Its my first time cruising and I'm currently looking at a Panama Canal itinerary on the Serenade of the Seas -(Royal Caribbean), which sails the end of this coming October. I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who has done a similar itinaray on this particular ship.
You know the standard stuff;
- Public areas
- Cramped/Not Cramped
*N.B-(it's actually the ship that I'm keen on getting reviews, but additional feedback on the itinerary would also be appreciated).
We took the Serenade on a 7 day to the Southern Caribbean in April of 2006, so while I can’t speak to the itinerary, I can tell you that it is a beautiful and well designed ship.
Some people say that the cabins on Royal Caribbean are on the small side. Since our only point of comparison was on a NCL cruise in 1984, it seemed more than adequate in space. We had a balcony room and found room to store everything easily (although some overflow did seem to make its way to the small couch. The shower was small, but the plastic door was far superior to the vinyl curtain of our previous cruise. The cabin itself was well appointed and I liked the use of wood and navy blue in its decoration. We found the bed was comfortable and slept with the balcony door open so we could hear the sound of the water as we sailed through the night.
Service was outstanding in every aspect.
The food was very good. Not what you might find on land at $35 a head, but flavorful and interestingly prepared. Even the Windjammer, where we ate breakfast and most lunches, had a great variety of food. Only the hamburgers, which were too well done for us, were below acceptable. With so many choices, it’s hard to go wrong.
All of the public areas are beautiful, clean, and easy to navigate. Lots of glass lets in natural light and views of the ocean. Some of our favorite spots were the outdoor seating behind the Windjammer (great spot for breakfast) and the sports deck for volleyball games.
We didn’t take in any shows after dinner (second seating). After a full day in port and a late dinner, we tended to just relax on our balcony or read in our room. We did enjoy the casino one night, but didn’t see much dancing up in the Royal Viking Lounge.
The ship was kept clean in all areas and there were lots of hand sanitizers about, especially as you re-board the ship after a day in port.
To sum up, after a week on the Serenade, we were ready for two more! The only drawback might be that we were so spoiled; it’s hard to think about trying another ship much less another cruise line. We would love to do the canal as well and are planning for spring of 2011. I can’t imagine taking another ship.
April 1, 2006 - Serenade of the Seas - 7 days to the Southern Caribbean
October 8, 1984 - NCL Sunward II - 3 day cruise to the Bahamas