168 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
My son & I are loyal Royal cruisers. Overall, we loved the ports and the cruise, but there were some minor issues that really bothered us as we've had zero issues on any of our other cruises. I had pre-ordered a celebrations ... Read More
My son & I are loyal Royal cruisers. Overall, we loved the ports and the cruise, but there were some minor issues that really bothered us as we've had zero issues on any of our other cruises. I had pre-ordered a celebrations cake for surprise him when we had dinner in Giovanni's on his birthday. When I boarded the ship, per instructions from Crown and Anchor, I went to Guest Relations and specified that instead of delivering the cake to the dining room, it needed to be delivered to Giovanni's on May 29 at 6:30 p.m. Long story short, despite my having given instructions FOUR times to have the cake delivered to Giovanni's on May 29, the cake was delivered to our stateroom and the surprise I planned for my son was spoiled. There were several other issues and things that happened on the ship that basically made me think the right hand didn't know what the left hand was doing. Two days before we arrived in Ketchikan, we decided to cancel the fishing expedition we had pre-paid for, which needed to be done Sunday to be within the refund period. Shore Excursions was supposed to open at 5 p.m. I was the second person in line at 5 p.m., since we had dinner reservations for my son’s birthday at 6:30. Guest relations told me they could not cancel the excursion; shore excursions had to do that. Guests in line were then told that the desk would not open until 6. That posed a bit of an issue for us, but we got dressed for dinner early and went back down to shore excursions at 6, only to discover that there were now 12 people in front of me. I flagged down a staff member (who appeared to be a supervisor) while I was waiting and she said yes, that guest relations could cancel the shore trip as long as it was outside of 24 hours. She stated, and I reiterated to her, and received a positive affirmation that the resulting credit could either be posted back to my credit card on file OR withdrawn on the last day as cash. When I tried to get the cash refund on the last sea day, I was told that was not the case and that it had to be refunded to my card. The internet was AWFUL. It was marketed as VOOM, but it was incredibly slow and often not available. Now, I do understand that internet at sea is not going to be like it is at home, and it can be spotty. But that's not how they market it. Completely unacceptable and the slowest of any internet we've had on any of Royal's ships. On the plus side, I have zero complaints about our stateroom, our stateroom attendant, the service and food in the main dining room, or any of the ports. I only gave this cruise three stars because of the service issues. The cruise itinerary itself was lovely. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We approached this trip differently than most do as Alaska was never a "dream destination" for us. We were more interested in the on-board experience and I'd like to give some thoughts about the Radiance of the Seas. ... Read More
We approached this trip differently than most do as Alaska was never a "dream destination" for us. We were more interested in the on-board experience and I'd like to give some thoughts about the Radiance of the Seas. Firstly, if you are crowd-averse, this is the ship for you! We sailed at full capacity and promptly dubbed it the "ghost ship". I have no idea where all the passengers were - other than during peak meal times and on the helipad on Hubbard Glacier day, we rarely ever saw many of them. Without exaggeration, we never once waited for an elevator (even on disembarkation morning), a spot in the hot tub, failed to get a good seat in the theater or had the room service phone ring busy. These were all new experiences for us. A+ for a spacious, relaxed environment. We were also extremely surprised by the passenger demographic. We had expected "senior city" and instead found there to be very, very few elderly people on board (I only saw 1 mobility scooter all week). There also seemed to be very few children, although this could be due to great programming in Adventure Ocean. The weather also could have contributed as we did not ever see any youngsters in the kid's pool (very nice by the way), at mini-golf or on the rock wall. Most everyone appeared to be exactly like us - couples between the ages of 40 & 65. Overall, we did not love ROS, it was our first cruise on this class of ship and it would be our least-favorite to date. A brief synopsis of our opinions follow (questions welcome if you want more specifics): Embarkation 5/5 - obviously Seward is not a typical port, people arrive in very staggered numbers and there is little to no wait to be processed. We also had extremely good luck with our RCCL airport-to-pier transfer although it was 2x the price of booking it independently. Cabin 1/5 - the cabin itself was fine (inside GTY on Deck 3) but the bedding was so excruciatingly uncomfortable that it really did impact our enjoyment of the trip. The mattress was rock-hard (no egg-crate available), there was nothing other than the mattress pad and sheet to hold the two beds together and the pillows were stiff and over-stuffed. Our cabin steward simply said she was "unable to do anything" about either the mattress or pillows. Common Areas 3/5 - nice in general and pretty well-kept but soft-goods need replacement. Certain areas seem very under-utilized and that makes for a bit of a desolate feeling. The worst of these is the new Boardwalk Dog House; so undecorated and unappealing. Food 2.5/5 - our dislike of MTD in general and how poorly it was handled on this ship (compared to our last cruise on the Liberty) taints our impression here. The MDR food was adequate, but preparation and presentation seem to decline with each subsequent cruise. The specialty venues are now not near good enough to merit the prices, unless as a direct contrast to the MDR. They would not compete favorably against land-based restaurants. The Windjammer is about as good as an Old Country Market, but I suppose one can't really expect anything else. We only eat there when there aren't any better options. As for the new Park Café, everything there besides the roast beef sandwiches is pre-made (and they microwave the Panini's instead of pressing them - boo!). Entertainment 4/5 - I love an evening show, it's a major part of the cruise experience for me. All of the headliners were very enjoyable on this cruise and the House Orchestra is excellent. The RC Singers and Dancers, on the other hand, were woeful; the only Production Show during the week (Piano Man) was practically cringe-worthy actually. The weather unfortunately made watching outdoor movies impractical and the Cinema schedule didn't jibe for us but we would have definitely watched some if we'd had the chance. Service 2.5/5 - very hit and miss, mostly because there just seemed to be so few crew members around. Bar service was slow and not very enthusiastic even though they were never busy. (There were next to no bar servers around; we got all of our drinks directly which would have irked me if we'd paid for a drink package.) We got lucky with a very nice pair of waiters in the MDR and have nothing but compliments for them - can't think of a thing more we would have wanted. Our cabin steward was adequate but unable to assist with the only things we actually needed, which was some relief from the uncomfortable sleeping bedding. Crew in general were polite and semi-friendly if you managed to make eye-contact but not effusive in any way. Maybe we're just expecting too much based on a cruise history rooted in the "good old days". Disembarkation 5/5 - we had late travel arrangements so our tags were for 8:45, much later than we've ever had before. We were able to catch the tail-end of breakfast after the early rush and had no wait to depart around 9:00. The Vancouver terminal is extremely easy to navigate and did not require the usual stop at Customs. Luggage was easy to find as much of the bulk of it had already been claimed. From leaving the ship to getting in a cab took all of about 8 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We too were on the Radiance this summer. We were on the July 31 - August 7th southbound from Seward to Vancouver. There were 4 of us (in 2 cabins): me, my 88 year old mother, my 30 year old daughter and 28 year old son in law. ... Read More
We too were on the Radiance this summer. We were on the July 31 - August 7th southbound from Seward to Vancouver. There were 4 of us (in 2 cabins): me, my 88 year old mother, my 30 year old daughter and 28 year old son in law. This was my mother's bucket list trip. (my husband held down the fort at home - the two of us hope to do Alaska alone next summer :) ) This was my second cruise on Royal (my first was on the Allure - which was a 5/5 in all categories!!) I've been on many DCL cruises as well, and I've concluded that i'm happy on either Disney or Royal. This was my daughter and son in law's 3rd Royal cruise, their second time on the Radiance (they honeymooned in Alaska a few years ago). So getting to the nitty gritty: We spent 5 days in mainland Alaska (would have liked more, but there's a limit when you're traveling with an older person). Two nights in Anchorage (so that we could take a glacier cruise out of whittier), then 2 nights in Seward, where we did Kenai Fjords, the Sea Life Center, Exit Glacier and Seavey's Ididaride. Then on Friday, July 31st, we boarded the Radiance of the Seas for our southbound cruise. I'll limit my detailed review to just the Radiance. Embarkation - 5/5 - Our luggage was delivered to the port by our hotel in seward, so we just walked to the terminal at 1:00 with our carry-ons. We had no wait at all at the terminal. They signed us all in and we were immediately on the ship and in our staterooms. So i agree with the 5/5. Cabin - 5/5 - the cabin was excellent (D1 balcony, portside, midship on deck 9, a few rooms back from the centrum). Even though my mom and i are both used to concierge suites on the disney ships, we really enjoyed this room and thought it was perfectly fine for 2 people. There was an amazing amount of storage for such a small room, and we had space for everything. We found the bed and pillows to be very comfortable. We even thought the much maligned shower was perfectly fine (and definitely preferable to a bathtub, so i was glad i hadn't upgraded us to a junior suite). Common Areas 5/5 - Everywhere on the ship was beautiful. What's especially nice about this ship is how many places there are to sit inside that have views to the outside. I've never been on a ship that has so many indoor areas with full views of the outside. Even in the main dining room (the MTD area), we had floor to ceiling windows from which we even saw a whale from time to time. With all the glass everywhere, this ship is perfectly suited to cruising Alaska. Food 4.5/5 - We used MTD, and loved it. We had the same waiter/assistant waiter every night which really enhanced the experience for us. Our table service crew were outstanding and went above and beyond every night. We also enjoyed most of the food, and since our waiter brought each of us 3 or 4 appetizers and at least two main meals (and 3 desserts), we always had something we liked to eat. As for the other meals, my mom and i ate in the MDR for breakfast every day and lunch whenever it was open. We were pleased with both the food and service for those meals as well. My daughter and son in law ate breakfast and lunch in the windjammer and were also very happy with the food there. Entertainment 4/5 - I'm including in Entertainment, the game activities as well. Those activities that i refer to as 'summer camp for adults". For us, that's what makes or breaks a cruise. Good silly activities for adults. We go to all of that stuff - trivia, finish the lyrics, quest, video scavenger hunt, etc etc etc. We had a wonderful time on the radiance!! The cruise director's staff was a hoot and we fell in love with all of them!! They really made the cruise for us (Lee, Katie, Olaf, Jeremy, et al). As for the headliner entertainment, we went to the magician - who was hysterically funny - we went to every one of his shows. We didn't go to any of the big production shows, as we don't tend to like that sort of thing. We'd rather do other things that are at the same time, for example, the live music elsewhere on the ship (which we thought was very good). Service 5/5 - we had really outstanding service. Throughout the ship. Our waiter/assistant waiter/head waiter/ and other MDR staff at the other meals were fantastic. Both of our cabin stewards were outstanding (when i say both, i mean ours and my daughter's - she had a different steward - both were excellent). The cruise directors staff was wonderful. The barmen were very friendly and enthusiastic even though they were swamped most of the time. Even crew who were just around the ship (like the guys cleaning the bannisters) were very friendly, always asking us how our day was etc etc. I couldn't have asked for a nicer crew. They made our cruise for us!! i almost forgot the guest services staff, who were also outstanding. My mom is nearly blind, and i had contacted RCI about this before the cruise. Well, already at terminal check in, they were wonderful. And they had someone from guest services who personally took us around the ship to help her out and all through the cruise guest services was wonderful. Concerned, helpful. Again, outstanding!!! Disembarkation 5/5 - we took the last time slot as we wanted to go to breakfast and then go back to our room before disembarking. we left our rooms at the latest time we could (i forgot when that was, 9? 9:30?). We went to the waiting area where we said our goodbyes to the wonderful cruise directors staff and after about 10 minutes, our number was called and we walked off, immediately found our luggage, and headed to the alamo desk. Very easy. All in all, we had as nice a cruise as i can imagine. I would definitely repeat the experience. In fact, i will next summer with my husband. And hopefully again some time in the future with everyone (all the kids and grand kids!!) Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
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
In 2007, we sailed Radiance in the Caribbean, so when I saw that the ship was in Alaska for the very cruise we wanted I jumped at the chance to go on her again. We did a 4 night pre-cruise land tour from Anchorage to Denali, Talkeetna, ... Read More
In 2007, we sailed Radiance in the Caribbean, so when I saw that the ship was in Alaska for the very cruise we wanted I jumped at the chance to go on her again. We did a 4 night pre-cruise land tour from Anchorage to Denali, Talkeetna, Alyeska (fabulous) and Seward, but I won't give the details of that here - suffice to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. THE SHIP We were taken by our tour coach to Radiance at 1:30 p.m. on July 3rd and we were on the ship by 1:45 p.m. I thought the ship looked fabulous and I loved some of the changes since our last cruise - the new little restaurants, the big screen on the pool deck, park cafe in the solarium,the layout of Windjammer had changed for the better. After the muster drill at 7:30 we set sail. No big set-sail party as most were at dinner. On the last day, we did the ALL ACCESS TOUR, and I recommend this for anyone who is interested in the workings of a city at sea. Apart from the galley and theater, we went to the crew areas, the engine control room and the bridge, where we met with the captain. It was three hours and well worth it. DINING We chose My Time Dining, but to be honest we made reservations for 8:00 every night, and they seemed to prefer you to that. ON DECK I loved the fact that it stayed light for the first couple of nights. Walking on deck and looking out at mountains at midnight is so much better than staring at a dark ocean.Little did we know it, but we were in for 7 days of the most fantastic weather. I had not expected to use the outdoor pool on this vacation, but it was so warm that we swam on 4 days. In fact the last cruise day was more like a Caribbean cruise as there was no wind and it was in the low 80s. Of course they heat the outdoor pool for Alaska cruises and that was even better. I thought it was so funny that on the last day they played FROZEN on the pool screen and there we all were in Alaska, wearing bathing suits, and watching snow and ice on screen and for real in the distance. THE SITES The first cruise day was to the Hubbard. There was so little floating ice in the bay that we got to the face of the glacier quickly and could stay there for ages. It was magnificent. We stayed on the bow, and once the ship had stopped we did not need hats or even jackets - I did enjoy their hot chocolate though. Juneau was the second port - we just took a bus to Medenhall for 4 hours and then we went up the Mount Roberts Tram and walked the alpine loop. It was so hot that I was glad of a beer in Tracey's Crab Shack when we returned. Skagway, another great stop - we did a helicopter trip to land on a glacier. I highly recommend this, it was completely amazing. Icy Strait point - bear watch and whale watch. Saw loads of whales and 3 bears (briefly) Ketchikan - I think this is the nicest of the four stops, it is a good size port and very accessible. We did a float plane ride to Misty Fjords. Thinking it would be colder on the fjord landing we over-dressed. I was boiling when we touched down on the fjord, but the whole trip was awesome. Vancouver - a WONDERFUL city and we spent 2 days here post cruise and I would recommend anyone to do this. It is the most tourist friendly city I have ever visited. CREW AND ENTERTAINMENT The captain (Captain Goran) was the best. He gave out appropriate information, was professional, but also often seen. The Piano Man show was good and the magician Leo Ward was amazing, if he is ever on your ship, don't miss him.The cruise director Amy was personable and did her job efficiently. There was a good piano player in the Schooner Bar. DISEMBARKATION This was a breeze. We had to wait in Cascades Dining and were told we would be called at 9:20 and we were. The bags we arranged really well, and we were out of the terminal in minutes. Lots of friendly tourist guides to help you with directions etc. SUMMARY I would do this again in a heart-beat. Alaska exceeded my wildest dreams in terms of its beauty. I learned so much about glaciers and I loved the long days, you could do so much.Royal Caribbean is our favorite cruise line and this was confirmed by this trip. 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
I planned a family (my parents, husband, and myself) trip to AK for June 2015. We just got back and overall the trip was great because we experienced so much of Alaska; however, the cruise was a disappointment. My husbands favorite ... Read More
I planned a family (my parents, husband, and myself) trip to AK for June 2015. We just got back and overall the trip was great because we experienced so much of Alaska; however, the cruise was a disappointment. My husbands favorite thing about cruising is the ice cream and every time we turned around the ice cream machine was broken with only one side working so there ended up always being a line or impossible to fix yourself an ice cream. Additionally, the strawberry never worked! My dad's favorite part about cruising is the food...the food on this ship during the lunch hours is awful! The extra food service areas around the pool is also awful! It is a poor excuse for food. Dinner was a different story thankfully...while the meat served is less than quality, overall dinner was great and the personal waitstaff was kind. Entertainment on the Radiance was a disappointment. The RC Dancers looked like they forgot to practice. They were never in sync and the show story line was horrible as well as the costumes. The singers however did have nice voices but the dancers were a train wreck to watch. Thankfully the cruise ship brought in outside entertainment for a few nights so we got a break from the RC Dancers. The greeters for the ship be it the buffet or when you arrived back on board looked as if they would rather be somewhere else. They would stand their cross armed and no smile. We had only sailed Disney before this cruise so we had high expectations and we were disappointed. No, we do not have kids we just enjoy the quality Disney provides. On the Disney cruise the greeters have Mickey hands waiving saying "good morning" or "welcome home" and we did not see any of the welcoming faces on this cruise. Disney has Mickey and friends on the cruise and the showman ship is top notch. RC had a whale, dolphin, mouse etc. for picture taking and the costumes were worn out and looked like they were from the 70s. I was watching the whale one day before leaving for our shore excursion and the whale was holding up the head in between pictures AND what connects the costume had strings hanging out the back of the head. Very poor showmanship! Alaska however is wonderful and I recommend going if you ever have the chance. We decided to try RC because we like the path the boat took over Disney but you cannot compare the quality of service for RC to Disney. Lesson learned. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I rate the cruise a 2.5 only due to the beautiful viewing of the Hubbard glacier and excellent excursions at Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan and Vancouver. The food at best was below average. Entertainment was just average. ... Read More
I rate the cruise a 2.5 only due to the beautiful viewing of the Hubbard glacier and excellent excursions at Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait Point, Ketchikan and Vancouver. The food at best was below average. Entertainment was just average. The cabin was below average. The fitness center was above average. They cared more about taking all your money instead of proving quality value. First time I seen watered down tabasco sauce, omelets and drinks. Meatballs that could bounce. Toast that was so hard that the waiter told me to cut the edges off. The last day of our cruise at breakfast they ran out of ham, sausage, bacon and cream cheese. The balcony door that needed Superman to unlock and roll open. Bathroom that had a toilet brush that smelled like human waste. The room attendant cleaned all the rooms with same dirty water and didn't use any sanitizers. The bathroom didn't have any lotion and the water from the facets went from hot to cold while showering. This was my first RC cruise and have done three Disney cruises. What a downgrade this was. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
I found that my experience on the Radiance was quite a bit different than some negative reviews already posted, which just indicates that cruising is a very subjective experience and all reviews should be considered carefully. Yes the ... Read More
I found that my experience on the Radiance was quite a bit different than some negative reviews already posted, which just indicates that cruising is a very subjective experience and all reviews should be considered carefully. Yes the ship is the older style, which I personally like. I have been on the larger ships, they all have pros and cons. Radiance has lots of glass and comfy places to sit and watch the scenery go by while staying warm. The ship recently went thru a renovation and the carpets, furniture, fixtures etc are mostly in excellent condition. The crew kept the public areas clean and fresh smelling. There is now a separate movie theater showing recent releases. The outside movie was not used much since it was in the mid 40s and rain almost all of the cruise (choice of mvoies was humorous - Frozen, March of the Penguins, Alaska)The casino was actually pleasant, very few times did it seem at all smokey, most times there was a fruity scent piped in. There is a smoke free bar area. The theater went with permanent seats instead of the fold up ones that nip your fingers, great sight lines. Entertainment was outstanding in all of the shows and the musicians throughout the ship. My cabin was well maintained, my only complaint is that after the rehab the large light bar over the bed was eliminated and there are now no good reading lights. Yes there is the dreaded cloth curtain, little hint that works is to bring along some heavy clothespins or magnets to weigh it down, no clinging to you and no water on floor. Also, I buy a dollar package of sponges to line the soap bar, keeps shampoo bottles from slipping thru. As to the service, I would rate it outstanding. I had an issue with My Time Dining the first night, spoke with a headwaiter and it was corrected the next night. Dining room service was excellent, food is the new normal for RCI, some don't like it. New policy of having the Loyalty Ambassador work away from the next cruise sales area was welcome, able to drop in and get questions answered. Every where I went on the ship crew members would smile and say hello. The Captain was out and about, as were the senior officers. My only unresolved issue was with shore excursions. Two of the excursions I went on did not do what was advertised in the brochure, not due to any weather or other issues not in their control, but tour guides just taking a shortcut to get done quicker. I reported both, with the bus number and bus driver name, to shore excursions desk and they did not get back to me or give a partial refund. I have several future cruises booked on the same class of ship and look forward to them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Alaska is beautiful and therefore we looked at the Radiance as our means to get there. Beyond that we were disappointed with the cruise. This was our 9th RCI cruise and by far the most disappointing. The staff was very disengaged and ... Read More
Alaska is beautiful and therefore we looked at the Radiance as our means to get there. Beyond that we were disappointed with the cruise. This was our 9th RCI cruise and by far the most disappointing. The staff was very disengaged and seemed merely to be going through the motions. MDR offerings were mediocre and the Windjammer was terrible (this seems to be the theme with RCI currently). Service in the MDR was excellent as always. The specialty restaurants, Giovanni's ,Chops and Samba were very good. The onboard entertainment including musicians and shows was very good. One main reason we continue with RCI. The most concerning and troubling issue with this ship was the toilet system. It simply does not function properly. We smelled sewer gas in our cabin and on our hallway all week. On several days the toilets would not flush in both our stateroom and throughout large portions of the ship. This needs to be addressed immediately, however it was explained to us that the repairs will have to wait until the next dry dock in 2016. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Fortunately Alaska was great and that was our main reason to be on the ship. The food was marginal at best. The dining room was average and had some variety. The steak reminded me of the pick up trucks with refrigerators in the back, ... Read More
Fortunately Alaska was great and that was our main reason to be on the ship. The food was marginal at best. The dining room was average and had some variety. The steak reminded me of the pick up trucks with refrigerators in the back, trying to sell poor quality meat. The Windjammer had the same stuff every night, or not much of a difference. Even he hamburgers and hotdogs were in a steel tray. Who knows when or how they were cooked. I discovered they did have omlets for breakfast. You don't watch them make it, you just stand in a long line waiting to have it made. The desert selection was minimal. The tiny pastries didn't look as good as the cellophane wrapped ones at a cheap gas station. Only one of the two cream machines worked. And a couple times they ran out or just had strawberry. The pizza was never cooked enough to turn the crust even a slight brown. The food just was lacking appeal. They had one good comedian for entertainment. The other shows were bad. Either cheesy entertainment or not much better than a good high school production. I have been on other cruise lines as well as RCI and this fell way short. The ports and Alaska experience was great. I would do it again, but not with RCI. Read Less
Sail Date May 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 had a great trip. Really wonderful jr. suite. Met up with some old friends from a European coach tour. Lots of things to see and do. Just really had a blast! The ship was very clean and the room was attended several times per day. We ... Read More
We had a great trip. Really wonderful jr. suite. Met up with some old friends from a European coach tour. Lots of things to see and do. Just really had a blast! The ship was very clean and the room was attended several times per day. We were a little disappointed that we were not able to get Alaskan King crab, but the Brazilian BBQ more than made up for it. I took advantage if the suite concierge service and club room which was so nice, very few people and really great selection of top shelf drinks. The views from our balcony made it unnecessary to go topside to see the glaciers and from our balcony we did see whales, eagles, otters and various other kinds of wildlife. All the shore excursions were well planned and fun. I especially liked Hoonah for the history and the native culture. We just really had a great time! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
For wife and myself this was our 9th cruise and 7th on RCI and second to Alaska. Our stateroom was # 8530. It was appropriate, comfortable, and as expected. Following our first Alaskan cruise (Inside Passage) although beautiful, we did not ... Read More
For wife and myself this was our 9th cruise and 7th on RCI and second to Alaska. Our stateroom was # 8530. It was appropriate, comfortable, and as expected. Following our first Alaskan cruise (Inside Passage) although beautiful, we did not feel like we "experienced" Alaska. To remedy this we booked the 10 day pre-cruise tour. This included additional nights in Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali. We also spent an additional night pre-tour in Anchorage at the Marriott, as we have friends living in Anchorage. It was quite worth it. Our Knowledgeable and friendly guide was Shelly and bus driver was Rick. I have found that RCI hires the best in tour guides and drivers and this was the case this trip as well. Our land tour went very quickly and ended at the port of Seward for our South-bound cruise to four Alaskan Ports and Vancouver CA. Embarkation was a breeze. We had no unusual or unwanted smells or sounds in our stateroom. Both my wife and I have some back aches/pains issues when sleeping on foreign beds, however all of the beds (ship, Marriott, and tour hotel/lodges) were quite comfortable and did not cause any discomfort. We booked excursions at each port with RCI and were very happy with each. On the whale watching and Orca Point Lodge lunch tour at Juneau was exceptional. We had the pleasure of meeting (and snapped photos) of 8 different whales. Outstanding! People frequently write about the money they save booking own tours. Sure RCI takes “their cut” of the tour money, but so well worth the quality and hassle free. Just show up and go. This was our first experience with “my time dining” and I am still not sure how I feel about it. We pretty much booked the same time nightly with the same server and assistant waiter; shout out to Geraldine and Abhay, as they were awesome from day one! This was our first experience with the Specialty restaurants as well. I personally am not a chef or food critic, but living in Las Vegas every renowned chef has an establishment (or two or three) so Wife and self are conversant on fine dining. I will tell you that the steak in Chops was not only flawlessly prepared and perfectly cooked to my medium liking; it was so tender that I literally cut it with my fork! The sea views from the tables provide unparalleled ambiance not found in restaurants anywhere in the world. The service was world class as well. We will make reservations with Chops on future cruises. This was also our first experience with the “Mystery Dinner Theater”. I booked this on line prior to departure from the RCI web-site. This was an evening of entertaining silliness and a nice divergence from the usual evening dining occurrence. Food and service in the main dining room are still exceptional given the huge number of meals prepared and served. At no time were we disappointed with our dinner selections, preparation, or service. The performers and band were all very talented and delivered performances as good as the bizarre corporate production arrangements would allow. The other live entertainers on the ship were also very good. The Cruise Director, Mike Hunnerip, was hilarious and informative, and one of the best we have met. Naturally one’s first cruise experience usually has a high “wow” factor and after reading some of the postings on this site I started to become concerned. At no time did we have anyone trying to up-sell or over sell us any goods or products, including the bar wait staff. The truth is that the quality delivered by RCI is not any less than on previous cruises. We have booked another cruise and will remain “loyal to Royal”.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I planned and researched this trip for almost two years as I knew it would be the last one for awhile as we are moving next year. Here are my tips and opinions of the wonderful 10 day adventure. First and foremost, if you do a land tour, ... Read More
I planned and researched this trip for almost two years as I knew it would be the last one for awhile as we are moving next year. Here are my tips and opinions of the wonderful 10 day adventure. First and foremost, if you do a land tour, DO IT PRIOR TO THE CRUISE. The land tours, no matter how many days, are VERY intense and you need time to decompress on the ship. The day after leaving Seward is the Hubbard Glacier so is a sea day and, believe me, you need it. That being said, the tour we were on - this year it's 1B who knows what they are calling it next year - was wonderful. We met in Anchorage at the Marriott and after a half hour orientation with our guide, were on our own to do whatever. The tour was very well organized as they met us at the airport and took us to the hotel. At orientation, we got a schedule and explanation as to how they do things. They gave us luggage Ttags so that we only would get the bags we needed for the land portion and our cruise luggage would stay on the bus and we wouldn't see it until the last night of the land portion. We packed two small bags for the land portion and we didn't have to schelpp our big ones. We put our bags outside our door at night (sound familiar) and they put them on the bus until the next stop and they delivered them to our rooms! I won't bore you with every detail, just highlights: we rode the Wilderness Express domed train from Anchorage to Talkeetna - 3 hours and saw the awesome scenery. Breakfast can be purchased on the train in the dining car, The train is very comfortable and you can see everything from both sides of the train. We had a narration the entire trip who explained a great deal to help get us into the trip. Talkeetna was just a teaser stop and we continued onto Denali by bus. Our tour guide, Sami and bus driver Ashley were fabulous the entire trip. We were very lucky as we were able to see Denail (Mt.McKinley) completed unclouded and clear. Sami told us it was only the second time this season that the mountain was so clear, that she made two extra stops so we could get a good look at her! Denali was next and we stayed at the Grande Denali Lodge, It is up a steep "hill" with lots of switchbacks and very funny road signs on the way up (to keep your mind off the road I'm sure), but Ashley got us there in one piece, The hotel was OK - nothing exceptional, but we were able to relax and they have a good dining room. We opted to upgrade to the Tundra Wilderness Tour which is 7-8 hours and leaves at 5 AM. We ordered boxed breakfasts and lunches when we arrived at the hotel and they were ready for us before we left. This tour is WORTH THE EXTRA TIME. You go 62 miles into the park - no other vehicles are allowed unless you do this tour - and it was cool enough that we saw moose, caribou, dall sheep and bears. This is what we came for. We left Denali and headed back to Talkeetna for the night and stayed at the Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge. This place is spectacular and the views are magnificent. The food in the restaurant was good and the lodge has a huge fireplace with comfy couches to just sit and talk. This is where we got all our luggage and tagged everything for the ship. It all goes on a separate truck and is sent down to Seward and you don't see it until you are onboard!! They have extra luggage tags. We stopped in Anchorage again for lunch and shopping and was onto Seward and the Radiance. Embarkation was a breeze and we were onboard in less than 30 minutes. The ship did not disappoint - we've been on her sister the Serenade and were pleased that Radiance was all spiffed up and we found her clean and ship shape, We did, however,had two problems. 1) our bathroom had a small flood the first night which was fixed immediately and our carpet dried out with a huge fan. The head housekeeper kept stopping by to check on us and make sure everything was OK. 2) My Time Dining - you make a reservation and find you like your table and waitstaff and you request the same for the rest of the cruise. Well, our hostess wouldn't do what we asked so we had to get her boss involved three nights is a row and weren't too happy to hit this "bump" in an otherwise enjoyable trip. The food was excellent - I've seen complaints here about no escargot and lobster but we did have lobster. We cruised last year and had no escargot and were told then and then again this year that there is trouble with the quality and supply of them so they opt out of serving them. We opted to do all shore excursions through the ship this time and were not disappointed with one of them. We saw eagles and whales galore - even leaving Icy Strait Point. Disembarkation had one hitch - our meeting place was changed at the last minute and they didn't bother to announce it - they could have done a better job with that, but we actually got off the ship a little earlier than planned. We chose to use Choice Air for the first time and had a very pleasant experience with them and found it easy to use. My final tip: If you can only do one trip in your lifetime, THIS is the trip to do. beachbaby830 Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We found our cruise with RCI to be well organized! My 23 yr old daughter and I made the trip and it was our first cruise with RCI. We staying in cabin 9062 which had a balcony. We arrived in Anchorage, spent the night at the Anchorage ... Read More
We found our cruise with RCI to be well organized! My 23 yr old daughter and I made the trip and it was our first cruise with RCI. We staying in cabin 9062 which had a balcony. We arrived in Anchorage, spent the night at the Anchorage Maarriot. They collected our luggage there, we took a bus back to the airport to board the Alaskan Railroad to Seward. At the airport, we were checked in by RCI and received our cabin keys. I would strongly suggest the train-it was a beautiful trip thru Alaska. We saw eagles, glaciers, waterfalls and some on the train spotted a moose. Food was available for purchase and the Alaskan Summer Ale was a great way to start the trip. Hubbard Glacier was Amazing. We did see calving, heard white thunder and noise similar to gun blasts and seriously, Rice Krispies (snap, crackle, pop). We were probably 1/2 mile away. In Juneau, I did the Whale Watching trip and my daughter did a Mendenhall Glacier Climb. This tour was strenuous. It involved a difficult hike to the glacier, cramptons on the glacier and a visit to some ice caves. She said it was a great experience, but was wet and sore when she returned (and looked like she walked from Anchorage). The guides were great, insured those on the trip ate provided snacks, drank water and layered clothing appropriately. She was seriously covered with mud from the knees down. She showered and had room service for dinner. The following day in Skagway, she did the Rock Climbing, Rapelling and Zipline tour. There were only 2 other people on the tour, so they got lots of opportunity to complete the activites as many times as they wished. She watched the White Pass train go by below her. We ate lunch on the ship and then took a Bike Trip down the