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18 San Diego to Alaska Cruise Reviews

This was a fantastic cruise, they made everything so magical, the weather for the whole trip was very cold and windy but that was out of their control but if you do the California cost from San Diego to a Vancouver just bringing warmer ... Read More
This was a fantastic cruise, they made everything so magical, the weather for the whole trip was very cold and windy but that was out of their control but if you do the California cost from San Diego to a Vancouver just bringing warmer outfits. The shows are sooooo amazing and true to Disney magic we stayed in a concierge suite and they were so wonderful to us. My Son was so happy to know that the one girl knew Avengers and they sat and talked Super Hero’s for a while, it was also so cool to sit in a pool and watch a movie that was just so cool. The food was amazing and service top notch my son is Glutten Free and they were all over it and on top of it and making sure he always had food he could eat. The oceaneers club the kids never wanted to leave which was great cause my husband and I got to enjoy wine tasting and champagne tasting and a lovely couples spa. I would say it’s a trip worth saving for. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Let me start by saying the majority of the crew aboard the Wonder were excellent! The food was nothing special and the fact that Pirate Night took place at 9:45 at night made me wonder if was for adults or children??? However, my ... Read More
Let me start by saying the majority of the crew aboard the Wonder were excellent! The food was nothing special and the fact that Pirate Night took place at 9:45 at night made me wonder if was for adults or children??? However, my review will focus on a 7-page, comprehensive, formal complaint I sent following the cruise which included solutions, with the Disney Cruise Line regarding numerous and dangerous accessibility issues that we experienced on our May 16, 2018 cruise with our disabled daughter. Our daughter requires the use of a transport-style wheelchair any time she is out of the her home or out of the stateroom. We also copied our formal complaint to Cruise Line International Association, Department of Justice ADA and The Open Doors organization. The serious accessibility issues that we encountered onboard the Wonder are as follows: 1: Elevators that are too small, doors that do not stay open long enough and door sensors that are inoperable. 2: Exterior to interior thresholds are impassible on Deck 9 without assistance. It took 3-4 adults to get our daughter over the threshold on Deck 9 (Pool, restaurants, coffee shop, movie theatre, etc): 2 people to lift her wheelchair, and 1-2 people to hold the doors open! 3: Severely limited number of automatic, ADA, entry doors. The one ADA door that we found did not stay open long enough to even push our daughter through it before it began closing. 4: A treacherous and narrow gangplank was used in Victoria BC, which had 2 very steep switchbacks. Prior to disembarking, we consulted with a crew member at the entry gangway, who assured us, that the gangplank was, "fine," for disembarking with our wheelchair. In reality, it was very dangerous, and took both my wife and I, and all of our strength, to safely get the wheelchair, and our daughter, to the bottom of the steep gangplank. Upon re-boarding the Wonder, there was no assistance available, or crew member present, to help us push our daughter back up the treacherous gangplank. We were forced to plead to a fellow passenger who we did not know to ask for help to push our daughter back onto the ship. 5: There is crucial accessibility information that is intentionally being omitted and hidden from Disney's Special Services Information form. In addition, there are NO warning signs, call buttons or crew members present to offer assistance in the areas of inaccessibility. Nor, are any of the major accessibility issues listed above "revealed" in any written, online or onboard materials. A representative from the Executive Offices of Disney Cruise Line, called me to respond to our complaint. The essence of the response was dismissive, to say the least. Instead of taking responsibility and caring about what happened to our daughter, and ourselves, onboard the Wonder,she, instead, chose to blame our travel agent, stating that she should have informed us that we needed to complete the Special Services Information form prior to our cruise. Fortunately, 100% of the time, we do not require any assistance when traveling with our daughter. We do not use accessible staterooms, require airport assistance, or any other type of assistance from anyone, at anytime. Nothing on the Special Services Information form applied to us so we did not complete it. Had the Special Services Information form disclosed the magnitude of the accessibility issues onboard the Wonder for persons with mobility issues, we would have had a reason to complete it. The only thing worse than the blatant negligence displayed onboard the Wonder in regards to accessibility, was how the Disney employee handled her response to our complaint. She took NO responsibility, whatsoever, for any of our complaint issues. Instead she blamed our travel agent and blamed us for not completing the Special Services Information form, inferring that had we completed it, assistance would have been available to us at all times. Absurd! Again, had the accessibility issues outlined above been "revealed" on the Special Services Information form, we would have "known" to complete it. A supervisor did call us before completing our review and smoothed things over and was very professional. That call does not excuse the accessibility issues but the issues were handled very professionally by the supervisor. We will NEVER entrust our disabled daughter's safety and security to a Disney Cruise Line ship ever again. IF YOU HAVE MOBILITY ISSUES, THINK TWICE BEFORE CHOOSING DISNEY CRUISE LINE FOR YOUR NEXT CRUISE. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I chose this cruise because it was cheap, right time of the year and I wanted to go there. Well you get what you pay for. The staff was there for peddling things not much in the free service department.I got nickled and dimed to death. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because it was cheap, right time of the year and I wanted to go there. Well you get what you pay for. The staff was there for peddling things not much in the free service department.I got nickled and dimed to death. Dinner in the dining room was mildly warm and when I checked out the menu and saw something that I liked I ate at the buffet same food but prepared there and reasonably hot.They should dock this ship for a few days and give it a real cleaning. Staff are overworked and I get the feeling that most of them have given up. I have a few more incidents but It's too much trouble for a lost cause. This was my fourth trip with Holland and each one was worst than the last. Save your money or find a better cruise line. A few more dollars on another cruise line would have hit the mark! Never again Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Following the previous review of our Northern Lights cruise on the MS Boudicca Complete with norovirus as widely reported in the British press. My wife and I returned to Celebrity for a back to back cruise on the Celebrity Century taking ... Read More
Following the previous review of our Northern Lights cruise on the MS Boudicca Complete with norovirus as widely reported in the British press. My wife and I returned to Celebrity for a back to back cruise on the Celebrity Century taking in a Pacific coast wine cruise followed on with a cruise to Alaska. Normally I would start my review with the embarkation process,but as this trip included BA flights from Heathrow to Vegas,and there were significant issues, I felt I should start this review from the very beginning. For the first time we departed from BA's Terminal 5, and to our horror we discovered there was no executive lounge available to anyone other than BA Frequent Flyers of Silver Level and above. I don't know what percentage of passengers departing Terminal 5 are frequent flyers of that level with BA, but I'm willing to bet there are a significant number who at not. Added to this lack of executive lounge facility, we could not find any access to wi-fi. We have been fortunate enough to travel all over the world, and this is the only terminal in which we have ever encountered this problem. Sadly, however, our problems did not end there. We boarded our Boeing 747 for the 10 hour flight, only to find that for the second time running with BA, we had to endure a long haul journey with no in-flight entertainment as the system wasn't working in some of the seats. Apparently this affected about ten people. In our experience with BA, the staff are helpful and friendly, and when we encountered this problem on our previous flight back from Hong King last December, the purser was able to move us to other seats. On this occasion however, the flight was full, so the flight attendants were very apologetic, and we were promised our problem was recorded, and that we would hear from BA HQ. As this is a cruise review, I won't talk too much about Las Vegas, except to say it was about our twentieth visit so clearly we love the place, although more than about four days would give us sensory overload. We departed Vegas for San Diego to embark upon the Celebrity Century. The embarkation process was speedy and efficient, and we love the way Celebrity allow you to board the ship early and enjoy the facilities, while you wait for your cabin to be ready. This was our first Celebrity cruise as Elite Members, and to the best of our knowledge, the Celebrity/Royal Caribbean loyalty programme is the best in the industry, and we were very impressed with all our additional benefits. For what it's worth, we are also at the top level with Fred Olsen and there is simply no comparison. Following my previous mixed review of our cruise on the Celebrity Milennium, we embarked the Century not knowing what to expect. We very quickly learnt that despite these two ships belonging to the same company, and operating presumably to the same policies and procedures - these two ships are world's apart. It is fair to say we are pretty demanding passengers, who expect a high quality service, and we are not prone to handing out praise if it isn't earned. The crew on the Century have a can do attitude, and were very friendly, helpful and efficient in every department, with the exception of one person on the front desk, and one waiter. The ship not only has character, but also a great atmosphere. Up until this cruise our favourite ship was definitely the Azamara Quest, now it's a close run thing. As far as the negatives go, and this won't take long, we started with a cabin on deck 4 (4071) and it was easily the noisiest cabin we have ever had, mainly because it was below the galley. In fairness we were moved to another cabin, with a minimum of fuss, and more than adequately compensated for our inconvenience. We had one or two other minor niggles and these were also dealt with in an efficient and friendly manner. The only major issue, and it's more to do with company policy than the ship itself was unlike the wine cruise we did on the Constellation in Europe last year, we were unable to drink any wine on board that we may have bought on any of the excursions. Consequently we decided not to do any of the wine tours, so our business was lost. Also, this was our first back to back cruise, and we never realised that at the end of the first half of the cruise we would have to finalise our account, and start all over again the next day, with all that entails which of course meant attending another muster drill, and being treated by some of the staff as a new passenger which was slightly irritating, particularly as they messed up our account details for the second part of the cruise. The other problem with the back to back cruise was that the dinner menu was repeated in the second week. Anyway, onto the practicalities. The cabins were adequate and clean. The ship's public areas were all clean, well-presented and spacious. There were always plenty of activities going on, and the ship's resident performers and evening shows were of a high standard. The ship's gym was the best equipped I have ever seen, and I never once saw an out of order sign on any of the equipment. My one criticism of the Spa was the exorbitant prices charges for any of the treatments on offer, but I guess if some people have more money than sense and are willing to pay, you can't really blame the company for charging what they think the market will bear. Also, the shore excursions were a little expensive, and I would question the value for money aspect, but as with the Spa, if people are willing to pay etc. etc. As I mentioned earlier, the service on board was easily amongst the best we have ever encountered. The waiters, the concierge, future cruise sales, cleaners, and bar staff were all excellent, and the company should send all of its' staff for training in guest services to the Century, because in over twenty cruises, the guest services staff were the best we have ever encountered - light years ahead, nothing was ever too much trouble. They were friendly, helpful and extremely efficient, and I wouldn't normally give name checks but on this occasion I will make an exception. Cristian, the guest services managers, in my humble opinion, should be put in charge of training for the whole company. He was always friendly, approachable, and keen to resolve any problems. As was Lisa, a member of Cristian's team on the front desk, who was easily the most friendly, helpful and caring person we have ever encountered on a front desk, and did everything possible to ensure any problems we had were quickly and efficiently dealt with. Also the I.T. staff were helpful and much friendlier than they often are on cruise ships. The first part of this cruise was a Pacific Coast wine cruise, so we attended a number of wine tasting events which were both informative and interesting, and the second part of the cruise went up to Alaska. Sadly the shop staff were not as friendly as we would have hoped, and we were continually pestered by the ship's photographers. Also, the choice of TV channels was limited, but that always seems to be a weak point on a ship. There were minor niggles which did not affect our enjoyment of the cruise, although we, along with many of our fellow passengers could have done with the hot tub being a little cooler. One other thing. The cruise terminal in Vancouver with two other ships in was pandemonium, and be warned. There are U.S. Immigration officials there and the queues were horrendous. We certainly will not be visiting there again. Brits beware, I was forced to buy a new ESTA, even though I had a perfectly good one. Fortunately, and to be fair when we disembarked the Century the following week, we were off the ship and clear of the terminal within minutes. Celebrity, like some of the other lines give you the option to walk off if you can carry your own luggage, and the staff in Canadian Customs were very friendly, welcoming and efficient. In summary, we loved our cruise on the Century, so much so that we will rejoin the ship for its' San Diego to Hawaii cruise in October, and very probably, again for the Panama Canal cruise next year. Read Less
Sail Date April 2013
We chose the repositioning cruise on the Radiance for our first look at Alaska. It was a wonderful trip with much warmer weather than we were warned to expect--very little rain, many sunny days. We inched very slowly toward Hubbard Glacier ... Read More
We chose the repositioning cruise on the Radiance for our first look at Alaska. It was a wonderful trip with much warmer weather than we were warned to expect--very little rain, many sunny days. We inched very slowly toward Hubbard Glacier because of all the ice in the water and watched amazing calving activity such as the crew said they had never seen. The Radiance is a beautiful, comfortable ship. Very few children aboard this time of year. I really liked the de-emphasis on art auctions. We hardly knew they were there. The number and type of other activities was about right. My only complaint was that some of the games and parties started very late at night and, especially on port days, we were very tired pretty early. Our cabin was plenty roomy but the bathroom was small with a very small shower with a little lip around the bottom to catch water. That didn't work too well. No toiletries provided. Very limited selections on the t.v. with the same movies repeated over and over the whole two weeks. I have had better food on other ships. The dinner selections were limited and consisted of small portions. Our table mates routinely ordered multiple appetizers and main courses and sometimes desserts in order to feel full. Food in the Windjammer was just okay. For those on a budget as we were, a few suggestions: Don't use the expensive Internet connection on the ship and use instead the internet at the libraries in port--20 minute sessions per person are free. The libraries in Sitka and Skagway are easy to locate in town. Also in Skagway, rangers give free walking tours of the town loaded with historical commentary and very entertaining. The walks start at the museum near the pier. In Juneau, passengers were taken to Mendenhall Glacier for $7 each way with much interesting information provided by the driver. We took the bus trip to the Canadian border out of Skagway which travels the approximate route of the train and is much less expensive. The showroom entertainment on the Radiance was the best I have seen in four cruises taken. Argentinian comedians Mario and Daniel were hilarious and then produced a phenomenal tango show a few nights later. All shows really top notch. Overall, a wonderful trip, including easy, well-organized loading and unloading, especially in Vancouver where they have cruise ship arrival down to a science. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
The "Millenium" is a beautiful ship. We have sailed on the "Mercury" twice before and loved her too, but the "Millenium" is a very special, very elegant ship to say the least. Our Concierge Class Cabin was ... Read More
The "Millenium" is a beautiful ship. We have sailed on the "Mercury" twice before and loved her too, but the "Millenium" is a very special, very elegant ship to say the least. Our Concierge Class Cabin was roomy, restful and welcoming. The queen sized bed was very comfortable, and there was plenty of storage space. The balcony was large enough, with 2 comfy chairs and a small round table. The bathroom was the largest we have had on a cruise ship of this category, and very well laid out. Most importantly, it was extremely quiet, which is something we treasure. We dined twice in the "Olympic" Restaurant, and is was delightful. The service and food was excellent, and the room itself reminiscent of a bygone era, with wood panelling and crystal lighting. The main dining room (the Metropolitan) was also very good. The service and food were first class with a good variety of dishes and styles. We chose the late seating at 8.30pm and this proved to be perfect for us. The buffet area "Ocean Cafe" was great for breakfast and lunch. The variety and quality was good, with all the usual specialty stations for eggs, pasta, ice cream etc. It was sometimes hard to find a seat (the ship was full), but we always got one after a few minutes. Now to the entertainment - it was fantastic !!! Probably the best we have had on any cruise (9 cruises to date, including Crystal and Holland America). Kate, the pianist in Michael's Club was brilliant. What a wonderful entertainer she is. She would light up the room every night with her vibrant personality and extensive repertoire. She even entertained us on shore (in her own time) at the Red Onion Saloon in Skagway, much to the delight of the packed house who sang along with their old favourites. Also the A Cappella Quartet, Chamber Music Quartet, and D'Revelation Party Band were exceptional. The Celebrity Dancers and Singers were outstanding, and the Production Shows always thrilled the audience, often finishing to a standing ovation. We booked our Shore Excursions on line before we left, and everything ran smoothly and efficiently. You certainly could save money if you organised these tours yourself, but we opted to have everything pre-arranged to save time. All in all, this was a very memorable cruise - for all the right reasons !!! We would happily recommend Celebrity in general, and the "Millennium" in particular to all our friends and family. You will not be disappointed either. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
We flew in the day of the Cruise. Our day started at 3:30 AM, so by the time we got to San Diego we were tired already. There were two ships boarding at the same time which made going thru security rather slow with a long line. This took ... Read More
