15 Night Circle Hawaii (Los Angeles Roundtrip) Sail Date: October 03, 2008 Ship: Serenade of the Seas Cabin Type: Inside Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 9 years ago
This was our first cruise so we had no preconceived ideas of how it should by or what to expect. My first thought when boarding the ship was that the demographic of the other guest was very very old (80-90+). The first few days out at sea we were somewhat disappointed with the energy level of the cruise given the older audience, especially the activities and entertainment. We knew they should cater to this audience since that was the majority on board but felt that very little effort was made to please younger people. The majority of the activities were bingo, trivia, crafts, you get the idea.
One thing to note is that most aspects of cruising seems to be tailored to a 7 day cruise, the menus, activities, entertainment, etc. so for a 15 day cruise like this it really felt like the staff was 'treading water" trying to spread out their pre-determined agenda with lots of filler.
Another small nit-pic for me was that "free" drinks like lemonade and ice tea are only available in the buffet, so if you're lounging at the pool you have to walk all the way to the back of the ship to get a drink you don't have to pay for when there are two bars right there. That felt a little like we were being punished for not getting paid drinks.
Having said all that, the ports and excursions were amazing and the trip was amazing value. We still had fun and relaxed a lot. We would probably do it again.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
The food on board was really good and the dining staff were great. The only thing that was kind of bad was that the menu for the buffet lacked variety and got old half way through the trip, again because I think it's based on a 7 day cruise and this was twice the length.
1 out of 5
As I said before it was all skewed to a very old demographic. Activities were trivia, lots of bingo and bridge and crafts. The night clubs and bars were deserted by 10PM most nights. The energy level was pretty low. The live music around the ship was great thought, they did an excellent job in that department. The stage shows that were produced by the ship's entertainment were also pretty good but there were only three of those in 15 days. The other days the entertainment was ridiculously bad, we were rolling our eyes at most of it.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
All the staff were great and friendly.
3 out of 5
This is a newer ship. I felt like the size was perfect, not too small and not so big it's overwhelming. Some of the decor seems dated for a ship that is only a few years old but everything on board is still shiny and new-ish.
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
We had an interior room, we didn't mind that since we didn't plan on spending a lot of time there. It is quite small but comfortable. It is pitch dark in there though with no windows which is kind of disorienting when you wake up with the motion of the ship, you don't know if it's 2am or 12pm. The TV channels leave a lot to be desired too.
We had been to Honolulu before. Waikiki is very crowded and touristy as is Pearl Harbor and Honolulu is basically like most major metropolitan cities. We opted to do the "LOST" tour since we are fans of the show, there wasn't a lot to see since the tour only stays within Honolulu but it was still really cool. Then we headed down to Waikiki to see the beach and do some shopping at the International Marketplace.
Don't Miss: If you haven't seen them before: Pearl Harbor, Waikiki beach, International Marketplace
While we were there the course for the Ironman was set up and people were training, there was lots of activity due to the event being that weekend. We rode on the Atlantis submarine which was really amazing and worth the price. The town itself is nice to walk through and take pictures. We had the most amazing shaved ice of all time at this place: http://www.scandinavianshaveice.com/, we had shaved ice at other places in Hawaii on our trip and compared to this place those are just snow cones!
Don't Miss: Scandinavian Save Ice, Atlantis Submarine ride, site seeing, lava rocks on the shore line, tide pools, photos
Hilo is not very touristy from what I can tell. We took this opportunity to visit Volcanoes national park which was very interesting. We opted for the tour that did NOT include food and we were glad we did. The food is served in an old lodge that hasn't been remodeled since the 1940's and the food is terrible there. Also, don't buy macadamia nuts at the Mauna Loa factory, they're much cheaper at one of the thousand ABC stores you'll see walking around anywhere in Hawaii.
Don't Miss: Kiluea volcano and tour
Maui is beautiful and being there two consecutive days gave us the opportunity to rent a car and drive around. There is lots to do there. We went snorkeling at black rock and then drove on the road to Hana stopping to hike to a waterfall and swim. A word of warning: most of the "deals" you find in town for activities like snorkeling, surfing, etc. are tied to time share condo sales. Just stay away from all of them.
Don't Miss: Seeing the country side and beautiful vistas on the road to Hana, lots of beaches for snorkeling, surfing etc.
Ensenada is like someone took Tijuana and moved it by the ocean. The only things to do there are shop for cheap crap or viagra and drink at a cantina if you want to brave it. We got off the boat for like 30 min and headed right back. So did most everyone else.
Don't Miss: Just miss the whole port
Pros: Good Value, relaxing, all inclusive trip to Hawaii, good food
Cons: low energy, bad entertainment, activities skewed to very old demographic
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