If you or anyone in your party is disabled - forget it. Even if this doesn't apply, I still recommend reading my review.
Sail Date: October 11, 2014
Reviewed: 2 years ago
Traveled As: Couple
Room Type: Suite
The elevator calling system is a nightmare at boarding and disembarkation as they are far too busy. On arrival we had to endure the ‘scrum’ of guests competing for elevators which had no logic to them. We eventually worked out they appear to work on a priority call system which in principle sounds sensible, but in practice means that it is impossible for guests to know which elevator to wait by; causing people to miss an elevator because other people by pure luck were closer to the doors. Terrible for guests like us with a wheelchair!!! Why can’t tehy use the same system used in Hotels. If an elevator is going up – it’s going up, and vice versa. At least you know what elevator to stand by and not miss your place.
The corridors to the staterooms are almost impossible to traverse with a wheelchair due to the room attendant trolleys. These trolleys should have ‘parking stations’ where they can be set back out of the way.
There are no disabled or wheelchair spaces for the entertainment areas such as the Centrum or the Tropical Theatre. In fact the Theatre is a nightmare to get to unless you enter and exit via deck 4, which we only found out by chance. Even that route has a ‘Crew Only’ sign on it, although we can’t see why as it only routes to the theatre.
The disabled restrooms have automatic doors. Whilst this seems like a good idea; in practice they are a complete disaster. They open outward rather than slide, embarrassingly blocking entry and exit from the abled bodied restrooms. If you forget to lock the door, the button does not immediately close the door – you have to go through the embarrassment of sitting there (in whatever condition) whilst the door continues to open fully before it closes!!!!
Poor facilities for disabled guests in Reflections Dining room. The spaces between the tables are far too small. Even able-bodied guests are often knocked as waiters squeeze between the tables. We had to use the Windjammer as a preference; this was not fair and not what we paid for.
Facilities to assist disable guests when tendering is poor. A facility to disembark wheelchair guests should be provided.
Entertainment was ‘ok’, but not Las Vegas style as should be expected on a ship of this category.
Food was ‘average’. For example, in the Reflections, no lobster (or anything like it), but hamburgers (sliders) were on the menu. I didn’t even see a good steak offered unless I paid extra. This is poor. Also the dessert trolley should be brought to your table.
For the first 2 nights, we did not realise the information regarding attire was on the newsletter (it was not pointed out to us), so we missed the complimentary pressing/ironing of clothes for the 1st formal night (as well as not dressing for it). We requested complimentary pressing/ironing for the 2nd formal night so we were ready, but the room attendant did not get back to us as promised.
We arrived 45mins early for a Centrum show and took our seats only to have our view blocked by people standing in-front of us. Despite requests to the waiters, they would do nothing, even though one of our party had a wheelchair. We complained to the Guest Services Manager who informed us we should have had priority (not sure how this would have worked and later we found out this was incorrect information). We received a complimentary bottle of wine and an apology. I suggested they should provide wheelchair areas or even rope off one of the viewing balconies for wheelchairs – a simple solution. To add salt to the wound, the next show was also ruined by its last minute cancellation which we did not hear about because the announcements don’t work in the cabins – ridiculous.
Almost impossible to get a drink in the Tropical Theatre and the Windjammer Restaurant. Very rarely asked if we would like a drink and servers almost impossible to find. Insufficient staff.
Food/snacks unavailable after 1pm – this is too restrictive. A good night out at Vortex and not even snacks available past 1pm. Room Service should not be required. We have been on much smaller ships where snacks are available in the early hours.
There is little provision for disabled guests which is not just an oversight; it’s actually illegal in most countries unless a vehicle or building is many years old. As the Serenade is only 11 years old it’s disgraceful.
Many of the problems we encountered would not need a complete redesign of the ship to correct. They just need a little more consideration for disabled guests and better stateroom and service management.
Considering we paid almost $10,000 for one (2-bedroom) stateroom holiday, we expected a much higher standard. .