76 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Hawaii Cruise Reviews

Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being ... Read More
Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being around over 1,000 kids. We tried the "mega ship as the destination" thing and the" ship within a ship suite level" thing, and it left us wanting. A lot. Then a destination wedding of friends on the Big Island made us reexamine RCI. This was a ten day cruise Vancouver to Honolulu (5 sea days then stops in Maui, Kauai, Hilo, Kona, Honolulu) with 18 more days to Sydney Australia for those doing the complete journey. We disembarked a day early in Kona since we would have had to fly back there for wedding the next day. Perfect timing. We'd been on the Radiance 10 years earlier and enjoyed her, so off we went. What we loved: The size of the ship and the number of passengers (just right) The orientation to the sea from almost all the interior spaces and the beautiful atrium One of the handsomest lounges at sea (Colony Club) Lots of seating inside and out at the Windjammer buffet The crispy lobster rolls at Izumi (and almost everything else!) Lots of deck space and loungers. Automatic leveling pool tables. The friendliness crew, officers and cruise staff. The excursion to Lanai....off the beaten track with a 5 star guide! What we liked: The food in the Windjammer and and main dinning room. The food in the specialty restaurants The musicians and lounge acts. Plenty of activities for the number of sea days (special shout out to the egg drop) The art deco vibe of the stateroom Cleanliness of stateroom and public spaces in general. The excursion to Hanelei on Kauai...(with scenes from movies shot on Kauai on the ride back to the ship, crowd favorite Dinocroc Vs. Supergator) Enough elevators for the amount of guests (contrasted to the Oasis class horror) What we weren't crazy about: Embarkation slow and disjointed....you go through US customs when you leave BC, slowing down the process. Stateroom bathroom tired, dated and exorbitant amount caulking used to fill in the gaps. Internet amazingly slow....(think dial up speed if you are old enough to remember) The floor in the Windjammer often very slick from as the signs say "condensation", like walking on ice in street shoes. Evening entertainment limited. Would we do RCI again? As long as the Radiance class ships exist, doing longer itineraries, we will. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is ... Read More
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is another’s trash. That said please remember this is our personal impressions and yours, of course, will vary. We ignore postings that are made in response to our reviews that merely seek to flame. We will review subsequent posts in order to provide answers to questions asked. We appreciate this understanding. Please ignore any spelling or grammar errors – we want to get this posted swiftly before we lose focus on our experiences. Thank you. Travel and Embarkation - We are a semi-retired American couple (both 66 years of age) living as expats in an Asian country. This was our seventh cruise (3 on Princess and 3 on Norwegian, and now 1 on Royal Caribbean). We made all our own arrangement for this trip including direct reservations with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, air travel, and hotel, (we did a RCCL transfer from the ship to the airport in Honolulu). We flew in one day ahead of the 10 September sail date so we could enjoy some time in Vancouver without the stress of trying to make a flight on cruise day. This was a good decision in retrospect as our experience in the Vancouver airport was one for the record book. We were queued up three times in multi-hundred person lines before we got to immigration. The airport appeared to be completely overwhelmed with passengers. It literally took three and a half hours from exiting the airplane to getting to the point of retrieving our baggage. We took the light rail line from the airport to the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver. The train was very easy to negotiate, quick, and inexpensive. Our pre-cruise stay was as the Exchange Hotel located a couple of blocks away from the cruise port at Canada Place. The weather was typical Northwest – cloudy with a couple of periods of heavy rain. Vancouver is really a beautiful city. On boarding day we took the short 5 minute walk from the hotel at just after 10:30. We were in a Grand Suite for this cruise so dropping off our bags we walked directly to security and then to the express check-in without waiting in a single line. The Ship – It is small as ships go these days. The Radiance was launched in 2001 but had come out of renovation in May 2016. The ship looked to be in generally good condition. There are numerous areas around the ship that could do with a little paint and rust removal but overall the ship is well maintained, clean, and free of obvious neglect. Our Grand Suite was Port Forward on the 10th deck and we generally walked the stairs and rarely took an elevator so crowded elevators were not a concern. We did notice that often there were many waiting to ride. We did not use the casino but we did walk through the area a couple times and noticed a very heavy tobacco odor permeating the area. We decided that after the first day when walking from the front to the rear of the ship we would simply walked up or down a flight of stairs, crossed over or under the casino and walk back up or down the stairs on the other side. The odor, while evident, is not in our opinion, something to get upset about after all it is a casino. There is a rock climbing wall, 9 hole golf putting course, and basketball court. The weather was agreeable most days. There are two swimming pools on deck 11 (one adult only and one open). Both are small and busy on the Hawaii itinerary. Our Cabin – We had a Grand Suite with balcony on Deck # 10 Port Side Forward. Our cabin steward was very intuitive and was always available but never intrusive. He was very friendly and always helpful. Towels were replaced almost as soon as used and the room serviced regularly. The room was kept very clean. The grand suite has a large sitting area with full sofa and two easy chairs and a coffee table. We had a king sized bed located in a separate area of the suite. The bathroom was very large and had a big bath tub with shower. As suite guests we were provided upgraded amenities (soap, shampoo, rinse, body wash, etc.). The bathroom was spotless. Storage area was more than adequate. Even with three large suitcases we did not even filled up one closet with two to spare. We had a large flat screen television. Channel selection was non-existent but useful for checking your shipboard accounts and reservations. Ship announcements were not broadcasted into the rooms so you had to listen from the outside if you wanted to hear the public announcements. We had an unlimited Voom Surf and Stream Wi-Fi package. While billed as the “fastest at sea” that was not our experience. It was the slowest and most prone to disconnection of any service we have every had on any ship. There was a water pot and coffee maker with free coffee provided in our cabin but we did not use them as the coffee available at many locations around the ship provided plenty of very satisfactory coffee. Dining - We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet on deck 10. Breakfast was the standard fare with omelets made to order and a wide variety of breakfast foods to choose. In our opinion the buffet was well designed with adequate seating. The staff was very fast at removing plates and silverware and cleaning tables as people left. If you meet Jade in the buffet say hello to a wonderfully upbeat and kind young man. Since we were suite guests we never had a difficult time finding a seat because there was a reserved dining room just off the buffet. We found the food in the buffet to be generally good but somewhat repetitive. There is a self-serve soft ice cream machine in the buffet area. We had dinner twice in the Main Dining Room. Both were excellent meals. Having reservations we were seated immediately. We did notice a slight lag in service but the menu items were always appropriately hot, warm, or cold. We also dined in our room twice with selections from the main dining room menu which was delivered hot and quickly from room service. Extra Fee Dining - On our second sea day we ate Izumi’s sushi restaurant. The food was well presented and very tasty if not quite as fresh as we would have liked. On our fourth sea day we ate at the Samba Grill a South American Churrascaria concept venue. The food and service were excellent. Come hungry as portions are large and filling. On our sixth sea day we ate at the Italian themed Giovanni’s restaurant. Again the food was wonderful and the service attentive and friendly. Entertainment - The one area for which we would like to see change is more entertainment in the theater. We enjoyed the one revue show we saw as very entertaining and well done but other evening entertainment presented appeared to be filling an otherwise empty evening. Tours – We booked all our tours through Royal Caribbean. As most everyone knows this is a more expensive option but the benefits of ease of booking, guaranteed return to the ship, and tour operator vetting are hard for us to ignore. We did not want to take any risks getting back to the ship on time. Maui Hawaii (Lahaina) – Hana & Haleakala Helicopter Exploration. We had a wonderful time during this just over one hour aerial tour of Mt. Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano. We were picked up at the port and escorted to the Blue Hawaii air terminal located at the Maui airport. Our pilot was personable, knowledgeable and gracious. The views are indescribable. While costly, this tour is well worth the money. Upon completion we were again picked up and returned to the cruise port in a comfortable van. Kauai Nawiliwili – Grove Farm and Kilohana Plantation Railway. A short drive from the deep water port of Nawiliwili the Kilohana Plantation harkens back to Kauai's Golden Age of Sugar with a four-hour tour of the Grove Farm museum and a narrated railway ride around the former plantation plus free time at Koloa Rum Company and other artisan shops. Rich in history and slow in pace this tour is a relaxing stop on the Garden Island. Of all our tours during this cruise we found this to be our least favorite and not worth the cost and would not consider it worth repeating. Hilo Hawaii (Big Island) – Zipline through Paradise and Waterfalls. A total of eight zipline runs follow the Honolii River high over thundering waterfalls and deep gorges. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and obsessed with our safely. We were given three rules to remember and were quizzed repeatedly concerning them. The three rules were 1) don’t adjust or handle your harness, 2) don’t put your hands on the cable, and 3) have fun. Some zipline runs were tranquil and easy and some were quite thrilling. We had a great time and would have liked to have gone back up and done it again if possible. The light rain throughout our tour did little to dampen our enthusiasm. Highly recommend this tour if physically able. Kona Hawaii (Big Island) - Atlantis Submarine. We rode a large comfortable boat with around 70 other guests from the cruise terminal out into the ocean where the submarine was waiting. Boarding was done via gang plank from the boat to the submarine under the watchful eye of the crew who stood by to assist if needed. All went well. There were two entrances into the submarine (one on each end) so boarding went quickly and easily. The interior of the submarine has individual seats (two rows facing back to back) and each passenger has her/his own designated port hole through which to view. The nearly hour long dive visited two ship wrecks and numerous coral formations. While many fish were in the area none were large and the light filtering effects of being under up to 100 feet of water drained most of the colors leaving the viewer seeing mostly in gray shades. The submarine is well lit, clean, ventilated, and large enough to eliminate any possibility of Claustrophobia. This tour is very interesting and well worth the cost. Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend the Royal Caribbean and the Vancouver to Hawaii itinerary. The Radiance of the Seas is a great ship for a relaxing cruise. Younger cruisers with families may want to consider larger ships with more traditional entertainment venues (water parks, rope courses, flow riders, etc.). Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We arrived in Honolulu the evening before our cruise and had a hotel a short distance from the cruise port. From the time we check our bags with a porter, through security and check-in, we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. We ... Read More
We arrived in Honolulu the evening before our cruise and had a hotel a short distance from the cruise port. From the time we check our bags with a porter, through security and check-in, we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. We have been on the Radiance of the Seas several times before, but found the ship in need of a makeover. The ship looks "tired". Compared to newer, more modern ships, it's furnishings look old and need of replacement. Our balcony cabin (#9208) was clean, but it had torn drapes and sheer panels. The sofa was well worn. While out on the balcony, rust could be seen in several locations. We had My Time Dining in the Cascades Dining Room seven of our 12 nights and found the food to be good. Three nights we went to the Windjammer and enjoyed the buffet. Two of the nights, Prime Rib roast was served. Two nights, Chops was our choice. Chops has never disappointed. The Windjammer breakfast buffet was also good. We chose to only go to the Aurora Theatre twice. I found the entertainment there to be not that rewarding. Throughout the cruise, we enjoyed the various singers, instrumentals and and violinists in the Centrum and Colony Club. This cruise had many Diamond, Diamond + and Pinnacle C&A members. The Concierge Lounge was only for use by Suite guests and Pinnacle level. The Diamond Lounge on the Radiance is small and only holds about 25-30 people. They had to open up the Starquest Lounge next door to accommodate all of the Diamond and Diamond + folks. The nightly happy hour was always crowded. We would wait until after 5:30 (when early dining started) to go there. All crew members we encountered would greet you with a smile and a greeting. Our Cabin Attendant, Lega, would call us by name after meeting us on the first day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary and knew the ship was old and smaller than others. We like the smaller size ship and wish cruise lines would stop making them bigger and bigger. The itinerary was nice (Honolulu -> ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary and knew the ship was old and smaller than others. We like the smaller size ship and wish cruise lines would stop making them bigger and bigger. The itinerary was nice (Honolulu -> Vancouver). The ports were very nice. The cabin was tight but who spends time in their cabin anyway :). The main dining room food was very good compared with other cruise lines. We did not do any of the extra dining rooms and felt quite satisfied with the outstanding main dining room service and food. My biggest regret was purchasing the alcohol package which is quite expensive and you almost have to work at getting your money's worth but the drinks we had and bartenders were awesome just overpriced alcohol package. We could not get on the shore excursion to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu since it booked up fast and there was no room so we booked a private tour that was quite good - a small group and excellent service. (Royal Hawaiian Tours). Very professional service. Stay away from Alex Tours. He approached us in the cruise terminal and told us his tours were less expensive than the shop tours. He did not ask for money up front but told us if he had our name we would have a spot on his bus if we got that at his assigned time/ We arrived at his bus 2o minutes early to find it was full already and he had no other buses. The driver looked very old as did the bus that had the Alex Tours painted over the First Baptist Church Logo. Come to find out from passengers that did get on that bus - the bus broke down 2 hours away from the ship and they almost missed getting back in time as well as missing parts of the tour since they had to wait for a replacement bus. Very sketchy so stay away. The other shore excursions we booked through the ship and I must say that they were worth the money, well organized and interesting. The only excursion that disappointed us was the Luau in Mauwi. It was at a large hotel and the hotel crammed in as many guests as they could. The food was only mediocre and the entertainment was pretty spread out timewise. It seemed that the cruise passengers got the tables in the back and believe me they were distant from the stage! Some of the tables were off to the side of the stage which made it difficult to see. The hotel also managed to squeeze in a "fashion show" of Hawaiian wear that you could purchase in the gift shop which I felt was unnecessary. The vendors that were selling their crafts were not that exciting either. The islands were very good and most of t he entertainment during the Island part of the cruise was pretty good. The trans-Pacific part of the cruise the entertainment and things to do on the ship were fairly boring. The lecture series for 5 days was about the Canadian Mounties - I would have liked something more interesting, educational, and useful. They had plenty of movies except their "Cinema" was usually full and during the Pacific crossing the outdoor movie screen by the pool was pretty useless. The shows at night were not exceptional but most were entertaining except for 1 very boring comedian. 5 days at sea needs much more happening on the ship. That was my biggest disappointment. Everything went smoothly. I was hesitant about crossing the Pacific in May but as it turned out the seas were smooth (no seasickness) although the temperatures were too cold and windy to do much on the decks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Loved the Hawaii portion of the itinerary. After a great time in the islands, we headed out for 5 days of cold, cloudy weather. Not the fault of RC, but just the same, plans for swimming and sunning were dead on arrival. All of that ... Read More
Loved the Hawaii portion of the itinerary. After a great time in the islands, we headed out for 5 days of cold, cloudy weather. Not the fault of RC, but just the same, plans for swimming and sunning were dead on arrival. All of that aside, no one on board seemed to know the schedule. I asked what night is formal night, no one knew, not even the customer service desk! This was was our first cruise in 30 years and RC didn't win any awards for helping us understand the process. Would we go again? NO WAY. We would fly to Hawaii, do inter-island air and skip the cruise. You are in port for a short time, so it is no way to see Hawaii. Other downers: Constant upselling of drink and internet packages. We figured out that bottles of wine were discounted 40% in the specialty dining venues. So we would buy wine then and have it delivered to the main dining room. The shower in the cabin (balcony) was so tiny and poorly constructed it was a joke. Dining was actually fine. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have wanted to do a cruise to Hawaii for a long time. We were last in the islands in 1982. The Radiance of the Seas cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii was a great chance to return with the added benefit of travelling with friends. It is a ... Read More
