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Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Sea Day

02 Sep 2022

The final day of our 7-night Alaska cruise is a sea day, and it was supposed to include a visit to Hubbard Glacier.

Unfortunately the day did not turn out how we had hoped, but that doesn't mean it wasn't without several fun moments!

I purposely woke up early this morning to get ready for today's scenic cruising around Hubbard Glacier, one of the main highlights of this cruise itinerary. Many Alaska cruise itineraries not only include full days in port, but visits to glaciers from the sea.

Passengers do not disembark the ship on scenic cruising days. Instead, the ship does a full 360 degree rotation near the glacier, allowing guests to enjoy stunning views of the scenery no matter where on the ship they are located.

When I stepped outside around 7:30AM, however, the weather was concerning. Visibility was extremely low and winds were high. Because approaching a glacier requires careful navigation around narrow passages and icebergs, it's important to have stable weather before making the approach.

My scenic glacier day to Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier was affected by bad weather last year, and we could only see the glacier from very far away before turning around. Remembering this, I was skeptical we would successfully be able to approach Hubbard Glacier given the weather conditions.

Sure enough, the captain came on the loudspeaker to announce that we would, unfortunately, not be able to make it to Hubbard Glacier.

With that, Radiance of the Seas turned around and started the journey toward Seward through the Gulf of Alaska.

Afternoon in high seas

While I was of course disappointed we would not be able to witness the beauty of Hubbard Glacier, safety is of upmost importance, especially when navigating treacherous passages in Alaska. 

I spent the rest of the morning trying to get some work done at the Viking Crown Lounge, but as we entered the open waters of the Gulf of Alaska, things took a turn for the worse!

After 12 cruises, I've never felt seasick until today. Even when cruising through the choppy waters of the Bay of Biscay in Spain or through high winds on my Alaska cruise last year, I've always felt okay.

Today, however, I felt terrible throughout the afternoon! After a trip to the Windjammer for lunch, I realized I was not feeling well at all when I couldn't finish my plate.

Reeham, who also felt sick, and I sought refuge in our cabin where we hoped lying down in bed and taking a nap would help.

Motion sickness medication and eating a green apple did help a little bit, but anytime I got out of bed I felt nauseous.

For the purposes of this blog being more interesting than me sleeping in my cabin, though, I did manage to attend one event this afternoon: Captain's Corner! 

Captain's Corner is a Q&A session with the ship's captain where you can ask him/her any questions you have about the ship, itinerary, daily life onboard, ship navigation, etc.

I found it really fascinating and I was able to learn more about the ship's stabilizers, what it's like in the bridge, how much fuel is used on a cruise ship, and more. I definitely plan to attend more of these on future cruises.

Following Captain's Corner, I went back to my cabin to sleep off my motion sickness.

After another hour or two trying to feel better, I figured it was worth a try to see how I felt in another area of the ship. Our cabin is located far forward, so it's prone to more motion.

When I went upstairs to the Diamond Lounge, which is located more mid-ship, I felt much better. Phew! That definitely was not fun and I'm grateful I don't usually feel seasick on cruises.

After a snack and ginger ale in the Diamond Lounge, I took a walk around the upper pool deck. The ship was bobbing up and down, and I was surprised by how much motion I felt, as the weather didn't seem too bad outside. 

I also made a brief stop to the casino, where I put my $6 free play money to the test. Unfortunately I didn't win today and was in and out within 5 minutes!

Evening onboard

I went back to the Diamond Lounge to relax for a while before making a pit stop in the Viking Crown Lounge. I've been spending time in the lounge (called Starquest on Radiance of the Seas) every night, and I've made friends with two of the bartenders, Ari and Manuel.

I had great timing because when I walked into the lounge, Manuel was doing a cocktail demonstration! I enjoyed a fruity sangria while chatting with the two of them for an hour or so.

I've had a great time this week meeting and connecting with so many crew members! I've enjoyed talking with Dionata, the Diamond Concierge, Manuel and Ari, and my stateroom attendant throughout the week.

Special shout out to my stateroom attendant, Vevir from the Philippines, for being a Royal Caribbean Blog reader! He's been working on Royal Caribbean ships all over the world for years, from Japan to New Zealand, the Caribbean, and Alaska!

Following the Viking Crown Lounge was a late dinner in the Main Dining Room. Reeham and I have almost missed the dining room every night because we've been so busy chatting and we kept losing track of time.

The Main Dining Room was really great as usual, and the service for late-night seating was really quick!

The rest of the evening was spent packing (boo!) because tomorrow is sadly disembarkation day!

Tomorrow we disembark the ship in Seward, Alaska and take a bus to Anchorage. I wish I had more time to spend a few days in Alaska's interior before flying home, but there's always next time!

Thanks for following along this week on my Radiance of the Seas cruise! It was a fantastic week overall and I'm always happy when cruising to such a beautiful place. I've learned that my favorite cruise itineraries are those where I can see mountain scenery outside the ship every day.

Stay tuned for a full review of my cruise to Alaska next week AND a full ship tour of Radiance of the Seas on the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel!

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 6 - Skagway, Alaska

01 Sep 2022

The last port of call on our Alaska cruise brings us to Skagway, a small town most known for its Gold Rush history.

Skagway has been having landslides on the mountainside located near their main cruise dock, so I wasn't sure what the dock/tender situation would be this morning.

Radiance of the Seas docked in the port furthest away from the mountainside. A Princess ship was docked far back on the pier affected by landslides and they were tendering guests from the ship to port instead of walking on the pier.

A Holland America ship was also in port with us today, so it definitely felt crowded in town early in the day!

We disembarked around 9:30AM and started exploring Skagway. The town has historic gold-rush era architecture throughout downtown, and it almost feels like you're stepping back in time.

One of the most popular activities to try in Skagway is a ride on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad, which follows the trail of the gold rush into the Yukon Territory of Canada. I went on the railway last year and loved it, but we did not book any excursions for today in Skagway.

Related: My experience on the White Pass & Yukon Railroad in Skagway

I planned to spend most of the day walking around town and visiting local businesses. When I was here in October last year, it was so frigid and rainy that I didn't spend much time at all in town.

We started the day by walking into a few souvenir shops and mailed postcards to friends and family back home.

Next up was a trip to one of my favorite places I discovered last year in Skagway: Klondike Doughboy.

Klondike Doughboy specializes in Alaskan Fry Bread. Similar to an elephant ear, fry bread is a large piece of fried dough tossed in cinnamon sugar.

Not much hits the spot more than a warm, sweet serving of fried dough on a chilly day in Alaska!

Speaking of the weather, today was definitely the best weather we encountered on our cruise. It didn't rain once (that I noticed anyway), and while windy, the temperature felt comfortable. Never follow the weather forecast too strictly on an Alaska cruise!

An Egyptian afternoon

Our day took a fun, interesting turn this afternoon in Skagway.

As I mentioned in my live blog preview, I'm traveling to Alaska this week with my good friend Reeham from Egypt.

While window shopping on Skagway's main street, Reeham noticed a jewelry store with Egyptian decor and souvenirs. She called me over to show me the shop, and the shop's owner waved and invited us inside.

Mohamed is the owner of Klondike Gold Rush Jewels, and he is also from Egypt! Reeham and Mohamed spent some time talking with each other and we were curious how someone from Egypt ended up owning a jewelry store in Skagway, Alaska.

