November 2010 Caribbean Cruise

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I flew down early in the morning of the day of the cruise (Oct 30), and went right to the cruise port. 10 minutes later, I was on the ship (Radiance of the Seas) and exploring already. On this ship you could go right to the very front and onto the helipad. The view from the helipad at the very front of the ship. You can create your very own Titanic moment here if you so chose, which you can't actually do on most ships nowadays (they restrict access to the front). Sail away, I moved to the upper decks to get a better view.
Looking back at the port of Tampa as we pull away from the pier. Goodbye for 5 days! A view to Tampa's downtown area. One of the channels we go out as we leave Tampa.
At that time I found what was to be my favourite eatery on the ship - the Seaview Cafe. It had outdoor seating and normal restaurant service - order from the menu, get service to your seat, etc. It didn't have a huge menu, but the food was excellent and you certainly couldn't argue with the view. Still in the Tampa Bay, the pilot boat here left us shortly after. It took over *2* hours to get out of the Tampa bay area - not because we were moving slowly (ship was at normal cruising speed), it's just the bay is so MASSIVE. A view from my favourite seat at the Seaview Cafe.
Inside, this was the main center area of the ship, appropriately called the Centrum. Two central banks of elevators flanked by staircases and several bars at the bottom area. Since the cruise departed at 5pm, the sun was already setting while we were still in the bay. Another view of the setting sun. It was an absolutely gorgeous day (30C and light, warm breeze).
Coming upon the Sunshine Skyway bridge, the last part of the Bay area before going out into open waters. I moved down to the helipad at the front of the ship for the great view. Coming upon the bridge just as the sun has completely set. It really is a neat way to start a cruise. The next day, a view from my room. It was considerably larger than the room Hung and I had on the Carnival Dream. I liked the window as well, but wouldn't spend much to get it.
The theatre for the main production shows on the cruise. Much like my cruise in April, all of the shows were very good. The theatre itself was very well laid out. Now in Cozumel! A good view of my ship. Only considered a mid-sized ship now, it still felt plenty large! It's a bit older (built in 2001), but was a great ship with lots of public spaces and things to do. Because of a hurricane (Tomas) in the Eastern/South Caribbean, a lot of cruises were diverted over to Mexico. So instead of 2 cruise ships including mine being docked that day, we had 5. Including the behemoth ship, Oasis of the Seas. It carries 2.5x the number of passengers (5200) that the ship I was on carried (2100).
To say that the Oasis is incredibly large is an understatement. It carries 40% more passengers the next largest cruise ship in the world (the Norwegian Epic). Crazy. Since the extra cruise ships being in port in Cozumel (not to mention the Oasis) made the place a completely packed zoo filled with Americans, after a quick trip ashore I returned back to the ship for some quiet time and picture taking. This is one area of the ship that connects to some of the lounges and bars. The schooner bar, which functioned usually as a piano bar at night. They had a Elton John / Billy Joel tribute here one night which saw the entire place packed.
The Colony Club, where karaoke took place, dance classes, the adult game show and other events were held. A view up from at the Centrum. A little cafe spot, which served specialty coffee/drinks (for a fee, they weren't included). BUT, more importantly, they had *awesome* gigantic cookies there, which WERE free. Needless to say, I returned daily, often times more than once...or twice. They ran out of cookies by the last day of the cruise. I'd like to think I played my part.
The sports bar on the ship. I watched a bit of football on the Sunday here. Right besides the sports bar, the Casino. With the $25 onboard credit I was given when booking the cruise, I turned the money into $125 at the roulette table. Not too shabby! The Solarium, a no-kids-allowed pool, hottub, and lounge area. The glass ceiling is retractable. Pretty great little spot.
My favourite sunning spot on the ship, this was a somewhat tucked out of the way place at the very front of the ship at the upper decks. Almost nobody was here any of the days, and while a little breezy, it was quiet and full of sun. I napped often here. A look to Cozumel. A look towards midship on one of the upper decks, and to the right, you can see the Oasis still towering over my ship.
Pulling away, everyone on the Oasis out on their balconies to wave goodbye. In the very distance, the ship I was on in April, the Carnival Dream. Leaving Cozumel, the Oasis and another ship still docked.
Enjoying an early pre-dinner meal at the Seaview Cafe during sail-away. Finally, docked in Costa Maya. Much like Cozumel, the hurricane in the Caribbean forced several extra ships here, crowding the town. So again I just lounged around the ship. Overall, I seemed to do that a lot - which was just what I wanted in the trip. Fantastic trip, lots of sun, great food, sleeping and reading. :)  
Photos 1 - 35 out of 35 | Back to Albums
Description: I went on a short (6 day) vacation at the end of October/start of November. A 5 day cruise on Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas, with stops in Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico. Wonderful weather, great food and a relaxing vacation all around!
Location: Tampa to Mexico and back

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