We have wanted to do a cruise to Hawaii for a long time. We were last in the islands in 1982. The Radiance of the Seas cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii was a great chance to return with the added benefit of travelling with friends. It is a lovely ship with a few spots looking the worse for wear. We felt right at home since our 40 year old home also has a few of those! There did seem to be a very friendly, cheerful ambiance on the ship that I believe starts at the top. Embarkation was very efficient--one of our best in 16 cruises. Disembarkation via express, carry your own luggage was very popular and maybe the large express group needs letters or numbers to be called in stages also. Overall, dining was quite good. Mostly, we had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer. I could find enough breakfast variety to eat for a month in this venue. Three times I had breakfast in the Park Cafe to avail myself of the lox and bagels and fixings I enjoy very much. We had lunch in the main dining room once. I had the Tutti salad I loved in the past. It was good but tuna fish was the protein of choice. I missed the shrimp and prosciutto I had enjoyed in the past. Do I detect a cut-back? Had some good Indian food in the WJ. Plenty of choices to not go hungry. Thought the desserts here were very weak and repetitive and many dishes could use a bit more spice. We dined at Giovanni's for lunch one day and they put on a spectacular feast. Everything was delicious. We shared appetizers and pasta and had our own entrees. I highly recommend this $15 lunch special. Best meal of the cruise but of course, it was a specialty restaurant. Desserts were ones we still dream about and service superb. Salvador and Bennie were our fixed dining waiters and took very good care of us. Their job is extra hard because they have different numbers of people showing up on different nights. They made sure we were stocked with the brown sunflower seed rolls we cruise for. Overall the food was quite good. One night we had a wonderful lamb shank. I missed the wonderful rare thick lamb chops we have had on a couple of cruises. I had a couple of the sugar free desserts which were pleasantly good. Dinner desserts were much better than the WJ. With limited changing menu choices, I think they should avoid 2 steaks or 2 chocolate cake choices on the same menu--just my preference. Thought the cruise director John was very good. His afternoon Neil Diamond show was one of our favorite entertainment offerings. OA, the entertainment was pretty average but seats more available. Sea Day trivia was very well done with most of the questions just about right in the degree of difficulty. Hannah, James and Sophie did a good job. Played bingo once--very expensive and games are too short. My favorite game was the football goalpost which took a while. Prizes were good. Enjoyed the Hawaiian duo. I would also like to see more classic country music on the ships. We were sorry to miss Hilo. They subbed an ON in Lahaina instead. We were doing several nights on Maui after the cruise so this was not quite as good for us. Weather on the cruise was lovely. Hawaii was rather hot and humid due to recent hurricane activity which caused no problems for us. Our group usually plans its own excursions. No children in our group. I always have fun and a good time on cruises and my first on ROTS filled the bill nicely. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Four seniors escaping from the Arizona heat to Vancouver on Sept. 6. Flew in 1 night early - our party of 2 - and stayed near the YVR airport at Ramada Inn as it had a free shuttle and free breakfast. Room was small but clean and quiet. ... Read More
Four seniors escaping from the Arizona heat to Vancouver on Sept. 6. Flew in 1 night early - our party of 2 - and stayed near the YVR airport at Ramada Inn as it had a free shuttle and free breakfast. Room was small but clean and quiet. On boarding day (9/7) we joined with another cruise couple at our hotel and split a cab to Canada Place. $36.30 + tip CDN. 30 minutes after arrival we were on board the ship - one of the fastest check ins and boardings ever for us. Kudos to the folks at the Vancouver Cruise Terminal and RCL. Staterooms available at 115 pm, departure on time at 515 pm. Our group of 4 had the 530 traditional dining each night in the MDR. THE CRUISE - 10 days total, 5 sea days then 5 Hawaii ports - Hilo on the big island, was replaced by Lahaina for 2 days. So Lahaina 2 days, Hana - 1 day, Kauai - 1 day with a drop at Honolulu on the final morning. Lahaina and Hana were both tenders so that is more of a challenge and problem to come and go. OUR CABIN - mid ship interior Deck 3 - good for the 5 sea days due to some 6 - 8 ft. swells. Room was quiet, clean in good shape, bed comfortable, room temp good and cold for sleeping. Attendant Elmer did an excellent job for us and was always pleasant. Flat screen TV with a good variety of cable channels and generally a good picture. SHIP CONDITION - Though one of the older ships, 2300 passengers and 13 decks, we found it in great shape and was kept clean. Plenty of friendly staff who did their job well. Captain Ryan - low profile but daily announcements at 12 noon with our status. With the 5 sea days we played lots of trivia - Hannah, James, Sophie were usually in charge - they were fun and entertaining. FELLOW PASSENGERS - a diverse group - mostly 60 and up but I would say 20% were 30 to 60 in age, some young families - approximately 80 children on board and a number of pre school. Always enjoy talking with people from all over the US and the world on these cruises. Everyone I spoke to was friendly and pleasant. SHOWS/ENTERTAINMENT - Cruise Director John Blair we liked and enjoyed but it appears RCL has decidedly cut this budget. We normally go to the evening show after dining. Some of the shows and entertainers were okay, many were just fair to mediocre. No WOW on the evening shows on this cruise, but at least it was easy to get a seat to attend. DINING - at every evening meal in the MDR at 530 pm. 2 formal nights - waiters - Salvador and Benny - fun to deal with, did their job well and made dinner a good time for all. Food selection always good, service always good, food quality normally good, pacing of meal good - not too slow - not too fast. Ate in 1 specialty restaurant, Giovanni’s for lunch - ½ the dinner price - great meal, great service, excellent meal and dessert. Total price including tip for 4 (no alcohol) was $75. The chocolate cake alone was worth the price of the meal. Had lunch 1 time in the dining room for a change - very good too. Normally did breakfast and lunch in the windjammer. We were happy there with the selection and taste, cleanliness, staff attitude and their job performance. Weakest item in the WJ was the desserts (we felt). Windjammer - additional comment - most every morning as I tried to enjoy my breakfast, usually at 7 AM, the very loud, hip hop music was blaring above our table, sometimes too loud to even have a conversation. Does anyone in the WJ management see who is eating breakfast at 7 AM ? I guess not or who is the music really for - the employees or the paying customers? This could be so much better for all these 60 year olds as they try to converse and enjoy their breakfast. There are so many good music choices that could be made for us to dine by. Perhaps a majority of instrumentals as a suggestion. Music like this is okay at lunch or dinner but please not at 7 AM - please look at this hard and address it. FITNESS CENTER - Did not use FAVORITE LOUNGE - the one on deck 13 - great for reading, chatting or playing games. MEDICAL UNIT - Unfortunately our friends had the chance to use the medical unit. She saw their 2 doctors and was very pleased with their treatment and handling of her problem. Also the nursing staff was very knowledgable. Only downside is charges go right on the sea pass - no insurance claims here, but even at that was not excessively priced. INTERNET - the fastest I’ve seen on a cruise ship. Offered 1 hour for $9.99 - worked for us. Big improvement here on rates and speed - at least on the Radiance. SLOTS - CASINO - 186 slot machines and 10 tables, mostly older machines but some new too. Some of the lowest minimum bet machines in abundance - many could be played for 10 to 30 cents a spin and I think an above average pay out for a cruise ship casino. We played every day but stuck to our budget - casino opened each day at 8 AM but once in Hawaiian waters the entire casino closed the last 5 days of our cruise. BINGO - like the slots - once in Hawaiian waters no more bingo so again that was for the last 5 days of the cruise. We usually do not play ship bingo feeling it is too expensive for the prizes and is way too short but we tried it this time. Buy in was $29 to $69 per player for 3 games on 4 of the sessions, 1 session was a cover all for 1 game only for $30. These 4 different days consisted of 3 games per session - first was a regular bingo, 2nd 4 corner bingo, 3rd the X. Bingo was hit very quickly, in some cases 4 or 5 numbers and that game was over on games 1 and 2. Took about 10 mins to play the 3 games and we were done. I urged them to do some longer games - I want more play for $29 minimum buying those 3 games. I feel if they brought the price down and did more lengthy games there would be more participation (and enjoyment) !! This suggestion fell on deaf ears. SEA DAY ACTIVITY - we felt this was a really weak point on this cruise - not much going on during the afternoon - how about some shows in the afternoon - the Serenade had them 1 year ago while on there. Just not enough going on to help fill those sea days. DRINK PRICES - the coca colas were $3.84 (including tip) and the alcohol seemed to start at $12 per drink + 18%. Far too expensive and little chance to buy a special or happy hour. As a result we did not buy 1 alcoholic drink this cruise. SUMMARY - Well we did kind of escape the Arizona heat for a short period. Most all of our Hawaii time on shore it was hot and humid - unusual according to the locals. 