93 Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas Transatlantic Cruise Reviews

We were on the Serenade of the Seas in a Grand Suite cabin (5136) on a 16-day Transatlantic trip from Copenhagen to NYC via Oslo and Reykjavik. The ship itself is very nice in the public areas. Food and service in the Main Dining Room ... Read More
We were on the Serenade of the Seas in a Grand Suite cabin (5136) on a 16-day Transatlantic trip from Copenhagen to NYC via Oslo and Reykjavik. The ship itself is very nice in the public areas. Food and service in the Main Dining Room and specialty restaurants is nice. The gym facilities (including a steam room and sauna) are excellent. If you like to shop on board, however, there are not a lot of shops. Entertainment in the evenings is good. In-room television is pretty bad. There are no in-room free movies. The only business channel we had was CNN and we lost that when we changed satellites. The BBC channel reverted to audio only at that same time. There is a cartoon channel, TCM, and one other English language channel that played the same episodes of 4 TV shows (2 episodes each from Big Bang, Castle, Parks and Recreation, and the Goldbergs for all 16 days. To be fair, when we reached Halifax in Canada and reverted to a new satellite, the channel selection improved greatly. They offer several internet packages. If you don’t have to have internet access, don’t get ANY of the packages because the wireless connectivity is pretty awful. Most pages only load after 2 attempts, but some don’t load at all. Some sites are blocked, but you have no idea what they are. I tried for 30 minutes just trying to log on to my email account and finally gave up. Even the direct connected PCs in various locations on the ship were slow. Many don’t work for various reasons but good luck getting help. The Service Desk can call “the IT guy” but he was not much help. He just apologized. Just be prepared for something similar to dial-up and no access to some sites. If you must have internet access get the unlimited for $20 per day or you’ll really pay through the nose while waiting to get to sites. You will still spend an inordinate amount of time just trying to get places and be thoroughly frustrated, but you will have unlimited time to do this. The bottom line is that the staff and the public areas of the ship are very good, but RCL has apparently decided to skimp on the one group of people who pay the most to be on the ship. So if you don’t mind paying a lot more for a suite and getting a lot less than on other cruise lines, book your cruise with RCL. You won’t find us there. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Overall cruise was great. Some of the people that helped make it great were: Silviu Dirlie-Restaurants-Was the assistant waiter in main dining and helped in Wind Jammer. Outstanding service and very professional. This guy remembered ... Read More
Overall cruise was great. Some of the people that helped make it great were: Silviu Dirlie-Restaurants-Was the assistant waiter in main dining and helped in Wind Jammer. Outstanding service and very professional. This guy remembered what bread you liked each night, if you used pepper or not, what you drank, your dressing, etc. I recommend a promotion to head waiter as our head waiter was poor. Stefan Panait-Beverage- Always did an excellent job every night at one of the bars knowing what I wanted (non-alcoholic) and very professional. Mariana Dinu-House Keeping-Was not my attendant but my observation of her was she was always first on duty and last to leave. Very friendly and interactive with her clients. Appeared to always be on top of things. Andrea Crisan-Restaurants-Not sure of spelling of name but in Wind Jammer... was always friendly, thorough, and professional. Diamond Club was way to small, lighting after hours was so dim you could not relax and read, music from club next door was always to loud and during the Diamond hours there never was enough seating. Spent very little time there and is worst Diamond Lounge of all cruises I've been on. Volume in theater was reasonable and not too loud for the shows. The shows overall were good but not great. Spent one day in advance at RCCL selected hotel - the Crown Plaza. Overall experience with hotel is good. About 2 blocks from large indoor mall with many eating places. To get to downtown you'll need to take train or taxi. Train from airport was a breeze and very easy to use. It had room to take a suitcase on board. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Balcony cabin was very nice but TV & refrigerator failed. Repair was prompt, but ship showed its age. Cabin attendant was just great. Paint in the pool showed wear, plastic plants badly faded. Automatic door failed several times. Most ... Read More
Balcony cabin was very nice but TV & refrigerator failed. Repair was prompt, but ship showed its age. Cabin attendant was just great. Paint in the pool showed wear, plastic plants badly faded. Automatic door failed several times. Most pool bars not open during the day. Coffee pots and snack stations also not serviced during the day except in Windjammer. Food in main dining room was excellent with new menu every day. Our wait staff was very attentive and made dinner fun. Windjammer food was not up to par at breakfast or lunch. Dinner was fine. Headliner entertainment was very good. Ship singers and dancers not as good as other Royal ships. Choreography lacked polish. Many events in the Centrum were very crowded. A larger venue should have been used. Tours were very good & varied, but the weather was not very cooperative. Sea was rough during the crossing, but Captain did well in stabilizing as much as possible. Crew was very attentive & helpful. Many said it was their first contract with Royal. RCCL should make an effort to identify & retain these people. The international makeup of the passengers provided a significant opportunity to exchange ideas. Everybody was friendly. Wi-Fi was not available most of the cruise. Staff apologized, but said the system has not been upgraded recently. Most passengers used shore-based wi-fi. This is a problem if you paid for the package. Boarding in Copenhagen for Crown & Anchor was supposed to be in a separate lounge. We sat with everybody else. Staff seemed as lost as the rest of us. Only water was available. Staff did not seem to be ready for boarding procedures. Again, not up to Royal standards. Mid cruise survey was addressed promptly by personal contact and issues addressed. This was our 9th cruise with Royal and the only one where I found anything substandard. I have booked another for next year, and expect to see things back to my high expectations. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have been on 20+ cruises on varying lines, and found Serenade of the Seas to be a generally agreeable ship. Dining and entertainment are on a par with other RCL ships. The weather for the North Atlantic crossing via Iceland was bleak ... Read More
We have been on 20+ cruises on varying lines, and found Serenade of the Seas to be a generally agreeable ship. Dining and entertainment are on a par with other RCL ships. The weather for the North Atlantic crossing via Iceland was bleak and damp; in other words, it was standard weather for the sub-Arctic in September. The seas were reasonable for the time of year in the Atlantic at that time of year, and a few days the waves were high but manageable. Specific comments about the ship: 1. We booked a shore excursion in Iceland to visit a ranch with Icelandic horses, some geothermal features and an earthquake museum. We saw the horse show as advertised, but that was it. The geothermal park was closed for when the tour arrived, likewise the earthquake museum. This was unacceptable and no compensation was offered for the tour features we did not receive. 2. The library on the ship is a ridiculously small, consisting of two pairs of bookcases with glass doors in the Latte-Tudes extra fee coffee bar. The books were a jumbled mess, only a couple of dozen in total, in all different languages thrown together. We needed reading matter on a cruise with 5 nights at sea, but they certainly didn't expect us to go to the library for it, they must have expected us to go to the . . . 3. Internet is a disgrace on this ship. I do not know if the policy is fleet-wide or limited to this ship, but the service is horrible and the access plans are ludicrous. It is no longer possible to purchase Internet by the minute. Rather, the minimum is one full day of unlimited access for $40. However, the satellite uplink/downlink remains at the previous level. This results in all the people who have "unlimited" access using the Internet all day long every day, causing slower and slower access times. 4. Movie theater is insanely small for a ship this size. You had to get there 30 minutes early to get a seat. Expand it or get rid of it. WOWs: Cruise director staff from Italy and Slovakia were extremely energetic and devoted to keeping the passengers entertained while trapped indoors on the North Atlantic with 16 foot seas making life interesting, even when woozy themselves. Read Less
Sail Date April 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 took the 15-night Transatlantic cruise from Boston to Copenhagen on the beautiful Serenade of the Seas. We had a junior suite on Deck 10, #1548. It was a great location and a beautiful cabin well kept by Nenko. We flew into Boston ... Read More
We took the 15-night Transatlantic cruise from Boston to Copenhagen on the beautiful Serenade of the Seas. We had a junior suite on Deck 10, #1548. It was a great location and a beautiful cabin well kept by Nenko. We flew into Boston the day before we sailed and stayed at the Hyatt Boston Harbor. We took a water taxi to the ship the next morning – fun and amazing views of Boston and the airplanes at Logan Airport. Embarkation was easy and we were soon eating lunch in the Windjammer. As Diamond Plus, we enjoyed the Concierge Club often during the cruise. The staff was always friendly and professional. Nizar, Julian and Santosh – thanks! Another perk we enjoyed was having cocktail benefits at the Schooner Bar between 4:30 and 8 PM. It was a lively area of the ship and the bartenders did not seem to mind some non-paying customers. Of course we tipped them! The Master Sea Chef competitions in the Centrum were one of our favorite activities during sea days. Eight of the ship’s officers were given specific ingredients to use in preparing an original dish, then their creations were judged and one officer was eliminated each day. The final competition was held during our last day at sea. Otherwise they kept us entertained indoors because the weather was typical for the North Atlantic at this time of the year – 40 to 60 mph winds, 17 ft. waves, etc. The ship handled the weather easily. The Solarium was heavily used. We did not use our balcony until we docked in Ireland. One annoyance on this cruise was the hogging of tables at the Windjammer by the passengers. Often we could not find a place to eat our food because there were so many tables of people just sitting there after they finished eating and their dishes had been cleared away. With so many nice areas to sit around the ship, I could not understand how people could be so selfish. We truly enjoyed being in a different city every day without having to pack and unpack, or check in and out of hotels. And you could count on a nice dinner on the ship when you returned from your shore excursion. So many special moments make up a cruise this long. As we were about to leave Ireland, a tenor from Cobh sang a fabulous mini-concert in the Centrum. After he finished singing and we responded