Radiance of the Seas Reviews

Prices/Day: $579 USD
Passengers: 2,110
Crew Members: 859
Length: 962 ft
Tonnage: 90,090

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  • Editor's Rating

    Beyond compare!!
    • Cuisine

      4.0
    • Service Level

      4.0
    • Value for Money

      5.0
    • Ship Décor

      4.0
    • Public Rooms

      5.0
    • Staterooms

      4.0
    • Kid's Programs

      3.0
    • Daytime Activities

      4.0
    • Nightlife

      4.0
    • Shore Tours

      4.0
    • Itinerary

      4.0
    • Alternative Dining

      4.0
  • Average User Ratings

    43 User Reviews

Radiance of the Seas Editor's Review

Best For People Who Want

A spacious, modern ship with plenty of nightlife and all the other trappings of a mega-ship without the crowds.

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

A small-ship congeniality and comradely atmosphere; single open seating; a large variety of dining options

Radiance of the Seas underwent an extensive upgarde in June of 2012 where the line added several restaurants and other new features to the ship. For an extensive of the improvement consult this article "Radiance 2011 Upgrades."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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 - 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.

Onboard Experience

As the first ship in the Radiance-class of modern vessels by Royal Caribbean (Radiance, Brilliance, Serenade Jewel) , Radiance and her sisters were built as the antidote to the concept of bigger is better as typified by the larger Voyager-class ships of Royal Caribbean, 1999. These ships are newer and smaller, and they are also better, carrying all the sports and dining options of the bigger ships, but in a smaller package with more space per passenger.

And what's not to like? At just over 90,000-tons for 2500 passengers (maximum), these ships fit in to the "right-sized" category of ships akin to Carnival Spirit, and Island Princess, to give you the best a mega-ship has to offer, such as an array of onboard activities, but in a more uncrowded and accessible manner. These are the modern mid-sized ships which give you the best of all possible cruising worlds, comfort & convenience with plenty of action in an uncrowded environment.

Decor

Radiance is an airy and open ship, with plenty of views of the sea, unlike her Voyager-class brethren. The atrium, called the "Centrum" rises nine light-filled decks with vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass making this ship a joy to sail to picturesque destinations. In fact, fully half the ship's exterior is glass, some 110,000 square feet of it! An enormous glass panel rises from Decks 5 (the lobby) to 12, making visible vast expanses of sea and sky.

The ship's most beautiful rooms are on Deck 6. Schooners Bar is thoroughly nautical, with dark paneling and blue carpet. The enormous low-key Colony Club evokes a private British club you'd see in a film adaptation of a Graham Greene novel set in India or Hong Kong. The Solarium, a glassed-in pool area, has an African theme, with three enormous plaster elephants overlooking the pool. You'll hear bird and animal sounds through the towering tropical plants.

Even the ships' high-style public bathrooms, with their marble floors and counters and porthole-like mirrors, are gorgeous. And cabin deacute;cor, featuring navy blue and copper tones, is a welcome change from the line's very Miami Vice pinks, mints, and baby blues.

Public Rooms

The obvious heart of the ship is the lobby bar, where an ensemble performs each night, is people naturally congregate. Two decks above. the low-key Champagne Bar offers views of the atrium through floor-to-ceiling windows. A small but well-stocked library also faces the atrium.

On Deck 6, Bombay Billiards Club has the first pool tables at sea - and very high tech pool tables at that, each balanced on a ball bearing the size of a grape; the table may move as the ship rocks, but the balls are always stationary. The natty Schooners features marine blue chairs accented by real teak throughout, with nautical antiques and reproductions. In the adjacent Colony Club there is a large dance floor and stage suitable for a variety of entertainment.

Deck 12 offers Scoreboard, a sports bar with multi flat panel televisions and a satellite connection to ESPN. Close by is the tiny Crown and Anchor Club, but don't miss it, you can stand on a glass platform with a view of the entire atrium beneath your feet.

