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  1. Disclaimer - We would like to pass on our impressions and thoughts of our cruise experience to anyone planning for or getting ready to participate in a similar Itinerary. Everyone knows that reviews are subjective. One person’s gold is another’s trash. That said please remember this is our personal impressions and yours, of course, will vary. We ignore postings that are made in response to our reviews that merely seek to flame. We will review subsequent posts in order to provide answers to questions asked. We appreciate this understanding. Please ignore any spelling or grammar errors – we want to get this posted swiftly before we lose focus on our experiences. Thank you. Travel and Embarkation - We are a semi-retired American couple (both 66 years of age) living as expats in an Asian country. This was our seventh cruise (3 on Princess and 3 on Norwegian, and now 1 on Royal Caribbean). We made all our own arrangement for this trip including direct reservations with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, air travel, and hotel, (we did a RCCL transfer from the ship to the airport in Honolulu). We flew in one day ahead of the 10 September sail date so we could enjoy some time in Vancouver without the stress of trying to make a flight on cruise day. This was a good decision in retrospect as our experience in the Vancouver airport was one for the record book. We were queued up three times in multi-hundred person lines before we got to immigration. The airport appeared to be completely overwhelmed with passengers. It literally took three and a half hours from exiting the airplane to getting to the point of retrieving our baggage. We took the light rail line from the airport to the Waterfront Station in downtown Vancouver. The train was very easy to negotiate, quick, and inexpensive. Our pre-cruise stay was as the Exchange Hotel located a couple of blocks away from the cruise port at Canada Place. The weather was typical Northwest – cloudy with a couple of periods of heavy rain. Vancouver is really a beautiful city. On boarding day we took the short 5 minute walk from the hotel at just after 10:30. We were in a Grand Suite for this cruise so dropping off our bags we walked directly to security and then to the express check-in without waiting in a single line. The Ship – It is small as ships go these days. The Radiance was launched in 2001 but had come out of renovation in May 2016. The ship looked to be in generally good condition. There are numerous areas around the ship that could do with a little paint and rust removal but overall the ship is well maintained, clean, and free of obvious neglect. Our Grand Suite was Port Forward on the 10th deck and we generally walked the stairs and rarely took an elevator so crowded elevators were not a concern. We did notice that often there were many waiting to ride. We did not use the casino but we did walk through the area a couple times and noticed a very heavy tobacco odor permeating the area. We decided that after the first day when walking from the front to the rear of the ship we would simply walked up or down a flight of stairs, crossed over or under the casino and walk back up or down the stairs on the other side. The odor, while evident, is not in our opinion, something to get upset about after all it is a casino. There is a rock climbing wall, 9 hole golf putting course, and basketball court. The weather was agreeable most days. There are two swimming pools on deck 11 (one adult only and one open). Both are small and busy on the Hawaii itinerary. Our Cabin – We had a Grand Suite with balcony on Deck # 10 Port Side Forward. Our cabin steward was very intuitive and was always available but never intrusive. He was very friendly and always helpful. Towels were replaced almost as soon as used and the room serviced regularly. The room was kept very clean. The grand suite has a large sitting area with full sofa and two easy chairs and a coffee table. We had a king sized bed located in a separate area of the suite. The bathroom was very large and had a big bath tub with shower. As suite guests we were provided upgraded amenities (soap, shampoo, rinse, body wash, etc.). The bathroom was spotless. Storage area was more than adequate. Even with three large suitcases we did not even filled up one closet with two to spare. We had a large flat screen television. Channel selection was non-existent but useful for checking your shipboard accounts and reservations. Ship announcements were not broadcasted into the rooms so you had to listen from the outside if you wanted to hear the public announcements. We had an unlimited Voom Surf and Stream Wi-Fi package. While billed as the “fastest at sea” that was not our experience. It was the slowest and most prone to disconnection of any service we have every had on any ship. There was a water pot and coffee maker with free coffee provided in our cabin but we did not use them as the coffee available at many locations around the ship provided plenty of very satisfactory coffee. Dining - We ate breakfast and lunch in the buffet on deck 10. Breakfast was the standard fare with omelets made to order and a wide variety of breakfast foods to choose. In our opinion the buffet was well designed with adequate seating. The staff was very fast at removing plates and silverware and cleaning tables as people left. If you meet Jade in the buffet say hello to a wonderfully upbeat and kind young man. Since we were suite guests we never had a difficult time finding a seat because there was a reserved dining room just off the buffet. We found the food in the buffet to be generally good but somewhat repetitive. There is a self-serve soft ice cream machine in the buffet area. We had dinner twice in the Main Dining Room. Both were excellent meals. Having reservations we were seated immediately. We did notice a slight lag in service but the menu items were always appropriately hot, warm, or cold. We also dined in our room twice with selections from the main dining room menu which was delivered hot and quickly from room service. Extra Fee Dining - On our second sea day we ate Izumi’s sushi restaurant. The food was well presented and very tasty if not quite as fresh as we would have liked. On our fourth sea day we ate at the Samba Grill a South American Churrascaria concept venue. The food and service were excellent. Come hungry as portions are large and filling. On our sixth sea day we ate at the Italian themed Giovanni’s restaurant. Again the food was wonderful and the service attentive and friendly. Entertainment - The one area for which we would like to see change is more entertainment in the theater. We enjoyed the one revue show we saw as very entertaining and well done but other evening entertainment presented appeared to be filling an otherwise empty evening. Tours – We booked all our tours through Royal Caribbean. As most everyone knows this is a more expensive option but the benefits of ease of booking, guaranteed return to the ship, and tour operator vetting are hard for us to ignore. We did not want to take any risks getting back to the ship on time. Maui Hawaii (Lahaina) – Hana & Haleakala Helicopter Exploration. We had a wonderful time during this just over one hour aerial tour of Mt. Haleakala, the world's largest dormant volcano. We were picked up at the port and escorted to the Blue Hawaii air terminal located at the Maui airport. Our pilot was personable, knowledgeable and gracious. The views are indescribable. While costly, this tour is well worth the money. Upon completion we were again picked up and returned to the cruise port in a comfortable van. Kauai Nawiliwili – Grove Farm and Kilohana Plantation Railway. A short drive from the deep water port of Nawiliwili the Kilohana Plantation harkens back to Kauai's Golden Age of Sugar with a four-hour tour of the Grove Farm museum and a narrated railway ride around the former plantation plus free time at Koloa Rum Company and other artisan shops. Rich in history and slow in pace this tour is a relaxing stop on the Garden Island. Of all our tours during this cruise we found this to be our least favorite and not worth the cost and would not consider it worth repeating. Hilo Hawaii (Big Island) – Zipline through Paradise and Waterfalls. A total of eight zipline runs follow the Honolii River high over thundering waterfalls and deep gorges. Our guides were extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and obsessed with our safely. We were given three rules to remember and were quizzed repeatedly concerning them. The three rules were 1) don’t adjust or handle your harness, 2) don’t put your hands on the cable, and 3) have fun. Some zipline runs were tranquil and easy and some were quite thrilling. We had a great time and would have liked to have gone back up and done it again if possible. The light rain throughout our tour did little to dampen our enthusiasm. Highly recommend this tour if physically able. Kona Hawaii (Big Island) - Atlantis Submarine. We rode a large comfortable boat with around 70 other guests from the cruise terminal out into the ocean where the submarine was waiting. Boarding was done via gang plank from the boat to the submarine under the watchful eye of the crew who stood by to assist if needed. All went well. There were two entrances into the submarine (one on each end) so boarding went quickly and easily. The interior of the submarine has individual seats (two rows facing back to back) and each passenger has her/his own designated port hole through which to view. The nearly hour long dive visited two ship wrecks and numerous coral formations. While many fish were in the area none were large and the light filtering effects of being under up to 100 feet of water drained most of the colors leaving the viewer seeing mostly in gray shades. The submarine is well lit, clean, ventilated, and large enough to eliminate any possibility of Claustrophobia. This tour is very interesting and well worth the cost. Overall we had a wonderful time and would recommend the Royal Caribbean and the Vancouver to Hawaii itinerary. The Radiance of the Seas is a great ship for a relaxing cruise. Younger cruisers with families may want to consider larger ships with more traditional entertainment venues (water parks, rope courses, flow riders, etc.).