with thunderous applause, he stepped back on the shore and the rest of us sailed away to Portland UK. Our shore excursion in Portland UK was the Corfe Castle and Scenic Drive. The castle is in ruins, but on the day we visited, a huge group of “re-enactors” donned costumes, erected tents, lit cooking fires, and fought a battle between the Saxons and the Vikings, complete with helmets and colorful shields & weapons. Everybody had a great experience there. Another special moment: as we left the dock at Portland, a small group of uniformed gentlemen braved the wind and rain to honor us with a 3-volley salute from their cannon. We cheered and applauded their efforts. Docking in Le Havre, we headed out on our 11 hour D-Day Beaches & Bayeux Tapestry excursion. We thoroughly enjoyed the day. Normandy still holds the memories of the invasion force. The American Cemetery is legally United States soil, given to us by France. It is beautifully maintained and honors the fallen heroes with quiet dignity. The Visitor’s Center tells the story in photos. The bus let us off to walk on Omaha Beach and then we rode to Bayeux where we had an excellent lunch with wine. The Tapestry was amazing and we had time to walk around Bayeux before heading back to our ship. Bruges On Your Own was our shore excursion in Belgium. We liked the time to explore on our own, and we were each given a map of the city. Meeting time and place were given very clearly and everybody made it back to the bus. CON: We bought a Post Cruise Package with RCCL for transportation downtown to stay at the Scandic Palace Hotel in Copenhagen, breakfast, and transportation to the airport the next day. Several of us questioned the representative when we docked to be sure we received all of these services, and she assured us that all was included. The letter we received at the hotel did not agree. We were to “ask the Hotel Concierge about our transportation options” to the airport. The Hotel Concierge did not know anything about free transfers for the cruise package holders, but he said the lady from Intercruises would be at the hospitality desk early on Sunday morning, and she could answer any questions. The phone number they gave us was only good from 9AM to 5PM, so we decided to find out the next morning at the hospitality desk. Alas, THE LADY DID NOT EVER SHOW UP, so we had to find a taxi, find the right currency and pay our own way to the airport. Not a good way to end a wonderful cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was the sixth eastbound transatlantic cruise for me and my wife, and our 19th holiday in Europe, so we are not neophyte European travelers or cruisers. One aspect of this cruise which has not been commented on was the weather. It ... Read More
This was the sixth eastbound transatlantic cruise for me and my wife, and our 19th holiday in Europe, so we are not neophyte European travelers or cruisers. One aspect of this cruise which has not been commented on was the weather. It was appalling. Only one or two days without rain, and gale force winds. One morning our TV screen was telling us that the apparent wind was 108 Kilometers per hour on deck. Wow. This certainly curtailed our usual laps around the top deck, but the ship’s stabilizers worked amazingly well, and no one seemed to be feeling uncomfortable from the ship’s motion. It was interesting to watch the captain, or was it the pilot, fighting to get the ship into the Portland harbour against the wind, and apparently there was some question about cancelling the stop in Amsterdam. The demographic of the ship’s passengers was different from any other cruise we have been on. At 75, my wife and I felt that we probably hit the median age spot on. We wondered at times if we had somehow wandered into a posh retirement residence. Last year, on another transatlantic RCI cruise 70 % of the passengers seemed to be British, unlike this year when the vast majority seemed to be American. This was our first cruise with RCI as Diamond members, an elite status which we shared, according to the captain, with 700 other passengers. Four of the bars had to be opened up for the free happy hour drinks to handle the overflow. Traveling with carry on luggage only, we ran into no problems with embarkation or disembarkation, and never had to wait more than 5 minutes at the gangway at the many stops along the way. Fast and efficient. Having said this, we felt that there was a problem with the itinerary. On paper, it sounded great. Departure from Boston, a bonus for folks living in the Northeast, with stops in Cork, Portland, Le Havre, Cherbourg, Brugge, Amsterdam and Gothenburg. The problem was that most of the stops were at very unattractive industrial container ports which in several cases were several miles from anywhere a tourist would want to visit. We felt that in this case the cruise line should have at least provided free shuttle service. For some of the stops they did, but in other cases there was a considerable charge. For many passengers the major stop seemed to be Paris (LeHavre). To schedule this on a Sunday was perhaps not a great idea. There were amenities which we have enjoyed on other cruises which were sadly lacking. The usual RCI small library has been downgraded to a couple of bookshelves in the corner of one of the atrium lounges. Disappointing. No smoked salmon for breakfast. Shocking. The overall decor on the ship was not something that we found terribly attractive, compared to other ships in the RCI fleet, and there was a total lack of some of the great enrichment lectures which we have enjoyed on previous crossings. To call Phil, giving his juvenile take on some of the ports of call, an enrichment lecturer was a sad misnomer. So three stars or four? We will say three, but blame the low rating on the weather. The highlight of the cruise? For us, definitely the Kukenhof flower show in Amsterdam, which could be considered as worth the cost of the whole trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We are Diamond on Royal and it was our 35 th cruise. Most of ship were sr. citizens so we loved all the Trivia. Ship had great staff, great room and cabin steward. The food was horrible. It was the same menu over and over. Tough and ... Read More
We are Diamond on Royal and it was our 35 th cruise. Most of ship were sr. citizens so we loved all the Trivia. Ship had great staff, great room and cabin steward. The food was horrible. It was the same menu over and over. Tough and unappetizing. Dining room and windjammer. Entertainment was good but only 2 big shows for 15 days was very poorly thought out. Shore excursions need to be improved several very awful. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Getting on board in Boston was a nightmare. Not enough staff. We had to wait ONE HOUR in line to get checked in after Security. We've embarked in other ports (FL, NJ, CA), and never had to wait nearly as long. Also I think going ... Read More
Getting on board in Boston was a nightmare. Not enough staff. We had to wait ONE HOUR in line to get checked in after Security. We've embarked in other ports (FL, NJ, CA), and never had to wait nearly as long. Also I think going thru a metal detector after every port visit is silly, and Security personnel could be more pleasant. I don't know why bridge games were limited to 13 tables. People had to be turned away. Staircases beautifully decorated. Overall, ship showing its age. Dining room meals were varied and creative, with some occasional misses. Lunch buffets were very good; breakfast could use some variety. We were highly pleased with our waiter team, Francisco and Jose, plus their supervisor. Also stateroom attendant Aaron. We had some minor problems onboard, and all were resolved in a highly satisfactory manner. Most staff worked hard to make sure guests are satisfied. Other cruise ships distribute detailed information on ports visited; this ship had next to nothing. We loved our one sponsored tour (Swedish islands), but felt all these were overpriced. Free bus shuttle service was great. In reality, visiting major ports for a few hours is not a great way to travel; river cruises are a better way to see sights. TV selection was poor. After first few days, a few old programs were constantly recycled (e.g., Masters golf). Internet connection on public computers was MUCH too slow. If technology is an issue, price should be lower. Shows were uniformly excellent. I think the Entertainment staff should be reassigned. Those running the trivia contests have accents too thick to understand their English; Cruise Director would be better running trivia, not hosting shows. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We had a package which included 4 days in New Orleans and 2 days in Copenhagen. We had a great cruise... food ...entertainment and the crew were all excellent, We had 13 days around the Caribbean and what a glorious cruise and ports, ... Read More
We had a package which included 4 days in New Orleans and 2 days in Copenhagen. We had a great cruise... food ...entertainment and the crew were all excellent, We had 13 days around the Caribbean and what a glorious cruise and ports, Our next Port was Boston and we found it to be a lovely city. 2 days out of Boston we celebrated an Anzac day dawn service with the few Aussies on board and then a 10am service in the lounge area and other guests from different countries joined in. The crew were fabulous and helpful and they made our day a successful one, The ports through the British isles were interesting as were the European ports and we did a few ship tours which were great. There wasn't any children on board probably because of the length of the cruise. We didn't attend any enrichment activities so I can't say anything about that........ Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
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
I am 67 and this was my 1st time at sea .my husband was in the merchant navy many years ago so he was up for holidaying at sea. Seranade of the seas was perfect in everyway for me and my husband . The activities were plenty if you wanted ... Read More
I am 67 and this was my 1st time at sea .my husband was in the merchant navy many years ago so he was up for holidaying at sea. Seranade of the seas was perfect in everyway for me and my husband . The activities were plenty if you wanted them but if you (like me ) wanted to chill out there was plenty of space to do so. The service was excellent and although we didn't do the excursions we did our on thing and really enjoyed wandering through the ports of call. We had a balcony cabin and found it more than addiquite although the shower was a tight squeeze. The cabin steward couldn't do enough to make our cabin comfortable . The main dining room staff were excellent and the people on the table were really lovely The dining room was well run and so was the Windjammer. In. Fact I couldn't find anything negative to say about the foods and cafe's We enjoyed all the entertainment in the theatre very professional Disembarkation was well run from the ship but something needs to b done about customs which took 2 hours to get through. I would certainly sail with the Seranade again Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
RCCL SERENADE OF THE SEAS 11-27-13 -- 12-12-13 Barcelona to New Orleans 2 couples travelling together Last RCCL cruises for comparison Dec 2012 & Aug 2012 Overall a good cruise. Although would not do it again. RCCL appears to be ... Read More
RCCL SERENADE OF THE SEAS 11-27-13 -- 12-12-13 Barcelona to New Orleans 2 couples travelling together Last RCCL cruises for comparison Dec 2012 & Aug 2012 Overall a good cruise. Although would not do it again. RCCL appears to be considerably “reducing” their product Smoking areas everywhere - little monitoring of smoking in non smoking areas. Smoking allowed on balconies which in turn sends smoke and ashes into adjoining balconies. No longer have Wine Stewards. Service falls to your waiter which in turns often results in wine coming much closer to actual dinner service or with dinner. No longer provide pencil/paper in staterooms. No longer mints on your pillow. No longer amenities in your bathroom. (They brought when asked for them) At time difficult to find a quiet area (other than stateroom) to read. Activities held in most public areas move hour to hour. You are no sooner settled than an activity starts in the same area. IF DIAMOND PLUS OR CONCIERGE LEVEL - there are a number of EXCLUSIVE areas which preclude access by the general cruiser. No longer provide 1-2 page daily newspaper from internet. No longer provide popcorn at the movie. Use old “coupon books”. Ours included Johnny Rockets which was not even on the ship. Included Wash & Fold coupon for discount off of a $25 bag. Initial charge is now $30 vice $25. UNDERSTAND THE COUPONS WILL BE ELECTRONIC STARTING NEXT CRUISE AND TIED TO YOUR SEAPASS. Rita Cantina – add charge Mexican Cantina. Adjacent to and immediately behind the Windjammer Buffet. Rita open hours the Windjammer is not. In entering we were initially advised they were closed – assumed we wanted the Windjammer. When directed to Rita’s – walked across vacuum cords to reach Rita’s. Not a soul present??? although bar was open. However, the personnel were most gracious and accommodating. Very good service provided in areas that individuals could control.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This was our third transatlantic cruise and as the title suggests our best so far and as we enjoyed them all that is no mean feat. Royal Caribbeans Radiance class are our favourite ships and even more so with the new enhancements . This ... Read More
This was our third transatlantic cruise and as the title suggests our best so far and as we enjoyed them all that is no mean feat. Royal Caribbeans Radiance class are our favourite ships and even more so with the new enhancements . This combined with the best and most active cruise director we have had, Topi is his name from Finland, and a really good group of passengers certainly helped along with Royals normal high standards in friendly but also efficient and helpful staff. The staff on the ship said that this cruise had the highest proportion of repeat passengers and the highest number of pinnacle passengers on any ship, I do not know if this helped but I have never known a cruise where all passengers seemed to all be really pleased with their cruise. Topi the cruise Director organised that the speciality acts all gave matinee performances as well as well as their normal evening shows and these had different content not just a repeat. We also had passenger flash dances organised, a very high quality passenger show and two different crew shows as well as the two new acrobatic displays in the Centrum, which we really enjoyed. The first time we went on a Radiance ship several years ago we said that the Centrum should be used for shows and we are so glad to see this come to fruition. The atmosphere is wonderful with all the levels and obviously the acrobatic displays make the most of these. With all this extra entertainment I have not mentioned the two production shows which surpassed the normal high standards we usually see with Royal. I personally think the refit must have put more technology on the stage with lighting effects and scenery as it seems more spectacular although those in the know may be able to tell me differently! We ate in the main dining room most evenings and the food was always good. For the first time we took advantage of the Speciality restaurant package of Chops, Giovannis Table and Izumi all for $55. This was good value with Giovannis being our favourite although Chops was a close second. We were on the second sitting in the main dining room which we prefer on a table for six, there were two of us . As the cruise was predominately American passengers first sitting was jam packed full and second sitting only half and so every table of six in the restaurant only had two people, our table was no exception. This could have been a disapointment as we enjoy the interaction of traditional dining but our waiters were excellent and they had so much free time to chat with us that later in the cruise we turned down the offer from new found friends to join their table, as they were also two on a table, due to not wanting to leave the boys. Our new friends agreed as they said they felt the same with their waiters too. Full marks to the staff as they turned a potential disappointment to a very memorable part of the voyage. I do think that it was a very different story for first sitting however as our waiters said they were really rushed on the first sitting with many of their guests wanting to eat too quickly and leave. Sorry that this review is long but there was so much that we enjoyed on this cruise, not least the surprise of Coco Cay ( Royals own island stop). This was a first for us and I think we had rather low expectations, but the day was excellent very relaxing and good facilities on shore with beautiful beaches. I have never seen so many sun loungers in one place in my life! I am a coeliac and always found all the cruise lines cater well for my needs, but with Royal they usually ask me not to have the barbecue on ship because of cross contamination and to go to the windjammer instead. With this in mind I asked the restaurant staff about the barbecue ashore on Coco Cay, they checked with the chef who said he would ensure that some gluten free buns were taken ashore and that they would barbecue meat seperately which they did , full marks again and many thanks. Finally this was our second transatlantic to end in New Orleans, last years on Navigator the immigration was horrendous taking up to four hours to clear . This year although still not excellent there was a large improvement as it only took 1.5 hours but why do they mix departing passengers with embarking passengers in the same hall. They really need to sort out that terminal!!!!! Our best cruise so far thanks to the staff, ship, and all the old and new friends that we made on the cruise, no other form of holiday can match a good cruise like this one. How can poor Adventure of the seas match this next November when we do our next transatlantic, but I am sure that it will do its upmost, Well Done Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
