This cruise was a deal, and travel, from our home to Fort-Lauderdale, and back from Copenhagen was not a problem. We had been thinking about a transatlantic for awhile and the itinerary was perfect. Our cruise experience so far stands at ... Read More
This cruise was a deal, and travel, from our home to Fort-Lauderdale, and back from Copenhagen was not a problem. We had been thinking about a transatlantic for awhile and the itinerary was perfect. Our cruise experience so far stands at 14. We have cruised Alaska, the Bahamas, the Caribbean, Hawaii, the Mediterranean and Norway.
This was our sixth cruise on RCL, our fourth on Serenade of the Seas since 2005 and, unlike some reviewers, we found her to be in excellent shape, although some furnishings, especially the blue couches in some staterooms need replacement. Since the removal of the Grand Staircase, the Centrum has become a beehive of daily activity and nightime entertainment, albeit with inadequate seating for some events. Example: In a move to maximize returns, RCL moved the Future Cruise Sales to deck 5 from deck 12, thereby sacrificing some space from Latte-Tudes, our favorite coffee spot. This tendency to maximize RCL's bottom line should not be so obvious, but it seems to work. "Push" marketing is very present throughout signs, events all over the ship and printed material delivered every night to your stateroom. Nonetheless, if you can put this aside and concentrate on the positive, you can have a very nice time, as we did.
It is understandable that, with so much expansion and megaships joining the fleet, that some cruises are part of personnel training and this was quite obvious on Serenade. We had a few encounters with trainees but nothing unpleasant, just that the lack of experience was noticeable at times. Stateroom and dining room staff were very good.
Food quality was satisfactory, maybe even a tad better than our previous cruise on Serenade, but the wine prices were horrendous, based on wines we consume at home and in local restaurants. We found adequate and health conscious choices available throughout the ship. Unlike the beverage or coffee packages offered, the three meal package for the specialty restaurants was a good deal.
The captain made sure that the Serenade was a happy ship, from the bridge all the way down the ranks, to the passengers themselves. He was very proficient, funny and accessible, not to mention a competent musician as we found out at the crew talent show. After a smooth crossing to the Azores, an early departure from Ponta Delgada and a change of course to Ireland helped us avoid stormy seas and gave us a decent ride. The very slight rolling made for our most comfortable sleep. Later, en route to Le Havre, the thick fog and reassuring blasts from ship's horn every two minutes brought home memories of what life on the old ocean liners was probably like.
The onboard entertainment was fantastic. From the ship's own musicians, singers and dancers, to the featured entertainers, a Celine Dion impersonator, scottish brothers playing celtic to Everly Brothers, to a virtusoso classical pianist, the shows were great. The crew talent show, on the last day at sea, had a Guest Services employee with the voice of Andrea Bocelli, 9 chefs dancing rap, and the Captain on guitar in a rock band.
Our excursion to the twin lakes in Ponta Delgada was hampered by weather and poor visibility, as was the Alabaster Coast in Le Havre. The Heritage Center in Cobh was very interesting as it traces the emigration of Irish to America and Canada, and our Irish countryside tour to Kinsale was quite pleasant. We visited Bruges on our own and luched on "moules et frites". Very enjoyable. In Amsterdam, we missed out badly. We though the tulip festival was over and Anne Frank house was sold out. But a city tour and canal cruise was fine, and the weather, perfect. We have been to Copenhagen before so we went straight to the airport.
Serenade is still a real ship, not a floating resort/shopping mall. No ice rink, zipline or bumper cars and that's OK! And aside from horrible and very pricey internet service (...no VOOM here, as RCL advertises is now fleetwide) and a few condescending and impolite fellow passengers, we had a great cruise and will probably return on RCL soon. Read Less