Embarkation was fast and flawless. We went right to our 7th floor mid ship balcony room, walked out to see the view and were floored!!! Extending directly from our balcony was a ten foot white platform that we later determined was the roof holding the lifeboats on the floor below. There were workers on the platform, painting and doing repairs. Part of the enjoyment of a balcony room has always been looking straight down at the water and watching the water. Not from this room and many others on the 7th floor. I would suspect that even the eight floor above us had a somewhat obstructed view. This room was not sold to us as an obstructed view. We joined the long line of other 7th floor people unhappy with their rooms and were lucky enough to be on a ship that was not full-we did get moved. If you are on the Radiance and on the seventh floor midship above the lifeboats-start working on getting moved NOW. Going through the Panama Canal was the high point of the 2 weeks-on the day we went through, we were blessed with great weather and it will be a lifetime memory. Ports of call were good people aboard who had done all of south america felt the Eastern side had better ports. We did not opt for any of the tours most people who did were not pleased with the experience verses cost. The exception would be that everyone who took the day long tours out of Valparaiso felt that had a great tour and the value was there.
Kirk, the Cruise director was amazing-bright, talented, full of fun and energy by far the best Cruise Director I have ever experienced. Don't miss the night they do "Quest". Take the line dancing lessons.
The entertainment was first class throughout we enjoyed every show. If you're not a show person, make one exception and DO GO to the show with the tango dancers-fabulous.
We loved the crew-most spoke English far better then we have experienced on other cruises. Happy, cheerful, eager to please-no exceptions. We liked the fact that when the captain gave an announcement he would always greet the crew as well as the guests. "Good morning to our guests, and good morning to the crew as well."
We are ballroom dancers and wish that we could have had more opportunities to do this kind of dancing-we were second seating and the only ballroom was directed at first seating times. I guess they figure that if you are a ballroom dancer you eat early and then go to bed. :) The disco was fun there is a neat rotating bar.
We loved the ship-beautiful, clean. The Solarium is a wonderful room with an indoor pool-absolutely gorgeous. The ship is trying hard to keep people from "saving" the lounge chairs and with a few exceptions people did tend to remember that when they were kids they were taught to share.
Nothing is perfect and the ship had one big downfall. The food. Everyone that I talked to rated it only fair, some felt the was terrible. The meat was the biggest problem dry fish, dry and tasteless chicken, steaks that could not be cut. I don't know if it is poor quality to start or if the preparation made it bad. As an example, I've always enjoyed freshly grilled hamburgers on a ship-on Radiance they are precooked patties sitting in a warming tray dry and tasteless. The windjammer meats were especially bad. An exception to that would be the ham at the carving station in the morning-it was always delicious. The bran muffins were great too. Something is wrong at the windjammer-condiment bowls for ice cream toppings or fruits for waffles (which were awful anyway) were often empty one morning they ran out of bran muffins and the substitute banana muffins were frozen in them middle.
We resorted to the speciality restaurants in the evening we ate at Portofino's twice and Chops twice-wonderful food and service. See if you can get Luc as your waitress at Portofino's. We did the mystery dinner it was pretty good don't know if it was worth $49.00 or not.
Debarkation was ok one warning to anyone considering this trip you're off the ship by 10 in the morning it's a 2 hour bus ride to Santiago airport and the flights depart at 10 in the evening. We live in Phoenix and were routed by the ship line from Santiago to Miami, then to Dallas and the to Phoenix. That's 18 1/2 hours from the time we boarded our first flight-and remember, we got on our first plane at 10PM and off the ship at 10 AM. By the time we got home we did not look like we just had a 2 week cruise.