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Bill Kirkland

Age: 59

Occupation:Mortgage Quality Assurance Mgr.

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean

Ship: Radiance of the Seas

Sailing Date: August 8th, 2003

Itinerary: Alaska, inside passage

This was our first cruise of any kind and we didn’t really know what to expect. The entire trip was fantastic from start to finish! Speaking of that from the time we arrived on the pier to the time we stepped into our stateroom it was approximately a half an hour. Since I was in a wheelchair the Royal Caribbean staff went out of their way to lend us assistance (it was even faster disembarking). Since we drove to Vancouver we left our car with a local Co. for a modest fee, and that worked very well also. Getting on and off turned out to be a breeze!

We had a balcony stateroom (1024 ) on the top deck, forward on the Port side and we were very happy with it. The shower accommodated a shower stool and I had no trouble using it, there was plenty of room for the two of us and it had more than adequate storage. A nice touch was our names on the in-room television service. Try to avoid balcony rooms on the 7th deck over the lifeboats as your view will be restricted. Something to be aware of is the fact that if you have a room up forward all the food is aft. Also there are no elevators or stairs in the aft section; just midships and up front. We did not see this as a problem as we enjoyed wandering around the ship.

We ate all our meals but one dinner in the Windjammer as we preferred the buffet style of dining (plus we didn’t care for the menu in the main dining room). We thought the quality, quantity and selection was great, especially for breakfast. The one meal we did have in the main dining room (Sunday, the first formal night) was very good and I was surprised with a birthday cake from the staff. We had reserved a table for four and we not only received that but it was also a window table. We didn’t have the opportunity to try room service, but the dinner menus were the same as the main dining room. The Windjammer is very comfortable as there is an abundance of window seats and you can dine indoor, outdoors or in between. We never had a problem getting the seat we wanted. The staff was extremely helpful, there was not one time they didn’t offer to get my food for me (as I was on crutches or in a wheelchair). We were quite impressed by their generosity and friendliness.

There are plenty of reviews on the ports we visited (Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan) but we would like to add a couple of things. Keep in mind that in most ports there are at least three ships at any one time. For example, in Skagway (a town that is 5 blocks wide and a mile deep) there were 4 ships…this deposited approx. 8000 people into town at one time. The best shopping was in Ketchikan; be sure to pick up the cruise discount coupon packets at the pier in Vancouver…you can save quite a bit of money. The only shore excursion we took were the Mt. Roberts Tramway in Juneau (great if the weather is good) and the White Pass Yukon Railway in Skagway (very interesting, plus the train picks you up right at the pier).

Eve though the ship provided activities pretty much nonstop we felt there was plenty of time to jus relax and do nothing. We spent the majority of our time on our balcony, and we were rewarded on our last day as a pod of Orcas swam by just below us.

We would definitely take another Alaskan cruise. We were once told that the trouble with cruising is that once you do it…you’ll want to do it again. How true!

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