Serenade of the Seas Reviews

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24 User Reviews of Serenade of the Seas Cruise Ship

Publication Date: June 6, 2004

Adios to Royal Caribbean. This was my third cruise on RCCL and my last

Overall I think this was an ok cruise.

Good: The ship was beautiful. There is lots of glass which was good for seeing Alaska. The captain did an amazing job of maneuvering the ship at Hubbard Glacier and Misty Fjord. Alaska is a great place to cruise to. The casino personnel were very helpful.

Bad: Service. Service. Service.

Check in took an hour in line. Then we had to wait 2 hours to go through US customs (in Vancouver). The waiting area was an open room with folding chairs with over 500 people in it. You could barely hear your group called. Very poorly done.

The daily info letter "Cruise Compass" had numerous errors. Call to the passenger relations to confirm times usually gave erroneous results too. No one seemed to know what was going on.

Our daughter got sick in our room from food poisoning. We had to ask several times to get the carpet cleaned. After cleaning they left a blower to dry the carpet and never returned. The room still smelled and made the hallway outside the

room smell too. No one ever checked to see if the room was ok. After asking for some deodorizer we were told they didn't have any. I guess this was the first time anyone ever got sick on a ship. We finally got a can of Glade to cover the smell. The next day we demanded some action so they cleaned to carpet again and it still smelled. No one checked up afterwards. The room still smelled at the end of the cruise. I feel sorry for the next cruise occupants.

The food in the main dining room was consistently only warm, never hot. The meats were generally tough. I would rate the food as marginal. It was a lot like bar food. The service was poor and slow. Several times we were served cold coffee at dinner. Once they were too busy to get us hot coffee after we complained. On the plus side I did save on tips.

The ship has dispensers to sanitize your hands before entering the dining room. Good idea. However they only have one at each entrance and they do run out. It takes ten minutes for everyone to get into dinner because of this bottleneck. If they bought 4 more it would eliminate the problem.

The Windjammer food was awful. It was impossible to find a table. They also played a game called "find the condiments". The ship has condiment stations with push buttons to dispense condiments. These stations only worked once in a while and were never marked as being out of service. You had to hunt to find the liquid gold (ketchup, mustard). I asked a manager about the problem and he just yelled at someone at the drink bar who ignored him. I then realized that they must be hiding it behind the drink bars. I was right. I grabbed some packets of ketchup and was scolded by the drink attended for going behind the bar.

After complaining about the lack of service to the passenger relations manager we got a note saying they were sorry and hoped these flowers would make up for our problems. However the note was taped to a bottle of champagne. They can't even get an apology right. None of our complaints were ever addressed.

Royal Caribbean has cut corners to the point where cruising with them is not an enjoyable experience. I enjoyed my previous cruises with them but this was simply not worth the price.

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Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: December 6, 2003

Wow! We were thoroughly impressed by the Serenade. The ONLY negative I had was that we couldn't see CNN Headline news on the tv. Captain Nikolaos Antalis was outstanding; he had many question-and-answer times, and walked the deck quite often. He knew every crew member, where they were from, what they did -- and was proud of them. My husband is an ex-Navy (Nuclear Sub SS Flying Fish), and says that the style of the captain trickled down to everyone in the crew. The Captain even slowed the ship so that everyone could view the volcano's destruction on Montserrat. Plus -- every morning we arose very early (not my idea, my husband's) to watch as we came into port.

The manuevers used to slip sideways into our assigned dock was absolutely amazing. We were also impressed with the security measures used when we stopped on each island. Every excursion we took was exactly as planned, with no snags. Our friend uses an Amigo, and their attitude towards her was outstanding. When taking a catamaran tour on St. Lucia, she was basically "lifted" onto the boat. Everything was "no problem, we'll take care

of it". And they did. But -- we were most impressed with the crew. They were outstanding, and you know they loved their jobs. We're planning our next trip on Royal Caribbean already.
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Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: December 6, 2003

If there is a new ship in port, you can place a safe bet that Vincent will book a cruise on her. The sleek, beautiful Serenade of the Seas, the newest ship of the RCI Radiance class, fits that criteria and Vincent, champing at the bit, made reservations and we sailed on her just three months into her inaugural year. Captain Nikolaos Antalis, our friend from the Vision of the Seas, took her from Amsterdam, Holland to Boston, Massachusetts August 4-11, 2003 on her first Transatlantic voyage. We looked forward to renewing our acquaintance with him, but, alas he was on holiday. The Master at this time was the extraordinarily erudite Captain Stig Nilsen of Norway, who commanded his first ship at age twenty-four, and later heroically rescued fifty crew members off two Danish ships in danger of being crushed by dangerous ice floes in the Arctic. His historically oriented daily "talks from the bridge" put in context the many islands we visited or sailed close enough to view from the Serenade. It is refreshing to see how much he valued the culture of these island nations and the heritage that

determines their modern status. He perfectly timed a sail-a-way from St. Lucia to allow passengers a view of the spectacular sunset as we exited the narrow harbor.

EMBARKATION We flew to San Juan, Puerto Rico from Ft Lauderdale, Florida; this short flight was painless (after we missed our scheduled flight, we were booked on the next one an hour later). San Juan has a new efficiently designed airport, and we used RCI's handy American Airlines flight and transfer. Personnel were stationed at the gate and the baggage claim area along with porters. A very short walk led to the buses just outside the door. Luggage is transferred separately by trucks, but have no fear it quickly gets to the ship!

This was very different from our last time in Puerto Rico, the renovated airport has made travel much easier. The forty-five minute trip across town to the port is brief, but offers a nice overview of this beautiful city. At the dock there were crew to assist us with the luggage and the wheelchair, and we were on board in twenty minutes. Check-in is much simpler for the repeat customers of RCI (Crown & Anchor Society members). For the Platinum (over 5 cruises) and the Diamond (over 10 cruises) there is a special waiting area with refreshments available: no long lines here! The more we travel, the more we realize that RCI really values repeat customers.

THE SHIP GTV (gas turbine vessel) Serenade of the Seas was built at Meyer Werft Shipyards, Papenburg, Germany; she is registered in the Bahamas and is the third Radiance Class ship, with the Radiance of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas the other two sister ships. This class ship has over three acres of exterior glass, with the use of more windows to the sea, passengers see more of this exciting itinerary. We will not soon forget the panoramic view of Saba and other islands of the Lesser Antilles, which we admired as the ship passed by closely. Three of the Centrum elevators overlook the sea. Having sailed on the other two Radiance class ships, it was a de ja vu for us to go around and visit the various places on this ship, but we still enjoyed seeing the original art work and comparing the interior decoration with that of her sister ships. There are a lot of on board activities from Rock Climbing Walls to playing pool on gyroscopic (auto balancing) tables, to golfing simulators and mini courses. The Serenade is 962 ft. long; has a beam of 105.6 ft., and a draft of 26.7 ft. At a gross tonnage of 90,090, she has a top speed of over 25 knots. Her passenger capacity is 2,501 and she carries a crew of 859, yet the atmosphere is not crowded. The overall impression is of a huge yacht, but with the many amenities of a small city: theater, night clubs, gyms & spas, swimming pools, golf, and music everywhere in the lounges, dining room and on the open decks.

The nicest thing about this ship is that RCI has adopted a sophisticated nautical decor with a combination of colors (maroon, navy blue and gold) repeated throughout the ship, including the staterooms. This background effectively showcases the many works of art (a collection of over $5 million) which enhance the Serenade's beauty. We like the "wood, brass and sea" look throughout the ship.

There are twelve decks dedicated to either public areas or staterooms, with a total of nineteen wheelchair accessible cabins, all of them located near elevators.

Deck Two has some inside and oceanview staterooms, three of them are wheelchair accessible, two are oceanview and one inside.

Deck Three contains all inside or oceanview staterooms, four of them (two inside and two oceanview) are wheelchair accessible.

Deck Four forward has the first level of the Tropical Theatre and then a series of inside and oceanview staterooms, four of which are wheelchair accessible (2 inside and 2 oceanview); midship is the main floor of the eight deck tall centrum which has the Passenger Services desk and Explorations tour desk. There are balconies over looking the centrum on each deck. The ship was decorated for the holidays with each deck festooned with green balsam garlands and maroon and gold bows. High in the center is suspended a soaring work by Andersen & Lundberg (Norway) named "Bow" (rainbow). It is composed of a series of aluminum mesh sails which fill the centrum, but allow one to see through it. It shimmers with colors and lighting, thus it gives an airy sensation to the area.

The Centrum staircases have huge panels of floral art: Van Der Vegt's (Holland) "Anemones" is beautiful and graceful in its depiction of long stemmed flowers on repetitive panels ---- another stunner is Koestner's (USA) Iris Trilogy 1, 2 & 3." It shows bearded iris in lavender and blue with a botanical aspect to it. There is also Kivinen's (Finland) "Orchids," a study in yellow/green cymbidium orchids. We have mentioned only a few of the many floral works.

Aft is the Reflections Dining Room with a two deck high, midnight blue waterfall and a gracefully curved brass staircase (festooned for the holidays). It has a mahogany wood, curved balcony, gold drapes on the brass oversized porthole windows and a simple, but, elegant oval, colored glass fixture. There were green garlands and maroon bows everywhere.

Deck Five forward is the main level of the Tropical Theatre, a simple room with an excellent view of the stage from almost every seat. The fabulous curtain gives the impression of a tropical forest (shimmering green, blue and lavender). Midship are the Conference Center, the Photo Gallery and the ample on board shops. Aft is the balcony of the Reflections Dining Room.

Deck Six like Deck Five is all public areas: Forward is the balcony of the theatre; toward midship is the cinema (featuring recent movies), and the Pit Stop sports bar. Midship is the Casino Royale where are located several fine art works such as the following: Zsiba-Smolover's (USA) "Neptune's Muse," a graceful renaissance style sculpture, and "Oceania Rising" a sea nymph offering a giant pearl. You won't find anything "faux" on this ship, just interesting original art work.

Midship, at the centrum is the Champagne Bar (with intriguing designer shoe sketches). Toward aft is the Schooner Bar with the "Jenny Lind Galleon Figure" by Ab (Sweden). The famous "Swedish Songbird" holds a golden nightingale; there is an interesting story behind this figurehead which was made for the clipper "The Swedish Nightingale" and ended up as a scarecrow on a farm in Sweden. Now, this poignant all white statue is lightly gilt and stands beautifully in the middle of the Schooner Bar. The art work behind the bar is a series of "Military Uniforms" by Folkes (Britain) and they are very interesting. Specialty restaurants such as Chops Grill (wonderful grilled steaks and veal chops with unique side dishes) and Portofino (upscale Italian menu) are located here. All the way aft is the Safari Club with a nice combination of game rooms (pool, billiards, chess, checkers and other games) and a bar.

Decks 7, 8. 9 & 10 are all staterooms with the Explorers Lounge, the Library and the Concierge Club (with the wonderful Maritza in charge --- more about her later) clustered near the elevators. Here are the remaining 8 wheelchair accessible staterooms, all with balcony, six of them are on deck 7 (Categories E1 and E3) and two on deck 10 (Junior Suites).

Deck Eleven is all public areas starting with the Spa forward. The Solarium has a South Sea Island Bali theme. There are two huge gold gilt elephants with ivory tusks flanking a delicately carved wooden Temple gate set behind a curved bamboo bridge. The combination of trees and plants on the deck and up above gracefully surrounds the pools. This, adult only area, is pleasant for early morning or evening swims, or relaxing in the hot tub. Next is the open deck pool area with another pool and two hot tubs.

Aft is the Windjammer Cafe with many food stations for buffet lovers: main courses and meat carving stations, pizzas, sandwiches, salad bars and dessert displays are all eye-catching. The entry had a friendly hostess and a miniature Gingerbread town with its own railway, running train and station.

Deck Twelve has forward the Fitness Center and a jogging track (no cabins below it, thank heaven). There is the Crown & Anchor Lounge and aft is dedicated to the young cruisers with the Adventure Ocean and the Teen Pool. The Sea View Lounge, Golf Simulators and Sports Areas are also located here.

Deck Thirteen holds the Viking Crown Lounge with its circular bar crowned with a Chrome Star and 180 degrees of curved windows to the sea. It's wonderful to sit up here during the day, surrounded by the sea. At night this room is transformed by radiating shafts of light and fiber optic stars. The Crown & Anchor Society had a cocktail party here with a huge full moon perfectly framed in the center of the windows --- We think that Captain Nilsen planned that well!

Also located on Deck Thirteen is the Vortex Lounge with cyberspace art like the Swarovski-Crystal & Glass panels and the Savoy Studio's (USA) "Wave," with the many panes invoking images of ocean waves and ships ----Stunning. There is the Hollywood Odyssey Lounge, an intimate club which places the audience in close proximity to performers. Overall this ship is elegant and lovely in its decorations.

FOOD & SERVICE There is excellent service on board under the experienced eye of Hotel Director Francois Wache (France). This Parisian brings a personal touch to service; his international background and attention to detail shows up all over the ship in the quick and friendly attitudes of the crew. This is a tribute to Francois. Chief Purser Doug MacLennan is an old friend from the Vision of the Seas. He was top notch, both welcoming us and helpful in many ways, his staff reflects his efficiency. Asst. Purser Sinead Coll (Ireland) was especially courteous to us.

The dining room was under the supervision of Maitre D' Yusuf Cavdar (Turkey), whom we had previously met on the Grandeur of the Seas. And it was everything we have come to expect from Yusuf, perfection. He set a table for two especially for us in front of the staircase, where the grand piano was played nightly by Glen Stevenson. This pianist's repertoire included almost every beautiful melody we love! Our waiter Rajesh Singh (India) and assistant Zoltan Turscu (Romania) were excellent. The Assistant Maitre D' Orlando Rosa (Portugal) stepped up to the task, when Yusuf departed in Barbados. He circulated throughout the dining room, made helpful suggestions about the menu, and kept things running smoothly. Maitre D' Yusuf can be proud of his staff and their work. It is not easy serving more than 10,000 meals per day to about 3,500 passengers and crew members.

The food on board is quite abundant and varied. We enjoyed every meal, since there were many selections to choose from and all were plated elegantly. Room service was prompt every morning and served full American or Continental breakfast. Breakfast was also available in the Windjammer Buffet, or in the main dining room (where all the classics were served: Eggs Benedict, Pancakes, Waffles, Hot & Cold Cereals, Bagels & Kippered Herring and fresh fruits.

Luncheon at the buffet was plentiful and a sampling from the main dining room menu included Fruit Medley with lychee, papaya, grapefruit and grapes; two soups and entrees such as Chicken Caesar Salad, Sea food fettuccine, BBQ spare ribs, Quesadillas or a NY Burger. Desserts were apple strudel, cheese cake (optional sugar free desserts) or several homemade ice creams.

Dinner from the International Menu had Appetizers such as Australian kiwi, Shrimp cocktail, Thai spring roll, French lentil soup, Chef salad with Russian dressing. Entrees included Linguine alle Vongole (spaghetti with clams), Sweet & Sour Mahi Mahi, Roasted Tom turkey w/all the fixings, and Roasted Prime rib. There are also Ship Shape (calorie conscious) and Daily Alternatives of popular foods which are always available. Desserts were interesting and included Creme Brulee, Soufflés, Warm Chocolate cake and a multitude of pies cakes and cookies.

We had dinner on Formal Night as the guests of Captain Nilsen and his lovely daughter Lynn. The traditional Captain's meal was topped off with a dessert named "Chef's surprise," tantalizing! Captain Nilsen was very cordial and spoke of his project: renovation of a Swedish minesweeper/fishing boat, and his home town in Norway, only two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, where warm currents allow for swimming. Needless to say, we had a wonderfully interesting evening.

With the Concierge, Maritza Moolman service was very personal. This very adept young woman was helpful in booking tours, getting foreign newspapers for Vincent and the NY Times Fax for Mary. We cannot thank her enough for her kindness.

CABIN Junior Suite #1028 is wheelchair accessible with automatic wide doors and a mahogany archway leading to the sitting room. When entering, on the left there is a large walk-in closet with shelves, the personal safe, and many wooden hangers. Next, there is a TV, open bar and the mirrored desk/vanity with a velour chair, and then a blue and gold love seat. There are two maroon velour easy chairs with an ottoman and a large coffee table. There is a large bath on the right of the entry, with a 4'X4' shower with seat and safety rails, and finally a triple mirrored medicine cabinet.

There is a mahogany navy blue bench, a king bed with two night stands and reading lamps. The head board is maroon velour and the wall is mirrored. RCI has carried out the color scheme of blue, maroon and gold, even in the pictures selected for the walls. There were two scenes of white stucco homes with red skies (calling to mind the old adage, "Red skies at night, sailor's delight."). We had two excellent stewards Frederick in 7610 and then Pablo in 1028.

ENTERTAINMENT Cruise Director Allan Brooks is a seasoned "globe trotter" and understands that passengers hail from many nations. There is a variety of music from classical violin by Mr. Martin Lass, to a tribute to "Stage [&] Screen" by the RCI singers and dancers. Or, if you like Big Band music, the Serenade of the Seas Orchestra was featured at the Safari Club. There were variety acts like British Magical Champion, Mark Taylor a man who is never without an umbrella (He made dozens appear on stage!).

There are more than the usual shipboard activities: Seminars for health, Team Trivia, Sports Trivia, Exercise & Dance Classes, Bingo, Casino Tournaments, Afternoon movies, etc. and add to this Rock Wall Climbing ---- and Port tours ---- or you can just sit on deck and rest or read.

PORTS OF CALL 1. San Juan, Puerto Rico, Sailing: 10:00 pm This can be toured either before or after the cruise; it merits planning to spend a night or two here.

2. ST. Thomas USVI, Arrival: 7:00 am Departure: 5:00 pm Try the St. Thomas SNUBA (a combination of scuba & snorkeling) or a scenic ride to the famous Magen's Bay beach. Many passengers felt that this island has lost its "Best Shopping Port" title.

3. Phillipsburg, St. Maarten, Arrival: 7:00 am Departure: 5:00 pm Interesting excursion: America's Cup Sailing Regatta, 3hrs, $84; Butterfly Farm and Marigot, 3.5 hrs, $38.

4. St. John's, Antigua, Arrival: 7:00 am Departure: 3:30 pm Try the Jolly Roger Pirate Cruise (the Best party Boat with unlimited complimentary rum!), 3 hrs, $39. 5. Bridgetown, Barbados, Arrival: 8:00 am Departure: 5:00 pm We took the Beautiful Barbados & Francia Plantation House tour (tropical vegetation similar to Florida), 3.5 hrs, $39.

6. Castries, St. Lucia, Arrival: 7:00 am Departure: 5:00 pm This island has a very beautiful bay. Interesting tour: Island Splendor (scenic drive), 3.5 hrs, $36.

7. Day at sea.

CONCLUSION This was another great cruise. It seems that the more we cruise the better we enjoy cruising. By now we know what to expect from each line and particularly from each ship. We know exactly what we want and most of the times we achieve it. We frequently encounter people we have met on previous cruises and that facilitates acquaintances and friendships. We booked this cruise hoping to see our friend Captain Antalis; however, we had the opportunity of meeting Captain Stig Nilsen, the current Master of the ship. And now we have one more reason to look forward to cruising on RCI ships: the probability of encountering Captain Nilsen again as well as several other captains we have met before. Thus there are many more reasons for us to return. We have already booked three more cruises on RCI ships: The Mariner of the Seas, in February and two on the Brilliance of the Seas, the Transatlantic crossing in April, and the Mediterranean cruise in May. However, before these cruises, in January we are going on the new Costa Mediterranea for a Western Caribbean cruise. Happy Cruising!

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Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: November 29, 2003

This was my first cruise and my husband's 2nd, we also went with 4 of our best friends (2 other couples).

We arrived in San Juan and got to the ship very quickly, checked in and were in our rooms in no time. We were on the 2nd deck, we joked about being so far down but in the end, I would request it again. It was very neat b/c through the window you were just above the waves at night and there was enough light that you could see out and you fell asleep to the bubbling sound of the water. We were on deck when we left the port and it was very cool.

The best thing about this cruise was the service and the ports of call. The service was outstanding! We ate at the Windjammer every day for breakfast and lunch. Breakfast was better than lunch but I think it was because I didn't care for the variety as much at lunch. But htere was always someone there to greet you which was nice. Dinner was very good in the dining room and we enjoyed

our waiter Caesar and our asst. waiter Mickey. The head waiter came around a few times to talk with us or to make sure everything was good.


Our room attendant was also outstanding, very nice guy by the name of Wayan. We also had a GREAT bartender by the name of Steve who was at the Sky Bar, we always went to him for drinks when it was open.

The entertainment I think was hit or miss. I went to see the magician and left within 20 minutes. However, the Love and Marriage game was a riot. The cruise director Allan was cool but he had 2 guy sidekicks that were a little quacky. The female cruise director I think Layla seemed really nice, they were great at getting the crowd to participate.

The captain seemed really nice and on the day at sea, he took us by St. Barts and Nevis (sp?) and got within 1 mile of the coast so we could get a good look.

The boat was a bit rocky, we noticed it more so in the dining room but it became pretty constant towards the end of the trip but none of us ever fell over, it just became normal.

The ship is beautiful and I can't say enough about the outstanding service. I didn't hear one staff member complain about anything. We asked our room attendant to get us more towels and a few other small things and he got everything for us immediately. We also noticed that the staff won't board the elevators with you. We began to recognize people after a few days and had nice conversation with several. The dining room staff was great, they brought us several portions of many dishes (including lobster tails).

A few things that were irritating--the lady who helps you with all the shopping, she is on the TV constantly and we couldn't stand the sight of her once we saw her in person although she seemed much less annoying in person. There was an enormous amount of people onboard who only knew Spanish and it became a bit irritating after 7 days.

There was staff to help you once you got past customs after leaving the ship. All the staff was approachable and helpful.

I would definitely go on this cruise again and I think our friends would too, an overall great experience. The weather was wonderful and we went to the beach every day, what more could you ask for?

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Eastern Caribbean
Publication Date: October 28, 2003

Sailed on the Serenade's repositioning to San Juan Embarkation in Philly was excellent with reps. to instruct passengers without a hitch. Having sailed numerous times for the last 20 years I find the Serenade to be one of the best. On board sevice was excellent, especially Kendall,cabin attendant .

Rocky ,waiter and Summerkey his assistant.The entertain ment was above average and food service was excellent compared to many of the other cruise liners Ihave boarded. Congratulation to the captain in making the emergency stop in SJ allowing an ill passenger to receive emergency medical attention. Will continue to have RCL as one of my favorite cruise lines.

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Publication Date: May 30, 2004

Serenade of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. The attrim is one of its greatest assets. The Crown Lounge also gives a panoramic view of the spectacular Alaska terrain. Vancouver boarding was a definite problem. We were to set sail at 5 and never left till 7. It took almost 2 hours to get through processing.

Much too long! Everything on the ship was tip-top. The dining and food was a 9 on scale of 10. Shows were good. This was our 6th trip to Alaska and Royal Caribbean does the best route (Misty Fjiord). If you plan to only go to Alaska once, I would definitely try to see the Fjiord. We will definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again.

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Publication Date: May 19, 2004

Royal Caribbean's Serenade of the Seas is one of the most beautiful ships we've sailed, both from exterior and within her interior. For a vessel in the 90,000 ton range she's as sleek looking as many smaller ships we've sailed on, and appears as though she can cut through the open waters with ease.

Unlike her cousins, RCI's Voyager Class ships, where in most cases one must be out on deck to see the ocean, the Radiance Class (Radiance, Brilliance and Serenade, and Jewel - of the Seas) feature "acres of glass" offering passengers a connection to the sea from most of their interior public rooms.

Schooners Bar and the Safari Club and Lounge are roomy, with high quality furnishings, which make both these rooms comfortable, and attractive, and offer an atmosphere of upscale ambience. With one flowing into the other, the combination of these two areas ranks them amongst my favorite lounges at sea.

During our repositioning cruise onboard, from Hawaii to Vancouver, the magnificent beauty of the ship was somewhat overshadowed. Expecting a ship this beautiful to sing like a Diva, we were disappointed by the slightly "out of tune" cruise experience

we received.

A rather odd take on the experience, because so many things onboard would seem to contradict coming to this conclusion.

The Captain of the Serenade, Nikolaos Antalis, and most of his officers and staff, and crewmembers exuded an air of friendliness, and a genuine desire to assist in any way they could. In short-- one of the seemingly happiest crews we've encountered at sea.

However, the actual delivery of the end product seemed to stumble along throughout the cruise, in spite of this.

The "Cruise Compass", the ship's daily onboard newsletter was more entertaining than informative, with it's errors and omissions. Even it's appearance was simply odd, as many days half the space on it was left blank. Though we did appreciate its daily weather forecast, of sunny and 84 degrees, even when it was 54 degrees outside.

On several occasions, the announcements in the Cruise Compass, promoting the headliners in the showroom listed only their names, with no mention of what type of act it was. Not earth shattering neglect, but we found this odd.

