354 Sydney (Australia) Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Decided to try Radiance after sailing with other lines.  Beautiful ship although extremely crowded. Great dining and service. Also recommend package for specialty restaurants but be wary that in the Japanese Izuma although you pre-paid, ... Read More
Decided to try Radiance after sailing with other lines.  Beautiful ship although extremely crowded. Great dining and service. Also recommend package for specialty restaurants but be wary that in the Japanese Izuma although you pre-paid, you will be slugged a $5 cover charge and your choice is limited to $15. After that, you pay through the nose. The Chef's Table was really great and worth the money. Highly recommended. Verandah cabin satisfactory although bathroom very small and still with a tiny shower and curtain.  Wonderful service from our cabin steward. Public rooms very good. Entertainment ok but nothing to rave about. Big negative - on this trip there were hundreds of children many of whom were not supervised undisciplined and unruly. Perhaps there should be a limit on the number as is on some cruise lines. We even had to call security when young teens were rumbling, wrestling at the dining table and racing through the diners. This ruined the trip for many adults. Likewise, a pool attendant/ security lifeguard is recommended for the swimming pool for the same reason. For families - go for it - but if you are mature or a honeymooner then try a more sedate ship.   Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
hey guys! a few weeks ago me and my family (me 14, my sister 9, and my parents) just returned from an 18 night cruise on the radiance of the seas. since i am a teenager i found myself coming to the teen club quite often, and a lot of my ... Read More
hey guys! a few weeks ago me and my family (me 14, my sister 9, and my parents) just returned from an 18 night cruise on the radiance of the seas. since i am a teenager i found myself coming to the teen club quite often, and a lot of my time was spent there with the great new friends i made. Let me stress this, the teen club has to be one of the funnest places on the ship, i have made so many memories with so many great people i met there and i will cherish those special memories forever, if you are a teenager and wondering if you should go to the teen club or not, i will say you defiantly should go because you will have the time of your life there its indescribable how much of an amazing time i had, just go the first night and you will be fine, as everyone is the 'new kid' that nigh. This is my second cruise on this ship (radiance of the seas) and it is was wonderful. I will be posting a review of this ship over the next few days and maybe pictures (if i find out how to post pictures), when i have time to write about my time on the ship, and i apologise if its not great as this is my first review. And feel free to ask many questions about the ship and everything, and since there isnt much information about the teen club feel free to ask me anything about it as i went there everyday for 18 days and i do know a lot about it and the ship as this is my second long cruise on the radiance. Hope you enjoy and that i can inform you with information about it if you need. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
we generally had a great time. We were 2 families in 3 cabins (one suite and 2 hump balcony cabins). Our friends had their 2 kids (1adult and 1teen) in the suite were at the extreme rear of the ship and experienced a rocky trip for the ... Read More
we generally had a great time. We were 2 families in 3 cabins (one suite and 2 hump balcony cabins). Our friends had their 2 kids (1adult and 1teen) in the suite were at the extreme rear of the ship and experienced a rocky trip for the first week. We on the other hand had cabin 9594. It was right in the middle of the ship very close to the staircase and centrum. It was very roomy and had an oversized balcony. Our lovely cabin attendant got us a deck chair which I enjoyed relaxing in with a book. I would choose this cabin again. It actually has the potential to have an adjoining room. . We loved the chefs table and most of the fine dining, especially izuma and chops grille. We also did the mystery dinner which was fun. We had the wine package, which had limited choices so wouldn't do that again. Wine is ultra expensive and poor choices. The cocktails were pretty good and not bad value. The staff were all friendly. The best captain, very social. The cruise director was a bit sleazy but the activities guy was great. The girls were also great fun and enjoyed a chat. There is a lack of swimming pools on this ship and the when it was hot it wasn't tempting to get in with so many others. The spa service was good but expensive and I was given a 60 minute facial/ massage when I'd paid for 75 minutes. I did give feedback twice on this however never heard back. The shows were good and we were entertained, but we didn't expect Broadway. Dancing with the stripes (with crew ala dancing with the stars) was really good but the centrum for the heats meant we couldn't see most of it. The finale was good. Anzac Day was reverently remembered by crew and passengers and the people onboard paid respect in the hundreds by attending one or both services. Two up even got a go. More evening fun games and entertainment for families would be great, the times we had these were packed and the most fun we had. Bingo was fun but very expensive. The shore tours were avoided due to the cost. We arranged our own and had great times in port. The tender ports were well organized and we had no issue either side in any port. Our cruise card was ocasionally charged with purchases we didn't make so you need to check on the TV every now and then. The bed was comfy, we asked and received extra pillows and a cushion top for our bed. We tipped extra (additional to pre tips) our cabin attendant and the waiters in Cascades as they were great and attentive. We had towel characters made many evenings and our cabin was always meticulous. I would cruise RCI again but I think it could be a while. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We were looking forward to a special repositioning cruise from Sydney and New Zealand to Hawaii. We got short changed. Embarkation was handled pretty well, and we boarded early because of a morning rain. I was stopped by security due to ... Read More
We were looking forward to a special repositioning cruise from Sydney and New Zealand to Hawaii. We got short changed. Embarkation was handled pretty well, and we boarded early because of a morning rain. I was stopped by security due to my dangerous item - - a musical instrument! At 65 years old, holding a SEALED musical instrument, is hardly a dangerous item. A didgeridoo. The instrument was seized by security and when I asked to speak with the Security Director at 7:30 p.m. on embarkation day, I was told that "he's gone to sleep". WHAT? A security director has "retired for the evening" on embarkation day?? I kept asking continuously to Guest Services and to anyone who could help, and after 3 days, he telephoned me that security was keeping the musical instrument. As we expected on embarkation, the rooms were not ready, but would be ready about 1:30 p.m., and they were. The tours "excursions" were absolutely a terrible experience. We had booked on Royal Caribbean's website before sailing, and they showed a Lord of the Rings tour with photos of the hobbit homes. What we received was a 2 mile walk in the mud and muck through a public forest/park. No hobbits. No homes. Nothing. Several cruisers that were on our tour said that they felt cheated. Don't take this tour! The Dining Room waiter, back waiter and head waiter absolutely saved our holiday. Glenn in Chops Grille was outstanding. Our stateroom attendant Eligio was wonderful - greeting us by name, and making us a towel Kangaroo that I wanted. These folks saved our holiday!! The ship is showing her age, even though she has recently undergo a refit. The ports in New Zealand and French Polynesia were pretty good. Bora Bora was magical and was enhanced by our taking a Cruise Critic tour. NO ONE from the ship could compare to Patrick's tour company in Bora Bora. Disembarkation was a nightmare. We had a ship's tour planned to go to Pearl Harbor and then the airport. I received my suitcase, but my wife's suitcase was not in our assigned area. I was sent to return to the primary baggage area by the ship's agent, but was stopped by local police. I FINALLY was able to get into the baggage area and reported the loss. We were panicked by fearing that our tour bus would leave us, and there was no ship's representative to assist us to assure us that we would not be left behind. The food and entertainment was what your expect from Royal Caribbean. The Activities Manager was superb. The cruise director was lacking. We were VERY happy and impressed that the ship celebrated ANZAC Day with 2 ceremonies. As noted by other CC members, the children and teenagers were out of control. They pushed all of the elevator buttons (what's new, eh?) and ran around through the hallways at all hours. Despite the "threat" that the ship would enforce it's under 18 year old curfew, there was no indication that it did so. In summary, we are glad to have seen Australia and New Zealand, but disappointed in the Lord of the Rings tour. The highlight was our Dining Room waiters and the Cruise Critic tour. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
We are struggling with the negative reviews posted about this ship and the staff. We wonder if they were on a different ship to us! We had a totally different experience. The crew were great, from the captain down, restaurant staff were ... Read More
We are struggling with the negative reviews posted about this ship and the staff. We wonder if they were on a different ship to us! We had a totally different experience. The crew were great, from the captain down, restaurant staff were efficient and friendly, both in Cascades and Windjammer. Food in both was tasty and varied. We tried the speciality restaurants and yes the Italian and chops grille were superior but then they are catering for far fewer guests so you can't compare the two. Seem to remember reading that the tea and coffee were luke warm. Can't speak about the coffee as we only had coffee from Lattetudes, but the tea we had from the Windjammer and the Park Cafe were certainly hot enough. Being Poms we know about our tea... Entertainment was varied and plenty of it, the cruise director, Ken, was fantastic and the captain, Captain Sindre was a real star. A medical emergency on board (not ours) was handled very efficiently without any fuss. The ship ran like a well oiled machine, very impressive. We would definitely cruise on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
I am 50-60 yr old single lady passenger, who chose Radiance of the Seas particularly because of its lovely balconies - glass all the way for me! Cabin #7024 (front, port) was just adequate, but I think represented value for money for 2 ... Read More
I am 50-60 yr old single lady passenger, who chose Radiance of the Seas particularly because of its lovely balconies - glass all the way for me! Cabin #7024 (front, port) was just adequate, but I think represented value for money for 2 people. (I have also written an extensive Cabin Review so will not double up on that info here.) The itinerary was chosen to coincide with my birthday AND include NZ's Bay of Islands, as well as depart from a logical point (ie I would not travel from Brisbane to NZ because there would be more sea days.) I travelled with a female friend that I spend my youth with, and had recently made a re-acquaintance. It felt it should be great to travel with someone-else. We boarded the ship at Sydney, Australia, headed for 13 nights to New Zealand, travelling from the south to the north. A tip - ask the taxi to drop you off at Circular Quay *STATION* (Alfred St), rather than the OPT drop-off as it can take a long time to get around to the departure point in a car, whereas it is a short trundle along an interesting part of the quay from the station, which is not usually that busy early in the morning. There was an early drop-off area for big cases, so we only had to manage our smaller cases to get on board. RCI states that we should board in accordance to our deck number so we waited around a while (had breakfast) then went to the (short) line about 1 hour before the time stated. The port personnel said to go on through, as the ship would be only TOO happy to have us on board asap, so we could start spending money on drinks! We had to complete departure info for outgoing passengers, as well as a statement about our health. All very easy. In the OPT, we received our cruise-keycard (a combined door-entry and charge card). There were the obligatory ship photos before passing through the security screening, then a final photo check as we boarded the vessel (this is matched to your cruise card, so they can see who is coming and leaving using that card). Boarding was well organised and relatively quick - about one hour - so we were at the Centrum by 1:30pm, our 'original' boarding time! As we entered the Centrum (a magnificent void running from Deck 3 to Deck 11 in the centre of the ship), we were able to sign up for various 'drinks packages' and specialty restaurants. Unless you are intending to imbibe a fair bit, you should first weigh up the costs of your drinking habits to check if these represent value for money. You can always sign up later in the comfort of your room, courtesy of the clever account system available on internal video. I had deliberately booked early on this cruise, to get a specific cabin, #7024. I wanted the port side (as land would be on that side) and I wanted to try a balcony, so that I could enjoy proximity to the outdoors in the comfort of a cabin. I also wanted to be nearer the front, as I love to watch and hear the crashing waters against the hull of the ship. This was only my 3rd time cruising, once was working in the children's program as a young uni student (tiny inside cabin in the bowels of the ship) and a recent 7 day cruise from Fremantle to Broome (West Aust), in a window cabin. On arrival in our cabin, I was disappointed to find the bed made up as a double and not twins as requested when booking, Obviously there is someone in the chain that does not particularly care about their job, or was not able to read the instructions... There was a standard note saying a request to the Room Attendant would see this rectified. (A waste of their time, which on the first day, must be very busy!) Our Cabin Attendant was a pleasant fellow from Indonesia. He performed his duties to a level I would have expected, but not anything above that. He was always gracious, especially when we were in the room at the time he hoped to prepare it. Our Cruise Critic contributors had arranged to meet at 3:30pm at the Sky Bar to get to know everyone, so we headed to Deck 11 (Windjammers Buffet) for lunch and then walked around to try to find the bar. It was right in the hot sun, and not a pleasant place to be at that time of day! I saw the organiser, but she was heading back downstairs, so I wasn't sure of what was happening, so we ended up going back to our room to start unpacking. We had to attend the safety drill (without life jackets) and our designated meeting place was the Aurora Theatre, a well-designed entertainment area, in which we spent many evenings. Soon after that our cases arrived so we unpacked. At the departure, we were happily taking photos of the Opera House & Harbour Bridge, when my camera battery went flat. I raced back to my room, only to find my key-card would not work!!! Most distressing!! So, I missed some of the departure trying to get that rectified. Apparently ANY contact with ANYthing magnetised (like a credit card or camera) will demagnetise it, and it has to be replaced. I had to do that 2x over the cruise, and I bet 100s of others did, too! A simple instruction & warning when receiving the card could have prevented this annoyance. We had very calm sea days across the Tasman (unbelievable!) with just a gentle rolling 2m swell from the south west. Took a few Kwells in the early days to ensure the "motion from the ocean" didn't overcome me! (Had also been taking ginger tablets in the week leading up to it, but have no idea if they worked.) There was always plenty to do on board, and activities catered to a variety of interests, although if you were a regular cruiser, you would have probably seen them all before. I would have liked to have seen some more educational / informative activities, but they were mainly catering for “fun” times. It seemed as soon as one activity was over, it was time to eat again! I have a theory that there are 2 types of people on board - the 'early risers' and the 'late stayers'. We tried to be both for a while, but I couldn't keep up the pace! I regret that I didn't go to know any other fellow travellers very well. It seemed that most were couples and family groups. We generally ate at the Buffet and although food was tasty enough, it always had a "same-ness" about it. As a vegetarian, I found offerings WAY too short on vegetarian protein. Only had chick peas, and that only sometimes, although always baked beans at breakfast time. Once when I couldn't find ANY protein at lunch, I asked one of the staff, and he quickly fried up some tofu squares, which were absolutely tasteless because they had not been soaked in any flavours. The three times we had dinner in the MDR (had My Choice Dining), there were only 2 vegetarian choices on the menu and they were the same. Others said the menu changes were good, but not for me, unfortunately (or maybe I just managed to jag the nights with the same choices??). Couldn't stomach eating risotto or linguine EVERY night of the week! I tried to eat the usual portions I would have at home, but occasionally strayed to have beautiful afternoon teas and desserts towards the end of the trip. Detested the way the wait staff constantly referred to the desserts as "yummy-yummies" - "Would you like some yummy-yummies?" Loved the banana-crumble in the buffet but after seeing it served up repeatedly, or as pear-crumble, was a bit disappointed they never quite got around to making an apple crumble, as the crumble WAS delicious! Salads were tasty and plentiful with a satisfactory variety over the 2 weeks. Unfortunately, a lot of the fresh fruit was tasteless, probably from being bought too early, and not allowed to ripen sufficiently before use. I never tried any of the specialty restaurants - probably too much of a miser to pay the extra US$30pp to book? The buffet breakfasts had a selection of at least 6 (packet) cereals, the same 2 cheap yogurts (plain or strawberry), fresh fruits (no thanks!), pastries, standard English breakfast, delicious potato gems (the item that was eaten the MOST of, all cruise - so not just by me!), English muffins or toast (that you could have used to tile a wall with, they were so hard - until slightly softened by well placed eggs, tomatoes or baked beans) and jams. There were little "yummies" available at morning tea, too, I think, but we hardly were there at that time. Lunches were standard cold meats and spreads, a variety of salads, and I can't remember what else! Pastries? I mainly kept an eye out for vegetarian foods, so didn't commit to memory other foods that were on offer. I'm not a big foodie, so this was not a great importance to me - as long as I could find something I thought would agree with my philosophy and taste-buds, I was happy! A variety of desserts also available, but many seemed to have that "out of a packet", or pre-cooked and defrosted look. However, the chocolate syrup was to die for, and I reckon that must have been the 2nd most popular food choice in the buffet! Buffet dinners always had choices of roasts, Indian, hamburgers, hot or cold vegies and lovely desserts. Once again, vegetarians not well catered for... so I mostly ended up with plates of roasted vegies (oh, and potato gems, of course!) I stuck to water, orange 'fruit juice' or watered-down lemonade and some hot chocolate (in packets) when the weather cooled, but you could have bought wines and beers. Hot water (a little tepid, so passengers "don't burn themselves - safe, you stay safe") available all night in Hot Dog area (which was hardly EVER used, probably because there was so few kids) for self-serve teas, coffee & hot chocolate. Room Service menu not extensive and quite ordinary - nothing special there but its free up until midnight. Be careful though! One night I ordered Room Service around 8:30pm as I had been feeling ill that evening from a heavy cold I had developed, so had got into my pjs and was resting in bed. My travel buddy was out at a show. When finished eating, I took the plate and tray and dutifully left it outside the door, as I had seen fellow passengers doing. Suddenly the ship gently rolled, and 'CLICK', my door closed! And me with no key card around my neck and in my winter pjs - and feeling crook to boot! I just sat there dismally for about 15 mins before thinking I might wander out to the lift area to see if there was a phone nearby. There was (and no guests, thank goodness) - not that I knew which number to call! I remembered the room service number and dialled that - the lass said in broken English she would let 'someone' know. ~40 mins later & still no-one. A fellow passenger had been passed and given me commiserations, but I was too ill to think to ask if she could ring someone for me - and she was too tipsy to care! Luckily, a staff member with a few stripes on his sleeve walked into our passageway, so I called him back, and FORTUNATELY he could get straight into my room! What a relief! When I rang Room Service to let them know I was back in my room, it was if I had never called in the first place. Absolutely NO recollection of any request to get back into a room! Even the Room Manager knew nothing about it! I did not do any of the ship's tours as I found them far too expensive, so I did all my own planning and booking on the internet, reading reviews on Trip Advisor. Used a hire car at Dunedin, Tauranga & Paihai (Bay of Islands). Phoned a place in Paihia to work out the best way to get 20kms to Kawiti Glow Worm Caves and found the cheapest option was to hire a car (Rent-A-Dent - a good guy, and knowledgeable). I know these car tour businesses only have the cruise season to make their money but charging $40pp to get just out of town is unethical, I reckon. It would have cost us $80, but the car hire was only $65! Getting around was made easier by internet pre-planning but I still managed to forget my way out of an Eco-Sanctuary near Dunedin, so I quickly decided to spend some $$$ on the ship's internet that evening and printed out the maps I had created earlier on MapMyRide, plus I was happy to use public transport if available. We also found being interested in one part of a trip meant we had to miss out on other parts planned. Road works nearly all the way down from Tauranga to Rotorua, on Pyes Pa Rd (we went to AgroVentrues to do the Swoop & Jetboating - the Freefall wasn't operating), and the State Highway (on the return journey) made timing awkward, so we had to forgo a planned stop-off at Hell's Gates. Didn't mind too much, as we had a great tour at Te Puia, and learned a lot about Maori Culture and had seen the famous Pohutu Geyser gushing steam and boiling water. We also found bus timetables not very reliable in Auckland, so missed a booked activity that afternoon rather than try to catch another taxi (we had already just missed a train to a venue, so by this time, my travel buddy was losing it! She had missed out on a planned massage and had to sit around doing nothing whilst I had mine, because the place did not honour their agreement with us but we had to dash, & I never found out why that happened. I copped a fair bit of verbal abuse from her after the trip - so be wary of who you take as a travel companion! I also found out she HATED public transport, when we came across a fellow bus passenger talking loudly to himself - and us? He had such a rich tone and a theatrical sounding voice, and reminded me of Peter O'Toole. I'm sure he would have been fascinating to get to know!) We saw some excellent shows on board - in particular "multi"-musician Danny Elliot, and the Radiance Singers & Dancers put on some cheesy but beautifully choreographed shows. Back drops were outstanding! Hypnotist good but quite tame. Was oddly funny (but not for the hypnotised) to see them barking and quacking when someone shook their hand, after the show (definitely NOT PC!). Most informative was the commentary through the Fiordlands (Milford, Doubtful & Dusky Sounds) by an ex-ranger, who knew the place like the back of his hand, but it was not always possible to hear what he was saying. Funniest moments had to be the Captain / Cruise Director Cake Decorating Competition. Couldn't help but laugh at the Captain's antics! New Zealand has such beautiful scenery and is a country I'll certainly want to go back to explore in a little more depth. I think my favourite places were Akaroa, where we did a boat trip called Coast Up Close in the morning, and in the afternoon, took a ride up into the hills on a Honda Goldwing 1500cc with a sidecar, and Bay of Islands, where we went to Hole in the Rock and then down to the lovely Kawiti Glow Worm Caves. We had perfect weather, too! The worst features of Radiance were the cheap jewellery and watches being sold at high prices, and the exhorbitant prices for optional extras (ship photos @ $25ea, specialty dining, Chef's Table @ US$135, Salon Services - although I did have an acupuncture session @US$155, and went to the hairdressers once, and had a Fire & Ice pedicure, plus bought some products - which are all far too expensive to warrant buying / using. There were SO many photos left on the last day, and taking them has been a waste, even though the quality is good. Lower the prices, and you'll improved your sales! Although maybe they are busy already, with those who are a little more cashed-up? I also refused to see the doc when I fell ill, as I had been told it was $50 to make an appointment, another $50 for the visit, and another $50 to get a script filled! (So I waited until I got back to Aussie soil.) Radiance of the Seas is a comfortable ship, but would I use her again? I don't think so, at least not for the same part of the world - maybe Alaska? I'd like to explore other ships such as Celebrity Solstice (also has glassed balconies), so only time will tell! Although I DO like the idea of chalking up reward points for cruise line loyalty! Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Our family of five recently returned from cruising on Radiance to New Zealand, had a great time and hope this review is helpful to other cruisers. We flew into Sydney the night before departure to avoid any flight cancellations/delays and ... Read More
Our family of five recently returned from cruising on Radiance to New Zealand, had a great time and hope this review is helpful to other cruisers. We flew into Sydney the night before departure to avoid any flight cancellations/delays and stayed at Glenferrie Lodge in Kirribilli. As a larger group of travellers we found it was not easy to get accommodation without getting multiple rooms at considerable cost. Kirribilli accommodation was recommended on the boards here at cruise critic and Glenferrie was easy to find and came with high recommendations. It did not disappoint, booking over the phone was easy and the rooms were exactly as described, clean and comfortable. We prebooked Airport Shuttle North (at the recommendation of the staff at Glenferrie) for our airport transfers. They were there waiting for us on arrival, the driver was friendly, helpful and quickly delivered us to our accommodation The next morning, after an all inclusive hot buffet breakfast, we walked a short 200m to the ferry wharf for the 5min ride to Circular Quay and the OPT where our ship was waiting. We were travelling with friends (another family group) and decided to drop our luggage and explore the harbour. Bags were quickly taken care of and when we returned about 2pm to board were greeted with friendly, helpful faces and embarkation was quick and simple. Late lunch in Windjammers (not overcrowded at this time) and then off to our cabin where our bags were waiting. The ship's decor and facilities were well maintained and clean at all times. Windjammers buffet can get busy but we were always able to find a seat (sometimes all 9 of us together). The food there was always of a good quality and variety although it rarely changed from day to day so that at the end of the 13 days it was a little underwhelming. Cascades dining room was again very elegant and the food of a very high standard with a good selection to choose from and changed every day. Park cafe has a great selection of food for the small area it is in and the standard high. BBQ's on deck are fabulous, an aussie male's dream, the ribs are to die for. The Boardwalk hotdogs aren't bad, good for an afternoon snack. We tried most of the paid for restaurants and found them all to be of a very high standard. Highly recommend Chops Grille, Giovanni's, Izumi and Samba Grill (9 courses of meat is a huge effort and the salads are really yummy). Rita's is more like takeaway than fine dining but was freshly made, tasted good and the most expensive thing on the menu was only $2.95 We also did Chef's Table and are so glad we did. Chef David presented each dish with good humour and an obvious love of his craft, it looked amazing and tasted better. The wines were varied in variety and country of origin and all were good. $95 sounds expensive but it is actually outstanding value for money. We had a great night with good company. At this point I will say that the staff are RCI's real assets. All staff that we encountered, cabin stewards, wait staff, bar staff, entertainment staff and officers all were friendly, helpful, fun and efficient. Nothing was too much to ask and we loved that they got our aussie sense of humour. Entertainment was varied and 'entertaining', we enjoyed the shows, movie selection was good and theme nights were interesting, loved the staff participation in the 70's night as the "Willage People". Some small negatives were that the coffee is really bad. we love our coffee and the stuff that is served up is not good. The main dining room and speciality restaurants coffee is a little better but not much. The coffee in Latte-tudes is disappointing to have to pay $4 plus, depending on what you order and $1 for an extra shot is a little rude. Photo's on board are rediculously priced $25 each or $100 for up to 4 photos with a free presentation folder. The quality was good but not at that price, and we don't seem to get the better valued packages that they get in the US. The free drinks in the buffet are very watered down, really weak iced tea and weak lemon squash with hardly any fizz. The paid for soda package at over $100 each for our 13 night cruise could only get us Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and sometimes, if we were lucky, Fanta. I know that other ships have soda fountains with dozens of flavour choices. Royal advertises the package with the special cup for Radiance in Aust but fail to tell you the limit of choice here. These negatives are only small in the big scheme of things and only my personal opinion, we still had a great time and would definitely cruise with RCI again. The ports were amazing and shuttles/tenders well organised, though RCI tends to only give info on their own shore tours. There are many just as well organised and better priced private tour companies on offer too. A little research before your cruise can get you a better deal and although the ships tours promise not to leave you behind if they are late, the private companies usually know the cruise scheduled departure times and get you back on time anyway. I guess it means taking a chance but we had no problems. Most ports needing shuttles to town (Dunedin, Wellington) are provided by the ports at a cost of $10 return but Royal do not tell you this until you arrive at port. Lastly the weather. We could not have had better. The Tasman sea between Aust and NZ was almost as flat as a pancake on both forward and return journeys. Each port day was sunny and warm, and the seas very smooth. Our one sailing day between Wellington and Tauranga was overcast and the sea a bit rough but that was the worst of our trip thankfully. Can't wait for our next adventure. Enjoy Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
We live in Lakes Entrance in Victoria, so decided to drive up to Sydney with a stop over in Goulburn on the way. It worked out better than travelling to Melbourne and flying up to Sydney. We were travelling with our 3 cruise mates who have ... Read More
We live in Lakes Entrance in Victoria, so decided to drive up to Sydney with a stop over in Goulburn on the way. It worked out better than travelling to Melbourne and flying up to Sydney. We were travelling with our 3 cruise mates who have cruised with us before. Although a lottle squished for room, it was good fun just getting there!. As we have cruised with RCL 3 times before, we had an easy run through customs etc, and were quickly on board, and to the Wndjammer for lunch. We cruised to New Zealand, and visited Millfor, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds. The weather in the Tasman Sea was very calm, with just a gentle swell, which is unusual. Once again The Radiance didn't disappoint and is a lovely ship. My mate and I love the pool tables, and played on them daily. Amazing how the computer keeps them steady no matter what the ship does. A lot of the crew were still on the ship from when we cruised last year, and remembered us! We asked if the same waiter was on the ship, and managed to enjoy a table in the dining room looked after by "Fireman" and his new assistant Mitchelle. They looks after us like royalty, and the head waiter, took particular interest in one of our party who had a very restrictive diet, and managed to come up with a wonderful meal for her which wasn't on the menue. We found all the staff wonderful, and exceptionally friendly and helpful. I have read other reviews that have said the opposite, and I can't understand how that could be so. We loved the food in the dining room, as well as the Windjammer. The only complaint we had was that our stateroom was very noisy. After complaining about this it seemed that we had a waiters station in the dining room above us, and the noise was really bad. Don't know what they do up there! Guest services tried to help us, and security asked them if they could keep the noise down, but it wasn't much help. They kept in touch with us, but sadly couldn't move us to another stateroom. They have offered us some compensation for the inconvenience, which was good. We know never to have that stateroom again! The rest of the ports were great as well. We didn't use any of the ships tours, and prefered to organise them ourselves. We have travelled to NZ several times, so we didn't find it difficult. The weather for the whole cruise was fantastic, and we were kept up to date by the captains daily broadcasts. He is a great bloke with a wonderful sense of humour. There was a fantastic group on board called Rockport, who played all the old Rock and Roll, and songs from the 60's and 70's. I think that they were better than the headliner acts, which although we didn't go to all the shows, were a little weak, except for Danny who could play any instrument you can name, sing dance and tell jokes. It's not fair that one man can have so much talent. There were plenty of things to do, and all in all, we had a fantastic time. We are looking to cruise again next year, and our preference would be the Radiance, but not in the same stateroom! Well done RCL, and the wonderful crew of the Radiance of the Seas.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
My husband and I just returned from 33 days of sailing on the Radiance. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and had few complaints. I have read some of the reviews and appreciate some of the negative comments but overall we were pleased. We ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from 33 days of sailing on the Radiance. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and had few complaints. I have read some of the reviews and appreciate some of the negative comments but overall we were pleased. We originally booked the first 17 night cruise. Our junior suite, 1542 was lovely but the balcony was underneath the pool deck. There was no way to know this ahead of time. Our deck was mostly wet but just about everything on Deck 10 was the same, even the spa windows. There was just that much spray. On our second cruise, we moved to the back of the ship which was glorious. Room 1602. We agree that on the first cruise, there was some disorganization getting people off of the ship when tendering. However, the rudeness of the cruisers was uncalled for. They were shouting and yelling at the staff who could not help the situation. When 2000 people all decide to leave the ship at the same time, and fail to adhere to the rules, chaos ensues. People were leaving on tenders and they had no tender numbers so it was chaotic. The second cruise was much more organized although they were delays - due to weather, tender problems, shore excursions all arriving back at the same time, etc. Again, if you travel a lot, as we do, you just have to be patient!! We loved the first cruise so much that we booked the second one about three days prior to the end of the first one. And the second one was just as great. Favorites were Windel and Joy in the Schooner Bar on the first, Joy and Rebecca in the Champagne Bar on the second. We met many wonderful people and loved the Australians aboard - almost half the ship. New Zealand was phenomenal even though there were some cool days. But they were sunny! Picton was a beautiful port but there wasn't much to see or do there. Wellington of course brought the Cable Car ride and then we visited Zealandia. That was a disappointment. Some unique birds but other than that, not much. In Akaroa, we took the Sailing Ketch trip which was fantastic. We saw seals, dolphins, penguins and lots of bird settlements. In Dunedin, we took the Penguin sanctuary trip. Beautiful ride through the hills and along the coast. Sailing through the Sounds was beautiful but the weather was icky, very cloudy and rainy. It would have been great in better weather. Melbourne, we took the Puffin Billy trip, which was 4 hours. Spent 20 minutes on the train and 10 minutes at the Bird Site - very disappointing. In Adelaide, we took the train to town - highly recommended over the cruise shuttles, a lot less expensive. Toured the zoo on our own - great zoo. In Esperance we went on a shore excursion to Cape Le Grand which was good. Beautiful beaches and stonehenge. Second Cruise; first port Geraldton, we had to skip due to weather. Could not get into the port and tendering was impossible. Port Hedland, not much to see but we sat on the ship and watched the harbor activities - very impressive. Bali was one of the highlights. We took the all day Balinese Way of Life for $99. Best tour for the money ever!! Too much to describe but fantastic, especially the lunch at the top of the mountain. Darwin, we took the Territory Wildlife and Eco Cruise. Wildlife park was so, so. Cruise was great except it got cut short due to rain storms. What a hair raising ride we had back to the ship, trying to outrun the storms. Airlie Beach was the Tropical Rainforest and Countryside - basically a waste other than the short visit to Cedar Creek Falls. Brisbane was the one of the better tours, Brisbane Sights and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Great tour.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
I have just returned from a 17 night cruise to Australia and New Zealand. I have travelled with Royal Caribbean before and have always been very happy but this time I was glad to get home ! Unfortunately, mother nature wasn't kind to ... Read More
I have just returned from a 17 night cruise to Australia and New Zealand. I have travelled with Royal Caribbean before and have always been very happy but this time I was glad to get home ! Unfortunately, mother nature wasn't kind to us far s the weather was concerned. It was cold, wet and very windy. My main "gripe" about this cruise was the entertainment - or lack of it ! I have been on several cruises with Royal Caribbean and have never been disappointed but this time it was dreadful. The CD, Amy, seemed more interested in herself than arranging anything "interesting" for the passengers. The was was NO pool deck entertainment. The one day where the DJ played music on the pool deck people were dancing and generally enjoying themselves - an hour later it stopped. A fellow passenger went to ask why and was told he had been told by Amy to stop ! Her side kick Andrew was rude and obnoxious to passengers - patronising was top of his list. The quiz nights are not worth mentioning - people who knew the answers to the questions were correct were told they weren't. The CD staff were far too young and inexperienced to cope. They had no idea how to deal with passengers of all ages. There was certainly no respect. The shows were poor and I - amongst others - walked out of a number of shows. The entertainer Benny J - a juggler was absolutely terrible, a 3 year old could have done better. Organising shore excursions was another disaster waiting to happen. The organisation was unreal. People sat in the Theatre waiting to go and none of the stadd knew what to do. Even when the ship had tendered, we walked and walked around the ship until somebody realised where we hd to go. I have never, ever experienced such chaos. You would have thought they were doing it for the first time. Disembarking the ship was no better, but by this time we were used to lack of organisation. As I had not been given a ticket for my Airport shuttle Bus (I was told I didn't need one) I sked one of the crew members where to go. She told me to speak to the "lady outside". When I asked her she said the bus hadn't arrived yet and to wait (in 37 degrees heat). i asked again and again but got the same answer. In the end, my gut feeling me to go to the coaches already lined up waiting and lo and behold, the bus that hadn't arrived yet was ready to leave for the Airport. Thank goodness for my gut feeling .... The dining room staff and cabin attendants were - as always magnificant - nothing was too much for them and I appreciate everything they do. This includes, of course, bar attendants and the like I wasn't the only one disappointed with this cruise. There were a lot of unhappy people around who were all geared up to write poor reviews. Those who were travelling withRC for the first time said they wouldn't travel with them again. RC seriously need to do something about their entertainment programme and staff. I have booked to go on another RC ship in November and hope everything will be OK next time !! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Our 17 night cruise on Radiance Of The Seas was ruined by 5 days of flooding in our stateroom (caused by plumbing problems). During this time we had limited access to room facilities whilst a number of inadequate attempts were made to try ... Read More
Our 17 night cruise on Radiance Of The Seas was ruined by 5 days of flooding in our stateroom (caused by plumbing problems). During this time we had limited access to room facilities whilst a number of inadequate attempts were made to try and solve the problem. This ruined our once in a lifetime Cruise which had been arranged to celebrate my wife’s retirement. During the five days the smells and airborne dust/bacteria resulting from attempts to dry the carpets with an air blower caused itching/sore eyes and throat. This was made worse when some form of disinfectant was used to disguise the smell. I asked that the Medical officer be informed as I was worried about the effect on our health but there appears to have been no action taken. I paid numerous visits to the Guest Relations desk to complain and was told that there was nothing more that could be done owing to all staterooms being occupied. On the evening of the 23rd February I arranged a meeting with the Guest Relations Manager and advised him that the situation was so bad I was considering leaving the ship at the next port of call (Melbourne). He told me that he was not aware that the problem had occurred for so long as it had only been reported/logged on the computer system on the 21st February 2014. I explained the actual diary of events which is as follows : 19th Feb – We reported wet carpets and damage to one of our bags (left on the floor) to our stateroom attendant. The maintenance department was called and an air blower was used to help dry the carpets. This caused a foul atmosphere and we noticed our eyes/throats were irritated. The settee was moved to give better access to the carpet but this effectively blocked off the room and we had to spend nearly all of our time out of the stateroom. This was probably a benefit as it would have been impossible to use the room because of the high volume of noise from the air blower. 20th Feb – The problem occurred again but with more flooding than before. As with the day before, the air blower was used without any attempts being made to try and find out where the water was leaking from. Again we had restricted access to our stateroom. I complained to staff at Guest Relations staff but they said there was nothing more they could do. 21st Feb – Same problem again. I visited Guest Relations twice and told them I wished to make a formal complaint. I told them I was worried about the airborne bacteria/smells resulting from use of the air blower and was told there was still nothing they could do other than to arrange for the carpet to be changed? I asked for the Medical Officer to be informed as I considered the attempts to solve the problem were causing a health hazard. As expected, the carpets were not changed, which is just as well because the water leakage problem had not been solved. We had restricted access to the stateroom. 22nd Feb - Same problem again. I visited Guest Relations and complained again as the situation was worse. In addition to the carpets being soaked the toilet/shower area was flooded and we need to wear shoes to enter. It was like a paddling pool. The air blower was operating and there was some form of disinfectant being used which irritated our eyes/throat even more. We had limited access to the stateroom because of the air blower and settee which blocked off the room. 23rd Feb - Same problem again. Complained to Guest relations in the morning and asked for a meeting with the Guest Relations Manager. This was arranged for 8.00 p.m. During the meeting I was told that someone was leaving the ship on 24th Feb and that we would be moved to this room in the afternoon/evening. A 30% discount off our next Cruise was offered as recompense for the “inconvenience” we had suffered. I consider this to be totally inadequate. 24th Feb – Our luggage/belongings were moved to the vacant cabin and we moved in at 8.00 p.m . As a matter of interest, we were appalled at the condition of the balcony. It was dirty, stained and had loose paint peeling from over the balcony. Still awaiting a response/apology from Royal Caribbean   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This was my fifth cruise, and my first with RCI. It was probably also the first time I have left a cruise feeling less than very satisfied. We love cruising and very rarely notice the issues that bug other people. In many ways the problems ... Read More
This was my fifth cruise, and my first with RCI. It was probably also the first time I have left a cruise feeling less than very satisfied. We love cruising and very rarely notice the issues that bug other people. In many ways the problems at the Radiance are typical of most other cruise lines at present, but I think this time they mounted up to be just too notable to ignore. The Radiance is a nice ship. We had a Junior Suite which was spacious, good value for the extra money and very nicely decorated. The balcony is excellent, although there was no footrest which is a shame for a space that large. The public areas of the ship are a mixed bunch - the Schooner Bar and Colony Club are great, as are the specialty restaurants. The main atrium is starting to look a bit dated. The flow of the ship has been messed about a bit with the retrofits, with a great area at the stern (which is part of the Windjammer) now deserted because you have to walk through the new restaurants with your trays to access it. The pool decks are a little too small and the solarium is always packed - there just seems too much space lost on deck to the kids pool at the rear. The ship overall had quite a lot of maintenance requirements - there is a fair bit of rust around and a lot of the woodwork needs attention. It was probably the least well-maintained ship I have travelled on and I was quite surprised. Service was good, with an excellent stateroom attendant and generally friendly and efficient restaurant/bar staff. However, there was just the slow drip of obvious cost cutting and lack of attention to detail that eventually wore down on us: 1. There were only 2 production shows on an 11 night cruise, which is at least one or two less than other lines. These performers were great, but the budget was obviously limited. Given they were on board the whole time, I have no idea why we saw so little of them. The lack of production shows would probably prevent me travelling on RCI again - they are a major part of the experience for me (and were of course packed out). 2. Entertainment was mixed - some very good and some that even the CD must have known were not up to par. They twice repeated performers and three times just had one showtime for the whole ship. In the past, if they bring an entertainer back for a second show it is usually a bonus show - not here. There was never more than one event per evening. It just seemed done on the cheap - lots of comedians, no musicians and just not enough variety. It just seems silly (and cheap) to have all that staging and lighting and then just keep putting on one guy with no set and a spotlight. 3. The food was well prepared, but there is no getting away from the fact that the quality of ingredients has been cut. We did not see any shellfish or game the whole cruise, even in the specialty restaurants. The Chef’s Table was more of the same - well prepared but frankly pretty basic food for ‘fine’ dining. The wow factor was provided by the setting, not the food. We did not have a ‘bad’ meal and I understand that they want to push us to specialty restaurants which I have no issue with - but even there the food was pretty basic. The menu for Chops Grille has zero imagination, but the food is great, as long as you just want a nice steak on its own. 4. RCI are very sneaky about extras on the menu. They mix up additional cost items with other menu items and then say in TINY print ‘available at current bar prices’ (whatever they are). We are constantly assailed with offers of ‘special’ orange juice, and waiters walking around with mineral water bottles. The wine suggestions always seemed to include stuff that was far too expensive for most people. It should be really simple - if you want to charge for something, make it clear on the menu and actually put the price down. I don’t mind being asked politely if I want mineral water (I don’t), but I do object to various items being waved in my face every mealtime. 5. The ‘free’ coffee is awful, but the stuff at Latte-tudes was just as bad. Everyone hated it and I have no idea why they cannot get this right. The tea bags were a running joke the whole cruise - nothing comes out of them! (stick to Lipton). The waiters all knew, so did the guests - so why were they still using them? I assume to force people to pay for something else. 6. The poor maintenance was quite noticeable. The Radiance had a refit in 2011, but as usual it was only a partial affair, so some areas are just too worn. In the MDR the carpet was dirty, the chairs battered and the curtain blinds falling down, there were a lot of blown bulbs and the lacquer was coming off some of the wood panelling. It is a lovely room, but just let down by lack of attention. This was the case in some other areas. Many people on the forums commented unfavourably about the CD, Amy. Personally, I liked her and thought she did a good job and had great energy. However, some of her assistants needed to be reigned in and obviously thought that the whole thing was all about them showing off. Surely they must realise that many people do not appreciate their constant references to their own sexuality. The ports of call were good and we took two ship-arranged shore excursions which were, as usual, well organised. At tender ports they have an early-bird arrangement where you get go straight off without a ticket in the first hour - WELL worth doing, we never encountered any type of delay tendering. The Champagne Bar (with Rebecca) was a highlight. I thought the cocktails were excellent and drinks reasonably priced (as long as you do not accept their wine suggestion!). We had the 5 bottle wine package - the admin of this was a bit of a mess but the wines were good value and certainly of a suitable quality for most. Overall we had a good cruise, but the problem was that whilst the Radiance does everything competently, there is nothing really special about anything. I don’t remember any real moments where my expectations were exceeded. Everything had the feeling of being done to a price. I travelled on the Celebrity Solstice last year and I would say that ship and service is in a different class, and frankly no more expensive. I have already booked to go back to the Solstice on our next cruise - I just hope that their parent company can resist cost cutting and undermining that superior experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
This is the second time my family and I have cruised on the Radiance, we returned as our first experience was memorable, I cannot think of a better holiday cruising with my family, who along with myself thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. I ... Read More
This is the second time my family and I have cruised on the Radiance, we returned as our first experience was memorable, I cannot think of a better holiday cruising with my family, who along with myself thoroughly enjoyed this cruise. I do believe though in constructive feedback as the experience was very different to our last cruise. Several areas such as cost cutting, poor entertainment, high pressure sales and maintenance issues need review. It is also disappointing to find that RCCL does not respond to feedback or complaints, it is now over 1 month since I provided feedback to them and they are yet to comment which disappoints me as a customer who overall has enjoyed the experience and facilities provided on their ships and has 3 additional bookings over the next 12 months. It was hard to then score each item as we had both great experiences and very disappointing experiences for the same categories. Dining The dining aboard the Radiance is impressive, with multiple free dining options and great speciality restaurants. I would definitely recommend purchasing a specialty restaurant package. Main Dining Room Our first trip on the Radiance we chose My Time Dining and this time traditional dining. As mentioned above, I am yet to receive a reply from RCCL as the service I received this time was poor, particularly in comparison to my last cruise where I couldn’t fault the main dining room, the service was impeccable and memorable. My family was looking forward to the main dining room, our last cruise on the Radiance was one to remember, the experience was amazing, I couldn’t fault the main dining room, the service was impeccable, the staff knew all our names, they knew our drink preferences, remembered our favourite meals and would attend to our every need. Even the simplest of things like having a high chair ready for our baby when we arrived, having my favourite drink ready as I sat down and if I didn’t feel like it that night, there was no charge or they would replace it for something else. This cruise however was the opposite, we didn't even get to know the head waiter, only on the 8th night of the cruise he turned up at our table and asked about the service in which we where honest about it. We had to request a high chair each time, the drinks service was not existent, however the table beside us who ALL had the premium drinks package was showered in service with drinks being offered without being requested consistently, each night they were offered pre dinner drinks, shots and other beverages (which astounds me as to why you want to push drinks on someone who has bought an ALL inclusive package rather than the people who are paying for their drinks individually), yet our table of people were neglected and I often had to ask for service just to get a drink. The service from our wait staff was extremely poor and the even the people sitting with us (first time cruisers with RCCL) vowed never to come on RCCL again. Windjammer The windjammer is a decent buffet even if at times it is repetitive, the food is always hot and fresh, well presented and enough selection however it appears that the quality of the ingredients has been reduced using cheaper ingredients to cut costs. Several dishes were basic and they need to improve the quality of their pastries and Pizza, the general choices available and seating area makes it a great place to dine. The panoramic windows provide a great outlook and overall the buffet met our requirements. Specialty Restaurants I’ll start out by saying that we really enjoy the speciality restaurants, the food is always superb, the decor impressive and is great value for money. I am surprised that they have to push so much to upgrade people to this option, the cost is small, but it provides such an experience if you want a quieter, private dining experience. I will note that this cruise for some reason the wait staff seemed to be instructed to pressure the diner to purchase the more premium wines. On each occasion and the moment we sat down, we were presented with the some of the more pricey bottles in the restaurant, not just the $30-$80 range, but $120 - $200 and then when we declined, it appeared the waiter got very disappointed and the service then suffered, this wasn’t isolated and occurred in each restaurant, with the worst service in Chops Grille. If you are cruising on the Radiance, then I recommend the speciality restaurants, you will not be disappointed and I hope they change their attitude about pushing the wines and just get on with the fabulous service I experienced on the last cruise. Public Rooms The Public rooms are generally great, although Radiance doesn’t have the main promenade like some of the larger ships, it has a sense of intimacy yet still has a lot of people on board, and you never feel over crowded except for maybe by the main pool or the movie cinema which is very small, there are lots of places to enjoy a crowd of people and just as many to have all to yourself. We felt that the shopping range could be larger and improved with more shops. Pool The pool is too small for a ship this size and when the pool is undergoing renovation or painting they wouldn’t let our children in the Solarium Pool which was disappointing. The children’s pool is also very small; it’s literally a 2m wide 50cm deep pond. This aside the children still had fun, but improvements could be made to this pool area. The waterslide for one could be open at more times, it was only open on sea days and also only open for approx 2hrs per day, so if you wanted to use it, you had to time your visits. Cabin We had balcony cabin 9658, when we booked the RCCL operator did not inform us it was a obstructed view cabin, when I found out what the obstructed view was, I endeavoured to change it but the ship was full and when I arrived onboard, they had put me on a wait list for room changes. The obstruction is the window washing ladder that moves on port days, it is fixed the remainder of the cruise. It definitely obstructs the view and could pose a security issue as someone could climb from a lower or higher deck to your balcony, if you have young children, they might be inquisitive to climb on it. The major issue I had was during the night we heard the structure bang against the ship, I called the maintenance team and tried to secure it tighter but it still made noise when it moved. The second issue with our cabin was cleanliness, when we arrived my 18 month old daughter found a pair of underpants and women sanitary pad on the floor and picked it up. I photographed it for use later, this was unacceptable, however the most amazing thing was no concern by the staff, I rang the front desk and they advised the cleaner will come and pick it up at his next service at 5pm as he is on a break now. When 5pm did come, I noticed the cleaner in the hallway and spoke with him, he had no knowledge of my complaint, but did come and remove the items. It makes me wonder what else is missed when they clean the staterooms. I felt sorry for some of the cabins on our floor, consistently being flooded and our hallway smelling damp and wet with blowers on every day. The room attendants advised that this always happens. If I had one of the rooms, I would be complaining as it appears the problem is well known and they keep placing guests in these rooms. Entertainment The entertainment was a real let down and although the cruise director Amy was enthusiastic there could have been a lot more parties during the evening that kept the night alive. The entertainment in the main showroom was fair, it appeared something was missing, there was not as many shows as I remembered last time. The theatre was always full when there was a show so I do not understand why they don’t utilise it more. The headline acts were few and far between, why they didn’t have more considering the entertainers advised they were on the ship for the full cruise surprises me. It appears this is an area of cost cutting and if the entertainment doesn’t improve I will be reconsidering sailing on RCCL again My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the disco night and other themed nights, but again felt there could have been more. Family and Children The staff in the kids club are great and our 4 year old daughter really enjoyed attending, so much so she was asking to go there. We purchased the Barbie experience and the excitement it brought to my daughter was priceless and she still sleeps on the same pillow and uses the same mini blanket 2 weeks later. I felt the programme was worth it for the pure joy it provided my wife and I to see our daughter so happy, but there could have been improvements, the stateroom decor was not the same as in the photos such as the hanging pink chandelier and the pink bow was only on the chairs and not on the curtains. The staff wore their blue and yellow uniform to all the Barbie events except the final fashion show and I think had they been dressed in themed colours it would have been better. The staff involved Boo Boo and Jessica were friendly, very enthusiastic and accommodating with the kids and great choice for the Barbie experience. We also used the Nursery for our 18 month old. The Nursery team were caring and made a real effort to make us feel at ease that they were caring for our children. The Nursery however was understaffed and we could only pre-book a certain number of slots as the cruise had 29 children under 3 and only 8 spaces in the Nursery. It was disappointing that management do not pre-plan this considering they know the numbers of children attending prior. There was no babysitting on this cruise, so when you read the fine print about “being subject to availability” do not assume it means first in first served, from the staff at the front desk they explained that most cruises in Australia do not have this service and it only occurs when certain trained staff are on the cruise and generally these are part of the entertainment team.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Like many others this cruise was booked to celebrate a special birthday. Sadly it turned out to be the worst 17 day and like others couldn't wait to get off. If we weren't travelling with friends we would have certainly left the ... Read More
Like many others this cruise was booked to celebrate a special birthday. Sadly it turned out to be the worst 17 day and like others couldn't wait to get off. If we weren't travelling with friends we would have certainly left the ship in New Zealand and tried to salvage our holiday. Our gripes began with blocked toilets and like fellow reviewers after 5 days of dealing with the problem, including having to attend guest relations at 2am in the morning, we were left with no solution to the problem that just kept recurring and no joy or care from the staff we dealt with. We were left with a cabin that continued to smell the whole trip of sewage which meant when ever we were in the cabin we needed to leave the balcony doors open, this included during the night, and as others have mentioned the weather wasn't the most perfect. At no stage did anyone come to check to see if the problem was resolved, nor did they care when we kept telling them it wasn't. In the end, due to it being a full ship (thats what they kept telling us) we just had to live with it. We also have done numerous cruises and like others we totally agree the entertainment was pathetic, and seriously for a 17 day cruise just replaying the same 4 - 6 movies over and over and over again, in this day and age wasn't acceptable. . We found the food was terrible, in many cases cold and tastless. The windjammer was fine if you liked Indian or american take aways, but they just kept repeating the same food over and over. We did notice the the fresh produce brought on board the ship in Melb did improve the taste The only saving grace was the Italian on board, but again you needed to pay extra. All in all we found the wait staff to be very rude and the dining room caotic with trolleys and staff in the walk ways and not caring if you were trying to arrive or leave, they just walked through you. Having said that there were exceptions, and these staff members were fab, and we told them so. I did get a chance to use the spa, and unfortunately the staff there were less than good. Many were leaving the ship the next day and it showed, not to mention the mix up in appointments meant they weren't happy and they took it out on us even though we had nothing to do with it. We were also looking forward to taking some land tours, but the prices were so high, we have travelled NZ before and some of the excursions were 4 times the price we had paided only a year before. Again these tours were available by outside tour operators waiting on shore for much cheaper. After adding up the prices we could have flown back to NZ and spent 2 weeks for the same cost, so decided to do our own thing, but yes compared to other crusies the disbarking did seem disorganized. All I can say is I would never recommend this cruise line, neither would I ever book with them again, and yes dispite numerous contact with the company we haven't heard a word from them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Jan 20th to Jan 31st 2014 Hi all my review contains information on the place (ship in this case) we stayed but also the adventure and often the circumstances that lead us there, so if you only interested in the actual place, my review ... Read More
Jan 20th to Jan 31st 2014 Hi all my review contains information on the place (ship in this case) we stayed but also the adventure and often the circumstances that lead us there, so if you only interested in the actual place, my review might not be for you, also i write how speak so don’t expect some literal award winning review. Boarded at Circular key around 11am on the Tuesday morning, its still amazes me that people where only disembarking 2 hours previous, those staff work hard on turn around day to make the ship look new or as if it has been waiting for you in port for a day or 2. Traveling was me and the wife plus the kids 14 and almost 16. We booked a aft (rear) balcony on level 9 and a double room on level 3. If you would like to know more about family’s and multiple rooms message me and i can let you know the ins and outs. Staff really friendly and helpful, nice to get to our rooms and meet our stateroom attendants as the Americans call them, off to lunch at the buffet, this is the only place open for boarding day lunch. Then off to explore the ship, we had been on a few smaller cruises before, the sun, pearl and dawn but this was alot bigger. There were options to purchase a drink package, unlimited soft drink (sodas they call them) this cost roughly $60USD each for the whole cruise for the kids its age scaled, another package with beer and wine and a drink yourself silly with basically anything you want, as we dont really drink we (wife and me) opted for the Royal Replenish (sounds fancy) this consisted of premium tea and coffee in other words you could go to the coffee house and get yourself a massive latte as much as you want while they where open, bottled and sparkling water, mocktails, fresh squeezed juice and unlimited soft drink. cost was $20 USD a day per person. I was really looking forward to having fresh squeezed juice throughout the trip. It was disappointing the 1st full day at sea to find out that the fresh squeezed jucie was only orange and only available at breakfast. When looking at these packages i think its important to think about how many port days you have on your cruise we had 5 port days and 6 sea days roughly. 4 out of 6 of the mocktails contained red bull so we stayed away from them. The bottled water did come in handy on port days. cocktails are not made from scratch or with fresh fruit, they are made from a pre mix, island oasis in 1 litre milk cartons labeled say pina colada mix. My wife had 1 or 2 of these and i had a taste and it was actually quite nice. I’m sure this makes its alot easier to serve people quicker. As always we had to undertake the safety briefing in the main staff area and then off we went next stop in around 2.5 days ilse of Pines, so we had 2 and a bit days to explore this 300 metre vessel and find all the great little spots to be at different times of the day. 1st night we ate at one of the specialty restaurants (these are an extra fee) Chopps Grille, they had a discount for the 1st evening of 30% so i think it came to $24USD per person, was well worth it. Kids ate in the buffet and went off to make new friends at the teens club, ship has 1am curfew for under 18's. 2nd night was formal night so we thought we would attend in the dinning room, we opted for mytime dinning were you are either 6 or 8:30 and have the same table and people at your table each night. so we sat down at a table of 8 and another family came along and sat down unfortunately they could not speak English only Chinese, they even ordered in chinese, we were looking foward to discussing with our table mates there day and plans for the next day. So that was a bit of a let down. The next morning i rang the dining room and explained the situation and they said they would get back to me tomorrow, so we gave the dinning room a miss for the night and went back to Giovanni’s Table another specialty restaurant, we had also had lunch there the day previous and been served by Geraldine (not quite sure the the spelling) but it was excellent table service so much so we went back with the kids and although the kids enjoyed the meal they were itching to get back to there friends up stairs somewhere. Staff like Geraldine are real assets to Royal Caribbean. Breakfast was alot easier in the buffet than the dinning room especially on port days, there’s a bloke we named Aussie Bob that greets you at entrance, this guy was even more Australian than we were yet he was from south east asia like most of the crew. It was always entertaining entering and leaving the buffet with him throwing some 70's or 80's slang at you. Another great asset to Royal Caribbean, along with the friendly nice guys in starboard windjammer bar. Heres a Tip ask for a lemonade you will get lemon cordial, if you want what i suppose we call a lemonade ask for a sprite, they do not know about Schweppes lemonade. ilse of Pines was lovely as always, although i was told a few people went back to the ship without thongs, aussie surf thongs are highly prized over there i assume. The next day was off to Lifou it was very hot but surprising cool under the trees, the water was beautiful great temp and clear not rough, sad to go back to ship but our stomachs were rumbling for buffet, they say you gain a pound a day on a cruise, my son reckons he lost 5 kilos giving up on waiting for the lifts and using the stairs from deck 3 to 12. That evening we meet another couple in the spa and got chatting they go on cruises every 2 months they love it, we explained about our dinning experience and they invited us to sit with them as they mentioned every night there has been 4 empty chairs. So we went down to speak to dinning room staff and after re-explaining our previous situation, which had also told him the evening before, he placed us there permanently, the waiters at the table were also a little confused initially even though the couple who had invited us mentioned it to them before our arrival. Well it was all sorted finally and we had some people we could get to know and discuss our days at sea and port with. Although some what older, dinner conversation was greatly appreciated, There was a table behind us that had like 10 seats and only 1 couple on it for the 8:30 sitting, i think as it was school holidays maybe alot of family’s just preferred to eat buffet and off to see the evenings entrainment. Maybe the cruise should ask if you will be wishing to attend the dinning room always, mostly or hardly ever and seat people accordingly. Our sons friends family went once or twice at most. Ok I never got around to Finishing this Review, the above was written in Feb 2015, its now October 2015 and we have just booked again on Radiance 13 nights on the 19th Jan this time Grandma is getting hauled along and in our infinite wisdom or madness we said the kids could bring a friend each, so 7 of us in total. Some other thoughts from the Trip, blue hole (small fee when arrving) is amazing in luganville/champagne bay worth the trip, haggle drivers down to $50 for 4 in a car, careful of the utes they have seats made of garden sleepers in the back and load people in there, then barrel down the roads, million dollar beach/bay Luganville is worth seeing we missed it but are planning on going this time. Champagne bay its self is amazing. Port Villa again a little haggling and you can get a good deal, we got a newish Corolla air con and driver for the day $200 Aud, but they prefer you to pay them in there currency haggle in there currency and slightly better deals. Westpac with ATM in main street, Driver took us to the Coffee factory, cascades waterfalls ($25 Entry per person) very nice and the beach bar opposite the underwater post office, then on to the cheapest place in the south Pacific duty free Fung Kuei, 2 bottles of Rum 1 litres for $40, smokers 16 packets of 20s for $25 AUD, people going mad in there grabbing duty free. Bring your Snorkeling gear to all port days, noodles help with floating around and blow up pool toys for champagne Bay are great, people often give them to the local kids upon departure, mm what else can I remember, travel adapters euro round 2 pin and us flat 2 pin sockets in are in the rooms, best to get one of each, charge your cameras and phones off the us socket and run the hair dryer off the euro one, sister in law used the us socket for hair dryer and was running at half power. My son worked out after forgetting his adapter that he could charge his phone of the in cabin TV. Money all the ports we visited accepted Australian currency, although I kept getting asked for Notes to change for coins at the end of the day. Just like in Australia, currency exchange places wont take coin, so these market stalls/traders take our coin but cannot turn that into there local currency and once the ship departs they are stuck with the coin until the next ship comes in. I suppose this is were US currency has an advantage as they have $1 bills. This time were taking a lot of $5’s plus many $10 for purchasing items and possibly some $20’s to change for coin at the end of the day, as we can use coin on our return to Sydney. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our second cruise on The Radiance of the Seas. It was a 7 day cruise from Sydney to Newcastle, Hobart and Melbourne. The ship was as lovely as the first time we sailed her 14 months ago and we enjoyed this cruise even more. ... Read More
This was our second cruise on The Radiance of the Seas. It was a 7 day cruise from Sydney to Newcastle, Hobart and Melbourne. The ship was as lovely as the first time we sailed her 14 months ago and we enjoyed this cruise even more. Boarding was a breeze. We arrived after 2 pm and basically walked straight on and to our cabin. We had eaten before we boarded as we knew the buffet would be crowded and we wanted to avoid this. We actually didn't eat in the Windjammer at all during the cruise, so we can't comment about the food there. We ate in the main dining room, three specialty restaurants and the Park Cafe. All the meals were excellent with the specialty restaurants being exceptional - both in food quality and service. The fact that Royal Caribbean has changed their smoking policy and now does not allow smoking on balconies is WONDERFUL. This is the first cruise (in 3) with RC where we could make full use of the balcony and leave our door open to let fresh air into the room. In fact I think there were less smokers overall on this cruise and it was easy to avoid the smoking areas. Our cabin was spacious and quiet. Our steward was friendly and efficient. The pools and pool areas seemed fairly busy but it didn't affect us as we didn't use them. There were plenty of other activities to keep you busy. We went to talks, trivia, and other events as well as simply relaxed and socialised with people we met. It was an exceptionally friendly and happy cruise. The staff around the ship were generally very friendly and the Activities staff were great. Amy is a wonderful Cruise Director and helped foster this happy, friendly atmosphere. She was hilarious when hosting the "Love and Marriage" show - better than most comedians I have seen. We also enjoyed the Crown & Anchor events. They were well organised, well catered and we were made to feel valued as repeat cruisers. The shows were fine and it was never a problem getting a seat. The one we enjoyed the most was Patrick Mc Mahon (singer and guitarist) who was very talented and engaged the audience and engendered a great atmosphere in the theatre. All the ports were good. In Newcastle we wandered around and walked to Fort Scratchley. There was no queue to get the shuttle buses. In Hobart we caught the ferry to MONA. It is the most amazing building and museum and worth a visit to Hobart just to visit this attraction. Melbourne is beautiful (I am biased!) and we caught the tram into the city and walked around Southbank. We had beautiful weather in all 3 ports. My only slight disappointment on this cruise was with the fitness classes. On my 4 past cruises I have always done the morning "stretch" classes as well as the Abs classes. I intended to do the same on this cruise. However the stretch class was only 20 minutes and this made it not worth the effort of getting up early to attend. It has usually been 30 minutes. Secondly the Abs class was too hard and I hurt my neck on the first day and couldn't go again as I didn't want to risk any more discomfort. I think that this class was only suitable for men as it was comprised of mainly sit-ups. I am pretty fit and have always been able to do this class on other cruises. I think it needed much more variety of excercises. But it certainly didn't affect my overall enjoyment of the cruise. The Radiance is a light, airy and lovely ship. Everything is spotlessly clean and well maintained. It did not feel crowded and we never had to queue for anything. We had a wonderful cruise and I hope to travel on her again sometime in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I met my wife many years ago on two cruises (!) and since 2010 we have now been on 7 mostly RCL . This is going to be an extremely positive report so stay with me. First of all wee have to accept that not all people see things the same ... Read More
I met my wife many years ago on two cruises (!) and since 2010 we have now been on 7 mostly RCL . This is going to be an extremely positive report so stay with me. First of all wee have to accept that not all people see things the same way on even travel at the same time /staff. However................... If you take the classic RCL features on their ships (centrum layout etc) and so on I guess you look at the food and staff and the particular layout of a given ship . We have been on Splendour of the seas and Voyager 3 times. I won't go on Voyager again because the others are proving so good. Radiance has a great RCL layout with the notable areas being the Centrum with lots of areas off this (rather small) area. Talking about small.....if you have a 90000 tonne ship ....it's a way to keep it personal by have smaller areas. The Centrum has a coffee shop/internet (x2), dance floor, lifts, customer service and areas off this including deck 6 which is just above the theatre but also has a piano bar and the Colony Club at the stern. Timber and glass abound. We were in 9571 (deck nine) close to the centrum. And there's the entertainment which was the best so far. Quality show or broadway style acts. And a Cinema although we didn't go. Nor the tavern or speciality restaurants. I was impressed that our lifeboat supervisor told some to be quiet. Like it. (are these people rude or just stupid) And then there's the wonderfully friendly Amy ....Cruise entertainment Director. Wonderful. Approachable. When i had to leave urgently...... she hugged me. And then there's the senior staff. Introduced in the stern Colony Club ...they came across as proud and professional. I couldn't help noticing the pride as the Captain turned to them and watched their speech. I hope they forget about him in RCL and let him run this ship and cruise the seven seas!! The general crew are a mix of Asian, Phillipino and Indian and in many cases treated you with personal recognition and consideration. Cabin steward Percy, Robert and Austin (mispelt),Donal, Rexel in restaurant and the senior restaurant door staff are remembered. So, there you have it. It could be downhill for me from here . I'm apprehensive about other ships. How could they live up to this at this price. Maybe. Very maybe. You see ....it's not just the ship that counts. Not just the staff and that definitely counts but it is the confidence and friendliness that courses down from the Captain. Captain Peterson. And Amy. I want to live at sea. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I've sailed on Radiance before and it was glitzy and full of activities and fun. EMBARKING This is so streamlined now, it is very impressive. There is an early bag check in. This time we dropped our bags off and got on at 11.30am. ... Read More
I've sailed on Radiance before and it was glitzy and full of activities and fun. EMBARKING This is so streamlined now, it is very impressive. There is an early bag check in. This time we dropped our bags off and got on at 11.30am. Before the cruise, we had downloaded all the luggage tags, and the set sail forms. We went on within 30 minutes. Being in the Crown and Anchor society meant we were fast tracked and it is well worth joining, once you have cruised, as you will not have to wait in long queues. Your sea pass card now has a hole already punched in it and ready to go. Lovely lanyards are available in the shop or sometimes provided by your cruise booking company. SUITCASES TO YOUR CABIN These dont always arrive fast nor do they always arrived together with your partners case, despite being checked in together. The hubby had his bag, but I didnt have mine for hours. We had to go hunting for it and discovered it in with bags on the other side of the ship. TIP= if you bring alcohol in your suitcase, it will be taken away from you and returned to you when you leave the ship. We took diet drinks because of my husbands diabetes. that wasn't a problem. FOOD Food in the Windjammer was good although much of it was the same or repeated. I decided to eat cautiously from experience on other cruises (Eyes seems to be bigger then the stomach!!) So whatever was on the plate, I chose to eat only half. AND when I got home, I found I didnt put any weight on... SMOKING POLICY The new smoking policy is interesting. We smelt smoke in our room from someone smoking close by. Management were doing their best to fix the problem. But the smoking area on deck 11, right near the doors to the Windjammer is a problem. Smoke fills the corridor to the dining hall and lifts. Its not nice walking through smoke. KIDS This cruise had over 700 kids on board. Mostly they were well behaved but due to the amount of kids, there were hardly any activities for adults. Some of the kids got into the games and completely mixed ALL the cards and scattered all the game pieces. That was disappointing. PORTS OF CALL We didnt do any of the tours this time. Instead, we got off at the ports and checked out the sights. Our first stop was Newcastle. Free shuttle to town and back. Next was Airlie Beach, which was amazing. We paid $5 for a tender, each way. Airlie beach is AMAZING, although the ship could've advertised more of what was on offer in the region, aside from water activities, such as the Coffee Plantation and the Falls, The last port was Brisbane and the cost of the shuttle was steep. $12 each way.Because the ship is too deep to sail into the port, we had to dock way out and then pay the cost of getting a shuttle. I thought it was expensive.No mention, prior to the cruise, about the cost of the shuttles. Advance warning would have been good. The shuttles cost us an extra $80 for this cruise. We were disappointed that the ship didnt give info on things to see.(apart from the tours) We found the free water ferry, which provided an awesome view of Brisbane. We visited the Maritime Museum, the markets and the city centre. The ship looked tired, Needing some maintenance. COFFEE The coffee is still disgusting. So we take our own coffee. But the lemon drink is yum and the iced water is refreshing. SICKNESS Unfortunately a stomach bug was going around. We were fortunate enough to miss this but people were seeing the medical facilities. Many didnt use the antibacteria gel in the dining rooms so the spread of bugs was to be expected. On our last cruise on the Voyager of the seas, it was manditory to use the gel. SHOPS ON BOARD The Shops were a let down. Expensive and unappealing. I wish RCI would have more affordable things available. We saw watches for over $2000. Then at the other extreme $10 frenzy. The items were a bit tacky. But it made it fun and to see people going crazy over trinkets was funny. Many of the jewellery I have seen on past cruises was available but marked up. We are platinum crown and anchor society members and received our voucher booklet in the stateroom. The majority of the booklet is useless if you dont gamble. PARK CAFE Park Cafe is awesome. An adults pool and a cafe open when the dining rooms arent. The meat pies are so good! I would recommend this area if you are looking for seclusion around a lovely tropical pool, complete with elephants and a large black cat lazing by the pool. The chirping birds and greenery amongst the greek pillars was refreshing. Pool towels are no longer white with the RCI crest. They are blue and you no longer need to give your cabin number, which I thought was odd, as previously if you didnt return your towel, you were billed for it. THE CABIN The cabin was great. 8008. From the ship plan, the balcony looked half sized, but it was actually bigger than most! We had and extra foot the whole width. We were able to see alot because our cabin was on the bit of the ship which poked out. It gave us a good view of everything. The metal side that curved around was great as it shielded the balcony from the strong winds and sun. We had privacy and the benefit of a larger balcony. I would definitely recommend this cabin. The inside is what you normally get with a stateroom, no surprises there. There were some maintenance things in the room which need attention and I got the feeling that RCI didnt really care to fix them. Switches at the desk were busted, panels falling out near the fridge, decor stuck up with glue which looked tacky and the shower head sprayed water all over the bathroom due to a seal which was obviously broken. I just ordered more bathmats and that helped soak up the water that was all over the floor. The bed was unbearable. Seriously, the mattresses need to be thrown out. We couldnt sleep because the mattresses were so bad. When we told the attendant, he said that there were no others. 9 days of backache and misery. They need to replace them. Cabin 8008 is portside and at the front. We had rough seas on the way back to Sydney and being so high up and at the front, we did experience the motion more than lower decks. It is also further from the dining rooms, but close to Park cafe and the fitness centre. ROOM SERVICE We used room service for breakfast Filled out the menu and placed it on the door before 3am. The order was filled correctly most of the time and we enjoyed eating breakfast on the balcony. The balcony had a table and two chairs. Room service ordering via the TV is something to keep an eye on. The system does not always work and you can be waiting hours for your order because they didnt get it! TIP = Make sure you get the message that they received the order on the tv and always call them to see if they received it. The order is generally quick. We had orders within 30 minutes, which was fast considering how far they had to walk to our room. INTERNET We did not use the internet as we had coverage for most of the trip via our mobiles. The internet is available at a station near guest services and wirelessly on the ship. DISEMBARKING This was quick also. The night before, you will be given your disembarkment number, which will correlate with a time to be at your leaving area. Ours was #10 and this was 8.40am in the Aroura Theatre. You will need to pack your case and have it outside your cabin before 10.30pm. There is time to have breakfast before heading off. We arrived at the theatre at 8.40 and were told to head out. From here you head to the terminal and pass through security to be checked off. Your suitcases are found in numbered rows. Ours was #10 and the bags were there when we left. This time there was no immigration to go through so we took our bags and were out of the terminal within 10 minutes. FEEDBACK An email wanting feedback was waiting in our inbox when we arrived home. TIP= if you have anything you want to tell RCI, now is the time to do it. And they do read them all. This was our 5th cruise and in previous reviews I said that Radiance was a better cruise ship, but now I am changing my views. It looked tired and in need of freshness, in comparison to Voyager of the Seas. Out of the two, the latter would be the one I would choose, just for the fact that there is so much more to see and do. I felt that this cruise on Radiance was lacking something. Im hoping this is not a feeling we get when we cruise frequently? Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This is a good mid sized ship although she has seen better days and needs some attention to detail. Considering the number of passengers, the pools are small, over crowded and therefore not pristine. There are not enough spas and good luck ... Read More
This is a good mid sized ship although she has seen better days and needs some attention to detail. Considering the number of passengers, the pools are small, over crowded and therefore not pristine. There are not enough spas and good luck in prising out one of the human fixtures within them. The fake plants in the pool atrium look cheap and nasty and need a makeover. The dinning room is one of her better features, although the waiting staff do vary quite considerably in their abilities, with some being excellent and others poor. If you manage to get a good table stick with it. The maitre d seemed to lack the style and finesse of a person in this position. The Windjammer cafe is quantity over quality with many patrons making the most of things in this regard. The shows are good and of a high standard. The stateroom steward in our instance was very good and the crew around the ship are pleasant. The shore excursions were good and well executed. The entertainment for teenagers was very unstructured and left alot to be desired. All in all it's a 7 out of 10! Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our sons Make A Wish,,, He always wanted to go to Australia. The food was amazing and the waiters gave you their undivided attention.. Kids adored them... We had balcony and ill tell ya once you do that you never will go back to ... Read More
This was our sons Make A Wish,,, He always wanted to go to Australia. The food was amazing and the waiters gave you their undivided attention.. Kids adored them... We had balcony and ill tell ya once you do that you never will go back to any other kind of room. Our son was in the teen club and we never saw him,. He had a blast. He made a ton of friends. He has cancer so I was nervous leaving him alone but hes 17 and the kids took to him and he had a blast each night. My daughter is 9 and went into the camp and she too had a blast. She didn't even want to hang with us. There were so many fun activities they did with the kids. She was never bored and she made so many friends. The boat was clean. The workers were friendly. There was so much to do. The shows were great, Best part was The cruise director and the captain were challenged to a cake decorating contest with the head pastry chef. Hysterical.... Our room was spacious and immaculate.. ANd when the kids were in their groups it was nice to have some nice alone time with the hubby, The pools were great, The kids water slide was fun, I even went on it !... I could go on and on... we truly loved Australia. ANd we loved this ship. There were no bad things to report. The elevators were a tad bit slow but who cared we were on vacation. The views from the balcony were breath taking.. I just cant say enough... We had the best family vacation we ever had. Best ship.. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
Just a word of warning this review is quite long, but if you're interested in a detailed account I might be able to provide some good insights. I've just returned from my first ever cruise with a party of 8 including my ... Read More
Just a word of warning this review is quite long, but if you're interested in a detailed account I might be able to provide some good insights. I've just returned from my first ever cruise with a party of 8 including my boyfriend, MIL, family and a family friend, and we had a wonderful time. It was a great experience for a party of first time cruisers. We got to the ship at about 1:30 on departure day, and the line looked long but moved quickly. It would be no small task to get 2,500 passengers onto an international ship, and we were very impressed with the process. We were greeted by lots of smiling crew members, set up our folio easily and in about 40 minutes we were at our room meeting our Stateroom Attendant, Tarfiq (who was amazing! More on that in a bit). About 10 minutes after that we were enjoying our lunch and views of the harbour from the Windjammer cafe. What a life! Tarfiq, our Stateroom Attendant, was wonderful! We were delighted to learn that he would be servicing our room TWICE a day, not once as we expected, and he did this without fail. He was quick to learn our names and was always friendly if we saw him in the hall, often asking how our trip was going and making sure we were having a laugh. He was very attentive of our needs, never disturbing us if our Do Not Disturb card was in the door slot. On day 3 of 4 I left a note asking if we could please have 2 more harder pillows if they were available, but if they weren't not to worry (and I did not expect them to be) but at the next service there they were on the bed. We enjoyed the towel animals that were left every few days, always decorated with our sunglasses. Fabulous service! The Stateroom was actually bigger than we expected it to be. There's a lot of storage space, including floor space in the cupboards for suitcases if you wish to use it (we chose to keep ours out in the corner). The bed was very comfortable and pleasant to sleep in, and our port hole was massive, so it was nice to wake up and see the port we were in on shore days. There's a 2 person couch, a small stool-sized coffee table and a TV mounted to the wall near the surface of the dresser. We usually had our TV on in the background when we were getting ready to go out (usually on Parks and Recreation) but there are informative channels with information on the cruise if you wish to watch it and we also got signal of both channel 7 and 9, so we could catch up on the tennis, cricket and snippets of the news when we wanted a few minutes of downtime. The bathroom is SMALL but got the job done. It's hard not to flood the bathroom when you have a shower, but there's a drain for the excess water, and it gave us a good laugh. Use the bathmat and you'll be fine. And make sure you push the toilet flusher in hard and hold it down for 3 or so seconds or the toilet will not flush (learnt this the hard way). The bathroom was an experience in itself, but to be honest if you're going to be too fussy about these components of the room this holiday's probably not for you. Get out of the room and explore the ship! Our dining experience was amazing! We dined every night at Cascades with the MyTime dining option. Every night except night 2 we were seated at the same table and our wait staff, Pely the head waiter and Raju the assistant waiter, were phenomenal! Their energy was always exciting and they made us feel welcome each evening. Our chosen drinks were brought to us without us even having to order them and we were offered several rounds of bread. We were allowed to order what we liked off the menu (mains as entrees, entrees in main sizes as mains, sides of other dishes to accompany the entree, side dishes of vegetables to accompany the mains). One evening we let Pely know we were itching for a dish that wasn't on the menu, and the next evening it was prepared by the chef just for our table. No request was too much to ask and the level of service was unlike anything we've experienced. There was no need to eat at Windjammer or the specialty dining options and we knew we were getting the best at Cascades. Although we had an 8:15pm booking each night, we were told by the wait staff to arrive at 7:30pm and we would be seated soon after, which would allow us to get the same table each night. All nights except night 2 we did this and we waited no more than 15 minutes to be seated. Breakfast at Windjammer is sufficient with more variety offered than in the dining room and for lunch Windjammer and Park Cafe have everything you need. The food is great and rotated often with lots of variety - both hearty and lighter options. For 2 of the days on our cruise they also put on a barbeque which was delicious! The onboard activities and shore visits are what you make of them and there's everything you need to tailor your holiday to your needs. There's plenty for kids and teens to do (although our party was all 18+ so we had no involvement in these). If you're into fitness the Shipshape Centre is great with plenty of cardio and weights machines as well as a big floor space area where classes and seminars are run. They provide clean towels and a drinking water fountain. There's also a walking track on deck 12 and when it's quiet you can make good use of the stairs in the forward lobby. The pool was relaxing but it's a very popular area so the deck chairs are often taken quite early. If you just want to lay out go up to deck 12 (quieter, better sunlight) or deck 5 (little sun exposure but very quiet). Drink waiters are buzzing around the pool area to take drink orders. If you choose to go to the bar at the Pool Deck on 11 or Sky Bar on deck 12 you can be waiting quite a while during busy times. You can always get a drink from Centrum deck 4 or the bars on deck 6 which are very quiet during the day and take it up with you to get around this. A movie screened on the outside screen everyday and most days there were activities on the Pool Deck starting around 2pm. The Outsiders Duo playing on the Pool Deck provides great, light afternoon entertainment. Before dinner we enjoyed having a drink at Centrum on level 4 where there was always musical entertainment. We also enjoyed the pianist in the Colony Club in the evenings who took requests and also let guests come and sing with him. I caught 2 of the after dinner shows, some people in my party caught more of them. They're always enjoyable - a great way to unwind and relax - and we're amazed at how the performers do what they do and make it look so easy with the motion of the ship! The evening activities with the Cruise Director Amy and her crew provided us with some great laughs. We didn't have a lot to do with Amy - we were usually more spectators in the activities although her Zumba class was excellent and a lot of fun - but we found her to be pleasant, very energetic, good at getting the crowd going and when we did see her she was very polite and happy to have a quick chat. The Activities team have certainly got spunk and energy. In terms of onshore activities, we stuck to doing our own thing and had an amazing time! At Noumea we got a taxi to the Aquarium and walked along the beach. The Aquarium staff called us a taxi back and then we walked around the city centre and did a bit of shopping before returning to the port and doing most of our shopping there. You'll need French Pacific Franks for Noumea. AUD or USD are both fine for Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. Mystery Island is small so you can walk around the whole island and the water is beautiful, warm and crystal clear. I had my hair braided by a local and 3 of us split a lobster for lunch, which was freshly cooked and we were all fine. This is a good island to get some of your smaller souvenirs such as bracelets. At Isle of Pines we caught a bus tour run by a small local company. It was exactly the same as the one that RCCL organises, but these had to be cancelled because of local bus strikes. It was $25pp for 2 hours and we saw a lot of the island that we would have missed otherwise. The bus driver was reliable and had a working mobile phone, and even if something had gone wrong at the time of the tour (11:30am) we would have had time to work out how to get back to the port. We got back at about 1:40ish and had time to get lunch from one of the local marquees (I had 2 crepes and my boyfriend had chicken, rice and papaya salad - both great and thoroughly cooked) and a swim in the ocean, which again was crystal clear and beautiful. You need to take the Tender boat to Mystery Island and Isle of Pines, but you usually don't have to queue too long and it's a 5-10 minute ride there and back. In terms of drinks packages, we were fine with the Soda Package which we purchased on day 1 for the special price of US$60 (roughly US$7.50 per day). Unless you're a big drinker, you might not get your value out of the alcoholic beverage packages. The basic beer, wine and mocktail package is US$45 per day. Drinks can be easily bought and added to your account for payment at the end of the cruise. If you're capable of carrying your own bags and aren't taking a RCCL arranged transport option upon departure, take the express departure option. You're the first to depart, it's quick and easy, and from lining up to shore (including going through customs) it took about 20 minutes. Overall I highly recommend anyone to try cruising at least once in their lifetime and this 8 night cruise was the perfect first cruise experience. For those choosing what cruise company to go with, I think you're going to get a great experience with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I have just returned from the 8 nights on Radiance from Sydney to Newcastle, Brisbane and Airlie Beach. I was travelling with my mother and, next door, my sister and her husband. The dancing started at the Sail Away Party and continued ... Read More
I have just returned from the 8 nights on Radiance from Sydney to Newcastle, Brisbane and Airlie Beach. I was travelling with my mother and, next door, my sister and her husband. The dancing started at the Sail Away Party and continued all voyage! The entertainment team usually started it off by getting everyone up for a few fun group dances like the YMCA, Macarena, Saturday Night Fever and other fun line dancing types and then people all continued on from there. We danced almost every night in the Centrum because they had a few properly advertised ( in the daily newsletter) and organised theme parties( where you dressed up if you wanted) and on other nights they had a duo playing who did some good dance numbers. The disco was lively most nights with plenty of people dancing. ( Other ships like Voyager, Jan. 2013 had the most dead disco ever.) Only real complaint was because we had 740 children on board and they took over the tiny little main pool, chased each other around, divebombed, dived ,kicked water, climbed up on top of the railing at the steps and jumped in etc splashing everyone. All this happening at peak times when adults were just trying to cool off in the water or lie in the shallow area. I am a school teacher so didn't hesitate( pleasantly) to point out to children the signs saying no diving, jumping etc. All chn. seemed surprised to hear it. Please Radiance staff police pool behaviour because it really puts me off what was a great ship otherwise. Newcastle had beautiful surf beaches, the first one only 10 minutes walk from bus drop-off, large free enclosed ocean pool only a 5 min. walk from that. Brisbane. We were not warned by RCL that our berth was so far out of town so our large party of local relatives who turned up to see us and take us sight-seeing were miles away at the wrong (P&O) wharf. Two carloads then tried to find our ship but got lost and had to go back. It cost our party of 4 approx NZ$130 for a taxi,water ferries and then the A$12 shuttle each back from town instead of just being picked up by car. Airlie Beach. Lovely day. The local life-guard at the man-made lagoon told us we could swim at the beach within the very large jelly-fish net protected area just 2 minutes walk from behind the shuttle drop off point. We had a lovely swim there! Unfortunately the Shuttle-bus drivers told everyone else that no-one could swim at the beaches, so we were the only ones!   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
I've wanted to visit New Zealand for years so this was like a dream vacation. The itinerary was okay, although I would have preferred a one-way journey from Australia to NZ so there weren't so many sea days. Those passengers who ... Read More
I've wanted to visit New Zealand for years so this was like a dream vacation. The itinerary was okay, although I would have preferred a one-way journey from Australia to NZ so there weren't so many sea days. Those passengers who enjoy the lazy days at sea vs. sightseeing might prefer this type of round-trip itinerary. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived early, straight from the airport and jet-lagged, so it was a relief that we had only a brief wait before we were aboard. It was nice that they were serving a buffet lunch, although the food was so disappointing we stuck to the main dining room thereafter for lunches any time it was open. The ship is beautiful and well laid out, so it was easy to find everything. Our stateroom 8066 was conveniently located and quiet, with no noise reaching it from the Centrum. On the plus side, the beds were very comfy, the linens soft, and although the pillows are rather hard I had no trouble sleeping. There's only one closet but even so there is plenty of storage space (closet, drawers, shelves, cupboards), and plenty of hangers. The balcony was sheltered from the winds, so we were able to eat breakfast on the balcony, or sit and read, when it was too windy to do so up on deck. The biggest negative: the toilets don't work well!! We had to call for a plumber at least a half dozen, maybe even 8 times. At no time did we get any type of apology or even acknowledgement from RC about the inconvenience. And the hallway sometimes had a foul odor, which was so unpleasant, although thank goodness our stateroom didn't. The shower is small, although there was good water pressure, thank goodness. There's a clothesline in the shower to hang wet bathing suits (or handwashed items) but no heat light and no exhaust fan. There are no outlets near the bed which is so annoying for charging ereaders while reading in bed, or using a plugged-in laptop. There are not enough outlets period, so it took constant planning to keep all our various devices charged (2 phones, 2 cameras, 2 ereaders and a laptop). This was my first time cruising with RC. I've cruised with 8 other lines, most recently on Holland America, and there were many little things that I missed and found disappointing. There is no DVD player in the room, something my daughter really missed. She's used to checking out DVDs from cruise ship libraries and enjoying a movie in the room before going to bed, and I found the $$ charged for watching a movie to be too high. In this and many other ways I felt nickel and dimed. There are no bathrobes. There are no nice toiletries provided. There are no chocolates placed on the pillows at night. Most of the wait staff in the restaurants were very friendly, and our stateroom steward was lovely. We enjoyed the meals in the main dining room, and the lunches there were terrific, with a wonderful salad bar. We had some breakfasts in our room and some in the buffett, which has nice English sausages but terrible scrambled eggs -- opt for freshly made omelets instead. Coffee was sometimes almost drinkable in the main dining room, but always tasted like sludge in the buffet. The tea was pathetic too, so it was either pay for pricey coffee or go without. I'm not even fussy about coffee, but it was truly appalling. Same with the orange juice -- the complimentary OJ is so watered down, you can only get a decent glass of juice if you are willing to fork out again for the fresh-squeezed. My daughter had just turned 18 and was distraught that she wasn't allowed to participate in any teen events, in fact they wouldn't even let her in the room, and there were no organized events for older teens/college age kids. So for her it was the loneliest of all the cruises she's been on with me, as she had no organized way to make friends and had to hang out with her mom all the time. The airport and hotel transfers with RC were great, very convenient, clean cars, timely pickups. We did the post-cruise stay at Sheraton on the Park, and I highly recommend this hotel. The best shore excursion is the overnight to Queenstown. Not to be missed! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
As a family of 5, we were very anxious and nervous about our first trip by cruise to the South Pacific, I had nothing to compare this trip to, so I had to read the reviews and listen to people who had been on a cruise. I want to write ... Read More
As a family of 5, we were very anxious and nervous about our first trip by cruise to the South Pacific, I had nothing to compare this trip to, so I had to read the reviews and listen to people who had been on a cruise. I want to write this review in a manner that will assist the average person who works hard and wants great value for money and a wonderful experience with your family. We got a room 3628 G and 3630 G on Deck 3 with a large Port Hole, absolutely loved it, you can look out while lying in your bed and view the ocean, a balcony for us was not needed, even our friends who had a balcony, stated that they would prefer the Port Hole, it was much larger than we thought it would be. Cabins were very nice and the room attendants were fantastic, even though we had paid our tips, we gave him a little extra, you had no choice due to his hard work, really the only benefit of paying the tips and gratuities before hand was the My Time Dining, that really wasn't a big deal. The dining staff across the whole ship were absolutely fantastic and anyone that complains about them think they are their personal servants, they were absolutely fantastic and that was worth paying the tips before hand so they all get a share. The ship was cleaned spotless, considering the number of people on board, maintenance work and cleaning never stopped including the pools every second night. Food, wow, every one was complaining about the amount of food which was in abundance and worth every cent. We were lucky to have beautiful weather, we would just look out into the ocean and that in itself was the best distressing experience you can get. Entertainment was ok, but could have been a lot better, there was an American Comedian, who was anything but funny, the shows start almost the same time as the movies and unfortunately the movies were boring, many people were of the same opinion, but the ship sort of made up for the lack lustre entertainment. They have a lot of quizzes and RSL type shows, that I thought were well below the standards of this ship. Ok for excursions on the Islands, unless you have more money than know what to do with it, enjoy being robbed, but for those who have a budget, you can do the same tours and more with the locals, by the way, the locals are more shrewd and cunning when it comes to money and how to play the game, so do not think that without your money they will starve, 4 ships a week land on most of these Islands. For a family of 5 we would save about 350 bucks if not more by doing our own tours, the ship will tell you that we would leave without, but I assure you no one on our trip got left behind. Purchase your snorkels and water shoes prior, they will be the most essential part of the trip. Do not over pack, we took 5 bags, we probably used 3. The staff were a reflection of the Radiance, I'm referring to the grass roots staff, I have never been called Sir, so many times in my life, I had to keep telling them not to "As I work for a living" they were fantastic. All in all, we had the best holiday ever, the ship was just magnificent (in our opinion), I honestly cant wait to book another holiday, anyone that complains excessively is probably spoilt. In regards to the Islands, we loved Isle of Pines, Mystery Island, Port Vila and Noumea, we did not like Lifou as much, due to the amount of coral every where in the water, our water shoes got shredded. On Isle of pines, you can honestly enjoy yourself on the beach where you get of, you will hear about the Aquarium they have, which was $25 each for a 10 minute drive (local price) you will see the same thing at that beach. Mystery Island, you cannot go wrong on that Island, it is the smallest and just snorkel anywhere. Port Vila make sure you visit The Blue Lagoon and the Cascades Waterfalls WOW, magical and worth the $25 entry fee. Noumea has about 300,000 inhabitants and the people are quite arrogant, I assure you a lot of people on the cruise had the same experience. The best part of the trip was the lack of technology, no phones, computers, by the way only get Wii Fii if you need it, it is not cheap and doesn't work that well. We loved it, I hope that this info helps those in doubt, Enjo. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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