Cruise Ratings
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Sail Date: April 2006
Radiance of the Seas. April 16 2006. Nice ship enjoyed very much. Asked for table for 2 at booking, 9 months in advance. Did not get it. Asked head waiter the first night to change our table and he would not accommodate. Told me to come ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas. April 16 2006. Nice ship enjoyed very much. Asked for table for 2 at booking, 9 months in advance. Did not get it. Asked head waiter the first night to change our table and he would not accommodate. Told me to come back first thing next morning. I did and again he said no. Very rude. I did sign for tips to be added to cruise bill so I wouldn't have to worry about that. Mistake..Do not do it. Asked for a credit to my account for the tip to head waiter whom I might add we never saw any night in the dining room. Felt he did not deserve tip. Was told at service desk they could not give credit for that, only if there was a mistake on your bill. You don't know what kind of service you will receive and if you do sign to have tips on you your bill poor service or not, they get it. This was our 15th cruise and have never had this happen. There were several other couples who complained that they felt head waiter did not deserve tip. On other cruises the head waiter makes comes to every table every night and makes sure everything is all right. Not the case here. Food was good, entertainment was ok Santino and Blakjax the best ever. They got the crowd and he is just super. What a treat to hear him sing. Lounges were great and plenty of places to just sit and have a drink with that special someone. We were celebrating our 39th anniversary and the birthday of my wife, both overlooked by the the head waiter. (It is his job to take care of these things..) All in all it was a nice cruise and the ship is just beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
The embarkation process was amazing. Honestly, it took less than 10 minutes from the time we entered the terminal to the time we entered the ship. Our room was ready at noon. The room was the usual outside cabin. The beds were not at all ... Read More
The embarkation process was amazing. Honestly, it took less than 10 minutes from the time we entered the terminal to the time we entered the ship. Our room was ready at noon. The room was the usual outside cabin. The beds were not at all comfortable. Very thin mattresses. When the two beds were pushed together the result was less than satisfactory. The entire mattress is surrounded by metal tubing- making the center of the pushed together beds hazardous. On three mornings the toilet refused to function. Despite our complaints, the problem persisted. On two occasions when we returned to our room there was floating human waste (not our own) in the toilet. The ship itself was in good shape. The food overall was nothing special and sometimes pretty bad. All of the eating venues suffer from the same malady- inability to serve hot food. EVERYTHING was warm at best. The food in the dining room was so lackluster that we opted to eat in the Windjammer buffet on 3 evenings. What the Windjammer lacked in quality it made up for in variety. Our waiters in the dining room were pleasant. Breakfast was what one would expect. Fresh fruit was seldom ripe. One of the photographers, Clinton, was very rude. The ports of call are what you make of them. Labadee was beautiful but also full of screaming natives who try to sell their wares via screaming. Jamaica is not much more than Dunn's River Falls. All of the shops are owned by (Asian) Indians. There were 3 or 4 ships in port which made the Falls very crowded. Grand Cayman was the most civilized of the ports- no wonder since there is so much money flowing through the island. Cozumel is still picking up the pieces from the last hurricanes. Our ship was the first to use what remains of the piers. The entertainment on board fell into two categories: That provided by the ship's dancers and singers and that provided by everyone else. The ship's dancers and singers, and for that matter, the "broadway" style shows were a joke. All of the female dancers were spending way too much time on the buffet line. Each one was carrying 20-30 extra pounds- and it showed. The productions were boring, ill conceived and poorly produced. The entertainment provided by everyone else was pretty good. The ship's cruise director (Kieron) and staff were on top of their jobs. They kept the party moving in each of the venues. We paid $620 for each of our tickets. For a week in the sun on a very nice ship, this price seems fair. However, dining and entertainment is a major part of the cruise experience. In these categories this ship fails to meet the mark by a wide margin. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
We had a wonderful cruise on Radiance. It was our first time on a Radiance class ship and she did not disappoint. It was my fourth cruise, girlfriend's second, all with RCI. We flew in the day before, stayed at the Radisson downtown ... Read More
We had a wonderful cruise on Radiance. It was our first time on a Radiance class ship and she did not disappoint. It was my fourth cruise, girlfriend's second, all with RCI. We flew in the day before, stayed at the Radisson downtown where we have stayed before..great views of the port. We spent the afternoon and evening at Bayside. We did not use cruise air or transfers (lesson learned a long time ago). We taxied over to the port about 11:00am...we were onboard in about 10-15 minutes, painless and quick. Our cabin was a JS, deck 10...ready at 1:00pm. We like the JS and the deck, this is what I have booked in the past. What can you say about Radiance class ships, they are, in my opinion, RCI's best effort to date. The crew...from the captain on down, a fine crew and staff. Our cabin steward and wait staff as well as some bartenders were excellent and we noted them by name in the comments. As for the ship, tons of glass offering great views of the ocean from virtually anywhere on board, a beautiful centrum and great public rooms. The upper decks were nicely laid out and tons of fun. The two level dining room is especially attractive and we ate all dinners here except for the night at Chops. The layout in the Windjammer is much more functional and the seating area choices are great. Never got to Seaview Cafe or Portofinos. The food...it is cruise food, it is what it is. Our ports were Labadee (great to walk the whole area). We spent some time at the Artisans building, bought a couple of items. No serious hawking here. Enjoyed lunch and then back on the ship. Next port was Ocho Rios, did the Dunn's River Falls thing (on our own) and then spent some time in Margaritaville :). Up next was the Caymans (never been here before), we wandered around Georgetown, took in the sites and spent some time at Senor Frogs. Next was Cozumel, we DOCKED...great! Still a fair amount of devastation. Played mini-golf (don't ask, just do it), did some shopping and went to both Carlos n Charlies and Senor Frogs :). Entertainment on board was OK, I thought the production shows were better than on Voyager last year. The "brought in" entertainment was also OK. Events that happened...we had a Bravo, Bravo etc. just after muster drill around 4:30. It was a very small fire on deck 1 in one of the crew cabins, I think it was out in under a minute. We couldn't leave Miami until the Coast Guard had done their thing, which was write a report. The report probably took all of 5 minutes to write however it took some time to round up the Coast Guard team, resulting in a departure around 7:30pm...no big deal. We also had an Osca, Oscar etc. the last day (sea day)..no one from the ship, a Cuban floating in what looked like an inner tube raft. The poor guy had been out there for 3 days. According to the announcements he was OK and a Coast Guard cutter took him off the ship about 2 hours later. We normally vacation around the first week of March however this year we had to delay until April. There were a lot of kids and teens on this sailing and the ship's officers, staff and security were pretty busy :). I know of a few teens who will probably never cruise with their parent(s) again :D. One family was put off the ship in Jamaica and many others enjoyed meetings with senior officers. This DID not have any effect on our enjoyment of the cruise rather, it did provide some additional entertainment :). Disembarkation was a breeze, couldn't have gone smoother. No crazy line-ups and everyone seemed to be where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be. In summary, a great cruise with fantastic weather in calm seas on a truly nice ship...what could be better. Any questions, ask me on the RCI board. I would recommend this ship to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
Embarking on the ship took a while this trip due to the thorough cleaning they had to do because of the stomach illnesses that ran rampant through the ship the previous week. Once they opened up the ship, it went very quickly. Our room ... Read More
