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As I'm US-based, I chose this cruise as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit several Australia cities and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. While it was not at all Royal Caribbean's fault that Cyclone Debbie devastated our port at Airlie Beach, the value of this cruise diminished significantly in light of the cancellation of the GBR Shore Excursion. This was a great disappointment. A second item on the bucket list, was to hold a koala. As it turns out, the laws in several Australian areas have recently changed to disallow this. Only one port on our itinerary would have allowed this (Brisbane). Sadly, I did not find out about that exception until we had already passed that port, and visited TWO animal sanctuaries: one at Newcastle and one in Sydney. The cruise itself was almost as expected. I was surprised at the number of upcharges for specialty restaurants. I'd not encountered that level of surcharges for activities and other items with Royal Caribbean previously. Brunches, Galley Tours & murder mystery dinner theaters - all required extra $$. I applaud the activities director, as despite numerous sea days, each day was packed with assorted things to do that appealed to all tastes. Well done. Having had the prior pleasure of cruising in a family suite in Norwegian Epic's "Haven", I was anticipating service somewhat akin when I booked an Owner's Suite for my two adult daughters and me. It was the last suite available at the time we booked. Not so. I saw our room attendant a grand total of TWO times for the entire cruise. Once at boarding, and once near the end. We're not very demanding travelers and had no need to ring for him, so that may account for some of it, but we traveled similarly in Norwegian and were always pleasantly surprised by our cabin steward's extra touches. On Radiance, towel animals greeted us only twice. We enjoyed the suite guest's ability to have breakfast in Chops Grille, but arrived one morning 45 minutes before the stated closing time, to find the restaurant closed with no explanation and no note in the Daily compass. That said, Royal Caribbean consistently meets expectations with respect to food quality, so breakfasting in Windjammer was not a bad fallback position. I traveled with Travel Interest Group of 14, and so booked a private Hunter Valley Wine excursion in Newcastle. That option was brilliant. Organizing my own excursion allowed me to combine winery and distillery tastings along with cheese, chocolate & High Tea, rounding the day off with a guided visit to Blackbutt Reserve which was top-notch. Highly recommend. The Whitsunday snorkel at Airlie Beach was disappointing. Don't do it. We took the ship's tour to the Gold Coast in Brisbane and enjoyed our shopping day, but would gladly have traded that to have had what we now know is a vanishing ability to cuddle a koala. The spa folks were friendly, informative and customer service-oriented. Highly recommend. Overall, compared to other cruises, I would rate the Radiance and this itinerary in particular, as "above average."

Relaxing Cruise on Radiance

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by mtnestinmd

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Trip Details
As I'm US-based, I chose this cruise as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit several Australia cities and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef. While it was not at all Royal Caribbean's fault that Cyclone Debbie devastated our port at Airlie Beach, the value of this cruise diminished significantly in light of the cancellation of the GBR Shore Excursion. This was a great disappointment. A second item on the bucket list, was to hold a koala. As it turns out, the laws in several Australian areas have recently changed to disallow this. Only one port on our itinerary would have allowed this (Brisbane). Sadly, I did not find out about that exception until we had already passed that port, and visited TWO animal sanctuaries: one at Newcastle and one in Sydney.

The cruise itself was almost as expected. I was surprised at the number of upcharges for specialty restaurants. I'd not encountered that level of surcharges for activities and other items with Royal Caribbean previously. Brunches, Galley Tours & murder mystery dinner theaters - all required extra $$.

I applaud the activities director, as despite numerous sea days, each day was packed with assorted things to do that appealed to all tastes. Well done.

Having had the prior pleasure of cruising in a family suite in Norwegian Epic's "Haven", I was anticipating service somewhat akin when I booked an Owner's Suite for my two adult daughters and me. It was the last suite available at the time we booked. Not so. I saw our room attendant a grand total of TWO times for the entire cruise. Once at boarding, and once near the end. We're not very demanding travelers and had no need to ring for him, so that may account for some of it, but we traveled similarly in Norwegian and were always pleasantly surprised by our cabin steward's extra touches. On Radiance, towel animals greeted us only twice.

We enjoyed the suite guest's ability to have breakfast in Chops Grille, but arrived one morning 45 minutes before the stated closing time, to find the restaurant closed with no explanation and no note in the Daily compass. That said, Royal Caribbean consistently meets expectations with respect to food quality, so breakfasting in Windjammer was not a bad fallback position.

I traveled with Travel Interest Group of 14, and so booked a private Hunter Valley Wine excursion in Newcastle. That option was brilliant. Organizing my own excursion allowed me to combine winery and distillery tastings along with cheese, chocolate & High Tea, rounding the day off with a guided visit to Blackbutt Reserve which was top-notch. Highly recommend.

The Whitsunday snorkel at Airlie Beach was disappointing. Don't do it. We took the ship's tour to the Gold Coast in Brisbane and enjoyed our shopping day, but would gladly have traded that to have had what we now know is a vanishing ability to cuddle a koala.

The spa folks were friendly, informative and customer service-oriented. Highly recommend.

Overall, compared to other cruises, I would rate the Radiance and this itinerary in particular, as "above average."
mtnestinmd’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Owner's Suite - 1 Bedroom
Cabin OS 1562
1562 was located toward the rear of the ship, one floor below the Windjammer and a few floors directly above the dining room and specialty restaurants. This was convenient. The ship was not very large, so walking its length to the Auditorium spaces, spa & gym was quite quick. We were, however, always on the opposite side of where the ship docked. If you like privacy, this is great. If you like to gaze out at the port as it approaches. not so great.

With respect to cabin cleanliness, the cabin appeared clean, although aging, but the bathroom greeted us with an unpleasant surprise. One of the cabin's prior occupants had evidently suffered stomach issues leading to soiling of the toilet bowl running from the rim downward. While the rim itself had been cleaned, initial attempts at seating revealed the remaining stain swath underneath the bowl. We did have to ask to have that cleaned. Based on that oversight, we were loath to enjoy the jacuzzi bath, and therefore, did not.

The queen bed separated into two and accommodated my two adult daughters. I slept on the pullout sofa, made up each evening, in relative comfort. An optional drawn curtain was available to separate the two living areas. I used it when I wanted the light on in my area while the girls were asleep.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews