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950 Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise Reviews

We traveled to Alaska on the Rhapsody in July 2013. What a blast! Our stateroom attendant, restaurant staff and activities folks were perfectly amazing. This is not a huge ship, but was perfect for our traveling crew - lots of family and ... Read More
We traveled to Alaska on the Rhapsody in July 2013. What a blast! Our stateroom attendant, restaurant staff and activities folks were perfectly amazing. This is not a huge ship, but was perfect for our traveling crew - lots of family and friends. We were simultaneously able to satisfy a wide variety of disparate interests from gambling to exercise to drinks to relaxation. From the start, the crew of the ship led by the Captain and cruise Director were there to be helpful but not overbearing. They were personable and fun and allowed a perfect balance of attention and privacy. The Captain's messages were hilarious and informative. Graham's daily message on the tele was a riot. We ate in the Wind Jammer (buffet) in the morning and Eidelweis in the evenings, which was an experience every single day - perfect and delectable. The excursions in Juneau, Skagway and Victoria were perfectly timed and allowed for ample to time to get off the ship, get your land legs and visit fun attractions, then get back on for more pampering and fun! They are expensive, so plan for lots of cash outlay on land - because the ports are certainly counting on it! And the scenery ... you just can't explain to someone how every moment is a breathtaking view of ocean, mountains, glaciers, wildlife, etc. I worked out every day (not wanting to gain the 5-10 that's common) and found no challenge in getting into the small exercise facility and out. I tried the rock climbing wall, pools, hot tubs, walking route. In the afternoons and at night, Graham and his crew owned the stage and made for fun, entertaining enjoyable shows, interactive events - even a cirque de soleil show in the Centrum - and the Broadway Theater was a constant positive experience. I recommend anyone select this ship and trip to Alaska.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We have just returned from a beautiful Alaskan cruise. This was the 3rd Alaskan cruise for DH, DD, and myself. DD's friend had never cruised before. We drove to Seattle and did the long term parking. Paid online and saved a couple of ... Read More
We have just returned from a beautiful Alaskan cruise. This was the 3rd Alaskan cruise for DH, DD, and myself. DD's friend had never cruised before. We drove to Seattle and did the long term parking. Paid online and saved a couple of $$. Very easy and great shuttle driver. We were at the terminal before 11am. Walked in and were greeted warmly and directed to Platinum check in. We were on the ship in about 10 minutes. Quickest embarkation ever. Headed to the Windjammer for a quick lunch, not very busy and ok food. It got better by day 2. We checked out our table and verified our dining time in MDR, then booked dinner at Chops for day 6pm. (surf and turf available only that day, but you will miss lobster in the MDR) Sat by the pool and enjoyed the sunshine (bring a change of clothes in your carry on. Rooms were ready by 1pm. No announcement, just told when we came on that they would be ready then. Sail away was pretty in the sunshine but I personally prefer the Vancouver departure. We head out to the open seas quickly and DD's friend definitely did not have her sea-legs yet. Dinner that night was very slow and only ok. Every night it got better and the staff in the MDR were awesome. Did 3 WOW cards for our waiter, asst waiter and head waitress.The sea day was windy, but sunny and the pools were warm. In Juneau it was about 78 degrees. Did the "Blue Bus" tour to Mendenhall Glacier. People with us saw Mother bear and 2 cubs feasting on salmon. Walked to the waterfall, very pretty and a nice easy walk. We walked around town, bought souvenirs in Red Dog Saloon and then back on the boat. Day 4 Skagway. We had a gorgeous hot day, and rented a Jeep. Drove to Emerald Lake and saw that we were only 40 miles south of Whitehorse. Great day, beautiful scenery and stopped at the Dyea flats and saw a whale. Day 5 was the Dawes Glacier. Captain Rob got us 1/2 mile away. So beautiful, and another warm day. We needed sun glasses and no cold weather clothes. Day 6 was a sea day. The solarium and spa was busy but still enjoyable. Chops Grill that night was excellent and Anthony our waiter was great. We saw 2 whales that he "requested" for us ;-). Day 7 was Victoria, we took the shuttle to town, 10pp round trip. Such a beautiful day and a very pretty little city. Overall this cruise was great. Best parts were the weather, the very genuine and happy crew, The Brittania Rock show. That was the only time that this ship came alive. The guests were all in bed early on this one. The Rhapsody is an older ship, you feel and hear the motion more than any other ship I have been on. The cabin and shower were one of the smallest I have seen, but the storage was good and our steward was great. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We recently cruised on Rhapsody with our son (12) and both in-laws. Had Royal Suite and two Jr Suites. Overall - an excellent cruise experience. This ship leaves for Alaska out of Seattle. Check in at port was very efficient and did not ... Read More
We recently cruised on Rhapsody with our son (12) and both in-laws. Had Royal Suite and two Jr Suites. Overall - an excellent cruise experience. This ship leaves for Alaska out of Seattle. Check in at port was very efficient and did not take more than 15 minutes total to board. Staff was as normal - very warm and welcoming. Our stops were at Juneau, Skagway and Victoria. Ship also cruised the inside passage and Tracy Arm Fjord. The ports are excellent stops with much to do at Juneau and Victoria - a bit less at Skagway but the train excursion up the mountain is very enjoyable and scenic. Victoria is the last stop and is a real gem. The highlight of the cruise was the glacier stop. Depending on weather they cannot always get in due to ice, etc. We were lucky- Capt came just up to the glacier, turned in rotation three times and we saw the glacier calf - it was an experience of a lifetime. The cruise in is well worth waking up about 6AM to catch the entire experience. Truly one of the best experiences we have had cruising. Service was excellent. Prof and Vicky in the dining room made the cruise for our son - two of the best waiters we have ever had. Albert, the Head Waiter was one of the best as well. Dining service was great and food quality was good. We also did Chops and Giovannis (twice). Both were some of the best dining experiences we have had on Royal Car (and we are Diamond). Darioushe the speciality dining manager was beyond attentive - he was incredible. All in all - food service and dining could not have been any better - 5 out o 5. Only blemish was casino staff - we gamble 3 to 4 times per cruise and the staff was not very friendly compared to other Royal Car cruises we have cruised. Almost seemed to resent if you were winning. And we tip very well. Entertainment was excellent -whether in the atrium or theatre. Would definitely book on this ship and itin again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
This was my mothers third cruise and our first. Grandmother with daughter and niece. Grandmother (83) with limited mobility meant that we rented a handicapped suite. The room was perfect. The bathroom in need of repair. The Stateroom ... Read More
This was my mothers third cruise and our first. Grandmother with daughter and niece. Grandmother (83) with limited mobility meant that we rented a handicapped suite. The room was perfect. The bathroom in need of repair. The Stateroom attendant Fernando Luna was the BEST. He was always available and always aware of my mother's limitations. The windjammer offered more options than the dinning room. The lack of respect for the dress code was shocking. When my mother cruised on The Cunard SS France the dress code was formal every night. In 2000 on the Millennium it was shirt and tie for the men . Dresses for the women. Eating in the Windjammer I expected to see shorts and T-shirts. Making an effort to go to the dining room and seeing people in Jeans and T-shirts was not what we expected. But the daily newsletter stated Suggested wardrobe. The Maitre D' did not dare send anyone back to their rooms to dress for dinner. We never had problems finding something good to eat. The Tea Time in the Windjammer was a big plus and obviously not common knowledge. My mother had her hair done in the spa salon and although it was double the price she pays on land she was very well taken care of and she looked Marvellous. The Park Cafe in the Solarium was the best place to sit and enjoy a snack with a view. The staff at Park Cafe are most polite and deserve to be recognized. Don and Jessie Boy in the Cascades dining room are also top notch. With unlimited water, ice tea and lemonade as well as Tea and Coffee we found no need to purchase a drink package. The availability of fresh towels from 7a.m. until 10 a.m. meant that I took a towel at night to use in the hot tub at 6 a.m. as none would be available for those of us that are early risers. I really liked the fact that the Solarium is open 24 hours. I think that they could kill the endless loop bird soundtrack. I would not hesitate to travel with this cruise company and crew again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
I started cruising with RCI in 1978 with Song of Norway and stopped in 1988 with Sovereign of the Seas. I have continued with other companies Carnival, Holland, Princess, Celebrity, Oceania, and Crystal over the next 20+ years. Before, ... Read More
I started cruising with RCI in 1978 with Song of Norway and stopped in 1988 with Sovereign of the Seas. I have continued with other companies Carnival, Holland, Princess, Celebrity, Oceania, and Crystal over the next 20+ years. Before, RCI had wonderful activities that got people moving through their ship shape dollars programs. Today, most activities deal with selling products. Past food menus dealt with themes like French, Italian, Asian, American night. Today, the food and desserts are bad. There are no butter or cream in their food and less salt. Maybe the substituted ingredients have less calories? But it did affect the taste. Creme Brulee was airy, very eggy. Ice cream were ice milk or soft serve. Most of their cake were dry. We ordered a special birthday cake, and it was delicious. Cake was light and moist and real whipping cream was used. Oh yes, one night there was a sampler offered (flourless chocolate cake, raspberry mousse, and etc.) and it was excellent. I would ordered most of the starters which was pretty good and find someone to share an entree and dessert. RCI use to have Las Vegas style entertainment. Today, your entertainment is provided by the ship's singers and dancers which I usually enjoy. But the quality of the productions were bad. The entertainment at the bars were better. Only the headliners provided excellent shows.The cabin stewards were excellent. The dining staff was excellent. The Windjammer staff was not great. I got the feeling that they were ready for R and R. I think Paul, the cruise director needs a vacation too. Public facilities were clean. Port: Juneau: take the RT $16.00 bus to Mendlehall glacier. Skagway,take a walking tour from the visitor center. Ketchikan , take the public bus for$1.00 to Saxman Village ( $5.00 admission fee). Hubbard glacier was fogged in. We could not see anything. I think going on Celebrity cruises, a subsidiary of RCI, would be a better value. Food, entertainment, and ships activities are much better. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
We took the train from July 13th thru the 19th. Our Tour Director, Kate, was amazing and so was our Coach driver, Elizabeth. There is a lot to see and learn on the train. The food is excellent and slightly higher than expected, but learned ... Read More
