We have been looking forward to this cruise for over a year. It was myself, my DH, my Brother and a girlfriend. Our cruise dates were December 4 - 11, 2005. We arrived in Miami on Saturday, December 3rd. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency (excellent). We did our air on our own, and did the hotel via Priceline. We arrived in Miami about 3:00pm, checked-in and then went to Bayside. We walked and had dinner at Bubba Gump Restaurant (very nice).
We woke up on cruise morning about 8:30am, had breakfast and took a taxi to the port around 12:30pm. Embarkation was excellent. The ship is absolutely beautiful.
Our cabin was ready at 1:00pm. We stayed in 9094 (Superior balcony room), very close to the elevators. Excellent room. My Brother and my GF were in 9096, a connecting room. We asked the stateroom attendant to open the inside door.
When I got on the ship my H noticed that I did not have our camcorder any longer. He gave it to me while checking in at RC. I went immediately to Guest Relations to see if anyone turned it in, they said no, and to check periodically, which I did for the first 2 days, what a bummer. The Guest Relations staff was very nonchalant. While I take full responsibility, I would have hoped for better customer service. They said they would email the port to see if I left it there, and I never heard anything back. I thought a call to my stateroom saying that they hadn't received word back, or go to hell, or anything would be better than nothing. I also went to Guest Relations about American Airlines being at the port. They said that they knew nothing about it. American Airlines is at the port, and we were able to get our tickets and check our luggage there. Needless to say, I was not pleased with Guest Relations. They had a very "don't bother me" attitude. When I was on the Mariner, they went out of there way to be helpful.
The dining experience was wonderful. Our waiter (Karoly) and Assistant waiter (Pablo) were very nice. Pablo was new, so he would forget things, but he was very sweet, and we had no problems in giving him reminders. The food was great in the dining room. My GF and I went to the Murder Mystery on Wednesday at Portofinos. It was not worth $49.50. The food was excellent at Portofinos. The play should be free. Would not do that again. We stayed at the Seaview Cafe and Windjammer. The Windjammer was mediocre to good. The seaview was very good. We never went to the Solarium Cafe.
The casino staff was excellent, very polite, and a lot of fun.
Our stateroom attendant was nice but, he seemed to also want to hurry us up, or not have time for questions. For example, I purchased alcohol in St. Thomas, the liquor store told me to contact our stateroom attendant at 7:30pm that evening to make certain that it was delivered to the ship. I called at 7:30pm to ask, and before I got the question out, he said, "no alcohol is allowed in the room, call Guest Relations". I knew the alcohol would be delivered to us before we departed the ship, I just felt rushed, as though he was too busy to even listen to my question. I called Guest Relations, and got the same response until I firmed up and said, "please let me ask the question first." I just want to be sure it made it on the ship, I don't want it in the room. Our attendant got better as the week progressed. Not our best, but he turned out pretty nice.
The Ports of call were CocoCay (nice), St. Thomas (nice), and St. Maarten (really nice). I did most of my shopping in St. Maarten. I enjoyed all three. The ship also stopped in St. Croix to refuel. We could get off the ship, but it was during the Murder Mystery so we didn't.
Overall, my vacation was fabulous. The Cruise Director was very nice however, his staff was not very approachable. I got the impression, whether right or wrong, that this was a first cruise for many (CD staff, Assist. Waiter, Stateroom Attendant, Guest Relations personnel) I have sailed with RC 3 times and by far this was my least favorite, but it was still a great cruise. They are normally so superb that any slight problem, becomes huge. I would highly recommend this ship to anyone, all of the problems that I experienced could be fixed with experience and better customer service training. I will more than likely pick Voyager class ships from now on, but, I would not totally be against the radiance class. I had a wonderful time, and I hope that if you have a cruise coming up, that you have a great time as well.