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131 Royal Caribbean Hawaii Cruise Reviews

I am currantly on day seven of a ten night cruise aboard Ovation of the Seas. I embarked in Vancouver and will end up in Hawaii. Here are my obsevations so far: First of all I love Royal Caribbean and have sailed twice before with ... Read More
I am currantly on day seven of a ten night cruise aboard Ovation of the Seas. I embarked in Vancouver and will end up in Hawaii. Here are my obsevations so far: First of all I love Royal Caribbean and have sailed twice before with them, most recently on the Allure of the Seas, see my review here…….https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=652523 I do love the big ships with the Oasis class being the largest. Let me start with the negatives as it relates to this Quantum class Ovation of the Seas… When I first boarded her in Vancouver the process was somewhat confusing as there was no separate area for Crown and Anchor guests or for people who may have purchased the ‘Key” as I did on Allure. No biggie. It took about 20 minutes to get on board beginning at 11am. The instant I stepped foot on board I felt that I had made a huge mistake in booking this ship. It was jammed to the max right at 11:30 am and we were herded through what I would discribe as an airport high end shopping mall filled with glitzy expensive jewlery shops….Bulvgari, Cartiere etc etc..what seemed like dozens of them…It was shoulder to shoulder jammed as if I were in the Bangkok airport between gates. Yuk! The Promenade is tiny in my opinion for a ship that has this many people on it! Its as if RCI felt that shopping for a diamond watch was way more important than the common areas where normally one would find the bars and food venues sepatate from the occaisonal guest who needs to buy a Gucci handbag on a cruise. The central common area is all about shopping and not about complimentary needs for Ovations' passengers..They are after thoughts just stuck into deck four and five….so consequently you NEVER have the feeling that you are at Schooner's Bar, The Pub, Jamies Italian etc…you are in a mall and you are always facing a high end shop, always…while you eat your upcharged meal or have a pint in the pub. On the Oasis class Central Park and to a great extent the Royal Promenade allow separtaion and the actual feeling that you are in a venue catering to you. Even Vintages wine bar on Ovation is an after thought stuck right in the open of the mall. I hated this whole concept and felt totally let down compared to my previous experiences on Allue and Independence. As the days went by the ship did open up and I was relieved that my first impressions wore off but overtime if you want to go from one end of the ship to the other you go tru the mall unless you go tru deck 14 which I tried to do most of the time. There are way too many people on this ship for the overall design which I’m told was originally for the Asian market. On Oasis class ships I never once felt crammed in and crowded and they have even more people on them. The four main dining rooms allow pasengers to eat either Mytime or fixed seating.. I chose The Grand dining room and requested a table before boarding and once again Royal came through. Very happy with my table and I like the Grand dining room much better than Silk, American Icon or Chic. The food on Ovation so far has been hit or miss. I’m not one to complain about food on a cruise ship, there is a ton of it everywhere and you should be able to satisfy your hunger 24 hours as you can do on Ovation. I have noticed that compared to Allure last December the food on Ovation particularly in Windjammer leans toward the lower end of quality. Not a carving station in sight offering up a huge roast or ham..nope they actually have a tiny canned ham being carved for breakfast. Not a strawberry or blueberry to be found anywhere. Basically the exact same breakfast every day. The main dining room food so far has been hit or miss. I have eggs benedict in the main dinig room everyday and it comes out fast and cooked to perfection. You can find some good stuff at Cafe Two70 and its towards the aft of the ship and is generally quiet…good sandwiches, soups etc.. The Solarium Bistro has some good stuff for dinner and is quiet as well. The usual faire is out and about throughout the ship and like I said you won't go hungry. I just feel that the bean counters at Royal like at Disneyworld are cutting it close with the lower quality food and pushing one towards the uncharge venues. I purchased the unlimited dining package and for $20 a day I can eat at Chops for lunch (sea days) and dinner and at Jamie’s Italian and at Wonderland and Izzumi’s. Izzumi’s is always empty and Wonderland doesn’t interest me so I found myself at Jamie’s and Chops looking for the better quality food since I paid the price. Unfortunately both have disappointed so far. Jamie’s is nothing special and the service leaves much to be desired. Its chaotic and the seats are hard as a rock as they are basically metal uncushioned chairs. And you look out at the shoping mall jewerly stores. Yuk. Chops is pretty basic with much better service..its tucked in the corner of Schonner's Bar. Lots of Aussies and international passengers and more African Americans than I’ve ever seen before on this cruise. Many folks can be found smoking in the smoking area on deck 14 next to the pool. I never once had a free hand cocktail poured for me. They measure each drink and I found this to be a bummer too whereas my previous cruises they freehand poured…not sure if this is fleet wide but it hasn't ruined my cruise as I dont drink that much anyway. There are hardly any kids on this cruise for what thats worth. There are two formal nights and I find that most people dress up and enjoy looking their best with many of the older folks still in black tie. Its a huge mix of traditional cruisers and the run of the mill riff raff… I did witness a family siting at Vintages and the adult son in his 30s was siting there with his shoes off with his dirty feet UP ON THE table where people are going to be spending $100 to drink champagne. It really bothered me and I asked the bartender to tell him to put his feet down off the table. She was hesitant to do so but obliged me. Unfortunately this is the world we live in today. And he was with his parents. What does that tell ya? Now on to the good stuff. The crew is fabulous and again its amazing how they all maintain their attitudes. Its the best part about cruising, the amazing service everywhere. Bravo to Royal. My stateroom attendant is fabulous and my dining room waiter is excellent. The ship itself is beautiful and sparking clean. The venues for entertainment and the entertainment itself is great.. Lots to do. Lots of music and high tech stuff especially the venue in the aft of the ship. Seaplex is great, Ifly and Northstar etc. Plenty to do, good food, great crew, beautiful ship. I doubt I’d sail on this class of ship again but I love Royal Caribbean and am having a great cruise so far. The little things I’d like to see changed are not going to change as long as the bottom line and increased profits for shareholders take precidant over everything else. Oh yeah the wifi is fantastic…full streaming the whole way across the Pacific no problem which allowed me to watch my Xifinity account as there isn’t much on the TV they provide. My interior stateroom with a virtual balcony is well appointed and very comfortable. First time with an interior. There is some noise from adjacent rooms and toilets flushing but its no big deal. Looking forward to my next cruise onboard the newly revamped Oasis of the Seas in two months. Hope this review helps others to decide about Ovation of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Overall the Ovation of the Ship is a beautiful large passenger ship. It had 4600 passengers but didn't seem crowded except on deck when it was warm and sunny as all of the people came out of hiding to get a deck chair. I had a solo ... Read More
Overall the Ovation of the Ship is a beautiful large passenger ship. It had 4600 passengers but didn't seem crowded except on deck when it was warm and sunny as all of the people came out of hiding to get a deck chair. I had a solo interior cabin which while small was good at has a normal double bed and the same bathroom as regular rooms. it had the virtual balcony which I liked. The food in Solarium café and American Icon was very good, but Windjammer was repetitive food (too much Asian and Indian food) and not enough veggies. Windjammer was busy at breakfast but pretty empty at night for dinner. I liked the take 2 café for lunch. I did the North Star twice but not the I-fly or surfing. You had to wait a long time if you wanted bumper cars and then you were on for five minutes. The Hawaii enrichment lectures were very good. I would definitely sail on it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being ... Read More
Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being around over 1,000 kids. We tried the "mega ship as the destination" thing and the" ship within a ship suite level" thing, and it left us wanting. A lot. Then a destination wedding of friends on the Big Island made us reexamine RCI. This was a ten day cruise Vancouver to Honolulu (5 sea days then stops in Maui, Kauai, Hilo, Kona, Honolulu) with 18 more days to Sydney Australia for those doing the complete journey. We disembarked a day early in Kona since we would have had to fly back there for wedding the next day. Perfect timing. We'd been on the Radiance 10 years earlier and enjoyed her, so off we went. What we loved: The size of the ship and the number of passengers (just right) The orientation to the sea from almost all the interior spaces and the beautiful atrium One of the handsomest lounges at sea (Colony Club) Lots of seating inside and out at the Windjammer buffet The crispy lobster rolls at Izumi (and almost everything else!) Lots of deck space and loungers. Automatic leveling pool tables. The friendliness crew, officers and cruise staff. The excursion to Lanai....off the beaten track with a 5 star guide! What we liked: The food in the Windjammer and and main dinning room. The food in the specialty restaurants The musicians and lounge acts. Plenty of activities for the number of sea days (special shout out to the egg drop) The art deco vibe of the stateroom Cleanliness of stateroom and public spaces in general. The excursion to Hanelei on Kauai...(with scenes from movies shot on Kauai on the ride back to the ship, crowd favorite Dinocroc Vs. Supergator) Enough elevators for the amount of guests (contrasted to the Oasis class horror) What we weren't crazy about: Embarkation slow and disjointed....you go through US customs when you leave BC, slowing down the process. Stateroom bathroom tired, dated and exorbitant amount caulking used to fill in the gaps. Internet amazingly slow....(think dial up speed if you are old enough to remember) The floor in the Windjammer often very slick from as the signs say "condensation", like walking on ice in street shoes. Evening entertainment limited. Would we do RCI again? As long as the Radiance class ships exist, doing longer itineraries, we will. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is ... Read More
Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is another’s trash. That said please remember this is our personal impressions and yours, of course, will vary. We ignore postings that are made in response to our reviews that merely seek to flame. We will review subsequent posts in order to provide answers to questions asked. We appreciate this understanding. Please ignore any spelling or grammar errors – we want to get this posted swiftly before we lose focus on our experiences. Thank you. Travel and Embarkation - We are a semi-retired American couple (both 66 years of age) living as expats in an Asian country. This was our seventh cruise (3 on Princess and 3 on Norwegian, and now 1 on Royal Caribbean). We made all our own arrangement for this trip including direct reservations with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, air travel, and hotel, (we did a RCCL transfer from the ship to the airport in Honolulu). We flew in one day ahead of the 10 September sail date so we could enjoy some time in Vancouver without the stress of trying to make a flight on cruise day. This was a good decision in retrospect as our experience in the Vancouver airport was one for the record book. We were queued up three times in multi-hundred person lines before we got to immigration. The airport appeared to be completely overwhelmed with passengers. It literally took three and a half hours from exiting the airplane to getting to the point of retrieving our baggage. We took the light rail line from the airport to the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver. The train was very easy to negotiate, quick, and inexpensive. Our pre-cruise stay was as the Exchange Hotel located a couple of blocks away from the cruise port at Canada Place. The weather was typical Northwest – cloudy with a couple of periods of heavy rain. Vancouver is really a beautiful city. On boarding day we took the short 5 minute walk from the hotel at just after 10:30. We were in a Grand Suite for this cruise so dropping off our bags we walked directly to security and then to the express check-in without waiting in a single line. The Ship – It is small as ships go these days. The Radiance was launched in 2001 but had come out of renovation in May 2016. The ship looked to be in generally good condition. There are numerous areas around the ship that could do with a little paint and rust removal but overall the ship is well maintained, clean, and free of obvious neglect. Our Grand Suite was Port Forward on the 10th deck and we generally walked the stairs and rarely took an elevator so crowded elevators were not a concern. We did notice that often there were many waiting to ride. We did not use the casino but we did walk through the area a couple times and noticed a very heavy tobacco odor permeating the area. We decided that after the first day when walking from the front to the rear of the ship we would simply walked up or down a flight of stairs, crossed over or under the casino and walk back up or down the stairs on the other side. The odor, while evident, is not in our opinion, something to get upset about after all it is a casino. There is a rock climbing wall, 9 hole golf putting course, and basketball court. The weather was agreeable most days. There are two swimming pools on deck 11 (one adult only and one open). Both are small and busy on the Hawaii itinerary. Our Cabin – We had a Grand Suite with balcony on Deck # 10 Port Side Forward. Our cabin steward was very intuitive and was always available but never intrusive. He was very friendly and always helpful. Towels were replaced almost as soon as used and the room serviced regularly. The room was kept very clean. The grand suite has a large sitting area with full sofa and two easy chairs and a coffee table. We had a king sized bed located in a separate area of the suite. The bathroom was very large and had a big bath tub with shower. As suite guests we were provided upgraded amenities (soap, shampoo, rinse, body wash, etc.). The bathroom was spotless. Storage area was more than adequate. Even with three large suitcases we did not even filled up one closet with two to spare. We had a large flat screen television. Channel selection was non-existent but useful for checking your shipboard accounts and reservations. Ship announcements were not broadcasted into the rooms so you had to listen from the outside if you wanted to hear the public announcements. We had an unlimited Voom Surf and Stream Wi-Fi package. While billed as the “fastest at sea” that was not our experience. It was the slowest and most prone to disconnection of any service we have every had on any ship. There was a water pot and coffee maker with free coffee provided in our cabin but we did not use them as the coffee available at many locations around the ship provided plenty of very satisfactory coffee. Dining - We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet on deck 10. Breakfast was the standard fare with omelets made to order and a wide variety of breakfast foods to choose. In our opinion the buffet was well designed with adequate seating. The staff was very fast at removing plates and silverware and cleaning tables as people left. If you meet Jade in the buffet say hello to a wonderfully upbeat and kind young man. Since we were suite guests we never had a difficult time finding a seat because there was a reserved dining room just off the buffet. We found the food in the buffet to be generally good but somewhat repetitive. There is a self-serve soft ice cream machine in the buffet area. We had dinner twice in the Main Dining Room. Both were excellent meals. Having reservations we were seated immediately. We did notice a slight lag in service but the menu items were always appropriately hot, warm, or cold. We also dined in our room twice with selections from the main dining room menu which was delivered hot and quickly from room service. Extra Fee Dining - On our second sea day we ate Izumi’s sushi restaurant. The food was well presented and very tasty if not quite as fresh as we would have liked. On our fourth sea day we ate at the Samba Grill a South American Churrascaria concept venue. The food and service were excellent. Come hungry as portions are large and filling. On our sixth sea day we ate at the Italian themed Giovanni’s restaurant. Again the food was wonderful and the service attentive and friendly. Entertainment - The one area for which we would like to see change is more entertainment in the theater. We enjoyed the one revue show we saw as very entertaining and well done but other evening entertainment presented appeared to be filling an otherwise empty evening. Tours – We booked all our tours through Royal Caribbean. As most everyone knows this is a more expensive option but the benefits of ease of booking, guaranteed return to the ship, and tour operator vetting are hard for us to ignore. We did not want to take any risks getting back to the ship on time. Maui Hawaii (Lahaina) – Hana & Haleakala Helicopter Exploration. We had a wonderful time during this just over one hour aerial tour of Mt. Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano. We were picked up at the port and escorted to the Blue Hawaii air terminal located at the Maui airport. Our pilot was personable, knowledgeable and gracious. The views are indescribable. While costly, this tour is well worth the money. Upon completion we were again picked up and returned to the cruise port in a comfortable van. Kauai Nawiliwili – Grove Farm and Kilohana Plantation Railway. A short drive from the deep water port of Nawiliwili the Kilohana Plantation harkens back to Kauai's Golden Age of Sugar with a four-hour tour of the Grove Farm museum and a narrated railway ride around the former plantation plus free time at Koloa Rum Company and other artisan shops. Rich in history and slow in pace this tour is a relaxing stop on the Garden Island. Of all our tours during this cruise we found this to be our least favorite and not worth the cost and would not consider it worth repeating. Hilo Hawaii (Big Island) – Zipline through Paradise and Waterfalls. A total of eight zipline runs follow the Honolii River high over thundering waterfalls and deep gorges. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and obsessed with our safely. We were given three rules to remember and were quizzed repeatedly concerning them. The three rules were 1) don’t adjust or handle your harness, 2) don’t put your hands on the cable, and 3) have fun. Some zipline runs were tranquil and easy and some were quite thrilling. We had a great time and would have liked to have gone back up and done it again if possible. The light rain throughout our tour did little to dampen our enthusiasm. Highly recommend this tour if physically able. Kona Hawaii (Big Island) - Atlantis Submarine. We rode a large comfortable boat with around 70 other guests from the cruise terminal out into the ocean where the submarine was waiting. Boarding was done via gang plank from the boat to the submarine under the watchful eye of the crew who stood by to assist if needed. All went well. There were two entrances into the submarine (one on each end) so boarding went quickly and easily. The interior of the submarine has individual seats (two rows facing back to back) and each passenger has her/his own designated port hole through which to view. The nearly hour long dive visited two ship wrecks and numerous coral formations. While many fish were in the area none were large and the light filtering effects of being under up to 100 feet of water drained most of the colors leaving the viewer seeing mostly in gray shades. The submarine is well lit, clean, ventilated, and large enough to eliminate any possibility of Claustrophobia. This tour is very interesting and well worth the cost. Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend the Royal Caribbean and the Vancouver to Hawaii itinerary. The Radiance of the Seas is a great ship for a relaxing cruise. Younger cruisers with families may want to consider larger ships with more traditional entertainment venues (water parks, rope courses, flow riders, etc.). Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Loved the Hawaii portion of the itinerary. After a great time in the islands, we headed out for 5 days of cold, cloudy weather. Not the fault of RC, but just the same, plans for swimming and sunning were dead on arrival. All of that ... Read More
Loved the Hawaii portion of the itinerary. After a great time in the islands, we headed out for 5 days of cold, cloudy weather. Not the fault of RC, but just the same, plans for swimming and sunning were dead on arrival. All of that aside, no one on board seemed to know the schedule. I asked what night is formal night, no one knew, not even the customer service desk! This was was our first cruise in 30 years and RC didn't win any awards for helping us understand the process. Would we go again? NO WAY. We would fly to Hawaii, do inter-island air and skip the cruise. You are in port for a short time, so it is no way to see Hawaii. Other downers: Constant upselling of drink and internet packages. We figured out that bottles of wine were discounted 40% in the specialty dining venues. So we would buy wine then and have it delivered to the main dining room. The shower in the cabin (balcony) was so tiny and poorly constructed it was a joke. Dining was actually fine. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We arrived in Honolulu the evening before our cruise and had a hotel a short distance from the cruise port. From the time we check our bags with a porter, through security and check-in, we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. We ... Read More
We arrived in Honolulu the evening before our cruise and had a hotel a short distance from the cruise port. From the time we check our bags with a porter, through security and check-in, we were on the ship in less than 30 minutes. We have been on the Radiance of the Seas several times before, but found the ship in need of a makeover. The ship looks "tired". Compared to newer, more modern ships, it's furnishings look old and need of replacement. Our balcony cabin (#9208) was clean, but it had torn drapes and sheer panels. The sofa was well worn. While out on the balcony, rust could be seen in several locations. We had My Time Dining in the Cascades Dining Room seven of our 12 nights and found the food to be good. Three nights we went to the Windjammer and enjoyed the buffet. Two of the nights, Prime Rib roast was served. Two nights, Chops was our choice. Chops has never disappointed. The Windjammer breakfast buffet was also good. We chose to only go to the Aurora Theatre twice. I found the entertainment there to be not that rewarding. Throughout the cruise, we enjoyed the various singers, instrumentals and and violinists in the Centrum and Colony Club. This cruise had many Diamond, Diamond + and Pinnacle C&A members. The Concierge Lounge was only for use by Suite guests and Pinnacle level. The Diamond Lounge on the Radiance is small and only holds about 25-30 people. They had to open up the Starquest Lounge next door to accommodate all of the Diamond and Diamond + folks. The nightly happy hour was always crowded. We would wait until after 5:30 (when early dining started) to go there. All crew members we encountered would greet you with a smile and a greeting. Our Cabin Attendant, Lega, would call us by name after meeting us on the first day. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary and knew the ship was old and smaller than others. We like the smaller size ship and wish cruise lines would stop making them bigger and bigger. The itinerary was nice (Honolulu -> ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary and knew the ship was old and smaller than others. We like the smaller size ship and wish cruise lines would stop making them bigger and bigger. The itinerary was nice (Honolulu -> Vancouver). The ports were very nice. The cabin was tight but who spends time in their cabin anyway :). The main dining room food was very good compared with other cruise lines. We did not do any of the extra dining rooms and felt quite satisfied with the outstanding main dining room service and food. My biggest regret was purchasing the alcohol package which is quite expensive and you almost have to work at getting your money's worth but the drinks we had and bartenders were awesome just overpriced alcohol package. We could not get on the shore excursion to Pearl Harbor in Honolulu since it booked up fast and there was no room so we booked a private tour that was quite good - a small group and excellent service. (Royal Hawaiian Tours). Very professional service. Stay away from Alex Tours. He approached us in the cruise terminal and told us his tours were less expensive than the shop tours. He did not ask for money up front but told us if he had our name we would have a spot on his bus if we got that at his assigned time/ We arrived at his bus 2o minutes early to find it was full already and he had no other buses. The driver looked very old as did the bus that had the Alex Tours painted over the First Baptist Church Logo. Come to find out from passengers that did get on that bus - the bus broke down 2 hours away from the ship and they almost missed getting back in time as well as missing parts of the tour since they had to wait for a replacement bus. Very sketchy so stay away. The other shore excursions we booked through the ship and I must say that they were worth the money, well organized and interesting. The only excursion that disappointed us was the Luau in Mauwi. It was at a large hotel and the hotel crammed in as many guests as they could. The food was only mediocre and the entertainment was pretty spread out timewise. It seemed that the cruise passengers got the tables in the back and believe me they were distant from the stage! Some of the tables were off to the side of the stage which made it difficult to see. The hotel also managed to squeeze in a "fashion show" of Hawaiian wear that you could purchase in the gift shop which I felt was unnecessary. The vendors that were selling their crafts were not that exciting either. The islands were very good and most of t he entertainment during the Island part of the cruise was pretty good. The trans-Pacific part of the cruise the entertainment and things to do on the ship were fairly boring. The lecture series for 5 days was about the Canadian Mounties - I would have liked something more interesting, educational, and useful. They had plenty of movies except their "Cinema" was usually full and during the Pacific crossing the outdoor movie screen by the pool was pretty useless. The shows at night were not exceptional but most were entertaining except for 1 very boring comedian. 5 days at sea needs much more happening on the ship. That was my biggest disappointment. Everything went smoothly. I was hesitant about crossing the Pacific in May but as it turned out the seas were smooth (no seasickness) although the temperatures were too cold and windy to do much on the decks. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a while (5 years) and was disappointed with this service. I wanted to "fly" and was super excited to go on the iFLY attraction - which was why we chose this ship. This ... Read More
I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a while (5 years) and was disappointed with this service. I wanted to "fly" and was super excited to go on the iFLY attraction - which was why we chose this ship. This allowed me to float in a wind tunnel, which was a great experience. However be advised that you need to book this attraction ASAP or else risk not being able to try it at all. You also can only go once per trip. So if you want to take your own photo, have someone stand outside (don't book all family/friends at the same timeslot). The best part of the cruise was the activities and entertainment. The dancing excerise class was good (and packed), the music was good (they actually have hit music in Windjammer). The pool was fun when it was rocky (but can be crowded with people just standing around - so I like to do laps in the morning). The gym was decent sized, some classes (stretch, abs) were free but yoga and TRX would cost money. This ship doesn't have shower facilities by the gym so prepare to walk around in your swim suit if you want to go swimming/hot tub. This was kinda annoying because I had no where to put my room card. I also liked the washrooms. This ship had good flushing toilets. I've been to other cruises which... had weaker toilets and things don't quite flush properly. HVAC system in the showers were good. Doesn't take long for the humidity to go down (or smell to go away). The bad parts: food. The (formal) main dining room was slow so food was constantly cold. The bread was soggy. The menu didn't have a lot of variety either. Typically this venue is supposed to have the best tasting cuisine, but I found it lacking. However mid cruise it got better. The food was hotter (could be as a result of the mid cruise survey). So we mostly ate buffet (Windjammer). The food was warmer, had more variety and the servers were faster (cleaning and giving drinks). I stayed away from the meat (which were often over cooked/dry). Steamed fish was good. Salads were good. Pastries were so dry - I'd rather eat from a grocery store. The best food on the cruise was the pizza. Food quality increased mid cruise but I still find it disappointing. Also if you have a wheel chair be prepared to wait. We met people that had to wait for 2 hours to get on board because they didn't have enough wheelchair or staff. This was on a day when we were docked the whole day and had a large window to check in - so it was poorly organized. Tendering in Maui was a nightmare. The rough seas, limited ports (with competing and sheer quantities of passengers made the waits very long. We docked in Maui overnight and the 2nd day lined up to leave the boat at 8:30 am. They didn't begin to issue tender tickets until after 9am so the waiting area was over crowded... we stood in line for 1.5 hours. The day before we barely waited because they warned us about the shore excursions (who have tendering priorty) and the rough ocean... and we waited 2 hours before lining up. Returning to the ship 5 hours prior to departure was a good idea. People had to wait for 2 hours outside in the heat, waiting for the tender. I think I'd have to find a really good deal or itinerary to go on another Royal Caribbean Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly ... Read More
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly had to make excuses and apologize for numerous situations they had difficulty dealing with. AVOID this ship......while the ship itself is marvelous and a great asset, poor management both in Miami and on board make this ship one to avoid. Guest after guest had unfavorable comments......we just had difficulty grasping why all the problems occurred. The ship board officer crew were a lot of talk but offered few solutions to correct and overcome problems. The entertainment staff couldn’t start many of their activities on time because they didn’t have watches. The buffet management staff daily made “sales pitches” how wonderful everything is in the Windjammer market......while at the same time telling you to hurry and get out. Disembarking for tenders required Hour plus long waits. The evening dinners in the main dining room were interrupted nightly with a wait staff member singing. The disembarking procedure was a most painful experience.....utter chaos. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day ... Read More
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day 4&5 Maui 9am to 5pm next days 6-10 cruising day 11 Victoria BC 9:00am to 8:00pm 12 Vancouver 6:00am. What we got Days 1&2 Honolulu (left Honolulu at 5:00pm on 2nd day day 3 Napali coast 4&5 Maui 6-10 cruising Day 11 Victoria BC 7:00am to 2:00pm (Left 6 hours early arrived in Vancouver at 8pm on day 11 Day 12 Vancouver disembark. Did not see the volcano and did do see the big island. We feel we were ripped off by RCI. You plan for a once in lifetime trip to Hawaii and get cheated out of half the stops. RCI did refund one day, Big deal. Embarkation, late but went smooth. Ports of Call, In Maui the water was too rough for the tenders for most of the first day, on the second day we went ashore, be back time was at 7:00pm we got in line to board the tenders at 4:00pm and it took us over an hour to get back, those that stayed later took from 2-2 1/2 hours to get back on the boat. Dining- Windjammer food was basically good but always very crowded, no place to sit, long lines to get food, lines for the omelets and pasta were always in the way of others. Hamburger line was messed up people were always coming from two directions. Drinks were often empty. Dining- Main dining, food was often cold, stale or misstated. Seafood often smelled, steak was tough or dry, bread was sometimes hard or stale, coffee was occasionally cold, Etc. Dining-Service was excellent Entertainment-shows were good for the most part. There were a number of things to do on the boat and the staff was good at helping you find where things were. Public areas-CROWDED. Hard to get an elevator, other public areas crowded when something was going on. Disembarkation- NIGHTMARE. We arrived in Vancouver the night before the cruise ended so the Ovation of the seas was basically a hotel parked on the water. Some people got off every but most elected to disembark the regular way, ie tag luggage and put outside cabin before 10:00pm the night before disembarking, pick up luggage after it is removed from the ship. BIG MISTAKE. We had luggage tag number 14 with an estimated departure time of 8:20am. At 9:00am, almost nobody had been allowed to leave the boat(at this time we had been docked for 13 hours). A little after 9 they started to allow the Express Departures to leave, we weren't Express but we jumped in line anyway. When we got off of the boat and went to pick up our luggage it was not lined up by number as it usually was but all the numbers were thrown together. RCI was just bringing it out and dumping it on the floor. What RCI didn't tell us was that there was another luggage drop area about 100 yards away and around the corner where they were doing the same thing, just dumping the luggage. I heard someone say something and followed them over. There was approximately 10 people here looking for luggage and at the first area there were hundreds and more getting off the boat all the time. We were lucky to find ours and make our 12:20pm departure time to DEN. While waiting we were talking to other couples who had been on the Ovation and they said that when we got on the plane to Denver, there were people still on the Ovation who had not been able to get off. We have cruised about a dozen times and I have never seen such a mess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to go back to Hawaii to visit the Arizona Memorial and visit the islands again. However, before this cruise even started there were problems. The Arizona Memorial is closed and will be for some an undisclosed amount of time. They ... Read More
We wanted to go back to Hawaii to visit the Arizona Memorial and visit the islands again. However, before this cruise even started there were problems. The Arizona Memorial is closed and will be for some an undisclosed amount of time. They are doing construction around the memorial that will keep it closed for awhile. But that wasn't the main reason for this review. This was our 35th cruise and the most disappointing one. We started getting e-mails from RCCL that because of "Coast Guard inspections that had to be done", there was a change in the itinerary that will cause the ship to remain in Honolulu for two days. Then one of the island would be bypassed and we would spend two days in Maui. So that meant we would only visit two islands. We tried to cancel the cruise but e-mails started to come AFTER the 90 day period for getting a full refund. This is unacceptable. You can't tell us that they didn't know about these inspections before hand. I guess RCCL feared people would cancel the cruise. They did refund the passengers one full day to make up for the island that was missed. Then we received another e-mail stating that because the ship had to pass under the "Lions Gate Bridge" as a certain time we had to arrive and leave Victoria BC because the ship was the largest to sail under the bridge and had to pass under it at a certain time. Again, you mean to tell the passengers you didn't know about that ahead of time ? We arrived in Vancouver a day earlier. There were a lot of passengers who got off the ship either because they lived there or made travel plan changes. Most felt they rather be home then to spend another night on the ship. EMBARKATION: The problem started before we even got to the ship. The person who greeted us in the airport terminal had no clue what was going on. She said to wait outside for our bus to arrive but what she didn't know was that there was confusion because there were other passengers waiting for buses and there didn't seem to be any logical order. We waited for over an hour for the bus to arrive. In addition, because certain areas needed to be shut down, we couldn't board the ship until after 2:00 PM. There was no food service available until dinner time. RCCL refunded you $30 per person for a food allowance. This was not comforting especially traveling for over 12 hours and the airlines don't provide food service. Once we arrived, picture thousands of passengers trying to get thru security. I must say that if you checked in on-line the process went very smooth. After you passed thru security a RCCL person took your picture on a tablet and as long as you printed your boarding pass ahead of time you boarded the ship. Your Seapass card was waiting at your cabin. Disembarkation: As for disembarking, what a nightmare that was. The baggage was scattered all over the terminal. The areas were completely screwed up as far as numbering. None of the areas were next to each other, # 7 baggage was completely on the opposite end of the terminal then #8, and the other numbers were just as bad. A lot of tempers were flaring. We had a late tour of Vancouver but we were over an hour late boarding the buses because of the luggage situation. Entertainment: As for the North Star, Ripcord, SeaPlex, Waverider and especially "Pixlas" they provided the most interesting entertainment. Pixals was very innovative. As for the shows, they were boring at best. A very interesting one was they had a professional pickpocket that was funny but very informative on how easy it was for him and the professionals to lift your valuables. It was funny how people started to watch their wallets after the show. There was an indoor pool area that came in handy when the weather started to cool down. For four days you could sit outside. In addition, it got quite noisy with all the children running around. Food: At best, average. We ate at Chops Grille and had to send back the Rib Eye steak because it had more fat than meat. We never had this problem before with Chops Grille. This also happened in the Silk dining room when we order a beef related meal. I ordered roast beef dish in the dining room and it only came with ONE slice of meat. I said to the waiter "are you kidding me ?". If you order coffee with your dessert, they gave you a half a cup of coffee. You would think they were rationing the food and drinks. The Windjammer was very crowed as usual and at times you couldn't find a table. There was an outdoor section behind the Windjammer but after we left Hawaii, the temperatures starting dropping into the 50's and it was very windy and cold to sit outside. If you drink an non-diary creamer with your coffee, you waited three days for them to make it available. This was after people were complaining that there were none available. They had three omelette stations and one in the back of the Windjammer which they only opened once. For Mother's Day they had a very nice variety of cakes to choose from. Cabins: We had a balcony cabin that had plenty of storage space so you should run out of space to store your clothing. The cabin was very clean and pleasant. Service: Spotty at times depending on the waiter you had. We had My Time dining so we were seated at different tables. One waiter even forgot to bring our salads. We requested several times that we wanted a table by the window. Despite our requests, we were seated at a table next to a window table even thought the window table was unoccupied. One night the Head Waiter heard our complaints, apologized and said he would take care of the problem. The next night, we encountered the same problem with the person who assigns the seating. This time a manager came over to apologize. We noticed a pattern that they would seat people not next to the window but to the tables next to them. I don't know what the person assigning the tables had against people sitting at a table next to the window. Excursions: Because of rough seas in Maui, all excursions before 4:30pm had to be cancelled. We heard that it took over 1 1/2 hours for people to get with the tender service for those who decided to go ashore. If you have a late night flight, we would recommend the tour of Vancouver and a visit the water fall and Gondala ride. Overall remarks: We have noticed that over the past couple of years, parents don't seem to be using the Adventure Ocean program for their children. This became apparent in the indoor pool area, It seems the foreign passengers are the ones that either don't know about the program or don't use it. The Ovation is a very nice ship and kept clean but they could have improved on the design. One area in particular is getting in/out of the theater. They is only one passage way on deck four and when there are at least a thousand passengers getting out, it makes for a very slow process. The other side was blocked by a shop, the Music Hall and a bar. I would not recommend a Hawaii cruise if you have to sail back from Hawaii. This was our second Hawaiian cruise where we experienced less than desirable weather for four days which forced you inside the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI for probably ten years during which we have favoured Princess and after this cruise with RCI I believe we made the right decision. We are not fussy eaters nor do we base our cruise experience on the quality of the food but it must be said that the eating experience on this ship was extremely disappointing and the quality poor. Apart from our wait staff in the dining room (Chic), I found the staff attitude to be less than attentive and pleasurable. The headliner entertainment was, for the most part, good although Pixels and the production shows were just o.k. In general I felt that the ship lacked a feeling of warmth - hard to put into words but I just didn’t feel like I was being pampered and well taken care of the way I feel when cruising with Princess. Also disliked all the extra charges which showed up way too often. The nicest place to sit during the day (when weather drove us inside) was the 270 lounge but we were often driven out by the daily Bingo session. The smoking areas were too close to the non-smoking areas - they need to be isolated more or eliminated entirely! On the plus side, the cabin was excellent with tons of storage, well laid out and the kettle and tea supplies in the room were a very pleasant surprise. Finally, a big shout out to the Captain who was extremely informative. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At ... Read More
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At the Lahaina, Maui stop, tendering was delayed due to rough sea. Everybody got up early wanted to get off the ship but was not able to so that's why all the public area, especially the buffet, was packed with people waiting for the captain's ok. When the captain finally gave the ok, they wanted us to go to a bar on deck 5 to get tender tickets so everybody just literally ran there to get tickets. It was chaos. I was lucky as I was already on deck 5 at the time so we got to get off "early". We origianlly planned on getting off at around 9 but still didn't get off until noon. The tender was just one of their bigger lifeboats which was very uncomfortable even if the sea was calm. We got back to the port at 9:50pm. They only had one tender running. At least if was a big local boat. Not their own lifeboat. When we got back, the line was very long. The tender left at 10pm. The line kept growing. At 10:30pm, I could still see the tender was still unloading people to the cruise ship. They finally deployed another tender which was the same lifeboat. We finally got back to the cruise ship at 11pm. Most people were hungry and the only restaurant still open was the pizza place and a cafe which only serves dessert and some basic sandwiches. It was packed with hungry people. Since everybody got off the ship late, we all got back late. However, their restaurants and buffet still closed at 9pm. To me, that is WAY too early. Not much food option after 9pm. A lot of people eat late especially with an Hawaii cruise. Lots of people are from the mainland which is several hours ahead. Should've at least open the buffet until 10pm or something. Food in the main dining room is terrible. Service is not good either. We always spend more than an hour in a dining room with 45 minutes of it waiting for our food. Buffet surprising has better tasting food and service was good. RCI wanted to do freestyle dining like Norwegian but RCI is not doing it well. Still always try to make us to share table with strangers. Food and service in specialty restaurants are good. We tried the Chops Grill steak house and Wonderland's. Both good. However, I still think Norwegian does dining much better. Disbarkation was a nightmare. We were an hour late than the origin set time. There was no signage to point you to where your luggage is. Everybody was running around the terminal like crazy trying to find their luggage. The ship itself is beautiful and I love it. Stateroom attendant was attentive. But there's not much show to watch. I do like that they have a smokeless casino. I find it very annoying when a cruise line put the casino in the very middle of the ship and allow smoking. My 4-year-old went to their kids club a lot. While there wasn't any issue, I do feel that the staffs there are not as warm as those on my Norwegian cruises. This poor expericnece is more about the sudden itinerary change and the management. I think I'll still cruise with RCI again but might just go with a shorter cruise with a more ordinary route. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Four seniors escaping from the Arizona heat to Vancouver on Sept. 6. Flew in 1 night early - our party of 2 - and stayed near the YVR airport at Ramada Inn as it had a free shuttle and free breakfast. Room was small but clean and quiet. ... Read More
Four seniors escaping from the Arizona heat to Vancouver on Sept. 6. Flew in 1 night early - our party of 2 - and stayed near the YVR airport at Ramada Inn as it had a free shuttle and free breakfast. Room was small but clean and quiet. On boarding day (9/7) we joined with another cruise couple at our hotel and split a cab to Canada Place. $36.30 + tip CDN. 30 minutes after arrival we were on board the ship - one of the fastest check ins and boardings ever for us. Kudos to the folks at the Vancouver Cruise Terminal and RCL. Staterooms available at 115 pm, departure on time at 515 pm. Our group of 4 had the 530 traditional dining each night in the MDR. THE CRUISE - 10 days total, 5 sea days then 5 Hawaii ports - Hilo on the big island, was replaced by Lahaina for 2 days. So Lahaina 2 days, Hana - 1 day, Kauai - 1 day with a drop at Honolulu on the final morning. Lahaina and Hana were both tenders so that is more of a challenge and problem to come and go. OUR CABIN - mid ship interior Deck 3 - good for the 5 sea days due to some 6 - 8 ft. swells. Room was quiet, clean in good shape, bed comfortable, room temp good and cold for sleeping. Attendant Elmer did an excellent job for us and was always pleasant. Flat screen TV with a good variety of cable channels and generally a good picture. SHIP CONDITION - Though one of the older ships, 2300 passengers and 13 decks, we found it in great shape and was kept clean. Plenty of friendly staff who did their job well. Captain Ryan - low profile but daily announcements at 12 noon with our status. With the 5 sea days we played lots of trivia - Hannah, James, Sophie were usually in charge - they were fun and entertaining. FELLOW PASSENGERS - a diverse group - mostly 60 and up but I would say 20% were 30 to 60 in age, some young families - approximately 80 children on board and a number of pre school. Always enjoy talking with people from all over the US and the world on these cruises. Everyone I spoke to was friendly and pleasant. SHOWS/ENTERTAINMENT - Cruise Director John Blair we liked and enjoyed but it appears RCL has decidedly cut this budget. We normally go to the evening show after dining. Some of the shows and entertainers were okay, many were just fair to mediocre. No WOW on the evening shows on this cruise, but at least it was easy to get a seat to attend. DINING - at every evening meal in the MDR at 530 pm. 2 formal nights - waiters - Salvador and Benny - fun to deal with, did their job well and made dinner a good time for all. Food selection always good, service always good, food quality normally good, pacing of meal good - not too slow - not too fast. Ate in 1 specialty restaurant, Giovanni’s for lunch - ½ the dinner price - great meal, great service, excellent meal and dessert. Total price including tip for 4 (no alcohol) was $75. The chocolate cake alone was worth the price of the meal. Had lunch 1 time in the dining room for a change - very good too. Normally did breakfast and lunch in the windjammer. We were happy there with the selection and taste, cleanliness, staff attitude and their job performance. Weakest item in the WJ was the desserts (we felt). Windjammer - additional comment - most every morning as I tried to enjoy my breakfast, usually at 7 AM, the very loud, hip hop music was blaring above our table, sometimes too loud to even have a conversation. Does anyone in the WJ management see who is eating breakfast at 7 AM ? I guess not or who is the music really for - the employees or the paying customers? This could be so much better for all these 60 year olds as they try to converse and enjoy their breakfast. There are so many good music choices that could be made for us to dine by. Perhaps a majority of instrumentals as a suggestion. Music like this is okay at lunch or dinner but please not at 7 AM - please look at this hard and address it. FITNESS CENTER - Did not use FAVORITE LOUNGE - the one on deck 13 - great for reading, chatting or playing games. MEDICAL UNIT - Unfortunately our friends had the chance to use the medical unit. She saw their 2 doctors and was very pleased with their treatment and handling of her problem. Also the nursing staff was very knowledgable. Only downside is charges go right on the sea pass - no insurance claims here, but even at that was not excessively priced. INTERNET - the fastest I’ve seen on a cruise ship. Offered 1 hour for $9.99 - worked for us. Big improvement here on rates and speed - at least on the Radiance. SLOTS - CASINO - 186 slot machines and 10 tables, mostly older machines but some new too. Some of the lowest minimum bet machines in abundance - many could be played for 10 to 30 cents a spin and I think an above average pay out for a cruise ship casino. We played every day but stuck to our budget - casino opened each day at 8 AM but once in Hawaiian waters the entire casino closed the last 5 days of our cruise. BINGO - like the slots - once in Hawaiian waters no more bingo so again that was for the last 5 days of the cruise. We usually do not play ship bingo feeling it is too expensive for the prizes and is way too short but we tried it this time. Buy in was $29 to $69 per player for 3 games on 4 of the sessions, 1 session was a cover all for 1 game only for $30. These 4 different days consisted of 3 games per session - first was a regular bingo, 2nd 4 corner bingo, 3rd the X. Bingo was hit very quickly, in some cases 4 or 5 numbers and that game was over on games 1 and 2. Took about 10 mins to play the 3 games and we were done. I urged them to do some longer games - I want more play for $29 minimum buying those 3 games. I feel if they brought the price down and did more lengthy games there would be more participation (and enjoyment) !! This suggestion fell on deaf ears. SEA DAY ACTIVITY - we felt this was a really weak point on this cruise - not much going on during the afternoon - how about some shows in the afternoon - the Serenade had them 1 year ago while on there. Just not enough going on to help fill those sea days. DRINK PRICES - the coca colas were $3.84 (including tip) and the alcohol seemed to start at $12 per drink + 18%. Far too expensive and little chance to buy a special or happy hour. As a result we did not buy 1 alcoholic drink this cruise. SUMMARY - Well we did kind of escape the Arizona heat for a short period. Most all of our Hawaii time on shore it was hot and humid - unusual according to the locals. 1 year ago we took the sister ship, the Serenade one way Copenhagen to Boston - that experience vs. this one is 180 degrees. The Serenade provided us with our worst MDR dining experience ever on RCL, from the wait staff, their attitude, food selection and delivery, dinner pacing, a challenge every night to dine. The entire atmosphere of that ship vs. the Radiance was entirely different - like the attitude of the staff wherever you went - so positive on the Radiance. I guess the overall experience is very ship specific. The only area we liked better on Serenade was they provided more to do on sea days, as that itinerary had 5 sea days as well. Friends did a Celebrity future booking while on board - the $100 each deposit program is still in place and nice to be able to book Celebrity and RCL while onboard. Just a few complaints from us as mentioned, otherwise very satisfied - this experience was what we expect of RCL as we cruise with them and why we continue to return. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We have wanted to do a cruise to Hawaii for a long time. We were last in the islands in 1982. The Radiance of the Seas cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii was a great chance to return with the added benefit of travelling with friends. It is a ... Read More
We have wanted to do a cruise to Hawaii for a long time. We were last in the islands in 1982. The Radiance of the Seas cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii was a great chance to return with the added benefit of travelling with friends. It is a lovely ship with a few spots looking the worse for wear. We felt right at home since our 40 year old home also has a few of those! There did seem to be a very friendly, cheerful ambiance on the ship that I believe starts at the top. Embarkation was very efficient--one of our best in 16 cruises. Disembarkation via express, carry your own luggage was very popular and maybe the large express group needs letters or numbers to be called in stages also. Overall, dining was quite good. Mostly, we had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer. I could find enough breakfast variety to eat for a month in this venue. Three times I had breakfast in the Park Cafe to avail myself of the lox and bagels and fixings I enjoy very much. We had lunch in the main dining room once. I had the Tutti salad I loved in the past. It was good but tuna fish was the protein of choice. I missed the shrimp and prosciutto I had enjoyed in the past. Do I detect a cut-back? Had some good Indian food in the WJ. Plenty of choices to not go hungry. Thought the desserts here were very weak and repetitive and many dishes could use a bit more spice. We dined at Giovanni's for lunch one day and they put on a spectacular feast. Everything was delicious. We shared appetizers and pasta and had our own entrees. I highly recommend this $15 lunch special. Best meal of the cruise but of course, it was a specialty restaurant. Desserts were ones we still dream about and service superb. Salvador and Bennie were our fixed dining waiters and took very good care of us. Their job is extra hard because they have different numbers of people showing up on different nights. They made sure we were stocked with the brown sunflower seed rolls we cruise for. Overall the food was quite good. One night we had a wonderful lamb shank. I missed the wonderful rare thick lamb chops we have had on a couple of cruises. I had a couple of the sugar free desserts which were pleasantly good. Dinner desserts were much better than the WJ. With limited changing menu choices, I think they should avoid 2 steaks or 2 chocolate cake choices on the same menu--just my preference. Thought the cruise director John was very good. His afternoon Neil Diamond show was one of our favorite entertainment offerings. OA, the entertainment was pretty average but seats more available. Sea Day trivia was very well done with most of the questions just about right in the degree of difficulty. Hannah, James and Sophie did a good job. Played bingo once--very expensive and games are too short. My favorite game was the football goalpost which took a while. Prizes were good. Enjoyed the Hawaiian duo. I would also like to see more classic country music on the ships. We were sorry to miss Hilo. They subbed an ON in Lahaina instead. We were doing several nights on Maui after the cruise so this was not quite as good for us. Weather on the cruise was lovely. Hawaii was rather hot and humid due to recent hurricane activity which caused no problems for us. Our group usually plans its own excursions. No children in our group. I always have fun and a good time on cruises and my first on ROTS filled the bill nicely. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We are a couple in our early 60's, newly retired. We have done this itinerary twice before. Each time the cost is higher, but the # days is shortened. This was a B2B cruise for us, since we boarded the ship in Sydney Australia for ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60's, newly retired. We have done this itinerary twice before. Each time the cost is higher, but the # days is shortened. This was a B2B cruise for us, since we boarded the ship in Sydney Australia for the TransPacific repositioning. We stayed in the same cabin (9616), and had the same fabulous cabin steward (Boren Franover), so we were very happy with the stateroom. The service on the ship was great, as usual. Most of the staff goes out of their way to be friendly, answer questions, and to provide a wonderful experience. Instead of our usual Early Dining, we opted to try My Time Dining this cruise, in order to free up time to watch sunsets and sailaways. We made reservations for dinner times in the MDR, but didn't have great experiences with that. The first night, we were seated at a table with others who had reservations for a 1/2 hour before us, and had to wait until we arrived in order for the table to be full enough to order. The second night didn't go much better, so we opted to eat in the Windjammer Buffet after that, except for one night in Chops Grille. The buffet, Park Cafe and steakhouse were excellent food, and the sunset views on the aft deck were an added bonus. The first 4 days were port days (Honolulu, Lahaina, Kona and Kauai), so the Meet & Mingle was held on day 6. It was not well attended, and very little mingling happened -- a real disappointment after the previous cruise from Sydney. The port day in Hilo was cancelled after the volcano erupted and the earthquake happened. RCI substituted a day in Victoria instead at the end of the cruise. Victoria is a great city and we had a lovely day, but we would rather have had another day in any other Hawaiian port. We live in Greater Vancouver, and having paid a premium price for a Hawaiian cruise, we weren't thrilled with the substitution. Entertainment on this segment was mostly a repeat of the previous cruise, so we didn't attend many of the shows. Instead we saw more of the game shows in the Colony Club, and played pool on the self-levelling pool tables. We also spent more time trying to improve our mini-golf skills, doing puzzles and working out in the gym. The weather from Kauai to Victoria was cooler and rocky the first few days, making poolside lounging unappealing. Due to a medical emergency, we picked up speed and arrived in Victoria the evening before planned ETA. The one bonus to stopping in Victoria was that we were able to clear Customs in Victoria and avoid the Customs lineups in Vancouver, where 3 other ships were also docked at the same time. Kudos to Alex (Activities Director) and Sophie (Activities staff) for their tireless enthusiasm in running activities, contests and games to keep us entertained. I would consider doing this cruise again, but only if the duration is restored to 12 or 13 days, and if our favourite Hawaiian port of Hilo is restored. That last part, of course, is up to Mother Nature, and beyond RCI's control. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We would highly recommend Royal Caribbean to anyone. Their staff are highly trained and see to your comfort and individual needs above all else. Always friendly and courteous no matter how long of a day they have had. They make you feel ... Read More
We would highly recommend Royal Caribbean to anyone. Their staff are highly trained and see to your comfort and individual needs above all else. Always friendly and courteous no matter how long of a day they have had. They make you feel a part of the family! Always something to do on and off the ship, always helpful in Guest Services and just overall a great company to take a cruise with! Food well prepared in an excellent and clean environment! Everyone went out of their way to make sure we had the best experience ever and we did! Keep you informed of everything going on and changes that are made when necessary. We felt very pampered. The games were funny and there was always something for everyone to do. Had to make time to rest - there was so much to do and see. Cruise tours were the best! We can not say enough about our great experience! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Things were quite unorganized on this ship from Vancouver to Hawaii. THE GOOD: (1) The food was very good, and especially loved that they finally had a gluten-free station in the Windjammer; for those of you who have Celiac Disease, ... Read More
Things were quite unorganized on this ship from Vancouver to Hawaii. THE GOOD: (1) The food was very good, and especially loved that they finally had a gluten-free station in the Windjammer; for those of you who have Celiac Disease, this is a welcomed accommodation ~ Thank you so much for that! (2) The Service in the Dining Room and the Windjammer were top notch, as always! (3) Our cabin was cleaned thoroughly twice a day by our wonderful Room Attendant! (4) The OUTSIDE entertainment was very good: 2 great singers, 2 good comedians, and 1 very good ventriloquist. THE BAD: Everything else! (1) The Cruise Director (and his wife, the Assistant) were unlike many we've had on other cruises. On our seven previous cruises, we would often see our Cruise Director several times on the pool deck; my husband and I spend the majority of our daytime hours there and we never saw either John, nor Katrina, there. Basically saw them introduce the evening shows, and rarely anytime else. The one time we did see John and apprised him of a disembarking concern, he would not accept that there was an important lack of information (a photo ID must accompany you off the ship along with your Sea Pass Card and Tender Ticket) being included during the Tender Ticket announcements, as well as on that day's Daily Compass. When I told John this, he would not accept the fact that the Tender Ticket #4 announcement was the FIRST time it was mentioned that a photo ID was also needed. He kept telling me I was incorrect. I don't have a problem with people making mistakes; it happens. But I do take offense when people cannot accept that they have made a mistake. However, since ALL of the announcements from that moment on emphasized that everyone MUST have a photo ID, along with their Tender Ticket and Sea Pass Card, as well as non-tender days all MUST have a Photo ID along with their Sea Pass Card, I'm guessing that was his way of acknowledging their omission of the Photo ID information. A simple, "Oh wow, I'm sorry we failed to include that information and thank you for bring that to my attention" would have been the correct thing for him to do! (2) Early on Day 3 of an 11-Day Cruise, I asked the excursion desk about disembarking on the individual islands. I was told the exact opposite: was told we dock in Maui, tender in Hilo, dock in Kona, and tender in Kauai. I wrote it down so I would remember. The day before getting to Maui there was much confusion on the pool deck amongst the passengers: some said the info I had was correct and others had the opposite. Turns out I'd been given the wrong information. For one who books their own excursions, this was important information that was given incorrectly to many passengers. I was also told on Day 3 that neither the excursion rep I spoke with, nor the 2 other ones she was working with had ever been to Hawaii, therefore she was unable to answer any questions regarding the islands. Still, since they were booking excursions for some of the passengers, not knowing which island we dock at and which islands we tender to is ridiculous! (3) Speaking of excursions, if you don't book your excursions with RC, you are treated like 2nd class passengers. I take offense to this as I pay just as much to cruise as those booking RC excursions and ALL passengers who have early morning excursions should be given priority disembarking. The first day in Maui, we were given Tender Ticket #7 and waited over 2 hours to finally get off the ship - this is unacceptable! (4) The bartenders were hit or miss. Some were overly gracious, while others rarely smiled and acted like you were bothering them. Thank you to those bartenders who were cordial and fun to speak with! (5) Our previous cruises had midnight buffets, pool deck BBQ's and Ice Sculpting demonstrations. Personally, I've always thought the midnight buffets were unnecessary as many were too overstuffed to enjoy eating; but the beauty of the midnight buffets were wonderful. I still don't think they are necessary and not upset they don't have them anymore. However, we have had pool deck BBQ's on shorter cruises in the past, as well as Ice Sculpting. Except for a "Sexy Man Contest," a rather lame trivia contest, and a line dancing lesson, nothing else occurred on the pool deck during this 11-day cruise. (6) I mentioned the outside entertainment was very good; however, the Royal Caribbean "Singers and Dancers" on this cruise were the most untalented we've ever seen during any of our cruises. I've always given glowing reviews about the on-board entertainment in the past; I cannot do so after this cruise. I rarely give negative reviews. Our previous cruise to this one was awful ~ felt like we were on a Disney cruise with all the kids running around unsupervised; not to mention that entire "Dream Cruise" was geared more toward children's entertainment, rather than the adults on board. We decided to give RC another chance and, unfortunately, after this cruise we have decided to either fly to a destination vacation, or try some of the smaller cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We liked the size of the ship and have been on Brilliance and Vision before. The Radiance however looks very tired, from the Windjammer, to the dining rooms, the decor, the chipped and stained furniture, Wardrobe doors wouldn't close, ... Read More
