First time cruising RCCL. Tell me about serenade of the seas please!

Discussion in 'Royal Caribbean' started by chiburple, Jun 29, 2018.

  1. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    I've cruised DCL 9 times, but for our cruise to Norway next year we decided to book on Serenade of the Seas because of price and timing (and to try something different). I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment since I'm not sure what I need to do planning-wise. Has anyone cruised on this ship? What fun things are there to do on board? What do I need to do planning-wise? What is different from DCL that I should be prepared for? Help please!!!

    More specifically:

    Beverage package - no. I can't imagine we would drink enough to make it worth it

    Specialty Restaurant Package - I'm thinking no because I read these are not as good and DCL specialty restaurants so I don't see why we would spend the money. We choose to do my-time dining.

    I've been reading mention of getting tickets for shows??? Is this for every show or just certain ones? Can I pre-book the tickets?

    What should we do on sea days if the pool is too cold (Norway after all)? Will we be bored? We're thinking of staying on the Ship in Kristiansand too.

    Is the Welcome aboard show for new cruisers worth going to? Is this the only show at 7pm? Is there another show on Embarkation day at the usual time? Is there a show or some kind of entertainment every night?

    Do I call to prepay gratuities?

    I guess I need to call if I want transportation from the airport to the port?

    Do they add excursions as the sailing date gets closer? Looks like there are only a few options listed now? How early do I need to book these?

    Do they take our suitcases at the port and deliver them to our room?

    Are there any special activities I shouldn't miss? Anything I should pre-book?

    Are there formal nights? How many? Do people typically dress up at the main dining restaurant?
     
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2018
  2. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
  3. Avatar

    Advertisement


  4. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    29,929
    I'll try to address some of these questions:
    I generally agree with that. But its really up to the individual as to how much they think they will drink each day. It sounds like you've done that. I'd just add that on some of the days you will be off the ship for a good portion of the day and that would mean less opportunity to take advantage of the package on those days.

    We've found the RCL specialty restaurants to be pretty good. Many people are happy with the Main Dining Rooms. Perhaps instead of a package you would be interested in trying one.

    Yes. Either you or your TA needs to do this.

    Typically no, what you see is what is offered.

    Yes. You should tip the porters who take you bags at the port.

    Yes. I think there is one on a week-long cruise. However, you'll see everything from really dressed up to "this is my clean shirt". Go with what you are comfortable with.
     
    chiburple likes this.
  5. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,956
    We've sailed the Serenade twice most recently two years ago on the Ultimate Scandinavia and Russia cruise. Our cruise was very port intensive. Only 1 sea day out of 13 nights. We booked all of our excursions independently. Many cities have "free" walking tours if you Google you can see what they offer for your particular ports.

    We did not get the beverage package - not worth it for us. Nor did we do any specialty dining on the Serenade. (We have done it on the Allure and had the best food we've ever had on a cruise including DCL.) I don't think I would book a dining package on the Serenade. I might suggest going to one - and that would be Chops. It's probably a different experience than the ones on DCL, which I've never gone to because they are adults only.

    You do not need to make reservations for shows on the Serenade (only necessary on RCI's larger ships).

    What to do on sea days? Serenade has an indoor adults only Solarium pool. Plenty of other things to do depending on what you like. Here is the link for their daily cruise paper (this was actually from our cruise but it will give you an idea) - https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/cruise-compasses/serenade-of-the-seas/sun-2016-07-24-0000.

    Here is a link for a port guide for Kristiansand - you can get off and explore a bit on your own if you'd like - https://www.tomsportguides.com/uploads/5/8/5/4/58547429/kristiansand-10-31-2016.pdf.

    There is usually entertainment each night. The Welcome Aboard show might give you an idea of what is to come on the cruise. I don't usually go to them (not even on Disney). You can always check it out and leave if you don't like it.

    I don't prepay gratuities so can't help you there. If you booked through a TA you can pay through her/him. Otherwise give RCI a call.

    Not sure where you're flying into but yes you will have to make transportation arrangements to the port. You can Google for recommendations or even check on RCI board on Cruise Critic for specific recommendations.

    They will add excursions. You can book them as soon as you see something you like. You will have to pay when you book. Be aware that RCI runs sales on excursions (they recently had one) so check every week or so.

    Yes, they will take your suitcases at the port and deliver to your room.

    I'm not sure how long your cruise is but I believe there is 1 formal and 1 semi-formal night each week. Some people dress up and some don't. Do whatever makes you comfortable. Either way you won't be out of place.

    Have a great cruise!
     
  6. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    29,929
    Just to add a suggestion about getting to the ship. If you are leaving from some place that you have to fly to, please consider flying in the day before your cruise departs. I mean actually getting to the departure port the day before your cruise starts. Its a real risk if you plan to arrive the day the ship sails, that if your flights get delayed you could literally miss the boat. It almost happened to us last year when we ignored our own advice. ;)
     
  7. msjprincess

    msjprincess DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2010
    Messages:
    5,349
    On a 7 night cruise there are 2 formal nights. You will see everything from tuxes and gowns to casual clothes
     
  8. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    :thanks:Thank you so much, everyone, for all the feedback!!!! This helps a lot!!!! :thanks:
     
    KashasMom likes this.
  9. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    KashasMom likes this.
  10. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,956
    "Tom" has done other ones as well. If he's done Kristiansand he likely has some of the other ports you're visiting.
     
    chiburple likes this.
  11. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    Actually, that could be really useful in Stavanger! Thanks for the heads up.
     
    KashasMom likes this.
  12. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    I just checked. Kristiansand was the only one he had for us, but it's also the one we needed most! I have excursions in mind for the other ports.
     
  13. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,956
    RCI is having a sale on now for Excursions, Drinks, and Internet if you want to take a look.
     
    chiburple likes this.
  14. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    Thanks for the heads up! Looks like this particular sale is for sailing dates before ours, but it's good to know this is something to be on the lookout for. I guess I'd better start keeping close tabs on their website!
     
    KashasMom likes this.
  15. OKW Lover

    OKW Lover Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle. DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2004
    Messages:
    29,929
    If you've entered your email address on the RCL site, you'll get emails from them with these offers as your cruise approaches. We are sailing on the Oasis in late September and I've been getting emails almost daily.
     
    chiburple likes this.
  16. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    That's helpful! I will do that!
     
    OKW Lover likes this.
  17. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    Thank you so much everyone for all your help!!! I'm so grateful!!!
     
  18. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    KashasMom,

    Would you by chance happen to remember if they exchanged USD for Norwegian krone on board (and back) while you were there?

    Marise
     
  19. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,956
    I believe there are ATMs at most ports. I remember using them in several ports. I don't think we exchanged USD on board.
     
  20. chiburple

    chiburple DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2012
    Messages:
    512
    Not the answer I was hoping for, but good to know. Thanks!
     
  21. KashasMom

    KashasMom DIS Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2012
    Messages:
    1,956
    I asked for you on Cruise Critic. These are the responses so far:

    The ship may have a very small amount of foreign currency, but it is not a currency exchange and the exchange rate would not be good.
    Best to use a bank ATM in port, or get the foreign currency before the trip.

    Most places in that part of the world take credit cards for just about everything everywhere (must have a chip, no AMEX, Visa or MC only). We were planning to hit the ATMs for local cash as well, but did not find it necessary. YMMV.

    This is the link - https://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2661674.
     

Share This Page