Klondike. We drove up past the US Customs side (almost to Canada) and then road the bikes down. Our guide was great! The trip is nearly all downhill, we pedaled up one incline and then when we got into Skagway. Our guide recommended a stop at the Skagway Brewing Company for Spruce Tip Blonde Ale (fights scurvy). We also had the crab spinach dip, which was wonderful! In Icy Strait Point, we took an early Kayak trip. It was choppy and foggy when we left, but ended up clearly up and the morning was beautiful. This was an advanced kayak trip and was about 4hrs long. We stopped midway for a provided snack and water. We saw eagles feeding, but no whales. After, I went on a Bear excursion. The guide was very informative, spent time on the bus portion explaining a lot about their tribes culture. He was very informative. The trip did allow for a short trek out to 3 different viewing platforms where was saw the salmon running, eagles feeding-but no bears. My daughter took the Zipline trip and thought it was a blast. Icy Strait Point is a one cruise ship town. The ship anchors and you are tendered in on lifeboats. There are a few places to ear, museum and the scheduled activities. I saw some from our ship walk into the actual town, which also had some places to eat and a few shops. In Ketchican, we shopped and walked around town and then went on the Snorkel Alaska tour. I was never cold in a 7mm wet suit (it was a workout to get it on), with boot, gloves and a hood. Our guides were informative and we saw flounder, several types of starfish, sea cucumbers all of which we could hold. The Alaskan Hot Tub was nice after the trip (warm water poured down the wet suit to rinse off the salt water). We went to the Asylum for more Alaskan Beer and they brought over burgers from Burger Queen ( really good)! You can see both from the cruise ship dock. The inside passage was beautiful. We did see some porpoise and beluga whales while completing this part of the trip. It was a needed relaxing day at sea! The sun was warm that morning. We sat on our balcony in shorts and shirts (got an Alaskan sun burn)!! Our dining experiences were great. We did my time dining and always had Geraldine and Ahbay. They remembered our names and preferences. We also ate in Samba and Giovonni's. We skipped the formal nights and ate in the specialty resturants. People do dress up for formal night which isn't our thing. Disembarking was well organized. We had an afternoon flight, so we were one of the later groups to leave. We were able to clear customs in Vancouver, so the rest of or trip home went quickly. I would do this trip again. Our excursions were on the adventurous side, so I would do some more cultural trips next time. Make sure you dress for the weather and layer. It drizzled the first 3 days and rain gear was necessary. The only thing bad I have to say about RCI-paying for wifi (although we had reasonable phone service near and in ports), thin TP and I would have preferred antibacterial hand soap in the cabins. There was Purell all over the place and we used it.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We weren't at all sure what to expect on this southbound cruise but are easily pleased so had a great time and of course how else do you get to see that coast and the ports along it? Embarcation was no problem, we had made our own ... Read More
We weren't at all sure what to expect on this southbound cruise but are easily pleased so had a great time and of course how else do you get to see that coast and the ports along it? Embarcation was no problem, we had made our own arrangements for a pre-cruise tour, it's not at all hard to organise over the internet by the way, apart from trying to get some information from RCI - still waiting for a response! We arrived at Seward by bus from Anchorage at around 5.20 pm and were straight through the checks and on the ship in no time. The public areas of the ship seemed adequate, the buffet dining in Windjammer was great for breakfast and lunch, plenty of variety once you had done a reccy to find what was on offer. Also loved discovering the cafe by the solarium for a snack at odd times, good salads too. The only time we were really aware of the number of people aboard was the crush for the Chocolate Buffet - gave it a miss and the poolside BBQ ditto, loungers around the pool in the solarium were in demand that last day as cool anywhere else outside. Our evening meal was in the dining room at the late sitting and we enjoyed our table companions, swapped excursion stories and had lots of laughs. Enjoyed dressing up a little to make dining feel a bit special. The table stewards were great and soon cottoned on to what we would like. The food was mostly good with a few dishes not quite to standard but we never felt the need to eat in one of the other restaurants - maybe on a longer cruise? Only so much you can eat after all. Requested room service one night as had a sore throat but the food delivered was cold and tasteless, should have gone up to choose something myself from Windjammer. We are not great entertainment buffs but enjoyed the early evening shows, great dancing by the young women especially, singing a bit strained at times. Comedian not to our taste. Saw a classic movie, enjoyed the Alaskan information talks and also the captains talk about the ship. Read 3 books, what bliss! When the sun came out and we weren't ashore I had a couple of swims in the solarium pool, it was cool, the swim were brief! It was great to be on deck to see the ship arrive and dock in Vancouver at sunrise, our disembarkation, taking our own suitcases off went very smoothly and we caught the Skytrain from the nearby station much earlier than we'd expected. Vancouver has a great rail link from the airport to the Canada Place dock. Over all a very enjoyable first cruise, felt well looked after by all the crew, ate well, met some interesting people, relaxed, saw and learned new things. Got a great deal by booking late, so excellent value too.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
We sailed from Seward after our land part of the tour. We recommend if you are taking a Land/Cruise that you do the land first and enjoy the boat on the second half. We did RCI's 5B Land/cruise. First 5 nights at 4 different stops so ... Read More
