1,273 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

I love Cruise Critic and you must too or you would not be reading this review. I would like to be able to share with you some useful information regarding my cruise on the Radiance and information I received from my fellow Cruise Critic ... Read More
I love Cruise Critic and you must too or you would not be reading this review. I would like to be able to share with you some useful information regarding my cruise on the Radiance and information I received from my fellow Cruise Critic members on this ship. The embarkation was as smooth as any I have ever encountered. We left our hotel(Holiday Inn Bayside) at 11:00am which is a very short distance from the pier and HI provided free transportation to the ship. Since The Radiance was the only ship in port we zoomed right thru check-in, which can be murder if more than one ship is in port. The whole process was less than 10 minutes. We then had to wait until 1:00pm to go to our cabin, so off we went to scope out the ship and take some pictures because everyone else was in the Windjammer and this is a very good time to take pictures without tons of other cruisers in your picture. We also checked out our dining room spot. Then it was off to join the herds at the Windjammer for a very adequate lunch. The Windjammer is divided in separate areas for hot, cold, sandwiches, desserts etc. this can be very confusing because no one knows where the line starts and sometimes on sea days the lines are so long they wind around in front of another station. Our Cruise Critic bunch then met at the Schooner bar for our first time meeting and seeing what we each actually looked like after talking for months. That was great to be able to finally meet. Our cabin #9094 was a wonderful D1 located the second cabin from the hump(or the glass elevators). It was a fabulous room in size but most of all we had a huge balcony that we had room for chaises, we only asked for one though, but it was very spacious. I would highly recommend this location since it was in the middle of the ship and the stairs are just one cabin away which leads up to the 11th floor to the Windjammer or down to the 5th for dinner. Also, if you do not receive robes in your cabin just ask your room steward. There seemed to be plenty of storage areas to store all those things you cannot live without while on your cruise. There are 3 small drawers on each side of the desk chair with one long drawer in the middle, also cabinets on each side of the large mirror above the desk that have mirror fronts, kind of tricky unless you know they are actually there. Very small table with one very small drawer next to the bed with adequate reading lights. Now as far as the bed it is was very old with huge broken areas or holes that you literally sank into. The remedy for the bed is to ask your cabin steward for a bed topper which helps immensely. The closet is adequate for a 11 day cruise, but of course you will have to ask for additional hangers. Of course there is a small sofa with a table. The bathroom is very old as far as tile and a very antiquated shower that gets water on the floor after each shower since it is only a small lip that is supposed to keep the water in the shower space which is the same level as the floor, good luck. Our first sea day our Cruise Critic bunch met for our Meet & Mingle Party which was nice. We then went on a Cabin Crawl, which was really fun to see the other cabins. The food was a huge disapointment. I am a picky eater but can always find something. The diningroom food was overly salty and I like salt alot, but other than that was very bland, everything tasted the same, tasteless. It seemed there was some form of pork everynight which is strange since the chicken entrees were non existent except for the same herbal chicken you could request everynight. If you ordered beef you could request med well or med rare, nothing else and the med rare was a bloody mess. The steaks were about 1/4 inch thick sort of like shoe leather. If your like me you like desserts, well this is not the ship for you, no selection in the Windjammer maybe 4 different varieties and 3 different sugar free varieties which tasted less than what could be purchased in any grocery store. The soft serve ice cream was more like ice milk. All of this is to say Royal Caribbean has gone very cheap on the food they serve the quality is very poor. Since all these things seem very negative, I would like to tell you the entertainment was excellent. Some of the best I have seen on a cruise ship. The 2nd night on the ship was Glen Smith a singer pianist that was very good. The 3rd night was Fallon Magic equal to a Las Vegas magic show, he also did a hypnotist routine later in the cruise. Day 4 was City of Dreams the production show, even though the singers and dancers were excellent this show is a flop because of the production even the comedians were laughing about it later in the cruise about how bad it was. Day 5 was Michael Ziegfeld ventriloquist, hilarious, I thought my husband would fall out of his seat with laughter. Day 6 was the Tango, really excellent. Day 7 was the Folklorico show which was very good and the Super Bowl. Day 8 Joey Vann wonderful comedian. Day 9 was Marty Allen and his wife Karon Kate, he was so funny, makes you remember when comedy was funny and his wife is a great singer, they also did a Q&A later in the cruise. Day 10 was the 2nd production show and it wasn't any better than the first. Day 11 was the juggler which was funny and very good. I would like to tell you about some of the ports and the choices good and bad we made. We did not take any ships tours as we always find them crowded and overly priced. Cabo we went with fellow Cruise Critic members on the Pez Gato Whale watching tour we found out about on this site. We never saw any whales but it was a nice little trip and the cost was $32. Mazatlan we went to Aroma Spa which we also found out about from this site. We had to take a taxi from the ship which cost $7. The building and the decorations certainly don't look like the Ritz, more like what Mexico's idea of a spa would look like with plastic flowers hanging from the ceiling etc. But the massage was wonderful, we had the 2 hour for $40. Truly fantastic. You will need to contact them to schedule an appointment by e-mail. Puerto Vallarta we had arranged with our group from Cruise Critic to hire a bus(very nice) and guide to go the the Botanical Gardens. What a treat our guide Azael took us through PV on a short tour then on to the gardens. They were absolutely gorgeous, we enjoyed them thoroughly and the delightful lunch at the restaurant. Azael operates Superior Tours for PV and I can not recommend him enough. His English was wonderful and he was a fount of information on PV, even though we have been there many times. If you have 20 people the tour is only $20 pp for the bus and guide. If you have more he drops the fee of $5 to get into the park. Beautiful 6 hour tour. Manzanillo we again went with our Cruise Critic buds on an all day tour to the salt mines, plantations, turtle preserve, and turtle release, boat ride into the mangroves thru a bird sanctuary and lunch included at the Colonial Hotel including drinks for $35 pp. Wow what a bargain. Paco's Tours. Highly recommend this all day trip. The rest of the ports we just walked around some since we have been to them several times before. I have saved the very bad for last. The sewer problem on this ship has been present for months and seems to be a problem on every cruise. One day we could not flush our toilet and the smell in the hallways would almost knock you over which lasted for several days. Almost everyone we spoke with had some type of sewage problem some time or another during the cruise. It seems like this problem is not going to be fixed unless this ship goes into dry dock. Also, when we arrived the first day on the ship there was a horrible odor coming from the toilet and I spoke with the steward and when I returned to the cabin he had poured some type of vanilla fragrance down the toilet and it smelled really good. I hope this long report will help you make your cruise experience even better. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
RCCL, and I assume all the cruise lines, are on the 'Cheap' these days. No more mints on the pillow, no lotion in the rooms, no newspapers delivered or in the library, dining room meals with tough meat and cold food, etc. This ... Read More
RCCL, and I assume all the cruise lines, are on the 'Cheap' these days. No more mints on the pillow, no lotion in the rooms, no newspapers delivered or in the library, dining room meals with tough meat and cold food, etc. This cruise was modestly priced, so I guess you get what you pay for - just not up to expectations. We usually cruise on Princess and HAL, but had been on a RCCL cruise before so had somewhat higher expectations based on that experience. The Good Things - beautiful ship; interactive Cruise Director; Windjammer - consistent excellent food and arrangement was excellent (never lines to get food and good seating available); variety of entertainment in the Showroom with good seating, but a lot of obstructed seats; disembarkation times at ports was good; back stage tour was good and informative; level of activities (i.e. trivia); good storage and luggage space in the cabin. The "Not So Good' Things - (1) small space for a balcony cabin; (2) FOX news on the TV was very annoying - if you're going to have that, at least have MSNBC to counter-balance - CNN International doesn't count. Got tired of answering questions from Canadians and other international passengers about FOX TV and if that was what Americans thought; (3) the library was a joke - first thing onboard, counted 49 fiction books; (4) limited seating in the Colony Club (i.e. reception events) and Centrum dance venues - the only good onboard musicians played in the Centrum where there was basically no seating and limited dance area; (5) onboard musical venues were poor to mediocre, with the exception of Muzik Magic; (6) Wine and drink prices were very high; (7) port tours were mediocre at best, though they were modestly priced; (8) food in the dining room was mediocre and usually cold - meat was often tough and small portions - and service was slow; (9) disembarkation was horrible with 3 cruise ships in port and limited access by taxis - many people missed flights home; etc. etc. etc. Food after 9 pm Sea Side Cafe - hard to find and very limited menu - no self serve Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Embarkation went smoothly. The food was good in both the Cascades Dining Room and the Windjammer (buffet). Our waitstaff was good and very friendly, but it appeared as if they've cut back as they seemed to have more tables than before ... Read More
Embarkation went smoothly. The food was good in both the Cascades Dining Room and the Windjammer (buffet). Our waitstaff was good and very friendly, but it appeared as if they've cut back as they seemed to have more tables than before and seemed very rushed. We also had room service a few times, that food was fair. We ate at the Seaview Cafe a couple of times for lunch and really enjoyed the sandwiches and soup and everything we tried there. The solarium cafe was also good. I purchased one blended mocha from the coffee bar it was satisfactory, but over priced. The coffee on board was good at times and horrible at times. The sad part is it was bad more often than good. It tasted old sometimes and too strong at other times. Occasionally we got coffee that tasted freshly brewed and had good flavor. This was our return to what was our favorite cruise line, I say was because they've made alot of cut backs in the last ten years. The little things they used to do is and the service is what hooked us on cruising. They no longer give chocolates on the pillow at turn down, they don't provide you with shampoo, conditioner and hand lotion anymore. Yes, they do have soap and a shampoo-conditioner dispenser in the shower, same as you can get at 3 star motel! I didn't even bring lotion as I thought it would be there, luckily other family members had brought some. Our stateroom was very nice and comfortable. The balcony was disappointing, small and you can't look down at the water as the balconies are set back so you look at the roof the next deck. This ship was the noisiest ship we've ever been on, it creaked and moaned and groaned like a 100 year old house. The first couple of nights we thought some one was knocking at the door, but it was just the ships noises. It is decorated very beautifully and the staff was very friendly. Our cabin steward was hard to get a hold of at first but fine the rest of the cruise. Room service was very prompt and very efficient. Alot of other little things have been eliminated ie. little pocket maps of the ship, the view from the bridge on in room tv, the navigation channel used to be alot more informative and still is on other cruise lines. We liked the selection of shore excursions and booked one in each port. One of the ones we were looking forward to got cancelled but we rebooked and had a good time. We enjoyed all the shore excursions and thought they were fairly priced compared with past cruises. We will definately cruise with RCCL again as they were our first but sadly they're not our favorite anymore. This was our 3rd cruise with them and 3rd ship so we'll have to try again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
RCCL, and I assume all the cruise lines, are on the 'Cheap' these days. No more mints on the pillow, no lotion in the rooms, no newspapers delivered or in the library, dining room meals with tough meat and cold food, etc. This ... Read More
RCCL, and I assume all the cruise lines, are on the 'Cheap' these days. No more mints on the pillow, no lotion in the rooms, no newspapers delivered or in the library, dining room meals with tough meat and cold food, etc. This cruise was modestly priced, so I guess you get what you pay for - just not up to expectations. We usually cruise on Princess and HAL, but had been on a RCCL cruise before so had somewhat higher expectations based on that experience. The Good Things - beautiful ship; interactive Cruise Director; Windjammer - consistent excellent food and arrangement was excellent (never lines to get food and good seating available); variety of entertainment in the Showroom with good seating, but a lot of obstructed seats; disembarkation times at ports was good; back stage tour was good and informative; level of activities (i.e. trivia); good storage and luggage space in the cabin. The "Not So Good' Things - (1) small space for a balcony cabin; (2) FOX news on the TV was very annoying - if you're going to have that, at least have MSNBC to counter-balance - CNN International doesn't count. Got tired of answering questions from Canadians and other international passengers about FOX TV and if that was what Americans thought; (3) the library was a joke - first thing onboard, counted 49 fiction books; (4) limited seating in the Colony Club (i.e. reception events) and Centrum dance venues - the only good onboard musicians played in the Centrum where there was basically no seating and limited dance area; (5) onboard musical venues were poor to mediocre, with the exception of Muzik Magic; (6) Wine and drink prices were very high; (7) port tours were mediocre at best, though they were modestly priced; (8) food in the dining room was mediocre and usually cold - meat was often tough and small portions - and service was slow; (9) food after 9 p.m. was a problem - only Sea Side Cafe was open - hard to find and very limited menu (no snacks); (10) disembarkation was horrible with 3 cruise ships in port and limited access by taxis - many people missed flights home; etc. etc. etc. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
First cruise on Royal Caribbean, 39th cruise overall...the ship was beautiful and very very clean for a nine year old...the service was good, the food was mostly good and the Portofino Restaurant was excellent. First glitch was that the ... Read More
First cruise on Royal Caribbean, 39th cruise overall...the ship was beautiful and very very clean for a nine year old...the service was good, the food was mostly good and the Portofino Restaurant was excellent. First glitch was that the room steward does not get the info from the RCI reservation for Beds Apart or Together...why do they ask if they don't transmit the information to the room steward so that he/she doesn't have to guess and make and remake the beds...maybe some IT can explain it...the cabin was nice as were all of them that we saw. The food was better then CARNIVAL...not quite as good as HOLLAND, but the glitch was the My Time Dining which is really THEIR TIME DINING or go to the Windjammer...no room at the inn before 8 PM which was fine on all but two nights when other activities required an earlier dinner. Windjammer coffee was very bitter (tastes like mud) as I have seen in other posts on CC...a good acid cleaning is needed for their coffee makers. Coffee in Cascades Dining was much better. My biggest complaint is that they use those stupid little Heinz Ketchup Packets in Windjammer and I needed eight to ten of them for my breakfast eggs and potatoes...they are tough to open and squirted on my shirt and pants which I saw several passengers doing...makes you feel like you are at McDonald's or Burger King for Breakfast instead of on a luxury cruise ship, yet in the Cascades Dining Room they bring a bottle of Ketchup to the table...the Food & Beverage Manager said that they went to the packets to cut down the waste...and no he doesn't pop for the laundry bill!!!! We had a great Cruise Director (Kirk D.) and staff that really mad the cruise experience fun!!! He is off on vacation now, but said that he'll be back!!! I can't stress too much that he is the hardest working CD that I have ever seen on a cruise...he works from early morning to late at night nonstop. The embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and the Mexican ports were all good (been there many times). Thanks Captain Claus Andersen for a good cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
We decided to book this cruise as we were running out of options with Princess and RCL offered a better value. In fact, we surprised our teen-age children with their own stateroom. Two balcony staterooms turned out to be a great start to ... Read More
We decided to book this cruise as we were running out of options with Princess and RCL offered a better value. In fact, we surprised our teen-age children with their own stateroom. Two balcony staterooms turned out to be a great start to an awesome cruise. The Embarkation was very disorganized. Lots of room for improvement. San Diego is a great city to sail out of, but they need to work on the port area from taxis to actually getting on the ship. Our first impressions of the ship was tremendous. A very beautiful, clean ship, well maintained and looked brand new. We were impressed with the stainless steel accents around the ship. Nice change from the usual brass one sees on most ships. The ship was fully booked, but we found there to be lots of space in most public rooms. The service was excellent, meals were good. The shows that we liked were: Revolution (a Beatles Tribute), the magician, and believe it or not...Marty Allen and his wife had us laughing. The Ports: We loved Cabo..We went whale watching on Zodiacs. Best way to see whales, and we weren't disappointed. Mazatlan we stayed on-board, big port city, not much to see close to the port. Puerto Vallarta, we spent the day at the beach. Manzanillo was a huge disappointment. The port wasn't really equipped to handle cruise passengers. We wandered around for abit and felt unsafe, and quickly returned back to the ship. Our last port of call was Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. We enjoyed this port, but found we had a limited amount of time to explore. Coronas were cheap. $1 US dollar. What we didn't like: We found the deck chairs to be VERY UNCOMFORTABLE, and were crammed together...to the point that they were hard to get in and out of. Would it kill RCL to have a couple of side tables between some chairs. Imagine 50 chairs side by side so tight you couldn't put a piece of paper between them. One thing this ship lacked, was a poolside grill. There was a BBQ one sea day which was very popular. We enjoyed the Windjammer cafe but found it closed most evenings by 9pm. We missed the late night snacks and only found there to be a small seaside cafe open with a limited menu until about 1am. This ship was fully booked and we were disappointed that we were located in a small dining area off the main cascades dining-room. In some regards, we felt like 2nd class passengers...despite the fact that we booked 2 suites on deck 10. It's easy to point out the minor faults, but we really enjoyed the ship and RCL. We wouldn't hesitate to book again with RCL. It was a great family cruise. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Overall a great experience. Few glitches here and there, food not as good as Holland but certainly no complaints, unless you were a vegetarian who didn't like curry and wanted to eat in the dining room! Excellent dining room staff who ... Read More
Overall a great experience. Few glitches here and there, food not as good as Holland but certainly no complaints, unless you were a vegetarian who didn't like curry and wanted to eat in the dining room! Excellent dining room staff who worked very hard. My time dining was a little cramped for the number of users - this could be improved for sure. Entertainment was first class, loved them all, and was totally not prepared for the calibre of the RC dancers and singers - well done! Not a lot of choice for mid evening events unless you wanted to hit the bars late at night - no dessert nights or such. Biggest disappointment was the poor showing by the guests, particularly males, who wore very casual clothes to semi casual and dress evenings. Staff should enforce these rules and send them to the windjammer, which is how they were dressed. Come on guys, leave the tshirts at home. I like comfort but you can step it up a notch once in a while.... Disembarking in SD was a schmozzle, over 2 hrs to get off the boat...surely they can come up with a computerized system to speed it up, and also to deal with those few guests who believe they are above standing in line to go thru immigration, instead preferring to have themselves paged and hold up the entire ship...grr! RC could certainly change their smoking areas for sure - keep them OUTSIDE, but keep them OFF the running track for petes sake. Get them out of the bars and casino, they can smoke outside, and absolutely off the balcony areas....the world is changing, and most smokers are following much more stringent guidelines than provided by RC! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
This was our sixth cruise, and we have cruised on five different lines. Having fallen in love with cruising, our project is to sail with all the major American lines in order to find our favorites. Perhaps this is a misguided project, as ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise, and we have cruised on five different lines. Having fallen in love with cruising, our project is to sail with all the major American lines in order to find our favorites. Perhaps this is a misguided project, as individual ships may vary considerably. Be that as it may, this was Royal Caribbean's turn. As always, it was a breeze to get to the San Diego cruise port from the airport. We simply catch bus 992 in front of the airport terminal and in a matter of minutes we're dropped off a block from the port. The bus runs every 15 minutes and costs $2.25. We travel light so luggage is no problem (we only checked one bag between us for a 10-day cruise, and we still didn't wear everything we brought). Overall, the ship and the cruise were most enjoyable. The ship itself is well designed and never felt crowded, despite being filled to capacity. My only real complaints would be the small, poorly stocked library, which is actually only an alcove, and the choice of art for decorating the ship. The modern and often abstract, even kitschy art was simply not to my taste. However, I have yet to experience a cruise ship that did not thrill me in some way. I was more than happy to be cruising again. Our dining experience was another matter. My wife, in particular, was displeased with the poor quality of the food, and I agree with her, although this aspect of the cruise was not quite so important to me. Compared with the other ships we've been on, food choices were limited, and taste was definitely lacking. I tend to be a gourmand rather than a gourmet, but even I would have sent many of these dishes back to the kitchen had a restaurant attempted to foist them on me. The chocolate chip cookies, possibly the worst I've ever had, were hard as rocks and virtually devoid of flavor. How can you make a chocolate chip cookie with no flavor? The "ice cream" was cheap soft-serve low-fat yogurt, yuck (although real vanilla ice cream was offered at dinner). Jello was offered as a dessert. Hello, Jello? There was no half and half for coffee, only artificial creamer, but that wasn't a total loss, since the coffee was so bad I stopped drinking it anyway. There was no orange juice, only reconstituted frozen "orange juice cocktail." Compare this with fresh-squeezed orange juice on other ships. The breakfast menu never varied, but did feature Tator Tots, if that's your thing. The ubiquitous chicken breast was hopeless. Shrimp was never served in the buffet (too expensive, maybe?); on our Princess cruise there were often two or more shrimp choices. The Radiance even ran out of butter and ended up serving margarine as a staff member complained that "you ate too much butter." Oh, really? Now, I'm no snob when it comes to food, but even I have certain minimum standards, and the food on the Radiance did not meet these minimum standards. I still managed to eat my fill through careful hunting and gathering, but my wife was inconsolable. It is obvious that RC is "cutting costs", as the ship's officers freely admitted during a Q&A session. This was the only cruise ship we've ever been on that did not offer individual shampoo and lotion in the cabins. No bathrobes. I got an impression of cheapness - but only compared with other cruise lines, mind you. Compared to typical land-based vacations, this cruise was a remarkable bargain and a memorable experience. We will not be returning to Royal Caribbean. I do think that this ship is suitable for those on a budget and perhaps for first-time cruisers. We were spoiled by better experiences on Holland America and Princess. Sometimes, it's the details that make the difference. Radiance of the Seas succeeds as a cruise ship but utlimately falls short in the details. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
It's hard to believe that it's been almost a week since we took the sad, sad walk off of the Radiance of the Seas. My husband and I have cruised several times, once before on a Royal Caribbean ship. We've also cruised the ... Read More
It's hard to believe that it's been almost a week since we took the sad, sad walk off of the Radiance of the Seas. My husband and I have cruised several times, once before on a Royal Caribbean ship. We've also cruised the Mexican Riviera before, though did so on a different cruise line last year. We live in San Diego, and were looking for a cruise that would allow us to relax and have some fun before officially beginning the new year. All in all, I'm happy to say that this trip did not disappoint. This ship itself is really quite beautiful, and the service from all crew we encountered was anywhere from good to outstanding. In the end, like everything else in this world that isn't perfect, so much of the experience became what we made of it. Embarkation: Getting on the ship proved to be a tad tricky. The lines to embark were particularly long, and we heard this was because passengers from the previous cruise disembarked later than anticipated. For those who just couldn't wait to get on the ship and were willing shell out about $10, they chose to take a pedicab (those bikes with carriages in the back) into the cruise embarkation area, where they could skip the longest portions of the line. Having cruised out of San Diego before, the longer wait was definitely not the norm, and once we got through the initial line things moved very quickly. Once onboard we made our way up to the buffet to get started immediately on the eating frenzy and gluttony that overtakes many cruise ship passengers. We then explored the ship, which was a bit smaller than we were thinking it would be, and made our way to our cabin on the 10th deck, where we were pleased to see our bags had arrived. We found the room to have more than sufficient storage for the many items we brought on board. We had a balcony room and truly love that experience. The bed was comfortable and our attendant was great. When we got to our room she introduced herself, and met every question or request with friendliness and ease. The primary thing we requested was for her to empty out the fridge so we could store our water and a few other items (we would've done this ourselves, but if you move the items in there you get charged for them). Dining: The dining experience was fine. The breakfast and lunch buffets had a ton of options, and we were always satisfied with these meals. One item that proved to be challenging in the beginning, but which we figured out, was the dining room experience. On our first day we made our way to the dining room to see if we could switch over to a table for two. To be fair, our expectations on this might have been off because we are used to having a lot of flexibility in this regard, as we cruise with Norwegian a lot and their dining set-up is completely different. The main dining room on the Radiance of the Seas has a total of two tables for two for those who haven't taken advantage of "My Time Dining". Also, because we chose to eat during the first seating (we tend to get hungry by 6pm or so and, because we also buck the trend of many in their 30s and don't stay up late partying, we don't like to eat a big meal before bed) there was very little room for moving us around. Our table seated 10 and, though all very nice, we were seated with folks who each brought pre-teens. We simply didn't have that much in common. We had investigated "My Time Dining", and it was actually overbooked when we got onboard, so if you want this option be sure to reserve it ahead of time. That being said, we probably wouldn't have loved that either. You have to make a reservation each morning for later that day, and you don't know exactly where you'll wind up. In the end our solution was to eat at the buffet in the Windjammer each evening. We found it included most of the items on the menu in the main dining room, and it gave us the opportunity to try small portions of several things while allowing for bigger salads and healthier foods. It also included a sushi bar, so we indulged in a few different rolls each evening. The staff at the Windjammer was just as attentive as the staff in the dining room, and we were able to enjoy our meals together at a quiet table for two, at our own pace, eating a little of everything, and leaving time to catch the show. We did go to one specialty restaurant, Portofino's, and we recommend it. The food there was of a higher quality than in the dining room, the staff was extremely attentive, and it gave us a nice experience of doing something special for an evening at a nominal cost. I will say one slight disappointment was that the ship ran out of many of the wines they offered on the list. Twice I ordered a glass of wine that they didn't have, and I heard from others that the same thing happened to them. Entertainment, activities, the fitness center and lying around: The cruise included lots of activities to keep us occupied throughout the day. I tend to bring a lot of books, settle into a lounge chair, and let the ocean rock me into relaxation on sea days. Hubbie joined me for one day, but spent the others taking advantage of many of the activities, which he found interesting. On our first and last sea days, where the temperatures were cooler and the wind stronger, I took advantage of the Solarium. I highly recommend this for those looking for a peaceful way to comfortably enjoy the sun without being overpowered by it, the wind, or the activities around the pool. The Solarium is a space enclosed in glass, with a relaxing atmosphere, padded lounge chairs and a policy of having no children. It took a while for passengers to realize how great this option was, so chairs were available in the mornings, but as the days progressed it was more difficult to find them. I will say that this ship in general had lots of lounge chairs all over the ship, avoiding the lounge chair battles I've seen on other cruises. The shows in the evening were good. Last year we cruised with Carnival and the shows on Royal were definitely a step up. We tended to like the specialty shows, like the Beatles Review and the comedians, but the show productions were a bit tedious. We spent a little time in the casino. I entered one Texas Hold 'Em Tournament and it was fun (I came in second and so brought in a bit of money to offset our expenses). We thought we might play in some of the Texas Hold 'Em cash games, but they really didn't get underway until after the second show, and as I've already stated we tended to get back to our cabin for bed after the show. (The cash game was apparently a converted Blackjack table, and held six people.) I took advantage of the fitness center each morning and found it included everything I needed. There were many cardio and weight machines, as well as a free weight section and an area in the middle for classes. The fitness center opened at 6am, which was fine most days except for those when we had an early excursion on port days. I got there early and so didn't have much of a hard time getting on to the equipment. It got busier around 8am or so. I thought about getting a massage at the spa, which I usually do, but this time around I chose to do this on one of the beaches we visited. This gave me the same level of relaxation for a full hour, but for a fraction of the cost and without the high pressure to buy products at the end. Ports: Cabo: Having cruised a number of times, we tend to plan our activities for ports outside of the cruise line. We find this cheaper, and the companies make it their business to get us back to the ship on time. In Cabo, we booked a whale watch with Pez Gato. We'd read about Pez Gato on cruise critic, and the trip itself was great. We went in the afternoon, which allowed us to have some time to relax in the morning (we're not big on all of those crazy tourist shops that so many tend to rush off of the ship to explore). The boat turned out to be a catamaran, and fit the 14 or so passengers very nicely. We got closer to whales than I have ever been before, which was fascinating, but also left me a bit concerned. Other, smaller boats got far too close and almost rammed the whales the second they surfaced. In fact, whenever we saw any sign of a whale, dozens of boats would race to converge on it. My understanding is that you are supposed to give whales a radius so that they are not frightened, but that did not happen here. Even our boat, which had a permit for whale watching purposes, got a bit too close for comfort. I found myself very conflicted as the view was incredible, but ultimately it was clear we were creating a lot of anxiety for the whales. Another nice feature of doing side trips outside of the ones offered by the cruise line is that you get to meet people who are from or visiting the area who can offer information on other ways to visit these places. For example, we met a great couple on board this excursion and got some drinks with them before getting back on our ship. Mazatlan: Based on reviews we read on cruise critic, we decided to visit Stone Island for the day. We really loved this day, and found the beach to be fantastic. We chose it because it was described as "rustic" and "authentic", which to us just means it has a simple atmosphere, a beautiful view of the water, and absolutely incredible food (guacamole doesn't get much better than what you get at this kind of place). We parked ourselves over near Victor's, as was suggested, though we actually got a lounge chair next door at Lety's because their chairs are padded and more comfortable. Let me digress for a moment to give a big caveat on how to get here. We understood there were two different areas where you can catch a water taxi to get to Stone Island. When we got off the ship and took the shuttle to the tourist area (which everyone has to do), we were so focused on getting through the sea of folks offering all kinds of products and excursions, that we made a wrong turn. If you want to go to Stone Island, get through the swarm and make a left out of the shops on the main street. You'll walk for a bit, pass the oil tanks on the left, down a stone path, to a small building with blue water taxis. We made the unfortunate mistake of turning right onto the main street, knowing we would eventually make our way to the other water taxi station past the naval base. This turned out to be a good mile walk, and the water taxi ride was longer, plus we were dropped off on the wrong side of the island and wound up taking a cab over to Victor's. If you take the correct water taxi, you will be dropped off much closer to the beach, with a short walk down to the area near Victor's and Lety's. Puerto Vallarta: Because this is a big port for whale watching, we tried to find a company ahead of time for this excursion. In the end, none of the companies got back to us, and we found the Deluxe Whale Watch excursion offered on the ship was pretty much the same cost and used the same company, so we booked it. The boat was a sailboat, and the crew was wonderful. As far as a peaceful, sailing day, we loved this. The only issue was that, as whales would emerge in the distance, a sailboat just can't get there quickly and so we missed out on some good whale watching opportunities. So as a beautiful and fun sailing trip, this scores high. At the same time, if your main objective is to see whales, this might not be the best option. Because we took the early trip, we had the afternoon to explore. Again, we're not into lots of shopping so we first made our way back on the ship for lunch, then came back out and stayed close to the ship in the little shopping area right nearby (instead of taking a cab downtown). We found a small shop that allowed people to use the internet for a dollar an hour (as opposed to 55 cents a minute on the ship), and actually spent quite a bit of time there emailing family and friends. Manzanillo: Last year we got off the ship at this port, and made our way to one of the resorts, Las Hadas. We really didn't enjoy it, and because this port is still underdeveloped and there isn't much to do, we decided to stay on the ship. I spent the day laying out on the top deck, while Hubbie roamed around. Zihuatanejo/Ixtapa: We love this port. Last year, through cruise critic, we discovered the beach La Ropa, and the area near Paty's Mar Y Mar. We actually prefer Elvira's next door and stayed there for the day. It's a four dollar, 10 minute cab ride there, and once you settle on a lounge chair you can stay there, get lunch (there's that awesome guacamole again!), and enjoy the spectacular view. This experience is similar to Stone Island in Mazatlan, though easier to access. This is the port where I got my massage by just wandering down the beach and finding a place to do so under a tent while listening to the ocean. Paradise! The biggest bummer of this day is how early we had to be back on the ship. We had to leave the beach by 2pm to get back to the tender pier. Last year we took a Carnival Cruise here and could stay through the afternoon. Royal's ship leaves the area at 3pm. And Finally... All things considered this was a great trip. We did our best to plan ahead, be flexible during the day, and just try to chill out and relax. Combined with the crew, who works very hard to create an optimal experience, it's easy to recommend this trip for those willing to make the best of things and go with the flow. I mean really, in the end how bad can a cruise be?   Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
A beautiful ship with excellent service but food taste and quantity was mediocre.Anytime Dining still required reservations at least a day in advance and we were limited to basically the early seating hour anyhow.They haven't learned ... Read More
A beautiful ship with excellent service but food taste and quantity was mediocre.Anytime Dining still required reservations at least a day in advance and we were limited to basically the early seating hour anyhow.They haven't learned how to handle this yet. Food in the Buffet area was fair in quality, sometimes very salty or lacking in taste. It looked good but was disappointing. Activities onboard were geared to the young and restless, not the predominant upper middle aged to seniors and large number of disabled.Many of the activities began after ten PM into the early AM hours. If one didn't drink heavily(the drinks were almost devoid of alcohol) or dance or gamble they retired early. Onboard activities were very limited and repetitious. There were charges for everything, $37 per person to play bingo, even $4 for a small bottle of water.Wine had to be ordered by the half dozen bottles, at three times the usual cost. The toilet system was frequently out of order and a perpetual odor emanated from the toilets. One very hot, humid day in port was followed by no water in the room,supposedly down for service.Guest services never called back with answers when problems arose. Had to wait two hours to take a shower to be presentable. Our balcony room on the ninth level was comfortable with enough room for us two large people. However Mr. Cigar Smoker somewhere nearby made sitting on our balcony pretty stinky. Smoking should be limited to areas that don't infringe on others, downwind preferably in the rear of the ship. Debarkation was long, organized confusion.Our luggage was damaged beyond repair when we claimed it in the homeport, and our compensation was minimal, not replacement value at all. Shame on Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
This was our sixth cruise - five with Royal and one with their sister company, Celebrity. We had never taken a cruise longer than 7 nights so we were really looking forward to this one. We arrived in San Diego 3 days before our scheduled ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise - five with Royal and one with their sister company, Celebrity. We had never taken a cruise longer than 7 nights so we were really looking forward to this one. We arrived in San Diego 3 days before our scheduled sail and stayed at the Best Western Bayside. The hotel provided a shuttle; the hotel handyman/shuttle driver strongly advised us against getting to the pier before 12 noon. He delivered us to the ship slightly after noon when the initial boarding chaos had subsided, and we were through the embarkation process in less than 15 minutes! Our deck 10 stateroom was lovely and clean; our steward Claron was the GREATEST!!! We were impressed with the beauty and cleanliness of the whole ship. The Solarium pool was highly under-used during our cruise so we often had this wonderful place all to ourselves. Staff aboard the Radiance is, without exception, the friendliest and most accommodating of all the ships we've been on. The shows were on par with the exceptional quality we expect from Royal; we thought the virtuoso violinist was a true standout - we've never experienced an artist quite like her! We really enjoyed the many trivia games offered during the 11 days and recommend this as a way to challenge your memory while meeting many new people. The Windjammer on Radiance is the best of any ship we've been on, especially the desserts. The little cafe on the top deck has great chicken fingers and wings. We enjoyed the Mystery Dinner theater meal at Portofino - food was exceptional. We wished we could say the same about the dining in Cascades... Meals in this dining room ran the gamut from pretty good to "what were they thinking?"! The food preparation, plating and even the menus themselves were WAY BELOW what we've come to expect from Royal. Selections were often poor, with heavy reliance on lamb dishes. Meats were frequently tough (the nightly off-the-main-menu steak offering is worse than Ponderosa's)and poorly cut - one pork offering consisted of ragged lumps of meat tossed "mess hall" style on to the plate. Desserts in the main dining room did not seem as fresh as the Windjammer: one cheesecake offering tasted as though it had sat for a long time in a freezer. I really anticipated the spinach artichoke dip appetizer one night only to find out it was nothing more than some thickened white sauce with spinach thrown in. Unfortunately, I could go on and on... Because of the sub-par dining experience, we have to rate this cruise a 7 when Royal has always been a 10 for us. Since every other ship we sailed has had amazing food, we want to believe this is just a problem with the Radiance and not across-the-board "cost-cutting" measures on Royal's part, or their way of forcing passengers into paying for meals at Chops and Portofino. We will likely cruise Royal again with the hope that the dining room cuisine will be up to the excellent standards we expect from this cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
This cruise was our first time sailing longer than 7 nights, and was our first experience on a Radiance Class ship. We had a great cruise, but some plumbing problems made our experience less than perfect. We began this vacation by ... Read More
This cruise was our first time sailing longer than 7 nights, and was our first experience on a Radiance Class ship. We had a great cruise, but some plumbing problems made our experience less than perfect. We began this vacation by staying 2 nights at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego. This hotel was booked at DW's request. I do not recommend this hotel. The staff was great, but the rooms were odd, and the clientele were very pretentious and rude. There is only a glass, swinging door to the toilet in the room. The glass is frosted, but you can still see the person sitting on the toilet through it. Plus, the door does not hinge closed, nor does it lock. On November 30, 2009, we boarded the Radiance for 11 nights. San Diego port is a nightmare. There were 2 ships in port and everyone had to enter from the street through one small entryway. You do not give your bags to the porter until you enter the lounge area, so numerous people trying to enter the facility through one gate with all their luggage was not pleasant. Once inside, it was not bad. There were no issues with the previous debarkation, so we began boarding at exactly 11:00 am. Our first impression of the Radiance was that it was a beautiful ship. She is well kept, everything was nice and sparkly, and the staff and crew were very friendly. We walked the entire the ship and learned where all the major points were, like the dining room, lounges, etc. All the venues were gorgeous. I think Radiance Class has the best Schooner Bar of all RCI ships. Speaking of the Schooner Bar, the piano player that played all cruise was fantastic. In the Cascades dining room, we found our assigned table. For the first time, we were not honored our request for a table for 2. We spoke to the maitre'd and were told that everything was full. We could not get a 2-top unless we switched over to My Time Dining. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because, after making the switch, discovered that we loved MTD. We arrived at 7:30 on all the nights we ate in the dining room and were sat immediately. We had the same 2-top every night. Our room was available at 1:00. We stayed in D1 9586, which was a balcony room at the center of the hump. Everything about the room was great, except for the plumbing. I'll get to that at the end. The food on this cruise was really good. We enjoyed every dish we ordered. We ate in Chops 2 nights, and Portofino 1 night. The food in both was fantastic. In the dining room, we tried some new dishes. I recommend the Singapore Noodles. All the beef dishes were cooked exactly to order and were very tasty. There was a band call "Muzik Majik" that played in the Centrum and in the Colony Club. The lead singer, an Asian female, was the best I have heard on a cruise ship. Her voice was amazing. She will be on the ship until April, 2010. If you are in to martinis, the person to see is Gerardo. He is the bartender in the Champagne Bar on deck 6, Centrum. We loved the Solarium. The pool patrol was helpful with clearing the unused "chair hog" chairs. We found 2 chairs every time we went there. Plus, they were very quick to respond to kids in the pool. One family tested this (twice that I saw), and were denied both times. On the second attempt, the kids didn't even make it past the pool ledge. Kudos to the pool patrol! The crepes were delicious. We are not big jacuzzi users, but did notice that this ship lacks jacuzzis. The one in the Solarium is very small, as are the two on the main pool deck. This seems odd for a ship designed for Alaskan cruises. The nightly Diamond Event for Diamond/Diamond Plus members was very nice. It was held up the Starquest Lounge (Viking Crown) from 5-8:30. There was unlimited free wine (red, white, and pink) and champagne. Additional drinks were discounted 25%. The event seemed to be well-received. The new Diamond discount coupons are worthless. Make sure you read the fine print on these things. We tried to use the 20% off photo coupon, but did not see that it only applied to the white background "lifestyle" photos. In the Sea View Cafe (alternative lunch venue), the Cuban sandwich, burgers, and wings were pretty good. The frozen fish sticks were not that good. There is no charge here. I think this cafe is much better than Johnny Rockets. Cabo San Lucas: If you are in to fun excursions, I highly recommend the Rhino tour. We were taken to a remote location of the Baja and given 2-person Rhinos. The tour was full speed through the Baja and on the beach. It was a blast. Because of this excursion, I will be looking for Rhino tours in the future. Mazatlan: This port has a small shopping area on the pier, but wandering away from the pier on foot is not a good idea. It is not in the best part of town. We took a 7 hour excursion to the Sierra Madre and the Mexican "Magic City" of Copola. Copola was a sleepy little town with no tourists (other than our van). Puerto Vallarta: We went up into the Sierra Madre to the set location of the "Predator" movie. This was a location for a canopy zip-line tour, and a really good, authentic, Mexican restaurant. Acapulco: I do not recommend this port to anyone. If you are in to the cliff divers, take an excursion there. Otherwise, do not venture off on your own here. The city is very dirty and crime ridden. You have to walk a gauntlet of very aggressive taxi drivers. They are the worst I have ever encountered. They do not take "no" for an answer. After walking around for a little while, we returned to the ship. I had an uneasy feeling. Being in law enforcement, I do not ignore these feelings. One small child tried to pick-pocket me. Only his age prevented me from hurting him. Back on the ship, I heard 2 awful stories. One lady had her ear rings ripped out of her ears from behind. Another lady, who worked on the ship in Guest Relations, was assaulted by a man with a broken beer bottle. Ixtapa: This port is gorgeous. We walked the water front on a paved pathway. There is plenty of shopping and numerous beach restaurants. It felt very safe. Manzanillo: You can not walk off the ship into town in this port. The ship ties up in a commercial port full of container ships. I highly recommend the 7 hour excursion that visits the old cities of Colima City and Comala. Colima City sits at the base of a 13,000 feet tall active volcano. The plumbing problems - Our room flooded twice on this cruise. The carpeting all around the couch and across to the vanity was soaked. We do not know where the water came from and do not know what it was. None of the walls were wet and water was not dripping from anywhere. It must have soaked through from behind the wall at floor level. It smelled strongly of urine. Of course, you do not know the carpet is soaked until you walk through it. For 2 days of this cruise we had to live with a very loud floor fan and had to walk over the couch to get to the bed and balcony. These fans do not sound like a gentle breeze. On the last 3 days, our toilet would often not flush. Numerous calls had to be made to guest relations to have maintenance flush the toilet from the access space in the hallway. Each time, they just came and flushed it, but never fixed the problem. Floor fans were common throughout the staterooms and hallways on decks 9 and 7. One lady, on deck 7, told us that her ceiling collapsed due to water from overhead. Some others complained of brown water on deck 10. This ship is obviously having some pretty major plumbing problems. We were compensated by a Chops dinner. We made the best of it but, in hindsight, are going to let RCI know that we are not happy. Somehow, a steak just does not seem to make up for walking through urine (twice), and having to go find public restrooms because our toilet wouldn't flush. All in all, this cruise was a lot of fun. We met many Cruise Critic members and had a great time with them. I prefer the larger Voyager and Freedom Class ships, but would not hesitate to book another Radiance Class ship. This class is perfect for certain itineraries, especially the longer ones with an older crowd. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Embarkation; we went on this cruise with 3 other couples including our long cruising buddies Ray and Lori. A HAL ship was in port loading passengers as well as ours. What a mess San Diego had better do something about that traffic if they ... Read More
