1. Home
  2. Planning
  3. Cruise Tips and Advice
  4. 9 Do's and Don'ts for Your First Day on Ovation of the Seas
Ovation of the Seas

9 Do's and Don'ts for Your First Day on Ovation of the Seas

Your first day on Ovation of the Seas can be somewhat daunting as you tour the ship and try to decide where to start. If you have been wondering what to do first and what can be left until later, find the answers here.

Updated December 20, 2017

1. Do book an early embarkation slot

Keep an eye on your cruise planner and be one of the first to register when online check-in opens approximately 90 days before your cruise. Unlike some other ships which allocate embarkation times by deck (the higher the deck, the earlier you get onboard), Ovation of the Seas operates on a first-in best-dressed basis. Register early to get first pick of the embarkation times as this is more important than you think (see tip six).

2. Do follow the deck plan

Most people like to look around the ship on their first day. Get a head start on your do-it-yourself ship tour by exploring the deck plans online before you get onboard. Time saved on getting lost can be used for activities like dodgem cars or the North Star.

3. Don't delay the activities

No bookings are required for activities such as the North Star and dodgem cars on embarkation day. While everyone else is getting lost exploring the ship, you can take advantage of shorter queues for these popular attractions and enjoy them to the full. We walked straight up to the North Star and rode the dodgems multiple times as no other passengers were waiting; on sea days the wait for a dodgem car was up to 40 minutes.

4. Do pack a day bag

Staterooms on Ovation of the Seas are typically available around 1pm but, with so many bags to deliver, luggage may not arrive until late in the evening. Pack a change of clothes plus a swimsuit and sunscreen so you can enjoy the onboard facilities and shower and freshen up before dinner.

5. Do download the Royal IQ app

Before you leave home, download the free Royal IQ app, which only works on the ship. Then as soon as you get onboard, connect to the ship's free intranet ("royal-wifi") and use the app to book restaurants, iFly, North Star, shows and shore excursions -- without queuing up in person. The queues are very long on embarkation day so it's a big time-drainer and you may miss out on time slots for your activities if you're at the back of the line. But here's a sneaky tip to beat everyone else: It's worth trying the app from the wharf or terminal before you board. In Singapore we could get onto the "royal-wifi" intranet while we were waiting to embark and did our bookings then.

6. Do sign the waiver forms

Don't line up for activities like the FlowRider and roller skating without signing the relevant waiver forms first. The quickest and easiest way to do this is by signing the forms electronically using the in-room television. These activities also require a wrist band to show you have signed the waiver. After you have one of these, you can go straight to the activity whenever it is scheduled in the daily planner.

7. Don't let your kids skip the first night at Adventure Ocean

Even if your kids aren't sure if they will join the kids program on Ovation of the Seas, encourage them to attend on the first evening. This is when friendships are formed, particularly amongst the tweens and teens. If your child skips this session but decides to join in later, it can be harder for them to make friends on such a large ship.

8. Do book specialty restaurants

If you haven't booked specialty restaurants via the cruise planner, check out each venue when you get onboard and make reservations using the Royal IQ app or at the reservations desk outside the main restaurants. Wonderland frequently books out and seating times can be limited, especially on shorter cruises. Don't wait until later in the cruise to book or you could miss out.

9. Don't go to guest services

With more than 4,500 passengers onboard, the queue at guest services can be long on the first day. If your query isn't urgent, it is best to wait until the following day (or later that night when everyone is at dinner) to resolve any issues.

Popular on Cruise Critic

How To Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin: What You Need to Know
Your room on a cruise ship is called a cabin (or stateroom) and is akin to a hotel room, but typically much smaller. Choosing a cruise ship cabin can be fun and challenging at the same time, and not just a little bit frustrating on occasion. Cabins fall into different types or "categories," and some cruise lines will present as many as 20 or more categories per ship. Before you get overwhelmed, it's helpful to remember that there are essentially only four types of cabins on any cruise vessel: Inside: the smallest-sized room, with no window to the outside Outside: a room with a window or porthole (a round window) with a view to the outside, often similarly sized to an inside cabin or a bit larger; also known as oceanview Balcony: a room featuring a verandah that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks It's the permutations (size, view, location, amenities and price, for example) of the four basic cabin types that can make choosing difficult. In addition to knowing your cabin options, you need to know yourself: Do you tend to get seasick? Do you prefer to nest peaceably on your balcony rather than hanging with the crowd around the pool area? Conversely, is your idea of a stateroom simply a place to flop into bed at 1 a.m. -- no fancy notions necessary? Are there certain amenities you are willing to splurge on, or can you simply not justify paying for unnecessary perks? The answers will help guide you toward selecting the best stateroom for your money. If you're feeling overwhelmed by choice, we'll help you get started with this guide to choosing the best cruise cabins for you and your travel party.
Best Time to Cruise
It's one of the most common cruising questions: When is the best time to cruise Alaska, Australia, the Caribbean, Canada/New England, Hawaii, Europe or the South Pacific? The answer depends on many variables. Fall foliage enthusiasts, for instance, will find September and October the best time to take that Canada/New England cruise, whereas families much prefer to sail the region in the summer when school is out and temperatures are warmer for swimming. The best time to cruise to Alaska will vary depending on your preferences for viewing wildlife, fishing, bargain-shopping, sunshine, warm weather and catching the northern lights. For most cruise regions, there are periods of peak demand (high season), moderate demand (shoulder season) and low demand (low season), which is usually the cheapest time to cruise. High season is typically a mix of when the weather is best and popular travel periods (such as summer and school holidays). However, the best time to cruise weather-wise is usually not the cheapest time to cruise. The cheapest time to cruise is when most travelers don't want to go because of chillier temperatures or inopportune timing (too close to holidays, the start of school, etc.). But the lure of cheap fares and uncrowded ports might make you change your mind about what you consider the best time to cruise. As you plan your next cruise, you'll want to take into consideration the best and cheapest times to cruise and see what jibes with your vacation schedule. Here's a when-to-cruise guide for popular destinations.
8 Best Luxury Cruise Ships
The moment you step aboard a luxury cruise ship, a hostess is at your arm proffering a glass of bubbly while a capable room steward offers to heft your carry-on as he escorts you to what will be your home-away-from-home for the next few days. You stow your things (likely in a walk-in closet) and then emerge from your suite to get the lay of the ship. As you walk the decks, friendly crew members greet you ... by name. How can that be? You just set foot onboard! First-class, personalized service is just one of the hallmarks of luxury cruise lines. You can also expect exotic itineraries, varying degrees of inclusivity in pricing, fine wines and gourmet cuisine as well as universally high crew-to-passenger ratios. That being the case, you might think any old luxury cruise ship will do, but that's not quite true. Like people, cruise ships have their own unique personalities -- and some will be more suited to your vacation style than others. Lines like SeaDream might not offer the most spacious suites, but their intimate yachts can stealthily visit ports that large ships can't manage. Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises are owned by the same parent company but Regent offers a completely inclusive vacation experience, while Oceania draws travelers with a more independent streak. Take a look at Cruise Critic's list of best luxury cruise lines and ships to see which one resonates with you.