We flew in the day of the Cruise. Our day started at 3:30 AM, so by the time we got to San Diego we were tired already. There were two ships boarding at the same time which made going thru security rather slow with a long line. This took between 45 Minutes and an Hour. Once thru security we got in the really short line for suites and was checked in within minutes-then surprize we were offered a special for the Olympic for only $5 each we could eat there on the first night. Of course we said yes. The room was amazing. The only draw back was we had a smaller closet, but we still had plenty of space to store our items for the 14 day cruise. This is one of the largest Sky Suites and the bath room is amazing. Our butler and Cabin steward were wonderful and we never had to ask for anything more than once. The Olympic restaurent is great and well worth the extra money. We went there two nights and it was great. For the Main dining room, we usually have a table for two and with booking this cruise two years in advance you would think we wouldn't have a problem. Once we checked in my husband went to verify our table and the matra'd(sp) said he only had one table for two, however he had us sitting at a table for six and we should at least try it and if we didnt' like it he would change it. Well we were very lucky and discovered that we got along famously with both of the couples we were seated with. The food was good, although we did order from the left side of the menu several time. The French Onion soup was to die for. Service sometimes was a bit slow but with the great conversaions we had with our tablemates it was Ok. We ate breakfast in our room the whole time. Lunch was split between the buffet and room service and sometimes we had it on our excursions. All the crew was nice and friendly. No mater who you met there was always a welcome hello and hope everything is going well. We even got a midway review card in our room, so if you had problems they could fix them right away. There was only smoking on the deck 10 aft bar and deck 10 port side by the pool and the Deck 11 club the Cosmos. So I tended to ride the elevators quiet a bit. We didn't see all the shows, but we enjoyed the ones we did see. The Piano player in Michael's club Katie was great. What an entertainer. The music was a bit loud in the Cosmos but we made due. We actually had 7 port stops, but there is only space for 6 on this review area, so the one we will be missing below is our last stop in Victoria. We did the historic horse drawn trolley, and the Burchase garden tour. The trolley was fun. The gardens were great but only an hour and a half is not enough time to see everything. The weather was great. Debarkation: Getting off the ship was the easiest we have ever had it. By the time we got to the Rendezvous for our 8:00AM group, we just had time to sit and then they called our group. Getting thru customs in Canada was the easiest. However we had the shuttle ride to the Airport where we were going to rent a car for our 2 day stay. This is where the waiting began. We had to wait for close to an hour for our luggage to arrive. Then we were off for a two day stay in Vancouver. Read Less
Sail Date April 2010
One year ago, we were on the RADIANCE of the Seas for a 2 week Panama Canal, from Fort Lauderdaleto San Diego.  This year, we returned to San Diego for the re-position cruise to Alaska.It was a wonderful cruise.We arrived in San Diego two ... Read More
One year ago, we were on the RADIANCE of the Seas for a 2 week Panama Canal, from Fort Lauderdaleto San Diego.  This year, we returned to San Diego for the re-position cruise to Alaska.It was a wonderful cruise.We arrived in San Diego two days before the cruise and, stayed at the Hampton Inns,very close to the terminal.  Our cruising buddies were staying at the Holiday Innacross the street from the cruise terminal.  Our rates at the Hampton were reasonable,we got HH Points, and, warm cookies each evening, to get in practice for the cruise.On cruise day, we schleped our bags 2 blocks to the Holiday Inn to catch up withour friends...then, we crossed the street for our check-in.Our check-in in San Diego was fairly smooth, but, somewhat dis-jointed, however, overall,it went pretty smoothly.  Our 2nd day at sea we all had dinner at CHOPS.  I had the T-Bone and, the others hadfilets....dinner was EXCELLENT..and, certainly worth the price. Plus, we had somefantastic California Merlot.  One of my cruising friends loves PORTOFINO's Tiramisue, and, CHOPS complied with his wishes so, he had a PORTOFINO's desert and, he loved it.We had our first port-of-call in San Francisco. The weather was perfectand, we spent our time mostly on a cruise around San Francisco Bay and,eating lunch at "The Wharf".  Very easy walking from the ship pier.Two days later we arrived at Icy Strait Point, or, Hoona Alaska.  Zip-Line country.We had perfect weather..and, although we did not zip-line, we watch those that didand, it is a very popular attraction.  This is a nice port-of-call. I was disapointed to finoutthat crab season starts June 1st...and, thus, I was not able to get some more Alaskan crabat th is port...after June 1st...be sure you try this great seafood...I had it the LAST time,2 years ago when we were there and, it is fantastic...Our next visit was at Hubbard Bay glacier.  This was another perfect weather day.The Captain of the RADIANCE got us within about 1 mile from the 76 mile long glacier.We saw many "calving" of the ice bergs falling off the glacier...and, the associated"white thunder" that goes along with this.  We spent several hours in the bay...and, we hadlunch in the buffet, with the glacier as a backdrop. The food was excellent...what a GREAT day.Skagway was tremendous..a blue sky and, sunny day...lots of cruisersas there were several ships in port with us.  Visited all the shops thereand, of course the "Red Onion Saloon".  I liked the girls that worked there smilingat me and, calling me "Hey Handsome.."  Next was Juneau. We went on a Salmon Bake cook-out.  It was cheap.. $42.00 each.This was GREAT.  Again, perfect weather.Fantastic fresh Salmon, with all the "fixins", waterfalls, and, a real gold mine (closed off)Although we had an excellent Salmon Bake excursion, our friends went on a Whale watching trip,and, they saw an incredible amount of both Orca whales and, Humpback whales doing what whales do.We were sorry we never took this excursion, but, we did see whales from the ship.  The Captain announcedtwice about seeing them from the bridge...once, even during his 12 noon position report.Ketchikan is an excellent port-of-call.  Our Captain arranged 2 extra hours by leaving Juneauearly...that was a real treat...the Captain should be commended for this...He even "arranged"perfect weather here for us too...As in every port of call on this cruise we had literally Chamber of Commerce weather.Blue skies, calm winds and, cool temperatures to slightly warm temperatures.I heard some locals in Juneau talking about it being "too warm" there right now.Of course we were in the "Red Onion Saloon" and, this is where we heard this...Our cruise to Vancouver B.C. was so spectacular ..again, perfect weather.Everyday of this cruise was wonderful.  We met many Cruise Critic members and, arenow our friends.  Each evening, we would go to the Concierge Lounge at 5 P.M. to meetand, mingle, drink and, have fun.  That is my only complaintwith R.C.C.L., as we are Diamond members and, awhile before becoming Diamond Plus members.We will not be allowed to go to the CL after September 1st.  To us, this really takes awayfrom our cruise experience, on R.C.C.L. And, not only us...alot of grumbling about the cuttingof services...even one good soul was on the ship passing out macadamia chocolates, sincethe cruise stopped that practice.  We also, really missed the newspapers we used to read daily onthe ship.  Finding newspapers even on shore is not easy anymore.  USA Today had appearently stopped delivering to Alaska. One drug store managersaid he has not seen "any this year yet.."We had super MDR table mates.Our waiters there were incredible...with Aysun, from Turkey as our Head Waiter.She is a real treat and, hopefully, you can meet her sometime. If you meet her, you will for sure remember her.Our cabin steward was Anthony from Costa Rica..He was an excellent attendant.Our only complaint about the ship was the smoky casino.  They had 2 NO SMOKING nights.We were only able to go to one of those.  The dis-embarkation in Vancouver went pretty smoothly.No complaints.  But, the Vancouver airport, was another matter.I don't know if I EVER want to go through there again and, that process.Someopne told us, it was a holiday week-end, and, FOUR cruise shipsleft off passengers on that Sunday morning, May 22nd.  One can do the mathon how many passengers must have went through that terminal that morning.Our UNITED airlines check in was over an hour between, check-in, customs and, TSA.That was alot of shuffiling in line and, standing there.Our flight out of Vancouver was was smooth and, sunny...anotherperfect day....like the 11 before that.  We truly had perfect weather that cruiseand, it made for a wonderful holiday. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
   Last October we criused the Radiance to Hawaai; that was our all time favorite cruise out of 30 cruised.  When we returned home I plugged in the Radiance on RCCL website and found the May 11th cruise to Alaska at a good price and ... Read More
   Last October we criused the Radiance to Hawaai; that was our all time favorite cruise out of 30 cruised.  When we returned home I plugged in the Radiance on RCCL website and found the May 11th cruise to Alaska at a good price and booked it.  Now this Alaska cruise was great too.   The staff, crew, and other passengers are all happy and nice which makes the difference.  Our statis of 25 Royal cruises behind us gives us added bonuses and priveledges.   The food was very good but some evenings lack great selections but they did have daily standards of steak or salmon you can order.   To tell you how big this ship is and the amenities it has, we found the SeaSide Cafe on Deck 12 on our Alaskan that we missed on the 15 night cruise to Hawaai.   We did not use the Spa and did not find them serving hot cocoa to us nor giving us blankets on deck at the Glacier.  Incidentally we have great weather through out the cruise and only needed our coats and gloves at the Glacier.   This cruise might come in second out of our 30 cruises.  We will surely go on our 5th Alaskan cruise sometime in the future and we will, also, probably cruise on the Radiance again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
Radiance of the Seasby Dick SteinCoastal and AlaskaMay 11-22, 2009 This was our  12th RCCL Cruise, our second with this line in 3 years, we have done 22 cruises with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL and 13 cruises with Celebrity.  We ... Read More
Radiance of the Seasby Dick SteinCoastal and AlaskaMay 11-22, 2009 This was our  12th RCCL Cruise, our second with this line in 3 years, we have done 22 cruises with Princess, 8 cruises with HAL and 13 cruises with Celebrity.  We booked a E2 balcony on the bump.  We booked an AA flight from Cleveland to San Diego on Friday, May 9th with a 3 hour layover at DFW.  All flights were on time, visited Daughter in San Diego till Sunday. Stayed Sunday night at the Best Western downtown and were dropped off by a hotel van at ship at 11 AM.  Could not go to cabin till 1 PM  Cabins: The cabin 7604 (cat. E2) bump balcony that was attractively decorated and good sized for the price. The balcony was nice with two plastic lounge chairs and a table. The shower is similar to what we get on Celebrity with a hose and wand arrangement. Cabin service was efficient and unobtrusive.  My wife enjoyed the bath robes.  The bed was comfortable and my wife liked the room and the short walk to elevator.  Public Areas:  As a Diamond member we had access to the Concierge Club during the day and enjoyed champagne and snacks in the Diamond lounge on deck 13 for an hour before dinner nightly. We had the Cruise Critic party in the Viking Crown lounge on the second day which was well attended and well done.  Nice to meet those I saw on line.  The shows were fine and we enjoyed that there was a priest on board to say mass daily.  Enjoyed the two free drinks with my Diamond coupon, the bars and sales in the shops. Dining: We had a nice table for 4 on deck 5, table 544 and enjoyed our table mates.  We had pizza, cookies and hot dogs  several times for a snacks. The  restaurant was nicely decorated and the food varied from excellent to good, and we had breakfast and dinner daily there and some lunches  The food in the Windjammer was also good for lunch. Tours: We redid some of our favorite tours in Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan.  We visited Alaska 6 previous times and this was our best visit to Hubbard glacier.  We were parked close to town in each port and shopped in each port for little remembrances. Disembarkation: Left ship for bus at 9:15 AM and got on the Quick Shuttle to Seattle at 10 AM.  We stayed overnight at the Best Western Airport and got an  AA flight to Cleveland at 7:30 AM with a 4 hour layover in DFW.  Got home at 11:15 PM Overall, I was satisfied and have reservations for a 11/24/09 Bermuda cruise on the Explorer of the Sea.  Since we only drink champagne we will wait and see how the new Diamond changes affect us on the next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
MS Ryndam May 4 -15 Alaska Cruise"The Cutting Back Cruise" This was my thirty-eighth cruise and my eighth on Holland America. After spending a pleasant night at the Harbor Drive Holiday Inn, we went through embarkation at ... Read More
MS Ryndam May 4 -15 Alaska Cruise"The Cutting Back Cruise" This was my thirty-eighth cruise and my eighth on Holland America. After spending a pleasant night at the Harbor Drive Holiday Inn, we went through embarkation at 11:30 AM since we had pre-registered, we had our boarding pass.  Embarkation was VERY fast.  Ten minutes at the best. We were in Stateroom 24 on Deck 10 in category S.  After dropping off our carry on luggage in the cabin we proceeded to the Lido for lunch.  The Lido's fare is typical cruise line.  Our itinerary was as follows:  San Diego, Victoria BC, Vancouver BC, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan and back to Vancouver BC.  I won't dwell on the ports except to say we took the White House Pass Railroad in Skagway and the Misty Fjords Boat Tour in Ketchikan.  They both were great!  I especially loved going into Misty Fjords.  Also we were extremely lucky regarding the weather.  The sun was out every day and although cool and a little cold at times, the weather was perfect! The cruise itself was fun and we met several interesting couples.  Our dinner mates were fun and we enjoyed their company.  I had met one couple through Cruise Critic Boards and we spent a good deal of time with them.  Thank You George and Cary. Our cabin was superlative and the room stewards were very good.  Marcus, the concierge in the Neptune Lounge was exemplary.  There were several issues which occurred and he handled all problems with efficiency and tact. We spent several evenings with Barry, the Environmental Officer.  He was very informing and a true pleasure to be with. Entertainment was typical.  We went to some of the shows but left early in some of them because we found them boring and unprofessional. The food was good but I did not think it was up to normal Holland American standards.  The exception was the Pinnacle Grill which was outstanding.  We had dinner there twice and breakfast there every morning. Disembarkation was painless and efficient.  We left the ship at 9:45 AM and the entire process including Canadian customs took about fifteen minutes. Now for the "Cutting Back" observations. 1.  My favorite bar on all HAL ships has been the Ocean Bar.  The company has made it non-smoking and we didn't frequent it for obvious reasons as we are smokers.  We did notice attendance there was fairly low. 2.  Normally in the Suite Class cabins there is a gift of Vox bottled water in the cabin upon arrival.  This has been eliminated. 3.  The menu in the dining room now has one less item.  Salad used to be a separate item from soup.  Now it is combined. 4.  We had no heat in our cabin for four days.  After repeated requests to have the problem rectified, it finally was by an engineer who understood it was merely a stuck valve in the hot/cold mix system. 5.  The down comforters have been replaced with blankets.  They (down comforters) were wonderful on chilly evenings. 6.  The wonderful hors d'oeuvres served about the ship have disappeared.  Yes they occasionally would serve skimpy pieces of so called meatballs and fried fish etc., but we didn't care for them at all.  No more Swedish meatballs.  We missed those. 7.  The Casino Bar was ashtray challenged.  It was difficult to get one.  We finally "Procured" one from the Crow's Nest and kept it on our person. 8.  We were informed by a ship's officer that sometime in the near future ALL staterooms would be non-smoking, except on the verandahs.  As this is unacceptable to us, we canceled two cruises in the future already booked. 9.  The staff in the Ocean Bar was very unfriendly.  This is out of character for HAL.  I also had a gift shop clerk act very dour. 10.  One night after a port day.  The normal evening shows were replaced with a movie.  I have never seen this before! 11.  There was no hot water in our bathroom for two mornings.  Cold showers are no fun in Alaska! 12.  Normally on a ten or eleven day cruise there are four Suite Guest functions hosted by the Captain.  We only had two. 13.  During our transit of Glacier Bay there was "No Smoking" in the smoking section of the Crow's Nest.  The Casino Bar was posted to be open from 10:00 AM until closing.  It didn't open until 4:30.  The Casino Bar is one of only two inside bars that allow smoking. 14.  We had booked transfer from Vancouver to Seattle at the end of the cruise.  The transfers were cancelled by HAL and I had to book my own transfer by telephone.  The reason given was "There were only four passengers".  The transfers were booked four months ago. 15.  The Cruise Director was very efficient.  I found her very mechanical.  I never saw her mingle with the guests.  Even at the two Captain hosted functions she was only in the reception line.  I found that quite unusual for HAL. 16.  Our travel agent had arranged for us to receive a bottle of wine as a gift.  This was never received. So the bottom line for us is we have quit cruising.  HAL is not like it used to be and although I understand the cruise industry is under financial hardships due to the adverse economy, we feel we were short changed.  This coupled with the gradual transition to "Non- Smoking" inside the ships has made us re-evaluate our vacation plans. Peter Cunningham Peterc6@bellsouth.net Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
We had an awesome vacation! It was so much fun. Weather was a delight. I had read a lot on line about the weather in Alaska, and it said to be prepared for it to rain at any time. I don't think we saw a drop of rain the entire time. ... Read More
We had an awesome vacation! It was so much fun. Weather was a delight. I had read a lot on line about the weather in Alaska, and it said to be prepared for it to rain at any time. I don't think we saw a drop of rain the entire time. Just gorgeous!! As background, our group included 2 couples in our late 40's, early 50's. My DH and I had been on 5 Carnival cruises previously, but this was our first Royal Caribbean. Our friends had done a Carnival cruise with us and 3 Royal Caribbean cruises in the past. PRE-CRUISE: We were sailing from San Diego and went out a couple days early on Saturday. We stayed at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina. It was a beautiful hotel. We had balcony rooms that overlooked the Harbor. The Red Bull airplane races were there that weekend and we could watch from our balcony as the planes flew up and down the harbor. Unbelievable! The hotel was crowded, but very nice - worth the wait at the elevators. There really is a train that goes through town in the middle of the night. Luckily, we were in the North Tower, bay side, and the noise never bothered us. The breakfast buffet was very good, but expensive. If it did not come with our room, we would not have gotten it. We saw a lot of San Diego while we were there - Gaslamp District, Midway Battleship, Petco Park, etc. I recommend the battleship tour. It was very interesting. Go early before it is crowded and hot! There are so many restaurants in the Gaslamp District that I don't know how anyone would choose where to eat. We stuck with the hotel pub and a Hard Rock Cafe as we did not feel like being too adventurous and the food was very good at both. We got sundaes at Ghirdelli's chocolate and ice cream shop. My friend said it was not as good as the one she went to in Chicago, but it was excellent. EMBARKATION: Our ship had docked a day early as it skipped a few of its Mexican ports due to the swine flu threat. It was great to be able to see our home for the next 11 days parked there as we strolled by. We saw many people from the ship around town that day. We took a cab to the dock around 10:30 am, only a few minutes away but too far to walk. We were a few minutes too early and our cab driver would not drive around until he could get into dock area. We had too many bags to walk the rest of the way as it was still a little too far. We took a pedicab the rest of the way. I had refused to ride one the entire stay in San Diego (and they are all over the place) because I thought it would feel weird or uncomfortable or elitist. But, it actually was fun. The port personnel were rather confused because the Radiance did not normally dock there, and we had some trouble getting to the right place, but we got it worked out. Once in the building, we ran into more chaos. We had thought that embarkation would go very easily due to the fact that customs would have been already cleared; however, there was an unexpected Coast Guard drill Monday morning. Things were a little frazzled getting on the ship, but went pretty well considering. (The Captain later said that the ship and crew received a very high score.) We were on the ship and in the Windjammer by 12:30 pm. The lunch buffet was great. CABIN: We had a grand suite, #1030. Our friends had a grand suite on the other side of the ship, #1530. We had perfect views of all scenery at any given time. The suite was just gorgeous and very roomy. The bathroom was very nice with marble sinks and a tub with shower. The tub is high and could be difficult for anyone with mobility issues. The bed had a curtain that went all the way around so that you could shut it off from the rest of the room if one person wanted to go to bed earlier than the other. One problem with that was that there were speakers above the bed so that watching TV would be annoying to the person trying to sleep! Our steward said there was no way to fix that problem. The balcony was huge and had 3 chairs and a table. There were floor to ceiling sliding glass doors and windows the entire length of the wall. You could see outside to the ocean from anywhere in the room, even lying in bed. There were a lot of drawers, cabinets, and storage space. With the grand suite, we also received concierge lounge privileges, of which my husband made good use. Our steward, Eduardo, was just wonderful. He was so nice and very helpful. FOOD: Food was very tasty on the ship. I did find a lot of the buffet food to be lukewarm or even cold. But it always tasted very good anyway. There was a wide variety and never a problem finding something I liked and I am rather picky. The main dining room food was very good at dinner. Our waiter, Eric, was so funny. He was really nice to our friends and went out of his way to do special things for them, such as desserts to go or even had desserts waiting at their rooms when we went to the specialty restaurants! I don't know why but he didn't seem to like my DH much. He even forgot to take his order one night, although he came running back to the table when he realized. However, he did an overall excellent job and we found him to be very humorous and likable. Our assistant waiter was borderline awful. We could not get a soda from her and had to beg for 2nd rolls. She meant well, though, just a little overwhelmed with the wine orders. Our table mates were very nice and we all got along well. I found the portions to be perfect - not so much that you were stuffed but you did not leave hungry. Lamb, duck, steak, prime rib - all were excellent. Chocolate Sensation for dessert was my favorite! Sourdough rolls are to die for! We had breakfast in the main dining room on several days, hoping to get some breakfast that was warmer, especially as it was very difficult to find a table in the Windjammer buffet area. My friend's french toast was delicious and hot she said, but my pancakes were ice cold every time. At the buffet, even when they brought the pan out right in front of me, the pancakes were cold. Oh well - there were many other things to eat and the danish were excellent. The beverage service in the main dining room was poor. Unless you were drinking wine or expensive brandy, you didn't have a chance of getting served a beer or drink. Our bar server seemed new and a little clueless, yet sweet, so we weren't upset. It was fine - we made do with the water. The Seaview Cafe had excellent burgers, hot dogs, chili, etc. It was a little hard to find, which was good because it could get crowded. We went twice at off hours and really liked it. The specialty restaurants were incredible. Food and service were perfect. At Chops, the steak was excellent. My DH got a pork dish that literally melted in your mouth. Our friend ordered (or thought he did) the t-bone. He got a sirloin. He was confused and just casually mentioned that he thought he ordered a T-bone. He ate the sirloin and then they brought him out the T-bone!! He put a good dent in that too. :) The Head Waiter was distressed at the error and anytime we saw him after that in the Windjammer buffet, he would rush to find us a table or have drinks brought to us. Wow! We also went to the Mystery Dinner at Portofino's. At first, we were afraid that it would be rather lame, but once we got into Portofino's, it was a blast. It was fun and funny. The food was just awesome. My absolute favorite of the trip. I got the Chicken Parm and it was the best I have ever had. My DH got the Filet Mignon and Shrimp, and he said it was perfect. The service there was incredible. The wine was included in the price of the Mystery Dinner and no one's glass ever got below 2/3's empty. The Head Waiter saw that my DH was drinking beer (he had gone out to get his own) and the Head Waiter came right over and asked what he was drinking. After that, my DH's beer glass never got below 2/3's empty. They even had beer chilling for him in the wine buckets. It was a great experience and one worth doing. ENTERTAINMENT: We felt the entertainment was rather lacking. They only had one comedian (who was very funny - can't remember his name) even though it was a repositioning cruise 11 days long, and we felt that they could have brought other entertainers on board. The other singers were vocally excellent, but the choice of songs had us leaving early every time. We could have been on the younger side of what the age of the general audience, though, as many people said they enjoyed it. The most fun that we had was watching the disco party in the Centrum. It was truly hysterical watching the crowd. Members of our cruise critic group went up and down in the glass elevator dancing with the Indian from the Macho Men. I never laughed so hard. The CD was Kirk Deitweiler. I heard mixed opinions about him. Some people loved him and some people didn't like him. I thought he was okay. He came to our Meet and Mingle, held in the Skyview Bar, and was very nice. We had a very big turnout for it. I had never gone to one before and thought it was very nice of RCCL to do this. CASINO: My husband won a little in the casino, which made him happy in the first few days. When he stopped winning, he (luckily) stopped playing. We had a Slot Pull with our Cruise Critic group (Pipeline Partiers). We put $15 in each and came away with $11 each, so we were happy. It was a lot of fun. We also went on the Cabin Crawl with the Pipeline Partiers. It was very interesting to see all the different types of cabins. Our group hosted other activities, but those were the only ones we attended. It was great meeting all the people I had been "talking" to online. I got a lot of great tips from them in the months leading up to the cruise. SEA DAYS: We had several sea days during the course of the cruise. We did a lot of stuff and it was fun without being too much to do. We went to the Captain's talk and it was interesting. He is a very funny man. We also were invited to a behind the scenes tour. However, we left early because we hadn't realized that it was just for the theater and at the exact time that we were pulling up to Hubbard Glacier, so we felt that we would much prefer to be outside. My DH and friends ditched me without a word, just walking out. I waited until the person giving the tour went to check the dressing rooms to make my getaway more politely, but I couldn't stop laughing, so I'm not sure how polite it actually was. We ate a lot. Our friends would knock and ask if I wanted to go to the Windjammer with them. Every time, I would say I'm not hungry, but I'll walk with you. I ended up carrying a huge plate of food back to the table every time. We saw some whales on the way up to Alaska. We were thrilled! INTERNET: Internet connection was fairly slow and kind of hit or miss, but they warned us that it might happen due to the mountains. I also found the interactive TV system they have to be far inferior to Carnival's. It was so slow and sometimes didn't work at all. I had some trouble getting our onboard credits worked out with the Purser's Office, but they eventually figured it out correctly. They were nice and friendly at every encounter. COMPARISON: A comparison of Carnival and RCCL might in order. I have been on mostly Spirit class ships for Carnival and this was a Radiance class ship for RCCL. I felt the ships were comparable in size, how they were laid out, and things to do. There were a few more bars and specialty restaurants on the RCCL. The Radiance is a beautiful ship and very classy and elegant. The Carnival ships were just as beautiful to me but in a gaudy and fun way. I felt Carnival was just slightly better in food because the food was warmer. Taste, they were fairly equal with a slight edge to Carnival. Entertainment goes to Carnival hands down. Suite amenities to RCCL, which were just awesome. Service to Carnival in food and just slightly to RCCL in room, though we paid extra tips for that due to the higher suite gratuity. PORTS: We didn't do any of the ship sponsored tours, just ones we had found ourselves on line or through the Pipeline Partiers. San Francisco - We did the early bird Alcatraz tour, buying it online from the Alcatraz website prior to the trip. It was very good. It was smart to go early so there were no long lines to wait in. We were the first tour over there. After that, we took a trolley tour through San Francisco and walked around some of the piers. At Boudins', the clam chowder bowl was delicious. One shop on one of the piers had tiny donuts that were out of this world. We went back for more. Icy Straight Point - A lot of people went on the zip line. It never occurred to me, but after seeing the videos, I think it would have been fun. It is the highest one there is they said. We didn't do a tour here and I'm glad we didn't. There didn't seem to be too much to offer in town. We walked into town instead of taking the shuttle. It was a pretty walk, but was (or at least seemed!) a lot longer than the 1 mile they claimed it to be. We saw several bald eagles and the view of the ship tendered in the harbor was