After my first cruise on the Radiance of the Seas back in October, there were a lot of positives and a few negatives. I was visiting friends in Tampa and decided to take a 4 day cruise to Cozumel. I have to admit, they corrected almost everything I had a problem with the Radiance in October, 2010. Here is my review based on different categories on the ship. If you do not see something about the ship, it means I did not experience them, therefore no review. I did not go to any shows, so I cannot give an honest review. (Though, my cabin was right below the Theater.) The only minor problem was the fact that the ship did not leave Tampa till almost 4 AM, but we still made it to Cozumel on time.
I got to the pier just after 11 am. I did not need to check my bag. I only had a carry on and a laptop bag. (It amazes me how much people pack for a 4 day cruise.) There were no lines anywhere. There were a few people ahead at security and nobody in line when I checked in. From the time I got dropped off to the time I was on the ship was less than 15 minutes. I was just amazed on how the embarkation just flowed. This had to be the best embarkation I ever had.
5+ Stars for this. *****+
I really like the cabins on this ship. The layout is great. I enjoy watching TV or eating room service on a sofa instead of a small chair or on the bed. There were some snacks and a soda waiting for me when I got to the cabin. It is a nice new touch that RCCL added for their Crown and Anchor Society perks. One of my complaints in the October cruise was the fact that the only thing you got in the bathroom was a bar of soap and shampoo on the wall. That was all that was there when I first got to the cabin on this cruise. The next day, there were some conditioner, lotion, and body bath. I only got the stuff once, but still it is something. I had no problems with the plumbing. I never had any funky sewage smells. I was quite happy with the cabin. My cabin steward was efficient. Everything got done and once he knew my schedule, I hardly saw him except in the hallway to say hello.
5 Stars *****
I am not sure if it was the fact that our table was very close to the kitchen, but the hot foods were hot and the cold foods were cold. I did not have 1 bad meal in the main dining room. I ate breakfast every day in the dining room and had lunch there twice. I highly recommend going to the dining room for lunch. RCCL has put an awesome salad bar there. Now, this is not your typical salad bar, but they prepare it for you. You can easily make a meal out of it. I try to eat all my meals in the main dining room. Not a big fan of buffets. I ate at the Windjammer twice and it was ok, not great, but ok. What I noticed the most was that the service in the dining room was great. A big difference from the hit or missed service I got on my last cruise on the Radiance. Dinner service was excellent as usual. We had a great team at our table. What was great about this cruise was the fact that the service for breakfast and lunch was great as well. Room service food was good to great. This food review would not be complete without mentioning the Seaview Cafe. Great sandwiches, like Rubens and Cubans. It has some of the best chili on the seas. They had real Nathan Hot Dogs. It is a great place for a casual snack or lunch.
I will definitely give the food and the food service 5 stars *****
There really is a lot to do on board. Between the rock climbing wall, to mini-golf, I am sure you can find something to do. There is not a great amount of planned activities, but enough. My favorite place on the ship is the Solarium. Being fair skinned, it is a nice place to be without worrying about getting sunburned. My only suggestion is to heat the water up a bit in the pool. The first day, the water was barely 60F, brrrrrrrrrrrrr. The spa was well staffed and friendly. Not in the overbearing in a, "I am going to sell you something." kind of way, but though they are selling services and products, they really give the feeling of caring about your needs. Bar service and staff were quite friendly. Now, this is for you passengers, 12 people cannot fit in a Jacuzzi. It was nice to soak in them though when there was room. The shops seemed to know there stuff. My last cruise I saw a boy with a very bad sunburn on his feet and the salesperson sold his mother some really expensive after sun cream that was not meant for sunburns. As a test, I went to the shop and asked the same cosmetic counter what they had for bad sunburns. Instead of trying to sell me some expensive cream, they told me to go to the other store where they had the right stuff for sunburns. Good job you guys. There is plenty to do on this ship and long as you actively seek it. If you hope RCCL will plan your entire day, you may be disappointed. If you want to do as much or as little as you want, you are going to have a great time.
5 stars *****
I have to admit between the food, the service, and the ship in general, this was one of my favorite cruises. Too bad it was only a 4 day cruise. The ship has a great layout and it is easy to get around in. For myself, I think it is the perfect size ship. Too bad the cruise lines think that bigger is better. They throw everything they can possibly think of on new ship now and it can be overwhelming. I am hoping that they will build ships the same size as the Radiance, but looking at the trend, it is wishful thinking.
Overall, I give my total experience 5 stars *****