Radiance OTS NZ 14N from Sydney 21st Jan 2013: Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by mr walker
Overall Member Rating
Radiance OTS NZ 14N from Sydney 21st Jan 2013
Destination: Australia & New Zealand
Embarkation: Sydney (Australia)
Embarkation: our shuttle got us to OPT, Sydney a bit earlier than we planned - no problems, we passed our bags over, joined the small queue & within 15 or 20 minutes we were on the ship! We headed to the Windjammer & had lunch & we were on holiday! Staff at embarkation were great.
Stateroom: we were able to access our stateroom on time (1pm) & dropped off our carry-on. Our attendant Valeriano had everything ready for us. We had an 8th deck starboard balcony  which was perfect. Valeriano asked our names & from that moment on he spoke to us by name and was always available & was able to arrange whatever we asked for - nothing was too much trouble, and he was able to perform is duties fitting in with our schedule, even though we didn't always know what that was.
Food: our only problem was that it More was so good & was always being served, that it was impossible not to eat too much! We ate in MDR each night as we consider this to be a highlight of a cruise vacation. We had 8:30 dining & had requested a table for 6 - we were on separate reservations, but our TA's & RCI excelled and we had a table for 6 at a window on port side [#471] - a wonderful view of the Opera House on first night.
Our waiter Martin (India) was great - as a group we gave him grief in a fun way & he responded very well. His advice & service were excellent & he always supplied extras to make sure we we never hungry. We often saw him at other times in Windjammer & he always looked after his guests (us) so well. He is a credit to RC & his managers.
Our assistant waiter was Judy (China). This was her 1st cruise in the job. What she lacked in experience she more than made up for in enthusiasm. There was no-one better at keeping the ice water glasses filled. And her service on the bread rolls was great - I have no idea how many sourdough rolls I had in 14 dinners - not sure if they keep records:-)
When I suffered a chest infection during the cruise, Martin & Judy went above & beyond. I didn't want to drink anything cold, so told them I just wanted hot water, so Judy arranged this. The next evening, Judy was pouring ice water. When she got to me& I started to say no water for me thanks. She replied yes I know I already prepared yours. With that she went to her station & produced hot water with lemon! This continued for the next few days.
We had breakfast each day in Windjammer & found it was really good, both the food & the staff. Most days we had lunch in WJ also, but also enjoyed the cafe in the Solarium. Also the poolside BBQ was good.
Entertainment: we went to the show each night. Some were better than others, but overall it was good. Casual entertainment in Centrum, Schooner Bar & Colony Club was very good.
Activities: CD Bobby Brown &Becky were once again great - they had been on our 1st cruise on Rhapsody. Our party partcipated in many activities incl Trivia, golf, bingo, darts, horse racing & we had fun. We had a good time with all the activities staff incl Ryan, Jenny, Deborah, Kim. Just 1 point - please lash out & buy a new dart board :-) The game shows & quest etc were a lot of fun.
A highlight for us was the big horse race event. Our group bought a horse in the auction which proved to be a lot of fun, even though we did not win the prize for the winning owner(s). We took our horse all around the ship - it was great way to meet people, but you needed to allow extra time to get anywhere as people would stop you and ask lots of questions. We won a prize for best decorated horse :-)
Bars: very nice bars, good selection & generous serves & simply fantastic staff who greeted us by name & knew our drinks after just a day or two. Nothing was too much trouble for these guys & girls, inluding getting drinks that they were not getting tips for. These guys make it feel like you have gone to your local, just with views I don't get at my local :-( special mention to Jason & Bernie in the schooner bar & the guys who worked the pool deck & theatre.
Exursions: we visited 6 ports in NZ & booked 4 tours thru RC. We recognise you pay a premuim for booking thru the ship, but the simplicity of doing it that way is well worth it - we are on vacation!!!! Also some trips can only be done thru RC.
Dunedin - did city tour + brewery & it was very enjoyable.
Akaroa - took tour to Christchurch incl morning tea & sheep dog display en-route. Excellent day, sad to see the earthquake damage. Tour guy was great - Ricky, & the views of Akaroa harbour on return were spectacular.
Wellington - walked into city from ship - it was further than they said :-). Went to new museum & cable car, which were ok.
Tau ranga: did tour to Rotorua. Spectacular scenery & thermal park was really good.
Auckland : walked from ship to Sky Tower - spectacular views. Had lunch in Viaduct area right near ship.
Bay of Islands: did Tall Ship tour - really great, but the weather let us down.
Sounds: the day cruising the 3 sounds in Fiordland was great. This was something we had looked forward to & our hopes were certainly met. Two of our group got up early & braved the chill out on heli-pad as we sailed into Milford sound around dawn. The several hundred out there saw spectacular sights as the sun rose - snow capped peaks & many waterfalls were worth the early morning.
Disembarkation: very smooth & whilst we didn't want our cruise to end, the process was no stress & so didn't take away from our great cruise.
Ship: 1st time on Radiance, we really enjoyed the ship. Had some bigger lounges/bars than our much-loved Rhapody. Spacious & easy to get around, we would definitely cruise Radiance again. All the staff were great. Our captain Sindre Borsheim was fanastic & Bobby could do worse than have Capt Sindre do a comedy show each cruise :-) We actually changed captains in Auckland, with Capt Peterson finding his way back to Sydney - we were hoping he would get lost & enable us to have a few extra days.
Bonus: we could not have expected what was to happen on last sea day. The girls shared a win in the bingo jackpot, and we paid off our full on board account from the proceeds!!!!!!
PS: we have been back a few weeks, but last week we booked our next cruise - Voyager, Singapore to Sydney in October :-) :-) :-) Less
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