We thoroughly enjoyed our 5 night western Caribbean cruise on the Tampa-based Radiance of the Seas from 5 - 10 March. This was our first cruise so we have no basis for comparison, but it won't be our last. Ports of call were Cozumel and Costa Maya. The passenger mix consisted of families and couples, young and old, although not very many young children, and college kids on spring break.
Embarkation: We live only 15 minutes from the Port of Tampa, so no hotel/airport issues. Check-in at Tampa was a breeze - if only airport check-in were so stress free. Got dropped off at the terminal around 11:30 AM and was on the ship in less than 10 minutes. Cabins on Deck 9 were ready at 1:00 PM. The water we ordered was in the room as soon as we arrived. The roses and champagne we ordered - to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary - arrived by 3:00 PM while we were out exploring the ship. Our luggage was delivered around 4:00. There was a short, almost perfunctory, emergency muster drill around 4:15 PM, with departure at 5 PM on the nose Saturday afternoon.
The Ship: The Radiance of the Seas is the lead ship of the Radiance Class. She is a lovely and well maintained ship. At over 90,000 tons she's neither the biggest nor the smallest in the Royal Caribbean fleet, although she felt plenty big to us. Despite a full complement of passengers, she never felt crowded. If you were looking for quiet space there is always plenty to be found. Or, if you're looking for action, there was plenty of that to be had as well. Once on board it's apparent the Radiance isn't new - March 10, 2011 is the 10th anniversary of her maiden voyage - but she has aged gracefully. Her most obvious need is for new carpeting. Apart from that there are few signs of any serious wear and tear. We did not encounter any sewage odors as reported in some previous reviews. The Radiance will relocate to the west coast at the end of April and in May she goes to dry dock to refit/refurbish, followed by several months of Alaska cruises then on to Australia in November 2011. There will be no Royal Caribbean ship cruising out of Tampa from May to October 2011; however, The Jewel of the Seas, one of the Radiance's three sister ships, will call Tampa home from November 2011 to April 2012.
D1 Superior Ocean View with Balcony cabin on Radiance class ships had plenty of room for two. Balcony and bathrooms are small. Closet and storage space was ample. Location was quiet, although we could hear the neighbors from time to time.