1,268 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

This was our second time on the lovely Radiance of the Seas! Its not to big, not too small. Like everyone says, its a beautiful ship. We had a wonderful time. All the staff and crew are very friendly. We booked a GS. Loved it. Great for ... Read More
This was our second time on the lovely Radiance of the Seas! Its not to big, not too small. Like everyone says, its a beautiful ship. We had a wonderful time. All the staff and crew are very friendly. We booked a GS. Loved it. Great for our family. Only issue was that our kids prefer not to share the pull-out couch. The cabin steward brought us a roll-out cot(very uncomfortable) and folded it up each day. Our cabin steward was fine, but not our favorite ever. Little things seemed amiss. It may sound silly but we all look forward to the towel animals. This 8 night cruise, we had only a total of 3 towel animals the whole time. We also had to keep asking the cabin steward for breakfast room service menus, and large towels. Our GS also had a french-press electric coffee maker. They did clean it after I used it the first day, but coffee or supplies were never re-filled. Suite perks-we got a bottle of Evian water and a nice bowl of fruit upon arrival. A few other nights we did get a small plate of choc strawberries and or canapes in the afternoon. They were good, but they were the same thing you could get from the concierge lounge. There were bottles of the basic toiletries in the bathroom too. They weren't of great quality though. I am happy to bring my own brands. Concierge-Willy is a doll. Very polite and eager to assist. I had already made my own excursion plans, and it was easy enough for me to phone Chops and Portofino's for my reservations so I didn't utilize Willy too much. We did enjoy the open bar every evening though. My husband would get a beer or 2, and I would have some wine. The house wine that Willy has isn't great...but drinkable. Many folks were having mixed drinks too. The last evening, Willy invited everyone to hear him play and sing along with the Rosario Strings. It was lovely and heartwarming. My kids weren't crazy about the children's programming this week. It seems that the daily activities are less structured, and there is more "hang out" time. My kids would have preferred the counselors follow through on the scheduled activities. There were a few things that they had fun with that week. They did a ping-pong tournament, and a scavenger hunt, and "battle of the sexes" group game. Entertainment-We enjoyed all the production shows and entertainers! We love going to the show as a family every eve after dinner. On this cruise I think they were all good. We especially loved the comedians. Also memorable was the olympic gymnast's variety show. He is great! We were also very impressed with a couple of the singers. The lead singer Brad-Wow! We are fans! Food-- main seating in the dining room. We had a small table for the 4 of us. (our preference). Our waiter and assistant waiter were very pleasant and always working hard. We had purchased the GOLD wine package the first night. Overall, the food was fine. Honestly, we were a bit disappointed in the selections and the quality. Some of the appetizers and some of the entrees were very good. The tiger shrimp was excellent. A few of the salads were very good too. Some nights however, there was only one choice on the whole menu that appealed to us. The desserts were probably the most disappointing. Sorry. Only one or 2 items all week were excellent. We did eat at Chops and Portofino's a total of 3 nights, so maybe those were the best menus in DR that we missed? Lobster night was the second formal night. Our lobster tails were pretty good, small, and no drawn butter in little cups. They just dump it on your plate. Also, our waiter never asked all week if we wanted seconds. In fact, on lobster night, he looked shocked when my husband asked for another tail for each of us! (he did happily bring us them though). Chops and Portofino's are a wonderful dining experience. Service is impeccable as well as the food. We were happy to pay the extra charge. Windjammer- Crowded and noisy, a bit chaotic at lunch and breakfast. Sometimes hard to find a table. There always seemed to be a long line at the omelet stations. The lines for the rest of the buffet were always moving. And the coffee we felt was pretty bad.I am happy to report that We always found something surprisingly good to eat. Especially lunchtime. Quite a variety of offerings! Desserts were so-so. Gosh, I really wanted to like those sugar-free cookies. Sadly, I found them inedible. The coconut cookies sure are tasty! My kids always had a soft serve cone. We never ate there for dinner. Solarium Cafe- We did have a crepes for a snack here once. Yummy! Watch for open hours though...seemed limited. SeaView-- didn't eat here either. We kept trying to hit it during times it wasn't open. Lattetudes- Loved the lattes here. We often got afterdinner coffee drinks here. We also got cookies/pastries (better than whats in WJ) with our purchase. Please note that the Staffmember DID indeed turn people away that were asking for cookies without purchasing a coffee. "They are free if you purchase a drink". Fitness Center- I did take one pilates class for $10. I enjoyed it. There were lots of people using the facility and equipment. I am no expert here, but it looks nice! The issue I had here was being over-charged (30$) on my bill for my 10$ class. It took 2 calls to guest services, and one trip down there in person to fix the error. Apparently, you are supposed to sign up and pay for all 3 classes (although no one told me that)!! It was aggravating, but I did get the charge corrected. We did have one problem with a large smelly leak into our room from our ceiling one afternoon. Maintenance came fairly quickly, and the cabin steward did his best to clean it up, and he sent some of our things down to the ship's laundry. Some of our things were ruined,(thankfully not many). It certainly put a damper on our evening. Almost every afternoon, we participated in the "Walk-a Mile"! Fun! We all got a kick out of earning the "shipshape dollars" The activities staff were always smiling and friendly. We also did some various games during the week like shuffle-golf, mini golf and blongo ball! Fun! We also played (and Lost) bingo a few times. Husband and son went on the rock wall several times. We were also regulars on the mini-golfcourse. Embarkation and Debarkation were uneventful. We were in a suite so we had priority boarding, but there weren't any lines early afternoon for the non priority boarders either. Debarkation is never fun. First people allowed off the ship(us included) began at 9:10am. LOVED the luggage valet program! It was 20$per person. This service checked us into our flights, gave us boarding passes, and took our luggage from the corridor all the way to our final destination (with one quick stop to gather it and go through customs). Really enjoyed the CD Kirk. He was funny and a good singer too! Not too cheesy as far as CD's go! I reviewed all the ports and excursions separately on the ports of call boards in case anyone is interested! Happy cruising! Read Less
Sail Date March 2008
This was my second cruise (first was on Carnival) and my husband's first. We traveled with another couple, all of us being in our 30's. We didn't take any of our kids. After a long red eye flight into Fort Lauderdale, all we ... Read More
This was my second cruise (first was on Carnival) and my husband's first. We traveled with another couple, all of us being in our 30's. We didn't take any of our kids. After a long red eye flight into Fort Lauderdale, all we wanted to do was get on the ship and relax! First of all, we were greeted at the airport by very friendly staff and it was a very organized trip from the airport to the port. Second, I was so impressed at how quickly and smoothly we got through the line and onto the ship. We were on the 8th floor and I think it was the only floor that the rooms weren't ready yet, but we went on up to the Windjammer and had some lunch and a few drinks. We always thought the Windjammer's food was good. We tried to always sit in the same area because there was a great waiter there and brought us our coke's and coffee so fast. By the time we were done with lunch and walked around to view the ship for a bit, our room was ready and half our luggage was already there! The rest arrived about an hour later. Our room was ok....I loved the space and shelves in the closet. The bed was pretty comfortable and we loved the balcony. The bathroom, however, smelled just like it hadn't been cleaned for weeks (although it looked clean). Urine smell so bad - and our friends' bathroom was smelly too! YUK! Our room attendant was so great! Well above average and we always saw her in the hallway with a smile! We used room service once and it was so great. We ate in the dining room all nights except one for dinner and loved loved loved our waiters!! They were so great! Always friendly and joking and smiling. We always had a good time at dinner. The food was great and we all ate so MUCH!!! We never did eat in the dining room for breakfast, which we wish we would have at least once. We were always too busy and headed to an excursion. We attended a few of the shows - some good and others we could have done without. We liked the pools and the poolside entertainment. Us girl's even talked our husband's into entering the BellyFlop Contest and the Sexy Leg Contest. It was hilarious and a good time for all. We enjoyed the Love and Marriage Show. The comedians were good. Bingo was a rip off!! Miniature Golf was fun and never crowded! The husband's played the casino twice and lost about 50 bucks each time. We booked a excursion in each port (pre-cruise) and loved them all. Key West -- Pub Tour. We had a BLAST!! Maybe a little too much fun, but never did get too out of control and still made it to the first formal night. Loved the area! Cozumel -- Mini Jeep and Snorkel Adventure. This excursion was nice. It was super great weather. Although we would have liked some more "off road" adventure. Once we got to the beach, we went snorkeling, which was very long and a lot of work, but enjoyable. We had time to rinse off and that's all. Then it was back to the mini jeep and a long ride back to the bus. By the time we got back to pier, we had only 10 minutes until we had to be back on board. Thank goodness the shops right there by port had the things that the kids "requested"! Grand Cayman -- Sting Ray's. We all thought this was a great tour. After getting on a very crowded tour bus, we stopped at the Turtle Farm, which was about average (would have been great with the kids). After almost getting left by the bus, we stopped at the rum cake factory. BAD IDEA! Nothing like trying to fit 100 people in a room designed to hold 10 at the most! We took one step inside and walked right back out and waited in the bus. Next was onto HELL. This was my second time here, the rest of my parties first. I think it's a neat little visit. We sent the kids some postcard's (which got to our house 6 days after we got home - it's always the thought that counts Right?) and took some pictures and it was time to go. We then drove a short way and boarded a boat that took us out to the sandbar with the sting ray's. Again, my second time - the others first. We all got in the water and took pictures and fed the sting ray's. The weather was perfect and the sun was shining and wonderful. Once we got back to the pier, again we only had a few minutes to grab some suv's and get back on board. Grand Cayman was very pretty I thought and wish we would have had time to at least walk down the beach and visit a few places. MOBay -- Canopy Tour. Loved It Loved It!!! The guides were so funny and kept us all entertained and laughing. The zip-line's were so great! I'm glad that we booked a tour away from the downtown area, because of what we saw of it, we didn't want to be there. We arrived back to the ship early, got a few suv's again and got right on the ship. We went to the pool and enjoyed the rest of the day and another formal dinner! Our last day on the ship was a little rainy on and off and a lot of movement from the ship which made 2 of the four of us sick. We took the opportunity to actually lay down in our cabin and take a nap, for the first time in 6 days! After that, we felt a lot better and got ready and went to dinner. We then had a few drinks in the lounge and since there was no other entertainment, we attended the Karaoke Finals. It was about average. I never knew so many men in their 40's & 50's liked to karaoke. It was just ok. I was impressed with RCI and would sail with them again in the future. Next time though, it's with the kids and on Carnival's Pride to Mexico in Feb 2009. There was not a lot of kids on Radiance, which was nice because we didn't have ours. I hate when I don't take my kids on vacation and I see a bunch of cuties. It makes me feel guilty and missing my kids so much. =) So it was nice being away and enjoying ourselves without a bunch of kids running around. We had so much fun and hated coming home to laundry and making our own bed. We were pampered and waited on very well!! I loved the staff! Every single one that we came in contact with was GREAT!!! ABOVE AVERAGE!! Just a great cruise all together!! Great Weather!! (we left and came home to 20's)BRrrr!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2008
My friend and I, both in our early 20's, took our first cruise on December 16, 2007 on the Radiance of the Seas to the Western Caribbean. We flew in to Fort Lauderdale from Canada the night before, and while it cost us quite a bit ... Read More
My friend and I, both in our early 20's, took our first cruise on December 16, 2007 on the Radiance of the Seas to the Western Caribbean. We flew in to Fort Lauderdale from Canada the night before, and while it cost us quite a bit more, it was a good choice as there was a big snow storm at home on the day of the cruise with many flight cancellations. We had a short stay due to our delayed arrival at the Holiday Inn Express Air/Sea Port in Fort Lauderdale. The hotel offers a free shuttle to and from the airport, however this only runs until 1:00am, and as we arrived after that, we took a taxi - it cost about $12 from FLL. The hotel was very clean with comfortable beds, a wake-up call which rang 30 minutes early, and a very loud air-conditioner. Overall, our stay was okay though, and the free breakfast in the morning made it worthwhile. With it's close proximity to both the airport and Port Everglades, I would consider staying here again for 1 night pre or post-cruise in the future. After breakfast, the hotel called a taxi for us, which arrived within 5 minutes. It cost around $12 to get to Port Everglades, and we arrived around 10:40am. Embarkation: We got through security and into the waiting area very quickly, with no line-ups. We were given some tickets to embark with the number "3" crowd, and were called to check in around 11:30am, and we were on the ship shortly thereafter. THE SHIP: The Radiance of the Seas is beautiful! It was all that I had envisioned, and more. The whole ship was spotless, and appeared almost new. There were plenty of bars and lounges, a main outdoor pool with an abundance of lounge chairs, a gorgeous enclosed solarium pool, a childrens pool with waterslide, a variety of sports activities like basketball, mini-golf, rock-climbing, and more. The centrum elevators certainly deserve mention - 2 facing the centrum and 4 overlooking the ocean, you were guaranteed a nice view! Also, the floors had panels with the day of the week which was a helpful touch! The public areas never seemed crowded at all, which was a plus as well.STATEROOM: We booked a balcony guarantee stateroom, and we got quite lucky with an unobstructed view portside, on deck 8 towards the aft of the ship. The room was very quiet, the air-conditioning worked well, the beds were comfortable, and Aaron, our cabin steward, did a great job of keeping our room clean, furnished with a daily towel animal. While the room was quite small, once we got our luggage (which arrived earlier than expected at 1:30pm!) unpacked and put away in the closet and under the bed, we realized that there was sufficient storage room in the cupboards, drawers, and nightstands. The bathroom was small, as expected, however we did okay in it. I now understand though, why many people complain about the shower - for a tall or large person, it may be a tight. We really enjoyed having the balcony, which was a good size, with 2 chairs, and a small table. DINING: The Windjammer Buffet: The Windjammer was large, with ample seating both inside and out (both with incredible views!), and was arranged in stations, helping to control crowds. We ate here a few times for breakfast and dinner, and made frequent trips to the frozen yogurt machines as well. There was an excellent variety of food, and it was quite good too. Be sure to get an omelette from the egg station for breakfast, and try the pizza for lunch! The Cascades Dining Room: We ate here for breakfast 2 or 3 times (which is open-seating, however we requested a table for 2 with no problems), lunch once, and dinner every night. Upon our arrival, our seapass cards stated that we were at the late seating (as requested), at table 000. We went to the dining room and spoke to the head waiter, who was very helpful and opened up a table on the lower level, deck 4, at the back of the dining room, and promised to find us some other young people who hadn't been assigned tables. A few hours later, we received a note in our room, stating that our table had been switched to a table on deck 5 because it was in a better location. This was a table for 12, with a group of 4 30-something year olds, a young newlywed couple, and a family with 2 small children. No complaints though - we had plenty to talk about each evening, and had a good experience. The food in the Dining Room ranged from average to excellent. We were sure to take the advice of our servers, who always seemed to know what was good or not-so-good. The menus varied nightly, and there was a back-up menu consisting of pasta, salmon, steak, and chicken, for those whom were not excited by the daily specials. When anyone was unable to decide what to eat, they were happily brought both of their choices. The Seaview Cafe: Located on deck 12 aft with both indoor and outdoor seating, the seaview cafe is a good choice, whether for lunch, a snack, or dinner. They offered a variety of sandwiches, chicken wings, chicken fingers, fried fish, salads, and desserts. The food here is prepared to order, and was always ready within 10 minutes. The burgers, chicken fingers, fries, and onion rings were excellent, as were the milkshakes, which are worth every penny of the $3.75 they charge. On multiple occasions, we got our order to-go, and took it back to the poolside or our balcony. Be sure to check the hours of the seaview in the cruise compass, as they tend to vary. The Solarium Cafe: Open at random times (as written in the daily cruise compass) for snacks, the solarium cafe has pizza, wraps, sandwiches, crepes (made to order), and cookies, and is a good choice for a daytime snack. On a side-note, while drinks like alcohol and soda come at an extra charge (we purchased the soda package - $6/day got us unlimited fountain pop), iced tea, lemonade, and fruit punch are available for free in the dining room, as well as the Windjammer (there are self-serve machines outside the Windjammer open 24 hours/day, and pre-poured glasses inside the Windjammer). If you are looking to save money on your drinks, ask for them in a "regular glass" to avoid the souvenir glasses which come at an extra cost. SERVICE: Service was amazing everywhere from the bars, to the restaurants, to housekeeping, to guest services. Everyone had a smile on their face and appeared genuinely happy to be serving us. As Simon, the cruise director (who did a great job!) re-iterated again and again, the Radiance of the Seas was rated the friendliest ship for 4 years in a row!ENTERTAINMENT: Having never been on a cruise, I cannot compare the shows to other ships, however they were average to good. There were 2 production shows, a couple audience-involved game-shows (i.e. Love and Marriage), a "Karaoke Superstar" show, a comedian, a magician, and more. Being in the 8:30 dinner seating, many of our shows were before dinner around 7:15, which wasn't a problem for us, as it gave us more time afterwards to see other shows, head to the casino (where I came out up $10), or to one of the lounges where there was live music. There was always plenty to choose from, so be sure to read your cruise compass to see what's happening, when, and where! ACTIVITIES: There were always multiple activities going on, and it was often hard to decide which to do! There was everything from dance lessons by the pool, to bowling in the Colony Club, to art auctions, to towel folding lessons, to ice-carving demonstrations, and the daily Bingo games! There was no shortage of activities for any age group! The rock wall was open at different times each day, and the activities staff were very helpful for beginners! Mini-golf on deck 13 was open 24 hours, and golf clubs and balls were self-serve on deck 12. There was also a half basketball court which was always open, and had organized activities and contests on various occasions. I cannot comment on the Adventure Ocean Kids Club as we did not use it, however the kids around the ship appeared to be having a good time. PORTS: We had 4 ports on our cruise, and 1 day at sea. Key West: It was quite a cool and windy day, so we did not last long outside, however we walked around some of the touristy areas and the shops before heading back to the ship and to the nice, warm solarium pool! Cozumel: We took a taxi on our own to Paradise Beach, which cost $12 each way, had free admission and chairs/umbrellas, and good food and drinks. We spent a while here, enjoying the free internet, and relaxing in the sun. Grand Cayman: This was a tender-port, however having a shore-excursion, we did not need tender tickets. We simply joined the long line (which spanned from deck 2 to deck 8), and were on a tender to shore about 45 minutes later. This was the only port where we booked a shore excursion. We wanted to see the fish, but as non-swimmers, we were reluctant to snorkel, so we booked the Sea Spi excursion through Royal Caribbean approximately a month before the cruise. We were picked up at the port by a guide, and driven down the street to the Sea Spi's. Here, we had a few minutes to change, and then walked down a few steps into the water, where we boarded our own flat motorized watercraft complete with a glass viewing window under our faces when we lied on our stomachs. Using a joystick, we could drove our sea-spis which held 2 people, out to Cheeseburger Reef, where we had an hour to drive around and see what we wanted to. It was lots of fun, however we did not see as much as we expected, partly because the fish do not swim close to the surface, even when fed bread. It was still a fun day, and I would recommend this excursion as it was very different! Montego Bay: We stayed on the ship and enjoyed the quiet peace and relaxation, as well as the beautiful views of Jamaica! THE SEAS... We travelled the week after a tropical storm, and it was very windy, and the seas were quite rough for the first few days of our trip. We took Bonine daily and did not get sea-sick, however we did meet a few fellow passengers on the Radiance, and some people from other ships that were sea-sick. I would strongly suggest consulting your doctor and bringing along some medication just incase, as you never know how the seas are going to be when you travel. Also, there were multiple passengers who were ill with Norovirus on our trip, however thanks to frequent and thorough handwashing, we were not affected. Once the "outbreak" began, the restaurants started handing out hand-sanitizing wipes upon entry, and the staff were instructed not to shake hands with passengers to try to contain it's spread. Additionally, the main pool was closed for an entire day for draining and cleaning. DEBARKATION: Debarkation was extremely smooth! We were given one of the last coloured luggage tags due to our late flight home, and we were off the ship by 9:15-9:30am! SUMMARY: Overall, we had a wonderful cruise, and will likely cruise with Royal Caribbean again! We thoroughly enjoyed the Radiance due to it's moderate size and beautiful design. Read Less
Sail Date December 2007
Embarkation was slow. The ship came in an hour late and boarding had to be delayed. The Vision and the Radiance were in port at the same time and the Radiance had the less equipped facilities. There was no water or other refreshments ... Read More
Embarkation was slow. The ship came in an hour late and boarding had to be delayed. The Vision and the Radiance were in port at the same time and the Radiance had the less equipped facilities. There was no water or other refreshments available until about 12:00 PM and I never did find the bathroom. We got there around 11:00 AM and did not board until after 12:30 PM. This was our first time on the Radiance. The crew and staff were very friendly. The ship was beautiful. For the first time, we had the Royal Suite and it was lovely. There were so many diamond and diamond plus members that only suite owners and diamond plus members were allowed in the concierge lounge. There was another area set up for the diamond members. Our concierge, Willie was excellent. Our steward was okay. He seemed to try hard to accommodate us, but he told me this was his second cruise with RCCL, having coming from Carnival. The cruise director staff were great. They worked hard and were very friendly. The cruise director was Kirk Detwiler. He worked with about 40 guests with a hula during the cruise and we performed it as the opening act of the talent show. There were many problems, though. The itinerary was changed. This did not bother us because we had been to Hawaii before and our shore excursions were booked through RCCL. We ended up going to Honolulu twice because of poor sea conditions and did not get to port in Hilo. Maui was changed from our first port to our last port. Many people were upset because they had booked private tours and luaus and had to reschedule or cancel. Again, it didn't affect us. When we got to Maui, the Homeland Security director would not let us tender in until about noon. Basically, what happened was somebody slipped and Maui authorities did not know we were coming in on that day and they had to get their staff to come in on their day off which happened to be Sunday. A lot of people also got upset because when returning to the ship that night some had to wait for 1-1/2 hours to board the tender but that was because so many people attended luaus and got back to the pier at the same time. Again, that didn't affect us. The sea conditions were rough most of the days at sea. It bothered me the first two days, but I finally adjusted. The shows were mediocre. The food was mediocre. I think that RCCL has put all their best people on the Voyager class and Freedom class ships. I also think that they have let their service decline. We like RCCL, but if it had been our first cruise with them, we would have been disappointed. Again, this didn't affect us, but there were major plumbing problems and several cabins were flooded due to a broken pipe. I think it affected about 75 passengers. The captain was great. He handled the situations well and keep the guests well informed. I think he bothered some people talking so much, but we were happy to be kept up with details. Debarkation was the worse I have ever been through. RCCL definitely needs to improve in this area, at least on the Radiance. We were supposed to leave the ship about 8:50 AM and did not leave until 11:30 AM. The cruise critic group was great. The people we met made the cruise. All in all, we had a great time. This was our first cruise with so many sea days and we really enjoyed not having to be rushed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2007
NWA flew us from CLE-Vancouver via DTW. 4.5 hour flight with food that must be purchased, beverages by the glass not the can, even peanuts are $2 a bag. Amazed that the toilets were not pay toilets. Late as usual after blowing an engine ... Read More
NWA flew us from CLE-Vancouver via DTW. 4.5 hour flight with food that must be purchased, beverages by the glass not the can, even peanuts are $2 a bag. Amazed that the toilets were not pay toilets. Late as usual after blowing an engine over Lake Erie on the first leg but the flight waited for us to board in Detroit to Vancouver. In Vancouver we are sent to a green area of the airport where US Direct has taken our luggage to the ship, and they have us pass thru immigration in a speedy manner & board buses to the ship and we are told we are sealed and no one was to leave or they are on their own. We passed thru all security when they see a taped shut bus door with the US Direct tape on it. Wish all ports did this, since 9/11 it has gotten very unruly. On board Radiance, we go to the dining room to check out our table for 2 and find out we got a table for 8. But we were moved to a table for 2 in a small dining area with 7 tables. Felt very rich & very quiet for all there. The best of waiter worked it and the head waiter became a great friend the entire cruise, as he was everywhere! Our stateroom 8276 (AFT D1) was nicely appointed but the bathroom reeked of sewer smell for the entire 14 night cruise. Guest Relations did nothing but tell us about other guests who flush oranges, apples, silverware, diapers, etc down the toilet so we should talk to them. So our balcony door remained open the entire cruise even in 40 degree nights to keep the air fresh. Night 14 at midnight we have a guy banging on our door to deliver an envelope from the Hotel Manager giving us 20% off our next cruise. Too bad it took 2 weeks to do it. Other Group Cruises, a gift was on the bed each night, but this cruise we got only 6 - DVD zipper case, a compass that is a clock also, pens that light up & unscrew to be a light, tote bag with Royal Caribbean scarf, backpack looking item that is actually a duffel bag with a Royal Caribbean scarf in it & what resembled a bench seat that actually the felt blanket pulls out to be a waterproof Royal Caribbean poncho which we used in 4 rainy days at ports. We are Diamond members and on other Member Cruises we had FREE Seattle's Best Specialty coffees (Latte, Espresso, Cappuccino as well as regular & decaf) but not this one. The Concierge Lounge is now for Suite Guests only. We have a Diamond Lounge which past Member Cruises had the machine with china cups & plates for continental breakfast for all Diamond & Diamond Plus to enjoy. This Diamond Lounge on Radiance had a plastic push button coffee server with paper cups & milk on ice. 30 minutes after it was delivered the coffee was cold. But the free cocktails in the evening had the best of bartenders (Richard & Merwyn) keeping everyone very happy. We had the Starquest bar for all of us & the bar actually spins at a good speed. Funny to see someone leave their drink to go get hors de oeuvres & come back to no drink & me pointing to where it was for them to get. 575 guests were our entertainment from 5-8:30PM, talking & laughing at stories. Made some great friends for future cruises. The ports were wonderful: Ketchikan with the jumping salmon headed to spawn & die, great people to talk with and the breathtaking mountains to see. Skagway with the White Pass Railway trip which is a photographers paradise. Juneau with their Juneau Icefields helicopter tour where we walk on glaciers with glacier boots on and then we hear & see a blue crater appear & we are to run to get on the copter for safety. As we takeoff the waterfall we see appear in the massive crack told us it was time to leave. So to the Mendenhall Glacier we go in the pouring rain & winds which blew my umbrella backwards. A Salmon Bake afterwards under a tent which also had chicken & ribs. Sitka for a very quiet location that you can visit the stores on the last day they are open for 2007. 75% off everything so shopping was great. I got 2 fleece Alaskan jackets for $15 & $20 not $120 each! Ice Strait Point with all the waters surrounding it with feeding humpbacks & playing orcas around. Many of the Indians that live there entertained us & were selling ointments for $1200 a gallon & we saw folks buying it. Then we get a sea day cruising the Inside passage to relax after 6 days at ports. Now the NW Pacific week starts. Our first stop is Seattle with a city tour including the Space Needle from the 60's World's Fair but 45 minute wait to get to the top & 10 minutes for photos til we have to get back to the bus, then to the Market with flying fish at one of the famous stands. 6 underground floors were built but only 3 are now open as they celebrate their 100 birthday with it. We also saw Microsoft & Bill Gates' 60 acre world in his forest as the tour guide named it. Many houseboats from the movies that go for $500,000 now but no property taxes. Next day, Astoria Oregon with a 3 hour ride, each way, to Mt St Helens which looks quite well for the 1980 eruption. But she was spewing sulfur so she is ready to blow again but not with us there. Then a sea day to relax again & watch dolphins & whales with a great captain announcing their locations for folks to be ready for photos. Now we get San Francisco with the great location of "Streets of San Francisco" TV show with Michael Douglas that is now home to "Monk". The streetcars that were used in the Rice-a-Roni ads are now more like buses with no charm to them. We walked to Pier 39 with their great shops to look at, the people with purple, gold, silver (not grey)green hair. 5 ships are in town and they even have signs on the street telling us the pier to return to. Pier 39 became famous when sea lions started taking over the docks in January 1990 shortly after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. This was the best of the City to me, viewing them for hours, 2 times that day. Then a sea day and we are in Los Angeles, headed to LAX for our CO flight home (Non stop) arriving at midnight. But we had a great time, which could have been better in our stateroom's bathroom and the hallway to the Centrum, but we fought to have a great time with hundreds of friends. Read Less
Sail Date September 2007
This was our second cruise, both with Royal Caribbean. Last year we sailed Alaska's inside passage on the Vision of the Seas. This year we stepped it up a bit, in ship size, stateroom size and tour length. We flew into Vancouver a day ... Read More
This was our second cruise, both with Royal Caribbean. Last year we sailed Alaska's inside passage on the Vision of the Seas. This year we stepped it up a bit, in ship size, stateroom size and tour length. We flew into Vancouver a day early so we wouldn't run into the same flight delay problems as last year. That will be our standard from this cruise on. We stayed at the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Vancouver. Very nice hotel, on the chic side. The next day we casually made our way to the dock. Boarding was a breeze with our Set Sail pass filled out in advance. This year we actually got to walk around the ship before we left the dock. I was able to get a good deal on a GS and we were amazed at the amount of storage space, the size of the bathroom, and the balcony space. We were eventually greeted by our stateroom attendant (Dexter) who took good care of us. With the GS we also received access to the Concierge Club. Hats off to Willie who also took real good care of us. Our waiter (Ketutu "Darmah") and assistant waiter (Enrico) were great. We sat at a table of eight and had a good time getting to know each other. We were usually the last to leave the dining room because we kept talking. This year I planned our major excursions with companies outside of the cruise line based on other cruise critic tips. In Ketchikan I chartered a floatplane with Island Wings. A great small company made the flight so much more personal. The pilot and owner (Michelle) made my nervous wife feel much more comfortable with the idea of small planes. The plane was immaculate and comfortable, and my wife actually enjoyed the flight and would do it again. We also booked a Wildlife adventure in Hoonah, our favorite port, with a highly recommended Teckk Outfitters. Although Keith, the owner, turned out to be busy they were able to send Bob from Forget-me-not Outfitters. We got a tour that was better than the one the ship provided last year. We got to see more bears and wildlife and the trip was much more personal. In Skagway we tried a new excursion the ship was offering. It was a glass blowing experience at Garden City Glassworks. The glassblowers were amazing and we were able to help create our own glass ornaments that were shipped home to us. And actually made it in one piece! The tour included a lunch and a garden tour, very well done. The highlight of the cruise had to be Glacier Bay. After traveling through a little bit of fog we arrived at the glaciers. The skies cleared and we were able to get really close and got some fantastic pictures and footage. WOW The cruise ended in Seward where we started the land portion of the tour. Debarkation was a breeze and we were soon on our bus to Anchorage. The "coach" driver (Jon) and the tour director (Joanna) were very knowledgeable and friendly. After a night in Anchorage we went to Talkeetna, where we stayed two relaxing nights. It's a very small and friendly town where the breakfasts at the Roadhouse were the best. We were able to get some great photos of Denali from the back patio of the Hotel, which we were told was a fairly rare site. From there we caught the Wilderness Express train to Denali. In Denali we went to Jeff King's dog kennel (Husky Homestead) to see some dogs in action and pet some puppies. We also toured Denali National Park and enjoyed the vast expanse of unspoiled land. From there we caught the train again to Fairbanks, went on a riverboat tour and visited a gold mine and panned for gold. Later that evening we scheduled a tee time at North Star Golf Club (the northernmost course in North America). Since the sun didn't set until 11:30 we had plenty of time to play this challenging course. Most of the challenge was finding your ball in the fairway. The land tour included all transfers so our luggage was waiting for us in our rooms when we got to each hotel. The last transfer to the airport went very smoothly. I'm sad to say that after two trips to Alaska we still have only scratched the surface. We will defiantly be back and defiantly with Royal Caribbean. Maybe next year? Read Less
Sail Date July 2007
Radiance of the Seas May 12-18, 2007 My wife and I took the repositioning cruise from San Diego to Vancouver May 12 through 18, 2007. This was the second cruise for both of us- both on Royal Caribbean and both on a Radiance Class ship. ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas May 12-18, 2007 My wife and I took the repositioning cruise from San Diego to Vancouver May 12 through 18, 2007. This was the second cruise for both of us- both on Royal Caribbean and both on a Radiance Class ship. (The other was on the Jewel of the Seas.) We chose this cruise mainly for the ports of call, and we were not disappointed. We arrived in San Diego two days before the cruise and spent some time at Seaport Village, the Gaslamp Quarter, Coronado, and Balboa Park. Our hotel was the Best Western Bayside Inn and it was perfect for a pre-cruise stay. They provide a free shuttle ride from the airport and also to the cruise port. That more than makes up for the lack of a free breakfast. Embarkation at the Port of San Diego was fast and easy. This was exactly the same experience as our first cruise. Since our cruise ship was scheduled to depart at 6 pm, our embarkation instructions said to arrive between 3 and 5 pm. We arrived at the port around 2:30 pm, had no trouble offloading our luggage to the port baggage handlers, and breezed through the Sea Pass card process with our Set Sail documents already completed. We boarded the ship directly and had immediate access to our cabin, balcony unit #9564 on the starboard side. We chose the starboard side thinking that we might have a view of the west coast as we headed north. However, the ship travels in the shipping lane so far from land that it really didn't matter for much of the cruise. Where the right side really paid off was when we were traveling the Straits of Juan de Fuca entering British Columbia. Here we had a terrific view of the Washington State mountains from our balcony. Our luggage arrived not more than a half hour after boarding. This was much faster than on our last cruise, and we were actually able to unpack before the muster drill. We headed off to the Tides dining room, and this is where we encountered the most difficulty on our cruise. When we reached the head waiter, we were told that we did not have a table assignment and that we would need to stand aside along the wall with all the other people who had received a table assignment of "000." I was taken completely by surprise that our request for main seating had not been accommodated. Our cruise documents listed main seating and did not contain the customary asterisk if your first seating request could not be accommodated. We waited against the wall for 15 minutes while all the other guests (arriving late) were seated. The head waiter then called up each party in the waiting list line one at a time to give them a new seating assignment for dinner. When it was our turn, we were asked to come back for second seating. When we complained about this, we were surprisingly given a table for two at main seating that night. While this was fine, it was only for that night. Our table assignment was then changed for the next night, and since we planned on dining at Portofino's the second night, we didn't actually meet our dinner table partners until much later in the cruise. Besides the seating confusion, I thought that most of the entrees were very mediocre and that the service was quite average. It was very difficult to get soft drinks delivered to the dining room in a timely fashion. As expected, the quality of the food in the alternate restaurants, Chops and Portofinos ($20 per person), was much better. The west coast weather was quite chilly and windy while we were at sea, so most on-deck activities were cancelled. However, we enjoyed the self-leveling pool tables, the technical talk by the Captain, the trivia-contests, and the wonderful shows in the Aurora Theater. The Radiance did have some additional wear compared to the newer Jewel, but we expected that and were not too disappointed in the condition of the ship. It is quite lovely if you haven't already seen the Jewel. Our first port of call was San Francisco, and it was thrilling to cruise in under the Golden Gate Bridge at daybreak with the sea lions at Pier 39 barking and Alcatraz visible through the morning fog. We booked an early-day excursion to Muir Woods and Sausolito through the cruise line, and then visited Fisherman's Wharf/Pier 39 on our own later in the day. We enjoyed our day there very much and were glad to have so much time in port. Our next port of call was Astoria, Oregon. The city was quaint and the view of the Columbia River was beautiful, but I couldn’t help thinking that this city wasn’t really ready for cruise ships. The waterfront is underdeveloped and the riverwalk trolley was unable to handle the crush of tourists pouring from cruise ship. Tour buses did handle some of the demand, but there were many people who purchased “all-day ride” tickets on the trolley who simply couldn’t reboard at any of the major stops because the trolley was always too full. We took the excursion to Cannon and Seaside Beach. We got some terrific shots of the Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, but we were never dropped off right at the Rock. All of our stops were just a little too far to allow us get to the rock and back before the bus departed, so we were a little disappointed in the excursion. Perhaps we would have enjoyed this port better if we had taken the longer excursion to Mount St. Helens, but I’m not sure the visibility would have been very good. In short, Astoria’s waterfront has tremendous promise but it is completely unrealized at present, and cruise ships should bypass this port until that changes. After a day at sea, we arrived in Victoria, British Columbia and were immediately charmed by this beautiful city. Our excursions included the Butchart Gardens (absolutely stunning) and the Butterfly House (too crowded to enjoy). We also spent some time in downtown Victoria visiting the Empress Hotel and the Parliament building. The views from any vantage point in the city were gorgeous, and we could have definitely spent more time there. We finished up our cruise at Vancouver, British Columbia with a departure excursion which included a city highlights tour. We were somewhat disappointed by our tour bus. It had advertisements plastered all over the windows which greatly restricted our view. The ads were supposed to be “see-through” from inside the bus, but it was much like looking at everything through a gray fog. If we would have been heading back to the ship after this excursion, we probably would have complained to RCI about the quality of the bus. We spend a night at the wonderful Richmond Marriott Hotel before flying out of Vancouver Airport back to the U.S. The Vancouver Airport was fine, but if I had it to do over, I’d catch a transfer by bus back to Seattle, and fly home from there since it is cheaper. The quality of the RCI cruising experience seemed to be quite consistent from our last cruise to this one. The area most in need of improvement continues to be the standard dining room and buffet food. While the alternate restaurants always provide outstanding food and quality service, the buffet and dining room are usually quite mediocre. The featured chef selection entrees at dinner were usually the best offering. In the Windjammer, we noticed that the buffet food was seldom hot, but at least the crew does a good job at keeping item trays filled. Since, for us, cruises are not primarily about the food, we can overlook this disappointment and still consider the cruise a good value. On the plus side, our cabin, cabin attendant service, cruise shows and productions were all terrific. The ship activities were sufficient for adults, and the staff had special activities and clubs to keep kids occupied. I do, however, think this cruise itinerary is strongly geared toward adults, and especially seniors. I went on this trip feeling that RCI provides a quality cruise for a reasonable price, and my experience on the Radiance has not changed that opinion. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
