Radiance of the Sea's Review! 12/4/2004 to 12/12/2004
First off let me begin by telling you a bit about us. I have cruised 3 times before and my boyfriend, this was his 1st cruise. Both of my other cruises were on Carnival Cruise Lines.
Pre-cruise: We had an early flight with only about 20 people on the whole thing; we practically had the plane to ourselves. Now the flight from Detroit to Miami, that was a different story, the plane was overbooked and loud, the landing was rough and hard. But we lived through it. We flew Northwest Airlines, but over all I would fly them again. We stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay Hotel. What a great hotel it is. We had a room overlooking the bay but not the ships. This was fine due to the fact it was still a great view. After we checked in we went to Bayside Market Place and ate lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. It was great. If you like shrimp then go eat here. It is a must. After lunch we walked around Bayside and did some shopping. We then went to Hard Rock Cafe and had some dessert. We then went back to the hotel to get some rest for the big day. We took a cab to the port and it cost about $11 not bad at all.
Embarkation: This was a breeze. We got to the port at about 10:00 a.m. and we were having lunch in the Windjammer at 11:30 a.m. Lunch was very good. We were both very hungry. We walked around the ship until our cabin was ready.
Cabin: We had cabin 7092 -- what a nice cabin. It has a VERY large balcony. I personally loved it. The only bad thing about it is that you can not look directly down into the water. Tons of storage space for luggage and a nice size room. It was bigger than I had expected. Now the bath room was tiny but it served its purpose well. I did hate the shower curtain it sticks to your tush. Our cabin was next to the elevators and we never heard them. It was nice to be so close to the elevators.
Ship: All I can say is WOW. I had to pick my jaw up off the ground when I saw her beauty in person. Pictures do not do this ship justice. All the glass everywhere there was not a bad view from this ship. You can see the ocean wherever you are. I won't go into detail about the ship due to the fact that so many other reviews do.
Cabin Stewards: Well I do think that the 2 that were taking care of my cabin needed to be trained a bit more. I asked for extra pillows on the 1st night and was told ok no problem; well I never got them so I asked again the next night and was told the same thing. So on the 3rd night I asked once more and I was told that they were out and that I should have asked sooner and that they were now out of extra pillows. Well I did ask sooner and never got them. So I went to guest relations and I made them aware and needless to say I had extra pillows that night. Then one day I asked for beach towels and I was told sure and 1 hour later I still had not gotten them so I went and found them and got them myself. Also they never changed the sheets on our bed they only made up the bed with the old sheets. Well needless to say after I went to guest relations again my sheets were changed. But other than those small things I did not have a problem with them.
Food: Everything we ate was oh so very good. I miss it already. I think our best meal was the lobster. Our waiter and assistant waiter were the best. We had later seating which worked out great. I would do late seating again in a heartbeat. We ate at all the restaurants except the Solarium Pool and Chops. They were all great.
Murder Mystery Dinner: This was so fun and well worth the extra money. The food was to die for and the service was great. If you go try to get seated with the charter named Madam Veluca. She was so funny and played the part so well. Only 75 people can attend and there is only one per cruise and it sells out very fast. So book it as soon as you get on the ship.
Soda Card: The soda card came to $48.30 for an adult, but was well worth it for my boyfriend -- he drank at least 6 sodas a day and sometimes more. The child's soda package was less. This may not be worth it to some but it was well worth it for my boyfriend.
Ports of Call: Coco Cay: It was a nice sunny day. No rain. This was a very nice relaxing beach day. We walked hand in hand down the beach. Shopped, ate and even went kayaking. We spent the whole day there. It seemed like there was a bit of work being done on the island, which I am thinking is still from the recent hurricanes. But it still did not take away from the beauty of the Island.
