6 Anchorage to Alaska Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We chose Royal Caribbean because we had sailed with them many times We took a 5 day land tour prior to the cruise. We were extremely satisfied with the exception of our stay in Denali. We had been told prior to the final payment that we ... Read More
We chose Royal Caribbean because we had sailed with them many times We took a 5 day land tour prior to the cruise. We were extremely satisfied with the exception of our stay in Denali. We had been told prior to the final payment that we would be staying at the Denali Grand Hotel. I made additional inquiries to Royal Caribbean in making plans for the trip and was sent a web link for the Grand and opportunities to explore the area. I called the Grand 3 days before the cruise to arrange for some special requests and found that they did not have us registered. Making a long story short, we finally found that we were booked at the Denali Park Village. Let me says that not only were we dissatisfied but most of the people we talked to Including guests in the other buildings and they were equally unhappy. The only redeeming feature of the two day stay was that the beds were comfortable. The food was expensive (as expected), very limited menu items, and fair at best in the taste category. If you chose to leave and go into the town you had to pay $5.00 per person each way (the Grand offered the same service for free), so before the 5 of us left the room we knew we had spent $50. The staff was friendly but poorly managed! Once on the ship we really enjoyed all the ports. The food was good, staff exceptional, and our 12 yr old granddaughter had a great time. This was a trip of a lifetime and have great memories. The trip would have been perfect if not for the our stay in Denali. The Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge and the Hotel Alyeska were marvelous. The Denali tundra tour was glorious. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Nice variety of age group and onboard activities. My husband and I traveled with our boys 18 and 21 years old. Our cabin was midship, so very convenient. The guest services desk and excursion desk are in main lobby, where bands often ... Read More
Nice variety of age group and onboard activities. My husband and I traveled with our boys 18 and 21 years old. Our cabin was midship, so very convenient. The guest services desk and excursion desk are in main lobby, where bands often play, very very difficult to hear when speaking to guest services or excursions. GS is 24/7 so you can find them at quieter times. Shore excursions desk has limited hours, especially when you are in port. We wanted "my time" dining, however they said we did not request it, so we were assigned 530pm seating, table for 4 near, waiters station and kitchen...totally unacceptable to us. The next morning, Shamus, dining room manager called us and found us another table for 4 which was great. It was nice, just the 4 of us so we could talk about our day and activities and what we were going to the next day. Even though you are on an Alaskan cruise, you do not get fresh fish, it comes in from Miami. Our drinks were always waiting at our table when we arrived. We took southbound trip and got a very close view of Hubbard Glacier, it was 2-3pm and a sunny day. We were all surprised how close the captain was able to get to the glacier. I guess the northbound trip arrives Hubbard glacier around 9am and weather often not too good that time of the day. We LOVED the helicopter ride to Meade Glacier, best part of trip. Not many whales to see, we saw no bears. Loved Icy Strait Point, the boys rode the zip line twice. Interesting story how this small community built up a place for cruise ship to stop, very quaint. Unlike the other ports of jewelry and t-shirt shops.., Our cabin steward was excellant. We found the ship safe, clean and well maintained. I took the all access tour of ship, through the kitchen, bridge, laundry, waste and crew dining and quarters...all very clean and neat. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We just got off a fabulous southbound cruise in Alaska -- but there were a few changes to the ship that I would have like to have known in advance...especially since I spent hundreds of hours researching the details beforehand only to find ... Read More
We just got off a fabulous southbound cruise in Alaska -- but there were a few changes to the ship that I would have like to have known in advance...especially since I spent hundreds of hours researching the details beforehand only to find out they were wrong. Read on for full review of the ship experience and excursions as well. Surprises: #1. Rita's Cantina is not available on the Alaskan cruises of Radiance of the Seas. They have changed it to Rita's Crabshack! While the offerings were similar to Tracy's Crabshack in Juneau, Rita's prices are lower, probably because legs are considerably smaller at Rita's. Example: one leg at Tracy's is $36. At Rita's it is $13.50. Tracy's offers a 3-4 leg bucket (3 lbs.) for $110. Rita offers a 3 leg bucket (1.5 lbs) for $33. Rita's is still a better deal if you are considering price alone. Also, we went to Tracy's in mid-afternoon and they were sold out of