151 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Romantic Cruise Reviews

We love RC. We have traveled on them extensively. This trip was a little disappointing. The rooms were in need of a little TLC, Room 8020. Curtains on the bottom of the slider door were none to clean. It seems like since the tips are ... Read More
We love RC. We have traveled on them extensively. This trip was a little disappointing. The rooms were in need of a little TLC, Room 8020. Curtains on the bottom of the slider door were none to clean. It seems like since the tips are taken out automatically there doesn't seem for anyone to go out of their way to do much of anything. Our waiter and assistant waiter hardly ever spoke to us until the next to last night. Then it was to tell us to make sure we gave a good rating on the survey. I think we spoke to the room attendants twice in the whole 10 days that we were there. Very unsual for us. I let them know the minute we booked the trip that I had to eat Gluten Free. Everything is clearly marked on the menu in the Main Dining Room. You usually pick the night before but there is always something that you can extra order if you are hungry that night. My waiter did not really understand about GF and actually put a desert in front of me one night and told me "to eat around the desert". I had to ask for the Maitre D at that point. Another night I ordered eggplant parmesan and it was so salty I had to send it back. On a good note...if you like escargot you can order it every night. There GF bread is exceptional. If you like lobster and used to be able to order it every night if you wanted it....no longer. You now have to pay $29.00 and an extra tip for them to deliver it in the Main Dining Room. People were not happy with this. If you are a Diamond Member I would suggest looking up what RC gives us free. It is amazing. You can go to the Diamond Member Club and get certain free drinks every day. You can eat breakfast there if you don't want to go anywhere else. Nothing for GF...sorry. You can $40 Internet free for both of you if you are traveling with someone. I don't suggest it buying a package because it is by far the worse internet I have ever seen on a ship. If you go into the Spa to sit on the chairs don't plan on putting towels there early and never coming back. People want to sit in there and there is a new sign that says 30 minutes gone and your items will be taken off the chairs and put into Security. We actually saw some nasty scenes with people who looked like they were going to fight over chairs. I thought the entertainment on the ship was the best I have seen on any ship. All in all the ports are great. We took some lovely tours from the ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean many times and are Diamond Plus in the Crown and Anchor Society. We purchased a Grand Suite on this occasion for my wife's birthday and were not disappointed. It was clean and neat and very nice. ... Read More
We have cruised with Royal Caribbean many times and are Diamond Plus in the Crown and Anchor Society. We purchased a Grand Suite on this occasion for my wife's birthday and were not disappointed. It was clean and neat and very nice. Lots of room and plenty of storage space. Our stateroom attendant was excellent. We used the Concierge Lounge each day and enjoyed wonderful service from the staff and concierge. The food onboard was very good in the main dining room as well as Chops, Giovanni's Table and Izumi. We also enjoyed the Chef's Table with wine tastings. The food in the Windjammer, as usual, was varied and good for breakfast and lunch. Plenty of choices depending on what you like. Service in the restaurants was very good with attentive and friendly wait staff. The service in the lounges we tried was also fine. The ship appears in good shape to us and was clean overall. The Captain, who we have sailed with before, was terrific. Very informative and friendly and funny in his commentary. The entertainment was good with a nice variety of entertainers. The shore excursions we took were interesting with good guides. We like historical tours and educational tours. Not much for beach and water. The enrichment program onboard was very nicely done and interesting. Too bad more passengers were not interested in learning something and about the Caribbean islands we visited and the history of piracy in the area. Overall, we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Arriving at port to board , they wouldn't check our luggage . I am disabled ! My wife and I had to push our luggage up on to the ship, resulting in severe pain to my damaged spine ! At the front desk on ship , rep. took our bags ... Read More
Arriving at port to board , they wouldn't check our luggage . I am disabled ! My wife and I had to push our luggage up on to the ship, resulting in severe pain to my damaged spine ! At the front desk on ship , rep. took our bags and put them into storage for us . After access to our room we returned to get our bags . A different rep. gave us a terrible time and was even yelling at my wife . She didn't want to release our bags ! As the conversation became more heated the rep. screamed at my wife " take your bags and go" At this point we wanted off this ship,,now ! We were told as we had boarded we couldn't get off . At the front desk we spoke to a supervisor who then informed us that the rep who was yelling at my wife had told her that we are racists! As we are both from New York City the last thing in the world either one of us is - would be a racist. The evening dining room service was excellent and food was OK. Our room staff was also excellent. The rest of the staff on the ship incompetent, rude, lazy and untrained. Before leaving Lauderdale the staff on the ship was replaced with trainees. The deck spaces around the pool and the rest of the gathering areas were left unclean with dishes, cups etc left from the night before on the following morning. In the smoking area the ash trays were not cleaned for days and overflowing. The three small tables in that area were covered in coffee cups, plates etc. On one morning I approached the security guard and asked that this be addressed - he then called the deck supervisor who yelled at him for bothering him. The security guard visibly embarrassed took it upon himself to clean this area - to his credit. This was a daily occurrence. The coffee areas either were out of coffee out of cups out of milk etc. This also was daily. The buffet areas were understaffed unclean and out of food more often than not. The staff at these areas would tell guests they were closed when they were not. When brought to the attention of a supervisor, they claimed to be open just out of food. My wife and I have been on many ships and lines and have never experienced a more horrendous situation. Staff that had been on this ship and with royal for 20 years+ claimed they have never seen anything as bad as this before and where embarrassed. Upon contacting Royal Caribbean on our return with our complaints we found they did not seem to care nor where willing to do anything to fix the situation. I highly recommend no one ever cruise with Royal Caribbean. If this is how they choose to treat their customers and claiming they are a cut above the rest, clearly they are below average. I would recommend Norwegian Cruise Line or Holland America. Celebrity is owned by Royal so therefore I would not recommend them either. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our first real cruise (we sailed previously on a 2-night Bahamas with Celebration) but I guess we thought we should jump in head first. Ship: The serenade is an absolutely beautiful ship and for our cruise it was even ... Read More
This was our first real cruise (we sailed previously on a 2-night Bahamas with Celebration) but I guess we thought we should jump in head first. Ship: The serenade is an absolutely beautiful ship and for our cruise it was even decorated for Christmas. The level of detail for the public spaces decorations was really awesome and we particularly enjoyed the Schooner Bar area. There was a ton of art around, plenty of comfy seating in all areas, and lots of gorgeous ocean views. Activities: There were a ton of activities that were scheduled, but unfortunately we weren't really interested in most of them. We found that generally there would only be 0-1 pre-dinner activity and 0-1 post-dinner activity that interested us per day. I know that they have to try and please as many people as possible, and my wife and I were certainly on the younger end of the passenger demographic for this cruise, but it would have been nice to have more activities that interested us. Things like group knitting, towel folding, and trivia just don't interest us but I'm sure someone enjoyed them. We found that we were able to pretty easily entertain ourselves when there were no good activities occurring. Between the pools, arcade, sports courts, movies, mini golf, etc. on board in addition to books we loaded on our tablets before leaving we were always able to find something to do. The arcade is pretty run-down, shuffleboard/sports courts can be pretty frustrating when the deck is ALWAYS wet, and the cinema could use some serious improvements but we were generally pretty happy with the activities available for us on the ship. Service: Or service was impeccable. Everyone on board went out of their way to make us happy. Port & shore excursions: We did an excursion in each of our 5 ports and regret nothing. We did 3 ship-sponsored excursions (Tortola Beach Break in Tortola, St. Pierre and Rum Distillery tour in Martinique, and See Antigua by Sea in Antigua) and 2 private excursions (Bernard's Tours in St. Maarten and Royston Tours in St. Kitts). I have no complaints about the ship sponsored tours other than the cost. I did not like the fact that Bernard's Tours put a stop at the beach right in the middle of a tour (who wants to finish the tour all salty and sandy?) but that has nothing to do with Royal Caribbean. Cabin: No complaints about our cabin at all. We had inside cabin 8637 and found it to be plenty of room for the two of us. I've read reviews from people who seem to think interior cabins are tiny jail cells or dungeons or closets but what exactly are you people doing in your room that you need more space than this? Dining: We tried Chops for dinner one night (excellent, definitely worth the cost), Giovanni's for lunch one day (meh... not worth it, maybe dinner is better?), and stuck to the MDR for all other dinners. We found the MDR to be excellent for both lunch and dinner and there were always multiple things on the menu that I was willing to eat so I never found my options lacking. We tried room service for breakfast one day but it was late and the portions were TINY, plus the food was worse than the Windjammer. All other breakfasts were in the Windjammer which was alright. Nothing special, but it was alright. There was always a line at the omelette/crepe/waffle station when I was in there so I never tried those. We also enjoyed the Windjammer for lunch, and again the food was good but nothing spectacular. During the day the park cafe has some delicious sandwiches that you can get put through a panini press, and their quesadillas are very good as well. At night the park cafe has really delicious pizza and we had some for a late night snack almost every night. The desserts found in both the Park Cafe and Cafe Lattetudes were delicious whenever we had a sweet tooth. Entertainment: Meh. Some of the shows we found to be pretty good but for the most part they were only okay. One of the comics (forget his name but he did some juggling) was actually bad enough that my wife and I walked out. Some people really seemed to enjoy the shows we didn't, so it's very subjective. I was disappointed that the shows we had to skip were not recorded and played on the ship channel. Some shows were and some weren't, not sure what determined which ones get shown and which don't. The cinema needs some serious improvements, starting with playing the movies on a loop or at least more times per day. That thing was ALWAYS mostly full 30 minutes before showtime so show up early or don't show up. The picture quality is pretty bad, the seats made my back hurt, and there was no popcorn! We went several times despite these complaints and would go again. Disembarkation: Quick disembarkation, probably 20 minutes from ship to shuttle, no complaints. Summary: Luckily we were looking for a relaxing cruise because the lack of activities that interested us forced our hand. That said, though, we had a wonderful cruise on the Serenade and signed up to go again next year. As with any ship there are improvements that can be made, but the Serenade is beautiful and we can't wait to go again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
