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Background We took this itinerary for the Great Barrier Reef experience. We had only been on Voyager before. I travelled with my husband and 16 y/o daughter. Embarkation We travelled to the OPT by train and arrived at 1100hrs. We were on board by 1120hrs. It has been the same for our previous two cruises from the Sydney OPT. The Radiance She is truly a remarkable mid size ship. We could see the sea from most places and it didn't take long to get from one place to another. It never felt crowded. There has been much talk about the ship being "dated" or "tired". I will have to disagree. Sure, there are some structual cosmetic issues however, you would expect this on any ship of this age. The ship is kept meticulously clean generally. I was amazed at this. Cleaning was done around us with a smile and a salutation. No mess on the pool deck on this ship! Activities There was so much to see and do that we had trouble choosing. History talks, bingo, trivia, karioke, and dancing in the Centrum. Loved the 70's night and the Rock night, not to mention the tropical party on the pool deck. Lots of different types of music to enjoy around the ship. My toes were forever tapping. Service Can't fault the service. The staff are genuinely friendly/talkative and seem to enjoy their job. This attitude is rolled over to the passengers who were also very friendly and talkative. We met so many interesting people from various countries and learnt alot. I was continually asked if I wanted a drink. If so, there was no wait time. We didn't do a drink package and had no regrets. It was the right decision for us. Nothing was too much trouble, even at the guest services desk which had minimal waiting time. Our stateroom attendant, Manuel, (not an automatic car :-), supplied us with ice twice a day and was a wealth of knowledge. Shore excursions We had booked a Great Barrier Reef (GBR) ship tour for our first port stop of Airlie Beach. At Cairns we had booked the ships Jungle train, Kuranda and Skyrail tour. Our final tour in Port Douglas was to be the ships Island Getaway, the lower isles, inner reef, to maximise our snorkeling time. The day before Airlie Beach we were informed by Royal that the GBR tour out of Airlie Beach may be cancelled. I should mention here that we had beautiful sunny, hot weather with high humidity for the entire cruise except for a 5 minute downpour in Cairns and some rain overnight whilst at sea. The same day, Cruise Whitsundays, cancelled the tour due to rough seas in the outer reef. Not even the locals could access the outer reef in the previous two days. We knew when we booked that it would be cyclone season and may not get to the reef. Regardless, we were disappointed, mainly because all the GBR tours further up were fully booked. We were resigned to another cruise to the GBR next year. The only excursion with only 5 seats available for Airlie Beach was the Crocodile Safari. So I booked that on the spot. We got to see crocs in the wild, had an Aussie BBQ, with damper and billy tea for afternoon tea and a tour of the wetlands. Only trouble was, the monsoon season was late and there was not too much to see. No cyclones either so we have to be grateful. The funniest part was the outback dunny. I think some of the international tourists were shocked. It had a button to push for a flushing "sound " however it was a septic tank, LOL. Once back on the ship we had a message saying that Royal had sourced an extra GBR tour out of Port Douglas and we had first preference. YEAH! Quickly booked this tour and cancelled the low isles tour. I later saw for myself that the "island getaway" was less than half a kilometer from the tendered ship! Phew! The Cairns excursion was wonderful. We got some amazing pics of the Radiance atop the Great Dividing Range. The GBR tour by Quicksilver out of Port Douglas exceeding my expectations. The trip out and back on the catarmaran was smooth and magical on the top deck. We went to the Agincourt ribbon reefs on the very edge of the GBR where it drops off to 3000 ft in depth. From the pontoon, where the catamaran docks they have a submersible boat that explores different reefs to that where you snorkel. Here they explain by commentary the different corals and sea life that you will see whilst snorkeling. I was in awe and couldn't wait to get to the surface and start my adventure. I do suggest you do the submersible first, however, even I was impatient to get started snorkelling once on the pontoon. They also have a marine biologist tour in a different area for a fee, however, didn't do this. Maybe next time. Snorkelling the reef was amazing. The coral types and colours and the marine life was fabulous. Truly one of the seven natural wonders of the world. All my family loved it. We had two small tendering issues. In Airlie Beach we were one hour late for our Crocodile Safari after waiting in the auditorium for 90 minutes. Not sure what happened here. We also had an extended wait time in tendering back to the ship in Cairns. All the excursions returned at the same time and it looked as if the ships tenders could not assist due to rough seas. We had to wait for large private charters. It wasn't fun in the heat and humidity. Dining We had My Time dining at 1800hrs each night except the first night where we wanted to do sailaway on deck and my teenager wanted to go register for the teen club. I enjoyed the food very much. I was particular in what I ordered. I was also careful not to overeat during the day and quite looked forward to dinner. Suthakar and Brendan did a wonderful job looking after us, thankyou. The service was prompt and the meals were hot. We were out of there to do other things within an hour or so. Even though I did not eat dinner in the Windjammer, I checked it out after reading various opinions on CC. I was impressed with their pasta station and overall food selections. Many were also available in the MDR. We ate breakfast each morning in the Windjammer except for one morning where we ate in the MDR. No food issues from me... Teen Club Our daughter checked in on the first evening. We hardly saw her after this. Mind you, this could have something to do with the nice young man she met whilst there ;-) Seriously though, there was lots for her to do and she had a great time with scavenger hunts, games, tournaments, discos and arcade fun. Entertainment I found most of the headliner shows really enjoyable, however, the Radiance dancers in the production shows were not up to scratch in IMHO. Not sure if it was the choreography or the varying expertise of the Radiance dancers. I found both Radiance singers were very good as were some of the sets. Headliners Brett Thomas, comedy and vocals Groove Line, Motown, funk singers/dancers Danny Elliott, multi instrumentalist and vocalist Nikki Bennet, cabaret diva Phoenix, psychological illusionist and mentalist The Australian Beatles Sam McCool, comedian Production shows Tango Buenos Aires City of dreams Piano Man I thoroughly enjoyed Tango Buenos Aires due to the amazing dancers from Argentina. I also found Phoenix very entertaining and enthralling. Disembarkation We chose to do express walk off. No problems at all. Summary It's unanimous that we all had a wonderful time on Radiance with the highlight being the Great Barrier Reef. Thankyou RCI for arranging that extra tour! We enjoyed ourselves so much that we booked another cruise next year to do it all again :-)

The Great Barrier Reef

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by Newby58

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Background

We took this itinerary for the Great Barrier Reef experience. We had only been on Voyager before. I travelled with my husband and 16 y/o daughter.

Embarkation

We travelled to the OPT by train and arrived at 1100hrs. We were on board by 1120hrs. It has been the same for our previous two cruises from the Sydney OPT.

The Radiance

She is truly a remarkable mid size ship. We could see the sea from most places and it didn't take long to get from one place to another. It never felt crowded. There has been much talk about the ship being "dated" or "tired". I will have to disagree. Sure, there are some structual cosmetic issues however, you would expect this on any ship of this age. The ship is kept meticulously clean generally. I was amazed at this. Cleaning was done around us with a smile and a salutation. No mess on the pool deck on this ship!

Activities

There was so much to see and do that we had trouble choosing. History talks, bingo, trivia, karioke, and dancing in the Centrum. Loved the 70's night and the Rock night, not to mention the tropical party on the pool deck. Lots of different types of music to enjoy around the ship. My toes were forever tapping.

Service

Can't fault the service. The staff are genuinely friendly/talkative and seem to enjoy their job. This attitude is rolled over to the passengers who were also very friendly and talkative. We met so many interesting people from various countries and learnt alot. I was continually asked if I wanted a drink. If so, there was no wait time. We didn't do a drink package and had no regrets. It was the right decision for us. Nothing was too much trouble, even at the guest services desk which had minimal waiting time. Our stateroom attendant, Manuel, (not an automatic car :-), supplied us with ice twice a day and was a wealth of knowledge.

Shore excursions

We had booked a Great Barrier Reef (GBR) ship tour for our first port stop of Airlie Beach. At Cairns we had booked the ships Jungle train, Kuranda and Skyrail tour. Our final tour in Port Douglas was to be the ships Island Getaway, the lower isles, inner reef, to maximise our snorkeling time.

The day before Airlie Beach we were informed by Royal that the GBR tour out of Airlie Beach may be cancelled. I should mention here that we had beautiful sunny, hot weather with high humidity for the entire cruise except for a 5 minute downpour in Cairns and some rain overnight whilst at sea. The same day, Cruise Whitsundays, cancelled the tour due to rough seas in the outer reef. Not even the locals could access the outer reef in the previous two days. We knew when we booked that it would be cyclone season and may not get to the reef. Regardless, we were disappointed, mainly because all the GBR tours further up were fully booked. We were resigned to another cruise to the GBR next year. The only excursion with only 5 seats available for Airlie Beach was the Crocodile Safari. So I booked that on the spot.

We got to see crocs in the wild, had an Aussie BBQ, with damper and billy tea for afternoon tea and a tour of the wetlands. Only trouble was, the monsoon season was late and there was not too much to see. No cyclones either so we have to be grateful. The funniest part was the outback dunny. I think some of the international tourists were shocked. It had a button to push for a flushing "sound " however it was a septic tank, LOL.

