We have been on Radiance a total of 4 separate times in the last 4 years. Aside from the last cruise (we just got back) the previous time we were aboard was just before the ship went into refit a year ago. Every cruise on Radiance had been a gem. Great service, excellent cuisine, everything worked, people were friendly - no complaints whatsoever. We were on Navigator in the Med last fall and Vision in previous years as well, and have had a very similar experiences.
We went on the South American transit (the Buenos Aires to San Diego double) this past month on Radiance and were quite surprised at what we saw. Even though the ship has been out of refit less than a year, it appeared that it hasn't been kept up as well as in the past. The ship seemed to be in better condition just before going into the shipyard last year than it is at the moment.
Additionally, the galley let us down in that the food presented wasn't nearly as adventurous nor as good quality as we remember it being on past cruises. The staff for the most part seemed a bit less attentive and there were a number of things we had to ask for that have been provided as a matter of course on past cruises. On a couple of occasions my wife asked for a specific item at breakfast and was told that the ship had run out, only to find that item on the buffet the following morning.
We arrived a day early into San Diego (swine flu kept us out of the Mexican ports - no fault of RCL) and the immigration clearance process on the day we arrived was absolutely a shambles - it took nearly 4 hrs to clear the passengers so people could go ashore. The following day, when everyone left the ship for the last time, was equally as poorly managed - there was only a 1 hr delay. Whoever arranged the "leaving ship" process desperately needs a lesson in common sense - or further training in the least. I was told that the ship had nothing to do with these problems - it was due to the "authorities" flexing their collective muscles. Hard to know who is responsible ... but it was a poor show all 'round.
We were also told that RCL is changing the criteria for qualifying for Diamond status for repeat customers. Supposedly, effective Sept 1st, only Diamond plus passengers will be getting the benefits presently offered. It seems odd that the cruise line would take away a benefit (perk) that has already been earned by some passengers. Grandfathering them in Diamond class and then increasing the qualification requirements for new applicants would be more appropriate in this situation.
I have been told that RCL is having a bit of a tough time right now because of the present economic situation and the fact that a lot of folks aren't traveling like they used to. That may be so .. but cutting back to the point where the customer is inconvenienced while on holiday is not the way to generate more business.