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Serenade Of The Seas

As the thirth ship in the Vantage (or Radiance) class of four, Serenade Of The Seas was built by Jos Meyer in Papenburg, Germany as yardnumber 657. Like her sisters, she measures 90.090 tons and she is 293,20 meters long, 39,8 meters wide and her draft is 8,5 meters. Her passenger capacity is 2490 and those are pampered by 891 crewmembers. The ship has 12 decks and flies the flag of the Bahamas, with her homeport being Nassau. Her normal service speed is 25 knots.

At the 13th of may 2016, Serenade Of The Seas left the locks at IJmuiden after the ship had visited Amsterdam. It was the first time I saw her again after her maiden voyage in 2003.

Originally, it was intended to build six of these Vantage-class ships, but with the still bigger Freedom-class already ordered, this was reduced to four. These ships are not the biggest ones in the fleet of Royal Caribbean, not even when they were built. But these ships are fairly handsome for modern cruiseliners with their rounded lines. Their interiors can be called classic but modern, giving the ships an relaxing atmosphere. For the tropical effect, waterfalls and plants are added onboard. Royal Caribbean is well known for a lot of glass on their fleets exteriors and with these ships that's no different. At least half of the ships exterior is glass, giving the passengers enough feeling of space and a lot of seaviews. 

The namegiver of the class, Radiance of the Seas, had floated out at the12th of october 2000 as the biggest ship built in Germany at the time. She was named at Fort Lauderdale in april 2001 and sails mostly Caribbean cruises.

Just one hour into her maiden voyage from Amsterdam to Boston at the 4rd of august 2003, Serenade Of The Seas is here seen sailing the Northsea Canal near a place called Buitenhuizen, which is almost at the middle point of the waterway.

The Radiance of the Seas was followed by Brilliance of the Seas in 2002. This ship was named at Harwich, England at the 13th of july 2002 and she started sailing northern European cruises. After her, it was Serenade Of The Seas that was introduced. She floated out at the 20th of june 2003 and was completed and delivered at the 30th of july. She then made her way for Amsterdam as her first port of call at the 1st of august. From Amsterdam, the ship then sailed a short introduction cruise, arriving back in Amsterdam for the start of her maiden voyage to Boston a few days later. She was named at New York at the 25th of august by actress Whoopi Goldberg. Like her sisterships, Serenade Of The Seas is a true panamax-size ship, just two feet short of the maximum width (or one foot at either side, of course, but this is just too hard to handle, even for the most long-legged models on earth...).

Serenade Of The Seas as she is docked in Amsterdam at the 4th of august 2003, her first visit to the Dutch capital and the starting point for her maiden voyage to Boston.

The ships of the Vantage-class are of a very traditional interiour design. Of course there is the large amount of glass aboard, which gives the passenger a true connection to the outside world and comes to a climax in the centrum (atrium) with a five deck high glass wall to the portside. Very classical is the cluster of several lounges at deck 6, which have wood-panneling on the walls, oriental-style rugs and parquet floors.The Congo Bar (a lot of names aboard reflect tropical destinations in Africa) is overlooking the stern with floor to ceiling glass windows and gives spectacular views and just next to this lounge, the Game Reserve is the only place at sea where you can play a game of pool. The pool tables have a special system of gyroscopes, that counteract the movements of the ship at sea, offering a well-playable game of pool on the high seas. The Reflections dining room is also very traditional, consisting out of two floors which are connected by a sweeping split staircase and decorated with silk-draped and burgundy columns and traditional artworks. The main piece of these is the largest canvas on any Royal Caribbean ship, measuring 15 by 12 feet. It was made by Frank Troia, who is living in California.

A cool action picture in the north lock at the 13th of may 2016.

The art-collection aboard is worth 5,3 million US dollars and it is built up out of 3336 pieces, made by 138 artists coming from 30 countries. One of the pieces, placed in the nautical Schooner Bar, was originally planned to be aboard Radiance of the Seas.  It is a white and gold, striking figurehead of a sailingship, representing a woman. In the time when Royal Caribbean was collecting art for Radiance of the Seas, a neighbor of one of the architects told him that he had an old figurehead, which was salvaged from the 19th-century schooner Nightingale under a pile of hay in his barn in Sweden. The piece was inspired by the Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind, who was affectionally known as the Swedish Nightingale due to her voice. When the schooner sank off the coast of Norway, divers salvaged the figurehead, and for years it was used as a scarecrow on a Swedish farm. Even for Royal Caribbean standards, the piece that had to cost 500.000 US dollars seemed too expensive so a solution was found when they paid 75.000 dollars for the creation of an exact copy. Because it had to look genuine, the creation needed weathering for three years, making it impossible to be placed aboard Radiance Of The Seas. But Serenade Of The Seas came at the right moment, so the sculpture was located on the new ship. Cool anacdote that the Swedish Nightingale ended up on a ship named Serenade Of The Seas. 

The ship has seen service in several parts of the world, from her introduction untill 2012 she operated mostly in Alaska and the southern Caribbean, where San Juan has been her base. In the summer of 2012, the ship sailed for the Mediterranean, where she sailed from Barcelona untill december. After this, she was replaced to the Persian gulf. Stationed in Dubai, she undertook a series of cruises in this growing region before returning to the Mediterranean. In the winter of 2013/2014, she will again take her place in the Caribbean trade.

NOTE: This story is written with anecdotes originally published by www.avidcruiser.com on the Serenade Of The Seas review page.

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