12 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Singles Cruise Reviews

My friend and I chose this cruise bc it was the only 5 day cruise out of Boston with the New England and Canada intinerary. Our boarding was delayed because the Coast guard wanted to inspect the ship due to Serenade returning from a ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise bc it was the only 5 day cruise out of Boston with the New England and Canada intinerary. Our boarding was delayed because the Coast guard wanted to inspect the ship due to Serenade returning from a summer overseas...at least we knew the ship was safe!! You could also see Royal’s procedures in place to ensure a smooth boarding process and it was. It’s just that the ship was completely booked so there were a lot of people boarding at once rather than trickling on all day. The rooms opened promptly at 2. Our room was very nice and clean and our room attendant Juliarta was amazing...he made our cruise special with his attentiveness, efficiency and sense of humor! We were on the starboard side of the ship and we got both sunrise and sunset from our balcony! We stopped in the R Bar in the Centrum first and this turned out to be our favorite place to hang out.. there was a guitar player who entertained there a couple of times who was amazing! We also enjoyed Vintages and the Schooner for trivia..we received great service from the staff in all of these places! The ship itself is beautiful with different artwork in every corner hallway and stairwell, they even have a champagne art auction! The food in all of the venues was very good...service even better...we were especially impressed with the lunch buffet in Reflections dining room and the nice hot food in the Windjammer! We even had someone bringing us drinks and clearing things for us in the Windjammer. We dined in Giovanni’s and Chops and the service and food was second to none! We did Giovanni’s for 1st nite done right and it was only $20...There are so many choices to eat..just not in Rita’s Cantina, which was disappointing bc we wanted Mexican food with Margaritas! The excursions we took on this cruise were really great! 3 hour tour of Peggy’s Cove in Halifax and the trolley tour of St John. 1 1/2 hours...then we hopped off at the City market and walked back to the ship. There was a flea market inside a white tent specifically for cruise ship travelers, in St John...down the street and on your left of the terminal...Everyone in Canada takes American dollars! And they reduce the price for you...$20 Canadian and $17 American..I can’t say enough about how friendly everyone is in Canada!! Some people complained that they didn’t enjoy their 6 hour tours in both ports!, but I can’t even imagine touring for that long! I would suggest a shorter excursion and then finishing off with your own tour/ lunch by yourself..It’s perfectly safe and easy to get around in these city’s.. Bar Harbor was a different story because we were completely fogged in and we had to go thru immigration on the ship, but they couldn’t find the ship due to the fog! It backed everything up bc it was a slow process getting off, with excursion boats arriving late and only 2 tenders unloading everyone..But RC made up for it by giving us an extra hour in port and enlisting the help of local tour boats to get everyone back on in a timely manner!! Keep the very real possibility of fog in mind when you plan your excursions...sometimes they go anyway and you can’t see anything! There is plenty of shopping and dining in Bar Harbor if you choose not to do an excursion. Disembarkation was backed up a bit bc Boston was slow in releasing the ship, but it got moving pretty quickly...our bags were waiting for us and we were in a taxi by 9:30am....it would have been longer if we had to go through immigration. Overall, I was really impressed with every aspect of this cruise...the ship, the crew, the ports and the excursions..the only hiccups were from things outside of Royal Caribbean and they did everything possible to make up for it So I can say that I recommend it highly! 2 thumbs up!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
As a solo cruiser, I chose this cruise for the Southern Caribbean itinerary. Did excursions at every port. All were excellent except boat cruise to Pitons in St Lucia due to rain. Fog and rain prevented us from being able to see the ... Read More
As a solo cruiser, I chose this cruise for the Southern Caribbean itinerary. Did excursions at every port. All were excellent except boat cruise to Pitons in St Lucia due to rain. Fog and rain prevented us from being able to see the Pitons. However, tour guides were amazing and we all seem to have a great time regardless. Embarkation process was very efficient and fast. However, luggage was not delivered to staterooms until just after sailing at 4:00 p.m. Ate most meals in the Windjammer. Food was excellent with lots of variety. Service by staff was outstanding. Entertainment in the Theatre was fantastic. Comedians were hilarious. Had to go early to get a seat. Lots of activities to do on board. Never got bored. Cruise Director, Carly, was wonderful and very enthusiastic. Sun deck chair hogs a problem. Left their belongings on the chairs and would disappear for hours. Therefore, I spent too much time looking for a chair and most times ended up in the Aft area in a tiny corner not being able to enjoy all the activities taking place by the pool. Staff only appeared to enforce the 30 minute no chair reservation rule the last 2 days of sailing. Disembarkation process went very smooth and fast. Ship was great overall. Good size so not too much time spent getting from one place to another. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I am Diamond Plus and received a 300 cabin credit (issued on a Fall cruise in 2017) for this cruise. Could not pass it up and so I got out of winter weather at home. I prefer the Transatlantic (take this twice a year) for the activities ... Read More
I am Diamond Plus and received a 300 cabin credit (issued on a Fall cruise in 2017) for this cruise. Could not pass it up and so I got out of winter weather at home. I prefer the Transatlantic (take this twice a year) for the activities and entertainment. This cruise was so so. People cruising the Atlantic for at least 12 days are more friendly and have interesting stories of their cruising and home town stories. The ports of call did not really interest me as I have been to the Caribbean ten times of more. My cabin was really nice with a window, however the window was above the head of the bed so I could only enjoy the sun shine and was not able to see outside. The purpose of a window is to see what is going on outside when you are in port. I am booked for April 2018, a Transatlantic cruise and October 2018 also a Transatlantic cruise. The entertainment was NOT so entertaining on this cruise but I guess I am spoiled with Trans crossing. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
The ship is in need of a good cleaning and updating. The size is just about perfect to get from one venue to another. It was easy to get around. I hate buffets and even the dining room breakfast was a buffet although the waiter would ... Read More
The ship is in need of a good cleaning and updating. The size is just about perfect to get from one venue to another. It was easy to get around. I hate buffets and even the dining room breakfast was a buffet although the waiter would bring the food to you. All breakfasts were the same. The waiter at night pushed items at us even when we said no. He even asked us to "remember him" at the end of the cruise. Food was good, but nothing really special or out of the ordinary. I tried many of the fish items which were good to excellent. The entertainment was good, but the ship's band tended to be too loud for the other singers and musicians. One comedian got a little blue for the early show. Our room steward was amazing. He went out of his way to greet us every time we saw him. He kept our room so neat and clean. Loved our towel pets each night. I missed the informative lectures about each port. Only shopping was mentioned and that's about the same across the Caribbean. Would have loved to hear about the flora and fauna and history of each island before we landed. The movies were excellent, but the venue was small and twice there was not enough seating for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Loved the size of this ship. It was just right for our group of 6. Always something to do and very friendly staff. Had never been to New England or eastern Canada and wanted to add to my list of states and countries I have visited. The ... Read More
Loved the size of this ship. It was just right for our group of 6. Always something to do and very friendly staff. Had never been to New England or eastern Canada and wanted to add to my list of states and countries I have visited. The cruise seemed like the best way to see and do everything and have a wonderful time doing so with friends. We did several of the shore excursions and they were all wonderfully organized and fun. (Whale Watching in Fundy Bay, Peggy's Cove and fishing village, and Cadillac Mountain and Acadia National Park). Everything from the beginning of the cruise to the end was very well orchestrated and easy to follow. Would suggest giving a little more detail about how much time is spent getting to and from the point of interest as well as how much time is actually allowed at the main point of interest. We did not realize a big portion of our tours would be spent on buses traveling to and from. The crew members that we ran into were fantastic. They were fun, upbeat and very entertaining. Big thanks to Jonathan Isip and Ademerson Diaz -waiters in Main Dining-Reflections (they were awesome!!). As were the bar tenders at the pool - Elena Cucu, Ananbel Sierra, and Vladimir Radovinovic. Jason Cross -server was fantastic and very entertaining. And special thanks to our room butler for states room #9504 -John. He was very helpful and always ready to get us anything we needed. Our cabin was very clean and roomy. We ordered room service a few times and were never served food at the wrong temperature and always when we asked. We loved having current movies to attend and the entertainment was fantastic. So two comedians and the dancers. The dining experience in the buffet area was great as it was at Reflectiions. Our hostess for the 8:00pm reservations in Reflections was awesome as well. (didn't get her name) We were able to stay in Boston a couple days before leaving on our tour so we could do some sightseeing. The weather was great for our trip and would definitely plan another cruise to another area. We did encounter fog and the ship had to sound the fog horn quite often which made it difficult to fall asleep, but I understand the need to keep everyone safe when fog arises. Did not partake in any exercise while on the cruise. Gained some weight that week so maybe I should have. :) Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
I have never experienced a Baltic cruise before having and I was really looking forward to it. As our flight arrived early afternoon and with the airport transfer I didn't have time to experience Copenhagen. Embarkation was quick and ... Read More
I have never experienced a Baltic cruise before having and I was really looking forward to it. As our flight arrived early afternoon and with the airport transfer I didn't have time to experience Copenhagen. Embarkation was quick and I was soon on Serenade and went straight to my Cabin 4045 to drop of my carry on stuff. I soon met my Cabin Steward Nick Campbell such a nice guy. As i normally do I had a couple of glasses of wine and it was soon time for the muster drill. Serenade may be getting on in years but I felt she was in good shape, well maintained and cleaned. I met many lovely people on board and Mario in the concierge lounge was very kind and helpful thanks Mario. Dining was enjoyable in the main dining and I have to say the Windjammer. I especially enjoyed the three lunches we had in the main dining room with the Tutti salad bar. I did experience some entertainment which was really good as always the 70's night disco. Singers and bands in the atrium were also good. The service across the ship was really good as always thanks guys. As I said before I met some wonderful people and enjoyed their company and we shared some lovely experiences of our ports of calls For me the trip to St Petersburg was my favourite. I did a half morning tour and our guide Maria had such a passion for her city. As we only had the one day I felt that this was the best way of me to see as much as possible. My only wish was that we had an overnight stop there so I could see more of this wonderful city. I would not hesitate to go back on Serenade and this itinerary again Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I chose this cruise because I loved my first cruise on Serenade of the Seas in 2012. I was enchanted with the whole experience. This trip to the Norweigan Fjords was shorter, but I found the ship had been renovated and it was not as nice ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I loved my first cruise on Serenade of the Seas in 2012. I was enchanted with the whole experience. This trip to the Norweigan Fjords was shorter, but I found the ship had been renovated and it was not as nice as it was on my first trip or as much fun. The Auditorium was nicer with new seating though. The service was not as good as it was in 2012, there seemed to be less staff in the Buffet area and no one offering water etc, which meant you had to get up and go back to the beverage counter. The Buffet dining area seemed dirtier and dingier and in the main formal dining room, the service was not as brilliant as it was on my first trip and the food was also not as good in quality as the trip in 2012. All in all, I was quite disappointed. I took a cruise on Holland America and didn't find it as good as Serenade of the Seas, but now I think it was better than Serenade of the Seas this trip in May. The Cruise and stops however were all fine. We did not take any of the ship's excursions and did just fine in all our stops. Loved the experience of Norway the lovely towns, scenery and the Fjords. Weather was perfect. Loved that we did not have to use tenders to access land. That was excellent and much appreciated. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I love the sea days found on Transatlantics and many of the ports on their itineraries are wonderful, too. As the Radiance class ship is unquestionably my favorite class of ship, I was pleased to give the Serenade of the Seas a try on a ... Read More