1 year ago we took the sister ship, the Serenade one way Copenhagen to Boston - that experience vs. this one is 180 degrees. The Serenade provided us with our worst MDR dining experience ever on RCL, from the wait staff, their attitude, food selection and delivery, dinner pacing, a challenge every night to dine. The entire atmosphere of that ship vs. the Radiance was entirely different - like the attitude of the staff wherever you went - so positive on the Radiance. I guess the overall experience is very ship specific. The only area we liked better on Serenade was they provided more to do on sea days, as that itinerary had 5 sea days as well. Friends did a Celebrity future booking while on board - the $100 each deposit program is still in place and nice to be able to book Celebrity and RCL while onboard. Just a few complaints from us as mentioned, otherwise very satisfied - this experience was what we expect of RCL as we cruise with them and why we continue to return. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We are a couple in our early 60's, newly retired. We have done this itinerary twice before. Each time the cost is higher, but the # days is shortened. This was a B2B cruise for us, since we boarded the ship in Sydney Australia for ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60's, newly retired. We have done this itinerary twice before. Each time the cost is higher, but the # days is shortened. This was a B2B cruise for us, since we boarded the ship in Sydney Australia for the TransPacific repositioning. We stayed in the same cabin (9616), and had the same fabulous cabin steward (Boren Franover), so we were very happy with the stateroom. The service on the ship was great, as usual. Most of the staff goes out of their way to be friendly, answer questions, and to provide a wonderful experience. Instead of our usual Early Dining, we opted to try My Time Dining this cruise, in order to free up time to watch sunsets and sailaways. We made reservations for dinner times in the MDR, but didn't have great experiences with that. The first night, we were seated at a table with others who had reservations for a 1/2 hour before us, and had to wait until we arrived in order for the table to be full enough to order. The second night didn't go much better, so we opted to eat in the Windjammer Buffet after that, except for one night in Chops Grille. The buffet, Park Cafe and steakhouse were excellent food, and the sunset views on the aft deck were an added bonus. The first 4 days were port days (Honolulu, Lahaina, Kona and Kauai), so the Meet & Mingle was held on day 6. It was not well attended, and very little mingling happened -- a real disappointment after the previous cruise from Sydney. The port day in Hilo was cancelled after the volcano erupted and the earthquake happened. RCI substituted a day in Victoria instead at the end of the cruise. Victoria is a great city and we had a lovely day, but we would rather have had another day in any other Hawaiian port. We live in Greater Vancouver, and having paid a premium price for a Hawaiian cruise, we weren't thrilled with the substitution. Entertainment on this segment was mostly a repeat of the previous cruise, so we didn't attend many of the shows. Instead we saw more of the game shows in the Colony Club, and played pool on the self-levelling pool tables. We also spent more time trying to improve our mini-golf skills, doing puzzles and working out in the gym. The weather from Kauai to Victoria was cooler and rocky the first few days, making poolside lounging unappealing. Due to a medical emergency, we picked up speed and arrived in Victoria the evening before planned ETA. The one bonus to stopping in Victoria was that we were able to clear Customs in Victoria and avoid the Customs lineups in Vancouver, where 3 other ships were also docked at the same time. Kudos to Alex (Activities Director) and Sophie (Activities staff) for their tireless enthusiasm in running activities, contests and games to keep us entertained. I would consider doing this cruise again, but only if the duration is restored to 12 or 13 days, and if our favourite Hawaiian port of Hilo is restored. That last part, of course, is up to Mother Nature, and beyond RCI's control. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We would highly recommend Royal Caribbean to anyone. Their staff are highly trained and see to your comfort and individual needs above all else. Always friendly and courteous no matter how long of a day they have had. They make you feel ... Read More
We would highly recommend Royal Caribbean to anyone. Their staff are highly trained and see to your comfort and individual needs above all else. Always friendly and courteous no matter how long of a day they have had. They make you feel a part of the family! Always something to do on and off the ship, always helpful in Guest Services and just overall a great company to take a cruise with! Food well prepared in an excellent and clean environment! Everyone went out of their way to make sure we had the best experience ever and we did! Keep you informed of everything going on and changes that are made when necessary. We felt very pampered. The games were funny and there was always something for everyone to do. Had to make time to rest - there was so much to do and see. Cruise tours were the best! We can not say enough about our great experience! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
First Time Cruising, Choose This one as it was departing from Vancouver BC with Hawaii as a destination. Over all cruise was great. Entertainment was relaxing , Room was adequate with attentive staff, Dining was exceptional with ... Read More
First Time Cruising, Choose This one as it was departing from Vancouver BC with Hawaii as a destination. Over all cruise was great. Entertainment was relaxing , Room was adequate with attentive staff, Dining was exceptional with outstanding staff, Service in most cases was excellent there were definitely some wow factors. I was however less than impressed with the shore ex people. I found them to be not helpful or informative but eager to sell you product. I was also not totally satisfied with all the tours. I found the Kings, trains & Waterfalls in Kauai interesting no one ever did figure out what the kings reference was for, our tour bus lost it's air conditioning and the replacement was handled poorly. The Kona excursion was a stop at the coffee plantation gift shop, a lovely stop at the national park with an old village site but no guidance or narrative so a lost opportunity my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We liked the size of the ship and have been on Brilliance and Vision before. The Radiance however looks very tired, from the Windjammer, to the dining rooms, the decor, the chipped and stained furniture, Wardrobe doors wouldn't close, ... Read More
We liked the size of the ship and have been on Brilliance and Vision before. The Radiance however looks very tired, from the Windjammer, to the dining rooms, the decor, the chipped and stained furniture, Wardrobe doors wouldn't close, pool towels that should be turned into rags etc. On the positive side: food was ok, staff friendly and helpful and the itinerary great. We embarked very early in Vancouver and swept right through. As we didn't disembark in Honolulu leaving the ship for the day didn't take much time. First port of call was Maui where they had a bit of a problem with the tenders. It seemed to be not well organized. Fortunately we were there over night. Therefore time wasn't really an issue. We rented a car on each island and it was definitely worth it. But be careful in Maui. We anchored at Lahaina and had to pick up the car at their major airport - which meant an expensive taxi ride. There is a closer rental car place. Make sure you watch out for that. Hilo was very good because of the Volcanoes, Kona not so much, Kauai again was great and far too much to do and see in Honolulu for the limited time we had. We are not sure if we want to get back on the Radiance before it has had a refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Things were quite unorganized on this ship from Vancouver to Hawaii. THE GOOD: (1) The food was very good, and especially loved that they finally had a gluten-free station in the Windjammer; for those of you who have Celiac Disease, ... Read More
Things were quite unorganized on this ship from Vancouver to Hawaii. THE GOOD: (1) The food was very good, and especially loved that they finally had a gluten-free station in the Windjammer; for those of you who have Celiac Disease, this is a welcomed accommodation ~ Thank you so much for that! (2) The Service in the Dining Room and the Windjammer were top notch, as always! (3) Our cabin was cleaned thoroughly twice a day by our wonderful Room Attendant! (4) The OUTSIDE entertainment was very good: 2 great singers, 2 good comedians, and 1 very good ventriloquist. THE BAD: Everything else! (1) The Cruise Director (and his wife, the Assistant) were unlike many we've had on other cruises. On our seven previous cruises, we would often see our Cruise Director several times on the pool deck; my husband and I spend the majority of our daytime hours there and we never saw either John, nor Katrina, there. Basically saw them introduce the evening shows, and rarely anytime else. The one time we did see John and apprised him of a disembarking concern, he would not accept that there was an important lack of information (a photo ID must accompany you off the ship along with your Sea Pass Card and Tender Ticket) being included during the Tender Ticket announcements, as well as on that day's Daily Compass. When I told John this, he would not accept the fact that the Tender Ticket #4 announcement was the FIRST time it was mentioned that a photo ID was also needed. He kept telling me I was incorrect. I don't have a problem with people making mistakes; it happens. But I do take offense when people cannot accept that they have made a mistake. However, since ALL of the announcements from that moment on emphasized that everyone MUST have a photo ID, along with their Tender Ticket and Sea Pass Card, as well as non-tender days all MUST have a Photo ID along with their Sea Pass Card, I'm guessing that was his way of acknowledging their omission of the Photo ID information. A simple, "Oh wow, I'm sorry we failed to include that information and thank you for bring that to my attention" would have been the correct thing for him to do! (2) Early on Day 3 of an 11-Day Cruise, I asked the excursion desk about disembarking on the individual islands. I was told the exact opposite: was told we dock in Maui, tender in Hilo, dock in Kona, and tender in Kauai. I wrote it down so I would remember. The day before getting to Maui there was much confusion on the pool deck amongst the passengers: some said the info I had was correct and others had the opposite. Turns out I'd been given the wrong information. For one who books their own excursions, this was important information that was given incorrectly to many passengers. I was also told on Day 3 that neither the excursion rep I spoke with, nor the 2 other ones she was working with had ever been to Hawaii, therefore she was unable to answer any questions regarding the islands. Still, since they were booking excursions for some of the passengers, not knowing which island we dock at and which islands we tender to is ridiculous! (3) Speaking of excursions, if you don't book your excursions with RC, you are treated like 2nd class passengers. I take offense to this as I pay just as much to cruise as those booking RC excursions and ALL passengers who have early morning excursions should be given priority disembarking. The first day in Maui, we were given Tender Ticket #7 and waited over 2 hours to finally get off the ship - this is unacceptable! (4) The bartenders were hit or miss. Some were overly gracious, while others rarely smiled and acted like you were bothering them. Thank you to those bartenders who were cordial and fun to speak with! (5) Our previous cruises had midnight buffets, pool deck BBQ's and Ice Sculpting demonstrations. Personally, I've always thought the midnight buffets were unnecessary as many were too overstuffed to enjoy eating; but the beauty of the midnight buffets were wonderful. I still don't think they are necessary and not upset they don't have them anymore. However, we have had pool deck BBQ's on shorter cruises in the past, as well as Ice Sculpting. Except for a "Sexy Man Contest," a rather lame trivia contest, and a line dancing lesson, nothing else occurred on the pool deck during this 11-day cruise. (6) I mentioned the outside entertainment was very good; however, the Royal Caribbean "Singers and Dancers" on this cruise were the most untalented we've ever seen during any of our cruises. I've always given glowing reviews about the on-board entertainment in the past; I cannot do so after this cruise. I rarely give negative reviews. Our previous cruise to this one was awful ~ felt like we were on a Disney cruise with all the kids running around unsupervised; not to mention that entire "Dream Cruise" was geared more toward children's entertainment, rather than the adults on board. We decided to give RC another chance and, unfortunately, after this cruise we have decided to either fly to a destination vacation, or try some of the smaller cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
we were in cabin 1588 on tenth deck. The Radiance has been done over and everything is so new in the cabins. The Embarkation was really bad but no fault to the crew. Disembarkation in Vancouver was horrible. Trying to get 2000 people ... Read More
we were in cabin 1588 on tenth deck. The Radiance has been done over and everything is so new in the cabins. The Embarkation was really bad but no fault to the crew. Disembarkation in Vancouver was horrible. Trying to get 2000 people upstairs using one elevator People coming on to the ship were coming down same elevator. There should have been security around to help with crowd control. But other than that we had a good time on ship. They brought on a RCMP person to give talks for a hour each morning. He was from Alberta and very interesting. Food was great. All you have to do is ask for something special. The four of us asked the second night for shrimp and we got shrimp the next 10 evenings. Lobster night was great. Husband really enjoyed the desserts. The servers were so helpful and kind to us seniors. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have sailed on many different ship companies and this particular ship was ok. Ship shows its age the food was ok a lot of the employees have little understanding of English. The Hawaii Islands were fantastic that's the only ... Read More
We have sailed on many different ship companies and this particular ship was ok. Ship shows its age the food was ok a lot of the employees have little understanding of English. The Hawaii Islands were fantastic that's the only reason we picked this itinerary because of the islands. cabin had a lot of dust in it was really surprised Upon getting to the port in Waikiki it was chaos they were so many people waiting and there were no lines people were going everywhere and getting angry. We have never had an embarkation day like that one it was awful and a nightmare. The food at the windjammer was really awful and dining room was ok nothing like other cruise lines...very disappointed. The shops in duty free were small and did not have a lot of choice. This was our third time with RCCL and it was the worst. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our 13th cruise with RC and our second on the Radiance. The ship was in good condition (NOT a rust bucket as one person described it). The cruise can be divided into three phases. #1 Getting on the ship in Hawaii was very ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise with RC and our second on the Radiance. The ship was in good condition (NOT a rust bucket as one person described it). The cruise can be divided into three phases. #1 Getting on the ship in Hawaii was very stressful after flying over from the east coast but it was not RC's or the ships fault. Boarding was delayed by our wonderful Govt. agencies that wanted to assert their power. Getting off the ship in Vancouver was a disaster as there were three ships in port and the facility could not handle 15,000 passengers trying to get on and off the three ships at the same time. We hope you never have to experience a situation like this. #2 The port visits (Tours) were very nice, weather was great and the tenders were very efficient. #3 Cruising from Hawaii to Vancouver wasn't great, very cool and the seas were a little choppy. The service on the ship was great, the crew did a very good job. Food in the main dinning room was ok I would say average nothing to right home about. The Windjammer food was typical of every ship we have been on with RC, good with a large variety to choose from. Staff in the Windjammer were very attentive. Our waiter and asst. waiter in the main dining room did a fantastic job We stayed in a GS, the cabin was in great condition and our attendant took very good care of us. Cabin #1534 We did not take in a lot of the shows but the ones we did see were very good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The itinerary is what sold us on this cruise, and it met our expectations for the days in Hawaii. We loved having 2 days on the major islands, which gave us a great opportunity to see Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui. The 5 days at sea were a bit ... Read More
The itinerary is what sold us on this cruise, and it met our expectations for the days in Hawaii. We loved having 2 days on the major islands, which gave us a great opportunity to see Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui. The 5 days at sea were a bit harder as the weather was mostly cool,windy, and rainy, offering no opportunity for outside fun. Not many activities were scheduled during the day, so we adapted to a more relaxed schedule. Service from the staff was excellent, and food at dinner was very good. The Windjammer is pretty average, but the omelet counter was great for breakfast. The salad bar in the dinning room at lunch was phenomenal. Once we discovered it, we never missed a lunchtime! The entertainment was different every night, and the staff did a good job of providing added activities (at night especially). As to be expected, the bus ride excursions to the peaks of volcanoes became dull and tiresome. We will avoid those in the future. Due to unexpected occurrences, check in was problematic, taking up to 2 plus hours in line. Even though RC was not directly at fault, they should have provided more communication and man power to help the process move more smoothly and keep tempers in check. Similarly, the disembarking would have been easier with updates and communication. My only real frustration was the aged and deteriorating condition of the ship. Our shower curtain was frayed and mildewed. Seats in the Windjammer were ripped and dirty. These are easy fixes that could make the ship look much nicer and elegant rather than shoddy. If I were RC, I'd be embarrassed to sail this ship without replacing some of these worn elements. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
OH MY. We have been on many many cruises with Royal Caribbean before, and this is BY FAR THE WORST ONE. (A bit of context: we have been on the Jewel of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas, for example. So writing this review, it's based ... Read More
OH MY. We have been on many many cruises with Royal Caribbean before, and this is BY FAR THE WORST ONE. (A bit of context: we have been on the Jewel of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas, for example. So writing this review, it's based on our prior experiences.) We sailed from Honolulu to Vancouver, as a repositioning cruise, but I don't understand why the embarkation was 3+ HOURS! (photos showed how long the lineup was!) They didn't even explain (before or after) why it was taking so long, I felt they owed everyone an apology! Especially the elderly who had to wait that long, with no A/C, hot, and someone fainted!!! After that terrible first day, we barely got on the ship to partake on the mandatory life boat safety drill! Dining was a disaster. DO NOT DO "MY TIME". It's not YOUR time, it's the SHIPS' time. Cascades, deck 4 was terrible. The hostess told us the wrong time for our dinner reservations, so when we showed up at the time she told us, our table was given away! We had selected 5:30pm online before we went on board, and they said the "shore didn't communicate with the ship", so we didn't have a spot. Had to wait over 30 minutes in line for the first three nights just to get seated, and this was during the second seating! We just went to the Jewel of the Seas (same class of ship) in November, and we recognized the same menus, but the food was so much better on the Jewel! The food sucked in the dining room (exception: key lime pie), things tasted as if they were just defrosted and then cooked right away (especially the seafood! how disappointing!). This is the first time I think the windjammer food surpassed the dining room's food! On one of the nights, a party had booked a wedding function late in the night, and our room unfortunately was right underneath the quill and compass bar on deck 6. Our room thudded, you could hear exactly what song was being played! And they didn't do anything about it, since it was booked for a function. So we couldn't sleep past 2am, wasting our last day in Maui. The ship is showing it's age. The chairs' upholstery at windjammer was ripping or scratched, showing the cushion underneath. Bars and rails around the ship were rusting (especially Windjammer) and just needs a fresh coat of paint. Our interior cabin's washrooms were dated, but at least clean. The only good things were: -our servers, very friendly -our stateroom assistant - so neat, and best towel animals! -Cruise itinerary, great 7 days in Hawaii, and 5 days for rest. However, it gets cold as soon as you leave Hawaii, so it's too cold to swim outside for the 5 days, leaving the solarium crowded. We made more friends from the terrible experiences that the positive ones. Honestly, it left such a bad taste in our mouth, that we may not ever sail with Royal Caribbean again. We called customer service, and met with the guest relations staff onboard, and nothing was done to keep our business. That's just too bad. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The ship overall was pretty clean and had nice amenities. The cabin was comfortable and kept extremely clean by the stateroom attendant. We ate at all the restaurants on board and the service at all of them were amazing. The pool, sports ... Read More
The ship overall was pretty clean and had nice amenities. The cabin was comfortable and kept extremely clean by the stateroom attendant. We ate at all the restaurants on board and the service at all of them were amazing. The pool, sports court and mini golf were great activities to kill sea days. The entertainers for the shows were spectacular. What really surprised me is how nice they were genuinely interested in getting to know you. I loved how the ship stayed overnight in Maui and Kauai. The Lu'au is a must see for anyone who goes. One of the best experiences in my travels. The spa was amazing an my masseuse who was Japanese was also an amazing Hawaiian dancer. Best massage I've had to date.The one thing that was not in doubt was the service. Some of the things I did not like were that the ship seemed understaffed and things like the gym and windjammer opened late. Cascades wasn't open long enough and you could really feel it on sea days because Winjammers just became Windjammed. The ship also did not have great size selection for merchandise in the shops or spa. Embarkation went well for some but not so well for most due some issues in Honolulu. Disembarkation took longer than anticipated and the tour buses were scarce so I had to cancel a tour or I would have missed my flight. There were numerous people who missed their flight and intercruises weren't much help. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Specifically chose this cruise as a means of visiting French Polynesia (Tahiti, Morea and Bora Bora). Booking, registration and embarkation all handled with ease - somewhat disappointed with the tired and dated condition of stateroom - ... Read More
Specifically chose this cruise as a means of visiting French Polynesia (Tahiti, Morea and Bora Bora). Booking, registration and embarkation all handled with ease - somewhat disappointed with the tired and dated condition of stateroom - corridors smelt musty and rooms were drab with brown curtains and dated timber furniture. Our particular stateroom also had a bad drainage smell which maintenance crew were unable to rectify - overall this ship needs quite a bit of work in and around the staterooms however the common centrum areas were generally bright and modern and provided a good escape from the rooms. Quality and abundance of food throughout the ship was excellent as were the efforts of waiters and all activities staff. Captain was particularly personable and always willing to greet guests and particpate in oboard activities where possible. All in all good value for money and would cruise again only being more particular in checking on levels of fitout and recent refurbishments before booking any particular ship. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
this was worst cruise out of 14 we have taken..when I read reviews I always say, o some people just like to complain, but regarding this ship I fully understand.first, check in was a nightmare, they took us in circles to sit us in ... Read More
this was worst cruise out of 14 we have taken..when I read reviews I always say, o some people just like to complain, but regarding this ship I fully understand.first, check in was a nightmare, they took us in circles to sit us in different places,it was the girls first day at check in desk, she was clueless what to do, took forever....got to our room, 7070 and was not what we wanted, had obstructed view balcony and when we put out the loveseat sized sofa bed, it went right into the dresser so when we wanted to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, we either had to be long jumpers or step on my grandson, not to mention it was , I think, a safety issue, blocking the path to door. so we had the bed lowered above our heads, which made so so much noise it sounded like it would come down in the middle of the night..first night in dining room, girl paraded us around dining room because she couldn't find our table and finally said, o just sit here...never got drink we ordered or coffee..moved our table the next night and got excellent service after that. the nightmare at the pool with the chairs was horrible, I am 67 yrs old , and having spent thousands on a cruise, had to put a towel on the ground to lay and get sun....however, finally found roddericks, pool attendant, who was best thing about ship..he wound put post it notes with the times chairs were empty and took towels after 30 min,,was excellent at his job...all this within 4 days of our 11 day cruise..took concerns to front desk to carlos who just had blank look on his face and could only say, sorry....REALLY?... customs at the end was horrible, told us to be there by 6:15 a.m.and they never showed up until 7..so many angry people..no one I spoke with had anything good to say..entertainment was very lacking, had 1 good show out of 11. We met first time cruisers who were very unimpressed, I told them to try a bigger ship because they are a lot nicer..love RC but this was horrible..even little things, like getting a wake up call we never got...the final thing they said was....hope you have a better time next time...UGG this I suppose to be the royal treatment?i think not..i hope everyone who said they would write there experiences really does... only gave good review of dining because of second seating Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
While I was searching for a way to visit as many islands in Hawaii as possible, and because I enjoy cruising, I found this very reasonable 11 day cruise which included visits to the major islands in the chain with excellent ports. The ... Read More
While I was searching for a way to visit as many islands in Hawaii as possible, and because I enjoy cruising, I found this very reasonable 11 day cruise which included visits to the major islands in the chain with excellent ports. The ship Radiance of the Seas is a midsized older ship which proved to be an excellent size for a more intimate cruise. The dining facilities onboard were the best that I have experienced on previous cruises. Overall the staff was outstanding. I loved the trivia contests which helped me meet some new friends and the three Broadway quality shows where excellent. I also enjoy the ventriloquist. I did not do any of the ships excursions as I was meeting up with family at three of the ports and availed myself of the bus system in Lahaina, Maui and rented a car in Kauai. I have to take the time to say that the service at our My Time Dining was far above average. The waiter and his assistant took time each night to ensure that we were pleased with our food. I traveled with a friend. I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Terrific cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was easy because we walked to the port. We heard there were problems with taxis. But we were able to get on board in less than an hour. My time dining was broken for most of the cruise. They now ... Read More
Terrific cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was easy because we walked to the port. We heard there were problems with taxis. But we were able to get on board in less than an hour. My time dining was broken for most of the cruise. They now require a "golden ticket" to enter the dining room.some people received the tickets and most did not. This created a chaotic scene each evening. The house keeping department was to deliver the ticket. They had no idea how to get us our ticket. We intervened with dining and were told our ticket had been delivered to house keeping. More finger pointing than a group of kindergarteners telling who killed cock robin. After moving up the ranks to the people with many gold stripes by the end of the cruise we began to receive our dinner .tickets. We have cruised with Royal more than twenty times and have never experienced any thing so convoluted and poorly executed as the my time dining tickets. Otherwise, the cruise went will, Hawaii was beautiful, and staff did their best with the what they had. We had an aft cabin. The balcony is larger than most and has two lawn chairs as well as two regular chairs. We are presently onboard and are continuing onto Singapore. While onboard we booked a fall colors cruise out of Quebec. Though frustrated by the changes in my time dining we will continue to travel with Roya. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Took the Radiance of the Seas to Alaska in Jul 2016 and was not overwhelmed as I have been with other ships of this carrier. A problem occurred in our stern cabin when we experienced a slight bathroom odor but elected to stay in the room ... Read More
Took the Radiance of the Seas to Alaska in Jul 2016 and was not overwhelmed as I have been with other ships of this carrier. A problem occurred in our stern cabin when we experienced a slight bathroom odor but elected to stay in the room after unpacking versus moving if that was even a possibility. Other passengers on the stern near us also experienced the same issue, but as most people do - they lived with it as we did. A year earlier we had scheduled a Hawaii cruise two months after the Alaska cruise. Not realizing that we were going to also cruise on the Radiance of the Seas to Hawaii we approached the cruise with some trepidation. Yes, our cabin on the same deck as the Alaska cruise had a slight bathroom odor. We asked the cabin steward and his response was to spray the room with a deodorizer. Four days later the water in the sink was yellow which we reported. It was resolved somehow, but the cabin steward provided no explanation. The ship is old and ready for the bone yard. Saw the cabin steward twice during the eleven day cruise - when he brought our suitcase and when I reported the bathroom odor. Not very welcoming to say the least. Food was okay along with the entertainment, but cruises today aren't the glamour that we saw only five years ago. Little things i.e. no bathrobes, no chocolates on the pillow, no shampoo etc. Cutting costs is the bottom line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We had an amazing time aboard the Radiance of the Seas on our cruise to Hawaii. We were thrilled to find this 11 night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean. It apparently was a repositioning cruise after they were done with their Alaska ... Read More
We had an amazing time aboard the Radiance of the Seas on our cruise to Hawaii. We were thrilled to find this 11 night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean. It apparently was a repositioning cruise after they were done with their Alaska tours for the summer. Although this was our 15th cruise, this was our first one longer than 7 days. We really enjoyed our five days at sea and truly enjoyed visiting all the Hawaiian Islands. When cruising by the volcano on the big island, the Captain made sure to let us know so everyone could go outside to see the beautiful glow of the lava coming out of the volcano. We found the Hop on/Hop off buses were great on a few of the islands, especially when traveling with elderly parents! We booked our next trip while aboard the Radiance of the Seas to help us reach our goal of Diamond Member. We have only 24 more cruise days and we are there! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was my wife's 20th cruise and my 19th, and for both of us was our 17th on RCL. This is also the year of our 20th anniversary. We chose this cruise because we love Hawaii, we love sea days (have taken a Transatlantic cruise ... Read More
This was my wife's 20th cruise and my 19th, and for both of us was our 17th on RCL. This is also the year of our 20th anniversary. We chose this cruise because we love Hawaii, we love sea days (have taken a Transatlantic cruise before), and the Radiance class is our favorite in the line. Radiance itself was the first RCL ship we sailed on, and we hadn't been on it since the 2011 refurb, so we were anxious to see it. We booked a Grand Suite since we had so many sea days - Suite 1060, which has the largest balcony on the ship, about 140+ sq. ft. (it's on the aft side of the Centrum "hump"). We favor RCL due to the consistency of the experience and the many perks afforded frequent cruisers (we're Diamond Plus). The overall experience was very good. Radiance is showing some wear even after the refurb, but it's still a beautiful ship. We tend not to eat in the dining room - we don't necessarily want to spend 2+ hours at dinner, and we don't go on vacation to dress up. We booked a three-meal specialty dining package, selecting Chops, Giovanni's and Samba Grill, and the other evenings we dined in the Windjammer or in port. FYI, the Windjammer typically has several of the same entrees as the dining room, plus all the variety that comes with a buffet. The Diamond Lounge experience was wonderful, thanks to Juan Diego, the Diamond concierge. We do wish it had been more clear that suite guests have the ability to order from the main dining room menu for room service - we didn't understand that until the last day. We did dine in our suite one night, but the normal room service menu is quite limited. We also wish suite guests had priority deck lounge chairs, as on some other RCL ships, as deck chairs were always hard to find. Below are our detailed impressions: Ship: Radiance is very easy to navigate, and rarely feels crowded, since many of the venues are on different decks (unlike the Voyager class with its mall-like Promenade, which always feels - well, like a mall). We only went to one show, a production show, but it was very good. Again, it's showing a bit of wear, but that's to be expected on a ship that sees so many passengers a year. Cabin: Can't say enough about Suite 1060! The Grand Suite allows plenty of closet space, a bar, separate seating area, and a huge balcony that easily fits two chairs and a small table, plus two lounge chairs and another table. It's on the port side, so sailing from Vancouver to Hawaii we were able to sun on our balcony in the mornings. Upon boarding, we found a half-full coffee cup on the balcony, a used tissue on the shelf behind the safe, and some coins on the floor - unusual for RCL. Also, while packing, we discovered a previous guest's credit card in the safe and their binoculars in a drawer we hadn't used, and took those to Lost & Found. Although we were near the elevators, there was little noise, though we could hear the music in the Centrum some evenings, which we didn't mind. Dining: The variety in the Windjammer is very good. There were always burgers and hot dogs, pizza, and several curry dishes, as well as some theme stations on different nights, such as a fresh-made pasta station, a Mongolian grill, etc. I was glad to see poached eggs in the buffet line, as the line at the fresh egg station was always quite long, and the scrambled eggs on most ships' buffets (or hotels, for that matter) are generally horrible. I like corned beef hash, and that was available every morning as well. Lunch included plenty of salad options, and the soups were usually very good. Chops is consistently good, with great steaks. Giovanni's was just okay. Samba Grill is a new favorite - a Brazilian-style steakhouse with numerous meat entrees, plus a large salad and soup bar. The soup was delicious, as were the entrees, but come hungry. We can't speak to the desserts, as we're not dessert people. Entertainment/Activities: Again, we only partook of one production show, which was very good. Since you gain three hours on this westbound itinerary, we found ourselves retiring early and waking up early, so we didn't do much in the way of nighttime entertainment - unfortunate, since we always enjoy the piano music in the Schooner bar, and the evening bands in the Colony Club. That was our choice, but we do wish the piano music would start earlier than 9:30pm. The main band was outstanding - one of the best guitarists I've heard - and they could cover just about anything. They played on the pool deck several times. We don't do bingo, or the casino, or the art auctions, so can't opine about that. Our main activity was the fitness center on the sea days. It was sometimes crowded - often with passengers in street clothes who clearly never go to the gym at home, and sometimes just sat on the equipment listening to the lectures, etc. - but we were always able to get in a workout. We also walked on the track on Deck 12, but there were many people just ambling along the track that we had to dodge. One very cool experience: I was walking on the track on 9/11, when I could hear the Captain making an announcement. I paused my music and took out my earbuds to listen. He was commemorating that terrible day, and at the end, he asked for a minute of silence. I stopped and stood at the rail at the front of the ship. No one was talking, the music stopped, and they cut the engines. The only thing you could hear was the waves, and the only thing I saw was the vastness of the Pacific. More than 3,000 passengers from many different countries were silent. It was a wonderful tribute, and near the end of that minute, I saw a dolphin leaping into the air in the distance. Photos: This is an issue for us on every cruise. The photographers insist on forcing passengers into these ridiculous poses that look unnatural in the final product. As a result, we wind up never buying the photos. (We did take our two free ones as Diamond Plus members, but even those were not what we'd have wanted.) I would think the objective would be to sell pictures, not just take pictures. Next time we'll be more assertive in telling them we want to pose ourselves. Fellow Passengers: This itinerary draws an older crowd, as it's during the school year, longer in duration, and has a lot of sea days, which seem to appeal to families less. We saw more walkers and wheelchairs than kids. That requires patience, as your ship-mates may not get around as quickly as you. We do wish people understood that there are actual lines in the Windjammer, rather than just jumping in front of people to grab that one thing they want. Given the age of the passengers, the elevators can get crowded, but we generally take the stairs. Embarkation: The facility in Vancouver is a zoo, very poorly laid out. It's not clear where the lines are for luggage drop-off, customs, check-in, etc. and there's lots of walking involved. (That's okay for us, not so much for the many elderly passengers on this itinerary.) It was exacerbated by the fact that both Radiance and Celebrity Solstice were embarking from the same facility at the same time - not a good plan. And note that as suite guests and Diamond Plus members, we had priority boarding. If we hadn't, it would have been a much longer and very frustrating experience. We spent the night before the cruise in a hotel near the airport, and traffic getting to the port was also a zoo. Next time, we'd stay nearer to the port. (We always fly to the port a day early, having missed the first day of a cruise out of San Juan due to a major snafu by Delta Airlines.) Disembarkation: This was much smoother. The facility in Honolulu is excellent, and we were off the ship in no time. We spent one extra night in Waikiki, and the only issue was the taxi line, but that was due to the rudeness of some of our fellow passengers, who - rather than respect the order of the line and let the first people in line take the next available cab, jumped into the first cab that pulled up near them. Chaos ensued, with people scrambling for the first available cab from any position in the line. Daily Recap and Ports: As noted, we love the sea days. There's something special about being in the middle of the vastness of the ocean, with nothing but water on the horizon. And it's the ultimate in relaxation; the daily routine is get up, eat breakfast, let that digest a while, work out for a couple of hours (keeps the weight gain at a minimum), have lunch, lie in the sun, clean up, have dinner, enjoy some evening entertainment or have a glass of wine on your balcony, go to bed, then repeat. The weather was generally very good, with clouds on some days, but always some sun. The first full day it was a bit cool on the pool deck, but still in the low 70s, warm enough to get some sun. Also, once on board, cruising out of Vancouver is beautiful. We rented cars from National in each port, as we've visited each island previously (I made advance reservations). All of the rental locations were at nearby airports, and every port had a rental car shuttle except for Kona, where it was about a $35 cab ride each way to get our car. I learned there's an Enterprise facility right by the port there, and I'd opt for that next time. Other than that, the rental car experience was great, and the shuttles were always timely. Much cheaper than shore excursions - we spent an average of about $60/day plus gas. Lahaina, Maui: Our first port call was an overnighter. The tender operation was very sloppy - it seemed as though it was the crew's first time. It took about an hour from door to dock (and we had priority tender tickets the first day). The second day, the delay was due to a tender that they had to take out of service because "it wasn't operating properly." Given that the tenders are the ship's lifeboats, that could be a concern. The rental car shuttle was very near the dock, and it was about a ten-minute drive to the National facility. Once we picked up our rental car, we drove across the island to Hali'imaile General Store, a wonderful restaurant on the lower slope of Haleakala, then drove to Wailea. We stay there when we fly to Maui, as it's much more relaxed and less crowded than Kaanapali or Kapalua. We visited the Kea Lani resort, where we usually stay, and the beach, then had an excellent sunset dinner at Ferraro's restaurant at the Four Seasons before returning to Lahaina. We found a place to park overnight about two blocks off Front Street, on the left side of Dickenson St. It was only $15 (there is a closer lot on the other side of Dickenson, but it cost twice as much), and about a 5-minute walk from the dock. The second morning, we ate breakfast across the street from the lot at a wonderful place called Lahaina Coolers. The server, Frank, was very knowledgeable and friendly, and gave us lots of good tips on what to see and do. After breakfast we went to Kapalua, but it was very windy and cloudy, so we moved to Kaanapali and spent the rest of the day on the beach there. We rented beach chairs for the two days from The Snorkel Store, and Jonathan, the sales rep there, was also very knowledgeable and friendly. The rental rate was $5/day for each chair, but he only charged us for the one day. Hilo, Hawaii (Big Island): We'd only been to Hilo once, so it was less familiar to us. We docked there, and took the shuttle to the airport to pick up our car (about five minutes away). We ate breakfast at Ken's House of Pancakes, which was fantastic. Hilo itself is quite beautiful, being on the windward side of the island - very green and lush. We drove north and visited the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, which is not to be missed. But first we pulled over at a trailhead and hiked down to a beautiful little cove, just on the other side of the Botanical Garden. It's a pretty steep hike, but the views are worth it. The garden itself is equally beautiful, and involves about a mile and a half of walking, part of it also steep, but they have golf carts for those who can't make the walk. The flowers are breathtaking, unlike anything on the mainland. After that, we visited the spectacular Akaka Falls, which also involved some walking, part of it steep. We had lunch at a little roadside place called the Low Store Deli. It's a little market that has a few tables outside, and excellent food. Then we drove around Hilo before returning to the ship. That night, the ship sailed around the Big Island to Kona, and at about 9:30, the Captain stopped the ship off the coast, where we were treated to a wonderful view of the lava flowing into the ocean from Kilauea. This was a treat, as sometimes the lava isn't flowing or the clouds are low enough to obstruct the view, but the spectacle was on that night, with huge steam clouds rising off the water. The Captain turned the ship 360 degrees so that everyone could enjoy the view. Kona, Hawaii: We took the 15-minute cab ride to the Kona airport and picked up our car, then drove up the mountain to Waimea, taking the long way up Waikoloa Road, then north on 190. The scenery was amazing, with great views of the ocean and other islands in the distance. We had breakfast at the Paniolo Country Inn, then drove toward the coast. I took a wrong turn that led us up Highway 250, the Kohala Mountain Road, and it was well worth the detour, as the road climbed to about 4,000 feet before we turned around, offering more amazing views. Finally we made our way to the beautiful Hapuna Beach. Chair rentals are available at the Three Frogs beach shack, which also has great fish tacos, though we didn't eat there on this trip (we did have shave ice, though, and it was wonderful after a hot day on the beach). We had a late lunch at the Marriott in Waikoloa before returning our rental car. We took the airport shuttle from the rental facility to the airport, then caught a cab to the port. Again, next time I'd rent near the port from Enterprise. Note: as National Emerald Club members, we were able to take any car on the aisle, and there was a Mustang convertible available, so naturally we took that. We drove all morning with the top down, which was great - but I forgot to put sunscreen on, which was a mistake! Don't forget the sunscreen if you rent a convertible, especially if you don't have much hair. Lihue, Kauai: We docked here and took the short shuttle ride to the airport rental car facility, then drove to the Grand Hyatt on Poipu beach, where we'd stayed before, for breakfast. We visited the beach, then drove around the island to Hanalei Bay on the north shore. We went beyond Hanalei to Ke'e Beach, at the end of the road, but there was no parking available, so we went back to Hanalei. We didn't spend much time at the beach, as we'd had enough sun the day before. We had a late lunch at the pool bar at the St. Regis Princeville, then drove back to Lihue. Honolulu: We docked, and again, disembarkation was a breeze, other than the taxi line. We took a cab to Waikiki, where we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Our room had a sunset view, so we ate dinner on our balcony (excellent pizza from the nearby Round Table Pizza). We spent the next day at the pool, then used a complimentary hospitality room to get cleaned up for a sunset dinner at the fantastic House Without a Key at the Halekulani hotel before taking a cab to the airport for the flight home. We would do this cruise again in a heartbeat - a few minor issues notwithstanding, it was probably the best vacation we've ever had, and we've traveled extensively. We only wish RCL would sail to Hawaii from somewhere other than Vancouver, but the embarkation process was but a small part of the overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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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