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We decided that the best way to see Alaska was on a cruise ship doing a one way trip that included a stop at Hubbard Glacier. That led us to Royal Caribbean, and the price seemed acceptable even though we had heard warnings about the Radiance of the Seas. We loved Alaska, but after this trip we will probably never take another cruise, and if we do it won't be on Royal Caribbean. To start with, the staff on the ship were uniformly great. All very friendly, especially in the concierge lounge. We went there pretty much every day, because there was not much else to do on the ship. The Radiance had just gotten out of a dry dock refurb a couple of weeks before but it still did not seem like the ship was in very good shape. Our balcony flaked paint all over us and our cabin the entire week, but at least ours was painted. The ship seemed like it was half closed most of the time. Bars were closed, recreation places were closed, food places were closed, it was often a struggle just to find a place to refill the soda mugs. Embarkation was something of a nightmare, as the crowds were intense and nothing was ready that first day. Every bar was out of everything and the buffet was overcrowded. That first day left a bad taste in our mouths that somewhat tainted the rest of the trip. As for other stuff to do on the ship, it was pretty awful. We had no interest in the cheesy cruise ship activities, such as formal night or 70s dance party night. We might have seen a movie but the tiny theater was always packed and the movies were no good anyway. All we really did was a couple of lectures, which were fairly poorly attended. The My Time dining was a complete disaster. The main dining room was so cramped and hectic, I cannot even imagine how people could sit there pretending to enjoy their meal or wine. We went to the main dining room once and hated it, decided to give it another try, still hated it, so we never went back. Turns out the buffet was the only enjoyable place to eat on the entire ship (though we did not try the extra cost restaurants, which always seemed totally empty when we looked at them). People who say that dining is the best part of the cruise must be on other ships, or must have very low standards when it comes to dining. I generally don't like dinner to be bright, noisy, cramped, and full of constant server traffic jams. And "My Time" means "within half an hour or so of when we tell you to arrive." What is the point of a reservation if walk-ins are accommodated first? Cannot emphasize this enough: hated the main dining room. The shore excursions were the one true highlight of the cruise, but the good ones were the ones we booked separately. The only one we booked through the cruise line was a great trip (plane ride over glaciers in Juneau) but it had a very industrial feel to it, like we were all cattle being herded through. Felt more like being at a theme park than somewhere real. If you do this trip, definitely do your research and set up for shore excursions that are not offered by RCI. The ports were mostly good as jumping off points to elsewhere. Ketchikan was pleasant, but Juneau was a disgusting tourist trap down by the docks and Skagway was simply overwhelmed with people. I don't know why they think dumping 6000 cruise passengers from four ships onto a town of less than 1000 is a good idea. Best thing to do in Skagway is rent a car and get out of Skagway. Icy Strait Point was a custom built tourist trap but it was very pleasant because it was not as crowded. Hoonah is a sad little town, though, try not to think about it too much. Best stop by far was Hubbard Glacier, but unfortunately it was too short; we could have stared at that thing for another two hours easy. Now that we are no longer trapped on the ship it is easier to look back on the trip fondly, but at the time it seemed like a giant series of frustrations. Try not to think about the cost!

Alaska was great; cruising not so much.

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by alvernon90

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2016
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
We decided that the best way to see Alaska was on a cruise ship doing a one way trip that included a stop at Hubbard Glacier. That led us to Royal Caribbean, and the price seemed acceptable even though we had heard warnings about the Radiance of the Seas. We loved Alaska, but after this trip we will probably never take another cruise, and if we do it won't be on Royal Caribbean.

To start with, the staff on the ship were uniformly great. All very friendly, especially in the concierge lounge. We went there pretty much every day, because there was not much else to do on the ship.

The Radiance had just gotten out of a dry dock refurb a couple of weeks before but it still did not seem like the ship was in very good shape. Our balcony flaked paint all over us and our cabin the entire week, but at least ours was painted. The ship seemed like it was half closed most of the time. Bars were closed, recreation places were closed, food places were closed, it was often a struggle just to find a place to refill the soda mugs.

Embarkation was something of a nightmare, as the crowds were intense and nothing was ready that first day. Every bar was out of everything and the buffet was overcrowded. That first day left a bad taste in our mouths that somewhat tainted the rest of the trip.

As for other stuff to do on the ship, it was pretty awful. We had no interest in the cheesy cruise ship activities, such as formal night or 70s dance party night. We might have seen a movie but the tiny theater was always packed and the movies were no good anyway. All we really did was a couple of lectures, which were fairly poorly attended.

The My Time dining was a complete disaster. The main dining room was so cramped and hectic, I cannot even imagine how people could sit there pretending to enjoy their meal or wine. We went to the main dining room once and hated it, decided to give it another try, still hated it, so we never went back. Turns out the buffet was the only enjoyable place to eat on the entire ship (though we did not try the extra cost restaurants, which always seemed totally empty when we looked at them). People who say that dining is the best part of the cruise must be on other ships, or must have very low standards when it comes to dining. I generally don't like dinner to be bright, noisy, cramped, and full of constant server traffic jams. And "My Time" means "within half an hour or so of when we tell you to arrive." What is the point of a reservation if walk-ins are accommodated first? Cannot emphasize this enough: hated the main dining room.

The shore excursions were the one true highlight of the cruise, but the good ones were the ones we booked separately. The only one we booked through the cruise line was a great trip (plane ride over glaciers in Juneau) but it had a very industrial feel to it, like we were all cattle being herded through. Felt more like being at a theme park than somewhere real. If you do this trip, definitely do your research and set up for shore excursions that are not offered by RCI.

The ports were mostly good as jumping off points to elsewhere. Ketchikan was pleasant, but Juneau was a disgusting tourist trap down by the docks and Skagway was simply overwhelmed with people. I don't know why they think dumping 6000 cruise passengers from four ships onto a town of less than 1000 is a good idea. Best thing to do in Skagway is rent a car and get out of Skagway. Icy Strait Point was a custom built tourist trap but it was very pleasant because it was not as crowded. Hoonah is a sad little town, though, try not to think about it too much. Best stop by far was Hubbard Glacier, but unfortunately it was too short; we could have stared at that thing for another two hours easy.

Now that we are no longer trapped on the ship it is easier to look back on the trip fondly, but at the time it seemed like a giant series of frustrations. Try not to think about the cost!
alvernon90’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite - 1 Bedroom
Cabin GS 1530
The cabin was the best part of the ship for us. It was huge and the better room service menu (when available) was a plus. We spent a lot of time on the balcony. Plenty of storage space for three people, and the bathroom was huge. Not sure why they can't acquire shower curtains large enough to cover the entire tub, but not a big deal. Noise from the decks above was not bad, but this room is directly across from the pump room for the swimming pools. This is very loud, but it is more of a white noise, so it did not bother us that much. At least on the northbound cruise, the starboard side of the ship is the best side.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins