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Radiance of the Seas: 5/27/16 - 6/3/16


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The members of Cruise Critic have given me a wealth of information throughout the years, so now it's my turn to give back a little. This is my 1st review so please bear with me.

 

A bit of history: This was our 2nd cruise, and 1st time to Alaska. Monte and I (Merranda) started dating in August 2007 and finally got engaged in June 2015 (I know that's a long time of dating, but I was in college for 6 of those years and getting married was the farthest thing from my mind during that stressful time). We both knew a big wedding was not what we wanted, so we decided to put our money towards a honeymoon to go somewhere we both have always wanted to go, there was no argument that that was Alaska!!

 

After a whole lot of research we decided on Radiance of the Seas leaving Seward, Alaska on May 27, 2016 and returning to Vancouver, British Columbia on June 3, 2016. I graduated college on May 6, we got married on May 12, and began our honeymoon on May 25. We left Lawton, Oklahoma at 3am to catch a flight out of Oklahoma City at 6am to Anchorage.

 

Here are a couple of pictures of flying into Anchorage.

**Please note I am not a professional photographer, all of my pictures were either taken with my cell phone or my point and shoot camera**

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We landed in Anchorage at 2:30pm and hailed a taxi to the Anchorage Grand Hotel. We chose this place because it was close to the train depo. We were excited to check out Anchorage and luckily check-in was quick and painless. The front desk staff were exceptionally friendly and the cookies on the counter were delish. Expecting cold weather we both had dressed in jeans and long sleeved shirts, boy we couldn’t have been more wrong. Anchorage was a gorgeous, sunny 72 degrees. We quickly changed our clothes and out the door we went. We made our way through several shops near the hotel and ended up at F Street Station. For the first time we ate halibut and it was excellent, along with the halibut we had several drinks, and still to this day I swear the alcohol is different in Alaska than it is in Oklahoma. F Street Station was a perfect spot to get the feel of the city, we spoke with several locals and all were very friendly and kept us going with stories well into the evening. At 10pm we decided to call it a night as we had an early train to catch the next morning. This was when it became a little weird for us, we are walking down the street at 10:00 at night and there are several people out an about and it is totally daylight, not a hint of darkness to be seen. Thankfully the Anchorage Grand Hotel had good blackout curtains, but no air conditioner. We turned the box fan on, which was provided in the closet, opened the windows in the kitchen and living room, closed the curtains in the bedroom and had a restful night sleep.

 

This is from the road in front of our hotel

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F Street Station had some tasty drinks

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The next day was our train ride with the Alaskan Railroad from Anchorage to Seward. The train depo was literally right behind the hotel, we just walked down the grassy hill and we were there. We chose the Gold Star service because we wanted the best viewing possible, I can tell you without a doubt this is the way to go. Our ticket included the best seats on the train, a delicious breakfast, 1 free alcoholic drink per person and unlimited soda, juices and coffee. Along our route we spotted a black bear, moose and several eagles. The view was breathtaking.

 

The brownish building on the far right side is the Anchorage Grand Hotel

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Inside Gold Star

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The first part of the ride goes along the highway, then it veers off into areas only the train has access to

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We arrived in Seward a little after 11am, grabbed our luggage and hopped on the free Seward shuttle bus. These shuttles are school buses and the drivers are local. We hopped on and off this bus on several occasions and continually encountered some of the friendliest drivers. They were informative and answered all of our questions regarding the area. We had booked the Seward Front Row Bed & Breakfast and was told we could stow our luggage until check in, so that was our first order of business. The bus dropped us off 2 blocks from our destination, after going in the wrong direction for about ½ mile we figured this out and found our way. We walked up to the front door, used the phone that was waiting for us to call the owner, played with Riika, the property dog, who was gorgeous and oh so friendly, checked in with Lori, placed our luggage in the garage and were on our way to explore this gem of a town.

 

He was a bit peeved that I didn't listen to him regarding going in the wrong direction

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Seward Front Row Bed & Breakfast

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Riika

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Then we were off to the Alaska SeaLife Center, I was so excited about finally getting to see Puffins. This place is a bit pricey but so worth the visit. We could come and go for the entire day and we got to see animals that we had never seen before.

 

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I got to touch it!

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There were a lot of puffins!!!

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We walked around town for a bit and did a little shopping, then headed back to the Bed & Breakfast to freshen up for dinner. We decided we wanted to take the seawalk along the waterfront to the other side of Seward for dinner. This was only about a 1 ½ mile walk and saw otters and sea lions playing out in the water. We had dinner at Ray’s Waterfront. It was very good and the view was awesome. After dinner we headed a few blocks down to a locally owned ice cream store and got dessert to go for our walk back. It was a perfect ending to a perfect day!

 

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Enjoying your review! Next time (may be 5 years [emoji53] because hubby wants to do a Mediterranean cruise first), but we want to stay in Seward too.

 

Wish we could have met you guys on the cruise. [emoji846]

 

 

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Embarkation day!! Friday morning we woke up early and my husband cooked breakfast, our bed and breakfast had everything available to prepare a delicious meal and homemade banana/cranberry bread that was to die for. We packed everything up, left our bags in the garage and headed out for a few more hours in Seward. We hopped on the free shuttle bus and made our way to Safeway to buy our 2 bottles of wine. The employees there were helpful and I ended up with 2 bottles of sweet wine that were made in Homer, Alaska. They were very tasty. After a few more stops, we went back picked up our luggage and headed to the pier. We left our checked bags in one area and proceeded to the line around 2:30pm and was on the ship by 2:50pm. Everything went very smooth.

 

The Radiance of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. This is the perfect boat to cruise Alaska in, no matter where you went there was always glass to take in the scene outside. All the staff was courteous and helpful and our room was perfect.

 

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Our cabin was 8086 and the balcony was a little bigger because of the hump

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We did sail away on our balcony and it was beautiful!

 

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Our 1st day was a sea day and we cruised the Hubbard Glacier. Pictures do not do this place justice as this was truly breathtaking, hands down the most beautiful thing I have seen in my life. We got to hear some calving which was really cool. Unfortunately our meet & mingle was scheduled for this afternoon and we could not pull ourselves away long enough to join everyone. This was the only complaint I have with Royal Caribbean.

 

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When we got onboard we bought the 3 night dining package so our first night we decided on Izumi, which was really good. Be sure you wait until you get onboard to book this as they have a special on boarding day that will save you a little bit of money. I think it was like a $30 per person savings over pre-booking online.

 

This is a picture of the Shrimp Firecracker Spring Roll, which was delish. My husband had the Mixed Seafood Hot Rock, which he enjoyed. For dessert we shared the Assorted Mochi Ice Cream and the Izumi Dessert Sampler. The desserts were sure pretty, but we didn't care for them. That was okay though because the Windjammer had awesome soft serve ice cream!

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We did sail away on our balcony and it was beautiful!

 

When we got onboard we bought the 3 night dining package so our first night we decided on Izumi, which was really good. Be sure you wait until you get onboard to book this as they have a special on boarding day that will save you a little bit of money. I think it was like a $30 per person savings over pre-booking online.

 

This is a picture of the Shrimp Firecracker Spring Roll, which was delish. My husband had the Mixed Seafood Hot Rock, which he enjoyed. For dessert we shared the Assorted Mochi Ice Cream and the Izumi Dessert Sampler. The desserts were sure pretty, but we didn't care for them. That was okay though because the Windjammer had awesome soft serve ice cream!

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So far, your review is awesome...thanks so much, and keep it coming!

 

In regards to the 3-night dining package, what did that include? Was it your choice of 3 specialty restaurants throughout your itinerary? I noted on the RC website that Izumi was an a-la-carte style, as opposed to priz fixe. Does that change with the pre-paid package?

 

I just booked this cruise for next summer (2nd leg of our first B2B cruise) and we're really excited. Your review is definitely extremely helpful.

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Juneau, Alaksa....we did not pre-book any excursions for this stop. As soon as we got off the ship there were cubicles of tour companies lined up. We knew we wanted to visit the Mendenhall Glacier and ride the Tram. We walked up to one of the friendly staff and purchased a combo ticket for both excursions, hopped on the appointed bus and off we went. We had an excellent tour guide that did comical narration on our 20 minute ride to the glacier. He dropped us off and explained when we were ready to return to just come back to the same spot and get on one of their buses. I believe they ran every 30 mins. The glacier hike was gorgeous and getting up close to the waterfall and glacier was awesome.

 

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A HUGE piece of ice, just sitting out in the middle

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The tram ride was beautiful

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Up close with a bald eagle at the top of the tram. I can't remember this birds name but it had been rescued.

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Tracy’s King Crab Shack was a bit expensive but delicious. Coming from Oklahoma we wanted to eat as much fresh crab as we could get our hands on. Unfortunately you can’t find it this good anywhere around us.

 

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The eagles were everywhere when we ported this morning, unfortunately not so much when we got ready to leave

 

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This evening we did a little exploring and found a gem of a place called the Starquest. The drinks were good, the atmosphere was quaint and the view was amazing. We declared this the best spot on the ship….well except our balcony….we really enjoyed our balcony!

 

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The BEST bartender EVER!!

 

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So far, your review is awesome...thanks so much, and keep it coming!

 

In regards to the 3-night dining package, what did that include? Was it your choice of 3 specialty restaurants throughout your itinerary? I noted on the RC website that Izumi was an a-la-carte style, as opposed to priz fixe. Does that change with the pre-paid package?

 

I just booked this cruise for next summer (2nd leg of our first B2B cruise) and we're really excited. Your review is definitely extremely helpful.

 

The 3 night dining package included any 3 of the specialty restaurants. We did Izumi, Samba and Chops. All 3 were excellent. Izumi is a-la-carte, but this is how it works. They break it down to $30 per person per restaurant. Online that is $90, on board that is $70. So in Izumi if you keep your ordering under $30 you will not be charged any extra. My husband and I both had an appetizer, entrée and dessert and stayed well within the $30 mark per person.

 

Alaska is a beautiful place and I guarantee that you will love it!

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The 3 night dining package included any 3 of the specialty restaurants. We did Izumi, Samba and Chops. All 3 were excellent. Izumi is a-la-carte, but this is how it works. They break it down to $30 per person per restaurant. Online that is $90, on board that is $70. So in Izumi if you keep your ordering under $30 you will not be charged any extra. My husband and I both had an appetizer, entrée and dessert and stayed well within the $30 mark per person.

 

Alaska is a beautiful place and I guarantee that you will love it!

 

Very helpful info...thanks again!

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So enjoying your review! Your pictures are amazing! We are taking this same itinerary in August of 2017. Same ship with an aft balcony. Your pictures show me this will be an awesome trip! Thanks for sharing!:o:o:o:o

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