July 2015 - Serenade of the Seas to Europe - Northern Europe
Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas is a lovely ship with attentive staff, but not in-your-face. Compared to other cruise lines I found them accommodating in many ways. Their Open Dining for the evening meal is a plus if you like variety. We came at different times and were always politely received, although we did not come after 8 pm when the seating became very heavy. They went out of their way to be sure we Vegetarians and Vegans had plenty to eat, and it was always delicious and well presented. We disembarked with our carry-on without any problems. We had a cabin on deck 9 with a good size balcony which we enjoyed. But the outside cabins on deck 3 had large windows that made the room bright and open, a good option for cold weather cruises.
We used only 2 of the ship shore excursions, and they were good. Except for St Petersburg all the cities are easy to walk. Riga was the only port where the ship did not dock near port and we had to pay for their shuttle bus to take us to and from town (which required a 30 minute wait for the bus which was not good, especially in the cold wind).. We always ate lunch in the town we visited which was usually a fun experience too.
I would recommend Serenade of the Seas for its cleanliness and service. The Baltic cities were full of history and very rewarding. I would wish for a longer cruise with more days at sea so that we had more time between cities and more time to enjoy the ship activities. Otherwise I would highly recommend this itinerary.