Review - Radiance Of The Seas
Royal Caribbean's 2,139-passenger Radiance of the Seas, debuted in 2001, and passengers have been raving about it ever since.
In 2011, the cruise line invested US$20 million dollars into a massive refurbishment of the 90,090-tonne vessel, making her better than ever! Radiance of the Seas gained 7 dining choices, including a Brazilian churascaria and a Japanese restaurant, as well as cabin upgrades, Wi-Fi throughout the ship, and giant movie screen by the pool.
Other additions from the makeover included a new nursery for infants aged 6 to 36 months, 12 new cabins, interactive flat-screen TC systems in all cabins, and the installation of touch-screen "wayfinders", making it easier to find out what's going on where, and how best to get there.
However, even with all of the new features and upgrades. the main attraction of cruising on Radiance of the Seas is this mid-sized ship's warmth and love of light.
With vast open spaces and floor-to-ceiling windows throughout, it brings the outside light and warmth within, so don't be surprised if you find yourself wearing your sunnies indoors.
Radiance of the Seas manages to maintain an intimate vibe that quickly turns new passengers into Royal Caribbean loyalist. Sharyn Illingsworth is such a passenger. She recently wrote to us to tell us about her cruise on board Radiance of the Seas.
"In October last year we spent 17 nights on the Radiance of the Seas sailing from Honolulu, going on to Bora Bora, Tahiti. Moorea and NZ. It was a magnificent ship and the best cruise ever. I would go again in a heart beat."
With Radiance of the Seas coming back to our shores in November this year, we thought you might want to know details of what to expect on board.
Things to Know
On a 7-night cruise, you can expect at least 2 formal nights on board. Men usually opt for dark suits instead of tuxedo's, while women wear cocktail dresses.
Daytime wear is casual, with polo shirts and trousers for men, and sundresses or trousers for women recommended.
In Speciality restaurants, smart casual is the usual dress code, including jackets and ties for men, and dresses or trouser suits for women.
On all Royal Caribbean ships it is customary to offer tips to staff members for good service and personal attention.
A approximate daily amount of $9.75 per guest ($12 for suite guests) per cruise day, is recommended to cover the stateroom and dining room service. Guests can choose to pre-pay the service charge at the time of booking to make the process seamless once on board.
Of the 1,071 cabins, 825 are outside, and 577 of these have balconies. Good, middle-of-the-road choices in a balcony cabin are Categories E1, E2 and E3, situated on Decks 7, 8, 9 and 10.
Family cabins can accommodated up to 6 people, with twin beds that convert into a queen, additional bunk beds and a sofa bed. All cabins have wireless Internet access and Internet ports, as well as interactive flat-screen TV's. Wheelchare accessible cabins are available in a variety of categories.
The main dining room, Cascades, is an elegent, two-level restaurant, featuring a grand staircase, columns and a cascading waterfall.
Passengers can choose to have dinner at the early seating (6.15pm) or the late seating (8.30pm), or you can opt for the flexible "My Time Dining" option, in which you can pick a preferred meal time (between 6pm ad 9.30pm).
Change your reservation time daily or just walk in when you're hungry. Passengers who choose this option will need to pre-pay their gratuities. Breakfast and lunch are open seating in Cascades.
A casual, no reservations and no-fee dining alternative is the Windjammer Cafe, where meals are buffet-style and you have a choice of indoor or outdoor seating.
There are also a number of fantastic speciality restaurants to try. Samba Grill is a Brazilian-style steakhouse, with meat, chicken and seafood sliced directly on your plate.
The new Chef's Table experience brings private dining to passengers via a 5-course feast with wine pairings. Each glass of wine and each course is introduced by a sommerlier and a top chef, respectively.
Rita's Cantina, open for lunch and dinner, is a Mexican fiesta restaurant, with live music, dancing and margarita's on offer. And for sushi fans, Izumi is the place to be. It also does hot-rock cooking, for something interactive and different. Make sure to check what the cover charge is at each restaurant before you book.
Room service is available 24 hours day, with no charge between 5am and midnight. Late-night orders will incur a fee.
Nightly entertainment at the Aurora Theatre includes production shows with the Royal Caribbean singers and dancers, or headline acts featuring vocalists and musicians. And, in the Hollywood Odyssey nightclub, comedians, jazz ensembles, pianists and vocalists take centre stage.
Other evening activities include movies in the Cinema or on the outdoor screen, dancing the night away at the Starquest disco, shooting pool in the Bombay Billiard Club (with self-leveling pool tables), listening to a piano player in the Schooner Bar, or having a quiet drink in the elegant Champagne Bar.
And, for the gamblers amongst us. there is the Casino Royale, with slot machines, and tables for blackjack, craps and roulette.
Spa & Fitness
The Solarium is one of the most popular spots on the ship. The raised pool, two whirlpools and relaxation areas are covered by a retractable glass roof, so you can always relax poolside, no matter what the weather is like outside.
A bar, pizzeria and the Park Cafe are conveniently located within the Solarium so you don't have to venture far for refreshments.
The Radiance Day Spa and Fitness Centre is divided into 3 sections - a health and beauty centre with 12 treatment rooms; an aerobics area; and a gym with treadmills, bikes, free weights and more. An array of fitness classes like aerobics, aquadynamics and pilates are offered.
Free, supervised activities are offered for children aged 3 to 17, split up into age groups: 3 - 5; 6 - 8; 9 - 12 and 13 - 17.
Facilities at Adventure Ocean, the kid's club, include a computer lab, outdoor area, video game consoles, and Adventure Beach, with splash pools and a water slide.
Teens have their own coffeehouse/disco with flat screen TV's and a soda bar to hang out in. There is also a rock-climbing wall and 9 hole mini-golf course on board.
A children's menu with kid's favourites like pizza, burgers and "mac 'n cheese" is available during meal times. And, since the refurbishment, there is also the Royal Tots and Babies nursery available to parents with infants between the ages of 6 and 36 months (for a fee). Group or individual baby-sitting can also be arranged for a service fee.
Set sail on a dream holiday with Cruiseabout