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

I chose this cruise because I wanted to see New Zealand without the hassle of driving. It is also cheaper this way as NZ is very expensive. Much cheaper to cruise and do local tours. This cruise is charged in US$ and tours are ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see New Zealand without the hassle of driving. It is also cheaper this way as NZ is very expensive. Much cheaper to cruise and do local tours. This cruise is charged in US$ and tours are expensive. Careful selection of your cabin is essential because noise from the engines has to be blocked out with ear plugs, however; the vibration cannot. Lower aft is a big mistake. Deck 4 has the Windjammer Aft and Aurora Theatre forward . I would now plump for Deck 9 mid-section. We went to 6.30pm My Time Dining. When we asked to change tables, there was no problem. We had excellent service and had no complaints. I don't think the Speciality Dining is worth doing. The Windjammer had a lovely bow deck and we'd sit out there with cheese and biscuits and a bottle of wine on ice. Unfortunately, the weather isn't always kind in NZ, so take a few wraps. The AC is also at a low temperature. The next cruise will include more wraps and woollies ! The 70s Night was the most fun. Australia Night was more like British Night, hardly anyone dressed up and very few Australian groups featured. A lot of hard selling on this cruise. The Art Auction and photography were always being promoted. The Champagne Lunch was a big disappointment but they refunded our money. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth with disembarkation being sped up by customs visiting us on the ship to get that all organised before reaching the dock. We ate a few meals in the main dining room using mytime dining and had ... Read More
The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth with disembarkation being sped up by customs visiting us on the ship to get that all organised before reaching the dock. We ate a few meals in the main dining room using mytime dining and had no issues as my son and I were more than happy to share with others. The staff were all incredibly friendly and made sure that we were always well looked after. We didn't do any shore excursions as they seemed very expensive although after trying to organise tours in port myself I would probably book excursions in future. I would have liked to purchase more of the photos but the price of them is exhorbatant, which makes no sense as once the photos are printed they are no good to the ship if not purchased and the expense has already been laid out. Overall we loved our time on Radiance of the Seas and if we can ever afford it will definitely be doing it again Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We went as 2 friends in our early 30s. My 4th cruise, his first ever. Both first time with RCI and we were very impressed. Here are some general overviews of the highlights, various observations, and with tips on how to get the most out of ... Read More
We went as 2 friends in our early 30s. My 4th cruise, his first ever. Both first time with RCI and we were very impressed. Here are some general overviews of the highlights, various observations, and with tips on how to get the most out of the ship. Longer sailings are just better! Demographics: Full sailing of around 2200 guests. Probably 80% Australian, 10% New Zealand [like myself], 10% all other nations. A few dozen each of Canadians, Americans, British, Japanese. Age wise, skewed to the 55+ owing to the length. Also a good number of families with children/teens as summer break has started down under. A very well behaved crowd; I didn't see any drunks or disorderly conduct. Schedule: 13 night South Pacific, from Sydney to Auckland, with main highlight being the inaugural visit by RCI to the Kingdom of Tonga! Sea day Sea day Island of Pines, New Caledonia Lifou, New Caledonia Sea day Suva, Fiji Lautoka, Fiji Sea day Vava'u, Tonga Nuku'Alofa, Tonga Sea day Sea day Embarkation: From Sydney's overseas passenger terminal. Easiest way is to take the airport train to Circular Quay with a 5m walk afterwards. There's a Cole's supermarket nearby to get essentials; a liquor store is also nearby. Give your main luggage to the porters and get your card upstairs. We came at 2PM and were onboard in less than 20m. Remember not to store your card near anything magnetic! Learnt that the hard way, especially with very long lines at guest services the first 2 days. Stateroom: We had interior 3075 to save money. Quiet area. Well kept but the bathroom was rather cramped. Room attendant Diez was good and we saw him on the first day. Make requests when you meet them initially - writing it down or a typed note is best. Ice you do need to request. I'd recommend an oceanview or above. Ship status/general amenities: All decked out for Christmas! The tree was up and there was a lighting ceremony. Radiance is the perfect size - not too large or small. She's been well maintained; her last drydock was in May. Smoothest ride I've ever had as we didn't encounter any rough seas, and she handled herself well at 18-19 knots during sea days. The busiest area of the ship is of course the centrum; everyone uses the elevators or stairs here and several parties are held here. Lido deck was quite packed on sea days, as was the solarium. Interestingly the big screen was never used to broadcast news etc. Smoking areas were on an area of the lido and promenade [note due to Australian law, even the casino prohibits smoking]. Best place for sailaways that avoid the crowd is the helipad, accessible from the forward promenade. Minigolf, video arcade, and the climbing wall were sparsely used. A lot of glass, perfect to watch the sea from - even better in Alaska I hear. Dining/drinking: We had the 8PM late seating; this is on Cascades deck 5 [4 being reserved for MTD guests]. Waiters Wit and Nova were excellent. Service was fast and efficient - we were generally done by 9:15. It seems the early seating was much more popular by my observations of the theatre shows. Lunch and breakfast in the MDR were also good - the lunch menu in particular impressed me. Other than a few dishes everything was to my liking - I'm not a picky eater. Dress codes were rather relaxed [shorts were allowed]; most did dress up for formal nights. Pepper mills not on the table, haha! If there's sufficient interest I'd be happy to post menu/food pics in a few days time. Windjammer food was largely unremarkable. There are 2 duplicate serving stations for mains and desserts as well as one for deli/salads, pizzas, and burgers. Sometimes there'd be a chef serving made to order items in the center. My advice is to head to the aft tables thru Rita's and dine al fresca. There's a single chokepoint for WJ entry but you can get in thru the back on deck 12. For snacks, head to Lattetudes on 5, the hot dog place, or the park cafe. Didn't do any speciality dining [Chops, Giovanni's, Izumi, Chef's Table], but I'll note that Rita's Crab Shack was closed the entire journey. I'm not a drinker so I've got limited advice in that field. Beverage packages seemed popular on this sailing. The drink of the day was $12. Wine bottles around $40 and up? Theatre entertainment/music: Most shows had an early and late seating, although a few had a single show at 7:15 or a late late show at 10:15. No problems with saving of seats, at least for the early show. 3 production shows [City of Dreams, Pianoman, Tango Buenos Aires]. Live orchestra - much better than canned music! Other entertainers were mostly Australian [and told Australian jokes]. There's usually other live music happening in the evening, be it at the Schooner bar or Starquest. Karaoke was on every other night approximately at the pub. Our cruise director was Steve Davis and he was excellent! A singing/dancing machine. Other members of the CD's staff were highly enthusiastic as well. Theme nights included disco, tropical, rock & roll, and Australian. The guest talent show was very well attended. Shops/casino: Selling the usual overpriced goods. The liquor duty free selection is quite small but reasonably priced [a better deal can be had if you visit Port Vila, this sailing didn't]. Casino is of course the best place to lose money. Photos were $20 apiece [packages were available]. Activities: Plenty to keep everyone occupied during the days. The usual art auctions, trivia, etc. Dance classes [leading up to the guest performance] were good. The discussions with the staff heads was enlightening. The Radiance has a cinema showing quite recent films which was quite busy especially sea days. Quite a few Christmas activities as well, like Santa photos or storytime with the Elves. I kept all the Cruise Compasses and can scan the activities sheet later on if there's sufficient demand? Shore excursions: Didn't take any ship ones excepted the much lauded All Access Tour - which was unfortunately disappointing for $150 and lasting 2.5h. It was my understanding that our group would meet/chat with the captain and get a photo op [Captain Tyrm FYI] - that didn't happen. We also didn't visit the theatre at all. So all you get out of it is the lanyard with AAT on it. Can't recommend this at all! I can provide more detail on what was visited if requested. As for the port stops, it's easy enough and much cheaper to arrange tours independently, especially in Fiji. I'll keep this topic short as my review pertains to the ship. Disembarkation: NZ sends customs/immigration agents onto the ship to screen you onboard on the 2nd to last sea day. Have your passport, card, and immigration forms when you meet with them [time varies by deck]. This means you can walk off the ship in Auckland quickly. Overall a fantastic trip; I'd recommend RCI and would certainly sail with them again! Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise as it went to places we had not visited (Fiji and Tonga) as well as ones we wanted to go back to (Isle of Pines). It also finished up in New Zealand which gave us the opportunity to spend a week at the end of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it went to places we had not visited (Fiji and Tonga) as well as ones we wanted to go back to (Isle of Pines). It also finished up in New Zealand which gave us the opportunity to spend a week at the end of the cruise there before heading back to Australia. Royal Caribbean have Family Rooms which suite larger families (we have 3 kids under 10) which we could not find elsewhere. This was our second cruise with our previous cruise being four years ago when we were only a family of 4. We generally found the experience positive and are keen to cruise again one day (when we can save up enough for another trip as this took us 18 months to save for). Most significant improvement from our previous cruise experience which was also with royal Caribbean on rhapsody of the seas was in the youth program. On our previous cruise this was the area we were most critical of. We found the staff then were poor communicators and too keen on removing kids from programs if they failed to fit in straight away. On this occasion we found the staff to be that good that our 3 year old daughter wanted to go to a program every day by the end of the cruise, despite us making the decision early on to not place the kids in youth programs very often. We ended up using the morning session for all 3 kids only twice and did 4 dinner sessions as well for all 3 kids. On a 14 night cruise this is not a lot really. The only negatives we found on our cruise were the swimming pool which was a bit boring and small (but suitable enough), and the photographers. This was another change we had noticed from our previous cruise. Photographers popped up all the time for photos, including occasions when we just wanted to get on with having breakfast or rushing to get to out shore excursion. We are aware that lots of people like to have photos to use as a memory of their trip, but we ended up not buying a photo package as the pics we took ourselves were adequate. I heard other people complain about the photographers as well, so maybe this could be scaled down a bit. Having twice cruised with royal Caribbean I am again impressed buy the efforts of their staff, in particular the waiters and room attendants. We also found the program of on board activities really good on days at sea for all ages. Always something to do for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I wanted to do this cruise to see how I would go on a longer cruise with my special needs friend, it was fantastic, she is tube fed so the food was not important to her. Firstly our embarkation went smoothly and everyone was very ... Read More
I wanted to do this cruise to see how I would go on a longer cruise with my special needs friend, it was fantastic, she is tube fed so the food was not important to her. Firstly our embarkation went smoothly and everyone was very efficient, and understanding of Hayley's special needs. Our cabin was a disabled one and I must say I was very impressed, we had so much more room to move her wheelchair around, and loved the bathroom set up, it made my life much easier. I also had a great cabin steward that provided me with the extra things we needed everyday, and the wonderful room service for making sure I got the water for Hayley's formula everyday on time. The dinning was the biggest let down and I heard people saying that they had better food on P&O, the people that were on our table only came to the dinning room on 2 nights out of the 16 night cruise, and chose to eat in the buffet every other night as they said the choices were better. I choose not to use the Windjammer as I do not like the fact that so many people are handling the spoons and tongs, after wiping there hands on entry and then sneezing and coughing into there hands after and then serving up their food. Our table waiters in the dinning room were excellent and gave us the best they could, I could not speak highly enough of them table 536 level 5. The entertainment was excellent except for Joe Cool who should change his act to comedy not picking on people, other than that everything was outstanding and thoroughly enjoyed it all. The service desk on the whole were very good except for the first night when I requested an extension cord for my CPAP machine and then they did not supply a adaptor for my machine to fit it, only to be told they didn't have any, after 3 hours of trying to get the problem solved, I woke Hayley put her in the wheelchair and headed to the desk, I only made it to the lift and some nice officer asked me what the problem was, when I told him he went to fix the problem and had it solved in 20 mins, I was truly thankful for his understanding and kindness. The Ports and shore tours, We didn't get off at all the ports and we didn't do any ship tours, due to Hayley's health. We met some fantastic friends and made some great memories and to me this is what cruising is all about, bring on the 2nd December for our next one. But a word of warning if Royal Caribbean do not stop cutting costs, and don't pick up the choice and quality of the food they are going to loose a lot of clientele to Celebrity or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The Radiance of the Seas is an older ship, that is looking a tad tired and in need of a facelift in saying that though we had the best entertainment on board the Cruise Director, Activites Manager and entertainment staff were one of the ... Read More
The Radiance of the Seas is an older ship, that is looking a tad tired and in need of a facelift in saying that though we had the best entertainment on board the Cruise Director, Activites Manager and entertainment staff were one of the most enthusiastic group I have seen on a cruise ship. Plenty of activities during the day. The Captain was very engaging and came on the morning show with the Cruise Director and staff on board were a very happy bunch, which made up for some small things. Weather was also a tad cool, prefer warmer but that was out of our hands. Boarding and disembarking was great very quick no issues. My main gripe is the food in the Windjammer at breakfast was cold and lunchtime not very inspiring, desserts same everyday. We did not dine there in the evening but were told they cooked steak and fish for you, have to try that next time. Dining room experience was great, we were on My Time Dining, and really enjoyed booking when we wanted to eat and went with sharing table, met some lovely people. Cabin spacious, bed was not comfortable though too hard for us we like softer beds, bathroom very compact. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The boarding and disembarking process were very very good. The show Buenos Aries Tango was one of the best stage shows we have ever seen on any cruise ship. RCI make excellent use of the centrium area making it and added entertainment ... Read More
The boarding and disembarking process were very very good. The show Buenos Aries Tango was one of the best stage shows we have ever seen on any cruise ship. RCI make excellent use of the centrium area making it and added entertainment area. The first 3 days the staff served you in the buffet (Windjammers) was a bit annoying but necessary. The meals in the main restaurant were good and the service very good. Some of the guest shows were a little below standard but the 2 production shows were very good. It was a short cruise with only 3 ports one of which was Woolongong. It was the first time any ship had visited the "Gong". It was a great port with a great welcome from the locals. One we will remember for a long time and a great day for all. To add to the day the annual HOG ( Harley Owner Group) national meeting was on. So there were Harleys every where. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Having sailed twice on Brilliance of the Seas, which on both occasions were great cruises. Going on this we decided to cruise on Radiance of the Seas, yes, the ship is in need of some TLC as rust, frayed carpets and damaged furniture was ... Read More
Having sailed twice on Brilliance of the Seas, which on both occasions were great cruises. Going on this we decided to cruise on Radiance of the Seas, yes, the ship is in need of some TLC as rust, frayed carpets and damaged furniture was evident however these problems did not detract from the overall experience we had, All the staff were keen and tried their hardest to make our trip a memory not to forget. The food in both the Windjammer and main dining room was up to the normal RCI standard and most times enjoyable. Like most things you cannot please everyone all the time so some meals were a little lacking. The only real issue we had was the cleanliness of Ritas Cantina (crab shack) where the tables were not clean and usually sticky and the floor have food scraps and spilt liquid left for many days and even a request to staff did not improve the situation (we just used a napkin as a tablecloth) As with shore excursions on most cruise lines these are greatly overpriced, so we do not book these and arrange our own. A little bit of homework can be done to find tours and greatly reduced prices before you leave home. The cabin was the standard design with not a lot of room but the cabin was in need of some very basic maintenance but again did not ruin our cruise. Activities were the run of the mill things however most of the main entertainment in the Aurora Theatre was to say the least outstanding. A good spread of artists etc. Overall would recommend Radiance to friends as the experience was a happy one Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
This was our third Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose it because of the itinerary. We wanted to see more of Australia than just Sydney or Melbourne. The cruise itself was wonderful with lovely staff and friendly cruisers. Granted, ... Read More
This was our third Royal Caribbean cruise, and we chose it because of the itinerary. We wanted to see more of Australia than just Sydney or Melbourne. The cruise itself was wonderful with lovely staff and friendly cruisers. Granted, most people are of the "nearly dead" category, but we still met some great people. We loved the extra activities onboard during the sea days (water color, port talks, dancing lessons, jewelry making, scrapbooking, knitting group). Our day cruising the fjords was absolutely beautiful. But the tours were very expensive and unorganized. Don't do a tour in Wellington. It's an easily walkable city and the museum is great (and free!). We did the farm tour in Akaroa because I wanted to see a sheep sheared. While that was fascinating, the owner of the farm talked way too much. In Dunedin we arranged a tour on our own, and I was very nervous about them getting us back in time. It ended up being a fabulous day, and I will book tours on my own again!! (We saved $100 each compared to a similar tour that the ship offered, and it was a small group with a fabulous guide.) In Melbourne we did a free walking tour (like the one we did in Sydney before the cruise). There isn't much in Adelaide, so we did the wildlife park tour to Cleland Park, which was great. Esperance was a dilemma because the only thing I could see to do was to go to the beach, and that tour was expensive. But, we did it, and I'm glad we did. We went to 2 beaches which were beautiful, and since it was a terribly hot day, the cool water was refreshing. (Stonehenge was stupid. I still don't get it.) Lastly, we chose to do the 6 hour tour of Perth before being taken to the airport. While the river cruise was nice, we had just gotten off a cruise ship!! The rest of the tour was driving around and around the same city, and stopping for 1/2 hour for a FAST lunch. I'm not sure why the rush, but it was a bit disappointing. I agree with some of the other reviewers that the ship needs a little TLC, which it is supposed to get soon. There were people continuing on to do the next cruise, and I don't think I could do that--too little room in the cabin and not enough quiet places to go to. The food was great. We treated ourselves to one night at Chop's, which was delicious. However, there was not much variety on the menu (lots of lamb), and some nights it was "guess I'll have the salmon again." I have to say some of the entertainment was great (the band and cruise singers and dancers, and the guest pianist and cellist), but there were a few nights we walked out because the "entertainment" was so bad. While I loved the cruise and what we saw, the agent we used with Royal Caribbean was useless. Our past cruise (New England in Oct 2015) had been a disaster with Royal cancelling on us FOUR times in the last 2 weeks before the cruise. We were promised champagne and strawberries on both cruises, and they never appeared. The agents were not helpful with plane reservations or anything extra. It was "we have your money, thanks." I won't be seeking out another Royal Caribbean cruise. Too bad. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Overall, this was a great cruise because of the itinerary and lots of friendly passengers! We are frequent cruisers...27 with RCL....have been on most classes of ships, and this was a good size for the itinerary. But as others have ... Read More
Overall, this was a great cruise because of the itinerary and lots of friendly passengers! We are frequent cruisers...27 with RCL....have been on most classes of ships, and this was a good size for the itinerary. But as others have said, it was dated, needs a redo of furnishings...especially in some public areas as they were "shabby". Our corridor always smelled unpleasant, our cabin smelled musty and the bathroom smelled like mold. Our cabin was always clean, our steward, Ed, did a good job of bringing us ice, etc. We booked a 10 person table at dinner in the MDR, we (4 of us) were the only ones at the table for the whole cruise. There was a "10" next to us with only 4 people, too. Wish they had put us together! We wanted to meet some fun people! Our wait staff, Franklin and Roi were top-notch, and Head Waiter Sheryl took care of a gift wine snafu, that lasted a few days, for us. We had an issue with one of the shore excursions at Port Douglas....it advertised CapeTribulation as part of the tour. ( The only reason we took that was for Cape Tribulation). Not only did we not get to Cape Tribulation... it was not even MENTIONED! Our tour guide left us ( about 12 of us) with instructions to be on a bus at a certain time. We were early, expecting her to meet us and go back as a group....45 minutes later we decided to get on a bus by ourselves and head back. We were scolded for being late.... she had left everyone when we got there and didn't tell anyone. Needless to say there were other unhappy participants. In contrast, the excursion to the Australia Zoo was fantastic....great guide...we were there for 5 hours, but knew where she was at all times....and she had a head count and graciously handled the lone person who was very late and had to be found on the property and told it was time to leave. We would recommend this over the shorter 3 hour excursion; 5 hours still wasn't enough time to catch the show and see everything. My scuba divers were very impressed with the excursion at Cairns...the dive boat was great, the staff very knowledgeable ( my divers are master & rescue diver qualified) and safe. The dives were fantastic...there were good guides and dive masters...they would recommend this operation to anyone. Food was pretty standard....glad there was a Park Cafe and enjoyed the Brazilian Restaurant... everyone should try it. Overall our service was good...but, as someone else said, the senior staff at the Windjammer really didn't seem to care like the ones on other ships...and that was surprising. We would go on this ship again, but it would not be our first choice.... Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I very much like Radiance of Seas ship, is a lovely ship and prefer this siz of larger Royal Caribbean ones. On this cruise were quite a few noisy children running up and down stairs - where were parents? Plus loud pre teens yelling at ... Read More
I very much like Radiance of Seas ship, is a lovely ship and prefer this siz of larger Royal Caribbean ones. On this cruise were quite a few noisy children running up and down stairs - where were parents? Plus loud pre teens yelling at each other from centrum on different levels. I believe Security Staff should take care of incidents such as this. Only went couple times to Theatre for shows as not into Comedians. Production Shows excellent as was Tango Show. Service onboard very good. Only activity went to was Diamond Club for Happy Hour drinks and Breakfast which was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
As a couple on our first ever cruise we really had nothing to compare it to so there definitely were a few surprises along the way. We had the most amazing time on our cruise to the South Pacific. The service on Radiance of the Seas was ... Read More
As a couple on our first ever cruise we really had nothing to compare it to so there definitely were a few surprises along the way. We had the most amazing time on our cruise to the South Pacific. The service on Radiance of the Seas was impeccable, from the moment we lined up to check in to the minute we left and I really do believe it was the staff who made the trip. The ship itself is fine. She is an older ship and I thought that the décor, while clean and nice and despite a refurbish, was a little outdated. However the amount of things to do and places to eat is amazing. We spent all of our first day exploring and to be honest by the end of the cruise I think there were still a few places I never got to explore. The food is great and we ate in the MDR as well as Chops Grill and Giovanni's. We went to the Windjammer for Breakfast and Lunch and sometimes went to the cafe near the Solarium. The entertainment was fantastic some nights and just good others, but it didn't stop us going. However we found it was the one-off events that were the most fun - the belly flop contest, bingo, the BBQ on the pool deck, the Love and Marriage show. These events were generally run by the Cruise Director, Joff, and his staff and they were great fun. These events usually attracted more people too. Our ports were beautiful and we did some of the ships excursions and some of our own. The ship's excursions are over rated and extremely expensive. The one thing I can absolutely RAVE about thought was the staff. I don't care if it's because they work for tips or whatever... THEY ARE FANTASTIC. From our cabin steward Virna who looked after my extremely sea sick husband for the first two days (including sitting with him while I went to get some dinner for myself on the third day), to our drinks waiter Pande who offered to show us around his home town in Bali when we next go, to the medical nurse who cared for my sick hubby with no attitude about it just being sea sickness. They are all HARD WORKING, WONDERFUL people. Radiance of the Seas is a great ship for first time cruisers. You can learn a lot about what you would and would not like on a cruise by sailing her. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Our group of 14 enjoyed the 12 night New Years cruise on Radiance. The main restaurant staff made our holiday very attentive and entertaining which is more than could be said about the pool bar staff. They were slow,disinterested and ... Read More
Our group of 14 enjoyed the 12 night New Years cruise on Radiance. The main restaurant staff made our holiday very attentive and entertaining which is more than could be said about the pool bar staff. They were slow,disinterested and sometime a little rude. Our cabin attendant was excellent and respected or privacy. The entertainment in the main theater was good with an excellent backing band but other venues were ordinary,not a lot of guest interactions like we experienced with Graham Seymour on our previous NY cruise on Rhapsody. The land tours were well operated and enjoyable. Overall the ship looks tired with rust showing,tiles missing around the pool and balcony wooden rails missing, its in need of maintenance and dry dock. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
Our party of 14 enjoyed a 12 night cruise to Vanuatu and had a great time. New Year's Eve was fantastic , we did the previous New Years cruise on Rapsody of the Seas which was a little better,the party on the pool deck was topped ... Read More
Our party of 14 enjoyed a 12 night cruise to Vanuatu and had a great time. New Year's Eve was fantastic , we did the previous New Years cruise on Rapsody of the Seas which was a little better,the party on the pool deck was topped off by passing one of Vanuatu active volcanos in the early morning. Our dining room waiter was superb as was our cabin attendant. Unfortunately the pool deck bar staff appeared as if they didn't want to be there, very slow and a little rude. The day time entertainment was ok and not as well organised as on Rapsody. The ship itself needs some Maintenace and dry dock, looking a little tired. Overall a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
First time on Radiance and it is a nice ship but is tired and needs to tidy up. Broken furniture in lounges and cracked floor tiles are common. The thick growth on the hull below the waterline (visible from the tender) was another ... Read More
First time on Radiance and it is a nice ship but is tired and needs to tidy up. Broken furniture in lounges and cracked floor tiles are common. The thick growth on the hull below the waterline (visible from the tender) was another indication that a dry dock and spruce up is needed. Bar service was good, some bar tenders better than others. Dinner in the MDR was overwhelming crowded, noisy and service was nothing more than adequate. Add whistles to the tables on NYE and it was torture. Ended up paying for speciality dining or going to the buffet for some peace over dinner. Cabin was small, especially for a quad, smallest I have ever stayed in. Shower was suitable for someone the size of a pretzel only. I found myself wedged against 2 walls trying to wash myself. Embarkation, disembarkation was smooth. Miss 11 happily spent time in kids club, Mr 13 was expected to utilise free play area (Optix) with teens up to 17. He found this intimidating and rarely (never?) went. RCI need an alternative for younger teens (or something else for older teens). Guest entertainers were entertaining without being overly memorable, kind of what you expect on a cruise. The use of US$ on cruises leaving Australia needs to be mentioned as it makes the cruise less value for money. Being organised before the cruise we were aware of this and pre purchased on board credit. Talking to some others the use of US$ came as a shock. If RCI want the Australian cruise market, they have to use AU$ on board. Bigger cabins, program for young teens, AU$ and more relaxed dinning and we would go again, otherwise there is better alternatives for families. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
18th Cruise in our mid 50's. 2nd time on Radiance. All previous reviews made us uneasy about boarding especially regarding Norovirus. Goods News - Norovirus was gone (OPP1 - Green) The ship does need drydock and is booked in ... Read More
18th Cruise in our mid 50's. 2nd time on Radiance. All previous reviews made us uneasy about boarding especially regarding Norovirus. Goods News - Norovirus was gone (OPP1 - Green) The ship does need drydock and is booked in for MAY 2016. Ship appears to be dirty mainly because of old upholstery and carpets worn and dirty looking. Hull is in desperate need of repainting. Additionally, the pool deck areas are very tired and faded looking. At night she does look lovely inside and around the ship especially in the Centrum area. Cabin 9202 (D1) Balcony. The cabin was very dusty and dirty upon arrival. Called supervisor to clean room before entering. Bathroom had a very musty smell and the toilet blocked and didn't flush several times during the cruise. RCCL acted very quickly to all complaints and gave us a 20% refund on the total of the amount of our cruise. Dining at night in Cascades was very good. Food was of a high standard. If by chance you didn't like your meal they would change it immediately. Also special requests were always met with no fuss. Sandeep and Ken were exceptional waiters. Royal Replenish Drinks package is very good value for non drinkers. Freshly squeezed juices from the Solarium (carrot, apple, beetroot etc) were included in this package as well as espresso premium coffees . Entertainment was very good and full on every night. Joff the Cruise Director was genuinely very friendly and approachable. Captain Goran was one of the most visible and friendly captains that we have every met. He had plenty of time to speak to you. He also appeared on the morning show with Joff almost daily. Look forward to boarding again in 5 weeks time (8th Feb, 2015) Diamond Lounge was rocking every night with lots of friendly people although the drinks service was unusually slow. Diamond concierge woman did not perform well - don't expect any service from her. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
This was our first time on a Royal Caribbean ship. The cruise was very enjoyable but very disappointed with Christmas Day as this was the main reason for doing a Christmas cruise. The main meal was served Christmas Eve with the Ham, ... Read More
This was our first time on a Royal Caribbean ship. The cruise was very enjoyable but very disappointed with Christmas Day as this was the main reason for doing a Christmas cruise. The main meal was served Christmas Eve with the Ham, Turkey and plum pudding and Bon Bons. Christmas lunch was very ordinary with no ham, turkey or anything special. Hams and turkey was served other days during the cruise and it was a pity they didn't keep one for Christmas lunch. The church service held was also flat as the Priest did not lead the carol singing. I am sure there would have been at least a dozen professional singers on board who could have led the singing. Santa did come to the 500 children on board with them all going up onto the stage and having their photo taken with Santa and a present given to them by the ship. This was very nice. We have never cruised with so many children before but they were all well mannered and seemed to enjoy their time on board. Embarking and disembarking went smoothly. I liked the idea of being able to take off our own luggage. No hold up with customs at all. The day trips to Islands were good. We were not told any information about Champagne Bay which was such a lovely beach with lots of shade. Swimming and snorkelling was so much better than Isle of Pines. Stalls everywhere and fresh crayfish cooked. It looked appealing but we didn't take any money ashore as thought it was not much there and more like Mystery Island. Children were singing to the guests as they went on and off the tenders. Felt disappointed as had no change to give them. At Vila, Vanautu I took a tin of formula for the children of outer Islands that were hit badly by the cyclone last year and do not have any cruisers dock. A Doctor was just outside the gates receiving any donations people brought for them. They were so grateful. When we told him what we wanted to do on the Island he said Joey here would look after us. He was waiting for four people who had prebooked him. Four of us joined them and cost us $35 each for 6 hrs tour around. The secret Garden was lovely and worth seeing as the Islanders put on a dance and showed us their customs and then walked through the Gardens. Joey took us to a place where they roast coffee and of cause sell cups of coffee. He also took us to a beach and then into town to look around. The alcohol is so cheap there so the best place to buy duty free. Noumea was very dry, very expensive and not really enjoyable. The dinners at night were good but not quite the standard of Princess. No Lobsters, or Bom Alaska on formal night. The staff were excellent and always pleasant and helpful. The balcony cabin we had was comfortable but I don't think I have ever seen such a small shower on any cruise ship I have ever sailed on. Read Less
Sail Date December 2015
we stayed in Sydney the night before the cruise. I was amazed just hoe close to the pier we actually were. On the day of boarding we had plans to look around the rocks markets as we were told we couldn't board until our cabin level ... Read More
we stayed in Sydney the night before the cruise. I was amazed just hoe close to the pier we actually were. On the day of boarding we had plans to look around the rocks markets as we were told we couldn't board until our cabin level was called which wasn't until about 15.00. We took our bags to the pier at about 11.30 and were suddenly whisked along with everyone else and ended up being on the ship by 12.30. We were quite happy with that. We went to see our cabin and found that they had put us 2 single women who had specifically asked for single beds into a double cabin. We were asked how we wanted the room planned and when we came back after lunch were happy to see the room had been rearranged exactly how we wanted it. For the next 5 day until Picton the weather was pretty rough. As for indoor activities there was not a lot to do. Only what they had planned for a normal day. They had a picture theatre that only held 40 people. If you didn't get there first you didn't see it until the afternoon and that was if you stood out front half the day. it was suggested on more than 1 occasion by many people that if they had played the move in the theatre a lot more people could have had something to do, or even had a few more screenings through the day.The service from all the staff i had to deal with was absolutely fantastic. Everyone we had to deal with was pleasant and polite. Our cabin steward was so happy and helpful. We had My Time Dining and found the food choices excellent and the wait staff very good. We also dined at a couple of the speciality restaurants where we found the food and the prices very good. The entertainment was not what i expected.They advertise that they have broadway like shows but through the whole 18 days all they had were singers, magician a hypnotist and a couple of comedians. Totally annoyed by that. Overall i enjoyed the cruise but i think 18 days is way to long especially with so many days at sea with bad weather and not much to do. The only real fault with the cruise was the fact that the public toilets were always not working or closed for repairs most of the time. Overall the ship and all the staff made for an exceptional Holiday. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our third cruise on the Radiance. We had a very sociable and energetic Cruise Critics group which made for a most enjoyable cruise. Embarkation - Although passengers were given different boarding times depending on the deck ... Read More
This was our third cruise on the Radiance. We had a very sociable and energetic Cruise Critics group which made for a most enjoyable cruise. Embarkation - Although passengers were given different boarding times depending on the deck on which their cabin was situated, it seems that this was ignored by many passengers and certainly not enforced by RCCL. It took a little over an hour to embark but our luggage arrived without delay. Service - as usual, the staff were fantastic. We had excellent service from our dining room stewards and cabin steward, all of whom were anxious to please and could not do enough for us. We liked the way that care was taken to ensure that we were seated with the same waiters every night even though we had My Time Dining. Itinerary - We thoroughly enjoyed all the ports of call and the leisurely nature of the cruise and highly recommend it. We did not take any shore excursions organised by the ship, preferring to take the excursions organised by Cruise Critic members. Picton – we did a Marlborough winery tour which was most enjoyable ($65). Included was a visit to the Makana Chocolate Factory where we were able to sample and buy from their expensive but delicious range. We stopped for lunch at the Allan Scott Winery which was extra. Wellington – having visited Wellington before, we spent the day at the Te Papa Museum, where we took a tour for about $7 and then attended the Gallipoli Exhibition which was fabulous and highly recommended to anyone with an interest in World War 1 history. The exhibits were created by the Weta Workshop (which works in the film industry) and were incredibly life like. We were told that this exhibition will be open for 4 years. Papeete – we joined other Cruise Critics members at the Intercontinental Hotel (an inexpensive taxi trip away) where we purchased day passes which were 12,820 XPF (about $75) per person and included an excellent lunch. We spent the day swimming, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and sipping cocktails as the sun set. A magical experience. Moorea – is beautiful. We took one of Albert’s island tours again organized by a Cruise Critics member. I purchased some very reasonably priced Tahitian pearls in the local market. Bora Bora - was jaw droppingly gorgeous. We took Patrick’s tour, also organized by a Cruise Critic member, at a cost of about $125 per person, but worth every cent. We went on motorized outrigger canoes carrying about 12 people, first to an area which was about 4 1/2 feet deep, just inside the reef, to swim with reef sharks, sting rays and many tropical fish. Even non- swimmers were able to join in the fun here. Patrick’s staff were very attentive and took care to ensure that even the non- swimmers had an opportunity to touch a sting ray and observe the sharks. We then went to a coral garden where it was much deeper. We went to Patrick’s private motu for a Tahitian luau lunch which was very good. Patrick even performed a fire dance for us. The scenery on the way to and from the motu was wonderful. Everyone I spoke with said that this tour was the highlight of the trip and it is highly recommend to both swimmers and non- swimmers alike. We took our own