1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Royal Caribbean International
  4. Royal Caribbean International Cruise Reviews

4 Royal Caribbean Melbourne Cruise Reviews

This cruise embarked from Melbourne Australia and headed to New Zealand. The ship toured the beautiful New Zealand fiords on the southwest coast. It then stopped at New Zealand cities on the country's east coast. We'd stongly ... Read More
This cruise embarked from Melbourne Australia and headed to New Zealand. The ship toured the beautiful New Zealand fiords on the southwest coast. It then stopped at New Zealand cities on the country's east coast. We'd stongly advise others to allocate several days before and after the cruise to enjoy Melbourne and Sidney. Embarkation was slow with long lines at each stage of the process. Overall from arriving at the dock to walking onto the boat was a bit over two hours. Overall, the Radiance of the Seas was above average. The ship carries 2,600 people so it is not as crowded as newer mega-cruisers. While the ship is twenty years old, the interior is modern and clean. One BIG problem is that there are no laundry rooms on board. One can use the ship's clothes cleaning service but it is $35 to wash a small bag of clothes. The passengers were largely in their 50s and 60s. I'd guess that there were only about two dozen children on the entire boat. About 60% of the passengers were Australian. That was nice because us Yanks could meet the Aussies and learn a lot about where they were from and what their lives are like. Food was consistently good both in dining rooms and in the buffet. One nicety was that if something was desired that was not on display or on the menu, the crew gladly provided it. We try to eat healthy when traveling. At dinner we'd often order a fresh vegetable plate in addition to our off-the-menu choices. We'd receive a steaming hot plate of broccoli, asparagus, carrots, and spinach. At the morning buffet, I'd often get a made to order omelet and rather than have the sausage or bacon, I'd ask a crewmember to bring a plate of smoked salmon. Our inside cabin was larger than cabins we've had on Princess and Celebrity ships. My wife always takes a midday nap. Our cabin was made up twice daily so we always had made beds. We attended a lot of shows. Visiting entertainers were good. There was a gifted pianist, a comedian that did impersonations, and a magician. However, while the dancers in the ships resident song and dance troupe were remarkably talented, the singers were about as good as one might hear at a high school musical. There were all the usual ship events - games, contests, shopping, etc. There were two whiskey tasting events that were free and fairly generous with the samples. New Zealand is a beautiful country. Seeing It is well worth the long flight from the US. We found New Zealander's to be informal and friendly. They like their country and are happy to show it off and to talk about it. Our favorite stop was Dunedin, a smallish city in South New Zealand. We visited a brewery and sampled the fabulous New Zealand beer. We also took a wildlife excursion and saw a rare albatross rookery (the only such nesting site on a mainland) and fur seals that were still nursing their rambunctious pups. Wellington, the national capital was fun, too. We tried meat pies and had coffee and dessert pastries at a little lunch spot across the street from the government buildings. Our ship was supposed to stop at Ashburton but could not due to high winds and rough seas. We also spend a day at Picton, a little resort town with a marina. We didn't find much to do at Picton so we hiked and visited a grocery store where we bought a few made in New Zealand foods and some local beers to bring home. Our cruise was in late February and early March which is fall in New Zealand. We were glad we did. The weather, overall, was sunny blue skies and most days were cool but one didn't need a coat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was our second time on the Radiance, third time around NZ, but first time cruising with friends (deliberately). Our very first cruise was on Radiance back in '08 in Alaska. That has got us hooked unto cruising so it was going to ... Read More
This was our second time on the Radiance, third time around NZ, but first time cruising with friends (deliberately). Our very first cruise was on Radiance back in '08 in Alaska. That has got us hooked unto cruising so it was going to be interesting to come back after several cruises, with a few companies,and to compare. Also we planned this with a few friends of our age group. OK, staring at the start, we were a bit worried about Melbourne as a departure point. Melbourne is not usually a customs clearance point, so we were worried a little about the whole check in process. We shouldn't have been, it may have been a fraction slower, but not really noticeable. We went through a faster lane, which was very quick, our friends though had to come through the standard lines, which did take close to an hour. I think this was because everyone came at the same time, and there were a lot more without C & A privileges, which meant the queues were longer than normal. We got our rooms pretty much on 1pm, and we also sorted out our first night dining with our friends. We then went for a bit of an explore, and that first cocktail. The ship had changed slightly, but not a lot. Other reviews talked about it ageing, and showing signs of wear and tear. She is now 18 years old, and due for another refresh in a few months. If you looked hard, yes you could find things to comment on (and as an ex-mariner you could find fault everywhere if you wanted to), but the important thing was it was clean and tidy, the crew worked well to keep the presentation to a good standard, and nothing was falling apart. Food - this is a major part of the trip. We ate in the Windjammer, Main Dining Room (fixed times), Chops, Giovanni's and Samba restaurants, and the Park Cafe. The food in all the areas was very good. We did enjoy the food at Chops the best, but in reality it was all good, and came with great service. Tip for those at Sambas, its a marathon - not a sprint (there are seven meat courses, so pace yourself). The service as usual was spot on. Were were especially fond of out MDR staff who were very attentive, friendly, and just good fun to talk to. Windjammers, of course, could be busy, and you had to pick your times a little, but we could also take the food out onto the stern area, or to other quieter places if necessary. Park Cafe had changed a little and you could now get a nice salad there during the day. Lastly the guys at Cafe Latte-tudes were really good and friendly (if you didn't try to take advantage of them like some passengers did). Room - we had room 8088. it has the larger balcony on the hump. The interior of the room is the same as most balcony rooms, and spacious enough for us. The balcony was fantastic, and was spacious enough for outside lounges, we just couldn't get any (a disappointment). This would be a joy on those longer ocean voyages. There was a down side (and it has been raised in the past) that you can hear the music from the Centrum At night it can go up to 10:30pm. What you hear is the bass thump of the music. During the day its not too bad (quieter music or events) but there are some major parties in the evening. Good thing is, if you are at the party you don't mind, and after 10:30ish it dies away and it is fine. I would probably book this room again if on a long cruise. The cabin staff were again spot on. Unobtrusive, but there when you needed them. Entertainment - being that we were with friends this time, we were quite happy to do our own things. The shows were good to very good (but not excellent), the musical tams moving around the boat were very good, and we enjoyed them immensely. The cruise staff were fantastic. We made friends with several of them, and we had a good time. It was really funny watching one of the team (all of about 23 years old) trying to run a music quiz with 60s or 70s music when she freely admitted her parents weren't even born then, while many of us lived through it! She did a great job. The biggest disappoint was the poor entertainment up in Starquest late at night. Basically preplanned music most nights. so no real soul to the place. New Zealand - Fan-bloody-tastic!! The fiordlands, Dunedin, Wellington and Picton were all magic, beautiful scenario, culture, history and people!! Unfortunately the weather did not permit tendering at Akaroa, a disappointment, but the crew compensated with an afternoon of quickly revised entertainment. NZ never disappoints and the beauty of Milford, Dusky and Doubtful sounds was awesome. A running commentary from an NZ Parks Officer made all the difference. I could go on for a while, but NZ is beautiful, and even in Wellington (one of their largest cities) the people are friendly and will tell you all about their culture or point to you to an ATM, nothing was too much for them. We didn't book any excursions through RCI as they were way (WAY) too expensive. We did have an idea of what wee wanted though, so we were able to sort ourselves out quickly once we got there. We were very lucky crossing the Tasman (twice) the weather gods were great to us, and made the trip so much enjoyable. As usual the staff made a big difference, there attentiveness, smiles and service are also an attraction for us on RCI. The ship may be getting old, but it is by no means overtly noticeable. The food was of a high standard, with some items being repeated on the menus, but changes were made every day, and that was enough (always too many options). Dietary requirements mentioned on the first day were relayed to all our restaurant bookings (a good touch). There was always some entertainment available, but with good friends and a number out out-of-the-way spots, you could just ave fun passing the time. The disembarkation at Sydney was smooth, and we were out of the terminal (and back to the real world) quickly. We will be back!!! Service, food and entertainment is just how we like it. Thanks! Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We'd been on Princess twice, and decided to give RCI a try to see how it compared. Overall, we had a very good time. Embarkation in Sydney went quickly. We'd stayed at the Holiday Inn across the street the night before, so it ... Read More
We'd been on Princess twice, and decided to give RCI a try to see how it compared. Overall, we had a very good time. Embarkation in Sydney went quickly. We'd stayed at the Holiday Inn across the street the night before, so it couldn't have been easier to get to the ship. The ship was lovely, and we liked the touch-screens near the lifts which often helped us find our way around. We had a "superior interior" cabin, and it was of a good size. The couch seemed a bit long for the space as it abutted the bed, but that said, room for a couch in Princess' interior cabins is unheard of. It was great to have it, to sit and watch TV if I wanted quiet time. Ahhh, quiet time, now there's the problem. I found it nearly impossible to get any in most areas. When there was a band on the pool deck, it was so loud, it set my teeth on edge. Now mind you, I spent decades as a musician in a rock/metal band, so that's saying something. There are times when even I relish relative quiet - not necessarily silence - but an atmosphere where my husband and I can talk to each other, without having to yell like we're in a techno nightclub. It was a bit of a challenge finding a quiet place to sit and read. All of the seats around the centrum were often filled, and if there was something going on below, even more so (and less quiet). One day, we managed to find seats there, a few decks up, and grabbed them. It was then that I noticed the aerial artists starting their show (they hang from the ceiling and do acrobatic-type things). I felt compelled to watch them, as no one else was. I felt sorry for them, going to all that effort for no one's entertainment. It was then that I realised that often on the ship, I felt like I was in the middle of a three-ring circus. HOWEVER, I would still prefer that to the nursing home ambience and