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Embarkation- A 5 hour wait at check-in at Canada Place. We were told this was a backup at CBP due to four ships there at the same time- (for this Cruise, we were pre-cleared so not necessary to go through Customs again after leaving Vancouver.) We arrived at 1:10pm. After a 1 hour wait for check-in, we moved to a waiting area so that the security line was not overwhelmed. They were moving 50 at a time downstairs to wait in the metal detector line before moving on to the second line at Customs. We had Global Entry so we were able to skip ahead of the Customs line but there was no signage for this. We had to ask and were moved to the Crew/Non-Rev line. We finally got on board as the safety drills were underway, so we waited at our lifeboat station with bags in tow. The ship left about an hour late. Food- food is always subjective but I felt the food on the Radiance was better than most other Cruise lines. I would give them an A+ for taste and variety. Quick table clearance in the Windjammer Cafe and smiling, eager to assist staff. Windjammer Café- Breakfast- Separate serving areas- One always for British- Fry bread, Beans, Bangers, Black Pudding, Hash Browns Corned beef hash, poached eggs. One for typical American- bacon, scrambled eggs, etc. There was always a carving Station for baked ham. Odd but they switched from a whole ham to what appeared to be a canned ham midway through the Cruise. There were also cold cuts, cheeses, bread, plus made to order omelets and some Indian selections. Lunch- Rarely ate at Windjammer but there was usually a Taco Bar, some Indian entrees, a salad bar, soups, pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Dinner- the grill typically had Steak, Pork Chops, Grilled chicken, and occasionally Lamb Chops. The carving Station had a rotating meat such as Leg of Lamb, pork Loin and such. Occasionally there was a made-to-order Crepe bar which replaced the made-to-order pasta bar. There was also self-serve soft serve available during lunch and dinner hours. Alternatives- The Boardwalk Dog House was open when the Windjammer was not- 4 or 5 types of sausages- Hot Dogs, Bratwurst, apple and Chicken, were typical. Sometimes they ran out towards the end. Park Café was open with make your own pizza or salad and desserts when Windjammer was closed. Food between 1am and 6am was room-service only as all restaurants were typically closed. On the in-cabin TV, the Food Service Manager mentioned that food may change based on the makeup of passengers so food types may be different on a future cruise. Bars- Lots of beer left over from their Australia itinerary-- Tooheys in the Quill and Compass pub, XXXX at the Boardwalk Dog House, but a decent bottled selection in most bars. I usually have found Alaskan Amber available on Alaskan cruises. On day 2, Rita’s Cantina got a makeover and all signage was replaced with Alaskan Amber signs, but the last time I was there, they didn’t actually have any Alaska beer on tap. The bar was open occasionally but bar hours were not listed in the Cruise Compass, only on channel 39 in the stateroom (which I never looked at). On the last day at Sea, Alaskan Amber and IPA was available in bottles. On Board activities- The Movie Theater was a nice touch and we did one movie there during the first sea day. Popcorn would have been nice but no such luck. The rock wall was usually open two hours a day, with sign ups ending :15 prior to the end. However, it was closed on cold or rainy days (aka most days in Alaska). Generally there were more activities than I have seen on other cruise lines. Service- all staff very friendly, and eager to assist and interact with passengers. In the Windjammer, there was someone finding available seats during busy times. Disembark- After a lot of thought, we decided on the train for a few more dollars and were glad we did. Much better scenery and the ability to get up and take pictures on the way to Anchorage. Overall this ship is in good shape and there were plenty of activities and an exceptionally friendly staff and crew. The public areas and cabins are in good shape. There was rust and wear on other parts of the ship, which is in needs of a refurb, but the public areas were all very well maintained. It feels like food and service are going down on many Cruise lines, but this was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean and we were very impressed with both. I'll skip the port reviews of the more popular ports that get their fair share of reviews and focus on Haines and Icy Strait point. Haines - Docked at Ft Seward. Easy walk into town or shuttles available. As you exit the ship, turn right and follow the sidewalk on Front Street along the water into town . There is limited shopping. There are two markets if you want snacks. The Haines Brewery was busy all day. Their Spruce Tip ale was superb. Also the Haines distillery was in Ft. Seward if you need a last minute drink before returning to the boat. Ft. Seward is a nice self-guided tour of about 30-60 minutes with some small shops. Icy Strait Point- Whales! Whales! and more Whales! Five Whales were bubble net feeding right next to the boat. Another Humpback swam under the dock, and several more were along the shore. The Herring were running and the Humpback Whales were everywhere! We felt sorry for those who purchased a Whale Watching excursion as those boats were right next to the Radiance and we got the show for free! I would be surprised if the pictures didn’t make in onto the Royal Caribbean website since they were so close to the ship. We left 30 minutes late while both Passengers and Crew were on deck watching.

Whales Whales Whales

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by ACA Jester

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
Embarkation- A 5 hour wait at check-in at Canada Place. We were told this was a backup at CBP due to four ships there at the same time- (for this Cruise, we were pre-cleared so not necessary to go through Customs again after leaving Vancouver.) We arrived at 1:10pm. After a 1 hour wait for check-in, we moved to a waiting area so that the security line was not overwhelmed. They were moving 50 at a time downstairs to wait in the metal detector line before moving on to the second line at Customs. We had Global Entry so we were able to skip ahead of the Customs line but there was no signage for this. We had to ask and were moved to the Crew/Non-Rev line. We finally got on board as the safety drills were underway, so we waited at our lifeboat station with bags in tow. The ship left about an hour late.

Food- food is always subjective but I felt the food on the Radiance was better than most other Cruise lines. I would give them an A+ for taste and variety. Quick table clearance in the Windjammer Cafe and smiling, eager to assist staff.

Windjammer Café-

Breakfast- Separate serving areas- One always for British- Fry bread, Beans, Bangers, Black Pudding, Hash Browns Corned beef hash, poached eggs. One for typical American- bacon, scrambled eggs, etc. There was always a carving Station for baked ham. Odd but they switched from a whole ham to what appeared to be a canned ham midway through the Cruise. There were also cold cuts, cheeses, bread, plus made to order omelets and some Indian selections.

Lunch- Rarely ate at Windjammer but there was usually a Taco Bar, some Indian entrees, a salad bar, soups, pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers.

Dinner- the grill typically had Steak, Pork Chops, Grilled chicken, and occasionally Lamb Chops. The carving Station had a rotating meat such as Leg of Lamb, pork Loin and such. Occasionally there was a made-to-order Crepe bar which replaced the made-to-order pasta bar. There was also self-serve soft serve available during lunch and dinner hours.

Alternatives-

The Boardwalk Dog House was open when the Windjammer was not- 4 or 5 types of sausages- Hot Dogs, Bratwurst, apple and Chicken, were typical. Sometimes they ran out towards the end. Park Café was open with make your own pizza or salad and desserts when Windjammer was closed. Food between 1am and 6am was room-service only as all restaurants were typically closed.

On the in-cabin TV, the Food Service Manager mentioned that food may change based on the makeup of passengers so food types may be different on a future cruise.

Bars- Lots of beer left over from their Australia itinerary-- Tooheys in the Quill and Compass pub, XXXX at the Boardwalk Dog House, but a decent bottled selection in most bars. I usually have found Alaskan Amber available on Alaskan cruises. On day 2, Rita’s Cantina got a makeover and all signage was replaced with Alaskan Amber signs, but the last time I was there, they didn’t actually have any Alaska beer on tap. The bar was open occasionally but bar hours were not listed in the Cruise Compass, only on channel 39 in the stateroom (which I never looked at). On the last day at Sea, Alaskan Amber and IPA was available in bottles.

On Board activities- The Movie Theater was a nice touch and we did one movie there during the first sea day. Popcorn would have been nice but no such luck. The rock wall was usually open two hours a day, with sign ups ending :15 prior to the end. However, it was closed on cold or rainy days (aka most days in Alaska). Generally there were more activities than I have seen on other cruise lines.

Service- all staff very friendly, and eager to assist and interact with passengers. In the Windjammer, there was someone finding available seats during busy times.

Disembark- After a lot of thought, we decided on the train for a few more dollars and were glad we did. Much better scenery and the ability to get up and take pictures on the way to Anchorage.

Overall this ship is in good shape and there were plenty of activities and an exceptionally friendly staff and crew. The public areas and cabins are in good shape. There was rust and wear on other parts of the ship, which is in needs of a refurb, but the public areas were all very well maintained. It feels like food and service are going down on many Cruise lines, but this was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean and we were very impressed with both.

I'll skip the port reviews of the more popular ports that get their fair share of reviews and focus on Haines and Icy Strait point.

Haines - Docked at Ft Seward. Easy walk into town or shuttles available. As you exit the ship, turn right and follow the sidewalk on Front Street along the water into town . There is limited shopping. There are two markets if you want snacks. The Haines Brewery was busy all day. Their Spruce Tip ale was superb. Also the Haines distillery was in Ft. Seward if you need a last minute drink before returning to the boat. Ft. Seward is a nice self-guided tour of about 30-60 minutes with some small shops.

Icy Strait Point- Whales! Whales! and more Whales! Five Whales were bubble net feeding right next to the boat. Another Humpback swam under the dock, and several more were along the shore. The Herring were running and the Humpback Whales were everywhere! We felt sorry for those who purchased a Whale Watching excursion as those boats were right next to the Radiance and we got the show for free! I would be surprised if the pictures didn’t make in onto the Royal Caribbean website since they were so close to the ship. We left 30 minutes late while both Passengers and Crew were on deck watching.
ACA Jester’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Cabin 9048
9048 along with 9050 are both partially obscured rooms due to a maintenance ladder that is secured between the two balconies. This is not listed as partially obscured on the deck plan on the Royal Caribbean website. The Customer Service Manager seemed aware of this problem as she was very sympathetic and provided an onboard credit when we spoke with her. This also effected the two rooms directly below us.
The room had lots of "hidden" shelves behind mirrors. There was more shelf space than we could use. Closets were about average size.
Typical sized bathroom- There was shampoo in a shower dispenser and cakes of soap on sink. No other amenities. No odors in the bathroom or other issues. There was a lot of painting going on around the ship, and one day the bathroom shelf was painted. We asked the room steward about the wet paint and he helpfully added a wet paint sign (Not sure why- to remind us it was still wet?)
We asked for a water pitcher. Our cabin steward was extremely friendly but advised us it was an extra charge. (We always had a pitcher of ice water brought to our cabin on Princess without asking)
TV- CNN, ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, and TCM, and old series on a loop- unfortunately they were the SAME episodes throughout the cruise. Luckily we didn’t spend much time in the cabin but two episodes of the same series for a nine day cruise is monotonous
  Radiance of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Haines
    Docked at Ft Seward. Easy walk into town or shuttles available. As you exit the ship, turn right and follow the sidewalk on Front Street along the water into town . There is limited shopping. There are two markets if you want snacks. The Haines Brewery was busy all day. Their Spruce Tip ale was superb. Also the Haines distillery was in Ft. Seward if you need a last minute drink before returning to the boat. Ft. Seward is a nice self-guided tour of about 30-60 minutes with some small shops.
    View All 83 Haines Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Haines Cruise Port Review
  • Icy Strait
    Whales! Whales! and more Whales! Five Whales were bubble net feeding right next to the boat. Another Humpback swam under the dock, and several more were along the shore. The Herring were running and the Humpback Whales were everywhere! We felt sorry for those who purchased a Whale Watching excursion as those boats were right next to the Radiance and we got the show for free! I would be surprised if the pictures didn’t make in onto the Royal Caribbean website since they were so close to the ship. We left 30 minutes late while both Passengers and Crew were on deck watching.
    View All 332 Icy Strait Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Icy Strait Cruise Port Review
  • Yukon Van Tour
    We used Frontier Excursions Yukon Discovery Tour. We chose this because the train, depending on the trip type you take, stops at Fraser, and you return via bus on the highway.
    The van to the Yukon follows the Klondike highway past Fraser and goes all the way to Caribou Crossing just past Carcross in the Yukon. Obviously you see a lot more:
    We stopped at the Welcome to Yukon sign, Welcome to Alaska sign, and stopped for pictures at the Carcross Desert, Bove Island, and Emerald Lake, along with some other picturesque areas crossing the mountains. We were lucky in that we saw a Brown bear along the side of the road eating Dandelions, and another Brown Bear on the way back. The narration was top notch. There was also lunch at Caribou Crossing and a chance to play with the sled dog puppies and tour a small taxidermy museum. All this for less than the cost of the railroad tour.
    View All 126 Yukon Van Tour Reviews