309 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We had a very nice time on this Cruise -- looking forward to a relaxing time with plenty of sea days, lots of specialty restaurants, Tassie devils, etc. We were not disappointed. Background -- we have cruised about 10 times before on a ... Read More
We had a very nice time on this Cruise -- looking forward to a relaxing time with plenty of sea days, lots of specialty restaurants, Tassie devils, etc. We were not disappointed. Background -- we have cruised about 10 times before on a variety of Cruise lines. Been to Australia once before. The wildlife stops were great. We "tracked" kangaroos in the wild, saw Tassie devils, birds. Not exactly like Africa, but a lot of fun. New Zealand fjords (Milford Sound, Dusky Sound) were beautiful and left us speechless. Rooms -- our room was a deluxe stateroom with balcony (9574) near the library. Very large, great comfortable bed, flat screen TV. We were wondering if there would be noise from the centrum parties that would keep us awake at night -- no "worries". Stateroom Attendant ("Caba"). Really excellent. There was not a single time we returned to the room when it was not made up. Don't know how he did that since sometimes we would be gone only 30 minutes or so. Great towel sculptures too, even a Roo with "Joey". Food -- we would rate this as a mixed bag. Room service was great (food quality and service). We had "My Dining" which meant we could go to dinner in the main dining room when we wanted vs having to adhere to the 1st or 2nd seating times. That part was nice. Dinner in the Main Dining room was average (soups were usually good). Breakfast(and esp Lunch) in the Main Dining room were very good -- great salad bar where they make your chopped salad as you wait. Windjammer buffet had a nice variety of food, normally pretty good quality. As the cruise went on, the quality went down a bit. Deck Bar-B-Qs were great. Specialty restaurants -- we went to the Italian (Giovannis), Mexican (Ritas), Japanese (Izumu), and Chops. Also had a reservation for Brazilian but we skipped it. Grades -- Giovannis A, excellent food and service. Mexican F -- please RCI drop this idea, this is not Mexican food at all and was inedible. Folks from Southern California know what Mexican food should taste like. Japanese D -- nice try but the food was boring -- even the "hot plates". Chops B -- good food but I think we were a little too full to appreciate. Personally, we like the idea of Specialty places to eat, but there should be one cost for the experience (no Ala carte costing -- it confuses people and probably turns then off to Specialty dining). Norwegian has the right idea here. Also, as noted elsewhere, tone down the marketing for these specialty places -- it turns people off. The Solarium area was excellent, beautiful with tropical plants, bird sounds, nice small Park Cafe. Lack of seating is a problem, but don't know how to solve it. Maybe a note that advises people to sit no longer than 2 hours, so other quests can use them? Make the Solarium pool just a little warmer please. Entertainment was OK. We did not think the evening shows were that great, so we skipped most of them. We did spend a lot of evenings in the Colony Club listening to the Blue Avenue Band! This was strange because most nights, we were the only people in the place, while the band played a huge variety of popular hits (Presley, Rock, Country) -- whatever they played was great. The singer in particular was amazing -- don't know his name but hope he and the band have a great future. Good luck to the Blue Avenue Band! On tipping, I was not crazy about the idea of paying for gratuities in advance (which we had to do since we chose My Time Dining). But it seems to work OK. We gave our stateroom attendant something extra at the end of the cruise. Excursions -- we booked 4 before we left and added 1 on board. We had excursions in Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania, Dunedin NZ. Overall, we think these were good values. We liked the Radiance and RCI was pretty good. We would try them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We had a very nice time on this Cruise -- looking forward to a relaxing time with plenty of sea days, lots of specialty restaurants, Tassie devils, etc. We were not disappointed. Background -- we have cruised about 10 times before on a ... Read More
We had a very nice time on this Cruise -- looking forward to a relaxing time with plenty of sea days, lots of specialty restaurants, Tassie devils, etc. We were not disappointed. Background -- we have cruised about 10 times before on a variety of Cruise lines. Been to Australia once before. The wildlife stops were great. We "tracked" kangaroos in the wild, saw Tassie devils, birds. Not exactly like Africa, but a lot of fun. New Zealand fjords (Milford Sound, Dusky Sound) were beautiful and left us speechless. Rooms -- our room was a deluxe stateroom with balcony (9574) near the library. Very large, great comfortable bed, flat screen TV. We were wondering if there would be noise from the centrum parties that would keep us awake at night -- no "worries". Stateroom Attendant ("Caba"). Really excellent. There was not a single time we returned to the room when it was not made up. Don't know how he did that since sometimes we would be gone only 30 minutes or so. Great towel sculptures too, even a Roo with "Joey". Food -- we would rate this as a mixed bag. Room service was great (food quality and service). We had "My Dining" which meant we could go to dinner in the main dining room when we wanted vs having to adhere to the 1st or 2nd seating times. That part was nice. Dinner in the Main Dining room was average (soups were usually good). Breakfast(and esp Lunch) in the Main Dining room were very good -- great salad bar where they make your chopped salad as you wait. Windjammer buffet had a nice variety of food, normally pretty good quality. As the cruise went on, the quality went down a bit. Deck Bar-B-Qs were great. Specialty restaurants -- we went to the Italian (Giovannis), Mexican (Ritas), Japanese (Izumu), and Chops. Also had a reservation for Brazilian but we skipped it. Grades -- Giovannis A, excellent food and service. Mexican F -- please RCI drop this idea, this is not Mexican food at all and was inedible. Folks from Southern California know what Mexican food should taste like. Japanese D -- nice try but the food was boring -- even the "hot plates". Chops B -- good food but I think we were a little too full to appreciate. Personally, we like the idea of Specialty places to eat, but there should be one cost for the experience (no Ala carte costing -- it confuses people and probably turns then off to Specialty dining). Norwegian has the right idea here. Also, as noted elsewhere, tone down the marketing for these specialty places -- it turns people off. The Solarium area was excellent, beautiful with tropical plants, bird sounds, nice small Park Cafe. Lack of seating is a problem, but don't know how to solve it. Maybe a note that advises people to sit no longer than 2 hours, so other quests can use them? Make the Solarium pool just a little warmer please. Entertainment was OK. We did not think the evening shows were that great, so we skipped most of them. We did spend a lot of evenings in the Colony Club listening to the Blue Avenue Band! This was strange because most nights, we were the only people in the place, while the band played a huge variety of popular hits (Presley, Rock, Country) -- whatever they played was great. The singer in particular was amazing -- don't know his name but hope he and the band have a great future. Good luck to the Blue Avenue Band! On tipping, I was not crazy about the idea of paying for gratuities in advance (which we had to do since we chose My Time Dining). But it seems to work OK. We gave our stateroom attendant something extra at the end of the cruise. Excursions -- we booked 4 before we left and added 1 on board. We had excursions in Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart Tasmania, Dunedin NZ. Overall, we think these were good values. We liked the Radiance and RCI was pretty good. We would try them again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Not often do I write reviews. In most instances, I believe there is little that I can add that hasn't already been said many times. In this case I feel there are some nuances to Alaska on the Radiance that some might find helpful. ... Read More
Not often do I write reviews. In most instances, I believe there is little that I can add that hasn't already been said many times. In this case I feel there are some nuances to Alaska on the Radiance that some might find helpful. We have sailed numerous times on the Radiance and others in its class. The refurb is remarkable. It feels quite literally like a new ship. We had an absolute blast! FOOD: If the Chef's Table package is available for under $150, do it! It starts off a bit awkward and stiff because you will likely be dining with strangers. The staff infuses quite a few ice breakers, and by the third course (and third glass of wine), our table was in fully engaged in polite but sparkling conversation. The food was well prepared, the wine pairings adequate to good, except for trying to convince us that Frangelico is an exceptional, high-end liqueur. Still a wonderful evening that if affordable, is worth doing a second time on-board. Here's where the value comes in. With the package came four other specialty dining experiences. We paid $110 for the package and did one night in the dining room, and another night in Giovanni's for a total of $130/per person. The food and service upgrade, in my opinion, was truly worthwhile. Royal Caribbean is hitting its stride with the specialty dining. For cruisers who prefer quiet dinners and personal service versus the bustle of the dining room, this is a great option. Giovanni's- a hit with service, food, ambience and price. Chops steep price but the dining experience is stellar. Samba is fun but not particularly memorable food; far better on the Allure. Izumi- confusing price structure, but food and service was excellent; even for non-sushi fans. Diamond lounge: Now upstairs around the corner from the Viking Crown Lounge and the Concierge. Superb service from Gazetty. Plenty of space in the Diamond louonge and as nice, if not nicer ambience than the Concierge lounge. She truly goes above and beyond for ALL persons on board, and unlike her Concierge counterpart, doesn't pick and choose who may be "worthy". PORTS: The 7 day northbound left from Vancouver, visiting Juneau, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Skagway, and disembarking at Seward. Since it was late in the season, wildlife was abundant. Vancouver- stayed at the St. Regis- a moderately priced gem convenient to shopping, Gastown. Do eat in the hotel's pub-style restaurant; a pleasant surprise for hotel dining. For foodies, the porchetta sandwich at Meat and Bread is worth the walk. Juneau- we've done a variety of excursions on previous visits but opted this time to keep it simple. The Blue Bus was a perfect $12 per person way to see Mendenhall Glacier. If you have not been to Juneau, this is a must. If you haven't been there in awhile, this is a must. Mendenhall is receding fast. At the drop-off to the park we saw a mother bear and cub. On the trail there were porcupine in the trees. The waterfall is absolutely beautiful. The only other U.S. place I know of to get so close to so much water is at Yosemite or Niagara. The bus drops you off in town for shopping if you care to make the 10 minute walk back to the ship. Ketchikan - Online booking of the "Deadliest Catch" tour cost $25 less than booking it through the ship. There's absolutely no difference in access/accommodations. The tour boat literally sits on the other side of the dock; depending on your cabin location you can snap a photo of it from your balcony. This was a nice, informative tour. They pull up all sorts of creatures from the water. However, the king crab they retrieve are planted once a week. While it's not true "crabbing", it does guarantee that you will see king crab. You will also see plenty of bald eagles. The tour is worth the $150.00. Icy Strait- This is the spot for whale watching. I've done plenty of whale watching in the past but this was the absolute best! Be forewarned, you will likely be cold, and you will likely get wet, and you will likely encounter rough patches of water. The absolute best way to see the whales is by hiring a private boat. The big vessels are like trying to get lunch in the windjammer when it's taco day. The price is steep- $175/per person on average. We hired Shawn and Theresa, owner/operator of Glacial Wind Charters. Their service and equipment was exceptional. Theresa includes a brief tour of Hoonah, the local town, and when we there directed us to a totem pole carving- the real thing, in fact the totem was going on display for a historical festival. You don't see one or two whales on this trip, it's more like one or two dozen. Breaches, double breaches, rolls, lobtailing; you name it, they did it, and close up. On the way back (30 minutes each way to the whales), Shawn trolled along the coast to spot bears, and we did. Skagway- We've hired a private van before and will probably do it again. The Trail of '98 Tour company provides extraordinary service. The owners, Tom and Michelle Strand use new vans, changing out every couple of years. Their 6 hour Emerald Lake tour takes you up the Klondike Highway that parallels the train. I would only do the train if you're a train fan. Otherwise you will see far more on the road. Tom keeps a high powered scope handy to spot dall sheep camouflaged on the mountainsides. He also is astute at spotting bear at a far enough distance to be able to react. In two instances he was able to position us right along-side the bear and slowly kept paced with the animal as it grazed along the roadside. Watch the video I shot on YouTube http://youtu.be/RlHZtqOUVPI. Tom's van holds 8 people comfortably, with everyone having a their own picture window. TNT 98 also customized our tour, accommodating our non-interest in visiting the sled-dog summer camp (no snow, dirt trail) and instead providing more scenic viewing. Cost is $85/per person and worth every penny. Seward- disembarked here for the train transfer. If you have the time and don't mind the extra expense, it's an interesting ride, especially for those who don't live near mountain scenery. We were especially lucky in having multiple moose sightings along the way. Food onboard is marginal, pricey. The views, however, are quite nice. Anchorage- if you're flying out of Anchorage, and need a place to crash overnight, I recommend the Springhill Suites Anchorage. The hotel is affordable, part of the Marriott chain, close to the airport, and is centrally located. Downtown Anchorage can be a somewhat of a pill for parking. If you have no vehicle, you will need to take the bus downtown for touring. It's easy to do. There's plenty of affordable dining right around the hotel. The most popular by far is Moose's Tooth- well prepared finger food (pizza, calzones, sandwiches, etc.) Locals adore this place so be prepared for long lines anytime after five. Despite what staff may tell you, it's a ten minute walk, less if you slip out the back door of the hotel and cut through the parking lot and behind the movie theater. There's an Outback across the street- never a wait. End of review; safe and memorable travels! Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
It was amazing to be on a ship that big. It had 13 floors, and tons of rooms! The ship had about 3000 passengers and about 800 crew members. That is a pretty good ratio. The staff were very helpful, the food was good. Not great, but ... Read More
It was amazing to be on a ship that big. It had 13 floors, and tons of rooms! The ship had about 3000 passengers and about 800 crew members. That is a pretty good ratio. The staff were very helpful, the food was good. Not great, but wholesome! Lots of ethnic options, and was welcome to see a lot of Indians in the kitchen, making some good Indian food, and masala tea! You have to ask for it! The ship had two swimming pools, but they were 6 ft deep. Nothing that was child friendly! Well, there was a waterslide which was pretty much closed all cruise long! But 6ft deep? Why not have a 3-5ft pool like most places seem to have? Is this a cruise thing? The ship's entertainment was nice. The performers were of ok caliber. The cruise director was quite funny and was engaging. They had little activities - like treasure hunt, and quizzes, and such, for which the prizes were highlighters with Royal Caribbean name on it! Really? The signature drinks were pretty creative and befitting a drink with an umbrella status! Charged for soda, or water! And laundry was expensive. So were the pictures! This day and age, they still do printed pictures only. We need to get with the digital age! Seriously!! At least have the option. The captain and the staff were quite engaging. Attentive, cheerful, and helpful. Overall very good experience, though I will check about the pool before I book the next cruise! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We enjoyed our cruise on the Radiance. We were traveling with family and the ship had activities for all ages. The kids enjoyed the warm pools even though the outside temps were in the 50's. The ship had been refurbished last ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise on the Radiance. We were traveling with family and the ship had activities for all ages. The kids enjoyed the warm pools even though the outside temps were in the 50's. The ship had been refurbished last year...new flat screen TVs in cabins, new carpet in cabins. The sheets were of a good quality and our steward was always smiling and did a good job. However, there was no hand lotion or shower cap in the bathroom. Only some shampoo in a dispenser in the shower. I had expected more of Royal Caribbean. Guess that is one of the differences between a 4 and 5 star ship. The SHOWER was the SMALLEST I have ever been in on a cruise ship. Quite difficult to maneuver, shaving your legs only possible if you put your leg in top of the toilet and then get water all over the bathroom. Also, cabin related, the safe was old and sometimes did note work well. On 3 occasions (3 different days)the ships toilets on our deck 8 (per our call to maintenance) would not work. When we called the front desk they said they were working on the problem. Seems to me they have some sort of plumbing problem that was a nuisance to us. Our evening meal was in the my time dining area. Our waiter, Saurabah, was excellent as well as his assistant Ariel, they did a wonderful job with our family and we appreciate their professional talents. The food was good, not great. The quality of the beef could have been better. They offer 3 courses, not that we need 4 but sometimes like a soup and salad along with our entree. The Windjammer offered fresh fruit daily and good salad fixings, good breakfast ham and turkey breast some days. The pizza needs improvement....too much like frozen pizza. The shows were OK, not outstanding. Paul, the cruise director had lots of energy, and we came to enjoy him more as the cruise proceeded. Several nights there was only one show at 7:45. Especially we liked the Captain's Talk and pictures on day 6. I think that the quality of the pictures on the big screen could have been better though....just saying. Of note, our cabin 8588 was quite noisy when ever there were activities in the Centrum....beware that any cabin in that stack can be LOUD when 70's music is being played etc in the Centrum. We have cruised quite a bit over the last 10 years and would rate this ship a 4, I can see and feel the difference 4 vs 5 star. We did appreciate the welcome back party/cocktail hour. Good finger food. The entire staff was always helpful and deserves kudos for that. We did take advantage of the "valet luggage service". We were flying with United Airlines and our bags arrived at our home airport on time! We did have a mix up with the paperwork from the front desk. But, when we went down to question why we did not get our luggage tags/for the valet service it did get worked out....took about 15 minutes though. Then the boarding passes had the wrong seat assignments, we had to work that out in Anchorage. We (arranged on our own) were picked up on time by Anchorage Tours and Transfers, Dan did a good job narrating along the way to Anchorage and we enjoyed the nature center stop too. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was our second time on this ship and routing, boarding in Seward was a breeze we were the first ones on the ship and were given a big hello. Followed immediately with the upsales for dining and beverage packages, which we politely ... Read More
This was our second time on this ship and routing, boarding in Seward was a breeze we were the first ones on the ship and were given a big hello. Followed immediately with the upsales for dining and beverage packages, which we politely declined. We set off for Lunch and to explore the ship and its changes. Our Cabin was ready at 1pm so we went to drop our carry on bag, my first issue came here. The room was nice and clean and offered wonderful views, until I stepped on a big piece of glass that was under the dust ruffle on the bed, lucky for me I was wearing shoes or would have had to ge stitches. Our stateroom attendent took care of it immediately. The other problem with this room and any room near the Centrum is that it can get rather loud during some of the events being held there and some sound will carry into the room, lucky for us we were usually awake anyway that being said I loved the location and would pick this room again. The ship has alot of glass so it is hard to get claustrophopic which was good as the first day at sea we had near gale force winds and some rough seas alot of people were room bound due to seasickness, being able to see out when it is like that can be helpful. The food in Windjammers was buffet food and was ok, there seems to be less variety than the last cruise also seating here can be problematic, Main Dining room was good. Sambas was great 9 courses of meat, a salad bar and veggies and dessert loved it. I picked this cruise due to the ports. Even though it was cloudy and not always the greatest weather in some ports we had a great time our temperatures stayed in th 50's most of the trip so nice when compared to Texas 100+. In Juneau it was cloudy and kind of rainy we picked up a city tour and shuttle out to Mendenhall from one of the vendors off ship. Skagway-Me and the hubby split up he did the ships Jeep tour and I did the River trip in Haines, we both saw bears that day. He said a bear actually put it's paws on one of the jeeps and window shopped the people inside, bet they had great photos. Icy Strait-overcast but not raining Whale watching is awesome here, we used Misty Bay Lodge and saw up to 30 whales it was great highly recommend them. Ketchikan-really nice weather we just did the Duck City Tour and went back on the ship for lunch and mini-golf. Inside passage we had awesome weather, actually hit 70 degrees and was sunny, saw quite a bit of sea life, huge pods of Dahl porpoises, some sea lions, whales and even a couple of Orcas in the distance. Overall the Radiance is a nice ship especially for her age, She is clean and pretty well maintained. Hubby thinks they should sand blast and repaint due to some rust. They were replacing some of the carpets during port stops. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
This was a very nice vacation and our second time on the Radiance in Alaska. We booked back to back cruises as I find 7 days is just now enough. Although this one seemed a little long because we all caught colds probably from a sick person ... Read More
This was a very nice vacation and our second time on the Radiance in Alaska. We booked back to back cruises as I find 7 days is just now enough. Although this one seemed a little long because we all caught colds probably from a sick person on the flight to Vancouver. I find the Radiance to be the perfect size ship for me. It has plenty of activities, and entertainment on board to keep all ages occupied when not in port. Of course the shows were repeated from the first week to the second but there was plenty music and dancing venues. The first week we had traditional dinning at 6:00 which we very much enjoyed. We were seated to a table for 10 and out dinning companions were friendly and we had some lively conversations. The wait staff was very friendly and did an excellent job. The food and selection was good to great and only one night I didn't see anything interesting. They have an always available menu of 4 more selections where I opted the NY strip steak. It was a little overcooked but not bad. The waiter would have gladly brought me another one if I wanted. On the night we had lobster, everyone at our table opted for it. When we had finished out lobster the waiter came with another plate of lobster tails and started passing then out to anyone who wanted seconds. Yea didn't even have to ask. One night several people at our table asked for 2 deserts plus ice cream. The waiter just laughed and complimented my DGS on his apatite. After that if DGS on ordered one desert the waiter gave him double portions.The second week we did My Time Dinning. We reserved for 7:00 every evening. We found some short waits to be seated and the meals to be rushed, to get you out to make room for those waiting. The wait staff was again friendly and did an excellent job but the experience just wasn't as enjoyable as before. We were always seated by ourselves and would have perfured some companions. We did some of the specialty dinning the second week. Chops was by far the best and well worth the money and we will do again. Sambas was good an the experience was nice but I think once is enough. We also did Giovani's for lunch the food was good but not great. If you are thinking about booking a dinning package ahead of time - don't. They had better priced dinning packages onboard and the restaurants were only about half full, so you could get in when ever you wanted. The only negative about the cruise was that some of the excursions were cancelled due to weather or not enough people books. It would have been really helpful if the excursions desk had let us know in time to book something else. If really upset my daughter when she put on her wetsuit she had brought from Hawaii so she could co kayaking and was told on the pier a 1:00 that it was cancelled. All in All it was a great cruise but still could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
We had a nice easy boarding and it only took us about 15 minutes from getting up the elevator to boarding the ship. Radiance is a beautiful ship and we did enjoy our cruise but Rhapsody set the bar and Radiance failed to meet it. There ... Read More
We had a nice easy boarding and it only took us about 15 minutes from getting up the elevator to boarding the ship. Radiance is a beautiful ship and we did enjoy our cruise but Rhapsody set the bar and Radiance failed to meet it. There were no major issues on the ship but just a few little things that let it down. I dont think the room attendants were as thorough as they could have been - the rubbish wasnt emptied on a few occasions or the towels replaced even though they were where they were supposed to be to be replaced and we had to ask for top sheets for the kids beds as even though the room air con is individually controlled it was still hot and stuffy in the room at times, some of the staff could be abrupt and rude - not to us but to other people around us, the food at times was a little under par, there didnt seem to be as many activities available but this may have been due to 7 islands in 12 days and the tendering process didnt seem very smooth or as organised as on Rhapsody. We visited Noumea, Lifou, Champagne Bay, Port Vila, Louganville, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. All the islands are very beautiful and each of them has stalls or shops available. We found the Aussie dollar much more widely accepted on this cruise than the first. The people are all smiling and happy and genuinely welcome visitors. We didnt do any ship organised tours as it is way out of our price range - it was easy enough to barter with a local to drive us where we wanted to go - for those new to this game dont pay them until they take you back to the ship. There are stalls everywhere and the souvenirs etc all very similar with the best value being at Port Vila I think. I think the biggest problem on the ship was how rude many of the other passengers could be. All I will say is show some manners and common courtesy to fellow cruisers and the staff. The Captain on the ship was fantastic and kept us up to date with everything including an itinerary change due to a cyclone forming not far from Champagne bay. Our dinner waiters in Cascades were the best and always had a laugh and a smile and kept the kids entertained with magic tricks. We never had to ask for a thing they just did it eg refills on the kids drinks or ketchup for the kids chips. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This was my 4th RCC cruise, and the first time on Radiance Class. I enjoyed this boat so much more than the Voyager Class. Given, the Radiance of the Seas underwent major renovation last year, so probably not all Radiance ships are this ... Read More
This was my 4th RCC cruise, and the first time on Radiance Class. I enjoyed this boat so much more than the Voyager Class. Given, the Radiance of the Seas underwent major renovation last year, so probably not all Radiance ships are this nice. The upgrades made the ship comfortable to live on for 18 straight days. The solarium was a hotspot as sea days were chilly. The teak wood made it an attractive place to be. The addition of Cafe Park in the solarium was a nice touch, almost reminding me of the Spa Cafe on Celebrity ships. The addition of multiple specialty restaurants was a plus. 18 days on a cruise ship and variety is craved. We dined at all 4 restaurants, with surprisingly, Giovanni's being our favorite. The service, the lamb and osso-bucco cooked to perfection was noteworthy. Chops Grille was a disappointment, due to service and overcooked filets. Izumi served decent quality seafood from real sushi chefs. In the past couple years of cruising, so called sushi has been served, but it was not raw fish. This was the real deal. The rest of the food was typical RCC meals. Not great quality and reusing of the same foods. It was the smoothest boarding process ever. We were on the ship and in the gym to workout before noon. Boarding took less than an hour. We stayed in Fremantle, Perth the night before the cruise. Not really a city that offered much. It was hot and touristy. Prices for food and hotels are expensive as well (like everywhere in Australia). The first 2 stops: Albany and Esperance were ports we wished were not part of the itinerary, nothing very spectacular. We did multiple shore excursions through the cruise and the one I most highly recommend for anyone looking to get up close and personal with the native wildlife of this part of the world is Bonorong Park in Tasmania. You can pet koalas, feed kangaroo, get within a feet of Tasmanian devils and wombats. Plus, the staff is dedicated, informative and brings the whole experience together. New Zealand of course is stunning. Cruising grants the special pleasure of viewing the Sounds. The best viewing was probably from the helipad, but with gusty, chilly weather, viewing from our balcony was perfectly enjoyable and recommended. Be prepared for several days on the rough Tasman Sea. 15 foot swells and 60 mph winds. Keeps you indoors. Not for those prone to seasickness. The cruise ended in Sydney where we rented an apartment to stay for 8 days. Between the city center and learning to surf on the stunning Bondi Beach, 8 days was just enough. Sydney is such a magnificent city worth exploring. We will probably never get to this part of the world again, and experiencing all the wonders via a cruise ship allowed us to see and experience so many more places in a comfortable manner. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
This is our first time with Royal Caribbean and I found them to be very helpful pre cruise. They responded to my questions via email promptly with the required information. Boarding in Fremantle was hassle free. We had a problem on board ... Read More
This is our first time with Royal Caribbean and I found them to be very helpful pre cruise. They responded to my questions via email promptly with the required information. Boarding in Fremantle was hassle free. We had a problem on board in that our Seapass card failed to open our cabin door. There were several passengers on Deck 9 with the same problem. A trip to Guest Reception to get a new card which also failed to open the door. A further card was issued which solved the problem. Radiance of the Seas is a beautiful ship and the balcony cabin had more room than our last cabin on Sun Princess. Having a sofa in the room to relax on was great. Toiletries weren't supplied on this cruise line either so take your own shampoos, hand creams etc. We weren't happy with one of our neighbours who insisted on smoking cigars on their balcony. We had to shut our balcony door to keep the stench out, I don't think cigars should be allowed on cruise ships. We found the food on board to be very good, plenty of variety on the menu and several choices of dining areas if you wanted to eat somewhere different. We didn't pay extra for the 5 specialised restaurants on board. Shore tours were well organised, the tendering service was a bit slow - priority went to getting the organised shore tours away, the rest of the general passengers seemed to be left waiting quite a while for tenders. Staff on the ship were very helpful. This ship has a small cinema - only about 40 seats but they show movies every couple of hours. The movies were quite old, some new releases would be better. There is also no laundromat on board, you can pay to have your laundry done or hand-wash as required. Leaving the ship in Sydney was also quick and efficient. All in all a fantastic cruise, great ship, highly recommended Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Our gruop consisted of my husband and I (50's), our three children aged 20,23 and 24 and my mother and her sister(80's). Check-In Embarkation in Sydney was very slow and chaotic. I have left from this terminal with another ... Read More
Our gruop consisted of my husband and I (50's), our three children aged 20,23 and 24 and my mother and her sister(80's). Check-In Embarkation in Sydney was very slow and chaotic. I have left from this terminal with another cruise line without any of the hassle. Check in was a disaster with credit card accounts set up as cash accounts, and despite providing a waiver and confirming three times my 20 yo daughter still received a seapass card which prevented her from consuming alcohol. Guest Services Overall the worst service on the ship. It took two two trips to fix my daughters seapass card only to be advised that she needed to carry two pieces of paper with her at all times to be able to purchase drinks. On Day Three our children's seapass cards were cancelled as they had set up their account as a cash only account despite us registering online as a credit account and providing credit cards details at check in. Two more trips to Guest Relations to fix this problem. Day Four saw my Seapass card cancelled. They added our credit card details to the children's stateroom, but in doing so removed them from ours placing us on a cash only account. It took five trips to Guest Relations to fix this one, as the first three times they reissued cards saying I must have placed them near my mobile phone. I kept asking if there was a problem with the account and only on the forth visit did they check and told me my bank was to blame. Visit five that day and they admitted they had accidentally removed the credit cards and finally fixed it. Pretty embarrassing when every time you try to use your Seapass card it is rejected. Ports and Shore Excusions Being a large group we decided to arrange our own tours. Mostly hiring a vehicle and driving ourselves. Anyone who has booked a tour through the ship has priority leaving the ship meaning there was quite a wait for tenders. Even though we queued for some time to get early tender tickets it still took at least 1-/12 hours from advertised arrival time to be able to get ashore. In Brisbane we docked at the grain terminal miles from anywhere. $30 to Dining We purchased the dining package but only got to use 3 of the restaurants. Chops Grille was OK but we were seating at a table facing a blank corner. Food was plentiful but I did not rate the steak as any better than in the dining room. The Captains Table was a lovely meal and the wine pairing was mostly very good. A bit disappointed in the saki and amaretto which were not to every one's liking. The night was spoiled as the ship's air conditioning was not working and it was too hot in a small room. The meal at Giovanni's was excellent with very large serves. The food in the dining room was very good and always something to satisfy the very fussy eaters in our group. Our table staff Otis and Jimmy were outstanding and made a real fuss of my daughter who celebrated her birthday on the cruise. Ate lunch in the dining room a few times which was very good. Try the salad bar - excellent choice. Windjammer was OK for breakfast but the choice was the same every day. Lunch was disappointing and the quality was poor. It was impossible for us to sit together as a group and resorted to sitting outside for all meals here. There is just not enough room available. Drinks We purchased a wine package - definitely the way to go if you want a bottle of wine with your dinner. Happy Hour at Rita's Cantina is a must - they make the best Margaritas and between 6.30 and 7.30 they have a special buy 2 get one free. The staff here are excellent and really looked after us. Cocktails of the day were interesting and usually $6 - $8. Basic spirits were around $6.50 and cocktails range between $7 and $10. Normal beers were $6.50Stateroom We had three staterooms together on Deck 9. Our stateroom attendant was fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. Only issue was a plumbing problem on our Deck which was fixed very quickly. Entertainment A good variety of activities catering for all of our group. Mostly the shows were of a good standard. Found you had to get to most activities around 30 minutes early to be able to get a seat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We got a last-minute cruise offer in late November as the ship was nearly full, and only interior cabins were left. We have always travelled with a balcony on previous cruises but decided we would try an interior cabin this time as it can ... Read More
We got a last-minute cruise offer in late November as the ship was nearly full, and only interior cabins were left. We have always travelled with a balcony on previous cruises but decided we would try an interior cabin this time as it can be quite a lot cheaper. We found we coped very well with no windows and the cabin had everything we needed and was very quiet and in a good location on level 3 (just a quick walk up to the main decks on 4, 5 and 6 where all the facilities were located (dining room, guest reception, atrium bar, shops, theatre etc.) Close to the external glass lifts which gave a very spacious feel and view to the inside and outside. Looking down 9 floors into the Atrium through the internal lifts was very pleasant. Also as my partner was a smoker, he could take a quick walk upstairs to deck 5 and onto the promenade deck where one side is designated for smokers, as well as an area on deck 11 near the pool. However the deck 11 area was always choking with cigarette smoke and deck 5 was a better option. Only one suggestion would be to make sure you take a digital clock which lights up at night as it was hard to see the time on my mobile phone without finding my glasses. Having said that, once you were in the darkened room there was some light from the airconditioning control and sprinkler on the ceiling, and just a small amount from around the outside of the door. I was able to see sufficiently to get to the bathroom door in the dark before turning the light on. Embarkation was not good. An email advised that we could start from 11am but on arrival from the airport at 11.30am, the lines were very long and people were standing out in the hot sun. There is little cover and you have to line up outside the entry area before proceeding upstairs to the security and customs area. We went away to have lunch in the Rocks area and did not come back until about 1.45pm. The lines had reduced but it still took 1.5 hours to get through the embarkation process. Not the cruise lines fault but the poor design of the overseas passenger terminal to service such a large ship. Same delay was had at the Darling Harbour terminal in 2010 for a Princess Cruise, nearly 2 hours of waiting. In future we would not arrive until after 2-3pm to embark. At least at Circular Quay you can go away to the markets in the Rocks area and enjoy some of the Sydney views. The markets are very good with quality and different goods and in pleasant surroundings. Disembarkation also took quite some time. A bottleneck getting off the ship and then finding transport outside. We were scheduled to disembark at 9.10am and did not get off for about an hour and then had to wait for the shuttle bus to the domestic airport, arriving at about 11.30am. Do not be in a hurry and book an early flight!!!! Dining Options: Something to know for cruisers to New Zealand is that the sun does not set until about 9pm. So going to dinner at 8pm it is still daylight outside so you can see the sunset for the late sitting of dinner. We had "My Time" dining and liked the experience. Tried an early time for dining to go to the 7pm show afterwards, but found it was the most popular and when you finished you had to go to the theatre about 30 minutes before the show otherwise it would be full. We then decided to see the early show at 7pm and book for 8pm dinner in the My Time dining area on level 5. Meals were of a good small size, variety and presented well. We had purchased a wine package which was very economical and had some really good wines - we particularly like the Estancia Pinot Noir from California. Definitely worthwhile buying a wine package. You can have a glass or two and it is put aside for the next night with your room number. Also you can buy a bottle of wine in the bars and take it with you if you have not finished it, to another bar or your room, but cannot take your bottle from the dining room. Did not use any of the speciality restaurants as we felt the Cascades dining room, Windows and other eating areas provided a wide range of fresh and suitable food for all tastes. Had a light breakfast and lunch at Park Cafe in the Solarium area, and it is also open to 1am for a late night snack and coffee. Entertainment: Generally very good. Royal Caribbean dancers and singers were very entertaining and professional. Guest artists were varied and were of good to excellent quality. From solo singers, magician, musicians etc. However the highlight of the entertainment was the Puppet Man. Very skilled in his craft but also the funniest comedian and entertainer, and kept everyone entertained or his 50 minute show. Including his excellent singing with his puppet. Yes, he did both voices while singing. Singers, musicians and bands in all bars were excellent and entertaining and played to the wants of the crowd. Late night entertainment in the Colony and Schooner bars and the pub were varied and entertaining. They played music for the age group on board - mainly 50+ but a sprinkling of younger ones with only about 50 young people for the childrens club on this particularly sailing. Ship Appearance, Cabins and facilities: Very clean and tidy, hand sanitisers at the entry to all food areas and people encouraged to use them. We did our walking around deck 12 and also the promenade deck on level 5, depending on the weather. It was too cool to use the outside swimming pool but used the hot tub and pool in the solarium and it was very nice. This is a popular area and you have to be quick to get a lounger or chair. Great place to read and look outside, but protected from the wind. I reported that the shower was not draining and seemed to be blocked and this was fixed within an hour or so. Cabins had plenty of cupboard space with nooks and shelving behind many glass panels. Fittings and furniture are OK but some of the drawers stick and need attention. Bedding linen was luxurious and soft, and the beds were very comfortable. Shower always leaked onto the floor as the water nozzle had a mind of its own. Once we worked out to set the heating of the water we were right. Just ask your room steward for assistance otherwise you will have cool showers. We would have no problem going on this ship again. It was a full cruise but we did not feel crowded except waiting to be seated for dinner after the show when everyone went to the dining room. Otherwise it is a very spacious, clean, with lots of areas and bars for sitting around. One complaint: Many cruise ships have added the giant screen on the pool deck. On this cruise it was blaring CNN news, loud music and movies all the time. It is so intrusive to anyone who is on the pool deck or on the walking track on deck 12 and they are bombarded with noise. You cannot find a quite spot to sit and read without this insistent noise from the big screen in the outdoor area. I found this personally annoying and noticed that many others on the deck were shouting to be heard over the continual noise. Perhaps the cruise line should look at what they put on and even turn it off sometimes. Not everyone needs to watch a movie on the pool deck or what the latest is happening in presidential nominations. Ports of Call: Bay of Islands - a beautiful morning to sail along the passage to Paihia and Russell. Mist on the mountains but the sun did shine later. Very similar scenery to the Whitsunday Passages for those that have been there. Tenders to shore were very efficient with the ship excursions being off first. Tender numbering system by the activities staff was well done and managed the huge number of people wanting to ashore. They can only move 400-500 per hour so with nearly 2000 people it took 4-5 hours. We only went off about 11am into Paihia for a walk around. A free shuttle bus was provided from the wharf into the town or it is a 15 minute walk. You can take a guided tour of the Waitangi treaty site and meeting house or walk round the area. There were markets in the park and plenty of shops with souvenirs. Very pretty waterfront and many took the ferry to Russell. We had a cool local beer on the deck on the waterfront watching people come and go. Helicopter lands nearby for rides across the bay. Auckland - a modern city not much different to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. We berthed in the city centre so easy to get around. We were meeting friends and found a lovely cafe with free wifi near the waterfront. It was cloudy, drizzling rain and cool most of the day. Tauranga - the ship berthed at Mt Maunganui which is a seaside hamlet and close to Tauranga. It was cool weather and cloudy but a pleasant walk into town. You can get free wi-fi in a number of shop and Starbucks or Burger King by buying a coffee. We were going to take a walk around the little hill at the end of town where there are hot springs, but had to find a dentist instead. Easy to catch a local bus into Tauranga and look around. Napier - The ship had to reverse into the port area here and it was very interesting as it had to swing to the right and then reverse back into a working port area. We could not walk off this port area but had to be bused into Napier and back to the ship. Unfortunately we could not find a dentist available for an appointment in Tauranga the day before and had to contact our insurance company for assistance who found an emergency dentist in the Hawkes Bay area. The dentist was about a 20 minute ride to Havelock North and was going to cost about $80 each way by taxi. No buses available on a Saturday to get us there either. After speaking to a volunteer who takes guided walking tours around the town of Napier, she offered to take us to the dentist and wait and bring us back. We had an appointment at 2.30pm. So she picked us up and gave us a guided tour on the way out, waited for the repair and then took us on a guided tour of all of the wineries around the area and finally stopped at the Mission Winery Estate, one of the oldest in New Zealand and established by the Marist Brothers. She was the most helpful, warm and entertaining ambassador for the town of Napier and the local tourism area. Beth was delightful and certainly was the highlight of our visit to New Zealand. Napier is a very pretty Art Deco style town with lots of well-maintained building, a large central mall and the locals provide entertainment, and dress in the art deco style throughout the town, providing musical numbers and vintage cars on the wharf and in the town centre. Free wifi in the city centre for 30 minutes. We will return to visit this beautiful region in the future. Wellington - This is a beautiful harbour and I was returning after leaving nearly 30 years ago. On a fine and sunny day it is very picturesque but it was misty, cloudy and cool. The ship berthed in the city centre and there were buses into the city with 2 drop off points or you could walk. There were taxis just outside the gates and you could take a guided tour with them for a couple of hours in the city or up to 5 hours including the city and northwards into the country for NZ$60-$70 per hour. We took an hour taxi ride and I was able to visit places where I had lived, drove around the bays and across to Miramar and the airport and the driver was very entertaining and informative. Showed us where the Lord of the Rings studios are located and where they do all of the digital graphics for movies such as Avatar etc. We got dropped off at the top of the Cable Car and then walked back to the ship after wandering around the city centre. A very easy city to get around from the ship. Akaroa - this is the access port for the city of Christchurch as the Lyttleton port area was destroyed in the earthquake and is still not re-constructed. It is a very pretty harbour area and we once again had tenders in. It was again cloudy, cool and showery and we went for a walk along the waterfront. It has a very French history with street names and buildings with a French heritage. It was a public holiday and many people were visiting from Christchurch, so we strolled around and went back onto the ship. However we were fascinated to hear about the blue pearl which is naturally grown in the local waters and is only found here. They were very different and the jewellery it was manufactured in was beautiful. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to consider buying one, but may next time we visit as they were so unusual and beautiful. Dunedin - It was very cold and windy when we berthed at Port Chambers, the port for Dunedin. A bus ride was $8 each way so it would have been $32 just to get in and back. We elected to stay on the ship and enjoy the ambiance. Many people went on the train journey up the gorge and enjoyed it. There was a huge pile of woodchip on the wharf but with the strong winds, much of it was blown on to the ship and they had to wash it down that night and the next day to clean it up. Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sound - The weather was again cool and cloudy but not as windy as the day before and the cruise through the first 2 sounds was serene and picturesque. Then into Milford Sound and it was majestic with the mountains going straight up. There were many small craft sailing up and down the sound and then the captain slowed down and put the nose of the ship under a 500 foot waterfall. This was a very skilful exercise and done to perfection. We then went to the end of the sound to the town of Milford and collected some passengers who had gotten off in Dunedin and taken an overnight trip inland to Queenstown and then onto to Milford Sound to be picked up again. While we were there the cloud lifted for a short time and revealed the top of the peak and also some snowfields on top of the mountains. We were very fortunate to have been able to sail in such good weather as some cruise ships apparently have not been able to visit due to bad weather in recent days. Sailing days - there were 2 full sailing days over and back and it was enjoyable just to enjoy the ship's facilities and entertainment. On the way over it was quite windy and it cooled down so there was not much activity outside. Sydney - we arrived on Saturday morning and sailed through the heads and it is really a beautiful sail-in and harbour to arrive in. We were berthed overnight at the Overseas Passenger Terminal opposite the Opera House and disembarked on the Sunday. Sydney is a beautiful city day and night and there was a spectacular fireworks display at about 10.15pm in the bay near the Opera House. The views of the city, harbour bridge, opera house and foreshore from the ship were fantastic. Most of the cruise to New Zealand was cool, cloudy and showery in most ports with only the first and last day warm enough to enjoy the sunshine on deck. Even though it is summer, the weather can be changeable and cooler than Sydney or Brisbane. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I believe this was the first time Radiance of the Seas has sailed the South Pacific. The ship is very impressive, walls of glass, fabulous restaurants, excellent food and plenty of shore stops. The evening shows are very good and the ... Read More
I believe this was the first time Radiance of the Seas has sailed the South Pacific. The ship is very impressive, walls of glass, fabulous restaurants, excellent food and plenty of shore stops. The evening shows are very good and the theatre most impressive. With regard to gratuities I would not recommend paying them in advance. The gratuities are paid to state room attendants and staff at the main dining room. If you decide to eat at other restaurants you are not able to allocate any of the prepaid gratuities to these staff. We ate at other restaurants 7 out of the 12 nights so I ended up paying much more in gratuities for the other dining staff. Additionally the prepaid gratuities apparently guarantee "my time" dining where you can choose the time that you eat. Not so. On the first night my children and I waited over an hour for "my time" dining and finally I took them to the steak house, we ate at 10.00pm and the meal cost me $120.00 plus gratuity. . If you go ashore and plan activities try to do so well beforehand. Everyone is on island time. The islands were stunning, particularly Mystery Island and Champagne Bay. Get your tender tickets to get off the boat early - there are 2199 people wanting to get off with you! The pool is very small which is probably fine for Radiance's typical route through Alaska but much too small for a South Pacific cruise where people like to swim. There is another pool but for adults only and a wading pool for children. The scene by the pool in the afternoon can become chaotic but there's always a bar nearby with a friendly bartender. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Sailed from Sydney on the 4th of December. The boarding experience was good considering fairly poor facilities at the Sydney International Terminal. Our cabin was ready well prepared and in good condition. Our cabin attendant appeared ... Read More
Sailed from Sydney on the 4th of December. The boarding experience was good considering fairly poor facilities at the Sydney International Terminal. Our cabin was ready well prepared and in good condition. Our cabin attendant appeared almost imediately and was available and helpful for the entire trip. We booked late sitting dining and were seated with for other couples of similar age and were enjoyable company to be with. Our table was near the Captains table on formal nights which was nice. Unfortunately next to us was a table with a young couple and a child under two who cried most nights or knocked wine and food on to the floor this tended to detract from the experience. In addition the father regularly contravened the dress code for the dining room and wore shorts and sometime T-shirts. This attire was tolerated for the entire trip by the Dining room Maitre D despite being brought to his attention by our table supervisor. The dining room dress code is clearly displayed on boards at the entrance of the dining room. The Maitre-D did not support his staff and allowed ships rules to be flagrantly floughted. We wondered what other rules might be allowed to be ignored on the ship. Our wives and most of the ladies brought outfits to dress up and it is dissapointing to see standards being lowered. Our table staff in contrast were fantastic and were 5 star plus. If a rule is not going to be enforced change it, get rid of it! The food was good but a limited selection in the main dining room. One gets the feeling you are being encouaged to go to the pay extra restaurants. The food in the Buffet was also good with more variety though finding tables at times difficult. Generally we organised our own tours ashore as they were much cheaper. We did book a ship tour at the Bay of Islands which we missed as poor weather caused the called to cancelled. We struck fairly rough seas but the Captain did a good job minimising the discomfort and skirting the biggest seas. It was good to be on a 90,000 tonne ship with stabilisers. Unfortunately the American idea of good coffee does not meet the Australian idea of good coffee. The coffee is starbucks in cardboard mugs. Starbucks had to close a lot of their stores in Australia. The Cappuccino is particularly below what Australian's are used to in any of our capital cities. There are little signs that the accountants have been in, no daily news update to the cabins with the daily Cruise Compass, great emphasis to try and encourage passengers to go to the pay extra restaurants. It was however a very enjoyable cruise because of very good attendants, good company and a good itinerary. Special thanks to Jimmy Archer in Tauranga. Would we cruise Royal Caribbean, as we said in the onboard reveiw maybe, maybe not as two of our first considerations are itinerary and the calender dates. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
What a time we had getting to the ship. We had booked with the Choice Air program offered by Royal Caribbean. This program did not seem very professional or together when it came to problem solving our situation. Not the fault of Royal ... Read More
What a time we had getting to the ship. We had booked with the Choice Air program offered by Royal Caribbean. This program did not seem very professional or together when it came to problem solving our situation. Not the fault of Royal Caribbean though but Qantas. We embarked in Adelaide, 5 days late. It was very easy getting aboard compared to reviews I've read about Perth and Sydney. The Radiance is a nice ship. We took this ship in Alaska about 3 years ago. The refurbishing sure showed, fresh and clean. Missed the Meet and Mingle so we did not connect with other Meet and Mingle members. Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand were beautiful places. This cruise if definitely for the scenery. The weather was wonderful, sunny and on most days warm, 70's and 80's. The seas were fairly calm, except maybe a few rocky moments. The only complaint from me was the food. It was not as good as it has been in the past. I would recommend this cruise to anyone, but there were a lot of Aussies, understandably, and seniors...older seniors on board. Hobart: Beautiful place and know as God's Waiting Room. Met a cousin. She picked us up at the port. She drove us up to Mt. Wellington! Beautiful view. It was very cold and sprinkling rain the day we were there. At lunch at the Royal Botanical Gardens. Wonderful time. Lots to do at the port, shops, restaurants and souvenir shops. Milford, Doubtful, Dusky Sounds: Beautiful...wake up and enjoy the day! Spectacular scenery. Akoroa, New Zealand: Resort city. Tendered here. City right where you tender, shops, restaurants etc. Can use internet a the library for free. One block off main street. Took excursion of countryside and to Christchurch. Wow!!! worth it. Also stopped at sheep farm for a sheep dog demonstration and sheep shearing. We were also served tea and biscuits before returning to the ship. Beautiful place. Sydney,Australia: Nice city. Everything close by port and near city center. Lots to do. Took trip to Blue Mountains. Pretty, pretty. We disembarked in Sydney. Very easy and right downtown in the city center at Circular Quay. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
My wife and I live in California, and were planning to attend a wedding in Key West. Since we had a significant (and about to expire!) RCI credit from a Mediterranean cruise where half the ports were canceled due to weather, the Panama ... Read More
My wife and I live in California, and were planning to attend a wedding in Key West. Since we had a significant (and about to expire!) RCI credit from a Mediterranean cruise where half the ports were canceled due to weather, the Panama Canal cruise was an easy choice. Embarkation in San Diego was much easier than in our prior experiences in Europe. Having booked balcony and ocean-view rooms before, we went with the interior room this time, and actually liked it just as much or better (my wife prefers absolute darkness for sleeping). Having cruised on the Brilliance a year earlier, the ship's layout was familiar, and we actually preferred it to the larger Navigator in terms of how easy it is to get around. This cruise offered a nice mix of ports and sea days; we spent enough time at sea to compete in (and win!) a cumulative trivia contest. As appears generally to be the case in RCI cruises, there were plenty of activities available. We only took two organized excursions, preferring to wander through ports (I actually spent much of my shore time at Internet cafes, since I had to do some regular work, and RCI's terribly slow and expensive Internet services were in danger of bankrupting me). The biggest disappointment was the one port in Panama, which was basically a strip mall. The Acapulco stop was disappointing, too--and annoying because of the literally dozens of "tour guides" and taxi drivers besieging us the moment we got off the ship. Cartagena was much more interesting and navigable, even though we got caught in a downpour and I wound up having to get out and push our cab. The food on the Radiance was adequate (typical of RCI), with the exception of Portofino, which was so good (better, even in the steak dishes, than the pricier Chop) we went back twice. The dining room fare was only average, and usually most of the entrees were also available at the Windjammer buffet, where we usually ate after the first few nights. The entertainment was the usual mixed bag, with the production events vastly better than the random singers and musicians who performed. Over the course of the cruise, we became quite fond of the cruise director ("Dan, Dan, the Party Man") and his staff, who pulled off the required variety of cheesy special music nights and ersatz game shows with good humor. The cruise staff generally were competent and polite, with the exception of the poor guy who performed nightly in the piano bar, who did not have an ounce of charisma (a shock after the boozy fun every evening in our last cruise, on the Navigator). But the star of the cruise was the canal itself, a true marvel. The crew (along with the Panamanian pilot's crew who navigated the ship through the locks) did an outstanding job of fully informing us of every step in the passage. It was truly a memorable day that every cruiser ought to experience. All in all, it was a great way to get from California to Florida, and I'd do it all over again if RCI and other cruise lines would finally do something about the cost and quality of Internet services! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Last week, two days after Qantas decided to ground their airline, I flew to Perth (on Virgin). to join Radiance of the Seas for a 7 night cruise to Melbourne. Due to airline arrival time and oppressive heat in Perth I decided to go ... Read More
Last week, two days after Qantas decided to ground their airline, I flew to Perth (on Virgin). to join Radiance of the Seas for a 7 night cruise to Melbourne. Due to airline arrival time and oppressive heat in Perth I decided to go straight to the ship arriving at peak embarkation time, 1pm. What a nightmare. The majority of passengers were 65 yrs plus and the queue of people was as long as I have EVER seen a queue. The 1950/60's vintage terminal had no air-conditioning (that I detected) but had wobbly ceiling fans that only seemed to benefit those standing right underneath them. RCCL Terminal staff (locals)at the ground floor were all very friendly and informative and luggage was whipped away without any fuss but the line of people standing there waiting to board upstairs and going absolutely no where was incredible. No reasons were given for the delay despite the long and uncomfortable wait. Some old people were very affected. It was unclear if it was a cruise terminal, customs and immigration or RCCL problem. Finally the line started to move at a snails pace and some 2 hours later I was finally on board. This needs some serious attention. My cabin was delightful. Smaller than Rhapsody balcony cabins I have enjoyed in the past but newer and very very smart. My luggage was there fairly quickly, no wonder after such an appalling delay on the pier. Then I found out that due to the Qantas debacle we were going to stay in Perth overnight waiting for 200 plus passengers that had been unable to get to the ship in time for the scheduled departure. Not from the ship staff but from other passengers. An announcement was made sometime later by the Captain. Nice for those passengers but at the expence of one of the ports of call, Esperance. Pity. So a day late and with our full compliment of passengers finally we sailed away into the Great Southern Ocean. The seas were very smooth on what can be an hysterical patch of Ocean and Radiance rode them well. DINING As a solo traveller dining can be a chore. My-Time dining isn't always the best option especially when they expect you to make a reservation and sometimes tablemates can be awkward when a single 60 year plus male joins them. I don't look like a ogre or anything but.... The Windjammer Buffet is an easier option but securing a table at times can be a bun fight. A book, glasses, sea pass card, glass of water left on a table doesn't always work when you scurry off to get a plate full of food. Several times I came back to find my stuff pushed aside and others sitting where I wanted to be. Gathering everything up and balancing the food while you find another place to eat is annoying and embarrassing. But that said the food in the Windjammer Cafe was pretty good. I did venture into the Cascades Dining Room one lunch time and the waiter seemed rather put out that I was one person. He asked me twice in fact if I was dining alone. Second time I said yes I then asked him, politely, if that was a problem. He looked down his nose at me, sniffed and walked off and was extremely pleasant and polite, even introducing himself to a couple that sat down at the next table. And for this I prepaid my gratuities. Waiter, assistant waiter and Head Waiter (who I never even saw). He did eventually take my order and it was delivered and cleared away by his pleasant assistant but he stayed well away from me and devoted his tip gleaning skills to the couple. No wonder I never went back there and ate the rest of my meals in the Windjammer. Alas they could not accept my pre-paid gratuities in the Windjammer. I couldn't get a refund or get them transferred to staff that did fuss and bother for me so I put them in the bin in my cabin the morning I left the ship. Waste of good money really. Tipping is not an Australian custom and mandatory gratuities have an evil smell about them. Call them a service fee or something but by my dictionary a tip or a gratuity is given willingly for exceptional service without a companies mandatory statute. All that said, the food on Radiance was quite delightful. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment and performances throughout the ship were very good. Predictable but good for what they were. STAFF All of the staff except for one waiter in Cascades were exceptional. They always are. SHIP was spotlessly clean and extremely comfortable. I look forward to sailing on Radiance again. The flat screen TV in the room was 100 times better than the ancient peddle driven sets on Rhapsody (and some other ships). The selection of programmes was reptitious however, some I have watched numerous times on numerous other cruise liners. How hard is it to get some up-to-date programmes ? SUMMARY Other than the boarding delays, which from what I read here seem to have affected others in Australia on Radiance, the RCCL have cruising down to a pretty fine art. The boarding debacle DOES NEED SERIOUS ATTENTION. Cruising is such an easy vacation and so it should be. Thats probably why I do it so often...in fact I have only 46 more sleeps before I am off again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
Sailed on the with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' "Radiance of the Seas" from Sydney to Perth via Bali on a 16 day cruise departing on a sunny Saturday afternoon from Circular Quay Sydney, 15 October 2011. This was the first ... Read More
Sailed on the with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' "Radiance of the Seas" from Sydney to Perth via Bali on a 16 day cruise departing on a sunny Saturday afternoon from Circular Quay Sydney, 15 October 2011. This was the first cruise of Radiance in Australian waters however its sister ship Rhapsody of the Seas has just completed its third season. Cruise overall was very enjoyable but I cannot let it pass without first commenting on the booking in procedures. Put simply the embarkation was a complete debacle. RCCL will need to get their act together on this matter before their next cruise in Australia. It was so bad the Captain made the decision to delay the mandatory safety drill till the second day at sea due to the number of elderly passengers distressed by the process. A number actually collapsed while sweltering it out in the lengthy queues. In fact the elderly couple in front of us on the queue were very distressed and needed assistance from my wife during the ordeal. The Captain did formally apologise to all passengers but the damage had obviously already been done. I think the Captain like everyone else would have been very annoyed. The embarkation process was the talking point right throughout the cruise and even on the last day it was still a subject of discussion. Having got the boarding process issue out of the way I have to say that I think Radiance has made a reasonable start to its cruise program around Australasia and has something to build on. The ship itself is very impressive. At 90.000 tonnes it is large but not overly so and you never get the feeling of overcrowding, so common on other lines, with Radiance. There were queues at various times but they were quickly dealt with and were of no real concern. The ship sails smoothly with very little discernable "bumps" of the stabilisers. Even in the quite rough seas on the trip the ship maintained a smooth course. Glass walls dominate the central atrium which itself is some 9 stories high and a spectacular centrepiece for the ship. Faculties are first glass; a well-equipped gym, two adult pools and a children's pool. Actually there are numerous children's facilities and was surprising therefore there were only 60 kids on board. The kids would also like the putt putt course, waterslide, basketball court and inside areas like the cinema and disco/games room. A highly recommended cruise for those with kids. The stand out feature of this cruise for this writer was the food and service. The dining experience was enhanced by the sterling efforts of our waiters Karen and Marvin both of who are from the Philippines, Ever courteous and efficient, but unobtrusive, they made our dining experience all the more enjoyable. The food itself was varied, good portions and beautifully presented. The late sitting was at 8:30 pm which suited out timetable and considerably less crowded than the 6:30 sitting. In fact we enjoyed the food and service in the Cascade Dining Room so much that for the first time on a cruise we did not go to one of the speciality dining restaurants. Extensive wine list is available but purchase in the single bottles is expensive. I would recommend purchase of a wine package which attracts savings of up to 40% on single bottles. As for the food and wine service ditto for our cabin attendant Joel, also from the Philippines, who was forever helpful and very discreet. Our cabin was roomy, well equipped and kept in excellent order by Joel. The beds were comfortable, well presented and there was more than enough storage space for the longest of voyages. Some commented that the shower recesses were small and that is so but this was countered somewhat by the strong water pressure which was a pleasant relief from previous ships. Linen, towelling and bedclothes were high quality. We did not do organised tours but rather made our own way around the ports in hire cars. Tours are expensive but you do get priority tender boarding. Some suggestions for the next venture of Radiance into Australian waters: 1. Improvement to the booking in procedures is a must. There has to be a better way to get 2,000 passengers onto a ship. In particular look at the procedures for issuing of Seapass cards. 2. Review procedures for tender ticket issue. Tender ticket issue for Bali was of particular concern with the queue forming at 11:00 am for a 2:15pm issue. 3. Open the pool bar after 7:00 pm. Keeps passengers on the pool decks rather than crowd the downstairs bars. Several of the insider cabin occupants were annoyed they were effectively dispatched downstairs as the pool bar had closed. 4. Have a late time show starting at 10:00 pm. People usually prefer to dine before a show. 5. Improve the quality of the inside cinema. I think a new projector is badly needed. Screen picture was barely watchable and nowhere near the quality of the large outdoor cinema. 6. Put more effort into the Port Hedland stop off. Do have to mention however that one of the highlights of the cruise however was the send-off we got form the residents of Port Hedland as they lined the shores and cheered as we left their port. 7. The bingo, at $32 a game was too expensive. As a result the crowds dropped off except for the last day. As a consequence payouts were not as high as they could have been. Things to remember before you cruise with Radiance: 1. Don't forget to bring an adapter for American power sockets. Also bring a small four gang power board to re charge all the essentials. 2. The wi fi internet works well but is quite slow and therefore expensive. Bring your mobile dongle which connects in all of the Australian Ports. If you do use the ship's wi fi and you are using an ISP make sure you address error code 550 with regards to the sending of emails. 3. Shampoo, conditioner and hand and body lotions are not provided, so don't forget to bring along. 4. There are no self-serve laundry facilities on board. Airlie beach is four days into the cruise and there is a self-service laundry just as you get of the ship. While not expensive on board ($15 per bag) we were not very happy with the standard of washing provided on board. 5. If you are going to hire cars do so before you leave. We used balieasycarretnal in Bali and were very pleased with the value, the driver and the standard of car. In Darwin AVIS and Budget are a half hour walk from the ship so is probably better to get a taxi. Radiance is a very impressive ship. An enjoyable cruise with some teething issues which I am sure management will address. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This is our 10th cruise and, like all our previous cruises, we ensure we take advantage of the departure port and get there several days in advance to enjoy the particular city prior to boarding. Honolulu was no exception and we thoroughly ... Read More
This is our 10th cruise and, like all our previous cruises, we ensure we take advantage of the departure port and get there several days in advance to enjoy the particular city prior to boarding. Honolulu was no exception and we thoroughly enjoyed our 6 day pre-cruise visit. RADIANCE is big and "strong" and amazing how it handled the big swells of the Pacific. Advanced stabilizers kept the ship on an even keel (excuse the pun) as she cut through the seas at an incredible 25 knots. However, after all the jazzed up reports of the makeover, I was disappointed. I was expecting more. Sure the added specialty dining rooms and outdoor movie screen were the main changes done, and they were spanking new of course, but I had wrongly assumed the staterooms had been overhauled as well (apart from the flat screen TV). Embarkation: Easy; boarding staff were friendly. Getting to the port was also a breeze. $6 on a shuttle bus with a friendly driver was a good start to our cruise. Stateroom: Not what I expected; drab and "tired" and musty smell. Sofa was worn and faded (this was the same through other staterooms that I visited) and I really didn't feel comfortable sitting on it, curtains old and "whoofy" odour. But our stateroom steward attended to the smell and deodorised the room within a few hours. I got over the initial bad impression and all well after this; my idea of a ship overhaul is obviously different to RCC International's! Bathroom small but sufficient storage in mirror cabinet to keep all toiletries. Shower oh so small, but this is the same on all cruise lines in this class cabin. A real plus is the amazing water pressure in the shower (reminded me of the Seinfeld episode with Kramer!) Storage for clothes was adequate. Bed? Excellent - very, very comfortable. Food: We honestly had no problems. Find it hard to believe other reviewers had issues. In fact, we enjoyed the food so much in the Cascades and Windjammer that we never got to try any of the specialty places. Our excellent table waiters Aleksander and David were outstanding and our dining companions were also fun. We did find however that breakfast or lunch in the Cascades to be a bit "pressured". Staff were polite but you could see they were under extreme pressure to provide the timely service. While the "cereal bar" for breakfast and "salad bar" for lunch were interesting, it did confuse many people. One could go to the central area and waiters there would serve you cereal, juice etc as an "entree" and the table waiter would take your order for the "main" course. I must admit the salad bar was amazing! Everything so fresh - no wilted leaves to be seen ever. So many ingredients - all types of salad leaves, peppers, corn, sprouts, seeds, salmon, chicken pieces, and various salad dressing - and even prawns! One could simply forgo the main course and just indulge in the salad bar. As previously touched on, dinner at Cascades was something we looked forward to each evening. Food was outstanding and Aleksander and David bent over backwards to please. A nice touch here is that they called us by our first names and not SIR or MADAM or MR x or Mrs x... made the dining experience more special. I must point out however, that table waiters and table companions are a key to a pleasant dining experience. If these don't "work for you" then you would need to change tables up front or head to the Windjammer or specialty restaurants. Solarium - adult pool area. Was disappointed the captain did not retract the glass roof on our sunny days as it was quite stifling in there although cosy on the dreary cold days. Park Cafe - brilliant - salad bar, hot roast beef rolls, pastries etc. RCC obviously didn't deem it important enough to replace the "greenery" in the Solarium. Tired, discoloured plastic vines and leaves really took away from the "jungle" ambiance. Other: Lot of nooks and crannies to relax eg. library (small but quiet), Starquest lounge (on highest deck and great forward view) so quiet and peaceful. Helicopter area far forward- do your impression of The Titanic scene here if you wish or just sit on the comfy benches and drift away- not a sound here except the wind and the waves. Golf course - loved it. Apparently this was part of the renovation and it showed - beautiful artificial turf and rockery that looked so real. Apart from really windy and rocky days, it played quite true. TV in stateroom: appalling programming; ad nauseum repeats. Entertainment: very good... Tango Buenos Aires a highlight. An early 7pm show for the 2nd sitting diners was a superb idea instead of a late 10:30... well done RCC Guest Relations: Nothing different here... it amazes me how politely rude, or rudely polite these people can be. OK, they basically deal with complaints 24/7 but that's their job.... a smile wouldn't hurt. 10 cruises and the same 10 experiences. Final note: very surprised that there were 1500+ Australians onboard but even more surprised that that there were 160 kids also! We knew it was school holiday time but we didn't expect Aussies to fly all the way over to Hawaii with their kids for a 17 day cruise. Live and learn. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
The Good Left vancouver on a beautiful day. Weather then turned foggy and cloudy but this is what is to be expected when cruising to alaska. My junior suite was very nice, better than expected. A little wear and tear. I had the ... Read More
The Good Left vancouver on a beautiful day. Weather then turned foggy and cloudy but this is what is to be expected when cruising to alaska. My junior suite was very nice, better than expected. A little wear and tear. I had the attendent remove all items from the refrigerator and to also keep my ice bucket full. This allowed me to keep a constant supply of ice water. I did not want to pay the overly expensive price for Evian water which I think tastes awful. My cabin attendant was excellent, the best I have ever had on any cruise including on the six star Regent line. I ended up giving him an extra 50.00 tip. He made sure I had extra coffee and creamers as well as just being so attentive. I had a lot o fun on the cruise. Took the rainforest santuary hike at ketchikan and saw three adult bears and cubs. Plus two pink footed seagulls, which I had never seen before. A friend of mine owns a bar there and the bartender gave me good recommendations for buying jewelry, Julies and Alaska Bear company. Juneau was rainy and sunny. I went to mendenhall with Lisa and her group from the meet and mingle. Thank you lisa for a great time. The glacier was as amazing as ever. Skagway started out gray and then got beautiful. I took the bicycle ride to Dyea and it was wonderful. Due to heavy rains the mushrooms were going crazy and were so beautiful. Cruising out of Skagway was amazing as the weather cleared. Lots of whales and beautiful sunset. Hoonah was stormy but had a great time with Capt Shawn of Glacier Wind Charters on our whale watching trip. Highly recommend. Hubbard Glacier was incredible. My second time there and not disappointed. I think having a balcony is essential on an alaska cruise. so much to see from the water. I met wonderful fun people on this cruise. More about that below. The Bad The bad part of this cruise was the Cascades Dining room food. the only reason I continued to eat there, except on formal nites (2) was to spend the time with my tablemates. They were fun and wonderful and a joy to be with. This is my third RCL cruise and the worst dining room food ever, on any cruise. I am not that picky however the meat was either undercooked or overcooked. The "fresh" salmon was anything but. I live in Washington so I know fresh salmon. This was overcooked and very fishy tasting, which is not how fresh salmon tastes. The worst meal was the last nite of the cruise. They offered NY steak. Ordered it. Got about half way through and started to taste that old, rotten meat taste. Stopped eating it right away so I wouldnt get sick. The Windjammer had much fresher food and better food and selection. I did not go on this cruise for the food, more for the alaska experience and meeting new people. However i do think for the price we pay and the additional cost of beverages and services on board plus somewhat required gratuities, RCL needs to step it up. I will probably not cruise with them again due to this. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
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Radiance of the Seas -- 16 September 2011 Background Information We were booked for this cruise (YVR to HNL with port calls in Kona, Lahaina and Nawiliwili) and also the following one (HNL to SYD with port calls in Tahiti, Moorea, ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas -- 16 September 2011 Background Information We were booked for this cruise (YVR to HNL with port calls in Kona, Lahaina and Nawiliwili) and also the following one (HNL to SYD with port calls in Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and Auckland). I injured my right knee the day we boarded and, after visiting the on board acupuncturist, developed a serious staph infection on my right calf. At the STRONG suggestion of the two ship's physicians, we canceled the second cruise and left the ship in Honolulu. I got some interesting insights into traveling while disabled and will write about that at the end of this review. Travel to Port of Embarkation We flew from LAX to YVR nonstop on Alaska Airlines. We were able to get seats on a nonstop flight for only $99.00 and that beat any other possible combination we could come up with. The plane was full but the service was excellent and wifi was complimentary during the month of September. Arrival at Vancouver International was on time and we had a relatively quick trip through immigration, baggage claim and customs. The airport is very nice but we always seem to come in at one of the furthest out gates and that means lots of walking. We had quite a bit of luggage -- two 22 inch rollaboards, two large totes, a garment bag and two smaller bags so decided that Skytrain would not be the best way to get into town. Instead, we took an Aerocar shuttle. The guys in charge outside were pretty disorganized but we only had to wait about 25 minutes for the next shuttle to arrive. Our hotel was the last stop but we would use this service again. Hotel We spent the night before the cruise at the Marriott Pinnacle. It is a lovely hotel with a good central location. Because we are Lifetime Platinum members of the Marriott program we were given a very nice 25th floor room on the Concierge Level. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with cruise friends in the Lounge and the complimentary snacks were our dinner. The next morning we had breakfast in the Concierge Lounge and then used a van/taxi for the short trip to Canada Place and the ship. Embarkation There were plenty of porters to help with the bags that we were checking and the trip through U.S. Customs and Immigration and checkin were very easy. By doing the U.S. processing in Vancouver we were able to avoid having to do it when we arrived in Hawai'i. We boarded at about 12:30PM and the cabins were not to be ready until 1:00PM. We found a place to sit in the Champagne Bar and soon afterwards the announcement was made that the cabins were, indeed, ready. Stateroom For this cruise we were booked in an E2 Balcony, 7534. This is one of the cabins that has the extra large balcony. It is about twice the size of a regular balcony but you do lose a bit of privacy because divider becomes a half wall for the last few feet and you also have people looking down from the cabins above onto that area. It was not a serious problem for us. The new deck furniture -- two nice chairs and a dining height table -- are a nice addition. The cabin was pretty much standard. We did notice the new flat screen TVs but also realized that the E2 cabins are smaller and have less storage space than the D cabins. The beds were together instead of apart as we had requested but our very good Cabin Attendant Ahmad took care of that before bedtime. The in room wi-fi (Fee charged although our two Diamond coupons gave us enough time to download and upload e-mail.) works great and is, perhaps, the best of the new features. The location of this cabin is good. It is close to the stairs/elevators that go directly to the Theater. We had heard some comments about noise from the Theater but that was never really a problem. Ship Info This was our fifth cruise on Radiance of the Seas. The last one had been the Coastal Cruise from San Diego to Vancouver before she went in for refitting in Victoria, BC. We were looking forward to seeing the changes. She seemed, on first look, to be in very good shape. A lot of painting had been done and some new carpeting installed. The Stateroom itself could have used new carpet and new upholstery. The bedding and drapes also need to be updated. One of our first stops was the Windjammer to get something for lunch. We had been concerned that the addition of Rita's Cantina and Izumi would cut into the already scarce seating. We were right. You can still go through Rita's to the outside area but, unless it's a nice day, that's not a good option. This seems to have been a revenue driven decision and has not been a popular one with people who use the Windjammer on a regular basis. Because I ended up needing a wheelchair for most of the cruise, I didn't get to explore as much as I'd like to have. I do know that there were negative comments about the loss of the much loved Sea View Cafe. We also missed the Breakers Dining Room for the Diamond/Diamond Plus breakfast in the morning. It has been replaced by three single cabins and six Oceanview cabins. We were told that the singles were being used for crew accommodation on this cruise. The new Diamond Lounge has been carved out of the Royal Viking Lounge. There were so many Diamond members on this cruise they had to open a rear door up and use part of the Royal Viking Lounge. We very much enjoyed the complimentary cocktails and beer/wine. It was explained to us that this is the main difference between a Diamond Lounge and a Diamond Event. Service was a bit spotty although Nickson did a very good job. The Concierge, Steven, seemed to be spending quite a bit of time carrying plates and replenishing food on the buffet which is not really what he is supposed to be there for. He was very pleasant when he had time to stop and visit but that was rare. While we enjoyed the Lounge, this has cut up what was once a lovely room with panoramic views for all to enjoy. Dining We were signed up for My Time Dining. With all of Deck Five being MTD, we hoped that things would go more smoothly than they have in the past. The first night we were seated fairly quickly but at a table directly next to the back side of a noisy service center. Watching plates being scrapped and dirty plates stacked wasn't especially appetizing. The next morning, however, we ran into a favorite waiter, Andrew Tuscano, from Navigator. We were able to be seated at one of his tables for the remainder of the cruise and he and his assistant, Agnelo Fernandes, took excellent care of us. We were also happy to see John Fernandes, an assistant waiter from an earlier cruise and Rathan who is now a supervisor. The quality of the food was good. It is, however, predictable. The menus have not changed since our first cruise on Radiance in 2009. Day One, Vidalia Onion Tart... A couple of favorites are there, of course, including the pork medallions and the Thanksgiving Dinner. Two of my favorite appetizers -- escargot and the scallop and shrimp gratin -- are also still on the menu. Andrew always made good suggestions and went far above and beyond to make dining a fun and enjoyable experience. One night, when I wasn't feeling up to going to the MDR, he insisted on sending dinner and dessert to the cabin. I had already ordered from Room Service but the thought and his concern was very much appreciated. On this cruise we ate at only one Specialty Restaurant. We went as a party of six to Chops. The meal was, as always, good. The service, however, was not as personal nor as professional as we remember from other visits. I do very much like the addition of creme brulee as a dessert option, however. One very small complaint: The flatware is still cumbersome. It rolls off the plate when you put a knife or fork down. We had looked forward to trying Samba's Grill but ended up not doing so. People we spoke with said that it was good but not exceptional. They also found the location -- replacing the Sea View Cafe -- a bit odd. That was especially true when it was cold or wet at night. Again, a revenue driven decision not thoroughly thought through? Activities/Shows Because of my condition we didn't participate in many of the activities. We did go to two shows. One was a comedy show performed by the two Argentines who own and produce Tango Buenos Aires. They are brothers and are very funny. The tango show, which we've now seen four times was excellent although the female lead singer was not as strong as the others we've seen. Bobby and Becky Brown were the Cruise Director and Activity Director. They are both true professionals and do a great job. Service We had excellent service from our Cabin Attendant, Ahmad, and in the Main Dining Room from Andrew and Agnelo. We had a feeling, though, that everyone was doing more work than before and some service suffered. We gave up trying to contact Guest Relations by phone. They just never answered and the one time they did were not able to help us with out an in-person visit. We had breakfast delivered by Room Service most mornings and it was, with two exceptions, prompt and efficient. It would be nice to have more variety on the menu, however. The people at Guest Relations seemed to be overwhelmed much of the time. I was also surprised, when we went to tell them that we would need to leave the ship early, that there was no hint of We're sorry to hear that. The young woman we spoke with seemed a little put out that we were causing her extra work. She did offer a complimentary phone call or thirty extra internet minutes which never activated. She was not available to speak to about this so we paid the charge. The invitations for the Meet & Mingle were not sent in time to about half the people who were registered. Ours was in our cabin the evening after the 10:30AM event. Our Diamond amenities were not in the cabin when we boarded. They were delivered at 10:00PM the first night. Again, perhaps too much work for too few people? Port and Shore Excursions We didn't do any Ship's Excursions. In Kona we went ashore and met friends for lunch at the Kona Inn. As usual, it didn't disappoint. I had a very good Mai Tai and excellent calamari sandwich. At Lahaina we rented a car and drove to the top of Haleakala. It was a perfect day with the drive up the mountain in clouds and drizzle and then bright sun at the top. We could see both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island 100 miles away. We stopped at the Kula Lodge in Kula for a very good late lunch. and then drove up to the Iao Valley and Needle on the way back to Lahaina. On Kauai we also rented a car and went up to the Waimea Canyon, stopped at the Kauai Coffee Company and the Spouting Horn and had lunch in Wailua before returning to the ship. Disembarkation We were in one of the last groups off the ship and met in the Cascades Dining Room. They had pastries and drinks available. When they called our number there was a crew member with a wheelchair (we had returned the one we were using so we could get the credit for the $250.00 deposit) and he took us to baggage claim where we got a porter and then out to the Taxis where we got a cab into Waikiki where we spent a night before flying home. Summary We made the best of a difficult situation and tried to enjoy the cruise as much as we could. I was disappointed that I didn't have the mobility to see as many of the changes that were made during dry dock as I would have liked. As mentioned, I think that the addition of Rita's and Izumi was a mistake. It has really made a bad situation in The Windjammer worse. Spending most of the cruise in a wheelchair or on a cane gave me a new appreciation for people who travel this way all the time. The crew were generally very helpful and compassionate. Many passengers were, too, but I was really surprised by how rude and inconsiderate some people were. We had people go around us to get in elevators, let doors close in our face and generally ignore that we might need a little extra time or help getting around. I have to especially acknowledge the crew working the tender operation. This can be difficult at best but they treated me with respect and the inclinator they use for getting the wheelchairs up and down to the tender platform works really well. We were also treated very well on the return trip, being taken aside so we would be the last on/first off the tender. Would we sail on Radiance again? Absolutely, if only to see and experience the new things that we missed this time around! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Regular cruisers with Royal Caribbean, 3 times on this ship. Updates to the ship were nice but I agree with other posters that the restaurants that take space away from the Windjammer are a rip-off. Food quality is becoming more and more ... Read More
Regular cruisers with Royal Caribbean, 3 times on this ship. Updates to the ship were nice but I agree with other posters that the restaurants that take space away from the Windjammer are a rip-off. Food quality is becoming more and more institutional. That said, I had a steak in Chop's that was one of the best I have ever eaten. Service in Chop's was spectacular. Service on board was very good. This Captain runs a very tight ship and every person I interacted with was professional. Too bad I never saw the TV repairman. I had a few issues with the new TV's in the staterooms, no reception for most of the cruise. Multiple repairs were fruitless. Not too bad though, I wasn't forced to watch the cruise directors pitch for every stupid jewelry store in the ports (the exact same as every Caribbean port). Good service in the dining room. Wine was decent but certainly at restaurant prices not liquor store prices, no real surprise here. We had GREAT weather, no rain at all. Very unusual from what I hear. We will cruise again with RCI but I wish they would work on improving food quality in the Windjammer. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My husband and I and our children (16, 10, 8) travelled aboard the Radiance of the Seas from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia the last week of August 2011. The ship stopped at Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. ... Read More
My husband and I and our children (16, 10, 8) travelled aboard the Radiance of the Seas from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia the last week of August 2011. The ship stopped at Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. It also sailed to the Hubbard Glacier and through the Inside Passage. This was our fourth cruise with children and my ninth, however our first venture outside the Caribbean. We thought the itinerary was the best of all worlds. We chose the ship because of its updated features and amenities for adults and children. We were not disappointed. The ship was probably my favourite of the nine cruises I've been on. It boasted friendly staff throughout and classic elegance. The atrium area with the glass elevators was insanely beautiful. Even our inside cabins were exceedingly comfortable and well thought out. We travelled from central Canada to Anchorage and on to Seward in one day. I would not recommend that to anyone! It was a total of 18 hours in travel time from door to cabin door. In Anchorage, we had prepaid a company to take us by bus to the pier through the internet. Because of a flight delay, we missed that bus. Originally we were told that no shows would receive only a 50% refund. However, we came to a satisfactory agreement. At first I was disappointed that Alaska Cruise Tours left us behind at the airport but in the end, I would say they handled the situation very professionally. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this company to future cruisers. We considered a rental car, but in the end we were able to find transport and we made the cruise on time which is the important thing. Dining: We ate dinner in the dining room every night. Our table was set for 10 but we were the only ones to dine most nights. The service was excellent and there was almost always something appealing on the menu. Our other meals were eaten in the large buffet or the Park Cafe. I have to mention that the Park Cafe and Solarium was one of my most favourite spots aboard ship. There and the Colony Club on 6 aft. Beautiful spots for looking out over the ocean. The Park Cafe offered fresh, healthy options for breakfast and lunch, which I enjoyed numerous times. Entertainment: I wouldn't rate the entertainment all that highly on this cruise, but I'm okay with that. I prefer to turn in fairly early and rise early to enjoy the quiet morning on the upper decks. The ship's entertainment crew were very good; the shows just aren't really my style. Kids' Club: Perfect and wonderful. Couldn't have asked for more. Shore Excursions: Juneau. We took a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and walked the trails there. We happened across a young cub while on a trail and observed him for a while. It's a beautiful place. The shops were interesting to pop in and out of. Skagway. We explored the town in the morning (an hour is all you need to do that). In the afternoon, we went on a ship excursion by bus to the Summit of the White Pass and into the Yukon, on to a suspension bridge over some raging waters and back down to a gold rush reinactment at Klondike Gold Fields. It was a fine way to put in 4-5 hours. Icy Strait Point. A tender stop. Should have just stayed on the ship. Ketchikan. My favourite port, but I don't know whether that's because of the actual town or because the sun came out for the first time on our vacation, lol! I really liked watching the salmon swimming in the streams here and learning the story of their struggles and journey to spawn. We did all our souvenir shopping here, which was fine--lots of choice. However, one of the really nice souvenir shops that was in Juneau and Skagway (Alaska T-Shirt Company) was curiously absent in Ketchikan. Go figure. Shopping tip: use the coupon book that's handed to you at embarkation. It has lots of deals in it. Second tip: say no-thank you to the Ulu Knife. Security doesn't like them and complicates your vacation. Once in Vancouver, we disembarked using the Walk-Off option. Super easy. We were off the ship by 8 a.m. and at our hotel (downtown Holiday Inn a little later). We spent the day on a hop on/hop off bus tour, which wasn't a bad way to see the city sights in limited timeframe. One tip: don't use Grayline's Big Pink. We had a lot of problems with unnecessary delays. The other two busses that do similar routes were always cruising by us while we waited endlessly at the stops. I would highly recommend both this cruise itinerary and the ship The Radiance of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My wife and I just returned from fifteen days on the Radiance of the Seas (RCI) cruise out of Tampa (4-29-11) through the Panama Canal to San Diego. It is hard not to like cruising, the ocean is amazing -- relaxing and soothing! Yet, ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from fifteen days on the Radiance of the Seas (RCI) cruise out of Tampa (4-29-11) through the Panama Canal to San Diego. It is hard not to like cruising, the ocean is amazing -- relaxing and soothing! Yet, when we cruise the way we are treated and the organization by the ships crew can make a wonderful cruise into something far less attractive. When we boarded the cruise everything went well, the Diamond pre-boarding went smoothly and at the appointed hour once on board we had our cabin. Once settled in the poor handling of the ship's communication became very observable. We were not informed of Diamond events though when we asked we did get answers (if they are trying to 'pamper' their frequent cruisers you'd think the information would be readily available). My wife was looking forward to receiving the Diamond pin, but at first they said it would take a week, they offered many excuses, then after further complaining on the fourth day it was delivered to our stateroom. Throughout the fifteen days the "special events either did not occur or we were never informed.The "MyTime" dining experience was met with long lines (in spite of reservations) and much confusion and grumbling among fellow cruisers. The tours we signed up for were fine, but enduring the 'cattle herding' experience in the halls, in the theater and just waiting around to find out what was next... finally, an hour late departure from the ship for the tour (the ship had been cleared two hours earlier, but the staff's organization had not been thought through). I voiced a mild complaint that evening at "guest relations" and was told someone would call my room. Two days later I mentioned again that I had not received a call... referred to the Exploration desk and received all kinds of justification, I'm not sure they heard or understood what was being told them by me and others.The 'Diamond and Diamond plus' breakfast was in a room that could not handle the number of members on board, it was loud and not really special in anyway -- downright confusing and impersonal. A "special" Diamond/Diamond plus breakfast event, a week into the cruise, was a fiasco -- long lines, long waits, and then we got to place our orders and wait another hour for our meals! The total unpreparedness of the kitchen and food staff, and the lack of planning for such an event is inexcusable! We were told by some of the wait staff that the management had only told them the night before to show up and had not considered how they were going to prepare 500 different omelets available on the regular menus ...bottom line they couldn't! The lack of staff oversight and good planning continued throughout the cruise to disembarkation morning. We were told there would not be express check-out, then that there would be and then was told to just go ahead and use the Diamond #2 luggage tags and carry out my luggage. After carrying two 50lb suitcases down two flights of stairs just after the gang-plank I was asked why I did not go to deck three for the "express" departure?The professional singers and dancers were great... We missed the story line at the first presentation "City of Dreams" but so did others. One of the performers mentioned to me later on deck that the performers did not like it as much either. There were parts that were spectacular, like the ballet portion and a couple of the numbers... but overall a poor choice. On the other hand, the "Piano Man" performance was spectacular in every way! Some of the other special one-night performers were beyond their peak. An exception was the "Revolution" Beatles performers and music... worth the time, very entertaining! We always like the guitarists on board RCI cruises, again on this ship they did a very good job in solo's and trios.OK, enough complaining... the Panama Canal was amazing to see, the weather was great, our stateroom was very acceptable, the waiters in the dining room and Portofino's were superb (Chops was lousy), and the 15 days at seas were restful and worth every dollar spent. It is a shame that what appears to be poor management communication and preparedness can sour something that had such promise. ...Can this really be the ship that earned "ship of the year?" It baffles us, and most of the others that were on this cruise, that such an award could ever be offered to such inefficient, unprepared and inept ship management! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Radiance of the Seas was cool. It was our 6th cruise, third with RC and we enjoyed it. A short 5 night cruise out of Tampa was the perfect ticket for some relaxing and fun. Service was attentive and good. Meals in the main dining room ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas was cool. It was our 6th cruise, third with RC and we enjoyed it. A short 5 night cruise out of Tampa was the perfect ticket for some relaxing and fun. Service was attentive and good. Meals in the main dining room were ok, but the service was great. Enjoyed two specialty restaurants and each were good choices as the food and service were very good. The buffet food was average but plentiful.Wouldn't recommend the massages for the price paid. Not the best and not the worst, but well overpriced for what you got in return. It wasn't any better than a $60 massage. We booked an AFT room on the Deck 8 and it was small, but the balcony was a bit larger. Still comfortable for two people. I will probably book a suite next time in the AFT area just for some extra cabin room. Nevertheless, it was private and quite. Long walk to the elevators though, but not a big deal. I would highly recommend to anyone who hasn't tried an AFT cabin. Our Steward did an excellent job keeping the room clean and stock with fresh towels. Good stuff all around! The casino even offered a smoke-free night! That was great because otherwise it was like walking into an ash-tray every other night. As always, mixed-drinks were expensive but bar service outstanding. Best I've experienced to date. Well mixed drinks and fast service every time. Ship layout/design was ok, but the numbers of elevators and locations were limited and frequently used. So we took the steps a lot, which was fine for us.Overall, our experience was very good. The RC staff for us was friendly, helpful and courteous. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
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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