We arrived in Sydney by plane, and caught the train to the ship. Great way to get there, no traffic and train every 15 minutes. Cost each way is $15 if you don't have a concession. Take your Seniors Card if applicable for a reasonable discount. Boarding was quick, even though there was a fairly long line. We got some priority as we were gold members which was appreciated.
We cruised on the Rhapsody last year, and enjoyed it very much, but the Radiance is just stunning. Our stateroom was plenty big enough, and quiet even though we weren't that far from the atrium on deck 4. There were 9 of us from our little home town in Victoria, and we had a ball! There were lots of things to do, and still plenty of quiet places to read a book. We especially enjoyed the area at the stern end on deck 6. Fantastic. We also did the Murder Mystery night at Giovanni's which was really well done, and lots of laughs. The actors are part of the singing and dance crew, and really know how to ham it up. The food there was mind blowing. I don't know when I have had a better steak. The dining room experience was top notch, and we had lots of fun with our waiter Brian, teaching him some Aussie slang. All the staff were great, and the food was top quality. The Windjammer buffet was also good, and lots to choose from. The shows were very well done, but a couple weren't our thing, so we didn't go to them all. We loved the computer controlled pool tables.. a bit weird to start with. Mini Golf was good too. Captain Klaus was fantastic, and kept us all up to date with a nasty weather pattern that was to our north. We managed to get to all the ports, and still avoid the nasty stuff. There were a few whingers (as per normal) but my mate got it right by telling one that " she was obviously very hard to please" I think that our cruise was one of the best holidays ever. A beautiful ship, great staff, great food. What else could you ask for. Well done Radiance Crew. We'll be back.
Ports visited were Noumea... booked a tour and stop at the shops on board. I wouldn't do that one again. The tour was late to pick us up from the shops ( Which were pretty basic. There is a motorised "Train" which would be much better. We had also booked a Zodiac ride to Duck Island, which was cancelled due to the weather. Just as well, as we were so late we wouldn't have made it.
Champagne Bay.. Absolutely fantastic. Good snorkeling. Got to swim with a large sea turtle! What a buzz.
Loganville.. On the other side of the same island. We hired a local taxi and went to the blue pool. Freezing fresh water. Worth a visit. paid the driver $50AUD, and tipped him another $20, as he was worth it.
Vila ( Vanuatu) Nice Island. Booked a shipboard tour to the " Secret Garden."
Lots of local info and a worthwhile tour.
Mystery Island- Probably my favourite. Beautiful place, nice coral reef and lagoon. Lots of fish to feed ( we pinched some rolls from Windjammer to feed them) Friendly locals. Wow, what a nice place. You can even pay $5 and get some photo's in the "Mystery Island Cannibal Pot" with the natives "hamming it up"
Isle of Pines- Almost as good as Mystery. Great snorkeling and beach.
If you want to snorkel at any of these islands, get up early and beat the crowd to the beach. The water is much cleaner and you're not bumping into others.
I'd do the whole trip over again.