The Serenade is purely wonderful. We started with a RCL bus pickup Route 3: which Starts in Boston to Springfield, Ma to Hartford then pier.It took nearly 4hrs from Springfield. Embarking took 10-12 min including pier pick up of documents.We took Backpacks to cabin and went to lunch in windjammer. Our luggage was at our room on return.FAST! by then life boat drill and top side to watch departure. There we met a lovely couple from NY who were able to detail all we passed from Ground Zero to Coney island to just everything, Thank you Carl and Louise for enhancing the departure.
The Serenade is beautiful.The balcony cabin -deck 7 -3from back was small but sufficient. My favorite places on ship: the dining room-the schooner bar-and the solarium. Dining room we were on 1st floor of 2 right, in front of stairs, beside captain's table with a table 0f 6.Food was excellent especially surf & turf, herbed cod, shrimp scampi, creamy garlic soup and a rasberry pudding that I wish I had right now.yum Service was great especially our assitant waiter , Milinda. If you could choose servers we'd choose her again.thewaiter was good but maybe a bit shy and busy. The room steward was very good and we had a favorite bar tender in the schooner, Donji, who should be retitled as Bartender/ entertainer.
The entertainment was very very good. We saw all shows ,"Vibeology" being the best. The comedian was very enjoyable and the Singer Tony B was good too Casino was like a charity - DONATION. haha We encounted a strong storm with 55mph wind and 18 ft sea and had to by pass BarHarbor for saftey and increase speed to get in safe harbor of Halifax a half day early. Had the storm Tues night-Wed noon. Some folks mad at missing a port but we opt for saftey like the captain. On Wed morn captain asked everyone to stay inside as wind was to dangerous and gave us an open bar. So we arrived in Halifax a day early, could get off but it was raining and strong wind so we opted to stay on ship til next day . We have a nephew, a missionary, in Halifax so they picked us up for a private tour of the city, Had a wonderful day. I did want to say the Serenade rode the storm well I truly did not feel uncomfortable in spite of the increased motion most noticable in the shower where you bounced from side to side and also in the theatre and halls. Entertainment staff did a great job with games like the Quest-marriage game-and Balderdash. The cruise director, Allen Brooks was very good and energetic.
Both he and the captain were very accessable out meeting and talking to guest in spite of extra storm responsibility.However Captain never came to his table once tho twice the staff set it expecting him. The kids -came thru the ship dressed and face painted as pirates on formal night reciting a pirate poem (4-12yrs) with counselors. I also went to their talent show. It was funny and cute.I had no kids but they seemed to have a great program. We did the photos where you dress up in Titanic costumes with our tablemates and that was fun too. There was dancing in several locations. WE danced in the centrium-the disco-and the rock & roll party. great bands. Our only complaint was debarking.It was long-late and miserable. They had to hold our bus for us and people from the zenith shared our bus and waited a long time for us to get off tho we came into port together.But captain was there on the gang plank to say goodbye to everyone . He is a great captain and we would love to sail with him again.
Breaking news...RCCL's Serenade of the Seas outshines Crystal Harmony...From the lovely veranda cabins to the stunning Schooner Lounge, the new Serenade of the Seas offers a luxury cruising experience that rivals and surpasses the Crystal Harmony - at a fraction of the price. The children's facilities are gorgeous and the program even finer. The only time I saw a child crying was when it was time to leave!
The staff is friendly and cooperative - room service "special ordered" a spagetti dish for my six-year old! The extensive spa facility offers the latest treatments with highly skilled professionals - the hot rock massage is not to be believed. Chops Grille is truly the finest steakhouse on the high seas - the best veal chop I have ever eaten! What a well-organized and relaxing cruise experience...
We literally just returned from the second sailing aboard the Serenade. We arrived early and because my mom uses a cane, we skipped the lines and were having lunch at the Windjammer by 1 PM. My first impression was good - she is a gorgeous ship! Since she is brand new, everything is fresh and spotless.The atruim and elevators are all glass and the colors soothing. We had a standard outside stateroom which was on the small side with paper-thin walls and a loveseat. The bathroom was compact. There was not enough closet space for longer items. There was a safe, a hairdryer and shampoo dispensar in the shower but that was it.
