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Old April 24th, 2006, 02:18 AM
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Default Cruising the Canal With Kuki - Radiance - DAY 1

Radiance – Day1
We arrived at the pier in Miami this morning just before noon, and encountered the smoothest embarkation process we’ve ever experienced. Our Sea Pass had been filled out online in advance, and with the print out of that in hand, to give to the check-in agent, we were in the Windjammer Café choosing lunch items by 12:15PM.

They had informed us the cabins would not be ready for guests to occupy until 1 P.M. As we enjoyed a rather nice embarkation lunch we ran into some CruiseMates friends, and visited until about 2, when we decided we’d head to the cabin.

We’re on the stern, facing aft, in cabin 8170. On the Radiance Class ships these are wonderful cabins because of the view of the wake, and the extended balconies. The only drawback is the very long walk from the central staircase or elevators to the stern. Since our cruise on the Jewel of the Seas and the Serenade of the Seas, not surprisingly (since it would be major structural work) there is still no passenger staircase aft on these ships.

Regardless, this is going to be a perfect location for a Panama Canal transit.

Our cabin attendant, Cassandra stopped in to introduce herself, and I requested a lounger for the balcony. She left and returned with the lounger almost immediately.

By 2:30 P.M. our luggage had been delivered to the cabin, and we’d unpacked, and were ready to enjoy the cruise, so we set out to explore the ship, and our fellow passengers, a bit. As expected for a 14 day cruise the demographic is somewhat higher than on a “regular? Caribbean sailing, but there also seems to be a “smattering? of children onboard, and seemingly quite a number of “young 50s? like ourselves. (Is that an oxymoron?)

During the muster drill there was an announcement made that there would be a curfew in place, and that under those under 70 would not be allowed in public areas after midnight, without their parents present. OK… so they really said under 17, but the line drew a laugh when I used it after the announcement, so I thought I’d use it again. The exception to the curfew will be if the kids are involved in an organized ship’s activity. If there are many older teens (15-17) onboard I doubt they are going to very pleased with this policy.

Like any policy I suppose, there are going to be those it pleases, and those it displeases.

Another policy note of interest is the ship now has a very restrictive smoking policy in place. I’m not sure if this is a recent fleet-wide change for RCI, or if it’s just the policy on this particular ship, but I’ll investigate and try and find the answer to that question during the next few days.

Smoking is allowed on the outdoor decks, starboard side on Decks 5, 11, and 12. However the ONLY indoor locations where smoking is allowed is a small area at the back of the Colony Club Lounge on Deck 6, the casino, and in the Hollywood Lounge on Deck 12 (which becomes a cigar bar from 10 P.M. – 1 A.M.). Smoking is prohibited in all other public areas on the ship, though it is optional in the cabins and on balconies. It will, of course, take a few days for me to see if this policy is enforced, but my initial reaction in my travels onboard today, is that it is.
This policy is sure to be popular with the non-smokers, and not so popular with smokers.
So, if you fall into the former category you may want to get yourselves booked on a cruise on the Radiance of the Seas to “voice? your support.

This evening was the Welcome Aboard Show. As is customary for the first evening, there was one show for both dining times. It was held at 7:45; after early seating and prior to late seating. Kieron Buffery, the ship’s Cruise Director left me with a favorable first impression. He seems like a high energy personality, with a pleasant sense of humor.
Comedian Rodney Johnson then did about 20 minutes, and was also very entertaining, and we look forward to seeing him again later in the cruise.

Then it was on to the Cascade Dining Room to meet our wait team, and enjoy our first dinner onboard. The Dining Room seems somewhat crowded, with tables in close proximity to one and another, and many large tables of 10. Though somewhat surprisingly I didn’t find it overly noisy, and at our table for 8 we could talk quite easily to everyone at our table, without having to raise our voices. Our service team of Dimitar, from Bulgaria, Lesley, from Grenada, and Head Waiter Mimi were very cordial, relaxed, and seemed eager to please. Service tonight was efficient, and the food was tasty, and we’re looking forward to more of the same.

I was really tempted to nickname Dimitar, Parking, but I held myself in check… because I didn’t know if he’d understand the connection in my mind any more than you did… but I do think that will assist me in remembering his real name.

Since our last RCI cruise the menus have changed, not only in food offerings, but design. The menus have a more casual/relaxed design; more in line with a casual restaurant setting ala TGIFS, than a fine dining restaurant. This isn’t a positive or negative comment, as I haven’t formed an opinion yet; just an observation.

The ship itself is looking very good, in all the areas I’ve seen so far. Everything seems to be clean and shiny.

I’ve noticed a major change since Mrs. Kuki and I first cruised together in the mid 90s, 10 plus years ago. In the 90s we could fit into the showers together, and today we’re lucky if one of us fits in at a time. Is it a change in ship’s shower designs, or the change time has had on our bodies? I think the latter.

After dinner we met up with some of our CruiseMates group, from both dinner seatings, in the Schooner’s Bar, for some socializing and drinks, and to kick off the cruise. It’s a delightful group, and we’re certainly looking forward to the next 13 days to enjoy the ship and their company.

Back tomorrow with our first full sea day if Cyber Cabin holds up.

BTW.. unlimited Cyber Cabin is available from your cabin, using your own laptop for a cost of $200 for the 14 days.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Nice review Kuki, I felt like I was there with you. It felt a little crowded in the shower though....

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Old April 24th, 2006, 08:42 AM
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Great review Kuki. It's kind of early in the morning thinking of you and wife in the shower, and now Donna's in there too.

Can't wait for the next installment of the review.

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Old April 24th, 2006, 08:58 AM
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Default Have A Great Trip, Kuki!

Love reading your daily posts!

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Old April 24th, 2006, 09:27 AM
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Really enjoyed your first of many reviews coming our way from Radiance.
Like I have said before, we"ll be with you in spirit for the next 14 days. Sorry we couldn't make the trip.....but like they say "That's life."

Have a great trip and don't too wild on board. Hoist one for us every now and then.
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Old April 24th, 2006, 12:16 PM
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Default Cruising the Canal with Kuki - Radiance - Day 1

Good review!

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Old April 24th, 2006, 01:08 PM
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Thanks for the great review.... I had a great time on Radiance back in October last year. She is a beautiful ship and a great crew!! Smoking policy is same on all RCCL ships... only on starboard side of open decks and the casino, the lounge at the rear of the ship and parts of the viking crown lounge. Guests can smoke in cabins too.... In all my cruises, seems like it is never a problem for smokers or non smokers!

Looking forward to hearing from you the rest of the cruise!!
Celebrity Millenium
RCCL Mariner 3/12/2006
RCCL Radiance 10/05
RCCL Voyager 10/04
RCCL Enchantment 10/03
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Carnival Imagination 10/97
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Old April 24th, 2006, 01:47 PM
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Thanks for the review Kuki. Take good care of Radiance - we'll be meeting her when you get to San Diego for our Hawaii cruise. Have fun!
Life's too short not to cruise!
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Old April 24th, 2006, 09:24 PM
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We enjoyed your report! We'll be on Radiance in August and you're helping us to get acquainted with her! We look forward to your next installment.
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Alaska NB - RCI Radiance of the Seas - August 06
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Old April 24th, 2006, 09:42 PM
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She is such a gorgeous ship! Ahhhh, to have two full weeks on her. I look forward to your wonderful reports! Is G-Man still tending bar in the disco? Most of the other crew I remember are no longer on her. But Captain Rune will keep them all in Hurdy Gurdy shape!!
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8170, brilliance, cabin, radiance, seas

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