spectacular. In town, there was nothing to do. Maybe they will build the town up more as it is a fairly recent port stop. We did do some shopping at the port area and got some of the better deals of the trip. Skagway - We did a tour through the Classic Car Tour company. A driver in a 1963 Cadillac picked us up at the ship pier and took us to the White Rail and Yukon Train Station and got us on the train. We took the train up to Canada. The views were incredible. Sit on the left side of the train, so you can see the view much better. Once in Canada, the classic car picked us up and drove us back down to Skagway and around town. Our driver was a sweet young lady who was very friendly and knowledgeable. She stopped at several vantage points so we could get out and take pictures. It was a terrific experience. We had requested the 1946 car, but it was in the shop. No one notified us of the change in cars until we were picked up, but the excursion was so awesome that we didn't mind. Someone else had gotten the 1939 car and it was really beautiful. Our party was a little too big for that one - the 1939 fit 3 comfortably. The 1963 was perfect - very roomy and the only car to have all its original parts. The tour costs about $5 more a person than the train and bus back trip through RCCL but was well worth the cost. We went shopping in Skagway but didn't eat there as the prices seemed very steep when we could eat for free on the ship. We were starving by the time we got back on the ship, though. Hubbard Glacier - It was such a beautiful day. We didn't even need coats as we viewed the glacier. Because of the great weather, the captain was able to get very close. He said it was one of the closest he has ever been able to get. I don't know if they say that to everyone, but we were like a football field away. We got great pictures and video of the calving. It was like a huge clap of thunder or a sonic boom. Because we had balconies on both sides, we had tremendous private views the entire time. Juneau - Pipeline Partiers had a lot of people going on a whale watching tour with Orca tours set up on our own and it was cheaper than through RCCL. We also did the Mendenhall Glacier tour with Orca. The waterfall at the Glacier was gorgeous and well worth walking over to see up close. The whale watch was one of the highlights of the entire trip. Captain Larry found pods of orcas, humpback whales, sea lions, and bald eagles. The sun was shining even though the guide said it rains 99% of the time there. Orcas surrounded us at one point. Just amazing!! The pictures and video we were able to get are stunning. It was a fascinating and exhilarating experience. Ketchikan - The captain left Juneau a little earlier than scheduled so that we could spend some extra time in Ketchikan, where we had been scheduled to arrive at 2 pm. That was very nice of him to arrange that even though it didn't really matter to us. We didn't have a tour planned there and just walked around town and looked at some totem poles and purchased souvenirs. Inside Passage - The scenery was gorgeous. Usually, when you cruise all you can see is water, but here there is great beauty surrounding you at all times. If I close my eyes, I can just picture standing on that helipad deck at the front of the ship surrounded by the most amazing images. We passed small villages and lighthouses. At one point, a small motorboat sailed up next to us and a rider played his trumpet. Three times he pulled up and played a song - the Canadian national anthem, "Oh say can you see", and "the Saints came marching in". Vancouver - The debarkation was a little rough. It took a lot longer than most of our previous debarkations. Due to our concierge privileges, we were able to wait in Portofino's, which was nice, as they were about an hour or two behind schedule debarking. We put our bags out the night before to be picked up, and I was glad. My fingers were blue just holding miscellaneous carry-ons from waiting in the long lines. Once finally off the ship, we hijacked a car service van whose passengers seemed to have left. The driver was very nice and took us to the National car rental office about 2 miles away so we didn't have to wait for their shuttle, which actually we never saw arrive even when we got to their office. There were several ships in port that morning, which made for quite a mad house. We rented a car and drove to Seattle, so we didn't stay in Vancouver long. It was pretty crowded so we were anxious to get out and on our way. The drive to Seattle was pretty good. There was about a 90 minute wait at the border. I was excited - it was my first real border crossing (except for the drive from Canada into Alaska after the train ride). Since it was Memorial Weekend, I didn't think the wait was too excessive. The Border Agent was very nice and friendly. It helped that he saw my DH's police badge. Seattle - We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Seattle for 2 nights. What an absolutely gorgeous hotel - one of the nicest at which we have ever stayed. The rooms were tremendous, especially as they were not all that expensive for a hotel right downtown. The bathroom was beautiful with marble sinks, a separate shower stall and tub, and even a phone. The tub's faucet was like a mini waterfall. The employees were so friendly and gracious, each and every one from the bell hop to the front desk to the customer service reps we dealt with before and after the trip. Be forewarned - there were a lot of hidden taxes in the room service. We just got a $10 pot of coffee that ended up being close to $20 once they added all the fees and taxes and gratuity (which my DH didn't realize and also gave the server a tip!). We would definitely stay there again if we ever go to Seattle again. We went to a baseball game at Safeco Field and to the Space Needle. There was a free festival around the Space Needle that weekend, and it became a rather harrowing experience with the number of people and trying to find our way out. All in all, it was a perfect vacation - a trip of a lifetime. I don't think we will ever be able to top it - but I'm sure we will keep trying! Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
My husband and I decided a year ago that we would like to give Luxury cruising a try. At the recommendation of a friend, we booked with Seven Seas Mariner for the "repositioning" cruise to Alaska. We were "newbies" to ... Read More
My husband and I decided a year ago that we would like to give Luxury cruising a try. At the recommendation of a friend, we booked with Seven Seas Mariner for the "repositioning" cruise to Alaska. We were "newbies" to this ship so kept an open mind especially after reading other comments here. From the moment we embarked to the time if disembarkation we were delighted. Our suite was extremely comfortable and well appointed. Our stewardess, Katherine, was extremely capable and efficient. The crew was the most friendly and helpful group we have ever experienced on all of our other cruises. Not once were we not greeted with a kind smile and attentiveness. We were fortunate with our weather as there was no rain at all on this trip. Our shore excursions were very pleasant - we did a local tour of Seattle and Prince Rupert, a motor coach tour of Skagway, and a trip to the Totem Pole park in Ketchikan. The local folks were always happy to see our groups and provided a great deal of information about their respective areas. This was not our first Alaska adventure and was a repeat of prior visits and excursions. So far as dining was concerned - well, let's just say that we both enjoyed every single bite of the wide variety of offerings. We dined at every venue. The Compass Rose was great for all three meals per day. The Veranda was particularly nice as an alternate for dinner. The two specialty restaurants, Signature and Latitudes, were magnificent. I have some common food allergies, and with advance notice, my selected preferences were prepared to suit my special needs. We also enjoyed room service which was always served promptly and efficiently. The entertainment that we attended was top notch. There was even a group of four dancers from the San Francisco Ballet who performed beautifully - quite a feat on a moving ship! The casino was kind to me and I left a bit wealthier than I arrived. Disembarkation was simple and very smooth. The customs officials were helpful and courteous. We extended our visit with a two night stay in Victoria which was a lovely way to finish off a dream come true cruise. I highly recommend this ship to anyone who enjoys a wonderful cruise on a wonderful ship. I can only hope that I will have the opportunity to travel with Regent Seven Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2008
This was our 9th or 10th cruise (can't remember any more), our first Holland America. We've sailed RCCL, Princess (2x) and NCL (1x). We are in our later 40's, and usually travel without our son, although he's been on 3 ... Read More
This was our 9th or 10th cruise (can't remember any more), our first Holland America. We've sailed RCCL, Princess (2x) and NCL (1x). We are in our later 40's, and usually travel without our son, although he's been on 3 cruises with us (he's 20). We were hesitant to sail HAL, as our perception of it has always been a cruise line for the retired set, and maybe a little more upper crust than the other cruise lines we've sailed. We were very pleasantly surprised to find that neither was the case. The median age for the 4-day Pacific Coast segment was about what we expected, but when we picked up the Alaska-bound crowd in Vancouver, that changed. And the atmosphere on the ship was very relaxed, comfortable; we loved it! Another thing we noticed was that the crew were also very relaxed, seemed to enjoy their jobs, were cheerful and polite and not forced or desperate to earn their income. They ate in the same dining rooms as we, came and went through the public areas, were very pleasant and enjoyable. We flew non-stop to San Diego a day before we embarked the ship, and got into San Diego about 9:30 am. We arrived at the Westin Horton Plaza (Gaslamp) between 10:00 and 10:30 am, and asked if we could leave our bags until check-in, and they asked if we wanted to go ahead and check in...of course!! And they didn't charge us any extra. They were very accommodating and helpful, the hotel was very beautiful and clean, our room was quiet (on the 10th floor), with a partial view of the bay, a very comfortable bed, and they allowed us to check out by 1:00 pm without any additional charge. We embarked the ship in the early afternoon on the 28th of April, there was no line at all, and we had done the