After our whirlwind week in the Hawaiian Islands, it was now time to slow down as the ship navigated us to Vancouver. The voyage took 5 days so we planned to relax and enjoy the activities on the ship.
We were actually quite surprised with the weather on our return. Starting with the first day, it was quite overcast, making it cooler almost right away. By the second day at sea, the air was also colder and by the third day we had to wear long pants and sweaters. This was a big surprise as we had left perfect blue skies and 30-degree celsius weather in Maui. Turns out the middle of the Pacific ocean is a very cold place. It was amazing at some points that the sea depth was more than 5000 metres deep!
The seas were also rough in some parts. Laura had a difficult time during this part of the sailing as she is the most sensitive to the movement of the ship. One day we had large waves that even made walking tricky. We toughed it out the best we could and on some days took sea sickness medication.
For the most part, our days involved reading, playing cards and catching up on homework with Laura. Each day we did fun things such as: trivia sessions, jewelry making workshops & charades. There were many contests and competitions including a belly flop competition, egg dropping contest, celebrity look alike contest and sing that lyric games. We also attended different events including a behind the scenes tour at the theatre, a crew talent show, Love & Marriage Game Show, a Hollywood movie in the theatre, listening to live music and going to the evening shows. Royal Caribbean does a very good job of providing numerous activities to choose from each day. The activity staff is always busy – especially on 5 long sea days.
One headliner Rick Novell was an incredible action comedian who rode a unicycle on the stage – which we couldn’t believe considering the waves that evening. He did tricks and stunts that take immense strength and we were thoroughly impressed with his talent.
The last Headliner on the ship was a comedian called Etta May. This was an 18+ show that was absolutely hysterical. The performer is dressed as an old, frumpy, southern woman and she talks about her family, kids, marriage and so many other topics that were all relatable. Her jokes were so funny and the delivery deadpan with a southern drawl that just makes you giggle each time she talks. We couldn’t stop laughing.
One of the main focuses on a ship is of course the food. The food on the Radiance of the Seas was very good. We most often ate breakfast in the Windjammer but also tried out the dining room one morning. Lunches were typically casual – sometimes at the Windjammer, other times at the Solarium Café where they had yummy roast beef sandwiches. Our dinners continued to be terrific. We ate like kings each night and of course the lobster dinner evening was a highlight. Surprisingly they limited the number of lobsters to one per person but allowed any other menu item to be ordered in conjunction with the lobster. Our server told us that some voyages they have had people order 10 lobsters so now they have to put limits in place to avoid these situations. We couldn’t believe when he told us people were eating that many.
Our server duo continued to be an endless source of entertainment during our dinner time. Our head waiter was a wiry, little guy with lots of stories of his life back in India - sharing pictures of his lovely wife and new baby. He was knowledgeable and did a tremendous job with our service.
On the last evening of the cruise we booked dinner at a Specialty restaurant called Giovannis. This is an Italian restaurant and the food was excellent. Appetizers and antipasto are served family style so everyone can try it followed by a main course. We ordered beef carpaccio, focaccia, risotto, papparadelle and grilled beef tenderloin. Everything was fantastic! It was a slower pace and lovely atmosphere in the smaller, peaceful setting. Highly recommended.
One of the last afternoons onboard Ian participated in the guest talent show. He did a great job. This is probably the largest audience he had every performed for and he didn’t hesitate – just gave it his all. There were several good singers and it was a great event.
Overall the cruise was really great. We loved the Hawaiian Islands and would certainly visit them again. The extended time onboard was nice – just wish the weather had been better. Unfortunately, you can’t determine what Mother Nature may provide.
We took advantage of the booking onboard bonus and created a booking for the British Isles for 2018. It always makes sense to put down a reduced deposit to hold a cabin on a future cruise since Royal Caribbean will give you free onboard credit. Deposits are fully refundable or can be moved to another sailing so there is no risk by taking advantage of this opportunity.
Our disembarkation in Vancouver was the smoothest we have ever had. There was one queue that wound around the terminal to collect luggage, however it was consistently moving and once through that, we walked right out of the building to the taxi. We don’t know if it was because we were Canadian and our names were pre-cleared on a manifest but we didn’t even go through customs upon our arrival. It certainly made for the easiest and quickest disembarkation ever. Always welcome when you are planning to make a flight the same day.
Our flight home on WestJet was an uneventful and easy direct flight to Pearson where we headed home to start thinking about our next holiday.
Click here for a review of the Radiance of the Seas Ship
Sharing Our Travel Dreams
Sharing our personal experiences onboard and on the road, along with tips and insight for creating memorable vacations.