This was the first cruise we had had as a family and with friends and other family members joining us it made this Christmas vacation even more special. We chose to have a junior suite which made getting on the ship so easy and extremely fast(highly recommend if you want to avoid the long ques).
First impressions when arriving at the wharf in Sydney was OMG the ship is huge and so spectacular sitting just metres from the roadway. Once on board it was like entering a palace, the Radiance is beautiful and of course we had the added bonus of the Christmas decorations and massive Christmas tree in the centrum.
The room was great, plenty of space and the bathroom and wardrobe were better than we imagined. The beds are huge and the balcony offers a great view. In the room we had a fold out couch for my two children and there was still room to move around the cabin with this set up. The room was attended as often as we requested and our room attendant Dennis was top notch, nothing was too much trouble, a credit to RCCL.
Speaking of the staff, firstly Ive mentioned how much care and detail the deck 10 room attendants take, most of my family were on deck 8 and they commented that their attendants were just as dedicated as ours were. In the bars around the ship there were plenty of happy faces and never any problems getting served a cocktail or 3. In particular Terry in the Quill and Compass was terrific and a nice guy to chat with. Of course our favourite place on the ship was the Schooner Bar were we were served by Jay. He is amazing and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He went out of his way to not only keep us happy but any request we made for a drink for the kids was no trouble. He is the absolute best and RCCL you had better hold on to him. Our Dinning room waiters were polite and entertaining, the kids were well looked after and the quality of food was of a very high standard. In fact we had no complaints with any of the food available in the many restaurants and cafes and the tables were maintained and cleaned regularly by all the staff working in them.
The entertainment was everywhere whether it be some easy listening to someone playing the piano, live music on the pool deck right through to the special guests they had performing twice a night in the theatre. The quality was very good and the dance shows although not quite as spectacular did still provide a good level of entertainment. To add to the entertainment on the ship, The Captain was fantastic, very informative and often could be seen walking around and talking to passengers.
My wife and I didn't use the pools although our children managed every day, they were a little crowded which was to be expected as the weather was beautiful during the cruise. I managed to use the gym facilities quite a few times and they are first class, plenty of equipment and hygiene is a strong point right through Radiance Of The Seas so you never felt uncomfortable using the machines available.
Of course with all the good there were some bad, well not really bad but the ports we stopped at were a bit disappointing. We tendered off Airlie Beach and Cairns and stopped in a working dock in Brisbane miles from the city which offered little or no views to admire. The tenders were free and the welcomes at the docks were great from the locals but the shuttle buses required to get into the towns were extremely overpriced and I feel that they should have been included in your cruise rather than an extra expense. In all honesty knowing what I do now I would have stayed on board rather than visit the towns for just a few hours. Newcastle was an exception. Although the ship docked in a working port, the shuttle bus was supplied for free and we were pleasantly surprised what an interesting place it was to visit. To add to this all the locals lined the shores as we arrived and left waving which made you feel that little bit more special.
Disembarking at Sydney was so quick and smooth it made the ending of a fun holiday that little bit easier to handle. The people at the international terminal in Circular Quay do a great job.
Overall our experience on the ship was fantastic and would not hesitate to take another vacation on The radiance Of the Seas and highly recommend others to give them a try. We hope to experience more of RCCL in the coming years and to receive their high standard of passenger comfort and service again.