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LovECruiseS

**NEW**RADIANCE REVIEW

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May 29-June 5th Radiance

 

Wow…We so looked forward to this trip…and it was everything we thought and more. Conclusion- we must come back!...and will! Way too many great things to see and do. Will break up into sections for easier reading…

 

PRE-CRUISE

 

We arrived a day early- HIGHLY RECOMMEND- flew into Seattle and rented car through Hertz One way- awesome!! Drove through border around 3:30- and 14 minutes flat we were Canada bound!! (Did use alternate route- but friends said same on I-5/ 99 border later in day) Now mind you, this was Memorial weekend and Friday at that- go figure!! HERTZ We found very easy to pick up right in airport and drop off day of cruise easy and trouble free. NOTE- they did shuttle to Ballantyne Pier Free of Charge- as well as Shuttle waiting there as we got off, day coming back, again FREE. Stayed at Sheraton Vancouver Wall Center. Beautiful Clean hotel and we did have view of Bay from afar. We were also on North tower 22nd floor. So worth the money. I give it 5*’s.

 

EMBARKATION

 

Very quick for us. Note to Diamond and Platinum members- Although no lounge on embarkation day, there was a separate line for us- which “skips†everyone else. Very helpful especially in early afternoon when line goes in loops. Keep in mind, departing from Canada en route to USA- so must go through customs here as well, which is time consuming if a long line- again, a breeze for us- since in “skipper†club. Also, friends of ours from OK arrived early (before noon) - they too said no regular line. So, arrive early if possible.

 

RADIANCE IN GENERAL

 

Plenty of reviews out there on ship- so I will only highlight items that are just helpful hints and must say items! This ship is stunning and breathtaking- lots of wood and can’t imagine anyone not liking. You do feel a lot more open space and part of “nature†with all the glass- which is something the Voyager class lacks (although love that class too). If I were to pick- like the Radiance class more. Felt more personal. STAFF- SUPERB! Best collection of crew we have ever encountered. The captain was extremely friendly and was easily sighted at MANY functions. He has a great talent for singing and a wealth of Knowledge. The cruise director, Gordon, quite an awesome spectacle. One of the best we have met to date and multi talented as well. He can sing, great funny comments, and very real. We found him to be very special, outgoing, and great entertainment! Willy- from Crown and Anchor lounge (Platinum and Diamond only) was excellent, and was willing to meet us even on off hours to supply us with bottled water and other items we may have needed throughout our cruise. We tipped him well! Kudos! Finally- Rossidtta from Hungary- dining room bartender- was superb! Wealth of drink knowledge, friendly, funny, and of excellent character! Worked the room very hard- and sold more drinks than we could count. Obviously, other passengers loved her!

 

MENU

 

New menu, like everyone said, which we found to be excellent, except Monday night, which was a bit limited. We did Chops on Tuesday night, and wished had done on Monday night instead. Awesome desserts. Favorite- a banana liquored dessert on last day- TRUST ME- SUPERB!!! Crème Brule close 2nd! Must try this banana thing which our waiter suggested- Glad he did!!

 

CHOPS GRILLE

 

LOVEDDDDDD! It was awesome and we had seaside table as we left Skagway on a narrow passage! As we dined, we passed cascades, eagles, snow covered mountains and beautiful greenery! All what seemed yards away as we dined! The steak choices were “buttery soft†and tender. SINFUL! Taste and delivery to perfection! We had dined at “Portofinos†before and enjoyed “Chops†soooo much more! However, on Wednesday eve, “Portofinos†hosts a “Murder Mystery Night Dinner†for $50-55 per person. It sells out every cruise according to staff and per fellow cruisers- every bit worth it. We did not try.

 

ADVENTURE OCEAN

 

Our 5 year old is a veteran at this…and he had a blast. Can’t possibly be bored- nothing “been there, done that†for him. The staff superb- and to our surprise “Monster Matt†from a previous Sovereign cruise was here as well. He recognized us!! Yeah…They have a point system for participation (1 point per session) Also, there are family activities. We did scavenger hunt and a question and answer one (kind off Newlywed game). We won this one!!! For each participant in family- extra point. Points are collected for RCCL Logo prices at end of cruise. Nicholas ended up with 2 -10 CD holders, one backpack with detachable lunch sac, one T-shirt, one lanyard, and 3 key chains!!! Needless to say- he enjoyed it!!!

 

MEET AND MINGLE

 

Glad to say MOST folks from our group made it. They had appetizers available and drinks. The hostesses handed out raffle tixs- and I won the AQUA MOUSE!! Just what I had wanted! Looks real good on my desk, if I may add! They had 2 other prizes. All in all- it was great to put faces with names. This one is a keeper! Thanks Cruise Critic and RCCL.

 

JUNEAU

 

Went on whale watch tour with Capt. Larry. WHALE WATCH CAPT. LARRY'S although, we did not see LOTS of activity and no Orca (killer whales), I feel it was worth the money. Due to the sports setting on my digital, I was able to capture great photos! For most part, small baby whale activity. Quite busy for a while- then the mommy surfaced. Also, we saw some seals and eagles. That is about it. Light snacks (crackers, smoked salmon, sausage, cheese, juices) were included. Nice touch. Then, they were nice enough to take us past Mendenhall Glacier for some great photos. DO MOST OF YOUR SHOPPING HERE AND IN SKAGWAY. Alaska T-shirt Company has excellent merchandise and GREAT prices for small gifts home. Nothing but beautiful weather- NO RAIN.

 

SKAGWAY

 

We had booked Whitepass Railroad through RCCL. Again, perfect weather (although a bit windy in morning) with total visibility!! This must have been the most beautiful perfect day for this. The scenery was gorgeous. Every penny worth. We even bought their DVD while on board. We even got to see the ships CLEARLY as we went up mountain- something that was a bit cloudy weeks prior. Great pictures! Best visibility on left of train with complete narration on way up. Everyone switches seats with opposite neighbor, but only limited narration on way down. Try to get these seats on way up. The town we loved! How pretty and small. Bought my Russian cap here!! (only $12- store recommended by ship) It had matching jacket- but would never use in Florida. I did check other stores- nothing cheaper, so go here!! Don’t remember name- but it is on guide map and shopping talk.

BTW, we had friends that drove all the way to Carcross and Emerald Lake. They did meet “YUKON†and said was absolutely a beautiful drive. We may do this next time!! Apparently so worth the rental!

 

HUBBARD GLACIER

 

Still very early in season. This day was coldest, but managed without gloves (although had them). Again, no downpours- just a light “mist†during BBQ and as we left. How lucky can we be??? Perfect so far! Anyhow, due to much ice in water- we were able to get as close as 4.2 miles, according to Captain. I will take that any day! Remember that mist? Well, it created enough condensation as we were leaving that Celebrity ship that went in behind us did not get to see Hubbard AT ALL. (According to Capt. Notes) So sad…We were able to see Hubbard CLEARLY, although a bit distant- and again, with great digital zooming technology- EXCELLENT pics!! Capt. Said that later in season have gotten as close as ½ a mile from. WOW!! BTW, had Indian family board while at Hubbard and they spoke on typical life for a tribe in area, etc. very interesting. You could only hear from your cabin TV, though. So, if you have an interior cabin, guess you have to pick- see glacier or listen in icon_frown.gif

 

KETCHIKAN

 

