2 Sydney (Australia) to Caribbean - Southern Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Just a word of warning this review is quite long, but if you're interested in a detailed account I might be able to provide some good insights. I've just returned from my first ever cruise with a party of 8 including my ... Read More
Just a word of warning this review is quite long, but if you're interested in a detailed account I might be able to provide some good insights. I've just returned from my first ever cruise with a party of 8 including my boyfriend, MIL, family and a family friend, and we had a wonderful time. It was a great experience for a party of first time cruisers. We got to the ship at about 1:30 on departure day, and the line looked long but moved quickly. It would be no small task to get 2,500 passengers onto an international ship, and we were very impressed with the process. We were greeted by lots of smiling crew members, set up our folio easily and in about 40 minutes we were at our room meeting our Stateroom Attendant, Tarfiq (who was amazing! More on that in a bit). About 10 minutes after that we were enjoying our lunch and views of the harbour from the Windjammer cafe. What a life! Tarfiq, our Stateroom Attendant, was wonderful! We were delighted to learn that he would be servicing our room TWICE a day, not once as we expected, and he did this without fail. He was quick to learn our names and was always friendly if we saw him in the hall, often asking how our trip was going and making sure we were having a laugh. He was very attentive of our needs, never disturbing us if our Do Not Disturb card was in the door slot. On day 3 of 4 I left a note asking if we could please have 2 more harder pillows if they were available, but if they weren't not to worry (and I did not expect them to be) but at the next service there they were on the bed. We enjoyed the towel animals that were left every few days, always decorated with our sunglasses. Fabulous service! The Stateroom was actually bigger than we expected it to be. There's a lot of storage space, including floor space in the cupboards for suitcases if you wish to use it (we chose to keep ours out in the corner). The bed was very comfortable and pleasant to sleep in, and our port hole was massive, so it was nice to wake up and see the port we were in on shore days. There's a 2 person couch, a small stool-sized coffee table and a TV mounted to the wall near the surface of the dresser. We usually had our TV on in the background when we were getting ready to go out (usually on Parks and Recreation) but there are informative channels with information on the cruise if you wish to watch it and we also got signal of both channel 7 and 9, so we could catch up on the tennis, cricket and snippets of the news when we wanted a few minutes of downtime. The bathroom is SMALL but got the job done. It's hard not to flood the bathroom when you have a shower, but there's a drain for the excess water, and it gave us a good laugh. Use the bathmat and you'll be fine. And make sure you push the toilet flusher in hard and hold it down for 3 or so seconds or the toilet will not flush (learnt this the hard way). The bathroom was an experience in itself, but to be honest if you're going to be too fussy about these components of the room this holiday's probably not for you. Get out of the room and explore the ship! Our dining experience was amazing! We dined every night at Cascades with the MyTime dining option. Every night except night 2 we were seated at the same table and our wait staff, Pely the head waiter and Raju the assistant waiter, were phenomenal! Their energy was always exciting and they made us feel welcome each evening. Our chosen drinks were brought to us without us even having to order them and we were offered several rounds of bread. We were allowed to order what we liked off the menu (mains as entrees, entrees in main sizes as mains, sides of other dishes to accompany the entree, side dishes of vegetables to accompany the mains). One evening we let Pely know we were itching for a dish that wasn't on the menu, and the next evening it was prepared by the chef just for our table. No request was too much to ask and the level of service was unlike anything we've experienced. There was no need to eat at Windjammer or the specialty dining options and we knew we were getting the best at Cascades. Although we had an 8:15pm booking each night, we were told by the wait staff to arrive at 7:30pm and we would be seated soon after, which would allow us to get the same table each night. All nights except night 2 we did this and we waited no more than 15 minutes to be seated. Breakfast at Windjammer is sufficient with more variety offered than in the dining room and for lunch Windjammer and Park Cafe have everything you need. The food is great and rotated often with lots of variety - both hearty and lighter options. For 2 of the days on our cruise they also put on a barbeque which was delicious! The onboard activities and shore visits are what you make of them and there's everything you need to tailor your holiday to your needs. There's plenty for kids and teens to do (although our party was all 18+ so we had no involvement in these). If you're into fitness the Shipshape Centre is great with plenty of cardio and weights machines as well as a big floor space area where classes and seminars are run. They provide clean towels and a drinking water fountain. There's also a walking track on deck 12 and when it's quiet you can make good use of the stairs in the forward lobby. The pool was relaxing but it's a very popular area so the deck chairs are often taken quite early. If you just want to lay out go up to deck 12 (quieter, better sunlight) or deck 5 (little sun exposure but very quiet). Drink waiters are buzzing around the pool area to take drink orders. If you choose to go to the bar at the Pool Deck on 11 or Sky Bar on deck 12 you can be waiting quite a while during busy times. You can always get a drink from Centrum deck 4 or the bars on deck 6 which are very quiet during the day and take it up with you to get around this. A movie screened on the outside screen everyday and most days there were activities on the Pool Deck starting around 2pm. The Outsiders Duo playing on the Pool Deck provides great, light afternoon entertainment. Before dinner we enjoyed having a drink at Centrum on level 4 where there was always musical entertainment. We also enjoyed the pianist in the Colony Club in the evenings who took requests and also let guests come and sing with him. I caught 2 of the after dinner shows, some people in my party caught more of them. They're always enjoyable - a great way to unwind and relax - and we're amazed at how the performers do what they do and make it look so easy with the motion of the ship! The evening activities with the Cruise Director Amy and her crew provided us with some great laughs. We didn't have a lot to do with Amy - we were usually more spectators in the activities although her Zumba class was excellent and a lot of fun - but we found her to be pleasant, very energetic, good at getting the crowd going and when we did see her she was very polite and happy to have a quick chat. The Activities team have certainly got spunk and energy. In terms of onshore activities, we stuck to doing our own thing and had an amazing time! At Noumea we got a taxi to the Aquarium and walked along the beach. The Aquarium staff called us a taxi back and then we walked around the city centre and did a bit of shopping before returning to the port and doing most of our shopping there. You'll need French Pacific Franks for Noumea. AUD or USD are both fine for Mystery Island and Isle of Pines. Mystery Island is small so you can walk around the whole island and the water is beautiful, warm and crystal clear. I had my hair braided by a local and 3 of us split a lobster for lunch, which was freshly cooked and we were all fine. This is a good island to get some of your smaller souvenirs such as bracelets. At Isle of Pines we caught a bus tour run by a small local company. It was exactly the same as the one that RCCL organises, but these had to be cancelled because of local bus strikes. It was $25pp for 2 hours and we saw a lot of the island that we would have missed otherwise. The bus driver was reliable and had a working mobile phone, and even if something had gone wrong at the time of the tour (11:30am) we would have had time to work out how to get back to the port. We got back at about 1:40ish and had time to get lunch from one of the local marquees (I had 2 crepes and my boyfriend had chicken, rice and papaya salad - both great and thoroughly cooked) and a swim in the ocean, which again was crystal clear and beautiful. You need to take the Tender boat to Mystery Island and Isle of Pines, but you usually don't have to queue too long and it's a 5-10 minute ride there and back. In terms of drinks packages, we were fine with the Soda Package which we purchased on day 1 for the special price of US$60 (roughly US$7.50 per day). Unless you're a big drinker, you might not get your value out of the alcoholic beverage packages. The basic beer, wine and mocktail package is US$45 per day. Drinks can be easily bought and added to your account for payment at the end of the cruise. If you're capable of carrying your own bags and aren't taking a RCCL arranged transport option upon departure, take the express departure option. You're the first to depart, it's quick and easy, and from lining up to shore (including going through customs) it took about 20 minutes. Overall I highly recommend anyone to try cruising at least once in their lifetime and this 8 night cruise was the perfect first cruise experience. For those choosing what cruise company to go with, I think you're going to get a great experience with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our first cruise ever and wanted to get away for Christmas - just the two of us and have to say I found from the very start the ease of booking, pre information and every other part of it very professional and informative. We ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever and wanted to get away for Christmas - just the two of us and have to say I found from the very start the ease of booking, pre information and every other part of it very professional and informative. We travelled by air to Sydney. The embarkation was very quick and simple with little or no queues. We got our Seapass card and we were away - through Customs/ immigration and we were on the ship. Once there, our cabin was ready and was very clean and sufficient room - but not really cramped at all. We had a balcony with a double glazed sliding door. Two chairs and table the balcony which was clean and tidy. We opted for the Our Time dining, and used the Cascades dining area as a base, however got the dining package where we were able to utilise all the Speciality restaurants which we preferred. We found Cascades very 'busy' and was the first time we had seen food from the servery brought over to us with a plastic lid - similar to what you would expect to see in a hospital. The service there was very quick, but found that it did not suit my own expectations. We did make use of all the other Dining areas on every night, and cannot commend them highly enough. Each had their own special feel to them and were fantastic. The only thing I would comment on in a slightly negative way was the Izumi (Japanese) restaurant where the food was excellent - but atmosphere was lacking. We would recommend the dining package so you have options of in our opinion exceptional restaurants. The only one that was lacking was Rita's Cantina - Mexican, which was a little average - but don't think it was part of the dining package. Of course the best value has to be the Windjammer - where food is excellent and available at most times of day with a massive selection. Entertainment, I found that the snippets of the shows somewhat average with a comedian receiving little or no laughter. I walked out on the Aussie Boys show as I did not find it good use of my time and were again very average (in my opinion). The guys that were excellent were Gordon and Andrew (Entertainment managers? - Ive forgotten their official title/position) and were excellent value and comic who looked after many of the Trivia evenings and random ship entertainment - they had excellent personalities and wooed the crowds. Excursions, -- Very good, I was very sad to read another comment on here about disabled persons on the cruise and their ability to use the Tenders etc. and was offended by the writers attitude. Its called Patience and be thankful for good health yourself. Disembarkation, - Very organised, quick and efficient, and were met by a pre organised transfer coach to the airport which was good value Overall - Fantastic ship, Fantastic crew and highly entertaining and professional Captain. Yes we have booked again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

Find a Radiance of the Seas Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click