Serenade 10/10/10-Southern-Review with Pics!

#1
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
This is my review of Southern Caribbean Cruise (San Juan, Barbados, Sea Day, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maartin, St. Croix) aboard the Serenade Of The Seas 10/10/10. I always wanted to do one of these…Feel free to ask questions as I go along. I hope you all enjoy!

I Arrived in San Juan at about 1:30pm the day before the cruise. After getting luggage went and got a taxi (There is an over abundance of taxi’s) to the hotel and arrived at the hotel at about 2:45pm. The taxi fair to the hotel Courtyard Marriot Miramar was $16.00. It took longer than usual to get to the hotel as the traffic was heavy due to recent heavy rains that had streets flooded, but our driver knew some great short cuts off the main roads to get us there quicker. The normal time with normal traffic would only be about 15 minutes.

The Courtyard Marriot Miramar (3 star) has a lot of mixed reviews, so I did not know what to really expect when I booked it. I booked it for the price ($129.00 with no resort fees). The hotel turned out to be great! Friendly staff, easy check in, very clean inside and out. Our room on the 11th floor had plenty of room, very clean and a very good view. It was located in the convention district and within a two blocks there were 3 restaurants, A Japanese Sushi Bar, a fast food taco place (Like Taco Bell), a Subway, a Supermarket, Domino’s Pizza, 2 Pharmacy’s and a U.S. Post Office. Contrary to reviews that I have read, the area was very safe day and night, and only saw one vagrant on the streets (I saw more in old San Juan than I saw here). The restaurant in the Hotel was expensive so we never ate in there. Went down the street and ate in one of the restaurants to eat authentic Puerto Rican food and it was very good and very reasonably priced. We also ate breakfast there the morning of the cruise (Ham & Cheese Omelet with toast and coffee for $4.50). Bought some snacks at the supermarket and the prices there were comparable with the prices in mainland United States Supermarkets. This hotel is not hotel to be at however, if you want to be at the beach (Not within close walking distance) or if you are looking for a lot of entertainment (None at the hotel or in the vicinity). I was mainly looking for a hotel to rest my head overnight without spending a lot of money, that was close to the pier and close to Old San Juan.







View From The Room
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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#2
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
At 3:30pm we were ready to go off to Old San Juan. If you decide to go in a Taxi (They are lined up outside the hotel day and night), it will cost you $14.00. We went by bus, which the stop is one block up the street for 75 cents (Must have exact change). The ride by taxi is approximately 15 minutes or 20 minutes by bus due to stops for passengers along the route. After arriving in Old San Juan we walked around for a bit until the heat became a bit much and we wanted to get into some air conditioning. We were meeting with people for a Meet & Greet from our Roll Call from Cruise Critic at Mojito’s Restaurant,




but the 1st people from the Roll Call that had arrived Friday found out that it closed for vacation. They put a sign on the door to let everyone know that the plans had changed to meet at Senior Frogs instead.




The Meet and Greet was great, There was about 28 people that showed up and we had a good time getting to know each other. It was like getting together with old friends even though it was the 1st time that anybody had met each other.





There was even a little show put on that was entertaining.



After the Meet & Greet, we took a taxi back to the hotel as we didn’t want to take the bus back at night. After we got back we went down the street, had dinner. While in the room we heard music from outside. Across the street from the hotel there was some type of School of Law and in the parking lot they were having some type of celebration with little souvenir stands, food and a live salsa band. Walked over and watched the band perform for a short while and then back to the hotel. This was an unexpected little treat.
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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#3
96 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
We're leaving in 2 weeks on the same cruise so I'm looking forward to your ongoing review and photos. Thanks!
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Brad & Nancy
#4
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Day 0 Sunday - Embarkation Day:


Checked out of the hotel at 11:00am (Smooth), got a taxi to the Pan Am pier ($14.00 - 10 minute ride), and there she was…. The Serenade Of The Seas!







When we arrived at 11:15am there was people already lined up. We checked our luggage right at curbside and got in line. The doors opened at noon and we processed and was on the ship in about 20 minutes (We travel with passports and I cannot tell you if it was any faster with passports as compared to DL/BC’s and didn’t really care – I just wanted to get on board).
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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#5
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We went right to the spa to get a massage reservation, but they had a table set up and was able to do it as soon as we got off the elevator by the Windjammer. There was a very friendly and comical person who greeted you at the entrance to the Windjammer that was there every day. She was always able to make you smile and laugh. We ate lunch and the food offered was pretty good. We are not 5 star restaurant gourmet dinners and do the occasional buffet restaurants. The offerings in the Windjammer were as good as anything I have eaten in any buffet restaurant so we had no complaints and by 1:00 the rooms were ready. Got to the room (9580 – Balcony on the hump) and everything that I had pre ordered was there waiting. My DW did not know about the things I had ordered as it was a surprise. I had ordered one of the romance packages and a wine and fruit tray and anniversary decorations. In spite of what I had read on here, the decorations were just as advertised on the website. Our State room attendant (Denardo) was at the room within 5 minutes of our arrival to introduce himself and to set the start of what would turn out to be a very pleasant experience for the entire week. We did the prepaid gratuities and he was one of the persons that we tipped extra in cash to at the end of the cruise.







