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408 Royal Caribbean Vancouver Cruise Reviews

I will start off this review to tell you I love cruising. I am not attached to one specific cruise line. When booking a cruise, I look at ports and then cost. This is my second cruise on RCCL. When selecting this cruise to Alaska, I ... Read More
I will start off this review to tell you I love cruising. I am not attached to one specific cruise line. When booking a cruise, I look at ports and then cost. This is my second cruise on RCCL. When selecting this cruise to Alaska, I wanted to sail from Vancouver. I think decided on Radiance of the Seas based upon ports visited and the reviews I read about the ship. I was please to read how many windows were on the ship. I was traveling to Alaska for the scenery, so I wanted to be able to see it as often as possible. We flew into Vancouver two days prior to boarding the ship. We stayed at Best Western Plus Downtown Vancouver. I selected that the Best Western based upon price, location and free shuttle to the port. The hotel was very clean. The beds are very comfortable. There is free internet. It was in a good location. There is a convenience store across the street. There is a really good drug store a block behind the convenience store. We booked the Sleep, Eat and Cruise package for $179.00 a night, plus taxes. It included a $10.00 credit towards our breakfast at the White Spot Restaurant attached to the hotel, plus reimbursement of our cab fee from airport ($35.00). We were able to walk about four blocks to the free shuttle to the Capilano Bridge and the Hop-on/Hop-Off Bus. The bus cost about $40.00 and takes to you to all the major sites around the city. The buses run about every 9 minutes. If you want to get off a spot and stay for awhile, you simple get back on the bus when you are ready to go somewhere else. We left our hotel at 10:20 AM. We were at the port by 10:30 and on the ship by 11:10. Going through customs and boarding the ship was a breeze. RCCL did provide us with chairs to sit in while we were waiting to board. The first thing we did when we entered the ship was to go to the Short Excursions Desk. We had prebooked at least one excursion at each port. (This is not the norm for us, but this is Alaska and we wanted to see and do a lot.) We had decided to add the zip line in Icy Straits after watching a video on Youtube. However, we discovered that the only slots available would conflict with our other excursion in that port. The employee made a recommendation that we get off the ship early and see if we could purchase an earlier time directly from the zip line company. Unfortunately, it never worked out. After the short excursion desk, we went to the buffet. We found a seat in the back of the buffet. There were six of us and we wanted to be able to see the port area while eating lunch. The food was good. I was a little disappointed in the dessert. We were able to go to our cabin at 1:00. We normally get a aft-wrap balcony in the Caribbean, but wanted to get a cheaper stateroom on this ship so we would have money for more excursions. We booked an Ocean View. I was pleased with the size of the window and the amount of storage in this room. Our luggage arrived around 3:00. I was impressed with this. In the past, we have had to wait until almost dinner time for our luggage on CCL. We had My Time Dining (not my choice). I booked this cruise one year in advance but the set dining time was already full. About a month before our cruise, I received an email stating it was time to select my dining times. I was unable to do this on-line, so I called RCCL directly. I was disappointed that I could not select the same time each evening. We ended up having to go to dinner between 5:45-7:00 each evening. We had a different table and different servers each evening. I really didn't care for this. I like to get to know my waitstaff. I will say this if I am able to cruise Alaska again, I will not even eat in the dining room. As we were being served, I was very anxious to get outside and look at the scenery. I wanted the wait staff to hurry up. This is not the norm for me. Eating the main dining room is usually one of my favorite parts of the cruise. If I only ate in the buffet, I could have saved room in my luggage by not taking all the dress-up clothing. I also thought the food was just good. I never had a food items that left me wanting more. Service was good except one evening. On that evening, we never got refills, nor were we offered coffee. We have the greatest weather on this cruise. It never rained. We had weather in the high 50's, 60's and 70's. The only two days we needed warmer clothing was the first sea day. The wind was very cold outside. We also dressed warmly at Hubbard Glacier. Otherwise, jeans, short sleeved shirts and a light jacket was all we needed. We had wonderful shore excursion. In Ketchikan, we did the Duck Tour and the Lumberjack show. Both were entertaining and educational. On the Duck Tour, they take you all over the city and in the bay area. These were surprisingly enjoyable excursions. We were able to do almost all of our souvenier shopping in Ketchikan. I had read (and did notice) that prices are cheaper in this port than the other ports. In Icy Strait, we did the Forest Tram and Tribal Dance. We traveled for about 2 miles through the forest and along the coastline in Hoonah. Very educational. We saw a lot of eagles. You stop for a few minutes on the beach. I also enjoyed the Tribal Dance. It helped me understand the beliefs of the natives and understand some of the decor I saw. In Juneau, we took the Mt. Roberts Tram ($35.00). It gives you an all day pass. We actually rode the tram twice. There is a hurt bald eagle for you to view up close. The views are spectacular from the mountain. It was a little more pricey than I would have liked. We then did the Mendenhall Glacier Tour. We boarded a motorcoach. The driver gave us some history and facts as we drove to the Glacier. He dropped us off and told us he would be back in 2 hours. I can tell you we needed more than 2 hours. There are two paths you can hike. The one on the left give you great views of the glacier and the icebergs. The one on the right is long and takes you to the waterfall and give you views of the glacier. We did not have time to visit the Visitor Center. One of the people with us couldn't handle the hike so she visited the Center and said it was great. After we returned to Juneau, we shopped the town and visited the Red Dog Saloon. The saloon was enjoyable and reasonably priced. In Skagway, we did the White Pass Train and Dog Sled Adventure. First we rode a motorcoach to the dog sled camp. This is so much fun and educational. You meet a man that participates in the Iditorod. He shows you all his equipment and explains the race. Then you meet the dogs and watch them pull the sled. Next you get to hold and pet the puppies. After the dog sled portion, we boarded the motor coach and traveled up to Frasier, Canada. You have to have your passport for this excursion. A customs agent will board the bus and check your passport while you stay in your seat. The bus stops stops a couple of times along the way for picture opportunities. You can get some beautiful photos. When you get to Frasier, you will be assigned a train car. Again, there is beautiful scenery. They do give you a free bottle of water. You can stand out of the platform to take photos. You can't hear announcements when outside, so be prepared you will stop sometimes for hikers and you will go into dark tunnels. My only problem with this excursion was lack of communication when we returned back to the port. We got off the train and were a long ways from the ships. We had to ask around and were told that we were suppose to have been told that we could get on any one of the motor coaches parked there and they would take us back to our ship. It would have been nice to have known that prior to leaving the train. Hubbard Glacier was beautiful. I spent a lot of time prior to getting to the glacier looking for a great viewing area. I finally decided on the very front of deck 6, just below the helipad landing area. This allowed me great views, but I didn't have as much wind as I would have if I had been up in the helipad area. Dress warmly, including gloves and a hat. I took an insulated coffee mug and filled it before we entered the glacier. In Seward, we did the Resurrection Bay Marine Tour, with lunch, the Sea Life Aquarium and Airport Drop off. I really enjoyed this excursion. They will take care of all your luggage. We only took our backpack and gave them everything else that we retrieved at the airport. First, you are dropped picked up by a school bus and taken to the aquarium. The aquarium is great. We didn't need the whole two hours allotted, so we were able to tour the town. Then we were picked up again by the school bus and transported to the pier where we boarded a large boat. We saw so many whales up close. I got some great photos. We also saw eagles, sea lines, and lots of water birds. The lunch consisted of salmon and prime rib, salad and rice. The food was okay. I thought the boat was very crowded while we were all seated and eating. Once the meal was over, almost everyone when outside, so there was a lot more room. There was a great park ranger on board that gave some great information. If you have preteens or younger children, they would enjoy the junior ranger program. After the bus trip, we boarded a motor coach to Anchorage. I had really wanted to take the glass domed train to Anchorage, but I also wanted the Marine Excursion in Seward. Because the cost of the one I selected was almost the same cost as the train, I made my decision. I was very happy with my decision. Our motor coach actually ran along the same path as the train. The views are breathtaking. I really enjoyed this whole trip. Once we got to the airport, we collected all our our luggage. Then we had 3 hours until our flight back to ATL. We ate dinner at a sit-down restaurant. That killed about 1.5 hours. We then found our gate and charged our electronics. Before we knew it, it was time to board the plane. I really enjoyed my cruise. There was so much to see and do and so much we didn't get to see or do. We are already planning another cruise in 3 years. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
The Radiance is an ideal ship, not to large, lots of bars and really laid out well. Nothing is too far. We traveled with three, three generational families and we were all busy doing our thing (together or separately). The entertainment ... Read More
The Radiance is an ideal ship, not to large, lots of bars and really laid out well. Nothing is too far. We traveled with three, three generational families and we were all busy doing our thing (together or separately). The entertainment was fabulous. The shows had terrific singers ant there was always good music and people enjoying themselves at the piano bar. The slots in the casino were ancient, but they paid off pretty well! We are not foodies, but the food on the ship was bland, repetitious and not very good. The Buffett was not serving fresh burgers ( they were sitting under a heater and so was the pizza). Pizza has to to be hot and fresh. You found the dining room service slow. Doesn't work well with small children. We ate at the Italian specialty restaurant and really enjoyed it. We took the Zip Lining excursion in Ketchican and it was fabulous. I turned 70 on the trip and I recommend it to everyone...young and old. Alaskan cruises are the perfect family vacation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
(This write-up ended up much longer than I planned. Short version: this is a great cruise. The Radiance is a fine ship, the crew very helpful, and the Alaskan views are amazing.) I have to say I'm surprised with some of the ... Read More
