Radiance of the Seas
Cruising Style
Steve J. Garrod


Radiance of the Seas 2002
Webmaster Steve

Recently I have attempted to divert from the typical "Cruise in Review" day-by-day format to one that more effectively reflects the type of voyage experienced.  The following publication will be an effective example thereof as this was a shorter cruise voyage.  I very much believe that many criteria contribute to the overall cruise experience such as home port, travel companions, and staff.

Viking Crown Lounge as Seen from Canada Place After having moved to Seattle recently, my mother and father visited me and we complemented the experience with a 3-Night Pacific Northwest cruise aboard the GTV Radiance of the Seas.  After having cruised a multitude of times and having worked aboard ships for two years, I certainly keep my eyes peeled for detail when sailing these days.
Bow of Radiance of the Seas I have decided to integrate my personal cruise experience with that of the overall onboard experience delivered by the Radiance of the Seas.  I am highly familiar with the French and Finnish shipbuilding design of Royal Caribbean International's other ships and was highly intrigued to see that of Germany.  With that said, Radiance exhibits a feel very similar to true Celebrity Ships in décor and craftsmanship.
A Royal Caribbean Trademark While the embarkation and disembarkation process in Seattle is quite comprehensive in terms of security, passenger flow remains speedy and efficient.  Having arrived to the Bell Street Pier early also contributed to the easy boarding process.  The disembarkation Customs and Immigration process compares similarly to an international airport setup.  As always, having paperwork and baggage tags properly completed will assist greatly.
Common Area Deck 2 Centrum

Partial View of the Centrum
A Partial View of the Centrum

Radiance of the Seas' overall interior impression is like her Vision Class predecessors in that her layout is easy to navigate and anchored by the striking Centrum common area.  Her overall artistic theme is "20th Century Design Classics".  Public traffic areas such as elevator lobbies also retain pleasing pastel colors like the Vision Class ships.  Being a ship enthusiast, I immediately began to pick out design standards common to German shipbuilding.  Internal and external common areas exude a very sharp, clean, and impressive appearance.
Corridor Signage
A Stateroom Corridor

Ship's Layout Signage Post

A very important tool in facilitating shipboard life is signage, in my opinion.  Radiance of the Seas carries over images used on other Royal Caribbean ships in addition to new items brought in by German ship design.  You'll find many examples of eye-pleasing signage throughout my review and I will also accentuate a couple of examples.

Efficient signage is a key factor in acclimating first-time cruisers to a ship of this magnitude.  The fact that Radiance offers three and four-night voyages and attracts local Pacific Northwest residents attributes to a number of first-time cruisers.

Radiance of the Seas and Seattle
Radiance and Seattle

Viking Crown Lounge and Space Needle

In that I live in Seattle, I found embarking there very pleasing and was able to capture some hometown photos while exploring the Radiance for the first time.  I was able to meet an online friend through the Cruise Critic of many years on board and we explored Radiance of the Seas and shared our impressions of her.

I found it quite comical to be standing on the top deck of the Radiance while viewing my hometown and also listening to music of Focus, the ship's steel band.  The weather could not have been much better on this day and it provided a wonderful backdrop for Radiance's outer decks.

George and Rayetta in the Windjammer Café A customary embarkation buffet lunch took place in the Windjammer Café from noon to 4:00 PM.  Mom, dad, and I enjoyed that time to lunch and discuss the rest of the day's itinerary.
Lifeboat Mustering in the Aurora Theater

Steve and Mom Just After Lifeboat Mustering

The beautiful weather continued through sail away.  Radiance of the Seas departed at 5:10 PM and was preceded, of course by the mandatory mustering to lifeboats.  Well, in this case, our particular stateroom called to muster in the Aurora Theater.  The muster signal aboard Radiance is communicated by ship's whistle, internal alarm tones, and strobe lights for the hearing impaired.  I prefer congregating on outer decks of the ship as we were uncertain as to where we would even proceed in an emergency.

Sail away was striking as we watched from our balcony of stateroom 1014.  My significant other took photos of us from the Bell Street Pier as we sailed off in the Puget Sound and we also took opposite view photos.