  2. Can anyone tell me what the second bedroom is like in the owners suite. Thanks Judy
  3. Good Evening! I, and my husband and son (14), just returned last night from an amazing 2 week adventure in Alaska. I love reading reviews before we cruise, and hope someone will be able to find some of this information useful. We did a DIY land tour for one week before boarding Radiance, so I am going to start with that. Day 1 (July 12th): Flight from Boston to Anchorage via Salt Lake City. We flew with Delta Airlines. Upon arrival in Anchorage, we got our luggage and hopped on the hotel shuttle bus. We were booked at the Microtel at the airport, but it was overbooked, so we were put up in the Motel 6 (at no cost to us, of course!). We were super tired, but that, and the 4 hour time change, did not prevent us from getting up early. Day 2 (July 13th): Picked up rental car and drove to Fairbanks. There we stayed for three nights at the Best Western Pioneer Park Inn. It was about a 7 hour drive, but we did stop for lunch at the "49th State Brewery" in Healy, just north of Denali. A great quirky place with very yummy food. I had crab stuffed jalapeños wrapped in bacon (very Weight Watcher friendly) and my husband and son both had Yak burgers. For the next day we had booked a 14 hour (roundtrip) excursion to the Arctic Circle, so we need to buy snacks for that trip, and for the hotel, e.g. wine and chips. There are 2 Fred Meyer stores in Anchorage, and we went to the one closest to the "mall" as I wanted to check out the local author section of the Barnes and Noble there. As it turned out, our tour guide to the Arctic Circle wrote a book, so I went back to the store a day later to pick up a copy. The Barnes and Noble store there has a fireplace for cozy reading! After shopping we went for a dip in the hotel's heated pool and went to bed.
  4. It's my understanding that some have had the glass staircase removed, and that they all differ in decor. What's the decor like in each centrum, and which one is best?
  5. Having done a back to back cruise last year on the Harmony of the Seas I can say without reservation the Radiance was a far more enjoyable experience for two experienced cruisers in their mid(ish) 60's that don't relish being around over 1,000 kids. We tried the "mega ship as the destination" thing and the" ship within a ship suite level" thing, and it left us wanting. A lot. Then a destination wedding of friends on the Big Island made us reexamine RCI. This was a ten day cruise Vancouver to Honolulu (5 sea days then stops in Maui, Kauai, Hilo, Kona, Honolulu) with 18 more days to Sydney Australia for those doing the complete journey. We disembarked a day early in Kona since we would have had to fly back there for wedding the next day. Perfect timing. We'd been on the Radiance 10 years earlier and enjoyed her, so off we went. What we loved: The size of the ship and the number of passengers (just right) The orientation to the sea from almost all the interior spaces and the beautiful atrium One of the handsomest lounges at sea (Colony Club) Lots of seating inside and out at the Windjammer buffet The crispy lobster rolls at Izumi (and almost everything else!) Lots of deck space and loungers. Automatic leveling pool tables. The friendliness crew, officers and cruise staff. The excursion to Lanai....off the beaten track with a 5 star guide! What we liked: The food in the Windjammer and and main dinning room. The food in the specialty restaurants The musicians and lounge acts. Plenty of activities for the number of sea days (special call out to the egg drop) The art deco vibe of the stateroom Cleanliness of stateroom and public spaces in general. The excursion to Hanelei on Kauai...(with scenes from movies shot on Kauai on the ride back to the ship) Enough elevators for the amount of guests (contrasted to the Oasis class horror) What we weren't crazy about: Embarkation slow and disjointed....you go through US customs when you leave BC, slowing down the process. Stateroom bathroom tired, dated and exorbitant amount caulking used to fill in the gaps. Internet amazingly slow....(think dial up speed if you are old enough to remember) The floor in the Windjammer often very slick from what the signs say as "condensation", like walking on ice in street shoes. Evening entertainment limited. Would we do RCI again? As long as the Radiance class ships exist, doing longer itineraries, we will.
  6. Has anyone done the 2 bedroom owners suite on Radiance? I am seeing different pictures on each site. Also seeing these cabins called different things too. Looking at booking one of these cabins so we would like current info if possible. Pictures would be an awesome bonus!
