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8 Royal Caribbean Buenos Aires Cruise Reviews

I took this cruise to be with family members for a non profit fund raiser. The reunion was excellent. The entertainment was great as were the restaurant and cabin attendants. The public areas of the ship are well maintained and ... Read More
I took this cruise to be with family members for a non profit fund raiser. The reunion was excellent. The entertainment was great as were the restaurant and cabin attendants. The public areas of the ship are well maintained and pleasant. This is not the case for the cabins. Ours had a balcony on deck 8. Though mostly clean, it was a very simple cabin, with no daily carafe of water, not reflecting what we paid for it. I have been on a number of cruises. Royal Caribbean leaves a lot to be desired by comparison. Their customer service is so only in name. I will be very brief. They neglected to unload our luggage. It took over a month to get it back. There were MANY frustrating phone calls, many unreturned calls, many forms filled and faxed several times over. One night, my sheet was stained in blood. Not mine! Yes, they did change it after my call. There were no apologies given for any of this. There were other less egregious disappointments. I would not travel on Royal Caribbean again but I would go back to South America. Although we docked in Valparaiso, Santiago is not far and it is well worth seeing. Santiago has street sculptures everywhere. The murals also were more interesting than ones I saw in Buenos Aires or Valparaiso. I arrived in Buenos Aires earlier and toured on my own. You must take in a tango show. BA also has interesting museums. Check out the Museo Nacional De Bellas Artes. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We chose this cruise because of the "rounding Cape Horn" opportunity, and we were not disappointed. Captain Dinas circumnavigated the island brilliantly and even dispatched a small boat to the island to have our passports ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the "rounding Cape Horn" opportunity, and we were not disappointed. Captain Dinas circumnavigated the island brilliantly and even dispatched a small boat to the island to have our passports stamped. However, the ship was dirty. Glassware and rom service trays stayed in hallways for days. Tables wee rarely bussed in the buffet so you were always eating with your garbage. The oft serve ice cream machines repeatedly broke, as did the restrooms and the ice machines. Guests served themselves--many with their hands --- opening up disease possibilities, and railings and serving pieces were rarely replaced. In the main dining room, busboys would clear tables, scrape garbage from plates, and then serve fresh food to diners all without washing their hands. Lectures were on video tape. Food looked good on the menu but was poorly prepared and presented. The satellite TV continuously repeated the same games and news stories for 3-4 days before updating. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We were among the very lucky cruisers on the March 13 sailing who actually circumnavigated the Island of Horn at Cape Horn, thanks to our excellent Capt. Dimas Manrique, and Mother Nature's gift of relatively calm seas. This ... Read More
We were among the very lucky cruisers on the March 13 sailing who actually circumnavigated the Island of Horn at Cape Horn, thanks to our excellent Capt. Dimas Manrique, and Mother Nature's gift of relatively calm seas. This cruise was the trip of a lifetime for my DH and myself, and we loved every minute of it. We had a 3 night pre-cruise stay in Buenos Aires at the outstanding Icaro Suites Hotel, which was right downtown and allowed us to easily stroll the streets of this wonderful city. During the cruise, we were fortunate to be able to sail into all of the ports on our itinerary which were Montevideo, Punta del Este, Puerto Madryn, sail around Cape Horn, Ushuaia, Punta Arenas, cruise the Chilean Fjords, Puerto Montt, and finally disembark in Valparaiso. From there, we took a bus to Santiago and stayed 3 nights at the Welen Hill Downtown Santiago apartment, owned and managed by Marcela, our wonderful hostess. This was a great apartment with everything we needed for our stay, and we were able to walk to many of the historical sites. Cruise Highlights: Capt. Dimas and the wonderful staff. We especially want to thank our MDR servers, Juliana and Jean Leno, for their kindness and professionalism. They made every dinner a very pleasant experience, and we felt very welcome. We found the food to be very good in the MDR, the Windjammer, and the Park Café. We did not eat in any specialty restaurants. We