Flew to Vancouver with an early morning flight from Newark NJ on Continental Airlines. No problem with any delays, we were even 45 mins early. I paid the 25.00 per person for the US direct service thru my travel agent. I placed the ship tags on my luggage and checked them normally at the airport. That was the last i saw my bags till arriving in my state room. We had a balcony on deck 8 starboard side toward front of ship. The only issue with US direct was there was little organization waiting for the bus transfer from Vancouver. So until they group the guests in a first come first serve, you may have to wait an extra bus or two. The ride from Vancouver airport to the cruise terminal was about 45 mins. You go thru a "mini version " of customs where they verify your id and documentation. We were told that this bypasses about 2 hours of lines thru customs. So this is well worth the money. You travel by a sealed bus to ensure that we properly cleared customs. If the bus door was opened we would have to all go back thru customs. We arrived in the cruise terminal in a back access point which avoided additional waiting.
The Radiance of the Seas: The ship is beautiful and clean. There was no noticeable smell as talked about by others. The ship and rooms were all neatly appointed and the ships balconies have the glass in front as seen on the newer ships.
The entertainment: The comedy shows were pretty funny. We had a former US gymnast perform two shows. The cruise director (warren) was good but not great. To me Ken Rush is still the best.
The food: We ate in the dining room all evenings. Everyone in my party of 7 enjoyed each meal. If something wasn't good, we there were several options that appealed to us. Lunch time we ate at Wind Jammer or the Sea View cafe. At the Sea View i enjoyed the chili or soups in bread bowls.
The excursions/ itinerary: Icy point :was foggy the whole time so much so the ship blasted the horns for the whole time. Ketchikan: was cloudy and cool and light rain.We went on the Crab fishermans tour on Aleutian Ballad. It was amazing! We watch crab pots brought up, and held king crab. Saw many Bald eagles and saw some dolphins swim by. Juneau: Despite a 70% chance of rain, the sun was shining all day. We book the ice age discovery by helicopter thru the ship. They use Temsco. The flight was really cool and smooth and landing on the glacier was unbelievable. Well worth the money for the excursion. Skagway: Did the dog sledding on the glacier also with Temsco. Had a truly special time and the scenery is breath taking.Def worth the 400.00 per person. Icy Straight: Did not do any tours because spending a lot for the dogs and glacier. But walked along shore line into the tiny town. Saw many whales from the shore. did not need to spend money on a whale watch tour. It is only a 25 min walk from the ship to the small "down town area" so there is no need to pay for the bus ride (5.00) Hubbard: Arrive early (about 7 am ) into the Bay where the Hubbard Glacier is. The captain positioned the starboard side for the first viewing and then turned the ship to the port side. Was lucky to capture a major calving ( ice breaking off) on video.
Disembarkment: Took advantage of the 20.00 per person valet service from RCCL of them sending your luggage to the air plane. So i did not see my luggage till i arrived in Newark. Used Aurora limousine service ( they are out of anchorage) to transport us in a private van for 7 people from Seward to Anchorage airport. It cost about 590 including a stop in the big game preserve. plus gratuity. I think that is a pretty good price for 7 people.
In summary: Awesome trip from start to finish. RCCL Radiance of the seas was beautiful and staff was friendly. Alaska blows the caribbean islands away in regard to pure nature and scenery.