This is our 3rd cruise - second with RCI. We were looking for relaxation rather than sight seeing and this transatlantic cruise delivered exactly that. A huge bonus was that it did not seem to be a popular choice for families with young ... Read More
This is our 3rd cruise - second with RCI. We were looking for relaxation rather than sight seeing and this transatlantic cruise delivered exactly that. A huge bonus was that it did not seem to be a popular choice for families with young children so the guests were predominantly adult We booked a balcony cabin which was pleasant and kept spotlessly clean by Kevin our cabin attendant. It had a fridge and flat screen TV. The shower had doors and not those annoying plastic curtains. We previously sailed on the Navigator which was a much bigger ship and we immediately noticed that things were a little more cosy. This was never an issue, however peak times in the main restaurant could get a tad crowded. The alternative dining venues were excellent. We opted for an all inclusive package that gave a discount if we ate at all 4 restaurants. I would seriously recommend the Chef's Table. However as it's a small private dining room (max 15) the evening's enjoyment is often dictated by who you end up dining with. We had an excellent time, others that we spoke to were not so lucky when Mr grumpy pants joined them. The enjoyment of the whole trip was due in no small part to the cruise director and his staff (Topi, Tori, Sara, Flabio, Vinny and Rod) they worked tirelessly and sometimes extremely energetically to keep us constantly entertained. Nothing was too much trouble and they were always bright, cheerful and eager to be of service. The cruise was 15 nights and we stopped at 3 ports on route, Cadiz, Tenerife and Coco Cay. Each of these destinations can easily be explored on foot so no issues with tours or transport. Coco Cay is a private island leased by Royal Caribbean so the service is the same as onboard but with sand between your toes. The only small area of criticism was when we reached New Orleans, getting through customs was a slow process and we queued for nearly 2 hours, a small tip here - use the bathroom before you disembark. We booked a 2 night stay in New Orleans through RCI and we ended up at the Hilton Garden Inn near the convention centre. I would recommend looking for something a bit more central and less orientated towards business clients. We would definitely take another transatlantic cruise as they offer excellent value for money and create great opportunities to make some new friends. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
No complaints, great company, great fellow passengers. The food was great, fresh fruit held out throughout, even over long periods at sea. WARNING: Coco Cay is not much. A whole lot of Not Much. A complete mess, lack of planning, triple ... Read More
No complaints, great company, great fellow passengers. The food was great, fresh fruit held out throughout, even over long periods at sea. WARNING: Coco Cay is not much. A whole lot of Not Much. A complete mess, lack of planning, triple billing, failure to ice down beer prior to getting to the island, etc. AVOID, unless you have to go to this mess--you can actually see Norwegian's island from the RCI side, and it looked far more fun. Just kidding, Alcatraz would have looked more fun, we were wishing we had stayed on the ship, but it was nice to be on solid ground. There. I found something nice to say. Now--about the crossing. The weather was spectacular, absolutely every day. The crew was spectacular, in every way. The passengers were all very well-suited for T/A cruising, nobody got in a hurry, everyone was nice and easy. Idyllic, and quite relaxed and homey. If you are looking for rowdy night life, T/A is not the way to go, as it's kind of like a Grand Hotel. The facilities are there, but the synergies are moving at different rates, so achieving a critical mass for dancing and jumping up and down is a bit difficult to achieve. I had the time of my life, bonded with a great group of people who were absolutely delightful. That's the beauty of long hauls and taking the time to unwind and re-charge the batteries. Embarkation was a breeze, Barcelona is easy. Get there early, get on first. Disembarking--Get up, get out, get off, tote your bags, no worries, no problems. Get there first with the most, and start the trip. If you get there in the middle of the crush, you get what you get. Serenade is a great ship, not too small, not too large. Amazing. Kudos to all concerned. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Overall: We had never before had more than one sea day. Here we had six in a row. We (ourselves and six friends) were fully occupied. We had time to do things (clubs, dancing, shows) that is tough to do if you have to get up at 6 the ... Read More