Service in the dining room struggled throughout the cruise. The service staff were trying very hard to please, and certainly saying the right things; telling us each day that if something wasn't right, just to let them know, and they'd remedy the situation. Yet the resulting service, even after suggestions were made as to what would please us, was inefficient. It was never bad, just "out of tune" enough to be a noticeable distraction. The service team of waiter, ass't waiter and head waiter were out of step with each other, and the result was bit like watching a synchronized swim team unsynchronized.

At times "the swim of the waiters" was in fact amusing, but combined with the fact the hot food items never got to our table hot, at times was somewhat annoying.

The Captain and Hotel Manager invited all Crown & Anchor Society Platinum and Diamond members, and suite guests to a "special" brunch one morning. While all the senior officers were present, available, and friendly, I was shocked at how little was offered at the "special brunch". If you're goal is to thank important passengers for their loyalty to the cruise line, serving a few stale finger sandwiches, and a poor and limited selection of deserts, is not the way to impress.

Sadly, most everyone went to the Windjammer Buffet to eat after leaving the brunch.

Disappointingly, to find the level of service we've come to expect from RCI, we found it necessary to dine in one of the ships alternate (with surcharge) restaurants, where the service was professional and efficient. and the only place onboard we found hot items served hot.

Nothing I've described here is consequential enough to have "ruined" our cruise experience, but certainly the leader of this "band" should call the player's in for more practice. This ship, and her passengers, deserve a "Carnegie Hall performance", but at this time they are sadly getting something less.

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Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: March 27, 2004

This was our 7th cruise. The fourth with Royal Caribbean. It would probably rank in the top three. Met some wonderful people on this cruise. I certainly hope Royal Caribbean does not go to Freestyle Dining because I will never sail a line where that is the only option. I love having the same waiters and tablemates every night. That being said the dining room and especially the Windjammer were my favorites. We just love the food station concept. Never a line and there seemed to be a great variety and pretty good, too. Since we've done the 7 cruises in the last 7 years we are starting to notice a decline in services. Less people cleaning tables at Windjammer.

There was a time when a table would never be dirty. This was not the case here, but it wasn't overly noticble. The first time in the 7 cruises where we had towel animals every night. Although a nice touch I wish our cabin steward would have atleast introduced herself. Never did find out her name. But our room was clean every day and made up early and turned down early

in evening. Did forget to give us soap the first night. Entertainment was okay. Only stayed for two shows and walked out of one. Captain was awesome. Best we ever had. We had much to look at like the Pitons at St. Lucia. Got really close and he turned the ship around 360 degrees. What a sight! Also the volcanic island of Montseratt. Eerily quiet and he explained things and also the beautiful island of St. Kitts as we sailed by. We did have a great time. One word of advice....Do not try to squeeze four adults in one room. We had a balcony which saved us and we did save quite a bit of money by only booking one room. Ship is beautiful and overall a wonderful experience. Even though it was spring break all the kids were well behaved and there really was not too many and a good mix of ages, too. Not an overly amount of seniors either.
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Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: November 22, 2003

I am 19, and traveled with my brother (15), parents, aunt, and uncle (all 40's) and grandpa. (80's) We are all from CT, except for my grandpa who lives in FL.

My parents, brother and I have previously cruised Celebrity and Carnival, this was our first RCI. The other members of our family had in addition been on Princess & Norwegian, and had been on the RCI Brilliance (Serenade's sister ship) last Thanksgiving.

We had originally wanted to cruise over Christmas, but it was much cheaper to over Thanksgiving, and for the last couple years, my aunt, uncle and grandpa had cruised over Thanksgiving, so they knew what to expect weather-wise etc..

My brother, parents, and I flew to San Juan the morning of the cruise on November 22, and left Newark in bright sunshine and warm weather (well, for November in New England!) and arrived in San Juan around 3 pm to pouring rain.

We went to wait for our luggage and *gasps* only one suitcase showed up. Well, we had put the RCI luggage tags on before checking the bags @ Newark, not knowing that RCI has people pulling bags

off the planes and taking ones with their tags to the pier. Apparently one of ours slipped by, and us not knowing what the story was exactly with the other ones, we took a cab to the Pan Am pier. It was around $20 w/ tip for 4 with one piece of luggage.

We arrived at the pier to embark at 4 pm, and were on the ship by 4:20. We went to guest relations to inquire about our luggage, and the woman reassured us that it would arrive.

In the meantime we checked out our cabin, which was on deck 9. I shared cabin 9590 with my parents, and my brother and grandpa shared 9594, and my aunt and uncle were in 9260. All were deluxe balcony cabins, and 9260 was an aft balcony. 9590 and 9594 were on the "hump" midship, so our balconies were also a bit larger than the normal ones on the side of the ship. All of our cabins were the same price, but you really do get a much larger balcony aft. They sell out quickly though I hear.

Afterwards we went to the Windjammer for a snack, since our airplane lunch left little to be desired, and we had late seating dinner, which is at 9 pm. It was typical cruise line buffet, overall pretty good.

The ship is absolutely gorgeous. I loved the atrium, Schooner bar, pool area, and of course the Solarium. After exploring we met up with the rest of our family and were pleased to see that ALL of our luggage had arrived.

After unpacking was the lifeboat drill at 8:15 pm. It was the same as it is on every ship and was over relatively quickly. After that we dressed for dinner and headed to the Reflections dining room. We had looked at our table while exploring, and thought it was nice, but we would have liked to have been more in the dining room in the center of things. (our table was about 5 tables in on the lower level of the dining room). To our surprise we had tablemates, Lauren & Greg from FL. It was the first cruise we (parents, brother, me) ever had tablemates for, and it turned out to be great. They were both awesome. Our waitress was nice, and so was our assistant watier, Jimmy and the head waiter. On this cruise we saw our head waiter every night, he talked to us, made sure everything was to our liking and asked if there was anything else he could do for us. I had not encountered this on other cruises.

After dinner I went up to the Viking Crown Lounge to see if any cruise critic people were there. We wanted to try and meet around 10:30 in that area...many of us showed up, but since no one knew what people looked like, we managed to meet in small groups, but didn't have a big get together the first night. I hoped things would turn out better for the scheduled meet & mingle! Afterwards, we went to the Welcome Aboard Show in the Tropical Theater (LOVED the decor!). The comedian Eric Lyden was funny, but I actually left a little early since I was tired and had been up since 6 am. The audience on this cruise was REALLY tough on the performers. We were a hard to impress group.

I will explain what I did in port that day only, then afterwards I will review food, entertainment, service/crew, activities, entertainment etc...

