28 Miami to Caribbean - Eastern Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

This was our third cruise, second with teens. The fastest embarkation we have ever experienced by far - we were on the ship in no time. First time in a Jr. suite and it was not that much different that a deluxe balcony room except that my ... Read More
This was our third cruise, second with teens. The fastest embarkation we have ever experienced by far - we were on the ship in no time. First time in a Jr. suite and it was not that much different that a deluxe balcony room except that my sister was traveling with our family and the walk in closet made a wonderful place for changing. (Bathroom was used for that purpose too, but this way, 2 people could get ready for dinner etc. at the same time (helped to speed things along in that regard). Ship was very nice, showing just slight signs of wear but we are not fussy folks so that didn't matter to us. Entertainment was very good. Singer in the lounge was super, I think his name was Santigo or something like that. He should be in Vegas. Food in the dining room was very good. Not as many choices as I remember from the last times we cruised but what we ordered was good. Ate in the Windjammer for breakfast about five times and some days for lunch. There was a good variety but certain things that I put on my plate I would not eat after I tried it because it would not be hot. In fact some things were at a very dangerous temperature in my opinion and I worried about getting sick. We eat out every now and then at a cafeteria style restaurant and I know with that type of dining you can't expect food to be as hot as a made to order place, but I saw no steam from the steam trays. They really need to monitor that better. And I don't think it was because of the time of morning we went to breakfast, because we went in a different times of the morning. Ate lunch a couple of times at the Seaview cafe and the food was fine there. We used the gym often. It was clean and had quite a bit of cardio equipment, but it was always full every morning, sometimes till 11:00 or 12:00. When we went in the evening, we had the place to ourselves. Overall, a great cruise. We would sail on the Radiance again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2006
Radiance of The Seas: Less than Expected!! For this special anniversary trip we decided to start our trip early in Miami with a one night pre-cruise stay in a big Miami Beach hotel. We were assigned the Fountainbleau- sounded great on ... Read More
Radiance of The Seas: Less than Expected!! For this special anniversary trip we decided to start our trip early in Miami with a one night pre-cruise stay in a big Miami Beach hotel. We were assigned the Fountainbleau- sounded great on the internet. Turned out our room was in the soon to be rehabbed old wing. There were broken mirrors and pictures were ripped off the walls-- for $400 a night it looked like a tenement ! Our room over looked a garbage strewn roof. We complained to the management-who said "Those are RCCL's pre-cruise rooms !" They did agree to move us to another room which was more satisfactory- with a small balcony overlooking the waterway. We never did overlook the ocean ! The transfer to the ship was the next day- he didn't announce he was there and we almost missed our ride to the Radiance of the Seas. This truly beautiful ship was such a joy to see from the dock.. unfortunately we boarded it !!! To a beautiful cabin on deck 9.. with a balcony. Thus this should have been the start of a "fairy-tale" cruise experience. ... Unfortunately as experienced and long time cruisers we were really disappointed with RAS and RCCL. As we arrived our travel agent had sent us a bottle of wine to celebrate our 25th Anniversary- this was never delivered nor arrived during the cruise. We were to get an invitation to some sort of Anniversary Party- which never arrived. As it turned out we called Guest Relations -who know nothing of our anniversary- it HAD been on the booking slip as I did see a copy of this ! - and told us- "Hey- there is a Honeymoon and Anniversary party tonight at the Starquest= come if you want to!" We did- with only about 20 other people- food and arrangements were set for at least 40-50 people-- later we met 2 other anniversary couples on a day tour who said they hadn't heard a thing either and were never invited either. Needless to say- so went the way of our Anniversary Cake and we eventually got a price of Key Lime pie and our waiters sang to us-- not the special made chef cake or anything like that !!!!Really when you have a celebration it IS important and RAS should treat customers a lot better! The other guests we met were ok generally. Nice people. There were two couples at our table who had eating "orgies" every night. They ordered 3 and 4 entrees- and acted like stuffing animals-gluttonizing grossly every dinner. Some nights we left the table early- we just couldn't stand watching another gross display . The ship was crowded and there was no place for the head waiter to move us or we would have moved. Then in the midst of things - I got sick- with a bronchial type infection. The ship has a real ER. no kidding. There was a real doctor- unfortunately they do NOT take real medical insurance. So one of my souvenirs of the cruise was a nearly $500.00 medical bill- for 2 visits to the ship's medical facility. I have to pay this out of pocket and wait until my insurance company will send me a check for some of it. The ports of call were Coco Cay- really a big waste of time. A sandbar in the ocean near the Bahamas where RCCL owns the island and you sit on the hot sands and drink more expensive drinks supplied by the ship. Then there was St. Thomas- which is a wonderful place for beaches- we went to Magen's Bay- great. and Fantastic shopping !!! I highly recomment St. Thomas USVI. On an earlier trip we went to St. John's- great too. The last port on the list was St. Maarten where the beaches are great. We went to Divi Beach/ Little Bay- and loved it- also heard from others EVERY beach is good on St. Maarten. The shopping was terrible- despite what the cruise shopping "expert" said- it was mostly jewelry stores little else. Spend your money in St. Thomas or Miami! At the end of the cruise, we had purchased several bottles of liquor which were confiscated when we returned to the ship from St. Maarten and which we never saw again.- Something which has NEVER happened to us on any other cruise line. (Exactly like our "gift" bottle which never also appeared in our cabin on day 1 and which our travel agent paid for and can't get the money back for! ) We were given SOME other liquor as a replacement- for the "lost bottles" which were "checked" but we had purchased gourmet liquor which the ship's bar didn't have- so we were out on this. The service on RCCL 's RAS was outstanding but the food generally was mediocre. The ports ok. The guests-some were nice -some were gross. The medical facility good- but expensive. The shows ok. The bands ok. The photographers were all short guys- so all photos were taken "looking up" - and for tall people it makes you look "fat" so they weren't selling a lot of photos- unless of other shorter people. The coupe de grace of all of this was a we left- we noticed our steward had just made the bed and changed the pillow cases- he did not appear to strip the bed after we were checking out. So only my bronchial infected pillowcases were removed from the room. What lucky passengers got the room next- with my germs all over the place???There was also no major washing down or disinfecting going on of the room or the ship either as we left. No wonder there is a lot of sickness on some of these RCCL ships. I think the health services should be doing greater "spot checking" of these cabins and this line. Previous years we have taken cruises on CARNIVAL and CELEBRITY and had somewhat better experiences on these lines. We anticipate cruising again but really aren't sure we will ever do RCCL again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2006
My husband and I (both 41 years old) took this cruise together. This was our very first cruise and we figure our expectations were relatively high. The embarkation process was extremely fast because we had already completed our information ... Read More
My husband and I (both 41 years old) took this cruise together. This was our very first cruise and we figure our expectations were relatively high. The embarkation process was extremely fast because we had already completed our information online. The ship was absolutely beautiful and sparkling clean. We had a balcony in our cabin and our stateroom was bigger than what we had expected. We found there to be more than enough storage in our cabin. We are now spoiled to a balcony from now on, that's for sure! It was wonderful hearing and seeing the ocean every day and night. Our cabin steward, Xavier, was very friendly and helpful - great service in every way. We chose the early seating for dinner at 6 pm. We sat with 8 other couples and it was great. If we are ever so fortunate to be able to cruise again, I think we would choose the late seating because it felt a little rushed to make it for 6 pm. Our waiter and assistant waiter, Dominick and Sherlyn, were wonderful - they even sang for us at the table! The food throughout the ship was better than what we expected, and we expected quite a bit. We were amazed at how such a large variety could be consistently good. We had previously read other cruisers' reviews about this ship and decided to pay for the 2 fine dining restaurants onboard: Chops and Portofinos. These were 2 of the best meals we have ever had! And, we LOVE food and like to think that we are "amateur" food critics. Wow! The first port-of-call to Coco Cay in the Bahamas was cancelled due to bad weather. I was very disappointed but seemed quite alone in that feeling. Most people I overheard seemed happier to be going to San Juan Puerto Rico as an alternative. I just wanted to lay on a beach and snorkel. But, that's ok - nothing much you can do about weather. We just shopped around old San Juan and it was all right - reminded me a bit of Puerto Vallarta. The second port-of-call was St. Thomas and we had booked the St. John, Trunk Bay tour. This was cancelled due to weather so now I was a bit annoyed and paranoid about our next excursion! But, we went to Buck Island to snorkel. The weather was on and off but overall it was a great experience. The first couple of days on the ship were rough and I felt a bit sea sick. Two of the couples at dinner didn't show the first couple of nights because they were very sick. It makes me wonder if perhaps April/May would be a better time to sail weather wise (?). Our third port-of-call was St. Maarten. We booked a swim with the dolphins and this was definitely the highlight of our trip in every way. We are animal lovers and this experience was amazing. We took a boat to the island of Anguilla to the Dolphin Discovery. We swam with the dolphins, spent about an hour on their section of beach on Meads Bay and had a buffet lunch afterwards. The beach was unbelievable. All the water and sand that we saw on this island was unbelievable. Since we've been back from this trip, we've read on several websites that Anguilla is voted as number 1 for the best beaches in the world, and we can understand why. We fueled up in St. Croix but my husband and I decided to stay on the ship. We participated in The Quest, the adult scavenger hunt-type game show in the Colony Club. This was so much fun! We found ourselves in the Colony Club at least a few times and loved Santorini who had a nightly show. He really knew how to get the audience involved and had a great voice. I enjoyed the male strippers in the disco while my husband enjoyed the midnight buffet on the second to last night. We watched 3 shows: The Piano Man, the comedian and the final show. They were all great. The casino was fun for my husband - I don't enjoy gambling but I went with him a couple of times. We had such a great time on this holiday. It was a very long time prior to this that we actually had a real nice and relaxing holiday so we were long overdue. It was one of our dream vacations and we finally did it. It was everything and more than what we expected. We had heard that first time cruisers aren't nearly as picky as people who have cruised many times. But, we are pretty laid back people and went into this vacation with a positive attitude. Life is what you make it most of the time so we made it a wonderful experience. We would highly recommend this ship and cruise line. The food, service, decor, ports of call, cleanliness, entertainment and classiness was even more than what we had expected. Thanks to Royal Caribbean for this great memory! Read Less
Sail Date February 2006
I take a cruise for my birthday each year. This year I chose a cruise in the Eastern Caribbean for two reasons: (1) It was a change from my usual Mexico trips, and (2) I was sailing with a group of friends  one couple who had never ... Read More
I take a cruise for my birthday each year. This year I chose a cruise in the Eastern Caribbean for two reasons: (1) It was a change from my usual Mexico trips, and (2) I was sailing with a group of friends  one couple who had never cruised. And because we had first timers along, I wanted this cruise to be special: and it was. Because we took a midnight flight from Oregon to Miami, we decided to leave one day early and spend the night in South Beach. It was a great choice. Even though we were awakened at 6 AM by a marathon, it was great to have a day in Miami to decompress. We arrived at the ship around noon on Sunday  fully rested and ready for 7 days of cruising fun. The embarkation was perfect. Because we arrived by private car, we did not need to worry about long lines. We had a very good chat with the counter personnel and were on board in less than 10 minutes. Everyone at the counter was professional and able to answer all of our questions. When we looked at our sea pass cards, we noted that between the 6 of us, we were seated at 4 different tables. But we knew the drill. Three of us headed off to the dining room to talk with the head waiter. Usually the reassignment goes very easily. For some reason, we seemed to tick off the head waiter. He got all of us at the same table, but it was right next to the kitchen door. (More on that later.) But we were happy because we were together. Let me get the one disappointment out of the way. I have never had bad dining room service on an RCI cruise, and the service on this cruise was not bad  simply not what I have come to expect. Our waiter and assistant waiter seemed to be constantly distracted. Our assistant waiter would leave one roll, fill the water glasses, and disappear. That may be why they were at the kitchen door table. There is an old phrase that everything is ruined by repetition  even Paris. And the phrase applies to the RCI dinner menu. It seems to have remained unchanged for the past two years. And that is not necessarily bad. I now know on each cruise what I will have on each night. It us a little like walking into your neighborhood restaurant. Cruise food in the dining room will never be outstanding. It cannot be. It is the equivalent of political fund raiser dinners. You need to feed a large group of people in a very small amount of time. Personalized dinners should not be expected. But they should be expected in the specialty restaurants. And the Radiance did not disappoint. We ate in Chops two nights. It is easily as good as any of the major steak houses such as Mortons and El Gaucho, with highly professional service and personalized dinners. Portofino (the Italian restaurant) was good. We ate there one night sponsoring a farewell dinner for the singers and dancers. I would not rate it as high as Chops for food, but I was definitely pay another visit. Well, you now know what I like about cruising  eating. But the rest of the cruise was every bit as good as the food  often better. I took a cruise on my first Radiance class ship last August: on the Jewel. I really like the moderate size of the ships. They offer a lot of the qualities of a Voyager class with the intimacy of a Vision class. Even though the Radiance went into dry dock immediately following this cruise, everyone did a superb job at keeping it looking in top shape. The public rooms were always clean. And the entertainers: superb. One reason I go on cruises is live entertainment. Between the solo and group entertainers in the bars and public rooms and the evening shows, there is always something going on. I like the headliners, but my favorites are the singer and dancer casts. And RCI knows how to put on a quality show. I have noted that some cruisers tend to think of the dancers and singers as being similar to the neighborhood kids putting on a show. That attitude truly demeans these professionals. They know their craft and they perform it expertly. Unfortunately the group on the Radiance completely dispersed on their individual ways when the ship entered dry dock. I had a balcony cabin on the fantail. It was a perfect place to have room service breakfast in the morning and to wrap up a day watching the ships wake disappear over the horizon. Being a nonsmoker, I was a bit surprised to notice how often I could smell cigarette smoke on the balcony. But I decided that is simply the smell of freedom and it made my libertarian heart happy. We Americans spend far too much time trying to regulate other peoples lives. Yes, the ship did stop at ports  even though I thoroughly enjoyed the three sea days. Our first port was Coco Cay, RCIs private island. A friend and I spent the day parasailing and riding waverunners. I sky dive, so the parasailing was a bit tame. But even being a motorcycle rider did not prepare me for the thrill of the waverunners on the choppy sea. For a full hour I had a blast  convinced that every second would be my last. I then went snorkeling. That day was one of the best days of the vacation. I strongly recommend the waverunners. But be prepared to be scared to death  and to laugh and survive in the process. The second port was St. Thomas. We were there a year ago and spent our full day at Coki Point. The snorkeling there is fantastic. The fish have become addicted to dog biscuits, so you will not see them acting naturally on the main beach. But at the south end of the point there is a small reef where few people go. The viewing is far better there. The third port was St. Maarten. We rented a van and drove around the island. When we were there last year, the traffic was terrible. This time we made the full circuit far too fast. We had planned on eating lunch in a village on the French side. But we were there at 10:30  far too early for lunch. Instead we stopped at two beaches and went shopping in town. When we arrived in Miami, I dreaded leaving the ship. My experience has been that RCI has one of the worst departure procedures I have ever seen. I was more than pleasantly surprised. Our tag color was called while I was raising my fist fork of breakfast. Between the call and walking out of customs, no more than 15 minutes passed. Great job, RCI! Overall, this was an incredibly memorable cruise. Like everything in life, some things could have been better, but only a very small person would allow a few blemishes ruin an otherwise marvelous experience. My barometer is based on the response of the first timers with us: they are ready to cruise again. I look forward to seeing the Radiance when it leaves dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date January 2006
