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German Wunderkind

Radiance 02/20/05 Short Report

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Hello

 

I’m right now sitting on the beautiful Radiance of the Seas and we are enjoying our last day of our 7-day Cruise.

 

So far the weather was really nice. We had some gusting winds but overall the temperatures were always in the 80’s with some clouds.

The ship hardly moved at all during this week and we had a great time in Labadee, Ochos Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

 

The food was, with the exception of the first night, that what you can expect on a Royal Caribbean Ship.

The meat, some sort of steak that I did not had, was not so good, so the head waiter apologized for it. That was already the second time I experienced this problem on the Radiance.

 

Otherwise service in the dining room and all the other areas is normal for RCL.

But I have to say that the crew is in my opinion friendlier than on other ships. And there are some persons who really enhance your cruise vacation.

One of them is the Gordon Whatman the Cruise Director.

I sailed with him before and must say he is still a very nice, funny and approachable guy.

By they way there were some posts her that said Gordon would retire. I spoke to him during this week and he told me that he has not yet made up his mind about it. On the last day he told during an event that he would go with the Radiance to Alaska in the summer time.

So if he really will be around for some more contracts, which I hope, or not, we will have to see.

 

The other is Willie Salaya the concierge on Radiance.

If you are diamond member of the Crown & Anchor Society or booked in a Grand, Owner, Royal or Royal Family Suite you will have the great opportunity to meet this really nice guy.

He is very dedicated and eager to help you with nearly every problem you have.

If you are going to the Radiance and you meet Willie please give him a friendly Hello from me.

 

If you have any questions regarding Radiance I will certainly try to answer them – as soon as I’m back home on Monday.

But don’t ask me about beaches or shopping bargains in the ports of call because those are the two things I have not done on this cruise.

 

Have a great weekend - I certainly will have not

Leaving the Best Ship in the Fleet 2004!

G.W.

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Glad to see that you have a good trip. We are heading out on 4/3/05 on the Radiance. No one says a bad word about that ship!! Everyone seems to love it.

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Hello GW!! Its so nice to see you are back on the Radiance....we were with you through the PC last Oct. I'm sure being back on her brings back wonderful memories....plase give her our best! Hope the last day of your cruise is not sad....you'll have great memories and new friends to share them with :)

Hope you had a safe trip home.

 

Linda

 

 

***

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GW - How were the ports? We leave Saturday for the March 6 West Carib. on Radiance. Was the water temp warm enough to swim comfortably in? Did you do any excursions? Can't wait!

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we also were on ROS, got home last night minus one bag that is apparantly still wandering around Miami Airport - of course it has the photos, and our spa goodies in it!! This was our first cruise, and we were ready to mutiny, take control of the ship and keep cruisin forever! I loved it! And Gordon is a doll! I miss his cheerful morning announcements already!

Will post a full review later, after picking up the cat, and clearing the 8 inches of snow from the driveway!!:o

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Ok

 

First a post on airline travel.

I am an experienced traveller but what that airline delivered on these flights was absolute horrible.

I'm talking about Swiss International Airlines.

I took 4 flights within 10 days with them a no one was on time.

You might say o.k. sitting for 15 minutes in the waiting area is not so bad, and I would say you're right but that’s what happened:

 

First flight was a connecting flight to Zurich.

It was nearly an hour delayed but no one gave any information over the PA system. About 10 minutes before scheduled take off time they suddenly put on a new time without announcing it.

 

My time in Zurich was cut short from 1:40 to roughly 40 Minutes.

We switched concourses and there was a long line in front of the security checkpoint. So I asked if there was a special line for passengers with limited time and guess what the guy from the Kantonspolizei Zurich (police of the Zurich area) told me?

He said don't worry it will not take that long and by the way the plane will wait for late passengers.

So there I was about 25 Minutes to the scheduled departure time, they were actually boarding the aircraft and the departure was delayed for 30 minutes due to delayed passengers.