Embarkation; we went on this cruise with 3 other couples including our long cruising buddies Ray and Lori. A HAL ship was in port loading passengers as well as ours. What a mess San Diego had better do something about that traffic if they are serious about being a cruise port. There is adequate parking from all the park and fly spots that include shuttles to the port but it is really crowed at the port with long lines through security. Once past that mess it was a breeze checking in and getting aboard. Our first port was Cabo, here we just shopped and wandered around. That night we did dinner at Chops. It was a nice experience and the meal was very good, but to me only slightly better than the main dining room. In Matazlan we did Stone Island through Matazlan Tours. Had a good time on Stone Island but most in the group felt they could have skipped the bay cruise and spent more time on Stone Island. In Puerto Vallarta I took the four wives to Dreams resort for the day and the other 3 guys went golfing. Thanks Cruise Critic members for the heads up on Dreams. Great place to spend the day. Almost forgot, we had a bit of excitement at the dock. The Carnival ship hit ours trying to dock. Just bent the bow of our ship and tore up the rear railing on theirs. In Manzanillo we used Chimal Tours and had a large van for the eight of us. We did the eco tour that went to the Turtle sanctuary where we got to release turtles and go through the mangrove swamp on a small boat. We got to see a small python hanging out on one of the tree branches that we went under. We could have reached up and touch it but no one volunteered to do that. After that we went to town for lunch and shopping and our driver got hit by a truck. No real damage but now that's two accidents in two days. In Ixtapa we did the shopping, drinking and sight seeing thing. This was a very pretty town, but very warm and humid. We had great weather the entire cruise starting about 80 in Cabo and about 90 in Ixtapa. This was our first time on the Radiance of the Sea's. A very nice ship that rarely seemed crowed. The Seaview cafe was a new experience for us. The food was excellent here and prepared after you placed your order. Disembarking; there was a Carnival ship at the dock but was there for its 4 day cruise. So only our ship was unloading. Still the same traffic mess in front of the dock though. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
As they say, "It ain't like the old days." Probably take us another 25 years before we cruise again . . . and I don't think we have that long! Let me be brief . .Personnel terrific, boarding process horrific, stateroom ... Read More
As they say, "It ain't like the old days." Probably take us another 25 years before we cruise again . . . and I don't think we have that long! Let me be brief . .Personnel terrific, boarding process horrific, stateroom o.k. but we paid for a balcony and got . . .well, I'm not sure what it was. Twelve inches deep as you stepped out the door and the other end of balcony less than thirty inches. Two tiny chairs . . no table . . no room for sipping coffee or eating breakfast. Stay away from Stateroom 8590 or that stateroom on any other deck. It's midship, near the curve of the ship. When I complained to RC upon our return, I was told that was something our agent should have known. I went back to website and I'll be darned if I can find the dimensions of this "balcony" anywhere on the website. I should mention that we had already unpacked two large suitcases before we took a peek at balcony, so decided to stay put rather than have to pack and repack in another stateroom. No table assignment when we reported for dinner that evening. Again, they blamed this on our travel agent. A travel agent assiging the table you're going to sit at? I don't think so. When we finally assigned another table, it wasn't even in dining room, but a small ante-room where, we were told, officers ate their breakfast and lunches. Staff fine, company fine, but it was also the room where waiters bussed the dirty dishes from main dining room. Food in dining room . . not like the old days. Onion and Brie tart as a main course choice? Chops and Portofino were great. I miss the days when their were waiters everywhere on decks, around the pools, carrying trays of exotic drinks . . .for free . . . fresh fruit and breakfast buffets out on deck, etc. Now, we felt nickled and dimed to death. And have you seen the prices on the excusions?? Guess cruising is not for us anymore. I had hoped it would be, but we'll stick with our escorted tours. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
We are an empty nest couple in our mid-40's who needed a getaway that was stress free and totally relaxing. This cruise was just the ticket and we boarded as Platinum members. We are from the midwest and had gotten free reduced ... Read More
We are an empty nest couple in our mid-40's who needed a getaway that was stress free and totally relaxing. This cruise was just the ticket and we boarded as Platinum members. We are from the midwest and had gotten free reduced mileage airline tickets to the Santa Ana, CA airport about 90 minutes north of San Diego. We flew in the night before and stayed at the La Quinta Inn in Irvine ($44 through AAA). I would only recommend this hotel if you just want some place to crash the night before AND you get in before 7 pm because the shuttle stops running then which I didn't find out until the night before when it was too late to cancel. We had to pay $25 for a taxi which made our room rate the same as if we had stayed at a four-star Hotwire hotel. This hotel was definitely NOT worth that! They have a free breakfast but only boiled eggs for any type of protein. The rest is carbs galore. We were given a free ride to the Irvine Amtrak station in the morning however. We rode the Pacific Surfliner down to San Diego at a cost of $19 per person. The ride was very relaxing and scenic as it goes right along the coast at many points. We only found backwards facing seats, however, as the train was fairly full by the time it reached Irvine (which I do not recommend--a little dizzying). When you get off the train in downtown San Diego, you are only a couple blocks walk to the cruise terminal. They have bicycle taxis that will take you for a fee, but we just walked. We arrived around 11:15 am, handed over our luggage, checked in and headed to the Windjammer where we ate a quick lunch. We then deboarded and headed over to visit the USS Midway museum. The USS Midway aircraft carrier costs $17 per person to visit. If you go, head to the flight deck and to the far end of what they call "the Island" for a tour first. We did not know this and did not have time to take a tour by the time we found out about it as we had to get back to the ship. :) Onboard you will see the crew quarters of different ranking military, dining halls, the engine room, etc. Very fascinating and worth the money we felt. Give yourselves at the minumum three hours. We needed more time than that even. We took a great picture of the Radiance in port from the Midway also. Then my husband took a picture of the Midway from the Radiance except that took three photos to get it all. We returned to the ship and headed for our cabin 8010. This cabin was in a great location where we didn't hear noise from other people, stairways, bars, eating establishments, anything. We've been right above the anchor and bars before so this location was really nice!! I surprised my husband with a balcony which he knew nothing about until we were onboard. HEEHEE. Our room steward was mostly a phantom. The room was always clean, with ice, fresh towels and an occasional towel animal though. He did, however, search through our vanity top strewn with paperwork and took his tip papers which we were going to give him ourselves, and we never saw him again. I didn't like that! We've had much, much better room stewards. Although we had been on the CC board and a roll call, we opted to forego socializing with others as much as possible. This vacation was totally for us to RELAX and not have any type of schedule. We had been on the Radiance previously so knew what a great ship we were sailing and even still didn't discover every place we could have again. Check out the pool tables on a day at sea. They're awesome!! We thoroughly enjoyed the balcony and hardly ever shut the door. I loved laying in bed listening to the ship pass through the seas at night. We did attend two shows and then didn't bother to go to any more. We stumbled on a couple of demonstrations in the Centrum, the best one being when they decorate the cakes so check that out. Lots of fun! Most of the time we layed on a chair or bed or the balcony and read a book or soaked up the warmth. Ports--we did not disembark in Ensenada as we have been there several times before. In Cabo, after tendering, we walked all the way to Medano Beach. Be sure to grab towels before you leave the ship for this. We walked, tried to find seashells, got in the ocean, sat in the sand, took a few pics and said "No" to vendors a hundred times. They would politely move on so it wasn't a big deal for us. Then we walked back into town to try to find the ships recommended stores. A joke! We only found one and their freebie wasn't worth going for that. We never did find any of the other ones. We stopped for lunch and had fish tacos. Very delicious. Something new in Cabo since we had been there before is the Dolphin Encounter right at the pier. You can go in and they will give you a "view only" pass for free. So we got the pass and went up to watch others encounter and swim with the dolphins. I enjoyed doing that very much. On disembarkation day we definitely appreciated not having to be out of the stateroom by 8 am. I think we were but there was no rush as there had been in the past. We had a leisurely and filling breakfast in the Windjammer and then we wandered the different decks after people had started disembarking and looked at all the fancy rooms. All the doors are open and most are already cleaned by 9 am. Our disembarkation was at 9:30. We didn't wait until then but just walked out at the tail end of some other group. They don't check anything to see if you are with the right group or not and our luggage was already there. We are usually the last ones off the ship and our luggage is easy to find but this time we were the first for our color tag and had to search a bit. We were not leaving CA until the next day so we rented a car at the Avis in downtown on Kettner. We didn't know this but they will actually pick you up at the pier for free. We walked the less than a mile though and it was fine. We rented one way for a day and the cost was $69. We then drove to Old Town and took the hop on hop off trolley tour ($32 each but with a discount online if you buy beforehand) as we had never been long in San Diego and wanted to see as much as we could that day. We got off at the Hotel Del Coronado and walked to the beach where you can see Point Loma. We also got off in Balboa Park but didn't have much time there. We toured Old Town and ate some good Mexican food before we hit the highway for Santa Ana. We turned in the car at the airport and then called our Hotwire four star hotel, the Embassy Suites ($65) which picked us up within ten minutes. This hotel was AWESOME!! We had a king suite and the made to order breakfast in the atrium was better than any I had on the ship. They took us to the airport in their shuttle and we arrived home that evening. All in all, a very, very relaxing trip. We thoroughly enjoyed San Diego as a port city and Cabo as well. My husband said this was one of his best vacations ever. Would highly recommend this trip!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
DW and I drove from Las Vegas to San Diego on the day of departure. We arrived in San Diego abour 10:30 AM and parked at Park and Fly. We had a coupon for $9 a day. Took a shuttle over to the pier. Once we were dropped at pier, we left our ... Read More
DW and I drove from Las Vegas to San Diego on the day of departure. We arrived in San Diego abour 10:30 AM and parked at Park and Fly. We had a coupon for $9 a day. Took a shuttle over to the pier. Once we were dropped at pier, we left our luggage and went to check in. Check in was a breeze. We checked in around 11:30 AM with no crowd. We walked right on the ship and headed to Windjammer for lunch. The doors for to get to staterooms did not open until 1 so we walked around the ship after lunch. At 1 PM we went to our stateroom 7018 which is in the front of the ship. Luggage arrived around 3. Rumrunners arrived in our luggage as well!! (SHHH!!) We pulled into Cabo on Saturday morning. As we were pulling in, I awoke to a boat with guys in fatigues and guns circling the ship. This was a sight. They were waving to us, so I then knew everything was OK. We were one of the first off the ship in Cabo. We took a water taxi over to The Office and had breakfast on the beach. The food was great, but overpriced. We did not do any excursions, so we walked around and looked into some shops. We ate lunch at Billigans. Again, food was overpriced and I have had better nachos in Las Vegas. We walked down the beach and got a massage. They had 2 tables set up for massages. We paid $30 for 30 minutes. The massages were well worth the money. We headed back to the ship around 3 and had no problem getting back on. She is a very clean ship. Everything seemed to be in great shape. I have sailed the larger Freedom class and prefer to that class compared to the Radiance class, only because of size. The larger ships just have more things to do. Food on the ship was good. I am not a picky eater so the food was fine. We ate in Chops one night and the food was fantastic. The service was excellent as well. We were not shy in ordering a couple of appetizers with our main meal. I think some forgot you can order as much as you want! Overall, the cruise was a 8 out of 10. I will not book another stateroom in the front of the ship. The Pacific was rough compared to the Caribbean cruise we took out of Miami last year. Our stateroom attendant was not good at all. We had to ask for new ice and we hardly did see her. We had to ask her for the Cruise Compass for day 2. The larger ships seem to have much more going on. I heard the some rumblings that the Piano Man show was not good. We found ourselves in the casino after we had walked around looking for things to do. Disembarkation was a breeze. We walked off before our color was called and the luggage was already there. There were no lines. This will be our last venture on a ship to the Mexican Riveria. The Caribbean cruises seem to have better ports and the weather usually cooperates. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
