Cruise December 2012
Radiance of the seas, destination 11 nights ,noumea
This was our first cruise, I am a seasoned traveler and work in the customer service field, I have done this for 30 yrs, Embankment was easy and smooth , got into room about an hour after we boarded , our bags came to the room about 8.00 pm, the stateroom we were in was a surprise very well appointed and clean. Met our cabin attendant , friendly little fellow and made us feel at home. They put on lunch while in port at sydney , lunch was at the windjammer and it was a buffet , on offer was roast beef and veges or you could have cold meat and salad . Went for a walk and checked the ship out , at the back of the ship is the golf course/ putt putt . Got some great pix's with the Harbour bridge and opera house in the background , set sail about 6.30 pm with the sun setting there is no better port in the world than sydney harbor going to the heads to enter the ocean.
Restaurants...Summary of where we ate and quality.
Windjammer... is casual fair and there is no dress code, nice buffet food , an assortment of salads , roasts , pastas, fast foods eg burgers, Indian . Quality is ok , but by the end of the cruise all the food taste the same.
Chefs Table...great experience , great food and wine.. Worth the $180 dollars not going to go in to detail , you need to try it for your self.
Chops grille...great steaks , and service, great value.
Izumi... Sushi fair..did not go there for dinner but did talk to people who did , they said it was fresh and a good dining experience .
Samba grille ...Brazilian food , lots of different meats offered .
Giovani's Italian .... Great Italian food , and lots of it.. Great value .
Cascades dinning... Good menu, great service , my time dinning is a good option here but they mainly cater to groups of people sitting together. waited to be seated one nite an I was wearing shorts , they saw me standing there for twenty minutes , when they went to seat us they informed me of dress code, long pants... Not happy , told them what I thought and stormed off.. Went to guest relations desk and complained and they sorted .
Isle of Pines...beautiful place , snorkeling is the go here. Lots of fish to look at, take an under water camera. We took our own snorkel gear from home , you can purchase gear on board or rent on the island. They cook fresh lobster on the island close to where you get off the tender, $ 20 will get you a half a lobby and some salad, we bought some and ate it on the beach .. Awesome.
Mystery Island ......again beautiful place, lots snorkeling places.markets to do some shopping but pretty much all the same stuff on offer.
Champagne Bay......this was a great place to snorkel,, some markets and lobster again to eat.. Tours also on offer
Vila ......did the cascade waterfalls tour here , worth the 25 minute walk up hill, good shopping and the cheapest we saw.
Lifou......old churches here to look at and snorkeling is goog also
Noumea......shops all closed because we arrived on a Sunday , waste of a day.. Tours here on offer. $ 10 round city tour ,included is all day pass , good value
Summary of Ship and staff...and overall experience
The ship is beautiful and kept very well maintained and clean. Service on the ship could be improved, not enough staff is evident , example of this can found at latitudes where you can buy cappuccino and lattes , 9 time out 10 there was a line up , while one person made the coffee any cafe worth it's salt has two people making coffee . My tips were paid up front , but I tip if the service is out standing , no matter where you travel if you tip you get a better experience , and this was the case on the ship with bar staff.. Pick a bar staff person that is working at the same bar all the time,Hit them with a twenty dollar tip straight away.. You will be happy you did...
If you don't like kids cruising is not for you.. They are every where. It seems parents believe that ship staff become surrogate parents once on board.. Next time I cruise I am taking a pram.. It also seemed to be a ticket to be an idiot abroad. And if you think I am being a bit unfair , I don't care , they had to empty the pool three times because it was defalcated in . Got to give the teenagers a wrap , they were very respectful.. This just happened while I have been writing this review , (10:12 a.m. EST) -- A 1-year old child was evacuated from Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas on December 21 after falling from deck to another.
Service levels are average , being an an American company I expected excellent service that beat its rivals .. Talking to other cruisers who have done more cruising than me they said they were disappointed also with the service levels and activities compared to Princess cruises . We enjoyed the cruise and the weather was not kind but overall it was great experience . I will not do another 11 nighter , we will try a shorter cruise before we make our minds up about cruising .