Sail Date: March 2015
Just returned from the New Zealand cruise on the Radiance, the cruise was wonderful and the only fault I found was the treatment of their Crown & Anchor members who have obtained "Top Tier" status. We reached this level last ... Read More
Just returned from the New Zealand cruise on the Radiance, the cruise was wonderful and the only fault I found was the treatment of their Crown & Anchor members who have obtained "Top Tier" status. We reached this level last year aboard the Liberty and were treated to a very welcoming "Top Tier Party" where drinks and canapes flowed freely - lasted for almost an hour with sincere attendance by staff for the whole time, a really memorable experience. RCI were genuine in rewarding our loyalty - we felt like we had 'made it" We received our invite on the Radiance but when we got there it appeared to be a very cheap affair - the canapes were served buffet style and you had to chase a waiter to get a glass of 'watered down' white wine - good luck trying to find a red wine. The speech by the C&A Manager was more concerned with selling upcoming cruises rather then how important our loyalty to RCI was. After this speech, at the 30 minute mark, the waiters could not be found so 80% of the people left. All in all a rather tawdry affair compared to the one on the Liberty. Hopefully the Radiance's offering was an aberration and not the norm as it did not truly show RCI's respect of our loyalty, as we had come to expect from earlier treatment. We have booked a cruise with RCI next February on the Radiance - lets see if they lift their game by then. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2014
Embarkation; Went smoothly although our cabin was not ready; we arrived at the stated time. We had to wait along with everyone else in the Windjammer Cafe where there was not enough seating. Cabin; Excellent. Larger than other cruise ... Read More
Embarkation; Went smoothly although our cabin was not ready; we arrived at the stated time. We had to wait along with everyone else in the Windjammer Cafe where there was not enough seating. Cabin; Excellent. Larger than other cruise lines of our experience. Cabin Steward very helpful and friendly. Ship Tours; Very expensive. We did 3 ship tours; 1. Dunedin Gorges. We wanted to see the Gorges above Dunedin and the only way was on a ship tour because the ship had block booked the complete train! The countryside was worth seeing. BUT; having been herded off the ship we then had to wait 20 minutes for the train! It would have been far more sensible to leave us on the ship in the warmth until the train was available, especially as it had no other passengers. I have a special diet [no dairy], both the travel company and I had e-mailed this fact when we booked many months earlier. As soon as I was on board I went to the tours desk to make sure I would get something to eat on the train. However, when the food arrived there were only a few grapes that I could eat. What looked like a very nice meal actually all contained milk/butter/cheese or cream. After the tour I went back to the tour desk, the guy was most unhelpful and totally unsympathetic offering no excuse [he did try the standard response saying that I should have told them sooner! But I had proof I had.] Summary - great scenery which the ship makes sure you can only experience on their tour! 2. Picton Bays Tour and scenic Blenheim. The first part was a very interesting boat cruise around the small bays, with a local company who were very knowledgeable. We were dropped off to be transferred to a coach for the Blenheim part. The drop off was at a remote quay there was no one to meet us. There was no coach! 30 minutes later it arrived but we were then behind schedule and the remained of the tour was very rushed, we only saw Blenheim from the ring road. There were supposed to be more parks but we had just 20 minutes in the rain in just 1 park. 3. Sydney with transfer to the airport. Went very smoothly. This tour allowed us to see Sydney and Bondi Beach but most exciting was the tour inside the Opera House. We were then taken out to the airport in plenty of time to catch the plane. A very good way to spend the extra time. As there is nowhere at the dockside to store suitcases this is the best way to see some of Sydney. Independently would have meant dragging the cases with us. BEWARE the Tender System. The ship does nothing to help independent travelers. In ports requiring a ship tender [Esperance & Akaroa] the ship tours are taken ashore first. We were unable to get off until 11.30 in Esperance, where we had arranged for a hire car. Luckily it was held for us but we heard of other passengers not so lucky. In Akaroa we had booked the Bay tours in Akaroa locally [recommended tour was great] we had to queue for tender tickets from 7am, we got off just in time for the 9.30 tour, another couple did not make it and the tour had to after waiting until 10.30. So if you book anything yourself with a local company watch out! Ports of call; * Esperance; Easy to DIY. The town is small but the surrounding area is fantastic. Get a car from Avis which is just where the ship tenders drop you off. They will give you a map and suggest where to go to see the kangaroos on the beach. An don't miss Stonehenge along the way. * Adelaide; Easy to walk off the ship and get the train into the city. The station is opposite the quay. Local transport system is good, lots to see, we just walked around, lovely river. Free Wifi at the cafe on the riverside. * Melbourne; Tram terminus is on the quayside, takes you straight into the centre. * Scenic Cruising in the Fijords; The highlight of the cruise. We went into 5 of the 'Sounds' despite terrible weather the sun did get out and we have some great photo's of Milford Sound and the snow capped mountains. * Dundedin. We did the ship tour [see above] The ship docks some distance away from Dunedin to get there you can use the ship shuttle service at US$25 each! * Akaroa. Lovely town spread along the foreshore. We took an independent tour around the numerous Bays which I would recommend. * Wellington. Easy walk into the city from the quayside. We made our way to the cable train and went to the top, it is a worthwhile long walk back down through the Botanical Gardens. * Picton. Very scenic town. Unless you are on a ship tour you have to take the shuttle to the town - this is provided by the town for free. The Ship; 1. They need to improve the tender process for independent travelers [why should they wait until all the ship tours are off the ship before allowing us off when we are doing our own thing in port?] Put more tenders on. 2. My Time dining does not work. The idea is that you can choose you dining time daily to suit your activities. But when we requested a different time for the second night we were told the times we requested were booked full "months ago". 3. Windjammer Cafe - never anywhere to sit. And a bad smell of cigarette smoke which drifts in through the doors from the smoking deck. There are no food labels with ingredients on display; I had to ask each time whether dairy was in the food. In the Windjammer about 90% contained dairy and was therefore no good to me [dairy allergy]. 5. Entertainment. Was better than other cruise lines of our experience. But unfortunately the lead male singer in the Ship Troupe was very poor singer. Sang flat notes. 6. The Cascades dining; in order to comply with my need for no dairy I received extremely bland food [except for the deserts] eg; Red Thai Curry chicken - contained no curry! It was a piece of chicken with green beans and a baked potato, I was told that because the curry sauce came from off the ship so they didn't know the ingredients, however the menu clearly states all food is prepared fresh on board. The dining room staff were all extremely helpful and attentive. 7. Movie under the stars; would have been better if there had been blankets and a mattress for the sun loungers. 8. 17 day cruise saw a repeat of the movies played in the cinema. 9. On day 15 our 'card' was blocked. The customer relations desk said it was because we had reached the $500 cash limit. We had already spent $780+ without it being refused?. We had actually elected to pay by credit card [on line election before departure] and the credit card had been swiped on embarkation! There was no explanation. But this caused us great embarrassment when the card was refused at the lunch table. Then to add more stress we found to charges were added on that day for drinks which we had not had. Make sure you tell Customer Services desk that you want to leave you credit card company to do any currency conversion - we were told that the rates used by Royal Caribbean are not good for you. 10. We were woken by security at 11pm, one night as they thought I had called in with a complaint about noise. I had not. No explanation or apology! My advice for anyone considering this cruise. Don't do it with Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2014
Embarkation at Fremantle did have a queue, but we didn't notice the delay while we chatted to other passengers. Relax and enjoy the start of a holiday! Radiance did seem to have more space per passenger as we were told and only ... Read More
Embarkation at Fremantle did have a queue, but we didn't notice the delay while we chatted to other passengers. Relax and enjoy the start of a holiday! Radiance did seem to have more space per passenger as we were told and only appeared crowded during breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer at peak period. We really enjoyed the cruise and the ambience on board. There was a real mix of nationalities on this cruise, with roughly one-third Australian, British and American. Very rough, as there were many Canadians as well as a handful of some French, Swedish and other nationalities on board. The Schooner Bar was always full but the Colony Club seem very under utilised. When activities were held there, we seemed to be rushed or pushed out immediately afterwards. Hey, if you have a lot of people in a venue who are ordering drinks, why move them on? For example, the musicians who we at the back watching during one of the "game shows" could have come back to play for half and hour while the atmosphere was good. A staff member advising there would be a DJ in the Stardust Lounge did not encourage everyone in the Colony Club to rush off there. Most would have wandered off to bed. If the musicians had played on for a while, we would have remained too, and ordered another cocktail. What was disconcerting were the big events in in the small Centrum. It was a great place to start but the event should have boogied on to the Colony Club for the night. Having the Guest Relations desk right there was difficult as one could not hear the staff due to noise from the entertainment. We felt there could have been some better placement of the various desks. We certainly noticed cutbacks in the lack of bar staff. Those who were there were great, but few and far between. In every bar we had to go up to the bar to order, and usually waited to take our drink back with us. Saying that, in the Colony Club in the late afternoon there were few of us, but the bar staff did not come to take orders. They stood and talked together and only returned to the bar when we went up there. Our waiter, Sang, in the dining room was fantastic and was more than eager the assist. He made our evening meal a pleasure and often ended the night with his magic tricks, to our delight. Our inside cabin was more spacious than expected and really well fitted out. Back to the old shower curtain though. There was so much storage we didn't fill it up. We also had a fantastic cabin steward in Dyaz, who really looked after us. Cut backs were again noticed with no amenities at all, apart from shampoo on the shower wall. We were prepared for that though, and took our own conditioner and body lotion. The solarium was the best place as it was not hot and humid at all. Park Cafe was really good and became quite busy in late evening. There is also a hot dog stand outside Windjammer, but I never actually saw anyone there. It opened late too, but did not have coffee. Did anyone ever order a hot dog? The tables around there were also not used a great deal, even with breakfast overflow. There seemed room for a few more tables and needed a reason for people to congregate there. What a waste. Give me Johnny Rockets anytime in preference. The extravaganzas really should not continue. They look great but people don't want to eat a lot around midnight. We were distressed by the amount of food being scraped into bins at the end of the dessert extravaganza. Looks superb but no one likes waste. We pitied the chefs who took so long to bake and prepare food that was trashed. The production shows were enjoyable and all the visiting highlight entertainers were very good. Overall though, this is a lovely, relaxed ship and we had plenty to do if we wanted to. Swim, play mini golf or table tennis, see a movie, play cards, read and relax. (Please turn off the big screen by the pool on wet, cold days when no one is there. It is odd, as we are asked to conserve power and turn off lights in our cabin.) Good food and good company, that is what makes a good holiday experience. Port calls and tenders were handled really well. We have no complaints at all, although as pre ou sly mentioned, we did notice the cutbacks.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
We chose Radiance because we thought it would provide a great holiday for adults and kids alike, without being too kid focussed (we were prepared to put up with our own kids but didn't want too many other kids around!!!). We also knew ... Read More
We chose Radiance because we thought it would provide a great holiday for adults and kids alike, without being too kid focussed (we were prepared to put up with our own kids but didn't want too many other kids around!!!). We also knew that being a longer cruise, there wouldn't be as many kids. Our family suite was fantastic and even though some people say the balcony is too small, it didn't bother us. It was great being near the lifts and only one floor down from the Windjammer and pool deck and two floors down from the Kids' Club. There were a couple of nights where the noise from the Centrum was quite loud (entertainment usually finished by 11) but ear plugs fixed that (and kids didn't seem to notice). We choose set time dining (6pm) which was great with our kids, who would run off to kids' club afterwards. Also had the same fantastic waiters each night - Sachin and Roshan - who looked after our Coeliac daughter very well. There were a lot of older people on the cruise, which was OK, although they did seem to settle in the Solarium from dusk 'til dawn and we never once got a seat in there. Entertainment was good. We did theatre shows, trivia and bingo (daggy but fun). Ports were great, especially Bali and Airlie Beach (Ocean Rafting and snorkelling). Next cruise I would stick with RCI. Probably going to try Quantum of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
First time with Royal Caribbean, but found the overzealous and non- meaningful continual greetings from the crew most irritating. The public areas of the ship were in need of maintenance, and the hull at waterline was rusting. The ... Read More