Embarking on the ship took a while this trip due to the thorough cleaning they had to do because of the stomach illnesses that ran rampant through the ship the previous week. Once they opened up the ship, it went very quickly. Our room was a typical balcony room. The beds were not comfortable in the least, very thin mattresses and my feet hung over the end. I'm only 5'7", I can't imagine how anyone taller slept comfortably. Our room was kept spotless and we never wanted for anything. The room attendant was great. The food was good, our waiting staff were friendly and efficient. I enjoyed the Windjammer in the afternoon after excursions for snacks. The entertainment had it's ups and downs. The productions were under par but the comedians and magicians were wonderful. I enjoyed the final competition for the Karaoke. We lots of talent on the ship. People were told not to save deck chairs but did anyway. I saw quite a few fights with people taking other people's chairs when they were gone for any length of time. Some people were quite rude about surrounding you on the deck with their chairs. I felt overwhelmed by pushy people. I loved the waiters on the sundeck, always smiling and polite. The ship overall was very beautiful but I prefer the larger Voyager Series with RCL and will stick those ships from now on. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2006
This was our first cruise, we were in heaven from the moment we got to the pier. We had booked a suite so there was no waiting to get on we showed our papers and were on the ship. Arrived a day early to assure no problems, booked our own ... Read More
This was our first cruise, we were in heaven from the moment we got to the pier. We had booked a suite so there was no waiting to get on we showed our papers and were on the ship. Arrived a day early to assure no problems, booked our own hotel saved a lot of money. Used a limo service, Ace Transportation, to go from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami. Only cost $65 vs the cab which would cost $85. We were in a junior suite. Our room attendant, Patricia, was the best. We tipped her $20 when we got there and she made sure we always had towels and a clean room. She made cute animals out of towels, candy on our pillow each night, asked daily if we needed anything. We could not have been happier with our room. Having the balcony was great. Hubby could sleep and I could enjoy the views. Had breakfast out there almost every day. Wow the sunrises and sets were worth the extra along with the privacy it afforded us. The food -- what more could I say -- yum. Presentation was great, food was to die for. We ate a lot. Hubbie gained 10 lbs. Tried both restaurants and loved them both, Had escargots, had creme brulee yum yum. You can have anything you desire and as much of it as you want. Enjoyed the spa but felt left alone to figure things out. Only issue, would not buy the soda package again. Didn't really use it. Lemonade, juice, ice tea, water, tea, coffee free. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
PREFACE: This was our 3rd RCCL cruise. 7th cruise altogether (Costa, Windjammer, NCL, Carnival) Family of 4 (kids: 11&15); 2 balcony cabins 9044 & 9042. EMBARKATION: Arrived at port around 11am. No traffic to speak of; parking ... Read More
PREFACE: This was our 3rd RCCL cruise. 7th cruise altogether (Costa, Windjammer, NCL, Carnival) Family of 4 (kids: 11&15); 2 balcony cabins 9044 & 9042. EMBARKATION: Arrived at port around 11am. No traffic to speak of; parking was easy; baggage check easy & efficient. No lines inside; walked directly on board; longest wait was for boarding photo. Buffet was in full swing upon arrival. Cabins were ready promptly at 1pm as advised. INITIAL IMPRESSION: Clean, sophisticated decor, lots of glass, brass, marble. CABINS: Were comfortably spacious; immaculate. Bathroom tiny but functional. Plenty of storage space. Balcony was decent size. I thought bed was comfortable; however, husband thought it was uncomfortable...so to each his own opinion! DINING: Were assigned late seating (as requested); but asked for small table and received table of 10. Asked for smaller table several times with no luck. There were minimal tables for 4 throughout dining room. Waiter was good. Food was very good. Only ate in dining room 2x. 1x in Windjammer for dinner: very good. 4x in specialty restaurants (we really enjoyed them: 2xChops; 2xPortofino...equally lovely). No complaints on any meals at all. Gala midnight buffet was beautiful but we were too full to eat! ENTERTAINMENT: Good. Comedian was mediocre. Production shows were good. The "original Drifters" were lousy. SHORE EXCURSIONS: Parasailing (Labadee) was the only excursion we booked through RCCL which was fine. We booked all others on our own and they were very good. PORTS: Labadee: Just a beach day. It is an "okay" place to spend the day. Nothing special. Too many vendors are allowed in the marketplace. Since it is somewhat of a "private" area, I think they should be limited and less pushy. It was annoying to not be able to look at anything and also, all the things there were selling looked alike and like something you could pick up at Wal-Mart. Ocho Rios: Jamaica is not our favorite destination. We never quite feel safe there but we had a nice time with Peat Taylor tours. Did the falls (along with hundreds of other folks) and a brief island tour. Ended day at Margaritaville. Grand Cayman: Was not looking forward to this stop as there were 14,000 other passengers on 7 ships in port on this day. Decided to rent Jeep & escape the crowds by driving to Rum Point. What a good decision! This was a beautiful area & cannot imagine another visit to this island without going straight to Rum Point! Cozumel: Decided to rent a Jeep as the weather was not great. We drove around as much of the island as possible (some roads were hurricane damaged and impassable) and then walked around town. There is tons of damage and reconstruction work going on. It is not very impressive to visit Cozumel at this time, but once they are done with all the construction, it should be very nice again. DISEMBARKATION: Decided not to do the "walk-off" option. They called our "Purple" tags before 8am. We had a somewhat leisurely breakfast, took a peak at some of the suites on deck 10, dragged our kids out of bed & got off the ship about 8:45 am. Lines were about 20 minutes long to get through customs. Baggage claim was easy & traffic not too bad exiting port. ALL IN ALL: We had a very good time. We really enjoyed the Radiance but it just did not knock our socks off like the Explorer did. It is hard to compete with that Voyager class. Next time...back to the big guys! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean. We found the ship to be in superb condition. The check in process literally took 10 minutes. We flew to Fort Lauderdale and used Royal Caribbean transfer to Miami. All transportation was ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean. We found the ship to be in superb condition. The check in process literally took 10 minutes. We flew to Fort Lauderdale and used Royal Caribbean transfer to Miami. All transportation was arranged through Royal Caribbean and everything went flawlessly. The ship was late sailing due to a generator problem but it did not affect the cruise at all (except the sail away party). We found the dining to be very good. The Windjammer buffet provided adequate choices for all three meals. Snacks in the afternoon were good as well. We loved our dining room experience as well as the food there. Our servers worked very well together and always had us out within 90 minutes. We had the main dinner seating which left plenty of time in the evening for activities. We only went to the Sea View cafe once and I wasn't that impressed. I will say that I was displeased with the shore excursions offered by Royal Caribbean. While we enjoyed 2 of the excursions we took, they left a lot out of the descriptions mainly relating to the amount of travel time to the excursion. Our Martha Brae rafting excursion included a ride over some of the worst roads I've ever been on for 90 minutes each way. The rafting was very peaceful and relaxing but the journey to and from was not. The 7 Mile Beach with lunch in Grand Cayman was horrible. We arrived at the property and they must have had 500 people crammed into a beach area the size of a postage stamp. We didn't even bother to stay there. What a waste of money. We never had problems getting on and off the ship even though we only docked at one port. The tender operations worked very well. The shows were nothing to write home about except for the Beatles show. That was absolutely wonderful. Our cabin steward and all other staff we encountered were excellent. Always helpful and friendly. All in all we had a wonderful time and would recommend this ship to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
Arrived in Miami a day before our cruise. Highly recommended so you're not as rushed and tired for boarding the ship. Embarkment for us was great due to booking a suite we went into a special boarding room for the first time and were ... Read More
