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Chuck Palm

Age: 54

Occupation:school teacher

Number of Cruises: 12

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Radiance of the Seas

Sailing Date: October 8, 2002

Itinerary: Pacific Coastal

I really wanted to like the Radiance because it is so beautiful on the outside. We have never sailed R.C.C.L. before, and consider ourselves to be open-minded when it comes to choosing cruise lines.

We booked this little mini-cruise only because we had seen the ship at Canada Place a few weeks prior, before an Ocean Princess sailing we were on at that time. In the past, we have mainly sailed H.A.L., Princess, and Celebrity.

Check-in went pretty well except that they had lost our computer records and we had to fill-out the forms for a second time and had to re-submit our boarding information.

We had a suite on the 10th floor. Our cabin was large and the balcony was huge. Our room, however was most uncomfortable, and not particularly well laid-out compared to the Princess suite we had had a few weeks prior. The furniture in our room and the public areas was stiff, hard, and not at all pleasant to sit upon. We opted for the twin beds to be combined to make one larger bed. (The beds were really cots.) The cabin steward did so, but she could not give us a bed spread or comforter of that size. Thus, our bed was turned down at 9:30 each morning and stayed open with the sheets exposed all day. This did not seem appropriate in a suite where one might entertain guests before dinner. (I called housekeeping and they said they had no queen or king comforters for the bed available.)

Our cabin had an electronically operated door that our cabin steward did not know how to operate. Each time she left the room the door would be locked in such a way that our card key would not open it. We had to chase down this poorly-trained stewardess and would then find out that she did not know how to over-ride the electronics on the door. She would then send for management, who would finally unlock the door after a thirty to forty-five minute wait in the hallway. This unique experience happened four times during the cruise. It was funny the first time, but became less humorous as the trip went on.

The main dining room was very pretty but the food was average to poor in quality. We had asked for a large table and were seated at a table for three, two of us and a single gentleman. Service here was fairly good, but not excellent.

The buffet court was actually pretty good for a cruise ship. There was lots of variety and the set-up was easily navigated. Seating, inside the food court area, was often at a premium and or non-existent.

We decided to try one of the alternative dining rooms on the second night of the cruise. We made reservations at the steak and chop house, and I must admit it was excellent in food quality, ambiance, and service.

The ship itself is a little too glitzy for my taste. I thought the fake sounds of birds, crickets, and frogs in the atrium was a bit over the top. The stucco elephants were not something that I found attractive on a cruise ship. I kept feeling like I was lost somewhere in Frontierland at the local Disney theme park.

The ship is large and the cruise was short, so we didn't get to try many of the ship's attractions. We were really not tempted to give this ship a second try.

Debarkation went fine. Canadian customs was a breeze.

We both have never been glad to get off of a cruise ship before, but we were this time.

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