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408 Royal Caribbean Vancouver Cruise Reviews

We sailed Northbound out of Vancouver, BC on Radiance on June 2nd with stops in Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, and a sea day that included the Hubbard Glacier. We also took a cruisetour (1A) post cruise, which I'll ... Read More
We sailed Northbound out of Vancouver, BC on Radiance on June 2nd with stops in Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, Juneau, Skagway, and a sea day that included the Hubbard Glacier. We also took a cruisetour (1A) post cruise, which I'll review a bit later. Pre-cruise in Vancover: We chose to fly into Seattle from Boston, rent a car and drive to Vancouver. It was a lovely drive. We spent a day and a half there visiting the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park (gorgeous, make time to see it if you can) and Stanley Park. We also checked out Canada Place and saw Fly Over Canada (if you've been to Disney, it's Soarin' with a Canadian theme and quite good). There we also watched sail away for the ships leaving the day before ours and grabbed a bite to eat at the "mall" across the way. Embarkation: Canada place is an interesting place. Part convention center, part cruise port, part entertainment venue. I've only previously sailed from Florida ports and this seemed a bit less organized. We returned our rental car in the parking structure (very convenient) and took an elevator to the cruise terminal. We arrived around 9:45. We were directed to drop our bags, which was quick and easy. We were then directed through a door and down a long corridor to check in and get our Sea Pass card. There was no wait. From there we were directed back down the corridor and back to where we started to go through security. There was a short wait here. If you were from the U.S. you were given a big green card that allowed you to use a kiosk for customs verification. It read your passport and printed a voucher. We then had to wait in a longer line (maybe 15 min) to show that voucher to a customs agent along with our passport. We showed our passports at least 5 different times before we walked onto the ship, which seemed a bit ridiculous. Once through customs we were sent to a large holding pen. It really felt like that. Lots of chairs and no organization or communication from staff. No special lounge or waiting area for Crown and Anchor members who had Diamond or higher or suite status, no explanation or order to this process. So we sat and waited and chatted with our neighbors. Eventually, agents began moving people to the next holding pen, where there were more seats and we sat there. Again, no explanation. Turns out there is no PA system in the building, so they just did their thing. This wait was shorter and then rows were called in no particular order to line up to board the ship. This process took longer than I've previously experienced. We were in line close to a half hour before we stepped onto the ship. New cruisers did not seem to know they had to show their Sea Pass cards and ID to be scanned and double checked to get on the ship. Around the Ship: Radiance of the seas is truly a radiant ship. She is small, but beautiful. Many of the venues have ample glass to take in the amazing Alaskan scenery, including glass elevators that look out over the ocean! You can sit at any bar and see out the windows. The Champagne Bar and the Schooner Bar offering the best views I think. The Colony Club and the Viking Crown Lounge also offer spectacular views, with the Colony club offering a nice aft view. Sure, she shows her age a bit in spots, with some worn carpet in stateroom hallways, and dirty balcony railings/glass and spots in need of paint touch up on her exterior. The inside of the stateroom was beautiful (junior suite) and we were quite impressed. Whales! I was thrilled that on 3 separate occasions, we saw whales at sea while cruising along! A pod of orcas on the first sea day, and two different groups of humpacks two consecutive nights at dinner time! Entertainment and Activities: The musical entertainment was top notch. We love to dance and there were really only two venues for dancing. The central Centrum, which is beautiful and open all the way to the 11th deck, is where most of the themed events and parties took place. They had a small central dance floor. The Real Time Band and Just Us Duo were fantastic to listen or dance to. They alternated between the Centrum and the Colony Club. The dance floor there was oval and larger and wood, so we preferred it. The band did live rock band karaoke one night and it was awesome. There was a DJ late night at the disco but the one night we went, no one was there. The Cruise Director, Steve Davis, is absolutely top notch. He loves his job and brings and energy and passion I've not seen in a cruise director before and his staff are equally as fun and engaging. There was always something to do with the usual trivia, dance classes, port talks, captain's corner, and the interviews he did on the cruise channel were both informative and entertaining. I've never had as much fun at the 70's party as I did on this ship! He also did a rock and roll party that was fantastic. We only saw one production show and were underwhelmed. The cast was talented, but the show River of Dreams was just poorly written and there was no flow or chemistry, which was not the fault of the performers so much as it was the fault of whoever came up with the concept and music for the show. Others seemed to like the other production shows and headliner shows, but we did not attend them. In fact most of the shows it seemed were only attended by maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of those cruising. Probably in part because Alaska is a port heavy itinerary with early mornings and busy days. Food and Service: We had the second seating for dinner in the dining room. The second floor of the Cascades dining room was for the formal seatings, the first floor for my time dining. We found the service to be average, but a bit slow. We were seated at a table for 10, but there were only 6 couples. We are not sure if the others were not assigned or just never came. We did notice the dining room was maybe 75% full on any given night with many folks we talked to opting for my time dining or actually just ate in the Windjammer every night! The main dining menus are the same as they are on any other ship, which if you sail RC often, you might tire of. We did not eat at any of the specialty restaurants, but our table mates did and said it was good. They do try to up-sell you to the specialty restaurants, but I found it was very low pressure and honestly, the crew who was supposed to be "pushing" these venues seemed at times uncomfortable with their position. Most people were polite about either declining or asking for more information, but some were unnecessarily rude. We found both breakfast and lunch in the dining room to be enjoyable, relaxing, and quite good, although it's a sit down dining experience and you'll be seated with folks who arrive the same time you do. It's a nice alternative to the chaos of the Windjammer. The salad bar at lunch is fantastic. Be sure to check it out! The Windjammer was average, which in all fairness is what it is supposed to be. It's a buffet, not a gourmet meal. I don't understand people who complain about the food there. What would you expect at any other large buffet? I would not expect the same quality or complexity of food as one would get in the main dining room or specialty restaurants, but it seems some people do. The Park Cafe is in the Solarium and is a great place for early birds to get their coffee or tea, a light breakfast or brunch, and sit in a warm and relatively quiet venue at a window and gaze at the spectacular scenery going by. Ports of Call: Ketchikan: We did the Eagles, Lighthouse and Totem excursion and our captain was great! It was cold (45 degrees) and pouring with rain, but we saw so many eagles! We also saw some seals and had delicious hot chocolate and a snack. It's a longer walk to Creek Street than I imagined (about 15 min), and by the time we went in the afternoon, no one was there, likely because of the weather. It must be a really cool place when the salmon are running. Shopping was great here for general Alaska souvenirs, many told us it was the cheapest place to buy them. Icy Strait Point: Do a whale watch here! We did one here booked thru RC and one in Juneau, and this one was so much better! It was about a 2 hour catamaran trip, booked thru the cruise line, and we spent the bulk of that time observing a number of humpbacks play, dive (tail flukes!), bubble net feed (amazing), and fully breach! We had a naturalist on board who talked to us about the whales and their behaviors and research being done to better understand them. We also did the Brown Bear and wildlife search. It was a 45 min bus ride each way and a walk through the forest with guides on a boardwalk with a few overlooks. We learned the history of Icy Strait and some of the Tinglit culture along the way. We did not see any bears, only a squirrel, and some very pretty scenery, but the tour after ours saw several bears. You are not guaranteed wildlife sightings, because, well, it's their natural habitat, not a zoo. It was cool and rainy, but it seems the wildlife likes that! Juneau: There is a lot you could do here. We booked direct with Juneau tours online before we sailed for a combo Whale watch, Mendenhall Glacier, and Mt. Robert's Tram package. They were organized and efficient at transporting us. We did the whale watch first at 9:30 am (saw two humpbacks playing, a partial breach, and lots of tail), then were dropped off at the glacier for as long as we wanted. They offered a shuttle back to town every half hour. Most tours only give you an hour at the glacier which really is not enough time if you want to take your time to walk the trails and truly take in the natural beauty of the glacier, nugget falls, and the trails. We were there about 2.5 hours and had a leisurely time. It was a lovely day, the first we had seen the sun in 4 days, and it was a great day to be outdoors. We then took the tram up to the top of Mt. Roberts. The view is great, and we saw a bald eagle very close by just sitting in a tree. There are trails to hike up there as well, and a restaurant. We ate a late lunch there because we were starving. I had the coconut wild Alaskan salmon. OMG, it was the best meal of the entire trip! We had over 12 hours in port here, and 5 other ships the same day! Plenty of shopping here, too. Skagway: This is the port almost everyone chooses to take the White Pass Railroad Train or a bus tour. I had done some research and instead we rented a car a few months before we sailed (do this ahead of time, as it's only Avis and limited number of cars) and drove the Klondike highway. It was spectacular. We drove at our own pace, stopped where we wanted and for as long as we wanted, and were not beholden to a bus, a schedule (other than making it back before all aboard), or the constant movement of the train. We had our passports as we crossed into Canada and back to the US. We drove to Emerald Lake (about 73 miles) which was gorgeous and well worth the drive. The scenery is breathtaking the entire drive. Mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, scenic vistas, and wildlife. We also saw what we think was a lynx (running), a moose, and a black bear snacking on dandelions at the side of the road. It took us a leisurely 3.5 hours to drive to Emerald lake but only 2 hours to drive back. We returned the car about 3 and were back on the ship by 3:45 (all aboard at 4). It was about a 12-15 min walk from Avis to our ship as we were at the furthest dock. Hubbard Glacier: The captain got us within a half mile of the glacier, which seemed much closer to us than it was, and it was absolutely gorgeous. It was cold and overcast, but nearly everyone was on deck watching as we sailed toward it. A naturalist was on the PA system the entire time, explaining the history, the features of the glacier, and pointing out calving and other bits of glacial and iceberg trivia. It's hard to describe the experience other than to say it's visually stunning. We were fortunate enough to see quite a lot of calving and the sound it makes was like thunder! An amazing experience. Cruisetour: We booked a 3 day cruisetour (1A) from Seward to Denali and then to Anchorage, where we flew home from. We received very little information about this part of our trip pre-cruise other than your adventure specialist will meet you in Seward and a very brief outline of the 3 days. No detail whatsoever before we met our guide. Our luggage tags had the number that corresponded to our motor coach, so it was already on the coach when we disembarked and we walked off the ship and onto the motor coach. 