While I loved both Explorer and RAdiance, if I had a choice with same itinary, I'm leaning towards Radiance. This was the most beautiful ship I've ever sailed on, lots of glass and wood and tasteful artwork everywhere and a to die for Atrium. Although, if you haven't tried a Voyager class ship yet, you really must give that a try, especially if you are traveling with a group, kids, families, there is something for everyone.
I especially loved the Windjammer Cafe on Radiance, great lay-out and the different food stations was the best, never any lines. I did think the pool area on Radiance was way too small, it was difficult getting chairs on "sea" days, where Explorer never had that problem, and loved the double pool.
Thanks for the input. I've been on all voyager class ships, some multiple times. Considering trying something new. Just sailed on Navigator and loved it. They added chops. Considering Mariner or Radiance class ship. I like the activities on voyager. Love the fact that you don't have to usually hunt for chairs. Change would be nice but the last time we strayed from RCL (Grand Pricess), we regretted it. Problem is that Mariner itin is a bit dissapointing. Don't really care for quick stop in Nassau. 3 sea days, St Thomas and St Maarten. Would rather stop at labadee, Nassau is a waste. Need to leave out of Fla since we will be there for a wedding, otherwise I would probably go back on Adventure. Maybe it is worth flying to San Juan.
Been on both classes twice, and love them both. THey each have there own "thing" to offer. You WILL NOT be dissapointed on a radiance class ship. They are more "imtimate" and dont feel so HUGE, but you have plenty of space to roam, and never feel crowded.
We went on Grand Pricess the week before Voyager's inaugaral sailing. At the time it was the biggest ship and it was only a few months old. Compared to our experience on RCL (Enchantment & Grandeur) we were very dissapointed. The main reasons:
1. The food was awful compared to what we have had. Having been on 8 Voyager class sailings since, I can say that the food on voyager is mediocre but decent enough. Especially if you take advantage of the alternate dining. Some of the meals on Grand Pricess were inedible.
2. There was a loud creaking sound in our cabin. Again, after 11 cruises in total, I have can speak from experience. I have heard some random noises here and there but this cabin had a fairly constant creak in it soo loud that I could not sleep. After arguing for 3 days with the front desk, ("sir, this is a moving vessel and it is only natural to have some noises") they finally agreed to have someone take a look. They show up while we were in port and there was obviously no movement. I made them come back and they sent a team of engineers to try to stop the noise which they finally agreed was excessive. They could not fix the problem and they insisted there were no more balcony cabins so they gave me a key to an interior room to use as a place to sleep. Finally, on the 4th day, they moved us to another cabin which mysteriously came available. Which leads me to 3 & 4.
3. The ship seems top heavy to me. The main reason for the creeking was that the ship rocked incessantly. It is almost as tall as voyager but much narrower. I am guessing that this makes it more prone to rocking. I did not mind it so much as I do not get sea sick but MANY people were having problems. You could hardly stand upright in the nightclub (very back - top of the ship - worse place to put it) Voyager class ships are the smoothest I have been on. Very stable. Last month we were on Nav and there were 11 ft seas. It was no worse than any other night.
4. This is probably the most important issue. I did not feel the staff took my concerns seriously. I am completely certain that if I had a similar concern about my stateroom on RCL someone would have been in the room in minutes, not days. I might not have even minded so much if they had followed up afterwards to make sure I was happy with the new room. Not a word from them. Not an apology, no shipboard credit, not even a phone call, nada.
5. The ship is purposely designed to have a "small ship feel" which is a nice idea but the layout is very difficult to navigate. Some decks have no way of getting from one end to the other. The layout of Voyager is much more elegant.
6. The entertainment sucked! I am in my mid 30's and again - after 11 cruises I can tell you that some of the RCL entertainers have been hit or miss - but this was the by far the worst. The entertainers were geared to a much older crowd. One of the couples at our table (very cool older couple in their 50s) wondered if their parents would have remembered the headliner (Marty Allen). They had been on most of the Princess fleet over the years and begged us not to judge Princess from our experience.
Like I said, I hate to complain and I have read MANY very positive reviews of Grand Princess. I'm sure my experience was the exception and even with all her faults, we still had a great time. Voyager was our next trip and we have not looked back.
Thanks jason for the info and no you are not a whiner. We sailed the Navigator last month (september) and had a great time. We thought it might be a bit "boring" to do another Voyager class ship as they are all the same design wise. When we got to Grand Cayman the Grand Princess was also anchored in the harbor with us and it "looked" beautiful.
So, now we are thinking about maybe doing a Radiance class vessel like the Jewel when it comes out or Celebrity's Summit. If we went back to a Voyager class ship, it would probably be Explorer or Adventure because they have the children's pool area and our next cruise will include our daughter.
Short and sweet: I prefer Voyager class over Radiance. A deciding factor may be the number of children on board. Voyager class frequently has as many as 1/3 full with children. Never underfoot, but you will see them around. Some couples are looking for a vacation sans children. On voyager class, for example, the children do a "skit" during dinner one night of the week. Some prefer to not have dinner interrupted by children. just a consideration. For me, I prefer the Voyager class.
Can you clarify what you mean by number of children being a factor? Never had a prob with kids on vger class, is it more prominent on Radiance? WHat is it about Radiance that gets deductions versus vger for you?