If there's anything I learned from my trip to Egypt last year, it's that Egyptian people are extremely friendly and generous, and this was definitely the case today in Skagway. We sat down and chatted in the shop with a coffee and ended up staying for a few hours!

I think one of the best parts of traveling is getting to know the locals, and it was interesting to learn more about local life in Skagway and what it's like to operate a jewelry business in a busy cruise port.

Mohamed also treated us to lunch from Northern Lights Pizzeria. The pasta with salmon, fish n' chips, and salad were excellent!

Additionally, Mohamed gave us two cute necklaces in the shape of a whale's tail. He said we were his "lucky charms" for the day because he made a lot of sales while we were in the shop. It was a super fun afternoon!

If you're looking to buy jewelry in Skagway, be sure to head to Klondike Gold Rush Jewels. There are a lot of cool Egyptian souvenirs available, too.

Related: Top 10 things to do in Skagway, Alaska

We also stopped by Kone Kompany for some ice cream, and it was the perfect way to end our day in Skagway.

Today was a good example of why I often like to travel without a plan. While I enjoy organized excursions and tours, it's always fun to see where the day can take you!

We were so busy chatting in the jewelry shop that we didn't get back onboard until 15 minutes before all-aboard time.

Back onboard

Tonight is the second formal night of our cruise, so we got ready in our stateroom and headed upstairs to the Viking Crown Lounge to watch sailaway from Skagway.

One unique feature of Radiance Class ships is the rotating bar in the Viking Crown Lounge. I asked the bartender to turn it on and it was pretty cool, although probably not best for those prone to motion sickness.

Skagway's sailaway was gorgeous! The Inside Passage to and from Skagway is relatively narrow, so the mountains on both sides of the ship were closer than in other ports. We could even spot small glaciers on top of several of the peaks.

I think Caribbean cruises are going to feel "boring" when at sea in comparison to the beautiful views of Alaska!

Before dinner, we checked out the The Colony Club, a lounge in the aft of Radiance of the Seas. It had amazing views of the Inside Passage! We also listened to some live music in the Centrum.

We dined in the Main Dining Room for formal night tonight. My favorite was the molten chocolate cake for dessert and Reeham loved the lobster tail.

Following dinner was a brief visit to the pub before heading to bed to catch some sleep before waking up early tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are set to visit Hubbard Glacier in the morning as a scenic cruising day, and I cannot wait to view this huge glacier up close!

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 5 - Sitka, Alaska

31 Aug 2022

Today is the fifth day of my Alaska cruise and Radiance of the Seas docked in Sitka today for a full day of exploring another beautiful Alaskan port.

Sitka is the 4th largest city in Alaska, with a population of around 8,500 people. The city is the former capital of Russian Alaska and there are several Russian influences to see throughout town, from historic buildings to monuments and souvenir shops.

Like other Alaska cruise ports, the surrounding scenery is breathtaking in Sitka, and the Mount Edgecumbe volcano towers over town.

I was supposed to visit Sitka last year, but our port was changed to Ketchikan due to high seas, so I was excited to have the opportunity to visit today.

We ate breakfast today in the Windjammer, where I enjoyed another plate of my favorite breakfast: french toast topped with whipped cream and chocolate chips.

I also took in my first views of Sitka. I'm definitely going to miss the outdoor seating area at the Windjammer!

Serenade of the Seas pulled into port as we were eating breakfast. This is the first time I've seen Serenade of the Seas and, as Serenade is another Radiance Class cruise ship, she looks identical to Radiance of the Seas.

We disembarked the ship around 9:30AM. Sitka's cruise port is located around 15 minutes from downtown, and there are complimentary shuttle buses available to transport guests to and from the city.

I was worried we'd have to wait a while before getting on a shuttle bus, but the line only took around 5 minutes and we quickly arrived in town.

We did not book any excursions today. Most of Sitka's main attractions are all walkable from downtown, so we planned to explore on foot without a plan and see where the day led us!

We started the day at Lincoln Street, Sitka's main tourist street. It was nice to see that the town blocks the street from cars, making exploring the street easy and safe for all visitors.

The street is lined with souvenir shops and local restaurants. Our first stop was to a Russian souvenir shop selling dolls and Christmas decor. It was definitely more unique than other souvenir shops I've visited so far in Alaska and the displays were beautiful.

At this point it wasn't raining too hard, so we took advantage of the weather and walked to the Baranof Castle State Historic Site, located adjacent to Lincoln Street.

This small hill is the site where the ceremonial transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States occurred. Not only was it fascinating to stand where such an influential historical event took place, but the hill had the best views of Sitka I saw all day.

Sitka's mountain scenery is dramatic and absolutely gorgeous, with jagged peaks and a rainforest dominating over the town. I could have stayed on the hill looking at Sitka's skyline for hours!

However, we're in Alaska, so the rain made us head back to Lincoln Street.

We continued window shopping and visiting local businesses in Sitka. While we didn't purchase the $30,000 fur coat on display at one shop, we did warm up with some hot chocolate at Old Harbor Books coffee shop and bookstore.

We also made a brief visit to St. Michael’s Cathedral, a Russian Orthodox church located in downtown Sitka that was founded in 1848. While the original building was destroyed, the replica was built with the same architecture, transporting visitors back in time to when Sitka was owned by the Russians.

Our last stop downtown was to Ashmo’s, a seafood food truck with menu items including salmon mac n' cheese, teriyaki halibut, and rockfish fish n' chips. I ordered the fish n' chips and thought it was well worth the price of only $13 for freshly caught Alaskan seafood.

There was also a small food stand selling reindeer hot dogs, and although I wasn't quite adventurous enough to order one, I'm sure they are delicious.

After lunch, we left Lincoln Street and walked along Sitka's marina. At the end of the marina was a salmon hatchery. It's prime salmon spawning season and there had to have been over a thousand salmon swimming around!

Next I continued walking along the waterfront path, which led to the Sitka National Historic Park. The park had beautiful trails, although the amount of bear warning signs made me pretty cautious! There were also hundreds of salmon in the river at the park.

My last stop for the day was the Alaska Raptor Center, a rehabilitation center for eagles, owls, and other birds of prey. This non-profit organization rescues injured birds and helps the birds reach a point where they can return to the wild.

Admission to the Alaska Raptor Center was $15, which I found well worth the cost as it goes to a great cause.

After a brief introduction, a staff member introduced a rescued eagle and we were able to learn more about how they improve the health of these birds. We made a stop by the center's Flight Training Center, where eagles practice improving their flight skills after injury.

Located outside the center are various habitats for rescued birds of prey. Here visitors can get more close up views of the birds and read about each bird at the center. The outdoor area was definitely my favorite part of my visit.

I walked back to the shuttle bus area in downtown Sitka from the Alaska Raptor Center, which probably took me around 25 minutes.

The line to catch a shuttle bus back to port was pretty long and I waited another 20 minutes or so in the rain before getting on a bus. Be sure to bring a rain jacket or umbrella!

I was back onboard around 3:30PM and took a much needed rest in my stateroom before watching sailaway from the Viking Crown Lounge at 5. I enjoyed a glass of wine for sailaway and Reeham ordered a blueberry mojito frozen mocktail.