Arrived in Miami a day before our cruise. Highly recommended so you're not as rushed and tired for boarding the ship. Embarkment for us was great due to booking a suite we went into a special boarding room for the first time and were on the ship at 11am. Booked a "grand suite" and loved the size of the room. Patricia was our room steward and was superb. Very friendly and accommodating. Well worth the extra money IMO to go larger room! It was DH, DD, myself and a friend of DD in one room so it made a difference for us in size. Both were celebrating their 18 birthdays and a pre-graduation gift. What we don't do for our children!@# Had a great cruise and very relaxing. The weather was high 80's in the ports. Cozumel got a little winding and some threatening rain so our excursion was cancelled and we hit 15-18' swells that night which made it a little rough. Heard some people were sick. Don't know if it was the boat rocking or the partying done in Cozumel!! I know myself that I overindulged at Carlos and Charlie's....good time though. Tendering went well I thought at the ports. The dining room food was good IMO and our service was great. Putu and Romina at table 489 were exceptional. Sharon, the barmaid in the dining room was very friendly and attentive. We ate one night in Chops Grill and can not say enough how well worth the $20 pp extra charge was by eating here... the steaks are tender and the service is top notch. The amount of food you can order is ridiculous. Windjammer had a wide variety of selection each day for lunch and tasty, breakfast wasn't always eaten so I can't say what the selection was like then. The scrambled eggs were a little running for my taste though. Didn't partake in many shows so no comment. I was stunned to see RC stipulate a curfew for the kids at midnight!!! Handed the flyer regarding this to you at check in desk. It's about time..... I have cruised before and seen were the kids were out of control and no parents in site. This cruise was much tamer than those and I didn't hear of any shenanigans that took place. The ship itself is gorgeous, lots of glass to view from and very clean. All in all, we had a very relaxing cruise, love RC and will be back. We did book a Hawaiian cruise on sister line Celebrity while on board for next April to celebrate our anniversary though. Want to try their cruises and compare. RC does it right...Celebrity just had the time of year we wanted to travel to Hawaii. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2006
I traveled with my husband and my parents on the 3-5-06 Radiance of the Seas sailing to the Western Caribbean. Checking in was the easiest and quickest I have ever experienced on any cruise line. Dont leave home without registering ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and my parents on the 3-5-06 Radiance of the Seas sailing to the Western Caribbean. Checking in was the easiest and quickest I have ever experienced on any cruise line. Dont leave home without registering online. You need to complete the online registration 24 hours before departure. Remember to print out your Sea Pass. Youll need your Passport (ID), and Credit Card upon check-in. Once youre on board, take time to explore the ship. Buffet lunch is served until 3:00pm in the Windjammer Cafe on Deck 11. Staff Captain Hernan Zini runs a tight ship. He is extremely friendly and approachable. My father looked away while posing with my mom and the Captain during the welcome reception. My mother was quite upset, and when I explained this to Captain Zini, he posed with them again during the Crown & Anchor Welcome Aboard Party so I could take another picture. Peter, our Cruise Director, made the cruise extremely enjoyable. The staff was friendly and professional  Guest relations, Head Waiter, Our Waiter Basilio, our Assistant Waiter, Victor, our Room Steward Sharon, Windjammer Cafe personnel  everyone seemed to have a smile and their face and never too busy to greet or help us. I compare the staff to other cruise lines/ships, and I must say they were outstanding. Ship -- The Radiance of the Seas, the oldest of the 4 ships comprising the Radiance family, is a nice ship. However, it is showing wear, and RCCL should consider refurbishing it soon. Although the staff was diligently working around the clock, the carpeting in the public areas and rooms looked extremely worn. The furniture in my parents room was extremely scratched, faded, and worn  even the toilet seat in my room was chipped and worn. Activities -- Since this cruise only had 2 sea days, we couldnt enjoy all the activities. Whether youre interested in spinning, spa treatments, basketball, bingo, theres always something to do. One of my favorite parts of the cruise is the pictures. Besides the traditional Formal Portraits, dont miss the Freestyle Black & White Portraits. Youll want to take them all home with you. Entertainment -- The Royal Caribbean Singers & Dancers had 2 productions  Piano Man and City of Dreams, the latter being the most extravagant productions I have seen on RCCL cruises. I was pleasantly surprised to see BeatleMania Live. This was definitely the highlight of all nights. My husband and I had previously seen them in Ft. Lauderdale, and thoroughly enjoyed seeing them again. The weakest show was Hal Frazier. He definitely is talented, but seemed disoriented and rattled on in his monologue portion of the show. Santino & Blackjax (live band) was amazing. He had everyone on their feet in the Centrum. Rosario Strings, Lorenzo Dino, Serenade Trio, and Tom Scott all made the cruise enjoyable. Food -- The Windjammer Cafes breakfast was very good. The omelette station chefs were great! I had my eggs over medium every morning, and there were plenty of accompaniments to choose from  cereal bar, fresh fruit, yogurt, breads, cold cuts, pancakes, waffles, hash browns, etc. Lunch and dinner were average  probably a bit better than regular buffet food. The barbecue lunch buffet in Labadee was lacking. Dark meat  chicken legs  was the only cut available. The hamburgers had been cooked earlier on the ship, so they were dry. The pavilion was poorly positioned  too far from the main entrance. Dinner in the Cascades Dining Room was good, but not great. I cant say it was any better or worse than any other RCCL, Carnival, or NCL cruise Ive been on. I cannot comment on Specialty Dining. Ports of Call Labadee, Haiti -- Labadee is on a peninsula on the north coast of Hispaniola, otherwise known as Haiti. Royal Caribbean has cordoned off a remote portion of this island, and the totally safe and private compound provides guests an opportunity to experience the beauty of this region. Youll find most of the information you need at the following link: http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/Labadee.htm Georgetown, Grand Cayman -- Grand Cayman is a relatively small island that is modern in every way. With over 500 banks and hundreds of insurance companies located in the Cayman Islands, it is the fifth largest economy in the world. Besides its economic activities, Grand Cayman offers fabulous beaches, excellent duty free shopping and plenty to do. This is a tender port. The tenders leave you right in the middle of downtown. I found the best shops to be the ones closest to the pier. After shopping in downtown, we took the $5.00 (per person) taxi to SeaGrape Beach which is part of 7 mile beach. Beautiful clear aquamarine water. White powdery sand. Bar and changing facilities just feet away from the water. Plenty of aqua sports right on the shore. Absolutely amazing. http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/GrandCayman.htm Ocho Rios, Jamaica -- Ocho Rios is a medium sized town with all the flavor of Jamaica. It offers a gateway to sightseeing, shopping and a good look into the Jamaican culture. To experience the Jamaican culture I used Marva Shaw. She was an excellent guide that catered to my fathers limitations. After stopping right by Dunn's River Falls for a look at the crowd climbing the falls, we went through the Fern Gulley, made a stop in Spice Valley and tasted some of the native fruits and spices, and then took a tour of Coyaba River Gardens with Happy. Happy was the most knowledgeable guide I have ever had. The word coyaba comes from the Arawak name for paradise. Coyaba is a Spanish-style museum with a river and gardens filled with native flora, a cut-stone courtyard, fountains, and a crafts shop and bar. If you visit Coyaba River Gardens, please be sure to request him. Be sure to ask for the tour that includes Mahoe Falls. We paid $10.00 per person. After a swim in the falls, hunger kicked in, and we ended the tour with a wonderful Jamaican lunch at The Ranch. Marva arranged everything. The food was great. 5 of us ate jerk chicken, had a juice or Red Stripe, and the bill was $53.00. For more information on Marvas tours, please visit www.knowjamaica.com. Youll be happy that you did. Suggestion -- Please remember to get change before you get off the ship. It will be a lot easier if you have exact change with smaller denomination bills. Vendors can be very, very persistent, and you will find them at every stop. If you have a few souvenirs to purchase, pace yourself so youre able to help multiple vendors. Remember to be friendly and respectful and you will have a great time. http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/OchoRiosJamaica.htm Cozumel, Mexico -- Cozumel is a small island off the east coast of Mexico in the Caribbean Sea. Although it was hit really hard with last years hurricanes, the locals worked extremely hard to get the island ready for visitors. It is the proverbial fishing village in paradise with all of the creature comforts that anyone could want. If you go to Discover Shopping Show, youll get lots of information and advice. Plus, youll get a voucher for a taxi ride to The Forum. Youll have great shopping and can work yourself down the street. After lunch, we took a $12 cab to Paradise Beach. The sea was rough that day and the beach was not particularly good for swimming, but I understand the beach is usually beautiful. http://www.caribbeanportreviews.com/Cozumel.htm Read Less
Sail Date: February 2006
Great time despite Royal Caribbean. We sailed with our adult children and grandchildren ages 1, 4, and 7. We chose Royal Caribbean because they had connecting rooms which Princess [our favorite] did not offer. First the good-- Boarding the ... Read More
Great time despite Royal Caribbean. We sailed with our adult children and grandchildren ages 1, 4, and 7. We chose Royal Caribbean because they had connecting rooms which Princess [our favorite] did not offer. First the good-- Boarding the ship with the SetSail Pass was a snap and a great idea. The children's program was better than great...We could not get the 4 and 7 year olds to leave at night. Every night was a theme night for the kids. And hats off to the Staff--WONDERFUL..With exception of our room steward, crew was A+ and tours [Dolphin swim especially] great. Also Labadee was fantastic.... Now the bad . The brochure shows a great Sports Bar which is as pictured. Only problem was they only received one station -- ESPN in SPANISH [ which we don't speak]. The Olympics were in progress but Royal Carib TV doesn't get NBC -- so no Olympic coverage. This was a real disappointment. The brochure promises Broadway shows -- we only had one and 5 nights of second rate comedians. The magician was super. On arrival we found only 2 towels in the bathroom and no toiletries-- even a mediocre hotel will give you shampoo etc. Our Stewart had no idea the the towel rack was to be filled daily. Forget asking for fresh fruit and such. If you wanted the cute towel animals at night, he had to have someone else make them. The first 8 hours the ship had no hot water {gee how did the kitchen people wash their hands? The ship, although coming from 2 weeks in drydock,was in bad shape with filthy windows. The wood railing on room balcony had not been varnished for months and one kid actually got a splinter from the raw wood. Our room had broken hinges on closet and mirror as well as a broken mirror. The in room internet did not work until 3 rd day. The beautiful glass elevators gave not only a great view of the sea, but a view of the candy wrappers and trash that was left on the window frames from who knows how long. The food was fair to good, but the fruit was inedible, obviously having been left over from before the ship went into drydock. Wine list was nice, but whatever you ordered was out of stock, although you could get something similar at $10 more. We were supposed to have a shipboard credit of $200 per room but the ship was never told. I did have an E-mail from RCCL so stating and the Purser gave us $100 per room. All in all we had a great time, but next time will do it on another line. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2005
This was a very important 10 yr anniversary for me and my friends, so I took them as a thank you. I have done RCCL before and knew how it would, or should have, worked. Radiance is the most beautiful in the fleet. Embarkation was ... Read More
This was a very important 10 yr anniversary for me and my friends, so I took them as a thank you. I have done RCCL before and knew how it would, or should have, worked. Radiance is the most beautiful in the fleet. Embarkation was incredible. We did our SetSail Pass and excursions on line. WOW!!! ten star! 20 minutes between taxi, bags, check-in, and entering our stateroom. We hit the spa, took the tour, and then scheduled 6 massages (2 for each of us). Unfortunately because there was an EXTREME bad attitude from the Customer Service Manager, when I presented her with the lack of stateroom attendant. Our attendant was Dwayne. On Wed. we talked as a group, and at that point, his tip was down to $20. The filth in our cabin at least was consistent (brown toilet, ashtrays never emptied, scum on shower wall, grimy bath tub, etc...) This left us with no other option, zero tip, but we did write down the flaws and maybe he can improve on it for the next passengers. Right after the customer service manager stormed away in a panic, it was obvious that nothing was going to happen from her, AS A SUPERVISOR. Then up to deck 12 to the loyalty ambassador. Her service, for a customer retention representative, was just as bad, but at least she said thanks. I asked for her to remove me off the Crown and Anchor society and she said "Thanks and done." No questions on why? Why was that????? This whole thing could have solved in an instant, but because these people were having bad day's, they have sealed the company's fate. I just gave them $7,500 this time and $8,000 last year. I will not be back. Now that was the only two. Everybody else was 5 star PLUS. On the last night we had dispersed over $600 in tips. waiter; Abel assistant waiter; Diane bartender; Didi The service was incredible by our dining staff. Other countless people are in the Hollywood Odyssey, Kim. For just a bartender, he received an extra large tip on Saturday night. Seaveiw Cafe bar, Rowe. Her service and especially her hospitality and charm were Far and Above. Rhada and Jocko same thing. Must do the Quest. That was the best thing. I was busy this cruise, belly flop, scrap booking class, Quest, Captains Welcome Aboard, and the '50s nite. The ports were wonderful. the only hurricane damage was in Cozumel, and it was pretty bad, Watch your excursions here. I will close. Hopefully this will be of some information to a few people. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
This was the most disappointing cruise of my life. The ship is , in my opinion, modestly decorated, which means lots of browns, tans, and pastel colors. Fixtures and specialty art was MILDLY interesting, but not worth looking at twice. ... Read More
This was the most disappointing cruise of my life. The ship is , in my opinion, modestly decorated, which means lots of browns, tans, and pastel colors. Fixtures and specialty art was MILDLY interesting, but not worth looking at twice. Kinda like being in a funeral home... not dirty, just not worth coming back to. By comparison, I feel Carnival ships are THRILLING to be a part of, with vibrant colors, exciting 'THINGS' to look at, and a general feeling of FUN. FOOD = VERY SAD !!! Without fail, the food in the dining room reminded me of eating at a CHEAP buffet. Presentation was not bad, but not great. Taste was un-definable, service was somewhere between slow and "hey, where is our waiter?" ROOMS = SMALL Short, skinny people with light luggage will be mostly comfortable. The rest may wish to choose another cruise line. The balcony is small, but probably all you need. Taking a shower is a real challenge for someone 6'2" and 230 lbs. (Showering Tip: Wash your hair before entering shower ...no room to lift your arms). I will say one thing [sort of] positive about the bathroom. The toilet is absolutely the most powerful one ever known to modern man. When flushing is is wise to stand back 'lest ye be sucked in. CASINO = RIP-OFF Blackjack players BEWARE. weird rules include, no doubling down on ANY split, Blackjacks pay 6-5 (instead of 3-2) and a few more odd-ball rules that DESTROY the players chances of recovery on a bad shoe. STAFF = So-So Dining room staff OK, but not great. I think it was because they have far too many tables to be effective. Cabin attendant was GREAT...maybe even spectacular! Trying to use the telephone from your cabin is somewhat like playing jeopardy. You ask something .. they give you an answer .... and it is your job (based on the answer) to figure out what the question was. This can go on as long as you are willing to play. Big language problem here! SHORE EXCURSIONS - Some of these ports (i.e. Haiti, Jamaica) are real safety issues for Americans, from a kidnapping level. Passengers should be made aware of this before booking an excursion that may become the MOST memorable of their life. We did not realize the true magnitude of the danger until AFTER we returned and read it in the Tampa Tribune in the first week of Dec 2005. SUMMARY - Yes, the ship was clean, but that is to be expected from any ship. Value is poor since other lines have better rates. Take your own food. Book your shore excursions at the dock for prices that can be 200% cheaper. Stay out of the Casino. HMM-m-m-m ... I guess what I am saying is PICK ANOTHER CRUISE LINE. I certainly will !! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
A little background - I am 23 years old, a graduate student working on my Ph.D. My girlfriend (also 23) and I had been planning this cruise since Feb, 2005. We had cruised together on Majesty of the Seas in June of 2004, and had a ... Read More
A little background - I am 23 years old, a graduate student working on my Ph.D. My girlfriend (also 23) and I had been planning this cruise since Feb, 2005. We had cruised together on Majesty of the Seas in June of 2004, and had a fantastic time. We were attracted to this Radiance cruise primarily because of length of the cruise (our previous longest was 4 nights, this one was 7) and price (booked at $509 per person). We originally booked for a Category N interior stateroom on Deck 3, as it was the cheapest alternative and we are on a tight budget. However, our Travel Agent forgot to forward our initial deposit to Royal Caribbean, and the original reservation was cancelled. The Travel Agent had to rebook the cruise, but by that time there was no interior staterooms available, so we were upgraded (by the TA) free of charge to an Oceanview on Deck 3. Needless to say, we were shocked (SHOCKED!) to discover at the pier that Royal Caribbean had upgraded us AGAIN to a balcony stateroom. Speaking of the pier, we utilized Royal Caribbean's new SetSail Pass (online check-in), and had a near-instant embarkation. We arrived at the cruise terminal at 12:25 and we were on the ship eating lunch by 12:45. I personally did not experience it, but the shuttle bus that dropped us off at the pier passed by the Carnival cruise terminal, and the line was out the door. No lines with RC though. The stateroom was a tremendous upgrade to what we were used to (interiors). The room was quite spacious, the balcony was a decent size, and the bathroom was much bigger than those on Majesty. Also - PLENTY of storage space in the room. No visible wear to the room, and the balcony was in good shape (even better after routine maintenance to it during our cruise). The public spaces were gorgeous - LOVED the Solarium, which was pretty low-traffic the entire cruise. The theater was really cool to look at, and the shows were great (more on that later). The centrum was also beautiful, with lights dancing around at night, a great bar, and even dancing. Another can't-miss on this ship is the Colony Club. Stop by to play billiards, chess, trivia, or just to relax - it is another great space on this ship. A great place late at night for dancing and drinks is the Viking Crown Lounge/Starquest. The stars in the ceiling was a nice touch. The casino was larger than I was used to, and reminded me of Vegas. Everything seemed well maintained, often saw cleaning going on, and even saw some sections of carpet being replaced (and the old carpet didn't look that old!). None of the public spaces ever seemed to get too crowded, except maybe for the Colony Club during The Quest and the Captain's Reception. Oh, and if you want to stargaze, go out to the Helipad in the middle of the night - great view of the stars and hardly anybody out there. Dining - The food was consistently very good. Room service was prompt with breakfast, and the meal was warm upon arrival. The Windjammer had a good variety for breakfast and lunch - the omelet station was especially tasty and catered to virtually all requests (a fellow cruiser requested an omelet...with cream cheese!?!). Food in the dining room was especially tasty, with my personal favorite being the Thai chicken, Maryland crab cakes, and the tiramisu. Another great place for a late night snack is the Seaview Cafe - good desserts and a pretty decent Reuben sandwich! Another outstanding aspect of this ship is its fine crew. The service, from top to bottom, was never lacking. The Captain (Rune Looking) was a riot, and had a great sense of humor. Our cruise director, Marc Walker, was extremely energetic and could be found often throughout the ship, not just during showtimes. Guest Relations was helpful and answered questions promptly via phone. Our room steward, Vic from Costa Rica, did an excellent job and made great towel animals (and timely too - a stingray after our day at Stingray City). He would also get the door for me if my hands were full of food from the Windjammer. Our waiter, Alexander from India, was perfect. We got to know him quite a bit throughout our cruise, and his recommendations were always right on. My girlfriend asked him for his recommendation between two desserts, and he said "I'll take care of it." He came back with both desserts, and both were top notch. Another thing that amazed me about this cruise was the response I would get from the workers. A cleaner polishing the banister would say "Good Morning Sir". An assistant waiter pouring drinks at the Windjammer would always reply "It was my pleasure" after getting me hot water for tea. We caught the Captain wandering the Centrum and asked him to pose for a picture (not Captain's night). He said "Gladly" and "I hope you enjoy your vacation with us". In my opinion, top notch all the way. Fitness Center was great, and we were put through the ringer with a few of those aerobic classes. Do the aerobics and you will LOSE weight on the cruise, guaranteed! Between the two of us, we collected $19 ShipShape dollars throughout the cruise, and got a gym bag and a lanyard. The entertainment was good. Through our cruise, the dinner shows consisted of 2 production shows, 4 comedy shows, and The Coasters. All of these shows were good. The other entertainment was also outstanding - especially The Quest, Love and Marriage Game Show, and the Trivia Challenges. My only complaint about the entertainment would be that, with very few children on this cruise (we found this out from an Adventure Ocean staffer - there weren't too many), a few more "adult" shows would have been nice. None of the main shows entered into even PG-13 territory. A quick note on Shore Excursions: We purchased 2 excursions thru Royal Caribbean. The first was horseback riding in Jamaica - an outstanding experience. The guides were great, and the excursion was very much worthwhile. The second was the Tulum Mayan Ruins Express. This was a disappointment, though not really Royal Caribbean's fault. We understood that we would have to take a ferry to the mainland, and that during bad weather the ride is bumpy. However, we had GREAT weather the entire cruise, and the ferry ride to the mainland was still like a roller coaster. My girlfriend became seasick for the first time ever, and was joined by about 1/3 of the rest of the people on the ferry. If you even have the slightest notion of motion sickness, this excursion may not be for you. The bus rides were also long (again, we understood this going into it), but the amount of travel time was not worth the ruins. We were disappointed in the size of the ruins (smaller than expected), the fact we couldn't walk through them, only around them, and that beach access (which was advertised and we were prepared for) was closed. The bus driver also discarded one of our lunches that wasn't yet eaten (no explanation as to why was given), and the "Mayan Dancers" were quite rude (one walks around asking for tips/donations, BEFORE they had even done anything. I tried to explain that we were just passing through, and he cursed at me, in Spanish, under his breath. I have a good knowledge of Spanish, and told him, in Spanish, that he should watch his language around bilingual tourists.) Overall, I would recommend this tour once if you have never seen a Mayan ruin (if you don't get motion sickness), and even then I just barely recommend it. Otherwise, enjoy the island of Cozumel. To sum it up, the cruise was great, and really worth the price we paid. I think the cruise would have been a great value in our original Cat. N interior, but being upgraded TWICE to a balcony just made it even more worthwhile. We already have another reservation with Royal Caribbean for March, and we are looking to book another cruise on the one in March. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2005
My wife and I found the Radiance of the Seas to be a NICE ship ...but NOT as nice as others. While certainly not shabby, it lacked brilliance and sparkle, which IS there on Carnival ships. It is nice in the way an older hotel is nice. ... Read More
My wife and I found the Radiance of the Seas to be a NICE ship ...but NOT as nice as others. While certainly not shabby, it lacked brilliance and sparkle, which IS there on Carnival ships. It is nice in the way an older hotel is nice. Subdued browns and tans. More tailored to the quiet, 60-70's age group ...not us, the wild and EXCITING 50s age group. (? ! ? ! ) FOOD: BLAH !!! Un-exciting. If you have stomach problems and cannot digest spicy, and seasoned food ....THIS IS YOUR SHIP !! In 7 days, leg of lamb showed up 3 times, RUBBER LOBSTER TAIL had one appearance. STEAK-SURPRISE, smothered with a whole lot of something-sauce happened twice. I did not have even one meal that I would say was REALLY good. They were all somewhere between Mildly Interesting and Not Bad! I will say that my Carnival food experiences were ALL very memorable. YEP ....every one !! And I a working class kinda guy that eats most of my meals in a hurry, so it's not like I am spoiled by a personal chef. Their food presentation was pretty good. CABIN ATTENDANT: Great ROOMS: small CASINO: If you are a blackjack gambler, find another ship! I do not know if this is a coming trend, and I hope not, but RCL does this..... * Split aces ...one card and NO double-down. * Split anything else ...no double-down. * BlackJack ..pays 6-5. These rules severely hurt the guest and drastically limit his/her ability to achieve the larger payoffs needed to survive a bad run of the cards. Very small table games area. Only ONE craps table, 2-3 regular Blackjack tables. One single-deck Blackjack table. I saw VERY little action in the casino, compared to other cruises. Not certain why, other than these types of rules. No real yelling and screaming going on here. It was kinda like being in the dining room ...rather quiet and un-memorable except for the losses. SHOPPING: My wife said the shopping was weak at best. I guess that must be true since she didn't buy much. She also said it was TOO expensive ... which surprises me, since I didn't know she paid attention to this concept. HMM-m-m ALL IN ALL ... I would ONLY go on RCL again if I won a trip, or if the deal was REALLY, REALLY cheap. I do plan to go on another trip soon back to Cozumel area, but I will most likely choose Carnival. I had ALL good experiences there ...AND ..their prices were much better!! Read Less
Sail Date: April 2005
Overall the ship is beautiful, and the service was excellent. The food in the main dining room was better than expected and our waiters were wonderful. Unfortunately, there were still a fair amount of teens on spring break, which made ... Read More
