Radiance of the Seas Cruise Review to Alaska - Gulf of Alaska

Deck Hand

1 cruise (first)


Helpful Votes

3 out of 5

Not bad, but wouldn't do again...

Sail Date: August 06, 2010

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Inside

The ship was extremely clean. Facilities were always in tip-top shape. The elevators were usually overcrowded mid-ship and required sometimes lengthy waits. Better to use the forward elevators. I found the pools were a bit too frequently closed.

Pros: Hubbard Glacier, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Friendly Staff

Cons: Overpriced excursions, So-so food, Constant sales pitches, Constant Gratuities

Recommends Radiance of the Seas? Yes!

Ship Quality
See overall comments. Generally the ship was in excellent condition, well-maintained, very clean, and easy to get around (except for the elevator wait). Disappointing was that on arrival at the ship, no map was handed out with a plan of the facilities which made the initial day rather disorienting.
Cabin / Stateroom
We had an inside stateroom assigned to us by the cruise line. The room was small but certainly manageable. The staff cleaned the room twice a day, towels were always present, the bed turned down at night, our mess nicely re-arranged. Very functional. HOWEVER, we had a room on the 3rd level, right below the orchestra pit for the theater. So it was guaranteed that twice a night the room would pound with vibrations...and sometimes past midnight. The bass was ear-splitting and reached painful levels. At minimum it was annoying and at its worst it was deadly. Avoid this area of the ship when booking!!!! And for some reason in port the 4th level stunk to high heaven. Perhaps they were pumping out the sewage?
Food and Dining
I booked through and was only offered the late dining service. Waiting to dine until 8:30 was a hassle and so I frequently ate at the cafe's buffet which was anytime dining. The meals I had at the main restaurant were fairly so-so. I would certainly not rate them as being "fine dining" unless you are used to eating at The Olive Garden; then maybe it is fine dining. The "formal" and "formal casual" nights were irritating. I travel light, carry-on only. Packing away a suit, particularly for a cruise to Alaska seemed pointless. The setting was nice but I requested a small table and got instead a table of 8.

The cafe buffet had a nice spread of options, from Indian to Mongolian, comfort to Thai. I had breakfast and lunch there, unless eating onshore, and often dinner, too. I found the food at the buffet just as good as the main dining food...and a lot more options...and no wait for the plates to arrive. Again, the food is buffet food and was usually so-so.
The theater shows were atrocious and amateurish. The casino staff just seemed depressing. I never thought I would miss Vegas; they made me miss Vegas. Cheesy always seemed to be the key word. If you're constantly drunk or just used to watching cows graze, well then this is probably a blast. The constant sales pitches were incredibly aggravating. Most lectures and demonstrations were about what jewelry to buy, rather than information about Alaska or its Native culture. Everything was always about buy buy buy. They take constant pictures of you virtually everyday...and then try to sell them to you for $20 apiece. Whatever you paid for the cruise, take hundreds more with you to pay for all these "services."
The excursions were generally not that great. Very pricey and often quite short. Most of the time allotted for these tours is actually time waiting for a bus or time on the bus itself. Better to book onshore when you arrive...cheaper and widely available.
Service and Staff
Always very nice. Always very friendly. Answered all questions. Took care of all problems. Always a smile. VERY nice. Being from L.A., this made me instantly suspicious. Are people really this friendly? Is it just for the expected gratuity? Whatever...go with the flow. Nice people.
Skagway, Alaska
Nice main street, though almost all of the shops are the same tourist shops you see at every port selling the same stuff over and over again. The Xmas store had some nice baubles, though, that make good gifts. There is a sweet shop on a side street that is sort of counter-culture and has cupcakes. Superb cupcakes. Did the 4-wheel excursion here. Was okay, but almost no chance to stop and take pictures of amazing scenery. Very depressing and pissed off a number of people. And you'll have to share your jeep with strangers and change drivers in order to give everyone a chance. That was not expected.
Don't Miss: The cupcakes at the sweet shop next to the bakery
Ketchikan, Alaska
The historic downtown was nice. Again, a plethora of the same old tourist shops with all the blingy jewelry that one sees at every stop (and on the ship, too). But the salmon were running through the stream located in the middle of town. Amazing to watch. More shops to wander than most of the towns on the cruise. Did the canoe/hike excursion here. Not really worth it. The canoeing covered a small part of a lake. The hike was maybe twenty yards. I wished I had done something else instead. I see that the 4-wheelers here each had their own jeep...or maybe a whale watching tour. This wasn't good at all.
Don't Miss: The old downtown section and the salmon run
Icy Strait Point (Hoonah), Alaska
A very small town of Native Americans. I liked it. The visitor center was small but nice. Had the chowder and chili. Not bad. Walked around a bit. I avoided the "world's longest zipline" but others said they really enjoyed it. Did the wildlife hike here. Really not much of a hike at all, but the local guides were wonderful, funny, and clearly passionate about their culture. And we saw three grizzlies in a matter of moments, two with cubs. So though the actually excursion didn't last all that long, it was well worth it and one of my favorites.
Don't Miss: Go see a grizzly bear!
Juneau, Alaska
The town itself wasn't that great. Great chocolate shop, though, on the main strip. Also you must eat at Tracy's Crab Shack! It really is a shack. And pricey. But the bisque is out of this world and the crab legs unbelievable. Best part of Juneau. Went on the Mendenhall rafting trip here. Sort of a waste of time. You don't really get to see the glacier at all up close, and most of the trip was through basically residential areas. Only a couple of small rapids.
Don't Miss: Tracey's Crab Shack!!!! Best food in Alaska...

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