Unfortunately I do not have photos from sailaway today due to issues with the internet on Radiance of the Seas... but rest assured, it was beautiful!

We hung out there for a while before heading to dinner around 7. We've been terrible about showing up to our Main Dining Room reservations this week, and have only showed up to our 5:15 reservation once. Luckily we've had no issue being assigned a table right away, and we enjoyed a nice meal before heading back to our stateroom for the night.

Overall, I loved my time in Sitka today! Next time I'm here I'd like to make a trip to the Fortress of the Bear to see rescued bears in their natural habitat and do more hiking in the surrounding areas.

Tomorrow we are in our last port of call: Skagway, Alaska.

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 4 - Icy Strait Point, Alaska

30 Aug 2022

The fourth day of our Alaska cruise brings us to Icy Strait Point, a small port located on Chichagof Island in southeast Alaska.

Icy Strait Point is a Native owned and operated cruise port run by the Native population in the area. It's a private port run exclusively for cruise ship tourists.

The gangway opened at 8AM this morning, but we weren't in a rush to disembark the ship as all-aboard time wasn't until 5:30PM. Yesterday we were only in Juneau from 1:30 to 7:30, so it felt really rushed.

I wasn't totally sure what to expect for Icy Strait Point. The words "private port for cruise ships" initially sounded like it might be a tourist trap, and I thought there wouldn't be much to do due to the port's small size.

That being said, I wanted to keep an open mind. Plus, the surrounding scenery was gorgeous, so even if I didn't find much to do I figured I could at least still enjoy a nice view!

First impressions of Icy Strait Point

We disembarked around 9:30AM and began exploring the port. The bridge to the dock was the steepest I've seen yet! There were also complimentary shuttles available to take guests across the water over the bridge.

Once I started exploring Icy Strait Point, I found that it offered the perfect mix of a private, touristy port area while still maintaining local culture and lifestyle.

A zip line and gondola ride were available for adrenaline-seekers and this proved to be popular despite the rain.

In addition, there are several restaurants, food stalls, a bar, shopping areas, a museum, nature trails, culture center, and scenic viewing spots to explore in Icy Strait Point.

It didn't feel like a tourist trap at all and exceeded my expectations! It was really serene, especially when compared to more populous cruise ports in Alaska. The workers in Icy Strait Point were all very welcoming and friendly, too.

Icy Strait Point has a nice boardwalk leading to a beautiful orca statue, and it's the perfect spot to look for wildlife and enjoy the view. We spotted a cute otter (or sea lion?) playing in the water, but failed to see any whales! Some guests saw a couple whales from the viewpoint, though, so it's worth a try!

We then walked through Icy Strait Point's museum and souvenir shop. I really enjoyed the museum, which discussed Alaska's history and culture with displays on topics from salmon production to the gold rush era.

Afternoon in Hoonah, Alaska

When researching Icy Strait Point, I learned of a small town called Hoonah located just 1.5 miles from the port. Residents of Hoonah run the cruise port.

I hoped to visit Hoonah and I was pleased to find out that the town made it extremely easy to visit from Icy Strait Point. I was worried it would be challenging to leave the private port area and venture to town, but it turns out that visiting Hoonah is encouraged and common.

While I found the amenities of Icy Strait Point nice, I was excited to see a more local side to Alaska in Hoonah.

Reaching Hoonah can be achieved via a 30-40 minute walk or by a complimentary shuttle bus. As the weather was quite nice in the morning, Reeham and I decided to walk.

The walk was a lovely and peaceful stroll along a coastal path with breathtaking views. Informational bulletins were placed along the way to give more insight into the area's history, and there were a few areas to take a rest along the way. Even if you don't plan to visit Hoonah, I'd recommend the coastal path solely for the views.

As we got closer to town, it started to rain pretty heavily, so we were definitely grateful for our rain jackets and waterproof daypacks. Whatever you do, don't forget a rain jacket and waterproof backpack on an Alaska cruise!

Related: What should you bring on an Alaska cruise?

Once in Hoonah, we came across a building where several locals were carving a traditional totem pole. You'll see these totem poles all over Alaska, and each one tells a different story through its carvings.

The craftsmanship and artistry of creating these totem poles is truly impressive, and it's always fascinating to watch how they carve such intricate designs into a giant log!

Following the carving demonstration, we spent more time walking around Hoonah. It was really small and felt authentic, as there were no lines of jewelry stores and other souvenir shops like you'll find in the immediate downtown of other Alaska cruise ports.

I found it intriguing to see how people live in such a remote location. We stopped into a local grocery store and I was shocked by the prices! Individual apples were $2, a jar of salsa $8, a box of Quaker oatmeal $28, and a bag of jerky was priced at $23!

Lunchtime soon approached and I was excited to taste Hoonah's local cuisine. There are only a couple places to eat in town, and I had heard great things from a few locals about The Fisherman's Daughter, a seafood restaurant in the center of town.

The Fisherman's Daughter was founded by Kristi Styers, the daughter of a local fisherman. Her restaurant focuses on salmon and halibut caught locally or brought to town from nearby Juneau.

We ordered the salmon bites ($23) and a bowl of clam chowder ($6.50) and it was fantastic! Fresh Alaskan salmon was chopped into bite-sized pieces, breaded in panko bread crumbs, and deep fried. These little bites of goodness were so addicting; I wish I had been hungry enough to try more!

The weather in Icy Strait Point/Hoonah today couldn't make up its mind between sunny skies and heavy rain. At this point of the day it was pouring, so we took the shuttle back to Icy Strait Point instead of walking.

The shuttle took around 10 minutes to reach Icy Strait Point, where we were greeted with a delightful smell of cinnamon and sugar.

That smell led us to Lil’ Gen’s Donuts, a small stand selling mini doughnuts by the dozen in tons of flavors. We ordered 6 huckleberry and 6 chocolate coconut espresso mini doughnuts, and they definitely hit the spot!

I also made friends with a local cat, so that was another highlight of the day!

Back onboard

We got back onboard in mid-afternoon, and I took advantage of the sunny skies to finally walk around the outdoor decks of Radiance of the Seas.

I also spent some time filming a full ship tour of Radiance of the Seas for the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube Channel, so be sure to subscribe to our channel so you'll be notified when we post new videos!

The rest of the afternoon was spent resting in our stateroom before catching sailaway from the pool deck. I also made a brief visit to the Diamond Lounge, which had plenty of yummy snacks available.

Sailing away from Icy Strait Point was really beautiful, so I watched the views from the Viking Crown Lounge while sipping a mojito and looking for wildlife in the calm waters outside.

I also spent a half hour or so chatting with Ari and Manuel, two crew members working in the lounge! I love getting to know the crew and everyone has such interesting backgrounds and stories.

Reeham and I were so busy looking at the scenery that we totally forgot about dinner! We ended up going to the late night seating at 8:30 in the Main Dining Room. I've never eaten in the MDR so late before, but I loved the more relaxed atmosphere as there were far fewer guests dining late. The service also seemed to be about 2x faster than the early dinner seating.

We finished dinner around 9:45 and went back to our stateroom to get some rest for tomorrow in Sitka, our fourth port of call.

