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

We joined the Radiance of the Seas for a December 2012 ex Sydney (Australia)South Pacific cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. The ship was full partly due its presence, partly to its cruise location and partly to the date. Historically ... Read More
We joined the Radiance of the Seas for a December 2012 ex Sydney (Australia)South Pacific cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia. The ship was full partly due its presence, partly to its cruise location and partly to the date. Historically ships of this standard don't visit destinations in the south pacific so many people jumped at the chance. The ship lived up to expectations and previous reviews. It is a genuine 4 star ship and crew.The captain is welcoming to passengers AND crew on a daily basis, is seen about the ship and participates in Captains Corner and Cake Making sessions. His friendliness, good communications and attention to passengers seems to be contagious with the crew which pleased the predominately Australian list. The ship has all the makings for good dining, entertainment and relaxation. It may not be the biggest or newest but it is clean with a good layout and most standard trimmings. It is more middle class with a high percentage of balcony cabins yet still providing the luxury of specialty restaurants and features. It is a ship perfectly placed for the first time and middle of the road cruisers. With some 2300 passengers it is flexible with attention to dining, entertainment, personal space and comfort. OK time to be negative. Sure there are some things that could be better but I emphasise they are minor in significance. The existing formula works well. The outdoor pool is small, the bathroom is small (especially noted by large people), the refridgerator is a cooler only,the cinema is small (50)and no public laundry. Some highlights include the theatre shows and productions, quality of food (as distinct from quantity),the variety of entertainment (to cover all interests and ages), the quiet public space, the smoothness of embarkation, disembarkation,tender service and the cooperative and friendly approach of senior dining room waiters to people with special diets (there was a high number of passengers in this category). All passengers we spoke with enjoyed the ship. We would happily use it again and overall it represented good value. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
It was a lovely sunny day in Sydney when my husband and I board Radiance of the Seas. We had to queue for our checkin but within an hour we were onboard the ship. We went to Windjammers for our lunch and it was packed. Our room was not ... Read More
It was a lovely sunny day in Sydney when my husband and I board Radiance of the Seas. We had to queue for our checkin but within an hour we were onboard the ship. We went to Windjammers for our lunch and it was packed. Our room was not ready yet but after lunch we checked it out. We had a Oceanview room on Deck 4. It was nice and compact. Storage was good and we could put our big luggage underneath the bed. We met our Cabin Attendant, Alvin and he was very helpful and kept the cabin clean for the next 14 days. In the evening we went to the Main Dining Room where we met our Waiter, Vincent and his Assistant Waitress, Marian from the Philippines. They tried hard to please and even remembered little things like my husband having his coffee without sugar and my favourite green tea after dinner. The food was above average overall with my favourite being Surf and Turf. The Head Waiter, Jeffery is also very meticulous and checked on the level of service throughout the cruise. We tried the Japanese speciality restaurant, Izumi but the salmon sashimi was not as fresh as it should be. The entertainment in the evening was excellent and varied. We normally go for the show in the Aurora Theatre and after that we hanged out at the Colony Club. My favourite show is the Tango Buenos Aires Show - stunning, pulsating Latin music and dance with Walter and Marcela. As this is my first trip to New Zealand, I found the scenery very beautiful and majestic especially the Milford Sounds. We did out own exploration except we used the ship shuttle in Wellington. Our favourite port was Auckland as it was a cosmopolitan and bustling city. We also enjoyed Dunedin as the locals were helpful and friendly. I was worried about crossing the Tasman Sea but luckily the seas were calm. In fact we had very good weather for the duration of the cruise. Overall we enjoyed ourselves and signed up for our next cruise in Asia whilst onboard the ship. We made some new friends and loved the sheer freedom and all inclusiveness in a cruise. We will be back for more.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We took a sampler cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas in February, that was fun. We had some spare cash and needed some relaxation and sunshine and decided to check out what was available with RCCL, via the Internet. We were offered a 22 ... Read More
We took a sampler cruise on Rhapsody of the Seas in February, that was fun. We had some spare cash and needed some relaxation and sunshine and decided to check out what was available with RCCL, via the Internet. We were offered a 22 day Odyssey which included a 16 day cruise on Radiance of the Seas, leaving Sydney (Oct 12) and arriving in Perth, with plenty of sea time and some stops in Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Darwin, Bali, Port Headland, Geraldton and eventually Perth. The stopovers were all interesting in their own way, we had been to all of them before on separate holidays and went ashore at most places, enjoying what was offered by the locals. Radiance is a lovely ship, we were aware of the recent refit. This word unfortunately conjures up the view that the whole ship as been re outfitted. So there were some disappointed people, but going to the talk by Capt Bill we it was explained, the refit was mostly electrical updates e.g. wifi to every room plus flat screen TVs, I can't remember what else. So, 16 days Sydney to Perth, wonderful weather and light seas the whole trip. Capt Bill kept us well informed each (late) morning as to exactly where we were, expected weather & sea conditions, depth of water & current seas and air temps. We had taken a starboard cabin which proved perfect, with weather conditions as hot as 33+ degrees, we never had the sun on us, only the lovely wrap around warmth of the day. Hence reading our book or having our breakfast on the balcony was always a pleasure. Room service is great and FREE. When rounding the tip of 'Oz' we were quite close to land and many were on deck to enjoy the moment. Lots of us had been that far up Australia by land, so to see some of the area from the sea was interesting. Food - Amazing! We ate mostly as Cascades, with a need to be careful what we ate (one a diabetic) we found this an ideal way to select our food and not eat too much. With Vegan, Low sugar, Gluten free meals always on the menu. Waiting staff were always lovely and helpful. Windjammer Restaurant is also nicely furnished but the amount of food on offer can be overwhelming at times. Park Cafe is a lovely spot, it is so nice lots of us thought you paid extra when eating there, also Latte-tudes Cafe, where you pay for coffee but the cakes are free. The Solarium Pool is a lovely area and no children allowed. Sorry about that but they do have a lovely area of their own. It appeared to us there was a very good children & youth program on board, with a disco, with Dexter the basketballer who was teaching the young ones. We were made aware of how many children were on board, when a line of pirates passed by one evening, I guess they were about to take over the ship - Aargh! Or maybe walk the plank! Golf area is fun, room full of electronic games if you must play. Very nice pool for the littlies with a slide. We found the Quill & Compass Pub, with singer Paul. Then on through to Colony Club and Schooner Club. Wii games on very large TVs and very comfy lounge areas, almost like cosy home lounges. Chess, pool tables, so much to do and see. There's Line dancing here and trivia and talks on just about everything, we had The Antique Road show, very interesting. Pool areas - often a problem on ships and resorts, where 'some Europeans' insist on waking at dawn to place towels & books on chairs to make sure they have a spot for sometime in the day when they 'might' need it! On Radiance - IT DID NOT HAPPEN. Pool Security discreetly kept an eye on things, including bottles & glasses in areas where they should not be, I hope they do this as well on all their cruises. Maybe it's because of the type/nationality of the cruisers but it was so nice to arrive at the pool at any time and find a lounger. The Library, near our cabin had lots of mind puzzles out every day, also jigsaw's were being done in that area too. All the musical items were very good, shows we saw were really good except for the 'trance' fellow - so 60's! Pool party was fun even for us oldies. Wonderful BBQ around the pool, one at lunch time and another at the Pool Party after leaving Darwin, magic warm evening to do this. The whole cruise was lovely, we never heard one grumble from anyone, not even about the paying of gratuities, so I can only say that we were all very content with the staff, food, ship, room, captain etc. and we are already sailing again on Radiance, only next time it is August 2013 in Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
We had a nice easy boarding and it only took us about 15 minutes from getting up the elevator to boarding the ship. Radiance is a beautiful ship and we did enjoy our cruise but Rhapsody set the bar and Radiance failed to meet it. There ... Read More
We had a nice easy boarding and it only took us about 15 minutes from getting up the elevator to boarding the ship. Radiance is a beautiful ship and we did enjoy our cruise but Rhapsody set the bar and Radiance failed to meet it. There were no major issues on the ship but just a few little things that let it down. I dont think the room attendants were as thorough as they could have been - the rubbish wasnt emptied on a few occasions or the towels replaced even though they were where they were supposed to be to be replaced and we had to ask for top sheets for the kids beds as even though the room air con is individually controlled it was still hot and stuffy in the room at times, some of the staff could be abrupt and rude - not to us but to other people around us, the food at times was a little under par, there didnt seem to be as many activities available but this may have been due to 7 islands in 12 days and the tendering process didnt seem very smooth or as organised as on Rhapsody. We visited Noumea, Lifou, Champagne Bay, Port Vila, Louganville, Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. All the islands are very beautiful and each of them has stalls or shops available. We found the Aussie dollar much more widely accepted on this cruise than the first. The people are all smiling and happy and genuinely welcome visitors. We didnt do any ship organised tours as it is way out of our price range - it was easy enough to barter with a local to drive us where we wanted to go - for those new to this game dont pay them until they take you back to the ship. There are stalls everywhere and the souvenirs etc all very similar with the best value being at Port Vila I think. I think the biggest problem on the ship was how rude many of the other passengers could be. All I will say is show some manners and common courtesy to fellow cruisers and the staff. The Captain on the ship was fantastic and kept us up to date with everything including an itinerary change due to a cyclone forming not far from Champagne bay. Our dinner waiters in Cascades were the best and always had a laugh and a smile and kept the kids entertained with magic tricks. We never had to ask for a thing they just did it eg refills on the kids drinks or ketchup for the kids chips. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Our gruop consisted of my husband and I (50's), our three children aged 20,23 and 24 and my mother and her sister(80's). Check-In Embarkation in Sydney was very slow and chaotic. I have left from this terminal with another ... Read More
Our gruop consisted of my husband and I (50's), our three children aged 20,23 and 24 and my mother and her sister(80's). Check-In Embarkation in Sydney was very slow and chaotic. I have left from this terminal with another cruise line without any of the hassle. Check in was a disaster with credit card accounts set up as cash accounts, and despite providing a waiver and confirming three times my 20 yo daughter still received a seapass card which prevented her from consuming alcohol. Guest Services Overall the worst service on the ship. It took two two trips to fix my daughters seapass card only to be advised that she needed to carry two pieces of paper with her at all times to be able to purchase drinks. On Day Three our children's seapass cards were cancelled as they had set up their account as a cash only account despite us registering online as a credit account and providing credit cards details at check in. Two more trips to Guest Relations to fix this problem. Day Four saw my Seapass card cancelled. They added our credit card details to the children's stateroom, but in doing so removed them from ours placing us on a cash only account. It took five trips to Guest Relations to fix this one, as the first three times they reissued cards saying I must have placed them near my mobile phone. I kept asking if there was a problem with the account and only on the forth visit did they check and told me my bank was to blame. Visit five that day and they admitted they had accidentally removed the credit cards and finally fixed it. Pretty embarrassing when every time you try to use your Seapass card it is rejected. Ports and Shore Excusions Being a large group we decided to arrange our own tours. Mostly hiring a vehicle and driving ourselves. Anyone who has booked a tour through the ship has priority leaving the ship meaning there was quite a wait for tenders. Even though we queued for some time to get early tender tickets it still took at least 1-/12 hours from advertised arrival time to be able to get ashore. In Brisbane we docked at the grain terminal miles from anywhere. $30 to Dining We purchased the dining package but only got to use 3 of the restaurants. Chops Grille was OK but we were seating at a table facing a blank corner. Food was plentiful but I did not rate the steak as any better than in the dining room. The Captains Table was a lovely meal and the wine pairing was mostly very good. A bit disappointed in the saki and amaretto which were not to every one's liking. The night was spoiled as the ship's air conditioning was not working and it was too hot in a small room. The meal at Giovanni's was excellent with very large serves. The food in the dining room was very good and always something to satisfy the very fussy eaters in our group. Our table staff Otis and Jimmy were outstanding and made a real fuss of my daughter who celebrated her birthday on the cruise. Ate lunch in the dining room a few times which was very good. Try the salad bar - excellent choice. Windjammer was OK for breakfast but the choice was the same every day. Lunch was disappointing and the quality was poor. It was impossible for us to sit together as a group and resorted to sitting outside for all meals here. There is just not enough room available. Drinks We purchased a wine package - definitely the way to go if you want a bottle of wine with your dinner. Happy Hour at Rita's Cantina is a must - they make the best Margaritas and between 6.30 and 7.30 they have a special buy 2 get one free. The staff here are excellent and really looked after us. Cocktails of the day were interesting and usually $6 - $8. Basic spirits were around $6.50 and cocktails range between $7 and $10. Normal beers were $6.50Stateroom We had three staterooms together on Deck 9. Our stateroom attendant was fantastic. Nothing was too much trouble. Only issue was a plumbing problem on our Deck which was fixed very quickly. Entertainment A good variety of activities catering for all of our group. Mostly the shows were of a good standard. Found you had to get to most activities around 30 minutes early to be able to get a seat. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We got a last-minute cruise offer in late November as the ship was nearly full, and only interior cabins were left. We have always travelled with a balcony on previous cruises but decided we would try an interior cabin this time as it can ... Read More
We got a last-minute cruise offer in late November as the ship was nearly full, and only interior cabins were left. We have always travelled with a balcony on previous cruises but decided we would try an interior cabin this time as it can be quite a lot cheaper. We found we coped very well with no windows and the cabin had everything we needed and was very quiet and in a good location on level 3 (just a quick walk up to the main decks on 4, 5 and 6 where all the facilities were located (dining room, guest reception, atrium bar, shops, theatre etc.) Close to the external glass lifts which gave a very spacious feel and view to the inside and outside. Looking down 9 floors into the Atrium through the internal lifts was very pleasant. Also as my partner was a smoker, he could take a quick walk upstairs to deck 5 and onto the promenade deck where one side is designated for smokers, as well as an area on deck 11 near the pool. However the deck 11 area was always choking with cigarette smoke and deck 5 was a better option. Only one suggestion would be to make sure you take a digital clock which lights up at night as it was hard to see the time on my mobile phone without finding my glasses. Having said that, once you were in the darkened room there was some light from the airconditioning control and sprinkler on the ceiling, and just a small amount from around the outside of the door. I was able to see sufficiently to get to the bathroom door in the dark before turning the light on. Embarkation was not good. An email advised that we could start from 11am but on arrival from the airport at 11.30am, the lines were very long and people were standing out in the hot sun. There is little cover and you have to line up outside the entry area before proceeding upstairs to the security and customs area. We went away to have lunch in the Rocks area and did not come back until about 1.45pm. The lines had reduced but it still took 1.5 hours to get through the embarkation process. Not the cruise lines fault but the poor design of the overseas passenger terminal to service such a large ship. Same delay was had at the Darling Harbour terminal in 2010 for a Princess Cruise, nearly 2 hours of waiting. In future we would not arrive until after 2-3pm to embark. At least at Circular Quay you can go away to the markets in the Rocks area and enjoy some of the Sydney views. The markets are very good with quality and different goods and in pleasant surroundings. Disembarkation also took quite some time. A bottleneck getting off the ship and then finding transport outside. We were scheduled to disembark at 9.10am and did not get off for about an hour and then had to wait for the shuttle bus to the domestic airport, arriving at about 11.30am. Do not be in a hurry and book an early flight!!!! Dining Options: Something to know for cruisers to New Zealand is that the sun does not set until about 9pm. So going to dinner at 8pm it is still daylight outside so you can see the sunset for the late sitting of dinner. We had "My Time" dining and liked the experience. Tried an early time for dining to go to the 7pm show afterwards, but found it was the most popular and when you finished you had to go to the theatre about 30 minutes before the show otherwise it would be full. We then decided to see the early show at 7pm and book for 8pm dinner in the My Time dining area on level 5. Meals were of a good small size, variety and presented well. We had purchased a wine package which was very economical and had some really good wines - we particularly like the Estancia Pinot Noir from California. Definitely worthwhile buying a wine package. You can have a glass or two and it is put aside for the next night with your room number. Also you can buy a bottle of wine in the bars and take it with you if you have not finished it, to another bar or your room, but cannot take your bottle from the dining room. Did not use any of the speciality restaurants as we felt the Cascades dining room, Windows and other eating areas provided a wide range of fresh and suitable food for all tastes. Had a light breakfast and lunch at Park Cafe in the Solarium area, and it is also open to 1am for a late night snack and coffee. Entertainment: Generally very good. Royal Caribbean dancers and singers were very entertaining and professional. Guest artists were varied and were of good to excellent quality. From solo singers, magician, musicians etc. However the highlight of the entertainment was the Puppet Man. Very skilled in his craft but also the funniest comedian and entertainer, and kept everyone entertained or his 50 minute show. Including his excellent singing with his puppet. Yes, he did both voices while singing. Singers, musicians and bands in all bars were excellent and entertaining and played to the wants of the crowd. Late night entertainment in the Colony and Schooner bars and the pub were varied and entertaining. They played music for the age group on board - mainly 50+ but a sprinkling of