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The bottom line is that we loved Alaska, loved our cruisetour, and loved the Radiance. It was a fabulous vacation! Because I was dealing with a first time cruiser and two elderly people, I wanted everything to be as easy as possible so we chose to do a pre-cruise tour with Royal Caribbean (the 1B Wildlife Express). And I'm not gonna lie, it was a great choice! Everything ran smoothly, we had great weather, a wonderful guide and driver and there was nothing I could fault. Getting there was rough (hello 2am) so I definitely recommend going in a day before the day before (we had some folks who didn't join us until Denali!). Arrival and getting to our hotel could have been better and I blame RC for not communicating with us what we needed to do even though we specifically told them we were arriving the day before. Luckily the local folks who work for the other cruise lines (and maybe RC?) were extremely helpful and got us to our hotel relatively quickly. The Anchorage Marriott is a beautiful hotel in downtown and within walking distance to pretty much everything, but wi-fi is not included and the options for food and drink are limited. Luckily, so many better options are within walking distance. I do think there are better values to be found, especially if you opt for something outside of downtown. For us, I'm glad it was part of the package. We ate a late lunch on the patio at the 49th State Brewery. The food and drink were plentiful and very good and the view was fabulous! After meeting our tour guide and getting the scoop on our land tour, we did a mini pub crawl hitting two nearby places, both of which were worth the stop. Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse had a Belgian flight with good beers and tasty appetizers. We then went across the street to Williwaw Social to sit on the top deck and watch the sun go down. The next morning we boarded a large, chartered bus and set off. I think there were about 20 of us altogether, so it didn't feel so much like being in a herd. I'm really glad we started with the bus and then got to board the train in the middle instead of the other way around. The Wilderness Express train ride was a highlight with a bright sunny day. It was almost hot in the upper deck with all that glass warmed by so much sun. We definitely got to take the "better half" of the train ride, from Talkeetna to Denali instead of from Anchorage to Talkeetna. And it was gorgeous scenery. Breathtaking. Eating lunch on the train was a plus. In Denali Park Village we were put up in the Miner's Village in relatively new rooms. Great location in the large complex. Then we opted for an excursion to visit sled dogs. The RCI tour took us to Jeff King's place and it was informative and fun. Who doesn't love active, happy puppies and dogs? The next morning was the trip into Denali itself. It was raining, but that didn't lesson our enjoyment of it, especially as it wasn't overly cold. The half day tour was plenty since the Denali buses are pretty much basic school buses and my parents really didn't need to ride for eight hours on one of those. Then we were back on our charter bus and headed back down. We stopped in Talkeetna to stay at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge which was beautiful. It's a wooden lodge with a huge indoor fireplace and large outdoor terrace with a breathtaking view. The town of Talkeetna is tiny and unique. We had one of the best meals I've ever eaten at Wildflower and I managed a very rapid shopping stop. Then we enjoyed the rest of the evening watching the sunset from the lodge. Wonderful! The next day was a fairly long bus ride from Talkeetna all the way to Seward to embark on the ship, but it was broken up with an early lunch stop in Anchorage and then a visit to the Wildlife Conservation Center which was the only place we could see bears and moose up close. Worth a stop! Embarkation was smooth and quick. Because it was already after 4pm, our rooms were ready and most of our bags had already arrived. My parents were in a balcony while my brother and I were in an inside cabin. Because I'd been on two of the Radiance's sister ships, I knew what to expect and nothing was jarring. We had anytime dining, but requested the same table every night as the service and attention we received was outstanding. We all enjoyed every meal there. I know the radiance class ships don't have all the "activities" that the larger ships do, but there's something about this class of ship that, to me, makes it almost perfect. It manages to be completely full yet never feels crowded or hemmed in. It's definitely "sea" focused with most everything having views of the water. And the service just seems to be that little bit friendlier and attentive. The Radiance's itinerary and size made it perfect for Alaska. The ports were the reason we were there, so I don't have that much to say about the on board entertainment. The disco was dead every night and a couple of the broadway style shows were so-so. I didn't really like the comedian at all. The jugglers/comedians were funny. We had nice long days at every port. And I noticed that other cruise lines would be there and gone while we still had hours to explore. That's why we came to Alaska and this itinerary really delivered. We had an incredible day to see Hubbard Glacier. It was sunny and relatively warm and we were so very close to the glacier. It was so cool to see it calving. In Juneau we took a Harv & Marv's whale watching excursion and had a fabulous day on the water. It was sunny and mild and it was a delight to see the whales and sea lions all while surrounded by mountains, sky, water, and even views of few glaciers. Then we had to eat at Tracy's King Crab Shack! It was amazing and an experience worth standing in line for. Lastly we took the tramway up the mountain to see the views. All in all, Juneau was a great first stop, with twelve hours in port and incredible weather. Skagway was the next stop and we did a Chilkoot Rail tour. We opted to take the train down so had a "short bus" on the way up. It was nice to be in a smaller group. We could stop more often and didn't have to dodge crowds for photos. Again we had incredible weather, a sunny warm day, and the train ride down was breathtaking. Plus, because it was the end of the season we made out like a bandit on souvenirs. The town itself has a lot of character with a lot of old buildings preserved for the tourists. In Icy Strait Point, the day started foggy and drizzly, but it all burned off into another beautiful day. We did a ship tour which was informative about the local culture and entertaining. This was an early departure, especially compared to any other port, but we still had plenty of time to see what we wanted to. The port was especially nice since they had these little extended golf cart shuttles for those who needed extra help getting into the port proper (which is a bit of a walk). Last port was Ketchikan and rain. But it dried out and the Saxman village was interesting and it was great to learn about the totem poles and Tlingit culture. We spoke to a famous carver a little bit before shopping, which was a great place to get Native souvenirs. Lastly, Vancouver Port was the nicest, most efficient port I've ever arrived in. Seriously, we were off the ship, turned to our left and there were our bags. A porter arrived a minute later and the next thing I knew we were loaded onto the bus for the airport! All in all it was worth every penny. Everyone had a great time and we'd definitely do it again.

Alaska, breathtaking land and sea

Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review by 2Long2NxtCrz

11 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
The bottom line is that we loved Alaska, loved our cruisetour, and loved the Radiance. It was a fabulous vacation!

Because I was dealing with a first time cruiser and two elderly people, I wanted everything to be as easy as possible so we chose to do a pre-cruise tour with Royal Caribbean (the 1B Wildlife Express). And I'm not gonna lie, it was a great choice! Everything ran smoothly, we had great weather, a wonderful guide and driver and there was nothing I could fault.

Getting there was rough (hello 2am) so I definitely recommend going in a day before the day before (we had some folks who didn't join us until Denali!). Arrival and getting to our hotel could have been better and I blame RC for not communicating with us what we needed to do even though we specifically told them we were arriving the day before. Luckily the local folks who work for the other cruise lines (and maybe RC?) were extremely helpful and got us to our hotel relatively quickly.

The Anchorage Marriott is a beautiful hotel in downtown and within walking distance to pretty much everything, but wi-fi is not included and the options for food and drink are limited. Luckily, so many better options are within walking distance. I do think there are better values to be found, especially if you opt for something outside of downtown. For us, I'm glad it was part of the package.

We ate a late lunch on the patio at the 49th State Brewery. The food and drink were plentiful and very good and the view was fabulous!

After meeting our tour guide and getting the scoop on our land tour, we did a mini pub crawl hitting two nearby places, both of which were worth the stop. Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse had a Belgian flight with good beers and tasty appetizers. We then went across the street to Williwaw Social to sit on the top deck and watch the sun go down.

The next morning we boarded a large, chartered bus and set off. I think there were about 20 of us altogether, so it didn't feel so much like being in a herd. I'm really glad we started with the bus and then got to board the train in the middle instead of the other way around. The Wilderness Express train ride was a highlight with a bright sunny day. It was almost hot in the upper deck with all that glass warmed by so much sun. We definitely got to take the "better half" of the train ride, from Talkeetna to Denali instead of from Anchorage to Talkeetna. And it was gorgeous scenery. Breathtaking. Eating lunch on the train was a plus.

In Denali Park Village we were put up in the Miner's Village in relatively new rooms. Great location in the large complex. Then we opted for an excursion to visit sled dogs. The RCI tour took us to Jeff King's place and it was informative and fun. Who doesn't love active, happy puppies and dogs?

The next morning was the trip into Denali itself. It was raining, but that didn't lesson our enjoyment of it, especially as it wasn't overly cold. The half day tour was plenty since the Denali buses are pretty much basic school buses and my parents really didn't need to ride for eight hours on one of those.

Then we were back on our charter bus and headed back down. We stopped in Talkeetna to stay at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge which was beautiful. It's a wooden lodge with a huge indoor fireplace and large outdoor terrace with a breathtaking view. The town of Talkeetna is tiny and unique. We had one of the best meals I've ever eaten at Wildflower and I managed a very rapid shopping stop. Then we enjoyed the rest of the evening watching the sunset from the lodge. Wonderful!

The next day was a fairly long bus ride from Talkeetna all the way to Seward to embark on the ship, but it was broken up with an early lunch stop in Anchorage and then a visit to the Wildlife Conservation Center which was the only place we could see bears and moose up close. Worth a stop!

Embarkation was smooth and quick. Because it was already after 4pm, our rooms were ready and most of our bags had already arrived. My parents were in a balcony while my brother and I were in an inside cabin.

Because I'd been on two of the Radiance's sister ships, I knew what to expect and nothing was jarring. We had anytime dining, but requested the same table every night as the service and attention we received was outstanding. We all enjoyed every meal there.

I know the radiance class ships don't have all the "activities" that the larger ships do, but there's something about this class of ship that, to me, makes it almost perfect. It manages to be completely full yet never feels crowded or hemmed in. It's definitely "sea" focused with most everything having views of the water. And the service just seems to be that little bit friendlier and attentive. The Radiance's itinerary and size made it perfect for Alaska.

The ports were the reason we were there, so I don't have that much to say about the on board entertainment. The disco was dead every night and a couple of the broadway style shows were so-so. I didn't really like the comedian at all. The jugglers/comedians were funny.

We had nice long days at every port. And I noticed that other cruise lines would be there and gone while we still had hours to explore. That's why we came to Alaska and this itinerary really delivered.

We had an incredible day to see Hubbard Glacier. It was sunny and relatively warm and we were so very close to the glacier. It was so cool to see it calving.

In Juneau we took a Harv & Marv's whale watching excursion and had a fabulous day on the water. It was sunny and mild and it was a delight to see the whales and sea lions all while surrounded by mountains, sky, water, and even views of few glaciers. Then we had to eat at Tracy's King Crab Shack! It was amazing and an experience worth standing in line for. Lastly we took the tramway up the mountain to see the views. All in all, Juneau was a great first stop, with twelve hours in port and incredible weather.

Skagway was the next stop and we did a Chilkoot Rail tour. We opted to take the train down so had a "short bus" on the way up. It was nice to be in a smaller group. We could stop more often and didn't have to dodge crowds for photos. Again we had incredible weather, a sunny warm day, and the train ride down was breathtaking. Plus, because it was the end of the season we made out like a bandit on souvenirs. The town itself has a lot of character with a lot of old buildings preserved for the tourists.

In Icy Strait Point, the day started foggy and drizzly, but it all burned off into another beautiful day. We did a ship tour which was informative about the local culture and entertaining. This was an early departure, especially compared to any other port, but we still had plenty of time to see what we wanted to. The port was especially nice since they had these little extended golf cart shuttles for those who needed extra help getting into the port proper (which is a bit of a walk).

Last port was Ketchikan and rain. But it dried out and the Saxman village was interesting and it was great to learn about the totem poles and Tlingit culture. We spoke to a famous carver a little bit before shopping, which was a great place to get Native souvenirs.

Lastly, Vancouver Port was the nicest, most efficient port I've ever arrived in. Seriously, we were off the ship, turned to our left and there were our bags. A porter arrived a minute later and the next thing I knew we were loaded onto the bus for the airport!

All in all it was worth every penny. Everyone had a great time and we'd definitely do it again.
2Long2NxtCrz’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
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Entertainment
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8020
The room has a pullman bunk above the bed and it took a couple of days for the steward to get the light off in the enclosure. The balcony was small but usable. The room was pretty cozy without only a loveseat, but everything worked, except the shower curtain.
  Radiance of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Tribal Dance Show
    We had an entertaining and interesting guide and, again, a gorgeous day. Learning about the Tlingit culture and the little town of Hoonah was great. The dance was beautiful and a nice end to the tour.
    View All 20 Tribal Dance Show Reviews
  • Whale Watching
    Small group, very personalized, great ship captain and informative naturalist. A wonderful day and I highly recommend!
    View All 802 Whale Watching Reviews
  • Saxman Native Village
    Loved learning about the totem poles and their meanings to the Tlingit. The Alaskan native tribes are very different from the tribes I live near. It was fascinating to be able to talk to one of the famous Native carvers, too. Also, great shopping for Native gifts that actually benefit the tribes.
    View All 97 Saxman Native Village Reviews
  • White Pass Scenic Railway
    Again, it's nice to be in a small group with a personable and entertaining driver. No fighting crowds and we got to stop more often.
    View All 1,051 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews