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Radiance Review - Panama Canal Apr 23/May 7/06

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Arrived home Sunday night from our 14-day cruise through the Panama Canal sailing on the Radiance of the Seas. Here is a mini review about our cruise.


Stayed 1 nite pre-cruise at the Hyatt in Miami – room was clean and O.K. – nothing special. Had RCCL transfer to the ship, which was organized and quick. Arrived at the pier just after 1:00 p.m. and walked right up to the check-in counter. No line-ups, despite ship being sold out. Great way to start our cruise.



We had aft cabin 1604 (D1) – what a treat! Balcony was huge (14’ x 10’) – view was awesome – so nice for romantic room service breakfasts and moonlit evenings. We hosted a party on our deck for 11 while we went through the canal and had room to spare. Our room attendant Juan was a real sweetie – every special request was met with a smile and taken care of immediately.


Food & Dining:

Food & service on this cruise was a step up from our last cruise (Vision) and far better than our cruises last year on the Voyager. Overall, food was very good and service was very good. We ate the majority of our meals in the dining room. Evening dining (2nd seating) we were seated at a table of 10 – an international mix of tablemates – and we all hit it off immediately. We were usually the last to leave the dining room – and no because of slow service. Lorand, our waiter and his Assistant, Patricia, were both very professional and took good care of us. Also ate in Chops and Portofinos – both outstanding. Happily the menu in the Seaview Café has not changed (like it has on the Brilliance) – nachos, onion rings and clam chowder and Reuben sandwiches, were a welcome snack late in the afternoon. We did not eat at the snack bar in the Solarium Café.


Captain & Crew

Captain Lune Lokling was an absolute delight. The Captain loves to talk – his daily chats were interesting & displayed his wonderful sense of humour. I have never seen a more visible captain onboard – he seemed to pop up everywhere. “Hurdy Gurdy & have a cookie” were his trademark sign-offs.


Kieron Buffery – Cruise Director – New to RCCL from NCL. Native of the U.K. with a very good sense of humour, not over the top and he too was visible around the ship. Very friendly fellow and a most welcome addition to RCCL. One of the best CD’s we’ve encountered.


Marilyn Emmanual – Loyalty Ambassador – Booked two future cruises with Marilyn while on board. A native from South Africa and a pleasure to deal with.


General Comments about the Ship:

- Very clean

- Carpets in some of the public areas, particularly on the stairs, were somewhat worn, as were some of the chairs in the bars.

- Hand sanitizers in front of all dining establishments and seemed to be used by the majority of passengers.

- No chair hogs evident!!!!!!! I could actually find a front row lounge chair by the pool mid-day.

- Older passenger base. I guess that the majority of passengers were late 60”s +. Only 18 babies/children on the sailing. After all the comments I’ve read about unruly children, I would sail with younger passengers any day. I’ve never encountered more complainers, whiners and miserable passengers on any other sailing. I didn’t let these snivelers detract from my cruise experience, but at times, it was very, very hard to bite my tongue.

- Crew were happy and service we received from all was 1st rate.

- Catholic mass held every day.

- All announcements over the PA were far too loud and there were too many bingo announcements for my liking.

- On past cruises we have always been able to get a few hundred dollars at the casino, but not this cruise. $$ handed out in the casino were either given in coins to be used for the slots, or we were advised to show our Seapass card at the tables. One personal cheque (max. $200) can be cashed at the Pursers desk, as can travellers cheques. Two ATM machines are onboard.


Ports of Call to come next.

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I look forward to the remainder of your posts. DH and I are booked to cruise Panama in February and I look forward to learning from the experiences of others. We have an aft D1 as well, so it's wonderful to hear that you enjoyed it!:)

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Thanks so much for the news about getting cash at the casino. We have always counted on this to get the money we need. We're leaving tomorrow for England for a Baltic cruise on the Jewel of the Seas and will stop at the bank to get travelers checks today.

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Can't wait to hear more, we are booked on the 10/07/06 Los Angeles to Fort lauderdale aboard Radiance!



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Thanks for the review. I just booked this cruise but I have a long wait add of me. Our cruise won't sail away until Nov/07. Nothing like getting a jump on things.


This will be our 2nd cruise and I'm looking forward to it as the first was wonderful.


If you have any good tips for the stops please post, as now I will be looking at things to do at ports of call.



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Thank you so much


Like Wendy we are doing the reverse itinerary in October.


Great review



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Enjoyed your Review. We were sailing behind you on the NCL Sun ... 17 days from Miami to San Francisco... just got home yesterday.


I totally agree with you about the CD Kieron. NCL's loss is certainly RCI's gain!!:o :D


We're on the Radiance for the 14-day round trip Hawaii in September and looking forward to having Kieron as CD again.


Wasn't the weather GORGEOUS all along the way during the Panama cruise?



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Hi Sue, glad you had a great sailing. You were right, Radiance class ships are great ships...my new favourite. We thought Keiron Buffery was pretty good as well -NCL's loss (as mentioned above). I followed your sailing on a day-by- day basis on another board. The poster had a lot of similar thoughts as you. Seems the passenger demographics were on the "high" side and things wrapped up early most nights :). The disco on deck 13 (same deck as the Hollywood lounge) was hopping every night on our sailing Apr 2.:D


Glad you are home safe and sound.....

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Sue ~ I was sailing on Coral Princess and was in port with you in Costa Rica.. I have great shots of the Radiance and was especially thrilled as it was April 28 and I had just learned via the internet that my booking for Hawaii on her had gone through and I booked cabin 9256... coincidentily we sail on April 28 2007 so it was a treat to see her 1 year to the day


We also did our tour with Charlie Soto and I am sure it was you I saw at the Del Monte banana plantation as you were standing in line waiting to use the washroom... I wish I had said something to say hello.


Glad you enjoyed your well earned cruise...indeed Charlie's other man George was really good and very kind and accomodating.... rate this tour as one of the best


Nice review and thanks for sharing.



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