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Kieron Murphy

Age: 51


Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Serenade of the Seas

Sailing Date: 01-17-2009

Itinerary: southern caribean

This was our first cruise so didn't know what to expect. It turned out to be a wonderful experience. The ship is beautiful, not too small, not too big. The staff were absolutely fantastic - boarding and disembarking was quick and efficient. We ate mainly in the Windjammer Cafe . This offers buffet style dining - there were several stations and getting the food was never a problem. Quality of the food was excellent. The boat does offer 2 other restaurants for an additional charge of approx 20 dollars-however as windjammer was so good, we never felt the need to go elsewhere. The evening meal was a proper sit down meal. The same waiters, assistant waiters served you every night. They were wonderful (Saju and Lolyd ), on occasions when we could not decide what we wanted, saju would recommend something-he never got it wrong. On the final evening I had wanted to try the lobster, it was served with garlicky shrimps, but as I don't like garlic I plumped for the steak instead. knowing I had wanted to try the lobster, Saju brought me a plate of this, as well - all the waiters were marvelous and couldn't have been of more assistance. My only criticim of the dining is that the coffee was only available at an extra charge of 6 dollars - this may be typical on all cruises, but I thought it should have been included with the meal. We had a stateroom with a balcony which was excellent. The bathroom was a bit on the small side, but I suppose you get what you pay for. My only other gripe is about the bed. I have stayed in numerous hotels, etc. over the years and never had a problem with the beds. However the mattress on this bed was quite clearly past its "sell by" date. My side of the bed had quite a distinctive hollow in it which meant that I "rolled back into it if I moved towards the middle of the bed. I complained to the stateroom attendant, but I don't think he was convinced I had a genuine complaint, nonetheless he tried to fix it by putting a double mattress liner under the sheet -it made little difference and i didn't pursue it any further-I wish now I had done as my back is now quite painful. The on board activities were provided by the crew and a troupe of professional dancers and singers. The entertainment was excellent and I can't fault either the quality or variety. There was always plenty to chose from - a piano bar, latin music in the centrum , disco music in the night club, to name but a few. The waiters in the restaurant also gave an impromptu rendering of the "macerena" during an evening meal in which the whole restaurant joined in. We didn't avail of any of the ships organized excursions instead opting for organizing our own trips to the beach. In St. Lucia, we booked a taxi along with 6 others for a tour to the volcanoes, botanical gardens, waterfall and beach - this cost us 37 Dollars each - the almost identical tour offered by the boat was 69 dollars. No problem getting it, as plenty of drivers touting for business at the port. On Barbados we got taxi to Paynes beach (return trip 15 dollars each) - nice beach, but pestered quite often by locals to purchase goods. We did purchase a 1 hour tour in a glass bottom boat. This was accessed from the beach and included snorkeling with turtles and snorkel over sunken wreck exactly the same places as offered by the ship, but far less congested. The catamarans, on offer from the ship, had easily a hundred people on them and appeared crowded. Also, when they were swimming in the water, I don't know how they managed to see any turtles through huge number of snorkelers. Our boat had 8 people and 2 crew - the crew were chatty and very friendly and gave us a running commentary as we progressed up the coast. They also provided the snorkelling equipment all for 20 dollars each - great value -I think equivalent tour from boat was about 70 dollars, but I suppose they didn't have to pay for the taxis. The boat we were on was great, but beware of some of the other boats for hire they were quite small and I would have doubts about thier sea worthiness. Overall a brilliant trip - the ship was excellent, the crew were very friendly and talented and were responsible for making the holiday one to remember. Only downside was the bed and I suppose the expense. I expected the boarding and disembarkation to be a hassle but they both ran very smoothly and we were on the ship and in our staterooms within 15 minutes of arriving at the port. Disembarking was also a breeze. But i would advise against buying the transfer from the ship to the airport. It cost about 15 dollars each - the bus was difficult to find - we had to wait at least 15 minutes for the bus to fill before it left for the airport. The luggage is loaded in a separate van and was delivered to the Continental Airlines part of the airport. Unfortunately we were delivered (along with 25 other people) to another part of the airport and spent an anxious half hour watching vans unloading luggage which clearly didn't even come from our ship. When the mistake was realised Royal Caribean orgainised a bus back to the correct part of the terminal were we fond ours cases sitting on the sidewalk-some other passengers were not so lucky as i know of at least two who were not immediately reunited with their luggage. Next time I will get a taxi which were even closer to the ship than the bus, is more comfortable, is much quicker, there is no wait for your luggage on arrival and no chance of it going astray and on top of all that its about the same price as the transfer organized by the ship.

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