Back From Radiance-WOW!!
Just this morning we got off Radiance OTS from a 5-day cruise out of Tampa. Here are my thoughts and review; The first word that popped into my thinly covered mind was the word "Elegant". This smaller class vessel states "Class" from the first walk around we did, not to mention it the fact that doesn't take half a day to walk from bow to stern. Subdued beauty and not alot of glitzy flash. I'll start with the plus notes. The Cascades Dineing room, two floors, is covered with dark wood with gold trim and black accents. There is a beautiful tile moasic ocean themed picture that spans two floors on one end, and a real waterfall between the staircase. The Windjammer Cafe has a very nice touch in that there is an outside sitting area overlooking the stern, and sliding glass doors from te room to the pool area for those that wish to eat outside, along with a constant coffee and juice machine area that's open all day. The Solarium area has an African theme, and is totally covered and enclosed, and VERY hot. Snacks are served there late at night at the Bar area.
There is a Centrum area which goes up to the 10th floor. On deck 4, there is a bar, and seating for many, who can listen to music played almost all day, from an excellent guitar player or two, to a piano and violin combo, which only lends to the class. On deck 6 is the Scooner Bar and behind that iis the Colony Club, a very "man cave" dark wood look, where the C&A welcome back party was held, which was also very nicely done. I made my normal $100 donation to the ship's fuel fund through the Casino Royal, as I remember Captain Johnnie once saying the ship gets 600' per gallon of fuel, and I wanted to help us get to Costa Maya. Once we made it there, we were docked behind Liberty, where the ship size difference if obvious. But something else caught my eye while there. Radiance seemed, to me and my wife, to have a much smoother ride than Liberty. Liberty seemed to be bouncing around the dock while we sat basically still, and although the seas were slightly rough, my wife commented how smooth the Radiance was going from port to port, and I agreed. She also questioned about our cabin choice on Liberty last September, #6414, as to if they had repaired the Jaccuzzi on the balcony yet. But that's another thread. The shows and singer and dancers were great, and "Dan Dan the Party Man", our cruise director seemed to be everywhere at once. Minuses; very few really. Design flaw in placing the basketball court above the Windjammer as it sounded like the roof was going to cave in even during breakfast. The Solarium needs to have a window that opens on port and starboard sides for a little ventilation! WOW it got hot in there! You almost bake under the glass covering the whole area, which I'm sure makes it nice when crusing Alaska. But now I heard that Radiance is going in for a re-fit in May this year, then back to Alaska, and then to Auzzi Land down under, where she'll cruise there for their Summer, and then come back here and cruise Alaska for our Summer. A new Radiance class ship will call Tampa home. I still love Mariner first, but Radiance is now our second most favorite ship in the fleet; the Captain noted during the C&A party that Radiance was named "Ship of the Fleet" for 2010, and we feel that it's a well deserved honor. BTW, not to diminish them, but the staff was well up the the best standards of RCL; Heri was our waiter, and Patricia was our cabin steward, and she even allowed me to practice my Spanish! As to the port, it was fine. We got to Tampa and stayed a few days, and rented a car at the airport, and another when we got back, and they provided a free ride to and from the ship. I won't state the name of the rental, but it cost more than $.99, and less than $1.01. If that's too clear, I'm sure the bosses will edit this post, and rightly so. We are now going to be Emerald, and are working our way slowing up to Diamond in C&A, and this ship was a great way to advance.Happy Crusing Everybody!!