As a family of 5, we were very anxious and nervous about our first trip by cruise to the South Pacific, I had nothing to compare this trip to, so I had to read the reviews and listen to people who had been on a cruise.
I want to write this review in a manner that will assist the average person who works hard and wants great value for money and a wonderful experience with your family.
We got a room 3628 G and 3630 G on Deck 3 with a large Port Hole, absolutely loved it, you can look out while lying in your bed and view the ocean, a balcony for us was not needed, even our friends who had a balcony, stated that they would prefer the Port Hole, it was much larger than we thought it would be.
Cabins were very nice and the room attendants were fantastic, even though we had paid our tips, we gave him a little extra, you had no choice due to his hard work, really the only benefit of paying the tips and gratuities before hand was the My Time Dining, that really wasn't a big deal.
The dining staff across the whole ship were absolutely fantastic and anyone that complains about them think they are their personal servants, they were absolutely fantastic and that was worth paying the tips before hand so they all get a share.
The ship was cleaned spotless, considering the number of people on board, maintenance work and cleaning never stopped including the pools every second night.
Food, wow, every one was complaining about the amount of food which was in abundance and worth every cent.
We were lucky to have beautiful weather, we would just look out into the ocean and that in itself was the best distressing experience you can get.
Entertainment was ok, but could have been a lot better, there was an American Comedian, who was anything but funny, the shows start almost the same time as the movies and unfortunately the movies were boring, many people were of the same opinion, but the ship sort of made up for the lack lustre entertainment.
They have a lot of quizzes and RSL type shows, that I thought were well below the standards of this ship.
Ok for excursions on the Islands, unless you have more money than know what to do with it, enjoy being robbed, but for those who have a budget, you can do the same tours and more with the locals, by the way, the locals are more shrewd and cunning when it comes to money and how to play the game, so do not think that without your money they will starve, 4 ships a week land on most of these Islands. For a family of 5 we would save about 350 bucks if not more by doing our own tours, the ship will tell you that we would leave without, but I assure you no one on our trip got left behind.
Purchase your snorkels and water shoes prior, they will be the most essential part of the trip.
Do not over pack, we took 5 bags, we probably used 3.
The staff were a reflection of the Radiance, I'm referring to the grass roots staff, I have never been called Sir, so many times in my life, I had to keep telling them not to "As I work for a living" they were fantastic.
All in all, we had the best holiday ever, the ship was just magnificent (in our opinion), I honestly cant wait to book another holiday, anyone that complains excessively is probably spoilt.
In regards to the Islands, we loved Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Port Vila and Noumea, we did not like Lifou as much, due to the amount of coral every where in the water, our water shoes got shredded.
On Isle of pines, you can honestly enjoy yourself on the beach where you get of, you will hear about the Aquarium they have, which was $25 each for a 10 minute drive (local price) you will see the same thing at that beach.
Mystery Island, you cannot go wrong on that Island, it is the smallest and just snorkel anywhere.
Port Vila make sure you visit The Blue Lagoon and the Cascades Waterfalls WOW, magical and worth the $25 entry fee. Noumea has about 300,000 inhabitants and the people are quite arrogant, I assure you a lot of people on the cruise had the same experience.
The best part of the trip was the lack of technology, no phones, computers, by the way only get Wii Fii if you need it, it is not cheap and doesn't work that well.
We loved it, I hope that this info helps those in doubt, Enjo.