younger ones with only about 50 young people for the childrens club on this particularly sailing. Ship Appearance, Cabins and facilities: Very clean and tidy, hand sanitisers at the entry to all food areas and people encouraged to use them. We did our walking around deck 12 and also the promenade deck on level 5, depending on the weather. It was too cool to use the outside swimming pool but used the hot tub and pool in the solarium and it was very nice. This is a popular area and you have to be quick to get a lounger or chair. Great place to read and look outside, but protected from the wind. I reported that the shower was not draining and seemed to be blocked and this was fixed within an hour or so. Cabins had plenty of cupboard space with nooks and shelving behind many glass panels. Fittings and furniture are OK but some of the drawers stick and need attention. Bedding linen was luxurious and soft, and the beds were very comfortable. Shower always leaked onto the floor as the water nozzle had a mind of its own. Once we worked out to set the heating of the water we were right. Just ask your room steward for assistance otherwise you will have cool showers. We would have no problem going on this ship again. It was a full cruise but we did not feel crowded except waiting to be seated for dinner after the show when everyone went to the dining room. Otherwise it is a very spacious, clean, with lots of areas and bars for sitting around. One complaint: Many cruise ships have added the giant screen on the pool deck. On this cruise it was blaring CNN news, loud music and movies all the time. It is so intrusive to anyone who is on the pool deck or on the walking track on deck 12 and they are bombarded with noise. You cannot find a quite spot to sit and read without this insistent noise from the big screen in the outdoor area. I found this personally annoying and noticed that many others on the deck were shouting to be heard over the continual noise. Perhaps the cruise line should look at what they put on and even turn it off sometimes. Not everyone needs to watch a movie on the pool deck or what the latest is happening in presidential nominations. Ports of Call: Bay of Islands - a beautiful morning to sail along the passage to Paihia and Russell. Mist on the mountains but the sun did shine later. Very similar scenery to the Whitsunday Passages for those that have been there. Tenders to shore were very efficient with the ship excursions being off first. Tender numbering system by the activities staff was well done and managed the huge number of people wanting to ashore. They can only move 400-500 per hour so with nearly 2000 people it took 4-5 hours. We only went off about 11am into Paihia for a walk around. A free shuttle bus was provided from the wharf into the town or it is a 15 minute walk. You can take a guided tour of the Waitangi treaty site and meeting house or walk round the area. There were markets in the park and plenty of shops with souvenirs. Very pretty waterfront and many took the ferry to Russell. We had a cool local beer on the deck on the waterfront watching people come and go. Helicopter lands nearby for rides across the bay. Auckland - a modern city not much different to Brisbane, Sydney or Melbourne. We berthed in the city centre so easy to get around. We were meeting friends and found a lovely cafe with free wifi near the waterfront. It was cloudy, drizzling rain and cool most of the day. Tauranga - the ship berthed at Mt Maunganui which is a seaside hamlet and close to Tauranga. It was cool weather and cloudy but a pleasant walk into town. You can get free wi-fi in a number of shop and Starbucks or Burger King by buying a coffee. We were going to take a walk around the little hill at the end of town where there are hot springs, but had to find a dentist instead. Easy to catch a local bus into Tauranga and look around. Napier - The ship had to reverse into the port area here and it was very interesting as it had to swing to the right and then reverse back into a working port area. We could not walk off this port area but had to be bused into Napier and back to the ship. Unfortunately we could not find a dentist available for an appointment in Tauranga the day before and had to contact our insurance company for assistance who found an emergency dentist in the Hawkes Bay area. The dentist was about a 20 minute ride to Havelock North and was going to cost about $80 each way by taxi. No buses available on a Saturday to get us there either. After speaking to a volunteer who takes guided walking tours around the town of Napier, she offered to take us to the dentist and wait and bring us back. We had an appointment at 2.30pm. So she picked us up and gave us a guided tour on the way out, waited for the repair and then took us on a guided tour of all of the wineries around the area and finally stopped at the Mission Winery Estate, one of the oldest in New Zealand and established by the Marist Brothers. She was the most helpful, warm and entertaining ambassador for the town of Napier and the local tourism area. Beth was delightful and certainly was the highlight of our visit to New Zealand. Napier is a very pretty Art Deco style town with lots of well-maintained building, a large central mall and the locals provide entertainment, and dress in the art deco style throughout the town, providing musical numbers and vintage cars on the wharf and in the town centre. Free wifi in the city centre for 30 minutes. We will return to visit this beautiful region in the future. Wellington - This is a beautiful harbour and I was returning after leaving nearly 30 years ago. On a fine and sunny day it is very picturesque but it was misty, cloudy and cool. The ship berthed in the city centre and there were buses into the city with 2 drop off points or you could walk. There were taxis just outside the gates and you could take a guided tour with them for a couple of hours in the city or up to 5 hours including the city and northwards into the country for NZ$60-$70 per hour. We took an hour taxi ride and I was able to visit places where I had lived, drove around the bays and across to Miramar and the airport and the driver was very entertaining and informative. Showed us where the Lord of the Rings studios are located and where they do all of the digital graphics for movies such as Avatar etc. We got dropped off at the top of the Cable Car and then walked back to the ship after wandering around the city centre. A very easy city to get around from the ship. Akaroa - this is the access port for the city of Christchurch as the Lyttleton port area was destroyed in the earthquake and is still not re-constructed. It is a very pretty harbour area and we once again had tenders in. It was again cloudy, cool and showery and we went for a walk along the waterfront. It has a very French history with street names and buildings with a French heritage. It was a public holiday and many people were visiting from Christchurch, so we strolled around and went back onto the ship. However we were fascinated to hear about the blue pearl which is naturally grown in the local waters and is only found here. They were very different and the jewellery it was manufactured in was beautiful. Unfortunately I did not have enough time to consider buying one, but may next time we visit as they were so unusual and beautiful. Dunedin - It was very cold and windy when we berthed at Port Chambers, the port for Dunedin. A bus ride was $8 each way so it would have been $32 just to get in and back. We elected to stay on the ship and enjoy the ambiance. Many people went on the train journey up the gorge and enjoyed it. There was a huge pile of woodchip on the wharf but with the strong winds, much of it was blown on to the ship and they had to wash it down that night and the next day to clean it up. Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sound - The weather was again cool and cloudy but not as windy as the day before and the cruise through the first 2 sounds was serene and picturesque. Then into Milford Sound and it was majestic with the mountains going straight up. There were many small craft sailing up and down the sound and then the captain slowed down and put the nose of the ship under a 500 foot waterfall. This was a very skilful exercise and done to perfection. We then went to the end of the sound to the town of Milford and collected some passengers who had gotten off in Dunedin and taken an overnight trip inland to Queenstown and then onto to Milford Sound to be picked up again. While we were there the cloud lifted for a short time and revealed the top of the peak and also some snowfields on top of the mountains. We were very fortunate to have been able to sail in such good weather as some cruise ships apparently have not been able to visit due to bad weather in recent days. Sailing days - there were 2 full sailing days over and back and it was enjoyable just to enjoy the ship's facilities and entertainment. On the way over it was quite windy and it cooled down so there was not much activity outside. Sydney - we arrived on Saturday morning and sailed through the heads and it is really a beautiful sail-in and harbour to arrive in. We were berthed overnight at the Overseas Passenger Terminal opposite the Opera House and disembarked on the Sunday. Sydney is a beautiful city day and night and there was a spectacular fireworks display at about 10.15pm in the bay near the Opera House. The views of the city, harbour bridge, opera house and foreshore from the ship were fantastic. Most of the cruise to New Zealand was cool, cloudy and showery in most ports with only the first and last day warm enough to enjoy the sunshine on deck. Even though it is summer, the weather can be changeable and cooler than Sydney or Brisbane. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I believe this was the first time Radiance of the Seas has sailed the South Pacific. The ship is very impressive, walls of glass, fabulous restaurants, excellent food and plenty of shore stops. The evening shows are very good and the ... Read More
I believe this was the first time Radiance of the Seas has sailed the South Pacific. The ship is very impressive, walls of glass, fabulous restaurants, excellent food and plenty of shore stops. The evening shows are very good and the theatre most impressive. With regard to gratuities I would not recommend paying them in advance. The gratuities are paid to state room attendants and staff at the main dining room. If you decide to eat at other restaurants you are not able to allocate any of the prepaid gratuities to these staff. We ate at other restaurants 7 out of the 12 nights so I ended up paying much more in gratuities for the other dining staff. Additionally the prepaid gratuities apparently guarantee "my time" dining where you can choose the time that you eat. Not so. On the first night my children and I waited over an hour for "my time" dining and finally I took them to the steak house, we ate at 10.00pm and the meal cost me $120.00 plus gratuity. . If you go ashore and plan activities try to do so well beforehand. Everyone is on island time. The islands were stunning, particularly Mystery Island and Champagne Bay. Get your tender tickets to get off the boat early - there are 2199 people wanting to get off with you! The pool is very small which is probably fine for Radiance's typical route through Alaska but much too small for a South Pacific cruise where people like to swim. There is another pool but for adults only and a wading pool for children. The scene by the pool in the afternoon can become chaotic but there's always a bar nearby with a friendly bartender. Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
Sailed from Sydney on the 4th of December. The boarding experience was good considering fairly poor facilities at the Sydney International Terminal. Our cabin was ready well prepared and in good condition. Our cabin attendant appeared ... Read More
Sailed from Sydney on the 4th of December. The boarding experience was good considering fairly poor facilities at the Sydney International Terminal. Our cabin was ready well prepared and in good condition. Our cabin attendant appeared almost imediately and was available and helpful for the entire trip. We booked late sitting dining and were seated with for other couples of similar age and were enjoyable company to be with. Our table was near the Captains table on formal nights which was nice. Unfortunately next to us was a table with a young couple and a child under two who cried most nights or knocked wine and food on to the floor this tended to detract from the experience. In addition the father regularly contravened the dress code for the dining room and wore shorts and sometime T-shirts. This attire was tolerated for the entire trip by the Dining room Maitre D despite being brought to his attention by our table supervisor. The dining room dress code is clearly displayed on boards at the entrance of the dining room. The Maitre-D did not support his staff and allowed ships rules to be flagrantly floughted. We wondered what other rules might be allowed to be ignored on the ship. Our wives and most of the ladies brought outfits to dress up and it is dissapointing to see standards being lowered. Our table staff in contrast were fantastic and were 5 star plus. If a rule is not going to be enforced change it, get rid of it! The food was good but a limited selection in the main dining room. One gets the feeling you are being encouaged to go to the pay extra restaurants. The food in the Buffet was also good with more variety though finding tables at times difficult. Generally we organised our own tours ashore as they were much cheaper. We did book a ship tour at the Bay of Islands which we missed as poor weather caused the called to cancelled. We struck fairly rough seas but the Captain did a good job minimising the discomfort and skirting the biggest seas. It was good to be on a 90,000 tonne ship with stabilisers. Unfortunately the American idea of good coffee does not meet the Australian idea of good coffee. The coffee is starbucks in cardboard mugs. Starbucks had to close a lot of their stores in Australia. The Cappuccino is particularly below what Australian's are used to in any of our capital cities. There are little signs that the accountants have been in, no daily news update to the cabins with the daily Cruise Compass, great emphasis to try and encourage passengers to go to the pay extra restaurants. It was however a very enjoyable cruise because of very good attendants, good company and a good itinerary. Special thanks to Jimmy Archer in Tauranga. Would we cruise Royal Caribbean, as we said in the onboard reveiw maybe, maybe not as two of our first considerations are itinerary and the calender dates. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Sailed on the with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' "Radiance of the Seas" from Sydney to Perth via Bali on a 16 day cruise departing on a sunny Saturday afternoon from Circular Quay Sydney, 15 October 2011. This was the first ... Read More
Sailed on the with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' "Radiance of the Seas" from Sydney to Perth via Bali on a 16 day cruise departing on a sunny Saturday afternoon from Circular Quay Sydney, 15 October 2011. This was the first cruise of Radiance in Australian waters however its sister ship Rhapsody of the Seas has just completed its third season. Cruise overall was very enjoyable but I cannot let it pass without first commenting on the booking in procedures. Put simply the embarkation was a complete debacle. RCCL will need to get their act together on this matter before their next cruise in Australia. It was so bad the Captain made the decision to delay the mandatory safety drill till the second day at sea due to the number of elderly passengers distressed by the process. A number actually collapsed while sweltering it out in the lengthy queues. In fact the elderly couple in front of us on the queue were very distressed and needed assistance from my wife during the ordeal. The Captain did formally apologise to all passengers but the damage had obviously already been done. I think the Captain like everyone else would have been very annoyed. The embarkation process was the talking point right throughout the cruise and even on the last day it was still a subject of discussion. Having got the boarding process issue out of the way I have to say that I think Radiance has made a reasonable start to its cruise program around Australasia and has something to build on. The ship itself is very impressive. At 90.000 tonnes it is large but not overly so and you never get the feeling of overcrowding, so common on other lines, with Radiance. There were queues at various times but they were quickly dealt with and were of no real concern. The ship sails smoothly with very little discernable "bumps" of the stabilisers. Even in the quite rough seas on the trip the ship maintained a smooth course. Glass walls dominate the central atrium which itself is some 9 stories high and a spectacular centrepiece for the ship. Faculties are first glass; a well-equipped gym, two adult pools and a children's pool. Actually there are numerous children's facilities and was surprising therefore there were only 60 kids on board. The kids would also like the putt putt course, waterslide, basketball court and inside areas like the cinema and disco/games room. A highly recommended cruise for those with kids. The stand out feature of this cruise for this writer was the food and service. The dining experience was enhanced by the sterling efforts of our waiters Karen and Marvin both of who are from the Philippines, Ever courteous and efficient, but unobtrusive, they made our dining experience all the more enjoyable. The food itself was varied, good portions and beautifully presented. The late sitting was at 8:30 pm which suited out timetable and considerably less crowded than the 6:30 sitting. In fact we enjoyed the food and service in the Cascade Dining Room so much that for the first time on a cruise we did not go to one of the speciality dining restaurants. Extensive wine list is available but purchase in the single bottles is expensive. I would recommend purchase of a wine package which attracts savings of up to 40% on single bottles. As for the food and wine service ditto for our cabin attendant Joel, also from the Philippines, who was forever helpful and very discreet. Our cabin was roomy, well equipped and kept in excellent order by Joel. The beds were comfortable, well presented and there was more than enough storage space for the longest of voyages. Some commented that the shower recesses were small and that is so but this was countered somewhat by the strong water pressure which was a pleasant relief from previous ships. Linen, towelling and bedclothes were high quality. We did not do organised tours but rather made our own way around the ports in hire cars. Tours are expensive but you do get priority tender boarding. Some suggestions for the next venture of Radiance into Australian waters: 1. Improvement to the booking in procedures is a must. There has to be a better way to get 2,000 passengers onto a ship. In particular look at the procedures for issuing of Seapass cards. 2. Review procedures for tender ticket issue. Tender ticket issue for Bali was of particular concern with the queue forming at 11:00 am for a 2:15pm issue. 3. Open the pool bar after 7:00 pm. Keeps passengers on the pool decks rather than crowd the downstairs bars. Several of the insider cabin occupants were annoyed they were effectively dispatched downstairs as the pool bar had closed. 4. Have a late time show starting at 10:00 pm. People usually prefer to dine before a show. 5. Improve the quality of the inside cinema. I think a new projector is badly needed. Screen picture was barely watchable and nowhere near the quality of the large outdoor cinema. 6. Put more effort into the Port Hedland stop off. Do have to mention however that one of the highlights of the cruise however was the send-off we got form the residents of Port Hedland as they lined the shores and cheered as we left their port. 7. The bingo, at $32 a game was too expensive. As a result the crowds dropped off except for the last day. As a consequence payouts were not as high as they could have been. Things to remember before you cruise with Radiance: 1. Don't forget to bring an adapter for American power sockets. Also bring a small four gang power board to re charge all the essentials. 2. The wi fi internet works well but is quite slow and therefore expensive. Bring your mobile dongle which connects in all of the Australian Ports. If you do use the ship's wi fi and you are using an ISP make sure you address error code 550 with regards to the sending of emails. 3. Shampoo, conditioner and hand and body lotions are not provided, so don't forget to bring along. 4. There are no self-serve laundry facilities on board. Airlie beach is four days into the cruise and there is a self-service laundry just as you get of the ship. While not expensive on board ($15 per bag) we were not very happy with the standard of washing provided on board. 5. If you are going to hire cars do so before you leave. We used balieasycarretnal in Bali and were very pleased with the value, the driver and the standard of car. In Darwin AVIS and Budget are a half hour walk from the ship so is probably better to get a taxi. Radiance is a very impressive ship. An enjoyable cruise with some teething issues which I am sure management will address. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
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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