(This write-up ended up much longer than I planned. Short version: this is a great cruise. The Radiance is a fine ship, the crew very helpful, and the Alaskan views are amazing.) I have to say I'm surprised with some of the negative reviews for the Radiance. My wife and I had a wonderful time both on and off the ship. First, some background. My wife and I have done six cruises now, five RCCL and one Carnival. This is our first Alaska trip, the rest have been in the Caribbean and a 12-day Med cruise on the Serenade (same class as the Radiance). Started off the trip with a day of sightseeing in Vancouver. Granville Island is a great place to wander around and easily accessible from a city bus. We also did a Harbor Cruise tour which was a neat way to see the Vancouver skyline. We got to the port terminal early (~10:30) but Check-in/Embarkation still took a while. They didn't seem to have a standard plan for people waiting to board; they kept moving us around to different seating sections. Still, we didn't have to wait too long, so can't complain too much about the process. Once aboard, we spent some time checking out the ship before having lunch in the Windjammer. The Radiance is in fine shape and we didn't notice any issues with the ship during the trip. Windjammer was crowded (as always on embarkation day), but we were a bit disappointed in the selection. The quality and food options has slowly been dropping over the years. It isn't bad, but it's become a pretty generic buffet. FYI, the Radiance does also have a hot dog bar, which isn't always open but was good the one evening I tried it. Great place for kids or a late night snack. We had a balcony cabin (9060) and it also met expectations. It was clean, everything worked, and no plumbing problems. I've had those on other ships (very aggravating), but we had no issues on the Radiance. The beds on all the RCCL ships are pretty hard, so we had requested an egg-crate mattress pad. It helped a little, but it still took a couple days for my back to adjust to the bed. Our cabin steward took very good care of the room and was very accomodating of our nap schedule (we were on vacation after all). We ate dinner in the dining room most nights. Here I thought the food was as good or better than other RCCL ships. The menu had more than normal seafood dishes, which was great for me. I did have a steak one night, which was just ok, but if you like fish/shellfish, you should enjoy the food. One big surprise our first night was the Radiance is still offering the 5/7/9 bottle wine package! RCCL removed this from their website, but according to our waiter the individual ships can still offer it. This is great for us, since we like a bottle of wine at dinner and combining a 5-bottle package with the two bottles we're allowed to bring onboard was just perfect. We do MyTime dining and like to eat early (5:30-6:00) so we have time for the entertainment in the evenings. The service was actually a bit faster than usual most nights, so we never had problems making the shows. The first night, it's the Welcome Aboard show, hosted by Cruise Director Amy Southgate. She turned out to be one of our favorite CDs. She was energetic and fun but relaxed at the same time. In general, we thought the entertainment was above average, with a couple caveats. The headliners were decent but not spectacular. The production shows were very similar to the other (smaller) RCCL ships. I understand the big ships are moving to adapted Broadway productions, but RCCL hasn't done that yet for the small ships. The two featured singers were very good, but the rest of the cast was just so-so. CD Amy did a great job with the Love and Marriage show, but much of that depends on the volunteers. One of the highlights was the other musicians on the ship, in particular Sam & Andy (piano/guitar duo) and the lounge piano player Bill Forrest. They were definitely a cut above other performers we've seen on cruises. The one thing we did miss was opportunities for dancing. Other than the big event parties, the music on board was geared more for relaxing than getting up to dance. The trip has an initial sea day, four port days and then another sea day (with Hubbard Glacier early in the morning). The scenery was amazing at all the ports and we had fantastic weather. It was low 70s and sunny for almost the entire trip, which I hear is very unusual. The locals were actually complaining about the heat wave :-). Just a couple notes on the ports. FYI, the scenery is great, but the towns themselves are mostly just tourist spots (i.e. every storefront is either a jewelry store or a souvenir shop). - Katchikan: We did a private tour (Wilderness Exploration & Crab feast). The boat tour was ok, mainly focused on crabbing and alaskan history. The crab feast afterward was amazing. I've never eaten so much (excellent) crab in my life. This is not your usual crab legs on a buffet type of meal. - Icy Strait Point: Very small town (~800 permanent residents). We did a whale watching tour (Hoonah Travel) on their 18-person boat. The small boat was great because there wasn't any fighting for rail space and our guide was fun and informative. We saw sea lions, humpback whales and even a pod of Orcas. - Juneau: we had planned to do the big Whale Watching & Glacier Photo Safari through the ship but ended up cancelling it. Turns out it was much nicer/easier/cheaper to just catch a $20 round-trip shuttle out to the glacier and take all the time you want. Definitely walk out to Nugget Falls to get up close to Mendenhall glacier and some great photo opportunities. - Skagway: Didn't do much here, just explored the town for a while and then went back to the ship to relax (more nap time!) - Hubbard Glacier: The ship gets here early (~7:00am) and the best spot for viewing is at the bow, on the helipad. One thing to note: the temps get much colder as you get close to the glacier. I was fine with just my jacket when I first went out (~6:00), but was really wanting my hat/gloves when we got close to the ice. Disembarkation was actually very smooth in Seward. Our luggage actually made it off about an hour ahead of schedule, which gave us more time to see the town. The port is small but organized. We just walked off the ship, found our bags, and picked up the shuttle for our Kenai Fjords tours. If you have the time, I highly recommend the Kenai Fjords day cruise and then taking the train from Seward to Anchorage. This is a bigger tour, so you do have to deal with more people, but we saw some amazing wildlife. The highlight for our whole trip was on this tour where we saw 8-10 whales Bubble Net feeding. It's an amazing sight seeing all these whales pop up at the same time to get their catch. The train ride was also excellent and had some of the best landscape scenery we had for the entire trip. If you've made it this far, it should be obvious that we really enjoyed this trip. Aside from our 12-day Med trip, this is the best cruise we've done. The location was fabulous, the boat met or exceeded our expectations and cruise staff was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We took this cruise with 9 people,family and friends. Over all,we thought it was a great cruise. Not everyone agreed,and I could definitely see where RC could improve. Prior to this we had only been on Carnival cruises out of Florida and I ... Read More
We took this cruise with 9 people,family and friends. Over all,we thought it was a great cruise. Not everyone agreed,and I could definitely see where RC could improve. Prior to this we had only been on Carnival cruises out of Florida and I did expect a little more than what we experienced considering it was a longer cruise,a nicer cruise line and catered to a higher class of people.We had an interior room on deck 9 and it was very spacious for the two of us. Nice flat screen TV, lots of storage,a couch...although the shower was absolutely tiny. And that's coming from a very skinny girl who is 5' 2". The balcony room on the same deck my parents had was very nice, but not that much bigger than our room surprisingly. Room attendants were great as usual, but room service tended to be very slow and always busy. Dinner was better than what we had on Carnival,but be prepared for a lot of fish. My husband is allergic to fish so his options were slightly limited some nights. Our waiter was fantastic and so was Cheryl, the head water for our section. She made sure every night that those in our group with dietary restrictions were well taken care of. Breakfast in the main dining room was so much better than in the Windjammer. Entertainment we all thought was fantastic. The cruise director Jemma, and everyone that worked with her were hilarious. We really enjoyed the scavenger hunt and being involved in different games they hosted throughout the ship. Love and Marriage game was a highlight. As a young couple,we seemed to find more to do in the evenings on our Carnival cruise but overall I think this RC cruise had more to do. With only one full day at sea (That we really got to enjoy...more on that later.) and long days at most ports,activities on the ship weren't that important most of the time. Our ports we really liked,some more than others. Icy Strait is okay,but built by the cruise companies...take a nice walk into town and get lunch at a local place and talk to the locals. You'll fall in love with the tiny town. Skagway was a town I wish we had more time in,but we booked the White Pass train excursion. If you are there on a clear day,it is a beautiful ride. Our last full day at sea before reaching Seward was supposed to be Hubbard Glacier..... the night before we had slightly rougher seas than the previous days,but we were actually out in open sea at this point,so we were spoiled by the perfectly flat waters we had been on. The next morning at 4am we woke up to the roughest seas I've ever felt. Both of us felt queasy and we typically don't get sea sick. We had come into a storm that was faster and worse than expected, and we had to turn around and go back for a few hours to avoid the storm,then we turned around again and headed to Seward. Mean while,missing out on the Hubbard Glacier. Needles to say, it wasn't a fun day...but the staff made it a million times better. A lot of people (us included) took to "camping out" in the main center area which was a lower deck so we felt the boat moving a little less. From 4am onward the staff brought us blankets,apples,ginger ale, water and was constantly checking on us. A little later in the morning they had breakfast foods set out so we didn't have to go up to the dining room. Lots of us ended up getting some sleep on those couches for several hours that day because the rooms on the higher decks felt it the most. The good thing was, we were getting off the boat the very next day. Never the less, 100pmh winds and 25-60 foot seas were quite scarry. Debarkation was super easy,we had to be at something we had booked not through RC at 8am and we were off the boat by 7, no problem. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was a special trip booked for 50th birthday, easy embarkation (only because we were early, later passengers queued for 4-6 hours) Ok cabin, nothing special, with balcony on deck 9. Lovely cabin attendant, very helpful. As our ... Read More
This was a special trip booked for 50th birthday, easy embarkation (only because we were early, later passengers queued for 4-6 hours) Ok cabin, nothing special, with balcony on deck 9. Lovely cabin attendant, very helpful. As our cabin was not ready (11 am) we went straight to Windjammer restaurant which was clean tidy and nice food. Unfortunately we never found it like this again! Once the hoards of ill-mannered, rude, noisy, passengers arrived it turned into a feeding frenzy by people who acted as if they had not seen food for a month, plates filled so high it was falling onto the floor, pushing and shoving , frightened they might miss something. Then shovelling into their mouths so quickly it fell out of the sides, disgusting!! it was thrown around the tables and floors while they dashed up for more, I have seen better meal times at the zoo. We ate in the main dining room for the rest of the cruise which was lovely, waiters polite and helpful, food ok most nights and on a couple of occasions very good. The cruise was excellent, scenery amazing, we did the whale watching out of Juneau and would recommend it, we saw humpbacks, sea lions, seals, bald eagles fantastic. Mendenhall Glacier beautiful. Skagway is a must and we did the train up to the mountains, loved it. Entertainment was ok, but catered for the American market which as most of the passengers were from US was understandable. We loved the Solarium and spent most of our time there when we were on the ship except for the last 2 days when the peace was shattered by a large group arrived with children in tow (solarium is supposed to be for over 16's) and proceeded to have a raucous party. Also a group of women thought it was acceptable to sit in the hot tub for hours fully clothed singing, when another couple who were also enjoying the solarium asked the attendant to ask them to be quiet he shrugged and did nothing. Would we cruise again with RCI again, NO! Having cruised a number of times with Princess, Celebrity and Carnival I know that RCI is not for us, However Alaska, Vancouver, Victoria, Skagway amazingly fantastic. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first Alaskan cruise (we have taken several Caribbian Cruises) The ship The Radiance of the Seas isn’t a new or a large ship, but neither of these factors were a detractor for us. When we first arrived at the Port of ... Read More