also want to thank Beatriz Sodre, our cabin attendant, and Javier, the Deck 7 supervisor for all of their help keeping our cabin spotless and providing us with everything we needed. The crew (dining, cabin, and entertainment) were almost all Brazilian, and we appreciated their sense of fun and cheerful smiles. We especially enjoyed Marina for hosting Trivia and exercise classes in the Centrum, including great Zumba! They all worked very hard to please us, and did a great job. Our balcony cabin, deck 7, aft, portside was beautiful, with a comfortable bed and sufficient storage. I had read somewhere on these boards to take blue painter's tape with us to tape the drawers and closets during rough seas. We did and it was a big help on the one night that we did have some high seas. This was after Punta Arenas as we were entering the Pacific Ocean. Capt. Dimas told us what to expect, and it was pretty rocky, but overall, not the worst we have ever experienced, and he did a great job getting us through it. For us, the two highlights were going around the Horn and seeing the breathtaking scenery there, and being able to walk around Ushuaia with its exotic and beautiful snow-covered mountains. We did not take any shore excursions, as I had done extensive research as to what to see in each port. Rhapsody is in good shape. We had gone on her sister ship, Vision, a year ago on a transatlantic cruise, so we felt right at home. We really had no complaints at all, and were so very grateful to be able to have experienced the wonders of all of these places. Thanks to RCCL for the best cruise ever! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We booked this cruise on Radiance of the Seas less than a month before the departure date. I found a price for 2 single balcony rooms that we simply couldn't refuse. We booked rooms 9254 and 9654 which were basically across the hall ... Read More
We booked this cruise on Radiance of the Seas less than a month before the departure date. I found a price for 2 single balcony rooms that we simply couldn't refuse. We booked rooms 9254 and 9654 which were basically across the hall from each other but on opposite sides of the ship. They both had huge balconies (about 70 sq ft) and there was certainly room for more furniture in addition to the 2 chairs and table that we had. The rooms were over 200 sq ft with lots of closet space, shelves and drawers. We brought a lot of clothes, shoes etc. and still had storage space to spare. Suitcases stored easily under the "comfortable" bed and the bathroom was roomy with a large vanity/sink area. In addition, we had a full size sofa and vanity table with chair. The lighting was excellent. There was a mini-bar refrigerator and satellite TV with CNN/Fox News/TNT/TMC just to name a few. I really can't think of anything that I didn't like about the room! However, I saved the best for last, Dui, my cabin attendant was WONDERFUL! Towel animals every evening-ice twice a day and everything was kept spotlessly clean. Thank-you again, Dui. We decided to request late embarkation to board the ship in Buenos Aires, Argentina rather than Santos, Brazil. I wanted to spend some extra time in BA and we received permission from RCCL after a phone call request. We flew into BA on March 14 and caught a cab to the Buenos Aires Hilton. Really a nice Hotel!! We arrived early and received early check-in after a wonderful buffet breakfast in the hotel restaurant. Freshened up, shopped at the various craft markets around town and spent a lot of time at the Cemetery. Boarded the ship around noon on March 16. It couldn't have been easier. We found our rooms, left our carry-on and headed back into BA for the remainder of the afternoon. More fun shopping! We had booked the Main Seating (6:30 PM) and met our table "mates" for the first time. We were all Americans (table for 6) and had a great time catching up and comparing "notes" about the cruise so far. First port stop for us was Montevideo, Uruguay. We got a cab and went to a local crafts store/market in town. Bought some nice wind chimes and stained glass items. We had arranged for our cab driver to return and pick us up so we went back to the shopping area within walking distance of the ship. Shopped a bit more and returned to the ship to get ready for dinner. Next stop was Punta Del Este. What a beautiful ocean front city!! We tendered over about 11 AM, after a wonderful breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe. We walked to the shopping area, which was a few blocks away, went to the Farmica and got a few needed items then walked along the beach front. The weather was beautiful!! March 19 was a relaxing day at sea or not. Anyway, we spent some serious