This was my 4th RCC cruise, and the first time on Radiance Class. I enjoyed this boat so much more than the Voyager Class. Given, the Radiance of the Seas underwent major renovation last year, so probably not all Radiance ships are this nice.
The upgrades made the ship comfortable to live on for 18 straight days. The solarium was a hotspot as sea days were chilly. The teak wood made it an attractive place to be. The addition of Cafe Park in the solarium was a nice touch, almost reminding me of the Spa Cafe on Celebrity ships.
The addition of multiple specialty restaurants was a plus. 18 days on a cruise ship and variety is craved. We dined at all 4 restaurants, with surprisingly, Giovanni's being our favorite. The service, the lamb and osso-bucco cooked to perfection was noteworthy. Chops Grille was a disappointment, due to service and overcooked filets. Izumi served decent quality seafood from real sushi chefs. In the past couple years of cruising, so More
called sushi has been served, but it was not raw fish. This was the real deal.
The rest of the food was typical RCC meals. Not great quality and reusing of the same foods.
It was the smoothest boarding process ever. We were on the ship and in the gym to workout before noon. Boarding took less than an hour.
We stayed in Fremantle, Perth the night before the cruise. Not really a city that offered much. It was hot and touristy. Prices for food and hotels are expensive as well (like everywhere in Australia).
The first 2 stops: Albany and Esperance were ports we wished were not part of the itinerary, nothing very spectacular.
We did multiple shore excursions through the cruise and the one I most highly recommend for anyone looking to get up close and personal with the native wildlife of this part of the world is Bonorong Park in Tasmania. You can pet koalas, feed kangaroo, get within a feet of Tasmanian devils and wombats. Plus, the staff is dedicated, informative and brings the whole experience together.
New Zealand of course is stunning. Cruising grants the special pleasure of viewing the Sounds. The best viewing was probably from the helipad, but with gusty, chilly weather, viewing from our balcony was perfectly enjoyable and recommended.
Be prepared for several days on the rough Tasman Sea. 15 foot swells and 60 mph winds. Keeps you indoors. Not for those prone to seasickness.
The cruise ended in Sydney where we rented an apartment to stay for 8 days. Between the city center and learning to surf on the stunning Bondi Beach, 8 days was just enough. Sydney is such a magnificent city worth exploring.
We will probably never get to this part of the world again, and experiencing all the wonders via a cruise ship allowed us to see and experience so many more places in a comfortable manner. Less
Radiance of the Seas Cruises to Australia & New Zealand
It takes almost an hour to reach the city center from the port. The city is not very impressive. However, our plans were not to spend time in the city but travel to Clealand Wildlife Park - a sanctuary where you can pet Australian wildlife. Our plans fell through because public transportation was not available on a Sunday. The excursion to Clealand was offered through the cruise ship, which in retrospect we wished we had booked through.
Having little knowledge of the surrounding area, we pre-purchased a bus ride into Dunedin the night before. Not surprisingly, Dunedin is a beautiful city with great architecture, commerce and cafes -- just not our thing. We boarded the bus to return to the ship after a brief walk-around and a few photos.
As we returned to port, we found the spectacular beauty of New Zealand was awaiting us right in Port Chalmers. Multiple hiking paths existed to choose from and the hiking was exhilarating due to the challenging hills, unfamiliar plants and trees canopying over us creating a jungle-like feel but the benefit of crisp cool weather instead of humidity. The hike was an experience of awe and the clear lookout point we reached was a brilliant landscape surrounding the ocean. Views that almost seemed more like a flawless painting than real life.