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Heather

Age: 28

Occupation:Insurance Sales

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Serenade of the Seas

Sailing Date: October 30th, 2003

Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

Embarkation
We boarded the Serenade of the Seas in Philadelphia on October 30, 2003. We left from Philadelphia and visited Labadee, Antigua, St. Martin, St. Lucia, St. Thomas and docked I Puerto Rico. I was traveling with my boyfriend and my parents (parents were first time cruisers). The embarkation process was very quick and easy. We only waited in one line (for about 2 minutes) before we were given our Sea Pass cards and allowed to board the ship. There was plenty of staff on hand at the port to assist travelers and answer questions. All staff was very friendly and polite.

Ship’s Décor/Rooms
When were boarded the ship we were astonished by the beauty of the ship. The Centrum is gorgeous. There was a glass elevator that went to the 13th deck and if you were on the outside you had a beautiful view of the ocean while you were sailing. If you sail on this ship go to the top floor of the Centrum and look down. It is a gorgeous view. There are colored lights, glass elevators, lighted glass steps, art, etc. We also particularly liked the sports bar, disco and solarium. The decor of the sports bar was chrome with black, white and red accents. It reminded me of a racecar theme. The disco was spacious with plenty of cocktail tables and comfortable lounging chairs. Also there was a rotating bar in the center that was completely illuminated. It was really cool. The solarium was gorgeous. Be sure to check it out at night as it is lit up and absolutely beautiful. The gym was very nice. There were plenty of bikes, treadmills and weight machines. There was also an aerobics floor and TV’s all around the room. There were different classes daily. There was also a walking track outside. It seems this was used a lot by the passengers. Each day we saw many people walking.

Staterooms
The staterooms were nicely decorated but a little on the small side. Although the staterooms are small, there is plenty of space to put clothes and toiletries. There is a spacious closet with plenty of hangars. For the first time I didn’t have to request extra hangars from the stateroom attendant. The is a real hair dryer and safe in the room. We had a balcony stateroom and the balcony was awesome. I have never had a balcony before but won’t cruise without one in the future. We really enjoyed the sitting on the balcony as the sun set each evening. We also enjoyed the scenery as we pulled in and out of the different ports. The bathroom was, again, small but there were shower doors as opposed to the shower curtain that soaked the entire bathroom floor. Overall, for the amount of time you spend in the room it was ok for 2 people.

Dining
In my opinion, the food on the Serenade was excellent. We ate breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer almost every day. For breakfast, there was a large selection of fruit, hot and cold cereal, yogurt, juices, eggs, bacon, sausage (pork and turkey), corned beef hash, pancakes, waffles, French toast, pastries, bagels, English muffins, toast, biscuits & gravy. There was also an omelet station. Any breakfast food you could want was here. I found the food to be delicious. For lunch, there was also a large selection of food that did change daily. Everyday there was a sandwich station offering sandwiches, wraps, etc. Hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza were also offered everyday. There was a salad bar every day, which offered a variety of fresh vegetables, toppings and dressings for salads. A few days there was a taco bar. There were also different entrees, vegetables and side dishes and desserts every day. Soft serve ice cream is available 24 hours a day. Other lunch options were the Seaview Café on Deck12 and the Solarium Café by the Solarium pool. We ate at both a few times and, again, the food was good. Both offered salads and sandwiches. The Solarium Café also offered pizza. We ate dinner in the dining room each evening. Our servers, Jose and Joyce, were EXCELLENT. The food was also excellent each night. We had no complaints with the way the food was prepared! It was delicious. Also, every night there was 1 low fat dessert and 2 sugar free dessert options, which I thought was great for diabetics and those watching their weight. There were also healthy and vegetarian entrée choices each night. We also had room service a few times for breakfast and snacks. Again, we had no complaints. Room service offers breakfast, sandwiches, salads, burgers, pizza and desserts. There is not a large selection on the menu but it was good enough! Food was always fresh, especially the pastries we had for breakfast. We did not dine in the 2 optional restaurants, Portofino and Chops but heard from others that they were both excellent.

Entertainment
We did not see many of the shows on the ship but the one show that we did see was very good. My parents saw The Platters sing one evening and said they were excellent. The entertainment staff was great. There were different activities going on every day-everything from dance class to contests to bingo. The cruise director and his staff were great. All were funny, energetic and friendly. There were different theme parties each night including a 70’s Disco, Sock Hop, Hoe Down, Caribbean Pool Party and during our cruise, a Halloween party. That was a lot of fun. Many people brought costumes and they had a contest for the best ones. There was a cinema on board for those who wanted to catch a movie, although we did not use it. The casino was always busy. We did not win much. There were also slot tournaments and blackjack tournaments throughout the cruise. There were self-leveling pool tables, which were really cool. When the ship moved or rocked the tables would move so that the balls did not roll around. There was a mini golf course and a rock climbing wall. My boyfriend climbed the wall and said it was a lot of fun. We watched people climb and they all seemed to enjoy it.

Debarkation
Debarking the ship was HECTIC. Once we were off the ship it was complete chaos. We got our luggage and then went to board a bus that would take us to the airport in Puerto Rico. We were instructed to put out luggage in a large pile with other luggage and it would be transported to the airport. In the meantime, there were hundreds of people waiting to get on a bus. Each times a new bus pulled in tons of people would swarm the bus, pushing and shoving along the way. I wish this process would have went a little smoother as everything on our ship was excellent up to this point.

Overall, the ship was beautiful and had much to offer. All of the RC staff was very pleasant and helpful. We had no complaints other than the debarkation process, which was chaotic after we got off the ship. I would recommend this ship to anyone! It is a great vacation experience.

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