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I boarded the Radiance with a great deal of excitement - my 60th Royal Caribbean cruise in a little less than thirteen years - and I was most looking forward to seeing one of RCI's nicest young captains, Hakan Lindegren, and hotel director, Patrick Olin. The ship had just returned from Europe which created some delay in boarding - U. S. customs did a major inspection!. The Windjammer was total chaos with a Grand Central feel to it - we were circling the stations with people asking, "Where's the front of the line?" After my fifth turn around ( all right, I admit, the exercise didn't hurt me ), someone took mercy and allowed me to cut in.
Our deck nine balcony cabin was certainly ample in size but the plumbing problem created some difficulty, with water oozing up from the floor below onto the carpet. That necessitated having a fan blowing all night. Guest Services did offer us another cabin for sleeping - we opted to stay where we were - bad choice. Rula didn't sleep at all - thanks to Sonata, I did. But being nurses, we kept thinking bacteria was being blown about for us to inhale. This did not appear to be the first time this had happened, either. There was a
musty smell when we had first entered the cabin ( don't book 9208 on the Brilliance ).
Chops and Portofino, the ship's two fine dining restaurants, are outstanding. There is an excellent menu, with a good variety of choices and the service was impeccable. The seafood brochette in Portofino was outstanding and the dessert sampler would satisfy any palate. At Chops, my friend and I both had the 16-ounce T-bone, cooked to perfection. Our lovely waitress gave us a sampler of all the vegetables, each one was excellent as well.
While service, in general, was good, there were notable exceptions. In the dining room, at times, water wasn't served, nor were we asked if we would like water. Orders were forgotten. Sometimes, my friend and I would be sitting at the bar, waiting for service, and someone would come up and be served first - though we had been waiting five minutes.
I was not impressed at all with the loyalty ambassador. There needs to be a better method of seeing passengers in the Crown and Anchor lounge - either a sign in sheet, numbers, or appointments. While the ship had a very large number of platinum, diamond and diamond plus passengers, and I am sure he was busy, staff should have been assigned to assist. For example, we got our robes the third day of a four day cruise.
Many of the problems will be worked out, I am certain, with Patrick Olin as hotel director. I am sure we could return in two months and there will be a notable difference on the ship. I remember my first cruise on the Radiance - when it did not seem like a Royal Caribbean ship to me. Enter Patrick and things really turned around. There were some absolutely fantastic crew members on the Brilliance and, in time, I feel certain the whole ship will exude that Royal Caribbean spirit I have come to expect throughout the fleet.