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My husband and I cruised on the Radiance of the Seas in May/June 2016 for our Honeymoon. We had rented a car the previous day and made the drive from Anchorage to our port in Seward (about 2 hours w/o stops). The rental car location had a shuttle that took us all directly to the RCI guest check-in and delivered our luggage to the security area for us as well. We arrived at our cruise port around 2PM and everything was fairly easy to navigate. We walked inside and there were a bunch of people around directing everyone to specific lines to check-in and the process went smoothly. We were on the ship in no time. We went straight to our room, which was already prepared for us, to drop off our bags and change before exploring what the ship had to offer. The crew checking us in at the ship were very friendly and helpful as well. I hadn't been on a cruise in almost 10 years and this was the very first cruise experience for my husband. I loved the "modern" touches with the touch-screen ship navigation that was located on each floor that allowed you to search for different rooms, activities, restaurants, etc. I thought that was a great addition and certainly made things easier for many guests. The elevator service was terrible. We found ourselves taking the stairs majority of the time because of how slow the elevators were. It was expected on the first and last days of course, but at 6:30AM in the morning? Kind of ridiculous. There was even a button missing from the push-button panel, which was totally unacceptable and dangerous especially if there were young children around. Our room was like any cruise ship stateroom - small, but manageable. Plenty of storage for our clothes in the closets (I loved that they had shelves as well) and even some extra space in the desk area. Opting for a room with a balcony on a cruise through Alaska is a MUST! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and being able to sit outside your own room and read a book while looking at a glacier...you can't find that anywhere else. We had a king size bed and the mattresses were okay, but the pillows were horrendous and totally flat. I found it to be very uncomfortable at times, but there was obviously nothing I could do to change it, so I just had to deal with it. Bad? Yes. Impossible? No. Although the room was nice, our bathroom shower and toilet were probably the most aggravating part of our trip. We had a problem with our toilet failing to flush or continuing to run on the 4th day, and from that point on, we had an issue every day until we got off the ship. I had to call maintenance several times (they always responded and took care of the problem within 30min.) and there was even one day that apparently they did repair work to a pipe underneath our room without telling us and we only found out because of the brown/yellow water coming out of both the shower and sink (lasted for almost 24 hours). I had to shower and thought the water was running clear, but when I dried off, my towel had yellow stains all over it - it was disgusting. Thankfully that issue was fixed that day, but it was still gross. Aside from that, we had a fantastic stateroom attendant who always took great care of us and left us extra towels every day after we only asked once. He was the best! We had breakfast/lunch/dinner most days at the Windjammer Cafe just because it was easiest and most convenient to grab something quick. They usually had a good variety of food choices (anything from pizza and pasta to chinese food, soups, and tater tots) and the tables were always cleaned. I really liked that there was someone handing out sanitizing wipes or solution as soon as you walked through the door as well. We did go to the more formal restaurant a couple of nights to enjoy a nice sit-down dinner by ourselves, which was great. The food was well made and the staff were very attentive. The chocolate mousse cake I had the first time was to die for! We didn't get a chance to do any on-board activities, since we were usually at port and out on excursions, so I can't comment on any of that. Also, we planned all of our excursions ourselves as well and did not book through the cruiseline. As for the ports: Hubbard Glacier Amazing. Our Captain actually turned the ship around a full 360 degrees about 4 or 5 times so everyone had a chance to see from no matter where you were on the ship. Our stateroom neighbor informed us that he was actually on the same cruise the week before and they only did a quick turn and left - we lucked out! I guess a lot has to do with the weather and water conditions as well. Juneau About 5 eagles greeted us by flying past our balcony windows as we docked in Juneau - quite the welcome. Busier city, lots of touristy stores as soon you walk off the ships dock, and tons of transportation options in that area as well. We were docked directly in front of the Mt. Roberts Tramway station - you could pay a small fee to take a ride up the mountain, but we passed. We took a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and did the mile (round-trip) hike to the glacier and falls. Totally worth it. We also did the Juneau Dog Sledding tour excursion and our guide met us right at the dock, making it very easy to return to the ship at the conclusion. We had lunch at the Red Dog Saloon - cool experience, but I personally thought the food was like any chain restaurant you'd find near you (I had a cheeseburger and fries, so maybe that's why?). Skagway Adorable little town. One of my favorites on our trip. It reminded me a lot of an old western movie with one main street running through the town and boards for sidewalks. There are some great little stores along the main strip and we even got to have lunch at the Skagway Brewing Company. PACKED with people and lines waiting outside, we got there just in time. Good food, good drinks. We did the Grizzly Falls Zipline Adventure excursion - AMAZING. Who knew Alaska had rainforests?? Again, meeting our tour guide was simple. The drive to the ziplines was about 30min. give or take. The trains for the Yukon Rail excursion were parked right next to the ship, so it made it very easy for anyone on that trip to hop right on. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah, AK) Very small town. I want to say our tour guide told us maybe 800-900 people total? Icy Strait now has a dock making it much easier to get on and off the ship rather than being tendered. You have to walk through the new guest center and out to the tour area to meet your group. We took a 5min. drive to the whale watching boat and soon enjoyed a couple hours on the water in search of whales. We saw humpbacks, seals, porpoises, and even an otter swimming next to our boat. Before getting back on the ship we did a short hike through the forest, which was very peaceful and had a quick bite to eat at the guest center restaurant. They had a cute spot out back with a built-in fire pit. We were watching a large seal pop his head out of the water near the dock for about 10min. too. Ketchikan My other favorite port on our cruise. What I liked most about Ketchikan was both our kayaking trip and Creek Street. We were met by our guide at the dock for kayaking around 9AM, drove to a more private area of the town about 15min. away, and spent almost 2 hours out on the water. we were lucky enough to see about 30 bald eagles circling overhead, a few harbor seals (one even swam next to our kayak), tons of starfish and jellyfish, and even had the very first Orca sighting of the summer! Incredible. Creek street was the other highlight for us. I adored the old, rustic charm and the stores were great! We found some great artwork and carvings that we couldn't resist. Inside Passage We didn't get off the ship for the day, but instead were graced with the most beautiful, Alaskan send-off. The scenery through the Inside Passage is phenomenal and we spent most of our day just sitting on our balcony taking in as much of nature as we could being this was our last day. We even saw some porpoises swim by. This Alaskan cruise was well worth it and we were actually quite sad to go home and have to say goodbye to such an amazing place. All in all, we had a great experience on our trip and wish we lived closer so we could go back more often!

When can we go again??

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by AmandaO722

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2016
  • Destination: Alaska
My husband and I cruised on the Radiance of the Seas in May/June 2016 for our Honeymoon. We had rented a car the previous day and made the drive from Anchorage to our port in Seward (about 2 hours w/o stops). The rental car location had a shuttle that took us all directly to the RCI guest check-in and delivered our luggage to the security area for us as well. We arrived at our cruise port around 2PM and everything was fairly easy to navigate. We walked inside and there were a bunch of people around directing everyone to specific lines to check-in and the process went smoothly. We were on the ship in no time.

We went straight to our room, which was already prepared for us, to drop off our bags and change before exploring what the ship had to offer. The crew checking us in at the ship were very friendly and helpful as well. I hadn't been on a cruise in almost 10 years and this was the very first cruise experience for my husband. I loved the "modern" touches with the touch-screen ship navigation that was located on each floor that allowed you to search for different rooms, activities, restaurants, etc. I thought that was a great addition and certainly made things easier for many guests. The elevator service was terrible. We found ourselves taking the stairs majority of the time because of how slow the elevators were. It was expected on the first and last days of course, but at 6:30AM in the morning? Kind of ridiculous. There was even a button missing from the push-button panel, which was totally unacceptable and dangerous especially if there were young children around.

Our room was like any cruise ship stateroom - small, but manageable. Plenty of storage for our clothes in the closets (I loved that they had shelves as well) and even some extra space in the desk area. Opting for a room with a balcony on a cruise through Alaska is a MUST! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and being able to sit outside your own room and read a book while looking at a glacier...you can't find that anywhere else. We had a king size bed and the mattresses were okay, but the pillows were horrendous and totally flat. I found it to be very uncomfortable at times, but there was obviously nothing I could do to change it, so I just had to deal with it. Bad? Yes. Impossible? No. Although the room was nice, our bathroom shower and toilet were probably the most aggravating part of our trip. We had a problem with our toilet failing to flush or continuing to run on the 4th day, and from that point on, we had an issue every day until we got off the ship. I had to call maintenance several times (they always responded and took care of the problem within 30min.) and there was even one day that apparently they did repair work to a pipe underneath our room without telling us and we only found out because of the brown/yellow water coming out of both the shower and sink (lasted for almost 24 hours). I had to shower and thought the water was running clear, but when I dried off, my towel had yellow stains all over it - it was disgusting. Thankfully that issue was fixed that day, but it was still gross. Aside from that, we had a fantastic stateroom attendant who always took great care of us and left us extra towels every day after we only asked once. He was the best!

We had breakfast/lunch/dinner most days at the Windjammer Cafe just because it was easiest and most convenient to grab something quick. They usually had a good variety of food choices (anything from pizza and pasta to chinese food, soups, and tater tots) and the tables were always cleaned. I really liked that there was someone handing out sanitizing wipes or solution as soon as you walked through the door as well. We did go to the more formal restaurant a couple of nights to enjoy a nice sit-down dinner by ourselves, which was great. The food was well made and the staff were very attentive. The chocolate mousse cake I had the first time was to die for!

We didn't get a chance to do any on-board activities, since we were usually at port and out on excursions, so I can't comment on any of that. Also, we planned all of our excursions ourselves as well and did not book through the cruiseline.

As for the ports:

Hubbard Glacier

Amazing. Our Captain actually turned the ship around a full 360 degrees about 4 or 5 times so everyone had a chance to see from no matter where you were on the ship. Our stateroom neighbor informed us that he was actually on the same cruise the week before and they only did a quick turn and left - we lucked out! I guess a lot has to do with the weather and water conditions as well.

Juneau

About 5 eagles greeted us by flying past our balcony windows as we docked in Juneau - quite the welcome. Busier city, lots of touristy stores as soon you walk off the ships dock, and tons of transportation options in that area as well. We were docked directly in front of the Mt. Roberts Tramway station - you could pay a small fee to take a ride up the mountain, but we passed. We took a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and did the mile (round-trip) hike to the glacier and falls. Totally worth it. We also did the Juneau Dog Sledding tour excursion and our guide met us right at the dock, making it very easy to return to the ship at the conclusion. We had lunch at the Red Dog Saloon - cool experience, but I personally thought the food was like any chain restaurant you'd find near you (I had a cheeseburger and fries, so maybe that's why?).

Skagway

Adorable little town. One of my favorites on our trip. It reminded me a lot of an old western movie with one main street running through the town and boards for sidewalks. There are some great little stores along the main strip and we even got to have lunch at the Skagway Brewing Company. PACKED with people and lines waiting outside, we got there just in time. Good food, good drinks. We did the Grizzly Falls Zipline Adventure excursion - AMAZING. Who knew Alaska had rainforests?? Again, meeting our tour guide was simple. The drive to the ziplines was about 30min. give or take. The trains for the Yukon Rail excursion were parked right next to the ship, so it made it very easy for anyone on that trip to hop right on.

Icy Strait Point (Hoonah, AK)

Very small town. I want to say our tour guide told us maybe 800-900 people total? Icy Strait now has a dock making it much easier to get on and off the ship rather than being tendered. You have to walk through the new guest center and out to the tour area to meet your group. We took a 5min. drive to the whale watching boat and soon enjoyed a couple hours on the water in search of whales. We saw humpbacks, seals, porpoises, and even an otter swimming next to our boat. Before getting back on the ship we did a short hike through the forest, which was very peaceful and had a quick bite to eat at the guest center restaurant. They had a cute spot out back with a built-in fire pit. We were watching a large seal pop his head out of the water near the dock for about 10min. too.

Ketchikan

My other favorite port on our cruise. What I liked most about Ketchikan was both our kayaking trip and Creek Street. We were met by our guide at the dock for kayaking around 9AM, drove to a more private area of the town about 15min. away, and spent almost 2 hours out on the water. we were lucky enough to see about 30 bald eagles circling overhead, a few harbor seals (one even swam next to our kayak), tons of starfish and jellyfish, and even had the very first Orca sighting of the summer! Incredible. Creek street was the other highlight for us. I adored the old, rustic charm and the stores were great! We found some great artwork and carvings that we couldn't resist.

Inside Passage

We didn't get off the ship for the day, but instead were graced with the most beautiful, Alaskan send-off. The scenery through the Inside Passage is phenomenal and we spent most of our day just sitting on our balcony taking in as much of nature as we could being this was our last day. We even saw some porpoises swim by.

This Alaskan cruise was well worth it and we were actually quite sad to go home and have to say goodbye to such an amazing place. All in all, we had a great experience on our trip and wish we lived closer so we could go back more often!
AmandaO722’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 7628
Our room was like any cruise ship stateroom - small, but manageable. Plenty of storage for our clothes in the closets (I loved that they had shelves as well) and even some extra space in the desk area. Opting for a room with a balcony on a cruise through Alaska is a MUST! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and being able to sit outside your own room and read a book while looking at a glacier...you can't find that anywhere else. We had a king size bed and the mattresses were okay, but the pillows were horrendous and totally flat. I found it to be very uncomfortable at times, but there was obviously nothing I could do to change it, so I just had to deal with it. Bad? Yes. Impossible? No. Although the room was nice, our bathroom shower and toilet were probably the most aggravating part of our trip. We had a problem with our toilet failing to flush or continuing to run on the 4th day, and from that point on, we had an issue every day until we got off the ship. I had to call maintenance several times (they always responded and took care of the problem within 30min.) and there was even one day that apparently they did repair work to a pipe underneath our room without telling us and we only found out because of the brown/yellow water coming out of both the shower and sink (lasted for almost 24 hours). I had to shower and thought the water was running clear, but when I dried off, my towel had yellow stains all over it - it was disgusting. Thankfully that issue was fixed that day, but it was still gross. Aside from that, we had a fantastic stateroom attendant who always took great care of us and left us extra towels every day after we only asked once. He was the best!
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Dog Sledding
    Our guide met us right at the dock, making it very easy to return to the ship at the conclusion. We're huge animal lovers, so this was something that we HAD to do! Once we got to the camp, we took a dry sled around the trails with the dogs who couldn't be more excited to run and then got to hold 8 week old puppies and even a few 3 week old one's who had just opened their eyes. The tour was very educational and a lot of fun.
    View All 147 Dog Sledding Reviews
  • Kayaking
    Best excursion we booked. From start to finish the tour was about 3 hours. I've never been kayaking before, but my husband has. The pace was slow enough that I didn't feel like we were behind or had to play catch-up and our tour guide was very informational. He picked up a starfish from underneath one of the cliffs and passed it around for everyone to hold and told us a lot about the history of Ketchikan and the sea life that you would typically find in the area. We were lucky enough to see a few harbor seals swimming next to our kayak, about 30 bald eagles circling over us, jellyfish, and even got to see the first Orca sighting of the summer!! Highly recommend and the guides were great!
    View All 56 Kayaking Reviews
  • Seward
    We were only here briefly to drop off our rental car and check-in for our cruise. We didn't get to see much of Seward, but it did look like a pretty, little town near the ships docking area.
    View All 190 Seward Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Seward Cruise Port Review
  • Ziplining
    We did the Grizzly Falls Ziplining Adventure tour and it was awesome! I was a little nervous at first, but the crew made us all feel very comfortable and safe. I never knew that Alaska had rainforests and being able to "fly" through the trees and over waterfalls was incredible. The tour was about 3 hours from start to finish. Great experience.
    View All 56 Ziplining Reviews