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Radiance to Alaska Teen Blog (June 3, 2022)


Caleb
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The following is from my teenage daughter who is doing this as both a summer project and a bit just for fun

Pre-Cruise Post
Tomorrow my family and I will be leaving Florida to go on Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas Alaska cruise! I’ve never been on a Royal Caribbean cruise or an Alaska cruise before, but I have been on quite a few Disney cruises in the Bahamas, Caribbean, and even the Panama Canal. This cruise was originally planned for 2020 but with COVID, it got pushed back a year, then another year. I’m just glad that it wasn’t canceled again, yet (I’m hoping I didn’t just jinx it), and I’m very excited to be cruising again!

A little bit about myself: my name is Caitlyn and I’m 13 years old. Now you’re probably wondering why a teenager is taking the time to write a blog while cruising. There’s two reasons really. One, I love writing more than almost anything else. I even go to an arts school to major in creative writing. Two, I had started researching what there was to do on the ship. Thing is, all the information I could find was from an adult’s perspective. I could find advice on what club to go to once the kids were asleep, but couldn't find almost any information about activities for teenagers or specifics about the teen club Optix, other than it exists.  So I said to myself: "Self, why don’t you help all the other teenagers going on this kind of cruise and write the info yourself?" And so that’s what I’m doing.

I’ll be going on this cruise with my mom, dad, and my 15 year old brother, Jonathan. In my posts, most of the pictures will come from Jonathan. Sadly we can’t take our dog Coco, so we had to find people to take care of him. Luckily, we have good friends who offered to let him stay at their house so he isn’t lonely. I will miss him from the moment we leave till when we get back again.

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The toughest part about this cruise was probably the planning. Seven days to fill with excursions and the endless possibilities of what we could do. Needless to say it took a lot of planning, but I’m happy with the way it turned out. We’ll be doing a fun excursion at almost every port. There’s also a little bit of an adventure after the cruise before we go home too, but more on that later.

Nope, I was wrong before, the toughest part was packing! Since I live in Florida, we have to fly to Vancouver to board the ship. We can only have four carry-ons (one per person) and we’re only checking two bags so we don’t have any space to spare. One way to save space was using these wonderful packing cubes that make everything seem to take less space… although, it can’t do anything to make these clunky hiking boots any smaller

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We are nearly done packing already and somehow all of our clothes and shoes and cameras and everything fit into our suitcases. Now it’s just a matter of waking up tomorrow before the sun is up and fitting everything in the car… Wish us luck!

Only one more day till we fly out and I think I might explode with excitement! I’m going to try my best to post every day, but we didn’t get the internet package, so I can only post at ports. If I miss a day, I’ll catch up later. I just can’t wait for seven days on the seas to the last frontier to see the beautiful scenery and run away from the Florida heat.

Stay tuned in for my Alaska Adventure!

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Travel Day Post

After a 4:00 AM wake up call, we were on our way to the airport to catch the first flight. Unusually, lines for both checking bags and security were shorter than expected when we got to the Orlando airport. We did have a bit of a holdup before we could get to our gate though. One of our bags had to be searched because they didn’t know what something in it was. So they took it aside and pulled out our lunchbox that we brought to eat on the second flight. The perpetrator was a block of cheese. Luckily that didn’t make us late for the first flight and we got on with no problem. Sadly my dad couldn’t sit next to the rest of us on the plane, but he was only a row up and across so it was alright. The flight was smooth and I got a cup of hot tea about halfway through. We got off at Toronto and only had an hour and fifteen minutes to get through customs and catch the flight to Vancouver. 

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Customs was pretty easy too, we had to walk a lot and then we got to the desks with the people checking everyone. You show them your face and passport and they make sure you are who you say you are and then they ask if you’re bringing any food. If you had meat or dairy, they had to make sure it was sealed and from the USA. We had brought salami and that troublesome block of cheese so it took a little longer but then we were on our way to our gate. The best part about customs was that we got to skip the whole security line. Then we were on our way to the flight to Vancouver and got there just in time to board. 

 

The five hour Vancouver flight was tiring. This time they had soda so I got Sprite and my mom got Diet Coke. I tried to sleep on the plane for a bit, but I’ve never been able to sleep that well when we’re flying. When we started the descent to Vancouver, we saw the mountaintops peeking out from the clouds and it all seemed so magical. 

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Once we got our checked bags, we headed over to pick up our rental car. It was a little small for all our stuff, but we made it work. Then we were off to the Lynn Canyon to see the suspension bridge. The whole forest was like we stepped into a fairytale and we hiked for an hour. We might have done more, but there were so, so, so many stairs. Either way, I highly recommend it, just don’t forget your water bottle and camera. 

