Cruise Ship: Serenade of the Seas
Cruise Destination: Southern Caribbean
Cruise Dates: March 12 - March 19, 2005
Guest Contributor: Darlene Rhude
Overall: Fantastic Trip
Dining Room food: Very good. Variety was wonderful. Appetizers and desserts were great.
Wait Staff: Excellent! Sipahi (our Head Waiter) really made our trip special!
Windjammer food: Very good (and I typically dont like buffets)
Itinerary: Great, but busy.
Highlights: The ship. The Serenade is a beautiful ship and very easy to get around, especially for as big as she is. All the food was very, very good. The staff are all very helpful and friendly. The narration by the captain of the Montserrat Volcano and the Piton Mountains. Efficiency of tours.
Disappointments: 7 days is not long enough, especially when stopping at 5 islands. The bon voyage party.
We arrived in San Juan around 3:00. When we got to the ship there was no one waiting in line to board and to get the Sea Pass card, so that was really nice. We checked out our staterooms (2005 and 2011), which were very nice and bigger than I envisioned. We were worried about being on the 2nd deck, but it turned out fine. There are only ~25 cabins on Deck 2, so that made finding our cabin much easier! It was also very quiet. We then headed downtown San Juan for a little shopping and sightseeing. We were back onboard for the mandatory life boat drill around 7:30 pm. We did not eat in the dining room, but instead opted for the outdoor Sea View Café. We set sail around 10:00 pm. There were not too many people on deck for the bon voyage party. I guess I was expecting more of a party atmosphere.
Day 1: St. Thomas. We took the Ultimate Island Experience tour through Royal Caribbean. We saw a lot of sights on the island and spent a couple hours at Megans Bay beach. We did not have time for a lot of shopping. Our tour concluded at 4:15 pm. My friend and I decided to get dropped off at the Paradise Point Tramway, which is located near the ship. The view is fantastic and the Bushwhacker drink is as good as they claim. One word of caution, however: Give yourself more time for this adventure. We were 20 minutes late for the ship. Luckily for us they waited!
Day 2: St. Martin. We took the St. Martin Island Tour in the morning. This was a good tour, but not as good as I was expecting. We had about 30 minutes of shopping time in Marigot. We were on an air conditioned bus for the rest of the tour. We also did the Afternoon Beach Bash to Orient Bay Beach. This was a very nice beach with rum punch, chairs and umbrellas included in the cost. However, we were only there for ~2 hours. So, it seemed that by the time we got situated, it was time to leave. Both of these tours were through Royal Caribbean. Once again, not much time for shopping.
We were anchored in port, so we had to tender to shore. This went very smoothly, and did not take much time.
Day 3: Antigua/St. Johns: Nice port. We did not do any organized excursions here. We shopped in the morning and then took a cab to a beach that was close by (I cant remember the name). We spent a couple hours at the beach, but it was cloudy. Around 2:00 pm we headed back to the ship and spent the rest of the afternoon/evening lounging by the pool.
Day 4: Bridgetown/Barbados. We didnt do much in Barbados. There was a little shopping area near the ship, so we spent a couple hours there. We then headed back to the ship for some R & R at the pool.
Day 5: Castries/St. Lucia. This was my favorite island. Very pretty and lush. We took the Land Rover Explorer tour through Royal Caribbean in the morning. This was an awesome tour and a lot of fun. We rode in an open-air land rover through banana plantations and through the rain forest. We hiked to a waterfall and then spent about 45 minutes at a black sand beach (very hot on the feet!). After the tour, we did a little shopping and headed back to the ship. Day 6: Sea Day. This was a great day! A couple more sea days would be nice and is much needed. In the morning we looked at all the photos that were taken on the ship and decided which ones to purchase (more on that later). Then we checked out the sales at the on-board shops. Around 11:00 we headed to the pool. Of course, all the chairs were taken even though there were signs everywhere stating saving chairs is prohibited. We found a spot in the shallow part of the pool, which worked out just fine. The barbeque buffet for lunch was good. Mostly, we hung out by the pool, danced to the bands, watched the ice carving and horse racing and just tried to relax. However, since this was the last day, there was paperwork to fill out (customs forms, etc.), tip envelopes to fill out and deliver, and of course, the dreaded packing, so it was hard to totally relax.