Our family got on this cruise by 'accident'... our Easter-week Celebrity Summit cruise was cancelled because of the ship's propulsion system having problems, and even though we had only one week to scramble for a new cruise, we luckily snapped up someone's cancelled quad room on Deck 7 of the Radiance. We had non-refundable flights to Florida from NY, so we had to buy 4 more tickets from Florida to San Juan, and spent an extra night in a hotel there, which added to our trip cost, but we did what we had to do to get out on a cruise ship with the kids. So, needless to say, by the time we arrived at the pier in San Juan to board, I was a nervous wreck.That was the last of my worries. We were let onto the ship (before regular boarding time, so no lines) and settled into our balcony room, and everything was great from there on in.The ship is absolutely gorgeous, tons of natural light due to everything being made of glass, including the fastest elevators I've ever had on a ship (this was our 3rd cruise, 1st on RCI). Unpacking was the only chore left, and I must say we had more efficient use of space (and a larger quad room) on the Carnival Destiny, but that was the only place where this ship fell short. I managed to find a place for everything (okay, so we dont' pack light, and we bring our own snorkel gear for all four of us, so others might not have this complaint). hahaThe main dining room is gorgeous, and we ate there every night but one, main seating was efficient, and we've never had better service ever! Our first waiter fell ill and was replaced the next night and the new one became our permanent waiter. He was great with the kids, but when my son asked about our first waiter, who had promised to teach him to fold a napkin into a certain animal, that first waiter came by the last night to show him how. I was impressed that they went out of their way like this to please a 7-year-old! Even the assistant waiter was wonderful, and this was the first time I ever MET a head waiter, much less had lengthy conversations with one. He came by every night, which was a huge change over the one on Carnival that we never even got a 'hello' from.The staff on Royal is much more classy.The shows were good, my son got taken up on stage the first night by the juggler/comedian, it was a moment we'll all remember and laugh about for years. My daughter (9) discovered the kids club and once she tried it, considered it a punishment to be taken away from it for the rest of the week! We were delighted that she enjoyed it so much. My son is a little more shy, and spent many evenings watching the shows with us, but once he tried the kids club, he was a convert as well. He also loved the miniature golf, although we didn't get a chance to try the rock wall.If you try this ship, you MUST book a night at Chopps Grill. This is a cozy little place adorned with walls of wine bottles on display, very nice, very romantic. We got to have a night alone there while the kids had a pizza party with the kids club group. We didnt try Portofino's, but the menu selections looked great.We've sailed Carnival and NCL in the past, but we're planning on cruising RCI again next year, this time on one of the 'mother ships', the Explorer of the Seas. We plan to stay with Royal, mostly for the service and for what they offer to families.
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