When Royal Caribbean debuted its first-in-class Radiance of the Seas in 2001, passengers raved about the light that came streaming through the ship's glassy exterior. Add this to a regular refurbishment program and it's no surprise Radiance of the Seas continues to retain loyal fans and win new ones, especially with the line's other ships increasing in size. With plenty of lounge areas and bars, this is a convivial ship that lends itself to socialising and good times, especially if you are up for a sing-along around the piano or a game of trivia in the Schooner Bar.
Radiance of the Seas is known as Royal Caribbean's "dining ship" in Australia as it has such a large number of free and for-a-fee dining options, especially given its modest size. With restaurants dedicated to juicy steaks, Italian, South American and Japanese cuisine -- and that's just the specialities -- it's the perfect ship for those who enjoy good food and cruising in equal measure.
However, the main attraction is still the midsized ship's warm, light-loving design. With vast expanses of open space and floor-to-ceiling windows at every turn, you might even find yourself wearing sunglasses inside. In fact, half of the ship's exterior is glass -- and there are even outside elevators spanning 12 decks. With sea views from many bars and lounges, there are plenty of places to curl up with a good book during the day or enjoy the sunset with a refreshing drink in hand as the evening’s live entertainment kicks off.
With some of the best features from other Royal Caribbean ships, Radiance offers plenty of diversity while maintaining an intimate vibe afforded by its modest size.
If you prefer a mainstream cruise experience on a smaller ship and enjoy dining out, you will find plenty to enjoy onboard Radiance of the Seas.
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For more details about cabins, dining and things to do, see the separate sections of this review.
Royal Caribbean typically appeals to couples and singles in their 30s to 50s, as well as multigenerational families. The median age is in the low 40s on seven-night cruises and in the 30s on three-and four-night cruises. Passengers on cruises 10 days and longer tend to be 50-plus. Radiance of the Seas attracts passengers who are looking for an affordable, active vacation. When the ship sails in North America, count on cruising with mostly Americans and Canadians. When it repositions Down Under, Australians are the predominant nationality onboard.
Onboard the overall vibe is relaxed with cropped trousers, jeans, T-shirts, vest tops, swimsuits, cover-ups and sundresses for women and swimwear, shorts, jeans, collared shirts and T-shirts for men dominating during the day. T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops/thongs are acceptable for lunch throughout the ship, but swimsuits, robes, bare feet, vest tops, baseball caps and pool wear are not permitted in the main restaurants or speciality restaurants at any time.
At dinner, the dress code is smart casual for women, which Royal Caribbean sets out as skirt or trousers (no holes, rips or tears) with a blouse. While jeans are perfectly acceptable, many women do opt for dresses and a smarter look. For men, the code is trousers (no holes, rips or tears) with a collared shirt. Two formal nights are typically scheduled on seven-day voyages, with the majority of men opting for a dark suit or sports jacket instead of a tuxedo.