24 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Holiday Cruise Reviews

My wife and I travelled with our family - children and grandchildren - we had cruised before but none of the others had.  The cruise was terrific in that the grandchildren were well catered for - food, entertainment, port activities - but ... Read More
My wife and I travelled with our family - children and grandchildren - we had cruised before but none of the others had.  The cruise was terrific in that the grandchildren were well catered for - food, entertainment, port activities - but you MUST remember to take you own reef shoes, goggles, snorkel and flippers - thankfully they did.  The adults enjoyed the experience and the benefits of cruising life - including the kids club and kids entertainment/activities.  Our reading said the ship had a re-furb in 2011 - our daughter suggested it was a 'soft' re-refurb as there were parts of the ship that still looked 'tired'.  Staff were polite and reasonably friendly but seemed to lack the 'zest' for their jobs - it was like they were going through the motions.  Having said that we were super impressed by our waiters in the Cascades Restaurant - they were brilliant - they were patient with the children and attentive, knowledgeable and courteous with the adults.  The same could not be said for the fee-for restaurant Chops Grille - the meal was quite good but the service left a lot to be desired, mainly due to being short staffed, very short staffed - I had no qualms about tipping in Cascades but didn't even consider it in Chops - give it the Chop.  We had anytime dining but because of the size of the group were able to secure a regular time slot but our observations were that there was always a wait to be seated if you didn't have a booking - no matter what size your party was - at better choice may have been set time where the dining room/area seemed to be slightly better - but we did have the best waiters/servers you could ask for.  My wife and I continually compared this cruise with the cruises aimed at the adult market and we did find that it didn't compare but we were there for a family holiday and in that sense - mission accomplished. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean, but our first from Australia. We have previously done a European Cruise on a Voyager Class and a trans Pacific with Celebrity Cruises. Boarding was straight forward, we arrived at about 1pm ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean, but our first from Australia. We have previously done a European Cruise on a Voyager Class and a trans Pacific with Celebrity Cruises. Boarding was straight forward, we arrived at about 1pm and only had to queue for about 5-10 minutes to check in, but the line was moving constantly. Passport control was straightforward and we found ourselves on the ship in no time. Rooms were available when we boarded so we went to check out our cabin. We had booked an aft corner balcony 8168 on deck 8, and it was fantastic. It is a normal balcony room on the inside, but the balcony itself is at least twice the width and half as deep again as a standard balcony. It is set up with 2 lounges as well as 2 chairs and a table. It was great sitting here on sea days watching the wake, and seeing the Islands slide by. The only negative would be that because it doesn't have much of an overhang above, it's quite exposed to the elements, so it got very wet when it rained and quite hot on sunny days. Our cabin attendant was fantastic, very friendly and new our names right away. He did great towel animals too :) We had my time dining, and with just the 2 of us we were always able to get a table with only a few minutes wait. We usually ate at about 7pm most nights when we went. I had heard from other people they were having issues getting seated but we personally didn't have an issue. We tried all of the specialty dining except chefs table, and as a whole enjoyed it, although I found the quality of the paid restaurants is no longer so much better than the main dining room, so found the extra fee a little steep. I probably wouldn't go to them again next cruise unless I had OBC. They have also recently changed the menus and they are much smaller than I remember. I found the General layout of this class ship confusing, I know it's a smaller ship than Voyager class but I found the shops area very cluttered, the flow of people around the ship very restricted and some things plain hidden away. For example the pub could only be accessed from midship by walking through the casino, Rita's Crabshack and Izumi were wedged up the back of the windjammer and you had to walk through them to get to the outside seating for windjammer. But then they have a huge space for a hotdog stand and another restaurant on an upper deck where you have to go outside to reach. I much prefer the layout of Voyager. Entertainment I found pretty good, I enjoyed going to the different trivia but did sometimes find them scheduled at a time when most people were at dinner. Martin was a fantastic trivia host, but there was an American guy who sometimes did it and I didn't like his style. And I often found the questions very American at times, even though there were only 200 non Australians on board. I also found the lack of a good communal space difficult for some events, on Voyager there is the ice rink area, on Radiance anything large was done in the colony club which only has a small amount of seating near the central area, otherwise you are sitting quite far back with lots of columns and balustrades in the way, it made participating in lots of things impossible. Ports were very good, I loved all the islands and we just organised our own thing in each port, which was very easy to do. Just make sure to bring your own snorkel equipment if this is what you want to do. The day we were at mystery island it was horrible weather and the crew did a great job of putting on extra activities to cater for most people staying on board. On a whole I enjoyed this cruise very much, there were some minor things wrong but nothing to ruin a holiday. I would cruise on Radiance again but I do prefer the Voager class a little more. But the things I didn't like about Raidiance is probably the things another person would love, it's just a personal preference I guess. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
This was my 6th cruise, 1st time on Royal Caribbean. I had heard lots of good things about RC so I was a little disappointed. Firstly I agree with some of the comments others have made here; greatly under staffed in areas. Whilst the staff ... Read More
This was my 6th cruise, 1st time on Royal Caribbean. I had heard lots of good things about RC so I was a little disappointed. Firstly I agree with some of the comments others have made here; greatly under staffed in areas. Whilst the staff do their utmost, they are run off their feet. Most mornings there was a 30 - 40 minute wait for coffee at the Cafe and the quality of the coffee was appalling. My biggest complaint would have to be the quality of the food and cocktails. I purchased a drinks package prior to departing. If I had know that all cocktails are pre-mixed out of a carton I probably would not have done so. They were horrible sugary, artificial tasting crap! I tried to think up cocktails that might not come out of a carton and decided on a caprioska to be told they had no limes, then mysteriously on the last day, they had no lemons only limes!! Go figure. Even some of the food tasted like it came out of a packet. Eggs benedict served with a packet mix sauce and most of the desserts were a gelatinous packet mix concoction. Christmas lunch / dinner was a disappointment as stated by others. the entertainment was disappointing also. No sailaway parties and Christmas and New Year were celebrated in the centrium which was only a small are where a few could actually join in leaving the rest of us to hang over the railings on the upper levels watching and not being able to join in. why not have it up on the deck pools side where there was a lot more room and also not so stuffy and hot?? it didn't make sense. Having been on P&O, Princess and now Royal Caribbean I would say P&O have the best value, food and drinks. Royal do have a nice ship and Princess... I think I'll wait another 10 - 20 years before I go back on one of their cruises. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
As others on this cruise have written, it was generally great, with a few negatives. Although it was full of Australians enjoying Christmas, this is basically a ship offering an American cultural experience. This means that a lot of things ... Read More
As others on this cruise have written, it was generally great, with a few negatives. Although it was full of Australians enjoying Christmas, this is basically a ship offering an American cultural experience. This means that a lot of things one takes for granted are simply not available - there is NO decent coffee on board, not even at the cafe, and it is impossible to get a decent cup of tea because the water is always tepid. As far as Christmas food is concerned, there was no effort to provide a decent Christmas lunch/dinner with the normal foods Australians expect such as hot and cold turkey, sea-food salads, plum pudding and so on. It is true there was ham on one evening menu and at the buffet, but overall it didn't feel like Christmas and the constant Musak carols in every corner of the ship only was irritating. Overall, though, the food was very good to excellent, although the Mexican and Japanese offerings were just adequate and only available at night. Drink prices (without a "package") were OK but we did end up spending a great deal more on cocktails than we expected. Everything was kept spotlessly clean, the cabin service (and attendants) were great, as were most of the service staff, the Solarium pool was lovely although not big enough, the entertainment was okay to good (classical musicians were lovely) and the embarkation and tendering process was well-organised and unstressful. There really needed to be some "quiet" spaces - the pre-recorded music selections was pretty blah and some groups were loud and raucous by early afternoon. Cabin comfort was good but the bathrooms were very minimal and as noted there were no proper toiletries provided. The Royal Carribean "style" has its own logic and if you don't mind things being slightly tacky and, for Australian tastes, over the top, it was a lot of fun. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was the first cruise we had had as a family and with friends and other family members joining us it made this Christmas vacation even more special. We chose to have a junior suite which made getting on the ship so easy and extremely ... Read More
This was the first cruise we had had as a family and with friends and other family members joining us it made this Christmas vacation even more special. We chose to have a junior suite which made getting on the ship so easy and extremely fast(highly recommend if you want to avoid the long ques). First impressions when arriving at the wharf in Sydney was OMG the ship is huge and so spectacular sitting just metres from the roadway. Once on board it was like entering a palace, the Radiance is beautiful and of course we had the added bonus of the Christmas decorations and massive Christmas tree in the centrum. The room was great, plenty of space and the bathroom and wardrobe were better than we imagined. The beds are huge and the balcony offers a great view. In the room we had a fold out couch for my two children and there was still room to move around the cabin with this set up. The room was attended as often as we requested and our room attendant Dennis was top notch, nothing was too much trouble, a credit to RCCL. Speaking of the staff, firstly Ive mentioned how much care and detail the deck 10 room attendants take, most of my family were on deck 8 and they commented that their attendants were just as dedicated as ours were. In the bars around the ship there were plenty of happy faces and never any problems getting served a cocktail or 3. In particular Terry in the Quill and Compass was terrific and a nice guy to chat with. Of course our favourite place on the ship was the Schooner Bar were we were served by Jay. He is amazing and one of the nicest people you could ever meet. He went out of his way to not only keep us happy but any request we made for a drink for the kids was no trouble. He is the absolute best and RCCL you had better hold on to him. Our Dinning room waiters were polite and entertaining, the kids were well looked after and the quality of food was of a very high standard. In fact we had no complaints with any of the food available in the many restaurants and cafes and the tables were maintained and cleaned regularly by all the staff working in them. The entertainment was everywhere whether it be some easy listening to someone playing the piano, live music on the pool deck right through to the special guests they had performing twice a night in the theatre. The quality was very good and the dance shows although not quite as spectacular did still provide a good level of entertainment. To add to the entertainment on the ship, The Captain was fantastic, very informative and often could be seen walking around and talking to passengers. My wife and I didn't use the pools although our children managed every day, they were a little crowded which was to be expected as the weather was beautiful during the cruise. I managed to use the gym facilities quite a few times and they are first class, plenty of equipment and hygiene is a strong point right through Radiance Of The Seas so you never felt uncomfortable using the machines available. Of course with all the good there were some bad, well not really bad but the ports we stopped at were a bit disappointing. We tendered off Airlie Beach and Cairns and stopped in a working dock in Brisbane miles from the city which offered little or no views to admire. The tenders were free and the welcomes at the docks were great from the locals but the shuttle buses required to get into the towns were extremely overpriced and I feel that they should have been included in your cruise rather than an extra expense. In all honesty knowing what I do now I would have stayed on board rather than visit the towns for just a few hours. Newcastle was an exception. Although the ship docked in a working port, the shuttle bus was supplied for free and we were pleasantly surprised what an interesting place it was to visit. To add to this all the locals lined the shores as we arrived and left waving which made you feel that little bit more special. Disembarking at Sydney was so quick and smooth it made the ending of a fun holiday that little bit easier to handle. The people at the international terminal in Circular Quay do a great job. Overall our experience on the ship was fantastic and would not hesitate to take another vacation on The radiance Of the Seas and highly recommend others to give them a try. We hope to experience more of RCCL in the coming years and to receive their high standard of passenger comfort and service again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Decided to try Xmas for a cruise. This is the second time I have cruised, the first time was Alaska on the same ship, Radiance of the Seas. I do like the ship, very clean, spacious, quiet and very stable. To be honest, I enjoyed the ... Read More
