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Ashley Johnson

Age: n/a

Occupation:n/a

Number of Cruises: First Cruise

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Serenade of the Seas

Sailing Date: December 17th, 2005

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

This was our first cruise. The process of getting from the airport at San Juan to the ship went very quickly and smoothly. We were very glad to have booked our flight and transfer through Royal Caribbean.

We heard from table mates that the food was not as good as on a Princess ship they had been on. We were a little disappointed in the food quality overall. It was ok, but not exceptional. My daughter has severe food allergies and a letter was sent through special services prior to the cruise. When we arrived, we had to give the head waiter another copy. We still had some difficulty in getting them to understand the extent of her allergies and get adequate information about foods to make choices. They were much more helpful to those who were vegetarians. Our dining table was not in the main dining room and was in a bad location. The table was too large for the location. One person had to contend with a pillar and there was a steady stream of traffic around 4 of the diners.

We were disappointed in the midnight buffet. It was beautiful to look at but many item were not very appealing to our taste buds. A few things were very good. To find out about the midnight buffet, listen for announcements and on the Compass it is listed under snacks!!

Loved the Compass and the info the Captain gave about each island.

Liked the little theater-though most shows were old. There were good movies on the TV. Liked the entertainment.

We were glad we did excursions from the ship. Did not have to worry about time, etc. We went to Trunk Bay on St. John's from St. Thomas. It was a good value and a good trip. We went in the pm to avoid the crowd in the am.

On St. Martin we went to Pineel Island to snorkel. Would highly recommend this for first time snorklers. Walter was fantastic in making it possible for me who has claustrophobia and am only a so-so swimmer.

We went to Dickinson Beach on our own on Antigua. Dr. D was our taxi driver. You will be surrounded by drivers. He was great. We were there by 9:30 am and had the beach to ourselves for the first 1 1/2 hours. Dr. D came back for us at the time we set. There was wonderful sand - felt like wet suede. Clear water. Beach chairs cost us $5.00 and we knew our stuff was watched. Do be careful of jelly fish-more likely the week of a full moon.

Table mates went on the Sting Ray excursion and liked it even though the sting rays were in an enclosed area.

We went on a 5 1/2 hr. trip on St. Lucia - to Souffrie, the volcano vents, a plantation, and a botanical garden. It rained a lot that day but was still great. The road is hair pin turns and not for the faint of heart. The van drivers did great. Do take something for motion sickness is you have a problem. One poor child was very distressed over creating a mess on another van.

Brings me to motion sickness. We did great with taking Bonine, usually just once a day. We did take some before the van trip.

On Barbados we just went to Boat Yard Beach. It was the clearest water of all. The beach did not get busy until about noon. The sun is much more intense there so use plenty of sun screen.

Several people went on the turtle snorkel trip at Barbados and raved about it. The turtles were not in any enclosed area, but in their natural setting.

There were 500 children on the cruise since it was the week before Christmas. Only a few children were left to fun wild and were obnoxious, but that certainly was unpleasant. We were showered while on our balcony with what we hope was just water. Our main concern was that people did not recognize that predators could be on the ship just as easily as anywhere. Young children were certainly vulnerable.

The cabin attendant was great and was the only person who was genuine and personable. He made us very comfortable. Loved the towel animals. Most others we encountered on the ship said the word to show and interest but did not really listen. It seemed they were phony and just after tips.

Liked the info on the islands we passed on the at sea day. The disembarking went very smoothly. I'm sure it was easier for us since were the first group to leave the ship.

We took lots of pictures and were glad we did since a week later it was hard to believe we had actually been there.

We were not big shoppers, so no advice there. Once you've seen one place, they are pretty much the same. The ship had a few interesting items.

We never did get around to using the pools on the ship, but they seemed ok. We loved going through the Windjammer out to the rear deck to eat.

Happy cruising.

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