We love cruising and like to try different class ships. We've been on the mega-ships (Oasis class, etc.) and the smaller such as The Jewel & Rhapsody. We chose the Serenade because of the ports & time of year...and it was ... Read More
We love cruising and like to try different class ships. We've been on the mega-ships (Oasis class, etc.) and the smaller such as The Jewel & Rhapsody. We chose the Serenade because of the ports & time of year...and it was a great choice. We did an 11 & 10 day B2B...and the weather was amazing for all 21 days! As D+ we had full access to the Concierge Lounge. Mario and Melody do an amazing job of taking care of everyone! I don't know how Melody remembers all the guests' preferences...but she does it so well. Mario was always there to help with reservations, etc. He called in a last minute reservation at Chops for us and got us an amazing table! We have had GS and balconies in the past but went for the longer cruise in an interior...very quiet but very small...my husband usually got dressed first for dinner and waited for me in the lounge...no room for us both! Our room attendant, Helen, was one of the best we have ever had...never needed to ask for anything. Main dining room food was surprisingly good. As long as you understand that there are massive amounts of meals being prepared, you won't be disappointed. If you want more high-end dining, try the Chef's Table. We dined at Chops one evening and had a perfect evening! We also did The Murder Mystery Dinner at Giovanni's. The acting was great but the meal was not what we had previously experienced in other Giovannis...I would not recommend this if you are just interested in a good meal...it was not. The Windjammer tables by the windows are mostly large round tables set-up for parties of 6 or more which made it difficult to get a window seat. We usually headed to the very back of the ship and sat outside or in Rita's Cantina. If there had been any rainy days, I am sure we would have had a problem finding a seat. Food was better than I have had on recent cruises...love the leg of lamb! Many mornings we would have breakfast in Concierge Lounge where I could enjoy smoked salmon & all the trimmings (no longer offered in Windjammer). Production shows and headliners were all excellent...we were lucky that some of the shows on the second trip were different. I will note that there seemed to be a lack of late evening activities...no late night comedians. Seemed like they wanted everyone to go to sleep at 10:00 pm! I would have like to have enjoyed some late night activities when our next day was at sea. We enjoyed the Crown & Castle Pub when there was karaoke. The musician who is performing on a regular basis (Dallas?) is quite good. My only complaint was that the chairs were so uncomfortable! The only time we were at outside pool was to watch "belly-flop contest" etc. but there were lots of outdoor lounge chairs on deck 12 & 13. The only place there was an issue with seating was in Solarium...the usual saving of seats (most had towels on them at 7:30 am!) I only saw Deck Patrol remove towels once and I heard a lot of complaining about towels being on chairs for hours with no one ever showing up. If there had been any rainy days, I am sure there would have been many unhappy people. We were disappointed that they did not do the aerial show in the Centrum as we had seen on the Vision. All the equipment was there but no mention of it. On our second leg of the trip, we had dinner at Chops...another great meal! We tried Giovanni's again and were, once again, very disappointed. It seems that there are insufficient servers in the specialty restaurants...we experienced this on all 4 evenings. On our last evening at Giovanni's, we had an 8:00 reservation. Our server had a party of 12 and a party of 4, so he did not arrive at our table until 8:15. We had asked for a window seat but the table was so close to the kitchen, we had a hard time hearing each other over the crash of dishes. The eggplant parm is amazing...next time, I will order that as my entree (if we decide to try another Giovanni's) The chicken we each had as our entrees was dry and tasteless. When the server asked me how the chicken was I told him and he didn't seem to know what to do with the information. The head waiter came over and explained that they could not cook me another chicken because it would take another 25 minutes...I was not asking for another meal. We did not see the server for another 15 minutes, so I told my husband to just order 4 cannolis "to go" and I left to go to the theater. In all fairness, they did take off the charge (we did not ask them to)...but I would have rather paid and had a wonderful experience. Internet is extremely slow so even if you purchase an unlimited access package, be prepared to have limited access...I could only get emails. These two b2bs on the Serenade were relaxing and without any real issues....UNTIL we did the Luggage Valet. We flew JetBlue on our own but decided to do the Luggage Valet (you pay a fee + normal airline luggage fees & your luggage goes from cabin to final destination). All went well until we saw that we were overcharged for the luggage (on JetBlue our first piece is free). We had been charged for 2 pieces of luggage each. We went to Service desk where we were told that Royal had been charged by Jetblue for 4 bags, so we had to discuss this with JetBlue at the airport. Of course, when we got to the airport, JetBlue said that we would have to call the 800 number. When we arrived home, I called JetBlue and I was informed that Royal only paid for 2 bags...not 4! JetBlue said I had to take this up with Royal. So I then called Royal and spoke to a very rude "customer service" rep who told me I had to call a 3rd party...BagsInc. Really??!!! When I complained that after spending well over $45,000.00 since 1999, I would expect better customer service and that perhaps I might think about cancelling my next 4 scheduled cruises with royal. HE STARTED TO ARGUE WITH ME about this amenity they offer. This amenity is not free...each guest is charged $20 each!! So after calling BagsInc and spending over an hour on the phone trying to fix the mistake Royal has made...I now have to make copies & fax all my receipts to BagsInc. and then one of their reps will call me and then maybe I will get my money back! THIS IS SUPPOSED TO MAKE LIFE EASIER??? Save yourself money and time...take your bags home the old fashioned way...it seems this extra service is far beyond Royals capability. The fact that they have me bouncing around trying to resolve it shows how very little they really care about the customer...it is all about the bottom line. They made the mistake and I have to figure out who to go to to resolve it. Shame on you Royal. Perhaps it is time to try another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
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
Great experience overall, with good personalized service and premium quality F&B. The bar tenders and waiters remember little details of your preferences like whether you like ice in your drink, which is your preferred mixer, how much ... Read More
Great experience overall, with good personalized service and premium quality F&B. The bar tenders and waiters remember little details of your preferences like whether you like ice in your drink, which is your preferred mixer, how much lemon you like squeezed, and how you like your beef cuts and lamb chops cooked. The entertainment on board was fantastic, with professional singers, dancers, excellent choreography, great art and fitness seminars, competitions, themed parties almost every night being conducted very well by an enthusiastic activities team. The props, costumes, lighting were excellent. There were some good juggling and Broadway-styled theatre acts, musicals, plays, dances. Most of the performances had live music, with a good ensemble which I appreciate and all shows had well balanced sound. The kids' activities were taken care of well by a smiling crew members. The bars and lounges were warm and cozy, sports facilities well maintained, washrooms extremely clean, rooms maintained perfectly. Every member of the crew I interacted with smiled and was polite and courteous, with no exception. The clientele on board this cruise was quite old, with many senior-aged cruisers, hence there were quite a few seminars held to cater to their needs such as fighting back pain & insomnia, posture & balance, weight loss etc. which wouldn't be of much interest to a young cruiser. The Norwegian Fjords were beautiful, and had great weather and plenty of daylight. The cruise excursions didn't seem to offer me good value for money (I did a hike to Pulpit rock from Stavanger port). My family arranged for excursions at other ports on our own, and we seemed to travel further into the country side and mountains than the cruise excursion busses. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
My 14 night Baltic cruise during the summer of 2015 with Royal Caribbean on the Serenade Seas was two different experiences. The Ports of Call and the ship herself were a 5 Star experience. Royal Caribbean as a company provided a 1 Star ... Read More
My 14 night Baltic cruise during the summer of 2015 with Royal Caribbean on the Serenade Seas was two different experiences. The Ports of Call and the ship herself were a 5 Star experience. Royal Caribbean as a company provided a 1 Star Experience…below WOW! The ship has a capacity of 2,500 passengers and 900 crew. This was my 2nd Cruise after my Mediterranean cruise on a competitor’s ship with 4,000 passengers. You could regularly see late at night teams keeping the ship clean and in good repair. This team is top notch! We had our luggage within an hour of checking into our room. One night we had to call to have the balcony cleaned thanks to shipmates from above and they came with a team and address the issue right away. There were teams providing upkeep constantly. All areas were well maintained except the early closure of the hot tubs early…and the spa never picked up after the towels. But otherwise...great experience. We choose this cruise as no one had a better itinerary (3 days in St. Petersburg with only 1 day at sea). It was also nice as we ventured into some rarely visited port towns that made the trip extra special (i.e. Berlin, Klaipeda, Frederica, Riga, Helsinki, etc.). Regarding Russia: you have 2 travel options a) Russia Travel Visa or b) Tour Visa. If you’re in Russia for less than 72 hours and are with a guide you can avoid the expensive and long government Visa...the other process is expensive and takes 3 months. We went to Moscow through a boat excursion for under $600. That included a bus to the airport, a 1 ½ hour roundtrip flight to Moscow, tickets for the Kremlin, and a beautiful 5 Star Russian Restaurant (Salmon Roe, Blintz, Beef Stroganoff, Vodka, & Wine). We also did the Folkloric show, which was a Russian Army choir of 30 that would switch with a high energy dance troop of 30. The other 2 days in St. Petersburg we purchased a private guide and Mercedes SUV driver (SPB Tour Company) for a very reasonable price. We basically did the 2 day deluxe tour (which they try to keep the groups under 20). The Kremlin I heard is not open on Thursday and SPB has certain schedule for group tours which is also why explored the cost effective private tour. Now about my 1 Star Royal Caribbean Experience. It began at the website (did you know the call center rep and the customer can’t be logged in at the same time?) At port, the check-in was a 1 ½ hour line! At the registration desk, the 30 page packet they had me print apparently didn’t include the Credit Card Authorization I did online (who knows where that information is). They literally had a table with 8 employees that would connect the credit card authorization to another stack of paper to later be manually processed. My access card didn’t work for 2 days and all our receipts were tri-level carbon. Security thereafter continued to be an issue. Each day imagine going to the airport for 20 minutes! Then once you get past security your next 14 night once in a lifetime cruise experience…you get nothing! This is where the crew of less than 900 is unable to WoW! There were never officers or entertainers welcoming you back on board. Dining on the ship was poor…but depend on which of 2 kitchens you dined from. The Specialty Kitchen does Chops, Giovanni’s, Chef’s Table, Murder Mystery and the At Sea Lobster Mimosa Brunch. Those meals were all delicious and a great experience. Our intimate Chef’s Table with our friends from Australia, Arizona, Illinois, Mexico City, Florida and staff of 3 was well worth the experience! The meals were delicious and worth it (although buy on the boat as they don’t regularly sell out and they always have a deal). The other kitchen does room service, the main dining room and the buffet. The main dining room is very good…and a toss up to which is better versus the specialty kitchen. Room Service, the buffet, and that “café” are garbage…garbage…garbage! Most frustrating is the Café! The menu never changes, quality is similar to a 7/11 deli, and never enough places for people to regretfully try this horrible food. The challenge is you get onto the boat from a day of sights around 4…but dinner reservations are not until 8. There are no food options other than this deli or crappy room service. Entertainment was also poor. They did bring in this headliner act from Russia that did these cirque di sole items close to the end...which was amazing! The other days were no good. Day 1: Elton John. Day 2: Queen Tribute: Day 3: BMX Bike Stunts Day 5: (Day at Seas) Cruise director talking about his trip to Mount Kilimanjaro. Also, the TV gave out very valuable port information (after you visited the port) lol…I made none of this up my friends! Then in the Centrium they are supposed to have this big show. I asked 5 different crew members when was the show…no one knew and each told me a different answer. 5 different answers…you can bet at least 1 of them lied to me. I believed the 5th version that the rig was broken for 2 months and it was unsafe was the truth...until there was a random show that we stumbled upon returning from port after 11 day (wasn’t listed in the guide). We tired Izumi and were hoping to make the later showing….but it took 40 minutes to serve raw sushi (12 crew eating in the dining room of a late port with only 6 guests). The only WOW moment I experienced was with the F&B director that left a bottle of Merlot in our room. Otherwise, I feel there is not enough crew for entertainment or quality basic dining options. The Excursion Desk was only open from 8 to 9. This was a challenge when you were in port from 8 to 7 and didn’t realize you needed to talk to someone until 10. My experience with a competitor is that the caliber of food might be meh…but at least it’s decent overall. I recognize the entertainment experience is different on each ship but this experience was beyond bad (and I blame the cruise director for that). Overall, I had a wonderful vacation and I wouldn’t have changed a thing…except for Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We sailed from Boston to Ireland, England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark. Enjoyed the cruise, the ship, and the staff. Food was fine. Ship was clean. Wish the loading for excursions was a bit more organized. Other than ... Read More
We sailed from Boston to Ireland, England, France, Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark. Enjoyed the cruise, the ship, and the staff. Food was fine. Ship was clean. Wish the loading for excursions was a bit more organized. Other than that we had no complaints. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We went on our first cruise for our honeymoon. We loved our experience on Serenade of the Seas. Our room was an interior room on the 2nd level, 2005. The cruise director was great and for the most part there was always something ... Read More
We went on our first cruise for our honeymoon. We loved our experience on Serenade of the Seas. Our room was an interior room on the 2nd level, 2005. The cruise director was great and for the most part there was always something interesting to do. There were enough food options to always be well fed (not all food was great but most was pretty good). We enjoyed out 8pm dining in the main dining room, Reflections. Our wait staff was fabulous! They were always friendly and had good recommendations. The plating of the food was always nice and most was really good. We also liked having breakfast and lunch on the back of the boat at Windjammer. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants or buy a drink package (water, flavored water, lemonade, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, milk, orange juice, and apple juice are all provided) We enjoyed the evening shows, Bingo, salsa dancing, and the workout room. We did find that the pools and hot tubs could be crowded at times, but still swam in the pool. We really enjoyed our time in New Orleans, Jamaica, and Cozumel. We did not care for Grand Cayman as much but still had fun. In New Orleans, we went sight seeing on our own with my husband's brother the day of embarkation and disembarkation. In Jamaica, we went to Green Grotto Caves and Dunn's River Falls. This was our favorite excursion. I would not travel around Jamaica on your own but with an excursion and in the port we felt safe. The port was nice and not crowded. On our excursion, our tour guides were great, especially at Green Grotto Caves. Our group did not get a videographer at Dunn's River Falls, but the groups that did seemed to get a better tour (ours was still great!). We also visited Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in the cruise port. I would not get food there again (it was pricey and mediocre) but it was fun to walk around and take pictures there. In Grand Cayman, we did the Stingray City, Snorkeling, and 7 Mile Beach lunch buffet excursion (I don't think that's it's exact title-but similar). I would NOT recommend this excursion. Grand Cayman was extremely crowded and busy. We will not take a cruise here again. The excursion was disorganized, started late, and we had a very large group. They cancelled our snorkeling part of the trip due to "rough" waters but most people in our group thought it was due to running behind with their disorganization-the waters weren't bad. Royal Caribbean refunded everyone $30/person for the inconvenience. We did not like Stingray City. I have snorkeled with Stingrays in Belize and swam with them in a small group. This excursion felt like exploiting the rays. There were hundreds of people crowded standing on a sandbar with some rays swimming around. The guides were holding them out of the water trying to get people to take pictures with them. Our guide charged $40 per picture. Our guides were very pushy and begging for tips. After the stingrays, we went to 7 Mile Beach. Our lunch and the beach were nice. There were chickens walking around on the beach. We snorkeled on our own here (we brought our own equipment, but you could rent some there). After our excursion, we walked around the crowded port and got gellato (it was a bit pricey for gellato but good). In Cozumel, we went snorkeling and to Playa Mia. We loved this. The port was nice and a bit crowded but not as crowded as Grand Cayman. We would like to come back on a cruise or stay at a resort. The boat ride to snorkeling and Playa Mia was great. Our guides were fun and informative. We took pictures, sang, and danced on the boat. They provided water, soft drinks, beer, rum punch, and margaritas on the boat. The snorkeling was nice and the group wasn't too large. Playa Mia was busy but there was lots to do. The food wasn't impressive, but we had fun! All in all, we loved our first cruise experience and look forward to more spring breaks (we are both teachers) of cruises! We were very impressed with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We went on our first cruise for our honeymoon. We loved our experience on Serenade of the Seas. Our room was an interior room on the 2nd level, 2005. The cruise director was great and for the most part there was always something ... Read More
We went on our first cruise for our honeymoon. We loved our experience on Serenade of the Seas. Our room was an interior room on the 2nd level, 2005. The cruise director was great and for the most part there was always something interesting to do. There were enough food options to always be well fed (not all food was great but most was pretty good). We enjoyed out 8pm dining in the main dining room, Reflections. Our wait staff was fabulous! They were always friendly and had good recommendations. The plating of the food was always nice and most was really good. We also liked having breakfast and lunch on the back of the boat at Windjammer. We did not try any of the speciality restaurants or buy a drink package (water, flavored water, lemonade, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, milk, orange juice, and apple juice are all provided) We enjoyed the evening shows, Bingo, salsa dancing, and the workout room. We did find that the pools and hot tubs could be crowded at times, but still swam in the pool. We really enjoyed our time in New Orleans, Jamaica, and Cozumel. We did not care for Grand Cayman as much but still had fun. In New Orleans, we went sight seeing on our own with my husband's brother the day of embarkation and disembarkation. In Jamaica, Cozumel, and Grand Cayman, we went on Royal Caribbean's excursions. All in all, we loved our first cruise experience and look forward to more spring breaks (we are both teachers) of cruises! We were very impressed with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We are loyal Royal Caribbean customers. This was our 8th cruise. The Serenade is a smaller ship than we use to and we sailed out of New Orleans. Our Cabin was great. This was our first experience with a balcony room. Once you go ... Read More
We are loyal Royal Caribbean customers. This was our 8th cruise. The Serenade is a smaller ship than we use to and we sailed out of New Orleans. Our Cabin was great. This was our first experience with a balcony room. Once you go balcony you can never go back. The dinning room felt overly crowded and the servers didn't seem very knowledgeable. On past cruises the waiter seamed to go the extra step, made dinner fun. Our port were Fairmouth Jamaica, Cozumel, Grand Cayman. We enjoyed 2 of the 3 port. Jamaica is a very poor town, and unless you take a shore excursion to the falls, (which we had already done on a previous cruise) there is nothing much to do in the safe shopping area. The other two port were great. We snorkeled and swam with the dolphins. The worst part of the cruise was the mystery dinner. This was a staged murder mystery that we were lead to believe that we were to solve the mystery. It was in a work DUMB. Not only was it not entertaining, it was scheduled on the same night as the lobster dinner which we ended up missing. Not cool! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
My wife and I were renewing our vows and arranged for our kids and their spouses, my in-laws and my parents to go with us. I also invited a couple from work since they had never been on a cruise and wanted to go with someone they knew. ... Read More
My wife and I were renewing our vows and arranged for our kids and their spouses, my in-laws and my parents to go with us. I also invited a couple from work since they had never been on a cruise and wanted to go with someone they knew. This was my 4th cruise and my wife's 3rd, all with RCI. Our last cruise, last January, was a bit of a disappointment as we felt the service was not very good and the crew was not very helpful or friendly. This cruise was the exact opposite. Overall, this was the best cruise I've been on so far. Every RCI employee we met was outstanding. The entire crew was always smiling and friendly. The very few issues we had were solved without problem or delay. The weather wasn't great, but you take what you can get cruising in early January. Boarding: We showed up at the terminal about a half hour before boarding started. The check in process was very quick and we were ready to get on the ship in just minutes. It was very well organized and smoother than the Galveston experience. The Ship: I've read a lot of reviews from people saying that Serenade is their favorite ship and I can see why. Serenade is beautiful. The staterooms and public areas were all very clean and well maintained. I love the elevators that look out over the water. We didn't get to walk around the deck as much as we usually do or go up on the helicopter pad to look at the stars, that was because of the weather, not the fault of the crew or the ship. The Crew: I can't say enough good things about the crew. Our room steward, Clinton, was fantastic. He was always available and met all of our requests within minutes. We held our vow renewal in our suite and he made sure we had enough plates, silverware and toasting glasses for everyone. He kept our champagne on ice for the ceremony and continued to provide us for ice buckets for our wine over the entire cruise. Our towel animal the night our our ceremony was a pair of kissing swans with three chicks sitting on a big heart. Dining: The dining room experience was great. The food was excellent and the variety was overwhelming. I ate way too much, as usual. Our server and assistant server couldn't have been any more attentive to our needs and even went back to the kitchen to have the chef cook extra dishes when someone at our table inquired if it was too late to get more of an item. Our glasses were never empty, I hate having to ask for water refills and never did once this entire trip. Our stateroom: We had a Grand Suite on deck 10 at the back of the ship. The room was very large and the bathroom was huge, plenty of room for two people to be in at the same time. The only issue we had with the room was the noise of chairs moving in the Windjammer above us. It wasn't bad and didn't wake us up or keep us awake if we were trying to sleep. The ports: This was our first trip to Key West. We didn't have enough time there to really explore it but we enjoyed what we saw and will be back. Because of the size of our group, we didn't do very much in Nassau. My wife and I did the Seahorse Snorkeling tour. The water was kind of rough, expected this time of year, but the reef was loaded with fish and very colorful. This was my first time snorkeling so I can't compare it to any others. The weather was perfect for CocoCay and the island is great. We used the beaches, hammocks, paddle boats and canoes. There are plenty of lounge chairs and it was easy to get some shade when we needed a break from the sun. The entertainment: The cruise director, John, did an excellent job of organizing the shows. The RCI singers and dancers were very energetic and put on excellent shows. The juggler/comedian Chuck Gunter was very good, as was the singing group Horizons. The highlight entertainment wise had to be ventriloquist Ronn Lucas, he had us laughing so hard our eyes were watering. Disembarking: Very smooth. Our family was in four different groups and we were all off the ship by 9:00. Customs was very quick and we were on the road home by 9:30. There were no long lines or struggles to find luggage. Again, it was very hard to find any negatives to say about this cruise. Nothing that would be relevant to put here. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Our shuttle dropped us off at the port of New Orleans just after 12pm. It was busy but the line moved swiftly and check-in was even quicker. The only delay was in getting on to the ship as the lines to have your photo taken for your ... Read More
Our shuttle dropped us off at the port of New Orleans just after 12pm. It was busy but the line moved swiftly and check-in was even quicker. The only delay was in getting on to the ship as the lines to have your photo taken for your seapass card were backed up on the gangway bridge. They moved quickly though and we were on the ship and at the Windjammer by 12:30. As is almost always the case the WJ was packed for the most part but being the brave souls we are, went out to the open area of the WJ along the back where there was plenty of open tables. It was in the low 50"s on embarkation day and quite windy but we had jackets with us so it didn't bother us. Considering it was in the 20"s when we left Ohio, 50's felt pretty good at the time. As for the food it was all the usual fare on sail-away day including honey stung chicken.... (wings). Guess thats as close as we can get to the original we grew to love over the years. We thought overall there were enough choices and everything we had was tasty. After lunch, we headed to the centrum area to have a look around at how the ship was decorated, and to see some of the changes since Serenade was updated in 2012. We liked the more vibrant colors and they did a nice job decorating the entire centrum area for Christmas. Next, we headed for the MDR to check out or table for dinner. We had requested a table for two as we always do. We were assigned a table for four but a quick stop to the dining room manager got us a move to a table for two. By this time it was after 1pm and the staterooms were ready so we headed up to deck 7 to have a look. It was pretty much as expected. A clean room, ample storage, a regular shower without that darn curtain to stick to you. Balcony was average size with 2 chairs and a table. The bed was just okay. It was not rock hard but it was certainly far from soft. Our room attendant did a wonderful job during the week and was very efficient. The entire crew of Serenade gets high praise from us. They were friendly, visible, and active in all the activities throughout the week. The captain was a delight but unfortunately he became ill midway through the cruise and was limited for the remainder of the week. The other officers did a great job filling in for him at events. John & Katrina Blair did a wonderful job in their roles as cruise and activities director. There were plenty of events to keep you busy if you so chose and we felt the entertainment on Serenade was a step above what we have seen on many of our 20 prior cruises. The entertainer who stood above the rest for us was Finas Henderson. If he happens to end up on your ship, go see his show. Google him to find out more about him and his Hollywood ties. Food is always subjective but here's my take. You will not go hungry. If we ate breakfast, it was in the WJ. We would get a made to order omelet and whatever else from the buffet. We never were disappointed in any meals we had in the WJ or in the MDR. It was exactly the same as it has been for us every cruise. The MDR service was good but not fast. Many of the crew were fairly new and still learning the ropes. Bar service in the MDR was not very good. Not enough servers to do the job. This cruise was full to capacity and the MDR was busier than usual so the staff cutbacks RCI has done showed up big time. We went to Chops twice, the 1st time was absolutely wonderful, the 2nd time was absolutely forgettable. We booked a post cruise tour of New Orleans and disembarkation was quick and ahead of schedule. We found our luggage immediately and was through customs less than 5 minutes later. In summary, this was our 2nd time on Serenade and it was just as memorable for us. We enjoyed sailing down the Mississippi to get to the Gulf of Mexico. The ship still looks great and they are constantly at work, cleaning, staining, and painting to keep her looking so. The railings looked a little worn and that is the case with some furniture or chairs as well. Other than that Serenade of the Seas looked even better to us than in 2012 over in Europe. The crew works very hard to provide you and I the very best vacation possible within their means. They are trying to do more tasks than ever before with less staff to do it with. We felt they did an outstanding job given the circumstances. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
We were on our honeymoon and decided to take the 12 day with stops in Salerno, Sicily, malta, Montenegro, Venice, croatia and Corfu. The ports were wonderful. We went in September so we're on one of the "oldest cruises they had ... Read More
We were on our honeymoon and decided to take the 12 day with stops in Salerno, Sicily, malta, Montenegro, Venice, croatia and Corfu. The ports were wonderful. We went in September so we're on one of the "oldest cruises they had ever seen" and it seemed the ship was more geared towards that age demographic so there was not much of interest for our age group (we're in our thirties.) They closed the disco at least an hour early every night. We had heard the food was spectacular so we're expecting good eats...not the case. The main dining room serves their prime rib grey, and the other meals were also sub par. We paid extra for the lobster and it was overlooked and dry. Also, the first night we had to wait till after our mains till our wine showed up. On the last evening we stood in the front of the restaraunt and waited 35 minutes and were not even acknowledged. The couple in front of us and their two children had been waiting 45 minutes so I guess we should be considered lucky. The buffet is full of fatty, inedible food that made my husband and I sick so the main dining room is really your only option unless you want to pay more. We were scared to try after upgrading our main dining room experience to no effect. Tried to mention the above to the staff and were brushed off in a rude manner. Not impressed with the food, atmosphere or staff on this cruise line. This was my second and my husbands first cruise and neither of us will ever be on one again that's for sure!!! Totally ruined our cruising experience and put a damper on our honeymoon. We're planning a "redo honeymoon" for next year to wash away this bad taste in our mouths. South of France here we come...not on Royal Caribbean!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
This was my 4th cruise overall (1st cruise with RCCL), and my husband's 1st cruise ever. We are both in our early 40's, and selected this itinerary for our honeymoon. Our wedding took place on a Saturday afternoon, we flew from ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise overall (1st cruise with RCCL), and my husband's 1st cruise ever. We are both in our early 40's, and selected this itinerary for our honeymoon. Our wedding took place on a Saturday afternoon, we flew from MSP to BCN on Sunday morning, and arrived in BCN early Monday (ship sailed at 4pm, I believe). Initially, we had wanted to pre-register for RCCL’s "Barcelona Highlights" bus tour from the airport - but were told that our incoming flight was scheduled to arrive about 15 min. later than the "allowable" timeframe (so we were not allowed to register/pre-pay for the tour). However, the RCCL rep told us that, upon arrival at BCN, we could just ask to join the tour if it hadn't left yet (as long as seats were available). In the end, our connection from JFK was delayed by about 2 hours - so we were actually thankful we hadn't pre-paid, as we had no hope of arriving at BCN in time for this tour. BUT (lo & behold), there was apparently a large # of prepaid tour guests on our same connecting flight from JFK, so RCCL held the tour for them. Kudos to RCCL in this regard. We were able to just show the tour operator our RCCL boarding docs, and she charged the cost of the tour to our cabin. The tour bus was modern & comfortable, though the tour itself felt a bit rushed (due the late departure). There was one 15-20 minute stop on top of the mountain (overlooking the city), with a public restroom and concessions; and a second, 2-hour stop in the heart of the old city for shopping/exploring. This second stop included a 20-minute guided tour around another old cathedral and adjacent cobblestone alleys, which were full of shops, restaurants, artisan galleries, and even residences. In between these 2 stops, we drove by most major landmarks and at times the driver would pause just long enough for you to snap a photo out the window (such as outside the huge Olympic futbol stadium), and he was full of information and charisma... however, it was still rushed. For the price of $65/person, I still feel the tour was worthwhile as it gave us much more of an overview of the city than we'd have gotten by simply taking a cab to the port. But, while I was grateful we were able to join the tour at all, I am still perplexed how all those passengers on the same connecting flight were allowed to book the tour in advance (while we were denied)? Embarkation (and Cabin): An absolute dream! The cruise terminal was not at all crowded, and it took all of 15-20 minutes to sign in and get our key cards. There was perhaps another 20-minute wait in the security line (similar to going through airport security) but nothing to complain about. In no time, we were in our aft-facing balcony cabin marveling at the view. :) We didn't attempt to smuggle on any booze, so I can't attest to how easy/difficult that might be. But, our luggage was delivered by the time we returned from dinner and we had no issues with missing/damaged items. I highly recommend the aft-facing balcony cabins! Although we had a minor amount of soot some days, we were prepared for this and simply wiped down our chairs/table before using them. The extra-deep balcony was fabulous, and came complete with 2 sitting chairs, 2 loungers, and the little round side table for drinks, books, etc. We probably spent about 75% of our time on our balcony when not in port; our room steward had to keep pleading with us to leave the room every night so he could clean. We kept trying to tell him it was unnecessary, that we weren’t messy people and this was our HONEYMOON (aka “please leave us alone”), but I don’t think we ever once opened our cabin door – night or day – without finding him standing there with his cart. We pretty much felt like we were being stalked after the 2nd or 3rd day, and the poor guy really seemed to fear for his job. I know RCCL has high expectations of their room stewards, but I also expected that our requests for no evening service would be understood/respected? No.Such.Luck. We would hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the door after returning from port, or on Sea Days, simply so we could lay out (and/or nap) on our balcony. But, we were unable to open the door without finding him there, just waiting to ask us “how are you enjoying my service? Don’t you feel that I’m doing a good job?” “Yes, yes, it’s fine, it’s our honeymoon, we just want to enjoy our fabulous balcony.” On every sea day, he would call the room multiple times until we answered (despite the Do Not Disturb sign) just to see if we needed service. On the final night (and after about a thousand “am I doing a good job?” ‘s later), we came back from dinner to find the envelope requesting extra gratuities… along with a survey for our completion. Keep in mind, we had chosen Anytime Dining (so our gratuities were prepaid). We did not feel inclined to leave him anything extra, as we declined the evening room servicing more often than we received it… and honestly, the constant badgering was uncomfortable for us. But we gave him the highest marks on the survey, as I didn’t want to punish the poor guy for simply wanting to do his job… I just wish he would have allowed us a little more privacy. Layout/Common Areas: The ship is designed well, with modern yet classy décor, and it was easy to get from one end to the other. Chairs/loungers next to the pool were understandably scarce on seas (and is to be expected), but we could generally find something on the upper level. The glass-roofed “Solarium” pool area was especially nice for a whitey like me, and a place that the kids would usually avoid – so you could truly relax here. The casino was alright, but the female bartender here was fantastic! Stopped in once the 1st or 2nd night of the cruise, and when we stopped in several days later, the bartender remembered my husband’s name AND what he liked to drink (Bacardi Limon and diet Pepsi)… hubby was impressed! We hung out in the loungers by the rock wall one sea day afternoon, and the husband did a few climbs (he’s been rock climbing his whole life). The basketball court always had players, and it was fun watching them. Mini golf looked about as fun as you could expect on a boat. Dining: We went with the Anytime dining, since we wanted the utmost flexibility on this trip. The first few evenings, we were placed with the same wait staff team – who did the job they were tasked with, but with zero personality, charm, or conversation. I was pretty disappointed in this regard, as I’ve had consistently phenomenal experiences on other cruise lines. I ended feeling a bit embarrassed for giving my husband the impression (for months prior) that dining was one of the greatest aspects of cruising! It was honestly a pretty awkward experience the first few nights. But, on the 3rd or 4th night, we saw a table near ours being serviced by someone named Maximus - who was everything I wanted/had come to expect in a head waiter from previous cruises! Picture Ricky Ricardo and George Lopez all in one.  He was delightful, charming, and hilariously conversational. We asked to be seated in Maximus’ section thereafter, and were always accommodated. The entire dynamic of our honeymoon changed after finding Maximus (who would also be waiting in the aft/balcony area of the buffet every morning for breakfast). He is one of those guys who loves his job and is genuinely enjoying himself on this ship… you just can’t fake that. Truly a talented professional. The food itself was fine, not the “greatest” cruise food I’ve ever had (surprisingly, that honor goes to Carnival), but it was certainly good and I had no complaints. But for me, even mediocre food would be enjoyable with the right wait staff… and Maximus “made” this entire cruise for us. We made sure to ask about his family, kids, and homeland every chance we could, and it was a pleasure to get to know him. Chef’s Table: We scheduled the Chef’s Table several weeks ahead of our sail date, and chose the final sea day for this experience. Marvelous in every way, and well worth the money. I made a point to try everything, even if I knew it wouldn’t be my “thing” (I don’t care much for seafood, or most red meats, and am sadly not a wine lover, either). Everything was delectable, service was 5-star and the presentation was stunning. My husband is a true meat & potatoes guy, and was impressed with all the dishes. My favorites were the trio of soups, and the desserts (of course)! But the company was the best part; we got to meet so many great people from all walks of life that night, and it was quite memorable. A perfect end to any cruise, but especially for our honeymoon.  Entertainment: Lackluster at best. The best evenings we had were spent in the piano bar, but even that got old after a few nights. The broadway-style shows were cheesy and awful, and we’re from Minneapolis (a huge hub for theater and arts). There was no “adult” comedy club/comedians to speak of, which was a disappointment on an 11-night cruise. There was an 80’s style revue that we poked our heads into one night, only to walk right back out. There was the same 2 rotating, lounge-singing acts (one was a solo female, and the other a male/female duet) every day and every night… they just alternated between the pool and atrium lounge, which became VERY old by day 3. I expected a little more variety on a cruise of this duration. I really just expected more from RCCL in general - I thought they were supposed to be one of the “premier” experiences among the affordable cruise lines? In comparison, the 7-night Carnival cruise I took the previous year had MUCH higher-caliber entertainment and variety. This particular RCCL cruise was definitely more about the itinerary/ports than the entertainment onboard. In RCCL’s defense, the Cirque-du-Soleil-esque aerobatic shows in the atrium were GREAT, but these only took place twice on the entire cruise (and lasted only about 15-20 minutes tops)… and the timing was odd, something like 3:30pm or 4pm on a port day? Most people were just getting back on the ship, or showering in their cabins getting ready for dinner, etc. We basically had to short-change ourselves of some precious port time in order to see the aerial show one night. Although these shows were considered a highlight of the cruise, it would have been better had they been performed twice - at 8 and 10pm or something (and preferably on sea days) so that more passengers could enjoy them. It was truly something unique and should be showcased more as a “headline” show by RCCL. Spa: We did take advantage of the daily specials toward the end of the cruise, a therapeutic essential-oil foot massage (30 or 40 minutes, I believe). I don't remember the price, something like $30/person? It was pure heaven. The overall spa facilities looked breathtaking, although that was the only time we were there. PORTS: Cannes (France) : We were tendered into port. The town is charming and quaint; we explored on our own. Walked all around the port area and ate more than my fair share of crepes.  Walked up the hill to the old clock tower (stunning views), then back through town where we found a very interesting video store (with an open adult section). Spent an hour or two on the beach before walking back to the port. Livorno (Italy): Took the RCCL excursion/bus tour to Cinque Terre; absolutely breathtaking, a must-see! Don’t forget to bring your own padlock to leave on the “wall” (chainlink fence). Salerno (Italy): Took the port bus into town, then hopped a train into Pompeii. From there, we hopped on an independent bus tour (w/short hike) to the rim of Mt. Vesuvius, then back to Pompeii where we bought tickets to tour the ruins. Civitavecchia (Italy): Took the train into Rome and did our own thing (Colosseum, St. Peters Square, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, etc. ). Hard to take it all in with just 8 hours, but we saw enough to make us want to go back someday. Even made it to the Hard Rock to buy a pin for daughter who collects them. Ravenna (Italy): Ttook the RCCL bus transfer into town and did the walking mosaic tour. Very interesting and serene, well worth the $6/person all-inclusive tickets. Venice (Italy) : Overnight stay; spent 2 days walking all over and “getting lost”, as they say! Gelato, gelato, and more gelato.  Dubrovnik (Croatia): Our favorite stop! Shared a cab with another couple into town, then took the skyride/gondola up the hill (so glad we did). We also walked the city walls and explored the old town within. This is one place we would love to go back to someday and, if that happens, we’d want to do one of the kayak tours. There are several vendors selling kayak tours outside the old walls, reasonably priced (equal to $35-40 USD/person?) but tours looked incredible from our view atop the walls. We simply weren’t prepared/weren’t dressed for kayaking, but wholly regret not doing this. In general, this cruise/itinerary was everything we were looking for in a honeymoon. To see all these places, plus Barcelona, and an overnight stop in Venice was truly a dream come true. I have no major complaints, and overall we had a truly fabulous time! I would not hesitate to sail RCCL again, but I expect I’d be sailing for the itinerary (and not necessarily the food or entertainment). Was a great mid-sized ship for singles, couples, and/or families of all age groups, and was a nice experience overall.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
At first I wasn't too sure about doing the transatlantic cruise for our Honeymoon but my wife and I really did enjoy our time on the ship and at the ports. I will try and be as thorough as possible. Ship: yes the Serenade of the Seas ... Read More
At first I wasn't too sure about doing the transatlantic cruise for our Honeymoon but my wife and I really did enjoy our time on the ship and at the ports. I will try and be as thorough as possible. Ship: yes the Serenade of the Seas isn't the latest and greatest but we found the ship to be very clean, spacious that included many different amentities. we especially enjoyed the movie cinema, under the stars screen at pool deck and Chops grill/Giovannis. Spend the extra money on the package for the specialty dining. I ate some of the best food I have ever eaten at these restaurants. you cant go wrong. Staff: the dining staff were phenominal. we sat at table 462 and were served by melbert and max, paul was the head waiter. they went above and beyond to meet our needs. our stateroom attendant also did a great job and was always greeting us with a smile. the entertainment staff also were great. Bobby (cruise director), Lorenzo and debs were great. ports: we enjoyed Malaga spain the most and found it to be very picturesque. we also did the dolphin excursion in Anguilla, loads of money, but totally worth it! Days at sea: it was a transatlantic cruise, so we had many days at sea. we always found that there was something to do which was nice. but for times when we just wanted to relax we found that not to be a problem to kick back by the pool and read a book. all in all, great service, nice ship and some cool ports. we plan to try a larger ship for our next cruise. happy cruising!   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We booked our twentieth anniversary cruise aboard the Serenade of the Seas out of New Orleans, LA. We chose this cruise because one of the three ports was Coco Cay and we had never been there before. We traveled to New Orleans (a five ... Read More