We have been looking forward to this cruise for over a year. It was myself, my DH, my Brother and a girlfriend. Our cruise dates were December 4 - 11, 2005. We arrived in Miami on Saturday, December 3rd. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency ... Read More
We have been looking forward to this cruise for over a year. It was myself, my DH, my Brother and a girlfriend. Our cruise dates were December 4 - 11, 2005. We arrived in Miami on Saturday, December 3rd. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency (excellent). We did our air on our own, and did the hotel via Priceline. We arrived in Miami about 3:00pm, checked-in and then went to Bayside. We walked and had dinner at Bubba Gump Restaurant (very nice). We woke up on cruise morning about 8:30am, had breakfast and took a taxi to the port around 12:30pm. Embarkation was excellent. The ship is absolutely beautiful. Our cabin was ready at 1:00pm. We stayed in 9094 (Superior balcony room), very close to the elevators. Excellent room. My Brother and my GF were in 9096, a connecting room. We asked the stateroom attendant to open the inside door. When I got on the ship my H noticed that I did not have our camcorder any longer. He gave it to me while checking in at RC. I went immediately to Guest Relations to see if anyone turned it in, they said no, and to check periodically, which I did for the first 2 days, what a bummer. The Guest Relations staff was very nonchalant. While I take full responsibility, I would have hoped for better customer service. They said they would email the port to see if I left it there, and I never heard anything back. I thought a call to my stateroom saying that they hadn't received word back, or go to hell, or anything would be better than nothing. I also went to Guest Relations about American Airlines being at the port. They said that they knew nothing about it. American Airlines is at the port, and we were able to get our tickets and check our luggage there. Needless to say, I was not pleased with Guest Relations. They had a very "don't bother me" attitude. When I was on the Mariner, they went out of there way to be helpful. The dining experience was wonderful. Our waiter (Karoly) and Assistant waiter (Pablo) were very nice. Pablo was new, so he would forget things, but he was very sweet, and we had no problems in giving him reminders. The food was great in the dining room. My GF and I went to the Murder Mystery on Wednesday at Portofinos. It was not worth $49.50. The food was excellent at Portofinos. The play should be free. Would not do that again. We stayed at the Seaview Cafe and Windjammer. The Windjammer was mediocre to good. The seaview was very good. We never went to the Solarium Cafe. The casino staff was excellent, very polite, and a lot of fun. Our stateroom attendant was nice but, he seemed to also want to hurry us up, or not have time for questions. For example, I purchased alcohol in St. Thomas, the liquor store told me to contact our stateroom attendant at 7:30pm that evening to make certain that it was delivered to the ship. I called at 7:30pm to ask, and before I got the question out, he said, "no alcohol is allowed in the room, call Guest Relations". I knew the alcohol would be delivered to us before we departed the ship, I just felt rushed, as though he was too busy to even listen to my question. I called Guest Relations, and got the same response until I firmed up and said, "please let me ask the question first." I just want to be sure it made it on the ship, I don't want it in the room. Our attendant got better as the week progressed. Not our best, but he turned out pretty nice. The Ports of call were CocoCay (nice), St. Thomas (nice), and St. Maarten (really nice). I did most of my shopping in St. Maarten. I enjoyed all three. The ship also stopped in St. Croix to refuel. We could get off the ship, but it was during the Murder Mystery so we didn't. Overall, my vacation was fabulous. The Cruise Director was very nice however, his staff was not very approachable. I got the impression, whether right or wrong, that this was a first cruise for many (CD staff, Assist. Waiter, Stateroom Attendant, Guest Relations personnel) I have sailed with RC 3 times and by far this was my least favorite, but it was still a great cruise. They are normally so superb that any slight problem, becomes huge. I would highly recommend this ship to anyone, all of the problems that I experienced could be fixed with experience and better customer service training. I will more than likely pick Voyager class ships from now on, but, I would not totally be against the radiance class. I had a wonderful time, and I hope that if you have a cruise coming up, that you have a great time as well. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
I took the 12/4-12/11 Easter Caribbean cruise with my husband, mother, and mother-in-law. Overall we had an excellent time and would wholeheartedly recommend this ship and itinerary to anyone. A few specifics below: Ship The Radiance ... Read More
I took the 12/4-12/11 Easter Caribbean cruise with my husband, mother, and mother-in-law. Overall we had an excellent time and would wholeheartedly recommend this ship and itinerary to anyone. A few specifics below: Ship The Radiance is a clean and beautiful ship. I did notice some wear and tear on the carpets and furniture in the Windjammer area, but other than that everything was top-notch. The Solarium was really beautiful, as was the Cascades dining room. Our first night we were seated at a small table for 4, and with three of us being extremely tall it was rather uncomfortable. We mentioned this to the waiter on the 2nd night, and by the 3rd night we were seated at the captains table in the center of the dining room with a fabulous view of the waterfall. The outdoor pool was a little small in my opinion, without a lot of room for deck chairs in the sun. Overall the service was excellent, although we were supposed to get a ship-board credit and it took several days for this to happen. Cabin My husband and I had an oceanview cabin on Deck 4, while the Moms enjoyed a balcony cabin on deck 8. I thought being on Deck 4 was perfect because we were close to the dining room, and auditorium, so at the end of the evening we didnt have to walk far to get back to our cabin. For the few hundred dollars more I highly recommend the balcony, however the oceanview was nice as well. It was larger than we had anticipated, with tons of closet space. Food The food was excellent in the dining room every night. My mother and I are Indian, and the head waiter had lamb curry and chicken curry made especially for us one evening. That was a nice touch. We tried a lot of the sugar-free desserts and they were excellent. Windjammer food was good as well, with lots of nice choices for hot entrees. For breakfast I typically had cereal and fruit, however the omelettes were nice. There was usually a long wait, though, and for some reason there were a number of rude complainers on this cruise. I tried my best to ignore them. Shipshape Center I thought this deserved a separate caption because the gym was fantastic! My husband and I worked out every day, and there is nothing better than being able to look out onto the water or at a beautiful island while you are working out. I did the spinning class 3 times, and it was a great workout. Entertainment Absolutely the worst singers and dancers I have ever witnessed. The Piano Man show was laugh out loud funny in some spots, because it was so horrible, not because it was supposed to be funny. At one point my mother in law and I were crying we were laughing so hard. These singers and dancers were really trying, but the shows were just horrible. The comedian on the first night was really funny, and they had him come back to do an adult encore. Both times he was hilarious. The casino was nice; we won some money in the slots. The movie theatre looked nice too, although I did not watch any movies. Cruise director reminded me of Ryan Seacrest. Ports Coco Cay was a fabulous place to spend an afternoon. It was just what we needed on the first day to get into the swing of being on vacation. ST. Thomas was just like all the other islands, with shopping and beaches. We took a cab to the main shopping area, browsed for a bit, and had another cabbie take us around the island for $25pp. He then took us to a beach (I believe it was at the Marriott resort) which was absolutely beautiful and not too busy. He came back after a few hours and we went back to the ship. A perfect day. It rained when were in St. Martin, but not until after we got to Dawn Beach via taxi. We had some beers at a beachside bar, and then went back to the ship. Overall, the Radiance is a fantastic ship, and I would recommend it to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
I have read some of the reviews and I wonder if I was on the same ship. I sailed on 12/05/05 and the cabin that I had size was was the same that I had on it's sister ship Brilliance. I cruise all the time as I and on many different ... Read More
I have read some of the reviews and I wonder if I was on the same ship. I sailed on 12/05/05 and the cabin that I had size was was the same that I had on it's sister ship Brilliance. I cruise all the time as I and on many different lines. This cruise was a cruise from hell. My cabin had a sewage problem. Water was backing up on the floor for the first 3 days. The smell in the bathroom was disgusting. They had to put an ionizer in there just to mask the odor. I had people in and out of my room the whole trip, changing pipes, etc. and the odor was coming not only from the toilet but from the sink as well. I know that my room was not the only one, because the maintenance men were working non-stop outside a lot of cabins just on my floor alone. The bathroom areas by the pool, both men and women were dirty and overflowing. and broken. I really do not go on a cruise for the food, so I won't comment there. My cabin steward stayed far away to distant himself from all this. Now the good part. Customer Service could not have been nicer. They only could offer me another room that was an inside cabin, and I refuse (the odor was only in the bathroom, so I could deal with it), and my waiter was the greatest. I thought the entertainment was just fine for a cruise ship. The shops were terrible. I wish that I could be a buyer for one of these ships. You have a command audience, so why not sell nice stuff. The ship is going into dry dock in March. Hope it comes out better. Read Less
Sail Date December 2005
We were on the Radiance for the November 6, 2005 Eastern Caribbean sailing with the Cruise Critic's Radiance of the Seas NUTZ group. The group had some extensive cruisers. We were in the minority with this being my third cruise and my ... Read More
We were on the Radiance for the November 6, 2005 Eastern Caribbean sailing with the Cruise Critic's Radiance of the Seas NUTZ group. The group had some extensive cruisers. We were in the minority with this being my third cruise and my Wife's fourth. The Radiance is a beautiful ship. The extensive glass has been written about along with the glass elevators that face inside or outside. She is a very open ship appointed with beautiful artwork, but she is starting to show her age for one so young. We are told she will be going into dry dock for refitting next February. Dining -- We ate in the main dining room for all but one Dinner. The Cascades is beautiful and the service we received surpassed our expectations. We are not fancy eaters but I like to try new dishes while on a cruise. I must say everything I had was very good to the taste and pleasing to the eye. The Windjammer received most of our dining time. The food was good and there was a large selection. The layout of the Windjammer leads to an easy dining experience. The service there was wonderful. After getting your food and sitting down you were soon approached by an attendant asking if there was anything you desired. Once in between their visits I had run out of coffee and got up to get more. The attendant not assigned to our table saw me and would not allow me to get it myself. He was insistent on serving me. We were very impressed with all of the staff dealing with food service. As the food and service was so good in the Cascades and the Windjammer we saw no reason to go the specialty restaurants. We understand they were very good though. Stateroom -- We had a wonderful Junior Suite located on the back of the ship. This was a great location as the deck was very large and the winds were not strong when underway. This stateroom had a real walk-in closet and more than enough storage room. The bathroom was showing it's age with pieces of chrome missing off the mirrors and the bolt covers for the toilet were missing as well. Speaking of the bathroom we were very surprised of the lack of toiletries offered. In every other Jr. Suite we have been in, there were different soaps, shampoos and on Grandeur we received shower scrunches for use in addition to washcloths. Nothing like that was available. Not even a shower cap. Our cabin attendant gave us everything we asked for and was very friendly. He didn't offer extras though. An example was on the first formal night my wife used the last tissue for her makeup. Lucky she didn't need any more because there was no extra box. There was no extra roll of toilet paper -- we ran out but at least that time there were plenty of tissues. The customer should never run out of anything. Great room but we were disappointed with the amenities. Entertainment -- We saw two shows on this cruise. One was provided by the Radiance Singers and Dancers and was very good. We also enjoyed the celebrity show. That said I feel RCCL needs to have a well-known name for their celebrity shows. Although the entertainer's act was good and enjoyable, his only claim to fame is singing the song for the Happy Days show. It is not that the show wasn't good, it was but I feel the celebrity in the Celebrity Headliner Show would be someone that at least a fourth of the ship's guest would know his/her name. The entertainment in the Schooner Lounge was a pianist or a pianist/singer. After leaving the Grandeur this March, a comparison could not be helped. The Grandeur had Bing, a pianist/singer and Major Handy, a do everything musically entertainer. If you rate these entertainers on a scale of one to five, the Grandeur Schooner would get a five and the Radiance Schooner would receive a two. The service and drinks were excellent though. The entertainment poolside was good. The drinks were unpredictable. One "drink of the day" was so bad I had to throw it out. The service poolside was the worst I have ever seen on a RCCL ship. The servers were almost non-existent in the bar area. The one time I did see them they blew by me. Since I determined the only way to get a drink poolside was to fight through the crowd at the bar I didn't frequent this location. SPA services -- The wife had an expensive facial done. The facial was very good for her but she felt rushed. Even though she bought additional creams (guys you know these aren't cheap) she felt that they couldn't wait to get her out to start on the next appointment. Very unnerving for what was suppose to be a relaxing time. Colony Club -- This is a nice place. The entertainment was usually good and this is the location for Quest. Don't miss it. The pool tables are flat out amazing. If you are a pool fan you must try this. You have no idea the ship is moving as much as it is until you watch the tables. Remember to check the red light during a pool tournament. If it is on, the table is not working and you find out quickly why these tables are so special. The tables are not level and as predictable as the ocean if the red light is on. Otherwise it is an unusual feeling playing on a table that is level but you move up and down. St. Thomas -- St. Thomas is a beautiful island and has shopping. We have not had the pleasure of shopping there even though this is our second visit. During the first visit we were on two shore excursions, as we knew there were things we wanted at St. Maarten. This time the Immigration rules have changed. Although the Radiance crew stated they were in the hands of the US Immigration officials, they share in the worst experience we have ever had on a RCCL ship. We got up extra early as we were told that US citizens would now have to go through immigration proceedings. This was not the case before. We had to be there early as we had an early shore excursion so we have time to enjoy shopping St Thomas. The day started when we arrived at the Windjammer for a continental breakfast as the main Windjammer restaurant was not open yet. The continental breakfast had only donuts with white icing. The had plenty of hot water, tea bags and sugar for my Wife's tea but nothing to stir it with. I was noting all this when I went for coffee. It is all I really needed. The coffee was out and it was going to take 15 minutes to brew more. As we were storming out the Windjammer opened 10 minutes early. We were able to dash in and eat before making it to a long line already formed for immigration. When the Immigration officials got there the line moved fairly quickly. Our sea-passes were marked and we told to go through the door to the