Perched high atop the ship, the traditional Royal Caribbean Viking Crown Lounge offers a near 360 degree panoramic view above the top of the entire ship. On Radiance it is divided into a disco and a low-key room with small stage for performances.

The tranquil library evokes a traditional English study; while the literary retail outlet Books, Books & Coffee features some 200 titles - as well as cappuccino, pastries and pizza.

Radiance boasts a more upscale shopping area than what appears on other Royal Caribbean ships, including designer-branded fashion wear and brilliant jewelry store. Nearby the Internet area is a small coffee and pastry shop with the unforgettable name of Latte'tudes. One of the best features of the ship is the cinema which shows two features per day, or for more interactive amusement, gamblers are drawn as moths to flames to Casino Royale, the ship's large gaming spot.

Indoor smoking is allowed only on passenger cabins, a small area at the rear of the Colony Club Lounge on Deck 6, in the casino, and in a designated area in the Starquest Disco. Outside, smoking is restricted to the starboard side of the ship. Remarkably, even the seating areas immediately in front of the outdoor bars are designated non-smoking areas. The ship is well laid out and easily navigated.

Cuisine

It's as good as on any of the mass market lines', though only one salad is offered on the menu (in addition to the always-available Caesar). The ship has two alternative dining venues,Chops offers delicious food with equally delectable presentation. The $20 per person surcharge includes the service fee. Radiance also features a Murder Mystery dinner one evening in Portifino that requires reservations. The price is a dear $49.95 per person, but includes a pre-set wine selection.

Restaurants

Cascades, the glamorous two-level main dining room, has a waterfall, a grand staircase, and enormous pillars, and could be right out of a 1940s film. Two smaller dining rooms, Breakers and Tides, enjoy the same high level of service. The Windjammer Cafeacute; serves casual breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and dinner. This restaurant has food stations for individual courses (meat, sandwiches, vegetables), cutting down on lines. In the morning, get yourself a made-to-order omelet. The best seating is just beyond the main restaurant area, where you may dine al fresco overlooking the aft, or in cozy banquettes. The specialty restaurants, Chops and Portofino, are both tiny, elegant and quite wonderful. The Seaview Cafeacute;, perched above the Windjammer, serves light meals in the afternoon, early evening, and late night to 1 a.m.

Service

It's obvious that the multinational staff and crew enjoy watching their passengers enjoy themselves. They're uniformly cheerful, knowledgeable, and eager to help. The wait staff in every restaurant is noticeably solicitous and conscientious.

Cabin service staff is efficient but unobtrusive. The purser's desk is notably responsive, especially in view of how much troubleshooting they must have to do on a ship this size. Room service, though, can be pretty slow.

Tipping

Royal Caribbean suggests a per person per day gratuity of $3.50 for the stateroom attendant ($5.75 if sailing in a suite); $3.50 for the waiter; $2.50 for the Assistant Waiter; .75 Head Waiter. These gratuities may be paid in cash or charged to your onboard account. For children sailing as third or fourth passenger in the stateroom, tipping is at the parents' discretion.

A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.

Entertainment

The two-level Aurora Theatre has an Arctic theme, with sculptured balconies, sidewalls and parterre divisions resembling glacial landscapes, and a dazzling stage curtain inspired in the Aurora Borealis. Sight lines are excellent, and you're highly likely, whatever your musical prejudices, to enjoy the likes of Rockin' in Paradise, a special-effects-laden celebration of tropical music. Lounges have pianists and combos playing everything from C&W to jazz. The lobby bar has a group performing Broadway show tunes each night. Two non-first-run movies are screened daily in the ship's cinema. In-cabin movies are also scheduled throughout the day.

