Best For People Who Want
A spacious, modern ship with plenty of nightlife and all the
other trappings of a mega-ship without the crowds.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
A small-ship congeniality and comradely atmosphere; single open
seating; a large variety of dining options
Radiance of the Seas underwent an extensive upgarde in June of
2012 where the line added several restaurants and other new
features to the ship. For an extensive of the improvement consult
this article "Radiance 2011 Upgrades."
The changes being made to Radiance of the Seas include seven new
dining options added to the ship - borrowed from what are believed
to be the best culinary ideas currently in operation on other Royal
Caribbean cruise ships:
Samba Grill is a Brazilian Charascurria - a unique way of
cooking large cuts of meat on a turning spit high above a heat
source. The juices melt in the slow cooked meat after hours of
turning. Dinner guests can request cuts of the meat taken directly
off of the fire and brought to the table by the waiter at any time.
The waiter holds the steel shaft and cuts slices off directly onto
the plate of the guest. The per person charge will be $25. The
Samba Grill will be located on deck 12 - set to replace the Seaview
cafe - which is near the aft end of one of the upper decks, behind
the sport's deck and kid's pool. This is in keeping with the al
fresco approach the restaurant was given on Allure of the Seas
within the Solarium area.
Rita's Cantina (Mexican) also originally introduced on Allure of
the Seas, is a standard Mexican food eatery which comes with
mariachi singers and other special entertainment. There is an a la
carte menu - no reservations are required. On Radiance, the Cantina
will be located in the aft end of the Windjammer cafe, starboard
side. It will be completely inside, no al fresco dining. The menu
is a la carte, no reservations required.
Giovanni's Table (Italian) features family-style servings of
Italian favorites. $15 lunch and $29 dinner, per person. This
restaurant will replace the fine Italian dining room "Portofino's"
on Radiance. The new room on deck six - opposite the Schooner Bar
and next door to Chop's Grill, which will remain, will be open for
both lunch and dinner, the cost is $15 for lunch and $25 for
dinner. The servings will come "family-style" portions.
Park Café (Deli) is a traditional New York style deli,
with table seating, self service and no cover charge. You can get
freshly sliced deli meat sandwiches as well as bakery items and
delicious specialty coffees. This is a very nice space, first tried
on Oasis and also included on Allure of the Seas. On those ships
the cafe is mostly indoors but there is also plenty of al fresco
dining within the "Central Park" area. On Radiance the room will be
inside the expansive Solarium, so it will have an outdoor feel
although it is fully enclosed with windows and temperature
controlled. This is one of my personal favorites for the new
Izumi (Sushi) is a Japanese restaurant with sushi, sashimi and
more japanese style food - the menu is a la carte. It will be
located on deck 11, aft - opposite Rita's Cantina and also within
the enclosed aft section of the Windjammer Café.
Reservations are recommended and they can be made online or at one
of the new "digtal signage" kiosks to be located throughout the
The Boardwalk Dog House (Hot dogs) is an all-you-can-eat, Coney
Island style hot dog stand. There is no cover charge for the dogs.
You can get them with any traditional accoutrement you desire;
sauerkraut, mustard, relish, catsup, onions, etc. On Allure of the
Seas the Dog House is located on the Boardwalk of , having replaced
the donut shop on Oasis of the Seas. On Radiance it will not be
outside, but rather it will be within the Windjammer
Chef's Table (High end restaurant) will be the most specialized
restaurant onboard featuring fine steaks and other gourmet
offerings. In fact, this is more of an event than a meal. The table
seats 16 people, the meal is five or six course, and each course
comes with a wine pairing. The meal is "hosted" by the chef, and
each guests receives a signed souvenir cookbook at the end of the
meal. There is a $95 per person cover charge - alcohol included.
Reservations are required. This event is generally sold out every
night of every cruise of the Royal Caribbean ships that offer it -
without any publicity. It is possible to book this meal before your
cruise sails on the Internet and that is probably the only way to
get a reservation. The location is deck six, aft - in the space
that was previously the card room.
The Quill & Compass (Bar) will be a new British-style pub.
The room is based upon the very popular pubs along the Royal
Promenades as first installed on the Voyager Class. These rooms
give guests a chance to interact with singer/guitarist who knows
the popular songs and plenty of jokes to go with them. The Radiance
designers wanted the room to have a similar feel so they created a
new facade amd walkway connecting the casino and the cinema within
the area that was previously the Sports Bar. Along that facade they
added the appropriate-looking pub entrance. This is on deck 6,
mid-ships. It will be open until the last reveler is ready to go to
bed. Several varieties of Ale will be on tap.
That Cinema, by the way, will receive the latest in 3-D
technology so Radiance can show DreamWorks Animation movies such as
the Kung Fu Panda II movie set to debut the same week Radiance
comes out of dry dock in Victoria, B.C.
The Royal Babies & Tots Nursery will handle children as
young as six months old with special babysitting, napping and
changing services. This new area will be located on deck 12 next to
the older children's activities area, Adventure Ocean. There will
be a staff to baby ratio of 3 to 1. The nursery will be open daily
until midnight (on most nights). Private babysitting will still be
available but offered through the guest relations department.
A brand new Diamond Lounge and Concierge Lounge for Crown &
Anchor Society members will also be added. These rooms are being
built within the existing Viking Crown Lounge. Diamond level,
Diamond-plus and Pinnacle level members of the Crown and Anchor
Society will get access to the Diamond Lounge with its concierge,
complimentary breakfast and open bar during the cocktail hour.
Pinnacle and Diamond-plus members can jpin guests residing in
suites in the Concierge Lounge - also with complimentary breakfast
and open bar during the cocktail hour.
Further Radiance Enhancements - Radiance will have many of the
best elements found on bigger ships like Oasis of the Seas. It will
have almost all of the same restaurants, excluding 150 Central Park
and Johnny Rockets. There will be a Cupcake Cupboard, as first
introduced on Oasis.
The ship will also be getting the "digital wayfinder"
interactive computer kiosks that are on Oasis and Allure. These
virtual maps and box-offices are large touch-screens with
interactive menus. Guests can see the availability of different
restaurants and make reservations on the spot. The reservation gets
recorded to the ship's computer instantly. Guests can also reserve
shore excursions and any shows that may have assigned seating. They
can swipe their keycards at the kiosk and those then serve as the
"ticket" for the reservation they just made.
A large outdoor poolside movie screen, with a 15-foot screen,
will be set up on the pool deck for watching movies at night and
other kinds of programming during the day. The entire pool area is
receiving pure teak decking - doing away with the artificial
Every stateroom will be receiving new tile and new flat panel
televisions that conveniently tilt directly towards the bed or the
couch. Wi-Fi has been enabled throughout the ship, including in the
staterooms. These Interactive televisions to be added to staterooms
will allow passengers to book shore tours, order room service or
check their onboard spending balance at any time.
As the first ship in the Radiance-class of modern vessels by
Royal Caribbean (Radiance, Brilliance, Serenade Jewel) , Radiance
and her sisters were built as the antidote to the concept of bigger
is better as typified by the larger Voyager-class ships of Royal
Caribbean, 1999. These ships are newer and smaller, and they are
also better, carrying all the sports and dining options of the
bigger ships, but in a smaller package with more space per
And what's not to like? At just over 90,000-tons for 2500
passengers (maximum), these ships fit in to the "right-sized"
category of ships akin to Carnival Spirit, and Island Princess, to
give you the best a mega-ship has to offer, such as an array of
onboard activities, but in a more uncrowded and accessible manner.
These are the modern mid-sized ships which give you the best of all
possible cruising worlds, comfort & convenience with plenty of
action in an uncrowded environment.
Radiance is an airy and open ship, with plenty of views of the
sea, unlike her Voyager-class brethren. The atrium, called the
"Centrum" rises nine light-filled decks with vast expanses of
floor-to-ceiling glass making this ship a joy to sail to
picturesque destinations. In fact, fully half the ship's exterior
is glass, some 110,000 square feet of it! An enormous glass panel
rises from Decks 5 (the lobby) to 12, making visible vast expanses
of sea and sky.
The ship's most beautiful rooms are on Deck 6. Schooners Bar is
thoroughly nautical, with dark paneling and blue carpet. The
enormous low-key Colony Club evokes a private British club you'd
see in a film adaptation of a Graham Greene novel set in India or
Hong Kong. The Solarium, a glassed-in pool area, has an African
theme, with three enormous plaster elephants overlooking the pool.
You'll hear bird and animal sounds through the towering tropical
Even the ships' high-style public bathrooms, with their marble
floors and counters and porthole-like mirrors, are gorgeous. And
cabin deacute;cor, featuring navy blue and copper tones, is a
welcome change from the line's very Miami Vice pinks, mints, and
The obvious heart of the ship is the lobby bar, where an
ensemble performs each night, is people naturally congregate. Two
decks above. the low-key Champagne Bar offers views of the atrium
through floor-to-ceiling windows. A small but well-stocked library
also faces the atrium.
On Deck 6, Bombay Billiards Club has the first pool tables at
sea - and very high tech pool tables at that, each balanced on a
ball bearing the size of a grape; the table may move as the ship
rocks, but the balls are always stationary. The natty Schooners
features marine blue chairs accented by real teak throughout, with
nautical antiques and reproductions. In the adjacent Colony Club
there is a large dance floor and stage suitable for a variety of
Deck 12 offers Scoreboard, a sports bar with multi flat panel
televisions and a satellite connection to ESPN. Close by is the
tiny Crown and Anchor Club, but don't miss it, you can stand on a
glass platform with a view of the entire atrium beneath your
Perched high atop the ship, the traditional Royal Caribbean
Viking Crown Lounge offers a near 360 degree panoramic view above
the top of the entire ship. On Radiance it is divided into a disco
and a low-key room with small stage for performances.
The tranquil library evokes a traditional English study; while
the literary retail outlet Books, Books & Coffee features some
200 titles - as well as cappuccino, pastries and pizza.
Radiance boasts a more upscale shopping area than what appears
on other Royal Caribbean ships, including designer-branded fashion
wear and brilliant jewelry store. Nearby the Internet area is a
small coffee and pastry shop with the unforgettable name of
Latte'tudes. One of the best features of the ship is the cinema
which shows two features per day, or for more interactive
amusement, gamblers are drawn as moths to flames to Casino Royale,
the ship's large gaming spot.
Indoor smoking is allowed only on passenger cabins, a small area
at the rear of the Colony Club Lounge on Deck 6, in the casino, and
in a designated area in the Starquest Disco. Outside, smoking is
restricted to the starboard side of the ship. Remarkably, even the
seating areas immediately in front of the outdoor bars are
designated non-smoking areas. The ship is well laid out and easily
It's as good as on any of the mass market lines', though only
one salad is offered on the menu (in addition to the
always-available Caesar). The ship has two alternative dining
venues,Chops offers delicious food with equally delectable
presentation. The $20 per person surcharge includes the service
fee. Radiance also features a Murder Mystery dinner one evening in
Portifino that requires reservations. The price is a dear $49.95
per person, but includes a pre-set wine selection.
Cascades, the glamorous two-level main dining room, has a
waterfall, a grand staircase, and enormous pillars, and could be
right out of a 1940s film. Two smaller dining rooms, Breakers and
Tides, enjoy the same high level of service. The Windjammer
Cafeacute; serves casual breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks, and
dinner. This restaurant has food stations for individual courses
(meat, sandwiches, vegetables), cutting down on lines. In the
morning, get yourself a made-to-order omelet. The best seating is
just beyond the main restaurant area, where you may dine al fresco
overlooking the aft, or in cozy banquettes. The specialty
restaurants, Chops and Portofino, are both tiny, elegant and quite
wonderful. The Seaview Cafeacute;, perched above the Windjammer,
serves light meals in the afternoon, early evening, and late night
to 1 a.m.
It's obvious that the multinational staff and crew enjoy
watching their passengers enjoy themselves. They're uniformly
cheerful, knowledgeable, and eager to help. The wait staff in every
restaurant is noticeably solicitous and conscientious.
Cabin service staff is efficient but unobtrusive. The purser's
desk is notably responsive, especially in view of how much
troubleshooting they must have to do on a ship this size. Room
service, though, can be pretty slow.
Royal Caribbean suggests a per person per day gratuity of $3.50
for the stateroom attendant ($5.75 if sailing in a suite); $3.50
for the waiter; $2.50 for the Assistant Waiter; .75 Head Waiter.