First time with Royal Caribbean, but found the overzealous and non- meaningful continual greetings from the crew most irritating. The public areas of the ship were in need of maintenance, and the hull at waterline was rusting. The stateroom with balcony was good and kept clean by a very pleasant attendant. The menu's for my-time dining were repetitive and boring and obviously designed to persuade you to pay extra for one of the optional restaurants. The continual offer of 'yum yum time' sweet menu's on which I usually ended up with cheese and biscuits as nothing else appealed, was nauseating. The cost of wines and drinks was outrageous. Custom services were unhelpful and quite rude. The theatre shows were mediocre but the other musician were quite good. The ship's tours in port were way overpriced, but it was easy to arrange your own once ashore. As can be gathered we have had far better cruises on much smaller ships and are unlikely to use Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2013
Royal Caribbean treats its passengers like cash cows, even charging for a sea sickness pill! The gratuities system is a scam. We had decided to opt for My Time Dining so, paid the required amount to cover gratuities at the time of booking ... Read More
Royal Caribbean treats its passengers like cash cows, even charging for a sea sickness pill! The gratuities system is a scam. We had decided to opt for My Time Dining so, paid the required amount to cover gratuities at the time of booking and used the online facility to book a table for two in Cascades each night at a specific time. On board, however,, each time we went to the Cascades Restaurant we had to wait for a table to become available. Thus, we may just have well have not opted for My Time Dining and so had to pay the gratuities, merely instead just have queued with the small number each night who had not done so. The Drinks & Beverage Packages are also a scam, because on ordering a drinks package for one member albeit whether or not another sharing needs one, a drinks package must be purchased for each and every person sharing a Stateroom. We decided not to purchase any drinks packages, and saved a great deal by just buying alcohol and soft drinks as and when necessary. Fresh orange is only served 'free' at breakfast time in the Windjammer or Cascades - otherwise it is charged for. The only drinks Royal Caribbean offer at no extra cost are teas and coffees, water and diluted lemon or iced tea. Coco cola is also at a price, as is bottled Evian - 1 litre bottle $4-5. The speciality restaurants are an expensive option and it seemed not so popular, as each morning outside the Windjammer their waiting staff were always outside touting for business. We were booked to go to the Esplanade Hotel in Perth on arrival at Perth International Airport; however, confusingly we were taken straight to the port to embark. En route, a phone to the taxi driver requested him to return to the airport to pick up some stranded passengers who had been there for 2 hours. He decided to drop us at the port first where we were surrounded by eager porters keen to grab our cases for a tip (obviously). The taxi driver sped off, taking my new coat with him. Royal Caribbean staff argued that RC never send taxis to collect passengers from the airport, but that did and we stood our ground. They assured me that my coat would be returned as the taxi company would not wish to lose their business - complete contradiction of what had just been said about never using taxis! The Receptionist onboard refused to contact RC offices to message the company. The ship sailed 30 minutes early so, if ever the taxi driver did return with my coat well, of course, I never received it or any compensation offer from RC. During the final days of the cruise, waiting staff in the Windjammer were noted by passengers to have stroppy attitude. Everyone affected considered this to be due to poor tipping from passengers - we had aid the gratuity to cover those tips with the My Time Dining option; however, apparently those who had not felt it was not justified either or those who had did not feel impressed enough to pay more! I would not use Royal Caribbean Cruises again; having chosen the cruise itinerary offered we thought we ought to find the cruise line satisfactory - very disappointed with the way RC treats it customers. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
When you are looking for a trip to fill a few bucket list items, this one will do nicely. My wife and I had a number of things we wanted to do in our travels, and going to Australia and New Zealand were near the top of our list. Not just ... Read More
When you are looking for a trip to fill a few bucket list items, this one will do nicely. My wife and I had a number of things we wanted to do in our travels, and going to Australia and New Zealand were near the top of our list. Not just for the travel (24 hours in the air going and 17 in the air coming back - not including layovers), but to see a little bit of the countries and meet the people were a few of our bucket items. Seeing the wildlife and giving a koala a "hug" was near the top of my wife's Australia and New Zealand lists. Looking at the Southern Cross, penguins, kangaroos, and kiwis were included in my list. We checked them all off. We started our trip from China. China, Texas that is. Then it was a short drive to Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas to start the journey. We had been warned to arrive three hours early given that it was an international flight and you had to have your "visa" in order to board a plane to Australia. We had obtained