On November 20, 2011, we boarded Radiance of the Seas for a wonderful 14 day trip around New Zealand with a total of 8 stops along the way. This is a beautiful ship with lots of glass, a great atrium area and very easy to navigate from one end to the other. We were in an aft cabin on Deck 9 and did lots of walking to the elevators in the middle of the ship, not too long a walk, we got great exercise. Our cabin had lots of storage space for all of our clothes for a 14 day trip and the luggage stored easily under the bed. The cabin had a nice flat screen tv to watch our map which detailed where we were on the trip, along with the daily updates from the cruise director.
The Tasman Sea was a bit rough on the way to New Zealand but just rocked us to sleep. We cruised Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds. Cruising through the Sounds was absolutely amazing, it was raining as we went through, but the waterfalls were full and some of them traveled down the entire length of the cliffs. Fortunately we had an aft cabin and were able to stand under the overhang and take some fantastic pictures. Cannot believe how close the Captain got the ship under a waterfall - everyone at the front was getting very wet, truly a once in a lifetime event.
All our excursions were booked through Royal Caribbean. Our next stop was in Dundedin, we took the Taieri Gorge Train Excursion. The train picked us up right at the dock and whisked us away on a beautiful ride through the countryside. We also had tea, a snack and lunch on the train. A very nice trip. The stop in Akoroa we boarded a bus to go to Middle Earth where they filmed The Lord Of the Rings. Our tour guide was Hammond Peek who won an Oscar for Sound Mixing the Lord of the Rings - Return of the King, and his personal stories made the film come to life on the bus. We saw where Edora was constructed. In Tarangua we toured a Kiwi farm and the Elms Mission House, amazing experience. In Auckland we sailed on the harbour and took a highlight tour through the city stopping at the Maritime Museum, Winter Garden and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World to see the penguins. Our last land trip was back in Sydney to the Wildlife World, koalas, kangaroos, etc. and the aquarium. So much to see in two weeks but it was the best cruise of the 10 I have taken.
The food was very good in the main dining room, adequate in the buffet at the Windjammer, and we enjoyed snacking at the Park Cafe. We went to a show every night except one and were entertained by many artists, singers and dancers, well done Royal Caribbean.
We visited the spa for a massage, facial and hand massage - very relaxing. There was plenty to keep us busy on the sea days, bingo, trivia, dance lessons, golf, horse racing, gambling - never a dull moment.
My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and now want to go back and do the entire country of Australia.