I asked the girl if I should already board because sitting in the plane for 10:30 hours would be long enough and sitting in the plane for another hour with nothing to do before take off is not so funny.

Actually the plane took off 65 minutes to late due to late passengers and de-icing procedure in Zurich. We arrived in Miami only 30 minutes late.

 

That was good because on departure day the plane arrived instead of 5:30 pm at 7:00 pm.

The departure was scheduled for 7:45 pm.

Now a question for every experienced cruiser: You are leaving the ship at about 8:00 am (the first this time went off at 7:15 am) - what are you doing for 12 hours in Miami and what about your luggage?

I brought my bags to a hotel in South Beach gave the Bell Captain a few bucks to keep an eye on them and went to the beach. But unfortunately Miami had that day what another Floridian called liquid sunshine. It was cloudy, windy and "only" 72 in the morning.

I was glad I could go to the airport in the late afternoon.

Next surprise: You had to personally take your bag to TSA inspection after checking in. Now I don't know if that is new but in last November Lufthansa brought all the bags to TSA inspection and the same happened with Singapore Airlines and American last year.

We took off 75 minutes to late so my time in Zurich was cut short again. I was used to it :(

We arrived at 11:50 am and surprisingly only one third of the connections were granted (nice thing with Swiss-they tell you a couple of minutes before you land at which position you will dock, which connecting flight will be reached and at which gate they will wait or that you must see an agent of Swiss for rebooking).

My connection was granted so we rushed to the other concourse; we made it in time or the first call of the flight and boarded a bus to an Embraer 145 which was sitting on the ramp.

Miami had 80 in the afternoon and here I was standing on the ramp in a winter coat at about 15 degrees.

They closed the door and after a couple of minutes the captain told us that there was some problem with the right engine and they had to power down and power up the whole plane. That would take 10 minutes (remember that time!)

After 30 minutes the captain told us that they fixed the problem and that the tower put us at the end of the queue for the taxi clearance. He expected in in ? correct 10 minutes.

It took two more 10 minutes announcements of the captain when we finally left Zurich with a delay of 2hours!!

 

I know that Switzerland is famous for producing watches but I expected that they can read them as well! :mad:

 

Nice thing is that the Embraer 145 is a very cosy airplane. 49 people sitting in this aluminium tube for 2 hours and no music is playing and only the 4 business class passengers get newspapers and drinks.

We were served a glass of water because of the delay but otherwise on flights within Europe economy class passengers have to pay for all drinks and food.

We arrived more than 2 hours too late so I missed my train.

After more than 36 hours I was finished when I reached home.

Just put my belongings on the ground, took a nice hot shower and went to bed for 15 straight hours. :)

Now I back in life.

 

This was my first and hopefully last experience with Swiss International Airlines.

 

The next post will be about my week on Radiance of the Seas!

Which was surprisingly much better! :)

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Ok - Here I am again.

 

Hi ArizonaCruiser85374!

I think you switched your screen name, didn’t you?

Wasn’t it cruising85374 or something like that before?

Maybe that’s why I didn’t recognize your posts after you changed.

How are you?

I saw you went on the Navigator. Did you like the ship? I’m not planning to go on a bigger ship than Radiance class from RCL. I really like size, layout and activities they offer on this class.

I see you'll cruise the Mexican Riviera in May; you’ll have to post a review on that area for me please!

 

Pattis_61

You’re right and that’s maybe the reason the ship got the award of the best ship in the RCL Fleet in 2004!

The people and I mean from the painters to the officers, are all extremely friendly and are eager to make your cruise with them “like no vacation on earth”.

 

tmcraine

I’m sorry to tell you that I only left the ship in Labadee and Grand Cayman.

Labadee is a nice beach day even that they have developed the “island” now more than a couple of years ago.

For example Dragon Beach on the other side of the docking area was when I went there the last time totally natural. No chairs and only some open shakes. Now there are a lot more shakes and chairs so it’s not so natural anymore but still Labadee is very nice.

Grand Cayman was a mess because of the 5 ships tendering there. See my review below.

Otherwise wait for the report of Britmum.

She might tell you something about shopping in Jamaica or Cozumel.

 

Britmum

It’s nice that you enjoyed your cruise on the Radiance. She is really a beautiful ship, isn’t she?

Sorry about your bag. Did you fly BA back to London? When was your flight and what did you do before?

Yesterday (Monday that is) it was only cold here in my part of the country but today the snowfall started and we are likely to get a lot more tomorrow.

Yeah, Gordon is a great CD. I hope he stays with the company a couple of contracts longer.

 

 

This post is about the one week western Caribbean sailing onboard Radiance of the Seas.

 

I arrived a day early in Miami and had nice but very pricy hotel in Miami Downtown.

I booked this cruise only 10 days before and due to the Miami Boat Show and some other activities going on in or around Miami didn’t have much of choice in Hotels.

The embarkation process was smooth and I was onboard at 12:15.

Rooms were not ready and the watertight doors to the cabins closed.

So I decided to go to the spa to have a look what they had to offer.

I was interested in the Thermal Suite Pass but they would have charged me $75 for 7 days and the last time I got it for $85 during a 12 night cruise. They had a reduction for 2 Persons at the first day. As a couple it would have cost you only $99. Great deal compared to the price for a single pass.

So no treatment in the spa for me that week because all the other prices were expensive as well – don’t try to find a something cheap there it’s all overpriced because they don’t have a competitor on the ship.

Went to the windjammer instead and got me my first meal of the cruise. ;)

I then checked out my table assignment and switched it to a bigger table.

 

Got the unlimited Cyber Cabin for $100. It’s nice but it’s really slow.

I checked the speed on the http://www.dslreports.com/stest website and the result was a download spped of 22 kbps.

So if you like to work while on the ship be prepared to this speed.

They indicate that https websites are not available but I had no problem to work with them.

 

Time came for my favourite event during the cruise.

The Muster Drill.

I love to see people trying to get used to their highly fashionable new vest.

 

Until that time I had not seen my stateroom attendant. He finally showed up with my luggage because I switched cabin at the pier.

I got me an Owner Suite on Deck 10. It was cabin 1062 on the port side.

Bad thing about this cabin is that the Grand Suite 1060 has a bigger balcony due to the elevators next to her. Therefore people standing on that balcony can look straight on your balcony or, if you haven’t closed your curtains, into your suite.

The balcony is very small because the windows of the “bedroom” are going to stick onto what should be your balcony.

You can see it in the photos on my website.

They fixed that problem at least on Serenade and Jewel; I’m not sure about Brilliance.

He came onboard with me from his vacation. He was new to this section of suites and had previously worked on the starboard side in the Grand Suites.

He was nice but not as efficient and accurately than I expected.

For example on the ceiling of my cabin there were some small left-overs from adhesive tape used to hang on birthday decorations. He did not discover them until the fourth day of our cruise and hadn’t I told him about the remains in the bathroom cabinet he might not have found them till the end of our cruise.

Of course the stateroom attendant before should have cleaned the cabin completely but at least some of the things he should have noticed earlier.

 

We set sail at 5:15pm and I had the chance to meet with Willie Salaya. He is currently the concierge on the Radiance.

If you have a chance to go into his lounge on Deck 10 please say hi from Michael from Germany.

 

Finally it was time for dinner. My tablemates were 3 nice young ladies from Brooklyn, a couple from Connecticut, a couple from Montreal and a couple from Peru.

We had a good laugh every evening and at least I enjoyed the food. Like I said before it was what you can expect on Royal Caribbean. Nothing unusual so if you cruised before with them you’ll find many dishes again on the menu.

 

One thing I noticed during this week was that there were no more Smart Casual evenings on the Radiance.

I forgot to ask about but even on the eastern Caribbean cruise that followed ours there were no.

Does anybody know if eliminated this type of dress code completely? Because on Brilliance last year they still had it!

 

Evening entertainment was good.

Guest Entertainers were: Don Garvin on the Welcome Aboard Show, Domenick Allen (Singer), Billy Prudhomme (Comedy Juggler), Julie Ann Grace (Singer), David Orion (Comedian - hilarious), Piano Man (RCL Production Show) and Martin Lewis (Comedy Magician).

 

The experienced cruiser might say: Only one production show?

That’s right. The cast changed on the embarkation day and it takes them 5 days of constant rehearsal to open a show. That meant we were the first passengers to see the Piano Man with this cast and the people currently onboard will see the Piano Man and as a premiere the Welcome to our World with this cast.

 

Ports of call were Labadee, Ochos Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

 

Labadee is a beach day after your first complete sea day. So a very relaxing start into your vacation. It’s nice, it’s quit and the best thing is there are only 2500 passengers with you on this little piece of Haiti.

You can go swimming, snorkelling, kayaking and of course you can eat there! :D

If you like to shop there is a small market with locals who sell their products. So take some dollars with you because they only accept cash.

 

Never went off the ship in Ochos Rios.

But be prepared that when you take a shore excursion from the ship to the Dunn’s River Falls you will not climb them alone but holding hand to hand with 50 other people or so.

If you o there alone and you say no to the people who will say you need a guide to climb you can climb the falls alone.

One thing some people told me on the ship: There were some people telling you that they were the ship’s photographers. But they were lying, they were locals. I don’t know what and how they charged for the pictures but the ship’s photo crew will be at the fall’s to take pictures. So have a good look at their faces and uniform.

 

Like I said earlier Grand Cayman was a mess.

RCL’s Radiance, Rhapsody, Jewel and Carnival’s Valor and Conquest were in port that day.

I went into town at noon to make some phone calls which had to be made that day. Otherwise I would have waited for Cozumel or had phoned from Jamaica.

At that time the whole harbour front was black of people. They were all waiting to get on the tenders to the different ships.

The actual town area was not too overcrowded at that time (maybe everyone wanted to have lunch on their ship).

I made my calls and headed straight back towards the Radiance.

 

In Cozumel I stayed on the ship as well.

There were 4 ships in Port – the Rhapsody and the two Carnival ships again.

Can’t tell you anything about shopping there but my tablemates enjoyed their time at Carlos’n Charlie’s and Senor Frog’s.

 

Off we went to our last day at sea. We had beautiful weather the whole week and it changed only at the arrival day in Miami.

Clouds, only mid 70’s in the morning and a lot of wind greeted us in Miami.

Deembarkation started already at 7.15. It was an efficient thing this time (at least for me).

I got of with the last call to leave the ship at about 9.15. We had to wait to clear Immigrations about 20 minutes (last November it took me 2 hours).

People with earlier colour tags waited considerably longer because they waited already 15 Minutes only to get off the ship and had to wait to clear immigrations longer than I did.

 

Two things I noticed during this cruise:

There was a lot of this Nickel & Dime thing going on during this cruise.

For example they had a sale of Alcohol on Embarkation Day in the Centrum area.

During one other day they sold T-Shirts on the Pool Deck.

I didn’t have it the last times I cruised Royal Caribbean especially a big Sale in the Centrum area. I remember a T-Shirt Sale near the Main Pool during the Panama Canal Transit but that were only things with a Panama Logo on it and not regular items.

 

The other thing are the announcements.

I know RCL makes announcements over the PA to promote their activities.

But do they have to use even the PA system in the cabin? :mad:

I really don’t like standing in the shower and suddenly get reminded that I only have 10 minutes left because my show is a pre-dinner show  :eek:

 

As a resume I can say:

A nice and relaxing vacation with really nice weather. The Radiance is in my opinion still the best ship in terms of friendliness and eagerness to serve you as a costumer. I like her itineraries and a saw a lot of familiar faces again because even the crew seems to like to come back to the Radiance.