Our favorite port EVER!!!!! Save the best for last! The highlight of our trip was here. We chartered a floatplane with Southeast Aviation. What a professional, efficient, friendly, and knowledgeable group!!! Would do it again in a heartbeat- and only with them! We booked from home at FLOAT PLANE KETCHIKAN SOUTHWEST AVIATION. Kos (owner) emailed me right away- gave us an early booking discount, and stayed in touch up to time we left. They only charged ½ at booking and balance week you leave. Their integrity is to speak of- they have a high demand- so book NOW! I can see why! They modestly promise and OVERDELIVER. I researched many web sites which over promised in so many ways- although I did not fly with others- this always makes me skeptical. There was something about Kos- as if I knew him that made me believe- Glad I did! I know Kos and I will know each other for life. His wife picked us up right away at pier and drove us into town to their site. They introduced us to others and asked about us as a family, etc. met their dog, and by the way, wife had told us they would drop us off where we wanted on way back (pier or Creek Street) no extra charge! So neat! Anyhow, due to AGAIN- perfect weather (Sunny, not 1 cloud, and about 69-70 degrees here)- we were able to land in Misty Fjords and take off again from there. It was phenomenal! Pilot rowed the plane (yes rowed!) up to a small sand spot in middle of nowhere and allowed us to get off and take photos and take in the scenery for about 20-25 minutes! Just imagine- cascade next to us, the smell of nature and the purest water ever seen! On way back our pilot pointed out mountain goats and of course, many eagles. We were born again this day! Our pilot was Jimmy, who is also a pilot with Alaska Airlines. Between all of them the years of flying experience is UNBELIEVABLE. We felt safe the whole time and our 5 year old CAN’T STOP talking about this flight! Pls. say hello to Kos, wife, and the rest of the gang for us- we miss them already!!

 

POOLS

 

There was always a brave few in outdoors pool- especially on last day where weather was in high 60’s! The pool in Solarium was very well used. They had kid’s times between 12-2pm and 4-6pm. Our son enjoyed this perk twice during our cruise. The weather was so pristine that many other kids even were on outside kid’s pool and slide during our cruise. Burrr….

 

DEBARKATION

 

Okay- here is the stinker. IT IS FOR THE BIRDS. Keep in mind, you are in a warehouse and you feel like you are. No guidance, no lines, no directions, free for all, and bless you if you can figure out which way the line goes- and on top of that, CUSTOMS again! Bring with you no expectations, lots of patience, comfy shoes and clothes, and a well fed tummy! Hated every minute of debarkation as have never before. This was definitely the most disorganized debarkation we had ever experienced. No DIAMOND perks. NONE! We kept seeing people that got off ship after us, leaving before us. Could not figure it out. We were so frustrated. Enough of that…Although a shame! I think we concluded that we would not sail again out of this port, which may rule out RCCL in future icon_frown.gif Note- Hertz had a shuttle right there and waiting for us- what a relief…

 

SEATTLE

 

Woohoooo!!! Loved. Wished had spent more time here. We went to Pike’s market and shopped, dined, and strolled through. My oh my- flowers, jewelry!! Bakeries, cheese…Yeeeezzzz….Must go back. Got to go Pike’s market if in Seattle. Did not get to go to Space Needle or museum below- it was raining! (Of course- it wouldn’t be Seattle if it didn’t)!!

 

THAT’S ALL…HOPE I COVERED ALL INTERESTS. IF ANY QUESTIONS- PLEASE FEEL FREE TO POST. I WILL TRY MY BEST TO ANSWER!! BON VOYAGE!!! icon_cool.gif

 

*Fantasy 11/97;12/00;12/01

*MS Destiny 7/98;9/00

*Sov. of the Seas 9/98;9/99;5/00;1/04

*Majesty of the Seas 3/01;5/02

*Fascination 5/01

*Celebrity Millenium 1/02

*Navigator of Seas 11/02

*Grandeur of the Seas 5/03

*Explorer of Seas 9/03

*Disney Wonder 11/03

*Radiance of the Seas 5/04

*Jewel of the Seas 1/05

 

GOTTA LUV CRUZIN'

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=006400&cdt=2005;01;02;16;30;00&timezone=GMT-0500 Jewel of the Seas

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Thanks for the great informative review. Although we will be on the Serenade instead of Radiance, I think you can probably answer a few of my more generic questions.

 

1. You mentioned that they gave you bottled water in the concierge lounge. We are platinum C & A, and also staying in an Owners Suite, so we do get use of the lounge. I have been concerned about the high price of bottled water on board, and do not wish to bring it on with me. Can you pick up bottled water in the lounge any time it is open? Do they allow you to bring it out of the lounge with you (I've heard they don't let you take out drinks)?

 

2. What kind of camera did you bring which has a "sports setting" for capturing quick nature shots? That sounds good and I have not purchased my new ZOOM lens camera yet. This sports feature would be a plus if it is affordable!

 

3. Were you able to request the window table in Chops, or did you luck into it? We are planning to visit Chops on the night we are in Skagway, since we leave there so late, and we don't want to be back on board in time for the main seating!

 

Thanks again for the positive review! Can't wait to GET OUT THERE!!!

 

sarahjane

 

Serenade to Alaska 7/25/04!!!

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=da70d6&cdt=2004;7;25;17;00;00&timezone=GMT-0800

 

Serenade 7/04

Enchantment 1/04

Voyager 7/02

Majesty 2/01

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sarahjane; my pleasure!!

 

Answers-

 

1. We were able to pick up water anytime it was open and take out with us. No problem. In fact, one day we forgot and called the lounge ambassador, Willie, and although it was not "posted open hours", he came to our rescue, unlocked fridge and gave us 3 bottles to take with us!! Needless to say- we tipped him well. He was phenomenal. BTW, we would go every eve before dinner, pick up wine- and again, take with us to dining room- again, no problem. We loved this perk!

 

2. My camera is a Nikon 2100 digital. My dad just bought at Ritz Camera the equal newer model 2200 on sale for $149. This has got to be the best little secret out there. This camera is superb!!

 

3. Window table- it was luck this time. We did ask for our future benefit, and you CAN request window. Also, if book first day on- you both will get a free glass of wine. At least so they told us- and yes- we were given or choice of vintage!

 

Enjoy!

 

*Fantasy 11/97;12/00;12/01

*MS Destiny 7/98;9/00

*Sov. of the Seas 9/98;9/99;5/00;1/04

*Majesty of the Seas 3/01;5/02

*Fascination 5/01

*Celebrity Millenium 1/02

*Navigator of Seas 11/02

*Grandeur of the Seas 5/03

*Explorer of Seas 9/03

*Disney Wonder 11/03

*Radiance of the Seas 5/04

*Jewel of the Seas 1/05

 

GOTTA LUV CRUZIN'

countdown.cgi?trgb=000000&srgb=00ff00&prgb=006400&cdt=2005;01;02;16;30;00&timezone=GMT-0500 Jewel of the Seas

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Thanks for the great review. I particularly was interested in your comments about Hubbard Glacier. We hope that we will be able to get close - or at least spend some time rotating so everyone can see the glacier.

 

We will be doing the White Pass and were happy to hear your comments about that as well.

 

We are entertaining the idea of having dinner in Chops. Did you make your reservations the very first day? Can you request a seaside table?

 

We will be on the Serenade so I don't know if Portofino's will feature a murder mystery dinner. They are quite fun.

 

The Radiance is an absolutely gorgeous ship. We sailed her in February 2002. If the Serenade is anywhere near as nice, we will be more than pleased.

 

If you have answers to any of my questions, please report back.

 

Thanks again for your review.

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Was wondering how you were able to include the rating stars in your review. Did you originally write it from the Memeber Review page, or just post it directly to the Alaska port page?

 

Thanks,

 

Mary Lou

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ebielik- we did make reservation 1st day on. We knew it would be popular. Although, nite there- there were still plenty of tables available. We lucked out on seaside table as did not request. Don't see why you could not request- especially if reservations made 1st day.

Mary Lou- wrote review on original board and it auto transferred here. Really do not know how "rating" got here...:cool:

I LOVE the new boards!!!

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Thanks Ebielik and Lovecruises! I can't believe we're leaving tomorrow. I'm so excited I can't sleep LOL :-)

The weather doesn't look too promising though. It looks like the rain is coming.

Will post a review as soon as I get back since you're leaving the week after me Ebielik...will also try to get the pics up too. I'll be sure to take notes.

 

Valarie

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Oh Valarie- have a blast!! Are you flying in today or tomorrow?

I hope today- so much relaxing to have the extra time. If not, who cares! You are going away to the most wonderful vacation on earth!

 

Bon Voyage :cool: :D :p

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