Sunday - St. Thomas Ships w/ us:Carnival Jubilee, the original Pacific Princess (Actual Love Boat), and the Radisson Seven Seas Diamond Last time I was here on the Pride in 02', my family shopped downtown and went to Magen's Bay. I was up around 7 am and watched the ship dock in Charlotte Amelie. We ate breakfast with my family @ the Windjammer around 8:15. We didn't have to go through immigration in St Thomas since we hadn't left the U.S. (PR is an American territory) prior to arriving. I had signed up for the Water Island Bike Tour, and getting someone from my group to go with me was like pulling teeth, so I was ecstatic when finally my dad agreed to join me. It was one of the things I was looking forward to doing most on this trip. Well, before heading out we went back to the cabins, and to my dismay an envelope was waiting, telling us the tour had been cancelled due to "lack of participation." Argh. So I went and hung out by the pool for a couple hours and then went to Trivia with my family before going to lunch @ the Windjammer. While I was @ the pool, my family went to shop around the pier and ended up getting an ice cream @ the Cold Stone Creamery (getting popular in the U.S. - I have yet try one!) and played mini golf somewhere near the pier as well. In the afternoon my mom and I took a cab to Sapphire Beach. It was about 20 - 25 mins away and it was $40/rt w/ tip for the two of us. We stayed there for a couple hours, the clouds rolled in but it never rained on us. There is a beach resort there, as well as a beach bar and facilities. The water is somewhat calm, but there is a reef right there too, so there were some little waves. You could see St.John from the beach. The beach was nice, however after I got out of the water and sat on the towel for a little while, these little bugs came out and I got quite a few bites. It was worth it though, just bring bug spray or rent a lounge chair!

Monday - St. Maarten Ships w/ us: Crystal Serenity, Carnival Legend, Celebrity Summit Last time here we took a water taxi downtown and walked around Phillipsburg. We did the same thing this time. I would have liked to go to the French side and then Dawn Beach, but maybe next time. In the AM I went to the pool and did trivia again. In the afternoon we took the water taxi to town (still $5/pp unlimited one day use). My favorite art gallery here burned down apparently (Greenwich Galleries) so I was disappointed by that. I did however find the best buys on t-shirts main shopping focus! They were 4 for $10 if you looked in the right places! We stayed on the main drag, far down by the 2nd water taxi stop there is a store that sells all the Guavaberry Liqueur (a St. Maarten specialty!). They gave out free samples of the stuff straight, and also mixed into a Guavaberry Daquiri...SO yummy! After this we returned to the ship for the official Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle...sooooo great to meet everyone we had been conversing with for the last couple months online! For the rest of the cruise we kept an eye out for each other and said hi...and we are all still talking on the message boards now that we are back, LOL.

Tuesday - Antigua Ships w/ us: Costa Europa (I just said Europa on the side!), NCL Sky I again went to breakfast in the Windjammer and then spent a couple hours at the pool before trivia. Before lunch we went into town...and realized we should have booked a tour. I had really wanted to go to the beach here too, and my mom and I were planning on catching a cab to one in the afternoon. My dad informed us that if we still wanted to go, he would come too. At that point I thought it was just easier to enjoy the afternoon at the pool rather than make my family do something they weren't really into. Everyone from Cruise Critic that did Eli's tour had a blast, I believe the website is If I ever go back to Antigua this is what I want to do. At least do a ships tour if you go here. Don't write off the whole island just because of downtown.

Wednesday - St. Lucia Ships w/ us: HAL Volendam, Fred Olsen Cruises Braemer, Dawn Princess In the AM after breakfast we walked around downtown Castries for awhile. We were not docked at Pointe Seraphine where the new shopping mall was, so we walked around the streets of Castries. Again, not the nicest place, but I did get an OK deal on some more shirts. (4 for $20...probably could have bargained more, but everywhere else I saw shirts here they were 3 for $20, so I can't complain!) My parents & aunt walked over to the Pointe Seraphine shops, and said they were nice, but more of the same. My grandpa and I headed back to the boat. We met at Trivia and then after that, my parents, brother and I did the Coastal Cruise to the Pitions excursion through the ship. Can't say enough good things about it - very relaxing! Free drinks (soda, rum punch,water) and beer is $2. It took about an hour and 40 mins to get to the Pitons, and you had great views of the coast and some beaches. We went through a little bit of rain for like 5 mins. You could see the one dark cloud, and then sunshine ahead, so it wasn't a big deal. After getting to the Pitons, we turned around and on the way back we stopped at Anse Cochon for about 20 minutes of swimming. The boat got pretty close to the beach, not a long way to shore @ all. And it was a black sand beach...pretty cool. It was pretty here, and the water was clear, but since the sand was dark, the water didn't have the usual caribbean blue color. While at the beach, vendors come up in their kayaks/canoes and try to sell you things/ souvenirs. Just be polite. After the swim stop we pulled into beautiful Marigot Bay, which is completely sheltered from all storms, so people like to keep their expensive boats here! LOL. After this we returned to the ship. I will note that we left St Lucia 1/2 an hour early so that the ship would take a trip down to the Pitons so all the passengers could see them. They looked more impressive from the tiny catamaran than the huge ship, but they still really are beautiful!

Thursday - Barbados Ships w/ us: Some little thing that I didn't catch the name of After breakfast & trivia we walked around the shops near the pier, and I got my hair braided outside. It was $20 for 11 braids, and I tipped the girl as well. She did a good job and they look really great. It is almost a week later and I've had no problems. I probably could have bargained down, but I planned an allowance of about $20 for them, so when that is what she told me I thought it was fine. I am too nice sometimes, LOL. Afterwards I bought a gold charm from one of the stores in the terminal. I have a gold bracelet that I get charms for whenever I go on vacation. On the last cruise I got an anchor that said "Pride" on it (we were on the Carnival Pride) and on this one I got a palm tree surrounded by a gold circle that says "Barbados" on it. It was the cheapest charm I've gotten for the bracelet, at $35. My mom and I were trying to figure out what beach to go to in the afternoon, so we picked up some brochures and headed back to the ship for lunch. That afternoon my mom, dad, and I took a cab to Rockley Beach, about 15-20 min away. It was $30/rt plus tip, so $40 r/t for the three of us. The clouds rolled in once again, but no rain thankfully. The beach was awesome. My family tends to like beaches with some waves rather than calm bays, and this was perfect. It was a great beach for riding the waves in. I usually stay equal time in and out of the water when I go to the beach, but this time I stayed in the water the whole time. The sand was soft & white and water was very clear. It was awesome.