time in the gym which was well equipped with all types of exercise machines. They also had various exercise classes, but they were scheduled a little to early for us. The spa treatments were varied and I enjoyed several facials and massages during the cruise. Look for the "specials". The last full day of cruising, many of the spa treatments were 1/2 price! Puerto Madryn, Argentina-We booked the Punta Tombo Penguin Rockery Tour thru RCCL. This tour was really a high-light of the trip! It was a long drive, but the van ride was comfortable and air-conditioned. The reserve was extremely well kept and the thousands of penguins were incredible to see. You could "get up close and personal" as they were within "touching distance". I wouldn't recommend trying to touch one, as I sat next to a penguin for a photo, he/she snapped at me. Otherwise, the sea view, the landscape and the vast amount of penguins were all something I will never forget. Ushuaia, Argentina(World's End)-Everyone wanted a T-shirt! Found the best T-shirts at the prison museum just a short walk into town. We did a self-tour of the prison and learned a lot about the life and times of some of the prison's most famous residents. Punta Arenas,ChileWe took a RCCL tour called Trekking the Megallanes Forest. I don't like heights or cold strong winds so I really didn't enjoy this 3 mile up hill hike! I would not recommend this tour to anyone-especially anyone out of shape or over 55. If you must go, buy warm gloves from the ship gift shop and take a warm coat with a hood! Puerto Montt, Chile-Great cheap shopping just minutes from the tender drop off. We had our picture taken with a llama dressed up in a cap. Cute!! Bought some beautiful watercolors, rugs and lapis stone jewelry. We had wine and wonderful seafood at a local restaurant. Louie, our waiter, was great. Also, made friends with 2 of the local policemen and their dog. Valparaiso, Chile-Disembarkation was easy. We left the ship at 10AM after a good breakfast in the Cascades Dining Room. Took a RCCL tour called Costal Cities, Valleys & Historical Santiago which ended with drop off at the airport. Got to see a lot of the wine country between Valparaiso and Santiago which included a great lunch stop with Chilean dancers. Wonderful cruise Wonderful trip!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
Now eight years old, the Radiance of the Seas, the first of RCI's Radiance class, is well maintained and in good condition. The crew was great and very friendly. A nice touch is that RCI has fixed benches to the heliport in the bow ... Read More
Now eight years old, the Radiance of the Seas, the first of RCI's Radiance class, is well maintained and in good condition. The crew was great and very friendly. A nice touch is that RCI has fixed benches to the heliport in the bow where you can sit and watch where the ship is going. My stateroom was a Category H Ocean-view, far forward on Deck 3. It was spacious enough. I had expected to feel more motion but even in less than calm waters, I felt little motion. Evidence of swells was mostly experienced when water splashed over the window. We were assigned second seating at 9:00pm for dinner. That was later than usual for dinner but I believe this time was set in deference to the large number of South American passengers who normally eat dinner later. The food in the Dining Room was acceptable but mostly unremarkable. The food in the Windjammer Cafe was mediocre at best and varied little from day-to-day. The best sandwiches were found in the Seaview Cafe. There you could get freshly grilled burgers, Reuben and Cuban sandwiches. There was also food available in the Solarium; usually a variety of cold salads, bad pizza, hot dogs, cookies and brownies. Table size at dining was an issue for many people. Some guests who requested tables for 2 or 4 were put at tables for 10 and 12. My Time Dining was at capacity and people could not switch. I even tried to bribe the maitre d' but to no avail. What also bothered many was that there small tables that were never used during the cruise. The entertainment in the Aurora Theater was average. The main show planned for one night was postponed for technical difficulties. When it finally was performed, there were still technical problems. The two headliners, alleged stars of Broadway productions of Le Miserable and Phantom of the Opera, were unremarkable. I did not stay for their entire show. There was an Elvis impersonator show (Helvis or something like that) I skipped altogether. I eventually gave up on the shows and stopped going. Many of the passengers I spoke to, whether Diamond Level Crown & Anchor members or novice RCI cruisers, expressed disappointment in the overall cruise experience. RCI veterans pointed to the elimination of things such as toiletries, pillow chocolates, and the traditional champagne fountain as evidence of the cruise lines diminished service. First timers tended to say that while the cruise was okay, there was no Wow Factor. Several expressed interest in trying other cruise lines for comparison. Three of the ports were beach resorts. Porto Belo, Ilhabela and Búzios, all in Brazil, were small towns or islands where passengers tendered ashore. Ilhabela was arguably the loveliest and Búzios had the best shopping. Búzios became known as an up-scale resort when Brigitte Bardot visited in the 60's and there is a statue of her near the central Beach. Another of the most common complaints I overheard was the value of the shore excursions. In Santos, Brazil, most, if not all passengers on the Historic Santos excursions demanded refunds when they returned to the ship. The Coffee Museum (former Coffee Exchange) was apparently an empty warehouse; the Train Station was modeled after Victoria Station but is now abandoned and there were few animals in the Zoo. The remaining ports were Punta del Este, Uruguay, our first port of call, where I chose to remain on board, Rio de Janeiro and Montevideo, Uruguay. Montevideo was pleasant but I was under-whelmed during a Highlights tour. The primary destination of the itinerary was, of course, Rio de Janeiro and the Samba Parade. I learned that the parade is actually a competition between the city's top 12 Samba Schools. The Parade is held on two successive nights with six schools parading each night starting at 9:00pm. In this photo, the Parade is moving from the bottom to the top. Each school has thousands of participants parading in various costumes; dozens of dancers; floats and a band. They are given between 60 and 90 minutes to parade through the Sambodromo which is about 2300 feet long. There is a 20 minute break between each school. Many tourists left after the 1st two schools. RCI begins its shuttle service back to the ship then. I stayed for 5 of the 6 schools and finally left the Sambodromo at 4:30am. It was exciting but after a while the costumes begin to all look alike. Many passengers were upset about the cost of the Carnaval excursion. As people compared notes, it became apparent that many passengers bought tickets for the Parade on-line and had comparable or better seats for much less money. The ship excursion did include transportation but, again, the passengers I spoke to who went on their own had no problems getting to and from the ship. Two of our members went on their own and found themselves in the staging area for the schools. They had the opportunity to see and touch the costumes up close. There was also much grumbling about the seating. Many agreed, me included, that the initial description of the Excursion on RCI's website implied a reserved seat. The reality was a seat cushion and a scramble for a place to sit in grandstand Sector 7. Sector 7 is considered a good place because it is across from the judges' box and the schools paused to perform. But it is hard concrete seating, although most of the crowd is on its feet dancing and singing most of the time. People also have the opportunity to order costumes in advance and march in the parade. I also took the Best of Rio excursion on the third day in Port. It included a trip up Corcovado to the Cristo Redentor (or Christ the Redeemer) Statue, one of the Seven Modern Wonders of the World; drives along the Ipanema and Copacabana Beaches; lunch at a churrascaria (Brazilian barbecue); the cable cars at Sugar Loaf mountain and a stop at the Cathedral, which is very contemporary and was inaugurated by Pope John Paul II. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
For many years my wife had wanted me to take a cruise but I resisted because I felt there was nothing to do "in the middle of the ocean". Finally in 2003 I gave in and we sailed on the Splendor of the Seas from Galveston, TX ... Read More
