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A great winter get away by Myers, Gateshead

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Serenade of the Seas

OVERVIEW: Life aboard is more casual and unstructured than is often the case with Royal Caribbean International. This ship offers more space, more comfortable public areas, and several more intimate spaces, slightly larger cabins and more dining options than most of the larger ships in the fleet. Bu


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A great winter get away

Overall Rating: 4
836 views

7 out of 7 people found this useful
Cruise Ship:
Serenade of the Seas
Destination:
Middle East

Reviewed By: on
Had a fantastic flight with Emirates and stayed for three nights at the Crown Plaza hotel.
Our transfers which were included were spot on, we arrived at the port at approximately midday. Although there were not too many people in the arrivals building organisation was very poor. This is not usual with RCI, no one knew were to go, I spotted a person standing alone next to a placard, on enquiring found out that this was the correct check in for us. On beckoning my husband over, half of the queue followed him. After that we were on the ship very quickly.
We were able to drop our bags off in our room and met our steward. We had been upgraded to a larger room than we had paid for, plenty of storage which is the norm on RCI.
We ate in the Windjammer for breakfast and sometimes lunch, we never found problems finding a table, you could sit in areas beyond the restaurant and outside at the back of the ship. There was also the Park Cafe which was situated in the Solarium. We did not have a problem with cold plates, in fact most times I ate salads off a hot plate. Food overall was very good in all of the dining venues that were free. Had a meal in Giovanes, not impressed, the filet steak on main course was very good, rest of the meal and service not so good, not a patch on the previous experiences we have had in the old Portofinos. We were disappointed in the My Time Dining, we booked on line for 8pm as people were complaining about having to wait at peak times. We were shown to our table promptly, due to the place being full to the brim the poor waiters were run off their feet. We had to wait for ages to be served, the waiter did not have time to communicate, they seemed to be very stressed. We found that we did not enjoy a relaxing meal, which we have always experienced on previous RCI cruises. On hindsight I would go for an earlier time, or as informed by other people go at odd times like quarter too or past the hour. The late sitting on the normal dining was very quiet, there were lots of empty tables, or half full tables.
We booked and paid for five bottles of wine and a tour online and paid in pounds, due to the poor exchange rate it was definitely worth doing. We always pay our bill in Dollars, this way you avoid the extra charges on the conversion.
We did our own thing in Muskat, had a walk along the sea front, as it was too hot we returned to the ship. We intended doing more sightseeing the next day but enjoyed lazing around the Solarium pool on the very comfy loungers so much that we changed our minds.
Booked the ships tour of the city and mosque in Abu Dabi. The mosque was amazing, we visited a heritage sight, the guide was very informative and I thought the tour was well worth the money that we paid.
Did our own thing in Dubai as had stayed there before the cruise, taxis are cheap, we went to Emirates Mall, Madinet, Burj Al Arab then back to ship as it was very hot. When we got off the ship in Dubai there were lots of taxis waiting, we were cornered by one of the drivers who wanted to take us around the sites, wait for us at each place. When we declined he was not happy, we knew exactly where we wanted to be and do our own tour. Another driver intervened and took us directly to where we requested to be, so be wary, some of them are forceful.
Only saw one show, a violinist, who was very good, he played all sorts of music and was very entertaining. We also saw one of the acrobat shows which is in the centrum of the ship, there are plenty of viewing places as they are suspended from the ceiling and you can see from any of the floors.
The Serenade is a lovely ship, looks very smart after its refurbishment. The weather was brilliant, the sea flat calm which all contributed in making this a great cruise, we also had Dolphins swimming alongside us on our day at sea.
Although we had paid our tips upfront I was annoyed to find an envelope in our room asking for a tip for our room steward. She did give good service and we intended giving her extra, I was annoyed to be asked and nearly changed my mind, she did get an extra tip in the end.
All to quickly it was time to go home, we had to leave the ship at 4.30am, we were able to take our own cases off, our transfer was waiting on the dockside, we had another great flight home with Emirates.

7 out of 7 people found this useful

Times cruised before: 6-10
Sailed: March, 2013
Age: 65+
Cabin: Balcony
Occasion: Annual/regular holiday

Quality of Food
Main dining room very good, Windjammer very good, Park Cafe very good, Giovanis good
4

Entertainment
Violinist
4

Shore Excursions
Abu Dabi city tour
4

Staff
most staff very good
4

Children's Facilities
0

Onboard Activities
3

Cabins
5

Overall Rating
4
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