St. Thomas: It rained off and on all day long, but that did not stop us. We went for a bit of shopping right at the pier. Then we went to Paradise Point for the view. It was a nice view but would have been better if it had not been raining. We then took an excursion though RCI to Buck Island. Now that was great. Only 6 of us from the whole ship went. We sailed out to the island that was about 3 miles from St. Thomas and jumped into the water from the sailboat. We snorkeled right above a sunken ship and some awesome coral formations. The sun did come out for this tour. We must have been holding our mouths right or something. On the way back we had snacks and a nice cold drink. It did rain on the way back to the ship but that did not put a damper on the great time we had. I would recommend this tour to anyone.
St. Croix: We stopped here for fuel. Since we were only there for a few hours there were no tours here. But we got off the ship and shopped a bit. Now when they get this port completed and get it going this will be a nice stop during the day. I hope to visit here when it is done. Very nice people. They all welcomed us with open arms for the time we were there.
St. Maarten: The day was great, sunny all day and no rain. We did the St. Maarten Sensations tour with lunch through RCI again. This time only 15 people went on this tour. We stated by boarding a nice bus and toured both the Dutch and the French sides of the island. We stopped on the French side for some shopping. Shopping is always good. We then headed to a beach called Guna Bay. We had the beach all to ourselves. It was on the Atlantic side of the ocean so the waves were great. This is a 1 mile long beach just breath taking! I wish I lived there. The lunch they served was so very good, I had to have seconds as did my boyfriend. After lunch and more time on the beach we headed back to the ship. After that My boyfriend and I did some more shopping on the Dutch side of the island. This was a great tour as well. I would recommend this tour as well. Very nice and relaxing.
Sea Days (3 of them): These are the day that I loved the most. You could either do it all or do nothing at all. I seemed to be the one to do it all. I ended up earning enough ship shape dollars to earn a backpack so what does that tell you. I went to classes, I walked, I climbed the rock wall, and I played mini golf, I played darts, I went to the horse races, I played the game the Quest. I was very active. Now my boyfriend on the other hand maybe did 3 of those things, if that. But that's fine it was his vacation too.
THE QUEST: Now this is a subject all to itself. This game is so very fun and funny. My boyfriend and I were on a team and we had a blast. Now if you don't know what the Quest is then I am not going to spoil it for you. But I am here to tell you it is not to be missed. To all of you who have played or seen it I am sure you would agree. Now me and my boyfriend were on team number 1 and we just happen to be on the team that won it all. So if you were there you saw us!
Entertainment: This was great as well. All I can say is that the comedians were great. All the shows were great. It is amazing how the entertainers can learn so many different shows without messing up.
Room Service: Only ordered it 2 times. Once with the Romance Package and once for a late night snack. The only complaint is that my milk that was with my Romance Breakfast was bad. It was like taking a big drink of Cottage Cheese. Needless to say I went to Guest Relations over this and I got a delivery of chocolate covered strawberries for the mess up. That was nice of them.
Pool Areas: Very nice but there is the same old problem of the chair hogs. There are only 2 pools and 3 hot tubs on this ship. The outdoor pool has 2 hot tubs and the Solarium pool has only 1. The Solarium is very nice. No one under the age of 16 in allowed in which makes it quiet. It is themed like Africa with bird sounds and all. I just loved the big cat on the side of the pool. And all the pools but the kiddie's pool are open 24 hours a day except for cleaning. The pools are saltwater and the hot tubs are fresh water.
Disembarkation: Very well run and very fast for this sort of thing. Not that fast is good when you really don't want to get off the ship. RCI has this process down to an art.
Post Cruise Stay: We stayed at the Sheraton Biscayne Bay again. Once again very nice. We spent the day touring Coconut Grove and other parts of Miami. Our flight did not leave Miami on the 13th until 4 p.m. so on Monday we went to Bayside again to shop some more before our flight. We flew Northwest. Flights went very well. It was a shock on our bodies coming from 75 degree sunny weather to 30 degree snowy weather. I want to go back I want the warm.
So as you can see, with a few minor flaws we had a great cruise and I all ready have another booked for Oct 2005 with RCI. I would not hesitate to recommend or sail with them again. They have everything down to an art. I will be posting photos so keep your eyes open. Sorry for the long review. I just wanted to share my wonderful cruise with everyone.