Radiance of the Seas
San Diego - 10 Day Mexican Riviera

Radinace of the Seas in Cabo San Lucas

January 22 - February 01 2010
By Philatsea and Edited by Northof60

This cruise in some ways had been a long time in the planning. You see, my good friends from northern Canada had agreed to cruise together some 10 years ago but for one reason or another cruises were cancelled or changed and it just did not happen. I said some time back though that if you ever decided to do the west coast of Mexico I would force myself to go. Well back in November Chris and Bev made arrangements to go and I received a call to call our travel agent to book. I did just that at the time as a single as my other half was going to soon start a new job and would not be able to go. About 2-3 weeks before the cruise my daughter (18) asked to go if she paid her way. I agreed and she was added to the booking. This cruise was also different for me because it was my first cruise with Royal Caribbean. My last several cruises were on Holland America.

I decided to fly out of Bellingham, Washington to San Diego the day before the cruise. We were to depart at 5:20 AM with a change of plane in Seattle so we would arrive in San Diego at 9:35AM. This all worked great except San Diego was being dumped on by rain. Flash Flood warnings were out as well as possible mud slide warnings. When we landed in San Diego we noticed almost all flights had been cancelled. We were lucky.
Chris and Bev met us at the airport and we headed to their hotel so we could figure out the plan for the day. We had planned to go to Seaworld but the weather was just plain nasty. A quick check online with Seaworld showed it was closed for the day because of weather. We decided to head to lunch at Olive Garden then to an Outlet Mall for an afternoon of shopping.

Upon arriving at the outlet mall we found many great deals compared to back home in Vancouver, Canada. Things were basically 50% off of what they were back home

We left there and headed to Amy and my hotel which I had booked about 2 weeks before leaving on Priceline. I managed to get a great rate of $60.00 plus service charge for the Hotel Solamar. We checked in and were given a nice room on the seventh floor. We went up to our room and dropped off our stuff and then soon headed out to walk the Gaslight District. We explored several dining options but soon settled on TGIF Fridays for dinner. I had eaten here the last time I was in San Diego and it had something on the menu for everyone.

Chris and Bev had booked The Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina for 2 nights on Priceline. They had a very nice hotel and a good room facing the Marina.

January 22 - San Diego

We had all agreed to meet the following morning at 11:00AM at the cruise ship terminal so we could board early and avoid the rush as there were 3 ships in port today.
    We did just that and when we arrived it was still nuts as there were still people departing the ship. We dropped off our luggage and headed in to check-in. Once checked in Chris and I could take the rental car back.  We walked in and we checked in in less than 10 minutes.
    Amy and Bev headed on board and Chris and I headed out to take the car back to Thrifty rental. We were warned to be back before 1:00 or don't bother coming back till after 3:00 as the lines would be long. The traffic was just nuts around the port. Once we returned the car we decided to walk back as it was just seen as being quicker and easier. The walk back was just over 1km and about 15 minutes walking.
    We arrived back to find the line-up out the building down the sidewalk and now starting back. We stood in line for about 20 minutes before getting back inside to find that we would have to wait as if we were checking in again. We talked to check-in rep who managed to let us pass and head to security after a few minutes wait.

I will say this about trying to bring your own booze on board RCI. In our case we did not try but what we did see was this. They x-rayed all carry ons and if it had a bottle shape in it the bag was hand searched. If someone had a 2 liter bottle of say 7-Up that was in their carry on they would take it out and shake it hard. If it didn't fizzle in the bottle a closer inspection was in order. The bottle would be checked to see it it had been opened first. If it had that was almost a dead give away it likely wasn't 7-Up. If the seal was intact they would open it for the sniff test.
We saw a small amount of booze that had been confiscated already and there was still a lot of people to board the ship.

We arrived back on board just in time as from time to time it just poured today. It started to pour then hail like there was no end. We could see roads starting to flood again and those standing in line were getting soaked and pelted with hail.

Hail on the deck
Hail on the deck

Chris and Bev took us on a tour of the ship both inside and outside exploring many of the places we made favourite spots.

outdoor poolSolarium Pool - indoor adult poolSolariumdeck chairs in the Solarium

We had the normal Life Boat drill but without Life Jackets. We just attended our station as per normal and roll call was taken and everything explained as per normal including the donning of the life jacket itself.

