1 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Europe - Eastern Mediterranean Cruise Reviews

Radiance of the Seas Review Back to Back Cruise (Western & Eastern) taken November 16 and 23, 2003 Most reviews I have read have told what everyone has done from the time they have arrived at their port of embarkation until they have ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas Review Back to Back Cruise (Western & Eastern) taken November 16 and 23, 2003 Most reviews I have read have told what everyone has done from the time they have arrived at their port of embarkation until they have gotten off the ship. I'll try not to bore you like that. You want to read about the ship, the staff, the cabin, and the food so I will try to bow to your wishes. But first I would like to go out of my way to say this was the best cruise(s) we have ever been on. Personally I do not have anything I can complain about concerning the ship or the crew. Not everything was perfect but all problems were handled quickly and efficiently. Embarkation Nov 16th: We arrived at the terminal at 10:50 and were immediately greeted by RCI personal. He informed us that it would be another 15 minutes or so before we could board and showed us where to sit. Everything was pretty organized. They have rows of chairs set up and we were towards the front of the first row. They came by and provided us with the Compass so we could see what was going on when we boarded. They also made sure we had everything ready for processing. About 11:10 they started sending us through security and processing our boarding papers. Everything went quite smooth and we immediately boarded. We were in our cabin at 11:30. NEVER have we been on board this early. They were still cleaning the rooms, so we put our valuables in the safe, our carry-ons in the closet, and went on our way. Disembarkment & Re-embarkation on Nov. 23rd: WOW!!! Is all I can say. It was so easy. On Saturday evening we stopped by the Guest Relations desk, dropped off our documents for the following week, and picked up our new SeaPass cards. The next morning nine of us met down at Guest Relations in the Centrum at 9:30 and had about a half hour wait while everyone left the ship. The Manager of Guest Relations, Prasad personally walked us through disembarkment. Custom Inspectors looked at our passports and we were then taken downstairs where a gentleman collected our Customs Declaration forms. Back up the escalator on the other side to get our picture imprinted on the new SeaPass card, and back to the ship. Took about 10 minutes to get us off and back on again. And yes, we did have the option of going out for the day. Disembarkment Nov 30th: This went well also. This was our first time as Platinum members and we were able to wait in Chops Grille. They had coffee, tea, juice, and hot & cold water along with muffins, rolls, crescents, etc. As usual they had to locate a passenger or 2 but the wait was not very long. They started calling tags colors about 8:30. We were pink so it was closer to 9:30 before we could start the luggage hunt. Ft. Lauderdale is not set up like Miami where they luggage comes out on a carousel. This is like the old days where you look for your suitcases among the hundreds with the same color tags. It does take a while but I think it's faster than waiting forever for all your bags to be put on the conveyer belt. We grabbed a porter, walked right through Customs, and immediately boarded the bus. Here is where the only rub came in. We were flying American Airlines and they have something special set up for the cruise lines. ALL the cruise lines. The passengers are dropped off in the baggage claim area where American checks the passengers of the different cruise lines in for their flights. They have the boarding passes and luggage tags for everyone that has booked flights through the cruise lines. But for those of us who had booked our own flights, they had to call upstairs, have the documents printed, and walked down to us. It backed everything up and took forever to get checked in. Luckily we had plenty of time but it was very annoying, not to mention tiring, to stand there more than hour in a line that wasn't moving. American needs to do something to improve this check-in procedure. They have got it right in Miami but it sure hasn't carried over to Ft. Lauderdale. Cabin: We were in cabin 7532 at the front of the ship. This is an E1 with the large balcony. The room was nice. It has a loveseat, big enough for both of us, which I believe was a twin sleeper. Plenty of storage and I loved the shelves in the closet. The