309 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Very easy ship to get around. most of the staff are very polite & helpful, like anything there are always a few who are the exception. The company should address the smell at the stern of the ship, seems like a vent for drains(or ... Read More
Very easy ship to get around. most of the staff are very polite & helpful, like anything there are always a few who are the exception. The company should address the smell at the stern of the ship, seems like a vent for drains(or similar). Embarkation was a bit of a pain but not too bad, some people seem to think that 2000+ passengers can be magically transported to a ship anchored in the middle of the harbour in a matter of minutes, plenty of whingers that seemed to think that they knew how to arrange things a lot better. Food was excellent, in the free areas as well as specialty restaurants. Shows were quite entertaining, not great but good. Live music, both classical & modern was played by very talented musicians. Shopping items seem to be no great bargains, cigs & alcohol very cheap but all other items seem pretty close to retail. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Off to a bad start, as we had to tender out from White Bay to the radiance, very slow process in the HEAT! Once aboard there was a noticeable difference between the radiance and the voyager (we went on VOTS last year) Having four 17-19 ... Read More
Off to a bad start, as we had to tender out from White Bay to the radiance, very slow process in the HEAT! Once aboard there was a noticeable difference between the radiance and the voyager (we went on VOTS last year) Having four 17-19 year olds with us in 2 families, and travelling out of school holidays what a bliss! No DreamWorks characters or ice skating rink we really didn't miss. Radiance is a pretty ship, and although we had to line up to book into our MyTime dining times for the length of the cruise (even tho our TA spent ages with RCI on the phone prior to book each night this was not adequate), we really never felt like we had endless lines as we did on the Voyager (and we were almost at capacity). The only problem was the waiters asked us quite a few times about specialty restaurant bookings, but I feel they are made to do this and they stopped after we said we love the food and service in the MDR so why pay for something else? The service was the best we have experienced, and when there was a few passenger come down with the gastro a few days out, the staff stopped self service straight away, 2 days later all good. They really take hygiene seriously. The Solarium pool was nice, but to be honest, I found it too hot in there! As a result, I didn't swim once. The Café around the pool had great food though, so we would sometimes grab a bit and take it away. Cookies YUM! The Starbucks has AWFUL coffee, OMG why can't they get some decent coffee beans and baristas on these ships! We couldn't wait to get ashore in NZ for our coffee fix. My friend had brought her trusty Maccona with her and that was a desperate measure some mid-mornings. The entertainment was fabulous, except the magic show, that was the worst I have ever seen. We scheduled our sea days going from trivia to trivia, playing pool on the funky table that stays level in the waves. Some of the staff were very comical and we had some great laughs! We loved the Putt Putt too. I really liked the Colony Club, great views over the ocean at the rear of the ship. We organised our own shore excursions. Just a word of warning about these. If a tender port, might be best to bite the bullet and get the ships tour to get preference getting ashore, we spoke to people who missed their tour and lined up for tender tickets from 7am! Otherwise your own tours will be fine with walk off ports. Our balcony cabin was nice, but smaller than we had on the Voyager. The other thing I REALLY MISSED on the radiance that the Voyager had was a proper cold fridge! The cabin had a thing that looked like a fridge but was called a "cooler" and didn't chill anything. also a KETTLE!!!! No kettle as in the Voyager, and I really missed my morning cuppa tea on the balcony. I guess we could have got room service, but the timing can be wrong with that. The ship was extremely clean and the staff are absolutely perfect with smiles on their faces even when they have worked so hard for 7-8 months straight. We found the bar service a little slow at the Schooner Bar....resorting to getting our iced water or soft drinks from the Casino as that bar was quiet. Had 4 bottles of wine allowed for 2 cabins, so didn't but much drinks, except a few glasses of white wine that were about $9, and tasted fine. We won trivia one day and got a bottle of French Champagne! Elizabeth the CD was quirky and weird at first, but we ended up warming to her, and looking forward to laugh at her style of presentation. \one of the English girls that took Trivia and a host of other activities was so funny we nick-named her Miranda from the Brit comedy...can't remember her real name! Some of the other nationality presenters had thick accents that were a little tricky but that added to the fun. Splashed out and bought myself a Citizen watch that I had priced prior to the trip and was good value, the sales girl also adjusted it for me for free, unlike jewellers at home. I wasn't really impressed with any of the photos, I prefer candid shots, although my friend bought 5 photos of her family. Can't wait until the next one! Oh....and the shower curtain YUK! minor annoyances can be overlooked (: Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see New Zealand without the hassle of driving. It is also cheaper this way as NZ is very expensive. Much cheaper to cruise and do local tours. This cruise is charged in US$ and tours are ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I wanted to see New Zealand without the hassle of driving. It is also cheaper this way as NZ is very expensive. Much cheaper to cruise and do local tours. This cruise is charged in US$ and tours are expensive. Careful selection of your cabin is essential because noise from the engines has to be blocked out with ear plugs, however; the vibration cannot. Lower aft is a big mistake. Deck 4 has the Windjammer Aft and Aurora Theatre forward . I would now plump for Deck 9 mid-section. We went to 6.30pm My Time Dining. When we asked to change tables, there was no problem. We had excellent service and had no complaints. I don't think the Speciality Dining is worth doing. The Windjammer had a lovely bow deck and we'd sit out there with cheese and biscuits and a bottle of wine on ice. Unfortunately, the weather isn't always kind in NZ, so take a few wraps. The AC is also at a low temperature. The next cruise will include more wraps and woollies ! The 70s Night was the most fun. Australia Night was more like British Night, hardly anyone dressed up and very few Australian groups featured. A lot of hard selling on this cruise. The Art Auction and photography were always being promoted. The Champagne Lunch was a big disappointment but they refunded our money. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth with disembarkation being sped up by customs visiting us on the ship to get that all organised before reaching the dock. We ate a few meals in the main dining room using mytime dining and had ... Read More
The embarkation and disembarkation were smooth with disembarkation being sped up by customs visiting us on the ship to get that all organised before reaching the dock. We ate a few meals in the main dining room using mytime dining and had no issues as my son and I were more than happy to share with others. The staff were all incredibly friendly and made sure that we were always well looked after. We didn't do any shore excursions as they seemed very expensive although after trying to organise tours in port myself I would probably book excursions in future. I would have liked to purchase more of the photos but the price of them is exhorbatant, which makes no sense as once the photos are printed they are no good to the ship if not purchased and the expense has already been laid out. Overall we loved our time on Radiance of the Seas and if we can ever afford it will definitely be doing it again Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We went as 2 friends in our early 30s. My 4th cruise, his first ever. Both first time with RCI and we were very impressed. Here are some general overviews of the highlights, various observations, and with tips on how to get the most out of ... Read More
We went as 2 friends in our early 30s. My 4th cruise, his first ever. Both first time with RCI and we were very impressed. Here are some general overviews of the highlights, various observations, and with tips on how to get the most out of the ship. Longer sailings are just better! Demographics: Full sailing of around 2200 guests. Probably 80% Australian, 10% New Zealand [like myself], 10% all other nations. A few dozen each of Canadians, Americans, British, Japanese. Age wise, skewed to the 55+ owing to the length. Also a good number of families with children/teens as summer break has started down under. A very well behaved crowd; I didn't see any drunks or disorderly conduct. Schedule: 13 night South Pacific, from Sydney to Auckland, with main highlight being the inaugural visit by RCI to the Kingdom of Tonga! Sea day Sea day Island of Pines, New Caledonia Lifou, New Caledonia Sea day Suva, Fiji Lautoka, Fiji Sea day Vava'u, Tonga Nuku'Alofa, Tonga Sea day Sea day Embarkation: From Sydney's overseas passenger terminal. Easiest way is to take the airport train to Circular Quay with a 5m walk afterwards. There's a Cole's supermarket nearby to get essentials; a liquor store is also nearby. Give your main luggage to the porters and get your card upstairs. We came at 2PM and were onboard in less than 20m. Remember not to store your card near anything magnetic! Learnt that the hard way, especially with very long lines at guest services the first 2 days. Stateroom: We had interior 3075 to save money. Quiet area. Well kept but the bathroom was rather cramped. Room attendant Diez was good and we saw him on the first day. Make requests when you meet them initially - writing it down or a typed note is best. Ice you do need to request. I'd recommend an oceanview or above. Ship status/general amenities: All decked out for Christmas! The tree was up and there was a lighting ceremony. Radiance is the perfect size - not too large or small. She's been well maintained; her last drydock was in May. Smoothest ride I've ever had as we didn't encounter any rough seas, and she handled herself well at 18-19 knots during sea days. The busiest area of the ship is of course the centrum; everyone uses the elevators or stairs here and several parties are held here. Lido deck was quite packed on sea days, as was the solarium. Interestingly the big screen was never used to broadcast news etc. Smoking areas were on an area of the lido and promenade [note due to Australian law, even the casino prohibits smoking]. Best place for sailaways that avoid the crowd is the helipad, accessible from the forward promenade. Minigolf, video arcade, and the climbing wall were sparsely used. A lot of glass, perfect to watch the sea from - even better in Alaska I hear. Dining/drinking: We had the 8PM late seating; this is on Cascades deck 5 [4 being reserved for MTD guests]. Waiters Wit and Nova were excellent. Service was fast and efficient - we were generally done by 9:15. It seems the early seating was much more popular by my observations of the theatre shows. Lunch and breakfast in the MDR were also good - the lunch menu in particular impressed me. Other than a few dishes everything was to my liking - I'm not a picky eater. Dress codes were rather relaxed [shorts were allowed]; most did dress up for formal nights. Pepper mills not on the table, haha! If there's sufficient interest I'd be happy to post menu/food pics in a few days time. Windjammer food was largely unremarkable. There are 2 duplicate serving stations for mains and desserts as well as one for deli/salads, pizzas, and burgers. Sometimes there'd be a chef serving made to order items in the center. My advice is to head to the aft tables thru Rita's and dine al fresca. There's a single chokepoint for WJ entry but you can get in thru the back on deck 12. For snacks, head to Lattetudes on 5, the hot dog place, or the park cafe. Didn't do any speciality dining [Chops, Giovanni's, Izumi, Chef's Table], but I'll note that Rita's Crab Shack was closed the entire journey. I'm not a drinker so I've got limited advice in that field. Beverage packages seemed popular on this sailing. The drink of the day was $12. Wine bottles around $40 and up? Theatre entertainment/music: Most shows had an early and late seating, although a few had a single show at 7:15 or a late late show at 10:15. No problems with saving of seats, at least for the early show. 3 production shows [City of Dreams, Pianoman, Tango Buenos Aires]. Live orchestra - much better than canned music! Other entertainers were mostly Australian [and told Australian jokes]. There's usually other live music happening in the evening, be it at the Schooner bar or Starquest. Karaoke was on every other night approximately at the pub. Our cruise director was Steve Davis and he was excellent! A singing/dancing machine. Other members of the CD's staff were highly enthusiastic as well. Theme nights included disco, tropical, rock & roll, and Australian. The guest talent show was very well attended. Shops/casino: Selling the usual overpriced goods. The liquor duty free selection is quite small but reasonably priced [a better deal can be had if you visit Port Vila, this sailing didn't]. Casino is of course the best place to lose money. Photos were $20 apiece [packages were available]. Activities: Plenty to keep everyone occupied during the days. The usual art auctions, trivia, etc. Dance classes [leading up to the guest performance] were good. The discussions with the staff heads was enlightening. The Radiance has a cinema showing quite recent films which was quite busy especially sea days. Quite a few Christmas activities as well, like Santa photos or storytime with the Elves. I kept all the Cruise Compasses and can scan the activities sheet later on if there's sufficient demand? Shore excursions: Didn't take any ship ones excepted the much lauded All Access Tour - which was unfortunately disappointing for $150 and lasting 2.5h. It was my understanding that our group would meet/chat with the captain and get a photo op [Captain Tyrm FYI] - that didn't happen. We also didn't visit the theatre at all. So all you get out of it is the lanyard with AAT on it. Can't recommend this at all! I can provide more detail on what was visited if requested. As for the port stops, it's easy enough and much cheaper to arrange tours independently, especially in Fiji. I'll keep this topic short as my review pertains to the ship. Disembarkation: NZ sends customs/immigration agents onto the ship to screen you onboard on the 2nd to last sea day. Have your passport, card, and immigration forms when you meet with them [time varies by deck]. This means you can walk off the ship in Auckland quickly. Overall a fantastic trip; I'd recommend RCI and would certainly sail with them again! Bon Voyage! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise as it went to places we had not visited (Fiji and Tonga) as well as ones we wanted to go back to (Isle of Pines). It also finished up in New Zealand which gave us the opportunity to spend a week at the end of the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it went to places we had not visited (Fiji and Tonga) as well as ones we wanted to go back to (Isle of Pines). It also finished up in New Zealand which gave us the opportunity to spend a week at the end of the cruise there before heading back to Australia. Royal Caribbean have Family Rooms which suite larger families (we have 3 kids under 10) which we could not find elsewhere. This was our second cruise with our previous cruise being four years ago when we were only a family of 4. We generally found the experience positive and are keen to cruise again one day (when we can save up enough for another trip as this took us 18 months to save for). Most significant improvement from our previous cruise experience which was also with royal Caribbean on rhapsody of the seas was in the youth program. On our previous cruise this was the area we were most critical of. We found the staff then were poor communicators and too keen on removing kids from programs if they failed to fit in straight away. On this occasion we found the staff to be that good that our 3 year old daughter wanted to go to a program every day by the end of the cruise, despite us making the decision early on to not place the kids in youth programs very often. We ended up using the morning session for all 3 kids only twice and did 4 dinner sessions as well for all 3 kids. On a 14 night cruise this is not a lot really. The only negatives we found on our cruise were the swimming pool which was a bit boring and small (but suitable enough), and the photographers. This was another change we had noticed from our previous cruise. Photographers popped up all the time for photos, including occasions when we just wanted to get on with having breakfast or rushing to get to out shore excursion. We are aware that lots of people like to have photos to use as a memory of their trip, but we ended up not buying a photo package as the pics we took ourselves were adequate. I heard other people complain about the photographers as well, so maybe this could be scaled down a bit. Having twice cruised with royal Caribbean I am again impressed buy the efforts of their staff, in particular the waiters and room attendants. We also found the program of on board activities really good on days at sea for all ages. Always something to do for everyone. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I wanted to do this cruise to see how I would go on a longer cruise with my special needs friend, it was fantastic, she is tube fed so the food was not important to her. Firstly our embarkation went smoothly and everyone was very ... Read More
I wanted to do this cruise to see how I would go on a longer cruise with my special needs friend, it was fantastic, she is tube fed so the food was not important to her. Firstly our embarkation went smoothly and everyone was very efficient, and understanding of Hayley's special needs. Our cabin was a disabled one and I must say I was very impressed, we had so much more room to move her wheelchair around, and loved the bathroom set up, it made my life much easier. I also had a great cabin steward that provided me with the extra things we needed everyday, and the wonderful room service for making sure I got the water for Hayley's formula everyday on time. The dinning was the biggest let down and I heard people saying that they had better food on P&O, the people that were on our table only came to the dinning room on 2 nights out of the 16 night cruise, and chose to eat in the buffet every other night as they said the choices were better. I choose not to use the Windjammer as I do not like the fact that so many people are handling the spoons and tongs, after wiping there hands on entry and then sneezing and coughing into there hands after and then serving up their food. Our table waiters in the dinning room were excellent and gave us the best they could, I could not speak highly enough of them table 536 level 5. The entertainment was excellent except for Joe Cool who should change his act to comedy not picking on people, other than that everything was outstanding and thoroughly enjoyed it all. The service desk on the whole were very good except for the first night when I requested an extension cord for my CPAP machine and then they did not supply a adaptor for my machine to fit it, only to be told they didn't have any, after 3 hours of trying to get the problem solved, I woke Hayley put her in the wheelchair and headed to the desk, I only made it to the lift and some nice officer asked me what the problem was, when I told him he went to fix the problem and had it solved in 20 mins, I was truly thankful for his understanding and kindness. The Ports and shore tours, We didn't get off at all the ports and we didn't do any ship tours, due to Hayley's health. We met some fantastic friends and made some great memories and to me this is what cruising is all about, bring on the 2nd December for our next one. But a word of warning if Royal Caribbean do not stop cutting costs, and don't pick up the choice and quality of the food they are going to loose a lot of clientele to Celebrity or Princess. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The Radiance of the Seas is an older ship, that is looking a tad tired and in need of a facelift in saying that though we had the best entertainment on board the Cruise Director, Activites Manager and entertainment staff were one of the ... Read More
The Radiance of the Seas is an older ship, that is looking a tad tired and in need of a facelift in saying that though we had the best entertainment on board the Cruise Director, Activites Manager and entertainment staff were one of the most enthusiastic group I have seen on a cruise ship. Plenty of activities during the day. The Captain was very engaging and came on the morning show with the Cruise Director and staff on board were a very happy bunch, which made up for some small things. Weather was also a tad cool, prefer warmer but that was out of our hands. Boarding and disembarking was great very quick no issues. My main gripe is the food in the Windjammer at breakfast was cold and lunchtime not very inspiring, desserts same everyday. We did not dine there in the evening but were told they cooked steak and fish for you, have to try that next time. Dining room experience was great, we were on My Time Dining, and really enjoyed booking when we wanted to eat and went with sharing table, met some lovely people. Cabin spacious, bed was not comfortable though too hard for us we like softer beds, bathroom very compact. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The boarding and disembarking process were very very good. The show Buenos Aries Tango was one of the best stage shows we have ever seen on any cruise ship. RCI make excellent use of the centrium area making it and added entertainment ... Read More
The boarding and disembarking process were very very good. The show Buenos Aries Tango was one of the best stage shows we have ever seen on any cruise ship. RCI make excellent use of the centrium area making it and added entertainment area. The first 3 days the staff served you in the buffet (Windjammers) was a bit annoying but necessary. The meals in the main restaurant were good and the service very good. Some of the guest shows were a little below standard but the 2 production shows were very good. It was a short cruise with only 3 ports one of which was Woolongong. It was the first time any ship had visited the "Gong". It was a great port with a great welcome from the locals. One we will remember for a long time and a great day for all. To add to the day the annual HOG ( Harley Owner Group) national meeting was on. So there were Harleys every where. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
It seems the travel industry has decided big is beautiful, we now see huge resorts covering hectares and more to the point cruise liners being the equivalent of land based resorts. I am of course talking about cruising in ships like the ... Read More
It seems the travel industry has decided big is beautiful, we now see huge resorts covering hectares and more to the point cruise liners being the equivalent of land based resorts. I am of course talking about cruising in ships like the Ovation of the Seas versus the Radiance of the seas. It all comes down to personal choice, you might prefer to spend 14 days cruising on a floating hotel with upto 18 restaurants (which means of course at least 4 will miss out) or alternatively spend 34 days cruising and discover maybe 75% of all the liner has to offer. Or choose a smaller ship like the Oosterdam or the Radiance. Both will have specialty restaurants and a variety of activities for all ages and inclinations. I want to talk about the Radiance as this ship was my most recent cruise and therefore the best remembered. The Radiance is one of the smaller ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet; it is also one of the oldest but has undergone some fairly recent refurbishments. It holds about 2300 passengers and 859 crew. It has the hallmark specialty restaurant Giovanni’s which seems to be on all RC ships. It is a not to be missed experience. I have been on three other RC cruises and all Giovannis’ are a gourmet delight. The Radiance also had another hallmark RC restaurant – Izumi and if you’re into Asian food I cannot recommend this more highly. I also dined at the Samba Grill a Brazilian restaurant not seen on other ships. Be advised – starve yourself all day! Now, anyone would think my entire cruising is focused around eating. Admittedly, it’s an important part of a holiday not having to cook any meals and the Lido (cafeteria style) or main dining rooms (silver service) provide wonderful menus. But like all RC ships/cruises they do cater for all ages and interests. There’s the climbing wall and age is no deterrent(!), two swimming pools one in a solarium environment and child free, there is a supervised children play area, seminars, cooking or wine demonstrations in other words the options go on and on. I can only comment on my cabin 7528 as I booked late. It has a large verandah which of course means a smaller cabin (stateroom!). The layout of all the cabins excluding suites is basically the same and they are very adequate for short to medium cruises. The bathroom is a tad small, slightly compensated by a shower curtain rather than a shower screen. The shower is tiny and if you’re a large cruiser – don’t drop the soap! The layout of the main entertainment area is poor and obviously while the concept was great, ships like the Voyager or Explorer have improved on it vastly. On the Radiance the focal point is called the Centrium and located on Deck 4. As the name suggests it’s midship and circular with a bank of 3 lifts on either side. All the main attractions are held here (other than the booked entrainment) it is too small and if you need to sit get there 1 hour earlier. The lifts have a poor configuration and your eyes need swivel 180 degrees or have amazing hearing. And when you do grab one be prepared to be completely disorientated as to forward or aft. I didn’t need to exercise as I spent so much energy walking in the wrong direction for my cabin! But the one thing that sets the Radiance apart from any other ship I have been on is the crew. They are exceptional, if you decide to make one bar your bar then within days the staff remember you and your drink. The cabin stewards are equally attentive and will pretty well try to accommodate any of your wishes. Super glue for broken reading glasses was a bit beyond them! Smaller is personal and that alone makes the Radiance a beautiful cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
Cabin was great larger than most port hole cabins, would of been nice to have another port than Picton straight after Wellington didnt get any real feeling for NZ from those 2 ports. My Time was a bit of a issue and the flexability for My ... Read More
Cabin was great larger than most port hole cabins, would of been nice to have another port than Picton straight after Wellington didnt get any real feeling for NZ from those 2 ports. My Time was a bit of a issue and the flexability for My time is now gone had to set a time and that wasnt always what suited. Wind Jammer always seem to have the same food and just didnt have the variety that was with both Lunch and dinner. And really didnt like traffle Duo cant sing....actually went out of our way to avoid them. It would of been good to have a pub musician but head office was saving money. Great CC meet and greet very nice of them to do that. Didnt like the staff of photography debt in fact found them rude. Captain was the best captain that i have sailed with and this is the second time we have sailed with him. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
It seems the travel industry has decided big is beautiful, we now see huge resorts covering hectares and more to the point cruise liners being the equivalent of land based resorts. I am of course talking about cruising in ships like the ... Read More
It seems the travel industry has decided big is beautiful, we now see huge resorts covering hectares and more to the point cruise liners being the equivalent of land based resorts. I am of course talking about cruising in ships like the Ovation of the Seas versus the Radiance of the seas. It all comes down to personal choice, you might prefer to spend 14 days cruising on a floating hotel with upto 18 restaurants (which means of course at least 4 will miss out) or alternatively spend 34 days cruising and discover maybe 75% of all the liner has to offer. Or choose a smaller ship like the Oosterdam or the Radiance. Both will have specialty restaurants and a variety of activities for all ages and inclinations. I want to talk about the Radiance as this ship was my most recent cruise and therefore the best remembered. The Radiance is one of the smaller ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet; it is also one of the oldest but has undergone some fairly recent refurbishments. It holds about 2300 passengers and xxxxx crew. It has the hallmark specialty restaurant Giovanni’s which seems to be on all RC ships. It is a not to be missed experience. I have been on three other RC cruises and all Giovannis’ are a gourmet delight. The Radiance also had another hallmark RC restaurant – Izumi and if you’re into Asian food I cannot recommend this more highly. I also dined at the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx a restaurant not seen on other ships. Be advised – starve yourself all day! Now, anyone would think my entire cruising is focused around eating. Admittedly, it’s an important part of a holiday not having to cook any meals and the Lido (cafeteria style) or main dining rooms (silver service) provide wonderful menus. But like all RC ships/cruises they do cater for all ages and interests. There’s the climbing wall and age is no deterrent(!), two swimming pools one in a solarium environment and child free, there is a supervised children play area, there’s seminars, cooking or wine demonstrations in other words the options go on and on. I can only comment on my cabin xxxx as I booked late. It has a large verandah which of course means a smaller cabin (stateroom!). The layout of all the cabins excluding suites is basically the same and they are very adequate for short to medium cruises. The bathroom is a tad small, slightly compensated by a shower curtain rather than a shower screen. The shower is tiny and if you’re a large cruiser – don’t drop the soap! The layout of the main entertainment area is poor and obviously while the concept was great, ships like the Voyager or Explorer have improved on it vastly. On the Radiance the focal point is called the Centrium and located on Deck ? As the name suggests it’s midship and circular with a bank of 3 lifts on either side. All the main attractions are held here (other than the booked entrainment) it is too small and if you need to sit get there 1 hour earlier. The lifts have a poor configuration and your eyes need swivel 180 degrees or amazing hearing. And when you do grab one be prepared to be completely disorientated as to forward or aft. I didn’t need to exercise as I spent so much energy walking in the wrong direction for my cabin! But the one thing that sets the Radiance apart from any other ship I have been on is the crew. They are exceptional, if you decide to make one bar your bar then within days the staff remember you and your drink. The cabin stewards are equally attentive and will pretty well try to accommodate any of your wishes. Super glue for broken reading glasses was a bit beyond them! Smaller is personal and that alone makes the Radiance a beautiful cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
While I was searching for a way to visit as many islands in Hawaii as possible, and because I enjoy cruising, I found this very reasonable 11 day cruise which included visits to the major islands in the chain with excellent ports. The ... Read More
While I was searching for a way to visit as many islands in Hawaii as possible, and because I enjoy cruising, I found this very reasonable 11 day cruise which included visits to the major islands in the chain with excellent ports. The ship Radiance of the Seas is a midsized older ship which proved to be an excellent size for a more intimate cruise. The dining facilities onboard were the best that I have experienced on previous cruises. Overall the staff was outstanding. I loved the trivia contests which helped me meet some new friends and the three Broadway quality shows where excellent. I also enjoy the ventriloquist. I did not do any of the ships excursions as I was meeting up with family at three of the ports and availed myself of the bus system in Lahaina, Maui and rented a car in Kauai. I have to take the time to say that the service at our My Time Dining was far above average. The waiter and his assistant took time each night to ensure that we were pleased with our food. I traveled with a friend. I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We had an amazing time aboard the Radiance of the Seas on our cruise to Hawaii. We were thrilled to find this 11 night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean. It apparently was a repositioning cruise after they were done with their Alaska ... Read More
We had an amazing time aboard the Radiance of the Seas on our cruise to Hawaii. We were thrilled to find this 11 night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean. It apparently was a repositioning cruise after they were done with their Alaska tours for the summer. Although this was our 15th cruise, this was our first one longer than 7 days. We really enjoyed our five days at sea and truly enjoyed visiting all the Hawaiian Islands. When cruising by the volcano on the big island, the Captain made sure to let us know so everyone could go outside to see the beautiful glow of the lava coming out of the volcano. We found the Hop on/Hop off buses were great on a few of the islands, especially when traveling with elderly parents! We booked our next trip while aboard the Radiance of the Seas to help us reach our goal of Diamond Member. We have only 24 more cruise days and we are there! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was my wife's 20th cruise and my 19th, and for both of us was our 17th on RCL. This is also the year of our 20th anniversary. We chose this cruise because we love Hawaii, we love sea days (have taken a Transatlantic cruise ... Read More
This was my wife's 20th cruise and my 19th, and for both of us was our 17th on RCL. This is also the year of our 20th anniversary. We chose this cruise because we love Hawaii, we love sea days (have taken a Transatlantic cruise before), and the Radiance class is our favorite in the line. Radiance itself was the first RCL ship we sailed on, and we hadn't been on it since the 2011 refurb, so we were anxious to see it. We booked a Grand Suite since we had so many sea days - Suite 1060, which has the largest balcony on the ship, about 140+ sq. ft. (it's on the aft side of the Centrum "hump"). We favor RCL due to the consistency of the experience and the many perks afforded frequent cruisers (we're Diamond Plus). The overall experience was very good. Radiance is showing some wear even after the refurb, but it's still a beautiful ship. We tend not to eat in the dining room - we don't necessarily want to spend 2+ hours at dinner, and we don't go on vacation to dress up. We booked a three-meal specialty dining package, selecting Chops, Giovanni's and Samba Grill, and the other evenings we dined in the Windjammer or in port. FYI, the Windjammer typically has several of the same entrees as the dining room, plus all the variety that comes with a buffet. The Diamond Lounge experience was wonderful, thanks to Juan Diego, the Diamond concierge. We do wish it had been more clear that suite guests have the ability to order from the main dining room menu for room service - we didn't understand that until the last day. We did dine in our suite one night, but the normal room service menu is quite limited. We also wish suite guests had priority deck lounge chairs, as on some other RCL ships, as deck chairs were always hard to find. Below are our detailed impressions: Ship: Radiance is very easy to navigate, and rarely feels crowded, since many of the venues are on different decks (unlike the Voyager class with its mall-like Promenade, which always feels - well, like a mall). We only went to one show, a production show, but it was very good. Again, it's showing a bit of wear, but that's to be expected on a ship that sees so many passengers a year. Cabin: Can't say enough about Suite 1060! The Grand Suite allows plenty of closet space, a bar, separate seating area, and a huge balcony that easily fits two chairs and a small table, plus two lounge chairs and another table. It's on the port side, so sailing from Vancouver to Hawaii we were able to sun on our balcony in the mornings. Upon boarding, we found a half-full coffee cup on the balcony, a used tissue on the shelf behind the safe, and some coins on the floor - unusual for RCL. Also, while packing, we discovered a previous guest's credit card in the safe and their binoculars in a drawer we hadn't used, and took those to Lost & Found. Although we were near the elevators, there was little noise, though we could hear the music in the Centrum some evenings, which we didn't mind. Dining: The variety in the Windjammer is very good. There were always burgers and hot dogs, pizza, and several curry dishes, as well as some theme stations on different nights, such as a fresh-made pasta station, a Mongolian grill, etc. I was glad to see poached eggs in the buffet line, as the line at the fresh egg station was always quite long, and the scrambled eggs on most ships' buffets (or hotels, for that matter) are generally horrible. I like corned beef hash, and that was available every morning as well. Lunch included plenty of salad options, and the soups were usually very good. Chops is consistently good, with great steaks. Giovanni's was just okay. Samba Grill is a new favorite - a Brazilian-style steakhouse with numerous meat entrees, plus a large salad and soup bar. The soup was delicious, as were the entrees, but come hungry. We can't speak to the desserts, as we're not dessert people. Entertainment/Activities: Again, we only partook of one production show, which was very good. Since you gain three hours on this westbound itinerary, we found ourselves retiring early and waking up early, so we didn't do much in the way of nighttime entertainment - unfortunate, since we always enjoy the piano music in the Schooner bar, and the evening bands in the Colony Club. That was our choice, but we do wish the piano music would start earlier than 9:30pm. The main band was outstanding - one of the best guitarists I've heard - and they could cover just about anything. They played on the pool deck several times. We don't do bingo, or the casino, or the art auctions, so can't opine about that. Our main activity was the fitness center on the sea days. It was sometimes crowded - often with passengers in street clothes who clearly never go to the gym at home, and sometimes just sat on the equipment listening to the lectures, etc. - but we were always able to get in a workout. We also walked on the track on Deck 12, but there were many people just ambling along the track that we had to dodge. One very cool experience: I was walking on the track on 9/11, when I could hear the Captain making an announcement. I paused my music and took out my earbuds to listen. He was commemorating that terrible day, and at the end, he asked for a minute of silence. I stopped and stood at the rail at the front of the ship. No one was talking, the music stopped, and they cut the engines. The only thing you could hear was the waves, and the only thing I saw was the vastness of the Pacific. More than 3,000 passengers from many different countries were silent. It was a wonderful tribute, and near the end of that minute, I saw a dolphin leaping into the air in the distance. Photos: This is an issue for us on every cruise. The photographers insist on forcing passengers into these ridiculous poses that look unnatural in the final product. As a result, we wind up never buying the photos. (We did take our two free ones as Diamond Plus members, but even those were not what we'd have wanted.) I would think the objective would be to sell pictures, not just take pictures. Next time we'll be more assertive in telling them we want to pose ourselves. Fellow Passengers: This itinerary draws an older crowd, as it's during the school year, longer in duration, and has a lot of sea days, which seem to appeal to families less. We saw more walkers and wheelchairs than kids. That requires patience, as your ship-mates may not get around as quickly as you. We do wish people understood that there are actual lines in the Windjammer, rather than just jumping in front of people to grab that one thing they want. Given the age of the passengers, the elevators can get crowded, but we generally take the stairs. Embarkation: The facility in Vancouver is a zoo, very poorly laid out. It's not clear where the lines are for luggage drop-off, customs, check-in, etc. and there's lots of walking involved. (That's okay for us, not so much for the many elderly passengers on this itinerary.) It was exacerbated by the fact that both Radiance and Celebrity Solstice were embarking from the same facility at the same time - not a good plan. And note that as suite guests and Diamond Plus members, we had priority boarding. If we hadn't, it would have been a much longer and very frustrating experience. We spent the night before the cruise in a hotel near the airport, and traffic getting to the port was also a zoo. Next time, we'd stay nearer to the port. (We always fly to the port a day early, having missed the first day of a cruise out of San Juan due to a major snafu by Delta Airlines.) Disembarkation: This was much smoother. The facility in Honolulu is excellent, and we were off the ship in no time. We spent one extra night in Waikiki, and the only issue was the taxi line, but that was due to the rudeness of some of our fellow passengers, who - rather than respect the order of the line and let the first people in line take the next available cab, jumped into the first cab that pulled up near them. Chaos ensued, with people scrambling for the first available cab from any position in the line. Daily Recap and Ports: As noted, we love the sea days. There's something special about being in the middle of the vastness of the ocean, with nothing but water on the horizon. And it's the ultimate in relaxation; the daily routine is get up, eat breakfast, let that digest a while, work out for a couple of hours (keeps the weight gain at a minimum), have lunch, lie in the sun, clean up, have dinner, enjoy some evening entertainment or have a glass of wine on your balcony, go to bed, then repeat. The weather was generally very good, with clouds on some days, but always some sun. The first full day it was a bit cool on the pool deck, but still in the low 70s, warm enough to get some sun. Also, once on board, cruising out of Vancouver is beautiful. We rented cars from National in each port, as we've visited each island previously (I made advance reservations). All of the rental locations were at nearby airports, and every port had a rental car shuttle except for Kona, where it was about a $35 cab ride each way to get our car. I learned there's an Enterprise facility right by the port there, and I'd opt for that next time. Other than that, the rental car experience was great, and the shuttles were always timely. Much cheaper than shore excursions - we spent an average of about $60/day plus gas. Lahaina, Maui: Our first port call was an overnighter. The tender operation was very sloppy - it seemed as though it was the crew's first time. It took about an hour from door to dock (and we had priority tender tickets the first day). The second day, the delay was due to a tender that they had to take out of service because "it wasn't operating properly." Given that the tenders are the ship's lifeboats, that could be a concern. The rental car shuttle was very near the dock, and it was about a ten-minute drive to the National facility. Once we picked up our rental car, we drove across the island to Hali'imaile General Store, a wonderful restaurant on the lower slope of Haleakala, then drove to Wailea. We stay there when we fly to Maui, as it's much more relaxed and less crowded than Kaanapali or Kapalua. We visited the Kea Lani resort, where we usually stay, and the beach, then had an excellent sunset dinner at Ferraro's restaurant at the Four Seasons before returning to Lahaina. We found a place to park overnight about two blocks off Front Street, on the left side of Dickenson St. It was only $15 (there is a closer lot on the other side of Dickenson, but it cost twice as much), and about a 5-minute walk from the dock. The second morning, we ate breakfast across the street from the lot at a wonderful place called Lahaina Coolers. The server, Frank, was very knowledgeable and friendly, and gave us lots of good tips on what to see and do. After breakfast we went to Kapalua, but it was very windy and cloudy, so we moved to Kaanapali and spent the rest of the day on the beach there. We rented beach chairs for the two days from The Snorkel Store, and Jonathan, the sales rep there, was also very knowledgeable and friendly. The rental rate was $5/day for each chair, but he only charged us for the one day. Hilo, Hawaii (Big Island): We'd only been to Hilo once, so it was less familiar to us. We docked there, and took the shuttle to the airport to pick up our car (about five minutes away). We ate breakfast at Ken's House of Pancakes, which was fantastic. Hilo itself is quite beautiful, being on the windward side of the island - very green and lush. We drove north and visited the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, which is not to be missed. But first we pulled over at a trailhead and hiked down to a beautiful little cove, just on the other side of the Botanical Garden. It's a pretty steep hike, but the views are worth it. The garden itself is equally beautiful, and involves about a mile and a half of walking, part of it also steep, but they have golf carts for those who can't make the walk. The flowers are breathtaking, unlike anything on the mainland. After that, we visited the spectacular Akaka Falls, which also involved some walking, part of it steep. We had lunch at a little roadside place called the Low Store Deli. It's a little market that has a few tables outside, and excellent food. Then we drove around Hilo before returning to the ship. That night, the ship sailed around the Big Island to Kona, and at about 9:30, the Captain stopped the ship off the coast, where we were treated to a wonderful view of the lava flowing into the ocean from Kilauea. This was a treat, as sometimes the lava isn't flowing or the clouds are low enough to obstruct the view, but the spectacle was on that night, with huge steam clouds rising off the water. The Captain turned the ship 360 degrees so that everyone could enjoy the view. Kona, Hawaii: We took the 15-minute cab ride to the Kona airport and picked up our car, then drove up the mountain to Waimea, taking the long way up Waikoloa Road, then north on 190. The scenery was amazing, with great views of the ocean and other islands in the distance. We had breakfast at the Paniolo Country Inn, then drove toward the coast. I took a wrong turn that led us up Highway 250, the Kohala Mountain Road, and it was well worth the detour, as the road climbed to about 4,000 feet before we turned around, offering more amazing views. Finally we made our way to the beautiful Hapuna Beach. Chair rentals are available at the Three Frogs beach shack, which also has great fish tacos, though we didn't eat there on this trip (we did have shave ice, though, and it was wonderful after a hot day on the beach). We had a late lunch at the Marriott in Waikoloa before returning our rental car. We took the airport shuttle from the rental facility to the airport, then caught a cab to the port. Again, next time I'd rent near the port from Enterprise. Note: as National Emerald Club members, we were able to take any car on the aisle, and there was a Mustang convertible available, so naturally we took that. We drove all morning with the top down, which was great - but I forgot to put sunscreen on, which was a mistake! Don't forget the sunscreen if you rent a convertible, especially if you don't have much hair. Lihue, Kauai: We docked here and took the short shuttle ride to the airport rental car facility, then drove to the Grand Hyatt on Poipu beach, where we'd stayed before, for breakfast. We visited the beach, then drove around the island to Hanalei Bay on the north shore. We went beyond Hanalei to Ke'e Beach, at the end of the road, but there was no parking available, so we went back to Hanalei. We didn't spend much time at the beach, as we'd had enough sun the day before. We had a late lunch at the pool bar at the St. Regis Princeville, then drove back to Lihue. Honolulu: We docked, and again, disembarkation was a breeze, other than the taxi line. We took a cab to Waikiki, where we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Our room had a sunset view, so we ate dinner on our balcony (excellent pizza from the nearby Round Table Pizza). We spent the next day at the pool, then used a complimentary hospitality room to get cleaned up for a sunset dinner at the fantastic House Without a Key at the Halekulani hotel before taking a cab to the airport for the flight home. We would do this cruise again in a heartbeat - a few minor issues notwithstanding, it was probably the best vacation we've ever had, and we've traveled extensively. We only wish RCL would sail to Hawaii from somewhere other than Vancouver, but the embarkation process was but a small part of the overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this cruise because it fit our schedules, was during the school year, and was a one way trip. We figured it would maximize our viewing of scenery and port visits. We flew into Anchorage and stayed overnight. Hampton Inn ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it fit our schedules, was during the school year, and was a one way trip. We figured it would maximize our viewing of scenery and port visits. We flew into Anchorage and stayed overnight. Hampton Inn picked us up and also took us to the train station early the next morning. In fact, they called a cab because the shuttle was on an airport run. They also paid for the cab. A very nice touch! Once in Seward, we caught the Harbor 360/Major Marine Tour shuttle to the hotel. We left our luggage with the staff and then headed to our tour with Major Marine. Great cruise! Salmon and Prime rib was delicious, but you have to pay for your beverages. Check in at the hotel was simple and fast, and the next morning after breakfast, we left our luggage with them again as we toured the city. Our luggage was trucked with the others to the ship at 3pm. How nice! Check in at the ship was the.fastest.ever! Go at 2pm and you will not have any wait at all! We attended two of the major entertainment shows in the Aurora Theater. Boring. I quit after the first show, my friend went to the second show but left early. We did not return for the rest of the cruise. The Schooner bar was very enjoyable with plenty of chairs and sofas and a great view. This was the last cruise of the season. Every store in the ports had massive sales, so if you are shopping, take the last cruise of the season. We booked most of our excursions ourselves. We bought a TourSaver coupon book and used those 2 for 1 coupons for those excursions we were interested in. We also used the coupon book to book the train from Anchorage to Seward. Very cost effective! We did take the All Access Tour on the last day of the cruise. We were taken below decks to various departments - laundry, waste management, food, crew cafeteria, engineering, bridge. It was most enlightening and worth the cost. Our cabin, 9098, was in the center and therefore close to everything. Because this is a smaller ship, it's a breeze to get anywhere. I did notice peeling wallpaper in the Cascades dining room. Not many spots, but they were there. The sandwiches in Park Cafe were very disappointing. There was about a tablespoon of filling for the entire sandwich! We had to get three sandwiches, scrape the filling off of them to combine for one decent sandwich. The food in Windjammer was delicious, plentiful and hot. The food in Cascades was good, but not always hot. Usually warm. And just good tasting, not delicious. Prior to the end of the cruise, RCCL sends out all the information on how/when/where to leave the ship. They printed a nice little card with the various ways to get to the airport or hotels. But they left out the train/subway. It's cheap ($4 CAD), it's more environmentally friendly than any of the other options and yet no mention was made about it. Plus it's much faster! tsk tsk tsk Royal Caribbean. Vancouver customs was very streamlined and easy. Thanks! Still I will sail this itinerary and this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We took this cruise with 5 other friends (all of us 35-40). Alaska itself is amazing, and I now understand why everyone has this on their bucket list. Go on this cruise for that reason alone. However, if I compare this cruise to other ... Read More
We took this cruise with 5 other friends (all of us 35-40). Alaska itself is amazing, and I now understand why everyone has this on their bucket list. Go on this cruise for that reason alone. However, if I compare this cruise to other RCCL I've taken in the Caribbean, New England, and more, it was meh. The theater entertainment was overall not appealing - the theater was never full. The main dining room didn't include very much Alaskan flavor - apparently it was in the rebranded specialty "cantina". The cruise redeemed itself with a great Cruise Director and staff, with entertaining onboard activities. The trivia was good and had a great variety. The multiple dance parties kept old and young happy, as well as the dance activities. The ship itself has been updated, so it's the RCCL quality I have come to expect. The cabins were well-maintained, and the public areas were in good shape. For fun, go up to 12 and look down on the centrum. I loved the multiple lounge areas that were off of the centrum. Make sure to explore the whole ship. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
The Alaska ports of call were amazing! Fabulous views, breathtaking scenery, exciting wildlife....a trip to remember! The cruise ship itself was compact and a bit tired/worn - could use a facelift. But the crew were attentive, and the ... Read More
The Alaska ports of call were amazing! Fabulous views, breathtaking scenery, exciting wildlife....a trip to remember! The cruise ship itself was compact and a bit tired/worn - could use a facelift. But the crew were attentive, and the Cruise Director (Jamie) was lively and fun! The evening shows were sufficient but not outstanding - best nights were the two shows with the RCI orchestra and dancers. The meals in Cascades Dining Room were varied and tasty. They were served by attentive staff. Skip the deserts and go for the drink of the day instead!! The buffet (Windjammer) had interesting offerings - but closed at 9 PM (late night snackers could only order from limited room service menu - small charge after midnight). The teen program was disappointing. Traveling with 12 YO girl and 13 YO boy - all activities and teen club were combined ages 12 to 17 YO (that's a pretty big spread of maturity levels). Staff of the youth activities did not appear particularly interested in engaging with or protecting the children in their care. I witnessed boys (maybe 12 or 13 YO) repeatedly climbing up on the low rock ledge over the mini golf area - which put them standing higher than the safety railing facing over the edge of ship - very dangerous) Also inappropriate language (f-bomb) by older youth in presence of younger kids and females which was not corrected by the staff. I would not recommend counting on teen activities staff - particularly for a younger teen or single child alone. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a family "bucket list" trip for my dad and unfortunately it was not the ultimate experience that he was hoping for. Embarkation was a long meandering walk and when we boarded the ship no one was giving any ... Read More
This was a family "bucket list" trip for my dad and unfortunately it was not the ultimate experience that he was hoping for. Embarkation was a long meandering walk and when we boarded the ship no one was giving any directions as to where we needed to go. Finally another guest told us that most people were in the Windjammer, since rooms were not read at by 1 pm. When we got to the cabins (1 for Hubs & I and 1 for Dad & Son) around 3 pm Dad & Son's luggage was not delivered. Their luggage was finally delivered around 8:30/9 pm after we got Room Attendant involved. Ship was OK overall, but definitely some maintenance and repairs needed. In Aurora Theater, a handrail on right side, facing stage, was broken away from upright the entire cruise. The trim on the sofa in Cabin 3050 was frayed and sticking out from bottom. Most of the wood railing on the ship needs to be sanded, stained and varnished. Another pet peeve for my dad was that hallways were frequently cluttered with housekeeping equipment and dirty dishes, which impeded movement and could be considered a fire/emergency hazard. Dining - We did all of our dinner using My Time Dining in Cascades. The food was hit and miss. Most beef steaks were tough and cut very thin, resulting in overcooking, especially since we ordered medium rare. Also many items were over salted, which is problematic for those of us that need low sodium diets. The highlight of our dining experience were our wait staff (Ajay & Antonio) who always were attentive and soon learned our names and preferences! We attended some of the enrichment programs. Dr Ryan was OK, but he seemed bored, except for the day we were at Hubbard. Dad & Hubs enjoyed Canadian Mountie talk. Entertainment was decent for first half of week (Piano Man tribute and Mo Town review), but comedians were blah. Our teenage son attended Optix, the teen club. He said it was mostly fun. He liked the various competitions they did. Excursions were very good overall. Definitely the highlight of the trip. We did Lumberjack & Town tour with stop at Saxman in Ketchikan. In Icy Points, Dad & Hubs did nature tour and got to see bears. At Skagway we did the combo White Pass Train, Gold-panning and Sled dogs - AWESOME! In Juneau we did Roberts Tram, Glacier Gardens and Mendenhall Glacier. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We booked this cruise only two days before departure and had relatively low expectations (given that neither of us had been on a cruise as adults and the age/past reviews of the ship). Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the cruise ... Read More
We booked this cruise only two days before departure and had relatively low expectations (given that neither of us had been on a cruise as adults and the age/past reviews of the ship). Overall, we were pleasantly surprised by the cruise overall and in spite of the somewhat dated decor and facilities on the ship, found it be be quite well-maintained very clean. Far and away, for us, the highlight of the journey was the cruise director (Jamie), who was supported by a fun, energetic staff. Jamie really is an undiscovered gem and a very talented entertainer who made the seven nights memorable. The food/dining experiences were OK, but we definitely didn't have any "wow" moments; the worst part about dining was the staff in the main dining room (Cascades) who were overly attentive. Case in point: during a single meal, we had eight (8) different individuals, managers, and servers come and ask us if we were enjoying our time. Now, I have nothing against checking in with your customers (in fact, I think that many land-based restaurants could improve on this), but when being asked if you're enjoying your meal actually starts to make you not enjoy it, it starts to become a problem. The worst part was when on our second to last night, our server asked us to rate him highly on the review/quality score. This small service issue aside, we really enjoyed our time on the Radiance and sailing with Royal Caribbean, and will definitely be booking another cruise (albeit probably on a newer ship) again soon. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
The stateroom attendants and dining staff were wonderful. Our only issue with Royal Caribbean was the lack of experience with those in charge of transfers and lost luggage. We paid for a seat for a 20 month old, then found out when we ... Read More
The stateroom attendants and dining staff were wonderful. Our only issue with Royal Caribbean was the lack of experience with those in charge of transfers and lost luggage. We paid for a seat for a 20 month old, then found out when we arrived that there was no where for a carseat anyway on the train or on the large bus (which we were told would be a shuttle service....so I expected a smaller situation that might have been unsafe without a car seat). In addition, my travel guide spoke with RC twice about the transfer from our hotel in Anchorage to the train and both times were told there was nothing provided. After paying for a private transfer for our 12 family members (it was raining that day), we came down to find out there WAS a FREE transfer. How did the cruise line miss that detail after we contacted them twice? Together, that was $300 that I paid that was unnecessary. We were only able to use the childcare area once because it stayed booked up. Wish we'd been warned that was a possibility beforehand. A bit frustrating for us. On top of that, our luggage pick up after disembarking was quite chaotic, ending in no luggage for my husband to take home (someone else picked it up before we got there). After ten days of calling and calling, it just arrived at our home. What a wild story with a woman from Israel picking it up in Vancouver, taking it to Seattle before checking her luggage, then taking it all the way back to Vancouver before it could begin its journey home, with a nice wait in customs after we were told it was on its way here and waiting all day at home Friday for luggage that was still in Canada. At least it happened as we were leaving! Again, the cruise itself was wonderful, but I was quite frustrated with the handling of the transfers and lost luggage. I won't automatically book with RC next time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
A cruise and pre-cruise land tour was a great way to experience the vastness that is Alaska. Unfortunately the weather was not ideal but that is uncontrollable. The meals in the Cascades dining room were very well prepared, although ... Read More
A cruise and pre-cruise land tour was a great way to experience the vastness that is Alaska. Unfortunately the weather was not ideal but that is uncontrollable. The meals in the Cascades dining room were very well prepared, although sometimes not as hot as they should be served. Although some appetizers and entree portions were small, you were free to order as many as you liked. They were beautifully plated and some nights it was difficult to choose from the many delectable choices. We once had 5 entrees between the two of us. Our waiter, Bastu, was super friendly. The selection and quality of food and the service in the Windjammer Cafe was excellent. Our room was well maintained. The bed was comfortable. There was a musty smell in the bathroom but after advising the room maintenance personnel about this it was taken care of quickly. The ports of call were good and the view of the Hubbard glacier was great. We went to all of the nightly entertainment shows. Some were just good others were very, very good. Getting on and off the ship while in port was handled efficiently so there was never any lengthy waits. There are many elevators and they were generally quick to arrive. The speaker volume to alert you that a certain elevator was available to take you up or down should be made a little louder. Sometimes the doors closed too quickly so you could miss one if you weren't paying close attention. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Here's some information and highlights from a 7-day northbound royal caribbean cruise aboard Radiance of the Seas with a 3-night post-cruise land tour: Getting to and on the ship in Vancouver: For two people with two bags, it ... Read More
Here's some information and highlights from a 7-day northbound royal caribbean cruise aboard Radiance of the Seas with a 3-night post-cruise land tour: Getting to and on the ship in Vancouver: For two people with two bags, it was $35 plus tip for a taxi from the airport to the ship. We arrived on July 1, Canada Day, so the terminal at Canada Place Pier was a sea of people heading down to enjoy concerts and fireworks at Canada Place. It added a little time due to traffic, but also added more excitement to kick off the vacation as we got to enjoy some free concerts and entertainment from our aft balcony on the starboard side. Luggage: For the two of us, we each had a checked bag and a backpack. We left our tagged bags at with the RCI luggage team once we arrived at the terminal and it showed up five or six hours later. Can't recall exactly when, but definitely in reasonable timeframe. Getting aboard, the junior suite stateroom and settling in: We arrived at the cruise terminal around 1 and were in our room by 1:30. Checking in was a breeze. We had VIP check in because or our junior suite and by booking through AAA Travel -- so we didn't really have to wait at all in the terminal. This cruise marked a jump from balcony to junior suite -- mostly to get a real shower/tub. However, the extra room in the cabin and balcony really made the cabin seem much larger. The padded lounge chair on the balcony was awesome and a great place to track down marine life. Would totally recommend it if you have room in the budget. One caveat ... the head clearance in the shower is about 5'8" ... so those tall folks will be stooping over or scrubbing the ceiling. Paid off to be a little shorter. Package selection: I opted for the $20/day Royal Replenish package. This got me bottle water, Pellegrino, fresh orange juice, a souvenir beverage mug, fountain soda and starbucks coffees (from Lattitudes on deck 5). I think I got decent value of the package and probably saved a few bucks. I wouldn't have purchased fresh OJ, so it was good to have. Soda and coffee notes: As of July 11, the soft drinks are the standard options. No freestyle machines. Lattitudes on deck 5 is essentially a starbucks location -- it just doesn't have a Starbucks marquee or associated pastries like the Oasis class ships do. Weather and clothing: For the most part, we had sunny and warm conditions throughout the cruise and tour. However, I'd recommend following all the advice and pack clothes that you can layer to handle the wide range of weather possible. Also, unless you're going to do some real hiking, you can get away with some good comfortable shoes. Cruise itinerary: July 1 - depart Vancouver July 2 - cruising Inside passage July 3 - docked at Ketchikan, Alaska July 4 - docked at Icy Straight Point, Alaska July 5 - docked at Juneau, Alaska July 6 - docked at Skagway, Alaska July 7 - cruising Hubbard glacier July 8 - arrive Seward, Alaska Tour itinerary: July 8 - motor coach from Seward to Talkeetna July 9 - motor coach from Talkeetna to Denali July 10 - motor coach from Denali to Talkeetna; Wilderness Express train from Talkeetna to Anchorage Inside passage: Ended up setting clocks back an additional hour. And saw some dolphins around lunch time. Ketchikan, Alaska: Based on other cruisecritic advice, booked a private excursion through Island Wings Air Service to visit Anan Creek. Cost for two was just shy of $1,000. But really was an awesome experience to jump into our Alaska vacation. Michelle, our pilot, was knowledgeable about the area and nature -- so we learned a lot. The float plane sat six passengers. It was a little overcast and drizzly when we started out in the morning, but Michelle let everyone know that the smoothest rides are when it is a little overcast. As we flew, the sun came out and we had a great excursion and saw four or five bears -- the salmon run was just getting started so late July would probably see more. Back on board, we sat in Schooner Bar and listened to string duo and saw about 8 or 9 whales looking out the widows. Icy Straight Point, Alaska: Sun was out most of day in port. Very quiet area. Little over mile and half walk on paved sidewalk into downtown hoonah. A few microbreweries on way into town to refresh for walk back to ship. Spotted some more whales as we sailed on to Juneau. Juneau, Alaska: Had to cancel a bike and brew excursion through the ship, but opted for a Pilot's Choice glacier landing helicopter tour through TEMSCO. The ship offered the tour, but we couldn't book it on their site ... so we went direct. This was a little cheaper than the first tour, but any time you get up in the air it runs at least $350 a person. We ended up flying to and landing on Herbert Glacier as well as Nugget Valley. The glacier was icy and had the dramatic blues. Because we were in port for about 13 hours and it is daylight the whole time, we also took a blue bus for $30/person round trip to the Mendenhall Glacier. We felt it was worth the visit. It was about a 20-minute walk from the visitor's center to Nugget falls and the closest glacier view point. If you just want to walk up to the falls and take some pictures -- you'll probably only need about 2 hours. We were going to visit Alaska Brewery, but there was a $20/person shuttle charge from the store in town to their actual restaurant and brewery. Instead, we went to the Red Dog Saloon for lunch and a beer. Skagway, Alaska: Booked the white pass train and klondike bike tour via the ship. This was a 27.7 mile ride to Fraser Station in British Columbia (so need your passport) in the train followed by a 15-mile guided mountain bike ride down the highway to the Sockeye Cycle store. It was a flat 1.5 mile walk back to the ship through town from the store. On the bike ride down, it was a little chilly for part of the ride as we probably got up to 25 mph. Different perspective from taking the train up. Bring gloves and a hat to wear under your bike helmet. Hubbard glacier: Very sunny at Hubbard glacier and about 55 degrees. Saw quite a few calvings including three or four biggies. The onboard nature expert said that they were some of the biggest and impressive ones he's seen in the 12 years he's been doing the cruise. In addition to watching the calvings, the other cool thing was watching the icebergs flip over as the bottom becomes lighter than the top. Plenty of time to get pix. Although if you want to chase the calvings--you'll need to be on deck 12 to easily wander for side to side. If you're up on 12 toward the front and get chilly, you can duck into the solarium and warm up -- and still have a view. Motor coach from Seward to Talkeetna: Boarded bus at 8 and reached the Alaska Wildlife Center at 10. Is a zoo/rescue that is all outside. Get to see bears, Musk Ox, Lynx and other animals up close. This is pretty much the best guarantee of seeing wildlife. Stopped in Anchorage for lunch. Ate at 49th State Brewery, which was less than a week old. Had outdoor balconies that you could see Denali from on a clear day (which it was). Because the weather was so clear and nice, we opted to book a flight seeing excursion in Talkeetna to get up close to Denali and the other mountains that were on display in sun. If you have the budget and it is sunny, this was a must-do. Especially as plenty of people never get to see Denali from a distance. This way you can stand on a glacier and look at it. Motor coach from Talkeetna to Denali: Upgraded to the Tundra Wilderness Tour for $70/person that turned the 4-hour tour into 8 and took us as far as Stony Pass at Mile 62. We saw some moose, caribou, grizzly bear, dahl sheep, ptarmigans, hare and a black wolf. It was clear and sunny until the ride back when a storm in the distance created some dramatic double-rainbows. The tour is long, but the seats are relatively comfortable -- not standard issue school bus seats. It is the best shot at seeing animals. We wouldn't have seen any if we didn't go on the long tour. As a tip, if you go on the long tour, check to see if your window opens before committing to your seat. Motor coach from Denali to Talkeetna and Wilderness Express train from Talkeetna to Anchorage: The final stretch of the tour was probably the most uneventful as we were back-tracking through our route out to Denali from Anchorage. We took the train leg from Talkeetna to Anchorage, but there wasn't really much to see from a scenic or photographic perspective. The ride from Denail to Talkeetna would probably be better. There wasn't any comparison between the Yukon Pass Railway in Skagway to the Wilderness Express ride from Talkeetna. Skagway was much more scenic. That said, they are two different trains and serve two different roles. We did eat dinner and desert on the train and it was good. Summary: The alaska cruise and tour was awesome and would recommend. Your tour experience will vary based on our guide and driver. We got lucky with our guide, Madonna. And our driver Mike. They were the best of the three groups. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
Northbound Alaska Will include stuff we would do differently and anything else that would improve our experience (and maybe yours too). Embarkation in Vancouver Check-in is 11am-3pm. Don’t check in at noon. You will have 2,000 ... Read More
Northbound Alaska Will include stuff we would do differently and anything else that would improve our experience (and maybe yours too). Embarkation in Vancouver Check-in is 11am-3pm. Don’t check in at noon. You will have 2,000 people in front of you. Next time, I would get to Canada Place at 10:30am or after 1:30pm. Once on board and preparing for the rest of the week (Day 1) Buffet (Lunch): The Windjammer buffet should be open when you board. The food is pretty good for a buffet. Once you learn where the different stations are (main course, drinks, desserts), you should be able to stuff your face multiple times in less than an hour. If you don’t find seating, they will open Rita’s (near the desserts) which is covered and outdoor. It’s nice if it’s warm outside. Use the time between lunch and dinner to explore the ship. Outdoor pool: If you want to take a dip into the outdoor pool, this is the day to do it. Vancouver will be the warmest day of the cruise. Alaska is cool; average high is 60F for July. We didn’t see anyone in the pool during the last half of the cruise. Most everyone migrated to the Solarium and there was a smell of raw turkey and cornbread. There were people using the outdoor hot tubs on each day of the cruise. Main show: There will likely be a featured show in the Aurora Theater every evening. There will be either one show for all guests at 7:15 or two shows (6:30 and 8:30 to accommodate the two dinner seatings). Go to these shows! Dinner: We had dinner in the Main Dining Room (Cascades) every night. You order off a menu; part of the menu changes every day and a part remains the same for the entire cruise. The portion sides are small, which was nice after overeating at the buffet for breakfast and lunch. You can order as many entrees as you want. You will also get to know your fellow diners (since everyone is seated at the same table every night) and your server. When you purchase the cruise, let RCI know about any special occasions (birthdays, anniversaries, etc). That information will get to the server and they will get together and sing after dessert. It’s a nice touch to your special day. The dress code changes from casual (days 1, 3, 4, 7) to smart casual (day 5) to formal (days 2, 6). As we were preparing for the cruise, we were trying to decide if we wanted to pack formal attire or forego formal nights and eat at Windjammer. We bit the bullet and packed the extra clothes. We enjoyed dressing up since we don’t do it very often at home. If you’re worried about enforcement, there is very little. For the guys, if you don’t want to bring a suit, a pair of slacks and a dress shirt, with or without a tie, are good enough. Then wear the same thing without the tie for smart casual night. If it’s any incentive, they did serve lobster during one of the formal nights. On-board Credits: Before you spend your OBCs, you might want to understand them first. We learned later in the week that there are two types: refundable and non-refundable. You can check your account through your in-room TV. When you purchased the cruise, you were probably told it included on-board (or shipboard) credits. Ours amounted to $150/person. What we weren’t told was you paid that $150. That’s why you can use it for gratuities or whatever because it’s your money. If you don’t use it, you get it back. It’s a ploy to make it look like the cruise line is giving you free money so you spend it. There may be instances where you receive bonus credits. In our case, we received $100/person for booking early, so we had $250/person total. The $100 is non-refundable and probably comes with more restrictions. It appeared like the non-refundable portion is spent down first. Go to Guest Services if you have any questions. Shore Excursions: There is no single way to handle the excursions. Some excursions can be reserved directly with the tour company or through RCI. You might be able to save some money doing it directly. Some companies will accept reservations through RCI only; while some must be reserved directly. We checked the RCI website and Trip Advisor months before the cruise to get a comprehensive list of what is available. We recommend reserving your excursion as early as possible because some will sell out. If you want to use your OBC, you must do it after boarding, so do it on boarding day. On-ship Activities: Your room attendant will leave a Cruise Compass publication each day at around 6pm for the following day’s activities. Casino: There is a casino on-board with slots, the coin-pusher game, blackjack, roulette, and craps. The casino hours are posted in the Compass. It opens early on sea days and the evenings on port days. The craps table opened at 7pm on all days. They seemed to put inexperienced craps dealers in during the slow periods, but most of the dealers were competent. $5.00 min with single odds. Day 2 (sea day) Rough day! It must have been heavy winds or something, but the ship was rockin-n-rollin all day. All passengers were walking around “drunk.” I didn't notice anyone getting sick. Day 6 (also a sea day) was much calmer, although there was some movement. The rest of the days were so smooth you didn't know you were moving (having land on both sides of the ship helped a lot). With this being a sea day, we read the Compass to find stuff to do. Since this was our first trip to Alaska, we elected to attend the Alaska Enrichment Talk by James Clement. It was a poor presentation with no flow to it. He jumped from one thought to another without any transition. He was generally a poor speaker with poor organization and not much content. Then we went to the Alaska Port Shopping Show with Kimberly (my mom wanted to go), and this was WORSE! OMG!! Everything out of Kimberly’s mouth was “exquisite,” “one of a kind,” “a must have,” “rare,” “cannot find anywhere else.” We were given a store list and she wanted us to mark certain stores that we had to visit. Yeah sure, Kimberly, I’ll be there! She seems to favor Diamonds International (maybe she’s their sales rep) but it just felt like a scam. AVOID! The Casino Seminar and Quiz was another waste of time. We were advised to pour A LOT of money into the slot machines to build our points and be eligible to win a gazillion dollars at the end of the cruise. Yeah, ok. We got thirsty so we went to the Art Auction for the free champagne. We attended the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Gala Reception in the Centrum. You will set your clocks back one hour. Day 3 (Ketchikan) We had the 8:00am reservation on the Bering Sea Crab Fishermen’s Tour that we booked directly so we were up early. Windjammer knew of the early start times of the excursions, so they opened the buffet at 5:30am, which was great! When we got off the ship, the tour rep was at the gangway and directed us to their boat. The Trip Advisor reviews sold me on this excursion. The highlight was indeed the eagles. After throwing some fish into the water, there were about 10 bald eagles flying around. That was really cool and worth 5 stars. Truly amazing! The boat made several stops. One was where they had a line with a bunch of hooks. They pulled the line in to see what they caught. That was ok too. There were several varieties of fish, including a shark. It was hard to see the fish, especially for those sitting in the back. And that brings me to the main complaint about this excursion -- it was way too crowded. The stage wasn't that big, but they managed to seat about 150 people with viewing on only one side of the boat, so people were climbing on top of each other to see the eagles. When they brought up the crabs, everyone rushed to the stage and, again, there was little room to maneuver. The website makes it sound like they are actually fishing for crabs, but that is false. There are crabs in the pot. Once everyone is done holding and taking pictures of them, the crabs go back into the pot, and the pot gets dropped into the ocean, only to be repeated for the next tour. Then they bring up another pot with plastic king crabs (apparently king crabs are really hard to catch so they use fake ones for the demonstration and store live king crabs in the live tank on the boat). Then they go to another location and bring up a large live octopus that is stored in the plastic barrel. The octopus slimes around with the crew, goes back into the barrel and into the ocean, only to be brought back up for the next tour. The tour felt like a glorified aquarium. Why are we on this boat? And the kicker was the Deadliest Catch. It's on the website, there's a video in the gift shop, and the crew talks about it ad nauseum. Enough already! They are lucky to have it on video, otherwise there would be nothing to talk about. If it weren't for the eagles, this tour gets one star. After the tour, the kids were hungry for food and wifi, so we walked around Ketchikan and found both at Annabelle’s. The food was ok. My daughter said the Chicken Tenders were "weird." She prefers fast-food chicken fingers and McNuggets. I had the Jack Daniel's Burger and had to run to the bathroom a short time later. The wifi was good for her, but bad for me. Their router had limited logins and I guess she took the last one because I was getting the "maximum logins exceeded" message. In fact, my repeated attempts made things worse because I eventually got locked out for "one hour." Ugh! So, if you are one of the lucky ones to login, you have one hour of access. If you are unlucky, you are allowed about 3 attempts per hour. After returning to the ship, we all took a nap and got up in time for the Ronn Lucas Ventriloquist Show, which was outstanding! Great show – don’t miss it. Day 4 (Icy Strait Point) We had the 9:30am reservation for the ZipRider, so we got to sleep in a little later than yesterday. Booking this was unclear. If you go through icystraitpoint.com, you can buy one ride ($139) or combine the ZipRider with the ATV ($259) or whale watch ($269). We booked the ZipRider package through Royal Caribbean ($179) and was able to schedule two rides instead of doing the ATV/WW. The second ride was a lot less scary and allowed me to focus on steering the harness. A little bonus is the bus driver who takes you up to the top gives you a tour of Hoonah, talks about the history, points out some key buildings, an eagle's nest, and the airport, while getting some fantastic scenery. The ZipRider accommodates six people at a time. When you get to the top, there are six guys (maybe seven) setting everyone up. When you are the next group, they will talk you through the ride and let you know what to do, how to steer, and how the braking system works. There’s nothing to it, really. I almost soiled my pants at the start, but after the first 5 seconds, it's like flying and it doesn't feel like you're going 60mph, probably because there's a huge cliff below you! Take a light jacket. It's about 10 degrees cooler at the top, plus you might feel some wind on the way down. Also, if you want to take a second ride, be sure to reserve a time ASAP. We weren’t sure how things worked with the excursions, so we waited too long and found ourselves waiting 3 hours for the second ride. With that much time, we went back to the ship and had lunch. Icy Strait Point is the least touristy port. There are only a few buildings (one of which has a view of the ZipRiders) and you can walk along the shore. Hoonah is a short walk away where you are not inundated with diamond and souvenir shops. Once back on board, we went to see Piano Man starring the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers with musical accompaniment from the Radiance of the Seas Orchestra. Then dinner, then a dance party in the Centrum. Day 5 (Juneau) We reserved the City & Glacier & Whale Watch through Juneau Tours. When we got off the ship, the van was waiting to take us to Mendenhall Glacier. I think they split the group into two: one goes to Mendenhall, the other goes whale watching, then they swap. Once you arrive at Mendenhall, you have 60-90 minutes until they pick you up. That’s enough time to hike the one mile to Nugget Falls Trail (that we recommend) or you can walk to the Photo Point which is 1/3 mile round trip. It’s a big waterfall to the right of the glacier. There was also time to watch a 15-minute movie about glaciers at the Visitor’s Center. Mendenhall is the main attraction so expect a crowd on the ground and helicopter traffic above you. Then the van took us to Auke Bay Harbor to board the whale watching boat. It was about a 20-30 minute boat ride to the west side of Admiralty Island where six other whale watching boats were hovering. It took a few minutes to understand what we were looking for, but apparently there was a group (or pod) of humpback whales feeding on herring. They work in groups, building a bubble net to trap the fish, then they come up together with mouths open and blowholes exhaling. Basically, there is dead calm, then a flurry of activity. The pod moves around so you never know where they will be coming up. During the tour, we were lucky enough to see three breaches (where the whale launches itself into the air). That was cool! When the whale watch was concluded, we boarded the bus and they took us back to the cruise dock. We had about 90 minutes before the start of the city tour, and 15 minutes before the buffet closed, so we RAN back onto the ship and went straight for the food because we were starving. The city tour was nice. We saw the dome-less capital building and other notable buildings, went across the channel to the east side of Douglas Island and looked back towards Juneau, returned to Juneau and had the opportunity to visit the Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. My teens wanted to do something much more enjoyable and that was to go to the library and spend an hour on the free wifi. Once back on board the ship, we had dinner, then went to the Love and Marriage Game Show. It was similar to the Newlywed Game, but they selected one couple who had been married the shortest time (12 days), the longest time (50 years), and somewhere in the middle. They didn’t really keep score; all couples received the same prize for providing the evening’s entertainment. Day 6 (Skagway) We had no scheduled excursions, but we did get off the ship to visit this town. After a week of overeating, we decided to walk to the Gold Rush Cemetery. It's about 2.5 miles from the docks and you have to walk through town to get there. The two notables at the cemetery are con artist Jefferson "Soapy" Smith and good guy Frank Reid. The theory is that both shot each other simultaneously in a gun fight. You get a sense of poor vs wealthy: the poor had a single wooden headstone, the wealthy had a granite headstone and/or a fenced-in grave. Many buried were "Unknown" or very young children who apparently died of meningitis. Most died between 1898 and 1910, the end of the Klondike Gold Rush. The Frank Reid waterfall is about 10 minutes further up from the cemetery. Very nice. If you can sift through the usual diamond and souvenir shops, you will find the stores, saloons, gambling houses, and dance halls to accommodate the 20,000 people who stampeded into Skagway in 1897 in search for gold. You can ride on the White Pass & Yukon Route railway, the same route the miners took to the goldfields. Back on the ship, the headliner show was musician David Meyer playing the xylosynth and lasersynth. It was remarkable! Excellent show. Day 7 (sea day, Hubbard Glacier) Ship arrived at the Hubbard Glacier at around 8am and spun around a half a dozen times, giving everyone on all sides of the ship a great view. The captain put James Clement on the PA system to talk about the glacier. If it weren’t for his incoherent ramblings (see Day 2), the morning would have been fantastic. After breakfast, we went to the Towel Folding Demonstration in the Centrum. The room attendants used towels to make various animals and left them in the rooms. It was cute, so we were curious to see how they were made. On this last full day, we attended the Captain’s Spotlight with Captain Goran, “A Celebration of Live Music” with the Radiance of the Seas Orchestra, and the Farewell Showtime starring Comedian Kellen Erksine. You will also pack up to leave the ship the next morning. If you have made your own arrangements after disembarking, it’s not necessary to leave your luggage outside your stateroom by 11pm. It’s only going to save you a few steps to the baggage claim area. Remember, RCI needs to sort through thousands of bags and the last thing you want is for them to lose yours. Debarkation Day (Seward) Since we were not on any RCI-sponsored excursion, we were one of the last groups to disembark. We walked off the ship, picked up our luggage, and had planned on walking to the train depot, but we saw Seavey’s van and asked if we can hitch a ride since we were on that excursion. Sure, no problem. We got our train tickets and checked in our luggage at the depot. Since we were a little early for Seavey’s, we walked along the water to the SeaLife Center, then back to the depot, where Seavey’s picked us up. The first stop was the kennel where we sat through an oral presentation of Seavey’s involvement with the Iditarod, then we went to see the dogs. These dogs are athletes. Skinny and all muscle (or our house pets are just fat). When the trainers started hooking up the dogs for the sled, ALL of the dogs went crazy because they wanted to run run run! The dogs train year-around for the Iditarod, so Seavey's uses these summer tours as part of that. Instead of sleds, they use golf carts and have the dogs pull 8 humans along a dirt path. The more experienced dogs are at the front because they know what to do and follow commands better. The beginners are at the back, and you can see the difference. The second part of the tour are the adorable puppies! You get to hold the 12-day-olds and the 7-week-olds. They are so cute and will eventually be trained for racing. The great part of this tour is you see the progression of newborns becoming top-notch racers. Lunch was a part of the tour. They will take your order at the beginning of the tour and drive you to the restaurant. Exit glacier: After lunch, you will stop at Exit Glacier. Kenai Fjords National Park has placed signs as to where the glacier was since the late 1800s and there has been a dramatic recession. You get a feel for the effects of climate change. From my estimation, poor Exit Glacier will be gone in about 10 years. Salmon run: You will also be driven to Bear Creek. If the salmon are running, you will see it. There was evidence (poop) of bear(s) in the area and there was a bald eagle flying overhead. At the end of the tour, they will take you wherever you need to go. For us, we were on the 6pm train to Anchorage, so no problems. Alaska Railroad: We took the train from Seward to Anchorage and it was nice. A live person narrates many of the features along the route, and tells us to keep an eye out for wildlife. We didn’t see any. But the train slows down so you can see and take pictures of the glaciers and waterfalls. As you ride along Turnagain Arm, they pointed out a bore tide. A bore tide is seawater refilling an inlet; it looks like a continuous wave, unlike the ebb and flow of waves on a beach. We saw surfers riding the bore tide. I would have missed it if someone didn’t point it out to me. Harbor seals and beluga whales follow the tide in too, although we didn’t see any of those either. We arrived in Anchorage late Friday. Since our flight was late Saturday, we took the bus to downtown Anchorage in the morning. The teenagers wanted to go shopping so they spent some time (and money) at the 5th Avenue Mall. We also walked to the Anchorage Market and Festival on 3rd & E Street. It is a free, outdoor, weekend venue with hundreds of vendors under tents. There’s everything Alaska: food, arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry, wood carvings, paintings, and entertainment. It’s a good place to stop by if you are in the downtown area for other reasons and have an hour to kill. I would consider most of the products as dust-collectors and just another thing to carry on the plane. The pictures of the Aurora Borealis do make me want to return to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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
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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