This was our 4th cruise, 1st with Royal Caribbean.. Embarkation: we arrived at 12:30 at San DIego Pier- we were on the boat and in the Windjammer Cafe in less than 45 minutes- most of the line, and confusion was with security- Food: Seaview Cafe was the best food on the boat- (also Vinnie at the bar was really nice) -the dining room was a mess- we ate there just 5 nights because we just could not take the 2 hour plus dining experience- the staff is stretched thin with very large (8-12 people) tables- the food was lack luster- the selection was limited- even compared to Carnival- it was hard to carry on a conversation because it was just so loud and it just wasn't all that fun. -the Windjammer Cafe - breakfast was pretty much the same thing everyday. omelets took about 8-10 minutes and they had smoked salmon every morning. Lunch was hit and miss- they have hot dogs and hamburgers, cold cuts and your basic lunch items- they had pretty good nacho makings. Dinner actually served pretty much everything that the dining room was serving minus the 2 hour dining time. The coconut cookies were a favorite. Room service- pretty decent- though the eggs and potatoes were laughable- cold potatoes and a small scoop of eggs wasn't what I had in mind. Though they are very quick- they would call the room and within 2 minutes would be there. We did not try the restaurants that were additional cost. Drinks were pricey, but they were not stingy with the booze; however if you have the soda package you will always get the fountain or from a 2 liter and alot of times the soda was flat!
The Room: Overall size was good- adequate closet and storage(the life-jackets for 8 people were all in the closet) Bed- hard, felt like a pull out bed- back aches, neck aches you name it- 10 days on that bed was tough. Sheets were okay- no duvet cover or down. The pillows-one was more fluffy than the other, but again no down and they were uncomfortable- even Carnival has better bedding. The shower- felt like a 2 x 2 area; they tried to add more area by rounding the shower curtain, but it still is small (we nick-named it the 'stress box')- there was always water on the floor-and the water temp fluctuated alot- I found later at night you had the best shot of a shower that did not go cold in the middle of it. the faucet never warmed up unless you let it run for 3 minutes or more..We did not experience the plumbing problems- but we saw the wet/dry vac alot in the hallway. No music channels on the tv-not a big deal but when you are on the balcony some music would have been nice. No chocolates(!) and towel animals every other night. and why do they allow smoking on the balconies? I booked a non smoking room because I do not want to smell it! they have plenty of places on the ship to smoke- eliminate it from the balcony!!
The ship: not sure why the ship creaks so much but it sounds like it needs to be dipped in WD-40. it, along with the bed, kept us up alot at night. It is a beautiful ship- and it is easy to get around. The pools are salt water and were really warm until after Cabo. The whirlpool had so much chlorine it stung your eyes to be in it. The solarium was a nice place but needed more air flow because of the chlorine fumes. The miniature golf course was fun. The rock wall was tried a couple times from a person in our party and he liked it- There was some points in the shops hallway that the floor gave alot...The theater was nice, but the sound was awful! 10 days the same movies rotated. I don't believe it was a full cruise as we sometimes found ourselves to be the only foursome on a deck or in an area- that was very nice compared to the larger ships out there.
Entertainment: maybe I should pre-phrase this with we were not the average age on the boat- the average passenger age was above 50 so this may have had something to do with the entertainment being geared to an older crowd.. I personally could not sit through the song and dance shows, the magic show was entertaining. We spent most of our time in the Colony Club- that's where most of the action happens - they had a great Mambo band on board - The Mambo Trio- which were really, really good. The Quest game was hilarious! it is an adult scavenger hunt that you must see to believe. They really need to start the nightly entertainment earlier in the evening and earlier in the cruise- the pool tables were fun- they did make me a little woozy trying to focus on the ball and the table.
Shopping: are all the on board shops on Carnival, R.C. and Celebrity owned by the same company? they had the same stuff for sale- same booze selection, same make up, same jewelry, same Christmas ornaments. Scrap-booking items?nothing for sale on the boat except some sad photo albums. Very disappointing.
The staff: not sure if it was just me but the crew acted like they did not want to be there- there were some highlights like Al our stateroom person, Vinnie in the Seaview or Jonathon in the Windjammer but beyond that none of them really made a lasting impression. the best about that was it was not an automatic gratuity- which meant you could tip accordingly to their service level.
Disembarkation- fast enough- we did hang out in the outdoor seating are in the Windjammer until almost 10:00- watching the crew wrap crates of silverware.
Overall the Radiance was okay- we chose this cruise for the itinerary- we had a good time and maybe we will return to Royal Caribbean someday.
cabin 9630. average balcony- decent space. across from pool storage- quiet towards the back
before cruising Cabo is where we vacationed so we knew how to get around. Tendered in - we bypassed downtown and went to San Jose Del Cabo via cab. a lot has changed in the last 5 years- it is more touristy and less quaint, but still better than Cabo itself.
hired private van off of ship and saved about 30 dollars a person. did the tequila factory, had a nice lunch on the beach and he took us to areas that were not surrounded by other white vans.
did shore excursion off of boat. was warned about troubles in Acapulco prior to disembarkation so we went with the ship tour to the Fairmont for use of their pool. best guacamole ever- but overall pretty overpriced. the tour company was very unorganized.
favorite of all - tendered in- hired the best taxi by the name of Carlos garcia garcia (yes 2 last names)- he took us to all of the sites, even bought a chicken to feed to the alligators- only had 6 hours off the boat- waited in line 45 minutes to catch inbound tender.
hired cab off of boat- took us to all of the other white van and bus areas- should have stayed on the boat- nothing in Puerto Vallarta was interesting at all- its all about money!