Embarking on a world cruise stuffed with dreams and the reality was even better. Taking this world cruise from Sydney, across the Tasman-sea, through Micronesia and the Americas on the Radiance of the Seas still got shivers down my spine. It is just surreal that I was going on the cruise that was taking the high seas travel to another level. Dating back in time – traditionally, world cruises were used exclusive domain of the wealthy. Today, it is accessible and affordable to suit all cruise travellers.
Taking this world cruise means it was an easy and affordable way to see the world in comfort, especially accommodation was very important part of long cruises. Tailored for water-world, Ms Radiance of the Seas is a cruise ship owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International. It has a carrying capacity of 3000 passengers and 1000 crews.
Stepping inside the entrance of the cruise-ship, was more like entering into an end of financial year sales shopping complex. With cruise-ships catering for all meals as inclusive, except all drinks, the cruise-staff have a point-of-sale bargaining power. Various departments from speciality restaurants, souvenirs to travel agents and more promote and sell their products to the passengers – giving huge discounts for few minutes only, other incentives and how to become a cruising club member with benefits.
After few minutes of waiting, my stateroom was now available and accessible. However, it was quite chaotic in the first 30 minutes or so as most of the passengers are rushing in all directions to their cabins. Having experienced that before in my past cruises, it was wise for me to sit and relax with a cup of tea while waiting for the mad-rush to cease. Finally, I made way to my stateroom and what a surprise it was – A big surprise that I didn’t saw it coming. I had a $100 voucher from my travel-agent.
As I always do whenever I am travelling on a cruise-liner, I tend to explore the ship briefly to make myself familiar with everything before sailing out of the Sydney cruise terminal. It was getting dark as we sailed out and the city lights began to appear in its glory and brighten the city, Sydney Harbour bridge and the Opera House. It was just spectacular and magical to see the city lights by night from the balcony of my room.
Sydney is undoubtedly one of the mega cities in Australia and probably the world. It has the highest number of Australia’s population living there and a very popular destination for millions of visitors throughout the world. For many visitors, it is one of the must-do city to visit and tick off their bucket-list. What a thrill it was for many passengers on board and me.
As we sailed away into the open sea, venturing through Sydney’s famous Heads, we cruised north along Australia’s east coast and navigating across the Tasman Sea for few nights on sea to New Zealand, to its first maiden call at Picton. This picturesque seaside town of Picton in the Marlborough Region of New Zealand’s South Island is the base for the service that links the main islands of New Zealand and the heart of the Marlborough Sounds.
From Picton, the ship headed to Wellington, capital of New Zealand over-night. Known as “Windy Wellington” is a compact city, it compasses a waterfront promenade, sandy beaches, a working harbour and colourful timber houses on surrounding hills. The views were absolutely breathtaking on top of Mt Victoria as we explore more of the city’s botanical gardens and the museum.
After crossing the international dateline, we reached the exotic island of Papeete, capital of Tahiti located in French Polynesian group of islands for two days. This island enjoys an incredible tropical landscape mountains, including beautiful sandy beaches to relax on. Once a sleepy town, today its harbour is busy with cargo freighters, copra ships, luxury cruise-liners and ocean-going yachts.
From Papeete, we headed to Moorea, an tiny island, just few kilometres from the main island of Tahiti. Once a little sleepy island, Moorea is visited by many western tourists who travel to French Polynesia because of its stunning scenery and accessibility to the island from Papeete. A popular destination for honeymooners and considered to be very expensive island and not a lot of tourists flood the island.
After a short over-night cruise on the sea, we reached our final group of Polynesian island destination of Bora Bora. Bora Bora a small island located on the northwest of Tahiti is surrounded by sand-fringed motus (islets) and a turquoise lagoon protected by a coral reef. It is a popular luxury resort destination where some guest bungalows are perched over the water on stilts. This island is definitely one of the most beautiful, expensive and exotic holiday destinations in the world.
Leaving the waters of French Polynesia, the Radiance of the Seas took the famed North Pacific Ocean route to Honolulu, Oahu, capital of Hawaii. This island city is part of U.S. state and is the 50th and most recent state to joined the United States of America in August 21, 1959. It is only U.S. state located outside North America and is famous for the attack of Pearl Harbour during the war.
Exploring the Ship: Radiance of the Seas
The Radiance of the Seas cruise-ship has two main pools – one is a solarium cover, an adult sanctuary from the kids, one huge show lounge, five bars, duty-free shops, casino, cinema, a spa and fitness centre, both indoor and outdoor game courts, restaurants, cafes and many more.
Main Swimming Pool
The onboard entertainment and activities are endless and there is something to do for everyone. Each night is flooded with theatre shows from comedy, drama to musical live shows and many more during the long cruise. Most bars had gaming nights and live music of all genre. Off-shore excursions in every destination visited have full of adventures and thrills for everyone – young, old, singles and families. If none of these are your passions – you can relax by the pool-side or try your luck at the casino. All these entertainments and activities onboard are all inclusive without any cost. It is always fun to participate in all activities and entertainment depending on your interest but it is all part of cruise experience. It gives you a great opportunity to create new friendship for a lifetime.
Main Dining Restaurant
It is no doubt that when taking cruise for your holidays, food becomes big part of cruising for most passengers. On board the Radiance of the Seas, it has a wide variety of food available in different areas around the ship. Some at no additional cost and others charge a fee – like the speciality dining restaurants or cafes. The ship has two-level Cascades sit down main dining rooms with columns draped in curtains and oversized mirrors flanking the sections of the room without windows, the whole space offers a light and airy ambiance. Seating around 1110 guest, the rooms also features two small private dining areas. The 30 seat Tides dining room port side and Breakers seating 102 guests starboard side.
There are other dining ares which are buffet style where you help yourself and return many times as possible until you’re bloated. The buffet restaurant offer a large variety of food and dessert selection. My preference is eating in the main dining restaurant where I have three meals a day with table service and most importably, it controls my eating habits to a minimal level.
On board the cruise, many of the staff offer you “speciality dining packages”. The speciality form of dining is fine dining and with formal attire with additional cost but the experience is unbelievable. Most speciality dining places cater for only very limited number of people in a small enclosed private area. You are offered with your welcome drink on arrival before been lead into the restaurant. It usually serve a 7-course dinner and every meal and drink is thoroughly explained by the chef and sommelier before being served on the table for the guests to enjoy it. You are treated like royalty and every meal taken out was unbelievably exceptional and could not find any fault in it. What a treat it was to be able to be part of this speciality dining experience and loved every moment of it. I would highly recommend it to any cruise travellers.
Inside of the Ship
As you move around inside the cruise-ship or outside, you must admire everything around you from interior decorations, features, designs, lightings and materials used are just absolutely incredible. It just create an atmosphere of fine living. Wether, you’re taking a walk along the corridors on each level, taking a lift or standing above the top deck looking down from the top to bottom or vice-versa, it truly gives you a sense of appreciation of cruise life. As I absorb and mesmerise everything happening around you, at times not knowing that you’re actually floating in the middle of the ocean somewhere and nowhere is just surreal.
House keeping and activities information
The room attendants extremely provide an excellent service from the very moment you first set foot inside your room to the final days of your time on the ship and they operate 24 hours a day. The rooms are cleaned on daily basis and are always ready to help you in any manner from laundry issues to room service. Each night, as you enter your room, you’re most likely to step in with full of surprises. Along side your made-up bed, they place daily-cruise information for the following day so you’re aware of all-day daily activities happening inside the cruise-ship and what you expect to see and do at the next destination. Also, they have all the folding skills to entice you as you walk into your room.
Fun of activities on the cruise is never ending – from live shows and music to comedies and fun games and you will never get tired of it. Yes, cruising is the way of life on board. From what you will see and experienced is the whole package of wonderful memories you will take home. The outdoor party on the top deck certainly will send you away packing with amazing cruise experience. what a fun, what a thrill it is.
From personal perspective: Cruising is not only about relaxing in one particular place. It is about enjoying variety of destination you visit and at the same time, you’re filled with entertainment along the way. The variety of activities they provide without you having to pack and unpack. Yes, Cruising is the way of life.
FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA