Radiance of the Seas - 18 Night Australia & New Zealand Cruise
I had been thinking about doing a cruise the next time I visited my friend Juanita in Australia.  But with so many ships now, which one?  Most went from Sydney, and I did fancy a P&O Australia but the price was a little too high.  Then I came across a fantastic eighteen night cruise from Fremantle, so Juanita could wave me off!  It ended in Sydney and thankfully you can book multi-cities when you plan your flights.  It went to New Zealand, which is one place I've always wanted to visit, while calling as a few cities across southern Australia along the way.  It was ideal!  I phoned Royal Caribbean and spoke to Matt Browne, who was incredibly helpful and hilarious.  I had to go for an inside due to cost, since I'd have to book my flights separate to spend some time in Perth before and Sydney afterwards.  I went for N-3509, since it doesn't matter where you are when you can't see out, and he said I had $100 onboard credit.  I paid it off on the 22nd December.

And here we were when I would take my first Australian cruise!  I had flown to Perth, via Singapore, on the 14th March, arriving at 12.40am on the 16th, which was twenty-five minutes early.  It would be the last time I would fly with Qantas as part of their code share with British Airways (my return was BA).  The night air an hour later was lovely and cool as Juanita drove us back to her house.  I would be staying until the 22nd and we went into Perth once during my trip.  I was delighted to find my favourite chocolate shop still in London Court.
And so to the 22nd March, the day my big Australia and New Zealand adventure was about to begin!  We left at 5am for the drive to Fremantle, the plan being to stay and avoid the rush hour traffic going back to Juanita's otherwise we'd not be there long before having to return.  There were a few people down, the pilot boat heading out as I arrived.  Juanita read a book while I snapped the gorgeous ship which would be my home for the following eighteen nights.  Surprisingly, she went straight in rather than turn around.  Since she had been early, Juanita decided we'd go back to her house as we should miss the traffic.
After I had a doze, it was time to go for my cruise.  The luggage was collected from the car by a female porter then it was time for a few photos.  After saying goodbye to Juanita, I went to find the terminal entrance.  As my deck wasn't boarding until 3pm (they're very strict about that), they weren't going to let me in until I pointed out I was a Diamond member of the Crown & Anchor Society.  Up the escalator and right to the departure lounge where I was given the obligatory health questionnaire, a departure immigration form and the number three, which was called along with number five as I was filling them all in.  Under country you end your journey, I was told to put Sydney.  Passing numerous photos of the old passenger liners which graced Fremantle Port, including the Canberra, you went to check-in after passing the ship photographer.  After checking in, it was immigration followed by security and then onto the roof and on!  As the rooms weren't ready, it was time for lunch and up to the Windjammer.  Being on so early at least has the advantage of being able to find a table.  I sat outside and it was lovely.  Then I went for a wander.  Some parts of the ship had been changed during what they called 'Revitalization', which is Royal Caribbean talk for trying to turn older ships into mini Oasis's by adding things from there.  I was a little worried but Radiance appeared to have generally remained the same as what I'd experienced on Jewel.  They now had a Diamond Club in the Viking Crown Lounge, reserving part to sit and watch the world go by while the rest would be closed off twice during the day for members only.  What was the cigar bar along the corridor was now a lounge for Diamond Plus and suite people, so no chance of seeing what that's like now.  Once I'd finished my brief explore, I went to find my cabin which was 3509.  Here's a question.  How come the ceilings are so low on Indy but not Vision or Radiance?  It was a nice cabin but directly under the theatre.  Then I spent a couple of hours in the Centrum chatting to people, including Karen and Paul who were friends travelling together.

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© Patricia Dempsey 22nd March-9th April 2013
Not to be reproduced without permission