Alaska was fantastic again...this time Radiance of the Seas
If you have not been fortunate enough to visit Alaska please start saving your money and plan the best trip to this beautiful state that you can afford. Forget about fancy clothes and pack your best walking shoes or boots. Alaska is for scenery lovers and for wildlife lovers too! We first came to Alaska two years ago and this is our second trip back. By far, Royal Caribbean has the right line-up of places to see and come too! We loved this trip because of Seward and Hoonah. We came back to Alaska to try our hand at Halibut fishing and king salmon fishing and we were not disappointed on this trip. We love our cabin on the Radiance it was a little smaller than we normally book but it was right on the hump close to elevators! We love our room stewart from who made great animals each night in our room and always thought of us in special ways! Our head waiter Arturo from the Phillipines and Asst. Waiter Susann from Brazil were fantastic! We shared a table in the back on the 4th floor of Cascades not the best location but we were well taken care of by the two of them. Elena was our female head waiter and she really worked the room!
The food in the Main dining room is just okay. It cannot compare to the high standards of the Serenade of the Seas right now. But Chops & Portofinos were utterly great again. Sous Chef Peddy from Indonesia really was outstanding and he even made a special meal for me and my husband on our last night since I love Indonesian food so much from my travels to the Amsterdam and some of its great Indonesian restaurants. I personnally think that with all the nationalities of individuals working on RCCL ships now it is about time that the menus in the MDR reflect the heritage of some of their workers now. Why not change up the menu once in a while and add chef's favorites from some of the workers countries instead of all the cuisine dishes from India which are just too much right now on the menu. Yes, I realize RCCL thinks that the indian food is for the vegetarians who eat on RCCL ships but come on why not honor the Brazilians, the Phillipine staff, the caribbean island staff and others who work for RCCL with a dish from their countries once in a while. Make one night Alaskan foods night please instead of Italian night.
RCCL is using a Royal Mountie officer who is retired now to tell his organizations history onboard. Was not too impressed. I really did not want history on this trip but I wanted to hear about the wildlife, the birds, the waterways, the glaciers etc..We did not spend that much time in Canada afterall!
I would like to see "real cooking demostrations" not sales pitches for ULU knives in the gift shops! I would love to learn more about preparing good seafood from Alaska and the food products of Alaska that we cannot experience in the 48 states. How about some great Alaskan chefs giving talks on the ship in the Theatre or the Colony Club instead of doing the garnishing and towel shows in the Centrum area that is too tight. I do believe the activities on board need some revamping. I would like to see more fun things that change over time.
Did not see much of whales on this cruise until we came to Seward. We did take a private fishing charter in Hoonah Icy Straits area with Dream Fish Charters. They are GREAT and I would encourage everyone experiencing real Alaskan fishing trips-we were not fortunate to see whales but we did see a mink at the dock area!!
We also booked another fishing charter in Seward with Crackerjack fishing charters. UTTERLY FANTASTIC MUST DO! THIS CITY IS WORTH SPENDING TIME IN EVERYONE! We drove to Kenai, Alaska and also went through the wildlife refuge on the way to Kenai. GREAT!!!! We booked the Kenai Fjords Northwestern Tour for 9 hours to the Northwestern Glacier. THE IS THE BEST EXCURSION I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED ANYWHERE IN THE WHOLE WORLD!
I do not want to spoil your planning but Kenji Fjord tours are a MUST DO! We saw tons of humpback whales, Orca Whales, otters, stellar sea lions, puffins, alaska birds of all types and water fowl. We were fortunate to get the Northwestern Glacier closer than the Hubbard Glacier experience on the Radiance of Sea. We saw tons of calving at the Northwestern Glacier this trip. This entire experience was highly emotional and beautiful to say the least.
I thought our Radiance of the Seas trip to the Hubbard Glacier was better than the Glacier Bay experience I had two years ago on Princess. The ships captain got us very close 4 tens of a mile in this made this experience worth getting up at 5:30 am for to experience fully in the early morning.
We had foggy overcast weather the entire trip but no rain! It was quite chilly compared to those that traveled in May but it is Alaska and part of Alaska's charm is the weather to me!
Lastly, I took only one excursion from RCCL on this trip and it was on the Bering Sea Aleutian Ballad ship which is also parked right outside of the Radiance of the Seas port landing area at the Ketchikan port. This excursion is worth the money and they showed us and talked with such passion about their careers as professional fisherman that I truly fell their love for our earth and its bounties. Take this excursion as it is not "tv Hooky" at all. It is extremely well done and I such respect for these humble souls that tell their own life stories on the seas of Alaska.
We did Discover Skagway with Gwen in Skagway and they are just great. I really good a lot out of her tour and she took such good care of all of us during our tour to see why she loves her beautiful state.
In Juneau, we walked through the City as we have been there before and I bought some beautiful soap from the Glacier Soap company, we went to the bookstore in Juneau it is a great find! Lastly, we had lunch at the Twisted fish in Juneau and also had a great Alaskan Brewery beer the White Summer Ale is excellent and worth trying. We also went to the Red Dog Saloon and had an Alaskan Brewery Summer Ale too.
Everyone, please enjoy the Radiance of the Seas, spend some time getting to know some of the great staff on this ship, and take a moment to experience sea life in Alaska from the excitement of the wildlife, the whales, the otters and the sea lions point of view! Take also some time to see the wonders of small towns in Alaska. I am so happy for Alaskan celebrating this year its 50th birthday!