We sailed on RCCL’s Radiance of the Seas for 28 days from January 3 to 31, 2018. This was two 14-day back-to-back cruises that took us from Australia to New Caledonia, Fiji, Tonga, both islands of New Zealand, and back to Australia.
First let me say that the ship’s staff and managers worked very hard to please. Airline employees are experts at saying “no,” while RCCL’s employees try very hard to say yes. This customer-oriented attitude is true for many cruise lines, but not all. We sailed twice on another cruise line years ago (that I will not name) on which we were often told “not possible” for a number of basic and reasonable requests. My point is that all the RCCL employees were customer-oriented and great!!!
The ship was not only fine but gorgeous.
The food offerings in the main dining room were good but a few steps down from the recent past.
Most of the entertainment was okay to great. The Argentine Tango show was Broadway quality. A couple of the headliner shows over the 28 days were C quality or worse. For two nights on the second 14 days, there was no show in the main theater/venue. That was a first for us after 60 cruises. Still, there were other things to do on the ship.
The hours of the restaurants were cut way back. For many of the tours RCCL sold, you couldn’t have breakfast in the main dining room because it didn’t open early enough. While the midnight buffet is long gone, the Windjammer buffet now closes very early.
Yes, the RCCL product with respect to food value, dining hours, and entertainment has significantly declined in recent years. For frequent cruisers like us, it is very obvious and sad. However, for those new to cruising, a cruise is still a remarkable experience. For reasonable cost, you can have a fine floating hotel, good meals every day, and plenty of fun things to do. Cruising on RCCL is still one of the best all-inclusive vacations that can be found!
We missed two tender ports because of the weather. For the first one (the first Tongan port), they disembarked all of the ship’s tours, and then decided it wasn’t safe to let the rest of us off.
For New Zealand’s Bay of Islands, they decided to skip the port well before we arrived.
There was no compensation for either missed port. Some other cruise lines have given token financial compensation for a missed tender port, AND refunded the port taxes and fees. RCCL did neither.
Be aware that when you book any cruise with one or more tender ports, there is always a greater possibility that a tender port will be skipped because of weather. This is because of safety and liability concerns when the sea is not smooth.
For the right itinerary and price, we hope to cruise RCCL again, but we will also try some of our other favorite cruise lines!
Fine. Larger than on our last two NCL cruises.