Sail Date: January 2019
First and foremost for Americans - a Visa is needed for Australia (but not New Zealand). This cruise was for my husband and myself, who are both in our 60s and have cruised probably 15 times on all different lines. Regarding Radiance ... Read More
First and foremost for Americans - a Visa is needed for Australia (but not New Zealand). This cruise was for my husband and myself, who are both in our 60s and have cruised probably 15 times on all different lines. Regarding Radiance of the Seas, the ship has definitely seen better days. We felt the maintenance could have been better. The railing on our balcony was definitely in need of stain. The ship in MANY places has rust showing. It just appears old. However, every other aspect of this ship was awesome. There is an indoor pool (with hot tubs) along with an outdoor pool. We went 1/24/19 for a 10 day cruise. The food in the dining room was good. The Windjammer I felt could have been better, but my husband was OK with it (we went there for breakfast and lunch). Staff is excellent and always around ready to help. Our bed was very good and I loved the pillows. Nightly shows/entertainment: Was not very impressed with the staff dancers/singers until their final night, where they were good. The entertainment they had other nights was very good. LOVED the Freddie Mercury (Queen) entertainer!!!! The piano player another night was also good! One of the staff singers Abby was also excellent! Overall we were very pleased with the entertainment. Ship Excursions we took (through Royal Caribbean): Napier panorama on a guided bus was nice with us hearing about an interesting town with lovely views. In Napier NZ we went on a sheep tour which included a sheepdog showing off his skills bring the sheep down from the hills. EXCELLENT and well worth the money. The owners provided us also with lamb rolls and tea in their garden which was just an added plus. The farmer also sheared one of his lambs, a 4 month old first time shearing) and that was cool to see. Interesting that the value of this one's wool was only worth $4NZ. We also went on an Akaroa Panorama bus tour which was great. This was our favorite port as it was beautiful and interesting. We also went on a Welling and Dunedin city tour, but were both disappointed with these towns. The bus driver one day pulled to the side of the road to explain about a house set back 3 houses (that we couldn't even see) and gave us boring information on this home for about 7 minutes. Neither town really impressed us much. The final day in NZ was totally on the ship touring Doubtful, Dusky and Milford Sounds. If you have a balcony, try to book the side of the ship that faces the hills/fiords. This was totally beautiful and plenty of waterfalls. SO pretty! The final day we cruised from NZ to Australia through the Tasman Sea. Never before have I been seasick - enough to stay in bed. So if you have the slightest possibility of seasickness, bring pills. However, the doctors office located on the lower deck (I think 2) gave out free seasickness pills. And the office had a lot of people in it!! Driving into the port of Sydney the next day was beautiful!!! Be sure to be up early to capture this sight! We truly did enjoy this cruise. And though I bashed the condition of the ship, we are happy we experienced it! One additional side note: we could definitely see the rivalry between the Aussies and the Kiwis. They made fun of each other but said they did like each other. Hmmmm - I'm not sure I saw this! the majority of the ship is Australian and New Zealand cruisers. But there were certainly other nationalities as well! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
I loved New Zealand, scenery was beautiful, that was the only good part of my trip. This ship is old, smelly & tired looking. The water slides & climbing wall advertised were only open for an hour once a day on port days and an ... Read More
I loved New Zealand, scenery was beautiful, that was the only good part of my trip. This ship is old, smelly & tired looking. The water slides & climbing wall advertised were only open for an hour once a day on port days and an hour twice a day on sea days so it was near impossible to use these amenities unless you wanted to line up for a couple of hours for one go - not my idea of fun. My two teenage girls were bored out of their mind for the entire trip. There’s little for kids to do on this ship. The food was not good at all. The restaurants that you pay for were very good but the buffet was absolutely shocking, same food every day & not great at all. If I knew how cramped our balcony suite would be we would have paid extra for two suites. I was stuck sleeping in an extremely uncomfortable pull out lounge for 10 days which left me with neck that I was unable to turn to the right & a sore back. The actual beds were not much better. After having traveled on cruise ships in the past I was really looking forward to watching some shows however they were boring & clearly aimed at older people, not families. I was distraught when I walked into a poorly identifiable glass wall right next to some revolving doors on deck 12. It was a clear hazard yet the ships health & safety officer ridiculed me despite having to spend the whole morning with the doctor with suspicions of a concussion, a black eye and serious swelling - management Just didn’t care. I love cruises & New Zealand was great but I will never travel on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was the only way we were going to experience New Zealand and the itinerary was excellent! We are now Diamond Class mostly from cruising with sister company Celebrity and it did make a difference with speedy boarding, our own lounge ... Read More
