CruiseMates was just in Victoria, B.C. to see the new upgrades being made to Radiance of the Seas in person.
|Radiance of the Seas is currently in dry dock in Victoria, B.C. for renovation.|
Radiance of the Seas
Last week we were in Victoria, British Columbia, with an opportunity to see the Radiance of the Seas' improvements before the ship is reintroduced to the cruising public today, June 10. Let's take a look at some of the new spaces on Radiance - the renderings are from Royal Caribbean...."
The changes being made to Radiance of the Seas include:
Seven new dining options added to the ship - borrowed from what are believed to be the best culinary ideas currently in operation on other Royal Caribbean cruise ships:
Samba Grill is a Brazilian Charascurria - a unique way of cooking large cuts of meat on a turning spit high above a heat source. The juices melt in the slow cooked meat after hours of turning. Dinner guests can request cuts of the meat taken directly off of the fire and brought to the table by the waiter at any time. The waiter holds the steel shaft and cuts slices off directly onto the plate of the guest. The per person charge will be $25. The Samba Grill will be located on deck 12 - set to replace the Seaview cafe - which is near the aft end of one of the upper decks, behind the sport's deck and kid's pool. This is in keeping with the al fresco approach the restaurant was given on Allure of the Seas within the Solarium area.The Samba Grill
Rita's Cantina (Mexican) also originally introduced on Allure of the Seas, is a standard Mexican food eatery which comes with mariachi singers and other special entertainment. There is an a la carte menu - no reservations are required. On Radiance, the Cantina will be located in the aft end of the Windjammer cafe, starboard side. It will be completely inside, no al fresco dining. The menu is a la carte, no reservations required.Rita's Cantina
Giovanni's Table (Italian) features family-style servings of Italian favorites. $15 lunch and $29 dinner, per person. This restaurant will replace the fine Italian dining room "Portofino's" on Radiance. The new room on deck six - opposite the Schooner Bar and next door to Chop's Grill, which will remain, will be open for both lunch and dinner, the cost is $15 for lunch and $25 for dinner. The servings will come "family-style" portions.
Park Café (Deli) is a traditional New York style deli, with table seating, self service and no cover charge. You can get freshly sliced deli meat sandwiches as well as bakery items and delicious specialty coffees. This is a very nice space, first tried on Oasis and also included on Allure of the Seas. On those ships the cafe is mostly indoors but there is also plenty of al fresco dining within the "Central Park" area. On Radiance the room will be inside the expansive Solarium, so it will have an outdoor feel although it is fully enclosed with windows and temperature controlled. This is one of my personal favorites for the new ship.The Park Cafe
Izumi (Sushi) is a Japanese restaurant with sushi, sashimi and more japanese style food - the menu is a la carte. It will be located on deck 11, aft - opposite Rita's Cantina and also within the enclosed aft section of the Windjammer Café. Reservations are recommended and they can be made online or at one of the new "digtal signage" kiosks to be located throughout the ship.Izumi Sushi and Asian Fusion
The Boardwalk Dog House (Hot dogs) is an all-you-can-eat, Coney Island style hot dog stand. There is no cover charge for the dogs. You can get them with any traditional accoutrement you desire; sauerkraut, mustard, relish, catsup, onions, etc. On Allure of the Seas the Dog House is located on the Boardwalk of , having replaced the donut shop on Oasis of the Seas. On Radiance it will not be outside, but rather it will be within the Windjammer Café.The Dog House
Chef's Table (High end restaurant) will be the most specialized restaurant onboard featuring fine steaks and other gourmet offerings. In fact, this is more of an event than a meal. The table seats 16 people, the meal is five or six course, and each course comes with a wine pairing. The meal is "hosted" by the chef, and each guests receives a signed souvenir cookbook at the end of the meal. There is a $95 per person cover charge - alcohol included. Reservations are required. This event is generally sold out every night of every cruise of the Royal Caribbean ships that offer it - without any publicity. It is possible to book this meal before your cruise sails on the Internet and that is probably the only way to get a reservation. The location is deck six, aft - in the space that was previously the card room.The Chef's Table
The Quill & Compass (Bar) will be a new British-style pub. The room is based upon the very popular pubs along the Royal Promenades as first installed on the Voyager Class. These rooms give guests a chance to interact with singer/guitarist who knows the popular songs and plenty of jokes to go with them. The Radiance designers wanted the room to have a similar feel so they created a new facade amd walkway connecting the casino and the cinema within the area that was previously the Sports Bar. Along that facade they added the appropriate-looking pub entrance. This is on deck 6, mid-ships. It will be open until the last reveler is ready to go to bed. Several varieties of Ale will be on tap.The Quill and Compass Pub
That Cinema, by the way, will receive the latest in 3-D technology so Radiance can show DreamWorks Animation movies such as the Kung Fu Panda II movie set to debut the same week Radiance comes out of dry dock in Victoria, B.C.
The Royal Babies & Tots Nursery will handle children as young as six months old with special babysitting, napping and changing services. This new area will be located on deck 12 next to the older children's activities area, Adventure Ocean. There will be a staff to baby ratio of 3 to 1. The nursery will be open daily until midnight (on most nights). Private babysitting will still be available but offered through the guest relations department.Royal Babies & Tots Nursery
A brand new Diamond Lounge and Concierge Lounge for Crown & Anchor Society members will also be added. These rooms are being built within the existing Viking Crown Lounge. Diamond level, Diamond-plus and Pinnacle level members of the Crown and Anchor Society will get access to the Diamond Lounge with its concierge, complimentary breakfast and open bar during the cocktail hour. Pinnacle and Diamond-plus members can jpin guests residing in suites in the Concierge Lounge - also with complimentary breakfast and open bar during the cocktail hour.
Further Radiance Enhancements
SVP Lisa Bauer explains that Radiance will have many of the best elements found on bigger ships like Oasis of the Seas. It will have almost all of the same restaurants, excluding 150 Central Park and Johnny Rockets. There will be a Cupcake Cupboard, as first introduced on Oasis.
The ship will also be getting the "digital wayfinder" interactive computer kiosks that are on Oasis and Allure. These virtual maps and box-offices are large touch-screens with interactive menus. Guests can see the availability of different restaurants and make reservations on the spot. The reservation gets recorded to the ship's computer instantly. Guests can also reserve shore excursions and any shows that may have assigned seating. They can swipe their keycards at the kiosk and those then serve as the "ticket" for the reservation they just made.
A large outdoor poolside movie screen, with a 15-foot screen, will be set up on the pool deck for watching movies at night and other kinds of programming during the day. The entire pool area is receiving pure teak decking - doing away with the artificial turf.
Every stateroom will be receiving new tile and new flat panel televisions that conveniently tilt directly towards the bed or the couch. Wi-Fi has been enabled throughout the ship, including in the staterooms. These Interactive televisions to be added to staterooms will allow passengers to book shore tours, order room service or check their onboard spending balance at any time.
For the last seven years Radiance has been positioned on the U.S. West Coast, sailing to Mexico in the winter and moving to Alaska in the summer. Radiance will re-enter service on June 10 and after this Alaska season will make a 10-day cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii (Sept. 19) followed by a 19-night cruise from Honolulu to Australia. She will stay in Australia until further notice.
This 90,000-ton ship for 2500 guests will be one of the most feature-packed small ships at sea. If you want to see her you had best consider an Alaska cruise, becauise once she heads to Australia it will be hard to say how it will be before she returns to the United States.