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Royal Caribbean Land Tour, 21st May 2016, Fairbanks to Seward. We booked this onboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, comprising of a land tour, cruise and land tour. As Royal could not provide any upgrade in the flight, we took these off the booking and made our own arrangements, as such the first nights accommodation was taken off the booking along with the transfer from the airport. We asked which Hotel would be used for the first two days of the tour as they were both in Fairbanks and we would book the same for ourselves, disaster as Royal said we would not know until two weeks before the actual tour stared. We actually finally got it two days before we departed!! We booked the Sophie's Station Suites in Fairbanks and requested that our room would be the same as that for our tour start, the Hotel made this happen. When travelled out with KLM from Heathrow to Fairbanks via Minneapolis. The first leg was better than the second in terms of quality. When we arrived in Fairbanks, a Royal Caribbean agent was there and we managed a lift to the Hotel. There is not much in Fairbanks, but it is a good place to travel from. We walked around the town, eating in Fred Meyer of all places. The next day we met our tour guide who gave out the tour itinerary, another free day and we ate at The Pump House. Fab that this was that it was not one of the chain restaurants in town, wonderful views of the river stretching by. We took a taxi to it from the "shopping area" $15 pre-tip. The sun was shining and it was warm, so we sat outside till it got cool. The hostess lady Jessica found us a table and helped to move us. More like a sports bar one side with TV's showing basket ball games, the other area was mor restatuant like with proper tables and features hanging from the ceiling. We had a small Caesar salad $7.5 with chicken $6.25 and also ribs $19.95 the ribs were large. With 2 beers this came to $47.40. Food coming out were large portion sized, order small and that will be plenty. The next morning the tour started. Our guide was Stephanie S and our motor coach driver was Beth H. From day one we found ourselves in good hands, we learned that they had not worked together before, yet they became the perfect team. Stephanie's knowledge of everywhere we went and delivery of this knowledge was exceptional. Everyday she ensured that we knew what we were doing in a fun but professional manner, she was the perfect tour guide with knowledge all from no apparent script. Beth was a very gracious lady and a terrific driver. She managed to get our suitcases to the next hotel along the way and in our rooms even before we arrived at the hotel ourselves, nothing was ever a bother. She checked that we knew where we were and confirmed the timings for returning to the coach. Together they really were the perfect team as I have already said, it was a case for us of just sitting back and enjoying ourselves, the first week was absolute heaven thanks to these two. The first day was a tour in the Fairbanks area, we went to see the oil pipeline that takes oil from the north right to the south of Alaska, then the University of Alaska, Museum of the North. We spent quite a time here, probably too long. Quite interesting, but you need less than an hour to be honest. Stuffed animals are on display and a mammoth! The layout of the museum was too convoluted for me, quite dark too. Then onto the Riverboat Discovery Tour. We did not know what to expect when we boarded as this was part of a tour. We thought at first that when the float plane took off that it was unusual to have the boat captain talk with the pilot and have this broadcast over the boats speakers, then he spoke with the owner of the dog kennels we knew that this was scripted. The paddle steamer was in great condition and the pilot was very informative. We saw Caribu, albeit caged. We got off and watched some local shows/displays, we were able to go to the dogs and pet those that wanted to, then they were hitched up to a sled and off they went. Back on the boat and back to the hotel, in all it must have been about four hours of fun. On the motor coach we booked an additional tour. The Northern Alaskan Tour Company flight to Wiseman. There were four of us in the plane that left Fairbanks at 7pm to Wiseman and we returned at about 11:30pm. The plane took us in a direct route and we flew over many places, the pilot manoeuvred the plane so we could see the sights below from both sides. We had commentary along the way. Livengood, Dalton Highway, Yukon River, Stevens Village, Coldfoot and finally Wiseman. We saw the great oil pipeline meandering its way across the land. When we landed we got a road vehicle to Wiseman and were shown the local buildings that were about 100 years old, managed to sit inside one and speak with the owner who gave us a brief history and then showed us around the small "village". Earlier and later in the year, this is one of the best places to watch the 'Northern Lights". Back to the plane and a comfortable flight home, this time a little higher in altitude. The whole experience from start to finish was professional and safe. We all got a certificate to prove that we had crossed the Alaska's Artic Circle. Well worth the adventure. The next morning we checked out of Sophie's Station and boarded the motor coach to get onto the Wilderness Express, a Domed Rail Car that was taking us to Denali. Breakfast onboard which was very nice, payment by card only for information. The domed car was over the restaurant and accessible by stairs and a lift. Along the route we would get information of what was seen. Being higher and with almost all glass to the dome, we had great views, at the back of the car was an open viewing platform for an extra viewing area. When we got to Denali, our motor coach was waiting with us to take us to Denali Park Village Hotel complex, our bags were in our rooms. We ate in the hotel, can't really remember anything about the meal, so nothing to report there, nothing went wrong. The next day an early start for the Tundra Wildeness Tour. Into the National park that is 6 million acres and it restricts the numbers of vehicles entering. We saw Moose, Dall Sheet, Bears and more Dall Sheep and stunning scenery. Time back in the visitor centre before going back to Denali Park Village Hotel complex for another night there. We got the $5 taxi into Denali town and ate in The Salmon Bake, about the only restaurant in town. It started nice with the greeting and plenty of time was given to us to chose what to eat and drink. The lady did not know what quantity of wine was in their standard glass and it was not on the menu either. We went for the Elk Sliders and Buffalo Wings to start with, the wings were advertised as a 1lb and as a starter! For mains we ordered the Halibut and chips and the BBC burger? To drink we had a glass of Red Wine and a Baked Blonde beer. It is nice that a check is made on our food, but my so many people nearly every two minutes? We were still eating our starters when the main course arrived, a male waiter went to put it on the table and we asked for it to taken away and to be delivered after we had finished the starters. When we had finished the starters the main arrived and we had to clear our plates from the table to that one next to us so the main course could be set down. We had to get our own fresh set of cutlery from the adjacent table. The food had obviously been held somewhere as the chips were cold. This was mentioned but the lady wait staff just apologised and walked away. I think that as there was no other main restaurant in town, this place has become complacent. There are good reviews on tripadvisor and that is why we came. Perhaps we are slow eaters, but there is no excuse to bring out the main meal when the guests had not finished the starter. The total bill was $79.21. Written on the bottom of the menu was the deemed compulsory tip percentages, 10% usually if you were not totally happy. Strange that it is at a percentage, surely serving a $48 serving of crab takes the same time as a $13 burger and fries. Begrudgingly we left 10%. A later start and we boarded the Wilderness Express in time for lunch. Again, this was very nice, good service and reasonably priced. We arrived in Talkeetna and stayed in the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Being on a tour meant that our bags were already in our room and we were handed out keys upon arrival. Not sure if it is the same for all buildings, but we were in an odd numbered room which overlooked the mountains, especially Denali which is North Americas highest. Very spacious room with two queen sized beds, a fridge, flat screen tv and in the vestibule with a sink and a doorway to the big bathroom which had a bath/shower and loo. You could leave a note with the hotel to wake you if the higher clouds cleared for a full view of the famous mountain. Simple check out, we gave our keys in. The Hotel offers breakfast and an evening meals only, it has nice open grounds equipped with a decking area for taking pictures of the mountain range. A huge fire place in the main lobby was impressive. We walked into town which took 35 minutes. There is a bus that you can take but it finished at 17:45. It starts at 10am. I believe it was $4 per person. Even outside these times, local taxis are available, we ate in Nountain High, Pizza Pie. You get what you pay for, there was two sizes of pizzas available, I went for the smaller which was big enough. I did not go for the 30+ topping one advertised as everything but the mosquitos. The pizza was tasty and arrived timely. The drink was replenished as I drank it, part of the same price, great. All in our party were satisfied with their food, the service was with a smile. We checked out the next morning, got a free coach organised by Royal Caribbean into town and had four hours till we boarded the Domed Rail Car again on its was to Anchorage. Before that we had breakfast in Talkeetna Roadhouse which was scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, fried potato with peppers and onions, a thick slice of toast and a choice of a hot and a choice of a cold drink, all for $12.95 each. We both had tea and this came with a pot to add your tea bag to, so in fact we made two cups each. There was home made apple sauce, more jam like and raspberry jam for the toast. A big portion of breakfast arrived and we could have shared one between us.
