The Radiance Class of Royal Caribbean International is a group of four cruise ships put in service between 2001 and 2004. Each ship was built by Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. Meyer Werft has been in the ship building business since 1795. Currently, they are building Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Class ships, also known as Project Sunshine. Also, they are building for Norwegian Cruise Line.
Each of the Radiance Class ships carries nearly identical dimensions. Each has a gross tonnage of 90,090, a length of 293 metres or 962 feet and 12 decks accessible to passengers. Each is registered out of Nassau, Bahamas. Typically, a class of cruise ship will have different passenger capacities among the vessels, depending on configuration. However, the Radiance Class is identical among the four at a capacity for 2,501. Each ship carries around 860 crew members.
Radiance of the Seas
The big sister, Radiance made her maiden voyage on April 7, 2001. Until the end of August, 2013, the Radiance of the Seas will be operating Alaska cruises with a home port of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
In September, 2013, she will reposition across the Pacific to Sydney, Australia via Hawaii. Through the end of the year, Radiance will be based in Sydney and be cruising around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Brilliance of the Seas
The Brilliance made her maiden voyage on July 19, 2002. Currently, she is running 12 night cruises out of Harwick, England with itineraries to the Baltic Sea, Scandinavia and Northern Europe.
On August 31, 2013, the Brilliance of the Seas will embark on a 15 night Trans-Atlantic cruise from Harwick, ending up in Boston, Massachusetts. Along the way, she will make port calls at Le Havre, France; Portland Harbour, England; Cobh, Ireland; Dublin, Ireland; Klaksvik, Faroe Islands and Reykjavik, Iceland. A Royal Caribbean repositioning cruise is a greatly affordable way to experience a Trans-Atlantic voyage.
Once in Boston, the Brilliance will provide autumn cruises up the New England coast to Canada before switching home ports to Tampa, Florida in November. Once in Tampa, she’ll be running simple four and five day Western Caribbean Cruises with stops in Key West, Florida and Cozumel, Mexico.
Serenade of the Seas
The Serenade made her maiden voyage on August 1, 2003. She’s enjoying the sunny Mediterranean Sea until mid November, running 12 to 16 day itineraries out of Barcelona and Madrid, Spain.
The Serenade crosses the Atlantic at the end of November. On November 27, 2013, she embarks from Barcelona, Spain on a 15 night journey to New Orleans, Louisiana. Along the way, the Serenade stops at Sevilla, Spain; Tenerife, Spain and Coco Cay, Bahamas. Coco Cay is a private beach exclusive to Royal Caribbean. Once in New Orleans, she’ll alternate between the Western Caribbean and the Bahamas.
Jewel of the Seas
The baby sister, Jewel made her maiden voyage on May 8, 2004. For the foreseeable future, the Jewel will operate out of San Juan, Puerto Rico. On a weekly basis, she runs seven night cruises to either the Eastern Caribbean or Southern Caribbean.
With a home port located right in the Caribbean, seven night itineraries out of San Juan have six ports of call and only one day at sea. The Eastern Caribbean cruises stop at St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands; Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda; Fort-de-France, Martinique and Castries, Saint Lucia. A southern Caribbean cruise stops in Tortola, British Virgin Islands; Philipsburg, Sint Maarten; Basseterre, St. Kitts; Roseau, Dominica and Bridgetown, Barbados.
If destination quantity is what you’re looking for in a Caribbean cruise, definitely look at San Juan, Puerto Rico as your point of embarkation. You get, on average, 2-3 more stops than a cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida or Galveston, Texas. The flights to San Juan are reasonable and plenty. Puerto Rico is an exotic destination in itself.