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We got to the Airbnb which was rather comfortable and had our airplane leftovers for dinner. Then we got the must do of any vacation: ice cream! It was at this cozy little place called Welcome Parlour Ice Cream that had a kind of sampler dish where you could get four scoops of ice cream. I shared it with my brother, Jonathan, and it was amazing. Then we met a very friendly dog who just loved attention. It was nice that even though we had to leave our dog at home, we still had dogs around. 

 

Finally we got back to the Airbnb and Jonathan and I just fell straight asleep, excited to board the ship the next day. 

 

Stay tuned for my Alaska Adventure!

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23 hours ago, melmar02 said:

@Caleb we are on Radiance the week after you. My 13 year old daughter would love to see the Teen Cruise Compass if you get a chance to post pictures of them. Have a great trip!

We haven't seen a paper Teen Cruise Compass so far, but she has taken a pic of the schedule they had written on a board in the club which will be included in her posts. 

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Day One: Embarkation 

Finally, the day to get on the cruise! We woke up around 6:00 AM since we haven’t quite adjusted to the time zone yet and we just lazed around our Airbnb for an hour or two. Then, since we’re in Canada, we decided to find a local place to have breakfast and found Tim Hortons which was amazing. I got a chocolate croissant and definitely recommend going there. 

After breakfast, we had a bit of time to spare so we went to a lighthouse at Stanley Park. It was windy and rainy so we had on rain jackets but I wished I had my gloves. The weather is in the 50s and 60s so that’s a little chilly for a Floridian. 

Then it was off to the cruise port to board the ship! It all went pretty fast until we got to the room to wait to board, but that wasn’t too bad either. Once we got on we went to Windjammers, the buffet, and had lunch. The burgers there were amazing, but for dessert the only ice cream they had was chocolate so I got a slice of pound cake instead. 

Once we were done with lunch, we played a quick game of ping pong and then headed off to see the stateroom. It was bigger than any other stateroom that I’ve been in before, since my parents booked the “Ultra Spacious Oceanview”.  When I first heard that, I was most excited that we would get to see the ocean, but I absolutely love how much space we have too. There was this little room with a bunk bed in there for me and my brother to share and it had a curtain to separate it off from the rest of the stateroom. The best thing about the whole room was these two giant windows with a platform to sit in them. There was plenty of dresser and closet space to put everyone’s clothes. It’s pretty great. 

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A little bit later we went to the check out the teen club, Optix. The soda bar isn’t open anymore, and there’s a lot of video games in there. It seems like a great place to meet up with friends, have a nice chat, and it has scheduled activities everyday.

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Finally we had started moving from the dock, so we went up to the top deck to get a cool picture with the Lion’s Gate Bridge as the ship passed below it. It almost looked like we wouldn’t make it under. 

We went to dinner and everything seemed so fancy. We have great waiters who somehow always refilled our drinks without us even noticing he was there. I got Caesar Salad for a starter, which was amazing, New York Strip Steak for the main course, and Apple Blossom a la mode for dessert. Both the starter and dessert blew me away, but I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t any A1 or any sauce but it was great other than that. 

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After rushing through dinner, I went to Optix to do a scavenger hunt. It was this question sheet that you had to run around the ship and try to find all the answers. My group didn’t finish all the questions, but we won with the most questions right. The grand prize… a highlighter. Honestly I would’ve loved it even without the prize. 

We are participating with Cruising Ducks so I went back to the stateroom and got my duck of the day to hide before getting some sleep. Today’s duck was named Scrooge. 

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Stay tuned for my Alaska Adventure!

 

 

 

 

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Day Two: Sea Day and Inside Passage

This is morning we had a bit of a late start. I, of course, woke up around 6 am and read a bit but everyone else slept in a little bit later. It’s colder today so I’m wearing a long sleeve shirt under a t-shirt and I’m warm and cozy. At breakfast the pancakes were wonderful as well as the chocolate donut. The whipped cream was a little strange, it tasted like butter and I didn’t really like it. 

We went to a sudoku competition and some other guy finished the puzzle in almost four minutes! I’m not great at sudoku so I turned my paper into origami. Afterwards we listened to a talk about the Klondike Gold Rush and Mounties, but we couldn’t stay the whole time since we wanted to go to the Alaska Port and Shopping Show where they gave us some great tips on where to shop and a coupon for a free pendant that I might show a picture of in the next post. Then we had a quick lunch and my mom and I headed off to a lady’s pamper party. A little bit later we went to a Disney trivia and we won, only missing one question! My brother and I went to go to Optix, but a sign on the door said “At the basketball court” so we figured they were playing basketball which neither of us wanted to play. We headed back to the stateroom and I wrote some in my nook. Later we found out from the Royal Caribbean app that they were playing dodgeball, not basketball. I would’ve liked to play dodgeball, but I only found out after they were done so I guess you should always check the app or go see what Optix is doing if they’re not there. 

Today’s duck of the day is Belle. She’s my favorite duck because she has a book. I wanted to make sure she liked where she was hiding so you can guess where she went. 

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You guessed it, in the cozy little library on deck nine. We went back to see if she was still there a couple hours after we hid her and she was. Hopefully a book lover finds her soon. 

We played around in the room a bit and I read some. Surprisingly, we found internet from the Canadian shore for a little bit and posted my blog yesterday even though we were at sea. 

Tonight was formal night so we got all fancy and took some pictures. Sadly when I’m fancy, I’m wearing a dress and sandals and therefore a bit cold. But it was okay since we staying inside most the time. 

Once we got all the pictures we wanted, we rushed off to the production of Piano Man. We got there about ten minutes late but could still find some seats. I figured it would’ve been a bunch of Billy Joel songs with a small amount of storyline, but then they started playing Elton John and then Wizard of Oz. I got very confused and the storyline was nonexistent. The tech team had some problems moving set and with lighting and audio. I only stayed because the performers were amazing even with the random script they had to go off of and I love music. 

Then we rushed off to dinner. I had a fruit cup, roasted chicken, and carrot cake. I have to say, all three were amazing and I entirely recommend them, though the carrot cake is not there every day, so be on the lookout for it. 

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These were some of the activities to do in Optix, but I didn’t do any of them. A friend told me the selfie hunt was quite a workout and was fun. 

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I played on their foosball table. I won and then we went back to the stateroom and I read some more in my nook and watched the beautiful sunset which seemed to never end. 

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I read until I almost fell asleep in my nook, then had to get in bed and sleep. 

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Stay tuned for my Alaska Adventure!

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Day Three: Juneau

I slept in so much today, to around 8 am. Once we got up and ready for the day, we had a quick breakfast. The plan after that was to go swimming, rock climbing, and then play mini golf, but it was too cold and windy to do any of that. So my parents headed off to scrapbooking. I didn’t want to go with them so I went to Optix and played another game of foosball. I lost and no one wanted a rematch so my brother and I went to hide the duck of the day! Today’s duck was Seńior Quacks. My brother hid the duck today in his favorite place, a bush. Good luck finding him. Hint: he’s blue. 

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I got bored just sitting in the room afterwards so I went back to Optix and played a game of twister and won! I played foosball and yet again lost. I’m trying to get better at it but I’m not sure how well that’s working out. 

There was a paper airplane competition that I attended thinking it’d just be fun and I wouldn’t win anything other than a keychain if I did end up winning. There were three rounds. The first was distance on floor level. I passed that easily. The second was distance over a longer distance and you had to make it to the other balcony. I almost missed it but made it and moved on to third, test of height. My plane wasn’t designed for height so I missed, but I still got third place, and I got not only a keychain, but a medal too. 

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We had a quick lunch at Windjammer, then went on shore to Juneau. We canoed on Mendenhall Lake and got really close to the glacier. I even touched a big chunk of ice with my oar. It was really great, but was also little cold. If you do that excursion I definitely recommend layers and the outer layer being water resistant or quick dry. 

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We shopped for a bit and found our magnet for Juneau. My family travels a lot and everywhere we go we get a magnet from there to put on our giant magnet boards at home. 

We boarded the boat right before we pulled out of dock. Since we were cutting it so close, we had to rush to dinner with all our stuff. At dinner for the past few days, we’ve had a table for eight and no table mates so half the table is empty. Finally, three people joined us. They seemed pretty nice and were very friendly and talkative. For dinner I had Caesar Salad, Pork Chop, and Mississippi Mudpie. All of them were amazing, but there was a bit too much fat and bones in the pork than I’d like. 

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My brother and I went to Optix again after dinner and played the Logo Quiz. We got 48 out of 50 of them right. We also played foosball but didn’t have the time to finish the game. Below is the schedule for Optix today. They never have times on them but the first one always starts at 9 pm and the last ends at 12 am. Usually they each last half an hour to an hour. 

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Then we went to a comedy show with Alvin Williams performing. He was hilarious and his show was family friendly and slightly interactive. We had a crowd that was quieter and smaller so he kept making jokes on how we were so quiet. Overall I totally recommend going to his show. 

We went back to the stateroom and as always, I fell right asleep. 

Stay tuned for my Alaska Adventure!