Friday - @ Sea Slept in for the first time on the whole cruise, 9 am. I was however @ the pool after breakfast by 9:30 and got one of the coveted pool-side lounge chairs. It was warm & sunny out, so when it came time for trivia at 11 I was reluctant to give up my chair. However I didn't want to be one of those people that everyone gripes about, the chair-savers (which there were plenty of anyways - only on this day though!) so I went back to the room with my stuff and changed. After trivia I wandered around the shops and wished I was old enough to buy alcohol because it SO I bought a t-shirt (my most expensive one...$16 for ONE t-shirt!...they had others on sale 2 for $20, but not the one I wanted) and a shot glass. Afterwards my mom and I went to the card/game room located inside the Safari Club on deck 6 and played Scrabble. Then at 12:30 my family met for lunch in the dining room. I went back up to the pool deck almost immediately and found my aunt who hadn't joined us for lunch and while she went to lunch I took over her chair. I ran into our tablemates and watched some the men's sexy legs contest...LOL Then there was the ice carving demo and the horse races. There was a brief (10 min) rain shower, where I took advantage of all the people who left the pool area and snagged a lounge chair RIGHT IN FRONT of the pool. I was very reluctant to leave this one for bingo...but it was the last day...snowball jackpot had to be given away! Ah, something made it easier to get up from the pool...some kid went to the bathroom in the pool, so immediately the crew got down to business emptying the pool and scrubbing it down good (thankfully!) so the pool was out of commission for the rest of the afternoon...which means all the kids could use the Solarium...I jetted out of there ASAP when that happened, LOL.

Now onto the RCI experience! Ship : As I said, absolutely gorgeous, easy to find your way around, I never got lost. Felt SOME motion at night, and especially leaving Barbados & the day @ sea, but never enough to get sick. Then again I never get sea sick. My parents & bro took Bonine to be on the safe side. Even in my stiletto heels on formal nights I never staggered or fell over due to ship movement, LOL.

Activities: ~As you can see my family did trivia every day. It was always between 10am and 11am, so most people were off the ship, so my family split into two teams we always won! We won art prints, key chains, photo albums, mini coolers, shoulder bags etc... ~Bingo was fun. Never won...never really came close, but it was still fun. I love Bingo...and now I know all the terminology...whistle @ B11, the "sexy legs" of Bingo...LOL ~loved mini golf & the basketball court ~karaoke was fun...I never did it, but it was fun to watch people, and some Cruise critic people did it, LOL ~The Quest: Adults Only Scavenger hun: WACKY! HILARIOUS! I won't spoil it, but lets just say you need members of both sexes on your team. My team was my mom, aunt, me, and Lauren (from our dinner table) and it wasn't working for us. We still had a blast though, it is just as much fun to watch as it is to participate ~Love & Marriage Show: Almost fell on the floor laughing so hard, don't miss it. Hosted by the CD Allan who I loved...hehe Overall the activities were good, but they could have used more. Sometimes I was sitting around wondering what there was to do. ~Casino: we were even until the last night where we blew another $40...lasted awhile though. For me the $ we spent there always seemed to last long enough to be entertaining. We only played the slots.

Entertainment The shows were hit or miss I thought. As I said before, it was a tough audience on this cruise, so that could have been part of it. The most annoying thing of the cruise was that the pre-dinner shows for late seating guests started at 7:15 pm...and ended by 8:15...the ship was dead in that 45 minutes before dinner. So bored then. I know the show for early seating people started at 9, so they show for us couldn't end at 8:45 if the performers had to go back on stage at 9, but still. Comedian: (Eric Lyden) as I first night, hilarious at the adult only comedy at 12:15 am the last night...I was sitting next to my parents so it was weird/somewhat embarrassing being with them while hearing it, but still funny. Magician: So-so....LOVED the music & how colorful the set was...but got repetitive Stage To Screen (1st broadway style show) - OK...singers have good voices, cool costumes...not enough variety of musicals...would rather see 10 songs from 10 diff musicals rather than 3 songs each from 3 or 4 diff musicals. Songs are from Chicago, West Side Story, Little Shop of Horrors and something else. Not my favorite musicals to begin with. Vibeology - part was the intro song they made up for it. Again the singers had good voices, but there were too many set changes when the singer just stood on stage with the curtain closed. Icky costumes, didn't know most of the was supposed to be music through the decades but was mostly Elvis & the Beatles. They absolutely butchered "Believe" by Cher @ the end...maybe I am being too harsh. Three of us practically slept through it though. Two of the others enjoyed it though. So to each their own. I skipped the last show, which I sort of regret because I heard the juggler was great. And Allan Brooks did a top 10 dumb questions passengers had asked him, it sounded really funny. (my dad, bro and grandpa went)

Crew: Fabulous. As I said, loved the CD...very approachable. Talked to him in the elevator on the last day. The other CD staff was great too...the assistant CD, Warren (also known as the bingo man...oooo...ahhh...LOL) was hilarious...he should think of being a straight out CD. And since my family did so much trivia, we got to see Drew (HOT!), Dan, Ashley, and Layla(I think that is her name, she was very nice, from Brazil) all the time too. Can't say enough good things about them. Our waitress was nice, but on the last cruise I felt like we got to know our servers on a more personal level, which made the cruise more interesting. Also it seemed like our table was a course behind everyone else at night. Which made it late since dinner didn't start until 9 anyways. The shows in the dining room were OK...I just can't get into the spirit for it really. And our table was near a group of 66 that took up 7 or 8 tables around us that were ROWDY! Every time after the shows the waiters etc put on they would clap & yell etc...for like 10 minutes afterwards! And on the last night when they presented tips to their waiters etc...they all clapped each time for each waiter....nice gesture, but SO ANNOYING!!!

Food Now, I thought the food overall was hit or miss. It was either really good or not worth eating. Please note this did not stop anyone in my family from overindulging and gaining weight, LOL. Windjammer: No real complaints here...I ate the same thing for breakfast every morning because I liked it. Seaview Cafe: Don't see what all the hype is about. Vanilla milkshake had no flavor, fish & chips were weird, I've had much better onion rings (but they were still yummy). I did enjoy the feathers (wings...not I enjoy them!) & fingers basket. Pretty good fries. The food was fresh because you ordered it and then they made it for you. Dining room: Some nights were good, others there just wasn't something that jumped out at me from the menu. I did enjoy all the chilled soups (Roasted Peach, Washington Apple, BananaI tried, and dessert was good except for the dulce de leche cheesecake...sounds good, tastes awful! I am a big steak fan, and being at college and eating in dining halls, I don't get it much. And I like my steak rare...anything more well done is not worth eating. In the dining room, the nights I had steak, it was cooked pefectly for my tastes. I didn't and neither did anyone else try the "RCI Ranch Steak" so I can't comment on that. Some of my favorite things included: Mongolian Pork Chop, Savarin (banana dessert), Filet, Creamy Garlic Soup, sugar free mint chocolate cake, spinach & cheese dip w/ tortillas, turkey parmesean, Flourless chocolate cake. Ice creams & sherbets were also yummy. On lobster night, they had surf & turf and I THOUGHT about trying the Ranch steak, but they informed everyone they could only cook it medium or medium-well that thanks! Portofino: We ate @ Portofino Thanksgiving night, as no one in my group really likes turkey much and didn't care about a traditional dinner (which they offered in the main dining room, along with some other choices as well.) We thought overall it was good, but not worth the extra money. I loved our waiter, a guy from Turkey, he was really cool, and I enjoyed my meal, but other members of my group were not as impressed so I figured I couldn't give it a perfect review. The pasta dish with the mushrooms & cream sauce was outstanding I thought, and so was the Tiramisu for dessert.

Other Passengers With all the discussion about people not obeying dress codes for the dining room etc... I was surprised to see how great everyone looked on the formal nights, and even for the regular dinners. I saw a ton of women in nice dresses etc...even when it wasn't a formal night. I liked this because I love to dress up every chance I get. I can't think of anyone I saw that didn't look like they were dressed inappropriately for dinner.

Disembarkation My family likes to bend rules when it comes to lines & waiting etc... So we left with group two instead of group six like our tags said. We were in line @ customs (first step of the process after physically walking off the ship) by 8:20 am, and were @ the airport checking our luggage by 9 am....too bad our flight wasn't until 4 pm! We tried to do standby (no charge) for an earlier flight but the lady practically laughed at us with 4 people wanting to change flights the weekend after Thanksgiving.

So we took a cab to Old San Juan after leaving our carryons in a storage place...$3/bag. The cab was $18 w/ tip each way. Walked around for awhile...I suffered an embarrassing moment where I fell flat on my face in the street becuase the curb was higher off the ground than I expected...suffered a hurt ankle but walked it off and it is OK...anyways...Old San Juan...didn't think it was that great. Pretty architecture...going in one of the forts might have been cool, but no one really felt like doing that. I wished we had kept out a bathing suit so we could have gone to a beach, but that seemed unrealistic as well.

So we had a long day at the to Newark around 7, had bags & left by 8, shuttle to where we kept the car....home by 10...ordered pizza...left unpacking for the next day...bed.

Overall it was a great vacation and I had fun meeting everyone from CC as well as our tablemates and some other random people I talked to on the cruise! Would my family cruise RCI again? Yes. I already signed up for the Crown & Anchor Society, LOL. Will we ONLY cruise RCI now, no...I like a little variety!

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Southern Caribbean
Publication Date: November 15, 2003

This was our ninth cruise.after 1 on Holland America, 6 on Carnival, and 1 on the now out-of-commission SS Independence. We booked the 11-15-03 RCCL Serenade Southern Caribbean cruise and airfare through our local travel agent. Booking the airfare through RCCL provided luggage pick-up from the airport at San Juan to the ship. We avoided dealing with the hassle of checking the luggage before boarding the ship.

We love the ship.lots of glass, wonderful elevators, and everything so clean and new. We ate in the dining room a few times, but were not pleased by the service or food. The first day the waiter was the best, asking how the food was, etc. After that first night, you couldn't find him after he brought the entrees. He got some orders mixed up, and if you order steak, you are taking your chance of how you like it. Medium was well done, and very tough and dry. Someone else told us he ordered medium and got a very bloody steak. We started going to the Windjammer café, and were very pleased. They had people refilling your drinks, greeted your arrival, and were more

pleasant all around. Had the usual carving stations, pasta, roast beef, and even an oriental one. In the mornings they had the omelet station. One night they came around with hors' d'oeuvres. They never rushed you there, but in the main dining room, they did, especially on the night when they did that silly dance. They even took our plates away before we were finished eating.

Don't bother going to the midnight buffet. It was very unorganized with people grabbing all the chocolate strawberries and other goodies like it was their last meal. We went once to the alternative dining restaurant, the Portofino. There we received excellent service and food.

Several times our room steward did not replace used towels or the empty facial tissue box. The first day she promised to remove everything from the refrigerator as we requested, but failed to do so. We have had better steward service on most of our other cruises. We were pleased with the breakfast room service. In the mornings, we received a call right before our breakfasts were delivered.

The entertainment was pretty good. We liked the magician and juggler the best. The stage shows and comedians were like many that we have seen on other cruise ships. The showroom was the best for not having any columns in the way of your sight lines. Most of the chairs had drink holders and were very comfortable.

We had heard that there were a lot of stores on RCCL ships and were surprised that there were only a few. The merchandise selection was not interesting to us at all. We enjoyed the beautiful Solarium. However, on one of our visits there, we endured the typical experience of one inconsiderate family who insisted on staying right by the Jacuzzi for a half hour with a crying toddler.

The little movie theater was cool. Their stadium seating was great, with a great view of the movies. Now if they could just get some movies we like (less violent and more upbeat) it would be perfect. We saw part of "The Core", "Frida", and "The Hours". The TV had your usual shipboard info channel, shopping channel, recap of the prior day's activities, and a few movie channels (some were in Spanish and German). You could also check on all of your prior day's charges on your card. The stock tracker didn't work, though.

The casino was fun and they did have a non-smoking area. Plenty of slots and blackjack tables. They even came around offering little desserts like chocolate-covered strawberries, which was a nice touch. If you needed more cash, you could charge it without a fee like that we have been charged on some other ships.

Right in front of the shops they have a place that has pastries and coffee drinks. If you order a coffee drink, you can get it in a travel mug and keep the mug. People were ordering just to get the different color mugs. The guy who worked there did card tricks for us.

Embarkation and debarkation were very organized and went quickly. No passengers were blocking the stairwells, like we have seen on the debarkation on most of our prior cruises.

All things considered, we may cruise with RCCL again.

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