Radiance of the Seas Sets Sail

Mom and Myself on the Verandah

To the left are some photographs taken of Radiance of the Seas as we set sail.  You will see in the second of the two photographs that my mother and I are standing out on our verandah.  I am on the mobile phone speaking with the photographer as mom looks on.  I have designed a separate section further in this review of the entire ship's departure from Seattle.
Guest Relations / Explorations!
Guest Relations/Explorations!

Breakers Dining Room
Breakers Dining Room

Cascades Dining Room
Cascades Dining Room

Entrance to Cascades Dining Room
Entrance to Cascades, Deck 5

From this point hereafter, I will focus on a review of the ship herself and add particular cruise details accordingly.  The ship review will begin with the lower decks and work its way up.

A striking feature of the Centrum is that her lifts connect every public access deck from twelve to two.  Even with a mere two categories of staterooms on deck two, an impressive elevator lobby invites guests to explore upward.  State-of-the art conference facilities, a business center, and art auction room are housed on less-traveled decks four and three.  Conversely, the commonly-used Guest Relations Desk is located at the base of the Centrum proper.

The main dining room, Cascades, begins on deck four and sweeps upward.  She is also complimented by two sub dining rooms, Tides and Breakers.  Cascades is dramatically flanked by pillars encircled with linen coverings.  A forward wall near the staircase and piano features a cascading waterfall, appropriately.  Food served in Cascades was similar to what I've expected on other ships in the fleet.  The elimination of the sommelier in the staff was, indeed, noticeable as the server is now responsible for wine service.

Deck 5 Forward

View from the Helicopter Pad
View of the Superstructure

Centrum Glass Walls facing Starboard Side

Deck five is very well recognized on board as providing an outdoor walk-around path.  The outdoor promenade is full-circle with staircases completing the forward walk and leading to the helicopter pad.  For those with the curiosity of standing at the forward-most point of a ship, the helicopter pad provides such an experience.  On this particular voyage, the forward-most section was closed by gate in the evening.

Rubber padding covers the majority of the walk-around path with selected segments around entry ways made of teak deck.  The overall appearance of the exterior areas is very clean and only contains basic items such as deck chairs and necessary emergency equipment.

Midship, one will find a dramatic glass wall that encloses the Centrum.  The port side glass provides a view of the Centrum elevators while the starboard side affords sweeping sea views for lounging guests.  Walking completely aft will provide a view of the ship's wake created by twin Azipod motors.

Entrance to Shops Port Side

Books Books and Coffee

Deck five provides much more than just the walking deck, of course.  It is also host to many of the ship's public areas.  Walking forward from Cascades and passing through the Centrum, one finds him/herself in the Shops of the Centrum.  Much like the Vision class ships, most shops are centralized and surround a central kiosk for jewelry and other impulse items.  While one expects this general setup on many ships, a new feature for this class of ships is Books Books and Coffee.  The name is highly exemplary of the content and also hosts several Internet terminals in addition to the many that parallel the Shops of the Centrum's entrance.
Robert Begin Art Director and Auction A further sign of the technology advancement found aboard Radiance of the Seas presents itself in the photo gallery.  Here, recessed in the wood paneling, monitors relay information and promotions regarding the gallery itself.  Further forward of the photo gallery, one finds the art gallery which is another relatively new feature in the Royal Caribbean family of ships.   While a vast selection of art auction pieces are on display here, the auction this voyage took place at the base of the Centrum with auctioneer Robert Begin.
Foyer of the Aurora Theatre Proceeding completely forward on deck five, one finds him/herself at the introductory foyer of the Aurora Theatre.  This is the venue for the nightly shows and productions hosted by the cruise director and singers / dancers.   The theme herein is of the Aurora Borealis and depicts the colors and images associated with it.  Flowing lines break up complimentary colors very much pleasing to the eye.  The production show put on this voyage was "Rockin' in Paradise" put on by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers.
Rockin' in Paradise

Rockin' in Paradise

Rockin' in Paradise

"Rockin' in Paradise" exemplifies a production fit for the beauty of the theatre itself.  The show also delivers a range of musical nuances fit for any age category.  The members of the cast exhibited a high level of energy and delivered the production in a clean manner.  There is a dynamic suspension performance put on by two of the dancers that definitely grabs the attention of the audience to the song, "You'll Be in My Heart" from the Tarzan soundtrack.  The overall effect created is very enthralling and commands the attention of the audience.

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