CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Radiance of the Seas by Austin Keearney Southern Caribbean January 19, 2002

On a scale of 1 to 10 we rate the ship SPECTACULAR! My wife, my parents and I feel this was one of our best vacations. The Radiance of the Seas is a well thought out ship and the most beautiful we've sailed on. While not quite a year old it is maintained in gleaming condition. The ship is decorated tastefully and it appears no expense was spared in the extensive art collection found throughout.

The ship was 95% full, which I took as an encouraging economic indicator. Despite this, you never had a feeling of it being crowded. There was always plenty of extra room in the public spaces such as the lounges, gym, pools, upper decks, etc. The folks who designed the ship really got it right. The six glass elevators in the atrium and three additional elevators forward are pretty large for a ship and keep people moving efficiently. You sometimes wish you had eyes in the back of your head to spot the next car stopping on your floor. In each elevator car there is an insert in the floor that states the day of the week. By the middle of the week you come to appreciate this thoughtful touch.

Our cabin was a category "D" Deluxe Ocean View with balcony. We were portside in cabin 9204. This was about six cabins aft of the elevator lobby and very convenient. Kartini our cabin attendant, practiced "feng shui" arranging our pillows each morning. She folded our towels into different animal figures each night to greet us after dinner and on Friday there was a demonstration to teach the techniques. The room is laid out well and is very comfortable. There is plenty of closet space although you could use a few more drawers. The dressing table has outlets for both 110 and 220 voltage appliances and there are high speed internet ports as well. I think the ship charges something like 50 cents per minute or $90/week to surf the net. If you like you can use the computers in the Royal Caribbean Online on deck five or in the upscale coffee shop. Each room has a safe with a digital lock that you set and it's conveniently placed at eye level in the dressing table cabinet.

Some earlier reviews took off points for the quality of the food served. We have to disagree. It was generally excellent. On lobster night, Mustafa our waiter, kept bringing out the tails until we said stop. They were all cooked to perfection and delicious. I had a killer prime rib on the last night that was one of the best I've had anywhere. One night, our party tried Chops Grill. There is a $20 cost but the food was exceptional with large portions, so bring your appetite.We didn't get to try Portofinos, the Italian restaurant, so we'll have to try this ship again. Our dinner service was a bit slow, I think because our table was in the annex to the main dining room.

While you can be served breakfast and lunch in the main dining room, we preferred to dine up on deck eleven in the Windjammer Cafe. It's the most elegant cafeteria you'll ever see with windows from floor to ceiling. It serves basically the same items being served in the main dining room however you have the ability to sample a bit of everything. Coffee, tea, lemonade and ice water are always available at no charge. The ship offered packaged deals with seven bottles of selected wines for a cost of $109. Our group took this deal and feel we made out well compared to buying bottles individually or ordering by the glass. There was also a weekly deal on fountain soft drinks, $35 for adults and $20 for children.

As you board the ship, you are issued a Credit/I.D. card. They take the world's worst picture of you although it doesn't appear on the card. The card is used to get on or off the ship as a security check, open your cabin door, charge drinks, spa treatments, casino chips, shore excursions and purchases in the shops on board. While on the ship, your cash and credit cards are basically no good.

We didn't take any of the shore excursion packages but preferred to explore on our own. For $30 to $50, an island taxi driver would take four of us on a one or two hour island tour. A couple of our dinner companions took a two way sail to Soufriers on St. Lucia and raved about it.

In summary, take the cruise. If you were never to leave the ship for a week, you would enjoy it. We've used a specialty travel agent to help us book three cruises now. Greg Nowling at The Cruise Authority here in Atlanta is a valuable resource that will put you in a cruise to suit your needs, tastes and interest. He's a good guy.

Reach him at:

Check the web site at:

Happy Sailing!

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