Radiance of the Seas provided a satisfactory, but certainly not stellar, first-time cruising experience for our long-anticipated cruise tour to Alaska. We journeyed from Florida to board in Vancouver, a lovely city, if you know your ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas provided a satisfactory, but certainly not stellar, first-time cruising experience for our long-anticipated cruise tour to Alaska. We journeyed from Florida to board in Vancouver, a lovely city, if you know your whereabouts and enjoy the harbour, waterfront, and Stanley Park. The commercialism of RCCL detracted from a private, classy cruise, as the management is geared to allaying the petty details of the masses. If you're seeking privacy, then certainly steer away from RCCL.
Characteristics of the ship are summarized on the website. Our balcony cabin was spacious, cozy, and our best refuge from the fray. We enjoyed breakfasts daily on our balcony, cocktails at sunset, and many other splendid times which we created rather than partaking in the superficial onboard entertainment.
When one considers quality of the 12-day cruise tour expenditures and experiences, RCCL would likely rate in the middle-high-middle of the pack. Since we booked this vacation one year in advance, our high expectations were partially met, then dampened by RCCL's gross incompetence in arranging proper tendering to meet pre-arranged shore excursions. Never will we blindly follow ship's instructions to meet, wait for nearly 2 hours, then miss excursions.
The Captain was amiable, informative, and certainly a gregarious sort, which enlivened the cruise atmosphere. His lectures were worthwhile, as they provided insight into the ship as well as ports- of- call. When presented with over 200 passengers who missed their shore excursions, both the captain and Roger Jackson attentively listened to the problems. Apparently, their shore-excursion coordinator, Veronica, misrepresented passengers by holding them in the ship while their pre-booked $1000 excursions were sold on the shore to others. Be very wary...although one may presume that booking through the ship is safe, our canceled helicopter-dogled adventure booked a year ahead was sold to the earliest bidder in the town due to RCCL's incompetence.
Dining was fair, rushed, and formulaic at best. If you are a party of two, book a private table. We got stuck at a table of 11, whose table manners replicated masticating with wolves. Enough Said!
We chose to dine at Portofino and Chops, and enjoyed both the privacy and food. Perhaps RCCL might eliminate the surcharge (not that this cost matters much) but it might encourage more people to enjoy the ambiance of other ship areas that would otherwise go unnoticed. Both restaurants were empty on the nights we dined in mid-June, indicating cost-ineffectiveness to the line.
As an avid jogger, I attempted to jog 6 miles on the deck at 6:00-7:00 AM, but again, no privacy or ease: Too many looky-loos to enjoy a proper workout. Perhaps this fitness area could be open to participants rather than spectators at prime fitness hours. The same situation arose in the adult pool-solarium. Why can't people read the posted signs restricting children from the adult areas? The pool attendants were very reluctant to enforce the policies, thus restricting our leisure enjoyment of the pool and whirlpools.
Overall, RCCL and Radiance of the Seas could be categorized (problematic within itself by definition) as slightly above mediocre, if you're looking for class, service, privacy, and attention. We enjoyed the Alaskan scenery, chartered a private plane to fly over glaciers, took trains, trekked Denali Park, and much more due to our own inventiveness. Do your research!! Read Less