Welcome to 2009 not much has changed with the many cruise lines out there in the last few years. We were on western Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas cruise ship on November 28, 2007. It was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean our first cruise happened the year before on the much larger Adventure of the Seas cruise ship. After one cruise with RCI, I was expecting the same standards with the Radiance and I was not disappointed.
Our stateroom was an aft cabin and we weren’t disappointed. It was spacious enough and the lighting was satisfactory. Closet space and drawers were also acceptable for our use. We realized that the double beds here were better than the one we had on the Adventure since we could not actually feel the split between the 2 separate beds like we probably did last time. If there’s one thing that may be improved is the shower curtain. The one installed wasn’t acceptable in keeping in all of the water from the shower. The shower on the Adventure used a double glass doorway system which was far superior. Otherwise, the cabin was nice and dark for sleeping at night. Though we heard a little noise from the cabins next to us, it was minimal. We did not miss having any window or balcony at all since we were barely ever in our stateroom. We were either at port or someplace else on the ship and returned to our cabins simply to relax or sleep. We’d definitely book an insider cabin again with RCI unless we had a free upgrade.
The main Cascades dining room was nice and the meals were good. Breakfasts had the same menu each morning.
Lunch at the dining room was okay. The dinners were good but not every meal was a winner. There had been the peculiar appetizer and dessert that wasn’t up to par. One thing that my partner spotted was the portions of the main courses appeared to be smaller than those served on the journey. We often went upstairs to the Windjammer to get more food after dining at the Cascades.
In some pieces of the Cascades room, the tables were placed too cramp so walking to out own table was hard at times. The self serve Windjammer was good. It often had more variety of food than served downstairs at the Cascades. Breakfast and lunch were busy at the Windjammer but during evenings, most of the people selected to eat at the Cascades. The 2 other optional restaurants on board Portafino and Choppe House were available at $20 US per person but we never attempted them since the meals already included at the Cascades and Windjammer were fine by us. Other passengers who did go to these optional rooms told us that they were nothing special. There had been another cafeteria available during late evenings called the Sea view and they furnished fare like sandwiches, salads and burgers. This was a pleasant feature. One thing we probably did object to was that they charged for the tea and coffee there.
There had been also a specialty coffee place on the main part of the ship and they also charged. We had a multitude of free drinks on the Adventure.
About the Service:
The services by the stateroom’s dining room staff was one of the most professional and wonderful experiences that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing.
About the Entertainment:
The evening shows at the Aurora Theater contained a combination of the ship’s own crew of dancers and vocalists plus some outside comics and singers. Typically, the shows were quite good. We would’ve liked to have seen them mix up the entertainment each night instead of performing constant music, but to have broken up the comedy, magic and sorcery into different evenings. Instead of a whole show of magic and sorcery, we would have liked each night to feature a selection of entertainment. Of course, live music round the ship was a pleasant touch.
About the Amenities:
Even though it was a bit smaller than the Adventure, the Radiance had the best amenities including the gymnasium / spa, mini golfing, pools and the shops.
There was net access available, but at fifty cents per minute, the service is a bit steep. There were things to do in the days at sea like art auctions, cooking and dance classes. However, we felt that there they were offering a lot more than what we had time to see.
As for boarding and disembarking, there wasn’t any problem on the Radiance . The 6th level contained the casino and for non-smokers, this was an issue. The ventilation in the casino wasn’t great and as a consequence, smoke traveled to other areas beyond the casino. My partner wanted to avoid the 6th level when possible.
In summation, we enjoyed our cruise on the Radiance of the Seas. However, comparing it to the bigger Adventure of the Seas, we would rate the Adventure of the Seas ship a bit higher. We were fond of the great promenade on the Adventure which wasn’t available on a smaller ship like the Radiance. Given a choice in the future, we might select the bigger Adventure ship. For first time passengers, the Radiance would still be a good ship to holiday on. This is just the case of where seasoned cruisers would expect more particularly if they’ve been on higher end ships.