Decided to try Xmas for a cruise. This is the second time I have cruised, the first time was Alaska on the same ship, Radiance of the Seas. I do like the ship, very clean, spacious, quiet and very stable. To be honest, I enjoyed the first cruise the best, which was in Alaska. I liked the fact that you could get off each day. The Christmas cruise I am reviewing only had three stop offs, Brisbane, Cairns and Newcastle. To be honest, I found the amount of children constantly bumping into you, running, crawling, shouting with the fact you couldn't get off much, a little claustrophobic. However, the ship was decorated very nicely throughout in Christmas decorations, the staff always give their best, the food is excellent. We found the food in the buffet (Windjammer) better than Cascades (the formal one) on many occasions. We ate each night at Cascades, but in future we will reserve this for only eating there on formal nights and eat at Windjammer on the other evenings. Personally I found Windjammer very noisy, this is not helped by having the basket ball court directly over head, and is not at all soundproofed. So the entire time you are eating you are accompanied by constant banging and thuds from the ceiling. Much better to go outside to the back where it is somewhat quieter, the only down side of this is that you have to keep getting up and down to get things you have forgotten, and all this has to be balanced on two hands with kids constantly running into you all the time. Anyway, these are first world problems and one should be thankful for the opportunity to eat at all... Entertainment was good, we saw all the shows. All very professional. The ship is very clean, quiet, modern. All the staff are helpful and friendly. Check in was a breeze, as was getting off. All very organised and stress free, this is evidently a very well run ship and cruise line. The rooms was small, but clean. Loved the solarium, which is the indoor pool and spa. Definitely recommend the cruise line and this ship, and do try the Christmas cruise at least once, but for me once was enough. 10 days is just the right amount of time, as it does take (for me anyway) 3 days to get used to the amount of people and the routine on a ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My family and I cruised LA to Canada on the Mariner (RCL) in 2009 and the Carribean with Carnival in 2010. We had balcony rooms for both trips and while they were both enjoyable trips they were also very expensive because we live in Sydney ... Read More
My family and I cruised LA to Canada on the Mariner (RCL) in 2009 and the Carribean with Carnival in 2010. We had balcony rooms for both trips and while they were both enjoyable trips they were also very expensive because we live in Sydney (Aus) so we had flight and motel costs to tack on the overall bill. When we decided to book a 2012 Christmas cruise departing Sydney on the Radiance (RCL)we decided to upgrade to a Grand Suite and we will never cruise any other way in the future. The whole 'suite' experience starts at the embarkation hall where you have an express lane, you are issued your gold seapass and walking around the inside of the ship within five minutes. We read reviews beforehand concerning the balcony in Suite 1060 and without comparing it to others - it is definately big. There are no noise issues, there are no privacy issues, it is a great cabin with a big balcony. Our suite attendant was truly wonderful and was always smiling and helpful. There was plenty of hanging space, a real bath and comfy lounge. We had a lovely family dinner on the balcony one night and it is simply a great spot to read or relax. The shows were 5 star entertainment and I rated the other activities like trivia, kareoke, movies, pub songs, the casino, bingo, nighspot, various musicians and venues, poolside games etc as all being top shelf. My son found the gym (I didn't look) my wife and daughter found the spa and beauty spot (I didn't look) and they all tell me they were also excellent. While everything above was enjoyable, the best place of all was the Concierge Club. Juan-Carlos and Vanessa are brilliant and run a great room. We met some wonderful people from all around the world who truly love cruising. They told stories of their adventures as we shared a pre-dinner drink or a nightcap and it you wanted a secluded place to read and enjoy a fair-dinkum coffee of a day - the machine was always on and another perk of being in a suite is that you are invited to dine with the Captain one night and have a guided tour of the bridge. Our cruise was for 10 nights and being a Christmas cruise the whole ship seemed upbeat with everyone smiling and happy. There were decorations everywhere, Santa arrived by the inside glass lift and his team of helpers helped him to hand out presents and take photos, etc. We had breakfast each day and a couple of lunches in Windjammers. We dined in the main dining room five times (twice in formal gear), one night on our balcony and the last night at Azume and I rate all the food at each venue - top class. We didn't really care that we were only going to places we have been before, we wanted a nice family trip away at Christmas so I haven't rated the ports we visited. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
This was our second cruise with our school friends. The last cruise was on Rhapsody two years ago. Give me Rhapsody . The boarding was great not problems. The cabin was great on the 10 deck. The cyclone was not the captains fault, did ... Read More
This was our second cruise with our school friends. The last cruise was on Rhapsody two years ago. Give me Rhapsody . The boarding was great not problems. The cabin was great on the 10 deck. The cyclone was not the captains fault, did enjoy the fireworks The meals in the dinning room were wonderful. One night we tried Chops Grille what a mistake . We were seated and no one came near us. We had to ask for drinks and our meal order was taken 45 Min's after we complained. A shame the meal in the end was very nice.But staff not helpful. The cruise was over loaded with kids whose parents couldn't care. They had no respect for other passengers. We asked a man to remove his child from the main pool, the child had a nappy on, he didn't care. He kept saying its OK. So no swimming in that pool. You couldn't get a deck lounge as it was full of parents and kids. The staff even commented that there were a lot of children on the ship. We had a great cruise with our friends We probably wont go on Radiance of the seas again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Introduction Our first cruise in a little more than 10years and we picked a NYE cruise to really celebrate this year. We picked Royal Caribbean and Radiance of the Seas based on the great reviews we had read and the fact that the market ... Read More
Introduction Our first cruise in a little more than 10years and we picked a NYE cruise to really celebrate this year. We picked Royal Caribbean and Radiance of the Seas based on the great reviews we had read and the fact that the market does rave about this ship wherever she goes. We also wanted a something a little more upmarket than the usual local product offered. We were not disappointed. Embarkation This was a Sunday so there wasn't a great many people around in the morning and since RCI have introduced staggered boarding by deck numbers things seemed to go smoothly. On in 30mins although directed to wrong priority queue once up escalators Staterooms 2 x Interconnecting Junior Suite's so we really had more space than an owners suite with the added bonus of 2 bathrooms, 2 x TV's, 2 x Bedrooms etc. We certainly had much more privacy than if all 4 of us had lobbed in a single Grand or Owners Suite. We obviously didn't have Concierge Services but we wouldn't have made much use of these anyway. RCI wanted another $1K per person for this cruise to make it to a single GS from our 2 x JS's! Our Staterooms were always clean and tidy and any little thing we may have left lying around was usually folded nicely when we returned. Our Stateroom Attendant, Virna, was wonderful. She remembered our names after the first afternoon and was always there in the morning with a happy 'good morning' or in the evening always interested in our activities and offering suggestions on other things we might want to do. These guys work hard, are the most visible in terms of guest interaction, and deserve the gratuities they receive and more. We indeed pre-paid ours but made sure to leave extra for Virna. One thing we did notice though was white paint spatter all over the balcony chairs and table -- obviously from the regular maintenance that takes place during longer port visits and turnaround days. They don't seem to protect the outdoor furniture from the painting activities. A Change of Itinerary Due to Cyclone Freda in the Coral Sea it was not possible to visit Noumea, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines in New Caledonia. There was a letter in our Staterooms informing us of this upon embarkation. No surprise really since we had been monitoring the situation in the few days leading up to our cruise. The good thing was though we were to remain in Sydney Harbour for our first two nights! Night 1 at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and then New Years Eve sitting just off Point Piper where we had a "money can't buy" view of the NYE fireworks. We later found out that we made all the News bulletins and Newspapers. We had all the News Helicopters circling us all afternoon on New Years Eve. The decision to shelter in Sydney Harbour was made based on safety issues and whilst politicians and the media may wish to indicate otherwise the facts are the facts. Our actual location was determined by the Sydney Ports Authority and ultimately the Harbour Master -- not our Captain. Early New Years Day we sailed out of Sydney Heads and spent the next 3 days at sea heading up to beautiful Champagne Bay in Vanuatu. A beautiful location with a picturesque beach and gorgeous aqua coloured waters. A fantastic compensation for missing our 3 New Caledonia Ports. We then headed for Port Vila and were back on track from that point. Following was Lifou which was also good but after Champagne Bay nothing could compare although the Snorkelling at Lifou was great judging from reports we had from others. Food & Dinning We found the food options on board were excellent from the Windjammer buffet, Main Dining Room and Specialty restaurants through to the cafes. There is a sufficient variety in the buffet to keep you interested for the length of the cruise. There are a lot of criticisms made about the food in the MDR but I have to say that with only one or two exceptions we found the choice, quality and quantity of food excellent. We ate there all but 3 nights and were more than happy with the results. Service on the first night was very slow but this was likely due to the ship picking up a percentage of new crew members and they needed to quickly come up to speed with the MDR routine. We travelled with our two daughters (15 and 19) who can sometimes be fussy eaters and they had no issues. Our 15 yo is also a Type 1 diabetic and once again we had no issues. The girls loved Izumi and in fact we went there for lunch one day and went back a few days later for Dinner as at lunch they don't do hot food (e.g. the hot rock). Giovanni's was OK and there was a lot of food. We couldn't have one of the appetisers we chose because the cheese ingredient had expired but they gave us an opportunity to change so all good in the end. Chops Grille was fantastic and we had a fantastic meal there and you don't have to have Steak as there are chicken and seafood selections on the menu as well. It was nice to have cooked to order food. My wife and I also did Chef's Table one night and this is an absolutely amazing experience. We had a great Sommelier (Sergey) and our Chef (Armando) worked well together and were informative and entertaining at the same time. The other 11 guests there also made it a night to remember. My 15 yo tried the Doghouse once or twice but it was a take it or leave it kind of experience. The Cafe in the Solarium area was great for snacks and we made use of this once or twice for lunch when we didn't really need anything substantial or didn't want to go to the Buffet again. Latte'udes -- the re-badged Starbucks cafe on Deck 5 has good coffee, frappes etc and free pastries but service is slow and there is nearly always a line. One of the three coffee machines broke down during our cruise and there were no spare parts on board to repair it so this just added to the problem. Believe me if you can't find something to your taste and style on this ship you simply are not trying hard enough. Activities The usual list of cruise activities from Pool games to various kinds of Trivia, Karaoke, Shuffleboard and mini-Golf tournaments as well as Dancing lessons and Crafty type things such as scrapbooking were offered. Lots of things related to health and well being to try and get you in to paying for the high priced services in the spa though which we avoided. Some of the night time entertainment was not to our taste but a few nights we really enjoyed the shows in the Aurora Theatre. The first night though, which ended up being the Captains Welcome Aboard Cocktail Party, they showed a 10minute video which was in fact a blatant advertisement for Royal Caribbean -- guys you already had our money and we were already consuming your product why was this kind of advertising necessary? There was also one night a bunch of rather intoxicated fellows near us who took to heckling the male singer who was performing and there was no security in sight to take care of this which I thought a little odd. The casual entertainers in the bars and atrium were very good and it was nice to be able to sit and enjoy a cocktail or two with great musicians to keep you entertained and help you relax. Bill (Cruise Director) and Darren (Activities Co-ordinator) did their best but really only were visible during major evening events and frankly we didn't see much of them except on the TV doing the daily activities rundown. On the second last day there was a Black Forest cake cooking "demonstration" which Bill took part in with the Captain. This was probably one of the most hilarious things I've ever seen. Captain Sidre is an excellent entertainer and to see him throw cream and liqueur around was just side-splittingly funny. A few in the audience wound up wearing some of these ingredients. Captain Sidre followed this up with a session dealing at one of the Blackjack tables the same evening -- he had the Casino staff wondering what on earth he was doing! If they have the "Love & Marriage" game on your cruise -- go see it -- it's a great night. A word about Bingo. This is only held on sea days and for all but the last day it is held in the Colony Club (last day is in the Aurora Theatre). Well the Colony Club has limited space and the Activities guys seemed to underestimate the popularity of the event. If you didn't arrive 30-45mins before ticket sales started forget thinking about being able to sit anywhere but on the floor! Tickets were scheduled to be sold from 3pm usually and Bingo itself due to start at 3:30pm. Well it never started at 3:30pm and always ended up going well beyond 4:30pm (once it finished at 5pm) and it ended up interrupting the trivia session in the neighbouring Schooner Bar when finished with all the Bingo people walking through to get to either dinner or their next activity. This can definitely be organised a little better I think. Tickets should be sold earlier in the day (the last day they started selling them on the pool deck from 11am!). Any why not make use of the Theatre every day for this event. Ports Champagne Bay (Champagne Beach to be precise) was absolutely beautiful. As we were blessed with wonderful sunny weather our whole cruise we managed to get picturesque days in all the ports. Beautiful blue and aqua waters in Champagne Bay and also Lifou. Friendly locals and plenty of space to roll out your towel, swim, snorkel and relax. Port Vila was a little different to what we remember from previous visits. The locals tout for your business shouting and yelling at the ship early in the morning offering all sorts of tours and activities. Also the days of the shipside markets are gone -- these have all been moved outside the fenced wharf compound which is a shame. A sign of the booming cruise ship market I guess. The only stupid thing that the ship did was the distribution of Tender Tickets for our visit to Champagne Bay. They only started to issue these from 08:30am at a single place on Deck 5 and the lines stretched twice around the atrium. Why oh why didn't they do this either the evening before or even the day before and have a number of locations where these tickets could be obtained. In the end when they called the relevant tender numbers for boarding there was no one checking you had the correct ticket anyway! When we arrived in Lifou I think all the passengers were a bit gun-shy as whilst they advised the first hr or so of the tenders required no tender tickets the fact was that passengers really spread themselves across the morning which meant there was never any need for tender tickets to be used for this port at all. Service Faultless. Dinning staff were really great and helpful and if you didn't like a meal then they would encourage you to choose something else. Even Guest Services who tend to get a bad rap in these forums were helpful. We had two occasions where we had items on our shipboard account that were not ours and they happily removed them from our bill. The first day we needed to get extra keys so we all had access to the two cabins and they did this in very quick time. The Activities staff were mostly OK but Kim (from Jamaica) was the standout. If you are lucky enough to have her on your cruise you will love her! Overall Radiance is a fantastic ship with lots of modern amenities and a design that means you are always able to avail yourself of an ocean view from some angle. The crew are always happy and helpful and even when I came across some of the engineering staff during my very early morning walks around the ship I was greeted with a friendly and hearty "good morning". Food was great with a variety to suit all tastes and entertainment and activities that make your cruise that much more memorable. Whilst our itinerary was somewhat altered the result was more than satisfying with being able to see the Sydney NYE Fireworks. Will definitely be looking to cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Was very impressed at how clean everything was and how everyone was urged to adhere to hygiene guidelines. Makes a difference - no gastro problems, tho someone brought a chest infection on board to share. Crew are all very polite and ... Read More
Was very impressed at how clean everything was and how everyone was urged to adhere to hygiene guidelines. Makes a difference - no gastro problems, tho someone brought a chest infection on board to share. Crew are all very polite and friendly and do their jobs well. Lots to do.. wide selection of activities as well as an adequate (just!) library and games area. Also an adults only section as well as a children's adventure program. Food good.. I found formal dining too slow and not to my taste and was more than happy with selections available in Windjammer buffet. There was a lack of flavour in many of their mousses, very bland.. except one lemon cheesecake! Also cakes were nice but no strong flavours. Still did not stop me from trying everything!!! Was irritated by constant (daily) advertising of alternative dining venues, use of spa, etc. Would assume those who are going to use them are already aware. Shore excursions are very expensive and debatedly good value. Always private tour operators on the wharf, or can pre-book online or through the blog. Went to CC's Meet and Mingle, a bit disappointing.. lots of pre-formed groups and no mingling!! Very enjoyable and likely to try again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
It has always been my dream to visit Australia/New Zealand and now I'll be on the Radiance with its floor-to-ceiling windows to view the stunning scenery. My DH & I flew from Vancouver to Sydney direct on Air Canada...17 hrs ! ... Read More
It has always been my dream to visit Australia/New Zealand and now I'll be on the Radiance with its floor-to-ceiling windows to view the stunning scenery. My DH & I flew from Vancouver to Sydney direct on Air Canada...17 hrs ! But we survived, thanks to the seatback television. Upon arrival, we were met by the RCI cruise line rep & arrived at the cruise terminal 20 minutes later. Trains are also available to Circular Quay. It's about a 2 block walk on even pavement to the cruise terminal. Airporter buses will also take you to the cruise terminal. If you don't see a longshoremen to hand over your luggage, go the the tent which will be on the far right side of the long line. Day 1 Sydney, Australia Muster drill is at 4:15 pm, no life jackets required. All the entertainers onboard are from Australia. Tonight, it's comedian Martin Ralph. Most showtimes are 7 pm for 2nd seating guests + 9 pm for 1st seating guests. If you eat in the Windjammer which doesn't open till 6:30 pm, you'll see the 7 pm show, then eat dinner. The shows are all 1 hour. Cruise director is Bill Brunkhorst from New Jersey, USA. They show the same movie all day long in the cinema or the Aurora Theatre, showing at 1 pm, 4 pm, 7 pm & 10 pm. They also have movies on the Poolside big screen. But most days, it was too cold to watch a movie there. Tonight's movie is 'Pirates of the Caribbean on Stranger Tides'. Dining times are 6 pm + 8:30 pm. Windjammer is open for dinner from 6:30 -- 9 pm. My Time dining is 5:30 -- 9:30 pm. It's highly recommended to pre-book your dining time online if you don't want to wait for a table. You can also specify if you want to sit with others or just by yourselves. I requested a table for 2 and we were seated at the same table every night with the same waiters, so that was nice. Specialty restaurants open for dinner from 6 -- 9:30 pm. Now that Radiance has the dining packages, they don't offer reduced prices for the specialty restaurants anymore, except for embarkation day where dinner is 20% off. New Zealand is 2 hours ahead of Australia, so you will be turning your clocks back. Day 2 -- at sea - Formal Captain's Welcome Aboard reception, Production Showtime 'Piano Man' ( great show ). Cinema -- Battle Los Angeles, Aurora Theater & Poolside -- The Help Day 3 -- at sea -- Smart Casual Headline Showtime starring Steven Fisher King ( excellent ) Cinema -- 'Soul Surfer', Aurora Theater -- 'The Adjustment Bureau' Day 4 -- Milford, Dusky + Doubtful Sound -- Casual Headliner Showtime -- Bernard Walz ( good ), Cinema 'Thor', Aurora Theater & Poolside'Green Lantern' It was very windy in Milford Sound with a couple of beautiful waterfalls. I could only stand to be on deck for 15 minutes before I retreated to our stateroom balcony, bundled ourselves in our winter coats & bathrobes to watch the scenery. Day 5 -- Dunedin, New Zealand -- Casual Aurora Theater -- 'Cars 2' Headliner Showtime 'John Taylor + Cherry' Illusionist ( just average ) Dunedin is a working port & you cannot just walk out of there. There is a shuttle available at $ 8 NZD each way. Travel time to the city center is 25 minutes.' Here we took the Taieri Gorges Railway tour for $ 199 USD. It includes morning refreshment of a shortbread cookie, coffee, tea or orange juice. Lunch is a vegetarian lunch box with a small salad, small wrap, cheese & cracker, a kiwi fruit that was very difficult to eat with the flimsy spoon that was provided. Wine was also provided with lunch. If you don't drink wine, be sure to ask for something else to drink, like a soda pop, water or juice because no alternative was offered. Also, later in the afternoon, you'll be asked if you want a beer ( already included in price ). You can drink as many as you want. We saw llamas ( white & black ), lambs, sheep, horses. The water levels were pretty low so the gorges didn't seem that spectacular. There are 2 stops along the way. Both are shopping shops for local handicrafts. The prices are quite reasonable. The 2nd stop has more locally-made fashions. At the end of the trip, you can either disembark at the train station & make your own way back to the ship or stay on the train & it takes you directly back to the ship. The quarantine control in New Zealand is very strict. They do not allow any food products to be taken ashore. Only water in sealed, unopened bottles is allowed ashore. They do have Quarantine officers checking as you disembark the ship. In some ports, they even had a dog sniffing your bags. Day 6 -- Akaroa, New Zealand -- Casual Production Showtime 'City of Dreams' ( quite good ) Poolside 'Zookeeper' Akaroa is a tender port. If you are not on a cruise line tour, you'll need a tender ticket. But if you depart the ship before 8:30 am, you won't need a tender ticket. Akaroa is a quaint seaside village which is 90 minutes from Christchurch. There is a free shuttle from the pier to the city center. There are also many tour operators lined up on the pier for day trips, scuba/snorkel tours. We just walked into town, about 20 minutes. If you want a cheap snack or souvenir, head to the Four Square supermarket in town. Later that afternoon, we were napping in our stateroom when we felt a violent shaking. I was too sleepy to worry about it but later the Captain announced that there was an earthquake in Christchurch. An hour later, there was another shaking. Thankfully, all the guests that went to Christchurch on tours that day returned safely & we were only 30 minutes late departing Akaroa. Quite scary, though ! And the following week, they had another earthquake !. Day 7 -- Wellington, New Zealand -- Smart casual Headliner Showtime 'Flyright Brothers' sing the blues ( not my cup of tea ) A pedestrian path was created in 2010. Follow the signs as you exit the cruise terminal. It's about a 20 minute walk to the city center. They also have a shuttle bus for $ 8 NZD each way. You can also use the internet $ 2 NZD for 15 minutes & make phone calls from the cruise terminal. Here we did the 9 am Cable Car + Zeelandia Sanctuary. There is also a 12 pm departure. I chose the 9 am 'cause I didn't walk to be too hot walking around in the afternoon. However, it was still cool in the morning & the animals & birds weren't really out & about yet. We were given a 2 hour guided tour, then only 10 minutes to browse the exhibition & gift shop ( wished we had more time here ). Then at the cable car, it only runs every 10 minutes, so you much be proactive & ensure you get on the next car that comes, otherwise, you'll miss out on the time at the top of the cable car ( lots to see & do here...gardens, observatory etc ) but you'll only have 45 minutes here. The main shopping street was bustling with people. One thing I found disturbing were children playing musical instruments in the streets. Were they really begging or just doing it for pocket money ? Day 8 -- at sea -- Christmas day -- Formal Santa & Mrs Claus arrived by tender at 9:45 am. All kids 17 + under received a gift. Afterwards, anyone who wanted a photo with Santa could also do so. Day 9 -- Napier, New Zealand -- Casual/White Headliner Showtime 'Amber Jade' Instrumentalist ( quite good ) Cinema 'Fast Five', Poolside 'Burlesque' There is a free shuttle into Napier to the Visitor Center. We loved shopping in Napier, quite inexpensive compared to the other ports. You can also visit the Aquarium gift shop for inexpensive souvenirs. Day 10 -- cruising Volcanic White Island -- Smart Casual Headliner Showtime 'Jennifer Green' a tribute to Shirley Bassey ( excellent ) Cinema 'Arthur', Poolside 'Grease Sing-a-long' Cruising Volcanic White Island approx 3 -- 6 pm. Very interesting. Day 11 -- Tauranga, New Zealand -- Casual/70's Headliner Showtime ' Bob Howe' Guitarist ( excellent ) Cinema 'Rango', Poolside'Smurfs' In every port, there'll be at least one Starbucks & that's where you'll have free wireless internet ! Yippee ! Very easy to walk around here if you don't want to take excursions to Rotorua ( 90 minutes travel each way ). Day 12 -- Auckland, New Zealand -- Casual Headliner Showtime 'Sean Laughlin' comedic juggler ( neither funny, nor juggles much; don't waste your time ) Cinema 'Love, Wedding, Marriage', Poolside 'Camel Cowboy' We were docked at Queen's Wharf which is a working port. You cannot walk around here. You must take the free shuttle which drops you at the port gate. From here, you can walk to the city center easily. Day 13 -- Bay of Islands, New Zealand ( tender port ) -- Casual/50's & 60's Tender takes approx 25 mins to the pier, free shuttle to town, can walk entire town in 20 minutes. Can also take day tours to a winery or ferry to Russell. Headliner Showtime 'Tango Buenos Aires' ( excellent, must-see ! ) Cinema 'Limitless', Poolside 'Grease Sing-a-Long' Day 14 -- at sea New Year's Eve -- Formal Headliner Showtime 'Fabba' ( tribute to Abba, excellent ! ) Cinema 'Something Borrowed', Poolside ' Kangaroo Kaos Documentary' Make a Cake Challenge ( hilarious ) At dinner in the dining room, they had hats & noisemakers for everyone. Starting at 10 pm, all the lounges had New Year's Eve parties. At midnight, Captain Sindre did the countdown in the Centrum, then balloons & confetti fell from the ceiling and free champagne was flowing. Day 15 -- at sea -- Casual Headliner Showtime 'Grant Galea' ( good ) Cinema 'Super 8', Poolside 'Vertigo, U2 in Concert' Day 16 -- Sydney, Australia -- Casual Headliner Showtime 'Ian Cooper' violinist ( excellent ) Cinema 'Soul Surfer', Poolside 'Captain America', Aurora Theater 'Crazy, Stupid Love' If you are disembarking the ship today, you can only do it from 10 -- 11 am. There's a free shuttle that goes around the CBD ( Central Business District ), route 555 every 15minutes. Take it from Stand E at Circular Quay. Last shuttle returns at 3 pm on regular days or 6 pm on public holidays. Paddy's market is the place if you like flea markets. We walked through Hyde Park and saw & heard a kookaburra. Brought that song from grade school to mind 'kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree...' Day 17 -- Sydney, Australia -- disembarkation Everyone will be off the ship by 9:45 am. Enjoyed our cruise minus some frustrations with the Guest Relations staff. In the Windjammer buffet, every day they have an Asian, Indian, make your own pizza, stations. In the morning, they have congee; lunch, make your own soup etc. I saw many gluten-free, sugar-free options, not so many fat-free or vegetarian labelled options. At tea time, they have scones.l Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Sailed from Sydney on the 4th of December. The boarding experience was good considering fairly poor facilities at the Sydney International Terminal. Our cabin was ready well prepared and in good condition. Our cabin attendant appeared ... Read More
Sailed from Sydney on the 4th of December. The boarding experience was good considering fairly poor facilities at the Sydney International Terminal. Our cabin was ready well prepared and in good condition. Our cabin attendant appeared almost imediately and was available and helpful for the entire trip. We booked late sitting dining and were seated with for other couples of similar age and were enjoyable company to be with. Our table was near the Captains table on formal nights which was nice. Unfortunately next to us was a table with a young couple and a child under two who cried most nights or knocked wine and food on to the floor this tended to detract from the experience. In addition the father regularly contravened the dress code for the dining room and wore shorts and sometime T-shirts. This attire was tolerated for the entire trip by the Dining room Maitre D despite being brought to his attention by our table supervisor. The dining room dress code is clearly displayed on boards at the entrance of the dining room. The Maitre-D did not support his staff and allowed ships rules to be flagrantly floughted. We wondered what other rules might be allowed to be ignored on the ship. Our wives and most of the ladies brought outfits to dress up and it is dissapointing to see standards being lowered. Our table staff in contrast were fantastic and were 5 star plus. If a rule is not going to be enforced change it, get rid of it! The food was good but a limited selection in the main dining room. One gets the feeling you are being encouaged to go to the pay extra restaurants. The food in the Buffet was also good with more variety though finding tables at times difficult. Generally we organised our own tours ashore as they were much cheaper. We did book a ship tour at the Bay of Islands which we missed as poor weather caused the called to cancelled. We struck fairly rough seas but the Captain did a good job minimising the discomfort and skirting the biggest seas. It was good to be on a 90,000 tonne ship with stabilisers. Unfortunately the American idea of good coffee does not meet the Australian idea of good coffee. The coffee is starbucks in cardboard mugs. Starbucks had to close a lot of their stores in Australia. The Cappuccino is particularly below what Australian's are used to in any of our capital cities. There are little signs that the accountants have been in, no daily news update to the cabins with the daily Cruise Compass, great emphasis to try and encourage passengers to go to the pay extra restaurants. It was however a very enjoyable cruise because of very good attendants, good company and a good itinerary. Special thanks to Jimmy Archer in Tauranga. Would we cruise Royal Caribbean, as we said in the onboard reveiw maybe, maybe not as two of our first considerations are itinerary and the calender dates. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
This ship had not done its research before the cruise. The weather in northern Australia at this time is unpredictable and the ship had not prepared for the worst scenario. As a result tendering in several ports were difficult. Adequate ... Read More
This ship had not done its research before the cruise. The weather in northern Australia at this time is unpredictable and the ship had not prepared for the worst scenario. As a result tendering in several ports were difficult. Adequate local larger tenders were not firmly booked. As a result two ports were only visited by a small number of guests and those from the US and Canada were deeply disappointed. The boarding process in Sydney was a disaster, due to extra sensitization because of previous outbreak of gastro. The process was completely chaotic and disorganized. Many frail elderly were made to stand for hours. In spite of previous outbreak of gastro and extra sanitizing guests were subjected to eating buns and wraps with their fingers, without sanitizing of their hands. Whether there was anyone suffering as a result of these conditions was of course not known, by guests, but the ship was full of unhappy guest as a result. The menu was full of surprises, not in a nice way. For example, Bouillabaisse, borscht, Minestrone and clam chowder were nothing like what is commonly known. The nightly shows however were mostly excellent. To their credit the serving waiters and room attendants were all very good. This cannot be said about the higher echelon who were not very approachable. There was paranoia that all approaches were potential complaints. Perhaps this can be explained and justified as there were many complains. Australians generally abhor complaints and are easily pleased, especially regarding food. The Rhapsody of the Seas had been a success and is popular in Australia. It is a pity the Radiance is such a let down and put many off Royal Caribbean. Unfortunately for Australia it also caused many from the US and Canada not wanting to return. I hope those in the Miami Head Office would go back to the drawing board. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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Radiance of the Seas -- 16 September 2011 Background Information We were booked for this cruise (YVR to HNL with port calls in Kona, Lahaina and Nawiliwili) and also the following one (HNL to SYD with port calls in Tahiti, Moorea, ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas -- 16 September 2011 Background Information We were booked for this cruise (YVR to HNL with port calls in Kona, Lahaina and Nawiliwili) and also the following one (HNL to SYD with port calls in Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora and Auckland). I injured my right knee the day we boarded and, after visiting the on board acupuncturist, developed a serious staph infection on my right calf. At the STRONG suggestion of the two ship's physicians, we canceled the second cruise and left the ship in Honolulu. I got some interesting insights into traveling while disabled and will write about that at the end of this review. Travel to Port of Embarkation We flew from LAX to YVR nonstop on Alaska Airlines. We were able to get seats on a nonstop flight for only $99.00 and that beat any other possible combination we could come up with. The plane was full but the service was excellent and wifi was complimentary during the month of September. Arrival at Vancouver International was on time and we had a relatively quick trip through immigration, baggage claim and customs. The airport is very nice but we always seem to come in at one of the furthest out gates and that means lots of walking. We had quite a bit of luggage -- two 22 inch rollaboards, two large totes, a garment bag and two smaller bags so decided that Skytrain would not be the best way to get into town. Instead, we took an Aerocar shuttle. The guys in charge outside were pretty disorganized but we only had to wait about 25 minutes for the next shuttle to arrive. Our hotel was the last stop but we would use this service again. Hotel We spent the night before the cruise at the Marriott Pinnacle. It is a lovely hotel with a good central location. Because we are Lifetime Platinum members of the Marriott program we were given a very nice 25th floor room on the Concierge Level. We enjoyed a couple of glasses of wine with cruise friends in the Lounge and the complimentary snacks were our dinner. The next morning we had breakfast in the Concierge Lounge and then used a van/taxi for the short trip to Canada Place and the ship. Embarkation There were plenty of porters to help with the bags that we were checking and the trip through U.S. Customs and Immigration and checkin were very easy. By doing the U.S. processing in Vancouver we were able to avoid having to do it when we arrived in Hawai'i. We boarded at about 12:30PM and the cabins were not to be ready until 1:00PM. We found a place to sit in the Champagne Bar and soon afterwards the announcement was made that the cabins were, indeed, ready. Stateroom For this cruise we were booked in an E2 Balcony, 7534. This is one of the cabins that has the extra large balcony. It is about twice the size of a regular balcony but you do lose a bit of privacy because divider becomes a half wall for the last few feet and you also have people looking down from the cabins above onto that area. It was not a serious problem for us. The new deck furniture -- two nice chairs and a dining height table -- are a nice addition. The cabin was pretty much standard. We did notice the new flat screen TVs but also realized that the E2 cabins are smaller and have less storage space than the D cabins. The beds were together instead of apart as we had requested but our very good Cabin Attendant Ahmad took care of that before bedtime. The in room wi-fi (Fee charged although our two Diamond coupons gave us enough time to download and upload e-mail.) works great and is, perhaps, the best of the new features. The location of this cabin is good. It is close to the stairs/elevators that go directly to the Theater. We had heard some comments about noise from the Theater but that was never really a problem. Ship Info This was our fifth cruise on Radiance of the Seas. The last one had been the Coastal Cruise from San Diego to Vancouver before she went in for refitting in Victoria, BC. We were looking forward to seeing the changes. She seemed, on first look, to be in very good shape. A lot of painting had been done and some new carpeting installed. The Stateroom itself could have used new carpet and new upholstery. The bedding and drapes also need to be updated. One of our first stops was the Windjammer to get something for lunch. We had been concerned that the addition of Rita's Cantina and Izumi would cut into the already scarce seating. We were right. You can still go through Rita's to the outside area but, unless it's a nice day, that's not a good option. This seems to have been a revenue driven decision and has not been a popular one with people who use the Windjammer on a regular basis. Because I ended up needing a wheelchair for most of the cruise, I didn't get to explore as much as I'd like to have. I do know that there were negative comments about the loss of the much loved Sea View Cafe. We also missed the Breakers Dining Room for the Diamond/Diamond Plus breakfast in the morning. It has been replaced by three single cabins and six Oceanview cabins. We were told that the singles were being used for crew accommodation on this cruise. The new Diamond Lounge has been carved out of the Royal Viking Lounge. There were so many Diamond members on this cruise they had to open a rear door up and use part of the Royal Viking Lounge. We very much enjoyed the complimentary cocktails and beer/wine. It was explained to us that this is the main difference between a Diamond Lounge and a Diamond Event. Service was a bit spotty although Nickson did a very good job. The Concierge, Steven, seemed to be spending quite a bit of time carrying plates and replenishing food on the buffet which is not really what he is supposed to be there for. He was very pleasant when he had time to stop and visit but that was rare. While we enjoyed the Lounge, this has cut up what was once a lovely room with panoramic views for all to enjoy. Dining We were signed up for My Time Dining. With all of Deck Five being MTD, we hoped that things would go more smoothly than they have in the past. The first night we were seated fairly quickly but at a table directly next to the back side of a noisy service center. Watching plates being scrapped and dirty plates stacked wasn't especially appetizing. The next morning, however, we ran into a favorite waiter, Andrew Tuscano, from Navigator. We were able to be seated at one of his tables for the remainder of the cruise and he and his assistant, Agnelo Fernandes, took excellent care of us. We were also happy to see John Fernandes, an assistant waiter from an earlier cruise and Rathan who is now a supervisor. The quality of the food was good. It is, however, predictable. The menus have not changed since our first cruise on Radiance in 2009. Day One, Vidalia Onion Tart... A couple of favorites are there, of course, including the pork medallions and the Thanksgiving Dinner. Two of my favorite appetizers -- escargot and the scallop and shrimp gratin -- are also still on the menu. Andrew always made good suggestions