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Alaska 6/7/2019-Radiance of the Seas


RBRSKI
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We are taking our big blow out Alaska trip next summer on the Radiance southbound leaving 11/7.  We arrive in Vancouver on 11/14 and don't know if we should head right to Seattle or stay in Vancouver overnight?  If so, do we stay by the waterfront, downtown?  Very Expensive! 

Be patient with me as I am sure this will be one of many questions I would like to ask everyone that has experienced Alaska.  FYI  I have listed to the live pod cast from this years trip on the Explorer.

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We sailed the Radiance Southbound Alaska Cruise 3 Years ago. We disembarked and walked right over to the Pan Pacific Hotel attached to the port. It was pricey but so worth it. We booked a private City tour that took us all over to the most popular places for the day. Just spent that day and night, then took the train to Seattle. We enjoyed our day/night in Vancouver very much. 

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We did Radiance this summer. We got off in Vancouver and rented a card which was really convenient with the rentals (we used Alamo) being right at the dock when we disembarked. We went to Seattle for two nights (Space Needle, Chiluly Gardens was great! and Pike's), Whidbey Island - great B&B on a horse farm! - for one night and then back to Vancouver for the day and flew from Vancouver that night. In Vancouver we did Granville Public Market. Crowded but lots of shops and food! My wife was the one who wanted to do Seattle over Vancouver. Whidbey Island was beautiful!

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1 hour ago, KJ1231 said:

We did Radiance this summer. We got off in Vancouver and rented a card which was really convenient with the rentals (we used Alamo) being right at the dock when we disembarked. We went to Seattle for two nights (Space Needle, Chiluly Gardens was great! and Pike's), Whidbey Island - great B&B on a horse farm! - for one night and then back to Vancouver for the day and flew from Vancouver that night. In Vancouver we did Granville Public Market. Crowded but lots of shops and food! My wife was the one who wanted to do Seattle over Vancouver. Whidbey Island was beautiful!

Thank You so much for the great info.  So as things are coming together for our blow out cruise(50th birthdays,son graduation from HS and daughter from 8th grade) its getting exciting starting to plan everything!   We picked the Radiance because we are going all that way for Alaska not for the ship!  Anyway,  we fly into Anchorage on 6/5 arriving really late.  Staying the two nights at the Courtyard by the airport. Next day we plan on getting use to the time and seeing Anchorage a little bit.  Haven't  decided if we are taking Alaska Railway(not open to book yet)  as non RCCL guest which would leave early Friday morning or taking the RCCL train that leaves later in the afternoon.  

Getting back to Vancouver, booked the Marriott Pinnacle last night for one night 6/14. We were thinking about taking Amtrak to Seattle but thought the drive would be an adventure. Booked a car thru Alamo at the port.  We plan on hitting the Boeing Factory the day (6/15) we head south.  On the expensive side (144 us dollars 6/15-6/16) dropping off at Seattle Airport.  In Seattle we decided to make home base by the airport because public transportation is easy accessible and our flight on 6/17 is at 6am.  

Some of the other things we have looked at are Harv and Marvs whale watching.  Not available for booking yet.  How am I doing so far?

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58 minutes ago, RBRSKI said:

Haven't  decided if we are taking Alaska Railway(not open to book yet)  as non RCCL guest which would leave early Friday morning or taking the RCCL train that leaves later in the afternoon.  

We looked at both trains 6 AM and the afternoon RCCL train and went with the afternoon RCCL train. The train ride was a great start to the cruise. You go to the convention center in Anchorage instead of the train station where they take your bags and bus you to the train station. Upon arrival at the train station you do your check-in, get picture taken, etc so that when you get to the port it's less than 10 minutes to get to the boat. The train ride itself is an excursion with food and drink and the hosts/hostesses explaining a lot of what you'll see. My wife and I had a table to ourselves in a domed car - I don't think we got anything special as the cars looked the same except the one with the bar. We saw eagles, dawl sheep, bison and moose; glaciers, waterfalls, etc. The train slowed down for many of the sites so we could get pictures. I have no idea if the morning train does the same thing.

When you arrive at Seward the train pulls up beside the ship whereas the morning train leaves you with some distance to walk.

Those bags they collected at the convention center will be waiting at your cabin when get onboard.

Others have taken the morning train so they can weigh in. The main advantage of the morning train would be you can either spend time in Seward or get on the ship earlier. We arrived in time to move our bags from the cabin into the room when it was time for muster.

When people ask about our trip we tell them that the train ride was one of the highlights of the trip...

When in Anchorage try and visit the Anchorage Museum. When we were there they had a wonderful display of the various native Alaskan people including clothing, tools, utensils, etc. It was fascinating!!  

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2 hours ago, KJ1231 said:

We looked at both trains 6 AM and the afternoon RCCL train and went with the afternoon RCCL train. The train ride was a great start to the cruise. You go to the convention center in Anchorage instead of the train station where they take your bags and bus you to the train station. Upon arrival at the train station you do your check-in, get picture taken, etc so that when you get to the port it's less than 10 minutes to get to the boat. The train ride itself is an excursion with food and drink and the hosts/hostesses explaining a lot of what you'll see. My wife and I had a table to ourselves in a domed car - I don't think we got anything special as the cars looked the same except the one with the bar. We saw eagles, dawl sheep, bison and moose; glaciers, waterfalls, etc. The train slowed down for many of the sites so we could get pictures. I have no idea if the morning train does the same thing.

When you arrive at Seward the train pulls up beside the ship whereas the morning train leaves you with some distance to walk.

Those bags they collected at the convention center will be waiting at your cabin when get onboard.

Others have taken the morning train so they can weigh in. The main advantage of the morning train would be you can either spend time in Seward or get on the ship earlier. We arrived in time to move our bags from the cabin into the room when it was time for muster.

When people ask about our trip we tell them that the train ride was one of the highlights of the trip...

When in Anchorage try and visit the Anchorage Museum. When we were there they had a wonderful display of the various native Alaskan people including clothing, tools, utensils, etc. It was fascinating!!  

SOLD!   Going to call TA and book the train thru RCCL.  I didn't think about the luggage thing!!!!

I really appreciate the feedback you have given me so far.  

I really want to do the dog sled excursion on the glacier.  I think this puts the dogs in their true element vs pulling one with wheels.  Did you happen to do an excursion like this?  Very expensive but I should just suck it up because this trip as a whole is going to be pricey.  Just have to work more overtime!   lol

 

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21 hours ago, Laurac22 said:

We sailed the Radiance Southbound Alaska Cruise 3 Years ago. We disembarked and walked right over to the Pan Pacific Hotel attached to the port. It was pricey but so worth it. We booked a private City tour that took us all over to the most popular places for the day. Just spent that day and night, then took the train to Seattle. We enjoyed our day/night in Vancouver very much. 

Thanks for your help as well!!  ?

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4 hours ago, RBRSKI said:

Thank You so much for the great info.  So as things are coming together for our blow out cruise(50th birthdays,son graduation from HS and daughter from 8th grade) its getting exciting starting to plan everything!   We picked the Radiance because we are going all that way for Alaska not for the ship!  Anyway,  we fly into Anchorage on 6/5 arriving really late.  Staying the two nights at the Courtyard by the airport. Next day we plan on getting use to the time and seeing Anchorage a little bit.  Haven't  decided if we are taking Alaska Railway(not open to book yet)  as non RCCL guest which would leave early Friday morning or taking the RCCL train that leaves later in the afternoon.  

Getting back to Vancouver, booked the Marriott Pinnacle last night for one night 6/14. We were thinking about taking Amtrak to Seattle but thought the drive would be an adventure. Booked a car thru Alamo at the port.  We plan on hitting the Boeing Factory the day (6/15) we head south.  On the expensive side (144 us dollars 6/15-6/16) dropping off at Seattle Airport.  In Seattle we decided to make home base by the airport because public transportation is easy accessible and our flight on 6/17 is at 6am.  

Some of the other things we have looked at are Harv and Marvs whale watching.  Not available for booking yet.  How am I doing so far?

