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Serenade - Living the Suite Life and Big vs. Small

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I didn’t know there were any suite seating in pool area, brilliance had none. Did you have free lunch in chops on sea days? We really enjoyed that on navigator a few months ago, filet migion was excellent.

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I didn’t know there were any suite seating in pool area, brilliance had none. Did you have free lunch in chops on sea days? We really enjoyed that on navigator a few months ago, filet migion was excellent.

 

The suite seating on Serenade is not in the pool area. It's all the way forward on deck 11, and you get there by going forward on deck 12 and then down some stair. Quite a ways away from the pool.

 

We did not go to Chops for lunch. I didn't see that as an option, although I may have missed it.

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CK breakfast and lunch are often better than the dinners. Free internet is nice as well

 

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So the cost of a suite includes free "specialty" dining (in CK), free drinks (during happy hour), and free internet. I often pay for all of those things separately, so you're telling me that I may actually save money by getting a suite? :D

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So the cost of a suite includes free "specialty" dining (in CK), free drinks (during happy hour), and free internet. I often pay for all of those things separately, so you're telling me that I may actually save money by getting a suite? :D

Free drinks at lunch as well on the Oasis class. 😁

 

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I didn’t know there were any suite seating in pool area, brilliance had none. Did you have free lunch in chops on sea days? We really enjoyed that on navigator a few months ago, filet migion was excellent.

 

I've never seen Free Lunch in CHOPS, with Filet Mignon, on Sea Days on any ship. Was this for Gold Card holders?

Edited by suzyluvs2cruise

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All Access Tour

Before I talk about the ship and my thoughts on larger ships vs. smaller ships, I'll throw in a few posts about the All Access Tour. I mentioned earlier that I asked Willie the Concierge if he could arrange for a bridge tour. I didn't specifically ask, and he didn't specifically say, if this was a benefit of being in a suite. Instead, he asked if we would instead prefer to take the All Access Tour (I think it was $89 per person). I had considered doing that on a ship at some point, and DW surprisingly was also interested in going (that stuff usually doesn't excite her), so Willie set it up.

 

We met in the Centrum a few minutes before 10:00. We were given a lanyard with an All Access pass, and a wireless earpiece to listen to whoever was talking. We had an overall tour guide who took us from place to place and added some commentary as we were "traveling". In each area where we stopped, she handed the microphone to someone from that area to describe that area in detail and answer questions. The tour took a little over 2 hours and covered the dining room, galley, provisions area, engine control room, laundry, and the bridge. Overall, we enjoyed the tour and thought it was worth the price. I would probably do it again on one of the newer, bigger ships just to see how things have changed.

 

We started in the main dining room on deck 4. One of the head waiters told us about the wait staff and how they covered all of the food areas throughout the ship. We were then handed to the Executive Sous Chef (#2 chef onboard, I believe) who led us into the galley. He did an excellent job of describing the controlled chaos that is the galley.

 

Prepping shrimp cocktail appetizers. One person put the base piece of iceberg lettuce in the dish, another added the radicchio (I think that's what it is), and another person added the shrimp.

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The Chef pointed out the colored scarfs. Red scarfs are newbies, yellow scarfs are more experienced, and blue scarfs have been around and often have more of a leadership role. He often asked the red scarfed people to introduce themselves and say hello...forcing them to interact with the passengers. The blue and yellow scarfed people often said hello without being asked.

 

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They have production lines, if you will, for the typical orders that they receive, e.g. beef that's cooked medium. This is the stuff that's more mass cooked. They then have some custom areas for orders that are out of the norm, like rare cooked beef or maybe something without a sauce that typically is served over it.

 

Most cooks will rotate stations ever few weeks, so that they are proficient in several areas. There are a few jobs that require more specialized skill, like pastry chefs and butchers, and these people tend to stay focused on just those areas rather than rotating between jobs.

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I've never seen Free Lunch in CHOPS on Sea Days on any ship. Was this for Gold Card holders?

 

Yes gold card full suites and pinnacles, they have had this last 3 years , but in past lunch menu was not that good, now chops is offering a 18 or 19 dollar lunch that is really good. We actually pre paired for lunch on embarkation and as soon as we walked into chops suite concierge greeted us and told us it was a perk and arranged for us to get a credit for the money we paid. This was on navigator 3 months ago, 9 day cruise with 5 sea days so 5 lunch’s in chops.

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As we were moving from the main cooking area to the pastry area, we passed a "red scarf" with a large bowl of lettuce, waiting for an elevator in the galley. Chef asked him to say hello, and then told him to cover the bowl. This was clearly a requirement for moving food from one place to another, and the red scarf froze. He was busted by the boss. There was a pile of the plastic covers that they put on dishes for room service, and he then tried to quickly cover the large amount of lettuce in his ~3 foot diameter metal bowl with one of these little covers, equally quickly realizing that wasn't going to work. Chef then just said in a stern voice "saran wrap", and moved on. I imagine there was some follow-up discussion at a later time.

 

The pastry area, including pictures of our Chef guide.

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As we were getting ready to leave the Pastry Area, Chef asked if there were any more questions. Someone said "yes, can I get one of those chocolate covered strawberries?". Without missing a beat, he grabbed partially completed tray and handed them out.

 

Everything is jumbo sized, which makes sense. This guy was using an industrial sized immersion blender to make some soup. It's not a great picture but the thing's about 3 feet long.

 

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Yes gold card full suites and pinnacles, they have had this last 3 years , but in past lunch menu was not that good, now chops is offering a 18 or 19 dollar lunch that is really good. We actually pre paired for lunch on embarkation and as soon as we walked into chops suite concierge greeted us and told us it was a perk and arranged for us to get a credit for the money we paid. This was on navigator 3 months ago, 9 day cruise with 5 sea days so 5 lunch’s in chops.

 

Thanks for your response. Nice...:)

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Next stop was the provisions area. Not the prettiest place on the ship, but our guide there had a lot good stats about how much beer or ice cream is consumed, how many pallets of turkeys are needed when they have turkey on the menu, etc. Unfortunately, I didn't write any of that down. I remember being equally impressed with the large consumption numbers, and equally surprise that those numbers translated into relative small amount when expressed as pallets. For example, they go through an incredible number of champagne bottles, but that was only about 1.5 pallets of champagne. Our guide obviously was focused on space and needed to think in terms of pallets.

 

Our overall tour guide with pallets of cardboard and other things waiting to be recycle in Port Everglades behind her. She did later say that they are allowed to dump a specific amount of certain things that were incinerated when they were more than a minimum number of miles from shore. Much is recycled though.

 

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The Freezer

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The Butcher Shop

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We then headed to the Engine Control Room. Everyone needed to be individually wanded by security before being allowed to enter. A good rule. I enjoyed this place a lot because 1) industrial automation is the kind of thing I do for a living and 2) the operator in there, had a very dry, funny, sense of humor. He started by saying that they let the Bridge think that they are driving the ship, but it's really the Engine Control Room. He showed us the switch that can move between Bridge and Engine Control Room, so they literally can control everything from there if needed.

 

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The ECR operator also said that the ECR must have someone there all the time, no matter if at sea or in a port. It's the only place on the ship that has been staffed continually since the ship was originally launched.

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Did you get escorted off the ship for disembarkation?

 

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I didn't mention that as a benefit but it was an available option. We were supposed to meet in the Schooner Bar at 8:00 to be escorted off by the Concierge. We were in the centrum elevator lobby on deck 6 at 7:45 about to move to the designated area when we noticed that they were ahead of schedule for disembarkation and red tags had already been called. We walked down to deck 5 and walked right off the ship.

 

What does escorting get you? Do they bypass lines?

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Thanks for the informative review and answering some questions I had. I'll be on Serenade in a two-bedroom aft suite in 18 days! :D

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I didn't mention that as a benefit but it was an available option. We were supposed to meet in the Schooner Bar at 8:00 to be escorted off by the Concierge. We were in the centrum elevator lobby on deck 6 at 7:45 about to move to the designated area when we noticed that they were ahead of schedule for disembarkation and red tags had already been called. We walked down to deck 5 and walked right off the ship.

 

What does escorting get you? Do they bypass lines?

 

Yes, you do bypass all lines (all the way out to customs if you use luggage valet).

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Let me see if I can get through this All Access Pass tour. Next stop was Laundry.

 

Unfortunately (or maybe it's a good thing?), the laundry team was on break when we were there so nothing was in operation. We saw the large washers, dryers, and the large pressing machine right in the middle of the floor. We were given some impressive stats but again, I didn't write anything done. I think I remember them saying that they can press 400 towels in an hour.

 

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The customer laundry area was interesting, as this is more of a manual process than what they do for linens, towels, etc. Still there is some automation at work to allow them to work quickly. The first picture below is a more traditional pressing process for pants or other garments that easily fit on a board.

 

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The next set of pictures are a demonstration of how they handle shirts/blouses/dresses/etc. Rather than separately ironing or pressing, they put them on these blue stands and then blow steam through them. Once the steam relaxes the fabric, they inflate the blue things to remove the wrinkles. Our laundry guide reinforced the importance of leaving tags on your garments so that they know what they can and can't do for certain types of fabrics.

 

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Somewhat related story from someone I know who works in the commercial laundry business. Many hotels will assume some routine loss of linens and towels that can't easily be cleaned. They won't try hard to remove makeup or other difficult stains. Instead, they'll toss them in a room dedicated for linens to be given away, furniture that's broken, etc. Almost every hotel has one of these "junk" rooms and they're often just a regular room that could otherwise be used by a customer.

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The Suite Life - Summary

 

How can you not enjoy staying in a suite? The real question is whether it's worth the extra cost. Obviously, that's a highly subjective question based on many personal considerations. For us, we may not get a GS again (see below for Oasis class) and will "settle" for a JS. We really don't need the GS space but it would be hard to go back to a balcony. The JS seems like a good compromise...assuming that prices are not exorbitant. We would miss the CL and breakfast, but we typically buy the drink package so the free drinks during happy hour don't add much. It's the social aspects of the CL that we would miss. We have one cruise left though before we will become Diamond, and we will be able to take advantage of the DL at that point.

 

However, we're excited to try Harmony next. Even the smaller ship enthusiasts in the CL were impressed by Harmony. We may try a Harmony GS to take advantage of Coastal Kitchen all day and the better suite amenities on Oasis Class.

 

We like the GS on the Radiance class ships better than the Harmony. They are brighter, more open and the bathrooms are more spacious and have more mirrors. However, the Coastal Kitchen experience is amazing. I would love to see CK on Radiance class ships, too

Edited by MRRG
Coastal Kitchen and Sky class benefits on Radiance Class ships too

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Final stop was the bridge, which you get to by walking all the way forward in the deck 10 stateroom hallway. Our guide said that the Captain has an "apartment" which is near the bridge, but she didn't say which room. I imagine they don't want to advertise that. :D Security again wanded everyone individually before we could enter. Still a good rule. There were 2 officers in the bridge, one of which answered many questions. There was no formal tour...you just looked around on your own (some areas were roped off) and asked questions. We were warned not to push any buttons. The Captain entered the bridge just as we were wrapping up and took a few pictures with some of the guests.

 

Great view from the bridge. Gave me a better perspective of how choppy the seas were as compared to watching out the side of the ship, although not obvious from these pictures

 

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Port side wing on the bridge were you could get a closer look at the controls and look through the glass floor down to the water. If you have any fear of heights, you probably would not want to step there.

 

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Summary of the souls on board. I thought we were sailing full but either there were some open cabins, or many of the 3/4 person cabins only had 2 people.

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That's it for the All Access Tour. On the way out of the bridge, we were given a little booklet with pictures of how to tie typical knots used at sea and a short section of rope. We also got to get the lanyards any passes. Yippee! As I said at the start, we enjoyed it and felt it was worth the price.

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We like the GS on the Radiance class ships better than the Harmony. They are brighter, more open and the bathrooms are more spacious and have more mirrors. However, the Coastal Kitchen experience is amazing. I would love to see CK on Radiance class ships, too

 

I think all ships should have coastal kitchen, I believe all celebrity ships have suite restaurants. Voyager and Freedom needs them

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I think all ships should have coastal kitchen, I believe all celebrity ships have suite restaurants. Voyager and Freedom needs them

I'm told many were 'carved' out of the existing MDR

 

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I'm told many were 'carved' out of the existing MDR

 

Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Forums mobile app

 

that's ok with me , I have done 6 grand suites and our 1st coastal kitchen will be oasis later this year, have Summit with suite restaurant this weekend

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I've never seen Free Lunch in CHOPS, with Filet Mignon, on Sea Days on any ship. Was this for Gold Card holders?

 

I’ve been cruising in Grand Suites for the past couple of years (10 cruises) and have never been invited to a free lunch in Chops. What am I missing?

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