I love the sea days found on Transatlantics and many of the ports on their itineraries are wonderful, too. As the Radiance class ship is unquestionably my favorite class of ship, I was pleased to give the Serenade of the Seas a try on a recent Eastbound Transatlantic. The Fort Lauderdale boarding procedure was perhaps the worst or nearly worst I have ever encountered. Loved the layout of the ship as I had expected. Was very disappointed that as a diamond plus, I was unable to use the concierge lounge as I had been able to use on many of the ships before this trip. Do understand that there were a large number of high level loyalty members aboard so I understand the numbers factor but the concierge lounge was frequently nearly empty. As a solo traveler (now a widow) I appreciate having a bar seat available to use...It is daunting to enter a room with groups and couples and have to ask if you can join a group. A lounge with bar seats is much more relaxing way to meet unfamiliar people than seats around a small table. The Diamond plus "spill over lounge" in the Vortex had a bar but it was not available to the Diamond plus members unless we used the voucher system so very few of us used it. Also there were not enough available seats in the designated roped-off area. Very poor advanced planning by the Royal corporate staff that is aware of the ever growing Transatlantic loyalty lemmings. I did use the diamond lounge in the Safari Club as it had 2 bars - a great and welcoming staff of bartenders and waiters - as did many of the diamond plus cruisers. The venue certainly lacked the ambience of the water views that the upper decks hold, but it was an enjoyable and spacious room. The lowering of a once-quality food standard in dining room is certainly noticed and frequently discussed. Very few seeded rolls available, quality of the meat selections has dropped significantly, soups once a source of pride is now only passable - watered down versions of the past delicious varieties. So many once enjoyed amenities are now history. There is no lack of money to publish fancy ads for art auctions, future cruise bookings and shop promotions, however, to keep the trash can overflowing. I would like to commend most of the shipboard staff. Their cooperation and helpfulness was ever present and mostly outstanding. Corporate cutbacks make it much harder for the staff to do their job, when the cruisers are disappointed and disgruntled by not having their expectations met. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Royal Caribbean was so disappointing this time around. The staff did not seem sympathetic to our plight of lost luggage, and assured us that we would be able to shop for clothes on our excursions. We were not able to shop for any ... Read More
Royal Caribbean was so disappointing this time around. The staff did not seem sympathetic to our plight of lost luggage, and assured us that we would be able to shop for clothes on our excursions. We were not able to shop for any essentials on our excursions as we only went to souvenir shops. I suggested that Royal help us find a way to get to shopping and they did not. All they were able to give us for the five days that we had no luggage was a white t-shirt and sub very sub-par toiletries. They offered us laundry service, but the guest services desk lady must have not been very in touch with what was happening because when I asked how long our laundry would take to get to us she said "48 hours." Luckily, housekeeping was a bit more realistic and when we discussed it with them, they were able to turn our laundry around in a couple of hours. For formal night, she offered to give my husband a free tuxedo, but offered nothing to me. The lady at the front desk (Jasmine) told us she would locate our luggage, and then told us she couldn't locate it. When I asked her who she called, she told me SAS. To that I told her that we had a transfer from United to SAS and our luggage was most likely with United. She asked ME if I wanted to call United myself! My husband firmly recommended that she do it herself. Later that day, she told us she was able to locate it with United. So that caused an unseemly delay in getting our luggage because of her ineptitude. I came crying to the front office after four days of no luggage , no makeup and no toiletries and she offered me 100 dollars credit to my account (any outfit on the ship cost no less than 54 dollars each) and a night at one of their restaurants in her words "out of my own goodwill towards you." I was aghast at the lack of sympathy. She later told me our luggage would be waiting for us in Estonia on the morning before our excursion. To my dismay, we did not get our luggage as promised in the morning but at night. The ladies in the spa, were very gossipy and rude, even talking about guests behind their backs. The people working in the Windjammer never smiled or offered any table service. The whole crew (aside from a few people in housekeeping and in various bars) were amazingly lacking in customer service. After this trip, I will never want to board a Royal Caribbean trip again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The itinerary for this cruise was excellent! The beaches were beautiful and the weather cooperated for the week. The crew really was great and the cruise director was fantastic. He was everywhere. I think he made it his goal to get to ... Read More
The itinerary for this cruise was excellent! The beaches were beautiful and the weather cooperated for the week. The crew really was great and the cruise director was fantastic. He was everywhere. I think he made it his goal to get to every event. I saw him more than I can believe. He was fun, funny and had tons of energy. He should have more opportunity to sing on the ship because the other entertainment wasn't as good as him singing. I asked a friend how the Piano bar was and his response was "horrible, he can't even sing in the key that he is playing in" that was disappointing because the venues for the piano bar was fantastic too and it was hard to hang out there when the singing was going on. The other on board musical entertainment wasn't that great either. I also have to say that the food menus were a bit weird. I will admit that I am hard to please when it comes to food but I skipped the dining room two nights because the menu didn't please me. The other nights were hard to find something interesting either. Two nights the steaks were dry and over done. The dining room management seated two single travelers at a table for 8 and no one else was at the table. This is really poor planning. 1. I would suggest asking first if cruisers plan to attend the dining room before they plan the tables. They could plan their seating based on that answer and still have room to place passengers if they decide to attend on a whim. Or allow choice seating as people enter the dining room. 2. I would suggest asking passengers if they prefer smaller tables? larger table? only their party at the table? I would think that single travelers don't want to eat alone, at least these two didn't. We liked each other which was nice so we enjoyed each others company but had no one else to talk to at this huge table. 3. Make it clear (outside) the dining room that it was always possible to order a steak or chicken if you didn't' like the menu for the evening cause that kept us out of the dining room for the two nights. (However the chicken wasn't a plain chicken either, it had strange sauce or marinade) I even had a hard time finding food in the WindJammer because there were lots of spicy dishes. (I didn't have the plain burgers/pizza that was the alternative, I tried to find regular food) Best thing I did was take a stainless steel bottle and a backpack with me on the cruise, I filled it everyday with Ice and water, wrapped in a towel and had nice cold water for the day. Also fruit from the buffet provided snacks during the day. Worst thing, staying in the return port a day after the cruise, you know you are not on the ship anymore and it's a true disappointment. Stay before if you have extra time. I'd like to see some events last a bit longer. You just get going and having a good time and they are over in 20 minutes. The Safari room wasn't used near enough, it is a beautiful room! Aside from these things, I had a great cruise, the staff really made up for the other problems. The beaches were great! When I got home I felt like I had been gone for three weeks. That's a good vacation! Dennis - keep up the great work, I don't know how you keep going....... Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
ABOUT US: Mom is a confessed cruise addict. I was cruising with my 22-year-old daughter, escaping the New England winter for a week in the southern Caribbean. My daughter has now developed such an addiction, she is seriously considering ... Read More
ABOUT US: Mom is a confessed cruise addict. I was cruising with my 22-year-old daughter, escaping the New England winter for a week in the southern Caribbean. My daughter has now developed such an addiction, she is seriously considering applying for a job with the cruise line so she can live at sea! ARRIVAL IN SAN JUAN: We flew non-stop from Boston to San Juan the morning of the cruise. We were fortunate with the Boston weather and actually arrived a little ahead of schedule. It was gray and rainy in San Juan upon our arrival and we quickly learned the weather had been that way for several days. We were a little concerned about what that meant for our first stop in St. Thomas the following day. EMBARKATION: Arriving at the pier, we found the line was not all that long and we were probably on the ship within 25 minutes. Our ocean view cabin on deck three was smaller than those I've had on Adventure or Freedom, but had plenty of storage and the famous cylindrical shower stall. While a tight fit for shaving, we really liked the shower. The adjustable shower nozzle height and fantastic water pressure were wonderful. We thought the beds were really comfortable - that's saying a lot since we both sleep on Select Comfort/Sleep Number beds at home and are pretty choosy about mattresses. Some folks on deck 3 found themselves too close to the engine room and experienced a lot of noise. We were located about half way between the two elevators and it was very quiet there both day and night. We were very pleased with our cabin and our attendant, Maria, was really great. MyTIME DINING: This was my second cruise using the MTD option, my first being on a much larger ship, Freedom of the Seas. We went to dinner the first night around 6:45, in order to be done in time for the 8PM Muster Drill. Our table for two was very close to the table of a couple from North Carolina and we found ourselves chatting with them all evening. The next day, we bumped into them and made arrangements to eat together at 6:30PM. We got a great table by the window, which the head waiter promised to us for the remainder of the cruise if we'd agree to eat at 6:30-ish every night. We had a GREAT waitstaff - Rupesh and Katherine. Dinner time was a treat each night, with our wonderful new friends, Shirley and Roy, and our fantastic waiters. We tended to linger there, not wanting it to end! PORTS OF CALL: ST. THOMAS: Having so enjoyed St. John on a previous cruise, we set an early wake-up call in order to hurry off the ship to catch the ferry over to the smaller island. We awoke to pouring rain. We got off the ship briefly, but had to reboard. It was way too cold and rainy to risk the cost of the taxi to Red Hook and ferry ride to St. John, only to find ourselves huddled under a tree in the rain! We ended up doing some souvenir shopping in St. Thomas when the rain subsided to something less than down-pour status. After that, we spent the rest of the time exploring the ship. ST. CROIX: Expecting that we would be spending the previous day hiking on St. John, we opted for a relaxing beach day in St. Croix. We took the transfer to Sand Castle Beach. The transfer van is only $3 each way and use of the beach resort just $5, including lounge chairs and use of their small ocean-front pool. The storms that had been in the area had robbed the beach of about half its sand, making the beach both narrow and rocky. Hotel guests we spoke to told us that the erosion had occurred over the previous four days! The resort was nice and close to the ship, but not really suitable for swimming due to all the huge rocks and rough surf. ST. KITTS: We booked an island tour with Jim and Rose. We were with a group we'd met on-line here at Cruise Critic (Hi, Katherine & George!). Rose did a wonderful job. I don't typically book these types of tours because I prefer more active excursions and get antsy sitting in a bus or van for too long. While it was more driving around than I like, Rose was informative and entertaining and we got to see a whole lot of the island. We stopped on the road to the Batik to see a man with a diapered monkey who would allow you to hold the animal for a photo opportunity - for a small fee, of course. The rest of the group waited patiently while my daughter and I delighted in handling the adorable monkey and taking pictures. The Batik was gorgeous - amazing views and gardens made the grounds even more interesting than the factory. Brimstone Fort offered more amazing views. It was raining lightly by the time we hit the Black Rocks, but we all piled out to take photos of this truly amazing area featuring lava-structures from past volcanic activity. Then it was onto Cockleshell Beach, home of Wilbur the pig. It was a nice beach, but VERY crowded. We broke our own rule of never eating off ship, being lured by the delicious aroma from the Reggae Beach Bar. While the food is good, it is VASTLY over-priced and the service there is absolutely horrible. We spoke to other passengers who experienced the same thing. The waitstaff all but totally ignores you. It's not worth it! Snack on your granola bars until you return to the ship. Don't be tempted to purchase lunch on the beach!! DOMINICA: I booked this particular cruise because it visited my two favorite ports of call: St. John (via St. Thomas) and Dominica. While we were rained out of St. John, Dominica did not disappoint. We booked with Bumpiing Tours, along with a group of Cruise Critic friends from Massachusetts (Hi, Jackie & Bill!). Levi is as incredible as his reviews suggest! Our dinner mates paid $20 more per person to do only one third of the tour we got with Levi!! First stop was Titou Gorge, where part of the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie was filed. An amazing water-filled cave with rock ledges, crevices