entertainment we experienced on the Crown Princess in May, so I don't want to complain TOO much. It had a younger, more energetic vibe, and that was a good thing (but there also have to be places where you can escape that if you want to). I liked that the age group on this cruise was a mix of all different ages, unlike the aforementioned voyage on the Crown Princess. It makes for a much more interesting time. We only ate in the dining room about 4 times, dinner only. Our waiter, Richard, and assistant Sachin were lovely. They were always eager to please, and Richard missed his calling as an entertainer. We always got a kick out of him. One of our table companions had a remarkable resemblance to the captain, and always got double-takes from the staff. It was quite amusing. I thought the food in the main dining room was good (I'm a vegetarian). My husband was generally happy with it, though I think he found the meat somewhat lacklustre as it had probably been reheated to serve (typical for catering large numbers). If there wasn't anything on the menu to my liking, Richard would ensure that something was made for me. Most of our meals were in the Windjammer Cafe. There seemed to be a decent variety on offer, and the overall quality was good. On a mid-priced cruise, I don't expect lobster and truffles (wouldn't eat the lobster, anyway!). On Feb 14, we'd booked for dinner at Giovanni's Table restaurant. We found our waiter to be an arrogant snob. He appeared to think less of us for our poor unenlightened palates, if we didn't like something listed. I loved the teeny-serve entree (appetiser) of ricotta cannelloni (manicotti), and asked if I could have a larger serve as a main meal, because there were no vegetarian options listed under mains. No, I could not! This waiter was far cry from Richard in the main dining room! And I paid extra for this! I wasn't too happy with this restaurant for that reason. One thing I need to comment on is the pizza. It was DISGUSTING! Princess spoiled me for pizza, as their pizzeria on Dawn Princess makes delicious hand-made pizzas, and the pizza bar on Crown Princess makes quite good pizza, too. It was funny on Rhapsody, how many pieces of pizza I saw left behind on plates with only a bite or two taken out. So it wasn't just me. It was truly awful. They need to improve that, as it doesn't cost much to make and would take some of the pressure off of the other dining options. Send a spy over to Princess! It was a bit disappointing that it was hard to find grazing food late at night. The energetic, entertaining cruise director, Ricky, was fantastic. His enduring reputation is well-deserved. His assistant, James, was very good, too. James was moving on after that cruise, to another ship. Too bad, they made a great team. We went to watch one of the production shows. It was good but in all honestly, not really our thing. We watched the movie, "The Help" in the indoor theatre, but it was kind of fuzzy, not very sharp (for the most part, they seemed to offer movies during port days, it seemed. I would rather it were a regular thing). Karaoke wasn't too good, bland offerings, but we enjoyed the daily trivia comps. I won a number of them, but the prizes offered (a pen, a fridge magnet, etc) were quite lame. I get that it's supposed to be "only for fun", but how about a voucher for ONE to eat in a speciality restaurant (meaning you'd have to pay for your partner), or a $10 voucher for the shops? Or even for laundry credit? It seemed really cheap, cheesy, and tacky to offer a pen as a contest prize. There was a jazz duo or trio (can't remember) with a female singer. It was nice, pass-the-time music, and probably suited for the older crowd, or for when having quiet drinks. They were in the centrum a bit. I quite enjoyed the "house band", a group of (I think) 5 Asian men who played rock/dance music. I think they were called New Edition or something like that. They were fun. All in all, in spite of the revolting pizza, ha ha, we'd be happy to cruise RCI again. We're looking at doing a cruise of the Baltic and Russia in the next two years, and it'll probably be on RCI. Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
Well, the next time we will NOT listen to the travel agent, and instead go with our gut! I read many reviews that made me leery of going on the Mariner, however, after the RAVING from the travel people, we took their word for it and gave ... Read More
Well, the next time we will NOT listen to the travel agent, and instead go with our gut! I read many reviews that made me leery of going on the Mariner, however, after the RAVING from the travel people, we took their word for it and gave it a try, wish we had NOT! The food was about like cafeteria food or worse! NO KIDDING! The service was blah and the stateroom attendant even worse! I filled out their survey but did not leave it because I wanted to make sure I still felt the same way weeks later. WE DO! To us, the whole $2800 for a balcony room was a waste, because the food and service was that bad! Same old same old too! Not much to choose from there! Room service was always cold if it was supposed to be hot and the only good food I suspect was ala cart at Portofino's or Chops and Johnny Rockets was ok, still a cover for that too! The other two were $20.00 per person. We heard it was good, but I was shell shocked by then and just waited for the trip to be over. Since there were only 3 ports and we left earlier than our cruise papers from the travel agent said, that was yet another disappointment. Oh well, here's hoping that because Royal Caribbean now owns Celebrity, that they haven't ruined that! Because that's the one we'll do next time, later this year. Since that's the one we did before and wanted to go on this last time! Good luck with all the kids running all over the place too, unattended to and all hours of day and NIGHT! Teenagers took over all of the clubs that were worth listening too and then they would change the music to suit them. What a big bust of a cruise and a BIG waste of money!! Never again!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click