The gym and spa area were lovely as was the solarium however, it was not a serene place since anyone at the front of the ship had to walk through it to get to the casual restaurant. It was supposed to be an adults only area but in bad weather kids are allowed to use it. So much for tranquility! There was a separate $50 charge to use the thermal therapy facility. The food ranged from goodto medicore. The Windjammer Cafe offered standard but limited buffet breakfast foods with two omelette stations one of which had the toast/bagels/english muffins and the other, biscuits, gravy & hard boiled eggs.The lines sometimes got long. I (along with many others)found standing in line for every beverage (which was served from behind a counter) and no table service for re-fills to be very irritating. There are no trays & no one to help you to your table either. We missed lunch each day as we were in port. They have abandoned the usual "High Tea" and replaced it with snacks in the Windjammer which include tacos, scones, pastries, soup and small deli sandwiches. There was no variety to the menu and it got pretty stale by day 4. There is no food poolside. They were unaccomodating with regard to dining changes. There are very few tables for two.The food at dinner was basically good but not memorable and the choices often left our table uninspired. Presentation was lovely and unfortunately, the desserts were usually delicious! There are two alternative restaurants which charge $20 per person.The room service menu is very limited and the wait, very long. We waited an hour for a cheese and cracker plate one afternoon and ended up cancelling a coffee order one morning- we showered & dressed quicker then they were able to deliver a pot of coffee. Be sure to be very specific when you order . One morning we ordered coffee for two and it arrived with only four creamers and no silverware or napkins. Others shared our experience as well.
We didn't purchase tours from the ship so I can't comment on the quality. We did not utilize the children's program but I heard from others that it was very good. We did play miniature golf one day which was fun. There is an arcade with a separate per game charge as well as two ping pong tables (free) and two pool tables. The library is small but well-stocked & open 24 hours a day which was very nice.
Entertainment consisted of two "productions" shows, the second being better than the first, a vocalist who had wonderful stage presence but catered to an older crowd and a husband/wife team who performed a vulgar dance/comedy routine which was idiotic. The disco, clubs and bars were not very crowded and music (except in the disco)usually ended by 1 AM. The musicians were very good, especially the band in the atrium bar area. This was a wonderful meeting place for before and/or after dinner drinks and the two bartenders were great. Drink prices are on the high side compared to other ships I've been on. Since this is a new ship I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt regarding service but it is hard. This is my 17th cruise and I found the service to be really, really bad. The dining room staff lacked polish and were poorly trained. In fact, they bordered on rude at times. This was especially true when we went to open seating breakfast. We waited 30 minutes for a drink at a bar the first night and there was no one serving near the pool or upper decks. Service, when it was provided was impersonal and disinterested. We saw the cruise director twice in 7 days and hardly ever saw the social staff.
Despite the poor service we had a good time. We were speaking to a member of the staff who said they were trying to create an upscale environment. The beauty of the ship certainly fits in with this goal but they need to re-train their staff, improve the quality and variety of the food and stop nickle and dimeing people. RCCL needs to remember that it is the little touches that make an impression on people and keeps them coming back.The captain is a warm and funny man. I hope as time goes on he will be able to improve on the overall experience.
Sailed on this beautiful ship on a 10-day "repositioning" from Philadelphia, stoping at Labadee, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Marteen, St. Thomas and terminating at San Juan, PR. Seas were not bad, weather was clear each day and very little motion of the ship. It was a good cruise, but not memorable. Embarkation was swift, but the 2 pieces of luggage came 4 hours apart. Lunch was served in the Windjammer and was nicely presented: separate stations for hot, cold, drinks, desserts. Tables were ample and very little wait as the staff very quickly cleared the tables. Servers walked around filling cups with water, juice, coffee. Nice touch. The variety of food in the Windjammer was excellent, the hot dishes being the best. Neve a line for food except for omelets. Breakfast in the dining room was tedious and boring: the same menu each day. Lunch was fine, except it was not always available when the ship was in port. No high teas (too bad). Dinner at the 2nd seating was comfortble. Waiter/assistant were intelligent and extremely accomadating. Variety/presentation was adequate. Alternative residents were too expensive at $20 per person and the servicewas no better than it was in the main dining room.
Cabin was on the small side, especially the bathroom. Body lotion, shower cap,etc., were absent. Small loveseat. Tight quarters for a cabin with a double balcony. Entertainment was enjoyable and typical, with the Platters bringing us back to the 50's. Juggler was extremely funny especially when he got the audience involved. All in all, it was a relaxing, enjoyable cruise, but not a memorable one. The little touches would have made a big difference for me in deciding whether to cruise with RCCL again. As I have cruised more than 30 times ove the past 10 years, as well as being a member of the Crown and Anchor Club, I will look elsewhere for my next cruise.