Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by Darlene Garis
- Sail Date: September 2006
- Destination: Hawaii
Well, we're back but still tired and rockin. Wanted to give you an overview of our trip for yourself and/or others. Two weeks is too long. Many people were saying this. It had too many days at sea. It was VERY disappointing that they changed the itinerary and did not go to to Kawai which is supposed to be beautiful! They gave us a $50 pp shipboard credit for the change, but others I talked to got $200 pp. It still didn't make up for the missed port. The first 2 days were cloudy and cold, which made it boring with no pool or sun. It was better the next two days. Our first stop, Oahu, was nice but the city of Honolulu was congested with traffic and awful to drive in. We rented a jeep (shuttles at pier take you to their location) and went south the first day to Waikiki, Hanuawma Bay (beautiful - good swimming and great snorkeling), the blowhole, Diamond Head, and finally Sunset Beach with the Bonsai pipeline. There were a lot of places on the east side that were slumlike with shacks, etc. Getting back to the pier was miserable. Traffic was bumper to bumper and the signs are confusing. A friend we made on the ship helped get us back with his GPS he brought along. We went out that night with some others to John Davids restaurant along the ocean. The food was good although expensive and at the end of dinner the hotel across the bay has a fireworks display each Friday so that was beautiful. The second day we went north to visit the Dole Plantation and some beaches on the north shore. We saw sail surfers which were awesome to watch. We were planning to drive around from there to the western side to see the beaches but it doesn't connect around the point. Very disappointed, we drove back down toward Honolulu since there is no way to get around the mountains till you head south toward Pearl Harbor. There wasn't enough time to get around to the western beaches so we headed south the a beach but were again disappointed to find it wasn't much. We left and drove back to the rental place and then shuttled back to the ship. Maui was wonderful. We got a free shuttle in Lahaina to Whaler's village, which is on Kaanapali Beach. We had been there before to the Westin resort so we walked there and went to their pool and got chairs and enjoyed the pool for a few hours. No one said anything. Whew! We went back to the ship later in the afternoon and got showered and changed to go back to Kaanapali Beach for dinner. The tender ride back was a mess since there was another ship in port. We sat on the water bouncing up and down on the tender for 35 minutes until we got cleared to head in. I was starting to feel yucky. We had eaten at Va Bene restaurant at the Marriott before for a crab leg buffet and sure enough, they had it that night! It was a delicious, wonderful, romantic night since we strolled along the beach and enjoyed a beautiful sunset while we celebrated our 31st anniversary. We then shared a taxi back to the town of Lahaina and shopped for a while before catching a tender back to the ship. The bus/trolley system there needs greatly expanded and improved. You have to wait forever for them and then they fill up quickly since there are so many people waiting. We got so frustrated we asked people around us if they wanted to split the cost of a taxi. They were more than happy! Our last stop was Kona. It was hot, humid and disappointing. We wanted to hang out at a beach for the day but were told that most all the beaches are lava and not very suitable for swimming. We shopped for a while in the town but were so hot and sticky that we went back to the ship early and sat by the pool. That night the captain sailed past the active volcano and lava flow. He got close enough that you could hear the rumbling and the hiss/steam as the lava hit the water. Very cool! The food on the ship was OK. Not as good as some of the larger ships we'd been on. The quality was not as good and the variety more limited. We ate the last night at the Chops Grille and were very pleased. The food and service there is 5 star! The bathrooms in the public areas of the ship were neglected: soap dispensers and paper towels empty, dirty floors, etc. The shop displays and art displays appeared as if they hadn't been dusted in a month?? There were several good shows and a few good entertainers but a lot of nights we didn't go since it didn't seem appealing. The 5 days back at sea seemed endless. Once again, the first 2 days were extremely windy and chilly. The 3rd day was nicer. The 4th day was great! The 5th day was chilly unless you stayed in the sun or the solarium. The solarium was packed every day. If you want a chair you have to get there by 7 am! The captain came out and mingled a lot with the passengers and was cheery but a little too friendly with the women. Some of his comments were inappropriate. We felt some of his conduct was undignified for a ship captain. All in all, it was good. We sat at a table for 10 for dinner and met and made friends with some great people. I would recommend though that if you want to cruise Hawaii, fly there, cruise the islands and fly home. For ourselves, we would fly to (even though we HATE the 11 hr. plane ride) and stay in Maui on Kaanapali Beach which is fantastic and skip Oahu and the big island!
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