and went far above and beyond to make dining a fun and enjoyable experience. One night, when I wasn't feeling up to going to the MDR, he insisted on sending dinner and dessert to the cabin. I had already ordered from Room Service but the thought and his concern was very much appreciated. On this cruise we ate at only one Specialty Restaurant. We went as a party of six to Chops. The meal was, as always, good. The service, however, was not as personal nor as professional as we remember from other visits. I do very much like the addition of creme brulee as a dessert option, however. One very small complaint: The flatware is still cumbersome. It rolls off the plate when you put a knife or fork down. We had looked forward to trying Samba's Grill but ended up not doing so. People we spoke with said that it was good but not exceptional. They also found the location -- replacing the Sea View Cafe -- a bit odd. That was especially true when it was cold or wet at night. Again, a revenue driven decision not thoroughly thought through? Activities/Shows Because of my condition we didn't participate in many of the activities. We did go to two shows. One was a comedy show performed by the two Argentines who own and produce Tango Buenos Aires. They are brothers and are very funny. The tango show, which we've now seen four times was excellent although the female lead singer was not as strong as the others we've seen. Bobby and Becky Brown were the Cruise Director and Activity Director. They are both true professionals and do a great job. Service We had excellent service from our Cabin Attendant, Ahmad, and in the Main Dining Room from Andrew and Agnelo. We had a feeling, though, that everyone was doing more work than before and some service suffered. We gave up trying to contact Guest Relations by phone. They just never answered and the one time they did were not able to help us with out an in-person visit. We had breakfast delivered by Room Service most mornings and it was, with two exceptions, prompt and efficient. It would be nice to have more variety on the menu, however. The people at Guest Relations seemed to be overwhelmed much of the time. I was also surprised, when we went to tell them that we would need to leave the ship early, that there was no hint of We're sorry to hear that. The young woman we spoke with seemed a little put out that we were causing her extra work. She did offer a complimentary phone call or thirty extra internet minutes which never activated. She was not available to speak to about this so we paid the charge. The invitations for the Meet & Mingle were not sent in time to about half the people who were registered. Ours was in our cabin the evening after the 10:30AM event. Our Diamond amenities were not in the cabin when we boarded. They were delivered at 10:00PM the first night. Again, perhaps too much work for too few people? Port and Shore Excursions We didn't do any Ship's Excursions. In Kona we went ashore and met friends for lunch at the Kona Inn. As usual, it didn't disappoint. I had a very good Mai Tai and excellent calamari sandwich. At Lahaina we rented a car and drove to the top of Haleakala. It was a perfect day with the drive up the mountain in clouds and drizzle and then bright sun at the top. We could see both Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa on the Big Island 100 miles away. We stopped at the Kula Lodge in Kula for a very good late lunch. and then drove up to the Iao Valley and Needle on the way back to Lahaina. On Kauai we also rented a car and went up to the Waimea Canyon, stopped at the Kauai Coffee Company and the Spouting Horn and had lunch in Wailua before returning to the ship. Disembarkation We were in one of the last groups off the ship and met in the Cascades Dining Room. They had pastries and drinks available. When they called our number there was a crew member with a wheelchair (we had returned the one we were using so we could get the credit for the $250.00 deposit) and he took us to baggage claim where we got a porter and then out to the Taxis where we got a cab into Waikiki where we spent a night before flying home. Summary We made the best of a difficult situation and tried to enjoy the cruise as much as we could. I was disappointed that I didn't have the mobility to see as many of the changes that were made during dry dock as I would have liked. As mentioned, I think that the addition of Rita's and Izumi was a mistake. It has really made a bad situation in The Windjammer worse. Spending most of the cruise in a wheelchair or on a cane gave me a new appreciation for people who travel this way all the time. The crew were generally very helpful and compassionate. Many passengers were, too, but I was really surprised by how rude and inconsiderate some people were. We had people go around us to get in elevators, let doors close in our face and generally ignore that we might need a little extra time or help getting around. I have to especially acknowledge the crew working the tender operation. This can be difficult at best but they treated me with respect and the inclinator they use for getting the wheelchairs up and down to the tender platform works really well. We were also treated very well on the return trip, being taken aside so we would be the last on/first off the tender. Would we sail on Radiance again? Absolutely, if only to see and experience the new things that we missed this time around! Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This is our 10th cruise and, like all our previous cruises, we ensure we take advantage of the departure port and get there several days in advance to enjoy the particular city prior to boarding. Honolulu was no exception and we thoroughly ... Read More
This is our 10th cruise and, like all our previous cruises, we ensure we take advantage of the departure port and get there several days in advance to enjoy the particular city prior to boarding. Honolulu was no exception and we thoroughly enjoyed our 6 day pre-cruise visit. RADIANCE is big and "strong" and amazing how it handled the big swells of the Pacific. Advanced stabilizers kept the ship on an even keel (excuse the pun) as she cut through the seas at an incredible 25 knots. However, after all the jazzed up reports of the makeover, I was disappointed. I was expecting more. Sure the added specialty dining rooms and outdoor movie screen were the main changes done, and they were spanking new of course, but I had wrongly assumed the staterooms had been overhauled as well (apart from the flat screen TV). Embarkation: Easy; boarding staff were friendly. Getting to the port was also a breeze. $6 on a shuttle bus with a friendly driver was a good start to our cruise. Stateroom: Not what I expected; drab and "tired" and musty smell. Sofa was worn and faded (this was the same through other staterooms that I visited) and I really didn't feel comfortable sitting on it, curtains old and "whoofy" odour. But our stateroom steward attended to the smell and deodorised the room within a few hours. I got over the initial bad impression and all well after this; my idea of a ship overhaul is obviously different to RCC International's! Bathroom small but sufficient storage in mirror cabinet to keep all toiletries. Shower oh so small, but this is the same on all cruise lines in this class cabin. A real plus is the amazing water pressure in the shower (reminded me of the Seinfeld episode with Kramer!) Storage for clothes was adequate. Bed? Excellent - very, very comfortable. Food: We honestly had no problems. Find it hard to believe other reviewers had issues. In fact, we enjoyed the food so much in the Cascades and Windjammer that we never got to try any of the specialty places. Our excellent table waiters Aleksander and David were outstanding and our dining companions were also fun. We did find however that breakfast or lunch in the Cascades to be a bit "pressured". Staff were polite but you could see they were under extreme pressure to provide the timely service. While the "cereal bar" for breakfast and "salad bar" for lunch were interesting, it did confuse many people. One could go to the central area and waiters there would serve you cereal, juice etc as an "entree" and the table waiter would take your order for the "main" course. I must admit the salad bar was amazing! Everything so fresh - no wilted leaves to be seen ever. So many ingredients - all types of salad leaves, peppers, corn, sprouts, seeds, salmon, chicken pieces, and various salad dressing - and even prawns! One could simply forgo the main course and just indulge in the salad bar. As previously touched on, dinner at Cascades was something we looked forward to each evening. Food was outstanding and Aleksander and David bent over backwards to please. A nice touch here is that they called us by our first names and not SIR or MADAM or MR x or Mrs x... made the dining experience more special. I must point out however, that table waiters and table companions are a key to a pleasant dining experience. If these don't "work for you" then you would need to change tables up front or head to the Windjammer or specialty restaurants. Solarium - adult pool area. Was disappointed the captain did not retract the glass roof on our sunny days as it was quite stifling in there although cosy on the dreary cold days. Park Cafe - brilliant - salad bar, hot roast beef rolls, pastries etc. RCC obviously didn't deem it important enough to replace the "greenery" in the Solarium. Tired, discoloured plastic vines and leaves really took away from the "jungle" ambiance. Other: Lot of nooks and crannies to relax eg. library (small but quiet), Starquest lounge (on highest deck and great forward view) so quiet and peaceful. Helicopter area far forward- do your impression of The Titanic scene here if you wish or just sit on the comfy benches and drift away- not a sound here except the wind and the waves. Golf course - loved it. Apparently this was part of the renovation and it showed - beautiful artificial turf and rockery that looked so real. Apart from really windy and rocky days, it played quite true. TV in stateroom: appalling programming; ad nauseum repeats. Entertainment: very good... Tango Buenos Aires a highlight. An early 7pm show for the 2nd sitting diners was a superb idea instead of a late 10:30... well done RCC Guest Relations: Nothing different here... it amazes me how politely rude, or rudely polite these people can be. OK, they basically deal with complaints 24/7 but that's their job.... a smile wouldn't hurt. 10 cruises and the same 10 experiences. Final note: very surprised that there were 1500+ Australians onboard but even more surprised that that there were 160 kids also! We knew it was school holiday time but we didn't expect Aussies to fly all the way over to Hawaii with their kids for a 17 day cruise. Live and learn. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We set out into the unknown having never cruised before. We chose the RCI Radiance of the Seas as it was sailing to ports we were interested in. Getting on the ship was very easy (obviously they have done this before!!!) It was all a bit ... Read More
We set out into the unknown having never cruised before. We chose the RCI Radiance of the Seas as it was sailing to ports we were interested in. Getting on the ship was very easy (obviously they have done this before!!!) It was all a bit of an eye opener to begin with but we soon found our feet. We were a bit disappointed with the size of our cabin - but we chose it so that was our error. It was very close living for 2 people for 18 days and next time we will go for a bigger cabin. There was however plenty of storage space and the bed was very comfortable, bathroom is very compact but really didn't need to be any bigger. Our cabin attendant Antony was fantastic. The room was kept immaculate and our bed was made or straightened twice a day with a little surprise left for us every second day. We dined a few times in the Cascades Dining Room but ate most of our meals in the Windjammer Cafe. There was so much food to choose from you would have to be pretty fussy to not find something you would like. The selection was awesome from roasts, asian food, pizzas, salads, fruit and a huge selection of desserts with an icecream machine as well. We were disappointed with the Meet and Mingle that was pumped up to be a fantastic get together to meet people that had cruised before. The cruise director was there but it was more like an information session on what was going on in the next few days than a meet and greet. Everyone sat in their little groups and no-one mixed with others. I wouldn't bother with this again!! We loved the Cruise Compass that was put in our cabin each night with all the activities for the next day. Plenty of things to keep us amused and entertained. I am an avid reader and was so busy I had no time to pick up my book. The crew were put under pressure with a gastro outbreak on the ship on the 3rd day of sailing. They were flat out keeping everything cleaned and had to serve in the Windjammer Cafe (which is normally help yourself) and they always had a smile on their face and a happy word to say to us. Every one no matter what their "real" job on the ship was pitched in and helped. Also if you are thinking of pre-buying water and fruit juice - dont bother. Water and juice, and in fact anything, can be delivered to your room from room service for free so save your money!! Congratulations to all the staff from the Captain to the laundry staff. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and are looking forward to many more. Anita and Kerry Moore Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
This was our third cruise and first with Royal Caribbean. It was nice to be on this ship's maiden voyage to Australia (our home country). There were over 1500 Aussies on board. Royal Caribbean really went all out with the fuss they ... Read More
This was our third cruise and first with Royal Caribbean. It was nice to be on this ship's maiden voyage to Australia (our home country). There were over 1500 Aussies on board. Royal Caribbean really went all out with the fuss they made of the Aussies, including quite a large selection of our alcohol beverages on board. Our embarkation in Honolulu was fast and efficient with very friendly staff. We were very happy with our aft balcony stateroom on Deck 10. That location could not be any better with lovely days spent relaxing on the balcony which was big enough to accommodate two chaise lounges and a table and two chairs. Our room steward, Mauritzio was super efficient and an absolute gentleman and the many towel animals he made for us were great, including the bat hanging from a coathanger from the ceiling. We had an outbreak of norovirus which was handled efficiently by the ship's staff. We were kept up to date on a daily basis by the Captain on the measures being taken to alleviate the spread of this illness. It meant that we were not allowed to self-serve food in the Windjammer Cafe for quite a substantial part of the cruise but there was always plenty of staff to assist in service to passengers there. Staff who were always friendly and smiling. In fact we were very impressed by the staff everywhere on the ship. It must be a logistical nightmare to cater to the needs of a couple of thousand passengers but they do it so well. Nothing was too much trouble and they even managed to stream some world cup rugby matches and find out the results of our big football grand finals in Australia. They even managed to get the big Bathurst car race televised as well with my husband enjoying his seat at the pool bar watching it on the big screen along with many others. This was very much appreciated. Our lovely young waiters in Cascades, Joanny and Lazly were the best. I miss them. We did not eat in Cascades every night though, preferring to just relax some nights and dine from the Windjammer. We did not go to any of the speciality restaurants. I did hear good reports of some of them from other passengers. We especially liked the dress code for the dining room with many nights being casual, rather than just smart casual and formal. Food was pretty good but I liked the many healthy choices, including having desserts that were sugar-free etc. We enjoyed many a lunchtime salad in the Park Cafe. We especially loved that area of the ship with The Colony Club, etc and we spent many hours in there playing bingo or pool on the self-levelling pool tables (what fun), dancing and listening to the wonderful Zig Zag Band or having drinks with new friends we made. Willy the barman was wonderful. So friendly and he could make a mean rum and coke (Bundy of course). A lovely area of the ship with great ambience. We also loved the solarium. Especially nice on the cooler days we had at sea. We found the ship lovely and so smooth to sail in especially compared to other ships we have been on. It was very easy to find our way around and the touch screens to find different areas were a great idea too. There is something for everyone with a rock-climbing wall, mini-golf etc. In fact, we were spoiled for choice. Our ports of call were great with Bora Bora and Moorea the favourites. What beautiful places. Bora Bora in particular is a paradise. We tendered at these two ports which was effortless and never a problem. We had two days in Auckland. The weather was awful but this cannot be helped and we had a great time nevertheless. Disembarkation in Sydney was smooth and efficient also and we appreciated the free shuttle buses Royal Caribbean provided for transportation to Sydney airport. All in all we had the most wonderful holiday of a lifetime and would do this cruise again that is for sure. We rate Royal Caribbean as perhaps on a par with Princess cruises. They are both excellent with particular mention to the service and staff on board. We would most definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our first time on the Radiance and our first embarkation out of Australia.We flew from Adelaide to Sydney mid day then boarded the plane at 6pm ,we flew Jetstar for the first time and went business class , very impressed considering it was ... Read More
Our first time on the Radiance and our first embarkation out of Australia.We flew from Adelaide to Sydney mid day then boarded the plane at 6pm ,we flew Jetstar for the first time and went business class , very impressed considering it was cheaper than Qantas economy's ,arrived 8.00am Honolulu time ,4am our time ,were picked up at the airport by Hawaiian taxi's excellent service and taken to our hotel Princess Kaulani ,the location of the hotel was excellent.We stayed there for 5 nights , we caught a taxi to the port ,although our boarding pass said 9pm boarding we went there at 10.30 am and no problems ,we had to wait about 3/4 hr as my husband needed a wheel chair other than that boarding was very easy .Our cabin was great we had a balcony room on 9th deck quite spacious,the bed near the balcony door then the lounge ,they had curtains across the middle of the cabin so if my husband was asleep i could pull the curtains and put the light on .The food in the dining room was excellent a lot better than our previous cruise on Rhapsody ,the variety was god and always hot ,the windjammer was very good but we did prefer the set up of the windjammer on Rhapsody .Our cabin steward was pretty ordinary all talk and no action ,but we learnt to ignore him and keep our do not disturb sign up otherwise he would just walk in ( mostly just to check the view from our balcony ,or use his computer .)We did not go to a lot of shows but what we saw were excellent .The main complaint was guest relations ,they were very unhelpfull.As has been mentioned we had a bad case of novovirus onboard the crew were amazing it was handled so well ,we were kept updated at all times 20 out of 10 for that .We did a day trip in Papeete (would never go there again )Auckland (wine tour ) and Bora Bora ,very happy with them all .All up we were very very happy with our cruise we will be back on the Radiance in March . Leaving the ship was no problem very early but that i am sure was because it was maiden voyage . Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
In September 2011 we flew to Honolulu from Brisbane for our first ever cruise. Having researched a number of cruise lines and destinations the Radiance inaugural voyage to Australia. The Radiance usually does the Alaska/ Hawaii cruisers. ... Read More
In September 2011 we flew to Honolulu from Brisbane for our first ever cruise. Having researched a number of cruise lines and destinations the Radiance inaugural voyage to Australia. The Radiance usually does the Alaska/ Hawaii cruisers. Sometime in July Radiance went into dry dock in Vancouver and underwent a major renovation - adding restaurants, a few single cabins and sprucing up other cabins/ main areas. The ship definitely sparkles! Our flight to Honolulu was fairly easy, despite the 5 hour lay over in Nadi, Fiji. We stayed in the airport and just relaxed/ people watched and enjoyed a rather delicious pizza. We flew Air Pacific - smallish plane but just comfortable enough for the journey. In Honolulu (we were there for 2.5 days) we stayed at Moana Surfrider - a hotel we can highly recommend! It was charming, luxurious and just went way beyond our expectations. For $365AUD for a Classic Ocean Banyon room it was worth paying more than what we would normally. It was a special occasion so we thought 'Why not!'. Excited by the cruise we triple checked our boarding passes and realised that despite the cruise guest booklet we had been emailed/ downloaded from the Royal Caribbean website stating the boarding time was 9pm (we thought that was odd) it was actually 1.30pm - though they were accepting passengers from 11am. We gave up any plans of a visit to Pearl Harbour - packed up and headed to the terminal. Boarding was a breeze! Even though we had a trainee learning the ropes to check us in it was smooth and uncomplicated. In no time we were on the ship - with our new favourite thing: the Sea Pass. Straight into our room to have a look around before we explored the ship. We had a balcony room on the 7th floor - room 7122. Perfect for us. Great size. Amazing storage and very comfortable bed. For the next 17 days we enjoyed every moment of our holiday. So much so it would be hard to pick a favourite activity. We tried every restaurant and not once let down. However some of the serving sizes are just completely overboard! Tip: if you go to Samba Grill - don't eat much that day - save yourself! The entertainment was a little cheesy but gave us a laugh. The bars were fun and we made some great friends that we enjoyed several nights out with. The pool deck can get crowded but eventually we always found a seat and enjoyed the pool that at times felt like a wave pool because of the swells in the ocean. Fun! We enjoyed a few shore excursions - taking advantage of a lot of advice to not book on the ship. There were so many options at the wharf in each port of call and usually 1/3 of the price! We highly recommend a helicopter ride over Bora Bora (about $450 for 15mins for 2 people) stunning!!! The staff on the Radiance were always on top of their game. Never once letting us down and not a grumpy one amongst all 900 of them (that we saw!). Most of the staff had never been to Australia before so they were excited about the new summer season cruising in Australia / New Zealand. We were sad to disembark in Sydney as we would have desperately loved to cruise all the way around to Perth. Maybe next time! Our photos and more in depth tips/ review can be seen on our blog. Please comment - we would love to hear your stories and answer questions. As first time cruisers we have found our passion! Just have to plan the next one :) cruiseonradiance.blogspot.com Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Second time cruisers just back from a lovely five day western Caribbean jaunt aboard Radiance of the Seas. Our first go with Royal Caribbean after a very successful Celebrity voyage only four months ago. We definitely got the cruise bug. ... Read More
Second time cruisers just back from a lovely five day western Caribbean jaunt aboard Radiance of the Seas. Our first go with Royal Caribbean after a very successful Celebrity voyage only four months ago. We definitely got the cruise bug. Planning Christmas aboard Holland America.Vague on ship sizes. Radiance is big but not overwhelming, inside or out.Took CC advise on rear suite stateroom. Chose Deck Ten - Suite 1602. Very spacious. Very well appointed. Huge balcony. More closet room than at home. Bed as queen was superb. Furnishing show some wear, but not objectionable. One small water soaked carpet area near bath was attended to "instantly" by maintenance with no repeat problem.. Guest Services called twice afterward to insure all was well. Over all a great soothing accommodation. CC is right about those rear suites. Wonderful end-of-the-world views. Worth the hike aft.We are evening dinner-for-entertainment folks. Took diners in specialty restaurants only. Chops is a fine steak house with view. Service and food well worth the up charge. But, maybe not four nights of it. Menu is somewhat narrow for that many evenings. Portofino, the Italian venue, was charming on our one night visit. Again, with good service and meal.We should have mixed it up a bit more. Our fault not RCI's.Can't comment on dining room. Windjammer buffet breakfasts and lunches were well laid out, ample and very satisfactory. Seating was a premium at high meal hours, but staff turned the tables quickly.We took no entertainment options, so again, no comment. Casual entertainment scattered about always seemed tasteful or lively depending on venue. We don't do the pool thing, especially with such a great balcony. Only comment is that the pool area seemed "ramma-jamma" each time we passed by. Spa area looked luxurious. We don't do rock climbing, but it sure seemed like a happening venue for all ages.Fellow passengers ranged from newborn to well past prime. Most adult folks in thirties to fifties. Family kids were plentiful at spring break time. But the teens and tweens always seemed busy doing something and were not under our feet or under our skin.Folks on our cruise seemed to heed the dress requirements for the most part and we saw no egregious violations of guidelines or manners.Radiance is beautiful and very well appointed. She does shine. All was spit and polish with plenty of sparkle. Staff was abundant, pleasant, polite and responsive to every need, but no one seemed to reach extra unless asked.Our ports in Mexico were nice but predictable. Language and currency were no challenge what-so-ever. We go for the cruise more than the destination. One firm recommendation for this Mexican journey: get the scoop on shopping at the onboard presentation. Utilize the coupons and recommendations. Our ship appointed "shopper's helper", Christina, was very informative and stood by our side in several shore side shops to boost better deals for us. She seemed to be everywhere on shore in Cozumel helping passengers navigate for bargains - big or little.Embarkation 45 minutes from valet parking (recommended) to cabin door just after mid day. Luggage at the door within two hours. Disembarkation two and a half hours - Ouch ! Border & Customs delays, not RCI's fault. Felt sorry for the folks with plane schedules.Finally, buzz from the crew. The lovely Radiance is in for dry dock in May before the Alaska summer. We're told she's out of the water for 20 days while the normal dry dock is 7 days. Sounds to us like she will really radiate after that make over. New dining venues, stateroom upgrades plus fifteen rooms to be added. Flat screens will finally arrive along with miles of new carpet. Sounds great. We will give her a try again out of our home port Tampa. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Arrival and check-in was smooth. We arrived at the Tampa terminal around 11am and there were no lines for check-in. Santa made a visit to the waiting area while boarding began. We were on the ship around 11:30am. The Windjammer was open ... Read More
Arrival and check-in was smooth. We arrived at the Tampa terminal around 11am and there were no lines for check-in. Santa made a visit to the waiting area while boarding began. We were on the ship around 11:30am. The Windjammer was open but we had to wait until 1:00pm to access our cabin. Cabin: Deluxe ocean view with balcony on Deck 10. Very cozy room that without the balcony would be claustrophobic. Plenty of storage space. Very old TV that did not get good reception and had a limited amount of channels. Beds were very comfortable. Cabin Stewart was excellent and efficient. MDR: we were assigned late seating. At 12noon, the Head Water was available for seating request and we were able to switch to early seating. My Time Dining was filled to capacity. Our table ended up being on Deck 4 way, way off in a corner. I think we got the trainee table as service was slow and inefficient. We were being served our dinner when most tables were having dessert or were done dining. The food was ok and they need to hire a new pastry chef. The staff in Adventure Ocean was friendly and had a wide variety of activities planned to keep the kids entertained. I did not like having to walk through the arcade to access Adventure Ocean. Overall, no complaints from about the kids club. The water slide: has limited hours but was a lot of fun for my little one. The weather was chilly while we were cruising and that limited the amount of pool time. The pools are not heated. We made 2 ports of call: Costa Maya and Cozumel. Costa Maya is nothing exceptional. Cozumel is on of the favorite ports of call and Radiance was the 1st of 6 cruise ship to pulling into Cozumel the day we were there. It was a chilly, overcast day but we went to the beach anyways. We ended up coming back to the ship around 11:30am and found the Oasis docked next to us. What a sight! And the massive amount of people coming off the Oasis was impressive. The weather was chilly but a lot warmer then what we left behind. Overall, the cruise was a great getaway but lacking the elegance that cruising once had. We had an early disembarking time slot and were off the ship by 8:50am and at the Tampa airport, via taxi, by 9:15am. Very smooth and efficient. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was our first holiday cruise, but I don't think it will be our last. Royal's friendly staff and good service made for a relaxing holiday. We were traveling just the two of us (myself and my husband), it's the first ... Read More
This was our first holiday cruise, but I don't think it will be our last. Royal's friendly staff and good service made for a relaxing holiday. We were traveling just the two of us (myself and my husband), it's the first cruise we've taken by ourselves in 12 years. Our other cruises have been with family and/or friends. This was a bit of a second honeymoon as we are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year. We headed to the port via car. It's the first time that we've ever parked at the port, in the past we've always taken shuttles or taxis, and I was a little anxious about how the parking situation would be. This is a very easy port to navigate. We dropped our luggage off with the porter and then utilized the self-parking available directly across the street. There was plenty of parking space and the cost was $70 for the 5 days we were gone. We were parked and on the ship within an hour. Our cabin was a balcony cabin on Deck 9, with easy access to the Solarium and casual dining two floors up and just a few flights down to Deck 5 for the shows in the evening. One of the things we have always liked about the cabins on the Royal Caribbean ships is the storage space. There are cubbies and storage space everywhere. My favorite is the storage behind the angled mirrors. Unpack, slide the luggage under the bed and we were ready for our trip. The Radiance of the Seas is one of the smaller ships, which I personally like the more intimate environment this provides. This was our second time on this ship, having taken this same ship to Alaska last year. Coming back on board felt like coming home. This ship has lots of windows that provide great views almost everywhere you go. I especially like the open air seating at the back of the Windjammer (casual dining room). Grabbing coffee in the morning and sitting out under the shade in the fresh air was a great way to start the day. My biggest complaint about this ship is the basketball court directly over the Windjammer. It makes for a very noisy environment in the dining area, which is yet another reason to take your food to the open air area in the back. The food in the regular dining areas was good as usual, but not exceptional. We were lucky enough to have a table for two. We did go to the specialty restaurant Portifino for Thanksgiving dinner. We chose to go non-traditional and I had a skewer of seafood which included lobster for my Thanksgiving feast. The presentation was impressive, the food was above average from the dining room and the service was impeccable. The tiramisu that I had for dessert was the most elaborate display I have ever had and the taste did not disappoint. It was served in a white and milk chocolate shell, accompanied by a shot of Bailey's & Kahlua with cream on top. One word...delicious. We enjoyed several of the shows while on board. We went to both production shows, one was a compilation of Billy Joel, Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Barry Manilow songs. The other was a romantic journey around the world. We especially enjoyed the second production show as the singing and dancing seemed a little more suited for the cast. The highlight show for us, however, was the guest performer Lance Ringnald, who is a former Olympic gymnast. His was a combination of humor and gymnastics. Probably one of the more unique shows we've seen on a ship. Our stateroom attendant Michael, was great. He was very discreet, but attentive. He was probably the most creative stateroom attendant we've had. He went beyond just your standard towel animals and added humor that had us laughing out loud. We came back to our cabin one night to open the bathroom door to find our water closet had towel legs ending with a pair of our shoes. Quite funny. Returning to Tampa, we had the quickest and easiest disembarkation we've ever had. We left our meeting area to disembark at 8:15am and were in our car at 8:45am. The worst part of the trip was the drive home to Georgia with the holiday traffic. For a carefree and relaxing holiday, I would highly recommend taking a cruise. There were lots of families on board, but as a couple we enjoyed a more intimate experience. It was a great break from the rush and frenzy of the holiday season and a prime opportunity to reconnect and remember all we should be thankful for. Read Less
Sail Date November 2010
This was our 4th cruise, first with RCCL. Previous sailings include HAL, Carnival and Princess. Our 'child', now 17, was skeptical about being at the top end of the kids spectrum. We drove from Phx to SD and visited in-laws prior ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, first with RCCL. Previous sailings include HAL, Carnival and Princess. Our 'child', now 17, was skeptical about being at the top end of the kids spectrum. We drove from Phx to SD and visited in-laws prior to the 21st. Left our car with them and on Monday morning headed to the port. Arrived around noon and we unloaded the bags, found a porter and headed for check-in in about 15 minutes. Check-in was smooth. Room not ready until 1pm, so we headed up to Windjammer for a bite and did some exploring of the ship to get our bearings. Overall, the Windjammer was average. Food presentation was good but flavor often bland or salty. Good pastries and desserts. Omelette breakfast bar needs review. Give your order to someone who writes on a scrap of paper and places in-line. Sounds simple and straightforward but this process did not run smooth. Breakfast in the main dinning room provided better tasting breakfast, faster service and always had a nice table. The 'make your own sandwich' bar was tasty. Didn't eat dinner in the Windjammer. SeaView Cafe had good finger food, chunky clam chowder, grilled burgers and good service. Best place for snacking late-nite. Portofino's was excellent and plenty of wine choose from. We did the Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre and thoroughly enjoyed everything. We chose Anytime Dining and not once did we have difficulty. Arrived most evenings between 6:30 and 7:30. Samchai was our waiter and Cris was the assistant waiter. Both were excellent. Attention to detail impressed me. These two gentlemen spoiled us with polite, prompt and professional attention. Casino - slots so tight you could barely get your quarter inserted (lol). Sports Bar - plenty of tv's but all showed the same game. Entertainment - standard from what we have experienced, although the comedian on the final night was very good. Kids stuff - plenty of 17 - 19 yr olds. They pretty much hung out by themselves. Ours enjoyed the rock wall climbing, teen disco, putt-putt and staying out late every night. Pools and Spas - Usual problem with Lounge Hogs. Realizing they would lose their precious claim to a lounge with just a towel, many would leave personal property (iPods, purses, computers) on the lounge and then take off. I saw 2 iPods just sitting there for the 45 minutes I had a lounge. Solarium - Best kept secret onboard.Quiet, relaxing and lounges aplenty. Pizza bar was not my cup of tea (bland) but my wife liked it. Oh, the Taco Bar in Windjammer was very tasty. Activities - Bingo, dance lessons, towel folding, pool tables, etc. Movie Theater - nice break from watching in the cabin. Few people in each time I took a look or watched a movie. Exercise - Are you kidding me?? I'm on a cruise!!! I did see joggers on the track and using the facilities every morning I got up to see the sunrise. Santa Claus - arrived by tender in the morning and had a present for each child registered onboard. Unfortunately, ours didn't find it cool enough to see the man and receive his present. New Years - Variety of music and entertainment all over the ship. Starquest Lounge was 18 and older Rock n Rollers. Colony Club had a Guy Lombardo Big Band New Year going on. Atrium was doing kind of Dick Clark New Year celebration. Teens had their own party going on. Stateroom - Roomy for 2. A bit crowded with 3 adults getting dressed but all is needed is a system. Balcony had 2 chairs and small table. Our attendant was pleasant and worked around our varying schedules with a smile. Special Stuff - Ordered Classic Romance pkg. Great value and the Romantic Breakfast was delicious. Photos - looking forward to reviewing pics online via room account instead of wasting soooo much photo paper. C'mon Cruise Industry. We buy a few pics but the rest just get tossed. How about making better priced pkgs to reduce waste? Disembarkation - Total Mess. An international pax did not show up for 2 hours preventing the ship from being cleared. Our time to meet in the Aurora was 9:45 to leave and when we saw the Atrium we knew something was wrong. Off the ship at noon, got our luggage and thru customs in another 20 minutes. Biggest problem was lack of porters at baggage claim. And 2 other ships unloading paxs. Overall - great cruise, great cruiseline. I would recommend RCCL as well as the experience of the holidays at sea. We are already planning for Dec 2010. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
November21st-30th Background: I traveled with my partner Jimmi (jmcal123). I am a lifelong cruiser (#35) on everything from Crystal to Carnival. While I am not loyal to any one line, I tend to favor Royal Caribbean and Princess. This was ... Read More
November21st-30th Background: I traveled with my partner Jimmi (jmcal123). I am a lifelong cruiser (#35) on everything from Crystal to Carnival. While I am not loyal to any one line, I tend to favor Royal Caribbean and Princess. This was my choice for cruises because of the itinerary (two new ports) and ship (new class of ship for me).We also were able to combine my platinum discount with the AZ resident special and the FCC I had, so we ended up with a decent deal with some onboard credit as well. We were joined by a friend that we have travelled with twice on the Caribbean Princess and two of his friends. While there are many positives about this cruise, there were a few disappointments as well, enough for me to mention them, but not to deter me from Royal Caribbean in the future. We are very much looking forward to our Oasis cruise next September. Fortunately, our biggest issue happened immediately upon boarding the ship and we were able to put it behind us within a few hours. So with that being said, take my opinions with a grain of salt, as you should with any review that you read online. Pre-Cruise: We drove the 5 hours from Phoenix to San Diego and arrived midday on the 20th. Having been to SD many times, we chose the Sofia Hotel on Broadway about 2 blocks from the Pier. We have stayed at the Sofia before and would recommend it to anyone, especially at the $88/night we found it for on Expedia. It is a steal at that rate. After spending 3 meals on land, I again realized the value of a cruising vacation. Meals are expensive, even when you are paying attention to price. We spent the morning on Mission Beach for a run, before heading to Coronado and then to the ship. We used Mission brewery parking and paid $9/night for the cruise and there was ample service to and from the cruise port. Embarkation: For those who have not used the cruise facilities in San Diego, they are some of the worst out there. We were docked next to the Oosterdam and there were plenty of people to crowd this area. We had waited until 1 to go and park, so we did not board until 2 PM and it was still busy. Once through the initial chaos, it was easy to actually board. I understand now that San Diego and CCL have invested some money into building a new green pier which should improve this process immensely. Anyone who questions about water and alcohol, we checked a bottle of vodka and a case of water with no issue. Cabin, the issue, and Sail away: Our reservation for the Radiance was about 16 months old, but did not book the ship until May. Cabin selection was wide open aside from the "bump", so ended up with an E3 balcony cabin, 7566. The cabin was exactly as expected with typical dEcor, plenty of room for us and a comfortable bed. The issue we had was with the balcony, more specifically, our view from the cabin. It appears that just about every balcony cabin on deck seven is obstructed by the cover of the life boat. So there is no looking down from your balcony, just looking out. It was funny, when I first went out on my balcony, I was blinded by the reflection of the light off of what I thought was a barge or something next to the ship... little did I know that that was our view. After becoming really irritated with realization that this was our view, we called our travel agent and sent picts to him to describe our balcony. I was going to call guest relations, but wanted to be sure we did not accidentally book an obstructed view balcony. After connecting with RCI corporate, our travel agent was informed that we were in a 100% non-obstructed balcony cabin. She also mentioned that there may be other cabins available and to contact Guest Services as there is nothing that could have been done from the corporate side once we board the ship. On my first visit to guest services, I spoke with a guest service representative about my complaint. Her first and immediate reaction was: " Just so you know the Radiance of the Seas has been sailing fully booked the past few sailings." At this point, I was only trying to find out if there was a cabin to switch to like the land representative said there may be. I asked if I would be able to speak with her manager and she walked away into the guest service office and returned to tell me that