This was the only way we were going to experience New Zealand and the itinerary was excellent! We are now Diamond Class mostly from cruising with sister company Celebrity and it did make a difference with speedy boarding, our own lounge and free drinks added each day! If we had known that we would not have paid for the drinks package! However, there is continual pressure to up-sell to speciality dining and thankfully we had two occasions to do so because the main dining food was very average and lacked imagination and flavour. I resorted to 4 starters on several evenings rather than face another main meal. Wine service was non-existent due to the absence of sommeliers so our waiter and assistant struggled to keep up with service. Food arrived lukewarm... very disappointing! Radiance probably has the best Centrum experience around with all decks being able to look down and participate in whatever was going on below! However, try finding a seat!... RCI has now taken over a huge chunk of the coffee bar lounge with a Future Cruise office plus, don't expect china cups these days... paper carry-outs! contrast that with Celebrity's La Bachio, the most popular relaxing area for most people! The two re-fits didn't seem to include soft furnishings such as the chairs and carpets in the Champagne Bar which really have seen better days! However, as I said, it was a very happy cruise with friendly officers and staff and a new Captain who actually sang to us at the welcome meeting! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We are a family of 6 and wanted to do a January cruise around New Zealand. Statistically, January should give us some smooth sailing across the Tasman and fortunately it did. Radiance Of The Seas were offering some good prices on a one-way ... Read More
We are a family of 6 and wanted to do a January cruise around New Zealand. Statistically, January should give us some smooth sailing across the Tasman and fortunately it did. Radiance Of The Seas were offering some good prices on a one-way cruise from Sydney to Auckland. This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean, first cruise to NZ and the biggest ship we have been on. We flew into Sydney, the day before the cruise departed, just in case of airline delays or cancellations. We boarded at 11.30 am and in our cabins by 3.00 pm. There are 2 vegans and 1 vegetarian in our family, so as soon as we were onboard, we went to see one of the head waiters in the Colony Club, to explain our dietary requirements. All our breakfasts and lunches were in the Windjammers Buffet and all our dinners were in Cascades. Cascades wins hands down in the “fine dining” department and their vegan meals were delicious and plenty of it. The vegans were usually given 2 or 3 entrees, 2 mains and 2 desserts each, just to ensure there was enough choice. The omnivores were also taken care of. Prawn cocktails, crumbed prawns, lobster tails, escargot, Rib eye steak, sirloin steak, fillet mignon, rack of lamb, venison, pork loin chops. Sometimes I had 2 entrees and 2 mains. Sometimes the steak was too chewy, so I ordered more prawn cocktails. The Cascade waiting staff were great and Cascades is the only place where soft drinks are free. The alcoholic drinks are expensive (about 50% more than P&O Aust and Carnival Aust) because all prices onboard are in $US. The drink price also includes an 18% gratuity, but you won’t see this itemised on your receipt. A few prices; beers $7.75-$8.50, base spirit and mixer $9.50-$11.50, cocktails $11-$16, the “cocktail of the day” is always $10, glasses of wine $9-$16 USD. I bought the Deluxe Beverage and Surf and Stream (1 device) Package about 2 months before the cruise date when a special offer was emailed to me. It cost me $82.80 AUD per day. Once onboard, the Deluxe Beverage was $70 USD per day and the Surf and Stream (1 device) was $29 USD per day. The internet speed was good, but there were times when we were out of satellite range and no service. The beverage package supplied me with bottled water, cans of soft drink, real coffee, not to mention the alcohol. The entertainment ranged from OK to very good. The juggler, ventriloquist, the boy band, the impressionist and comedians were very good. The big production shows were about average. Windjammers closes at 9.00 pm, so if you want some supper after the show, the food is limited to The Boardwalk Doghouse or the Park Café located in the Solarium. Both close at 2.00 am. The Park Café has sandwiches, wraps, rolls, pies, sausage rolls, salads and desserts and it was all good. Now for the one negative part of this review, photographers. They are everywhere. At the top of every stairway in every entrance, on every boarding ramp, in every dining room, I even found one in my soup. An 8x10 inch photo is $20 USD. I suppose they are a necessary evil and help subsidise my fare. This was a good family cruise and I will cruise with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our 6th cruise with RCI (just made Diamond status) and 2nd on Radiance of the Seas. Were keen to sail on her again after our first trip to NZ. IMHO Radiance is just the right size for a cruise ship and all parts of the ship are ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise with RCI (just made Diamond status) and 2nd on Radiance of the Seas. Were keen to sail on her again after our first trip to NZ. IMHO Radiance is just the right size for a cruise ship and all parts of the ship are easily accessible and navigate due it's simple layout. When she was launched she was the most advanced cruise ship on the waves but now, as lovely as she is, she is starting to look a little tired. Despite this, the service is 100% and in keeping with RCI's usual standard. My wife and I would not hesitate to sail on her again if the opportunity presents itself. NZ, as usual, was a pleasure to visit with every port offering a warm welcome and a myriad of shore activities to undertake. Would recommend shore excursions to Hobbiton, Rotorua, Rangitoto Island. Also, as Auckland is very much an America's Cup town, sailing on one of the two Americas Cup Class yachts berthed a Viaduct Harbour (near the Maritime Museum) is certainly a highlight! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We like the Radiance and got a suitable deal. We have been to the islands many times so the ship was the attraction rather than the destinations. The weather was mixed and this was given as the reason for the slow tendering processes, ... Read More
We like the Radiance and got a suitable deal. We have been to the islands many times so the ship was the attraction rather than the destinations. The weather was mixed and this was given as the reason for the slow tendering processes, although it seemed that too few tenders were being operated. The ship is still in good shape and lifts operated well. The decorations for the festive season were fantastic and the cruise director, John, and his team did a great job. He is one of the best that we have seen and he even did an afternoon tribute to Neil Diamond which was very good. The general shows were a mixture of very good to moderate but the movies were very limited and repetitive. The overall presentations for Xmas, New Year were wonderful. Few complaints about the food in any of the restaurants although a little repetitive. However, have to congratulate the wait staff who are all great, cheerful and willing to serve. These Filipino and Indonesian waiters are a great advertisement for cruise lines, including RCCI.We always had pre-dinner drinks in the diamond or concierge lounges and the waiters soon got to know us. These lounges are great draws for RCCI. Disembarkation was fast, ahead of time, and plenty of taxis at port. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We enjoy being away at this time of year. This is our favourite ship as it is not too big. The crew are very friendly and helpful. This ship is showing signs of ageing but this does not take away from the experience. We met some lovely ... Read More
We enjoy being away at this time of year. This is our favourite ship as it is not too big. The crew are very friendly and helpful. This ship is showing signs of ageing but this does not take away from the experience. We met some lovely people and really there was nothing to complain about. We did not have a meal in the mdr we did not like. As neither of us walk very well we were taken on board by wheelchair and it only took 20 minutes to be on the ship and likewise on our return a very efficient service. We had a cabin at the rear of the ship which was a mistake really. The balcony was great as it was sheltered and large enough for a table and two chairs plus two loungers, but it was a long walk to the lifts. We booked a grand suite for the beginning of December 2019 to New Zealand and got a great offer on board with the Next Cruise people Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
I chose this cruise for the deal & the opportunity to revisit the South Is & the Fjords which are amazing, the weather was perfect, raining enough for the waterfalls to be running & the weather cleared as the ship entered the ... Read More
I chose this cruise for the deal & the opportunity to revisit the South Is & the Fjords which are amazing, the weather was perfect, raining enough for the waterfalls to be running & the weather cleared as the ship entered the Sounds. Embarkation was a breeze, 1pm & straight onto the ship in 15 mins, disembarkation was a bit slower but easy enough, off the ship by 0830 after a hearty breakfast in the MDR. The transit across the Tasman Sea & return was smooth, the weather was perfect all the way until Day 8 when the wind & sea swell picked up as the ship headed up the west coast. Food & Bev; i enjoyed breakfast in MDR each morning, lunch was usualy a snack in the Park Cafe which was mainly meat, salads & fruit, occasional visit to the Windjammer which provided plenty of variety but i don't think it was fresh by the time i got there around 145pm (avoiding peak hour), the Park Cafe is a better choice. Dinner was mainly in the MDR, here the dishes were a bit mixed, some nice, other's were sometimes overcooked (e.g. the fish), but overall happy with meals in MDR. The service by staff was great in the MDR very willing to please, if not happy with meal just ask for a replacement which they readily provide. The price of Alcohol drinks is a rip off, $13 USD for a glass of Cab Sav, go figure, make sure you take onboard the max. alcohol you are permitted. The drinks packages don't interest me, i have the occasional coffee or coke, water you can refill at the drinks terminal around the ship, just fill a glass & pour into your container to fulfil health requirements by not putting your bottle directly onto water tap. Entertainment: the music around the ship was very good, 4 piece contemporary band & usual piano, guitar man in the pub, guitar & violin playing the Jazz Standards, the 2 piece Dance group. The theme nights went well, the 70-80s night & the Almost NYE party in the Centrum were good fun. The production shows in Aurora were the Piano Man & the City of Dreams, the former a bit tired the latter was a very enjoyable show. The Singers, Dancers & Show Band were excellent, they played the American Songbook in the Colony Club showing how polished they were with Count Basie style ensemble pieces. The featured artists ranged from poor to excellent for me, with plenty in the middle such as comedians etc. The Michael Jackson Experience was great, the audience could not get enough of TJ Capolla as MJ, he works hard & deserves credit for a entertaining show. Plenty of movies around the ship, top deck, the Cinema & Aurora Theatre. Plenty of dance classes to attend & learn some new moves, salsa, samba etc. The Cruise Director John Blair i liked a lot, I thought he handled the CD position very well, farewelling passengers as they disembarked was a nice touch. Excursions & Ports; the ports are all great, we got off the boat & wandered around the ports at our own pace, the Excursions from the boat are too expensive for me, you can book ahead for train trips at Picton & Dunedin. In Wellington we were lucky to see the Terracota Warriors ( at least about 30) at the Te Papa Museum. The ship is 17 yrs old being refurbished just a few years ago. I enjoyed the ship, its easy walking from the front to the back of ship, staff are always wiping down the handrails & cleaning the ship. The Solarium is an adults only area with a pool & spa, you can get a meal almost all day & night here, nice area to chill out. The gym is very good, all the equipment works & a good area for a stretch. The Centrum is the central place for most entertainment due to cool conditions on top deck. Plenty of sport facilities from basketball, mini golf, climbing wall. The only enrichment was a talk from a Parks Ranger when the ship was at the Sounds, unfortunately for me i could not make out much of what he was saying even in the lecture in Aurora, i'm sure he had plenty of interesting stuff to talk about. A fellow passenger i spoke to was very dissapointed there were no Bridge games, she advertised it on the "whats on" board but got only one person interested for a game. The Vitality Spa provide a much needed massage & a $50 voucher appeared in our room by about day 4, my companion enjoyed the massage & treatment. The Cruise Critic meeting went well, CD John conducted this with soft drinks & snacks provided, a 10 min mix & mingle was fun, 1 min talk then move to next & so on, a good way to find someone who lives in an enjoining suburb as it turned out. The Crown & Anchor meeting in the Colony Club was ok, the usual Captain & Crown & A speak. I thought the captain was invisible with this exception, i dont recall seeing him around the ship at all, ( i did not get to Dancing with the Stripes). The staff were excellent, guest services, cabin steward, dining room staff, very happy with everyone i came into contact with. The Parade of Flags by all the 37 (?) nationalities on the ship was a blast, pictured below. This is my 7th cruise with RC & i have enjoyed them all, would i go again ? yes, I'm a cruise junkie, enjoy meeting people from all walks of life & different places. Value for money RC suits my budget, but I would chose a more modern ship & try to avoid aft cabins if possible. Ovation is only 2 yr old with all the bells & whistles, Explorer & Voyager have the Ice Skating shows. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Being our first cruise it did take a few days to settle in and 'get it'. Boarding in Sydney was a breeze and we were on board having lunch in under 30 minutes and our bags didn't take much longer to get to the room. ... Read More
