7 Night Southern Caribbean (San Juan Roundtrip) Sail Date: January 13, 2007 Ship: Serenade of the Seas Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 11 years ago
We just returned from a great trip to the Southern Caribbean islands of St. Thomas, St. Luccia, Antigua, St. Maarten and Barbados. The first impression of the ship was how clean it was! We literally saw hand washing stations set up throughout almost the entire ship. The food was terrific! Another couple, who have traveled previously on this same ship said the food was much tastier this time. The servers in the dining room were really great too.
We all preferred the Italian restaurant to the steak restaurant, but both were good.
The excursion in Barbados was a highlight--kayaking and snorkeling with turtles--super cool!! Only down side was the number of other shipmates and other tours present. Still, got to see the turtles up close which was great! The tour guides then lead us to a private little beach where we hung out for 30 minutes before heading back to shore.
We went to a fun place afterwards. It was called something like The Boatyard near downtown Barbados. You pay a flat fee like $15. You get a chair, a drink, and free use of the swinging rope and trampoline. Nice place tohang out, have lunch/drinks, swim, sunbathe.
Great shopping in St. Thomas!
If you have a spare day or two, check out Old San Juan in Puerto Rico. We had a great time touring the historic fort there. We also enjoyed some good food in town there. Another highlight: We stayed at The Normandie Hotel our last night before heading home. It's near the port in San Juan. It is an art deco hotel with a fun little bar outside and a nice pool. For a more resort oriented stay, try the Caribe Hilton. We walked all over the grounds, and they are beautiful! It sits right on the oceanside. We could easily have stayed there for 5 nights and been perfectly happy!
I'd recommend Serenade of the Seas to anyone. It was a very pleasant experience. We would do another one at some point in time.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
The only negative dining experience was in the Seaview Cafe (?) I think that's what it's called. I had fish and chips that tasted worse than those bought in the frozen foods section at the store. Not worth it. Otherwise, the food was very good! Even my husband, with a picky palate, enjoyed most of his food.
3 out of 5
The zip line excursion in St. Maarten had an innaccurate description. It was more of an obstacle course than a true zip line. The write up is misleading.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
Robertas was our waiter, and he was terrific! He made the experience even more enjoyable. Guest relations was helpful most of the time, but when I approached someone in person there, he didn't seem tht helpful.
5 out of 5
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
The room is nice enough, and it's worth the extra expense to have a balcony. Only down side was the hard bed and pillows. Also, the phone was supposed to have programming buttons (wake up call buttons), but they didn't work on our phone. The announcements were annoying at times. The sound didn't come into the stateroom, but it was annoying to hear the noise (often not really knowing what was being said withiout having to open the door to hear the message).
Tropical forest was nice. Driving over to the volcano was an interesting drive, but long. The taxi ride we rented was a rip off. We were told to go with a guy named "Cherry," but he basically handed us off to Wally, who didn't speak nor understand much English. Our supposed tour turned out to consist of several stops at very touristy spots along the way, with what ended up being almost mandatory purchase sprees of various beaded jewelry by very persistent vendors. That became annoying after about the 4th stop. Again, no narration of historic sites or anything interesting along the way. We walked silently through the tropical forest where "Cherry" was going to supposedly meet up with us to finish the tour. That never happened, nor did we ever see him again. It cost us $30 each (4 people). Was it worth it? Parts of it were worthwhile, but we certainly didn't get what we paid for and agreed upon in advance.
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