We booked our twentieth anniversary cruise aboard the Serenade of the Seas out of New Orleans, LA. We chose this cruise because one of the three ports was Coco Cay and we had never been there before. We traveled to New Orleans (a five hour trip from home) the morning of Friday, April 18th. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Super dome, where we have stayed before cruises previously. There is covered parking at the hotel where we can leave our vehicle during the cruise. We ate a super dinner at Oceana Grill (we love this place); taking a bicycle taxi from the hotel was $16.00. It was something we just wanted to try. It was fun! We had a nice early breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant in the morning of the 19th, and then went back up to the room to get our luggage and take it down to the lobby to wait for the shuttle to the cruise terminal. The shuttle left the hotel at 11 a.m. There was a Carnival ship leaving the same day, so the driver dropped those passengers off first and then dropped the Royal Caribbean passengers off next. We had booked an Owner’s Suite, so we found the suite passenger’s line and we were checked in and on the ship in about 20 minutes. We went up to the Windjammer to eat some lunch shortly after boarding. All of our food throughout the cruise was great! I won’t spend a lot of time discussing food; I will say that we ate all our dinners in the Reflections dining room on Deck 4 and we had traditional, late dining. We are not fans of the My-Time option, and we do not usually visit the specialty restaurants. We prefer getting to know our table mates and wait staff. We were seated with some great people who were also from Louisiana. Our wait staff was terrific—attentive, prompt, and fun! We ate most of our breakfasts on our balcony and the room service was very good; the food was warm and plentiful. We ate some lunches in the dining room and others in the Windjammer. When eating from the Windjammer, we found a nice, uncrowded area at the aft of the ship that allowed us to eat outside. We never had a bad meal. We had many very good meals! The Windjammer was always clean and tables were cleaned up quickly. Our room was ready for us to drop off our carry-on luggage right at 1:00 p.m. We had previously stayed in a Royal Family Suite aboard the Mariner of the Seas, but this Owner’s Suite was more posh. The floors at the entrance/dining area and the bathroom were marble. There was a nice sectional sofa, a large, flat-screened television that turned around to face the king-sized bed, a chair, end table, and coffee table in the large living room. There were floor to ceiling windows across the entire living room and bedroom, and a HUGE balcony. On the balcony there was a table and two chairs where we ate our breakfasts and two lounge chairs. It was not at all crowded with the furniture and we had visitors on the balcony one morning and there was plenty of room for eight of us. There is a structure over the top of the balcony that keeps the balcony shaded and would have provided shelter from rain if we had ever had any. The bedding was terrific, as always. There is a huge amount of storage throughout the entire Owner’s Suite. There were three huge closets, a sort of bar area in the dining room area with shelves behind cupboards and drawers, and a huge vanity with shelves/cupboards and drawers. There were bedside tables at each side of the bed and two tables at the door. All of the tables contained drawers and shelves. The bathroom had two sinks, a jetted tub, a stand-up glass enclosed shower, a duvet, a toilet, and it was very nice. Our room steward was terrific, of course. He emphasized how he would like us to use the card in the door when we left the room or didn’t want to be disturbed, and he constantly kept the room spotlessly clean. There were plates of special treats, fruits, and a bottle of wine brought to us every day, compliments of the chef, the captain, and our wonderful concierge, Rami. The ship is in excellent condition and we really enjoyed the views from all public areas and the elevators. We often used the mid-ship elevators since they were so close to our room, and we liked looking out at the water from these elevators. We loved the aerial shows in the centrum area. I had to visit the guest services desk once to have a new card made when mine stopped working (no big deal) and they were very kind and helpful. We also had to present our dive certification cards at the shore excursion desk and that took very little time. The worker there reminded us to bring our cards on the day of the dive and gave us the usual forms to fill out. He was also friendly and helpful. We visited the concierge lounge every night at 4:30 and enjoyed the happy hour until dinner time. Other suite perks included the suite seats in the show lounge, a breakfast area on deck 5 (we only ate in there once, service was a little slow and there was a screaming baby nearby), and priority tenders without tickets. We also used the concierge lounge on debarkation day and leaving the ship and getting through customs to the taxi took 12 minutes. We used bar services throughout the ship and my husband found a few new flavors of beer to enjoy. There were some good fruity drinks onboard and I got a few souvenir glasses to bring home. There was a decent sale of t shirts on the last sea day and I bought a few for family members. The shop also marked down some items on this last sea day and many things were half price. We booked private tours in Key West and Nassau. In Key West we just did the hop-on/hop-off trolley tour and ate lunch at the Conch Republic restaurant. Then we did a bit of bar-hopping and walking around. In Nassau we had a private tour in a van with some other cruise critic friends from our roll call. We saw a fort, a rum distillery, a beach, watched conch harvesting, and did a bit of shopping. After our tour we ate at a local bar/grill and used the free WIFI. At Coco Cay we did the shore scuba diving, and it was actually pretty good. The maximum depth was around 40 feet. We could have stayed down much longer, as both of us had over 1000 psi when we surfaced. After our dive we met some other cruise critic friends at the private cabana area where we ate an enhanced lunch and relaxed. The concierge had emailed us about a week before the cruise to offer a chance to book a cabana which could be used for up to six people, and through our cruise critic roll call, I had met another couple who wanted to share. After walking through the shopping area, I asked at the para-sailing area if they had availability for the afternoon and made a reservation for two of us to para-sail. It was a very enjoyable day. There was another Royal Caribbean ship at Coco Cay, but the island didn’t seem crowded. The workers on the ship said that due to sea conditions, the ship had missed the Coco Cay port for quite some time and they were all pleased that we could anchor and tender on our day. Everything about this cruise was terrific. We would definitely cruise on the Serenade again—it is absolutely a beautiful ship. We would also love to visit the ports again.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My Husband and I went on a Royal Caribbean " Serenade of the sea's" this time instead of the Carnivals we were on before ( Carnival Fascination and Carnival Conquest) Well we thought we would try a total different ship. We ... Read More
My Husband and I went on a Royal Caribbean " Serenade of the sea's" this time instead of the Carnivals we were on before ( Carnival Fascination and Carnival Conquest) Well we thought we would try a total different ship. We were very Disappointed and very Upset.. First the Bedrooms were very small, so was the bathrooms.. Showers? We laughed at. There were several large people on this ship, we wondered how they took a Shower .They were little round ones,Ridiculous. We had trouble with Teenagers. Where ever we went they were there.I guess Royal Caribbean doesn't care if the Older people are bothered or not. We are 61 years old.We found no where for Adults only to go. We went to play pool and We waited for Teenagers to play 3 games ,then My husband asked Both tables could we play now. No they said, You can Just wait ! We were not happy. Everytime we went back to play pool it was run by the kids. We won't go with Royal Caribbean again..The company let the Kids run wild and didn't seem to care about us. We will go with Carnival from Now on.. We talked to about 8 different couples and they all said the same ,we are going to stay with Carnival Ships... Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This is an annual trip in February for me and my partner. We have sailed with RCCL for the past 3-4 years and have fallen in love with this class of ship. This was no different, in fact even more so with the recent renovations and ... Read More
This is an annual trip in February for me and my partner. We have sailed with RCCL for the past 3-4 years and have fallen in love with this class of ship. This was no different, in fact even more so with the recent renovations and upgrades. Generally the ship was very clean and all the furniture and carpet looked great. I am not sure but it's only been back at sea from it's dry dock since December. The new shows in the Centrum were great. A big step up in quality. The vitality spa was deluxe. The With 2 days at sea at the start of the cruise gives you a chance to familiarize yourself with the layout. We had cruised before with the shopping guides and they were tops. Even remembered us from a year ago. After doing a couple cruises we have really loved the Art on Royal. Jasmine and Patricio were the best. They made the auctions fun, informative and fast. We did very well with them since they were turning stock the prices were like nothing you would find on any other ship auction. By the last day, they moved a lot of wonderful art to some very lucky guests. And the champagne was nice too. The redo of the ship now offers some different restaurants. We took a Sushi making class at Izumi (you make your lunch). We attempted to do the Mystery Dinner, but opted for the Chef's Table. If you are a foodie, a wine-y, or just love excellent service and food this is worth every minuet. It's a 5 course, wine pairing dinner with the chef du cuisine. He comes out and explains the dishes and the waiter/ sommelier explains the pairing. We joined a group that had already had the A menu a couple nights before. We then went back and the chef, with very little notice, created a 3rd menu. It was one of the best experiences I've had on any ship. We did book one excursion, The Discover Scuba at Don Foster's thru RCCL. It was a very fast, get into the water experience. If you have snorkeled and want to take the next step, I would highly suggest taking this on as an excursion.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
i remembered RCL being so very nice, great food, great service, just great in everything they did. I had pumped up RCL to my wife and family, that they would never again want to step on another Carnival cruise after going on an RCL cruise. ... Read More
i remembered RCL being so very nice, great food, great service, just great in everything they did. I had pumped up RCL to my wife and family, that they would never again want to step on another Carnival cruise after going on an RCL cruise. Boy was I wrong. Embarkation was smooth as silk, I did learn that if your going to use cash for your onboard, go ahead and put a cc down to avoid the long line on embarkation day at the guest services desk as the pier personnel dont deal with cash. The very nice lady warned me in advance, so I used a cc to set up my account then later in the day, after the lines had dissipated, I went to guest services and dropped my cash on the account, much easier then fighting the line right off the bat. Breakfast in the Windjammer was ok, it looked like there were losses in transaltion from whatever language to english. Example; Sausage gravy was called cream sauce, which for breakfast doesnt sound very appetizing. The biscuits for the gravy also left a lot to be desired, not good. Example at lunch, baguettes split for sandwiches were next to items called dips instead of salads. I like shrimp salad sandwiches, or tuna salad or chicken salad, but here they were all called "dips" instead of salads, confusing because there were no chips or crackers available for dipping. They did have a very nice smoked salmon bar for breakfast, the egg station was hit or miss as 1 day I watched a chef attempt an omelet, I and the guy behind me laughed out loud when it came out, more like scrambled eggs with extra ingredients, I opted for fried eggs that day. The set up for any meal in the Windjammer was excellent, many stations available, some serving different items some serving the same, keeps lines down. The outside of windjammer in the rear is a great place to find a seat if the weather is good. The Solarium is always crowded but Kevin at the bar was a great bartender, worth visiting again and again. We ate in the dining room for dinner 3 times, as we bought the package for all 3 specialty dinners. All of those were exceptional, especially, Giovanni's. Our waiter in the main dining room, Carlos, was very attentive and the food was very average cruise food, a real let down. Our big problem in the service area was at the bars outside. The wait staff were never in a hurry, there was no sense of enjoying their job. They would stand around and chat with each other or disappear for long periods of time, leaving me to going to the bar myself. We usually find 1 or 2 guys that we tip well and they keep us in drinks, we never found even 1 we could count on, very disappointing. outdoor entertainment was non existent, piped in music and a band for 45 minutes in the afternoon and you really couldnt tell the difference. The Schooner bar has a good bartender and the piano man, Simon was excellent. The R bar was entertaining because it had the surliest bartender on board, Faroud, he was entertaining in that he had such a crappy attitude and was fully engaged with his clientele. I saw him lose a passengers on board card and tell the passenger to look around because it must have gotten dropped. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