We sailed from Seward after our land part of the tour. We recommend if you are taking a Land/Cruise that you do the land first and enjoy the boat on the second half. We did RCI's 5B Land/cruise. First 5 nights at 4 different stops so you're living out of your smaller suitcase. On the boat for 7 nights you can unpack and get used to the bed. We took in Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Straight Point and Kecthikan and arrived in Vancouver as our debarkation point. BIG HINT: Book your excursions outside of RC. Don't let anyone at RC scare you into booking with them because "they don't guarantee you'll be back in time". Every excursion we booked outside of RC knew of the ship's scheduled arrival time and departure time, so book EARLY. Also Google/Bing Alaska coupons. Many of the excursions up there have discounts. We booked a whale watch in Icy Strait Point for half off the second person, a $67 savings. Additionally, the excursions tend to be less expensive and more plentiful than the offerings via RC. If you are booking a balcony stateroom BOOK A PORT SIDE CABIN if traveling southbound and a STARBOARD CABIN if cruising Northbound. The ship has an indoor pool, as well as a sauna and steam room that you do not pay extra, so take a bathing suit. We had room 8102 and it was great for two. The balconies, just off the Centrum, was almost as large as our stateroom. We had friends up for drinks and we were all outside. Food selections were awesome and everything was delicious: CHOPS: Ask for Ferdinand Fernandes for your server. IMPECCABLE service and great meats. GIOVANNI'S - also IMPECCABLE service and great food. LEAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT !!!! Tiramisu....O-M-G !!!! WINDJAMMER - excellent buffet for all tastes and dietary needs, but who the heck diets on a cruise. PARK CAFE - light fare and salads available until late. CASCADES - My Time Dining....service and food were OMG too. We sat at a different table each time and met some wonderful people. We made reservations, but ate whenever we wanted. Hot Dog place ( I don't remember the name offers 5 great dogs with sides and beer.) We heard Ritas and Izumi were also very good, but that is second hand information. Be careful to ask the prices of the wines and fresh squeezed OJ is $3.75 a glass. We had no problems. We had friends who had bathroom issues repeatedly, but they were solved and they were comp'd a meal at the restaurant of their choice. No alcohol is complimentary, so if offered to you, be sure to ask if there is a charge. These are some of the things we learned, but the cruise was AWESOME and we would recommend it to everyone.   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
I may be in the minority here but wanted to share my thoughts about the 7/4-7/11 Radiance Cruise. Our last cruise was on the Disney Fantasy and was totally spoiled with the service and ship so maybe my expectations were too high. However, ... Read More
I may be in the minority here but wanted to share my thoughts about the 7/4-7/11 Radiance Cruise. Our last cruise was on the Disney Fantasy and was totally spoiled with the service and ship so maybe my expectations were too high. However, we did not pay that much more for the 7-day Disney cruise than we did for this Royal Caribbean cruise. In retrospect, considering that we had a large balcony on the Disney cruise and only a porthole/window on this cruise, I'm seriously thinking that the Disney cruise was a better value. Here are my thoughts on our onboard experience itself and not the weather (generally great) and the itinerary/ports(generally very nice): 1. Ridiculous that we were asked to pay $170 for a "Soda Package" after paying in excess of $4000 for the cruise. (Disney had soda stations around the ship open 24 hours a day for anyone to use) 2. Entertainment was not terrible but not great either. Really have to ask who is picking the movies for the ship. They were actually showing "Funny Girl" on the pool movie screen the day we boarded as well as in the Cinema all the next day. Yes....that "Funny Girl". The Barbra Streisand movie from 1968. Seriously? 3. Our server in the dining room was pushy and not very friendly. We ended up eating in the dining room only 4 nights out of 7 due in large part to his attitude. His "partner" that served the beverages and bread, was much nicer and seemed genuinely friendly. 4. Not happy about gratuities being automatically added to our bar purchases, even for one drink. I understand that some people don't tip very well but by having it added automatically, the bartenders become unresponsive and there is no incentive for them to be friendly. With one notable exception in Starquest, every bartender we encountered was slow and unsmiling. 5. Stateroom attendant was nice and did a great job! 6. Youth clubs were pretty good. Hard to compete with Disney when it comes to family based services but RC did a fair job. 7. Windjammer (buffet) was OK. My family found that the deserts and pastries (anything baked generally) seemed stale and not freshly prepared. In other words, not even as good as the package of danishes that we picked up in an Anchorage grocery store and kept in our RV (pre-cruise) for several days. 8. Pools cold. I understand it's Alaska but you would think they would overcome that by adding extra heating. My kids, who love to play in the water, were very disappointed. 9. Poor communication, both before and during the cruise. a) They provided a service to check luggage at the train station in Anchorage but we didn't know about it until we arrived at the train station. It would have saved a lot of stress about what we were going to do with our luggage while waiting to board in Anchorage. b) Departure was confusing for us. We chose the Express Walk-Off option and then the paperwork about what to do on the day of departure made no mention of what to if you chose that option. c) We didn't receive any information on what our options were for getting from port in Vancouver to airport. Had to figure it out ourselves once we got off the ship. 10. No opinion on the shore excursions offered by RC. We planned our own and saved considerable cash in doing so. Whale watching in Juneau (JuneauWhaleWatch.com), Full Day Yukon Tour in Skagway (same company, JuneauWhaleWatch.com), Zipline in Ketchikan (SouthEastExposure.com). We used the Northern Lights Coupon book (Google it) to save, literally hundreds of dollars on our excursions while on the cruise and over $1000 while in the RV before the cruise. 11. We did not shop or gamble so cannot comment on those aspects. 12. Wife did get a massage and said it was one of the best she'd ever had. 13. The "adults-only" area (Solarium) was not really exclusive to adults. Since the Park Cafe is located in the Solarium you constantly had kids going in and out getting food and drinks. Additionally, the Solarium pool was open to kids 4 hours of the day. Even on the family oriented Disney cruise, they had a better set-up for creating an area exclusively for adults in order to get some piece and quiet. So, all in all, the cruise was, in our opinion, a way to get to nice ports and see beautiful scenery but just that....a means of transportation. Our shipboard experience was very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
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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