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  #1  
Old September 21st, 2004, 11:19 PM
phbr phbr is offline
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Smile Live From Serenade Of The Seas

Finally got a cookie problem sorted so here goes.

Sailed at 5.30 Sunday with the warning of severe weather ahead. I think they were trying to let us down gently, as the visit to Hubbard Glacier today was cancelled because of heavy seas. Instead we sailed up Tracy Arm Fjord, which was pleasant, but no Hubbard. Back on schedule now and due in Skagway Wednesday morning. However as we are back in open water the seas are getting VERY rough and there is quite a lot of rolling.

The ship is excellent though, and while full never seems too crowded.

Due to attend the Meet and Mingle in a few minutes, so looking forward to that.

More later
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  #2  
Old September 22nd, 2004, 10:16 PM
phbr phbr is offline
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Smile Live from Serenade of the Seas

Following on from yesterdays, post, the weather was pretty severe for a while last night, Tuesday, but it didn't stop the Midnight Buffet which was a marvellous spectacle, with lots of innovative food design and plenty of ice sculpture. I'm sorry to say we didn't partake as the waves were a little too high at the time. Prior to that there were approx 18 people at the M&M in the Hollywood Odyssey. It was attended by both the Cruise Director and his assistant.

Today it was Skagway. Just the Sof the S and the Statendam in port. Skagway is effectively in end of season mode (last ship calls on Saturday), which means there are some real bargains available in the shops (up to 50% off in some cases). Apparently there are only 6 shops open during the winter for the 850 permanent inhabitants.

Once again the weather got in the way. This time rain, but it didn't spoil the enjoyment of the spectacular White Pass Railroad trip, which despite the cloud and fog the higher we went, was a photo opportunity every couple of minutes. Just how they built the railway is beyond me but it was a memorable trip.

Ship is very quiet as I write. But that will change after we sail for Juneau at about 8.30 tonight.

Just a word about the ship. This is my second cruise (other was the Norwegian Dawn, March 03 Western carib.

There are things about the Sof the S that are better than the Dawn, (food,friendliness of the staff, especially the waiters at dinner) and things that are worse (the overall entertainment, abscence of communication e.g the Midnight Buffet was not advertised in the Compass). RCI might have adopted a brighter colour scheme in the cabins as well (brown is not my favourite colour), and the NCL cabins were slightly bigger with a better equipped bathroom).

These are minor details and don't subtract at all from what is turning into a great week.

More later
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  #3  
Old September 23rd, 2004, 07:43 AM
Croozin Soozin Croozin Soozin is offline
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great to hear a report about the Serenade - I'll be on her two weeks from today!!! really looking forward to it!!

hope the rest of your trip is wonderful!!

Soozin
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  #4  
Old September 23rd, 2004, 10:07 AM
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Sea Island Lady Sea Island Lady is offline
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Quote:
RCI might have adopted a brighter colour scheme in the cabins as well (brown is not my favourite colour),
Brown? I thought the furnishings were Navy Blue and Burgandy? From what I have seen of the JS, the staterooms are very elegant looking with the dark wood, arched entrance and beveled mirrors.

Glad you are having a nice trip. I will be boarding as you disembark.
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  #5  
Old September 23rd, 2004, 03:05 PM
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phbr - Is Jorge the Loyalty Ambassador still avoiding booking future cruises on Deck 12? If you get up there, ask for a couple of coupons so you can book when you get home and then mail me one. (LOL). If you can get some extras, let me know and I'll give you my address and a pre-paid envelope.
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  #6  
Old September 23rd, 2004, 07:25 PM
phbr phbr is offline
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Smile Live from Serenade of The Seas

Thursday, Juneau, torrential rain, high winds and poor visibility...
All airborne excursions were cancelled today mainly because of the wind, so that was my helicopter ride blown away, so to speak. That meant two of the things I had been most looking forward to, Hubbard and the Helicopter didn't happen,
. Just thinking that maybe the cruise season in Alaska should finish up a bit earlier. The weather really does close in here. The 'Amsterdam' had to dock in Juneau last night, rough seas stopped it going into Sitka. Its the Sof S and Infinity in dock today.

We did pick up a local city tour and excursion to the Mendenhall Glacier, which was very good, and good value at $20..lasted nearly 3 hours as well.

Have to say I am slightly disappointed with the standard of entertainment on board. Maybe iits because staff and possibly entertainers are ' switching' ships at the seasons end, but there is no pattern to the theatre shows. the itinerary seems to change so when you go for whats in the Compass, its something else thats on. Also, only when the captain speaks is the message beamed into all cabins, other messages only go on exterior speakers, so if you're in the cabin, you have to open the door to hear whats being said. Small point, but it would be easy to miss a message you needed to hear..

Overall, its still a great week. Just a point on the room furnishings. Its a beige carpet with dark swirls and red specks, the bed coverings might not technically be brown, but close enough, same as the curtains. Maybe its different colours in different area (we are outside with balc on deck 7).

Haven't come across Jorge yet, but I will !!!!

Second formal night tonight and after a less than full attendance at the first, its interesting to note that the 'Windjammer' is closed tonight for a 'Private Function', which is a little strange, and there are conspiracy theories out already. I'm sure there is a perfectly legitimate 'function' !!!!!!!!!!!

More later
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  #7  
Old September 23rd, 2004, 09:59 PM
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PHBR - Enjoying your daily reports. So sorry the weather is not cooperating with you.

If you can track Jorge down (it's now easy--haha), tell him the coupons he gave me on the Sept 5-12 sailing (two $100 coupons and one $200 coupon) never made it home with me. I think I left them in the bathroom when we disembarked on the 13th. All I know they never made it home with me. He can look up my appointment time, it was at 2 PM on the 12th...name was Reep. If he could re-issue I would appreciate it.

Keep your posts coming.
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  #8  
Old September 23rd, 2004, 10:19 PM
phbr phbr is offline
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Smile Jorge...

Jorge was only working 8-10 today, but I'll go see him tomorrow.

I'll let you know how I get on
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  #9  
Old September 23rd, 2004, 11:22 PM
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suzyluvs2cruise suzyluvs2cruise is offline
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Glad you're enjoying your cruise despite the not so great weather.
I think you may be right about the lateness of the season for an Alaska cruise.

Two weeks from tonight and we will be on the Serenade for a Hawaii cruise. Hopefully the entertainment problems are straightened out.

We did a repositioning cruise on Cunard several years ago from Vancouver to Los Angeles. It was the worst cruise I've ever been on. The crew had pretty much "shut down" as Vancouver was the end of the Alaska season and Los Angeles started the Panama Canal season. It was a good buy and we thought we'd try another cruise line. Sure turned us off from Cunard. We'll never cruise with them as a result of our experience. There were lots of other cruisers doing the same thing we were. I've wondered if other repositioning cruises with other cruise lines might be the same.

Look forward to your continuing posts.
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  #10  
Old September 24th, 2004, 12:12 AM
nerak nerak is offline
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Sorry to hear the weather is so bad, as Alaska is beautiful. I am still envious though that you are on a cruise and I am not. We love the Serenade and the crew (2 sailings this year.) I am curious though....have you met any of these people working on board: Hannah, greeter at the Windjammer; Mark in jewelry; Sinead at the pursers desk; Riza, Mario, Ashley (male) in the dining room? We are just curious as to who might still be on board. Our next cruise is Hawaii 05 on the Serenade and crews change often, but we loved getting to know these wonderful people. We also found the passengers sailing on our cruise to be the friendiest yet. Enjoy the best you can...again, you ARE cruising and we are NOT.
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  #11  
Old September 24th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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Fyi, Karalun, RE: Repositioning cruises-- we did Harwich, England to Boston last Sept. aboard the Grandeur and had a marvelous time. Crew was wonderful, everything was ship shape. I think you may just have hit a "bad apple" on your Cunard cruise. And you are right, repositioning cruises are a good buy!
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  #12  
Old September 24th, 2004, 03:40 PM
phbr phbr is offline
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Smile Ketchikan

Friday morning and its still raining, although the sun did come out for aquick visit earlier. The floatplanes are taking off as I write, so the cloud cover is not too severe. Solved the mystery of the 'Private Party' in Windjammer. It was a staff party to celebrate the switch from Alaska to Hawaii then onto the home port of San Juan. There are a few sore heads about today.

The theatre show last night, 'Stage and Screen; was pretty good, although there wasn't a great attendance. Later in the Safari Club, the 'Quest' was great fun. Wait till some of the participants see the video, they will die of embarrasment.

Like all the other ports, Ketchikan is in wind down mode, although the shops seem less keen to sell than elsewhere. Both the Statendam and the Amsterdam are docked today.

Ship is awful quiet at the moment.

More later
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  #13  
Old September 24th, 2004, 08:12 PM
phbr phbr is offline
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Cool Staff on the Serenade

[quote=nerak]Sorry to hear the weather is so bad, as Alaska is beautiful. I am still envious though that you are on a cruise and I am not. We love the Serenade and the crew (2 sailings this year.) I am curious though....have you met any of these people working on board: Hannah, greeter at the Windjammer; Mark in jewelry; Sinead at the pursers desk; Riza,


We,ve met Sinead (she's Irish as well), and Hannah the greeter is probably one of the most cheerful people I have ever met. Her good humour is infectious.

Haven't come across any of the other people, and Jorge must be on a day off from Deck 12...he wasn't on duty earlier.

Just sailed out of Ketchikan. There was an interesting aside as we watched the gangplank taken up. One of the crew had not rejoined the ship, so they handed his passport to the RCL shore representative and sailed away. I would not like to be in that guys shoes.He'll have to hitch a ride on the Statendam, which has been following us around all week...

Heading for Misty Fjords now, which given the weather should have no problem living up to its name, although it has brightened up considerably.

The usual stampede for Bingo has just started, and the art auction is going on at the moment, although the crowd is pretty small. I think folks are just 'shopped out' at this stage, although when the 50% stuff goes on sale in the sshops tomorrow there 'll be more stampedes.

Anyone ever take a guestimate what RCL take in over each of these cruises from shipboard sales, Its got to be a huge amount....

Talking of which , its time to bite the bullet and check the Seapass account.....OUCH!!!
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  #14  
Old September 24th, 2004, 11:54 PM
nerak nerak is offline
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Thanks for letting me know you met those two. Sinead remembered us from an earlier cruise this year. She gave us some great comps of internet time and was always so sweet! I just realized you are from Ireland...maybe you made her "feel at home." Hannah is adorable, glad you met her too. Enjoy the rest of the trip...it's beautiful ride back.
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  #15  
Old September 25th, 2004, 02:50 PM
phbr phbr is offline
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Smile Live from the Serenade of the Seas

Saturday morning and heading back through pretty nice weather to Vancouver.

The 'Vibeology' show last night was very good and the entertainment value has certainly improved as the cruise goes on.

As expected the shops have reduced many prices today and they are very busy.

There was a very interesting seminar earlier with the captain, the chief engineer and the Hotel manager giving an insight into the running of the ship. One guy was still pretty sore at missing Hubbard especially as he found out ashore that the Statendam is supposed to have made it in on the same day we were meant to.
Given the high seas, I think our Captain was right not to go in, but our friend has demanded a written explanation....

As I have to return the internet connection cable by 11 tonight, this may be the last post ( sounds a bit like the 'Titanic' doesn't it !!!!!). This cruise has been a blast, and when I get home next week, I'll put together a proper review na dpost it to Cruise Critic

Philip
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  #16  
Old September 25th, 2004, 05:50 PM
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phbr - Just saw where you are from Ireland. Wow, what a long way to go for an Alaskan cruise. Have enjoyed your postings. My husband and I were in your beautiful country several years ago on a land tour for 10 days. It rained the whole time!!! But I guess that's what keeps it so green. Glad you had a great trip in spite of missing Hubbard Glacier. Just another reason to book another Alaskan cruise.
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  #17  
Old September 25th, 2004, 07:44 PM
Kay D Kay D is offline
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Default Advice about cabins, please!!

Anyone you know staying in a starboard-side balcony cabin at either end of bumpout? Cabins #7592, 8586, 8604, 9576 or 9594 -- try to get a photo of the balcony & send it to me. Usually on last morning after breakfast when stewards are cleaning cabins you can walk into any cabin or suite to see what it looks like, so I would greatly appreciate it if someone could check out the balcony. We will be in 8604 on Radiance end of Nov. but since Serenade is a sister to Radiance, these cabins should be nearly same!!
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  #18  
Old September 25th, 2004, 09:12 PM
phbr phbr is offline
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Thumbs up All Packed and Ready to Go

Lovely evening here , just sailing past Vancouver Island and a school of killer whales made a very welcome appearance, together with some porpoises.
We;re not due to dock for another 12 hours, but the captain seems to be dawdling a bit. We are only about 80 miles from Vancouver and could be there by midnight, but there you go.

Seems the only good weather we got was on day one heading out of Vancouver and the last day heading back in.

I can honestly say I have never seen rainfall like it and will never complain about the Irish weather again. That said the weather didn't interfere with the enjoyment, but given all the cancelled air excursions/Hubbard, I still feel Alaska should go into hibernation a couple of weeks early.

Anyway time to get ready for the Last Supper and hand out all those envelopes that the waiters and stateroom attendants love to see. They are actually very well deserved on this trip. The guys were first rate.

Over and out
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