Thought you'd be interested in that the Alaska train from ANC to Seward for July 2019 is now taking rezis. Just reserved our dome tickets! 

We're trying to figure out what to do in Vancouver. Was hoping to catch a Whitecaps match, but (looking out this far, yes) it doesn't look like they play on Fridays, anyway. Good to see the Marriott Pinnacle is taking rezis for July 2019. I wish the airlines would let us book out this far, too.

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16 hours ago, Baked Alaska said:

Thought you'd be interested in that the Alaska train from ANC to Seward for July 2019 is now taking rezis. Just reserved our dome tickets! 

We're trying to figure out what to do in Vancouver. Was hoping to catch a Whitecaps match, but (looking out this far, yes) it doesn't look like they play on Fridays, anyway. Good to see the Marriott Pinnacle is taking rezis for July 2019. I wish the airlines would let us book out this far, too.

We stayed at the Marriott Pinnacle this past July for our Radiance Northbound cruise and it was a wonderful hotel.  There was a hotel employee with a shuttle that took us the the port for $25 USD cash for the 4 of us.

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2 hours ago, whitsmom said:

We stayed at the Marriott Pinnacle this past July for our Radiance Northbound cruise and it was a wonderful hotel.  There was a hotel employee with a shuttle that took us the the port for $25 USD cash for the 4 of us.

So this individual had his own shuttle?  Or was it from the hotel?  We also need to get from Port to Hotel.  Do you have any information on him?

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21 hours ago, RBRSKI said:

So this individual had his own shuttle?  Or was it from the hotel?  We also need to get from Port to Hotel.  Do you have any information on him?

We told the front desk that we needed a taxi (van type due to our friend was using a knee scooter (heel surgery).  That is when they offered to take us.  It was the hotel's van I think; however, they just offered for him to take us for $25 cash.  The taxi's are a first come first serve type of thing and they couldn't guarantee that we could get a van type taxi when we needed it.  There were lots of taxi's at the port that can take you to the hotel.

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1 hour ago, Baked Alaska said:

Just made our flight rezis to ANC. From YVR hasn't been released, yet. I couldn't reserve my seats, yet, on United. They said it was "too early". Begs the question, "then why open the booking"? They've already chosen the aircraft!

We always fly Delta and they open up 330 days (+/-) out and we were able to book ours then with no issues.  If they have the aircraft chosen then you should be able to get your flight.  Maybe their website is acting likes RCCL website ?

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14 minutes ago, whitsmom said:

We always fly Delta and they open up 330 days (+/-) out and we were able to book ours then with no issues.  If they have the aircraft chosen then you should be able to get your flight.  Maybe their website is acting likes RCCL website ?

We are flying Delta(FLL-ANC) out and American(SEA-MIA) back.  

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2 hours ago, whitsmom said:

We always fly Delta and they open up 330 days (+/-) out and we were able to book ours then with no issues.  If they have the aircraft chosen then you should be able to get your flight.  Maybe their website is acting likes RCCL website ?

Yep, we are still 336 days out from embarkation day. So, I've probably got another weekend before I can reserve the return.

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17 minutes ago, Baked Alaska said:

Yep, we are still 336 days out from embarkation day. So, I've probably got another weekend before I can reserve the return.

You folks are from the Ozarks?  Many moons ago, while drive across country, we stop and stayed at the Marriott's Tan Tara resort.  I believe it's a Margaritaville now.  

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On 8/15/2018 at 12:43 PM, KJ1231 said:

We looked at both trains 6 AM and the afternoon RCCL train and went with the afternoon RCCL train. The train ride was a great start to the cruise. You go to the convention center in Anchorage instead of the train station where they take your bags and bus you to the train station. Upon arrival at the train station you do your check-in, get picture taken, etc so that when you get to the port it's less than 10 minutes to get to the boat. The train ride itself is an excursion with food and drink and the hosts/hostesses explaining a lot of what you'll see. My wife and I had a table to ourselves in a domed car - I don't think we got anything special as the cars looked the same except the one with the bar. We saw eagles, dawl sheep, bison and moose; glaciers, waterfalls, etc. The train slowed down for many of the sites so we could get pictures. I have no idea if the morning train does the same thing.

 

TA booked the RCCL train yesterday for the 8 of us.  $125 per person.  Just have some concerns with our hotel bookings.  Currently, we are booked at the Courtyard Anchorage Airport because we arrive at midnight on 6/5/19.  Thought this would be a good choice because it eliminates the need of transportation and worrying about uber or lyft that late at night.  We planned on just staying two nights, should we move closer to the convention center or the downtown area the second night 6/6//19?  Also, the Pan Pacific was showing a great rate in Vancouver this year specific to Alaska sailings.  If they open it up for next year should we move from Marriott Pinnacle to Pan Pacific?

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28 minutes ago, RBRSKI said:

TA booked the RCCL train yesterday for the 8 of us.  $125 per person.  Just have some concerns with our hotel bookings.  Currently, we are booked at the Courtyard Anchorage Airport because we arrive at midnight on 6/5/19.  Thought this would be a good choice because it eliminates the need of transportation and worrying about uber or lyft that late at night.  We planned on just staying two nights, should we move closer to the convention center or the downtown area the second night 6/6//19?  Also, the Pan Pacific was showing a great rate in Vancouver this year specific to Alaska sailings.  If they open it up for next year should we move from Marriott Pinnacle to Pan Pacific?

We stayed at the Marriott Pinnacle before our cruise in July.  Great hotel and it is close to the port.

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10 hours ago, RBRSKI said:

TA booked the RCCL train yesterday for the 8 of us.  $125 per person.  Just have some concerns with our hotel bookings.  Currently, we are booked at the Courtyard Anchorage Airport because we arrive at midnight on 6/5/19.  Thought this would be a good choice because it eliminates the need of transportation and worrying about uber or lyft that late at night.  We planned on just staying two nights, should we move closer to the convention center or the downtown area the second night 6/6//19?  Also, the Pan Pacific was showing a great rate in Vancouver this year specific to Alaska sailings.  If they open it up for next year should we move from Marriott Pinnacle to Pan Pacific?

Our TA offered us the train transfers yesterday, as a matter of fact. We had already reserved the Goldstar service so that we could get to Seward before noon. Still haven't figured out the flight out of Vancouver/Seattle or anything related to the back end of the trip.We are on the 7/19/19 southbound sailing.

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12 hours ago, Baked Alaska said:

Our TA offered us the train transfers yesterday, as a matter of fact. We had already reserved the Goldstar service so that we could get to Seward before noon. Still haven't figured out the flight out of Vancouver/Seattle or anything related to the back end of the trip.We are on the 7/19/19 southbound sailing.

I can't remember if you have cruised Alaska before?  

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@RBRSKI We have not done an Alaska itinerary. This will be our first (of many, I'm sure). We like the more active (get out in nature) itineraries and Alaska will definitely fit the bill! Looking forward to July 2020 for a Canada/New England itinerary for the same reasons. 

Got our seats reserved on our flight TO Anchorage. I think it was @twangster who suggested to select seats on the stern side of the airplane to get a great view of the mountains coming into ANC, so was able to do that. Still waiting on return flight from Vancouver. I've noticed that the first week United posts their flights, the price is high, then when they release the next week(s) of flights, the previous week(s) price decreases relative to the departure date (at some point the price does increase again). 

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There are two things I prefer about booking the train directly with the Alaskan railroad.

1. - It has Goldstar service.  I did the regular 'Adventure' class of service last year and it was great, but seeing the Goldstar car and people out on it's larger outside deck made me very tempted to try Goldstar.  With Goldstar breakfast is included as well as 2 drinks.  I had to buy breakfast last year.  The charter 'transfer' doesn't offer Goldstar.

2. - The direct train arrives at the ship around noon.  I like getting on the ship early, always do on every cruise I take.  The charter train arrives around 4pm.  In theory it allows people to fly in during the morning and then transfer to the ship in the afternoon, just like Royal's transfer services in Florida ports.  Difference being the 4 hours it takes to get from airport to ship.  With a later sail away that works but as a morning person I'd rather be on the early train.

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