My husband and I sailed on the Serenade of the Seas for our honeymoon. It was a fantastic trip and everything was excellent! Embarkation/Disembarkation: We used Royal Caribbean's airport transfers between the pier and the airport and ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on the Serenade of the Seas for our honeymoon. It was a fantastic trip and everything was excellent! Embarkation/Disembarkation: We used Royal Caribbean's airport transfers between the pier and the airport and vice versa. The representative was easy to spot when we got out of customs in Barcelona and we got on the bus and to the pier with no problems. Check-in was quick. Disembarkation was the same, very quick and easy. One note, we used Choice Air to book the flights and we had called them at one point to see if we could change our flight. They were very unhelpful and difficult to understand. Not sure if we would use them again, but having the peace of mind that Royal Caribbean knew where we were in the event of an airline delay was at least good (we also purchased Cruise Care Insurance) since we flew in the day of. Stateroom: Balcony stateroom on Deck 7 midship. Great location, no noise from the Centrum, and easy to get to everything. Balcony overlooked the lifeboat covers but this did not bother us because you can still see out, just not straight down to the water. The room was very clean and enough space for the both of us. The bathroom is small but hey it's a ship, what can you do? Service: Service onboard was excellent. Our stateroom attendant, Happy, was friendly and attentive. Our waiters in the main dining room, Ivo and Miguel, were phenomenal, as well as Romano the bartender at the Schooner Bar. All other staff were friendly and seemed to be doing their jobs well. One thing to note, the fridge in our room was very loud so we had unplugged it and reported it to guest services. It took a few days but eventually it was plugged back in and seemed to be fixed. However, this did not bother us as we did not need to use it; the noise was just keeping us awake the one night until we unplugged it. We also went to the spa for the Roman Holiday Special, $99 for about an hour for three mini services. The spa employees were nice and we felt that we got a good deal for what we paid. And Juan the photographer was very friendly and always made sure we had smiles on our faces! :) Food and Drinks: The food in the main dining room was excellent, we pretty much liked everything. We also ate at Giovanni's Table, but with a limited menu for the Murder Mystery Dinner; but the food there was excellent too. Chops was definitely the best food on the ship; try the warm goat cheese and basil souffle, it was amazing! Windjammer was usually good but it's just regular buffet food, nothing too fancy. The English bacon for breakfast there was very tasty, though! Drinks at the bar were always good and definitely had a good ratio of liquor. Ports and Excursions: This cruise had an amazing itinerary: Cannes, Florence (La Spezia), Rome (Civitavecchia), Sorrento (Naples), Venice, Ravenna, and Dubrovnik. We used Royal Caribbean for excursions in every port except Cannes. The excursions were all great, we were provided with good transportation and very informative tour guides. We did notice that the buses in Europe did not employ their restrooms, though, so sometimes on the longer tours (it took 3 hours to get to Florence because of traffic) it was a bit trying. It was a very port-intensive cruise so the one sea day in the middle and the two at the end were good for some relaxation! Entertainment: We only went to one performance show in the theater on the last night, the Farewell Show. They had a speed juggler who was incredible, and then the staff sang and danced. We went to two shows in the Centrum, Jack & the Giant Beanstalk and Aquatronica. These shows utilized the acrobatics features in the Centrum and were very, very cool. We also saw the Love & Marriage Gameshow which was hilarious, and we participated in the Quest which was probably one of the most hilarious, insane, fun things we have done! We also participated in a few of the trivia sessions and karaoke. And, as mentioned above, we did the Murder Mystery Dinner which was cheesy (in a good way) but enjoyable. Overall the entertainment was good! Ship: The ship itself was beautiful, it has so much glass so that you can look out into the sea from most places. Everything always seemed clean (although there were a few coffee mugs with lipstick stains in the Windjammer, but when you have to clean that many white mugs it's probably not a rare occurrence). The ship was renovated last year so the Centrum is absolutely gorgeous. It's also a very nice size ship, 90,000 gross tons, so not small but not insanely huge. We felt it was good size. Summary: This was my husband's first cruise, and my eighth cruise (second with Royal Caribbean). He loved it and we made an open booking for another one! We highly recommend this ship and itinerary. Happy sailing! Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
First of all let me say that booking a suite out the aft of the ship sounded good at the time but turned out to be a disaster. I did however do my due dilegence and ask about what was above,the noise level and the movement of the boat ... Read More
First of all let me say that booking a suite out the aft of the ship sounded good at the time but turned out to be a disaster. I did however do my due dilegence and ask about what was above,the noise level and the movement of the boat before booking this and was reassured that it was "THE BEST ROOM ON THE SHIP" Deck 10 (the highest, room 1602). The windjammer is right above and from 6am the chairs are drug across your ceiling while the crew are cleaning and it does not stop all day. Actually it does not stop at night either. The kids find that running back and forth here after the resturant closes is great fun. Security was called every night starting about 1030PM. The ship needs a lot. The hallway carpets are torn and stink. One night we had to hold our noses to get from the elavator to our room because of the rotting smell of stagnant water. We had a suite which had a loveseat type couch that probably should have been replaced 5 years ago. With the amount of money they charge for this room they could easily buy a new loveseat for 250 bucks. Food was average at best. Waiters did a fine job. The pool for adults was never that way and the main pool was so crowded you could never get in.The Pool Bar bartender "Carlos" did not have good tings to say about RCL. Just what you want to hear on your first day. As far as the itinerary they should leave Sorrento and Ravenna completely out.Stay on the ship nothing worth seeing. It seems to me that when you pay to go on a cruise to see certain ports there should not be an extra added cost to shuttle you into the city you booked for. When did this start? It could be anywere from 6 Euros to 40 Euros per person.Unbelieveable.In Venice you got off the ship and had to walk for about 20 minutes in the hot sun to catch a water taxi to Venice that you had to pay for. Could they not even spring for a tram to take you to the water taxi? The head people seem to really want to help you with problems but unfortunately most could not be rectified by them. If I travel on RCL again it will be on a new ship. This one need to be melted down. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I'm a bit late in posting this review, but just booked our next cruise (which has prompted me to review the last one)! As it was our honeymoon, the memories are still front & center in my mind. In short, it was everything I had ... Read More
I'm a bit late in posting this review, but just booked our next cruise (which has prompted me to review the last one)! As it was our honeymoon, the memories are still front & center in my mind. In short, it was everything I had hoped it would be - the experience of a lifetime. This was my 4th cruise (1st on RRCL), and my husband's first cruise ever. Embarkation: Serenade was scheduled to sail from Barcelona on a Monday afternoon. As our wedding took place that Saturday, we had a flight from MSP on Sunday morning with a 4-hour layover at JFK. The 2nd leg was not scheduled to arrive at BCN until 9:30am Monday - so although we tried to book the RCCL "Embarkation to Ship via Barcelona City Highlights Tour", we were told our flight did not arrive early enough to guarantee on-time departure (so RCCL would not let us pre-book). We were told instead that upon arrival at BCN, we might be able to join the excursion on a "space available" basis if we could make it to the meeting place on time. Our flight ended up being delayed by almost 2 hours, and apparently a LARGE # of passengers on our flight were, in fact, pre-booked on said City Highlights tour - so RCCL held the tour until our flight arrived (WHY these other passengers were allowed to pre-book this excursion, I'll never know). But, we were able to join the excursion after all, which I thought was a great value for the price - about $65 USD/person, I believe. Because of the late arrival to BCN, the tour itself was cut a bit short (some of the sights ended up being "drive-by" only, with no time to actually stop & exit the bus for photos as they normally would) - but we still got to see many key landmarks and cultural areas of the city, along with short (20-min?) stop at one scenic vista/rest area, as well as a subsequent 1-hour stop in the "old" town for lunch & a bit of exploring. At no time did we feel unsafe, our tour guide was FABULOUS & provided lots of insightful information about the city (as well as precautionary tips to avoid targeting by pickpockets). The bus was locked & secure whenever we stopped. It was great to see Barcelona for a few hours, and we left feeling like we'd definitely want to return for a longer stay. I would highly recommend this tour/transfer, and props to RCCL for holding up the tour for our flight. Boarding the ship was swift and organized, the longest wait was for the security screening - but if it helps to ensure our safety on board, then I'm not one to complain. I don't think it took more than 15-20 minutes to get through the security checkpoint (similar to the process at any airport). I thought the terminal was clean and comfortable, no complaints whatsoever. We had booked an aft-view cabin #9258 and LOVED the extended balcony. It felt so huge and romantic, and came furnished with 2 regular chairs, 2 loungers, plus a small table . We spent a LOT of sea time napping out there in there in our loungers! It was especially great for eating breakfast from the buffet, which we would carry down and enjoy in peace while pulling into the various ports. Our cabin steward was great, in the sense that our room was ALWAYS clean. In fact, the guy was borderline obsessive about waiting outside our door every morning/every night to clean for us (we were never able to open the door without finding him there, just waiting for us). We made it clear on the first day that it was our honeymoon, hoping he would take the hint and give us a bit of privacy (especially on sea days), but there were several days where he actually called our room around noon - despite the "Do Not Disturb" sign displayed - just to see if we'd be leaving anytime soon. He always said it was "very important" for him to provide us with great service (and was afraid we'd be unhappy if he couldn't clean). Despite our assurances that we just wanted to relax on the glorious, extended balcony we'd paid extra for, he persisted to pretty much stalk us for the entire 12-night cruise. I can't fault the guy for his efforts, but my room stewards have previously been a little more "stealthy" with other cruise lines. On the last day, he went out of his way to provide us the Survey card and practically got down on his hands & knees begging us to give the highest rating(s) on everything. All of his stalking was for nothing, as I would have given him the hightest ratings if he'd just left us alone. ;) The food was great, I can't say we ever had anything "mind-blowing" but absolutely no complaints either. We had selected "anytime" dining which I ended up regretting, our wait staff for the first week would of course vary - and they all did their job of serving food/drinks very well. But none of them ever went out of their way to make conversation with us, as we saw happening with other tables (or as I'd experienced on other cruise lines, even with "anytime" dining). One night, we sat near a couple who had assigned dining with a fabulous head waiter named "Maximus" - who was EVERYTHING you'd dream of in your wait staff He was hilarious, engaging, provided recommendations and very obviously LOVED his job. We asked to be seating in Maximus' section (if at all possible) going forward, which changed everything for us. We would see him at the breakfast buffet every day after that, and were greeted with the same enthusiasm and shining personality as at dinner... we made sure to tell him what a remarkable difference he'd made for our cruise! He was very grateful for the feedback, and actually sat with us a while to explain the various reasons why he truly loved his job, told us a little about his family/background, etc. People like Maximus truly deserve your "extra" tips!! The ship itself was beautiful, plenty of food and drink options, entertainment, etc. We were, of course, looking for relatively low-key & romantic ways to spend time, and several nights we sat in the piano bar where we'd found a few regulars from our CC roll call. On sea days, finding some cushioned loungers in the Solarium, or even loungers anywhere near the pool area was (as expected) a challenge - but we could usually find something in the non-prime areas of the upper deck... or else we'd just head back to our awesome aft balcony. :) The poolside entertainers were a bit lackluster, always the same couple doing mediocre, karaoke versions of pop hits from the last 30 years. I remember have a little more rotation/variety on other cruise lines, but we could always count on this same lounge-singing act on the Serendade - poolside by day, atrium at night. The highlights were, of course, the Cirque-like aerial shows held a few times thoughout the cruise (the shows are different each time) - but find your viewing spot early, as all levels of the atrium will be packed! Also worth mentioning was the "scavenger-hunt" show in the gorgeous Safari Room one night, led by cruise director Casey - it was an absolute riot! It's always amazing to see what people are willing to do to win a contest (with or without being intoxication). ;) The various ports (Cannes, Livorno [Florence], Civitavecchia [Rome], Salerno [Naples], Venice, Ravenna and Dubrovnik) were all amazing in their own rights. We did some CC and internet research ahead of time, which allowed us to do most ports successfullly on our own. In Cannes we simply walked through parks, along the beach, and up to the highest-point in the city (topped with the historic clocktower). We did book one RCCL excursion to the northern coastal villages known as "Cinque Terre" - about 1.5 to 2 hours north of the Livorno port. It was far enough away that we didn't want to worry about an independent tour operator and potential delays in getting back to the ship in time (whereas the RCCL excursions guarantee the ship will wait for you). Cinque Terre is a UNESCO world heritage area, comprised of 5 separate picturesque fishing villages - some of which can only be accessed by train or tour bus. It was the best money we spent on the entire cruise, we were able to hike up a steep mountainside trail (for breathtaking views), enjoy authentic pizza and gelato in tiny, hole-in-the-wall cafe's, explore beautiful beaches, and purchase unique, handmade-souvenirs from local artisans. It felt very "non-touristy" for the most part, and was a welcome change from the usual commercialism found near other cruise ports. Although we had a hard time choosing between a day in Florence or a day in Cinque Terre, I believe we made the right choice for our honeymoon. My dad told me that, since we were visiting other big cities this trip(such as Rome, Venice, etc.), we might appreciate seeing the italian coastline of Cinque Terre - the best of both worlds - and he was absolutely right. We'll just have to explore Florence on the next cruise! :) Took the regional BIRG train from Civitavecchia to Rome and explored the Colosseum and other landmarks by foot (your BIRG ticket is good for the subway). In Salerno, we again took a regional train to Pompeii and joined a local (independent) tour up to Vesuvius in a massive, Humvee-like, all-terrain bus... an adventure in itself! There are tons of these tour stands on nearly every corner of Pompeii (offering other excursions around the area as well). From where the bus drops you off, it's about a 20-minute hike up to Vesuvius' rim along a very well-traveled path - easily doable if you are in any kind of reasonable shape (saw quite a few kids doing this w/their parents). Upon returning to Pompeii, we quickly walked through the ruins for an hour or so before making our way back to the train station... wish we'd had more time inside the ruins, but had missed the earlier city bus to Vesuvius (runs about one every 45-60 min.) and therefore had to wait a while for one of the vendor tours - still had a great day, and we didn't want to spend our honeymoon "rushing" everywhere... but ideally you'd want a full 2-3 at most to absorb/appreciate the ruins of Pompeii. Venice is simply magnificent (no further description needed)!! Also VERY easy to do on your own - pick up a city map before you go (just to get your bearings), but most street corners and alleyways have signs pointing Piazelle Roma to St. Mark's Square and back again. It's about a 2 mile walk from the port to the Piazelle Roma, but again, if you like walking it's beats cost of paying for a transfer (you'll see lots of other people walking as you leave the ship, so it's easy enough to follow them). Best time of our lives was getting lost in Venice. :) Ravenna was incredible if you like culture & museums - you really have no choice to but to take the ship's transfer from the port (I believe it was around 10-12 miles to the city center, with a whole lot of empty countryside in between). Buy the local pass at any of the 6 major cathedrals/museums, it's about $6/person and gets you into all of them - the mosaic murals are well worth the cost of this pass. Dubrovnik (Croatia) ended up being one of our favorite ports, and one we'd like a make a point of getting back to someday. Here we walked the famous city walls and then took the skyride (gondola) up to the mountaintop. There's a very nice-looking outdoor restaurant up there where you can grab a late lunch or just sit and have drinks (which we didn't do), or you can find many cafes/restaurants/gelato stands within the old city walls. There were some vendors offering sea-kayak tours for around $40 USD (?) / person, and if we'd known how gorgoeus the water would be here we would have dressed for kayaking - as this seemed like a great way to spend a few hours here. It's definitely on our bucket list of things we'd like to go back & do someday. Disembarkation was as organized as could be expected, and we had a10:30am flight from BC that we had no trouble making. Kept our luggage with us, and were off the ship as early as possible. Hopped a cab and was at the airport with plenty of time to spare. A cab to the airport ran about $55-60 USD (inlcuding the $10 "exchange-rate penalty" for paying with USD). Do yourself a favor and keep enough Euros on hand to cover the cab ride to the airport! Overall it was an incredible iteinerary on a beautiful ship, I wouldn't hesitate to sail on RCCL (or the Serenade) again. It's probably quite a challenge to keep people happy for a full 2 weeks straight, but RCCL rose to the occasion and it was a perfect way to spend our honeymoon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was ... Read More
First let us introduce ourselves we are a married Egyptian couple with no children living in Kuwait I work in investment banking and my wife is a freelance graphic designer. We came across the Dubai cruise by chance and the booking was the fastest decision we ever had, took us around 15 minutes to close the booking we even decided to do an early anniversary celebration for it. We booked before the embarkation by a several month and till the big day we kept dreaming and fantasize about how it will look like beside lots of research. To cut it short to the review we landed in Dubai the day before the embarkation and stayed at Savoy Central hotel about 5 minutes drive from the port. And here comes the big day as we were approaching the port and got the 1st visual contact with the ship we were amazed by the ship's massive size (I know it's a small one compared to RCL fleet but we still rookies) , RCL land staff on the port were very nice , helpful ,smiling and organized the check in process took around 20 minutes including double checking with UAE coast guards our eligibility to take a return visa to UAE at the end of the cruise. Finally we got our sea passes and headed to the ship and from the moment we stepped in the ship the fascination started from the Centrum till we reached our stateroom at the 9th floor, after checking out our beautiful room we decided to talk a walk around the ship and since then we didn't stop walking till we reached back Dubai. Our stateroom was on the 9th floor we booked a balcony room very spacious with a nice size balcony , very comfy bed and pillows bathroom was good the shower was a little bit tight but wasn't a problem as you don't want to waste too much time in the shower , room service was great they clean and make up your room several times a day and by every night you will find your cruise compass along with a very nice wrapped towel (we had an elephant , dog and a hanging monkey. The ship is amazing with lots of activities from live shows to various dining options , relaxation by the solarium to watch movies on the huge screen by the pool, interactive touch screens on each floor showing the ship map , point of interests and all the activities going on board was very informative. For the dining we tried several places along the trip (Windjammer , The Reflections , Giovanni's Table and Park Cafe) usually we had breakfast around 8 Am , Snack 1 PM and Dinner 8:30 PM. 1- Windjammer : The food on windjammer is very nice with lots of varieties and the main thing we loved in Windjammer that no matter how crowded it is you'll never feel it due to its spacious space. 2- The Reflections : The food was very tasty and sophisticated and very nice wine menu. 3- Giovanni's Table : we went to Giovanni's Table on the Mystery Wine Dinner night Same as reflections very tasty and sophisticated and the show was awesome. 4- Park Cafe : Very nice for a mid day light snack and they have the best Roast Beef sandwich I ever had. Regarding the onboard activities we enjoyed the lovely animation team on the Serenade they had different activities every day , the Arabian night was wonderful . We went to the tropical theater a couple of times and were impressed by the huge production they have onboard , also the shows on the Centrum was very amusing specially the 70's disco night. The good thing that if you missed on any show (which defiantly you will as some shows are played together) it will be broadcasted on the internal channels on your stateroom TV. Also all live bands were very nice playing different genres of music from easy listening to latin music. The overall entertainment onboard the ship was awesome Service on the ship is wonderful and very professional from room attendants to restaurant greeters and waiters, bar tenders , animation team ,onboard shops sales representatives all officers and senior officers everyone is greeting you with a huge smile and won't save an effort to help you in anything. We didn't do any kind of shore excursions as we enjoyed the ship very much and we didn't want to waste any time outside it, we only got to a short tour in Oman by our own around 2 hours but from the excursions list we got on the ship seems like they offer lots of on shore activities with very reasonable prices. The most thing we loved in the cruise is the guests onboard the ship a very nice combination of multi culture people that are looking forward to spend good time all guests were friendly , smiling and happily greeting each other, we had lots of short/long side conversations with many people from all around the world we even managed to earn new friendship with a very lovely German couple on the 2nd day and we spent the rest of the cruise together. The only thing we didn't like on the whole cruise that the outdoor swimming pool became very dirty by the last 2 days of the cruise. Checkout process was very easy specially that I had all the onboard expenses debited from my credit card directly. Bottom line we enjoyed every second on the cruise and we are officially attached to the cruising life. we started looking for 2014 cruise already. In the end I would like to thank everyone working on the Serenade Of the Seas for making our dream vacation comes true. Hope the above info. Was informative for you. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
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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