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408 Royal Caribbean Vancouver Cruise Reviews

My first time cruise review, just because I was so impressed. By background, traveling on this cruise were me, my husband and four friends, all of us on the “other side” of 50. My husband and I have taken over 20 cruises and our ... Read More
My first time cruise review, just because I was so impressed. By background, traveling on this cruise were me, my husband and four friends, all of us on the “other side” of 50. My husband and I have taken over 20 cruises and our friends have taken a few themselves. For all of us, though, it was our first time on Royal Caribbean. We have sailed with Celebrity a lot so as such had Diamond status. Okay, first off, Royal Caribbean just seems to get some things so right, like the way some things just flow so easily. Check-in at Canada Place was a breeze. We got there about 11 in the morning and it was like a ghost town. Curbside at Canada Place to tableside in the Schooner Bar with a glass of bubbly, about 20 minutes. We had two tender stops which can often be tortuous with a mad scramble for tender tickets. This was so easy. I don't know, maybe nobody else got off. Because we went through U.S. immigration on the ship in Astoria - which also only took about 40 minutes - we didn't have to go through that in L.A. which was a huge bonus. Very easy getting off the ship. Plus I loved that where we waited in the Safari Club they had a big screen with a movie playing and pastries and coffee, etc. for everyone, any tier. Nice touch. I am also used to receiving tons of debarkation material and questionnaires about two minutes after I have gotten on a ship. I kept waiting for it but four, five days into the cruise I still hadn’t received anything. I phoned guest relations because I was getting nervous and thought we would have to stay on the ship forever; I wish. But it seems Royal Caribbean must actually pay attention to everything you fill out online pre-cruise, because I can only guess that is how they assigned luggage tags and debark info. Which we didn't receive until the last day. Very refreshing! Okay, so the ship itself is beautiful. It doesn’t have all the glitzy bells and whistles or contemporary sophistication of some ships, but has a warmth to it which cannot be denied. We all felt that. Spacious, never felt crowded, lots of glass, windows, ocean wherever you looked. But most of the warmth is due not to the ship itself but the crew. They are all the jewels of Jewel of the Seas. Hands down the friendliest of any ship we have ever sailed on. I can’t say enough about them, and have already said lots in the online survey. Our Cabin: we had an aft balcony - really nice, in great shape and, yes, with a flat screen TV! Amazing views of course from the balcony, fitted out nicely with two chairs and table and two reclining loungers, which unfortunately we didn't really use much. Tons of storage, comfy bed, itsy, bitsy shower. Ports of Call - Great Itinerary, all places we had been to before Victoria - because we’re from the area we treated it as a sea day and stayed onboard. Astoria - We walked along the boardwalk, passing all the squawking sea lions by Buoy brewery, hit Wet Dog brewery where we stopped in for a tasting flight. Made our way from there to Fort George brewery for more tasting flights and some appetizers. Both are great places and highly recommended! On the way back we found North Coast Distilling, a craft distillery in town where we sampled some of their mighty fine craft spirits. And then on the way back along the boardwalk we found a wine tasting room right on the wharf. So we had to stop there too and try some wine flights. A fantastic day in Astoria! San Francisco - we were lucky enough to overnight here. The first day there we went on a private tour with a tour operator that we had used earlier in the year. He took us into Sonoma where we stopped at a few wineries and had time to have lunch in Sonoma Square. A great day! The next day we all treated as free days, and went our separate ways. We went to Union Square for some shopping. Used public transport and had no problem getting around. I should mention, too, that we all bought wine in Sonoma, but when we came back to the ship it was not taken away from us. We weren’t expecting that at all, but had no plans to open it anyway until post-cruise in San Diego. Monterey - just kind of walked around the town some, a bit of shopping, lunch downtown. Santa Barbara - we walked from the ship to the downtown area and then walked some more. It was exceptionally hot and humid so we became quite thirsty and decided it was time for the Wine Trail in the Urban Funk Zone. We took in 4 wineries there, one that left no particular impression, and then Santa Barbara Winery, Lafond and Pali which were are all very nice. We went to Metropolitan Deli just down the street and brought sandwiches back to Pali where we bought a bottle of pinot noir and sat outside and ate and drank. Okay, more about the cruise itself. I’m going to admit I went in with lowered expectations and was pleasantantly surprised over and over again. I won’t say we’re foodies but we pretty much are. We weren’t disappointed in the food at all, certainly not in the MDR or Chops or Portofino. The Windjammer we only ate in a couple of times. It was okay. We had breakfast in the MDR as it was much better and I liked the little buffet they had there too that you could choose from. What a great idea. Specialty restaurants, especially Chops, was very good and a bargain compared to some lines. Portofino was also very good but my preference was Chops. Others with us saw it the other way around. We also enjoyed a few lunches in the Seaview Café. Cute little place. Exceptional service everywhere we ate, particularly in the MDR. Drinks - we had the ultimate drinks package and had some great craft-style cocktails in the Schooner Bar. We love our wine and for some reason the Schooner Bar, not the MDR, had the best selection of wine by the glass. The Champagne Bar also had some nice wine and was a fabulous place to sit and relax, day or evening. Entertainment - we like to have fun and this ship did not disappoint! I mean, dancing in a nightclub while wearing individual headphones, all listening to different music? A big 70’s disco party in the centrum? Even the trivia, which we usually don’t play on ships, and name that tune were fun on this ship. I hear the cruise director we had, Dennis, is one of the best. We only saw a couple of the shows, but they were pretty good. There was a female impersonator/singer from Ontario who was very, very good. And there was a piano player in the Schooner Bar who, I am sorry, was very, very bad. But some of our best times were lazy afternoons entertaining ourselves with a deck of cards and Manhattans in the Schooner Bar. I’m going to leave it at that. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid. Yes, I booked two more cruises for my husband and I onboard. Yes, my friends and I just yesterday booked another cruise we’re taking together next year with RCL in the Caribbean. Thank you, Royal Caribbean for a fabulous vacation. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Having done 6 cruises previously on Celebrity, my partner and I accompanied friends (very loyal Royal cruisers) on the Vancouver to L.A. sailing. I think Celebrity has spoiled me as I have never had a negative comment on any previous ... Read More
Having done 6 cruises previously on Celebrity, my partner and I accompanied friends (very loyal Royal cruisers) on the Vancouver to L.A. sailing. I think Celebrity has spoiled me as I have never had a negative comment on any previous cruise, but I lowered my expectations for this cruise and they were unfortunately met. Weather upon arrival in Vancouver -- cool and damp. What you'd expect, and certainly not the fault of the cruise line. When you are used to Caribbean sailings, though, it sets a different tone. We chose to go on this cruise for the itinerary, so we didn't expect Caribbean weather, but the cool wet start to the cruise really did damper the attitude a bit. The good news is that the weather improved with each and every passing day. Embarkation and disembarkation -- smooth. Great start. Staterooms and bathrooms in particular seemed smaller than usual, but for the amount of time you spend in there -- no problem. Very nice size balcony. Stateroom attendant, cordial and pleasant, but definitely nothing out of the ordinary. Dining Room and Windjammer Cafe -- average at best. Cafe has the same offerings EVERY single day for breakfast, never went in there for lunch. Dining room in the evening, our waiter and assistant waiter very cordial but nothing extraordinary. Food what you would expect when serving 1000 meals at a time. Most of the time mediocre, luke warm, but eating in the regular dining room has slipped steadily over the years across the board, which "encourages" more and more people to use the specialty dining restaurants. We went to "Chops" twice, and both times all 4 of us had outstanding meals, and outstanding, truly "WOW" service from our server, Tiffone. We also went to "Portofino" on one evening, and while dining and service was above average, it did not meet the high level that we experienced at Chops. On the flip side, we went twice to Seaview Cafe for a burger during the mid-afternoon period: the food was adequate and the service was not even remotely good. The evening entertainment was well mixed, with the traditional broadway revues, as well as magic, comedy, and other specialty performers, but most of the time we were at the late dinner seating and passed on the shows. However, the "lounge acts" that were regularly scheduled for each evening in the main concourse for the most part were not worth listening to. I am in my 50's, and even I found most of the songs to be completely outdated. Overall, the age level on the ship was an older crowd and an early crowd, so most of the evening activities around the ship were poorly attended. The best entertainment of the week was the "70's extravaganza" in mid-ship on the second to last night. Very high energy, the cruise director pulled out all the stops. Very well attended, lots of dancing -- very well done. As a non-smoker, it was sort of surprising that smoking was still allowed in parts of the casino. The stale smell permeated throughout. In the year 2015, no excuse for this whatsoever. Smoking should be in limited areas outside - period. The most disappointing feature with the entire 8 days was that the level of service was just not on par with anything I experienced with Celebrity cruises. Most of the beverage staff seemed to be doing you a favor in getting you a drink, and even with the drink package paid for (INCLUDING gratuities), the servers/bartenders would make you sign a slip for the drink, apparently with the hopes that you would leave an extra tip. I thought one of the benefits of the drink plan was to avoid signing all those silly slips, but apparently not. We expected the Champagne Bar to be the "go-to" place before and after dinner, but this bar in particular suffered from bartenders who were downright unpleasant, unfriendly, and just a displeasure to be around...which may explain why most of the time, this area was pretty deserted. That and the fact that the furniture looks like it was borrowed from the set of The Golden Girls or Leave It to Beaver. I know the ship is set up for dry dock in the Spring, but come on! While I never experienced the ship to be dirty, there were areas at both the outdoor pool and the solarium pool that needed paint so badly the bare wood was showing. The overall thought I was left with is all about the service: more than any other cruise I have been on (maybe I just got lucky all the other times), the staff seemed to be in "training" mode. I realize that across the cruise industry, there is a great deal of diversity among the staff -- I get that. But on a few occasions (Solarium snack bar area a prime example), the server did not even understand simple requests in English. The Seaview Cafe was much the same. The overall impression was that much of the staff is in rookie mode, hoping to earn their stripes to get onto a larger and newer vessel. On the cruise board, I saw a specific topic: "Royal Caribbean Jewel" vs. "Celebrity Summit" --- which would you choose? The answer is simple -- definitely not the Jewel. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first cruise and we flew from Heathrow, England, to join the ship in Vancouver. We had a delay in England and arrived in Vancouver 5 hours late although we were staying in a hotel overnight so we were ok. We joined Radiance ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we flew from Heathrow, England, to join the ship in Vancouver. We had a delay in England and arrived in Vancouver 5 hours late although we were staying in a hotel overnight so we were ok. We joined Radiance of the seas the following day and our initial experience was good. The interior suite was bigger than we thought it would be and was perfect. Plenty of room and comfortable. The ship was easy to find our way around as there were lifts and each floor had a plan . The staff were always happy and helpful. Our room was cleaned every day and the cleaner always asked if we needed anything or how everything was, after a couple of days he even knew our names. We had 6 days at sea and made lots of friends who we sat with every evening for our meals. Apart from the first day when we went to the Windjammer buffet restaurant we ate at Cascades for all our meals. It was waiter service and easier to watch what we ate. There was always a full program of activities or you can do your own thing. We thought the prices of drinks were steep at $10 a cocktail plus tax and $5 for decent coffee at Latitudes Starbucks. We were disappointed with the fact that there were no overnight stops in Hawaii as we sailed 6 pm every night out of the 5 days in Hawaii. We would have liked to have gone to a Luau and because Honolulu was our final stop and we had to fly home we weren't able to visit Pearl Harbor, 2 of the main things to visit Hawaii for. As for the ship it was amazing and we would definitely cruise again . The cleanliness and the food plus the facilities were second to none, and the staff amazing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Boarded the ship in Vancouver to sail to Hawaii and then do a back to back cruise to Sydney. Cabin was big enough, enough hanging space in the wardrobe and plenty of drawers. The bathroom was on the small side and if you dropped the soap, ... Read More
Boarded the ship in Vancouver to sail to Hawaii and then do a back to back cruise to Sydney. Cabin was big enough, enough hanging space in the wardrobe and plenty of drawers. The bathroom was on the small side and if you dropped the soap, you ended up with you backside out of the shower curtain and water spilling out on to the floor. The TV in our cabin was used to promote cruise deals and shore excursions. We would have loved to see a 'free' movie or two. You could purchase a movie for US$12 or go and see the movie of the day in the cinema. (Which by the way included Blue Hawaii and Breakfast at Tiffany's - come on!) Our Stateroom attendant was excellent, nothing was too much trouble and always had a smile. The waiters in the dining room were the same, always smiling and attending to the small things like topping up your water and wine, asking if you would like another bread roll etc. The food was very good in the dining room, but found the food in the buffet very salty, and did not find the experience very pleasant. Walking around with a plate to all the different stations to get some food was very off putting. Some of the waiters in some of the bars/lounges looked bored, while others were happy to interact with the passengers. The entertainment was so-so, not great but okay when you were desperate for entertainment. Some of the artists were pathetic especially on the Hawaii to Sydney cruise. When you have a lot of 'at sea' days, there should be more options for the passengers to choose from instead of 'vegetable carving' or 'towel folding' or 'cake decorating'. I personally found the shore excursions very expensive and in one case they should have paid us for getting on the old bus. I found lining up all the time to get on or off the ship very tiresome, but I understand we had to go through all the checks for our own safety. The Solarium was one of the places I frequented, especially as the air conditioning on the ship in a lot of places was freezing. (Yes, I ended up with a bad cold as did half of the ship) Disembarkation was a painful process, we were told an approximate disembarkation time but did not expect to be sitting around for an hour beyond that time. The drinks on board were very expensive and had the gratuity added automatically, but what I objected to, was on the Hawaii to Sydney cruise, the drinks went UP in price. When this was queried, we were told that as Australians don't normally like to tip, the tip was added which made the drinks more expensive. The gratuity was already added so they were adding another tip on top of that. I will tip for good service as will most Australians but we do not like to be forced into it. Use of the Internet was outrageously expensive. I doubt very much if I will ever cruise on the Royal Caribbean line again, I would prefer to go on the Princess line where they deal in Australian dollars and are more gracious. The cruising was very relaxing, the staff very helpful and happy, the food in the dining room was quite good, the entertainment left a bit to be desired. The balcony cabin was adequate. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
we did the 10 days from vancouver to Hawaii this fall. loved the 6 sea days. the staff on this ship are so attentive and personable. lots of fun activities. Steve the CD and Jeremy the AD were both a blast and planned a great trip for us. ... Read More
we did the 10 days from vancouver to Hawaii this fall. loved the 6 sea days. the staff on this ship are so attentive and personable. lots of fun activities. Steve the CD and Jeremy the AD were both a blast and planned a great trip for us. food was exceptional and the nightly shows were a good mix to make everyone happy. our favorite part was the sea days. just miles of blue water, sitting on deck, napping. forced relaxation. would definitely do this trip again. we are a lesbian couple and were concerned about how we would be treated, especially when i dressed in a tux for formal night. at all times we were treated with the best service and respect. highly recommend this cruise line for gay and lesbian travelers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
An Alaskan Cruise has been on our bucket list forever. This has always been our dream vacation and After our last Royal Caribbean Cruise on the Navigator, we made the decision to make this the year to go to Alaska. We flew into ... Read More
An Alaskan Cruise has been on our bucket list forever. This has always been our dream vacation and After our last Royal Caribbean Cruise on the Navigator, we made the decision to make this the year to go to Alaska. We flew into Vancouver 2 days early and spent some time touring both Vancouver and Victoria with the LandSea Tour company. The area is both beautiful and clean. We fell in love with both cities and really enjoyed our tours. I highly recommend spending time in both cities. We boarded the Radiance on Friday and found the embarkation process in Vancouver to be very easy. We had previously cruised out of Galveston which is a nightmare. It only took about a half hour for the entire boarding process and the staff and port are very efficient. Once we got on the ship, we noticed how run-down she looked. Like previous reviews have mentioned, Radiance needs to go into dry dock for refurbishment. There was a sewage smell on the ship and her hull was rusting. The furniture was worn and the fabric/ vinyl was often ripped. The Windjammer was the worst part of the trip. They had taken a large portion of the seating for their "specialty dining" areas and left only about a quarter of the seating and half the buffet lines. There was never an available table and we were always seated at a table with another family. We felt like intruders into their vacation time. The staff did their best in what was a very challenging situation. The staff seemed tired as well. I rarely saw them smile and very few of them seemed to enjoy their jobs. There were exceptions of course, our room attendant was very eager to please and our assistant waiter was very pleasant. With all that being said, we LOVED the shore excursions and the itinerary was amazing. We would absolutely do another Alaskan cruise again...just on another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my first cruise and overall it was a great experience. I'm in my early 30's so definitely younger than the overall crowd but it was a family trip with my parents who are frequent cruisers. Here are my overall ... Read More
This was my first cruise and overall it was a great experience. I'm in my early 30's so definitely younger than the overall crowd but it was a family trip with my parents who are frequent cruisers. Here are my overall thoughts: Ship: As other reviewers have mentioned Radiance of the Seas has an older ship feel. Everything is clean and well maintained but the overall decor / style is outdated and looks like it's from the 80's. It's also lacking a lot of the modern amenities / features of the newer bigger ships. I was surprised how small the shopping area and pool area were but there is still enough to keep you entertained for the week. The solarium area had such a strong chlorine smell that I couldn't spend anytime there but it didn't seem to bother other people. It never felt overcrowded which is nice for a smaller ship. Activities: I never found a lack of things to do. There is something for people of all ages but overall the activites are geared towards the 50+ market. If you like to party this might not be the cruise for you. I enjoyed playing mini golf on the top deck and arcade games. I used the gym most days and there's plenty of equipment. There is a cinema showing movies three times a day and we also watched a movie from the outside hot tub. We had fun at bingo and trivia. We are not big drinkers but there are plenty of bars and a good cocktail selection. Service: I thought the service from all staff members was absolutely wonderful. They were all helpful, friendly and attentive. My only comment would be they need more staff or maybe just more machines at the Latte-tudes coffee bar as service there was always slow. Port & Shore Excursions: We didn't do any but in Juneau we just got a taxi to take us to all the major sites which was 1/4 price of booking it as an excursion. Alaska is beautiful - definitely worth seeing and my favourite days were the ones at sea watching the glaciers and mountains from the balcony. Some days were very cold (not surprising in September) so bring warm clothing. Cabin: We had a balcony cabin on Deck 8 which was perfect. Small of course but the space is utilized well and I would never cruise without a balcony as that really enhanced my overall enjoyment of the cruise. One thing to note is all the dining / restaurants / coffee station are located at the back of the ship. Our cabin was closer to the front of the ship so it requred a longer walk and was a bit annoying when you just wanted a cup of tea or glass of water. Dining: We had most of our meals at the Windjammer buffet. I thought the overall food selection was fine - nothing to get excited about but could have been much worse. I'm vegetarian and never had a problem finding something to eat. It was nice to go close to closing time when it wasn't very busy. The deserts in general were bland and not much variety so that could use improving. The Park Cafe has some healthy wraps / salads which is a good choice if you just want a small meal and not the heavy buffet food. We did have one dinner at Giovanni's which was quite nice. I thought the coffee on board was absolutely horrible so paid for a proper coffee each day at Latte-tudes for my caffeine fix. Entertainment: We only went to one of the nightly entertainment shows - it was Scott Record who is a comedy musical impressionist and he was very good! We paid $50 for Bingo but the 3 games were so quick and cash prizes were small that I don't think it was worth it. We also did the Murder Mystery dinner theatre which was about $70 and even though it was cheesy it was a really fun night. It ended up being about 3-4 hours and included a 4 course meal with wine at Giovanni's. It was a good opportunity to meet other people on the ship and solve the murder together! Summary: I think you'll have fun on this ship as long as you manage your expectations. We paid for Wifi but it didn't work for 2-3 days due to our location so I would not recommend paying for it unless you absolutely have to have it. They are trying to make you spend extra money at every opportunity but I feel like this would be the case with most cruises. Having $100 credit each really helped and let me enjoy my expensive daily coffee from Latte-tudes. Dining is adequate - don't expect a 5 star food experience but there is enough variety. Biggest disappointment was the bland deserts and only having one coffee/water station on the whole ship. All dining is at the back of the ship so if you don't want to walk far I'd advise getting a cabin on that side as well. Having a balcony is awesome! This was my first cruise and it made me want to do another one in the future so overall it was a great week with my family that I'll remember forever. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
So I am all for one giving reviews and giving praise when it's due and when it's not. So here it goes. Boarding the ship was quick for me, I have MS, so I was in the disabled line, otherwise the line was long and we got there ... Read More
So I am all for one giving reviews and giving praise when it's due and when it's not. So here it goes. Boarding the ship was quick for me, I have MS, so I was in the disabled line, otherwise the line was long and we got there about 11:30 am. After we were checked in we roamed around the ship, we didn't go eat because we reserved Chop's for the 1st night (PS. it's 1/2 off a person for the 1st night). You can book online and they'll adjust it, but it goes to onboard credit. Chop's was "OK", we went a few years back on the Navigator and what a big difference, my husband is a big eater and we were not impressed this time and our waiter barely paid attention to us for how we liked our food, refills, etc. Murder Mystery dinner sold out! We didn't do, however friends we met went and said it dragged on for 4.5 hours and it wasted their time (just what I heard from 2 different people) so I am glad I didn't spend the $$. Outside movie screen was a waste...cruised sept. 4th (while school was in) had a few kids on the ship yet played Bears and Pitch perfect 2 Outside. An adult movie should have been played I thought. Ship was dated, for them just redoing it, my fridge was broke and so when I told my stateroom attendant he got me a medical fridge in the middle of my room and took the only extra outlet in my vanity because the out dated fire alarm was plugged into our other outlet! I went to customer service and they gave me a power strip and wanted to charge me 24.99 deposit, yeah they didn't fly well with me! Room did have a musty smell thankfully after reading reviews I brought an air freshener spray. Good call! We had room 7114 which was an accessible room, very noisy some nights and no one could explain why, we called customer service at 2:30am when we heard banging and sent security up..never found out what it was. Great location though mid ship but was horrible view!! BEWARE deck 7 has the lifeboats underneath so our balcony view was blocked by a metal lip below us and you cannot look down at ocean. We did opt for the unlimited photo package I took advantage of and got some really nice pictures of my hubby & I. I was so disappointed because they did not have anyone at disembarkation at Icy Strait or Jeanu, they were upstairs by the buffet I heard...uhh why, when we are getting off the ship? I rarely saw a photographer on the ship taking pictures except when the backgrounds were set up. Dining room- Well lets just say we went once and done!! Our table was jammed in the way back, in a corner about 3-4 feet away from bus station with dirty dishes, how dare they even put tables there! We never went back! Table 481 Spa- Where to start..1st massage ever for me. My hubby and I got a good deal through and auction the 1st night for 80 each (reg. 149). We got the hot stone massage. People in spa very pleasant. We were in a couples room, long story short our eyes were always closed, yet blinds were pulled open, we had to cover ourselves with sheets to get dressed and people laughing in front of us on a balcony! Spa manager said she "thinks" it's a one way glass, but we never found out for sure. I was mortified! Izumi- Yummy!! Al a carte but I loved the California roll with Alaska crab in it. Volcanic rock was fun to cook on, but not a lot of food I didn't think. But it was yummy! Ports- Overall we loved them! Ziplining in Icy Strait a must, so much scarier then it is, I'll admit I was nervous and seeing it in person is even worse, but I'd go again in a minute! Jeaneu- We did the picture sightseeing with whale watching. It was nice, but keep in mind it's a photo op excursion. Ketchikan - Lumberjack show. It was cute and gave us enough time to shop, in my overall opinion that's the best place to shop. We also ate lunch at Annabelle's and got the Snow Crab Legs (3lbs was about 90.00 on special). Shows on the ship were ok. Piano Man was good if you like people signing Elton John or Billy Joel. The City of Dreams (I think thats the name) I walked out on they actually had to explain what it was about before the show for people to understand the concept) and we were still confused. The Illusionist was great! Days at see were fun, but we made some great friends to enjoy them with. The Quest is a great game show for adults (we won 2nd place). Bingo was NOT fun at all, I wanted to fall asleep with the caller guy and self leveling pool tables pretty neat. Overall, the cruise was BEAUTIFUL and people very nice, staff and guests. I would do it again in a heartbeat, but I am ify about the ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our 3rd cruise and we thought we would try royal Caribbean this time. After reading some of the reviews of radiance of the seas I was a bit concerned but it was amazing. It all depends what you expect the ship is older but it ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise and we thought we would try royal Caribbean this time. After reading some of the reviews of radiance of the seas I was a bit concerned but it was amazing. It all depends what you expect the ship is older but it was very clean the staff on the most part we brilliant and the food in the main dining room was excellent. Alaska is amazing we did a whale watching trip not with the ships excursions we went with an independent company saw over 50 whales wow. The captain was outstanding and very informative all in all I would recommend this cruise to anyone the best bit of advice I can give is if you are expecting 5 star then pay the money and go with a more expensive cruise you get what you pay for Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I was rather cautious sailing on such a small ship as most of my other experiences of cruising have been with children and all that a larger ship has to offer, however, Radiance of the Seas surprised me. Travel to the embarkation port ... Read More
I was rather cautious sailing on such a small ship as most of my other experiences of cruising have been with children and all that a larger ship has to offer, however, Radiance of the Seas surprised me. Travel to the embarkation port was without fault, even to a rep approaching us at Heathrow airport literally as we walked through the revolving doors as she noticed our luggage labels. That attention to detail continued throughout. Although the passengers tended to be older then I am used too the activities etc once on board were all about having a good time and it didn't stop there. The activities/shore excursions were all very varied and I even managed to zip wire over the rain forest while bear watching. At all times the crew etc were totally focused on us , the paying passenger, having a good, relaxed and memorable time. As always the waiting staff, cleaners etc are as professional as the other end of the scale ,the officers and I have no hesitation in relaying to anyone what a super time we had. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My husband and I have wanted to visit Alaska for years. It was really really lovely. I am a bit torn about the cruise portion of the vacation because there were so may wonderful things about the trip, but we were disappointed in many ... Read More
My husband and I have wanted to visit Alaska for years. It was really really lovely. I am a bit torn about the cruise portion of the vacation because there were so may wonderful things about the trip, but we were disappointed in many others. We arrived in Vancouver the day before our cruise departed. It is a beautiful city and easy to walk around. We really enjoyed old town and Canada Place (especially the new virtual experience: "Flying Over Canada" which is just like the one at CA Adventure: my favorite ride at Disney!) We were very excited to board and got there quite early. The process took about an hour and wasn't too bad except for listening to the people behind us complain that they "were in the scumbag line" due to some miscommunication. (Very Classy.) Once aboard, we found our adorable cabin 2006. It was perfect and we really liked the porthole as it made it seem like an adventure. We took the elevator to the top (13th floor) and proceeded to make our way around every floor. It is a gorgeous ship and we were so excited to see all the stunning community areas like the Solarium and the Centrum. We ignored all the sales people pushing drink packages, internet packages, spa packages, excursions ect.. and hoped that the sales pitch was a first day thing (it wasn't...Boo) We made reservations to eat at Giovannis the first night and it was AMAZING!! The food was delicious and the service was impeccable. Completely worth the extra cost. Our server suggested that I get a bottle of wine. I only drink 1 glass and my husband doesn't drink so I explained that to him. He said that he would hold it for me with my room number and they would have it ready at any restaurant we were dining in for the rest of the cruise! (Which they did: it was a very nice extra service). The day at sea was really fun as we got to swim, try the rock climbing wall, play Mini golf and listen to the great entertainment throughout the ship. I also listened to an enrichment lecture about the glaciers (Wish they had more history/geology talks instead of all the shopping/sales talks! Bleeechh) I also took a Yoga class which I signed up for when I toured the gym/spa. However it was PACKED (We paid 14$ for it) and set right in the middle of the workout space so there were bicycles and treadmills facing us (occupied) Not exactly relaxing. I cancelled the other two I had registered for. Not sure why I thought it would be on deck, or by the pool in the solarium: wishful thinking? My husband rented a tux for our formal nights which was conveniently hanging on our door that first night, and it made him look like James Bond to boot!! Lovely service. (However,He told me later that there was a rip in both pant legs where a seam had been taken down. I think for $100 there should be NO TEARS! luckily he is mellow.) The dining room service was nice, the staff was helpful and friendly, but I had requested any time dining and was stuck with 8pm at a huge table right by the waiters station, with one very elderly couple. Not fun, not conducive to enjoying our dinner and very awkward. It also Took FOREVER!! Seriously like 1.5hrs!!There were several tables with only a few guests and then the rest were like party central, which made it even more uncomfortable. We only dined there 3 nights. If there had been reservations open for specialty dining, we would have done that instead!! The windjammer was NOT an option. (Think BAD hospital cafeteria food and SUPER crowded huh??) Room service food was equally bad. We ended up ordering coffee and granola with yogurt every morning to 1. avoid the long service time in Cascades and 2. NOT eat the bad Windjammer food. Luckily I brought protein bars with me! We also dined at Samba, which was ok, service was fine, food was too much and not that varied in flavor BUT the dessert was AMAZING! Best one on the cruise. CHOPS was very nice. The service was a little off but the food was excellent. My husband opted to upgrade to the dry aged steak which he was in heaven over (bonus for the server for only pointing it out and not pushing it) My red velvet cake was Horrid though, tasted like it had been frozen for too long. Totally would have sent it back had the server ever checked back. We only did one excursion with the ship and it was a horseback ride in Skagway. Loved it. Great little company,very friendly nice guides, beautiful location, great history and geology in their talk and a nice time frame (We went early and still had time to go to the history museum and gold rush/train depot museum on our way back to the ship) Our excursions that we booked independently were super amazing (Float plane over Misty Fjords in Ketchikan with Seawind Aviation, and Hike up to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau to explore the crevasses and the ice cave with Juneau Adventure Tours.) We enjoyed the live music that you could watch in the Centrum from any floor every evening, and watched a couple main stage shows (Pretty cheesy but hey, it was "free"). The other venues seemed like they were never to full capacity and didn't draw us in when we were walking through. We did have one annoying issue that we didn't feel was handled well. For three days in a row there was techno music playing right under our bed! (The floor was shaking) This was During the afternoons when we wanted to rest before the evening activities and dinner. Since we were on the second floor with no guest cabins below us it must have been coming from a staff room/area. (NOT OK) I had to call guest relations and security twice on two occasions before it stopped. When they finally called us back after the third occurrence (right after we had just gotten back to sleep) they said that they would be sending us a note. Then they called to see if it had been delivered. (waking us yet again!) They ended up leaving a bottle of white wine in our cabin. Hilarious when you note that the only things on our tab the whole cruise was a red wine, some Pellegrinos and specialty coffees. (I know its the thought that counts, but how much thought did they put into that?? We left it for our attendant) Overall, we had a blast. Completely Loved Alaska and thoroughly enjoyed our vacation. Not sure if we will do any more RC cruises though. 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Sail Date August 2015
My companion and I are very active seniors who decided to take a cruise as our first "serious vacation" together after dating for a year. I need to say up front that we had a great time on the ship thanks to the variety of ... Read More
My companion and I are very active seniors who decided to take a cruise as our first "serious vacation" together after dating for a year. I need to say up front that we had a great time on the ship thanks to the variety of entertainment and the nice people we met. As background, I haave traveled quite a bit during the past 10 years....always independently, not on cruises and not on organized tours. My companion had not been able to travel but had taken a caribbean cruise on the Radiance 10 years ago. I was "Cruise Averse" as a way to travel...he was not. He wanted to see Alaska....I didn't care one way or another. I utilized TA quite a bit to select the ship, excursions, hotels and itinerary....thank you to the experts. We started in Vancouver and stayed two nights at the Loden Hotel in downtown. It was really fabulous. We booked an all day tour to Victoria and Bouchart Gardens on Viatour...Land Sea Tour....you really can't do that independently. They were very good and flexible. The Loden provided us transportation to Canada Place to the ship. Embarkation took about 45 minutes and was orderly. Once on the ship we were greeted by various staff selling the packages for food, drink and activities onboard. Although many have complained about this practice, if you want any these things, the packages are the way to go. Regarding the food package, the deal offered upon boarding was MUCH MUCH cheaper than pre-booking prices. We bought a package of four dinners and the Chef's table for less than the cost of the Chef's Table alone. Plus, on the first night, the restaurants were all offering half price dinner. (We received credit for the dinners I had pre-booked) The drink package are a personal choice and are only worthwhile based on your drinking preferences! We did not but any drink package. At the end of the cruise we added up our total drink bill ($350) and determined that it was much better for us to " pay as we drank. Several people we met said they were drinking just to make their investment worthwhile! Our cabin was a balcony room on Deck 8, about 6 cabins in front of the front elevators. We thought it was a great location. It was quiet, close to the least busy elevators. The ship isn't that big so it was not that long of a walk anywhere. The room was adequate. It was clean and there was good storage. The bathrooms are tiny and very basic. As noted, the showers are very small. My only serious complaint regarding the room was the smell. I specifically contradicted my friends who recommended Princess Millenium due to CC reviews citing a sewage smell. Well, our room on RCL had a strong sewage odor! The odor was less strong in the hallway and we did not smell it on the other decks. We reported it to our cabin steward and engineering tried to "clean something out" but it never went away completely. I wound up trying to ignore the odor and told myself that "all ships have that odor"...but I am not convinced. Oh well.... For me, the most important things on the ship, are the food and entertainment/activities. As noted above, we had most of our meals in the specialty restaurants. We chose to do this because on my previous RCL cruise, I did not like the food in the main dining room. In fact, on this cruise, we ate only one dinner in the MDR (on the "formal" night) and the best part was meeting the adorable young couple sitting next to us....the food was REALLLY mediocre. It was absolutely not restaurant quality in any way. We also ate one lunch in the MDR.....the salad bar was fantastic but the other food was inedible. We ate at Chops twice, at Giovanni's , the Japanese Restaurant(sorry, forgot the name) and Samba once....all on the very reasonable package. All were very good to excellent except Samba....too much meat of questionable quality and a very limited salad bar. The Japanese Restaurant was a surprise.....really exceptional. Service in all the restaurants was very attentive...even doting. We would recommend that RCL advise the waiters to STOP telling patrons to say good things about them on post-cruise reviews.....I think their service speaks for itself and the spiel they gave us at every restaurant was really annoying and not necessary. Nevertheless, the wait staff really was excellent. We also ate at the Chef's Table. We purchased it when we got on the ship for half the pre-cruise price. It included a five course, gourmet dinner and wine pairing with the Chef coming out before each course to talk. It was given in a small dining room with up to 16 other guests and was worth every penny.....it was one of the most memorable evenings onboard! We ate breakfasts in the Windjammer.....the food was very mediocre. We tried the Park Cafe on the CC recommendation....All I can say is WHY? Sandwiches were pre-made, nothing was fresh and the staff was very disinterested (the only place I found that onboard). In summary, the only good food onboard was in the specialty restaurants.....I really think RCL could do a better job with food quality. We had lots of fun on board. We played all of the trivia games with the great Cruise Activity Staff. Traveling as a couple was the exception onboard as there were mostly large groups and families so activities turned out to be a great way to meet other people on board. We used the Casino a bit, went to the large entertainment shows (the Tenor Show was very good, the others a bit basic but still enjoyable) and loved the singers/performers in the piano bars and venues scattered around the ship...we also met people in those venues. BTW, we thought the RCL entertainers who filled in on the shows were very talented.... I want to commend the Customer Service Staff. I truly felt that they made every effort to address and resolve any issue that arose. I don't think I have ever experienced that level of service. No issue seemed to minor. They never dismissed any concerns....Kudos to RCL. Regarding the itinerary, I am really glad that we saw the Hubbard Glacier on the last day. It was so spectacular that the other stops at the various towns might have been a bit of a letdown ! We did not book any excursions through RCL but I followed the TA expert recommendations in each town and was delighted with my choices. We went on a whale watch in Icy Straight with the fabulous Glacier Bay tours seeing lots of humpbacks and orcas, took a great motorcoach to the Yukon with Dyea Dave tours in Skagway (we opted out of the train so we could stop and really see everything along the way), we were on our own in Juneau and Ketchikan. Disembarkation was unbelievably smooth. We had prebooked a bus to the airport and RCL had the whole process down to a science. After the trip we rented a car and went up to Denali....great fun! Two seniors going ATVing, river rafting, jumping in the rapids... In summary, we really had a great trip. Alaska is beautiful, RCL makes every effort to be sure that the passengers are happy, satisfied, having fun and comfortable. Cruising is a very good way to be introduced to Alaska. If possible, add a land portion to see Denali...as long as you are there..... I will continue to travel independently as long as I can. It is still the best way to really see a place (as opposed to docking and touring for a few hours). But cruising is a great option for many, has become affordable for many and is certainly easy! Thanks to TA and CC for all the help. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We stayed in Vancouver for a few days before the cruise at the Best Western Chateau Granville. The city was nice and so was the hotel. We did the Hop on/off Trolley, which made it easy to see the city. We boarded the ship on the 7th, and ... Read More
We stayed in Vancouver for a few days before the cruise at the Best Western Chateau Granville. The city was nice and so was the hotel. We did the Hop on/off Trolley, which made it easy to see the city. We boarded the ship on the 7th, and it was a fast easy process. It took maybe 20 minutes. The ship is nice, the staff was friendly. We ate at Windjammer while waiting for our room. The food was good there for breakfast lunch and dinner. When we walked down to our room on deck 8, there was a sewer like smell. We got used to it though.. Room was nice, there was 4 of us. It was a bit tight, next time we will get 2 rooms. The bathroom also smelled, and they need to put shower doors on instead of a curtain. I am hoping these newer ships are making the rooms and showers a bit bigger. We saw the magician and the singer/dancer show and both were good. Casino was nice and did pay out. It smelled good also. Food was good everywhere, and walking the stairs instead of the elevator helped with overindulging. We had signed up for the glacier landing and walking but it was cancelled due to the weather. We also did the White Pass railroad in Skagway, which also stopped at Liarsville. It was a very nice ride, and we got some interesting info on the ride. We got off at all of the ports, but Skagway was my favorite. We also saw the Hubbard Glacier, and our captain, Goren, did donuts in the water over and over so we could get a view. I do not know if all of the captains do this or not. The got a piece of ice from the water, and carved it on deck. There were around 2300 people on board, but it never felt crowded. We just chilled in the Windjammer, and did not stress about if were at a window seat or not. Getting of was easy too. We did the 3 day land tour after, and that was a breeze through the whole 3 days. Jon was our driver, and I felt safe with him at the wheel. Our motorcoach had seatbelts. As a matter of fact, all the busses had seatbelts. Our tour guide was Andy and he was very knowledgeable and very nice. He made the whole process smooth and easy. By he way, if you are doing a land tour and you missed out on glacier landing/walking, there is another chance at one of the excursions on the land tour. We did the long tour of Denali National Park and it was worth it. Another land excursion was the Husky Homestead. It was cool, and we got to hold the baby puppies. Sled dogs are a big part of Alaska, so I recommend this one. Alaska scenery is very beautiful and the farther north you go, the more snow on the mountains you will see. I did not see My McKinley, and that was my fault. I was doing laundry at our hotel, Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. But the mountain was visible, and someone in my party got pics of it. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
I loved our cruise. This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean; we had previously sailed on Freedom and Liberty. Radiance is smaller than the Freedom class and I found that I loved the smaller size. Everything felt a little more ... Read More
I loved our cruise. This was our third cruise with Royal Caribbean; we had previously sailed on Freedom and Liberty. Radiance is smaller than the Freedom class and I found that I loved the smaller size. Everything felt a little more personal. We were two adults and two teenage children; we had an owner's suite connecting to a junior suite. I loved having the two cabins, and the layout of both cabins was great. The owner's suite is a little smaller on Radiance class than on Freedom, and the balcony is also smaller. but there was plenty of room for two chairs, a table, and a lounge chair on our balcony. Also, as others have mentioned, we used our balcony less on this cruise than on our warm weather cruises. The ports were great, Skagway and Seward were probably my favorites. It rained about half the time and I think the key to having a great time despite the rain is really packing waterproof and not water resistant clothes. I thought we were overdoing it with our layers (water proof jacket, fleece, long sleeved shirts, waterproof/hiking boots, gloves, hats) but it really made a difference. Our temps were in the 50's for most of the trip, but with rain and wind it ends up feeling colder. Excursions that we loved: Coastal helicopter in Juneau (dogsled landing), Glacier Wilderness Safari in Skagway (through Royal Caribbean), Whale Watch in Icy Straight (through Royal Caribbean), Taxicab tours in Ketchikan and Kenai Fjords cruise in Seward. I cannot say enough about the Glacier Wilderness Safari. You take a one hour boat ride, then a small bus, then a short hike, then a 16 person canoe to the face of a glacier. Amazing colors, you're right on the glacier, and it was wonderful. As for the ship, the activities were very well run and we ended up doing a lot of the trivia, shows, game shows, etc. The indoor solarium pool was great. Some shows at night were just ok, others were fantastic (magician, Las Vegas Tenors, and the gymnast were standouts) but we always enjoyed going to the shows, and also appreciated Cruise Director Amy's previews about the next day, with weather forecasts, which she did at the end of every evening show. The food in the dining room was good to very good, with very good service throughout. My favorites on board were the Dog House for hot dogs and the late night pizza at Park Cafe. I had read a lot of reviews about Radiance needing attention; perhaps I was prepared for it but nothing about the ship bothered me and I really loved our cruise. Embarkation and disembarkation took about five minutes each way. Happy to answer questions. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our 7th cruise (2nd on Royal) and what a fantastic experience this was. Alaska is a place I've always wanted to go see and I'm so glad we finally got to go. We started with three days in Vancouver before our cruise ... Read More
This was our 7th cruise (2nd on Royal) and what a fantastic experience this was. Alaska is a place I've always wanted to go see and I'm so glad we finally got to go. We started with three days in Vancouver before our cruise departed. We stayed at the Pan Pacific right at Canada Place which is where the cruise ships dock. This was a super convenient location. The hotel was a bit pricey but considering the luxury of the hotel and the amenities I thought it was worth it. We were in the center of everything and if you haven't been to Vancouver before (we hadn't) I highly recommend it. Beautiful city, clean, totally walkable and very interesting. We went to Granville Island, Stanley Park, took a Harbor tour and did the hop on/hop off trolley which gave us a great overview of the city. At Canada Place is a ride called Fly Over Canada - must do! If you've been on Soarin' at Epcot in Disney World, you know what to expect. Really spectacular. We did it twice. As for food in Vancouver, the diversity is amazing and you can probably find just about anything. If you like sushi - check out Miku next door to Canada Place. Great views of the Harbor and phenomenal sushi. Pricey. On the other end of the spectrum, Vancouver has a bustling food truck scene - they were fun to check out for a quick meal while sitting on a bench and watching the people go by. On to the cruise. We love cruising. That being said, an Alaska cruise is very different than a 'normal' Caribbean cruise. Not as relaxing. The pace is more up - lots to see and do, early hours for excursions and no lying on your balcony with a cocktail. You can - but the weather is problematic in Alaska. Overcast skies are typical and temperature for us ranged from 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. I know this is just me but I felt everytime I watched the water I had to be looking for a whale. it was exhausting. I know that's weird, but watching the ocean go by in the Caribbean was always relaxing to me. On this trip I found it tiring because I was always looking for signs of whales. (Your experience will be different - I'm crazy!) The cabin (#1600) was excellent. It's a grand suite at the aft end of the ship (starboard side). Really amazing. Large cabin space to walk around. Excellent facilities including full shower. The balcony is good because it wraps around but too much furniture. They had two chairs, a big table, two lounge chairs and a side table. Too much and it felt crowded because of it. I moved some of the stuff around to make more open space for us and it worked better. At first we weren't thrilled with being all the way at the back of the boat (long walk to every venue on the ship) but when we got to Hubbard Glacier on Day 6, it became obvious why our travel agent recommended this cabin. Our cabin attendant was average. We've had much better on Royal and other cruise lines. I won't bash him, but he really didn't do anything above and beyond. He did just enough. We weren't impressed with him. We chose to eat in the main dining room every night and had the best waiters. Ernesto and Franc made every dinner a show and treated our family like royalty. Really top notch and can't say enough nice things about them. I've seen people complain about the food on cruise ships and I'm always left wondering what they were expecting. Dining on a cruise ship isn't going to the Culinary Institute of America or any other five star restaurant. The food was always tasty, served very nicely and there were always plenty of choices. If you can't find something to eat on a cruise ship, you're just looking to complain about something. In our first port, Ketchikan, we took a trolley tour out to the Saxman Totem village - very interesting history and wonderful art to look at. And then we did the Lumber Jack show. Very Disney. Lots of fun. Then we walked around Creek street and shopped. Lots of opportunity to shop here and later, so no rush on the shopping. Second port of call was Icy Straits. Didn't do any excursions here. Walked around the port, saw the museum, drank the obligatory Crabby Bloody Mary ($12) and hiked the beach. Nice. Watched the other guests coming down the Zip line. Looks like fun. Not for me! Yikes! Third port was Juneau. Here we went whale watching with an independent vendor. I had read a lot of positive reviews about Harv and Marv. Excellent organization and despite a logistical mix up we were quickly on board and out whale watching. Saw lots of Hump Back whales - a tale flip, a full breach and some fin waving. No bubble feeding or Orcas unfortunately - but my understanding is that it's pretty rare to see those. Don't think you need to go with Harv and Marv - I'm sure the cruise line's vendor is just as good. As a matter of fact - all the boats seem to cluster together so, I think any vendor will take you where you need to go to see the whales. Fourth port was Skagway. This was a beautiful, quaint town and we took the gold miners train to the top of the mountain. Really breathtaking views and lots of spectacular picture taking. Left side of the train going up is better for scenery. They switch the people around for the way down so everyone gets to see everything. But going up is slower and you have more picture taking opportunities. Then we went to the Red Dog Saloon in town and walked down main street. Very nice. Lots of shopping. Thank goodness there is a Diamonds International. It had been an entire day since we saw one. Day six of the cruise is Hubbard Glacier. For me, this was the highlight of the trip. The captain took us into the Bay of Disenchantment (no kidding!) and does a 360 degree turn in front of the glacier. Then he moves in closer and does another 360 degree turn. And then he moves in even closer and does a last 360 degree turn. This is where the aft cabin really paid off. We had an unobstructed view of the most spectacular sites. We could literally hear the ice 'calving' off the glacier and see the waves it made when it hit. I have some incredible movies and pictures. Really breathtaking scenery. There isn't a view that doesn't look like a picture postcard. We spent about two hours there and then it's straight sailing to Seward our disembarkation point. We opted to take the scenic trainride from Seward to Anchorage Airport. If you have the time, it was a fun way to end our trip. It takes about 4 and 1/2 hours, but you're in one of those trains with a glass ceiling and big windows. They serve food and drinks and give a little history about the places you're seeing. We saw some eagles and lots of awesome scenery. Flew home from Anchorage and now sifting through the over 3,000 pictures I took. Thank goodness for digital cameras. Overall, an excellent trip and so glad we did it. Would not do it again as I prefer to relax and unwind on my vacations and this was not a restful trip at all. Vancouver we would go back and see. Beautiful city. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We traveled with my folks and my 2 young adult "kids". We have been on many Disney cruises and 1 Celebrity so I have those 2 lines as comparison. Our cabin, Suite 1532, was amazing. I found the on board activities lacking - ... Read More
We traveled with my folks and my 2 young adult "kids". We have been on many Disney cruises and 1 Celebrity so I have those 2 lines as comparison. Our cabin, Suite 1532, was amazing. I found the on board activities lacking - although with such a "port intensive" itinerary maybe people just aren't as interested. I was disappointed with the dining room. I sent two dishes back. And I'd never heard of extra charges for steak at least not on the other two cruise lines. We took full advantage of the concierge lounge and the card room for games.There always seemed to be an empty elevator which was a wonderful plus. Customer service was great and extremely well organized during our port excursions and post-cruise trip to Denali. This wasn't a bad trip by any means, just not as fantastic as Celebrity or Disney. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
we went to alaska with our 2 grandchildren ages 13 & 14, Neither of them had cruised before so it was a new experience for them. WE flew into Vancouver and stayed at the Hampton Inn. The hotel had a good breakfast and they shuttled ... Read More
we went to alaska with our 2 grandchildren ages 13 & 14, Neither of them had cruised before so it was a new experience for them. WE flew into Vancouver and stayed at the Hampton Inn. The hotel had a good breakfast and they shuttled us to the pier at no cost. We are not really cruisers but I found the ship to be very nice, clean, the service and food were very good. Our grandchildren did not like the teen lounge, they said it was very small and when they went there the first day there was no place to sit and everyone seemed to be in cliques, but fortunately, they had a lot of fun anyway. They participated in the trivias every day along with us and then in the evening they had fun with the adults at the games they played and also went to the shows. The illusionist and ventriloquiest were very good, very talented people. They flew in a singer who had placed second on American Idol and he was terrific. We booked excursions privately as well as with Royal Carribean. I would recommend the lumberjack show for younger kids. The rainforest sanctuary and raptor center was very interesting., both of these we booked independently. We went whale watching out of Icy Strait, again independently and I would highly recommend that. When you book through the ship you will be on a large boat with a lot of people. Everyone I spoke to who had booked independently as we did, were on a small boat with just 6 people! We disembarked in Seward and had the entire day there so we booked again independently Seavey's Ididaride Tour and I can;t rave enough about it. We were shuttled to the train station at no cost from the ship where we stowed our bags. The tour bus picked us up and off we went to the camp that trained the ididarod huskies. We were given a tour and told about the dogs and the race, We all handled the puppies and then we went out on a run being pulled by the dogs. It was a great experience. We were then taken to lunch. After lunch we were driven to Exit Glacier where we hiked for a up to the glacier and then a drive through Seward. The tour is from 11-6P. WE then boarded the Alaska Railroad Coastal Classic Train for Anchorage. It was a great ending to the trip. The only negatives I found that they day we were at Hubbard Glacier hot chocolate was being served on deck but you had to pay for it and I thought that was really cheap. Also, the shops carried very expensive items. The sales were for the real "junk". The merchandise looked like it had been bought especially for the $10 specials that didn't cost them more than $1.00 if that. I did not buy anything. The disembarkation went smoothly. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Overall, it was a good cruise. Alaska is very beautiful, and I'm glad we had this experience (I'm a Caribbean girl, so it was nice to come back home to the heat after a week of chill and rain, but Alaska is very striking). I ... Read More
Overall, it was a good cruise. Alaska is very beautiful, and I'm glad we had this experience (I'm a Caribbean girl, so it was nice to come back home to the heat after a week of chill and rain, but Alaska is very striking). I love cruising, and I love RCI; I honestly think it is the only way to go if you want to stay in a beautiful hotel that takes you from one wonderful place to another. I had no idea that Alaska would be so mountainous and green. It rained most of the week while we were there, but apparently, that is typical, since the areas that we were visiting were in the middle of a rain forest (I had no idea!). Seeing the Hubbard glacier was pretty awesome, but it was over and done with rather quickly - I would estimate we were actually going around in the bay for only about an hour. If you happened to oversleep, you would have missed it. Our temperatures were mostly in the low to mid 60's (though in the previous weeks it was mostly rain-free and warmer). We didn't need our gloves, but you really should bring waterPROOF clothing; water resistant clothing is insufficient because the rain will eventually soak through, and you will be miserable. Be prepared for wet hair if you go on any of the tours. I usually take notes while we are on the cruise of things we like and things we don't so that I can remember them. Here goes: We stayed at the Fairbanks Hotel at the Vancouver airport the night before. The room was expensive, but nice. The food prices at the hotel restaurant were astronomical (a family of three could easily spend $100 on breakfast). And, if you touched anything in the courtesy bar, you were charged for it (literally, if you picked it up, a sensor automatically added it to your bill). Fortunately, we had a discount off the prices because of the exchange rate, Canadian to U.S. dollars, and we weren't charged for the courtesy bar items (since we hadn't actually consumed them; we just looked at them). They also didn't charge us for a steak that my husband ordered that came out cooked less thoroughly than he would have liked, even after he'd sent it back. We had no instructions regarding where to meet the RCI staff for the transport in the morning, and it took several tries before we found someone at the hotel who could direct us. This was surprising, considering that this was the only airport hotel and it's hard to believe no one else ever stayed there before a cruise. I do think that was RCI's responsibility, not the hotel's, and it was fortunate that we found the one bellman who knew the answer to the question in the morning. There were no scheduled boarding times for this cruise (as there are for the Caribbean cruises). This resulted in a longer wait time for boarding than on our last cruise, but it was more annoying than awful. We probably waited about 15 minutes to before we were able to get to an agent. At some point in our boarding process, someone handed me a coupon book (not a cruise-sponsored coupon book). I'm glad I accepted it, because there were some great deals inside, and we used it a lot! We couldn't hear the announcements over the speaker at our muster station. If you can't hear the emergency instructions, I'm not sure what the point of the drill is. We loved having one quick round of Bingo on the first night, and we always love the opportunity to win a free cruise on the last day. I'm not sure why they only offer paper cards. On every other cruise, we had the option to use the machines for Bingo. We loved that our room was ready for us at the time we boarded. I think this was the fastest that our suitcases arrived - ever. We are grateful to the maintenance person who helped my husband get a TSA lock off of his suitcase so that we didn't have to do something that would have ruined the suitcase (it was malfunctioning for some reason - perhaps damaged during transit), and we were also grateful to the maintenance person who helped me get back into our safe when I put the wrong number in too many times. On both occasions, they were there within five minutes and very nice. We absolutely loved our cabin attendant (Darwin) and our waitstaff (Rodlee and Karen). I gave them all 10s on the survey - and they earned it. There seemed to be less flexibility for My Time dining than on a larger ship, and it was hard to get through sometimes. We received a message that we could request automatic call back during busy times - however, it's not optional as the message suggests. If you don't select automatic callback, the phone will disconnect and you have to call again. All of the waiters use rolling carts to bring out entrees at dinner. For some reason, our usual table seemed to be near where they tended to pile up. I had to move one to exit my seat one night, and to enter it on another, because I sat on the half-booth side with my daughter; my husband also found them irritating. We mentioned it to our server and it did get better (even though he wasn't the one who was leaving the carts around). I also noticed that this came to the attention of a supervisor who on her own (not from our complaint) directed that they be moved. We liked that you could go to the bow of the ship to observe, but it was really hard to figure out how to get there. There was minor wear on the ship. It was only little things, e.g., one of the decorative stars in our bathroom (the Radiance emblem) was broken, some gold paint was missing from the dining room central light, etc. It was just enough to make me feel as though the attention has been diverted from the smaller ships to the newer, larger ones. They seemed to run out of things in the Cascade dining room for breakfast, e.g., bananas, whole grain toast, etc. if you arrived later but still sufficiently within the the scheduled hours (i.e., not five minutes before closing). We prefer not to sit with people we don't know, but individual tables are only available in the worst section of the dining room (near the kitchen and the serving stations). The toast was always rock hard and cold no matter what time we came in. The internet access was very frustrating. My husband uses one of the two devices on the two-device plan; he's always hooked up and has no problems. I have to switch between an iPhone and an iPad, and it's hard to get on and off. Signing off didn't necessarily mean I was signed off, and sometimes it took 5-10 minutes to switch devices. The internet was down part of the time on Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. We paid for unlimited use and use this access to keep in touch with work, and that was not acceptable. Each time, we were told that the technology people were working on it, but restoring access both times took more than an hour. Even when the access was available, it was sometimes very slow (even though land was visible for most of the cruise). I'm not sure why there were no chilled shrimp at lunch in the Windjammer. They were there on our last RCI cruise. I like them because they are all protein and low calorie (helps to keep me from gaining weight on the cruise). I still miss chocolates on my pillow and the midnight buffet on one evening. Guest services is located near the music in the Centrum area, so you can hardly have a conversation with them if music is playing (and they can hardly hear you) - it's very frustrating. My husband had a difficult time getting a map of one of the ports from guest services - he asked for one, the employee went off to copy it but then forgot about him, so he had to stand in line again to get the map. I wish that RCI would develop a cruise app that could be used for each ship (rather than something generic). I know that it has been done for the newer ships. It makes life much more convenient on board. My daughter and I liked the towel demonstration, but we would have preferred to have had a class. On our last RCI cruise on a larger ship, we were able to do that. It's nice to watch, but you learn more by doing. Our cabin was of ample size for the three of us, though we weren't crazy about the small balcony (which had more to do with the overall ship size than our room category). The balcony size would have been more of an issue on a Caribbean cruise where we would be out on it more. It was sufficient to watch the glacier or the mountains. There was a very slight sewage-like smell on our floor and in our room for the first day or so. Our cabin attendant was very concerned and involved the head of housekeeping who said that they would also involve the plumbers. My husband and daughter didn't notice it at all (I'm the one with the super sense of smell), but I heard others talking about it when walking down the hallway. Whatever it was, they fixed it right away, and I appreciate the genuine concern from everyone and the ability to get it resolved quickly. I don't want to give the wrong impression - the smell was very slight and not really all that bothersome; it was just something I noticed. There was only one entrance open to get back onto the ship at Ketchikan - we literally waited about 25 minutes in line. Surely they could have opened two entrances. That was the worst return to the ship experience - ever. The disembarkation video was completely wrong. We were told that we would have to go through U.S. customs, even though we'd gone through U.S. customs to get onto the ship in Vancouver and hadn't gone to any non-U.S. port during the cruise. I called guest services to verify that we actually had to go through U.S. customs again, and I was told that we did but it wouldn't be difficult. We actually did NOT to through customs, so we ended up throwing out open containers of food that we didn't have to. It's incredible that no one knew that we didn't have to go through U.S. customs. When we got off the ship in Seward, it was raining, cold, and miserable outside. We were at the end of the last group and were told we could go to any bus. There were long lines for four of the five buses, but not the last bus. We went to the last bus, and the driver told us there wasn't any reason we couldn't board. Then she told us that they wanted us to get off the bus because RCI wanted to make sure that all the buses were filled (clearly, they were almost there, given all of the long lines). We didn't get off, because doing so would have put us at the end of the line that was forming and we couldn't see any reason to wait in line to get on a bus that we were already on. And, as it turned out, our last bus was eventually filled as well (and RCI should have known that it would be filled given the total number of guests getting off). I think that the reason that we were all so inconvenienced was because an RCI employee wanted to check everyone's name off as they got on the bus. That was a task she could have done by walking down the aisle of a filled bus - we shouldn't have had to stand in the rain to make it more convenient for her. The temperature inside our bus from Seward was cold (and it was a long ride). There were no clear instructions about what would happen after we got off the cruise. We knew that there would be a transfer, but we didn't know what would happen next. We didn't know we would be dropped off at the Mariott in Anchorage and what we were supposed to do next. We didn't know that we were supposed to pick up a transfer card to go to the airport, and that if you didn't pick up a transfer card right away, you would either be way too early or too late for your flight and might have to take a cab (despite having paid for the transfer). The 4:00 and 5:00 transfer cards were gone almost immediately, and I overheard two of the employees saying that was always the case (the other employee said that it was just too bad and people might have to take a cab if they weren't happy with the transfer times) - I just smiled when they looked up at me (since they were too busy with each other to notice me at first) and said I looked forward to adding this on my review. My husband said that the 3:00 transfers were all gone when he went to the table (which would have meant that we had no way to get to the airport before we needed to be there) - when he asked if they were going to pay for our cab, they found more transfers. Surely RCI is aware of the most frequently needed transfer times and should be able to plan accordingly? I will comment separately about the tours in the tour section, but I wanted to include them here as well. I think that the whale and marine mammal cruise was one of my two all-time favorite excursions (the other was swimming with the dolphins in the Caribbean). My husband and daughter loved it too. The rain forest hike was nice, and we also enjoyed the salmon and gold panning excursion (but would not have enjoyed it at all if it were raining and cold, as is frequently the case in Alaska, since everything is outside and it would have been miserable). The "guide's choice" Mendenhall glacier hike in Juneau through Gastineau Guiding Company was the absolute WORST excursion I have ever been on (and I've been on many). The phrase "guide's choice" is ambiguous - it could mean that it is award winning, or it could mean that the guide chooses the trails. We learned that it literally meant that the guide could choose our trail, and our guide (Katie) chose the most difficult hiking trail for our group even though most of us were inexperienced, not equipped for it (there was one person who actually sold hiking gear, so she was the only one who was actually prepared), and even though there were kids in our group. The RCI description of the tour was highly inaccurate; had it been accurate, we would not have gone on the hike (and I wouldn't have risked having my daughter participate). The description indicated that it was strenuous - fair enough - but this hike took us through steep running water beds, and steep, slippery inclines climbing up large rocks (at 1.5-2 feet in diameter) where a misstep would send you tumbling down the mountain. (I slipped and fell once in the other direction and fortunately didn't go careening down the side.) There was a second tour from the same company just behind us, and we were told that someone in that group wanted to propose to his fiance. We were apparently expected to participate, because our guide passed out horns. We had to wait for the second group to arrive at the top, in the cold and rain (again, whether we wanted to or not, because it was not our choice), only to learn that the man who was planning to propose wanted more privacy and didn't want our group there at all (no surprise there, and they apparently didn't bother to ask him if he wanted us to participate either). On the way down, our guide said that she wanted to take a short cut that would get us down more quickly. We had to hike down a steep incline consisting of more large rocks (1.5-2' in diameter again) that had running water flowing down them. I rarely cry out of frustration, but I almost did just that twice on the way down. Our group did not stay together because some did better than others; my daughter was out of my sight for long periods of time, and I didn't like that at all. I had significantly sore muscles which made other excursions and activities very uncomfortable for the remaining days of the cruise (fortunately, I always pack a lot of ibuprofen, and I really needed it to function). When we returned to the ship, we reviewed the description of the tour, and confirmed that it was inaccurately stated. I also checked the reviews on line, and there are apparently easier ways to travel up the mountain but our guide deliberately chose to subject us to the more difficult and dangerous trails without the proper equipment or experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I know I'm spoiled by usually sailing Freedom or Oasis class but as a LOYAL TO ROYAL cruiser I was disappointed in the condition of the ship. The emails needed paint and varnish as did most of the ship, the shower looked moldy and ... Read More
I know I'm spoiled by usually sailing Freedom or Oasis class but as a LOYAL TO ROYAL cruiser I was disappointed in the condition of the ship. The emails needed paint and varnish as did most of the ship, the shower looked moldy and dirty. The stag puff however was top notch Royal! We had a great experience with Olan and Bernard ferret at the champagne bar! I did notice nobody was playing slots much, not paying out I assume! My biggest complaint and I made the Crown and Anchor staff awRe was the balcony and deck ( right side) we looked down on the top of the roof covering the life boats. That was a huge disappointment. We booked this on another cruise and the view or lack of was never mentioned. On a positive note, the staff was A plus, the scenery, excursions I booked Aplus! Alaska is a must!!! They have a LIT of work to do on land tour portion though. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We arrived the day before departure in Vancouver and stayed at the Delta Suites. The location was great. Only $10 Canadian for the two block ride right to the dock check-in point. No line for embarkation. The Radiance of the Seas was ... Read More
We arrived the day before departure in Vancouver and stayed at the Delta Suites. The location was great. Only $10 Canadian for the two block ride right to the dock check-in point. No line for embarkation. The Radiance of the Seas was the perfect size. Loved the ship! The flow from one area to another was great and prevented congestion. Amy was the cruise director with Darrel being in charge of activities. Darrel had a bubbly personality and soon had everyone around him engaged with having fun. The Schooner Lounge was the perfect size for the trivia games and larger than the ones on Mariner or Navigator. We had a balcony room on the 9th floor. There was enough closet & drawer space. The bed mattress was a little warped but the room steward quickly tried to fix the problem. He was attentive to all our wants & needs. I asked for ice and he made sure I had it every day. The Windjammer was average and nothing really outstanding. We had a set dining time and the main waiter was good. The assistant wasn't as good and only the last 3 days did she remember the hot tea but then didn't bring a cup for the tea...lol We also ate at SAMBA's one night where you are served chicken, then sausage, next a fillet of beef, then lamb chop, pork roast and finally flank steak. The Entertainment in the auditorium was average and nothing special or memorable except for one night. They had a group playing all "Eagles" music. For excursions, we did the Wilderness & crab feast in Ketchikan. We saw eagles & nests. Then, pulled up a crab pot and was told about the crabs. After the boat, we feasted on crab legs. Next port was Icy Strait/Hoonah. The ship has to tender people to shore. They have a nice display of a cannery & about the history of Alaska plus gift shops. If you don't take a ship excursion, you have to leave the fenced area to get your ride to town. We did a private whale watching tour and it was awesome. We saw seals, otters, brown bear with 4 cubs plus lots of Whales. We saw the ships excursion loaded with people and all we had was 6 on our boat. Juneau we walked the town as we had been there 3 years before. Skagway again we walked around. But, 3 yrs ago we did the White Pass Railroad. Disembarkation was a breeze as we were on a 3 day land tour. The only negative things were the hotel locations & timing of arrival at them. You are basically forced to eat at the hotels as they are either remote or the free shuttle into town stops before 8pm. We loved the train and would like to do the whole land part of tour by train instead of mostly bus. So, we will be looking to do a cruisetour again, maybe next year! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I have been a dedicated Loyal to Royal cruiser for over 10 years. I hope to NEVER cruise with them ever again. For starters, the entire on-line process was not user friendly. I am not some luddite and I am getting an MBA on-line. I know ... Read More
I have been a dedicated Loyal to Royal cruiser for over 10 years. I hope to NEVER cruise with them ever again. For starters, the entire on-line process was not user friendly. I am not some luddite and I am getting an MBA on-line. I know how to navigate websites, however, every single time I needed to do anything on line I had to call and have someone walk me through the process. I was never able to complete on-line check in, and RCCL refused to allow me to do anything with my minor child's check in. When I called to complain I was basically told,"sorry about your luck". And then I got on board. Our bathroom flooded every single time we took a shower. My daugher was staying in an adjacent cabin and had the same complaint. The bed was extremely uncomfortable, and I considered sleeping on the floor. The cabin smelled like mildew, and I am certain that had something to do with the flooding bathroom. The food was downright horrid. We actually LOST weight on this cruise the food was so bad. The food in the windjammer was always cold. If you wanted orange juice that wasn't watered down, it was an up charge. As a matter of fact, upcharge was the theme of the boat. We had gotten so many bad meals at the windjammer, we started going to the dining room for all meals. With every meal someone from the ship was trying to sell us something. It was like cruising with the strawmarket on board. I'm beginning to wonder if RCCL is having financial troubles. My daughter wanted to buy things from the ship's store. For whatever reason, her seapass was showing up invalid. The clerk said she would have to bring her actual credit card to complete the purchase, then charged her $50 to use it! RCCL is clearly spending all their money on their new mega ships and putting no dollars into upkeep of their other ships. The carpets were threadbare, decorative tiles were missing, the vinyl backing on dozens of chairs in the windjammmer were peeling. The ship looked shabby. Needless to say, I am done sailing with RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We were very excited about this cruise. My husband had been on cruises years ago when single, but for myself and our daughter, this was our first cruise. I was impressed with the check in procedure and although a little time ... Read More
We were very excited about this cruise. My husband had been on cruises years ago when single, but for myself and our daughter, this was our first cruise. I was impressed with the check in procedure and although a little time consuming, all ran smoothly. We were offered a buffet for lunch which we were told by one of the staff off the ship would be Japanese. There was no Japanese food to be seen, just normal "buffet" type food. The food itself was pretty ordinary but we didn't mind as we weren't planning on eating other meals in the Windjammer Cafe. We had arranged My Time dining. The food was fine but certainly nothing to rave about. The wait staff were friendly though. We ended up being too late for the dining room breakfast the next morning so we had to once again return to the Windjammer. The food was dreadful and we barely ate anything as most of it look horrible. We had been warned people would be trying to sell us stuff all over the place and they weren't wrong. If I wasn't expecting it to happen, I would have got quite cranky with the pushiness. We enjoyed playing trivia, the bingo was painfully slow and the mini golf was good fun. That's about all we got to do as our daughter became ill about 36 hours after getting on the ship. I won't go into too much detail, but it was at this point the staff were simply not capable. We had to cancel our tour in Ketchican, which they ended up trying to charge us for even though they had agreed not to. After our port stop in Ketchican where our daughter went downhill quickly, she was "confined" to the room. They assumed it was gastro or similar. I rang the nurse at one point to ask if I could bring her down to the medical room to get her temperature checked. I was told I couldn't do that as she was confined. I then asked if she would come up and check her temperature and was told they don't do that. I got very angry at this point. Where is their duty of care? They finally allowed me to take her down and her temperature was 40 degrees. Anything we requested was a problem for them. They couldn't understand why it was not suitable to have an incredibly sick child stuck in a room with no medical assistance. We were told "it's okay, you're not confined, you can still go out". Seriously? And leave our sick 11 year old to fend for herself? We were also unaware we could order room service as our room never had a room service menu or any other information. We were promised a room service menu at least 3 times, but never received one. We were in an interior room. It was very obvious our daughter needed fresh air. We asked if she could sit on a chair on deck 5 under the life boats (we had been there numerous times and no one goes there). We were told no. I asked if there was somewhere else we could go that would give her some air, but was told there wasn't. They eventually allowed us to use one of their spare balcony rooms for the day. It was very obvious to me that our daughter was very ill and getting worse. A doctor finally consented to see us and she was incredibly rude. They connected our daughter up to an IV (without wearing gloves which I found odd), and got some fluids into her for about an hour. They then told us to take her back to our room. I expressed concern about doing that as she was not improving, and was told by the doctor "well if you don't think you're capable of looking after your child, we can keep her here". Again, seriously? We then demanded to see the senior medical doctor, who after reviewing the situation, agreed our daughter should go to hospital. We then spent the next 5 days in Juneau hospital, where after numerous tests were conducted, it was found she had severe Salmonella. Our daughter was incredibly ill and it scares me what would have happened if I had accepted the ship's medical staff's opinion and just let her stay "confined". Thankfully we are home now and she is well on her way to recovery. From the time we disembarked from the ship, no one from RCL has been in contact with us to see how our daughter is. Their total lack of care is disgusting and I would never recommend RCL to anyone. It's possible we would go on another cruise, but certainly never with RCL. Make sure you investigate how the cruise line deals with serious medical situations before booking any cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The views are indescribable and 1,000 photos can't begin to capture the beauty. The vastness of it all hard to believe without seeing it. The ship is older, but beautiful and for the most part well maintained. Service was ... Read More
The views are indescribable and 1,000 photos can't begin to capture the beauty. The vastness of it all hard to believe without seeing it. The ship is older, but beautiful and for the most part well maintained. Service was impeccable! Sky Li in the Windjammer made us glad to get up in the morning just to see her smiling face. Hugo Sanchez in the Latitudes coffee shop was a lot of fun. Our stateroom attendant Rendy Suwito took care of our every desire and Randy our Cascades dining server made dinner worth attending each night! Getting on and off the port was easy most of the time except a bit of a wait in Icy Straight with the tender, but when it got busy they got a third tender going. The Magician and Comedian were great, wish they did a show every evening. We had a retired Canadian Mountie give an interesting and informative presentation. The production shows from the ship were very well done, but that was not really my thing. A woman gave a presentation on Alaska that was very informative with much information but the presentation was dry. She kept asking questions that we couldn't answer and kept going forward and back with her timeline, so it left you a bit confused. There were towel folding demonstrations and carving demonstration that were amazing to watch. Don't miss the captains presentation as he compares the size of the Radiance with the Titanic and an aircraft carrier! In Ketchikan we did a Zip Line with Alaska Canopy Ziplines. Tyler and Greg made it a lot of fun and were very patient and encouraging for those in our group who were more timid and let the experienced ones have a bit more fun. The Icy Straight Zip Line was fun to do, but a bit of a let down, not nearly as exciting as expected. You may go 60 mph, but you are so high there is nothing to compare it to. The 5 glacier flight and the Taku Feast was a good way to see the size of the glaciers and the feast at the lodge was excellent. We took the White pass train to the top of the summit and a bus to the Klondike and back to the ship. Glad we did both as each offers a great view from a different perspective! The helicopter pad is a nice place to view while entering the Hubbard Glacier, but once you are there, the back of the ship in the Windjammer dining was out of the wind and closer to the coffee. As the ship turns around both give a great view. The thing I disliked the most is they are always trying to sell you something. Nature there is so great to see the awesomeness of God's creation, spend as much time as you can hiking and seeing it yourself. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The ship is beautiful and has everything you need. The food was very good and we went to several of the specialty restaurants and they were fabulous! We have never done this before but were very pleased with the value. The staff is ... Read More
The ship is beautiful and has everything you need. The food was very good and we went to several of the specialty restaurants and they were fabulous! We have never done this before but were very pleased with the value. The staff is great and the entertainment was above average. The only complaint is that the windjammer cafe closed at 3:30-6:00pm. For those at the 8:00 dinner seating this is exactly when you want a snack. They even close the ice cream and beverage stations during this time! This leave you very little to get on the ship unless you want to pay for something. There is a small cafe with sandwiches and the hot dog place. Over all the cruise was great. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We flew in the night before and stayed the Delta Burnaby. I was not aware that arrangements could be made to have your flight arranged with the cruise line so that they will be sure that you get to the ship if there is a problem with the ... Read More
We flew in the night before and stayed the Delta Burnaby. I was not aware that arrangements could be made to have your flight arranged with the cruise line so that they will be sure that you get to the ship if there is a problem with the airlines. The hotel clerk was not sure which port to go to and even though I had checked before leaving home, I had forgotten. The cab driver made his money taking us to the wrong port and then driving so safely and slowly to the correct port. Once we arrived at the port the process of embarkation went smoothly. Sail away was nice as we went to the top deck and enjoyed watching the ship sail out of Vancouver. There was a nice party going on the pool deck. It was a nice blue, sky sunny day. The weather cooperated! The next day was all cruising and we listened to a talk by a Canadian Mountie and after that a talk by a couple that have been visiting Alaska for 30 years. It was extremely informative about the glaciers and Alaska history. Ketchikan - We chose the all you can eat crab. They first took us out and showed us how the crabs are caught and some people took a picture with the crab. The deck hand, Nikki, was extremely fun and informative concerning the crabs, Alaska, and all of the different types of Salmon. The bus driver on the way out to the lodge told us all about their tropical rain forest climate. Icy Strait - We chose to do the ATV / 1.5 minute zipline. I should have given heed to a previous cruise critic that was not impressed with the ATV. We did not have to do that as a combo. The ATV is set to where it cannot go but one speed. It was a boring mundane ride where the tour guide liked to have us stop along the way and tell us the different bear stories that they have encountered on their small island. I believe that this should have been emphasized in the beginning of the ride of how dangerous the bears can be and how they have encountered them during the tours and how the towns people have encountered them. We had a better ATV experience on the Island of Kauai where the pedal was not set to prevent a driver from having a good time. (Kipu Ranch if you are ever on Kauai) The zipliner was an awesome rush! I loved the whole thing, but those that were shaking in their fears ended up glad that they had done it! Juneau - We went Salmon fishing. Only one person of the six on our boat caught a fish, but it was a King Salmon. I tried to reel one in, but it was a smart one that had chewed on the bait around the hook. Skagway - We did the trolley at 8:30 am and then at noon we did the Liarsville Gold Rush Tour. The trolley was informative and fun. The only thing that irritated me was when she pointed out the house where Sarah Palin lived as an infant when her family had moved there so her father could be a school teacher. Tina Fey said that she could see Russia from her house in a skit where she played Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin had never actually said that. I found it irritating that I would pay my money to go on a tour that would infer any sort of politics into a moment where they are supposedly giving me the history of a town. If I cannot even get current history correct, perhaps all of the history that was narrated was all made up fiction! Liarsville was informative, but you had to go up for seconds for more salmon. The salmon was very good. The sides were okay. The headliner shows were good. We really enjoyed the Piano Tribute Show done by the Radiance of the Seas singers and dancers. They are extremely talented and the ship is fortunate to have all of them. They had an extremely funny Love and Marriage Game Show. The three couples that participated were darling and PG-13+++! A lot of people would enjoy dancing at the Centrum. Two parties were done there and enjoyed by quite a few. There were entertainers in the Centrum probably every night and so there did not have to be a party for one to be dancing. A Marine and his bride were solo dancing one night and they were absolutely beautiful! Our room was the first one off from the Centrum. It was not a cruise where me and DH felt like getting dressed up as it is warm where we live and I could not pull myself out of my warm pants. This cruise was more about seeing Alaska than doing all the fun things that the ship includes. The entertainment at the Centrum gave life to the ship. The captain got us a close as he could to the Hubbard Glacier. It was beautiful. We had brought binoculars and did get a fairly decent view of it. Though, the icebergs were a bit much and so he kept us safe. It was still a pretty good view. The narration of the facts concerning the glacier were extremely informative. This was truly the highlight of the entire cruise. It was our point to going. I do believe that RCI helped to meet our need to see some awesome sights of Alaska and to be informed concerning what we were able to see. We only ate at the Main Dining Room (MDR) once and that was for breakfast. We bought the alternative restaurant package. The three other nights we went to the Windjammer because we were assigned a late dinner hour of 8:00 pm. I found some food items at the Windjammer varying from average in taste to good. I am an extremely pick eater, but that being said there is probably a lot that I did not eat because it is not something that I would try anyway. I do like a good baked white fish. The fish was tasty, white and baked, but slightly dry. I liked that for breakfast I could find turkey sausage, boiled eggs, yogurt, fruit, and granola. There were a few options at the Park Cafe. I had the roast beef sandwich there one day. It was very good. I had chicken salad on a different day and it was extremely good. There were red and green apples there. Rita's Cantina had some crab patties with jalapenos. My husband was not impressed. There were barely any jalapenos in the patties and not a lot of flavor to the patties. I am originally from Maryland and so I do not ever expect to go any where and get the taste and quality of a Maryland crab patty. I ordered the Salmon chowder, but did taste the patties and found them to be far from any comparison to a Maryland crab patty. The salmon chowder had a little bit of everything and it did not say that on the menu. Once again, I am extremely picky. I like salmon, but I do NOT like mussels. I only like shrimp from Bubba Gumps. They were both in the chowder. It was our last visit to Rita's Cantina. Samba's was extremely delicious. I loved their salad bar. Their salmon at the bar was excellent! There were quite a few items up there that made this picky girl happy! Then came the parade of meats. I do like chicken and usually do not eat bacon because of my stomach issue. It did not bother my stomach and was delicious. The sausages were also very good. The filet mignon and skirt steak were also extremely good. The white pork was done flavorful, but did not interest me as I usually do not eat pork. The lamb had a lot of fat on it, but I usually do not eat lamb either. I could only find one bite that was not fat. Giovanni's was delicious also. I really liked the spinach, cheese crepe. I would have preferred it for my entree. I fill up quickly, but I could of had a couple had it been my main entree. After I had already ordered a main entree and had not been as pleased with it as the spinach, cheese crepe the waiter then said that I could of had it for the main entree. It was too late then! If you like spinach and cheese, you will fall in love with that one! Izumi's was pure enjoyment for my husband. I do not like my fish uncooked, but they made me happy with vegetable tempura. I had miso soup for my first course and enjoyed it as much as I do at the Japanese restaurants that I visit near my work and my home. I love to sip on hot green tea at Japanese restaurants and they did not disappoint with that tradition. They brought me out the whole kettle with the green tea in the pot already steeped only needing me to keep pouring my cup as I sipped away! Chops made my husband happy, but I left with mixed feelings. I liked the spinach portion of my entree, but not the greasy white fish. The waiter DID offer to bring something else, but I was full by that time. I give him credit for trying to appease me. The real irritation came in the time in took for him to keep checking on us. We were one of the first to arrive and there were people that were seated after us, served, and out before us. The sun happened to be setting in the corner where we sat and seeing to it that the blinds were pulled would have been nice. It had been close to two hours and so I left my husband there to cash out the charges by himself. I had something I needed to do and had enough of being forgotten. The MDR actually called on our last day inquiring why we had not been going to the MDR. I was trying to fight a cold by this point and so she interrupted my nap with her call. I let her know that our 8:00 pm time slot was too late and in the mornings we just wanted to get in and get out so that we could get on with our day's plans. The one morning that we had went to dine there for breakfast was fine for me as the chef sent out my picky order of granola, mixed fruit, and yogurt, separately, so that I could mix them together myself. My DH felt as though he did not get enough food, but the taste was acceptable and his order was exactly as ordered. He is as picky about his breakfast as much as I am picky about all of my meals. Well, I tried to let the manager of the MDR appease us with a 5:30 dining time, but after being woken up with her phone call we slept entirely through the lunch hour and so at 4:30 pm we ended up going to the Park Cafe. We then went back to the room to do our packing and never did make it to the MDR that night. The cruise was sufficient for our purpose to see Alaska. It is too cold for us to return and so we are glad we did it. We just would not do it again because it was a "bucket list" item and it is done. We got off and had privately arranged a Kenai Fjords Tour. The driver picked us up almost immediately after we disembarked from the ship in the smooth manner in which we did. They stored our luggage in a locked room while we went to see the Northwestern. We were able to see a whale bubble on that tour. The captain had a microphone under the water that allowed us to listen to the whales in the bubble as they were preparing to devour their food. It really did sound a lot like Dori from "Finding Nemo". There was actually a whale that breached on this tour, but I happen to miss it. I will just have to go on a whale tour somewhere else. I wanted to go on the one in Icy Strait, but DH was not interested. We did quite a few hump backs feeding on this tour and a momma and baby sleeping together on the surface. The coach bus was about twenty minutes later than scheduled, but the driver was informative about everything he could narrate from Seward to Anchorage. He mentioned the Dall Sheep I did not see them that night, but I did on a different day. We got dropped off at the airport where we stayed a couple of extra days in anchorage. We did not have any interest in Denali. We went to see the aviation museum, F.O.A.S.T. Museum, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, and the real informative tour was the Alaska Native Heritage Center. We learned about the different cultural groups. We also learned how the Alaskans spend their long winters participating in Alaskan Games. They have their own Olympics. They formally compete against Canada, some Russia, and Greenland. Their games are not only useful to get through their long winters, but they teach skills for them to make it across the ice. The dances were something to see. It is amazing how the different people groups have survived in such harsh conditions for years. Our last stop was at the Seafood Store on "M" Street. We purchased some fresh, frozen salmon and halibut. We were able to bring it on the plane as a carry on and since we were flying Alaska Air we were each allowed two suitcases @ $25 for each. We checked in one of our carry-ons and so it was like paying $25 for shipping fresh fish. We each had only one suitcase to check originally. While in Anchorage we stayed at the Embassy Suites. It was a very nice room and the breakfast made us to feel like we were still on the ship. They had so much food and the omelettes and pancakes, blueberry or plain, were made to order. I gave caribou sausage a try. A couple who lives locally told me they sell caribou dogs at a cart downtown, but when we were down town we did not see it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
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