outside deck. Once outside on deck 5 we followed the line, as there was no Radiance crew seen. The line led back to the Centrum where we clashed with the non-American guests who were trying to work their way through their own line. I reasoned we had to get to deck 2 to get off the ship and tried the elevators. Either they were not working or I could not see them because of the huge crowd that was gathering. My Wife found the first Radiance crew member standing in the middle of this huge gathering crowd. She was doing all she could but needed help in the worst way. She told us to get to deck 2. We took the stairs but instead of getting off the ship, we got in a line to get off the ship. After waiting awhile, I walked to the front of the line and a guest informed me that the ship had not been cleared for port. It is now 5 minutes from the time we were to meet for the shore excursion. The crowed quickly grew and the line snaked all the way to the crew's quarters and back, and then started backing up the stairs. There was no Radiance crew to let us know what was going on. When the gates opened it was pure bedlam getting off and the lines had been destroyed by the amount of people. We met our group almost an hour late, which meant the tour took an hour later so by the time we got back to the dock there was no time to shop. Now I understand that the Radiance could not do anything until Immigration cleared the ship. It is possible that the Radiance may have been responsible for the delay though. My main concern was for the lack of a coordinated effort to move these people where they needed to go. Had the Radiance saw fit to inform the people of the delay and the cause of the delay, people would not have been so frustrated. This is the worst thing I have ever been through because it showed a total lack of concern from the Radiance management for their guests. Entering and Leaving -- Boarding the ship was rather long but went without a hitch. Leaving the ship was an entirely different matter. We were assigned gray tags as our flight was leaving at 1:43. We were instructed to go to the Colony Club and wait for the color to be called. Problem is no announcements could be heard there. The speakers were not working. We moved to the Champagne Bar where we could hear. The colors were to be called in order but we heard red called. This concerned us as red were flights leaving at 3PM. Again, there was no communication by the Radiance. I asked one officer and was told gray must have been called as they always go in order. I went to where the line was forming and found another officer. He stated that was not the case. It had to do with when the carrousels were cleared and red's carrousel cleared before grays. Makes perfect sense but instead of having all these people upset, why not make a simple announcement. All the people around me were very upset wondering what had happened and were they forgotten. I told the officer about the speakers in the Colony Club and he sent a technician there. I spoke to an elderly lady while we were walking out and she was very upset. She said she saw the technician walk in and look around the walked out. Once off the ship the process was very smooth. Meet and Mingle -- The meet and mingle was great fun as this group started the thread in August 2004. We didn't get on the thread until March 2005. This group named themselves the ROS NUTZ and had planned multiple activities onboard. Most fun you can have with your clothes on. The Radiance participation in the M&M seemed lacking. The web site showed the M&M for Wednesday. The ship's schedule called for it on Tuesday catching a lot of people off guard. About twenty people were able to attend out of the 45 that signed up. Part of the reason was because of the switch. There was no Radiance officer present and although the Administrative Assistant's job is a hard one, we expected an Officer from the Radiance. It felt as though the Radiance crew went through the motions and left ASAP. The NUTZ provided their fun though so the time was not wasted. Summary -- The Radiance is a fine ship. The February refit should take care of her worn furniture and carpets, especially in the Windjammer. The crew is friendly and desires to make your stay onboard pleasing. Continuing with that, the Radiance singers and dancers worked really hard and put on a good show. The Celebrity Headliner although good should be a recognizable name. The Schooner entertainers need to play as background music. They are not good enough for anything else. The Radiance management needs to solve the problems with the immigration process and greatly improve their communication with their passengers. We booked on board this same ship through the Panama Canal. We are staying away from the suite and lowering our expectations of the ship and crew. If we are unable to do that we will reschedule that booking for a better ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
We had not cruised on RCCL for a while. We are extremely impressed. This is one of the most beautiful ships we've been on-- mid-size- elegant and glamorous but not too glitzy. The crew all spoke English extremely well- could not say ... Read More
We had not cruised on RCCL for a while. We are extremely impressed. This is one of the most beautiful ships we've been on-- mid-size- elegant and glamorous but not too glitzy. The crew all spoke English extremely well- could not say the same on HAL-- and the service we received was the best ever including HAL and Celebrity!!!!!. Entertainment was excellent- we actually went to every show and enjoyed them all. The age of the passengers was very varied which was good. The ship layout was well organized and was relatively easy to get from here to there. Only complaint was the elevators were sometimes too slow and you had to run from one end to the other to catch the arriving car. I especially liked the serving arrangement of the food upstairs in the buffet which has always been one of my pet peeves. Here they had different stations so you didn't have to wait on a long slow moving line wanting to get an item at the end of the buffet and not wanting to cut in ahead of other passengers. Here foods were arranged in pods or stations and you could walk right up and get what you needed. The quality and selection of food in the dining room was not as good as we've had on other ships and they were especially lacking in sugar free desserts- there was only 1 choice!! I had a problem with a very noisy neighbor in the adjoining cabin and customer service was very responsive and helpful. The only real complaint was over 300 passengers being kept herded into the gangway area for over 30 minutes with no explanations while the ship got clearance to dock in St. Thomas. We weren't supposed to have had to go through customs according to the ship's officers but due to some last minute regulations, we were forced to which is what caused the confusion. We all understood that, what we were angry about was being herded like cattle into the gangway area for over 30 minutes with no air, water, seats etc. AND NO EXPLANATION OR CREW MEMBER present to assist. It put a damper on our day. Otherwise, we had a wonderful time-- great fellow passengers-- greatest crew ever and a magnificent ship. We heartily recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
This was our second RCI cruise this year, and it reinforces my option that RCI offers the best mid-tier cruising option for the family. The ship was classy and well laid out, and offered everything for my entire group (kids and adults!). ... Read More
This was our second RCI cruise this year, and it reinforces my option that RCI offers the best mid-tier cruising option for the family. The ship was classy and well laid out, and offered everything for my entire group (kids and adults!). This ship was not designed to entirely serve the warm weather ports, so deck space for sunning can get a little competitive at times. Otherwise, we really liked her. We had a balcony cabin on deck nine aft, while the children (son 8, daughter 6) shared a cabin across the hall. We employed a set of baby monitors to keep in constant contact. We prefer that option to having them in an adjoining balcony cabin...cheaper and safer in our opinion. The food was consistently good in all areas and we tried just about every venue. I think the food on the Mariner of the Seas (we sailed in June) was just a bit better, but not by much. RCI has still delivered a better dining experience than the other mid-tier cruise lines we've experienced (Disney and NCL). One issue though is the availability of pizza and snacks at "fringe" times - late afternoon or late evening. It just isn't there. Oddly, too, the pizza station is parked in the adult solarium, which makes it difficult for kids to get the pizza they want throughout the day. We also ate at the added charge venue Portofino and it was an outstanding meal. The dining service was quite good and the staff was generally attentive throughout the ship. Our cabin steward was the best we have ever had on any ship. Nothing in this area disappointed. Our kids loved the club activities, although I still question the club closing twice a day for a couple of hours like they do. It makes it difficult to schedule the day. Staff was great though and our kids had a wonderful time. We took advantage of the putting green, climbing wall, pools, etc. All were just fine, although, again, it seems odd that the kids slide is open for 4 hours total during each day...what a waste of a ship's amenities to only be open for a short time each day. We did not go to any shows, but we did enjoy the lounges and casino. The spa and gym were also great. We had a great time overall...any cruise is better than no cruise at all! Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
I took the Thanksgiving cruise on the Radiance of the Seas. I went with my DH, DD, DS. We had connecting inside cabins on Deck 4. Embarkation- As we were going down the pier in Miami, I was able to see what the other cruise lines did as ... Read More
I took the Thanksgiving cruise on the Radiance of the Seas. I went with my DH, DD, DS. We had connecting inside cabins on Deck 4. Embarkation- As we were going down the pier in Miami, I was able to see what the other cruise lines did as far as embarkation. To say I was dismayed is an understatement. People were standing in line outside in 85 degree heat and their luggage was being abused like the gorilla commercials for Samsonite. We pulled up to the RCCL area and there was almost no one around. We immediately gave our luggage to the porter and they took care of everything else. We got there at 11:45 so I figured everyone was inside the building. From the curb to the Windjammer it took us 15 minutes. We literally walked at a consistent pace through the check in area and onto the ship. I was very relieved and impressed. Food- The Windjammer was our first eating opportunity and it was very good. A buffet meal but very good quality. The main dining room was very good also. We sat at an upper table for four and were served well by Ruati and Peter. Our favorite spot was the Seaview Cafe. The food was very good and the service excellent. It is kind of a hidden gem and we never had a bad meal. The kids also ate there frequently for lunch and loved it. We ordered room service 2 times and it was prompt and good. We tended to use this service on Port days so that we could get off quickly. We ate pizza in the Solarium once and it was OK, not up there with the best but I tried fruit pizza for the first time. We also ate once in the dining room for breakfast and had a very entertaining waiter. I tried Eggs Benedict for the first time and they were great!! Yum!! Adventure Ocean programs- Kids not very interested. Very few kids in the 12-14 age group for DD-7 I think. Really no one ever there. The 15-17 had many more but DS is really not a joiner. Note of caution the older kids talk and spend time trying to get drinks and cigarettes. Not all but some just keep an eye on your kids. There were 500 kids on board and I never saw any bad behavior. They kept an eye on them and made announcements reminding parents to watch their kids. That seemed to work well. Entertainment- We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment on this ship. It was top notch-Don't miss the Piano Man- awesome and I am totally impressed with the quality of cast members and stage. They rival Broadway. We also went to Love and Marriage- hysterical, and Bingo in the Aurora Theater. Comfortable seating and fun atmosphere. We also enjoyed the Karaoke and the Quest game. The Cruise Critic Radiance Gobblers- That's our Meet and Mingle name- Participated and had a great time!!We also loved the Belly flop contest and all the music supplied in the Centrum and all around the ship. One night I was on Deck 7 and looked into the Centrum and this older couple were waltzing to the musician-piano I think- they were all by themselves in the area and they looked beautiful and graceful. Rooms- We had two connecting rooms right off the Centrum- very quite I hardly ever heard anything-I was really amazed. The rooms are larger than you picture them although I was glad that we only had two to a room. Any more really would get a little crowded. The rooms were in great shape and the showers aren't that bad. I used 4 clothes pins on the bottom and had no problem with shower curtain cling. Our attendants were invisible but very competent and Orlando did assist my husband with his ties...Thank Goodness. Ports- Very organized disembarkment and again RCCL couldn't have done it any better. Even immigration was quick and easy. I was always amazed how they could do this with such speed and efficiency. Anyway - Our tour in St. Thomas was wonderful. I found the tour guide in the ports of call area. St. Thomas has excellent quality in jewelry. The prices are very competitive- but the selling style is very aggressive. Not great for the browsers among us. Just say no politely though and they leave you alone. We loved our tour and Sapphire Beach is lovely. Good snorkeling. Easy re-entry onto the ship. Make sure you make your arrangements on island time- which can be one hour off during daylight savings time. St. Maarten was beautiful- again a private tour. Enjoyed the sights and history of the island. Very laid back especially compared to St. Thomas. The shopping experience was calm but I found the quality of the jewelry a little light in the gold department but bigger stones. I would return to this area for a land based vacation in a minute!! CocoCay- Was very well kept up and a nice place to unwind for the first day of the cruising. Even with touchy weather it was quite relaxing. Photography- There are so many options for different kinds of pictures. Make sure you try at least some of them. The Black and White was awesome. The photographers are very talented. It took us almost the whole cruise to get a keeper but we really had a hard time with our facial expressions. You have to go to the Schooner bar-say hi to Rada and Simon. They have a great piano player and great bands in the colony club. You have to play at least one game of pool on the self adjusting tables- Very neat!! Staff- The staff was kind, generous, and highly competent. We rarely received the miraculous treatment that some speak of, but we were treated very well and I have the utmost respect for the hard work and dedication that they all show every day. I never saw one glimmer of bad behavior- Note One of our group experienced something that I must mention. Please put your purchases away so that the cabin attendant does not think the bag is garbage. They will throw it out. It broke their hearts and put a damper on their last night. Believe it or not you may find yourselves alone in areas on this ship. With 2400 people onboard, we found ourselves all alone on many decks. On the helipad, and in the Solarium. It was really cool when it happened. I couldn't believe that with that many people aboard we really never stood in a long line or felt crowded except on the elevators. Sometimes you had to wait quite a bit. I solved that by walking the stairs. Two things that accomplishes, get there quicker and burning calories. When I got home I had gained one pound and I admit I didn't really restrain myself much. Try the sugar free desserts and they have a salad with crab salad in the Seaview that is yummy. Working out in the gym was great. I only got there one day but walked constantly. The rock wall was an experience. Especially for those afraid of heights. I was put on an intermediate -Brown grips- part and I almost made it to the top but the wall curves a little and you can't see the grips. At that point you have to look around and my knees started shaking and fear set in. Happens to everyone but worth the experience. Read your Compass and mark what you want to do. You can be as busy or not as you want!! Disembarkation- Packing always sucks but it helps to have a garbage bag on hand for packing dirty clothes. This process was also quick and orderly and I was totally amazed by their efficiency. Remember to count your bags. We left one there in the luggage are but RCCL kindly sent it UPS to our house. It only took about 4-5 days and was $18. They called right away on my cell phone number. Put this on your luggage instead of home number. There is no one at home. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean and my first Back to Back Cruise. Check In Arrived at the pier about 10:30am and was on board by 11:30am. I had completed the SetSail details online previously. This obviously had a major ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean and my first Back to Back Cruise. Check In Arrived at the pier about 10:30am and was on board by 11:30am. I had completed the SetSail details online previously. This obviously had a major effect on checking in. I recommend that everyone complete this before travelling. The only draw back I had with the check in, and it was nothing to do with RCL, was that US-Visit were not prepared for us and therefore had to wait for them. But I suppose if you turn up early you have to expect this. Once onboard I met up with my fellow Nutz in the Windjammer. The staterooms were not available until 1pm. Staterooms I was on Deck 8 (room 8564). The room was pleasantly big and had a balcony. The view was very good. The room had the TV, safe, cupboards and wardrobes. The bathroom was just OK. On previous cruises with other lines we have had toiletries available and replaced daily. This cruise we had a soap bar and shower gel in a dispenser. The sink only gave out warm or hot water. There was a problem with the toilet in that it was difficult to flush. The staff on board quickly sorted that out. Interactive TV The TV has all the usual news, sport and movie channels. The TV was also good to order room service, book excursions and check your bill. Stateroom Attendant We had an excellent stateroom attendant, Owen. He looked after us everyday. Whatever we wanted he made sure we got. You couldn't ask for more. And he made up plenty of towel animals for us. Windjammer I thought that this was one of the Radiance's best features. The food was plentiful and a wide choice. For a diabetic there was a good selection of sugar free desserts. There are several food islands serving up salads, hot food, snacks, fruit, etc. The table service was also very good, with refills for drinks being provided. Main Dining Room The dining room was very nice and the table staff were excellent. Our waiter was Fahri, from Turkey. He looked after us. Whatever we wanted we got. Nothing was too much trouble. On our second week he took extra care of us. The food was good but I would say I have had better elsewhere. My favourite dishes were the Shrimp Cocktail, Thai Chicken and Savarin. Chops If you like steak then this is the place for you. Good service and delicious onion bread are provided. It is nice and intimate in here. Entertainment The shows were very good. There was only one show I didn't like on board, but that is my personal taste. The shows put on by the Radiance Singers and Dancers were excellent. The shows in the other parts of the ship were OK. I would say they do not have that much provided compared to other cruise lines that I have experienced. There is the usual trivia, Karaoke,quizzes and the infamous Quest. Cruise Director & Staff The first week we had Gordon Whatman. A true professional in my book. If you have him as Cruise Director you are lucky. The second week we had Marc Walker. He too was good. I would give him 8/10 whilst Gordon I would give 10/10. The Cruise Director's staff were all pleasant and friendly. Bar Staff They were all generally very good, especially Xentia from Mexico. A real star. The one disappointing part was that one bar man would not get your drinks order if you used the soda card. He would take the order and then forget about you. The Schooner Bar This was the bar that I mainly stayed at. It was very nice. However to enter it you have to pass through the smell of gunpowder. There is a pianist playing in the evening. He can't sing and does not have a sense of humour. Art Auctions These were fun and a good opportunity to enjoy free Champagne. If your art auctioneers are Megan or Tara sit in the two front rows. There is only one drawback. If you like a picture and want to buy it you have to keep on insisting that it comes up for auction. They seem to like putting up expensive pieces of work no one was buying. Meet & Mingle We had all met up previously and so this was just another social gathering for us. The day it was held on did not correspond with that previously given. I only received the official invite advising me of the new arrangements an hour before the meeting. Thankfully I knew everyone beforehand and I had been informed. Swimming Pools There were three, a children's, family and adults (which is the Solarium and where I liked to hang out) Photographers I felt that these were a hindrance. I think if you want a picture taken you should go the photographer. At dinner time they interrupt you when you are eating, barge into you to take photos of other tables without a word of apology. When you leave the ship at a port they want your photo. At Labadee we had to run the gauntlet and were even chased and told to comeback for the photo. In Grand Cayman there was two lines of passengers at the piers. One for leaving the tender and one for boarding. The photographers stood in the line for those leaving. They caused no end of chaos. In the end RCL security had to escort them away. The Photographers were not happy. Ports of Call We visited CocoCay (The Bahamas), RCL private island. A very nice and peaceful island. St. Thomas. We did the Coral Reef and Coral World Trip. A nice place and worth a visit. If you like shopping this is the place to go. We took the skyride to get a good view of the island. Try the drink Bushwhackers it was delicious. With your ticket you can get $1 off. St Maarten. This was another nice island. I took a tour around the island and did a bit of shopping. I preferred the French side of the island. Labadee (Haiti). The place e looked nice but it was not my favourite place. In the straw market the stall holders harass you. In a couple of instances my wife and I were grabbed by stallholders. we didn't like it. All along the beeches you are harassed for sun loungers. Ocho Rios, Jamaica. This was my favourite place. We visited the Ruins (waterfall and gardens and songs provided by the tour guides), Dunn's River Falls. I climbed to the top. At all times I felt safe and well looked after. The climb was my highlight and I wanted to do it again. To end off we visited Margaritaville for a couple of free shots. A great little party place. Grand Cayman - a great place to shop. That is all we did. We had previously visited Stingray City, the Turtle Farm and Hell Belize- Again this was just a shopping trip. Bad weather was on the horizon and many tours were cancelled. Back to Back Midcruise Check in This is one area that RCL let us all down. However I was fortunate to remember what happened the week before. We had to meet in The Schooner bar. Once everyone had left the ship we had to disembark and go through passport control because we were entering the USA. Then go through Passport control again as we were leaving the USA. On both occasions we had to have our finger prints taken and our eye photo taken. I think this sonly applies to non USA residents. However once on board you can not go back to your room until 1pm. RCL do not tell you this. We were lucky as we packed a bag with a towel, book, bottle of water and all the other incidentals we needed. In all the cruise was excellent and full of memories to last a life time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2005
We live in SW FL so we drove to the Port of Miami. They have really done a lot with that port. Port Everglades should take notes. I pulled up to the curb, unloaded the bags, a porter whisked them away and showed us which door to enter. ... Read More
We live in SW FL so we drove to the Port of Miami. They have really done a lot with that port. Port Everglades should take notes. I pulled up to the curb, unloaded the bags, a porter whisked them away and showed us which door to enter. Since my husband uses a cane and has trouble walking the lady from the cruise line got us near the front of the line for security. That was a real help. We then waited about 10 minutes in the Platinum C&A lounge for our SeaPass cards. As soon as we got them we boarded the ship. I was able to check our carry on in the dining room until 12:55 PM since the rooms were not ready until 1PM. This is a nice feature. Our bags were delivered by 3PM and by PM we were unpacked and ready to go. Smoothest embarkation I have ever had. We were in Cabin 9094 a D1 on Deck 9. Instead of a loveseat we had a full size sofa which really helped make the room feel much larger. It is only about 25 sq ft larger than the other balcony cabins but it does make a difference. Our balcony was odd shaped with one wall about 10 ft long and the other about 41/2 ft. We could see all the way aft but not forward as the cabin next door blocked our view. That was all right though. We like the Schooner Bar and the piano bar in there. We made the acquaintance of Kelly and Jewan on the first day. They always remembered our names and drinks. Not bad since we both drink one thing before dinner and something different after dinner. They had jokes and puzzles with the stirrers that kept us laughing. They were also good at getting the "regulars" talking to each other. Small things but they do enhance the cruise for us. Our table in the dining room was on the second level near the grand staircase. A very good spot. There were 10 at our table and for the most part a nice mix. A few isolated incidents that were downers but nothing major and certainly not enough to make for a truly bad experience. Shareef, our waiter and Sarah the Asst. Waiter were truly outstanding. Two of the best I've ever had. We had a wine pkg and Sarah did an excellent job of serving every evening. The weather was beautiful with the exception of our last sea day. Clouds in the am but then the sun came out in the pm. Seas a little rough the last day but Capt. Kent took a smoother route and we were fine. Our ports were Coco Cay, St. Thomas and St. Martin. Sat on the beach at CC, booze shopping and a taxi tour on St. Thomas and Orient Beach in St. I had been to Orient once before and was not too impressed. I was on the end near the nude beach and it was very crowded. This time the cab took us to Kakoa Beach and it was just gorgeous!! Now I see why everyone raves about Orient. I will go back there in a heartbeat. I did get to cross one more thing off my 'To Do Before I Die' list. I went parasailing!! Not bad for a 63 yr old overweight lady. I was going to try on CC but they wanted $79. Good thing I waited, it was only $50 at Orient. I noticed that RCI did not have the Horse Racing at the pool. Don't know why. There was the usual Capt's cocktail party which was very nice, and the repeaters party which we missed. A new feature was a brunch for Plat and Diam. C&A members. It was wonderful. Not the usual bacon and eggs. They had a duck crepe that was to die for. Also a puff pastry filled with a ham and mushroom filling that was delicious. A very nice affair and something I hope they continue. John Davidson was the headline entertainer on this cruise. I was really looking forward to seeing him as he was so cute on Hollywood Squares. He was AWFUL. People were getting up and leaving in droves in the middle of the show. What a disappointment. The production show Piano Man was very good. The Radiance singers and dancers do a great job. The comedian at the Welcome show was very funny as was the comedic juggler at the Farewell show. We didn't go the rest of the shows. We also skipped the Quest which I have seen many times. When it first started it was a lot more fun than it is now. It was more spontaneous. Now folks know what to expect and they come with bags of stuff. Capt Kent Ringborn is a very pleasant visible man with a wonderful voice. Too bad he is retiring when the Radiance gets to Alaska. Gordon Whatman is a great cruise director with a beautiful singing voice as well. He and his staff are all very approachable and friendly. The food was very good in both the dining room and the Windjammer. I really like the 'stations' in the WJ rather than the long cafeteria line. Never had to wait in a long line. Didn't get to the Seaview this trip but last time had the awesome onion rings. Disembarkation was a breeze. We got up at 7am , went to the area for Plat C&A and had coffee and juice and by 9:15 we were on I95 headed home. Easiest ever. Love that Port of Miami. Since I started cruising in 1986 I have seen a lot of changes in the cruise experience, some good ,some bad. Given the size of today's ships I can see why some of the changes had to be made for practical reasons. Some of the changes I am just not so sure of. Drink prices are comparable to what you would pay at an upscale cocktail lounge on land but I miss the reduced drink prices on the drink of the day. Now it is not cheaper you just get to keep the glass. Used to get Bloody Mary's and Screwdrivers in the am for a reduced price. Also miss some of the pool games, where they got couples involved. And of course the old style of horse racing where you didn't have to buy a horse, just bet on them. I am sure they have to keep changing things or else get stale. Maybe if I cruise long enough what is old will be new again. Good a reason as any to keep cruising; as if I needed a reason. The Radiance is a beautiful ship. I prefer the smaller ships and this is just right. Easy to navigate the decks. All eating is aft, show lounge forward and the places to lose your money are midships. How easy is that! This was only cruise number 2 for DH. I had to drag him on the first time but this time he got the fatal disease.....cruise addiction. He decided to cancel our planned vacation in New Orleans for next year and booked us on the Brilliance to the Panama Canal. Thank you Cruise gods. Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
Hi, just wanted to review our 8th cruise on the Radiance of the Seas and it was great! We stayed at the Holiday Inn- Port of Miami across from Bayside Marketplace which is an open air mall with a Forrest Gump's restaurant and Hard ... Read More
Hi, just wanted to review our 8th cruise on the Radiance of the Seas and it was great! We stayed at the Holiday Inn- Port of Miami across from Bayside Marketplace which is an open air mall with a Forrest Gump's restaurant and Hard Rock Cafe and lots of fun with the bands playing that Miami Sound. Took a short millionaire's row cruise on Island Queen (check on-line for coupons) and had a terrific day! When it was all over we walked across the street back to our bayside view room and enjoyed the city lights! We have explored Miami and all of it's wonderful neighborhoods and attractions on previous trips and it was a blessing not to have to drive at all! We were happy and tired and looking forward to seeing the Radiance in Port across the bay in the morning! What a sight to see with all the ships lined up waiting for thousands of eager passengers and letting off many who didn't want to leave! I took many photos both days we were here but today was very special since it was our Ship in port! Embarkation was a breeze...... we have a special sign in desk as Platinum members in the Crown & Anchor and have never had to wait more than a couple minutes. On board, it's time to explore and await that special sail-away party on the balcony!! I got some terrific pictures of Miami skyscrapers and the jet skiers and small boats escorting us out are a blast to watch! This ship is quite beautiful with lots of windows to the water so we quickly learned our way around. We try to pick a room close to the stairs/elevators since there is always something going on you want to see or do! First stop Coco Cay, beautiful day with calm clear water this time..we always pack our own snorkeling gear and put it to good use here...brought sardines for the fish and had an up close and personal visit from the local laughing barracuda that scared me to pieces since his teeth were right in my snorkeling mask as I was trying to get a shot of a large parrot fish! Next time I will try dry cat food for the fish! (the guides in Cozumel bring a small Ziplock of dog/cat food, the fish love the stuff and you will be swarmed and feel like you are swimming in an aquarium with fish bumping into you as they are darting around!) Maybe the barracudas won't be so interested !! Great Barbecue and great relaxing day! No fees for chairs and there are always mats left over from someone done with them. Back on board we head south for St Thomas and fun, fun, fun all night and all the day at sea and all night! Welcome back parties for repeaters, and receptions for Plat/Diamond members and other goings-on will keep you busy! Remember to sign up as a cruise critic and have another party when you get 25 people to join! They have goodies and drinks and prizes to give away..a good time will be had! First cruise we have ever had a singing Cruise Director, Gordan and a singing Captain!! The production numbers were great and the backstage tour was fun! St. Thomas is busy always! Lots of shopping, great views from overlooking mountains and the water visibility is always pretty good! If you go on the Sky Tram, you can walk there from the pier and it's much cheaper to buy a ticket right there. It's got a nice hiking trail, shopping and a neat bird show and restaurant with the best views of the harbour below! We went for the Eco tour and learned about the Mangroves and native island plants & history and went snorkeling. St. Maarten, is my favorite island!! We went Rhino riding and had a blast! Got drenched by a sudden sea squall and took refuge under our life jackets! It was actually a refreshing clean water rinse after snorkeling and seeing various fish and a moray eel so no one really complained! It was over in about 7 minutes! Rejoicing we hit the sea lanes and bounced, bucked and flew back down the coast of St. Maarten on a wild ride!! On the bus ride back we asked to be let off by Front street and here's where you can do some serious trinket shopping and island wear, etc.. There are casinos and unique liquors (guavaberry) and blue delft china from Holland and chocolate shops, etc (The Dutch side is very cool!) actually the French side is awesome too but we seem to hit it about the time of the afternoon siesta every time we have been there! Many great restaurants and shops and an open air market with great trinkets that will remind you of Europe, with a tropical flair! Enjoy! Back on board and fun, fun, fun!!! We tried the scavenger hunt for adults and that was a blast! Took 2nd place and ran all over the ship looking for clues! Don't miss out on Win a Cruise Bingo! My husband has always played this bingo and I am so glad because he won! It's really true you can win a cruise and we are booked on the Navigator in November! The certificate was full of restrictions and you had to list 3 choices, soo we gave them 6 choices and fully expected to be bunking with the crew but wanted to go no matter what and then we received the Good news..... a Balcony stateroom and we only had to pay port charges and taxes!! Don't miss the final bingo session either, a young military couple won over $7K and they decided to make a down payment on their first house!!! The Midnight Buffets are great and the bartenders doing their stunts were neat and the casino was hopping with winners (some nights!) the art auctions are interesting, don't miss trivia or the game shows and most of all have fun! It will be the best vacation of your life! Read Less
Sail Date April 2005
