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  #1  
Old June 9th, 2005, 01:21 PM
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jobrien jobrien is offline
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Default Serenade Review - Alaska 5/29/05

We are not cruise veterans so no comparisons are provided but here goes...

Embarkation. No hitch. We arrived at 2:30p and were on the boat by 3:00p

We were in an Owner's Suite (1562) and the room was better than expected. Huge storage capabilities and massive balcony.

The Concierge was being manned my Michel Rodrigues as Maritza is on vacation. He did a great job and was a very gracious host.

The ship is beautiful and all the prior threads statements about the amount of glass allowing for viewing is accurate. You can see the gorgeous scenery everywhere.

We were very fortunate with the weather as the only rain we saw was light mist in Ketchikan.

Hubbard Glacier. Spectacular. The ship was able to get fairly close allowing us to witness and hear calving.

Skagway. We did the dogsled/glacier trip with Temsco. Very clean, professional and the kids had a great time with the dogs and sledding. We would do it again.

Juneau. A trip to Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching organized by Capt Larry's Orca Enterprises. Very well done and Capt. Larry lived up to the reputation he has on these boards.

Ketchikan. Island Wing's Misty Fjords tour. Another good time had. Michele was very knowledgeable and a great guide on the floatplane trip through the fjords. Saw mountain goats and landed on a lake that allowed the kids to climb alongside a waterfall.

We found the staff to be very friendly without exception. We did not interact with anyone who was not smiling and happy to help whatever the request was. The Cruise Director, Alan, was witty and friendly although our activities didn't allow alot of interaction with him. Our Head Waiter, Waiter and Ass't Waiter were absolutely superb and we looked forward to dinners due to their service. Although we didn't see our Suite Attendant much, he made sure all was well in our cabin at all times.

Dining was easy whether in the dining room or Windjammer. Only once did we struggle to find seating in Windjammer and not for long. The food quality was good to very good. We ate at Chops one evening and it was very good.

The shows were good but I went in without expectation. The "Guest Talent Show" was really quite good as a couple guests were very talented singers.

Quest... unbelievable. A must see.

Disembarkation. A bit of a line but very smooth in getting our luggage and exiting the terminal.

Great vacation enjoyed by all of us and we would not hesitate for a second to find ourselves back on the Serenade of the Seas.

Bad points:

1. Cybercabin was inoperable but Guest Relations quickly and gladly provided a credit to my account. You could access the internet through their terminals but laptop use was not available in the cabins. The terminals are fine for browsing but any internet based program that might require a java download (roadrunner mail) doesn't work.

2. I am constantly amazed at the capacity of some people to be so self absorbed as to lose sense of their surroundings and the negative impact that they have on others but you can't put 2,000+ people anywhere and not bump into a bad apple or two.

Happy to answer any questions.
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  #2  
Old June 9th, 2005, 01:47 PM
Passereau Passereau is offline
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My husband and I and some friends are on this itinerary in Aug. Can you tell me what nights were formal nights?
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Splendour of the Seas - 12/9/2006 - Caribbean
Serenade of the Seas - 8/21/2005 - Alaska
Carnival Magic - 6/3/2012 - Caribbean

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  #3  
Old June 9th, 2005, 01:51 PM
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Monday and Thursday.
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  #4  
Old June 9th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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Jobrien:

Thanks for the review. I am glad to see you had a great time. I'll be on the ship on July 3rd.

Glad to hear that formal nights were Monday and Thursday. I was afraid at first that it would be Friday night, the night we cruise through Misty Fjords.

For nightly entertainment, did you have Los Diablos Guachos, the Tango act? if you did, were they any good?

Can you tell me who the captain and the cruise director were?

How was cruising through Misty Fjords after leaving Ketchikan? Did you see much?

Glad to hear that you guys got really close at Hubbard. I am hoping that we're that lucky when I go.

Also glad to hear that you didn't have any embarkation trouble. a lot of people have been complaining about customs in vancouver so I was a bit worried.

Finally, silly question, but what was the theme to the solarium on Serenade?

Thanks so much!
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7/13 - Sun Princess - Southeast Asia
8/12 - Brilliance of the Seas - Russia & Scandinavia (Review)
7/09 - Ruby Princess - Greek Isles (Pictures)
7/08 - Grand Princess - British Isles (Review)(Pictures)
7/07 - Veendam - Scandinavia/Russia (Pictures)
7/06 - Brilliance of the Seas - Mediterranean/Greek Isles (Review) (Pictures)
7/05 - Serenade of the Seas - Alaska (Review)(Pictures)
9/04 - Jewel of the Seas - Canada/New England (Review)(Pictures)
7/04 - Zuiderdam - Western Caribbean (Review)(Pictures)
7/03 - Zaandam - Alaska
4/03 - Norweigan Star - Hawaii
7/96 - Noordam - Alaska
7/96 - Golden Princess - Alaska
8/94 - Jubilee - Mexican Riviera

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  #5  
Old June 9th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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Polish Falcon Polish Falcon is offline
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Default Thanks For A Great Review!

Do you remember what the dinner themes were on which night?
For instance, the night you went to Chops, was it Italian night in the DR?
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  #6  
Old June 9th, 2005, 03:09 PM
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jobrien jobrien is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstducky
Jobrien:

Thanks for the review. I am glad to see you had a great time. I'll be on the ship on July 3rd.

Glad to hear that formal nights were Monday and Thursday. I was afraid at first that it would be Friday night, the night we cruise through Misty Fjords.

For nightly entertainment, did you have Los Diablos Guachos, the Tango act? if you did, were they any good?

Can you tell me who the captain and the cruise director were?

How was cruising through Misty Fjords after leaving Ketchikan? Did you see much?

Glad to hear that you guys got really close at Hubbard. I am hoping that we're that lucky when I go.

Also glad to hear that you didn't have any embarkation trouble. a lot of people have been complaining about customs in vancouver so I was a bit worried.

Finally, silly question, but what was the theme to the solarium on Serenade?

Thanks so much!
To your questions:

Los Diablos Guachos. Yes they performed. They were okay, but I enjoyed the Guest Talent Show more if that says anything. There was also a pianist that performed. Don't recall his name but he toured with Liberace. Very good piano player.

The Captain's name... don't recall as we were too busy enjoying all the ship and trip had to offer. Seemed nice enough and he announced wildlife as spotted by the bridge. The Cruise Director was Alan Brooks. Very funny, high energy guy.

Cruising through the Misty Fjords was pleasant. The Captain took the boat in and out of the fjords. Cruised past "Bear Beach" but too early in the season for any bears. Nice but I am glad we did a floatplane to see it from that perspective.

Hubbard was awesome. Here are a couple of the hundred pics I took reduced to be manageable on a website:
http://www.orkl.com/cruise/pics.html

Customs? Two questions and done.

Silly question. Not sure what category but lots of palms with a pair of gold elephants over looking the pool. Very nice.

No problem at all. This board was a world of help as we prepared for our first and its nice to return the favor.

Ask away.


Last edited by jobrien; June 9th, 2005 at 03:15 PM.
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  #7  
Old June 9th, 2005, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polish Falcon
Do you remember what the dinner themes were on which night?
For instance, the night you went to Chops, was it Italian night in the DR?
We did go to Chops on Tuesday night which was Italian night in the DR.

Wednesday the Chef's Selection was Halibut.

Friday night was Lobster night.

Thats what I can remember off the top of my head but we have the Compasses so I will get them and post.
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  #8  
Old June 9th, 2005, 03:26 PM
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jstducky jstducky is offline
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woo hoo lobster night!

thats too funny, my first RCI cruise on Jewel, we did Chops one night, and it too was Italian night!

jobrien, thanks for answering my question, i really appreciate it. i can't wait to go now!

you're pics of hubbard are AMAZING!
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check out my travel blog, food blog and travel photos blog!

Where to next?!?!


