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bigburlyjohn's Achievements


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  1. I had not been on Radiance previously in order to offer a comparison, but overall the common areas were in good condition and all looked nice. From what I understand, most work was behind the scenes along with some carpet and tile replacement.
  2. Thanks for the input Rekkie. Multiple times there was no coffee in the cafe adjacent to the main Windjammer. I even went into the Windjammer itself (prior to opening) and the attendant at the coffee station there suggested I go to the Park Cafe, which was not scheduled to be open either.
  3. Our first four cruises with Royal caribbean have been great. Two times on Independence, once on Freedom and once on Brilliance. At this time we are beginning day four of a Northbound Alaska Cruise on Radiance. Overall I would say things are ok, we did have a recent highlight where we won $300.00 OBC. I am generally positive and not demanding, but do like things to be as they should. With that said please let me express my disappointments: Day One - we arrived at our junior suite after they announced that all cabins were ready. We found that the carpet had obviously not been vacuumed. There were nail clippings, a button, a coin and other misc small items that were visible. Also, an empty beer bottle was left on the balcony. Overall, this makes us wonder what other items were not cleaned properly. We did notify the staff, the items mentioned were corrected and an apology was given. Day Two - The bath tub was leaking from around the bottom. Staff was notified in the AM, but had to be called again that evening before anyone came to repair. Day Three - A beverage tasting was listed in the Cruise Compass for 4:00 PM. I arrived early and though there were two staff present, nobody was organizing. I did ask, but the the one staff member to whom I spoke was disinterested and said the other staff member was responsible. He was stocking ice. This was reported to guest services. Also, after dinner, upon returning to the stateroom, I found the room clean, but the toilet full of water. Upon calling the room attendant he stated that the toilet vacuum (sucks waste from bowl when flushed) was not working and maintenance was notified. When we returned later in the evening it had been repaired. Day Four - Most dining and beverage venues are closed this day until 6:30 AM, but the Cruise Compass says that coffee is available in the Windjammer, starboard side, 24 hours. When I arrived at 6:00 AM, I and others were being turned away and told that the Windjammer did not open until 7:00 AM and we must wait for the Park Cafe to open at 6:30. Guest services has been notified and they are supposed to let the bar and beverage manager for the ship know of this issue. As mentioned previously, I only expect things to be as they should and understand that sometimes something can go wrong, but so far on this trip, it seems something is not as it should be everyday so far. After spending over $5,000.00 on a cruise, airfare and excursions, I expect a better experience. Disappointed with Radiance of the Seas.
  4. Another video link: http://www.kgw.com/news/ship-work-brings-millikons-to-loccal-economy/191057849
  5. It's a little short on details, but here is a link to a video reporting about the refurbishment of Radiance of the Seas in Portland: http://koin.com/2016/05/12/dry-docked-ship-brings-jobs-money-to-portland/
  6. Only the card that will be used onboard (tied to your seapass acct) will be needed.
  7. Our first cruise was on Independence in 2013...Like many of the rest of you, we are cruise-a-holics now and cruise as often as time off allows. In between we do as best we can to get our fix from the RCL Blog, podcast and periscopes.
  8. I have to say, I'm in almost complete agreement with you. I do like seeing the islands with the varied terrain (mountains). I'm not necessarily interested in the historical aspects of the islands and the beaches, shopping and water excursions seem to be very similar from island to island.
  9. Cruising is relatively new to us, but since 2013 we have taken four cruises covering seven different ports, with three additional cruises scheduled through February 2017. Two of our upcoming cruises are to destinations new to us and the other is back to familiar ports. So far we have visited Falmouth, Jamaica, Basseterre, St. Kitts, Georgetown, Grand Cayman, Labadee, Haiti, Cozumel, Mexico, Phillipsburg, St. Martin, and Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Even with our limited cruise experience, we have begun to develop opinions about the ports of call. Our opinions aren’t based solely upon activities offered, but mainly how comfortable we are in our surroundings. If crime is a concern, real or perceived, or if vendors are particularly aggressive, that will lessen the desirability of a port. Our cruise vacations are typically chosen by value and itinerary. With so much to do onboard, cruises aren’t necessarily eliminated because of undesirable ports, but they will affect our decision on whether to get off the ship or venture beyond the port facility. Of the activities we enjoy, venturing off on our own for a day of discovery is one of our favorites. We will sometimes book an excursion, mainly to get an overview of the island area. If comfortable with an area, when we return on a subsequent cruise we will venture off on our own. With that lengthy preface out of the way, our two least favorites are Falmouth, Jamaica and Basseterre, St Kitts. We have done excursions at both and felt comfortable; the problem is with the aggressiveness of the independent tour operators and vendors. Prior to going ashore in St, Kitts, we were warned by a cruise ship staff member to not wander outside of the tourist areas alone; reason unknown, but enough said to satisfy me. We stuck to a brief visit of the tourist shops and our scheduled excursion. During our first visit to Falmouth we had a scheduled excursion that we enjoyed, but otherwise stayed within the secure port area. Against my better judgment, on a return visit a year and a half later, we tried to wander out into Falmouth. Due to the aggressiveness of the vendors toward my seventy-two year old mother we spent less than fifteen minutes outside the port area before returning to the ship. Labadee, Haiti is a wonderful beach destination that we enjoy immensely, except for the pushy vendors. The port is part of Haiti, but relatively secure and seems very safe. We have done the Dragon Tail Coaster as part of a cruise package; otherwise we simply take pleasure in the beaches. Georgetown, Grand Cayman is a beautiful port with gorgeous clear blue waters. Another great beach destination; other water activities and excursions are available as well. My two knocks on this port are the food prices and the necessity of a tender boat from the ship to the dock. Unfortunately, our latest stop was cancelled due to rough waters and the inability to safely transfer passengers to the tender vessel. Cozumel, a favorite Western Caribbean port, also offers clear blue waters, plenty of marine activities and other excursions. Shopping is plentiful and virtually hassle free, as compared to Haiti and Labadee Phillipsburg, St. Martin was one of the first ports we visited when we began cruising and a favorite of ours. Upon arrival we boarded our previously booked bus excursion to the French side if the island. It was an enjoyable trip to Marigot with some scenery on the way and shopping while there. On the return to Phillipsburg, we asked to be dropped off at the end of one of the main shopping district streets. After spending sometime checking out the local shops, we crossed to the beach side of the downtown district and enjoyed a long walk back to the ship. The beach seemed really nice with some services; I would have no problem spending the day there. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico is another favorite, and though different form St Martin, it’s probably a toss up between the two as our favorite thus far. Our activity was limited, but we did take the bus ride up to Castillo San Cristóbal before beginning our walk back down the hill to the ship. There is a lot to see with plenty of shops and restaurants to enjoy along with the rich history. Unless things have changed, it’s probably wise to allow extra time to renter the port area through security. One other port of worthwhile mention is Key West. Even though we have not cruised there, we have visited multiple times. We love Key West and hope for an opportunity to return. Beaches are available, but I wouldn’t consider Key West a beach destination. Check out the shops on Duvall Street, hang out at Mallory Square or go to the Southern Most Point but don’t miss one of my favorite spots, the Key West Garden Club. The admission is free and it’s a National Historic site. We have an Alaska cruise planned soon, but we are mainly interested in Caribbean cruising. In the ten months we have another Western Caribbean itinerary scheduled as well as a Southern Caribbean trip planned that will visit the ports of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao. I’m sure we will find other favorite ports, and probably some not so favorite as we continue our cruise adventures.
  10. Sorry about the formatting. It did not translate well when I copy and pasted from Royal Caribbean website. The link is valid and the same info is there.
  11. This is a link to the Royal Caribbean website suggesting what to pack, the number of formal nights dependent on the cruise length, suggested attire and what not to bring on a cruise. In short, I was looking for the number of formal nights for a 9 night cruise when I came across this: http://www.royalcaribbean.com/beforeyouboard/whatToKnow/whatToPack.do Cruise Length Casual Smart Casual Formal 3-night 2 0 1 4-night 3 0 1 5-night 3 1 1 6-night 3 1 2 7-night 4 1 2 8-night 4 2 2 9-night 5 2 2 10-night 6 2 2 11-night 7 2 2 12-night 8 2 2* 13-night 9 2 2 14-night 8 3 3 15-night+ Remaining Casual 3 3 The number of smart casual and formal nights is at the ship's discretion. Note: *Some 12-night European cruises may have 3 formal nights
  12. Good question we had a Category I - Large Ocean View Stateroom
  13. Just a few thoughts about our ocean view cabin aboard Brilliance: Our ocean view cabin 3102 on Deck 3 was as expected regarding size and amenities. It's nice to have a large window to look out, but I wouldn't pay hundreds of dollars extra for the advantages over an inside stateroom. Unlike our Freedom Class Oceanview which had the head of the bed right under the window; on Brilliance the bed is turned 90 degrees and there is a little walk room between the bed and window. We like being relatively close to elevators rather than walking down long hallways. This room met that criteria as it was only two doors down from the elevator and stairs common area. Advantages of being on a lower deck, less movement of the ship is realized, elevators are never full going up, we were only one deck below our dining room (short walk) and only one deck above where we disembarked for port stops. Overall the ship is beautiful; not as large as Freedom Class but very familiar. While not the case for us, if someone were to have mobility issues the ship is big enough to have some nice features, but not so large that it is a major undertaking to go from one end to the other. If anyone has any questions about our four night voyage to Cozumel just let me know. Kind Regards
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