Visit our travel agent friends at MEI Travel

All about Radiance Class cruise ships

03 Mar 2022
Jenna DeLaurentis

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class ships were built to sail around the entire world. They offer among the most diverse itineraries in the entire fleet, offering cruises to far-flung destinations including the Arctic Circle, Vanuatu, and Turkey, as well as more familiar destinations such as the Bahamas and Mexico.

The Radiance Class is on the smaller end of ships in Royal Caribbean’s fleet and offers a more traditional cruise experience than what you may find on the newest and biggest ships.

However, the elegance, architecture, and traditional experience is what can make these ships so charming. Let’s take a closer look at what Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Class ships have to offer.

Radiance Class cruise ships

  • Radiance of the Seas is the first Radiance Class ship, and she primarily sails from Vancouver, Seward, and Sydney, offering cruises to Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Occasionally she offers transpacific and repositioning voyages.
  • Brilliance of the Seas is the second Radiance Class ship, and she sails from Tampa, Venice (Ravenna), Barcelona, and Rome, offering cruises to the Caribbean and Europe.
  • Serenade of the Seas is the third Radiance Class ship, and she primarily sails from Vancouver, Seward, and Sydney, offering cruises to Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific. Like Radiance, transpacific and repositioning voyages are sometimes offered.
  • Jewel of the Seas is the fourth Radiance Class ship, and she primarily sails from Miami, Amsterdam, and Barcelona, offering European and Caribbean cruises. Her wide range of itineraries bring guests to destinations including Greece, Turkey, the Arctic Circle.

The layout of Radiance Class ships differs from most classes of Royal Caribbean’s ships. Instead of a Royal Promenade or Royal Esplanade thoroughfare, Radiance Class ships have a Centrum.

The Centrum is a large, open area within the ship. A set of elevators runs up the Centrum, and shops, bars, cafes, and guest service amenities are found on the decks surrounding the elevators.

The Radiance Class first debuted with the maiden voyage of Radiance of the Seas in 2001. This makes the Radiance Class ships newer than the Voyager Class ships, but smaller in size.

The Radiance Class ships are all of a similar length, gross tonnage (GT), and capacity (at double capacity):

  • Radiance of the Seas: capacity of 2,466 guests, 962’ long, 90,090 GT
  • Brilliance of the Seas: capacity of 2,543 guests, 962’ long, 90,090 GT
  • Serenade of the Seas: capacity of 2,476 guests, 965’ long, 90,090 GT
  • Jewel of the Seas: capacity of 2,702 guests, 962’ long, 90,090 GT

Activities and things to do

Pool deck

The main pool deck on Radiance Class ships features one pool and two jacuzzis. There is ample seating area on the pool deck, too, as well as a pool bar. The Sky Bar is another bar located on the running deck above the main pool area, and the venue offers fantastic views of the pool and ocean.

The adults-only Solarium on Radiance Class has one pool and a jacuzzi. As Radiance Class ships were built to sail in all climates, they feature a retractable glass roof that allows the area to be either indoors or outdoors.

Adventure Beach is the pool area for kids onboard Radiance Class ships, and features a small waterslide, pool, and shallow splash area. Adventure Beach is conveniently located in the aft of the pool deck next to other family-friendly activities onboard.

Sports & kid-friendly activities

Radiance Class ships have a rock climbing wall, basketball/sports court, and a mini golf course. These activities are all complimentary for guests. Some activities may have set times listed in the Cruise Planner, so be sure to keep an eye on when activities are open.

There is an arcade on all Radiance Class ships. Radiance Class ships also all have Adventure Ocean, Royal Caribbean’s children’s programming.

Adventure Ocean is for children aged 6 months to 17 years, and kids are broken into age groups for programming. Teens 12-17 have their own hangout area onboard where they can socialize and meet new friends to hang out with throughout the cruise.

