Saturday, April 30, 2011

Radiant Cruise on Radiance: The End

We had a grand time in Cozumel! I was really impressed with the excursion we took; first time we've ever done this. Kudos to Royal Caribbean for this one!

Our morning started with waking up early (even before the room service attendant called) and going out onto our balcony to find us pulled up next to another RCI ship, Liberty of the Seas. A monster! Seriously, if this is the 2nd largest category of their ships, I shudder to think what their new mega-ships look like.
Front end of Liberty of the Seas seen from our balcony

Room service arrived and the attendant was a real comedian. He was totally perplexed by the device they'd put into our room for Mr. B's "deafness". He thought it was a joke we were playing on him. He kept pushing the button on the door that set off the device; it'd flash and vibrate. I think his mind may have been in the gutter somewhat! Anyway, a fun start to our morning.

We were off the ship and signed in for our excursion well before departure time. We were caught by the ship's photographer for one of the cheesy shots (later, we decided liked it well enough to buy it).
Not bad...

We wandered around the dock area a bit; typical shops, bars, restaurants, hawkers, etc. Lots of folks from both ships were milling about, waiting for their excursion. I took several pictures of the two ships side by side to again illustrate the difference in their sizes.
Mr. B in front of ships

Liberty (left) Radiance (right)

Tunnel view!

They loaded us onto buses around 10 and off we went. The cooking class we signed up for was held roughly 15 minutes away at a beach-resort type place. Many of the other excursions were held there, too. Or, one could opt to pay a fixed price and hang out on the beach or in the pool area all day with all you can eat and drink included. Anyway, it was a pretty enough place and the bathrooms were kept sparkling clean by a very friendly attendant. There were also many creatures wandering about, including a resident iguana (who later was carted about for photo ops).

There were about 20 of us who'd signed up for the class. I think we were the only ones from Radiance, the rest were from Liberty. We went into a classroom set up like a kitchen with multiple stations, each holding four people. We joined a couple from West Virginia who turned out to be highly amusing (and even more so after the booze started flowing).
Armed and dangerous with a Mexican spatula!

Chef B and his Sou Chef

Our instructor was an entertaining young man called Chef Luis. He, along with two or three side kicks, kept the class both instructive (we did learn a few things, well, ok, I did, anyway) and a lot of fun.
Paying attention in class

The B's with Chef Luis

Although all of the food was tasty, our Grouper Vera Cruz was by far the best. After the class, we all retired to an upstairs room with a delightful view of the ocean to eat our homework.
Dining room

Grouper Vera Cruz. Yum-o

Mr. B's artistic dessert

After several more drinks were served, Chef Luis passed the hat for tips, and then made the sales pitch for a framed picture of each couple with him (taken during the height of cooking frenzy when all were in high spirits) as well as a small cookbook of regional recipes. The B's being suckers for all things food-related, we purchased both.

After we ate, we had about an hour to laze around the pool before it was time to head back to the ship. We had a few more drinks (why not, they were included in the price of the excursion, which, by the way, was pretty reasonable) and then back to the dock we went.

Having had such an exhausting day, we decided we'd best go chill out in the Solarium for awhile before sail-away. Interestingly enough, when we went back up to the top deck to say "Adios!" to Cozumel, there was absolutely no one else up there, which was somewhat eerie.
Where IS everyone?

No one here either except my DH!

And me!

Since we'd heard so much about The Seaview Cafe (people on the message board are all up in arms because it's going to be turned into a Johnny Rocket's when Radiance goes into dry dock this spring), we decided to try it. We thought it was ok plus. I guess the primary beef is that it'll no longer be free. As an aside, it does seem as though more and more things on cruises are NOT included in the price of the cruise itself.

After dinner in the main dining room (still trying to not be irritated about our crapola table), we went to watch The Quest, which is a funny, adult-game show type variety show which brave passengers elect to make fools of themselves for the entertainment of everyone else. We'd seen this on Enchantment and thought it was worth going to again and it was. Afterwards, I actually got Mr. B up to the disco AND out onto the dance floor where he did his very best Robot Man impression (it's so cute) while I danced around him like a happy glad-fly.

Our last day on board, Friday, was rainy and icky. Boo.

We got our departure luggage tags and they had us slated for the LAST time slot. I think not! We went and changed them at the hospitality desk with zero problems. Good to know for next time. We ate lunch in the MDR and had an interesting conversation with several other passengers. For some reason, it doesn't bother us sharing a table with people we don't know for lunch or breakfast; maybe we should try it for dinner, or, better yet, convince other people to travel with us!

We had a nice final dinner; handed out gratuities, etc.
Obligatory outside stateroom door picture

The process getting off the ship our last morning was very smooth however not everyone (including my DH) likes to follow instructions!

It was highly amusing to walk past The Naughty Table on our way off the ship. This is where "illegal" items that passengers attempted to smuggle on board were on display; tagged and waiting for their owners to reclaim them (all except booze, that is; apparently, that is dumped out (or passed around the crew!)) There were TONS of clothes irons, for God's sake! Who in their right mind wants to iron clothes while on vacay! Not to mention, how dangerous one of these could be (fire hazard). Really, people, it's not as if Royal Caribbean doesn't make it ABUNDANTLY clear what is prohibited and that they WILL search luggage. Stupid.

Anyway, our short cruise was delightful with the exception of a few things. Here are the pros and cons!

Embarkation was a snap
RCI's frozen mojitos ARE TO DIE FOR
Draft beer this time (although only Heineken products)
Large aft balcony with nice view
Weather...was this January?
Dinner at Portofino. The tiramisu was WOWIE!
The Solarium...relaxing and loved the bird sounds
$50 OBC from
Glass elevators over the
Cozumel/Mexican cuisine excursion with Chef Luis
The Quest
Disembarkation painless

Stateroom attendant not so great
Crappy MDR table
Service in general not as personal
Room was nice but cramped; dinky shower
Pool area a lot smaller than EOS
Didn't like layout of the ship quite as much as EOS's
Showtimes seemed WAY early (hard to eat a leisurely dinner and get to a show)

All in all, though, we had a fine time and can't wait to book another cruise!

Mrs. B

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