Overall: We had never before had more than one sea day. Here we had six in a row. We (ourselves and six friends) were fully occupied. We had time to do things (clubs, dancing, shows) that is tough to do if you have to get up at 6 the next morning for a 7:30 a.m. tour, so the TA gave us a chance to enjoy the ship. Embarkation in San Juan: Took about 30 minutes at San Juan's Pan American Pier. A cab there is essential, although we arranged a van for the 8 of us and assorted luggage. Check in was fine. Most of the time is involved in walking. Room: We had Junior Suite 1570 on the tenth deck. A very spacious room with a walk-in closet. We could never fill all of the hangers and drawers, even though we brought three suitcases of stuff. The bathroom was very nice and had a tub. The balcony was a good size, with two chairs and a table. Our steward kept the room neat and clean, with towel art about half the nights. Did I mention the walk-in closet? The room is very quiet, and no matter what was doing in Centrum, no noise passed through the door. No noise from deck 11. Breakfast: We did room service a couple of times. We went to Windjammer a couple of times. It took us about 7 days to find the lox. Otherwise, standard buffet fare. The staff will bring coffee and tea. Plenty of seating, so asking someone to let you share was generally not necessary. Most of the time, we ate in the MDR. A good buffet as well as waiter service. Service was not as good as the MDR for dinner. The wait staff simply don't seem motivated at breakfast or lunch as they are at dinner. Lunch: Generally Windjammer or MDR. MDR had good choices. Generally had to share tables; some tablemates were friendly, some less so, and for some there were language barriers. A couple of times in the Sea View cafe, with mixed results. While service was quick, sometimes the place seemed to be missing ingredients. Dinner: In the MDR most nights. Good service; generally good menu choices. Only had one night where I was bored by the menu. For an extra price, you can have a Chops steak or lobster; I'm not the only one who resents this creeping nickel-and-diming. Do not order the sirloin steak. In any form. Wine: We pre-ordered 29 bottles at about $25 per bottle rather than $40 per bottle off the menu. Bars: Always a daily drink for $6.95+ and you keep the glass. Snacks: Frozen yogurt available most of the day. Portofino: Great service, good menu choices, and a fantastic sundown that night. Chops Grille: Great service, limited menu typical of a steak house. I had the New York steak, it was very good. Food choices: note that Windjammer closes at various times. At times it is closed, Sea View and the snack bars are open. Gym: most equipment worked, and despite it being a TA, most time there was no wait. Recreation: The pools are nice; we mainly used the Solarium Pool and hot tubs. On occasion, too many people tried to enter the hot tub. I don't know what motivates someone to get into a hot tub in which no seating is available and then expect to sit. Most people were friendly, but some were off in their own world, holding loud conversations among themselves across the tub. The pool tables are on gyros, fascinating to play. Basketball and miniature golf are interesting when the ship moves. The rock wall was lightly used, so access was easy. Laundry: no laundry facilities, BUT RCI does a $25 special for all you can stuff in a bag. Washed and folded, not ironed. We got about 40 pieces each time, since our principal dress was shorts and T-shirts. Ask your room steward for the schedule. Internet: Our Blackberries worked well (with a slight hiccup on Day One). You need an international package from your provider. No payment to RCI. I had continual billing issues with my laptop. RCI kept writing off 100% of the charges. Tough to complaint about that. Our friends with IPads had recurring connection problems. This is a satellite service. If you have to connect with a secure office server, like I do, to do work, it moves s-l-o-w-l-y. Very slowly. I would read work on the laptop, and type messages back on my Blackberry. This is not a problem that RCI has much control over. Entertainment: Typical cruise shows. The last night's show was a balancing act that was really not worth going to. The piano player was OK, and the sing along was good, but he tended to play with his foot on the pedal at all times. There was entertainment every night in Centrum. The dancing music varied from night to night. The best was the night they played 60s. Every balcony in Centrum was filled to the top. We danced for more than two hours. Why the cruise director did not repeat this event is a puzzlement. Special event: We got up in the middle of the night to watch the ship go through the Strait of Gibraltar at about 4:45 a.m. It's neat to see the lights in Europe and Africa at the same time. Of the 2100 passengers, there were 4 of us to see this event. Tours: Our first choice was cancelled in St. Maarten for lack of interest. It seems that most people on a TA don;t buy tours. Serious lack of interest. There were six ships in port, including 2 TA's by RCI, and RCI was running 6 out of about 50 listed tours. The tour in Cartagena was unnecessary and overpriced. Dis-embarking: Very quick and smooth until one of our bags, marked in group 6, was placed in group 9. It took 45 minutes to sort out. How to avoid weight gain: I never took an elevator; they looked nice. Learn not to clean your plate, despite what your Mother told you. Learn to exercise by pushing away from the table. I had frozen yogurt every day, and dessert at every dinner, and sometimes at lunch. I walked between 4 and 9 miles a day. Dancing every night. I lost a pound over 14 days. Bottom line: We booked another TA on RCI. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Serenade of the Seas is a well laid out vessel, well cared for, spotlessly clean and just the size I like. I was attracted by the itinerary which offered a variety of interesting ports, all full day stops and a six day at sea ocean ... Read More
Serenade of the Seas is a well laid out vessel, well cared for, spotlessly clean and just the size I like. I was attracted by the itinerary which offered a variety of interesting ports, all full day stops and a six day at sea ocean crossing which is maximum for me. I decry the recent trend to eight and even nine day at sea crossings which only seem only designed to save on port charges and force passengers to spend more money on board. No thanks. Boarding at San Juan seemed a little chaotic, a great shed of a building, with a crowd around the baggage handlers and some noisy confusion at the ticket counters. That said it somehow all proceeded efficiently and quickly and we were processed and on board in less than half an hour. Can't complain about that. My inside cabin was ready on boarding and contained enough room and storage for one or two persons. No stains, odors or visible damage. Good bed (but not as good as Holland America). Basic bathroom but everything worked and there was abundant hot water and good pressure. No toiletries. "Beam me up Scotty" wrap around shower stall was large enough for me (6'3", 225 lbs) but fellow passengers with ample hips found the shower stalls challenging. A/C and heat control worked. I like inside cabins because they are dark at night and quiet and because, traveling solo I have no intention of spending time sitting on the bed staring out of the window or by myself on a balcony so I save the money for other things. Not quite a walk around promenade deck nor a forward observation lounge but there are several excellent forward observation points on several decks including the ability to go right to the bow. Neat. Nice bars and lounges. We gravitated to the Champagne bar with nice views and hors d'oeuvres. Safari Club very nice but under utilized. Nifty balanced pool tables which were popular. Odd Sports Bar forward of the Casino was almost always deserted. Schooner bar has a nautical theme but was chosen by the large Puerto Rican contingent on board as their clubhouse and so was always packed with a good natured crowd singing and rollicking in Spanish. Royal Viking lounge had been renamed but was uninvitingly decorated and underused. Good place for a quiet read during the day. Good deck space never seemed crowded and deck chairs were abundant. Some effort made by staff to stop chair hogging in popular areas. Bravo. Covered conservatory pool popular and very pleasant. Table tennis, mini golf and shuffleboard all available and well used. Even the basketball court had its fans. Jogging track used by runners, joggers, walkers, even a guy in a motorized wheelchair and so worked for nobody really. Entertainment so so but nothing special. Usual cruise ship stuff. Spectacular central atrium well used for everything from the dreaded 'art' auction to dances but be aware that sound from these events travels and if you have a cabin near to the atrium you will hear it. Cruise staff average and did their jobs but nothing special. Bingo sparsely attended since the bigger prizes. (free cruises etc) were moved to a lottery in the Casino. Trivia popular. Food in the Windjammer Buffet went from good to excellent. An above average performance At night a carving station offered thing like prime rib and salmon in puff pasty to folks not wanting the dining room. Lunch had good variety and I always found something tasty. The head chef is from India and an excellent curry or two was always available. Alternatively the Seaview Cafe (to be replaced by a 'for fee' Mexican Cantina for some reason) offers good fish, lousy chips and OK Reuben sandwiches. Good table cleaning and drink refill service. Main restaurant offered fairly good choices with several hits including great duckling in cherry sauce, first rate rack of lamb, good prime rib and vegetables which were fresh and usually not overcooked. Food was hot. A few misses including a much touted "Signature Dish" - New Way Surf and Turf. Three flabby tasteless shrimp languishing on a tough old steak that seemed to be flank but was described as 'Shoulder Filet" (???) No Way Surf and Turf. This Signature needs a handwriting expert. Service prompt and efficient but the main waiter was silly and eventually annoying. Assistant waiter very professional and good so we reversed the tips at the end of the cruise. Portofino Restaurant, at $20 offered and excellent menu and food in a pretty room with excellent sea views. Good value. Chops Grill at $30 offered large portions of first rate beef, boring starters and sides, a ponderous room without interest, eager chatty service that lacked finesse and was, overall, a blah experience. Royal Caribbean is very good at getting people off and on the ship at port stops. There never seemed to be a long wait or a problems. The usual fracas of herding the tour groups onto their buses is never pretty but RCCI handles it as well as anybody. Service throughout the ship was pleasant and our few problems were handled efficiently and courteously by the front desk and the maitre d. There are refreshingly few announcements on this ship and the usual pesky ship photographers behaved admirably. More kudos. Do see Cadiz (a charmer), do enjoy Gibraltar (pray for a clear day). If walking is a problem, Gibraltar cabs will get you closer to the sights on top than the tour buses can. In Palma, RCCI organized an expensive shuttle into town that had restless lines waiting for it. The crew meanwhile walked across the street and took clean, frequent city buses into town for 1 euro. So did I. Shame RCCI. Tell people. Disembarkation was a breeze. Very well handled. All in all a very enjoyable cruise and well worth the money. I am a HAL boy but I would certainly consider RCCI and especially the Serenade again after this. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
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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