My title reflects our previous cruise to the Mediterranean on the Brilliance. Before this cruise, that one was my hands down favorite. This may sound corny, but words truly cannot describe what a fabulous time we had on the Radiance of the Seas! Nevertheless, I will try my best to tell you of our adventure.
This cruise was for our 30th Anniversary and we also stayed three nights post cruise on Waikiki Beach. We arrived in Vancouver the evening before and stayed at the Pan Pacific hotel. This was our second stay here and it is a perfect place as it is literally at the cruise port. Our luggage went directly on the ship courtesy of the Pan Pacific. We were a little nervous about this process, but it worked out great and we would do it again.
We took the hotel elevator right down to the boarding area and this is the only part of the process that could have gone swifter. Perhaps we picked a bad time but it took around 45 minutes to get through customs and board the ship.
The Radiance is a gorgeous ship and I do not say that lightly. We have been on this class of ship as well as the Voyager, Freedom and Oasis classes and the views on this class cannot be beat! We had a nice lunch at the Windjammer and set off to explore what would be our home for the next ten days.
By the time we finished touring, our cabin was ready. We had cabin 9256 which completely lives up to it's hype. The room is just a room, but the balcony is to die for and I have not enjoyed my balcony so much on any previous cruise! There are two loungers and a table with two chairs on it. We enjoyed eating breakfast out here, sunning and just relaxing the entire cruise.
We bought the Chef's Table package and felt that it was well worth the price. The Chef's Table was our hands down favorite meal both for the company and the experience! We met wonderful people and I cannot speak highly enough of Chef Nick!! We saw him around the ship many times during the voyage and he always had time to stop and chat for a few minutes even though he was running around like a madman. I don't know when that guy sleeps!! For those of you considering this wonderful experience, do it!! This was our second Chef's Table meal and both times we have had wonderful experiences and met awesome people!
When we first booked this cruise, we were very worried about all of the sea time. We are active people and we were really nervous about being bored. We needn't have worried as there was a perfect mix of activities and time to relax. We also loved the fact that we turned our clocks back an hour at a time. Being from the east coast, there is a six hour time difference and doing this made it painless. By the time we got to Hawaii, we were perfectly caught up and were able to fully enjoy ourselves.
We booked excursions in all of the ports. In Hilo, we booked the Hilo and Kilauea with lunch trip. We had a wonderful time and the beauty of this place is amazing. This is the one port that, in hindsight, I am so glad we booked a tour in. The other ports were gorgeous and we needn't have booked a darned thing, but Hilo is just a port and there didn't appear to be much around. In Kona, we did the Captain Zodiac snorkel tour and had a blast! Great crew and great snorkeling! In Maui, we went to Ka'anapali Beach and we did the Old Lahaina Luau which was fun and in a gorgeous spot! The second day we took a tour that went to the Iao Valley, a tropical plantation and the Maui Ocean center. Maybe we are easy, but again, we really enjoyed this tour! It was a nice taste of different aspects of the island.
We didn't get to all of the shows, but we really enjoyed the ones we did see. The talented cast is amazing! They can sing, dance and act! We saw the Piano Man, Tango Buenos Aires and a 50's style show. We also saw Norm Crosby, who is still hilarious!! I got a picture with him that I will treasure!
We enjoyed the crew immensely on this ship right up to the Captain, who was visible and friendly! He had his little 18 month old son on board and we met him too! Our stateroom attendant, Paulo, couldn't do enough for us and we did not encounter one rude staff member the entire cruise.
We got off in Honolulu and spent three nights at the Halekulani. This place was understated elegance to the max! I felt like princess the whole time I was there. They also had the best Mai tai's I have ever tasted!
The 10 days went so quickly that we couldn't believe it! If anyone is considering this cruise, I can highly recommend it. We loved it so much that we booked the same cruise for next year! This was the most relaxing vacation that we have ever had and the first one in 30 year that after two weeks, my husband actually didn't want to come home from!