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Radiance of the Seas Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1194 reviews
9 Awards

RADIANCE to Alaska...one word description..WONDERFUL

Review for Radiance of the Seas to Alaska
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GaryfmCol
First Time Cruiser • Age 70s

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Sail Date: May 2009
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One year ago, we were on the RADIANCE of the Seas for a 2 week Panama Canal, from Fort Lauderdaleto San Diego.  This year, we returned to San Diego for the re-position cruise to Alaska.It was a wonderful cruise.We arrived in San Diego two days before the cruise and, stayed at the Hampton Inns,very close to the terminal.  Our cruising buddies were staying at the Holiday Innacross the street from the cruise terminal.  Our rates at the Hampton were reasonable,we got HH Points, and, warm cookies each evening, to get in practice for the cruise.On cruise day, we schleped our bags 2 blocks to the Holiday Inn to catch up withour friends...then, we crossed the street for our check-in.Our check-in in San Diego was fairly smooth, but, somewhat dis-jointed, however, overall,it went pretty smoothly.  Our 2nd day at sea we all had dinner at CHOPS.  I had the T-Bone and, the others hadfilets....dinner was EXCELLENT..and, certainly worth the price. Plus, we had somefantastic California Merlot.  One of my cruising friends loves PORTOFINO's Tiramisue, and, CHOPS complied with his wishes so, he had a PORTOFINO's desert and, he loved it.We had our first port-of-call in San Francisco. The weather was perfectand, we spent our time mostly on a cruise around San Francisco Bay and,eating lunch at "The Wharf".  Very easy walking from the ship pier.Two days later we arrived at Icy Strait Point, or, Hoona Alaska.  Zip-Line country.We had perfect weather..and, although we did not zip-line, we watch those that didand, it is a very popular attraction.  This is a nice port-of-call. I was disapointed to finoutthat crab season starts June 1st...and, thus, I was not able to get some more Alaskan crabat th is port...after June 1st...be sure you try this great seafood...I had it the LAST time,2 years ago when we were there and, it is fantastic...Our next visit was at Hubbard Bay glacier.  This was another perfect weather day.The Captain of the RADIANCE got us within about 1 mile from the 76 mile long glacier.We saw many "calving" of the ice bergs falling off the glacier...and, the associated"white thunder" that goes along with this.  We spent several hours in the bay...and, we hadlunch in the buffet, with the glacier as a backdrop. The food was excellent...what a GREAT day.Skagway was tremendous..a blue sky and, sunny day...lots of cruisersas there were several ships in port with us.  Visited all the shops thereand, of course the "Red Onion Saloon".  I liked the girls that worked there smilingat me and, calling me "Hey Handsome.."  Next was Juneau. We went on a Salmon Bake cook-out.  It was cheap.. $42.00 each.This was GREAT.  Again, perfect weather.Fantastic fresh Salmon, with all the "fixins", waterfalls, and, a real gold mine (closed off)Although we had an excellent Salmon Bake excursion, our friends went on a Whale watching trip,and, they saw an incredible amount of both Orca whales and, Humpback whales doing what whales do.We were sorry we never took this excursion, but, we did see whales from the ship.  The Captain announcedtwice about seeing them from the bridge...once, even during his 12 noon position report.Ketchikan is an excellent port-of-call.  Our Captain arranged 2 extra hours by leaving Juneauearly...that was a real treat...the Captain should be commended for this...He even "arranged"perfect weather here for us too...As in every port of call on this cruise we had literally Chamber of Commerce weather.Blue skies, calm winds and, cool temperatures to slightly warm temperatures.I heard some locals in Juneau talking about it being "too warm" there right now.Of course we were in the "Red Onion Saloon" and, this is where we heard this...Our cruise to Vancouver B.C. was so spectacular ..again, perfect weather.Everyday of this cruise was wonderful.  We met many Cruise Critic members and, arenow our friends.  Each evening, we would go to the Concierge Lounge at 5 P.M. to meetand, mingle, drink and, have fun.  That is my only complaintwith R.C.C.L., as we are Diamond members and, awhile before becoming Diamond Plus members.We will not be allowed to go to the CL after September 1st.  To us, this really takes awayfrom our cruise experience, on R.C.C.L. And, not only us...alot of grumbling about the cuttingof services...even one good soul was on the ship passing out macadamia chocolates, sincethe cruise stopped that practice.  We also, really missed the newspapers we used to read daily onthe ship.  Finding newspapers even on shore is not easy anymore.  USA Today had appearently stopped delivering to Alaska. One drug store managersaid he has not seen "any this year yet.."We had super MDR table mates.Our waiters there were incredible...with Aysun, from Turkey as our Head Waiter.She is a real treat and, hopefully, you can meet her sometime. If you meet her, you will for sure remember her.Our cabin steward was Anthony from Costa Rica..He was an excellent attendant.Our only complaint about the ship was the smoky casino.  They had 2 NO SMOKING nights.We were only able to go to one of those.  The dis-embarkation in Vancouver went pretty smoothly.No complaints.  But, the Vancouver airport, was another matter.I don't know if I EVER want to go through there again and, that process.Someopne told us, it was a holiday week-end, and, FOUR cruise shipsleft off passengers on that Sunday morning, May 22nd.  One can do the mathon how many passengers must have went through that terminal that morning.Our UNITED airlines check in was over an hour between, check-in, customs and, TSA.That was alot of shuffiling in line and, standing there.Our flight out of Vancouver was was smooth and, sunny...anotherperfect day....like the 11 before that.  We truly had perfect weather that cruiseand, it made for a wonderful holiday.

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