Alaska was breathtaking and one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The cruising however was the Low point of our vacation. We paid a Royal fortune to stay in the Royal Suite on board the Radiance of the Seas for our Alaskan family vacation. After so many cruises we decided to save and splurge on this suite as two of our children are heading to college and our family vacation days may be coming to an end. BIG MISTAKE. From Check-in to disembarkation on the last day, there were so many snafus, too many to mention. Where we didn't expect to be treated like royalty, we did expect to have exceptional service. We did not. Even though we booked this cruise almost a year in advance, our dining table was hidden way back in the middle of the dining room--no where near a window, not even close enough to see "out" a window. We complained. The Dining Room Manager said he would see what he could do and ended up doing nothing. We called our "concierge" who did work out another table as long as we agreed to "anytime dining" and not the first seating. All this took so long we ended up eating in the sub par Windjammer Cafe the first night.
Our Suite was "dated" and definitely needed an overhaul. There were so many things NOT working it was crazy. Jacuzzi broken, Sound system for the TV's broken, light bulbs missing, plugs not working etc... Each day of our cruise brought a new worker/repair person to our cabin for something else. It was very frustrating. Bottom line- we DID not expect "Special" treatment, but we did PAY for Special Treatment and did not get it.
The food was not great (our waiters the couple of nights we actually got to eat in the dining room were nice, however and the Maitre D was very sweet) and the overall quality of everything from the Casino, bar drinks, entertainment (always less then great but even more so this cruise), have all gone downhill. Simple pleasures like the towel animals they leave in the room (we have a 12-yr old) are few and far between and we had to ASK. The room steward seemed annoyed. That's right, The Royal Suite Room Steward couldn't be bothered with making more than a couple of towel animals.
We usually stay in just a family suite so if you are even thinking of wasting the inflated amount of money that the royal suite costs, DON'T DO IT.
The ports were great, all beautiful with lots to do. We never booked excursions thru the ship learning early on that their "cut" built in inflates the price and booking on your own is better. With sites like this and trip advisor, we have always found reliable tour companies to book, many times the same ones RCL uses just less expensive without their cut. Rum Runners Charters and Captain Chris in Juneau for fishing and whale watching was FABULOUS. We did the helicopter to the Glacier in Skagway, excellent, float plane in Ketchikan-loved it, and ziplining in Icy Straits. Our only disappointment was the ship. Never saw the Captain, saw the Cruise director once, and left messages for the hotel director Mark Rook who couldn't be bothered to return our call. Cruise to Alaska, just don't do it on RCL. There are too many competing cruise companies to remain loyal to cruise line that doesn't appreciate its repeat passengers.