We had a very nice time on this Cruise -- looking forward to a relaxing time with plenty of sea days, lots of specialty restaurants, Tassie devils, etc. We were not disappointed. Background -- we have cruised about 10 times before on a variety of Cruise lines. Been to Australia once before.
The wildlife stops were great. We "tracked" kangaroos in the wild, saw Tassie devils, birds. Not exactly like Africa, but a lot of fun. New Zealand fjords (Milford Sound, Dusky Sound) were beautiful and left us speechless.
Rooms -- our room was a deluxe stateroom with balcony (9574) near the library. Very large, great comfortable bed, flat screen TV. We were wondering if there would be noise from the centrum parties that would keep us awake at night -- no "worries".
Stateroom Attendant ("Caba"). Really excellent. There was not a single time we returned to the room when it was not made up. Don't know how he did that since sometimes we would be gone only 30 minutes or so. Great towel sculptures too, even a Roo with "Joey".
Food -- we would rate this as a mixed bag. Room service was great (food quality and service). We had "My Dining" which meant we could go to dinner in the main dining room when we wanted vs having to adhere to the 1st or 2nd seating times. That part was nice. Dinner in the Main Dining room was average (soups were usually good). Breakfast(and esp Lunch) in the Main Dining room were very good -- great salad bar where they make your chopped salad as you wait. Windjammer buffet had a nice variety of food, normally pretty good quality. As the cruise went on, the quality went down a bit. Deck Bar-B-Qs were great.
Specialty restaurants -- we went to the Italian (Giovannis), Mexican (Ritas), Japanese (Izumu), and Chops. Also had a reservation for Brazilian but we skipped it. Grades -- Giovannis A, excellent food and service. Mexican F -- please RCI drop this idea, this is not Mexican food at all and was inedible. Folks from Southern California know what Mexican food should taste like. Japanese D -- nice try but the food was boring -- even the "hot plates". Chops B -- good food but I think we were a little too full to appreciate. Personally, we like the idea of Specialty places to eat, but there should be one cost for the experience (no Ala carte costing -- it confuses people and probably turns then off to Specialty dining). Norwegian has the right idea here. Also, as noted elsewhere, tone down the marketing for these specialty places -- it turns people off.
The Solarium area was excellent, beautiful with tropical plants, bird sounds, nice small Park Cafe. Lack of seating is a problem, but don't know how to solve it. Maybe a note that advises people to sit no longer than 2 hours, so other quests can use them? Make the Solarium pool just a little warmer please.
Entertainment was OK. We did not think the evening shows were that great, so we skipped most of them. We did spend a lot of evenings in the Colony Club listening to the Blue Avenue Band! This was strange because most nights, we were the only people in the place, while the band played a huge variety of popular hits (Presley, Rock, Country) -- whatever they played was great. The singer in particular was amazing -- don't know his name but hope he and the band have a great future. Good luck to the Blue Avenue Band!
On tipping, I was not crazy about the idea of paying for gratuities in advance (which we had to do since we chose My Time Dining). But it seems to work OK. We gave our stateroom attendant something extra at the end of the cruise.
Excursions -- we booked 4 before we left and added 1 on board. We had excursions in Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania, Dunedin NZ. Overall, we think these were good values.
We liked the Radiance and RCI was pretty good. We would try them again.