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All about Radiance Class cruise ships

03 Mar 2022

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:

20 Radiance Class cruise ship tips and secrets

10 Mar 2021

It is hard to believe, but Royal Caribbean's first Radiance Class cruise ship was launched 20 years ago this week.

The Meyer Werft shipyard shared some great photos of Radiance of the Seas being built to commemorate the occasion, so I thought it would be appropriate to share with all of you 20 secrets, tips, and tricks if you are sailing on any of the ships.

Whether you sail on Radiance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, or Jewel of the Seas, here are some helpful tips to know about these amazing ships.

Read more50 Great insider Royal Caribbean tips for an awesome cruise

1. Outdoor dining

Among the many unique features on a Radiance Class ship is the outdoor seating at the Windjammer buffet.

Typically, the Windjammer is indoors on most Royal Caribbean cruise ships, but Radiance Class ships have an outdoor option as well on the back the ship. This means you can enjoy a breeze and a view of the ocean as you enjoy your food.

To access the outdoor seating, simply walk all the way to the back of the Windjammer

2. Glass elevators

Another fun Radiance Class feature are the glass elevators.

The elevators in the Centrum area face outwards to provide views of the ocean around you.  This means you get to enjoy a great view on your way up and down the ship.

3. Self-leveling pool tables

Self-leveling billiards tables are something you will only find on Radiance Class cruise ships.

When they work, these tables will move along with the ship to provide a stable playing platform if the ship is rocking back and forth.

The secret to these tables are the gyroscopes that always keep the top of the table level so the billiards balls do not roll around.

4. There's a movie theater

Radiance Class ships actually have their own movie theater onboard.

The cinema is located towards the front of the ship on deck 6, and shows movies throughout the day at no additional charge.

Seating is limited, so check the schedule and arrive early if you want to be there for a screening.

5. Rotating bar

Did you know the bar at the top of the ship in the Viking Crown Lounge actually rotates?

In the evening, the bartenders can activate the spin feature which slowly rotates the bar area around in a complete circle.  This usually coincides with the DJ music playing, and it is a neat little feature.

6. Retractable roof Solarium

The adults-only Solarium is my favorite spot on any Radiance Class cruise ship because it seems to be just the right size, with a large and inviting pool.

The Solarium is also enclosed with a glass roof, which is actually retractable.

Admittedly, Royal Caribbean seems to rarely ever retract the roof, but theoretically they could open it up if weather conditions permit to allow a more open pool deck feel.

When the roof is closed, it keeps the Solarium the perfect temperature for enjoying the pool.

7. Sailaway from the helipad

Just like Voyager and Freedom Class cruise ships, guests can go down to the helipad anytime they want during the cruise (weather permitting).

The helipad provides arguably the best vantage point on the ship, especially for sailaway.

To access the helicopter pad, go outside on deck 5 and then walk forward, climb up a set of stairs and continue walking forward until you reach the helicopter pad.

8. Dining package value

While Radiance Class ships are no where near as large as Royal Caribbean's newer ships, there are still plenty of great specialty restaurants onboard.

Royal Caribbean added more specialty dining in recent refurbishments to offer more specialty dining options.

If you think you might eat at more than 1 or 2 specialty restaurants, a specialty dining package might be a very good investment to save money.

9. Water slide for kids

For many years, the Radiance Class was the only Royal Caribbean ships with an actual water slide, and they still have one just for younger kids.

The kids slide is complimentary and is the perfect size for younger children to get some rides in during the day.

There are limited hours for the slide, so be sure to look at the schedule for when it is open.

10. You can relax in the thermal spa

A great way to indulge while relaxing is to purchase a pass to the ship's thermal spa.

The thermal spa is a special part of the Vitality Spa which offers limited-access via passes that good for the duration of the cruise.

If you buy a pass, you can enjoy unlimited time at the hot stone chairs, rainforest shower room, infrared sauna, and steam room.

There are two thermal spa pass prices: single and couples.  Price will vary depending on sailing.

11. Park Cafe

One of the best recent additions to most of the Radiance Class ships has been Park Cafe.

Located in the Solarium, you can find made-to-order salads, toasted paninis, pizza, pastries and coffee to enjoy.

Despite being in the Solarium, kids are allowed to come in and get food from Park Cafe too.

Best of all, Park Cafe is complimentary.

12. Fun activities onboard

If you like physical activity on a cruise ship, Radiance Class ships offer plenty of it.

You can tackle the 200-foot tall rock climbing wall, challenge the family to mini-golf, or hit the sports court and shoot hoops, play soccer, or engage in one of the many activities offered throughout the day by the sports staff.

Read moreFree Royal Caribbean onboard physical and fun activities

13. You can book solo rooms

If you are a single traveler, the Radiance class are one of the few Royal Caribbean cruise ships to offer solo rooms.

Studio rooms are designed for a single traveler, and do not come with a hefty single supplement fee.

Each of the Radiance Class ships have 3 Studio Interior rooms available to book on any given sailing.

Read moreGuide to Royal Caribbean's Single and Studio staterooms

14. You can open the balcony dividers

If you happen to have connecting or adjoining balcony staterooms, you can open up the balcony dividers between the rooms.

Between each balcony is a divider that grants privacy for each guest, but if you know the person in the cabin next to you, you can ask the stateroom attendant to remove the divider.

Doing this little trick means you get to enjoy a much larger and open balcony.

