66 Tampa Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

As part of a long planned holiday to Australia to celebrate a big anniversary we decided that to cruise part of the trip in order to catch up with old friends and see new places. We know the southern half of Australia fairly well, but had ... Read More
As part of a long planned holiday to Australia to celebrate a big anniversary we decided that to cruise part of the trip in order to catch up with old friends and see new places. We know the southern half of Australia fairly well, but had never cruised the Top End, having long wanted to see Darwin. Once flight were organised, and family friends contacted, we looked for a cruise that might fit the bill. We settled on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas, embarking in Sydney early in October.By the time we joined the ship, we had already had 3 weeks in Australia on a fairly hectic schedule, so looked forward to having more time to relax. We joined the ship on a very wet day, but were swiftly on board as we are fortunate to find ourselves Diamond members.It was rather a disappointment not be offered a welcome aboard drink, and we were surprised to find that this line would not allow us to bring even a single bottle of good Australian wine on board. Our balcony cabin was pleasant, nicely furnished, and had a lovely balcony with ample room for table and chars. We were provided with lovely fluffy robes and a nice range of good toiletries. Our vivid impression was of a large, comfortable, spacious ship, solidly built along traditional lines. We loved the open views and lovely vistas provided by the acres of windows, glass sea-facing elevators and lovely glass staircase. There was never an impression of being just a couple among 2500 fellow passengers, as there was always plenty of space, even round the pool on sunny days. There was no scramble for deck chairs, or tables at meal times, and all organisation seemed to be fairly well done. Meals in the main Cascades restaurant were mass-catering average, but the speciality restaurants were excellent, varied, offering beautifully presented and delicious dining at a fairly modest $120 each. Entertainment was absolutely first class, with many varied local acts performing, as well as good productions shows, great live music in several venues and lively daily activities. We did not take part in expensive ship tours, as in most ports it was easy to e local transport or walk to make the most of a visit, and it was very pleasant to sample local foods and drink Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
My wife and I just returned from fifteen days on the Radiance of the Seas (RCI) cruise out of Tampa (4-29-11) through the Panama Canal to San Diego. It is hard not to like cruising, the ocean is amazing -- relaxing and soothing! Yet, ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from fifteen days on the Radiance of the Seas (RCI) cruise out of Tampa (4-29-11) through the Panama Canal to San Diego. It is hard not to like cruising, the ocean is amazing -- relaxing and soothing! Yet, when we cruise the way we are treated and the organization by the ships crew can make a wonderful cruise into something far less attractive. When we boarded the cruise everything went well, the Diamond pre-boarding went smoothly and at the appointed hour once on board we had our cabin. Once settled in the poor handling of the ship's communication became very observable. We were not informed of Diamond events though when we asked we did get answers (if they are trying to 'pamper' their frequent cruisers you'd think the information would be readily available). My wife was looking forward to receiving the Diamond pin, but at first they said it would take a week, they offered many excuses, then after further complaining on the fourth day it was delivered to our stateroom. Throughout the fifteen days the "special events either did not occur or we were never informed.The "MyTime" dining experience was met with long lines (in spite of reservations) and much confusion and grumbling among fellow cruisers. The tours we signed up for were fine, but enduring the 'cattle herding' experience in the halls, in the theater and just waiting around to find out what was next... finally, an hour late departure from the ship for the tour (the ship had been cleared two hours earlier, but the staff's organization had not been thought through). I voiced a mild complaint that evening at "guest relations" and was told someone would call my room. Two days later I mentioned again that I had not received a call... referred to the Exploration desk and received all kinds of justification, I'm not sure they heard or understood what was being told them by me and others.The 'Diamond and Diamond plus' breakfast was in a room that could not handle the number of members on board, it was loud and not really special in anyway -- downright confusing and impersonal. A "special" Diamond/Diamond plus breakfast event, a week into the cruise, was a fiasco -- long lines, long waits, and then we got to place our orders and wait another hour for our meals! The total unpreparedness of the kitchen and food staff, and the lack of planning for such an event is inexcusable! We were told by some of the wait staff that the management had only told them the night before to show up and had not considered how they were going to prepare 500 different omelets available on the regular menus ...bottom line they couldn't! The lack of staff oversight and good planning continued throughout the cruise to disembarkation morning. We were told there would not be express check-out, then that there would be and then was told to just go ahead and use the Diamond #2 luggage tags and carry out my luggage. After carrying two 50lb suitcases down two flights of stairs just after the gang-plank I was asked why I did not go to deck three for the "express" departure?The professional singers and dancers were great... We missed the story line at the first presentation "City of Dreams" but so did others. One of the performers mentioned to me later on deck that the performers did not like it as much either. There were parts that were spectacular, like the ballet portion and a couple of the numbers... but overall a poor choice. On the other hand, the "Piano Man" performance was spectacular in every way! Some of the other special one-night performers were beyond their peak. An exception was the "Revolution" Beatles performers and music... worth the time, very entertaining! We always like the guitarists on board RCI cruises, again on this ship they did a very good job in solo's and trios.OK, enough complaining... the Panama Canal was amazing to see, the weather was great, our stateroom was very acceptable, the waiters in the dining room and Portofino's were superb (Chops was lousy), and the 15 days at seas were restful and worth every dollar spent. It is a shame that what appears to be poor management communication and preparedness can sour something that had such promise. ...Can this really be the ship that earned "ship of the year?" It baffles us, and most of the others that were on this cruise, that such an award could ever be offered to such inefficient, unprepared and inept ship management! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Bottom line up front (BLUF) - The Radiance is a beautiful, well-run ship which features a wide variety of functional interior and exterior venues, ample deck space and beautiful views. The opulent, yet elegant design featured a rich decor ... Read More
Bottom line up front (BLUF) - The Radiance is a beautiful, well-run ship which features a wide variety of functional interior and exterior venues, ample deck space and beautiful views. The opulent, yet elegant design featured a rich decor accented with fabulous works of art. The crew was always friendly, welcoming and determined to provide an excellent experience for the guests. My most important factors for a cruise are the physical attributes of the ship and the attitude and ability of the crew. I was pleased on both counts. I look forward to sailing with Royal Caribbean again. There were only minor issues that disappointed. On the first night of the cruise, the main dining room opened a bit late. As would be expected, many people showed up early and most didn't know their table assignment. This resulted in a delay with people crowded and waiting in line; this could have been avoided if the restaurant opened on the early side. Since we wanted to be on deck for sunset while sailing out of Tampa Bay, and the dining was running late, we skipped the first dinner at Cascades and had the Windjammer buffet instead. The other let down was the schedule for the fitness center and spa. The fitness center opened at 6am, but the spa and locker rooms were locked until 8am. It would be nice to have access to the locker room when using the fitness center. Furthermore, the partition doors were not opened at 6am which gave the impression that the fitness center was closed, and the video/music wasn't turned on until about 7am. When you hit the gym first thing in the morning it makes a big difference if the place is open, alive and awake when you get there. Finally, the movie theater was unimpressive, but it didn't matter because the movie selections were on par with the theater. The rest of the experience was terrific. Port of Tampa embarkation/debarkation was smooth and easy, and Royal Caribbean handles the port experience very well. (Hint if you are driving: download/print the driving and parking instructions from the RC web page. Drop off your luggage at the terminal then park yourself in the garage across the street. This will save you at least $14 on valet parking and is easy and convenient.) The food was excellent as were the table servers. The onboard activities offered something for just about everyone. We enjoyed the production shows in the beautiful Aurora Theater and loved both of them. We skipped the welcome aboard show and the comedy/juggling show, and this seemed to be a good choice. I was impressed by the civic-mindedness of the cruise line which hosted an enjoyable amateur Broadway-style show performed by aspiring dancers/students. There was a charity walk-a-thon for Make A Wish foundation and we regretted missing that. Cozumel was a great port of call. We opted to walk and explore on our own. Although the walk was pretty long (at least 3 miles each way), it was safe and comfortable with plenty to see along the way. (We passed a couple of public beaches that would have been suitable for a self-guided snorkeling excursion, for the more adventurous.) No problem getting by with English, but it was fun to practice a Spanish. The locals were friendly and welcoming. US Dollars were accepted everywhere that we went. We have visited several Caribbean islands and Cozumel is the best so far; we figured that it had something to do with the rich Mexican culture which goes all the way back to the Aztecs...This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We have been on a few Disney cruises and consider ourselves loyal Disney cruisers. We were delighted to be impressed by the Radiance of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Imagine that you're returning from a lovely excursion in Cozumel and upon reentry to your cruise ship, your sea pass causes the crew-member to utter the scary phrase "You need to report to Guest Services immediately."This ... Read More
Imagine that you're returning from a lovely excursion in Cozumel and upon reentry to your cruise ship, your sea pass causes the crew-member to utter the scary phrase "You need to report to Guest Services immediately."This happened to me aboard Radiance of the Seas on Saturday, April 23rd. While relieved to hear that I wasn't flagged because of a death in the family, I was forced to process news of a water main break that had occurred in our absence causing flooding in the aft section of Deck 9. We were told not to worry: Our belongings would be cleaned or replaced and during the cleanup, we could take a shower in the spa and have free drinks poolside. The huge, loud fans in the room left it unusable for the remaining 41 hours of the cruise. We were told the flood water was clean but the towels used for soaking up were turning brownish yellow and the smell was sickening...so much so that my husband was given 3 medications by the ship's doctor for throat irritation the following morning(Easter Sunday.) In the lesser affected room of the 2 we paid for, a roll-away cot was set up for my teenage daughter, and my teenage son slept on the couch. There were no other rooms as the cruise was sold out, but the regular room was obviously intended for only two people, as evidenced by the two life vests which we would have needed to share if there was need. As you can imagine, movement through that cabin was difficult and privacy forsaken. We opted not to have our laundry done on board as our neighbors reported having to wait a very long time only to receive it back damp and discolored. While one crew-member assured us this had not happened before, another said their quarters were similarly flooded a few weeks prior. So Saturday at 7:00p.m. instead of attending a much-anticipated show, we went to Guest Services for a pre-arranged meeting. Thanks to an employee there by the name of Kwame, I now refer to it as guest "Dis-Services". His words to my husband were "I don't even know who you are and I'm finished with you!" in a very belligerent tone. We were told by Tanya that our only reimbursement would be a $175credit and 35% off one cabin on a future cruise. What is that? I did not even want to continue to be trapped in a smelly boat for the last two days and nights, so I don't expect there will be another Royal Caribbean Cruise in our future, and those "coupons" will be sent back. As for those "free" drinks they offered us, I was still fighting for a charge reversal at 10:10 Monday morning as everyone else had departed for the airport or parking lot. While at the Guest dis-services desk, I witnessed another passenger in a screaming match with the representative who said she owed for drinks purchased at the last hour. She said she paid $10,000 for her cruise, and now they were making her miss her flight over a charge that was not hers. I'm not looking for a golden ticket here...just reimbursement of a product we purchased (a habitable cabin) that we did not receive. Royal Caribbean may be finished with us but any cruisers who have a choice in ships will be well-advised to steer clear of Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Radiance of the Seas was cool. It was our 6th cruise, third with RC and we enjoyed it. A short 5 night cruise out of Tampa was the perfect ticket for some relaxing and fun. Service was attentive and good. Meals in the main dining room ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas was cool. It was our 6th cruise, third with RC and we enjoyed it. A short 5 night cruise out of Tampa was the perfect ticket for some relaxing and fun. Service was attentive and good. Meals in the main dining room were ok, but the service was great. Enjoyed two specialty restaurants and each were good choices as the food and service were very good. The buffet food was average but plentiful.Wouldn't recommend the massages for the price paid. Not the best and not the worst, but well overpriced for what you got in return. It wasn't any better than a $60 massage. We booked an AFT room on the Deck 8 and it was small, but the balcony was a bit larger. Still comfortable for two people. I will probably book a suite next time in the AFT area just for some extra cabin room. Nevertheless, it was private and quite. Long walk to the elevators though, but not a big deal. I would highly recommend to anyone who hasn't tried an AFT cabin. Our Steward did an excellent job keeping the room clean and stock with fresh towels. Good stuff all around! The casino even offered a smoke-free night! That was great because otherwise it was like walking into an ash-tray every other night. As always, mixed-drinks were expensive but bar service outstanding. Best I've experienced to date. Well mixed drinks and fast service every time. Ship layout/design was ok, but the numbers of elevators and locations were limited and frequently used. So we took the steps a lot, which was fine for us.Overall, our experience was very good. The RC staff for us was friendly, helpful and courteous. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I took my daughter on the Radiance of the Seas to celebrate her 18th birthday. We're both sun lovers, so the 2 days at sea was appealing to both of us. The ship is beautiful! Upon registration, we were informed that our cabin had ... Read More
I took my daughter on the Radiance of the Seas to celebrate her 18th birthday. We're both sun lovers, so the 2 days at sea was appealing to both of us. The ship is beautiful! Upon registration, we were informed that our cabin had been switched to a different deck, but the registration agent had no idea why. Upon locating our cabin, we were pleasantly surprised that we had been upgraded to a balcony stateroom. The dining room food was excellent every night and the Windjammer food was good too. Dress codes were not enforced in the dining room, which was a bit disappointing. Our port stop was Cozumel and we did the Passion Island by motorized catamaran shore excursion. It was a very good excursion and everything on Passion Island is all-inclusive, which makes it a good value for the money too. At port, we enjoyed Senor Frog's and had a great time there. We had a couple of disappointments along the way, but they didn't ruin our time: 1. There are signs posted that there was a 30 minute limit on leaving your things on a deck chair. I can appreciate a time limit on unused chairs because on previous cruises I've seen them go unused for hours at a time. They were so strict on the limit that a pool attendant walked around with a post-it and wrote down the time that he noticed a chair was unattended and stuck the post-it on the chair. I personally think that's going a little overboard on trying to enforce the policy. They would even wake people up who were napping to tell them the chair next to them needed to be occupied within 30 minutes. I think their limit should be at least an hour so you could go eat lunch, enjoy the pool, get a spa treatment or play bingo without worrying about them confiscating your personal items. That kind of defeats the purpose of a leisurely day at sea.2. Also, I was thrilled that they offered Easter services on board on Easter Sunday. They offered a Roman Catholic service and in Interdenominational service. Unfortunately, the Roman Catholic priest was scheduled to handle both services. He admitted at the beginning that he had no idea how to handle the Interdenominational Service and told us that he wouldn't be offended if we left. They also offered a telecast of Joel Osteen at the same time that had music and a message by Joel. Since I'm not a Joel Osteen fan and was concerned about the loss of my deck chair (see point number 1), I went back to the pool instead of staying for the service. 3. My daughter attended a seminar at the spa titled 5 Steps to Healthy Skin. She had high expectations, but was really disappointed. It was over in less than 10 minutes and she got no useful information. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I would never have thought I would be writing a review on a site like this, but I can't let this go by. I took my wife and our 2 teenagers on a Spring Break, Easter cruise on the Radiance of the Sea. I have been a huge fan of Royal ... Read More
I would never have thought I would be writing a review on a site like this, but I can't let this go by. I took my wife and our 2 teenagers on a Spring Break, Easter cruise on the Radiance of the Sea. I have been a huge fan of Royal Caribbean and have booked away from other cruise lines. I have always told family and friends just how much I have enjoyed Royal Caribbean on past cruises. Never again! I don't know where to begin so I will start where all the problems began. When getting back on the ship from a day at the beach in Cozumel, we were "flagged" and instructed to see Guest Services. We were told there was an accident and our rooms were flooded. I say "rooms" because we booked 2 cabins. There was one cabin between the two we booked. We were escorted to our 9th deck hallway to be overwhelmed by a disgusting odor. Walking towards the aft portion of the ship, where our cabins were, the smell became increasingly worse. Not to mention the carpet was now squishing under foot as if walking on a soaked sponge. The sound of shop vacs and blower fans screamed in the background. We get to our cabin and thank goodness someone had the foresight to put our belongings up on our beds. We thank our cabin attendant for his diligence. This would be a good place to mention there were a few individuals that were very courteous and went out of their way to apologize for this situation. "Few" being the operative word here. One of our cabin's was completely uninhabitable. Strong pungent odor and carpeting was drenched. We were told it would be replaced, it never was. We moved all our belongings to the cabin that was the lesser of the two evils. Thinking we may possibly be able to use our other cabin at some point, as they told us we would. The stains on the towels they had put down made us realize that staying in this one cabin would not be possible. Even if you could handle the industrial size blower fans that were placed in the rooms. Evidently, for the NEXT cruise. There we are, back from a day at the beach, and the water, the shower, and the toilets are not working. Dinner in less than an hour so we were instructed to shower at the spa and use the public bathrooms. It is never my desire to use a public toilet on board a ship that has been at sea a couple of days. That was our only option. So we got ready for dinner at the spa and get back from dinner to find a note saying how sorry Royal Caribbean is and please accept $175 for the inconvenience. A nice start we thought, considering $175 is a day at the pool for a family of four. I should also mention here that when our rooms had no water or toilets, we were offered to go to the pool bar for free drinks. We were instructed to use our sea pass and the charges would be deducted. I have had tooth extraction that was easier than getting the $100 taken off our bill prior to leaving the ship. Information came painfully slow. What are we to do? Is there another room we can move to? The smell is making us all ill. The ship staff was having a meeting to decide what to do with the 20 or so people this affected. We thought, "thank goodness, something will be done." It never was done. The ship was completely filled with every cabin taken. The next day our eyes were so watery, and throats so sore from the pungent smell of a damp, dank carpet that we were concerned about what was seeping in to the carpet. We were told fresh water. The smell made us think otherwise. I asked if anyone else was having symptoms of sore throats, itchy, and watery eyes, and it was requested that we visit the ship's Dr. I don't see a Dr. for the sniffles, but now I am concerned about what these fumes and odors are that we have been breathing in for the past 15 hours. The Dr. prescribed us steroids and benadryl and told us to stay out of the sun for these make one photo sensitive. SO with two more days, we are told not to spend any time in the sun. We were also asked by the Dr why we would stay where the fumes were making us this sick. Again, the ship was full, and our one cabin that was not totally sopping wet was our only option. He offered us a bed in the sick bay. In hindsight, maybe that would have been more comfortable. The 4 of us camped out thinking that a line with the reputation of Royal Caribbean would certainly make things right. Meaning giving us what we paid for. I regret to say, that has yet to happen. Not only has that yet to happen, it may take legal action to even get something other than what was already offered on board. I should mention we also have been offered 35% off a future cruise if taken within a year. I'll say here that some in Guest Services were just out right rude and nasty when we protested our treatment. One manager elevated the situation and proclaimed, "I'm done with you!" I have never been treated with such contempt by someone in the service industry. The cruise industry is thriving. The ship must have been testing its pipes while the majority of passengers were off ship. The pressure caused a major malfunction in our section of the ship, and we are pushed aside with $275 for this "inconvenience." It ruined our vacation. The insult to this injury is to be so loyal to Royal Caribbean only to be treated so rudely. I am disputing the charge through my credit card, am writing a letter to CEO Adam Goldstein, and will report back on how this situation is handled. For now, they have created a public relations nightmare that would have been very easily fixed on board the ship before we disembarked. As I said, we were 4 of about 20 people this affected. Some worse than others, I am sure. I would go in to detail about the other friendly personnel on board, but a favorable review of the entire experience is not possible. It would be like asking President Lincoln's wife "other than that Mrs. Lincoln, what did you think of the play?" I hope Royal Caribbean learns a valuable lesson here. I know I sure have. I will never cruise on this line again. I'm afraid this is a sign of our times. There is someone else behind me to take my place if I don't book on this line. They know that, and they are treating me like this. They have become just like the other lines that I would have never considered booking with. Just with a higher fee. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
This was my 47th cruise (assorted lines)drove to Tampa used valet parking as before had a hussler for tip never happened before. Love to sail from Tampa a easy port. Getting on ship and off easy as pie.I was(traveling solo) on Radiance ... Read More
This was my 47th cruise (assorted lines)drove to Tampa used valet parking as before had a hussler for tip never happened before. Love to sail from Tampa a easy port. Getting on ship and off easy as pie.I was(traveling solo) on Radiance last Nov. this cruise was 100% better,not that last wasn't as noted this was Radiance's 500th sailingCabin was ready at 1:00PM met my cabin steward "Leslie" any problems she could handle like magic. She last er gave me a intro to her deck supervisor something new to me. I did have a problem with a C&A perk customer service couldn't handle and if you wanted to sit in C&A lounge for a couple hours maybe. The C&A lounge only had one gal working and one had to sign up for a interview day or days ahead,while my cabin steward made a phone call and within in 2 hours had results.In general the crew and staff very friendly and helpful,moral was high,could that be because Lis Lauritzen Captain and a female was running a tight ship? In ref. to above the customer service don't get me wrong they all were at standing there was never a line so they must be doing something right.Only line was on last day to settle bills as the norm.Food Main dinning 1st sitting 1st night menu not to my liking ordered the stand by chicken breast which was done just right. Rest of cruise food very good and HOT wait staff +10 Had 3 couples as table mates had lots of laughs and fun with themWindjammer buffet food good in my book only thing I like was people leaving tongs in food trays instead of plate in front of same.Ship in good shape,public area's/restrooms clean.Didn't have any plumbing problems as noted in other prior reviewsShows were good,didn't get off at ports spent most of time in casino.Too bad Radiance will be leaving Tampa at end of month. We will have to check out the Jewel when she arrives next seasonJust my views.......Smooth sailing to all Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Second time cruisers just back from a lovely five day western Caribbean jaunt aboard Radiance of the Seas. Our first go with Royal Caribbean after a very successful Celebrity voyage only four months ago. We definitely got the cruise bug. ... Read More
Second time cruisers just back from a lovely five day western Caribbean jaunt aboard Radiance of the Seas. Our first go with Royal Caribbean after a very successful Celebrity voyage only four months ago. We definitely got the cruise bug. Planning Christmas aboard Holland America.Vague on ship sizes. Radiance is big but not overwhelming, inside or out.Took CC advise on rear suite stateroom. Chose Deck Ten - Suite 1602. Very spacious. Very well appointed. Huge balcony. More closet room than at home. Bed as queen was superb. Furnishing show some wear, but not objectionable. One small water soaked carpet area near bath was attended to "instantly" by maintenance with no repeat problem.. Guest Services called twice afterward to insure all was well. Over all a great soothing accommodation. CC is right about those rear suites. Wonderful end-of-the-world views. Worth the hike aft.We are evening dinner-for-entertainment folks. Took diners in specialty restaurants only. Chops is a fine steak house with view. Service and food well worth the up charge. But, maybe not four nights of it. Menu is somewhat narrow for that many evenings. Portofino, the Italian venue, was charming on our one night visit. Again, with good service and meal.We should have mixed it up a bit more. Our fault not RCI's.Can't comment on dining room. Windjammer buffet breakfasts and lunches were well laid out, ample and very satisfactory. Seating was a premium at high meal hours, but staff turned the tables quickly.We took no entertainment options, so again, no comment. Casual entertainment scattered about always seemed tasteful or lively depending on venue. We don't do the pool thing, especially with such a great balcony. Only comment is that the pool area seemed "ramma-jamma" each time we passed by. Spa area looked luxurious. We don't do rock climbing, but it sure seemed like a happening venue for all ages.Fellow passengers ranged from newborn to well past prime. Most adult folks in thirties to fifties. Family kids were plentiful at spring break time. But the teens and tweens always seemed busy doing something and were not under our feet or under our skin.Folks on our cruise seemed to heed the dress requirements for the most part and we saw no egregious violations of guidelines or manners.Radiance is beautiful and very well appointed. She does shine. All was spit and polish with plenty of sparkle. Staff was abundant, pleasant, polite and responsive to every need, but no one seemed to reach extra unless asked.Our ports in Mexico were nice but predictable. Language and currency were no challenge what-so-ever. We go for the cruise more than the destination. One firm recommendation for this Mexican journey: get the scoop on shopping at the onboard presentation. Utilize the coupons and recommendations. Our ship appointed "shopper's helper", Christina, was very informative and stood by our side in several shore side shops to boost better deals for us. She seemed to be everywhere on shore in Cozumel helping passengers navigate for bargains - big or little.Embarkation 45 minutes from valet parking (recommended) to cabin door just after mid day. Luggage at the door within two hours. Disembarkation two and a half hours - Ouch ! Border & Customs delays, not RCI's fault. Felt sorry for the folks with plane schedules.Finally, buzz from the crew. The lovely Radiance is in for dry dock in May before the Alaska summer. We're told she's out of the water for 20 days while the normal dry dock is 7 days. Sounds to us like she will really radiate after that make over. New dining venues, stateroom upgrades plus fifteen rooms to be added. Flat screens will finally arrive along with miles of new carpet. Sounds great. We will give her a try again out of our home port Tampa. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My first ever Cruise was a disaster! On April I left the UK to travel to Tampa Florida for a 15 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean@s Radiance of the Seas. I was looking forward to this great experience because I was going on holiday ... Read More
My first ever Cruise was a disaster! On April I left the UK to travel to Tampa Florida for a 15 day cruise on the Royal Caribbean@s Radiance of the Seas. I was looking forward to this great experience because I was going on holiday with some old friends with whom I hadn't holidayed for forty years. It was a sort of extended reunion. We were also celebrating one of my friend's 60th birthday. She had chosen a cruise as her celebration instead of a party. All three of us were excited and looking forward to spending time together as well as the experience of going through the Panama Canal. The entire holiday was booked via Royal Caribbean, including the flight from Heathrow to Miami and on to Tampa. I was due to spend a night at a Tampa Hotel before boarding the ship the following day. However, from the start there was a lack of organisation and care. I, along with other travellers were left stranded at Miami Airport overnight, and we had to sleep on the airport floor. Although I had managed to contact Royal Caribbean, their staff showed no initiative or care. They simply did not want to know. Royal Caribbean did not accept any responsibility for our experience. And offered no explanation for the lack of customer care. Although, in general the majority of staff on board were helpful and courteous. I found that there was a lack of organisation and interest from a number of staff. Some simply believed in the hype that Royal Caribbean represented. For example, each evening a 'Cruise Compass' was delivered to our cabin. This detailed all the activities for the following day. However, on these were not always available when I turned up for some activities, and the staff had an 'I don't care' attitude which I found most unacceptable. Disembarking was yet another farce. It was all very disorganised and as a result, we disembarked with only a hour to catch our flight. In addition, I found that my case was badly damaged and surprise, surprise, Royal Caribbean staff were disinterested, unhelpful and downright rude when I complained. I did however, receive compensation for my damaged suitcase after I telephoned and made a complaint. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We decided to book this cruise for our honeymoon mainly because it left on a Monday. It was his first cruise but my second.We flew into Tampa on Sunday evening. We took a taxi to our hotel (Hilton Garden Inn Ybor). The hotel was very ... Read More
