Radiance of The Seas: Less than Expected!!
For this special anniversary trip we decided to start our trip early in Miami with a one night pre-cruise stay in a big Miami Beach hotel. We were assigned the Fountainbleau- sounded great on the internet. Turned out our room was in the soon to be rehabbed old wing. There were broken mirrors and pictures were ripped off the walls-- for $400 a night it looked like a tenement ! Our room over looked a garbage strewn roof. We complained to the management-who said "Those are RCCL's pre-cruise rooms !" They did agree to move us to another room which was more satisfactory- with a small balcony overlooking the waterway. We never did overlook the ocean !
The transfer to the ship was the next day- he didn't announce he was there and we almost missed our ride to the Radiance of the Seas.
This truly beautiful ship was such a joy to see from the dock.. unfortunately we boarded it !!! To a beautiful cabin on deck 9.. with a balcony. Thus this should have been the start of a "fairy-tale" cruise experience.
... Unfortunately as experienced and long time cruisers we were really disappointed with RAS and RCCL. As we arrived our travel agent had sent us a bottle of wine to celebrate our 25th Anniversary- this was never delivered nor arrived during the cruise. We were to get an invitation to some sort of Anniversary Party- which never arrived. As it turned out we called Guest Relations -who know nothing of our anniversary- it HAD been on the booking slip as I did see a copy of this ! - and told us- "Hey- there is a Honeymoon and Anniversary party tonight at the Starquest= come if you want to!" We did- with only about 20 other people- food and arrangements were set for at least 40-50 people-- later we met 2 other anniversary couples on a day tour who said they hadn't heard a thing either and were never invited either. Needless to say- so went the way of our Anniversary Cake and we eventually got a price of Key Lime pie and our waiters sang to us-- not the special made chef cake or anything like that !!!!Really when you have a celebration it IS important and RAS should treat customers a lot better!
The other guests we met were ok generally. Nice people. There were two couples at our table who had eating "orgies" every night. They ordered 3 and 4 entrees- and acted like stuffing animals-gluttonizing grossly every dinner. Some nights we left the table early- we just couldn't stand watching another gross display . The ship was crowded and there was no place for the head waiter to move us or we would have moved.
Then in the midst of things - I got sick- with a bronchial type infection. The ship has a real ER. no kidding. There was a real doctor- unfortunately they do NOT take real medical insurance. So one of my souvenirs of the cruise was a nearly $500.00 medical bill- for 2 visits to the ship's medical facility. I have to pay this out of pocket and wait until my insurance company will send me a check for some of it.
The ports of call were Coco Cay- really a big waste of time. A sandbar in the ocean near the Bahamas where RCCL owns the island and you sit on the hot sands and drink more expensive drinks supplied by the ship. Then there was St. Thomas- which is a wonderful place for beaches- we went to Magen's Bay- great. and Fantastic shopping !!! I highly recomment St. Thomas USVI. On an earlier trip we went to St. John's- great too. The last port on the list was St. Maarten where the beaches are great. We went to Divi Beach/ Little Bay- and loved it- also heard from others EVERY beach is good on St. Maarten. The shopping was terrible- despite what the cruise shopping "expert" said- it was mostly jewelry stores little else. Spend your money in St. Thomas or Miami!
At the end of the cruise, we had purchased several bottles of liquor which were confiscated when we returned to the ship from St. Maarten and which we never saw again.- Something which has NEVER happened to us on any other cruise line.
(Exactly like our "gift" bottle which never also appeared in our cabin on day 1 and which our travel agent paid for and can't get the money back for! )
We were given SOME other liquor as a replacement- for the "lost bottles" which were "checked" but we had purchased gourmet liquor which the ship's bar didn't have- so we were out on this.
The service on RCCL 's RAS was outstanding but the food generally was mediocre. The ports ok. The guests-some were nice -some were gross. The medical facility good- but expensive. The shows ok. The bands ok. The photographers were all short guys- so all photos were taken "looking up" - and for tall people it makes you look "fat" so they weren't selling a lot of photos- unless of other shorter people.
The coupe de grace of all of this was a we left- we noticed our steward had just made the bed and changed the pillow cases- he did not appear to strip the bed after we were checking out. So only my bronchial infected pillowcases were removed from the room. What lucky passengers got the room next- with my germs all over the place???There was also no major washing down or disinfecting going on of the room or the ship either as we left. No wonder there is a lot of sickness on some of these RCCL ships. I think the health services should be doing greater "spot checking" of these cabins and this line.
Previous years we have taken cruises on CARNIVAL and CELEBRITY and had somewhat better experiences on these lines. We anticipate cruising again but really aren't sure we will ever do RCCL again.