We took the train from July 13th thru the 19th. Our Tour Director, Kate, was amazing and so was our Coach driver, Elizabeth. There is a lot to see and learn on the train. The food is excellent and slightly higher than expected, but learned quickly, that is the way it is in Alaska. Each Lodge or Hotel we spent the night in were excellent. I will give one piece of advice, pack all you need for the train in one suitcase per person and keep it that way. I started putting things in my husband's that were mine, and vise versa, then next night had to search, so learned not to do that. My husband is handicapped, uses forearm crutches and a scooter, each stop was completely accommodating. We were traveling with two of my husband's cousins, so we did have lots of fun. I will suggest one thing, if you want to do a Flight seeing tour of Mt. McKinley, wait until you are at Talkeetna and choose Talkeetna Air Taxi. We had a flight scheduled for 8:00am pick-up on the second day in Talkeetna. Our Tour Director called them and due to weather changes on the day we scheduled, they were able to take us at 6:00 the day we arrived. We had an excellent young man for a Pilot, a husband, wife, two daughters and a Grandfather, me, our cousin and a young couple. We went over Mt. McKinley, got beautiful pictures, even wearing our oxygen masks, since we went up to 20,000 ft. Landed on a glacier, after our Pilot explained "If I say load up, do it safely, but quickly". It started to cloud in after a little over 10 minutes, loaded up and took off. When the young couple got in I noticed she was crying, I asked her if she was ok, and she held out her left hand and said "I just got engaged". So we had excitement on the glacier! Since we were not on the glacier very long, our pilot felt her short changed us. Another pilot talked to him and suggested landing where he was on the Ruth Glacier. So, we got to land on another glacier, next to a Sheldon flight seeing little plane, it was really little. Later in the Lounge we were talking to everyone who we knew booked flights with KS and Sheldon and all said they were cancelled. I mentioned that there was a Sheldon plane on the Glacier and the couple was surprised. We had a terrific flight tour, great pictures of Mt. McKinley, don't know why the others cancelled, but glad we went with TAT, excellent company, friendly and very professional. Believe me, I do not do little planes, was not thrilled with the idea of oxygen masks and going over the highest mountain, but I was completely at ease and SO glad I went. The Radiance of the Seas was excellent, the food and all the service was terrific! Entertainment on was not as good as the other cruise, I would call it good, but not fantastic, except for the Texas Tenors, they were excellent. The ports were interesting and lots to see. Every one should see Alaska, such beauty and natural wonders everywhere. We booked our next cruise for March 1, 2015 on the new ship Quantum. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
Embarkation - Luggage drop off was a scramble. We were dropped off to a huge mob in the parking lot in front of our pier. They needed more Royal Caribbean employees to direct things, and they also needed more signs. No one knew anything, ... Read More
Embarkation - Luggage drop off was a scramble. We were dropped off to a huge mob in the parking lot in front of our pier. They needed more Royal Caribbean employees to direct things, and they also needed more signs. No one knew anything, and I waited in one mob around a table, and was told that’s where we would pick up our Seapass cards (sounded a little weird), but once I got a little closer, I learned it was the luggage tag table. I think it would have been a lot less hectic, if we all got luggage tags (sent automatically) like Royal Caribbean used to. There was also the added confusion of seeing porters for Rhapsody AND Solstice. My husband finally handed his bags to a porter, and we headed for the building labeled Rhapsody. There we met another long line, but this one was more organized and moved faster. In the next room, we found the priority boarding line, and met a sweet man, Chris, who took our set sail form and scanned our passports. He also took our picture for the database. A short while later, the gang plank gates opened, and we were led to the photography people, we had no way to opt out of the embarkation photos, because they were using those photos to sync to the face recognition software. We also found these photos later in the photo gallery on deck 6. We ate lunch in the Park Café and around 1 PM, they let us into our rooms. On the way to muster drill, we saw our luggage (and many more suitcases) out by the elevators. Returning from a long wait on deck 5, we noticed all the luggage by the elevator had disappeared. But ours still hadn’t been delivered. We told our steward, who promptly delivered it from wherever it had been moved. We prefer the way the Princess ships do muster drill, because they let us sit comfortably in public room. They do it that way because they’re worried about passengers being swept off the decks by winds. While standing at attention at muster, we spoke with a man that mentioned he’d almost been swept away at sea while in the navy! If the winds are bad, let’s hope the ship has an alternate muster station. Dining: Service in the main dining room was painfully slow. At breakfast on Day 2, we ordered our prunes and milk in the Main Dining Room (MDR), and the waiter told us that we would have to serve ourselves these items. My husband muttered something about increased gratuity and decreased service. He said if he wanted to serve himself, he’d visit the Windjammer. This was the only time we visited the MDR for breakfast. We usually eat Breakfast in the MDR every day it’s open. At night, the main dining room was also horribly slow. The Head Waiter visited our table every day to check up on the service. We’d lucked into a table with a couple that had over 300 cruise points. They were sweet people and very approachable. Unfortunately, we were served last every day, even with our 300 point VIPs. On the various ships we’ve cruised over the years, if we got at a station that served last every day, it happened each night. I suspect they have a system where waiters must serve their tables in a certain order each cruise, so no one gets forgotten. However, it would have been nice to rotate the order of service. I wish they would have the gratuity split out on our bill: Waiter, Assistant Waiter, Head Waiter, Windjammer Etal (all dining options except MDR) and Cabin Steward. We may have docked the dining staff, but increased the cabin steward’s portion. I don’t know why the service was so slow, but I suspect it has to do with the specialty dining service. I think they have the same number of waiters, but they are now spread over four restaurants instead of just the main dining room. Once we got our food, it was tasty. Our assistant waiter remembered our standing order of skim milk with dinner, and he fixed it fast the night we got sour milk. Specialty Dining: Service was polite but slow. We tried the Royal Dining Package, which meant we visited Chops, Giovanni’s and Izumi’s. We loved all three restaurants. But still unconvinced it’s worth $55 for the package. At Izumis, we loved the sushi and tempura, but didn’t care at all of the hot rock. You get unseasoned meat and vegetables, and have to cook them yourselves. They also provided dipping sauces. If the meat had been seasoned, I think it would have been much better. But our MDR table mates seemed to like it that way. We were glad we got the beef, because we may not have cooked the chicken safely. With the Royal Dining package, Izumi’s gave us a $15 credit per person. Our meal actually came up to a little more than the $30 total credit we received, but we didn’t mind paying a couple dollars extra. The noise level at Izumi’s and Chops was quite good. But Giovanni’s was too loud like the Main Dining Room, because they seated everyone in the same room, instead of spreading us out. I had Giovanni’s Surf and Turf, and this is the first time in over a dozen cruises, they didn’t shell the lobster tail. We picked the main course, and appetizer while our waiter picked the dessert sampler. I had the surf and turf at Giovanni’s. . In addition to this, we Giovanni’s picked the appetizers for us: Antipasto and focaccia bread (yum yum)! Cabin Steward: One of the best ever, and we presented him with the WOW card. After the second day, we never returned to a dirty room! Which is pretty unusual for us due to our strange schedule! All our requests were carried out. We heard no excuses, such as the clearing the mini-bar being room service’s responsibility. Philip handled it! Since we were responsible to iPad damage, I requested they remove it. He took a few hours to do so, since he needed permission first. There was a strange smell coming from the bathroom sink, and they tried to fix it, but I still smelled it unless we stopped the sink. We were headed up to the Park Café to fill our ice bag, and our steward took it and insisted he fill it himself. We had an aft Junior Suite. So, we had a wonderful view from our balcony. If you’re doing Alaska and can afford a balcony, be sure to indulge yourself. The other two cruises, we had an outside stateroom with a picture window, and an inside stateroom, and a Junior Suite is the way to go. During Dawes Glacier sail away, having the aft stateroom we got to see the glacier for most of the afternoon. The only drawback to that room, with no aft elevator we had a long march back to the Centrum. But I think the long march helped with the weight gain. They had no aft elevators. But they did have a staircase only a few steps from our stateroom that led directly up to the spa which is a hop, skip and a jump from the Park Cafe.. We also had some confusion, because our stateroom mentioned a different muster station than what was printed on our seapass cards. My husband checked with Guest Relations, and they said the muster station on the card was correct. A few days later, I lost my card, and so I went to guest relations for a replacement. It didn’t take long, but they’d changed the muster station to reflect what was posted in the room. They also reissued another card for my husband with the corrected muster station. Not sure what would have happened if we arrived at the new muster station, instead of the one we drilled on the first day. Lots of drawers and little nooks and crannies for storage. Other than the cabinet above the television, none of the drawers for cupboards would hold the packing envelopes for shirts or pants, which is a first for us. Usually, the drawers by the desk will hold the Eagle Creek Pack-it 15, but not on Rhapsody. Our bathtub looked pretty conventional, though we still had to climb up to use it. The sink was about the size of a giant mixing bowl. It made washing clothes in the sink a little difficult, but not impossible. Loyalty Ambassador: We purchased two open bookings, and requested both email and hard copy. It’s good we also requested hard copy, because we only received an email for one of our open bookings. It took several days to receive them, because the internet was down. Transfers: Be sure to get a porter! We usually get a porter in the sea port, but it’s also a good idea at the airport. We waited on the transfer bus until it was full which is typical with cruise transfers, then it dropped us and our luggage off way past luggage claim. We had to walk a pretty long distance to the ticket counter. Library: No actual room, a small section of the wall on the Centrum Deck 6 called the Book Corner. Only a handful of shelves, but they were double stacked. Starting day 2 while we were at sea, the ship felt very cold, especially in the Centrum area. And the shops on board were doing a fantastic business selling jackets. It was especially cold on our hallway from our aft stateroom to the Centrum. Once we stopped in port, it wasn’t as cold. But once we got back at sea on day 7, it got cold again. I remembered it had been pretty cold on the Vision in 2006. We didn’t notice the chilliness on the Diamond Princess in 2010. So, it may be a design of the Vision Class ships. I was happy I brought my thermal vest, and wore it most of our cruise. That and a waterproof/wind resistant jacket seemed to get me through. We left our heavy winter jackets at home. We also brought knit caps and gloves that we needed in Juneau on the water and Skagway. In Victoria, we used our sunhats! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Upgrade fairy paid us a visit 2 days before our cruise! Was great got a Junior Suite 8086. Reviews I have read say there is a blocked view on the balcony. I was so worried about it I almost didn't accept the upgrade. Boy am I glad we ... Read More
Upgrade fairy paid us a visit 2 days before our cruise! Was great got a Junior Suite 8086. Reviews I have read say there is a blocked view on the balcony. I was so worried about it I almost didn't accept the upgrade. Boy am I glad we took it! There was nothing blocking the view!!! New carpet, new furniture. Bed was really comfortable. Arthur our room steward was fantastic. My husband is allergic to down/feathers. he immediately changed the cover & pillows in the cabin. I don't understand people complaining about the round mattress at the foot of the bed. My husband is almost 6'3" and his feet didn't hang over the end. Got room service every morning as our wake up call. Came on time every single day, and was exactly what we ordered. Ate in Windjammer for breakfast & lunch most days. Food was pretty good. Ate at odd times so wasn't very crowded. Also tried Park café in solarium, was not impressed. Much better on Oasis. Ate every night in MDR. 1st night was seated with family of 8 and it was very obvious they didn't want us at "their" table. People from Kansas you were VERY rude to us. We went to maître d and he switched us to a table with another couple. Had a nice dinner with them every night. Whale watching in Juneau booked thru RCL was fantastic. Saw a pod of 5 orcas and 16 humpbacks. Came so close to our boat you could hear them breathing! Have been on train in Skagway twice, wanted something else to do, so went to glass blowing & Jewel gardens. Glass blowing was great. Saw most shows. Juggler was really lame. Played trivia in Schooner bar, had fun every time. Embarkation and debarkation were fast. Will definitely sail on RCL again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Just got off the Rhapsody of the Seas and it was FANTASTIC. We had bright sunshine and warm pleasant weather each time we went to a port and only one chilly rain day which was fortunately when we were at sea. Alaska this time of year has ... Read More
Just got off the Rhapsody of the Seas and it was FANTASTIC. We had bright sunshine and warm pleasant weather each time we went to a port and only one chilly rain day which was fortunately when we were at sea. Alaska this time of year has 19 hours of daylight so it seems that night never comes. Rhapsody is a very comfortable smaller ship compared to the gigantic Oasis and I felt much more at home. This crew really works together to make sure everyone has a splendid time. For our first port, Juneau, we did the Tram and it was wonderful. There is a nice trail area up at the top and don't miss the movie. Skagway, we did the White Pass Railroad and although it was spectacular, next time I would save $100 per person and just ride the motorcoach up. The train is noisy and does not stop for photos. Since these are the views of a lifetime, take the motorcoach which has four or five stops and you will get magnificent photos and be comfortable and able to hear the narrator. The train is noisy and you breath diesel fumes all the way down. Dining is mostly the Edelweiss Room or you can pay the upcharge for Chops or Giovanni or Izumas. The Park Cafe up in the gorgeous solarium is a great place to catch a fresh salad or fruit cup. Shows were pleasant but not Broadway, but my family was entertained. Don't miss Butchart Gardens in Victoria. This place is absolutely STUNNING. Oh yeah, we did the weekend in Seattle after the cruise and had a magnificent time there too. The Duck tour, 3 hour city tour, Space Needle and the Wheel were almost as much fun as the cruise. This cruise is SO MUCH more scenic than the Caribbean. They do try to nickel and dime you everywhere, the casino sucked, not many winners in there!, but GO because you will have the time of your life. Our stateroom was small but comfortable. The shower curtain was a low point, it sticks to your body while showering, but that was my only complaint. This ship has an amazing Centrium which is a great gathering place. Our Stateroom 2100 was a PERFECT location, it seemed to be close to everything. We have been on Disney 15 times, but this Rhapsody trip has us dazzled by an Alaskan wonderland. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We were a group of 9 from Wisconsin & Illinois who have cruised before but never to Alaska. We arrived in Seattle the day before departure and stayed at The Mayflower Park Hotel which is downtown and about 3-4 blocks from the Pikes ... Read More
We were a group of 9 from Wisconsin & Illinois who have cruised before but never to Alaska. We arrived in Seattle the day before departure and stayed at The Mayflower Park Hotel which is downtown and about 3-4 blocks from the Pikes Place Market. The hotel has a cruise package that is $47 total for two people. This includes a huge breakfast the next morning and transportation to the pier. I highly recommend this hotel not only because of location but also because of the service, food, and comfort. From the airport we took advantage of the train that costs $2.75 a person and if you go to the last stop (Westlake Station), the hotel is only a block away. This certainly beats paying $35-45 for a taxi. Rhapsody of the Seas is newly refurbished since it is one of the older ships in RC's fleet. It is somewhat smaller than other ships I have been on, but I did not find this a problem. In fact, it allows passengers to get more quickly acclimated to the ship's layout. We all had Junior Suites which I love. Not only do you get to check in more quickly at the pier (priority boarding), but it is great to have the privacy of the balcony when traveling through the Inside Passage. We were very fortunate because the ocean was fairly calm and the weather in the ports was great (a little drizzle in Victoria but no big deal). Who knew I would be wearing shorts in Alaska. I only had a sweatshirt on which often I removed. I highly recommend seeing the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. For $16 per person round trip you can take the MGT (Big Blue Bus). The bus runs every hour -- just remember where they stop and pick up because there are about 5 other bus companies also transporting to the glacier. In Skagway, half our group took the White Pass Railroad trip which is 3 hours for $120. The time really flew by and the scenery is magnificent. The history of how the railroad was built is fantastic and adds to the enjoyment of the trip. The train doesn't stop so you can't get off, but you can easily take pictures through the window and then you are also allowed to stand outside on the platform. There is a bathroom in every car and they do provide everyone with a free bottle of water. Others in our group took advantage of the raft trip to where eagles nest, and one hearty couple took a 6 mile hike into the wilderness. They said the scenery was breathtaking, but they were exhausted when they returned and were in bed by 8:30 that night. Because they were no giant ice floes in the way, the captain was able to get into the narrow passage by the Dawes Glacier. This occurred around 6:30 am and so in the comfort of our balcony we were able to view up close the glacier and the surroundings. There were even baby seals with their mothers on various small chucks of ice. We drank coffee and enjoyed the experience immensely. When we arrived in Victoria, BC, there was a light drizzle but the temps were about 68 degrees. We decided to go to Butchart Gardens. I booked all of us through Cruise Victoria (CVS). The cost was about $52 a person and included pickup at the pier and then the admission fee for the gardens. I am not a gardener, but I have to say the gardens there are fantastic. There are 55 acres of flowers and individual gardens I never knew existed. They provide free umbrellas in case of rain and they are clear plastic so your view is not obstructed. There are three places to eat -- a somewhat pricey restaurant, a cafeteria (which we chose) and a snack bar which is more or less a hot dog stand. The bus to get back runs about every hour. We opted to be dropped off in town so we could walk around -- there was no problem when we wanted to go back to the ship since they had shuttles running every 30 minutes. So Alaska is worth visiting, no question. I like Royal Caribbean (3 trips now), but would like to try another line for my next trip. The service on the Rhapsody is excellent. The crew really knocks themselves out to make sure your every wish is accommodated. The food for the most part is fine -- there are some dishes that are better than others, but if you really don't like something they will gladly get you something else. We also dined in the specialty restaurant the last night. We selected Giovanni's and it was great since we were the only people in the place. The food in these restaurants is definitely a notch higher. There is a cost of $20 per person, but I find this more than reasonable based on the food quality, food amount, and table service. We there for over 2 hours. As far as the other amenities/activities on board, we really liked the karaoke show in the Schooner Bar with Derek Lewis (it is not for children). We also enjoyed the music trivia contests as well. The larger entertainment venue we visited once -- it was okay, but I am sure others enjoyed the musical tribute to Barry Manilow, Billy Joel, and Stevie Wonder -- just not our musical taste. There are two days when you are out to sea. Some of our group thought this was very boring because the weather while at sea was blustery so being on deck was not possible. However, half our group are avid readers and there are lots of spots on the boat (besides your balcony)where you can relax and read. My sister and I even went to the spa since they had a great deal on services. Of course, there are lots of activities going on all day long: salsa dancing lessons, napkin folding, nutrition classes, and even a Q&A with the captain (I actually found this very interesting). When we got back to Seattle at 7:00 am, getting off the ship was easy. We did the option where you carry your own bags. I liked that quite a bit. We were off the boat and getting our shuttle ride by 7:50 am.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Left Seattle on the Rhapsody of the Seas on June 28th, 2013 on a beautiful, warm, non-raining day. Cruising to Alaska was an amazing voyage and I will definitely repeat sometime again. My only regret was that we could not spend more time ... Read More
Left Seattle on the Rhapsody of the Seas on June 28th, 2013 on a beautiful, warm, non-raining day. Cruising to Alaska was an amazing voyage and I will definitely repeat sometime again. My only regret was that we could not spend more time in Alaska, but that was what you got on a 7 day round trip to Seattle. I wish I had booked a 7-day one way cruise, but this was awesome! I've been on about 6 other cruises on 4 different cruise lines and overall had a great experience, but there were a few "speed bumps". I was impressed with the cleanliness of the ship and the friendliness of the employees, both on shore and on the ship. My first speed bump which set the tone off wrong was with Royal Caribbeans wine policy. I carefully read every piece of literature on the subject, and I knew that I was allowed to bring 2 bottles of wine on board, as long as they were 750ml or smaller, and they would be subject to a $25 corkage fee if consumed in a public place. So, in Seattle I went out of my way to locate 2 better than average bottles of wine, and placed them in a bag that I was going to hand carry on-board the Rhapsody. We pulled up to the dock in a taxi to begin the embarkation process and we were quickly greeted by people eager to take our luggage. They took our bags but I decided to keep the wine in our carry on to protect against breakage. We went through the security checkpoint and the x-ray operator told me that I had to take my bag over to a Royal Caribbean (RC) employee to have the alcohol checked. I gladly complied because I knew that I read ALL of the policies and I was not breaking any rules. The RC employee disagreed and said that I had to check my wine. I told him that I read all of the policies and nowhere did it say that wine must be checked. He would not budge so I asked for a supervisor but he told me there was none and I had to go to guest services. Upon arriving at guest services, they said there was nothing they could do, but nobody could produce the policy in writing that said you could not carry on the wine. I realize this is small potatoes but it was the point since I could have walked right by the "alcohol checker" and he never would have known any different. The "funny" thing to me was at the end of the cruise when they return any alcohol you bought on the ship, they advise you to "make sure it is put in your carry on". Ha! Once onboard we made it to our room, 8515, which was a perfect choice. We chose this room specifically because it didn't have windows or a balcony considering the sun set at 11pm and rose just before 4am. Sleeping was not going to be a problem for us! Another plus was that we were very close to the steps that led us to the pool and Windjammer cafe only one deck above. I would choose this cabin again if I was going. Plus, our cabin steward was amazing and I don't think I've ever had better service. It could be that we were clustered in with all of the suites, so perhaps he is the best of the best, but it showed. The journey to Alaska was beautiful and we enjoyed sitting in the solarium and watching the snow capped mountains drift by. In Juneau, we took a helicopter to a glacier (once in a lifetime moment for sure!) and then went up the Mt Roberts tramway. Very beautiful indeed, especially if you take the 2 mile hike at the top. Skagway was even more beautiful. We took the White Pass railway to the top, then later in the day we took the ocean raft adventure which is basically a 2 hour ride on the same type of boat used by the Navy seals. It explore the fjord and allows you to get up close to Eagles, seals and many waterfalls. It was a blast and I would recommend! With all of the ups it was time for a few more speed bumps however. For the most part the dining room service was just ok, and I found it difficult to get anyone's' attention. If you wanted drinks it was near impossible so I recommend just buying a bottle of wine and letting them keep it for you. That way they bring you the bottle each night until you finish it. Generally we sat at the same table where the service was ok, but one night we had reservations (my time dining) at 9pm since we didn't leave port until 8:30pm, and I've never felt more rushed. They were clearly just trying to get us out of the dining room so the food came before the appetizers were done, then dessert was quickly ushered out and coffee was not even offered. Also that night we were never even asked for drinks. Our last speed bump came on our final day at sea. We had a 12pm couples massage appt and were really looking forward to it. We got up late, had a relaxing breakfast, and went back to our cabin at 11:15 to freshen up. At 11:30, my wife received a frantic phone call from the spa saying that we were late and that our appointment was at 11:15 and we had to report immediately if we wanted the massage. I pulled out my booking receipt and my pre-cruise planner doc and both said 12pm. Upon arriving the girl said that the system "just puts you in where ever it can" and then told us that 2 days before she left us a message. We did get our massages which were great but for that price I don't want to be stressed out beforehand or bullied into rushing. Upon returning to our cabin the "message" light on our phone was not lit, but later that night it came on and the message said our appointment was at 11:30. I'm not sure what was going on here but something was strange. All in all I couldn't recommend this experience more, even though we had some issues. It truly was an amazing vacation, and I just wish the wine and massage episodes hadn't reared their ugly heads.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This was our first cruise. We choose Royal Caribbean and the Rhapsody because of our itinerary - Alaska that we'd never visited before - and after doing research decided we wanted to travel in June because of the weather that was ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We choose Royal Caribbean and the Rhapsody because of our itinerary - Alaska that we'd never visited before - and after doing research decided we wanted to travel in June because of the weather that was nearly totally awesome! We drive up to Seattle from Portland for embarkation. Security and the boarding process were hectic, so we were glad to get to our (inside) cabin. Sailing weather varied from mostly gorgeous to cold and windy - both wonderful! It was interesting seeing the brave few who tolerated the cold to smoke cigars and whale watch! And we saw a lot of whales! I sat for a half-hour, after leaving Skagway, with my binoculars watching a pod of whales feed while birds swirled overhead! The crew, for the most part, seemed to genuinely like us and their jobs. There was always a friendly greeting as we passed and Daniel, our cabin steward, called us by name and kept our cabin in impeccable condition. We looked forward to the daily announcements from Capt. Hampstead and appreciated his humor! We mostly ate in the Windjammer (buffet) and had a few dinners in the Edelweiss. Except for one meal with over-cooked fish the food was very good. I particularly liked the international variety in the Windjammer. The entertainment was spotty. There were obvious mistakes during the first night's welcoming show and the rest of the entertainment in the Broadway Melodies theater that we saw was mediocre. However, the bands located in various locations on the ship were great and offered a wide variety of music. There were the typical silly things to do on the daily schedule like napkin folding and presentations for over-priced cosmetics, but no hard sell. The ports of call (Juneau, Skagway, Victoria, BC and Mendenhall Glacier) were varied and interesting. Overall, I give high marks to Royal Caribbean and the Rhapsody! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
We arrived in Vancouver a day early where we had reservations at the Listel Hotel, which is located in downtown. We had arranged for a private tour bus and went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and a general tour of downtown, Al our ... Read More
We arrived in Vancouver a day early where we had reservations at the Listel Hotel, which is located in downtown. We had arranged for a private tour bus and went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park and a general tour of downtown, Al our guide was wonderful and Vancouver is a beautiful city. We boarded late due to extra cleaning of the ship because of a virus on the previous cruise. A little scary, but with all the precautions, no one on our cruise got sick. Check in was smooth and fast. We had rooms with a window, very large window and we loved the location of our rooms (4580-4586) on the 4th level. This is an short hall all to itself directly off the Centrum, everything was so close and easy to get to. The ship was clean, the food was excellent and the cruise activities wonderful. We had a late dinner seating in the dining room and our wait staff were superb. We didn't even try out the pay restuarants. All or part of group attended nearly every on-board activity and I can not say enough about the Cruise and Activity Directors. Jamie (Mama), Lisette and Gordon were our favs. We, but not everyone in our group purchased the deluxe drink package. We got our money's worth, but some others did not. If you are not a big drinker, don't purchase it. My DH is a big beer drinker and I love trying all different drinks. We attended most of the shows and really enjoyed them, but I did think they were a little weak, compared to some shows we've attended. Over all, a wonderful trip. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This was my fourth time to Alaska and my Mom's fifth. We are fortunate that we live in Vancouver which makes taking a cruise to Alaska a nice easy option. This was both our second time sailing with Royal Caribbean. This first time was ... Read More
This was my fourth time to Alaska and my Mom's fifth. We are fortunate that we live in Vancouver which makes taking a cruise to Alaska a nice easy option. This was both our second time sailing with Royal Caribbean. This first time was on the Serenade of the Seas so it is a little ironic to me that our second time is on the sister ship Radiance of the Seas. Warning: This could become a long review. Embarkation: Upon arrival at Canada Place, around 11:15 am or so, we quickly traveled through security. It really was simple with a minimal line. Our next check point was US customs. Again, it was simple. The officer that took our passports didn't even speak with us. He just scanned our passports and handed them back to us and we were done. There was a holding room we had to wait in before we could check-in with the cruise line. No problem. Once it was our turn to move along, there were different lines depending on which Crown and Anchor level you were. The four of us all filed into the gold line and received our sea pass cards and were ready to board. With Royal Caribbean, the cabins aren't ready for occupation as soon as you board. They became available about 1:30 or so. We all went for lunch until the rooms were ready. We had booked an inside cabin and our friends had a balcony; both located forward on the ship. I certainly liked our location. It was convenient to the forward elevators, theatre, spa and solarium. Our Cabin: The inside cabin was well appointed with nice closet space, a 2-seater sofa and your typical small bathroom. Our cabin was not setup properly when we arrived so we had to make a note to speak with our room steward to have it changed before bedtime. The beds were okay. I've definitely slept on worse. However, they are starting to show they are used on a regular basis and could be replaced. I started poking around the drawers and we set the passcode on our safe (which had very sensitive keys). I noticed a few things missing that Princess (I'm used to sailing Princess) usually provides or I've come to expect when traveling. There were no toiletries in the washroom except for the one bar of soap. Usually you are provided body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Guess I should have brought some with me. I just figured they would have been supplied like they are on other lines. Also, there was no paper or pen available in the desk drawer. Sometimes you don't see your steward during the day and a way to communicate is by leaving them a nice note. I'll bring this with me next time. We were what RCCL calls Consecutive Cruisers as we were staying on for the southbound trip as well. Fortunately when we booked, we were able to book the same cabin for the entire two weeks. It was nice not having to worry about moving our belongings to a new cabin. Our room was quiet the first week and only on the last day did we hear anything and the noise came from the crew area on the left of us. We figure it had something to do with the luggage preparation. The 2nd week had a little more noise from the neighbours on the right and from the hallway. Dining: When booked, we booked ourselves with My Time dining. What this means is no assigned table or set time to when you eat. You can eat in any venue you like or make reservations in the dining room or specialty restaurants. As we were traveling with friends the first week, we made reservations in the dining room for 5:30 pm at the same table for the entire week except for the one night we went to Chops Grille. Food is always subjective. I enjoyed all the meals I had in the main dining. I was a little disappointed in the dessert offerings but the ones I chose were delicious. The meal we had in Chops Grille was okay. I was expecting it to be a little better then it was though. We didn't visit it on the second week. We didn't try Giovanni's either. We enjoyed dinner in the Windjammer the second week. The Park Cafe was a nice option for a lighter fare. I especially liked the breakfast sandwich they had. Activities: While I am not the type of person who would participate in onboard activities, they were enjoyable to watch. The holiday celebration they held for us on Canada Day as well as the US Independence Day celebration was really nice. We enjoyed participating in the nightly trivia held in the Quill and Compass and even won two. The disco night was well attended on both cruises and you could tell the Quest is a very popular event. Entertainment: We attended all the shows in the theatre. I really enjoyed the production shows and thought the talent of the singers were some of the best I've seen. The act "Two Funny Guys", was just as they advertised. I laughed so hard I had tears rolling down my face. The same happened with the comedian in the farewell show on the southbound trip. He was great too. The highlight for me was Bowzer... you know, from Sha-Na-Na and the Grease movie. His show was my highlight. I loved it. Crew: We found the crew, overall, very nice. Our room steward wasn't the friendliest we've had but she kept our cabin clean which is important to us. We did see an improvement in her attitude the second week; she smiled and laughed, which was nice to see. Maybe she just needed time to warm up. Our dining room staff the first week (Jonathan, Marvin and Jay) were fantastic. It was nice having the attentive service. I thought the activities crew and cruise director Paul Rutter were great. CD Paul was so well spoken and he's the best host we've seen for the Love and Marriage game show. Itinerary: The ports were the same going north and coming south. We went to Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Hubbard Glacier and the turn around port was Seward. Unfortunately we had grey skies pretty much the entire 14 days but it was nice just being away on vacation. The only port we had not been to before was Seward so we found something to do there. Excursions: I did two excursions through the ship; one was in Icy Strait Point and the other was in Seward. The whale watching in Icy Strait Point was good. The boat was a nice size and the crew were good. The captain made sure that we saw puffins, eagles, sea otters and of course humpback whales. We stayed out a little longer then the tour was scheduled for but we had time to get back to the ship before final boarding. The tour we did in Seward was Kenai Fjords with Major Marine. Our guide, Pat, was fantastic and so attentive to everyone she had on the tour. You could tell she really enjoyed her job. It was a fantastic tour even though the weather wasn't. It started off by dropping us at the Sea Life Centre which we enjoyed and then we were taken back to the harbour to board the boat for the tour. We were served a nice buffet lunch. We saw lots of wildlife on this tour as well. In fact, we saw more whales on this tour then in Icy Strait Point, including a momma and her baby humpback. Really enjoyed this tour. Disembarkation: Leaving the ship was probably the easiest disembarkation we have ever experienced. We were to meet in the Aurora Theatre at 9:50 am but port authority was quick in getting the luggage off and everyone was allowed to leave the ship when they were ready. We were off about 9:45 am or so. All we had to do was show our customs claim form to the ladies sitting at the booth. I guess they were making sure they were completed. Next we picked up our luggage and then headed to hand off our customs form to the Canadian Customs officers. Not a question was asked. We were sitting in a cab and on the way home at 10:05 am. Easiest disembarkation ever. My only real complaint was the weather especially after arriving back to Vancouver to find out they had sun the entire two weeks we were away. However, RCCL has no control over the weather. It was a great cruise and I know we'll be back sailing Alaska soon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Overview: Radiance Southbound Alaska, Seward to Vancouver, BC on June 21 (Summer Solstice) 1st time on Radiance and it was in great shape. The crew was great, most were quite helpful and we had the best dining and dining options ever. The ... Read More
Overview: Radiance Southbound Alaska, Seward to Vancouver, BC on June 21 (Summer Solstice) 1st time on Radiance and it was in great shape. The crew was great, most were quite helpful and we had the best dining and dining options ever. The ships officers however were flat, you'd see the Captain and he was a wallflower, not engaging or anything of the sort. We had a meet & greet with the Captain and his staff and watched him greet two tables and then leave without a word to anyone. Once he left, all of his staff left so it pointless to have the meet & greet without the staff there! This wasn't our first rodeo so we knew what to expect and the Radiance officers didn't deliver on that. Well, at least there wasn't ship drama, sinking or fires for them to handle, right? Embarkation - When we arrived by private transfer (Alaska Tours & Transfers) at 2:30 there was not a line, and we were in the line for suite guests. It was a nightmare however, none of the guests were getting processed through and we were first in line for over 18 minutes before we asked if we could get in the regular line (which we could and got a open spot in less than a minute). So much for having a special line for suite guests, it was definitely a dis-service in Seward on this trip). Very unorganized on this day. Disembarkation - Wow, a real nightmare. We waited in Chops with the suite guests and since we were staying in Vancouver overnight we weren't in a hurry. Royal Caribbean offered a service to those flying out that day to take checked luggage, get it to the airport and have it checked for their flights so they would not have to deal with it through customs or anything. Well something went wrong quickly, because we were about 50 minutes late of the posted times leaving the ship when it was announced that the luggage transfer service was cancelled and people had to pick up their luggage and get it the airport themselves. Wow - talk about last minute changes, people were ready to BURST. It was blamed on Canadian Customs which was probably true, but Wow !!!! The way it was communicated though was harsh and it set people off, truly I'm surprised there wasn't a fight people were that tuned up about the delays and changes. The concierge called our number to get off the ship and escorted us to the platform and we were out of there. I found an available porter (thankfully!) and he helped us grab our seven bags, get us through customs and to a taxi in no time. Highly recommend a porter if you can find one!!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Just had a fantastic vacation in Alaska (June 21-28) but the cruise ship was not so great. RCCL “Radiance of the Seas” is far from the best ship afloat. The problems are many: (1)State room balconies look down on to the tops of the ... Read More
Just had a fantastic vacation in Alaska (June 21-28) but the cruise ship was not so great. RCCL “Radiance of the Seas” is far from the best ship afloat. The problems are many: (1)State room balconies look down on to the tops of the life boats obstructing views of the ocean below, a very poor design for a cruise ship. (2)The specialties restaurants “Izumi” and “Rita’s cantina” lock the rear doors to access the outside deck so one needs to go back through the “Wind Jammer cafe” to the stairs or elevator to access the stern outside setting area, how crazes is that? Even if the food was great, and it was not, one should be able to sit outside. We had record high heat and perfect weather for this June 2013 cruise and found it difficult to get to an outside deck. (3)The crew was not outstanding, most RC cruises do have great crew members but I was disappointed with both room and dinner staff and a mention to the head waiter about a problem got a confusing answer that didn’t make since at all so I replied “…no need to explain why …just fix the problem” he didn’t. Automatic tipping can be removed from ones bill but I never have done that, maybe next time I will. (4)The ice cream station (only one in WJ) worked fine most of the time but not all of the time disappointing many. (5) “The Quest” had far too many people trying to play the game. Can’t blame them for having a popular activity but maybe have it somewhere with more room or have the same activity twice. (6) Disembarkation was total nightmare mostly because the Canadian government could not decide if we were to take our bags through customs or send then directly to our plane. The positives were: 1) Embarkation was no problem at all we are Platinum members. (2) Shore excursions, handle well by staff. (3) Entertainment was good. (4) Lounges, although over crowed when at seas, were nice and I didn’t do the pools. This was our 19th cruise (8th RCCL) and honestly my most disappointed cruise ship experience by far but the excursions in Alaska and the memories we have are well worth the trip. One last thing, this is the first time I felt it necessary to write a bad review so let me be fair and say on a scale from 1 to 10 this ship “Radiance of the seas” is a “5” Dale (Maryland)   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Getting There: We travel with three of us, parents and a 16 year old in a GS category. We selected 1060 which has a seriously HUGE balcony with two loungers and a table with two chairs. We flew into Anchorage, stayed at the Embassy ... Read More
Getting There: We travel with three of us, parents and a 16 year old in a GS category. We selected 1060 which has a seriously HUGE balcony with two loungers and a table with two chairs. We flew into Anchorage, stayed at the Embassy Suites for two nights and on embarkation day took a private transfer to Seward (Anchorage Tours & Transfers). Great idea because we could pick the time & got a customized tour without the crowds. Embarkation: Embarkation was not crowded, but the line for the suite guests was a wreck. We waited longer in the suites line than the non-suites queue, so we moved to the other line. What an unorganized cluster. I cannot imagine how it would run with lines/crowds of any sort. Boarding: We boarded at 2:30pm and our room was ready for us. Our suite attendant Joralynn greeted us right away and went over anything we may need (pressing, ice, etc.) All of the ship's crew we encountered were helpful and friendly. We ate up at the Windjammer and had no problem finding a table. Unlike other RCCL cruises, we did not have trouble finding a table at the Windjammer on Radiance. Just outside the Windjammer is Boardwalk Hot Dogs. My whole family got to know Mohammad who was running the show at the hot dog joint that first night. He made our visits a whole experience and it was not only tasty but fun. I wish that all the ships had Boardwalk Hot Dog!! The ship: The maintenance on the ship was kept up compared to other ships we'd been on, most likely because of the refit, but there was quite a bit of work going on to keep her looking her best and it showed. Also, we rarely waited for an elevator for very long, at least compared to other ships. Yes there were some folks that were taking the elevator up or down for one floor which was a pain, but for the most part we didn't have the elevator waits or pains. The only thing to note is that the elevators are wide at the back where the glass is, and narrow at the door, so to move people around you have to exit the elevator to let people out which is awkward. Suite 1060: The suite was great. The only issue was the funky smell in the bathroom that we couldn't seem to get rid of. I bring bathroom spray which covered it up but that was temporary. We poured water down the floor drain to prevent drain smell but that didn't stop it. Dining: We had 6pm main dining, and asked to be seated with another party who had been assigned MyTime Dining. As a result, we ended up with a table at the entrance to the dining room which was less than desirable. There wasn't much we could do about that, but the dining room staff was wonderful, including the head waiter who we usually never even see. So thumbs up. We hit Chops Grille one night and that was worth the visit. Entertainment: The RCCL singers & dancers were okay, some of the numbers were overdubbed and lip synced (Piano Man). One of the headliners was one we saw on another ship and were less than impressed, Bobby Arvon who sings Happy Days. Ironic he appeared again on this ship! We skipped him for sure. The Two Funny Guys were great but that was about it. The small musical groups that played in the centrum were wonderful, 5.5 stars there. Disembarkation: Poor at best, mostly because of Canadian Customs but also because of the inconsistent communication from RCCL. Due to Customs, disembarkation was delayed by over 40 minutes and the program to take luggage direct the airport was cancelled by RCCL that morning, where passengers then had to figure out how to handle their own luggage from the pier to the airport when they thought they only had to get themselves there. Thankfully we spent the night in Vancouver so we were not impacted. We stayed at the Wellwood Hotel and Spa and it was wonderful - highly recommended. This hopefully will not be our last cruise to Alaska !! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
This was our third cruise on Royal Caribbean and we’re sad to say that we were disappointed in the Rhapsody.StateroomA few days before we were set to leave the Upgrade Fairy paid a visit and we were moved from a D1 balcony on deck 7 to ... Read More
This was our third cruise on Royal Caribbean and we’re sad to say that we were disappointed in the Rhapsody.StateroomA few days before we were set to leave the Upgrade Fairy paid a visit and we were moved from a D1 balcony on deck 7 to junior suite 8010, which is an accessible room. This was our first time in a suite (if you really want to count a JS as a suite) and the room was huge compared to what we were used to. The main thing that makes it an accessible room is the large bathroom with an open, wheel-in shower. The bathroom floor is entirely flat (though it does slope down to the drain) so if you don't place the floor mat just right you'll get water everywhere. And the shower curtain has a habit of sticking to you.Unfortunately that area of the ship is very, very loud. There's a service elevator almost across the hall and there's constant activity of moving stuff in and out. You also get a lot of noise from the Windjammer which is directly above. But the thing that bugged us the most was the sound of an alarm clock going off at all hours of the night and day. Our neighbors in 8012 thought it was us; we thought it was them. We went to guest services to complain about they noise and they didn't know what it was. I tried to investigate what it was but the sound never lasted long enough for me to get out of the cabin and track it down. By day 6 of our 7 day cruise I finally figured out what it was--the fire door for the Windjammer entrance directly above us. Whenever they close the door the alarm sounds and they liked to open and close that door a lot to let crew in and out, even when the Windjammer wasn't open. We went to guest services to complain and they said they would talk to the Windjammer manager to try to minimize how often they open and closed the door. We also got an apology and some compensation (though we weren't looking for it) for our trouble.FoodWe don't eat in the MDR, ever. The only time we went in was to see what it looked like. All of our meals were taken in the Windjammer, Park Cafe, or room service for two breakfasts. The room service was standard RC food service, though one morning they delivered our breakfast at 6:45 instead of the 7:30 we requested.We were rather disappointed in the Windjammer. The food was consistently industrial. I'm a vegetarian and found that the vegetarian options were typically salad, steamed veggies, and pasta. Other RC ship's we've been on have had more options. And many items that may have been vegetarian weren't marked either way. Also, I had to search for condiments since they seemed to move with every meal. Sometimes the vinegar and oil were next to the salad bar, sometimes they were next to the desserts. Searching for ketchup was always an adventure. The ice machine on the starboard side was broken for most of the cruise (a crew member told me it had been broken for months). And the coffee--several times there were coffee grounds coating the bottom of my cup when I got to the bottom of it. And on top of it all, you had Purell-la de Vil wanting you to use sanitizer every time you walked in the door. I’m well into my 40s and I know how to wash my hands, thank you very much.EntertainmentWe don't normally partake in the shows (not really our thing.) We watched the aerial show in the Centrum and it was OK.SolariumOur favorite place to relax is in the Solarium because it’s supposed to be quiet and peaceful with no kids. Unfortunately they let kids in there in the afternoons because of “inclement weather” even though the sun was shining and it was about 70 degrees. And the peaceful oasis was spoiled by several groups of adults playing very loud games of cards. You also had crew constantly running carts of stuff through, making a lot of noise on the stone tile. On the plus side, the Park Café is right there and you can grab a quick bite.iPadThe iPads in the room were all but useless except to look up the account statement. The Cruise Compass information was a day or two old and shore excursion ordering didn't work at all.And what happened to the map on the TV with our route and current position? We really like knowing where we are and I don't know why they got rid of that. All we had was the camera from the bridge. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We arrived two days early to visit Vancouver and stayed at a B & B, Bee & Thistle Guest House, Best in Vancouver. The owner Michael picked us up at the train station and dropped us off at the port on departure day, super ... Read More
We arrived two days early to visit Vancouver and stayed at a B & B, Bee & Thistle Guest House, Best in Vancouver. The owner Michael picked us up at the train station and dropped us off at the port on departure day, super accommodating, great breakfasts and comfy rooms; first class place (5 stars). We left May 21, 201 from Vancouver on the Rhapsody of the Seas first run of the season of the inner passage. Got to Canada Place early to avoid the confusion as three ships were in at one time. I understand all future departures for this season will be from Seattle, not Vancouver - check with your travel agent. We stayed in Grand Suite 8012 with is located on the bridge deck, close to the stairs and elevators. But one level down from the Windjammer and two decks down from the kids program on deck 10. Neither effected our level of enjoyment. Our room Suite Attendant was Inyoman (Newman) and out of 20 plus cruises, he made it happen; noteworthy service and made our holiday special. From the cleanness of the rooms to perfect attentiveness with privacy consideration. We loved sitting out on our balcony, Newman brought down lounge chairs for us as we sat in hopes of seeing a pod of whales. You have to bring out the blankets and make yourselves some hot chocolate. There is hot milk in the coffee machine for the hot chocolate, much better than hot water. With the grand suite you get the use on the Concierge Club, Crown Lounge deck and at your service is Concierge Amit Chattopadhyay - Amit makes it all come together and his right hand man, Sam, is fun and charming and makes a mean cocktail :). This ship has both a Diamond Lounge and a Concierge Club, both were equal in the level of service. The Captain had a party and even sang to us, good voice and paired perfectly for the Rhapsody. Our trip was timed perfectly with the tides and moon phase as the Captain Rick Sullivan was about to give the show of the season at Tracy's Arm - wow, Wow, WOW! My favorite part of they trip, make sure you get up early. The entertainment on board was lack luster and we never got to see the Encore Aerial Performance. We had an opportunity to dine at Chops Grille, the Chef's Table and Giovanni's. Evelyn served use at Chops and we had the filet mignon and I had the porterhouse - I should have also gotten the filet also. The Chef's Table was a lot of fun with great food with wine pairing - the Chef and Wine Concierge introduced each new dish and wine prior to presentation and at the end everyone left with a RCCL Cookbook and Chef's Table Apron. Giovanni's was our last and it was excellent also. We also enjoyed the spa which is one of the nicest spa and massages ever. My better half also had her nails done -- totally relaxing. wow, Wow, WOW -- a must do cruise... Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Well this is going to be a bit long, but we had such an amazing time that I wanted to share what we enjoyed. Plus, prior to our trip I read lots of reviews to help plan our adventure...hope this helps those of you in the planning stages.My ... Read More
Well this is going to be a bit long, but we had such an amazing time that I wanted to share what we enjoyed. Plus, prior to our trip I read lots of reviews to help plan our adventure...hope this helps those of you in the planning stages.My husband, son (age 6) and I just returned from the May 24 sailing of the Rhapsody of the Seas. We are experienced cruises and we like excursions that are active and outdoors. The ship departed from Vancouver so we flew in a few days early to enjoy the sights before boarding the ship. Thanks to input from other reviews, we chose not to fly directly to Vancouver (due to the huge expense) and instead flew from Fort Lauderdale to Seattle and then took the Amtrak Cascades up to Vancouver. We used the LightRail system to take us from the Airport to the train station. It cost $4 for the three of us for the 30 mins ride. The LightRail station ended up being only 3 blocks away from Amtrak. We checked in to the station at 2pm, dropped our bags and explored Seattle until it was time for our train to depart. If you are hesitant about the Light Rail, don't be - it was easy, clean, cheap and not hard to figure out. The ride on the Amtrak train was enjoyable. We upgraded to business class where we ended up having plenty of room. Beautiful sights and a nice ride.In Vancouver we stayed at the Marriott Residence Inn which is downtown, but away from Stanley Park and Canada Place. We chose this hotel based on our ability to use points and get a free night's stay. It was a nice hotel in a decent part of town - no complaints.We spent the morning our first day in Vancouver at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This park was simply fun. It was a great day to stretch our legs after a long travel day. Afterwards we went to the top of Grouse Mountain. It was cloudy and cold at the top, but we didn't care as there was lots and lots of snow to play in. For Florida folk, this is a big deal! This too was a nice spot to visit.The next day we headed over to Victoria on the ferry. If you are taking the 9am ferry, ignore the 45 min to 1 hour travel time to the dock. It was rush hour and it took us 1.5 hours. We left early and had plenty of time, but just plan ahead. Victoria was nice, beautiful weather. Based on reviews, we ate at Pagliacci's Restaurant. The reviews were right - good food at good prices.We took the 7am ferry back to Vancouver and after dropping off our rental car, were at the dock by 10am. Three ships were in port so it was busy, but very well managed. It took about 1.5 hours to check in and soon we were on-board the ship. Our cabin was an inside on deck 3. By the time we booked, all 3-person outside and balcony cabins were booked. The room was fine - plenty of storage, clean and quiet. The shower is small - very small - but it worked fine. No complaints other than hot water ran low on a few nights.Our first port was Juneau. The weather was sunny and cool - perfect. We were interested in the dog sledding, but heard mixed reviews. A family friend lives in Juneau and he recommended the float plane trip to Taku Lodge. Long story short - amazing trip, our favorite of the cruise. Saw 3 bears (including a cub) and enjoyed the outdoors. This was a 5 start excursion - it is a must. Onto Skagway. In the morning we rode the train up to and back from White Pass. Lovely trip. Beautiful scenery. Nice time was had by all. The afternoon was the Chilkoot Trail Hike and Float Trip. We booked this independently. It was a nice time. Again the weather was perfect and our guide was good.In Ketchikan we took the Alaska Coastal Expedition - Zodiac Tour. Hands down a first class tour. You drive the zodiac yourself, following a guide in his boat. Along the way you stop to see sights - in our case, a whale feeding a mere 50 feet from us and an eagle swooping down 15 feet from us to catch a fish. Warm gear is provided and I was not cold at all on this adventure (and being from Florida, I'm always cold!). If you are hesitant to take the tour because you don't know how to pilot/drive a boat, no worries as it's easy. If you are an outdoors/adventure seeking person, this is your excursion. It was a bit pricey, but so worth the money.We chose Anytime Dining which worked well for us. We always had the same table and waitstaff - both of whom were wonderful with our 6-year old son. The food was decent. We are not foodies, but we enjoyed our meals and though that for how many people are served per day, it was well done. Chops was an enjoyable dinner out - made more so by a spotting a whale outside our window during dinner.My son really enjoyed the Adventure Club. In fact, if he had his way, he would have spent all day, every day in there. The children made crafts (colored pillow cases, masks, etc..) played games and of course, became pirates and took over the ship during their pirate parade.If I had any complaint about our days at sea, it was that there wasn't much to do that we were interested in. The movies being shown in the main theater were not that great (Really, a showing of Rod Stewart's One Night Only?!) Activities were typical - napkin folding, horse racing, etc. So instead of doing ship activities I did a lot of reading, playing ping pong and napping - which honestly I needed after our active shore excursions! Upon our return to Seattle we took a taxi to the airport for our 11:45am flight. We had plenty of time to catch our flight, but in hindsight we would should have avoided the very long queue for taxis and booked the cruise ship transfers. In our case, our taxi ride cost more that the bus transfer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Although we are from Nebraska, we have friends in Denver that we enjoy traveling with. We loved the fact that the ship sailed from Vancouver B.C., sailed the Inside Passage, and then the cruise concluded at Seattle. We purposely booked ... Read More
Although we are from Nebraska, we have friends in Denver that we enjoy traveling with. We loved the fact that the ship sailed from Vancouver B.C., sailed the Inside Passage, and then the cruise concluded at Seattle. We purposely booked three nights prior and two nights after in those cities. In just under two weeks we enjoyed three vacations in one, with many bucket list experiences.Normally, it makes more sense financially to book round trip airfare to Seattle, then Amtrak or shuttle it to Vancouver. However, because our travel friends work for a major airline out of Denver, we were able to take advantage of a "family and friends" type program, so we flew in early direct to Vancouver. For three nights we stayed right at the port, Canada Place..at the Pan Pacific. This is an expensive hotel;for good reason. The facilities, service, the rooms, the views of the many floater planes landing and taking off, the cruise ships docking and departing, are spectacular!! Also, so many things are within walking distance, shops,pubs,fast food, and the historic Gastown District. And no need for taxi to the ship. It was literally spitting distance. Access to boarding is direct from the hotel. After 3 nights, and visits to Vancouver musts like: Capilano rain forest, Granville Island, Stanley Park (and the Aquarium), we almost hated to leave. But the morning of 5/24 as we gazed at the lovely Rhapsody of the Seas as it prepared for the first Alaska cruise of the season, we were ready for 'the main event'... Along with my wife, Beth and our friends, my college age step-daughter and Mother-in-Law were also along for the adventure, using two outside-window cabins on deck 3, 3550 and 3552. When we booked 10 months prior, the price for this early season voyage was very reasonable (and before it sold out, the price went up considerably, so at least for Alaska, best to book early), and the difference between inside and outside was only about $50, so we went with the window, and we are so glad we did. Canada Place is one of the most beautiful ports I have sailed from, but with three ships in at once it was at full capacity and embarkation was very busy, and, what I would call "controlled frenzy". Still, the whole process took all of 90 minutes, and all of us were enjoying our first lunch at the Windjammer by 1 pm.The first cruise Beth and I ever took together was on the Rhapsody of the Seas back when it was doing 7 day Caribbean runs out of Galveston. We thought it was lovely then, but even though it's older now, the recent refurbishment gives the appearance of a newer ship. The cabins, at 154 square feet, cannot be called spacious, but perfect for two, with upscale touches like raised bowl sink in the (tiny but modern) bathroom. The shower had great pressure. I have read other reviews that at times the hot water ran out too quickly, and my step daughter said this about their cabin next door, but that was never an issue with us (maybe we were using it all???)Had a nice flat screen, bed was extremely comfortable, more than enough storage room. The refurb brought some nice design updates to the ship. Each deck has it's own artistic theme. Our deck was rock and roll; with framed historic posters and pictures (some autographed) of legendary acts like the Beatles, Stones...Elvis was right next to Mom-in Laws cabin 3552. It was like a Hard Rock Cafe presentation on the seas. Very cool.As for the rest of the ship,cruise critics review and pictures tell the story better than I could, but suffice to say we were very happy with the ship.The staff and service: We couldn't help but notice, at the very first, before the muster drill that as we walked by some of the bar staff, they were not as engaged with the passengers as we might expect, talking among themselves, not going out of their way to greet us. For whatever reason that changed, like a switch was turned on after the muster. What would be our favorite lounge, the Schooner Bar (did team trivia there three times a day)..the staff came alive, asking our names, and remembering them throughout the cruise. Excellent, attentive service, and the drinks, always cold, tasty, and never "stingy". We did "My Time" dining, and the service, and our waiter, Andrew..who served us most nights, amazed us the first evening my naming all 7 of us around the table. We had pre-registered My Time times before the cruise and he had memorized the list. Needless to say we were impressed, as we were with the service, and most of the food throughout the week. I had one piece of grilled chicken that had been overcooked and it was dry. Andrew whisked it away and assured us he would inform the head waiter and the chef.So, I went for the prime rib. Being from Nebraska, I know good beef, and it wasn't the best I had ever had, but it was darn good.We tried Giovanni's one night.I would call it Old Country Italian.My wife would have preferred the steakhouse Chops, but in my opinion, the food and the service was well worth the $20 fee.It didn't hurt that the ship Captain personally came to our table to greet us. Our cabin steward was appropriately friendly, and kept our stateroom immaculate. It was always a delight to relax in the cozy confines after another great day.The entertainment was, on balance, good. Perhaps the most fun was Derek, who conducted what some might call a PG-13 rated sing along Kareoke type thing in the Schooner Bar late night.My wife and her daughter got into the fun and got a C.D of their performance (for a small fee of course). The other music and fly-in performers (a juggler and a singer/impersonator) offered on the ship varied from OK to very good, but all of this can be very subjective. We missed the two big productions shows but saw the performers, dancers and singers in the farewell show. Also, the house band, as is usually the case were excellent musicians. The biggest disappointment was the much hyped aerial show in the Centrum. At least at this point, it needs work; but this really was a minor issue for us.The ports: Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan, all have their own incredible charms; and all of them with that beautiful Alaska mountainous backdrop. For more information on these ports,refer to cruise critics excellent professional reviews. While in these ports, all or some of our group enjoyed: the Mendenhall Glacier, the White Pass train (a must), zip-lining, a Whale Watch excursion, the Lumberjack show. We also enjoyed a "pub tour" of sorts in all the stops. Although undoubtedly touristy, perhaps the highlight was the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau. But honorable mentions go to the Red Orchid and Bonanza Bar and Grill in Skagway, and the Fish Pirate in Ketchikan.One of the reasons this cruise cost less than the same cruise later in the summer is: weather. Late May in the Northeast and the Alaska Inside Passage can be very iffy. It can be cloudy, rainy and cool. From the second day in Vancouver all the way through our post Seattle stay, we had uncharacteristically dry and clear weather. Even the Captain remarked several times during his daily reports how blessed we were. It made for some very dramatic, "chamber of commerce" views of every port.When we sailed into Seattle, we were sad to leave our Rhapsody home, but comforted to know we would not have to rush off the ship like so many. We lingered in the special lounge reserved for Platinum, Emerald and Diamond level passengers (coffee, rolls...nice touch) until we were getting the polite 'time to get off' looks from the staff, and embarkation, while never fun, was uneventful. We enjoyed two nights in Seattle at the airport Embassy Suites. We visited the Public Market, rode the Seattle Great Wheel (similar to the London Eye), went to the top of the Space Needle, enjoyed the Seattle Museum of Science near the needle, before our early flight on a Sunday morning returned us safely to Denver, before our 5 hour drive back to Kearney, Nebraska.I cannot guarantee the picture postcard perfect weather we enjoyed if you choose an Alaska cruise, but I can highly recommend the Rhapsody of the Seas to take you there for a great bucket list adventure. Happy Sails! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
We're a little late in getting our review together, but since we had such a fabulous time, we still want to share our experience and thoughts with others. So here goes...My childhood friend and I promised each other 9 years ago we ... Read More
We're a little late in getting our review together, but since we had such a fabulous time, we still want to share our experience and thoughts with others. So here goes...My childhood friend and I promised each other 9 years ago we would take an Alaskan Cruise together the year we both turned 60 (this was that year). We'd spent our elementary and high school years together in Nova Scotia but now live 3000 miles apart on opposite ends of Canada, me in Nova Scotia and she on Vancouver Island, BC (since 1971). We booked our cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas in Oct’12 and had many Skype visits together making final plans. I flew to Victoria a day early and on day of departure, we used the Pacific Coast Lines bus to take us from Victoria to Vancouver. That was a good choice as they handled our luggage from pickup to ship, so we were free to enjoy the crossing. Our cruise was out of Canada Place in Vancouver. There were three cruise ships in port boarding for Alaska that day, so there were thousands of people all gathered in one room, each given a number. The wait was rather long, but once our number was called the lines went fairly quickly, we were issued our blue Sea Pass Cards, the usual Welcome Aboard picture was taken and then we boarded The Rhapsody of the Seas. We had booked a ‘large’ outside cabin with a picture window on Deck 3. Once aboard and after we made sure our luggage made it on the ship, we went to find the cabin and then orient ourselves with the ship a little bit before the compulsory muster drill. The room was quite small but once our luggage was delivered, we were able to find a place for everything. The room was adequate for a weeks stay and there was enough room for each of us to have our own spaces. And after-all we weren't planning to spend all our time in our room anyway..too many other fun and exciting things to do. We had chosen Open Dining in the Edelweiss Dining Room which gave us the flexibility to dine when we wanted, so we were never confined to being there at a certain time. The menu was always quite varied, we found the food very good and attractively presented with lots of choices, and our waiters were always very attentive and entertaining. We didn’t visit any of the Specialty Restaurants on the ship as we always found the food in The Edelweiss very enjoyable. Our favorite was the night they served lobster and prime rib - actually listed separately on the menu, but no problem - we ordered both as one meal and it was delicious Our waiter Ian cut our lobster for us and even served the first bite. We went to the Windjammer Buffet most mornings for breakfast and found the food good with lots of variety. We never ran into a problem finding a place to sit and the waiters were always attentive, bringing coffee, taking empty plates away, etc. On sea days, lunch for us was usually a quick bite wherever we happened to be when we got hungry. And of course, we enjoyed the delicious complimentary soft ice cream a couple of times. There are a few drink stations around the ship where you can get ice tea, lemonade, mango drinks, ice and water, coffee/tea, hot chocolate, etc. No need to ever go hungry on this ship. One of our favorite things on the ship was the digital “Wayfinder” signage, which were large touch-screens, posted by the elevators that let you browse daily activity schedules and directions to wherever you might want to go on the ship. They’re fun to play with and really helpful when you can’t remember whether you’re forward or aft on the ship. We enjoyed the shows in the Broadway Melodies Theatre – they were for the most part well done - some better than others. We also really enjoyed the Baroque Aerial Spectacular Shows performed by the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers held in the Centrum. OK..here I must stop and tell the amazing thing that happened for me and my friend that helped make this our trip of a lifetime and one I personally will never forget. On the first afternoon at sea, my friend talked me into going to play Bingo in the Shall We Dance Lounge. I'm not a huge Bingo fan, but gave in and off we went. Long story short - we won the grand prize (for that days games only) which was the next six days and nights in the Royal Suite with all amenities and perks. We quickly traded our Blue Sea Pass Cards for Gold Sea Pass Cards, went to our original cabin on Deck 3 to pack up all our things, and off we went to move into our new accommodations ...1140 sq ft of pure heaven plus a huge balcony on Deck 8 next to the Bridge where we stood every day and took in all the spectacular views an Alaskan Cruise has to offer. We were often on the balcony when the Captain and/or some of his crew were outside doing their checks, and we got a friendly 'good morning' each day. We had a very helpful and friendly butler (Joel), a wonderful and funny Concierge (Amit) and a great bartender in the Concierge Lounge (Sam). We met several friendly people in the Concierge Lounge where we'd go each evening for a glass of wine after our days activities before heading off to dinner and the evenings entertainment. Our families and friends couldn't believe us when we got home and showed them pictures of our accommodations. Ports of Call: Our first Port of call was Juneau and we docked on a beautiful sunny, warm day. We took a trolley town tour and bus to/from to Mendenhall Glacier which was my first ever glance at a glacier - I was quite enthralled. Miriam was our driver on the way to the Glacier and gave us a very good narration. We got some beautiful photos of the glacier and nearby waterfall before heading back to town where we enjoyed a nice cold beer at the famous Red Dog Saloon before stopping in a few shops on our way back to The Rhapsody. Our second Port of Call was Skagway - another gorgeous day. We had booked a tour to Yukon, Carcross and Emerald Lake online in January thru a private tour - Dyea Dave. It was an amazing tour with a very good guide who made many stops so we could enjoy the beautiful scenery. Emerald Lake is really something to behold..the most amazing colors I have ever seen. We even got to stop at Carcross Desert (hard to believe there's actually a 'desert' in the Yukon..quite a site, snow capped mountains and desert fine sand all in one shot). Again, upon returning from our tour, we walk around town for a while and headed back to the ship. The weather was was hot and sunny all day. The next day was a 'sea day' during which Captain Sullivan took the ship up Tracy Arm to Dawes Glacier. Due to the phase of the moon and high tide, we were able to get quite close to the Glacier. He later told us it was probably a once in a five year opportunity, so he went for it. The views were breathtaking, with so many beautiful blue ice flows/bergs in the calm waters. We got some amazing photos and videos and made memories to last forever. On our way back out of Tracy Arm we saw a few pods of whales and several dolphins playing near the ship. That afternoon we were invited to a Private Cocktail Party hosted by Captain Sullivan in Chops Grille where we enjoyed lovely appetizers nice drinks and even a song performed by the Captain. Our last Port of Call was Ketchikan – the only day it rained, and then only part of the day. We bought a tour from a Kiosk on the dock that made an informative stop at Totem Park plus several other stops for site seeing and photo opportunities. We did the tour of Dolly's House upon our return to town. On our way out of Ketchikan we saw several eagles flying and perched in the port area while enjoying a glass of wine and chatting with the new friends we made in the Concierge Lounge. On our last day at sea, on our way back to Seattle (and reality), we were invited on a tour of the Bridge along with several other Suite passengers. The Captain welcomed us, gave us a short talk and then passed us on to his Second Officer, Oliver, a VERY knowledgeable young man who could answer any question thrown at him - we were very impressed by him. We came into Seattle on a cloudy morning that quickly turned into a sunny day. We met Amit for the last time for one last special escort off the ship, making our disembarkment smooth and easy. We quickly found our luggage in the terminal, and got thru the customs line with no difficulties and then headed off to wait for The Victoria Clipper that took us back to Victoria. We really couldn't find anything to complain about during this entire cruise. Sure, everything wasn't perfect all the time, but with over 2000 people to look after for seven days, we think the Captain and all his crew did an excellent job of keeping things running pleasantly smooth and we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of those seven days. I would have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending Royal Caribbean and Rhapsody of the Seas.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
Arrived a few days early to explore Vancouver. Exchanged money at the airport and took a taxi to our hotel downtown which cost $35. Stayed at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. Very pleased with hotel and located within walking distance of so ... Read More
Arrived a few days early to explore Vancouver. Exchanged money at the airport and took a taxi to our hotel downtown which cost $35. Stayed at the Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. Very pleased with hotel and located within walking distance of so many things. Vancouver is a beautiful city with so much to see. Wish I could have stayed longer. The morning of our cruise we walked right up to our ship. Checking in was very quick despite the long lines. We had a balcony stateroom which was quite comfortable for myself and teenage son. So happy with our balcony view as you will witness some of the most beautiful sights during this trip. Our first stop was Ketchikan...saw the Lumberjack show which was quite entertaining and rode the trolley around town. You can get a map at the visitor center and walk to all the highlights. It's a small town with lots of shops. Very pretty and quaint. 2nd stop was Icy Straight Point....we booked a whale watching tour independently through Misty Bay Lodge. The owners, Hope and Don, are very nice. Hope picked us up at the pier and drove us into Hoonah where her husband took 6 of us aboard his boat for a 3-4 hour tour. Saw many whales up close and personal. As we ended our journey, Don drove the boat close to shore where we saw a bear and a cub. Beautiful scenery. 3rd stop was Juneau....we took a bus to Mendenhall Glacier and walked to the waterfall. It takes about 45 min roundtrip to hike to the falls but is so worth it. Breathtaking views. When you step off the ship, there will be booths where you can purchase tickets for the Glacier Bus. Roundtrip ticket is $16 per person. We spent quite a bit of time here and heard from others if you take the tour to the glacier, they only give you about 45 min. In my opinion, that's not enough time. The bus runs every 30 min and dropped us back into town. Again, we got a city map and walked to all the highlights and did some shopping. We also took the Mount Roberts Tram up up up for some of the most incredible views of all the ships in the port. There is also a bald eagle to see and we were able to play in the snow which was still very abundant. Loved it. 4th stop Skagway....took the White Pass train tour. Again, there was alot of snow in the mountains . The train ride was great. We sat on the left side going up the mountain and then they make everyone switch sides on the return trip. Afterwards we walked around Skagway and played tourist. For Hubbard Glacier, we made our way to the helipad for some incredible viewing. It was very cold and windy up there but so worth it. The captain turns the ship around so no matter where you are, you're going to be able to get a great view. We arrived in Seward and took the train into Anchorage. They assign your seats aboard the train where you'll sit at a table for 4. You'll be able to order breakfast or lunch during your 4 hour ride. Again the scenery was incredible. Lots of snow . Saw moose and dall sheep. Arrived in Anchorage where a bus took us to a downtown hotel that Royal Caribbean uses. They stored our luggage since our flight didn't leave until 9 pm. We walked around Anchorage and had lunch. Royal provided our transportation back to the airport to catch our flight. Loved Loved Loved this cruise. It is so different from the Caribbean ones....I didn't mind the cool/cold weather and I'm a southerner. A must for all. Happy sailing :) Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
My wife and I just returned from our trip to Alaska. Arriving in Vancouver we stood in line to get through customs and get our luggage for what seemed an eternity. Once past that, the Royal Caribbean counter was fast and painless. Then we ... Read More
My wife and I just returned from our trip to Alaska. Arriving in Vancouver we stood in line to get through customs and get our luggage for what seemed an eternity. Once past that, the Royal Caribbean counter was fast and painless. Then we had the transfer to the pier where we stood in line AGAIN! By this time we were very tired and crabby from all the hours flying and the delays of being in line. Finally we were onboard! We went to our balcony room and were immediately greeted by our stateroom attendant. Very nice and pleasant, and he made a point of remembering our names right from the start. All through the cruise he would greet us and ask how our trip was going, what he could do for us, and he would even open our door for us if he saw us coming in time. Putu was a bright point of the cruise for us. The journey started out wet and dreary, but not a hard rain so it wasn't bad. Once we hit Ketchikan things started clearing up and from that point on it was nothing but sunshine. The scenery from our balcony was truly unbelievable! We were almost mesmerized watching the mountains go by. Watching humpbacks right below us in Icy Strait Point was great, and we enjoyed our breakfast on our balcony in the sunshine with a front row seat at Hubbard Glacier. The ship itself was very nice. We had to wait a while sometimes for an elevator which got a bit irritating. Everything was clean, and any water or wet spot was promptly worked on by maintenance. Our only real complaint was the food. We're not food critics by any means but we do like to eat. We have our ideas of what a steak should taste like and that's just how we are. The first night we ate in the Cascades dining room and had prime rib. It was MAYBE 1/2 inch thick and fairly chewy. Not quite what we expected. The appetizer was good but we were disappointed after all the hassle just to get aboard ship. We went back there for breakfast the next day and had Eggs Benedict. Again, not that great! We decided to have lunch in the Windjammer Cafe. What a nice buffet! THAT food was tasty and there was a wide variety of choices. We ate almost every meal after that in there. I had booked a dinner in Chops Grill for the next night while we had no stops in port. Paid the extra money to eat at their steakhouse and we sat down for a filet, their signature steak. Our appetizers came and were very good. However, once again, the steak was a flop. Dry and fairly tasteless. Having paid extra to eat there we were pretty unhappy about the food. Especially when meals in general are included in the price of the cruise. We could have gone to a nice steakhouse at home and paid the same price for a better meal. However, we gave the Samba Grill a chance later on and it was fantastic! Once again it was an extra cost meal, but it was worth it. Melt in your mouth meats from the many courses they served at our table. The only bad part was we were not all that hungry when we got there. We could have had all we wanted of everything there but got too full to have much more than one round of meats. We booked some shore excursions through Royal Caribbean ahead of time and found out that not all of them were worth it. The trip to Mendenhall Glacier was $44 per person but shuttles from the pier were $16 round trip. That's all you needed. Once there we just hiked down the trail and back. We booked a Dogsled and Musher's Camp trip for $139 each I think, and once there we rode in a wheeled cart behind some sled dogs around the roads for a bit, went to look at an old sled with a jacket and pair of boots, and played with a few young pups. There was a little explanation of things, a warm cider available, and a fire to sit by. That was it. NO view of how or where the dogs were kept or much else for that matter. Later on in our trip we went to another one run by Jeff King, a 4 time Iditarod winner. This one was all we expected it to be. Nice presentations, dog training demonstrations, and it was quite detailed about mushing and racing. Plus, it was less than half the price of the earlier version we saw. Do some research ahead of time for shore excursions. You can do things cheaper once you get there instead of booking through the cruise company. Can't say they all will be cheaper but it's worth it to look. We're not big "show" people, but the entertainment during the cruise was something we looked into every night. Bad part was there was nothing we wanted to see. Never heard of any of the performers, and didn't care to see the ship band and dancers. We peeked in one night for a minute but left. The scenery outside made any show seem pointless. The place was packed so lots of guests seemed to enjoy being there. Be prepared to be bombarded by shopping offers, especially in port. The same jewelry stores are EVERYWHERE! Overall, it was a very nice cruise. We had beautiful weather and our balcony stateroom let us enjoy the great views of the snow covered mountains as we sailed past. If the food would have been better in the places we didn't enjoy it the trip would have been about perfect. We would love to do it again. This time we'll know what to do different. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
our cruise was wonderful. Although we had a rough start, United Air wasn't my best flight we almost missed our connection in Denver, (we has requested transport at airport because of a less then one hour to change planes and carry ... Read More
our cruise was wonderful. Although we had a rough start, United Air wasn't my best flight we almost missed our connection in Denver, (we has requested transport at airport because of a less then one hour to change planes and carry our luggage, however no transport and had to carry our bags across the airport on foot we made our connection with less then 5 minutes to spare. When we arrived at Vancouver my new hard sided luggage was cracked how ever with a limo waiting and a sick travel mate I had no time to run to the other end of the airport to report my damage to United. Our limo (pearl limo and driver Manny) drive from the airport was fast and our driver gave us much info in getting around and restaurants etc. Our second day in Vancouver we did the hop on hop off trolly tour which we took all over the city. It was easy to navigate and saw all that we wanted to see. Our third day we booked a tour with hotel pickup and cruise ship drop off which was great, our driver Dawn was very pleasant and very knowledgeable her tour was fun and got us to our ship in plenty of time. Both of these tours were booked through Viatours and I will use them again. The Radiance of the Seas was a nice ship, the room was large and comfortable., every member of the crew was well trained and we wanted for nothing. The food was good ,breakfast, lunch and dinner. The bar tenders especially Rebecca at the martini tasting were fun and made great drinks. Ketchikan was rainy and chilly as expected we booked a tour right on the dock with Alaska seaplane tours Ketchikan was rainy in the AM but we went on a float float plane ride with Our first stop was Ketchikan where we booked a float plane right on the dock. These young men could not have been nicer to 3 senior ladies. We had a 2 hour flight over the most beautiful Landscapes I have ever seen. Ryan was great we saw the most amazing views and landed on a lake in the national forest it was an excursion not to be missed. If 3 senior ladies can do it so can you! Our next stop Icy Strait was clear and cold we did a tram tour of the forest where we saw eagles everywhere and had a informative talk, followed by an Indian dance and narrative which I enjoyed. Juneau was for whale watching with Juneau whale watch which we booked on shore, Tommy, Emily, Nicole, and Cap Mike were great and we saw humpbacks although my pictures aren't wonderful. There's lots to do there and everything is easily booked right there and the tram is an easy walk. Skagway was the White Pass rail, it travels the route of the gold miners and the bus back stopped at the dog sled which we all enjoyed, the dogs are friendly and fun. Shopping there is fun with all the shops full of great little souvenirs. Hubbard Glacier is our last day at sea and is a sight to behold and the hot chocolate up on deck should not be missed. The last day is usually sad however we booked through RCCL an excursion the last day just to fill in the time till our midnight flight home. Never did I expect it to be my favorite day. We had a short bus tour with time for shopping in Seward and a stop at the sea life center, then a lunch cruise with all you could eat prime rib and salmon and it was delicious. The wildlife was amazing we saw orcas, humpbacks, eagles, mountain goats, seals, and every bird native to Alaska. The park ranger aboard explained every aspect of wildlife. Then on to the bus ride to anchorage 2 1/2 hours away, our driver on buchnell (they name their busses) was funny and educational and we arrived at the airport in plenty of time. If you have a late flight do not miss this excursion!Bus tour of Seward with time for shopping and the sea life center. Then on to a 5 hours lunch cruise, I wasn't expecting much, however was I wrong, the prime rib and salmon all you could eat buffet was very tasty, but the wildlife was amazing. We saw orcas, humpbacks, seals, otters, eagles and every bird native to Alaska, mountain goats and every other form of life we missed at our other ports. The ranger on board was great and answered every question. Our guide for the day Pat was always there to help, and so was Jed. Then on to the bus ride to anchorage, which was just as exciting we saw moose the last animal I had not viewed. I booked this excursion just to catch my plane but it was a tour not to be missed Alaska is a cruise long to be remembered. By the way my luggage damaged by United was repaired on the Radiance by my room steward and he did a great job, I got it home in one piece with nothing hanging out, thank you RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
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