After this the Captain explained that after we left the nice cozy confines of San Diego harbour we would be in open ocean and subject to the seas. He explained we could expect swells of 20 feet with rolling.

We left as on time as we could as Carnival Spirit left, followed by Maasdam, then us.

We sailed out and we decided to go to the Schooner Bar where we had our sail away drinks. We had been on deck but with it trying to pour from time to time it was just better inside.
    The interesting thing is one enters the Schooner Bar from the Centrum you walk through an area reminiscent of an old schooner with cannon balls, rifles and a cannon. You then smell gun powder which is really different. (The smell is actually a combination of oil, rope and gunpowder. Read this somewhere, but not sure where.)
    The Schooner Bar would prove to be our meeting point every night before dinner. One can sit at one end closer to the music which changes nightly or slightly further out where it is a bit more quiet and you can carry on a conversation with music in the background.    

Centrum from deck 11Schooner BarSchooner Bar

We arrived for dinner at 8:30 and found our table once again as we had found it earlier as we were looking around the ship. It was a table for 10 and the four of us were the only ones at it. In fact the dining room was only about 1/3 to 1/2 full. There were many empty tables. Let's say things were rocking and rolling and it wasn't from music.
    As dinner progressed we noticed the bio-hazard team attending to several hazards in the dining room.
    Our table waiter was a very nice lady named Jade from Trinidad and Tobago. She provided great service and appeared to have a great sense of humour.

We left dinner and Amy and I headed down to our cabin on deck 3. As the dining room was on deck 4 we just had to walk down one flight of stairs. As we approached the stairs there was a huge line-up of people going down. I soon found out this was the line-up to the Medical center.

January 23 - At Sea

Today was still rather rough and not many people around. I also didn't sleep well last night as I could hear a door slamming all night. At this point I am not sure if it is cabin next door or not but it is very annoying.

We had made an early decision to play progressive trivia and use the name Seacruise. We attended today and ended up tied for second place. We were happy with this.

Today also included a scavenger hunt where Chris and I took on others. When it was all over we ended up second again but should have been tied for first because we made a small blunder on a two part question where we failed to write the answer down. For this we managed to win the Royal Caribbean Highlighter.

For the most part today we just relaxed and explored Radiance a bit more.
    The ship itself is in fairly good shape. We did see seams of carpets coming apart and several major stains in the carpet on different decks. There are places where some chairs are showing their wear with scuff marks past the finish. I alone found several dining room chairs in the Cascade dining room to be very loose and in need of repair. The same thing was true in the Windjammer Restaurant.

The Windjammer is your typical Lido restaurant offering buffet service. It offers several stations which are duplicated of each side of the restaurant. Most people attend breakfast and lunch here. Dinner is also served here but we never did get to see how well or not well attended it was.
    Something that really irritated me was I am a type 2 diabetic. Now trying to cut my sugar intake down is tricky on a cruise with all the choices at dinner and lunch. I would rather drink tomato juice in the morning rather than orange juice or apple juice. Now the Radiance charges for Tomato and orange juice in the Windjammer. I was told that if I didn't want to pay for tomato juice I could go to the dining room for breakfast and I would have the choice between tomato and V8 juice. I give negative marks for RCI for this move when they say if you have a special dietary need they will look after it. Yes sure they will - at a small cost.
    I had recently been told that RCI was cutting back their food services by 40% to reduce costs. I did notice that almost every morning we had the same choices for breakfast and no real variance for it except potatoes.

Today we attended progressive trivia and were up against about 12 teams. We managed to finish 2nd today.

sunset

Tonight was the first of our two formal nights with the four of us attending the meet the Captain and Officers in the Colony Club lounge. Champagne was served along with some snacks.
    There was slight problem for tonight's formal night and that was when I was getting ready I went to get the shirt out of the closet I was going to wear tonight. It wasn't there along with about 4 other shirts. I realized that I had hung up these shirts in the Hotel Solamar and forgot them there. The weird thing was I always check under the bed etc before we leave the room for the final time and while doing so this time I found many items under the bed from past guests but failed to check the closet I guess.
    After the Captains toast we attended dinner at our 8:30 seating to once again only find the four of us at a table for 10. After a short time 6 more people joined us. After brief introductions of where we were all from etc. we began the task of ordering dinner.

