**Updated : March 2023**
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Late last summer we took a cruise to Alaska, from Alaska. Although we were living in Anchorage at the time we felt like we would be able to see different parts of Alaska via a cruise, which would essentially take us to places in Alaska that are only accessible by plane or boat. With cruise prices hitting an all time low post-covid, we said why not and embarked on an unforgettable adventure. Read on to see our completely honest opinion of our time on the Serenade of the Seas, and why we were truly not impressed.
Our Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise - Basic Info
Our cruise with Royal Caribbean lasted 9 days, including boarding and disembarking the ship. Although it started and ended in Vancouver, we made stops in Sitka, Juneau, and Ketchikan. With 13 decks this vessel holds about 2,500 people at max capacity - it has an outdoor movie screen, indoor cinema, casino, spa, gym, rock climbing wall, mini golf area, outdoor jogging track, indoor adults only pool in the solarium, outdoor pool, and kids play pool area. There are also 3 included dining options, with 5 specialty dining options, and 10 bar/lounge areas. With our budget we stayed in an Ocean View room, which allowed us to have one window in our stateroom. Other options onboard are Interior Rooms, Balcony Rooms, and Suites. Our schedule onboard the Serenade of the Seas looked like this :
Serenade of the Seas - Our Honest Review
Atmosphere - To be fairly honest, we've never felt so out of place in our entire lives. The entire time onboard we saw 2 other couples our age (20-30s), a handful of families with young children, and the remainder of the guests were arguably around 70+ years old. Don't get us wrong, we have nothing wrong with spending some quality time with a different generation, but when you're looking for an adventure in Alaska this felt more like being stuck on a rowboat with the 2 grandpas from Grumpy Old Men. Everything entertainment related on board was catered to the aforementioned age group, which made it feel like a bit of a snooze fest.
Entertainment & Amenities - Entertainment from the impressionist and comedian was nearly racist, with the same type of sexist remarks you'd expect from a Grandpa with dementia at family dinner. Don't get us wrong, the other singers and dancers were incredible and hugely talented, however they weren't able to play hardly any music from this century and even they themselves often seemed bored. Other entertainment activities included daily Sudoku Tournaments and Trivia (although to be honest, I did win 2nd place in Sudoku one morning). The daily dance classes were also very routine, with the same dances every day, sometimes twice a day. It was also a bit awkward during the farewell show when the cruise director was more concerned about getting applause for his wife (who also worked on board as some director in entertainment) rather than the actually talented singers and dancers. Other amenities were also often closed, (other than our disembarkation day the rock climbing was never open again) like the outdoor pool which was open for 2 days during our trip. When we tried to play other activities like shuffleboard no one was able to find where the pieces were. When we tried watching a movie inside the cinema was so small that the entire floor and stairs were covered with people who had nothing better to do.
Serenade of the Seas - As for the ship itself, we were shocked to learn that this is the ship being taken out on next year's Ultimate World Cruise - we hope there are some updates being made before they embark...many doors had writing with markers or splotches of who knows what, banisters on the outdoor railings were falling off, and the interior of our room felt very outdated and stuffy. Nothing was terrible, but it was headed that way.
Things we LOVED - Not everything about our cruise was bad, there were actually quite a few things we loved! For example the food was fantastic, just some of the items in our included dinners were Maryland Crab Cake, New York Strip Steak, Key Lime Pie, Chocolate Hazelnut Cake and Lobster and they were delicious. The views were also unreal, and we were so happy to have taken a cruise to see these places that are otherwise nearly unreachable. Sailing towards Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm Fjord was magical, and the staff was kind enough to go out and get a piece of glacier that had fallen off and bring it back on the ship for everyone to touch and take pictures with!
Would we Recommend? - Honestly, even with the things we loved about our cruise, we would only 50% recommend it. We'll put it this way, we would 1000% recommend a cruise to Alaska because the views and an experience to Alaska is truly stunning, however if we were to do it again we would also 1000% look into other cruise companies OR a newer ship through Royal Caribbean. So, do with that information what you will. :)
**We also want to note that previous to this cruise we had done one more with Royal Caribbean to the Bahamas, and LOVED our entire experience there!
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We're Deborah & Tyler, a pretty average husband and wife duo from a pretty average state that didn't want to live so averagely. After our *Covid wedding we sold everything that didn't fit into the Jeep and moved to Alaska, then decided to take a gap year!
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