on-line check in, so all we had to do was show ID and our credit card, go through security check and walk onto the ship. The ship wasn't full for the 4-day segment to Vancouver, so that probably influenced the amount of people checking in, but it was very seamless. We had an inside cabin on the Deck 4, the lowest passenger deck, and there was no cabin immediately on either side of us, and the cabin was laid out sideways, so we actually had a lot of room and it was very comfortable. The bed was VERY comfortable - we had a Tempurpedic bed at home, so we're usually not thrilled with beds away from home, but this was wonderfully comfy! Our cabin steward was Aprilla, who took excellent care of us. There was quite a bit of noise from the deck below us at the beginning and the end of our cruise, as I think the holding area for the luggage must have been below us...you could hear the machinery backing up (beep,beep) and thumping. But it wasn't all week. We had open dining, not an assigned table/dining time, which we were hesitant about, as we enjoy having the same tablemates all week. However, we thoroughly enjoyed the open dining, and had excellent tablemates every night. We think that since the Veendam is a much smaller ship than others we've sailed on recently, we actually saw our tablemates quite often around the ship and even on shore! The menu was varied, the food was as good as any we've had on any cruise, and service was excellent. The Lido Restaurant (on Deck 11) was very well organized - we really liked that the service was basically in a line, and they served you rather than the mad dash from station to station we've experienced elsewhere. AND there was glass between diners and servers, so other people's germs weren't exposed to your food before you got it! Also, they were preparing food as you went through the line, so it hadn't necessarily been sitting in a serving dish for a long time. The food was VERY good for buffet food, and choices were numerous. My husband loved the bread pudding, and I loved the mixed fruit cobbler that they had almost every day as well. There was a salmon bake on the Lido deck on the day we were in Glacier Bay, and it was very good. Also a chocolate buffet (really, a dessert buffet) one night, and it was very well organized and nicely presented (there were 4 serving lines). We only took one ship's excursion, and that was to Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC. It was on time, the driver was very fun and informative, and he took us on a driving tour around Victoria that was very interesting and allowed us to see a lot more of the city than we would have on our own. The Castle was nice, but I wish I'd chosen Butchart Gardens (didn't because I thought it would be rainy & cold, but it wasn't!). It was a nice tour, though. The weather was windy and cool up the Pacific Coast, although we had sunshine while in Victoria. Vancouver was cool and cloudy, but it didn't rain. We walked from Canada Place to Stanley Park (over a mile), and I wish we'd had more time (and energy, after walking there!) to explore the park. It was very beautiful, and there's so much there to see. Our first Alaska port was Juneau, and it was cool and misting, but we were able to go to the Mendenhall Glacier and hike around the area. Our second port was Skagway, where we rode the White Pass & Yukon Railroad - the scenery was very beautiful, and as we got higher in the pass, it was snowing. You could easily imagine the miners hiking up the pass, and the incredible journey they undertook. Our day in Glacier Bay was incredible - sunny, calm winds, snow-capped mountains, indescribably beautiful. We were out on the deck most of the day, enjoying the scenery, looking for wildlife. There was a naturalist on board who was very knowledgeable and helpful in what to look for, pointing out wildlife, and answering questions. There were also park rangers on board for the day, narrating over the PA system. They served hot Dutch pea soup on deck in the late morning, and of course the salmon bake for lunch on deck. What a wonderful day - it was the highlight of the whole trip! Our last day in Alaska was at Ketchikan, where we took a float plane trip over Misty Fjords in a Dehavilland Beaver - again, amazing scenery and a very enjoyable trip. Well worth the money, and what a way to see the fjords! We were the only ship in port in all three Alaska ports, which meant that it wasn't crowded in town, in the shops, on the tours...a nice change from our last Caribbean cruise! The weather was probably in the 40's in Alaska, but we were prepared with plenty of warm clothing (layers) and jackets and hiking shoes (waterproof). The Veendam is not a new ship, it does show some wear, but it is still a beautiful ship, clean and in good repair. There is some very interesting artwork all around the ship. The Explorations Cafe is a very inviting space, with recliners, comfy chairs, a coffee shop, internet, magazines, library, places to play games or chat or read. We went to some of the evening shows, not all - saw Perfect Gentlemen (a barbershop quartet), a couple of comedians...the Ruben's Lounge is very comfortable, good views from almost anywhere, and always a seat available. Really enjoyed the Crow's Nest bar (on Deck 12), for its bar servers as well as the incredible views up there. Bar service all over the ship was the most laid-back we've ever experienced! The HalCats band on the ship was superb - excellent musicians! And the Lakota Strings group was very well liked. Room service was always very prompt, and pleasant. A nice touch was cloth hand towels in the public rest rooms. The staff seemed willing to be very helpful, above and beyond what was expected. We signed up for Signature Express (US Direct) service for debarkation in Vancouver, and WOW! Easiest debarkation we've ever had. It was WELL worth the $16 for the service plus the $25 for the ship-to-airport transfer (HAL). They print your boarding passes & luggage tags for you, and your luggage goes from your stateroom to your home airport (you don't have to pick it out of the pile of luggage on the pier, lug it to the airport, go through customs, stand in line & check in). On the last morning, you gather in the show lounge, they take you as a group to your bus, you're "sealed" in the bus to the airport, customs officials come on the bus and take care of Canadian customs, you're taken to the airport terminal where you go inside, go through security (there was no one else in this security line), and you're ready to board your plane! I highly recommend it, if it's offered! All in all, a wonderful cruise! We loved Alaska, we loved Holland America, and are spoiled now - it will be hard to go back to the other cruise lines we've sailed after being so pampered! Read Less
Sail Date April 2008
Living in San Jose we chose this cruise because we could drive to the port. Prior to the cruise we had a fairly active roll call group. It was great to meet them once we got aboard and throughout the week it was fun to have somebody to ... Read More
Living in San Jose we chose this cruise because we could drive to the port. Prior to the cruise we had a fairly active roll call group. It was great to meet them once we got aboard and throughout the week it was fun to have somebody to trade stories with. Had a balcony cabin. Having cruised numerous cruiselines and having had balcony cabins before this was the smallest ever. I knew that going in but it was still smaller then I expected. Reul our cabin steward was the best I have ever had! Always there, always responsive. The shower was fine and I actually spent time reading on the balcony. Fruit was delivered as asked and our ice bucket was always full! We had anytime dining and were pleased. Never waited long - in fact I think 20 minutes for a table of six was the longest. We found a waiter and assistant that we liked and sat in their area most nights. We tipped them separately at the end of the cruise because we were so pleased with the service. We brought our own wine into the dining room each night. We ate breakfast at the buffet and one dinner as well. Had the pizza and I thought it was amazing. My husband, who is originally from Chicago, wasn't so sure about the Italian Style. I found the food in the buffet better, most times, then the dining room. We ate at Sterlings once and the steaks were good and we enjoyed a different atmosphere to eat in. My TA provided us with the ultimate balcony breakfast and it was enough food for lots! Very good. We were able to put some of the fruit in our fridge and eat it over several days. Please explain to me why they have to charge for hot chocolate. We visited Victoria (self tour to the British Museum and walking around town), Sitka (kayaking), Juneau (zip lining and rafting) and in Skagway we went on the white pass railroad. We used princess excursion except in Victoria and it worked out well. We only ran into one problem when half way through the day in Juneau the ship moved to dockside, from tendering, we were charged to get back to the dock to meet our afternoon excursion. Seems penny ante to me! All in all we had a great trip. It was our 2nd cruise to Alaska and we enjoyed it as much this time as our first time (on a different cruise line). If Princess leaves from San Francisco on an itinerary we were interested in we would probably sail them again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2007
We boarded the ship in San Diego for an eleven day cruise up to Alaska and back to Vancouver for disembarkation. Embarkation was smooth and we went to our cabin, a Verandah Suite. We had taken a "Guaranteed Cabin" which turned ... Read More
