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Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by wuppis

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Radiance of the Seas
Radiance of the Seas
Member Name: wuppis
Email: marita.o@freenet.de
Cruise Date: May 2006
Embarkation: San Diego
Destination: Hawaii
Cabin Category: L
Cabin Number: 9015
Booking Method: Internet Agency
See More About: Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews | Hawaii Cruise Reviews | Royal Caribbean Cruise Deals
Member Rating   5.0 out of 5+
Dining 4.0
Public Rooms 5.0
Cabins 4.0
Entertainment 3.0
Spa & Fitness 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Embarkation 5.0
Service 4.0
Value-for-Money Not Rated
Rates 5.0
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Ship Facts: Radiance of the Seas Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Radiance of the Seas Deck Plans
Radiance of the Seas - Hawaii

May 7th to May 21st 2006

Itinerary

Circle Hawaii - about 5.000 nautical miles: San Diego - 4 days at sea - Hilo, Hawaii - Kailua Kona, Hawaii - Nawiliwili, Kauai - Honolulu, Oahu - Lahaina, Maui - 4 days at sea - San Diego.

Our Flight and Arrival to the Embarkation Port

Saturday, on Lufthansa German Airlines and United Airlines from Dusseldorf via London - Heathrow and San Francisco International to San Diego, total travel time including the stops were 19 hours, absolutely unacceptable. The Flights with United and the service were not bad, although we had bad located seats close to the galley so we were often disturbed when trying to sleep. We can strongly advise, not to travel via Heathrow Airport. The walking and driving distances between the gates from one terminal to another, plus the security checks take up to 90 minutes and are absolutely not justified. Immigration to the USA in San Francisco was without any problems. We had to pick up our luggage and check it again to the San Diego flight at another desk in a very small distance. Once again, no problems.

The pre-cruise overnight stay was in the Best Western Bayside Inn in Downtown San Diego, located in walking distance to the bayside, with a complimentary shuttle service from the airport to the hotel, which was very comfortable as it was on the next day from the hotel to the embarkation pier. The Shuttle arrived at the airport 5 minutes after our telephone call, and so we made a reservation for the next day from hotel to pier. The Hotel itself was for one night absolutely sufficient.

We spent the evening and the next morning walking around to see the Seaport Village and the former aircraft carrier Midway (now a museum), and walked along the Bayside. Sunday, 11.10am arrival at the pier, check in within 5 minutes. We were asked to stay inside the terminal, until our number on the seaboard Pass was called, #1. Sufficient seats were available, including drinks and cookies. We could start boarding at noon as we were the first group. The hallways to the cabins were blocked and boards told, that we were allowed to move into our cabins at 1pm. No problem for us, we took our first lunch in the Windjammer and had the feeling, "we are at home again."

The Management and the Crew

Captain Rune Lokling from Norway, captain and entertainer, like we never saw a captain before, working since 1999 for RCI and now for 1 year master of the Radiance. His announcements at noon were always awaited and highly appreciated by the passengers, always joking and with a good sense of humour. And his "Captains Corner", held twice during the cruise for one hour in the Theater was really worth seeing and hearing.

Hotel director Roger Jackson from Trinidad, working for RCI since 1991, is the person next to the Captain, who is responsible for the relaxed atmosphere on the ship and he was really helpful to me for organizing several things, like a special lunch in the Portofino Restaurant (which is normally closed at noon) for our CruiseCritic group with about 50 people.

Cruise director Kieron Buffery from England, living in California, just came to RCI and he is with his special english humour a good stand-up comedian and an excellent singer.

Executive Chef Alfred Hauser from Austria is responsible for the good meals onboard and is assisted by his Sous Chef Troy from Australia.

The International Hostess Armelle from France and the receptionist Ursula from Austria were helpful, like we've never seen on any other ships. Both of them came to our table, introduced themselves to us and our German table mates and offered their help for any eventuality. Armelle made daily announcements on our voicemail, about suggestions for the following day, time-changes and much more. She was also responsible for the German infos about the Hawaiian islands and the German Cruise Compass.

Last but not least were our waiters Marlon and Nazareth and the headwaiter and Assistant. Maitre D´from Slovakia, Marek, was also very helpful and very obliging.

Cabin

Superior inside cabin, deck 9, stateroom # 9015, in good condition and furnished in sober colours. The bed was a little too hard, but after asking the cabin attendant we received a different mattress. Couch for 2 persons with a small side table, a cabinet, a writing desk with chair, more space in drawers, a TV set, a big safe, two closets with enough space for two weeks. The suitcases fitted well under the beds. There were both 110 and 220 Volt main outlets, important to reload the cellular phone and the batteries for the camera. The bathroom was okay, but the shower was rather small. Annoyingly, the shower curtain always got stuck on us. Our cabin was always clean, towels were changed constantly and the stateroom attendant Audrien was always helpful, we appreciated his service.

Other Cabins

We made a tour of the cabins with our CC group and visited several cabin types, starting in our inside, to some different balcony cabins up to a Junior Suite and even a Grand Suite. Many group members were astonished to learn that the inside cabin size was not much smaller than the balcony cabins. Only the types D1 and the Junior Suites were bigger and had more spacious balconies. There was enough space for two chairs, a small table and 1 or 2 deck chairs.

Passengers

2,156 passengers from 29 nations. USA: 1,709, Great Britain: 127, Canada: 178, Germany: 59 and the rest from many different countries around the world, like from Australia, India, Mexico, Slovakia, Uruguay and more.

Specialty Restaurants

Additional cover charge cost for specialty restaurants - Dinner in Portofino was $ 15, Dinner in Chops Grille was $ 20, gratuities included.

Menu examples from Portofino: We considered all the dishes on the menu absolutely recommendable, the extra cost of $ 15 is well worth it. Before starting with the appetizers, different sorts of bread were served. After the main course just before the dessert, another sweet appetite teaser was served: Chocolate cookies with chocolate covered strawberries, unbelievable.

Drinks (some price examples): Aperitif $ 5, Martinis $ 7.50 - $ 8, Cocktails $ 4.75 - $ 5, Beer $ 3 for a Bud, Miller, Coors, $ 3.75 for a Heineken, Amstel, Corona. Draft Beer 16 oz $ 3,.20 oz $ 3.75 plus the usual 15 % Service charge. Soda package: $ 6 per day plus 15 % Service charge per person. Included is only soda from the streamer, not a can or bottle.

Dinner Jacket and Tuxedo Rental: $ 85 for the whole cruise, shoes $ 12.

Gratuities

Per day and per person totally $ 10.50, that means cabin attendant  $ 3.50, waiter  $ 3.50, Ass. waiter  $ 2.50, Head Waiter  $ 1. For outstanding service we gave some additional tips directly, especially for our stateroom attendant and his service.

Decks on the Radiance of the Seas

Passenger decks 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10

Deck 2: Medical facility and Ship's exit and re-entrance while in port.

Deck 4: Atrium, with front desk and shore excursions desk, tastefully decorated and furnished, in the center with marble, carpeting and wood, small podium with a piano, medium-sized dance floor, surrounded by a seating area for about 20 persons, a small bar (unfortunately, not as tasteful as the Champagne Bar on the Splendour of the Seas), some couches and armchairs in elegant colours; the condition of the furniture is good.

In the atrium are 2 glass elevators facing the inside from deck 2 up to deck 12 and 4 glass elevators facing the Sea outside from deck 2 up to deck 13. In the Atrium are the two entrances to the Cascades Main Dining Room, with tables for 2 up to 12 Persons.

Deck 5: Additional entrances to the Cascades Dining Room. Opposite is the Internet Cafe with 6 Terminals and 1 printer. Some more additional seating around the lobby, Lattetudes the Coffeebar, entrance to the perfume shop, a shopping arcade to some more stores with different commodities, like logo-wear, shirts, cigarettes, alcohol. In the center is an open area for special sales.

Further ahead we find the shops for jewelry, fashion jewelry, sunglasses, bags and evening wear. A passage leads to the photo gallery, along the desk from the Discover Shopping Guide, an Art gallery with different exhibits for the art auctions, and plenty of beautiful sculptures (not for the auctions), like many others throughout the whole ship.

Conference Center: Two entrances, two different rooms, very sober furnishings. Aurora Theater over two floors, the stage for the main evening shows, but also for lectures about Hawaii and for the "Captains Corner", a question and answer hour with the Master and 3 officers. Good visibility from almost every seat in the theater, but due to us, the sound was often too loud.

Deck 6: On the left side is the entrance to the Schooner Bar - serves also as the passage to Colony Club, to Portofino and Chops Grille (both seat about 90 guests), with several armchairs and couches in leather. Attentive bar service, a bar piano player, different music styles. Unfortunately, the bar was not well visited. Being there in the evening we were wondering where all the passengers were. But we have to admit, that we have hardly been out longer than 11pm.

Entering the Colony Club we find two Pool/Billiard Tables, which were very popular. The Furniture is English Colonial-style, some consider it cozy, others rather somber. Colony Club is used for Captain's reception, Bingo, dance events and classes and more. At the end there is a bar with big panorama windows and a wonderful view over the stern.

Casino: Entrance on the right hand side of the atrium in direction towards the theater. Like all casinos loud and full of cigarette smoke as smoking is prohibited there. On the left hand side is the entrance to the sports bar with spectacular plasma screens as well as the entrance to the cinema with 60 seats equipped with a large screen and good sound system. I'm sorry to say, that we never found the time to watch a movie.

Back in the atrium is the Champagne Bar, in a less good location than on the Splendour of the Seas (on deck 4). During the day frequented by many reading passengers.

Deck 7: At the Atrium is a second small Internet Cafe with 6 Terminals and a printer, the Business Center, much more quiet than the other Internet Cafe at the the shops' entrance.

Deck 8: Desk of the International Hostess Armelle, a very nice and helpful person. She was present at least twice a day for the foreign passengers.

Deck 9: Atrium with open library and no big choice of books. Most of them were lended.

Deck 10: Concierge Club, only for Diamond members of RCCL's loyalty programme and suite passengers. Only accessible with a special card, nicely furnished, always fresh, good coffee and drinks served before dinner. In the atrium is another comfortable and quiet seating area.

Deck 11: Entrance to the Windjammer Cafe and to the Art Gallery showing a display of paintings and other artwork on the left side. Exit to the Pool deck equipped with one pool and lift for handicapped persons, 2 jacuzzis, one also with a lift, Pool bar with bar chairs, and of course, plenty of deck chairs, some were in a rather untidy condition.

Passage to the glass-domed Solarium. There's a big pool, one jacuzzi plus 2 showers, the usual artificial plants and some natural plants in addition. Wooden deck chairs with comfortable upholstery, several tables with 4 chairs each. Really pleasant temperatures inside, so most of the time were many people there, because the outside temperatures were not perfect for everybody.

Passage to the Spa with the usual high prices, for example: Ionothermy $ 145, Facial with lifting, 50 minutes for $ 109, seaweed massage, 90 minutes for $ 176, Hot Stone Aroma Massage, 75 minutes for $ 175. On port days there was a discount for some massages of $ 20, but still expensive. On the other side of the ship is the hair and nail studio.




Windjammer Cafe: At in the back of the ship, seating for 780 Passengers (inside and outside) panoramic windows both to port and starboardside. Wooden tables and chairs with blue upholstery. Buffets at different stations in a market/restaurant-style, almost all of them on both sides of the restaurant. Outside behind the Windjammer are couches armchairs and table combinations for alfresco dining, but not in a good and clean condition. At the stern about 120 seats, totally covered with a sunroof. We have never eaten outside, temperatures under the sunroof were too cold and to us it was to windy.