For many years my wife had wanted me to take a cruise but I resisted because I felt there was nothing to do "in the middle of the ocean". Finally in 2003 I gave in and we sailed on the Splendor of the Seas from Galveston, TX going through the Panama Canal and return to Texas. It was a fantastic cruise and I was "hooked" from then on. Now, I'm always bugging her to "put me on the water". In June of 2008 we flew to Barcelona Spain, boarded the Brilliance of the Seas for a Mediterranean Cruise and it turned out just great. On one of the sea days we talked to the "future cruise" representative and he told us of a cruise on the Radiance of the Seas leaving from Buenos Aires sailing to the south end of South America then back to San Pablo, Brazil. He said it would sail on Dec 7th 2008 so that was plenty of time for us to make ready and pay off the fare. Also, the cruise was just being advertised so we would be the very first ones to sign on and we could have any cabin we wanted. That sounded like paradise to me as we had not been to South America and it seemed that everything just "fell into place". We signed on and selected an 8th floor Balcony amidships and were very pleased. We also signed up for the CruiseCare insurance and arranged to go to Buenos Aires 3 nights early to sight see, and then take the cruise. After we returned home it sure seemed like December would never arrive just like a young child waiting for Christmas. We (finally) left Houston Texas on 3 Dec 08 and arrived at Buenos Aires Airport, then caught a Taxi to the Sheraton Libertador Hotel. I just cannot say enough good about this hotel or its staff as they treated us great. The front desk clerks were pleasant, patient and helpful and one clerk, Eleonora Flores, was outstanding. Each clerk that we asked for recommendations to eat or site see gave us very good directions and the restaurants were very good. Florida Street is one of the major pedestrian streets in Buenos Aires and is filled with what seemed like thousands of people. There are many nice shops and street people on it at least until after 10 pm at night because that's the latest we were on it. There are many "blanket" vendors, artists, musicians and beggars on the street and I noticed that almost every store had a security person on the premises. At night at closing time all the stores pulled down a metal "picket fence" type gate that had a door about 24" wide by 36" high. The clerks would close the shop then the security guard would let them out of the door, then close it and secure it with a padlock. We were never warned to watch out for thieves but we always take precautions no matter where we are. My wife wears her purse with the strap over her neck and the purse between us. I always wear an elastic material around the calf of my leg to keep my money and ID's. We were never bumped into nor threatened in any way that we know of, however, one night as we were walking down Florida street we saw, at three different stores, there were 3 or 4 men hunkered down by the door and one of them was trying to "pick the lock". This was in full public view and everyone walking by did not seem to notice. Two of the things we heard that Buenos Aires was noted for was their leather clothing and Steaks. I can say with certainty that we indulged in both of those. The restaurant we selected for our steaks was along the docks and one thing that happened that took us by surprise though is that when we were seated my wife hung her purse over the chair arm and within 3 minutes the head waitress came by and secured the purse to the chair arm with a plastic "tie wrap". We also noticed others around us that were the same way. We assume that it was to keep purse snatchers from grabbing the purse and running. As I mentioned before, we were not cautioned about a high crime rate but it makes me wonder about it. Most stores have security guards, at three separate stores a person was trying to pick the lock and women's purses were tied to the chair arm. Hmmm, if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck and walks like a duck, it must be a duck. Buenos Aires is a nice place but a full 3 nights/4 days were enough for us so it will not be very high on our list of places to revisit although friends of ours swear by it. Finally, on Sunday, Dec 7th, we checked out of the Hotel, said our goodbye's to the staff and caught a Taxi to the RCCL Cruise Ship dock. It was a very busy place, as you can imagine, found the baggage drop off place and 2 porters grabbed our bags as soon as the taxi stopped rolling, then rolled the bags about 20'away, then one of them approached and told me, "we want a tip". I most always tip but this all happened so fast I didn't have it in my hand ready to give to them. I hurriedly got the appropriate tip, handed it to him, he then sprinted off to grab more bags. He never said "thank you" either but that's alright, he could have "misplaced our bags". ;-) We then found the entrance to check in counter but before we could go to the counter an RCCL representative asked for our passports. He examined the Passports and then said, "you cannot go on this cruise as you do not have a "Visa" for Brazil. My jaw dropped to my chest and I told him RCCL did not tell us we needed one. He stated that it was our responsibility to check with the embassy's to see if they required a visa. I disagreed and told him that we booked through RCCL, that they