1,269 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Currently sitting in the Colony Club Lounge on the last night of a 16 night cruise Sydney - New Zealand - Sydney. 26 degrees c, clear blue sky, virtually moored alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge on one side with the Opera house on the ... Read More
Currently sitting in the Colony Club Lounge on the last night of a 16 night cruise Sydney - New Zealand - Sydney. 26 degrees c, clear blue sky, virtually moored alongside the Sydney Harbour Bridge on one side with the Opera house on the other. Absolutely the most outstanding view and a fitting end to a great experience on Radiance of the Seas. The ship was dressed for Xmas with highlights on every deck, a two deck high Xmas tree was a feature of the Centrum - The Yanks sure know how to do Xmas, except they still do mashed spuds for Xmas dinner! The ship is in great condition following a recent update. All our previous cruises have been with Oceania with much smaller ships and we were intrigued to see how we would react to a much larger ship with lots of children. It was not a problem even during extended time at sea. The Xmas and New Year events and activities were a great success and it would appear to be a great option for many families. Royal Caribbean seems to agree as next year they are introducing a larger Voyager class ship for this cruise. Generally a great experience, excellent food in the main dining area, a bit of a bun fight in the buffet, Windjammer, with average food selections. The big problem is embarkation, it is an absolute mess and for a company that must have a lot of experience boarding large ships their Sydney effort was awful - 3 hours standing in a queue,mostly in the open, will be a total nightmare if it rains. Boarding time was extended by two hours after a similar experience a month earlier but did not seem to make any difference. Big tip for any boarding in Sydney - don't even think about turning up until the last half hour. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Our group had been looking forward to this cruise since booking in early April. Between booking and embarkation there was quite a few price drops. After a little persistence RCI came to the party. We arrived early on Dec 18Th at around ... Read More
Our group had been looking forward to this cruise since booking in early April. Between booking and embarkation there was quite a few price drops. After a little persistence RCI came to the party. We arrived early on Dec 18Th at around 8:30am and reached Syd OPT about 9:30am. We were able to drop our luggage off soon after which made it a lot easier to get around. We started boarding around 11am but were told the staterooms would not be ready until 1pm. This gave us a little time for lunch and to explore some of the ship. The ship was very clean and well decorated for Christmas. After a quick look around we made our way to the helipad to meet up with friends and a few beers as we sailed away from Sydney Harbour. We had the best view, kind of like Kate Winslet had in Titanic. We were travelling with my parents "first time cruisers" and after the 3rd day they had already booked our next cruise. Booking on-board for a stateroom only was $100 per person plus we received a very handy tote bag. If you were booking a suite then the deposit is considerably more. The captain was very active in his announcements throughout the cruise, keeping us informed on what the situations were both at sea and on land. The food on board was excellent, the table service in the main dining room (Cascades) was above and beyond. We visited 4 of the 6 specialty restaurants (Chops Grill, Izumis, Giovannie's and The Samba Grill) , We purchased a package on board that gave us the 4 specialty restaurants for $70 or $120 which included the chefs table. We decided not to do the chefs table on this cruise, but will defiantly do it next year. We booked our tours independently, Iconic Tours for Dunedin and Archers Tours for Tauranga, both gave us a real personal tour experience. We would highly recommend both tour companies. Entertainment on-board was a little disappointing, but may have had something to do with the time of the cruise, (performers on holidays???) We had a bit of excitement when there was an "Oscar Oscar" call one afternoon. The captain slowed the ship down and turned around to where the flares and life rings were deployed. A rescue boat was also deployed into the water and did a search. The captain informed us that it was a false alarm and all passengers were on board. Nobody knew for sure what happened, and there was allot of speculation. We did however have a guard on duty 24hrs a day for 2 days opposite our cabin, so I guess someone was distressed. The only real negative I had about this cruise was doing a cruise during school holidays. The spas and pools were overrun by children and teenagers along with the pool tables in the colony club. There was also rumours of violence and thefts among the teens as well. All in all it was a great cruise with a fun group of people. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
On November 20, 2011, we boarded Radiance of the Seas for a wonderful 14 day trip around New Zealand with a total of 8 stops along the way. This is a beautiful ship with lots of glass, a great atrium area and very easy to navigate from ... Read More
On November 20, 2011, we boarded Radiance of the Seas for a wonderful 14 day trip around New Zealand with a total of 8 stops along the way. This is a beautiful ship with lots of glass, a great atrium area and very easy to navigate from one end to the other. We were in an aft cabin on Deck 9 and did lots of walking to the elevators in the middle of the ship, not too long a walk, we got great exercise. Our cabin had lots of storage space for all of our clothes for a 14 day trip and the luggage stored easily under the bed. The cabin had a nice flat screen tv to watch our map which detailed where we were on the trip, along with the daily updates from the cruise director. The Tasman Sea was a bit rough on the way to New Zealand but just rocked us to sleep. We cruised Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds. Cruising through the Sounds was absolutely amazing, it was raining as we went through, but the waterfalls were full and some of them traveled down the entire length of the cliffs. Fortunately we had an aft cabin and were able to stand under the overhang and take some fantastic pictures. Cannot believe how close the Captain got the ship under a waterfall - everyone at the front was getting very wet, truly a once in a lifetime event. All our excursions were booked through Royal Caribbean. Our next stop was in Dundedin, we took the Taieri Gorge Train Excursion. The train picked us up right at the dock and whisked us away on a beautiful ride through the countryside. We also had tea, a snack and lunch on the train. A very nice trip. The stop in Akoroa we boarded a bus to go to Middle Earth where they filmed The Lord Of the Rings. Our tour guide was Hammond Peek who won an Oscar for Sound Mixing the Lord of the Rings - Return of the King, and his personal stories made the film come to life on the bus. We saw where Edora was constructed. In Tarangua we toured a Kiwi farm and the Elms Mission House, amazing experience. In Auckland we sailed on the harbour and took a highlight tour through the city stopping at the Maritime Museum, Winter Garden and Kelly Tarlton's Underwater World to see the penguins. Our last land trip was back in Sydney to the Wildlife World, koalas, kangaroos, etc. and the aquarium. So much to see in two weeks but it was the best cruise of the 10 I have taken. The food was very good in the main dining room, adequate in the buffet at the Windjammer, and we enjoyed snacking at the Park Cafe. We went to a show every night except one and were entertained by many artists, singers and dancers, well done Royal Caribbean. We visited the spa for a massage, facial and hand massage - very relaxing. There was plenty to keep us busy on the sea days, bingo, trivia, dance lessons, golf, horse racing, gambling - never a dull moment. My sister and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and now want to go back and do the entire country of Australia. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
The Cruise - 14 day cruise to New Zealand on Radiance of the Seas departing Sydney Australia on the 20th November 2011 returning to Sydney Australia on the 4 December 2011. The reviewer is Icerecon - aka Stan Jarvis - 56 year old who ... Read More
The Cruise - 14 day cruise to New Zealand on Radiance of the Seas departing Sydney Australia on the 20th November 2011 returning to Sydney Australia on the 4 December 2011. The reviewer is Icerecon - aka Stan Jarvis - 56 year old who travelled with his wife Annette. This was my 1st ever cruise and my wife's 2nd (her 1st with P&O). In Summary This was an excellent first experience to cruising, the ship and amenities where excellent, our cabin was great and the Captain and crew where friendly and helpful, however the itinerary was a little rushed 8 stops in 14 days. The Ship Radiance of the Seas is the first of the Radiance class of ship with a 90.090 gross tonnage. Built for the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line in 2001 this ship was newly renovated for it season down under. Considering the ship is 10 years of age it has been well maintained and is being constantly painted and varnished. The Captain and Crew obviously are proud of their ship and try to keep it in tip top condition. It was very easy to get a meal on board with a great selection of restaurants (7) we opted for the 'My Time Dining' and used it to its fullest in that we did not have dinner at the same time on any one night; we sat by ourselves some nights as well as with groups, we meet some very interesting people and if you are reading this thanks for your friendship and conversations. Breakfast was taken most days by us at the Park Cafe, lunch usually at Windjammers, and the evening meal in the Cascades Dining room. The meals where terrific, 3 courses not too big but you never left the table feeling hungry. Wine and bar drinks could also be ordered at the table. Our Cabin We were in 7092 it is classed E2 because it has a larger balcony than standard; it is on the port side of the ship and only the second cabin from the elevators on the hump. I read many reports bagging this cabin with noise complaints and not being able to see the ocean touching the side of the hull because of the life boat covers (true but who cares) these comments came from writers who had never spent a night in this cabin, I guess. The only noise we heard was from the entertainers in the Atrium but it was not loud and on reflection was nice and usually finished before midnight about the same time we were going to bed. We did not hear the elevators or the other guest using them or the passage way. Our cabin steward (Solomon) was excellent and he had the room made up and turned down with no fuss. Having the cabin looked after so well made our cruise even more relaxing and enjoyable. Meet and Mingle On Cruise Critic web site you have an opportunity to register and attend a Meet and Mingle. We joined the group having never attended one before. There was about 30 odd people attending, I thought it would be a good way of meeting others from the forum, or was it. When we read about M&M it stated that there will be no seating, this will ensure you meet others. On our arrival to the Starquest Lounge we were ushered into seats and only met about 2 other people. Other cruisers that had met each other before soon joined into their own cliques. So I will mark this as a failure and if we attend another will try and influence the crew/staff organising it to ensure it is a 'Meet and Mingle'. The Itinerary 14 Days on the Radiance with day 4 cruising Milford, Doubtful, and Dusky Sounds; unbelievable, cool and wet which made Milford Sound come alive with waterfalls running down every rock. Capt. Sindre placed the bow of Radiance nicely under a waterfall about 10m off the rocks. Day 5 found us at Port Chalmers - Dunedin some transport problems and some strange ideas from Port Security nearly turned this stop into a disaster; teething problems maybe!! Day 6 Akaroa we went ashore on the tenders my first experience at tendering my advice is to listen to the crew they know their job so for your safety listen to these guys and girls. Day 7 Wellington, Day 8 Napier, Day 9 Tauranga, Day 10 Auckland the ship docked transport and port security went without a hitch this time. Day 11 Bay of Islands another tender journey the 'motion of the ocean' caused a few problems with one tender damaging an engine but the crew (engineers) had everything up and running within an hour. You will note that I am not reviewing the destinations there is enough information on Cruise Critics and other web site for that, one point is that if you are after information go to I-Sites for trips, sight-seeing, transport information etc whilst in New Zearland. Day 15 Please 'Go Home' I will say that it was a sad day I waited for nearly a year to do this cruise and on day 15 I had to leave and go home. The experience was over or was it. The Aftermath Many people have asked us about this cruise, the ship, the other guests, the crew even questions about the Captain. I did not know so many people have this general interest about cruising. I can only say good things about the experience we had on Radiance of the Seas. Royal Caribbean may send you an online questionnaire or two in our case. Having said that our cruise was terrific the only ugly part has been the post cruise administration. We joined the Crown and Anchor Club whilst on board, the attendant advised that we would get a membership card and further information about two weeks after our cruise, nothing. I contacted the Crown and Anchor Club through their website you know the one that says it will get back to you in 48 hours, nothing. So I emailed the Sydney office so far after 5 days, nothing. I know it is Christmas, but there are no notifications about office closures and they are accepting bookings online and Facebook is still operating, don't figure. If Royal Caribbean wants my loyalty they need to improve this aspect of their service. I would guess that if there was money involved in joining Crown and Anchor Society it may be a better service. We are considering another cruise with Royal Caribbean but will not book until this problem has been resolved. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
Have Just returned from Perth and the 16 night Top end of Australia Cruise. Had a very good time despite a few disappointments. RCL does have some fine tuning to do with the Radiance of the seas in order to maintain customer satisfaction ... Read More
Have Just returned from Perth and the 16 night Top end of Australia Cruise. Had a very good time despite a few disappointments. RCL does have some fine tuning to do with the Radiance of the seas in order to maintain customer satisfaction . Firstly I must say that I received NO information from RCL prior to the cruise. not one email or letter. No notification that shore excursions were available (missed out on one I wanted to do as a result of this)I thought this was appalling. Everything I found out bout my cruise I found out by myself. Last year we sailed with Princess cruises and we were inundated with pre cruise information and welcoming emails. RCL had the worst pre cruise contact I've ever experienced. Embarkation was a disaster. Long waits in Queues in the heat. Many passengers were upset and tired by the time they got on the ship. in the meantime the Moet I ordered for my room had gone warm but we eventually were settled in our cabin and ready to explore the Radiance Cabin was very nice. The rounded end beds were handy as we didn't hit the corner every time we passed but for a tall person I did get a bit fed up with my feet hanging off the bed. Décor was lovely. Bathroom was small particularly the shower but I was expecting this. The regular smell of Sewerage outside my room and on the balcony was off putting and no staff could really explain why this was so. Dining was great. We chose my time dining and we had beautiful food most of the time. Also tried 4 of the speciality restaurants. Sambra Grill, Chops Grill and Giovanni's were all superb but Izumi was only average. Went to the Windjammer a number of times and it was a great selection but needed a bit more variety. The entertainment was high quality and a lot of fun. We thoroughly enjoyed the shows. There were lots of other activities which were fun. Casino was great despite losing more than I wanted to on the poker machines. Casino staff were friendly and very accommodating. Many thanks to Robert and Inna particularly the waiters, room attendants etc were excellent and very friendly. The officers and higher levels of staff were quite "stand offish". We found the staff on the Sun Princess much more friendlier and accommodating. Loved both pools and spent a lot of time there. Shore excursions were way over priced and very disappointing in general. We spent $250 each on a nightmare tour to the barrier reef, a two hour trip to there and back had very choppy seas and resulted in most passengers terrified and vomiting. This tour should have been cancelled or our money refunded. It was far from pleasant. Other Shore excursions were way overpriced and disorganised in General. The Tendering process was generally a nightmare and the Radiance needs to sort this out for future cruises. Most of the passengers were disappointed in the change of Port from Broome to Port Headland however the reception we received from the people of Port Headland was wonderful and very touching.Seeing everyone along the foreshore cheering us as we left Port was a highlight of the trip The Ship is Beautiful and was very clean. I would recommend this ship provided that the tendering process improves but the warn everyone to be cautious about the shore excursions Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
The Sydney embarkation was a major problem and bad impression for the start of the cruise but after learning it was due to sanitizing the ship after an outbreak of the Noro virus I was happy to wait. It was a problem for older people with ... Read More
The Sydney embarkation was a major problem and bad impression for the start of the cruise but after learning it was due to sanitizing the ship after an outbreak of the Noro virus I was happy to wait. It was a problem for older people with many of them deteriorating with the heat and having to get priority boarding - the staff were very stressed by the situation. Once on baord all was well - the ship was lovely, the activites varied and interesting, the entertainment wonderful, the food suberb, the staff fantastic and the specialty restaurants a nice change for dining. I think a lot of the problems could have been solved by quickly if communication was a bit more forward coming - they only had to explain what was happening and why and a lot more people would have been a lot more understanding - especially with the tendering process which was hampered by winds and choppy seas which did not allow for the ships tenders to be used. Also as the towns visited are quite small they did well to organise alternative tenders. We met lots of lovely people and had a great time - we only did a few tours - one being cancelled to Whitehaven beach due to the weather - I think the tour operator running the great barrier reef tour should also have cancelled as it appeared not to be a very comfortable trip - but we ventured into town and had a good time. The cabin was small but quite comfortable and appreciated my many towel friends that appeared in my room. The pools were fabulous and it was a shme the weather wasnt good enough to take advantage of the outdoor screen for the movies etc most of the time. Everyone was quite dissappointed that broome had been removed as a port but port headland turned out to be a real treat with great support from the town and welcoming people - the send off was amazing. Bobby and Becky did a great job and were happy hosts. All in all a great cruise - just need to communicate problems earlier rather than later. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our third cruise and first with Royal Caribbean. It was nice to be on this ship's maiden voyage to Australia (our home country). There were over 1500 Aussies on board. Royal Caribbean really went all out with the fuss they ... Read More
This was our third cruise and first with Royal Caribbean. It was nice to be on this ship's maiden voyage to Australia (our home country). There were over 1500 Aussies on board. Royal Caribbean really went all out with the fuss they made of the Aussies, including quite a large selection of our alcohol beverages on board. Our embarkation in Honolulu was fast and efficient with very friendly staff. We were very happy with our aft balcony stateroom on Deck 10. That location could not be any better with lovely days spent relaxing on the balcony which was big enough to accommodate two chaise lounges and a table and two chairs. Our room steward, Mauritzio was super efficient and an absolute gentleman and the many towel animals he made for us were great, including the bat hanging from a coathanger from the ceiling. We had an outbreak of norovirus which was handled efficiently by the ship's staff. We were kept up to date on a daily basis by the Captain on the measures being taken to alleviate the spread of this illness. It meant that we were not allowed to self-serve food in the Windjammer Cafe for quite a substantial part of the cruise but there was always plenty of staff to assist in service to passengers there. Staff who were always friendly and smiling. In fact we were very impressed by the staff everywhere on the ship. It must be a logistical nightmare to cater to the needs of a couple of thousand passengers but they do it so well. Nothing was too much trouble and they even managed to stream some world cup rugby matches and find out the results of our big football grand finals in Australia. They even managed to get the big Bathurst car race televised as well with my husband enjoying his seat at the pool bar watching it on the big screen along with many others. This was very much appreciated. Our lovely young waiters in Cascades, Joanny and Lazly were the best. I miss them. We did not eat in Cascades every night though, preferring to just relax some nights and dine from the Windjammer. We did not go to any of the speciality restaurants. I did hear good reports of some of them from other passengers. We especially liked the dress code for the dining room with many nights being casual, rather than just smart casual and formal. Food was pretty good but I liked the many healthy choices, including having desserts that were sugar-free etc. We enjoyed many a lunchtime salad in the Park Cafe. We especially loved that area of the ship with The Colony Club, etc and we spent many hours in there playing bingo or pool on the self-levelling pool tables (what fun), dancing and listening to the wonderful Zig Zag Band or having drinks with new friends we made. Willy the barman was wonderful. So friendly and he could make a mean rum and coke (Bundy of course). A lovely area of the ship with great ambience. We also loved the solarium. Especially nice on the cooler days we had at sea. We found the ship lovely and so smooth to sail in especially compared to other ships we have been on. It was very easy to find our way around and the touch screens to find different areas were a great idea too. There is something for everyone with a rock-climbing wall, mini-golf etc. In fact, we were spoiled for choice. Our ports of call were great with Bora Bora and Moorea the favourites. What beautiful places. Bora Bora in particular is a paradise. We tendered at these two ports which was effortless and never a problem. We had two days in Auckland. The weather was awful but this cannot be helped and we had a great time nevertheless. Disembarkation in Sydney was smooth and efficient also and we appreciated the free shuttle buses Royal Caribbean provided for transportation to Sydney airport. All in all we had the most wonderful holiday of a lifetime and would do this cruise again that is for sure. We rate Royal Caribbean as perhaps on a par with Princess cruises. They are both excellent with particular mention to the service and staff on board. We would most definitely sail with Royal Caribbean again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We set out into the unknown having never cruised before. We chose the RCI Radiance of the Seas as it was sailing to ports we were interested in. Getting on the ship was very easy (obviously they have done this before!!!) It was all a bit ... Read More
We set out into the unknown having never cruised before. We chose the RCI Radiance of the Seas as it was sailing to ports we were interested in. Getting on the ship was very easy (obviously they have done this before!!!) It was all a bit of an eye opener to begin with but we soon found our feet. We were a bit disappointed with the size of our cabin - but we chose it so that was our error. It was very close living for 2 people for 18 days and next time we will go for a bigger cabin. There was however plenty of storage space and the bed was very comfortable, bathroom is very compact but really didn't need to be any bigger. Our cabin attendant Antony was fantastic. The room was kept immaculate and our bed was made or straightened twice a day with a little surprise left for us every second day. We dined a few times in the Cascades Dining Room but ate most of our meals in the Windjammer Cafe. There was so much food to choose from you would have to be pretty fussy to not find something you would like. The selection was awesome from roasts, asian food, pizzas, salads, fruit and a huge selection of desserts with an icecream machine as well. We were disappointed with the Meet and Mingle that was pumped up to be a fantastic get together to meet people that had cruised before. The cruise director was there but it was more like an information session on what was going on in the next few days than a meet and greet. Everyone sat in their little groups and no-one mixed with others. I wouldn't bother with this again!! We loved the Cruise Compass that was put in our cabin each night with all the activities for the next day. Plenty of things to keep us amused and entertained. I am an avid reader and was so busy I had no time to pick up my book. The crew were put under pressure with a gastro outbreak on the ship on the 3rd day of sailing. They were flat out keeping everything cleaned and had to serve in the Windjammer Cafe (which is normally help yourself) and they always had a smile on their face and a happy word to say to us. Every one no matter what their "real" job on the ship was pitched in and helped. Also if you are thinking of pre-buying water and fruit juice - dont bother. Water and juice, and in fact anything, can be delivered to your room from room service for free so save your money!! Congratulations to all the staff from the Captain to the laundry staff. We thoroughly enjoyed our first cruise and are looking forward to many more. Anita and Kerry Moore Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
In September 2011 we flew to Honolulu from Brisbane for our first ever cruise. Having researched a number of cruise lines and destinations the Radiance inaugural voyage to Australia. The Radiance usually does the Alaska/ Hawaii cruisers. ... Read More
In September 2011 we flew to Honolulu from Brisbane for our first ever cruise. Having researched a number of cruise lines and destinations the Radiance inaugural voyage to Australia. The Radiance usually does the Alaska/ Hawaii cruisers. Sometime in July Radiance went into dry dock in Vancouver and underwent a major renovation - adding restaurants, a few single cabins and sprucing up other cabins/ main areas. The ship definitely sparkles! Our flight to Honolulu was fairly easy, despite the 5 hour lay over in Nadi, Fiji. We stayed in the airport and just relaxed/ people watched and enjoyed a rather delicious pizza. We flew Air Pacific - smallish plane but just comfortable enough for the journey. In Honolulu (we were there for 2.5 days) we stayed at Moana Surfrider - a hotel we can highly recommend! It was charming, luxurious and just went way beyond our expectations. For $365AUD for a Classic Ocean Banyon room it was worth paying more than what we would normally. It was a special occasion so we thought 'Why not!'. Excited by the cruise we triple checked our boarding passes and realised that despite the cruise guest booklet we had been emailed/ downloaded from the Royal Caribbean website stating the boarding time was 9pm (we thought that was odd) it was actually 1.30pm - though they were accepting passengers from 11am. We gave up any plans of a visit to Pearl Harbour - packed up and headed to the terminal. Boarding was a breeze! Even though we had a trainee learning the ropes to check us in it was smooth and uncomplicated. In no time we were on the ship - with our new favourite thing: the Sea Pass. Straight into our room to have a look around before we explored the ship. We had a balcony room on the 7th floor - room 7122. Perfect for us. Great size. Amazing storage and very comfortable bed. For the next 17 days we enjoyed every moment of our holiday. So much so it would be hard to pick a favourite activity. We tried every restaurant and not once let down. However some of the serving sizes are just completely overboard! Tip: if you go to Samba Grill - don't eat much that day - save yourself! The entertainment was a little cheesy but gave us a laugh. The bars were fun and we made some great friends that we enjoyed several nights out with. The pool deck can get crowded but eventually we always found a seat and enjoyed the pool that at times felt like a wave pool because of the swells in the ocean. Fun! We enjoyed a few shore excursions - taking advantage of a lot of advice to not book on the ship. There were so many options at the wharf in each port of call and usually 1/3 of the price! We highly recommend a helicopter ride over Bora Bora (about $450 for 15mins for 2 people) stunning!!! The staff on the Radiance were always on top of their game. Never once letting us down and not a grumpy one amongst all 900 of them (that we saw!). Most of the staff had never been to Australia before so they were excited about the new summer season cruising in Australia / New Zealand. We were sad to disembark in Sydney as we would have desperately loved to cruise all the way around to Perth. Maybe next time! Our photos and more in depth tips/ review can be seen on our blog. Please comment - we would love to hear your stories and answer questions. As first time cruisers we have found our passion! Just have to plan the next one :) cruiseonradiance.blogspot.com Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
Our first time on the Radiance and our first embarkation out of Australia.We flew from Adelaide to Sydney mid day then boarded the plane at 6pm ,we flew Jetstar for the first time and went business class , very impressed considering it was ... Read More
Our first time on the Radiance and our first embarkation out of Australia.We flew from Adelaide to Sydney mid day then boarded the plane at 6pm ,we flew Jetstar for the first time and went business class , very impressed considering it was cheaper than Qantas economy's ,arrived 8.00am Honolulu time ,4am our time ,were picked up at the airport by Hawaiian taxi's excellent service and taken to our hotel Princess Kaulani ,the location of the hotel was excellent.We stayed there for 5 nights , we caught a taxi to the port ,although our boarding pass said 9pm boarding we went there at 10.30 am and no problems ,we had to wait about 3/4 hr as my husband needed a wheel chair other than that boarding was very easy .Our cabin was great we had a balcony room on 9th deck quite spacious,the bed near the balcony door then the lounge ,they had curtains across the middle of the cabin so if my husband was asleep i could pull the curtains and put the light on .The food in the dining room was excellent a lot better than our previous cruise on Rhapsody ,the variety was god and always hot ,the windjammer was very good but we did prefer the set up of the windjammer on Rhapsody .Our cabin steward was pretty ordinary all talk and no action ,but we learnt to ignore him and keep our do not disturb sign up otherwise he would just walk in ( mostly just to check the view from our balcony ,or use his computer .)We did not go to a lot of shows but what we saw were excellent .The main complaint was guest relations ,they were very unhelpfull.As has been mentioned we had a bad case of novovirus onboard the crew were amazing it was handled so well ,we were kept updated at all times 20 out of 10 for that .We did a day trip in Papeete (would never go there again )Auckland (wine tour ) and Bora Bora ,very happy with them all .All up we were very very happy with our cruise we will be back on the Radiance in March . Leaving the ship was no problem very early but that i am sure was because it was maiden voyage . Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
August 11, 2011 (Day 0) -- Toronto to Anchorage(Air) Our flight from Toronto delayed for over an hour and it was a tight connection from Vancouver to Anchorage, transit time was only 2 hours. I really didn't know what to do if we ... Read More
August 11, 2011 (Day 0) -- Toronto to Anchorage(Air) Our flight from Toronto delayed for over an hour and it was a tight connection from Vancouver to Anchorage, transit time was only 2 hours. I really didn't know what to do if we missed the direct flight from Vancouver as my daughter's family were on Cruisetour #11, waiting for us at Marriott Anchorage. Luckily, we just made it on the plane with the help of our wheelchair assistants. Missing the flight connection is a senior's nightmare when my wife and I were just travelling on our own. We arrived at the Marriott shortly after 2 p.m. and rested for a bit before my daughter's arrival at 4:45 p.m.. My daughter made dinner reservation for the 6 of us at Simon and Seafort's on L Street at 5 p.m. It took us just 10 minutes to walk there from the hotel. The panoramic views of Mt. Susitna and the Alaska range was beautiful and the Alaska weather was warm and sunny...I was told it was unusual in August. The best part was that they had a $25 three-course meal if ordered between 4:30 and 5:30 p.m. daily, though the food was not very good, below average I would say. August 12, 2011 (Day 1) -- Day of Embarkation, Anchorage to Seward (Train) We're boarding the Radiance today. We put all our luggage outside our room the night before and only carried with us our carry-on. At 8 a.m. we went to the 2nd floor of Marriott where RCI had a big conference room set up for check-in. We got our train tickets and bus # with departure time from hotel to the train station. The bus that we would go on was the 11:50 one. At around 12:30 p.m. we were on board the train. The scenery of this train ride from Anchorage to Seward was stunning. The beauty of the glaciers and canyons was unbelievable. After a 4 hours' journey (1:00 -- 5:00 p.m.), we arrived at Seward's cruise terminal. As Diamond members we did not have to wait in line and were instructed to proceed to a check-in counter right away using the Priority Check-in line for elite members. We boarded the Radiance at around 5:30 p.m., went straight to our spacious and comfy Family Oceanview stateroom (FO 8002), then made our way to Cascades Dining Room on Deck 4 to enjoy our 1st dinner on board, right at 6 p.m. (main seating). Our 390 sq-ft stateroom had a sitting area with a double sofabed, a bedroom area that had 2 twin beds (convert to a Queen), and a tiny separate bedroom for a twin bed and a pull-down bunk bed. The whole room can accommodate 6 people and you normally need to have at least 5 pp to book that type of room. However, just 1 month before our sail date, that room became available as an ordinary oceanview room that allowed double occupancy. As seniors we happily gave away our E2 mid-ship balcony room (on the Starboard side which should have been great while watching Hubbard Glacier) for a more spacious room. We LOVED our huge room and really enjoyed the separate sleeping areas. My daughter's family had 2 Aft rooms with huge balconies so we could still enjoy the Alaskan views in our own private world. Follow my daughter's thread to view the pictures of the suite: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1467693 August 13, 2011 (Day 2) -- Hubbard Glacier Day 2 of the cruise was one of the highlights as we saw Hubbard Glacier. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO BOOK A BALCONY ROOM ON THE STARBOARD (RIGHT) SIDE OF THE SHIP. Unfortunately I gave up our Starboard balcony room for the FO, so I had to go to my daughter's D2 Aft balcony room to watch the glacier. We were really lucky that lots of calvings happened when the glacier was facing us while the ship made its 360 degrees turn. The sound and the sight were both incredible! August 14, 2011 (Day 3) -- Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska We rented a minivan from Alamo to tour around Juneau by ourselves. Alamo gave us a map of Juneau and recommended some points of interest for us to go and visit. There's only one main road along the coast of Juneau so it's hard to get lost! We had a great time at Mendenhall Glacier (#1 must-see in Juneau)and Macaulay Salmon Hatchery. We had lunch back on the ship and went off the ship to walk around but it started to rain very hard so we had to go back. This marked the beginning of the next few rainy days. August 15, 2011 (Day 4) -- White Pass Summit and Yukon Rail, Skagway We woke up to a dull and gloomy day. The excursion lasted for over 8 hours. We took the coach on Klondike Highway to White Pass Summit, had lunch at Caribou Crossing Trading Post, then took the train from Fraser, B.C., Canada, back to Skagway. The Klondike Highway was very scenic, though we could only see everything in basically 3 colours: gray, brown and white! August 16, 2011 (Day 5) -- Whale watching, Icy Strait Point We booked the 11 a.m. whale watching tour through RCI as all other private vendors were sold out! It turned out to be wonderful as there were just over 50 passengers on the boat. Binoculars were placed on the seats and the marine guide provided us with lots of info regarding marine life. We were very lucky as we saw whale breaching many times. Their tails were beautiful too! It was unfortunate that we could only take pictures from inside the boat as it was raining very hard...non-stop rain for the whole day! Since it was still raining hard when we got back to Icy Strait Point, we went back to the ship without walking around. We had Samba Grill that night. Food was delicious there but the location of Samba was not desirable...a cold and windy walk with no interior corridors from the main part of the ship. There is NO WASHROOM inside the restaurant so I had to walk back to the main ship & back to the restaurant...journeys not quite pleasant!! August 17, 2011 (Day 6) -- Misty Fjords Flightseeing Floatplane Tour, Ketchikan We got beautiful weather again! After an early lunch, we got off the boat and waited for our private floatplane tour with Seawind Aviation. As there were 6 of us on the 6-seater floatplane, we got $10 family discount per person, over $100 cheaper than booking through RCI. The view was beautiful and we even landed on water!! August 19, 2011 (Day 8) - Debarkation Vancouver is a lovely port! We left the ship at 9 a.m. and got to the airport before 10 a.m. Getting a taxi minivan at the Vancouver cruise port was really easy. Although the van could only seat 4 people the most, it could accommodate 6 people's luggage. The taxi cost less than $25 but we gave the driver a big tip as we had so much luggage. It was definitely a trip of a lifetime! Thanks to RCI and the trains, the glaciers, the whales and the floatplanes! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
My husband I took our honeymoon to Alaska this summer on the Radiance. We flew in the day before embarkations and stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel. This hotel is beautiful and we got a great deal on expedia. It was a 2 minute cab ride from ... Read More
My husband I took our honeymoon to Alaska this summer on the Radiance. We flew in the day before embarkations and stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel. This hotel is beautiful and we got a great deal on expedia. It was a 2 minute cab ride from the cruise terminal. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal at 12:00 and were having lunch by 1:00. Our room was ready by 2:00 and our bags arrived at our room at 5:30 (which made me a little nervous as a first-time cruiser). The cabin was spacious enough to store all our luggage (we totally over-packed). The staff was friendly and very helpful (with one exception below). We were surprised at how good the food in the main dining room was, and with such a great selection, especially vegetarian. Our waiters not only knew our names, but our preferences by the 2nd night. We decided to eat the for-fee Mexican restaurant, Rita's Cantina, and it was a disaster. The food was terrible. The chicken in the tacos had more of an Indian spice than Mexican and their nachos did not use real cheese. I'm not at all picky, but I expected food at least on the level of a Taco Bell. Our waitress was more than accommodating, but when the supervisor asked why we were changing our order, we felt very uncomfortable. All he cared about was whether the food was cooked. Once I explained that I wasn't crazy about the quality, he just walked away. We did an excursion at each port of call. Ketchikan: historic trolley to Saxman Native Village to see totem poles. Our guide was funny and knowledgeable. We spent some time on Creek Street, which was very cute. Icy Strait Point: we saw the Cultural Legends dance performance with was very interesting and interactive! At the last minute, we decided to do the zip-rider, which is the world's longest and tallest zip line. YOU MUST DO THIS! It was one of the highlights of the trip! Not nearly as scary as it looks and the best views of Alaska!Juenau: we did a combo Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching quest. We saw loads of orcas and humpbacks. It was breathtaking! The Mount Roberts tram was fun and provided beautiful views. Skagway: we book To The Summit! a bus ride to the klondike. It is shorter than the White Pass train, for which we had little time. Beautiful views and very informative. We also did the three-day land tour after the cruise, which was totally worth it! Denali was amazing and Talkeetna was a quaint, fun little town (and I do mean little!) All in all, we had the trip of a lifetime with very few glitches along the way! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
After a hot summer, it was a delight to head north. We flew into Vancouver the day before sailing , and were greeted by a warm and sunny day in this beautiful city. After checking into the Renaissance near the waterfront, we headed out to ... Read More