that her boss had stepped away and that her computer was locked so there was nothing she could do right now. So I asked to be contacted by the supervisor. The woman scribbled my name at the bottom of a loose sheet of paper and that ended our first interaction. As I walked away, I became extremely irritated with the condescending treatment I received from her and the lack of importance put on my request, being added to a loose piece of paper with everything from beds needing to be put together to a crib being needed did not make me feel like my issue was taken in any regard as important. Several hours later, I again returned to the guest service desk and again asked to speak to the manager. By this time, I had learned who I should be speaking to and asked for her directly. Instead, her assistant came out to "deal" with me. I again explained the issue I had with this stateroom. She told me that the ship was indeed sailing full and that a room change could not happen. We continued this conversation about our room and she continued to say that RCI considers a 100% non-obstructed balcony view a 180 degree left to right view and did not account for moving up or down. That this was a decision made by RCI corporate and that they knew it was an issue and have adjusted their description for it. With this description, I argued and still believe that I did not receive what I paid for. In fact, to be technical, the balconies in between the "bump" and dining room "bump" do not even have the 180 degrees promised because of the "bumps". My argument was that considering the timeframe I was booked, had I been able to find this information out, I would have either booked a higher category stateroom or lower as I do not feel this cabin was suitable for the description given to it. I further brought to her attention the service we had received earlier in the day with her employee. After about 20 minutes of pushing the blame onto RCI corporate and saying that additional training was needed for her staff, she offered us a bottle of wine for our inconvenience and she said we would be contacted if someone should decide to leave the ship during the cruise. At that point I walked away from the situation, we were sailing and that was what mattered at that point. It got cold quick and sail away was definitely a little different from a Fort Lauderdale, San Juan, or Miami departure. But it is beautiful and the San Diego skyline is very pretty at night. We stayed out as long as we could and then headed in to the warmth of the ship and we were finally heading to the warmth of the Mexico. Cruise Critic Get together: We did not have a particularly active roll call, but we had quite a few sign up for the meet and greet. Unlike others I have been to, this one was very organized and led by the cruise director. While it was nice to see him come to the get together, it was a very much sit and listen rather than mingle and get to know your cruise critic members, so we left. I much prefer the casual get together where you chat and not deal with raffles, prizes, etc. Cabo San Lucas: The tender process for Cabo was long. We waited about an hour to get off. It is surprising that RCCL does not have a priority tendering process for Diamond cruisers. It was just unorganized as we walk all over the ship and there were people cutting in line. I have been to Cabo many times and we just wanted to find cheap beers on the beach. The weather was beautiful... sunny in the mid 80s. We took a water Taxi ($5) over to Medano beach and a short walk later we were at "The Office"... a cute little restaurant with tables in the sand and with decent prices and really good food. We spent several hours here drinking and in the water before heading back. It was a great relaxing way to spend the day. We did walk around the tender area, found $2 Coronas and were one of the last tenders back to the ship. This turned out to be a wonderful day that I would repeat again in a heartbeat. Mazatlan: Going into our stop at Mazatlan, the city has ranked amongst my least favorite that I have visited. Jimmi has been hounding me to go horseback riding and I did not want to go to the Golden Zone, so we spoke with Randi and booked her Happy Horses. She was easy to meet off the ship and we were on our way to Stone Island. We were berthed with the Oosterdam, so Randi had two groups going out. So we ended up at a restaurant on the beach for about 2 hours before we got to ride. It was a little long as we did not want to get wet by going in the water before the ride. That being said, lunch was fantastic. We rode for about two hours on a deserted beach. It was great. Jimmi had a mishap in that he fell off the horse while dismounting while trading horses at the halfway point. After the tour, we hung out at the closest bar and had Coronas. I had to get my fill so I did not pay $5 for Coronas on the ship. We figure out that we do not need to go horse riding again (OUCH!). But there is still something about Mazatlan that I just do not like. Personal preference I am sure, but I would suggest Randi's to anyone who enjoys horse riding. Puerto Vallarta: Our day started out with the Splendor mishap #1. We were fortunate to both have front row seats and not get injured. While running up on the track, we noticed that the Splendor was going to be parking in what seemed to be an impossible parking spot so we walked down to the helipad to watch. It turned out that the spot was too small. We saw the angle and the speed and it seemed inevitable at that point. The railing from the Splendor wrapped around the railing on the Radiance and tore off. Not a big deal really, but the guy standing a foot away from me ended up with the railing in between his legs. It was interesting that RCI had crew waiting for this, almost as it was expected. The screamed everyone to get off and it was over. Shortly after, we hear the now common Echo Echo Echo. The captain then announced what happened and the Splendor tried again. It was announced later that there were 2 injuries onboard related to this accident, but I could not see how as we saw everything that happened. We had plans to go to blue or green chairs, but just never made it. We walked through town and again found a bar for lunch and beer. Our restaurant featured tableside made salsa and it was excellent. If you noticed, there was a theme in our port stops... find a restaurant and bar, and enjoy the scenery. Manzanillo: This was the ship's maiden call on Manzanillo and I should have done more research for this stop as the ship did not have much to offer. We originally planned on doing the turtles, but read a couple of things on CC that made us choose not to. I figured I would go down to the exit and find some information about the port. I ran across the cruise director and I asked him what he suggests to do here. He said that the best bet is to walk to the end of the pier and ask the locals. So, apparently he had not done his homework either. We just went down to the shuttle and paid the $4 for the round trip to downtown. We spent a few hours downtown and headed back. There were no beaches close by and not much of anything close to the port area. In hindsight, we should have done the turtle tour. Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo: What a pleasant surprise this port was. Beautiful beaches and a great market area, the only problem was the limited time we had in port. We had a bad tender spot on our first attempt, so we went down early and were on a tender by 7:15. We walked through the port area and got to see the fish market. We chose Los Gatos for the day and it was a great choice... probably the highlight of the trip port wise. We had chairs at a restaurant and service all day. We did have a little issue with the cabs trying to rip us off on the return to the port area, but went with it... it was $3 to get there and $5 to get back. We had a few minutes to walk though the market area and then it was back on the ship. It was HOT and the tender line was long. Food: After reading my review of the Emerald Princess I can almost say the same thing here. Again, food is completely subjective and I am trained chef, so can be picky. I found food to be good to very good. The dining room was standard and I thought was significantly better than our Elation cruise in September, but choice wise a step down from the Emerald and Princess in general. I never went hungry in the dining room, but there were a few nights the menu just did not jump out at me. Some of the highlights... the soups were outstanding. The Chilled were some of the best I have had. The Ice Cream was fantastic. I think I had Almond Butter Ice Cream with my dessert 5 out of the 9 nights. We did not care for our Turkey dinner. I wish I had chosen something else. We thought the Windjammer buffet was very good. We ate all breakfast and lunches here and were always pleased with the quality, choices, and temperature. The afternoon snacks were also a very good treat. I like that they have food here just about the entire day. We ran into lapses on the Elation where there was only pizza or sandwiches. Overall we were quite satisfied with the dining options; though looking back our company in the dining room overshadowed our dining experience. Also, the pizza is not very good. Princess blows everyone else out of the water on this one. Portofino: Portofino has become our favorite dining experience on a cruise ship. The food and service are consistently outstanding. When making reservation, make sure you do not have other plans for the night. All plates are made to order and if you order the same appetizers, you will most likely not get them at the same time, but a different one. We chose just about all of the appetizers on the menu between the 5 of us and the highlight was the lobster risotto. This is one of the best dishes I have had on any ship. The seafood skewer is beautiful and tasty. My favorite dessert is also in Portofino. The White Chocolate Brulee is to die for. It was a 2.5-3 hour dining experience, but it was wonderful. Dining Room Service: Normally I would group this with service in general, but our dining room service was beyond accommodating and seemed to go out of our way to serve us. We chose My Time Dining and there were five of us. After a member of our party talked to the head Waiter, we were told we can have the same table if we came after 8. With all the kids and families on this trip we were more than happy with this setup. Our servers were great and we had them for 7 of the 9 nights. They even arranged for us to have soufflE on the final night because we missed it when we went to Portofino. As usual, MTD was a success for us and are very happy to see it rolling out to all cruise lines. I have never been a fan of being forced to eat at certain times with people I may or may not like and did not sail RCCL because their lack of this option for years. Bar Service: Bottom line is that RCI is a bit overpriced. The positive is that they do not measure shots like Princess and Carnival, but you pay extra for that. The fact that on a Mexican Riviera cruise is charging $4.95 for a Corona is ridiculous. I thought that we would try to save a few dollars by ordering buckets, but a bucket of 6 Coronas and they just charged me for $30 plus tip... so instead of saving a few dollars I ended up with warm beers! Entertainment: If I have sun, pool, ocean, and a good book I am more than satisfied. Throw in a bucket of beers and life does not get much better for me. We did not go to any of the organized entertainment except what we say in the atrium during cocktail hour before dinner. We really enjoyed our company and spent hours just chatting in the windjammer, on the pool deck, or in the dining room and we had a blast. We hope that we get to sail with our new friends again. Because we traveled in a group we did not really meet many new people which is usually the case. Either way, we enjoyed our self made entertainment and laughed until our sides hurt. Pure word of mouth was that the show with the salsa dancing was extremely well done. We stayed out late one night and closed the bar down which was a lot of fun. People tend to stay up late on the formal nights. Ship: Aside from the above mentioned issues with the balcony, the ship is gorgeous and I love the size. It should be mentioned that our friends we in a balcony cabin on deck nine and still had the white lifeboats in sight, but had a better view. The ship holds the people well and has activities throughout the ship. We never had a problem finding a chair, and chair saving did not seem to exist. We loved the Solarium pool and napped there on occasion. We did think that the faded fake plants should be replaced with live plants, but we enjoyed the area. The pools were warm after the 1st day and extremely warm on the way back. Weather: It was just about perfect. Sun was out midday on day two and did not go away until the last day. This is typical for this cruise, but it was HOT in the ports. Loyalty Program: Aside from the Balcony discount, RCI's program is just awful. I just turned elite on Princess and the perks you get there are significant compared to the coupon book placed on your bed. I will never cruise a line for a loyalty program, but RCI has not put forth much to change my mind on that. RCI Response: Upon returning to Phoenix, I wrote a letter to RCI corporate about my experience in my room and with the guest relations department. The woman acknowledged that this is a common complaint and that they were looking into the reclassification of the 7th floor balconies. She offered us a small OBC for our Oasis cruise. I was not looking for anything, but was told that they would follow up when any decisions are made on this. I was pleased with this response and hope that adjustments are made to the guest relations issues we had on this cruise. While it made up a good portion of this review, it did not bother us after 6 PM on day one. I am happy that it was promptly addressed upon returning. Bottom Line: We seem to be in a Princess then Royal pattern and we like what both have to offer. We are sailing on the Island Princess in March and have the Oasis booked in Sept and we are very much looking forward to both. While we were disappointed in our cabin, I should have done more research and suggest the same for anyone sailing on the Radiance class ships. We still like the Caribbean more than the Mexican Riviera, but with the pricing so low on the West Coast and an easy drive for us, I would do this cruise again in a second. We really enjoyed our trip and the company was very special. Read Less
Sail Date November 2009
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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