I am in the process of renovating my master bedroom and bath. Moving a wall, adding a shower and a closet, some crown moulding, a paint job and new furniture. The job has been going on for 11 months…yes, you heard me right, 11 months! The contractor is busy, the tile is backordered, the plumbing was done incorrectly, the ceiling needed patching, and I can’t decide on a color scheme or furniture style. Yet in a mere 21 days dry docked at the Victoria Shipyard in British Columbia, Canada, Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas has emerged looking well…radiant! As part of the Royal Advantage program, Royal Caribbean has begun adding some of the best aspects of the Oasis class ships to others vessels in their fleet, and the Radiance is the latest recipient.
The Radiance of the Seas, built in 2001, is one of the cruise line’s most beautiful ships. Her décor is sophisticated and elegant with warm, dark woods, polished marble and rich, luxurious jewel tones. Her trademark feature, an abundance of exterior glass, which includes glass elevators that look out onto the sea, keeps her interiors saturated in natural light. So, what exactly was done to make her even better?
Parents will be pleased to see the inclusion of the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, a special area for children aged 6 to 36 months old. There’s a new Concierge Lounge for suite guests and a Diamond Lounge for elite Crown and Anchor members. Technological changes made to the Radiance of the Seas include ship-wide Wi-Fi and flat screen televisions in all staterooms. Overlooking the main pool is the newly installed outdoor LED video wall, perfect for movies under the stars, or the screening of major sporting events.
Those that have fell in love with the English style pub found on Voyager, Freedom and Oasis class ships will be pleased to find a similar establishment added to the Radiance. The new “Quill and Compass Pub” is done up in dark, woody style and offers an extensive beer menu featuring 38 brews that range from the ordinary to the extraordinary. It’s a great place to gather in the evenings where you’ll usually find live entertainment and a jovial crowd.
The renovation also added many popular dining venues, some complimentary and some charging a nominal fee. The Boardwalk Dog House (complimentary), is open for lunch and dinner and serves traditional hot dogs, sausages, etc with all the fixin’s.
Another quick service stop is the Park Café (complimentary), which will have indoor / outdoor seating, as it does on the Oasis class ships. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For breakfast you can get a bagel made exactly the way you want it, sandwiches with eggs, ham or sausage, muffins, etc. At lunch there’s fresh, made to order salads, sandwiches (I hope they serve the little roast beef & horseradish sandwiches), soups and pastries.
Rita’s Cantina ($3 cover & a la carte pricing), of Allure fame, is another indoor / outdoor restaurant. The menu features fresh made pico de gallo salsa, party nachos, fiesta guacamole, fajitas and a variety of beef, chicken and seafood dishes. In addition, it will serve up the best and widest selection of margaritas at sea, offering both authentic and signature concoctions mixed with your choice from the extensive list of quality tequilas, served on the rocks or frozen in a variety of fruit-flavor combinations!
The Samba Grill ($25pp), a Brazilian Steakhouse will be an exciting new place to eat aboard the Radiance. The dining experience includes a wide selection of nightly prepared soups, salads and appetizers at the buffet. Passadores (meat waiters) come to your table with skewers of speared meats, be it beef, pork, chicken or lamb. Not a meat eater? Not to worry. There are seafood selections and a salad bar too.
Pan-Asian cuisine including hot-rock cooking and a sushi bar is the specialty of Izumi ($3 cover for lunch / $5 cover for dinner; a la carte pricing). Everything is fresh, and beautifully, but simply, presented.
The Italian trattoria, Giovanni’s Table ($15pp lunch / $20pp dinner) features Tuscan inspired classics served either traditional style or family style. The atmosphere is casual and the food is comforting. Focaccia, gnocchi, lasagna. risotto, and ravioli are all on the menu along with beef, chicken, veal and seafood entrees.
If you would like to check out all the new features of Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Sea, she will be cruising an Alaskan itinerary out of Vancouver, Canada and Seward, Alaska alternating weeks through early September. Then on to Australia, via Hawaii!"