The Cruise - 14 day cruise to New Zealand on Radiance of the Seas departing Sydney Australia on the 20th November 2011 returning to Sydney Australia on the 4 December 2011.
The reviewer is Icerecon - aka Stan Jarvis - 56 year old who travelled with his wife Annette. This was my 1st ever cruise and my wife's 2nd (her 1st with P&O).
This was an excellent first experience to cruising, the ship and amenities where excellent, our cabin was great and the Captain and crew where friendly and helpful, however the itinerary was a little rushed 8 stops in 14 days.
Radiance of the Seas is the first of the Radiance class of ship with a 90.090 gross tonnage. Built for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 2001 this ship was newly renovated for it season down under.
Considering the ship is 10 years of age it has been well maintained and is being constantly painted and varnished. The Captain and Crew obviously are proud of their ship and try to keep it in tip top condition.
It was very easy to get a meal on board with a great selection of restaurants (7) we opted for the 'My Time Dining' and used it to its fullest in that we did not have dinner at the same time on any one night; we sat by ourselves some nights as well as with groups, we meet some very interesting people and if you are reading this thanks for your friendship and conversations.
Breakfast was taken most days by us at the Park CafÃ©, lunch usually at Windjammers, and the evening meal in the Cascades Dining room. The meals where terrific, 3 courses not too big but you never left the table feeling hungry. Wine and bar drinks could also be ordered at the table.
We were in 7092 it is classed E2 because it has a larger balcony than standard; it is on the port side of the ship and only the second cabin from the elevators on the hump.
I read many reports bagging this cabin with noise complaints and not being able to see the ocean touching the side of the hull because of the life boat covers (true but who cares) these comments came from writers who had never spent a night in this cabin, I guess.
The only noise we heard was from the entertainers in the Atrium but it was not loud and on reflection was nice and usually finished before midnight about the same time we were going to bed. We did not hear the elevators or the other guest using them or the passage way.
Our cabin steward (Solomon) was excellent and he had the room made up and turned down with no fuss. Having the cabin looked after so well made our cruise even more relaxing and enjoyable.
Meet and Mingle
On Cruise Critic web site you have an opportunity to register and attend a Meet and Mingle. We joined the group having never attended one before. There was about 30 odd people attending, I thought it would be a good way of meeting others from the forum, or was it.
When we read about M&M it stated that there will be no seating, this will ensure you meet others. On our arrival to the Starquest Lounge we were ushered into seats and only met about 2 other people. Other cruisers that had met each other before soon joined into their own cliques.
So I will mark this as a failure and if we attend another will try and influence the crew/staff organising it to ensure it is a 'Meet and Mingle'.
14 Days on the Radiance with day 4 cruising Milford, Doubtful, and Dusky Sounds; unbelievable, cool and wet which made Milford Sound come alive with waterfalls running down every rock.
Capt. Sindre placed the bow of Radiance nicely under a waterfall about 10m off the rocks.
Day 5 found us at Port Chalmers - Dunedin some transport problems and some strange ideas from Port Security nearly turned this stop into a disaster; teething problems maybe!!
Day 6 Akaroa we went ashore on the tenders my first experience at tendering my advice is to listen to the crew they know their job so for your safety listen to these guys and girls.
Day 7 Wellington, Day 8 Napier, Day 9 Tauranga, Day 10 Auckland the ship docked transport and port security went without a hitch this time.
Day 11 Bay of Islands another tender journey the 'motion of the ocean' caused a few problems with one tender damaging an engine but the crew (engineers) had everything up and running within an hour.
You will note that I am not reviewing the destinations there is enough information on Cruise Critics and other web site for that, one point is that if you are after information go to I-Sites for trips, sight-seeing, transport information etc whilst in New Zearland.
Day 15 Please 'Go Home' I will say that it was a sad day I waited for nearly a year to do this cruise and on day 15 I had to leave and go home. The experience was over or was it.
Many people have asked us about this cruise, the ship, the other guests, the crew even questions about the Captain. I did not know so many people have this general interest about cruising. I can only say good things about the experience we had on Radiance of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean may send you an online questionnaire or two in our case. Having said that our cruise was terrific the only ugly part has been the post cruise administration.
We joined the Crown and Anchor Club whilst on board, the attendant advised that we would get a membership card and further information about two weeks after our cruise, nothing. I contacted the Crown and Anchor Club through their website you know the one that says it will get back to you in 48 hours, nothing.
So I emailed the Sydney office so far after 5 days, nothing. I know it is Christmas, but there are no notifications about office closures and they are accepting bookings online and Facebook is still operating, don't figure.
If Royal Caribbean wants my loyalty they need to improve this aspect of their service. I would guess that if there was money involved in joining Crown and Anchor Society it may be a better service.
We are considering another cruise with Royal Caribbean but will not book until this problem has been resolved.