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Ken

Age: 47

Occupation:Military

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Radiance of the Seas

Sailing Date: January 6th, 2007

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

My wife has always wanted to go on a cruise, so I decided to take her on one for our 25th anniversary. I really didn’t have any expectations at all before we went. I had just gotten back from Iraq in October and was just looking to spend some time with my wife on our special day.

Arrival
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale a day early so we could relax and not have to rush from the airport to the port. The RC staff at the airport was friendly and helpful. It was a good thing we flew in the day before, because people were waiting up to two hours to get to the port from the airport.

The hotel was very nice; the breakfast buffet was the best thing about it. It was also really close to the port, we could see the ships in the port from the balcony of the hotel. There were plenty of shops and restaurants within walking distance too, which was also very nice.

Check-In
The shuttle picked us up from the hotel and got us to the port very quickly. The port was a mad house though, people were every where. Since this was our 1st cruise we were really clueless as to what needed to be done, especially when it came to our bags. When we got off the bus there were RC porters all over the place asking for tips, but not giving any direction as to what to do. We finally left our bags there at the drop off area and got in line to check in.

Apparently the computers went off line, so check-in was delayed for about an hour. We were staying in a suite (1036) and were told by our travel agent that we would be directed to go ahead of the line to be checked in. But since everyone was delayed because of the computers, they did everyone first come - first served. Even with the delay, the line moved quickly. We got checked in and made our way to the ship.

On Board
As soon as we walked on board we were impressed with the ship, it was beautiful. We had just a little problem finding our cabin. We had watched too many episodes of Love Boat and were expecting some one to direct us to our cabin, but we got it figured out ok.

We walked into our cabin and were floored by how nice it was. A huge bed, a small living room area, plenty of closet space, and a nice bar area were all part of the suite. We always heard about the small bathrooms but ours was plenty big and even had dual sinks, and plenty of room in shower. We also had a large private balcony.

Our room attendant came in and introduced himself and showed us stuff about the room. He was great the entire cruise.

Food
It was all excellent. I had read reviews of how crowded the Windjammer was, but we didn’t see that at all. We ate breakfast and lunch there whenever we were on the ship for those meals and never had to wait except to get omelets made. There was such a big selection of food there, from hamburger/hotdogs, to pasta, to ham and roast beef, they had it all and it was hot and good. It was hard to choose what to eat, but I did my best.

Cascades, the main dining area, was very elegant. Our entire wait staff did an excellent job. They were very accommodating and friendly. Again, I had read how sometimes you get seated with people you don’t really care for. Well, we were at a table for eight and all were very nice and pleasant. We even had a NFL football player at our table and he and his wife were really nice.

We ate during the first seating and never felt rushed to leave for the second seating which was nice. But we always made sure we left in time so they could clean and set up

The food itself was excellent too. I tried things I’ve never had before and was not disappointed in the least. We were even able to get seconds.

We wanted to try the Chops Steakhouse once, but waited too long to make the reservations so they were booked..

Shows/Entertainment
We only missed one show - the “Welcome Aboard” show. We enjoyed every show. We felt they had a nice variety of musicals and comedy, and they were all family-friendly.

The floor shows in the main atrium we enjoyed listening to on most evenings. We also participated in the daily trivia contest, and saw the ice carving demonstration, the belly flop competition, the hairy chest competition. Towards the end of the cruise, they played a “PG-13 game”, something like a scavenger hunt that got interesting to watch.

Excursions
We did something at just about every port. There was only one small glitch having to do with the time change. We had to wait an extra hour to go on one of our chosen excursions, but other than that, we had a wonderful time. Our two favorites were parasailing and swimming with the dolphins. My wife got to shop until I dropped and I was able to get her a very nice anniversary ring at Diamonds International.

Leaving
All good things must come to an end. I guess besides getting hounded by the porters for tips, just finding a spot to sit while waiting for them to announce your color for departure, were the 2 worst moments of the cruise. Nothing was open, so you couldn’t get a drink or snack, so you just sat and waited. It was kind of a let down after such a great week.

Summary
This was the most relaxing vacation I’ve ever had, and thanks to my wife, I fell in love with cruising. We can’t wait to go again. We want to try a different ship just to experience something different, but the Radiance of the Seas is a beautiful ship with a staff that we found very friendly.















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