I must say that our cruise on Radiance of the seas was the best cruise I have ever taken. Nothing compares to the splendor of Alaska!
Pre-trip- I booked the cruise directly with RCCL and my ttravel planner was beyond wonderful to work with. Originally we booked for 7 people but as time got closer several medical conditions dropped that number down to two, just my 62 year old mom and myself, 32. I cannot begin to praise RCCL enough for their customer service and help in rebooking the cruise for other family members.
Packing- I way overpacked! I found most days I wore a long sleeve t-shirt with a fleece jacket and windbreaker. I topped off the outfit with a fleece hat. I really didn't think it would get that cold, but the first three days were frigid. As we moved south, I slowly lost a layer at a time until I was in shorts and a polo in Vancouver.
Ship- Radiance is a beautiful ship with lots of nooks for quietness. My balcony room was perfect for this cruise and I found having the balcony very useful. The casino and spa were both great places to visit and I enjoyed both. The only negative complaints I have are the captain and the cruise director. They both love to hear themselves talk and sometimes it felt they would never quit speaking during their ship wide announcements. Also the cruise director was one of those people who laughed at himself but tended to annoy everyone else on board.
Dining and Entertainment- we ate every night in Cascades dining room and really enjoyed all of the meals. All the chilled soups were wonderful as was the quality of their steaks. The Windjammer was a good place for breakfast or lunch but the food was the same every day. I found there was no need to eat at the a la carte places as the dining room was great. I did hear a few people complain about their food and being hungry and all I could do was roll my eyes. There is food available 24 hours a day and I think these people are just people who are never happy and have to complain about something. The shows onboard were probably the weakest part of the cruise. I did not find them very entertaining but I am used to Broadway caliber performances.
Excursions - in Juneau we went whale watching and visited the Mendenhall Glacier. Whale watching was fun, we saw several humpback whales, bald eagles, and orcas. It did seem to drag a little towards the end and I was ready for the tour to be over. The glacier was amazing. Make sure to take the time to walk the path across the parking lot from the glacier as it was beautiful. We even saw a porcupine in the trees. In Skaway we did the Skagway Exteavaganza tour and I found is to be a great combination of everything. The train allowed breathtaking scenery and the lunch and show in Liarsville was very good. ( a little adult oriented show) My favorite excursion though was in Icy Strait Pointe where we went bear watching. We saw several bears and really enjoyed watching them play. In Katchikan we just walked the streets and shopped. A beautiful town with very nice people all out celebrating the Fourth of July.
I am already planning on doing this cruise again next summer and escaping the heat again. Hope to see you onboard.