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Old 11-16-2009, 03:32 AM
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I am booking a southern carib. cruise for April 2010 and have it narrowed down to Caribbean Princess and Serenade of Seas. I have sailed on Royal Carib (Explorer of Seas) and Carnival (Miracle). Can anyone give me some pros and cons or tell me about a recent experience on the Serenade? I am mostly concerned about whether the ship is worn and overcrowded. We like to hang out by the pool and don't want to wait for a chair everyday. I will be booking a balcony room and was also curious about the comfort of the rooms. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!!!
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:39 AM
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The Serenade is actually 3 years newer than the Explorer and is in fine condition. Among Royal Caribbean loyalists, the Radiance class ships are considered the best with a good balance between passenger load and ship size.
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Old 11-16-2009, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Can anyone give me some pros and cons or tell me about a recent experience on the Serenade? I am mostly concerned about whether the ship is worn and overcrowded. We like to hang out by the pool and don't want to wait for a chair everyday. I will be booking a balcony room and was also curious about the comfort of the rooms. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!!!

I just got back from the SOS.

The ship is not worn or overcrowded. It holds 2000+ passengers with around 820 crew. I don't know what you mean by overcrowded. Did I have to stand in line to get into the restaurant, disembark? At times. Did I have trouble finding a seat in the Windjammer? Yes, at times. Did I have trouble finding a lounge chair? Yes. But I would gather that is on any ship that is near capacity.

There are some people who it seems camp out in the solarium so it was a little hard sometimes to get a chair. Also despite the "no saving" signs, this did go on. One day I went to the solarium and there were no vacant lounge chairs, but there were not people in everyone and no one was in the water so I suspect people had stepped out or whatever and weren't actively in the solarium.

It was easier to find a chair outside, but there are more outside.

I was in an inside room and it was pretty much the same as on the Grandeur of the Seas. Configuration was a little different.

One problem that did hold up getting into the restaurant/Windjammer at times was the hand sanitizer. Sanitizers were at the entrances to lots of things and it seemed to be mandatory to sanitize. As we entered employees told us to sanitize. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn't. Sometimes I'd get my food then use my own sanitizer. Anyway, when I would go to the restaurant I'd see a long line and I'd go to the front to see what was going on and it was people in line to sanitize, not to actually go into the restaurant.

I think the ship is in good shape. I didn't notice any glaring deficencies. If you have any questions, let me know. Oh, one lady did say she got bitten by a spider in the Safari Club, but it seemed like the ship didn't believe her.
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Old 11-16-2009, 01:55 PM
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Thanks so much!
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Old 11-17-2009, 07:13 AM
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Just to add, I was very impressed with the cruise director staff. They were very friendly, welcoming, and inclusive. I didn't find this on the Grandeur when I cruised in 2008.
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Old 11-19-2009, 03:41 PM
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Sometimes I'd get my food then use my own sanitizer.
Doesn't that defeat the purpose of using sanitizer? Any germs on your hands were potentially shared with everyone else! IMO, everyone should be required to use sanitizer in any buffet setting.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:17 AM
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Not if I've just washed my hands. Plus, after touching the menus or all the serving tongs or chair I feel the need to sanitize.
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Old 11-20-2009, 06:19 AM
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IMO, everyone should be required to use sanitizer in any buffet setting.
And people should use clean plates each time they go up. And put the serving tongs on the plates in front of the dishes not on top of the food under the heat lamp. I think RC should give a course on "How to Buffet Properly."
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Old 11-22-2009, 06:24 PM
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Just home from the S.O.S.
This is my 5th cruise and I would have to say it was the best. The ship looks wonderful and the staff was tops. I've cruised on the Radiance before (same class) and had the same experience.
We thought the food was very good and dining room service was above and beyond. This is the first time I've seen a head waiter work so hard (they usually put in an appearance here and there - but ours cleaned tables, filled glasses and served food too).
The Cruise Director (Mike S) was also the best I've seen so far but I'm told he's leaving the ship which is a shame.
The Stateroom attendants now have more rooms to cover so you may not see so many towel animals. Thanks to cutbacks, the chocolates are gone too- but the excellent service is still there. Our S.A. (Robert) cleaned the room quickly in the morning and evening, kept the ice bucket full and never failed to greet us in the halls.
The balcony rooms aren't huge, and they work better when the twin beds are pushed together. I would avoid the bottom two levels in the middle of the ship (as there's a ledge that some people feel obstructs the view), but on the lowest level- the balconies at the front of the ship are a little bigger than those above (by a couple of feet). You get a little more balcony for your bucks.
The swimming pool can be crowded on the at-sea day but there are still plenty of places a little further away if that bothers you (and there are loungers open by the pool if you don't mind a little more crowd). It usually clears up in the afternoon. It was never crowded at other times and I always found room in the hot tub or the pool itself (although it's not huge-but that's what beaches are for!).
Based on the wonderful crew and the well-kept staterooms and common areas- I'd go on the Serenade again any day!
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:19 AM
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This is the first time I've seen a head waiter work so hard (they usually put in an appearance here and there - but ours cleaned tables, filled glasses and served food too).
I agree! Last cruise, the head waiter just turned on the waterfall. This time the head waiter came round each night, checked on us, made us feel welcome, helped the waiters, etc. She worked very hard.
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