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Serenade of the Seas picture heavy fun review–12 day Med cruise incl DIY port trips!

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After the worst thunder was over (or maybe even while it was thundering) we went back to sleep.

At 7:00 am all of us pretty much awoke simultaneously. Whoohoooo – today we would go on a cruise! With our kid! For 12 days in a row! We were right awake and giddy to get out of the hotel. We walked down to the Columbus statue. Pretty impressive.

 

 

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This is the place where the port shuttle busses start. We wanted to see how far of a walk it would be (just in case we wouldn’t be able to walk straight onto the port area later on that day).

 

The lions were cool too

 

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Isn’t he cute?

 

From there we crossed the street to the beginning of Las Ramblas. This would be Tariks favourite place in all of Barcelona ---ranging even higher than his beloved Sagrada Familia!!!! But not till the day after the cruise. This morning however the place was pretty much deserted except for these two….

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And of course Tanja had to take not one, but two pictures of the blonde garbage gal. The second one was a close up I’ll spare you. I punched her for this one (in a loving way of course). A little further up the street we sat down to have breakfast right in the middle of Las Ramblas. Just a croissant and a coffee (hot chocolate for Tarik). The croissant was the worst (and most expensive) I ever had including plane meals and frosted goods. But the coffee was excellent. After really fighting hard to finish this godawful croissant, which seemed to grow triple in size once in your mouth we headed back to the hotel. We only stopped once at a supermarket on the way to buy the two bottles of wine that RCI allows you to bring onboard per cabin on embarkation day.

 

Once we got the trolleys repacked, we checked out of the hotel and started walking towards the port. It looked real close – even including a pretty walk through a near by park. But we ended up walking towards the Columbus statue after we met some Boule playing Barcelonians who tried to gesture something….don’t really know what….but we thought they meant that we couldn’t pass through to the port from where we were. Tarik and Tanja both couldn’t be convinced to walk in that direction anymore. Bummer.

 

But so we went to the Columbus monument for the second time that day (only this time dragging trolleys behind us) and looked for the shuttle bus station. It was my mistake to think it would be right on the circular around the monument, where all the public and Hoho busses halt.

 

Nope!

 

But Tanja found it eventually. You have to walk towards the waterfront just a bit and then a little to the right. The bus was already parked there and it was completely empty. We payed for three people €2,20 per person. Whoohoo we made it into the shuttle bus! Picture time! I told my family – don’t smile – look exhausted! This is what they came up with:

 

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Tarik won–either he’s great at acting (mental note to keep that in mind) or maybe he just WAS exhausted!

 

First I was afraid the driver would wait till the bus would fill up, but he started pretty much immediately.

 

I was glad we took the bus afterall. The bridge we drove over would have been not too much fun with the trolleys and after having such a horrible experience with those at Sants the day before…I’m glad I listened to Tanja and Tarik. This was definitely the way to go!

 

 

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This is the first glimpse of the ship we caught while driving over the bridge. Don’t you just love the moment when you see the ship for the first time that you’re going to be cruising on?

 

We arrived at the ship at 11:00 am.

 

More to come!

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Loving following along with this Stef...even more so now because I need to see your photos - I deleted all of mine last night by accident :(:mad::( 473 all gone!!! :eek:

 

:eek:OH NO Carol!!!!!!!

 

How could that happen? No way you can get them back? This is a catastrophe! Poor you! I feel so sorry for you:(!

 

Stef

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The shuttlebus drops you off right by the terminal. Once we exited the bus, there were nice RCI people to take our bags --- oh, I forgot to mention we attached the RCI luggage tags with scotch tape earlier on. I was pretty proud of my tags… Fiddled them together with a piece of cardboard underneath one side and laminated them with packing tape at home. So now all that I needed was the scotchtape I brought along (lol – for those who read my first review --- I still have no clue what stapler is in Spanish). But I get carried away…back to Embarkation:

There were basically no lines whatsoever for the first check of our setsail passes.

 

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After we passed the security check – which was just as fast – we walked into this gigantic terminal building.