We boarded the ship in San Diego for an eleven day cruise up to Alaska and back to Vancouver for disembarkation. Embarkation was smooth and we went to our cabin, a Verandah Suite. We had taken a "Guaranteed Cabin" which turned out to be a big mistake. It was extremely small and in no way could be categorized a suite. We asked for a downgrade, with no refund, to an outside cabin but were turned down. The water pipes were leaking from the ceiling outside our cabin for 3 days and the floor was wet and musty. The food on the ship was good, but not exciting. We had sailed on this ship in November 2006 and there was a noticeable downturn in the food quality and taste. Our dining room steward and assistant at the dinner meal were outstanding. They learned quickly what our desires were and we received excellent service throughout the cruise. After 3 separate instances of lack of attention and poor service in the dining room at breakfast and lunch, we reverted to eating our morning and noon meals at the buffet line on the lido deck. We thought that asking for a glass of milk 5 times and never receiving it was a bit much. Our cabin steward was satisfactory for the most part. We did have a problem with the bathroom ceiling vent being sealed shut by mold and rust. We mentioned it to him several times but it was never taken care of. Because the room was so small, we spent little time in it. We thoroughly enjoyed the shore excursions. We took the seaplane trip to the Taku Lodge in Juneau and it was absolutely outstanding. The aerial view of the glaciers was most beautiful and the salmon bake at the lodge was the best we have ever had. We visited the Red Dog Saloon in Juneau and found it very entertaining. The Yukon and White Pass Railroad trip in Skagway was out of this world. We were on the first trip up in the summer and the snow was above the roof of the rail cars near the summit. Glacier Bay National Park was somewhat disappointing as the US Government would not let the ship near where the seals were birthing so we had to anchor way out and saw very little of anything. The Misty Fjords National Park catamaran trip in Ketchikan was also outstanding. The narrator was extremely interesting and the scenery, especially the bald eagle nesting areas, was just beautiful. After we left Vancouver on the way up we were blessed with beautiful weather of sunny skies and warm days. Entertainment on the ship varied. The best part was the 4 piece combo that played dance music in the bar near the shops before the evening meal. The variety shows were OK and the comedians were good. Service on board the Ryndam also varied. We detected an attitude of indifference from the Hotel Manager and staff and we left the ship feeling very dissatisfied without satisfactory resolution of our problems. The bar staff was very friendly and service was good. The coffee bar was great and we utilized it in lieu of eating desert in the dining room. Public rooms were clean and the library was a great place to relax. Disembarking and embarking the ship at the various ports was easy and quick. The cruise line could easily save many trees by cutting out the flyers and advertisements left in our room each day advertising art auctions and ship's store sales. We felt the cruise was way overpriced for what we got. We are going back to Alaska again but we will take another line instead of Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date April 2007
We booked concierge class for the first time, and were delighted. We especially liked the choice of pillows. Small thing perhaps, but the goose down was sooo soft. We rented a car, and drove down to San Diego, as we're from So. Cal. ... Read More
We booked concierge class for the first time, and were delighted. We especially liked the choice of pillows. Small thing perhaps, but the goose down was sooo soft. We rented a car, and drove down to San Diego, as we're from So. Cal. and after returning the car, boarded with almost no hassle. Our daughter was in an inside cabin alone, and to our surprise, loved it! She liked the coziness, and the darkness, which you don't get a lot of in Alaska. I love the fresh air with a balcony, and sitting out on the deck,exalting in the wonderful scenery. It was Very chilly, though, and I stayed bundled up in blankets. We enjoyed the Pacific Coast, but had been in the ports many times, but Victoria, B.C.. was wonderful! A tip for cruisers; Don't take the Greyhound bus for the $5.00/person. If you're a walker, it's about 15 min../walk, otherwise take a cab! They're not expensive, just grab one just outside the ship, and you don't have to sit in the hot,crowed bus, and then when you want to go back to the ship, the line is horrendous!! We broke from the line, after paying $15.00 for the three of us, and the cab was $8.00, fast friendly, and Much better than standing in line for an hour. Live and learn. My husband thought the food had really improved since we had been on the Summit 3 years ago. We had a wonderful waiter and assistant. Marius and Glenn. Our slightest wish was fulfilled, and so polite and friendly! We loved the dining room, but the buffet was excellent also. Our daughter adored the Sushi. I liked the Aquaspa, and their cold fruit soups. Delicious! The shows were not to our liking, although the comedian was very funny. The Broadway show, was to our surprise, Exactly what we had seen in 2002! Thought they changed the shows every year. Our room stewards were very efficient, and every afternoon they brought a little plate of canapes. My family didn't like them,but I'm sure they were fine. The concierge/room service breakfast was not remotely OK Cold, slow, and the strongest coffee this side of espresso. So, we just ordered juice and coffee, and ate upstairs. 14 days was perfect. We just started to get the first twinges of homesickness, and voila! we were in Vancouver. We all loved this cruise, and the staff were fantastic! We'll definitely sail the Summit again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
I selected Celebrity because the reviews about its food and service were excellent, and that it delivers good value for the money. I enjoyed this cruise. It is one of the most relaxing vacations I've ever had because I didn't ... Read More
I selected Celebrity because the reviews about its food and service were excellent, and that it delivers good value for the money. I enjoyed this cruise. It is one of the most relaxing vacations I've ever had because I didn't have to re-pack for 14 nights and I didn't have to 'drive' anywhere. The only part of this vacation that caused stress was the lack of a place for kids under 3 to play. The Summit has a fantastic Fun Factory for children, but they don't allow kids under 3 to even enter, not even under a parent's supervision. My kid just wanted to sit comfortably on kid sized furniture and color. I was very disappointed that she couldn't go and play in the one place that was safe. Aside from Celebrity's lack of service in this area, we enjoyed the rest of the cruise. I was impressed by the: SERVICE: How genuinely friendly some of the waiters and waitresses were, especially at lunch time. The Internet cafe staff and computer class instructors were always courteous and helpful. We uploaded our digital photos onto the computers for free and had a lot of fun viewing our photos on the ship. We also copied them onto cds just to be safe and not take a chance of losing any of them. FOOD: The Afternoon Tea - the tea sandwich selection was amazing. Even restaurants in the Ritz do not offer such a selection. The Croissants are addictive. I had to have 2 every morning. And the chefs that cook your eggs to order were fantastic. Dinner: the cold soups are yummy. The escargots are scrumptious. The steak/filet mignon were inconsistent: I had one that was 'melt in my mouth' good, and then I had one that was overcooked. Lunch in the Restaurant was a lot better than the buffet lunch. The service was amazing, and again, they offer the cold soups. Ice Cream- homemade good. I wanted to try all of the different flavors. CLEANLINESS--The public rooms on the ship are spotless. ART--The art pieces are lovely, they add interest all over the ship. Other places of interest: Notes, Words, and the Atrium: The library is a nice touch, although I wish they had more fun 'beach reads'. Notes was fantastic. You could listen to all kinds of songs, would have been better if the room had a view!! The Atrium is very pretty with lovely flowers and plants. The free flower arranging class was worthwhile. PORTS - the selected ports were lots of fun. All were walking distance from the port, except Victoria, where we took a bus to the Butchart gardens. Instead of taking the Grayline bus, the more economic and flexible choice would have been renting a car. There was an agent at the port. The Grayline bus tour was fine, but first you had to pay $5 to take the bus to the Empress hotel, then you have to get in line to buy the ticket to go to Butchart Gardens, then you have to wait for the bus to arrive (the bus goes every hour). So, we spent a lot of time waiting in lines and waiting for the bus. ALASKA: HELICOPTER glacier landing - the most fun excursion we did in Alaska was the helicopter ride in Juneau, landing on a glacier. We went with Temsco because they were recommended and they also did not charge our 18 month old. Everyone at Temsco was super friendly. The helicopter ride itself was breathtaking. We took a lot of pictures. We brought a water bottle and took some glacier water, it was so fresh and crisp! The experience was fantastic. WHALE watching: it was ok. We saw some, but didn't get close at all, so the only pictures we had were of them from afar, spouting water. I was hoping to see them a lot closer up, and more of them. Another boat had a close encounter, so it's just luck. WHITEPASS Yukon River train excursion - it was very scenic, but it's questionable whether a 3+ hour train ride is worth $90. ENTERTAINMENT: The comedians were fantastic! The music provided by the various groups of musicians and DJ was memorable. It was so nice to have a cup of tea in the Cafe watching and listening to the 4 Sounds Quartet. The DJ played the most fun and appropriate music by the pool area, I love sitting there enjoying the scenery and the music. We also loved watching people dance to the guitar music and singing in the lounge. They really made a contribution to the overall cruise experience. Areas Celebrity could improve on: --Let kids under 3 have access to a room where they could hang out and play. --The coffee. A couple of times, it was really good, nice and strong. But, most of the time, it was weak or acidy. I couldn't figure out where the good coffee came from. --Room service. They claim that there is 24x7 room service, but when you want to order dinner using that day dinner menu, instead of the 'room service limited offerings', get ready to wait at least an hour for your food. For breakfast, you could only order what's on the breakfast menu. Even if you know what's 'available' at the buffet, you can't have it if it's not on the menu. This contradicts the 'bend over backwards to make you happy' message Celebrity tries to convey. --Tell the spa staff to stop trying to sell their products. It takes away from the 'de-stressing' treatments you just had. The treatments were really good. The specials they have on Port days were good. --Yoga. I paid $10 for a yoga class. The teacher was not experienced (she had to consult a book during the class). They should NOT charge extra if they did not hire an expert in that field to teach. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004

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