5 Seward Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

This was an amazing cruise , not one that I would normally do I love the sun and expected this to be cold and wet , far from it we had exceptionally good weather, fantastic sights, to see the northern lights 2 nights in a row was amazing. ... Read More
This was an amazing cruise , not one that I would normally do I love the sun and expected this to be cold and wet , far from it we had exceptionally good weather, fantastic sights, to see the northern lights 2 nights in a row was amazing. The Scenery wow, wow, wow, the wildlife wow the people wow the activates wow, the food was good not the best I have had on a cruise I must say... the coffee lounge was very good and the staff here were brilliant.Embarkation took all of ten minutes from the time we arrived at the dock until we were on the ship. Received a glass of champagne before heading to the stateroom. Pretty typical veranda room - the shower is a little larger than most. Hubbard Glacier was amazing from the ship. Captain Alex turned the ship around so all sides could get a great view. We had a balcony - if you can afford it, I would get it. The boat is pretty worn and I believe is having a refit she sure needs it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Background: I am a Disney Cruise Line girl through and through, but the group I was traveling with uses Royal Caribbean, so I was giving it a try. Sixth cruise overall, first on Royal Caribbean. Overall I found the Radiance to be a ... Read More
Background: I am a Disney Cruise Line girl through and through, but the group I was traveling with uses Royal Caribbean, so I was giving it a try. Sixth cruise overall, first on Royal Caribbean. Overall I found the Radiance to be a beautiful ship and found myself very comfortable with the service on Royal Caribbean. (So much that I booked a new cruise while onboard!) My cabin steward was fantastic - the first day she seemed a little brusque, but much of that was just first day busy-ness I think as once I got to talk with her the next morning, she was delightful and always checked on me. Dining room servers were great as well. We spent the night in Anchorage the night before the cruise, and then our group split about 50/50 between taking a train to Seward or taking a bus. I opted for the bus as it was the less expensive option, and having done Alaska last year this was to be my budget trip. The road ran parallel to the train tracks for a good portion of the route, so unless you absolutely MUST ride on a train, I'd say the bus is fine. I'd definitely go with Royal's shuttle service though, because there is one road going between Anchorage and Seward. And if something happens... In fact, we were delayed leaving Seward because there had been a bad accident that shut down the road between Anchorage and Seward for hours and some 800 people were stuck on Royal Caribbean shuttles, so we waited. This meant that we didn't sail until around 2:30am and we had to miss the Hubbard Glacier. Disappointing, but these things happen - and we were all alive and safe. I opted for an interior cabin (was assigned 3067) and had no issues with it. I had never been in an inside cabin before and will admit to being nervous about it. The first couple of nights I left the television on to the bridge view channel, but once I discovered I didn't really need it, I stopped. There were lights on either side of the bed, so it's not like I had to walk across a totally dark cabin if I needed to get up in the night. My one quibble is that for some reason the mattresses, while pushed together, did not seem to be tethered at all and I would find myself waking up with an arm and leg between them. There was a covering that kept them from sliding totally apart, and I went to speak with guest services who sent a note to the deck supervisor to have another covering put on and tightened, which worked for a couple of nights. But they could really benefit from talking with Holland America to see how they keep their mattresses from coming apart when the twin beds are requested together. (The one thing Holland has over Royal in my mind. Since Disney is kind enough to have regular queen beds, they win in this category.) There is clearly a strap or something that makes them not come apart. But other than that the cabin was fine, and I never felt cramped. The shower is small, yes. But I didn't have the issue with the shower curtain getting all over me and water getting all over the floor that some people seem to have. I guess there are some advantages to being accustomed to a small shower in my NYC apartment. I found the food to be good in the main dining room. I fell in love with their cold fruit soups, and could have made meals off of just those. The Windjammer Buffet was nice, but I did wish that at least one day they had had chicken fingers. There were always burgers, hot dogs, and fries; Indian food; pasta; salads; soups; some other kind of meat and vegetable; but never chicken fingers. I'm not picky, and I'm not addicted to them, but it would be nice to have the option at least once! Our servers in the dining room were all great (we had 9-10 tables and rotated between them) - very helpful in making suggestions, and very vigilant about anything that might contain peanuts due to my sensitivity (not full-blown allergy yet...just get itchy and wheezy). I can't comment on the kids' clubs as I don't have children. I didn't really do the activities onboard either as I'm not into BINGO, casinos, or silly games. When I cruise, I cruise to relax and enjoy myself - those things don't make me enjoy myself, so I skip them. I would rather hang out with the group I was with - or if I'm solo, just wander, or sit and read, or just watch the water and scenery go by. I did sit through one of the Royal Caribbean-produced shows one night, and while the singing was good and the dancing was acceptable, they desperately need to hire a storyteller to make the shows make coherent sense as this one did not. I won't rate a cruiseline down on that though as you are not required to attend the entertainment. I tried it, and I know I don't need to go back. Port-wise, they were beautiful. Icy Straight Point (Hoonah) is one where there is not much to do unless you are doing an excursion. This may change as they complete the dock and other cruise lines begin to go there when a tender is not required, but for now I'd definitely plan on either a ship day or doing an excursion when you hit that port. I kind of wish I'd done an excursion in Skagway as well - but I did opt to hike to a lake people told me about (it is steep, rocky, and not for the inexperienced though), so it was ok. Juneau has inexpensive shuttles out to the Mendenhall Glacier, and that is gorgeous. Plus I got to see a 2 year old bear cub trying to learn to catch salmon! Ketchikan is fun as well. Disembarkation was super! I love the group system they use - as well as the fact that I was able to go to breakfast and then back to my cabin to hang out for a couple of hours before reporting to my assigned debarkation lounge. I had a slight issue finding my luggage as my little bag had been turned sideways and put between other larger bags, but once those were moved there mine was. Getting out of Canada Place was a breeze - they only took our declaration forms and never even glanced at our passports! (Granted, you need it when getting out of Canada, so don't think you can skip it.) Overall I had a great time on Radiance of the Seas. There were a few things I missed - but those were Disney touches I wouldn't expect to find anywhere else. Still, I loved Royal Caribbean enough I did book another cruise onboard! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We are seasoned cruisers with 20+ cruises under our respective belts, both in our mid-50's. We traveled as a party of eight with our adult children aged 24 to 41 years. This is the fifth time we've visited Alaska, third time ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers with 20+ cruises under our respective belts, both in our mid-50's. We traveled as a party of eight with our adult children aged 24 to 41 years. This is the fifth time we've visited Alaska, third time we've sailed with HAL, and second time on the Oosterdam. The train from Anchorage to Seward was spectacular, with good food and comfortable seating. We missed the track wash-out by one day, thankfully. The ship is very pretty and well designed in her layout with an incredible amount of intriguing art. We never had a problem getting around and found all public spaces quite easily. The demographics onboard this particular sailing veered towards the over-70 crowd. There were very few young people and virtually no small children sailing this third week of June. We were a bit surprised by this as we typically have seen more families on cruise ships in Alaska. Surprisingly there were only two cruise directors onboard and a very limited number of activities day and night. There were daily trivia games, two karaoke hours for the week, some dancing, one hour of disco each night, a few production shows, and a VERY old and tired out piano bar set-up. We were (jokingly) asked to leave when we requested something a bit more rock-and-roll. We did leave. This ship tidied up and shut down by 10:30 or 11pm each evening. Oh, the magician and comedian were both excellent. If you're looking for night life... you won't find it here. That being said - the food was absolutely delicious, the service in the MDR was gracious, and our cabin steward was phenomenal. One food regret for me was the Pinnacle Grill. I had so looked forward to this and my steak was chalky and dry. Yuck. The chocolate dessert was an oily bowl of soup with no consistency. Very out of character. I also had a bit of trouble in Explorations Cafe. They just couldn't get the hot chocolate right and told me they were out of chocolate syrup. We found staff for the most part to be accommodating, friendly, and vivacious in most areas. Check out the Pinnacle Bar and Ocean Bar for some light-hearted fun with the bar staff. We didn't shop or use the computer at all so I can't comment to those areas. The spa was gloriously serene and the Thermal Suite/Therapy Pool areas were pure bliss. Passenger services were on top of the few issues we had and Captain Boss kept us well informed throughout the voyage. The aft balcony cabins we booked were amazing with very little jiggle.  We had four aft cabins on Deck 7 and loved them. The balcony doors were opened the entire time so we could visit and relax together. The bed was very comfortable and there was plenty of room with a smallish sofa, table, and extra storage seat. Our verandah had two wicker sitting chairs and one chaise lounge. There was plenty of hanging closet space and storage for everything we brought. We could easily have stored a few weeks' worth of clothes, shoes, etc. in this cabin. You may think there'd be noise in the back, but inside the cabin it was silent. The sound of the ocean and ship's wake were only heard on the balcony. Loved the bathtub/shower combination too - you won't find that on many other cruise lines in a lower category balcony cabin. Weather at this time of year was a bit rainy out of Anchorage, but the sun came out most every afternoon. Passing through Seymour Narrows at midnight was very cool. Would I book HAL again? Maybe for the food and service, but if I wanted to have a little more fun in the evenings, I might check out one of my other favorite cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Just had a fantastic vacation in Alaska (June 21-28) but the cruise ship was not so great. RCCL “Radiance of the Seas” is far from the best ship afloat. The problems are many: (1)State room balconies look down on to the tops of the ... Read More
Just had a fantastic vacation in Alaska (June 21-28) but the cruise ship was not so great. RCCL “Radiance of the Seas” is far from the best ship afloat. The problems are many: (1)State room balconies look down on to the tops of the life boats obstructing views of the ocean below, a very poor design for a cruise ship. (2)The specialties restaurants “Izumi” and “Rita’s cantina” lock the rear doors to access the outside deck so one needs to go back through the “Wind Jammer cafe” to the stairs or elevator to access the stern outside setting area, how crazes is that? Even if the food was great, and it was not, one should be able to sit outside. We had record high heat and perfect weather for this June 2013 cruise and found it difficult to get to an outside deck. (3)The crew was not outstanding, most RC cruises do have great crew members but I was disappointed with both room and dinner staff and a mention to the head waiter about a problem got a confusing answer that didn’t make since at all so I replied “…no need to explain why …just fix the problem” he didn’t. Automatic tipping can be removed from ones bill but I never have done that, maybe next time I will. (4)The ice cream station (only one in WJ) worked fine most of the time but not all of the time disappointing many. (5) “The Quest” had far too many people trying to play the game. Can’t blame them for having a popular activity but maybe have it somewhere with more room or have the same activity twice. (6) Disembarkation was total nightmare mostly because the Canadian government could not decide if we were to take our bags through customs or send then directly to our plane. The positives were: 1) Embarkation was no problem at all we are Platinum members. (2) Shore excursions, handle well by staff. (3) Entertainment was good. (4) Lounges, although over crowed when at seas, were nice and I didn’t do the pools. This was our 19th cruise (8th RCCL) and honestly my most disappointed cruise ship experience by far but the excursions in Alaska and the memories we have are well worth the trip. One last thing, this is the first time I felt it necessary to write a bad review so let me be fair and say on a scale from 1 to 10 this ship “Radiance of the seas” is a “5” Dale (Maryland)   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
A group of twelve friends embarked on June 3rd in Fairbanks heading down to Denali and then to Anchorage and Seward before boarding the Radiance of the Seas on June 7th.Connections from the airport to the hotel in Fairbanks were extremely ... Read More
A group of twelve friends embarked on June 3rd in Fairbanks heading down to Denali and then to Anchorage and Seward before boarding the Radiance of the Seas on June 7th.Connections from the airport to the hotel in Fairbanks were extremely smooth. The accommodations were fine. I thought the prices for the breakfast buffet were out of line and would be free at a Hampton Inn. We were impressed with the tours that were included in the Fairbanks area on Day 2. The Riverboat was very informative, very comfortable, and well planned. After lunch we visited the Dredge #8 and panned for gold. It was a great experience.On Day 3 we rode the train from Fairbanks to Denali. Scenery was beautiful and the train guide and bartender were good. At the park we had a walking tour which happened to have a close encounter with a moose and her calf. Accommodations at McKinley Village were adequate. The shuttle into town was convenient and free.Day 4 we took the optional WTW excursion ($310 per couple) into the park. That experience was worth the money, with numerous wildlife viewing and brief glimpses of Denali through gaps in the clouds. Day 5 we road the coach to Anchorage. Along the way we have splendid views of Denali. In Anchorage we were deposited at a downtown mall to get lunch. We spent about two hours wandering around the mall and the surrounding neighborhood. I mention this mainly to emphasize one very negative aspect of this day. When we arrived at the port in Seward it was about 5:30 PM. We had an arduous check-in procedure and finally hit the deck around 6 PM. With early seating, this meant that we had very little time to get to our room for clean-up before getting to our table around 6:20 PM. Now muster was scheduled for 7:30PM, so between having our waiters needing to get to muster duty and still serve us our dinner, suffice it to say that dinner was VERY rushed.Most of this problem I place with the Cruise Tour company that arranged the final leg of our journey. Our guide kept telling us not to worry "My dear guests," the ship does not sail until 9PM. A much shorter lunch stop would have solved the problem for us and I don't think I would have regretted a shorter zip through Anchorage.So we sailed on June 7th, heading toward Ketchikan. The ports of call were very nice and the scenery along the way was spectacular. Since we had been to Ketchikan, Skagway, and Juneau, we were content to explore the towns and skip the extra excursions. The only exception was that I took the Klondike Highway Bike tour in Skagway. That was fantastic!! The tour people were friendly, knowledgeable, and informative. The bikes were in excellent condition and the ride was well worth the $95 fee.The big problem began on Sunday in Juneau. On our way back to the ship from church, we stopped to buy some souvenirs. These included four Ulu knives (a very popular item in Alaska). These were confiscated at the security stop as we reboarded the ship. When we tried to retrieve them so we could mail them home in Skagway, we hit some big bumps in the quality of service from Guest Services. I'm pretty steamed about all of this, so I will just say that we were finally able to get the knives back in Ketchikan and mail them home. Thanks to the concierge (JD) we finally got through the issues and the Customs official in Ketchikan was very friendly as he cleared our purchase for being taken to shore. When we left the ship in Vancouver we saw many large tables full of confiscated items still waiting to be claimed, so I know we were in good company with this problem. I fault RCI for not adequately informing passengers about the problems with purchasing items for taking back to the US through Canada. If you're planning this trip, be careful and get the full information before you buy. Also, if the post office is available, I advise mailing many items home from shore and not after you try to get back on the ship.On board, our stateroom attendant was very attentive and congenial. Our dinner table waiters were also very good and provided our dinners at a good pace. I cannot say the same for lunch or breakfast.I found myself eating lunch in the Park Cafe most of the time and putting up with breakfast in the Cascade.The ship seems to be in need of some TLC. Elevator buttons frequently were inoperative and paint was peeling from the undersides of deck 11.While we usually enjoy the evening entertainment, there was only one show that kept us in our seats from beginning to end. Real sleepers!Much was made of the norovirus. I don't know how many actually caught it, but all of our group were hale and hardy throughout the two weeks we were together. The slight inconvenience of having crew serve us at the various venues and little to pay for the confidence that we'd be saved the problems of the sickness and being quaranteened.The process of leaving the ship was relatively painless and customs was a breeze. We recommend taking a shuttle to the downtown hotels in Vancouver. Inexpensive and quick. I think we checked into the Residence Inn by Marriott by 9AM. Nice new hotel with wifi and a free breakfast buffet!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2013

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