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Radiance Review

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Just back from the Radiance E. Carib. It was a wonderful cruise.

 

We live in SW FL so we drove to the Port of Miami. They have really done a lot with that port. Port Everglades should take notes. I pulled up to the curb, unloaded the bags, a porter whisked them away and showed us which door to enter. Since my husband uses a cane and has trouble walking the lady fromt he cruise line got us near the front of the line for security. That was a real help. We then waited about 10 minutes in the Platinum C&A lounge for our SeaPass cards. As soon as we got them we boarded the ship. I was able to check our carry on in the dining room until 12:55 PM since the rooms were not ready until 1PM. This is a nice feature. Our bags were delivered by 3PM and by 4Pm we were unpacked and ready to go. Smoothest embarkation I have ever had.

 

We were in Cabin 9094 a D1 on Deck 9. Instead of a loveseat we had a full size sofa which really helped make the room feel much larger. It is only about 25 sq ft larger than the other balcony cabins but it does make a difference. Our balcony was odd shaped with one wall about 10 ft long and the other about 41/2 ft. We could see all the way aft but not forward as the cabin next door blocked our view. That was all right though.

 

We like the Schooner Bar and the piano bar in there. We made the acquaintance of Kelly and Jewan on the first day. They always remembered our names and drinks. Not bad since we both drink one thing before dinner and something different after dinner. They had jokes and puzzles with the stirrers that kept us laughing. They were also good at getting the "regulars" talking to each other. Small things but they do enhance the cruise for us.

 

Our table in the dining room was on the second level near the grand staircase. A very good spot. There were 10 at our table and for the most part a nice mix. A few isolated incidents that were downers but nothing major and certainly not enough to make for a truly bad experience.

 

Shareef, our waiter and Sarah the Asst. Waiter were truly outstanding. Two of the best I/ve ever had. We had a wine pkg and Sarah did an excellent job of serving every evening.

 

The weather was beautiful with the exception of our last sea day. Clouds in the am but then the sun came out in the pm. Seas a little rough the last day but Capt. Kent took a smoother route and we were fine.

 

Our ports were Coco Cay, St. Thomas and St. Martin. Sat on the beach at CC, booze shopping and a taxi tour on St. Thomas and Orient Beach in St. I had been to Orient once before and was not too impressed . I was on the end near the nude beach and it was very crowded. This time the cab took us to Kakoa Beach and it was just georgeous!! Now I see why everyone raves about Orient. I will go back there in a heartbeat. I did get to cross one more thing off my 'To Do Before I Die' list. I went parasailing!! Not bad for a 63 yr old overweight lady. I was going to try on CC but they wanted $79. Good thing I waited, it was only $50 at Orient.

 

I noticed that RCI did not have the Horse Racing at the pool. Don't know why.

 

There was the usual Capt's cocktail party which was very nice, and the repeaters party which we missed. A new feature was a brunck for Plat and Diam. C&A members. It was wonderful. Not the usual bacon and eggs. They had a duck crepe that was to die for. Also a puff pastry filled with a ham and mushroom filling that was delicious. A very nice affair and something I hope they continue.

 

John Davidson was the headline entertainer on this cruise. I was really looking forward to seeing him as he was so cute on Hollywood Squares. He was AWFUL. People were getting up and leaving in droves in the middle of the show. What a disappointment. The production show Piano Man was very good. The Radiance singers and dancers do a great job. The comedian at the Welcome show was very funny as was the comedic juggler at the Farewell show. We didn't go the rest of the shows. We also skipped the Quest which I have seen many times. When it first started it was a lot more fun than it is now. It was more spontaneous. Now folks know what to expect and they come with bags of stuff.

 

Capt Kent Ringborn is a very pleasant visible man with a wonderful voice. Too bad he is retiring when the Radianc gets to Alaska. Gordon Whatman is a great cruise director with a beautiful singing voice as well. He and his staff are all very approachable and friendly.

 

The food was very good in both the dining room and the Windjammer. I really like the 'stations' in the WJ rather than the long cafeteria line. Never had to wait in a long line. Didn't get to the Seaview this trip but last time had the awesome onion rings.

 

Disembarkation was a breeze. We got up at 7am , went to the area for Plat C&A and had coffee and juice and by 9:15 we were on I95 headed home. Easiest ever. Love that Port of Miami.

 

Since I started cruising in 1986 I have seen a lot of changes in the cruise experience, some good ,some bad. Given the size of today's ships I can see why some of the changes had to be made for practical reasons. Some of the changes I am just not so sure of. Drink prices are comprable to what you would pay at an upscale cocktail lounge on land but I miss the reduced drink prices on the drink of the day. Now it is not cheaper you just get to keep the glass. Used to get Bloody Mary's and Screwdrivers in the am for a reduced price. Also miss some of the pool games, where they got couples involved. And of course the old style of horse racing where you didn't have to buy a horse, just bet on them. I am sure they have to keep changing things or else get stale. Maybe if I cruise long enough what is old will be new again. Good a reason as any to keep cruising; as if I needed a reason.

 

The Radiance is a beautiful ship. I prefer the smaller ships and this is just right. Easy to navigate the decks. All eating is aft, show lounge forward and the places to lose your money are midships. How easy is that!

 

This was only cruise number 2 fo DH. I had to drag him on the first time but this time he got the fatal disease.....cruise addiction. He decided to cancel our planned vacation in New Orleans for next year and booked us on the Brillance to the Panama Canal. Thank you Cruise gods.

 

Hope you enjoy my ramblings and I will be glad to answer any question.

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Judy,

 

Thanks for the great review! I always read the Radiance reviews because that ship will always be special to me ( my very first cruise!) I agree, she is a beautiful ship :)

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Thanks Judy! Sounds like you had a great time. I will be on the Radiance May 1st, from San Diego to Vancouver, the captains last sailing before he retires. I've heard so much about him, I'm glad I will get to sail with him before he retires.

 

Thanks again for the great review!

 

MTS

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What a great review. I didn’t see the brunch on the AOS sailing that we were on, but then again, I’m not a platinum or diamond member (one more cruise!). I remember John Davidson. What a surprise, as I would have liked to see him in person. What a disappointment. I’m glad you enjoyed your cruise. Your ports sound like they were really great. I’m not that brave yet, so I can’t parasail (I’m afraid they don’t make them to support me …. And all of these flashbacks of home movies showing fat people getting drug into the sand on the beach … no thanks, I don’t need that kind of disappointment. Thanks again for posting :)

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What a great review. I didn’t see the brunch on the AOS sailing that we were on, but then again, I’m not a platinum or diamond member (one more cruise!). I remember John Davidson. What a surprise, as I would have liked to see him in person. What a disappointment. I’m glad you enjoyed your cruise. Your ports sound like they were really great. I’m not that brave yet, so I can’t parasail (I’m afraid they don’t make them to support me …. And all of these flashbacks of home movies showing fat people getting drug into the sand on the beach … no thanks, I don’t need that kind of disappointment. Thanks again for posting :)

 

Jen -

 

You're a riot! Every one of your posts makes me chuckle.

 

Naren is a lucky husband :)

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Jen, you seem like a really genuine, sweet, caring, funny lady. Keep those posts coming. You always bring a smile to my face. You tell it so honestly, but yet there is never a hint of rudeness or anger or disrespect and I love that! I will always click in to read when I see your name posted! :)

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Tell me more about the parasailing. I have the same fear as of lephysteria and can see me getting drug into the sand on the beach. But I think I would like to parasail. At least I can say I did it.

Amy

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Jen -

 

You're a riot! Every one of your posts makes me chuckle.

 

Naren is a lucky husband :)

 

 

Awwww. You're too sweet! :D

I'm the lucky one, he saved me from the world of dating! :D

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Jen, you seem like a really genuine, sweet, caring, funny lady. Keep those posts coming. You always bring a smile to my face. You tell it so honestly, but yet there is never a hint of rudeness or anger or disrespect and I love that! I will always click in to read when I see your name posted! :)

 

 

 

You are tooooo sweet, thank you! I always thought my bluntness was a liability.

 

I feel you're being too nice. There's anger when you want to look for it. I was about to kick the @$$ of the TSA lady with the wand at the San Juan airport. Naren thought it was a riot! I'll goose him with the detector wand, see how he likes it LOL

 

..... excuse me, your wand does not BELONG there! :eek:

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Tell me more about the parasailing. I have the same fear as of lephysteria and can see me getting drug into the sand on the beach. But I think I would like to parasail. At least I can say I did it.

Amy

 

There was a lady at our dining table on the AOS cruise that parasailed. Of course she was about 1/2 of my size, but still, she was "older than me", and she had no problems. She said they hoisted her from a ski-lift sort of chair on the back of a boat.

 

Still, I can see them flying an "oversized load" banner behind my parasail. No thanks, lets wait a while before we do that ;)

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There was a lady at our dining table on the AOS cruise that parasailed. Of course she was about 1/2 of my size, but still, she was "older than me", and she had no problems. She said they hoisted her from a ski-lift sort of chair on the back of a boat.

 

Still, I can see them flying an "oversized load" banner behind my parasail. No thanks, lets wait a while before we do that ;)

 

LOL! They would be flying that same banner behind me. But at least you wouldn't know anyone else on the island or cruise. :D Unless your husband took pictures and showed them at home!

Amy

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Tell me more about the parasailing. I have the same fear as of lephysteria and can see me getting drug into the sand on the beach. But I think I would like to parasail. At least I can say I did it.

Amy

 

I just sat on the back of the boat, they hooked me up and whoosh, I was airborne. The hardest part was getting into the little boat that takes you out to the parasailing boat!!! Here I an in waist deep water, the bottom of the boat is about chest high, Did I mention that it is an inflatable boat with a motor. That makes the edges very round and hard to grab onto. It took me about 3 tries to get my body up enough to get into the boat and then I fell in and flopped around like a fish. When I finally got on my feet there was a small seat to sit down on. I am not a proud person any longer. Good thing they don't take photos of that fiasco. :o

 

When you are ready to come in they sort of dunk you in the water about waist high, then reel you into the boat. You stick your legs out in front of you, "up your feet' as the capt. said, then they reel the tether in and you sort of sit down with a bump on the back deck of the boat. Good thing I have plenty of padding. :D :D

 

They do single , double , and triple sails. I am probably equal to a double. :p

 

So even if your are 'fluffy', give it a try.

 

I caught heck from my CC friends for not mentioning them. So here goes Annette, Patty and Barbara.. We didn't qualify for a M&M so we met at the pool bar. There were four of us and two DHs. I heard that there was some wild times the last night of the cruise and someone had a bit of a hangover the next day. Too bad we couldn't get the M&M. Oh well, maybe next time.

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Thanks for the mention, Judy. This was my first time to chat online, and then meet with the "chatters" on board, so thanks to all of you for making it such a wonderful experience.

All in all, I found this sailing to be one of the friendliest I've ever been on. I met with and talked to so many different and interesting people. Our tablemates were such fun, (Cathy and Frank, if you're out there lurking, I hope you book another cruise soon) and since this was also our first Diamond member cruise, we were able to connect with all the concierge lounge frequenters. Needless to say, we found it doubly hard to leave the ship.

I second Judy's opinion about the Miami port--embarkation has never been so easy--the check-in area was both pleasant and efficient, and the staff was so anxious to keep us happy. I felt so spoiled, all trip long.

