Cruise was from 2/13/05 - 2/20/05
Embarkation: This was by far the easiest embarkation we have had. We are Platinum members and we arrived at the port a little early (10:30 a.m.). We expected to wait, since we were earlier than usual, and we did have to wait, but we were taken into a separate waiting room for platinum and diamond members. There were a total of 11 of us in our group. They had cookies and drinks and we were able to watch them load the ship up with all kinds of food, which was pretty neat. We were onboard by 11:45. Our rooms were not ready, so we went up to the windjammer for lunch.
Room: We had a balcony stateroom, room 1088. Very nice, your typical balcony room, but we loved the location. On deck 10 aft, it was very easy to find and right below the Windjammer. I only heard noises from above on a couple of nights, but not enough to keep me awake or irritate me at all. Our cabin steward was Peter, and he was nice. We didn't want for anything.
1st stop Coco Cay: We were all a little worried that we would not make it to this port, but we did. It was a beautiful little island, but a bit chilly the day we were there (about 75). We got in the water anyway. It wasn't very deep anywhere we could find, only about waist high and no waves. There were also some slippery rocks that prevented you from venturing out any further. We didn't care, the water was warmer than we were used to and so blue! The coco loco's were delicious too, but VERY sweet.
2nd stop St. Thomas: We have been to St. Thomas before and know this port pretty well. We usually do some snorkeling or some other water activity, but decided to do a little shopping this time and go to Paradise Point. Paradise point was beautiful, but way overpriced. 32 dollars for the two of us to ride up the mountain. A little expensive for a tram ride if you ask me, but the view was worth it. I would not do it again. Got lots of "bling" in St. Thomas!!
3rd stop St. Maarten: What can I say, I love St. Maarten! Been here quite a few times and it takes my breath away every time. I would love to live there. Did the afternoon beach bash and it was just not enough time. They take you to Orient Beach (nude beach!) and let you relax for about 2 hours. Water is beautiful and the people are very nice.
Food: Windjammer was nice, but it is still a buffet. I never really expect too much from the Windjammer. The dining room is nice, but I don't think the food will ever be the same since they put in Chops and Portofino's. We used to be in awe of the food we got in the dining room. My husband would eagerly anticipate the filet night, and on the past 3 or 4 cruises, he has been disappointed to say the least. We did go to Chops on this cruise, it was worth the extra money, but like I said, on previous cruises we never had to pay extra for exceptional food.
Ship: I love the Radiance, but I do prefer the Promenade on the Voyager Class ships. It makes it a lot easier to find your way around. The staff on the Radiance is great and the ship is in great condition. They had hand sanitizer on the way into the Windjammer, which we used faithfully, but I was not overly worried about catching anything. This ship is kept clean and the staff was great!! I would recommend to anyone.
Debarkation: We had white colored tags, since we had an 11:20 flight out of Miami. Our travel agent told us we were nuts to get a flight that early (this was the first time we did not let RCI arrange for our flight) and that RCI suggests to get a flight after 12 noon. We did not have any problems. We were off of the ship and at the airport (with our bags checked) by 8:30 a.m. Smooth and easy debarkation.
Overall: Had a wonderful vacation and can't wait to start planning the next cruise!!! I think we may try Celebrity now that our credits work on that line too and we hear the food is like Chops or Portofino's in the dining room every night.