Once back on the ship we had a message saying that Royal had sourced an extra GBR tour out of Port Douglas and we had first preference. YEAH! Quickly booked this tour and cancelled the low isles tour. I later saw for myself that the "island getaway" was less than half a kilometer from the tendered ship! Phew!

The Cairns excursion was wonderful. We got some amazing pics of the Radiance atop the Great Dividing Range.

The GBR tour by Quicksilver out of Port Douglas exceeding my expectations. The trip out and back on the catarmaran was smooth and magical on the top deck. We went to the Agincourt ribbon reefs on the very edge of the GBR where it drops off to 3000 ft in depth. From the pontoon, where the catamaran docks they have a submersible boat that explores different reefs to that where you snorkel. Here they explain by commentary the different corals and sea life that you will see whilst snorkeling. I was in awe and couldn't wait to get to the surface and start my adventure. I do suggest you do the submersible first, however, even I was impatient to get started snorkelling once on the pontoon. They also have a marine biologist tour in a different area for a fee, however, didn't do this. Maybe next time.

Snorkelling the reef was amazing. The coral types and colours and the marine life was fabulous. Truly one of the seven natural wonders of the world. All my family loved it.

We had two small tendering issues. In Airlie Beach we were one hour late for our Crocodile Safari after waiting in the auditorium for 90 minutes. Not sure what happened here. We also had an extended wait time in tendering back to the ship in Cairns. All the excursions returned at the same time and it looked as if the ships tenders could not assist due to rough seas. We had to wait for large private charters. It wasn't fun in the heat and humidity.

Dining

We had My Time dining at 1800hrs each night except the first night where we wanted to do sailaway on deck and my teenager wanted to go register for the teen club. I enjoyed the food very much. I was particular in what I ordered. I was also careful not to overeat during the day and quite looked forward to dinner. Suthakar and Brendan did a wonderful job looking after us, thankyou. The service was prompt and the meals were hot. We were out of there to do other things within an hour or so. Even though I did not eat dinner in the Windjammer, I checked it out after reading various opinions on CC. I was impressed with their pasta station and overall food selections. Many were also available in the MDR.

We ate breakfast each morning in the Windjammer except for one morning where we ate in the MDR. No food issues from me...

Teen Club

Our daughter checked in on the first evening. We hardly saw her after this. Mind you, this could have something to do with the nice young man she met whilst there ;-) Seriously though, there was lots for her to do and she had a great time with scavenger hunts, games, tournaments, discos and arcade fun.

Entertainment

I found most of the headliner shows really enjoyable, however, the Radiance dancers in the production shows were not up to scratch in IMHO. Not sure if it was the choreography or the varying expertise of the Radiance dancers. I found both Radiance singers were very good as were some of the sets.

Headliners

Brett Thomas, comedy and vocals

Groove Line, Motown, funk singers/dancers

Danny Elliott, multi instrumentalist and vocalist

Nikki Bennet, cabaret diva

Phoenix, psychological illusionist and mentalist

The Australian Beatles

Sam McCool, comedian

Production shows

Tango Buenos Aires

City of dreams

Piano Man

I thoroughly enjoyed Tango Buenos Aires due to the amazing dancers from Argentina. I also found Phoenix very entertaining and enthralling.

Disembarkation

We chose to do express walk off. No problems at all.

Summary

It's unanimous that we all had a wonderful time on Radiance with the highlight being the Great Barrier Reef. Thankyou RCI for arranging that extra tour! We enjoyed ourselves so much that we booked another cruise next year to do it all again :-)
Newby58’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 1072
The stateroom on deck 10 was clean and comfortable and very handy to the pool area and the Windjammer. We just used the stairs. We were situated about 6 cabins aft from the Centrum and could hear none of the music/dancing. Despite being under the Windjammer, we heard no noise. There were 3 adults in this room. It was bit squashy in the evening getting ready for dinner. The balcony had two chairs and a table and was shaded, which was a good thing as the weather was very hot with high humidity. Being on the port side travelling north we could see land and enjoy arriving in the different ports. Both my husband and daughter get sea sick, so the fresh air from the balcony, (and nightly Avomine), alleviated this problem.
Plenty of storage space. I took an over door pocket organiser however, didn't need it. I did take some extra plastic clothes hangers thank goodness and some magnetic 9kg hooks that were well used. Manuel, the stateroom attendant was friendly and professional and a credit to RCI. He introduced himself the first day and gave us a business card with a 24hr telephone contact number on it.
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