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Cruise Ship Casino Reviews
Radiance of the Seas

For cruisers who enjoy spending an hour or so in the evening at the slots or the tables, the Casino Royale on Radiance of the Seas is a good choice.

Radiance has an attractive casino featuring 11 gaming tables (four eight-deck blackjack tables, one single-deck blackjack table, one Caribbean Stud Poker, one Three Card Poker, one Let It Ride, one roulette and one craps table). A small Texas Hold 'em table at one end of the casino -- which tended to be quite busy most nights -- can be converted into an additional blackjack table should the need arise. The Radiance casino also has has 193 slots.

Most of the table games have a $5 minimum and $200 maximum. One blackjack table had a $10 minimum and $300 maximum. But the casino was quick to open, upon request, a blackjack table with a $25 minimum and $500 maximum, which was frequented by several higher stakes players during this cruise.

The one observation we would make is there seldom were more than a couple of players at the $25 table, and much of the time, VIP players found themselves going one-on-one against the dealer. This may be terrific for those who like playing alone, but for those who prefer the social interaction of a busier table, the Radiance casino may not be ideal.

One interesting innovation on this cruise was the casino's adoption of a "no-smoking" policy on the two formal nights. One might have thought this would diminish the number of players, but it seemed to have the opposite effect -- and the casino manager said that had been true for most of the winter's Caribbean sailings. Is it possible this might be the start of a trend?

The dealers on the whole were competent and friendly, and casino management seemed committed to seeing that players of all levels had a good time while at the tables. For VIP players, comped drinks were never far away, and casino management was particularly attentive to members of the Royal Caribbean's Blue Chip Players Club.

Overall, this was a pleasant casino in which to gamble. While it tended to be a little quieter and less oriented toward high-stakes players than the larger casinos on Freedom of the Seas and the four-Voyager class ships (and generally closed earlier), Radiance of the Seas and the other three ships in this class -- Jewel, Brilliance and Serenade -- remain the nicest to cruise on in the Royal Caribbean fleet.

--The Savvy Cruiser

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