After a hot summer, it was a delight to head north. We flew into Vancouver the day before sailing , and were greeted by a warm and sunny day in this beautiful city. After checking into the Renaissance near the waterfront, we headed out to admire the view of the water, mountains and many seaplanes zipping in and out . A short walk away was the site of the Olympic Torch from the 2010 Winter Olympics - beautiful! The next day we utilized the Big Bus for a nice 2-hr tour of the city and surrounding - another warm and sunny day - perfect for a quick overview of this lovely area . It was a good way to see everything in a short amount of time. We arrived at the cruise port around 1:30, where we joined a long and slow-moving line. After clearing the Canadian Customs, we stepped into another room , where it was time to wait yet another 1.5 hrs to go thru US Customs. This was pretty ridiculout-there were 14 stations, and only 4 agents. The Canadian reps were busy apologizing and saying that under-scheduling and computer problems were the cause , but we think that government cut-backs were the real culprit. There weren't many genuine smiles by the time we made it to the embarkation photo-spot. Needless to say , we didn't purchase that one. Starving , we headed to the Windjammer for a bite. Unfortunately it closed 10 minutes later so we grabbed what was left and ate quickly. It was time for the emergency briefing. That has been streamlined since we last sailed,with no life jackets required. Afterward, we finally got to check out the cabin . It was a good one-a large outside cabin near the Centrum . It was among a group of brand-new cabins added during the recent refurb , and the over sized porthole went from the top of the mattress to the ceiling- giving amazing views from everywhere ! There was plenty of closet space, drawers and shelves- with everything done in lovely wood. We were very happy with the comfy bed, sitting area and other amenities. We'd booked the MyTime dining , and that worked out very well. Service was very nice , quite consistent and we always had the table for 2 we'd requested. The strength in the menu was definitely the entrees, and we were not disappointed. The apps and desserts weren't quite as good, but overall, the food was creative , fresh and served at the correct temperature. The ship was lovely , and the staff very friendly and welcoming. The entertainment was skewed for a slightly older crowd, but we enjoyed the live music anyway. The production shows aren't really our thing, but we gave them a chance - a few of the performers have remarkable voices and are very talented. The highlight of our activities was a helicopter/dog sled day out of Juneau. We'd booked it on our own with Coastal Helicopters, and they were great. As it was another rainy day, we were worried they may have to cancel, but luck was with us , and we had a great time - so memorable ! Our musher , Eric Rogers had run the Iditarod 4 times, and completed the 1000-mile race 3 times. His energy , love for his dogs and the surroundings was so contagious . It was amazing - we'll never forget it . The last day of the cruise was my birthday- we awoke to small icebergs in the water , and hurried to the top deck for the Hubbard Glacier. We were very lucky that the weather cleared just in time for our 2-hr visit at this incredible place , and were treated to quite a few "calving" events. We both had a great time with our camera gear and these photos are amazing! When the captain spun the ship, we simply moved with it and stayed in front of the expansive view the whole time -as an hobbyist photographer, I was in heaven! When it was time to leave, the rain returned -perfect timing ! We took the Alaska Railroad to Anchorage from Seward - very scenic and relaxing . We did spot a few eagles along the way , and when we arrived at the airport were sad to head home . It was a great vacation ! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We sailed on Radiance the last week of August from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK. Overall the experience was great. This being said we went from spectacular service to the unexpectedly strange. In a nut shell, part of our ... Read More
We sailed on Radiance the last week of August from Vancouver BC to Anchorage AK. Overall the experience was great. This being said we went from spectacular service to the unexpectedly strange. In a nut shell, part of our group was stuck in the fog in San Francisco enough to have missed the ship if not for spectacular teamwork from the pier and ship crew who managed this thing military discipline and coordination. In the end the last part of our family was on board and saw the gang way off right behind them !!! We were already fans of RCCL but this just made us converts for years to come. The cabin attendant was exceptional and made everything to make our two small grand children feel very welcomed. He made puppets and dolls every day and placed them under the blanket in their respective beds for them to discover every day...GREAT JOB. My wife and I took the opportunity to try the Chef's Table as it seemed an experience to make on our wedding anniversary. The food was really exceptional, the wine was a perfect match with every course. We found however that for 95$ a head, the proximity to a dance bar created annoying loud music for such a classy expectation. The staff, although very courteous, still has to raise to the level of the promise created in this luxury product by being somewhat more discrete, better adjusted to their guests expectations and act really as if this dinner is taking place at a real chef's place. The biggest surprised came in two ways at the end: first completely out of nowhere we were all presented with a charge slip to add tip on top of the 95$ each...Guys, charge 110$ if you wish but please do not insult your guests by asking for more !!!!! second, and after all this wonderful meal, no coffee, tea, water, anything. How many of us would find acceptable to spend that money and not even get a sip of anything at the end the meal. VERY STRANGE behaviour. Otherwise great cruise and RCCL is a great Cruise Line. Beware of introducing products that may be a bit out of your core culture and or of your target market. The train ride at the end, between Seward and Anchorage, is a must do ! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
First of all, I'd like to thank Cindy (Crown and Anchor Loyal Ambassador on board the Oasis of the Seas in August 2010) who recommended the following to us: 1) Alaska one-way cruise (reason: round-trip cruises do not go to Hubbard ... Read More
First of all, I'd like to thank Cindy (Crown and Anchor Loyal Ambassador on board the Oasis of the Seas in August 2010) who recommended the following to us: 1) Alaska one-way cruise (reason: round-trip cruises do not go to Hubbard Glacier which sgould be the highlight (most spectacular) of an Alaskan cruise); 2) South bound (reason: to avoid docking at the ports with more than 2 other ships); 3) Cruisetour #11 that has the BEST itinerary; & 4) balcony cabin on Starboard (right) side (cruising Southbound) to have the best view of Hubbard Glacier. Let's start with an Alaskan Cruise A-Z to express my feelings towards this amazing, brilliant, cool, divine, enjoyable, fabulous, gorgeous, hilarious, incredible, joyful, knowledgeable, luxurious, magnificent, notable, outstanding, phenomenal, quaint, remarkable, superb, terrific, unique, venturous, wonderful, x-traordinary, yummy and zealous cruise. This was truly a trip of a lifetime! The following is just a very concise summary of the cruise. I tried to include as much as I could of the cruisetour part in this review. To read my complete trip review with 200 pictures and lots more details, please read individual port reviews and follow my Cruise Critic thread: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1467693 July 29 -- Aug 6, 2011-- Toronto to Vancouver (Pre-cruisetour part 1) We rented a car and spent 8 days in Vancouver. Since we have been to Vancouver many times, we skipped all the must-do's and went on many day trips in nearby towns like Squamish, White Rock and Whistler, before flying to Alaska. All were very enjoyable with beautiful weather. August 6, 2011 -- Vancouver, B.C. to Anchorage, Alaska (Pre-cruisetour part 2) We got a Club Room at the Sheraton Anchorage using SPG points. Although there was free WIFI in the lobby and parking was only $10, Hilton would be a much better choice with many more shops and restaurants around. We visited Portage Glacier and it's about an hour's drive (55 miles) from the hotel. We were just in time for the last 1-hour cruise to Portage Glacier at 4:30 p.m. The glacier was beautiful but it was raining, so there were only about 20 passengers on board the MV Ptarmigan. This place was so well worth the visit that I suggested to RCI that they should include it as part of the cruisetour. August 7, 2011 -- Anchorage to Fairbanks (Pre-cruisetour part 3) My family boarded the Alaskan Airline flight at 9:45 a.m., and it arrived at Fairbanks in an hour. Alaskan Airline said they would give us a $20 refund if our luggage did not come out in 20 minutes after the arrival time. We wondered how they did it, but then, no refund for us, as our bags came out in just 10 minutes after our arrival. Amazing service! The arrival/baggage claim area was quite compact. Baggage claim was in the centre of the hall, there were a line of car rental counters against the back wall, and a line of cruiseline welcome stands in front of the window between the exits. When we arrived at Fairbanks, there was no RCI rep there but the Princess & Holland American reps were already working. We picked up our standard SUV (Ford Explorer) from Alamo this time (Yup! It's our 3rd car in 10 days...still 2 more to pick up, one in Juneau and one in Vancouver after the cruise. It's also like a test drive trip!) The car pick-up location was directly in the arrival hall next to the baggage claim area so it's very convenient. The first SUV that we got had a windshield with a big crack of at least 3 feet long. We didn't feel safe driving that so we went back to the arrival hall to switch to another one. Luckily there were a lot of Ford Explorers to choose from. We saw lots of beautiful and colourful flowers just next to the rental car parking lot. I guessed it's because Fairbanks had over 20 hours of daylight in the summer so plants could grow luxuriantly. After we picked up our 3rd rental car of the trip we went to Gold Dredge No.8 on the Old Steese Highway near Fox (about 20 minutes drive from Fairbanks). A guided tour and lunch were included in the $14.95 admission fee. After the Gold Dredge, my daughters wanted to go to North Pole to visit Santa Claus, but we unintentionally drove past the Alyeska pipeline. Having a husband who is a civil and structural engineer, and a daughter who is inquisitive about everything, we had to stop there and investigate. After half an hour on the Old Steese Highway & the Richardson Highway, we reached North Pole, Alaska. Despite the name, the city is about 1,700 miles south of the Earth's geographic North Pole (yes, we were still VERY far from the real North Pole!!). Nonetheless, we got very excited to see a big gift shop called Santa Claus House, and the world's largest fibreglass statue of Santa Claus outside it. Then it's time to go back to the airport to meet the RCI rep who took us to our Cruisetour meeting place, the Bear Lodge. August 8, 2011 -- Riverboat Discovery Cruise, Fairbanks, Alaska (Excursion 1) I hereby announced the official start of our 12-night Alaska Cruisetour #11 starting from Fairbanks. We had a short drive to board Riverboat Discovery for a 3-hour cruise on the paddlewheeler that took us into the heart of Alaska. You had to sit on the left side of the boat to see a floatplane taking off and landing on water. My eldest daughter said it was her favourite one of all the Alaskan excursion 'cause she learned so much about Alaska here. August 8, 2011 -- El Dorado Gold Mine, Fairbanks, Alaska (Excursion 2) This was the second excursion that was included in the cruisetour. We were very happy to be on this 2-hour tour and ride the Tanana Valley Railroad for an adventure into the gold fields through the permafrost tunnel. We also had a short course in underground gold mining, and were given a bag of "dirt" out of a sluice box to try panning for gold ourselves. It was guaranteed that we would find gold in each of our bags. There were many helpful guides walking around to help guests "uncover" their gold. After the Gold Mine tour, we were transported back to Bear Lodge. Then we took the 6 pm shuttle to visit the Museum of the North at the University of Alaska to watch a movie about Northern Lights...too bad we could not see Northern Lights in the summer! We did not spend a lot of time there as we had to wait for the free shuttle at 7:10 pm to take us to the Pioneer Park for a delicious Salmon Bake. After we had a yummy and filling buffet with all-you-can-eat salad, grilled salmon and prime ribs with unlimited drinks, we skipped dessert and boarded the free shuttle at 8:40 pm to go back to Bear Lodge. August 8, 2011 -- Auto Museum, Bear Lodge, Fairbanks, Alaska We were back at the Bear Lodge at 9 pm. Since it was still bright and beautiful outside, my elder daughter and my husband went to the Auto Museum on site and they said it's amazing to see so many antique cars that were still functioning. Too bad he couldn't test drive them all! Usually the admission fee was $4 but we got free passes in our check-in package. They went on the Taiga Trail and took beautiful sunset pictures at Wander Lake. Bear Lodge was surely an awesome place to stay. I was glad we stayed there for 2 nights. While DH & DD were enjoying the beauty of nature...and wrestling with over-friendly mosquitoes, my younger daughter and myself were making full use of the complimentary internet service. For those who want to know about free WI-FI during the cruisetour, here you are: Bear Lodge at Fairbanks -- yes; Grande Denali Lodge -- yes, only at the lobby, but it was not working when we were there!! :( use the computers in the lobby instead!); Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge -- yes; Marriott Anchorage -- No, $9.99 for 12 hours, $12.99 for 24 hours. August 9, 2011 -- Fairbanks to Denali on board the Wilderness Express (train) The train rides had been a major component that made us choose this cruisetour. We were so excited to board the luxury glass-domed railcar of the Wilderness Express to travel from Fairbanks to Denali. We had to meet at 7:30 am to catch the 8:30 train. Since my family was the "youngest" on the tour (average age for the 4 of us being only 35, 30+ years younger than the rest of the tour group!!!), we always boarded the coach, train and bus last, so all the elders could take the front seats. It proved to be a great advantage as workers on the trains would call people for meals from the back of the railcar. I actually knew about this by reading others' reviews...a bit of cheating here! Though being the first group called, it was close to 9 am (half an hour after departure) by the time we could sit down in the dining car downstairs. After the first 20 passengers were called down, others would have to wait till we finished before they were escorted down to eat their breakfast...or should I say brunch! The breakfast (not complimentary) was at a very reasonable price and they were delicious. Specialty coffee was only around $4 each, tasted great! Which side should you sit on the train? Sit on the left if you want the beautiful canyon views, the view of the whole train, the view of Goldstream Creek, the coal seams, the view of the Nenana River near Denali with people doing white-water rafting (couldn't wait to go rafting the next day!!)...actually most of the Nenana River was on the right but it's not visible from the train. At 12:40 pm, we arrived at Denali National Park, and our 8-hour Tundra Wilderness Tour on board a park vehicle (which looked like a school bus with coach seats) was scheduled to depart at 1:35 pm. August 9, 2011 (Day 12) -- Tundra Wildness Tour, Denali National Park -- 1:35 -- 9:40 pm (Excursion 3) Yeah! We hit a grand slam for the day, seeing all "BIG 5" of Denali National Park: 1 caribou, 2 moose, 3 wolves (5 times), 3 bears & 12+ dall sheep, plus other little ones that were not part of the "BIG 5" group. Even the bus driver was very excited as he said he didn't hit the Grand Slam for quite a while. Seeing all the above wildlife make this LOOOOOOOOOONG tour very memorable, unforgettable, and totally worthwhile. We were SOOOOOOOO lucky! Some cruise tours were only there for 4 ½ hours, and they said their tours were boring and unrewarding, just riding on the bumpy dirt roads for the entire time! We were given a lunch box with a sub, an orange and a bag of chips on the bus. Since we had a big hot lunch at the National Park, we decided to skip dinner for the night and just finished off the lunch box instead. Rooms at the Grande Denali Lodge were not as good as the ones at Bear Lodge, but they were like 3-star motel rooms with all basic amenities. We were very frustrated as we spent lots of time trying to use the WIFI at the lobby...without any success with connection. Front desk staff could not help so we ended up using the hotel computers at the lobby instead of our own laptops. August 10, 2011 (Day 13) -- White-water rafting in Denali (Excursion 4), train from Denali to Talkeetna This was our first optional excursion in Alaska booked through RCI. After some wonderful experience on white-water rafting near Golden, BC, this rafting trip on the Nenana River in Denali had been one of the highlights of our tours. Again, we had to wake up before 7 am to get ready for the rafting trip (you should see how grumpy my younger daughter was...she's a #1 night owl!!). The trip was about 3 hours long and we had to get back to the coach by 11:30 a.m. to take the Wilderness Express to Talkeetna. The rafting company sent us a green bus to take all customers (not just RCI's) from various hotels to their office in the downtown area. There were about 20 people on the bus. After a brief visit to the Porta toilets (how I hated those!!), each of us was given a whole set of waterproof gear to put on. If someone had told me about this earlier, I would have left our aqua shoes at home (3 lbs. of our luggage weight!!). In my backpack I also packed all scarves, hats, mitts, extra sweaters, etc., and I found myself totally ignorant for doing so. We had to leave everything in the lobby (without lockers), as we could only carry all valuables on ourselves. Luckily our jackets had big pockets (yes, we could wear our jackets underneath the dry suit) so it was not a problem for us. It's important that you do not wear turtle-necks or have bulky clothing round your neck area, as the dry suit had an expandable rubber-tube-like neck covering which was very air-tight and it stayed close to your skin. We were only allowed to bring disposable water cameras, but the company took a great picture for us for $20. It was very fun as we did not need to paddle ourselves, basically the guide did it all. My daughters were not happy about it but I was more than OK with it. Nevertheless, our guide let my daughters paddle for a little bit on the calm waters and they did struggle for quite a bit -- lack of coordination! We went through many Class II and a few Class III rapids, it was a lot of fun, though a bit rainy at times. Amazingly, we were all wet on the outside but it was all dry on the inside...great dry suits! It was cold but we were not even shivering. By noon we were on the Wilderness Express again. The elders didn't learn from their last train experience and continued to get on board first. As a result, we, being the last ones on board, were the first table to be seated in the dining car for lunch. Boy, we were really hungry and luckily my younger daughter got a free dessert (2 scoops of ice cream with yummy brownie) as the guide was introducing the lunch menu. How spoiled she was! Dessert before entree! This time we were sitting on the right side of the train as my DH wanted to capture the breathtaking views of Mt. McKinley. We were really lucky to be one of the 30% who were able to see the peak of N. America's highest mountain. You think we were psychic to know which side to sit? Not really! I read past cruisers' reviews and we bought Alaska Railroad's Ride Guide for $5 to confirm. The Ride Guide was on sale on the train from Fairbanks to Denali and it was a great book with clear maps and points of interest. We could use the train guide for all our journeys from Fairbanks to Seward. After several rainy and dull days, we could finally enjoy Talkeetna with bright and beautiful sunshine! August 10, 2011 (Day 13) -- Flightseeing with Glacial Landing (Excursion 5), Talkeetna This happened to be the BEST day of our entire 12-night cruise tour. After whitewater rafting in Denali, we said Good Bye to the wet and dull Alaskan summer days and stepped into the Sunshine World. This optional flying tour was AWESOME, STUNNING and SPECTACULAR. If I knew K2Aviation was the contractor of this excursion, I would have booked the tour online by myself, as K2 offered very good summer specials that could save us $50 per person. Besides, K2 was very flexible with timing, they would just put you on a plane when you're there, regardless of what the actual booking time was. Since they were so "flexible", it would not be a good idea to do this excursion in the morning of the day that the coach departed for Anchorage as you might not be back on time. Due to the very tight schedule of our cruise tour, I highly recommend booking all excursions through RCI (to avoid being left behind!!!), except for the evening in Talkeetna that we were so free and relaxed that we could totally do our own planning & booking. To make our trip even more memorable, we were told that only 10% of all visitors to Alaska could see the whole Alaska Mountain Range (Mt. McKinley, Mt. Foraker & Mt. Hunter), and we were one of those! Besides, we got to fly on top of the Alaska Range and enjoyed the breath-taking views of the highest peaks of North America. It couldn't have been a more perfect day to enjoy the wonders of the Alaskan Wilderness high up in the sky. We LOVED the glacial landing...totally worth the extra bucks! We had no problems walking on the glacier as K2Aviation provided overshoes for us. We thoroughly enjoyed this amazing tour! It was 9 p.m. by the time we got back to the Talkeetna Lodge and had dinner there, overlooking the terrace with an incredible view of Mt. McKinley at sunset. August 11, 2011 (Day 14) -- Wildlife Jetboat Tour (Excursion 6), Talkeetna This was another optional tour that we picked. At the first part of the tour I found it quite boring...anti-climax to Denali NP, whitewater rafting & flightseeing! However, the beautiful sunny weather with the sight of the whole Alaska Mountain Range, plus the spotting of different wildlife made the tour more interesting. The view of the Alaska Range, this time on water, was gorgeous and different! On the way back, we stopped and got off the boat for a bit of very easy hiking on a trail. We saw different types of animal pelts, a cache, antlers, etc....very similar to the Indian village we saw on our Riverboat Discovery cruise. Being a teacher, I liked this exploration (educational side-tour), and our guide was very good. When we got back to the town of Talkeetna, we went to Roadhouse to grab a breakfast take-out. That place was packed with people and it took us 30 minutes from ordering to actually getting the food. The food was very oily and salty, very typical for a lot of Alaskan dishes, and that was our brunch to eat on the coach from Talkeetna to Anchorage. One more excursion at the Alaska Native Heritage Centre in Anchorage, then we'd be done our wonderful 5-night cruisetour. I couldn't wait to go on the Radiance! August 11, 2011 (Day 14) -- Alaska Native Heritage Centre (Excursion 7), Anchorage This excursion happened to be the one that I liked the least, probably because we had visited many of the similar villages, and we had learned a lot from our professional guides. This one we had to do a self-guided tour. Our tour guides for the previous days were definitely very knowledgeable. At 4 p.m., we were driven to Marriott Downtown, had