This was my second cruise on Royal Caribbean and my 22nd cruise overall. I have been on Holland America, Princess, Disney, Costa, Norwegian and Celebrity also. My favorite ships are Celebrity Millenium and Constellation. Having only sailed ... Read More
This was my second cruise on Royal Caribbean and my 22nd cruise overall. I have been on Holland America, Princess, Disney, Costa, Norwegian and Celebrity also. My favorite ships are Celebrity Millenium and Constellation. Having only sailed on Sovereign of the Seas before (in 1997). I didn't care for that cruise. The cabins were really tiny, our waiter was friendly but too pushy with asking us to fill out "excellent" on the ship cruise survey. Our tablemates were young couples who didn't have good social skills and it was like pulling teeth to get them to talk. They seemed uncomfortable about sharing a table with strangers. Friends told me how much they enjoyed their recent Royal Caribbean cruises, so I decided to give them another try. I chose the Radiance of the Seas because it was similar in design to Celebrity Millenium Class ships, had lots of glass and some nice features like a water slide for my son, age 6. The ship was fine, nothing really special. Perhaps if this had been my first cruise I would have been "Wowed" but it was pretty generic. I did like out stateroom and thought the beds with rounds corners were really neat. I also liked that the bed was by the balcony doors allowing for more space by the closets and desk. Our cabin steward Norbert was great- unobtrusive and left a cute towel animal each night ( a monkey hanging from a hanger, a stingray when we were in Grand Cayman, an elephant and bunny rabbit). The linens on the bed were white and very soft. I slept great on the ship. The ship was so smooth that this was the first time I haven't had to get my land legs. I have not experienced any of the post cruise rocking I have had in the past. So I wouldn't hesitate to book this cruise for a Pacific or Atlantic voyage. I ate all my meals in the Windjammer or the Seaside Cafe. We had arranged for the early seating but just never made it. We were too busy swimming and playing to get ready that early. So we just ate when we felt like it at the Windjammer. fortunately the food was really good and there was a nice variety. I especially liked the desserts. Only Disney and Royal Caribbean have good desserts. I had creme brulee, cheesecake, chocolate fudge tort, pies, napoleons, etc. etc. All very good. Even the sugarfree desserts were great. So no complaints in the food department. We never got off the ship because we have been to all the ports before. My son and I love staying on board when the ship is empty. The pool area was too crowded when the ship was full. It was Easter break so there were many kids and parents in the pool and hot tubs. My son preferred the kids pool on Deck 12 with the waterslide. The waterslide was only open for 2 hours a day, except sea days when it was open for four hours a day. The youth program was good but not great. You had to walk thru the video arcade to get to the Explorers Club. That was a tactic I believe to get the kids to spend money. We did. We spent over $ 100 on video games in six days! My high score on MsPacMan was 224,000! That's awesome in case you don't know. The first night they brainwashed the kids to want to stay up until 1AM and earn prizes. My six year old looked so sad when I told him that was too late. I softened the blow by letting him shop in the gift shops. 1AM is too late for young children to stay up, especially when people have shore excursions. I didn't like this ploy to get an extra $ 15 a day in babysitting. Shame on your RCL! I didn't tip the staff. I normally tip $ 100 to be pooled but not this time. There were good movies for free in the cabin and in the movie theater. Room service was good too. Drink prices were reasonable. We played board games, went to the shows. My son was a volunteer for the magician. That is always fun. Apart from the dubious practices in the youth program, I was happy with my cruise. Has RCL won me over. No, I still feel that it is just a very generic, mass marketed experience. The vessels are fine but nothing stood out. I am glad I gave RCL another try but I think I'll stick with Celebrity. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
EMBARKATION: We left on our Circle Hawaii Cruise on April 28th. When we arrived at the port, there was an area for handicapped people to wait for a wheelchair which we entered. After approximately thirty minutes we asked security when ... Read More
EMBARKATION: We left on our Circle Hawaii Cruise on April 28th. When we arrived at the port, there was an area for handicapped people to wait for a wheelchair which we entered. After approximately thirty minutes we asked security when can we get a wheelchair, and were told as soon as the ship sends them out. We then walked to the check in desk and were processed in 10 minutes. We were able to take the elevator up to the ship and only had to stand in line for about 15 minutes. The process went fairly fast for San Diego. As we were early and the rooms would not be ready until one o'clock we went to the Windjammer for a delightful lunch. One of the staff noticed I was in pain and disabled, even though I was sitting by the drink bar she brought me coffee and water and ensured I had refills. ROOM: We had a balcony handicapped room, the first time on a Royal Caribbean ship, this was our fifth R. C. Cruise. When we arrived at the room the electric scooter I had rented still had not arrived, normally the scooter is waiting at the room for me. By two thirty our luggage had arrived to the room and we started unpacking. Dwayne our cabin steward came by and I asked him if there was away to raise the bed as it was hard for me to stand from the bed do to a back and hip problem. He said he couldn't raise the bed but would figure something out. We left the room and went exploring. When we returned to the room the scooter still had not arrived, but Dwayne had put another mattress on the bed raising the bed enough for me to stand from it easily. about 4:30 I called Guest Services to check on the scooter, they said they would check and call me back. Five minutes later they called and said they had found it and would send it up, five minutes later Dwayne was at the door a nd drove the scooter in. Dwayne was excellent throughout the cruise. RESTAURANTS: We had early seating on this cruise and were on deck 4 in the Cascades dining room. Our waiter was named Victor, and our assistant waiter was named Gerrardo. They both were outstanding, our head waiter was Tony and he out did himself during the cruise. We we at a table with two other handicapped couples. On couple only came to three meals during the fourteen day cruise, none of the Formal nights. During the return trip from Hawaii Gene fell seriously ill, and spent three of the five days in the ships infirmary, and the rest in his room. Joan his wife came to three of meals, so we spent most of the return trip at the table by ourselves. On the last formal night they served lobster and shrimp which was excellent, Tony sent meals to the staterooms of our tablemates when they couldn't come to the table. Tony also cleared up a problem with the wine package I had ordered on line, it never came to the ship, and when I reported to Guest Relations they never got back with me even though I went there three times. I told Tony about it and the next night he told me it was taken care of, and they gave me a $20.00 discount on the price. I had a big surprise when I saw Osso Bucco on the menu, I ordered it expecting it to be just the meat from around the bone. It was a large piece of meat still on the bone so tender and tasteful it melted on your tongue. The food and service in all the restaurants was way above average. The only restaurant we did not dine in was Portofino's. BARS: Like all our cruises we find one bartender we like for our before dinner drinks and just go to that bar. This time it was Alex in the Champagne bar. He put on three Martini clinics, and my wife who isn't a Martini drinker didn't find one she liked so ordered an Margarita, Alex made her a Margarita Martini that she loved then introduced her to the Lemon Drop Martini. Fantastic bartender. SHORE EXCURSIONS: We only went on one excursion from the ship in HILO. It was a tour of HILO and the Volcano for handicapped passengers. We stopped at the normal shopping spots that kickback to the tour operators, Rainbow Falls and the Volcano Museum. Because of all the wheelchairs the driver and tour guide worked very hard. compared to the complaints we heard from some of the passengers about their tours this was wonderful. On Maui we took the local bus around the island, rented a car in Honolulu which was cheaper then the tours. When I saw R. C. didn't have a fishing trip on this cruise I arranged for one on Kona for eight hours and someone from the Roll Call agreed to split the cost. The trip cost us $85 more each then if we had gone on an R. C. excursion trip and was 4 hours longer enabling us to hook a Stripped Marlin and land a 402lb Blue Marlin. The night cruise by the lave flow was fantastic. The captain took us within 600 yards of shore and it was a very clear night, you could even see the steam clouds where the lava met the ocean. Carnival's ship was about a mile off shore for the view. The Captain rotated the ship so everyone could see the flow from the same angle and spot. ENTERTAINMENT: This cruise was mostly headliner shows there were only two production shows. Etta May performed and was hilarious. The magician was Shawn Farrgout who was amazing, and 2 time world champion, putting on an extra show in the afternoon that was packed. All the shows were excellent, but those stood out above the rest. THE WELCOME BACK PARTIES: We went to three parties one being a brunch, which had excellent food and champagne. The Captain's party served cocktails of choice and great hors d'oeuvres. The Loyalty Ambassadors party did the same. Great parties, and the Captain was fantastic. That was the good, but with as with life some bad must go with the good. Twice when we turned the water on to our sink dark brown water came out of the faucet, and late at night there was a sewage odor in our bathroom which they could not fix. The balcony door was off the track and hard to open and close, which they did fix about the fifth day out. Someone flushed an apple;e, orange, and towel down their toilet backing up toilets in a number of staterooms. They were able to trace it back to the stateroom where it happened. There was a problem clearing immigration on our return to San Diego. non U.S. and Canadians citizens were required to report for immigration inspection at 7:15 a.m. At 8:00 am they started paging three people to report for this inspection, they continued to page them telling them no one could leave the ship until they cleared immigration. finally at 9:30am the ship cleared immigration and people started to disembark. A number of people missed their flights or just barely made the flight. I won't say what I think should be done to these people on this forum if the rumors as to why they were late reporting to immigration are true,. But one thing is for certain I feel that they should have been the last to leave the ship. Then the luggage situation was screwed up. People were missing bags and finding them in different colored areas finding green tagged bags in the purple tagged bags area (first hand knowledge here.) Other then those minor things another fantastic R.C. cruise can't wait for our Alaska cruise from Vancouver to San Diego on the Serenade of the Seas on September. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
This was our 11th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean. Our other 10 cruises have all been on Princess. As in all cruises there were things that were great and other things that were disappointing. First let me say that the Radiance of the ... Read More
This was our 11th cruise and first on Royal Caribbean. Our other 10 cruises have all been on Princess. As in all cruises there were things that were great and other things that were disappointing. First let me say that the Radiance of the Seas is a beautiful ship and even far exceeded my expectations. We liked all the public rooms on the ship and even felt many were more attractive then Princess [the Schooner Bar, the Atrium, the Sports Bar, and the Movie Theatre were great]I also liked the way the Centrum shops were displayed. The dining room was a pleasant surprise as I thought it was quite pretty being so large. I did not care for the pools as much as Princess. The Solarium was pretty, but had salt water and was always crowded and the outdoor pool and bar area looked old and tired. I also did not care for the lounge chairs that looked old and needed to be replaced. I also felt that there was a definite lack in the number of lounge chairs on the ship as a whole. I have never felt this on Princess and feel they have a greater number of pools, are more attractive and use fresh water. The ship has been well maintained and for a 6 year old ship in most areas looks like new. STATEROOM We had a Grand Suite 1554 in the middle of the ship and on the rounded part in the middle. We loved this room, the configuration, the size, the bed as well as the couch and chairs were comfortable and the bathroom was great with 2 sinks bathtub shower and lots of room. Everything part of this room looked new. It was good that we had an over-sized closet, since our luggage was too big to fit under the bed. The only disappointment was the balcony that got very little sun due to the overhang from the pool deck and narrowness from being on the bump out. The lounge chairs were also very dated. DINING We had first seating and really enjoyed our 2 table-mates. The service was outstanding, but the food we felt was the worst of any cruise we have been on.[Bland and poor selection] An 8 day cruise and I only gained 1 lb.and ate steak more in a week then I do in a year because of no selection. We felt the food was like a poor coffee shop. The Windjammer cafe was a beautiful room, but we did not care for the food and the selection remained the same for breakfast and lunch all 8 days. We even tried the dining room once for breakfast with the same menu. This is the area that I felt that Royal Caribbean can't compete with Princess. We ate 1 night in the Pinnacle Grill and it was just a little better. ENTERTAINMENT I like the main theatres on Princess better and feel there singing and dance troops are better. However we did see 2 great shows The Diamonds, and El Gaucho that were outstanding. PORTS We both really enjoyed the ports of call. We walked San Juan Puerto Rico and loved the El Morro Fort and felt that much of the town looked liked New Orleans; We took the Tram in St. Thomas and had a great overview of the ships and town. We also purchased some jewelry. In St. Martin we did the Shopping and Yacht tour visiting the French side and taking a Catamaran in Simpson Bay which was great fun. Antigua we just took an overview visiting Shirley Heights and Nelson Dockyard which I enjoyed. In the Bahamas we took the tour over to Atlantis to see the resort and aquariums and had a great time. GENERAL INFORMATION We loved the Captain of this ship; he is funny and the most personable of any we have met in the past. Has anyone been on a ship where they called out names of passengers that were not back on at sailing time. Well this time it happened to me, but I was on the ship and in bed. We made a short stop in St. Croix.8PM-11PM, so I re boarded at 10PM, but they did not log me in. We retired around 11;30 and at midnight Security knocked on our door asking my husband if he had seen me. He said I was in bed when the Security asked him again if he had seen me well they needed to see me so there I was in bed saying here I am. I am not upset that they held the ship for me or questioned my husband if maybe he had hurt me, but I sure was upset at the guy responsible for checking passengers back on the ship. There were also over 500 children on the ship that at 1;30 in the morning rang doorbells and knocked on doors and the ships staff did not seem to care. SUMMARY As I said there were things about the cruise I really enjoyed, but unfortunately the things I didn't care for out weighed the good and back to Princess I go. We are going to Alaska in July on the Sapphire Princess and back the Caribbean next February on the new Emerald Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2007
My boyfriend and I cruised for our first time ever on the Radiance of the Seas, had a wonderful time and loved the ship. Details below. Embarkation: We stayed in Miami Beach for two days before the cruise, so on Sunday morning we took a ... Read More
My boyfriend and I cruised for our first time ever on the Radiance of the Seas, had a wonderful time and loved the ship. Details below. Embarkation: We stayed in Miami Beach for two days before the cruise, so on Sunday morning we took a shuttle (FloridaLimo) to Port Everglades, USD19 per person. The shuttle picked us up at 10:45, we had one more stop in a Miami downtown hotel, and from there took off to Fort Lauderdale, arriving at the port at 11:30. There was a long line to get on the ship, we had done online check-in through the RCI website, but everyone else had too, so I am not sure if it helped. We waited about 45 minutes in line (at least there were chairs), but after we got to the actual check-in counter it was about 5 minutes and we were on the ship. About the luggage, one of our suitcases was delivered around 5PM, the other I went to get on my own since at 8PM still hadn't been delivered, I found it right away by the guest relations area, the tag had fallen off. The Ship: Radiance of the Seas: The ship is BEAUTIFUL. I had seen a lot of pictures online and still was breath taken, everything looks clean, nicely decorated, everywhere you look there is either a nice painting, or art, or a nice corner with sofas.. it feels comfy and pampering. It also has a lot of glass windows, which means beautiful views and lots of light. The main dining room, Cascades, is a beautiful two floor (4th and 5th), with an actual cascade by the staircase connecting the two floors. The atrium goes from the 4th floor to the 11th (maybe 12th?) very impressive, with beautiful glass elevators which look out either to the atrium or to the ocean! Speaking of elevators, sometimes they were hard to catch, it took a bit of time for them to arrive, but because our stateroom was in the front of the ship we would take the front elevators which were usually empty. The Aurora theatre is also two floors (5th and 6th), in the front of the ship, very nice. We at the front of the 4th floor never heard a thing. The pool area is very nice, with the pool bar, the pool (a bit too small) and two Jacuzzis. We only had trouble getting chairs on one day at sea, people just left a towel and a book and would go for ages. Close to it is the Windjammer Cafe, and to the other side the Solarium, which is decorated like a forest/safari, with a pool (small too) and a Jacuzzi. Next to the Solarium is the Spa. On the 12th floor there is the gym, with (numbers are estimate) about 10 treadmills, 6 elliptical trainers, 3 stationary bikes, free weights and weight machines, and in the middle (where they do the classes) there are mats, and steps. There is also a climbing wall, mini golf, a few bars, two specialty restaurants, a small basketball court for kids, running track, discotheque, video arcade, casino... We almost didn't feel the ship move, you would forget you are sailing, only on the 4th night when leaving Grand Cayman there were strong currents or winds and the ship rocked quite a bit! It was a little uncomfortable but nothing major. I think the average age of the ship must have been around 45-50... there were quite a few young couples like us (we are both 29), there was a majority I think of people around 50, and some older people too. There weren't many kids (at least I hardly saw them) which was great for us at this point. The Stateroom: We originally booked an inside cabin on the 9th floor, but were upgraded to a Large Oceanview on the 4th floor, towards the front of the ship, 4518. Of course we don't have much to compare with when it comes to cruises, but we loved both the location and the stateroom. The 4th floor is where the centrum, guest relations, and dining room are, but because we were in the front (had kind of a long walk to get there, but that's OK) there was almost no noise. We would only hear when people were talking loudly in the corridor, but it didn't happen much. The room is a connecting room, but we never heard noise from there. The stateroom was beautiful, we were expecting a really small room so we were pleasantly surprised, the size was OK, I think 170 sq.ft, we were able to move without feeling restricted at all. There is a big bed (new bedding) which was really comfortable, two little side tables by it, a two person sofa with a small round table in front of it, and on the other side a desk with the TV on the side, a mini fridge, and a safe. There is enough storage room, the closet has a side for hanging and a side with about 5 shelves, and there are little cabinets on the sides of the desk and above the TV, and 6 drawers on the sides of the desk. The bathroom is small but we were comfortable enough, well lighted, with a nice mirror. The only thing we didn't like was the shower pressure, way too weak. The Food: Windjammer Cafe: We loved the look and casual atmosphere of the Windjammer, and especially liked seating outside. We had breakfast there every day, and lunch every day except for the Sea Day, when the main dining room was open. We really enjoyed breakfast there, there were all kinds of breads, cereal, muffins, donuts, two omelet stations, fruit, pancakes, waffles, bacon, hash browns, sausages, cheeses, processed meats, etc. Lunch was buffet style, not as good as breakfast to me, you could find good things but other were just OK. They had pizza, burgers, hot dogs, a good salad station, sandwiches, meats, rice, potatoes, pasta. They had two dessert stations, which were sometimes not so good, sometimes really good. They had cakes, pies, cookies, fruit, etc, and two soft serve frozen yogurt machine. I especially liked a chocolate pie (I think one of the best ever, surprisingly). From 3-5 PM they had snacks which were a shorter version of lunch (usually less of the hot foods like the meats/rice/pasta, and I think they didn't have the pizza either but you could get it by the solarium and maybe the Seaview Cafe). Main Dining Room: For dinner we were seated in a table for four (second dining), with a couple from Texas who were on their honeymoon. They were very nice and we enjoyed our time with them, although I think for our next cruise I would prefer either a larger table where there are more people to interact with, or just the two of us. There where two formal nights, the first on night 2, the second on night 5. Dinner at the dining room was very good, the menu was relatively short (but changes daily), about 4 appetizers, a salad, 5-6 main entrees, 4 deserts, plus the standard entrees (which are the same every day). But you always had what to choose from, I never had one of the standard entrees since I was always tempted with the specials, and you know you won't have them any other day. Some of the best things I had (do not miss!): Appetizers: The Escargot and the Spinach Dip were the best. Entrees: The Shrimp ravioli was delicious, the Fisherman's Plate (lobster and shrimp) and the NY Steak were very enjoyable too. Desserts: Apple Pie a la mode, Strawberry Cheesecake, there is a dessert called "Dessert Sampler" with three items of which the chocolate fudgy cake is great and the other two are just OK. Also the Key Lime Pie is the best, and the Brownie Madness is very rich and yummy. Midnight Buffets: We had two buffets, one was the CariMex buffet, the other was the Gala buffet. In both the quality of the food was just not good enough, even the desserts, which I usually love, I didn't like and didn't eat more than 1 or 2 bites. Room Service: We only had it once (3rd night) since we fell asleep and woke up at 9PM, too late for dinner at the main dining room or Windjammer. They offer the standard entrees from the dining room I think. The food was not good, it just had no taste, even the chocolate cake was bad, nothing like the dinning room, or even the Windjammer, I was disappointed. The Service: All through the ship the service was great, people are friendly, always helpful. Our stateroom attendant was Mike from Jamaica, he came by at least twice a day, always did a great job. In the evening besides tidying up he would leave us the Compass for the next day, chocolate on our pillows, and an animal made of towels. The first day we asked for extra pillows and for him to remove the drinks from the fridge so we could put other things if we wanted. Our waiter was Vic from Peru and his assistant John from India. Vic was so friendly, very professional but treated us almost like friends. John was quiet, and did a great job, I never had my water glass less than 3/4 full. The staff was very nice at the Windjammer cafe, bringing us drinks, cleaning around, filling up trays, and picking up plates, although sometimes they were slow at picking up the plates. Sometimes we would go for a snack in the afternoon when the cafe was almost empty, and all the tables by the window would be empty but have dirty plates on it. That's my only complaint. The Ports: In general, getting on and off the ship was a breeze, we docked at Key West, Cozumel (they were expecting to tender but finally we docked) and at Montego Bay. We had to tender at Grand Cayman, but we weren't in a rush and got lucky because when we went to get off the ship at around 11:00 (they started tendering at 10:00) there was a long line that hadn't moved in a while (people were getting very anxious) but all of a sudden started moving, so within 3 minutes we were on the tender. Key West: We arrived there at 7:00 and walked around the port, it is very nice there, saw the ship in full from the outside for the 1st time, we were amazed. Then we walked on Whitehead st., saw the Court House (my boyfriend is a lawyer so he was interested), Hemingway's home, and the Southernmost point. We came back also by foot on Duval street, which had lots of shops and bars, we sat at "The Bull" bar which had an Elvis impersonator singing and dancing, and a "buy one get one free" offer on Margaritas. We boarded the ship around 1:00, departure was at 2:00, and we went up to the HeliPad and saw dolphins swimming by the sides of the ship, it was great! We never got to see them again at any other port though. Cozumel: We did the "Catamaran Sail, Snorkel & Beach Break", which was just OK. We sailed in a catamaran for a bit while he explained how to use the snorkel equipment etc, and then took us to the reef where we would snorkel for 45 minutes, which was actually really close to the ship. The snorkeling was fun to me because it was my first time but even though there were many fish, we didn't see anything too special. After that they took us in the catamaran to a beach about 15 minutes away, the ride was fun, but the beach was nothing special and there was nothing to do there. We had to stay there for one hour. Some people who bought the same package with lunch ate there, the food (burgers I think) didn't look so good and the place looked dirty. One nice perk to this excursion was that there was free drinks, soda, beer and margaritas, so some people did have a very good time, and on the ride back from the beach to the port there was some dancing on the Catamaran. Bottom line for us: USD58 pp seems too much for 45' of snorkeling in a not so special reef, and margaritas made of mainly juice and ice. We got to the port about an hour before we had to embark, so we took a cab downtown (USD6 each way) and looked around a bit, it was nice, just a few blocks. Grand Cayman: It was really hot there. We tendered right next to their commercial area, so we walked around a bit and took a shuttle to 7 Mile Beach (USD5 I think), which was beautiful, the most amazing water I have ever seen, and very cooling too. We stayed there for 2-3 hours and took the shuttle back, hang around downtown, shops, Margaritaville, etc, and went back to the ship at 3PM, didn't have to wait for the tender either since it was still early, no line. Montego Bay: Wow, crazy place. I didn't like it too much, my boyfriend did though. We went to downtown (shuttle, the ships docks far) and took a cab (license tourist guide) for a one hour tour, at USD30. He took us to the hill where you see the city from above, and drove us around the town. The driver was a young guy and seemed really nice actually, we asked him a lot of questions about Jamaica. Still, it was kind of scary to me in the beginning. We got off the cab at Doctors Cave beach (private, USD5 fee p.p) and stayed there for about 2 hours, the water was really nice, but the beach was relatively small for the amount of people who were in there. Then we walked around the shops on the Hip Strip and back to the ship after that. In general the ports were really nice, I personally didn't like the whole shopping influence you get on the ship, I would prefer a more "discover new places" approach, but I guess that's not what brings revenue. In any case, we did our thing, and only bought little souvenirs and some shirts. Entertainment on Board: There were a lot of activities going around at all times, by the pool, in the bars, etc. I really liked the bartender demonstration on the last day, the karaoke was fun (Colony Club), and some bands were really good, especially the jazz (I think by the RoS orchestra) who played in the Hollywood Odyssey, and also the band Hott Sands that plays by the pool in the afternoons was really good. Other activities: bingo, dancing, dancing classes, movies, the list goes on forever. The shows at the Aurora Theatre were OK in general, nothing really stood out. We say the "City of Dreams" production, the dancers and singers were good, but in general it wasn't so good. The "Piano Man" was more enjoyable, still, could be better, especially considering that the dancers and singers have talent. We went to the "Love & Marriage" game, which we thought was nice for an afternoon by the pool, not an evening entertainment. And we also saw the last Farewell show which was a bit better. The CD was Gavin, we both didn't like him, he has no charisma and is just not funny. I hope we have better luck with the CD next time. Debarkation: It was pretty easy, we took our two suitcases out the night before (by 11:00), and kept a carry on to put out clothes from the night before, pajamas, and necessities. We left the stateroom at 8:00 and went to the Windjammer for our last breakfast there. We had purple tags which were called closer to the end, so we waited until around 10:00, which was OK, it was nice to sit there for the last time, chat with some of the waiters, and enjoy the quiet atmosphere. Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
Eastern and Western Caribbean, February 17 until March 3, 2007 Radiance of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Almost everything there is to tell about the Radiance can be found in my last year's Hawaii review. That is why I ... Read More
Eastern and Western Caribbean, February 17 until March 3, 2007 Radiance of the Seas - Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Almost everything there is to tell about the Radiance can be found in my last year's Hawaii review. That is why I wanted to put the focus more on the personal aspects this time. For some of you it might not be interesting, but for me these aspects are an important part of our cruise experience. For those who are looking for facts and more, you will find a few, but the emphasis of this review is on the personal aspects. A few notes about the Radiance: By and large, the ship is in good shape, considering those were her cruises #304 and #305. The cabins had been fitted with the new bedding system, here with decorative cushions and spreads in dark blue. Of course you will find some wear and tear when you look at the carpets or the chairs, the deck chairs, etc. Out on deck, almost every day you can see crew members polishing and painting. But all those signs of old age did not bother us. The service and the food were good but not excellent—with the exception of the two specialty restaurants, "Portofino" and "Chops Grille". You will need 2 to 2 ½ hours for these dining experiences in order to fully enjoy every minute. The food in the Windjammer Cafe was, like on other ships, slightly above canteen standard. Thus, we decided to have lunch in the Dining Room when it was open for Brasserie 30 Lunch. Although they only had one menu for the two weeks, the selection of entrees was enough to have more than one lunch in the Dining Room. In the evening, the already well-known menus were presented, among them only one new menu. So we chose different courses in order to discover new dishes. Here RCCL should show more flexibility; I am sure that the Executive Chefs would love to present more new dishes. The meat entrees were rather adapted to the North American appetite than to the average European appetite: Some steaks covered more than half the plate. However, they offered something for every taste, meat and poultry, fish and vegetarian food. But why does the menu selection of the first week have to be repeated in the second week? What about the back-to-back guests? What about a change of menus every 14 days? It was striking that the head waiters and assistant waiters changed after the first week, and it was interesting to us to compare those two weeks with different service. A new experience to us was the large number of kids and teenagers. Because of the Presidential Weeks in the US and the Canadian spring break, many families were on board, with children of all ages from babies to young adults. Most of the time we did not notice it in a negative way. But when we went to the Windjammer for a coffee in the early afternoon, it was often hard to stand and watch some families. Some parents seemed to be free of pain in view of their children's table manners. Relaxing by the poolside was impossible for people who love tranquility. In spite of respective warning signs, children jumped into the pool or romped in the whirlpools. Part of the guests could generally be described as plebe like. We have been told similar stories by some passengers on the HAL Westerdam, however, the price level for this ship is much higher than for the Radiance. Several people must have been drunk; the whirlpools were occupied by some drunken passengers in the late afternoon. Fortunately, they did not use the pool and whirlpool in the solarium. The unprofessional front desk team made a negative impression, since they were not able to register the Crown & Anchor internet coupon on our onboard account, or to make a reservation for the shuttle transfer from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami International Airport. It cost us a lot of time until they found out that they had not made this reservation, and they were not able to tell us the correct price. They said a private taxi transfer would only cost 45-50 $, so that would actually be much cheaper than the RCCL transfer, and were really impolite. It cost us time to get a taxi, and in the end it costs us 83 $ to get from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami International Airport. On the cruise to the Eastern Caribbean there were 2,153 passengers from 29 nations on board, many of them cruise novices and the first time on a cruise ship. On the second cruise to the Western Caribbean, 2,097 passengers from 37 different nations were aboard, also among them many beginners who did not know how to behave on a 4* cruise ship. Our very personal impressions Boarding the ship was like coming home to a wonderful place. To re-discover familiar things, to see familiar faces, to meet and greet acquaintances, and to be happy together about the reunion. It was great to experience crew members, including the Captain, remembering us as dear guests after 9 months, sometimes even with hugs and kisses. Then you know you must have done something right. And considering the tens of thousands of other passengers on board after you left the ship 9 months ago, it is incredible that they remember you, and that gives you a good and warm feeling inside. We especially appreciated those little extras you receive when you ask in a kind and friendly way. When you get your unsalted butter with your raisin bread, delivered every morning to your table by a kind head waiter (it is simply not the same with salted butter on this wonderful, freshly baked raisin bread). Or the waiter who orders the delicious blue cheese dressing in the galley even when it is not on the menu, just because you love it. On the other hand, it was interesting to see the first-timers, how they explored the ship and how they marveled at so many things. For us, everything is well known, more like visiting a good friend at home; it is like he welcomes you and says: "My house is your house." And then the anticipation of things to come, the familiar places you will visit again. Or the unknown places you will explore. I was really happy with our decision to do everything spontaneously. We had not made any plans in advance, instead, we did just what we felt like doing on the respective day—maybe an island tour or a taxi ride to one of the Caribbean beaches. Or maybe you decide to stay on board and enjoy the quiet ship with all its amenities, when the other passengers are doing tours in overheated busses or ports. We often say "We are on vacation!", a sentence that stumps many people. But after a while they agree: When they understand the meaning of the words, i.e., that we have time, and when we tell other people like crew members to take their time and that nobody needs to hurry for us. Even on vacation, many people have stress and react on little things like on major issues. People, you are on vacation, enjoy the life of doing nothing and give your respect to all those people who deserve it, like all the crew members who are doing everything in order for you to have the time of your life. We loved all the conversations with crew members who we only had met briefly last year, and now we took the time to get a closer contact. Like our daily conversations with a bar waitress or even with the Captain. Or several conversations with a young singer, only 18 years old, far away from home, and doing remarkable performances on stage. Those are the moments that make a cruise very special, because humanity and personal contacts are of such importance, even on a larger ship. (Not a boat, Captain!) Where the Captain makes small talk walking through the Dining Room during dinner and sometimes teases guests like me. Or the dinner in Chops Grille, where we got a special entree which was not on the menu. That is what made those two cruises so special. Anyway, both cruises where an adventure for ship spotters. I am sure that Uwe took more pictures from ships than from any other subject. The Caribbean Islands What will it be like, visiting the islands for the second time? We were more critical than the first time. In fact, these islands only exist to make money from the cruise tourists. Think about this: A 10-minute ride to Paradise Point on St. Thomas for $18, to get a wonderful overview of the harbor and the surroundings, and then another $4 to get into an overcrowded town that more or less consists of jeweler stores. And people’s main interest is the bargain you can get in one of those stores. But if you take your time, you will find some romantic small alleys that render a bit of a Caribbean feeling. And maybe you agree with the policeman cautioning a vacationer who thinks that walking around without a shirt in town is appropriate. We noticed that many of our co-passengers wanted to visit some of the famous beaches on the different islands. On Antigua it was difficult to get a taxi for an island tour without a beach stop. The price was reasonable, $30 per person for a 3-hour tour and a group of 6. And Antigua is worth an island tour, it is one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands we have visited in the past years. But let me warn you: The island dialects can sometimes be very strange and hard to understand, e.g., “tong” means town. The island tour in St. Maarten was neither worth the money nor the time. Many traffic jams, only a few photo stops. The stop at Maho Beach was too early to get the experience of the landing jets right behind the beach. The French part of the island presented itself with its capital Marigot, with colorful straw markets and great marinas. A stop at the totally overcrowded Orient Beach made us refrain from taking another taxi ride in the afternoon for a beach break. St. Maarten did not meet our expectations. One day during a cruise is enough, but a longer stay would be too much for us. Personally, all those tropical islands we visited are not what we expected. But for those who love visiting several beaches and doing all kinds of water sports, these islands are perfect. Before we reached St. Thomas, the ship’s officers made an announcement about a gas turbine. We arrived in St. Thomas in the night, engineers came on board, and one turbine was replaced. The passengers were not bothered by this incident. It was different with the medical emergency in the afternoon, when the departure was later than scheduled. There were actually several medical emergencies, and we had some unplanned port stops in order to take the people to an ambulance in the closest port. When we got back from a shore excursion in Nassau, we had a message on our voicemail saying that we would reach Ft. Lauderdale earlier than scheduled. Another gas turbine was to be replaced, and we would leave Ft. Lauderdale only at 2 am on Sunday instead of 5 pm on Saturday. They offered us $ 100 per person as compensation, since they had to cancel the stop in Key West. But in the end it was not necessary. The turbine was replaced faster than expected, and we could leave Ft. Lauderdale for our second cruise to the Eastern Caribbean islands at 8 pm on Saturday, so that we reached Key West on the following morning. Back-to-Back: Two cruises on the same ship, starting at the same port, are called back-to-back cruises. We did the Eastern Caribbean with an 8-day cruise and the Western with a 6-day cruise. We had booked the same cabin for the two cruises, so there was no packing and unpacking after the first part. The sea passes were delivered to our cabin the day before the last day. We were escorted by the 3rd purser off and on the ship after a short wait in the terminal. Everything went absolutely hasslefree, a quick check from the local customs, and back on the ship for the second cruise. It only took longer than usual because the Radiance had the comprehensive Coast Guard test with smoke, smoke removal, etc. going on that is done twice a year on every cruise ship. Key West was hot, really hot with a humidity of more than 90%. Ships in port: the HAL Veendam and the Carnival Celebration. We strolled around in the center of Key West and were glad to get back on the air-conditioned ship. The next stop was Cozumel. We docked next to the Freedom OTS and the Carnival Fantasy off the center of Cozumel, where several other ships were docking: Oceania Regatta, Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Dream, Costa Magica, and in Playa del Carmen Celebrity Constellation. On Grand Cayman there were lots of people in the port, all ships had to tender to different spots close to the totally overcrowded city center. It was again hot, and with so many people and traffic it was almost impossible to cross the streets and to get into one of the stores. Freedom OTS and Voyager OTS, Costa Magica, Carnival Liberty, Carnival Imagination and Carnival Inspiration anchored off the harbor. We had planned on booking a boat trip, but with so many people everywhere, we did not want to queue for a tour. The weather was again extremely hot, so we tendered back to the ship at noon and enjoyed the ship’s amenities. After dinner we attended the production show “Piano Man” for the second time. It was interesting, because we noticed more details than with the first time—the excellent decoration, the wonderful costumes, and the professionalism of the singers and dancers. Montego Bay, Jamaica: The last port on our cruise, and for us also the last one on our ranking list. Mo-Bay is a total tourist trap. You can buy a bus round-ticket for $12 and you get a paper bracelet and a map with their so-called “Hot Spots”. So we took one of these buses to the last stop, “Doctor’s Cave Beach”, where we were asked to pay $5 for visiting the beach, $5 for a beach chair, and $5 for a parasol, all in all $30 for the two of us. We decided to take the bus back to the next Hot Spot, because the beach was not worth paying $30 for 2 or 3 hours. The next Hot Spot was a bar, but we do not belong to those species who love to drink already in the morning, so we went to the next stop, the “City Center Mall”, a third-class shopping mall and also totally overcrowded. On our way back to the pier we passed the “Harbor Street Craft Market”, but this did not interest us either. Information for those who want to take a taxi: 1 hour for about $30, a tour to Dunn’s River Falls about $100. Our conclusion These ports of the Western and Eastern Caribbean were so overcrowded that we had no fun leaving the ship and discovering the ports. On Antigua, we were able to avoid the crowds on an independent tour, but in every other port we did not experience any Caribbean feeling; I doubt that it was there at all. Someone who loves to visit the different beaches on these islands will have fun, on the beach or with water sports activities, and enjoy these itineraries. I believe that RCCL made the right decision to bring the two smaller ships “Azamara Quest” and “Azamara Journey” into play, with different itineraries and different, less crowded ports of call. A touch of expedition, and less mass tourism. Translation kindly supported by Susanne Wurster, Göteborg, Sweden More information, also in english available: www.oppermann-wuppertal.de Read Less
Sail Date February 2007
We recently cruised aboard the Radiance of the Seas on December 17-23 2006 to the Western Caribbean. The Embarkation- We had an red eye flight from LAX. I will not do that again. Go a day before and stay the night so you are well rested. ... Read More
We recently cruised aboard the Radiance of the Seas on December 17-23 2006 to the Western Caribbean. The Embarkation- We had an red eye flight from LAX. I will not do that again. Go a day before and stay the night so you are well rested. We took a taxi from FLL for about $15. We arrived pretty early and checked in around 11:30. Very easy process,no long lines and we were on the ship by 12:15. The Ship- The ship was absolutely beautiful. We had a Junior Suite which was the way to go. It was very spacious with plenty of closet space and drawers for clothes. We spent a lot of time at the spa. We bought a pass ($99.00 a couple) that allowed us to use the facilities for the week. We loved to go and lay in the heated mosaic thermal chairs and lookout at the beautiful clear water. My husband would go workout everyday and then head to the spa to use their dry and wet sauna, aromatherapy sauna, and tropical showers. We also had a couples Rasul treatment for $85 that was so romantic and fun. We also loved to spend time in the Solarium which is the Adult only pool area. It was very relaxing. The outside pool area was where the party happened. Music, drinks, and good fun every time we sailed away from a port. The inside of the ship was well taken care of and clean. We often went to the Centrum to take pictures and there was usually a musical act playing at night. The nightly entertainment in the Aurora Theatre was pretty good. The talent was definitely there, but the shows could of been better organized. The Food- The food on the ship was great. The dining room selection was good and portioned just right. The two specialty dining options Portofino's and Chops Grille were excellent. It was fine dining with excellent food and service. Every dish came out as a piece of art and cooked to perfection. We also used Room Service for some of the hard to get up mornings. Their breakfast was good and always brought on time. We did not eat a lot at the Windjammer b/c I am not much of a buffet person. But the food was average there and they had a good variety. The Ports- We liked that the ship was in a different port almost everyday. The first port was Key West which we did the Trolley Tour of the City. Not fun and not much to see.You literally just drive by. I would have much rather gone to see Ernest Hemingway's house and then gone to Duvall Street to hang out. Next stop Cozumel which we did an excursion to Playa Mia. It was $28 a person and well worth it. Open bar and beautiful beach with a water trampoline and ice berg to climb. Then to Grand Cayman. We went snorkeling with the Stingrays which is a must do. Not much to see in town. Just shops that sell jewelry and rum. Jamaica had the most beautiful scenery, but the people were rude. If you don't buy something they get mad. Take a taxi to Doctors Cove Beach for $4.00 and pay $5.00 for admission. The excursion from the ship cost us $42 a person to take us shopping for 30min and then take us to the Doctors Cove beach. Definitely not worth it. Overall- We had great time in Caribbean and we would do it all over again without hesitation. You went above and beyond our expectations. Read Less
Sail Date December 2006
Radiance of the Seas Review: September 16, 2006 Pacific Northwest Cruise My husband and I departed from Vancouver, British Columbia on September 16, 2006 on a seven night Pacific Northwest one-way repositioning cruise aboard Royal ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas Review: September 16, 2006 Pacific Northwest Cruise My husband and I departed from Vancouver, British Columbia on September 16, 2006 on a seven night Pacific Northwest one-way repositioning cruise aboard Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas; a relaxing voyage calling on Nanaimo and Victoria in British Columbia, Astoria Oregon and San Francisco. Our final destination was Los Angeles, California, with two days at sea. As you may already know, the Radiance has a seasonal itinerary that takes it to Alaska in the summer and to Hawaii and through the Panama Canal before arriving in south Florida, where she winters. We had a very enjoyable cruise and wouldn't hesitate to do it again. Not every aspect of the cruise was perfect, but we didn't have any major issues that put a damper on our vacation. And we found the ship, our accommodations, service and overall value to far exceed our expectations. Ship Overview The Radiance of the Seas is the first Radiance class ship to be built; it is slightly larger than Royal Caribbean's Vision class ships and a little smaller than Voyager class ships. Its design incorporates the best of both ships, including a solarium and lots of glass everywhere, making it perfect for Alaska and the Pacific Northwest as the glass provides lots of windbreaks. It also has a lot of the features that have made Voyager class ships so popular, including a rock climbing wall and two alternative restaurants. If you ask people who are familiar with Royal Caribbean's fleet, they will tell you it has many Voyager class ship features without the hoards of people. As a fan of Voyager class ships, I can see why so many people consider the Radiance class of ships their favorite. Its interior is done in muted colors and has a very upscale feel to it. The designers did a great job incorporating all the windows - those glass elevators overlooking the water while the ship is in motion are not to be missed! The Radiance was built in 2000, making it six years old. It's a fairly large ship, weighing in at around 90,000 tons; it can accommodate around 2500 people, though it was announced that we had about 2100 people. The ship was surprisingly well maintained and sparkling clean; there had been another Norwalk Virus breakout a few weeks earlier, so all the public areas were kept very clean. This issue also had a few negatives; until the captain gave the order to relax the 'outbreak procedures' no one could serve themselves in the Windjammer Buffet. This caused long lines and a lot of headaches, as they didn't bother to open up the formal dining room to ease some of the congestion. Eventually, by mid-cruise, we could serve ourselves in the buffet lines, but until then, it took twice as long to eat breakfast or lunch. Embarkation We flew into Seattle and took the cruise line bus to the port in Vancouver. After collecting our luggage, we checked in with the Royal Caribbean reps who handle the bus transfers. We waited about 20 minutes, got on the bus and arrived at Canada Place three hours later. The bus ride over took longer than our flight to Seattle! The tour bus that transported us wasn't in the best shape, but it was convenient and we arrived exactly like they said we would. We got off the bus, checked in and found that our cabin on Deck 7 wasn't ready. A land-based company was replacing all balcony dividers, and they were still working on the cabins on our deck. About the time they were announcing the lifeboat drill was when we finally could go to our room. Was it a little irritating to not be able to get to you room? Sure, but what can you do; we went to eat a late lunch and then it was off to the lifeboat drill. By the time we returned to our room, our luggage was outside our door, so we proceeded to unpack; then it was off to the Concierge Lounge to decompress. Our Stateroom We had a low-end balcony on deck 7, a very 'standard' stateroom with a nice balcony towards the front of the ship which we received as an upgrade. It was tastefully decorated; our two beds were moved together and made up as a queen size bed. The beds were okay, and by cruise end, we got used to it. But they weren't in the best of shape - some lumps and bumps mostly. I understand that the Radiance is scheduled to get new beds, so by the time you cruise, this may be a mute point. As a side note, I never sleep that well in strange beds, so more often than not, I have to make due with what we get. The only exception was on our last Carnival cruise in February; that bed was better than any other we have had on a cruise! The room had a small couch, a glass topped coffee table and a lighted vanity desk. Storage wasn't a problem, as we had two night stands, shelf storage in and around the vanity with a few drawers, as well as a divided closet with shelves and hangers. There was a minibar/refrigerator in our cabin though we never used it. Our on-board telephone had a great voice mail system, so new friends and people traveling with you can leave you a message anytime. The bathroom came equipped with shampoo and soap, but no conditioner. The shampoo can double as a nice body wash, but I wouldn't recommend it for your hair. There was a hair dryer in the vanity - it worked quite well, so I never used the one I packed. I found the storage space in the bathroom more than met our needs, and I always seem to over pack when it comes to toiletries, so I'm pretty sure you too will find the storage space adequate. All in all, I really had no disappointments when it came to our stateroom. At 200+ square feet plus another 45 on the balcony, we found our room very comfortable. Our balcony was everything you would expect a balcony to be. I know people who would never cruise with anything less than a balcony stateroom; but I have to be honest with you, those times we cruised in inside or outside accommodations were no worse than our balcony, as we never spent much time in any of our rooms. Having the additional square footage that comes with a balcony is by far the best benefit I can see. But on most new ships, even inside cabins these days have larger rooms. At least that is what I have noticed. It's up to you whether it's worth spending the extra money on a balcony. If you do, I recommend you make an effort to use it! Public Areas of the Ship All in all, the public areas of the ship such as the Aurora Theater show lounge, the many bars around the ship, the pool areas and the dining room were tastefully decorated. The Radiance is now six years old, and with constant use, it does in places, show some wear and tear. But for the most part, it's in good repair and it's very clean. Everyone from officers, to management to custodial staff to service personnel were for the most part friendly and professional. What Is There To Do? You will find destination & shopping lectures presented by cruise staff and guest lecturers, a fully equipped Shipshape Fitness Center with state-of-the-art gym and aerobics room, and a full service spa with sauna/steam rooms and massage. There are three swimming pools, including one with a retractable roof and several whirlpool spas. There's also a couple of 'way cool' self-leveling pool tables, a sports court with basketball (no volleyball), a jogging track and a rock climbing wall. All in all, you will find quite a bit to keep you entertained when you are NOT in ports of call. Like Voyager class ships, all Radiance class of ships were designed for the more active person in mind. Formal and Informal Dining A lot has been written about the food one can get on a cruise ship, and yes, you'll find plenty to eat on the Radiance of the Seas. But the quality of the food one gets today is NOT what it used to be, even if the quantity is the same. I found the dinners we ate in the formal dining to be very good, but NOT outstanding; meaning it was comparable to the quality you would expect from a mid-range restaurant. I always managed to find something I liked. Our meals were warm, but never piping hot; the service was excellent and special requests were accommodated cheerfully. This is NOT four star cuisine, however, the menu items were tastefully presented, and offerings included escargot, refreshing cold soups, and lobster tail and rack of lamb. Suffice it to say, everyone at our table came away having enjoyed their dinner. The Windjammer Buffet is where we ate breakfast and lunch most days. It was standard buffet type food; nothing out of the ordinary, but lots of fresh fruit, home baked breads and pastries for breakfast as well as eggs and pancakes. At lunch, there were sandwiches and hot food items, a salad bar and even pizza. The Windjammer buffet was always busy, so staff was constantly refilling empty food containers with fresh items. As I mentioned earlier, the formal dining room was never open for lunch on days we were in port. It was such a chore to eat in the Windjammer early in the week - long lines, rude people everywhere cutting in, overworked staff members serving the food, and finally, never being able to find a clean table! Thankfully, the 'outbreak' procedures were relaxed by the fourth day and the Windjammer got back to normal! On the two days at sea, the dining room was open for both breakfast and lunch and we made a point of eating there. The lunch menu was just okay, and the quality of the food wasn't really any better than what you could get up at the Windjammer, in my opinion. But you didn't have to fight the crowds, so it was more relaxing and much less stressful. I never ate dinner up at the buffet, but heard it was 'just okay'; people remarked that many of the same dinner items served in the formal dining room were available in the buffet but were consistently less fresh and dried out. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly It's been a while since we took a "perfect" vacation; our trip to the Maui Four Season's a few years ago comes to mind. Although enjoyable, our cruise had a few minor "issues" that are probably not even worth mentioning - they weren't enough to put a damper on our vacation. Suffice it to say, they guy who ran the Concierge Lounge had his 'favorite' past guests' and pretty much ignored everyone else. This was by no means a problem for us, as we stuck pretty much to ourselves and we had no problems going up to the bar to request drinks. Willie, the Concierge, had a tendency to be short with some passengers (like me) when asked for assistance; others we spoke to felt he was the best Concierge ever! Therefore, please take my comments with a grain of salt - I have never met this person before, so it could be he was just having a bad day! In case you are wondering, the Concierge Lounge is a very nice past guest perk for Diamond and above Crown & Anchor Society members (Royal Caribbean's past guest program - Diamond level is 10 cruises or more) and for high-end suite passengers where they serve complementary drinks every night from 5:00pm-8:30pm. The evening lounge was in the Hollywood Odyssey Lounge, Deck 13, but the Concierge was located on Deck 10. Our second "issue" really wasn't Royal Caribbean's fault, as it had to do with rude and aggressive passengers. Not sure why there were so many aboard this particular sailing, but they were out in-force EVERYWHERE! The 'outbreak' procedures in the Windjammer probably caused this, however, once they relaxed a bit, it did get better. Ports of Call The reason we booked this cruise was for the ports of call. We had never visited Nanaimo, Victoria or Astoria, so it was a real treat to explore these ports of call. We also called on San Francisco, and made the decision to visit areas we had never been to, so getting off the ship was a real adventure. In San Francisco, Nanaimo and Victoria, we booked shore excursions through Royal Caribbean. They were well run and enjoyable. We took a walking tour of the city in Nanaimo - it was very informative and I came away learning about its culture and history. In Victoria, we visited Buchart Gardens and a small winery. I felt we didn't have enough time at the Gardens, so next time I would NOT do a forma tour, but rather go on my own. In Astoria, we had access to a car and drove up and down the coast - from the mouth of the Columbia River to CannonBeach. That was by far the best day we had in port. In San Francisco, we took a tour to Muir Woods and Sausalito; it was okay - however, one hour was not enough time at Muir Woods. Sausalito was okay if you liked strolling up and down a tourist hot spot - restaurants, tee shirt stores and art galleries. About Us We are in our 40's - work full time and have no kids. We enjoy scuba diving, skiing and hiking vacations and although we do enjoy cruising, it's not the only type of vacation we take. I lead 'active' cruise groups for Cruise Critic a few times a year and occasionally we cruise to simply 'get a way' - as was the case this time. I also used to consult for the cruise lines 'education' programs years ago when they restructured their kid's programs. We run into many 'cruise experts' who cruise all the time - they are on a first name basis with ship staff and seem to be 'in the know' when it comes to the ship all the time! Many work in the travel industry or are retired. Many cruise to cruise - the ports of call tend not to always be that high up on their list of priorities. I am just the opposite - the ports of call are more important to me than the cruise 'experience' or the ship. Sure, when given a choice between identical itineraries I will go with the ship that gets the better reviews, is recommended or somehow offers me 'something special'. But please note that I base my decision to cruise on the itinerary. Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
It was our first time on Royal Caribbean. I've cruised Holland and Carnival and had high expectations for Radiance of the Seas. We spent a long day traveling, had mechanical problems which caused us to be late to the ship, however, ... Read More
It was our first time on Royal Caribbean. I've cruised Holland and Carnival and had high expectations for Radiance of the Seas. We spent a long day traveling, had mechanical problems which caused us to be late to the ship, however, they held it as there were about 50 people on board that were due to be on that ship. Once in Anchorage, I learned that Alaska Air had lost my luggage and would not be able to get it to the ship on time. Therefore, I had to wait three days for my luggage. I found the guest relations desk to be extraordinarily complacent when checking in with them as to the the status of my luggage as it was to be delivered to their facility in Skagway. I received nothing but a toothbrush from them and was told continually that their luggage supervisor was unavailable. I missed the first formal night, but nothing was going to ruin this trip. We boarded the ship with no problems because everyone was already on board waiting for our group. However, we were informed that the prior cruise had had an outbreak of the Norovirus and that the ship was under "Code Red" procedures. At least 5 times a day the captain reminded us all to wash our hands. By the end of the cruise only about 50 people had become ill. The positives. The ship was the most beautiful I've seen. First class all the way and the ports were gorgeous. CHOPS restaurant was the best food I've ever had in my life. Well worth the $20.00. The negatives. This was the last cruise for Alaska and you could tell the crew was already on vacation. The customer service from the room attendants to the dining room was horrible. They were rude and could have cared less that anyone was in need of service. The bartenders were okay, however, they were short on Patron tequila and as we found out later, it was because they themselves were drinking it. We personally saw two of the bartenders salt a lime, grab a bottle and walk in the back. Our favorite bartender was so drunk one day that he couldn't see straight and took a nap behind the bar. There was absolutely zero supervision on board for the crew. The dining room dinners were good. The breakfast was the worst anyone on board had had before. Nothing but complaints. The shows were good. However, we live in Vegas so our perspective is different. Departing the ship. Our plane left at 2:00. We were told to be ready by 8:00 a.m. As we found out, it was necessary. We were driven to the airport and THREE hours later, our group's luggage arrived. We ran to the check in line, and made it on time. There were only three Air Canada agents working and I guarantee that 50% of the people did not make their flights that day. I would recommend Alaska and the ship, but hopefully they've changed the crew! Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
Well, we're back but still tired and rockin. Wanted to give you an overview of our trip for yourself and/or others. Two weeks is too long. Many people were saying this. It had too many days at sea. It was VERY disappointing that they ... Read More
Well, we're back but still tired and rockin. Wanted to give you an overview of our trip for yourself and/or others. Two weeks is too long. Many people were saying this. It had too many days at sea. It was VERY disappointing that they changed the itinerary and did not go to to Kawai which is supposed to be beautiful! They gave us a $50 pp shipboard credit for the change, but others I talked to got $200 pp. It still didn't make up for the missed port. The first 2 days were cloudy and cold, which made it boring with no pool or sun. It was better the next two days. Our first stop, Oahu, was nice but the city of Honolulu was congested with traffic and awful to drive in. We rented a jeep (shuttles at pier take you to their location) and went south the first day to Waikiki, Hanuawma Bay (beautiful - good swimming and great snorkeling), the blowhole, Diamond Head, and finally Sunset Beach with the Bonsai pipeline. There were a lot of places on the east side that were slumlike with shacks, etc. Getting back to the pier was miserable. Traffic was bumper to bumper and the signs are confusing. A friend we made on the ship helped get us back with his GPS he brought along. We went out that night with some others to John Davids restaurant along the ocean. The food was good although expensive and at the end of dinner the hotel across the bay has a fireworks display each Friday so that was beautiful. The second day we went north to visit the Dole Plantation and some beaches on the north shore. We saw sail surfers which were awesome to watch. We were planning to drive around from there to the western side to see the beaches but it doesn't connect around the point. Very disappointed, we drove back down toward Honolulu since there is no way to get around the mountains till you head south toward Pearl Harbor. There wasn't enough time to get around to the western beaches so we headed south the a beach but were again disappointed to find it wasn't much. We left and drove back to the rental place and then shuttled back to the ship. Maui was wonderful. We got a free shuttle in Lahaina to Whaler's village, which is on Kaanapali Beach. We had been there before to the Westin resort so we walked there and went to their pool and got chairs and enjoyed the pool for a few hours. No one said anything. Whew! We went back to the ship later in the afternoon and got showered and changed to go back to Kaanapali Beach for dinner. The tender ride back was a mess since there was another ship in port. We sat on the water bouncing up and down on the tender for 35 minutes until we got cleared to head in. I was starting to feel yucky. We had eaten at Va Bene restaurant at the Marriott before for a crab leg buffet and sure enough, they had it that night! It was a delicious, wonderful, romantic night since we strolled along the beach and enjoyed a beautiful sunset while we celebrated our 31st anniversary. We then shared a taxi back to the town of Lahaina and shopped for a while before catching a tender back to the ship. The bus/trolley system there needs greatly expanded and improved. You have to wait forever for them and then they fill up quickly since there are so many people waiting. We got so frustrated we asked people around us if they wanted to split the cost of a taxi. They were more than happy! Our last stop was Kona. It was hot, humid and disappointing. We wanted to hang out at a beach for the day but were told that most all the beaches are lava and not very suitable for swimming. We shopped for a while in the town but were so hot and sticky that we went back to the ship early and sat by the pool. That night the captain sailed past the active volcano and lava flow. He got close enough that you could hear the rumbling and the hiss/steam as the lava hit the water. Very cool! The food on the ship was OK. Not as good as some of the larger ships we'd been on. The quality was not as good and the variety more limited. We ate the last night at the Chops Grille and were very pleased. The food and service there is 5 star! The bathrooms in the public areas of the ship were neglected: soap dispensers and paper towels empty, dirty floors, etc. The shop displays and art displays appeared as if they hadn't been dusted in a month?? There were several good shows and a few good entertainers but a lot of nights we didn't go since it didn't seem appealing. The 5 days back at sea seemed endless. Once again, the first 2 days were extremely windy and chilly. The 3rd day was nicer. The 4th day was great! The 5th day was chilly unless you stayed in the sun or the solarium. The solarium was packed every day. If you want a chair you have to get there by 7 am! The captain came out and mingled a lot with the passengers and was cheery but a little too friendly with the women. Some of his comments were inappropriate. We felt some of his conduct was undignified for a ship captain. All in all, it was good. We sat at a table for 10 for dinner and met and made friends with some great people. I would recommend though that if you want to cruise Hawaii, fly there, cruise the islands and fly home. For ourselves, we would fly to (even though we HATE the 11 hr. plane ride) and stay in Maui on Kaanapali Beach which is fantastic and skip Oahu and the big island! Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
This was our third cruise, second with teens. The fastest embarkation we have ever experienced by far - we were on the ship in no time. First time in a Jr. suite and it was not that much different that a deluxe balcony room except that my ... Read More
This was our third cruise, second with teens. The fastest embarkation we have ever experienced by far - we were on the ship in no time. First time in a Jr. suite and it was not that much different that a deluxe balcony room except that my sister was traveling with our family and the walk in closet made a wonderful place for changing. (Bathroom was used for that purpose too, but this way, 2 people could get ready for dinner etc. at the same time (helped to speed things along in that regard). Ship was very nice, showing just slight signs of wear but we are not fussy folks so that didn't matter to us. Entertainment was very good. Singer in the lounge was super, I think his name was Santigo or something like that. He should be in Vegas. Food in the dining room was very good. Not as many choices as I remember from the last times we cruised but what we ordered was good. Ate in the Windjammer for breakfast about five times and some days for lunch. There was a good variety but certain things that I put on my plate I would not eat after I tried it because it would not be hot. In fact some things were at a very dangerous temperature in my opinion and I worried about getting sick. We eat out every now and then at a cafeteria style restaurant and I know with that type of dining you can't expect food to be as hot as a made to order place, but I saw no steam from the steam trays. They really need to monitor that better. And I don't think it was because of the time of morning we went to breakfast, because we went in a different times of the morning. Ate lunch a couple of times at the Seaview cafe and the food was fine there. We used the gym often. It was clean and had quite a bit of cardio equipment, but it was always full every morning, sometimes till 11:00 or 12:00. When we went in the evening, we had the place to ourselves. Overall, a great cruise. We would sail on the Radiance again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
PREFACE: This was our 3rd RCCL cruise. 7th cruise altogether (Costa, Windjammer, NCL, Carnival) Family of 4 (kids: 11&15); 2 balcony cabins 9044 & 9042. EMBARKATION: Arrived at port around 11am. No traffic to speak of; parking ... Read More
PREFACE: This was our 3rd RCCL cruise. 7th cruise altogether (Costa, Windjammer, NCL, Carnival) Family of 4 (kids: 11&15); 2 balcony cabins 9044 & 9042. EMBARKATION: Arrived at port around 11am. No traffic to speak of; parking was easy; baggage check easy & efficient. No lines inside; walked directly on board; longest wait was for boarding photo. Buffet was in full swing upon arrival. Cabins were ready promptly at 1pm as advised. INITIAL IMPRESSION: Clean, sophisticated decor, lots of glass, brass, marble. CABINS: Were comfortably spacious; immaculate. Bathroom tiny but functional. Plenty of storage space. Balcony was decent size. I thought bed was comfortable; however, husband thought it was uncomfortable...so to each his own opinion! DINING: Were assigned late seating (as requested); but asked for small table and received table of 10. Asked for smaller table several times with no luck. There were minimal tables for 4 throughout dining room. Waiter was good. Food was very good. Only ate in dining room 2x. 1x in Windjammer for dinner: very good. 4x in specialty restaurants (we really enjoyed them: 2xChops; 2xPortofino...equally lovely). No complaints on any meals at all. Gala midnight buffet was beautiful but we were too full to eat! ENTERTAINMENT: Good. Comedian was mediocre. Production shows were good. The "original Drifters" were lousy. SHORE EXCURSIONS: Parasailing (Labadee) was the only excursion we booked through RCCL which was fine. We booked all others on our own and they were very good. PORTS: Labadee: Just a beach day. It is an "okay" place to spend the day. Nothing special. Too many vendors are allowed in the marketplace. Since it is somewhat of a "private" area, I think they should be limited and less pushy. It was annoying to not be able to look at anything and also, all the things there were selling looked alike and like something you could pick up at Wal-Mart. Ocho Rios: Jamaica is not our favorite destination. We never quite feel safe there but we had a nice time with Peat Taylor tours. Did the falls (along with hundreds of other folks) and a brief island tour. Ended day at Margaritaville. Grand Cayman: Was not looking forward to this stop as there were 14,000 other passengers on 7 ships in port on this day. Decided to rent Jeep & escape the crowds by driving to Rum Point. What a good decision! This was a beautiful area & cannot imagine another visit to this island without going straight to Rum Point! Cozumel: Decided to rent a Jeep as the weather was not great. We drove around as much of the island as possible (some roads were hurricane damaged and impassable) and then walked around town. There is tons of damage and reconstruction work going on. It is not very impressive to visit Cozumel at this time, but once they are done with all the construction, it should be very nice again. DISEMBARKATION: Decided not to do the "walk-off" option. They called our "Purple" tags before 8am. We had a somewhat leisurely breakfast, took a peak at some of the suites on deck 10, dragged our kids out of bed & got off the ship about 8:45 am. Lines were about 20 minutes long to get through customs. Baggage claim was easy & traffic not too bad exiting port. ALL IN ALL: We had a very good time. We really enjoyed the Radiance but it just did not knock our socks off like the Explorer did. It is hard to compete with that Voyager class. Next time...back to the big guys! Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
I traveled with my husband and my parents on the 3-5-06 Radiance of the Seas sailing to the Western Caribbean. Checking in was the easiest and quickest I have ever experienced on any cruise line. Dont leave home without registering ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and my parents on the 3-5-06 Radiance of the Seas sailing to the Western Caribbean. Checking in was the easiest and quickest I have ever experienced on any cruise line. Dont leave home without registering online. You need to complete the online registration 24 hours before departure. Remember to print out your Sea Pass. Youll need your Passport (ID), and Credit Card upon check-in. Once youre on board, take time to explore the ship. Buffet lunch is served until 3:00pm in the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11. Staff Captain Hernan Zini runs a tight ship. He is extremely friendly and approachable. My father looked away while posing with my mom and the Captain during the welcome reception. My mother was quite upset, and when I explained this to Captain Zini, he posed with them again during the Crown & Anchor Welcome Aboard Party so I could take another picture. Peter, our Cruise Director, made the cruise extremely enjoyable. The staff was friendly and professional  Guest relations, Head Waiter, Our Waiter Basilio, our Assistant Waiter, Victor, our Room Steward Sharon, Windjammer Cafe personnel  everyone seemed to have a smile and their face and never too busy to greet or help us. I compare the staff to other cruise lines/ships, and I must say they were outstanding. Ship -- The Radiance of the Seas, the oldest of the 4 ships comprising the Radiance family, is a nice ship. However, it is showing wear, and RCCL should consider refurbishing it soon. Although the staff was diligently working around the clock, the carpeting in the public areas and rooms looked extremely worn. The furniture in my parents room was extremely scratched, faded, and worn  even the toilet seat in my room was chipped and worn. Activities -- Since this cruise only had 2 sea days, we couldnt enjoy all the activities. Whether youre interested in spinning, spa treatments, basketball, bingo, theres always something to do. One of my favorite parts of the cruise is the pictures. Besides the traditional Formal Portraits, dont miss the Freestyle Black & White Portraits. Youll want to take them all home with you. Entertainment -- The Royal Caribbean Singers & Dancers had 2 productions  Piano Man and City of Dreams, the latter being the most extravagant productions I have seen on RCCL cruises. I was pleasantly surprised to see BeatleMania Live. This was definitely the highlight of all nights. My husband and I had previously seen them in Ft. Lauderdale, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing them again. The weakest show was Hal Frazier. He definitely is talented, but seemed disoriented and rattled on in his monologue portion of the show. Santino & Blackjax (live band) was amazing. He had everyone on their feet in the Centrum. Rosario Strings, Lorenzo Dino, Serenade Trio, and Tom Scott all made the cruise enjoyable. Food -- The Windjammer Cafes breakfast was very good. The omelette station chefs were great! I had my eggs over medium every morning, and there were plenty of accompaniments to choose from  cereal bar, fresh fruit, yogurt, breads, cold cuts, pancakes, waffles, hash browns, etc. Lunch and dinner were average  probably a bit better than regular buffet food. The barbecue lunch buffet in Labadee was lacking. Dark meat  chicken legs  was the only cut available. The hamburgers had been cooked earlier on the ship, so they were dry. The pavilion was poorly positioned  too far from the main entrance. Dinner in the Cascades Dining Room was good, but not great. I cant say it was any better or worse than any other RCCL, Carnival, or NCL cruise Ive been on. I cannot comment on Specialty Dining. Ports of Call Labadee, Haiti -- Labadee is on a peninsula on the north coast of Hispaniola, otherwise known as Haiti. Royal Caribbean has cordoned off a remote portion of this island, and the totally safe and private compound provides guests an opportunity to experience the beauty of this region. Youll find most of the information you need at the following link: http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/Labadee.htm Georgetown, Grand Cayman -- Grand Cayman is a relatively small island that is modern in every way. With over 500 banks and hundreds of insurance companies located in the Cayman Islands, it is the fifth largest economy in the world. Besides its economic activities, Grand Cayman offers fabulous beaches, excellent duty free shopping and plenty to do. This is a tender port. The tenders leave you right in the middle of downtown. I found the best shops to be the ones closest to the pier. After shopping in downtown, we took the $5.00 (per person) taxi to SeaGrape Beach which is part of 7 mile beach. Beautiful clear aquamarine water. White powdery sand. Bar and changing facilities just feet away from the water. Plenty of aqua sports right on the shore. Absolutely amazing. http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/GrandCayman.htm Ocho Rios, Jamaica -- Ocho Rios is a medium sized town with all the flavor of Jamaica. It offers a gateway to sightseeing, shopping and a good look into the Jamaican culture. To experience the Jamaican culture I used Marva Shaw. She was an excellent guide that catered to my fathers limitations. After stopping right by Dunn's River Falls for a look at the crowd climbing the falls, we went through the Fern Gulley, made a stop in Spice Valley and tasted some of the native fruits and spices, and then took a tour of Coyaba River Gardens with Happy. Happy was the most knowledgeable guide I have ever had. The word coyaba comes from the Arawak name for paradise. Coyaba is a Spanish-style museum with a river and gardens filled with native flora, a cut-stone courtyard, fountains, and a crafts shop and bar. If you visit Coyaba River Gardens, please be sure to request him. Be sure to ask for the tour that includes Mahoe Falls. We paid $10.00 per person. After a swim in the falls, hunger kicked in, and we ended the tour with a wonderful Jamaican lunch at The Ranch. Marva arranged everything. The food was great. 5 of us ate jerk chicken, had a juice or Red Stripe, and the bill was $53.00. For more information on Marvas tours, please visit www.knowjamaica.com. Youll be happy that you did. Suggestion -- Please remember to get change before you get off the ship. It will be a lot easier if you have exact change with smaller denomination bills. Vendors can be very, very persistent, and you will find them at every stop. If you have a few souvenirs to purchase, pace yourself so youre able to help multiple vendors. Remember to be friendly and respectful and you will have a great time. http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/OchoRiosJamaica.htm Cozumel, Mexico -- Cozumel is a small island off the east coast of Mexico in the Caribbean Sea. Although it was hit really hard with last years hurricanes, the locals worked extremely hard to get the island ready for visitors. It is the proverbial fishing village in paradise with all of the creature comforts that anyone could want. If you go to Discover Shopping Show, youll get lots of information and advice. Plus, youll get a voucher for a taxi ride to The Forum. Youll have great shopping and can work yourself down the street. After lunch, we took a $12 cab to Paradise Beach. The sea was rough that day and the beach was not particularly good for swimming, but I understand the beach is usually beautiful. http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/Cozumel.htm Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
We have been looking forward to this cruise for over a year. It was myself, my DH, my Brother and a girlfriend. Our cruise dates were December 4 - 11, 2005. We arrived in Miami on Saturday, December 3rd. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency ... Read More
We have been looking forward to this cruise for over a year. It was myself, my DH, my Brother and a girlfriend. Our cruise dates were December 4 - 11, 2005. We arrived in Miami on Saturday, December 3rd. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency (excellent). We did our air on our own, and did the hotel via Priceline. We arrived in Miami about 3:00pm, checked-in and then went to Bayside. We walked and had dinner at Bubba Gump Restaurant (very nice). We woke up on cruise morning about 8:30am, had breakfast and took a taxi to the port around 12:30pm. Embarkation was excellent. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Our cabin was ready at 1:00pm. We stayed in 9094 (Superior balcony room), very close to the elevators. Excellent room. My Brother and my GF were in 9096, a connecting room. We asked the stateroom attendant to open the inside door. When I got on the ship my H noticed that I did not have our camcorder any longer. He gave it to me while checking in at RC. I went immediately to Guest Relations to see if anyone turned it in, they said no, and to check periodically, which I did for the first 2 days, what a bummer. The Guest Relations staff was very nonchalant. While I take full responsibility, I would have hoped for better customer service. They said they would email the port to see if I left it there, and I never heard anything back. I thought a call to my stateroom saying that they hadn't received word back, or go to hell, or anything would be better than nothing. I also went to Guest Relations about American Airlines being at the port. They said that they knew nothing about it. American Airlines is at the port, and we were able to get our tickets and check our luggage there. Needless to say, I was not pleased with Guest Relations. They had a very "don't bother me" attitude. When I was on the Mariner, they went out of there way to be helpful. The dining experience was wonderful. Our waiter (Karoly) and Assistant waiter (Pablo) were very nice. Pablo was new, so he would forget things, but he was very sweet, and we had no problems in giving him reminders. The food was great in the dining room. My GF and I went to the Murder Mystery on Wednesday at Portofinos. It was not worth $49.50. The food was excellent at Portofinos. The play should be free. Would not do that again. We stayed at the Seaview Cafe and Windjammer. The Windjammer was mediocre to good. The seaview was very good. We never went to the Solarium Cafe. The casino staff was excellent, very polite, and a lot of fun. Our stateroom attendant was nice but, he seemed to also want to hurry us up, or not have time for questions. For example, I purchased alcohol in St. Thomas, the liquor store told me to contact our stateroom attendant at 7:30pm that evening to make certain that it was delivered to the ship. I called at 7:30pm to ask, and before I got the question out, he said, "no alcohol is allowed in the room, call Guest Relations". I knew the alcohol would be delivered to us before we departed the ship, I just felt rushed, as though he was too busy to even listen to my question. I called Guest Relations, and got the same response until I firmed up and said, "please let me ask the question first." I just want to be sure it made it on the ship, I don't want it in the room. Our attendant got better as the week progressed. Not our best, but he turned out pretty nice. The Ports of call were CocoCay (nice), St. Thomas (nice), and St. Maarten (really nice). I did most of my shopping in St. Maarten. I enjoyed all three. The ship also stopped in St. Croix to refuel. We could get off the ship, but it was during the Murder Mystery so we didn't. Overall, my vacation was fabulous. The Cruise Director was very nice however, his staff was not very approachable. I got the impression, whether right or wrong, that this was a first cruise for many (CD staff, Assist. Waiter, Stateroom Attendant, Guest Relations personnel) I have sailed with RC 3 times and by far this was my least favorite, but it was still a great cruise. They are normally so superb that any slight problem, becomes huge. I would highly recommend this ship to anyone, all of the problems that I experienced could be fixed with experience and better customer service training. I will more than likely pick Voyager class ships from now on, but, I would not totally be against the radiance class. I had a wonderful time, and I hope that if you have a cruise coming up, that you have a great time as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
We were on the Radiance for the November 6, 2005 Eastern Caribbean sailing with the Cruise Critic's Radiance of the Seas NUTZ group. The group had some extensive cruisers. We were in the minority with this being my third cruise and my ... Read More
We were on the Radiance for the November 6, 2005 Eastern Caribbean sailing with the Cruise Critic's Radiance of the Seas NUTZ group. The group had some extensive cruisers. We were in the minority with this being my third cruise and my Wife's fourth. The Radiance is a beautiful ship. The extensive glass has been written about along with the glass elevators that face inside or outside. She is a very open ship appointed with beautiful artwork, but she is starting to show her age for one so young. We are told she will be going into dry dock for refitting next February. Dining -- We ate in the main dining room for all but one Dinner. The Cascades is beautiful and the service we received surpassed our expectations. We are not fancy eaters but I like to try new dishes while on a cruise. I must say everything I had was very good to the taste and pleasing to the eye. The Windjammer received most of our dining time. The food was good and there was a large selection. The layout of the Windjammer leads to an easy dining experience. The service there was wonderful. After getting your food and sitting down you were soon approached by an attendant asking if there was anything you desired. Once in between their visits I had run out of coffee and got up to get more. The attendant not assigned to our table saw me and would not allow me to get it myself. He was insistent on serving me. We were very impressed with all of the staff dealing with food service. As the food and service was so good in the Cascades and the Windjammer we saw no reason to go the specialty restaurants. We understand they were very good though. Stateroom -- We had a wonderful Junior Suite located on the back of the ship. This was a great location as the deck was very large and the winds were not strong when underway. This stateroom had a real walk-in closet and more than enough storage room. The bathroom was showing it's age with pieces of chrome missing off the mirrors and the bolt covers for the toilet were missing as well. Speaking of the bathroom we were very surprised of the lack of toiletries offered. In every other Jr. Suite we have been in, there were different soaps, shampoos and on Grandeur we received shower scrunches for use in addition to washcloths. Nothing like that was available. Not even a shower cap. Our cabin attendant gave us everything we asked for and was very friendly. He didn't offer extras though. An example was on the first formal night my wife used the last tissue for her makeup. Lucky she didn't need any more because there was no extra box. There was no extra roll of toilet paper -- we ran out but at least that time there were plenty of tissues. The customer should never run out of anything. Great room but we were disappointed with the amenities. Entertainment -- We saw two shows on this cruise. One was provided by the Radiance Singers and Dancers and was very good. We also enjoyed the celebrity show. That said I feel RCCL needs to have a well-known name for their celebrity shows. Although the entertainer's act was good and enjoyable, his only claim to fame is singing the song for the Happy Days show. It is not that the show wasn't good, it was but I feel the celebrity in the Celebrity Headliner Show would be someone that at least a fourth of the ship's guest would know his/her name. The entertainment in the Schooner Lounge was a pianist or a pianist/singer. After leaving the Grandeur this March, a comparison could not be helped. The Grandeur had Bing, a pianist/singer and Major Handy, a do everything musically entertainer. If you rate these entertainers on a scale of one to five, the Grandeur Schooner would get a five and the Radiance Schooner would receive a two. The service and drinks were excellent though. The entertainment poolside was good. The drinks were unpredictable. One "drink of the day" was so bad I had to throw it out. The service poolside was the worst I have ever seen on a RCCL ship. The servers were almost non-existent in the bar area. The one time I did see them they blew by me. Since I determined the only way to get a drink poolside was to fight through the crowd at the bar I didn't frequent this location. SPA services -- The wife had an expensive facial done. The facial was very good for her but she felt rushed. Even though she bought additional creams (guys you know these aren't cheap) she felt that they couldn't wait to get her out to start on the next appointment. Very unnerving for what was suppose to be a relaxing time. Colony Club -- This is a nice place. The entertainment was usually good and this is the location for Quest. Don't miss it. The pool tables are flat out amazing. If you are a pool fan you must try this. You have no idea the ship is moving as much as it is until you watch the tables. Remember to check the red light during a pool tournament. If it is on, the table is not working and you find out quickly why these tables are so special. The tables are not level and as predictable as the ocean if the red light is on. Otherwise it is an unusual feeling playing on a table that is level but you move up and down. St. Thomas -- St. Thomas is a beautiful island and has shopping. We have not had the pleasure of shopping there even though this is our second visit. During the first visit we were on two shore excursions, as we knew there were things we wanted at St. Maarten. This time the Immigration rules have changed. Although the Radiance crew stated they were in the hands of the US Immigration officials, they share in the worst experience we have ever had on a RCCL ship. We got up extra early as we were told that US citizens would now have to go through immigration proceedings. This was not the case before. We had to be there early as we had an early shore excursion so we have time to enjoy shopping St Thomas. The day started when we arrived at the Windjammer for a continental breakfast as the main Windjammer restaurant was not open yet. The continental breakfast had only donuts with white icing. The had plenty of hot water, tea bags and sugar for my Wife's tea but nothing to stir it with. I was noting all this when I went for coffee. It is all I really needed. The coffee was out and it was going to take 15 minutes to brew more. As we were storming out the Windjammer opened 10 minutes early. We were able to dash in and eat before making it to a long line already formed for immigration. When the Immigration officials got there the line moved fairly quickly. Our sea-passes were marked and we told to go through the door to the outside deck. Once outside on deck 5 we followed the line, as there was no Radiance crew seen. The line led back to the Centrum where we clashed with the non-American guests who were trying to work their way through their own line. I reasoned we had to get to deck 2 to get off the ship and tried the elevators. Either they were not working or I could not see them because of the huge crowd that was gathering. My Wife found the first Radiance crew member standing in the middle of this huge gathering crowd. She was doing all she could but needed help in the worst way. She told us to get to deck 2. We took the stairs but instead of getting off the ship, we got in a line to get off the ship. After waiting awhile, I walked to the front of the line and a guest informed me that the ship had not been cleared for port. It is now 5 minutes from the time we were to meet for the shore excursion. The crowed quickly grew and the line snaked all the way to the crew's quarters and back, and then started backing up the stairs. There was no Radiance crew to let us know what was going on. When the gates opened it was pure bedlam getting off and the lines had been destroyed by the amount of people. We met our group almost an hour late, which meant the tour took an hour later so by the time we got back to the dock there was no time to shop. Now I understand that the Radiance could not do anything until Immigration cleared the ship. It is possible that the Radiance may have been responsible for the delay though. My main concern was for the lack of a coordinated effort to move these people where they needed to go. Had the Radiance saw fit to inform the people of the delay and the cause of the delay, people would not have been so frustrated. This is the worst thing I have ever been through because it showed a total lack of concern from the Radiance management for their guests. Entering and Leaving -- Boarding the ship was rather long but went without a hitch. Leaving the ship was an entirely different matter. We were assigned gray tags as our flight was leaving at 1:43. We were instructed to go to the Colony Club and wait for the color to be called. Problem is no announcements could be heard there. The speakers were not working. We moved to the Champagne Bar where we could hear. The colors were to be called in order but we heard red called. This concerned us as red were flights leaving at 3PM. Again, there was no communication by the Radiance. I asked one officer and was told gray must have been called as they always go in order. I went to where the line was forming and found another officer. He stated that was not the case. It had to do with when the carrousels were cleared and red's carrousel cleared before grays. Makes perfect sense but instead of having all these people upset, why not make a simple announcement. All the people around me were very upset wondering what had happened and were they forgotten. I told the officer about the speakers in the Colony Club and he sent a technician there. I spoke to an elderly lady while we were walking out and she was very upset. She said she saw the technician walk in and look around the walked out. Once off the ship the process was very smooth. Meet and Mingle -- The meet and mingle was great fun as this group started the thread in August 2004. We didn't get on the thread until March 2005. This group named themselves the ROS NUTZ and had planned multiple activities onboard. Most fun you can have with your clothes on. The Radiance participation in the M&M seemed lacking. The web site showed the M&M for Wednesday. The ship's schedule called for it on Tuesday catching a lot of people off guard. About twenty people were able to attend out of the 45 that signed up. Part of the reason was because of the switch. There was no Radiance officer present and although the Administrative Assistant's job is a hard one, we expected an Officer from the Radiance. It felt as though the Radiance crew went through the motions and left ASAP. The NUTZ provided their fun though so the time was not wasted. Summary -- The Radiance is a fine ship. The February refit should take care of her worn furniture and carpets, especially in the Windjammer. The crew is friendly and desires to make your stay onboard pleasing. Continuing with that, the Radiance singers and dancers worked really hard and put on a good show. The Celebrity Headliner although good should be a recognizable name. The Schooner entertainers need to play as background music. They are not good enough for anything else. The Radiance management needs to solve the problems with the immigration process and greatly improve their communication with their passengers. We booked on board this same ship through the Panama Canal. We are staying away from the suite and lowering our expectations of the ship and crew. If we are unable to do that we will reschedule that booking for a better ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
This was our second RCI cruise this year, and it reinforces my option that RCI offers the best mid-tier cruising option for the family. The ship was classy and well laid out, and offered everything for my entire group (kids and adults!). ... Read More
This was our second RCI cruise this year, and it reinforces my option that RCI offers the best mid-tier cruising option for the family. The ship was classy and well laid out, and offered everything for my entire group (kids and adults!). This ship was not designed to entirely serve the warm weather ports, so deck space for sunning can get a little competitive at times. Otherwise, we really liked her. We had a balcony cabin on deck nine aft, while the children (son 8, daughter 6) shared a cabin across the hall. We employed a set of baby monitors to keep in constant contact. We prefer that option to having them in an adjoining balcony cabin...cheaper and safer in our opinion. The food was consistently good in all areas and we tried just about every venue. I think the food on the Mariner of the Seas (we sailed in June) was just a bit better, but not by much. RCI has still delivered a better dining experience than the other mid-tier cruise lines we've experienced (Disney and NCL). One issue though is the availability of pizza and snacks at "fringe" times - late afternoon or late evening. It just isn't there. Oddly, too, the pizza station is parked in the adult solarium, which makes it difficult for kids to get the pizza they want throughout the day. We also ate at the added charge venue Portofino and it was an outstanding meal. The dining service was quite good and the staff was generally attentive throughout the ship. Our cabin steward was the best we have ever had on any ship. Nothing in this area disappointed. Our kids loved the club activities, although I still question the club closing twice a day for a couple of hours like they do. It makes it difficult to schedule the day. Staff was great though and our kids had a wonderful time. We took advantage of the putting green, climbing wall, pools, etc. All were just fine, although, again, it seems odd that the kids slide is open for 4 hours total during each day...what a waste of a ship's amenities to only be open for a short time each day. We did not go to any shows, but we did enjoy the lounges and casino. The spa and gym were also great. We had a great time overall...any cruise is better than no cruise at all! Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
WEST COAST REPOSITIONING CRUISE SAN DIEGO TO VANCOUVER, B.C. ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES - RADIANCE OF THE SEAS MAY 1-7, 2005 My name is Phil Haggerty and my wife is Edith Goble. I am a retired city attorney and Edith is a homemaker and ... Read More
WEST COAST REPOSITIONING CRUISE SAN DIEGO TO VANCOUVER, B.C. ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES - RADIANCE OF THE SEAS MAY 1-7, 2005 My name is Phil Haggerty and my wife is Edith Goble. I am a retired city attorney and Edith is a homemaker and former health services provider. We live in Phoenix, Arizona and this would be our 16th cruise. Our prior sailings have been on Carnival's Elation to the Mexican Riviera; on the now defunct Commodore Line's Enchanted Isle to the Caribbean for 11 days; a 7 day cruise, also in the Caribbean on Celebrity's Galaxy; followed by a marvelous cruise from Santiago to Buenos Aires on Mercury, also a Celebrity vessel. We then did our Alaskan cruise on Sun Princess, followed by another 7 day Caribbean trip aboard Norwegian Sun and a trans-canal on Celebrity's Infinity. We then sailed on Millennium for a Mediterranean cruise in May 2003, followed by a Baltic cruise tour on Regal Princess later that year. We then went to Hawaii for the first time on Infinity in November 2003 and did our first HAL on Veendam in the Caribbean the next spring. In March 2004 we took Galaxy from Baltimore to Rome, and returned to the Caribbean in October on Zaandam. A few months before this cruise we went back to the Mexican Riviera on Diamond Princess and in March had a very adventuresome trip down the Amazon on Oceania's Insignia. WHY THIS CRUISE? We had never sailed on Royal Caribbean, nor along the West Coast. Radiance had spent the fall, winter and early spring in the Caribbean, and then sailed through the Panama Canal to San Diego. After we debarked in Vancouver it would start its summertime Alaska cruise program. The pricing on these repositioning cruises is usually quite reasonable and this trip was really a low budget excursion. PLANNING THE CRUISE This was one of our least taxing cruises for pre-planning. America West and Southwest Airlines both offer frequent, low cost flights between Phoenix and San Diego, and America West has non-stop flights from Vancouver. We therefore made our own airfare arrangements. Cruise lines have arrangements with major carriers and do not deal with regional airlines such as America West and Southwest. When we relied on Celebrity to provide our air transfers to start our Infinity cruise to Hawaii, they sent us to San Diego via Los Angeles! This was the first cruise in which I did not pack my tuxedo. Although the material supplied by RCCL suggested that on six night cruises there would be two formal nights, it turned out that there was only one, and fewer that 15% of the men wore tuxes. My dark blue blazer with dark flannel pants was perfectly suitable. We both managed to get all our belongings into one suitcase apiece plus two carry-ons for Edith and one for me. We were a little concerned about the possibility of cold and rain on the West Coast at this time of year, but we each did fine with a sweater and a light rain jacket. DEPARTURE This was as easy and comfortable an embarkation as we have ever experienced. The flight to San Diego is just a little over an hour. Dropping rapidly in to Lindbergh Field directly over the downtown high rises is always entertaining. Once past downtown we saw Radiance shining bright and white in the harbor; a marvelous prospect. We were on the ground quickly and took a ten-minute cab ride to the Harbor Pier for $9.00 with tip. We drove directly up to where they took our two bags, and walked into the pier side check-in. This was about 2:30 in the afternoon and they had been embarking passengers for a while. The documents said boarding would start at 2:00, but it obviously had begun before that. There were about 20 manned check-in stations, only half of which had customers, so we walked up to a vacant station and were processed through in a couple of minutes and in our cabin by 2:45. RADIANCE OF THE SEAS - THE SHIP Radiance is a large vessel of more than 90,000 tons. It is a Panamax ship, meaning that it is as large as a vessel can be to transit the Panama Canal. It first sailed in 2001, so it is fairly new. The design has some good points and some aspects that we considered to be less than helpful. The passenger flow is designed around a central atrium, called The Centrum, which stretches from Deck 4 up through Deck 11. This Centrum is located slight aft of midships. The main elevator bank is on the port side of the Centrum, with two glass faced elevators looking inwards to the atrium, and four looking out to sea. The main stairwell is directly aft of the Centrum. There are no other elevators or stairwells any further aft of the Centrum, only a three elevator bank with adjacent stairs forward. This had the effect of making elevator service slow at high demand times. It also resulted in being unable to go by elevator to the Seaview aft on Deck 13. Since the hours of this venue were limited, and it was quite cold and windy on deck at night, we were among the hordes who did not use this cafe despite its good reputation. Nor do I expect it will get much business at night on Radiance's Alaskan cruises. Radiance lacks a high, forward looking lounge area. The Viking Crown Lounge, also known as Starquest, on Deck 13 is also midships and has a smashing view of the forward superstructure and radar antennae. The forward portions of both Deck 11 and 12 are taken up with the gym and spa, although both these decks have open air forward areas which provided a great spot to see the Golden Gate Bridge on the third day of the cruise. By way of partial compensation for the lack of a forward lounge, the public area of all the lower decks have many windows on either side, affording frequent visual connection with the sea. Aside from these criticisms, it is a well decorated, maintained and reasonably designed ship. There are about 28 inside and outside cabins on Deck 2. Deck 3 is a passenger deck with tender access. Deck 4 has cabins forward. The Centrum begins here, with a bar, a small dance floor and a bandstand. The Guest Relations Desk is starboard, with the excursion desk attached. One either side are entrances into the lower level of the main dining room, called Cascades. There are actually two small rooms before you enter the dining room proper, one called Breakers, where we were seated, and the other called Tides, which was used only for occasional meetings, but not dining. There are good windows on either side of the dining room, but since the galley is behind the dining room, there are no windows looking aft as on many ships such as Celebrity's main fleet. Deck 4 also has an outside promenade which goes completely around the ship, although you have to go up one deck as you approach the prow. This stairwell leads to the helicopter landing deck, which is actually open to the public and affords a great "Titanic" view over the water forward. Deck 5 stars with the Aurora Theatre forward, and proceeds aft through the art gallery/photo shop area on the starboard side and a conference room portside. You next enter the shopping section with a reasonable selection of mid priced stores. Aft of this is the Centrum area, with the Latte-Tudes coffee bar starboard and the internet cafe to port. Behind Latte-Tudes is a nice seating lounge. Once past the Centrum you enter the Deck 5 access to Cascades Dining Room. There is a Grand Staircase from this deck to Deck 4 of the restaurant. Deck 6 starts with the upper level of the Aurora Theatre, and proceeds aft past the motion picture theater. This is a small room, but has the new "stadium" seating at a steep pitch so each seat has a clear view of the screen. You then pass through the fairly large casino. This location means that no one is required to go through the Casino to get anywhere, except the motion picture theater, since access to the main show theater is very convenient from Deck 5. We heard that there was one really high roller who lost a lot on this trip. We do not indulge in the joy of waving good-bye to our money. Aft of the Casino you are back at the Centrum and then you can only continue along the starboard side of the ship. You first pass through a long and narrow bar called The Schooner Bar. This largely has a nice sea view. Opening off this lounge are the two specialty restaurants, Chops Grill and Portofino's. They both had port side window views and seemed very pleasant. Aft of this you entered the Colony Club, a lounge, entertainment and dance venue containing 5 distinct areas. First you pass the billiard room with self-leveling tables. We never had a sea rough enough to inspire a visit here to see if they work. Past this is an area labeled the Jakarta Lounge for no apparent reason, a dance floor with bandstand, another bar at the aft end of this deck with adjacent tables, and yet another small lounge area on the port side called the Calcutta Card Club. The Colony Club was used for Bingo among other things. Decks 7, 8, 9 and 10 are passenger cabin decks. On each deck there is a small area forward of the open Centrum. Three of these seemed to be used only as small sitting areas, but Deck 9 housed the miniscule library. Deck 11 has a large spa forward. Aft of this is the Solarium, which is a glass roofed covered pool area with padded deck chairs and a jacuzzi. Then you go outside to the outdoor pool with its deck chairs; aluminum affairs with stretched nylon coverings. Aft of this you are back indoors in the Centrum leading to the Windjammer Cafe. This buffet has a variety of indoor and outdoor portions; some exposed to the air, some partially enclosed, with the main seating area entirely indoors of course. Deck 12 has the fitness center and exercise room forward. You then go outside and back to the Centrum portion, which of course is enclosed, and has a small room for Crown and Anchor members. It also has a small round window, which is at the top of the Centrum and enables one to look all the way down to Deck 4. Attached to this room aft is the Game Arcade, Art Studio and Adventure Ocean rooms for kids. You then go outside past the children's pool with slide and arrive at a small building which houses the Seaview Cafe starboard, Golf Simulator aft and sports area portside. Deck 13 starts in the middle of the ship and has the Starquest Lounge. Leaving this lounge and proceeding aft outside you pass the famous Royal Caribbean Climbing Wall. I never saw anybody using it, but we understand that it was attempted by some. You then go aft by a bridge in the middle of the ship above the children's pool, and reach the putting range, a nine hole course with some challenges in addition to the wind. All of the public areas were well very decorated and maintained, although I did see some carpet staining in the stairwells, a not infrequent result of people carrying food from the buffet to their cabins. The tables in the bar and lounge areas were a nice dark wood, with pleasant brass lighting. The Centrum was quite resplendent in white painted surfaces and shiny brass fixtures. The stairwells reminded me of Celebrity with their art deco brushed aluminum, light wood and glass. Some of the art work was quite striking, and we liked the outdoor statuary. The cabins were supplied with a ship's art guide that was very detailed and informative. This is the first such guide we have seen and more cruise lines should provide something like this if they really are proud of their art. The tables and furnishings in the Windjammer Cafe were quite nice, and there was one area of this cafe, which had deep padded cane armchairs and love seats, which were extremely comfortable, but always in demand. The seats in the Aurora Theatre were good and offered adequate sightlines. The aluminum and nylon deck chairs provided everywhere except the solarium conveyed a bargain basement impression. The Solarium itself was one of the nicer places on board, with its sculptures, warm atmosphere and padded lounges. The open glass elevator cages provided views of either the ocean or the atrium, but the design of these makes them smaller than normal elevators, and as I noted, they were frequently crowded and slow. We tried to use the stairs as much as possible. In addition to the usual locations for art, the walls through the cabin halls did have some small art pieces; not as much as on Celebrity, but at least a minor break in otherwise drab areas. OUR STATEROOM Our cabin was No. 9604, a Class D1 Superior Ocean View with balcony. I am not sure what made it "Superior", but it may have been slightly deeper than the normal ocean view balcony cabins. As you entered it had a small bathroom to the right and closet to the left. The closet had fairly adequate hanging space and shelf space. The door arrangement was a tad strange, with one main door to the closet proper and one to the shelf area with "reach around" access to part of the closet. The closet was actually part of a nice dark wood console, which continued into the cabin to form the desk area and another console area containing the TV, safe and more shelf space. Typically we had more than enough room for our accoutrements. The bathroom has a small shower with curtain; large enough for relatively slender people such as Edith and me, but certainly not generous. The shower contained a wall unit for shampoo/conditioner dispenser which was empty when we arrived, a fact not noticed until my first shower. Soap is provided, but no other toiletries, which seemed pretty chintzy. Opposite the desk was a small love seat with a fixed table. The seating/desk area had a curtain between it and the sleeping area, which was nice. The bed therefore was next to the doors leading out to the balcony; the first time we had experienced this arrangement. The bed itself was provided with a rather thin mattress, but as usual, we had little trouble sleeping most nights. There were two pictures on the painted walls. There were a couple of somewhat unique lamps by each side of the bed, with a normal bulb plus a focused spotlight inside the vertical shaft of the lamp. The balcony was quite shallow, probably about four feet in depth, with two side chairs and a small table. A teak rail topped a glass body affording a clear view outwards. The cool weather on this cruise was not conducive to outdoor lounging, even if there had been more room on the balcony. Its principal utility was to take advantage of an occasional view of land or another ship, as well as the harbors we visited. The deck was some kind of composition and the partitions between the balconies as usual were open at the top and bottom. The carpeting was good, and the overall stateroom impression, except for the bathroom, was favorable. Two pool towels were provided in each room, with an exchange plan for the pool area. The towels provided in the bathroom were skimpy as to number and certainly not of high quality. DINING ON RADIANCE OF THE SEAS If one does not count the mid afternoon snack on boarding, this short cruise afforded the opportunity for 6 breakfasts and dinners and 5 lunches. We actually had 6 breakfasts, but only 5 dinners and 4 lunches due to our shore visits, so our impressions were based on somewhat limited experiences compared to other cruises. We ate dinner only in the Cascades Dining Room, not wanting to bother with the specialty restaurants on this short a trip. We had heard they were good, but the menus did not reach out and cause us to change our plans. They charge an extra $20.00 per person. All our breakfasts and lunches were in the Windjammer Cafe. The dinners were quite good; at least up to Princess and possibly HAL standards for preparation and flavor. The menus combined appetizers and soups, without making it clear that you could order both. The entree selection was reasonable without being very imaginative. Dessert is ordered off a separate menu; although we much prefer Celebrity's method of bringing around a sample tray so you can see what you can have. Edith reported that the vegetarian menu was the best she had ever experienced in any restaurant on land or sea. Meat which was ordered with a choice of degree of "doneness"; came as requested. Reynaldo, our waiter from the Philippines and Mark, his assistant from Trinidad were quite good and very cheerful, especially Mark. The Windjammer Cafe is a very pleasant venue, with nice dark wood tables, comfortable arm chairs, a lot of space and a generally attractive atmosphere. The buffet stations are separate enough to allow easy access; and the only time there was any crowding was at breakfast on debarkation day in Vancouver. However, no trays are provided. Each station has a supply of large oval plastic "plates", plus available small bowls and small plates. Silverware is wrapped in napkins at each station, nothing being provided at the tables beyond salt, pepper and sugar. Coffee stations are scattered about, some self serve, some in bar like arrangements with servers. The selection for breakfast was adequate, with the usual items available and an omelet station. I never saw a toasting set-up, and missed the excellent provision for toast and toasted bagels found on Insignia. Juice was either orange or apple, and pre-poured into glasses. Lunch was also rather uninspired as to selection, which did not seem to vary much. I have gotten into the habit of eating more substantial breakfasts and having only a small piece of fish and one vegetable for lunch (plus dessert of course!). The food comments apart, we greatly enjoyed dinner because of our table companions. We were assigned, at our choice, to early dining and at a large table. The table was set for 12, but only 10 of us showed up. There were Don and Ann from Escondido, CA; Dennis and Sandy from Dana Point, CA; Dave and Connie from Colorado Springs (on their first cruise) and Amy with her 3½ year old daughter Amalya, from San Diego. We were a merry band indeed, much enjoying each other's company. We have usually been fortunate with our dinner companions, and this trip certainly retained or raised the standard. THE CRUISE - ENTERTAINMENT Perhaps the most memorable entertainer was - the Captain. I had heard from prior reviews of Radiance that Captain Kent Ringborn was the Singing Captain. This certainly was true. He not only sang at his reception; but also took a major role in the final show. And we were provided with a CD each of his songs, delivered to our cabin on the last night. This was a special trip for him as he was leaving the ship in Vancouver for retirement to Portugal. He has a pleasant bass-baritone, and I enjoyed his selection of songs, which were fairly traditional. Aside from this, the entertainment was standard cruise fare. The Cruise Director, Gordon Whatman also sang. There was one production number; a highly touted song and dance collection called "The Piano Man". We saw a singer-impressionist- pianist named Bobby Arvon whose main claim to fame was that he sang the theme song to the old TV show "Happy Days". and Craig Dahn, another singer . Our port visit to San Francisco was from 7:00 A.M. to midnight, so there was no show that night. All in all the level of entertainment was pleasantly unsophisticated, and not very memorable except for Captain Ringborn. In addition to the shows, there was a "classical" acoustic guitarist who played in the Centrum lounge, a string group performing one or twice a day in the Schooner Bar or Centrum Lounge, and a dance band that played at various spots. There also was a solo pianist who played mostly in the Schooner Bar. The level of entertainment appeared very minimal for a large ship with more than 2000 passengers. THE CRUISE - SHIP'S SERVICES The daily newssheet is called "Cruise Compass". It has 4 pages, the last two of which have all the daily activities, dining hours, music and dancing hours etc. It is designed so that these pages can be separated from the first two pages and folded for easy carrying. However the print is small and the information limited. Some of the events receive an expanded treatment on Pages 1 and 2. Printed daily news reports from the real world were provided on Deck 4. The TV had a station which clearly showed the ship's location, heading, speed and a variety of navigational and weather information. One's account status can be brought up also; but there was no TV guide to the movies or satellite station shows available. We did not use the excursion desk, but Guest Relations personnel were very pleasant and helpful. When I made my first card purchase, at one of the shops, it did not go through. We had to go to Guest Relations where they re-entered my credit card and explained that some of the data collected at the pier side check-in had not been transmitted correctly to the ship's computers. The Captain came on at noon each day with a regular report. Each cabin had a knob, which could lower the volume on all ship's announcements except emergency messages. Aside from the lifeboat drill announcement, which we expected, there was one occasion after we retired to bed in San Francisco, and were woken up at 11:30 with the loudspeaker asking two or three passengers to check in. We found out later that at least one or two people never made it back on board that night. In the public areas there were the usual announcements about Bingo, Art Auctions, etc. We don't mind the daily Captain's report, but much prefer cruise lines like Celebrity and Oceania without advertising distractions. Radiance was unique among all ships we have sailed in that it did not provide signs in the stairwell or elevator areas directing people to the gangways or tender boarding locations on port days. These locations were not intuitive, and the announcements not always clear, and we wandered about on two decks trying to find the tender location in Astoria. THE CRUISE - PORTS Our three ports were not ones receiving great hordes of ship borne visitors, although San Francisco and Victoria are major tourist destinations. We arrived at the Golden Gate at 5:45 in the morning; just at first light. The outside decks were crowded as we enjoyed the unique experience of sailing beneath the magnificent bridge into the harbor. Fortunately we had a sunny day all day to enjoy the city which the writer O. Henry; in a more romantic time; called "Baghdad by the Bay". Since no one can see the entire city in one day, and we both had visited it several times, we chose to rent a car and drive across the bridge north to Marin County. We first visited the John Muir Woods National Monument immediately west of Sausalito, and then drove north to Bodega Bay to have lunch in the restaurant on the pier made famous in the Hitchcock movie "The Birds". We returned to the city after stopping to see a friend in Larkspur, and drove back across the bridge about 6:00 P.M. We returned the car and took a taxi to the pier next to our ship's docking point to have dinner with my nephew at a typical, eclectic San Francisco restaurant. The Muir Woods is a magnificent small park with a beautiful stand of redwood trees, which have never been logged. Fortunately we arrived fairly early and were able to see a fair sized portion of it without too many other people around. As we were leaving, several busloads of other tourists arrived which would make it rather crowded. Once again the value of renting a car rather than taking a ship's tour was demonstrated. After a sea day our next stop was Astoria, Oregon. Before we embarked we were surprised to find out that another cruise ship was arriving the same day, HAL's Oosterdam, doing a four day cruise from Vancouver. Not only that, but Oosterdam received the only pier side docking, despite its arrival at 10:00 A.M., and we were forced to tender to shore. We had rented a car from Enterprise, and they sent a van to meet another group and us. We drove eastward along the Oregon side of the Columbia River for about 50 miles and then crossed the river to head north into Washington State and Mount St. Helens. We proceeded up mountain roads, partially through clouds, and uncertain of what we would be able to see. We did come out of the clouds at about 3800 feet and at the first viewpoint had a good look at the mountain, although high clouds obscured the volcano's crater. We went on to the Coldwater Lake Visitors Center, but Johnson Ridge, the closest point was closed due to "seismic activity" which has occurred over the past few months. We understand that the trails within five miles of the peak, closed for several months, have since been re-opened. The Coldwater visitor's center has an excellent view of the valley down which the avalanche had rushed, followed by the lava flow.. The size of the area destroyed by the eruption was striking, and the whole area immensely impressive, even though we could not see the shattered peak due to high clouds. We returned via the Washington side of the river, crossing the lengthy bridge which crosses the mouth of the Columbia River. We had enough time to take a quick driving tour of Astoria which has a number of well preserved Victorian homes, many with delightful river or bay views. We sailed out past Oosterdam, and sounded our ship's horn, which drew a reply from the HAL vessel, and a louder response from us, with a further challenge following from Oosterdam. Those of us on deck hearing this "battle of the ships' horns" were greatly amused and delighted. Victoria, our final port city, is a delightful town. We docked outside the Inner Harbor, and could see the State of Washington and the snow-capped peaks of the Olympic range clearly standing out to the south across the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Shuttle buses took us to town for $5.00, a fare that was good for unlimited travel all day. We took an Inner Harbor boat tour on a tiny craft holding at the most twenty people, but carrying only four for our trip. It was a very informative and pleasant trip, lasting about 1¾ hours and costing $12.50 Canadian for the senior rate. We then went across the street to the British Columbia Royal Museum. While this is not a huge museum, its displays are extremely well arranged and provided detailed views of wildlife on the second floor and the Native People's culture as well as early European settlers life style on the third floor. There was an IMAX theater, which we did not attend since we wished to return to Radiance for lunch. After returning via our shuttle bus and being entertained by our singing bus driver, we went back to town after lunch and wandered around the busy downtown shopping area before going to tea. No, we did not go to the famous Empress Hotel High Tea, but to a more modest establishment called the St. James Bay Tea Room. Even the small amount we ordered was substantial, and very inexpensive. Many of our fellow sailors chose to visit the famous Butchart Gardens, but since I had seen them twice, and Edith once, we skipped it this time. But they are worth seeing if you have not done so already. We have to say that we were quite pleased with our port excursions. The three stops were one of the main reasons why we chose this cruise and we were not disappointed with anything except the cloud cover over the top of Mt. St. Helens; but even that was a minor flaw. THE CREW For the most part, the crew was friendly, smiling and efficient. As usual, one tends to remember the exceptions. Our shower shampoo dispenser was empty on our embarkation, but a call the next day brought a prompt refilling. One night our cabin steward evidently misunderstood us when we said we were leaving for the show, and our cabin did not receive its turndown service or the Cruise Compass. To make up for this a bottle of Chardonnay was delivered to our room the next day with an apology. I don't drink at all, and Edith does not like Chardonnay, but one of our table companions, who was proceeding on to the Alaska cruise at the completion of our trip, was pleased to have the benefit of a full bottle of wine for their cabin on their continuation cruise. On our last sea day afternoon I went to the Colony Club aft on Deck 6 for a Coke. Bingo was wrapping up, and one half of the aft section, which was served by its own bar, was reserved for a private group. But despite the fact that the relatively small Bingo crowd was not ordering much, and the private party was slow in arriving, it took well over ten minutes before a waiter came over to take my order, and I certainly have had more outgoing and friendly service. DEBARKATION For our purposes, this was remarkably smooth. We had a 2:30 flight from the Vancouver airport. When our debarkation ticket color was called; at about 9:00 which gave us time for a reasonably relaxed breakfast; we were directed from the gangplank to a bus. The bus was about ¾ full. One of the passengers had left his camera behind, and the debarkation team retrieved it for him in about ten minutes. We then pulled around to the other side of the pier (this was not the main cruise pier in Vancouver, but one about a mile south). There we waited for about 30 minutes while more people got on. They had hauled their luggage out of the pier and loaded in onto the bus in the same way we had done on all our former cruises. Our luggage however was taken directly from the ship to the airport, apparently by special truck. We then drove to the airport, a trip which takes about 40 minutes since Vancouver has no real freeway system. When we arrived we were directed to a carousel where our luggage was waiting, and we only had to take our bags a few yards to the airline check in. We then proceeded to take our bags and ourselves directly through US Customs and Immigration. This meant that when our non-stop flight landed in Phoenix, we were treated as a local, inside USA flight and landed at a regular gate to debark and picked up our luggage in the normal manner. This was as painless a procedure for debarkation in a foreign country as we have ever experienced. We think we owe this to the Vancouver BC government as well as Royal Caribbean. OVERALL EVALUATION OF RADIANCE OF THE SEAS AND ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINES Radiance is a good looking ship, and with its maximized window usage in public areas, provides a bright and cheerful atmosphere. However the limited elevators, and small passageways off the Centrum, through which everyone passes, made for crowding and slow transit through the ship at times. The furniture, furnishings and artwork were all of high quality, and all of the public rooms were pleasant. Our cabin was quite decent and serviceable, with our only complaint being the size of the shower, less than luxurious towels, and the lack of toilet articles. We should note that the shower was at least as large as that on Diamond Princess however. The food was not bad, about the level of Princess, a little below HAL, but no match for either Celebrity or Oceania. The main dining room service was quite good, and we never had the sense that our wait staff was too rushed. Our crew had only two tables with about 14 people on a normal seating. We did not expect much by way of entertainment, and what we got was okay for a short cruise where one stop, San Francisco, lasted well past the entertainment hour. The lifeboat muster drill was as easy as we have ever had. We did not have to leave our muster station, the Schooner Bar, to go outside and stand under our life boats, and the instructions were brief and to the point. Despite some criticisms, we enjoyed this cruise. I have realized in reading many cruise reviews that those of us who have sailed more than say 8 or 10 times tend to be more critical than new cruisers who are amazed at the entire adventure. We liked the itinerary and would suggest it to anyone who has not done it before. Royal Caribbean is not unduly expensive, and does not seem to be pushy about on board activities or services that involve extra charges, so you get pretty fair value for your money. If you are looking for a short cruise with novel and entertaining ports and a couple of well spaced sea days on which to relax, this is a good trip, and we are glad we made it. Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
Overall the ship is beautiful, and the service was excellent. The food in the main dining room was better than expected and our waiters were wonderful. Unfortunately, there were still a fair amount of teens on spring break, which made ... Read More
Overall the ship is beautiful, and the service was excellent. The food in the main dining room was better than expected and our waiters were wonderful. Unfortunately, there were still a fair amount of teens on spring break, which made for some very loud activity and obnoxious behavior. There should be areas of the ship that are "adults only", and we saw a lot of teenage drinking going on. You'd think the cruise line would be more afraid of the amount of drinking by teenagers! If it weren't for the adults only pool area, we would not have had any peace and quiet. A week was too long for us! Our balcony room was very nice and as first-time cruisers were were aware that it would not be very large- BUT you can hear EVERYTHING (and I mean everything) in the room(s) next to you! Also beware booking anything in the Spa. When we signed a sheet for a "Couples Massage Class" (without being told of the cost) we were led to believe it was a free demonstration. We ended up not going, as it was on the next to last day of our cruise and had honestly forgotten we had signed up UNTIL we were billed on our account for 1/2 of the hidden fee!! Make sure you ask up front what the cost is of anything! We felt a bit deceived and when we asked that the fee be taken off of our account, the Guest Relations desk person told us that the Spa is not owned by RCL, but another company called The Steiner Group. Not sure if we'd go on another cruise, and if so we'd probably go with another line, a more upscale one. The major redeeming factor was the crew personnel- friendly, courteous, and interesting. Overall grade- B- Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
I boarded the Radiance of the Seas on March 6, 2005 for a W. Caribbean vacation. My first impression when I first boarded was "wow, what a beautiful ship!". I've been on other ships of the same size, and I have to say, the ... Read More
I boarded the Radiance of the Seas on March 6, 2005 for a W. Caribbean vacation. My first impression when I first boarded was "wow, what a beautiful ship!". I've been on other ships of the same size, and I have to say, the Radiance's ship lay out is awesome. You can tell the designers maximized on each square inch. The ship seems larger than what it really is. The glass elevators were beautiful; especially zooming up to the upper decks with the view of the ocean. Entertainment was ok....nothing out of this world. I expected better from this class of ship. However, the Cruise Director (Gordon), was entertaining, funny and made the trip so much fun. The food was ok. They had a steak meal the was tougher than rubber. I had it exchanged for a lobster/shrimp meal. That meal was excellent! The Windjammer Buffet was ok. The eggs served during breakfast were horrible. Overall, it was good and served it purpose of offering casual dining. The specialty restaurants were excellent; both Portofino's and Chop's Grille; worth the $20 fee. I was disappointed at the lack of daytime activities, especially the days we were at sea. Actually, it was downright boring! I couldn't believe I had nothing to do at 4PM, expect just lounge at the pool and wait for Dinner/Show time later that evening. This cruise seems better suited for the older crowd who just wants to relax and prefers little activity. The night club, "Starquest", was mostly empty every night! People sleeping at 10PM on their vacations? Overall, nice ship for people looking to chill and relax. If you're looking for more activities, night life, younger crowd (20s-40s), this is not the ship for you. I would recommend a Voyager Class ship or Carnival. The ship is elegant and well designed, offering many beautiful public spaces and lounges. If you have kids, this is not the ship for them! They won't make many friends. However, if you're an experienced cruiser looking for an elegant ship and relaxing times, this ship is for you! I must say....I had a great time!!! However, I'll pick something with a little more excitement next time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
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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