Breakfast: At port days it started at 6.15 am, on sea days at 7am. Several sorts of bread, rolls, croissants, danishes, donuts, appetizing wonderful raisin bread with cranberries, margarine, salted butter, a choice of marmalade and jams. Warm dishes like sausages, some fish and cheese. Toast station with white and brown toast, English Muffins and much more. 2 Stations for coffee, water, milk, several sorts of tea, stations for juices like orange- and for fruits, prepared and ready to eat. Egg Harbor for omelettes with a choice of mushrooms, ham, onions and more, fried eggs, biscuits, sauces.

New: A Ketchup station, no more ketchup and mustard in small separate portions but now in a dispenser.

Lunch: From noon to 3pm, fresh prepared salads, condiments to create your own salad, 4-6 dressings, cheese, sausage, ham, several sorts of bread. Hot buffets with daily changing meals like fish, sausage, corn, carrots, mashed potatoes, Chicken Tandoori, Beef Curry, Spanish Rice. Hamburger and Hot Dog Station with also daily changing extra meals like stuffed paprika peppers and rice. Sandwich station with tasty sandwiches like tuna, turkey, vegetarian and more. Hot Pasta buffet with two sorts of pasta, a choice of sauces and up to 9 sorts of Pizza.

Beverages: Lemonade, fruit punch, ice water, classic iced tea (unsweetened). A Dessert station offering different cakes, fruits, custards, jellies and additional soft-ice.

Coffee and Tea time: Starting at 3.30pm, cakes and cookies, sandwiches, some warm dishes and again Hot Dogs and Hamburgers.

Dinner: We only had dinner in the Windjammer once, after a long tour on the island of Oahu, when we returned to the ship too late for dinner in the Main Dining Room. Great choice of cold appetizers and hot meals, salads, cheese, sushi. A special station where steaks and salmon were grilled a la minute. And absolutely recommendable is the Mongolian BBQ, where you choose the ingredients. The cook will prepare it for you on the slow grill, delicious. Every evening a warm dessert, we had vanilla ice with hot pears and hot chocolate sauce. For people loving to dine casually, a good alternative to the Dining Room.

Deck 12: Jogging track and Fitness Center. A full range of fitness equipments, like treadmills, Crosstrainers and more, well used like on all of our cruises before, starting early in the morning. In the backwards direction is Adventure Ocean, the playing and pool area for children, the golf simulator and the Seaview Cafe eatery (diner-style), open noon to evening.

In the middle of deck 12, in the atrium, is the Crown & Anchor Lounge for booking future cruises, which we visited for the first time and booked a cruise to get the onboard credit of $ 200.

Deck 13: The Starquest Lounge, a discotheque and bar with panoramic view, and Hollywood Odyssey, during the day used for special events and in the evening as a bar for cigar smokers. In the front Atrium with 3 lifts, from deck 2 to deck 12, outside is the rock climbing wall, which was not used as often as on the other ships and the miniature golf course, which was used much more.

Sea Days

On the way to Hawaii and backwards, we had 4 days at sea each time, absolutely relaxing to us. The weather was not so warm as many people expected. Only a small group of people enjoyed the sun in the few hours when she came out. Outside activities were very limited. But we took the weather like it was, not in bathing suits, but normally dressed, discovering the ship and spending a lot of time with our friends and some new friends from our Cruise Critic group.

Hawaii

Big Island, Hilo: We arrived at 6.30am during really terrible weather, cloudy, no sun at all and it was about to rain. We had already booked a tour with Green Tours from home by Email, $69 per person, beginning at 8.30am until 3.45pm. The rain accompanied us almost the whole day, sometimes the sun appeared, and the next moment it was raining cats and dogs. We saw the Rainbow Falls, the Volcanoe National Park with several scenic stops, a lava tube, the Macademia Nut Factory serving wonderful macademia ice cream. We missed Akaka Falls because we were running out of time. In the evening we had a very special experience. We saw the glowing lava flowing into the ocean in the dark, under a full moon. Captain Locking turned the ship around several times, so everybody on each side could enjoy these spectacular moments.

