42 Seward Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Land Tour, 21st May 2016, Fairbanks to Seward. We booked this onboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, comprising of a land tour, cruise and land tour. As Royal could not provide any upgrade in the flight, we took these ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Land Tour, 21st May 2016, Fairbanks to Seward. We booked this onboard a Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, comprising of a land tour, cruise and land tour. As Royal could not provide any upgrade in the flight, we took these off the booking and made our own arrangements, as such the first nights accommodation was taken off the booking along with the transfer from the airport. We asked which Hotel would be used for the first two days of the tour as they were both in Fairbanks and we would book the same for ourselves, disaster as Royal said we would not know until two weeks before the actual tour stared. We actually finally got it two days before we departed!! We booked the Sophie's Station Suites in Fairbanks and requested that our room would be the same as that for our tour start, the Hotel made this happen. When travelled out with KLM from Heathrow to Fairbanks via Minneapolis. The first leg was better than the second in terms of quality. When we arrived in Fairbanks, a Royal Caribbean agent was there and we managed a lift to the Hotel. There is not much in Fairbanks, but it is a good place to travel from. We walked around the town, eating in Fred Meyer of all places. The next day we met our tour guide who gave out the tour itinerary, another free day and we ate at The Pump House. Fab that this was that it was not one of the chain restaurants in town, wonderful views of the river stretching by. We took a taxi to it from the "shopping area" $15 pre-tip. The sun was shining and it was warm, so we sat outside till it got cool. The hostess lady Jessica found us a table and helped to move us. More like a sports bar one side with TV's showing basket ball games, the other area was mor restatuant like with proper tables and features hanging from the ceiling. We had a small Caesar salad $7.5 with chicken $6.25 and also ribs $19.95 the ribs were large. With 2 beers this came to $47.40. Food coming out were large portion sized, order small and that will be plenty. The next morning the tour started. Our guide was Stephanie S and our motor coach driver was Beth H. From day one we found ourselves in good hands, we learned that they had not worked together before, yet they became the perfect team. Stephanie's knowledge of everywhere we went and delivery of this knowledge was exceptional. Everyday she ensured that we knew what we were doing in a fun but professional manner, she was the perfect tour guide with knowledge all from no apparent script. Beth was a very gracious lady and a terrific driver. She managed to get our suitcases to the next hotel along the way and in our rooms even before we arrived at the hotel ourselves, nothing was ever a bother. She checked that we knew where we were and confirmed the timings for returning to the coach. Together they really were the perfect team as I have already said, it was a case for us of just sitting back and enjoying ourselves, the first week was absolute heaven thanks to these two. The first day was a tour in the Fairbanks area, we went to see the oil pipeline that takes oil from the north right to the south of Alaska, then the University of Alaska, Museum of the North. We spent quite a time here, probably too long. Quite interesting, but you need less than an hour to be honest. Stuffed animals are on display and a mammoth! The layout of the museum was too convoluted for me, quite dark too. Then onto the Riverboat Discovery Tour. We did not know what to expect when we boarded as this was part of a tour. We thought at first that when the float plane took off that it was unusual to have the boat captain talk with the pilot and have this broadcast over the boats speakers, then he spoke with the owner of the dog kennels we knew that this was scripted. The paddle steamer was in great condition and the pilot was very informative. We saw Caribu, albeit caged. We got off and watched some local shows/displays, we were able to go to the dogs and pet those that wanted to, then they were hitched up to a sled and off they went. Back on the boat and back to the hotel, in all it must have been about four hours of fun. On the motor coach we booked an additional tour. The Northern Alaskan Tour Company flight to Wiseman. There were four of us in the plane that left Fairbanks at 7pm to Wiseman and we returned at about 11:30pm. The plane took us in a direct route and we flew over many places, the pilot manoeuvred the plane so we could see the sights below from both sides. We had commentary along the way. Livengood, Dalton Highway, Yukon River, Stevens Village, Coldfoot and finally Wiseman. We saw the great oil pipeline meandering its way across the land. When we landed we got a road vehicle to Wiseman and were shown the local buildings that were about 100 years old, managed to sit inside one and speak with the owner who gave us a brief history and then showed us around the small "village". Earlier and later in the year, this is one of the best places to watch the 'Northern Lights". Back to the plane and a comfortable flight home, this time a little higher in altitude. The whole experience from start to finish was professional and safe. We all got a certificate to prove that we had crossed the Alaska's Artic Circle. Well worth the adventure. The next morning we checked out of Sophie's Station and boarded the motor coach to get onto the Wilderness Express, a Domed Rail Car that was taking us to Denali. Breakfast onboard which was very nice, payment by card only for information. The domed car was over the restaurant and accessible by stairs and a lift. Along the route we would get information of what was seen. Being higher and with almost all glass to the dome, we had great views, at the back of the car was an open viewing platform for an extra viewing area. When we got to Denali, our motor coach was waiting with us to take us to Denali Park Village Hotel complex, our bags were in our rooms. We ate in the hotel, can't really remember anything about the meal, so nothing to report there, nothing went wrong. The next day an early start for the Tundra Wildeness Tour. Into the National park that is 6 million acres and it restricts the numbers of vehicles entering. We saw Moose, Dall Sheet, Bears and more Dall Sheep and stunning scenery. Time back in the visitor centre before going back to Denali Park Village Hotel complex for another night there. We got the $5 taxi into Denali town and ate in The Salmon Bake, about the only restaurant in town. It started nice with the greeting and plenty of time was given to us to chose what to eat and drink. The lady did not know what quantity of wine was in their standard glass and it was not on the menu either. We went for the Elk Sliders and Buffalo Wings to start with, the wings were advertised as a 1lb and as a starter! For mains we ordered the Halibut and chips and the BBC burger? To drink we had a glass of Red Wine and a Baked Blonde beer. It is nice that a check is made on our food, but my so many people nearly every two minutes? We were still eating our starters when the main course arrived, a male waiter went to put it on the table and we asked for it to taken away and to be delivered after we had finished the starters. When we had finished the starters the main arrived and we had to clear our plates from the table to that one next to us so the main course could be set down. We had to get our own fresh set of cutlery from the adjacent table. The food had obviously been held somewhere as the chips were cold. This was mentioned but the lady wait staff just apologised and walked away. I think that as there was no other main restaurant in town, this place has become complacent. There are good reviews on tripadvisor and that is why we came. Perhaps we are slow eaters, but there is no excuse to bring out the main meal when the guests had not finished the starter. The total bill was $79.21. Written on the bottom of the menu was the deemed compulsory tip percentages, 10% usually if you were not totally happy. Strange that it is at a percentage, surely serving a $48 serving of crab takes the same time as a $13 burger and fries. Begrudgingly we left 10%. A later start and we boarded the Wilderness Express in time for lunch. Again, this was very nice, good service and reasonably priced. We arrived in Talkeetna and stayed in the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. Being on a tour meant that our bags were already in our room and we were handed out keys upon arrival. Not sure if it is the same for all buildings, but we were in an odd numbered room which overlooked the mountains, especially Denali which is North Americas highest. Very spacious room with two queen sized beds, a fridge, flat screen tv and in the vestibule with a sink and a doorway to the big bathroom which had a bath/shower and loo. You could leave a note with the hotel to wake you if the higher clouds cleared for a full view of the famous mountain. Simple check out, we gave our keys in. The Hotel offers breakfast and an evening meals only, it has nice open grounds equipped with a decking area for taking pictures of the mountain range. A huge fire place in the main lobby was impressive. We walked into town which took 35 minutes. There is a bus that you can take but it finished at 17:45. It starts at 10am. I believe it was $4 per person. Even outside these times, local taxis are available, we ate in Nountain High, Pizza Pie. You get what you pay for, there was two sizes of pizzas available, I went for the smaller which was big enough. I did not go for the 30+ topping one advertised as everything but the mosquitos. The pizza was tasty and arrived timely. The drink was replenished as I drank it, part of the same price, great. All in our party were satisfied with their food, the service was with a smile. We checked out the next morning, got a free coach organised by Royal Caribbean into town and had four hours till we boarded the Domed Rail Car again on its was to Anchorage. Before that we had breakfast in Talkeetna Roadhouse which was scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, fried potato with peppers and onions, a thick slice of toast and a choice of a hot and a choice of a cold drink, all for $12.95 each. We both had tea and this came with a pot to add your tea bag to, so in fact we made two cups each. There was home made apple sauce, more jam like and raspberry jam for the toast. A big portion of breakfast arrived and we could have shared one between us.
We then bought one sticky and one frosty cinnamon cake to have each cut in half as a take away. Clean toilets and this place even offers lodgings. Super choice from many offering food in this town. When in Talkeenta, make sure you go to the rivers edge, you get great views of the mountain range, the river itself is impressive. There are many curiosity shops as well, Aurora Dora for one. On to the Domed Rail car, dinner this time, not let down, great food and great service. Arrived in Anchorage, bags waiting in the room for us in the Anchorage Marriott, in the middle of town. In these days, especially in a high class hotel, you would expect a basic level of fee wi-fi in your room, this hotel only offered it to Marriott Reawrds customers. We have been in a few of these hotels around the world and have not joined it alas. You do get it in the lobby for free along with any one passing by. That aside as it is not the end of the world. A good centrally based hotel in Anchorage, very spacious room with a decent sized bedroom, courteous staff, comfortable beds, flat screen tv with many channels. On tour and the check in was done by our agent, check out was just a drop box for those who were in a rush. Would go back if in the area, but would start that account. Checked out in the morning and before venturing by motor coach to Seward we went to the Alaska Native Heritage Centre, when looking back having travelled for three weeks in Alaska and Canade, this was the highlight. The main building as you entered was spacious and had a theatre, cafe, restrooms, local artists studios and galleries, oh and a decent shop. We watched the show where the Alaskan Games were demonstrated, from leaping up from a crouching position, shimmying along like sneaking up on seals and one you will have to watch yourself, holding your left foot with your right hand, then with the left hand on the floor kick up high to hit a toy whale, the record is 8 feet we were told, then land back on the right foot. Outside were examples of the ancient dwellings used and sled dogs, one with 8 week old puppies, of which we were allowed to hold. Sled rides were happening later in the day, but we were only there 2 hours unfortunately, perhaps next time. Radiance of the Seas, 27th May 2016 Southbound Inside Passage. Easy and polite check in and on board really with in 20 minutes of entering the terminal. As we got on board we were shepherded around the centrum past the stalls selling all the drinks, speciality dining, spa and excursion packages, this made it busy rather than allowing us to go straight to the lifts. As we had boarded at about 5pm following the land tour we were able to go to our cabin straight away having whizzed past those stalls. Clean and ready for us, we met Manuel Torre IV our Stateroom Attendant who was very polite in introducing himself. Throughout the cruise, even the day we forgot to change our 'Do Not Disturb' sign around, he remained polite, professional and maintained our stateroom very well and to a high standard. We suffered a water leak from under the bath and this was fixed the same day it was reported. We went to the Concierge and Diamond lounge where Jorge Gutierrez was the Concierge Manager and Sergey Sinkevich was the Diamond Concierge, neither really interacted with us, but we did not command it. On previous cruises other concierge managers had walked around the lounge, even when it was busier, introducing themselves to the guests. We booked three speciality restaurants with Jorge, Chops, Izumu and Giovani's. When we got to Chops, Amanda, the Chops Manager, changed these bookings to the special offer booking that Jorge should have done. In Chops, Exequiel Esguerra looked after us, the food was very nice. In Giovani's Edwin was very good with offering the right wines to go with our food, not the cheapest offerings mind you. In Izumi it was different. All our bookings had been for 20:30, we were the only ones in Izumi and at almost 21:00 they started to clear the tables, we felt like we we holding them up. When at 21:15 the back doors were locked open and the vacuum was about to come in, we had to say something. Either they should not take late bookings, or be aware of their guests. We raised this with the state who got their manager. He seemed to indicate that it was the staffs fault, yet they would have been following orders. We went back to Chops twice more as the service there was the best, we were again served both times by the excellent Exequiel. Only the first night did we do the main restaurant, but it was cramped with tables so close together and it took an age to even get our starters, let alone the mains and desserts. We would see people leaving at times as we were just getting our mains. This was one of the deciding factors to eat at the Speciality Restaurants. We had the gratuities moved to our Stateroom attendant and to the barman in Concierge. The barman Lincoln Fernandez remembered our first order and would start to get it ready each time we came back, service with a welcome smile too. I must note that the volume from the speakers in Concierge when the Cruise Director came on was very loud, too loud really for a lounge where you go to for peace and quiet. The food in the Winjammer Cafe was very good. I was so pleased to see Raisin Bran on offer as on the last cruise the ship ran out after day one. The last but one morning there was none, but a member of staff came along with a catering bag of it to help be out, the last day I had to wait, but two boxes were found. I visited the loyalty ambassador, Zenisha Bhanderi, to ask about our block as this cruise took us over the 210 points, she was not aware. Surely this information should be known in advance? I asked hr to confirm that the land tour was also getting us points which she called through to agree. She was advised that we would only get one point per night for the land part, yet today when logging in I see that we did get two points per night. I had issues with trying to log on to the ships "slow" Internet as although I had created an account, screen printed the log in details, it said I was getting them wrong. Heidi Beingolea Rozas at Guest Services was able to help, she was very kind and patient. Also in Guest Services, Cristina Jacobo helped us in changing which credit card was to pay our bill. Finally, Miranda, in "My Next Cruise" became our new best friend. She was truly professional and knowledgeable in helping us book another cruise. So often in the past we have found this process to be painful that the staff seem to know less that we did. We saw her throughout the cruise at her desk, long hours, and always with a smile. We did not go to any shows, the tv was only really good for TCM which seemed to specialise in old war films. The itinerary that the ship followed was very good. We were blessed with fantastic weather throughout. Day one was leaving Seward at 20:00. Day two, 14:00 to 18:00 we drifted by Hubbard Glacier, as close as the ship could get, slowly turning so everyone could get the perfect view. Day three, Juneau 9:00 - 21:00, we did the Mendenhall Glacier by helicopter tour, a bit shorter that advertised, but worth doing. It was cool and it was worth putting on warm clothes for this trip. Day four, Skagway 7:00 - 20:30, we did the White Pass Railway tour, 11:30 -16:00, definitely a must when in Skagway, remembering our passports as these were checked when we crossed the US/Canada border on the way up by train. It went past some amazing scenery, back by bus and this takes a special driver. Day five, Icy Point Strait 7:00 - 16:00. Purpose built it seemed for the cruise industry, but if you walk about 30 minutes away to the town of Hoonah which is really this places name, there is a bit of natural activity wood carving of canoes and totem poles. We ate at the Crab Station Restaurant, served my Minnie a character herself. Not cheap, but big King Crabs legs (2 for about CAD$48). Day six, Ketchikan 9:00 - 18:00, we did the float plane excursion, this was very good and we were fortunate going in the afternoon when the clouds had lifted, we heard that some in the morning were cancelled due to low cloud. Day seven, cruising the Inside Passage. Not as stunning as we imagined, nothing like the Norwegian Ffords. We saw one whale, others had seen Orca's on previous days. Day eight, Vancouver arrived at 7:00. Land Tour 3rd June 2016. We were met, yet at the cruise terminal professionally and were cared for by the Brewster representative, nothing ever went wrong. Perhaps we were too small a group to warrant a constant guide. The tour itinerary was as follows: Vancouver City Tour and Lookout Tower and Harbour Centre - 4 hours, overnight in the Fairmont Hotel - Vancouver Ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island and a two hour stop in Buchard Gardens and an hour in Victoria before getting the Ferry back to Vancouver, over night again in the Fairmont Hotel - Vancouver. 2 hours went by very quickly, the gardens were perfect and we were blessed with good weather. We had to pack a separate overnight bag for the train. Sleeper Plus Class Cabin, VIA Rail - Vancouver to Jasper, not that comfortable sleeping on the train and it had a "Prestige Class" which if we knew about we would have asked to upgrade. There was only four domed cars for the 23 car train, the last one especially for Prestige customers. Breakfast, lunch and service was very nice. Overnight stay was in the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge Hotel. Coach Transfer in the morning to Banff for the Glacier Experience. When you are in the presence of excellence as we were in the first week, you really miss it. Brewster as a company really looked after us, but the absence of the same guide with you for all the week set this one apart. I must really praise Michael and Cara our driver/guide and support on this Rockies Discovery and Glacier tour. Like Stephanie and Beth on our first week they worked as a team and cared for us. Michael was very clear on the microphone and relayed his knowledge and information to us as we went along. He would advise us of what we were about to see so we would be ready when we got to area / particular view. He was so attentive to people getting off and on the coach. Cara was like his side kick, but was equally as professional. We were taken to see Bow Lake Glacier Falls, Peyto Lake and Lake Louise which was pale by comparison, then onto a glacier and the glacier walkway. Overnight in the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. Coach transfer - Banff to Calgary - Banf Highlights Tour which we thought was too long and were able to cut it short and then onto Calgary and overnight in the Fairmont Palliser Hotel. This is right next to the Lookout Tower. All of the Fairmont Hotels were the best, they were wonderful buildings, most excellent service and very comfortable rooms. Joining the Presidents Club gets you free wi-fi. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Ship was a little worn like others said, but it really doesn't affect me. This ship was BEAUTIFUL for Alaska. A ton of Glass everywhere. Heck! The Elevators faced the outside to the ocean. I'm glad I didn't pick the Explorer ... Read More
Ship was a little worn like others said, but it really doesn't affect me. This ship was BEAUTIFUL for Alaska. A ton of Glass everywhere. Heck! The Elevators faced the outside to the ocean. I'm glad I didn't pick the Explorer OTS because you can't look out the ocean as much as the Radiance OTS. Embarkation was A BREEZE! We dropped our bags off at 11 AM sharp as we had a rental car. Our bags were at our cabin when we boarded. The terminal is not like any terminal I've been at. It's just a big warehouse with some counters and a steep ramp up to the ship. We boarded at around 2 PM since we drove to Exit Glacier in our rental car (highly recommend a rental car from Hertz and Exit Glacier). If you board around 3:30-6, I know it's busier at those times. Disembarkation in Vancouver was very easy too and it took us like 30 minutes to get on the streets of Vancouver. We had an interior and a balcony across the hall all the way in the FWD part of Deck Eight. Both rooms were fine, but there were some issues. The bathroom had a constant sewage smell, which the room steward tried to defend saying that it was the same on other cruise ships. I took a cruise on the Carnival Breeze exactly a month before and there was no smell. Otherwise, bathroom was perfect. The interior cabin had noise issues during docking, which I'm assuming there are some mooring lines next to the room, so I would avoid cabin 8509. Our balcony was actually a little bit bigger, but it did have a tiny obstruction in the top corner, but it didn't bother us as we could have all 4 of us on the balcony at one time. The glass on the balcony did have a stain however which wasn't very pleasant. Dining was overall fine. The Windjammer Buffet was fine for what it was. The variety lacked during lunch time and even dinner, but dinner usually had better selections. PIZZA SUCKED!!! I prefered the Carnival Breeze's Lido then to Royal. The MDR had some tasty entrees, but nothing memorable. I'm vegetarian so don't take my opinion seriously, but usually the chef's choice was the best entree on the menu. Desserts were... Well... I stuck to "Hard" Ice Cream every night. The best free dining venue was Park Cafe. It was right in the solarium and had very tasty sandwiches, salads, and deserts. I ate there more often than the Windjammer. We didn't try any of the paid restaurants as we are the type of people who won't pay more for something they get for free. Entertainment was great! We loved the shows and the comedian was hilarious. This ship also had guest speakers about Alaska and even Mountie from Canada who explained his past jobs and what the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was. The outdoor pool was unusable as it was too cold outside. The Solarium I do have to say was very nice. It was nice and warm in there with lots of seating and great pools. Service was 5 stars. Didn't experience one person who didn't say hello. The gentleman who would remind you to use hand sanitizer at the entrance of the Windjammer knew our family by day two and even personally escorted me to my family if we were separated. We didn't get anything like that on our past cruises. Very friendly staff and my teen son had a blast at the teen club (16 year old). Would I sail on the ship again? Yes, but not if it's more money than for say Celebrity/Princess/HollandAmerica. We sailed this ship for value, as we could get two rooms for the price of one than on other cruise lines. Would I hesitate to do Royal? Ish.. Depending on price, but lately, our only cruise booked on Royal is the Empress OTS since we got a good deal. We had a much better food wise experience on Carnival, but I would definitely choose Royal's larger ships over Carnival. It all depends on you! I can't wait to sail back in Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
My husband and I cruised on the Radiance of the Seas in May/June 2016 for our Honeymoon. We had rented a car the previous day and made the drive from Anchorage to our port in Seward (about 2 hours w/o stops). The rental car location had a ... Read More
My husband and I cruised on the Radiance of the Seas in May/June 2016 for our Honeymoon. We had rented a car the previous day and made the drive from Anchorage to our port in Seward (about 2 hours w/o stops). The rental car location had a shuttle that took us all directly to the RCI guest check-in and delivered our luggage to the security area for us as well. We arrived at our cruise port around 2PM and everything was fairly easy to navigate. We walked inside and there were a bunch of people around directing everyone to specific lines to check-in and the process went smoothly. We were on the ship in no time. We went straight to our room, which was already prepared for us, to drop off our bags and change before exploring what the ship had to offer. The crew checking us in at the ship were very friendly and helpful as well. I hadn't been on a cruise in almost 10 years and this was the very first cruise experience for my husband. I loved the "modern" touches with the touch-screen ship navigation that was located on each floor that allowed you to search for different rooms, activities, restaurants, etc. I thought that was a great addition and certainly made things easier for many guests. The elevator service was terrible. We found ourselves taking the stairs majority of the time because of how slow the elevators were. It was expected on the first and last days of course, but at 6:30AM in the morning? Kind of ridiculous. There was even a button missing from the push-button panel, which was totally unacceptable and dangerous especially if there were young children around. Our room was like any cruise ship stateroom - small, but manageable. Plenty of storage for our clothes in the closets (I loved that they had shelves as well) and even some extra space in the desk area. Opting for a room with a balcony on a cruise through Alaska is a MUST! The scenery is absolutely breathtaking and being able to sit outside your own room and read a book while looking at a glacier...you can't find that anywhere else. We had a king size bed and the mattresses were okay, but the pillows were horrendous and totally flat. I found it to be very uncomfortable at times, but there was obviously nothing I could do to change it, so I just had to deal with it. Bad? Yes. Impossible? No. Although the room was nice, our bathroom shower and toilet were probably the most aggravating part of our trip. We had a problem with our toilet failing to flush or continuing to run on the 4th day, and from that point on, we had an issue every day until we got off the ship. I had to call maintenance several times (they always responded and took care of the problem within 30min.) and there was even one day that apparently they did repair work to a pipe underneath our room without telling us and we only found out because of the brown/yellow water coming out of both the shower and sink (lasted for almost 24 hours). I had to shower and thought the water was running clear, but when I dried off, my towel had yellow stains all over it - it was disgusting. Thankfully that issue was fixed that day, but it was still gross. Aside from that, we had a fantastic stateroom attendant who always took great care of us and left us extra towels every day after we only asked once. He was the best! We had breakfast/lunch/dinner most days at the Windjammer Cafe just because it was easiest and most convenient to grab something quick. They usually had a good variety of food choices (anything from pizza and pasta to chinese food, soups, and tater tots) and the tables were always cleaned. I really liked that there was someone handing out sanitizing wipes or solution as soon as you walked through the door as well. We did go to the more formal restaurant a couple of nights to enjoy a nice sit-down dinner by ourselves, which was great. The food was well made and the staff were very attentive. The chocolate mousse cake I had the first time was to die for! We didn't get a chance to do any on-board activities, since we were usually at port and out on excursions, so I can't comment on any of that. Also, we planned all of our excursions ourselves as well and did not book through the cruiseline. As for the ports: Hubbard Glacier Amazing. Our Captain actually turned the ship around a full 360 degrees about 4 or 5 times so everyone had a chance to see from no matter where you were on the ship. Our stateroom neighbor informed us that he was actually on the same cruise the week before and they only did a quick turn and left - we lucked out! I guess a lot has to do with the weather and water conditions as well. Juneau About 5 eagles greeted us by flying past our balcony windows as we docked in Juneau - quite the welcome. Busier city, lots of touristy stores as soon you walk off the ships dock, and tons of transportation options in that area as well. We were docked directly in front of the Mt. Roberts Tramway station - you could pay a small fee to take a ride up the mountain, but we passed. We took a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and did the mile (round-trip) hike to the glacier and falls. Totally worth it. We also did the Juneau Dog Sledding tour excursion and our guide met us right at the dock, making it very easy to return to the ship at the conclusion. We had lunch at the Red Dog Saloon - cool experience, but I personally thought the food was like any chain restaurant you'd find near you (I had a cheeseburger and fries, so maybe that's why?). Skagway Adorable little town. One of my favorites on our trip. It reminded me a lot of an old western movie with one main street running through the town and boards for sidewalks. There are some great little stores along the main strip and we even got to have lunch at the Skagway Brewing Company. PACKED with people and lines waiting outside, we got there just in time. Good food, good drinks. We did the Grizzly Falls Zipline Adventure excursion - AMAZING. Who knew Alaska had rainforests?? Again, meeting our tour guide was simple. The drive to the ziplines was about 30min. give or take. The trains for the Yukon Rail excursion were parked right next to the ship, so it made it very easy for anyone on that trip to hop right on. Icy Strait Point (Hoonah, AK) Very small town. I want to say our tour guide told us maybe 800-900 people total? Icy Strait now has a dock making it much easier to get on and off the ship rather than being tendered. You have to walk through the new guest center and out to the tour area to meet your group. We took a 5min. drive to the whale watching boat and soon enjoyed a couple hours on the water in search of whales. We saw humpbacks, seals, porpoises, and even an otter swimming next to our boat. Before getting back on the ship we did a short hike through the forest, which was very peaceful and had a quick bite to eat at the guest center restaurant. They had a cute spot out back with a built-in fire pit. We were watching a large seal pop his head out of the water near the dock for about 10min. too. Ketchikan My other favorite port on our cruise. What I liked most about Ketchikan was both our kayaking trip and Creek Street. We were met by our guide at the dock for kayaking around 9AM, drove to a more private area of the town about 15min. away, and spent almost 2 hours out on the water. we were lucky enough to see about 30 bald eagles circling overhead, a few harbor seals (one even swam next to our kayak), tons of starfish and jellyfish, and even had the very first Orca sighting of the summer! Incredible. Creek street was the other highlight for us. I adored the old, rustic charm and the stores were great! We found some great artwork and carvings that we couldn't resist. Inside Passage We didn't get off the ship for the day, but instead were graced with the most beautiful, Alaskan send-off. The scenery through the Inside Passage is phenomenal and we spent most of our day just sitting on our balcony taking in as much of nature as we could being this was our last day. We even saw some porpoises swim by. This Alaskan cruise was well worth it and we were actually quite sad to go home and have to say goodbye to such an amazing place. All in all, we had a great experience on our trip and wish we lived closer so we could go back more often! Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
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
My husband and I just returned from a two week vacation in Alaska. We flew into Anchorage, where we rented a car and began biking & hiking excursions for the first few days. We had excellent weather (65-70 degrees) and no mosquito ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a two week vacation in Alaska. We flew into Anchorage, where we rented a car and began biking & hiking excursions for the first few days. We had excellent weather (65-70 degrees) and no mosquito concerns. Packing seemed to be the biggest challenge in preparing for this trip. We found the following items to be invaluable: lightweight rain jackets, Smart Wool long sleeve tops & socks, sneakers & hiking shoes and a light weight fleece jacket. We joined the land cruise portion of our Royal Caribbean cruise and traveled to Talkeetna, Denali and Seward. One important note, the Denali upgrade to the tundra wilderness tour is a must. We saw wildlife during the early hours of the morning; the group that came into Denali later in the day, saw very little wildlife. The Radiance of the Seas is a very nice ship. The employees were friendly and exceptional in the area of customer service. The entertainment was all over the board... Excellent to very average at times. We made the decision to skip the shows on at least one occasion; instead, we chose to whale watch from the back of the ship...Very nice whale show during the evening we departed Ketchikan. There was only one negative point regarding the ship. We were on the ninth floor and had a disturbing odor in our bathroom throughout the cruise. We found this to be a consistent problem with other restrooms on the ship. There were plumbing issues that required a considerable amount of time for maintenance personnel to correct. Our cruise included: Hubbard Glacier- amazing, as the captain was able to get within feet of the glacier! Juneau- Mendenhall Glacier hike (booked through RCI) & Mt. Roberts tram/hike...excellent Skagway- White Pass train and biking excursion on Klondike Hwy (Sockeye Cycles)...best views of the trip Icy Strait- beach and nature hike, eagle/whale viewing, hike to Hoonah Ketchikan- lumberjack show, salmon ladder, totem pole history museum, and authentic Alaskan art/crafts shops...all great excursion choices Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
You get to see more on a one way cruise than on a roundtrip, with longer days in ports, and calmer seas because you are not sailing very far, so you travel slowly. Overall, RCL is our favorite of the 5 cruise lines we have tried. My ... Read More
You get to see more on a one way cruise than on a roundtrip, with longer days in ports, and calmer seas because you are not sailing very far, so you travel slowly. Overall, RCL is our favorite of the 5 cruise lines we have tried. My main complaint is that in the evaluation form they send you after the cruise, there is no way to make suggestions for improvement: TV in room needs more US and news stations. The movies were repeated after 3 days! The theatre productions were not worth attending Announcements in the dining room at dinner were very annoying Stop staff from BEGGING that you give them high marks on the post-cruise evaluation Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
The cruise allowed me to see some of the most beautiful places in Alaska. We went on great excursions ( whale watching, zip line at Icy Point). The ship is average. It is a bit dated but I thought of it more as mode of transportation more ... Read More
The cruise allowed me to see some of the most beautiful places in Alaska. We went on great excursions ( whale watching, zip line at Icy Point). The ship is average. It is a bit dated but I thought of it more as mode of transportation more than anything else. I have cruised on Oasis and Liberty and there is no comparing this ship to those but again, you can't compare Alaska to the Caribbean either - it was majestic. The food was okay - the windjammer needs to add more variety each day. Our dining room waiter Diogo was very attentive and always accommodating. We had a balcony which is a MUST on an Alaskan cruise. Our stateroom attendant Daniella was very sweet and always ready to help with anything we needed. There was a "musty" smell in the hallway at times and our bathroom had an odor that wasn't terrible but it was noticeable. All in all a fantastic trip to Alaska. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We flew Alaska Airlines to Anchorage on the 13th and stayed 3 days at the Holiday Inn Express near the airport, it was really nice. The staff was very helpful, and the pool was great! We shopped the Saturday market, hiked flat top mountain ... Read More
We flew Alaska Airlines to Anchorage on the 13th and stayed 3 days at the Holiday Inn Express near the airport, it was really nice. The staff was very helpful, and the pool was great! We shopped the Saturday market, hiked flat top mountain (no service up there, and no phone to use), visited Kincaid park. We took the train from Anchorage to Seward (awesome) and stayed in the old Hotel Seward for 3 days. The staff was nice and the location was great, but it's definitely old school and there is no air conditioning, so unless you get a room on the side with a breeze it's a little hot in the room! We went on a 12 hour halibut fishing tip with Alaska Northern Outfitters (highly recommend) it was great. We hike Exit Glacier (no cell service, no phones in the ranger station). We did some geocaching, there are quite a few in the area. It was the easiest, and most friendly embarkation EVER! Before, Miami was the best embarkation we'd experienced, but Seward was amazingly easy! One ship at a time means there are no lines! The ship was nice. I knew what to expect as I've sailed on this class of ship before (Serenade). It's the perfect one for Alaska though, all glass everywhere! It was clean, and not showing it's age nearly as much as the Serenade! Our room was nice, room attendant was great, as was the majority of the staff. The windjammer had good food, and the head chef was hilarious, he made it a point to speak to my husband everyday to see what we were up to. We never ate in the dining room, but we did enjoy a night in Giovanni's for Mystery Dinner Theater. (food was great, the show however was the same one we'd watched 5 years ago) My only complaint about the ship is the lack of activities! There were very few activities for the 20-40 age range. Unless you enjoy trivia or jewelry making or you were actually on the ship at port there was nothing to do! Getting on and off the ship at port was easy, there weren't any crazy lines or people pushing to get off. Juneau - we did whale watching which I highly recommend! We also did the tram up to the top, the views are nice, but unless you want to buy souvenirs or eat at the restaurant, there isn't much up there. Skagway - there isn't much to do here, I'd recommend an excursion. We got off the ship and walked to Jewel Gardens and did the Glass Blowing (AWESOME). We hiked to the waterfall behind the cemetery and did a little shopping in the old west style town. Icy Strait - again there isn't much to do here if you don't do an excursion. I did like that this port is privately owned and it's not wall to wall diamond stores. We did the zip rider (SO MUCH FUN) if we'd had time we would have done it again! We walked the beach, climbed the rocks, went through the shop and did the forest tram. This was not very interesting... it was a waste of time. Ketchikan - we booked an excursion outside of the cruise ship to go eagle watching and out to the lighthouse island. If you want to see eagles, perfect, if not it's really not worth it. I love lighthouses, but this one wasn't anything special. We walked down Creek Street, and did some shopping in town. Getting off the ship in Vancouver was easy, again not a rush of people trying to get off when they aren't supposed to. Finding our luggage and getting a cab was easy. We stayed in the Costa Plaza Suites downtown Vancouver for 4 days before flying home. The view was amazing from our balcony. Walking distance to Stanly park, and the beach! Plenty of places to eat in the area, plus bus stops to take you all over the city. We did Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, took the subway across town to Queen Elizabeth Park, visited Granville Island, walked 21 miles of Stanley Park (in one day) and hung out on the beach. Overall it was a great trip! I will say though, while the staff was great and very friendly, the passengers were not! I've never encountered so many rude people in my life! Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We are a family of four (2 boys aged 10 and 12) who along with my mum departed on an Alaskan adventure from Australia doing back to back cruises from Seward to Vancouver and back to Seward. We had been on about 4 cruises prior to this trip ... Read More
We are a family of four (2 boys aged 10 and 12) who along with my mum departed on an Alaskan adventure from Australia doing back to back cruises from Seward to Vancouver and back to Seward. We had been on about 4 cruises prior to this trip with two of them also on Radiance from Sydney so we were very familiar with the ship. As a quick summary the positives were fantastic weather (save for one night - details to follow), jaw dropping destinations, great food and entertainment and a ship that was ideally suited to soaking up all the scenery. On the negative side we had continual trouble with the toilets as did many others around our cabin (deck 7 forward starboard side) which on a couple of days also seemed to affect every public restroom within cooee of our cabin. If that was not enough we experienced a full on flood one night at 3am as water gushed out from behind the bathroom wall into our cabin. The staff who dealt with fixing the actual problems were always there quickly and did their best however the lack of empathy from guest relations for our continual dramas was disappointing. Not even an offer of a bottle of wine to say sorry for your cabin getting flooded, your shoes getting all wet, your sleep being disturbed for several hours and your carpet being smelly for a couple of days! We were told that embarkation at Seward was slightly delayed after we hopped off the Gold train from Anchorage but we were keen to look around Seward anyway so no major problem there. When we did arrive at the dock we were on within ten minutes and went straight to our cabins. Except for the plumbing issues our cabin was ideal with a large extended balcony and clear views down to the water (no lifeboat covers). Our two boys were in one interior cabin across the hall and my mum was next to them in another. An added bonus of travelling in three cabins was we could bring 6 bottles of wine aboard at Seward and Vancouver! Our room steward was brilliant and he even snuck us some extra chairs to put on the balcony which were greatly appreciated when viewing the tremendous scenery, spotting whales and other wildlife and just generally relaxing on the balcony with wine and cheese. There were very few kids on board so my 10 year old was not overly keen on the kids club and realisitically there was so much happening every day in the various ports he was too tired to go anyway. My 12 year old however enjoyed the teen lounge (he felt very grown up being able to go there!). There were less then 10 in that age group on the first leg (a few more on the second) but they all got along very well and the staff member in that area was great. The 'adult' entertainment was what we expected. Not too bad for the most part except for some weird production by the onboard entertainers that made no sense at all. Maybe I needed a few more wines to appreciate it! The food on board was fine and the wait staff were very good. Just the odd mixup with orders but were quickly rectified. They were a bit over the top though checking to see where we had been when we missed having dinner there - it was almost like they were chastising us! But with long port days I don't get why missing the early dinner sitting would be unexpected. The specialty restaurants were good. My 12 year old loved Samba and they only charged $10 from memory because he was a 'child' - however he is nearly 6 feet tall and ate more then I did so that was a bargain! Izumi hot rocks were also a big hit with the kids and adults. Hubbard glacier was spectacular on the way down to Vancouver. Unfortunately on the way back we hit our only bad weather in the wee hours of the morning heading towards it and we had to abort the attempt to get into the bay. And this weather was very intense. The Captain later told us it was 10 metre seas, 60 knot winds and it got worse as the ship headed toward the shallower water of the bay so he had to head back to sea and try and get us into calmer waters. I checked on my mum at 4am when the rocking really got insane and she was already dressed in case we had to go to the lifeboats! Luckily though the bottle of wine that was on her table before it went flying across the room landed on a peacock towel animal and was saved! It was disappointing to hear people the next day complaining that we should have gone into the bay 'because it would have been OK in there'. Seriously? What good is seeing a glacier in a calm bay if your ship tips over on the way in! All the stops on the cruise were brilliant. I can highly recommend hiring a car in Juneau and Skagway to see the sights. And in Ketchikan the Sea Cycles tour and the LumberJack show were great and loved by the whole family. Whale watching at Icy Strait point was also a highlight. Our Alaskan adventure was an awesome family holiday from beginning to end and Radiance was a great ship to see it from. They just need to get it into dry dock and fix the plumbing! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We did an 11 night cruisetour which included seven nights on Radiance of the Seas. The ship was kept spotless even through a bout of norovirus which had the crew serving all food including in the Windjammer. This was handled very well and ... Read More
We did an 11 night cruisetour which included seven nights on Radiance of the Seas. The ship was kept spotless even through a bout of norovirus which had the crew serving all food including in the Windjammer. This was handled very well and in a timely fashion. We did, however see crew members entering the Windjammer without sanitizing their hands...walking right by the sanitizers. We are diamond plus members and the service in the concierge club was outstanding. The cabin was fine...nicely located by the elevators. We would strongly recommend putting back the doors in the shower rather than a shower curtain as the entire bathroom gets wet when showering. You could not open the bathroom door and the closet door at the same time and shelves were oddly placed. The food in the dining room, however, was marginal at best. We believe that less "fancy" food should be served, ie fewer sauces and exotic combinations of foods. The dining room most nights was not even 3/4 full as lots were going to the specialty restaurants. The ship advertised "Rita's Cantina" however when we checked it was "Rita's Crab Shack" which was a shame as we have eaten in Rita's Cantina on Allure and it was excellent. The same cannot be said of the crab shack. We did the Mystery Dinner Theater one night which was great...the characters were hysterical and did a wonderful job. This was held in Giovanni's Table which was very good to exceptional. We must add a note about the tour portion. We did a cruisetour with Royal Caribbean in 2009 and it was much more efficient. This time we had no itinerary times until the night before, we had little time in Talkeetna (arriving at almost 6PM when stores in town closed at 7PM), spent eight hours on the train to Denali which had a lovely view but was way too long. Would not recommend this itinerary to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Overview: Radiance Southbound Alaska, Seward to Vancouver, BC on June 21 (Summer Solstice) 1st time on Radiance and it was in great shape. The crew was great, most were quite helpful and we had the best dining and dining options ever. The ... Read More
Overview: Radiance Southbound Alaska, Seward to Vancouver, BC on June 21 (Summer Solstice) 1st time on Radiance and it was in great shape. The crew was great, most were quite helpful and we had the best dining and dining options ever. The ships officers however were flat, you'd see the Captain and he was a wallflower, not engaging or anything of the sort. We had a meet & greet with the Captain and his staff and watched him greet two tables and then leave without a word to anyone. Once he left, all of his staff left so it pointless to have the meet & greet without the staff there! This wasn't our first rodeo so we knew what to expect and the Radiance officers didn't deliver on that. Well, at least there wasn't ship drama, sinking or fires for them to handle, right? Embarkation - When we arrived by private transfer (Alaska Tours & Transfers) at 2:30 there was not a line, and we were in the line for suite guests. It was a nightmare however, none of the guests were getting processed through and we were first in line for over 18 minutes before we asked if we could get in the regular line (which we could and got a open spot in less than a minute). So much for having a special line for suite guests, it was definitely a dis-service in Seward on this trip). Very unorganized on this day. Disembarkation - Wow, a real nightmare. We waited in Chops with the suite guests and since we were staying in Vancouver overnight we weren't in a hurry. Royal Caribbean offered a service to those flying out that day to take checked luggage, get it to the airport and have it checked for their flights so they would not have to deal with it through customs or anything. Well something went wrong quickly, because we were about 50 minutes late of the posted times leaving the ship when it was announced that the luggage transfer service was cancelled and people had to pick up their luggage and get it the airport themselves. Wow - talk about last minute changes, people were ready to BURST. It was blamed on Canadian Customs which was probably true, but Wow !!!! The way it was communicated though was harsh and it set people off, truly I'm surprised there wasn't a fight people were that tuned up about the delays and changes. The concierge called our number to get off the ship and escorted us to the platform and we were out of there. I found an available porter (thankfully!) and he helped us grab our seven bags, get us through customs and to a taxi in no time. Highly recommend a porter if you can find one!!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
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
This was our second time on this ship and routing, boarding in Seward was a breeze we were the first ones on the ship and were given a big hello. Followed immediately with the upsales for dining and beverage packages, which we politely ... Read More
This was our second time on this ship and routing, boarding in Seward was a breeze we were the first ones on the ship and were given a big hello. Followed immediately with the upsales for dining and beverage packages, which we politely declined. We set off for Lunch and to explore the ship and its changes. Our Cabin was ready at 1pm so we went to drop our carry on bag, my first issue came here. The room was nice and clean and offered wonderful views, until I stepped on a big piece of glass that was under the dust ruffle on the bed, lucky for me I was wearing shoes or would have had to ge stitches. Our stateroom attendent took care of it immediately. The other problem with this room and any room near the Centrum is that it can get rather loud during some of the events being held there and some sound will carry into the room, lucky for us we were usually awake anyway that being said I loved the location and would pick this room again. The ship has alot of glass so it is hard to get claustrophopic which was good as the first day at sea we had near gale force winds and some rough seas alot of people were room bound due to seasickness, being able to see out when it is like that can be helpful. The food in Windjammers was buffet food and was ok, there seems to be less variety than the last cruise also seating here can be problematic, Main Dining room was good. Sambas was great 9 courses of meat, a salad bar and veggies and dessert loved it. I picked this cruise due to the ports. Even though it was cloudy and not always the greatest weather in some ports we had a great time our temperatures stayed in th 50's most of the trip so nice when compared to Texas 100+. In Juneau it was cloudy and kind of rainy we picked up a city tour and shuttle out to Mendenhall from one of the vendors off ship. Skagway-Me and the hubby split up he did the ships Jeep tour and I did the River trip in Haines, we both saw bears that day. He said a bear actually put it's paws on one of the jeeps and window shopped the people inside, bet they had great photos. Icy Strait-overcast but not raining Whale watching is awesome here, we used Misty Bay Lodge and saw up to 30 whales it was great highly recommend them. Ketchikan-really nice weather we just did the Duck City Tour and went back on the ship for lunch and mini-golf. Inside passage we had awesome weather, actually hit 70 degrees and was sunny, saw quite a bit of sea life, huge pods of Dahl porpoises, some sea lions, whales and even a couple of Orcas in the distance. Overall the Radiance is a nice ship especially for her age, She is clean and pretty well maintained. Hubby thinks they should sand blast and repaint due to some rust. They were replacing some of the carpets during port stops. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
My husband and I and our children (16, 10, 8) travelled aboard the Radiance of the Seas from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia the last week of August 2011. The ship stopped at Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. ... Read More
My husband and I and our children (16, 10, 8) travelled aboard the Radiance of the Seas from Seward, Alaska to Vancouver, British Columbia the last week of August 2011. The ship stopped at Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point and Ketchikan. It also sailed to the Hubbard Glacier and through the Inside Passage. This was our fourth cruise with children and my ninth, however our first venture outside the Caribbean. We thought the itinerary was the best of all worlds. We chose the ship because of its updated features and amenities for adults and children. We were not disappointed. The ship was probably my favourite of the nine cruises I've been on. It boasted friendly staff throughout and classic elegance. The atrium area with the glass elevators was insanely beautiful. Even our inside cabins were exceedingly comfortable and well thought out. We travelled from central Canada to Anchorage and on to Seward in one day. I would not recommend that to anyone! It was a total of 18 hours in travel time from door to cabin door. In Anchorage, we had prepaid a company to take us by bus to the pier through the internet. Because of a flight delay, we missed that bus. Originally we were told that no shows would receive only a 50% refund. However, we came to a satisfactory agreement. At first I was disappointed that Alaska Cruise Tours left us behind at the airport but in the end, I would say they handled the situation very professionally. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this company to future cruisers. We considered a rental car, but in the end we were able to find transport and we made the cruise on time which is the important thing. Dining: We ate dinner in the dining room every night. Our table was set for 10 but we were the only ones to dine most nights. The service was excellent and there was almost always something appealing on the menu. Our other meals were eaten in the large buffet or the Park Cafe. I have to mention that the Park Cafe and Solarium was one of my most favourite spots aboard ship. There and the Colony Club on 6 aft. Beautiful spots for looking out over the ocean. The Park Cafe offered fresh, healthy options for breakfast and lunch, which I enjoyed numerous times. Entertainment: I wouldn't rate the entertainment all that highly on this cruise, but I'm okay with that. I prefer to turn in fairly early and rise early to enjoy the quiet morning on the upper decks. The ship's entertainment crew were very good; the shows just aren't really my style. Kids' Club: Perfect and wonderful. Couldn't have asked for more. Shore Excursions: Juneau. We took a bus to the Mendenhall Glacier and walked the trails there. We happened across a young cub while on a trail and observed him for a while. It's a beautiful place. The shops were interesting to pop in and out of. Skagway. We explored the town in the morning (an hour is all you need to do that). In the afternoon, we went on a ship excursion by bus to the Summit of the White Pass and into the Yukon, on to a suspension bridge over some raging waters and back down to a gold rush reinactment at Klondike Gold Fields. It was a fine way to put in 4-5 hours. Icy Strait Point. A tender stop. Should have just stayed on the ship. Ketchikan. My favourite port, but I don't know whether that's because of the actual town or because the sun came out for the first time on our vacation, lol! I really liked watching the salmon swimming in the streams here and learning the story of their struggles and journey to spawn. We did all our souvenir shopping here, which was fine--lots of choice. However, one of the really nice souvenir shops that was in Juneau and Skagway (Alaska T-Shirt Company) was curiously absent in Ketchikan. Go figure. Shopping tip: use the coupon book that's handed to you at embarkation. It has lots of deals in it. Second tip: say no-thank you to the Ulu Knife. Security doesn't like them and complicates your vacation. Once in Vancouver, we disembarked using the Walk-Off option. Super easy. We were off the ship by 8 a.m. and at our hotel (downtown Holiday Inn a little later). We spent the day on a hop on/hop off bus tour, which wasn't a bad way to see the city sights in limited timeframe. One tip: don't use Grayline's Big Pink. We had a lot of problems with unnecessary delays. The other two busses that do similar routes were always cruising by us while we waited endlessly at the stops. I would highly recommend both this cruise itinerary and the ship The Radiance of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
First of all a bit about us to frame the review.  Hubby and I are in our mid 50's.  We travel a lot by land, ½ personal, ½ business.  This is our 4th cruise since we have been married, but our second this year. The previous was ... Read More
First of all a bit about us to frame the review.  Hubby and I are in our mid 50's.  We travel a lot by land, ½ personal, ½ business.  This is our 4th cruise since we have been married, but our second this year. The previous was also RCI, a 3 day Bahamas tour out of Orlando.  So we were familiar with RCI, and thought we knew what to expect. Our overall experience was very very good.  Alaska was glorious, and the weatherman cooperated giving us sunny days in both Denali and Ketchikan (Ketchikan?).  We saw plenty of breathtaking scenery, wildlife (eagles, whales, bears, caribou) and had the much needed R&R we were seeking.  We had an exceptional group on our bus who became our community for most of the trip. Rather than give a stop-to stop review, here are some organized thoughts Land - portion (RCI Tour 20) We were short on time, and went for this tour in lieu of longer ones that have either the train and or a stop at Talkeena.  If I had to do it again, would have taken more time and done a longer tour.  Our bus tour in Denali did not get us far enough into the park to see any wild life.  The longer tours allow for more time in Denali.  The gold mine is cheesy tourist fun, and while you do not get rich, everyone gets some flakes. Sea - The ship is beautiful.  We enjoyed walking around and looking at all the appointments.  We were very happy we were able to have a balcony; we were able to see Hubbard Glacier in style.  Enjoyed most of our stops although Icy Straight Point/Hoonah is a waste unless you are doing excursions.  We had one major disappointment and two minor ones.  Our major disappointment was the food in the dining room. It seemed to have significantly declined since our last cruise (and that was only in January!)  It seems that RCI is cutting corners, and the chef is not on the same wavelength as us.  Entrees were either too spicy or too bland, and the qualities of the ingredients were not what one would expect.  And this problem seemed to be confined to the dining room.  We enjoyed the food in the Windjammer and loved our meals in Chops and Portofino.  If it was not for the company of the other folks at our table, we would have blown off the dining room all together. As far as minor disappointments, they were two.  The first was that the luggage gods were not with us.  We had problems with our luggage getting on and off the ship.  There was some confusion with the luggage in Skagway, and we left 30 minutes late. We did not get our luggage until 11:45 the night we boarded.  When we disembarked, they mixed up the off loading of the luggage in Vancouver and we had to wait an additional 30 minutes.  So much for calling the groups in order.  The second disappointment is the feeling of being nickeled and dimed.  Everything was an up charge.  If you wanted freshly squeezed OJ (free in previous cruises), you had to pay extra.  If you wanted a superior meal (Chops or Portofino), you had to pay a lot extra.  Icy Straight Point seems to exist to sell more excursions.  There were probably other examples we were not aware of.  I do not begrudge RCI from making a profit, but manage it better.  Many repeat cruisers found all these new charges offensive. On the plus side, our cabin service was excellent, we enjoyed the entertainment, and how can you beat the experience of Alaska.  Anyone who goes on this cruise will enjoy their experience.  Just know what to expect and you will be fine.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2009
It was our first time on Royal Caribbean. I've cruised Holland and Carnival and had high expectations for Radiance of the Seas. We spent a long day traveling, had mechanical problems which caused us to be late to the ship, however, ... Read More
It was our first time on Royal Caribbean. I've cruised Holland and Carnival and had high expectations for Radiance of the Seas. We spent a long day traveling, had mechanical problems which caused us to be late to the ship, however, they held it as there were about 50 people on board that were due to be on that ship. Once in Anchorage, I learned that Alaska Air had lost my luggage and would not be able to get it to the ship on time. Therefore, I had to wait three days for my luggage. I found the guest relations desk to be extraordinarily complacent when checking in with them as to the the status of my luggage as it was to be delivered to their facility in Skagway. I received nothing but a toothbrush from them and was told continually that their luggage supervisor was unavailable. I missed the first formal night, but nothing was going to ruin this trip. We boarded the ship with no problems because everyone was already on board waiting for our group. However, we were informed that the prior cruise had had an outbreak of the Norovirus and that the ship was under "Code Red" procedures. At least 5 times a day the captain reminded us all to wash our hands. By the end of the cruise only about 50 people had become ill. The positives. The ship was the most beautiful I've seen. First class all the way and the ports were gorgeous. CHOPS restaurant was the best food I've ever had in my life. Well worth the $20.00. The negatives. This was the last cruise for Alaska and you could tell the crew was already on vacation. The customer service from the room attendants to the dining room was horrible. They were rude and could have cared less that anyone was in need of service. The bartenders were okay, however, they were short on Patron tequila and as we found out later, it was because they themselves were drinking it. We personally saw two of the bartenders salt a lime, grab a bottle and walk in the back. Our favorite bartender was so drunk one day that he couldn't see straight and took a nap behind the bar. There was absolutely zero supervision on board for the crew. The dining room dinners were good. The breakfast was the worst anyone on board had had before. Nothing but complaints. The shows were good. However, we live in Vegas so our perspective is different. Departing the ship. Our plane left at 2:00. We were told to be ready by 8:00 a.m. As we found out, it was necessary. We were driven to the airport and THREE hours later, our group's luggage arrived. We ran to the check in line, and made it on time. There were only three Air Canada agents working and I guarantee that 50% of the people did not make their flights that day. I would recommend Alaska and the ship, but hopefully they've changed the crew! Read Less
Sail Date September 2006
Radiance of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.2
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.5 4.1
Family 4.0 4.1
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.8
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 3.8
Rates N/A 4.3

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