10 minutes later, we were rolling toward Anchorage (a 4 hour drive). Day 1 We stopped at the Wildlife Conservation Center on the way, which was a nice chance to use real bathrooms and stretch our legs while seeing some rehabilitating wildlife. Our tour guide, Brady, was awesome, and gave us history, information, and humorous stories our entire time together. He told us about optional excursions we could do as part of the land tour, we filled out a form and got it back to him. Once in Anchorage, around noon, we had about 90 min for lunch. When we all got back on the motor coach, he had our reservations made for the evening excursions! From Anchorage we drove to Talkeetna (about another 4 hours). We arrived at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge around 4:45 and we had a 5:30 departure for our flightseeing tour and glacier landing, which was awesome. We returned from that around 9, and had dinner at the lodge, which was really the only option, but it was good and had a gorgeous view of the Alaskan Range. We did not see the summit of Mt. Denali, as it was too cloudy. Day 2 We were rolling on our Motor Coach by 8 am on our way to Denali National Park. We arrived around 11:45 and our Tundra Wilderness Tour left at 1:00. We had lunch, as the tour was 8 hours and they did provide a snack box and water, but not enough to hold us for that long! I strongly recommend doing this tour as it goes deep into the park and is your best chance for seeing wildlife. It's on a school bus with captain's chairs and overhead storage. They stop if wildlife is spotted but you are only allowed off the bus every 90 min or so at designated rest stops to use the bathroom and take a few photos. The bus has a camera system so you can see the more distant wildlife close up if you don't have binoculars. We saw moose, several grizzly bears including moms with cubs, wolves, caribou, Dall sheep, fox, marmots, grouse and ptarmigan. It was amazing! After the tour (it was 9 pm), we were dropped off at our hotel, the Denali Village Lodge, given our room keys, had dinner at the lodge (it was meh), and crashed. Day 3: We had booked a whitewater rafting excursion that left at 7 am, so another early morning. It was 45 degrees and raining. We rafted on the Nenana river, a glacially fed river that was 35 degrees. We were given dry suits that did the job, but dressed in several warm layers to wear under it. Only our face and hands were exposed to the elements. We rafted for about 90 minutes on class 3 and 4 rapids with our guide, who was great. It was really fun. We had about a half hour to take a quick shower and change once back at the lodge, and grab a bite to eat before getting back on the motor coach at 11:45 to head back to Talkeetna. After about an hour there to explore the tiny town, we boarded the Wilderness Express - a fancy domed train with panoramic views and a dining car on the lower level. Dinner was very good, bar service was good, and we saw a bunch of moose along the way. It was a very nice end to our very long and busy few days. We were dropped off at the Anchorage Marriott and our airport transfers had all been arranged for the next morning. Great guides, great service, gorgeous scenery, but a lot of sitting on a bus! Totally worth it for the places we were able to see and to have the experiences we did. Alaska is beautiful and Radiance is a beautiful way to see her. I couldn't stop looking out our balcony or the many windows on the ship at the spectacular scenery going by. The midnight sun was also quite an experience! It was a fantastic cruise that I thought would be once in a lifetime, but I would totally go back! Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Going on a cruise was at the top of my bucket list, and Alaska was the place I most wanted to see. So when my brother invited us to join his family on this trip, I didn't hesitate to book a stateroom on the beautiful Radiance of the ... Read More
Going on a cruise was at the top of my bucket list, and Alaska was the place I most wanted to see. So when my brother invited us to join his family on this trip, I didn't hesitate to book a stateroom on the beautiful Radiance of the Seas. From the gorgeous centrum with its twin waterfalls to the elegantly appointed Cascades dining room, all public areas on the ship are absolutely lovely. Works of art were on display everywhere, competing with the spectacular views outside the many glass walls and huge windows. Even the elevators had glass walls. Our interior cabin was surprisingly spacious and there was ample storage. The beds were so comfortable that it was often hard to get up early enough for shore excursions. Our stateroom attendant Benny was superb. He went above and beyond his duties to make sure we had everything we needed, including wine glasses, a corkscrew, a pair of scissors, and green apples (for our daughter's brief episode of motion sickness). The towel animals that greeted us on several occasions were delightful. All of the staff members were polite and eager to please. Our dining room waiters, Stanley and Jude, were excellent and very accommodating. We enjoyed the food at the Windjammer buffet for breakfast and lunch, but dinners at the Cascades were the highlights of our days. Everything we ate was delicious. Chef Carlito even prepared a special breakfast one day and an all-Filipino dinner on our last evening. The musicians are all very talented, and it was a pleasure to wander around to different areas of the ship and listen to their variety. With regard to shows at the Aurora Theater, we especially enjoyed the magician and the comedian who performed impressions. The events in the Centrum were also interesting and enjoyable, including the performances by the cruise director Steve. I particularly loved the egg drop contest, which involved a lot of creativity and engineering to land a raw egg safely after being dropped from Deck 10. In sum, this unforgettable trip has turned my husband and me into cruise converts, and we're already planning our next one. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Our balcony cabin (9582) was perfect, ship easy to maneuver, food quality average to poor BUT every one of the staff we encountered had a smile every day. Every port, Sitka, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Skagway, Juneau, Haines and Seward were ... Read More
Our balcony cabin (9582) was perfect, ship easy to maneuver, food quality average to poor BUT every one of the staff we encountered had a smile every day. Every port, Sitka, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Skagway, Juneau, Haines and Seward were amazing and our excursions (private and Royal Caribbean) were the best we have had in 5 Alaska cruises. Loved coffee and cocoa availability 24/7 on 11th floor. Felt specialty dining was pushed too much and think Bingo at $35/game was a huge rip-off. Embarkation took 5 hours in Vancouver!! and transport through RCI by train from Seward to Anchorage was gorgeous but ruined at the end from RCI. Because our flight out was the next day, we had no choice but to be transported to Anchorage Convention Center downtown from the airport but because the majority of hotels do not offer transport from this location we had to hire a taxi to get us back to the airport for hotel transport. We were told this is done to bring revenue to downtown. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Had a great trip to Alaska. The embarkation in Vancouver was a nightmare! Had to wait in a room for over two hours to go through security mixed in with Two other companies ships! Celebrity had two ships and Holland had one in addition ... Read More
Had a great trip to Alaska. The embarkation in Vancouver was a nightmare! Had to wait in a room for over two hours to go through security mixed in with Two other companies ships! Celebrity had two ships and Holland had one in addition to the Radiance! A nightmare! Our cabin and steward were wonderful! The service in the dining room left a lot to be desired! We had MTD at 815, never sat in the same section, had didn't have the same servers. The wait time for our food was excessive and we had to wait for our plates to be cleared on different occasions. It didn't matter if we sat as a couple or a table of ten! The ports of call were great! Especially the two additional ones for this cruise! The serving staff in the Diamond lounge always went above and beyond! Yes I'll go again I love RCCI! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I liked the value and the itinerary, even though it was very port intensive. The emabarkation in Vancouver was a nightmare! Took 2-3 hrs to get through Canada Place and onto the ship. What a mess! We arrived around 11:30am and there ... Read More
I liked the value and the itinerary, even though it was very port intensive. The emabarkation in Vancouver was a nightmare! Took 2-3 hrs to get through Canada Place and onto the ship. What a mess! We arrived around 11:30am and there were people still leaving from previous cruise; people walking every which way and staffers having to yell to get the crowds of people to line up their ship (3 ships in port at same time). Absolutely NO signage anywhere directing people to their ship. Don't know if it's the responsilbilty of the Vancouver customs, US Customs, or the 3 cruiselines but it sure was a disaster! Not even any water and lemonade and cookies in the waiting room. Onboard the ship I thought she was ready to go in for dry dock/ refurb but was told she had it done in 2011. The windows everywhere were very streaked and dirty - not very good for viewing all that beautiful nside passage terrain. Saw lots of signs of wear. Wood railings were badly worn in places and needed derious varnish. Even the tables in the schooner bar were filthy around the silver edges - I scraped some of the crud with my fingernail - gross! The stairs areas always smelled of cleaning chemicals. We had an inside cabin that was okay except for the bathroom shower was showing signs of mold/mildew and an small, 4 inch, area of the flooring was torn near the toilet. Some worn spots noted on the wood furniture, but grateful there was a refrigerator. Our attendant was good about replenishing the ice bucket everyday. On their TV channel showing positon of the ship, would have liked to see the local temperature displayed along with the sunrise/sunset times. Our dining experience in MDR was great! We had a wonderful waiter and Asst waiter, Valiton and Kadek (table 513 early seating). Their special attention to our desires made it so very enjoyable to come to dinner every night. The Windjammer was average - still no sugar free gelatin, but they did have gluten free gelatin. Only one sugar-free cookie option, sometimes, and all the cookies seemed to be out too long and were hard/stale. Mornings they had bacon on only on side of one island which made for a line of people at times just for bacon. Overall I thought the food was decent; the foods that were prepared from scratch. There seems to be more pre-made type food choices. Also don't appreciated being bombarded with vendors selling dinners, drinks, etc all along the entrance in the Windjammer. We defintiely miss the old coffeebar now replaced with the DogHouse, which is closed more often than not. Park Cafe is not so convenient for the long lines of people wanting their morning coffee before the Windjammer opens at 7am. Activities were pretty good. Being such a port intensive itinerary, I missed a lot of the usual activity things but on our two sea/galcier days Steve and Margot did offer many choices, some refreshingly new games, contests etc. Didn't use any of the ship's excursions so I can't say anything about them. It seems RCCL is making too many cuts in the little things that separated them from the other cruiselines. I met lots of diamond-and-up cruisers, like us, who miss the little extra touches too. I'm beginning to feel my loyalty ro RCCL fade as the last few cruises on RCCL have not be exceptional or exciting in any way. And it seems there are becoming more pay-to-eat places and less free venues included in our fares. RCCL is not the unique experience it once was. Please bring back those special little touches that made RCCL a cut above the other cruiseliners. I appreciate the perks for Diamond, but would really like the internet acces to be given by the hour rather than one 24 hour block. I like the drinks from 4:30 - 8pm, and the 8x10 photo. But I don't understand why the perks are different than sister ship Celebrity, i.e. the laundry offer. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Embarkation- A 5 hour wait at check-in at Canada Place. We were told this was a backup at CBP due to four ships there at the same time- (for this Cruise, we were pre-cleared so not necessary to go through Customs again after leaving ... Read More
Embarkation- A 5 hour wait at check-in at Canada Place. We were told this was a backup at CBP due to four ships there at the same time- (for this Cruise, we were pre-cleared so not necessary to go through Customs again after leaving Vancouver.) We arrived at 1:10pm. After a 1 hour wait for check-in, we moved to a waiting area so that the security line was not overwhelmed. They were moving 50 at a time downstairs to wait in the metal detector line before moving on to the second line at Customs. We had Global Entry so we were able to skip ahead of the Customs line but there was no signage for this. We had to ask and were moved to the Crew/Non-Rev line. We finally got on board as the safety drills were underway, so we waited at our lifeboat station with bags in tow. The ship left about an hour late. Food- food is always subjective but I felt the food on the Radiance was better than most other Cruise lines. I would give them an A+ for taste and variety. Quick table clearance in the Windjammer Cafe and smiling, eager to assist staff. Windjammer Café- Breakfast- Separate serving areas- One always for British- Fry bread, Beans, Bangers, Black Pudding, Hash Browns Corned beef hash, poached eggs. One for typical American- bacon, scrambled eggs, etc. There was always a carving Station for baked ham. Odd but they switched from a whole ham to what appeared to be a canned ham midway through the Cruise. There were also cold cuts, cheeses, bread, plus made to order omelets and some Indian selections. Lunch- Rarely ate at Windjammer but there was usually a Taco Bar, some Indian entrees, a salad bar, soups, pizza, hot dogs, and hamburgers. Dinner- the grill typically had Steak, Pork Chops, Grilled chicken, and occasionally Lamb Chops. The carving Station had a rotating meat such as Leg of Lamb, pork Loin and such. Occasionally there was a made-to-order Crepe bar which replaced the made-to-order pasta bar. There was also self-serve soft serve available during lunch and dinner hours. Alternatives- The Boardwalk Dog House was open when the Windjammer was not- 4 or 5 types of sausages- Hot Dogs, Bratwurst, apple and Chicken, were typical. Sometimes they ran out towards the end. Park Café was open with make your own pizza or salad and desserts when Windjammer was closed. Food between 1am and 6am was room-service only as all restaurants were typically closed. On the in-cabin TV, the Food Service Manager mentioned that food may change based on the makeup of passengers so food types may be different on a future cruise. Bars- Lots of beer left over from their Australia itinerary-- Tooheys in the Quill and Compass pub, XXXX at the Boardwalk Dog House, but a decent bottled selection in most bars. I usually have found Alaskan Amber available on Alaskan cruises. On day 2, Rita’s Cantina got a makeover and all signage was replaced with Alaskan Amber signs, but the last time I was there, they didn’t actually have any Alaska beer on tap. The bar was open occasionally but bar hours were not listed in the Cruise Compass, only on channel 39 in the stateroom (which I never looked at). On the last day at Sea, Alaskan Amber and IPA was available in bottles. On Board activities- The Movie Theater was a nice touch and we did one movie there during the first sea day. Popcorn would have been nice but no such luck. The rock wall was usually open two hours a day, with sign ups ending :15 prior to the end. However, it was closed on cold or rainy days (aka most days in Alaska). Generally there were more activities than I have seen on other cruise lines. Service- all staff very friendly, and eager to assist and interact with passengers. In the Windjammer, there was someone finding available seats during busy times. Disembark- After a lot of thought, we decided on the train for a few more dollars and were glad we did. Much better scenery and the ability to get up and take pictures on the way to Anchorage. Overall this ship is in good shape and there were plenty of activities and an exceptionally friendly staff and crew. The public areas and cabins are in good shape. There was rust and wear on other parts of the ship, which is in needs of a refurb, but the public areas were all very well maintained. It feels like food and service are going down on many Cruise lines, but this was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean and we were very impressed with both. I'll skip the port reviews of the more popular ports that get their fair share of reviews and focus on Haines and Icy Strait point. Haines - Docked at Ft Seward. Easy walk into town or shuttles available. As you exit the ship, turn right and follow the sidewalk on Front Street along the water into town . There is limited shopping. There are two markets if you want snacks. The Haines Brewery was busy all day. Their Spruce Tip ale was superb. Also the Haines distillery was in Ft. Seward if you need a last minute drink before returning to the boat. Ft. Seward is a nice self-guided tour of about 30-60 minutes with some small shops. Icy Strait Point- Whales! Whales! and more Whales! Five Whales were bubble net feeding right next to the boat. Another Humpback swam under the dock, and several more were along the shore. The Herring were running and the Humpback Whales were everywhere! We felt sorry for those who purchased a Whale Watching excursion as those boats were right next to the Radiance and we got the show for free! I would be surprised if the pictures didn’t make in onto the Royal Caribbean website since they were so close to the ship. We left 30 minutes late while both Passengers and Crew were on deck watching. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
This was my first ever cruise and I have to say I enjoyed every minute of it. We had had a wonderful experience of driving through the Rockies then joined the cruise in Vancouver. Unfortunately embarkation was a bit of a nightmare with a ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise and I have to say I enjoyed every minute of it. We had had a wonderful experience of driving through the Rockies then joined the cruise in Vancouver. Unfortunately embarkation was a bit of a nightmare with a very lengthy wait to get on board. However once we were on it was really a great experience. Whilst the ship itself was a bit dated it did nothing to dampen our experiences. Whilst we were late in booking the cruise and could not get a balcony room our room was fine and we were looked after extremely well by the friendly and courteous staff. We dined at night in the main dining room - the food was lovely and plentiful.... in fact, too plentiful and our two waiters exceptionally welcoming and friendly. I loved all the shore excursions we did and the highlight was the helicopter and dog sledding tour in Skagway - a wonderful memory. Icy Strait Point was a highlight - at breakfast we met some lovely people from Canberra and New Zealand as well as some Americans and watched the sea life from the Windjammer Cafe. We also did a whale watching tour in Icy Strait Point but really didn't need to as the whales were out in force performing - incredible. Entertainment on board was quite good and we liked the piano bar later at night listening to the talented piano player. There was plenty to do on the cruise or you could just sit back and watch the world go by. I would definitely recommend it. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
9 night northbound from Vancouver, ship sailed 5/17/17. For 30 yrs we wanted to cruise to Alaska. Wife is in a power wheelchair, so we reserved an accessible Jr. Suite. The room has been great! I could cruise the world in this ... Read More
9 night northbound from Vancouver, ship sailed 5/17/17. For 30 yrs we wanted to cruise to Alaska. Wife is in a power wheelchair, so we reserved an accessible Jr. Suite. The room has been great! I could cruise the world in this stateroom. The cruise line has been very accommodating and attentive to my wife's special medical needs. We were able to go on 3 shore excursions and walk around several of the ports we called upon. The Radiance is an older ship. We sailed on her sister Brilliance back in February and enjoyed her as well. There are bigger and newer ships in the fleet, but the crew and many of the passengers we talked with enjoy this ship! The most often heard comment from both, is that this ship still has the personal service not available on the bigger vessels. There are a few children on board, but most passengers are in their 50s and older. We splurged and bought tickets to the Chefs Table for one night. We shared a private dining room with 4 other couples and had a spectacular time! after listening to the chef explain how he prepared every course, and the wine steward how each wine was selected (each course had its own special wine), I decided the price was too low. It was really spectacular! Thank you RC and Radiance for making our dream trip something we'll talk about for many years to come. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We choose this cruise for two reasons, first because we love the Radiance and second because of the expanded 9 day itinerary to Alaska. We were not disappointed. Unfortunately the embarkation experience was a disaster - but NOT the fault ... Read More
We choose this cruise for two reasons, first because we love the Radiance and second because of the expanded 9 day itinerary to Alaska. We were not disappointed. Unfortunately the embarkation experience was a disaster - but NOT the fault of Royal Caribbean. There were three ships leaving Vancouver and it was complete and utter chaos for all three ships. RC handled their part very efficiently. We will think long and hard before we embark from Vancouver, BC again. We enjoy the Radiance size ship. The ship was full but none of the public areas were crowded. Our balcony cabin on the starboard side was on the part of the ship that extends over the ocean - what an unexpected bonus. We could see strait down into the ocean. At Icy Strait, there was a group of 8 humpback whales feeding up and down the side of the ship and dock area which we watched from our balcony for over an hour. The whales were literally 10 feet from the side of the ship. Our room was very nice, the food and service in the dining room was excellent. We went to the dinner theatre in the Giovanni's restaurant. We enjoyed the play and the food. We liked all of the ports. This was our 3rd cruise on the Radiance and or 5th trip to Alaska. We will definitely return on the Radiance. We booked the train from Seward to Anchorage and we were not disappointed. The train ride thru the mountains was very scenic, comfortable with food and drink service available. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
There were two problems with embarkation in Vancouver, B.C.: the helpers didn't know where the luggage was to be dropped and the sign to Customs was not marked at all. We were on a B2B and in Honolulu the Guest Services manager ... Read More
There were two problems with embarkation in Vancouver, B.C.: the helpers didn't know where the luggage was to be dropped and the sign to Customs was not marked at all. We were on a B2B and in Honolulu the Guest Services manager bungled things for the 162 consecutive cruisers by first trying to write our names on the crews' hands to remember who we were. Finally someone came up with a document for our names/cabin #'s. MTD was good for our group except for 2 times there was an issue. We received our dining tickets every day but quickly figured out it was the host who seemed to be in over her head & messed up the reservations. There were too many MTD diners versus regular diners. We did have an issues with all the announcements by the cruise director: I can read the Cruise Compass for myself, or find it on TV, or on the computer screen at every elevator - I don't need him to read it every morning and every afternoon. Debarkation in Sydney went fast - we carried our luggage ourselves and were off within 15 minutes of leaving our cabin. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
this was worst cruise out of 14 we have taken..when I read reviews I always say, o some people just like to complain, but regarding this ship I fully understand.first, check in was a nightmare, they took us in circles to sit us in ... Read More
this was worst cruise out of 14 we have taken..when I read reviews I always say, o some people just like to complain, but regarding this ship I fully understand.first, check in was a nightmare, they took us in circles to sit us in different places,it was the girls first day at check in desk, she was clueless what to do, took forever....got to our room, 7070 and was not what we wanted, had obstructed view balcony and when we put out the loveseat sized sofa bed, it went right into the dresser so when we wanted to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, we either had to be long jumpers or step on my grandson, not to mention it was , I think, a safety issue, blocking the path to door. so we had the bed lowered above our heads, which made so so much noise it sounded like it would come down in the middle of the night..first night in dining room, girl paraded us around dining room because she couldn't find our table and finally said, o just sit here...never got drink we ordered or coffee..moved our table the next night and got excellent service after that. the nightmare at the pool with the chairs was horrible, I am 67 yrs old , and having spent thousands on a cruise, had to put a towel on the ground to lay and get sun....however, finally found roddericks, pool attendant, who was best thing about ship..he wound put post it notes with the times chairs were empty and took towels after 30 min,,was excellent at his job...all this within 4 days of our 11 day cruise..took concerns to front desk to carlos who just had blank look on his face and could only say, sorry....REALLY?... customs at the end was horrible, told us to be there by 6:15 a.m.and they never showed up until 7..so many angry people..no one I spoke with had anything good to say..entertainment was very lacking, had 1 good show out of 11. We met first time cruisers who were very unimpressed, I told them to try a bigger ship because they are a lot nicer..love RC but this was horrible..even little things, like getting a wake up call we never got...the final thing they said was....hope you have a better time next time...UGG this I suppose to be the royal treatment?i think not..i hope everyone who said they would write there experiences really does... only gave good review of dining because of second seating Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Took the Radiance of the Seas to Alaska in Jul 2016 and was not overwhelmed as I have been with other ships of this carrier. A problem occurred in our stern cabin when we experienced a slight bathroom odor but elected to stay in the room ... Read More
Took the Radiance of the Seas to Alaska in Jul 2016 and was not overwhelmed as I have been with other ships of this carrier. A problem occurred in our stern cabin when we experienced a slight bathroom odor but elected to stay in the room after unpacking versus moving if that was even a possibility. Other passengers on the stern near us also experienced the same issue, but as most people do - they lived with it as we did. A year earlier we had scheduled a Hawaii cruise two months after the Alaska cruise. Not realizing that we were going to also cruise on the Radiance of the Seas to Hawaii we approached the cruise with some trepidation. Yes, our cabin on the same deck as the Alaska cruise had a slight bathroom odor. We asked the cabin steward and his response was to spray the room with a deodorizer. Four days later the water in the sink was yellow which we reported. It was resolved somehow, but the cabin steward provided no explanation. The ship is old and ready for the bone yard. Saw the cabin steward twice during the eleven day cruise - when he brought our suitcase and when I reported the bathroom odor. Not very welcoming to say the least. Food was okay along with the entertainment, but cruises today aren't the glamour that we saw only five years ago. Little things i.e. no bathrobes, no chocolates on the pillow, no shampoo etc. Cutting costs is the bottom line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
While I was searching for a way to visit as many islands in Hawaii as possible, and because I enjoy cruising, I found this very reasonable 11 day cruise which included visits to the major islands in the chain with excellent ports. The ... Read More
While I was searching for a way to visit as many islands in Hawaii as possible, and because I enjoy cruising, I found this very reasonable 11 day cruise which included visits to the major islands in the chain with excellent ports. The ship Radiance of the Seas is a midsized older ship which proved to be an excellent size for a more intimate cruise. The dining facilities onboard were the best that I have experienced on previous cruises. Overall the staff was outstanding. I loved the trivia contests which helped me meet some new friends and the three Broadway quality shows where excellent. I also enjoy the ventriloquist. I did not do any of the ships excursions as I was meeting up with family at three of the ports and availed myself of the bus system in Lahaina, Maui and rented a car in Kauai. I have to take the time to say that the service at our My Time Dining was far above average. The waiter and his assistant took time each night to ensure that we were pleased with our food. I traveled with a friend. I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We had an amazing time aboard the Radiance of the Seas on our cruise to Hawaii. We were thrilled to find this 11 night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean. It apparently was a repositioning cruise after they were done with their Alaska ... Read More
We had an amazing time aboard the Radiance of the Seas on our cruise to Hawaii. We were thrilled to find this 11 night cruise to Hawaii on Royal Caribbean. It apparently was a repositioning cruise after they were done with their Alaska tours for the summer. Although this was our 15th cruise, this was our first one longer than 7 days. We really enjoyed our five days at sea and truly enjoyed visiting all the Hawaiian Islands. When cruising by the volcano on the big island, the Captain made sure to let us know so everyone could go outside to see the beautiful glow of the lava coming out of the volcano. We found the Hop on/Hop off buses were great on a few of the islands, especially when traveling with elderly parents! We booked our next trip while aboard the Radiance of the Seas to help us reach our goal of Diamond Member. We have only 24 more cruise days and we are there! Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Terrific cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was easy because we walked to the port. We heard there were problems with taxis. But we were able to get on board in less than an hour. My time dining was broken for most of the cruise. They now ... Read More
Terrific cruise to Hawaii. Embarkation was easy because we walked to the port. We heard there were problems with taxis. But we were able to get on board in less than an hour. My time dining was broken for most of the cruise. They now require a "golden ticket" to enter the dining room.some people received the tickets and most did not. This created a chaotic scene each evening. The house keeping department was to deliver the ticket. They had no idea how to get us our ticket. We intervened with dining and were told our ticket had been delivered to house keeping. More finger pointing than a group of kindergarteners telling who killed cock robin. After moving up the ranks to the people with many gold stripes by the end of the cruise we began to receive our dinner .tickets. We have cruised with Royal more than twenty times and have never experienced any thing so convoluted and poorly executed as the my time dining tickets. Otherwise, the cruise went will, Hawaii was beautiful, and staff did their best with the what they had. We had an aft cabin. The balcony is larger than most and has two lawn chairs as well as two regular chairs. We are presently onboard and are continuing onto Singapore. While onboard we booked a fall colors cruise out of Quebec. Though frustrated by the changes in my time dining we will continue to travel with Roya. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This was my wife's 20th cruise and my 19th, and for both of us was our 17th on RCL. This is also the year of our 20th anniversary. We chose this cruise because we love Hawaii, we love sea days (have taken a Transatlantic cruise ... Read More
This was my wife's 20th cruise and my 19th, and for both of us was our 17th on RCL. This is also the year of our 20th anniversary. We chose this cruise because we love Hawaii, we love sea days (have taken a Transatlantic cruise before), and the Radiance class is our favorite in the line. Radiance itself was the first RCL ship we sailed on, and we hadn't been on it since the 2011 refurb, so we were anxious to see it. We booked a Grand Suite since we had so many sea days - Suite 1060, which has the largest balcony on the ship, about 140+ sq. ft. (it's on the aft side of the Centrum "hump"). We favor RCL due to the consistency of the experience and the many perks afforded frequent cruisers (we're Diamond Plus). The overall experience was very good. Radiance is showing some wear even after the refurb, but it's still a beautiful ship. We tend not to eat in the dining room - we don't necessarily want to spend 2+ hours at dinner, and we don't go on vacation to dress up. We booked a three-meal specialty dining package, selecting Chops, Giovanni's and Samba Grill, and the other evenings we dined in the Windjammer or in port. FYI, the Windjammer typically has several of the same entrees as the dining room, plus all the variety that comes with a buffet. The Diamond Lounge experience was wonderful, thanks to Juan Diego, the Diamond concierge. We do wish it had been more clear that suite guests have the ability to order from the main dining room menu for room service - we didn't understand that until the last day. We did dine in our suite one night, but the normal room service menu is quite limited. We also wish suite guests had priority deck lounge chairs, as on some other RCL ships, as deck chairs were always hard to find. Below are our detailed impressions: Ship: Radiance is very easy to navigate, and rarely feels crowded, since many of the venues are on different decks (unlike the Voyager class with its mall-like Promenade, which always feels - well, like a mall). We only went to one show, a production show, but it was very good. Again, it's showing a bit of wear, but that's to be expected on a ship that sees so many passengers a year. Cabin: Can't say enough about Suite 1060! The Grand Suite allows plenty of closet space, a bar, separate seating area, and a huge balcony that easily fits two chairs and a small table, plus two lounge chairs and another table. It's on the port side, so sailing from Vancouver to Hawaii we were able to sun on our balcony in the mornings. Upon boarding, we found a half-full coffee cup on the balcony, a used tissue on the shelf behind the safe, and some coins on the floor - unusual for RCL. Also, while packing, we discovered a previous guest's credit card in the safe and their binoculars in a drawer we hadn't used, and took those to Lost & Found. Although we were near the elevators, there was little noise, though we could hear the music in the Centrum some evenings, which we didn't mind. Dining: The variety in the Windjammer is very good. There were always burgers and hot dogs, pizza, and several curry dishes, as well as some theme stations on different nights, such as a fresh-made pasta station, a Mongolian grill, etc. I was glad to see poached eggs in the buffet line, as the line at the fresh egg station was always quite long, and the scrambled eggs on most ships' buffets (or hotels, for that matter) are generally horrible. I like corned beef hash, and that was available every morning as well. Lunch included plenty of salad options, and the soups were usually very good. Chops is consistently good, with great steaks. Giovanni's was just okay. Samba Grill is a new favorite - a Brazilian-style steakhouse with numerous meat entrees, plus a large salad and soup bar. The soup was delicious, as were the entrees, but come hungry. We can't speak to the desserts, as we're not dessert people. Entertainment/Activities: Again, we only partook of one production show, which was very good. Since you gain three hours on this westbound itinerary, we found ourselves retiring early and waking up early, so we didn't do much in the way of nighttime entertainment - unfortunate, since we always enjoy the piano music in the Schooner bar, and the evening bands in the Colony Club. That was our choice, but we do wish the piano music would start earlier than 9:30pm. The main band was outstanding - one of the best guitarists I've heard - and they could cover just about anything. They played on the pool deck several times. We don't do bingo, or the casino, or the art auctions, so can't opine about that. Our main activity was the fitness center on the sea days. It was sometimes crowded - often with passengers in street clothes who clearly never go to the gym at home, and sometimes just sat on the equipment listening to the lectures, etc. - but we were always able to get in a workout. We also walked on the track on Deck 12, but there were many people just ambling along the track that we had to dodge. One very cool experience: I was walking on the track on 9/11, when I could hear the Captain making an announcement. I paused my music and took out my earbuds to listen. He was commemorating that terrible day, and at the end, he asked for a minute of silence. I stopped and stood at the rail at the front of the ship. No one was talking, the music stopped, and they cut the engines. The only thing you could hear was the waves, and the only thing I saw was the vastness of the Pacific. More than 3,000 passengers from many different countries were silent. It was a wonderful tribute, and near the end of that minute, I saw a dolphin leaping into the air in the distance. Photos: This is an issue for us on every cruise. The photographers insist on forcing passengers into these ridiculous poses that look unnatural in the final product. As a result, we wind up never buying the photos. (We did take our two free ones as Diamond Plus members, but even those were not what we'd have wanted.) I would think the objective would be to sell pictures, not just take pictures. Next time we'll be more assertive in telling them we want to pose ourselves. Fellow Passengers: This itinerary draws an older crowd, as it's during the school year, longer in duration, and has a lot of sea days, which seem to appeal to families less. We saw more walkers and wheelchairs than kids. That requires patience, as your ship-mates may not get around as quickly as you. We do wish people understood that there are actual lines in the Windjammer, rather than just jumping in front of people to grab that one thing they want. Given the age of the passengers, the elevators can get crowded, but we generally take the stairs. Embarkation: The facility in Vancouver is a zoo, very poorly laid out. It's not clear where the lines are for luggage drop-off, customs, check-in, etc. and there's lots of walking involved. (That's okay for us, not so much for the many elderly passengers on this itinerary.) It was exacerbated by the fact that both Radiance and Celebrity Solstice were embarking from the same facility at the same time - not a good plan. And note that as suite guests and Diamond Plus members, we had priority boarding. If we hadn't, it would have been a much longer and very frustrating experience. We spent the night before the cruise in a hotel near the airport, and traffic getting to the port was also a zoo. Next time, we'd stay nearer to the port. (We always fly to the port a day early, having missed the first day of a cruise out of San Juan due to a major snafu by Delta Airlines.) Disembarkation: This was much smoother. The facility in Honolulu is excellent, and we were off the ship in no time. We spent one extra night in Waikiki, and the only issue was the taxi line, but that was due to the rudeness of some of our fellow passengers, who - rather than respect the order of the line and let the first people in line take the next available cab, jumped into the first cab that pulled up near them. Chaos ensued, with people scrambling for the first available cab from any position in the line. Daily Recap and Ports: As noted, we love the sea days. There's something special about being in the middle of the vastness of the ocean, with nothing but water on the horizon. And it's the ultimate in relaxation; the daily routine is get up, eat breakfast, let that digest a while, work out for a couple of hours (keeps the weight gain at a minimum), have lunch, lie in the sun, clean up, have dinner, enjoy some evening entertainment or have a glass of wine on your balcony, go to bed, then repeat. The weather was generally very good, with clouds on some days, but always some sun. The first full day it was a bit cool on the pool deck, but still in the low 70s, warm enough to get some sun. Also, once on board, cruising out of Vancouver is beautiful. We rented cars from National in each port, as we've visited each island previously (I made advance reservations). All of the rental locations were at nearby airports, and every port had a rental car shuttle except for Kona, where it was about a $35 cab ride each way to get our car. I learned there's an Enterprise facility right by the port there, and I'd opt for that next time. Other than that, the rental car experience was great, and the shuttles were always timely. Much cheaper than shore excursions - we spent an average of about $60/day plus gas. Lahaina, Maui: Our first port call was an overnighter. The tender operation was very sloppy - it seemed as though it was the crew's first time. It took about an hour from door to dock (and we had priority tender tickets the first day). The second day, the delay was due to a tender that they had to take out of service because "it wasn't operating properly." Given that the tenders are the ship's lifeboats, that could be a concern. The rental car shuttle was very near the dock, and it was about a ten-minute drive to the National facility. Once we picked up our rental car, we drove across the island to Hali'imaile General Store, a wonderful restaurant on the lower slope of Haleakala, then drove to Wailea. We stay there when we fly to Maui, as it's much more relaxed and less crowded than Kaanapali or Kapalua. We visited the Kea Lani resort, where we usually stay, and the beach, then had an excellent sunset dinner at Ferraro's restaurant at the Four Seasons before returning to Lahaina. We found a place to park overnight about two blocks off Front Street, on the left side of Dickenson St. It was only $15 (there is a closer lot on the other side of Dickenson, but it cost twice as much), and about a 5-minute walk from the dock. The second morning, we ate breakfast across the street from the lot at a wonderful place called Lahaina Coolers. The server, Frank, was very knowledgeable and friendly, and gave us lots of good tips on what to see and do. After breakfast we went to Kapalua, but it was very windy and cloudy, so we moved to Kaanapali and spent the rest of the day on the beach there. We rented beach chairs for the two days from The Snorkel Store, and Jonathan, the sales rep there, was also very knowledgeable and friendly. The rental rate was $5/day for each chair, but he only charged us for the one day. Hilo, Hawaii (Big Island): We'd only been to Hilo once, so it was less familiar to us. We docked there, and took the shuttle to the airport to pick up our car (about five minutes away). We ate breakfast at Ken's House of Pancakes, which was fantastic. Hilo itself is quite beautiful, being on the windward side of the island - very green and lush. We drove north and visited the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden, which is not to be missed. But first we pulled over at a trailhead and hiked down to a beautiful little cove, just on the other side of the Botanical Garden. It's a pretty steep hike, but the views are worth it. The garden itself is equally beautiful, and involves about a mile and a half of walking, part of it also steep, but they have golf carts for those who can't make the walk. The flowers are breathtaking, unlike anything on the mainland. After that, we visited the spectacular Akaka Falls, which also involved some walking, part of it steep. We had lunch at a little roadside place called the Low Store Deli. It's a little market that has a few tables outside, and excellent food. Then we drove around Hilo before returning to the ship. That night, the ship sailed around the Big Island to Kona, and at about 9:30, the Captain stopped the ship off the coast, where we were treated to a wonderful view of the lava flowing into the ocean from Kilauea. This was a treat, as sometimes the lava isn't flowing or the clouds are low enough to obstruct the view, but the spectacle was on that night, with huge steam clouds rising off the water. The Captain turned the ship 360 degrees so that everyone could enjoy the view. Kona, Hawaii: We took the 15-minute cab ride to the Kona airport and picked up our car, then drove up the mountain to Waimea, taking the long way up Waikoloa Road, then north on 190. The scenery was amazing, with great views of the ocean and other islands in the distance. We had breakfast at the Paniolo Country Inn, then drove toward the coast. I took a wrong turn that led us up Highway 250, the Kohala Mountain Road, and it was well worth the detour, as the road climbed to about 4,000 feet before we turned around, offering more amazing views. Finally we made our way to the beautiful Hapuna Beach. Chair rentals are available at the Three Frogs beach shack, which also has great fish tacos, though we didn't eat there on this trip (we did have shave ice, though, and it was wonderful after a hot day on the beach). We had a late lunch at the Marriott in Waikoloa before returning our rental car. We took the airport shuttle from the rental facility to the airport, then caught a cab to the port. Again, next time I'd rent near the port from Enterprise. Note: as National Emerald Club members, we were able to take any car on the aisle, and there was a Mustang convertible available, so naturally we took that. We drove all morning with the top down, which was great - but I forgot to put sunscreen on, which was a mistake! Don't forget the sunscreen if you rent a convertible, especially if you don't have much hair. Lihue, Kauai: We docked here and took the short shuttle ride to the airport rental car facility, then drove to the Grand Hyatt on Poipu beach, where we'd stayed before, for breakfast. We visited the beach, then drove around the island to Hanalei Bay on the north shore. We went beyond Hanalei to Ke'e Beach, at the end of the road, but there was no parking available, so we went back to Hanalei. We didn't spend much time at the beach, as we'd had enough sun the day before. We had a late lunch at the pool bar at the St. Regis Princeville, then drove back to Lihue. Honolulu: We docked, and again, disembarkation was a breeze, other than the taxi line. We took a cab to Waikiki, where we stayed at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Our room had a sunset view, so we ate dinner on our balcony (excellent pizza from the nearby Round Table Pizza). We spent the next day at the pool, then used a complimentary hospitality room to get cleaned up for a sunset dinner at the fantastic House Without a Key at the Halekulani hotel before taking a cab to the airport for the flight home. We would do this cruise again in a heartbeat - a few minor issues notwithstanding, it was probably the best vacation we've ever had, and we've traveled extensively. We only wish RCL would sail to Hawaii from somewhere other than Vancouver, but the embarkation process was but a small part of the overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Called RC to book this cruise a year in advance. There were 3 couples going. Booked the flights through RC too. All three of our flights got changed before the cruise. I personally think I will book my own flights from now on. They ... Read More
Called RC to book this cruise a year in advance. There were 3 couples going. Booked the flights through RC too. All three of our flights got changed before the cruise. I personally think I will book my own flights from now on. They screwed up the return flight for my brother. 2 hours on the phone the last night to fix it. We flew into Vancouver. To go through customs was a nightmare. The lines were SUPER long. They even had the overflow lines filled up. Because we were going on a Cruise Tour to Alaska not only did we have to go through Canadian Customs were had to go through US Customs right after. Once we cleared both customs we were not sure where to go. Not enough people from Royal Caribbean to direct us. I have been on Radiance many times. We try to go to Alaska once a year. Every year the ship changes. NOT for the better. They keep changing the spaces to make room for their "new specialty restaurants and private clubs". Taking away from the places you can go and relax. There used to be a Martini Bar, gone now. There used to be a Bistro in the center, gone now. In the Stardust room on the 13th floor we used to sit and watch for whales. They took part of the area out for a private club. Now you can only see the ocean from one side looking for wild life. The buffet used to include the areas now turned into two different specialty restaurants. Less seating and less food selection spots. The dining room food had definitely gone down hill. Used to have a selection of appetizer, soup, salad, and main course. Now you have an appetizer and main course. If you order two appetizers they are frustrated. Sometimes you don't get both that you ordered. The choices are more limited and not real appetizing. My husband complained almost every night. On lobster night, he had sand in his lobster. Why they don't give you two lobster tails I don't know because they are so small they are like two shrimp. The quality of the steaks was SUB PAR. They were tough and full of fat. There were not enough bar staff for the dining room. I think we had two new guys. They tried but they need more experience. Someone needs to show they how to work more efficiently. We always get a balcony room. For some reason our room was much smaller than before, the balcony glass was hard to see through and they did not vacuum because I kept stepping on the same piece of plastic. We have always enjoyed the variety of shows they have on board. One of the reasons we go on RC. VERY disappointed this time. My husband could not get over the fact that the trumpet player could not hit the high notes. The quality of the entertainment was not good. They have had some FANTASTIC shows in the past. Cutting corners. They renovated the theater. Seats are smaller and the drink holders will not hold a martini glass without spilling. The space is so small you can not walk past anyone with stepping on their feet. RC spent a lot of time pushing their Art Shows. When we landed in Seward you have to get off the ship pretty early. In the past they have had muffins, donuts and other things to eat if you did not make it down to the very crowded dining room for breakfast. This time all they had was water, coffee and tea. I love the ports. 6 of us did the combo zip line, whale watching tour. Be careful on the zip line in Icy Strait. They tell you they will give you goggles if you wear glasses because lots of people have lost their glasses in the wind. Well they are so busy getting you strapped in and getting you going that my did not give them to my sister in law and she lost her glasses in the first few seconds. No she did not have a second pair. We had two very young men doing the whale watching tour and sorry to say they were terrible. I have gone many times and this was the worst one. They did not seem very interested in getting close enough for us to see them. I don't mean on top of them but not a mile away either. The jet boat in Skagway was a HOOT!! Loved it. But don't expect to see any wild life. You go fast and do wheelies but most of the shore is rock. You see several waterfalls up close but no real animals. That was a disappointment because that is why we booked it. I think it is false advertising. The trip to Mendenhall Glacier is well worth it. One hour is not enough time to see it. You need to have at least 2 or 21/2 hours to explore it. The walk to the glacier and waterfall is about 1 mile. Not a hard walk. My husband and brother went salmon fishing in Ketchikan. My brother caught two fish. The cost to send them home was more than the excursion. Remember that if you want to go fishing. We signed up for the Cruise Tour part of this Cruise. Won't do that again. No Communication. I believe RC passed us off the a private contractor. We were picked up in Seward by a motor coach. We had the same driver and tour guide for the three day land cruise. RC gave us very little information about the land part so it was really hard to plan financially for that part. You had to pay for your own meals, Alaska prices are high. No sales tax. You have to pay tips in cash. You didn't know what excursions were available or how much they cost until you got off the ship and got on the bus. We had a excursion into Denali National Park that came with the tour. If you wanted to go further into the park it cost you an extra $70 per person. I was not happy about that but we did pay the extra and go further into the park. It is 8 hours on a bus. It is a dirt and gravel road with spectacular views!! WELL WORTH IT. We saw 7 bears, caribou, dall sheep, and on the way back to our hotel, a mother moose and her two juvenile off spring. Best thing about our entire trip. I will not go on RC to Alaska again. I might go on RC to the Caribbean because they are newer ships that have been designed the space for all those extras. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was a wonderful cruise. The scenery was spectacular, breathtaking, awesome. The weather was great every day. We saw seals, salmon and whales (well whale spouts) We met the most wonderful people on this cruise. loved the itinerary. ... Read More
This was a wonderful cruise. The scenery was spectacular, breathtaking, awesome. The weather was great every day. We saw seals, salmon and whales (well whale spouts) We met the most wonderful people on this cruise. loved the itinerary. Alaska, a must see. About the ship. It was smaller than most of the other RCCL ships we've cruised on and honestly I missed the promenade deck. The shower had that dreaded curtain so the first morning we spent time cleaning water off the floor. The cabin was the same as on all other ships with a balcony. Royal seems to be cutting down on some of the amenities no lotion, no bath robs, no pen or pad in the room. Our cabin steward was awesome. Dining was also good, again the ship was smaller so the Windjammer was also smaller but the food was really good. Our Wait Staff in the dining room couldn't do enough to make us happy. There was lots and lots of activities on board dance classes, galley tours, exercise, swimming, champagne art auctions and spa.treatments. But what I liked best is that you could just do nothing and enjoy the beautiful scenery which was breathtaking and serene. We found the shore excursions to be very, very, expensive so we didn't participate in any. We took our on side trips. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Great cruise - Strong points are the ship amenities, the specialty restaurants (Steakhouse, Chef's Table, Samba Grill), My first experience in a Junior Suite, well worth it in Alaska! The vast majority of this cruise was ... Read More
Great cruise - Strong points are the ship amenities, the specialty restaurants (Steakhouse, Chef's Table, Samba Grill), My first experience in a Junior Suite, well worth it in Alaska! The vast majority of this cruise was outstanding - i would recommend traveling this itinerary on this ship to anyone. I hope to have the opportunity to cruise the Radiance again (maybe in Australia?) - Areas of opportunity for the cruise: Zero wine knowledge on-board. This was not confined to just the main dining room, it was clear in all outlets. The wine-pairings at the chef's table (supposed to be a fine dining experience) were bargin-bin house wines. $12-$15 at your local grocery store (Do not take this as a reflection on the food at the chef's table because the food was out-of-this-world amazing). When we asked for recommendations or asked specific questions about bottles found on the wine list we would be met with blank stares - even our main dining room wine steward was completely unknowledgeable on anything other than how to serve the wine. Overall - Take this cruise, bring your own wine! Go to the Chef's table and other specialty restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Our family (two adults, two teens) just completed a weeklong sail on the Radiance from Vancouver to Seward. Overall we loved the ship, the crew, and the itinerary. Nits were mostly minor. Dining room food was good, service was ... Read More
Our family (two adults, two teens) just completed a weeklong sail on the Radiance from Vancouver to Seward. Overall we loved the ship, the crew, and the itinerary. Nits were mostly minor. Dining room food was good, service was fantastic, and the on-board activities were plentiful for all of us. Jamie Fentiman, the cruise director, should probably host a late night talk show, he made a lot of the parties and shows extremely memorable. Our room was fine though if I were to do this trip again I'd book an inside room to save money as we were rarely in our room. The kids spent a lot of time at teen activities and the rock wall and were never bored. Here are a few tips / notes for future cruisers: - There were formal nights on night two (at sea) and night 6 (Skagway), all other nights were listed as "casual," Jeans were perfectly acceptable. - Best viewing for Hubbard is the helicopter pad at the front of Deck 5. - The Solarium pool area was open to everyone (including kids) the entire cruise - quick dining options are limited to the Dog House, which serves pretty awful hot dogs without yellow or brown mustard options (just dijon) and the Solarium counter service restaurant which has a mix of sandwiches and salads during the day, and pizzas (including a make-your-own-pizza bar after 9 or so PM. RCL would be better served converting one or two of the mostly empty specialty restaurants (Izumi?) to provide another counter-service option. - We did not do a soda option, lemonade, water and tea are always available in the Solarium, and are also available at meals at Windjammer. - Windjammer can get crazy during breakfast and lunch but we always found a seat. We had dinner there once and really enjoyed it. - Activity highlights were Love and Marriage game show, the Juggler, trivia, karaoke, and the tribute to piano players. Don't miss the 70's party in the Centrum. - We attended a talk about Juneau's history led by the on-board historian, it was interesting but the speaker was kind of dull. - We did RCL excursions in Icy Straight (Whale Watching) and Skagway (White Pass and Yukon RR) and did our own trip to Mendenhall Glacier using one of the shuttle buses available for $30 a person at the pier. At Ketchikan we booked a bus tour on the pier. We had no complaints about any of the activities once you get past the tourist hell just off the ship. Getting on and off the ship was very fast except in Ketchikan where we had a long wait to board due to the early departure time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our third trip on this ship to Alaska, three years in a row. You cannot see all you want to see in one cruise. Embarking in Vancouver was simple and quick. We had flown in the day before and stayed at the Pan Pacific. ... Read More
This was our third trip on this ship to Alaska, three years in a row. You cannot see all you want to see in one cruise. Embarking in Vancouver was simple and quick. We had flown in the day before and stayed at the Pan Pacific. Everyone was friendly and helpful when we needed help. Spent most of our time in the Centrum bar area, they had entertainment and singers, the disco party is a lot of fun even if you just sit and watch. Our stateroom was on deck 7 with balcony. Spent a bit of time watching for whales on the balcony and did see several. Our room girl Grace was very nice and kept room spot cleaned for us thru the entire trip. Biggest disappointment was Rita's Crab Shack. Our past two cruises we had eaten in there several times. This time they had no king crab, only dungeness crabs very small and were awful, we did not go back there to eat again. Always ate meals in the Windjammer. Food seemed to be a lot better this time than our previous trips. We also did the 4 night land tour to Denali and Fairbanks. Denali Tundra Wilderness Tour was amazing, Denali National Park is a must see for everyone. I would not do this particular trip again going to Fairbanks, as Fairbanks did not seem to have much to do for our liking. Tour guide was great, Tall Paul, and yes he was very tall, you didn't have to worry about missing him in a crowd. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
A number 1 bucket list item is a cruise to Alaska. Great ship, great crew and a great place to visit. Sights you will never forget. Mountains, ice blue glaciers and rain clouds. Whales and otters right along side the ship, Eagles ... Read More
A number 1 bucket list item is a cruise to Alaska. Great ship, great crew and a great place to visit. Sights you will never forget. Mountains, ice blue glaciers and rain clouds. Whales and otters right along side the ship, Eagles almost every where. Bring a rain coat as it rains a lot but that's Alaska. The Radiance of the Seas is top class ship and the crew work like they want to be there. They go out of the way to please you. You will not starve as the food is very good. Try the mushroom soup in Chops it's outstanding. The Radiance of the Seas has the new high speed internet that works well except when docked next to a mountain. You also lose satilite TV at those times but who cares you off the ship in port on a great excursion trip. Again, if you only do one cruise in your life....Do Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Wanted to take MIL & SIL with us to Alaska and chose RCCL for the itinerary and cost. Wish we had chosen a route with Glacier Bay instead as there were hardly any talks at all and no rangers came aboard the ship during the couple of ... Read More
Wanted to take MIL & SIL with us to Alaska and chose RCCL for the itinerary and cost. Wish we had chosen a route with Glacier Bay instead as there were hardly any talks at all and no rangers came aboard the ship during the couple of hours we had cruising and seeing Hubbard. Hardly any humpback whale sightings from far off (only one announcement from the bridge) and a few porpoises were all we saw the whole week despite having a verandah and spending quite a bit of time looking for them. This would have been fine as animals are where they wish to be when they wish it, however the service on this cruise was even worse than the southern itinerary we took on RCCL back in January. I NEVER thought I would write such a negative post but here we are. We started off on the wrong foot upon embarkation - we were forced to go in the new cruisers line which was much longer with MIL & SIL even though we have sailed before and were on a separate reservation. Since the gentleman working the line had seen us talking to our family members he refused to let us in the gold line. The following things happened throughout the cruise as well, and having thought long and hard about it this was our second and last RCCL cruise. I apologize for the couple frivolous ones, but they added up with the biggies: 1) When we got into the stateroom several sodas and snacks were missing from the minibar so we called down to guest services to alert them to this since I was worried about being charged. They said the manager would be notified and would make sure to rectify it and not to worry. Well, I did worry, and sure enough on the VERY LAST night the charges appeared on my account. We called down and were told they would need to call us back. Waited about 20 minutes before my husband went down in person instead and had it removed. 2) There was a piece of beef on the bathroom floor when we entered for the first time. Cross my heart, it absolutely was a little piece of sliced beef right in the middle of the bathroom floor. It looked like it had been chewed on and then dropped. I chose to think it had simply stuck to our shoes rather than think about what else wasn't cleaned for us but what are the odds of that making it down a carpeted hallway to my bathroom from Windjammer? 3) The sheets had a hole in them by my husband's pillow and there was an orange stain over on "my" side of the bed. 4) Our suitcases were not left anywhere near our room, they were down the hall. We only realized this when a gentleman a couple rooms over wheeled his by and recommended we check the whole hall for them. 5) Was mostly through my shower the first morning when the cold water disappeared. I had just finished soaping up and had conditioner in my hair when it went to scalding. I yelped and turned it off which brought my husband running. He couldn't get cold water out the faucet sink either though it wasn't as hot as the water in the shower. We aren't talking a little north of hot, I mean scalding. I take 100+ degree baths at home and I couldn't handle this water. Husband called down and was told they would send someone up to check it. He went across the hall to see if my MIL & SIL had the same issue and she confirmed they did also, as it got her too but she was done anyway and had just turned it off. Whole time I'm still in the shower all soapy. We had to have my husband put water in a glass from the slightly less hot sink, wait a little and then dump it on my head to get the conditioner out. It took forever... they never did call back or send someone up that we know of but later that day we noticed a worker had a wall plate off and was welding something inside the wall on our deck. Later on we also overhead another couple saying they had a water leak in their room and were moved to another room just for the night, then they had to move back when it was fixed and cleaned up. I'm not sure why they couldn't just stay in the room they moved to... 6) Day two I finally met the stateroom host in the afternoon when he chided me for not using the little sign saying to make up the room when we left that morning. That was the entirety of his interaction with us the whole cruise - even though I made sure to say hi with smiles on anytime we saw him in the hall as we passed. My husband didn't know who our host even was until after we debarked and I told him it was the phone guy.... he was almost always on his cell phone which we assumed was his personal device as we saw him reloading a calling card frequently right there in the hall. I don't need a friendly guy, but it would have been nice to not be chided as my only interaction and even better if the room was actually clean. 7) Dining staff played the same game with dining in the main dining room as our first cruise - we chose 'My Time' again which we have now retitled 'Their Time' as we were goaded endlessly to make reservations for the following night or even better the entire cruise else suffer long waits. A waiter walked the line the first night reprimanding all groups for not having reservations, then we got it again at the podium, from the head waiter and even both servers! The line that first night was so long as we left that my terrified MIL ran back to make 5:30pm reservations for every single night thereafter right away. They need to can this idea since they can't follow through with it - we are 0 for 2 on using it. The first cruise we gave up and ate in Windjammer after the second night of being told we were coming at the 'wrong time' and they skipped the bread and plopped the appetizers and main course at the same time while dropping off the dessert menu so we could 'catch up'. 8) Despite coming at Their Time we had some issues with the drink server. They were all excellent at trying to get us to take a second roll at least FOUR TIMES every meal, but not once did they offer drinks aside from wine. "No, thank you but... drat there he went". We had to flag them down for it and either waited at least 15 minutes for tea (even iced) or didn't get it at all which happened on several evenings. The last night I requested coffee again from both the waiter (I really wanted it to show up this time) AND the assistant server (just in case) and it never came. That was the same night he gave my MIL & SIL their silverware for dessert and then was off to a different section - he skipped my husband and I. We tried to flag someone down again before the desserts came to no avail but instead we had to wait while it melted for them to find where the platter had got to. 9) Our stateroom bathroom reeked of pee from the first. There is no other way to say it. There was a loose square tile in the floor that we took out and left next to it the last morning in the hopes it is fixed for the next cruisers, and the plastic ring for the water glass had come off and kept sticking to that glass whenever I picked it up. A drawer kept sticking and was hard to open plus the door hinges were both broke. The bathroom one kept getting stuck if you opened it the whole way and we had to manually get it to release at the top and the room door had to be pulled all the way closed and pushed against to be certain it latched. Just badly maintained all around! 10) Discourteous staff. From the stateroom host to the bar tenders to the guest services staff no one seemed interested in doing more than the minimum. Bar service was especially slow and apathetic in the Schooner Bar and several locations were out of beer and ingredients before we even sailed. There were also options not on the menu, so we'd have been better off just asking what they had when we sat down. At one point we called to ask about the talks for our day at Hubbard and to see if we'd be able to get our National Parks Passport book stamped and were told absolutely, just come to guest services the next day after the speaker was onboard. Did so, just to have them say they had no idea what I was talking about which was disheartening. I tried with the speaker a little later on and he cut me off and snapped out his NO as well and I skulked away with my tail between my legs. His talk was pretty bad - he rambled little quips all over his powerpoint and clicked back and forth when he realized he wasn't staying on topic at all. He then got into it with a cruiser who took offense to a Sarah Palin joke while I waiting for him... 11) Solarium pool was 100% a kid pool. I know they say only in inclement weather when it is posted as such but please don't believe that as we never once saw a sign. In Alaska they will be in there 100% of the time and it is a LOUD place to have kids. I don't mind kids most of the time but we had looked forward to swimming/using those hot tubs and never got the chance. They were also constantly at the drink station making kid messes with cocoa and not being mindful of others who wanted something to drink - it was the only place we knew we could get cocoa and tea when windjammer was closed. 12) Very few talks on Alaska. I had thought they all had naturalists or rangers come aboard for some talks but that was not the case. A talk on the ports was just an excursion overview and another was just on shopping. They had a Canadian Mounty aboard who did talks but I wanted more info on Alaska and what we were seeing. I had REALLY expected some nature talks so I was pretty bummed. 13) We sent out a bag of laundry on the special offer day - all you can cram into a very small bag and they won't do larger items like jeans. One piece came back stained in the same orange way as our sheets. We think it is a rust stain - $35 to stain my clothing and leaving my jeans still dirty left a bad taste in my mouth. 14) Aside from endless trivia, late atrium dance parties and casino specials there wasn't much happening activity wise. We are both allergic to cigarette smoke and the atrium area and into the hallways were all really bad when people were in there gambling (almost always when the ship was in motion). It was worse air quality wise than on the Jewel of the Seas in January (which was already pretty bad). All that said, Alaska is gorgeous, our excursions were super fun (nothing booked through them) and no one got injured or sick, so RCCL did the bare minimum and I'll give them two stars. The captain did a FANTASTIC job, we got incredibly close to Hubbard and the weather cooperated when it needed to. Regardless, our next cruise will be with someone else. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
This was our first cruise and we specifically chose Alaska so the ship was what just happened to be going on the days that worked. The wait staff was very friendly and helpful. The problems we encountered are out of their control. Not ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we specifically chose Alaska so the ship was what just happened to be going on the days that worked. The wait staff was very friendly and helpful. The problems we encountered are out of their control. Not enough tables in the Windjammer during breakfast and lunch which would be alleviated with longer breakfast and lunch times in the Cascade dining room. This could also be helped by replacing many of the large tables for smaller ones to because often there were two people at a table for 6. We had an inside cabin which was very spacious and comfortable. The bed was great and the room was quiet. No problem storing our clothes and luggage for 10 days for 2 people. Maintenance could be improved. During the 7 night cruise our toilet quit working and we had no hot water in the shower one day and the previous day our room fridge quit working. These problems were fixed quickly when reported. Most of our excursions we purchased through the ship which saved us when our Skagway train ran late. Had we been on our own they would have sailed without us. We had late dining (not our choice, we booked 10 days before) and found we missed a lot of the evening activities because of it. Disembarkation was very smooth and well organized. If you can, spend a few bucks and book your transfers through RC and your luggage will be sent to a special part in the airport or hotel right from when you put it out the night before, relieving you of it for a day of site seeing. We didn't know this and booked an outside bus. I would have enjoyed more cultural talks. The shows were varied and enjoyable. There were plenty of activities for people who like crowds and noise, which I don't. We really enjoyed the Icy Straits tram ride. It was a lovely ride through the forest with 2 locals telling us about all the plants and what they use them for. They stopped so we could pick some berries and spent a little time on the beach at the end. We learned some history of the community there. It was a refreshing respite from crowds and noise. The lumberjack show in Ketchikan is quite cheesy but hilarious and worth the time spent for some good laughs. We did our whale watching in Juneau through Harv and Marvs. I can't recommend them highly enough! Juneau was a long day so we were able to take a bus up to Mendenhall Glacier on our own, spend as much time as we wanted and make it back to the ship. We bought the tickets right outside of the Twisted Fish (great lunch) for $30 each round trip which included the visitor center. We didn't go into it because we were exhausted and cold. For people who love shopping, make sure to go to the shopping talk for free coupons and advice. Then hit the local owned shops too. We took an Alaska Airline flight into Vancouver from Seattle before the cruise. It runs before 8am for $125 a person and leaves you plenty of time to get to port. We found the embarkation process a little confusing but only because this was our first cruise. The terminal was clean and felt very safe. There was always someone pointing the way to the next step. It was made a little easier because we paid for an airport transfer so we were relieved of our luggage until it showed up in our stateroom. Our original plan was to take the train to the port but my disabled husband was exhausted so it was well worth the extra expense to use the transfer. They were right outside of luggage collection. It was $37 a person. Train would have been $9 but we would have had luggage to deal with. Taxi would have been about $35. Our luggage was outside of our stateroom by 7pm. For non-rev people, don't plan on standby out of ANC easily unless you can use Alaska Air. We purchased ZED from them and got out after spending the whole day trying to leave on Delta willing to zig zag the country to get home. Had we done that from the beginning, we wouldn't have had a 32 hour day. We met a family of 4 that had been trying to get out on standby for a week. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
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