During the course of the next week I'll write and post a FULL report, and submit it to Readers Review area.. but thought I'd drop in on the boards and post a mini report about our CruiseMates Let's Get Lei'd Again Group Cruise.
First off... the Serenade is a REALLY beautiful ship, with great interior spaces. The Schooner's Bar, Safari Club are both remarkably comfortable, with an upscale feel to them.
We enjoyed terrific meals, with excellent service at both Chops and Portofinos.
The food in the dining room and Windjammer, though plentiful, was very average, and NEVER hot. Even warm would be a stretch. Most everything seemed to be at room temperature. Thought I kept ordering the chilled soups at dinner <G>
You won't starve for sure, but only about 2 nights menus, out of 11, were really interesting.
It seemed we were rather fortunate to be cruising with a CM group, and creating our own fun, because the entertainment and events aboard seemed out of sync the entire cruise. The Cruise Compass seemed to have errors in schedule and activities almost every day.
We had late seating dinner, and the majority of shows in the Theater were pre-dinner shows, which seemed to negate the benefit of doing late seating. The "theory" being with late seating there's no rush to return from ports or rush to dinner.
The Captain was a delight. Very friendly and entertaining. And kept the passengers very well informed when we were preparing for a medical evacuation at sea.
The crew seemed to be a particularily happy bunch. Each one we spoke with, seemed happy with the ship and their fellow crewmates.
The design of the main pool area is rather poor, imho. For a large ship, the area is small, and there's no area poolside at all with table & chairs to enjoy alfresco dining. One day there was a poolside bar-b-q, and though it happened to be cold to eat outside that day anyway, you had to get your food there, and go into the Windjammer Cafe to find a table and chair to eat at.
I'll go into much more detail in my full report, but this should give you a "taste" of our experience on Serenade.
The BEST thing about it was the CruiseMates group we were with. Fabulous and Fun!!
Well, Kuki, you have the right attitude, it is a cruise vacation, so enjoy it! I'm sure the company of all the cruisemates was a great addition! There will never be a perfect cruise, and that is fine with me. I overlook any of the trivial things, and the weather is something we absolutely have no control over! A BBQ poolside on a Hawaiian cruise, and it was to cold to sit outside, that had to be a real bummer! Sounds like everyone had a great cruise. Looking forward to the company picnic cruise in Jan. to meet all the friendly cruisemates that are all so addicted to cruising!
NCL Dawn (Repo 14 nite) 11-1-09
RCCL Mariner of the Sea (Mexican Riviera) 4-18-10
We were on the Serenade in April doing Southern Caribbean out of San Juan. The ship was so beautiful it took my breath away.. I also found the crew to be super friendly and gratiously eager to serve. The food was ' poor to average ' in our opinion and yet I heard good comments from other cruisers. Our biggest complaint was the temperature as Kuki points out. Sometimes it was not even warm...
Also had some pancakes one morning in the dinning room that tasted like sawdust and saw many tables around us sending them back.
All in all we would not hesitate to cruise on the beautiful Serenade again.
Hey Kuki! Great to see your mini-review. I would agree wholeheartedly that the Serenade is visually one of the most beautiful ships afloat. I would also concur that the Schooner Bar and Safari Club are probably the most beautiful bars afloat. Chops and Portofino are both extremely fine venues, excellent food and service. Why, oh why, does RCI let this fabulous operation down with very mediocre and COLD food in both the Windjammer and especially, the dining room?? We were so disgusted with dinner in the dining room that we ate there only THREE nights out of Eleven on this cruise. RCI should be ashamed--even worse than the mediocre food there was the fact that it was NEVER hot (or even warm, for that matter). Thank goodness for the alternative dining venues--Seaview Cafe, Chops and Portofino were all respectively excellent. With that out of the way, I will say that as part of Kuki's group, we had a WONDERFUL time with these folks. Had a pre-cruise sunset get-together in Honolulu, a great Cruisemates cocktail party that Kuki arranged, and best of all, a tour of the bridge. Thanks Kuki for all the hard work! I'll post a more in-depth review later. John.
Kuki, Now that you are back, are there any plans for the Constellation 9/20 trip from NYC? We booked a long time ago but I belive this is a cruisemates trip as well! Hope to catch a Hawaii cruisemates trip sometime in the future. Sounds like you had fun--hope you have some photos to share along with the review