Tonight's show was Revolution a Beatles Tribute Band.
     I have not gone to many shows on my last several cruises but all of us went and I must say this show not only surprised us and entertained us like no other show in recently memory.

January 24 - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Today we would anchor in Cabo San Lucas and tender into the port. We had booked Whale Watching through the ship prior to leaving for the cruise.

We met for breakfast at 9:30 AM in the Windjammer Cafe and then had to proceed to the Aurora Theatre for 10:30 AM to  leave for our shore excursion.

After we boarded the tender and headed ashore we were met by the company doing the excursion on the pier. We then proceeded a short distance down the pier to board our zodiac boat for our tour. There were about 12 of us for this tour which would prove to be a nice size group.
    Once on board we were told that the ride could be rough and we were to wear life jackets. This proved the case as it was rather rough and we hit a few really big waves for a zodiac.
    We proceeded out about 20 minutes before spotting our first whale which had a calf with her but there was not much happening. We viewed this pair with two other whale watching boats. We soon left this mother and calf and searched for another mother and calf. After about 15 minutes we located another mother and calf that appeared to be fairly active. One of the other whale watching boats soon joined us but had to return back to Cabo as their time was up. This was good news for us because soon after they left the calf turned out to be very active. We saw many breaches and pectoral flipper smacks and this lasted for about 1 hour. There turned out to also be a nurse whale with this mother and calf. The guide estimated that the calf was about 1 month old.
    Amy had never seen anything like this before and was very pleased in what she saw.
    I had done whale watching last in Hawaii and this was by far much better than that.
    This tour was well done and well worth the money, I would do it again!

Whale WatchingWhale WatchingWhale WatchingWhale WatchingWhale WatchingWhale breach #2Whale breach #3Whale tail slapWhale breachingSeals on the rocks at Los Archosanother Zodiac like we were on from the same companyLos ArchosAmy having a drink at Senior Frogs

Whale Watching Video

I can't begin to say how much the four of us enjoyed this tour, in fact it is safe to say that all in the boat enjoyed it. I think from the photos above you can see why. I have also included a video above I shot while whale watching. I have not edited except for size, It is a 31 meg file so I recommend only high speed only.

After we arrived back on shore from the Zodiac we went for a short walk along the water front then headed for Senior Frogs near the pier. It had been many years since I was last at Senior Frogs and the last time almost missed the ship. I did not want a repeat performance this time.
    We ordered beers for 3 of us while Amy had a Strawberry Margarita. We also ordered food like chicken wings and Nachos.
    We decided to have a photo taken of us there and decided to purchase it for $15.00 so we all could remember our time there.

When we left Senior Frogs we headed back to the pier to catch a tender back to the ship.

As most who have cruised before know, tendering can be a real pain for waiting for the next tender and boarding the tender itself. This wasn't the case. It proved quick and easy. It was also nice that the tenders have an upper deck for about 25 people.
    Once we headed up the gangway back on-board we went through security who were once again checking for "liquor" as well as other items. In fact not even a six pack of beer is allowed on board. We once again noticed just beyond security the "desk" where one surrendered their booze. They would not even allow you to bring even a few beer on board. 

Cabo San Lucas
Cabo San Lucas Panorama - Click Photo

Tonight at dinner we had agreed to meet our Waitress Jade at the Margarita Stand where the small market is where the shuttle drops you off the next morning.  

The show tonight was Ed Regine and Matt Clark. I didn't go but Chris, Bev and Amy went and when was all over all they could say was Ed Regine was great but Matt was just "creepy". 

January 25 - Mazatlan, Mexico

Last night I wore my ear plugs and when I woke and took them out I could hear the door again. This was enough so I decided to get dressed and stand in the open door of my cabin to see where it was coming from. I stood there for a few minutes and could hear it and sure enough it was coming from below.
    As we departed the ship this morning I could see a crew hall from the gangway area that runs the length of the ship under my hall from deck 3.

