Radiance of the Seas was debuted by Royal Caribbean all the way back in 2001. For a ship now two decades old you would expect that this would now feel incredibly dated, and would not be something you would want to stay on for a relaxing cruise.
However, there has been work put in over the last 2 decades to ensure that this cruise remains feeling fresh and new in spite of its age.
In fact, if you asked us after going on the cruise what the age of the boat was without prior knowledge, we would have guessed a lot younger than it actually is.
One aspect of this cruise ship which has always remained the same and has been consistently loved by passengers and customers is the glassy exterior which helped this ship stand out when it debuted.
This means that the ship is always doused in light helping avoid the more closed in feeling you can get on cruise ships which do not have this attention to detail.
The focus which Royal Caribbean put into keeping the ship refurbished, you can understand why this ship has fans who keep returning year after year.
The ship has access to plenty of bars and lounge areas making it perfect if you love socializing which is one aspect of cruises which we love.
It is even more perfect if you love activities like sing alongs, and trivia nights, and the wide variety of other group activities which are hosted in areas like the Schooner bar.
Most of the refurbishment was done in preparation for the ship’s Australian debut back in the 2011 to 2012 season with over $20 million being spent on replacing restaurants and adding new fixtures and fittings.
This guide does not just focus on the positives, and while we love our time on the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, there are still some negatives which are worth addressing so you know everything you are signing up for.
So, if you are considering this ship as an option for your vacation, but you feel you need a little more information, keep reading to get our summary of our time on the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas!
The main aspect of the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas was the social atmosphere which was harbored by the staff and the vibe on the ship.
There are also constant beautiful views of the ocean which you can get thanks to the focus on having so much glass on the ship’s exterior.
There are some drawbacks, mainly in the features which are missing compared to the bigger vessels owned by Royal Caribbean, for example there is no FlowRider, ice skating, or more showy activities like this which appeal more to a younger family focused demographic.
But, this ship is still a great option for cruisers who love having a wide variety of dining options, and want a more mid sized ship as opposed to some of the behemoths now available.
This ship can hold 2112 passengers and operates with 894 crew members. The ratio of passengers to crew is at 2.36:1 when at capacity.
The ship launched in 2001 and has been receiving regular refurbishment to keep it running to a modern standard and there are 543 shore excursions.
This ship sails from Seward, Tampa, Vancouver, and Los Angeles and there are now options available down under with departures from Sydney.
The ship usually sails to Alaska, Bahamas, Panama Canal, Central America, and the Western Caribbean. The main selling point of the Radiance of the Seas is that it is one of the best dining ships offered by Royal Caribbean.
This is because of just how many free and for a fee dining options there are on the ship in spite of it not being as big as a ship which would usually have so many options.
There are restaurants which will offer Italian food, juicy steaks, South American cuisine, and Japanese food as well, and that is just the specialty restaurants.
This makes this ship the perfect option if you love great quality food and dining experiences, as well as cruising.
As we mentioned in the introduction, one of the main draws of this ship is the warm design philosophy this ship was constructed with which gives it a massive focus on light.
This means that the Radiance of the Seas has masses of open space and plenty of floor to ceiling windows around every turn. You are likely to need to wear sunglasses when you are indoors with just how much light you will be getting.
There are even some outdoor elevators displaying just how much Royal Caribbean wanted to keep the design of this ship feeling open.
These elevators go all throughout the 12 decks of the ship. You will get a sea view from just about everywhere on these cruises with the bars and lounges being no exception.
This means there are loads of options for areas where you can curl up and just relax with a book or other entertainment throughout the day and just have a drink or watch the sun set or rise.
There is also plenty of entertainment throughout the days and the evenings in particular to ensure you stay entertained.
While you do not get the whole range of features you can get with other Royal Caribbean cruises, you will still have a wide diversity of options, but still while maintaining a more cozy vibe which you get from a ship this size.
If you want a more mainstream experience from a cruise, while still being able to enjoy a smaller ship and plenty of dining options, then you are going to love staying on the Radiance of the Seas.
Passengers & Dress Code
The Radiance of the Seas tends to appeal most to singles and couples who are between their 30s and their 50s, while also having a lot of multigenerational families as well.
The median age of passenger you will find on the ship is in the younger 40s when looking at the 7 night cruises, and then for the cruises which are 3 or 4 nights, the average age is in the 30s.
Then, if we are looking at the cruises offered for 10 days or longer, these are usually dominated by those in their 50s and older.
You will find this cruise is appealing to passengers who want an affordable but still adjective vacation.
The main nationality you will find on board when in North America is American and Canadian, while the main demographic while down under will be Australian.
When it comes to the feel of the ship with the dress code, you will find a lot of cropped trousers, T shirts, jeans, vests, swimsuits and cover ups, as well as sundresses and swimwear when it comes to female guests.
Then for male guests there tends to be more shorts and jeans with collared shirts or T shirts, as well as swimwear too during the day.
For lunch wearing just T shirts and shorts, with flip flops would be fine for lunch in most areas of the ships.
However, wearing swimsuits, bare feet, vests, robes, caps, or most pool wear will not be allowed in the main restaurants or the specialty restaurants either at any time.
For dinner, the dress code tends to be more smart casual for the female guests with the option for skirts or trousers with a focus on not having any tears, rips, or holes, and wearing a blouse too.