This was our 3rd cruise, 2nd time on Royal Caribbean (we took one trip on Carnival, never to return!). We are sold, and will probably never do another line! Of 2300 souls onboard our cruise, 450+ were repeaters, and for good reason. We ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise, 2nd time on Royal Caribbean (we took one trip on Carnival, never to return!). We are sold, and will probably never do another line! Of 2300 souls onboard our cruise, 450+ were repeaters, and for good reason. We will definitely fleet up to the (larger) Voyager class next time for 2 reasons: they have an onboard dive shop that offers certification during the cruise (something my husband and I want to pursue) and they have a larger kids program. Our special-needs 10-year old son (autism) had a good time, and never fussed about being dropped off. But the amenities for kids and number of staffers in the kids program (Adventure Ocean) were not optimum on this mid-size ship. That said, the service is what makes RC #1 for us. But it is not white-gloved and stuffy. Our dinner waiter was cheerful and enthusiastic, having requested a transfer from one of the exclusive, extra fee dining rooms, because he missed the fun of the main dining room. Joselito was a delight! 2 examples of going the extra mile: 1) Our first night, the head waiter called up to Adventure Ocean to extend our son for after-hours sitting because we were not yet finished with our late-seating dinner at 10 PM. 2) a nameless waiter in the casual buffet dining room (the Windjammer), took it upon himself to track down a box of Frosted Flakes for our son (after I simply asked if they had any), found our table, and presented it along with a bowl, spoon and milk! OK, so maybe I impress easily, but I thought it was great. Can't wait until our next one! PS, after doing 2 trips to the Western Caribbean, we much preferred the ports on the Eastern Caribbean cruise, esp. St. Thomas and St. Maarten. Read Less
Sail Date March 2005
Embarkation: Our boarding time in our cruise documents was listed as 2:00 pm, but we arrived at the Port of Miami at 11:00 am, checked in with the required boarding documents and waited an hour with fellow cruisers before we could embark ... Read More
Embarkation: Our boarding time in our cruise documents was listed as 2:00 pm, but we arrived at the Port of Miami at 11:00 am, checked in with the required boarding documents and waited an hour with fellow cruisers before we could embark on the ship at almost 12:30 pm. We understood that at the time of our arrival, the previous week cruisers are debarking the ship, the ship's crew is very busy getting ready for the new cruisers and the frequent cruisers had priority boarding. The ship: This ship is wonderful and our opinion was confirmed when it was announced during the week of our sailing that the Radiance was rated #1 Ship's Crew for 2004!!! The itinerary: The definite plus on this was 3 full sailing days allowing additional time to enjoy the ship that the other itineraries might lack with 1 or 2 full sailing days. This was great for us first time cruisers. The fitness area, swimming pools and hot tubs, miniature golf all were very enjoyable. Although this ship has the rocking climbing wall, we decided not do this. Our inside cabin on Deck 7 was more than adequate for our needs with plenty of storage for our week's clothing and luggage and our stateroom attendants very helpful and attentive. Our stateroom toilet wouldn't flush near the end of the week and upon calling the ship's maintenance, they promptly reported and fixed the problem within about 20 mins. Value for price: We felt we got our money's worth and this was an excellent vacation. We originally purchased the round trip transfers from the Miami airport to the ship at $44 for the 2 of us and after we decided to do a post excursion to the Everglades that ended with our transport to the Miami airport, Royal Caribbean refunded us the one way transfer cost before we even left for this trip. Dining: The cuisine at dinner time was some of the best we had ever had in our lives. 5 star quality!! Our head waiter and assistant waitress were eager to serve and please our palettes. There were different menus each night with different themes that always included 5 or 6 different appetizers and entrees as well as alternative selections of entrees that listed additional vegetarian, steak and chicken selections if you didn't like what was on the regular menu. A separate dessert menu had 4-5 listings to choose from as well as lighter and/or sugar-free desserts and ice creams. They always remembered our drink preferences after the first night and fulfilled our menu requests accurately every time! Entertainment: This was an area that we thought could use some improvement. While the shows were ok, we thought they lacked the quality of Broadway shows, live entertainers we've seen before, and movies in the theater we've enjoyed. We played the slot machines once and we are not black jack or poker players by any means. We entertained ourselves enjoyably by going to the hot tub in the evening, watching what was offered on our stateroom TV, and reading the Cruise Compass to plan our activities for the next day. Shore Excursions: Be sure to go to the RCL shopping show on the Tuesday At Sea day on the ship before visiting St. Thomas and St. Maarten. They offer some wise advise and recommended stores to shop at. Our ports of call included Coco Cay, Bahamas, St. Thomas, USVI, and Phillipsburg, St. Maarten. We booked our excursions via the Royal Caribbean website because we were unsure about navigating negotiations with the locals as to where we wanted to go. We also thought that we did not want to run the risk of missing our ship's sailing out of the port if a driver didn't return to pick us up from somewhere. We chose snorkeling excursions (we had done once before successfully and happily in Key West in March 2003) on both Coco Cay and in St. John from our port of St. Thomas. We would not book the snorkeling excursions in future because the seas were a little bit rough in both of these areas and after swallowing salt water multiple times at both locations, we gave up. We also noticed 3 Jet-Ski lifeguards pulling several snorkelers into shore on Coco Cay after they had become exhausted trying or swallowing the salt water. We thought you have to be a more experienced snorkeler that we were to enjoy this type of excursion. Coco Cay has many lounge chairs on the beach and swimming can be enjoyed. RC brings a BBQ lunch over while you're there so we didn't have to go back to the ship. We enjoyed the Afternoon Beach Bash in St. Maarten and were entertained by those that chose the "Clothing Optional" preference. We spent the morning shopping in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten that was accessible for a $5/person charge for unlimited riding all day on the water taxi. We purchased a sapphire and diamond ring at the Venetian Jewelers and were attentively served by a young lady who was assigned to us personally by Ash, the head designer at this location. There is no tax if you purchase less than $800/person to bring back into the U.S. and the jeweler reset the white gold ring into yellow gold and engraved it within 2 hours on the same day as our purchase. The prices were so reasonable, we also purchased emerald and amethyst birthstone pendants for our college-age daughters. We had a coupon for a free 1 carat gemstone at this jeweler with the purchase of a setting and I gained a second ring. We did a post cruise excursion to the Everglades that got us one of the first off the ship on Sunday morning. While we enjoyed it, be prepared to purchase your lunch ($22 for the 2 of us for a sandwich, chips and drink) at the one spot where the hydrofoil ride into the Everglades went from or be prepared to wait to get your lunch upon your return to the Miami airport. They do offer alligator meat selections, but we weren't adventuresome enough to try it. You have to have a domestic flight that leaves later than 3:00 pm to do this excursion. Debarkation: We attached the debarkation tags to our garment bag loop that we left with our other luggage outside our stateroom the night before, and we had some nervous moments when we debarked the ship after going through customs and waited for some time at the luggage carousel in the Port of Miami looking for this piece of our luggage after retrieving our other pieces. We proceeded to begin filling out a claim form for the lost luggage when my husband went to a lost luggage area with an attendant and found our garment bag. The RCL tag had come off. In hindsight, we thought that when attaching this tag to a garment bag, peel off the entire adhesive to affix the whole strip flat on the garment bag so there is not the risk of a looped tag getting torn off. We obtained doctor's prescriptions of transdermal scolpolamine patches to wear behind our ears for motion sickness and while you experience what I would describe as a baby rocking -in - a - cradle motion while on the ship, we did not experience any sickness or severe loss of balance. We put the patches on the Saturday night before our Sunday sailing as recommended and changed them every 3 days (3 patches for each of us for the 7 night cruise). Overall cruise: We so enjoyed ourselves that we hated to leave upon our debarkation and within a week of our return, we were talking about our next cruise. We recommend this form of travel as most of what you basically need is included in the price, it is very relaxing, and the weather was beautiful with high 70's to low 80's every day. 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Sail Date February 2005
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, ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
Radiance of the Seas February 13th, 2005 My wife and I are in our late 40s, and unfortunately will not be able to describe ourselves that way again in a review. This was our 15th cruise, 8th with Royal Caribbean. This cruise was with a ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas February 13th, 2005 My wife and I are in our late 40s, and unfortunately will not be able to describe ourselves that way again in a review. This was our 15th cruise, 8th with Royal Caribbean. This cruise was with a small group of 6 family and friends, a total of 8 of us. As always, we began our vacation a day early. Our flight to Ft Lauderdale from upstate NY went very smoothly and our pre-arranged limo driver was waiting with a sign at the baggage claim for the ride to the Intercontinental in Miami. We had a very difficult time acquiring a hotel at a reasonable cost using Priceline. We bid as high as $120 for a cat 3 and were still denied. We've never had this happen in the past. We usually get something for less than $50 so we knew there must be something big going on in town this night. There was. There was a very large Carnevale the day and night of the 12th, and all but the most expensive hotels were sold out. We ended up booking at the Intercontinental for $129 plus taxes. The location next to Bayside eliminated taxi costs so we saved a few dollars there. We opened our room and the view of the ships in port could not have been better. Much closer than any hotel we've stayed in in the past. We were all hungry and went straight to Bayside (only a 5 minute walk) for dinner. After that we shopped for awhile and then headed back to our hotel while others in our group stayed and had a few drinks at one of the establishments. We were quite tired and retired early anticipating our cruise the next day. Day 1 Embarkation -- Miami Sunday, we awake to 6 cruise ships in port. What a great view! One of them is the Radiance ; we couldn't wait! Forecast temperatures today are for mid 70's, great!!! We walked over to Bayside and grabbed a coffee and danish at Starbucks. Just enough to hold us until we sample ship food. We headed to the port around 10:45 AM and upon arriving were quickly checked in at the priority desk. Our Platinum Crown and Anchor Club membership allows us to do this. The small room is full and no seating is available. Please enlarge this area, Royal Caribbean. Around noon embarkation began and we were first in line right behind the person taking us to the ship. Another perk having priority boarding. As we overlook all the people waiting in line from a walkway above, we spot my sister and brother in law in a long line below. They spot us about the same time and my dear sister informs me that I'm number one. Except for some wheelchair passengers ahead of us, we were nearly first on the ship. Once aboard you are not allowed in your staterooms until 1 PM. In the past we always dropped our carryons in the cabin and then went to eat lunch. RCCI does not even allow this anymore, as all access to the staterooms is blocked. We reluctantly dragged our carryon to the Windjammer for lunch. A little while later, most of the rest of our group (my mother who resides in Clearwater had bus transportation to port and had not caught up with us yet) joined us in the furthest to the rear part of the Windjammer. This is an outside location and is a great place to eat. We found that even during peak hours later in the cruise, there are almost always seats available. Our food was a great surprise this cruise in the Windjammer. Much better than last years cruise on the Voyager. My wife ate the fish selections quite often and was very happy with the quality. I often found the selections at the carving station to my liking. Deserts were also better than past RCCI cruises. We finished eating around 1PM and were anxious to see our cabins. We booked cabin 8594, a cat E2 on the most outer edge of the bump. The balcony size is 8' x 4'. It's one of the best non suite cabins on the ship because of the excellent views fore and aft. Views from cabins that are not on the bump are limited because you can't see past the bump. As we arrived at our cabin entrance, my mother did so at the same time. She and a friend stayed in the other outer bump cabin next to us. We checked out our cabins and were very pleased. Now it's time for the hot tub. A tradition with us, as this is the least crowded time to go during the entire cruise. We went out on deck and found only 2 small hot tubs, each only large enough for about 6 close friends. The solarium had only one hot tub, the same size. Three small hot tubs on a ship carrying over 2000 passengers is just not enough. On the Voyager class ships there are 6 hot tubs and 4 of the 6 are huge. Anyway, like I said, this is the time to go. The hot tubs were mostly empty and we spent quite awhile in them with my sister and brother in law. Our luggage had arrived when we returned to the cabin so we unpacked and got ready for muster drill at 4:30. We were happy to find our drill was held inside one of the ship lounge areas, which is so much more comfortable than outside in the hot sun. Early dinner for us was at 6PM this cruise. We had an awesome table location (437) in the Cascades dining room, right next to the captain's table. A beautiful water fall was in back of the stairs. Our waiter Eduardo from the Philippines and Vanda from Hungary served us for the week and they were among the best we've ever had. More about them later. The cod and rib eye were excellent. For desert, the key lime pie was a hit with my wife, and I never had any problem finding something that I liked. The welcome aboard show was at 7:45 to accommodate both dinner seatings. Cruise director Gordon Whitman told a couple jokes after introducing himself and then comedian Brad Upton took over the show. He was very funny. Took in some shops and then retired early. Day 2 Coco Cay -- Today is Valentines Day, our 30 year anniversary of our engagement. I thought it was a good excuse to go on a cruise. We arrived in Coco Cay right on time at 8AM. We ate in the Windjammer early, then visited the hot tub for awhile in the morning. After that we tendered over to the island. Today the beach day is going to be a welcome change from the cold Northeast that we left. It's in the mid 70's today and when the sun is out in full, it's hot. Water was freezing! The barbecue was ok, just the usual ribs, burgers, and hot dogs. The shopping is the usual island souvenirs and not very good deals here. A shot glass with Coco Cay on it was a ridiculous $10. We stayed until 3 and went back to the ship. Royal Caribbean has improved the island since our last visit, with more brightly colored huts -more options for sampling the island "spirits." This evening at 5 was the "Captain's Reception". It's also formal night and we always look forward to it. We had our fill of free drinks and then on to dinner at 6. Appetizers tonight included shrimp cocktails and escargot and most of us ordered extra. Everyone got the tenderloin except my wife who likes duck better. We all approved of our selections. Dessert included the Grand Marnier SoufflE, another favorite of my wife. Everything is excellent again tonight. We are so pleased that the food is better than in the past 2-3 RCCI cruises. Tonight's show is singer comedian Judy Kolba. She was a big hit with the audience. Very funny. After that we went to the Colony Club where the battle of the sexes was to be held. Not very good at all. The hosts running it seemed unprepared and disorganized. The same with the Karaoke held immediately afterward. The person running the Karaoke on our Voyager cruise last fall was far and above the person hosting the competition at this show. We only stayed to see about 4 people singing. We were pretty tired out from the long day and retired about midnight. Day 3 At Sea -- Today there is no reason to rush anything, so we visit the dining room for breakfast. The French Toast has been a favorite in the past and today it's good again. My wife and mother went for a long walk up on deck while I read pool side. The 2 small hot tubs were full, many times with kids. RCCI doesn't enforce their age limit for using the hot tubs, so why post signs? It's quite cool and sunny today. The captain announced that caution should be taken as the wind on deck would approach 50 MPH. We ate lunch in the dinning room today. Wife had the Cajun Catfish (excellent!) and I had a big hamburger. Desert was Coconut Crème Brulee for my wife and I had a huge chocolate brownie with a topping. Almost too much to eat, but as a chocolate lover, I couldn't waste it. We shopped for awhile and I napped for awhile while my wife read. Our group often dressed early for dinner and went to the