We then bought one sticky and one frosty cinnamon cake to have each cut in half as a take away. Clean toilets and this place even offers lodgings. Super choice from many offering food in this town. When in Talkeenta, make sure you go to the rivers edge, you get great views of the mountain range, the river itself is impressive. There are many curiosity shops as well, Aurora Dora for one. On to the Domed Rail car, dinner this time, not let down, great food and great service. Arrived in Anchorage, bags waiting in the room for us in the Anchorage Marriott, in the middle of town. In these days, especially in a high class hotel, you would expect a basic level of fee wi-fi in your room, this hotel only offered it to Marriott Reawrds customers. We have been in a few of these hotels around the world and have not joined it alas. You do get it in the lobby for free along with any one passing by. That aside as it is not the end of the world. A good centrally based hotel in Anchorage, very spacious room with a decent sized bedroom, courteous staff, comfortable beds, flat screen tv with many channels. On tour and the check in was done by our agent, check out was just a drop box for those who were in a rush. Would go back if in the area, but would start that account. Checked out in the morning and before venturing by motor coach to Seward we went to the Alaska Native Heritage Centre, when looking back having travelled for three weeks in Alaska and Canade, this was the highlight. The main building as you entered was spacious and had a theatre, cafe, restrooms, local artists studios and galleries, oh and a decent shop. We watched the show where the Alaskan Games were demonstrated, from leaping up from a crouching position, shimmying along like sneaking up on seals and one you will have to watch yourself, holding your left foot with your right hand, then with the left hand on the floor kick up high to hit a toy whale, the record is 8 feet we were told, then land back on the right foot. Outside were examples of the ancient dwellings used and sled dogs, one with 8 week old puppies, of which we were allowed to hold. Sled rides were happening later in the day, but we were only there 2 hours unfortunately, perhaps next time. Radiance of the Seas, 27th May 2016 Southbound Inside Passage. Easy and polite check in and on board really with in 20 minutes of entering the terminal. As we got on board we were shepherded around the centrum past the stalls selling all the drinks, speciality dining, spa and excursion packages, this made it busy rather than allowing us to go straight to the lifts. As we had boarded at about 5pm following the land tour we were able to go to our cabin straight away having whizzed past those stalls. Clean and ready for us, we met Manuel Torre IV our Stateroom Attendant who was very polite in introducing himself. Throughout the cruise, even the day we forgot to change our 'Do Not Disturb' sign around, he remained polite, professional and maintained our stateroom very well and to a high standard. We suffered a water leak from under the bath and this was fixed the same day it was reported. We went to the Concierge and Diamond lounge where Jorge Gutierrez was the Concierge Manager and Sergey Sinkevich was the Diamond Concierge, neither really interacted with us, but we did not command it. On previous cruises other concierge managers had walked around the lounge, even when it was busier, introducing themselves to the guests. We booked three speciality restaurants with Jorge, Chops, Izumu and Giovani's. When we got to Chops, Amanda, the Chops Manager, changed these bookings to the special offer booking that Jorge should have done. In Chops, Exequiel Esguerra looked after us, the food was very nice. In Giovani's Edwin was very good with offering the right wines to go with our food, not the cheapest offerings mind you. In Izumi it was different. All our bookings had been for 20:30, we were the only ones in Izumi and at almost 21:00 they started to clear the tables, we felt like we we holding them up. When at 21:15 the back doors were locked open and the vacuum was about to come in, we had to say something. Either they should not take late bookings, or be aware of their guests. We raised this with the state who got their manager. He seemed to indicate that it was the staffs fault, yet they would have been following orders. We went back to Chops twice more as the service there was the best, we were again served both times by the excellent Exequiel. Only the first night did we do the main restaurant, but it was cramped with tables so close together and it took an age to even get our starters, let alone the mains and desserts. We would see people leaving at times as we were just getting our mains. This was one of the deciding factors to eat at the Speciality Restaurants. We had the gratuities moved to our Stateroom attendant and to the barman in Concierge. The barman Lincoln Fernandez remembered our first order and would start to get it ready each time we came back, service with a welcome smile too. I must note that the volume from the speakers in Concierge when the Cruise Director came on was very loud, too loud really for a lounge where you go to for peace and quiet. The food in the Winjammer Cafe was very good. I was so pleased to see Raisin Bran on offer as on the last cruise the ship ran out after day one. The last but one morning there was none, but a member of staff came along with a catering bag of it to help be out, the last day I had to wait, but two boxes were found. I visited the loyalty ambassador, Zenisha Bhanderi, to ask about our block as this cruise took us over the 210 points, she was not aware. Surely this information should be known in advance? I asked hr to confirm that the land tour was also getting us points which she called through to agree. She was advised that we would only get one point per night for the land part, yet today when logging in I see that we did get two points per night. I had issues with trying to log on to the ships "slow" Internet as although I had created an account, screen printed the log in details, it said I was getting them wrong. Heidi Beingolea Rozas at Guest Services was able to help, she was very kind and patient. Also in Guest Services, Cristina Jacobo helped us in changing which credit card was to pay our bill. Finally, Miranda, in "My Next Cruise" became our new best friend. She was truly professional and knowledgeable in helping us book another cruise. So often in the past we have found this process to be painful that the staff seem to know less that we did. We saw her throughout the cruise at her desk, long hours, and always with a smile. We did not go to any shows, the tv was only really good for TCM which seemed to specialise in old war films. The itinerary that the ship followed was very good. We were blessed with fantastic weather throughout. Day one was leaving Seward at 20:00. Day two, 14:00 to 18:00 we drifted by Hubbard Glacier, as close as the ship could get, slowly turning so everyone could get the perfect view. Day three, Juneau 9:00 - 21:00, we did the Mendenhall Glacier by helicopter tour, a bit shorter that advertised, but worth doing. It was cool and it was worth putting on warm clothes for this trip. Day four, Skagway 7:00 - 20:30, we did the White Pass Railway tour, 11:30 -16:00, definitely a must when in Skagway, remembering our passports as these were checked when we crossed the US/Canada border on the way up by train. It went past some amazing scenery, back by bus and this takes a special driver. Day five, Icy Point Strait 7:00 - 16:00. Purpose built it seemed for the cruise industry, but if you walk about 30 minutes away to the town of Hoonah which is really this places name, there is a bit of natural activity wood carving of canoes and totem poles. We ate at the Crab Station Restaurant, served my Minnie a character herself. Not cheap, but big King Crabs legs (2 for about CAD$48). Day six, Ketchikan 9:00 - 18:00, we did the float plane excursion, this was very good and we were fortunate going in the afternoon when the clouds had lifted, we heard that some in the morning were cancelled due to low cloud. Day seven, cruising the Inside Passage. Not as stunning as we imagined, nothing like the Norwegian Ffords. We saw one whale, others had seen Orca's on previous days. Day eight, Vancouver arrived at 7:00. Land Tour 3rd June 2016. We were met, yet at the cruise terminal professionally and were cared for by the Brewster representative, nothing ever went wrong. Perhaps we were too small a group to warrant a constant guide. The tour itinerary was as follows: Vancouver City Tour and Lookout Tower and Harbour Centre - 4 hours, overnight in the Fairmont Hotel - Vancouver Ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island and a two hour stop in Buchard Gardens and an hour in Victoria before getting the Ferry back to Vancouver, over night again in the Fairmont Hotel - Vancouver. 2 hours went by very quickly, the gardens were perfect and we were blessed with good weather. We had to pack a separate overnight bag for the train. Sleeper Plus Class Cabin, VIA Rail - Vancouver to Jasper, not that comfortable sleeping on the train and it had a "Prestige Class" which if we knew about we would have asked to upgrade. There was only four domed cars for the 23 car train, the last one especially for Prestige customers. Breakfast, lunch and service was very nice. Overnight stay was in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Hotel. Coach Transfer in the morning to Banff for the Glacier Experience. When you are in the presence of excellence as we were in the first week, you really miss it. Brewster as a company really looked after us, but the absence of the same guide with you for all the week set this one apart. I must really praise Michael and Cara our driver/guide and support on this Rockies Discovery and Glacier tour. Like Stephanie and Beth on our first week they worked as a team and cared for us. Michael was very clear on the microphone and relayed his knowledge and information to us as we went along. He would advise us of what we were about to see so we would be ready when we got to area / particular view. He was so attentive to people getting off and on the coach. Cara was like his side kick, but was equally as professional. We were taken to see Bow Lake Glacier Falls, Peyto Lake and Lake Louise which was pale by comparison, then onto a glacier and the glacier walkway. Overnight in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Coach transfer - Banff to Calgary - Banf Highlights Tour which we thought was too long and were able to cut it short and then onto Calgary and overnight in the Fairmont Palliser Hotel. This is right next to the Lookout Tower. All of the Fairmont Hotels were the best, they were wonderful buildings, most excellent service and very comfortable rooms. Joining the Presidents Club gets you free wi-fi.

Land Tour, Cruise and Land Tour

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by spideyswims

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Alaska
Royal Caribbean Land Tour, 21st May 2016, Fairbanks to Seward.

We booked this onboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, comprising of a land tour, cruise and land tour. As Royal could not provide any upgrade in the flight, we took these off the booking and made our own arrangements, as such the first nights accommodation was taken off the booking along with the transfer from the airport.

We asked which Hotel would be used for the first two days of the tour as they were both in Fairbanks and we would book the same for ourselves, disaster as Royal said we would not know until two weeks before the actual tour stared. We actually finally got it two days before we departed!!

We booked the Sophie's Station Suites in Fairbanks and requested that our room would be the same as that for our tour start, the Hotel made this happen.

When travelled out with KLM from Heathrow to Fairbanks via Minneapolis. The first leg was better than the second in terms of quality.

When we arrived in Fairbanks, a Royal Caribbean agent was there and we managed a lift to the Hotel.

There is not much in Fairbanks, but it is a good place to travel from. We walked around the town, eating in Fred Meyer of all places.

The next day we met our tour guide who gave out the tour itinerary, another free day and we ate at The Pump House.

Fab that this was that it was not one of the chain restaurants in town, wonderful views of the river stretching by. We took a taxi to it from the "shopping area" $15 pre-tip.

The sun was shining and it was warm, so we sat outside till it got cool. The hostess lady Jessica found us a table and helped to move us. More like a sports bar one side with TV's showing basket ball games, the other area was mor restatuant like with proper tables and features hanging from the ceiling. We had a small Caesar salad $7.5 with chicken $6.25 and also ribs $19.95 the ribs were large. With 2 beers this came to $47.40. Food coming out were large portion sized, order small and that will be plenty.

The next morning the tour started.

Our guide was Stephanie S and our motor coach driver was Beth H.

From day one we found ourselves in good hands, we learned that they had not worked together before, yet they became the perfect team.

Stephanie's knowledge of everywhere we went and delivery of this knowledge was exceptional.

Everyday she ensured that we knew what we were doing in a fun but professional manner, she was the perfect tour guide with knowledge all from no apparent script.

Beth was a very gracious lady and a terrific driver. She managed to get our suitcases to the next hotel along the way and in our rooms even before we arrived at the hotel ourselves, nothing was ever a bother. She checked that we knew where we were and confirmed the timings for returning to the coach.

Together they really were the perfect team as I have already said, it was a case for us of just sitting back and enjoying ourselves, the first week was absolute heaven thanks to these two.

The first day was a tour in the Fairbanks area, we went to see the oil pipeline that takes oil from the north right to the south of Alaska, then the University of Alaska, Museum of the North. We spent quite a time here, probably too long. Quite interesting, but you need less than an hour to be honest. Stuffed animals are on display and a mammoth! The layout of the museum was too convoluted for me, quite dark too. Then onto the Riverboat Discovery Tour. We did not know what to expect when we boarded as this was part of a tour.

We thought at first that when the float plane took off that it was unusual to have the boat captain talk with the pilot and have this broadcast over the boats speakers, then he spoke with the owner of the dog kennels we knew that this was scripted. The paddle steamer was in great condition and the pilot was very informative. We saw Caribu, albeit caged. We got off and watched some local shows/displays, we were able to go to the dogs and pet those that wanted to, then they were hitched up to a sled and off they went. Back on the boat and back to the hotel, in all it must have been about four hours of fun. On the motor coach we booked an additional tour. The Northern Alaskan Tour Company flight to Wiseman. There were four of us in the plane that left Fairbanks at 7pm to Wiseman and we returned at about 11:30pm.

The plane took us in a direct route and we flew over many places, the pilot manoeuvred the plane so we could see the sights below from both sides. We had commentary along the way. Livengood, Dalton Highway, Yukon River, Stevens Village, Coldfoot and finally Wiseman. We saw the great oil pipeline meandering its way across the land.

When we landed we got a road vehicle to Wiseman and were shown the local buildings that were about 100 years old, managed to sit inside one and speak with the owner who gave us a brief history and then showed us around the small "village". Earlier and later in the year, this is one of the best places to watch the 'Northern Lights".

Back to the plane and a comfortable flight home, this time a little higher in altitude.

The whole experience from start to finish was professional and safe.

We all got a certificate to prove that we had crossed the Alaska's Artic Circle.

Well worth the adventure.

The next morning we checked out of Sophie's Station and boarded the motor coach to get onto the Wilderness Express, a Domed Rail Car that was taking us to Denali. Breakfast onboard which was very nice, payment by card only for information. The domed car was over the restaurant and accessible by stairs and a lift. Along the route we would get information of what was seen. Being higher and with almost all glass to the dome, we had great views, at the back of the car was an open viewing platform for an extra viewing area. When we got to Denali, our motor coach was waiting with us to take us to Denali Park Village Hotel complex, our bags were in our rooms. We ate in the hotel, can't really remember anything about the meal, so nothing to report there, nothing went wrong.

The next day an early start for the Tundra Wildeness Tour. Into the National park that is 6 million acres and it restricts the numbers of vehicles entering. We saw Moose, Dall Sheet, Bears and more Dall Sheep and stunning scenery. Time back in the visitor centre before going back to Denali Park Village Hotel complex for another night there.

We got the $5 taxi into Denali town and ate in The Salmon Bake, about the only restaurant in town. It started nice with the greeting and plenty of time was given to us to chose what to eat and drink. The lady did not know what quantity of wine was in their standard glass and it was not on the menu either. We went for the Elk Sliders and Buffalo Wings to start with, the wings were advertised as a 1lb and as a starter! For mains we ordered the Halibut and chips and the BBC burger? To drink we had a glass of Red Wine and a Baked Blonde beer. It is nice that a check is made on our food, but my so many people nearly every two minutes? We were still eating our starters when the main course arrived, a male waiter went to put it on the table and we asked for it to taken away and to be delivered after we had finished the starters. When we had finished the starters the main arrived and we had to clear our plates from the table to that one next to us so the main course could be set down. We had to get our own fresh set of cutlery from the adjacent table. The food had obviously been held somewhere as the chips were cold. This was mentioned but the lady wait staff just apologised and walked away. I think that as there was no other main restaurant in town, this place has become complacent. There are good reviews on tripadvisor and that is why we came. Perhaps we are slow eaters, but there is no excuse to bring out the main meal when the guests had not finished the starter. The total bill was $79.21.

Written on the bottom of the menu was the deemed compulsory tip percentages, 10% usually if you were not totally happy. Strange that it is at a percentage, surely serving a $48 serving of crab takes the same time as a $13 burger and fries. Begrudgingly we left 10%.

A later start and we boarded the Wilderness Express in time for lunch. Again, this was very nice, good service and reasonably priced. We arrived in Talkeetna and stayed in the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Being on a tour meant that our bags were already in our room and we were handed out keys upon arrival.

Not sure if it is the same for all buildings, but we were in an odd numbered room which overlooked the mountains, especially Denali which is North Americas highest.

Very spacious room with two queen sized beds, a fridge, flat screen tv and in the vestibule with a sink and a doorway to the big bathroom which had a bath/shower and loo. You could leave a note with the hotel to wake you if the higher clouds cleared for a full view of the famous mountain. Simple check out, we gave our keys in. The Hotel offers breakfast and an evening meals only, it has nice open grounds equipped with a decking area for taking pictures of the mountain range.

A huge fire place in the main lobby was impressive. We walked into town which took 35 minutes. There is a bus that you can take but it finished at 17:45. It starts at 10am. I believe it was $4 per person. Even outside these times, local taxis are available, we ate in Nountain High, Pizza Pie. You get what you pay for, there was two sizes of pizzas available, I went for the smaller which was big enough. I did not go for the 30+ topping one advertised as everything but the mosquitos. The pizza was tasty and arrived timely. The drink was replenished as I drank it, part of the same price, great. All in our party were satisfied with their food, the service was with a smile.

We checked out the next morning, got a free coach organised by Royal Caribbean into town and had four hours till we boarded the Domed Rail Car again on its was to Anchorage. Before that we had breakfast in Talkeetna Roadhouse which was scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, fried potato with peppers and onions, a thick slice of toast and a choice of a hot and a choice of a cold drink, all for $12.95 each. We both had tea and this came with a pot to add your tea bag to, so in fact we made two cups each. There was home made apple sauce, more jam like and raspberry jam for the toast. A big portion of breakfast arrived and we could have shared one between us.
We then bought one sticky and one frosty cinnamon cake to have each cut in half as a take away. Clean toilets and this place even offers lodgings. Super choice from many offering food in this town.

When in Talkeenta, make sure you go to the rivers edge, you get great views of the mountain range, the river itself is impressive. There are many curiosity shops as well, Aurora Dora for one. On to the Domed Rail car, dinner this time, not let down, great food and great service.

Arrived in Anchorage, bags waiting in the room for us in the Anchorage Marriott, in the middle of town. In these days, especially in a high class hotel, you would expect a basic level of fee wi-fi in your room, this hotel only offered it to Marriott Reawrds customers. We have been in a few of these hotels around the world and have not joined it alas. You do get it in the lobby for free along with any one passing by.

That aside as it is not the end of the world. A good centrally based hotel in Anchorage, very spacious room with a decent sized bedroom, courteous staff, comfortable beds, flat screen tv with many channels. On tour and the check in was done by our agent, check out was just a drop box for those who were in a rush. Would go back if in the area, but would start that account.

Checked out in the morning and before venturing by motor coach to Seward we went to the Alaska Native Heritage Centre, when looking back having travelled for three weeks in Alaska and Canade, this was the highlight.

The main building as you entered was spacious and had a theatre, cafe, restrooms, local artists studios and galleries, oh and a decent shop. We watched the show where the Alaskan Games were demonstrated, from leaping up from a crouching position, shimmying along like sneaking up on seals and one you will have to watch yourself, holding your left foot with your right hand, then with the left hand on the floor kick up high to hit a toy whale, the record is 8 feet we were told, then land back on the right foot. Outside were examples of the ancient dwellings used and sled dogs, one with 8 week old puppies, of which we were allowed to hold. Sled rides were happening later in the day, but we were only there 2 hours unfortunately, perhaps next time.

Radiance of the Seas, 27th May 2016 Southbound Inside Passage.

Easy and polite check in and on board really with in 20 minutes of entering the terminal.

As we got on board we were shepherded around the centrum past the stalls selling all the drinks, speciality dining, spa and excursion packages, this made it busy rather than allowing us to go straight to the lifts.

As we had boarded at about 5pm following the land tour we were able to go to our cabin straight away having whizzed past those stalls.

Clean and ready for us, we met Manuel Torre IV our Stateroom Attendant who was very polite in introducing himself. Throughout the cruise, even the day we forgot to change our 'Do Not Disturb' sign around, he remained polite, professional and maintained our stateroom very well and to a high standard. We suffered a water leak from under the bath and this was fixed the same day it was reported.

We went to the Concierge and Diamond lounge where Jorge Gutierrez was the Concierge Manager and Sergey Sinkevich was the Diamond Concierge, neither really interacted with us, but we did not command it. On previous cruises other concierge managers had walked around the lounge, even when it was busier, introducing themselves to the guests.

We booked three speciality restaurants with Jorge, Chops, Izumu and Giovani's. When we got to Chops, Amanda, the Chops Manager, changed these bookings to the special offer booking that Jorge should have done. In Chops, Exequiel Esguerra looked after us, the food was very nice. In Giovani's Edwin was very good with offering the right wines to go with our food, not the cheapest offerings mind you.

In Izumi it was different. All our bookings had been for 20:30, we were the only ones in Izumi and at almost 21:00 they started to clear the tables, we felt like we we holding them up. When at 21:15 the back doors were locked open and the vacuum was about to come in, we had to say something. Either they should not take late bookings, or be aware of their guests. We raised this with the state who got their manager. He seemed to indicate that it was the staffs fault, yet they would have been following orders.

We went back to Chops twice more as the service there was the best, we were again served both times by the excellent Exequiel.

Only the first night did we do the main restaurant, but it was cramped with tables so close together and it took an age to even get our starters, let alone the mains and desserts. We would see people leaving at times as we were just getting our mains. This was one of the deciding factors to eat at the Speciality Restaurants.

We had the gratuities moved to our Stateroom attendant and to the barman in Concierge. The barman Lincoln Fernandez remembered our first order and would start to get it ready each time we came back, service with a welcome smile too. I must note that the volume from the speakers in Concierge when the Cruise Director came on was very loud, too loud really for a lounge where you go to for peace and quiet.

The food in the Winjammer Cafe was very good. I was so pleased to see Raisin Bran on offer as on the last cruise the ship ran out after day one. The last but one morning there was none, but a member of staff came along with a catering bag of it to help be out, the last day I had to wait, but two boxes were found.

I visited the loyalty ambassador, Zenisha Bhanderi, to ask about our block as this cruise took us over the 210 points, she was not aware. Surely this information should be known in advance? I asked hr to confirm that the land tour was also getting us points which she called through to agree. She was advised that we would only get one point per night for the land part, yet today when logging in I see that we did get two points per night.

I had issues with trying to log on to the ships "slow" Internet as although I had created an account, screen printed the log in details, it said I was getting them wrong. Heidi Beingolea Rozas at Guest Services was able to help, she was very kind and patient. Also in Guest Services, Cristina Jacobo helped us in changing which credit card was to pay our bill.

Finally, Miranda, in "My Next Cruise" became our new best friend. She was truly professional and knowledgeable in helping us book another cruise. So often in the past we have found this process to be painful that the staff seem to know less that we did. We saw her throughout the cruise at her desk, long hours, and always with a smile.

We did not go to any shows, the tv was only really good for TCM which seemed to specialise in old war films.

The itinerary that the ship followed was very good.

We were blessed with fantastic weather throughout.

Day one was leaving Seward at 20:00.

Day two, 14:00 to 18:00 we drifted by Hubbard Glacier, as close as the ship could get, slowly turning so everyone could get the perfect view.

Day three, Juneau 9:00 - 21:00, we did the Mendenhall Glacier by helicopter tour, a bit shorter that advertised, but worth doing. It was cool and it was worth putting on warm clothes for this trip.

Day four, Skagway 7:00 - 20:30, we did the White Pass Railway tour, 11:30 -16:00, definitely a must when in Skagway, remembering our passports as these were checked when we crossed the US/Canada border on the way up by train. It went past some amazing scenery, back by bus and this takes a special driver.

Day five, Icy Point Strait 7:00 - 16:00. Purpose built it seemed for the cruise industry, but if you walk about 30 minutes away to the town of Hoonah which is really this places name, there is a bit of natural activity wood carving of canoes and totem poles. We ate at the Crab Station Restaurant, served my Minnie a character herself. Not cheap, but big King Crabs legs (2 for about CAD$48).

Day six, Ketchikan 9:00 - 18:00, we did the float plane excursion, this was very good and we were fortunate going in the afternoon when the clouds had lifted, we heard that some in the morning were cancelled due to low cloud.

Day seven, cruising the Inside Passage. Not as stunning as we imagined, nothing like the Norwegian Ffords. We saw one whale, others had seen Orca's on previous days.

Day eight, Vancouver arrived at 7:00.

Land Tour 3rd June 2016.

We were met, yet at the cruise terminal professionally and were cared for by the Brewster representative, nothing ever went wrong. Perhaps we were too small a group to warrant a constant guide.

The tour itinerary was as follows:

Vancouver City Tour and Lookout Tower and Harbour Centre - 4 hours, overnight in the Fairmont Hotel - Vancouver

Ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island and a two hour stop in Buchard Gardens and an hour in Victoria before getting the Ferry back to Vancouver, over night again in the Fairmont Hotel - Vancouver. 2 hours went by very quickly, the gardens were perfect and we were blessed with good weather.

We had to pack a separate overnight bag for the train. Sleeper Plus Class Cabin, VIA Rail - Vancouver to Jasper, not that comfortable sleeping on the train and it had a "Prestige Class" which if we knew about we would have asked to upgrade. There was only four domed cars for the 23 car train, the last one especially for Prestige customers. Breakfast, lunch and service was very nice.

Overnight stay was in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Hotel.

Coach Transfer in the morning to Banff for the Glacier Experience. When you are in the presence of excellence as we were in the first week, you really miss it. Brewster as a company really looked after us, but the absence of the same guide with you for all the week set this one apart. I must really praise Michael and Cara our driver/guide and support on this Rockies Discovery and Glacier tour. Like Stephanie and Beth on our first week they worked as a team and cared for us. Michael was very clear on the microphone and relayed his knowledge and information to us as we went along. He would advise us of what we were about to see so we would be ready when we got to area / particular view. He was so attentive to people getting off and on the coach. Cara was like his side kick, but was equally as professional. We were taken to see Bow Lake Glacier Falls, Peyto Lake and Lake Louise which was pale by comparison, then onto a glacier and the glacier walkway. Overnight in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.

Coach transfer - Banff to Calgary - Banf Highlights Tour which we thought was too long and were able to cut it short and then onto Calgary and overnight in the Fairmont Palliser Hotel. This is right next to the Lookout Tower.

All of the Fairmont Hotels were the best, they were wonderful buildings, most excellent service and very comfortable rooms. Joining the Presidents Club gets you free wi-fi.
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