Hi, just wanted to review our 8th cruise on the Radiance of the Seas and it was great!
We stayed at the Holiday Inn- Port of Miami across from Bayside Marketplace which is an open air mall with a Forrest Gump's restaurant and Hard Rock Cafe and lots of fun with the bands playing that Miami Sound. Took a short millionaire's row cruise on Island Queen (check on-line for coupons) and had a terrific day! When it was all over we walked across the street back to our bayside view room and enjoyed the city lights!
We have explored Miami and all of it's wonderful neighborhoods and attractions on previous trips and it was a blessing not to have to drive at all! We were happy and tired and looking forward to seeing the Radiance in Port across the bay in the morning! What a sight to see with all the ships lined up waiting for thousands of eager passengers and letting off many who didn't want to leave! I took many photos both days we were here but today was very special since it was our Ship in port!
Embarkation was a breeze...... we have a special sign in desk as Platinum members in the Crown & Anchor and have never had to wait more than a couple minutes. On board, it's time to explore and await that special sail-away party on the balcony!! I got some terrific pictures of Miami skyscrapers and the jet skiers and small boats escorting us out are a blast to watch! This ship is quite beautiful with lots of windows to the water so we quickly learned our way around. We try to pick a room close to the stairs/elevators since there is always something going on you want to see or do!
First stop Coco Cay, beautiful day with calm clear water this time..we always pack our own snorkeling gear and put it to good use here...brought sardines for the fish and had an up close and personal visit from the local laughing barracuda that scared me to pieces since his teeth were right in my snorkeling mask as I was trying to get a shot of a large parrot fish! Next time I will try dry cat food for the fish! (the guides in Cozumel bring a small Ziplock of dog/cat food, the fish love the stuff and you will be swarmed and feel like you are swimming in an aquarium with fish bumping into you as they are darting around!) Maybe the barracudas won't be so interested !! Great Barbecue and great relaxing day! No fees for chairs and there are always mats left over from someone done with them.
Back on board we head south for St Thomas and fun, fun, fun all night and all the day at sea and all night! Welcome back parties for repeaters, and receptions for Plat/Diamond members and other goings-on will keep you busy! Remember to sign up as a cruise critic and have another party when you get 25 people to join! They have goodies and drinks and prizes to give away..a good time will be had!
First cruise we have ever had a singing Cruise Director, Gordan and a singing Captain!! The production numbers were great and the backstage tour was fun!
St. Thomas is busy always! Lots of shopping, great views from overlooking mountains and the water visibility is always pretty good! If you go on the Sky Tram, you can walk there from the pier and it's much cheaper to buy a ticket right there. It's got a nice hiking trail, shopping and a neat bird show and restaurant with the best views of the harbour below! We went for the Eco tour and learned about the Mangroves and native island plants & history and went snorkeling.
St. Maarten, is my favorite island!! We went Rhino riding and had a blast! Got drenched by a sudden sea squall and took refuge under our life jackets! It was actually a refreshing clean water rinse after snorkeling and seeing various fish and a moray eel so no one really complained! It was over in about 7 minutes! Rejoicing we hit the sea lanes and bounced, bucked and flew back down the coast of St. Maarten on a wild ride!! On the bus ride back we asked to be let off by Front street and here's where you can do some serious trinket shopping and island wear, etc.. There are casinos and unique liquors (guavaberry) and blue delft china from Holland and chocolate shops, etc (The Dutch side is very cool!) actually the French side is awesome too but we seem to hit it about the time of the afternoon siesta every time we have been there! Many great restaurants and shops and an open air market with great trinkets that will remind you of Europe, with a tropical flair! Enjoy!
Back on board and fun, fun, fun!!! We tried the scavenger hunt for adults and that was a blast! Took 2nd place and ran all over the ship looking for clues!
Don't miss out on Win a Cruise Bingo! My husband has always played this bingo and I am so glad because he won! It's really true you can win a cruise and we are booked on the Navigator in November! The certificate was full of restrictions and you had to list 3 choices, soo we gave them 6 choices and fully expected to be bunking with the crew but wanted to go no matter what and then we received the Good news..... a Balcony stateroom and we only had to pay port charges and taxes!! Don't miss the final bingo session either, a young military couple won over $7K and they decided to make a down payment on their first house!!!
The Midnight Buffets are great and the bartenders doing their stunts were neat and the casino was hopping with winners (some nights!) the art auctions are interesting, don't miss trivia or the game shows and most of all have fun! It will be the best vacation of your life!