Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Royal Caribbean
Ship: Radiance of the Seas
Sailing Date: May 22nd, 2004
My wife and I decided that we would spend our Twentieth anniversary with a cruise. We live in the Vancouver area so we wondered if Alaska could offer any more that our own B.C. coastline. We decided to risk an Alaska cruise with Royal Caribbean on board the Radiance of the Seas, a ninety thousand tonne floating palace.
We arrived at Ballentine Pier at 1:30PM on Saturday May 22/04. By time we registered and cleared US customs it was about 3:30 PM before we actually set foot aboard the Radiance.
What a beautiful ship. When boarding we step onto deck 4 which is the main floor to the Atrium. You look skyward, up eleven floors to see a mass of glass, brass and lights. It's like being inside a prizm.
We got to our cabin and unpacked ou carry on luggage. Our main luggage had not yet arrived, so we went exploring. Up at deck eleven is the hot tubs, pool, and track that circumvents the entire ship. The band at poolside had already started playing and the bar was open so we engaged in a couple of tall cool beer. we then went back to our cabin and unloaded the rest of our luggage which had arrived.
Sailing out of Vancouver on a sunny day was indeed a treat. Living here we know that we have more than our fair share of rain at times. Out into the gulfof Georgia we sailed and then headed north to Alaska. You could barely feel the ship move.
Royal Caribbean offers absolutley great entertainment in the Aurora theater every night, a perfect combination of "in house" talent and also outside acts are brought on stage.
Not once were we dissapointed.
When we went to bed that night, we got a glimpse of what was to come on our 7 day journey. Every night the cabin crew would have our bed decorated differently, and every night was better that the previous. And of course, chocolates on the pillows.
We spent the next day cruising and exploring the ship, and then relaxing.
We would eat breakfast and dinner at the Cascades dining room. Only the dinner was at an assigned table, which we became like a little family by the end of the trip.
We ate lunches at the Windjammer restaurant up on the eleventh deck.
We arrived at Juneau on day three and was greeted by Alaskan rain...lots of it. Good thing that we hadn't booked the Mendedhall Glacier Helicopter trip because it was quite misty and I don't think we would have got our money's worth for scenic value. That trip is about $385.00 US per person. The tip is wait until you get there to book.
We elected to go river rafting instead. We figured if we're going to get wet then get real wet, so we did. Took us to the Mendenhall Lake which is glacier fed. Water temperature is about 35 degrees F. The rain was about 45 degrees F. and so it actually felt warm. We had a great time with lots of thrills and laughs.
After a dry change of clothes and some Juneau shopping, we were back on board for more laughs and food.
Day four took us to Skagway and we experienced another of Alaska's weather surprises....WIND....Whoosh.. you might say we were blown away while we were in unprotected areas. Leave you umbrellas onboard unless you want to try a hand at being Mary Poppins. In town though, you could hardly feel the wind....weird.
We took the narrow gauge railway to White Pass. Three Thousand feet in about ten miles. From grass to snow and ice. A great trip in original refurbished cars including a pot belly wood stove in each car for warmth.
Day five we arrived at Hubbard glacier. We took on board a Native elder and his two grandchildren who explained the way of live for a people who live with the glacier. We were in a lot of fog at the time and we thought that we would not see the glacier at all but the elder talked of the fog lady in his village and said that when she takes off her hat the fog rolls in. She had told him that she would wear the hat that day. About twenty minutes later we broke out of the fog and the glacier laid ahead.
I don't know if this is all planned by R.C. but it sure made a good story and a fun day.
Day six we arrived at Ketchikan, which was my favorite town, built out of the mountainside on a huge pier or series of piers. There is good shopping here.
Day seven brought us into the sunshine for a wonderful relaxing trip home. We were even treated to a pod of Orca whales as they swam past our ship.
We left our floating palace the next morning at ten thirty pm. Kind of slow getting through customs again but what the heck. It was a great trip and the crew was wonderful. A special thanks to Ryan our waiter and Glenn our assistant waiter. You guys made a great trip even better. Oh...you have just got to hear the Captain sing in his deep base voice.
Just two critical comments for R.C.
Your pictures and bingo are far too expensive. If you sold the pictures for five dollars each instead of twenty you would sell them all and instead of charging thirty to fifty dollars to play bingo you could charge far less and have a lot more playing.
Other than that it was a beautiful cruise in every way and we would go again with R.C. in a minute. We also recommend this trip to all who read this as we will to all our friends.
Happy cruising and keep up the great work Royal Caribbean.
Wayne and Leanne Odegard