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Review Radiance of the Seas

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Review of our April 2nd Western Caribbean Cruise on the Radiance of the Seas

 

This was our first cruise so I nothing to compare it to. I could write this review with only one word “WOW” but I feel it deserves a more detailed account.

 

The Flight

 

Our flight left at 6:00 AM on the day of the cruise, we changed planes in New York and finally arrived in Miami around 1:00 PM. Then at the Miami Airport when we went to collect our bags they weren’t there (can your say panic). They told us that all of the luggage had been offloaded from the plane and we would have to go to the baggage claim desk. This is a big airport and it is a bit of a hike to the desk. All I can think of at this time is all of our clothes are lost and how could they ever get them to the ship if they find them, we sail in 4 hours! Well while I was in line they announced that they found some more luggage from out flight and so we hiked back and found our bags and once again every thing was right with the world. I would highly recommend that anyone traveling by plane to go the day before. Not only will this allow you extra time to find your luggage or your luggage to find you, but also as I discovered the sooner you are on board the sooner your cruise starts.

 

The First Impression

 

What can I say this is a beautiful ship we spent the first hour or two just walking around and exploring. I was very impressed with the cleanliness and the condition of every thing onboard. We had a quick snack in the Windjammer got ourselves a rum laced fruity drink complete with an umbrella and we were cruising. I had been looking at pictures of this ship for over a month and my DW felt that I was becoming a little obsessed and that I would be disappointed with no surprised left to discover, well she was so wrong, pictures don’t do it justice it must be experienced. The décor is just amazing, the art, everywhere you look there is another piece of beautiful art. The glass elevators are fabulous I could ride them all day. You can see the ocean from everywhere onboard.

 

Dinning

 

We booked the late sitting and requested a large table and were assigned table # 481 a 4 seater in the back of the dinning room directly behind a serving station, this was quite possibly the worst table on the ship. No one showed up to dine with us that first night but a lady form guest relations came by looking for the German couple to assist with language issues. We were not looking forward to sitting at this table for a week and not being able to talk to these people. The next morning we went to see the dinning room manager and request a new table. We were moved to a table for 10 with 4 other couples and once again every thing was right with the world, we enjoyed their company for the seat of the cruise and had a great time. On a side note the other couple that was at our original table had wanted to be seated alone, you can only imagine how much fun that would have been to be stuck with a couple who didn’t speak English and didn’t want to sit with you. Hats of to RCI for fixing this.

 

The food, can’t forget about the food now. I am a self-confessed food snob my hobby is cooking and I don’t do a bad job if I say so my self. The food in the dinning room is great but it is not fine dinning. The appetizers and deserts are great with the main course being very good. If you want fine dinning go the Chops and Portofino. We ate at both of these restaurants and WOW! Both are worth the $20.00 charge and then some. I am a big meat eater and I felt that Chops is as good as any steak house that I have been to on land. My DW just loved Portofino it is a little more elegant and the food is fabulous. The service in both restaurants is outstanding and they have a very good wine list as well.

 

Our Routine

 

It only took a day and half to get into a routine. We would get up, go to the fitness centre for a half hour then breakfast in the Windjammer the omelet guy was fantastic I am a big smoked salmon fan and although he didn’t have any at his station I would just bring him some for the cold table and presto he would make me the most delicious smoked salmon omelet, light and fluffy yum. Then we would do whatever we had planed for the day and head to the Solarium late in the afternoon a little time in the hot tub as swim then a nap, repeated as necessary. This would be followed by a pre dinner snack a cappuccino and a latte and a walk around the ship and then off to dinner. To Finnish the night we would have a drink and a cigar in the Hollywood Odyssey were we were served by Rada (the best bartender on the ship) who made us feel like regulars who had been coming there for years not just a another passenger. So there you have it: Fitness Center, Windjammer, (excursions/ports), Solarium, Snack, Coffee, Walk, Dinner, Drink and a Cigar. We did vary this with some shows and other onboard activities.

 

The Solarium

 

This was our place; we came here every afternoon to unwind. We were always able to find a couple of lounge chairs. It was calmer that the outdoor pool area being adults only. The hot tub was great and the pool (salt water) was a cool refreshing dip. The décor a sort of tropical oasis theme is just amazing and our favorite bartender was there as well.