We decided to book this cruise for our honeymoon mainly because it left on a Monday. It was his first cruise but my second.We flew into Tampa on Sunday evening. We took a taxi to our hotel (Hilton Garden Inn Ybor). The hotel was very nice and clean. They had a free shuttle to the port. It took about 5-10 minutes to get from the hotel to the port.Embarkation was very quick and smooth. We arrived at the ship around 12:00 and were on board by 12:15. I have no complaints about the Tampa port.Our stateroom with a balcony was wonderful. Our attendant was very friendly and left us surprise towel animals every evening. We were very pleased with the food. We ate at the Windjammer for breakfast and lunch. I thought the selection was great for breakfast and lunch. I was not as pleased with the breakfast. The toast was very crispy not only on the edges but in the middle as well. The edges on the pancakes and waffles were very crunchy. A little too hard for my taste. However, the selection of fruit was magnificent. For dinner, we ate in the main dining room. Our waiters were very attentive and by the 2nd or 3rd night, they were bringing our drinks as we sat down. Neither one of us had anything that we just didn't like.The activities were abundant. On sea days, we played pool, ping pong, shuffleboard, basketball, and mini golf. We never had to wait in line for anything.We attended the main show every night. We enjoyed all of them. I wouldn't rank them as high as Broadway or a Vegas show, but for a cruise ship they were very good. Excursions - we booked an excursion through a private vendor for Costa Maya. We booked our Cozumel excursion through the ship. We did the scoot coupe adventure and loved it. It lasted about 4 hours and went around the island making a few short stops. The scenery was beautiful.Overall, I would definitely go on this ship again. It has been sailing for 10+ years but the wear and tear is minimal for that age. The ship goes into dry dock this summer. Can't wait to see the results! Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
My husband and I just came off our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean (March 5th - 10th) on Radiance of the Seas and our 6th cruise in all. We have previously sailed Navigator, Explorer and Monarch as recently as November 2009. I would ... Read More
My husband and I just came off our 4th cruise with Royal Caribbean (March 5th - 10th) on Radiance of the Seas and our 6th cruise in all. We have previously sailed Navigator, Explorer and Monarch as recently as November 2009. I would like to take this opportunity, if I may to let you know how this cruise came about and some of the things that happened on the cruise but to also acknowledge some of the wonderful people with whom we came in contact. In January 2010 I was diagnosed with an incurable bladder disease known as Interstitial Cystitis a/k/a (painful bladder syndrome). I should mention that it does not kill you it's just incurable. For 12 months my husband and I travelled to 7 Doctors all across the state in total, looking for help of any kind. I even underwent surgery in July 2010 for a bladder pacemaker. I had never been sick a day in my life (I'm 55 years old and proud of it). During that time I had lost close to 30 lbs. and being only 5'1" I really couldn't afford to lose that kind of weight. My intake of food was severely limited to approximately 6 items. Since everything passes through the bladder, I was always in extreme pain. I hardly ever left the house and became severely depressed which not only affected me but my entire family. I was the go to person, I was always the social director and here I was barely able to get out of bed. In December 2010 my husband and I found an Angel of a Doctor. Although there is no cure for this disease she took a different approach not only with the medication that I was on but she treated me as an individual instead of just passing me along like the others. For the first time I started to feel a little better. I guess you could say I was going into remission. As you can imagine this took a great toll financially, even though we have medical insurance, our out of pocket expenses were exorbitant. We'll be paying them off for years to come. Our families got together and wanted to do something special for our 30th Wedding Anniversary. They knew how much we loved to cruise and since I was feeling better they gave us the money to purchase the cruise. We drove the 2 hours from Orlando to Tampa and the excitement was palpable, I was feeling better, looking forward to spending time alone with my husband and celebrating. All previous 5 cruises had been spent with our children and my Mom. Not that we didn't enjoy having them with us but this was to be a special time, just the two of us and 30 years is a big deal and we had come through such a difficult 12 months. I was concerned about all the food and knew I had to be careful about what I ate. During these last few months I was able to add a substantial amount to my diet thanks to this wonderful new Doctor that I have been seeing. When we retired for the evening on our first night, little did we know that we would be awakened at approximately 2:00a.m. by the sounds of banging, hammering and drills. It sounded like it was coming from our closet. We couldn't imagine what was going on. We immediately called down to guest services and spoke with Karina Rodriguez, who at the time herself did not know what was happening. She assured us she would find out and call us back. She did call us and advise us that a pipe had burst and the maintenance crew were trying to fix it. It wasn't until the next morning when we got the full story. The people who were occupying the room directly below us had left the shower water running which caused the entire mess. For the next several nights we would receive a notice in our room telling us that work was going to be done between the hours of 2:00a.m. and 4:00a.m. which would affect the flushing of the toilet and the running of the bathroom water. Also that the water would turn black and we should let it run for 15 minutes or so. Being sick I was very concerned and chose to use my evian water package for brushing my teeth. I wasn't about to take any chances. On the 2nd night we were awakened again by the sounds of drilling and what sounded like scraping noises. We knew it must be maintenance working on the problem so there was no sense in calling guest relations. This also went on again the 3rd and 4th night. The last night of the cruise, March 9th was the worst. We were awakened sometime around 3:45a.m. The noise was so loud that I said to my husband it sounds like someone is taking a baseball bat and just banging on pipes. It would stop for a few minutes and then start up again. Around 4:00 a.m. we called guest services and spoke with Karina Rodriguez. I could barely here myself on the phone. It was so loud that I couldn't believe we were the only ones who were hearing the noise. She said she would call back and see what she could find out. She did call back and was unable to find out where the noise was coming from. She said she would talk to security. The banging was incessant. She said she would send security up to our room. Security came up at 4:30 a.m. by the time they arrived the banging was still happening but it seemed to have travelled further away. Security did mention that they could hear the banging but to no avail was anyone ever able to find where the noise was coming from. Karina told us the next morning that maintenance had advised her they stopped at 3:45 a.m. I don't know if there is any way to prove that or not. For if it was not maintenance then it had to be another guest(s). She had also mentioned that some workers were standing out on one of the decks. My husband is a retired police officer from South Florida of 23 years. He worked in construction before that and he now works for Home Depot. He felt that it was a mallet that was being pounded. With his experience and knowledge of construction and tools, I seem to want to trust his instincts. In any event, we had 5 nights of constant interrupted sleep for hours on end. We never did get back to sleep that last night. I would like to say that this was not the 30th Wedding Anniversary cruise of my dreams or my husbands. The one reason that we have travelled on Royal Caribbean is because we felt that it was a cruise ship that had a mix of people from young to old. This cruise was definitely a spring break, one of the reasons I would never cruise on Carnival, due to their reputation. This time I felt like that's where I was. Certainly when it was young people below us who left the water running. From what I understand there were 500 minors on board. We felt like we were being overtaken. If you weren't up early, trying to get a deck chair was next to impossible. We were always exhausted from not getting any sleep, therefore, we were not up early enough. I was also very disappointed when my husband and I had reservations at Chops Grill for our Anniversary. Directly quoted from your brochure "We suggest smart casual attire in Chops Grille - jackets for men, dresses or pantsuits for women. It should also be noted that there is a sign outside the Cascades restaurant that says "no shorts, tank tops, sandals or hats". Many people apparently didn't pay much attention to that sign either. When my husband is dressed in a jacket and tie and I myself am dressed in a fancy cocktail dress for our 30th Anniversary and we have made a reservation at Chops Grill, I don't expect to see people walk in with shorts that look like they came from the circus, mountain dew t-shirts or torn jeans and sandals. I can tell you we were not the only ones who were disturbed by this. We could hear others at tables near us talking about the same thing. If you make a rule then you need to stick by that rule. We don't mind paying the extra money for not only the food, the service but also the ambiance. Which by the way was all impeccable, except for the ambiance when you have people sitting at tables dressed like I stated above. If I wanted to have dinner with people who wore shorts and sandals I would eat at the windjammer or poolside. It takes away from the mood and really isn't fair to those of us who not only follow the rules but look for a place to get dressed for the evening and be with others of the same ilk. My husband chose to dress up in a tie and jacket every night except for formal night when he wore his tuxedo. I wore a formal cocktail dress every night to dinner. Now I don't expect everyone to do what we did, but I do expect that if you have a sign out that specifically says what you are not allowed to wear, then those people should be turned back to their stateroom to put on the appropriate clothing or eat somewhere else. I did express these thoughts to guest relations. Speaking of guest relations, I would like to acknowledge the following people who we feel always had a smile, whenever they saw us coming, would call out our names to say hello and even if they couldn't fix how people dressed were extremely sympathetic and just listened. They are the following: Karina Rodriguez who took our 2am and 4am phone calls and even went looking to try and find the problem on the last night of where the noise was coming from. Joel Sanchez, who I once said to him "you probably want to run when you see me coming" replied "that is not true, that is why we are here to help you in any way we can". We had two reservations and we wanted to cancel the one at Portofinos so we could be at the dining room on our last night and he took care of everything. He also was able to change our dining time to a later hour at Chops Grill. He said I will take care of it all. Don't worry about anything. Steven Newall and his great english sense of humor. When he found out I had 6 pieces of luggage I thought he would roll on the floor laughing. I said don't mess with a woman. I need one piece just for my shoes. I loved bantering back and forth with him. But if anything was ever needed he was right there too, with a smile on his face. Most of all I would like to thank Rosa Torres. What a special and beautiful person she is. On the first morning we went down to guest services and I asked to speak to a manager. I didn't want to air anything that happened the night before in front of a long line of people and they took us back to her office. We explained to her about the broken pipe and what happened. That was the 1st of our 5 night lack of sleep. She asked us if we had planned any excursions and we had not. We wanted to but were concerned about the price. We only had so much money to spend. She said she wanted to do something special for us and we should pick out whatever we wanted. One of the reasons we had picked this cruise is because of the Mayan Ruins and we had not yet purchased the tickets. We told her we really wanted to see the Ruins but the short version not the full day. She gave us two tickets to the Chacchoben excursion. She said a friend of hers had taken it and said it was wonderful. She was right. We had a terrific guide named Lety and the time spent there gave us goosebumps. Rosa even called our cabin later that day to see if we had a good time. My husband spoke with her on the phone, I was unavailable but I was sure to send her a thank you note for being the kind, gracious and generous person she is. It was great to see her again and give her a hug as we departed the pier. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I know it was a long letter but in order to be understood I needed to give you the whole story. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Radiance of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines March 14th to March 19th, 2011 This is a review of the Radiance of the Seas. From pre boarding to the debarkation. I will give the good points and bad points of the ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines March 14th to March 19th, 2011 This is a review of the Radiance of the Seas. From pre boarding to the debarkation. I will give the good points and bad points of the ship and its staff. The payment process of Royal Caribbean is very standard. Make your deposit. Make payments, until everything is paid for. I chose "My Time Dining" so pre paid gratuities were charged in the beginning, not on board. I made my final payment prior to the due date. I also sent in a "special needs" request by the 30 days prior to sailing deadline. Explaining I needed large print "Daily Compasses" while on board. Two days prior to sailing I reconfirmed that this request was on my account. They confirmed this, and that my suite attendant was aware of this. I emailed the concierge a week before sailing and asked if there were magnifying mirrors onboard, or did I need to bring my own. I was told there were no magnifying mirrors in the stateroom so I should bring my own if I needed one. I booked my own flights, so no need for explanations on the "choice air" program in this review. I also booked my own transfers, so no review is needed there, but I have to comment that Execucar private transfers are the only people I will recommend for future cruisers. Arrival to the pier. I arrived at 12:10PM at the pier. (Before leaving Tampa airport, I checked my luggage with my mirror to make sure it was not broken. I had put fragile stickers on this luggage; it was not broken by the airlines. Whew for that) the pier had some arriving passengers, but was not bustling with new passengers. I think this is because we were told to arrive around 2:00PM. But I couldn't, because of my flight schedule. I was greeted by a port luggage handler who very kindly and efficiently took my luggage, and directed me to the entrance. When I walked in, I was amazed at how few passengers were there, but how efficient the staff was. They checked my passports and sea pass print out and directed me to the next step. I was then given a health form to fill out prior to check in. One per adult. Thank goodness I had two teens with me, so I got to fill this out for all 3 of us. Once I filled it out, I was directed to the check in desk. This had NO line what so ever. I walked straight up and was assisted by a very courteous staff member. She checked my documents, my children's documents and my credit card that matched my online check in. Then handed me 3 sea pass cards and sent me to the picture process desk right before boarding. Just a quick note for those of you that are parents traveling alone with your children. Anyone under 18 years of age, take their passport, birth certificate and a letter from the other parent that is notarized that the other parent knows you are taking the children on a cruise out of the country. Because I had all of this, it took me less than 3 minutes to go through the check in desk. Very impressive. Back on subject. There was one family ahead of us to get their pictures taken for the sea pass cards. Not really a wait at all. We had ours taken, and off to the ship we went. We were greeted by the teen counselors with a list of teen events for the evening so my teens would really know what to expect. We went to our deck. Our rooms were not going to be ready until 1:00 PM. We were asked to enjoy lunch at Windjammer cafe and explore the ship until they were ready. I must tell you, we were on the pool deck by 12:25PM. Just 15 minutes to do all of this. I had never experienced that before in all my cruising. Truly, efficient staff who knew exactly what they were doing. Our rooms were ready at 1:00PM like they said; there were no mistakes what so ever. Everything was what they told us and very prompt. We had a Grand Suite on deck 10. The room was large for a cruise ship. Our balcony was nice. We were starboard side. But, the dock in Tampa has you facing the oil refineries from the Starboard side. But I knew we would be leaving soon, so not a big deal. We went though the safety drill at 4:15 PM. Luckily, since the staff started directing us down there around 4:00PM, we started promptly at 4:15PM and were done at 4:35PM. Simplest safety drill I had been through. After that we went to our stateroom since we had a balcony (besides, we hadn't found our way to the helipad yet) and watched our launch from there. Our luggage came to our room around 6:15PM, which is kind of late because I met others on board who had arrived at 2:00PM and had their luggage by 3:00PM. But, that is hearsay since I did not see it. There are several perks to booking a suite. But not as many when you book a 5 night cruise instead of a 7 night or longer cruise. We had the use of the concierge lounge throughout our stay. Adults had the benefit of complimentary cocktails between 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM every night while on board. We had a reserved area for shows, but not reserved seats for the shows. Even though other cruises have reserved seating at the pool, the radiance of the Seas did not offer this perk for their suite guests. Galley tours and bridge tours were not scheduled. But when I showed interest in them, I was told the galley tour would be available the last day only at 10:00AM on Friday. Anyone could go, just to meet at the Cascades restaurant 10 minutes before the tour. The bridge tour could only be on a day that was in port. I do understand the need to do this when the crew is not constantly steering the ship, but cruises past, we could go to the bridge while sailing because most people go on excursions on port days. Going to some unfavorable review comments for now. In my stateroom was a magnifying mirror. I did not have to bring my mirror after all. I did not check this with the RCCL phone staff on land; I checked this information prior to packing with the concierge on the ship. And was told there were none and to pack mine. Well,, when I opened my luggage and unwrapped my very expensive lighted magnifying mirror for the second time,,, (remember I checked it when I got off the plane and it was not broken) It was broken now aboard the ship. Needless to say, I was furious, because 1) they broke it and 2) I did not have to bring it since there was one in the room. The next complaint is small but inconvenient. Time changes. What a nightmare. We stayed on Eastern day light savings time the first day. The next morning we were on Central day light savings time. When we entered port, we stayed on Central day light savings time, but local time was regular central time. That part is pretty common. Our last sea day was on central day light savings time, but for our debarkation day, we were on Eastern day light savings time. Three time zones on a 5 night cruise is ridiculous. We should have stayed on one time zone for the entire ship time, and just gone by ship time while in port, instead of all the time changes. This does not make for a restful vacation. My stateroom attendant Patricia from Lima Peru was absolutely amazing. For those of you booking a suite, please make sure you get a midship starboard side room to get Patricia as your suite attendant. Seriously, she was the best I have ever had. She was not informed of my large print request, but quickly took care of it within 10 minutes and remembered every day without reminders. She took extra care to know what my children's names were and made them feel special. Me too, but usually the adults always get the preferred treatment. She remembered who liked what pillows and made sure each bed was turned down to our liking every night. She changed my dinner reservations when I needed them done for other reasons without hesitation. I even asked her to send a note to a guest on another floor and she did so without complaint and notified me when it was delivered. Truly, one of Royal Caribbean's best suite attendants ever hired. She felt more like a friend helping me than a suite attendant. Formal night was beautiful. But the air conditioning for the ship seemed like it was working extra hard, but not producing much cool air that evening. I was in sleeveless, so know I was not dressed heavily for this event. I was perspiring from the time I was getting ready to the pictures to the dinner. I t was excessively warm. And honestly, uncomfortable. Dinner in the dining room that evening was alright. The appetizers were limited, but the main course was phenomenal. Dessert was limited too, but very good. The staff seemed as if they wanted to rush us through the dining process. I would understand if we were in first seating, but we were in late seating. So, the need to rush us along did not seem appropriate. I only dined in the dining room this one night. Chops Grille was on our agenda for one of our evenings on board. The appetizers were wonderful. Unfortunately each of us ordered the same appetizer, so I could not compare the others. We all had the Dungeness crab and shrimp cakes. They should be offered as a main dish. They are that wonderful. We each had a different steak category. I had the filet Mignon butterflied so it would not be so red in the middle. I like medium heat on my steaks. My son had the New York Strip, and my daughter had the porterhouse. Each was good, but the New York Strip was the best. The staff cooked the steaks correctly to each of our preferences of Medium and medium rare. Dessert was as it should be. Absolutely phenomenal with excellent choices. My son had Red Velvet cake. Very moist and not too overshadowed by the food coloring, which can sometimes take away from the cocoa flavor in a red velvet cake. It was done well. My daughter had the raspberry duo. This was beautifully presented. She almost did not want to eat it because it was so beautifully plated. It was a tangy raspberry mousse under a white chocolate mouse with a raspberry and strawberry glaze. The tartness of the berries and the creaminess of the white chocolate were an amazing paring and blended well on the palate. I had the restaurants version of Mississippi mud pie. This was nothing like Mississippi mud pie, but was utterly amazing. The rich chocolate almost frozen ganache and mousse were so delectable. This is what we all look for in a chocolate dessert. It had a hard, crisp crunchy bottom. This was truly a chocolate connoisseur's dream dessert. It will be hard for anyone to choose between these desserts. Portofinos was on our agenda one night as well. The appetizers were limited. Nothing to really write about. The main courses were wonderful for those that like more exotic flavors. But alas, I chose the filet mignon, my son had the T bone, and my daughter tried to seafood medley. My daughter found out, she does not care for lobster. But that is a personal choice. My filet was better at Portofino's than Chops. My son's T bone was also better than his New York strip at Chops. I know they all use the same Galley, so my night at Chops may have just been an off night for the staff. Desserts at Portofino's. I was so full, I could not even attempt to order dessert. Before dessert arrived, we were given a pre dessert plate for nibbling on. My daughter was so impressed with the leaf shaped dipped crispy cookies, that is what she had for dessert. An entire plate of them. My son had the dessert sampler. It consisted of a chocolate layered shot glass. A decadent fudge brownie dipped in chocolate, a fruit parfait that was extremely light and bursting with fresh fruit, mostly berries. There was one other thing, and I am sorry to say, I have forgotten it. My son ate it so fast that I did not get to see it or get his response prior to going to the next dessert. The staff at both Portofinos and Chops were good, but when you have young teens, they tend to not serve you as well as they do adult guests. They had no idea that my children were raised trying new things and rating restaurants. They were not rude by any means, please know that. But for those of you who have children and go to restaurants, you know what I am probably talking about. You know, the staff that sees a mother with her children, they think "not a big tipper" so they take care of you, but no doting over you like those dressed to the nines and appear to tip well. The casino. The casino was average size, they had many slot machines, ranging from penny machines to our standard machines we have all gambled on before. The tables had a good variety. They had Craps, Roulette, baccarat, 2-3 blackjack tables, Caribbean Stud and Three Card Poker. They even had a Texas Holdem Table. Good choices for gamblers. But, the slot machines paid quarters. Most of us are not used to that anymore, so I had to go back about 5 years ago with my mentality for gambling. The casino is not promoted as much as other ships. They want you to enjoy everything else on board. There was only one slots tournament and it was the last day of the cruise. They had a blackjack tournament too on the last day. And for those of you that are non smokers, they had a non smoking night during formal night on the cruise. I didn't do well at slots at all, but I did get a straight flush on three card poker. So my time in the casino was not a total bust. The pool areas were packed. This was a Spring Break cruise. Only 50 berths were not being used on this cruise. We really were at maximum capacity. The only days you could find a pool deck chair was on port days. And let me tell you, the only thing to do on the cruise ship on port days is lounging around the pool, movies in the theater and eating. Everything else is closed. I had hoped to peruse the photos while everyone was off the ship, but, they had wooden covers over the pictures so you couldn't even look at them. Glass covers would be better. We could at least see them when it is not open for purchase. The shops on board were the most limited I have ever seen. Clothing was limited, watches were in abundance, and so was jewelry. Cigarettes and liqueur had good choices, but not as abundant as they are in port. But that is pretty common. Other than that, just purses and small trinkets and a convenience store for chips and candy. Nothing too impressive. Beware the internet!!!!! My daughter had a spending limit per day. Instead of buying things she used the internet every day. I mean every day. Her spending limit was on internet and a few airbrushed tattoos. The internet is $0.65 per minute. Keep your teens away from it, unless they have a really good sense of time management. I heard parents at guest relations just having an absolute cow about their teenagers' usage because that adds up quickly and can cost a fortune. Besides, you want them enjoying the ship and all it offers, not just talking to their friends like they always do. Luckily, my daughter kept within her budget every day. The teen program. This program deserves a lot of recognition. My son,, well,, I never saw him except when we ate dinner and when he had to come back to the room because there was a mandatory curfew of 1:00AM for anyone under the age of 18. He rock climbed, he did scavenger hunts. He made so many new friends on board. There were so many activities that were truly age appropriate that he never felt like a small child. He felt like an independent teenager who got to do what he wanted, when he wanted and how he wanted. Coming back home to the real world will probably be a let down for him to say the least. His teen counselors were like friends instead of babysitters. And that is how he has felt on other cruises. So, if you are traveling with young teenagers, this is the ship to go on with them. They will never be bored and never complain they are away from there friends at home. Older teens and drinking. Royal Caribbean has a no drinking policy for anyone under the age of 21. That is good. But I spoke to several 18-20 years olds with alcoholic beverages in their hands and pretty drunk. They had figured out how to drink on board. The sea pass cards have two holes punched in them to show the guest is a minor. However, if they lose their cards and go down to guest relations to get a new one,,, if they get a tired employee or someone who does not pay attention to the monitor, just looks at the passenger. They don't always punch holes in the new cards. My daughter and son both lost their cards a few times. My daughter always had holes punched in her new card, but my son did not. Luckily he is a young teen and could not pass as an adult at the bars with just his sea pass not punched. So, the drinking policy has to be corrected with guest relations staff. The bartenders don't really have to check ID's for age, they go by the sea pass cards. If they don't have holes punched in them, they can be served. Night Life. I only went out a few times for night life because I am a morning person, but the night life options were great. They had 80's and 70's theme nights at the discos. Karaoke and great shows in the Aurora Theater. But again, I saw several under age people drinking. The reason I know they were under age is because I spoke with them and asked how they had drinks being 19 and 20. Being tipsy like they were, they told me. Availability of everything. Hours of operations for different things was confusing to say the least. The first day on board, we went several times to the rock climbing wall to sign waivers for my teens to climb, and no one was ever there. Even though there were times listed on the daily compass. The second day, my daughter was told, no waiver was needed. But that afternoon, my son came and got me to sign it while they were open so he could climb. I signed it for both. Instead of having the rock climbing wall open during the daytime all day, it was open two hours at a time and closed for two hours at a time. It took a lot to get there in time to climb. The restaurants like Windjammer, cascades and so on, were closed for time periods during the day. So if you were active during the hours of operation and then were hungry when they were closed, you had to order limited room service, or go to the back of the ship for the sea view cafe. Room service for a suite guest has its perks. You can choose from the main dining room menu, and you are not charged for room service after 10:30 PM like the rest of the ship. But, you can only get the menu items during operating hours of the main dining room. I understand that policy. But all we had in our room was the main dining room menu. Not the room service standard menu. Okay, didn't realize there was a room service menu on the TV. That was my misunderstanding. So when I called for room service the first time and only could get standard menu, they told me to look on the TV and then call back. Not giving me a chance to say I would just take a hamburger. When I would call room service close to the cut off or start time of the Main dining room menu. They did the same thing. It's as if