You can wear jeans if you want, but you will find that a lot of women choose to go for dresses to have a smarter look. Then for men you need to wear trousers and a collared shirt in most of the restaurants.
There will usually be 2 formal nights schedules for any of the cruises that are longer than 7 days, and for these most men will go with a darker suit or a sports jacket.
Staterooms & Cabins
For this guide we stayed in one of the Large Ocean View Staterooms with the view being from the 4th deck.
This could feel a little compact for a couple, and we would not recommend trying to fit any more people into a room like this because of how cramped it would start to feel.
However, for just two people this was fine, and it was a nice enough environment to feel comfortable relaxing and winding down in.
There were considerations made to make staying in a room like this as relaxing and pleasant as possible as the larger than average porthole. You would not think that a slightly bigger porthole like this would make such a strong difference.
However, having this extra light in the room really lifted the design, and meant that waking up often greeted you with some amazing sights and views.
However, there were some issues like the TV feeling a little outdated. Sure this ship has been in operation for quite a while, but little details like this hold the room back from feeling completely modern.
There were also some details which felt a little lacking and were a drawback for the quality of life experience like the smaller shelf space and the bed base being in an awkward position.
Life On Board
One of the main selling points of a Royal Caribbean cruise is how the company prides itself on being one of the most friendly sets of staff.
There is a focus on fun and the feeling of being on a floating resort, and luckily the staff delivered on this. Because of the scale this ship is working with, there is a feeling like you always have convenient options on where to go and where something is going on.
You can be in a crowd enjoying some group entertainment, or you could choose from one of the quiet nooks and just relax and do whatever you want.
It might take you a little while to work out what to do and how to get used to life on the ship, but if you cruise often, then this will likely not be too much of a struggle.
One thing which you may struggle with is the infrastructure at some of the ports for getting on and off the ship.
However, this is also something which can be easily fixed, and might have just been an isolated issue for our experience. If you are prepared though, getting on and off the ship should not be an issue.
You will find the atmosphere of the guests being lively and energetic, but if you are younger than 40, you might find yourself feeling a little junior compared to some of the older couples.
If this is something you would enjoy largely depends on the individual though.
The main draw of Radiance of the Seas, as we have already hinted at, is the food, especially the specialty restaurants, but most eateries were amazing.
For example, the main dining room is Cascades which works very efficiently but you never feel rushed.
One thing you might notice with some of the food outside of the specialty restaurants is a little too much salt and sugar, especially if you are not accustomed to American cooking, however, if you are American it should not be too much of an issue.
So while eating in the standard restaurants is great, the specialty restaurants are the real highlight and where we recommend you make time to visit.
For example, we love Giovanni’s Table which is all the way on the 6th deck ensuring it is detached from the more lively areas of the ship.
There is only seating for 50, so we recommend reserving to ensure that you have a seat, but this also means the restaurant has a more intimate and cozy atmosphere.
If you are bringing children, but want time to spend as a couple, then there is of course the question of the babysitting services, which when we visited worked incredibly well.
There are programs for children, babies, and teens which are all done separately and work well.
There is the Adventure Ocean Youth Program which is aimed at ages 3 to 11, then the teen program for children over 11 and the Royal Babies and Tots is for anywhere between 6 months and 3 years.
While we did not have children in all of the age ranges, from what we could surmise from other parents, the programs worked well. Of course with something like entertainment for teens, the mileage of this can vary.
As we have already mentioned, but can not stress enough, if you want to go on this cruise, then make time to ensure you get to try all of the specialty dining options.
Our favorites were Giovanni’s and Samba, but other options we got to try like Izumi and Chef’s Table were still amazing as well.
We also loved how efficient the babysitters were, and while the experience of working with babysitters on a cruise can feel challenging, if you are comfortable enough, this will make your journey a lot more efficient and simple.
One of our favorite parts of the ship was the Champagne Lounge where we loved relaxing and socializing with easy access to drinks.
While the babysitters provided great service, it sometimes seemed like the ship was not prepared for what parents of younger children would need when they were outside of the babysitters.
Aspects like bottle sterilization were clear oversights and something we hope they can improve on in the future.
While we also loved almost everything we ate, we did find in some of the standard restaurants that some food was a little over salted.
With this we just wish they held back and let customers add salt at their discretion, but what can you do.
One thing we loved about staying on the Radiance of the Seas is how every night we would get an itinerary of the activities slid under your door so you can easily plan what you want to do the next day.
There was a focus on more competitive activities like tennis, volleyball, darts, and shuffleboard, but you are not forced or pressured into anything, so getting to choose what you like was always fun.
There are also electronic displays if you lose track of time, and these make working out where you want to go as simple as possible.
Competitive activities were not the only entertainment, and there were a variety of other options as well. For example, there is a rock climbing wall, a putt course, a movie theater, an arcade, and even a gym and spa combo too.
There is really something for everyone to do on the ship, so if you are only staying for a few days, you might find yourself feeling like you are missing out.
For each port there is an option for an organized tour, and most of these were coach based. These are an added extra so you will want to budget them ahead.
These are perfect for if you want something more guided, but still want to do things off the ship. We did not try any since we wanted to focus more on the ship itself, but if these interest you we recommend looking out for them.
Hopefully this guide has given you all the information you need on whether the Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas will be right for you. This is a perfect cruise for if you want regular entertainment, and plenty of great dining options!
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