Serenade of the Seas Live Blog – Day 1 – Embarkation Day


A delayed cruise is not a denied cruise.

We were supposed to sail Serenade of the Seas last week, but my kids caught the flu at school, so we had to push our plans back a week. We canceled the first sailing (which we got 100% future cruise credit for because we booked under Royal Caribbean’s flexible cancellation policy known as Cruise with Confidence) and then booked a new sail for the following week so that we can always do a return-to-return cruise.

Our cruise departs from Vancouver, so we flew from Orlando to Seattle and then rented a car from Seattle to Vancouver. After spending two nights exploring Vancouver, it’s time to cruise!

We stayed at the Pan Pacific Hotel, which is attached to the Canada Place cruise port. The hotel cruise package allows bell services to take your luggage to the ship and then you can take the elevator downstairs and board the ship. Perfect for our family!

To check in, we took the elevator downstairs and walked through the convention center to find the check-in area. There were three ships in port today, each with a line for them.

I had the 11am check-in window, but the suite concierge emailed us before the cruise to say we had the option to check in up to an hour early, so we checked in at 10 o ‘clock.

Once the line opened, check-in was easy and we went through check-in, security and customs. Interestingly, we went through US customs even though we were in Canada, as I guess it would save us trouble when we get to Alaska later.

It took some time for the ship to clear customs and embarkation to begin. I think boarding didn’t start until around 11:30.

Once on board, our first stop was the Windjammer for lunch.

Our next stop was the Vitality Spa to book a massage for my wife. In a moment of paternal weakness, I allowed my daughters to have their nails done at the spa.

We then walked around the ship to discover the different spaces, such as the cinema, the fitness center, the Schooner bar, etc.

We waited for our room to open to the pool deck. The morning rain had subsided so it was nice to be outside with the breeze.

The cabins were ready at 2 p.m. For this cruise, we are booked into the Panoramic Two Bedroom Ocean View Suite.

There are two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a giant window in the living room. I hope it will be perfect for glacier viewing.

We then headed to the Schooner Bar to complete our muster exercise.

We have defined the assignment of the main dining room table. We are in the first seat and have a table right by the window just for our family.

Adventure Ocean opened at 2pm, where we signed them up in case they ended up going.

Our last stop on the list was the Suite Lounge to meet the suite concierge.

Now the kids wanted to go back to the cabin to relax, so they went back to the bedroom.

We had an early dinner for this cruise (5:15pm) so we spent some time in the room waiting for our luggage to be delivered.

Dinner was just before departure, so we placed our order and then raced to the helipad to enjoy the departure from Vancouver.

Almost immediately the ship goes under a bridge, and although it was windy and a bit chilly, it was a great way to start the cruise.

I thought dinner went well the first day, with the whole meal complete in about an hour and fifteen minutes. Our servers kept things moving and I enjoyed my Indian curry.

After dinner, we strolled through the Centrum shops. They had lots of memories of Alaska. In fact, it seemed like most of the stores were exclusively Alaskan gifts, with some generic Royal Caribbean souvenirs in the back.

The kids quickly got tired of hanging out with us, so they headed back to the cabin to play on their devices. My wife and I took the opportunity to have a few cocktails at the Suite Lounge.

Tomorrow is a day at sea.

Spurious observations

Here is the price of the Royal Caribbean beverage package (alcohol) if purchased on board.

Each Radiance-class ship has a piece of art atop the Centrum elevator bank. On Serenade, it’s a pair of cows.

There are fixed times when children can use the solarium pool on this cruise due to the cold weather.

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