ours via the internet several months earlier and we were set to go. We booked to fly premium economy via Qantas. We found out that our first and third legs going to Perth, Australia would be in economy as there was no premium economy available on those two legs. After a pretty tight and crowded flight (aboard a Bombardier CRJ-700 (CR7) V1) from IAH to LAX, I was ready to get off of that plane. It was a bit over 3-1/4 hours, but at 6'4" in height, there was insufficient seat room in the economy class rows. Ouch, my knees were sore. You have to change terminals on arrival at LAX to catch the international flight. We flew to LAX because I wanted to fly on an Airbus A380. Qantas was the first airline that has weighed our carry-ons. I had my cameras, lenses, and medications along with electronics and other items I did not want in checked luggage. I was over their 7 or 8 kilogram limit. But they handled it well. I was asked to place some of the items in bags they provided and then I took those with me onboard. The premium economy on the A380 was great. I would book it again if I took a flight of eight hours or longer without even giving it a second thought. I might have to blink if it was four to eight hours, but I would lean toward paying again. It was 16 hours and 50 minutes from LAX to Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne, being a port of entry, you should give yourself at least 2 ½ to 3 hours to clear through Australian immigration and customs. Even though this was an intermediate stop, we had to go through immigration, collect our bags, go through customs, recheck our bags, and make it to the next flight. We were told that this was just a short movement of luggage, but don't believe that one. Give yourself some time to get around the airport. Currency changing in the airport is expensive. We chose to use a credit card that did not charge for the exchange. We went to an off airport exchange in Perth to convert USD to AUD. No exchange fees. But you did have to shop the rate. Melbourne to Perth is a 4-hour plus trip. But at least it was on an aircraft that had some leg room. We arrived on a Thursday before the cruise’s Saturday departure to have a look around Perth and the Swan Valley. The general look of the vegetation was similar to the Hill Country of Texas and out toward San Angelo. Dry. The Swan Valley had a lot of wineries and irrigation. It was a bit greener. The people of Perth we met and talked to were all friendly. Be aware that the prices of meals can get pretty pricey... even in the Hungry Jack (Burger King). We visited the Caversham Wildlife Park in Whiteman Park Great experience with kangaroos and koalas. While it was a "mere" 24 kilometers from downtown Perth, it took 50 minutes to drive there. If you are used to covering land in a hurry, ala Texas, get ready to at least double all of your driving times. The drivers around us were all very courteous. We drove over to the Indian Ocean and waded in (bucket list), but it was cold water. While we were in Perth, we stayed at the Fraser Suites. They are a first rate group of people. We had a great room overlooking the Swan River. We were on the 17th floor. The view at night was simply gorgeous. The late afternoon and early morning views weren't half bad as well. Saturday morning saw a number of skulls and boats being rowed by teams. The river was calm and peaceful. On Saturday we brought our rental car to the lot in Freemantle. Embarkation didn ot have any "speed lines" for suite guests or Diamond Club members. This was different than our prior cruises and not what we have come to expect from RCI. After checking in to get our Sea Passes, we officially began our "cruise vacation" onboard the Radiance of the Seas. We had been on a sister ship and had the general layout in our minds. Normally we stayed in interior staterooms on the 7th or 8th decks. However on this cruise, our 40th wedding anniversary, we wanted a balcony and after a few rounds of change that room, ended up in cabin 1034 (a grand suite). What a great room. After having spent so many nights in 154-176 sq. ft. rooms, being in a Grand Suite (387 sq. ft., balcony 93 sq. ft.) was really an experience in cruising. You could dance in the room, literally. The balcony was great. It had two upright chairs, a lounge chair, and a small round table. Given that we were going to be on the ship for 17 nights, we thought we would use a balcony. We did. I saw a few whales, dolphins, seals, and penguins from our balcony. We had constant seabirds with the ship throughout the cruise. We did not really look around in Freemantle. Our first port that we toured was at Esperance, WA. It was a small town, but those who went into town had a nice time. We took the ship's tour to the Cape Le Grand National Park. We had the opportunity to stop at two white sand beaches and the WA re-creation of Stonehenge. It was a full scale replica of England’s Stonehenge as it would be if it were completed. An interesting look as cattle walked around in the nearby fields. With the exception of a few brief times and as the Radiance crossed the Tasman Sea, we were in constant view of the coasts of Australia or Tasmania or New Zealand. This was quite a difference from Caribbean cruising. In Adelaide, SA we rented a car and drove up truly twisted and winding mountain roads to the Gorge Wildlife Park. If you want to hold and “hug” a koala bear, this park has set times when they make some of their koalas available for visitors to hold and feed leaves to them (bucket item for wife). The koalas are well cared for and protected by the keepers. This was a fun trip. Again, make sure you understand if you are going to drive around in this area, it takes substantially more time to drive from place to place in Australia in the locations we were driving. The ship docks at the end of a rail line to the northwest of Adelaide. Give yourself time to get back to the ship… or get ready to find your way to Melbourne in two days to rejoin. We then headed to Melbourne SA. We took another ship excursion that included riding on a narrow gauge steam train called “Puffing Billy”. This was a good sightseeing run through the local countryside. We enjoyed this as well. It was then out of Australia and across the Tasman Sea. We were told that our crossing was quite unusual in that the seas were almost “flat” for this area. No complaints from us on calm seas. It made for enjoyment watching the sea and listening to books on tape. It was relaxing and tranquil. When we arrived at New Zealand, it was via our entry into Milford Sound. This is one of three “sounds” that the ship entered on our way to Dunedin, NZ. A few passengers were let off for their excursion overland through the Southern Alps to rejoin the ship at Dunedin. The sounds were beautiful with occasional glimpses of the snow capped peaks in the “Southern Alps”. It was a truly great time to have a balcony room. The port side was the best side for touring the sounds. It kept you looking toward the snow capped mountains. We arrived in Dunedin, NZ and once again took one of the ship’s excursions. This time we went to a farm to ride the 8-wheeled Argos to a couple of beaches. We did this as a lark just to do something different. We were taken to a couple of beaches to view New Zealand fur seals, yellow-eyed penguins, and a small fairy (or blue) penguin. It was fun. The bus driver took us on a trip along the ridge of the main hill overlooking parts of the bay system and other farms and coastlines. We then traveled to Akaroa, NZ. This is a port that is about 50 -60 kilometers from Christchurch, NZ. We took a ships tour to a Maori show in Christchurch. It was entertaining. We ate at the wildlife preserve where the Haka ceremony was conducted. Then it was off to drive around downtown Christchurch to see some of the destruction from the 2011 earthquake and a brief look into the botanical garden. They are still building and condemning damaged buildings. It was a hard hit for Christchurch. We then headed back to Akaroa to rejoin the Radiance and head to Wellington, NZ. The ship stayed in Wellington until midnight. It had been a long time since we had been in a port after dark. It was a change. Plus, it was not that many hours to sail to the port of Picton, NZ the next day. In Wellington, we took an excursion that started out at a botanical garden for morning tea. We then headed on a detour and watched a graduation play by a local class of a college students studying Maori culture. It was not part of the planned tour, but it was interesting. We got to see another Haka dance. Then it was back to Wellington for the city and maritime museum. This was a nice museum. From here we went back to the ship, changed gear and returned to downtown Wellington to shop for souvenirs. We noted that the stops on this cruise were lacking in the traditional Caribbean “tourist shops” that carried junk souvenirs. We had to hunt for a few magnets and postcards. There were some nice shops in Wellington for jewelry and Maori crafts. The next morning we were in Picton, NZ. This was the only port where we made a trip to a winery. We could have gone to any number of wineries at all of the preceding port stops that we had made. Not being big into wine, we ventured into other excursions. A few friends made a winery at every port. They enjoyed this. Well, we made it to the Marlborough Valley. It was a huge stretch of grape vines, wineries, farms, and producers. Our group went to the Spy Valley winery. We took a tour of a very modern facility. They grow their own grapes and produce wine solely from their own grapes. It is family owned. They selected four wines for us to sample. My wife, not being a drinker, and I found the same wine to be very tasty and have been looking for it in the US since our return. I may have found some, but until I get a case or two, I will keep it to myself. Sorry, my wife really liked it. Their other wines were not to our liking. This is not to say they were bad, we just did not like them as much. The ship then headed for Sydney, Australia. The crossing saw a little bit of rain and cloudiness. The swells were running a bit larger than the first crossing due to a weather front. However, it was still very tolerable. We had been in worse in the Caribbean. Sydney was a beautiful city. The ship docked right across Circular Quay from the Sydney Opera House. It was a great location to view the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. I didn’t mention life on the ship itself as I