were the "travel agent" and should tell us what documents we needed and the countries that required visas. He stated that "it's in the papers they sent you" and then said "you can wait over there with the other people". There were about 8 people there and guess what, they did not have visa's either. After listening to the other peoples encounter with him it was very obvious to us that "the representative" knew we needed a visa so it stands to reason the rest of the reservation personnel knew it also. My question and greatest concern is "Why"? Why could something as important as this not be included in the instructions when you book the cruise?? We have sailed with RCCL many times and have never needed a Visa at any port so this definitely caught us and at least 8 others, flatfooted! This was a very devastating blow to all of us as we knew immediately that we would loose all of our money and would have to come up with a lot more in a hurry. The representative came over and told us our choices. He said that the Brazilian Embassy is closed today (Sunday) and tomorrow (Monday) as it is a holiday. He said we could go to the Embassy on Tuesday and apply for the Visa and it usually takes 3 days to get it. After we get the Visa we can fly to the port where the Cruise Ship is docked, get on board and finish the cruise from there. To do that we would: 1. Have lost at least 5 days of the cruise; 2. Have to pay for a hotel room for at least 4 days and 3. Pay for the flight to whatever port the ship was in. That, in my opinion, was unacceptable as it would probably cost as much as the original cruise cost us. The representative was very nonchalant about it and basically said, "Take it or leave it". My wife and I went back to the Sheraton Hotel and explained our situation to the desk clerk, Eleonora Flores, and asked if she could help us. She seemed very sympathetic to our cause and said "I will try". She then called Continental Airlines and explained our situation, and asked them if they could/would change our flight from Dec 20th to Dec 7th. It took her almost an hour talking to the Airlines and they finally got our flight changed, and they did not charge a "reissue fee" either, so we could leave that same day at 11:50 PM. We wanted to "hug her neck" as this was a very big weight off our shoulders. Eleonora also told us to just enjoy the rest of the day and before we went to the airport we could use the shower in the gym room of the hotel and they would put our baggage in the security room that had an armed security officer standing near by (no crime rate here, right?). The rest of the day was spent taking a leisurely look around town, having a very nice lunch, and enjoying our last day in Buenos Aires. Eleonora had called to reserve a taxi to pick us up at 7 pm so we were off to the airport, and then back to Houston Texas. As a last look at our situation, it's interesting to note how those that helped us were very sympathetic and went out of their way to be nice. They never charged nor even mentioned charging us for the help they provided. I can't help but compare that to RCCL's attitude of basically saying, "there's nothing we can do, you're on your own". Just think, "we paid a lot of money to be treated that way". This would have been our 10th Cruise with RCCL and were looking forward number 10 as this would give us the "Diamond" Cruiser" status and we could get the added benefits that it gave us. After enduring the nonchalant "take it or leave it" attitude we experienced by RCCL at the dock, we may never become a Diamond member as there are other good Cruise Lines going to the same places that RCCL goes to and I'll bet their will not be any worse than this. Happy Cruising everyone, Pyatt Cook H Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
This was a second time I sailed on the Radiance. The ship was in excellent condition everywhere, it still looked as if it was rather new, a nice contrast to the tired looking Voyager class vessels. Our aft JS was as great as expected and ... Read More
This was a second time I sailed on the Radiance. The ship was in excellent condition everywhere, it still looked as if it was rather new, a nice contrast to the tired looking Voyager class vessels. Our aft JS was as great as expected and experienced on other Radiance class ships. Marsha our room steward a jewel, could not have been better. The trip started in Buenos Aires. Boarding at 2:30 p.m. ( we did not sail till 9:00p.m.) was a bit lengthy this time due to local regulations, customs etc. RCCL did their best but could not change the situation. Overall boarding maybe took 1 hour which was still tolerable. Our bags were waiting for us when we reached the cabin, that was a first and much appreciated. The ship was only booked by about 1500 passengers, coming from over 50 countries! What a great experience that was. We had 375 US Americans, followed by 356 Brazilians, 153 Argentineans and 127 Germans, 96 Canadians, 43 Turkish and 47 French passengers just to name the biggest groups. Overall the passenger were surprisingly young, with the average of being mid 40s to mid 50s, nothing of what I would have expected. A few kids were on board, mainly from South America, out and visible 24 hours but usually well behaved. Overall passenger seemed very relaxed and friendly, I never saw grumpy passengers. The South Americans, though a bit harder to please in the ship´s theatre, seemed happy as long as they could listen and dance to music. The ship´s centrum was extremely lively every night with people dancing and having a good time. Numerous activities took place daily, many of which we did not attend. All announcements were made in English, Spanish, Portuguese and German. Newspapers, menu cards and cruise compass came in many languages. Guest relation which was very helpful and friendly was always busy despite not being a full ship. The had English, French, Italian, German, Spanish and of course Portuguese speaking staff available 24hours and always helped with a smile. We had an issue with kitchen smell in most aft cabins on deck 10 for about 5 days ( nothing too bad and definitely tolerable to us! ) and guest relations dealt with it in a very helpful and professional way. Very good customer service here. The concierge Juan Diego was great. Very accommodating, friendly and easy going. Food in the lounge the best we ever had, daily changing and extremely tasteful. Food in the dining room ( 2nd seating @ 9.p.m.) was mostly good, if you picked the right dish. Variety was very good, food was never bland. No real complaints. Wine prices went up a bit and it is a shame that the overworked waiters have to deal with wine service. Neither good for the passenger nor good for RCCL which could make more money if they had decent sommeliers and thus someone pushing wine sales. Out waiter from the Philippines was not to my liking, however service much approved after talking to the head waiter Alena which did a fantastic job at all of her tables. We tried Portofino's twice and will not go there again unless RCCL comes out with new menus. Service was good, not spectacular, food was boring and not too tasty, especially not the main courses. The main restaurants were mostly empty. Windjammer food was OK. Did not go often because we are no friends of buffet style food. Lunch in dining room was good.Entertainment was just OK. It sure is difficult to entertain people from over 50 nations that all have different tastes. The cruise director, although absolutely not to my liking, tried his best. He was a bit too young in my opinion and after 4 days one was a bit tired of hearing the same phrases in 3 different languages every night. The DJ was the absolute worst I ever had. A shame that RCCL seems to mostly hire people that have no clue about music. Our last cruise on the Navigator in the Med was the opposite and dancing the night away in the ship´s disco was so much fun ( and sure good money making for RCCL! ). Not this time. Oh well, there as that fantastic South American band playing live music which kept us dancing in the end. The gym was always packed and so was the sauna. I had my first ever hot stone massage and first massage ever on a ship. It was unbelievably good and worth the money. Spa staff was super friendly, no matter whether you spent money there or not. Everything was kept clean and was in good condition, they never went out of towels ( as experienced in the free sauna on most other cruises ). They just cared, in line with everyone else on the ship, including the captain himself who was very outgoing and entertaining! Overall another fantastic cruise where RCCL once again proved that they do most things right! We booked a ship´s shore excursion, the Montevideo Highlights tour. Would not do it again because we saw mainly monuments which I am not interested in. The old part of Montevideo is very nice and easy to walk from the ship. Right next to the dock you find a "market" where you can get the best barbeque! Delicious! Not to miss. Next stop was Puerto Madryn. Took a private tour. It is all dusty there but you do see a lot of wildlife, from Guanacos to Sea Elephants, and Sea Lions to Penguins. Interesting day but would not need to go back again. Next stop was Punta Arenas. Booked a ship´s tour: Tracking The Magellanic Forrest. This was my highlight of the trip. Weather was beautiful ( as it was for most parts of the trip ) and the scenery just magic. Hard to describe. Would recommend it to everyone that likes a little hike ( not too strenuous ) and a beautiful scenery. Would do it again any time. Sailing from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia was incredible due to the beautiful scenery enroute! Next stop was Ushuaia. Went off on our own. Easy because we were docked. Took a cab to the chair lift that took us up to the glacier. Very cold up there and not much of a glacier. We still enjoyed it. Next day early in the morning around 7 a.m. we reached Cape Horn. The seas were flat like a lake, quiet unusual as the caption said but much appreciated by most passengers. We rounded the Horn completely and enjoyed this special corner of the world tremendously! 2 relaxing sea days before we arrived back in Uruguay in Punta del Este. Nice little town which was getting ready for its summer season. Nice port but not my favorite. Next stop was Porto Belo in Brazil. Very hot and intense sun ( which we experienced most days ). Too hot for us to go to the beaches which would have been accessible via a short taxi ride. Walked the little town instead and came back to the ship early. Others that took a little ferry directly from the pier to a nearby island with a tiny little beach had a much better day and raved about the caipirinas and the little beach. Disembarkation in Santos was uneventful. The new disembarkation process that RCCL established worked very well for us. Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
We have been on Radiance a total of 4 separate times in the last 4 years. Aside from the last cruise (we just got back) the previous time we were aboard was just before the ship went into refit a year ago. Every cruise on Radiance had ... Read More
We have been on Radiance a total of 4 separate times in the last 4 years. Aside from the last cruise (we just got back) the previous time we were aboard was just before the ship went into refit a year ago. Every cruise on Radiance had been a gem. Great service, excellent cuisine, everything worked, people were friendly - no complaints whatsoever. We were on Navigator in the Med last fall and Vision in previous years as well, and have had a very similar experiences. We went on the South American transit (the Buenos Aires to San Diego double) this past month on Radiance and were quite surprised at what we saw.  Even though the ship has been out of refit less than a year, it appeared that it hasn't been kept up as well as in the past. The ship seemed to be in better condition just before going into the shipyard last year than it is at the moment. Additionally, the galley let us down in that the food presented wasn't nearly as adventurous nor as good quality as we remember it being on past cruises.  The staff for the most part seemed a bit less attentive and there were a number of things we had to ask for that have been provided as a matter of course on past cruises. On a couple of occasions my wife asked for a specific item at breakfast and was told that the ship had run out, only to find that item on the buffet the following morning. We arrived a day early into San Diego (swine flu kept us out of the Mexican ports - no fault of RCL) and the immigration clearance process on the day we arrived was absolutely a shambles - it took nearly 4 hrs to clear the passengers so people could go ashore. The following day, when everyone left the ship for the last time, was equally as poorly managed - there was only a 1 hr delay. Whoever arranged the "leaving ship" process desperately needs a lesson in common sense - or further training in the least. I was told that the ship had nothing to do with these problems - it was due to the "authorities" flexing their collective muscles. Hard to know who is responsible ... but it was a poor show all 'round. We were also told that RCL is changing the criteria for qualifying for Diamond status for repeat customers. Supposedly, effective Sept 1st, only Diamond plus passengers will be getting the benefits presently offered. It seems odd that the cruise line would take away a benefit (perk) that has already been earned by some passengers. Grandfathering them in Diamond class and then increasing the qualification requirements for new applicants would be more appropriate in this situation. I have been told that RCL is having a bit of a tough time right now because of the present economic situation and the fact that a lot of folks aren't traveling like they used to. That may be so .. but cutting back to the point where the customer is inconvenienced while on holiday is not the way to generate more business.  Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
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