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mj from katy

Live on board Radiance 2/13/05

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Well, actually, it's Valentine's Day, but the cruise started yesterday.

We're traveling with friends from St. John's Newfoundland and it's their first cruise. This is my third (2 others on NCL) and my husband Don's second.

 

We got to the dock about noon and were in our cabin at 1 p.m. Luggage was delivered about 4 or so while we were at the lifeboat drill.

 

We're in Cabin 8552 with a balcony. Very nice room and I love the balcony.

Lunch in the Windjammer was the usual buffet food. Nothing to write home about, even though that's exactly what I'm doing <LOL>

 

The first thing I did was go and get my Cabin Connection. I've been pleasantly surprised with the connection speed so far about 50K. The boys went and signed us up for the Murder Mystery Wednesday night and for Chops on Saturday.

 

We met Chelle the Cruise Junkie from our Meet and Mingle thread, her sister and sister's boyfriend yesterday, but didn't get to make the "informal" get-together because of the life boat drill. We have our "official" Meet and Mingle this afternoon at 3.

 

Mango Tango was the drink of the day yesterday. Think orange creamsicle. It went down great!

 

Dinner was excellent. Didn't catch our waiter's name - Kamil from Turkey, I think (I'll get it right tonight) His assistant is Gabriel from Slovakia and he's very nice.

 

Beds are fairly comfortable. One note: the AC on board is drying me out like mad and we're from the Houston area, so we're conditioned to AC. If you get dehydrated easily, plan on bringing an insulated mug to have water handy at all times.

 

Right now, we're headed over to Coco Cay. Weather is partly cloudy, but the ocean is blue, blue, blue and the wind is somewhat brisk offshore.

 

More later when I return

 

MJ

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Keep us posted. Look forward to hearing about Coco Cay.

 

We will be on the same itinerary on Radiance in April. Counting down the days.

 

Have a great cruise. :)

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Keep us posted. Look forward to hearing about Coco Cay.

 

We will be on the same itinerary on Radiance in April. Counting down the days.

 

Have a great cruise. :)

 

Hello Jebl,

 

I will be staying in 9094 on the Radiance in December and I remember you saying that you would be staying in that room in April. Please remember to let me know about the room and the balcony. All your information will be appreciated.

 

Thanks so much

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It is so nice that you are keeping us posted. I will be on the Radiance 4/3 sailing. Looking foward to reading your posts. Have a great time and any tips are very appreciated.

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I'll be on the 4/3 sailing too.

Reading all of these "live from the Radiance" posts are making me even more antsy to get my vacation started! :)

 

Have fun!

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It is wonderful that someone wants to post updates about the cruise they are presently on, but I have to say that once we head for the airport hotel a week from thursday you will not see me back on the boards until we return home.

 

These boards provide great information but personally once your on your vacation enjoy it and forget about us folks still stuck here on land.

 

Tell us about the fun after you get home.

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I'll be on the 4/3 sailing too.

Reading all of these "live from the Radiance" posts are making me even more antsy to get my v...acation started! :)

 

Have fun!

 

:) Don't forget to sign up for the M & M. Come on over the Roll Call board. We have some good chat going on.

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It is wonderful that someone wants to post updates about the cruise they are presently on, but I have to say that once we head for the airport hotel a week from thursday you will not see me back on the boards until we return home.

 

These boards provide great information but personally once your on your vacation enjoy it and forget about us folks still stuck here on land.

 

Tell us about the fun after you get home.

 

I have to agree here, if you are posting because you feel obligated, just wait until you get home to update us with the great times you had. However, if the OP's enjoying doing the daily updates, by all means continue to do so.

 

I am on the Radiance on the Nov 6th sailing and will read anything about her and the eastern carribean ports she stops at.

 

Enjoy yourselves

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Thanks for the post... getting goosebumps with anticipation. We will be sailing along with Judy (JEBL) on 4/10/05... first time on the Eastern Itinerary for us, so I look forward to reading more of your review ;)

 

HAVE A BLAST! :D

A

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Hey crusin together how did you find out our M&M was at 3:00. We like the beach and hate to come back for this. need to start back at 1 or so to get ready.

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hello mj,

i just got of the mariner this past sunday and we are already planning our next trip on the radiance for the same route as you i take it (eastern?). anyway i will be reading your post thruout the week and seeing how things are going. just as a curiosity what type of crowd is onboard? are there a good mix of ages or is it leaning more toward the younger or older type of crowd? not that it matters much to me but im just curious. my wife and i are in our 30s and my in-laws are in their 60s and we are also traveling along with others in those ranges. please let me know. thanks and have a great time.

 

Dean

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Thank mj from katy for posting we board the Radiance on Sunday 2-20-05 and are really excited and can't wait for the trip to start. I won't have a lap top with me but if I can get the the internet cafe place I will post a quick note to all of you on how it is going.

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wyattm - I guess I just assumed it was because the OP said that thiers was scheduled for 3. Maybe they have different times every week. I sure hope so otherwise I will be leaving the beach and heading straight to the M&M. Yuck:eek:

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Hello Jebl,

 

I will be staying in 9094 on the Radiance in December and I remember you saying that you would be staying in that room in April. Please remember to let me know about the room and the balcony. All your information will be appreciated.

 

Thanks so much

Will do. This is the first D1 for us. Last year on Radiance we had an E cabin on deck 8. Looking forward to the extra sq. footage and the larger balcony.

 

I will let you know how it is

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Hello all:

I'm a freelance writer and, unfortunately, have some work to do on board, so posting these messages is one of the ways for me to relax. The Internet connection was down part of the day, though.

 

Yesterday we left for Coco Cay about 11 a.m. Tendering was no problem and there were plenty of seats aboard. For those of you who want to get there quickly, that might be a different case, but we waited and felt no rush to get there.

 

Coco Cay looks quite ugly from the ship - flat, brown and not much vegetation, but it's actually quite nice. Facilities are clean, bars are plentiful as are lounge chairs. We bypassed the main area and headed across the island to a more secluded area. This side had more wind, so depending on how your weather was, you may or may not want to be here.

 

Folks did remark about how cold the water was, so if you're planning on doing water sports, you might want to rethink that.

 

The BBQ was a normal one - again nothing special, but it was good and hot and plentiful.

 

Prices in the Straw Market also seemed to be higher than they should have been. I'm going to wait till we get to the Straw Market in St. Thomas before looking for these things.

 

We came back to the ship about 2, played in the casino awhile (slots were NOT my friend!) and I did some work, then got ready for Formal Night. Monday and Friday are the formal nights. Everyone looked very nice. We went to shake hands with the captain - and he introduced the senior staff to the crowd.

 

Dinner was excellent - be sure to try their cold soups! I've had watermelon and pear soups on each of the first two nights. My DH and friend Stephen had escargot which they loved. My friend Elaine had the vegetable torte as her entree and raved about it. DH had tenderloin and said it was very good and I had the duck l'orange. We also have the diamond Wine and Dine package - 7 bottles for $179. Interesting that some of the wines they have listed on their W&D menu aren't available, but we've been pretty pleased with the results.

 

After dinner we went to the Starquest for 70s night (yeah, all the music we remember) We had seats at the bar, but the bar stools are really spaced widely apart, so we alternated who was standing and who was sitting. We had an excellent view of the dancers and the RC tribute to ABBA. Bartenders were great (forgot their names) and the Citrus Cosmopolitans were deadly by the time we closed the bar at 3 a.m..

 

Note: if you're the least bit motion sick, do not overindulge. Being drunk really accentuates the motion of the ship. (I speak from personal experience here!!)

 

So I woke up at 12:30 p.m. (LOL!) and was a little tentative early in the day. That got all fixed by Benjamin in the Spa. I had the deep tissue massage and it was WONDERFUL!!! My shoulders aren't up at my ears any more. I'm very relaxed and even considering another massage later in the week. The prices are a bit higher than on land, but hey - indulge yourself.

 

After that was bingo. Lots of fun. Elaine won one of the jackpots and I was only 1 number away from the final one. Rats! Didn't win. So we went and spent some of Elaine's winnings in the casino.

 

Dinner coming up in a bit. So far the crowd is fairly well mixed. We've seen a bunch of kids aboard which surprises me since school is in session. They've been fairly well under control. We also have all other age ranges, so I don't think that anyone who's cruising with their parents, no matter what the age, will have a good group of people to associate with.

 

BTW, our waiter's name is Kamil from Turkey and he was trying to teach us to say Thank YOu in Turkish yesterday. It sounds like "tea, sugar, dream" but said very quickly. He's warming up to us. And we love Gabriel our assistant waiter. We've been teasing him, and he, us.

 

All of the staff has been quite friendly and helpful. But cruise staff usually is.

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It's an early night for me tonight. I have work to do and I want to spend as much time in St. Thomas as possible.

 

Dinner was great again - Italian theme, even though today was Western Day. Huh?

 

Great minestrone soup. DH had the garlic soup and loved it. The soups have been wonderful on board as are the breads.

 

Entrees were shrimp scampi (fabulous!) lamb (cooked just like the DH like it) and a pasta dish. I had the warm chocolate cake for dessert. Hint: don't bother with the edges of the cake - dive into the middle where the good stuff is. I also liked the looks of another dessert - some sort of pudding stuff, and they boxed it up for me to take back for a late night snack. Yes, I definitely have a sweet tooth!

 

All the wait staff sang "O Solo Mio" even though none of them are from Italy. Tomorrow night we'll be in Portofino's for the Murder Mystery, so I'll let you know how that goes.

 

I forgot to mention our Meet and Mingle. We had a ton of people signed up - probably about 50, but only about 20 showed up. Still a very good number. It was so cool putting names and faces together. We've been able to see folks as we go about the ship, so it's nice to smile at a familiar face. That said, many folks are smiling quite a bit at each other as the days go on. That first day was pretty grim, but I guess we're getting to be a "community."

 

At the Meet and Mingle,they put out one tray of appetizers and a waitress brought tea, water and sodas. They're the only free soda we've had while on board.

 

We're off for St. Thomas tomorrow. Apparently all of the people have to go through Customs, even American citizens which is a change from our last cruise in June 2002. Or, at least I don't remember that part of it. I've seen a lot of threads asking if a passport is needed and all I can say is that if you're planning on doing any international travel, even to Canada or Mexico, it sure speeds things up. I never have a problem at the airport because a passport is easy for the staff to read, as opposed to a driver's license. Passport applications are relatively simple and easy to obtain.

 

We're all supposed to be through by 9 a.m., so authorities can release the ship. If it's anything like the lifeboat drill, we'll be there an extra half-hour 'cause there were lots of folks dragging in late for the lifeboat drill. I asked one of the crew what happened to people who don't show up for the drill and he said they get a call in their stateroom.

 

We also had some kids running around the ship and creating general havoc this afternoon. One large boy came around from the Windjammer and ran smack into a rather large man, sending the man staggering. If that would have been an old lady, she would have been knocked flat. I heard later that the crew corralled 7 kids and they were punished with kitchen duty. When I asked what that was, my friend told me they had to help push tables together, etc. I guess they really punish bad behavior on board which I'm very happy to see.

 

Things so far that I wish I would have brought: insulated water bottles. Like I said earlier, I've been feeling really dehydrated and I wish I had that little bottle that straps around my waist to hold water. I brought a collapsible cooler (or so I thought) but when I opened it up, it was more like an insulated lunch kit.

 

Haven't used the duck tape yet, although it could be used to keep the hair dryer on.

 

Our over the door hanger has a few things in it, but not like I imagined. There's more space than I was led to believe (remember I'm up in an E1 or 2 on the 8th deck) The shower curtain hasnt been THAT friendly yet, either.

 

We bought one of those roll-up tables, but didn't have space to bring it with us. As it is, we've gone downstairs for breakfast rather than had it up here.

 

Guess that's all for now.

MJ

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MJ,

 

It was great to see another thread with "Live on Radiance" this week. Thank you so much for taking the time to fill us in on what's happening. Glad to hear you're enjoying your cruise.

 

Could you please tell me if the Seaview Cafe is open this week? Last week it was closed due to the tiles being replaced. I'm wondering if they plan on doing any more work on it in the next few weeks. If possible could you check. We really enjoy having a late night snack there and would be disappointed if it was closed when we sailed the week of Feb 27th. Thanks. :)

 

Enjoy your cruise.

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I had also been reading the live comments from the 2/6 cruise. Great to read both. We are on the 3/20/05 W. Caribbean on the Radiance. We have been on the Brilliance 1 time & can't wait to go on the Radiance. I also hope the Seaview Cafe is open again. We had an E1 cabin the 1st time. This time we will have a D1, because we like the larger couch. Otherwise, both categories are just fine.

 

Have a great cruise. Will keep following your reports.

 

Gail

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Hey, mj from katy --- your reviews are great --- keep 'em coming! I'm cruising on the Radiance 3/13. My DH and I (46/48) will be traveling with my friend (Cruisin Together) and her DH. She has kept me in-the-know with all the little tricks (like clothespins for that "friendly" shower curtain). Another friend (who cruised the Radiance last month) told us there was plenty of storage/shelving and that the over-the-door hanger is probably not really necessary.

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Was your M&M the same day that you were at the private island? I think if that is the case people do not want to rush back for the M&M. RCCL should think about moving the time back so people can enjoy both.

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You and me both. Hope they excuse being wet and sandy.Were from Fl and like to hang on the beach.

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You and me both. We love to hang on the beach hope they don't mind us being wet and sandy.

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Will do. This is the first D1 for us. Last year on Radiance we had an E cabin on deck 8. Looking forward to the extra sq. footage and the larger balcony.

 

I will let you know how it is

 

This is our first time on the Radiance and our first time with a balcony. We are truly excited. I look forward to hearing back from you.

 

Take care

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We arrived at St. Thomas early this morning. Last night, there was a notice in our cabin that we had to be in the Aurora Theater for Customs between 7:30 and 9 a.m. I ordered room service breakfast for between 7:30 and 8 and they were right here at 8 (I don't think they called first) Breakfast was good.

 

We took our passports down and the check-in only took about 10 minutes. We were ready to head out to downtown Charlotte Amalie at 9.

 

We didn't do any excursions this trip so far because we did them on our last cruise aboard The Norway. Last time, DH did golf at Mahogany Run and loved it and I really thought he'd do it again this time, but he decided against it. He thought the price was much higher through RCCL than on your own.

 

Outside the ship are tons of taxis. Be prepared to hear the sound of car horns all day long. I think these drivers "talk" with their horns! We had to wait to fill up with passengers, but it was $3/person to take the trip to town. Our driver tried to convince us to do his all day tour ("Plenty of time to shop") but we passed.

 

My friend, Elaine, and I love to shop. Don and Stephen don't, so I don't really know why they followed us into downtown. After an hour, Stephen had had it, so he took a taxi back to the ship. Don followed a half-hour after that. (This is why I was hoping he'd play golf today!)

 

Elaine and I got down to some serious shopping. We're both bargain hunters and so we headed over to the flea market area. Lots of trashy goods here, but some OK stuff, too. Elaine bought several really nice wraps (2 for $18) so don't bother to pick up a bathing suit coverup at home. They also have the usual assortment of "Prada and Coach" bags (he he) and the price changes depending on who you're talking to. If you have experience with flea markets at home, then you'll love it here.

 

Following that, Elaine and I went to lunch at the Green House Restaurant on the waterfront near the Hard Rock Cafe. Typical lunch fare although my bbq chicken melt sandwich had no bbq on it, nor was it melted. Waitress had put in the wrong order for blackened chicken instead. She brought me the bacon, bbq sauce and cheese slices so I could put them on myself. Kinda hard to melt cheese without a grill. Hey, it was OK and we had more important things to do than spend time eating.

 

I found a nice sterling silver Celtic bracelet for my 21 year old daughter for $67. The price depends on the weight. I also got a cute little panda statue for a friend at the Crystal Shoppe for $27. It's so weird not paying tax.

 

I was looking for a pair of earrings for my other daughter. She's very petite, prefers silver or white gold and nothing too big. I really couldn't find something I liked, so I'll wait till St. Martin tomorrow at Venetian Jewelers. Our CC leader, Chelle, is taking us all there tomorrow so I hope we get some good buys.

 

We took a taxi back to the ship about 2 p.m. Now, these taxis try to fill up as much as possible, so the 2.5 mile journey took about 20 minutes. Traffic is really horrible here. When we got back to the cruise dock, we checked out some of the shops nearby and realized that all the shops we went in in downtown Charlotte Amalie were here at Havenstock Mall. We could have just gotten off, walked over here, went back to the ship for lunch and then come back out. If you don't like dealing with traffic and crowds, this would be the way to go for you.

 

Someone asked if the Seaview Cafe was open. I haven't been up there yet, but yes, I've heard it's open. We have late seating and I'm usually so stuffed from dinner that late-night food is not what I'm looking for.

 

Also, someone asked if the M&M was on the same day as Coco Cay and yes, it was. Last tender was at 3:30 and the M&M was at 3. Some folks came straight from the beach - no problem there. I don't know why RCCL didn't have it that first night - probably too many things for people to deal with at one time.

 

Right now, the Carnival Valor and the Costa Mediterannea (?) are here with us, although I think the Valor is pulling out now. There's lots of horns going off.

 

All in all, it's been a nice day. We'll be pulling into St. Croix for refueling later tonight, but I don't know what we'll be doing since we have the Murder Mystery Dinner at Portofino's.

Talk to you all later.

MJ

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MJ thanks so much for your daily posts :) I appreciate your details. It sounds like you are having an enjoyable time.

 

I look forward to reading more!

A

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We were on the Radiance last week and although I LOVE reading your posts...it's killing me that we're not on board anymore! We had an absolute AWESOME time and will definitely sail her again! Fortunately...it sounds like you're having just as much fun and I'm so glad!!!

Thanks again for the updates!

Take care-

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Thanks for the updates re ROS. Sounds like you are having a great time. We were on the same cruise the week of 1/30 and really enjoyed it. One question I have is if you or anyone else experienced problems with AOL? We tried using the internet cafe several times but could not send any messages. We received a message on 1/31 that was sent the same day. That was when we were in Co Co Cay. The next day,2/1,our daughter sent a message but we didn't receive it until 2/4! The customer folks told us the problem was on AOL's end and that we were "lucky" to get one message. I checked that same week with some other passengers, both AOL and non-AOL users, and they had similar problems. I'm just rying to get a straight story. Where is the problem-AOL?,RCCL?. Fortunately we didn't have any urgent messages either way but it was a little frustrating typing a message and finding that there was no indication it was sent. Thanks for any and all comments.

 

Enjoy the rest of your cruise.

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Before I post about the Murder Mystery and day on St. Martin's, let me answer ForeGolf's question about the Internet. I'm using the Cyber Cabin hookup ($100 charge for the week) and there have been times when it was down. Of course, these seemed like the times I wanted to use it, so I was a bit miffed. I think if I came on again, I probably wouldn't do the Cyber Cabin. Too expensive for what I've needed to do. I don't know if the problems have been AOL problems (they're not the browser I use) or communication problems aboard the Radiance.

 

So, on to the Murder Mystery Dinner. You absolutely MUST do this on board! It was hilarious. We've never done one of these before and I didn't know what to expect. True, the production is a little cheesy, but the cast gets into it and so can you! This dinner really thrives on audience participation - and it doesn't all have to be "G" rated. I even won a bottle of champagne for one of the sarcastic comments I made. Everything is done in good fun, but I'm not going to tell you who the murderer is!

 

The food was fantastic. Some of the best steak I've ever had - very similar to Ruth's Chris or Morton's of Chicago. Beautiful presentation and a spectacular tiramisu. The wine flowed and so did all the jokes. A very jolly time for all involved.

 

Needless to say, we didn't make if off the ship at St. Croix, but folks remarked that we didn't miss anything either.

 

St. Martin also was wonderful. Prices were much better than in St. Thomas, IMHO. Weather was just as warm and wonderful, although there were a few dark clouds that occasionally spit some raindrops.

 

From where we dock, you take a water taxi to downtown. In the town square are a number of taxis that can take you anywhere around the island. We elected to stay in Phillipsburg since we had done the island tour last time we visited.

 

The first place I went was to Venetian Jewelers with my friend, Michelle, aka Chelle the Cruise Junkie. Michelle has made 9 voyages on the Radiance and knows where to go. Now, I have not been paid anything to say this, but Venetian Jewelers is THE place to buy your jewelry. I looked at a few shops yesterday in St. Thomas and they all seemed to have the same merchandise. Nothing very original.

 

That's not the case at Venetian Jewelers. While they had the typical jewelry, they also had some very unique pieces. Their selection was fantastic and their salesperson, Ash, really helped me find what I wanted. I was looking for jewelry for my daughter who's 23 and very petite. She doesn't like huge gaudy things. Ash led me throughout the store, asking what I had in mind and we gradually narrowed down my choices. I ended up getting her a nice pair of pink topaz earrings. They were set in gold and she prefers white gold, so Ash said they could have them reset that same day.

 

Then he showed me a gorgeous tennis bracelet and suggested she might like it. No way! This one was for Mom! Oval cut pink topaz stones. The deal maker was that the bracelet was a little big for me, so he said they could remove one of the links and I could have it as a pendant. Hooray! I completed the set with a small pair of earrings.

 

Then I saw a necklace and earring set that was very unique. It is a geometric design with peridot, citrine, blue topaz and one or two other stones. Truly original!

 

Prices were very good. Ash really worked with me to find things in my price range. No one in the store was really snobby when I said I was looking for something under $100 for my daughter. Yesterday in St Thomas, there were places that gave me the cold shoulder when I told them this.

 

Ash also said that he can ship jewelry anywhere in the world. My friend saw a bracelet she liked, but her husband had left his credit cards back on the ship. Ash said he would special order it for her if she sent him an e-mail.

 

I would definitely recommend Venetian Jewelers to all of you. Tell them Chelle the Cruise Junkie and MJ from Katy sent you via Cruisecritic. com

 

Also, there were more shops with the swim wraps. I found three very long ones that I'm going to use as shawls for $7 each. These shops were behind the courthouse at the square.

 

Even though I haven't gone to any shows, another CC poster said to tell all of you they were great. One of the singers and one of the dancers sat at our MM dinner table last night and the gals were lots of fun. It was great hearing their stories and some of the "behind the scenes" stuff.

 

BTW, the Captain announced today that Radiance was name Royal Caribbean Best Performing Ship for 2004 and the crew was voted Friendliest Crew for 2004. Top execs from RCCL were on board yesterday congratulating the crew.

 

We've pulled out of St. Martin and are heading back to Miami. Weather is in the 80s with soft winds. Too bad we can't keep floating around the Caribbean!

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Mary had to translate the shoping stuff for me............

but the rest of it I understood!

We board 2/27, in room 8052 and you have Taken the Mystery out of our newness....AGAIN I thank you!!!!

 

I hope you have enjoyed your cruise as much as we have enjoyed reading about what we are in for. Your Tips have been excellent.

 

If I could buy you a beach drink (or 4) I WOULD!!!:)

 

U DA WOMAN!!!!!

jim&mary

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mj from katy - I am really enjoying your review! I board on 2/27 as well and am really looking forward to it. Out of curiousity, what were the start/end time for the MM dinner? What was the port time for the quick stop in St. Croix? Any way to do both the MM dinner and the St. Croix stop?

 

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to share your vacation with us. With every one of your posts, I get more excited!

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mj from katy - I am really enjoying your review! I board on 2/27 as well and am really looking forward to it. Out of curiousity, what were the start/end time for the MM dinner? What was the port time for the quick stop in St. Croix? Any way to do both the MM dinner and the St. Croix stop?

 

Again, thanks so much for taking the time to share your vacation with us. With every one of your posts, I get more excited!

 

 

Hey U256601 looks like your joining us on 2/27. We don't have enough for the mix and mingle to we are going to create on own and try out every bar on the ship. Jim and Mary had that great idea.

 

Welcome aboard

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We board 2/27

 

 

 

Count us in too. We'll be joining. Reading all these posts has certainly made us more excited. Not to much longer until it's our turn! :)

 

mj from katy:

 

Thanks for keeping the updates current. I look forward to reading your posts each day (as well as the other posts). The MM Dinner sounds like fun so we may give it a try after reading your thread.

 

Maybe you can answer a question for me. For future cruise bookings do you know if you have to call and make an appt. to see a representative or is there a book outside of the future cruise consultants desk that you sign? Each ship does it different and I was wondering how Radiance works this so I don't have to run around and ask. If you could find out I'd greatly appreciate it.

 

Enjoy your remaining days on board, sounds like you've been having a great time. :)

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