I’m a Royal Caribbean fan. Really. A big one. I’m a platinum cruiser– kind of a big deal. Their boats are majestic, organized and beyond enjoyable.
So, it was without hesitation that I booked our family vacation on the Serenade of the Seas. How did I pick this one? Well I asked myself some important questions– see the list here. Ultimately, I just wanted a beautiful and newer ship, with an itinerary containing some ports we had yet to explore.
The Serenade was fabulous from the moment we boarded. D always says his favorite part of a cruise is when you walk on board into the unknown. The Centrum (Lobby) was sky high with beautiful glass elevators, sculptures and live music in the evenings.
The calypso drums were beating away by the pool as the incredibly balanced pool servers danced with trays on their heads– it was going to be a great vacation.
The itinerary was all we were hoping for. The Southern Caribbean and its electric blue water, quaint seaside towns and “island time” rythm helped our group easily swing into full relaxation mode. And the luxurious accomodations and amenities on the Serenade helped, too.
In Barbados, make sure to venture out to one of the breathtaking beaches. We did The Boatyard on our own. Royal Caribbean offered this as an excursion, but thanks to experience, we knew we could get to town and The Boatyard with just an easy taxi ride. And again, it did not disappoint. Make sure to bring some money for lunch, because The Boatyard restaurant has an exotic menu, including fried fish with a hint of curry and tons of fresh seafood.
In all the Caribbean, St. Maarten may be my favorite island–I’m just dying to explore more and actually stay there for longer than 8 hours. The half French, half Dutch island boasts 37 square miles with breathtaking vistas and white sand beaches. We chose the excursion taking us to Orient Bay, a 2-mile long white sand beach, complete with waves (which is a rare-find in the Caribbean)!
Don’t forget to stop by the drink shack for a famous bloody mary!
St. Lucia was a blast. We decided to do a bit of shopping and then rented a taxi to take us round trip to the local beach. The ride was affordable and we ended up at Rodney Bay. Although the water was darker, we still had a great time. There were charters available for tube rides and even a man in a boat floating around making fresh daquaris.
And I certainly cannot leave out the gorgeous St. Croix and The Bucaneer Hotel. I’m so glad we ventured off and took the boys to golf. The Buccaneer property is a modern throw back to old world Caribbean style vacations.
Each night, The Serenade of the Seas provided fantastic entertainment and an even better dinner offering. The food with Royal Caribbean is beyond remarkable. We happen to enjoy the standard fixed dinner time and especially like the later seating (8:15pm), which allows for a tasty cocktail at one of the many bars on board.
Overall, you cannot go wrong on The Serenade of the Seas. In fact, Continental lost my luggage before the cruise, forcing me to bargain shop at a Marshalls in Old San Juan.
While the airline was rude and completely unaccommodating in regards to my bags whereabouts, Royal Caribbean and specifically Diego at the Pursers Desk made everything better.
Diego started by apologizing (even though it wasn’t RC’s or his fault) and telling me he wouldn’t stop til he found the bag. The ship offered a toiletry kit, t-shirts to sleep in and even formal wear options. While I was lucky enough to have packed a small carry on with some clothes and essentials, the generous options made me feel important and in good hands.
Eventually, 3 days later, my suitcase arrived. Diego was informative, kept me up-to-date every step of the way, and even sent a bottle of wine to the room once the luggage was retrieved. Honestly, I felt like HE deserved the wine!!
So, as I was saying, if you’re looking for an elegant, yet fun ship with world class service, look no further than Royal Caribbean and The Serenade of the Seas.