of the Seas
13 - 20, 2002
I'm typing this, the room is rocking. I
have yet to get rid of my sea legs!
cruise to Alaska was wonderful.
We arrived at the pier at
around 10:45 am. RCI staff took
our luggage as soon as we got out of the taxi and we proceeded to go
through the security inspection and RCI 'check in' with no lineups at
all. We were then directed to
seats in the waiting area until noon when we could go through Customs
and board. The waiting area was
nice and they offered coffee, tea, pastries and sandwiches (they start
you eating early!). We were
among the first to arrive and noticed lines starting to form within
half an hour. By noon it was
very crowded. With just a bit
of a mix up over who was to board first, (they forgot to give some of
us our embarkation number), we were on the ship shortly after noon.
were on the Radiance last year for a four night Pacific Coastal cruise
and I would say the biggest difference this time was that the staff
was much friendlier and more at ease. They
seemed knowledgeable and happy in their work.
Service, while not bad at all the first time, was very good
this time (except in the dining room).
weather for the trip was quite good. Mostly
overcast with sun here and there and not much rain at all.
(arrived at noon Monday) was
a 'tender' port for the Radiance and people were taken back and forth
to the pier by smaller boats all day long.
We had been to Alaska about 6 years ago and our plan was to
stay on the ship when everyone else was on excursions.
It seemed we had the ship to ourselves and for hours we saw no
one except staff. We played
pool, golf, shuffleboard on deck, etc. with no one around.
It was great!
(arrived at 6:30 am Tuesday) weather
started out OK, just overcast, but by the time people were
returning to the ship got really windy and started to pour.
We could see the people lining up to get back on the ship (most
without umbrellas) and even though they had to stand in the lineup for
about 20 minutes, everyone seemed to be in good spirits and laughing
about it. We were docked in a
place where we could watch the helicopters take off and land for the
excursions and that was fun to watch.
Glacier on Wednesday was magnificent!!!
We lucked out with a beautiful crisp day that was slightly
overcast with occasional sunny periods and no wind.
There was a barbecue on deck, along with 'spirited' drinks and
hot chocolate. The glacier was
clear and beautiful. We saw
about 6 calvings (is that how you spell it?) and the ship set a record
for this year getting within half a mile of the glacier.
It felt as though you could reach out and touch it.
It was worth the whole trip.
Ketchikan (arrived at 1:00 pm Thursday) we had sun for a
good part of the day and even though we weren't going to get off the
ship, it looked so pretty we had to. That
evening we had dinner in Portofino's (we booked a table for two by the
window as soon as we boarded) overlooking the town.
The food and service was excellent and others we spoke to who
had eaten there enjoyed it as well. It
was worth the $20.00 each.
last day Friday was overcast for most of the day, but cleared the
closer we got to Vancouver.
The food on the trip was
very, very good. We eat out at
nice restaurants a fair bit, and when I read reviews about people
being disappointed with the food on the Radiance I don't understand
it. The Windjammer and dining
room food was very good, and Portofino's was great.
Our only disappointments were with the service in the dining
room. Overall the service was
not great. We were served quite
late and there were times we had to ask a couple of times for things
they had forgotten. The food
was on a par with the Windjammer on two nights and slightly superior
to that on the other (we ate there three times).
It wasn't the food we were disappointed in really, it was the
lack of service and also with the pressure we felt by our waiter to
return. We didn't go to the
dining room the first night and our Waiter asked us where we had
eaten, and made sure to say, 'I'll see you tomorrow' a couple of times
during dinner, and again at the end. We
went back two days later and were asked where we ate dinner the night
before and then at the end, "We'll see you tomorrow for
lunch." We went back the
last night and he looked just plain disappointed in us for not having
been there for two nights. I'm
sure they are under a lot of pressure themselves, but we didn't
appreciate being treated that way.
other time we felt pressure was when I asked about the alcoholic drink
cards the first day on the ship at a poolside bar.
The bartender sighed, shook his head a bit and said
"OK." I asked him
what the card was good for and shaking his head again he said
"just domestic beer and house wine."
We said we'd think about it. Then
we saw it advertised in the Compass - 12 drinks for $39.00 plus 15%
tip (came to $44.00) and that it would save up to $17.00.
So at another bar I asked if it was good for frozen drinks and
he said yes. Not once did I get
a smaller drink than anyone else around me, as others have
experienced. I thought it was a
great deal, and when we ordered two drinks at a time for myself and
husband, we tipped an extra dollar. They
were quite happy with that and we still saved money.
We were in 7032, an E3 Cabin that was forward on the ship.
We had a standard E cabin but our balcony was a fair bit bigger
than the one we had before in 7598. A
lounge chair would have fit on it easily with the other two chairs,
but we never did get our request. Before
we boarded we weren't sure if we would like the cabin because it was
forward, but after a couple of days we ended up thinking that we would
actually request one of these cabins again.
Because the balcony was big we spent a fair bit of time on it.
The only thing some people might not like about being forward
is that all the food (restaurants) is at the other end (aft) of the
lot of thought went into the planning of the cabins.
We had three large suitcases and two smaller 'carry on' bags
PACKED with stuff. My husband
didn't think there was any way we would get everything put away, but
after emptying all our bags and putting them under the bed there was
still room for more. I could
have brought more STUFF! There
are a couple of areas of storage that people said they hadn't realized
they had until their last day. On
either side of the mirrored desk/make-up area, there are tall mirrored
cupboards that open and have shelves, and also in the bathroom there
is a mirrored cabinet that opens with good storage space in there.
cabin has individual thermostats that worked great.
The balcony doors stay open on their own and we left ours open
for the first night and part of the second.
Two things we were advised to bring that we didn't use were an
extension cord, and a bungee cord. There
are two outlets at the desk/make-up table and in the bathroom on the
ceiling there was another outlet for a razor, so an extension cord
wasn't needed, and we just tucked the light curtain behind the heavy
curtain to keep it open, so we didn't need the bungee cord.
The bathroom was small but adequate.
As others have said, watch the bottom of the curtain and make
sure it is inside the rim or you will have a flood like I did!
didn't watch the interactive TV much, except for watching the live
shots of the bow of the ship and the map to tell us where we were.
There was also a video shown on the construction of the Voyager
of the Seas that was unreal! It
was shown in three parts - Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
They sold the videos in one of the stores on the ship, and now
I wish I had bought them. They
were so interesting.
jeans, capris, shorts, T's, etc. (anything and everything)
Room - Formal Night: Men
wore suits of all colors, but mostly black.
Did not see many tuxes. Women
wore cocktail dresses, or long dresses.
Lots of black, and lots of sparkle.
Room - Casual days:
Saw everything except maybe shorts.
Some people were pretty casual and others were more dressed up.
Staff was friendly at all
the bars. Our favorites were
the Colony Club, Singapore Slings, and the Schooner bar at any time
during the day or night. We
brought a small cribbage board with us and during the day we would
find a great window seat in one of the bars and play crib and watch
Pool: Incredible area...
and so peaceful. During the day
there were bird and animal sounds and at night it changed to cricket
and nighttime sounds! Parts of
the ship reminded me of Disneyland. The
Solarium was open from 6:30 to midnight.
Children were allowed in this area for 2 hours in the morning
and 2 hours in the afternoon. We didn't find it as crowded as we had
heard it might be, and on the Juneau day when we stayed on the ship we
were the only ones there. There
is a bar and also a snack area that serves pizza, wraps, etc.
out of the way places to sit:
- The Windjammer is aft of
the ship and the restaurant it split into different areas.
the main areas of the Windjammer there is an area that is located to
the left and back (starboard side) of the Windjammer.
It's hard to explain because the Windjammer is aft, but the
area I'm talking about is forward (more towards the centre of the
ship) within the restaurant. You
have to go through glass doors that automatically open and close, and
for the first couple of days people thought this area wasn't open and
it was empty.
just inside the glass doors there are two tall wicker chairs that are
really private and have an incredible view in an area where the ship
juts out. We found this after
about 3 days and sat there every time we could.
It's a little hidden and we found that people weren't sitting
there often. I would say
it was the best spot to sit in the Windjammer.
- Another area that was great
to sit in was in the Solarium. When
you get off the forward elevators and go into the Solarium, directly
to your left or right (depending on which door you go in) is an area
that juts out from the ship. At
first we didn't notice how good the views were from there, but when we
were going into the glacier we figured out it was one of the few good
views looking forward on the ship. We
would drag chairs over and just sit and watch everything.
As it starts to get dark the solarium sounds change and the
lights in the pool and other areas go on.
Just a really nice place to sit, especially at dusk.
I'm sure there's not a
bad seat in the house. The
balcony area on the second floor area could be a bit breezy and cool.
The productions that we saw were really enjoyable.
We didn't see any of the big song and dance ones, but the
comedians and the jugglers were great.
We also saw the passenger Newlywed game there.
Packages: 18 years and under $20/Over 18
years $33 (15% gratuity is added)
and Dine Package:
Bottle of wine each evening in the dining room $109 (valued at
$154) It does not say
that 15% gratuity is added, but I'm sure they must.
12 drinks of your choice - Call
Brands (reg. price $4:50 ea) House Wines (regular price $4.50 ea), and
Domestic Beer (regular price $2.75 - $3.00 ea)
Casual or Country Western
Smart Casual and 50's/60's after dinner
Is a really nice facility
that can be quite crowded in the mornings, and especially on sea days.
It has benches, free weights, weight machines, treadmills,
cross country machines, stair masters, stretch area and also yoga,
spinning, abs, etc. classes. I
think I even saw a tanning bed that looked like a snowmobile.
If you can get a treadmill as you are coming into Juneau or
Ketchikan, it is probably one of the best views on the ship.
Pool Area: Nice area that
wasn't used all that much, but nice to walk through.
A couple days the weather was warm enough for some to use the
pool, and the hot tubs were used every day.
Café: Above the
Windjammer. Not a big area, but
has nice views and pretty good snacks.
Only open certain hours.
are thousands of dollars worth of art of all kinds everywhere on the
ship, and it was worth taking some time to look at it.
Didn't think there were that many shops
but did end up buying a few things. Books,
Books & Coffee was a great little place that sold (besides
specialty coffees for a price) magazines, books, mugs, candy, etc. and
they also had Internet terminals to use.
There are also a few chairs and tables if you want to sit and
'people watch.' Some sales they
had were on gold and silver chains (buy by the inch), Alaska
sweatshirts, T-shirts and watches, and on a couple of days they also
sold really nice travel mugs with 'spirited' coffee or hot chocolate
at a pretty good price.
post everyone's pictures up in this area and it was usually pretty
crowded but interesting. We
found the female photographer (who seemed to be everywhere) quite
annoying. She didn't like it
when you told her you didn't want your picture taken, and a lot of
We ordered room service only in the mornings and everything was
correct and delivered quickly. It
doesn't look like there is much on the room service menu, but you can
order pretty much what you want, and I know you can order off the
dining room menu for dinner if you want to.
We also noticed a fair number of people who would go to the
Windjammer to get a plate full of cookies, deserts, sandwiches, etc.
and then take it back to their room or another part of the ship to
eat. Really liked that, and the
fact that you could walk around anywhere you wanted with your drink.
This was a hard one for us because the last time we were on the
ship we didn't use the dining room at all but still tipped the waiters
what was suggested for the seven days.
We heard that everyone pools their tips and also that they work
on other parts of the ship.
time we tipped the suggested amounts for the days we ate in the dining
room (plus a bit more), and then tipped some of the servers in the
Windjammer that were particularly helpful to us during the trip.
They were really thankful and they deserved it.
We weren't the only ones tipping the Windjammer staff on the
felt better this time about how we tipped because I seriously doubt
that the dining room waiters and assistant waiters pool their tips
with any of the staff in the Windjammer, and I did not see any of the
Windjammer staff in the dining room as was suggested in other posts,
nor did I see our waiters from the dining room anywhere else on the
ship. So, everyone who gave us
good service was tipped. Seemed
on Saturday went smoothly.
You had to be out of your cabin by 8:30 and they were
encouraging people to have breakfast (in the Windjammer or dining
room) and then wait in the Aurora Theatre (open from 7:45 to 10:30 am)
until your color was called. They
had entertainment in there. We
just went to the Windjammer, got a nice table by the window and stayed
there until our number was called. Not
many people in there and it was very relaxing, warm and sunny.
vacation. Would live on the Radiance if I could.
- I ate WAAAAYYY too much!!!
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