We took a sampler cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas in February, that was fun.
We had some spare cash and needed some relaxation and sunshine and decided to check out what was available with RCCL, via the Internet. We were offered a 22 day Odyssey which included a 16 day cruise on Radiance of the Seas, leaving Sydney (Oct 12) and arriving in Perth, with plenty of sea time and some stops in Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Darwin, Bali, Port Headland, Geraldton and eventually Perth.
The stopovers were all interesting in their own way, we had been to all of them before on separate holidays and went ashore at most places, enjoying what was offered by the locals.
Radiance is a lovely ship, we were aware of the recent refit. This word unfortunately conjures up the view that the whole ship as been re outfitted. So there were some disappointed people, but going to the talk by Capt Bill we it was explained, the refit was mostly electrical updates e.g. wifi to every room plus flat screen TVs, I can't remember what else.
So, 16 days Sydney to Perth, wonderful weather and light seas the whole trip. Capt Bill kept us well informed each (late) morning as to exactly where we were, expected weather & sea conditions, depth of water & current seas and air temps. We had taken a starboard cabin which proved perfect, with weather conditions as hot as 33+ degrees, we never had the sun on us, only the lovely wrap around warmth of the day. Hence reading our book or having our breakfast on the balcony was always a pleasure. Room service is great and FREE.
When rounding the tip of 'Oz' we were quite close to land and many were on deck to enjoy the moment. Lots of us had been that far up Australia by land, so to see some of the area from the sea was interesting.
Food - Amazing! We ate mostly as Cascades, with a need to be careful what we ate (one a diabetic) we found this an ideal way to select our food and not eat too much. With Vegan, Low sugar, Gluten free meals always on the menu. Waiting staff were always lovely and helpful. Windjammer Restaurant is also nicely furnished but the amount of food on offer can be overwhelming at times. Park Cafe is a lovely spot, it is so nice lots of us thought you paid extra when eating there, also Latte-tudes Cafe, where you pay for coffee but the cakes are free. The Solarium Pool is a lovely area and no children allowed. Sorry about that but they do have a lovely area of their own.
It appeared to us there was a very good children & youth program on board, with a disco, with Dexter the basketballer who was teaching the young ones. We were made aware of how many children were on board, when a line of pirates passed by one evening, I guess they were about to take over the ship - Aargh! Or maybe walk the plank! Golf area is fun, room full of electronic games if you must play. Very nice pool for the littlies with a slide.
We found the Quill & Compass Pub, with singer Paul. Then on through to Colony Club and Schooner Club. Wii games on very large TVs and very comfy lounge areas, almost like cosy home lounges. Chess, pool tables, so much to do and see. There's Line dancing here and trivia and talks on just about everything, we had The Antique Road show, very interesting.
Pool areas - often a problem on ships and resorts, where 'some Europeans' insist on waking at dawn to place towels & books on chairs to make sure they have a spot for sometime in the day when they 'might' need it! On Radiance - IT DID NOT HAPPEN. Pool Security discreetly kept an eye on things, including bottles & glasses in areas where they should not be, I hope they do this as well on all their cruises. Maybe it's because of the type/nationality of the cruisers but it was so nice to arrive at the pool at any time and find a lounger.
The Library, near our cabin had lots of mind puzzles out every day, also jigsaw's were being done in that area too. All the musical items were very good, shows we saw were really good except for the 'trance' fellow - so 60's! Pool party was fun even for us oldies. Wonderful BBQ around the pool, one at lunch time and another at the Pool Party after leaving Darwin, magic warm evening to do this.
The whole cruise was lovely, we never heard one grumble from anyone, not even about the paying of gratuities, so I can only say that we were all very content with the staff, food, ship, room, captain etc. and we are already sailing again on Radiance, only next time it is August 2013 in Alaska.