This was our first Alaskan cruise (we have taken several Caribbian Cruises) The ship The Radiance of the Seas isn’t a new or a large ship, but neither of these factors were a detractor for us. When we first arrived at the Port of Vancouver and saw the outside of the ship I was a tiny bit concerned because we could see visible rust here and there on the outside of the ship. It’s not that the ship was a floating rust heap, it simply had some spots of surface rust that we could see on the outside of the ship. However, once we boarded the ship we found the Radiance to be spotlessly clean and well maintained. As for the size, the Radiance is a mid-sized ship. We found her to be a good mix of big enough to have most of the things we enjoy on board, but small enough that we didn’t ever get lost or feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of people on board. The Cabin We were in cabin 7016 which is a forward balcony cabin on the port side of the ship. The cabin is reasonable in size with lots and lots of storage space and a king size (or two twin) bed. Basically the features are what you would expect in cruise ship cabins. The only small negative thing about the amenities is that Royal Caribbean doesn’t provide coffee makers in any cabin less than a suite. Easy way to fix the no coffee pot issue is to simply order room service to be delivered first thing every morning. We loved our cabin, from our perspective there were several benefits of this cabin. First IT’S A BALCONY, I can’t stress enough just how awesome it was to be able to enjoy sailing the inside passage up to Alaska while sitting on our balcony. Due to the configuration of the ship the first four or five balcony cabins from the front of the ship on deck seven have balconies that are about twice the size of the rest of the ship. The increased size it due to deck seven being just above the lifeboats. What I mean by twice the size is that the balcony is standard width (rail length) but it’s twice as deep (distance from the balcony door to the rail). Another advantage to cabin 7016 is that unlike several of the cabins further back on deck seven it doesn’t have a lifeboat directly below it which means you can look straight down to the sea with an unobstructed view. The last major advantage of cabin 7016 is that it’s directly above the theatre and directly below other cabins. Which means other than during the two hours in the evening when the shows are going on (which we were usually at so we didn’t care about any noise) the cabin tends to very quiet. The food We tend to eat our dinners in the formal dining room while cruising. The food was typical cruse fare but good. Every night the menu offered four or five special feature appetizers/main course/desert options which were not offered other evenings. In addition to the special features every night the standard options are available too. The fish/seafood were good most nights, the duck was outstanding, the lamb was very good, the steaks were average (good but not great) but the prime rib was perfect. For breakfast/lunch we usually grabbed a quick bite in the Windjammer. The buffet options were pretty standard but overall they were tasty and although the choices didn’t seem to change much from day to day we felt that there were enough options that we were okay with that. A couple of snack/casual dining options that are included in the cruise price which we found to be very nice were also available. On the port side of the solarium area there is a small bistro counter and a salad station. This bistro provided a small but very tasty selection of sandwiches, fruit, soup and made to order salads. There is also a hotdog stand on the starboard side of the ship between the solarium and the Windjammer. They offer a variety of hotdog options which is sort of fun if you just want to grab something and go. We didn’t dine at any of the specialty (extra charge) options so I can’t comment on those options. Entertainment I have always been impressed with the entertainment provided by Royal Caribbean. One thing I like about Royal Caribbean is that they have a live orchestra on board which performs as a part of shows in the main theatre. The productions shows were good, the dancers were about average and we felt that the singers were better than average and the stage setting (props, decorations) were very well done. We enjoyed the special guest performers as well. We especially enjoyed the guest singer who was from Australia, he put on a high energy show that earned a standing ovation and an encore call. In addition to the main shows we enjoyed several of the performers offered at the smaller venues. We were especially impressed with Zig-Zag who did a wide variety of tunes from pop, country, rock and some blues. Most nights after hitting the main show in the big theatre we would stop by several of the smaller venues around the ship to listen to the different lounge singers/groups. Service For me one of the great features of taking a cruise is the experience of receiving excellent personal service. Overall I would say that the Radiance delivered good service, in some aspects they really shined and in others they missed the mark. We felt that some of the staff in the Windjammer seemed very tired and somewhat put off if you asked them for something. However this was more than made up for by the excellent service we received by our cabin steward and our wait staff in the formal dining room. Vancouver Having sailed out of Miami and Fort Lauderdale before I must say that the folks in Vancouver have gotten this thing dialed in. For one thing Vancouver is a really cool city with lots to see and do (it could be a vacation destination all on its own). We really enjoyed Chinatown, Gas Town, Granville Market and the Queen Elizabeth Gardens. Public transportation is awesome in the city, we used the Sky Train and the buses to get all over town. We spent three days in Vancouver before sailing and on sail day we dropped our luggage off at the port at 9:00am and then went back out and walked around downtown Vancouver for a few hours before boarding the ship and having a late lunch. The port facilities were spotlessly clean and the staff were incredibly friendly. I can say hands down that Vancouver was the best boarding and embarkation experience I have ever had on any cruise. Sailing the inside Passage I had read about how amazing it is to sail the inside passage, the reality met with all of expectations. It is so cool to sail past all of the islands and inlets. Unlike Caribbean cruises where you rarely are close to land as you are sailing on an Alaskan cruise you are at times literally just off shore from some really amazing islands. A few of high points regarding our sail time experiences: Make sure to be on deck when your ship passes between the narrowest point of the mainland and Vancouver Island at which point you will literally be just a few hundred yards from shore on both sides of the ship. As you sail past the north end of Vancouver Island (for us early to mid-morning of day two) keep your eyes open for Orca whales. We saw a huge pod of Killer Whales hunting just north of the north end of Vancouver Island. Speaking of whales, we saw grey and humpback whales pretty much every day as we were sailing. Most of the time the whales were a good distance away and all we could see was their spout but occasionally they were closer and we saw a tail or their back as they rolled in the water. Also make sure to get a seat on the back of the ship and stay put for a couple of hours as you sail away from Skagway, the mountains, glaciers and waterfalls on both sides of the ship along the passage as you sail away from Skagway truly is an amazing experience. Regarding port vs. Starboard balcony cabins. I had done a considerable amount of reading before our cruise, some people had strong opinions that a mainland facing cabin was best for sailing the inside passage. From my perspective it really doesn’t matter which side of the ship your balcony is on. We spent a good bit of time sitting on the aft of the ship enjoying our coffee as we watched the scenery go by and we found that there were equally interesting things to see along both sides of the ship. In the end I would say chose your cabin based on ship location rather than side of the ship view. Ketchikan We had a wonderful time in Ketchikan. The city offers a free shuttle bus that will take you from the dock around downtown and to several of the main tourist stops. We took the shuttle to the Totem Heritage Center which has a nice collection of antique totem poles. The staff at the heritage were very knowledgeable and more than willing to spend personal time explaining many aspects of nature culture and how it was reflected in the exhibits on display. We visited the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center, which is a great place to get an overview of the life and culture that is Southeast Alaska. We then took the city bus ($1) out to Totem Bight State Park (it’s free). Totem Bight has recreated totem poles and a spirit lodge set right on the edge of the water. Spent the rest of our time walking Creek St. and souvenir shopping. Hint on the souvenir shopping we were given a coupon book as we boarded the ship in Vancouver which had several really good coupons for stuff in Ketchikan (example $1.99 hats). Icy Strait Point/Hoonah This port stop is way different from the rest of the ports we visited on our cruise. It sort of had the feel of visiting the cruise line “private islands” in the Caribbean with the difference being that in this case the tribe owns the facility not the cruise line and charges a fee for everything you see, do or eat. Where the ship docks is an old fish cannery site that has been converted to a cruise stop. The facility is interesting enough to walk around for a couple of hours but nothing really fantastic. There is a shuttle that costs $5 to take you the two miles into the village of Hoonah which is a town of about 700 people. We took the shuttle in to Hoonah and really enjoyed spending some time at the carvers shop. The shop is where a couple of native gentlemen work to carve totem poles and decretive wall features as well as other native craft work. We spent well over an hour watching them carve and talking with them. The men are more than willing to spend as much time as you want discussing the work they do and the meaning of it. We found it to be a very special opportunity to talk with a person about their culture and to learn about how that culture is expressed in art. Back at Icy Strait there is a short nature trail that is worth a quick walk. One really cool thing about Icy Strait is that it is a very good place to see whales. Late in the afternoon right before we left there were several whales feeding right next to the ship. We could see and hear them very clearly from our balcony. Juneau In Juneau we chose to rent a car for the day, there is a rental place that is just a few blocks from where the ship docks. It was great to have the freedom to see the sights we wanted on our schedule and we saved a ton of money over paying to go on the scheduled tours which when to the same places we visited. Suggestion book well in advance online, you get a much better rate and from what I heard the rental location close to the ships at times sells out of cars on days when several ships are in port. First stop Mendenhall glacier which is a wonderful experience. One good thing about renting a car and heading straight to the glacier is that we got there before most of the tour groups which means it was way less crowded. Took the two mile hike from the visitor’s center over to Nugget Falls and a sandbar which is the closest you can get to the face of the glacier. Drove out of town to The Shrine of St. Therese which is a small church situated on a small island accessible by trail/causeway just north of the city. The church itself is nice and a great place to stop and reflect for a moment or two but for us the best aspect of the location was the view from the cliff face. We could see the mountains across the water and several whales feeding in the channel. From there we drove up to Eagle Beach which as the name suggests is a good place to see eagles, it’s also a great place to simply enjoy some peace and quiet, the day we were there we spent probably an hour totally alone sitting at a picnic table. We also drove up to the ski area which was obviously closed but it was a good way to see the some high ground and an overview of the area. Since we had a car we made good use of it and chose to drive all four roads leading out of Juneau to their very end so we can now say that we have literally been to the very end of the road in all directions at Juneau. We also took the opportunity to drop by Fred Myers (a lot like Walmart) and pick up a few things that we needed. Juneau is a very pretty city and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring it on our own for the day. Skagway In Skagway we chose to rent a car again and explore on our own. Skagway is one of the very few places in Southeast Alaska that you can actually drive out of town and connect to the outside world, which means that Skagway is a great place for a day trip to The Yukon Territories. Be aware that Skagway had the longest walk we have ever had from where the ship docked to the actual town. We walked probably close to a mile from the ship to town (from what we saw there are two cruise dock locations and we were docked as the second ship at the further of the two docks so other had a much shorter walk). We rented from Avis which is located fairly close to where the ships dock. If you chose to rent a car reserve ahead of time, you save money and you will get a car. The day we were there several people in line at Avis had to be turned away because there were no more cars. The Klondike Highway is the one road leading out of Skagway and it pretty much follows the same route as the White Pass Railroad. It’s seven amazingly beautiful miles from town to the Canadian border (bring your passport) and then several more amazingly beautiful miles through the very northern edge of British Columbia on to The Yukon. At the top of White Pass there was still several feet of snow on the ground and the lakes were still frozen over in Late May, but as we dropped back down in elevation temperatures got to be very pleasant. We stopped at the “Carcross Desert” which is billed as the world’s smallest desert, in reality it’s a set of sand dunes formed as a part of glacial movement in the past. The dunes are fairly small but it is pretty cool to be walking around on sand dunes and look around and see snow topped mountains all around you. We drove on up to Emerald Lake which is in the Yukon and is naturally colored this really bright emerald green color (the sign says its due to the sediment that naturally occurs on the bottom of the