Saturday, December 17, 2011

Final review of RCI and Radiance of the Seas

It is our last day on board today.
Unfortunately our last port of call, Bay of Islands was closed due to bad weather so we have been at sea ever since we left Auckland. Probably a blessing or we would have had to go through some really bad weather with up to 12 metre seas! It has been rough regardless as we have been trying to go around the bad weather so we have been rocking and rolling in 6-8 metre seas which is enough for me. Our suite is on deck ten and with the strong winds, it has been rough up here. The nausea has not passed yet. It has improved today and for the first time in 14 days we have seen the sun again!.

As we fill out our passenger satisfaction survey, we reflect on this cruise experience and I am changing my original view that RCI is on par with P&O Australia.

It is always hard to compare between cruise lines but when you look at the overall experience, I now believe that RCI is a step above P&O Australia but a step below Princess.

The Good:
Great interactive in cabin TV
Free in suite movies for suite guests, we got our monies worth of these
The Concierge Club with free drinks between 5.00 - 8.30pm.
Fantastic suite attendant and dining room staff who went the extra mile for us
Good response time for any maintenance issues in our suite
Free room service
Great buffet with lots of selection and never had cold food
Eggs to order in the buffet for breakfast
Good kids club with kids dinners and lunches on some occasions
Pets at sea - this was a gift I pre ordered for Michael. He got to choose a pet to make (eg an animal) and then they have a machine that stuffs the soft toy and then the child gets to choose some clothes for it. Michael got a crocodile and dressed him in a tuxedo. This is a novel treat for the kids. Book it through the pre cruise planner! Photo below.
My time dining - this was great! We booked ahead of time for each day and then went at our preferred time. From day one we had a great set of waiters so we asked for that table each day when we booked. We never had a problem. The staff are so friendly. Every time we arrived at the dining room for dinner, they would greet us by name and pay particular attention to Michael which he loved.
Each day our drinks waiter remembered what drinks I liked and on some occasions it was ready when I got there. They also looked after Michael really well which made him happy so our dinner was pleasant too.
I cannot recommend the dining room enough for dinner. Try it and you wont be disappointed. Remember that you can also ask for a main course as a starter, just ask. Whilst the buffet food is nice, it is no comparison to the dining room service and atmosphere. They also had live piano and violin playing in the dining room which is reminiscent of old cruising traditions

Disembarkation - for new cruisers, disembarkation can be confusing. Look for the video on your tv that will explain everything. This is generally shown on the last day of your cruise.
With RCI, you don't have to put your luggage out the night before until midnight so the extra to is really helpful.

Passenger Profile on this cruise:
On this cruise there has been a real mix, from the really really old to the young families. Of course there are people with bad manners on every cruise and we have to try to ignore these!

Grand Suite 1556:
We are really happy with our suite. Very comfortable and lots of little extras that we found really good including the dinner menu updated each day in our suite so that we could decide whether we wanted to go to the dining room for dinner or not. For those not in a suite, you can still see what is on the dinner menu as it is posted outside the dining room in the early afternoon each day. If there is nothing that appeals to you, you can always call the reservations line and cancel your dinner booking.

WIFI using an Iphone or Ipad:
There is WIFI in all the staterooms which is great. There is a little trick to using Iphone or Ipad on the WIFI because they say they do not support these devices as sometimes passengers have not logged off the system correctly and then used up all their internet time. We have worked out a routine but even so, on a 14 night trip we have spent $170 on internet!!
Compose all your messages offline, go online to send them and then download any new mail and then quickly log off.

Procedure for setting up WIFI on RCI using an Iphone or ipad:

Firstly go to the internet cafe and using their self service screens, create your internet account. The cost will be added to your SeaPass account.

Then you can set up your device
Turn on WIFI on the device through the settings icon. On the first occasion it will detect the RCI WIFI and then ask you to login.

Then go to SAFARI and enter the web address for the logout page. Once this comes up, using SAFARI create a bookmark icon on your home screen. this will make logging off each time much quicker.

Then you can start up your email app or facebook etc.

When you are ready to log off, use the icon you created. When you open it, the page should say you have logged off. Then go to Settings on the device and turn WIFI OFF. This will make sure you are not chewing up precious internet time in case the RCI logoff does not log off correctly. Doing it this way we have been able to make sure we did not lose internet minutes.

Just for your information, we used three devices on the same internet package and it worked fine..

When you run out, the page will tell you.

The Bad:
Coffee: The coffee place onboard is a take away service and no table service is provided. I missed that from other lines. Trevor stood in long lines waiting to be served and then waiting for the coffee to be ready. This was the only good coffee place on board so it got very busy.
I soon worked out that it was better to go to the Concierge Club to make a cappuccino up there. Unfortunately this is only for suite passengers and other club members.

No alcohol deliveries to your stateroom.

Lunch in the main dining room:
We found this menu to be a bit restrictive and there was little we would eat on it.

The Ugly
Some rude passengers. You get these on every cruise but it is amazing to watch these people who have no concept of how to coexist on a ship with others. I can't blame RCI for these.

It has been a relaxing holiday. Cold weather and seasickness aside, we had lovely accommodations and great people looking after us. We spent lots of time as a family and saw some beautiful countryside in New Zealand.

We will be back on board Radiance in around 7 weeks for a 7 night cruise to Melbourne and Tasmania.

For all of you who may read this, enjoy your cruising regardless of what line you cruise with. it is an experience that you will always remember!

Until next time, safe passages to all.

1 comment:

Lestel said...

Hi Alessandra
I have been reading your blog with great interest as my husband and I are sailing on Radiance in January and you have given us lots of valuable information. You sound like you have had a great time even with the bad weather conditions you have encountered. Keeping everything crossed we have better weather in January! Thanks again for a great read. Lesley :-)
N.B. Your stateroom looks awesome, so lovely to have all that space!