a good rest and all ready for the long-anticipated Alaskan South-bound cruise. August 12, 2011 (Day 15) -- Day of Embarkation, Anchorage to Seward (Train) Hooray! Finally this day had arrived! We're boarding the Radiance today! We put all our luggage outside our room at the Marriott and only carried with us our camera bags, a backpack containing a bag of food for lunch, our toiletries bags, our pyjamas and our cruise documents to board the train. It had never been so easy before! Kudos to RCI for providing such smooth seamless luggage arrangements! I'll really consider joining pre-cruise cruisetours just for the sake of the easy handling of luggage, especially in Europe and Asia! THE PART BELOW WAS ONE THAT MANY CRUISERS WERE MOST CONCERNED ABOUT REGARDING CHECK-IN (I'll try to be as detailed and specific as possible): At 8 a.m. we went to the 2nd floor of Marriott where RCI had a big conference room set up for check-in. The main purpose was to give everyone their train tickets and assign them a bus # with departure time from hotel to the train station, or transfer vouchers for those that use the bus instead of the train. Since there were 6 of us, we had priority and special service. At the reception desk outside the conference room, we were given a number and each of us was given a health form to fill out. We then went inside the conference room, sat at a table and DID NOT NEED TO STAND IN LINE where other passengers were lining up. AN RCI rep came to our table, sat with us and checked everyone's passport and health form, then took our train vouchers that our cruise director gave us the previous day, and gave us coloured train vouchers with train car # and seat #. The bus that we would go on was the 11:50 one. After check-in, we still had 3 hours to spend before boarding the bus to the train station. My daughters went back to their room to sleep and I had breakfast with my parents & DH at the Marriott Restaurant. We had to wait for a table for 20 minutes (not that they did not have empty tables but there was no one available to clean them up), then 15 minutes for a menu, then another 15 minutes for a pot of coffee, before we could actually place the order. Since the service was so slow, we decided to have buffet breakfast instead. When we finished, it was almost 10:30 a.m...a 2-hour buffet breakfast, my goodness!! At the train station which was adjacent to the airport, we waited in a spacious lounge where lots of tables and chairs were set up. At around 12:30 p.m. they called us by car # and we were on board of the train. If your seats were C & D you would be facing the front, A & B sat directly opposite to C & D, and ABCD shared one pretty big table. My family sat together and my parents sat next to us with another couple. RCI had all our seats pre-arranged so we could be together and got the tickets with printed seats while we did the check-in at 8 a.m. at the Marriott. I couldn't be more thankful to our tour director as she did communicate with RCI continuously to arrange for such perfect arrangements so we could travel with my parents who were not on a cruisetour. Lots of passengers who had booked the bus from Anchorage to Seward were asking for upgrades at the Marriott but were not successful in securing any train seats due to limited availability. They should have asked their travel agents to book their pre-cruise stay and specify "Hotel with Train" instead of "hotel with bus". Calling the regular RCI booking line would not be helpful when it's about Alaska sailings, you should always ask for "Alaska Cruisetour Help Desk". The scenery of this train ride from Anchorage to Seward, IMO, was the best out of all the train rides we were on. The beauty of the glaciers and canyons was unbelievable. After a 4 hours' journey (1:00 -- 5:00 p.m.), we finally arrived at Seward's cruise terminal. Having the train stopped right outside the cruise terminal building, we were able to step on the Radiance at around 5:30 p.m., went straight to our staterooms to find our luggage safely delivered and made our way to Cascades Dining Room on Deck 4 to enjoy our 1st dinner on board, right at 6 p.m. (main seating). August 12, 2011 (Day 15) -- on board the Radiance (Day 1 of the cruise portion) Are you sick and tired of my lengthy posts? What I wrote were answers to a lot of questions that I had before the cruise tours and the cruise. I was trying to help as much as I could. You're most welcome to skip the written parts and just look at the photos of this trip at my other cruise critic thread: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1467693 How about some fun now to look at 2 types of staterooms that are quite hard to book for during most sailings? Either you don't have at least 5 people to stay in one room, i.e., the Family Oceanview; or someone grabbed the Aft D2 Oceanview stateroom with a huge balcony (3 times the size of a regular one) faster than you. First, let's look at the Family Oceanview #8002 (390 sq.ft) with a sitting area (double sofabed), a bedroom area that had 2 twin beds (can convert to a Queen), and a tiny separate bedroom for a twin bed and a pull-down bunk bed. (Follow my thread to view the photos of the suite.) The whole room can accommodate 6 people and you usually need to have at least 5 pp to book that type of room. Next there were my room and my daughters' D2 Oceanview rooms with balconies that were side by side (with no connecting doors), Rooms #1104 & #1604. Those rooms were just regular D2 rooms of around 200 sq. ft. However, each balcony measured to over 100 sq.ft. (almost 3 times of a regular one). It was wonderful for watching Hubbard Glacier with our camera on tripod all set up. These balcony rooms were located at the aft of the ship...a long walk but they were very quiet as no one walked past them. We had very good sleeps as no one talked outside our room while walking by, excellent for light sleepers! After dining, there was a Muster Drill at 8:15 p.m. My parents' Muster station was inside the Aurora Theatre and my family was on Deck 5 Aft. Then we used some of our 20% discount coupons to book our spa services, and attended the Welcome Aboard Show which was late at 10:45 p.m. for all guests, with some pretty entertaining juggling tricks. Looking forward to Hubbard Glacier on Day 2! August 13, 2011 (Day 16) -- Hubbard Glacier (Day 2 of the cruise portion) Day 2 of the cruise was one of the highlights as we saw Hubbard Glacier. IT'S VERY IMPORTANT TO BOOK A BALCONY ROOM ON THE STARBOARD (RIGHT) SIDE OF THE SHIP as you could have fantastic views when the ship was approaching the glacier. Unfortunately we gave up our 3 Starboard side balcony rooms for bigger room size and bigger balconies. We were really lucky that lots of calvings happened when the glacier was facing us while the ship made its 360 degrees turn. The sound and the sight were both incredible! I was doing my nails at the spa while the ship was passing by the glacier and back to my room when it made the turn so I was able to enjoy the great views at different locations. I was so excited about Hubbard Glacier that I totally didn't mention about the wonderful "Meet & Mingle" experience held at StarQuest Lounge on Deck 13, next to the Diamond Lounge. We had most of our breakfast at the Diamond Lounge and it was quite empty during our visits. Sign up for M&M as you may be lucky like me! I won one of the 5 prizes, 1 RCI visor and 1 RCI pouch, which were perfect for excursions. Too bad we didn't win the champagne this time, but we did win it when we were on Splendour of the Seas during a Brazilian cruise last March. There were 30+ guests there on this sailing and we had a great time indentifying ourselves, chatting, eating...yes! RCI provided free fruit punch, soda, fruit and snacks. After the 1st formal dinner, we went back to our balcony to enjoy the beautiful sunset, not guaranteed for all sailings due to the highly unpredictable Alaskan weather. We loved the Radiance as it's really pretty, especially after its dry dock when many public places were renovated. We rented a minivan to tour around Juneau by ourselves tomorrow, hope it's not going to rain (60% chance)! August 14, 2011 (Day 17) -- Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska (Day 3 of the cruise) We had a great time at Mendenhall Glacier (#1 must-see in Juneau), Macaulay Salmon Hatchery and the Alaskan Brewery which was very close to the Salmon Hatchery and easily accessible by car. If you don't have a car, the company had a free shuttle that picked up customers from some downtown locations. In the brewery, you're allowed to sample 6 different types of beer. The sampling glass was very small and cute! There was no tour allowed inside the actual work areas. However, guests could see the machines from a viewing area. After we returned the car, we used Alamo's Shuttle service (cost $5 per vehicle) to return to the Radiance. We were going to have a walk around and probably bought some Alaskan souvenirs but it started to rain very hard so we had to take shelter under the RCI tent. This marked the beginning of the next few rainy days. August 15, 2011 (Day 18) -- White Pass Summit and Yukon Rail, Skagway (Excursion 8 -- Day 4 of the cruise) We woke up to a dull and gloomy day. The excursion lasted for over 8 hours. We were to take the coach on Klondike Highway to White Pass Summit, had lunch at Caribou Crossing Trading Post, then took the train from Fraser, B.C., Canada, back to Skagway. The train went all the way to the dock to pick up passengers who went on a return trip, and our coach was also waiting there to pick us up. What a scene with cruiseships, train and coaches together! The Klondike Highway was very scenic, though we could only see everything in basically 3 colours: gray, brown and white! More details are posted in the port review. On that day we stopped at the big Yukon sign at the USA/Canadian border and had lunch at Caribou Crossing. It started to rain when we were boarding the White Pass Train at Fraser, B.C. Canada and most of our pictures were blurry and dull. So we bought a DVD and a White Pass & Yukon Route Guide Book for $20 and got a White Pass and Yukon Route cap as a free gift. Whale watching at Icy Strait Point was on the following day...accompanied by more and more rain!! August 16, 2011 (Day 19) -- Whale watching, Icy Strait Point (Excursion 9 -- Day 5 of the cruise) We originally booked the 7 a.m. but switched to the 11 a.m. whale watching tour through RCI. All other private vendors were fully booked! It turned out to be wonderful as we had a 150+ passenger boat for just over 50 passengers. Binoculars were placed on the seats and the marine guide provided us with lots of info regarding marine life. Thanks to the Diamond Concierge, Chris, for switching us to the 11 a.m. tour! Many passengers came back from the 7 a.m. tour and said they didn't see much but we were sooooooo lucky as we saw whale breaching not just once or twice, but many times!! Their tails were beautiful too! Even the marine guide on board said that was one of his most rewarding trips in 3 months! It was unfortunate that we could only take pictures from inside the boat as it was raining very hard...non-stop rain for the whole day! Sorry for the black & white pictures on my other trip review! Since it was still raining hard when we got back to Icy Strait Point, we just walked around the Cannery but did not go to the town of Hoonah. It was the 2nd formal night so I went for some more spa services (still had to use the rest of my discount coupons as I had 6 from my family members). We had Samba Grill that night, as the head waiter told us they would have lobster tails the following night so we chose to miss the MDR on formal night. While having dinner, the sun shyly came out for a little bit, accompanied by a half rainbow! Finally, no more rain...just realized we had only one more port left, Ketchikan, before Vancouver! Time flies! August 17, 2011 (Day 20) -- Misty Fjords Flightseeing Floatplane Tour, Ketchikan (Excursion 10 -- Day 6 of the cruise) We got beautiful weather again! After an early lunch on our balcony, we got off the boat and waited for our private floatplane tour with Seawind Aviation. As there were 6 of us on the 6-seater floatplane, we got $10 family discount per person, over $100 cheaper than booking through RCI. The Kamm family (owner of Seawind Aviation) was very friendly. Steve was a great pilot with the smoothest landing on water. Lesley picked us up from the Visitor Centre right beside the ship and recommended many great places of interest for our walk-around after the flightseeing in the town, including the famous Creek Street, where lots of brothels were situated during the Gold Rush. Steve said the clouds were so low and the wind was so strong on the previous day that they had to cancel all flying trips...lucky us! August 18, 2011 (Day 21) -- Inside Passage (Day 7 of the cruise) Last day at sea! Last day to enjoy this beautiful newly renovated ship! Last day to awe at the spectacular scenery of the Inside Passage! We had lunch at Giovanni's Table but we didn't find it as good as the one on the Oasis of the Seas. August 19, 2011 (Day 22) - Debarkation (Day 8 of the cruise) We woke up to find ourselves in Vancouver again. What a lovely port! After we had breakfastat the main dining room, we lined up to leave the ship at 9 a.m., and we got to the airport before 10 a.m. Getting a minivan taxi at the Vancouver cruise port was really easy. Although the van could only seat 4 people the most, it could accommodate 6 people's luggage. Our daughters took the Skytrain to Richmond, DH and I took my parents to the airport on the taxi. The taxi cost less than $25 but we gave the driver a big tip as we had so much luggage. At the airport there were 2 counters especially for cruise passengers between the Domestic and USA check-in areas. We had to wait for about 30 minutes in line before saying goodbye to my parents. It's good that they went in just before 11 a.m., so there was still 1 ½ hour before their 12:30 flight. We went to Enterprise to pick up our last rental car (it's the 5th one) of the trip as we were going to spend 3 more days in Vancouver. Silly me again! I didn't know that Enterprise's rental office was actually off the airport. We had to go past the airport parking lot where ALL other car rental companies were and called for the Enterprise shuttle. No wonder Enterprise's rate was so much cheaper than the other car rental companies ($13.50 per day for a standard car). Make sure you allow extra time for pick-up and return if you rent from Enterprise. The office was about 10 minutes from the airport, close to the casino and Costco. August 21, 2011 (Day 24) -- Vancouver to Toronto While flying back home, we were welcomed by the stunning aerial view of Toronto at sunset ... never knew Toronto is so beautiful! Now we could finally sing, "Home, Sweet Home!" after our 24-day incredibly amazing trip of a lifetime in Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
This was our daughter's graduation gift. We were on the Radiance 2 years ago on an Alaskan North Bound Cruise and enjoyed it. The Radiance is our favorite size ship, not too small, not too big. First, we met two of the ... Read More
This was our daughter's graduation gift. We were on the Radiance 2 years ago on an Alaskan North Bound Cruise and enjoyed it. The Radiance is our favorite size ship, not too small, not too big. First, we met two of the people from Cruise Critics on the first day, one in the boarding line (MJN and her husband Butch), and the second (ChuckiesGirl and her husband Bob (actually Chuck)) in the Schooner Bar. They both added to the cruise. Great people. We enjoyed most of the changes to the ship. Two of our favorites were the Park Cafe and the Quill and Compass. The Park Cafe adds a nice break from the Windjammer, plus they have awesome roast beef sandwiches... Almost as good as the ones we used to get in Tonawanda, NY. The Quill and Compass with a nice beer selection also had an entertainer named Chuck Brown. You walked in to the pub and were greeted just like a friend. We went there every evening. Don't be afraid if you hear people cheering when you walk in. The dining room was very nice. It was a little rough the first evening, but from the second evening on, it was a wonderful experience. The wait staff took care of us and spoiled our daughter. The food choices were excellent and well prepared. The variety was good, even for a finicky eater. We also had dinner one night at Chops. The wait staff was top notched, and the food, well, I wish I could of ate more, it was excellent. We joined Chuckiesgirl, Chuck and friends of theirs for dinner. It was a great evening. The entertainment was okay. Nothing to write home about. But, if we didn't care for the show, off to the Quill and Compass for fun cheering with Chuck Brown. Another member of the staff, who added to our cruise was a photographer from South Africa named Lee. Pleasant, professional, and she could take some great pictures. We had two down sides on this cruise. The first was our cabin attendant. Normally you get to meet them, and they work with you. I don't know if I ever saw our cabin attendant, plus, his definition of clean and ours was a little bit different. Mirrors not cleaned, ashtray on balcony not emptied, plus some other things. Needless to say, the cabin attendant received the basic tip, nothing else. The next was other passengers... Where have manners gone? Where has respect gone? We were pushed, bumped into to the point I thought I was on a subway train. Also, the Radiance is not a big play ground for unsupervised children and youth, parents please do your job. I treated my wife and daughter to a "Traveler's Stress Relief Massage" on the first evening. They both enjoyed it, and tried to convince me they needed another one before the cruise was over. Due to weight and space restrictions in our suitcases, we didn't use the fitness center. We also did not watch any movies on the big screen. All and all, I would recommend this cruise to anybody wanting to go on an Alaskan Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect. We had read a lot online and the reviews were mostly positive for the Radiance of the Seas Alaskan cruises with the exception of the first two cruises out of the recent dry dock ... Read More
This was our first cruise so we did not know what to expect. We had read a lot online and the reviews were mostly positive for the Radiance of the Seas Alaskan cruises with the exception of the first two cruises out of the recent dry dock for renovation. So we were a little nervous going in. We were a group of five ranging in age from 15 to 75 years old with the elder being in a wheel chair. We spent a day in Seattle and a day in Vancouver prior to the cruise. In Seattle we took the ARGOS harbor tour and it was wonderful. Views of the city and of Mt. Ranier in the distance were spectacular as there was not a cloud in the sky most of the day. We stayed at the Spring Hill Suites in Renton and it was clean and relatively low cost. Vancouver was rainy but we toured some gardens near the city and can recommend the Marriott Renaissance Harbour based on our experience. It was located only a couple of blocks from Canada Place and the cab ride to the pier was under $10. On July 8th we arrived at the pier around 11:45 am (scheduled time was noon) and we were on the ship by 12:15. The lines moved quickly and once aboard we were directed to the Windjammer for lunch while we waited for the staterooms to be prepared. Several folks in previous reviews had commented on the overcrowding in the Windjammer and having to wait for a table -- we never saw that. We always found a table for 5, no problem. By 2pm we were allowed in our rooms and they were as advertised. We had 2 interior staterooms (1503,1505) on deck 10 and as expected, they were pretty small. However, there was a LOT of storage space (including under the beds) and so we were never climbing over luggage. The bathrooms are remarkably small, but functional. The shower was very confining (reminded me of getting an MRI!) but got the job done. We met our cabin steward, Roxanne, and she was very attentive during the entire cruise. She also proved to be very talented at making towel animals! During our stay we received a dog, a bat, an owl, a duck, and most impressive, a lobster. Cruise Director Keith was very entertaining and kept everyone well organized. The staff was very friendly and would greet us with a smile all the time. On a negative/positive we had multiple toilet issues (would not flush) during the cruise in cabin 1503 (deck 10), but each time the problem was resolved in just a few minutes. I was very impressed with the responsiveness of the maintenance staff. The ship layout was very convenient as there never was really too far to walk for where you wanted to go. It only took about a day to learn the lay of the land. If I had one complaint it would be the elevator system on the outside of the ship. The glass elevators are beautiful and provide wonderful views outside -- however, they are spaced far enough apart in the lobby that we felt like we were playing "Whack-a-Mole" with the elevators. We would hear the ding, and by the time we realized which doors were opening, it would be too late and we would have to try again. In all fairness, we did have someone in a wheelchair so our reaction time was slightly slower than that of a typical couple. That said, when I made the "Whack-a-Mole" joke on board (many times), laughs of agreement came often. No issues with the interior elevators at all. The ship is really beautiful. FOOD Food on the ship was very good and we spent the majority of the time in the Windjammer buffet (versus the main dining room) due to having a late dining room time (8:30) and traveling with someone who was ill and would be asleep by then. I'm not a food connoisseur, but most of the food in Windjammer was comparable to what I would get in a nice restaurant at home and the variety was excellent. Breakfast was the strongest meal of the day followed by dinner and finally lunch. I was surprised to find lox available every morning and it was of high quality. The main dining room was beautiful and the service was excellent during our limited number of visits. Food in the main dining room was a little better than in the buffet (not a surprise). When the Windjammer was not open, the Park Cafe provided light fare that was excellent in quality. We never used room service. We only had one meal in a specialty restaurant (additional fee required) and that was at Samba Grill -- the Brazilian steak house. This meal was the highlight of the trip for me and my son and I recommend it to anyone who boards. We sampled every one of the 9 different meats and all of the desserts offered. Everything was delicious! One suggestion, however, is that RCI build a sheltered path to the restaurant that avoids the open deck -- the wind blowing basically messes everyone's hair prior to entering the restaurant. Of course, if you are in port, this is less of an issue. ENTERTAINMENT We watched just about every show offered each night in the Aurora Theatre as well as most of the small acts around the ship. The production shows were generally very good (the performers are really very talented!) but the Piano Man show and the Tony Pace show were the best overall. We were very impressed with the overall production quality of the shows. In other areas of the ship we liked the Zig Zag band (oldies), Lauren Evans and the Radiance of the Seas orchestra, and in particular, Kelly Goodrich on piano every night in the Colony Club who puts on an excellent show and takes requests. The bottom line on entertainment is that after 5 pm there is ALWAYS a show going on somewhere and usually several at once. There was always something to do including putt putt golf, rock climbing, shooting pool on tables that auto level (a very bizarre sensation when the ship is rocking), ice carving demonstrations, and many seminars on different topics ranging from Alaskan culture, to reducing memory loss, to other topics which I forget ;-). Bottom line is that we loved the entertainment and there was lots to keep anyone busy. FITNESS CENTER The ship has a well-equipped fitness center that was never too busy and provided nice exterior views as well as TV on many machines. STOPS AND EXCURSIONS Ketchikan -- took the Misty Fjords boat cruise. Was not overly impressed and felt it took too long (5 hours). Would suggest the aerial tour instead so you have more time to walk around the city (if the fjords are your thing). Ice Straits -- took the whale and mammal explorer excursion and saw no less that 30 whale breaches. Absolutely fantastic tour -- one of the highlights during the week. Juneau -- Took the helicopter ride to the Mendenhall Glacier and walked on the glacier for a while. This was run by Temsco and was great! We were fortunate to have a sunny day and the views were spectacular. Warning -- be sure to dress for the glacier! It was cold and very windy on the surface! Also took the Mt Roberts tram and had lunch at the top of the mountain -- great views and some good hiking opportunities. Skagway -- Took the White Pass train to the summit -- very enjoyable with incredible views. Hubbard Glacier - this was the only day at sea that wasn't sunny with blue skies. Nonetheless, the glacier views were great and we were close enough to see the terminus clearly and hear the calving (4 times for me). While the schedule says 7 am to 11 am for the glacier, we departed around 10 am -- make sure you wake up early enough to see it! Debarkation from the ship was as painless as embarkation -- no issues -- everything moved smoothly and in a timely manner. All in all the 7 days on the ship were the most fun we have ever had on vacation. The boat is beautiful, there is lots to do, and the staff is very friendly and helpful! After the cruise, we also took the three additional land days option which took us to Talkeetna, Denali, and Anchorage. In hindsight, we felt that if we had rented a car in Seward, we might have been able to cover the tour in half the time we spent. Next time, we will do just that. That said, Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge is very nice and provides an excellent view of McKinley off the back porch when the weather permits. I was less impressed with the McKinley Village Lodge near Denali, but then back in Anchorage, the Marriott was very nice. On the second day there was a Denali Natural History Tour which seemed focused on the flora of the area versus the fauna. We really wanted to see animals in the wild, and this is not the tour for that. We did see a moose near the road (neat!) and someone spotted a Caribou in the distance for which the next 20 minutes were spent by the Park Service driver trying to convince 90% of the bus that the tiny brown spec in the distance was wildlife. While it was true there was a caribou (binocs confirmed) -- I think we spent way too much time looking at something that only one in 10 could see. As a side note, these 1 in 10 also claim to be able to see the Andromeda galaxy with their naked eye! :-) The RCI driver and tour guide for the three day land portion were very friendly and competent. They explained procedures very well so there was never any confusion at any time regarding luggage or where the best places to eat were located. The highlights of the land tour for us were rafting the Nenana river (a ton of fun -- $95 per head) and visiting the Alaskan Natural Wildlife Conservation Center past Girdwood (outside of Anchorage). The Center helps injured animals to recover and includes several bears, moose, oxen, elk, caribou, etc up close and personal. We had a taxi driver take us out to the Center (all rental cars were sold out) and he actually drive us around within the center as well -- a nice perk! During this land portion, the luggage handling was exceptional -- we never had to lift a finger and the luggage was always in our rooms. RCI also provided transfer to the airport -- again handling all the luggage along the way. All in all, this was an outstanding cruise vacation that I would highly recommend. Thanks Royal Caribbean for a great time! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Perfect size for going to Alaska.....no seasickness! Awesome view of the Hubbard Glacier......the ship actually went through the ice field. Don't waste your money with a shipboard excursion in Skagway.....we rented a car and saw ... Read More
Perfect size for going to Alaska.....no seasickness! Awesome view of the Hubbard Glacier......the ship actually went through the ice field. Don't waste your money with a shipboard excursion in Skagway.....we rented a car and saw everything the tours did, fo a lot less money! In Ketchikan we saw the misty fjords; great boat ride on a catamaran! Icy Strait Point is mostly controlled by an Indian tribe......we went looking for bears but it was too hot for them! So we went salmon fishing instead. In Juneau we booked a whale watching with Capt. Jack....worth every penny, and in the afternoon we went to the Mendenhall Glacier! You won't be disappointed in this ship or the inside passage. We started in Vancouver and went north. We also did the post cruise tour on the glass domed train.....it was so much fun! In Denali be sure to do the husky puppy tour; it is run by Jeff King, who has won the Iditarod 4 times, and you get to see a fantastic presentation! Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We arrived at Anchorage at about 6pm (from N. Carolina) so it was a long travel day. The Royal Caribbean Cruise Tour folks were there at the baggage claim and all we did was point to our bags and they took it from there. Being exhausted, ... Read More
We arrived at Anchorage at about 6pm (from N. Carolina) so it was a long travel day. The Royal Caribbean Cruise Tour folks were there at the baggage claim and all we did was point to our bags and they took it from there. Being exhausted, that service was more than welcomed. :o) (Throughout the cruise tour, we did not have to drag our luggage around at any time. RCI picked them up at the room and they were delivered to the rooms at the next stop-over.) Denali - We arrived at about 2:30 pm and explored the town before attending Cabin Nite Dinner Theater. The show was great but the food was mediocre at best. It was cloudy so we couldn't see the summit of Mount McKinley. We missed the Natural History Tour the next day because DW was feeling queasy (suspect something she ate at Cabin Nite Theater because she was fine by noon.) The lodging at the McKinley Village Lodge was pretty rustic. Don't expect a fine hotel here. Talkeetna - We arrived at about 4:30pm and our Tour Director (Andy) told us that the town shuts down at around 7pm. We asked him if we could just take the next available shuttle to town and check-in at the hotel later (we had the Flyer Tour booked for 6pm). He said no problem ... he would get our room keys to us later. Andy was such a fabulous Tour Director. He handled everything and accommodated everyone all the time. The town was small and quaint but very beautiful. We did a quick walk around and walked over to the K2 airline to take an airplane ride around the McKinley summit. (Good thing we did this because it was another cloudy day.) This excursion was awesome. I never realized that McKinley is surrounded by glaciers. (Photos at the link below). When we returned to the hotel, we were pleasantly surprised at the high quality of the accommodations. The Talkeetna Alaska Lodge is outstanding! We left Talkeetna early the next morning for Anchorage to do pre-cruise check-in. This pre-cruise check-in was a total waste of time in my opinion. We all assumed that this "check-in" would be the same as pier check-in and our Seapass Cards would be given to us then ... didn't happen. We still had to do everything at the pier in Seward. Andy told us we could upgrade our transfer from Anchorage to Seward by going on a train vice a bus for $25pp. We took the upgrade and we weren't disappointed. It was a beautiful trip. Seward (Embarkation) - It was raining steadily. Embarkation was a breeze! From the time we got off the train to the time we were aboard Radiance was about 15 minutes. (Despite the Anchorage check-in, we still had to show SetSail Pass, Passports, and Credit Card.) Radiance of the Seas - Simple beautiful! The dry dock enhancements were all up and running with no noticeable glitches. We had a center hump cabin (8594) and it was great! We had fabulous views for the entire trip! The Main Dining Room was great. Our waiters were among the best we've had and the food was nothing short of outstanding! We were assigned table # 437 (just forward and next to the Captains table). It was a table for 8 and our dinner mates were the best. It felt like we were saying goodbye to family at the end of the cruise. We also met other great folks during the cruise. Note: We did notice a very slight sewage smell in the starboard hallway forward of the centrum area. Out cabin attendant told us there were plumbing issues in a few of the cabins up there. I never noticed the dreaded fans or cabin doors open so it couldn't have been too bad. All of the public places onboard were immaculate and beautiful! Hubbard Glacier was awe inspiring! We got a good video of calving. (See link to pictures below) God's creation is wonderful! Juneau - We did the Dogsledding by Helicopter excursion and went to Mendenhall Glacier. I never dreamed we'd be playing in the snow in early July! The dogsledding was fantastic! Mendenhall was worth seeing but a guide told us that it is receding at a rate of 200 feet per year. Skagway - We got here on the 4th of July and they had a very nice parade. We did the White Pass Railroad excursion to the White Pass Junction and back. It was well worth every penny! Icy Strait Point - This is a very small port made up of lots of shops. We did our Whale Watching here and the Hump Backs were out in force. They took us to Adolphus Point. (Good pictures and videos in the link below) Ketchikan - This is a very beautiful town with lots of old historic buildings. We went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show. This is something not to be missed. They put on a very good comedy routine in addition to the competition. Canadian Inside Passage - I was a bit concerned about our balcony being on the starboard side after reading some folks on CC say "port side is a must for southbound cruises". Those statements are rubbish. I went up on deck to see both sides and I say the port side is best. The port side saw some awesome Orca Whale displays too. (see pics). Debarkation - Started about 30 minutes late ... never found out why. But once it started, it was flawless. Overall this was a wonderful vacation. Royal Caribbean truly lives up to it's reputation! Thank you RCI Vids and pics ... http://s218.photobucket.com/albums/cc49/GaryMelillo/Cruise%202011%20-%20Alaska/?start=all Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
We began our journey with a long, but direct flight from DFW to Anchorage on Friday, June 24, 2011. To make matters worse, Linda is feeling really bad and we almost went to the hospital instead of the airport. She fought through the pain ... Read More
We began our journey with a long, but direct flight from DFW to Anchorage on Friday, June 24, 2011. To make matters worse, Linda is feeling really bad and we almost went to the hospital instead of the airport. She fought through the pain and we arrive in Anchorage and to the Marriot around 9 p.m. Alaska time (midnight at home). We have a great hotel room on the 14th floor that will be our home for the next three days. We are up early on Saturday as we have to get ready for a two hour train ride to Whittier. We're on the second story of the Alaska Railroad passenger car and the scenery is beautiful. In Whittier we are greeted with a steady, light rain. From here we board Major Marine's Prince William Sound Glacier boat tour. The tour takes us by ten glaciers of which a couple are actively calving. On the way out they serve an all-you-can eat salmon and prime rib buffet. The food was very good. Blackstone Glacier put on a show for us. First you heard the cracking thunder, then smaller pieces of ice would fall into the ocean, followed by gigantic slabs of the glacier tumbling down. The large calving made huge waves that rocked our boat. We are told the glacier advances about fourteen feet daily and calves around the same amount (so it ends up around the same spot). It was quite an experience. Our two hour train ride back to Anchorage made for a long, but exciting day. Sunday is reserved for a little relaxing and exploring downtown Anchorage. The flowers here are incredible. They receive twenty hours of daily sun and lots of rain. At 1 p.m. we start a Segway tour. Neither of us has ever ridden these interesting machines. It took only a few minutes of instructions to master the mechanics (lean forward to go forward, backward to stop or go backwards and turn the left knob to turn). The Segway's top out at 12 mph. They were a blast. Our tour guide showed us the sites and gave us the history of Alaska's most populated city (280,000). That evening we had dinner reservations at the Glacier Brewhouse. My halibut and Linda's salmon were some of the best we have eaten. Monday is the start of our Royal Caribbean land tour. We board their glass domed rail cars for a train ride to Talkeetna. Our accommodations for the night are at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. The lodge is beautiful and from our room we would be able to see Denali (Mt. McKinley) if it weren't covered by clouds at that time. Unfortunately, it stayed cloudy the whole time. We enjoyed lunch in town and a nice dinner at the lodge. Monday afternoon we are scheduled to do a McKinley flightseeing and glacier landing tour. With bad weather, most of the tours are being cancelled, but our small group manages to fly. Again, Denali was never visible and the glacier landing portion was cancelled. We did see some pretty amazing things, but overall it was somewhat disappointing. We're back on the domed cars on Tuesday for our ride to Denali. Our Hotel for the next two nights is the Grande Denali Lodge. It wasn't as nice as Talkeetna, but we were assigned our own little individual cabin. The views from our cabin were great. We just took a shuttle (only 2 miles) to town and had dinner at Prospector's Pizza. Great pizza with a cold Alaskan Amber beer. Wednesday morning we are scheduled to go on the Tundra Wilderness Tour, into Denali Park. The tour is done on a modified school bus and is about 8 hours long. Linda was still not feeling well and decided not to join me. The TWT goes 62 miles into Denali Park. The turn-around point is just over 30 miles from the base of Mt. McKinley. On the way, we see moose, caribou, dall sheep snowshoe hares and grizzlies. Most of the wildlife sightings were at a long distance, but with my high powered binoculars, I could see them easily. A red fox (not Fred Sanford) was our only close up visitor. He practically posed for pictures at one of our rest stops. The park is over 6 million acres. I enjoyed the tour. Linda found the Princess Hotel property in town and reserved a 1 hour massage. The massage was great and she felt better by the time we hooked up again. The next day, we travel by motorcoach to Fairbanks. Our first stop is downtown Fairbanks to explore and grab lunch. Although Fairbanks boasts Alaska's second largest population, only about 35,000 live here. After lunch we are transported to the Riverboat Discover's sternwheeler river cruise. It was fun, but kind of hokey. We got to see the late Susan Butcher's (4 time Iditarod winner) dog kennel/camp and a simulated Athabascan Indian reservation. We learned about how the first settlers lived off the harsh land. Then we were taken to the Sophie Station Hotel. This was a great place. Our room had a living room, full kitchen, bedroom and bath. We had a nice dinner at the hotel restaurant. Nearly everyone is our tour group of 48, trekked two blocks to Safeway to pick up a few items for breakfast the next day. We had to have our bags packed and outside our hotel room door by 5 a.m. the next morning. It's now July 1st and we start with a flight from Fairbanks to Anchorage. Once in Anchorage, we board a motorcoach to Seward...the starting point of our cruise. We decided to just get settled into our cabin and explore the ship for the rest of the day. Our sail away was at 9 p.m. We have a nice balcony cabin on the 10th floor of Radiance of the Seas. A young child screaming at the top of his lungs from the balcony next door prompts a response from Linda. It never happened again on the cruise! Saturday is a cruise to Hubbard Glacier, the largest tidewater glacier in the United States. We're told the glacier is 6 miles long and 300 feet tall. All the visible "blue" ice is at least 400 years old. Hubbard is one of the few glaciers that are still growing. Our ship captain had to slowly maneuver through the icy waters starting about ten miles from the glacier. It took a few hours, but we were finally less than a half mile from the face of Hubbard. This glacier wasn't quite as active as Blackstone, but one particular huge calving made the wait worthwhile. I spent several hours watching from the front of the ship on deck 12, then Linda and I watched from our cabin on the trip away from Hubbard. Hearing the calving is as exciting as watching the ice fall away. On Sunday, we are in Juneau for 12 hours. We're booked on Harv and Marv's whale watching tour. Brian is our captain on the small vessel (6 passengers) and informs us this tour guarantees we see whales. He takes us right out to an area that is the reason they can guarantee everyone sees a whale. There is a resident humpback (Sasha) and her calf that stay year round in the same vicinity. Sasha is the only year round whale...the others all leave for the winter. Her calf from a previous year was killed by Orca's and since then she has not left. Her current calf has already been attacked by Orca's (bite mark could be seen behind its' fin). We managed to find one more mother humpback and calf before the tour completed. It was nice to not be on a crowded tour boat, but I hoped to see more whales. On the drive back, we were taken to Mendenhall glacier for a quick stop. Upon recommendation, we stopped in the historic Red Dog Saloon in Juneau. The next day is July 4th and we are in Skagway. We rented a car from Avis and manage to get out of town before the crowds gather for their annual 4th of July parade. We are making our way north up the Klondike Highway into Canada. I had purchased "Murray's Guide" that had detailed information of the many scenic stop opportunities on the trek. It was one of the prettiest drives we have ever taken. Our turn-around point was Emerald Lake. We went through the Canadian checkpoint on the way there, and US checkpoint on the way back. We had a great time on this leisurely excursion. After returning to Skagway, we looked through the shops and visited the Red Onion Saloon (another historic bordello, turned saloon). Tuesday morning I wake up feeling like my head is about to explode. I know I have a sinus infection and was forced to call and cancel our Bear watching tour we had scheduled for Icy Straight Point (Hoonah). Instead, I had an excursion to the ships medical facility. The ship doctor confirmed my diagnosis and sent me away with 3 prescriptions. After lunch we decide to take the ship tender to the Hoonah pier. There was not much to see at this stop if you didn't have a tour scheduled. Of the few shops, one shop manager was nursing a 2 week old kitten that was the only survivor of an eagle/raven attack that took her mother and siblings. Linda fell in love, but the shop owner refused to part with the little furball. On the short tender back to the ship, we saw several whales from a distance. Our final port day is in Ketchikan. This town has a year-round population of 7000 and has a lot to see and do. We scheduled a Misty Fjords Float Plane Tour with Island Wings. I had read a lot of good comments about pilot Michelle Masden and her company. We were joined by 2 other couples as we boarded Michelle's restored and beautiful 1959 DeHavilland Beaver "bush" plane. Take off was smooth as silk. I get the co-pilots seat on the flight out. The weather was nearly perfect. We leave Ketchikan through the Revillagigedo Channel on our way through the Misty Fjords National Forest. We are soaring through the largest intact temperate rain forest in the world. The mountains, valleys, glaciers, lakes and waterfalls are breathtaking. Michelle engineers a perfect landing on Manzoni Lake, glacier fed and high in the mountains. You couldn't even feel the landing it was so smooth. After about 20 minutes of gazing and picture taking, we take back off for our scenic flight back. Linda and I agree, it was our favorite excursion of the 2 week vacation. Our final cruise day was sailing through the Inside Passage on the way to Vancouver. We enjoyed the ship, utilizing the gym, spa, many eating venues and our balcony cabin. We saw lots of porpoises from our room. It was also a day to re-pack our 7 suitcases to prepare for the trip home. We had a great relaxing day. Two weeks seemed to go by fast. We are in Vancouver bright and early. We scheduled to do a Vancouver city tour with an airport drop-off, but there was an apparent problem with the Canadian Port Authority and all passengers were delayed in getting off the ship. By the time we could debark, there wasn't time to do the city tour. Vancouver looked like an interesting place to see, but we'll have to try some other time. My sinus infection is subsiding, thanks to the medication, but Linda has now come down with the same thing. We flew directly back to DFW on a flight that took only 4 hours. Vacation is over, we're home again and Linda is sick (she went to the doctor on Saturday for a Z-pack). Overall, we had a great time. The natural beauty of Alaska is almost indescribable. We saw lots of wildlife...eagles, sea otters, seals, bears, caribou, moose, dall sheep, fox and more. Alaska likes to brag that they are more than twice the size of Texas. That makes the distances between different sights vast, meaning you spend a lot of time in transit to see different things. It's a little tiring, but well worth the effort. We were privileged to see part of nature just the unbelievably beautiful way God made it...much, still untouched by man. It brings tears to my eyes thinking about it. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