 

Got some more questions for me? Yamma no problem!

Ask them I’ll try to give an answer.

I will put on some photos of the Owner Suite 1062 on my website. If you are interested have a look.

 

Keep on Cruising and remember what someone once said:

“A bad day on sea is still better then a good day at work”

CU around

GW

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Hello GW, yes I had to change my screen name...when they did the cross-over I could not log in, I lost my 1200+ posts with it!!

I'm fine, actually just went back to work after semi retirement....got to pay for all our cruises!! :D

I loved the Navigator, I sailed with my sister for her big 50 and a gf. We even let Hurricane Frances come along and got extended 2 extra days out at sea ;) My DH was pretty jealous that we got the extra days and were somewhat "lost at sea" :)

So far the Voyager class is my favorite ship, but as long as we are on a cruise that's all that matters!

 

I enjoyed your review, as always it was very informative. Sorry your flights were such a nightmare...sometimes we are just at their mercy, aren't we? :eek:

The main thing you arrived home safely and now you can start planning your next cruise!!!

 

I'll be sure to post on our return from the Vision. ;)

 

Linda

 

 

***

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GW, after that trying return home, I think you need another cruise. I'm so thankful that I can get to most any port here in the US on a nonstop flight on Southwest Air. They rarely let me down.

 

Thanks for the great review of Radiance. I'm booked for an October Panama Canal cruise.

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Hi GW, I appreciate your comments so far for the ROS. My family, me and some friends are going to be cruising next week for spring break and we cant wait :). Just had a few questions about the boat.

 

How many formal nights were there? Do you remember what nights they were on?

 

Were there any places to get food later in the evening? like midnight?

 

Did they serve ice cream anywhere on the ship?

 

Also, my mom wants to know what the healthier food selection was like as well.

 

Thanks!

Chris

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Hi Gw ! No we flew home to Boston massachusetts ( ex-pats for over 10 years!!). The bag arrived Monday night! Now I am wading through tons of laundry! Enjoying being the only one at work with a tan!!:cool:

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timetocruz,

 

I will also be on the 3-13 trip. Did you sign up for the Meet & Mingle? We have around 30 people and have been chatting away on our March 13th M&M board. Please visit the thread. We are also planning on meeting Sunday at 2:00 in the Viking Crown Lounge for some sail away drinks. Hope to see you there .

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I also was on the 2/20 sailing of the Radiance, as GW wrote the ship was BEAUTIFUL, no signs of wear, and as for casual nights we had Five of them, No "smart casual", and two formal nights.

Chriso, the formal nights are on tuesday and thursday, yes there is icecream in the Windjammer, also they sell Ben and jerrys, you can always get late night snacks untill I believe 2am in the Seaview cafe, everything is very good and cooked to order with no charge. Uhmm as for the heathier choice menus, I know they had them, I just didnt do the healthy thing. lol.

I promise anyone sailing the ROS will be very happy, the ship is one of the most beautifull ships I have sailed on, BTW i have been on over 30 sailings,so that says alot.

I also strongly suggest you try Chops, I think I had the best meal of my life in there, and service was second to none, I joked with my wife saying if I ever do something bad and they give me one last meal it would be chops signature sirlion, crab cakes,and the mississppi mud pie, it is to die for if you love chocolate. We really wanted to do the muder mystery in Porofinos but the cast last show was the trip before ours:( Also we only had one Production show due to the new cast , it was Piano man and in my opinion it was excellent for a cruise production. If anyone has any questions at all about the ship or itinerary please email me or post here.

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jscar03...Thanks for the mini review....Heading out this Sunday and can't wait. Of course its two weeks later but how was the weather temp. wise? Also planning on going to Chops one night is there a certain night that you would recommend that wasn't all that great in the dinning room.

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Hi

ArizonaCruiser85374

I'm sorry that you have to go back to work to make money for your cruises. Wouldn’t it be nicer to win in the lottery and to the cruises from that money :D ?

I like the sea days so I would definitely enjoy the 2 extra days - even if the waves are 30 feet or higher. Experienced once the wind and the waves from a hurricane when we left Ft. Lauderdale; in my opinion it was fun but other people said it was their most terrible sailing :)

I'll promise to look for the post after my transatlantic on the Connie.

 

signman

Yeah that was a horrible experience with Swiss.

I know already that my next flight with Singapore Airlines will be a lot better than this one. And I'm happy to take the transatlantic on the Jewel eastbound. That way I only have to fly across the Atlantic once.

You North Americans are so lucky that it's so easy to go to a cruise. We always have to fly long hours.

I'm pretty sure you will enjoy the Radiance Panama itinerary as much as ArizonaCruiser85374 and I have done in 2003.

Its fun, it's great and the mix between days at sea and in port on this longer cruise is really the icing on the cake.

 

chriso59

Hi Chris. If you are going for the Spring Break Cruise be prepared that you will hardly find an elevator in the Centrum area during peak hours.

The teenagers love to go up/down on them and even without them doing this you'll have a hard time getting one.

Like jscar03 told you Tuesday and Thursday were formal nights. There are these soft ice cream machines in the windjammer on both aft exits - there is a sign Arctic Zone above them - and they have Ben and Jerrys somewhere around the ship, sorry don't remember where (never bought it).

For late night food try Seaview (on our cruise 10pm - 2am), the Gala Buffet on Friday night, the Midnight Delights which are served in different bars/lounges or simply try Room Service on your balcony (if you booked one) during full moon.

Sorry on the healthy side. Like jscar03 on vacation I'll stick with fish or meat. No healthy main course for me during the cruise.

And when you talk to the (singing) Captain Ringborn please don't say boat because that’s what you board when your ship sinks!

If you accidentally bump into Willie (the Concierge on Deck in his Concierge Lounge, Jimmy -Waiter in the Dining Room from Bali;Indonesia or Ingmar Nilsson - Chief Engineer, please say Hi from Michael from Germany to them; Thanks.

 

Britmum

I'm glad that your bag turned up. Would have been a shame if they had completely lost it, wouldn't it?

I start working on Monday but I'm sure I am the only tanned person in my office as well. Nice thing is; I can't get lost with my tan in the snow here. Dark brown makes a good contrast against all the white stuff we have here.

 

WillSam

I just flipped through my compasses with the daily forecast. There it says 83 on sea day, 88 in Haiti and Jamaica, 85 in Grand Cayman, another 83 in Mexico and on the last sea day.

My suggestion for Chops would be Wednesday. When I remember correctly the menu was not that good on that day. But if you think you can wait with the reservation until the first dinner is over just ask your waiter about his opinion. Or ask him to show you the menu after dinner for the week (they have it at their station normally) and decide for yourself.

Please, same as to chriso59, when you see one of the three people I mentioned tell them Hi from me. Thanks!

 

Everybody who's going onboard Radiance (on Sunday or later this season):

Have a beautiful vacation and enjoy your cruise.

 

GW

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Can you check out one thing next week on the Radiance for me please?

 

I'm interesting in booking an outside and an inside cabin on Deck 7.

But I found nowhere where the door of the inside cabin, which are between the Centrum and the forward staircase, is located. On the starboard or the port side.:confused:

Don't want to go around the entire midship section every time just to go on the balcony! :D

 

Never stayed on that Deck so I don't have a clue.

It would be great if you could just tell me:

The door is on port or starbord side.

 

Thanks for your help. Have a great cruise.

GW

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If nobody answers you before I get back (wont have access on the cruise) I will be more than happy to check it out.

 

March 6th here we come....and somebody say a prayer for my liver

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