Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by jorgfam: First Alaska Cruise!
Overall Member Rating
First Alaska Cruise!
We are long time cruisers, but this was our first cruise to Alaska. We had always heard how wonderful they were, but in all honesty, we are from Oregon and Alaska is very similar. We finally gave in and went.
I'm glad we did. I loved that during all but the last day, there was always land in site. Amazing vistas! You could just sit at a window for hours, saw dolphins, eagles, humpbacks and an orca from the ship. The excursions were all pretty spendy but all the towns were small enough that you could find plenty to do without spending tons of money.
We loved the talks that the Canadian Mountie that was on board gave. It really brought the area to life for us.
The Radiance was just on it's 2nd week in Alaska, so unfortunately there were quite a few staff that didn't have a clue. In fact, at our table at dinner we were talking about how none of us had ever been on a cruise where the crew gave out so much bad information. The Compass was wrong on a regular basis More on where and when you got off at the ports. I was asking about the tenders in ISP at Guest Services and the guy looked it up on something and told me that the Tenders start leaving at 7 AM and to head down to deck 2 at that time. We weren't even scheduled to be in ISP til 8 or 9 per our waiter( and we pulled in about 8:45), so wow...I always feel like the people in Guest Services should know more about some things than the Wait Staff.
My other negative of this cruise was the ship itself. This ship is in serious need of a refurb. For some reason they have replaced the sliding doors in the showers with shower curtains, well those showers are small enough without a shower curtain wrapping around you and sticking to you as you shower.
The curtains/shades in the dining room were in bad shape. Many of them not working, so the wait staff were jury rigging things with safety pins and using the cords from one window to wrap around a chunk of curtain on another. Less
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Cabin review: 4528
Stateroom was fine, except the shower. (see above)The perfect deck level for this cruise and we had a great booking agent who pointed out which side of the ship would have the best views. We could sit in our cabin and watch Alaska go by. This was really great when we hit Glacier Bay. We could see the icebergs up close and personal.
Port and Shore Excursions
We had seen some great reviews of Hoonah Adventure Tours - Whale Watching, so we booked this prior to the cruise directly with them.
This company was friendly and professional. Capt Paul and Zack def. gave us our money's worth. We saw whales, otters, seals, sea lion, eagles and a bear. Crew was very informative about the area.
We spent most of our time in Hoonah, not in Icy Strait. There was a great little restaurant called Chippers that had really good local seafood. Have the Salmon Taco...yumm!!!
We really wanted to see Mendenhall Glacier, so we bought the Glacier shuttle tickets. $20 roundtrip per person and runs every 1/2 hour til 6 pm. The shuttle drivers give you information on the area as you make the trip. We wondered around, hiked a trail and then headed back to town. If we go again we are def. going to be more prepared to do some serious hiking. They have many nice trails. We talked to people that paid for the Ships City/Mendenhall Glacier tour, boy did they feel like they were robbed after we told them we spend $20 each plus tip and had as much time at the park as we wanted. We went to the Red Dog Saloon for lunch, cool to see but food was only so so. I heard that the food at the Flight Deck, where the sea plane tours were was really good. Next Time.
The walking tour gives you a great chance to view the many Totem Poles and the history of the area.
We stopped for a break and a local beer at the Elbow Room Bar, friendly folks. We then found a little tent with a blacksmith that was making amazing Ulus from old "Misery whips". Had a great late lunch at Annabelles, (share - the portions are hugh). Food and service was good.
Lumberjack tour was informative and fun. The crowd loved getting the wood chips from each competition. These are real competitors that compete all over the country.
Skagway has so much historical culture. We decided to just wander around town.
We hit a couple of the museums and a few shops, then found ourselves at the Skagway Brewery, we shared some Onion Rings and did a taster flight of their beers. The atmosphere, food and beer were great. Nice little town. I think if we go back, I want to get over to Dyea, though I understand there isn't a whole lot there anymore.
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