Read moreRoyal Caribbean Secrets: opening the balcony dividers

15. Look all the way down

I am not sure if all ships have re-opened this area, but at least on Brilliance of the Seas one of the coolest vantage points is open to guests again.

If you go to deck 12 in the Centrum, you can go to the Loyalty Ambassador area and peer all the way down the Centrum for some amazing views.

This area was previously closed when Royal Caribbean offered aerial shows, but those shows (and equipment) have been removed.

16. Must do: Sushi making class

If your Radiance Class ship offers the sushi making class, it is a must-do event.

As advertised, a sushi chef will instruct you how to easily make a few different sushi rolls, and then subsequently eat your creation!

You make enough sushi to constitute a meal, so come hungry and bring your camera. It is a fun activity that I really enjoyed doing.

Read moreIzumi sushi making class on Royal Caribbean

17. Best spot for evening drinks: Viking Crown Lounge

The Viking Crown Lounge at the top of the ship is beautiful, and worth taking the elevator ride all the way to the top.

The best part of the Viking Crown Lounge on Radiance Class ships is you get a fantastic view with your drink.  Grab a seat, and enjoy a view while the bartender prepares it.

As a bonus, during the day when the bar may be closed, the lounge is open and a very relaxing and quiet spot to read, or enjoy views of the ocean.

18. Aft balcony rooms

People that go on cruises a lot will wax poetically about the virtues of an aft balcony, and the Radiance Class ships are the perfect ships for these rooms.

Aft balconies refer to the balcony cabins on the back of the ship that face backwards, instead of to one side of the ship.

In many cases, these aft balconies provide expansive views around you, which is especially important if you are cruising on a Radiance Class ship in Alaska or Europe.

Aft balcony rooms book up quickly, so be sure to snag one before they sell out.

19. Best spot for evening fun: Schooner Bar

The Schooner Bar is an institution on all Royal Caribbean ships, but the layout of the Schooner Bar on Radiance Class ships might be the best yet.

LIke all Royal Caribbean ships, tthe Schooner Bar has a nautical theme that features a piano and views of the ocean.  Each evening, you will find plenty of live music to enjoy throughout the evening.

The bar area has stool seating that extends all the way around.

20. GTV

You may notice on the side of Radiance Class ships the letters "GTV", which you won't find on any other Royal Caribbean ship.

GTV stands for gas turbine vessel, which is an environmentally-conscious approach to ship propulsion.

The Radiance Class was the first ship in Royal Caribbean's fleet to have a General Electric gas and steam turbine as its primary source of power.  The power plant is more efficient and cleaner than traditional diesel-powered engines on most cruise ships employ.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - Radiance Class

10 Jun 2015

Listen to the Show

A fan favorite of Royal Caribbean has to be the Radiance class of ships, which offer a lot in a small package. The four Radiance-class ships can travel to nearly any cruise port around the world and what they lack in size, they make up for in range and experience. This week, I want to share why the Radiance class is such a fun bunch of ships to cruise on and why size isn’t everything when it having an incredible Royal Caribbean cruise.

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:

Royal Caribbean announces 2014 Alaska cruises

15 Mar 2013

Royal Caribbean announced its 2014 Alaska cruises and cruisetour offerings, which include 34 sailings on seven-night itineraries from Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle, Washington.  Delivering Royal Caribbean's Alaska experience will be the recently revitalized Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas.

Radiance of the Seas will switch between North- and Southbound seven-night cruises out of Vancouver and Deward, respectively.  Passengers will cruise the Inside Passage and the monumental Hubbard Glacier, as well as call at Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Skagway, Alaska. Radiance of the Seas’ Alaska season will be bookended with a seven-night itinerary, sailing roundtrip from Vancouver on May 9 and Sept. 5, calling at Icy Strait Point, Juneau, and Ketchikan, and cruising up Tracy Arm Fjord to see Sawyer Glacier.

 In addition, Rhapsody of the Seas will offer seven-night, roundtrip itineraries to Sawyer Glacier from Seattle, Washington. Passengers will sail the Inside Passage and call at Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, British Columbia. Two similar seven-night itineraries that call at Ketchikan instead of Victoria will sail from Vancouver to Seattle on May 16 and vice versa on Aug. 29.

 “Royal Caribbean has been unfolding the wonders of the Alaskan frontier for a quarter century and we continue to deliver this amazing destination like no other cruise line,” said Lisa Bauer, executive vice president of Global Marketing and Sales, Royal Caribbean International. “Guests can explore this awe-inspiring destination while sailing aboard our recently revitalized ships that are Designed for WOW and enjoy Royal Caribbean’s friendly and engaging GOLD Anchor service from every staff and crew member. To further immerse themselves, vacationers also can choose an unforgettable Royal Caribbean Alaska cruisetour combining the best of land and sea in the region and without having to worry about any of the planning.”

In addition to witnessing the majesty of Alaska by ship, vacationers also can explore Alaska’s interior on a variety of exciting Royal Caribbean Cruisetours, which combines a sailing aboard Radiance of the Seas with a three- to six-night land tour adventure. Royal Caribbean takes care of all the planning, transportation and lodging on fully escorted tours that spend at least one night in Denali National Park and one leg on the Wilderness Express, a plush, glass-domed train cars that offer panoramic views of the grand Alaskan frontier. A 10-night, family-geared cruisetour will feature a three-night land tour that includes a behind-the-scenes visit to the Alaska Sea Life Center to learn about the region’s natural habitat and the center’s wildlife rehabilitation and conservation efforts, and wildlife spotting in Denali National Park at the Murie Science and Learning Center.

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