CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Radiance of the Seas by Sam Walsh Alaska September 13, 2003

There are many good reviews on this ship. It's truly a beautiful ship with very country club elegance feel.

Vancouver Pier: It's the other pier, Bellentyne, not Canada Place. Bellentyne is furthur away from downtown Vancouver and the airport. The taxi ride from the airport is CAD35-45 depends on the traffic. There was a long line of cars at the pier so our taxi fare kept on going up as we waited in line to be dropped off at the pier entrance. Once we arrived at the pier, it was very organized. We put the cruise tag on the luggage and droped them off. Then we waited in line for checked in. It was orgaized but it was a very long line. We waited for over 2 hours for the check in & immigration. Be prepared to bring something with you to eat & read while wait in line. We arrived at the pier at 1:30 PM and got on the ship at 4 PM.

Room: Our room was category D (delux ocean view) with balcony on deck 9. It was 200 sq. ft, good size for a cruise ship room. It sleeps up to 4 adults but I think it would be over crowded. 3 adults are fine, but not 4. There was big closet with nice wood hangers. The bathroom was tiny with shower only, no tub. The vanity was nicely built with shelfs, mirrors and doors, very good design. The balcony was great because we stayed in the room to see Hubbard Glacier. We stay out at the balcony until it was cold, then we came back to the room to warm up. No need to go out to the bridge.

Excursion: We didn't book any tours with the ship because they were too expensive. There were booths at every port that offer all kinds of tours for a lower price. The only plus about booking the tour through the ship is if it's a tender port, you get to leave the ship early.

Juneau was a tender port. We took the city & Mendenhall Glacier tour 2 1/2 hours with the local opeator and it was only $20/person. The guide was great, very informative had a good sense of humor.

Skagway. It was pretty little town with only 850 residents. We purchased the Whitepass Summit excursion 3 1/2 hour ticket on our own for $82/person. Please note this train excursion sells out qucikly. The ship docked at the port very early in the morning. You should walk off the boat and buy the train ticket at the railroad depot before breakfast. It was only a 10 minute walk from the dock to the railroad depot. We could see the railroad depot from our room. The train ride passed some beautiful scenery. You could walk out to the end of the train cars go out to take pictures. Ketchikan: It was rainy, windy, and cold when we got there. It was very normal that it rains in Ketchikan. We didn't join any tour. We did the self guided walk around town and it was nice even in the rain. It was very commercialized and most of the people didn't like it.

Shopping: We went on the 2nd to the last cruise of the season. Prices in Juneau and Skagway were 50% off, very good bargains. We brought all our souveniers in those 2 towns. Ketchikan didn't have any sale and the price was higher than the other 2 ports. Not a good port for bargain shopping. Prices on the ship was very good as well since the ship also had 50% sale. It was better to buy from the ship since we didn't need to carry them at the port.

Debarkation: We did't have a flight on the day so we had to wait for about 2 hours go to off the ship.

Vancouver; We stayed in Vancouver post cruise for 3 days. It was a beautiful city with nice gardens and natural trails. I highly recommend this city as pre or post cruise. You should also go to Victoria because it was the capital of British Columbia and the garden city. You can take a tour or take the Pacific Coach to Victoria. The ride was 3 hours each way but it was worth it.

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