We planned a B2B Alaskan cruise on the Radiance of the Seas in mid-August 2022. We had zero expectations and were cruising on RC because a family member planned this small reunion cruise for us.
We chose an Oceanview cabin, 4518. We were very pleased with the room with the exception of the storage in the closet. The bathroom was a decent size, we had a small sitting area (the sofa was a little dingy and had some worn areas but seemed clean). We really enjoyed the large window. We have cruised Alaska several times and remembered with some drizzly weather we didn’t really use the balcony as much, so didn’t want to pay the extra expense of space we wouldn’t utilize. We didn’t hear any noise above or below but did hear voices from cabins with shared walls (although I do feel the occupants of those rooms were very loud talkers). A big Bravo for the toilets. The pressure for flushing was great. I remember that’s always been a little problematic on Princess. The mattress was comfortable and we asked for feather pillows instead of the foam ones and they were delivered immediately. Our room steward couldn’t have been more wonderful. He met our every expectation and even exceeded them.
Because we had previously only cruised on Princess, that was our comparison. We actually enjoyed the size of the ship, especially for Alaska. We thought it was in really good shape. We felt the Atrium was very small and we walked through there many times a day to return to our room. We thought the hallways were narrow. I like the recessed doorways on Princess so much more. Early on, 1 of the main elevators stopped working and at one other time, another elevator was not functioning either. It started working again but we did have one non-functioning elevator for at least 1 week.
The gym was fine and never crowded.
Food was good, not great. We ate All of our dinners in our assigned dining room. Our waiters were wonderful. We had the same table and waiters for both weeks of the cruise. Portions seemed appropriate and numerous times they brought us additional desserts. We did eat lunch and most breakfasts at the Windjammer. They did have a Boardwalk Dog House for hotdogs. It was subpar. We didn’t eat in any of the specialty dining restaurants. We don’t drink alcohol so can’t review bar service. We felt there was always available seating for the Windjammer. Sometimes we had to look for a minute but always found space. There were other areas to eat outside or near the Park Café by the Solarium Pool. There was ample staff to keep tables cleared off and beverages offered.
In regards to staff, let me just say that I felt they were friendlier, more helpful and more accommodating than Princess. I am basing this on a May 2022 Princess cruise I just took to the Mediterranean. The Radiance of the Seas staff was exceptional in my opinion. Everyone greeted me, offered a smile, made a comment besides just “Hello”. It was refreshing. Sometimes we would cross paths with management staff and we experienced the same thing. We were always asked where we were from and if we were enjoying our cruise. The exception to that was, the Captain. He was basically non-existent. I know that he has a bigger job than being cordial to guests but we NEVER SAW HIM and only heard announcements from him twice in 2 weeks. I’m used to the Captain telling us when we would arrive in a port , what the weather was going to be, or when it would be time to disembark, what deck, and what time to return to the ship, etc. Those announcements didn’t occur. It was frustrating. We were waiting for an announcement to know when we could leave the ship. We finally just looked for the appropriate deck to disembark from and remarked to staff how frustrated we were that no announcements were made. We were told that an announcement was going to be made at 9:00 am. That’s great for those that don’t have an excursion planned for 8:30 am. Another frustrating thing was when announcements were made by other staff, they frequently didn’t speak English clearly and it was hard to decipher what they were saying. This was especially problematic when it was a safety announcement. If you don’t like announcements and general information given, you would have enjoyed this cruise.
Also, it was frustrating that we were not able to communicate with other guests via texting without paying a daily fee. You should be able to communicate with other guests using the RC APP. I felt the Internet pkg offered was very expensive. Princess allows you to message other guests using their APP, no fee.
This particular RC Ship did NOT have self-service laundry available for guests. That was challenging especially since we were on the ship for 2 weeks.
The last area of review was Entertainment. It went from bad to dismal to worse. The movie theater was very small and showed very old movies., not classic movies, just OLD movies. We saw one floor show “Piano Man”. It just wasn’t that good. There were some good moments and 1 or 2 really good singers. We saw a couple other featured performers. It was ho, hum! The musicians were very good and we enjoyed listening to them on other occasions throughout the ship and in other venues. We attended many trivia challenges which was enjoyable. The Talent Show was so bad that people just walked out. Is there no audition to qualify those that want to perform?
All in All, will we cruise on Royal Caribbean again, probably if we like the itinerary. It was an enjoyable cruise.