Comparing the Royal Caribbean ships sailing in Alaska

In:
24Feb2020
By: 
Matt Hochberg

If a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska is in the plans for 2020, then you have three great ships to consider.

Each of these ships offers onboard activities, signature attractions and specialty dining options that will compliment a vacation to the Last Frontier quite well.

Since there are a few different options for a Royal Caribbean Alaska cruise, here is a breakdown of what to expect from each.

Ovation of the Seas

Homeport: Seattle, Washington

Ports: Juneau, Skagway, the Inside Passage and Victoria, BC.

For the second year in a row, Royal Caribbean will send its Quantum Class favorite to Alaska to offer 7-night Alaska Glacier cruises (there is also a 6- and 3-night cruise also available).

Ovation of the Seas is one of the largest ships in the region, offering some of the latest innovations Royal Caribbean is known for onboard the ship. 

  • North Star observational pod takes guests 300 feet above sea level.
  • FlowRider surf simulator
  • Ripcord by iFly sky diving simulator
  • Izumi sushi
  • Chops Grille steakhouse
  • Jamie's Italian restaurant
  • Two70 theater
  • SeaPlex indoor gymnasium that offers basketball, roller skating, bumper cars and more.
  • Indoor pool for all ages
  • Solarium indoor pool for adults-only
  • Adventure Ocean childrens programming
  • Nursery for babies
  • Outdoor movie screen

Sailing from Seattle, getting to Ovation of the Seas by air is the least-expensive and most convenient choice of Royal Caribbean's Alaska fleet. Flights within the United States tend to be cheaper to Seattle, compared to Vancouver departures.

Why pick Ovation of the Seas

Ovation of the Seas offers the greatest variety of activities, things to do and dining on a Royal Caribbean ship to Alaska. 

In fact, it is among the newest and largest ships to sail to Alaska, which means guests used to a certain level of amenities on their Royal Caribbean cruises in the Caribbean will not miss a beat.

The indoor pools for guests of all ages and the indoor SeaPlex provide significantly more activities for guests in a place where rain and chilly temperatures are constantly present. Pool deck life on other ships is nearly nonexistent compared to Ovation.

Moreover, the ship sails from the convenient port of Seattle, which makes airfare cheaper and more plentiful for Americans.

Radiance of the Seas

Homeports: Vancouver, BC and Seward, Alaska

Ports: Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Icy Strait Point; the Inside Passage and Hubbard Glacier (scenic cruising).

Radiance of the Seas has been one of the most consistently deployed ships by Royal Caribbean to Alaska, and she returns in 2020 to offer even-night, open-jaw itineraries between Vancouver and Seward, Alaska. 

Radiance will alternate her sailings between northbound and southbound routes, which means her sailings begin in one port, and conclude in another port.

Guests looking to maximize their time in Alaska can opt to add on a landtour that can extend their cruise before or after (or both) to visit destinations inland that would otherwise be unavailable to see on a cruise ship.

Radiance of the Seas is best known for:

  • Solarium indoor pool for adults-only
  • Chops Grille steakhouse
  • Giovanni's Table Italian restaurant
  • Izumi sushi
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Indoor movie theater
  • An abundance of glass walls and windows to provide views of the outdoors
  • Helipad access at bow of the ship for viewing
  • Mini golf
  • Adventure Ocean childrens programming
  • Nursery for babies
  • Outdoor movie screen

Why pick Radiance of the Seas

Any cruiser that has been to Alaska multiple times will tell you that Radiance of the Seas has arguably the "superior" itinerary, in terms of what you will see and experience from the ship.  Radiance sails to more ports and sees more glaciers than Ovation of the Seas, which means opportunity to see far more of the impressive and best-known glaciers and wildlife in Alaska.

A Radiance Class ship is also famous for the views you can enjoy throughout the ship, since glass is incorporated in many places.  Views around the ship while still inside are plentiful.

If you have the means, an optional land tour can be combined with a Radiance of the Seas cruise to become truly immersed in Alaska.

Serenade of the Seas

Homeports: Vancouver, BC and Seward, Alaska

Ports: Juneau, Ketchikan, Skagway, Icy Strait Point; Sitka, Tracy Arm Fjord (scenic cruising)

Returning to Alaska is Serenade of the Seas for the first time since 2009, and she will offer 7-night roundtrip sailings from Vancouver, British Columbia.

An Alaska cruise on Serenade of the Seas will offer sailings that cover 500 miles of shoreline that is the Inside Passage, calling on Ketchikan, Juneau and Icy Strait Point, Alaska, from Vancouver.

Serenade of the Seas is best known for:

  • Solarium indoor pool for adults-only
  • Chops Grille steakhouse
  • Giovanni's Table Italian restaurant
  • Izumi sushi
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Indoor movie theater
  • An abundance of glass walls and windows to provide views of the outdoors
  • Helipad access at bow of the ship for viewing
  • Mini golf
  • Adventure Ocean childrens programming
  • Nursery for babies
  • Outdoor movie screen

Why pick Serenade of the Seas

Comparing Serenade of the Seas' sailings to sister ship Radiance of the Seas, the basic difference is Serenade offers a more convenient roundtrip sailing, instead of an open-jaw itinerary.

Something else worth noting is that Royal Caribbean has been offering Kids Sail Free offers on all 2020 Serenade of the Seas Alaska sailings, including the popular summer season.  This represents potentially tremendous savings for families looking to explore Alaska.

Like Radiance, Serenade offers add-on land tours as well to enhance the visit.

More Alaska cruise info

Want to learn more about a Royal Caribbean cruise to Alaska, as well as helpful tips and secrets? Check out these blog posts: