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Radiance of the Seas

Royal Caribbean announces Australia & New Zealand 2013-2014 plans


Royal Caribbean is offering its broadest range ever of itineraries in Australia and New Zealand come summer 2013-2014.  For the second consecutive cruise season, Voyager Of The Seas, Radiance Of The Seas And Rhapsody Of The Seas will offer cruises to the region.

Voyager of the Seas will offer 53 distinctive itineraries along with the recently revitalized Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas.  In total, Royal Caribbean will offer 55 cruises at 56 Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific ports, with departures from September 2013 to April 2014.

Royal Caribbean commercial manager for Australia, Adam Armstrong, commented on the news, "It’s with great pleasure that we can confirm that sister ships, Voyager of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, will be back to wow Australian cruisers in summer 2013-14. For the next two summer cruise seasons, Royal Caribbean International will be the largest cruise line operating out of Sydney, and these newly revitalised “premierships” will offer the very latest in cruising – experiences guests previously had to travel to other parts of the world to have."

“We’ve added more cruises on Australia’s first megaliner Voyager of the Seas and some new itineraries across the entire fleet to ensure that there are even more options to suit different lifestyles and needs. It’s our widest ever range of cruises Down Under."

Voyager of the Seas will reposition from Singapore to Sydney on a 14-night cruise in late October 2013 that begins with an overnight in Singapore and calls at Port Keland for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Darwin and Brisbane, Australia. The ship then homeports at Sydney for nine sailings to New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia. These cruises range from nine to 14 nights.

A nine-night Tasmania cruise in early February 2014 features an overnight at Hobart on a one-time-only itinerary. At the end of the season, Voyager of the Seas will sail an 18-night Australia and New Zealand itinerary to Perth before returning to the Far East on a 14-night sailing in late March to Singapore via Bangkok.

Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas also homeport at Sydney from October 2013 to early May 2014, and will operate a wide variety of itineraries ranging from seven to 15 nights.

The cruises visit Australia’s Tasmania and Queensland, New Zealand, Fiji and New Caledonia. Radiance of the Seas will circumnavigate Australia twice with a 16-night north coast and a 17-night south coast and New Zealand itinerary.

Pacific crossings between Vancouver, BC and Sydney bookend both ships’ Australia season. These are a 12-night Hawaii and a 16- or 17-night South Pacific sailing, departing Sept. 13, 2013 and April 10, 2014 aboard Radiance of the Seas, and Sept. 6, 2013 and April 18, 2014 aboard Rhapsody of the Seas. 

Royal Caribbean announces 2013 Alaska cruises


Royal Caribbean unveiled its summer 2013 cruise itineraries for Alaska to the public.  The soon-to-be revitalized Rhapsody of the Seas will be one of Royal Caribbean's ships offering trips to Alaska for that season along with Radiance of the Seas, which was also revitalized in 2011.

From May 17 through Aug. 30, 2013, Radiance of the Seas will offer alternate seven night north and southbound cruises between Vancouver, Canada and Seward, Alaska.  laskan ports of call include Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau and Skagway. Additionally, guests will cruise the Inside Passage as well as get an up-close view of Hubbard Glacier.

Rhapsody of the Seas also will sail every Friday on seven-night, round-trip Alaska cruises from Seattle, stopping at Juneau and Skagway, Alaska, and Victoria, British Columbia. Passengers will also visit through Alaska’s Inside Passage, as well as venture up Tracy Arm Fjord to see Sawyer Glacier.

In addition to just cruises, Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruisetours combine a Radiance of the Seas’ sailing with a pre- or post-cruise land tour that totals to a 10- to 13-night land and sea adventure that ranges as far north as Fairbanks. For the land tour portion, guests are escorted by a Royal Caribbean Tour Director. Royal Caribbean Cruisetours include premium hotel accommodations, motorcoach transportation and admission into select attractions. Almost all 2013 Alaska Cruisetours also include a leg aboard the Wilderness Express.

Australian newspaper reports on Radiance of the Seas cruise down under


The Sydney Morning Herald sent a writer to check out Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas cruise from Australia to New Zealand and they seemed to be impressed.

Radiance of the Seas departed Sydney for New Zealand's South Island and Milford Sound.  The water was described as "sapphire-blue" and the area as "an untouched wilderness with towering mountains plunging into a freshwater sound, icy water pouring off the hillsides in dramatic waterfalls and jagged, snowcapped peaks tearing through clouds in search of sunlight."

The cruise was of particular interest since this was Radiance's first trip back to Australia after its revitalization this past June that afforded it many new upgrades.  They described the changes as "the hallmarks of a modern liner, with interesting artworks and a trendy interior design. It also has excellent facilities for children, decent shopping opportunities, entertainment options and plenty to keep adults as busy as they choose."

What about the new restaurants?  The writer claims the new specialty restaurants, such as Izumi, Chops Grille and Rita's Cantina, are all worth the extra money.

In addition the upgraded staterooms offer more.  While they found the rooms a little "compact", they found the stateroom to be nicely appointed with plush furninishings.

You can read the full report of their voyage aboard Radiance of the Seas here.

Video: Radiance of the Seas' pool table that levels in rough seas


File this video under "cool".  Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas features a self-correcting billiards table that will adjust itself using a gyroscope when waves impact the cruise ship.

This cruise passenger posted a video of this pool table and it's really impressive how the balls don't move at all despite the ship swaying.  Pretty cool, eh?

Credit to Cnet for alerting us to the video.

Royal Caribbean calls for dredging of Australian shipping channel


Royal Caribbean's Managing Director of Australia, Gavin Smith, is calling once again on authorities at the Cairns, Australia to dredge the shipping channel  and the swing basin.

Smith said that while Rhapsody of the Seas was able to safely traverse the Trinity Inlet, it was "at the limit and edge of its physical capabilities".  He said that Royal Caribbean would prefer the dredging take place to allow for easier and safer crossings as well as allow larger ships, such as Radiance of the Seas, to dock at the cruise terminal.

Currently, Radiance of the Seas is required to anchor off Port Douglas when she arrives in February 2012.

Earlier in the year, Smith had asked for the channel to be dredged to allow the ship to dock even in poor weather conditions. Royal Caribbean prefers to dock rather than moor and force its passengers to be transported via tenders ashore.  

Royal Caribbean offers new specialty restaurant dining packages


Royal Caribbean is offering new dinner packages at its specialty restaurants to help trim the cost of dining on four of its most popular ships.

Offered on Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas...

  • Central Park Dining Package
  • Chef's Dining Package
    • $120 per passenger
    • Dinner at
      • Five-course meal at Chef's Table (with wine pairing for each course)
      • 150 Central Park
      • Chops Grille
  • Choice Dining Package (Oasis of the Seas)
    • $50 per passenger
    • Dinner at
      • Chops Grille
      • Giovanni's Table
      • Choice of Izumi or Solarium Bistro
  • Choice Dining Package (Allure of the Seas)
    • $55 per passenger
    • Dinner at
      • Chops Grille
      • Giovanni's Table
      • Samba Grill

There is also a dining package on Radiance of the Seas that offers dinner at Chops Grille, Giovanni's Table, Izumi and Samba Grill for $70 per passenger.  There is also the Chef's Dining Package that offers the Chef's Table in addition to every extra-charge specialty restaurant onboard and will cost $120 per passenger.

Splendour of the Seas is offering a Chef's Dining Package for $105 per passenger and includes a meal at Chef's Table, Chops Grille and Izumi.

Radiance of the Seas impressing Australians


Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas has been in Australia for a little over a month now and already is garnering positive reviews from Australians.  Among its amenities, passengers cite the ship's crew as being very friendly and capable.

"One thing that surprised us was the attitude of the people," the ship's captain Claus Andersen said. "We've never experienced anywhere where the people are so friendly."

Anderson cited a story from a trip to West Australia when they docked at Port Hedland and its very warm welcome after it was decided that one pier couldn't accomodate Radiance of the Seas so they opted to dock at Pibara port instead.  Anderson described the workers there as, "This was the very first time they'd had a cruise ship through but they looked like they do it every single day."

Radiance's Captain was also impressed by the efficiency and flexibility of the Australian Immigration Department in handling the chaos caused by the sudden shut-down of Qantas Airlines when Radiance was in Fremantle. The schedules of hundreds of passengers flying into Perth to board the cruiser were thrown into disarray and the ship had to stay another day. To help clear the passenger backlog, the department brought on two officials until midnight.

Radiance of the Seas first ship to benefit from improved Azipod design


The manufacturers of the Azipod podded propulsion system that is found aboard many cruise ships has made modifications to the design that have improved hydrodynamic efficiency by more than 2 percent.

The modifications include a newly optimized Azipod fin shape and a new pod cap structure, called the X-tail. The revised fin structure receives water flow from the propeller at a new, less acute angle, and its new curved design redirects the flow more efficiently. The unit's new X-tail, installed for the pod cap structure, straightens water flow on ejection from the Azipod propulsor, minimizing water swirling.

Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas was the first ship to benefit from the new fin shape and X-tail. The Azipod modifications were completed during her drydocking in May 2011. Radiance saw the benefits immediately in her sailings from May to September when more than 2 percent in hydrodynamic efficiency improvement was achieved.

Anders Aasen, Associate Vice President of Technical Services for Royal Caribbean, discussed the importance of being more efficient, "The fuel efficiency improvements measured on Radiance of the Seas are welcomed reprieve in today's higher fuel prices. Any improvements we can make on fuel efficiency will serve us well for future operational costs."

Radiance of the Seas sales in Australia spike


Royal Caribbean has seen sales of cruises in Australia for its Radiance of the Seas "rocket", according to Royal Caribbean's Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand, Gavin Smith.

Radiance arrived in Sydney in October and since then has been all around Australia, which has sparked a sharp increase in sales in the Australian Market.  Smith attributes the rise in sales from locals to the arrival of Radiance, "We've been surprised by the interest from the local market, particularly since the ship got here."

While Australians are jumping at the chance to sail on Radiance, the makeup of a Royal Caribbean cruise down under is still a mixed variety of international passengers, with an average of 60 nationalities on each cruise with about 40% from the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.

In addition to Radiance, Voyager of the Seas sales are "very strong", as anticipation grows for her arrival next year in Australia.

Radiance of the Seas pumps $500,000 into Australian economy


Cruise ship stops have always been a target for port cities because of the economic impact they provide, and Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas proved that theory once again as it's estimated between passengers and crew $500,000 has been infused to the economy of Adelaide, Australia after a recent stop.

Radiance of the Seas, which recently completed an upgrade, was delayed from leaving Fremantle by a day to help passengers that were the victim of Qantas airline grounding.  Forty-nine passengers could not make it to Perth for the beginning of their 18-night cruise to New Zealand and so Radiance spent several days in Adelaide to wait.

Tourism Minister Gail Gago said the direct economic impact from a ship the size of the Radiance over a day was estimated at $500,000, plus an additional amount to account for "a ripple effect".

Royal Caribbean is targeting the Australian cruise market more than ever, which is an up-hill battle since P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises are far more established in the area. Radiance of the Seas is joined by Rhapsody of the Seas this year, with Voyager of the Seas due in next year.