 

The Excursions

 

We only did two and they were both great. In Grand Cayman we did the Cockatoo Sail and Stingray City. This was amazing there were only about 18 people on this catamaran so we were able to lounge around on the front trampoline section for the sail out and back. The stingrays are like the puppy dogs of the sea they are soft and velvety and fun to feed. We stayed and played with them for about 45 minutes and then sailed back. I would highly recommend this to anyone, a small boat is the only way to do the Stingrays. While we were there we saw some very large boats with upwards of 150 people on them, these just looked to crowded and not as much fun as ours.

 

Our next excursion was the Tulum Mayan Ruins Express. While not as “fun” as the stingrays the ruins were fascinating, it was unlike anything we have ever seen. Our guide was very knowledgeable and explained the history and culture of this part of the world in great detail. I feel that it is important to learn about these things when you are traveling.

 

Rescue at Sea

 

On our last day at sea we hare the announcement “Oscar, Oscar, Oscar, Starboard Side”. Well as you can guess everyone rushed to see what was going on and we saw a person in the water getting farther and farther away form the ship. I did not know that you could stop one of these things and turn it around so fast, in less than 5 minutes a rescue boat was launched and the man was rescued. It turned out he had been it the water for 3 days with only an inner tube and a lifejacket. He was from Cuba and in good health only a little dehydrated, a couple of hours later he was transferred to a coastguard ship and we are not sure what became of him. The crew must be congratulated for the speed in which they did this.

 

The Last Day

 

After seven days of the best vacation we have ever had it is time to leave the ship. We did not want to go. My only regret is that we did not discover this 15 years ago, but on the positive side we didn’t discover this 15 years from now. I do not think that we will ever vacation any other way again. When we were off the ship and I looked at my DW she had a tear in her eye. What else can I say, thank you Royal Caribbean for a fabulous experience.

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Very much like you, I bacame obsessed with finding out everything about Radiance of the Seas before our first cruise also. You are so right... pictures can't capture the real beauty of the ship. Our second cruise was on Grandeur and while we loved the Grandeur our hearts will always belong to Radiance! We are now set to sail on Jewel of the Seas and are looking forward to being aboard a Radiance class vessel again! Thank you for your review... did you also add it to the review section of this site?

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It was a great cruise! Weather was perfect the entire time. I got some video of the rescue. Some of the shows, especially the first couple of days, where not that good. Cnd_cruiser, did you make the show on the second to last night? There was a bald headed "volunteer" :rolleyes: that had to throw (like a frisbee) a ring at the performer (also bald), and he caught it with his head. Well, that's what I get for sitting on the third row! All in our party are now suffering from PCD (post cruise depression), so we've booked a cheap 4 day Sovereign cruise in January.

 

Sovereign 6/2002

Voyager 4/2003

Mariner 5/2004

Radiance 4/2/2006

Sovereign 1/29/2007

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We will be boarding the Radiance (first time) three weeks from Sunday.... thank you for posting your review!!

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Your first cruise is always the best one. The Radiance was our 26th (we were on the Apr 9th sailing) and in many ways I was disappointed. This was the first time I couldn't wait for a cruise to end.

 

First, let me say that the Radiance is a beautiful ship. However, I found a lot of space was wasted or poorly used. I hated walking through to the rear lounges because I didn't like the smell going through their little area with cannons. There were no stairs or elevators in the rear third of the ship. The only ones were mid ship or up front. Our cabin was at the rear. A lot of the staff was not very friendly and there didn't seem to be all that many activities for adults although we did enjoy the trivia games during the day. The ones at night were just way to late or held during our dinner hour.

 

The crew was obsessed with not shaking hands with passengers because of the noro virus which they claimed we had an outbreak of during our cruise. They even closed the children's program the last day because of it so 600 kids were roaming the ship anyway. At least they shouldn't have closed the kid's pool area.

 

Our cabin attendant and table waiter and assistant were great. We couldn't have asked for better ones. Ana, the concierge, was extremely helpful and we did enjoy the meet-and-mingle. Considering we were in a family suite, we didn't see any special perks as on other lines and the cabin wasn't all that nice either although we had lots of room and closet space. The second bedroom was very tiny and dark, but the living area and master bedroom were nice.

 

I do recommend going to Chops for dinner one night. That was the best meal we had the whole time.

 

I couldn't believe the trash we found on our balcony from people throwing food over the side. We found a chocolate ice cream cone that made a nice mess as well as other types of food. I'm just glad we didn't find a cigarette or something else.

 

We enjoyed the view from the mid elevators. As I said above, the ship is beautiful. But it will be a while before I choose an RCL cruise again.

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