and waterfalls, it was like nothing else I've ever seen. The water is cold, but you do get used to it! (Really!) The next stop was Trafalgar Falls. While not as magnificent as Sari Sari Falls, where we'd visited on our previous trip to Dominica, it was a FAR easier walk!! Many of us continued on to the base of the falls and out to some hot mineral springs. It was like sitting in a hot tub. Levi was so great helping people in the tougher parts of the hikes, even folks who were not part of his tour group. He never stops smiling. You'd think he'd be bored doing the same thing day after day, but he seems to thoroughly enjoy his job and he makes it fun for everyone. The recent storms made visibility at Champagne Reef questionable, but five of us in the group wanted to give it a try anyway. It turned out to be terrific. I had trouble with the beach, which is made up of nothing but small rocks. Coming from New England in the winter, my feet were not tough enough to handle walking over the rocks! PAINFUL!! But the area was gorgeous, the reef was great and the water was warm. We were back in town in time to do some shopping by the pier before boarding the ship. BARBADOS: We had purchased tickets for the Pirate Ship Excursion in Barbados, but discovered it was canceled at the last minute, due to rough waters. We'd planned on joining some other CC friends from Maine on that excursion (Hi, Chrissy!) and were disappointed. We got a taxi to Payne's Bay Beach. Barbados was so strikingly different from undeveloped Dominica. Large resorts abound in Barbados and the beaches are wide with soft, white sand. While seemingly less poor than Dominicans, the vendors in Barbados were extremely pushy and nowhere near as courteous as those in Dominica. Their heavy-handed tactics were extremely irritating. Despite having a lovely day on the island, I can't say I'm really anxious to return. Before we could even pay the taxi driver, we were bombarded by groups of people wanting to rent us chairs, jet skis, snorkeling excursions. It was overwhelming. It was as if, while our wallet was open to settle with our driver, the beach vendors were trying to get their hands into that wallet to get their share of our money. We ended up paying for a snorkeling trip which took us to a ship wreck and then to the area where the catamarans come to feed the sea turtles. Both locations were incredible. Many of the ship wreck snorkeling sites on the islands offer little to see, but that was not the case with this one. It was amazing. And the turtles were close enough to touch - which I did, several times. Be sure to take lots of smaller bills to the beaches of Barbados because they WILL NOT make change. You will KNOW they have it, but they will insist they do not and want to keep any extra as a "tip" before any services have even been provided. It was a good excursion, but I resented being forced to pre-pay a tip - not to the tour provider but into the hands of the over-zealous salesman on the beach. THE SHIP: Prior to this cruise, my favorite ship was Adventure of the Seas. I was concerned I would miss the Royal Promenade. I have to say I did miss it a little at the beginning, when the Serenade felt a bit small to me. However, there were many things about the smaller and more open Serenade that I really liked. It’s a big positive to be on a smaller ship when the itinerary is so port-intensive. Without more sea days to meet other passengers, a smaller population makes getting to know fellow passengers much easier. Having participated actively in the CC roll call in advance also helped us a lot. We knew the folks on both our St. Kitts and Dominica tours through our roll call. Always being able to see the ocean – even in the elevator – is another huge plus. Serenade has such an open feeling. We LOVED being able to eat outside at the Windjammer. Having previously sailed on Carnival ships, it was something we missed when we switched over to Royal Caribbean. I wish they’d offer this outdoor dining on all RCL ships. The Serenade staff, as everyone always says, is superior. Omar, the activities director, was wonderful to us. With his out-going personality, he’d make a fantastic cruise director. Carlos, who hosted the karaoke events, went out of his way to expand the venue, even adding a competition to the last night. My daughter is hugely into singing and loved having that outlet on the ship. Maria, our cabin attendant, was so helpful and friendly. She felt like family. Our waitstaff in the MDR, Rupesh and Katherine, were the best. You could not ask for better service! We did our best to squeeze the most out of our trip. My daughter and I wore matching formal dresses to the MDR for the first formal night. We brought brightly colored go-go dresses and go-go boots to wear the night of the 70s party. Many people thought we were part of the staff! I served as a judge for the sexy legs competition. Our team was extremely competitive at the Quest event, which I really preferred in the smaller venue at the Safari Club, as opposed to the ice rink on the Voyager Class. We danced the night away at the Votex nearly every night. The fact that we were celebrating life on the ship surely did not go unnoticed, and boy did we have FUN!!! SAN JUAN AIRPORT: It's a ZOO. Granted, it can't help but being incredibly crowded with thousands of people flying on the same day, but they are also incredibly disorganized. The screens displaying the flights and gate numbers were showing THURSDAY'S flights...on SATURDAY! People on our plane were issued boarding passes with different gate numbers, and no one seemed to be able to confirm which gate number was correct. Our flight was only about an hour delayed, but the chaos at the airport was stressful! IN CONCLUSION: I would definitely cruise on Serenade again in the future. She’s a great ship with a fantastic staff. Read Less
Sail Date March 2010
ALASKA CRUISE September 2008 This was a special holiday for me; I was travelling alone from Scotland, doing the Rocky Mountaineer trip by coach and train from Calgary to Vancouver where I first saw my beautiful ship, Serenade of the Seas ... Read More
ALASKA CRUISE September 2008 This was a special holiday for me; I was travelling alone from Scotland, doing the Rocky Mountaineer trip by coach and train from Calgary to Vancouver where I first saw my beautiful ship, Serenade of the Seas for my seven night Alaskan cruise. Many people along the way said how brave I was travelling from Scotland alone to undertake a holiday such as this. May I say that the Rocky Mountaineer team and everyone at Royal Caribbean made it a wonderful holiday and one I would recommend to anyone. Here is my diary of my first cruise, but certainly not my last. 08SEP08 10.30 am. Taxi booked for 11.00 to take me to Glasgow airport for my flight via Heathrow in London to Calgary. I'm all organised. I can't believe I am finally on my way after a year of anticipation. 12.00 midday. In Departure Lounge at Glasgow Airport. Luggage checked in to Calgary - fingers crossed. 15.30 At Heathrow having Nachos and wine and waiting for my gate to be called. Plane on time. Really nice lady beside me visiting her sister in Calgary. Watched 'Forgetting Sarah Armstrong' (Russell Brand) and 'Summer' (Robert Carlyle) on the flight. Arrived in Calgary a few minutes ahead of schedule at about 19.05. Cleared immigration, picked up luggage - so heavy!!! And my limousine was waiting for me. In was in my hotel by 20.00 - amazing! When I checked in they handed me a Rocky Mountaineer Vacations Pack. My room is huge - two double beds, it's really a suite. Dumped everything and I'm now in the bar having a Stella and Duck Spring Rolls and reading over my itinerary. It's so detailed and organised. This is going to be an amazing trip. The Bar is quite old-world, high ceilings, big leather chairs and lots of dark wood. Staff very attentive as you would imagine. There's a Death by Chocolate evening here every Monday night - a long buffet full of all things chocolate. It looks amazing but I haven't got a sweet tooth tonight. I should have mentioned I'm in the Fairmont Palliser. Tues 9th September. Had breakfast in the hotel - Continental - absolutely loads of fresh fruit, juices, cold meat, cheese etc, lovely. Caught the coach at 08.20. Lovely guide/driver called Chris, full of loads of information. Drove towards Banff and the Rockies, snow on them. So beautiful. Stopped a couple of times for photos. Weather beautiful leaving Calgary but started to rain as we got higher. Went on the Gondola at Banff to the top of Sulphur Mountain. Snowstorm at the top. Had a hot chocolate. We then went looking for Elk but couldn't find any. Did see White-tail deer, big horn sheep, hawks and cormorants. I'm now in Banff for lunch and a 1 ½ hour stop. Having soup (Hearty Chicken Tortellini with a warm roll - delicious) and a beer $10.50 in the Elk and Oarsman overlooking Banff Avenue. Another 50 minutes in coach before arriving at Lake Louise. I can't believe how beautiful the hotel is, I've never seen anything like it. My room (suite!!) is bigger than my flat; I could have a party for 10 easily. There's also a little seating area with a massive picture window overlooking the lake and mountains it's absolutely stunning, if I ever have the chance to come back here I would love to spend a couple of days in this hotel. Went for a swim, whirlpool and steam in the spa and then watched the Canadian Country Music Awards on TV before going down to dinner. Had dinner with a lady from Australia but is Scottish who is doing the Rocky Mountaineer trip after her cruise. I had considered this but I thought doing the tour first then the cruise would be more relaxing. I had bison, veal,pork and beef meatloaf with mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables - delicious! Washed it down with a glass of merlot. Came up to have a nap before going down for a drink but was so tired I stayed in my room watching TV and reading. Wednesday 10th September Very misty morning but mountain tops are sunny, the sun burned through as I was having breakfast in Poppy's Brasserie - Paradise Valley Benedict - delicious. Bright sunshine now, very, very beautiful. Went for a ten minute stroll then back to my room to make the most of my amazing window before my guided walk around the lake which I had booked on to. Joe the Ranger took our walk round part of the Lake and told us its history and the history of the area. It was really interesting. Had a walk around the Lake on my own after the guided talk. I can't think of a more beautiful place. How lovely it would be to spend a honeymoon here - it's so majestic and romantic. I had an almond Danish and Mocha coffee before boarding the coach, bang goes any hope of weight maintenance. Oh well, never mind, what are holidays for? Spent the afternoon touring round YoHo National Park, stopped at the Spiral Tunnels where a figure of eight has been bored through the mountain to allow trains to climb or descend the steep gradient. Swiss engineers were brought over to help with construction. We then went to the Emerald Lake - so beautiful. The colours are so vivid in the water because of the deposits suspended in the water and it's something to do with the wavelength of the colour blue. I'll find out more in Alaska as the glaciers are blue. Didn't see much wildlife, no bears. Saw Big-Horn Sheep, some saw a Coyote, also a brilliant blue bird. On top of a metal bridge there was a huge bird's nest with a bird on it. It eats fish and apparently the vibration of traffic on the bridge shakes the bugs off into the river below and the fish come up to eat and voila! Ready made Sushi - intelligent birds! Arrived in Banff around 17.30. Didn't go into town, stayed in the hotel, had a bite to eat, a beer, and finished my book. Got a really early start in the morning. Thursday 11th September Up at 5.00am. Read for a couple of hours then got taken to the train station. Boarded the Rocky Mountaineer train and left around 09.00am. Really comfortable compartments, huge. I have a window seat with no-one beside me so loads of room. Stunning scenery! Had a really nice 'airline' style breakfast. Our Steward is Rob. We just passed a freight train with 108 carriages all with double deck containers, two engines at front and one at the rear. Such a relaxing day and so much beautiful scenery. Breakfast and lunch were served on the train. Both were delicious. Also, snacks and unlimited teas, coffees and soft drinks. I hadn't paid the extra to be in a coach with the glass roof but to be honest I don't think I missed much, my view was really amazing. Delayed a few times on the way, once waiting for an ambulance for someone in another carriage who fell ill, which meant we arrived in Kamloops very late. But they were really organised. Gave us luggage tags so they could deliver our bags to the correct hotel and take all the guests straight to the lumberjack show. The meal was lovely at the show, a buffet with loads of different things in it and the show was really entertaining and informative. It explained about lumberjacking in a short film then a sort of comedy about two lumberjacks in competition. It included sawing, throwing axes, climbing trees using springboards (I'd never heard of them before) and log balancing on water. It was great fun. Coaches took us back to the hotel, the whole evening was so well organised. Got back to hotel about 23.00 - long day - really tired! Friday 12th September Coach due to leave at 07.10 which it did but the train wasn't ready for us so we got a tour of downtown by the lovely driver called Doug. Nothing seems to be a problem for anyone, they really like being of help and service to people. Scenery completely different today, arid, dry and like tumbleweed. Nothing like the dramatic greens of the Rockies. We've just stopped for an Eastbound freight train to pass the other way. It took 2 mins and 50 secs for it to pass and it was going fast. Can you imagine how long it was!! Saw an Osprey with a fish in its mouth. Got into Vancouver around 17.00. Staying at the Sheraton Vancouver. Lovely room on the 29th floor. Amazing views! Went for a walk and had dinner in a Thai restaurant 'Salathai' - very good. Sat at next table to a really friendly couple from Vancouver who chatted to me and invited my to join them - so kind. Bought a Johnny Reid CD on the way back to hotel - I had heard him sing in the country music awards on TV the other night. Had a last drink in the bar with a lovely couple from Devon - not sure of their names. Slept on the 29th floor with the curtains open - beautiful. Next day - CRUISE!!!!!!! Saturday 13th September Had a muffin and coffee from the 7/11 for breakfast, I didn't want to have much. Took my own luggage down - slight confusion but OK, apparently I should have notified reception which cruise I was on and left my luggage outside my door for collection but I hadn't read the instructions correctly. Boarded coach for Vancouver city tour. Good tour. Went to Stanley Park, Granville Island (fab) and Downtown Vancouver. The tour was included in the cost of the holiday. Got to dock around 13.30. The ship, Serenade of the Seas looks amazing. Got through immigration quite quickly. My stateroom is lovely, much bigger than I thought it would be, really comfortable. It has a huge Queen size bed with brilliant little lights at either side, a really comfy two seater couch, TV, vanity unit, load of storage space and a fridge - it's really perfect. I chose an inside stateroom so it has no window or porthole but it didn't feel in the slightest claustrophobic. Went for a walk around as we cast off, the ship really is beautiful with so many different areas, you can be alone or with people quite easily, whatever suits you. . Watched as we sailed away from Vancouver and had a cocktail - Bahama Mama! Went back to my cabin where luggage had been delivered and I unpacked. At 16.15 there was an emergency practice and we had to gather at our muster station in the Tropical Theatre wearing lifejackets, it is maritime law that everyone on board participates in the safety drill, it's reassuring to see how slick the crew organise everyone. I went to the newcomers orientation which was really helpful as the ship is so big, a ember of the entertainment staff walked us through most of the public areas explaining about them as we went along, I would recommend this to anyone as you could miss some lovely parts of the ship if you don't know it. The Spa is amazing, mosaic hot-beds facing wall size picture windows overlooking the ocean. At 19.45 there was a show in the theatre - Latin dancing and gaucho acts by a couple from Buenos Aires who were great. I loved the Tango - reminded me of when I was in Argentina. Then dinner which was lovely. There were only four others at my table although it could accommodate eight. A couple from Redding and two ladies from China. After dinner went up to the Vortex nightclub but it was quiet and I was exhausted. Got to bed about 10.30 and slept right through until 06.30 - unheard of! I forgot to say I'd gone to the Champagne Bar for a Scotch mid afternoon. It's beautiful and looks over the water with huge windows. Sunday 11th September Wakened at 06.30, read for a while then had a shower, great shower - unexpected. Went to Reflections for breakfast at about 08.15. Had Fruit (melon, watermelon, grapes, pineapple) Eggs Benedict, a couple of small Danish, Tomato Juice and Earl Grey - delicious! Reflections is the main dining room on board and spans two floors, I chose the fixed seating plan in the evenings but it is free seating for breakfast. There are other places to eat on board, for example, the Windjammer on the 12th deck is great for self service at breakfast or lunch but I find that if I'm on my own I prefer to be served rather than do self service. At 09.30 went to a Digital Photography seminar which was really helpful especially as I had bought a new camera for the cruise and had little idea how to operate it then at 10.00 went to a lecture on Icy Straits and the Hubbard Glacier. Really interesting, then went to the Schooner Bar for the 'Ribbon Rose' workshop. Learnt how to make ribbon roses. It was really good fun and I now have a lovely silk rose! It's great having the port lectures, it really gives you an insight into the area before you go ashore. There are so many activities it's difficult to choose but there is no pressure on you to participate, if you just want to chill and read a book by the pool that's fine. Booked an excursion for Icy Straits: Hoonah Sightseeing and Tribal Dance. In the afternoon I went to the Art Seminar which was OK but not really what I like. It was explaining the differences between lithographs etc. I prefer Art Galleries or talks about the Impressionists. Later in the afternoon I had a swim in the Solarium Pool. It was just lovely, the pool has a glass roof which is closed for Alaskan cruises (understandable!) but opens when she cruises the Caribbean. I don't know why I was surprised but the pool had salt water which was lovely to swim in! Lounged around there for a while reading. This evening was the first formal night and started with the Captain's Champagne reception. It was so elegant. There was a band playing old 50s and 60s tunes. I had my picture taken with the Captain. Don't know whether I'll buy it though, depends what I look like in it, I really don't like being photographed. I wore my black skirt and black beaded top. It did look lovely and a couple of people complimented my dress. Joined my table companions at the reception then we all went down to dinner. It was delicious. I had: Lobster Bisque Fillet Steak, thinly sliced with pepper sauce, mash, asparagus & mushrooms Cherries Jubilee with Vanilla ice cream There was a show afterwards: 'Stage to Screen' which reminisced back to shows like Chicago, Hairspray, and Little Shop of Horrors. Afterwards I went outside to try and see the Northern Lights but it was cloudy and rainy. Went to the Midnight Buffet in the Windjammer. I've never seen anything like it, it was just beautiful with lots of little canapE things and fruit skewers. The Ice Sculptures were amazing and the fruit sculptures as well. All just beautiful. Looking forward to Icy Straits tomorrow. Monday 15th September Another lovely sleep. My alarm woke me at 07.00. Had breakfast in Reflections; melon, smoked salmon, cream cheese and bagels, and a Danish - delicious. Sat with a lovely couple who live in Vancouver and have done 5 cruises. It's so easy for them, just a hop and a skip to the dock. Must see what ships cruise from Greenock! It's only about an hour away. Got the tender at 10.15 as the ship can't dock at Icy Strait. It's a tiny place made up of wooden buildings. I went ashore with the two Chinese ladies and we started walking through the fishprocessing museum before catching the coach. We had a 1 ½ hour tour of the Hoonah area with a fab guide. She was really bubbly. The natives of this area are Tlingit and are very proud and have great traditions. They belong to either the Eagle or Raven moieties and they are a matrilineal society so they take their clan from their mother. Also a raven can't marry an eagle. After the tour we went to the tribal dance show. It was amazing and explained many of the customs and beliefs through song, dance and storytelling. They didn't have a written language until the 1970s. It was a really good excursion. After the show I had a bowl of clam chowder which was excellent and a bottle of local beer. Bought a couple of books and a beautiful dreamcatcher. When I got back to the ship I went to my cabin via the photo gallery. I really liked the photo with the captain so I bought it and a frame with a beautiful picture of the ship. Had a cocktail, a mojito, before the show. Tonight's show was a tribute to the Temptations - brilliant (I'm running out of superlatives!). Dinner was lovely, I had Crab and Prawns to start and Tilapio (fish) to follow (delish) and a chocolate dessert to finish. Later that evening was the 'Abbalicious' seventies night in Vortex. Vortex is the nightclub. Good fun. Tuesday 16th September Day at sea. Had smoked salmon, cream cheese and toasted bagel for breakfast in Reflections, delicious. Went to a talk given by a Tlingit native which was really interesting, he wore the most beautiful tribal outfit. Had corncakes for lunch and a delicious almond sponge dessert with melted chocolate inside - fab! Today was Hubbard Glacier day. Arrived at the Glacier about 09.15. Strong wind and rain and it was freezing but it looked amazing. It's bright blue and I really do mean bright blue. I stayed for about 45 minutes until I froze! Some of the crew were selling mugs of hot chocolate laced with brandy which was a great idea, didn't succumb though. Went downstairs and watched from the Champagne Bar. Brilliant view. The weather cleared up and it was lovely. I went back on deck and took some pictures and a movie. I hope they turn out well. All through it you could hear crashes as huge chunks of ice broke off and crashed into the ocean. It's called calving and the noise is called white thunder. This was a once in a lifetime experience, especially as the glaciers are melting and receding due (I expect) to global warming. When I was at the native talk I had a Scotch to warm me up - Chivas Regal. In the afternoon I went to a talk on the next two ports of call: Skagway and Juneau and booked the 'Ghosts and Good Time Girls' tour which is in Skagway and is about the women who were there in the days of the Gold Rush. Looking forward to it. Then I went to the solarium for a swim and hot-tub. The pool was amazing. Outside the sea was quite rough and the boat was pitching a little. The water in the pool looked as though it had a wave motion motor, with big waves to the front and back - really strange. Had a lovely Martini with olives before dinner - delish! Dinner was great as usual and afterwards I listened to music in the Lobby Bar for a while. Wednesday 17th September Today is Skagway. Met our guide at 10.15: Madame Donna, Matrix of the Red Onion Saloon, she was student who did this during her vacation and she was dressed like a good time girl would have been during the Gold Rush. The tour was great fun. She told us all about the history of the Gold Rush, the women involved and the ghosts. We ended up with a tour of the upstairs in the Red Onion Saloon where the girls plied their trade. It was really interesting. Afterwards I wandered about the town and bought a cross stitch kit - a salmon based on a Tlingit design. Afterwards I went back to the Red Onion where I had a bowl of black bean and chilli soup (fab) and a couple of beers (also fab), it wasn't expensive. Then I looked around some of the shops and found a museum which was interesting, it was all about the Gold Rush. It's a subject that I'd like to learn more about, they must have been so brave to undertake the hazardous journey in such unwelcoming terrain. Later that evening I went to 'Name that Tune' in the Schooner Bar. Two American ladies joined me so we had a team, didn't win though. Had venison for dinner, it was really good. Started with halibut chowder and finished with maple syrup pudding with vanilla ice cream. Had a couple of mojitos in the Lobby Bar and listened to the music. Thursday 18th September Got up at 03.00am to see if I could see the Northern Lights but no luck as it was overcast. Up again at 06.00am, we had arrived in Juneau. Had breakfast in the Windjammer then went on to the pier at 07.15 to meet the coach for the whale watching excursion I had booked on to. Drove about 20 minutes to Allen Marine at Auke Dock for the boat. Saw whales very quickly, amazingly graceful. Watched them surface and dive. They did this two or three times then came out a bit further and dived vertically. Their tails came up this time before they disappeared out of sight. Apparently once you see their tails they stay down for 5 - 10 minutes to feed. Also saw Bald Eagles tangling talons and porpoises, stellar sea lions, seals and scooter birds. Had lunch of salmon at Orca Point Lodge. The salmon was the best I've ever tasted, it was wild Coho, or Silver Salmon and was marinated and cooked over a barbecue. Absolutely delicious! Here is the recipe: Orca Point Lodge Sauce Recipe ½ cup butter ½ cup brown sugar ¼ cup soy sauce 1 tblsp lemon juice Melt butter over low heat, add remaining ingredients and heat slowly to a simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. Marinate salmon for ½ to 1 hour. Cook salmon for 4 - 5 minutes each side and baste while cooking. The salmon will flake easily when done. Don't overcook. The trip was fantastic. I have never seen such beautiful scenery in my life. It was tranquil and peaceful but so dramatic, majestic and awe inspiring as well. After the trip was over I got dropped off in Juneau to have a look at the shops but I didn't buy anything. Got back to the ship about 1.30 and the ship sailed at 2.30. Lazed about in the afternoon. Had a Corn Chips Basket and a beer in the Seaview Cafe with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. Really nice and light. Spent the afternoon reading. Had a couple of cocktails before dinner in the Atrium Bar; a Martini and a Marguerita. Good band playing. Then went in to dinner, it was lovely - lobster - delicious. Afterwards I went to the show, it was an impressionist. He was quite good but not the best show on the cruise. Went to bed when it was finished - really tired. Friday 19th September At Sea. Can't believe it's my last day! It's been amazing. Had breakfast (buttermilk pancakes) with some lovely Americans. Read for a while then went to the Cookery Demo at 11.00. It was great fun and was about creating a Black Forest Gateau. It was an Executive chef, a volunteer from the audience and Carly B, the Cruise Director (who provided the fun). Also went to a Line Dancing class which was fun. Learnt the Fan-Fan dance and Manhattan Skyline. After that I went to a lecture about the Gold Rush and interesting facts about Alaska. Had lunch at the Seaview Cafe, a cheeseburger which was good. Lazed about for the rest of the afternoon. Went to the show at 7.00pm, it was a comedian called Tom Bruscoe. He was really good. Then dinner; a lovely Tempura Fish dish of a fish I've never heard of called 'scrob'???? I went to the Safari Bar with my table companions to listen to the jazz for ½ hour before going to bed. Saturday 20th September Disembarkation day. Didn't sleep well - too conscious of having to get up early. Had breakfast in Reflections; French Toast which was delicious. Then we had to wait in the lounges until our luggage tag colour was called, it was all timed perfectly depending on which flight you were on or where you were going next. Everything was so well organised. We got off and through Baggage Pickup and Passport Control really quickly. Coach to Sheraton. Had about 3 ½ hours to wander in Vancouver but weather appalling. Walked down to Gastown and had a delicious Clam Chowder then walked back and got the shuttle bus to the airport. Quick check-in. Have just had a Beefburger and fries and a couple of glasses of wine. Good flight home, can't believe it's all over but it was an amazing holiday on an amazing ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
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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