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Juneau, Alaska

29 Aug 2022

The third day of my 7-night Alaska cruise brings us to Juneau, but we weren't scheduled to arrive until 1PM.

Because of this, the morning started off as a sea day and we caught our first glimpse of Alaska in the distance. While the seas were calm, it was foggy outside, so we weren't able to see much aside from few icebergs floating in the distance!

The Main Dining Room had brunch today starting at 9AM, so we enjoyed a quiet meal next to a window while looking at Alaska's scenery.

Following brunch, we relaxed in our cabin for a few hours until the ship's captain made an announcement that we were approaching Juneau.

Arrival in Juneau

Upon hearing the announcement, Reeham and I threw on our jackets, grabbed our cameras, and headed downstairs to the helicopter pad. Because our only views of Alaska so far had been blocked with fog, we couldn't wait to catch a more close-up look.

I remember last year during my first cruise to Alaska, my dad and I were in awe as we caught our first view of the state when our ship docked in Ketchikan.

The same thing happened today when we walked out on the helicopter pad. Huge mountains and thousand-foot waterfalls surrounded the ship on both sides. We couldn't have been more eager to disembark the ship and start exploring!

There was still an hour or so until the gangway opened, so we had lunch at the Windjammer before disembarking.

Radiance of the Seas docked at the AJ dock today, and we were the last ship to arrive in port. Getting to downtown Juneau from the dock is about a 15-20 minute walk, or you can opt to purchase a round-trip shuttle ticket to and from downtown.

While the shuttle ticket was cheap, we decided to walk as we had no plans for the day and thus were not in a rush.

The original plan for today in Juneau was to ride the Goldbelt Tram up Mount Roberts for stunning views of Juneau and the surrounding area. At the top of the tram are hiking trails, a restaurant, and a souvenir shop, so it seemed like a nice way to spend the afternoon.

When we got to Juneau, however, the sky had near full cloud cover and the tram was covered in mist, so we decided against it. It's still at the top of my list, but I'll have to try it on a day with clearer skies!

Instead of taking the tram, we ventured to the area around the port where local tour companies sell independent excursions. Whale watching tours, helicopter rides, glacier viewing excursions, and other Alaska adventures can be booked once on shore in Juneau.

The tours were all quite expensive (albeit standard Alaska excursion prices), so we opted for the cheapest one: round-trip transportation and entrance fee to Mendenhall Glacier.

I visited Mendenhall Glacier last year while on Ovation of the Seas, but it's such a beautiful place that I couldn't pass up visiting again.

Plus, while downtown Juneau has plenty of shops and restaurants, there isn't a ton to do directly in town, so I thought it made sense to visit Juneau's top attraction a second time.

Mendenhall Glacier

The shuttle to Mendenhall Glacier takes around 25 minutes, and our driver provided informational and entertaining commentary along the way, making the time pass quickly and giving us insights into Juneau's geography and lifestyle.

When we arrived, I was, once again, flabbergasted by the beauty and grandeur of Mendenhall Glacier and the surrounding mountains.

The sky blue, icy glacier and towering Mendenhall Towers above are so beautiful that I could probably visit 100 times and not get tired of the view. We even saw two bald eagles resting on an iceberg!

We were a little short on time, so we hiked the quick trail to Nugget Falls instead of doing a longer hike. Visiting Nugget Falls is well worth the ~20 minute walk on mostly paved surfaces, as the waterfall is extremely powerful and impressive!

The view of the glacier from Nugget Falls isn't the best, though, as the view is mostly covered by rock. For the best viewing opportunity, be sure to visit the park's official scenic photo area located near the visitor center.

We spent around two hours at the glacier and before leaving, we walked into the Visitor Center. I found the information on the glacier at the center quite interesting, and they even had a theater and a live lecturer delivering information about Mendenhall Glacier, so it's well worth a visit.

Downtown Juneau

We took the shuttle bus back to Juneau and arrived downtown with an hour and a half left before all-aboard time.

Our first stop was the Alaska Fudge Co., which makes homemade fudge in a variety of fun flavors, from cookies n' cream to chocolate peanut butter. It was delicious!

Next, we stumbled across a cool food truck/food vendor park downtown. Everything from an oyster bar to fish tacos and crêpes were being sold from various vendors, and it seemed like an awesome place to hang out near downtown.

We tried panko-breaded salmon tacos from the taco truck and they were out-of-this-world delicious!

Our last stop for the day was a rest at a picnic table on the waterfront while en route back to the ship. Here we took in the last views of Juneau before making the 15 minute walk back to Radiance of the Seas.

Once onboard, we went straight to the Windjammer for a late dinner and watched as we pulled away from Juneau and began the journey to Icy Strait Point, our next port of call.

At this point it was already past 8PM and we were tired from a long day of walking, hiking, and sightseeing, so we headed back to the cabin to relax.

We had a wonderful day in Juneau today, and the rain somehow avoided us throughout the majority of the day. I even saw blue skies peeking through the clouds!

Thank you for following along on this live blog and I'll be back tomorrow from Icy Strait Point!

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 2 - Sea Day

28 Aug 2022

Today is the second day of my 7-night Alaska cruise on Radiance of the Seas and we are enjoying a sea day as we travel from Vancouver to Alaska's Inside Passage.

This morning I tried to do something I very rarely do: sleep in! I'm a morning person and love having a quiet ship to myself in the early hours of the day, but I definitely needed to catch up on sleep after two busy days of travel.

That being said, I woke up this morning to the alarm someone set at 8AM in the room next to me! That's definitely a first on a Royal Caribbean ship.

We ate breakfast at the outdoor seating area in the Windjammer. Because the outdoor seating at the buffet is only found on a few Royal Caribbean ships, I'm trying to take advantage of it as much as I can.

Side note: If you haven't tried French toast topped with whipped cream and chocolate morsels from the Windjammer, you're missing out!

The weather was quite dreary today, so Reeham and I hung out near the windows at the champagne bar and looked for whales. Unfortunately we did not see any, although some passengers mentioned they saw a few whales from the ship earlier in the day!

The second day of an Alaska cruise heading north from Seattle or Vancouver is a sea day in more open waters, so it is the least scenic day of the cruise itinerary. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with a panoramic ocean view, but I'm definitely eager to see Alaska's mountain landscapes tomorrow!

A relaxing afternoon

Lunch in the Main Dining Room is available on sea days, and with today's chilly weather and relaxing atmosphere, having a nice sit-down lunch seemed like the perfect way to start the afternoon.

We started the meal with salads and had butternut squash risotto for the main course, which far exceeded my expectations. It may not be the most appealing dish out there from a visual standpoint... but the risotto was one of the best courses I've had in the Main Dining Room yet!

After lunch, I decided to experience one of the unique features found only on Radiance Class ships, the Cinema!

Radiance Class ships have a complimentary movie theater onboard, and I loved it! While other ships show movies in the theater or on the pool deck, watching a movie in a cinema is a much better atmosphere. I'm hoping to visit the cinema a few more times on this cruise as it makes for a perfect cold weather activity.

Each day has a different movie playing, and there are showtimes roughly every 3 hours during the day. The only thing missing was popcorn!

Following the movie was a round of Friends trivia at Schooner Bar. Schooner Bar on Radiance of the Seas is huge! It was packed throughout the day... a little too crowded for my liking! When the weather is so cold outside, the indoor spaces always feel way more crowded.

