Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Royal Caribbean International
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeLarge

In 2003, Royal Caribbean introduced Serenade of the Seas, the third of four Radiance-class ships. In 2012 popular features from other ships in the fleet were added to Serenade, including an outdoor movie screen poolside, Asian and Italian specialty restaurants, a Mexican restaurant, digital signage, lounges for elite past passengers, a new nursery,Read More

Considered by many people to be the most beautiful vessels in the Royal Caribbean fleet, Radiance-class ships are large but sleek and swift, with sun-filled interiors and panoramic elevators that span 10 decks along the ships’ exteriors.

Big, bigger, biggest! Royal Caribbean has the largest modern mega cruise liners in the world, as well as some of the most innovative technology on its newest ships, from robot bartenders to the fastest Wi-Fi at sea. Its fleet of 25 and counting are all-around favorites of passengers—arguably the most multigenerational (and Millennial) crowd at sea—who enjoy traditional cruising ambience with a touch of daring and whimsy. Each ship in the fleet has action-packed activities such as surfing pools, rock-climbing walls, and on the newest ships, skydiving simulators, and 10-story slides.

Expansive multideck atriums and promenades, as well as the generous use of brass and floor-to-ceiling glass windows, give each vessel a sense of spaciousness and style. The action is nonstop in casinos and dance clubs after dark, while daytime hours are filled with poolside games and traditional cruise activities. Port talks tend to lean heavily on shopping recommendations and the sale of shore excursions.

  • 12 passenger decks
  • 2 specialty restaurants on Jewel, 4 on Serenade and Brilliance, 5 on Radiance; dining room, buffet, pizzeria
  • Wi-Fi, safe, refrigerator, DVD (some)
  • 2 pools (1 indoor), children’s pool
  • fitness classes, gym, hot tubs, sauna, spa, steam room
  • 11 bars, casino, dance club, library, showroom, video game room
  • children’s programs
  • dry cleaning, laundry service
  • Internet terminal
  • no-smoking cabins

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Aft on deck 6, four distinct lounges and a billiard room form a clubby adult entertainment center
Spacious family ocean-view cabins sleep up to six people
Ships offer a wide range of family-friendly activities and games
Upgraded features of the fleet are not consistent throughout this ship class, so check before booking
Dining options that charge have replaced some that were previously complimentary
Libraries are tiny and poorly stocked for ships this size

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Layout
Suites
Amenities
Accessibility

With a high percentage of outside cabins, standard staterooms are bright and cheery as well as roomy. Nearly three-quarters of the outside cabins have private balconies. Every cabin has adequate closet and drawer/shelf storage, as well as bathroom shelves.

All full suites and Family suites have private balconies and include concierge service. Top-category suites have wet bars, separate living-dining areas, multiple bathrooms, entertainment centers with flat-screen TVs, DVD players, and stereos. Some bathrooms have twin sinks, steam showers, and whirlpool tubs. Junior suites have a seating area, vanity area, and bathroom with a tub.

Light-wood cabinetry, a small refrigerator-minibar, Wi-Fi connection, a vanity-desk, a TV, a safe, a hair dryer, and a seating area with sofa, chair, and table are typical Radiance-class features in all categories. Bathroom extras include shampoo and bath gel.

Fifteen staterooms are designed for wheelchair accessibility on Radiance and Brilliance; 19 on Serenade and Jewel.

Food & Drink

Food

The double-deck-high formal dining room serves open seating breakfast and lunch; dinner is served in two assigned seatings, but open seating is an option. For a more upscale dinner, each ship has an Italian restaurant and a steak house. All but Jewel have an Asian restaurant; Radiance has Samba Grill, a Brazilian-style steak house. There is a supplement charged for specialty dining, and reservations are required. The casual Lido buffet serves nearly around the clock for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Seaview Café is open for quick lunches and dinners on Jewel of the Seas. The Solarium features Park Café for casual deli-style fare, and Radiance also serves custom hot dogs at Boardwalk Doghouse. The coffee bar features specialty coffees and pastries, for which there is a charge. Room service is available 24 hours; however there is a delivery charge after midnight.

Entertainment

Nightlife options range from Broadway-style productions in the main show lounge to movies in the cinema or on the outdoor screen overlooking the pool. Bars and lounges include a piano bar and wine bar, and most have music for dancing or listening. There’s also a pub or sports bar and a lounge for billiards. Look high above for aerial performances in the central atriums on these ships.

Spa & Fitness

The full-service spa operated by Steiner Leisure offers an extensive treatment menu including facials, tooth whitening, body wraps and scrubs. Spa rituals also include treatments designed especially for men and teens. There are thermal suites for a fee as well as complimentary saunas, and steam rooms are located in men’s and women’s changing rooms.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2003
Number of Cabins
1,056
Passenger Capacity
2,112(2,501 max)
Crew Members
857
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.46
Gross Tons
90090
Width
106 feet
Length
962 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
305/539–6000 or 800/327–6700

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