Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by Buckyejim: Radiance of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean
Overall Member Rating
Radiance of the Seas - Eastern Caribbean
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
If you have read Zawickiedawg's review, you have the facts about the weather and the usual incidents of this cruise. I will not repeat them.
This is our fifth cruise on Royal Caribbean and our first on Radiance of the Seas. Like her sister, Jewel of the Seas which we experienced last year\ar, Radiance is a beautiful ship. Radiance has the friendliest crew that we have experienced - from the Captain to the cabin stewards. How many Captains participate in a cake building contest complete with a food fight with his opponent that spilled into the audience in the Centrum - the Captain of the Radiance of the Seas did. Keiren Buffery was the best Cruise Director we have experienced. He had great interaction with the guests including a sing-a-long in the Scooner Bar.
Let's get back to the beginning, embarkation. We arrived by plane and took a cab (15 minutes) to the terminal. The terminal was not the primary RC terminal that we had used for past cruises. This was clearly a More secondary terminal and it showed. The terminal was run down and it took 30 minutes to get through check-in and onto the ship via deck five rather than though the usual deck four entry into the Centrum.
We were on the ship by 1:30 and our room was ready. We changed into the shorts we had in our carry-on and met the rest of our group of 6 for a late lunch in the Windjammer. The Windjammer on Radiance is a modern,well organized buffet. We found the food to be very good and better than we have experienced in other Windjammers. The pastries from breakfast rolls to sugar free desserts were excellent. For the first time, we ate dinner one night in the Windjammer and it was also excellent.
The Cascades dining room is beautiful and our waiter, Marlon, and his assistant, Fernando, provided excellent service all week. The food was very good,
We had never visited the primary destinations of this cruise: Puerto Rico. St. Maarten, Antigua, and St. Thomas. In each port we hired a taxi ($25/person) rather that take an excursion. Maybe we just lucked out, but each of the drivers could not have been nicer. In Antigua, on the 25th anniversary of their independence. Bernard took us all around the island. The trip up to Shirley Heights, the highest spot on Antigua was quite a ride: narrow road with no guardrails and lined with free-ranging goats.
In St. Maarten we took a ship-sponsored excursion: the 12 meter challenge. This was not the tour of the butterfly farm or the bus to the nude beach. This was the real deal: racing a million dollar America's cup yacht. We crewed a Canadian boat, True North, in a race against the US boat, Stars and Stripes, the winner of the 1987 America's cup, You work as part of the crew( I was a rear main grinder) and it was an exhilarating 3 hours! I cannot imagine a better excursion, even the bus to the nude beach. Oh, we won by 3 seconds.
Our last port of call was Nassau - been there, done that. But wait, they have cleaned up the old place and run the peddlers off the wharf. Nobody asked if they could braid our hair or give us a water taxi ride. They even have a Starbucks!
Back on the boat, we were successful in persuading the Cruise Director to end the incessant broadcast of soccer games in the sports bar and televise three American football games including Ohio State v. Illinois. Go Bucks!
Disembarkation was the easiest ever. 15 minutes from when we were called to the taxi. Here's a tip: find a porter. He will transport your luggage, get you through customs in a special shorter line and get you in the first taxi. A $15 tip made us both happy.
In summary: Great ship; best crew ever; fantastic destinations. I'd do it again tomorrow. Less
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