We liked the size of the ship and have been on Brilliance and Vision before. The Radiance however looks very tired, from the Windjammer, to the dining rooms, the decor, the chipped and stained furniture, Wardrobe doors wouldn't close, pool towels that should be turned into rags etc. On the positive side: food was ok, staff friendly and helpful and the itinerary great. We embarked very early in Vancouver and swept right through. As we didn't disembark in Honolulu leaving the ship for the day didn't take much time. First port of call was Maui where they had a bit of a problem with the tenders. It seemed to be not well organized. Fortunately we were there over night. Therefore time wasn't really an issue. We rented a car on each island and it was definitely worth it. But be careful in Maui. We anchored at Lahaina and had to pick up the car at their major airport - which meant an expensive taxi ride. There is a closer rental car place. Make sure you watch out for that. Hilo was very good because of the Volcanoes, Kona not so much, Kauai again was great and far too much to do and see in Honolulu for the limited time we had. We are not sure if we want to get back on the Radiance before it has had a refurbishment. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
First Time Cruising, Choose This one as it was departing from Vancouver BC with Hawaii as a destination. Over all cruise was great. Entertainment was relaxing , Room was adequate with attentive staff, Dining was exceptional with ... Read More
First Time Cruising, Choose This one as it was departing from Vancouver BC with Hawaii as a destination. Over all cruise was great. Entertainment was relaxing , Room was adequate with attentive staff, Dining was exceptional with outstanding staff, Service in most cases was excellent there were definitely some wow factors. I was however less than impressed with the shore ex people. I found them to be not helpful or informative but eager to sell you product. I was also not totally satisfied with all the tours. I found the Kings, trains & Waterfalls in Kauai interesting no one ever did figure out what the kings reference was for, our tour bus lost it's air conditioning and the replacement was handled poorly. The Kona excursion was a stop at the coffee plantation gift shop, a lovely stop at the national park with an old village site but no guidance or narrative so a lost opportunity my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
The ship overall was pretty clean and had nice amenities. The cabin was comfortable and kept extremely clean by the stateroom attendant. We ate at all the restaurants on board and the service at all of them were amazing. The pool, sports ... Read More
The ship overall was pretty clean and had nice amenities. The cabin was comfortable and kept extremely clean by the stateroom attendant. We ate at all the restaurants on board and the service at all of them were amazing. The pool, sports court and mini golf were great activities to kill sea days. The entertainers for the shows were spectacular. What really surprised me is how nice they were genuinely interested in getting to know you. I loved how the ship stayed overnight in Maui and Kauai. The Lu'au is a must see for anyone who goes. One of the best experiences in my travels. The spa was amazing an my masseuse who was Japanese was also an amazing Hawaiian dancer. Best massage I've had to date.The one thing that was not in doubt was the service. Some of the things I did not like were that the ship seemed understaffed and things like the gym and windjammer opened late. Cascades wasn't open long enough and you could really feel it on sea days because Winjammers just became Windjammed. The ship also did not have great size selection for merchandise in the shops or spa. Embarkation went well for some but not so well for most due some issues in Honolulu. Disembarkation took longer than anticipated and the tour buses were scarce so I had to cancel a tour or I would have missed my flight. There were numerous people who missed their flight and intercruises weren't much help. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was our 13th cruise with RC and our second on the Radiance. The ship was in good condition (NOT a rust bucket as one person described it). The cruise can be divided into three phases. #1 Getting on the ship in Hawaii was very ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise with RC and our second on the Radiance. The ship was in good condition (NOT a rust bucket as one person described it). The cruise can be divided into three phases. #1 Getting on the ship in Hawaii was very stressful after flying over from the east coast but it was not RC's or the ships fault. Boarding was delayed by our wonderful Govt. agencies that wanted to assert their power. Getting off the ship in Vancouver was a disaster as there were three ships in port and the facility could not handle 15,000 passengers trying to get on and off the three ships at the same time. We hope you never have to experience a situation like this. #2 The port visits (Tours) were very nice, weather was great and the tenders were very efficient. #3 Cruising from Hawaii to Vancouver wasn't great, very cool and the seas were a little choppy. The service on the ship was great, the crew did a very good job. Food in the main dinning room was ok I would say average nothing to right home about. The Windjammer food was typical of every ship we have been on with RC, good with a large variety to choose from. Staff in the Windjammer were very attentive. Our waiter and asst. waiter in the main dining room did a fantastic job We stayed in a GS, the cabin was in great condition and our attendant took very good care of us. Cabin #1534 We did not take in a lot of the shows but the ones we did see were very good. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We have sailed on many different ship companies and this particular ship was ok. Ship shows its age the food was ok a lot of the employees have little understanding of English. The Hawaii Islands were fantastic that's the only ... Read More
We have sailed on many different ship companies and this particular ship was ok. Ship shows its age the food was ok a lot of the employees have little understanding of English. The Hawaii Islands were fantastic that's the only reason we picked this itinerary because of the islands. cabin had a lot of dust in it was really surprised Upon getting to the port in Waikiki it was chaos they were so many people waiting and there were no lines people were going everywhere and getting angry. We have never had an embarkation day like that one it was awful and a nightmare. The food at the windjammer was really awful and dining room was ok nothing like other cruise lines...very disappointed. The shops in duty free were small and did not have a lot of choice. This was our third time with RCCL and it was the worst. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The itinerary is what sold us on this cruise, and it met our expectations for the days in Hawaii. We loved having 2 days on the major islands, which gave us a great opportunity to see Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui. The 5 days at sea were a bit ... Read More
The itinerary is what sold us on this cruise, and it met our expectations for the days in Hawaii. We loved having 2 days on the major islands, which gave us a great opportunity to see Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui. The 5 days at sea were a bit harder as the weather was mostly cool,windy, and rainy, offering no opportunity for outside fun. Not many activities were scheduled during the day, so we adapted to a more relaxed schedule. Service from the staff was excellent, and food at dinner was very good. The Windjammer is pretty average, but the omelet counter was great for breakfast. The salad bar in the dinning room at lunch was phenomenal. Once we discovered it, we never missed a lunchtime! The entertainment was different every night, and the staff did a good job of providing added activities (at night especially). As to be expected, the bus ride excursions to the peaks of volcanoes became dull and tiresome. We will avoid those in the future. Due to unexpected occurrences, check in was problematic, taking up to 2 plus hours in line. Even though RC was not directly at fault, they should have provided more communication and man power to help the process move more smoothly and keep tempers in check. Similarly, the disembarking would have been easier with updates and communication. My only real frustration was the aged and deteriorating condition of the ship. Our shower curtain was frayed and mildewed. Seats in the Windjammer were ripped and dirty. These are easy fixes that could make the ship look much nicer and elegant rather than shoddy. If I were RC, I'd be embarrassed to sail this ship without replacing some of these worn elements. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
we were in cabin 1588 on tenth deck. The Radiance has been done over and everything is so new in the cabins. The Embarkation was really bad but no fault to the crew. Disembarkation in Vancouver was horrible. Trying to get 2000 people ... Read More
we were in cabin 1588 on tenth deck. The Radiance has been done over and everything is so new in the cabins. The Embarkation was really bad but no fault to the crew. Disembarkation in Vancouver was horrible. Trying to get 2000 people upstairs using one elevator People coming on to the ship were coming down same elevator. There should have been security around to help with crowd control. But other than that we had a good time on ship. They brought on a RCMP person to give talks for a hour each morning. He was from Alberta and very interesting. Food was great. All you have to do is ask for something special. The four of us asked the second night for shrimp and we got shrimp the next 10 evenings. Lobster night was great. Husband really enjoyed the desserts. The servers were so helpful and kind to us seniors. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
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