7/13 - Sun Princess - Southeast Asia
8/12 - Brilliance of the Seas - Russia & Scandinavia (Review)
7/09 - Ruby Princess - Greek Isles (Pictures)
7/08 - Grand Princess - British Isles (Review)(Pictures)
7/07 - Veendam - Scandinavia/Russia (Pictures)
7/06 - Brilliance of the Seas - Mediterranean/Greek Isles (Review) (Pictures)
7/05 - Serenade of the Seas - Alaska (Review)(Pictures)
9/04 - Jewel of the Seas - Canada/New England (Review)(Pictures)
7/04 - Zuiderdam - Western Caribbean (Review)(Pictures)
7/03 - Zaandam - Alaska
4/03 - Norweigan Star - Hawaii
7/96 - Noordam - Alaska
7/96 - Golden Princess - Alaska
8/94 - Jubilee - Mexican Riviera

check out pictures from my trip to China!
http://community.webshots.com/user/uclagirl09
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  #9  
Old June 9th, 2005, 03:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstducky
woo hoo lobster night!

thats too funny, my first RCI cruise on Jewel, we did Chops one night, and it too was Italian night!

jobrien, thanks for answering my question, i really appreciate it. i can't wait to go now!

you're pics of hubbard are AMAZING!
Lobster night was great. Many restaurants cook it to the point that it would bounce off the floor if it fell... the chef did a great job. Really tasty.

Okay... flattery will get you everywhere... more pics posted to whet the appetite for Alaska:

http://www.orkl.com/cruise/pics.html
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  #10  
Old June 9th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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jstducky jstducky is offline
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you;ve got to be a talented photographer! those pictures are beyond words! keep them coming!

can i ask what kind of camera you have?
how many pictures did you take all together on the trip?

the picture of the puppy is too adorable!

i will be doing the Valley of the Glaciers helicopter tour with TEMSCO in skagway and dog sledding in Juneau.

with TEMSCO, is the rule that nothing comes on board with you in the helicopter except for your camera? no bags or anything? if so, did they have a place for you to keep your bags?

thanks for sharing your pictures!
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  #11  
Old June 9th, 2005, 04:02 PM
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jobrien jobrien is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstducky
you;ve got to be a talented photographer! those pictures are beyond words! keep them coming!

can i ask what kind of camera you have?
how many pictures did you take all together on the trip?

the picture of the puppy is too adorable!

i will be doing the Valley of the Glaciers helicopter tour with TEMSCO in skagway and dog sledding in Juneau.

with TEMSCO, is the rule that nothing comes on board with you in the helicopter except for your camera? no bags or anything? if so, did they have a place for you to keep your bags?

thanks for sharing your pictures!
Haha... talented photographer. I admit they came out pretty well but its all the equipment. I bought a Canon 20D in October. I have a 17-55 lens and a 75-300 zoom. The beauty of this digital camera is (i) 8 megapixels of resolution, (ii) it can shoot 5 frames per second, and (iii) auto-focus. If you can manage to turn it on and aim it... you get a pretty decent result.

Number of photos taken once we got on the ship.... a little more than 1,000. I had two 1gb memory cards which each will shoot about 250 pics and I downloaded them to my laptop when we got back to the ship on port days. The pics you are looking at are reduced in size by about 75%.

Here is one of the humpback sequences I got:

http://www.orkl.com/cruise/slide.html

You have the rule on Temsco right. Camera.. thats it. They also provide glacier boots so you can just wear sneakers. Yes, they have lockers for you to store your "stuff".

Last edited by jobrien; June 9th, 2005 at 04:05 PM.
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  #12  
Old June 9th, 2005, 04:16 PM
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Thanks for the info on TEMSCO.

That humpback slide show is incredible.

You're making it hard to wait out the next 24 days!
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  #13  
Old June 9th, 2005, 04:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstducky
Thanks for the info on TEMSCO.

That humpback slide show is incredible.

You're making it hard to wait out the next 24 days!


I am sure you will have a great time... its really a great vacation.
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  #14  
Old June 9th, 2005, 05:10 PM
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sorry, jobrien...

one last question... was the cost of chops still just $20?

thanks!
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  #15  
Old June 9th, 2005, 05:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jstducky
sorry, jobrien...

one last question... was the cost of chops still just $20?

thanks!
Yes, $20.

I will look over my photos and post a couple more tonight.
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  #16  
Old June 9th, 2005, 05:40 PM
Mildred Mildred is offline
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We took a family vacation on this cruise which included two teenage boys. The vacation was wonderful for all of us. I would take this cruise again!!!

Took the air from RCL from Phoenix. On the way we fly to Seattle and were bused to Vancouver. Not great but OK and scenic. No trouble with customs. The bus driver had us fill out forms and he took them inside and off we went.

On the way back we fly from Vancouver to Seattle on a prop plane (kids loved it) and then on to Phoenix. There were several delays on Alaska air.. they were having a very bad day with people lined up all over the place. Again, no problems with customs at all. All in our family have passports which makes it easier.

I liked the Gouchos... didn't care for the piano player... loved the Violinist (not to be missed even though there is only one show at 10:30).. and the guy doing impersonations... well .. the audience would not let him off stage...he was GREAT.

The Misty Fjords were beautiful and I loved seeing them. Hubby chose the Serenade especially for this part of the trip.

The Capt was Frank Martinsen (spelling?).... and he was as close as 1/4 mile from the Hubbard Glacier. Lots of calving and even the formation of an ice cavern/cave. When the Capt. turned the ship our balcony faced the glacier and we have wonderful photos from our view.

Hubby used his new digital Canon and took over 800 photos and just kept downloading them on the laptop.

I missed Quest ... did a few trivia games... the final bingo day was a jackpot of over $4000.

I did purchase the shopping booklet for $20 and found it well worth the cost. Loved the free tote from Del Sol. It it b&w inside and changes color outside. I am wearing the nail polish right now and it works great. Most of the feebies are trinkets.... just to pull you into the stores.

There is no lack of shopping in either port. I liked Skagway because it is smaller and there is less walking to see all the shops.

Teenager took the Railroad in Skagway and loved it. He paid $40 for a street tour and railroad ticket from a local shore excursion company. They want $89 in the ticket office just for the Railroad. Hubby and I took the Tram in Juneau and it is not to be missed.. only $24 and a few steps from the pier. The ride up is smooth and the view spectacular. Teenager took a bus for $5.00 each way and went to the Mendelhal glacier... loved it and the price. The local bus co. is right on the pier.

There were 4 ships docked in Skagway so it was a bit crowded while we were there. Still loads of fun and s longish walk from the pier. There is a shuttle for $1.50 each way and I think I would take it next time given my arthritis.

Both in Juneau and Ketchikan we were right on the pier....

Monarch 2003
Serenade 2005
Vision 2005 (pending)

Last edited by Mildred; June 9th, 2005 at 05:42 PM.
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  #17  
Old June 9th, 2005, 05:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mildred
I missed Quest ... did a few trivia games... the final bingo day was a jackpot of over $4000.
The jackpot was just above $6500.


Last edited by jobrien; June 9th, 2005 at 05:49 PM.
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  #18  
Old June 9th, 2005, 05:55 PM
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wow $6500 jackpot sounds good to me!

i love alaska. you can't get much better than alaska.

thats why this'll be my 3rd cruise there. first with RCI to Alaska. i specifically chose Serenade over Radiance because of Misty Fjords as well.

now i come to find that no RCI will be doing Misty Fjords cruising next year...
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check out my travel blog, food blog and travel photos blog!

Where to next?!?!


7/13 - Sun Princess - Southeast Asia
8/12 - Brilliance of the Seas - Russia & Scandinavia (Review)
7/09 - Ruby Princess - Greek Isles (Pictures)
7/08 - Grand Princess - British Isles (Review)(Pictures)
7/07 - Veendam - Scandinavia/Russia (Pictures)
7/06 - Brilliance of the Seas - Mediterranean/Greek Isles (Review) (Pictures)
7/05 - Serenade of the Seas - Alaska (Review)(Pictures)
9/04 - Jewel of the Seas - Canada/New England (Review)(Pictures)
7/04 - Zuiderdam - Western Caribbean (Review)(Pictures)
7/03 - Zaandam - Alaska
4/03 - Norweigan Star - Hawaii
7/96 - Noordam - Alaska
7/96 - Golden Princess - Alaska
8/94 - Jubilee - Mexican Riviera

check out pictures from my trip to China!
http://community.webshots.com/user/uclagirl09
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  #19  
Old June 9th, 2005, 06:06 PM
buzzandjulie buzzandjulie is offline
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We leave on Saturday for this weeks cruise. I would love to see compress for your week if you have time to post

Thanks
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  #20  
Old June 9th, 2005, 06:52 PM
cruisemannn cruisemannn is offline
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For those that have already been on the Serenade this season......which dining option (early or late) works best with the cruise itinerary? We are on the June 26th sailing.
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