Being our first cruise it did take a few days to settle in and 'get it'. Boarding in Sydney was a breeze and we were on board having lunch in under 30 minutes and our bags didn't take much longer to get to the room. The cruise was quite good. Pros included just about everything in NZ. Certainly a lovely destination. Wellington, Picton, Dunedin and Milford Sound were brilliant. The cruise buffet at the "Windjammer' café was very good (but a little crowded). A constantly varied menu with a good choice. I can't recall anything bad about eating there. The headline shows were very good as too the cruise Director, John Blair. He was extremely entertaining and so was his Neil Diamond tribute show. Cons were that the cruise was in reality, just like a floating RSL (which everyone said wasn't the case). The day revolves around eating and in the evening there are shows. The shows overall were quite ordinary (except for the headline performances of which there were only two). The main dining room was bad. The menu didn't really change from day 1. We had breakfast there three times. Each time we ordered a different breakfast combination and each time we got exactly the same breakfast? Other downsides were the small bathrooms, tiny showers, terrible TV choices, limited movie selections at the very tiny cinema (a tip is to get there an hour early for a seat). We had a cabin with a balcony towards the front starboard side on level 9 which provided us with shore views at every port which was nice. The shops were selling $100 watches from Costco for $700 and even with their so-called sale offering 75% discount, you were still getting ripped off. As it was our first cruise we can't really compare it to anything else but strangely enough, despite all the shortcomings, we quite enjoyed the experience but would probably try another cruise line for a better comparison. One last point, we booked through a company called Cruise1st and they were pretty ordinary. Great from a sales point of view but from there on, customer service was non-existent. We ended up going to Royal Caribbean US for a variation and they helped us. My advice would be to deal directly with the cruise line? Read Less
Sail Date: December 2018
We had never visited New Zealand before and we got a great all inclusive price for this cruise. We did have a lovely time and thought NZ was amazing, the Radiance was a very nice ship, Art Deco design and we were very impressed by it. ... Read More
We had never visited New Zealand before and we got a great all inclusive price for this cruise. We did have a lovely time and thought NZ was amazing, the Radiance was a very nice ship, Art Deco design and we were very impressed by it. Embarkation was a shambles taking nearly three hours but other guests told us that this is not normal for RC. I suppose we are used to flying to a place in the med and then joining the ship so it is not everyone all together at the same time. The staff were so friendly and helpful, Ery our cabin steward couldn’t have been more helpful and Wendy in the Solarium always looked out for us and kept us topped up with drinks. Having been with Thomson’s, now Marella since 2013 for 5 cruises on different ships every time, we felt that Royal Caribbean was more interested in your money than you as a customer. Every time you moved on the ship someone jumped out trying to take a photo of you with something which got very annoying. When we first got on to the ship we were pounced on th buy this or that package for dining/ drinks ect. We already had a free drinks package included. We usually go to the main dining room as I am Gluten Free and Marella are very good dealing with my diet. We went there on the first night and it was not good, tables all cramped together, very noisy too. My husband was offered wine but not any one else, there were our two friends with us. Our friend’s wife meal was cold, something other guests complained of to us later in the week. We decided to stick to the Windjammer buffet which was excellant. There was plenty of choice for Gluten Free, great food and it was spacious too. We had phone calls in the week to ask why we hadn’t been back to the MDR. We gave it another try for breakfast next day. My husband asked for cornflakes and they brought Frosties, he asked again and they bought a box of Frosties and milk. Third time he finally got cornflakes.!! The cruise director was a cross between David Hasselhoff and Donald Trump, he just seem so false and patronising. He did redeem himself a bit on the last day as he did a great Neil Diamond life story tribute. Entertainment to us wasn’t as professional as Marella although there was a good Aussie Beatles tribute. On Marella you get a lot more info each day in the cruise news about the ports visited and ways to get around, transport ect. Asking at reception wasn’t always productive and it was difficult to get a definite answer to questions. We got good value for what we paid but I think we will be sticking to Marella in the future. Read Less
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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