Champagne Bar for a cocktail at around 5. This evening the waiter, Zeebe brought us chocolate covered strawberries with our drinks. He did this other evenings too. At dinner tonight I ordered the lamb and shrimp scampi and both were quite good. The tiramisu is a favorite for my wife. Another good dinner. RCCI is on a roll this week. After dinner we head to the Crown and Anchor Society reception where the free drinks flowed again. After that we head to see the first of two production shows, "The Piano Man" with the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. This, according to our cruise director Gordon, is a new RCCI production seen only on this ship at this time. The show was excellent and was one of the best shows we've seen on a cruise ship. Every song was one that you'll recognize and were performed excellently. You can't miss it! The late night adult comedy was at midnight with Brad Upton. He was about average for adult comedy, I'd say. Not the best and not the worst we've seen in our cruise experience. Day 4 St Thomas -- Up early and off to the Windjammer for 7 o'clock breakfast. Ships visiting St Thomas after stopping in a foreign port must clear immigration where every passenger on the ship has to present themselves to the authorities. They want to see your passport or birth certificate, etc. to prove who you are. Today the process was very fast and were soon on our way off the ship. My sister, brother in law, and my mother joined us for the $6pp taxi ride to Megan's Bay. Cost is $3pp for admission. This has been considered one of the top 10 beaches in the world and we enjoy visiting from time to time. Brother in law Tom went in the water. The rest of us didn't as the water was not particularly warm. Lounges are available for $5 and there are also bar service, food and rest rooms. We sunned there for a couple hours and returned to the ship for lunch in the Windjammer. After lunch we headed to the shopping area right off the ship. All of the large major stores that could be visited in town are here too. We almost never go into town because it's all right off the ship. The very first store we visit, disaster strikes. My wife spots a gold bracelet that she falls for. I can see financial damage in my future. She chews him down to an acceptable price in writing and walks out. Has to visit other stores to see if there might be something better I guess. After awhile we return and purchase the bracelet. Back to the ship with a lighter wallet. Happy Valentines Day sweetie!!! Today was just a perfect day. Not too hot and with a comfortable breeze. We often come here on September cruises and it can be very warm. We changed into our suits again in hopes that there would be room in one of the hot tubs. Not going to happen today. Packed full. Many kids in them again!!!. Tonight we stop at St. Croix for a scheduled fuel stop. RCCI schedules busses for the short ride to the end of the pier. They do this because the area is under heavy construction and is not safe to walk. We skipped the show (magician) tonight in order to see the area where we remember shopping right off the pier many years ago on another cruise. The whole area was dark. We don't even know if the stores along the shore are still open or not. The buses dropped us off in the middle of a few blocked off streets where there were few street vendors selling their island souvenirs. No nice stores selling jewelry and the like. There was a band playing ,and there were a couple bars where we were encouraged to visit. There was a large sketch of what the revitalization would look like when completed. The whole Frederiksted pier area is being redone. It's been said that the reason that cruise ships stopped coming here was not so much the crime, but because of politics. When we visited here 10 years ago, the island had just been devastated by a major hurricane. There were wires hanging all over and we even saw a large boat in a hotel swimming pool in Christiansted. The merchants were so happy that the ships had started to return after 2 weeks of cleanup. About 2 years ago, St. Croix went from hosting an average of 230,000 passengers annually to 2,300 from smaller cruise companies. Now the island is hoping that the revitalization will get those passengers back. I hope so too. We'll gladly come again when it's finished. We only spent about 20 minutes before getting back on the bus with many other like-minded folk. On the way back to the ship we had to go through 2 checkpoints. We were required to hold up our seapass cards to prove we belonged on the ship. The guard at each stop was extremely friendly to the passengers and we all knew that we were wanted back soon. Back on the ship, we were able to catch the last 20 minutes or so of the magic show by Levent. He was very funny and entertaining. After the show was the "Love and Marriage Game", a show we always attend, but unfortunately not tonight. We also missed the always fun deck party. Maybe next cruise we'll take a good nap in the afternoon so we don't miss them again. Day 5 St. Maarten -- Ah, another one of our favorite ports of call. We are up early to eat breakfast and are soon on our way to Orient Beach by taxi van. Cost is $6pp. Joining us today is my brother-in-law, mother and 2 friends. We walked down the beach a ways looking for a deal on lounges and umbrellas, but it seems that this time of year vendors are less willing to deal as there are so many people coming here. I have never seen the beach so crowded. We've only come here in September's off season. You almost have the beach to yourself until 10 or so, when the tours start coming on the beach. Today the beach is already crowded at 9AM. Is wasn't bad at all even with all the people. We settled for a spot where we were able to rent a lounge chair and umbrella for $15 total. Perfect beach for people watching. We stayed until 1:30 in the afternoon. This is probably our favorite beach in the Caribbean. It's scenery is just great and you can walk for a long way along the beach. The water is warm and we just love it here. Megan's Bay in St Thomas with all it's recommendations and awards has nothing at all over this beach. On the way back to the ship, our taxi driver said that we were so lucky as it had been terrible rainy weather up until the day we arrived. Good for us! We had a light lunch and out for a hot tub visit. Not happening today either. Full of people. Doesn't take many when there are only 3 tubs on the ship! Sat out awhile and then went in to get ready for dinner. We had a pre dinner cocktail before dinner tonight with the group and then another great meal. We decided not to go to the show with Dominick Allen tonight. We just saw him a few months ago on the Voyager. We thought we'd try the hot tub after dinner instead. My brother-in-law Tom decided that would be a great idea too. At about 8:15 we went up on deck and found that there was no one in the hot tubs. Reason being they were closed. Nets over them both! Give me a break. Closing them at this hour is ridiculous. We all know they have to be serviced, but at 8 in the evening. They could certainly be done at other less popular hours of the day. We then head to the solarium to see if that hot tub was available. Yes it was open, but full of people. About 15 minutes later Tom sees us and starts walking toward us. When he was about 8-10 feet away us, his feet went out from under him and he took a terrible fall. Please go to the following link to read about that. http://cruisereview.homestead.com/Tom.html Tonight at 10:30 was "The Quest Game Show", a show that you should never miss on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship. It's by far the funniest show on the ocean. You should never miss it. After Tom's fall and getting him settled in his cabin, we went to meet up with the remainder of our group in the Colony Club and to inform them about Tom's fall. The quest took a back seat this evening. We stayed, but the show wasn't as funny to us because our thoughts were elsewhere. Day 6 At Sea -- We slept a little later than normal this morning. Got up to the Windjammer around 9 and then out back outside where we like to sit. I saw a whale jump in the distance. The captain later announced that they'd been doing it much of the morning. After breakfast, we went to get Tom to bring him for his "checkup". The new doctor informed him that his injury was much more serious than previously described. His ankle was broken and he would need surgery. The doctor put a cast on and we took him back to his cabin for much needed rest. No sleep at all the previous night for him or his wife. Time to eat lunch by now and then out for an afternoon on deck. It's a beautiful day today. The captain slowed the ship a bit so the wind wasn't bad. Sunny almost all day. Pre dinner drinks at the Champagne Bar again tonight. It's also formal night. Dinner once again was a real treat. Lobster and prime rib, yum! Only problem is we're missing Tom, miserable in his cabin I'm sure. Our waiter I know made his day though. After we had our dinner, he personally took Tom's meal to him in his cabin. He got the best service on the ship today. Upon arriving back at our cabin this evening, we received an invite to the Platinum and Diamond Members party in the Starquest Lounge. We didn't realize then, but the time for the party was for the afternoon of that day. We were quite disappointed when we showed up Saturday afternoon and no party. Somebody screwed up for sure. This evening is the second of the Royal Caribbean Productions, "Welcome to our World". This show was ok, but not nearly as entertaining as the Piano Man. We went to Karaoke Idle expecting to stay for the entire show this time. We got great seats and two members of our group (ladies) decided to be judges. They were seated and the show began. Only 1 or 2 singers actually got through their songs before the machine kept breaking down. Karaoke ended up getting cancelled with a full Colony Club audience waiting to hear some entertainment. This kind of killed the night for us. Sunday At Sea -- Sunday, our last day of the cruise. Depression is setting in. It's been so much fun and is soon coming to an end. We eat and then out on deck by 9. What's this? No one is in the hot tubs. No nets. Just water. Finally, we're in and we're not coming out! Ok, we did come out when it was time to eat again. We showered for the Crown and Anchor party that was held the day before. That was dumb!!! When we found out we changed again, found my mother and went to the Seaview Cafe over the Windjammer. The line was about 15 minutes. Our meals included a hamburger, a Reuben, onion rings, and fish and chips. Ok, but not really worth waiting in line for to us. We found a spot that was not too crowded up on deck 12 right near the elevators outside. Most of our group stayed there all afternoon. We even got Tom out of his cabin to join us for a beer up there. The weather again was perfect. My wife was very reluctant to go in to get ready for dinner. This is the one and only problem with early seating, in our opinion. We went to the Champagne Bar for our last pre dinner cocktail and chocolate covered strawberries. Tom made it here and to dinner. And it was another good one. Tonight's show was the Farewell Show with the cruise in review video and juggler Dario Vasquez. Ok, just nothing special. I wish the ships staff still did the "if I were upon the sea" skits that we've seen on previous cruises, years ago. These shows were always a hit on the last night. After the show we finished packing and got our bags out in the hall. My wife went to sleep and a friend and I went to the casino for a contribution. While sitting at the blackjack table around 11:30 I think, there was a power outage on the ship. The casino stayed well lit overhead, but everything else went dead. The dealers immediately covered their trays of chips. I heard that the hallways became pitch black with only emergency lighting along the floor. Something to see I guess. The captain made an announcement a few minutes later saying that everything was ok and we would still be in the port of Miami on time. Too Bad! Day 8 Debarkation Miami -- Our whole group met in the dining room at 6 am for the last breakfast. We had a few laughs and then headed to the handicapped waiting area in the dining room. We now had 2 wheelchairs in our group of 8 to leave. We were among the first to go through immigration and customs. All went quickly and we were off the ship around 7:30 and waiting for our luggage. Out on the sidewalk soon after. Only one problem now. Our limo is not scheduled to come until 9:15-9:30. We won't do that again. The limo ended up being one of the least expensive ways, $33.67pp round trip to and from Ft Lauderdale, but the trunks in these cars are not luggage friendly. We ended up having much of it in the back with us. We arrived at Ft Lauderdale Airport around 10:10 AM and found the lines to be very long. I've never seen the place so mobbed. We made it home by 8pm, and started planning our next cruise! After thoughts: Positives: The Radiance class ships are more elegant and intimate than the Voyager Class The Radiance Class have the outside elevators with glass. In fact the whole ship is glass. The ship beautifully designed and is one of the easiest to get around especially if you have a cabin close to the centrum elevators. Staff was very friendly with excellent service. Food in the dining room is much improved over the last 2-3 years. This cruise, it was excellent. Great outdoor seating in the back of the windjammer. Drinks are very reasonable. I looked up my receipts from our Monarch cruise in 1995 and found the following: Beer then $2.50, now $3.00 Frozen drinks then $3.75, now $4.75 Whisky Sour then $3.25, now $4.25 Negatives: Too few hot tubs to handle a ship with 2100 passengers. The basketball court's bouncing balls can be heard in the windjammer below it and are loud. I think that to have a basketball court on any ship is a terrible waste of deck area that could be utilized for a larger percentage of the ship's passengers with something else. I know that this review was one of my longest. Hope you enjoyed though. I'd be glad to answer any questions I can. Email me at Cruisinfantic@aol.com Read Less
Sail Date February 2005
My wife and I booked this cruise because it was our 15th wedding anniversary. We are in our early 40s. We had been on a Voyager class (EOS-2002) ship previously, and we wanted to book another Voyager class. Because we found a great deal, ... Read More
My wife and I booked this cruise because it was our 15th wedding anniversary. We are in our early 40s. We had been on a Voyager class (EOS-2002) ship previously, and we wanted to book another Voyager class. Because we found a great deal, we decided to try a Radiance class and booked on Radiance of the Seas for this trip. We arrived to the cruise port in Miami (we drove since we live in FL) at 12:30. Since our cruise documents were lost in the mail, our travel agent made arrangements for pier pick-up. We thought this would really slow us down in the boarding process, but we were quite surprised that there was no delay. Embarkation was a snap. We inquired about an upgrade, but were told the ship was full. Nothing gained, nothing lost. When we arrived to our cabin, we were taken with our room. We booked an outside on deck #3. Our cabin was appointed in rich colors with what I would describe as a honey oak color woodwork with a red comforter on the bed and very soothing artwork. The beds were already made into one, and we were happy we did not have to request it. The roses I ordered for my wife were greeting us in the cabin, which was a very nice touch. We had ample room in our cabin and adequate storage. We like to unpack everything, and were able to find storage for everything. We both brought extra clothes hangers and wood hangers were abundant in the closet. Our empty suitcases fit nicely under the beds. We always make two advance sets of arrangements when we board on RCI. We arrange for the wine package, which was $109 plus gratuity, and we go to the extra restaurants on the ship to decide whether we would reserve at Portofino or Chops. Because we dined at Portofino previously on another ship, we decided to try Chops. Making these arrangements was convenient. We were off to the Windjammer for something to eat. We were particularly impressed with this one. It did not flow like a cattle car so to speak. It was appointed differently than other RCI ships we've been on, with a lot of blues and dark woods. It was very welcoming and soothing. At one of the cutting stations they ran out of beef, and I joked with one of the chefs about bringing it to our table when they had more. In a couple of minutes, he delivered it to out table. We were impressed that he took the time to do this. We found ourselves using the Windjammer more on this ship in the afternoon and sometimes for breakfast because it did not have the same feel of a typical Windjammer. We were also very impressed that even on the first day, the staff was abundant to clear tables and they were friendly about it. This was also evident throughout the cruise. No one was shoving alcoholic drinks down our throats. We left to tour the ship and ended up at the Spa for a tour. Because of all the windows on this ship. The Spa is breathtaking. Each treatment room looks out through the spacious windows. We saw in the Compass that there was a special for unlimited visits to the Thermal Suite for $99 per couple being offered the first day. We really enjoyed having this access. There were heated thermal lounge chairs and 3 types of different saunas: wet, dry and aromatherapy. Most of all, we were able to gaze out through the windows and use this as much as we wanted. We would visit in late afternoon, request robes and enjoy the time in this tranquil setting. Everyone in this area was clothed with bathing suits. **Recommendation: Once to sea, we noticed in the Compass that the stores were having liquor tasting and liquor for purchase. While we had brought on rum in our luggage for consumption, we found out that they were selling liquor to drink in your room without charging a fee. This was a new change and not advertised. When I went back later in the week to buy a bottle of gin, they were going to charge me the $9.50 fee. The clerk whispered that if I came back after 6:00, there would be no fee. I came back as he mentioned, and brought the gin back to our cabin without paying a fee. So the cut-off seems to be 6:00. We had checked out our table seating in the dining room. We were on the main level at a table for 6, which was toward the center of the room. We had started noticing a lot of kids on the ship (we have 3, but they were home with grandparents). Because we had the late seating, we did not see any kids at dinner. The seas were high coming out of Miami on this trip. The captain reported later that seas were 35 feet. The ship was bouncing at some points and people were having slight difficulty getting around. A lot of people did not make it to dinner because of the seas. Even at the show the first night, the cast was challenged with the way the ship was moving. The captain had announced that due to the high seas, that it was too dangerous to tender into Coco Cay, so we missed our Monday port. The good news was that we were going to San Juan instead on Tuesday. My wife and I were high 5'ing because we love Old San Juan. We were there from 12:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. By the time we reached the Caribbean Sea, the seas had calmed and as usual the fort leading us into San Juan was glistening in the sun. We had the very first berth at the pier which put us the closest in walking distance to Old San Juan. We had a great time and loved the extra time there. In St. Thomas we did the usual, shop. Since it was our anniversary, what better place to look for jewelry. My wife found a beautiful tennis bracelet at an excellent price. No better way to celebrate our anniversary. The captain announced that we would have a refueling stop in St. Croix at 9:00 p.m. Since we ate at Chops that night, we ate early and the Captain announced that passengers could leave the ship and did not need to return until 12:00. However, it was late and most everything was closed. It looked like St. Croix was trying to build up their pier area because things were under construction. We walked around, and the people made a great effort to welcome everyone. There was a band playing and they were giving out tastes of rum. Other than that, there were only a handful of things open. We bought some handmade soap and returned to the ship within an hour. When we pulled into St. Maarten, we were very impressed with what we saw. They had an ultra modern port area that was outside, with little booths and shops. You could rent a car, buy sundries, shop, take a water taxi to town for $5 round trip. If you're there, check out the Octopus, supposedly it's a super yacht owned by one of the Microsoft founders that's docked at the same pier we pulled into. It had helicopters, boats on it, etc. It was a wow! St. Maarten was fun, clean, the people were friendly and we should have saved our jewelry shopping for this port. The shops were much cleaner and welcoming. Everything at this port is centrally located. The beach backs up to the street where all the shops are. You can find everything you need right there. We made the mistake of renting a car and while the countryside is beautiful, we wasted a lot of time trying to find a secluded beach. By the time we found it in the afternoon, it was windy and the water was very choppy. We should have stayed in town. We went back and laid on the beach for a while. The sun was hot and the surf calm. We look forward to seeing St. Maarten again in the future. Now back to the ship... We had a very good waiter -- Ashton. He was very attentive, and he would bring us out double orders if we asked for it. He became ill though and we had someone else fill in for him the rest of the cruise. When I asked for a double order, he told me he wasn't allowed, but when I pushed it with him, he brought what I wanted and was fine the rest of the trip. We just didn't know who would get the tips, etc., but later found out they would go to the original waiter. All in all, it ended up working out fine. Food was very good. I ate a lot of beef with vegetables. There were lobster tails Friday night, and myself and some of our table mates ended up with 3 each. Seems greedy, but it was fun. It's difficult to get full on 1 lobster tail. The only down side we found about the late seating was this. Since dinner started at 8:30, we found ourselves finishing up by 10:00-10:15. The late show was at 10:45, so we would leave the theatre at 11:45. The shops would close at 11:00, so no shopping, even though you walked through the shopping area to get back to the Centrum. We also found that the little lounges stopped bar service at 1:00, so the only place to get a drink was the disco or the casino. The Seaview Cafe was excellent. The hours they were open was convenient and I think this was one of the best little secrets on the ship. You could go there have a Cuban sandwich, Reuben, chowder, etc. The food and service were excellent. We found ourselves there late in the afternoon after coming back from a port. Chops Steakhouse was excellent. Marek the Head Waiter was excellent! We had perfect service and the food was outstanding. They acknowledged our anniversary by preparing a special dessert and the staff sang. We were so complimentary in the end, Marek invited us to attend brunch. This is something they were testing, so they only seemed to want a limited crowd. The charge was $10.00 each and the food again was excellent. We had brunch at 12:00 on our last day at sea. They offered complimentary mimosas, which was a nice touch. We had a table by the panoramic windows that we really enjoyed. Can't say more. We had one service issue on the ship. Since we are repeaters from Crown and Anchor (4 cruises), we just assumed we would receive our invitation and goodies. When we sat down to dinner one night (which happened to be our anniversary), everyone at our table was talking about the party they just came from. We asked "what party," they said the repeaters party. We were upset because we did not receive an invitation. After dinner, we followed up with guest services, and they apologized profusely and told us the loyalty ambassador would contact us directly. Well, we know that time slips away on cruises, so we wanted attention fast. The next morning, we went to the Crown and Anchor lounge and there was a fill-in person for the Loyalty Ambassador. You might as well be talking to the wall, because she did not know how to resolve service issues. She fessed up that she was filling in. Later we saw that she was one of the stage performers. Dreadful... So we asked what time Carol would be back. Carol smoothed everything over excellently. She apologized, ordered us a nice bottle of champagne, etc. Later that evening at dinner, the champagne arrived, which we shared with our table. There were chocolate covered strawberries in our cabin, our goodies, an apology letter, and a voicemail from guest services with an apology. We were very pleased. Advice: If this event is important to you, you may want to find out in advance when it will take place. Apparently, we were not the only ones this happened to on this cruise. A few hundred people did not get their invitations. Overall: We had a very nice cruise. The ship is beautiful. The number of windows makes this ship gorgeous. We had a great anniversary! We did not do rock climbing, miniature golf, etc. this time. Observations: We found the ship had a lot of over 60 crowd. We met a lot of wonderful people, and we talk to everyone. We found the lounge acts to be below par. The band in the Centrum we referred to as the Faded Rose Group. The comics they brought on board were not youthful and their material was dated. The stage shows were typical. We did have a favorite show and that was the Tribute to the Temptations. All in all, I would give entertainment a 2 out of a possible 10. We've often commented that we would pay extra to see a headliner perform. The ship is beautiful, but we've been spoiled by being on the Explorer of the Seas. We love the Promenade area on Voyager class ships. Our next cruise will be on Voyager of the Seas with the kids. We can't wait, but it will be a different kind of cruise, and we will experience it through our kids' eyes. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me an email. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Well, let me start by stating that this was our first cruise. My parents have been encouraging to take a cruise vacation for years, particularly, they insisted, because we have young children. There was no shortage of activities and ... Read More
Well, let me start by stating that this was our first cruise. My parents have been encouraging to take a cruise vacation for years, particularly, they insisted, because we have young children. There was no shortage of activities and entertainment. Now, we take vacations about twice a year (once with the children, then my husband and I each take a "girls only" or "boys only" mini-getaway). These vacations have always been land vacations, but I think my husband and I would definitely consider cruising again in the future. The overall experience was excellent. Before the cruise, we stayed at the Marriott Biscayne Bay and the room in that hotel (adequate), was almost the same size as our cabin on the ship...I guess it was preparing us (remember there were five of us in one room!) for tighter quarters! Now, we had a balcony in our cabin (deck 9), and I would recommend that anyone with young children who nap in the afternoon, get a cabin with a balcony. While the children napped (which was every day because they were exhausted from all the kids' activities), we could enjoy a snack and a glass of wine on the balcony and enjoy the breeze and the view (the balcony is glass so even when sitting, you can enjoy the view). Now, in terms of the main dining room, the service was absolutely excellent. Our waiter, Nikolai, could NOT have performed any better. The family we met at our table cruise every year and even they insisted that he was the best waiter they'd ever had! The food was very good (not the best I've ever had, but hey, I knew that this was not a gourmet restaurant). But with the service of the wait staff, our overall dining room experience was excellent. The kid's club was impressive. We have 3 kids aged 4, 6, 8 and before the cruise we had hoped to take advantage of an hour here and there without the kids....well, we had to force the kids OUT of the kid's club....they LOVED it. We have used kids' clubs at various Caribbean resorts, and this club tops them all. My husband and I even had dinner by ourselves twice! What a wonderful break. The shore excursions we found to be expensive so we ventured off on our own. We did Coral World in St. Thomas. The cruise wanted $64 per person. We took a cab (for $8/adult and $5/child) plus the cab driver gave us a coupon for Coral World and we paid $15 admission to Coral World. So we paid $23/adult. Plus, you have in-out privileges and Coki beach is right next door to Coral World, so we went back-forth. The kids loved this excursion because they could see and touch sea-life, like starfish, sharks, etc. NOTE: bring sanitizer to the beach -- no soap in the beach washrooms, although there was some in Coral World washrooms. The entertainment was well, entertaining! We enjoyed everything about our cruise. If I had the chance to change anything about the experience, it would be to take a 10-day cruise. I think that Royal Caribbean does a nice job of catering to families with children (although we were definitely a lot younger than most other passengers). And all of the other passengers on the cruise were very friendly, and loved chatting with our girls! See ya on a future cruise! Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Just returned from the January 30th sailing of the Radiance. This was my 2nd cruise, both with RCI (other was Sovereign in fall). Will try to keep this somewhat brief... Embarkation: No issues. Arrived at 2 and was on the ship and in ... Read More
Just returned from the January 30th sailing of the Radiance. This was my 2nd cruise, both with RCI (other was Sovereign in fall). Will try to keep this somewhat brief... Embarkation: No issues. Arrived at 2 and was on the ship and in the room by 2:45. Minor hiccup with computers entering the ship, but no worries. Stateroom: Again, no issues. They were working on a plumbing issue in another room down the hall when we arrived. For about an hour the toilets couldn't be flushed, but soon after, a worker arrived to ensure everything was functioning correctly. We never had another issue, but a letter was delivered to everyone later in the week about a plumbing problem resulting from some idiot flushing socks and towels into the system and clogging it. Enjoyed the balcony, but a bit cool and windy at times, but what do you expect ... you're on the ocean! Food: Outstanding ... yes, some dishes were better than others, but for the most part, my wife and I loved everything. Service was exceptional also. Desserts were to die for ... gained 8 pounds! Did partake of Portofino's on three occasions (two dinner, one lunch) and loved every minute of it! Alan, the manager was awesome and my wife made a great friend! Ports: First time Radiance had made Coco Cay in two months. It was a very nice island, and made for a relaxing day. St. Thomas was also beautiful and had a blast on the catamaran sail and snorkel excursion. Just did some shopping on St. Maarten and lounged about the mostly empty ship. Three sea days made for some quality relax time. Activities/Shows: There always seemed to be something going on. Even though we aren't art lovers we watched the art auctions and found them entertaining at least. Did play bingo four times ... never did win! But it was very fun and on the last day one lady won almost $7K. Did well in the casino and came out a couple hundred ahead there. We really didn't do the production shows, but did see all the comedians. Some were better than others, but all were entertaining. To wrap this up, the Radiance is a beautiful, well-maintained ship with great personnel! The wife and I are hoping to go about this time next year on a Western itinerary. Don't know if I'll make it 'til then without maybe a short-cruise fix! Any questions, feel free to email me at WyomingWolves@aol.com. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
Below is a review of our 1/30/2005 Eastern Caribbean sailing on Radiance of the Seas. Embarkation - Grade A+. Smooth, Easy and Fast. We arrived around 1:00 p.m. and found virtually no line to check in. The only line was waiting to get ... Read More
Below is a review of our 1/30/2005 Eastern Caribbean sailing on Radiance of the Seas. Embarkation - Grade A+. Smooth, Easy and Fast. We arrived around 1:00 p.m. and found virtually no line to check in. The only line was waiting to get your Seapass scanned the first time, which was all of 5 minutes. Ship Overall -- Grade A+. This is the first time for us on a Radiance Class ship. Our previous experience has been one time on a Vision Class ship and a bunch of times on Voyager Class ships. Radiance is a beautiful ship. It is decorated very elegantly and warm with all the wood. I will break down my comments into several areas as follows: Our Cabin -- Grade A. We stayed in a Junior suite, cabin 1542. It is about midship on the starboard side. Very convenient to everything. The room is in great shape. We found the bed slightly stiff compared to home, but we adjusted. The pillows were the best we have had on any ship. The cabins was kept very spic and span by our cabin attendant, Aaron, who did a great job. A couple of notes about our room: The chair in our room was not very comfortable at all -- very stiff. The fridge comes loaded with drink and snacks. It has electronic sensors that charge you for the item when removed. We asked our cabin attendant to remove everything out of the fridge for us and he did with no problem. Centrum Area -- Grade A+. The Centrum area acts as the heart of the ship. There is a constant buzz of activity going on. Bands playing music, bars open, guests meeting, mingling and hanging out, special presentations being made such as cooking demonstrations and much more. This was nice to see. The Centrum is decorated very elegantly. The bottom is on deck 4, which hosts a bar, sitting area and guest relations. On one side is the main bank of elevators for the ship. All of them are glass elevators. Two of them face the Centrum with a great view of the ship. Then there are 4 of them that face the ocean with breathtaking views of the ocean. One side note about these elevators though. They are designed so narrow that the buttons were placed on the sidewall. This is a real problem because as people stand in the crowded elevator, they tend to lean up against the wall (and buttons) which creates many extra stops. Promenade -- Grade A. The main promenade (at least this is what I call it) hosts a good portion of the nightlife (other than the main theater). This is on deck 6 aft of the Centrum and hosts the Schooner Bar, Billiard Club and Colony Club. All are decorated very nicely and all offer great views outside. When you enter the Schooner Bar area, you go through a walkway that has a smell to it. Not sure what it was but my wife thinks it smells like beef jerky. It was not a bad smell, just different. Once in the Schooner Bar area there is ample seating at tables and chairs along with the bar and piano. This entire area is non smoking, which we liked. If you continue past the Schooner Bar area you get to the Billiard Club where the self leveling pool tables are. It was very cool to watch them. We played a game one night when it was a bit bumpy out and the balls did not move a bit. The table bit though. Go to take a shot and the table itself is moving up and down a good 12 inches or so. Continuing past the Billiard Club is the Colony Club. This area features a couple of bars, a stage, dance floor and in one area card tables and board games. This is a fun place to be at night. Windjammer -- Grade B. The Windjammer is elegantly decorated. For the most part it is well laid out. The food stations are broken down into several small sections with about 2 sections each having the same offerings. I am torn as to how well I like the setup. On one hand it makes lines look smaller. On the other hand it creates lots of traffic problems as people jump from station to station to see if there is something different or better. There is an outdoor section in the back that seems real nice. Unfortunately we did not check it out toward the end of the cruise and thus did not get to take advantage of it. The only real negative I can say about the Windjammer is that on the port side, the basketball court is directly above. It makes a lot of noise in the Windjammer. If you sit on that side, you will be greeted with a constant boom, boom, boom. There are supposed to be limited hours on the court above (e.g. closed before 9:00 a.m. and closed during main dinner hour at 6:00 p.m.) but we observed this problem numerous days at early hours and during dinner time. Pool Deck -- We did not spend any length of time at the main pool, however it seemed to be in great shape and adequate. The band played by the pool most days and they had most of the typical games such as the belly flop competition. Solarium -- The solarium is decorated very uniquely and is a very pleasant, relaxing place to be. We used the pool there one day and it was heated with fresh water. Yes, that right, fresh water. That's not a misprint. There is a cafe in the Solarium which is open in the afternoons with snacks. We found it to be convenient. One thing we did miss is on Voyager ships they have lounge chairs lined up by the windows in the Solarium. We find that a great place to relax in the afternoon with a great view. Radiance has tables and chairs here and all lounge chairs are around the pool. Main Theater -- The main theater is comfortable. Chairs have cupholders and some are designed as loveseats, which my wife likes. During our cruise, all the shows were packed and you had to arrive early to get a good seat. This has not always been true on other cruises we have taken so we were surprised. Viking Crown -- Up top on deck 13 is the Starquest nightclub in the Viking Crown. They have a cool bar area that rotates. We did not spend much time up here though so I do not know what the nightlife is like. Food -- Grade C. Food is the one area that has the most room for improvement. We did not have problems with service, just the food. That's not to say you can't get a good meal. Our observation is that quality is at times inconsistent and the other part is that a number of menu items either don't appeal to us or the taste just seems off to us. We eat out a lot and don't find food we don't like often so I have to assume it is just not us. Another notation has to do with late night snacks. The only thing open is the Seaview cafe. That's great if you want a meal, but it would be nice to have a pile of cookies or something else that guests can easily grab and go. That's one thing we really missed with having the cafe of the Voyager Class ships. Ports -- Grade A+. CocoCay We made the stop in CocoCay with calm seas. We have never been here and I must say seeing CocoCay from the ship was not impressive. Had I not had a Waverunner tour that day we may have stayed on the ship. Once we got onto CocoCay we were pleasantly surprised and loved it. Now we can't wait to go back. St. Thomas -- We did the island tour in St. Thomas through Godfrey. We learned about Godfrey from Cruise Critic and gave him a try (our first non-ship excursion). Godfrey was great. He picked us up promptly by the ship and greeting us with a sign that had our name on it. Godfrey then took us shopping downtown until noon when he picked everyone up for the island tour. I highly recommend Godfrey. He is very accommodating and knows how to treat his customers. St. Croix -- We made a stop in St. Croix from about 8:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. after we left St. Thomas to refuel. We did not get off the ship, but others did. They had buses set up to take people back and forth to town. I would guess that maybe a couple of hundred people got off. I never met anyone who went to town so I don't know if it was worth it. One note about the fuel stop. Guests are told about the fuel stop in the Compass for that day. It is explained that we will be stopping to refuel. There is not any explanation as to why and many guests questioned it. Questions were asked about it at both C&A parties and also at the ship's chat. It seems to me that quite a few guests were left with the impression that we made the stop to refuel mid cruise so we would not run out. Thus they felt that poor planning in Miami did not load enough fuel for the cruise. RCI might want to explain this a little more so not as many people get confused. St. Maarten -- In St. Maarten we did not take any tours or excursions. We simply took a taxi to town and went shopping. We found a few things of interest for our house but not much. Jewelry stores account for about 75% of the stores downtown. Throw in electronics and souvenir type items and that's 98% of them. It's hard to find anything else. That's too bad. If they cut the number of jewelry stores in half that would help everyone. St. Maarten is not alone. It is like this in all the towns. I just mention it here as this is where we looked the most at the shopping. Entertainment -- Overall Grade B. Day 1 -- There was a comedian which they called a visual comedian named Mickey O'Connor. He did a number of funny things while juggling and acting out certain things. My wife thought he was hilarious. I thought he was good, but just not my type of comedy. A little too "dumb funny" for me. Day 2 -- Tonight we had a comedian named Kelly Monteith. I would grade him a C on a grading scale. He had a number of parts that were funny but I never really connected like some comedians I have seen. Other events were the Captain's Reception, Battle of the Sexes and '70s Disco Fever. Day 3 -- Tonight was a show performed by the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers named "Piano Man." Supposedly this one is fairly new as we were told it came out in Sept when the current cast members came onboard. Both of us really liked this show and thought it was great. There are a couple of very good singers in this group also. The lead singer, Matt, is excellent and there are 2 girls who are also very good. There is one other guy singer but my opinion is up in arms on his talent. During this show he lip-synched it. Apparently he was sick and they played a tape over his voice. A show later in the week he did sing live and he was good at that performance, but not great. Other events tonight were Dancing through the Decades and the Quest. Day 4 -- Tonight there was a show which the comedy/magic of Levent. He was funny and I enjoyed it. Other events of the evening were the love and Marriage Show and the pool deck party at midnight. Day 5 -- Tonight was the second performance by the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers. The show was called "Welcome to our World." The cast did a great performance, but personally I did not care for the content of the show. The only other noteworthy event was Karaoke Idol, which we did not attend. We watched the dance band, Liza Hendrix, which is very good up until Karaoke started. Day 6 -- Tonight was a performance by Tony Tillman. He was excellent. Don't miss it. When the show first started I thought it was going to be terrible. I was like who the heck is this guy. He turned out to be great. In the top 5 of guest performers we have seen. Other events were family Karaoke and the Gala Buffet. Day 7 -- Tonight was the farewell show and comedian Karen Mills. She had a couple of funny bits but overall I did not think she was that great. Not much else this night except Karaoke finals. On Board Entertainers Caribbean Breeze -- Island music by the pool -- I thought they were ok, but not great. I bought their CD to try out and it jammed in our car CD player on the way home. It looked homemade so not sure if that had anything to do with it. Serenade Trio -- This trio played in the Centrum most nights. Very well liked by everyone. Liza Hendrix -- Classic dance hits. Played in Colony Club most nights. Very good and singer has great voice. Nathaniel Malijan -- Piano player in Schooner Bar. He drew a nice crown and kept all entertained. Probably not because of his singing talent but because he has fun doing it by changing words to be funny. Ship's Crew -- Overall Grade A+. The crew on this ship has to be the best we have encountered. With one or two exceptions, the entire crew is all smiling faces willing to help. You really get the sense that they have good camaraderie and moral, especially with groups like the dining room waiters. Our stateroom attendant has got to be one of the best we have had. Cruise Director -- The cruise director was Keith Williams. My overall impression of Keith is that I did not think he was that entertaining compared to some of the others I have seen. The entertainment on the ship overall was great and ran well. I believe he is responsible for coordinating all of that so I would say he runs that very well on the ship, just him in general I never really warmed up to. Captain -- The Captain this sailing was Darin Bowland. We met him at the Crown and Anchor Party and also saw him at the ship's chat. He is a young captain at 40 years old. He seems very personable and took the time to answer everyone's questions no matter how silly some are. Announcements -- I just want to say something about ship announcements. There are way too many. Not just this cruise, but on all the RCI cruises we have taken. Announcements such as the Captain's report, letting guests know when the ship cleared customs and maybe even a once a day announcement going through activities is ok with me. But that's it. All these bingo, shopping, art auction, pool activity and other announcements are totally unnecessary and a real annoyance. We have a Cruise Compass and if we want to go to an event we will. Last Evening of Cruise -- The last day and evening I noticed the ship was sailing full speed, 25+ knots. I looked at our positions and had calculated that we would be back way early. I was right, We were in Miami and docked by 2:00-2:30 a.m. There were a couple of trucks waiting for us near the aft of the ship. The next morning I found out it was an underwater repair team and when getting off the ship we saw them bring parts up out of the water. After we got home, a poster on Cruise Critic stated the next cruise was delayed until 2:00 a.m. due to the repairs. Not sure what the exact problem was but it did not affect speed. Debarkation -- We carried our own luggage off and were out by 7:15 or so. Immigration lines were long, but moved fast. We were in our car and leaving by 7:45. Summary -- Being our first Radiance class ship, it was a new experience. I must admit after the first day I thought we would get bored as there did not seem to be as many activities at night. However I was very wrong. Once you learn your way around and where you like to be, Radiance is a wonderful ship. We would not hesitate for one instant to go again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2005
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
Radiance review 12/5-12/12/04 Just a quick idea as to who was in our group. We were a group of 9 including three children under age 4. The adults were all Diamond or Platinum C&A members. Embarkation: We arrived at the Port of ... Read More
Radiance review 12/5-12/12/04 Just a quick idea as to who was in our group. We were a group of 9 including three children under age 4. The adults were all Diamond or Platinum C&A members. Embarkation: We arrived at the Port of Miami at 11:30 and proceeded immediately to check-in. We went to the Platinum and Diamond members check-in. We actually had to wait 15 minutes for check-in while the regular lines were empty with no wait!!!! The benefits of seniority!! The ship is beautiful. We took a quick tour of the ship, enjoyed lunch in the Windjammer and registered our son in the Adventure Ocean program. After asking, the staff member informed us that there were 40 kids in the 3-5 year old group for that cruise!!! Our rooms were toward the aft of the ship and it was quite a walk to the elevators. Since there are no elevators at the aft, the elevators at mid ship were almost always quite busy. This was a problem since we were always traveling with a stroller, the stairs weren't an option. The elevators at the front never seemed busy. We all had balcony rooms and if you are going Eastern Caribbean on the Radiance I would highly recommend a port side room. We had excellent views in both St. Thomas and St. Maarten. The room was a bit tight with a crib for our 20 month old. (We were lucky to get a crib since we talked to others with infants who were not able to get one). The RCI website states they use Pack-n-plays for cribs but what we received was a hospital/daycare style crib that wasn't very sturdy, we actually had to tighten some of the screws ourselves because it was so shaky). Basically you had no use of the "couch" except for storage because the only place in the room the crib would fit was right in front of it. The balcony was small compared to the Caribbean Princess but it was still nice. The refrigerator in the room is not a refrigerator but a mini bar and yes they are still using the automatic counter on the minibars because my parents were charged for things when they moved them out to make room for some other things. Also, RCI does not provide hand lotion anymore or only if you are in a suite. I did not bring lotion as I would expect that a cruise line would provide the same amenities I receive at the local Comfort Inn or Holiday Inn. So, unless you are in a suite bring your own lotion. We enjoyed meeting with everyone from our Roll Call and even won a bottle of champagne at the Meet and Mingle. Food: The food was good. We had early seating. Our waiter and busboy were very good. The main complaint we had was that on several nights my 20 month old daughter and 10 month old nephew were given high chairs with no trays. We were told there weren't enough trays for everyone?? What kind of deal was that? The Windjammer was very nice and the omelets were excellent. I wish they would have offered more variety but I never had a problem finding something to eat. The pizza at the Windjammer was not very good, it was better in the Solarium Cafe. The onion rings, tuna melt sub, fish and chips, etc. were excellent at the Seaview Cafe. I would highly recommend going there. The pasta for lunch in the dining room was also excellent. On the last day there was no more whole milk, at least that's what everyone I asked told me. Ports: Coco Cay we enjoyed the day at the beach. There wasn't too much shade around, you had to look pretty hard but I think the recent hurricanes did that trick. The pork ribs at the beach BBQ lunch were excellent. Watch out for the chickens though, they can get aggressive, as one almost landed on our table trying to get some food. I don't think it helped that we had 3 kids that kept dropping things as they were eating!! St. Thomas and St. Maarten - It rained in St. Thomas so we did some shopping. I enjoyed the Dutch side more than the French side on St. Maarten. Adventure Ocean (aquanauts 3-5): We were comparing the Adventure Ocean experience on RCI with our experience on Princess only 2 months ago. Overall, RCI had much better activities for the kids. They offered activities everyday, even the port days which was nice. On Princess you had to sign up ahead for port days. The kid's pool area was really nice on the Radiance but there were A LOT of kids on board this week and it would get very crowded. The facility itself and the room for the 3-5 year olds was very small and I think the staff was somewhat overwhelmed at times with so many kids on board and in the program. The facility itself on the Caribbean Princess was far superior, but that is a brand new ship. We also liked that on Princess younger children can use the kid's area as long as a parent is with them, RCI doesn't allow that. On this cruise I could see why they don't as there were just a ton of kids!! Disembarkation: The ship was cleared at 7:15 a.m. and we were off by 8:15. Everything went very smoothly with no mobs building in the stairwells and Centrum lobby. Overall, we all had a great time. Waiting until the next cruise.... Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
A beautiful ship indeed! I was very surprised about the service, which can be awesome - like our stateroom attendant, Pat. She did everything she could to make us happy and got to know us really well. She was very prompt and kind. My ... Read More
A beautiful ship indeed! I was very surprised about the service, which can be awesome - like our stateroom attendant, Pat. She did everything she could to make us happy and got to know us really well. She was very prompt and kind. My husband and I loved her the minute we've met her!! On other parts of the ship the service could be downright rude. For example, we were asking, "where is the midnight buffet, located?" to one of the casino workers, and he brushed us off with a really gruff "I don't know!!," and walked by very quickly, as if we had some type of disease on us. I was left standing there stunned by his actions. As I have travelled to many different resorts around the world, most of the time, the different "departments" know where and what is happening elsewhere or if they didn't know something, they will personally take you to the right department! We were not impressed for what we have paid for! The food was good, then everything started to taste the same after 3 days. Some was too salty and some was divine - like the desserts. I've tried every single one of them, and the desserts were truly amazing! Not too sweet and not too heavy! MMMMMmmmmm! Dining room -- they should've done more of a compatible personality match, our table of 6 was downright boring. Some nights people showed up and some not. We dreaded it so much that we decided to head off to other restaurants to eat! The Port of Calls were Amazing!!! We loved, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten! The tours are pretty good, and in the end you can do your own shopping, touring around, hiking, etc... It was fantastic! You end up learning about the islands and people! Try not to go during Holiday season, the ship was packed and so were the pools and decks - you will be lined up like sardines! We were fortunate enough to have our own private balcony! And children were everywhere - not exactly relaxing when they fill up the pools and hot tubs! Overall, we did enjoy ourselves, but we will choose to go at a different time and take a trip with more ports of call! Read Less
Sail Date December 2004
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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