9/20/03 Canada 5-day itinerary. Serenade is a beautiful ship with lots of public space, the Centrum is well thought out and absolutely stunning with the glass elevators and the various lighting scemes. On various floors surrounding the centrum are the library, the on-line business center, the entrance to the casino, the entrance to the shopping area, the lobby bar, the champange bar,the coffee bar and access to the main resturants. They utilize the Viking Crown lounge as the disco & it seems that they have used the "extra" space for a great set of rooms called the Safari Club (including billiard tables), there was always room in the Windjammer cafe and the Lobby Bar dance floor was in swing every night. A few space drawbacks were - the Reflections Dining room could have used a few more inches between tables and the twin bed set-up in the Balcony cabins left minimum space between the 1st bed and the dresser/TV stand in our cabin (7th deck cat E1). The food was very good - I personally didn't like everything but there was always something else to try, so I certainly wasn't disappointed and had some very nice meals. Service in the dining room was excellent, they are still working on the timliness & accuracy of room service but it was still good.I loved the ports of Halifax & St John - the ship did not stay long enough in either for me but I believe other passengers did not understand the historical, architechural, or natural attraction of these ports. We went on a Great tour in Halifax - Historic Pub tour - excellent guides with very entertaining bagpiper & traditional musicians to make our 3 pub tour quite a smash - not for everyone but certainly for the fun loving in the group. We also did the hop on/off bus tour & stopped at the Citidel - neat example of a historic British fort which they populate with re-enactors in the traditional Scottish Highland Guard uniforms - this is up a very steep hill, I would suggest a bus/taxi to get there. Heard the tour to Peggy's Cove was very pretty but we could not do that due to time limitations. The town of St. John's went totally out of their way to make our experience memorable - roses for the ladies as we got off the ship, music all day at the pier, guides with maps available & some Very reasonably priced local crafts and general souveniers. We took 2 tours - the horse drawn trolley was quaint & informative (1 hour) and we also went on a city bus tour which stopped at the Moosehead brewery where we were given a very informative tour (then a few samples at a pub close to the ship). On-board shops were okay but I expected more froma ship this size - alcohol choices were limited (no Absolut, for example).The Spa, though expensive, is beautiful (make sure to check out the Solarium & the Thermal room (heated tile beds with a large window view of the ocean - extremely relaxing (extra fee of $15/day if you are not getting a massage/facial)).Excellent experience & a nice length especially for those local to the New York piers.
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