Eagle class has shelves too but you had to move the clothes to get to them. These have their own door and provide oodles of room. Even with 14 days of clothes and all our purchases, we still had some empty space left at the end of the cruise. The balcony is the plus. It was the standard width of the room but it was twice as deep, approximately 8'. Half of it is shaded by the balcony above you but the rest is open to the sky. Fantastic for watching a sunset, or working on that tan, and especially for stargazing. Also there is no real obstruction to see the ocean. The 6" rail for the window washer is the only thing between you and the sea. The deck chairs are not the typical white plastic but blue webbed sling chairs with the classic little table. We also had two smaller chairs in the plastic webbing like the deck lounge chairs. They made great foot stools. Lili, from Peru, was our cabin steward and what a jewel. She is all of 4'8", with a ready smile, who made sure everything was perfect. I drink bottled water and told Lili this on the first day. Each time she saw an empty in the trash I found a new one in the fridge. We had brought a stuffed animal as our jockey for the horse race which Lili fell in love with. Every day she would arrange the pillows after the morning cleaning and would include the jockey in the presentation. At the end of the cruise we gave him to her. Ship: This is the most beautiful ship I have been on. I was on the Norway not long after NCL had purchased and spent millions to refurbish her. Elegant ship at that time but the Radiance is miles ahead in class. We were also on the Navigator this last April and it is cold and impersonal compared to the Radiance. The Colony Club at the rear of the ship is marvelous. There is plenty of wood throughout the whole ship but the Colony Club has the feel of an old library/card/game room. From the crown moldings creating tray ceilings, to the multi-level seating, and the bar where the bartender is a step down so the bar stools are bar chairs. There is a card area on one side, chess and backgammon tables at the windows on another side, and the whole back end of the ship is floor to ceiling glass. The billiard tables are in a living room setting between the Schooner Bar and the Colony Club and are surrounded by books, several big screen TV's, with couches and coffee tables. The Colony Club was our favorite place to hang out in the evenings. They also do Karaoke here, bingo, the 50/60's sock hop, trivia, Capt Cocktail Party, among other things. Went to the Viking Crown (called Starquest on the Radiance) a time or two but it never had much going on till 11:30 or 12. Cool thing about the Starquest is the bar, bartender and all, rotates. The Solarium on the Radiance is stunning. It looks like an African jungle with elephants, tigers, waterfalls, and more. I love the bridge they have put over the pool. They have bird calls piped in during the day and cricket sounds at night. The dining room is quite pleasing to the eye from the white fabric wrapped columns, to the gorgeous mural at one end of the room, and the waterfall at the stairway. The Centrum has a lovely bar with a lighted glass stairway wrapping around it. There is a waterfall here too. Then there is the glass wall where you can watch the waves as you ride the elevators. This is way cool. And do not miss the animal relief outside the Spa. The Radiance no longer has Book, Books, and Coffee. They have turned that area into conference rooms. They had put a Latte-tudes on deck 5 overlooking the Centrum where they have seating next to the windows and computers scattered throughout the area. The Champagne Bar is across from Latte-tudes and it is decorated the same on all the Radiance and Eagle class ships. The Photo Gallery on deck 5 is quite large so everyone is not bunched up trying to find photos plus it is in a well traveled area. You must stop in at the Crown and Anchor Lounge on deck 12. There are 3 entrances to it. The main entrance is just off the stairway but you can also take 1 of 2 "catwalks" that give the lounge a floating effect. In the center of the lounge, you will find a large glassed "porthole" where you can look down the 7 decks to the Centrum. Yes it is made so you can stand on it to take pictures. Did I? No way! The ship is primarily non-smoking now. Smoking is allowed outside on the port (left) side of the ship and at the bars outside. Inside you can smoke in the Casino, at the bar only in the Scoreboard (sports bar), the aft area of the Colony Club, the left side of Starquest, plus your cabin. You can no longer smoke anywhere in the Schooner Bar. Food: We do not eat in the dining room so I can not comment on the food served there but our friends all said it was good and the wait staff, first-rate. We prefer to eat in the Windjammer, or the Seaview Cafe, Portofinos, or Chops Grille. We were always too busy to make our early seating and late seating is too long to wait. The Windjammer food was very good and we were never disappointed in the quality or the variety. Mornings were the characteristic scrambled eggs, turkey and pork sausage, bacon, and all the trimmings. The omelet man was always busy but I never tried one there. We also had breakfast on our balcony several times and had them deliver coffee most mornings. The food came hot and delicious and the omelets were wonderful. Plus it always arrived within the half hour time frame we had requested. Lunch/Snacks were either in the Windjammer or the Seaview Cafe (open from noon till 3), if we did not eat in port. I had read that the Seaview Cafe was like Johnny Rockets. No! They take your order at the door and then delivery it to your table. No singing, dancing, or Johnny rocket cherry cokes. Yes they have hot dogs and hamburgers with fries and onion rings but they also have much more. Dear husband enjoyed the Cuban sandwich and I though the fish and chips were good. The only problem I found was they do not have ice tea except in the can and I like mine with lemon and no sugar. You had to go down a level (stairs right outside the door) to the Windjammer and picked up tea, lemonade, or coffee. They did have beer and wine available though. Lunch in the Windjammer was the standard hot dogs, hamburgers (both excellent for archetypal lunch food), pizza, soups, a variety of sandwiches, salads, and desserts. We never had a problem finding a place to sit either, inside or out. The Solarium Cafe served pizza and snacks, and was open from 11:30 - 6:30. For dinner the Windjammer was open from 6:30 till 9 and had most of the same items found in the dining room plus sushi, Asian cuisine, and a wonderful salad selection with fruits and cheeses. The food was well prepared and they were always checking to make sure that you had whatever you needed. The Seaview Cafe opened again at 9 PM when the Windjammer closed and stayed open till 2 AM. Their menu never changed. They had several buffets. The first evening they had an All American Buffet and on Monday they had the Chocolate Decadence Buffet, the Caribbean Buffet pool side on Wednesday, and the Gala Buffet on Friday. Other evenings they would bring finger sandwiches and sweets around to the bars and public areas at 11:30. These buffets were on the same days for both itineraries. Portofino was very good and we enjoyed it as usual. Now the Portofino on the Navigator was just a touch better, food and service, but don't get me wrong, it was well worth the extra $$'s. The lobster is bigger than you get in the dinner room and the veal medallions were very tasty. Chops Grille was our favorite though. We ate here 3 times in the 2 weeks. We tried the Prime Rib, Fillet, Strip Steak, and Veal Chop. The best was the fillet which you could cut with your fork and the veal chops the least favorite. Not bad, just a little fattier that we would have liked. Husband loved the crab cakes and I thought the bread pudding was to die for. One thing though -- when watching the channel on the TV that shows the Compass activities and the dining room menus, don't believe the menus. They are not always correct. Sometimes, they weren't even close! Glance at the menus posted outside the dining room to double check. Suggested Attire: Western Caribbean Sunday - Casual Monday - Formal / Capt Cocktail Party Tuesday - Casual / '70's Disco Wednesday - Casual or Toga Thursday - Formal Friday - Smart Casual & 50's Sock Hop Saturday - Casual Eastern Caribbean Sunday - Casual Monday - Formal / Capt Cocktail Party Tuesday - Casual / Country Western Wednesday - Smart Casual / Caribbean Thursday - Formal Friday - Casual / '50 Sock Hop Saturday - Casual Entertainment: I'll be brief because these are always changing. Steve Bruner - Comedy / OK Nick Lewin - Comedy & Mystery / Lame Hill Brother - Comedy & Jugglers / Lame Toxic Audio x 2 - Acappella Music / They were on both weeks and were outstanding. If you get the chance to see them, DO NOT MISS IT. Burt Leigh - Comedy / Very funny Did not see either of the production shows plus we missed both farewell shows. There was just not enough time to get everything done some days. Activities: Western - Late Night Adult Comedy The Challenge, which is a survivor type "game" where you play pool, mini golf, climb the rock wall, etc. They pick 8 people to play during the week and the audience during the evening show times "votes" a person off each day. '70 Disco Party Love & Marriage Game Show Toga Party Dart Competition Battle of the Sexes (Family feud - girl's vs the guys & quite funny) Sock Hop Quest Owners Horse Race Cooking Demo Karaoke Idol Championship Eastern - Majority Rules Games Show '70 Dance Fever Wild West Dance Party Mini Golf Tournament Quest Caribbean Fiesta under the Stars Love & Marriage Game Battle of the Sexes Sock Hop Horse Racing Win a cruise bingo Cooking Demo Karaoke Championship Most of the same things were going on each week like the Bar Tricks demo, bingo, wine tasting, art auctions, and more. I was just trying to hit the highlights of each week. If you have any questions of dates or times, I have all the Compasses for each week. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Shore Excursions: I did not give a high rating to the one excursion we took this cruise.. Generally we go out on our own but we had never been to Costa Maya before and decided to take the Dune Buggy Tour. Do not waste your time. The dune buggies are falling apart and ours was leaking gas. Yeap, I was green by the time we got to the beach. They did get it fix somewhat for the ride back. They take you on a concrete road for about 30 minutes and you only go down a dirt road for about a mile to get to the beach. Where the pop and water wasn't chilled and they served chips with cheese sauce from a jar. his for over $120 for the 2 of us? I think not. Stay in the plaza that is right off the ship. They have created a great place to shop, eat, drink, or enjoy the beach. The is a huge free-flowing pool which wanders around one side of the plaza with a restaurant on one side and a bar on the other you can swim up too. We had friends who spent the day here and had a great time. Staff: Here is where this ship excels. How can I explain the pampered service we received everywhere. I wish I had the time and the space to mention everyone like Michael, Vinney, Jesus, Iwaylon, and their boss Lloyd. I have already mentioned our cabin steward, Lili who always had a moment for you with a smile on her face. To Frederick the head bartender for the Schooner Bar and the Colony Club who opened the back bar just for the Cruise Critic Boarding Party for the second weeks group. He provided us with our 2 favorite waiters (Jerome & Gusti) and bartender (Rada). These guys took extra special care of us always, making sure we always had whatever we needed no matter how busy the Club was. And the nights of Quest and the Sock Hop, it was VERY busy. To Inyoman in the Schooner Bar who always had a smile and a big welcome even though, as smokers, he knew we won't be spending much time with him. To Dirk and Mindi in Chops and Kristina in the Windjammer who went over and above in service. Thank you to all the wonderful people whose name we did not learn but had a smile and a friendly word or two for us each time we met. And the cruise director(s) - we had 2 -and their staff who were the greatest fun. Angie was with us the first week and Bill took over the second week. Each had time to say hello each time they saw us. Gennie, the asst CD, we had met on the Navigator, and is the sweetest thing. To Kirk and his trivia, Giovanni and his dance moves, Jennifer with her bubbling personality and such a great collaborator with Gennie, and Collette the new kid on the block with her big smile. Then there's PK, the manager of Guest Relations whom I had mentioned earlier, who bent over backwards to handle the problem we had with the on-board credits. To the Staff Captain, Gustavo whom we had met him earlier in the cruise, and stopped what he was doing as we were leaving the ship to shake our hands, ask about our vacation, wish us a good trip home, and to invite us back to his ship. I don't think we could have been treated better if we had been in the Royal Suite. Yes, we were very impressed with the ship and everyone on it, as you can tell. Was everyone working there smiling and happy - no, but we didn't let a few people effect the general mood of the ship. Everyone is entitled to a bad day. I cannot stress enough, if you are looking for one of the most beautiful ships and the friendliest staff to sail the Caribbean and points west, please book the Radiance of the Seas. I don't think you will be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date November 2003
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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