We arrived at OPT at approx. 10.45am Checked our suitcases. We then proceeded to line up & asked if we were able to start to board at that time (as I had 2 differing times on my paperwork 1 being 12 noon & other at 3pm)we were pretty happy to be able to get on board that early.
We purchased 5 bottle wine package for $190 but had $100 of on board credit (when cruise was booked) so I thought for $90 was good value.
We walked around the ship & checked out our cabin which was ready early but the luggage was not brought to the door until later. Our stateroom was bigger than we thought, bathroom was adequate, lots of storage space as well as hanging space, porthole was big. We were on Deck 3 Large Ocean View Stateroom, we could see the tug boats manoeuvring the ship when getting into port & we also had the sideways propulsion thing very close to us so every time that started up it caused the room to vibrate & it was noisy however I thought this is just a part of sea life & did not really bother us. The AC was great & at times a bit too cold. The daily intinery - Cruise Compass is delivered to your stateroom daily and gives a run down of the days activities and off shore excursions.
We booked our dining for late that night so we could be on deck for the cruise out of the harbor -- which was divine -- big photo opportunity for all. The waitstaff put on a bit of a show on 2 of the nights that was a bit of fun.
We prepaid gratuities & had my time dining, ate in the dining room 4 nights out of 5 didn't try the specialty restaurants as we were only on a short cruise. When booking I asked for table for 2 and we had that every night - neighboring tables are close by so you can chat to them if you wish.
We tried the Windjammer for breakfast & Lunch overall lots of variety & food was good, some things better than others. Tried room service only for breakfast - again GREAT ! Tried the dining room for lunch once - that was nice too.
Tried the Park Cafe - for a snack that was good as well.
We tried most things and liked some better than others but overall the dining experience as well as the drink service was very good the Cocktail of the day is $7.50 and its a 400ml glass I think that's great value.
Hand sanitisers were in most public areas and people were encouraged to use them and most did.
There was a late evening desert Buffet in the Windjammer this started at 11pm -- if you go to this bring your camera -- ice sculptures, fruit and veggie carvings & loads of deserts to try.
There were a lot of family groups celebrating birthdays also a Wedding which was held in the Colony Club whilst the ship was in Sydney prior to leaving the terminal. To me it appealed as a good family get together alternative holiday.
Remember to pack a power converter, as the power points accept US (?) plugs, I borrowed a set of 3 and only one fitted I also brought a double adapter however one gent told me he brings a power board so he can charge a few things at the same time.
We went to the Aurora Theatre each night -- did not like the first show -- Comedian but subsequent shows -- Piano Man, Hypnotist ,Tango, Juggler/Comedian were all good. Cinema is very small &you need to get there very early to get a seat. Casino was good lots of poker machine and tables.
Went to the Captains Cocktail party which was good too, went to formal dining night which was only 1 night given that it was a short cruise.
Pools were good as were the spas (nice and hot) lounges around the pools were sometimes hard to get so you either need to adjust the time or day you go for a swim or get there early.
We also had an emergency evacuation via helicopter -- I'd hate to think how much this would cost or if you needed to visit the doctor on board, please consider getting travel insurance which covers your medical costs etc.
SOME NEGATIVES - only small ones....
Not being able to have a coffee or tea in your room (need to use room service or go upstairs)
The mattress is 2 single beds joined together so you do get that annoying gap in the centre, bad if you move around or like to cuddle as one ends up feeling it and it can be uncomfortable.
Coffee on Board -- did not like
TV programing in stateroom could have more variety
No guest laundry (prices to wash a pair of shorts was like $3) (on longer cruises they offer wash & fold for $15 for whatever you can fit in the bag provided) Ironing of clothes is for a fee so pack carefully to avoid having to pay out for that service.
Our waiters (dining room - Dipah and Melroy were great as was our room attendant Clarion - thank you all)
Really enjoyed this cruise and looking to go with RCI to New Zealand in 2014 (hopefully on Radiance again). The ship in my opinion is lovely (although we have nothing to compare it too) the on board shops were not too expensive most things had % off and what we saw of the duty free offers (for out of Australian waters) looked very good. Mixed crowd -- both ages and nationality did not see too many children. Everyone was well behaved. Most people on board were really friendly & lot were first timers like us just trying it to see if we like it.
Sorry my review is so long however now that I have experienced a RCI Radiance of the Seas Cruise I hope that I have answered many of the questions I certainly had once I had booked the cruise and I hope that on reading this you find it helpful.
RCI please consider cruising out of Melbourne!!!