the 15 minutes before the dining room opened, they wouldn't take the order and rudely tell me to look at the TV and order from there. Forget taking my order and in 5-15 minutes make it when the dining room opened. They just brushed me off each time. Late night before going to bed (okay, late night was before midnight for me most nights) most bars were closed that offered drinks to take with you to your room so you could have something to drink in your room. I am not talking alcohol, I am talking sodas, juice, etc. I know I have probably left some stuff out. But I must comment on efficiency. The staff is trained so well in efficiency, that it has come across to many of the passengers as the feeling of you need to get off the ship because your vacation is almost over on the second day of the cruise until the end. Settling your Sea Pass Account A few things were good and bad about the sea pass account. Each day's charges were on the interactive TV. That was nice, it saves paper. But, only one account had total amount due. The main cardholder of the account. So you could not check without taking your calculator out and adding up each person's charges to make sure they kept in their budget. Each person had their own line items of purchases, but they were on there twice as positive and negative charges. The positive were the actual purchases. The negatives were moving them from the child's account to my account balance. So, the teens had 0.00 balances each day. As a personal preference, I really did not like that. But others would probably love it. If you pre pay your gratuities before you board... you are not allowed to remove them or transfer them to an employee or a few employees that truly deserve them. If I paid gratuities on board, I would have been able to remove them and then pay each employee as I preferred. So if you prefer to pay your staff personally, do not pre pay gratuities, they will not take care of this at all. Debarkation I was in group 1 for debarkation. Since I was a suite guest, the suite guests had a private waiting area at Portofinos. So as not to be crowded. They offered continental breakfast. This entailed a few pastries, cheese, and canapEs with honeydew melon. Not really a great way to spend your last breakfast on board. The main dining room where most people sat and waited had a full breakfast. I am not sure how Royal Caribbean can consider this a perk for their suite guests. We had to be at Portofinos and out of our room by 8:00AM. Our debarkation time was 8:30 AM. We left the ship then. Went though immigration and customs and were out of the terminal by 8:40AM. No one checked my bags, they just checked my passport. They did not even check to see if I was getting off the ship with the correct children. My children have a different last name than me. So I figured they would check. Nope. While I was waiting at the airport, I met several people who were on board our sailing as well. They told me their horror stories of what happened to them. Very few people had good stories to tell. Most of them kept repeating the same scenario. They felt like they were being forced to hurry up and finish their vacation from the beginning. One ladies story was so horrific, I don't know how embellished her story was, so I will not write about it because my hopes are that it was embellished a lot. I cannot fathom it really happened. Will I sail Royal Caribbean again? Probably not. Will I sell it to my clients? I will, but inform them completely of what is entailed so they make an informed decision to book or not. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Traveling with three kids (15, 14 and 11), wife (age unprintable) and mother in law (age unknown)for spring break, 2011!Left out of Tampa - used valet parking, well worth the extra $15 because it gets you out fast when you return to port! ... Read More
Traveling with three kids (15, 14 and 11), wife (age unprintable) and mother in law (age unknown)for spring break, 2011!Left out of Tampa - used valet parking, well worth the extra $15 because it gets you out fast when you return to port! More later.Sea day was somewhat exciting - the morning of, we heard a BRAVO BRAVO BRAVO which turned out to be a fire in a crew members cabin. The captain was great about communicating the issues and alleviating any fear on our part. On Q+A day with the captain (last sea day of the cruise) the captain was pretty open in discussing what happened - great captain, best we have experienced. Relatively young guy, great sense of humor, etc.First port was costa maya - not a lot to do here. Apparently the port opened up ten years ago for the first time. Had a hurricane (the one that smacked Belize as well, think it was Dean) that shut the place down for 14 months. Still a lot of damage / shells of former businesses, etc. Not terribly well-developed by any stretch of the imagination. Don't really need to go here again. We DID do the Chacchoben mayan ruins tour - bus was hot (A/C very limited) and it was stuffy and hot on the hour-long trip. The ruins are fascinating and our guide was very knowledgeable - we just didn't care to hear everything he wanted to tell us - too long of a tour after the miserable bus ride. Had a wonderful diet coke - called coke light, like they do in europe - not really zero calorie, and not full calorie, but much better tasting. Anyway, glad we went, don't need to go back.Next port was cozumel - excursion to playa mia which is an all-inclusive (read watered-down open bar and minimally acceptable local cuisine) on the beach. Even though it was spring break, the atmosphere was subdued enough for our family to fully enjoy. Would go back tomorrow.Food on the ship was excellent in every single case. Ate at cascades as often as we could, windjammer at least once a day for either a snack or a meal, and seaview cafe. Got a specialty steak as it was on the cascades menu for $15 and it was GREAT. Hors d'ouevres / starters all good, main courses all good, and deserts all good.Ship entertainment was so so. Comedians both good, didn't bother with stage productions. Did not find the musicianship on the cruise as high a level as it was on our last cruise on a bigger ship. Could be any number of reasons.Kids used pools, pool tables, card rooms, etc. We had a great time!We got off the ship on time, 8:55 and were in the car and on the highway home within 15 minutes. All this thanks to valet parking in my opinion - could not have been any smoother given the large number of travelers.Wonderful spring break. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We are frequent travelers, but have never cruised before. But we wanted to do something fun and international for our 10th anniversary. Now the kids are in school we have to go during spring break (but not taking them along with us). So I ... Read More
We are frequent travelers, but have never cruised before. But we wanted to do something fun and international for our 10th anniversary. Now the kids are in school we have to go during spring break (but not taking them along with us). So I started shopping for the cheapest cruise and cheapest cabins. So after pricing for a few months I found this 4 day cruise from Tampa on March 24th for $299 for an inside cabin. But the balcony cabins were only $399! So after a few days hesitation the price went up to $419 and finally we booked. Glad we booked through RCI, I'd looked into some other internet rates that advertised 'lowest price available, guarenteed!' and when I went on the RCI site and their cruise was cheaper the other site wouldn't match it. So for the two of us the total for our room, taxes, and prepaid gratuities came to almost exactly $1000. We talked later that we thought we ate our fare in food in just the four days, not far from the truth! I think it's important to put the price you paid in reviews because it really changes how people view an experience. If someone paid $3000 for the same room they wouldn't feel the way we did. We felt like we got a wonderful room, yes it was smaller than a hotel room, but felt very roomy with the light coming in from the balcony. And it was definately worth the extra $100 per person for the balcony. We went with the 'guarenteed balcony room' and I thought we might end up with a room with an obstructed view or on a deck that wasn't that great. But we noticed that this ship has TONS of balcony rooms, which is probably why they were on sale.We arrived at the tampa port around 11:45 but didn't know which dock it was departing from 1-6, finally we found a sign that said our ship was departing from port 3, but didn't know exactly where that was. After looking around trying to figure out how to get to our ship we walked into a tourist building and they pointed us to port three. We were dropped off easily and dropped our bags with the porter. We had prepaid our gratuities so I assumed our porter was included in that but when we got on the ship we asked and the welcome person said no, the porters are part of the Tampa port system not the cruise itself. Hubby felt awful and wanted to go back so out we went, found the porter tipped him $3 and then back through the security lines and back on the ship. Even with all of that we were eating lunch in the Windjammer around 12:30. When we finished lunch around 1pm we were told our rooms would be ready so we went to drop our carry on bags there before we explored the ship. While we were in the room the first of our two bags arrived. We left the room around 2:30 to explore the ship and started with the top on the sports deck. The mini-golf wasn't crowded so we did that around 3pm. The course is 9 holes and is pretty awful if you really care because the tin cups were above the level of the ground so it was tough to get it in, but hubby was impressed when I got a hole in one. After that we went back down to the windjammer for some soft serve ice-cream. We loved being able to get that anytime. When the windjammer was closed for the evening they rolled it out to the Thirst Quenchers area that was open all night. We were just wandering around through the Solarium on deck 11 and went toward the spa area just intending to look through but got put on one of the spa guided tours where they try and sell you every different service. It was nice to see the spa and areas, but we weren't intending to pay that much for spa services that we could get at home for much less. But we did put our names into the drawing for prizes to be given away at 5:15.So then around 4pm we went down to explore the lower floors. We loved the Colony club area, hubby thought it was really cool with the old ship feel and the smells of gunpowder or whatever manly ship smell it was piped into the room. We played a round of pool on the self-leveling tables and that was fun. Then we went to the Aurora theater for the muster drill. After we heard all the beeps and saw the people show us how to put on life jackets we were done. We headed back to our room to see if the rest of our luggage had made it through and the big hundred pound bag had come through, but it had been searched (probably because it was so huge!). Nothing was taken so I got the rest all unpacked. There was plenty of closet and drawer space for us, but we are light packers and it was only a 4 day cruise, but if we were staying longer we would have felt there was plenty of storage space.I started feeling some rumbling from below me and thought, 'hmm, they must be getting the ship's engines ready to go.' but then I looked out the balcony and the land was moving! Haha, I told my hubby we were moving and he didn't even notice it until looking outside. The ship was a smooth ride for 80% of the whole trip. We were concerned that motion sickness would be a problem for my hubby since he is prone to it, but he didn't even have to pop a dramamine/bonine for the cruise ship at all.So we went up on deck for sail away, stopped at the spa raffle and didn't win anything. But then got a frozen drink and watched the land go bye bye. The best thing we did was watch as the boat went under the Skyway bridge in St. Pete. It was AMAZING! The boat only cleared the bridge by 5 or 10 feet from where we could tell. We were up on decks 12 and 13 taking pictures and it was a really neat view. We had dinner in the Main Dining Room that night, and as other reviewers had said there was a sign that said no shorts, flip flops allowed but I saw people in shorts on a few of the nights. We had the My Time Dining and though I had placed a few reservations I don't think we ever made it to our actual reservation time. I didn't know what other activities would be going on so the My Time dining was great for us. We just walked up to our dining area (port side, deck 5) and asked for a table. The first night they put us at a table for 6 (even though we wanted a table for two). But later on when no one else joined us to eat they moved us to a recently empty table for two by the window. The other nights we had tables for two (one night as we approached a table for 10 that had 2 other people at it already we stopped and asked for a table for two and our request was granted). The food was always good, plentiful and filling. We felt like it was going to a nice restaurant in town that would have cost $40 per person with what we got. We always got two appetizers and one entree and sometimes dessert. But sometimes we were too full for dessert, but found room for soft serve later on in the evening. No lobster on the menu any day, wish I'd gotten the duck the first night because it wasn't offered again.We went to the Welcome Aboard Show with the comedian and it was pretty good. Not spectacular (as we've seen broadway shows, it can't be compared to that), but it was a nice thing to do in the evening. The dancers and singers came out and did a song/dance to an original Radiance of the Seas type song. It was kind of lame in my opinion and made me not really want to come back to see any of the dance/song productions. It was kind of like something you'd see at Sea World or Disney about how 'we are sailing away....on a great cruise getaway...we'll all have a fun time...so much fun with yooooou.' So we skipped the show on day two. But when we peeked in on day four to the Piano Man show it was good enough to stay for and then we came back for the beginning of the 2nd showing so we could see what we missed. I think I was just turned off to the goofy lyrics of the made up song. When they were doing songs from Elton John and many others the songs and choreography was excellent. Day two we got up relatively early I guess, but it didn't feel like it since the ship had set the clocks back an hour to account that Mexico didn't do daylight savings time. We got breakfast in the Windjammer around 8 and took it over to the Solarium where we ate at the tables there. Then we grabbed two loungers by the pool and stayed there for most of the morning, leaving around 11:30. By then there weren't any loungers near the pool and two people were very glad that they could snap up ours.I had heard such good things about the Seaview Cafe that I wanted to try lunch there but it didn't open until noon. We got there around 12:15 and there was already a 45 minute wait for food. But since it got such good reviews I wanted to try it. So we put in our order and got our number thing and went to Windjammer directly below to get some snacks to hold us over. Our food was ready at 12:45ish and it was pretty dissapointing. The onion rings were great, my soup was good, and my fruit plate was good, but hubby's fish salad was just so-so and the reuban sandwich was laughable. We really had to look under the bun to see if there was actually meat on there. Hubby did the hot shots basketball tournament after lunch and had fun with that, though he said the court was patchy in places and not like playing on a regular court at all. Then he did the rock climbing wall that opened for beginners at 2pm. It did seem that the wall was only open at certain times so we were glad he got it in at this time. Stopped to see the international belly flop contest and that was pretty hilarious.We went back to the room to get ready for formal night and the captain's reception. We got to the reception around 5:40 (it was from 5-6) and couldn't figure out where to get the free drinks. We wandered around and finally asked others who said that someone was passing them, we found the guy and he'd bring out a tray of drinks that would get taken very quickly and then he'd go back for 3-5 minutes to get more and so you had to station yourself by the pool tables if you wanted a chance for a drink! By then they only had champagne. They introduced the officers but we were bored and left. We did some formal portraits and then had dinner (cheesecake for dessert! yum!).Day three we had our excursion to Tulum (Ruins and beach break) which I'll review in the excursions forum. Suffice it to say, it was a lot of travel but was worth it in our opinions as we'd rather see something historical than shop in port or sit in a bar. The morning began badly as our room service that I'd ordered the day before never came. I'd ordered it on the TV to come between 6:30 and 7:00. At 6:55 I called the guest services to inquire because we were on a time crunch because we had to be at our assigned place at 8:15 to get off the boat in time for our excursion. Room service said the food was on it's way (it wasn't) and I called back at 7:05 and they apologized and said they never got the TV orders for some reason but said they would get it right away. I asked if it would take more than 15-20 minutes, because we'd rather just go up to the windjammer to make sure we had enough time. He insisted that he could get it to us quickly. I tried to remember all that I'd ordered and forgot a few things my hubby wanted, oops. So it was delievered around 7:25 and we ate it out on the balcony and that was nice. Hubby said we wouldn't be ordering room service again though. I think that's because I forgot to order him a juice. The comedy/magic show that night was good, best part was when the magician had a little boy, just three years old come up and did some funny and cute tricks with him.Day four was at sea and we started with breakfast in the Main Dining Room. It was the first time we sat with others on the whole cruise. I loved it as an extrovert, hubby tolerated it as an introvert. The breakfast was really good, I ordered 3 things (omlette with hash browns, grits, and pancakes). Everyone else just ordered one thing and seemed like they wanted more, but the waiters were gone by the time they finished.We did lunch at the Windjammer, they had a great mexican buffet this day. We later attended the swing dance class which was very basic beginner stuff, but still fun. We went out to the helicopter pad and took pictures and watched the flying fish. We had some afternoon tea at 4:30 in the Windjammer and then we went to the Love and Marriage show at 5pm in the theater. That was hilarious but they did have it on the boat TV replaying the rest of the cruise. I'm sure it depends on the couples chosen for how funny it is, but there were some very memorable answers and we laughed and enjoyed it. Then we went to dinner the the MDR. We had great views of the sunset from our table. We'd wanted to do some dancing on this night as we'd missed it the other nights because we were so tired. We tried the stardus lounge where there was a Motown Farewell party from 10-11 but there were just two girls out there dancing, it was kind of dead. Then we decided to try the colony club for the Headliner's band for their farewell show and that was pretty sad too. The band wasn't that great and again there were two girls out on the dance floor, it got up to 5 while we were in there but we just decided to sit and play chess instead. We got back to our rooms in time to pack and get our luggage outside the door, very smooth process.Debarkation was very smooth and easy. We got up and went to the Windjammer for breakfast, it was great as usual, though more crowded than other days because everyone was in there early. We miss it now that we are back home and have to prepare our own food. After breakfast we went to our room to finish getting everything together. We had to be in the theater (our meeting room) at 9:15 (but told us to get there 10 minutes earlier) and they called our number around 9:20. We got off, got our luggage, went through customs and our ride picked us up right at 9:35. We could have gotten a porter to get us through the customs line quicker, but really, it wasn't long at all, and we didn't have to worry about tipping! Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Our group of 4 drove to Tampa from New Orleans. Looking back we should have flown but we still enjoyed the drive over. Finding the terminal was a bit challenging. For some strange reason Terminal 2 has quite a large sign. So here we are ... Read More
Our group of 4 drove to Tampa from New Orleans. Looking back we should have flown but we still enjoyed the drive over. Finding the terminal was a bit challenging. For some strange reason Terminal 2 has quite a large sign. So here we are looking for a similar sign for Terminal 3- none exists (at least that we could find). After a second wrap, I spotted a smaller green sign pointing out Terminal 3. Unloading was a breeze and we opted for the valet parking. It was only $15 more and during departure,(which it was pouring rain) we were glad we did. We walked into the terminal with our paperwork and passports in hand. The lines were non-existent and were signed in by an older gentlemen. He could've been more cordial but we let it go since he was elderly and maybe was having a bad day. Other than that, embarking flowed smoothly and R.C.I. definitely has it figured out well; it took us less than 10 minutes from vehicle drop to boarding. Entering the Radiance was a bit of a different experience for us. There was no hoopla over you while boarding, no music, and no one pushing drinks. Looking back I do miss the announcement of the "Robichaux" family, as it makes you feel special and like your vacation is actually beginning and it was kinda lame to not even have tropical music being played. It was more like entering the lobby of a hotel. However, I did not miss being hassled to buy a souvenir drink every two seconds! After reading the board on this ship I was a bit concerned at its age. I have to say that being the age it is, it is well kept and hard to find many wear and tear. We made our way to the Windjammer, which was absolutely lovely and had a nice selection. I was happy to see that the tables were being cleaned (disinfected) quickly after each passenger. We had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer everyday. The food offerings changed a bit each day and I have no complaints about the quantity or quality of the food. After lunch we headed to find our stateroom (3110). Our luggage was there when we arrived and the room was ready to go. This room had two drop ceiling beds for our teenagers. We were able to hang most of our garments and unpack the rest into the drawer space provided. All of our luggage was put inside of each other and slipped neatly under the bed. Though the room was small, as most are, we never felt cramped or like we were stepping on each other. I also have to say that our room steward was exceptional. He cleaned the room constantly, we had a never ending supply of ice and water, and fresh towels. There was also a curtain partition that made it very easy for my daughter and me to change while the men were still in the room. One negative I have to admit was that at some point it felt like the a/c in our hall just stopped working. I called twice to have it looked into but, nothing changed. We were hot most nights and slept without covers. We never did experience any smells or wet carpeting as reported by others. Our commode refused to flush one evening, but one call and a few minutes later it was back in working order. Our main dining time was 6pm and the Cascades room was very nice. The food was excellent and so was the service. Our glasses never stayed empty more than 2 or 3 minutes and our waiters were kind, funny, punctual,and full of information. The selection during dinner was nice as well. There were 8 of us at one table and no one during the entire trip had any complaints. As for entertainment, I personally found the entertainment aboard the Radiance much nicer than that of the two Carnival cruises I've taken. The shows were excellent and the dancers got really involved down at poolside. Some points that I preferred on other ships were: -music by the main pool was exactly the same everyday and throughout the day, consisting of oldies and disco. By the time you hear Staying Alive 7 times, it is just frustrating. -Radiance had no "night clubs" for those of us who wanted to have fun with our 17/18 year old. When they decided to open it, it was only open to 18 and above. Sure there were other lounges open earlier but my teen doesn't want to hear big band music or Elton John hits (neither did I for that matter). -This ship was also very limited on it's gaming as well. -Though it is posted everywhere, seat holding on this ship was ridiculous. I could walk out at 7:30am and every chair had a towel, shirt, or book but no people on them. I actually found one without, sat and timed how long the chairs were being 'held' before someone came to actually use them - try up to 2 and 3 hours! And forget the Solarium, which by the way is really nice, but forget trying to sit in there. It is worse than the main pool for seating. Instead,we hung out in the library, read, played trivia, played pool in the Scoonger lounge, hit the arcade, and played putt putt golf. We took advantage of the Spa during the evenings instead of dancing. We took the teens and did the thermal spa which was great. My daughter did the Spa sampler and loved it. My husband and I did the Rasual, which is a must. On our Cozumel day, we did the Fury Catamaran and beach break. The catamaran and snorkeling was really fun and the gentlemen crewing the catamaran were great. The beach was awesome and we didn't have to fight for chairs or much else. The day was beautiful and I would recommend it to anyone. On our Costa Maya day, we just walked around, shopped, and lounged in hammocks. It was a nice change compared to being on board and having to fight for a place to sit in the sun. We were haggled a little but nothing as bad as some other ports we've been to. We were also able to get close to watch the dolphins being fed and played with. Basically this turned out to be just what we wanted, a very relaxing, laid back vacation. The ship is beautiful and full of things to do. Though I didn't get to sun poolside much, the other offerings easily took its place. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We thoroughly enjoyed our 5 night western Caribbean cruise on the Tampa-based Radiance of the Seas from 5 - 10 March. This was our first cruise so we have no basis for comparison, but it won't be our last. Ports of call were Cozumel ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our 5 night western Caribbean cruise on the Tampa-based Radiance of the Seas from 5 - 10 March. This was our first cruise so we have no basis for comparison, but it won't be our last. Ports of call were Cozumel and Costa Maya. The passenger mix consisted of families and couples, young and old, although not very many young children, and college kids on spring break. Embarkation: We live only 15 minutes from the Port of Tampa, so no hotel/airport issues. Check-in at Tampa was a breeze - if only airport check-in were so stress free. Got dropped off at the terminal around 11:30 AM and was on the ship in less than 10 minutes. Cabins on Deck 9 were ready at 1:00 PM. The water we ordered was in the room as soon as we arrived. The roses and champagne we ordered - to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary - arrived by 3:00 PM while we were out exploring the ship. Our luggage was delivered around 4:00. There was a short, almost perfunctory, emergency muster drill around 4:15 PM, with departure at 5 PM on the nose Saturday afternoon. The Ship: The Radiance of the Seas is the lead ship of the Radiance Class. She is a lovely and well maintained ship. At over 90,000 tons she's neither the biggest nor the smallest in the Royal Caribbean fleet, although she felt plenty big to us. Despite a full complement of passengers, she never felt crowded. If you were looking for quiet space there is always plenty to be found. Or, if you're looking for action, there was plenty of that to be had as well. Once on board it's apparent the Radiance isn't new - March 10, 2011 is the 10th anniversary of her maiden voyage - but she has aged gracefully. Her most obvious need is for new carpeting. Apart from that there are few signs of any serious wear and tear. We did not encounter any sewage odors as reported in some previous reviews. The Radiance will relocate to the west coast at the end of April and in May she goes to dry dock to refit/refurbish, followed by several months of Alaska cruises then on to Australia in November 2011. There will be no Royal Caribbean ship cruising out of Tampa from May to October 2011; however, The Jewel of the Seas, one of the Radiance's three sister ships, will call Tampa home from November 2011 to April 2012. The Cabin: Our stateroom, 9056, was a "D-1, Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony." With 195 sq ft there is ample room for two, although the bathroom and shower are small. The balcony, at 45 sq ft, was also small, with two chairs and a small table. There was plenty of closet and drawer space and a large couch facing a regular TV. We slept comfortably enough, but the mattress was well worn and could use replacing. Perhaps she will get flat screens and new mattresses during refit in May, but I don't know for sure. The room was quiet, although at times if the neighbors were being loud or their TV volume was high you could hear them, especially if the balcony doors were open. Luckily we only heard them a few times and it was never a bother. The Crew: The crew was fantastic. From restaurant and stateroom staff, to the cruise director and the Captain, everyone was very friendly and attentive. Our stateroom attendant and main dining room waiters were great, as were the staff in each bar/lounge we visited. The Captain's daily announcements were informative, and from what I could tell cruise director "Dan, Dan the Party Man" never slept. Food/Drink: We opted for the 6:00 PM dinner seating, eating 3 of our 5 evening meals in Cascades, the main dining room. Two the three nights were good, one was just so-so. The wait staff in Cascades was very attentive. Dinner in the Portofino (Italian) and Chops Grill (steaks) specialty restaurants are well worth the extra money. Service, presentation, and the food were awesome in both. The second night was formal night in the main dining room, with most men opting for suits or jacket and tie. I only saw a couple of tuxedos. The last night is lobster night in Cascades, although we missed it for the excellent steaks in Chops Grill instead. Breakfast and lunch fare in the Windjammer were good, although nothing spectacular. There was always plenty to choose from so you won't go hungry. Hot food was always hot, cold food was always cold. We had lunch in the Seaview Cafe, a burgers and fries joint at the rear of the ship, once. Sadly, the Seaview will be remodeled during the refurbishment in May to become a specialty Brazilian restaurant. My only real complaint from the whole cruise was with the quality of the coffee in the restaurants. It was not good in my opinion. The coffee in the Seattle's Best brand Latte-Tudes coffee shop was good though. The cookies and cakes in Latte-Tudes are free if you purchase a coffee or drink and were always delicious. I watched the bartenders in the Schooner Bar mix several drinks and they were always generous with the alcohol. A bartender made my wife a non-alcoholic drink on the house one evening which earned him generous tips from me for the rest of the cruise. Entertainment/Spa: We saw two of the headliner acts (a comedian and a magician) and two production shows by the Radiance singers and dancers in the Aurora Theatre. The headliner acts were okay. The production shows were very impressive. I read a review that likened the production shows to a high school level effort. I disagree. While not Las Vegas level, the Radiance singers and dancers are a very talented group that put on a professional quality show with high production values. The small ensemble music groups that played in the Centrum, the bars or pool area were all very good as well, if perhaps better players than singers in most cases. By request, the classical guitarist performing in the Centrum played beautiful renditions of two of my wife's favorite songs. We toured the Spa facilities the day we boarded. There are several treatments available and the Spa area is very nicely appointed. We took a couples massage the morning of our Costa Maya port day. Not cheap, but worth every penny. Ports and Excursions: We didn't book any excursions through the ship at either port although there are plenty to choose from. In Cozumel we spent the day relaxing on an all-inclusive beach resort followed by some shopping. In Costa Maya we spent most of the day onboard with a short trip off the ship to look around. Besides the standard souvenir shopping or drinking there was little to do at the port in Costa Maya so unless you're interested in either of those I recommend taking a tour or staying on board and having the ship pretty much to yourself. At Cozumel the Carnival Dream and the Celebrity Century joined us in port shortly after we arrived and I must say the Radiance is a better looking ship than Dream or Century. The next day in Costa Maya the Celebrity Century again joined us. The Norwegian Spirit attempted to dock but was unable to, apparently due to strong wind and waves which lashed the docks. According to the Captain, due to the Radiance's power and maneuverability, there are few ports or conditions she cannot successfully dock. Disembarkation: The Captain put the ship back into Tampa around 7:00 AM Thursday morning. After breakfast in the main dining room we walked off the ship at 9:15 AM, ahead of our scheduled time and were standing with our luggage on the curb outside the port to await our ride by 9:30 AM. If nothing else the Port of Tampa is easy to get through, whether leaving or arriving. Summary: The Radiance of the Seas is a classy lady with a classy crew who provided us with a wonderful cruise experience. We're already planning our next cruise and would gladly cruise with the Radiance again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
We chose the Radiance of the Seas because her itinerary fit our children's spring break schedule. It was a five day sailing (the Radiance does two five days followed by a four day). The port was with in our range to drive to. They ... Read More
We chose the Radiance of the Seas because her itinerary fit our children's spring break schedule. It was a five day sailing (the Radiance does two five days followed by a four day). The port was with in our range to drive to. They also had a terrific balcony sale that enticed us, we originally going to book our children in an inside and us in a balcony- but with the sale we were able to put our boys (12 & 17) in a connecting stateroom.We drive on almost all of our vacations, and had a room at the Double Tree airport. The Double Tree had a sleep and sale package so we could keep our car there and they would shuttle us over. We took the 10:30 shuttle over to the port. We found the Tampa port terminal to be very nice. The agents were friendly and outgoing. We checked in quickly. The boarding process began right at 11:00 as promised and we soon found ourselves in the Windjammer for lunch. The Windjammer was very nice, we enjoyed the wood and brass and of course the windows. After a quick bite to eat the boys went to find the sports court and explore the ship. My husband and I also took time to get acquainted with the layout and then found a seat in the Solarium to wait for 1:00 PM and our stateroom (our sailing the sky was overcast with a drizzle, which by sail away was a thunderstorm). Our room was ready promptly at 1:00 and we dropped off our carry on and went back up to the Solarium for some hot tub time. I enjoyed the Solarium very much the theme is very tropical and the colors soothing. When we returned we met our steward, Roxanne. She was great and did a wonderful job for us the entire trip. We normally have traveled with all four of us in a stateroom, and have had the larger family ocean view rooms. This was a surprise on how much smaller the stateroom was and how small the "love seat" was. That being said, there was more than enough storage. The bathrooms as they are now have a very interesting shower, with a curtain. It was a trick to learn how not to flood the bathroom floor! I got pretty good at keeping the water in the shower by the end of it. The shower also had some sort of a check on it to keep the water from getting too hot. I found out that you need to pull the right side knob out to get really hot water. The bed was very comfy and I loved the sheets and pillows. We all enjoyed very restful nights. We had main seating and love to meet new folks. Our table of eight included our family of four, a retired couple from the Tampa area and a nice couple from Newfoundland as well. At first we were worried we wouldn't have much in common and thought that perhaps this wasn't going to work out so well, I am sure they were thrilled to see two kids at the table, but it didn't take long to break the ice. We almost always had something to talk about. If you are worried about taking a large table, don't, meeting new people is always part of the fun. The boys also learned about being good conversationalists with this group.Our servers (Clinton and Anne) did a wonderful job of keeping everyone fed. There was something on the menu for everyone. As our 12 year old is very picky he found that the children's menu was more to his liking. Chicken fingers, spaghetti, pizza. He would have liked to have had a hot dog one night, but the kitchen would not accommodate his request as it was on the Windjammer or room service menu. I don't believe it was our wait staff's fault, they tried several times. I think this was the kitchen- the Voyager of the Seas and on the Disney Magic he was able to get food off the room service menu without a problem. The menu had duck, prime rib, steak, seafood, chicken of all types and a wide variety of things to choose from. As usual, I ordered two appetizers on nights where there were things I really wanted to try or two entrEe's (lobster and prime rib). As some of the other posters have mentioned, we saw all sorts of dress in the main dining room. We always did resort casual, and dressed up (husband wore a coat and tie, but no tux) on formal night. We did let the boys wear long shorts with collared shirts and shoes (not flip flops or slides) on the more casual evenings. What others were wearing really didn't bother me, but they did look kind of out of place in such an elegant dining room. We did eat breakfast in the dining room the morning of departure as I felt I wanted someone to wait on me one last time. Breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer was plentiful. They will do eggs and omelets made to order and there is always fresh fruit. Lunch included sandwich fixings, hamburgers, wraps, pizza...again something for every one.The teen programs were well attended on this cruise. We didn't see much of either of our kids. They made some new friends and enjoyed the sports court. Each came home with a medal- the 12 year old for the basketball hot shot and the 17 year old for the speed climb. Now, as I have boys what interests them might not interest everyone. The Dodgeball and basketball events were things they were really interested in, as well as the rock wall and some of the "battle of the sexes" events as well. The beach party in the Solarium was also a big hit with my 17 year old. They each made friends pretty easily and enjoyed the activities. My rule is you go the the meet and mingle event the first night of the cruise to meet the staff and the other kids, and this has seemed to work out well. We had been to both ports before, but that didn't stop us from getting off the ship. Costa Maya can make for a beautiful beach day. We took a taxi down to Mahahaul and went to the Tropicana. We enjoyed beer and soft drinks, soft sand and clear water. We did a little shopping. You will want to get away from the created port town to have a different view of the place. Yes, the locals do want to sell you things, from watches to henna tattoos but a polite "no thank you" and they move along. In Cozumel we went to Paradise Beach, a private beach club. The 17 year old loved the water toys much more than the 12 year old, the fresh water pool was nice and more to his liking. I am not sure if I would do a beach day in Cozumel again, this was our second try at it. As it was spring break Paradise Beach was very busy. The chairs were $2 each(we got two) and the toys $12 each (we got two wrist bands), you need to spend $10 per person in food- not hard to do. We did our main shopping in Cozumel. The Radiance docks at the International Pier, one secret, the shops that are right down town can actually be found at the pier right next door where Carnival calls. The shops include Ron Jon's, Del Sol, and much more. You do not need to be on a Carnival Ship to shop here. We learned the last time we called here about this opportunity. We walked right next door and shopped to our hearts content, saving the taxi fare.My husband and I enjoyed the Colony Club several evenings and the Schooner Bar. They had a piano bar set up in the Schooner Bar the last two nights and we enjoyed singing along to Billy Joel, Elton John and Beatles tunes. You could almost always find some music some place. We played pool on the pool tables and found other quiet places to sit and watch people. The self-leveling pool table is something to watch. We have rather choppy seas (6 foot most nights) and if you watch the movement of the table it is hard to believe that there is that much pitch and roll happening. One table was broken. I am sure that will be fixed in dry dock. Very hard to play a game without the gyroscope!Our final day was a sea day. The morning started out a little wet but by mid-day the sun had broken through. We enjoyed our last day at sea. Had a great lobster dinner in the dining room and went to the Piano Man show. We packed our bags and got them out by midnight (we had thought we would carry them off, but that is discouraged at this port) always a sad occasion. We were up early, had breakfast with another great group of folks in the dining room and as we have sailed Royal before we were in group 1 for disembarking. They called us at 8:30, we were off and through customs very fast and back at the Double Tree by 9:00!A few notes, the Radiance will be in dry dock shortly. She will get new carpet, furniture and will have a total of eight restaurants on board when they are done. You will not go hungry on Radiance. Her staff was wonderful. We did notice the toilet wasn't flushing correctly when we boarded, and within 30 minutes we heard maintenance in the hall working on the vacuum (most likely someone flushed something they shouldn't have). As far a chair hogs, on our first day at sea the staff worked hard to make sure that the chair hogs lost their seats. There were two chairs next to us that were being held when we sat down, a staff member walked by and made a note, 35 minutes later he came and took the towels and bags away. No one ever came back to ask the folks who soon took the chairs what happened to their things. I was happy to see that they made sure that people were really using the chairs. I did not notice this as much on the second sea day. Most children were very well behaved on this cruise. We had one unfortunate incident involving another child behaving dangerously towards our child. We did end up talking to security about it (of course the child denied doing what we witnessed), but they must have cameras all around the pool deck because a day later the same boy came up to my husband and apologized for his behavior. We can't wait for another opportunity to cruise with Royal again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Sailed on the Radiance on March 24th for a 4 night cruise.Embarkation was seemless, but not a quick as other reviewers stated. There was only one metal detector in use and as a result a line to get through the metal detector. Once passed ... Read More
Sailed on the Radiance on March 24th for a 4 night cruise.Embarkation was seemless, but not a quick as other reviewers stated. There was only one metal detector in use and as a result a line to get through the metal detector. Once passed that part, we filled out the Health Information card and proceeded through the remainder of the process quickly.Dining - The food was good. Ate mostly in the Dining Room (breakfast, lunch and dinner). Had breakfast in Windjammer only once. Also, lunch in the Windjammer once. Just not a buffet fan, so stuck with the Dining Room when possible. The service in the dinning room was good with the exception of one lunch. At lunch, there is a salad station in the dinning room that is excellent. You get to pick what you want in the salad, but the portion is rather large. Highly recommend the salad station. Was disappointed that the policy of no shorts, t-shirts, and jeans at dinner is not more strictly enforced. Every night we saw people allowed into the dinning room that did not meet the official dress code. The dress code should either be enforced or ditched.Entertainment - the production shows where pretty good. They were comparable to other shows that I've seen on previous cruises. The last night's comedian was funny. It was a "family friendly adult comedy show".Fitness - If you are a runner, be sure to pick your run times strategically if you plan to use the track. It surrounds the pool area and can be crowded. Took a spin/wheels in motion class one morning. A good class but the charge is a little high (with tip almost $14.00) for one hour.Debarkation - Ended up using a porter to help with our bags. That lead to a much quicker line and exit through customs.Overall - a nice vacation and cruise. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
My wife and I (50 somethings) decided to set up a cruise experience for our 5 family members from St. Louis (ages 12-86). We live in Florida, so we picked up the family at the Tampa airport, made a 15 min drive to the port, opted for valet ... Read More
My wife and I (50 somethings) decided to set up a cruise experience for our 5 family members from St. Louis (ages 12-86). We live in Florida, so we picked up the family at the Tampa airport, made a 15 min drive to the port, opted for valet parking (had 2 cars). What a great port- very easy to navigate. We arrived around 1030a, and by 1130 we were on board at the WJ cafe having lunch. Check in was super easy, and there were no crowds. Amazed at how easy the whole process was. We booked 4 balcony Aft cabins on deck 8. The rooms were a nice size, and the balcony space was fantastic. In all of our cruises, never booked an aft balcony, but we are now hooked. Rooms were in very good shape, some wear and tear, but overall would rate the rooms for comfort a very good. With all of the extra balcony space I asked our cabin attendant for lounge chairs, and that evening they appeared! The overall ship condition was very good, very easy to navigate. The crew was very friendly. I'm sure after the dry dock next month, its going to be a great ship to cruise on for another 10 years. I really have to say for being 10 years old, they have done a great job of keeping it in great shape. We opted for the anytime dining. We had a party of 7, so we had our own table. We had such a great waiter (Andrew) and assistant (Alexandra), we ended up booking a reservation with them for the entire cruise. They both went out of their way to please and entertain us. Actually was the best service we have every had, after 8 cruise experiences. The Dining room Food. The quality was actually very good. Selections were plenty, and our waiter made sure we tried everything. Very surprised how good it was. The tutti salad bar on sea days for lunch in dining room, lived up to the reviews I had read prior to the cruise! The Windjammer. The food is average to good. There were enough choices, and for a buffet, it was fine for all of us. The Seaview cafe was a great option for lunch on sea days, and also lived up to the reviews I had read. We did Chops Grill on the 4th night. The steaks were great, the dining experience was great, and it was worth the $25 per person. Our main dining room waiter had set the bar so high on service, we were glad to be back on night 5 to our personalized service from Andrew... The entertainment was very good. Most everyone enjoyed the comedian, dancers, and the shows. They really work hard to put on the shows. The Casino. I stayed away mostly because of the smoke. It was really a problem, and while I did play in the poker tourney, that was my only time I went in. Since we had done Cozumel and Costa Maya before, we stayed on he ship and took advantage of the hot tubs, pool, and gym that were virtually empty. On sea days it was very hard to find a chair anywhere. Since it was spring break we anticipated it would be tough finding chairs by the pool on sea days. The family of 4 did venture out for a multi activity excursion in Cozumel, and aside from a rocky tender ride over, they had a great time. They did a beach excursion in Costa Maya, and had a good time. Disembarkation was a breeze. Off the ship in 10 minutes, to the valet, and we were on our way. Overall a great vacation and look forward to sailing again on the Radiance after the makeover.. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Arrived port of Tampa via car (we all live in Florida) and dropped off the bags while the guys parked in the covered garage across the street. Once they joined us in the terminal it took all of 15 minutes to get checked in. Made ... Read More
Arrived port of Tampa via car (we all live in Florida) and dropped off the bags while the guys parked in the covered garage across the street. Once they joined us in the terminal it took all of 15 minutes to get checked in. Made our way to Lido deck and the buffet which was one of the best buffets we have seen. The food stations were laid out so there never seemed like you were jockeying for position and the variety was outstanding and plentiful. We also liked the ice cream stations on both sides of the buffet. We had outside statements on Deck 3 and they were a great size with a really comfy bed. My only complaint would be the size of the shower. The water pressure was wonderful but the length of the shower was really, really small. Other than that, lots of storage and it was spotless. What can I say about the dining room and our wait staff. They were the best and the food was to die for. No complaints here either. We all had a great time at dinner each evening. Shows were great and certainly a big notch above the ones we've seen recently on Carnival ships. Lots and lots of places to go each evening to hear different kinds of music and dance the night away if you are so inclined. The casino was not kind to my husband but they never are. The best part of the ship during the day was the solarium. You had to get there early to grab a lounge chair but it was worth it. What a great place, especially since the weather wasn't cooperating. Getting off the ship was easy also. They have it all down to an art form. We loved everything about our 4 night cruise and the first time cruisers in our group are definitely cruising again. We would definitely go back to the Radiance again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
After a flight to TPA I had an excellent, quick RCI transfer to Radiance - the lead ship of the excellent Radiance class. Quick walk aboard embarkation at about 1230, found that my Diamond Plus table reservation had been honored, ate the ... Read More
After a flight to TPA I had an excellent, quick RCI transfer to Radiance - the lead ship of the excellent Radiance class. Quick walk aboard embarkation at about 1230, found that my Diamond Plus table reservation had been honored, ate the usual, not very good, RCI embarkation lunch in a crowded Windjammer Buffet. Room available at 130 pm., small, only 179 sq.ft, with balcony. A quick and almost inconsequential "lifeboat drill", underway at 420 pm. and off to Mexico. Following a day at sea we were into Costa Maya where most people went off on tour. After a short walk ashore I returned to the ship as I have been able to visit all Caribbean ports thru the years and I enjoy being "alone" aboard while everyone is off touring. A horrible lunch in Windjammer but a most enjoyable quiet day aboard. Underway and off to Cozumel arriving before dawn the following morning where I repeated my custom of staying aboard while the rest of the pax were off ashore. Another horrible Windjammer lunch unfortunately. Underway a little late after waiting for a horribly drunken couple to succeed in navigating the pier to return. Off for a day at sea and back to Tampa. This was a very fine, if typical, RCI cruise. Crew very friendly and helpful, food OK at best, Captain's talks daily very informative, Production Shows very good, headliner entertainers less so, food - passable. Food is just not RCI's strength - its the area where they save money to justify low fares by using low quality, low price, foods. Its better than this bachelor can prepare for himself, but it is mass market food service at best. It is a tragedy as far as I am concerned that the Seaview Cafe, open sea days for sandwich lunches and other times during the day/night, is to be removed during the May dockyard period to be replaced by another "dining charge" restaurant. I always enjoy a cruise, am on RCI frequently, and greatly appreciate the "perks" given to their very frequent cruisers (Diamond Plus) especially access to Concierge Lounge etc. I always recommend Radiance class RCI ships as they preserve the idea of a ship at sea via their very large "glassed in" areas and outside decks. I constantly wonder why they are emphasizing Indian cuisine so much when their pax. are not Indian. The possible explanation is that the kitchen personnel are Indian, and Indian food, being largely vegetarian, is cheap. The problem is that they devote an entire section of the Windjammer Buffet to it at lunch and dinner, and no one seems to partake of it. O well!!! A quick and easy disembarkation, easy transfer to TPA and home. I return home having had a good, but not excellent cruise - but well worth the money paid. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Radiance was radiant - 2/14/11 This was our fourth RCI cruise. The Radiance, so far, has been the most beautiful ship we have been on. We left Tampa on Valentine's Day, embarkation was a breeze, we were at the port by 11:15, ... Read More
Radiance was radiant - 2/14/11 This was our fourth RCI cruise. The Radiance, so far, has been the most beautiful ship we have been on. We left Tampa on Valentine's Day, embarkation was a breeze, we were at the port by 11:15, utilized the valet parking for the first time, we were on the ship by 11:45 and on the way to the Windjammer for a bite. Rooms were ready by 1:00 and our bags arrived shortly thereafter. We had a junior suite and it was fantastic. Plenty of storage and very well laid out. Our stateroom attendant, Patricia, was excellent. Our waiter, Roque, was very efficient and helpful and always willing to go the extra mile for his diners. As said before, the food was great. We did dine at Chops one night. So much food and all of it was great and the service is to die for. All at Chops went over and above in service. Costa Maya and Cozumel were nice. Costa Maya is really coming along, although it has the usual shopping and bars, but the cruise lines have really gone all out to make the visit a pleasant one. Cozumel was the same, we did go to Carlos & Charlies on advice of other cruisers. Guess we were too old to appreciate the loud music/noises, etc., so we left after one drink and an order of nachos. Back to the ship and the wonderful Solarium. Embarkation was the best we have experienced to date. Very organized and orderly. We were able to leave the ship at 8:30, got our car from valet and were home (Tampa) by 9:45. Our hope is that RCI would consider other locations out of Tampa in the future. As a side note, we were hesitant about the Radiance after reading other reviews complaining of faulty plumbing, terrible food and nasty staff. We experienced none of that. Apparently, RCI took care of these problems prior to our cruise. Look forward to more RCI cruises in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
Radiance of the Seas February 19 - 24, 2011 I was excited when the school calendar came out for this year because it included a weeklong break in February. While some of my colleagues were lamenting the loss of a two week break ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas February 19 - 24, 2011 I was excited when the school calendar came out for this year because it included a weeklong break in February. While some of my colleagues were lamenting the loss of a two week break in April, I knew that a break from winter's ice and cold is a powerful medicine for the soul. I had a tough time finding a cruise that fit the schedule though, so I ended up taking an unpaid personal day so that we could leave town on Friday the 18th. Diana made the flight arrangements, and I was surprised to see that Delta was the least expensive carrier. We had no difficulties prior to the flight, completed our online check-in Thursday night, even printing our boarding passes and paying for our checked luggage. We flew through Atlanta, which is a very large airport. We had to walk quite a long way just to get to the train that took us to the terminal for our connecting flight. This was a little tough on Diana, so we decided that on the flight home we would pay the extra to check her backpack too. We arrived on time, picked up our bags, called the hotel, (The Double Tree Tampa West Shore) and then waited for the hotel shuttle to pick us up. We had some confusion with another Double Tree Hotel in the area, and a bit of a wait at the airport before the shuttle arrived to pick us up. After about a half-hour wait the shuttle arrived and brought us straight to the hotel. We had stayed here last year, so we knew what to expect, and were quite happy with the experience. The hotel provided a free shuttle service to the local mall, where we ate dinner and got some gelato for dessert. We called the shuttle to bring us back, and were picked up within fifteen minutes. After a good night's sleep, I woke in time to spend 20 minutes on the elliptical in the very nice fitness center, then shower and enjoy the slightly overpriced but very complete breakfast buffet. At 10:00 AM we called for a cab, and were picked up within ten minutes. We stopped by a convenience store to pick up two 12 packs of soda, and then off to the ship terminal. The cost for the cab ride with the tip was $20. This is one place where the story gets a little more interesting. On several previous trips we had purchases cases of soda, on which we placed a luggage tag for delivery to our stateroom. This had always gone off without a problem. This time the porters told us that we had to carry the cases on with us and that we could not check them through. After a quick and speedy registration, we were seated in the priority boarding area. While there first the beverage manager came over to inspect our soda cases, and then another person, who also said he was the beverage manager came to look at them. They were both very polite and they did allow us to bring the sodas on board, but it was the first time we've had such an issue. Once again, we were among the first people to board the ship at about 11:20. We changed into our swimming clothes and found a sunny place by the pool. The pool water was very warm and it wasn't long before the Buffalo chill in my bones began to melt away. At about 1:00pm we went down to our stateroom (4056) and found it to be clean and ready for our arrival. Throughout the cruise, Stateroom Attendant Ricardo was always very good in taking care of the room. We had an oceanview room that was only two rooms removed from the Centrum. I was a little worried that being so close to a main meeting place might be little noisy, but there were no such problems. It was very nice to be located so close to the elevators and the main dining room. The rest of the day played out as expected with nap time and a little exploration of the ship before leaving port. At 5:00pm we went to the skybar to meet our cruise critic friends. It was a little disappointing as only 6 of the 27 people we had hoped to meet found us there. That was OK though as it left us with lots of candy favors to hand out to other friends we made along the way. Our next stop was the "Nightly Diamond" event in the Hollywood Lounge. It was very poorly attended, with only about six or seven people there each night. We met some very nice people there and had a chance to talk at length with them. The most delightful were a pair of twin sisters who have been cruising together for many years. After that it was off to dinner. Our waitstaff was very good. Roberth and Sophia took excellent care of us throughout the cruise and were always eager to meet any special requests. I tried roasted Duck for the first time; I liked it! We went to Portofino one night. I had this amazing seafood skewer with lobster, shrimp, scallops, and salmon. The presentation of the food was unlike anything I'd ever seen before. Throughout the cruise, all the food and drinks were very good, though Diana did have one piece of chicken that was undercooked. The activities and entertainment were anywhere from good to excellent. The most entertaining night was "The Unexpected Boys" which was a tribute to Frankie Vally, sort a miniature "Jersey Boys". There were two comedians, Bud Anderson, in particular, was quite funny while always staying clean. Even his late night adult comedy was refreshingly inoffensive. The Royal Caribbean singers and dancers were the best I've seen in eight cruises. The singers were always strong and on key, and the dancers were exceptionally acrobatic. The sets for these shows were also among the most impressive I've seen. We played a lot trivia in the schooner bar with our new cruise critic friends, Rich, Heidi, and Donna. That was fun, and something we hadn't done before. We also used our $5 match play coupons in the booklet to win a total of $55 in the casino. We're not gamblers at all, and had to have the dealer teach us how to play three card poker. It seemed like we caught on pretty quickly though. We left as soon as our coupons were used up. We took two shore excursions. At Cozumel, we went on the Passion Island beach break. It was very much as we had remembered it from our visit there five years ago. Lots of good food, free drinks, white sand, clear water, and clean bathrooms. It was fun to take a boat ride from the port to the island. On the way back we saw several flying fish soaring through the air, not more than ten feet from the boat. In Costa Maya we did a private tour of the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins with Native Choice. We paid $50 per person ($25 less than the Ship based tour) and there were only two other couples in our minivan (The ship based tour would have had a bus load with 30 - 40 passengers). Joel, our tour guide was knowledgeable and spoke English very well. I would highly recommend the Native Choice Chacchoben Ruins tour to anyone stopping in Costa Maya. There were two negatives about this cruise. First was the occasional sewer smell that would waft through many of the locations on the ship. I am not particularly sensitive to odors, so if I noticed it, it was probably pretty strong. The second problem was the chair hogs, especially on sea days. We went up to the pool at 9:00am to find no open chairs, and over 30 unattended chairs with towels on them. We waited until 9:30 and then went to an attendant to explain the situation. When the attendant went to remove some of the towels a man came over to say that those chairs were for his kids who had just left a few minutes ago to go to the windjammer. He became so belligerent to the attendant that he called security to help deal with the situation. We didn't stick around to actually claim one of those chairs and ended up not spending much time on the pool deck on this cruise. It just seemed too crowded. Our return flight out was scheduled for 9:47. This was a little earlier than I was comfortable with, but Diana was confident we would make it. Departure from the ship was a little delayed, so we weren't off of the Radiance until about 8:45. Fortunately the luggage pick up and customs inspection were smooth. We were in a cab by 8:55, to the airport by 9:15 through customs and onto the plane by 9:30. We made it, but it did add a little stress to our travel day. All in all, Royal delivered another delightful getaway. We'll be back for more. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
For me, there are no bad cruises.This is our 15th. We flew into Tampa and took the hotel free shuttle to the Hampton Inn Rocky Point. Beautiful view on the bay and nice room.Bahama Breeze restuarant next door was delicious. Next day we had ... Read More
For me, there are no bad cruises.This is our 15th. We flew into Tampa and took the hotel free shuttle to the Hampton Inn Rocky Point. Beautiful view on the bay and nice room.Bahama Breeze restuarant next door was delicious. Next day we had priority boarding and we were on board by 11 am after sailing thru embarkation. Radiance is small and the single soaring centrum,along with the glass elevators, gave a feeling of spaciousness.The ship was clean but she is looking tired and the draperies and carpet are ready for replacement. Also the tiny bathroom has the old stained bottom shower curtain which flaps.Clothespins did help weight the bottom (I read this on these boards). The buffet dining was not of great variety but the seating area is great. Uncrowded both inside and outside deck aft. I love,love this outdoor dining. Of course,the chilled fruit soups and the lobster were a dining hit. The MDR was enjoyable. My waiters were great.Room steward also great. Music was exceptional.Something for everyone all times of day. We enjoyed the pool tables.Warm ambience in Bombay Club,Colony Club and SchoonerBar with the smell of old teak.I paid $100 for a week pass to the thermal suite area (you may also pay $20 per day).Heated tile loungers facing the sea and the aromatherapy are relaxing.Our balcony was oversized with 2 loungers,2 chairs and table. Room service was prompt,free and a good menu. We loved the full breakfast on our balcony. Disembarkation easy. Shuttle service to airport. Read Less
Sail Date February 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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