My wife and I are off on the Serenade in 2 weeks.
Could you tell me the identity of the Capt.
Also do you know who the hotel director is and was he very visible?
Finally who was the cruise director.
I'm not sure of the name of the captain (i'm sure you can find out on the RCCL website) but when we were on the cruise (Jan 23), he was away on vacation. His replacement was great though, gave us lots of information and took us by Monserrat (the volcanic island) and close by the Pitons (famous mountains in St Lucia) and by the Ilse of Women and narrated interesting stories while passing each.
Not sure about the hotel director, he didn't seem to be evident on this cruise.
The cruise director was Bill somebody and by far the WORST I've ever encountered....so was the Asst cruise director and the staff. Really really AWFUL, Annoying and phony, all of them. The shows on this ship were lacking compared to my previous experiences as well, with the exception of the comedian who was great (we actually saw the same guy on the Monarch years ago). The Love and Marriage game was boring as heck too, not fun like other cruises.
The food was pretty good but not as good as our experience on the Voyager last year. Food temp was often barely warm and our tablemate was disappointed that they no longer offer a beef /steak entree in the dining room each evening (they offer the club steak as one of the alternatives but it's really bad, tough and flavourless). When he asked the maitre d' about it, he apologized and said they've had to cut back due to reducing prices to keep in competition with Carnivals low prices. To their credit, he promised that Dave would have a filet mignon available to him each evening if nothing else on the menu appealed to him.
Regarding the specialty restaurant, we had mixed reviews. My dining experience and that of 4 friends was good but my husband and another friend had to send their filet mignons (in Chops Grille) back twice. The first time was very well done (they had ordered medium rare) and the 2nd time was almost raw. By this time the rest of us were all done eating. The caesar salad was advertised on the menu as prepared tableside but was the same as the dining room, pre-prepared and somewhat soggy. Again to their credit, they served complimentary liquers to the entire group of 7 of us to make up for the problems with the filets.
Bar service was very lacking on this cruise, especially at the pool bar where a bartender actually argued with my husband when he told him the drink was not prepared properly and refused to make it right. Also very slow service there and in the diring room waiting for wine and shooters.
Food in the Windjammer was terrific....great stirfrys, yummy pastas and a huge selection. For breakfast you could get eggs prepared fresh any style, omelettes and belgian waffles. Dining room breakfast was sometimes very good, sometimes just OK, very inconsistent.
Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze, best ever. Ship is just gorgeous and our room was great. Cabin steward was great but waiter and especially asst waiter were so-so. Tried very hard but VERY slow service. Maitre d was great.
My wife and I just got back from Serenade on March 6, and it just amazes me how much people complain or look for things to be negative about. WHO CARES if the cruise director was a bit boring. Did he influence what activities you did and how much fun you had? no.
We loved everything about the cruise. The food was great, both dining room and Windjammer, as well the Seaview Cafe and room service. Our waiter and asst waiter were great. The previous poster was upset about them not offering a beef/steak entree in the dining room each evening. If you don't like the food there, don't go there for dinner. We thought all the nights had a great selection and food was delicious.
The bars were great. All the bartenders were awesome and the service was impeccable. In the Schooner lounge, the gentlemen knew what my wife and I were drinking on the 2nd night and promptly brought it to where we were sitting.
Didn't gamble in the casino, but was very tempted. Fun to watch.
The shows were great as well. Best ones were impressionist Fred Travalena, comedian Doug Starks, and magician Luis Dalton was good too. The Love and Marriage show also was hysterical. The previous poster must have had a bad experience or not even gone to it. Don't listen to what they said.
The ports of call were nicely chosen. Best was St. Lucia and St. Thomas. We did a lot of excursions, with parasailing in St. Thomas and the Rhino Rider safari in St. Maarten being the best. Catamaran cruise in Barbados was nice too. And no, even though some people thought you need a passport for Barbados, you don't.
We had a wonderful time and I would encourage anyone to take a cruise on the Serenade. She's beautiful, and if you aren't picky and spoiled like the one poster, you will have a great time.
I guess you misinterpreted my comments. I actually reread my post to be sure that something wasn't there that I didn't remember???? But no, rereading I saw that my review was a very positive one.....it was a great cruise with a few areas that showed room for improvement....in our experience. I have cruised lots of times before and commented on how SOME experiences were not up to the standards of SOME previous cruises. Nothing to do with seeing the glass as half empty. The experience of Dave, our tablemate who wanted steak, was HIS, not mine and I agree that complaining about that was petty. My comment was intended to show how RCCL went above and beyond the call of duty to try to make things right for even the most demanding passenger. I loved the food, it could have been hotter but maybe that wasn't something that happened to everyone. I also said the waiter TRIED very hard and I know that most diners had positive experiences with their waitstaff, they were done and gone from the dining room in time to go to the shows, we unfortunately were still waiting for dessert most nights. I'm sure this was not something that happened to MOST but it did happen to us. I also said how beautiful the ship was, great the cabin attendant and captain were and how smooth embarkation and debarkation were. Again, SOME bar service was poor, not all. And yes the boring Cruise Director had an effect on the entertainment. All the cruise directors on previous cruises were so fantastic that they helped make the cruise a great one. This one didn't. If people don't want the truth when they ask for advice or comments, don't ask!
I would still rate this cruise an 8 out of 10. Last year on Voyager was a 10 out of 10.
Cruising is the best vacation value out there and RCCL is the best in my opinion!
Sorry cricket55, I should have read the entire post. I had read your post before but this time just responded to the last post. I remember people complaining about the cruise I was on in Jan and I had a great time, so I guess I'm inclined to respond when I think someone is going overboard, so to speak, about their complaints about the Serenade. Your comments are fair and balanced.
Thanks for the nice response. I'm glad you realized my comments were meant only as CONSTRUCTIVE criticism of an overall GREAT cruise with a few minor glitches that I'm sure in many cases were isolated incidents. I wonder if sportsfan will have as much class as you in realizing how my comments were intended as overall very positive. I'm sure sportsfan will criticize me for this but I stand by my comments about the cruise director being boring....it really does have an effect on the entertainment. Remember, I was answering another poster's specific question when I talked about the cruise director so I am not going to lie. The rest of the group of 9 of us (all former cruisers) all had the same opinion of him by the way, so it was not just my opinion. If you read the reviews on this website, people generally have some things to say that are indeed constructive criticism. And in response to sportsfan's comment, not only did I go to the Love and Marriage show (so yes I can speak first-hand as to it being sub-standard THIS PARTICULAR cruise) but my husband and I were contestants on one cruise....that was SO MUCH FUN....it was an absolute blast! On that cruise and on Voyager they had potential contestants "audition" for a spot and I think that makes all the difference in getting great participants. On Serenade they just pulled numbers from a hat and it was only because of doing it that way that the contestants were shy and kind of boring. On Voyager it was hilarious like you wouldn't believe. Not to mention it was pretty funny when we were contestants....lol humbly!
Serenade is now my favourite ship ever. She has class and beauty and an incredible amount of public areas. The Solarium pool and the Centrum lobby are so amazingly gorgeous I just can't believe it. This particular itinerary (southern caribbean) was also my favourite ever. I am so lucky that I am able to go on cruises that how could I ever think of the glass as anything but overflowing!
I thought the cruise director was boring also. I did back to back in Jan. The first week the cruise director was the highly praised Allen Brooks, I think, now I can't remember his name. I read reviews about this ship and many people commented on how great the cruise director was. Then the second week I was there, Bill came on board. It had been Allen's last week of his contract, I guess. The difference between him and Allen was like night and day. I feel bad being so critical because I am sure he is a nice enough guy but he was nothing like Allen. The Love and Marriage show was, no exaggeration a half hour shorter because unlike Allen, Bill had nothing to add to it. No improvisation, no funny comments on what the contestants were saying. When Allen was doing the show they asked for volunteers and was able to fill a couple of the categories easily because there was only one couple volunteering. For one of the categories of couples, I think it was married 10 or more years, still young enough to be a little wild, they had the 5+ couples interested to audition and like you said it was pretty funny/crazy. I had the best time on the Serenade and loved everything about it, but like you,I would say that Bill was pretty boring.
Wow, am I disappointed that I missed the "Allen" cruise director that you're talking about. What weeks in Jan were you on? We were on the 23rd. Re the Love and Marriage game, surprising the most fun and risque couple were the over 50 years couple who were Mormons from Utah. They were an absolute riot, talked about making whoopee standing up in a hammock! Usually it's the younger ones who are funny but not in this case. I wanted to say also that even though 2 of the 7 of us had problems with the food in Chops Grille, I still highly recommend it and think it is worth the extra $20 for the experience.
In January I was on the Serenade for the Jan 17 and Jan 24 cruises. I was also on for the January 31cruise, which I don't always mention because it is so unusual. I am in between jobs and dipped into my retirement savings to do this on an impulse, not the first cruise but the last two. Anyway, we must have been on the same week!! Cool. I wonder if we saw each other or met. What seating did you have in the dining room? We were first seating. I talked to so many people, because my little 2 3/4 year old was such a conversation starter. We had a blast!! I you can see I didn't want to go home. There seemed to be a lot of people from Utah on that week. I went to the bellyflop contest (it was a choice between that and the art auction and the bellyflop contest won out, though I did find the art auction to be very interesting. ) Most of the contestants for the bellyflop contest where from Utah. I am not sure if I went to the Love and Marriage show week 2 or week 3. I just remember the big difference between Allen hosting it versus Bill. Allen was a riot. It is too bad you missed him. Maybe I could send you some of my pictures from the Jan 24 cruise. What did you do for excursions? I went to Morningstar Beach in St. Thomas, Orient Beach in St. Maarten, tour of Carib Batik and Rodney Beach(?) in St. Lucia and Harrison Cave/Andromeda gardens in Barbados.
Yes we were obviously on the same cruise. I was at the late seating. I unfortunately missed the belly flop contest. I was unlucky enough to have a cold hit me the day we embarked and it hit me worst the day of the belly flop contest when I unfortunately succumbed to it somewhat and spent the afternoon napping in my cabin (a first for me I assure your). Luckily I was able to suck it up and still enjoy myself through most of it except for the day in St. Lucia where we stayed onboard and took it easy. Since I am quite an art buff (thanks to learning a lot about it on cruises) I did partake of the art auction on this cruise and bought a gorgeous piece that I got for a great deal since nobody bid against me.
Am I right in understanding that you went on Serenade 3 weeks in a row? If so, I am so incredibly jealous.
We didn't end up doing any excursions on this cruise. We were with a group of 9 friends so it was kind of difficult to come to an agreement on a tour in time to still have room to book 9 of us. We had wanted to do the catamaran snorkel tour in Barbados but by the time we made up our minds, it was booked for all but 2 people. So we just did shopping in the morning and beaches in the afternoon and still had an absolute blast. The funny thing is that I managed to hide from all of our friends that I was sick. I just told them I had allergies (which I normally do suffer from) and they bought it. My reasoning is that I didnt want to make them paranoid about being around a sick person ( since they were kind of "stuck" with me anyway being at the same table etc) and I was very careful not to get too close to anyone. Anyway, I digress.
Have you every cruised with any lines other than RCCL? I am curious to hear your feedback as to the differences.
We are on the Serenade April 17th...hope to have the greatest vacation ever....we have been on Carnival about 5 years ago, and hope this is a step above...Please, any information or advice?? we are in San Juan for a day prior, so we can board early....should we??
Scott, I think I've replied to you before about the Serenade. I would recommend trying to get on early. My family spent a few days in San Juan before boarding the ship. We stayed in Condado, which is not too far from the new Pan American Pier, that RCI is using now. The information RCI gives you says that boarding is at 1:00pm, but they do start letting people on the ship at around 11:15. So with luggage and immigration, I would suggest getting to the pier at around 10:30-10:45ish to board early. It is nice being one of the first ones on the ship, because you get to enjoy it without all the crowds. Upon boarding, they offer you rum punch or fruit punch. I recommend getting up to the Windjammer as the Welcome Aboard food display is beautiful. Then if you have anything to take care of with your seating, or a spa appointment, Chops or Portifinos, etc., you can get that out of the way. They tell you that you can board early and can go to your cabin, but can't promise that it will be ready until 1:00pm. If you get on board early, you probably won't have to wait that long until you get your luggage. The Compass lists Saturday, the day you get on the ship as Day 1, so anyone that can't get into PR until late Saturday, is missing much of Day 1, which they paid for.
I did stay on the Serenade for three weeks. I don't know if I recommend it because the post-cruise depression lasts so much longer than when you are on the ship for one week. lol. But really, real life just can't compare to life on the ship and I can't wait until I am able to go again. The only other cruise line I have sailed with is the now defunct United States Lines, that sailed round trip out of Honolulu sp?. The ship was an old ship, probably comparable to the Nordic Empress. People were complaining about the food service, because there were a couple of hours during the AM and PM, when you could only get food through room service. I had nothing to compare it to so I had a nice time, especially since the itinerary was Hawaii. The ship wasn't as nice as the Serenade though. I am hesitant to take a cruise on anything lesser than the Radiance class. I am afraid I won't have as nice a time. I can see myself maybe trying Carnival one day. I don't live too far from NYC and they sail out of there. If money is tight in the future, the price is right and the ship is decent, I might give Carnival a try. Celebrity sounds nice too. I think I would only do a Norwegian cruise if it is on the ship that sails round trip out of Hawaii. I don't like the idea of sailing across the Pacific from Encenada or Vancouver.
I prefer to stay with RCI as I want to build up my Crown and Anchor points. I am only one cruise away from being a Platinum member, whatever that means. Sounds like you can get good deals on balconies with Platinum or Diamond membership though. I really would like to go on the Serenade again, but I do want to try a different itinerary. Right now the idea of being in Alaska doesn't sound tempting to me as I am freezing my buns off here in NY and don't want to go someplace else to do that. I feel like I need the summer to defrost, not go someplace where I can't wear shorts and tank tops. If it ever gets warm here, then I might consider Alaska, but airfare to Vancouver is $$$$. I might like to try the Panama Canal cruise or even the Hawaii cruise(only because it is the Serenade would I consider sailing across the Pacific). Hopefully, I will go on a Radiance or Voyager class ship, but whatever cruise I decide I am sure that I will have a good time.