I may be in the minority here but wanted to share my thoughts about the 7/4-7/11 Radiance Cruise. Our last cruise was on the Disney Fantasy and was totally spoiled with the service and ship so maybe my expectations were too high. However, we did not pay that much more for the 7-day Disney cruise than we did for this Royal Caribbean cruise. In retrospect, considering that we had a large balcony on the Disney cruise and only a porthole/window on this cruise, I'm seriously thinking that the Disney cruise was a better value.
Here are my thoughts on our onboard experience itself and not the weather (generally great) and the itinerary/ports(generally very nice):
1. Ridiculous that we were asked to pay $170 for a "Soda Package" after paying in excess of $4000 for the cruise. (Disney had soda stations around the ship open 24 hours a day for anyone to use)
2. Entertainment was not terrible but not great either. Really have to ask who is picking the movies for the More
ship. They were actually showing "Funny Girl" on the pool movie screen the day we boarded as well as in the Cinema all the next day. Yes....that "Funny Girl". The Barbra Streisand movie from 1968. Seriously?
3. Our server in the dining room was pushy and not very friendly. We ended up eating in the dining room only 4 nights out of 7 due in large part to his attitude. His "partner" that served the beverages and bread, was much nicer and seemed genuinely friendly.
4. Not happy about gratuities being automatically added to our bar purchases, even for one drink. I understand that some people don't tip very well but by having it added automatically, the bartenders become unresponsive and there is no incentive for them to be friendly. With one notable exception in Starquest, every bartender we encountered was slow and unsmiling.
5. Stateroom attendant was nice and did a great job!
6. Youth clubs were pretty good. Hard to compete with Disney when it comes to family based services but RC did a fair job.
7. Windjammer (buffet) was OK. My family found that the deserts and pastries (anything baked generally) seemed stale and not freshly prepared. In other words, not even as good as the package of danishes that we picked up in an Anchorage grocery store and kept in our RV (pre-cruise) for several days.
8. Pools cold. I understand it's Alaska but you would think they would overcome that by adding extra heating. My kids, who love to play in the water, were very disappointed.
9. Poor communication, both before and during the cruise. a) They provided a service to check luggage at the train station in Anchorage but we didn't know about it until we arrived at the train station. It would have saved a lot of stress about what we were going to do with our luggage while waiting to board in Anchorage. b) Departure was confusing for us. We chose the Express Walk-Off option and then the paperwork about what to do on the day of departure made no mention of what to if you chose that option. c) We didn't receive any information on what our options were for getting from port in Vancouver to airport. Had to figure it out ourselves once we got off the ship.
10. No opinion on the shore excursions offered by RC. We planned our own and saved considerable cash in doing so. Whale watching in Juneau (JuneauWhaleWatch.com), Full Day Yukon Tour in Skagway (same company, JuneauWhaleWatch.com), Zipline in Ketchikan (SouthEastExposure.com). We used the Northern Lights Coupon book (Google it) to save, literally hundreds of dollars on our excursions while on the cruise and over $1000 while in the RV before the cruise.
11. We did not shop or gamble so cannot comment on those aspects.
12. Wife did get a massage and said it was one of the best she'd ever had.
13. The "adults-only" area (Solarium) was not really exclusive to adults. Since the Park Cafe is located in the Solarium you constantly had kids going in and out getting food and drinks. Additionally, the Solarium pool was open to kids 4 hours of the day. Even on the family oriented Disney cruise, they had a better set-up for creating an area exclusively for adults in order to get some piece and quiet.
So, all in all, the cruise was, in our opinion, a way to get to nice ports and see beautiful scenery but just that....a means of transportation. Our shipboard experience was very disappointing. Less
Radiance of the Seas Cruises to Alaska
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Value for Money
Relatively small. Not much storage. Main bed comfortable. Pullman beds noisy when occupant moved around. Clean. Not a great value when compared to 7 day cruise on Disney Fantasy with Large Balcony.