 

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Now we were treated to Priority check in (only because of our measly gold crown and anchor status (a mere 7 points each)).

 

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Now we started the actual check in process….. I was nervous. We were travelling with a minor, who didn’t have our last name, whose biological parents were either dead or unknown and whose legal guardian supplied by the state was in Germany. Gulp! Thank God we were informed beforehand. RCI wants you to bring a notarized!!!! Form signed by the parents in order for kids to travel without the actual parents. We scanned this form and adjusted the writing on our own to fit our needs. Fosterfamily and legal guardian and so forth. Then we all met at the Lawyer’s office to have it officially notarized. Tanja rolled her eyes at the time, saying she doesn’t expect us to have to show any other document than his passport …..

 

well, she was wrong.

 

It was a HUGE deal!

 

Not only did they ask for the notarized form, but also wanted to see the official statement from the youth agency, saying that we were his fosterparents. Thank God I tend to overdo it from time to time, since it was my idea ( yay –me!) to have them issue me just such a piece of paper in English before we left. We would have been screwed without all that stuff. Even now having all the paperwork required it was a big deal. First the person who checked us in got his supervisor…then he got another person as well…and he once more called a forth (pretty important looking) person to join the group. They were vigorously debating something next to the copymachine….Can you imagine I was a nervous wreck by now? Tanja of course was totally relaxed and happy fooling around with one of these paddles:

 

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Great! Not only wouldn’t they let us board because we obviously kidnapped a child, but would be thrown out because Tanja couldn’t behave herself! Aaaahhhrrrggg!!!!

 

Please people -- stop chatting by that stupid machine and tell us everything is okay!

 

Finally they started to make copies of all our paperwork. That’s a good sign isn’t it? I think I was driving Tanja and Tarik nuts at this point. Sorry! The little group of four started to dissolve and our check in guy came back to hand us our paperwork. Now all we had to do was sign …something – I was in a daze because of all the excitement—could have bought a fridge for all I know – and we were off to enter the ship – with the kid of course!

 

I was in serious need of a drink!

 

More to come!

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:eek:OH NO Carol!!!!!!!

 

How could that happen? No way you can get them back? This is a catastrophe! Poor you! I feel so sorry for you:(!

 

Stef

 

Oh Stef - I sat and cried :(

 

I tried everything but they've gone - at least I had a last look through them before I pressed the wrong button and deleted them :(

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And of course Tanja had to take not one, but two pictures of the blonde garbage gal. The second one was a close up I’ll spare you.

 

I laughed out loud at this. And, I'm pretty impressed by the care that lady took in putting herself together to go to work!

 

Enjoying your review and looking forward to reading more. I LOVE Barcelona.

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Carol, I just read about your photo problem. Try downloading a photo recovery program first. If its a memory card, as long as you don't shoot photos over again, they're probably still stored in the cards memory even if you can't see it on the camera or computer. I used the image recovery software that was meant for my scandisk CF card and it brought back everything. Give it a shot and I'll keep my fingers crossed!

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Carol, I just read about your photo problem. Try downloading a photo recovery program first. If its a memory card, as long as you don't shoot photos over again, they're probably still stored in the cards memory even if you can't see it on the camera or computer. I used the image recovery software that was meant for my scandisk CF card and it brought back everything. Give it a shot and I'll keep my fingers crossed!

 

Oh what a fabulous idea!! I'll give it a go when I get home later. I'll have a google and see what comes up. I was absolutely distraught last night. My sons are on holiday with their dad right now and they hadn't even had chance to look at them before they were gone!

 

Will have my fingers crossed too! :)

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Oh what a fabulous idea!! I'll give it a go when I get home later. I'll have a google and see what comes up. I was absolutely distraught last night. My sons are on holiday with their dad right now and they hadn't even had chance to look at them before they were gone!

 

Will have my fingers crossed too! :)

 

What a difference 24 hours make!! I have my photos back!! Yay!! :):D:)

 

Thank you so much for telling me about this - they're all there!! I can't tell you how pleased I am :D

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I have my photos back!! Yay!! :):D:)

 

:DHoorrraaayyy:D!!!!!!!

 

Usckatieh -- you're brilliant!!!!!!

 

If I were Carol I would jump throught the computer to give you the biggest hug ever! You rock big time! If I ever have a computer/camera problem (lol -- which could basically happen anytime) feel free to jump to the rescue anytime:D!

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What a difference 24 hours make!! I have my photos back!! Yay!! :):D:)

 

Thank you so much for telling me about this - they're all there!! I can't tell you how pleased I am :D

 

 

Hi all! I've been lurking since this review started. Loving it so far!!! I am going on this itinerary in Oct, so I am sucking up every bit of info you are sharing like a big vaccuum.

 

Anyway, just wanted to hop in to say hi, but also send congrats to Carol for successfully getting her photos back....woohoo :)

 

Melissa

Edited by kirian

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What a difference 24 hours make!! I have my photos back!! Yay!! :):D:)

 

Thank you so much for telling me about this - they're all there!! I can't tell you how pleased I am :D

 

Hurray!!! I'm a photographer and I have nightmares about just that happening! Photo recovery software helps me sleep better at night literally. :).

 

Let the wonderful review continue!!!

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:DHoorrraaayyy:D!!!!!!!

 

Usckatieh -- you're brilliant!!!!!!

 

If I were Carol I would jump throught the computer to give you the biggest hug ever! You rock big time! If I ever have a computer/camera problem (lol -- which could basically happen anytime) feel free to jump to the rescue anytime:D!

 

Stef...you know me too well...! I cried when I lost them and cried when I got them back...:o

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Hi all! I've been lurking since this review started. Loving it so far!!! I am going on this itinerary in Oct, so I am sucking up every bit of info you are sharing like a big vaccuum.

 

Anyway, just wanted to hop in to say hi, but also send congrats to Carol for successfully getting her photos back....woohoo :)

 

Melissa

 

We need a 'like' button on here!! :)

 

Carol

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My carry on luggage. I ended up taking two more books. I figured we would have 3 seadays -- so better pe prepared.

 

Does the Serenade have a library onboard? Reasonable? I have not been on RCCL yet.

Edited by Tansy Mews

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What a difference 24 hours make!! I have my photos back!! Yay!! :):D:)

 

Thank you so much for telling me about this - they're all there!! I can't tell you how pleased I am :D

 

So relieved for you Carol!

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My carry on luggage. I ended up taking two more books. I figured we would have 3 seadays -- so better pe prepared.

 

Does the Serenade have a library onboard? Reasonable? I have not been on RCCL yet.

 

Hi

It does have a library of sorts which is really just 2 very large bookcases but probably enough as not too much chance to read!

Emma

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Hi Erika,

 

It was fun meeting you too!

 

Wasn't your son part of the infamous karaoke group on board?...what were they called...fabulous 8...or something like that? Or am I mistaken? I would love to remember their real name for later on in the review:).

 

Stef

 

 

Stef,

Yes my son was part of the group. The name of the group was "Eight Harmony". They were hilarious. Very brave.

 

Erika

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This is a great review. The Serenade is my favorite ship :)

 

I'm happy Carol got her photos back. I too have had to use photo recovery software after accidentally deleting an entire sim card :eek: I'm a bit more careful now, but it's nice to know that software like that exists.

 

Stef, as always, I am impressed by the European command of the English language. I think you speak/write it better than some Americans I know :rolleyes: I attempted to learn German as a child (my fluent Mom got too frustrated with me to keep it up) and again in school, but because I had no use for it in my day to day life, I eventually forgot most of it. Wie schade :(

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Hi all! I've been lurking since this review started. Loving it so far!!! I am going on this itinerary in Oct, so I am sucking up every bit of info you are sharing like a big vaccuum.

 

Anyway, just wanted to hop in to say hi, but also send congrats to Carol for successfully getting her photos back....woohoo :)

 

Melissa

 

 

Hi Melissa,

 

thanks for stepping out of lurkdom:). I just love to see who's all reading this. I'm starting to get a little intimidated when I look at the high numbers of readers....god -- I'm just starting with the ship...and aaaallll the ports will follow too. Gulp. This will be even bigger than I anticipated. Hoping you all will have the strength to accompany me through this.

 

Stef

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Stef,

Yes my son was part of the group. The name of the group was "Eight Harmony". They were hilarious. Very brave.

 

Erika

 

Hi Erika,

 

thank you! How could I have forgotten that:o? They were really brave. Not only when they "performed" on stage. But more on that later.

 

Stef

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My carry on luggage. I ended up taking two more books. I figured we would have 3 seadays -- so better pe prepared.

 

Does the Serenade have a library onboard? Reasonable? I have not been on RCCL yet.

 

Hi Tansy Mews,

 

Welcome to the review!

 

Like the others have already said, the library is a not a library but a small bookshelf. It's so small that I haven't even considered it worthy to take a picture of it. Almost until the end of the cruise I believed there must be another library somewhere on board since this shelf certainly couldn't be "the library". But it actually was all there was. So if you plan on reading...bring your own stuff. I brought three books and I might just tell you now, since we're talking library here -- I haven't read a single one:o! I got through one third of one of the smaller ones ... and I love to read otherwise. This cruise is so intense -- you probably won't have a lot of time or desire to read a lot. But I did see a young woman with an e-book almost every day sitting in the shallow part of the solarium pool reading away...so I guess there are exceptions:).

 

Stef

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This is a great review.

Stef, as always, I am impressed by the European command of the English language.

Hi Cruzin-K,

 

:pblushing....thank you:p!

 

Stef

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Before we could actually set foot on the ship there was the mandatory cheesy picture. Nope, we didn’t buy it. You could still see the signs of distress on my face when we looked at them later on. Nobody needs a picture like that!

 

Now all we had to do was go up these escalators

 

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…walk through this tunnel….

 

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And Tarik was first to step foot on the Serenade! Whooohooooo! Let the fun times begin!

 

 

Here you have to pass another security check where they check the wine bottles. You have to show the bottles and they will write down the amount you brought and your cabin number.

 

When you enter with kids, there is a special desk where they’re being handed out the appropriate age infos and their own daily teen compass.

First important stop we had to make was here

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Tarik was happy we got him the Soda package. I think it was a little less than $ 80. You get to choose one of those cups.

Now comes the part where our thinking before the cruise was wrong. We thought that they have machines on board, where you could fill up your sodas with this cup. Nope. You have to go to a bar, ask the bartender for a coke (in English! -- or at least gesturing) and show your seapass with the soda sticker on it. Sigh! We could have completely dumped the Soda package. Tarik was just too shy to use it. Even at dinner time he preferred to sip his water, rather than having to address our (really nice) waiters. It got a little better toward the end of the cruise, but still – that was one narly expensive souvenir cup with approximately one coke a day.

 

Next stop we made was the park Café on Deck 11 next to the Solarium. We read on Cruise Critic that the roastbeef sandwiches are not to be missed and should be traditionally tried out first thing when you get on the ship.

 

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Here they are!

But now I have a confession to make. Maybe it’s my German palate, maybe I was still too excited to notice the exquisiteness….I didn’t like it at all! I was bummed. I was really looking forward to this and now I was disappointed. But what the heck – it’s only a sandwich. So I’ll quit the whining and move on. I did find a worthy alternative here, which I should enjoy over and over again though. I’ll tell you more about it when I talk about the food stuff.

 

More to come!

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Hi

It does have a library of sorts which is really just 2 very large bookcases but probably enough as not too much chance to read!

Emma

 

When we were looking through the Compasses they referred to it as the Book Nook - think that about summed it up.

 

I had my Sony eReader with me and managed one book but that was usually reading on the balcony in the morning s before the boys were up...there was certainly not much other time as there was soooo much to do :D

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