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Sail Date: November 2007
When I try to think of things that could have been better, it's difficult. The staff was, to a person, wonderful. I was amazed that, with their absurd work schedules, & the pressure of dealing with so many new people every week ... Read More
When I try to think of things that could have been better, it's difficult. The staff was, to a person, wonderful. I was amazed that, with their absurd work schedules, & the pressure of dealing with so many new people every week or two, they could retain their genuine courtesy & friendliness. The cabin (I think it was category D2) was comfortable. It was very important to have a balcony, which we used regularly. One needed to be an acrobat to use the shower. The shore excursions (except the one in Cartagena) were excellent. We snorkeled, underwater-scootered, swam with dolphins (which was amazing), dugout-canoed in a mangrove swamp, walked thru the rainforest. Well worth the cost. We had our doubts about doing a shore excursion half-way thru the Canal; but it worked out well. Going thru the first 3 locks on board was enough to see how that amazing technological accomplishment works. I had read David McCullough's "Path Between the Seas", which greatly increased my appreciation of what we saw. We dined at a table for 8. The 3 other couples could not have been more interesting & fun. However, that was just a matter of luck. If you're seated with people you don't particularly like, it could be unpleasant. Internet connection from the ship was difficult. I heard many complaints. In the end, I connected to the Internet in the middle of the night, when the connection was reasonably good. The facilities are excellent: climbing wall, basketball, pingpong. The Solarium (indoor pool) is very special, like a greenhouse. The gym is excellent, at the front of the ship, with huge windows all around. It was special to use the elliptical trainer while looking out at the ocean. The shows were of mixed quality. Two of the comedians were terrible. The ship's orchestra is very good. The ship's troupe of singers/dancers is of mixed talent. Two or three of the performers were excellent. It would be helpful if, on the closed circuit TV, they had floor plans. Also, it shows only shore excursions booked thru the TV system. There should be a way for it to show all your planned activities. On the whole, the food was very good. We didn't eat at either of the two specialty restaurants (Italian & steak) because we heard from some people that they weren't worth the extra $20 charge. Our wait staff was excellent. Our waiter & headwaiter gave us good advice about which dishes to avoid. At the Windjammer, there was always reasonable variety & something good. The cafe in the Solarium is very good. We both used the spa & had good experiences, with acupuncture & the hot stones massage. In the Centrum, a trio, with an excellent singer, played standards. Lovely. The woman running the art auctions (which I have previously enjoyed) had such a piercing, unpleasant voice that she gave me indigestion. I couldn't stand her. We attended several lectures by an historian, who spoke about the history of the canal & of various cities we stopped at. He was not a dynamic speaker; but the content of his talks was interesting. We also attended a few lectures by a retired judge. They were supposed to be about murder & the law. Although I am a lawyer (or maybe because; some non-lawyers I spoke to found them fairly interesting), I found them pretty boring. All in all, it was a wonderful experience that we will remember fondly for many years. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
This was my 8th cruise and my 4th on RCI. The cruise was an 8 day Mexico cruise, October 13-21, 2007. The ship was chartered by Atlantis Events for the cruise. My partner and I arrived the evening before the cruise and stayed at the ... Read More
This was my 8th cruise and my 4th on RCI. The cruise was an 8 day Mexico cruise, October 13-21, 2007. The ship was chartered by Atlantis Events for the cruise. My partner and I arrived the evening before the cruise and stayed at the Crowne Plaza hotel just a few blocks from the cruise terminal in LA. The total price for a 1 bedroom suite with a view was $265 USD including breakfast in the morning. I would recommend staying there. It was very convenient. We even got to see the ships dock in the morning. That got me really excited. We took the free shuttle from the hotel to the cruise terminal and arrived at 11:30am. They hadn't started checking in people yet, so we were given a number and told to wait. About 20 minutes later they opened check-in and started calling the numbers in order for people to queue up. After we checked in, we had to wait in another area before they started boarding. They started boarding around 1:30pm and called numbers 1-5. We were number 6. We waited for another half hour and they didn't call any more numbers! We went up, and apparently all numbers were boarding. It was a bit of a mess. We weren't actually on the ship until after 2pm, so it was a lot of waiting around. It could have been a lot better organized. Lifeboat drill was at 3:30pm and the ship departed shortly after 4pm. We had a balcony room (#7632) and was very happy with it. The bedding was obviously upgraded and the most comfortable sleep I have ever had on any cruise. Actually, that bed gives my bed at home a run for its money. Because this was a charter, the dining room was open seating the entire trip and always casual. Shorts, sandals, tank tops were all allowed (although recommended that you wear a t-shirt and not tank top). It was a nice change. It was actually nice to meet new people every night. The food wasn't great, but not bad. It's obviously gone down hill since the last time I was on RCI which was 6 years ago. This ship was in really good shape. Not much sign of any wear and tear. The crew was very friendly. Almost everyone I encountered said they were really looking forward to this cruise since it is so different from a regular cruise. It was nice to see how open minded or at least non-judgmental all of the crew was. I felt very welcomed. Considering all the different backgrounds and beliefs of all the staff, it was pretty amazing that they were so easy to get along with on this special interest charter. Getting drinks at the bar was always easy. RCI even set up extra bar areas around the pool during the Atlantis organized parties. This was more than adequate and it was never more than a short wait for a drink. The drinks weren't watered down at all and I was more than happy with the quality of them. Atlantis Events brought in their own entertainment and was responsible for a lot of the activities of the cruise, so I won't bother getting into all that stuff. All I will say is that it was way more action packed than a regular cruise and the quality of entertainment was amazing. You really have to pace yourself. It was the best vacation I have ever been on, but you almost need another vacation just to recover from it. Disembarkation in LA was awful. We docked at about 8am and customs came on the ship. Although we had opted for express disembarkation (carry your own bags off) it was still another hour or so before we were off the ship. They call people off the ship in order (express disembark, then color tags) like any cruise, but the order you go to customs on the ship, which you have to do first, is not organized. So there was a big line half way through the ship to go through customs. The answer to this would have been to call people to go through customs in the order they were supposed to get off the ship, instead of it being a big free for all. What is the point of letting someone go through customs first if they aren't going to be able to get off the ship for another 2 hours anyways? Malcolm (the Atlantis Events cruise director) came on and told people to relax and just wait and it's the port of LA's issue, not RCI or Atlantis, but it really could have been handled better by RCI or Atlantis. Just organize how people line up to get through customs. That's it. If you are one of the first people that will be called to get off the ship, then you should be one of the first to go through customs. It seems simple. Once through customs and off the ship, it was easy to get a cab (I think we were still some of the first off the ship) and was a quick $55 cab ride to the airport. I will definitely sail with Atlantis Events again and would probably opt for a cruise on a Royal Caribbean ship again since I prefer the design of those ships to Carnival, Celebrity, or Holland America. We booked the Atlantis Mexico 2008 charter on Serenade of the Seas for around the same time next year. Because it was a charter, we actually hard 3 cruise directors. Malcolm (from Atlantis Events) and Kirk and Gordon (both from RCI). All three were great. They weren't annoying like the other cruise directors I've had lately (ie, "are you all having a good time.... I can't hear you.... let me ask again.") Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Todd's review was pretty much on the money. Part of the problem on this cruise was that there were 4+ sea days on the way to Hawaii and what seemed like even more on the way home. For most of those days, it was too cool to be enjoying ... Read More
Todd's review was pretty much on the money. Part of the problem on this cruise was that there were 4+ sea days on the way to Hawaii and what seemed like even more on the way home. For most of those days, it was too cool to be enjoying our balcony and outdoor activities. That isn't the cruise line's fault. I've cruised Celebrity and Disney before, and I think that the Radiance has too much wasted space in the Centrum. There just is not enough room in the public rooms for the number of passengers aboard. You go an hour early, or you stand. There were not enough activities to keep people entertained. For a fourteen-day cruise, there was one wine tasting and one cooking demonstration, both on the first full day of the cruise. There were probably a maximum of thirty seats in the bottom floor of the Centrum where the cooking demo was held. I took one look, and decided not to stand through it. We didn't go to the first wine tasting, which would have been free as Crown and Anchor members, because we were certain that there would be more to come. Our mistake. The schedule was a mess as Todd said. How much of this was the ship's fault, I don't know. Our room steward was great, as were our waiters. The food was good enough, too. But we only had two production shows for the whole fourteen days. Neither was first rate, in my opinion. The single artists on the rest of the days were a mixed bag. Some good, some awful, most . . . ordinary. One night, they showed a movie for showtime. That's ridiculous! And the movies: Most of them were already out on Netflix. Nothing first rate here, and how many times do people want to see Hawaii, The Hawaiians, and was it Blue Hawaii? Some members of the activities staff running the shore excursions were plain nasty. One exception was "Ricky Ricardo" who was a joy throughout, trying his best to make the best of a bad trip. Debarkation was too horrid to even recall. Hours in line with few ship's personnel to keep people cutting in to a minimum. Everyone was angry when they got off. My previous cruise was on Celebrity. The Constellation had fired most of the dancers right before the cruise so entertainment there was awful. Then came this horrible experience on the Radiance. I have two more Celebrity cruises scheduled, but today, I don't know if I will go. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
I'd like to add my voice to the previous reviews of our recent Hawaii cruise - it really was quite a disappointment, and this is coming from one who's done a great many cruises. Among many other factors were the interminably long ... Read More
I'd like to add my voice to the previous reviews of our recent Hawaii cruise - it really was quite a disappointment, and this is coming from one who's done a great many cruises. Among many other factors were the interminably long wait in the L. A. airport for the bus to the ship, the change in itinerary, the nightmare of the disembarkation, and the Captain who couldn't seem to get off the "mike" once he started his announcements. My biggest gripe, however, had to do with the entertainment. In 14 nights, we had exactly two "production" shows featuring the ship's singers and dancers - and I have to say they were pretty ordinary. We were treated to jugglers on 2 separate evenings, and one night they made a big show of announcing a MOVIE, for heaven's sake, as the evening's show. I suppose the juggler on the farewell show was good enough, but he had been on our tender coming over from Maui - and had behaved like such an obnoxious boor that we were prepared to dislike him, no matter what his particular talent was! Also - the people at the Guest Relations counter should have been in any job but that! Normally, you find your most pleasant and helpful people at that desk, but not so this time! They were ill-informed, disinterested, and - on occasion - downright rude! OH yes - and then there was the wine selection in the "wine packages" in the dining room. My companion and I always purchase these, and it's fun trying the various vintages. In this case, they were all of the cheapest variety (tho quite pricey) and frankly, just not very good! I have to say some of the crew were exceptional - one young man named Barrack (sp) was on hand during that awful disembarking, and trying his best to be helpful - but they needed more people like him. And, on the cruise director's staff, a young man from Trinidad who called himself Ricky Ricardo was truly wonderful. He came into the auditorium the day we were prevented from getting off in Maui and left sitting there for hours, and did his level best to calm the annoyed crowd and lighten the load. I could see him as a great Cruise Director some day. All in all, I'm just not sure I'd opt for Royal Caribbean again - it's back to Disney and Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
Embarkation was slow. The ship came in an hour late and boarding had to be delayed. The Vision and the Radiance were in port at the same time and the Radiance had the less equipped facilities. There was no water or other refreshments ... Read More
Embarkation was slow. The ship came in an hour late and boarding had to be delayed. The Vision and the Radiance were in port at the same time and the Radiance had the less equipped facilities. There was no water or other refreshments available until about 12:00 PM and I never did find the bathroom. We got there around 11:00 AM and did not board until after 12:30 PM. This was our first time on the Radiance. The crew and staff were very friendly. The ship was beautiful. For the first time, we had the Royal Suite and it was lovely. There were so many diamond and diamond plus members that only suite owners and diamond plus members were allowed in the concierge lounge. There was another area set up for the diamond members. Our concierge, Willie was excellent. Our steward was okay. He seemed to try hard to accommodate us, but he told me this was his second cruise with RCCL, having coming from Carnival. The cruise director staff were great. They worked hard and were very friendly. The cruise director was Kirk Detwiler. He worked with about 40 guests with a hula during the cruise and we performed it as the opening act of the talent show. There were many problems, though. The itinerary was changed. This did not bother us because we had been to Hawaii before and our shore excursions were booked through RCCL. We ended up going to Honolulu twice because of poor sea conditions and did not get to port in Hilo. Maui was changed from our first port to our last port. Many people were upset because they had booked private tours and luaus and had to reschedule or cancel. Again, it didn't affect us. When we got to Maui, the Homeland Security director would not let us tender in until about noon. Basically, what happened was somebody slipped and Maui authorities did not know we were coming in on that day and they had to get their staff to come in on their day off which happened to be Sunday. A lot of people also got upset because when returning to the ship that night some had to wait for 1-1/2 hours to board the tender but that was because so many people attended luaus and got back to the pier at the same time. Again, that didn't affect us. The sea conditions were rough most of the days at sea. It bothered me the first two days, but I finally adjusted. The shows were mediocre. The food was mediocre. I think that RCCL has put all their best people on the Voyager class and Freedom class ships. I also think that they have let their service decline. We like RCCL, but if it had been our first cruise with them, we would have been disappointed. Again, this didn't affect us, but there were major plumbing problems and several cabins were flooded due to a broken pipe. I think it affected about 75 passengers. The captain was great. He handled the situations well and keep the guests well informed. I think he bothered some people talking so much, but we were happy to be kept up with details. Debarkation was the worse I have ever been through. RCCL definitely needs to improve in this area, at least on the Radiance. We were supposed to leave the ship about 8:50 AM and did not leave until 11:30 AM. The cruise critic group was great. The people we met made the cruise. All in all, we had a great time. This was our first cruise with so many sea days and we really enjoyed not having to be rushed. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
I went on a 14 night Hawaii cruise for my honeymoon on October 21, 2007. It was a great trip and I knew a lot of people would write bad reviews of the trip. As I expected, there were some other honeymooners on the cruise, but the majority ... Read More
I went on a 14 night Hawaii cruise for my honeymoon on October 21, 2007. It was a great trip and I knew a lot of people would write bad reviews of the trip. As I expected, there were some other honeymooners on the cruise, but the majority of the guests were over the age of 50, with more people that not over the age of 65. I am a diamond member with RCCL, having been on 13 cruises prior to this trip (I am 24 years old), so I've had a pretty good sampling of cruising and what RCCL has to offer. We had a stateroom on the back of the ship. It was amazing as we had expected. Our stateroom attendant was great. Everytime we saw him he called us by name and was very pleasant. The food was typical RCCL food. After being on so many cruises, you can pretty much predict what you'll be having each night. But the food was always hot and tasted good. We tried Chops one night, what a great experience. The activities onboard were great. We played volleyball, basketball, mini golf, climbed the rockwall, ping pong, worked out in the gym. It was great with lots of fun things to do, including hula lessons and the hukilau (sp) which is stuck in my head forever! It was a little disappointing to have the itinerary changed, but that happens a lot when going to Hawaii. Now I have a reason to go back to Hawaii, to see the things we didn't get to see on this trip. The captain was great. He was very involved with the guests. Typically you hear from the captain every now and then, and see him on captain's night. We saw him a lot and we enjoyed hearing his comments about what was going on. The debarkation process was longer than usual. Like I said in the beginning, there were a lot of older people on the ship, and they were VERY anxious to get off the ship. The crew onboard was trying to only have people line up who had certain colored luggage tags. This didn't happen. Everyone onboard got in line instead of waiting in the lounges and caused a huge back up which stopped people who needed to get off first to get off of the ship. It wasn't anyone's fault except for the guests who didn't follow directions. One major gripe that I have was the inconsiderate people that drove around on the little motorized cart things. They wouldn't look to see who was around and I was nearly hit on MANY occasions. Overall it was an amazing trip and people need to learn to go with the flow more. Things happen and schedules change, so enjoy things while you can instead of being angry and complaining about everything. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2007
My wife and I recently went on Radiance, her 9th cruise with RCCL and my 4th. Before this ship, we were always pleased with RCCL's level of service, the quality of their food, and the itineraries. We were sorely disappointed on this ... Read More
My wife and I recently went on Radiance, her 9th cruise with RCCL and my 4th. Before this ship, we were always pleased with RCCL's level of service, the quality of their food, and the itineraries. We were sorely disappointed on this cruise. If this had been our first cruise with RCCL, believe me when I say that we would not be repeat customers. Some things that went wrong: 1) Itinerary was changed at check-in - our books for excursions, sent in late July/August for the October cruise, still listed Maui as our first, and two-day, stop. Upon check-in, we learned that our itinerary was changed to be reversed because of a fishing tournament. This tournament, as reported by the local Maui newspapers, had been scheduled for over a year, which means that any competent staffers with RCCL should have known for a year. This change messed up all the excursions except those on the second stop, and rumor had it that a couple had been planning on getting married in Maui and had to rearrange their entire service based on that change. 2) Service at stateroom pitiful - I have never had room service delivered late, or preordered items such as wine or champagne and not had them waiting for me in the stateroom. Both of these things happened on this ship. It took over three hours to get our wine/cheese and champagne/strawberry orders brought. Our stateroom attendant, while very competent, never introduced him/herself, and never left any nametag. While we don't "need" this, it's nice to know the name of the person with 24/7 access to your stateroom. 3) Brown water from our faucet on one of the days. Enough said. 4) Extremely arrogant wait staff that said they could not do certain orders for us that we knew they could. Our headwaiter never introduced herself to the table and never came by nightly to check on us. 5) Food quality much lower than normal in the dining room and Windjammer cafes. We went to Portofino's instead and always had a great meal and excellent service. Went once to Chops where they got my steak wrong twice. 6) They were replacing glass in some of the balconies. Without any written messaging to any of the guests. One guest came back to her cabin and discovered four young men in there, rearranging her room so that they could get the glass replaced. She lost her ability to use her room for an hour and had no warning or explanation for why the unknown people were in her stateroom. We were, for two days, constantly annoyed by hammering and drilling from the repairs. Thank God the ship is due for dry dock this winter; there's a serious amount of work that the ship needs, beyond this glass issue. 7) We never saw Hilo, due to weather, or Kailuea, the volcano. While I understand this from a certain perspective, it just added to the annoyances. 8) Upon getting to Maui, we were detained by the shoreside security for over four hours because the shoreside security people were not ready for us and had to undergo some training. This resulted in a loss of the morning's time in Maui, the main draw for the cruise. We also left Maui early the next day, which meant that instead of two full days there, we got only one. 9) While being detained in Maui, we went to Guest Relations to ask them if they could make a shoreside call for us to some car rental place, only to be told a flat-out "No." We've never heard that word on RCCL before and this incompetence really galled us. We were told to instead go ashore, and that "Oh yes, there's car rental places right there when you get off." There weren't. We hunted for over an hour before we went to an exotic rental place, the only one we could find, and grabbed their second-to-last available rental. 10) At debarkation, instead of calling colors one at a time for both Customs and exiting the ship, they had everyone get in line at Customs whenever they wanted and then called colors to simply disembark. This resulted in a line that, no kidding, took over three hours to navigate and circled the Centrum on both decks 4 and 5. We were told this was a new way of trying debarkation they were trying. When we asked one of the Cruise Director's staff (Lizzie, I believe, who had recently completed her first cruise on the staff), I was told "Well, that's too bad, we're sorry that you will probably miss your flight." She told this to several people in line. Fortunately for us, Woody, another of the Cruise Director's staff, escorted us to the front of the line when he heard about this and enabled us to barely make our flight (God Bless You, Woody!). I could go on. There were high points - the islands were (when we had a chance to actually see them ashore) beautiful, the locals were very helpful, and the excursions (again, when we could actually take them) were excellent. The waiter in the Concierge Club on deck 13 (the overflow room for the Diamond members that weren't in Suites) was unbelievable - thanks, Rodel! Sufficed to say, we had a decent time, but one plagued with so many errors it seriously undermined our vacation. Instead of arriving home refreshed and full of wondrous experiences, we arrived disheveled and disheartened. We know that some folks on board truly loved their experience, since at one of the Captain's Q&A's they asked how to tip extra, but for those at our dinner table and those we grew to know over the course of the trip, nobody was impressed and many sought to write letters to RCCL. The worst point about all this is that even the people who felt strongly enough to write RCCL are not expecting a response. They feel that RCCL will ignore their pleas and go on, since cruising is popular now and they have Genesis coming out. Such an attitude speaks volumes for how RCCL's customers view the company's commitment to their happiness. I will be writing a letter to RCCL, myself, and quite frankly I better get a response. This cruise was a disaster from beginning to end, and there is no excuse. Not from RCCL. This is the kind of treatment I'd expect from Carnival or Norwegian. Several folks we spoke to said that this was their first RCCL cruise and that it would be their last. Some said that no matter what the delta was for Celebrity, that they would pay it. I know it's the "same company" now, but it's not about the money or where it goes, it's about the level of service and how you're treated on a cruise. One last note - in a conversation with one of the wait staff in Portofino's, it was mentioned that a few months ago, the management staff of Brilliance had been fired/swapped out with the management staff of Radiance, due to poor customer satisfaction on Brilliance, and that their management staff on Radiance was brand new. I cannot confirm or disprove this rumor, but it does make a lot of sense, since our experiences on other ships has been nothing less than fantastic. Also, there were quite a few management interviews happening on the ship. My wife and I hope so, at least. If this is how we're going to be treated in the future, if this is some new wave of RCCL and how they run things, my wife and I will take our business elsewhere. We already have stopped booking anything - we had planned on booking another cruise onboard for the shipboard credit, but due to this very dissatisfying experience we will not, as yet, do so. My wife and I, in summation, had a decent time, but felt very short-changed and did not get either the itinerary or the decent level of service that we have come to expect from RCCL. We would strongly urge anyone planning a vacation on Radiance to watch forums and blogs beforehand to see if things get better. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Embarkation: Easy, diamond line had no wait. Ship They really have upgraded the look of the Radiance. We sailed on her 2 years ago through the Panama. She was showing a fair bit of wear and tear then. They really have done a nice job of ... Read More
Embarkation: Easy, diamond line had no wait. Ship They really have upgraded the look of the Radiance. We sailed on her 2 years ago through the Panama. She was showing a fair bit of wear and tear then. They really have done a nice job of upgrading... Dining: Food quality has improved. The overall taste of food has improved. Menu selection more varied and it was nice as for a couple of years the menus were the same for all or our cruises. Food in the dining room in evening was delivered hot. Quality of food and organization in Seaview cafe could be improved. Onion rings were changed to processed variety by mid cruise. Chefs in Seaview did not know ingredients in the sandwich of the day. Activities The cruise director Kirk was the best we've seen. A variety of activities were scheduled each day at times that fit well into most schedules. I really liked the variety of physical activities, line dancing, aqua dynamics etc. that helped us exercise off some of those onboard calories. Staff Very friendly. All staff were extremely helpful. We had a problem with our cabin and the front desk staff went out of their way to help. It seems as if there isn't as many staff any longer. Staffing in Windjammer seemed short. We were only offered coffee and drink refills twice in the Windjammer and we were there for 15 mornings and 4 lunches. Smoking Policy: Getting much better. They have decreased the size of smoking areas in the Colony club and although you did get hit with cigarette smoke smell sometime it wasn't nearly as overwhelming as previous. Debarkation A nightmare. Customs came onboard and they divided into US and Non US citizens and we were directed to report to immigration on day of debarkation. Some people interpreted information as report right away. Others (ourselves) understood the instructions to mean that you reported as luggage tag was called. Staff were unclear. No staff were available to police or direct the lines. This time we were lucky we are Canadian as our line wasn't nearly as long as the US line. There was no direction to the exit gangway. They had the exit as the same place that people came out of US customs so everyone was trying to get off at the same time. So it really didn't matter if you had express of white colored tags as everyone showed up for customs at the same time. Probably one of the worst debarkations ever!!! Diamond Club Well we received no letter of introduction or welcome as Diamond members. Due to the volume of diamond members on this cruise our lounge was moved to the starquest disco. It was nice having the space. However we had no direction from the Loyalty ambassador or concierge or the ship that this change was being done. I felt badly for new diamond members who were not aware of the benefits offered. An excellent cruise and would repeat in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
Hawaii was wonderful and the cruise on the Radiance of the Seas was excellent. We had perfect weather and calm seas both going and coming, so it was like sailing on glass. We enjoyed Hawaii, but I think the Caribbean is just as good, and a ... Read More
Hawaii was wonderful and the cruise on the Radiance of the Seas was excellent. We had perfect weather and calm seas both going and coming, so it was like sailing on glass. We enjoyed Hawaii, but I think the Caribbean is just as good, and a heck of a lot closer to the east coast....but the cruising part was ideal and warm enough to be out at the pool every day except the first out of LA and then the day before we got back to LA.... Before we left LA on the cruise, we had two days in Venice Beach and had a ball visiting Hollywood, Santa Monica Pier and the beach attractions. We flew into LAX and rented a car from Enterprise at the airport. We paid a little extra to allow us to bring the car back to their agency by the port. Our cruise left from the San Pedro/Los Angels ship terminal and we dropped our rental car off right by the pier and then they drove us up to the ship to let us off. We were traveling with a Special Needs person. Our son has Down Syndrome and he is a 25 year old male who is a delightful person, but he does have special needs. We were completely satisfied by the ship's attention to his needs, and the help they provided to us to make his trip enjoyable. When we reached the pier at 12:30 there was a huge line snaked around outside the terminal due to a glitch in the debarkation of the cruise before ours. Kevin, our son, has medical problems and cannot stand for long. We approached an official and explained the situation, and they provided us an escort right into the pier and made sure we were processes quickly. When we were ready to deboard, they also provided us with the same service. We were pleased that RCI recognized the rights provided by the Federal Government to the handicapped in providing special accommodations. I must say that the food on the Radiance was wonderful....we never had anything we didn't like, and the waiters were sooooo friendly and took such good care of us. We had a D1 cabin and that size was just about right for the three of us. I think I had my coffee on the balcony just about every morning....and many days had room service deliver the full breakfast to eat outside. It also is so luxurious to have the cabin attendant clean the room everyday, make the beds, and deliver the clean towels and ice! We participated in the activities that the ship offered, and really enjoyed the solarium pool. I have traveled on the Jewel, which is the sister ship to the Radiance, and I do believe that this is my favorite class of ships. The ship was in beautiful condition, and I would rate it as perfect. We also did not have any outbreaks of illness, which was a real stroke of good luck, and good hygiene. In Hawaii we rented a car in every port and could drive all over by ourselves. That was wonderful to have the freedom to do what we wanted. Kevin stayed on the ship part of the days so we could go and snorkel in every port and the beaches were free and we had our own gear, so it was very cost efficient. In Maui we were there overnight and had to tender in, so we booked a hotel room at the last minute using the online services. We got a great deal for a room in a really nice resort, and when we got there to check in, instead of a one room garden efficiency, they put us in an ocean view one bedroom suite that was really nice. We were on a great beach, so we could just swim there, but it was a great swimming beach, but no fish. We got all of our tickets to things online before we left at discount rates and did the usual tourist things on all of the Islands.... In Kona, on Hawaii "The Big Island," we had the easiest car pick up because we got our car from a hotel right by the pier. We then went to the "House of Refuge" which is a Federal Park. Then we went by a coffee plantation to see how they worked over the coffee beans. From there we drove to a beach that was family rated for snorkeling and snorkeled. We took Kevin in the water with his snorkel gear, and he did see the fish, which were abundant, but he just didn't really enjoy it....He went back to the beach and talked to some other people from our ship while Kent and I went back in for some more fish viewing. It was a full day, and after all that we went to our early dinner and then were in bed at 8:30. During the night the ship sailed to the opposite side of the Island to Hilo. In Hilo, and at the rest of the ports, we had to take the car shuttle that came to the pier and drove us to the airport where we could pick up the car. It wasn't too long a drive to get there, and well worth having the car. We went on the scenic drive and to the most beautiful Botanical Jungle Garden, then on to Akaka Falls, and then went snorkeling at a state park beach and got to swim with giant turtles!!! Kevin stayed on the ship the whole day and was perfectly happy doing the ship activities and ordering room service and watching the t.v. On Maui we were in Lahaina and we spent the night at the resort and went to the Old Lahaina Luau, which was great, did a submarine ride, went to an Ocean Center, Plantation Center and the Iao Valley Nature Museum. We had two days to do this and had the car and drove all over the Island. This was my favorite Island. In Honolulu we went to the Arizona/Pearl harbor Memorial and it was a very moving experience. Then we took Kevin back to the ship, had lunch, changed into bathing suits and picked up our gear and went to Hanuma Bay, which is a ocean preserve and probably the most beautiful I have seen. The water and fish were wonderful, and the scenery breathtaking...I hope my pictures turn out. Then on the drive back we had to go to Waikiki so I could see what that looked like. It was soooooo commercial! Even worse than south Miami Beach. We just did the drivebys and I didn't see anything that made me want to stop the car and get out. When I compared what the ship would have charged us in each port to take these excursions run by the ship, compared to what we paid for the rental car and the reduced online purchased admission tickets, we saved a small fortune! Then we got off the ship and got hit by some very bad news...... Would you believe that when we got to the airport in LA that my husband left one of our suitcases sitting on the pier???? He insisted that he had them all and was having the skycap move out of the building before I could really look over everything. Then you know how crazy it is to load things curbside....anyway when we got to the airport I started to count, and we were one short. The good thing is that our daughter was coming to see us at the airport (my oldest daughter) and after seeing us, she went back to the pier and picked up the bag, but couldn't get it back in time to get it to us. At least she has it, and she is planning on coming east to visit and will bring it with her then. Just a lesson in taking the time to count up everything and not let the skycaps rush you out so that they can come back to pick up another load and tip. On CC there is a thread about what to do with pets when you leave for a cruise. When we got home we found our house and dog in wonderful shape. Our friends, Bob and Phyllis from West VA, had taken wonderful care of everything, and Harley was very attached to Phyllis. We meet Bob and Phyllis on the Cruise Critic Board on our sailing website for the Galaxy two years ago and got to know them very well on the two week cruise, and then stayed in touch via e mails. So this worked out great for us, and just one more reason why Cruise Critic is such a wonderful site to be part of! So, that is the saga of my adventures of going to Hawaii....I hope all is well with everyone reading this!!! Aloha Carol Read Less
Sail Date: September 2007
This is my fourth cruise - same as my wife. Two with Carnival and two with Royal Caribbean. We decided to take a cruise to Hawaii primarily because of the number of days at sea. Day 1 and Embarkation - We decided to fly via JetBlue to ... Read More
This is my fourth cruise - same as my wife. Two with Carnival and two with Royal Caribbean. We decided to take a cruise to Hawaii primarily because of the number of days at sea. Day 1 and Embarkation - We decided to fly via JetBlue to the Long Beach airport since it was closer to the pier than LAX. We prefer to fly JetBlue over most US airlines. When we got to the pier there was a very long line but it moved rather quick. We were checked in and on the ship within one hour. We got to the room to drop off our luggage and immediately went to the gym & spa to signup for gym classes and spa treatments. Spin, Yoga, and Pilates classes cost an additional $10 each but there is a package discount offered as well. (more on the gym and spa later). We then took advantage of the lunch buffet before heading back to our stateroom for a little rest and unpacking. Days at sea - We had 4 days at sea on the way down to Hawaii and there are plenty of things to do. We thought we might get a chance to get caught up on some books and some other stuff but we could not believe how fast our days filled up with activities and things to do. One of the best things about the days at sea was the fact that we could not see anything but water in all directions. Big Island - We had two stops on the Big Island of Hawaii. The first stop (Kona) proved to be the most challenging due to the 'tender ticketing process'. This lead to a huge delay for us getting off the ship - two hours. I think RC will learn to improve this imperfection. We found a beach and had a great day. In Hilo (our second stop) we took a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian Helicopter and went to Volcano National Park. Overall, the island was nice - especially seeing the volcano and black sand beach. We rented a car on all of the islands and found our way to the sights and locations we wanted. Maui - We took a helicopter tour and spent some time at the beach. Since we spent two days on the island I spent the second day scuba diving. We had lunch at a hotel one day and spent $50 for a burger and chicken satay - we then realized the value of the food on the ship versus the on-shore. Oahu - We drive around most of the island and hit a few beaches. We ended up in Waikiki Beach for the sunset. Awesome and relaxing sight. Return - We had 5 days at sea on the way back so there was not much pressure or depression after leaving Hawaii. Same as on the trip down there were plenty of things to do - from dodge ball to watching crew demonstrations. The Captain took some time from running the ship to partake in the cake decorating demonstration - such a good guy. Disembarkation - A bit of a wait and was sad to leave. Ship - This ship is awesome. This is not a very large ship but it is just the right size. The layout is efficient and has many places to relax. There are various sitting rooms, lounges, and open spaces throughout the ship and at times you do not feel like you are on a ship at all. The self-leveling pool tables and rock climbing wall were cool. Stateroom - We were lucky to get an aft cabin on deck 7. The room had plenty of room for us to store our belongings. With 15 nights, we packed a lot for the trip and we were able to place everything within reach. We stored our bags under our bed and did not see them for two weeks - a very nice feeling by the way. The balcony and room was large enough for the two of us and provided a nice refuge to relax. Crew & Staff - As with every cruise the crew pamper you and make you feel welcome. No exception here. The crew were warn and quite helpful if there were any questions. Past guests voted the ship as the 'friendliest' ship and that distinction is well deserved. Our cabin steward Myra took great care of us and kept our room in top shape. She was warm, personable, and extremely happy. She asked us each day if we need anything and took care of it. Our waitress - Cecelia, assistant waiter - Ian, and dinning room waiter - Delroy made our dinning experience each night such a pleasure. We did not need to go to the specialty restaurants because they were so good and made us feel like family. The cruise director staff were exceptional. Simon and Kirk were all over the ship each day and updated everyone each day with a fun show - The Kirk and Simon Show - each day via TV. Kirk also lead an hour long exercise session each day in the gym. Simon - who went to clown school - was funny and very entertaining. They had our day filled with a variety of activities so there was never a dull moment. The crew kept this ship spotless and in constant good shape. We saw members of the crew cleaning the ship throughout the day and night, changing carpet, etc. They worked very hard to keep the ship in good shape. Gym and Spa - The gym was quite good and had almost everything I needed to stay in shape. I spent almost everyday in the gym. The gym staff (Kylie and Matt) were exceptional and pushed us to realize our potential. I looked forward to their workouts and as a result I was in better shape because of them. The spa was awesome. In addition to the separate men's and women's treatment rooms, there is a steam room situated on the side of the ship with floor to ceiling windows allowing you a great view. The spa treatments (my wife took a few treatments) were good. Weather and sea conditions - Pleasant each day and some days the water was like glass. Overall - A fantastic ship and wonderful trip. Can't wait for our next cruise. Hats off to the Radiance crew & staff for a wonderful voyage. Read Less
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 0.0
Enrichment 2.0 0.0
Service 4.5 0.0
Value For Money 4.5 0.0
Rates N/A 0.0

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