Big Island, Kailua Kona: Warm at last, almost hot, the opposite to Hilo. It is a tender port and time was scantly, so we had not booked a tour. We discovered Kona on our own and went again on our own paths from 7 years ago, when we visited Hawaii for the first time to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We showed our friends the hotel, where we stayed and what we like on this part of the island.

Kauai: We booked a tour, just perfectly planned for German tourists, at home by email. The operator was Kauai Paradise Tours, Max Deyerl. Max was born in Germany and we knew him since our trip in 1999. He showed us and 3 other German couples, 2 of them were friends of us, in more than 8 hours the sights of the Garden Island. He explained everything with a deep passion for the island and he drove his 15-person van very well. Street conditions were terrible because of heavy rainfalls during the last weeks. We saw sights which you cannot visit on a normal tour by coach. Highlights were Waimea Canyon with plenty of scenic stops, breathtaking panoramic views and the southern coast with its beaches, sea turtles and beautiful hotel resorts. The weather here was also very mixed, sometimes warm, a few minutes later we needed our raincoats.

Oahu: Once again we arrived during a rain shower, but the day became better and better. Like for Kauai I've already pre-booked a German guided tour online from Germany, also in a small van again with a person we met before in 1999. Waltraud Lindenblatt, Wally's Tours. This tour could not be any better. Waltraud guided us with love and knowledge over the island where she is living now for many years and she showed us the highlights in about 8 ½ hours, starting in Honolulu, then Waikiki, Diamond Head, along the east coast with many exclusive villas for the very well off. We visited Hanauma Beach Park, Chinamans' Hat and Sunset Beach, watching the surfers, and then further on to Waimea Beach Park. Then we drove right through the middle of the island, visiting the Dole Plantation, to enjoy the delicious pineapple ice cream, and then back to the Honolulu area via Pearl City, so we could see the Arizona Memorial and the Missouri from outside Pearl Harbour. We continued our tour through Downtown Honolulu and China Town, stopped at the Iolani Palace and finished at the Ala Moana Shopping Mall for a short walk. We took a taxi for 11 $ back to the pier where a wonderful day was coming to an end.

Lahaina, Maui: Our last port on the islands, without a booked tour. Here we took a taxi to Whalers Village and Kaanapali Beaches once again together with our friends, visited the Whalers museum and strolled around. Other friends went for a swim, but they were facing strong winds which was an unpleasant combination with all the powdering sand. We returned back to Lahaina on a taxi ride for $ 12  and made some last stops in Lahaina´s shops to buy some souvenirs (okay, an expensive souvenir for me).

Because it was our second visit to Hawaii after 1999, and this time only a ramble for one day per island, our memories of the time we traveled each of the four islands for several days came alive. Our opinion about the islands has changed. If people asked in 1999, which island to choose if you could only visit one, our answer would have been Kauai or Maui. Now, our answer would be to definitely pick Oahu. This island has everything for a longer vacation, unbelievable landscapes, coastlines and beaches to dream about, but also cities like Honolulu and Waikiki, so there's something for everyone and every taste. Of course we would recommend to visit all of the islands, each one is different, the landscapes, the climate, the beaches and hotels.

Weather and Climate

The days at sea were cool in the beginning. For walking and jogging early in the morning a sweatshirt was necessary. Early means 5.30am or 6am to me. Some people have been wearing gloves and caps. During the day it usually became warmer, but it remained still windy, spray came up even to deck 12, temperatures were in the 60's. Sunbathing was only possible at wind sheltered areas on deck. Two days before we arrived to Hawaii and 2 days after we left were warmer days at sea, but there have been also some upcoming rain showers here and then. Because the ship went at about 23-24 knots and due to some higher waves, we felt pretty more movements than usual. But for the first time on a cruise, it did not bother me.

Cruise Critic Group

A special chapter for a special group, the Pineapple Express, with roundabout 50 persons, who have met in a Roll Call on an american message board for more than half a year - even for some of them more than a year. We have met almost daily on the board, talked about different things, tried to manage some slight problems together as a community, and planned activities. We had an easel on deck 8 close to the elevators with our daily activities and pictures from the last day. We organized several activities like a dinner on the evening before our cruise, first meeting at the pool bar before sailaway, the Meet & Mingle organized by RCCL, joined by the cruise director and hotel director to come along and say hello.

Once, we had lunch together in the Portofino, exclusively opened for our group, a minigolf tournament men against women, a tour of the cabins to visit all cabin types, starting with an inside, several types of balcony cabins up to a Junior Suite and even a Grand Suite. We had so much fun and it was really interesting. We had a gift exchange with typical gifts from the state we came from, a come together Party in the Schooner Bar, a breakfast with more than 30 people in the dining room at the end of the cruise and a special Galley Tour. It was exciting to see, how people from USA, Canada, Scotland and Germany, met for the first time and had such a good time together. I'm really sorry to say that we will likely not see most of them again, but who knows what life will bring.

The Main Dining Room

In the evening we were booked at a table for 4 persons close to the windows in a small separate room on deck 4, not in the Main Dining Room. We had dinner during main seating that began at 6pm. Second seating was at 8.30pm, too late for us. We and our friends liked our table, it was somehow far away from the hectic. The quality of the food was good, the choice was always sufficient.

Both our waiters, from Phillippines and Goa, and the headwaiter from Slovakia, have been really friendly and served well. Extra desires were always considered well and, when once asked, served the next evening without reminding them (like a special dressing for the salad). There were only a few new dishes on the menu, which we did not know from other cruises on RCCL ships, but we enjoyed all of them, some of those dishes were fusion cuisine, cross culture-like dishes.

Lunch: Here is a new innovation by RCCL, which we really liked. It is called Brasserie 30 and is served only on days at sea in the dining room. This concept will be introduced on all RCCL ships and we can really recommend it. The idea is that if you order 2 courses, you will be finished with lunch within 30 minutes. Having more than 2 courses, it will take longer. You will be seated at separate, special prepared tables with excellent service. You receive a special menu with daily changing dishes for the soup, appetizer, main course and dessert. They begin serving delicious freshly baked bread with butter and pesto. In addition, there is a pasta station, where your pasta will be freshly prepared the way you like it. Many meals are prepared a la minute, you will taste the difference when you order the Steak Sandwich. The waiters are much more relaxed and friendly serving lunch, than we experienced it on other ships, where the service in the dining room for lunch was totally different, which means worse, to the excellent service in the evening. A great improvement.





Portofino

First of all, it was not as easy as we expected to make a reservation for Uwe's birthday. Three days before I asked for a reservation, the whole restaurant was booked out. They offered us to dine at 9pm, but that was too late for us and our friends. Only because of a cancellation and my good contact to the nice restaurant manger Sahin, we finally got the table for Uwe's birthday. And it was absolutely worth it: We could choose a table at the window with a total different atmosphere than in the Dining Room. Because of large windows and a roof outside the light was very special. Outstanding service the whole evening.

At the beginning we got delicious bread and pestos and we had, for example, the Carpaccio as appetizer, a Clam Chowder Soup, a small pasta, a grilled beef tenderloin on creamy mashed potatoes with delicious vegetables as main course. Uwe had the Atlantic Halibut with a crab and shrimp risotto. Before serving the dessert, they brought us cookies and strawberries, covered with chocolate. The dessert was made in heaven, Tiramisu, served in a chocolate bowl and Uwe had flourless chocolate cake (50,000 calories, at least). What a dinner and well worth the extra $15 (service charge is included) but for this excellent service, you'll add some more gratuity. One thing: you need about 2 ½ hours for this, like they call it, dining experience.

Departure

It started early in the morning at 6.15am in the theater, first to get the passports back and then to Immigration, who came onboard for the foreigners; fast and easy. We spent the time until disembarkation for Platinum and Diamond Members in the Cascade Dining Room, and waited almost for 1 ½ hours until our tag colour was called to leave the ship to the terminal.

Our Luggage was complete but then the disaster began. Outside the terminal were long lines for the buses to the airport. Nobody knew which bus was for which terminal/airline. So many people, not enough buses, time was running by and our flight departure came closer and closer. Finally we could grab a seat in a bus and when arriving at the airport, the passengers had to take the luggage out of the bus by themselves, not good service.

The check in at United Airlines counter went fast, but then the next disaster began. We had to wait in a very long line for our security check before we could reach the gates. It took us almost one hour so we thought our flight had departed without us. But we were lucky, the aircraft itself was delayed and so we caught our flight to Washington D.C.

No free food on this 5 hour flight, we had to buy a salad or sandwich for $5, beverages were free. The next delay awaited us when we arrived in Washington D.C. where we had to run, to reach the flight to London. They were about to close the doors to the gate, when we arrived. What a hurry with these long distances from gate to gate. A long flight to London without any problems. After arrival, another 90 minutes from one gate to the other for the flight to Dusseldorf because of a change of terminals at London-Heathrow. We´ll never fly via Heathrow again, that's really horrible. **Note of the assistant translator: Next time, take British Airways, dear Marita. Their terminal exchange is much better organised and smoother ;-)  **

RCCL has made a mistake in their organization of disembarkation and departure. They did not ask the passengers, when their flights were leaving, like they did on other ships where they gave them the tags in accordance of the departure time. We were told, that people with a 1 pm flight were in the same group like people with a 8 pm flight. They only caught the plane, by leaving the ship earlier than called. RCCL must definitely reorganize the whole process.

Conclusion

The ship, we would say, it is generally in good shape. But some details attracted our attention. Although it is only 5 years old you will see many slight faults which need to be repaired. Many chairs in the Dining Room and the Windjammer Cafe almost broke apart. Some tables waggled, you had trouble with keeping your hot coffee when somebody leaned on the table. Some upholstering were very battered and some carpeted floors were frayed. Things that could be fixed in a short time, but nobody seemed to be concerned about remedial measures. Faulty chairs were placed in another section of the restaurant, tables were cleaned but nobody felt responsible for their weak shape. Don't they have a repair department with some handymen on board?

Many deck chairs were in a bad condition too. It was not the quality, but they were simply not clean. We sat down twice with our normal clothes which became dirty from the deck chairs. Never use them without using a towel between. Many of them were full of paintlicks and not cleaned properly for a long time.

About the meals, something became obvious to us. This was our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean, the food was of a good quality, but only a few times very good, but never (left beside Portofino) in an excellent quality. On all of our cruises the meals were almost the same and tasted the same. Maybe Americans love that, but we would opt for alternations in meals and in taste. We have heard that RCCL does not allow to change the recipes or even the decoration of the plates. For a cruise line, which is proud to have so many repeaters, shouldn't they offer a better variety? We would appreciate that very much.

About the Crew, I would say, this was the most relaxed crew we have ever had and that has certainly to do with the Captain, the Hotel Director and their management. We loved the atmosphere, although some other passengers did not like the casualty. We found so much kindliness and support, we never had before and we sincerely thank all of the crew who made this cruise so special for us. We were very glad to hear, that the management offered some special events for the crew, like an evening with a pool party in the Solarium and a dinner in the Windjammer. We've heard from several crew members  that they enjoyed it very much and it was good for the working spirit. All this together creates the special atmosphere on the Radiance.

Recommendation

A ship which we can recommend for every itinerary. For us personally, the Radiance Class of ships belong to the most beautiful ships on earth. We like the size, it's not too big. That there have been so many people on board, was only an occasional problem when getting back from the pier to the ship, but had nothing to do with RCCL's organisation. It was a problem with the port authorities and their security staff, who did sometimes too much for "security". In combination with some small renovations in the public areas, the Radiance could shine again in her former glamour.

Cruise on the Radiance of the Seas from Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Review by Marita & Uwe Oppermann (oppis)

For more details and pictures email marita.o@freenet.de or visit: http://www.oppermann-wuppertal.de

Translation kindly supported by Andreas Halapamoda

Publication Date: 09/13/06
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