|# of Nights:|
We boarded the ship around 11:45 and went directly up to the Windjammer to sit and relax a little and then eat. I?m not crazy about buffets on any ship but I didn?t starve. We went to our cabin, deck 8 on the hump and were very pleased with the location. This was our first hump balcony and it won?t be our last. Our cabin steward Andre was marvelous and we couldn?t have asked for any better service.
We were seated at a large table in the Cascades Dining room where we met some wonderful new friends. We enjoyed sharing each day?s activities with them. Our wait staff was average but they tried very hard to please. The chef who was from Jamaica did a marvelous job with the food. I will say that this is the best dining room food I?ve had on RCI in many years. The spices were perfect and everything was served at the perfect temperature. I complimented him many times as well as telling the head waiter how wonderful it was. Breakfast and lunch in the dining room once and both were excellent. Never want to miss my Eggs Benedict!
The ship was in fairly good condition but she?s due for dry docking to change an engine and I?m sure she?ll get a paint job as well since there was considerable amounts of rust around. The rest of her looked just great and the wood and brass shined as usual with RCI.
I spent boarding day scoping out a favorite bar and reacquainting myself with the layout of the ship. I usually pick one bar and stick with it all week. Most of the time it?s the Schooner but this time it was the Lobby bar. The servers there Big Daddy, Dan and Vladimir were wonderful and great fun throughout the week. I had the pleasure of having my first Martini ever, a Chocolate Martini and I loved it. I even had some fun with Big Daddy and Dan over who made the best one. Dan won!!!
Our first port was Key West. We have been there many times so we just hung around on the ship and relaxed and read. Nice way to spend a day. We did have one passenger that was late and fortunately the captain waited for him. It never ceases to amaze me some people?s stupidity no matter how many times I?ve seen it. It was New Year?s Eve and RCI didn?t disappoint. The festivities were wonderful. They even closed down the casino from 11:30-12:30 so the crew could enjoy as well. Party hats and noisemakers were given out at dinner that night so everyone joined in the fun.
Next was Cozumel and we hoped a cab and headed over to Paradise Beach. Love this place for the food and the calm clean waters and it didn?t disappoint us. I enjoyed my nachos and some cold XX?s and Howie had a huge hamburger. Great as usual.
Grand Cayman was next but we were greeted by the morning announcement from the Captain that a storm was expected and they would be reboarding the ship earlier to escape the storm. Howie and I were staying on the ship regardless but we?re glad we did as the day quickly turned ugly. The tenders were tossed like toys and they had to call off tendering at 12:30. There were 4 other ships there and they had to do the same. Pretty scary for those stranded on the tenders for more than an hour, plenty of tales of seasickness and horror from the passengers. I will tell you this was the roughest we have ever seen in GC. The waves were overtaking the boarding ramp and the water was entering the ship. The captain wisely decided to move the ship to the other side of the island, Spots Bay and have the passengers returned to the ship by larger vessels. All the other ships did the same accept the Liberty whose passengers all made it back safely. This process took many hours and we left GC much later then we were supposed to. The next day we where to go to Montego Bay but the seas were very rough there too and we weren?t able to dock. I?ve never not able to dock at a port before. The captain was very apologetic but of course he couldn?t be blamed for the weather. We think he did a wonderful job!
I must comment on the activities during the cruise. Captain Mal Bardsnes was marvelous and entertaining. I have never seen a captain so active in ship board activities as he and the hotel director Michael Prasse were. I thoroughly enjoyed the Captains corner, the cake making demonstration (where a food fight started between the captain and the hotel director) and having Michael and Captain Mal dealing black jack in the casino. The cruise director Simon was a hoot. A new activity for me was the Strip Officers??all I can say is WOW!!!!! Had a blast watching this play out.
All in all this was definitely one of our favorite cruises in our more then 40 voyages. This was definitely one of the craziest cruises we?ve been on. The Radiance is one of our favorite ships and it was a pleasure to sail on her again and hope someday to return for a 4th time.