The Radiance of the Seas with Royal Caribbean is a giant ship with very understated elegance. It was smooth sailing even on seas that got a little rough in some patches. Our deluxe stateroom was much larger & nicer than we expected. It ... Read More
The Radiance of the Seas with Royal Caribbean is a giant ship with very understated elegance. It was smooth sailing even on seas that got a little rough in some patches. Our deluxe stateroom was much larger & nicer than we expected. It had an extremely comfortable queen bed (that could be separated into 2 twins)that was both firm & plush. Plenty of pillows & towels added to our comfort. The room steward, Jagpur, was courteous, friendly, helpful and ever attentive to our needs...and often even anticipated our needs before we did. Unlike most hotels it was extremely quiet & made for very restful sleep. The dining experience in the Cascade Dining Room was wonderful. The waiters )Putu & Jose)were very experienced, patient, informative and fun. My husband purchased bottle service & we were amazed at the fine quality of the wines & the recommendations of our waiter/sommelier were always spot on. The meals were very fine to absolutely exquisite. Colorful, flavorful & a nice variety of choices each night. Everything was cooked to perfection. Even our 2 picky eaters enjoyed the food. One night we went to Giovanni's Italian Restaurant to celebrate my mother in law's 85th birthday & we had a wonderful time. We were there 3 to 4 hours dine & enjoyed dish after dish of the most delicious & beautiful Italian food I've ever had. It was very relaxing & the waiter was fabulous. He made us laugh & he told us amazing stories about the food & about his life & travels. The desserts were decadent & delicious. Another amazing dining experience! We used the fitness room quite a bit and we were pleasantly surprised at how large it is & the many cycles & weight machines they have to offer. My daughter & niece also took frequent advantage of the exercise, spinning & yoga classes. The instructors managed clients from totally inexperienced to vastly experienced & were able to challenge & encourage them all. Kudos to them. We were a group of 13 in our family on this trip. We have varying interests so we chose different excursions. Some went on sitting tours around the towns, some did walking tours, others did kayaking, rafting, hiking, dog sledding and boating excursions. We all were quite happy with the tours & excursions. The kayaking & whale watching excursions were well worth the cost. I would suggest that you choose & pay for your excursions 1-2months before you travel. Some of the excursions filled up, so we had to make alternative choices even though we booked 1 month in advance. You can book for excursions on shore too, but some excursions got cancelled & the other people didn't always get a refund. Also if an excursion runs late & it's booked through the ship, the ship will wait on sailing. This happened twice. If you book on shore & are late, you'll have to arrange your own transportation back to the ship in the next port. We also went shopping and had some of the local fare to eat. We had a fun time & great food (the crispy salmon wrap was delicious!) & beer at the Red Dog Saloon in one of the towns. The Mindenhall & Hubbard Glaciers are spectacular sites & really shouldn't be missed. We were fortunate to have wonderful weather (only a couple of days of light rain intermittently) & were able to cruise really close to the Hubbard Glacier. Our captain said it was the most beautiful day at the Glacier & he maneuvered us closer than he was ever able to go. Amazing! I could go on & on about our wonderful experiences on this trip. It was such an amazing adventure & we are ready for more! p.s. The Schooner Bar is a wonderful place to hang out with friends & family. The huge windows give an amazing view while cruising. The staff is friendly & ever attentive. There are comfortable chairs arranged in groups for conversation. They frequently have triva games, bingo & such to play. It's a very casual & relaxed place to spend some time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Our biggest mistake on this cruise was to choose a northbound. After a week of seeing and doing all we could do, the flight home from Anchorage was brutle. If I could plan it all again, I would fly into Anchorage a day early. Take a ... Read More
Our biggest mistake on this cruise was to choose a northbound. After a week of seeing and doing all we could do, the flight home from Anchorage was brutle. If I could plan it all again, I would fly into Anchorage a day early. Take a transfer tour down to Portage, Girdwood, Alyeska, ending in Seward. Then spend the night in Seward and get on the ship the following day. Maybe even fit in a Kanai tour if I could. We did the reverse and we were exhausted. Embarkation: We actually flew into Seattle and spent a day and night there. Then took the Clipper Ferry up to Victoria for a day and a night. Had a lovely visit in Victoria. Stayed over night at the Magnolia. Enjoyed a water taxi over to Barb's Fish & Chips. Had a carriage ride. Loved Victoria. Harbour Air was fantastic! Harbour Air took our excess baggage for free on an earlier flight that morning. Then we flew over and claimed it. Also Harbour Air gave us a free shuttle ride to the ship. At the ship terminal, we turned in our large suitcases and got in the security line with our carryons. Then there was a registration line, and customs line, and finally a line to get our picture taken for our ID cards. Then "ding" and we were on the ship. The ship: Loved it! Gorgeous views from everywhere. Our cabin was a junior suite featuring an extra large balcony with 3 large lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs, and a table. We were aft. No noise from the Windjammer above, and only one day did we notice a little bit of suit sprinkled onto our balcony. The Adventure Ocean staff was great. Our 6 year old loved it. He spent most evenings there doing the activities. There were several kids onboard. He also loved Adventure dining. He did that about 5 of the nights. You sign up sometime during the day and choose what entree your child would like. Then deliver your child to them by 6:00pm and they take him to the Windjammer Cafe for dinner and then on to the activities that evening. Our son actually preferred that to the dining room. However, he did dine with us in the main dining room 2 nights and he did fine. The servers made over him even making him his own ice cream dessert! Loved Chops! Had their crab cake, filet, and mud pie. I even paid extra in the main dining room to upgrade to a Chops filet a few of the nights. Disappointed in the desserts in the main dining room. I would have paid every night to upgrade to a mud pie! Hope they get the hint. Please provide more desserts even if it's an upcharge. Sambas for us was fine. Still enjoyed Chops a bit more. The view from both restaurants was fantastic. For Sambas, the different choices on the salad bar were a little too ambitious for me. And I held back on trying all the meats until I could get to the filet at the end. I think I sampled a couple of the meat offerings. But the filet at the end was the best. Also I believe they had 3 dessert offerings. I chose the chocolate layer cake. Looked like a Hostess Ding Dong with several layers of cake and frosting inside. Delicious! And why couldn't they have more desserts like this in the main dining room. The pool: We went to the Solarium pool on the Jewel on the New England/Canada cruise and it was nice and toasty. This cruise, the water in the solarium pool was too chilly. We asked about it and we were told it was heated water, but it sure didn't feel like it. Debarkation: Easy! We signed up for Luggage Valet. RCCL checked us in for our flights and put our luggage check fees on our set sail pass. So once we put our suitcases in the hallway, we did not see them again until we were home. We were told we could exit the ship whenever we liked. So we had a nice breakfast and left out the exit on deck 5 near the theater. Easy! Walked right off and into the terminal building. Passed by all the luggage and found a nice bench to sit on until our tour guide got there. We hired Salmonberry Tours to take us on a transport tour. We had stops all along the way back to Anchorage. We also had a tour of Anchorage. Long day but we saw a lot. Some of the scenery along the way was top notch! Cameras just don't do it all justice. We enjoyed our stops at the Wildlife Conservation Center, and Alyeska the best. The ports: Ketchikan - had a flight with SeaWind Aviation to Misty Fjord. Gorgeous! Our pilot landed near a flat rock on a lake and we all got out for pictures. Then we returned to Ketchikan. We walked to the incline near Creek Street and rode up to have lunch at Cape Fox Lodge. Then walked down the Married Man trail behind the lodge. Great shopping in this town. Icy Strait - morning we walked the beach trail, walked thru the Landing Zone restaurant and watched the zipliners come down. (restrooms here). Then we walked the forest trail. Shopped in the red buildings. Lunch back on the ship. Then we had an afternoon whale watch with F.I.S.H.E.S. This was the highlight of the entire week. Floyd was great! It was a 45 minute ride out to where the whales are and we loved every minute of it! One came right up by our boat. There were just 4 adults and 1 child along (ours). Our son sat inside and played his DS. The rest of us went out to the front side of the boat for viewing. Skagway - we took the Chilkoot Summit bus/train tour. We did the bus first. It had stops at an overview, and the Alaska welcome sign, and ended in Fraser. Fraser is just a bus/train station. That's all that is there. Then we loaded on the train and came back. It was a 3 1/2 hour tour. It was scenic. Had a couple of tunnels. Customs checked us in Fraser and then USA customs checked us when we arrived back in Skagway. Of all the tours, the train was the least of my favorites. It was scenic, but I was glad we weren't on the longer train ride. Had lunch at Skagway Brewing Company. Good but very crowded. There's an IGA grocery here. We purchased a loaf of bread here. Juneau - Historic Gold Mine tour here this morning. This was the only ship sponsored tour we had. It was very informative. Different persons did different sections of the tour explaining in detail how all the mining worked. Liked the portion in the mine the best. There were portopotties here and a nice giftshop. For lunch, check out the Twisted Fish in the Taku building. Great lunch here. Then we bought a ticket to go to Mendenhall Glacier. There are blue buses (MGT) and white buses (Juneau Tours). Both go to the same place and both are the same price. Wish we had just bought one way tickets though. When we were ready to leave, there was a blue bus waiting, but we had tickets on the white bus so we had to wait a bit for the next white bus. At Mendenhall, we hit the restrooms first, then walked to the photo spot. Then we took the trail to Nugget Falls. The trail breaks into two paths. Both paths lead to the falls. We walked both. The left path was more direct and we just had to cross a couple little brooks and only had to step in about an inch or water. There were rocks to walk on also. The right path was more groomed, but seemed to be longer. The walk over and back took about 1 hour. Moskitoes: We only saw a couple moskitoes all week. (at Mendenhall glacier, and at Exit Glacier in Seward). Never needed any bug spray. (our tour was last week of June). Scenery: Make sure you have a good zoom on your camera. We took binoculars too, but often forgot to use them because we were took busy taking pictures. Weathergear: We took waterproof shell jackets. Then we bought fleece jackets there. Fleece jackets are everywhere and start at 19.99 to 29.99 or so if I remember correctly. I did not need the waterproof sneakers that I purchased. It only rained one day (Juneau) and it was just a drizzle, but lasted all day. So glad to have those waterproof coats. This was the only day we really needed the fleece. On the ship, we did not take formalwear in order to save precious packing room. Instead we had reservations at Chops and Sambas and dressed smart casual. Worked great! We have decided we will do Chops for all formal nights in the future. We only saw two shows onboard. Piano Man was a new show for us and we loved it. City of Dreams we've seen several times and it's feeling old and tired to us. Wishing for new shows or even mini-musicals. This is the first cruise that we did the soft drink package. Loved it. Got a nice souvenior cup the first day (for each of us). Plenty of refills for us. We especially loved our diet coke in the main dining room each evening. We are now spoiled and will want Chops, the soda package, and a junior suite for all future cruises! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Pre-cruise - Saturday, 6/11 Fairbanks Just for some background, this was my eighth cruise and my wife's sixth cruise. I have previously cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean and have found them to be comparable in ... Read More
Pre-cruise - Saturday, 6/11 Fairbanks Just for some background, this was my eighth cruise and my wife's sixth cruise. I have previously cruised on Carnival and Royal Caribbean and have found them to be comparable in quality. I've also cruised twice on Norwegian Cruise Lines which I found to be slightly lower in quality than Carnival or Royal Caribbean but still enjoyable. We left on Saturday, June 11 for the journey north to Alaska on Frontier Airlines from DFW via Denver. The flight from DFW to Denver was fine but the one from Denver to Fairbanks was awful. We were in the last row of the aircraft (the flight attendant laughed at us when he asked our row number) which had no leg room and the seats did not recline. Also, there was no potable water on the flight which means one could not wash their hands after using the restroom - although there was hand sanitizer available, and the in flight movies did not work. Finally, the directv did not work once we entered Canada, which was about 2 hours into a 5 hour flight (and the flight attendants didn't bother to notify anyone about this in advance.). But we did make it to Fairbanks at 9:30 pm in one piece and Frontier didn't lose our luggage so it could always have been worse. I sent them feedback on our bad experience on their website when we got home, but they took over a week to respond and offered nothing in recompense. I won't use Frontier Airlines again. It was sunny and cool in Fairbanks and we quickly picked up our Dollar rental car and headed to Pike's Lodge for the next two nights lodging. Our cabin was ready upon arrival (I used an Alaska toursaver coupon to get a 2 for 1) and was down by the river. It was pretty hot in the room at first but once we turned on the a/c and ceiling fan, it cooled down quickly. The cabin was very nice and had a small patio with chairs and table out front overlooking the river. There was a bedroom, small living room, and a medium size bathroom. We enjoyed our stay at the hotel with the only minor glitch being that the cheaper dining room was closed one night for a private function (and for some reason they said it would take 2 hours to get it ready for normal dining once again). The room was clean (although not luxurious), the staff friendly, and the location excellent. We called it a night and our first day of our Alaska adventure was in the books. As a note, I woke up a few times during the night and it was always light outside Fortunately, the cabins had nice dark curtains over the windows. It's kind of neat seeing light outside at 3 am! Pre-cruise - Sunday, 6/12 Fairbanks We drove north out of Fairbanks this morning to head up to the El Dorado gold mine for a tour using a toursaver 2 for 1 coupon. Along the way, we stopped at the pipeline visitor center to take a few pictures of the famous Alaska pipeline. There really wasn't anything at the visitor center other than a few outdoor signs and displays to read, but it was worth a quick stop. We had a 9:45 am tour at El Dorado but we were early and they allowed us to jump onto the 9:15 tour instead which was nice. The gold mine tour was enjoyable. They have you board a train which makes a few stops for some historic narrative about how they mined the gold here. Then, everyone gets off at a gold panning area where they show you how to pan for gold, and they give everyone a bag of dirt to try panning for gold themselves. My wife and I enjoyed the gold panning and I found $3 worth of gold while she of course found $35 worth. She gave me a hard time about this for the rest of the trip. They also have a gift shop up by the gold panning area where one can get their gold made into jewelry if they want and there is also complimentary cookies, coffee and hot chocolate. I'd read a few reviews complaining that people felt trapped at the gift shop (one has to wait for a train to get taken back to the parking lot) but I didn't feel that way at all. We stopped at Fox on the way back for lunch at Silver Gulch. We had a nice brunch there but I was disappointed that they only serve their beer cheese soup at dinner time. I had seen a segment about this restaurant on diners, drive ins, and dives on the food network and the beer cheese soup looked awesome. After lunch, we drove down to North Pole to visit the Santa Claus house. Santa was out when we were there but we enjoyed seeing the reindeer and looking at Christmas items in the gift shop. It's also neat to send postcards with a North Pole postmark on it, as they have postcards and postcard stamps for sale. It's kind of a touristy place but we still had fun. From the North Pole, we headed back to Fairbanks for our 2 pm Riverboat Discovery tour also using a toursaver 2 for 1 coupon. The Riverboat Discovery heads down the Chena river and features a dog sledding demonstration (the boat stops and the demonstration takes place on shore), a float plane takeoff and landing, and a fish carving demonstration. There is a also an hour long stop at Chena Indian Village where Alaskan native guides lead a personalized tour of the village. They actually split the boat up into three tour groups and then narrate at three different stops to teach about Athabascan culture. It sprinkled a little while we were at the village but the weather was mostly nice today. On the way back from the Indian village, they gave out samples of smoked salmon which was yummy, so I bought a can to bring home. As we exited the boat, it started to pour down rain and the rain continued for about an hour. We had wanted to have dinner at the cheaper dining room at the hotel, but it was closed so we decided to head back to Silver Gulch to try the beer cheese soup which was indeed incredibly good. I also had fried halibut and chips for dinner which was delicious. After dinner I watched Sportscenter on ESPN for a few hours as the Dallas Mavericks had won the NBA championship and we are from the Dallas area! Pre-cruise - Monday, 6/13 Denali We checked out of Pike's Lodge this morning and had breakfast at Sam's Sourdough cafe. I had read a lot about sourdough pancakes and reindeer sausage so wanted to try some out. Sam's was basically a diner type place with a good solid breakfast. The pancakes were very good and the reindeer sausage hearty and delicious. From here we took the two hour drive down to Denali National Park. We hit some rain right outside of Fairbanks and I was a little concerned about what the weather would be like in Denali. t Fortunately, as we got closer to Denali, the skies cleared up and it turned out to be a gorgeous sunny day. I had reserved a room at McKinley Chalet but when I went to the front desk I knew something was up when they brought out a manager to talk to me. She was very nice and apologetic and told me that they were fully booked but they had moved me to McKinley Village resort about 8 miles down the road. She also said that I'd received free breakfast for two for our trouble so I was okay with it (both hotels are rated about the same and McKinley Village was actually less hectic than McKinley Chalet which was fine by me). We got back in the car and drove another 8 miles to McKinley Village and they were expecting me, so my room and keys were all ready to go. I'd also reserved a river rafting trip and Cabin Nite Dinner Theater and received the tickets for those as well. I used toursaver two for one coupons for the hotel, river rafting and Cabin Night Dinner show. McKinley Village was fairly rustic but clean and nice. There was no a/c but I knew that in advance. I was slightly hot in the room but it was tolerable with the window open. The room was fairly small but right on the river with a beautiful view. We relaxed for a bit and then went on a 1:30 pm wilderness river run. My wife and I were a bit apprehensive about putting on dry suits but they turned out not to be too uncomfortable. Dry suits are definitely necessary as the water temperature runs about 36 to 40 degrees. Finding the river tour was a bit disorganized but we finally managed to find where the tour launched (with the help of the front desk personnel at our hotel) which turned out to be right at our hotel. There were only seven of us total on the tour so we were all in one raft (there was another raft with just a guide out in front of us for safety purposes). The wilderness run is more of a relaxing run with only class 2 rapids and maybe one class 3 rapid. The canyon run is more popular and features mostly class 3 rapids. We went with the wilderness run as my wife had never rafted before and we wanted to start with a more conservative run, but by the end of our rafting she was ready to try it again someday with bigger rapids. The scenery was beautiful and although we saw no wildlife, we really enjoyed our time on the river. The sun was shining throughout and that enhanced our enjoyment! After rafting, we drove back up to glitter gulch and had dinner at the Salmon Bake restaurant. I had buffalo chili and elk sliders which were both very good. It was a good place to eat, although not great. Service was mediocre but the food was good. We then did some shopping and we bought a walrus tusk as a souvenir. Little did we know that the walrus tusk would cause issues further down the road as Canada doesn't allow such items to be brought in. I found some Huckleberry candies that were delicious and was excited when I saw them as it had been years since I'd had that kind of candy. I bought several Huckleberry items through the trip as once I realized they had them in Alaska, I looked for them in all the stores we went to. I also didn't realize that Alaska had an abundance of wild blueberries. Pre-cruise - Tuesday, 6/14 Denali Today was our shuttle bus into Denali National Park. We ate our free breakfast at McKinley Chalet which was mediocre (but free at least) and picked up box lunches at the hotel. We drove to the Wilderness Access Center and watched a short film and then waited to board our shuttle bus. The bus pulled up and is like a school bus although with decent leg room. The driver narrated our trip into Denali and told us to yell "stop" whenever we saw wildlife. People on our bus were pretty good about spotting wildlife although one woman yelled "stop" at least once for a rock sighting (she thought it was a bear). Restroom stops were made every 90 minutes or so. It was a long time (8 hours) to spend on a bus but we found it to be well worth it as we saw three bears, lots of dall sheep dots (we called them dots because they were so far away), two wolf dots, lots of caribou, golden eagles and one moose. Unfortunately, Mount McKinley was socked in so we didn't see it although we did see plenty of other beautiful mountains. After the shuttle tour, we rested up and then drove up to McKinley Chalet for our Cabin Nite Dinner show. As we were driving we saw two vehicles pulled over across the street so we stopped too. Right on the side of the road was a female moose and two baby moose not more than five feet from our car. Unfortunately I didn't have my camera with me and I kicked myself the rest of the trip for not getting pictures of these moose. My wife decided that moose were her favorite animals so she was very pleased at this wildlife sighting. We enjoyed the Cabin Nite Dinner. I had read some bad reviews about it but I enjoyed it and found the food to be good (I really enjoyed the biscuits and salmon). They served delicious biscuits, salad, salmon, ribs, potatoes, corn, beans and a cobbler for dessert. The show was hokey but some of the singers were pretty talented. I don't know if I would have wanted to pay full price for it, but it was definitely worth it to us as a two for one toursaver coupon. Pre-cruise - Wednesday, 6/15 Anchorage We woke up this morning to a steady rainfall. This turned out to be the only day of the trip where it rained steadily for most of the day. Every other day was either sunny or party cloudy with no rain, so I think we got really fortunate. I had looked at the forecast before we left for the trip and it showed rain showers for virtually every day of the trip so I was definitely relieved to have such great weather. That said, today was a day for rain coats. I brought a rain coat and a sweatshirt on the trip as I heard to dress in layers and I did use both on various days, but on many days just wore jeans and a t-shirt. As mentioned many other places, you never know what to expect with Alaska weather, so prepare for all possible scenarios. We checked out of McKinley Village and drove back to McKinley Chalet where we would be picked up for the Husky Homestead tour. The bus showed up on time at 8:20 am and we drove about 10 minutes to Jeff King's homestead. It was raining still but fortunately they had covered areas to stand in and stay dry. We were handed a really cute seven day old puppy as we got off the bus. His little eyes weren't even opened yet and I wanted to take him home! The first half of the tour took place outside as they demonstrated a sled run (using an ATV instead of a sled) and how they exercise the dogs. One of the dogs ran on a giant hamster wheel type device which was interesting. We hadn't seen Jeff King yet who is a two time Iditarod champion but I figured he would surely show up sometime during the tour. The second half of the tour took place indoors and was led by Jeff King's wife who told stories of the Iditarod and her family. Then the tour ended with still no appearance by Jeff King. Someone asked where Jeff was and his wife said in a cavalier manner "oh he's out getting stuff done". Thus there would be no Jeff King. Although I still enjoyed the tour, I would not have booked it had I known that Jeff King wouldn't be there. The Husky Homestead website suggests that he leads the tour (and a video on their website strongly alludes to the fact that he would lead the tour). I felt this was misleading and they should have made a disclaimer that "Jeff may or may not lead the tour" when I booked it. I wanted to see an Iditarod champion, not the wife of an Iditarod champion and thus I would not recommend this tour. After the tour, we drove back to Fairbanks and the rain finally stopped as got close to Fairbanks. We turned in the rental car and took an ERA flight (propeller plane) to Anchorage. I had originally wanted to drive from Fairbanks to Alaska but the drop off fee was several hundred dollars so it was cheaper to fly. The flight was scenic and a bit bumpy but otherwise uneventful. We arrived in Anchorage and called the free shuttle from the Dimond Center hotel, which arrived about 10 minutes after we called it. The Dimond Center hotel sits in a parking lot behind the Dimond Center Mall but has very nice rooms with large tubs and large flat screen TVs, as well as complimentary breakfast. I used another toursaver 2 for 1 coupon to stay here. The front desk employees were not the friendliest (one was downright rude and quite unprofessional) but overall the stay here was good. We were pretty tired so got some fast food at the mall and then used the hotel's self service laundry to wash a couple of loads of dirty clothes. Pre-cruise - Thursday, 6/16 Anchorage We woke up today to bright sunshine! We took a 10 minute taxi ride to the Captain Cook hotel, where we would be picked up for our Phillips 26 Glacier cruise out of Whittier into Prince William Sound. Phillips uses the Magic Bus for their transportation and the bus was waiting for us when we got to the Captain Cook. It was about an hour and a half scenic drive down to Whittier and the bus stopped a couple of times for picture taking. The driver also gave us narration so it was like a mini tour. We also got to go through a 2 ½ mile long tunnel to get to Whittier. It is a one way tunnel so they open it to one side of traffic at a time for 15 minutes. We arrived in Whittier and got a short tour of the town before boarding the Klondike Express for our 26 glacier cruise. The weather was still sunny and clear and it was a spectacular day for such a cruise. The Klondike Express is a high speed catamaran which has three decks and holds up to 300 passengers, although it wasn't completely full today. We had reserved seats which turned out to be a booth for two facing the water which was nice. They served lunch first which consisted of either fish or chicken deep fried with cole slaw and fries. The food was good for what it was (food served on a smaller boat to 300 people). There was also a US Forest Service Ranger on board to provide narration. The ship would go pretty fast between destinations and they would close the outdoor section in the front of the main deck while sailing. They did make plenty of stops though for the scenery, during which they allowed passengers outside in the front. The outdoor areas on the upper two decks were always open though. During the cruise we saw humpback whales, dall porpoises, sea otters, and sea lions as well as 26 glaciers (some a lot closer than others). We sailed through the Esther Passage which is spectacular as well as College Fjord and Harriman Fjord. We got really close to Surprise glacier and saw some calving which was amazing, and also got close to Barry and Cascade glaciers. The catamaran is really smooth on the water so sea sickness is not an issue. We really enjoyed this cruise and felt it well worth the money and it turned out to be a highlight of our trip. I highly recommend it. I had debated between this cruise and one in Kenai Fjords but I was worried about sea sickness in Kenai (it can supposedly get pretty rough there) so opted for the safer option and am glad we did! We caught our bus for the trip back to Anchorage and had dinner at the Glacier Brewhouse which was only a block from the Captain Cook Hotel (which was where the bus dropped us off). The food here was very tasty and I had a fresh trio of salmon, halibut and cod which were all very good. We tried a beer sampler and we liked most of them except for the darker one but I don't like dark ales in general. Definitely get a reservation if you come here as it gets really crowded. We caught a taxi back to the hotel and went to bed early as we had to get up at 4:30 am the next morning to catch the train down to Seward! Day 1 - Friday, 6/17 Seward and Embarkation It seemed like we had just gone to bed when the 4:30 am alarm went off. Our train to Seward was at 6:45 am but they require a one hour early check in, so we had to be to the train station by 5:45 am. We checked out of the hotel and used their free shuttle bus to take us to the train station. The shuttle was handy and saved us several taxis during our stay in Anchorage. As a note, the weather was clear and sunny with nary a cloud in the sky. I saw the summit of Mt. McKinley finally from Anchorage of all places. That's how clear the weather was this morning. We arrived at the train station at 5:30 am. I had read conflicting reports on what to do with our luggage. Some said that Royal Caribbean would be at the train station to collect luggage and others said that was no longer the case. I can report that Royal Caribbean was indeed there and we checked our luggage in all the way through to the ship. This was very convenient and made things much easier when arriving in Seward. The train station is a bit disorganized but we managed to get checked in okay and boarding started at 6:20 am. We had goldstar tickets which is like first class and includes seats in a domed car, free non-alcoholic drinks, priority check in and boarding (we did not receive this though), an outdoor viewing deck, and a separate dining car from the rest of the train. Our seats were in the very first row of the first car so we had great views in all directions. I bought a train guide that they came around and sold, which is a mile by mile guide to the route down to Seward. Having the guide enhanced my enjoyment of the trip. Before the train even had left the station, we were asked if we wanted breakfast so we headed down to the dining car. I had the sunrise skillet with reindeer sausage which was pretty good, but overpriced. My wife had a breakfast burrito which she said was average. The train embarked as we ate and we made our way back to our seats after breakfast. The route down to Seward is pretty spectacular and we saw rivers, waterfalls, glaciers, dall sheep and a black bear (that had been walking on the train tracks and scurried away when the train arrived). The four hours flew by and before we knew it, we had arrived in Seward, where it was sunny and clear! I had arranged for Renee from PJ's taxi to pick us up at the train station, but when we arrived a different person from PJ's was waiting for us. I was slightly disappointed by this, but the man who took her place turned out to be quite knowledgeable and nice, so it was fine. For $60, we were given a tour of Seward and then taken to the ship. We drove through and around the town and then were taken up to Exit Glacier where we were dropped off for two hours. We decided to hike up to the edge of the glacier which was about a two mile hike and huffed and puffed our way up there. The glacier has been receding for years now, so each year the walk from the visitor center will get longer and longer. After we were picked up from the glacier we were taken to a fish ladder where salmon were literally waiting in line to jump. I could have easily reached into the stream and caught salmon with my bare hands! We were getting tired so decided to get dropped off at the port as it was now 2:30 pm. We arrived at the port, went inside, breezed through check in and security and we walked aboard within 10 minutes of arriving. This was the quickest and easiest embarkation we've had for all of our cruises (even slightly quicker than we had last year in Hawaii on NCL). Also, our room was ready and the luggage was already waiting outside the door. Everything had gone perfect, and I feel that Royal Caribbean did a great job with embarkation. Of course, this may be due to the fact that we boarded at an offbeat time but still, we were very pleased with the process. Radiance of the Seas is a beautiful ship with lots of glass everywhere and some outside glass elevators. It also has an indoor pool and both the indoor and outdoor pool are heated. It is thus ideally suited for Alaska. She had just undergone a major dry-dock with millions of dollars of renovations (new restaurants, interactive TV's, a new outdoor movie screen by the outdoor pool, etc), and we were on the second cruise since the changes. I was hoping that there weren't any major issues resulting from so many upgrades, but never noticed any problems during the week other than slight glitches with the TV. We also never smelled any sewage and had no plumbing problems either in our cabin or in the public restrooms. We had an inside state room (#9571) for the first time ever and it turned out to be quite adequate for our needs. My wife was a bit apprehensive about having no windows but she thought the room was fine, and actually was bigger than she was expecting. The room consisted of a bed against the far wall (opposite the door) and a sitting area with a small couch and table. There was also a flat screen interactive TV. The bathroom was probably the smallest I've ever had but it was manageable. The shower was tiny and a real challenge to use when the ship was moving. There was ample storage for us to fully unpack. The cabin was extremely quiet, and I never heard any noise from adjoining cabins, or from above or below us all week. The only noise I heard was around 9 am each morning when the room stewards were getting supplies from a room next door to us, but it didn't last long. We checked out the television and noticed the channels were pretty limited (Fox news, CNN, TNT, ESPN and a few others as well as a bunch of ships channels and two channels that showed current movies). Pay per movies were available and there were interactive features to check on your ship account, view menus, book shore excursions, etc. I enjoyed watching the ships navigation channel which showed the ships location, as well the time and weather. This channel (and a few others) stopped working during the week though which was disappointing. I think they still have a few kinks to work out from the major upgrade. We were pretty hungry so headed upstairs to the Windjammer Cafe (the ship's buffet) for lunch. The buffet area itself was very nice but the variety of food wasn't that great. The few times we went here, I had a hard time finding a whole lot that looked good to me. They had burgers but they weren't freshly cooked. The pizza wasn't nearly as good as on Carnival and there was no fresh grill for sandwiches like on Carnival. The food was generally pretty tasty but there didn't seem to be much variance during the week either. I still think that Carnival does the best job with their buffets. We never officially met our room steward but he did a great job with our room all week and kept our ice full and our rooms clean so we were happy! We also had towel animals every night but the first night. At 8:15 pm, we had the obligatory life boat drill which I always dread, but this one didn't seem too bad and only lasted 10 minutes or so (and we didn't have to bring our life vests). We had traditional dining late seating and dinner was slightly late tonight (9 pm instead of the usual 8:30 pm) due to the lifeboat drill and we were starved. We found our table and met our tablemates who were all nice. Our waiters for the week were Ronnie and Lennie and they were both great. I found the dining room food to be good, but not great. The quality of food in general was very good, but the choices weren't always that great. On at least two of the nights, none of the entrees really appealed to us, but they always had steak, chicken and pasta available. Nothing stands out to me as extraordinary though. There was a filet mignon available for a $15 charge, but we never ordered that. Drink service was excellent and after the first night, my diet coke was always shortly delivered to me. On one night I asked about an Alaska beer and the drink waiter went to another bar on the ship to get one for me. After dinner we went to the Welcome Aboard show which was entertaining and featured comedian Steve Carte as well as the Radiance orchestra and singers and dancers, but I was tired and started nodding off. We were pretty exhausted after the show so we went to bed and day one of the cruise was over. Day 2 - Saturday, 6/18 Hubbard Glacier Today was a day mostly at sea with a visit in the afternoon to Hubbard Glacier. We slept in as we were still recovering from our early and busy day the previous day. I got up before my wife and explored the ship a bit and spotted some dall porpoises jumping in the distance out at sea which was neat. We skipped breakfast and decided to try Giovanni's Table (a new venue added to the ship during the upgrade for lunch). First though, we played some bingo. We hadn't enjoyed bingo at all on NCL as they use bingo machines instead of cards which to me ruins the fun. RCCL fortunately still does their bingo old school so we enjoyed it. I also won a bingo game with a jackpot of $248.50 so that always adds to the fun! Lunch was delicious. Giovanni's table is a family style restaurant where they bring out plates for the table. We ordered Italian flat potato and herb bread, parppardelle pasta, lasagna and veal meat balls. They also brought out an antipasti plate and a dessert tray to round out the meal. Everything was delicious and the lasagna was out of this world, truly outstanding. This was one of our favorite meals of the cruise. My wife wasn't feeling well (she was slightly sea sick) but I got her some ginger ale and gave her a Dramamine and she started feeling better. The seas get a bit rough the first day out of Seward but were calm as glass the rest of the cruise. We were now approaching Hubbard Glacier so I found a spot outside on deck and took numerous photos. It was another nice day although overcast and it got colder and windier the closer we got to the glacier. There was a lot of ice in the bay, but Captain Claus was bound and determined to get us as close as possible. There wasn't much wildlife to be seen but I did spot one sea lion. Apparently the bay had been full of sea lions the previous week. Ultimately, he got us within shouting distance of the glacier (maybe 75 to 100 yards away, but it's hard to tell distance with the massive size of the glacier). The glacier is six miles wide and the ice in the front of the glacier is 400 years old. We got to see some calving but I always seemed to be looking the wrong way and just saw the splash and heard the thunderous roar. The captain stayed at the glacier for an hour or so and then we sadly had to leave. Tonight was the first of two formal nights and we chose to go more semi-formal as I wore business casual type clothes. I had meant to wear a tie but forgot to pack one and I didn't have room to pack a suit with everything else I need to bring. Quite a few were dressed like I was so I didn't feel out of place. There weren't any wearing shorts and a baseball cap like you see in the Caribbean on formal nights. The show tonight featured Bowzer from Sha Na Na and was fun but again I was tired and we left before the show ended. Alaska is a great place to visit but it can be a bit on the tiring side as it's more of a 'go, go, go' type of vacation. Or maybe I'm just getting old! Day 3 - Sunday, 6/19 Juneau We arrived in Juneau at 9 am this morning and had breakfast in the buffet, which was average. We had a whale watching tour booked with Alaska Galore scheduled for 11:30 am. The tour had originally been scheduled for 2:30 pm but Alaska Galore had sent me an email the previous week asking if I could switch to 11:30 am and I agreed. We got off the ship at 11 am and did some quick shopping and then started looking for Alaska Galore but couldn't find them. My wife called their office and was told that our tour had been switched again to 4 pm but it might be cancelled altogether as they were having problems with their boats. She was told they would call her back in a few minutes to let us know. In the meantime we found their representative who told us that the tour was cancelled as all of their boats were inoperable. I was not happy at all about this as whale watching was a priority for us on the trip and I'd booked this tour back in December. I called their office several times in the next few minutes to complain and express my unhappiness but no one answered the phone. They were obviously screening my call and didn't want to speak to an unhappy customer. The only reason I had booked with them was because I wanted to use a two for one toursaver coupon. Alaska Galore turned out to be a disreputable, poorly organized outfit that I would never recommend. Fortunately, Orca Enterprises saved the day. They had a booth set up (amongst others) on the dock in front of the ship so we inquired about tour availability. As luck would have it, they had an opening at 12:30 and when we told them our story about Alaska Galore, they gave us a $20 per person discount which I thought was really nice of them. While Alaska Galore has poor communication, runs shoddy broken down boats, and is disorganized, we found Orca Enterprises to be a top notch operation. They shuttled us in a bus out to the dock and to their boat and we discovered that there was only four of us on the tour (us and another couple from Mexico). We headed out in a smaller boat of theirs. There was no jostling for position for taking pictures which was great. They also provided binoculars for our use. After about a 30 minute ride out of the dock, we encountered four humpback whales (three adults and a baby) and got some great views and pictures. Also, a sea lion popped his head up directly behind our boat as he was curious about us. After an hour or so viewing the whales we started back and saw seven bald eagles sitting on a nearby rock. Two of the eagles were young and didn't have the white coloring around their heads yet. We also stopped at a buoy where four or five sea lions were relaxing. All in all, it was a great trip. On the way back, the other couple was dropped off at Mendenhall Glacier so we got a quick view and picture of it. We chose to be dropped off back in town for some shopping. The driver dropped us off at Tracy's Crab Shack and I got myself some king crab legs, crab cakes, and crab bisque, all of which were delicious. We did some shopping and then got back on the ship. We skipped the show tonight and called it an early night. Day 4 - Monday, 6/20 Skagway I had read great things about Chilkoot Tours in Skagway and we had a Yukon Rail and Bus Excursion booked with them at 8:30 am. We hoped that today would go much more smoothly than the disorganized mess with Alaska Galore the previous day. We got off the ship and immediately spotted Matt, the Chilkoot tour guide so we were already off to a much better start. We had opted to take the bus up to the Yukon and then take the White Pass Railway back down to Skagway. I only opted to take the bus first because the tour left one hour later than if we took the railroad first. We were on a mini bus that was less than half full so there was plenty of room to spread out and relax. We toured through Skagway and then headed up towards the Yukon with many stops along the way for pictures, great scenery and wonderful narration by the tour guide. We stopped at the classic "welcome to Alaska" sign and the tour guide was happy to take pictures for anyone who wanted them. We stopped at the train station and picked up a family who had taken the train first and then headed across the border into Canada. On the next segment, things got spectacular. We saw six black bears (in different groups of one and two at a time) all walking along the road or near the side of the road. Matt pulled over each time we spotted some bears and I got some amazing pictures and video. I was so excited as seeing bears was a top priority for me on this trip! After our bear viewing, we pulled into Carcross and stopped there for some quick shopping, and then proceeded to Caribou Crossing for lunch. Caribou Crossing features a wildlife museum, gold panning, dog sled rides, dog sled puppies, a bakery, and a photo studio (for old fashioned photos). We had a pretty good lunch here of barbeque chicken, rolls, corn, potatoes, and all you can eat donuts. We had signed up for a dog cart ride, so after lunch we headed to the dog sled area. Since there is no snow in the summer, the dogs pull a cart (which can hold up to 8 and the driver) driven by a guide. We really enjoyed this and the dogs went crazy as they were being hooked up as they love to run. Halfway through the run, we stopped briefly at a spot where they had some kiddy pools full of water for the dogs to cool off. After the dog cart ride, we had about 15 minutes left before the tour left so we quickly checked out the wildlife museum and I bought some cookies for the trip back to Skagway. The tour resumed and we made a stop at Emerald Lake which is a beautiful emerald green color. We also stopped at the "welcome to the Yukon sign) for pictures and then made our way back to the train station. Along the way, we encountered another bear (our 7th of the day) walking down the middle of the road. We pulled over and there was another bus pulled over in front of us. The bear walked up to the bus in front of ours, got up on his hind legs, and put his paws on one of the windows. He then walked right by our bus and was no more than a foot away from us. Really amazing! Our Yukon tour had turned into a bear viewing tour and I could be happier! We also saw a porcupine along the way. We reached the train station and it was time to bid our tour guide adieu as we'd take the train back to Skagway. We found seats on the right side of the train for better scenery on the way down. The White Pass Railway is more rustic than the Alaska Railway that we had been on. It takes the historic route that gold miners took years ago during the Klondike gold rush and was built in 1898. We had a nice relaxing ride with more spectacular scenery and saw yet another bear (number 8) on the side of the tracks. We did some shopping when we arrived back in Skagway and then walked back to the ship for some relaxation. We again skipped the show but instead checked out some photos and did some shopping on the ship. We also got a snack at the Park Cafe and had a roast beef sandwich that was delicious! Day 5 - Tuesday, 6/21 Icy Strait Point We had an early day today so ordered room service for breakfast which arrived on time and was okay (the breakfast menu is really limited). After seeing eight bears yesterday, we of course had a bear viewing tour scheduled today in Icy Strait Point. Icy Strait Point is really a cruise created port near the town of Hoonah, AK. We thought about cancelling the bear watching tour (as we didn't have to pay for it in advance) but decided to go through with it (as it wouldn't be nice to cancel last minute and the bears here are brown bears as opposed to all the black bears that we saw yesterday). We caught the first tender off the ship at 7 am and quickly found Phil from Brown Bear Lodge. There were no problems tendering and no tender tickets were necessary. It was also the smoothest tender I've ever ridden on as the water is amazingly smooth here, and was a short 5 minute ride to shore. Phil was an amazing guide and we were so glad that we didn't cancel. We were the only ones on the tour so we had his minivan to ourselves. Phil told us many stories of Alaska and had a great enthusiasm for the area which we really enjoyed. We drove way off the beaten path in search of the elusive brown bear. It was early in the season to see bears as the salmon hadn't started to run in the local streams yet (which attracts bears) but we were still hopeful. We drove for two hours or so, making stops along the way and finally we rounded a corner and there was a young male brown bear. He was sitting on a rock feeding on some grass. We got out of the van (Phil had a rifle for protection) and got pretty close for some great pictures. Bears have a perimeter and they will let one know if one gets too close by grunting and growling. I never felt in any danger though and it was a great experience seeing a bear that close out in the wild. We only saw one other bear later in the day, which was a very large male bear that was running across the road. I didn't get any pictures of this bear though as he was skittish. Apparently the larger the bear, the more skittish they are. We also saw three deer and a stray cat way out in the middle of nowhere. How that cat got out there, I don't know, but Phil said it wouldn't last very long with all the bears and eagles around. I felt bad for it. Phil took us to a beautiful bay and a stream near the bay. He told us that in July that stream would be filled with salmon and he could guarantee we'd catch twenty salmon each if we came back and went fishing with him. I definitely want to do that someday! We told Phil we were hungry so he took us to a little place in Hoonah where he knew the chef called Chipper Fish. It was basically a food stand with some outdoor tables but the food was outstanding. They had freshly caught white king salmon for the special and it was out of this world. My wife hates seafood and even she thought it was delicious. It was one of the best pieces of fish I've ever had. Finally it was time to say goodbye and Phil apologized for not seeing more bears. We told him that we'd had a great day and were extremely pleased with the day. He beamed at this and told us to come back anytime and he'd guide us around. I highly recommend Brown Bear Lodge as it was a highlight type day for us! It was the second formal night on the ship tonight and we had reservations at the Samba Grill (another new venue) which is a Brazilian steakhouse. We enjoy Brazilian steakhouses so were really looking forward to it. Samba Grill is in an awkward location to reach as it's on deck 12. You have to take an elevator and walk outside past the children's pool and waterslide area to reach it. Once reached though, it is in a beautiful setting high up on the ship with great views of the ocean. The food here was excellent although it's much slower paced than a traditional Brazilian steakhouse. The odd thing was that there was only one gaucho assigned to a table and that gaucho brought around different cuts of meat in a preset sequence. At a normal Brazilian steakhouse, the gauchos bring meat to the entire restaurant at a much faster pace. The meal started with a buffet type salad bar, and then about eight different cuts of meat. Everything was delicious and we discovered a new drink that was made with Brazilian rum called a Caipirinha Day 6 - Wednesday, 6/22 Ketchikan We arrived in Ketchikan at 9 am today. I was expecting rain as I've heard that it almost always rains in Ketchikan. Imagine my surprise when we looked outside and the sun was shining with just a few clouds in the sky. As I've mentioned, we really were fortunate with the weather on this trip! We had the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's tour at 9:30 am and my wife had spotted the Aleutian Ballad as we pulled into port. The Aleutian Ballad is a crab fishing boat that's been in a few episodes of Deadliest Catch (I'm a big fan of the show) and I'd really been looking forward to this tour. I was hoping that Derrick Ray would be on board for our tour (he's one of the captains featured this season on Deadliest Catch) and I saw Derrick shortly after we got on board. The boat has been retrofitted so that there are seats on both decks and heaters to keep everyone warm so it was a comfortable setup. They would also turn off individual heaters if things got too hot. There was a small gift shop on board too. During the tour, Derrick, Brian, and Terry told stories from their crab fishing days, and demonstrated how they catch crab. We stopped several times for them to pull up various crab pots with King crab, Opilio crab, Rock crab, and Dungeness crab. They also pulled up an octopus. They let us hold the Opilio and Rock crab and take pictures of the other types (King and Dungeness crab are more dangerous). It was an enjoyable tour and the crew was friendly to everyone as they posed for pictures and answered as many questions as one wanted to ask. I got a picture with Derrick which made me happy. I had heard that they used to feed some eagles during the tour, but this has temporarily been discontinued. We did see three bald eagles though. All in all, it was a good solid tour. After we got back to Ketchikan, we ate lunch at a fish and chips shack on the dock and the fish and chips were delicious. We then found a post office to mail home a walrus tusk that we'd purchased in Denali. Just a note that Canada doesn't allow anyone to bring in anything made from walrus, whale, seal, and several other animals. We didn't know that when we bought the walrus tusk so ended up having to mail it home. We did some shopping on Creek Street (sort of like a boardwalk above a creek where salmon run later in the summer) and then got back on the ship. We were pretty worn out from four straight days of touring so decided to have the buffet for dinner. Once again, I found the variety to be lacking but it was okay. We attended the Piano Man show tonight, which featured the music of Elton John, Billy Joel, and Barry Manilow and it was enjoyable. Day 7 - Thursday, 6/23 At Sea Today was a day at sea cruising the inside passage. We ate lunch in the main dining room which was pretty good. I had an express salad (they have a salad setup in the middle of the room with a wide variety of salad choices to make up a fresh salad on the spot) and a burger and it was very tasty. We then went to the Captain's Corner where Captain Claus gave a presentation about his history and a behind the scenes slide show of the ship. He then answered some questions. We then went to the "win a free cruise" bingo but we didn't win a free cruise. We attended a pre dinner goodbye show featuring comedian Stephen Thomas, who was very funny. The last night dinner is always a bit melancholy to me as we said goodbye to our waiter, assistant waiter and tablemates. After dinner was another of my dreaded activities on a cruise; packing to go home. We managed to get our suitcases out in the hall by 11:15 pm (midnight is the deadline) and went to bed. Sadly, the cruise was about over. Day 8 - Friday 6/24 Disembarkation Vancouver to Seattle and Home We had a flight home today from Seattle and had arranged a Quick Coach Shuttle bus to take us from Vancouver to Seattle Tacoma airport. The bus was scheduled to leave Canada Place Pier at 9 am this morning. We met in the show room at 7:45 am as our group was scheduled to get off the Radiance at 7:50 am. They didn't call any groups for awhile so my wife asked a crew member what the holdup was. She was told that they didn't know but it should be soon. They started to call other groups that were scheduled after ours and I started getting a bit nervous as I didn't want to miss our bus. When it got to be 8:20 am my wife asked again about the delay and she was told that the quick coach shuttle would wait for us if we were late. Well finally, at almost 8:30 am our group was called. Fortunately there was no line getting through customs and we found our luggage right away in the luggage retrieval area. We made it to the Quick Coach Shuttle at 8:55 am and were told that they only would have waited until 9:15 am for us, so I wasn't happy that Royal Caribbean misinformed us. We never did find out why our group was delayed for so long, but it all worked out fortunately. It may have been something beyond their control, but I still think NCL does a much better job with disembarking. The bus ride down to Seattle wasn't too bad as the bus was fairly roomy and had free wifi. We had to get off the bus at the border and go through customs, but we didn't have to take our luggage off the bus and the whole process took maybe 15 minutes. We made it to Seatac airport by 1:15 pm which wasn't bad at all. We couldn't check in our luggage yet as it was more than 4 hours before our 6 pm flight. Thus we waited, then checked in our luggage and then waited some more. The airport is modern and nice in Seattle, so at least we had some decent dining options. That said, we settled for Wendy's as we hadn't had much fast food in two weeks. Finally we boarded our Alaska Airlines flight home, which was far superior to our Frontier Airlines flight to Alaska. We had plenty of leg room and the flight attendants were much friendlier. I'd definitely use Alaska Airlines again. We arrived at DFW at midnight, found our luggage with no problems, and drove home, thus ending our trip very tired but happy. It was definitely one of my favorite trips and I was already thinking about when we'd return to see more of Alaska! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
Hi fellow cruisers. In April of 2011, I booked 48 people to go on the Radiance of the Seas sailing out of Port Canaveral. Upon our welcome to the Ship, which was very beautifully appointed and made you feel welcome, we proceeded to the ... Read More
Hi fellow cruisers. In April of 2011, I booked 48 people to go on the Radiance of the Seas sailing out of Port Canaveral. Upon our welcome to the Ship, which was very beautifully appointed and made you feel welcome, we proceeded to the Lido Deck and grabbed some grub. After which, we proceeded to our assigned cabins. Soon after we were in our Cabin, our room steward showed up and greeted us with the standard greeting. Since I am in a handicap scooter, I have several questions concerning my getting around. We checked out the balcony and was a bit disappointed as our cabin was situated where the lifeboats were anchored to the decking. Our course, in case of an emergency, we felt safe, inasmuch as all we had to do was hop in one and be on our merry way. LOL. The big drawback was the view was not inviting al all as we could only see out to sea instead of what what below us. The staff was quite helpful and especially the entertainment crew. Kudoos and a shout out go to Josh, who was or is the Assitant cruise director. He was very helpful and a blast to be with. Very friendly, very outgoing and a all around good guy, contrary to the cruise director himself. The ship itself is very nicely appointed with all the beautiflul wood railings, etc. The arwork just made it a most beautiful ship to be on. We (my daughter and I) did My Time Dining and just thoroughly enjoyed it. We met many interesting people on the trip and enjoyed hearing about their lives and their work. Out waiter in My Time Dining was very attentive to our needs and a very friendly fellow as well at the assit. waiter. Our cabin was very nice and roomy, however, it is roomier than most cabins because I book an Accessible Cabins when I sail due to my disability. I also bring my Electric Mobility Scooter with me on all cruises or I wouldn;t be able to get around. Happy sailing everyone, Sailing on the Radiance is a must at least once to appreciate it's beauty and now that it has been renovated, I hope someday, I will be able to go atain. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
Bottom line up front (BLUF) - The Radiance is a beautiful, well-run ship which features a wide variety of functional interior and exterior venues, ample deck space and beautiful views. The opulent, yet elegant design featured a rich decor ... Read More
Bottom line up front (BLUF) - The Radiance is a beautiful, well-run ship which features a wide variety of functional interior and exterior venues, ample deck space and beautiful views. The opulent, yet elegant design featured a rich decor accented with fabulous works of art. The crew was always friendly, welcoming and determined to provide an excellent experience for the guests. My most important factors for a cruise are the physical attributes of the ship and the attitude and ability of the crew. I was pleased on both counts. I look forward to sailing with Royal Caribbean again. There were only minor issues that disappointed. On the first night of the cruise, the main dining room opened a bit late. As would be expected, many people showed up early and most didn't know their table assignment. This resulted in a delay with people crowded and waiting in line; this could have been avoided if the restaurant opened on the early side. Since we wanted to be on deck for sunset while sailing out of Tampa Bay, and the dining was running late, we skipped the first dinner at Cascades and had the Windjammer buffet instead. The other let down was the schedule for the fitness center and spa. The fitness center opened at 6am, but the spa and locker rooms were locked until 8am. It would be nice to have access to the locker room when using the fitness center. Furthermore, the partition doors were not opened at 6am which gave the impression that the fitness center was closed, and the video/music wasn't turned on until about 7am. When you hit the gym first thing in the morning it makes a big difference if the place is open, alive and awake when you get there. Finally, the movie theater was unimpressive, but it didn't matter because the movie selections were on par with the theater. The rest of the experience was terrific. Port of Tampa embarkation/debarkation was smooth and easy, and Royal Caribbean handles the port experience very well. (Hint if you are driving: download/print the driving and parking instructions from the RC web page. Drop off your luggage at the terminal then park yourself in the garage across the street. This will save you at least $14 on valet parking and is easy and convenient.) The food was excellent as were the table servers. The onboard activities offered something for just about everyone. We enjoyed the production shows in the beautiful Aurora Theater and loved both of them. We skipped the welcome aboard show and the comedy/juggling show, and this seemed to be a good choice. I was impressed by the civic-mindedness of the cruise line which hosted an enjoyable amateur Broadway-style show performed by aspiring dancers/students. There was a charity walk-a-thon for Make A Wish foundation and we regretted missing that. Cozumel was a great port of call. We opted to walk and explore on our own. Although the walk was pretty long (at least 3 miles each way), it was safe and comfortable with plenty to see along the way. (We passed a couple of public beaches that would have been suitable for a self-guided snorkeling excursion, for the more adventurous.) No problem getting by with English, but it was fun to practice a Spanish. The locals were friendly and welcoming. US Dollars were accepted everywhere that we went. We have visited several Caribbean islands and Cozumel is the best so far; we figured that it had something to do with the rich Mexican culture which goes all the way back to the Aztecs...This was our first cruise with Royal Caribbean. We have been on a few Disney cruises and consider ourselves loyal Disney cruisers. We were delighted to be impressed by the Radiance of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
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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