all sandwiches (e.g. crab roll) and crab claws. That left few options for us. (Tracy's bisque was tasty, but not OMG tasty. I wouldn't go back for it. I've had better for less expensive elsewhere--including at Whole Foods' seafood soup bar.) At Rita's I got the bisque/crab cake/crab leg combo for $19. It was just ok. The bisque was enjoyable, the cake was unmemorable, and crab wasn't especially sweet. The best thing about it was that it was cheaper than Tracy's. Neither bisque was better tasting than the other. #2. Adventure Dining for kids was available EVERY night of the cruise--not just on formal nights as I was led to believe. Dinner choices were severely limited to chicken fingers, hot dogs, and hamburger. I would have liked them to have more fresh options. Still, it was nice to have this option every night--but you MUST sign up in Adventure Ocean by noon on the day you want it. Counselors let me sign up late one afternoon as an accommodation, but were clear that it wouldn't be excused again. #3. Chops Grill does not allow you to have unlimited entrees. You can have unlimited appetizers and unlimited desserts, but only one entree unless you want to pay an extra $10/additional entree. #4. Kids 5 and under eat free at Chops Grill. They charged only $8 for each child 6 years and older even though a RCCL rep told me on the phone there were no discounts for children--even after she checked with her supervisor! #5 Birthday specials. They give you five free minutes of phone calls from Guest Services for your birthday. I found the card with the offer on the door to my room at the end of the day of my birthday. Since my birthday was at the end of the trip, it would have been nice to get this card from the beginning when I could more readily use it. Still, this was a nice unexpected surprise. Our room steward also made a towel "cake" on the bed. It was cute and appreciated. They also served me chocolate cake on my birthday (the same as regularly listed on the dessert menu) but it included a lit candle and a personal round of "Happy Birthday" sung by wait staff and the dining room manager. #6 The room mini-fridge isn't a fridge, but rather a drink cooler, unsuitable for keeping milk or meat. I wish I had know this in advance. We made several roast beef sandwiches the night before to take with us on an early-morning excursion the next day, only to find out they were inedible because the cooler wasn't cold enough to keep them food-safe. #7. You get served juice at every meal. I was under the impression our only choices were water, coffee, tea, and iced tea. The Windjammers offers lemonade for every meal. The Park Cafe in the Solarium also offers hot cocoa and a few juice options when open. Windjammer breakfast included oj, apple juice and milk. It was nice to have extra options. Dining Venues: I would recommend Chops Grill restaurant for a special occasion for the fine atmosphere and superb service. It's food was excellent, but only one or two levels above what was served in the main dining room Cascades (which was also wonderful in choices and quality) and not worth spending an extra $30/pp if for food alone. At Chops Grill, shrimp cocktail had 3 enormous shrimp (4-6/lb size) that were a little too firm for my preference, but served with a delicious vinegary cucumber and wakame salad. The scallop app was served with a bacon aioli that made you want to lick the plate. Mushroom soup in a mini tureen was savory, creamy, full of umami, and deserving of being emptied but I was saving room for the entree. 6 oz Petit filet was tender, tasty, cooked perfectly medium rare and definitely filling after the appetizers. A larger 9 oz was available for the lumberjack appetites in the room. Sides were a la carte and served family style. Cream of spinach was ordinary, as was the under-seasoned boiled asparagus--roasted or broiled would have been better there. Tater tots were more like delicious munchkin-sized potato croquettes, filled with mashed potato and gruyere, then covered with fine breadcrumbs and deep fried.They also offered to deliver the uneaten entrees and dessert to our room via room service (our kids were full after the appetizers and left dinner early to go to Adventure Ocean) . We ate at Cascades dining room most nights. I would have preferred a private table but instead we were permanently seated at a table with another lovely family and enjoyed sharing stories about our excursions each day. Our servers Alfonso (from Philippines) and Russell (from India) were charming, attentive, and informative. They took the time to learn our names and our preferences. Russell served me my preferred drink every night without me asking after I ordered it the first night. He also brought refills without me having to ask. I also liked that they cleaned the crumbs from the table before dessert--I hate sitting at a messy table. Great service! The Cascades dinner menu featured a different ingredient each night (saffron, pomodoro, pimiento, seafood, etc). Caesar salad and shrimp cocktail appetizers were offered every night, along with about 7 other choices. Alaskan ling cod (which was flaky, firm, light, moist and delicious--I wish I didn't wait until the last night to order it!), sliders, sirloin, and linguini in tomato sauce were offered as entrees every night, along with about 7 other entrees. There were more entrees for an additional up-charge, like lobster and filet mignon. Overall, entrees were varied and creative, served elegantly arranged. We enjoyed venison, leg of lamb, tandoori chicken, petit filet, salmon, crag legs, eggplant parm, french onion soup, chilled fruit soups, seafood bisque, roast chicken, and more. Desserts were creative, including some low sugar and low fat options, but nothing that had me grasping for more. The creme brulee that was a staple on the dessert menu had too thick a layer of sugar on top--it was a like a thick sheet of candy instead of a delightful thin crackle, and the creme underneath was a bit watery. I couldn't taste the "Bailey's" that was in its name either. The chocolate mousse cake on the menu is the one they serve you for special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. It too looked beautiful but tasted ordinary. We were often too full for dessert anyway, and the kids sometimes preferred to get soft serve from Windjammers instead. At Windjammers, food was grouped by type, not by dish, so if you wanted bagels and lox, you had to go to the bread station to get a bagel, then go to the "bagel fixings" station to get lox, onions, capers, and cream cheese. If you wanted egg benedict, you had to pick up the english muffin from the bread station, get a poached egg from elsewhere, pour on the hollandaise sauce separately, and find the canadian bacon elsewhere (I never found it but you could put ham on from the carving station). This made for a very chaotic buffet. The Windjammer overall had a mix of expected staples (breads, whole and cut fruit, cheeses, pasta, cold salad bar), but several upscale unexpected selections (like the venison from the main dining room). Since we were out most days for lunch, and ate most dinners in the Cascades dining room, it's hard to recall what they had for lunch and dinner. A carving station served smoked ham or roast beef daily, there was a burger bar, and a mayo/deli salad bar. I don't remember there being mac and cheese or swedish meatballs--a mundane staple on other cruise ships--but then again, I wasn't looking too hard. There was a great cheese section for those who like cheese for dessert: manchego, blue, brie, baby swiss, meunster, and cheddar. There was an Indian section that served Indian favorites like Chicken Tikka, Masoor Dal, Saag Paneer and Veg Biryani (but lacked the curry leaf and chiles for authentic curry flavor and heat--perhaps the aromas would have been overpowering for the venue). They served plain or cumin papads (pappadoms), along with yogurt raita and tomato cucumber salad as sides. But no tamarind or coriander chutney. :'-( We ate breakfast via room service or Windjammers. Room service breakfast options were very basic: juice, coffee, milk, assorted pastry, cut fruit, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash brown and tomato, plain yogurt, fruit yogurt (their choice), granola, and oatmeal. Cocoa and toast were options only via tv-based room service, not on the card you hang on the door. Windjammers offered Indian Upma for breakfast, a farina-based dish, but as mentioned above, it lacked the essential herbs that make it so enjoyable. Other Windjammer breakfast options included two kinds of sausage (traditional formed breakfast links and "bangers" in sausage casing). They offered grits and congee, but no cream of wheat. A meusli bar with several selections of dried fruits was a unique touch. There were lots of other breakfast options that are standard fare, I just listed the unique ones above. TIP: eat breakfast on Windjammer's aft outside deck by going through Izumi's or Rita's. There is nobody out there, so it is great for quiet contemplation or privacy--and seeing wildlife. We didn't eat at Izumi. Izumi had a bad stale smell in it like they need to change the carpets. We get great sushi where we live anyway so didn't want to pay for it onboard. For free sushi on board, wait until the Chocolate Buffet on night 6. The Chocolate Buffet included colored light displays beneath glacier ice sculptures. There were a few chocolate cake options and profiteroles, several fruity cake options, a few petit fours, but no chocolate fountain, no chocolate sculptures, and no chocolate truffles (unless they disappeared by the time we got there). Don't ask me why they included sushi on the Chocolate Buffet, but it was one of the best things there that night--but they ran out of the pickled ginger early on. Ship layout: VERY easy to get around, with the elevators on the port side, both fore and aft, which made orientation extremely easy. As a mid-size ship, I found it easy to get around as most frequently visited decks were deck 4 (Guest services; disembarkation, Cascades dining room), deck 11 (Windjammers, outdoor pool, poolside screen, and Solarium), and deck 12.Windjammers was on the same level as the on deck 11. One level up was the Kids Club (Adventure Ocean), outdoor basketball and slide pool. One level up again are the climbing wall and mini golf. Sales: Nice and classy. Although gold chain vendors were near the elevators several days, that was one of the few times I felt the upsell sales pressure. I like that we didn't have to pass through shops or photo galleries every day to get to the dining room or show theater like we did on Disney Wonder. On the contrary, I didn't even know where the shop or photo gallery were until the last night of the cruise--they were not "in your face" like on Disney or NCL. Casino: Not much fun there, but the room is decor was gorgeous, including the inlaid floors.The smoke-free section was relatively smoke-free. I caught a smoker in there and politely directed her to the smoking section. There is no divider between the two, so smoke will waft around, but it was definitely less smoky in the non-smoking section. As for payouts, most of the machines were older games and payout tables for video poker were some of the worst I've seen. Penny slots were also tight. Pools: The indoor pool in the Solarium was open to kids from 10-noon and 2-4, which meant we couldn't use it on most days because we were on excursions. On the last day at sea, lots of older folks were napping on the loungers in here. The water there was VERY cold. The water was warmer ironically at the outdoor pool even though the outdoor air temp was 60-65. I didn't go in but my kids loved it. Climbing Wall: Only open during certain hours--mostly when we were on excursions. Didn't use it until last hour of last day at sea when lots of other people gave it a go. A variety of difficulties to try, and helpful motivating staff. Mini-golf: 9 rounds with basic holes and few surprises. Nicely landscaped, but pretty low-key and tame. Mostly Par 2 holes. Enjoyable for one or two rounds, but not more. Adventure Ocean Kids Club: Very well run, enthusiastic staff, attractive facilities, a variety of fun activities, and exterior windows allow parents to gawk embarrassingly at the kids. They combined the different age groups a few times due to low attendance, but separated at other times. Staff were very accommodating and kind when 5 year old son had an accident getting to the potty on time. They changed his clothes (bagging up the soiled clothes), had him wash himself, and gave him a free pair of Adventure Ocean logo shorts to wear. Late night, you pay $7/hour/child from 10 pm - 2 am, (unlike Disney which includes all kids club activities until midnight for free). Late night activities are themed and posted ahead of time so you can schedule for the week. We only did this on the night before our day at sea (because we didn't have to get up early next morn for an excursion), and on the last night so we could pack up and get our luggage placed outside the door by 11. Entertainment: Overall, very enjoyable. We only went to one production show because we were exhausted from the excursions and had to get up early for the next day. The show was a debut production with moving sets, lots of costume changes, a variety of dance styles including an excellent pas de deux en pointe, and very talented singers. Sound production needed improvement on one singer--her mike kept cutting out--but since it was a first showing I'm sure they'll work out the bugs within the month. Production quality was about 1/3 as good as the Disney Wonder's productions (which were multimillion $$ over-the-top), but 5x better than Norwegian Sky. The theme was lovers in Atlantis (and around the world), but it was very short on story line. There was no dialogue--the story line was implied by a brief introduction at the beginning, and then carried through by the lyrical selections (love song hits from the 60s,70s, 80s, and 90s). Wildlife and Excursions (not noted in the separate Excursion section: On Day 2, sailing, we saw orcas in the morning as we sailed from Seward to Yakutat Bay (Hubbard Glacier). There were at least ten pairs of orcas going in the opposite direction of the ship, repeatedly rising to breathe and blow water, then descending again. We saw this behavior repeatedly. Closest pair was about 50 yards from ship. On Day 2 At Hubbard Glacier, we saw a triplet of sea lions resting on an ice floe. Then a tenderboat approached to gather glacier ice for the Chocolate Buffet later in the week, and scared them off. On Day 7, Inside Passage, we saw some fish break the water's surface, and lots of small seabirds. Humpback whales were reported by the Captain around the evening. We didn't see any at that time as we were headed to dinner. Land Tour Tips: Overall, we spent 12 days in Alaska/Canada (not including flight times to get there and back). We did a five-day pre-cruise land tour that we arranged ourselves using only public planes, trains, and buses, and it was well worth it. We saw lots of land-based animals, and scenic beauty beyond compare from Fairbanks down to Seward. We spent a few nights inside Denali Park in the Kantishna region and had some of our best experiences there. Spend the extra money on the Gold Star service if you take the Coastal Classic train between Anchorage and Seward--HOLY COW was it worth it for the spectacular views!! Adventure Class service between Denali and Fairbanks is sufficient--and a deal if you use a 2-for-1 coupon from the TourSaver books. Doing a land tour yourself is more physically demanding than a commercially-arranged tour with a group as we had to pack, haul, check, and retrieve our own luggage every one or two days when we moved from town to town. If you do a land tour on your own, do it before a southbound cruise so that the latter half of your trip, your body and mind can relax and recuperate with the luxurious service of the ship. Land touring on your own requires daily focus and concentration to make sure you coordinate everything just right to make the proper connections between destinations. Conclusion: This was a trip of a lifetime. I would definitely want to go back to Alaska and explore the towns of the SE islands more in depth--especially Hoonah and Ketchikan. Cruising just gives you little sample of the towns and not enough time to deeply explore the area--and Alaska is ALL about the excursions. RCCL was classy all the way, and gave us a truly luxurious experience. Staff were wonderful, food was excellent, and we will DEFINITELY sail with them again.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was our second cruise ever, first was on Disney in the Caribbean. So I have a bunch of ins and outs in here that I hope are helpful to the newer cruisers looking for some dope on the RCCL line in Alaska. First off, our cruise was ... Read More
This was our second cruise ever, first was on Disney in the Caribbean. So I have a bunch of ins and outs in here that I hope are helpful to the newer cruisers looking for some dope on the RCCL line in Alaska. First off, our cruise was great. We left Seward on July 4, southbound to Vancouver on a 7 night on Radiance. She's a big boat, but not as big as the Dream we'd sailed on before. And the crew kept talking about the Oasis which is 4x wider and 6 decks taller and holds 3x the people and crew. Holy cow! We had a great set of weather, with sunny skies in every point except Icy Strait where it was merely overcast and drizzly. Unheard of, according to many familiar with the cruise itinerary. So, first off, bring long pants, and a jacket, and you need to have a rain shell, seriously. Don't think it will be warm enough to dry in the air either. It was 70s most days even in mid July. You also need warm clothes for being out on deck on the boat during sailing days. And at the glacier. I packed for summer, with a couple warm things. Do yourself a favor and pack for Fall with a few summer things. Dining on the boat was good. Food was good. Service was great. We ate at the first sitting in the Cascades dining room every night but one. We ate in the cafeteria area every other meal except when we ate on shore. Drink plans, let me address those here. Because RCCL lies to you about it. Here's the deal, with meals, and in 3 or 4 other places on the ship, you can get water, coffee, tea, cocoa, some juices, iced tea, flavored waters any time of day 24x7. You can get milk, chocolate milk, more juices, at any mealtime, which is most of the day somewhere on board. If you get a Drink plan, for anything less than $20 a day, you need to carry a cup around with you. For $20 a day per person, you get soda basically. And fresh squeezed orange juice in the galley at breakfast only. Do yourself a huge favor, and take a week off of soda and save yourself $140 a person. If you drink alcohol (I don't), then the cheapest plan is $40 a day. $280 a week per person. This gets you regular beer, wine and such in addition to soda. Now, each beer is $6, wine is $8-10. If you drink 5 or more drinks per day at the bars and dinner, then this pays. Also if you drink more than 5 drinks per day, helpfully, there are also AA meetings on board each morning at 8am, ironically in the champagne bar. RCCL told me and others in my party that you could get no coffee without a drink plan. In reality you can get no cappuccino/latte/espresso coffee without a meal plan (or by paying), but these take 20 minutes to come from the bowels of the ship, so not worth it regardless. They told us you could not get orange juice without a drink plan, but you get orange juice with every breakfast, just not the fresh squeezed from their fancy fresh squeezing machine. In short, they lie to you on the first day, a lot, to get you to buy into these plans. They are not worth it unless you are pounding shots and beers. Do the math before you start drinking and save some money to go ziplining sober. Our room was on deck 3, 3604. It had two pull down beds that come out of the ceiling to the left and right over the master bed. It doesn't seem like it will work, but it did. It got a little tight when all 4 of us (2 parents, 2 kids) were getting ready for dress-up dinner on short notice, but otherwise the cabin was workably large enough. There's lots of storage spaces, just all small. Do yourself a favor and unpack, then stow your luggage under the bed. There's just not enough room to leave your suitcases out and open anywhere, and you'll be much more relaxed. 3604 was very quiet. Even our neighbors, who we knew, didn't wake us or do anything that made loud noises. Deck 2 was the exit from the ship usually and one floor down by stairs. Deck 4 was the main dining area, so easy to get everywhere. Deck 11 was the swimming pool and outdoor stuff, so we usually took the elevators, but that was pretty easy. Speaking of dress-up dinners, there were two nights we dressed up, second night at sea and Icy Strait point night. I wore a jacket and slacks, no tie. That was plenty dressy. The captain eats at his captain table at the late sitting the first night, and at the early sitting the second one. I didn't see anyone in tuxedos at all. I believe they still only encourage that to bolster the onboard tuxedo rental business they run. Photographers were everywhere and insistent. Going into most meals, and leaving the ship they constantly tried to take pictures. Also at most dinners they came around. Keep in mind that RCCL outsources this whole operation to some other company, so they don't have to deal with it probably. The photographers are very pushy. On dress-up-dinner nights they set up photography studios on the stairwells on Decks 3, 4, 5 and 6, which seems to me like a fire hazard. When you offer a simple no thank you they encourage you to come on, have fun. when you offer them a more stringent no thank you, they badger you. When you turn away, they often send their costumed minions to come pose with you physically anyway. When you ask them to stop assaulting you, they get really bitter and mean. If there was something I could change first about the cruise experience, it would be to make photography more discreet and optional. They want upwards of $20 a picture. I got a camera pal. I also hate that they print thousands of prints throughout the cruise and hang them on the walls to entice you to buy them. What a colossal waste of paper, chemicals and time, and no wonder every picture they sell has to cost so much with this amount of waste. Barbaric. There were lots of activities on the ship. We were sailing during FIFA quarter and semifinals week so we went to the quill and compass a lot to watch the live games. The kids loved the climbing wall, kids club, putt putt course (so much nicer than Disneys!) and soccer/basketball area. The indoor solarium pool was a big hit also, and was open to kids from 10 to 12 and from 2 to 4. The staff at the kids clubs were awesome awesome. The teen club was a big hit with our one teen, though roving gangs of hooligans were seen to deface the coffee services and other areas of the ship without rebuke at times. Before we embarked on July 4, we stayed at the Breeze Inn/Motel in Seward. They were great. We also did laundry there before we embarked, since we'd been in Anchorage a few days (not planned through the cruise line) prior to leaving. The Breeze was one of the only air conditioned places in town, be warned, it gets stuffy sometimes in Seward when it's sunny. We tried to do laundry again at Skagway. However, the ship wouldn't allow us to bring laundry off the boat. They claimed that we had to have our laundry pass 'customs" to be allowed off, that we needed to notify them 24 hours in advance, and that we had to clear customs only at 9am on the morning of arrival. I don't think any of this is true, I think they just want you to do laundry on the boat. At about $5 per article, that gets expensive. On Day 3, they had a special where they'd do a full bag of laundry for $30. Not including dress clothes, long pants, jackets, dry cleaning, dresses, etc. etc.) so budget extra. In Juneau, my brother got off and washed laundry in town, but they took it out in backpacks, rather than in a laundry bag, so the security guy didn't stop them. Speaking of security, it's weird. So, you can't bring a weapon on board, they'll confiscate it. But you can put it in your luggage, that's okay, since I guess people only kill people with weapons they carry on board themselves. They confiscate your weapons if you do try to carry them through security, but then they give them back to you the afternoon before the last morning. Because no one ever kills anyone with a weapon on the last day of a cruise. Security also makes you take your hat off a lot. Not going through the detector but when you scan your card in. You can keep your shoes on though. All in all, security seems like kind of a joke, and I'm not sure just what they're scanning for, I guess to make sure you don't bring guns on from Alaska once you embark, but there are so many holes around security that it kind of makes you wonder why they bother. I haven't figured out how the security makes them an extra $8 per day per passenger yet, but I'm sure it does, since everything does. We did a number of excursions. We arranged the dogsled camp visit through the cruise line in Juneau and that was fun. We arranged a Bear tour with Teckk outfitters in Icy Strait point ourselves. That was the worst excursion ever in my history, but it was not through the cruise line (and I can see why). We arranged Ziplining in Skagway for most of our group (we were 11 in all). That was awesome, but I didn't go on it, but all reports were that it was phenomenal, and it would take kids down to 6 and 50 lbs. which the longer/scarier zip lines didn't. We met a lady the last day who broke her leg landing the zipline in Ketchikan, so please be careful with the zip line. I love machines and big things, so I took the Behind the Scenes All Access tour on the boat the last day at sea. It was $150, which seems like a lot (because it is). But for me, it was worth it (and I saved $140 by not drinking diet coke all week). You tour the galleys (wow! 15,000 meals a day), the laundry, the trash operation, the engine control room, the print shop, the crew areas, the theater backstage and the bridge. A 3 and a half hour tour, they really try to make it worth $150, and I'd recommend it if you're insatiably curious about how exactly you run a 980 foot boat with 3500 people on board. The entertainment was okay, not similar to Disney's shows which were lavish and daily. They had three shows the onboard dance troupe did and two nights where a singer/comedian performed. We did one show and one comedian. They were fun. There's a movie theater on board too that plays movies 4 or 5 times a day. Different movie each day. Check it out on Deck 6 on the first day to see what's playing all week so you can pick a time if you want to see one. Get there early, the theater is very small and popular movies will fill up 15 minutes before start time. The tipping on board was managed, I thought, with them taking (helpfully charging?) $12 per day per person for tips, to your account. This covers your room guy, your dinner servers, and your dinner captain. You can tip more if you want. Most bills on the ship (for the occasional purchased soda or bottle of wine) include 15% already, and give you a confusing line for ADDITIONAL TIP. Don't be fooled. We had some in our group tipping 20% on top because they didn't realize there was already tip on the bill (and tip being charged to their rooms too). As a contrast to the Disney cruise, which makes the servers, the service captain and the room attendant much more personally responsible to interact with you to get their tips, I like this approach more. If you don't want a personal relationship with the room attendant, you know he's going to be taken care of and you can reward any exceptional service at various times. On Disney I felt like the servers and service captain in particular had to come around and spend a lot of time ingratiating themselves with you, hugging you, calling you by name, etc. etc. instead of providing quiet, exceptional service. I like to dine and to interact with my dinner guests not with the waiters. I felt like this method of tip management served my needs better than the way Disney forces it into your face. But the entire cruise, to me, felt like a long series of nickel and dime experiences. It must be very difficult to balance the need to make money with the desire to make customers have a good comfortable experience. I guess this is the normal resort vs. all inclusive thing. And I know part of RCCL's draw is that they are a little cheaper than other cruise lines, so the idea of having every cruise cost $6000 is not appealing to them, but if every cruise ENDS UP costing $6000 because you've bought $100 worth of laundry and $800 worth of excursions and $600 worth of drinks and $400 worth of pictures and $200 worth of jewelry specials and $800 worth of "art" and $500 worth of "tips" and $400 worth of Rita's Crab Shack (which must not be doing well because they push it every. freaking. chance. They get. ) then you kind of get dismayed. I'm sure they're following the scientific best practice to squeeze the maximum amount out of you they can, but man, it's kind of annoying after a while. We got off in Vancouver, cleared Canadian customs with no more than a "have a nice day, eh?" and were off. We arranged a Van to drive us to the airport since our party was so big. They were good. The luggage coming off was well orchestrated. You get a number (random) and a time to leave, and they make sure all your numbered luggage (that you put out in the hall the night before) is ready for you before you leave. It's well done. Much better debark than Disney. However now that I mention luggage, the embark luggage process was weird. We go to the ship at 3 on sail day, and dropped our bags with four guys, none of whom had any uniform or even RCCL logo shirt, all standing a good ways out from the ship dock in the middle of a giant parking lot next to a couple of shipping containers. These are the onshore luggage handlers, and they put your bags into cubes that are loaded onto the ship by big loaders. That coolness aside, it would be really really nice for RCCL to take a sign or an employee or something out there to at least give you a good feeling that these guys weren't locals just taking your luggage. Illness wise, we got to level 1 alert on the ship by day 5, so they were announcing an increased level of gastrointestinal distress among passengers and crew. On my backstage tour, they said the previous two weeks they had gotten to level 2, where passengers are no longer allowed to serve food to themselves, and they station people in the bathrooms to make you wash your hands after you go. Seriously people, wash your freaking hands. We didn't get that far, and none of our party got stomach illness, though two got colds. They said 1.3% of our passengers were really sick, which was only about 30 people or so. Kind of makes you want to wash your hands though. So overall, we loved the cruise, and we had a great time. It had some annoying aspects and we learned a lot, but overall still didn't ruin our vacation at all. Highly recommend this route, this ship, this line.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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