July 2016 - Radiance of the Seas to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska
Wildlife viewing was our intent and shore excursions through the ship made this top notch! Our Juneau helicopter to the glacier, hiking there and going to dog sled school was canceled because of weather - rain and fog. If the pilot does not want to go, neither should you. We had looked forward to this for 6 months and before we could be very sad - the excursion people were getting us booked on other fun things! We went to botanical gardens and by bus to the glacier and had fun. In Skagway, we went to Gold Rush Sled Dogs- Iditarod dog demonstration and met the huskies up close and personal. The musher speaking was extremely informative and entertaining. We learned and laughed! We rode the railroad there for incredible views and panned for gold which was much more fun than we expected. In Icy Straits, be sure to do the whale watch - AMAZING - we saw more whale activity and breaching that we thought possible! (Orcas and humpbacks). Top that off with bear watching in either Icy Straights or go for the small group bear watch in Ketchikan (12 people per tour). We were very pleased with both tours seeing bears in both. The later, the bears were in streams fishing for salmon!
The ship is not huge and easy to find things. Staff was very friendly and professional for the most part. Our dining experience was great because of our wait staff taking such wonderful care of us in the anytime dining formal dining area. The Windjammer again delivered good food, great variety and good service also. We tried the Italian specialty restaurant but should have stayed in the dining room - very good but there is an Italian food night in the dining room that was just as good. We did not eat at Chops steakhouse but it has been exquisitely good in the past.
The Starquest bar at the top of the ship was a disappointment. We always enjoy having a drink "up top" but found service very slow and unfriendly our first visit. We always tip well and are attuned to the service industry. We tried a second visit and waiters passed by us and never stopped to ask if we wanted a drink - we probably could have gone and gotten one or gone to the bar, but by then, the atmosphere was gone. This is certainly not the same as past cruises.
The bars had plenty of variety - LOTS of scotches etc - but very few bourbons. Most only had Jack Daniels or Jim Beam. We went to the Schooner Bar which was much better stocked but it seemed to be the only one.
A few bumps in the road but very minor - cruise was fun, scenery was beautiful and we got waited on hand and foot - what is not to like??!! We would do this cruise again - hands down!