Thermal spa

Radiance Class ships have a thermal spa onboard, and guests can purchase passes to access it for the duration of the cruise. The thermal spa includes a steam room, infrared sauna, rainforest shower room, and hot stone chairs.

In addition to the thermal spa, regular spa and salon services as well as a fitness center are available.

Other activities

Like all Royal Caribbean ships, a variety of other activities are offered throughout the cruise. Activities on Radiance Class ships may include trivia, dance classes, live music, craft classes, language lessons, and theme nights.

Unique features of Radiance Class ships

Radiance Class ships were built with over three acres of glass. Because of this, the ocean is viewable from nearly any vantage point onboard. This is one of the favorite features of Radiance Class ships among cruisers.

Even the glass elevators on Radiance Class ships look out to the ocean, providing excellent views of the sea as you make your way up and down the ship.

Looking to watch a movie? Radiance Class ships are the only Royal Caribbean ships to have their own movie theater onboard. The cinema on Radiance Class ships show movies free of charge throughout the day.

Another unique feature only found on Radiance Class ships is the rotating bar located in the nightclub area of the Viking Crown Lounge. The circular bar area rotates 360 degrees so that you can enjoy spectacular views no matter which side of the bar you sit on. 

Entertainment and Venues on Radiance Class ships

The primary entertainment venue on Radiance Class ships is the theater. The main entertainment lineup on Radiance Class ships is as follows:

  • Radiance of the Seas: Piano Man and City of Dreams
  • Brilliance of the Seas: Tango Buenos Aires, Center Stage, and Now and Forever
  • Serenade of the Seas: Stage to Screen and Vibeology
  • Jewel of the Seas: Tango Buenos Aires, West End to Broadway, and City of Dreams

In addition to shows in the theater, each Radiance Class ship offers plenty of other entertainment options such as live music, comedians, vocalists, dance parties, game shows, and more.

Dining & Beverage

Radiance Class ships share the following dining and bar venues:

  • Windjammer Marketplace
  • Main Dining Room (name differs by ship)
  • Chef’s Table
  • Chops Grille
  • Giovanni’s Table
  • Izumi 
  • Caffe Latte-tudes
  • Park Cafe (Solarium Cafe on Jewel of the Seas)
  • Schooner Bar
  • Solarium Bar
  • Pool bar
  • Sky Bar
  • Viking Crown Lounge
  • English-style pub (excluding Jewel of the Seas)
  • Vintages (excluding Radiance of the Seas)

In the aft of deck 6 of each Radiance Class ship is a series of lounge and pool table areas. They have different names on each ship (Zanzibar Lounge, The Congo Bar, Singapore Slings, Jakarta Lounge, etc.), but they all have the same concept.

This multipurpose venue has self-leveling pool tables, plenty of seating, bars, and a dance floor area used for live music and activities.

Outdoor dining

Radiance Class ships have a large outdoor seating area at the Windjammer. This is located in the very aft of the ships, and offers beautiful views while enjoying your meal with fresh air and a sea breeze.

Differences between the Radiance Class cruise ships

Radiance of the Seas has several more dining venues compared to other Radiance Class ships. First is Samba Grill, a specialty restaurant Brazilian steakhouse following the traditional rodizio dining experience. This is an all-you-can-eat experience where waiters go from table to table offering a variety of meats. In addition to meat, there is a buffet for sides and salads.

The Boardwalk Dog House is also available on Radiance of the Seas. Located on the pool deck, this complimentary venue serves options of hot dogs and sausages that guests can top with their favorite condiments.

Radiance of the Seas is the only Radiance Class ship without a Vintages onboard. Instead she has a champagne bar, where guests can taste a variety of champagnes and wines. The location has elegant decor and glass windows overlooking the ocean.

In lieu of the English-style pub found on most other Royal Caribbean ships, Jewel of the Seas has The Pit Stop. This is a sports bar featuring several television screens and sports-themed decor.

Jewel of the Seas is the only Radiance Class ship without a Royal Babies & Tots nursery onboard. She has Adventure Ocean facilities for ages 3-17, but no nursery option.

Unique itineraries of Radiance Class ships

A major advantage of sailing on a Radiance Class ship is that the itineraries tend to be much more diverse than what you will find on larger ships. Because of their size, Radiance Class ships are able to fit into more ports around the world, and also pass through the Panama Canal. 

Here are a few examples of the unique itineraries available on Radiance Class ships:

  • 7-night Southbound Alaska & Hubbard Cruise on Radiance of the Seas, visiting Seward, Hubbard Glacier, Juneau, Skagway, Haines, Icy Point Straight, Ketchikan, and the Canadian Inside Passage, before ending in Vancouver. Land-based Cruise Tours are available in Alaska prior to the sailing.
  • 7-night Greek Isles Cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, visiting Rome, the Amalfi Coast, Sicily, Santorini, Ephesus, Mykonos, and Athens
  • 10-night South Pacific Cruise on Radiance of the Seas, visiting Isle of Pines and Noumea in New Caledonia, Mystery Island and Port Vila in Vanuatu, and Lifou, Loyalty Islands
  • 9-night Norwegian Fjords Cruise on Jewel of the Seas, visiting the Norwegian ports of Olden, Flam, Geiranger, Alesund, and Kristiansand
  • 12-night Iceland & Scotland Cruise on Jewel of the Seas, visiting Akureyri and Reykjavik in Iceland as well as Shetland, Inverness, and Edinburgh in Scotland

In addition to these unique itineraries, Radiance Class ships also sail to more common ports in the Caribbean including Perfect Day at CocoCay, St. Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee, among others.

Serenade of the Seas will be sailing around the world during Royal Caribbean’s first World Cruise, from December 2023 to September 2024. During the World Cruise, she will visit all 7 continents, 11 world wonders, and over 150 destinations in over 60 countries.

Who is the Radiance Class best for?

Radiance Class ships are a great fit for guests looking for a traditional cruise experience without all the bells and whistles found on the newest ships. There are a variety of complimentary and dining options to try, plenty of bars to choose from, and a range of entertainment throughout the cruise.

And while Radiance Class ships may not offer the latest activities for kids, such as bumper cars and the FlowRider, there is still plenty for kids to do onboard. From the rock climbing wall to Adventure Ocean and the sports court, kids will have many activities to try on a Radiance Class ship.

Solo travelers will especially benefit from the stateroom selections on Radiance Class ships. Each ship has 3 studio interior rooms available to book on any sailing. The benefit of sailing in a studio room is that your cruise fare will be much lower, as you do not have to pay a single supplement fee for staying in a normal room.

If you’re looking to try the biggest and most popular Royal Caribbean ships, the Radiance Class is not the best option for you. But if you’re looking for a relaxing, classic cruise experience, you will certainly find that on a Radiance Class ship.

Radiance Class Tips & Secrets

Be sure to try out the self-leveling pool tables on Radiance Class ships. They are the only pool tables that do this in Royal Caribbean’s fleet, so you won’t have to worry about your game messing up if the seas are rocky!

The Radiance Class offers plenty of balconies with views of the aft. These often sell out quickly, so be sure to book well in advance to get a cabin with one of these views.

The helicopter (helipad) is accessible for guests on Radiance Class ships. This is a fantastic spot to watch sailaway or view the unique destinations visited during your cruise. The Promenade Deck is also a relaxing spot onboard to take a walk, read a book, and enjoy the views.

More on the Radiance Class:

Jenna DeLaurentis enjoys exploring new ports of call around the world on a cruise ship, learning about new cultures, discovering beautiful landscapes, and trying diverse cuisine. She loves to get active while at port, whether cycling through mountains in the Caribbean or scuba diving under the sea.

Get our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with cruise news & advice

    We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy