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3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This cruise embarked from Melbourne Australia and headed to New Zealand. The ship toured the beautiful New Zealand fiords on the southwest coast. It then stopped at New Zealand cities on the country's east coast. We'd stongly ... Read More
This cruise embarked from Melbourne Australia and headed to New Zealand. The ship toured the beautiful New Zealand fiords on the southwest coast. It then stopped at New Zealand cities on the country's east coast. We'd stongly advise others to allocate several days before and after the cruise to enjoy Melbourne and Sidney. Embarkation was slow with long lines at each stage of the process. Overall from arriving at the dock to walking onto the boat was a bit over two hours. Overall, the Radiance of the Seas was above average. The ship carries 2,600 people so it is not as crowded as newer mega-cruisers. While the ship is twenty years old, the interior is modern and clean. One BIG problem is that there are no laundry rooms on board. One can use the ship's clothes cleaning service but it is $35 to wash a small bag of clothes. The passengers were largely in their 50s and 60s. I'd guess that there were only about two dozen children on the entire boat. About 60% of the passengers were Australian. That was nice because us Yanks could meet the Aussies and learn a lot about where they were from and what their lives are like. Food was consistently good both in dining rooms and in the buffet. One nicety was that if something was desired that was not on display or on the menu, the crew gladly provided it. We try to eat healthy when traveling. At dinner we'd often order a fresh vegetable plate in addition to our off-the-menu choices. We'd receive a steaming hot plate of broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and spinach. At the morning buffet, I'd often get a made to order omelet and rather than have the sausage or bacon, I'd ask a crewmember to bring a plate of smoked salmon. Our inside cabin was larger than cabins we've had on Princess and Celebrity ships. My wife always takes a midday nap. Our cabin was made up twice daily so we always had made beds. We attended a lot of shows. Visiting entertainers were good. There was a gifted pianist, a comedian that did impersonations, and a magician. However, while the dancers in the ships resident song and dance troupe were remarkably talented, the singers were about as good as one might hear at a high school musical. There were all the usual ship events - games, contests, shopping, etc. There were two whiskey tasting events that were free and fairly generous with the samples. New Zealand is a beautiful country. Seeing It is well worth the long flight from the US. We found New Zealander's to be informal and friendly. They like their country and are happy to show it off and to talk about it. Our favorite stop was Dunedin, a smallish city in South New Zealand. We visited a brewery and sampled the fabulous New Zealand beer. We also took a wildlife excursion and saw a rare albatross rookery (the only such nesting site on a mainland) and fur seals that were still nursing their rambunctious pups. Wellington, the national capital was fun, too. We tried meat pies and had coffee and dessert pastries at a little lunch spot across the street from the government buildings. Our ship was supposed to stop at Ashburton but could not due to high winds and rough seas. We also spend a day at Picton, a little resort town with a marina. We didn't find much to do at Picton so we hiked and visited a grocery store where we bought a few made in New Zealand foods and some local beers to bring home. Our cruise was in late February and early March which is fall in New Zealand. We were glad we did. The weather, overall, was sunny blue skies and most days were cool but one didn't need a coat. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our second time on the Radiance, third time around NZ, but first time cruising with friends (deliberately). Our very first cruise was on Radiance back in '08 in Alaska. That has got us hooked unto cruising so it was going to ... Read More
This was our second time on the Radiance, third time around NZ, but first time cruising with friends (deliberately). Our very first cruise was on Radiance back in '08 in Alaska. That has got us hooked unto cruising so it was going to be interesting to come back after several cruises, with a few companies,and to compare. Also we planned this with a few friends of our age group. OK, staring at the start, we were a bit worried about Melbourne as a departure point. Melbourne is not usually a customs clearance point, so we were worried a little about the whole check in process. We shouldn't have been, it may have been a fraction slower, but not really noticeable. We went through a faster lane, which was very quick, our friends though had to come through the standard lines, which did take close to an hour. I think this was because everyone came at the same time, and there were a lot more without C & A privileges, which meant the queues were longer than normal. We got our rooms pretty much on 1pm, and we also sorted out our first night dining with our friends. We then went for a bit of an explore, and that first cocktail. The ship had changed slightly, but not a lot. Other reviews talked about it ageing, and showing signs of wear and tear. She is now 18 years old, and due for another refresh in a few months. If you looked hard, yes you could find things to comment on (and as an ex-mariner you could find fault everywhere if you wanted to), but the important thing was it was clean and tidy, the crew worked well to keep the presentation to a good standard, and nothing was falling apart. Food - this is a major part of the trip. We ate in the Windjammer, Main Dining Room (fixed times), Chops, Giovanni's and Samba restaurants, and the Park Cafe. The food in all the areas was very good. We did enjoy the food at Chops the best, but in reality it was all good, and came with great service. Tip for those at Sambas, its a marathon - not a sprint (there are seven meat courses, so pace yourself). The service as usual was spot on. Were were especially fond of out MDR staff who were very attentive, friendly, and just good fun to talk to. Windjammers, of course, could be busy, and you had to pick your times a little, but we could also take the food out onto the stern area, or to other quieter places if necessary. Park Cafe had changed a little and you could now get a nice salad there during the day. Lastly the guys at Cafe Latte-tudes were really good and friendly (if you didn't try to take advantage of them like some passengers did). Room - we had room 8088. it has the larger balcony on the hump. The interior of the room is the same as most balcony rooms, and spacious enough for us. The balcony was fantastic, and was spacious enough for outside lounges, we just couldn't get any (a disappointment). This would be a joy on those longer ocean voyages. There was a down side (and it has been raised in the past) that you can hear the music from the Centrum At night it can go up to 10:30pm. What you hear is the bass thump of the music. During the day its not too bad (quieter music or events) but there are some major parties in the evening. Good thing is, if you are at the party you don't mind, and after 10:30ish it dies away and it is fine. I would probably book this room again if on a long cruise. The cabin staff were again spot on. Unobtrusive, but there when you needed them. Entertainment - being that we were with friends this time, we were quite happy to do our own things. The shows were good to very good (but not excellent), the musical tams moving around the boat were very good, and we enjoyed them immensely. The cruise staff were fantastic. We made friends with several of them, and we had a good time. It was really funny watching one of the team (all of about 23 years old) trying to run a music quiz with 60s or 70s music when she freely admitted her parents weren't even born then, while many of us lived through it! She did a great job. The biggest disappoint was the poor entertainment up in Starquest late at night. Basically preplanned music most nights. so no real soul to the place. New Zealand - Fan-bloody-tastic!! The fiordlands, Dunedin, Wellington and Picton were all magic, beautiful scenario, culture, history and people!! Unfortunately the weather did not permit tendering at Akaroa, a disappointment, but the crew compensated with an afternoon of quickly revised entertainment. NZ never disappoints and the beauty of Milford, Dusky and Doubtful sounds was awesome. A running commentary from an NZ Parks Officer made all the difference. I could go on for a while, but NZ is beautiful, and even in Wellington (one of their largest cities) the people are friendly and will tell you all about their culture or point to you to an ATM, nothing was too much for them. We didn't book any excursions through RCI as they were way (WAY) too expensive. We did have an idea of what wee wanted though, so we were able to sort ourselves out quickly once we got there. We were very lucky crossing the Tasman (twice) the weather gods were great to us, and made the trip so much enjoyable. As usual the staff made a big difference, there attentiveness, smiles and service are also an attraction for us on RCI. The ship may be getting old, but it is by no means overtly noticeable. The food was of a high standard, with some items being repeated on the menus, but changes were made every day, and that was enough (always too many options). Dietary requirements mentioned on the first day were relayed to all our restaurant bookings (a good touch). There was always some entertainment available, but with good friends and a number out out-of-the-way spots, you could just ave fun passing the time. The disembarkation at Sydney was smooth, and we were out of the terminal (and back to the real world) quickly. We will be back!!! Service, food and entertainment is just how we like it. Thanks! Read Less
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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