Cabins

Out of a total 1,050 staterooms, 813 have ocean view and 577 private verandas; Standard features in all cabins include refrigerator/mini-bar, hair dryer, interactive TV, telephone, computer jack, and a large closet and plenty of drawers. In standard and most balcony cabins, bathrooms have a shower and one large medicine cabinet. There are also such welcome touches as beds with rounded corners and lighted vanity tables with mirrored cabinets. Tubs are found only in the highest category staterooms; most bathrooms have just showers (though unexpectedly large ones) with medicine cabinets. There are even full-length mirror in the "superior" category cabins. There are 14 wheelchair-accessible staterooms.

Radiance has some of the best balcony cabins at sea, and for the very best look to the aft cabins on decks decks 7-10 where the Cat. D rooms have the largest balconies on the ship, measuring 13 ft. long x 9.5 ft. wide. There are steel walls between balconies instead of the glass common to most new ships, which affords no privacy at all. Overall, the staterooms on this ship are larger than the average Royal Caribbean cabin. While inside cabins measure only 165 sq. ft.; outside cabins range from 170 to 204 sq. ft., and the five categories of suites from 293 to 1,001 sq. ft.

Beware the uncomfortable "cot style" beds, which RCI has promised to replace fleet wide by the end of 2007. Let's hope they also spring for better sheets, blankets and towels.

Fitness/Spa

The 15,500 sq. ft. ocean view ShipShape Spa comprises three sections: a beauty and health center with 12 treatment rooms including Rasul and thermal suite ($15 for a half-hour); an aerobics area with mirrored wall and wood-suspended aerobics floor; and the gym, with 18 treadmills, 10 Reebok Recumbent Cycles, eight Reebok Body Peaks, four Reebok Ridge Rocker Cycles, four Reebok Body Treks, free weights, and multiple benches. There are stereo sound and television monitors throughout. There's a wide selection of scheduled fitness activities, including stretching and aerobics classes and aquadynamics. The famous rock-climbing wall rises 200 feet above the sea with five separate climbing tracks. The Sports Club & Country Club has golf simulators, ping-pong, a basketball court, and deck games. There's even a 9-hole miniature golf course and a jogging track.

Children's Facilities

"Adventure Ocean" is the title of Royal Caribbean's youth programs where youths are separated into five age groups: Aquanauts (age 3-5, must be toilet trained), Explorers (age 6-8), Voyagers (age 9-11), Navigators (age 12-14) and Teens (age 15-17).

Facilities open 30 minutes ahead of morning shore excursion departures so parents can leave their children before they leave the ship. On sea days, organized activities are offered from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., with group babysitting from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for a fee. The program runs year-round in the Caribbean, Bermuda, Bahamas, Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. Teen centers are now open past 2 a.m.

A new program for developed in partnership with toy maker Fisher-Price offers tots 45-minute playgroups for children six months to three years old when accompanied by an adult. The program involves storytelling, creative arts, music and a variety of Fisher-Price learning toys and games.

Private babysitting is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., provided sitters are available, for children from one year old. The rate is usually between $8.00 and $10 per hour depending on the number of children in the family. Cash payment is made directly to the sitter. Arrange through Guest Services at least 24 hours in advance.

Attire

An unusually high percentage of gentlemen don actual tuxedos on the two formal nights per cruise, though no one would grouse if they chose a dark suit. There's so much to do on any given evening that not all passengers dress alike anyway.

Radiance of the Seas Ratings

  • EDITORS
  • 5.0
  • USERS
  • 4.3
from 43 reviews
DETAILED RATINGS
  •  
    EDITORS
    USERS
  • Cuisine
    4.0
    0.0
  • Service Level
    4.0
    4.1
  • Value for Money
    5.0
    4.1
  • Ship Décor
    4.0
    4.6
  • Public Rooms
    5.0
    0.0
  • Staterooms
    4.0
    4.2
  • Kid's Programs
    3.0
    2.5
  • Daytime Activities
    4.0
    0.0
  • Nightlife
    4.0
    3.7
  • Shore Tours
    4.0
    3.4
  • Itinerary
    4.0
    0.0
  • Alternative Dining
    4.0
    3.6