First, we had wonderful weather throughout the entire trip, so lucky!!! Also experienced the pre-cruise tour through Royal Caribbean. I was solo, so paid double for the whole experience. Tour hotels, I was placed in parking lot views at both the McKinley Village Lodge and The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. I went straight to the front desk at McKinley, and nicely asked if there were any river front rooms available. Dear Ricky immediately obliged me and moved my bags. I spent the rest of the day in heaven, right in front of the river, loving that view! Thanks Ricky! At the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge, after seeing the parking lot room, I went to the front desk and asked about a Denali range view, such as my fellow travelers were given, only to be told there were rooms available, and I could have one for $100 upcharge. Rather insulting, since I was being charged same as a couple on this trip. Eventually, it was worked out, and the $100 upcharge was waived. So, then, I was able to love the view of the entire Denali range, clear as a bell, incredible!!! Otherwise, the land tour was really great, my favorite part of the trip, really.
On the ship... This was the second cruise of the season for Radiance. Many of the employees didn't really know what they were talking about. First night we ate at Park Cafe, as we were told Cascades was closed. Incorrect information. Breakfasts in dining room, just ok, rancid bacon one day, food never actually hot, service indifferent. Dinners were very good, and we ate in Cascades, main dining room, every night after the first mis-direction. Really enjoyed our evening waiters, Norberto and Ariel. Really worked hard for us, great magic tricks, Norberto! My cabin was 9074. Very nice with a fantastic view of the most beautiful scenery! I would have that cabin again, if I were ever to go on Royal Caribbean again, which I won't. I would get my coffee room service every morning, WONDERFUL!!! I would sit out on my balcony bundled in jacket and socks over jammies and watch the beautiful world go by!Room service for coffee was wonderful! The only really royal feeling I got!
I had a good room attendant, Rosli, who kept my room neat, so did I, and made several different towel animals, which I liked very much. The bathroom was tiny, tiny! size of a small rv head, really, and smelled like any little boat head. Having owned several sail boats, it reminded me of old times. HINT, get some lysol before you board, and keep it in the head, this helps a little. Now, here is where I notice all the little corners being cut by RC. The only toiletry in the whole cabin was made in China bar soap in the head. What is Royal about that! Glad I had already read this, and brought my own. Also, in the buffet, cheap, tasteless, olive oil and balsamic vinegar! Try something else.
Once the norovirus hit, everything changed on the ship. To use the buffet, all employees were there to serve you from plastic gloved hands, many of these employees had never served before, it was an all-call to action! I have been taking probiotics for a couple of years, now, and suggest it for anyone thinking of cruising. Although I got it, I only had mild symptoms for a day. I will always believe it was food poisoning from the rancid bacon. Everyone who reported their case were isolated for a day. I've read that it takes longer than that to become free from being contagious. Most of us didn't report, and just dealt with it. We were told constantly to wash our hands (with the cheap chinese bar soap?) Which was a good reminder for some, I guess. Mine became raw from all the washing, but was more than happy to comply!
Went to several shows, the Motown show was really very good, the Showman piano player was also very good. The other one a review medley sort of thing was lousy. Enjoyed listening to Rosario strings very much. They are two fellows, one on acoustic guitar, the other a violin. They play some classical and some music from musicals you may have seen. In the Schooner lounge, in the evenings. Nice.
I felt very, very lucky not to have smokers near me, as RC allows smoking on balconies. That was very worrisome for me, and was a great relief to have nice, fresh air! Oh, my tracfone worked clearly all over Alaska, at every hotel on land, in all the ports, and on the ship at port, just not out to sea. All the hotels had wifi, and it was usually free, if not in all rooms, in all lobbies. It was easy to stay in contact with my elderly parents, until Canada. My phone no longer worked in Canada, and had to rely on e-mail. I just loved Alaska, and will probably go back, but will try a different cruise line, for sure.
Lovely stop, walked and walked, much less touristy than either Juneau or Skagway, and I loved that there was much more for sale from Alaska, and much less from China! I walked the beach and gathered driftwood for my artwork, after asking the locals. Very nice, real people here. Loved it here.
First view of Juneau is a shock! It is very touristy and all they seem to want to sell is tee shirts and expensive jewelry! Really ugly port-side! We walked to the state museum, which was quite interesting, then to the public library to sit in the lovely quiet space with a view, with free wifi. I really suggest you take a small tablet to stay in touch. It worked great for me. If you are up to walking, walk past the fakey area, to real Juneau! Otherwise, you will leave with a false sense of what Juneau is!
Took public transportation out to the Totem Heritage Center and wonderful park! Loved that! Also took in Tongass Historical Museum in town. Enjoyed Ketchikan very much, and thought, if I were younger I could live here. Nice, quaint, homey feeling. Took the buses all around, so saw places other than touristy area, and walked all over touristy area afterwords.