We have done 4 cruises with RC in total. Our first family cruise was on Radiance in 2012, and we loved it - amazing food, great atmosphere. So when we booked a family cruise for our parents 50th anniversary, we chose Radiance again, to ... Read More
We have done 4 cruises with RC in total. Our first family cruise was on Radiance in 2012, and we loved it - amazing food, great atmosphere. So when we booked a family cruise for our parents 50th anniversary, we chose Radiance again, to find many changes - not for the better. The 2 couple cruises we did were no better - we will be trying other cruise lines.
FOOD: 2012 food was incredible - huge selection, very high standard, special events such as fruit carving and chocolate showcase evening. Not in 2017 - the smaller selection in the buffets is bland and the same every day for the entire cruise. One night, I ordered Key Lime pie - which had zero lime flavour. When I spoke to the chef who prepared it, he said he had never tasted KLP, and had no idea what it should taste like!
5 years ago, when the staff were celebrated on the last night, the chefs filled the huge staircase - now there are 16.
One exception - Chef's Table is still at the high standard it has always enjoyed.
If you want to party - fine! However, in the evenings, there are ZERO quiet places in the ship where couples or families can talk, play cards, etc. All areas such as library, card room etc are subject to extremely loud music / activities from the Centrum. All areas such as Colony club have loud music and activities.
Half of the enclosed pool/solarium area is noxious with cigarette smoke, and too cold / windy to sit in cooler weather anyway.
Worst of all, the smoking zone is close to one of the only areas young kids can go to swim with the family.
Considering the ludicrous prices charged for ship's photography, which costs RC next to nothing to produce, the quality of the photographers is dismal. The pics produced by the roaming photo staff in dining rooms etc were for the most part worthless - over exposed faces, dark backgrounds, bad background choices, poor framing and poor composition of couples/groups. For the more planned photo offerings, the backdrops such as ocean views etc were always set up in the most difficult and annoying locations, such as right in the middle of the walkway from a major staircase to a busy lounge area.
Guide on the bus had a very strong accent, difficult to understand, and kept forgetting dates, names and other info about the tour destination. Often she would just ramble off into stories that had nothing to do with the tour.
The tour description said: "Treasure a leisure day exploring Hahndorf", suggesting a full day in town...The stop in town was less than 2 hours - much shorter than the drive one way, and allowed time to eat in the very busy and slow restaurants or to sightsee - but not both. The tour needed to leave earlier and return later, which was possible based on the timing of other tours that day.
2. DANDENONGS "COUNTRYSIDE, BIRDS & VINTAGE TRAIN (PUFFING BILLY)"
(Expectation: When I visited the Puffing Billy with my mother in the past, we were taken on a walk around the surrounds of the stations to hear native birds, explore the rainforest etc, before a long ride through the forest on the steam train).
This ended up being a US $450 / AUD $600 family trip for a 25 minute train ride!
The gory details:
The guide for the day, Helmut, when he gave information at all on the bus trip to the Dandenongs, was simply reading from an ipad, and kept dropping the microphone too low for us to hear. We arrived 45 minutes before train was due to depart, but were not told this. We were taken to the platform, given our tickets, and then sat in the stationary train staring at each other for 45 minutes waiting to depart, when we could have been walking in the nearby forest or enjoying morning tea in the cafe.
The train finally left, and we rode to the first station (there are 5 in total). We were then ordered off the train, and loaded back on the tour bus, where we sat for 30 minutes staring at each other again. We then drove IN THE BUS following the train to the next 2 stations. No information was given. (It turns out we were looking for the only passenger smart enough to stay on the train !)
There was no refreshment or lunch stop - not even a bottle of water. We then drove bak to Melbourne (almost an hour) while the guide sat and looked out the window, givng no history or info at all. When asked "Where are we; what's happening..?" the answer was simply "We are going back to the boat."
The a passenger asked to be dropped off in Melbourne City. So ON AUSTRALIA DAY, the bus drove (into traffic gridlock and closed streets due to pubic holiday and parades) in Melbourne CBD to drop him off, then we sat for another hour in the traffic. Still no information was given at any time. (Any Aussie on the bus could have given a better commentary, with info about Melbourne, Governor Philip, Australian history etc, than this guide.
We arrived back at the ship 6 hours after we left - from a 25 minute train ride, 45 minutes sitting in a station, 30 minutes sitting in a bus going nowhere, 60 minutes in traffic we were not supposed to be in, and 3 1/2 hours of staring out the bus window at the Melbourne Freeway - no water, no toilet breaks, no commentary.
...and when we lined up with the other passengers from that day to complain to RC guest services, they tried to offer a 10% discount on the cost of the tour! Read Less