Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Radiance of the Seas
Sailing Date: NOT FOUND
Itinerary: San Juan – St. Thomas – Antigua – St. Martin – St. Lucia – Barbados – @
This was our second cruise with Royal Caribbean (RC) and it met or exceeded our expectations. The first section describes how the overall cruise met or exceeded our expectations. The second section describes our shore excursion experience.
Part I: Expectations
What exceeded our expectations...
Layout, and beauty of the ship
Technological conveniences (Smart-card, electronic sign up for excursions through the TV, e-mail capability...)
Quality of excursions (Sail/ Snorkel to Trunk Bay, St. Johns, and Snuba in Barbados)
Enthusiasm and professionalism of the staff
What met our expectations....
Quality of the food
Cleanliness of the cabin and ship
Quality of the entertainment
Value of the vacation for the money
Opportunities for Improvement...
The additional security measures were well thought out and did not hinder the overall vacation
experience. However, we had to present ourselves to immigration officials on the last day at 6:00 am
to get our documents stamped. This meant getting up at 5:15 - Ughh!! This could have been a lot
easier if completed in accordance with the baggage pick up in the terminal.
Alcohol policy on the ship. You pay standard prices for all drinks (4-6$). There could be an all-inclusive option you purchase per person (say $75). However, we did plan ahead and pack 3 bottles of our favorite spirits for cabin consumption. I would highly recommend the same strategy.
Part II: Shore Excursion Highlights
St. Thomas: Shopped in the morning on Sunday (stores closed at 1:00 p.m.). Did the Sail and Snorkel tour of St. John's. Bit of a long trip to Trunk bay but well worth it. The beach area is pristine with palms, rocky out croppings and calm waters. You could snorkel right up to the beach and take a Zodiac back to the boat.
Antigua: Took a taxi ride to the beach next to the Sandal’s Resort. Rented wave runners for an hour and just soaked in the sun. Bargain for the wave runners - we got 2 for 60$ for an hour.
St. Martin: Rented a taxi to go to Marigot in the morning (raining and cloudy) to do some shopping. Sun came out at lunch so we taxied it to Orient Beach. Second time here. Great beach, awesome waves for body surfing, and not to mention the occasional bear-assets strolling by. Rented beach chairs and umbrella. Drinks at a reasonable price.
St. Lucia: Missed out on the organized tours because we forgot to sign up the night before. Everything was sold out by morning. Secured a driver for the day (20$ each person) and got the Island tour (Pitons - Banana plantation-Volcano, etc) Much cheaper than the organized tour. Make sure you bring bottled water - got very humid and our van was without AC. On our next visit - we will skip this tour and try to do the catamaran tour.
Barbados: Some of our party went to the beach. I decided to try the Snuba adventure. Best underwater experience I have ever had!! You are tethered to your oxygen tank (which floats on a raft) by an 18 foot air hose attached to a regulator. You also get the mask and fins. Dove down some 16 feet to a wreck and saw huge schools of fish, sea horses, puffer fish, snakes, etc. Great time. The only problem I had was with the pressure changes. My ears needed quite a bit of time to adjust during and after. Overall dive time was 32 minutes.
Overall: A lot of Islands to hit in a week. Could have used an extra day at sea in the beginning to get your sea legs and better aquatinted with the ship.