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Day Four: Icy Strait Point 

I practically overslept again today. By the time I woke up, we were already in port. We had a quick breakfast then got all our layers and rain gear on since there was lots of wind and rain. We got off the ship and headed off to find another magnet after posting the blog. We didn’t find one immediately but what we did find was a free ride through a forest on a gondola.

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There was a giant gift shop there and another gondola you had to pay for to go up to the mountains. We opted for shopping instead of going up. There was a perfect magnet that matched the one we found in Juneau. We also got a deck of foil cards. It was still rainy and cold so instead of walking to Hoonah we started to head back to the ship. On the way we saw a whale come up for air. It was so magnificent and majestic. Even if you’re not paying for a whale watching tour, I definitely recommend being on the lookout for whales. 

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We got lunch then walked around the ship a bit. We were going to go to a trivia but unlike most activities they started on time and we were late so we missed out. I went to the library and did the daily puzzle they had there then went looking for a book. Instead of finding a good book, I found a duck! There were these ladies in the library playing Kings in the Corner so I asked them to teach me how to play. They gladly did and we played a few games. One of the ladies told me that she and her daughter had been looking for a duck all cruise and couldn’t find any, so I gave her the one I found. I won two of the games we played then had to go back to the stateroom to read and write for a bit.

Now it’s time for the duck of the day! I hid the blue duck named Dewey. My brother hid the yellow, Huey, and my dad hid the green, Luey. Duck Tales! Oh wait, this isn’t Disney. Oh well.

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We got all fancied up and went for pictures. Then we went to a magic comedy show with Bill Cook performing. He was amazing at magic and I couldn’t stop laughing. If you’re going on a cruise with him performing, go to the show. If not he was on Penn & Teller so you could look that up. It was the best show I’ve seen all cruise. 

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We went to dinner a little rushed since the show ran over a bit but still got there on time. I had a fruit cup, lasagna, and vanilla ice cream. I know, a boring meal, but it was really good.

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After, I went to get my first souvenir. I love cruising and one piece of it I love is the towel animals they put in your room. We had stopped by the photo desk and found the perfect thing for me. It was a stuffed elephant that looked like a towel animal! Now I can feel like I’m on a cruise whenever I want. 

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My brother and I went to Optix where it was very chaotic. There were super competitive people playing video games and foosball. We just sat in a quieter corner until most of them left. Then we chose to do a scavenger hunt since there was no activity planned. We won and got metal straws and a pop socket for a prize. Then we played Mario Kart and I got second in the first round. We couldn’t finish the game though since we had to be back to the room by 11 pm and went to sleep. 

Stay tuned for my Alaska Adventure!

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We were on Radiance last month; hope you are having a wonderful time.  The pub singer on our sailing was amazing, I wish I remembered his name. Lovely young man from Barbados.  If you get a chance to hear him sing, do it! 

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Day Five: Sitka

We anchored at about 7:00 this morning and since we have a front room, it woke us all up early as the anchor was lowered. There weren’t enough docks for all the ships that were going to be here today so we had to tender. For any of you who don’t know what that is (I didn’t), tendering is when you board a smaller boat, such as the lifeboats, from your ship and go to a smaller dock. Usually you have to get a ticket to tender and they’ll call your ticket number when it’s your turn. The captain had told us yesterday that we could tender from 8:00-9:00 AM with no ticket. Only problem was everyone wanted to do that and they couldn’t use all of their lifeboats so the line to board was super long. Finally we got to the front of it and boarded the tender. There were about a hundred people in there in total. It was helpful cause it brought us right to town, whereas if we docked, we’d have to take a ten minute shuttle. We planned to get in port with tons of time to spare before our afternoon excursion to shop. We also did a walk up a little hill to get some good pictures.

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For our excursion, we got into a sightseeing boat that had a nice warm heated area with a tiny little shop where you could get complimentary hot chocolate, tea, and donut holes. There was also a second floor that was open air so you could see really well. We saw about five whales, a ton of sea otters, and sea lions. They were all amazing to see and I wouldn’t trade that excursion for anything else. 

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Afterwards, we went back to the ship to catch a movie. We got a little more fancied up but not too much since it wasn’t formal night and headed off to get some pictures.    Dinner was great. I had tomato soup, steak, and tres leche. The tomato soup and tres leches were amazing. The steak was a little fattier than I’d prefer. 

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My brother and I rushed off to a teenager silent disco right after. It was really cool and I’d do it again. They had these light up headphones that would switch color depending on what music you were listening to. Then we went to Optix and I learned how to play Super Smash Bros! I won twice after I figured out the controls with my favorite character, Princess Peach. There wasn’t any schedule for Optix so we just hung around then went back to the room and yet again fell right asleep.

Stay tuned for my Alaska Adventure!

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