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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#7
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We then went on our exploration of the ship to check things out. Serenade is a beautiful ship. Glass to look out over the ocean everywhere including the centrum elevators. Following is a few pictures of our exploration:









Reflections MDR - Our table 460 was the table to the right directly in front of the painting
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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#8
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010



Looking Down through the Glass Floor from the 13th Deck



View when walking out of our stateroom 9580



The Famous Serenade "Blue Cows"


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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#9
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Went to the solarium and bought a beer package ($39.00 for 9 beers with a insulated carrying case, then refills were $28.00 if I remember correctly) then sat and chilled for a bit with a couple from our roll call. Our Roll Call did a Meet and Greet at 4:00 with everybody that was at Senior Frogs in San Juan and the rest who was not there until embarkation day up at the Sky Bar above the pool area.





The Meet & Greet







It started getting close to dinner time (Early Seating), so we went back to the room to see if our luggage had arrived yet, but it had not. At 6:00 we went to be seated for dinner. The dress on embarkation day is whatever you have on, due to many people not having luggage to arrive yet. We were escorted to our table (460), which was a table for 4. We greeted by our Waiter for the week (Filton who received the other extra cash gratuity) and our assistant waiter (Francisco) as well as our table mates. Dinner was great (Don’t remember what we had each night). Now about the MDR dining experience….. Although I said we don’t eat in fine dining gourmet restaurants, I mean we don’t all the time, but do on occasions. If you are looking for that kind of dining you might be setting you expectations too high. I believe that the chefs on board do a hell of a job to provide a quality menu to give you a gourmet type meal experience each night. I applaud them for their efforts to feed over 2000 people nightly. I would love to see a 5 star gourmet restaurant do that and still maintain the same quality. After dinner we returned back to our room about 7:40 and our luggage had finally arrived. The luggage by the way is left “Inside” your room.
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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#10
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Self leveling pool tables - Balls do not roll with the movement of the ship!


Centrum Elevators - Glass Doors & Glass windows out to the sea & 3 more that face the middle! There are 3 more elevator at the front of the ship that I used a lot because they didn't get a lot of traffic!


Direction Loacator - Ouside the Centrum elevators on each deck



Casino Royale
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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#11
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
A little after 8:00pm there was the call for muster (No life vest required) and at 8:30pm sharp we were pulling away from the pier and on our way! Got a couple of night pictures of the Carnival Victory and Old San Juan as we were leaving port:






Went around to the pool deck to check out what was going on at sail away. There were people there, some music, but not really a sail away party. At10:30, went to check out the entertainment the 1st night in the theater and there was a comedian. He was pretty funny, not fall out your seat hilarious, but funny! Afterwards went around to check out the clubs but there was not much happening, so around midnight, I called it a day for embarkation day.


Next up… The Sea Day!
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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#12
402 Posts
Joined Feb 2007
Great review! Thanks so much for taking the time to do this, especially with the pictures. I know it can take a while to get them all organized!
#15
4,135 Posts
Joined Nov 2009
Great review! We'll be doing our first Southern at Christmas....we have some similar ports, so looking forward to hearing more about them :-)
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Spreadsheet for 5/24/16 roll call: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...gid=1135979365

Previous Cruises (97 days at sea)
Norwegian Jewel - 05/31/15 (Venice to Barcelona)
Brilliance of the Seas - 8/7/14 (Baltics)
Navigator of the Seas - 3/9/14 (Western)
Allure of the Seas - 8/4/13 (Eastern)
Adventure of the Seas - 3/10/13 (Southern)
Rhapsody of the Seas - 7/27/12 (Alaska/Sawyer)
Grandeur of the Seas - 3/18/12 (Panama/ABC)
Voyager of the Seas - 12/31/11 (Western)
Navigator of the Seas - 5/22/11 (E. Med)
Adventure of the Seas - 12/19/10 (Southern)
Majesty of the Seas - 11/19/10 (Bahamas)
Liberty of the Seas - 4/11/10 (Western)
NCL Jewel - 12/13/09 (Western)
#16
Gladstone, MO USA
1,084 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
Wonderful review!!! Looking forward to reading all about your week on the Serenade of the Seas. We have a b2b cruise booked on her June 5 and 12.
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Robin and Tim



Past Cruises
1989 Big Red Boat (Bahamas)
2000 Grand Princess (Grand Mediterranean)
2003 Celebrity Constellation (British Isles/Norway)
2005 Star Princess (Eastern Caribbean)
2007 Sapphire Princess (New Zealand/ Australia)
2010 Carnival Valor (Western Caribbean)
2011 Serenade of the Seas (B2B Southern Caribbean)
2013 Carnival Breeze (Eastern Caribbean)
2015 Freedom of the Seas (Eastern Caribbean)
2017 Carnival Vista (Southern Caribbean)
2018 Carnival Breeze (Western Caribbean)

Up next.....
2019 Carnival Horizon

103 Days at Sea


#17
Charlotte, North Carolina
4,278 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
Originally posted by PhoenixCruiser
Excellent job! Cannot wait to read/see more.

With the Beer Cooler package did you have to buy only Bud products?

###
You can mix it up with any combination of whatever brand you want!
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Review Links:
My Adventure of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Aruba Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2275038

My Enchantment Of The Seas Review
Bahama Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2185385

My Freedom of the Seas Review
Western Caribbean Cruise:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1934831

My Serenade of the Seas Review
Southern Caribbean Cruise (Barbados Route):
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1297487


Previous Cruises:
Oasis - Western / Adventure (Southern) - Aruba Route / Enchantment - Bahamas / Freedom - Western /
Serenade (Southern)- Barbados Route / Sovereign - Bahamas




#18
Ohio
5,153 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Great review. We will be ready of sail away 21 days from right now!!

glad to hear you can mix up the beer purchase. Sounds like it is a little higher, but for 9 beers instead of 8.
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Got my toes in the water, my in the sand, Not a worry in the world, a pina colada in my hand. Life is good today, life is good today.

#19
Bluegrass State
587 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Great review so far Mike!

Glad to have met you and your wife! LOL, did you ever get that $500 onboard credit out of the CD??

Oh, the awesome greeter at the Windjammer was named Colleen. She was so nice each day I felt like she was family wishing me a good morning....even though I was grumpy some mornings she made me smile!
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I NEED A VACATION!!!




Past cruises :

Navigator of the Seas ~ 04/2015
(Roatan, Belize, Cozumel)
Freedom of the Seas ~ 08/2014
(Labadee, Jamaica, Grand Caymen, Cozumel)
Adventure of the Seas ~ 01/2014
(St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Aruba, Curacao)
Carnival Dream ~ 09/2012
(Cozumel, Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya)
Allure of the Seas ~ 10/2011
(Bahamas, St. Thomas, St. Maarten)
Serenade of the Seas ~ 10/2010
(Barbados, Antigua, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, St. Croix)
Liberty of the Seas ~ 6/2010
(Labadee, Jamaica, Grand Caymen, Cozumel)
Adventure or the Seas ~ 10/2009
(Aruba, Curacao, Dominica, St. Thomas)
Celebrity Century ~ 3/2003
(Jamaica, Grand Caymen, Cozumel, Key West)
#20
Boone, NC
2,418 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Nice review so far, Mike! I spotted us in at least three of your pics, lol! Nice to have met you and everyone else.
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Jon & Mark



Next up:

RCCL Vision (Southern) - Jan 2020 (7 nt)

Past Sailings:

RCCL Oasis (Eastern) - Apr 2018 (7 nt) / MSC Seaside (Inaugural/Christmas - Eastern) - Dec 2017 (7 nt) / CCL Ecstasy (Bahamas) - Jun 2017 (5 nt) / NCL Pride of America (Hawaii) - Nov 2016 (7 nt) / CEL Reflection (Eastern) - Mar 2016 (7 nt) / CCL Breeze (Southern) - Oct 2015 (8 nt) / MSC Divina (Eastern) - Mar 2015 (7 nt) / RCCL Brilliance (Western) - Nov 2014 (5 nt) / CCL Inspiration (Catalina/Ensenada) - Aug 2014 (4 nt) / CCL Ecstasy (Western) - May 2014 (4 nt) / MSC Divina (Eastern) - Apr 2014 (7 nt) / CEL Silhouette (Med/Adriatic) - Nov 2013 (13 nt) / RCCL Adventure (Southern) - Mar 2013 (7 nt) / CEL Constellation (Bahamas) - Jan 2013 (2 nt) / CCL Fascination (Bahamas) - Nov 2012 (5 nt) / CCL Splendor (Mexican Riviera) - Feb 2012 (7 nt) / RCCL Voyager (Adriatic) - Oct 2011 (7 nt) / NCL Sky (Bahamas) - Jan 2011 (3 nt) / RCCL Serenade (Southern) - Oct 2010 (7 nt) / RCCL Vision (Baltic) - Sep 2010 (7 nt) / RCCL Navigator (Western) - Nov 2009 (4 nt) / RCCL Enchantment (Western) - Sep 2009 (5 nt) / RCCL Liberty (Eastern) - Sep 2008 (7 nt) / RCCL Radiance (Eastern) - Nov 2004 (7 nt) / RCCL Explorer (Western) - Jan 2004 (7 nt) / RCCL Voyager (Western) - Sep 2001 (7 nt) / RCCL Rhapsody (Mexican Riviera) - Apr 2000 (7 nt)