As an added bonus, we had the corner aft JS cabin 1100. I'd read everyone's comments about it before we left, so I expected to be disappointed, but I found myself saying "I love my room," all week long. On our last Radiance cruise, we had the D aft below, so I expected the large balcony, but I didn't realize what a difference that extra window would make in the view. At night, we'd pull back the drapes, and have this incredible panorama of the night sky. So romantic.

To my relief, they did indeed have my lounger on the balcony, which we couldn't get last year. I also loved the bath tub, the walk in closet, and the doorbell. To me, it was well worth the extra cost.

As Judy said, the Radiance is a true beauty.

 

Can't wait to sail her again,

Barbara

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LOL! They would be flying that same banner behind me. But at least you wouldn't know anyone else on the island or cruise. :D Unless your husband took pictures and showed them at home!

Amy

 

 

Shhhhh!!!!! He reads these postings! Don't give him any ideas! LOL

 

I am not a proud person any longer. Good thing they don't take photos of that fiasco.

 

Ok, then its settled ... although it sounds like fun, I don't think I'd be doing THAT anytime soon. But thanks for describing what I'm in for! ;)

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Hello Judy,

 

Thanks for the review and the info on 9094. As you know, hubby and I will be there in December. I truly appreciate your taking time to let us know the ins and outs of the Radiance.

 

Any info on the Mystery dinner?

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Hello Judy,

 

Thanks for the review and the info on 9094. As you know, hubby and I will be there in December. I truly appreciate your taking time to let us know the ins and outs of the Radiance.

 

Any info on the Mystery dinner?

 

Sorry. we passed on that one. Heard that Chops is better than Portofino's though. We loved Chops but have never been to Portofino's. Didn't hear anything one way or the other on the Mystery dinner.

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Hey Judy... what part of Orient Beach did you say you went to? Was clothing optional on the parasailing :D eeeeeeeeeewww!!!! jk... we're making plans for excursions on the Navigator, and parasailing came up in the conversation... I knew you had gone, so I figured I'd talk to the experienced one!

 

Hope you read this!

Can't believe we've only been home a week... seems like alot longer than that!

 

A~:)

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I used to work on the Radiance, and it's by far my favorite ship. I was a Video Technician, and it was always a great time.

 

Gordon Whatman is the best Cruise Director I have ever worked with, and a stand-up guy. I wonder when he's finally going to pursue his dream and work for QVC back home in England?

 

Anyways...he's the best, and if you're on a cruise with him...you're lucky. Him and Captain Kent make a good team. Pretty entertaining, and very professional. Just don't wake up late for an event, or Gordon will tear a strip out of you. (oh wait...that's only for crew...haha)

 

I've been on the sharp end of his stick, and he's a tough one...but once it's dealt with, it's over. He's a pro, and a pleasure to work with.

 

I have a personal site with lots of Radiance photos, and I even shot a timelapse video of it going through the Panama Canal that is being shown. If you've got a couple of minutes, come visit CruiseJournals and have a look at the video. Cruise Critic won't let me post the link, but it's CruiseJournals...I'm sure you can figure out the rest.

 

If you've got any questions about the Radiance, I'd be happy to answer them. I was on the ship for quite a while, and have great memories there.

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Hi Judy, great review. When in 2006 are you going to Panama Canal? I'm booked for April 17th,11 nights,on Brilliance.

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Annette, there were some on the beach at Orient that followed the clothing optional but thank heaven they were not parasailing. That would have lent new meaning to "Let it all hang out".

 

The part of the beach where we were is just about in the middle of the curve.

 

Here's a link that shows all of the tapas bars where you can rent chairs, etc.

http://home.carolina.rr.com/edsandra/OrientPanorama.htm.

 

We rented two chairs, a small table and umbrella for $16 all day. If you want to be in the front row by the water it is $20.

 

We are sailing the Brilliance Jan 2. That is 8 months and 5 days from now. Can you tell I am excited. I have to keep quiet for a few months or DH said he won't go!

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