snorkeling equipment and reef shoes. A word of warning – the washroom on the private motu was very rudimentary and the toilet didn’t flush most of the time and there was no running water for washing hands! Dining - Meals in the main dining room were nicely presented but, in our view, somewhat bland. Windjammer had many different types of food on offer, but was fairly repetitive. I enjoyed the breakfast buffet and the fact that you could have eggs cooked to order, but found the food at lunch time very average. We never had dinner there. Izumi and Giovanni’s were very good. Samba, whilst good, was not really to our taste - too much meat. We dined twice at Chops Grill. On the first occasion the steward mixed up my steak with the larger steak ordered by my husband; this was unsatisfactory since we prefer our steak cooked differently. On the second occasion we had a very nice dinner. Unfortunately Chef’s Table was disappointing. This is marketed as a premium experience, however, the food, whilst good, was served lukewarm and at least some of the wine was less than premium. No menu was provided until we requested it and we also had to request teaspoons with our coffee. Little things but we expected better. RCCL ultimately responded to the criticism in an appropriate manner for some of the group. However, it is unlikely that we will return. Murder Mystery Dinner at Giovanni’s - the food was good and hot, and it was an entertaining evening, however, in my view it is somewhat overpriced at $55 per person. We did not dine at Rita’s Crab Shack, the somewhat bizarre reincarnation of “Rita’s Cantina” and we did not observe or hear of anyone else who dined there either. The prices and the fact that it is partly open to the weather (which wasn’t favourable a lot of the time) may have deterred passengers. This and the hot dog café are both poorly utilized spaces. The Ship - Radiance is a beautiful ship and overall, it is clean and well maintained. However, I am sad to report that it is looking a little tired in some areas. We noticed the change between our first cruise on Radiance in 2011 and now. For example, some chairs were heavily stained and looked quite grotty, in particular in the Champagne Bar. Carpets need replacing in some areas and the cabins are looking a bit dated. We had a balcony cabin on Deck 7 which was pleasant and comfortable, but the balcony was not private because the “stripes” and frosting on the screen between our cabin and the next had deteriorated. Also, rust was visible on some superstructure visible from the balcony. Storage in both the cabin and bathroom is good even for a longer cruise. Others have commented on the tiny showers and sticky shower curtains! On every cruise we have noticed a few more cutbacks. Now dressing gowns are not provided, unless requested. Radiance has serious plumbing problems. Our toilet was not working on the first day and then intermittently after that. Two out of three public toilets were not working outside the main dining room for several days. It was a similar experience elsewhere on the ship. Cruisers need to be aware that the view from some of the balcony cabins on Deck 7 is limited by the canopy over the life boats below. This means that you cannot look down at the sea immediately below. We tried on several occasions before we left and upon embarkation to upgrade our cabin, but RCCL refused unless we paid about $1500 more, even though there had been a considerable price drop and we had paid many hundreds of dollars more than superior cabins were selling for at that time. RCCL should not discourage repeat clients from booking early and should apply the same more generous booking conditions to Australian passengers that are applicable to US passengers. We will consider booking with other cruise lines, which have more generous booking conditions to Australian passengers in future. Laundry - There is no self-service laundry facilities on board. Every 5 days or so passengers are given the opportunity to have a bag of washing done for USD30. This has increased from USD20 since our last cruise on the Radiance in 2013, which I think is a bit steep. This is a “wash and fold” service and does not include shirts, dresses etc. which are itemised separately. Entertainment - Unfortunately the first 9 days of the cruise were cold, windy, rough and often wet. The decks were sometimes closed. However, there was limited entertainment offered during the day. The evening entertainment was varied – some of it was very good and some of it not to our taste. The same “Broadway” type shows have been presented for many years now. It would be helpful if a list and time of the shows was published on RCCL’s website. There is already provision for this, but no information posted. This would assist passengers in making reservations for dinners. It is surprising that the “Broadway” type shows were not repeated on other nights of what was a long cruise. The “enrichment lectures” were non – existent with the exception of one or two given by volunteer passengers. The “health” presentations, held it seemed on a daily basis in Centrum, were a thinly disguised attempt to persuade passengers to part with their money for expensive spa treatments and products. I was impressed with RCCL’s recognition and commemoration of ANZAC Day (the Australian/NZ Memorial Day) and the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings. The night before ANZAC day a red poppy was left on the pillow of passengers and both a dawn service and later service were attended by the ship’s officers and passengers. It seemed fitting that we should be commemorating the Gallipoli landings in a ceremony held at sea. RCCL made breakfast available in the Windjammer earlier than usual to accommodate those who attended the dawn service. Well done! Disembarkation – Guest Relations would not sell us transfers to the airport as we had a 12.30 domestic flight and they said that they could not guarantee that we would make the flight. So we had to carry our substantial luggage through US Customs and off the ship ourselves. We had no difficulty in getting a taxi and we made it to the airport by 8.00am! All in all, this was a very enjoyable cruise with beautiful ports and a great group of people, but Radiance deserves some money spent refurbishing her so that she shines once again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was my first cruise and it was bought as a birthday present. It was one of the best holiday's ever! The Radience is a great ship with really friendly service. I really enjoyed stiing in either singapore Slings or the Schooner Bar ... Read More
This was my first cruise and it was bought as a birthday present. It was one of the best holiday's ever! The Radience is a great ship with really friendly service. I really enjoyed stiing in either singapore Slings or the Schooner Bar . I ate at the MDR most nights, but tried Chops Grille one night and Izumi for lunch. All the food at all restaurants is great. We wnt to Noumea and Isle of Pines. In Noumea we did the Train and it was excellent. At night the entertainment was great with many show and entrtainers! WE enjoyed seeing all of the shows. The activites on board were also execllent including a Mini Gold Course and a rock clibing wall. The highlight of the cruise was 70's night as I really love 70's music. The pool was good but a little small and the windjammer was good but not as good as other eateries. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
As a first time cruiser I crept all over cruise critic to find the haves and have nots , the do's and don'ts and the secret tips to a joyous cruise This is what we found. It is specific to RCI Radiance of the Sea but could ... Read More
As a first time cruiser I crept all over cruise critic to find the haves and have nots , the do's and don'ts and the secret tips to a joyous cruise This is what we found. It is specific to RCI Radiance of the Sea but could help any new traveller. Sea sickness. Normal everyday antihistamine work for sea sickness. Start a few days before and maintain throughout your cruise if your worried. I don't get seasick unless very bad seas but my wife took hers throughout and managed to thoroughly enjoy herself with the taking of tablets First things first. Embarkation is leaving port day 1. The process is customs and border control, getting sea passes (this is your golden ticket on board and is used for everything.) luggage drop and boarding the ship. It is long quest and a waiting game but nothing you can do so take this time to meet fellow travellers, by and large they are all friendly. Lunch is served buffet style and is like feeding time at the zoo so try the other smaller cafés for quieter options or take the time to explore the ship and find out what is on offer. Dining options are wide and varied from windjammer (full international buffet) great options considering its a buffet. Cascades is the sit down full service dining room and a 10/10 for our liking, 3 course dinners and lunches with exceptional service every time. There are things constantly happening nearly 24hours a day with a daily planner delivered the night before so you can plan the next day. With bingo, quizzes, napkin folding, line dancing, card games, tournaments of games you have never heard and hundreds of things we never has time for you can be as busy or as lazy as you like. Sea days are as busy as port days if you like with more activities than you could do in a year. More food on offer than you could eat, with cafés,hot dog stand, coffee shop buffet dining and a la carte plus 5 specialty dining rooms you can eat 24hrs a day. Drinking is an often sought after topic. My wife and I are reasonable drinkers and enjoy spirits more than beer and wine. Day 1 we didn't roll any package but paid as we went to monitor our spending. It was clearly obvious that the ultimate package was the way to go. The all inclusive ultimate drinks package cost us around 85 bucks Aus a day or 65 odd US a day. Some days we met this level by lunchtime. We were drinking at least 1 coffee each a day plus a fresh juice plus 3 or 4 bottles of water then the alcoholic beverages. Usually starting with monitors for me and long island ice teas for my wife. Usually 14 bucks each but totally covered on our package. I then would roll to Johnny walker double black at again 14 bucks a pop. So very quickly on sea days we would reach our break even point very quickly. Shore days usually weren't a problem meeting break even either because a few glasses of red or a spirit or 3 with dinner would push the cost up quickly. If your not a drinker there are lower packages available including water, soft drinks and many levels in between. See how you go for the first day or 2 and then decide. ##**shore excursions##** we didn't book a single on board shore excusion, and saved $$$$$ the prices on shore were at least half the price of what you would spend if booked on the ship. Every port you get off at you will find tours being offered close to the pier. From bus trips around the island to half and full day snorkelling adventures. Everything offered by the ship is offered on land plus heaps more. Pay the locals, barter with them. Book a driver all day about $100 bucks and you will see all the best sites. Just to know that alot of the natural beauty hotspots have admission charges from between 5 and 15 dollars so be aware. We were never disappointed. The entertainment staff kept us busy and were always full of energy even leading into the early hours of the morning. You can participate in as little or as much as you like and even though there is close to 3500 people on board you can still find a quiet spot to relax and read a book or nap listening to the waves. Our stateroom was fully functional. Space was tight esp the bathroom but your on a ship so expect it. The bed though was generous and very comfortable. Clothes and hanging space was excellent and there is space under the bed to stow your empty suitcases. There are lots of draws for odds and ends and enough power points to keep everything fully charged. ###****power boards are banned and will be confiscated when boarding the ship ###***(you will get it back at the end) Tendering is an easy process, wander to the pool deck, grab a ticket and wait for your number to be announced. Line up early if want an early tender. Or you could be waiting closer to lunch to get ashore. Things to pack.