The Cruise - 7 night cruise to Melbourne and Tasmania on Radiance of the Seas departing Sydney Australia on the 12th February 2012 returning to Sydney Australia on the 19th December 2012.
The reviewer is Icerecon - aka Stan Jarvis - 56 year old who travelled with his wife Annette. This was our second cruise on Radiance of the Seas having cruised to NZ on her in November 2011 see my review "14 Days on Radiance of the Seas".
This was just as exciting as our first cruise, all be it with a few problems which were not due RCI.
The ship and amenities where excellent, our cabin this time was Cabin 2006, the crew where friendly and helpful; we renewed acquaintances with some of the staff and crew we met on our first cruise on board Radiance of the Seas.
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 its first season down under. Further information on the ship can be found on the RCI web site.
We were in cabin 2006 it is classed G; it is on the port side of the ship, we would normally get a balcony cabin but this time as they were booked out, so we took what we could get and as it was only for 7 nights. I think the cabin could become a bit claustrophobic on a longer cruise but on a short cruise with good weather it was fine. If you suffer from motion of the ocean the lower decks are great you (we) do not notice ship movement very much at all.
The cabin was the same size as all Oceanview cabins and only has a small port hole to view outside. There is very little noise to complain about down in the depths of the ship but it is a long way to travel to the upper decks. Some nights you can hear the ocean but on our last few nights we could hear load music echoing through the side of the hull but only when you laid on the bed trying to sleep.
Our cabin steward was very good, this being his first contract as a steward.
Meet and Mingle
We once again joined the Meet and Mingle. But this time it was terrific we actually managed to get to talk to about 10 or more other cruisers. I must say hi to the cruisers from the 2012 Fine Scotch Down Under group who we met on the Cruise Critic forums.
The advice from those that have travelled and cruised most of their life is we worth the effort so please join the M&M on board you will not be sorry.
This 7 night Tasmanian Explorer cruise only had two stops Melbourne and Hobart.
Day 1 Embarked and left Sydney at 1700
Day 2 Cruising - we saw QM2 and oil/gas rigs off the coast of Victoria
Day 3 Melbourne arrived very early in the morning
Day 4 Melbourne alongside until 1330 then the lovely cruise out of Port Philip Bay
Day 5 Hobart arrived about 1400 the Derwent River was the calmest I have seen it
Day 6 Left Hobart 1800
Day 7 Cruising
Day 8 Disembarked Sydney
Like any action there has to be a reaction.
Embarkation - we found that check in took a lot longer this time, maybe because passengers where asking questions at check in that should have been asked of their travel agent, we spent 2 minutes at check in (having checked in on line) others where there for 10 minutes and longer. Reaction - guests complained about the wait and started their cruise in an unhappy mood.
Security - Port security in Australia needs to be looked at, when you board a ship I cannot for the world of me think why I need to remove my belt, watch, glasses, jewellery and shoes to pass security. In Hobart you stood bare foot on a dirty concrete floor and once passed security there was no place to sit and redress. A point that I would like to make is I had a small first aid kit that had disposable scissors in it, and the only time I was stopped and search was when there was 100 or so guests lined up to go through security, when there was no one around I passed through without incident. The reaction to this was that some guest did not disembark on the second day at port in both Melbourne and Hobart. We did not go ashore on our second day in Melbourne because of the hassle with security. I have also addressed these concerns on other media.
Change of Captains - does the change of Captains regularly cause a change in crew attitude?
On our first cruise we had Capt. Sindre a person we saw regularly walking the deck talking to guest and crew who attended restaurants as well as his scheduled activities. Passageways, floors, etc. where always clean and spills cleaned up on the spot.
On this cruise we had Capt. Claus who we saw very little of apart from scheduled activities. We noticed that a spill on the floor outside the Windjammer was stepped in for 24 hours + before being completely cleaned up.
Disembarkation - was very early we were whisked off the ship and was left standing dockside at 0730 in the morning with a 2 1/2 hours wait for transportation. On our first cruise we were asked what time we wanted to disembark - this time we were not. If this is the change in routine maybe breakfast and other service could be earlier to accommodate guests. My reaction to this will be to ask for a later disembarkation time.
I found this cruise a rewarding experience we tried out a cabin we normally would not have booked.
We only travelled to Australian Ports and can now compare how we stack up against ports in New Zealand (our last cruise); we need to lift our game.
Did we look at the Radiance of the Seas with rose coloured glasses on our first cruise - no I don't think so the ship was still at its finest, even with a few faults, the Crew where open and friendly and we had an enjoyable time on board Radiance of the Seas, once again.
We like RCI and have booked on Voyager of the Seas for Jan 2013 and are looking at an around