Kennebunkport using Enterprise which picked us up at the ship and would return us back, but we chose to walk back. In Bar Harbor I booked a tour with Acadia tours as well as walked the shore path and walked out to Bar Island at low tide. In Saint John we rented a car from Avis and drove straight out to St Martins and the Fundy trail. Originally the trail was supposed to be closed for cars as of Columbus day but they had extended the opening which we found out from the Avis rep. After driving the Fundy trail and seeing the Salmon river we returned to St Martins and had lunch at the Caves restaurant, which has the best seafood chowder I have ever had. In Halifax we rented a car and drove to Peggy's cove as then on to the Flight 111 memorial and some other coves on the way back to Halifax. We returned the car and then walked up to the Citadel which was worth the admission. I am so glad I did the research and did our own thing, plus saved a lot of money. The highlights were Kennebunkport and the sea caves. All of the cruise employees we met on the ship were very friendly and eager to help out. The ship was very nice and we found it be very clean. We had an inside cabin on deck 8 and found it to be adequate and what we expected. One lesson I learned was to bring a nightlight as the room is totally dark when all the lights are out. The only issue we had with noise was people letting their door slam shut or people slamming drawers closed. We were a little disappointed in the amount of activities going on while at sea and wonder if it has more to do with the weather being to cold for pool based activities. The entertainment that was brought onto the ship was great but we found the ship based shows to be okay but nothing to rave about. The Vibeology show could have been better, it's tough to listen to an Elvis song sung by a woman, same thing with Beatles tunes. The one issue I had with the shows was that on the last night there was only one show time offered and the main act, the comedian was only given about 25 minutes of time. He was funny and it would have been nice if he was given the same amount of time the other acts were given on previous nights. My wife would have attended some of the aerobics classes but was not willing to pay for them, that was a disappointment. In the past there was not a fee for these classes. We drove to the port from our home and parking was $20 a day and the parking lot is about 1 block away. I recommend RCCL and would recommend this itinerary. However I will not do it again anytime soon since there is a limited amount of sights to see or things to do in each port. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was our 13th RCI cruise and our 3rd cruise to Canada/New England. It was also our first RCI Crown & Anchor "member" cruise and our first cruise on the Serenade. We stayed in a Grand Suite. We are a married couple in ... Read More
This was our 13th RCI cruise and our 3rd cruise to Canada/New England. It was also our first RCI Crown & Anchor "member" cruise and our first cruise on the Serenade. We stayed in a Grand Suite. We are a married couple in our early 40's. We are Crown & Anchor Diamond members. We expected the passenger demographic to be much older, which it definitely was, and we were fine with that. Member Cruise Because this was a "member" cruise, we did receive RCI-branded gifts (sunglasses, selfie-sticks, USB charge sticks) in our cabin a few of the nights (not every night), so that met our expectations. There were some member activities offered on several days (not every day), such as craft classes and trivia. The disappointing part about the "member" cruise was that, compared to our past cruises, RCI did not adapt their planning of Diamond and Diamond+ events to consider the very high numbers of Diamond and Diamond+ passengers on this cruise! For example, the Diamond welcome back party (early in the cruise) and Diamond event (later in the cruise) were held in the usual area for this class of ship (the lounge on Deck 6), but were so crowded that you couldn't get in or had to wait in a huge line just to get in. Once inside, there weren't enough bar staff to handle the crowd. Captain Well, what can I say, we did make it to all of the ports safely, so that's a definite plus. But his personality was a zero. He really looked/sounded like he didn't want to be there. RCI screwed up and scheduled the Diamond party (the one late in the cruise) at the exact same time while we were sailing out of one of the ports, so he couldn't be there. Apparently, neither could the orchestra. They had a couple of crew members (they said had won a crew talent show or something) come on stage (in front of all of us packed into the lounge during the special Diamond event!!) and sing. Not karaoke style, just really trying their best to sing and entertain us. It was bad. They looked scared to death. Oops .... Cruise director and staff Carly was outstanding! Great energy, great effort. She related well to the passengers. Entertainment A lot of comedy, most of it was good. Musicians (RCI orchestra and other performers) were wonderful. RCI singers and dancers were on par with our other cruises (good). Dining Room (read this ... you can't make this stuff up!) OMG, I thought we were on candid camera or something. It was THAT bad. We have NEVER had such poor dining room service. We actually wanted to stay away and eat in the Windjammer buffet some nights. And this was from TWO separate tables! We started at our assigned table. We had a table for 6. We requested a big table because we really enjoy meeting others and didn't want to dine alone. Only the 2 of us on the first night (not too unusual). The server came over, looked across the room the whole time (never at us), said a one-word hello (still without looking at us, which was weird!) and started reading the menu from top to bottom. Then, she said "so what do you want?". Um, OK, we put in our orders. Assistant waiter poured drinks and didn't talk to us at all. Both of them looked confused the whole time. Night two, still just the two of us. I ask our server, "where are the others?" She says "I don't know. They should be here". Night three, I still just the two of us (the head waiter has strolled by all 3 nights and saw us sitting alone). I'm thinking, maybe he'll offer to move us? We could see some empty seats at other tables all of those nights. I finally called our Suite concierge and mentioned that we've been dining all alone. When we got to dinner on night 4 (after my phone call), the Maitre-D came over and apologized and escorted us to one of the other tables that had some empty seats. That (different) server came over, didn't even notice we were new, and started reading the menu from top to bottom and said "so what do you want"? (ARGH!) The assistant came over with rolls, asked for our drinks. We always get the same rolls, same drinks. I noticed that everyone else at the new table got the same rolls, same drinks each night. But each night (and this 12 night cruise was starting to seem VERY long), the assistant waiter kept asking each of us, which drink, which roll? Over and over, and it was always the same answer. In past cruises, the assistant would at least remember your preference! It was really awkward, and everyone at the table noticed it (why can't he remember?) It gets better -- our new server kept giving the wrong plates to us (not what we ordered). We'd have to switch them around. Like every night, sometimes appetizer, sometimes main course, sometimes dessert. No apology, nothing. Just "oh, I guess that one goes here". The head waiter passed by on most nights, and corrected her out loud in front of us, "no, we serve the ladies first", and she had to be corrected multiple nights. Does RCI even train these people anymore? We didn't want to even try a 3rd table. Oh, and apparently My Time Dining was very overcrowded on this sailing. There were head waiters on walkie-talkies running around the dining room while we were eating our dinner trying to call out empty seats at the tables around us. They would bring down My Time diners and seat them at our tables, even if we were half-way through dinner! Then, we would all be interrupted as they had to sit down, get menus from the server, order, wait for their food, try to join in our conversation, etc. Then, we would be finished by the time their food arrived and leave them sitting there. Awkward! Windjammer buffet This was our saving grace and our lifeboat for dinner a few nights! Good food, great service (compared to dining room, at least). Crepe station for dessert? Yes! We ate lunch here most days also. Specialty Restaurants We only visited Chops, but oh, my, what a waste of money. We have really enjoyed the quality of food and service in Chops on other ships. Chops on the Serenade is located on Deck 6 with a terrible view (there's even a lifeboat outside one of the windows). The steak and service was exactly the same as the dining room. Nothing special. We paid $60 ($30 each) just to eat there. We came close to asking for our money back (which we've never done), that's how bad it was. Suite perks (Before you roll your eyes and accuse me of whining about Suite perks (I was guilty of this when we first started cruising), look up the cost of a Suite and then you'll understand) .... First of all, the concierge on this ship (Mario) was outstanding. The breakfast served in the Chops restaurant daily was nice (except for the view), not as crowded as the Windjammer. The tours for Suite guests that we've had in the past (backstage tour, bridge tour) were not offered on this cruise. The reserved balcony seating for Suite guests was often full -- because it is offered to Diamond+ and Pinnacle also -- but on this cruise, there were tons of Diamond+ passengers! So perhaps RCI could have anticipated that and increased the reserved seating area on this cruise? Conclusion Overall, we were disappointed in our "member" cruise experience. We did send an email to Crown & Anchor and hopefully some of this will be corrected. We will cruise RCI again, but probably not on a "member" cruise. If you're cruising on the Serenade anytime soon, be flexible with your dining options -- you may want to consider the Windjammer! Read Less
Sail Date September 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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