These gratuities may be paid in cash or charged to your onboard
account. For children sailing as third or fourth passenger in the
stateroom, tipping is at the parents' discretion.
A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage
tabs. Gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are
at your discretion.
The two-level Aurora Theatre has an Arctic theme, with
sculptured balconies, sidewalls and parterre divisions resembling
glacial landscapes, and a dazzling stage curtain inspired in the
Aurora Borealis. Sight lines are excellent, and you're highly
likely, whatever your musical prejudices, to enjoy the likes of
Rockin' in Paradise, a special-effects-laden celebration of
tropical music. Lounges have pianists and combos playing everything
from C&W to jazz. The lobby bar has a group performing Broadway
show tunes each night. Two non-first-run movies are screened daily
in the ship's cinema. In-cabin movies are also scheduled throughout
Out of a total 1,050 staterooms, 813 have ocean view and 577
private verandas; Standard features in all cabins include
refrigerator/mini-bar, hair dryer, interactive TV, telephone,
computer jack, and a large closet and plenty of drawers. In
standard and most balcony cabins, bathrooms have a shower and one
large medicine cabinet. There are also such welcome touches as beds
with rounded corners and lighted vanity tables with mirrored
cabinets. Tubs are found only in the highest category staterooms;
most bathrooms have just showers (though unexpectedly large ones)
with medicine cabinets. There are even full-length mirror in the
"superior" category cabins. There are 14 wheelchair-accessible
Radiance has some of the best balcony cabins at sea, and for the
very best look to the aft cabins on decks decks 7-10 where the Cat.
D rooms have the largest balconies on the ship, measuring 13 ft.
long x 9.5 ft. wide. There are steel walls between balconies
instead of the glass common to most new ships, which affords no
privacy at all. Overall, the staterooms on this ship are larger
than the average Royal Caribbean cabin. While inside cabins measure
only 165 sq. ft.; outside cabins range from 170 to 204 sq. ft., and
the five categories of suites from 293 to 1,001 sq. ft.
Beware the uncomfortable "cot style" beds, which RCI has
promised to replace fleet wide by the end of 2007. Let's hope they
also spring for better sheets, blankets and towels.
The 15,500 sq. ft. ocean view ShipShape Spa comprises three
sections: a beauty and health center with 12 treatment rooms
including Rasul and thermal suite ($15 for a half-hour); an
aerobics area with mirrored wall and wood-suspended aerobics floor;
and the gym, with 18 treadmills, 10 Reebok Recumbent Cycles, eight
Reebok Body Peaks, four Reebok Ridge Rocker Cycles, four Reebok
Body Treks, free weights, and multiple benches. There are stereo
sound and television monitors throughout. There's a wide selection
of scheduled fitness activities, including stretching and aerobics
classes and aquadynamics. The famous rock-climbing wall rises 200
feet above the sea with five separate climbing tracks. The Sports
Club & Country Club has golf simulators, ping-pong, a
basketball court, and deck games. There's even a 9-hole miniature
golf course and a jogging track.
"Adventure Ocean" is the title of Royal Caribbean's youth
programs where youths are separated into five age groups: Aquanauts
(age 3-5, must be toilet trained), Explorers (age 6-8), Voyagers
(age 9-11), Navigators (age 12-14) and Teens (age 15-17).
Facilities open 30 minutes ahead of morning shore excursion
departures so parents can leave their children before they leave
the ship. On sea days, organized activities are offered from 10
a.m. to 10 p.m., with group babysitting from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for
a fee. The program runs year-round in the Caribbean, Bermuda,
Bahamas, Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska. Teen centers are now open past
A new program for developed in partnership with toy maker
Fisher-Price offers tots 45-minute playgroups for children six
months to three years old when accompanied by an adult. The program
involves storytelling, creative arts, music and a variety of
Fisher-Price learning toys and games.
Private babysitting is offered from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m.,
provided sitters are available, for children from one year old. The
rate is usually between $8.00 and $10 per hour depending on the
number of children in the family. Cash payment is made directly to
the sitter. Arrange through Guest Services at least 24 hours in
An unusually high percentage of gentlemen don actual tuxedos on
the two formal nights per cruise, though no one would grouse if
they chose a dark suit. There's so much to do on any given evening
that not all passengers dress alike anyway.