My husband and I are in our late 40's with no children and have travelled the world extensively. The past few years we have tried cruising and are presently trying the different cruise lines to determine which one best suits us. This was our fifth cruise and our first with Royal Caribbean.
We arranged our own flights to Ft. Lauderdale and hotel accommodation and booked our cruise directly with the cruise line. Embarkation was very organized and took only 15 minutes, our luggage was delivered to our stateroom cabin two hours after we had boarded which is excellent. Our stateroom cabin had lots of storage space, good size balcony, the bed was very comfortable, linen good quality, but the cabinets/drawers were worn and looked a little tired. The bathroom shower had a shower curtain instead of a glass door like other cruise lines and was very small. Our cabin steward was friendly and provided excellent service and the interactive room service menu on the T.V. was very efficient.The interactive service on the T.V. also provided one with an update of your on board account and shore excursions could be booked on line which eliminated going to the reception to book at the desk.
We went on one organized tour and that was the "Yellowbird" tour in Nassau which we really enjoyed and had great fun on the boat and the swimming was excellent.
The public areas on the ship were beautiful and the art displayed around the ship was of good quality. The only thing we did not like about the public areas is this cruise lines outdated policy of allowing smoking in these areas of the ship and on the balconies of the whole Port side of the ship. As non smokers we were amazed that when we booked we were not told that our cabin was on the smoking side of the ship and every day had cigarette smoke blowing into our cabin from people on their balconies through our open balcony door. The Centrum always had an unpleasant smell of a dirty ashtray and enjoyment of the entertainment there was uncomfortable due to it being an enclosed confined area. The entertainment overall was excellent with live music played by very talented musicians in most of the ship's public areas. The disco was also great fun and seemed to be the main hub of the ship from 9.30 pm onwards, the DJ always played good dance music.
The main diningroom was beautiful and the service excellent. However, we were seated at a table for four and the couple that shared our table were a very pleasant German couple similar in age but could not speak English. This made our dining experience very awkward and exhausting trying to make ourselves understood by both parties. The tables around us had the same experience with the one table being an English couple from the U.K. seated with an Italian couple and the same seating arrangements had been made with the other tables. We did not want to offend our German couple and explained to them that we had discovered the buffet dining and speciality restaurants to be more relaxed and the food was of better quality compared to the main diningroom, so therefore we wouldn't be joining them in the main diningroom every evening. The food on this ship was by far the best we have had compared to the previous cruise lines that we have sailed with.
The activities on the ship were great with a climbing wall, mini golf, basketball, football, gym and good swimming pools, hot-tubs and pool tables. The indoor swimming pool and hot-tub for adults was a nice touch and was one of our favorite places, although we also enjoyed the outdoor pool area because of the band, sunshine and bars. Everyday the ships activities were printed in a daily newsletter and we had no problem entertaining ourselves on those sea days. The evening shows in the theatre were at times very good to weird, always a surprise !
Disembarking was a nightmare because everyone had to be out of their cabins early to enable the cabin crew to clean and get ready for the next group of passengers sailing that same day, only to wait in the public areas to disembark for a few hours. When customs had cleared the ship and the first group of passengers were allowed off, many people were disgruntled and upset because there wasn't enough seating for everyone and people were sitting on the floors and others were tripping over luggage, all the doors to the outside deck were closed and it was hot and very crowded. However, once we were released, leaving the ship was very easy and customs were very quick to process us.To summarize the staff were the best and friendliest crew we have ever encountered, the captain has a great sense of humor and we felt with his abilities we were in good hands. The ship rocked and swayed alot compared to other ships we have been on, (with one ship on a previous cruise we sailed through the tail end of a hurricane and it was more stable than the Radiance of the Seas in calmer weather). Nonetheless, we had a wonderful time and enjoyed our experience and hopefully have given you an idea of the pros and cons of our cruise with Royal Caribbean on the Radiance of the Seas.