wanted to do that in one place. We enjoyed the ship, the crew, and the entertainment. The Captain was probably the most outgoing and friendly captain we have come across on any trip. He took part in the Liar’s Club contest. He was walking around the ship and visible a lot. We talked to him several times and he was engaging and funny. We hope to see him again in the states. Our Cruise Director, Bobby Brown, was also pleasant and congenial. We spoke to him almost every evening following the shows in the main theater. He has a great sense of humor. We look forward to seeing him again. Speaking of entertainment, this ship had probably the best line of dancers we have seen on any RCI ship. They were all very talented and did a great job. They were full of energy and let the passengers know they were having fun on stage. The singers included two very talented singers. The other two singers weren’t that bad either. They all had fun entertaining. Some of the other talent brought onboard was outstanding. We did not miss bout one show in 17 nights. We had a bit of trouble with understanding one comedian, but it was a language difference. We speak English, and he was English with a heavy accent. Our Australian dinner mates did not have a problem understanding him. We should have asked them to translate for us. We had a great table in the dining room. We were next to the Captain’s table and we had a great group of table mates. One couple from Tennessee, one couple from the Sydney area, one couple from the Gold Coast of Australia, and one couple from Texas. We had a great time exchanging tall tales, bear stories, and fish tales. We looked forward to the great companionship every night at dinner. We were almost always one of the last tables to leave the dining room. We wouldn’t mind cruising with any of them again. It was a hoot. The meals included a lamb course at every dinner. This was understandable given the passengers were mostly Australian and English (UK). I would have liked to have seen a few more variations on beef dishes, chicken dishes, and even pasta dishes rather than the standby four on the everyday menu. We were limited by not eating lamb. Of note was that one of the meals involved kangaroo. It was actually very good. Our Sydney friends accused us of eating “Skippy”; however, I just scratched behind my ear a little and hopped on my way. We enjoyed the meals and dining experiences with others. As a suite passenger and a Diamond Club member, we had access to two separate concierge lounges. We really enjoyed being able to come in before dinner each evening for drinks and canapés. The staffs in these areas were very cordial and helpful. Refreshments were first rate. We love the Diamond Lounges that are showing up on even the smaller RCI vessels as they come out of overhaul. Getting off of the ship was easy. We were staying an extra night in Sydney so we caught a cab to our hotel. It was the Sir Stamford Circular Quay. This is a very nice Hotel. We were in a suite that was spacious and comfortable. It was also within walking distance of the Sydney Opera House, Circular Quay (ferries to other harbor locations), and botanical garden. We enjoyed our brief stay in Sydney. We caught the double-decker open topped bus that went through Sydney on one route and on the second route went out to Bondi Beach. We took both. You can get off and get on as often as you please. It had earphones to listen to the recorded tour information. Note to self, if you do this again, put on your sunscreen. The next day we were off to the airport and on the return flight to LAX and then on to IAH. We left at 3:00 pm on November 27 and got to Houston at 6:15 pm… November 27. Warp speed, nope…just major time changes. It took about 17 hours going back home. We hope to be cruising again in the near future. RCI is still one of our cruise lines of choice.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2013
We embarked on our first cruise with Royal Caribbean on Radiance of the Seas around the bottom end of Australia and the southern island of New Zealand. I'd never been on a cruise before, so wasn't sure what to expect. Well, all ... Read More
We embarked on our first cruise with Royal Caribbean on Radiance of the Seas around the bottom end of Australia and the southern island of New Zealand. I'd never been on a cruise before, so wasn't sure what to expect. Well, all I can say is that it was magnificent from start to finish. I am now a devout cruiser and question the sanity of anyone who isn't!! We went in a balcony room, approximately mid-ship. I loved Radiance, and having been on a few different ships now, I can still say she's brilliant. Not too big, not too small. The ship was a floating palace, the service was second-to-none, the food was great (and PLENTIFUL *OMG*). On top of all this, almost every day you woke up somewhere new! I thought I would dread the days at sea, stuck on a boat with nothing to do. In the end, it was almost the opposite. There was so much to do (or not do) that I think I almost preferred the leisure and total relaxation of the sea days, over the port days! I'd definitely recommend this cruise   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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