  7. We will be staying in a grand suite on Radiance of the Seas, our first time in a grand suite. I know that we can go to the concierge lounge for drinks and snacks at night. I looked at the RC perks site but didn't find an answer to my questions below. Do we get unlimited bottled water and specialty coffee? Or do we need to buy a drink package? Do we get VOOM for free or discounted? Or do we need to buy a package? thanks
  8. Considering doing consecutive cruises (Northbound and Southbound Alaska) in this OS. Is balcony large enough? Is balcony private? Is there a better cabin choice on OS category?
  9. I have read that people feel like the Radiance of the Seas is their favorite ship. Just wondering why. I have been on a couple other ships in the same class (Jewel, Brilliance, Serenade) and wondering if there is anything different about the Radiance.
  10. As much as I love the larger ships, I am concerned that an Oasis class ship will be all the more crowded and hectic getting on and off the ship at European ports. Anyone have an opinion on which class of ship may be best for a European cruise? Thanks all!
  11. They in the same class but is any thing different between them ? Both will be sailing from Australia In 2020 . Thanks 🙂
  12. Would someone please post the week's cruise compass for the southbound Alaskan cruise? Thank you so much for your help.
  13. Wow, where to begin? We left Thursday from Fort Lauderdale to Vancouver and had a few stops along the way. When we saw Mount Rainier from the plane window coming into Seattle, that's when I knew something really special was happening...
  14. On July 9th I booked a 12-day Alaskan Cruise/LandTour, (cruisetour 12A) for uly 10, 2020 as advertised, for 2 people for a total of $2924.86 .... yesterday I received a call from RCI that they advertised the price incorrectly (their error was also applied to multiple travel agency sites), and that in order to keep my cruise I would need to pay $9,672.72. Bait and switch, false advertising. Has anyone else been affected by this? They (RCI) made an "executive decision" to not honor their pricing. I'm now out airfare, excursions, travel insurance, etc. If I don't pay up by August 2, 2019, they will automatically cancel my reservation. I am appealing to their "upper management" and their Board of Directors, but I'm trying to find anyone else to has experienced this (or similar, and what your outcome was), so we can band together. I've cruised on over 50 cruises, and my husband has been on more than 30; this would have been our first experience with RCI. Pam Monroe
  15. After having done some of the bigger ships in recent years, I was thinking it would be nice to do some more traditional and quaint cruising again next year. To me, the Radiance class ships pretty much are just that, not too big, cozy, understated elegant. And the Med is just the easiest to get to. So I started to look around for some Radiance class cruises to in the Med, but didn‘t find any. Are the 2020 itineraries just not all out yet or is RCL not using any Radiance class ships in the Med anymore :-0
  16. On the Radiance class deck plans, there is a narrow space between cabins 8614 and 8616. Does anyone know what that is?deck.bmpdeck.bmpdeck.bmpdeck.bmp
  17. What would be the earliest flight time you would book out of Vancouver after an Alaskan cruise back to the East Coast? Also does anyone know if you clear customs in Vancouver or once you land in a US city? Struggling to find a flight that would get me back home on the same day and don't really want to do an overnight flight either. Thanks in advance.
  18. My family and I just returned from a great cruise on the Radiance of the Seas! Our group consisted of 2 adults in mid 50’s, 2 teenagers, and 1 adult in early 30’s. Overall the trip was fantastic, had a few hiccups but I would do it again! This is my first cruise review and I want to include the things that I look for in a cruise review or have a hard time finding answers to online. Sorry I do not have any menus or compasses. Canada Place Cruise Port We arrived via taxi at the cruise port at 10am. We dropped our luggage off with the porter within 10 ft of being dropped off by a taxi. Then shown through the port where to check in and get our seapass. There was a small line, about a 5-10 minute wait. After receiving our seapass, we walked through security and then to customs, again a small wait, which took about 10-15 mins. We were then seated to wait for boarding the ship by 10:30 ish. There were maybe 200 people in line before us. Unfortunately, they did not start boarding people until Noonish. We heard from others, a few people from the previous cruise got off the ship sick and as a precaution, had to do extra cleaning. We boarded the ship, headed to the windjammer and ate before the crowds got there, then checked out the ship. Rooms We had two interior rooms: 2013 & 2027. Had no issue with noise, even though we were on the second floor. You tend to run into more crew and “ship items” but I’m guessing it’s because we share the floor with them. On the 2nd floor you can only access guest rooms with the aft elevators and stairs, which was kinda annoying. Room had enough space for three and didn’t feel cramped. Enough drawers and shelves for clothes. We brought a 3 USB outlet plug for all our electronics and didn’t have an issue. The room shows it’s age, but it was always clean and our attendant was great! Ship Radiance of the Seas is definitely showing her age. There is rust here and there, things that should be painted, and some of the windows either need to be cleaned or they are stained. It’s clean and overall well maintained, but if you are expecting something like the newer ships, you’d be disappointed. Personally, I had no issues, knowing it’s an older ship. Dining We did not eat at any speciality restaurants. Breakfast we tried the main dining room once. NEVER AGAIN! The service was horrible and the food was cold and it took forever! Not worth it! The rest of the time we had breakfast at the windjammer. It was the same food everyday, but it was good. Lunch was also at the windjammer, with a little bit more variety by the day, but typical buffet food. Dinner was My Time Dining and was great! I made reservations for the same time everyday before the cruise. We had the same waiters and table, so it was just like traditional dining. Our waiters Harish and Jun, were excellent! The food was pretty good. My favorites were the french onion soup, eggplant parmesan, and molten lava cake. Also all the bread and pastries were amazing!! Entertainment The magician and Eagles tribute band were great. The comedian and Royal’s two original shows were okay. The singing and dancing in the original shows were great, but to me the shows themselves didn’t make sense. The band Beta 4 is amazing!! A must listen to and they play in multiple locations on the ship.We enjoyed going to the different trivia events during the day. The activites crew was great! Weather Alaska weather was all over the place. It misted/rained most of the day in Ketchikan, Icy Strait Point, and Juneau with the temps in the low to mid 50s. In Skagway, it was mostly cloudy and very windy. Hubbard Glacier was the best weather day with bright sun and temps were probably upper 40’s by the glacier with a little wind. I wore a t-shirt, sweater, and jeans and I was comfortable as I went in and outside to view the glacier. On our Land tour, the weather was much warmer. Anchorage was low 70s and sunny. Talkeetna was in the 80s and sunny. Denali was in the low 70s and partly cloudy, did have a little bit of rain here and there in Denali, but never lasted long. Ports/Land Tour Ketchikan: Lumberjack show and Totem Trolley Tour- The show was fun to watch, the trolley guide was knowledgeable and the totem park was nice, but time was short with only a 20 min visit. Got off a Creek street and walked around. There was alot of construction going on, so it was hard to navigate the streets. Icy Strait Point: No Excursions. We walked along the rocky shores and through a short walking trail in the woods. Also stopped by the museum and shops. TIP: The tide is very low in the mornings so it allows you to view much of the shore. Highly suggest walking the rocky shore in the morning. By late afternoon, the tide was high and you really couldn’t walk the shore. Juneau: Whale watching and Wildlife Quest Tour. Saw some whales, sea lions, eagles. It was an okay tour. The guides were knowledgeable, but I was expecting more. Walked around town, ate lunch at the Alaskan Crepe Escape, which was awesome. It was pouring rain for most of the afternoon, so we did not get to ride the tram like we wanted. Skagway: White Pass Railroad tour. My favorite tour of the whole trip. Train goes up the mountain and the views are amazing. Highly recommend! Seward/Anchorage: Talkeetna: Mahay’s Jet boat Tour. The guides had great information about the land, water, animals, plants, and life in the area. I nice relaxing tour. Our hotel also had a fantastic view of Mt. Denali. Denali: Natural History Tour. This bus trip took us about 30 miles into Denali national park. Didn’t see many animals and could not see Mt Denali. It was about 4 hrs, which was long enough for us. Two of our stops were cut short due to rain. Husky Homestead Tour. This was my second favorite tour of the whole trip. We learned all about Husky’s and their life and training for the Iditarod. Jeff King, four time Iditarod winner who owns it, also spoke with us. They let us pet and hold the puppies as well. All the speakers were knowledgeable and it was an overall wonderful experience. Highly recommend! Tips/FYI Bring a light rain coat with hood, don’t bring an umbrella. The coat doesn’t need to be big and bulky, just light weight and water resistant. You can wear a sweater under it and feel warm enough. Also great for windy days in port or on ship. Layers, Layers, Layers! Starquest lounge on the 13th floor is the best place for indoor views and a great uncrowded place to view the glacier. Only found this place the last two days on the ship and I love it! Looking for a quieter place to view the majestic mountains indoors during the cruise? This is the place. There is also outdoor space, which is why I think it’s the perfect place for viewing the glaciers! Magnetic hooks for your state room. These were so helpful to hold up the daily compass, hats, coats, sweaters, lanyards. First time using them based on a suggestion on this board and it was very helpful. Want to see Mt. Denali? Go to Talkeetna, not Denali National Park. While Denali park is beautiful, we never saw the mountain and were actually quite far from it on our tour. (other tours do get a little closer). We stayed at Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge and had wonderful, close views (30 miles away). We also were really lucky and had a clear night and morning, and are now part of the 30% club that got to view full Mt. Denali, without haze or clouds in the way
  19. On my last RCL cruise I fell in love with the jalapeño cucumber margarita. Only one bar had it and that bar is not on Radiance. Does anybody know if this amazing drink is served on Radiance??
  20. In my research for my cruise next year I stumbled upon some 7N NE/Canada cruises on Brilliance our of Boston in sept/oct 2020. I’ve never done a NE cruise, and am possibly considering it over a Bahamas itinerary for something different. Couple questions: 1) on my last cruise out of Southampton I found the food lacking compared to my previous cruises out of Baltimore & Fort Lauderdale. My thoughts were maybe this was due to the departure port. Specifically I found a lack of good seafood options. Would a cruise out of Boston going north have menus that reflect that region? Will there be more abundance of seafood options? On independence out of Southampton the only venue I could find scallops on the ship was in Izumi hibachi. 2) what are some overall opinions on radiance class ships? I’ve sailed on vision, freedom & oasis class. I liked the layout of grandeur (vision class). From some videos it seems like brilliance is an upgraded vision class ship, is that the overall feel? Much appreciated
  21. Does Izumi restaurant on the Radiance have the Hot Rock menu option?
  22. Very disappointing work by the cruise director Cruzin Susan. Tomorrow our first day in Maui absolutely nothing going on except for a dance party. The cruise compass looks as baron as a desert. No headline show , no production show just throw up a movie and job done.
  23. I was planning to write this report when I got home to West Palm Beach, but our flight from LAX has been delayed almost 2 hours, so I have some time on my hands. On a side note, LAX has got to be the worst airport I have ever - what a dump! So, to start my review I need to go back a ways. We moved to FL in 2016 from VA, and one day my wife found this flyer in the mail - it was for a travel show. She suggested that I go, and I did. At the time, we were really looking at a 10-day partial PC Christmas cruise on NCL Jade for 2018. We already had our Navigator Christmas Cruise for 2017 booked, and were already looking for the following year. Well the TA hosting the show and the RCI rep at the show made a strong case for looking at Alaska as our next adventure. So my wife and I talked it over, and we decided to go to Alaska for summer 2018. We knew that if we traveled completely across the country that we had to include a land tour too. After looking at all the options, we selected the Family Tundra Express 9B because it sounded to most kid-friendly as we would be bringing our 8 y/o son. Now, I know that many like to DIY their land portion, and I appreciate the reasons for choosing this option - but I am lazy and too busy to do the research necessary to plan out a DIY trip [emoji6]. Booking with RCI was just too easy, and in terms of cost, the land tour and cruise was under the magic budget number I set, so I was fine with costs. TIP: Book early. I booked our cruise the day they opened the bookings, and I never saw a lower price for our cabin category (GS) or the land tour/cruise price. Note: One additional thing I learned, because we booked our land tour through RCI, we got cruise credits for each night of our land tour, and because we were in a suite, we got 6 C&A points for the land portion. Sent from my iPhone using Forums
  24. Which two bedroom suite has the largest balcony? On some of the ships, the aft balcony gets larger as you get lower in the ship. (Due to the design). Would the eighth floor have a slightly larger balcony than the tenth (which is tiny-tiny)? Anyone know?
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