We just returned from our Alaskan cruise-tour on the Radiance of the Seas, 7/7-7/17/09. The "tour" portion was just OK, but the cruise was excellent. I am 57 years old and my DH is 65 and we are Diamond members (just barely).
Our cruise-tour started in
The next morning we were met about 10 a.m. by our tour director and her husband who was the bus driver. There were about 20-25 people on the bus. Our first stop was Wasilla where we visited a small museum and were left to explore on our own for about 1 ½ hours - trust me - there's nothing to see in Wasilla that will take that long. It took less than 10 minutes to go through the museum and after that, we wandered over to a small crafts fair and looked around for about 5 minutes, then set out to find something to eat. Our choices were a subway sandwich shop or the deli at the grocery store. We spent time in the grocery store actually comparing the prices of the fruits & vegetables with those here in the
Finally, we headed to Talkeetna to catch the Wilderness Express. Talkeetna is a small town where a lot of
The next morning we met downstairs with our luggage about 8:30 and headed for the
Finally we headed for Girdwood and the Hotel Alyeska which we had been looking forward too. Unfortunately, it was HOT - like 85-90 degrees - and the Hotel Alyeska had no air conditioning in the rooms. They had fans, and the window opened, but there was no circulation. I told my DH that it would cool down at sunset but unfortunately that never occurred mainly because the sun didn't go down until 1 a.m. and then came up again about 4:30 a.m. So it was a hot night. We did take the shuttle into Girdwood that night and ate at one of the little restaurants there but other than that, there wasn't much to do. The next morning, we got up and used our tram ticket to go up to the top of the mountain and it was very scenic. But that took about 30-45 minutes and after a walk around the property, we were ready to go - except our bus wasn't scheduled to pick us up until 1 p.m. Plus we had to be out of our rooms by 9 a.m. Another complaint I have with the "tour" part of the trip.
Our bus finally picked us up and we headed for the ship - always exciting to do that. The trip from Alyeska to Seward was about 2 hours and our bus driver entertained us with stories and songs all the way there. Also, I forgot to mention that we did see some wildlife on our trip - mainly moose and eagles.
We got to the ship about 3 o'clock and there was no line and we were through check-in and in our cabin in no time (9004 - balcony cabin). We went to the Windjammer and grabbed a piece of pizza to tide us over until dinner - and FYI, the pepperoni pizza was consistently good at both the Windjammer and the Solarium all throughout the cruise.
So this doesn't get too long, let me summarize the food and entertainment quickly. The food was good - in the dining room, in the Windjammer, and in both specialty restaurants. I've seen a lot of criticism of the food on these boards, but for us, it was great. Our table in the dining room (Main Seating) was right by the kitchen and I was kind of grumbling about that at first, but it ended up being great - our food always came out first and always came out hot! And we had 2 great seating companions that we enjoyed visiting with every night. As for the Windjammer, I know a lot of things they have in the buffet line seems like "swill," but IMHO, if you stick to the basics like pizza, or the made-to-order eggs in the morning, or the watermelon or French fries, then you can't go wrong. Chops and
The entertainment was also great. The only show we missed was the "welcome aboard" show. Piano Man was great, the Beatles band was great, the Mo-Town group was great, the comedian was funny - I must be leaving something out, but you get my drift!
We took 3 RCCL tours. In
Our last sea day was uneventful but relaxing. Debarkation was very organized. For planning purposes, it took 2 ½ hours from the time we disembarked to the time we got through security at the airport. Our plane was at 12 noon and we had plenty of time, but I wouldn't want to try to fly out any earlier than that.
That's all I can think of right now. If anyone has any questions, let me know!