We checked in prior to our check in time around 2:00pm from Circular Quay, Sydney. The check in process was very quick and we were issued our set sail pass. There is also a Tourist Tax Refund Counter to claim tax for items purchased over $300 in a single receipt. Once on board the cruise ship we were allowed to go to our rooms, which was already ready. Our room numbers were 4512 and 3625. We had a large ocean view stateroom, 4512 and a interior stateroom, 3625. Both rooms were alike except the ocean view room had a window. I was impressed with the room size as it was not as small as expected. The bathroom and room was very clean throughout our stay as the room is cleaned twice a day. The shower cubicle was suitable for us but can be small for people on the larger side.
We headed to the Windjammer restaurant for lunch which serves buffet most of the day. This is a buffet More
restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, teatime and dinner. The food at the restaurant was good with a wide variety of food and desserts. You can also go for dinner to the Cascades restaurant that serves a three-course meal. Cascades also serves breakfast and lunch though we never ate breakfast or lunch at this restaurant. Most dinner meals at Cascades were good. There is also Park Café, which is a snack bar that serves breakfast, lunch and late night snacks. Also recommended if you don't want to eat big meals. The staff at most of the restaurants and throughout the cruise ship was very helpful and friendly who are always willing to go the extra mile and make your stay very comfortable. Windjammer and Park Cafe serve complimentary variety of teas, hot chocolate sachets, instant coffee, ice tea, lemonade, orange, strawberry and kiwi juices. Soft drinks and alcohol will be charged. Soft drink costs US$2.50, passion fruit and lemonade US$4.50, cocktails range from approx. US$7.00 to US$12.00, espresso at Cafe Lattetudes is US$2.50.
You are allocated an itinerary/Cruise Compass in your room daily advising what activities are schedued the next day and information regarding the Ports you will be visiting. You can decide what activities you will like to do. I enjoyed most shows I attended at the Aurora Theatre. Certain shows should have an age restriction as many children attended the comedy show, which has inappropriate language. The gym is spacious and has ample equipment. There is also a salon and spa. The spa can be a bit expensive as they charge a further 18% service charge. I used the gym almost throughout my cruise. There is also mini golf, rock climbing, basketball, soccer, self -leveling billiards, darts, cinema and club. I went to the club on the 13th deck but did not enjoy the music. Deck 4 Centrum has live music and also a drinks bar. Deck 5 has duty free shops. Almost every day there is a sale for certain items/ shops but it’s a one-day sale for most items/ shops. There are pools for kids and adults. There is also about three Jacuzzi's. The pool had lots of chlorine on certain days. Some people can be selfish and spend a long time in the Jacuzzi. There was never a time where the pools and Jacuzzi was overcrowded that we could not get in.
We were allowed to get off at all the ports, Isle of Pines in New Caledonia, Mystery Island in Vanuatu, Vila in Vanuatu, Lifou in Loyalty Island and Noumea in New Caledonia. Visas for New Caledonia were not required. We were randomly selected to bring our passports to the custom officials on the morning of us disembarking for the port, Noumea in New Caledonia. They only verified our names and looked at our photo. They did not ask for proof of visa. I think they do this random check to make sure the cruise liners are doing their checks prior to allowing people to board the ship. Some of the islands the boat docks at the port whilst others dock in the middle of the sea and tender boats take you to the islands. It’s cheaper to book tours in advance on the Internet prior to departing or at the port. Booking on the cruise ship can be very expensive.
Try and not take lots of formal and smart casual clothes, as sometimes you don’t use all the clothes. They have a dress code for each night i.e. casual, country attire, smart casual, formal, 70’s disco wear, 50’s and 60’s rock n roll night, island wear, white wear nights. The cruise director Amy and activities manager Gordon were excellent entertainers. We paid our gratuities in advance but were given envelopes on the last night to put in monies for staff that we thought deserved extra for excellent service. The cleaners seem to be the lowest paid. All staff definitely receives a base salary but staff will tell you they only work for tips, which is not true. The gratuity is divided amongst all staff members based on their rank/ position. The more senior you are the larger gratuity will be paid to you. On your last night and day when you farewell your goodbyes the staff that gave you exceptional service look a bit sad as they expect extra tips. You will also be given a survey to complete about the cruise ship and staff to rate your experience. Its best to specify names of staff that gave you good service as this assists them in getting promotions and move to higher pay progressions. We had a very smooth sailing cruise, as none of us got seasick.
Overall, I definitely will recommend the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas cruise ship and will definitely be booking another cruise holiday with RCC liner. Less