Overall the ship is beautiful, and the service was excellent. The food in the main dining room was better than expected and our waiters were wonderful. Unfortunately, there were still a fair amount of teens on spring break, which made for some very loud activity and obnoxious behavior. There should be areas of the ship that are "adults only", and we saw a lot of teenage drinking going on. You'd think the cruise line would be more afraid of the amount of drinking by teenagers! If it weren't for the adults only pool area, we would not have had any peace and quiet. A week was too long for us! Our balcony room was very nice and as first-time cruisers were were aware that it would not be very large- BUT you can hear EVERYTHING (and I mean everything) in the room(s) next to you! Also beware booking anything in the Spa. When we signed a sheet for a "Couples Massage Class" (without being told of the cost) we were led to believe it was a free demonstration. We ended up not going, as it was on the next to last day of our cruise and had honestly forgotten we had signed up UNTIL we were billed on our account for 1/2 of the hidden fee!! Make sure you ask up front what the cost is of anything! We felt a bit deceived and when we asked that the fee be taken off of our account, the Guest Relations desk person told us that the Spa is not owned by RCL, but another company called The Steiner Group. Not sure if we'd go on another cruise, and if so we'd probably go with another line, a more upscale one. The major redeeming factor was the crew personnel- friendly, courteous, and interesting. Overall grade- B- Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
RADIANCE OF THE SEAS Western Caribbean March 6 - 13, 2005 By Mary & Vincent Finelli Thomas Wolfe once wrote "You Can't Go Home again" (1940), but this cruise proved him wrong. After only being back on board the ... Read More
RADIANCE OF THE SEAS Western Caribbean March 6 - 13, 2005 By Mary & Vincent Finelli Thomas Wolfe once wrote "You Can't Go Home again" (1940), but this cruise proved him wrong. After only being back on board the Radiance of the Seas just five minutes, we encountered Captain Kent Ringborn; it was as if the last four years had never happened. We were home again. For two years he was RCI's manager for the Radiance building project in Papenburg, Germany and he personally oversaw the creation of the Radiance (2001). She is the first ship of the Radiance Class which now includes the following: The Brilliance of the Seas (2002), The Serenade of the Seas (2003), and the Jewel of the Seas (2004) upon all of which we have sailed. When we met this singing Captain, his gentle, caring nature immediately impressed us; during this cruise we noted that those who sail with him never forget his kind friendliness or his beautiful baritone voice. On Monday he invited us to dine at his table on formal night, and later in the week with him at Chops Grille. This cruise felt like it was a family reunion. Unfortunately for us and RCI, he retires in May (2005). If there ever was a Captain who set an inviting tone on board, it is Captain Kent Ringborn! This cruise negated Wolfe's statement ----- we did go home again. EMBARKATION On Sunday the Port of Miami is easily accessible. No traffic and an excellent port crew made boarding fast and painless. A steward greeted us curbside, took our luggage and wheeled Vincent's chair through security to the Ambassador's Lounge where we picked up our boarding passes, signed our charge account and that was it; since all documents are checked weeks ahead. As Crown & Anchor members we enjoy priority boarding. In less than ten minutes, we were on board and in our stateroom. We have a specific routine for day one: first, we go to the buffet (a very nice one of roast beef, salads, pastas, pizzas, soups (potato leek) fruits and desserts, including RCI's famous cookies); second, we go to the Dining Room to meet the staff and check our seating for dinner. This day Maitre D' Metin Camurlu set us up with a table for two, near the entrance at the foot of the massive staircase. Perfect, from a perfect Maitre D'! Next, we go back to the stateroom and rest until the boat drill, in this case it was held at 4:30pm. We are now in cruise mode: well fed, oriented and shedding all shore side cares. THE SHIP The GTV (Gas Turbine Vessel) Radiance of the Seas is 90,090 tons, 962 ft. long, 105.6 ft. wide and carries 2,100 passengers (this cruise had 2,207 double occupancy.) and a crew of 900. She boasts of over three acres of exterior glass and elevators overlooking the sea and the centrum. Media and cruisers have deemed this class ship to be the epitome of beauty, size and style. It has maintained the overall profile of a huge private yacht, yet with all the accouterments of the largest ships afloat. The Radiance holds the award for the "Ship Team of the Year 2004" and the "Environmental Ship of the Year 2003," and the media have voted the Radiance Class the "Most Beautiful Ships at Sea." We reported in our 2001 review many details on this ship's decorations; thus, this review will center on general comments and special crew members. Immediately upon arrival, passengers are first impressed with the beauty of the nine deck centrum with its waterfalls, cymbidium orchids and semi-circular balconies located on each deck. Be sure to go to deck 12, where the Crown & Anchor Society Lounge has a window set in the center of the floor, from which the entire centrum is visible all the way down to Deck 4. This is an incredible view not to be missed. There are thirteen decks. Deck 2 has some interior (Cat. Q) and ocean view (Cat. I) staterooms. Deck 3 has mostly ocean view (Cat. H), some interior (Cat. N and O) with two wheelchair accessible staterooms. Deck 4 has ocean view staterooms (Cat. G) with two wheelchair accessible ones, and interior staterooms (Cat. N) with two more wheelchair accessible ones. Forward is the first level of the Aurora Theatre with its crystal embossed curtain and simple elegant seating and decor. Midship is the Lobby Bar, Guest Relations and Explorations Desks. There are six Centrum Elevators, four overlook the sea and two overlook the centrum. We wish the buttons controlling these elevators were divided in two sections; since, it is difficult to reach the opposite end elevator when pushing a wheelchair. Usually the doors closed, just as we reached it: It was especially difficult for those of us with mobility problems. All the way aft is the first level of the Cascades Dining Room, a beautiful dark teak wood embellished room with a bandstand located in front of the waterfall and two curved staircases leading to the balcony. The aft wall is a two deck tall stunning mosaic of the Roman Goddess Aurora rising from the sea while watching a dolphin frolic before her in the ocean. There are figures sitting on clouds exhaling wind and the colors are wonderful: gold, blue, aqua, and copper. Deck 5 forward has the main floor seating of the theatre. Midship is the Conference Center, Art Gallery and the Photo Shop. The boutiques and shops are also located here (logo wear, perfumes, resort wear, etc.). Next is "Latte-Tudes" coffee shop and RCI On Line computers/internet. Aft is the balcony of the Cascades Dining Room. Deck 6 forward has the balcony of the Aurora Theatre; toward midship is the Cinema and Scoreboard Sports Bar with its many screens showing live venues from around the world. Then, midship is the Royale Casino for slots and gaming ---- very posh with beautiful peacocks and a lighted, colored glass ceiling. Also, near the Centrum is the Champagne Bar. Going aft is the Schooner Bar, which is the most nautically decorated area: cannons, cannon balls, and even creosote soaked ropes enhancing the ambiance through the sense of smell. Murals by H.E. Nissen (Norway) depict seascapes and Columbus setting foot on the New World. A lovely full length portrait of Jenny Lind the "Swedish Nightingale" is paired with a painting of the ship "The Nightingale" weathering a storm. Here are located the bar and two specialty restaurants, Chops Grille and Portofino (both with $20 cover charge per person.) Aft is the Bombay Billiards Club with two gyroscopic self leveling pool tables ---- which are fun to watch on a rough sea day. There was just one of those days this cruise. Next is the Jakarta Lounge with handy chess set ups overlooking the sea. Also located here are the Singapore Sling's Bar, the Calcutta Card Club and the Colony Club, all of which have the atmosphere of an English gentlemen's club with bookcase lined walls, elegant wood and plush seating. Decks 7, 8, 9 and 10 are all staterooms, eight of which are wheel chair accessible with balcony, bringing the total of special needs cabins to 14. Always located near the Centrum elevators on each of these decks are additional passenger services: On Deck 7 are the business services; on Deck 8 is the Explorers' Court; on Deck 9 is the library and on Deck 10 is the Concierge Club which is available only to Crown & Anchor Diamond Members and Suite occupants. Here, Concierge Willie Salaya was very attentive and courteous. Thank you Willie! Decks 11, 12, and 13 are all passenger areas. On Deck 11 forward is the Ship Shape Spa with the Massage Center, separate Men's and Women's locker rooms, a Thermal Suite and the Hair Salon. Next is the Solarium, where Vincent can be found every morning in the whirlpool. Mary prefers the lap pool which is filled with sea water (the water was cool and hard to get into, but refreshing once in). The jungle atmosphere is nice and most cruisers take pictures of the life size elephant statues. Aft is the Windjammer Cafe with buffet dining and both indoor and outdoor seating. Deck 12 forward has the Ship Shape Fitness Center, midship is the Jogger's Track. There is an Optix Teen Center, Game Arcade, the Adventure Ocean Club and Beach, all for the younger cruisers. The children's program is free except for baby sitting after 10pm. We saw the children "Pirates" marching and singing in the theatre, lead by a crew member. They were scary, funny and loud and received a great ovation. Parents seated near us in the theatre told us that their children liked the youth programs so much that they rarely wanted to stay with the adults. Aft are the Golf and Sports area, Golf Simulators and the Sea View Cafe serving excellent snacks and lunch. Finally on Deck 13 there is the Viking Crown Lounge with a star shaped bar and beautiful windows overlooking the sea. There are also the Vortex Night Club and the Hollywood Odyssey, an intimate Show Club (check out the life size statue of Marilyn Monroe with billowing skirts from the famous scene in the "Seven Year Itch"). Outside, on this deck, is where the Rock Climbing wall and the Putting Green are located. The stair wells of the ship have bright colorful art work; near the Centrum are unique murals of glass inlays. The ship is gleaming under Chief Housekeeper Renita Kumari. CABIN Stateroom #7610 is wheelchair accessible with an automatic door opener. When entering on the right, there is a large bathroom with a 5'x5' shower, with safety rails, a bench and an emergency phone and call button. The sink has a mirrored medicine cabinet with shelves. Then, there is a queen size bed with two night stands and reading lamps. When entering on the left, there is a double armoire inside which the personal safe is inconveniently located. This was difficult to access, especially after clothes were hung in the closet. Next is a lighted, mirrored vanity/desk with six drawers (so narrow that 8"x11" paper cannot lie flat!). There is a TV and a cabinet above it. There is also a navy blue sofa, two chairs and a teeny tiny coffee table. The far wall is all windows, floor to ceiling, and a door which opens on to the trapezoidal shaped balcony, holding two chairs, and a large table, to which our steward added a chaise lounge. Our excellent steward Cassandra Dasilva was amazing. She anticipated all our needs and was efficient and friendly. Thanks Cassandra for everything. FOOD & SERVICE We have a new friend, Maitre D' Metin Camurlu, who oversees an excellent staff. We also visited with our old friend, Food & Beverage Manager Rinaldo Lima, whom we met on the Brilliance. We were wonderfully served by Waiter Kristian Dukic and his assistant Joel Loayon under the watchful eyes of Head Waiter Leonardo Spinelli. Executive Chef Rana Bir has an enormous task serving over 9,000 meals daily, but he is certainly up to it! The food is generally good with flashes of excellence. Dinner with Captain Kent Ringborn is always a treat and this time was no exception. On the menu was Shrimp Cocktail, Escargots Bourguignon, Lobster Bisque, Chilled Pear nectar (Mary thought this was delectable) and Caesar Salad. The entrees included the following: Teriyaki Glazed Fresh Alaskan Salmon, Duck a` L'Orange and grilled Beef Tenderloin. The Captain enjoyed his salmon; Vincent said his beef was excellent (and he is not easily pleased); Mary thought her duck was crispy and very tasty. What is there to say but, fine food, fine service and fine company, all contribute to a fine evening. We also dined at Chops with Captain Kent and the delightful Rolfes (109 cruises with RCI, when do they ever see home?). During this meal we got an up close and personal view of what a Master's life is really like. He received and made various calls to the Bridge concerning the weather in Grand Cayman, our next port of call. He ultimately decided to change course and head instead for Cozumel, Mexico; thereby, avoiding rough weather and giving the passengers an extra night in Mexico. RCI and the Captain stress safety first and we concur. Room Service took about 15 to 30 minutes; we ordered breakfast every morning in our stateroom: and the coffee and omelets were hot, the fruit and juices were fresh. The variety on the dining room menu was more than adequate; however, both Head Waiter Leonardo and Kristian offered to get us whatever we desired, even if the items were not on the menu. According to Rinaldo Lima the Midnight Buffet was the best he had ever seen, and that is saying something, since he has seen so many. Food and service on board deserve high marks. Vincent, a retired Professor of Environmental Health, had a very enjoyable meeting with Environmental Officer Mark Curtis (a graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy). He gave us interesting information on the Advanced Wastewater Reduction System and other recycling programs on board. He and the Captain should be proud of the Radiance's high marks on environmental issues and its award winning status. We spent some time with the especially helpful Loyalty Ambassador Carol Williams talking about the Crown & Anchor Society and Diamond Plus membership perks such as the following: 1. Special tours of the Bridge, Galley and back stage. 2. Choice of Amenities (wine or flowers). 3. Discounts on early bookings. 4. Dinner with the Captain or other ship officers. 5. Schedules of key crew members. We feel strongly that RCI truly appreciates its returning passengers, and knows how to show them that they are valued through special cocktail parties and other perks. There is also on board credit for RCI shareholders and those who reserve a future cruise while on board. ENTERTAINMENT We had sailed with Cruise Director Gordon Whatman before and were happy to encounter him again. He is an extremely upbeat and active leader. He inspires his group and the passengers with his singing (he has had operatic training and it shows). Throughout the cruise there was bingo, trivia, scavenger hunts, pool parties, 50's dances, Casino tournaments, etc.... We also enjoyed some of the music played around the ship, especially that of the terrific Sandra Mandella trio in the Centrum. The RCI 's Singers & Dancers new show "Piano Man" was a hit. Mary enjoyed "Beetle Mania" especially "Yesterday" and "You May Think That I'm a Dreamer" by John Lennon and dreams of world wide peace. "Welcome to Our World" was warmly received; Bobby Arvon, the voice of "Happy Days," wowed the audience with his singing, impressions and piano playing. He put it all into his show and it was appreciated with a standing ovation. The nicest final touch was the "Farewell Show" featuring Captain Kent's warm baritone voice. It is tough to say "Good bye" after such a terrific week. But all good things must come to an end. Arriverderci a presto! Till we meet again soon. PORTS OF CALL Day 1. Miami, Florida Departure 5:00pm Day 2. At Sea Day 3. Labadee, Haiti Arrival 8:00am Departure 4:00pm Day 4. Ocho Rios, Jamaica Arrival 9:00am Departure 5:00pm Day 5. Georgetown, Grand Cayman canceled due to high winds and danger for tendering. Set sail for Cozumel. Arrival in Cozumel 8:00pm. Day 6. Cozumel, Mexico Departure 8:00pm Day 7. At Sea Day 8. Miami, Florida Arrival 8:00am CONCLUSION This was our 50th cruise and our 25th on RCI ships. It appears that the more we cruise the more we enjoy it. We definitely are addicted to cruising and Vincent gets "withdrawal syndrome" if at anytime he has not booked two or more future cruises. He was showing symptoms while we were on this ship, since he had only one more cruise reservation, the transatlantic crossing on the Costa Mediterranea for this April. The problem was solved aboard by booking a cruise on the behemoth Freedom of the Seas, the next RCI cruise ship which will be launched in May 2006 and will take the title from the Queen Mary II of the largest cruise ship afloat. We hope that there will be many more cruises in between these two bookings, but we have not yet decided on which ones. It would be nice if it were possible to do around the world cruising on several different ships, each leg on a different ship; i.e., from the USA to South America, then on to the South Pacific, Australia, Japan, China, India, Africa, through Suez Canal to Europe, and back to USA, or a similar itinerary. We know that some cruise lines are doing such an itinerary on some smaller ships, but we would like to see it done in a sequence of legs on several ships to fully enjoy the cruises and land tours. Happy Sailing! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2005
I boarded the Radiance of the Seas on March 6, 2005 for a W. Caribbean vacation. My first impression when I first boarded was "wow, what a beautiful ship!". I've been on other ships of the same size, and I have to say, the ... Read More
