220 Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Alaska Cruise Reviews

We like Royal Caribbean cruise line and this specific trip included all the things we wanted to see and do. The excursions we took we fantastic especially the white water rafting in Juneau. Suspension bridge and train in Skagway was also ... Read More
We like Royal Caribbean cruise line and this specific trip included all the things we wanted to see and do. The excursions we took we fantastic especially the white water rafting in Juneau. Suspension bridge and train in Skagway was also excellent. Saw some whales on our excursion at Icy Strait and the excursion-"Lighthouse Totem Poles and Eagles" in Kitchikan was lots of fun especially when one of the crew members broke out in song-A Drunken Sailor". The evening entertainment was way above what we had seen in the past, with the shows in the theater top notch and the performers in the various venues being wonderful. A big plus for us was the offering of pickleball that we got to do three times while cruising. Seeing the Hubbard Glacier with perfect weather was a huge event for us.The land part of our trip was just as good with a most interesting tour guide(Michelle) who kept us entertained throughout our journey. She went out of her way to take my wife and some other other guests on a late night adventure to see the northern lights. We saw Mt. Danali fully which makes us 10% of those that go to see this magnificent mountain. In conclusion I will say this probably was the best ever trip we have taken. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife started her cancer treatments on 1 August 2018. I told her that she would be done with her treatments and well enough by next year. I booked the trip with a the 2 Aug 2019 sailing (we left the house on 1 Aug 2019). We made it!! ... Read More
My wife started her cancer treatments on 1 August 2018. I told her that she would be done with her treatments and well enough by next year. I booked the trip with a the 2 Aug 2019 sailing (we left the house on 1 Aug 2019). We made it!! We flew into Anchorage with a connection through Atlanta, and straight on to ACH.The flight from from ATL made for a looooong day (7 hours to Anchorage). The hotel in Anchorage (Crown Plaza, booked through Royal) and transfer to the train (transfer through Royal) went smoothly. Having lived in Alaska many years prior, I had the opportunity to drive to Seward. I much prefer the train from Anchorage, as it is very relaxing, and the narration down to Seward was first rate. Dropped our bags, and didn't see them until the ship! We were able to check in to our ship state rooms and get our SeaPass at the train station in Anchorage!!. Thought we were home (ship) free with this. However, when we arrived at Seward, we needed to stand in a long line to get photographed. It would have been nice to get all that taken care of in Anchorage, or just do it all in Seward. Would have made it quicker in Seward. I think Royal needs an embarkation software update so they can complete the ship check in at the train depot in Anchorage. We were on the ship in time to drop our bags in the room, and get to the Windjammer for a quick bite, then to our muster station. About an hour before the drill. The ship was great. Showing her age, but all in all, we were on a cruise in Alaska!! it was great. One of the highlights onboard was the Chefs Table experience. Three hours, and the food and wine parings were excellent. Was able to get the recipe for the smoked tomato soup. Just need to make it for four, not 50 :-0. Would highly recommend that, and do it again. Were with a group of 8 who do that on every cruise they are on. I can see why. The cabin was a good choice, (8598) on the bubble, and very close to the elevators. No noise. We glacier watched, whale watched, Orca watched, Eagle watched, sea otter watched, from the balcony. The day at Hubbard Glacier was nice. The wait staff brought round spiked hot chocolate! We were able to get within a half mile of the face. Those on the $400.00 excursion were able to get about a quarter mile away. Close enough for us to hear the glacier making its groans as if calved. We booked the tram in Juneau. Nice ride and sights. O did I say, the weather was fantastic. No rain until the last sea day, and the port days were in the lower 70's. In Skagway we did the requisite YWPRR train ride, then walked the town. We bused up to Frasier, then took the Train down. That was enough. Our favorite port was was Icy Strait Point. We had booked a tour on our own with Tok River Outfitters for halibut fishing. I gave this place 5 stars, but would have liked to give them 10. We shipped two fish home! Very highly recommended (at least by us, and a lot on Trip Advisor). Off the boat at 6:30, and was fishing by 7:30 am. And back before noon. The port area was also great. Had a fantastic King and Dungeness crab lunch. This port had mostly native wares, just a few "made in china" and no Diamonds International :-) (we did get the charms in all the ports). Ketchikan was a shopping port for us. From Berth 3, the town opened up to us right off the gangway. The final sea day was spent next to the pool playing cribbage and whale and orca watching (from deck 11). We pulled into port and took the take-your-own-bags-off option. Was not too bad, but make sure your suitcase tracks true, We saw a lot of the ship just trying to wrestle one of the bags.. Off in less then 20 minutes once they started the process. We grabbed a rental car, and headed south as the next stop was a family visit just north of Portland. The entire cruise itinerary was just what we had expected; a great time, and a southern Alaska experience. We would recommend this one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Really like Royal Caribean, only natural to go with what you know. From the moment we entered the ship we were showered with attention, service, courtesy to say the least, our luggage were taken to our cabins right away, we felt like we ... Read More
Really like Royal Caribean, only natural to go with what you know. From the moment we entered the ship we were showered with attention, service, courtesy to say the least, our luggage were taken to our cabins right away, we felt like we owned the ship. Food was amazing as well as service throughout, you were greated with a very cute frase WASHI WASHI, quite cute, it became my grandsons favorite the entire cruise. An amaizing experience throughout the whole cruise. Alaska breathtaking place to say the least, all the places we visited were so historic, pleasant lots of stores scenery was gorgeous a must do again cruise in the future. The glaciers were so incredibly beautiful hard to explain, whale watching awesome experience. Overall an incredible time , would do it again as soon as we can. If you have not done it, plan it you will be glad you did. Be Blessed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
I had done an Alaska cruise on this same ship a couple of years ago with friends, but this time it was with my mom and SO. TL/DR: * Suites are sweet and you should do it at least once in your life * Royal Caribbean is awesome ... Read More
I had done an Alaska cruise on this same ship a couple of years ago with friends, but this time it was with my mom and SO. TL/DR: * Suites are sweet and you should do it at least once in your life * Royal Caribbean is awesome onboard for special needs, like food allergies and limited mobility * Radiance class ships are the absolute perfect size * RCCL invests in great entertainment * RCCL staff are second-to-none * RCCL does need to invest in refinishing all surfaces, and maybe more durable materials * RCCL should do more communication with people with special needs before cruises * Cruise travel with a service dog is not easy * Vancouver port needs a lot more work to be customer-friendly * Don't count on the same level of onboard activities with the entertainment staff The deets: About my crew: me and my SO are active, 40-ish, and are Emerald Level (I've been on over 12 cruises). I have a capsacin food allergy, which is uncommon and comes up a lot as peppers are in like everything. My mom hadn't been on a cruise in 40 years and is limited mobility, using a walker and a large, 90-pound mobility service dog. She has a black pepper allergy, even harder to avoid. My mom lives in Seattle, and the journey starts there. We took the morning Amtrak Cascades up to Vancouver, which was a perfect start to the cruise. We got into Vancouver in plenty of time to take a cab to the cruise port and get on the ship for lunch. I'm used to walking/public transport to cruise terminals, so it was cool to see the cabs at Canada Place drop you off inside the parking garage (so no worry about weather) and right where the bag porters are. So when we entered Canada Place, we expected the check-in to be right there, and wheelchair valets for folks with disabilities (no such luck). Instead, we were directed to elevators. We probably walked 1/2 mile or more overall, between check-in, customs, and so on before we got to the ship. We even passed wheelchair valets waiting for a call, and no one in the process indicated how long of a walk it may be. With my mom obviously mobility limited, I was surprised at that. Luckily, after several breaks, she managed onto the ship. Once on the ship, she was quickly taken care of for an easy way to get to a sitting spot. This was my first suite (see details below). It is awesome to have a taste of the upper tier. Leaving all that relates to being in the suites in the cabin review below. We ate at the MDR every night. I like that the my time dining has been moved to the lower floor of the MDR so there are more seats and variety of seats. We were able to reserve the same table and same time for the whole cruise. My mom and I both have weird food allergies (above), so it's really important to have consistent dining staff. We did fill out the special needs form beforehand, but you really have to communicate food allergies to the head waiter and your specific wait staff the first meal. I prefer to bring a paper listing all of the foods/types that I can't eat so there's no confusion. Our wait staff were excellent, not only taking care of us for dinner, but passing along meal requests to Windjammer and other venues for breakfast and lunch and special meals. You can't be as spontaneous, since you have to order food the day before, but you have peace of mind. Being as it was early in the season, they had Atlantic salmon on the menu the first few nights, but then had Alaskan seafood near the end once we hit the Alaskan ports. The food was excellent as always, with a broad variety, inventive dishes, fresh, and delicious. The biggest bummer was that the MDR wasn't open for lunch during port days (so most all days). During the day, the stars were the ports. I've done the active shore excursions and the cultural ones, you really can't go wrong. But you have to always plan that your day will contain rain, and book accordingly. We didn't have that problem this particular cruise; all of our days were sunny or partly cloudy and mid 60s. But, if you happen to get back early on the boat or decide to stay on the boat, don't count on a wide variety of entertainment staff activities. Maybe some trivia, games here and there. But they really don't program much of anything, expecting everyone to be out on shore. Note: even though the Icy Strait Point port said we would be tendering, we did dock. Accessibility excursion notes: the Saxman Totem tour was awesome as they set up a smaller bus; you have to be able to board the bus, but it was nice to have the shorter steps and easy seating. The Icy Strait Point whale watching tour was very good on the boat, but because of low tides we had to go to the far end of the boardwalk to get aboard (usually it's on the dock right next to the ship); luckily, they have an electric cart for mobility access. The WP&YR railroad is also great for accessibility, short walk if you can make it; if not, they have a cart--they also have a dedicated handicapped car with a larger bathroom. The ship had just taken on a new dance crew, so we didn't have any production shows. The one night we were to have a production show (Piano Man), the seas were rough and some of the crew were seasick, much less the difficulty of dancing on a rockin' ship. The acts we had were awesome: comedy, magic, juggling, etc. There was always an option of movies day, afternoon, and evening both beside the pool and in the cinema. I was pleased by the variety of movies they showed, from Blue Hawaii to Bohemian Rhapsody to Carmen (the opera). Speaking on onboard activities, the Alaska cruises always have some kind of enrichment speaker. We had a retired mountie who was new,so I'm sure he'll get better as he goes. The couple doing the Alaska history talks were awesome and should be onboard most this season. Ship environment: Radiance OTS was last refurbished in 2016, but honestly, it doesn't look it. There's a lot of wear in the wood and fabrics that make it seem older. However, the ship mechanicals all worked the whole cruise. This ship is a perfect size to have a variety of activity centers, like the cinema, pub, and Starquest lounge, while not being too big for walking (especially if you can't walk far distances). We got to meet most everyone on the ship--you don't get far with a dog without people noticing. Ship accessibility: This was my first cruise where I worried about accessibility. We had a cabin just off the Centrum elevators, so my mom had only a short walk to get anywhere. The longest was a 75 ft. walk to the theater. It was easy to get in and out of and get an accessible seat in the MDR and theater, and you could get into every venue. Handicapped bathrooms were well-placed to the main venues. I could see, though, if there were more than 4-5 scooters or mobility devices onboard, the accessibility would get more frustrating. Where my mom had problems was getting over the thresholds of the exterior doors (i.e., walking to the deck 5 exterior deck). These thresholds need to be smoothed out to meet ADA requirements--she had to physically lift the walker to get over them. Service dog: RCCL did accommodate the service dog, but could have done better. We filled out all of the requisite paperwork, and the ship seemed ready for us. By booking RCCL shore excursions, they passed forward info about the service dog. However, the dog relief station could have been better. It was located right next to the smoking section, on the walk to the helipad. So mom had to endure smoke to take her dog out, and since it is not used to people being around when it uses the facilities, I had to literally stop people coming down from the helipad. The box is 4'x4', with a plywood lid that mom couldn't lift and needed my help when the staff put the lid back on. The box was filled with shavings litter, even though they offer sod on the accessibility form, but the shavings weren't replaced or refreshed the whole cruise. There was a little can beside the box to dispose of poop. We wish that RCCL had been in communication with us before the cruise about the litter box and its location (I had to hunt it down once on board because no one knew about it). If we had known they couldn't provide sod this journey, we could have trained the dog to use shavings. And if we had known the location of the box and the distance from our cabin, we could have trained the dog appropriately. Lastly, let's talk about why to choose RCCL. There's always people that like one cruise line over another for some reason, so here's my spiel for why this line. I've been on all the major lines but HAL. I love the people that cruise RCCL--not too party, not all old, great balance of ages, and not too many kids. And I love even more the staff of RCCL--I've run into staff that remember me 4 years later on a different ship, and there is a loyalty to the cruise line and the customers that I like to come back to every cruise. And you get a great value for your $$. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My wife and I began preparing for this cruise 5 years ago when we took our first Alaskan cruise for our 30th anniversary. We had so much fun, and it was so amazing, that we decided we'd do another for our 35th. And this time ... Read More
My wife and I began preparing for this cruise 5 years ago when we took our first Alaskan cruise for our 30th anniversary. We had so much fun, and it was so amazing, that we decided we'd do another for our 35th. And this time we'd do our own pre-cruise tour before sailing southbound. I would have preferred to sail earlier in the year this time, but as it turned out it was the same timeframe as the first one, which meant we were cruising over our anniversary again. So that was fine. We arrived in Anchorage on Sunday the 26th. Unfortunately, Delta had fun with our flights a few times and our original 12:30pm arrival ended up being 3pm. With a delay in landing and then waiting for the hotel shuttle, we didn't arrive to the Lakefront Anchorage until about 4pm. Only 15 hours after we had gotten up! Somehow we managed to stay awake until dinner time and we went for a short walk around the area and the lake with all its float planes. But that was the end of Sunday. On Monday we headed for Denali National Park. We made a few stops on the way for some supplies, and we also visited the Earthquake Park. It's always interesting to see something that I've read about in the History books. That Good Friday earthquake in 1964 was something else.. We spent 3 nights at Carlo Creek Lodges in one of their private cabins with a private bathroom. The cabin was cozy, and the bathroom even more so, but it was clean, comfortable and only $124/night. The location was very nice, about 15 minutes south of the park entrance. Fortunately, we had a chance to see Mt. Denalij on our drive up to the Park. Tuesday we took the hop-on/hop-off bus into Denali. The weather was not great, with scatterings of sun, rain, fog, low clouds, etc, so we didn't do any hopping off, hopping on. Wednesday was great weather when we went to the park again This time we started the morning off climbing Mt. Healy. And then it rained as we got within the last mile of the overlook, so we came back down. We went to the Dog Sled Camp later, when the sun was back out. Thursday we drove back to Anchorage. It was a rainy drive, but when we got to Anchorage the rain stopped and we got to explore more of Anchorage. We did some shopping for souvenirs. TIP- we found stuff up in Denali area just as cheap as in Anchorage, so you don't need to panic.. This time we stayed at the Clarion Suites as they had a shuttle to the train station. They take your name for it, but someone we were overbooked. Not sure how that happened, but we got everyone to the station on time. The train ride to Seward was so much fun, and the scenery was great. We paid for the upgraded Gold Star service. The breakfast was great and the dome car was so nice to really see things It helped me spot a family of 3 moose for all to see! We met some great people on the train. As it turned out, the couple seated behind us on the train, was our next door neighbor on the cruise. When we got to Seward, we stopped at Alaska Seafood Grill for some lunch. The chowder in a bread bowl is excellent! We had reservations with Body Abode for massages before the cruise. With arrival around 11, finding lunch, walking to our massages and all that, it was 2-2:30 when we arrived at embarkation. This was the first time that we were the ONLY people in line to check in. It was surreal and, as you might expect, really quick. Best boarding ever. The ship was clean and seemed well maintained. We enjoyed it alot. The Solarium is one of the best I've seen on RC and I've 9 of the ships so far. The Park Cafe was also nice, we ate their a couple of times. We split our time between the MDR and the Windjammer. The only bad time we had though was one of the last nights in the Main Dining room. Our service was just awful. It was the first time ever in the MDR that we had bad service over 10 cruises. It seemed like our waiter and asst waiter were too busy with one of the tables near us to even bother to make sure we had water. In fact, one of the couples at our table asked for water, and they got it. But the other 4 of us didn't, and my wife's glass was pretty much dry. We then had to ask the head waiter for water for the rest of us. (And I must say that the head waiter never actually introduced herself to us at all). They were slow on bringing us our food, especially our desserts. I've never complained before, but we did that night. One of the other couples actually told us that they pulled their pre paid tips from the wait staff. That might have been a little extreme but it was frustrating. The Hubbard Glacier is amazing. We got to within a half mile that day, and we able to see some nice calving. Then they came around with hot chocolate which we could add Baileys to, and that really hit the spot. Man, was it cold there! At Juneau, our only excursion was the twilight whale watch, so we explored Juneau on our own. We walked on the Seawalk to the new Whale fountain. We wanted to eat at Tracy's but the line was sooooo long. We went to Pier 49 and while the food was good, the wait was too long. Especially when people who ordered after us got served before us. Way before us. I would not recommend them. In Skagway we did the Bike ride down the mountain. We weren't able to book the one including the White Pass Railroad, but the ride was fun anyway. Plus we saved about $150. We also visited the local museum and we had lunch at Northern Lights pizza for burgers. Very good. And not an arm and a leg! The only about this soundbouth cruise is that all stops are one right after the other. That makes for some busy days. I would love a Sea Day in the middle to break it up, but that's probably not gonna happen. Icy straight Point is a Hoonah village and I've read where some people don't like it. I think it's great to see how the locals live and to share that experience. Not everything can be packaged and sold to lazy consumers. We just did a hike with a local and it was great. We learned a lot. It 's a nice island. Maybe next time we'll do something else. And finally in Ketchikan, we didn't do any excursions. In the morning it was raining, go Figure, so we walked to Creek Street, went up Married Man's way and saw the Fish Ladder. We went by some shops and we even bought some smoked salmon to send home. Later on, the rain stopped and the sun came out, so we went back to the fish ladder, and explored the city more. We went by Creek street again. We had a late lunch at the Alaska Fish House. seating was limited so we shared a table with a couple who turned out to be the owners of the Crab Fisherman's Experience shore excursion. Yeah, we were eating at a place the locals eat at. My wife had the chowder and I had the halibut fish and chips. I don't even remember the last day at sea, but I think it involved sleeping, reading, hot tubs and eating. When we got to Vancouver, we spent the day there, as we had a train to Seattle at 4:45pm. We went to Stanley Park and visited the aquarium there as well as walking around the flower garden. We spent time along the harbor as well enjoying the float planes. In Seattle we stayed at the Belltown. It was a nice hotel and located near some nice dining. On Saturday, we explored a bit of Seattle. We checked out the sculpture park, and visited Pike's Market again. (We had visited Seattle 5 yrs ago so all the regular tourist spots were already visited). We did go on the Locks Cruise and saw the Sleepless in Seattle houseboat. Our flight home wasn't until 12:30am, but after a nice pizza dinner at Zeeks pizza. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. Everything about this trip was perfect!! We brought our 3 grown children. We had 3 days in Anchorage. We stayed at an airbnb, which was great. We did get 2 rental cars outside of the ... Read More
We were celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary. Everything about this trip was perfect!! We brought our 3 grown children. We had 3 days in Anchorage. We stayed at an airbnb, which was great. We did get 2 rental cars outside of the airport to save $$$. We hiked Flattop Mountain and Winner Creek Trail. We even made it to the State Fair! We took the Alaskan Railroad to Seward. We upgraded to Gold Star. I definitely recommend upgrading! Totally worth it. When we got to Seward we went right to the ship. No need to eat lunch elsewhere!!! We all got the drink package ahead of time which saved us $$$. Again totally worth it. My husband and I had an aft extra large balcony and the kids had to slum it with an inside cabin. LOL I actually loved the ship. Super clean and our service was awesome!!!! We dined in the dining room every night. Fabio and his team went out of their way for us!!! Our drinks were great at all of the bars but especially at the Champagne Bar!!!! The excursions were great too!!! I honestly do not have one negative thing to say about anything!!!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Radiance of the Seas was one the best experience of my life. I met so many new people at Optix, I had fun with my family, so many beautiful views too! The cruise directors were amazing but my favorites were Kassy and Vinni who worked at ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas was one the best experience of my life. I met so many new people at Optix, I had fun with my family, so many beautiful views too! The cruise directors were amazing but my favorites were Kassy and Vinni who worked at Optix. They had so many adventures on board with my friends and I. The food and waiters were also amazing. Namely Sean and Supaphan were my favorites. The food was always amazing. Our housekeeper Ferdinand was amazing he is one of the nicest people I have ever met. He always smiled and always waved whenever we saw him. The on board activity’s were all very fun and kept me busy when I had nothing else to do. The rooms and everything else was very clean. It was all amazing everything that I saw. The rooms were very clean and had just enough room for my family and our stuff. I fully recommend going on Radiance of the Seas to anyone looking to have a good summer. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary being one way inside passage, giving longer time in ports. Also, we have sailed Serenade, Radiance's sister ship and it was out favorite ship with its glass and window-filled areas. It's ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to the itinerary being one way inside passage, giving longer time in ports. Also, we have sailed Serenade, Radiance's sister ship and it was out favorite ship with its glass and window-filled areas. It's perfect for viewing Alaska. It's not too small nor too big and it goes to Icy Strait Point. We had read Icy Strait Point was amazing and it was our favorite port. We had sailed RCI on 4 previous cruises. We knew to expect good service, entertainment and food. This cruise was incredible, though we learned things along the way. I would definitely do this cruise again, but would probably do southbound instead of northbound just to get thr longer time difference out of the way. It was a struggle to resume EST. We spent 3 night in Vancouver precruise flying from Baltimore to Toronto and Toronto to Vancouver. Air Canada was wonderful and the extra legroom seats well worth it. We got in around 2:30 PSt and got a cab to the Auberge Vancouver Hotel. We had stayed there before and returneddue to its wonderful location. We had a 2 bedroom suite and my family had single rooms. Or room and bathroom were apparently nicer than our family's. We previously stayed at the Auberge 2 years prior and prefer to grab breakfast at Starbucks across the street and eat at the cruise terminal just a couple blocks away. There were new ships each morning. The first full day we rented hybrid electric bikes and biked Stanley Park It was our favorite thing we did in Vancouver. In the afternoon, we went to Queen Elizabeth Gardens, which were spectacular! The next day, we did Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. More to continue Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Always wanted to go to Alaska, so when our first cruise to Puerto Rico got cancelled due to hurricanes, we decided to go to Alaska instead. Now mind you, RCI was not too easy to get them to change our cruise even though our flights and ... Read More
Always wanted to go to Alaska, so when our first cruise to Puerto Rico got cancelled due to hurricanes, we decided to go to Alaska instead. Now mind you, RCI was not too easy to get them to change our cruise even though our flights and hotel were cancelled but eventually we managed to get them to see it was impossible to get to Puerto Rico in Oct 17. We went to Alaska for a few days early and traveled around and the sights are breathtaking. We boarded Radiance and were immediately treated like royalty. If you have been on a few cruises then you qualify differently (i.e. Gold, Platinum, etc). You then can skip the line on boarding and they get you right on the ship. The people complaining about the ship being old..... If I'm going to spend more than a couple hundred dollars I'm usually going to at minimum do a google search. Right there pops up ship was built in 2001 on Wikipedia. Ship is 17 years old, I also learned it was dry docked in 2016. We had an extended balcony oceanview. The views are amazing, the balcony was decent sized for two people and includes chairs and table. The inside of the room has been updated, with new TV's and some cabinetry but the bathroom, couches and beds do not appear to be replaced. No matter, they were okay. The beds arent the most comfortable, which is my only gripe of this trip. My wife loved them as they were very supportive, however I want to sleep on a cloud. We did all sorts of different dining; Giovanni's italian which was absolutely amazing. We did Chops Steakhouse which was again off the charts. And our waiter told us about a package they do three of the restaurants for a deal. Normally its around $30 a person extra for this but they did three for $74/person. So our third we did a galley tour where we see everything behind the scenes and they feed you. Word of the wise, get the picture package. They have photgraphers EVERYWHERE. Take a bunch of pictures and spend the $225 on the package. Youll have well over 100 pictures if you spend 10 minutes a day taking them. It sure beats spending $15 per picture and having to decide on 2-3. Just figure out when the pictures are being taken and follow them for 10 minutes before dinner. Boom, done. Casino wasnt a big hit on this cruise, dont think anyone won. I was out a few hundred and started to look around and didnt see many people winning. But, thats whats it there for....to make money. The dining room staff was very good. They are polite, very well trained and can answer any question about your meal. My wife has an odd allergy and they were able to answer questions about everything and if they didnt know a head waiter would come over and make everything so easy. The ship appears to have the main public bathrooms redone, some of the public areas, etc. It really is a beautiful ship, some parts are older but its so well kept its insane. Every port you stop at before your even off the ship there are people already working on parts of it trying to keep up with upkeep. The cruise director was okay on this ship, he was fun and outgoing. Not the best for sure we've definitely had better on Enchantment of the seas but he was still good. I get the drink package and wasnt charged for anything, 15 year scotch, frozen drinks, beers, etc. Its worth it in my opinion. I tipped a bartender $5 on the first day (even though tipping is already included, this was extra) he couldnt do enough for me the rest of the cruise. And they move around (i.e. in the day he was at the pool at night hes in a bar). Was a great guy was nice to hear about his home and family. The ports are amazing. They get you right up to the glacier, there was one port that was boring but we just went back on the ship and had a blast. Its their rainy season, but in the two weeks we were there it rained once, Im told the weather we got was unheard of. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise because we were going with friends and we wanted to travel to new places. We had a great time at all the ports! They were so nice to see and explore! However we didn't just enjoy the ports. We spent lots of time ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were going with friends and we wanted to travel to new places. We had a great time at all the ports! They were so nice to see and explore! However we didn't just enjoy the ports. We spent lots of time on the ship taking fun classes, relaxing in the hot tub, watching movies by the pool, and playing lots of games! We enjoyed playing mini golf and ping pong on the ship, as well as exploring the ship. The cabins were very nice and clean. The staff was great, they were always kind and considerate. I am allergic to gluten and I was very well accommodated. Our waiters got me very good food and they entertained us with magic tricks. We all really liked our waiters and we often talked to them while we waited for our food. They did not try to sell us stuff like waiters on other ships. I even celebrated my birthday on this cruise and they made me a special gluten free cake. I have read reviews that say service on Royal Caribbean is bad, and I completely disagree, I found everyone on board to be kind and helpful. The entertainment on this cruise was very good, we watched lots of shows and movies while onboard. We traveled with children and they really enjoyed it. We would definitely go again because the experience was amazing! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This cruise was one of the best I have been on! Although the ship itself is smaller compared to the newer Royal Caribbean ships, it was in great condition and was a wonderful home away from home. I have sailed on several Royal Caribbean ... Read More
This cruise was one of the best I have been on! Although the ship itself is smaller compared to the newer Royal Caribbean ships, it was in great condition and was a wonderful home away from home. I have sailed on several Royal Caribbean ships before and I have had amazing experiences on all of them, but the staff on this ship really made my experience exceptional! The service was always fast and accurate, and the friendly personnel made a lasting impression! My family and I attended dinner at the main restaurant practically every night and were served by two amazing employees (our waiter Reymil and our assistant waiter Lalramdinliani). They both went above and beyond to ensure that our dinner was to our liking and that our vacation was as pleasant as possible. Our waiter in particular asked us every evening if we preferred a quicker dinner service in order to catch a show or attend other onboard activities, or if we preferred a more relaxing, slower dinner service. Overall, this was a cruise I will never forget and the staff really made a great first and last impression! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We love Radiance of the Seas. They really stepped up the food in the Windjammer. There was always something delicious available. I only wish it was open longer hours. This is not a ship where a variety of food is available 24/7. You really ... Read More
We love Radiance of the Seas. They really stepped up the food in the Windjammer. There was always something delicious available. I only wish it was open longer hours. This is not a ship where a variety of food is available 24/7. You really have to scout out late night eats. The swimming pools are well fun. We tried the spa and had massages our first night on the ship. What a great way to start our cruise. Our cabin was always so clean and cozy. There were plenty of elevators available. Love the various lectures regarding the area and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Slightly disappointed in the entertainment. We like the guest entertainers but got a little tired of the ship entertainers. The sunsets were amazing. We did the all access ship tour and it was so cool. It was about a 2 hour tour. We got to see the famous I-95 hallway, the food coolers, the galley, the mechanical room and the bridge. So amazing to see behind the scenes. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We took our daughter and son-in-law on this cruise. They had never been on a cruise and we got them a grand suite. They are now forever spoiled. We had only two full days at sea: the first full day and the last day. We did a tour in ... Read More
We took our daughter and son-in-law on this cruise. They had never been on a cruise and we got them a grand suite. They are now forever spoiled. We had only two full days at sea: the first full day and the last day. We did a tour in every port and had an great time on each one. The "Tribute to Billy Joel" show was comprised of songs by many different artists, not just Billy Joel. Even though that was disappointing the dancers in this show were not disappointing at all! The sea was a bit "bumpy" yet those women kept their balance and never stumbled while dancing in high heels. The service in the Windjammer and the speciality restaurants was excellent. Our son-in-law was amazed that server in the Windjammer remembered what he wanted to drink on Day 2. The only disappointing part of the cruise was Voom; connecting, speed, staying connected were terrible. It became very frustrating to us when Hurricane Harvey decided to visit where we live and we wanted to communicate with friends. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I did a lot of research on my port of calls and booked great excursions. I left the excursions at risk of getting cancelled to days that I was staying in Anchorage after the cruise. Such a great move. We did not have a single thing ... Read More
I did a lot of research on my port of calls and booked great excursions. I left the excursions at risk of getting cancelled to days that I was staying in Anchorage after the cruise. Such a great move. We did not have a single thing cancelled due to light rain which made our trip perfect. If you are looking for a lot of nightlife this is probably not your cruise, but normally travelling to Alaska is more relaxed and about enjoying your scenery and company. Staying a couple days in Vancouver and a few days in Anchorage really made this trip complete for us. It was the perfect amount of time to fit in everything we wanted to do. We saw all the wildlife on our list and saw the prettiest sites Alaska had to offer. Dining was great and full of seafood options. That being said, if you do not like seafood like I do not, you may want to check menus nightly before going to dining room and see if maybe Windjammer is a better option. Using the dining room for breakfast and lunch is amazing. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
While there were some details we wished were different (could not find root beer on board, sofa bed placement made it hard to walk the length of the stateroom) - the overall experience was fantastic. Alaska took center stage and was ... Read More
While there were some details we wished were different (could not find root beer on board, sofa bed placement made it hard to walk the length of the stateroom) - the overall experience was fantastic. Alaska took center stage and was absolutely glorious - from the pre-cruise tour (Fairbanks, Denali, and Anchorage) to the Inside Passage sea day. We were blessed with fantastic weather which made for majestic views of Alaska at her finest. Our tour director (Sammi) and bus driver (Les) were the best we've ever had. Our vacation actually started out with us losing our passports, but between Royal Caribbean's VisaCentral and Sammi's support and understanding, we knew our options and were able to go on this very special vacation with little interruption. During the tour, they were both very knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful. Making sure we didn't miss points of interest, and shared interesting stories and experiences. Our cabin slept 3 large adults comfortably using the sofa/chair bed as the 2nd sleeping option (as opposed to the drop-down bed that would have had our 19 year sleeping above our heads :o). It's true, Radiance could use a little love (worn edges on the furniture, small cracks in the bathroom tile), she is a classic beauty with the perfect size for Alaska. Many reviews we read prior to boarding conflicted on the value of the balcony. For our family, the balcony was the best part of the cabin. We sat outside mornings, afternoons, and evenings playing cards, having evening cocktails, uploading pictures onto our computer, or just sitting and enjoying the scenery. Chops Grill ranked tops for us, steaks and salmon cooked perfectly. Our son tried the Lobster Bisque for the first time and loved it. If you dine here, make sure you get the bacon appetizer - it was a wonderful surprise, melted in the mouth and had a perfect flavor balance. We definitely ordered too many side dishes (served to share), but enjoyed every one of them. The mystery dinner at Giovanni's table was fun - we shared our table and our murderer debate with two fun couples. The main courses (shrimp and steak plates) were better than good (but not fantastic). Unfortunately we did not solve the murder mystery but there were so many laughs it did not matter. We had My Time Dining for most of our dinners. The food was good, the service was great (it appeared more investment is being made in the specialty dining than the main dining room, but we had no complaints about the quality of the dining room food). We tend to linger over dinner (2 hours +), so we often missed the shows/activities. This was a lesson learned for us as we scheduled dinners for 7:30 or later. On our next cruise we may return to traditional dining to allow better options for shows/activities. We kept the same table and servers for each dinner but had different table-mates each evening. Never had a bad group - everyone was friendly and engaging. The Windjammer was a traditional buffet - we ate breakfast here every morning. I was able to make eggs benedict every morning, husband enjoyed a ham/cheese omelet made to order, and our son piled on the bacon and scrambled eggs. The Park Cafe was the only food area available for snacks the first night on the ship, the choices were understandably thin. The boys tried the cookies and they were very hard - based on that initial experience they chose not to try it again. I did get sandwiches there a couple of times that worked well for afternoon snacks though. The drink packages worked well for two of us - I got the deluxe, so the lattes, mochas, specialty hot chocolate, and cocktails were included and I definitely got the most out of it. My son had the refreshment plan - it took him a day or two to find the mocktails but he liked almost all of them so it ended up being a good option for him. Hubby had the soda package since he does not drink alcohol and doesn't go for the mocktails. It took a couple of days to find orange soda (Radiance does not have the soda machines) and we couldn't find root beer at all, which was disappointing since we like to make root beer floats with the soft serve ice cream! The pizza onboard left a lot to be desired - the boys missed getting pizza/calzones at 2:00am (they got lucky on our last cruise to have a ship with a pizza oven available 24 hrs) but I reminded them that we don't cruise for the pizza! We didn't take in too many shows. We very much enjoyed the adult comedian - during the show someone in the audience had a health issue, not only did the comedian handle the experience appropriately, the cruise staff attended to the cruiser immediately and the whole incident was handled professionally. The juggler/comedians started out slow, but the end of the set was funny, especially the audience participation bits. As always, we find the activities we would not normally attend at home are some of our favorite cruising experiences. The egg-drop competition was so fun, we were definitely impressed with the creativity of the teams! The 70s Dance Party and the Rock Party were both fun with music that appealed to multi-generations. My son is 19 and at an odd age for cruising (18-20), he's too old to join the teen-cruisers but not old enough for some of the more adult activities. On our previous cruise he was able to gamble at 18 (Mexico cruise) and thought he'd be able to gamble on this cruise as well, but the casino was open to 21 and older only so he was a little disappointed. Nothing for the cruise ship to do, and he did enjoy the arcade, card room, shopping, etc. We just should have done more research into the gambling requirements to set the right expectations (we had family bets on who would win more at black jack, roulette, slot tourney, etc.). Overall, we loved this vacation. It's a family oriented cruise with Alaska being the super star. We could not ask for better dining and pre-tour service, and are already thinking about a second Alaska cruise! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
Our first Alaska cruise….Royal Caribbean_Radiance Of The Seas…southbound….Seward to Vancouver(July 21, 2017) with a 5 night pre-cruise land tour (5B_Mountain Panorama Adventure) (July 16, 2017): ( I apologize for ... Read More
Our first Alaska cruise….Royal Caribbean_Radiance Of The Seas…southbound….Seward to Vancouver(July 21, 2017) with a 5 night pre-cruise land tour (5B_Mountain Panorama Adventure) (July 16, 2017): ( I apologize for spelling/formatting issues. It won't seem to "transfer" over without messing up formatting!) We have cruised for a number of years but we are creatures of habit. We primarily cruise the southern Caribbean out of San Juan and have done a few Panama Canal cruises. My husband had never been interested in an Alaskan cruise. His idea of a cruise is “shorts” and “hot weather”. Well, two years ago his best friend since kindergarten talked him in to doing an Alaskan cruise. As soon as bookings opened for the summer 2017 season, we booked. I think we actually booked the first cabin on our sailing. Our TA knew we were looking to book so she called me the second she saw bookings open. So we booked on February 24, 2016 for a July 21, 2017 sailing with 5 night pre-cruise land tour. We couldn’t book air until mid-Sept 2016! Because of the long flights and nothing direct, we chose to do a double-connect and have 3 shorter segments rather than 2 longer segments. I spent hours, days, weeks, months reading threads on CC,TA, and talking to anyone I could that had done an Alaskan cruise/landtour. I tried gathering all of the info I could to make this trip special. As mentioned earlier, my husband had no interest in Alaska. Since he had agreed to go….he suggested I should “make it great because we will be One and Done”. CruisetourDay/Night 1: The day finally arrived for us to go. Of course, the airline had changed our flight time so we had to fly out earlier than we had originally booked. We ended up with a 17- hour travel time from the door of our house to the door of the hotel! Luckily, everything went smoothly. Transportation from the Anchorage airport to the hotel was included in our pre-cruise land tour. Our flight arrived about 20 minutes early so there was no one in baggage claim to greet us. However, we decided rather than grabbing a cab we would wait until the scheduled arrival time to see if the Meet & Greet team showed up. So glad we waited as we were the only 2 pax arriving at that time. Two Meet & Greet staff arrived in baggage claim and radioed for the transportation. They escorted us to the pick-up point. Since it was just the two of us we were expecting a mini-van, etc. Nope….it was the full-size bus just for the two of us! Friendly driver loaded our luggage and shared info with us as he drove us to the downtown Marriott. (Hotel assigned by RC/cruisetour company.) We arrived at the hotel and the driver called over the Bell Staff to take our luggage. He then directed us into the lobby to meet the cruisetour staff. We were greeted by one lady who escorted us to another room to meet our tour guide for the week. In addition to our room keys for that night,we were given the “itinerary” detailing times of departures at each of the stops during the week. We were also given the “optional excursion” offerings sheet and asked to have it completed when we met the next morning. We were excited to see what was on the“optional excursion” list. We had read the RC info that indicated what “might” be available. We are “planners” and were very “bothered”that we couldn’t “pre-book” the “optional excursions” in advance. (We later learned that a few people on our tour had actually pre-booked excursions through independent vendors. We had not done this as most everything we looked at required prepayment/deposit and since we weren’t sure on the timing of “transfers” from location to location we weren’t comfortable pre-booking and paying.) The tour guide gave us two different colors of bag tags. We were given a tag (yellow) for each bag that we would want at each hotel. We received a different color (white) bag tag for each bag that could be loaded on the bus and remain on the bus until the last night of the land tour. After visiting with the tour guide and getting our “details”for the cruisetour, we were on our own for the evening. We were to be in the lobby at 7:25 the next morning to head to the train. Even though we had “munched” at each airport, we wanted to get something to eat before we went to bed. Although it was 10:30 pm body time it was only 7:30 in Anchorage and the sun was out in full force. So we walked a few blocks to Orso. DH had a Caesar salad and then we shared several appetizers (deviled eggs, crispy ravioli,flatbread). Food was tasty and service was great. All of the food looked great. I wish we had been hungrier so we could have enjoyed entrees and dessert. Then we decided even though the sun was still up we were exhausted and the 6:00 am “Bag Pickup” was going to come early…so off to sleep we went. The black-out curtains at the hotel worked well at blocking the sun. CruisetourDay/Night 2: Morning came early with a 5:00 am wake-up so we could shower and get the bags out at 6:00. We then had 1.5 hours until the departure time so we had a light breakfast snack and coffee. We had been warned that the breakfast on the train was a “must do”. At 7:25 the tour director met us in the lobby and off to the bus we went. We met our driver for the land tour. She had a beautiful smile on her face (and always had that smile the whole week). It was about a 10-minute bus ride to the train. You were to only take with you what you might need on the train. Other items (including backpacks, etc.) could remain on the bus with the driver. We were instructed to get on the train in the order we wanted to sit. If you wanted to sit up front you needed to get on first and if you wanted to sit in the back you needed to get on last. Coffee/drinks would be sold starting at the front of the train car (working back) but breakfast would be “seated” (taken from upstairs down to dining car) from the back of the train (working forward). Once onboard the train, we were told the exception to this was that the families that had children would be seated first in the dining car and then the other parties would be seated after the families. The train car had a “host” that narrated and sold a “Ride Guide”. There also was a “bartender” that prepared/sold coffee, hot chocolate, Bloody Mary’s,etc. The dining car had 2 servers and 2 cooks. Everything was put on a “tab”and paid by credit card (including optional gratuity) at the end of the train ride. The train car we rode in was the “Wilderness Express”. It is a 2-story with the glass dome “riding” car on top and the “dining car” on the lower level. There were 14 “independent” travelers on the car with us that had boarded before we arrived. The rest of the “car” was just our cruise-tour group. There were a good number of empty seats. Your food/beverage/souvenir purchases are“tabbed” to your seat number so if you move around you need to be sure to alert the train staff. The seats on the train were very comfortable. The dining car seating was a little cramped but no big deal for the short amount of time you are there. Also, two very nice “unisex”restrooms on the lower level of the train car. Our train ride was approximately 3 hours. We traveled from Anchorage to Talkeetna.(Talkeetna is the town that the TV series “Northern Exposure” was based.) We did enjoy yummy hot chocolate before breakfast. We were in the last group taken down for breakfast. We had the blueberry pancakes that were yummy. We also had the eggs, biscuit, and reindeer sausage. I wasn’t sure I wanted to try reindeer sausage but decided “why not” so gave it a try. It was actually pretty tasty. The pancakes were much better than the eggs & biscuit though. The pancakes are served with “Alaskan Birch”(not maple) syrup. The bus was there waiting for us when we arrived at the Talkeetna train station. You have the same bus for the whole land tour. It was very nice Prevost coach with comfy seats and enclosed overhead bins for small items (backpacks, etc.). There was a restroom onboard. The buses have “names”printed on the front and back so you can make sure you are getting on the correct bus. The buses are named after Alaskan mountains (Alpenglow, Lincoln, Dall, etc). Our hotel for the night would be the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Rooms wouldn’t be ready until later that afternoon. The driver &guide drove us through the Lodge property so we could see the layout and see where our rooms would be. They then took us into “town”. Talkeetna is a cute little town. Several shops and restaurants. Several ice cream “stands”including “Fireweed” ice cream. I had not read anything about “Fireweed” so was not familiar with it. I soon learned it is the pretty purplish flower that we were seeing everywhere. It blooms from the bottom. The locals get “sad” when the bloom reaches the top as that means they only have 6 more weeks of summer. I also learned in addition to ice cream there also is Fireweed jam, jelly, and caramels (yummy!). We ate lunch at Denali Brewing. We had one fish sandwich with potato chips and one pulled pork sandwich with French fries. Food was good and service was friendly and efficient. While it wasn’t raining, we had low clouds so most of the excursions were cancelled. (Most excursions in Talkeetna are airplane/floatplane/helicopter related.) The evening jet-boat excursion did go though. Around 3:00 we were picked up by the driver & tour guide and taken to the Lodge. The tour guide obtained and distributed the room keys. We were all in buildings that were not in the main lodge building. The rooms were fine. No air conditioning but did have an “oscillating fan” if needed. We just opened the window and were fine. The room did include a “mini-fridge”. No safe in the room though so you couldn’t lock up passports or other valuables. It was just a short walk to get back to the lodge to the restaurants, bar, gift shop. While in town I bought a few “local foods” and had them shipped home.(Talkeetna hot sauce, salmon caper sauce, fireweed jelly, birch syrup, etc.) We had dinner in the Lodge. Prices were slightly higher than home but fairly typical for hotel food. We had friendly, efficient service. Again, DH had a salad. I think it was “the Lodge salad”. He said it was yummy. We then shared an order of chicken wings, crab dip, and a French Dip type sandwich. Way too much food but it was all tasty! It was cloudy the whole time we were at Talkeetna so we did not get to see Denali/Mt McKinley from there. However, the grass was so very green and the flowers were beautiful vibrant colors so it was still beautiful scenery/location. There are “trails” at the lodge that a few people walked and saw a moose in the distance. CruisetourDay/Night 3: Breakfast was on our own. There is a restaurant in Talkeetna that gets great reviews for breakfast. We wanted to give it a try but the hotel shuttle doesn’t start running until 10:00 am or such so we did not have time to go into town. We had breakfast at the Lodge. It was very tasty and again, friendly, efficient service. There was an “all you can eat” buffet for $21 pp. Since we weren’t super hungry we just ordered off of the menu. DH had the breakfast burrito that was large and he said very yummy. I had the breakfast sandwich that was amazing! I am still dreaming of the sauce that was on it. Back to the room for 10:00 am bag pull and then just to hang out for an hour until time to load up and head to Denali! It was about a 3.5 hour drive to Denali. We stopped along the way at the Alaska Veteran’s Memorial. It was nice to see a tribute to all of the branches of service. (This also was a restroom break.) Once we arrived in the Denali area, the driver & tour guide showed us the hotel property. They then dropped us off in the “shopping area” for about an hour so they could go drop bags and get our room keys. There is a Subway, a hot dog shop, a coffee shop, ice cream store, convenience store, and several shops in this area. We were still full from breakfast so did not get anything to eat. We just purchased a few souvenirs, walked over to the river, and then bought a few drinks at the convenience store. We were then picked up and taken to the hotel. (Denali Park Village). DH had signed up for the white-water (class III & IV rapids). We thought it would be this afternoon. Turned out the vendors were booked so he would have to do it the next day. We walked down to the river. DH picked up some of the “glacial silt” to feel. It was so very soft. It felt like a cross between very fine beach sand and baby powder. However, one thing that did surprise us (as first timers!) was that most of the water is “gray”rather than “clear”. This is due to the glacial silt in all of the water! For dinner there is a restaurant in the lodge and also a “Burger Shack”. Several of our group did the “Cabin Nite”dinner theatre. We did not do this though. We walked across the street to the “taco truck”. There are two food trucks….a Mexican food truck (“Mariachi Moose”) and a Thai food truck (“Denali Thai Food”). I also read that a 3rd food truck was to be added this month but not sure what type food. Again, we were in “outbuildings” rather than the main lodge. It was about a 5-8 minute walk to get to the main lodge. After dinner we went back to the “common area”near the General Store/Cabin Nite, etc and sat at the fire pits for awhile chatting with other cruisers! We ended up going to bed earlier than expected as the tv in our room was not working (the channel DH wanted). Maintenance checked it out and said it was a cable company issue. The room was small but was fine for the most part. It was very dark with poor lighting and no fan at all. Again, we slept with the window open. Again, no safe so you had to leave your passport/valuables out or carry them with you. For those interested in the Cabin Nite dinner theatre….there are 2 seatings….5:00 PM and 7:30 PM. If you book with your tour guide you will all go as a group and will be assigned a dinner time. (Our group had the 5:00 pm seating.) Menu is listed as Alaskan Salmon, BBQ Pork Ribs, Baked Beans, Herb Potatoes, Corn, Salad, Biscuits, and Mixed Berry Cobbler. CruisetourDay/Night 4: We walked over to the lodge for breakfast and our 8:30 tour into the Park. The breakfast buffet was$21 pp. I don’t recall a menu option. I think it was just the $21 buffet or the “coffee stand” next door had breakfast sandwiches. We thought the $21 was reasonable since it included an omelet station and beverages. Biscuits and gravy were on the buffet and they were fairly tasty! Everything I had read said to make sure you“upgraded” to the Tundra Wilderness Tour. (The “Denali Natural History Tour” is included in the pre-cruise tour land package.) (“DNH” is a 4-5 tour and only takes you about 14 miles into the park. The “TWT” is a 6-9 hour tour and takes you much further into the park.) (It was $70 pp to upgrade to the “TWT”. Definitely worth the extra money.) Our driver was great. Very knowledgeable and recited about 5 very long poems to us….very impressive. As we started into the Park he was showing us all of the various trees and “warned” us that there was no “guarantee” of seeing wildlife. He indicated it might be a 9-hour “TREE”tour. Well after about an hour, I was wishing we were on the shorter tour!!! Shortly after that another bus indicated there was a bear to our right. We could not see it. The driver “zoomed in” and put the bear on the monitor. I told DH it was a video and that there really wasn’t a bear out there!!! We continued driving and to my excitement…..I spotted a bear crossing the road! The bus stopped and we were able to get great views of the bear wandering through the field! I was now so very glad we were on this tour! This was just the beginning of the “wildlife” we were to see during the day. The folks on our cruise-tour that did not upgrade and only did the shorter tour were very disappointed that they saw basically no wildlife while we saw numerous caribou, sheep, owl, eagle, and about 9 bears plus other animals that I can’t pronounce/spell. There is nothing luxurious about the bus that you will ride into the Park. NO restroom on the bus. However, you do stop approximately every 1.5 hours at very nice “outhouse” facilities. (Most restrooms are “unisex” so you can head to the shortest line!) The buses do have“monitors” though so when wildlife is spotted the driver can focus the camera and zoom in so it shows up on the monitor for you to see. There is also a very nice “snack pack”provided and a bottle of water. Snack pack includes a “slim jim”, veggie chips, cookies, parmesan crisps, sunflower kernels, and trail mix. Also, if you have kids with you….the driver will get “junior ranger kits” from the first ranger station. The kids then answer the questions and fill in the “form”. On the way out of the park, a ranger will then get on and give the kids a “badge” and “swear them in”as Junior Ranger. The “highlight” for our bus on this tour was when we saw a female bear and 2 cubs at a caribou“kill site” chowing down. Then a male bear approached and wanted the “kill site”. So he chased the female and cubs off. When they took off running, they ran right in front of our bus. (Luckily we were parked to watch them.) The folks in the front seat had a spectacular view and got awesome photos! We then saw a bicyclist about 1/16 of a mile down the road and the bus driver warned him of the bears because they were still sitting on the edge of the road when we had left. One thing to mention….all of the buses sort of “signal” each other as they see wildlife. The drivers have “hand signs” to signal what animal they are seeing. Also, the driver asks you to be very quiet while you are at stops for animal viewing. Since some people open the window to get a better view/picture, they don’t want the sound from the bus scaring the animal. You are also told to keep all food on the bus. Eat anything you want on the bus but do not take any food off of the bus at any stop. Close to the end of the tour the driver will pull over and pass back“bags”. There is a recycling bag for the plastics. Another recycling bag for the paper,etc. There is also a collection for“uneaten/unopened” snacks that will then be donated. Finally, there is a sack for “trash”(anything that can’t be recycled). We returned to the hotel around 5:00 pm just in time for DH to run to room to change clothes and head back to the Lodge to be picked up for his white-water rafting trip. He loved it. They provided a “dry suit” and“booties” to wear. He had ordered some“dry” gloves and had taken those. He was glad he had them. The white-water rafting was one of the major highlights of his trip. He got in around 10:30 pm and was starving. Luckily I had picked up a pre-packaged ham sandwich a little earlier from the General Store and had chips, cookies,etc. for him. I had eaten at the “Burger Shack”. It was “ok” but not spectacular. Choice of cheeseburger, turkey burger, salmon burger, or veggie burger with fries or fruit for $13 (or something like that). Not much of a selection there and service was acceptable but not overly friendly. I wasn’t sure what time he would get in but knew since the Burger Shack closed at 9:00 I couldn’t get him anything there that wouldn’t be too cold when he got back. The ham sandwich worked out fine since he was starving! It was along day for him but he loved it all! CruisetourDay/Night 5: We had 6:30 AM bag pull and then 1.5 hours until time to get on the bus. We put our bags out and then walked over to the Lodge for breakfast. We again had the $21 pp buffet but felt it was worth the money and not totally outrageous considering it is a hotel in a resort area. We loaded up on the bus and headed to Anchorage. As we were driving along, the clouds cleared and we were able to get our first “clear” views of Denali/Mt. McKinley. It only lasted about 15 minutes or so. By the time we made it to a rest stop (at Mary Carey’s), the clouds had moved back in over the top. We made it to Anchorage at around 1:00 pm. The driver/guide showed us the various shops/restaurants in the downtown area and then let us off. We had approx. 1.75 hours to have lunch,shop, etc. I had read several recommendations for Simon & Seaforts as one of the best restaurants in Anchorage so that is where we went to lunch. It was ok but I would not recommend it. The food and service were acceptable and the view was nice but I would have rather eaten at other places that were more “local” and more in the area that the bus had dropped us off.(Up by the Federal building.) Other folks on our bus raved about places they ate so wish I had made a better choice. After we were picked up in downtown Anchorage, we headed onto Alyeska for the last night of our land tour. This is a very posh hotel. Air conditioning and a safe! Several restaurants at the hotel including a5-star restaurant at the top of the tram. (Seven Glaciers restaurant.) From what I understand, you must make reservations weeks/months in advance to get in here. I had dinner in the bar area (without reservations). It was very tasty and decent prices. Food,drinks, and service were good. The cost of the tram ticket was included in our pre-cruise land tour but was only valid for that night (so not the next morning). (I believe tram tickets are complimentary if you are dining in the restaurant portion of Seven Glaciers.) There also is a shuttle that will take you in to the town of Girdwood where there are several restaurants. We did not go but others said they did and that there are some yummy restaurants in Girdwood. DH did a kayak excursion. He was picked up at the hotel and taken over to Whittier. He was told the saying is “The weather is always Sh!tt!er in Whittier”. He was told they get very few sunny days and very few “glassy sea” days and very rarely both in the same day but that he had“lucked in” and got both. He loved it. It was “the” highlight of his trip. DH had dinner at one of the restaurants in the hotel after he returned. I went to sit with him while he ate. He had spaghetti that looked and smelled nice. Since this was our last night, all luggage(the “every night” and the “stored” bags) were brought to the room. Cruisetour Day 6 /Cruise Day 1: On the last day of the cruisetour/first day of cruise, the bags were to be pulled at 8:30. The bags will NOT go on the bus with us. They will be transported to the ship on a separate truck. So we had to make sure we had“valuables” (passport, cruise docs, medications, etc.) with us and not in the bags to be sent separately. We showered and prepared the bags to go into the hallway. Then we went to breakfast. There was a breakfast buffet or order off of the menu. I don’t remember the exact price of the buffet but I believe it was in the $20-22 pp range. We looked it over and decided to order fromt he menu. The food was very good. The restaurant was packed and we had to wait about 10 minutes for a table. Just after breakfast I checked my email. I had one from RC labeled “We have upgraded you!”. Uh oh….I had specifically had our record indicated not to upgrade. We like the location of our cabin for“glacier viewing”. Well….the email stated they had upgraded us to “XYZ category”. Well….that is the category we had booked! So a frantic call to the TA to ask what was going on. She called RC and they stated that there was no upgrade. They confirmed we were still in the cabin we had booked. Whew!!!! We left around 10:15 for the 2 hour drive to Seward. We stopped at an “outhouse” to use the restroom and take pictures at a nice “scenic spot”. We were then dropped off at the SeaLife center for about an hour. It was an interesting stop and the fee was included in our land tour price. An hour is about all of the time you need there but it was fun to see the animals. There is a snack bar inside if you need something to eat. There are also restaurants down the street but tour guide recommended the SeaLife Center overtaking time to eat and I would agree. You are about to get on the ship with plenty of food availability! We loaded back on the bus and headed to the ship! We arrived at the cruise terminal around 2:00 pm for our check-in. Since the bags had been transported by truck separately, we did not have to deal with any luggage. We took our carry-on and headed to the check-in desk. No line at all. One of the quickest check-ins that we have ever had! (Our tour guide stated that the land tour company/guides coordinate arrivals so that all of the buses don’t show up all at once.) We then headed off to the ship. It was a short walk to the ship but once you got there you had to walk “up” the ramp for boarding (deck 5). We saw folks with scooters/electric wheelchairs able to go up the ramp but sometimes needed a little assistance. Once on the ship you again must show your passport and get your seapass photo taken at the security checkpoint. Just past that as you are about to enter the interior….of course….the photographers are there to get your“boarding” photo! Normally we skip these but decided to get it done today. So glad we did as it actually turned out to be one of the better photos of the week with snow-capped mountains in the background and has “printed” the ship name, date, etc so that will be a good memory of our “One and Done” Alaska trip. Muster: Muster was the quickest, most efficient we have ever experienced! We had pre-booked the First Night Done Right Dinner for $15 pp. They assign the restaurant but you get to pick the time. We did not have any notification in our room as to which restaurant so I had to contact Guest Services to find out we were going to Giovanni’s. (After we returned from dinner we had the printed notification along with the next day’s Compass, etc.) Giovanni’s is the “old” menu. There are things on it we like and things we don’t. Oh well….we didn’t leave hungry and the service was terrific! After dinner I went to the room to work on unpacking while DH went to the casino. He wasn’t there long as the craps table is a “pit” (short) type table rather than the usual table (less dealers required) and no Ultimate Texas Hold’em table. Day 2: HubbardGlacier The day was great. We could sleep in a little and then find brunch! Nice leisurely morning until arrival time at Hubbard Glacier! It was a marvelous afternoon! We spent the afternoon on the balcony. We had an aft stateroom so were basically able to see the glacier all afternoon since we could see it no matter which side of the ship was facing the glacier. It was sunny and warm at Hubbard Glacier which we thought was spectacular. We had prepared with warm jackets, hats, gloves, etc but quickly shed those and actually ended up in just short-sleeved shirts and even considered shorts but didn’t change. We were actually told several days later that the scenery is even more spectacular on cloudy days as the “colors” are more“brilliant” in the clouds. Our only regret was not going out to the public areas where the photographers weretaking “professional” photos of pax with the glacier in the background. We didnot know this was happening as it was not advertised (or we missed reading it).(Should have thought about it but didn’t!) We did still get some good shots of us though with our own camera. The view (and sounds!) of the glacier were indeed the highlight of the cruise. The ship did offer an “excursion” for Hubbard Glacier. It was a small 2-deck boat that would get you“closer” to the glacier. It had to be booked on day 1. We were told it was an“experiment” to see if it would be a good excursion to add for next year. Cost was $239 pp. We opted not to do this and thought our view of the glacier from the ship was just fine. However, we did talk to a couple of people that did it and they said they saw a whale up close and that they thought it was worth their money. It was the first formal night. Although we usually “doll up” in tux/cocktail or long dress, etc for formal nights we decided to forego the formal clothes for this trip for packing purposes. We still wore “nicer” clothes but most definitely not formal. We dined in Chops for dinner. Service was excellent. Food was good. (Although we all agreed the filet in Giovanni’s was better the previous night.) Day 3: Juneau We had reserved a car at Avis on Mill Street. I had read that it was about a mile away. While still standing on the ship,my “phone map app” indicated it was 2.0 miles away. We departed the ship just as the ship was cleared. There were a few people on shore ex off in front of us. We were looking for a taxi to take us to the Avis office. We did not see any so DH walked over to the visitor’s booth to inquire about a taxi. They were not aware that the Avis office had relocated. About that time we saw a taxi mini-van drive toward us so we flagged her down. She didn’t appear too happy to stop and was even less happy when she found out we were only going 2 miles. She did take us though and we gave her a generous tip for her troubles. The Avis staff was great. Auto was ready and they actually “upgraded” us as the vehicle size we had reserved was not available. They provided us with driving directions to various sites. They also provided us with a phone number fora taxi service in case we came back after the office was closed. (Technically we had reserved the car for 24-hours so could have kept it past closing hours if we wanted.) We had a great day just driving around. We headed out to Mendenhall Glacier first thing. We did get there before the buses, etc. DH went on a short hike. I just walked out to the “viewing”platform and then went back to the visitor’s center. Inside the visitor’s center there is a 15-minute video that is nice. The Rangers did several short “presentations” while I was sitting in there waiting. The buses were pulling in as we were leaving. The glacier was nice to see but it was not as spectacular as Hubbard. If we had seen Mendenhall first we probably would have been more impressed but since we had just seen Hubbard the previous day, Mendenhall wasn’t quite as spectacular. As we were leaving we saw folks kayaking toward the glacier and DH thought that would have been a really cool thing to do! We then drove out to the Shrine of St Therese. It was very quaint. Not sure I would spend time going out there again but it was very neat to see. We then stopped for what I thought was going to be a “light” lunch. I had read ahead of time about a restaurant named Gonzoak. I had listed it in my notes for the day but had not listed what type food. Walking in the door the smell of fresh yeast was amazing. They make cinnamon rolls,croissants, etc. The menu was basically breakfast with a couple of sandwich options. One person had fresh corned beef hash, eggs, and biscuit. One person had a BLT on homemade hoagie type bun. Two others had waffles loaded with various items both inside the waffle batter and on top. Everything was amazing!!! (One unisex restroom in the restaurant.) After that we went to Glacier Gardens. The guys decided they didn’t want to pay the $25 pp fee so they just sat in the car for the hour or so we were there. I thought the $25 was fairly reasonable for what we saw. The staff explains the history of the property to you. You are taken to the top (and back down) on a tram. The flowers and “gardens” are really amazing to see. There is a very nice snack bar and gift shop at the entrance. Very nice, clean,multi-stall gender specific restrooms. Our next stop was MacAulay Salmon Hatchery. We did the 15 minute tour and saw the salmon“ladder”. There was a seal finding his dinner amongst the salmon. Very cool! After that we drove across the bridge to “Douglas Island”. We were able to get some good pix of all of the ships in port from there. After that we crossed back across the bridge and put fuel in the auto. We then returned to the Avis office around 5:30 (before the 6:00 pm closing). DH called a taxi company and they told him they would get there “as soon as they could” but would not give him any time frame. The Avis clerk called another company and was told the same. DH then pulled up his Uber app and it showed no cars available. Luckily, the taxi driver called within just a couple of minutes and said he would be there in 5 minutes. He arrived quickly and was very polite. He understood our short ride and received a generous tip for his trouble. He dropped us back at the pier near Tracy’s Crab Shack. I was determined to eat at Tracy’s since i had read so much about it. Even thought hey are at a new location this year….it is still very crowded. It was probably close to 6:00 then and the line was out the door. There were probably 10 people in front of us and it probably took 15 minutes to get to the front of the line. The menu is limited and the prices a little on the high side. The biggest issue is no seating. Even though they have signs asking you not to save seats….there were people saving seats. When we pressed them about having their bags in the chairs they searched for their “party” to only find out that everyone they were saving the seats for were already seated in other chairs!!!! The staff should not have allowed the seat-saving! We had the crab bisque, crab-cake, and king crab leg combo with the additional king crableg. The bisque was good. The crab-cake was only so-so. I would not order it again. However, the king crab leg was amazing!!!! I would definitely go there again for the king crab legs! We had planned to do a little shopping afterwards but the “dinner struggle” wore everyone out so we just headed back to the ship for the evening. Day 4: Skagway We had pre-booked the bus/train/dog-sled ride independently with Chilkoot Charters via the internet. A friend we had met on a previous cruise had recommended them. We booked the “Bus Then Train With DogsledRide”. We were met by the CC Greeter and directed to our mini-bus and driver. We had Jennie for a driver/guide. Pros: Loved, loved,loved our driver/guide Jennie. She was awesome. She was very knowledgeable,friendly, efficient, and humorous. One of the best guides we have ever had on any excursion. The mini-bus was very comfy. The lunch provided was tasty. (BBQ dark meat chicken, ½ baked potato, yummy coleslaw, rolls, butter, donuts, coffee, tea) The taxidermy museum at the lunch stop was very, very cool! The stops were timed very well. Jennie helped us beat “the tourists” to each of the destinations. The bus ride up was nice. We did have one bathroom break. She stopped several times and took pictures of each party at the “welcome” signs. We had about 45 minutes to shop in Carcross after lunch. It had some neat little shops. We bought maple syrup and some yummy maple “cones” at a little shop called Maple Rush. The little cones were baby ice cream cones with maple syrup in the bottom and topped with maple fudge! Yummmmmmyyy! The train ride back down the mountain was really fun. I was out on the platform when we went through the tunnel. It was really awesome although eery at the same time! The smell of diesel was a little strong though while in the tunnel. Everyone enjoyed the train ride. The narrator does walk through at the end(for gratuities). There also is a “host”that sells “memorabilia” during the train ride. There is nothing fancy about these train cars but they are fine for this short ride. Lots of windows to lookout. You can go out on the platform at the front or back of the car but you are not allowed to cross to another car. Each car does have one unisex restroom. The scenery is awesome and the history in interesting. The train stops a couple of places to pick up hikers/campers. There are bottles of water at the front or back of each car that are complimentary. A Chilkoot bus will meet you at the train stop back in Skagway. Apparently it mayor may not be your same driver so you need to extend your gratuity to the bus driver before you get on the train. (If you are doing the bus first, train last order of the tour.)(The tour is also offered as train first, bus last.) We did get the same driver/bus when we arrived back in Skagway. You have the option of getting back on the bus and being dropped back at the ship or if you prefer you may just walk 3 blocks into town and shop. If you choose to walk in to town to shop, you then can walk back to the ship or take a shuttle. Apparently, it is about ½ mile walk back to the ship from downtown or we heard there is a shuttle for $2. We chose just to take the CC bus back to the ship. Cons: The only con I can come up with on this tour was the dogsled ride was overpriced for what yougot. It was advertised as a 15-minute dogsled ride but we were only gone about 8 minutes. Three sleds left one right after the other. We were the third one to leave and the first one back. I doubt the others got much more than 9.5 minutes each. For $36 pp I would have expected the full 15-minutes. Also, those not purchasing the ride could get into the “ride loading area” so other than actually sitting on the sled they got to see as much as those that paid the additional $36 for the ride. (Note: The dog-sled ride was an option to the tour. Some people on the bus had not purchased that option.) I had planned on us having an early dinner at Skagway Fish Company as it had been recommended by friends and everything I read sounded awesome. However, DH and friends decided they wanted to go the MDR for dinner since we hadn’t been there yet. So back on the ship for a little relaxation and then we went to MDR for 8:00 pm dinner. We met our dining team and they were both excellent (and cute!!!!). Day 5: IcyStraight Point There was a bald eagle in a tree straight across from theship so everyone had a great view of it. The pier here is new….apparently less than a year old. The deck you depart on may not be the de****u return to depending on the tide. There is some “incline” to the ramp/dock but I did see a “golf cart”type tram that appeared to be transporting some of the mobility challenged pax. I did not see how far it took them though. A friend had recommended whale watching at this port but the friends we were travelling with did not want to go whale watching. They wanted to go look for bears. So I had pre-booked an independent bear watching excursion through Hoonah Adventures via the internet. We did the “Wilderness Bear Watching” through Hoonah Adventures. Pros: Booking was easy. Meet and Greet Staff was friendly,informative, and efficient. The guides from the various companies do share info so if one spots a bear then the other companies also know where to go at that moment. The guides also have a “shotgun” in case a bear gets too close and needs to be scared away. Cons: The booking confirmation which lists directions to the meeting place (“Excursion Hub”) should indicate distance/estimated time for the walk from the ship. It is labeled well once you are on the pier but doesn’t indicate that it is a little bit of a walk to get there so could cause issues for those with mobility issues not allowing sufficient time for the walk. While bear siting is not“guaranteed”, we did see one bear at the bridge and “bear’s butt” of 2 other bears (as they were running into the woods). It was a cloudy, drizzly day so not sure if that had anything to do with the bear siting s or not. The price seems a little high for what we got. The biggest “con” was the tour guide. I hate saying bad things about people. I am sure he is a nice gentleman but just was not the type guide we enjoy. He spent most of the 3 hour tour talking about himself and his family…although he was relating it to local culture. One lady asked to stop for a bathroom….he told her he would back the van into the woods so she could go…but he never stopped. On top of that…we were 15 minutes late getting back…which then only left 15 minutes for the “1/2 mile+”walk back to the ship. We were only“saved” by a ship’s excursion also running late. ISP is a privately owned area. We didn’t wander around but it does not appear that there is much there. A couple of restaurants and a few shops. (Although it is “spread out” so creates a “long walk”.) So I would think you definitely would want some type of “excursion” at this port rather than just “wandering around”. This was the second formal night. Again, we had not brought “formal” clothes so we dressed “nicer” but not formal. We dined in the MDR. Day 6: Ketchikan Our only truly all-day rain/drizzle! DH and friend took the 9:30 am kayak trip through the ship. They were taken by bus to then get on a small“raft type” boat (with motor) that then took them to the kayaks. He said he enjoyed it a lot but not as much as the kayak trip in Whittier on the land portion of the trip. The girls just got off of the ship and shopped around Ketchikan. It was a short walk to the shopping area. After the kayak trip, the guys met us at Chico’s for Mexican and pizza. This restaurant had been recommended by a friend of a friend. Prices were reasonable and food was good. I thought the pizza was better than the Mexican….but we eat Tex-Mex multiple times weekly so probably not good judges. I bought at-shirt at Soho Coho Gallery. Bought salmon(shipped home) at Salmon, Etc. Enjoyed purchasing “lotions”, “food specialties” at Blasphemous Bills. Great pricing on souvenir clothing, etc at Tongass Trading Company. Found some great handmade Christmas ornaments and hand carved train at local “art” type shops. Top Tier Party in Colony Club for C&A Platinum and above members at 7:30 (between seatings). We were amazed at the lack of participation. DH counted less than 100 pax in the room. Have never seen a Top Tier party with that few folks. Dined at Giovanni’s again that evening. Day 7: inside Passage Another leisurely morning. Slept a little late. Had breakfast. Saw a large group of dolphins jumping alongside the ship while we ate breakfast. Sat on balcony while cabin attendant finished room. Then started packing! Then did MDR for lunch so we could get the great salad bar. Then a little shopping/browsing in the shops. A very short stop in the casino. Then back to the room for more packing. It was a gorgeous sunny afternoon so we were going in/out of the balcony as we were taking pack breaks. I was just about to decide it was time to take an early shower when DH said….”We are slowing down and turning”. We looked out a saw a small boat with 10 people in it. Had we been in the Caribbean we would have thought we were stopping to “rescue” them. Nope….turns out they were on a whale watching boat and had spotted whales. We were able to see 13 whales from the balcony. They were in the water (not “jumping”) so not great views but close enough and good enough to count them. Then within just a few minutes we saw 3 baby whales right next to the ship. So cute!!! I had been so disappointed when our friends had wanted to go “bear watching” rather than “whale watching”. So getting to see these so close to the ship made me happy!!!! Final dinner in the MDR and say goodbye to the excellent wait team! Then off to bed. I couldn’t sleep so went out to the balcony to enjoy it one last time! Day 8: Time to go home We had breakfast and waited on our number to be announced for departure. Once we were called, it was straight off of the ship to baggage claim and off to the taxi line. It was one of the easiest debarkations we have ever experienced. The only issue was that they were still pulling luggage from the ship so there were no porters available. While we were able to manage our own luggage, we would have preferred to use the services of a porter. Oh well! We made it to the taxi stand. Had to wait probably about 15 minutes for our turn in the taxi line. We thought it progressed fine although the folks behind us were grumbling. We had an excellent, friendly taxi driver. Cost from the pier to the airport was 36.50 Canadian. (metered ride) We gave him $40 US. (4 of USplus bags) I didn’t time it but I am guessing about a 30 minute ride. Once at the airport, we had no trouble checking in or getting a porter to assist with the bags. We “whizzed” through customs/immigration as we have Global Entry. Our friends do not have it so it took them about an extra 30 minutes. They said it was very fast and efficient though with self-serve passport scanners, etc. (If you are flying to the US, you process through US Customs in the Vancouver airport.) We were probably at the gate waiting within 1.5-2 hours of getting off the ship. Flights were close to on-time and travel home went smoothly! We were home in our bed around 2:00 am the next morning (11:00 pm ship time!). Weather: It “felt” warmer than we had anticipated. The temps were around what we had expected (55-65 in late July) but it “felt” warmer than the temps. Everything I had read said that we needed to“layer”. I had taken primarily long-sleeved shirts, a couple of short sleeved shirts, long pants (khaki/denim), leggings,a couple of pairs of shorts just in case it was warm enough, light-weight water-repellant vests, sweater vests, down vests, lightweight windbreaker, heavier fleece jacket, rain ponchos, and rain jackets. We wore long pants/leggings every day….never got quite warm enough for the shorts. However, several days we stripped down to short-sleeve or sleeveless tops! The two best “investments” we made for attire for the trip were: first Merrell Gore-tex mid-height “boots” and second, lightweight water repellant vest with many pockets! We only used the raincoat one day and never had to pull the ponchos out as “backup”. We wore the “fleece type” jacket maybe an hour the whole trip! I never wore the down vest or shorts. Laundry: We had planned to use the ship’s Wash &Fold Special. It is usually $35 for a full bag of laundry (as much as you can stuff in the bag). (As the name says….it s Wash & Fold….no pressing, etc. but works great for socks, undies, etc.)Many ships will let you use this special on “any day”. Not here. They have a strict policy of only on “the” day. (Day 4 for this voyage) We had not taken this into consideration when packing considering we were doing 5 night pre-cruise! Uh oh! It ended up working out ok….except that…in addition to it only being on“the” day….it also takes 3 days to get back rather than the normal 2 day return! (Returned 6 pm on Day 6 rather than the usual 6 pm on Day 5) Nope…we didn’t wear dirty undies or socks….but we could not have made it one more day! Dining: “Traditional” dining first seating is 5:30 and second seating is 8:00 pm. While the menus arethe same as other ships, the food quality/preparation seemed to be a little better than on the other ships most recently. (The only disappointment was the night that was supposed to be “Prime Rib” was strip steak instead even though the menu still had Prime Rib printed on it.) Chops and Giovanni’s both had good quality food and excellent service. We did not get to dine at Samba. I had hoped to go but it didn’t work out. We have no interest and have never dined at Izumi on any ship so can’t give any info on it. We saw the Boardwalk Doghouse and small Park Café in the solarium but did not try either . Casino: Nice that the formal nights were non-smoking in the casino from 6 pm. Although we did not spend nearly as much time in there as we had anticipated. The short craps table and lack of UTH table did not please DH so he didn’t spend as much time (or $) as usual. I was not pleased with the selection of slot machines. There were no “name” type machines. (No Sex and the City, No Wheel of Fortune, no “tv show” type machines, no jackpot party) Therefore, I spent a lot less time (& $) in there than normal also! Towel animal: Had the best towel animal ever one night. Rushed into the stateroom after dinner/show to use the restroom. Flung open the bathroom door and SCREAMED! There was someone sitting on my toilet! The cabin attendant had made legs out of a towel and hung them over the toilet and then closed the lid. The“legs” then went into my flip-flops. At first glance, looked just like a person. Once I quit screaming (with apologies to my neighbors), I died laughing. I was determined to stay awake until DH came in to see if he screamed too! Nope, he didn’t! Cruisetour: We had not done a pre-cruise tour previously so did not know what to expect or how to compare. As mentioned previously, we would much have preferred the option to pre-book the “optional land excursions”. Apparently, each guide must make their own land tour bookings after they get the forms from their group. It seemed more logical to us that they would call the “office” with the forms and then have the “office” “centralize bookings” since some excursions had minimum number of participants. We thought our guide did “ok”. Since we had not done a pre-cruise tour before we don’t have anyone to compare her to so can’t really say if she was “good”or “bad”. I know other people on the bus were not pleased with her. Apparently she told different parties, different times for the same event, meeting time,etc. On several occasions she did change the “meeting/departure” times 15 minutes either direction from the “printed time schedule”. So there probably are better guides out there but I am certain there are probably worse guides also! Overall, she did an acceptable job and got us where we needed to be when we needed to be and delivered everything “promised”in the cruisetour description. Pricing: The cruise/land tour pricing was higher pricing than we typically pay for a cruise. However, Idid a little price comparison of estimating what a DIY land tour would have cost versus what we paid and it seemed to be about the same. With the cruisetour we didn’t have to get a rent car and drive. That way we could both see the “scenery” as we were riding (train/bus) rather than one of us having to keep an eye on the road. (To do the train for each of the travel segments would have cost a lot more.) Also, not having to handle the luggage ourselves was a major plus in our book! We typically would have used “Bell Staff” and tipped them arriving & departing. As it was, we never saw the Bell Staff so were unable to extend gratuities. I had read that all of the prices in Alaska were so much more expensive than home because they have such a shortened season that they must “make their money” in a shorter time frame. We really did not find the prices to be that much more expensive. Considering we were eating/shopping for the most part in “hotel” and “resort towns” we thought the prices were fairly reasonable. So that is the long story of our “One and Done” Alaskan cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise for my sister and brother in law's 25 anniversary. We had a great time. The staff was exceptional. We did a land tour prior to the cruise so we boarded around 5:00 and it went very smoothly. We were constantly on ... Read More
We chose this cruise for my sister and brother in law's 25 anniversary. We had a great time. The staff was exceptional. We did a land tour prior to the cruise so we boarded around 5:00 and it went very smoothly. We were constantly on the go seeing new things. There were plenty of excursions to do. We did the helicopter in Juneau and landed on two glaciers. It was amazing to see. We also did a whale watching tour in Icy Strait, a sea plane in Ketchikan and the train ride in Skagway. We loved all of the excursions. I will say If you get motion sick, you may want to rethink a sea plane. We ate in 3 specialty restaurants, Chops, Giovanni's and Sabor. The food was fantastic in all of them. We also did my time dining for the other nights and was pleased with the service and the food. The entertainment was rather light on this cruise. If you are used to the broadway shows and other high caliber shows from the bigger ships, you will be disappointed. Everyone should do an Alaskan cruise once in their life time! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The Radiance was absolutely the most beautiful ship I have been on. Understand that I have a preference for small to mid-size ships, and haven't been on RCCL's larger ships, but I found the common areas of the Radiance to be ... Read More
The Radiance was absolutely the most beautiful ship I have been on. Understand that I have a preference for small to mid-size ships, and haven't been on RCCL's larger ships, but I found the common areas of the Radiance to be nicer than even the few luxury ships that I have been on. Of course, the cabins remain small and a bit cramped...but I don't take a cruise to spend much time in the cabin. The center elevators are all glass, looking out to the mountains gliding by or to the beautiful Centrum. The Schooner Lounge was extra nice, and the additional lounges (English pub, plus a lounge with pool tables and chess boards, and the Centrum, with early evening entertainment) were so nice. Large windows in the main dining room provided great views of the scenery (as it doesn't get dark in Alaska in mid-summer!). We sailed south on the Inside Passage, and the itinerary was perfect. We enjoyed all of the ports, with our favorite being Skagway. We took the White Pass Mountain Train excursion which was excellent. We were a little surprised that once we got to the top, we had no time to enjoy it, though, just got into a bus for the much quicker ride down. The town was adorable. We enjoyed lunch at a local bistro, shopping, and then the Ghost & Good Time Girls tour was so much fun! Ketchikan is the best place to buy a fleece-lined, rain-resistant jacket so necessary in AK, but when going south it's the last port, so not so helpful. We loved the float-plane flight-seeing experience there. We booked that one ourselves, and it's very easy to do if you do your research, and can save a bit of money. In Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier is a must-see...but there are many ways to get there, so explore your options (we rented a car, which had pros and cons.) Icy Straight Point was our second favorite port, My husband and daughter LOVED the Ziprider, and learning about the Hoonah people was delightful. My only regret on the cruise was missing the Bear experience there...should have booked that excursion. Of course, experiencing the Hubbard Glacier and watching it calve is what makes traveling to Alaska an incredible experience (and we were lucky to have the best weather for it!). The food on the ship was the very usual RCCL good food...but it's pretty much the same menu as the Caribbean ships and I was disappointed that there was not more fresh local seafood served. I usually have a hard time understanding why people pay to eat at port restaurants when there is so much good food available on the ship...but this time, I did eat locally wherever possible to enjoy the awesome fresh Alaskan seafood. The Showcase Lounge in Seward had the best seafood chowder imaginable! The Casino was decent, with at least half of it non-smoking (if only all of it was!). The craps table, though, was very small (didn't know they made miniature ones!), and allowed only single-odds the entire cruise...which was a bit disappointing. The entertainment was not really up to RCCL standards, but okay. The two production shows were good. I only heard one comedian, which I did not care for. The piano player in the Schooner lounge was subpar in our opinion (having heard some amazing ones over the years). But the theme parties held in the Centrum were a wonderful and super-fun addition I hadn't seen on RCCL previously (enjoyed especially by my 20 year-old daughter). Speaking of her, she felt that this cruise was particularly exclusive for the 18-20 year-old young adults. She has aged-out of the kids and teen groups, but was unable to partake in adult activities. In the Caribbean, as with most other itineraries, at 18 they are allowed to gamble in the Casino. On other lines, they are often allowed alcohol as well. But not in Alaska (or Hawaii) as the ship does not travel in International waters. We had not realized that when we booked, otherwise we might have waited another year for this trip. The last tip I will give is to take the Alaskan Railroad Gold Star domed car between Anchorage and Seward either on the front-end (if you are going southbound) or the back-end (if northbound). That was, definitely a highlight of our whole trip. You can stand outside and take such amazing pictures! It included a very good breakfast, two drinks, amazing views (inside or out), and your luggage is taken directly to the ship for you (if southbound). Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We wanted to do an Alaska cruise and booked this one. The ship was very nice. It was good to have a movie theater and I watched two movies. We thought that the overall food was very good, even the Windjammer. Probably better than other RC ... Read More
We wanted to do an Alaska cruise and booked this one. The ship was very nice. It was good to have a movie theater and I watched two movies. We thought that the overall food was very good, even the Windjammer. Probably better than other RC cruises. Funny thing was that I ordered a glass of wine but they did not have the first two wines that I requested! The Cruise Director was terrific and the staff were very nice. Two production shows were good and we really enjoyed the second one. Several of the comedians we did not enjoy, especially the final night 'late night' one- we left. The singer/comedian was really good. Jonathan Clarke? It rained pretty much every day and we did not see the sun from 7/7 until late 7/12! The ship brought us to within 0.5 miles from Hubbard Glacier so that was awesome. We arranged our own excursions using Juneau Tours in Juneau and Chilkoot Tours in Skagway. That was a very special trip that took us into the Canadian Yukon. We didn't enjoy Icy Strait Point. There were some good nature tours available but it was a rainy day. We didn't spend much time there. We shopped in Ketchikan and bought some very nice native type jewelry at Soaring Eagle. I recommend checking them out if you like that kind of stuff. Our inside cabin was typical, except for the crying youngster next door form the first two nights. It was the trip of a lifetime Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
The Alaska trip on Royal Caribbean was one of our top trips every. My wife and I have travel all over the world and this is one of the most beautiful places on the earth. We can not wait to get back because you do not see everything in ... Read More
The Alaska trip on Royal Caribbean was one of our top trips every. My wife and I have travel all over the world and this is one of the most beautiful places on the earth. We can not wait to get back because you do not see everything in one trip. Our greatest thrill was taking our two 16 year old grandsons with us. We bonded and they had a great time. The land tour is a must. A train ride thru the mountains was spectacular. Every stop was better than the next one. Picture taking is a must. The only complaint was that we did not spend more time at some of our stops. The people where outstanding. The cruise portion of the trip was outstanding. Each town we stop at there was so much to see. The ship food was very good and the shows where excellent. We took a room at the back of the ship and it was perfect for this trip. The views as we where leaving each location from our balcony was post card views. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this cruise on the recommendations of several people we have met since we started cruiseing just over six years ago. It was also somewhere we wanted to go. We enjoyed the Land tour and saw some wonderful sites and a lot of ... Read More
We chose this cruise on the recommendations of several people we have met since we started cruiseing just over six years ago. It was also somewhere we wanted to go. We enjoyed the Land tour and saw some wonderful sites and a lot of wildlife, some that are not seen frequently. But the train rides were to ch at times. Luckily we had a good group of people to break up the time spent onboard. However the cruise was what we are use to by RC's crew, had a fantastic time, but after 31 cruises now it is difficult to say which ship or crew is the best, because we find every one has been wonderful, we know some people would disagree, but it's what you make out of the vacation to how well it goes off. Roll on our next cruise, which is in five weeks time from Copenhagen around the Baltic. Keep providing RC. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We took our family on this cruise. Boarding went quickly. Our 3 rooms were next to each other, our ages are 70-6. We had three grandchildren 9, 8, and 6. Most of our party have been on the mega ships and smaller ships. We felt between the ... Read More
We took our family on this cruise. Boarding went quickly. Our 3 rooms were next to each other, our ages are 70-6. We had three grandchildren 9, 8, and 6. Most of our party have been on the mega ships and smaller ships. We felt between the rock climbing wall, inside pool (during children's hours), and the children's activity room at night they were never bored. Plus with kids, in Alaska, we were off the ship with excursions or exploring at each docking. When we were in the Caribbean, on a mega ship, we didn't care if we got off the ship. I booked all our excursions online through TripAdvisor.com suggestions. We enjoyed them and again we're impressed with how nice everyone was. The food was good and the staff throughout the ship was excellent. The entertainment was enjoyable and if that had been priority we'd have gone on a bigger ship. It was nice that this ship never felt crowded like th big ships when you cannot find a lounge chair. When the cruise was over no one in our party of 8 would have changed a thing. Our 6 year old grandson went around hugging the pillars saying, "Goodbye ship!" I also want to commend Royal Caribbean, for when we had our formal night a party of 4-6 showed up with tee shirts, blue jeans, and tennis shoes. They were directed towards the Windjammer buffet. Thank you. We didn't pack nice clothes and get dressed up to have others ruin the special atmosphere. That is so disrespectful of others. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
This was my third cruise, first time with Royal Caribbean so it was fun to compare and contrast the different ship lines that I have been on. I traveled with my family and we had rooms throughout the ship so we were able to get a wide view ... Read More
This was my third cruise, first time with Royal Caribbean so it was fun to compare and contrast the different ship lines that I have been on. I traveled with my family and we had rooms throughout the ship so we were able to get a wide view of how things worked as well. We sailed out of Seward and I have to say, it was the fastest embarkation that I have ever been a part of. My family was able to start getting on the boat at 1130am! I was through the signin and security in less than five minutes and ready to get on the boat. We had our luggage within three hours of getting on the ship and were allowed into our rooms starting at 1pm. Since we had a late sail day out of Seward, a lot of people got on and off the ship to check the cute town out. We opted to explore the ship and go swimming instead, just because we were in Alaska and wanted to swim outside! The rooms were neat and tidy. We had a window room and thankfully it had dark curtains in it so we were able to sleep even though the sun never really went down. My brother in law had an interior room with no window and stated he slept amazing due to no light at all. Our room was always clean and ready to go when we went to it. Our steward was courteous and hung out in the hall so he could open the door for us when we came by. I was sad that we didn't get towel animals every day. Of the 7 days that we sailed, we only got 3 towel animals. While I know this is something silly, it is something I really look forward to at the end of the night so I was sad that none of my family got animals more than 3 times. Also, don't plan on watching TV when you are there. On other ships, they have new release movies playing on a loop, but this boat simply had regular programming complete with commercials on a loop. We did the 8pm My Time Dining in the main dining hall. Our servers were so friendly and fun to have. They even got in on our family shrimp competition and had plates of shrimp cocktail waiting when the menfolk arrived. The food was delicious and several times we all ordered something and ordered a dish for the middle of the table of something we all wanted to try. Nothing I ate was bad at the main dining hall. We did all of our breakfasts in the Windjammer, which got to be repetitive after a while. They didn't seem to change up the buffet menu at all. Lunch was great in the Windjammer and I had some of the best curry food I have had in a long time. Overall, very please with the food on the boat. Drinking is always way overpriced on a cruise. My spouse got the drink package so he was set with alcohol and coffee for the trip. Since I do not drink coffee and minimal alcohol, I just paid per drink. It is unfortunate that you cannot order a double shot drink even though you have the drink package. We were told that is not allowed. I thought several of my drinks were extremely weak and extremely overpriced for what they were. The bar staff was very friendly and did a great job of quickly learning what we were drinking and remembering from day to day. I thought the shows on this ship were terrible. Normally I eat dinner early so I can make it to them all. I expect them to be a little cheesy or corny, since it is a cruise but these were downright bad. Bad jokes, no one laughing. One night was a game show with the audience instead of a performance. Other ships do this much better. Also, there is a movie theater but several of the seat bottoms are missing. My spouse ended up sitting on the floor for the movie because his chair had no seat. Juneau-We did an excursion to the Mendenhall glacier. we booked it through the cruise and it was expensive but so worth it. We canoed out to the glacier and then went into the Ice Caves of it. Absolutely breathtaking views. After the Ice Caves, the guides have you strap on spikes and climb up the glacier. I cannot stress how amazing of an experience this was. It was the absolute highlight of my trip! Worth every since penny. They also provide all of the gear needed and the guides have a huge wealth of knowledge and clearly love what they do. Skagway-very upsetting morning because we had booked the glassblowing excursion and after running around on the pier frantically looking for the guide, we find out that they cancelled it on us. We had planned our whole day around this and missing things with family because of it. We ended up doing the Streetcar Tour which was informative but we were kinda not in the mood due to our morning. In the afternoon, we did the Ocean Raft Adventure with the coast guard speed boats. Very Cool and super fun. If you have kids, they will love it!! Icy Straight Point-not much here. We walked around in the tide pools for a while but overall, this day was boring for me and we went back to the boat to swim instead. Ketchikan-We did the Totem Pole park and Lumberjack show! I loved the stories for the Totems and specifically picked this so I could hear the stories. The lumberjack show is just good fun. It really looks like they are having a blast doing what they do and I laughed pretty hard several times. It is also a cute town to walk around in. Overall I thought this was a great trip. We met some fun people and heard a lot of stories of peoples adventures. My inlaws did whale watching and absolutely loved it. They also went halibut fishing and caught a ton of stuff. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone and already have to anyone who will listen to me. :) Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We thoroughly enjoyed our time onboard Radiance of the Seas. The ship was clean, well kept, had excellent staff, excellent entertainment, and a wonderful itinerary. All of the public areas on the ship were very well maintained. We ... Read More
We thoroughly enjoyed our time onboard Radiance of the Seas. The ship was clean, well kept, had excellent staff, excellent entertainment, and a wonderful itinerary. All of the public areas on the ship were very well maintained. We spent a lot of time in the Schooner Bar and Colony Club because that's where most of the activities we participated in were located. I think my only complaint would be that some of the chairs were not the most comfortable. After sitting for an hour I was definitely ready to get up and getting moving again. Generally though, the look and feel of each of the bars and lounges was very nice. We did not spend much time in the Solarium on the trip as we didn't feel like swimming. It was beautiful though and when we were there it was well kept and always clean. We were very pleased with Captain Trim as he was able to get us extremely close to Hubbard Glacier and he even took the time to turn the ship around at different points so everyone had a viewing advantage at one time or another. And when there were storms up ahead of us, he and his crew maneuvered us around them so we wouldn't have bad weather. The food in the main dining room was great! We ate there every night but one. Our wait staff was very attentive and friendly. They made sure we enjoyed our meal each and every night. The one night we did speciality dining we ate at Izumi. We were very impressed with the quality of the food they had. My husband is allergic to shellfish and they were extremely accomodating and even made his California roll (which came with snow crab) with salmon instead! The cruise director's staff was very friendly and had a lot of wonderful activities planned. There was of course many different trivia options, Bingo, The Love and Marriage Game Show, The Quest, etc. We especially enjoyed the themed nights they had: 70's Disco, and Rock The Centrum. Such a fun bit of entertainment and great music! The Real Time Band did an excellent job throughout the entire cruise, but they really shined during the Rock The Centrum music! Our stateroom was very nice. Plenty of space for us and all of our belongings. My only complaint is that there were no outlets near the bed so if I needed to charge my phone (I mainly used it to take pictures) I couldn't have it next to the bed as a clock at night. We enjoyed having a balcony, mainly just so we could take pictures at Hubbard Glacier without having to endure the crowds of people up on the helicopter deck. It was an EXCELLENT view from our room. Other than that, we didn't really use the balcony except to take random pictures coming into port and such. It was personally too chilly to spend any time out on the balcony. I actually found the bed to be very comfortable! The pillows were a little flat though. Using one didn't seem to be lofty enough, but then when I'd use two it would hurt my neck. That was my only issue with sleep. I actually slept really well the whole cruise! Of course the bathroom was tiny (as usual) and it could use a little updating. The tile in the shower was a bit uneven in some places so it felt really weird showering and your foot would kind of be "poked" by a tile that was slightly higher. Other than that though, the bathroom was okay. Just your typical cruise ship bathroom. The evening shows that we attended were wonderful! We thought that there was an excellent production staff and everything was very enjoyable. We only attended one of the Production Shows, "City of Dreams" and thoroughly enjoyed the music. We heard excellent things about "Piano Man" as well but we were not able to attend. The headliner shows were just as great! We saw a juggling duo called James and Wilde and they were hilarious. And we also got to see an impressionist named Jonathan Clark and he did a great job as well! We were fortunate enough to get this production crew for their final week before they went on vacation and then to other contracts. It was great because they were really polished and you could really feel the connection between them! I can't speak too much on Royal Caribbean's shore excursions as we booked all our excursion personally outside the cruise line, however, the ports we visited were great! Juneau was our first port and it was beautiful! We took a shuttle to the Mendenhall Glacier and hiked to Nugget Falls. I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone. It is a farily easy hike that isn't paved but is very well traveled so it's easily accessible. The view once you reached the falls was gorgeous and well worth the hike!! It was about a 2 mile roundtrip hike. You get right up at the base of the waterfall and much closer to view the glacier than anywhere else at the park. Downtown Juneau is a charming little city and it's well worth a walk around and visiting the local little shops instead of the big chain jewelry stores. Skagway was our second port. We didn't do anything within the town itself, but we took a bus tour (20 people max) with Dyea Dave Tours to Emerald Lake. We took the White Pass & Yukon Railroad back south to the town. The tour with Dyea Dave was excellent. It was a bit different than I expected though. I was under the impression that we would just be riding directly to Emerald Lake and it would be a nice park that we would have spent time in and then we would have gotten lunch at a town called Carcross in the Yukon Territory. However, the drive up to the Yukon Territory was filled with scenic stops along the way. There were some gorgeous views of the valley below and the mountains all around. We even got to stop at a working dog sled camp and see puppies and the current working dogs. Once we finally got to Emerald Lake it was almost lunch time and I got concerned about timing (since we needed to catch our train), however, the lake was just another scenic photo stop point. It was a great place to stop and take pictures but it wasn't at all a park or a place to spend a lot of time. I will say, I was not disappointed though because we got so much information about the area and enjoyed many scenic views. And the dog sled camp was well worth the time we spent there! Our tour guide drove us down to meet the train at the station and then we boarded and started our journey back to Skagway. The train ride going south has the most spectacular views on the right side of the train. The crew allow you to go onto the platforms outside the cars to take pictures if you desire. It is definitely picturesque! The whole train ride was narrated with facts about the areas we were going through and took about 2 hours. Once we reached the train's final destination, our tour guide from Dyea Dave picked us up and dropped us back anywhere we would like to go in Skagway (or back at the ship if you preferred). Icy Strait Point (Hoonah) was our third port. We did whale watching with a company called Glacier Wind Charters and I highly recommend them! They have two boats that can hold six people each for excursions. It was so great getting to be on a small boat and have a personalized experience from the captain. We didn't see many whales (only 8 and it was really just small glimpses) but we got to see lots of sea otters, porpoises, and bald eagles. Captain Shawn did an excellent job though trying to find the whales for us. He took us all over the area and all of the local whale watching companies were sharing information about where they had spotted a whale. Shawn's wife, Teresa, had stocked the boat with salmon dip, hot chocolate, sodas, water, and coffee. The boat even had a little bathroom in the enclosed area. It was definitely a really nice experience being able to be inside if we wanted, but we had the option to go on the outside deck if we preferred for taking pictures or to get a better view. Once we were finished whale watching, Teresa drove us wherever you liked. If we wanted to tour Hoonah she even offered to pick us up when we were done and drive us back to the Icy Strait Point area so you wouldn't have to walk the mile or so back. It was chilly and a bit rainy though so we decided to just head back towards the ship. We did stop in the shops inside the Cannery Museum. Lots of souvenir options! Ketchikan was our fourth and final port. It rained (poured) while we were in Ketchikan. We had set up an excursion to go ziplining at Southeast Exposure Adventure Park. Fortunately the rain was not an issue for our adventure! Because we were under the canopy of the rainforest, we barely felt a drop of water until after we were done! The adventure park consisted of a 7 zip line course. There was also a rock wall that could be completed if you desired. Our tour guides Brian and Abby were wonderful. They did such a great job of keeping us safe while we were zipping. And since it was us and one other couple we had a very personalized experience! The whole excursion took about 2 hours and was a blast! I was very nervous about it because I'm afraid of heights, but once I got going it was fantastic! After we had finished the zip line course, Abby drove us back to town and dropped us off where ever we would like. We chose to be dropped off near Creek Street. We grabbed lunch and then walked along Creek Street. However, due to the pouring rain, it probably was not as enjoyable as it could have been. There were some really neat little shops though! And it was a very picturesque little place! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 4.5 N/A
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursions 3.5 N/A
Enrichment Activities 2.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.4
Value for Money 4.5 N/A

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