We had decided to go to the Margarita stand on the pier as Chris had fond memories (up to a point) last time he was here. He wanted to visit it again to see if it would end differently this time.
    You see, Seacruise had a group cruise to Mexico back on the Vision of the Seas several years back and one of those on it was Steve. Steve said this stand made the best drinks you could get and one didn't have to travel far from the ship to get them.
    The sad part is Steve passed away while on his 25th wedding anniversary cruise a couple of years later.

We arrived at the stand slightly late at 10:40 AM and I waited at a table while the others went to have a look in the market.

They all soon arrived back and we sat down. Chris and I ordered a bucket of beer while we got the ladies Margaritas. It wasn't long before Jade arrived with other crew. Jade came over to talk and the others hung back. We told Jade that the others could join us and she went over to invite them  to the table. We were introduced to Louis her husband and MC the Room Service Manager along with another waitress Henrietta from Hungry.
    We offered them all a beer but Louis and Jade split one while the others were waiting for lunch.
    There was a guy who was offering Jello shots of Tequila. We all soon decided that Jello shots were in order and MC picked up the cost for the first ones.
Soon after this Jade and her group left for lunch and Jade said she and Louis would return if we were still there when they returned.
We were still there when Jade and Louis returned and they sat back down with us. We discussed things back in their country of Trinidad and Tobago.
    Soon our Jello shots guy was back and he was now making paper flowers for the ladies. From there we progressed to balloon hats for all 6 of us. 
    Then after this a few more Jello shots and Jade and Louis left back for the ship, but not before agreeing that we would wear our hats to dinner that night.
    That left the four us to finish off the drinks and then back to the ship.

Jello ShotsChris just got two flowers made for him - about to get a balloon hatnice hatnice hatHappy groupAmy's HatDinner time


We arrived back on board the ship and decided that a nap was in order prior to attending the Schooner Bar for a nightly debriefing. 

We decided to skip the show tonight as it was a pre-dinner show and we decided to nap instead.

We arrived at dinner wearing our balloon hats as we said we would to also find Jade wearing her nice balloon hat.
    I must say we had fantastic table mates to put up with 4 people wearing balloon hats to dinner.

After dinner Louis came down to the dining room with his balloon hat and we decided that we needed a photo of all us wearing our hats.

We went up to Deck 5 and stood outside with our balloon hats and the ships photographer saw us wanted us to do a Formal shot which we did. The only problem when it was done they cut the balloons off half way up. No point in buying this one.

Upon arrival back in the cabin there was a short survey on the bed from the Front Office asking how things were going. I filled it out regarding the opening/closing door and took it to the Front Office. I never heard anything from them on this.

January 26 - At Sea

Ahh yes today was sleep in day as we were at sea.

I managed to sleep in till about 9:00AM and Amy slept till about 11:00. I went upstairs and had breakfast in the Windjammer Cafe and took my laptop along and sat outside and started to work on this review.
Around 11:00 I went back to the cabin to see if Amy was up as we had agreed to all meet at noon in the Windjammer Cafe. We needed to prepare for progressive trivia at 1:30PM. You see there is a 2 point bonus question that involves watching Mindless Chatter with the Cruise Director Kirk and “Bingo” Maui.

We all met for lunch in the Windjammer shortly after 12:00 and discussed the possible trivia question. We were all certain what that question would be.

I have not talked much about food on board as I have not been on RCI before and thus wanted to try it for a few days before commenting.
I have noticed there are a lot of the same items everyday with a few items varied such as Indian Curry, Mexican to name a few. The real problem is there appears to be a problem with the temperature of the food being cold or just warm. This is also true of the dining room.

There is also the Seaview Cafe on board that seats about 50 people total both inside and outside. We tried that today after trivia and found the food to be hot and good. This is likely because it is cooked to order.

So we left lunch and headed for trivia and we didn't do as well as we had hoped. The problem is we are not great at US trivia such as where is Brown College? We really needed to add someone from the US to our team to help us with questions such as these.
After all was said and done we slipped to seventh place with 15 teams now.

Tonight we attended dinner and there was Roast Beef on the menu. There were several of us that tried it and all found it very tough that ordered it medium rare. The medium well was much better.
I must say dessert rather surprised me tonight. I ordered dessert and when it came it had small problem. The raspberry's were mouldy.

Mouldy Rasberry
Mouldy Rasberry

Before dinner we all attended the show. It was a Comic/Ventriloquist Kevin Johnson.
Kevin was a semi-finalist on America's Got talent a few years back.
He does a piece about ordering food at McDonalds and and he sure had the audience laughing.

Kevin JohnsonKevin Johnson

Once dinner was over we all went to the Schooner Bar for a brief talk and drink before heading for bed.

January 27 - Acapulco, Mexico

We arrived early in Acapulco and would have to share the dock with P&O's Arcadia who would arrive later in the morning.

The good news was we would not have to venture very far for a drink if one was needed. Acapulco Charlie's was on the pier.

Acapulco Charlies

The plan was to attend breakfast at 9:00AM then head ashore to see the Acapulco high divers.

All was supposed to be good except when I woke up and got up I felt just awful. The problem is I am a type 2 diabetic and I felt light headed and not well. I checked my blood sugar and found it to be very high for me. This would mean that I would not go ashore with the others.

Amy and I arrived at breakfast and I told Chris and Bev about how I felt. I was decided that Chris and Amy would go ashore and leave Bev and myself on board. Part of the problem was also the fact that it was very humid and the temperature was to get to 31C today.

Chris and Amy went ashore and walked along the beach at first but didn't stay ashore for very long as they came back to the ship because it was just too hot.

Once back on board and a little lunch we all went ashore and visited Acapulco Joe's on the pier. Ahh yes more drinks and fun times.

Amy and her ClownBev and her flowerIn case of Emergency

We arrived back on board to watch a Mexican Folk lore show in the Aurora Theatre. This was a well attended show and was very good.

Mexican DancersMexican DancersRope DancingRope DancerThe show finalMariachi band

Tonight was another pre-dinner production show called City of Dreams.
I am not sure what to say about this show other than it really wasn't very good. At the end of the show there was a core group of of about 50 people who leapt to their feet to give it a standing ovation. I had to wonder if I missed something or were they watching a different show than we were?
We went to dinner and discussed the show and all agreed that the show was a real miss and no idea what the others saw in it.

Tonight was "The Quest" Adult Game show at 10:30PM in the Colony Club. If one has ever done one of these before they know how much fun they can be. Our big problem was getting enough players for the game. Two of our table mates agreed to join us.
The game soon started and many items were requested such as dentures and 4 coins that add up to .41 cents. One of the Quests was two guys who had to Dirty Dance. Chris and I did this. When this Quest was over team 15 (us) were disqualified because the "polka" isn't considered dirty dancing.
There was a Quest where two males had to take their pants off turn them inside out and put them on backwards. Well I had mine off and inside out and on while the other two males argued on who would do it. They both chickened out.
There was a male who needed to be covered in lipstick. A beer label to be removed in one piece and presented. An appendix scar (I won this one hands down).

When all was said and done we finished near the bottom of the pack. That said, it was fun and we all had a good time.

January 28 - Zihuatanejo - Ixtapa, Mexico

Today would be another tender day. Tendering started just after 7:00AM and we decided that we would go ashore around 10:00AM. The problem was we were told last night that this is crunch time as not many go ashore early and wait till 9:30-10:00 before heading ashore. We also had to contend with Arcadia being at anchor with us.

Arcadia
Arcadia on her World Cruise

We all went to breakfast and discussed what we would do. It was planned that we would go shopping and look for a Geocache in a local restaurant. I was asked to pick up another hand painted bowl from the local market here. We had bought one here 2 years ago and were very happy with it.

Once ashore we headed into the market and I soon began looking at the bowls. After a brief discussion on price (which was cheaper than the last time) I agreed to take the bowl I had selected.


 Zihuatanejo

From the market we proceeded around town and look at t-shirts and hats and other items. Once we started back to the pier we pulled out the GPS to look for the said geocache we needed to find. It was located in a restaurant called Bandido's which we soon located. It was a rather busy place but talking to the guy at the bottom of the stairs he said no problem he had the cache. We sat down at a table and opened the cache and signed the log. We also ordered drinks and food.
We had several drinks of pop and beer and some nachos with home made salsa.

After we finished the meal we headed back to the pier to catch the tender but not before we stopped to take photos.

Bev and ChrisAmy and Phil

Once back on board we had to attend trivia again at the Schooner Bar. Once again we didn't do as well as we would have liked and maintained our seventh place.

We had to get ready for dinner early as we had other dinner plans for tonight. We had booked the Mystery Dinner show in the Portofino Restaurant at 6:00PM. We would go to the Colony Club where we would have hors d'oeuvres and Champagne to start. I should say that all Champagne and wine is included in the price of the dinner of about $50.00 per person.
The show soon started in the Colony Club and we watched as the murder took place.

Once the murder took place we headed into the Portofino dining room to start dinner and then continue with finding out who did it. The body was wheeled in for us to view. They said rigormortis had already set in, I am sure you will agree.

the body
The body showing rigor mortis


We started off with either Minestrone soup or Caesar salad. I chose the salad and must say it was very good.
For the main course we had a choice of Tiger Prawns or BBQ Steak. I chose the steak and must say it is likely the best steak I have ever had. I am not sure how they infused the BBQ flavor into the steak but how ever they did it was great!

AppyBBQ SteakPrawns

After we finished the main course we were now to question each suspect for a few minutes then they would move onto a new table. At the end we would decide who did it and submit our choice and reason, then a winner would be selected from those that were correct.

While we waited for the winner, Tiramisu was served with coffee or tea.

Tiramisu
Tiramisu

After this the Who Did It was announced and a draw was held to see who won. The Captain was attending this event and won the bottle of Champagne, which he then turned over to a couple of the ladies at his table.

When was all said and done we headed out and into the Schooner Bar and had a last drink before we retired for the night.

January 29 - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Today was a day that I had been waiting for. My Dad used to winter here for 25+ years till two years ago to the day when he took a fall in a store here and suffered a blood clot in his leg and ended up in hospital. My Dad passed away some 6 weeks later.

Chris and I decided to leave Bev and Amy on board to relax while we headed out to grab 3 geocaches before returning to the ship to pick them up.
We managed to get the three caches and return to the ship to get the ladies. We then headed across the street to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things Amy wanted.

Once we were done we headed outside to catch a taxi to old town where I wanted go for lunch at a place I have eaten at before called the Gilmar. The Gilmar has been around for 31 years.
We arrived at the Gilmar to find Benjamin wasn't there but was told he should be there in about 1 hour. Bev needed to visit the bathroom and while we waited Benjamin arrived and we soon were seated at a table after introductions.
One of the things that makes this place special is their Molcajete Salsa with chips that is made table side.
We ordered 3 plates of Chicken and Beef Fajitas along with Chicken Nuggets and fries for Amy.

Gilmar Fajitas

When the Fajitas came out they were flaming and had great taste. It came with beans and fresh guacamole. We could not finish it all but what we did eat was great.

The agreement at the end was this food was great.

From here we headed down the beach to get a cache I missed over a year ago. After a short wait we were able to retrieve the cache and sign the log.

Phil in front of CacheChris in front of cachebuilding near the cache

Here is something you won't see everyday back home.

Need a Coffin?
Need a Coffin?

We then took a taxi back to the ship where we boarded the ship and were checked once again by Security and the Booze Police. Chris and I decided to head back to Wal-Mart to pick up some Diet Pepsi and water for the coming days on board.
    When we arrived back at the ship we passed back through Security with no problems.

We sailed out of Puerto Vallarta on time. We all were on Chris and Bev's Balcony for sail out and were treated to a speical display of Dolphins that followed the ship out in the wake of the ship.

DolphinsDolphins Dolphins Dolphins

Tonight we attended dinner and Bev brought her flower from two days ago. Maurice out Assistant Table Steward presented Jade with it.

Maurice and Jade

January 30 - At Sea

Today we decided to sleep in as we had Trivia at 1:30PM in the Schooner Bar.
    Of course we had to make sure we watched Mindless Chatter today so we could get the 2 point bonus question. We did get a hint that it would not be something they talked about but something in the background.
    Today's show was done below passenger decks on a crew deck on deck 2. I mention this because today I found out about that door that closed at all hours of the day and night. The hall they filmed the show in is called the I-95 because it runs the length of the ship. People are going in and out of the doors down the I-95 all the time. This explains the door I hear all the time.

Prior to Trivia we attended the Scoreboard Lounge to take advantage of the Pitcher of Beer for $5.00. The problem was the bar didn't open at the appointed hour. Off to trivia only to return after it.

We arrived at trivia and began our session.
    The time came to answer the question and boy did we not see this one coming. Name the song played at the start of Mindless Chatter. No one got the answer.

After Trivia we went back to the Scoreboard Bar to find it now open and then to find that they had no pitchers, only a 20 oz. glass of draft for $4.00.
    We then went off to the climbing wall with our beer in hand. Towards the bottom we noticed that our beers had a major problem - "stuff" in it. We went back to the Scoreboard to say um you have a problem.  The bar tender who was different bartender than we had earlier was pouring another draft of the same stuff and I said you may want to hold off pouring that beer till you take a look at what was in ours. The bar tender could care less what was in ours and said I will pour you two new ones of the same beer. Ahh no thanks we will take the other draft now.

Just prior to attending Photo Trivia Chris decided to climb out the climbing wall.

Chris and the wall

Today at 3:30PM we attended Photo Trivia. We arrived a few minutes late and thus started a few minutes after the others. We were told we had 25 minutes to complete the task and be back.
    We ran the ship getting the said photos and arrived back just before the time was up. We had got 19 out of 20 photos.
    This is where we had a problem with the cruise staff. Only the first 3 teams back would have their photos and papers checked and if they had the right answers they were the winners. It didn't matter that we had 19 and were back within the allotted time. Only the first 3 teams back would be considered.
    It turns out the 3rd place team had 18 and the second place team had 19 while first place had all 20. We should have tied for second but no we were not even in the running. It turns out we could have got 4 items either in the Schooner bar or Colony Club within the first minute and returned and sat down and been the first team back. For this we would have taken 3rd place.
    We along with others didn't see this as a fair way to run this. So why have 15-20 teams when only the first 3 have a chance to win no matter what their scores are.

Tonight was the last Formal Night and before dinner we attended the pre-dinner show of Glenn Smith who put on a good show despite almost having lost his voice prior to the show. I am not sure how the second show went but his voice was sure crackling towards the end of the first show.

Chris and another ScottChris and Bev on Formal NightAmy and Phil on Formal night

Tonight there was Steak and Lobster on the menu which is normal for the last formal night.

After dinner on all my past cruises there has been the Baked Alaska Parade. This is not the case on Royal Caribbean.

January 31 - At sea

The last day of a cruise is a sad one in many ways. One has to pack and then put their bags out in the hall before midnight signaling this is the end of your cruise As the day proceeds one says good-bye to new friends.

Today we were asked to watch the disembarkation talk on the TV. There was no going to the show lounge to listen to a one hour talk that was just too long before
    The talk was short and to the point. We received our tags in our cabin today along with where we had to go in the morning to wait along with a list of times we could expect to be off the ship.
    We had beige 1 which was to be first off the ship at about 8:45AM. Our flight home was at 10:30AM. I wasn't too worried as the airport is about 10 minutes from the ship.

Just prior to the trivia we attended the Captains Corner. During the talk it was asked why RCI had discontinued chocolates on the pillow. The Captain explained that surveys showed that 70% of people just tossed them into the trash when they returned to their cabin. So why put them out if people didn't want them.

This afternoon we attended the last of the progressive team trivia. Once again we didn't have someone from the US so we didn't do as well as we would have liked.
    We ended the trivia in eighth place out of 18 which is still good but not as well as we would have liked.

We attended dinner for the last time tonight. Jade our waiter was in a great mood along with our table mates and ourselves. This has been a great table with great people.
    We exchanged email addresses to stay in contact.

What did we learn during this cruise? According to Chris and Jim the short bus is the bus you want to be on!

After dinner we went up to the Schooner Bar to say good-bye. We all sat there and ordered drinks. Soon after Chris and Bev left for a smoke break in the Colony Club Bar. It appeared to take a long time for that smoke but after a lengthy time Chris returned to say we should join them as they were talking to the Food and Beverage Manager John Denton.
    Amy and I sat down with Chris and Bev along with John and were soon introduced.
    Chris had told John that I had cruised Holland America for a long time and while I had tried other lines this was my first cruise on Royal Caribbean.
    John was interested in what I saw as pluses and negatives with RCI and I was more than willing to tell him. John started to say that Chris had told him about the beer from the Scoreboard Bar from the day before and said that the keg has already been pulled and the lines are being flushed. The name of the bartender was being located and he would talking to her. John explained that what happened was totally unacceptable

I said to John that while we were on the topic of draft beer could he please explain why there is no mention of draft beer in the bar menu in the lounges? John found this hard to believe that it was not in the bar menu so I picked up the one near me and handed it to him. John looked and said that is so strange, as we make more profit on draft than bottled beer. He said the menus are printed and put out by head office but he would be bringing it up with them.
    I further pointed out that in some bars the draft is in back rooms where serving staff go to get their drinks filled so we don't see draft handles at the bar to indicate that they have draft.

I should say at this point John was taking over as Hotel Director on the next cruise as the current Hotel Director was going home on holidays.

I mentioned to John that one thing I noticed was food on board, while of good quality, had major temperature problems both in the Cascades Dining Room and the Windjammer cafe. I further mentioned the moldy raspberry that was part of my desert a few nights back.  He was going to talk the Executive Chef.

Chris asked John why there was no Canadian Beer on board yet there was beer from the UK, Germany, Holland and Australia yet there were over 350 Canadians on board this ship. There was only maybe 100 people from the other countries I have listed yet they had more beer.
    John said they used to carry Canadian Beer but not sure why they stopped carrying it but said he had the flexibility to order what he wanted and would probably do so

John asked if I enjoyed my cruise and I said it rated an 8/10 for some of the reasons I have said. I also pointed out my cabin problems along with the vacuum toilet.

I also told John the one that stops me from really looking at RCI for my next cruise is the size of their ships. I find the Oasis of the Seas far too big. John said that something like 60% of passengers on the Oasis don't get off the ship because the ship is the destination. John also said the Oasis was too big for him too. It was generally agreed that travelling on the Oasis was't really "cruising" as far as we are concerned.
    I like to cruise to visit different places but I do admit that I once did a 12 day Mexico cruise and never got off the ship.
    I also would rather do a 10-14 day cruise on a ship the size of the Radiance. The Radiance is headed for Australia for 2011 and in the fall of 2010 to Tampa Florida for short cruises. So things are not looking up right now.

I must say this conversation was very interesting and I found it very worthwhile.

our dinner table
Front Row - Amy - Lacey - Kim - Ruth
Middle - Phil - Drew - Jim
Back - Bev - Chris - Dale

February 1 - San Diego

We arrived in San Diego about 6:00AM. Those non US Citizens had to report to US immigration in the disco starting at 6:30AM with Decks 3 and 4 and then 20 minutes intervals from there working to the top of the ship.

We went and ate our last breakfast on board and then headed to the Aurora Theatre to wait our time.

Once in the Aurora we only had to wait a short time before our number was called at 8:35AM. We left there and headed for the pier to pick-up our luggage. Once that was done we got into a taxi and headed for the airport. Once at the airport we headed for the Alaska Airlines counter and checked our luggage. Then through security. We arrived at the gate at 9:05AM some 30 minutes after we left the ship.

Final Thoughts

It was great to finally get to cruise with Chris and Bev.

Looking at this cruise it was a great cruise. As I said it rated a 8/10. I have been to Mexico now 7 times and having been to all these ports before there was nothing I didn't expect.

As I said the food had it's problems. The cabin really had it's problems and is the worst cabin I have ever had. If you are anywhere on deck 3 near 3131 ask your Travel Agent for a new location. What the crew calls the I-95 runs the length of the ship on deck 2.

I found the crew to be very helpful and very attentive for the most part.

I use a CPAP machine and for the last several years I have had to order Distilled Water and had to pay for it. I have also needed a power bar or extension chord. Holland America has stopped allowing you to bring your own from home saying they will provide one yet they don't. Royal Caribbean not only provided the distilled water FREE but also had the extension cord in the room waiting when I arrived.

This was the first cruise in a long time where I attended over 50% of the shows. I enjoyed all but one. I also went to many events and participated. So in some ways the Radiance changed ways I do things. This was a part part to Kirk Detweiler the Cruise Director. He was every where and I do mean that. Kirk is by far the best CD I have seen in a very long time.

I will be back on Royal Caribbean if the size of the ship and itinerary match my needs.