My DW, DD, and I took this short cruise in order to take advantage of $500 credit from Royal Caribbean that would expire next April. Originally I booked an inside stateroom, but when the prices dropped, I upgraded to a balcony, and later ... Read More
My DW, DD, and I took this short cruise in order to take advantage of $500 credit from Royal Caribbean that would expire next April. Originally I booked an inside stateroom, but when the prices dropped, I upgraded to a balcony, and later a junior suite. It would be our first cruise with more than just a double porthole view. ARRIVAL We flew in from San Francisco to San Diego on Southwest, arriving early -- 9:15 AM. After locating our bags, we took a taxi for the 5 minute drive to the pier (about $9 plus tip). The initial embarcation process was not as well organized as it had been in San Pedro. There were two cruise ships docked -- Radiance of the Seas and a Carnival vessel. When we arrived there was a single line of a couple dozen passengers for both ships waiting to enter the pier. There were no signs and no personnel to guide us. After an hour we were allowed into a waiting area, but then told to take our luggage outside for check in. I realize that we were pretty early -- perhaps it was better organized for the later passengers. About 11:00 we were able to check in using the line for suite passengers. Although I had booked a residency rate, I wasn't asked to show proof of residency. Then we waited some more. We boarded the ship about 11:45 and immediately headed to the Windjammer Cafe for lunch. Our junior suite was ready by 1:00, and our luggage arrived at 3:00 -- earlier than we had expected. ACCOMODATIONS This was our first cruise with more than an outside stateroom, and it was a treat. JS 1068 is on the port side a little back of the centrum. We enjoyed the larger bathroom with the bathtub, the upgraded bathroom amenities, and the extra storage space -- especially the walk-in closet. But the highlight was having a balcony where we enjoyed breakfast one morning and a beautiful sunset on our last evening. My daughter slept in the sofa bed. Our suite attendant was prompt and thorough. DINING ROOM We dined in the Aquarius Dining Room for most dinners and one breakfast. We were seated for dinner with two other families with kids around the age of my DD. All of the families happened to live within 10-15 miles of one another. It was the best pairing we've ever had. The food in the dining room was decent, but the service was slow, especially on the first night. On later evenings, the kids ate first, and then we took them to Adventure Ocean at 7:00 while the parents stayed for the entire two hours. WINDJAMMER CAFE We went to the Windjammer for most breakfasts and lunches. The cafeteria had a more extensive setup than those on the Vision class. There was also more covered and outdoor seating. The food and selection were good. My daughter and I had cooked-to-order omelettes for breakfast. CHOPS GRILLE The dining highlight of our cruise was the fourth evening, when DW and I dined at the Chops Grille Steakhouse. We shared a table with one of our dinner table couples while the kids enjoyed dinner in Adventure Ocean. SEAVIEW CAFE Radiance Class afficionados billed this out-of-the-way venue as a hidden gem. Well, the secret is out. The place was busy, the reuben sandwich was delicious, and the onion rings were tasty. ENTERTAINMENT We saw a performance by a former singer with the band Foreigner, and the production show "Piano Man". Unfortunately we missed the first-night headliner comedy performance. ADVENTURE OCEAN This was the second cruise for my eight year-old. She typically stayed from 9-12 in the morning, and 7-10 in the evenings, and came back to our suite for a nap in the afternoon. The Adventure Ocean facility was much more extensive than on the Vision class. They had table hockey, computer games, a flat-screen monitor for movies, and other amenities. Another benefit of the Radiance class was the adjacent kids pool and waterslide. The waterslide is only open during limited hours -- 11-2 at sea, 4-5 in port. On the last day I convinced DD to try it out. Since she has cerebral palsy, the Adventure Ocean staff allowed me to accompany her on the slide. After two times with Dad, she went down the third time by herself -- that was the highlight of her cruise vacation. CRUISE CRITIC Although our five-day cruise didn't qualify for an official Meet & Mingle, about 20 of us met at the Schooner Bar on the first day. We got together again for Sailaway, and then on later days for a cocktail party and late-night dancing at the Hollywood Odyssey nightclub. It made the vacation much more enjoyable to see people we knew throughout the ship. EMBARCATION Leaving the ship was much easier and more comfortable than our previous cruises. Rather than being stuck in the theater with hundreds of others, we reported to the Colony Club, where we enjoyed drinks, pastries, and easy chairs. We also had the opportunity to spend some time in Adventure Ocean, where they showed the movie "Bolt". Adventure Ocean was pretty much empty, so this may be a good choice for families. The only problem is that the departure announcements aren't posted, so we had to rely on the staff member to notify us. We were in one of the last groups off the ship, leaving at 9:40 AM. Overall we enjoyed this cruise -- especially the amenities unique to the Radiance Class. My DW is now insisting that we must save up so that our next cruise will be not only at least 7 nights, but include a balcony. As long as it's on a Radiance or Voyager class ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
Review of Radiance of the Seas 10/09 We boarded the ship around noon at San Diego and the process was crowded but not disorganized. We took our roller bags to the stevedore who had his back turned to the passengers so we along ... Read More
Review of Radiance of the Seas 10/09 We boarded the ship around noon at San Diego and the process was crowded but not disorganized. We took our roller bags to the stevedore who had his back turned to the passengers so we along with others placed our things in the cart and departed without a tip. We had lunch in the Windjammer and then walked off the ship to enjoy San Diego a bit more. We decided to take the ferry to Coronado Island which departs from a dock a few hundred feet from the cruise ship terminal. We returned in time for the lifeboat drill which was handled differently than on other cruise ships. Life jackets were not required and passengers ignored requests to stop drinking and talking on cell phones. Radiance just didn't seem to be taking the drill seriously at least at our life boat station number 9. Eventually, an elderly lady with a cane yelled at everyone to "Be quiet!". We had been assigned the late seating for dinner but for Eastern Time zone people that just doesn't work so we reported to the "My Time" dinner area where we were informed that this option had to be selected at the time of booking and was now filled. I appealed this decision up three levels without success so we left furious to eat in the Windjammer. Our absolutely top pleasure on cruises is to eat dinner in a main dining room. Also, we were shocked at the inflexibility of this very misnamed "My time" dining option. The following morning I started up the chain of command where I had left off and again got nowhere. If the ship's first stop would have been a US port I would have packed up and left although my dear wife would have probably talked me out of it. Later that morning we were asked by our room steward if everything was all right. I vented for a while about dinner and he volunteered to "reach out" to a friend to get things changed and thank goodness he managed to accomplish it. As a rule of thumb we always just "throw out" the first day of a cruise because of fatigue and confusion but the first day on this cruise was terrible. The cabin was inside and typical in size and layout for cruise ships. The bed's pillows were very old and worn, the type you would send off to summer camp with the kids. The room steward provided us with two additional and by stacking them we could sleep well enough. The bathroom had a fairly strong smell of sewage so I used two face towels to block the shower drain and the drain beneath the toilet brush and that reduced the stench. Our deck four cabin was directly beneath the shops and the noise of steps and moving furniture was annoying but ceased by 11 PM so sleeping was not greatly affected. Cabo San Lucas was extremely wet with flooded streets. Our glass bottomed boat trip, which we negotiated independently, had to return to the dock because of inclement weather and rough seas. We were given a full refund something that would have been unlikely on an excursion booked through the ship. Radiance conducted numerous, fun activities, typical of RCCL and we enjoyed them. This is a strength on RCCL cruises. Radiance is introducing a new disembarkation procedure. They no longer announce colors for leaving the ship. All passengers are assigned a venue in which to wait on the final morning, like the restaurant, Schooners etc., and when that group is supposed to leave only that room receives the announcement. There is NO expedited departure and all "main" luggage must be placed in the hall the night before; the cruise director said that San Diego customs required this. We had our doubts and kept out two rollers with us in the cabin. On the last morning we were walking with our rollers to our meeting room when we crossed a line of people leaving so we just joined in and walked off. Customs was a breeze and no passports were even requested. As a last thought, we will continue to take RCCL when we see a good price but in the future we will nail down the dining options before giving them any money. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
This was our first cruise. My wife and I selected Royal Caribbean based on friends' recommendations and Internet research. We selected a 5 day/4 night cruise on the Radiance of the Seas from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate ... Read More
This was our first cruise. My wife and I selected Royal Caribbean based on friends' recommendations and Internet research. We selected a 5 day/4 night cruise on the Radiance of the Seas from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. MEALS Since this was our first cruise, we didn't know what to expect on board the ship. The meals in the Breakers Dining room were equivalent to those in a 4 or 5 star restaurant. We enjoyed meeting 3 other couples at our dining table. We also found the food served (buffet style) in the Windjammer Cafe to be top notch. The only disappointment was in the Seaview Cafe. The Reuben sandwich I ordered for lunch was below par. STATEROOM My wife really enjoyed finding a different bath towel decoration created by the stateroom attendant in our room every night. One night it was a chicken and another night it was a swan. The accommodations in our room were better than we hoped for. We had a balcony stateroom, which we didn't use as much as I expected. In the future, we'll probably a stateroom with a view to save money. If you don't like noise, choose a stateroom away from the center of the ship. The music from the lower levels was very loud in that area of the deck. STAFF Our stateroom attendant was very thorough and unobtrusive. We also found the dining staff to be friendly and attentive. We only saw the head waiter the last night of the cruise when tips were handed out. I prepaid our gratuities based on the RCI's recommendation. I'd be interested in hearing from other members on how much they deviate from the recommended tipping amounts. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment was good. The cruise director displayed a great sense of humor. The comedian was also very funny. The singing in the musical performed the last night of the cruise was excellent. The performance of some of the dancers, however, was not exceptional. SUMMARY Some people of the veteran cruisers met on board said the service was below what they experienced in the past with RCI. However, we found the service to be excellent, and I would definitely recommend RCI and this ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2009
Departed Vancouver on July 31 on Radiance of the Seas. Cruised the Inside Passage (our only day of marginal weather - overcast all day). Stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, then cruised the Hubbard Glacier before ... Read More
Departed Vancouver on July 31 on Radiance of the Seas. Cruised the Inside Passage (our only day of marginal weather - overcast all day). Stopped in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, then cruised the Hubbard Glacier before ending in Seward. Way too many jewelry and fur stores at all ports except Icy Strait Point. Don't waste your money on a tour of Juneau (there are three things pointed out) - The Mendenhall Glacier was very interesting. Skagway - the train ride up to the pass was a very pleasant excursion (no food provided, only bottled water) Icy Strait Point was the highlight of the cruise. The Tlingit tribe controls this port - they only allow one ship a day here, so now overcrowded. NO JEWELRY STORES OR MAJOR SHOPPING> Lots of nice excursions - We did a whale watching excursion leaving at 10 AMish and saw thirty humpback whales. Also a great spot for lunch is the Crab Shack on the pier - a huge Dungess crab - steamed - for $26. Can get a beer and enjoy right on the dock - easy to pick! Then rode the zip-line - what a rush! Over a mile long and comes down the mountain side from 1800 feet up. Really fun but over too soon. Hubbard Glacier was amazing - the ice was so blue and we saw several instances of calving. Seward to Anchorage - spend the money for the train - a very nice trip mainly through the back country. It goes directly from the ship dock in Seward to the Anchorage Airport (talk about great planning) Onboard ship the best place to eat is the specialty restaurant (I called it the Italian restaurant) - well worth the $20 (including tip) fee - the Chop House rather ordinary by comparison. Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
Overall a great cruise on the Radiance.  Went  with my mom and 14 year old twins. Main advice- This cruise is about seeing Alaska.  Think carefully about what shore excursions you will take.  It was very difficult picking excursions ... Read More
Overall a great cruise on the Radiance.  Went  with my mom and 14 year old twins. Main advice- This cruise is about seeing Alaska.  Think carefully about what shore excursions you will take.  It was very difficult picking excursions for this trip esp. since we didn't know what the weather would be! To really experience Alaska you need to get out of the ports.   Private excursions are vastly superior to ship excursions!  These extra excursions will add immensely to your enjoyment, but some of the most spectacular are very expensive.  You don't want to come home kicking yourself for missing a once and a life time opportunity nor do you want to come home having spent the money you really should have spent on something else. Overall I think we balanced this pretty well. Pre cruise- easy flights from Baltimore to Vancouver.   We booked the Pan Pacificdirectly through the hotel's web site for $154 a night including breakfast. We   arrived   at the Pan Pacific late afternoon on July lst, Canada Day.  We enjoyed the end of the large street festival celebration in Canada Place, and then took a long walk along the sea wall towards Stanley Park.  Returned to Pan Pacific and watched glorious fireworks from the pool roof deck. The next morning we headed to the North Shore by ferry and Bus. Spent   much of day on Grouse Mountain.  Wonderful    in good weather.  Next morning took Land/Sea City tour and enjoyed it.  Loved Vancouver esp. Granville Island and Stanley Park.  They took us directly to the ship at Ballytine pier. Embarkation - Easy Our Cabin- Nice but small. The balconies to our left were extended balconies.  The balconies to our right were standard size.  The left   half of our balcony was extended part was not. The Life boat overhang kept us from looking directly down at the water. This didn't really bother us.   The Ship- Lovely, very well maintained.  Many      classy   touches.  Great indoor solarium/pool. Glassed areas great for viewing Alaska. Elevators ridiculously slow.  Service - Very good Food- The greatest weakness in this trip was the dining room food at dinner. All of the cruise lines have cut back to 3 courses over the past few years. While you could order both soup and salad our wonderful waiter Oliver was so busy and had so many tables that I didn't want to make any extra work for him.  The soups, appetizers and deserts were tasty if nothing special. The entrees were very weak. lst night prime rib was pretty good but downhill after that.   The steaks were tough.  Very small portion of dried out salmon. The lobster tail wasn't bad for a frozen ship lobster, but again the portion was tiny.  I am not a big eater and rarely finish meals in restaurants. I had lunch in the dining room several days and enjoyed these more than the dinners.  The salad bar   at lunch was amazing- not to be missed.  The waiter prepares it individually for you.  There are all sorts of ingredients to select from including shrimp, asparagus etc.    The buffet food was good as was the Sea view cafe on deck 12. Entertainment- The production shows City of Dreams and Piano Man were very good. We also enjoyed the comedians and the Welcome Aboard and Farewell Shows. The best entertainment of all was watching the glorious scenery from the decks and our balcony! On ship activities-   We missed not having a naturalist on board.  Didn't really understand why they had a Canadian Mounty as a speaker.  Enjoyed      the professor who spoke on totem poles and glaciers.  Loved the backstage tour, esp. visiting the dressing room.  The digital camera presentation was terrible. We were kept waiting about a   half hour   because the crew had a training in the conference   room.  When we finally got in the room, there weren't enough chairs   for everyone to sit.  They spent another 15 min trying to get the power point to   project to the screen.  They were never successful.  The photographer had to hold up the projector to try to let people see!  Most people left before it was over.  Our Weather-  Wonderful! Sunny in the 80's most days. Not typical Alaska! Ports- Our reason for being on the cruise! Ketchikan- Took a tour with Kat of Ketchikan taxi tours.  Really enjoyed it. Went to Potlatch Totem Park, Totem Bight, walked through Rainforest, tasted salmon berries, Went on a bear hunt and saw a little black bear eating the lst salmon of the season. Saw numerous eagles.  I somewhat regret not also taking a float plane tour.  You can book tours at the dock when you get off the ship for less cost than ship tours.   Juneau- We took the shuttle out to Mendenhall Glacier. A great bargain for $14.00 person. You can hike around to the waterfall.   We took the tram up to Mount Roberts then hiked to the top. Really enjoyed this.  Glorious views.  We had a perfect clear day.  Walked around town, checked out the Red Dog Saloon. Very touristy, but fun. If you have your heart set on a glacier helicopter/dog sled ride you can book this with Costal Helicopter or several other vendors' right at the dock for around   $400 instead of paying over $500 from the ship.  Don't delay; they were   sold out for the day by about 9:30.  Skagway- Went up to Emerald   Lake with Dyea Dave's friend Howard. Dave was full so he sent us with Howard.   Howard runs ALCAN MYWAY Tours and takes only 4 people in his SUV. What a great day and a bargain at $60 per person for a 7 hour tour. Howard is a retired engineer who wants to show you Alaska/Canada "MY Way"   He is definitely a rugged individualist.  We met   up with Dyea Dave at lunch and he was great!   I am very, very, glad we didn't rent a car. The scenery would have been too distracting!  After getting back to Skagway we walked around town.   We headed right   to the visitors center to pick up tickets for the National Park Service free walking tour. Very worthwhile! Icy Straight Point:  Went whale watching with TECCK outfitters. They take 6 but that day it was just the four of us. Went  with Sean and Dirk on the Corvina.  These guys are "whale behaviorists " who spend the summer in Alaska and the winter in Hawaii studying whales. They took us to a spot where they hoped to find whales bubble  feeding. When we weren't successful, they took us to another spot and kept us out longer at no extra charge! Saw lots of whales, but none breeched. Saw other wildlife too including a sea otter!  TECCK may be a few dollars more than their competitor but we think our money was well spent.    Hubbard Glacier - Wow!  Well worth getting up at 5 AM for! Captain said we got within 375 feet.   The record is 300 feet.  We didn't see a lot   of calving though.  We watched from Deck 12, crowded but manageable. . Dress in layers and wear a hat and gloves. Even if you think you don't need them at first it gets pretty cold after standing outside for several hours.   If you don't mind viewing through glass any of the inside lounges on the top 3 floors are great viewing areas.  Kenai Fjords -  Rather than booking on our own we went with a combined excursion transfer to Anchorage Airport. The advantage was minimizing hassles with luggage and concerns about making the airplane on time. The disadvantage-  We were off the ship by 9 AM and had 3 hours to kill  "shopping" before the cruise.   We didn't know this ahead of time but it turned out that we were able to go to the Sea Life Center in Seward before our Cruise. This is a small aquarium that certainly doesn't have the "WOW" factor of the Baltimore or Boston Aquariums, but turned out to be very enjoyable and gave us a lot of background on the wildlife we would see.  The cruise was the 5 hour Resurrection bay cruise.  We saw an abundance of wildlife including breeching Whales that looked like they were putting on a show in Sea World. Amazing!  Very enjoyable.  The prime rib/salmon meal   was excellent! Our ship excursion transfer was on the public Park Connection Bus.  The drive to Anchorage was magnificent.  I somewhat regret not spending the night in Seward and renting a car to drive to Anchorage stopping for the many sights on the way.    The highway was good and this drive seemed very manageable   to me. Flight Home - easy A sobering end to our trip- We   flew into Regan National as it was cheaper than going to BWI.This is highly unusual! We booked a shared ride home to Baltimore.  We shared our van with a family whose son in law was wounded badly in Iraq and was being treated at Walter Reed Medical Center.  This brave young man lost his leg while defending our country.  Driving through Walter Reed Grounds was a sobering sight in deed and made us very, very grateful for all we have and the cost some people pay to keep our beautiful land free. Read Less
Sail Date July 2009
First of all a bit about us to frame the review.  Hubby and I are in our mid 50's.  We travel a lot by land, ½ personal, ½ business.  This is our 4th cruise since we have been married, but our second this year. The previous was ... Read More
First of all a bit about us to frame the review.  Hubby and I are in our mid 50's.  We travel a lot by land, ½ personal, ½ business.  This is our 4th cruise since we have been married, but our second this year. The previous was also RCI, a 3 day Bahamas tour out of Orlando.  So we were familiar with RCI, and thought we knew what to expect. Our overall experience was very very good.  Alaska was glorious, and the weatherman cooperated giving us sunny days in both Denali and Ketchikan (Ketchikan?).  We saw plenty of breathtaking scenery, wildlife (eagles, whales, bears, caribou) and had the much needed R&R we were seeking.  We had an exceptional group on our bus who became our community for most of the trip. Rather than give a stop-to stop review, here are some organized thoughts Land - portion (RCI Tour 20) We were short on time, and went for this tour in lieu of longer ones that have either the train and or a stop at Talkeena.  If I had to do it again, would have taken more time and done a longer tour.  Our bus tour in Denali did not get us far enough into the park to see any wild life.  The longer tours allow for more time in Denali.  The gold mine is cheesy tourist fun, and while you do not get rich, everyone gets some flakes. Sea - The ship is beautiful.  We enjoyed walking around and looking at all the appointments.  We were very happy we were able to have a balcony; we were able to see Hubbard Glacier in style.  Enjoyed most of our stops although Icy Straight Point/Hoonah is a waste unless you are doing excursions.  We had one major disappointment and two minor ones.  Our major disappointment was the food in the dining room. It seemed to have significantly declined since our last cruise (and that was only in January!)  It seems that RCI is cutting corners, and the chef is not on the same wavelength as us.  Entrees were either too spicy or too bland, and the qualities of the ingredients were not what one would expect.  And this problem seemed to be confined to the dining room.  We enjoyed the food in the Windjammer and loved our meals in Chops and Portofino.  If it was not for the company of the other folks at our table, we would have blown off the dining room all together. As far as minor disappointments, they were two.  The first was that the luggage gods were not with us.  We had problems with our luggage getting on and off the ship.  There was some confusion with the luggage in Skagway, and we left 30 minutes late. We did not get our luggage until 11:45 the night we boarded.  When we disembarked, they mixed up the off loading of the luggage in Vancouver and we had to wait an additional 30 minutes.  So much for calling the groups in order.  The second disappointment is the feeling of being nickeled and dimed.  Everything was an up charge.  If you wanted freshly squeezed OJ (free in previous cruises), you had to pay extra.  If you wanted a superior meal (Chops or Portofino), you had to pay a lot extra.  Icy Straight Point seems to exist to sell more excursions.  There were probably other examples we were not aware of.  I do not begrudge RCI from making a profit, but manage it better.  Many repeat cruisers found all these new charges offensive. On the plus side, our cabin service was excellent, we enjoyed the entertainment, and how can you beat the experience of Alaska.  Anyone who goes on this cruise will enjoy their experience.  Just know what to expect and you will be fine.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
If you have not been fortunate enough to visit Alaska please start saving your money and plan the best trip to this beautiful state that you can afford.  Forget about fancy clothes and pack your best walking shoes or boots.  Alaska is ... Read More
If you have not been fortunate enough to visit Alaska please start saving your money and plan the best trip to this beautiful state that you can afford.  Forget about fancy clothes and pack your best walking shoes or boots.  Alaska is for scenery lovers and for wildlife lovers too!  We first came to Alaska two years ago and this is our second trip back.  By far, Royal Caribbean has the right line-up of places to see and come too!  We loved this trip because of Seward and Hoonah.  We came back to Alaska to try our hand at Halibut fishing and king salmon fishing and we were not disappointed on this trip.  We love our cabin on the Radiance it was a little smaller than we normally book but it was right on the hump close to elevators!  We love our room stewart from who made great animals each night in our room and always thought of us in special ways!  Our head waiter Arturo from the Phillipines and Asst. Waiter Susann from Brazil were fantastic!  We shared a table in the back on the 4th floor of Cascades not the best location but we were well taken care of by the two of them.  Elena was our female head waiter and she really worked the room!  The food in the Main dining room is just okay.  It cannot compare to the high standards of the Serenade of the Seas right now.  But Chops & Portofinos were utterly great again.  Sous Chef Peddy from Indonesia really was outstanding and he even made a special meal for me and my husband on our last night since I love Indonesian food so much from my travels to the Amsterdam and some of its great Indonesian restaurants.  I personnally think that with all the nationalities of individuals working on RCCL ships now it is about time that the menus in the MDR reflect the heritage of some of their workers now. Why not change up the menu once in a while and add chef's favorites from some of the workers countries instead of all the cuisine dishes from India which are just too much right now on the menu.  Yes, I realize RCCL thinks that the indian food is for the vegetarians who eat on RCCL ships but come on why not honor the Brazilians, the Phillipine staff, the caribbean island staff and others who work for RCCL with a dish from their countries once in a while.  Make one night Alaskan foods night please instead of Italian night.  RCCL is using a Royal Mountie officer who is retired now to tell his organizations history onboard.  Was not too impressed.  I really did not want history on this trip but I wanted to hear about the wildlife, the birds, the waterways, the glaciers etc..We did not spend that much time in Canada afterall!   I would like to see "real cooking demostrations" not sales pitches for ULU knives in the gift shops!  I would love to learn more about preparing good seafood from Alaska and the food products of Alaska that we cannot experience in the 48 states.  How about some great Alaskan chefs giving talks on the ship in the Theatre or the Colony Club instead of doing the garnishing and towel shows in the Centrum area that is too tight. I do believe the activities on board need some revamping. I would like to see more fun things that change over time.Did not see much of whales on this cruise until we came to Seward.  We did take a private fishing charter in Hoonah Icy Straits area with Dream Fish Charters.  They are GREAT and I would encourage everyone experiencing real Alaskan fishing trips-we were not fortunate to see whales but we did see a mink at the dock area!! We also booked another fishing charter in Seward with Crackerjack fishing charters.  UTTERLY FANTASTIC MUST DO!  THIS CITY IS WORTH SPENDING TIME IN EVERYONE!  We drove to Kenai, Alaska and also went through the wildlife refuge on the way to Kenai.  GREAT!!!!  We booked the Kenai Fjords Northwestern Tour for 9 hours to the Northwestern Glacier.  THE IS THE BEST EXCURSION I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED ANYWHERE IN THE WHOLE WORLD!  I do not want to spoil your planning but Kenji Fjord tours are a MUST DO!   We saw tons of humpback whales, Orca Whales, otters, stellar sea lions, puffins, alaska birds of all types and water fowl.  We were fortunate to get the Northwestern Glacier  closer than the Hubbard Glacier experience on the Radiance of Sea.  We saw tons of calving at the Northwestern Glacier this trip.  This entire experience was highly emotional and beautiful to say the least.I thought our Radiance of the Seas trip to the Hubbard Glacier was better than the Glacier Bay experience I had two years ago on Princess. The ships captain got us very close 4 tens of a mile in   this made this experience worth getting up at 5:30 am for to experience fully in the early morning.  We had foggy overcast weather the entire trip but no rain!  It was quite chilly compared to those that traveled in May but it is Alaska and part of Alaska's charm is the weather to me!Lastly, I took only one excursion from RCCL on this trip and it was on the Bering Sea Aleutian Ballad ship which is also parked right outside of the Radiance of the Seas port landing area at the Ketchikan port.  This excursion is worth the money and they showed us and talked with such passion about their careers as professional fisherman that I truly fell their love for our earth and its bounties.  Take this excursion as it is not "tv Hooky" at all.  It is extremely well done and I such respect for these humble souls that tell their own life stories on the seas of Alaska.  We did Discover Skagway with Gwen in Skagway and they are just great. I really good a lot out of her tour and she took such good care of all of us during our tour to see why she loves her beautiful state.In Juneau, we walked through the City as we have been there before and I bought some beautiful soap from the Glacier Soap company, we went to the bookstore in Juneau it is a great find!  Lastly, we had lunch at the Twisted fish in Juneau and also had a great Alaskan Brewery beer the White Summer Ale is excellent and worth trying.  We also went to the Red Dog Saloon and had an Alaskan Brewery Summer Ale too.Everyone, please enjoy the Radiance of the Seas, spend some time getting to know some of the great staff on this ship, and take a moment to experience sea life in Alaska from the excitement of the wildlife, the whales, the otters and the sea lions point of view!  Take also some time to see the wonders of small towns in Alaska.  I am so happy for Alaskan celebrating this year its 50th birthday!CincinnatiGal Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
PRE-CRUISE: I elected to stay in Santiago for 3 days prior to the cruise. I chose a 4 star hotel that gave me a very reasonable rate and a large room. On the down side it was not too close to restaurants. I found the people of Chile ... Read More
PRE-CRUISE: I elected to stay in Santiago for 3 days prior to the cruise. I chose a 4 star hotel that gave me a very reasonable rate and a large room. On the down side it was not too close to restaurants. I found the people of Chile very accommodating, although it would have been easier for me if I spoke a little Spanish. Most places I went shopping accepted USD or credit cards. Before I left I printed out the most current exchange rates from OANDA.COM. The little cheat sheets came in very handy. On the last day we did a tour that transferred us to Vina del Mar and Valparaiso. After touring those towns we went to the pier for checkin. CHECKIN: Arriving in a small group at the passenger ship terminal had its advantages. While the large buses were trying to get organized, we gathered our bags, tipped our driver and headed inside. First thing we found out was some additional forms that we had to fill out before we could check in. They did have priority checkin for D/D+ members, so I had virtually no wait. They did take my passport upon boarding and gave me a receipt and advised me that I should have some photo ID to replace it when I get off the ship. THE SHIP: I have said many times that the Radiance class ships are the best class ships in the fleet. The Colony Club is absolutely beautiful and a great place to relax on sea days. Unfortunately on a cold weather cruise, the Solarium, as big as it is, is just not big enough. On the warm weather days of our cruise, there was plenty of room because everyone was around the outside pool and hot tubs. Some may not consider this a complaint, but I enjoy being rocked to sleep at night and did not feel any movement even when we rounded the Horn. THE FOOD: Generally I only ate a late breakfast and Main Seating dinner. I had my breakfast in the Windjammer. I found out the when you are traveling with people from South America, they also like to eat late in the morning, so the buffet was packed at 10:30. The food was varied and good, although it is hard for me to pass up the oatmeal. Almost every night I had dinner in the dining room with a group of people who were on our thread from Cruise Critic (quire bt chance). One night a couple of decided to do the Mystery Dinner Theatre which is served in Portofino's; really enjoyed the story and had a great time. Another night the whole table went to Chops Grille. All in all the food in the dining room was pretty good and if we asked for anything they would get it for us. Head Waiter was excellent and waiter and asst waiter were even better. Don't know if got treated the way we got treated because we were all D or D+ members at the table. ENTERTAINMENT: To be honest I can't remember the names of all the performers during the cruise, and I was not about to take notes. First of all the production numbers by the cruise staff were their usual excellent selves. We had a couple who did the Tango we were amazing to watch and another gentleman who sang tango music. There was a pair of aerobic performers who work with those curtains, they were very impressive and performed a second time because they went over so well. We had a Beatles cover group. A comedian who played the piano; was actually very good at it, but made you laugh. There was a Motown group that sang songs of many of the groups of Motown. A violinist and like I said and can't remember everything, but I was entertained every night. PORTS: I am going to be the person who says nothing about ports. I cruise to cruise. I did get off in all ports and did take some tours. I saw the penguins in Porto Tombo, I woke up at 5:30 AM to make sure I saw Cape Horn when we rounded the Cape, Punta de Este was probably the prettiest, I got one of my biggest thrills in Ushuaia when I was able to take a ski lift to the base of a glacier Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
My lovely wife and I, and my parents, were tremendously excited about our cruise to Hawaii. We arrived at the Port of San Diego to a pretty tremendous line. It was a pretty rough embarkation, about the worst we've been through after ... Read More
My lovely wife and I, and my parents, were tremendously excited about our cruise to Hawaii. We arrived at the Port of San Diego to a pretty tremendous line. It was a pretty rough embarkation, about the worst we've been through after ten cruises. We finally got on board and made our way to our lovely Grand Suite. Everything was beautiful. My parents were in a Junior Suite, and it was wonderful as well. Our luggage arrived shortly thereafter, and we were set. We made our way to the windjammer and it was as good as always. This being our second cruise on the Radiance, we took a walk around to refresh our memory. Everything was in place and seemingly well kept. Let me break a few things into categories so I don't become redundant: Cabin: We very much enjoyed the Grand Suite, with the new bedding and the flat screen tv. There were a couple of plumbing problems, but nothing horrible. My parents on the other hand, in the Junior Suite, had a pipe burst in their closet drenching their clothes and soaking the carpet. They were moved into a inside cabin for the night while their room was fixed. Everything went ok, but it happened again several days later. Dining: The Windjammer was great, Chops and Portofino's were amazing, and the main dining room was dreadful. We went for the first three nights, and sent our meal back on two of them. Things just weren't cooked well. On the third night, our waitress told us that rough seas were expected, and that she gets seasick easily. As we were eating our dessert, she told us six times that it makes her vomit. Yes, she used the word vomit...6 times. We never went back. Concierge Club: Juan Diego was absolutely fantastic! He's quite a character, and took very good care of us. We had a great time in the Lounge. Entertainment: We saw a couple of shows, and we enjoyed them. Mario and Danielle were just hysterical! Ports: We enjoyed all of the ports, though we were sick for Hilo. We caught some kind of cold or flu, and still haven't quite recovered. All in all, we really had a great cruise. The seas were a little rough for a couple of days, but my wife and I enjoy that. The solarium was fun, but could never find a chair. The sea days were quite relaxing. We're very glad we went, and look forward to our next cruise on the Radiance of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2008
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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