I boarded the Radiance of the Seas on March 6, 2005 for a W. Caribbean vacation. My first impression when I first boarded was "wow, what a beautiful ship!". I've been on other ships of the same size, and I have to say, the Radiance's ship lay out is awesome. You can tell the designers maximized on each square inch. The ship seems larger than what it really is. The glass elevators were beautiful; especially zooming up to the upper decks with the view of the ocean. Entertainment was ok....nothing out of this world. I expected better from this class of ship. However, the Cruise Director (Gordon), was entertaining, funny and made the trip so much fun. The food was ok. They had a steak meal the was tougher than rubber. I had it exchanged for a lobster/shrimp meal. That meal was excellent! The Windjammer Buffet was ok. The eggs served during breakfast were horrible. Overall, it was good and served it purpose of offering casual dining. The specialty restaurants were excellent; both Portofino's and Chop's Grille; worth the $20 fee. I was disappointed at the lack of daytime activities, especially the days we were at sea. Actually, it was downright boring! I couldn't believe I had nothing to do at 4PM, expect just lounge at the pool and wait for Dinner/Show time later that evening. This cruise seems better suited for the older crowd who just wants to relax and prefers little activity. The night club, "Starquest", was mostly empty every night! People sleeping at 10PM on their vacations? Overall, nice ship for people looking to chill and relax. If you're looking for more activities, night life, younger crowd (20s-40s), this is not the ship for you. I would recommend a Voyager Class ship or Carnival. The ship is elegant and well designed, offering many beautiful public spaces and lounges. If you have kids, this is not the ship for them! They won't make many friends. However, if you're an experienced cruiser looking for an elegant ship and relaxing times, this ship is for you! I must say....I had a great time!!! However, I'll pick something with a little more excitement next time. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2005
We decided to book our second cruise (our first was on Celebrity's Millennium) on the Radiance of the Seas. My first sight of the ship was breathtaking. Day 1 was Super Bowl Sunday. Being from Maine I was rooting for the good team, ... Read More
We decided to book our second cruise (our first was on Celebrity's Millennium) on the Radiance of the Seas. My first sight of the ship was breathtaking. Day 1 was Super Bowl Sunday. Being from Maine I was rooting for the good team, the New England Patriots. We watched the Super Bowl in the Aurora theatre which was beautiful. Unfortunately, the ship did not leave until 2:00am because of engine troubles but it didn't bring down my vacation any. We toured the ship and were very impressed. The cruise director, Gordon Whatman, was great and always funny. Entertainment was the best we've ever experienced anywhere. There were plenty of children's activities. The food was delectable every night and service was outstanding. Labadee was nice as well as Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel. In my personal opinion, cruises are the best vacations on earth and I always find it sad when the splendid week on the high seas comes to an end because the people you meet are mostly always friendly. On a cruise vacation, you will always have a good time. All in all, it was a very memorable time and it will definitely not be our last cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2004
The good, the bad, and the ugly. Some notes to start: This was our 2nd cruise (1st on Royal). We traveled as part of a 15-person family group, ages from 3 to 73. Our experience includes my wife and I and our 3 year old twins. Overall, ... Read More
The good, the bad, and the ugly. Some notes to start: This was our 2nd cruise (1st on Royal). We traveled as part of a 15-person family group, ages from 3 to 73. Our experience includes my wife and I and our 3 year old twins. Overall, we had a great vacation, on a terrific ship with great service. There are plenty of other reviews about what the ship looks like and offers, so I will say that it is beautiful, and in general the service was great. Here are some specific notes from the cruise: The GOOD: check in was VERY easy. We had our twins in a stroller (for ease with all the carry ons), and everyone was very helpful. FOOD: Those who complain are nuts. Yes, sometimes the menu was difficult, but the waiters and kitchen are always ready to do what they can to make it right. We are not the easiest when it comes to dining -- my wife and I do not like sauces in general, and specifically no cream or heavy fats, no fried foods and no butter sauces ... yet we did fine in the main dining room. I would say the food overall is equal to a very good catering hall -- not 5 star, but better than can be expected when you think that they are feeding 1,500 at a time. (One exception -- New Year's Eve was very bad -- the crew was more interested in getting to their party then making and serving dinner...) Also of note was the Seaview Cafe -- my kids ate an early dinner there every night and loved the chicken, hot dogs, fries and fruit. Also in the good column -- we had in-room babysitting that was set up at guest relations on the first night...this worked out great! The babysitter (Selsus) showed up on time each night, well dressed, freshly showered, with a great disposition. Our kids were already in bed ready to fall asleep, but waited up to say hello and good night to him. We repeatedly checked in during the night at odd times, and each time found Selsus sitting in a chair next to the bed either reading or taking a light nap (which he asked us the first night if this was ok...we said fine as long as if the kids woke up he did as well...we never had a problem, and this freed us up for some great nights at the shows, casino, etc...). The BAD: The weather was bad the entire week. While not RCI's fault, we did feel that the Cruise Director did not address this well. RCI should have an alternative "rainy day" style schedule that they can use when a day at sea becomes a wash-out. This did not happen. Our stop in Labadee was canceled due to high winds, so we ended up with an extra (3rd!) day at sea. Instead of loading up on appropriate indoor activities (ice carving, extra shows, trivia contests, extra Bingo sessions, line dancing lessons, family movies in the movie theater, etc.) the feeling on board was "oh well" it is just a lost rainy day. We did not feel that this was done well. Also in the bad list was our experience with the kid's club. Our kids go to school full time and love these types of environments. (The more scheduled they are the better...) They tend to be very outgoing, well behaved and a whole lot of fun to be around. My daughter will try anything twice. My son however, usually needs 5 minutes to warm up to new environments...once comfortable, he is the life of the party (VERY funny). We know this and tried in a variety of ways to set the stage for him. However, the kids club personnel was VERY unwelcoming to him/us. First, we went the first night to try and get him comfortable with the space. While it was supposed to be the open house, we were told we could look around but not touch anything. When I opened a cabinet to see what activities they had (just to look) I was reprimanded very harshly in front of the kids -- to the point that my son wanted to know why I was being bad, and do only bad people come to this room. Then, my wife went to the side (out of earshot) to try and let the group leader know what to expect from him the next morning (that he would cry for 5 minutes and then stop, and have a great time) and was given the cold shoulder. When we came in in the morning to drop them off, they were never greeted. Instead, the group leader said to the other worker in the room, "Oh, here comes the kid that is going to be trouble." This was exactly what we were trying to avoid. With that he started to cry, and didn't want to stay and be "in trouble." After a couple of minutes he settled down, and we were getting ready to leave. As we got up he started to cry again. We told the group leader that we were leaving him there and would be right outside the door, to give him 5 minutes (we KNEW he would stop, and have fun...this is just what he does), and that if for some reason he was still unhappy that we would take him. However, we were told that there is a zero crying tolerance policy, and that we could not leave him, AND we could not stay in the room with him and calm him down. Thus, he did not stay in the kid's club at all the entire week. My daughter stayed the first morning and had a great time, but did not want to go back without her brother... FYI -- we heard stories like this from a LOT of parents around the ship. The bottom line is, if your child is not perfect right away (no grace period) they do not want them there. (It may make their job too hard...). I am trying not to be harsh here, as I know that there are a lot of kids on board and that they can not cater to one child, but 5 minutes of kindness would have worked wonders....This room was just full of bad attitudes. The UGLY: Debarkation was an embarrassment. It took them almost 3 hours to let us off the ship (10:45 a.m.), and then we went in to an overcrowded tent with no one from RCI around. The luggage was all over the place, no porters (my mother is in a wheelchair and my father needed help with her and the luggage), and then we first needed to get on a bus to take us back to where we had parked. The parking lot bus lines had no signs or directions, so those waiting to get to the airport couldn't find their lines ... just a complete mess. We did not get back and into our car till almost 11:30. A HORRIBLE way to end a very good vacation. RCI should be ashamed. Overall, I have pointed out some of the lowlights of our experience, however I want to leave you with a positive note. In spite of the kids club and debarkation, this was one of the best vacations that we have taken, and are likely to cruise again. (And RCI would still be a viable choice for us.) I would say that the ship can be compared to a 4-star resort property (Radisson, SunSpree, Marriott, etc.) ... not the Ritz-Carlton, but a whole lot better than Best Western. Read Less
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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