We also stumbled across the Quill & Compass Pub. I didn't even realize there was a pub on Radiance of the Seas until I stumbled across it, as it's tucked in a weird location between the casino and theater. The pub is dimly lit and without windows, which doesn't totally match the theme of the Radiance Class!

The next two hours or so were spent relaxing in our stateroom. I haven't spent much time at all in our cabin because there are so many other nice places to hang out onboard. I'm happy with the decision to book an interior stateroom instead of a balcony considering we've spent minimal time in the cabin.

Evening onboard

Because we had eaten in the Main Dining Room for lunch, we decided to dine at the Windjammer for dinner. Tonight's dinner theme was Mediterranean and it was really impressive! From hummus to falafel, pita, fish, and baba ghanoush, I really enjoyed the meal.

I think the Windjammer is totally underrated for dinner compared to the Main Dining Room. I actually tend to prefer the buffet because of the wide range of options available and specialty cuisines from around the world each night.

The Windjammer was eerily empty tonight! I've never seen so few people there for dinner, but I suppose most guests went to formal night in the Main Dining Room.

Following dinner, I went for a walk several times around the outdoor Promenade deck. The weather had not improved much throughout the day, although I was grateful for calm waters.

The wind was insane whenever I lapped around the helicopter pad! I always feel like the crew members in the bridge are looking down and laughing at the passengers crazy enough to venture to the helipad with 20mph winds.

My last stop for the night was to the Aurora Theater for the production show of Piano Man. I usually avoid shows in the theater (aside from Broadway shows) as I feel they are rarely geared toward my age demographic, but I decided to give it a try.

The show had singing and dancing to the tunes of Elton John, Billy Joel, and Barry Manilow. The performers were talented and the music was certainly catchy, but I can't seem to get interested in the shows in the theater as much as live music elsewhere onboard or the more unique shows found in venues like Studio B and the AquaTheater on other Royal Caribbean ships.

The show ended around 9:15 and I headed back to my stateroom to finish this blog before calling it a night. As I went to bed, I noticed the ship rocking way more than earlier in the day. Luckily we'll be in the Inside Passage tomorrow where we should (hopefully) encounter calmer seas!

Tomorrow we arrive in Juneau at 1PM and I am looking forward to the first day of exploring Alaska!

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation in Vancouver

27 Aug 2022

The first day of a cruise is always exciting, but it's even more anticipated when you're about to board a cruise to Alaska!

Today is the first day of my one-way, 7-night cruise from Vancouver, Canada to Seward, Alaska on Radiance of the Seas, and I'm looking forward to an amazing week ahead.

Alaska is one of the most scenic places to visit in the world, and I can't wait to sail through the state's inside passage and experience several ports I have not been to yet, including Sitka, Icy Strait Point, and Hubbard Glacier.

Arrival in Vancouver

I arrived in Vancouver yesterday morning at 11AM, so I had a full 24 hours to explore the city prior to boarding Radiance of the Seas.

Vancouver's walkable downtown area makes it a breeze to explore on foot before a cruise. Getting to the city center from the airport was only $10 via Vancouver's metro, which dropped me off right in the city center.

I booked the Blue Horizon Hotel for my night in the city and was pleased with the hotel's location, price, and amenities. The views from my room were fantastic as well!

After 24 hours of delicious food, a peaceful walk through Stanley Park, trying out Tim Horton's, and relaxing near Vancouver's waterfront, it was time to head to the cruise terminal.

Embarkation in Vancouver and first impressions

Canada Place is the name of Vancouver's cruise port, and it is conveniently located on the waterfront in the heart of downtown. Walking to the port from our hotel took only 15 minutes.

Embarkation was seamless and we were quickly boarding the ship. While we arrived at our scheduled boarding time of 11:30, no one was checking boarding times.

This is my first time on a Radiance Class ship, so I've now officially sailed on every class of Royal Caribbean cruise ships! My first impressions of Radiance of the Seas were that the ship has tons of windows and viewing areas onboard.

I have noticed that certain areas of the ship feel a little more cramped and closed off in its design compared to other classes of ships, even the Vision Class, but this could just be a result of the hectic atmosphere of embarkation day.

Related: Royal Caribbean ship classes guide & explanation

We headed to the Windjammer once onboard for our embarkation day lunch. Radiance Class ships, like some Quantum Class ships, have an outdoor seating area in the Windjammer, so we took full advantage of British Columbia's beautiful views while enjoying our meal.

We also put our binoculars to the test to look at Vancouver. I can't wait to use these throughout this cruise! Having binoculars on an Alaska cruise is a must.

I'm never sure what to do in the time period between lunch and my stateroom being ready, so after our binocular extravaganza we waited in comfy chairs on our cabin's deck for the staterooms to open.

We are staying in an interior room for this cruise. The room is the same size as most other interior cabins I've stayed in and appears well-maintained. Our beds were separated when we entered the cabin, and this was well-appreciated so we didn't have to track down our stateroom attendant!

The walls in the cabin seem pretty thin, though, as I could hear the TV in the room next to ours, but this is to be expected on an older ship. Other than that, everything in our stateroom is up to par.

After a quick rest in the room, I decided to try something different and take the spa tour with the selfish goal of winning the spa raffle later in the day. The tour was actually relatively enjoyable (to my surprise) and like the rest of Radiance of the Seas, the spa has wonderful ocean views.

After a quick rest in the cabin, Reeham and I headed to the spa raffle before sailaway. While mostly a sales pitch, it was entertaining enough to pass the time even if I didn't win.

Sailaway and evening activities

Reeham and I headed aft as Radiance of the Seas departed Canada Place en route to Alaska. Sailing out of Vancouver was beautiful, and my favorite part was definitely passing under the Lions Gate Bridge!  It was an unforgettable way to say goodbye to Vancouver and start the journey up north.

We enjoyed dinner tonight in the Main Dining Room, and I was happy to find out that our table is near a window, so we'll never be too far from Alaska's gorgeous scenery.

We enjoyed arancini, French onion soup, battered seafood, and the warm hazelnut chocolate cake. I had never seen the arancini on the Main Dining Room menu and was impressed!

Following dinner was a walk around the outdoor Promenade deck, my favorite spot on any Vision, Radiance, Voyager, or Freedom Class ship. We ventured all the way forward to the helipad, too, which offered a tranquil spot to take in the views.

Reeham and I were pretty tired after waking up early to explore Vancouver, boarding the ship, and having a full day of fun onboard, so we crashed in our stateroom pretty early.

Tomorrow is a sea day and I'm excited to explore more of Radiance of the Seas as we make our way to Alaska!

Live Blog Preview: Taking a cheap Alaska cruise

19 Aug 2022

I’m headed to Alaska this week for a 7-night cruise from Vancouver to Seward, and I’ll be live blogging along the way from Radiance of the Seas!

Of all the cruises I’ve experienced thus far, my cruise to Alaska last year has been the one I’ve cherished most, so I cannot wait to head back to Alaska and explore more of the state’s gorgeous scenery, delicious food, and unique culture.

Why I chose this cruise

I did not choose this cruise based on itinerary, time of year, or ship. Instead, I set off to research and book the cheapest Alaska cruise on Royal Caribbean to see just how affordably one can cruise to the state.

My findings led to a 7-night one-way cruise from Vancouver to Seward on Radiance of the Seas, and the price was extremely reasonable.

The total cost of the cruise for one person, including taxes, fees, and pre-paid gratuities, was only $825 (interior cabin).

To add a second guest and pre-pay their gratuities was only $321 more, bringing the total cruise fare for two guests to $1146!

Outside of the cheap cost of this cruise, it gives me a chance to sail on my first Radiance Class cruise ship. I’ve been on every Royal Caribbean ship class so far except the Radiance Class, so I’m excited to check out the similarities and differences onboard.

Related: All about Radiance Class cruise ships


Not only was the cruise fare cheap, but the itinerary is amazing! Over the course of the week, we’ll visit the following ports:

I love port-intensive cruise itineraries, and this itinerary is certainly port-intensive, with 4 Alaska cruise ports in one week as well as a scenic cruising day at Hubbard Glacier.

It also gives me the chance to visit a number of ports I did not see last year on my Alaska cruise. I’ve never been to Vancouver, Icy Strait Point, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, or Seward.

I’m traveling to Alaska with my good friend Reeham, who I met in graduate school a few years ago. Reeham is from Egypt but lives in the U.S., and last year I had the opportunity to travel to Egypt and stay with Reeham and her family for ten days.

Visiting the Pyramids of Giza, Alexandria, the Red Sea, and hanging out with Reeham’s family in Cairo was unforgettable, so I’m excited to be the “tour guide” on this trip and show Reeham the beauty of Alaska!

My plans on shore

In the spirit of booking “the cheapest Alaska cruise,” I didn’t book any excursions in port. Instead, Reeham and I plan on exploring ports without spending too much money, whether hiking, walking around town, visiting museums, etc.

Last year I somehow neglected to taste local seafood, so we definitely plan to try local restaurants for lunch in each port. If anyone has any recommendations, let me know!

If the weather looks nice, I plan to purchase a ticket on the Mount Roberts Goldbelt Tram to Mount Roberts in Juneau, which costs $45 round trip. This is definitely TBD if the weather is terrible, but let’s hope for the best! Not only does the tram provide excellent views, but there are several hiking trails at the top which should be extremely scenic!

Last year I cruised to Alaska with my dad on Ovation of the Seas in October, and while the experience was certainly amazing, the weather was, frankly, terrible! While it did not ruin the cruise whatsoever, I am hoping I’ll finally see the sun this year in Alaska.

While the end of August may not be as warm or sunny as June or July, I’m remaining optimistic that we will have better weather than last fall!

My plans onboard

One of the things I’ve heard most about Radiance Class ships is how there are so many windows onboard. I’m excited to sit back and relax with amazing ocean views around every corner!

I consider my cruising travel style onboard to be… quite lazy. I don’t plan on attending tons of activities and will likely spend the majority of my time at sea viewing Alaska’s scenery from the pool deck or indoor spaces.

Dining-wise, I did not purchase a dining package for this cruise, so Reeham and I will be dining primarily in the Main Dining Room and Windjammer.

Radiance of the Seas also has complimentary options at Park Cafe, Cafe Latte-tudes, and the Dog House, so we’ll certainly find plenty to eat onboard without spending anything extra.

I also do not have a beverage package, but the 4 free drinks a day I receive by being a Diamond member in the Crown & Anchor Society are always enough for me.

What’s next

I’m based in the western U.S., so I absolutely love when cruising does not require an extremely long travel day! I’ll be flying to Vancouver early on Thursday morning and plan to spend the day sightseeing in the city.

Funny enough, while I’ve been to 25 countries on 5 different continents, I’ve only spent about 3 hours total in Canada! I’m excited to check out the sights, nature, and culture in Vancouver this week.

We will spend Thursday night in Vancouver before boarding the ship on Friday afternoon, and I’m sure Reeham and I will both be extremely eager for the cruise to begin!

I’ll be live blogging every day throughout the cruise, so be sure to check in on Royal Caribbean Blog or through our Facebook and Twitter accounts for updates. I'll also be filming a video for the Royal Caribbean Blog YouTube channel on this cruise, so make sure to subscribe so you'll be notified when we post the video!

Thanks for following along and welcome aboard to another wonderful Alaska adventure!

More Alaska cruise information:

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 7 - Sea Day

06 May 2022

It’s the final day of our 7-night Alaska cruise! Can’t believe the week went so fast.

Schooner Bar on Radiance of the Seas

Today we’ve been at sea - sailing through the Inside Passage and making our way back to Vancouver.

The seas were rough last night so Sydney put on her patch and slept a solid 12 hours. She woke up feeling a little dizzy and had blurred vision, but she said she didn’t have any seasickness.

We saw lots of people onboard with patches behind their ears and heard of others who were seasick with the choppy waters.

I worked a little this morning while Sydney slept in. Surprisingly, the Internet connection was strong so I took advantage of this opportunity. I was worried once we went back into the Inside Passage that the Internet would drop again.

Covid Test Onboard

Since the connection was strong, I also decided to do my eMed Covid test in the cabin. I didn’t have any issues with the connection and got my negative test result quickly.

I wanted to take the test onboard the ship in case I had an unexpected positive result. In this case, I’m covered by Royal Caribbean’s Cruising with Confidence policy. It felt like the best option since there aren't really any testing options onboard for those of us needing one for travel requirements. 

I saw multiple people taking their covid tests onboard today, so I think there were a lot of us with the same idea. It also makes the disembarkation day much easier without having to worry about taking the test at the airport last minute.

I brought the Abbott home test, but there were other tests that people used as well. I know one couple who used their FlowFlex covid test and did their proctored test through I saw another couple using the orange branded covid tests who said they followed the proctor link on the box too.

I didn’t realize you could have other tests proctored, but it appears that’s not the case. Both of these couples I met purchased tests in Alaska since they didn’t bring tests onboard and paid online for a proctor ($20)

Breakfast + Spa

We had a time change last night, so the 11:00 AM closing of the Windjammer crept up on us.

I waited in line to talk to the Internet representative to make sure I was on the list of passengers getting refunded for 2 days of internet that didn’t work. He processed the refund on the spot, which was nice. I saw a few others taking their covid tests in the Internet cafe area during this time too.

With coffee in hand, we made our way to the top deck to grab a quick bite to eat before they closed down the restaurant. Sydney and I made our way to the spa to try out the thermal suite!

Upon entry, we were given a locker and bathrobes to use throughout the spa.

We first started in the thermal chairs and made our way into the steam room, sauna and aromatic room.

It was pretty quiet in the thermal suite and that doesn’t exact fit our vibe. We have a hard time relaxing for an extended time because we like to be on the go. We are always laughing and chatting, so we struggled to be quiet.

It was fun to try everything out, but I am not sure if it’s something that I would pay to do just because I am not necessarily a spa person.

Egg Drop Challenge

This one was a first, but our ship had an egg drop contest! What a concept.

Teams enrolled on the first sea day and had one week to create an egg contraption. If your contraption successfully protected the egg from an atrium drop and the egg didn’t crack, your team won a prize.

The atrium was pretty busy with spectators. The entire floor and furniture surrounding the bar was covered to protect any scrambled eggs.

Some teams got really creative with how to protect their egg. Others clearly didn’t think about the impact of gravity, drag and force when their contraption plopped right to the ground. The very first drop got caught in some atrium wiring, which was pretty funny.

The cruise director, sporting a hard helmet for the ultimate egg protection, was having a great time hosting the event. One egg splattered all over the bar, which I am sure the bartender did not appreciate.

This was a fun event and we both enjoyed watching everyone try to protect their precious egg. I am wondering if this will be a new cruising tradition or if it was just a one-time thing?

Afternoon Activities

By late afternoon, Sydney had a card date with our ‘ship mom’ from dinner and I had a little bit of work to get done.

They enjoyed a few rounds of Phase 10. The ship finally entered back into the Inside Passage during this time, so the ocean was a sheet of glass again.

I was feeling deep gratitude for the Internet finally working reliably, which allowed me to get some time sensitive things done, including the covid test. I even created a hotspot with my computer so Sydney and I could have multiple devices connected at once. 

We still had our swimsuits on from the spa earlier today, so we made our way to the Solarium for the hot tub. Unfortunately, there is only one small hot tub in the Solarium and it’s been packed almost every time we’ve tried to use it.

We did grab a snack at the Windjammer since we had forgotten to grab lunch.

Sydney and I ran into our new ship friends, Mimi and her grandson Bret (who is our age), and we invited them to join us in the outdoor hot tub.

These hot tubs haven’t been as crowded, but the outdoor weather also hasn’t cooperated much. It was misting and rainy out, but we enjoyed the hot tub and getting to chat.

Final Dinner in the Dining Room

Tonight was our final night in the dining room. The menu tonight featured options of fish & chips, prime rib, roasted turkey, cheese tortellini and lamb.

I had one last bowl of French onion soup and Sydney had the lentil soup as a starter. She said the lentil soup was super good.

For dinner, Sydney had the cheese tortellini and I had the roasted turkey. These weren’t our favorite meals of the cruise, but they were good!

Dessert was a showstopper for me with the pavlova and caramel brownie, which was topped with a marshmallow meringue. It was super sweet - exactly as I like it! Two desserts is the best way to end a cruise. 

It’s always sad to say goodbye to new friends on the final evening. Sydney and I have been blessed with great servers who took good care of us. We also connected with so many people on this cruise and loved seeing familiar faces around.

Packing and Cruising with a Carry-On

Another sad part of the last cruise night is packing up your suitcase for the journey home tomorrow. Sydney and I had gotten pretty comfortable in our cabin over the last week, so it seemed like a tornado came through when we started to pack. 

Sydney heads to Seattle and Hawaii for the next week to continue her Masters Celebration adventure. I head to Minnesota tomorrow for a quick stop for my best friend’s baby shower before flying back to Florida on Saturday.

I opted to pack for this cruise using just a carry-on, which made it really easy to pack tonight. I used some packing cubes to utilize my small packing space. I think this made a big difference!

I had a few outfits that I didn’t even wear while other pieces were worn heavily. I had to purchase a sweater because I didn’t have something warm enough to wear with my leggings. I also bought some gloves in the first port.

Layering was key for me. I packed pieces that could be worn for dinner and during the day, like dark jeans and a jean jacket. I brought 3 dresses for dinners and then wore my dark jeans with various tops the other nights. Some days I didn’t even change for dinner.

I packed just one swimsuit, which was plenty for our hot tub visits. Casual clothes included sweat pants, a golf skirt, long sleeve t-shirt and a crewneck sweatshirt. I packed a pair of overalls, which I only wore once so I probably could have left that behind and opt for a heavier coat instead.

For the trip, I only packed 3 pairs of shoes, which included rain boots, dinner shoes and tennis shoes. I wish I had packed some slip-in shoes to wear around the ship, so I did buy a $5 pair of slippers from Old Navy in Vancouver to wear. I might leave these behind if I can’t pack them last minute tomorrow.

All of my cosmetics and toiletries I carried in my backpack with me. I still had room for my laptops, umbrella and 2 covid tests.

I really limited myself to just the essentials for this trip. It’s nice to not have so much clutter. Packing lightly forces you to only wear what you have packed because you don't have many options. I also think packing cubes made it easier because I can compress my outfits into time little dense cubes.

Granted, I think packing in a carry-on would be much easier for warmer climates. I also don't think I could do any trips longer than 10 days in a carry-on without doing some laundry. 

Disembarkation + Final Thoughts

Tomorrow we will get off the ship around 9:30 AM and my flight is at 2:00 PM. I plan to head straight to the airport and hopefully have a painless travel day.

Sydney is taking the Amtrak bus to Seattle before flying to Hawaii on her next big adventure.

We are both sad that our friend-cruise is coming to an end. It was so nice to be able to travel again, especially together.

Our friendship is really special and having this much time together again at sea was wonderful. We loved our time on the cruise and getting to meet such nice people was really a highlight.

Radiance of the Seas feels like she’s been well maintained and the crew are doing their best to get the ship back to a well-oiled machine. We had a few hiccups, but everything was handled with excellent service. I think this is to be expected with any cruise ship returning to service. We've met a lot of crew members onboard who are working for the first time onboard a ship.

That's the end of my live blog for Alaska. Until next time, happy cruising!

Radiance of the Seas Live Blog - Day 6 - Tracy’s Arm Fjord

05 May 2022

Hi from the choppy Alaskan seas! It’s Day 6 of our 7-night cruise, so our time onboard Radiance of the Seas is coming to an end. I can't believe tomorrow is our last day. A week onboard a cruise always goes way faster than any other week at home, right?

Although we didn’t have a port today, we sailed through Tracy’s Arm Fjord early this morning. We set our alarms for 6:30 AM to make sure we didn’t miss any of the scenery.

The sight of the fjord in the distance was stunning as we woke up and waited in line for coffee.

There’s been a line each morning at Latitudes, but it seems to move fairly quick. I heard a few grumbles from the people behind me about the line each morning; however, I don't think it's been that bad. 

I love my morning latte, so it's a great way to start the day for me. 

With coffee in hand, Sydney and I made our way to the helicopter pad so we could go to the very front of the ship.

Tracy’s Arm Fjord

The helicopter pad was fairly busy with other cruisers - I was surprised to see so many people already out there since it was barely 7:00 AM. It was frigid cold at the front of the ship and I was wishing I had warn my warmer pants.

In the distance, we could see the ship making its way towards the glacier. This was further than my ship was able to make it last summer (due to icing), so I was already excited to see new scenery. 

It was too cold being at the very front of the ship, so we went up a few decks to 13 to watch the ship continue sailing through the fjord. The railing here was solid and covered, so it was less windy as well. 

The scenery is unreal; if you’re sailing through the fjord on an upcoming cruise, you’ll definitely want to set your alarm. I overheard a couple saying they had missed the fjord on their last cruise because they were staying in an inside cabin and didn’t know the scenery was so beautiful.

We took lots of pictures of the mountains and sipped our coffee. What a Wednesday morning! 

The ship inched closer and closer to a line of ice in front of the glacier. Obviously cruise ships aren’t meant to be ice-breaking ships, so we just sailed right up to the ice barrier. We could see the glacier in the distance and I was shocked to see how blue the glacier was.

The ship started to do a donut spin and then slowly made its way back to the sea and out of the fjord. Coming from Florida, it was fun to be bundled up on the deck and take in such a drastic change of scenery. 

Main Dining Room Breakfast

We decided to have breakfast in the dining room since we were already up. Tomorrow is a sea day, so we have no alarms set - we figured it was a good time to do another breakfast in the dining room.

The host sat us at a table with a window, which was incredible. We commenced the beautiful morning with mimosas - as one should! This was a perfect way to use a daily drink voucher too.

Sydney and I split a plate of French toast to start and each had a breakfast burrito. I think it was even better than the one I had the first morning! Sydney loved the burrito too.

With tummies full, our early morning wake up call made us sleepy. We opted to head back to the cabin for a mid-morning nap.

Unfortunately, the Internet was still down so I wasn’t able to get connected to anything. I had scheduled a meeting at work for 10:00 AM, but that had to be cancelled with no Internet or cell service to save the day.

Of course, most people aren’t as worried about the Internet as I am. With the live blog and other remote work that needs to be done, I’m more reliant on it working. 

During the nap, I received a call from guest services asking about our excursion experience in Ketchikan. I explained how the trolley left early without us, but we were given options from the excursion staff. He was very kind and helpful, expressing his apologies for that happening.

The Captain also made an announcement that woke us up again from our nap. He explained that no announcements can be made in the fjord to protect the wildlife there, so that’s why the cruise ship is very quiet while sailing towards the glacier. He also said we would have choppy seas tonight before making our way to the Inside Passage again. 

I really like about the Captain of this cruise- he is the most personable cruise ship captain that I’ve ever had. Each day, he acknowledges the crew members who are celebrating birthdays on the ship. He’s very down to Earth and I really enjoy his communication with us.

Hot Stone Massage Experience

I had my massage booked for 12:45 PM, so Sydney and I went upstairs to grab a snack at the Windjammer. She had plans to play cards with our dinner friends during my massage.

I have never had a massage on a cruise ship before; in fact, I can count on one hand the number of massages I’ve had in my life.

Since I have neck and shoulder pain from computer work, the spa manager recommended the hot stone massage. I went with her recommendation and hoped for the best.

I was taken into a little relaxation room to fill out some forms. The room was safari themed with large chase loungers. It was a little cheesy, but comfortable. 

My therapist met with me and talked to me about where I was having some discomfort. She also recommended that I do a seaweed wrap for another $200, but I politely declined and said the hot stone massage was a splurge.

The room had floor to ceiling windows. The massage felt wonderful everywhere with the hot stones. I had only been booked for 50 minutes - and the time felt like it flew by.

I did speak to the spa manager after my massage about a small concern I had regarding the session - she was very helpful and resolved the issue quickly. I greatly appreciated how she handled my concern with both empathy and professionalism.

In fact, for the inconvenience, she offered that Sydney and I could access the Thermal Spa for today and tomorrow. We are excited to try that tomorrow on our last day of the cruise.

Royal Caribbean Service

This cruise has had more kinks than others I’ve taken recently. I am sure with an older ship just returning to service after 2 years, this is bound to happen.

I think it’s important to be flexible and remember that traveling isn’t always perfect, especially as the travel industry works on its full comeback from the pandemic.

Royal Caribbean has been providing outstanding service and support when issues arise, such as the Internet not working, our shore excursion leaving without us, and my concern at the spa.

These are all minor issues for me, but it does remind me why I am loyal to a company that I believe values customer service and strives for excellence.

In fact, I received a second call today regarding our shore excursion experience and they confirmed we received a full refund for our tour. This was really generous of Royal Caribbean because we still enjoyed the lumberjack show even though we missed the trolley. 

Solarium Wave Pool

Sydney and I decided that we wanted to go to the hot tub after my massage, so we made our way to the Solarium.

Well, apparently everyone else had the same idea because there were 10 people crammed into the tiny hot tub. The pool was actually pretty comfortable, but just as we got in, the seas became a little choppy.

The Solarium pool was slowly becoming a makeshift wave pool. We tried to use the hot tubs outside, but it was cold and rainy so we only lasted maybe 2 minutes.

I grabbed a drink at the bar and we lounged for a bit in the chairs, but the choppy seas seemed to continue. The pool waves became more intense, so the lifeguards closed off the Solarium pool.

It was almost time to get ready for dinner, so Sydney and I made our way back to the cabin to freshen up for formal night.

Evening Activities

With just a carry-on for this cruise, I didn’t have too much room for formal attire. I’ve seen over the years that most people don’t dress very formal anyway - and it can take up so much room in your luggage. I chose to pack a simple black dress for both formal nights.

Sydney was started to feel a little seasick since she has a sensitive tummy, so she wasn’t very hungry. She heard that green apples were supposed to ease motion sickness, so our waiter brought her a plate of green apples to have before dinner. 

For dinner tonight, Sydney and I both ordered both the caprese salad and I asked for the onion tart as well. I ordered the beef tenderloin while Sydney tried the eggplant parmesan.

To her surprise, the motion sickness patch (and maybe the magical green apple) did start to work by the end of dinner and she was feeling better.

For dessert, I ordered the molten chocolate cake. I’ve loved this dessert for years and years - I’m glad it’s continued to be served! It was decadent tonight and I forgot to snap a picture.

Baked Alaska was on the menu tonight, which is very fitting of course for this cruise. Here's a picture of our dinner neighbor's dessert for good measure. 

One of the best parts of dinner was seeing all the whales out in the ocean. We saw so many that were spouting water and breaching. Apparently, whales like to breach during choppy waters so that might explain all of the activity. 

Some of the whales were so close to our ship and we could see their fins popping over the white caps. I love seeing everyone run to the windows and react to the whales breaching.

By the end of dinner, the seas had calmed down and we even saw a rainbow out in the distance. It was a perfect way to end dinner.

Since we had napped today, we had a bit more energy to make it to the show tonight. We sat with our dinner friends and enjoyed a variety show that featured a comedian and musician. 

Back in our cabin, we found disembarkation information and luggage tags - a sign of the times that the cruise is coming to an end.

Tomorrow’s Plans

To my surprise, the Internet came back up this evening. It’s been consistently working tonight, so that hopefully means that I can get a few work things done tomorrow during our sea day.

I am sure you're all sick of the Internet updates, but it does seem to be playing a role in our daily activities. At one point today, I saw 10 people waiting to speak to the VOOM Internet desk! I guess they are planning to provide a mass refund for the days that the Internet was down, so that is great.

I haven’t seen this reflected on my shipboard account, so I will need to get that settled tomorrow if it isn’t updated.

We have no alarms set tomorrow! I think we might try to have lunch in the main dining room, as that’s a first for me. I will be interested to see what's offered for lunch compared to breakfast and dinner options. 

There is also an egg-dropping contraption contest tomorrow. Sydney and I are pretty curious about what that could possibly entail, so we are hoping to check that out. I am sure it will be a hoot!

We are also planning to try the Thermal Spa sometime in the morning before meeting our dinner friends for a game of cards!

The last day of the cruise means I need to pack and hopefully take my covid test onboard if the Internet cooperates… but we all know how that’s been going.

Good night from Alaska and our little towel friend!

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