# Magnets to hold up all the papers you get. Most walls are steel. #Reef shoes as there is lots of sharp coral. #If your a keen snorkeller, pack your own gear as its expensive to hire and this will speed up your shore time. #Plenty of sunscreen # formal (suit or evening gowns) attire plus 70/80s gear and an awesome Hawaiian shirt for the themed nights to get as much as you can out of the nights. Photographers are many and all very good. The atmosphere is also wonderful. Laundry is expensive on board so pack heavily and wash/rinse and dry in your room to save bug $$$ Unless you wanna spend $$$bring a lanyard for your seacoast as you need it for everything, its your key, credit card, identication and boarding pass. Its your magic golden ticket whilst on board. There are a number of shops on board and if you are a keen shopper wait to the end of the cruise because they have 50-70%off most items In summary. We thoughly enjoyed our first cruise and will be doing many more. We were kept busy and relaxed with a great mix of activities and down time. Excellent staff all round really made our trip that much more enjoyable. Isle of pines, excellent great snorkelling and lovely beaches. Quiet and relaxed Champagne bay, excellent awesome beach, crystal clear water, great tours and snorkelling heaps of market stalls. Luganville small town heaps of tours (don't pay drivers until the end) blue pools clear waters friendly locals, heaps of market stalls. Local native culture. Great diving. Lifou. Best snorkelling by far. Cave and blue hole is worth a visit. Church on hilltop also worth the short walk. No need for taxi or driver as everything is with a short walk definitely need your reef shoes. Noumea. Biggest city by far, city shops plus markets, duck island and a huge lagoon for great snorkelling. Glass bottom boat rides or a chu chu train (on the road) tour around the island. Heaps to do and wonderful food and atmosphere and the restaurants on lemon bay. Busy busy busy..... but enough time at sea to relax Hope this review will answer any questions you might have Also take plenty of AUS $$$ as its excepted everywhere. Take a few auzzie koala toys or things for the cute local kids as it will make there day. Have a wonderful cruise...... we did Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
I had cruised as a kid in the 70's and 80's but had not experienced any of these new cruise liners, I chose RC Radiance Of The Seas because it looked impressive, it was larger than Rhapsody of The Seas plus I had heard that ... Read More
I had cruised as a kid in the 70's and 80's but had not experienced any of these new cruise liners, I chose RC Radiance Of The Seas because it looked impressive, it was larger than Rhapsody of The Seas plus I had heard that P&O were sub standard. Royal Caribbean was definitely the right choice. We sailed during school holidays as my children were 17 and 18 at the time. Better If you can avoid school holidays as too many kids can spoil things because all the free activities are always taken. If you have young children then school holidays is ideal because they really look after the kids. A third of all passengers were children, I was told it was a record. The Ship was well maintained and absolutely beautiful. Can't fault it. We booked two balcony staterooms on deck 9, the cabins were spacious and bathrooms surprisingly larger than expected. The staff were also excellent in every way. Our table waiter went above and beyond and seemed like a close friend by the time we left. We had the 8:00pm booking which meant we could only see the late shows. Often we had too much to drink to see them but that was our choice. The food in windjammer and the dining room was fantastic with plenty of variety and one of the highlights of the cruise. We purchased the premium drinks package for my wife and I. We like a drink so i was glad we did. The drinks if purchased at the bar cost a fortune, you have to tip each time plus a service charge plus in $US ends up costing about $12 a beer. For me, just using my sea pass card at the bar makes it worth getting the package instead of signing a docket and getting a large bill at the end. It's not all alcohol, you also get premium coffee and squeezed orange juice. We also got the basic replenish package for the kids. At times the bar service was a bit slow, you get over it. The activities were a bit disappointing. The rock climbing wall was closed for the entire trip, Bingo was rip off and too popular. The deck chairs by the pool were always taken, table tennis always taken, spa always full. Fortunately we like a drink. Played Put Put at midnight that's about the only time you get a go. Might be different without a ship full of juveniles. The shows were great, enjoyed some good comedy and musical shows. The ports were ok, I've seen them several times. Noumea city isn't worth seeing, but we did the Segway tour around the botanical gardens. That was a fun day and worth the money. did glass bottom kayak and some snorkeling in Vanuatu, also worth it. Lifou was the only tender port, it's good for a free snorkel and you can wander around the settlement. Bring your own snorkel gear. Not much else to see there. Disembarking was easy, just strolled off the boat and walked out. Wife had to declare some timber items but they were all ok to take with us. Buy your ciggies and grog in Vanuatu , Noumea is a massive rip off as it's usually always first port of call. Don't take powerboards, ours were confiscated. Do take walkie talkies and a US power adaptor. Free sea sick tablets at the medical centre, don't buy them at the shop like we did. We had the internet package and it worked well for us. speeds have improved. Be aware that Royal Caribbean are always looking to raise revenue while on board. We went to the samba grill and it was terrible. Don't fall for it, the dining room is best.(Can't speak for the other specialty restaurants. Heard Izumi is worth it) Try and purchase everything before boarding. In summary, we had a fantastic time and would highly recommend. Especially if you like unlimited food and drink and being waited on and relaxing doing nothing by the pool and then being entertained at night. We have booked Voyager for March 2016. Can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
We mostly choose cruises by destinations and this was no exception. While we've spent a fair bit of time on the main islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, this cruise also went to Lifou, Espiritu Santo, Mystery Island and Ile des ... Read More
We mostly choose cruises by destinations and this was no exception. While we've spent a fair bit of time on the main islands of Vanuatu and New Caledonia, this cruise also went to Lifou, Espiritu Santo, Mystery Island and Ile des Pins. Checkin was a mess with Crown and Anchor members having to wait longer than others. We had to divert around a cyclone to get to Noumea but it was only slightly rough. The cruise seemed to be attractive to bogans and it was disappointing that dining room dress codes weren't enforced. We used mytime dining and service in the main dining room was excellent. I didn't encounter any queues at breakfast or lunch in Windjammer, the buffet restaurant. It was good that RCL now don't charge corkage on the 2 bottles of wine you're allowed to bring onboard. It's a shame that RCL don't provide laundrettes/ironing facilities but we managed. Trivia quizzes were good and covered a range of topics. We also enjoyed the mini golf, shuffleboard, table tennis and rock wall. There were plenty of tours and vehicles available at the ports so we didn't need to use any of RCL's (expensive) tours. Weather was better than forecast so we did lots of enjoyable snorkelling. We enjoyed most of the shows we went to although some people weren't happy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
This review will cover the ship & ports that can't be reviewed elsewhere. If you are looking we had Cabin 1012 & were very pleased with it. This review is split into main venues and then each day; it is LONG. We are speciality ... Read More
This review will cover the ship & ports that can't be reviewed elsewhere. If you are looking we had Cabin 1012 & were very pleased with it. This review is split into main venues and then each day; it is LONG. We are speciality dining fiends so most are reviewed here. This is our third cruise and all have been w RCI (Rhapsody, Mariner); just BF & I each time. We live in Sydney & by public transport only an hour from port. We had a prem. bev. pkg. and found this worked for us, only had to have 5 drinks a day (eg 2 before dinner, 2 w dinner and one after) anything more than this and we were ahead. SHIP: The ship is beautiful and it is true it is the ship of light. All the venues felt larger & looked like they had more area than what we found on Mariner despite the fact it is smaller than Mariner. We only took the lifts on embark/debarking, after a long tour & one evening to experience them. Take the external lifts the height of the ship once to see the ocean go by; it is one of the best lift trips you will take. MDR (My Time): We book same time as second seating (8:30pm) to fall in line with the scheduling of shows and prefer later to avoid some of the families. If we turned up close to 8:30pm we always received a two top table near many others so if you wanted to chat you could. We often came across nice couples happy to discuss their day. We had some different waiters throughout and our favourites were Suthakar & Leny whom we had a few times. They were well organised and friendly. Food has deteriorated a bit, but then we didn't have to cook it or clean up so were still satisfied. Shame about the number of people in thongs, shorts and hats on when it is not casual night (which I still find unacceptable). Seems the food standard has dropped in line with the dress code standards. WINDJAMMER: Same old, food is consistent (read: nothing much changes) but what can you expect. The DIY burger station was good for an ok balanced meal if you skipped the chips and had salad. For port days this & park cafe are the only options, and windjammer is not "bad" just not any "good". Freddy at the front door always had bundles of energy and is a great welcoming committee for windjammer. RCI needs to renovate the space "Rita's Cantina" it was mostly used by windjammer patrons for tables. Seating space in Windjammer is enormous with the back deck, use of Rita's and where the Dog House is and the matching space on the other side. This is not the same as on any other ship. PARK CAFE: Good for a snack, always love the roast beef rolls. DIY salad bar with fruit also good. Gets busy in the afternoon on port days with people returning but the staff are efficient, even if the guests are not. DAY 1 EMBARKATION(Casual): On Deck 10 so boarding time of 11am. We boarded within 15 min which is perfect, cannot expect better than that. We explored each deck for some exercise & then chilled in the solarium. We saw ppl that had not brought their swimmers so were glad we had packed them. Room was available at 1pm and we noticed some checked bags had begun to arrive. We unpacked what we had and returned to the pool. Did a spa tour which was good, enjoyed sail-away (5pm) on Deck 12 near sky bar for a FB group meet up. Missed the spa raffle set for 5:15 pm, disappointed it was same time as sail-away. Back to room to unpack & get ready for dinner, then enjoyed some drinks in Schooner Bar. Best Schooner bar we have seen, it is huge! Jacintha and the other staff are great, always looking for someone to serve and if not they restock & clean. We came once and Jacintha was so apologetic she didn't have something more obscure we wanted; we were fine with it, we recognise things have to come from storage if they run out. Comedian show by Ray Badran was cancelled due to "visa issues" so we had RCI dancers & singers variety show instead. The dancers and singers are good and they are even better that they can be so flexible with their shows, however the choreography is lame, so we left after the second song, enjoyed some drinks in Quill & Compass before dinner in MDR. On a table of 10, most people lovely, 5 were just pains to the staff, felt sorry for them. Be warned most fish is cooked so it is dry; mass production. People were struggling with sea sickness, myself included so it was an early night. DAY 2 SEA DAY(Formal): Not great weather so read in Solarium early before it got busy. Enjoyed the Next Cruise Seminar for info on some different itineraries. Bought a new chain for a pendant at the Inch of Gold Sale and the staff did it in time for dinner. Had lunch in Izumi, best Miso ever! The sashimi & roll we ordered were filling, but not the freshest. From some other experiences (see Chefs Day 6) despite the ship leaving from Sydney it seems all the seafood is imported from the US. Despite the buying power RCI has, I would have thought it more cost effective and certainly better quality to purchase AUS or NZ produce when in port. Joined the mini-golf tournament then had to get ready for Welcome Aboard by Captain. Enjoyed pre-drinks in Champagne Bar where the ladies are excellent hostesses; remember your order & again always looking for people to serve, one at the bar, one doing tables and the third doing whatever is needed. We met a nice couple and chatted so much we missed the captain's speech, however we had noticed that he was rather monotonous and lacking energy. We enjoyed dinner with the couple, we all had beverage package so were not upset we had missed the free champagne. Champagne Bar has a beautiful outlook and is a good place to read or watch the world go by even when the bar is closed. We skipped the show since neither of us are much into the band Queen. After dinner went to Starquest that had rubbish 80’s music (as opposed to good 80’s music) til midnight then they were meant to have top 40’s hits, but they were few and far between; big let down. DAY 3 SEA DAY (Casual/Country): Still not great weather so the poolside BBQ for the NFL was cancelled. Due to the big night previously we did not do much. We skipped the show “Swing, Stage & Soul” with the singers & dancers. We did go to the Crown & Anchor welcome back party in Colony Club which was very busy, the queue went back to the Centrum. Caught a little bit of the “If you know it dance it” game in the Centrum hosted by Marena who was full of enthusiasm; good fun game we had not seen before. You just dance the signature move/s for the song to win for your team. Had dinner in MDR again and an early night. DAY 4 NOUMEA 8-5:30 (Casual/Rock n Roll): See Noumea port review. We were back on ship by 1pm, enjoyed the pool & lunch in windjammer. Skipped the show again, it was “Jon Darsk” who appeared to be a singer of Rock n Roll. Had drinks in the Schooner Bar before dinner in Chop’s Grill. We still love Chop’s Grill. We are getting better at not ordering too much. BF had mushroom soup, 6oz steak (ordered 9oz, but it is good they gave him 6 oz), I had scallop entree, 6 oz steak and we shared baked potato, spinach, asparagus & mushrooms. Steaks came out med-rare as requested. BF loved his soup and the sides were excellent. You no longer choose what sauce you want, you just get jus. Mississippi Mud Pie was excellent. Always love Chop’s and is our top speciality choice. We hit Starquest again with Michael Jackson til 11:30 and Top 40 after, but it still lacked  DAY 5 LIFOU 8-4:30 (Casual/White): See Lifou port review. We were back on ship about 1pm. We had lunch in Windjammer and took a nap because this evening we had Chef’s Table. Pre-Drinks for Chef’s starts at 6pm and once everyone arrives the service starts. Unfortunately one couple tarrived late and drunk; the other guests were good and we enjoyed the conversation with the people nearby to us. The dishes were: confit salmon & poached lobster tail w fennel salad; cream of celeriac soup, double duck consommé, duck brioche sandwich; seared scallops w burnt butter hollandaise sauce, pea puree & crispy capers; veal fillet w sherry reduction & potato; nougat pavlova parfait. Each dish was delicious. NB. The scallops come from Denver, Colorado and have the roe removed much to the NZ couples at the table astonishment; I believe the whole table thought it was crazy the company does not use AUS or NZ scallops. The wines I forget the names of however they were great picks with each dish, standard glass pours and top ups were offered. The explanations from Chef Gregory and the sommelier were wonderful. The interruptions by the late drunk people were offensive and shameful. We enjoyed the Chef’s table experience so much we booked again and would do it on other itineraries. Went to the white party down in Centrum which had good music, then onto Starquest that was also in better shape, or it may have been all the wine at dinner ;) DAY 6 VILA 8-4:30 (Casual/Island): We organised our own full day tour w Atmoshpere, we were a small group of 6 adults and 3 kids. We did the Marine conservation tour that included: village visit, turtle conservation, swim in lagoon, lunch, pre-school visit & duty free stop. All parts were great, apparently the teachers never came to the school that day so there were no kids to give gifts to. The tour guide kept the stuff and would give it to them next time. Lunch was wonderful in a pavilion over the water. When we look at another cruise through Vila we will look at Atmosphere tours again. We weren’t back on the ship til 3:30pm and after the late night and full day tour we were exhausted ready for a nap. Drinks in Quill & Compass before 7:45pm show “Jonathon Clark” who is singing comedian impersonator. Q&C we had been to a few times, good on the way back to room late to pick up bottles of water ready for port days & for drinks before shows. Pallav and the two women were good bar tenders; again friendly & efficient. The Jonathon Clark show was good entertainment and we were glad to make the effort to attend despite how tired we were. Dinner in the MDR was as expected followed by an early night. DAY 7 CHAMPAGNE BAY8-4:30 (Casual): See Champagne Bay port review. Back on ship ~3:30pm, had a nap, skipped the Rod Stewart show and had drinks in the Centrum. In Centrum was the “Millionaire gameshow” (read: Who wants to be a millionaire?). Was good half hour entertainment and the lady won the whole prize pool of cruise “crap” as the host loved calling it. It is nice to know they recognise it is junk, thought they could have at least given out a bottle of wine. Centrum bar staff were good with table service. Had dinner at Samba Grill. We went light on the entrée/sides bar knowing that the meat courses would be filling. The meats were all good and once we had enjoyed each of the 11 types we were asked if there were any we would like again. Dessert was nice. Feel that Samba is good for families because it is the most relaxed of the Speciality Dining restaurants we have been to. After dinner went to the Love & Marriage game show (disappointed it was on at 10:30pm, previously we’ve had it on in the afternoon of a sea day). Glad we made the effort despite how tired we were. DAY 8 LUGANVILLE 7-3:30PM (Casual): See Luganville port review. We returned to the ship at 2pm exhausted and dripping wet, so cleaned up and napped. We left Luganville late due to a helicopter having to come from Vila for a guest that needed a specialist not found in Luganville. We dragged ourselves out of bed and went to the Tango Buenos Aires show at 7:15pm. The guest dancers Walter & Marcela were beautiful to watch along with their special band. Definitely worth watching, shame about the middle aged couple behind us talking and singing throughout. We had an easy dinner in the MDR before an early night, it was also a bit rocky. DAY 9 MYSTERY ISLAND 10-5:30PM (Casual): We arrived late at 11am due to some yucky weather. The tender system is never good for even 10am arrivals so our plan was to hang out on the ship til after lunch and then go across, not a bad idea since it wasn’t a nice day and we had been before. We found a friend and played some mini-golf, then some pool on the self-levelling pool tables. Lunch in the windjammer. Tender ticket system was still going at 2:15 and the weather had not improved much so we decided to just skip Mystery Island. We live 10 min walk from the beach so it is not awful to skip one port. We kept busy until early evening and upon return to our cabin our stateroom attendant thought we must have been to Mystery Island because he hadn’t seen us since the morning. I feel it is a good sign of how you can entertain yourselves on the ship. We skipped the show w violinist Ian Cooper. We caught some of the “If you know it sing it” game show in the Centrum. Had dinner in Giovanni’s and it was disappointing. We have been before and enjoyed it, but our server was not great, he seemed disappointed we had a drinks package the first time we had experienced that. We had the mezze plate & tomato/bococinni salad for appetisers, followed by mushroom risotto for BF and I had penne. He loved his risotto, my penne was ok, the meeze plate was good as expected. Mains were a fail. BF ordered the lamb cutlets, they came with gravy and chopped corn/capsicum/zucchini. He said the lamb was good, but the vegetables did not suit the dish, I agree it did not look appealing. I ordered the fish, which of course was dry and came with what felt like a potato version of mac & cheese. There was about two cups of it and then some asparagus which was the only positive part. Dessert BF said he loved his tiramisu the only reason we go there really, I had a cannoli that seemed stale and the filling was lumpy. Giovanni’s will be strongly reconsidered on our next cruise. DAY 10 ISLE OF PINES 8-4:30PM (Casual/70’s): See Isle of Pines review. We were back on the ship about 1pm. Spent the afternoon at the pool watching “The Social Network” the screen was a bit difficult to see except from the pool or spa and sometimes hard to hear. I went a little wild and took up the spa’s 10-20-30 deal and spent the early evening getting a facial before going to dinner. Facial was excellent. We had dinner in the MDR which was nice. DAY 11 SEA DAY (Formal): Caught the vegetable carving demo in the morning. I spent a few hours in the spa getting hair done and mani-pedi whilst BF had a go at the poker tournament where as one of the final two they split the winnings! We had Chef’s Table booked again so got ready and had some drinks in the Colony Club beforehand. Colony Club was almost always empty unless there was something on so it was quick to get a drink and the chairs are comfortable to watch the wake of the ship. I think it is a very underutilised space. Chefs Table was excellent again but spent too much time talking and not enough eating so enjoyed the wine a bit too much. Afterwards we joined the Quest Gameshow at 10:30pm. It was packed and because we came a little late from Chef’s we couldn’t get a seat or join a team  It was still excellent to watch. I think we went to Starquest after for a short dance. DAY 12 SEA DAY (Casual): After an extremely exciting night it was a go slow day. The poolside BBQ was good. Spent some more time in the spa getting a seaweed wrap and massage that were excellent. Although all the spa stuff was expensive it was good and I would consider doing it again since these are things I never do at home (all DIY mani-pedis and haircuts here). Dinner was good in the MDR with Suthakar & Leny. DAY 13 DEBARKATION: We did the walk off option and were home within an hour and half from walking off the ship. We would take Radiance and any in the class again. This was an excellent itinerary and would do it again. Many thanks to the excellent staff.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2015
Just returned from a cruise to New Caledonia & Vanuatu - first time on Carnival. Have been on Radiance twice in 2014. Both are similar sizes so I decided to try to help anyone trying to decide. Would I go on either again - ... Read More
Just returned from a cruise to New Caledonia & Vanuatu - first time on Carnival. Have been on Radiance twice in 2014. Both are similar sizes so I decided to try to help anyone trying to decide. Would I go on either again - definitely. One caveat - It's been over 12 months since our last RCI cruise, and I am referring to our experiences from then. Both are similar sizes - about 2,000 passengers. Demographics - We are in our 50's and were travelling with teenagers on both lines, so have a perspective from two different angles. Ships overall: Radiance is similar to many other RCI ships in that it has a tall glass atrium in the centre of the ship, and is decorated in lighter tones. It gives a feeling of openness and elegance compared to the Legend. Also found it easier to get around with a proliferation of display touch screens abounding in public areas. These also gave details of the day's activities around the ship. With Carnival you have to carry the itinerary with you - no big deal but less convenient. Legend is decorated in the theme of ancient legends and gods. It is more closed in than Radiance, with a proliferation of Grecian urns for railings and decorative highlights. Dark toned wood and ceilings made initial impressions on a gloomy day seem a little claustrophobic. It did lift as daylight faded and the artificial lighting took over. I heard it described as ostentatious and ornate, or heavy handed and dark. I subscribe to the latter - overdone. Balcony rooms on both are similar, and adequate - a small hotel room with a small balcony. I didn't mind the extra cost as I like some quite open air time to myself for much appreciated reading time. My tip would be to take a shorter cruise in an inside room or window only room and see if you can handle it, and save some cash - you'll need it for the other stuff onboard. Legend has 3 pools - 2 public and one reserved for adults in an adults only area. Radiance has 2 with one being an adults only pool tastefully done in tropical temple décor. It is more protected than Legend, and can be covered over in poor weather. Food & Drinks This is what cruising is largely about. If you drink a lot of alcoholic drinks on holiday, be prepared for large bill - you can't take a carton of beer or a case of wine on board. My experience is that RCI has the better option, with the ability to purchase an alcoholic drinks package not available on Carnival, and a wider range of cocktails. Soft drink packages can be purchased on either, although Carnival uses canned soft drinks, not post-mix for their package. In any case, carefully look at how much you expect to consume before you sign up for a package. These are usually only available on the first day. RCI uses $US, and Carnival AUD, so exchange rates may be an issue. Main dining room food is very similar, and usually of fairly good quality. Wait staff are also similar - we found excellent and average staff on both lines. RCI seem to be more accommodating in matching you with your requested staff, when you find a good team. My wife is coeliac, and both lines try to accommodate, sometimes successfully and sometimes less so. We have concluded it boils down to the individual chef who is preparing the order. The main buffet area is similar for both, but RCI do vary their food a bit more. We found that the Carnival offering was starting to become monotonous after a few days. They also seem to close for longer times than on RCI - missed breakfast quite often because we surfaced after 10 am. Also, the flow of people seem better with the Radiance’s layout. RCI also have a very reasonable "fine dining" package that gives access to a variety of specialist restaurants, including the excellent Chef's table, where a senior chef takes you through a multi course meal, explaining how he prepares the meals before he goes away to do it. Matched throughout with suitable wines. We thoroughly enjoyed this when on a longer cruise. Legend only has the one fine dining restaurant, but it was very good. Entertainment RCI has good points - the aerial show in the atrium is excellent, and some of the invited performers in the theatre are also good (like Carnival it can vary from artist to artist). Unfortunately most of the other performers are fairly 'tame'. They had a reasonable rock n roll band, but they only played shortish stints, and never went past about 11.30pm. The only other option later at night was the piano bar or the disco. Carnival had more lively artists - the rock band was truly great, and a duo and solo artists who could all play and sing very well. Also Legend had music playing at all times in recreational areas - not so RCI. It lent to more of a party/holiday atmosphere (although the DJ wasn't very lively). Legend had excellent comedy performers most nights. The resident show performances were also very high quality, and the final rock tribute show was good enough to be part of a live theatre production you would happily pay to see at a big city venue. Another plus for Carnival is the wait staff in the main dining room put on a 'parade' every night - a little daggy dance that lifts the mood every night. By contrast this only happens every now & then on RCI. Cruise directors - have seen 3 on RCI and one on Carnival - Jen on Legend wins hands down. Maybe she should transfer to RCI and teach them how to appear to be lively and enthusiastic about getting people revved up. Cruising with kids Can only speak firsthand about teenagers, but ours went a couple of times to the RCI program, and then hung around with us - apparently the parents were a lot more exciting! Also noticed that a few of the video machines would take your credit & then not co-operate. Talking to parents with younger kids RCI was quite good with them. Both have mini-golf and a sports court, with Radiance having a great rock climbing wall, countered by an excellent water slide on Legend. Our teenagers were happier on Legend, with more things to do. Also a lot of seemingly happy parents with littlies on Legend. Maybe the best option would be one of the RCI megaliners like Voyager with more options for kids (but be prepared for the crowds). Other Stuff: Excursions were similar and fairly pricey - do your research, choose carefully, and consider the alternative of getting something cheaper on shore - just be sure they will get you back well before the ship sails, or you are up for the cost of getting to the next port yourself. Photographers from both lines will try to get you to get portraits and shore photos done. These can be excellent, but beware of the cost. RCI does packages which can initially seem pricey, but on the last trip (as a family of 5) we brought back almost 200 photos - most were excellent. In comparison the Carnival cruise saw us with about a quarter of the number of photos for twice the cost. This is something Carnival needs to consider (along with the drinks package). Service staff were generally good on both lines. They work hard for long days and long terms. They respond well when you thank them & appreciate what they do for you. We did find that the general (non-service) staff on RCI to be just a tad more ready to say hello with a smile than on Carnival, but again no big deal. We feel the art auctions (same marketing company on both lines) are a waste of time, and the space could be better served for something more entertaining, particularly these days when there are a lot of repeat cruisers – seen one, seen ‘em all). RCI has slightly wider range of stock in their shops, but don’t expect a department store of supermarket. Try to make sure you have enough supplies in your luggage. Hope this is helpful, and didn’t actually make it more difficult. Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
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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