Radiance of the Seas - Western Caribbean: Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by Janette Perez

Radiance of the Seas 4
Janette Perez

Overall Member Rating

Radiance of the Seas - Western Caribbean

Sail Date: March 2006
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
I traveled with my husband and my parents on the 3-5-06 Radiance of the Seas sailing to the Western Caribbean. Checking in was the easiest and quickest I have ever experienced on any cruise line. Dont leave home without registering online. You need to complete the online registration 24 hours before departure. Remember to print out your Sea Pass. Youll need your Passport (ID), and Credit Card upon check-in. Once youre on board, take time to explore the ship. Buffet lunch is served until 3:00pm in the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11.

Staff Captain Hernan Zini runs a tight ship. He is extremely friendly and approachable. My father looked away while posing with my mom and the Captain during the welcome reception. My mother was quite upset, and when I explained this to Captain Zini, he posed with them again during the Crown & Anchor Welcome Aboard Party so I could take another picture. Peter, our Cruise Director, made the cruise extremely enjoyable. The staff was friendly and More professional  Guest relations, Head Waiter, Our Waiter Basilio, our Assistant Waiter, Victor, our Room Steward Sharon, Windjammer Cafe personnel  everyone seemed to have a smile and their face and never too busy to greet or help us. I compare the staff to other cruise lines/ships, and I must say they were outstanding.

Ship -- The Radiance of the Seas, the oldest of the 4 ships comprising the Radiance family, is a nice ship. However, it is showing wear, and RCCL should consider refurbishing it soon. Although the staff was diligently working around the clock, the carpeting in the public areas and rooms looked extremely worn. The furniture in my parents room was extremely scratched, faded, and worn  even the toilet seat in my room was chipped and worn.

Activities -- Since this cruise only had 2 sea days, we couldnt enjoy all the activities. Whether youre interested in spinning, spa treatments, basketball, bingo, theres always something to do.

One of my favorite parts of the cruise is the pictures. Besides the traditional Formal Portraits, dont miss the Freestyle Black & White Portraits. Youll want to take them all home with you.

Entertainment -- The Royal Caribbean Singers & Dancers had 2 productions  Piano Man and City of Dreams, the latter being the most extravagant productions I have seen on RCCL cruises. I was pleasantly surprised to see BeatleMania Live. This was definitely the highlight of all nights. My husband and I had previously seen them in Ft. Lauderdale, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing them again. The weakest show was Hal Frazier. He definitely is talented, but seemed disoriented and rattled on in his monologue portion of the show.

Santino & Blackjax (live band) was amazing. He had everyone on their feet in the Centrum. Rosario Strings, Lorenzo Dino, Serenade Trio, and Tom Scott all made the cruise enjoyable.

Food -- The Windjammer Cafes breakfast was very good. The omelette station chefs were great! I had my eggs over medium every morning, and there were plenty of accompaniments to choose from  cereal bar, fresh fruit, yogurt, breads, cold cuts, pancakes, waffles, hash browns, etc. Lunch and dinner were average  probably a bit better than regular buffet food.

The barbecue lunch buffet in Labadee was lacking. Dark meat  chicken legs  was the only cut available. The hamburgers had been cooked earlier on the ship, so they were dry. The pavilion was poorly positioned  too far from the main entrance.

Dinner in the Cascades Dining Room was good, but not great. I cant say it was any better or worse than any other RCCL, Carnival, or NCL cruise Ive been on.

I cannot comment on Specialty Dining.

Ports of Call

Labadee, Haiti -- Labadee is on a peninsula on the north coast of Hispaniola, otherwise known as Haiti. Royal Caribbean has cordoned off a remote portion of this island, and the totally safe and private compound provides guests an opportunity to experience the beauty of this region. Youll find most of the information you need at the following link:


Georgetown, Grand Cayman -- Grand Cayman is a relatively small island that is modern in every way. With over 500 banks and hundreds of insurance companies located in the Cayman Islands, it is the fifth largest economy in the world. Besides its economic activities, Grand Cayman offers fabulous beaches, excellent duty free shopping and plenty to do.

This is a tender port. The tenders leave you right in the middle of downtown. I found the best shops to be the ones closest to the pier.

After shopping in downtown, we took the $5.00 (per person) taxi to SeaGrape Beach which is part of 7 mile beach. Beautiful clear aquamarine water. White powdery sand. Bar and changing facilities just feet away from the water. Plenty of aqua sports right on the shore. Absolutely amazing.


Ocho Rios, Jamaica -- Ocho Rios is a medium sized town with all the flavor of Jamaica. It offers a gateway to sightseeing, shopping and a good look into the Jamaican culture. To experience the Jamaican culture I used Marva Shaw. She was an excellent guide that catered to my fathers limitations. After stopping right by Dunn's River Falls for a look at the crowd climbing the falls, we went through the Fern Gulley, made a stop in Spice Valley and tasted some of the native fruits and spices, and then took a tour of Coyaba River Gardens with Happy. Happy was the most knowledgeable guide I have ever had. The word coyaba comes from the Arawak name for paradise. Coyaba is a Spanish-style museum with a river and gardens filled with native flora, a cut-stone courtyard, fountains, and a crafts shop and bar. If you visit Coyaba River Gardens, please be sure to request him. Be sure to ask for the tour that includes Mahoe Falls. We paid $10.00 per person. After a swim in the falls, hunger kicked in, and we ended the tour with a wonderful Jamaican lunch at The Ranch. Marva arranged everything. The food was great. 5 of us ate jerk chicken, had a juice or Red Stripe, and the bill was $53.00.

For more information on Marvas tours, please visit www.knowjamaica.com. Youll be happy that you did.

Suggestion -- Please remember to get change before you get off the ship. It will be a lot easier if you have exact change with smaller denomination bills. Vendors can be very, very persistent, and you will find them at every stop. If you have a few souvenirs to purchase, pace yourself so youre able to help multiple vendors. Remember to be friendly and respectful and you will have a great time.


Cozumel, Mexico -- Cozumel is a small island off the east coast of Mexico in the Caribbean Sea. Although it was hit really hard with last years hurricanes, the locals worked extremely hard to get the island ready for visitors. It is the proverbial fishing village in paradise with all of the creature comforts that anyone could want. If you go to Discover Shopping Show, youll get lots of information and advice. Plus, youll get a voucher for a taxi ride to The Forum. Youll have great shopping and can work yourself down the street.

After lunch, we took a $12 cab to Paradise Beach. The sea was rough that day and the beach was not particularly good for swimming, but I understand the beach is usually beautiful.

http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/Cozumel.htm Less

Published 04/08/06

Cabin review: 4019

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