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Age: 64

Occupation:Office Manager

Number of Cruises: 7

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Serenade of the Seas

Sailing Date: 2009-10-3

Itinerary: Panama Canal

We just returned from a two week cruise, our first with RCL. It has been the very best of all the cruises we have ever been on. The ship was fabulous, the staff friendly and accommodating, the food was good (although we are not the fussiest of eaters), the room was well appointed and comfortable. It was the best cruise experience we have had. We have sailed on seven different lines but this is the first time I feel like we will return to Royal Caribbean again-we have never felt like we wanted to go with any of the other carriers a second time in the past.

Our main complaints with the other ships have been a lack of adequate seating space around the ship, lines that went on forever for departure and buffet service (whoever put the omelet and waffle stations in the middle of the food lines was a complete idiot) and general crowd control. This ship has all of that covered and done correctly.
I once had to stand up for an entire nighttime show on another ship, not on this one even though we got there a bit late one night, we still found a place to sit down and this was a full ship.

The waiters, guest relations folks, room stewards, cruise director--actually all the ship personnel--were wonderful
and accommodating. They met us with frozen washcloths on the pier after we were out in the heat!

The food was very good, although we all thought that some of the choices were a bit weird. I suppose they pick some of those dishes to satisfy vegan eaters. All of the dishes we had were tasty, served hot and we never had any trouble if we wanted more or if we didn't like what we had chosen. Our waiter said to our table to just tell him and he would do whatever he had to to make us happy with our meals!

We ate at both of the pay-to-go restaurants on board, Chops Grille and Potofino. There was a bit of confusion with the check in Portofino, but nothing that couldn't be worked out swiftly. The food was good tasting and beautifully served. The desserts were fabulous. We do not regularly eat at expensive "white plate" restaurants, so this was a treat for us. Perhaps if you are more of a gourmand it would not impress you as much.

The excursions were so so, but we were in third world areas so I was not expecting much. Some of the narration was non existent or in heavily accented English, but I got the gist of what we were seeing. In Guatemala there was a delay getting back to our motor coach and the locals swarmed us with their wares like piranhas on fresh meat. They would not take "no" for an answer,either. This is not RCL's fault, it is indigenous to the area.

My only big complaint is that the prices in the stores on board were beyond ridiculous for some of the items, so we shopped off the ship. The shopping guru was no help and rather annoying, so we just shopped elsewhere. I am experienced at finding what I want without being sent to stores that pay the ship to advertise for them. I shopped for jewelry in Grand Cayman, got certified stones and warranties without RCL getting their kickback.
I would highly recommend the Serenade of the Seas. I can't wait to go again.

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