Arrival - We had already been warned by Royal that Norovirus was on the last voyage, so not to arrive at the port before 1pm, well done royal for sending the emails out, although text messages may have been helpful as well, for people who were not able to access emails on route to the port!
We drove to the port and used the onsite carpark, which was very efficient. They took your bags, directed to where you should park and then shuttled us to the terminal in approx 10 mins, very painless and our bags arrived at our stateroom promptly.
We got our hands sanitized every step of the way, I lost count how many times!
The ship is in great shape after its refit. We had sailed this ship in 2009 and did not recognise it at all!
We were in cabin 8672 an AFT cabin, with had a wonderful balcony which soon became our favourite place to while away a few hours a day looking at the wake of the ship!
During the refit, they removed the lovely Champagne Bar with beautiful views out to the sea, and have replaced it with the souless Vintages that was empty most nights! Might have something to do with the fact a glass of decent wine cost well over $12. Clearly they want you to buy a bottle!
CASINO- We both like to Dontate to casino now and then, but on this ship the SMOKE was very bad in there. They did have a small Smoke free zone but you had to fight your way through all the smoke to get to it! defeated the object of it in my opinion! They should consider at least 1 smoke free night, preferable a Formal night so we can all enjoy it. They also NEED to consider placing scrub air filters at the entrances as the smell of the smoke creeps into centrium for sure!
We only ventured to the Windjammer a couple of times, it was not for us and we tried to avoid if we could!
Park Cafe in the Solarium was good for breakfast (Just wish they had some cereals) and Lunch, although it could get very warm in there when the sun was shining!
We were on 2nd Sitting in the Main Dining room and had a fantastic Waiter Gabriel and Assisitant Waiter Erhan, they certainley made our evening meals a fun experience! The food ranged from Average to good, and it was never any trouble to change if you did not like something!
We tried CHOPS and I have to say it was a disaster!! We have dined at chops before on other ships but this was a whole different experience! I think the Chef had fallen in love with Pepper and Pepper Corns!
I had the French Onion Soup or Cheese and Onion soup as they called it! It was so salty and the taste of pepper was overpowering! In 1 spoonfull of soup I picked up 5 peppercorns!! We was not the only ones making this observation as we could hear other tables complaing too! We brought it to the attention of our waiter who sort of dismissed it and carried on!
The steak was OK, but think my taste buds had lost all of their feelings with the Peppercorns from the soup!
We had the "flaming" Creme Brulee (Which they could not get to flame) Suffice to say the Main Dining room Baileys creme Brulee was far superior, and we went back to the Main Dinning room for our tea and coffee as it was much more comfortable down there. We did complain to Chops and they did send us a bottle of wine to our stateroom as an apology.
We had bought the 7 bottle Wine Package, and I have to say it was a dissappointment to be told on the 1st night that the already limited range of wines available on the menu, a further of 4 wines were not available! Suffice to say the Cellar Master was never around to ask if other wines could be subsitiuted, even requests at guest services twice fell on deaf ears, So think the Cellar Master needs to go on a customer service course!
We were able to use the Diamond lounge on this ship and it was a lovely perk, kept ship shape by Andrew and his ever troublesome coffee machine!
The ports of call were varied and interesting. The Rick Steves book for this area came in very handy! We used SPB tours for St.Petersburg and were extremley happy with the service they offered.
On this 12 day cruise the clocks went forward by 3 hours, so by the time the 2 day tour in St.petersburg ended we were very tired. Thank goodness for the 2 seadays at the end of the cruise
HelloClo was our cruise director and I have to say she is one of the best CD we have had on a ship!
We love the Radiance class of ships and we will return to Royal