lake). On the way back we stopped at several turn off locations along Tutshi Lake. Tutshi lake is a huge natural lake that offers incredible views. The drive from Skagway to Emerald lake and back was a perfect was amazingly beautiful and it was a really great way to see the interior of the land that we had been sailing past for the past several day. BE AWARE as of May 2015 there are several miles of road construction along the Klondike highway, This construction didn’t really back up traffic, but it did result in probably 20 or 30 miles of having to drive on gravel road. This driving on gravel resulted in lots of dust and in our case a cracked windshield due to a rock being kicked up by a Semi going the other way. I had declined the additional coverage on the car (including glass coverage) but I will say that Avis was more than fair with me. However, I would STRONGLY urge others who chose to rent a car and drive up to Emerald lake consider paying the $8 a day for glass coverage at least. After our drive we got back to Skagway just in time to take a short walk around the historic district. The national park service operates several sites in the historic district where you can learn about the glory days of the Alaskan gold rush. Hubbard Glacier Hubbard Glacier was my only disappointment with our cruise. I was so looking forward to getting up close to this huge glacier. In all of the photos online it shows the ships being really close to the glacier, however, in our case our ship stayed three and a half miles from the glacial face. The captain announced that we could not get any closer due to the amount of ice floating around in the bay. Apparently a ship had recently sailed closer to the glacier and had one of it’s propellers damaged by a piece of ice. I am all for safety and I certainly understand that the pilot who makes the final decision regarding how close we sailed was thinking about the cost of a damaged propeller, but it still was a huge disappointment to have to see this marvel from such a distance through binoculars. Seward Disembarking in Seward was really easy. We were given a time to exit the ship and simply walked off and found our luggage waiting for us in a large hanger type building. We had chosen to take the Alaskan Cruise Transport bus service from Seward to Anchorage. Our bus was waiting for us and took us to Anchorage as promised. About ACT, the bus ride wasn’t anything special but it was the least expensive option available to get us from the ship to the airport in Anchorage. I would definitely take ACT again, but consider it more like a big taxi you are sharing with 50 other people and not a sightseeing experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our second cruise and first on royal caribbean on Alaska cruise and it came up trumps. Last year we sailed on Hurtgruten from Bergen to Tromso, which was very good on scenery but that can not be called cruise ship, it was more ... Read More
This was our second cruise and first on royal caribbean on Alaska cruise and it came up trumps. Last year we sailed on Hurtgruten from Bergen to Tromso, which was very good on scenery but that can not be called cruise ship, it was more like coastal ferry. This time around we splurged a bit and went for Junier suit on deck 10. It was well worth it. The stateroom is very spacious with comfy bed and large seating area. There is good bathroom with tub and quite spacious. The balcony is large but honestly in early may you can sit there when ship is motion with cold breeze coming in. We made good use of while it was docked to sit out and have coffee. It also was very good for viewing Hubbard glacier when ship took us close to it. Another big plus for us vegetarian from India, there were always something for us be it for breakfast, lunch or formal dinner. We had very good experience in the foram dining room Cascade and the service was excellent. Windjammer is good for brekfast and quick lunch. The spread is good and service was very nice. The ship is not too big yet it offers good entertainment and there are both inddor and outdoor pools. We made good use of their well appointed Gym. You ofcourse pay lot for excursion that we did on all ports, but I would reccommend that you take helicopter ride with dog sledging on Mendenhall glacier at Juneau and also scenic train ride at Skagway. We were disappointed since this was bit early for bears to come out looking for salmons. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
There were 6 of us (Australians in our 30’s and 40’s) travelling together (3 couples in 3 staterooms) for a B2B Alaskan adventure and we chose Radiance of the Seas as my previous cruise on RCI had been amazing. Two of our friends ... Read More
There were 6 of us (Australians in our 30’s and 40’s) travelling together (3 couples in 3 staterooms) for a B2B Alaskan adventure and we chose Radiance of the Seas as my previous cruise on RCI had been amazing. Two of our friends celebrated their wedding anniversary on the first cruise. My husband and I celebrated ours on the second cruise. Embarkation at Canada Place was easy and we were on the ship and checking out the Windjammer in no time. No problems carrying on our 2 bottles of wine. First impressions of Radiance were good; she is a clean ship with elegant decorations and an easy layout. Staff were friendly and smiling and we were off to a great start! Food and Drink We liked that Radiance opened up Izumi and Rita’s during mealtimes in the Windjammer, so we never had a problem finding a seat, even with 6 people. As the Doghouse is also adjoining, we occasionally sat there for a late afternoon snack with a few extras brought in from the Windjammer or an amazing beef on weck from the Park Cafe. We found that mixing the free iced tea and lemonade together made the perfect lemon iced tea and drank that every day  We had chosen MTD so were in Cascades dining room. My husband and I went to the dining room just after boarding and scoped out the tables. We found a great table for 6 by the window and spoke to the hostess at the front who managed to allocate this table to us for 6.30pm every night for the first cruise. On the 2nd cruise we changed this to 8pm as we found that the long days onshore in Alaska, and late afternoon snacks to make up for missing lunch, left us too full to truly enjoy the meals served. I prefer all meals to be in the dining room but some days this was not possible. We had dinner in Windjammer once and were pleasantly surprised. Late lunch a couple of times and a few afternoon teas as well, could not complain about the range of food on offer or the temperatures, we always found something to make us happy and lots of things we went back for more than once. I don’t really eat breakfast; most times I will just have a coffee and a glass of tomato juice. The coffee in WJ was awful and juice was limited to orange or apple so I tried to stick to the MDR just for the good coffee and juice. On the days that I did have breakfast in the WJ I mixed a packet of chocolate mix into the coffee and that made it palatable. Have to say I love the hot chocolate mix on RCI, we had one almost every night before bed. My husband was a big fan of the smoked salmon plate and had it almost every day. On sea days we couldn’t miss the Tutti Salad in the MDR! I would choose a cruise with extra sea days just to get this! Dinners in the MDR were consistently good. Our waiters Martin and Jude were great and we made sure we got the same table for the 2nd cruise so we could stay in their area. We chose Samba Grill for our anniversary dinner and were not let down; we would recommend Samba for all the meat lovers out there! We only got very dressed up for one of the four formal nights and that was so we could get a set of photos of the 6 of us to commemorate the trip. Not that we dressed sloppily for dinner on the other nights! Stateroom We love to sleep in so chose an inside stateroom, 9017 forward. Our last cruise was in a JS and we found that the light woke us earlier than we liked and with Alaska having barely 4 hours of darkness we didn’t want to risk it. The stateroom was compact with plenty of storage. Our steward Wilton was very good and we enjoyed his cheery greetings and towel animals. On our anniversary he left a bottle of bubbly in our room for us to share with our friends. Activities and Entertainment We were never bored on this trip! This was quite a port intensive itinerary with 5 ports in 7 days. From mini golf, playing pool, trivia (we won quite a few times and got prizes ranging from a keyring to a tshirt), bingo, fruit carving, karaoke, stage shows, The Quest, adult comedy….wow we barely had a minute to spare! The 2nd cruise was a bit slower for us so we had some time to relax, some ports we felt didn’t need a tour on the 2nd visit and some activities were repeated exactly so didn’t need to be done again (The Quest was one and that disappointed me as it is one of my favourites). We used the 2nd cruise to catch up on activities we didn’t have time for the 1st time around like shuffleboard and rock climbing. The Ports Ketchikan – On the 1st visit we went to the Great Alaskan Lumberjack Show and highly recommend it! Creek St had some interesting history. We found a free bus that took us on a loop of Ketchikan and took about 20 minutes. Too many jewellery stores and being hassled by every single shop owner got a bit tedious so I would avoid the main street unless I actually wanted to buy jewellery. We have a policy of eating and drinking new local delicacies when we travel so I tried King Crab here, it was expensive but yummy. 2nd visit we took the free bus and went to Walmart, might seem like a strange excursion but as Aussies we wanted to see what it was like ;) We found Ketchikan was the best place for souvenirs and bought most things from here. Icy Strait Point was great for whale and eagle watching from the shore. We hiked some trails looking for wildlife and walked into Hoonah, not much to see there. The Cannery Museum right at the dock was very interesting and we spent a fair bit of time wandering around in there and learning the history of Icy Strait Point. We went to the cultural show in the afternoon and found it a bit ordinary. On the 2nd visit I only went ashore for a quick lunch of beer battered halibut as I had never tried it, absolutely loved it, also tried the Cannery Red Ale and really enjoyed it. Skagway – on the 1st visit we didn’t really have anything planned apart from a vague idea that we would book the White Pass Rail, unfortunately we were too late to get onto this tour so we booked ourselves on Dolly’s Wildlife Tour. While Dolly was entertaining I was underwhelmed by the tour. If I had known we would just drive up the road and back again the same way I probably would have saved the $50+. Very little wildlife to be seen from a busy main road unfortunately. On the 2nd visit we did the White Pass Rail tour that we had reserved on the previous visit. We took a bus to Fraser and caught the train back, a slightly longer trip than RCI’s tour. The scenery was stunning both ways and our bus driver kept up an interesting commentary the whole way. In the afternoon, after a quick lunch onboard, we went back into town and saw the Days of ’98 show, a burlesque/vaudeville style show about Soapy Smith, a Skagway Klondike Gold Rush character. Really enjoyed this show but would suggest if you don’t want to be chosen to take part in the show, don’t sit at the front or the edges! Juneau – this would have to be my favourite port. On our 1st visit we went to one of the stalls on the wharf and bought tickets ($20 return normally, though we got a group discount for buying 6) for a shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier and our first hike took us to Nugget Falls. We spent hours here just looking at the glacier and the falls and were even entertained by a couple of guys that stripped down to their underwear and jumped into the waterfall! We couldn’t hike one of the trails as it was closed due to a mother bear and her cubs being spotted the day before, what a shame as I would have loved to have seen them. A bit of shopping in Juneau town rounded out the day. Our 2nd visit we did the Alaskan Brewing Co brewery tour and this was a bargain! $20 each included transport, a brewery tour and history lesson which was really interesting and 6 (7oz) glasses of beer and 2 souvenir glasses to keep! The first 3 beers were chosen by our guide and we were given 3 tokens to exchange for 3 more of our choice. Some of the standouts were the Oatmeal Stout, the Smoked Porter (tasted like liquid bacon!!) and the Raspberry Wheat, out of 8 different flavours that I tried (my husband chose a couple different to mine) there was only one I didn’t like and I have never been much of a beer drinker so I was pleasantly surprised. We were a very merry bunch on the trip back to town! Later that afternoon we took the Mt Roberts Tramway cable car to the top of the mountain and did another long hike. Highlight was when we had 6 eagles soaring above our heads at once, so close we could see their individual markings. Hubbard Glacier – just wow! Our 1st visit we got up early as we were scheduled to arrive at the glacier at 7am. We woke up to heavy fog and were worried that we wouldn’t see anything! As we got closer the fog disappeared and the glacier came into view – what can I say but wow!! We didn’t get in very close as the captain said there was too much ice but I was still excited to be so close to a glacier and the scenery was amazing. 2nd visit we were visiting in the afternoon, from 2pm – 6pm, once again there was heavy fog and it was much closer to the glacier so the captain took us in as far as he possibly could. We got so close that we witnessed at least 5 calvings! Absolutely breathtaking! A tender boat was sent out to collect a chunk of ice and that was used for the afternoon ice carving, an added bonus! Seward We booked RCI’s Kenai Fjords tour which was only available for B2B cruisers. This included a visit to the Sea Life Centre and a boat tour with an all you can eat salmon and prime rib buffet lunch. Again I found the tour underwhelming. The food was not the best quality, with the cheapest salmon served and very little sides to go with it and the wait for food was very long, about 2 hours from the first people served til our table was called. We spent a lot of time chasing apparent sightings from other boats but the wildlife seemed to disappear before we got to each site, with an occasional whale fin seen in the distance or small speck on a mountainside that we were told was a goat. We did see plenty of sea lions and birds, but again, only from a distance. Guest Services We had very little interaction with guest services but the small amount we did have was very positive. One issue that I brought to their attention was remedied quickly and without fuss. All in all this was a great cruise. We had what was apparently unprecedented amazing weather, with 14 straight days of blue skies and sunshine. Every port we stopped at the locals were marvelling at the weather and the lack of rain! Wildlife sightings from the ship were many and varied and exciting for people from the southern hemisphere that don’t usually see these creatures. But of course nothing can be perfect. If I’m telling the good then I should also tell the not so good! There was nothing major but I wasn’t on the cruise with rose coloured glasses either. First was receiving my suitcase with one of the wheels completely torn off rendering it useless. It made for a rough trip home with 3 flights and trying to drag the case around all the airports as it could no longer stand on its own. I have contacted RCI and am waiting for a response. As a first time B2B cruiser I was surprised and disappointed that the CD didn’t have a couple of different spiels. Everything she did and said was word for word identical on both cruises. Activities such as Quest were identical and it was ironic that she even warned people not to cheat because they knew what the quests would be! Even her introduction for two completely different headliner acts was identical. I know it must get boring for a CD to do the same things over and over but practicing 2 different intros or coming up with 2 sets of quests couldn’t be that hard? On night 12 we arrived for dinner to be met by the hostess telling us that she had given our table away as someone else wanted it and she ‘couldn’t say no’. I was dumbfounded that this happened. This was the table that we had booked and turned up for on time, every single night (apart from the one night that we cancelled early and went to the WJ) and she couldn’t say no to someone else that wanted it? Why?? We were told that our waiter had objected and asked that they be placed at another table but they were still sat at the table we had reserved. We were placed in another section but the hostess still had Martin and Jude serve us, the impact of this was that they simply had another table to serve that was close to, but out of their usual area, slowing down service to everyone and making them rush from place to place and placing extra stress on them. Toilet problems had some people very angry but we were largely unaffected. There were always toilets out somewhere and lines in the ladies could get pretty long, especially straight after shows. One afternoon our stateroom toilet was not working and one evening all the public toilets were closed dues to issues. We have a ‘no elevators’ rule so this meant extra stairs each time I needed to use the bathroom, not exactly a negative on a cruise where there is 24 hour food and we ate plenty of it ;) Getting off at Vancouver was quick and painless, we had a leisurely last breakfast and did the self assist debarkation. I was sad to be leaving after such a great trip but am I consoling myself by planning my next cruise and yes, it will again be on RCI  Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Radiance of the Seas was a wonderful ship and we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise through Alaska! Embarking was long but easy and our bags arrived to our room shortly after we boarded. Not many small children on board which was nice. Food was ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas was a wonderful ship and we thoroughly enjoyed our cruise through Alaska! Embarking was long but easy and our bags arrived to our room shortly after we boarded. Not many small children on board which was nice. Food was very good, the Windjammer Cafe (buffet style) was great for breakfast and lunch but definitely get the specialty restaurant package and try those at night especially Chop's Grille. Pool areas were a bit small but it was not an issue as most days were too cold/windy to swim anyway. Spa was very expensive with not many options below $100 minimum. The shows on-board were OK but only one we would recommend were the comedians. We loved the activities offered especially the trivia & puzzle challenges and the game shows & dance parties at night. One of the best parts of the ship were the cruise director's staff- we were very entertained by Amy, Darryl, Martin, and especially Jemma. All of them were fantastic and kept us engaged and having fun on the long days at sea while cruising with no stops. Would definitely recommend a cruse with Royal Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This cruise was very good overall. Embarking in Vancouver was a DISASTER (It took us 3 hours) but that was more the Port of Vancouver's fault than RCL. Our room was as expected... nothing more nothing less. Food in the main dining ... Read More
This cruise was very good overall. Embarking in Vancouver was a DISASTER (It took us 3 hours) but that was more the Port of Vancouver's fault than RCL. Our room was as expected... nothing more nothing less. Food in the main dining room was not as good as normal. I'm not sure anybody at out table was wowed with more than 1 meal in the 11 we received. Oddly enough, though, food in the windjammer was better than normal. We always eat breakfasts up there, and are usually quite tired of the food up there within a week. This time, that didn't happen. Although the fare up there was typical, the quality of it was better. We did try Chops once... well worth it! The evening entertainment on this sailing was quite good. The cruise director and staff were the least friendly/charismatic we have seen, but the captain was the most friendly we have seen! There was a little less in daytime activities during the 5 sea days than I would have expected. Regarding the ship itself.... Rhapsody isn't the biggest and newest, but she is quite clean and has been upgraded recently. All in all, the cruise was good, and I would not hesitate to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
My wife and I did our second cruise on the Rhapsody. We wanted to do a cruise and Hawaii was the perfect place for a honeymoon. We got engaged just before our first cruise a year before on Majesty of the Seas. Flight into Vancouver was ... Read More
My wife and I did our second cruise on the Rhapsody. We wanted to do a cruise and Hawaii was the perfect place for a honeymoon. We got engaged just before our first cruise a year before on Majesty of the Seas. Flight into Vancouver was fine, the bus ride to the port was a little long but the driver did a good job of entertaining during the drive. Embarking took longer than expected as they stated we were leaving from an atypical pier. Once on the ship, i was worried the days at sea would get long, just the opposite. We had time to stay up late, sleep in, enjoy the room service, and just enjoy each others company. it was during this time that we found our favorite place on the ship (deck 5, promenade deck). We would grab some drinks, a book, or a deck of cards and just watch the sea go by. Occasionally a lonely whale or a few dolphins or flying fish would keep us company. One morning we woke up to watch the TV route tracker suddenly deviate from a straight line. Captain Hempstead later came overhead to say we had to deviate to assist a vessel in distress. This added to the joy of the cruise and a little excitement at sea with still keeping us on schedule (nice job RC!). We arrived at Lahina, Maui did a snorkeling excursion and went to Haleakala Park (Ty was our driver, he rocked). the two days. The next day we were at Hilo and did a tour of Volcanoes Nat'l park and saw the ne-ne geese. The following day we were at Kauai and went to Waimea canyon, it was beautiful. Bus AC broke but we managed. The last day was Honolulu. We got off the ship early and caught a cab to Pearl Harbor to get passes for the Arizona tour. As with all past cruises, the rooms have been good, the staff amazing, and the food great and always plentiful! We enjoy room service for an early morning or late night snack Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
Originally we had booked the Sept. 2015 cruise to Hawaii, but it was cancelled and RCI was nice enough to give us a $400.00 OBC. So we decided to go early, Sept. 2014. Flight We booked all of the flight arrangements separately from RCI, ... Read More
Originally we had booked the Sept. 2015 cruise to Hawaii, but it was cancelled and RCI was nice enough to give us a $400.00 OBC. So we decided to go early, Sept. 2014. Flight We booked all of the flight arrangements separately from RCI, mainly due to the fact that I like layovers of about 1.5 hours. Now we flew straight from LAX so it wouldn't have been a big deal. We took Air Canada and it was a smooth flight into Vancouver. We had heard that customs once you get off the plane can be rather long, but it took us 20 min. total to get our luggage and get through customs. Travel to Embarkation We decided to get the transfer service to make it easier with the luggage. After we got out of customs there were a couple of very nice ladies waiting for us and guided us to where we needed to be. We stood outside under the overhang for about 1/2 hour to wait on the bus which wasn't too bad considering we got there at 0945. My only gripe about this was the "smoke" smell in the area while we waited. The bus driver was nice enough, and comical at times; however, he drove us all the way through Vancouver. I'm not sure if there was a faster way to get to the port but it took us forever and I really didn't need a bus tour of Chinatown in Vancouver. The Rhapsody was not in the usual port, it was in a commercial port that clearly wasn't setup for passenger vessels. This is a major point of contention for me, especially since I have travelled out of Canaveral, Lauderdale, and Miami before where within a half hour your on the ship. They had us enter a building and start sepentining our way through the line. There was not RCI representative at that point, just port staff. it took us about an hour to get through that part to get through the security checkpoint. This was the first time we saw anyone from RCI. I had to grad an employee to tell them that we had suite tickets so I could bypass some of the line. In all it took us about 2 hours to get on the boat. I felt for some of the people, I heard that it took 4 hours to get on for some, in fact they were still getting people on when the the lifeboat drills were occurring at 1530. Cabin 8502 Obviously, I had to pay the money to have a little more space. I have spoiled myself with suites in the past and it is hard to go back to some of the other categories. The wife and I like the separate spaces the the suites offer because she can go to bed early and I can stay up and watch tv or whatever and it doesn't bother her. The cabin is what you would expect of a OS cabin, all the nice amenities, even a bade in the bathroom. My wife is a fan of the jetted tub. The room is large, it is on the starboard side of the ship right next to the royal suite on deck 8 in the forward part of the ship. It is very far forward that no one comes down your hallway, except the folks staying in the royal suite and the bridge crew, since the door to the bridge is about 30 feet from the cabin door. Our only gripes about this room is that, (1) it is right over the Windjammer, so there is noise of rolling carts and of things dropping at different times of the day and night, and (2) there is this creaking and popping noises in the ceiling panels while the ship is at sea, and there seems to be something loose in the bulkhead between this suite and the Royal Suite....constant knocking. Entertainment The entertainment on this cruise was mediocre as it was all geared toward Hawaii and the Polynesian....Maybe I'm just spoiled with the Oasis and Freedom class type shows. Activities The activities on this cruise where pretty standard for what you would see on every RCI ship; however, there are like a total for 10 kids on this ship....mostly mid-late aged people...why the hell are they playing kids movies and cartoons on the big screen by the pool. It seems that the Cruise director or entertainment director didn't look at the age breakdown when planning this week. Also this was week one of the NFL season.....NO games, RCI needs to enter into a deal with NFL to cover games. The internet worked great on this cruise even when we were in the middle of nowhere in the North Pacific. I gladly pay the fee just to keep up with family and friends and occasional work emails that I am tracking. Dining I was somewhat disappointed on the dining except the specialty restaurants, Chops and Giovannis. The Windjammer food felt and tasted like cafeteria food with the exception of the made to order items. We Really like the new Park Cafe in the Solarium, for both breakfast and lunch options. Staff The suite attendant, Raj, was great. There are a lot of crew that were great that I either don't remember their name or never go it, but all were polite. I really like Captain Rob, he made himself available a number of occasions throughout the cruise. Aid at Sea On day 3, the Captain came on the overhead and stated that the Coast Guard had asked ROS to assist a boat. We veered off course approx. 30 miles to help this boat in distress, no biggie, gave them some fuel and sent them on their way, but I fell that the entire cruise liked that event. In Conclusion All in all, it was a cruise vacation to Hawaii......can't complain too much i suppose, I standby RCI as a cruise line and a product. I will be a Diamond member at the conclusion of this cruise, and I look forward to many more cruises and years with Royal Caribbean.   Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We did a 10-day repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii in September 2014. Much of the cruise was just fine: the ship, the crew, embarkation, etc. But there were several drawbacks that significantly diminished the experience. First, ... Read More
We did a 10-day repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii in September 2014. Much of the cruise was just fine: the ship, the crew, embarkation, etc. But there were several drawbacks that significantly diminished the experience. First, with 5 days at sea we had anticipated an engaging enrichment agenda. Instead we found a single speaker who was a great disappointment. After sitting through his initial lecture on the history of Vancouver - accompanied by pictures of what we assumed to be his wife visiting the town - we easily decided to skip the remaining presentations. The most significant drawback was the quality of the food. We tried a couple speciality restaurants and they were very good. Dinner in the main dining room was acceptable (but nothing special). The Windjammer was a major disappointment. Breakfast was ok, mostly. The orange juice from their mix was terrible. It tasted like I imagine battery acid would. (Sure, you can BUY fresher OJ, but come on..) The fruit - specifically bananas - looked disgusting. Black and mushy, as if they were a week past their prime. For lunch we would walk past their "hamburgers" - small, dried pucks sitting under a heat lamp. They might have been the same pucks for the whole trip: we never saw anyone go near them. There was a small Hot Dog stand outside the Windjammer: that was consistently good. Also outside the Windjammer was Rita's.. either Crab Shack or Cantina. We never figured out which. It is branded both ways on their signage and literature. We tried breakfast in the cabin several days. It always arrived promptly, though most days it did not match what we had ordered. And the bananas were no more appealing. Much of what the ship did was well done, and I had great respect for the captain and sr. leadership. Just a shame our primary memories are of their failures rather than successes. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
We have cruised often but never for longer than 7 nights and never with this many sea days (5), so this was a new experience. A few specific comments. One, the ship is very nice and in great shape. It is easy to get around and rarely ... Read More
We have cruised often but never for longer than 7 nights and never with this many sea days (5), so this was a new experience. A few specific comments. One, the ship is very nice and in great shape. It is easy to get around and rarely seemed crowded. Two, the staff and officers were some of the friendliest I have ever encountered. We even met the captain in the elevator the first day and chatted with him. The bar waiters and other staff were all cheerful when you saw them. Three, we had a suite and JD in the Concierge Lounge did a great job, along with the 2 bartenders. Four, our cabin was great except for an issue one night with the toilet not flushing. I called maintenance and they said it was a system issue, but they would send someone anyway just to make sure. Nobody ever came or called. That was frustrating. Our cabin steward, Orlando, was great. Everything was taken care of before we knew it needed to be taken care of. Five, the dining room was so so. Most of the food was okay with a few misses and a few hits. Service was slow. I know this is dining not eating out, but it seemed like used plates stayed in front of us for rather a long time, even after they had been by to refill water. And after dinner coffee cups were brought quickly, but the wait for them to put coffee in those cups was long. And forget about a second cup. And it may seem petty, but after all those nights, you would think they would realize I never want pepper!!!!! We had my time dining but had the same staff 7 of the 10 nights. Six, Chops was good as always. Nothing there was different from other visits except the cheesy tater tots that were actually a little too much. Seven, Giovanni's was very good. I think it is worth the extra. All in all a very good cruise. For us, five sea days was a little much. The population on this cruise seemed more diverse. We met people from lots of different countries and had great conversations with them. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
First time on this ship, very impressed. Lots to do but drinks not cheap. Lots of queuing for barbq etc. Never a lounger available all with towels on and only 3 people in the pool! Great room with balcony, room 1014. Great room ... Read More
First time on this ship, very impressed. Lots to do but drinks not cheap. Lots of queuing for barbq etc. Never a lounger available all with towels on and only 3 people in the pool! Great room with balcony, room 1014. Great room attendant and interesting towel animals !!! Got warmer as we travelled along, had the window opened and watched the sea all night GREAT ! as got closer to Hawaii, it was so hot and air con only no night sea viewing. Had meals in Compass Cafe every day , great place and Yellowstar the chap at the front was lovely. Tried 'Dogs on Boardwalk' and was not impressed, the Americans really loved them though., The Crab place looked good but expensive. Shore exursions were expensive and not good value for money. We went on our own trips of the ship eventually. Seahorse Farm was great though. Good efficient staff and tendering was fun. Would definately travel in that room again ! Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
As background, we have cruised RC 5 times. We just became Platinum members. We've recommended RC to friends and acquaintances. But our recent cruise on the Radiance of the Seas to Alaska was so disappointing, we don't know that ... Read More
As background, we have cruised RC 5 times. We just became Platinum members. We've recommended RC to friends and acquaintances. But our recent cruise on the Radiance of the Seas to Alaska was so disappointing, we don't know that we will cruise RC again. The following was first communicated in writing to the RC customer relations folks. However, all we got was the boiler plate, thanks for the comments, we've forwarded them to the appropriate people. Disembarkation. When disembarking at Seward, it was raining. There was an uncovered ramp made of metal that was very slippery. The staff person at the top of that gangway made no effort to warn us or assist us. As she went down that gangway, my wife slipped and fell. Hard. Two RC people saw us and no one came to see how my wife was or offer any assistance. In fact, a woman staffer at the bottom instead went to discuss the ramp with the man at the top. No effort to engage us. Pretty amazing. And when I pointed this out in my subsequent email to customer relations, there was no initial expression of concern or inquiry as to how my wife was doing. Embarkation. Our prior experience with boarding is to be greeted warmly by staff as we come on board. Welcome aboard. We are glad you are here. This time, we had to run a literal gauntlet of staff hocking various things - drink packages, dinner packages, etc. At least 4 different groups of RC staff trying to sell us something, all at extra cost. Welcome aboard indeed. IT Failures. I tried to print a fishing license from the business center. First time the printer was out of order meaning that the online charge was for nothing. Second time it printed on the 5th floor. I was on the 7th floor. But I didn't know that until I went down to the Customer Relations desk and insisted that someone come with me so they could see my problem. We went to the 5th floor business center and presto, fishing license. Another incident: when we set our alarm to get up in Ketchikan for an excursion, the alarm through the phone had not been set to Alaska time. So we got a call 1 hour early. This was a ship wide experience as all of our dinner party related the same experience. Aggressive photo team. The young woman who tried to corral you for pictures throughout the cruise was pushy and if you did not want one, she was rude and impolite, speaking in a mocking tone. Way too much marketing. We were constantly bombarded with staff trying to sell us one thing or another. Hot tubs. Yes, hot tubs. There are three on the ship. All small. And way not enough. Always packed unless you wanted to be the first one in at 7 AM. Luggage pick up. Also, when we went to pick up our luggage at the Anchorage hotel where it was delivered from Seward, we discovered it outdoors! Covered but outdoors. Dozens and dozens of suitcases. Anyone could have come by and picked it up. Completely unacceptable. As I said at the beginning, we've traveled on RC a number of times before and have been very happy. However, this was not the RC from before. The Alaska cruise is especially expensive and we spent north of $10K on this trip. At that price, it seems reasonable to expect a high quality trip. And we would not say we got that from RC. To the extent that we enjoyed the trip, it was largely in spite of RC, not because of RC. Also concerning is what appears to be a conscious business decision to flood passengers with add on options; that is with many, many sales pitches for additional cost items. We had seen this in the past but this time, it was, frankly, overwhelming and very offputting. If this is where RC is headed, well, we will move up a notch to a cruise line line Celebrity. If we are going to spend a lot of money, at least it will be an all inclusive package.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I will go through everything in detail for you. I analyze & gather research data for a living so you will want to read all of this. This is now my 3rd cruise and i am 28 years old which we had a group of 33 people. Tips before ... Read More
I will go through everything in detail for you. I analyze & gather research data for a living so you will want to read all of this. This is now my 3rd cruise and i am 28 years old which we had a group of 33 people. Tips before packaging - bring right clothes, pack for fall and raining weather. You are in Alaska in the rain forest. Preboarding: This process was easy and very quick (30mins i was on the ship). You go through the normal routine of customs and check in but very happy how quick we boarded the ship. Key Note: make sure you take the coupon book at the pier (great savings in the book) Stateroom: We were on deck 4 which we didn't care about the deck or the room. You are not in the room at all ha. The only bad thing about the room was the bathroom smelled. We told housekeeping and they cleaned but it returned 2 days later. Mult rooms in our party had the same problem Activities on Ship: They were great if you are a little older (I am 28). A lot of the trivia had to do with 60s-early 90s, mostly all the dancing was 50s-80s but there is a club for the younger crowd late night. The prizes for different trivia wasn't bag, magnets, royal camera bag, etc. Bingo on the ship is a rip off so try to stay away ($32 for 6 game pieces). The art auction is a waste of time bc most of them were prints and very over priced. Overall i would rate the activities 4 out of 5 stars for my age group but if you were older (my parents for example) they loved it. Casino: This is the biggest disappointment. They never had every table open (mostly 4 only) which 2 blackjack, 1 three card and 1 Caribbean stud. One roulette table most nights but the computer board to show the numbers really didn't show numbers. The craps table is the biggest waste of time bc they do not give odds on the back up bets. Meaning on land you can bet up to 5 times your bet but on the ship it is only 1 times. For example: if you bet $5, then you can only lay $9 as back up or $10 (if even 4 or 10). It is NOT worth your time. The slots were plenty however but no one won ever ha. Excursions: This was hit or miss Ketchikan - We had signed up for fishing but was canceled due to rain (booo) so we shopped around. Other people in the party did the lumberjack show which is great priced and worth it i was told. The totem polls weren't that great so save the money and do the duck tour. Icy Straight - We did the ATV & Zipline...save yourself time bc the ATV was a waste but the zipline was amazing. Alot of our party did the whale watching and they said it was breath taken. So book whale watching in the morning and Zipline in afternoon Juneau - Helicopter tour onto the glacier. This is by far the BEST excursion of all time. Book it and thank me later. We walked onto the glacier for about 30mins, drank the water and it was amazing Skagway - White pass rail...sit on the left slide of the car if you are facing in the same directions as the seats. Make sure you go outside the car for the best experiences. This is #2 behind the helicopter tour. Other people in the party did the 40 below and said it was amazing too. 40 below you pain for gold and play with the dogs so do either or but the views of the train can not be beat Shopping: Ketchikan - had all the good deals and most shops. Do your shopping here so you don't have to worry the rest of the trip and book more excursions at Juneau and Skagway. Icy Striaght - there is one building of shopping and nothing very exciting. Skip shopping here so do whale watching and then zipline. Try the mini donuts though and the Tracey's crab shack. Juneau - alot of shops here too. Visit the Red Dog Saloon but don't eat the food, just stay for one drink and go. Way to many people there haha. They have the same shops as in Ketchikan so you aren't missing much. Instead of shopping do excusions here Skagway - this is one main street for shopping but once again same shops as in Ketchikan. You HAVE to try the Lemon drop bakery which is right off main street. Shows on the ship: 4 of the shows were not good or at least appealing to the younger crowd. But even the other people in our party were not huge fans. The best show was the comedian the last night followed by a Las Vegas show the night before. The other shows included 2 musicals (which weren't good) and a variety show which was ok. Shopping on board: They had some good deals different days so watch out for the deals so you can save money. The photos on board are a rip off except for the all inclusive package. This package is $250 and it would include every picture you take. So if you purpose this then make sure you take all the different pictures of the different backround, the pictured when you get off at each port, etc. Food: Windjamer - this is a buffet and was very good. They had a ton of selection with different food all through out the day. From fish to different chicken, pastries, ice cream, sandwiches, fries, fruit, etc. So much to list haha. This is only open to about 10pm Park Cafe - great panninis to pizza late night. This is open all day and where to go for late night snack. Open till about 1230am Main Dinning room - this was great, great food and great service. For those who want something quick then do not go bc this is a sit down dinner. So expect to be there for 1hr 30mins or so. Each night they had different selection of food and never had a bad meal Boardwalk dogs - this was different bc they gave you 5 choices of hot dogs with different toppings. It was ok but good bc this was open till 1230am so great late night snack. Room service - we didn't get so no comment Overall - i would rate a 8.5 out of 10. i took off one point for the casino and half point for the room. This was still a great ship and great trip. Plenty of things to do on the ship, great views off the ship, plenty of shopping....all around amazing.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We just returned from our 3rd cruise, all with Royal Caribbean. The prior two were 15 years ago so it had been awhile. Overall, very pleased with our cruise. Embarkation in Vancouver very easy. We arrived via a privately booked shuttle ... Read More
We just returned from our 3rd cruise, all with Royal Caribbean. The prior two were 15 years ago so it had been awhile. Overall, very pleased with our cruise. Embarkation in Vancouver very easy. We arrived via a privately booked shuttle service in Vancouver and he suggested dropping our bags early, walk around town and come back to check in after 1 pm and that's what we did. Worked great. We were four couples, all on deck 3; one with window and the rest interior. No complaints about the staterooms. Always clean. We had enough room to put everything away. I asked for extra hangers and got them very quickly. Our stateroom attendant was wonderful. We had my time dining and I had made reservations months ago for every night and after the first night we requested to have the same wait staff every night. They were wonderful! I would rate the food in the dining room and the windjammer and the park cafe as very good. I just can't imagine keeping so many people happy and well fed. Our waiters brought extra appetizers and main courses every night so we could try some different things. And they always remembered little things like who drank decaf coffee every evening. It's the little things like that that impress me. I would say the ship overall is a little run down but exceptionally clean. We went to all the shows except the adult comedy show and enjoyed them very much. We are not avid cruisers and are not difficult to please so we had a great time. I would say the only negative was the constant push for the photography and also for the pressure to make reservations at the specialty restaurants. Not sure when we will go on a cruise again but I'm pretty sure we will stay with Royal Caribbean. We really liked the itinerary for this cruise - a day at sea at the beginning and the end. The weather was only nice on the first day and then it poured down rain the rest of the days but everyone made the best of it. We did not do any of the excursions from the ship. We booked on our own. We really liked all the ports, just disappointed with the weather. Getting on and off the boat at each of the ports was very easy. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We are a couple and a 21 year old son who just returned from an incredible vacation that has been on our "bucket list" for years. Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful. Everything went smoothly from start to finish and we credit RCL ... Read More
We are a couple and a 21 year old son who just returned from an incredible vacation that has been on our "bucket list" for years. Alaska is breathtakingly beautiful. Everything went smoothly from start to finish and we credit RCL for a very well organized and fun packed experience. The staff was very attentive to our needs, everything was well-kept and clean and the activities on the ship and at the ports exceeded our expectations. Embarked around noon in Vancouver and found the process well organized. Disembarked at 7 a.m. and walked right off the ship with no line at 7 a.m. to meet our 8 a.m. bus to the Anchorage airport. Ketchikan: We took a short cab ride up to Deer Mountain and hiked a rather steep climb to a beautiful vista view. This is not for the faint-hearted but our 21 year old spurred us on and we made to 2 of the 3 miles up. It was easier heading down! Icy Straights: We did the zip line and it was a blast! Juneau: Did the "Best of Juneau" tour included whale watching, Mendenhall Glacier, and Salmon meal at at Orca Pt lodge on an isolated island. Saw too many whale to count, seals and eagles galore. Great tour! Skagway: Took the White Pass train up to Fraser in the Yukon (Canada), kayaked on Glacier lake and headed back to the ship via motor coach. Another great tour. Group right before ours saw a mother bear and three cubs, while kayaking. Hubbard Glacier: Getting up close to this beautiful glacier was an amazing experience. Hard to put into words! Our stateroom with balcony on level 8 was absolutely fine for three of us. Our son slept above us on a pull down bed and it worked well. It was cleaned twice per day and by storing suitcases under our bed we had plenty of room. Enjoy your travels!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Radiance of the Seas is one of the smaller RCCL ships. It has a very homey feel to it. The ship has been reoutfitted and is very nice. The officers and crew are all very friendly. Our cabin attendant Rendy was very attentive to our needs ... Read More
Radiance of the Seas is one of the smaller RCCL ships. It has a very homey feel to it. The ship has been reoutfitted and is very nice. The officers and crew are all very friendly. Our cabin attendant Rendy was very attentive to our needs and always had a smile and greeting for us. The Park Café in the Solarium area has wonderful Panini sandwiches both for breakfast and lunch. There is also a made to order salad bar. The Captain did a great job getting us close to Hubbard Glacier which was such an amazing sight. We also enjoyed a mystery dinner theater put on by some of the ships performers. We started in one of the lounges for champagne and hordeurves where the show began and then into Giovannis for a four course dinner that included wine. We had the entire restaurant dedicated to our dinner. The excursions are good. My only complaint is the cost of most excursions were pretty pricey. I wish Royal Caribbean could offer some more affordable excursions. We did a northbound seven day cruise and the further north we went the more beautiful the scenery. Alaska is amazing and we have wonderful memories. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We were on the 19 night ultimate Alaska trip, 6 nights in western Canada, 7 nights on the ship, 6 nights in Alaska. I'll divide the review accordingly. Canada (independent travel) Royal Carribbean partnered with Brewster travel for ... Read More
We were on the 19 night ultimate Alaska trip, 6 nights in western Canada, 7 nights on the ship, 6 nights in Alaska. I'll divide the review accordingly. Canada (independent travel) Royal Carribbean partnered with Brewster travel for the Canadian portion of the trip, which began in Calgary. It is independent travel and includes some handholding, but there is time enough to plan your own excursions/field trips. Brewster is a very professional organization and they provide quality service. All of the hotels were Fairmont properties and the places they took us, we seemed to have had priority access. I highly recommend including this trip if you have the time. We put one extra day up front in Calgary, for a total of: 2 nights in Calgary, we biked the entire city and did a walking tour, also went up the Calgary Tower 1 night in Banff, they took us to Bow Falls and the Banff Gondola, both were great. We biked all around Banff 1 night in Jasper. We went to the Columbia Icefields and walked on the glacier and drank glacial water, truly amazing!! Also we did the glacier skywalk over the Sunwapta Valley and drove to Lake Lousie. these were all part of the RCCL tour. The Train was late so they took us to Pyramid mountain, Patricia Lake and Maligne Canyon, all interesting. 1 overnight on the Canadian VIA Rail, fun time in the domed car 1night in Vancouver. The tour took us to Granville, Stanley park, lions gate bridge, and Harbor Tower. on our own we did a prohibition walking tour, Gastown, and 2 more times in the tower. The next day we ferried to Victoria and went to Butchard Gardens. after we grabbed bicycles and rode to Fishermans Wharf, Ogden Point and mile marker 0 for the Canadian highway system. 1 night in Victoria and then back on the ferry to Vancouver. We were treated to wonderful music by a local band called, HEADWATER. The view from the ferry and the music they played were harmonious. There is much to see and limited time to do so, but it does provide a great overview to be explored more in depth perhaps another time. The Cruise Embarkation wasn't bad once we cleared customs. We had booked a junior suite and were not disappointed with our room. The sailing itinerary was great. DINING room - The food was bountiful and tasteless. It was very disappointing compared to other RCCL cruises. Our friends ordered steaks from the chops menu. I am vegan and they did not know how to prepare meals nor did they take the time. The head waiter was great, but the chef in charge of my food was clueless. We were six at our table, seasoned RCCL travelers and we all had the same conclusions out the food, although that was not the purpose of our cruise. Ports of call: Ketchikan, the misty fjords floatplane (booked through RCCL), nice not spectacular. We hired a Native American Tglingit driver as our guide for an hour tour. He was informative and split 4 ways it wasn't super costly. Icy Strait, Whale and bear watching (booked through RCCL), whale tails, one bear, a few eagles in trees and a lot of salmon. The old Cannery/museum is very interesting. Skagway we rented a car from Avis and drove ourselves to Carcross. We highly recommend that. We raced back for a 2:00 o'clock Ranger program and film, both excellent. A busy but great day. Juneau, we took the blue bus to Mendenhall Glacier ($20.00 pp round trip) as the weather wasn't great. We hiked to Nugget Falls, listened to a Ranger program and watched a film. All were informative and interesting. We were going to ride the Mt, Roberts tramway, but the weather was still inclement. We walked around Juneau a bit. Hubbard Glacier the temperature was 32 degrees and rainy, sleeting. Button up your overcoat and get out there. We stayed on deck five at the bow of the boat until they starting turning and then transferred to the windjammer, moving as the boat moved. They also brought up a hunk of glacier ice. Disembarkation and the Alaska Tour (guided) in Seward was flawless onto a waiting bus to Anchorage. In anchorage we went to the Native Heritage Museum and then on our own we rented bikes and rode the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail Anchorage to Talkeetna we had breakfast on the wilderness express (domed train) and then disembarked and got dropped off downtown. Our own excursion was with Talkeetna Taxi, a wonderful business, for our very own ride around Mt. Mckinley and a glacier landing. The weather was perfect, our pilot experienced, and the plane a DeHaviland Beaver. this was the highlight of the trip. it was beyond fantastic. talkeetna air taxi was great. We stayed overnight at the Talkeetna lodge and they woke us up about 3am to see the Northern lights. Another amazing experience. talkeetna to Denali was on the wilderness train and again the ride was interesting. Eye candy out every window. We arrived at the Grand Denali Lodge and we had booked white water rafting with Denali Outdoor Adventures. they picked us up a little after 5pm and we were on the water by 6pm. We had trepidation so because the weather was about 48 degrees, the water was 36 degrees and the day was not sunny. We felt like we had on space suits. This turned out to be our second favorite thing we did. the Neena river did not disappoint. We made it as far as Healy. The next day we had a box lunch from the hotel and went on the Tundra Wilderness Tour. It was sensational. we saw the big five and many more. After we joined the rangers for a sled dog demonstration and a film at the visitors center. Overnight at the Grand Denali Lodge (2nd night) and in the morning we took history hike with a ranger. Later we boarded the train for Fairbanks with dinner on the train. Sophie Station Hotel for the next two nights. woke us up before midnight for a great view of the Northern Lights. the next day we went to the Alaskan Pipeline, Museum of the North and a riverboat ride on the Chena River. Wish we had a bit more time at the museum. back to the hotel and the next day they transported to the airport. We continued on to Seattle on our own for three more days.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
The Radiance of the Seas is a beautiful ship with lots of glass and a very open feeling. We had a balcony state room that was very comfortable. The shower was small but adequate. The toilet was hard to get used to as it resembles an ... Read More
The Radiance of the Seas is a beautiful ship with lots of glass and a very open feeling. We had a balcony state room that was very comfortable. The shower was small but adequate. The toilet was hard to get used to as it resembles an airline toilet and makes a similar sound when flushing. Closet space and storage was ample. There were only two electrical outlets which is not enough when you are charging two iPhones and two iPads. The ship was well maintained and the service was excellent. We ate all our meals in the main dining room and the food was very good with a great selection. However, I would not cruise on this ship again for this one reason--when you exit your room and walk down the long hall, you end up in an open area with stairs and elevators to other decks of the ship. In the center of the ship, this open area extends from the lower deck all the way up to the top decks. The casino where smoking is allowed opens into this area so every time you enter this area to use the stairs, you get a big waft of cigarette smoke. The Aurora Theatre is located on Deck 6. So is the casino. The quickest way to the Aurora Theatre from our room on Deck 8 was to walk down the stairs to Deck 6 and walk through the casino to the Aurora Theatre. There wasn't another way on Deck 6 to get there. We opted to stay on Deck 8 and walk across the open area to the other end of the ship, down all the halls of the other rooms until we got to another set of stairs where we could walk down to Deck 6. This is a long ship and this was a real pain. But the smoke in the casino was sickening and we opted to do this to get around to the other end of the ship where most of the activities were occurring. This center area of the ship is quite beautiful and it is a tragedy that the smoke from the casino is allowed to drift into this area. This makes it very unpleasant for those of us who choose not to smoke or choose not to breath in second-hand smoke. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We were first time cruisers,older (62) and stayed in room 1532 ..grand suite. PRE-CRUISE As first time cruisers we had many questions about the ship,excursions etc IMPOSSIBLE to get thru to RC.After receiving multiple Emails from Our ... Read More
We were first time cruisers,older (62) and stayed in room 1532 ..grand suite. PRE-CRUISE As first time cruisers we had many questions about the ship,excursions etc IMPOSSIBLE to get thru to RC.After receiving multiple Emails from Our personnel trip consultant I spent 15 then 23 then 18 minutes on hold on three Different occasions over 4 wks trying to ask a few questions and book excursions. Finally,I chose the phone option of booking a cruise and RC answered in 30 seconds. My cruise consultant also did not respond to 2 emails and did not return my phone call after I left a message with someone in her department  GRADE F SHIP CABIN Our cabin looked great but when I booked this cruise almost 11 months in advance I asked for the best cabin that was quiet. We were under the pool deck and every night beginning around 10:30 pm to after Midnight we heard loud scratching from tables and deck chairs being moved as wee As similar noises around 6 am. We were offered another cabin...a downgrade... The cabin itself was beautiful BUT the TV channels were limited and the reception Was very poor on CNN,Golf channel and ESPN so in the evening after the days activities We couldn't watch TV. Two calls for help went unreturned and the third yielded a barrage of service...deck Supervisor,technician ......but the problem couldn't be fixed. Our shower yielded water that in a flash turned from a perfect temperature To scalding to cold...all within 30 seconds. If you were not "on guard" second degree burns were possible....not fixed. We were charged for chips and chocolate that was supposed to be free....taken Off at end of cruise but we didn't indulge after the first night as we thought We were being charged. View from deck inhibited by overhanging pool deck. Suite attendant was great. Grade (considering the cost $7400) F FOOD Windjammer...open for all meals...buffet...average to slightly above... Specialty....we dined twice at Chops Grille. I had a great steak the first time ...the second time overdone. My wife had chicken and crab cakes...two of the best meals she has ever had. Service slow ...we waited 25 minutes for our bill after we told our waiter we Were done. Cascades....main dining room...food similar to wedding/banquet ..slightly Above average. Service very slow...2 hours and 10 minutes the first time and 1 hour and 40 Minutes the second. Grade B EXCURSIONS We booked ourselves as I never got thru to RC to ask my questions. Don't hesitate to book on your own..save 10-20 percent.... The glacier/dog sledding excursions (especially to Mendenhall glacier) Are often cancelled do to weather so book the early time and hope to be Rescheduled later in the day if the am slot is postponed. Hoonah whale viewing in ICY STRAITS ...very nice..close to humpbacks GRADE A We did the helicopter ..glacier...dog sledding in Juneau....Grade A I believe all the different glacier/dog tours are very similar....all great Plane ride...land in lake....bear watching in Ketchikan...Alaska Seaplanes.....Only one bear Seen across lake from 200-300 yards..great scenery....Grade B minus Do Aman creek for bears if you can at around this time of year...book early..... Bus tour of town in Skagway...very entertaining....Grade B plus ON/OFF Easy and efficient but because of our suite status we bypassed a long line Getting on the ship..I felt guilty about it.... ENTERTAINMENT We saw 3 shows...2 singing shows average at best and one comedian...AL DUCHARME who was great but only lasted 45 minutes. GRADE C plus SCENERY Mountains with trees on shore....always in view of shore....beautiful but Not diverse and eventually monotonous. Glacier from ship....I was NOT impressed....small and just less than I expected After reading multiple reviews....I'm definitely in the minority as most people Were very taken TRAIN RIDE We took the train from Seward to Anchorage and booked the Goldstar service Where you go to a higher deck and have unobstructed views and a private but small Outdoor viewing area. Dinner not included and very Goldstar service pricey. Took 4 hours..scenery very nice but we had already seen this from the ship and on Our excursions. The chance of seeing great wildlife very small. We saw 2 moose from a distance and only for 2-3 seconds,2 eagles and some mountain Sheep. Not worth the price and delayed our getting home to Chicago by one day as only One trip per day to Anchorage arriving at 10:15 PM. ANCHORAGE We were there for one full day and rented a car and drove to the Alaskan Wildlife Conservation Center. We arrived at around 4 PM in time to see the feeding of 2.....1000 pound brown (grizzly) bears. Also saw elk from 3 feet away ...same with buffalo....but the best was the 2 adult Moose...almost 7 feet tall....not supposed to interact (feed or PET ) with them BUT there were Areas of tall vegetation adjacent to the fence and the moose know to hang Out there....they would put there long heads thru the fence about 9-10 inches and You know the rest...AMAZING!!!!!! $12.50 per person and was the highlight for me ( animal lover ) of the entire trip. GRADE A plus Our next cruise will not be with RC Hope this helps.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
After sailing with Royal Caribbean on several occasions (member of Crown & Anchor) my husband and I were very disappointed with many different items with this particular cruise. First off, we booked a balcony suite #9606. When we ... Read More
After sailing with Royal Caribbean on several occasions (member of Crown & Anchor) my husband and I were very disappointed with many different items with this particular cruise. First off, we booked a balcony suite #9606. When we arrived of course we went directly to the balcony and I was surprised to find rust dripping off the pipes overhead. Not a very good first impression. Secondly, the restroom had chipped paint and bubbles in the finish around the waste can area. The couch looked old and worn. It looked very dated other than the flat screen TV (poor reception). First night we went to Rita's Crab Shack, wanting to experience fresh Alaskan crab legs. Had to make a reservation which there was only one other couple. The crab tasted terrible. It was like frozen, cooked, refroze and then cooked again. Not worth the $70 we paid for this meal. Being a Crown & Anchor member, I was supposed to get a B1G1 glass of wine. When the bill came and it didn't reflect this, the waiter was argumentative and said that it didn't come up that way and I could go to Guest Services to get it fixed. We left and went to Guest Services and was told they could not fix it. If I didn't have another glass of wine to come back later and he would see what could be done then. Not a great first impression at their specialty restaurants. Did not go to dinner the second night because it was Formal Night and we were not prepared. Went to the dining room on the 3rd night, which was my birthday and RC was notified of this when I booked the cruise, and were one of the first to arrive. While the other table mates were arriving, the waiters kept pointing and talking about our table. Apparently flipping to see who was going to serve us that night. My tablemates told us that the people who served us were not the regulars. That night's menu consisted of different fish options and venison, of which I don't eat either. My husband had steak and I had linguini pomadore, which both were mediocre. We were one of the very last to leave. Poor service from the dining room staff. Needless to say, Windjammer was our choice for the rest of the cruise. With the different wait staff that would explain why my birthday wasn't acknowledged. Mind you, we have had other birthday celebrations before and did not have to remind the staff. They knew it ahead of time. One evening we were sitting in the common area and noticed the tables were dated and all chipped up at the bottom where people's feet would kick it. Looked bad. The shows were mostly geared towards older guests. All were singing/dancing shows other than the comedian on the last night. He was the most enjoyable show. Our stateroom attendant was exceptional. Very attentive and always greeted us with a smile. She received an extra tip to show our appreciation. The food in the Windjammer was always good. No complaints there. All in all I was disappointed with the total experience. The ports were great and I did not do any RC excursions. I did them on my own and saved a lot of money. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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