Our cruise was the Pacific Northwest repositioning cruise. We boarded the ship in San Diego California, and had stops in San Francisco, Astoria Oregon, Victoria Canada, and final destination was Vancouver Canada. We are a couple in our 40's, and traveled with our three children, ages 10, 14, and 16.
Let me just say, this trip was wonderful! The one outstanding highlite of our trip...the service of the crew! Royal Caribbean, if you are listening, way to go! This is the one thing that you get right over and over again!
Boarding the ship was smooth and uneventful. We arrived at the port approximately 11:30, and were on the ship eating lunch at the Windjammer by 12:30. We had two adjoining balcony cabins on the 7th deck aft, 7144 and 7146...great set up with children. Upon entering our rooms, we realized two things: a wheelchair had been left behind from a previous passenger, and a welcome aboard gift was in our room rather than our neighbors by mistake. We called the front desk, and in about 30 seconds, someone appeared at our door to verify and re distribute the items. *our first glimpse of their great service*
The ship is beautiful, walls of glass windows for views everywhere. Our favorite spots: The Colony Club at the very back of the ship, the Solarium indoor pool area, and the tables around the Seaview Cafe. We explored everything that first day, and us girls made spa appointments for manicure/pedicures.
We set ground rules for our children, every night dinner would be in Cascades, and they would all be there. We gave them walkie talkies to use for communication, but a word to parents, unless you have extremely obedient children, this doesn't work. They had noise from other kids chatter and typically turned them off. We resorted to plan B...Yellow post it notes in the cabins for check in and updates.
The Cascades dining staff was fabulous! A shout out to Roderick D. and Dan H...you guys made our trip truly special, thank you again :) They kept the kids entertained at dinner, their service was outstanding, their recommendations always on target. The dining room is beautiful as well, and the staff serenades you in song once or twice during your trip.
I also want to comment on the Adventure Ocean and Teen Optix staff. My 10 year old son would race out the door in the morning and race back after lunch, so happy to be involved in the activities. My teen daughters, who were concerned they wouldn't meet anyone else, and that it would be 'lame and boring' were the first ones in tears when we left the ship, having to leave their new friends behind. Special recognition to Rachel's staff, Rob, JJ, Chris...the kids thought you guys rocked! Top notch all of you :)
Other highlites of our cruise, Captain Kent. It was his farewell cruise, and what a great man. You can see that he really made a positive impact on his staff. The farewell show, was in his honor, and he sang, which is his trademark. Great show.
The food, delicious. We ate each night at Cascades, had lunches at Windjammer or Seaview Cafe. The Windjammer was typical buffet fare, the only complaint we had was the scrambled eggs. The hamburgers were great though! Service always prompt, friendly, and helpful.
Port cities, San Francisco, Astoria, Victoria, Vancouver. San Francisco probably our favorite, perhaps because we had the longest amount of time there and were able to book two tours. Astoria, well, I can see the city is trying to attract the cruise business, but seriously, there isn't alot to see or do in this tiny town. Victoria, Butchart Gardens, really enjoyable, beautiful, and the Empress Hotel was a nice stop as well. Vancouver, we went to Stanley Park, nice scenery, but the downtown area around it surprised us...rather dirty and unkept.
Activities on board, entertaining. The weather held up for us, but it was chilly, so not many opportunities for the outdoor pool. The rock climbing wall was used alot the first day at sea, but after that was cold and windy, not used much. The indoor activities of course included bingo, art auctions, dancing, live music in several different lounges, magic acts, the nightly shows in the Aurora theater, scrapbooking classes, towel and napkin folding, ice carving. All adds up to enough to keep you busy!
Would we recommend this cruise line and the Radiance in the future, absolutely! Now...we must plan our next cruise, I hear it's the only remedy for post cruise depression!