688 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews

This was my 17th trip with RC, 3rd to Alaska, 1st on Ovation. Embarkation was fast, being able to board at 11:00. Rooms weren't available until 1:00, which is pretty standard. Crew was extremely polite and helpful. Rommel and ... Read More
This was my 17th trip with RC, 3rd to Alaska, 1st on Ovation. Embarkation was fast, being able to board at 11:00. Rooms weren't available until 1:00, which is pretty standard. Crew was extremely polite and helpful. Rommel and Nino in My Time Dining were awesome. Main dining food was best we've had in a long time on RC. My wife can't eat gluten, so every night she was approached to pre-order for the next evening. She even received a nightly plate of special rolls. My 7 year old son ate off the adult menu and got all the extra portions he wanted. Windjammer fare was good. There were some crowds in the Windjammer, but the ship has many free dining options as well as several fee venues. Bars could be found around every corner. Diamond Lounge wasn't as crowded as most ships. My only complaint related to food service is that early morning coffee can only be found in one place (deck 4). Many of us were up at 6:00 to take in the views. It would have been nice to have an upper deck option. We had two balcony cabins on the 13th deck (13654 & 13656). See my cabin review for some specifics on those. Our attendant opened the partition between the two balconies, which gave us a great space as well as ability to come and go between rooms. Cabins are the best laid out we've seen in terms of storage space. I-fly and North Star were great features. Warning---book these online early as shipboard openings are very limited. Many excursions were also booked up quickly. Great port visits with plenty of time ashore. I recommend the White Pass Railway in Skagway. I did have one concern in Juneau. The disembarkation from lower pier to the road level was via a long ramp that got very steep at low tide. Folks with mobility issues were challenged to climb it. Give yourself plenty of time to walk long distances to reach excursion points. It can also be crowded when the gangway first opens, so avoid excursions that start immediately upon arrival if you want to avoid long lines. Like some other reviewers, I missed the longer Inside Passage portion done on other trips. That said, we still had plenty of scenery, including loads of wildlife visible from the ship. I lost count of whale sightings, including one that breached 5 times in a row off our stern. Dawes Glacier was beautiful. My son enjoyed Adventure Ocean as usual. This sailing had many more families than I had seen on Radiance for other Alaska trips. While a number of folks used the outdoor pool and kid's splash area, the air was a bit cool for us. Ovation has a heated indoor pool for families as well as the traditional adult only Solarium area. The indoor pool area was great. Debarkation was a breeze. You can sign up to have your bags checked directly to the airline at no extra charge. Airline baggage fees are simply applied to your seapass card. Using this meant we didn't have to search for bags on the pier. We simply left our room at 8:30 and walked off the ship. My advice--do your homework on activities you can reserve in advance. Also, take some time to look at all the dining options. Lastly, sit back and enjoy the view and service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Embarkation was a breeze- Their use of iPads to check people in expedited the process. The port of Seattle is in our view one of the best embarkation points we have sailed from. Cabin and attendant were of the quality of service ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze- Their use of iPads to check people in expedited the process. The port of Seattle is in our view one of the best embarkation points we have sailed from. Cabin and attendant were of the quality of service throughout the cruise that we've experienced on other cruises. Nothing spectacular here just very consistent. Dining: Menu's in the dining rooms similar to other cruises. BUT - we felt the quality was slightly higher than we experienced on other RCL cruises - especially better than on the Oasis Class. The food arrived hot, good flavor. The Windjammer had a greater variety of choices than we had scene on any other RCL cruise. The quality was good. Wait staff were always kind, helpful and cheery. If you asked for something the reply was always "Why Not". Entertainment and Activities: This is a high tech ship. 270 is a geeky persons dream. The entertainment is geared more for Millennial and Gen Zers. The Las Vegas style show, while clean, is high in sexual innuendo and is NOT for children. Pixels is more along the lines of a very high tech Cirque de soilel. Our daughter very much admired the music and skill of the guitar player in the bar and went almost every night. Ship Layout: Very different than other RCL ships and took a day or two to reorient to the design. We overheard a few negative comments concerning the layout from older baby boomers - who obviously couldn't deal with the change. Itinerary - This is why we gave the cruise a 4. RCL sold a cruise including "scenic cruising" in the inside passage. The ship is too large for this. Apparently, the week before our cruise the inside passage was attempted but the ship almost grounded twice. This is an RCL issue. They should have known this before hand. Itinerary continued: We were able to get close to Dawes Glacier. The weather was perfect. In close, the Captain rotated the ship thru 1,080 degrees before heading out. in doing so, the ship was so close to bottoming out that a large amount of silt was kicked up. Many seals with seal pups on the ice. Juneau - Whale watch - spectacular - Many whales and sea lions. Witnessed a whale breech 2x right next to another boat. And a mother whale and baby breech 3x each. Too many bald eagles to count and Dall sheep on the mountain side. Bring good binoculars. Skagway - Took the train ride. Breath taking views. Victoria - ok - nothing spectacular In our view, there was plenty of time that RCL could have added in Sitka or Ketchikan. Excitement: On the way back from Dawes Glacier, we were visited by a Coast Guard helicopter. Apparently someone had fallen ill and needed to be evacuated. The BlackHawk helicopter was too large to land so they had to perform the evacuation while hovering. Disembarkation - Very fast and ahead of schedule. If you use Uber, the pick-up location is quite a long walk. Oh - we arranged for Uber and were dropped 6 times. They wanted the airport fare and we were only going into Seattle. Special note: We had the opportunity to live and work in the Philippines in the late 90's. We always engage the Filipinos and ask them about where they are from etc. Well - we discovered that Ed who is the next cruise manager worked at the Shang ri la Makati while we were there. Then we discovered that Irene in Coastal Kitchen and Darcie in Chops had worked in the New World Hotel Makati when we were there. Most special was that the Manager (Oliver) over Sorrentos had been a waiteer in Bocarinnos Restaurant (our favorite restaurant in Manila) in the New World Hotel. We were able to connect with him and shared some fond memories. Summary - while we throughly enjoyed this cruise -with the only disappointment in the failure to sail the inside passage - knowing this up front we most likely would not have taken this sailing. Alaska to us is about seeing and enjoying nature. Also, this is also not the ship for cruisers expecting a layout and flow similar to the Oasis Class. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Great trip. Weather was beautiful don't make the mistake we did and pack a bunch of winter clothes! Temperature was in the 50's or above the entire trip. A hoodie is all you need for a jacket trust me. You will wear shorts and ... Read More
Great trip. Weather was beautiful don't make the mistake we did and pack a bunch of winter clothes! Temperature was in the 50's or above the entire trip. A hoodie is all you need for a jacket trust me. You will wear shorts and t-shirts on the boat, hoodie and long pants when you get off. A lightweight rain jacket just in case is also a good idea. We only used this once because it rained about 30 minutes in Skagway but that was the only time it was needed. Good walking shoes or hiking boots is also a good idea. We arrived in Seattle early and stayed two nights at the Maxwell Hotel. Highly recommend this hotel it was excellent and a great location. The shuttle service they provide will take you to most places free of charge. You should buy the Seattle City Pass because it has all the main attractions in it. We saw the Space Needle and it was awesome! Your ticket allows you to see it both during the day and at night. Arrive early to beat the crowds. We also went to the Science Museum and it was very good. The Argosy harbor tour was nice and we really enjoyed the Aquarium. Walk thru the Pike Place Market it's really neat. We didn't do any RC excursions because we like to pick our own from reviews. In Juneau we did a Whale Watching Tour with Alaska Galore. They were super nice and they only allow about 10-14 people so everyone can see and you aren't packed in like other boats we saw. They pick you up at the pier so it was very easy. We then went to Mendenhall Glacier and it was nice. Transportation there is easy to get so we didn't book a tour for that. At Skagway we rented a jeep for the day thru Alaska Green Jeep (DIY). This was awesome. They had such great reviews and they lived up to everyone of them! It was so easy. You get your jeep, follow the Klondike Hwy and stop whenever you want to hike for awhile or just to take pictures. They have a book that tells you the main attractions on the way and which mile marker to look for. You definitely want to stop and see the William Moore Suspension Bridge. This was a super nice area and walking that bridge was something you will never forget! Also stop and pet the puppies at the Tutshi Sled Dog Tours operated by Michelle Phillips. For only $5 you can pet a bunch of puppies and adult sled dogs. This was so cool. My granddaughter had so much fun she wanted to bring a puppy home with her. You can also go on a sled ride if you want. Don't miss what has to be the most beautiful place in the world Emerald Lake. Pictures do not do it justice it is absolutely gorgeous. This is usually were you turn around and go back down the Hwy. After you return your jeep (6:00) go eat at the Red Onion Saloon. We had a blast there and the food is excellent! At Victoria we went on a walking tour on our own that we found on a google search. We went to Beacon Hill Park and saw the tallest totem pole in the world. We then saw the Royal BC Museum and the Parliament building. We finished at Fisherman's Wharf and had a wonderful dinner there at Barb's Fish and Chips. Our room was a large balcony #10562 and it was very nice. The art work on board the ship is beautiful! We did the I-Fly and also went up in the North Star. Get reservations for I-fly when they are offered on your cruise planner. The only time they offered North Star before we left was on port days. We went "stand by" while sailing in the Endicott arm and it was really cool. Stand by was less then a 10 minute wait. The ship was unable to go to the Dawes Glacier but we kinda expected this from reading other reviews. To us it was not that big of a deal because everything else was fantastic. The main dining room was okay but I agree with some other reviews that stated other RC ships were a little better menu wise. Thanks RC for the beautiful table by the window we truly enjoyed the view while eating. We had excellent service from Ramon and Kudmal, they took very good care of us! We enjoyed the Windjammer and thought the buffet was better then the other RC ships we have sailed on. Entertainment-we really enjoyed Live, love, legs and The Dream. Pixels was okay but rather disappointing. Pixels is the only show you can pre-register for. We loved our time on Ovation and the service was superb. Highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
First off to all the readers out there...take the "one" star reviews with a grain of salt! This ship is wonderful and is one of the best ships you can take from Royal Caribbean. We are diamond members and have cruised on ... Read More
First off to all the readers out there...take the "one" star reviews with a grain of salt! This ship is wonderful and is one of the best ships you can take from Royal Caribbean. We are diamond members and have cruised on various RCCL ships since the early 1990's. We like the Oasis class best but this was our second sailing on the Ovation. We had a Jr. family suite with our 2 adult children and had PLENTY of room. That room also has TWO bathrooms! Food is pretty good but when these mega ships are feeding between 4000 and 6000 (on Oasis class) passengers all day long don't expect a 5 star experence everytime you sit down. The staff were fantastic and waiters and room stewards do a wonderful job and all seem to be pretty happy. They work for...and deserve...their gratutiies! The cabins are all much larger than the ships from the 1980's and 1990's and average around 160 sq. ft for inside and close to 190 sq. ft. for balcony. Ours was around 300 sq. ft. with a little larger balcony. All suites allow you to eat in a seperate restraurant than the larger ones for all passengers...and we opted to eat in the larger restraurants NOT in the one for suite guests. We were on the June 14 -21 Alaska cruise and really enjoyed it. I can't believe I have read so many complaints about not seeing the Dawes Glacier. Being the sun comes up SO early in June our whole crew was out on the baclony by about 5:00 am (in our pj's & jackets) watching us go through the beautiful and outstanding Fjord heading to the Dawes Glacier and seeing tons of small to medium size ice chunks in the water on our way to the glacier. Then when we got there it was a sight to behold. The captain took the ship as close as he could then spun the ship slowly around (360 degrees) at least twice, which took well over an hour, so no matter where you were (on your balcony, having breakfast down stairs, eating upstairs in wind jammer, on an outside deck...you had a wonderful view of the glacier and the ice chunks all around us. The ship only went about 2 or 3 mph up and back from the glacier so you could see the ice, mountains, and beautiful waterfalls. As a matter of fact, while outside all you could hear were many, many waterfalls from the snow capped peaks falling into the ocean. There were 3 stops. (1) Juneau was really nice and offered a number of side trips if you wanted We took a trip to a beautiful garden then to the Mendenhall Glacier. This is really a nice venture. There is a walking trail to the sea which gives you an outstanding view of the glacier...or a walking trail (takes 45 min) to a super large waterfall close by the glacier. Very nice observation area and Visitors Center run by the U.S. Forrest Service. Worth your time (2) Skagway. We took the train ride to the White Pass. WHAT A TRIP! I would recommend this trip to EVERYONE who has never been to Skagway! (3) Victoria B.C. This is a BEAUTIFUL city and easy to get around. Lots of history and some great shops and restraurants! When not in port, young and old alike can shop on board or take a ride on the Northstar or do rock climbing, skydiving simulator, or swim in the atrium pool (80 degrees) etc. The top deck with the Seaplex is really cool. Roller skating, basketball, circus swings (your tied so very safe) and most fun of all are the bumper cars. This all goes on per a schedule on the wall so you can see the times when these things are offered. Also, pingpong tables, foose ball, x-boxes and other games for youngsters. If you seem to be board while on this ship then you just aren't trying to have fun. Bottom line... this is a great ship for Alaska. There are smaller ships that can get to smaller ports and closer to the glaciers but I would recommend this trip to any first time Alaska cruisers. The trip from the Seattle airport to downtown hotel and back to airport after the cruise is at least an hour so plan your flight home very late morning or after noon. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My parents have been loyal RCI cruisers for >45 years. They have taken 19 cruises together. This was my 6th cruise with RCI. We purchased this trip a year ago through RCI and paid extra for insurance. Three weeks prior to this cruise my ... Read More
My parents have been loyal RCI cruisers for >45 years. They have taken 19 cruises together. This was my 6th cruise with RCI. We purchased this trip a year ago through RCI and paid extra for insurance. Three weeks prior to this cruise my mother had a stroke. She is unable to travel. My mother was to room with my sister-in-law. We tried to exchange my brother in place of my ill mom. RCI did little to help with the substitution. He was required to pay $700 more in order to room with his wife instead of my mom. We had planned this for a year so we determined to go despite the additional cost. The positive of the ship: Workers are pleasant, attentive, & efficient. There are multiple pools/hot tubs. Food is very good with variety of options available. There are various unique attractions including bumper cars, the North Star, wave surfing, etc. The shows are entertaining. Rooms have bathrooms that make use of limited space by placing cubbies for toiletries, etc. There is a foot bar in shower and includes nightlight in bathroom. The virtual balcony in interior rooms offer unique and decent live ocean views. There are special cafes like hot dog van, fish/chips shop, etc. The fish is quite good. The pizza parlor is suppose to be 24/7 but is not. It does serve very good pizza. The artwork throughout the cruise ship is intriguing and captivating. Required ship drill is condensed. Express check out allows for quick and easy departure. The negative of the ship: The beds throughout are very firm. Expect long lines for everything, especially for unique attractions. Photo lobby has one attendant who must bounce between cashing out customers and assist with photo kiosks where cruisers review/select photos for print. Dining on a ship with >4,000 cruisers is difficult. Though the food is flavorful, the actual dining experience can be quite stressful. Port days are especially challenging. I traveled with my 10 yr old granddaughter. She liked to sleep in. We ran up and down several decks searching for a place to get food between the hours of 10-1130. The windjammer buffet closed at 1000 and didn't reopen until 1200. The dining rooms ended breakfast at 0930 and reopened for lunch at 1130. There is a soft serve ice cream station on deck 14 near the pools. It is randomly available with one attendant. Again, expect long lines and limited selection as 1/3 options quickly becomes unavailable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Ship was super clean and was a perfect fit for Alaska. With all the indoor activities, there is little need to be outside. Now with that being said, the outdoor spaces where great and we had really good weather. I had a Family Jr Suite ... Read More
Ship was super clean and was a perfect fit for Alaska. With all the indoor activities, there is little need to be outside. Now with that being said, the outdoor spaces where great and we had really good weather. I had a Family Jr Suite and it worked out just fine. The balcony was awesome, as we did not have to go up top to take in the breath taking views. MDR was OK, but everything else was outstanding. We did not go hungry at all. Great selection of entertainment and activities ( we barely saw our teenage boys, they were so busy with all there stuff. The staff was over the tops in service and making us all feel special. Ports were good, easy to navigate. Saw lots of wildlife from the ship ( whales, seals, otters). I would totally recommend this ship for an Alaskan cruise, you will not regret it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
To put it mildly.....We really need a vacation after this Cruise! We ~hesitantly booked this Alaskan Glacier cruise with 7 other family members from around the US. This was to be a true "Bucket-List Cruise". There were 3 ... Read More
To put it mildly.....We really need a vacation after this Cruise! We ~hesitantly booked this Alaskan Glacier cruise with 7 other family members from around the US. This was to be a true "Bucket-List Cruise". There were 3 Seniors with our party..one of them a "Diamond RC" member. We aren't typically cruise people, but we wanted to participate with this one for the aging members of the family. We are Luxury Vacationers and Platinum Marriott Members. We enjoy fine food, fine wine and luxury amenities. Yes, the Ovation is a sparkly new ship. The balcony stateroom was adequate, the staff were quite nice. That's all the positive energy I can put into this review. The biggest disappointment..BY FAR...was that THIS Alaskan Cruise did not get to see the glacier we had on the itinerary...This ship is TOO BIG to get to the glacier!! So I'll bet no one will ever see the glacier if you take this ship! The 3 other ships that sailed with us all went to the glacier. Also, the same cruise the week ahead of us didn't go to the glacier either. Safety aside..this was THE hallmark of the trip. If they couldn't do it, they should've told us ahead of time. Right off the bat, they want your individual picture! Not because it's " A time to Remember" ...it's all about facial recognition. Don't believe it's true? Think again! For beginners, the embarkation was total chaos, stress and disorganization from Seattle. The seniors were exhausted and so were we. The dining experience.... Some of our family were staying in Junior Suites...They ate at a separate dining room every night. We were not allowed to attend that dining room. So unless we wanted to pay the upcharge for a specialty dining venue we never ate dinner together....NOT ONCE! So we did lunch together instead. Here is where we ate our meals and our thoughts on the experience.... Where ARE the fantastic Buffets? The ice sculptures? The shrimp towers? The chocolate fountains? Not on this ship! None of it.... We ordered coffee/Juice & danish from room service each morning..free with a tip. OK Windjammer is like a hospital cafeteria. Food was Eh... Cafe Two70 another hospital cafeteria. Food was Eh... Cafe Promenade 24hr coffee/ stale pastry & Sandwich shop is the size of a kiosk at the mall. Nothing special here. Chic MDR dining where we ate dinner was ok, staff was very attentive. Average food, nothing special, didn't leave hungry. Solarium Bistro Breakfast to order was a hidden gem in the mornings and decent. Solarium Bistro Dinner...not that great. Eh... Lunch in the The Grand was ok, good place to gather if you are with a group. The smoking/vaping sections of the ship. If you are a smoker, vaper or enjoy a cigar...Beware! There are only 3 places on ship to indulge in your stress-reducing cigarette. #1 The 5th Floor patio near Vintages Wine bar- the quietest place and most difficult place to find (but closed many times for cleaning?, without any cleaning going on?) #2 The 14th Floor open air hallway between the Solarium and Splashaway Bay. This is quite a hike from most staterooms. Not a favorite place to go. #3 The back left section of Casino Royale if you want to be out of the weather & wind. Another not-so-favorite place to go, but nice at 6:30 am if you'd like a little peace & quiet. Night time activities were mediocre at best. We usually ended up in the Music Hall for a silly game or two and some music...not as good as my local bar. Schooners had some nice piano music. We never did see any of the shows. They were booked up from day #1. We did the Skagway train excursion, which was nice. We booked that several months in advance. The " Refreshment package" was expensive, but covered all of our bottled water & Virgin Mary drinks & Mocktails. We also used it for other mixers because we purchased a few "Royal Gift" packages of Absolute Vodka for our room so we could mix our own drinks. We also brought on 2 bottles of wine from port on embarkation day. The others with us hardly got their money's worth from the alcohol packages they spent almost $1,000 on. Most of the bars were closed during days in port. FYI... The PUSH to SPEND MORE ! OMG!!! The constant push to spend more money blew my mind! As if you haven't spent ENOUGH already!!!! Every activity is put in place to help you spend more money. From the "Smokey-Eye" Demo (to purchase Urban Decay Makeup Pallets) to the Seminars. They want you spending..spending...spending! Even the TV stations...non-existent so you are out spending instead of watching tv. VOOM Experience..=...DOOM Experience...need I say more...totally NOT worth it. Even in an emergency. Formal nights....FWIW what is the point? Nothing special...No fancy dinners here or reduced drink prices...Just more opportunity for pictures to sell you later. The Captains Reception....Hahahaha....reception? I though most receptions came with a drink and a small bite? My mistake. Ports..Interesting tourist traps...bought a few things, saw a few things, drank a beer, ate a lunch....maybe did an excursion....got back on ship This is just the tip of the iceburg...haha..But you've got the idea. Perspective...If you're a cruiser, you'll always be a cruiser...it's your thing. No offense, but I just don't see how this is a relaxing or pampering way to vacation. I would not classify this as a Luxury Cruise. When the bills roll in and begin to hover near the $8,000 mark and we have nothing special to say about this vacation, that's just sad. I can put a much better vacation together with 1/4 of the money we spent and say.."I have had a vacation"...Ahhhhh. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Embarkation wasn’t bad. Wife had wheel chair assistance. The problem we ran into was that there wasn’t a dedicated lane for wheel chairs to board the ship so the limited number of pushers they had got stuck in long lines on the ... Read More
Embarkation wasn’t bad. Wife had wheel chair assistance. The problem we ran into was that there wasn’t a dedicated lane for wheel chairs to board the ship so the limited number of pushers they had got stuck in long lines on the gangway. They need to have dedicated ramp for handicap. The ship is beautiful. Loved the solarium the best. Seeing alaska scenery from pool / jacuzzi was nice. The cabin was13642 a jr suite. It was spacious and perfect for a scooter. Located under coastal kitchen but not a lot of noise. The dual bathrooms were a nice touch. Bumper cars was fun roller skating would have been fun if I could find right size safety equipment. Silent Hush party great. Pixels was great. Love and marriage was hilarious. The illusionist / comedian was good. Would have like to see him do some tricks that weren’t table tricks. Service was excellent. Did not notice any over pushy sales reps. Food was warm and good despite being a little bland. There was some confusion on the 2nd formal night as the cruise schedule had smart casual incorrectly marked. Soft serve ice cream was served by an attendant on the pool deck only on some days and only during afternoon hours / not 24 hours. Would like to have seen a candy shop on the main floors. One other negative was the windjammer only open 6;30 -10 for breakfast and 12;00-3;00 for lunch and 6;00 till 9;00 for dinner. Would have liked to see longer hours. Also when it was closed no one could enter the area and sit at tables, enjoy scenery, access coke free style. You had to go to hot dog truck or pizza shop during closed hours to get coke free style. Wish we could have made it to see Dawes glacier. Train in Skagway was a highlight for us. Loved it. North Star was neat. Casino was nice environment. Also seen whales on at least 4 occasions from the ship and got video from our balcony. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The Ovation of the Seas is an amazing ship, and was almost perfect for a cruise to Alaska. I'd say you need to enjoy a "big" ship experience to get the most out of cruising on Ovation. This is most definitely a great ship ... Read More
The Ovation of the Seas is an amazing ship, and was almost perfect for a cruise to Alaska. I'd say you need to enjoy a "big" ship experience to get the most out of cruising on Ovation. This is most definitely a great ship for a multi-generational group; it has something for everyone. Most of the time I was able to find a quiet place or an activity depending on my mood. We didn't travel with children so the Solarium was a nice retreat as was Vintages. We booked one of the forward facing cabins just under the bridge. I spent a lot of time looking out of the picture window in the cabin. I think I enjoyed it more than I would have a balcony. The cabin was excellent; I really appreciated the space allocation. The washroom was very adequate and well designed. Please know that the beds are very hard, and after seven nights I was a bit grumpy about that. This is even with an extra mattress pas installed by the room steward. There was some "not friendly" service in some areas. It seemed like everyone working in a good area on Decks 4 and 5 were a little tired. This was in stark contrast to the excellent, happy service in the Windjammer and other locations. The service and experience at the NorthStar, however, was unacceptable. The person coordinating that experience was very rude to several passengers waiting for the "ride". I was honestly shocked by their behavior. We had a three night dining package. I'd say skip Wonderland if you are thinking about it. The food was very unremarkable. Chops was a good as ever; Jamie's Italian was my favorite specialty restaurant. We only ate at the dining room for lunch and it was good. The Windjammer was good, especially for breakfast. There's a huge selection. Room Service Continental Breakfast was my cruise treat; I loved it. Overall, it was a good experience. The ship is new and beautiful. The crew seems dedicated. Alaska is a must see! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This cruise line and dates were chosen were based on starting/ending port, and season. First, let me start by saying that after 23 cruises, we FINALLY made it to Alaska. Just never found the right time, price, port, ship; well, just a ... Read More
This cruise line and dates were chosen were based on starting/ending port, and season. First, let me start by saying that after 23 cruises, we FINALLY made it to Alaska. Just never found the right time, price, port, ship; well, just a combination of things. Yes, an Alaskan cruise is everything we were told it would be. Great sights, wildlife, hiking, glaciers, whales, educational, entertaining, and on and on. We will definitely be going back. Our ONLY disappointment is that the ship couldn’t make it all the way up Endicott Arm to to the face of the glacier as there was too much ice in the fiord. Safety first and the Captain made the decision to turn around. Did we miss seeing Dawes Glacier, yes. Did me miss having our trip interrupted by damage to the ship, no. Smart decision. Out cruise started and ended in Seattle with a day early arrival for sight seeing. Ports of call included Juneau where we enjoyed an excursion which included whale watching boat ride, Mendenhall Glacier, and nature hiking. Skagway where we took a tour bus up to BC, Canada and rode down on the White Pass railway. Learning about the Yukon gold rush. The actual trail size came as quite a surprise. Again, some disappointment at not seeing Dawes Glacier up close. Then it was Victoria, BC. What a beautiful city, and Butchard Gardens is not to be missed. We’ve never seen so many flowers or such detailed landscaping. A NOT to be missed sight in Victoria. As for the ship, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas. It’s the largest cruise ship we’ve ever sailed on. First impression is that we’d get lost. Yes, even after 23 prior cruises on many different ships, Ovation is impressive. Took a day or two to figure it all out. Dined at two of the three specialty restaurants, and thoroughly enjoyed them both. Regular dining room service was exceptional with a nice selection of entree options. Windjammer (self service) dining area was well staffed, well maintained, with tasty choices. Late night options were not available. We did appreciate the mandatory hand washing station at the Windjammer entrance. Sports and children activities make sea days very entertaining, even if just watching. Of note, the show “Pixcels” is shown every night. It’s the name of the show, not the venue. We had booked reservations for each night thinking a different type show each night. Lesson learned. Only one late night comedian on a 7 night cruise? The main show was entertaining, but LOUD. Luckily we had seats near the back of the theatre at the edge of a row and were able to leave. Overall impression, we would book on the Ovation of the Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
YES....This cruise should be on everyone's bucket list. Whether a suite or just a balcony it's a must the views are breathtaking. Dining_ The Wait staff in the my time dining which we did for the 1st time was so attentive . ... Read More
YES....This cruise should be on everyone's bucket list. Whether a suite or just a balcony it's a must the views are breathtaking. Dining_ The Wait staff in the my time dining which we did for the 1st time was so attentive . The choice of meals were for all tastes. Portions were were good Cabin- We stayed in a balcony room and purchased the key totally recommend it. Ports and Excursions... We used RCL for all our excursions I felt comfortable and secure knowing my cruise line endorsed these companies. Juneau we did the whale watching / photo excursion Of course the whales didn't corporate. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly when we got to Mendenhall I did however expect more wildlife to photograph but none was seen. Skagway we did the best of excursion absolutely the highlight of the trip. Victoria we did on our own I highly recommended the History museum nothing like that in the states. All in all I can stress enough how beautiful this trip was and the weather was also amazing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We sailed on Ovation of the Seas out of Seattle, Washington in May of 2019 and visited the ports of Juneau and Skagway, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. FLIGHT: Okay, I had to fly this time instead of just driving or ... Read More
We sailed on Ovation of the Seas out of Seattle, Washington in May of 2019 and visited the ports of Juneau and Skagway, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. FLIGHT: Okay, I had to fly this time instead of just driving or taking the train. So, I’ll be up front, I don’t like flying because all of the checks make it inconvenient. Understandably so, but still not a relaxing part of my vacation. We flew on American Airlines (American). I booked directly with American months in advance. But, if I had waited about 4-3 months in advance, I could have gotten a slightly better hotel and flight deal on Expedia. However, I’m a planner, so that’s cutting it close for me. We flew out of Philadelphia Airport (Philly) and I liked the fact that restaurants were right there where the terminals are. No need to purchase food on the flight. Also, airport staff at Philly were very helpful, Seattle Airport staff not so much. Seattle Airport restaurants also weren’t as conveniently located and were even pricier than Philly. It also took me awhile to find my luggage at the Seattle Airport. I got baggage information such as how many bags I can carry on the airplane, dimensions, weights and costs for bags from Americans website. The website link was in the confirmation e-mail that American sent me. I went to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for information on what I could pack in which bags. My Mom uses a motorized scooter, so I had to call American’s Special Assistance Desk to let them know about the scooter and her need for assistance since she can’t take any stairs. I also had to give them information on the scooter such as weight, total weight with rider, type of battery, dimensions and whether it was collapsible. Note that for lithium batteries there may be some special instructions that you have to follow. You’ll also have to get to the airport about 90 minutes early. (I have to put some additional information here. I saw where a man’s scooter was denied for flight and he had to drag his self around his entire vacation. Even though this should never happen in my opinion, there are companies that rent scooters. Scootaround (www.scootaround.com) is one of those companies. We also saw rental scooters during embarkation to the ship right outside the port. They seemed really friendly and even approached us to ask about my mother’s scooter, which is a fancy collapsible one.) Again, American treated my Mom and Dad (her companion) very well and Philly airport staff were awesome. As for the flight itself, there were no monitors in the headrests. Food was available for purchase beforehand, but I suggest just eating at the airport or ahead of time. You’ll have more of a selection and about the same cost. Soda, water and a snack, such as peanuts were included. Alcohol was available for purchase. I’m glad I had my Kindle and headphones since there were no monitors for a non-stop, cross-country flight. I loved how our luggage was handled upon departure from the ship. The cruise line partnered with the airlines so that before departure you could complete paperwork for your luggage to be delivered directly from the ship to the airport. You pick-up your luggage at your destination airport, so don’t pack anything in your checked baggage that you’ll need for your flight. Except for getting the name on one of our flight tickets wrong, the process worked fantastically. HOTEL: We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites SEATAC (by the airport). The hotel has an updated, contemporary look. The hotel was undergoing renovations, but the work occurred during the day and never bothered us. (By the time you are reading this, the renovations may be completed.) There’s a complimentary hot breakfast every morning. Coffee, hot water, tea bags, iced tea and cookies are available throughout the day. I highly recommend this hotel. The planned renovations look great. They’re adding an indoor pool, patio with fire pit, suites and a green roof among other updates. There’s also a complimentary airport shuttle that we picked up upon arrival at the airport. Just check with the hotel ahead of time to ensure the shuttle is running at the time you arrive at the airport and where to meet the shuttle. The hotel also offered shuttle service to the pier for a fee (approximately $18 per person in August of 2019). I can’t remember if that was roundtrip, but the price was on par with Uber. I suggest taking the shuttle service from the hotel because these shuttles drop you and your luggage off near the entrance to the pier. My brother took a group Uber and they were told they had to be dropped off at the road that leads to the pier entrance. We were at Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91 and it was a long walk from the road to the pier entrance. TOUR OF SEATTLE: For the first time I booked an excursion through TripAdvisor. Royal Caribbean didn’t have a tour of Seattle before the cruise, just after. We flew in two days early in order to be able to tour Seattle. I booked the Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour. The tour operator was Tours Northwest. I chose the tour that would pick-up at our hotel near the airport. I called the tour company to ensure they picked-up at our hotel. (Also, let the tour company know in advance if you need a handicap accessible tour bus. The tour company needs to know in advance if you need a tour bus that can fit a mobility device on it.) The tour was great. We stopped at the Freemont Troll (for pictures), Pioneer Square, Commodore Park (where Chittenden Locks are) and Kerry Park Viewpoint. The tour guide also gave us the option to be dropped off at the Space Needle or back at our hotels. We chose to be dropped off at the Space Needle. The stop at the Fremont Troll was short, just long enough to get a picture with the troll. The stop at Pioneer Square was a nice rest stop and allowed me to get a nitro at Caffe Umbria, a coffee shop recommended by our tour guide (Yum!). The locks were amazing, a must see especially for the wildlife, and Kerry Park provided the best views of the city. The Space Needle was nice, but, again, the best views of the city were at Kerry Park. I liked that the Space Needle ticket included free online photos that you could choose a background for and down-load. (Other attractions that charge extra for pictures should take a cue from the Space Needle.) From there we went to Chihuly Garden & Glass, which was included in our Space Needle ticket. The glass art was absolutely beautiful and left me wondering how they did all of that with glass. Then we were off to Pike Place Public Market where we visited the famous fish market. We watched them throw fish and went to the near by Spice Market where I bought some spices and coffee. (Note that Seattle Airport had me open my luggage so they could test my spices and coffee.) We took an Uber back to our hotel and ordered in-room food delivery. It was a jam-packed day and we were exhausted. EMBARKATION: We got a good night’s sleep and caught the shuttle to the pier in the morning after eating the complimentary hot breakfast provided by the hotel. The shuttle dropped us off not too far from the building entrance and helped us with our luggage. Luggage drop-off was right where the shuttle dropped off as well. The check-in process was relatively fast and easy since we checked-in online ahead of time and have priority boarding. (There’s also a separate line for the handicapped.) Once on the ship, we were directed to The Café @ Two70 (The Café), which is included in the price of the cruise fare and is considered a deli that has hot sandwiches, salads and soups. The Windjammer Buffet (Windjammer) was apparently full. But The Café was too small to redirect all the people coming onboard to. So, we were redirected to the Windjammer, which is also complimentary. This is the first time I felt like I was being herded once on the ship during embarkation. Normally, I find a lounge to sit and relax at while sipping the drink of the day. Then, I go to the Solarium Bistro Restaurant for the complimentary lunch buffet there to avoid the crowds. But, since we were being directed where to go, we went to the Windjammer, which was packed. I didn’t like the herding. The food at the Windjammer was good, as usual though. CRUISE CABIN: We stayed in an oceanview balcony, which was decorated very chicly and used a design that utilized the space well. There were two separate closets, so two people could get to their clothes at the same time. The desk pulled away from the wall, so it could be used as a table. The bathroom had plenty of shelving, pegs on the back of the door and a good-sized capsule shower. The sofa bed was very comfortable and could be converted to fit one or two people. (When the sofa bed is converted to fit one person, then there’s plenty of room to get to the balcony and my Mom’s collapsible scooter could fit in the corner in front of the desk and balcony window.) The balcony was a good size with two chairs that could recline, two foot-stools and a small table. We still had room to maneuver around and take amazing pictures of the Alaskan scenery from our balcony. AROUND OVATION DINING: 1. MAIN DINING ROOM – We were assigned to the Chic Main Dining Room for dinner, but all the main dining rooms have basically the same menu each night. Meaning the menu in the main dining rooms changes every night, but each night all of the main dining rooms have basically the same menu between them. Dinner was always good in the main dining room and the atmosphere was nice and occasionally festive. We shared a table with another couple and their friend. The staff sometimes danced and sang which made it fun and once they know the drink you like they automatically bring it to you every night. (Mine was lemonade. Iced tea, lemonade, coffee and water are included in your cruise fare. Alcoholic beverages and specialty coffees are not included.) For breakfast, one of the dining rooms was for buffet and another was designated for ordering off the menu. However, we could still order off the menu after being seated in the one designated for buffet. So, that’s what we did every morning. (Breakfast in one of the main dining rooms is less crowded than in the Windjammer.) The breakfast was excellent. I don’t think I tried anything I didn’t like and the French toast was awesome. (Juices, like orange juice, tea, coffee and water are complimentary. I’ve heard something about fresh squeezed orange juice costing extra, but the regular orange juice is normally great.) We occasionally ate lunch in the main dining room, but we preferred the Windjammer for lunch. We liked being able to get smaller portions, the varied selection and the taste of the lunch food in the Windjammer. 2. WINDJAMMER – We only ate dinner once in the Windjammer. It was very good and it was the night we returned from exploring Skagway. There was sushi on the buffet that was so good, yes, on the buffet! We only ate breakfast in the Windjammer about twice. It could be really crowded in the morning for some reason so crowded that it was hard to maneuver around to see what was on the buffet. (People would walk around aimlessly and just stop in the middle of the aisles for no reason. So, I think there needs to be a map and larger signage, especially when all you want is some scrambled eggs, waffles and turkey sausage. LOL) Lunch in the Windjammer was good. Just find a table before getting your food and have someone in your party hold it. That will prevent your food from getting cold while you’re looking for a table. I really loved being able to order a soda from my seat and having it brought to me in the Windjammer. 3. SPECIALTY DINING, WONDERLAND – I purchased specialty dining at Wonderland in advance through Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner, which was less than purchasing it onboard. The food was delicious and the experience was fun and unique. It’s not as out there as you may think, so definitely try it. Your “guide” will try to get a feel for what you like and choose your courses based on that. There were three courses (and there was three of us so the number of items per course may change): three appetizers, three entrees and some desserts. Everything was shared by the table. I don’t want to give too much away because you really need to experience Wonderland for yourself. ACTIVITIES: I was worried that the top deck activities wouldn’t be open since it was an Alaskan cruise. No worries, the top deck attractions were only closed when there was rough seas and high winds, which was one day. Try to schedule as many activities as you can before you get on the ship through Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner. Activities showed up in the Cruise Planner to reserve sporadically. I would find out a new activity was available to book through word of mouth from family and friends I was sailing with or through the Cruise Critic message board for the particular sailing I was on. (Cruise Critic is good site to use and normally you can sign-up for a Cruise Critic reception held onboard the ship.) Note that most activities are included in your cruise fare. Unfortunately, my iFly session was scheduled the day the entire top deck was closed. I heard that you can get in-line and maybe take a no-show spot, but I don’t like lines, so I didn’t do iFly. Note that there’s no extra charge for iFly. One day we put on our wetsuits and hit the Flowrider, which was so nice. The Flowrider is no extra charge as well. Now, even if you filled out your activity waivers online (which I highly recommend that you do), you will still have to get wristbands (that remain on) before you can do the Flowrider. It probably works the same for the Rock-Climbing Wall, but I didn’t rock climb this time. I believe the place to get the wristbands was near the entrance to the iFly. Don’t worry about having to keep the wristbands on, they’re waterproof. But you’ll have to do some strategic posing so it doesn’t show up in your photos. Hahaha Next, we went on the NorthStar. The views from NorthStar were amazing. The only times available when I reserved online were during port days. I’ve heard that the best views are when the ship is sailing. But I loved the views in port at Skagway. We brought binoculars, but they also had binoculars available in the NorthStar pod. You can also stand in-line and wait for openings if you didn’t get a chance to reserve it online before sailing. There were definitely more activities such as bumper cars and skating in the SeaPlex, but I didn’t get a chance to do them. I heard the line for the bumper cars was long, but I didn’t experience it myself. SPA: I went on a tour of the spa on the first day of the cruise, entered the spa giveaway and didn’t win. Hahaha. One of my Platinum Crown & Anchor loyalty member perks was a 15% discount at the spa, so I scheduled a bamboo massage. I was massaged from head to toe. That massage was so good. I highly recommend a bamboo massage if a regular Swedish massage is not enough to relax your muscles. Some say that the spas on cruise ships are overpriced and maybe some treatments are, but I compared the massage prices to Hand and Stone non-member prices and they’re on par. GYM: The gym had weight machines, weights, plenty of treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines and a SoulCycle studio. I went jogging on one of the treadmills, used the free weights and did some yoga from memory in the small open area that they have. I also brought The Essential Guide to Yoga magazine by Yoga World, which had poses in it as well. I think of it as a way to have a wellness cruise without booking a wellness cruise. They also have yoga mats for use and, of course, plenty of wipes to wipe down the mats and equipment. Unfortunately, no punching bags, so no need to pack the gloves. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows I saw in the theater were: The Beautiful Dream, Live. Love. Legs. and Two Funny Guys comedy show. I really enjoyed The Beautiful Dream and Two Funny Guys. The Beautiful Dream had a story behind it and was so imaginative. Two Funny Guys was hilarious (and pretty clean, which I like) and the brothers headlining the show were very talented beyond being hilarious. Live. Love. Legs. was a dancing, singing and feathers old time Vegas show, which was good. I just prefer plays, Cirque du Soleil or alternative dance type shows. There were also movies shown under the stars on the pool deck. They provided blankets and hot chocolate or you can get the drink of your choice from the bar. I saw Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse in the theater and Bumblebee out on the pool deck. Of course, Into the Spider-Verse was awesome! Bumblebee wasn’t bad either. (Bumblebee happens to be my favorite Transformer.) Also, all of the entertainment I’ve mentioned is included in the cruise fare. EXCURSIONS: 1. JUNEAU - I booked all of our excursions through the ship ahead of time online through the Cruise Planner, which saved us some money. We booked Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau. Mount Roberts Tramway was just a short walk from the ship and the cruise line’s price was about the same as I would have paid at the Tramway. How far a walk you have to the Tramway depends on the pier your ship docks at. Mount Roberts had a lot of activities at the top of the mountain. I really liked the video they showed about the native people. I learned about the other activities at Mount Roberts from a free Alaska travel guide I had mailed to me from Alaska’s official travel website www.travelalaska.com. 2. SKAGWAY - In Skagway, we didn’t schedule an excursion. We walked into town, which was a nice not short, but not too long walk. We passed a small trail, the Pullen Creek Trail, on our way into town, which I walked a little of on the way back to the ship. I bought the best coffee I’ve ever tasted at one of the shops, Raven’s Brew Coffee Double Dead Dark Roast Coffee. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s really smooth. We visited a few gift shops and then returned to the ship for a late dinner in the Windjammer where they had sushi on the buffet! The weather was great, really warm for the end of May and I saw some ducks in the water near the boat piers. 3. VICTORIA - We went on the Butchart Gardens Tea and City Highlights excursion in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The tea was at Butchart Gardens and was so filling and tasty. (Don’t eat before going because there’s plenty of food.) Butchart Gardens is beautiful and huge. You probably won’t be able to see it all, so pick the top spots you really want to see. You’ll be provided a map upon arrival. Try to remember how to get back to where you started and to get back early enough to check-out the gift shop. Note that all of the excursions were handicap accessible for individuals that use a collapsible, power scooter and can walk short distances. Definitely contact the cruise line to discuss your handicap needs and if a particular excursion can accommodate your needs. DEBARKATION: I loved that the cruise line partnered with the airports so we could check our bags right on the ship. Now, this means you will not have access or even see those bags again until you arrive at your destination airport and retrieve your checked bags. We didn’t have any issues with this and had no lost bags. However, we should have left the ship early with those carrying their bags since we were carrying our bags. But we went to breakfast in the dining room and left at our designated time. The port was a mess. If it wasn’t for some lovely people letting is in front of them, we would still be there. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the lines were long. Especially so when we didn’t have to worry about getting bags. However, by the time you read this, the Port will probably have worked it out. We had roundtrip shuttle service back to the hotel, which worked perfectly. We caught a nap at the hotel and then took the hotel shuttle to the airport. Awesome, once in a lifetime vacation over. (I always say once in a lifetime vacation and then we do another once in a lifetime vacation, so stay tuned to PhoenixBlue Designs & Travel on YouTube for some of my video vacation reviews. LOL) Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The Ship We chose the Ovation for our 30th wedding anniversary cruise to Alaska, partly due to our past experience with RCCI and also because the ship seemed like a good fit for the unpredictable Alaska weather (which is often rainy, we ... Read More
The Ship We chose the Ovation for our 30th wedding anniversary cruise to Alaska, partly due to our past experience with RCCI and also because the ship seemed like a good fit for the unpredictable Alaska weather (which is often rainy, we understand), given features like the Solarium. Overall, we really enjoyed this ship and most of the activities on board. We took advantage of the bumper cars, NorthStar, Ripcord by IFly, attended several trivia "contests", enjoyed music in the Music Hall and various lounges, including an outstanding Led Zeppelin tribute band. Our stateroom attendant was lovely. She knew us by name almost immediately and greeted us by name throughout the cruise. We were treated to a bottle of champagne courtesy of RCCI for our anniversary as well as a very nice chocolate cake. Nice touches. Ovation is large ship (Quantum Class, over 168k gross tons with probably about 4,500 passengers). Ours was the first cruise for Ovation from the Port of Seattle to Alaska. For the most part, the ship didn't seem excessively crowded for us, especially toward the end of the 2nd day. For the first day or so, some of the more commonly traveled spaces seemed a bit congested, but that seemed to subside a little once most passengers found their favorite places on the ship. Key Program We signed up for the Royal Caribbean Key Program, which was definitely worth it for us. For not much more than the cost of the internet package, we were able to have an embarkation lunch at a specialty restaurant (Jamie's Italian, in our case), had priority debarkation on port days (which came in handy at least once), and were able to get appointments for both the North Star and IFly skydiving simulator--both of which likely would not have been available to us, since the originally scheduled appointment(s) were cancelled due to high winds on the first sea day and remaining slots booked quickly. Priority embarkation was also nice, but it took a bit to appreciate, given the crowds at Seattle’s Smith Cove Cruise Terminal (Pier 91) when we arrived (see below). Embarkation We took Lyft from our Hotel (Grand Hyatt downtown--nice hotel) at about 10:30am to the terminal in order to arrive around 11am. Once we arrived at Smith Cove Cruise Terminal (Pier 91), embarkation seemed a bit of a mad house. The porters appeared a little overwhelmed when we arrived, as the traffic at the terminal was heavy. Both Ovation and Celebrity Solstice were in the process of debarkation while passengers for both ships were arriving. We arrived about 30 minutes prior to our scheduled check in time, and apparently the rest of the passengers did also. The passport check for the Key Program members seemed to go slower than did the non Key Program passengers. Once we got past the first check, we went upstairs and waited until the ship was allowed to board (probably around 11:30 or so). At that point, the terminal seemed to be wall to wall people, with little seating area. Once the Key Program participants were called, we were able to move, but practically had to push our way through the mob of people to get to the gangway. Once on board, we met up with crew that identified us with the Key Program. We were directed to the main theater where we dropped off our carry-ons, which they then delivered to our stateroom, so we didn't have to lug them around while we waited. We then went to Jamie's Italian and had a nice lunch and began to relax a bit. Don't get me wrong--the Key Program really sped up the process for us, but the initial arrival at the terminal was a bit overwhelming for us (and I suspect somewhat for those working there on that day). The ship was supposed to have departed at 4pm, but apparently did not have all of the luggage on board until much later. Consequently, we did not leave Seattle until nearly 6pm, if memory serves. Our luggage also did not arrive at our stateroom until well after that, which wasn't a major issue for us, but I know there were many at the guest services desk late the first evening inquiring about their luggage and complaining about the wait. Entertainment We attended some of the enrichment seminars, such as a discussion on the Alaska gold rush, which was interesting. We enjoyed music in Bolero's lounge as well as in the Music Hall. For the featured entertainment, the ventriloquist was fantastic and hilarious, and the stand up comedian was good too. The Led Zeppelin tribute band (ZOSO) was also very good. The 270 lounge wound up being one of our favorite places on the ship. Some of the enrichment seminars were there, as was "Pixels", a nice production that included a combination of multimedia, special effects, dazzling costumes, singing and dancing. It was quite different from what we'd seen before. I really enjoyed that. The performers on the ship are very talented. The only drawback to 270 is that some of the seats close to the floor have low backs and are rather uncomfortable. Other than those seats, the rest of the venue was really nice. 270 is also a nice location to relax during the day to enjoy a drink and look over the wake behind the ship. As much as I enjoyed "Pixels", I did not enjoy "Live Love Legs", the other big production on our cruise (which was in the main theater). Although the performers were talented, it was a bit tacky for our tastes. I'm sure there were others that enjoyed it, though. Dining We dined in three of the specialty dining restaurants while on board. Wonderland, Chops Grill and Jamie's Italian. All three were really good and worth the additional cost (we booked a 3 night specialty package). Wonderland was our favorite--a unique and incredibly tasty dining experience. On other nights, we dined in one of the main dining room options. The service and food overall were good each night. Solarium Bistro was good for lunch, as was the 270 Café. We also enjoyed 270 Café for Breakfast. We dined for breakfast in one of the main dining rooms a couple of times also. The quality of food was good at all of our meals. Ports The cruise itinerary was round-trip from Seattle, visiting Juneau, Skagway, Endicott Arm/Dawes Glacier (sea day) and Victoria, BC. Juneau - Due to the late embarkation, we had to cruise at top speed the first couple of days to get to Juneau on time (which we didn't). We arrived about 1.5 hours later than normal, so the port schedule was modified to allow sufficient time in Juneau. When we got off the ship, we had time to walk around Juneau near the dock and visit the Red Dog Saloon to purchase a souvenir. We ate lunch at Twisted Fish Company Alaskan Grill. We really enjoyed their halibut and crab cakes. Very good food. We booked the Mendenhall Glacier with Wildlife and evening Whale Watching excursion, which didn’t begin until later in the day. We enjoyed that excursion. However, the time at the glacier was way too short and not really long enough to visit Nugget Falls for any amount of time, so we decided to skip that. I would have preferred more time at the Glacier and less time with the whale watching (which was fun, but a little disappointing--not much to see on our trip). The food on the whale watching portion (during dinner) was good, though. Overall, a fun stop in Juneau. Skagway - Here we did a dogsled and musher’s camp excursion which was really fun. The guides did a great job, told us a bit about the town on our way to the camp and informed us about the dogs and the Iditarod. We enjoyed the experience, getting to ride a sled pulled by a team of enthusiastic dogs, pet the team of dogs (which were friendly) as well as the pups (ranging from weeks to months old). After the excursion, we had a meal at the Red Onion Saloon. Great food and friendly waitresses dressed as if they were still the 19th century. Victoria, BC – In Victoria, we took a bus tour to the Butchart Gardens which we booked through RCCI. The bus driver was nice and had plenty to say on the tour. Unfortunately, the speaker system on our double-decker bus wasn’t working properly, so hardly anyone could understand what he was saying the entire trip to the Gardens. To make matters worse, what was supposed to have been already a relatively short visit to the gardens (about 1:45 hours) was cut short by an additional 15 minutes. We enjoyed it and would like to return, but booking this through RCCI wasn’t worth it, especially due to the abbreviated schedule and technical difficulties encountered. On the way back from the excursion, we asked the driver to drop us off by the Parliament House, which was a beautiful site. We walked back to the terminal from there, stopping to eat, visiting a boardwalk and floating homes at Fisherman’s Wharf, and enjoying the nice weather and beautiful town. It’s a little over a mile from the Parliament House to the terminal. I’d love to visit Victoria again, and Butchart Gardens again as well. This visit was too short. Cabin Description Very nice, comfortable room on deck 8, with a good-sized balcony which was nice to have on the Alaska cruise, especially at Endicott Arm (Dawes Glacier). There were adequate outlets and USB ports for charging electronics. Blackout curtains were nice also, and necessary since the nighttime darkness is brief in Alaska. The couch in this room was situated between the bed and the entrance, so the bed was very close to the balcony. We would have preferred it the other way around, but it was fine. General My wife and I probably would prefer a smaller ship next time, especially if we try an Alaska cruise again. Although it’s our understanding the size of the ship limits where the ship can maneuver within an inside passage cruise, I would have no problem sailing on Ovation again. It’s a very nice ship with lots to do, plenty of good dining and entertainment options, and the crew do a very nice job. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
To be fair it’s a beautiful ship for cross ocean travel. For Alaskan cruises, not so much. Ship is too big. Can’t hit the best ports. Follow of people on boat typically a traffic jam. Eating locations are overflowing with people with ... Read More
To be fair it’s a beautiful ship for cross ocean travel. For Alaskan cruises, not so much. Ship is too big. Can’t hit the best ports. Follow of people on boat typically a traffic jam. Eating locations are overflowing with people with small to no sitting. The 24 hour cafe is no bigger than a small stateroom. Selection is poor. Food quality is so-so. Breakfast foods like donuts, pastries, muffins are hard as rocks as ate the biscuits and rolls. If you are luckily and get a fresh baked item from the fresh baked station, that item is great. But the lines and people pushing to get the hottest foods is terrible. I’m in day 5 of a 11 day cruise and so disappointed. I won’t sail RC again. Food quality is so so. Some staff is friendly and fun. Spa person was nice but pushy and bad when I didn’t buy additional product. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I posted the bulk of this on another thread, but figured it would be good here, also. Some people are questioning whether they should do this ship to Alaska. Others are giving a more negative view on things like the food, etc on other ... Read More
I posted the bulk of this on another thread, but figured it would be good here, also. Some people are questioning whether they should do this ship to Alaska. Others are giving a more negative view on things like the food, etc on other threads. Here is my summary of my impressions on this ship/itinerary: We also just did the 11 night Alaska cruise on the Ovation and had a wonderful time! I would not hesitate to sail her again. Our cabin (8520 - forward large ocean view balcony) was wonderful. Very spacious. Our cabin steward did his job. We were taken care of and requests called down from the number on the card he left were promptly filled. But we only saw him briefly twice in 11 days. We called him "The Ghost"! The rest of the crew was welcoming and friendly. We cannot complain about any of them. However, none really stood out as spectacular to us. The CD Chris grew on me as the cruise went on, but he was not the best we have had, or the worse. I think that for all the crew the change from a mostly Asian market to Australian to US based in just a few short months was a daunting task when it came to figuring out what appealed to each market. But they were always trying to make things better and I think they succeeded as the few things that concerned us in the beginning got better as the days went on. The public areas were beautiful, spacious and welcoming. A lovely ship. Food is subjective and we are not foodies, but we never left a food venue hungry. I enjoyed all of my meals. We had the BOGO package, so we ate the first night in Jamie's and the second in Wonderland. One lunch in Chops, which was very good. One night in the Solarium Bistro, which has a Mediterranean theme at dinner. I love the Greek style food, so it was good for me. I don't think it was good for everyone in our party of 8, though. We only had one dinner in Windjammer and it was ok. Nothing amazing for me that night. But, I didn't leave hungry. We had dinner the other nights in MTD. It was always good. A couple of nights when we arrived they told us that we would have to wait for a table of 5, but they somehow managed to always seat us within 5 minutes. Lunches were usually light. We had Sorrentos's pizza (I liked the artichoke salad along with a slice or two of pizza). Twice we just had a hot dog. We were disappointed at first that they didn't offer the Tutti Salad in the MDR. It had never before been offered on this ship as it is not popular in Asia. However, they did figure it out after many requests and offered it the last three days of our sailing and told us that it would be standard on sea days from then on. I think from the lines that it was a hit! Our cabin was forward so we usually went to the Solarium Bistro for the small buffet there. It had an egg station where I could get a fresh omelet. Never crowded. We discovered the Two70 Cafe for a light breakfast late in the cruise and wish we had found it earlier. On early port days we usually like the Continental Breakfast room service. My oatmeal usually arrived cold ,so that was disappointing. But, the other offerings did the trick and got us off on our excursions with full bellies. The ship felt quite crowded on the first day, but then everyone found their spots and it seldom felt crowded after that. The biggest negatives are the slow elevators. That never improved. If you can take the stairs a few flights you are better off, and my DH did that quite a bit. But my arthritis won't allow it, so I had to wait. I can't comment on the bars as we don't drink much. The Diamond Lounge evening cocktail was good for me. One glass of wine or a rum punch was all I can do and my DH will only have an occasional glass of wine. Service was slow and my DH had to go get our beverage from the bar most nights himself, but there were a lot of us in there getting free drinks! I like the atmosphere of the Schooner Bar on most ships and this one was no exception. It is very relaxing to me to enjoy the piano player at night, although we had so much to do we didn't make it there most nights! Paul O'Shea is a very talented and popular piano player with excellent rapport with the guests. If he is playing, make sure you spend some time there to enjoy his talents! The ports on our 11 night itinerary were amazing. 4 ports and 2 glacier days. On our glacier days we would usually begin them on our balcony as they were early, breakfast in the Solarium to have coffee with a view, then go up to the Sports Deck and finally end up in Two70 for the amazing views from there. Make sure you make it out to the wings from Two70 on glacier days! It is the perfect ship for viewing Alaska when the scenery is available to view. The biggest disappointment is that this ship is just too large to go through the BC Inside Passage, so our 4 days at sea were truly at sea. No beautiful scenery floating by. For that reason alone I would choose my next cruise to Alaska on another ship. For our 11 night itinerary it was great. For 7 nights, if seeing Alaska is your priority, I would not recommend the itinerary. Only two ports and 1 glacier day without the Inside Passage I think you are missing too much. The exception would be for those who have already seen Alaska and want to experience this class of ship close to home and in a beautiful setting. This ship, with it's multiple enclosed viewing areas, would be perfect for routine round trip Seattle longer cruises like the one we had with an obligatory port stop in Victoria. I think if it were offered later in the season it would sell well. Princess does r/t to Hawaii 15 nights on a regular basis. RCI could find a niche in Alaska with this wonderful ship! Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly ... Read More
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly had to make excuses and apologize for numerous situations they had difficulty dealing with. AVOID this ship......while the ship itself is marvelous and a great asset, poor management both in Miami and on board make this ship one to avoid. Guest after guest had unfavorable comments......we just had difficulty grasping why all the problems occurred. The ship board officer crew were a lot of talk but offered few solutions to correct and overcome problems. The entertainment staff couldn’t start many of their activities on time because they didn’t have watches. The buffet management staff daily made “sales pitches” how wonderful everything is in the Windjammer market......while at the same time telling you to hurry and get out. Disembarking for tenders required Hour plus long waits. The evening dinners in the main dining room were interrupted nightly with a wait staff member singing. The disembarking procedure was a most painful experience.....utter chaos. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day ... Read More
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day 4&5 Maui 9am to 5pm next days 6-10 cruising day 11 Victoria BC 9:00am to 8:00pm 12 Vancouver 6:00am. What we got Days 1&2 Honolulu (left Honolulu at 5:00pm on 2nd day day 3 Napali coast 4&5 Maui 6-10 cruising Day 11 Victoria BC 7:00am to 2:00pm (Left 6 hours early arrived in Vancouver at 8pm on day 11 Day 12 Vancouver disembark. Did not see the volcano and did do see the big island. We feel we were ripped off by RCI. You plan for a once in lifetime trip to Hawaii and get cheated out of half the stops. RCI did refund one day, Big deal. Embarkation, late but went smooth. Ports of Call, In Maui the water was too rough for the tenders for most of the first day, on the second day we went ashore, be back time was at 7:00pm we got in line to board the tenders at 4:00pm and it took us over an hour to get back, those that stayed later took from 2-2 1/2 hours to get back on the boat. Dining- Windjammer food was basically good but always very crowded, no place to sit, long lines to get food, lines for the omelets and pasta were always in the way of others. Hamburger line was messed up people were always coming from two directions. Drinks were often empty. Dining- Main dining, food was often cold, stale or misstated. Seafood often smelled, steak was tough or dry, bread was sometimes hard or stale, coffee was occasionally cold, Etc. Dining-Service was excellent Entertainment-shows were good for the most part. There were a number of things to do on the boat and the staff was good at helping you find where things were. Public areas-CROWDED. Hard to get an elevator, other public areas crowded when something was going on. Disembarkation- NIGHTMARE. We arrived in Vancouver the night before the cruise ended so the Ovation of the seas was basically a hotel parked on the water. Some people got off every but most elected to disembark the regular way, ie tag luggage and put outside cabin before 10:00pm the night before disembarking, pick up luggage after it is removed from the ship. BIG MISTAKE. We had luggage tag number 14 with an estimated departure time of 8:20am. At 9:00am, almost nobody had been allowed to leave the boat(at this time we had been docked for 13 hours). A little after 9 they started to allow the Express Departures to leave, we weren't Express but we jumped in line anyway. When we got off of the boat and went to pick up our luggage it was not lined up by number as it usually was but all the numbers were thrown together. RCI was just bringing it out and dumping it on the floor. What RCI didn't tell us was that there was another luggage drop area about 100 yards away and around the corner where they were doing the same thing, just dumping the luggage. I heard someone say something and followed them over. There was approximately 10 people here looking for luggage and at the first area there were hundreds and more getting off the boat all the time. We were lucky to find ours and make our 12:20pm departure time to DEN. While waiting we were talking to other couples who had been on the Ovation and they said that when we got on the plane to Denver, there were people still on the Ovation who had not been able to get off. We have cruised about a dozen times and I have never seen such a mess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to go back to Hawaii to visit the Arizona Memorial and visit the islands again. However, before this cruise even started there were problems. The Arizona Memorial is closed and will be for some an undisclosed amount of time. They ... Read More
We wanted to go back to Hawaii to visit the Arizona Memorial and visit the islands again. However, before this cruise even started there were problems. The Arizona Memorial is closed and will be for some an undisclosed amount of time. They are doing construction around the memorial that will keep it closed for awhile. But that wasn't the main reason for this review. This was our 35th cruise and the most disappointing one. We started getting e-mails from RCCL that because of "Coast Guard inspections that had to be done", there was a change in the itinerary that will cause the ship to remain in Honolulu for two days. Then one of the island would be bypassed and we would spend two days in Maui. So that meant we would only visit two islands. We tried to cancel the cruise but e-mails started to come AFTER the 90 day period for getting a full refund. This is unacceptable. You can't tell us that they didn't know about these inspections before hand. I guess RCCL feared people would cancel the cruise. They did refund the passengers one full day to make up for the island that was missed. Then we received another e-mail stating that because the ship had to pass under the "Lions Gate Bridge" as a certain time we had to arrive and leave Victoria BC because the ship was the largest to sail under the bridge and had to pass under it at a certain time. Again, you mean to tell the passengers you didn't know about that ahead of time ? We arrived in Vancouver a day earlier. There were a lot of passengers who got off the ship either because they lived there or made travel plan changes. Most felt they rather be home then to spend another night on the ship. EMBARKATION: The problem started before we even got to the ship. The person who greeted us in the airport terminal had no clue what was going on. She said to wait outside for our bus to arrive but what she didn't know was that there was confusion because there were other passengers waiting for buses and there didn't seem to be any logical order. We waited for over an hour for the bus to arrive. In addition, because certain areas needed to be shut down, we couldn't board the ship until after 2:00 PM. There was no food service available until dinner time. RCCL refunded you $30 per person for a food allowance. This was not comforting especially traveling for over 12 hours and the airlines don't provide food service. Once we arrived, picture thousands of passengers trying to get thru security. I must say that if you checked in on-line the process went very smooth. After you passed thru security a RCCL person took your picture on a tablet and as long as you printed your boarding pass ahead of time you boarded the ship. Your Seapass card was waiting at your cabin. Disembarkation: As for disembarking, what a nightmare that was. The baggage was scattered all over the terminal. The areas were completely screwed up as far as numbering. None of the areas were next to each other, # 7 baggage was completely on the opposite end of the terminal then #8, and the other numbers were just as bad. A lot of tempers were flaring. We had a late tour of Vancouver but we were over an hour late boarding the buses because of the luggage situation. Entertainment: As for the North Star, Ripcord, SeaPlex, Waverider and especially "Pixlas" they provided the most interesting entertainment. Pixals was very innovative. As for the shows, they were boring at best. A very interesting one was they had a professional pickpocket that was funny but very informative on how easy it was for him and the professionals to lift your valuables. It was funny how people started to watch their wallets after the show. There was an indoor pool area that came in handy when the weather started to cool down. For four days you could sit outside. In addition, it got quite noisy with all the children running around. Food: At best, average. We ate at Chops Grille and had to send back the Rib Eye steak because it had more fat than meat. We never had this problem before with Chops Grille. This also happened in the Silk dining room when we order a beef related meal. I ordered roast beef dish in the dining room and it only came with ONE slice of meat. I said to the waiter "are you kidding me ?". If you order coffee with your dessert, they gave you a half a cup of coffee. You would think they were rationing the food and drinks. The Windjammer was very crowed as usual and at times you couldn't find a table. There was an outdoor section behind the Windjammer but after we left Hawaii, the temperatures starting dropping into the 50's and it was very windy and cold to sit outside. If you drink an non-diary creamer with your coffee, you waited three days for them to make it available. This was after people were complaining that there were none available. They had three omelette stations and one in the back of the Windjammer which they only opened once. For Mother's Day they had a very nice variety of cakes to choose from. Cabins: We had a balcony cabin that had plenty of storage space so you should run out of space to store your clothing. The cabin was very clean and pleasant. Service: Spotty at times depending on the waiter you had. We had My Time dining so we were seated at different tables. One waiter even forgot to bring our salads. We requested several times that we wanted a table by the window. Despite our requests, we were seated at a table next to a window table even thought the window table was unoccupied. One night the Head Waiter heard our complaints, apologized and said he would take care of the problem. The next night, we encountered the same problem with the person who assigns the seating. This time a manager came over to apologize. We noticed a pattern that they would seat people not next to the window but to the tables next to them. I don't know what the person assigning the tables had against people sitting at a table next to the window. Excursions: Because of rough seas in Maui, all excursions before 4:30pm had to be cancelled. We heard that it took over 1 1/2 hours for people to get with the tender service for those who decided to go ashore. If you have a late night flight, we would recommend the tour of Vancouver and a visit the water fall and Gondala ride. Overall remarks: We have noticed that over the past couple of years, parents don't seem to be using the Adventure Ocean program for their children. This became apparent in the indoor pool area, It seems the foreign passengers are the ones that either don't know about the program or don't use it. The Ovation is a very nice ship and kept clean but they could have improved on the design. One area in particular is getting in/out of the theater. They is only one passage way on deck four and when there are at least a thousand passengers getting out, it makes for a very slow process. The other side was blocked by a shop, the Music Hall and a bar. I would not recommend a Hawaii cruise if you have to sail back from Hawaii. This was our second Hawaiian cruise where we experienced less than desirable weather for four days which forced you inside the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At ... Read More
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At the Lahaina, Maui stop, tendering was delayed due to rough sea. Everybody got up early wanted to get off the ship but was not able to so that's why all the public area, especially the buffet, was packed with people waiting for the captain's ok. When the captain finally gave the ok, they wanted us to go to a bar on deck 5 to get tender tickets so everybody just literally ran there to get tickets. It was chaos. I was lucky as I was already on deck 5 at the time so we got to get off "early". We origianlly planned on getting off at around 9 but still didn't get off until noon. The tender was just one of their bigger lifeboats which was very uncomfortable even if the sea was calm. We got back to the port at 9:50pm. They only had one tender running. At least if was a big local boat. Not their own lifeboat. When we got back, the line was very long. The tender left at 10pm. The line kept growing. At 10:30pm, I could still see the tender was still unloading people to the cruise ship. They finally deployed another tender which was the same lifeboat. We finally got back to the cruise ship at 11pm. Most people were hungry and the only restaurant still open was the pizza place and a cafe which only serves dessert and some basic sandwiches. It was packed with hungry people. Since everybody got off the ship late, we all got back late. However, their restaurants and buffet still closed at 9pm. To me, that is WAY too early. Not much food option after 9pm. A lot of people eat late especially with an Hawaii cruise. Lots of people are from the mainland which is several hours ahead. Should've at least open the buffet until 10pm or something. Food in the main dining room is terrible. Service is not good either. We always spend more than an hour in a dining room with 45 minutes of it waiting for our food. Buffet surprising has better tasting food and service was good. RCI wanted to do freestyle dining like Norwegian but RCI is not doing it well. Still always try to make us to share table with strangers. Food and service in specialty restaurants are good. We tried the Chops Grill steak house and Wonderland's. Both good. However, I still think Norwegian does dining much better. Disbarkation was a nightmare. We were an hour late than the origin set time. There was no signage to point you to where your luggage is. Everybody was running around the terminal like crazy trying to find their luggage. The ship itself is beautiful and I love it. Stateroom attendant was attentive. But there's not much show to watch. I do like that they have a smokeless casino. I find it very annoying when a cruise line put the casino in the very middle of the ship and allow smoking. My 4-year-old went to their kids club a lot. While there wasn't any issue, I do feel that the staffs there are not as warm as those on my Norwegian cruises. This poor expericnece is more about the sudden itinerary change and the management. I think I'll still cruise with RCI again but might just go with a shorter cruise with a more ordinary route. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI for probably ten years during which we have favoured Princess and after this cruise with RCI I believe we made the right decision. We are not fussy eaters nor do we base our cruise experience on the quality of the food but it must be said that the eating experience on this ship was extremely disappointing and the quality poor. Apart from our wait staff in the dining room (Chic), I found the staff attitude to be less than attentive and pleasurable. The headliner entertainment was, for the most part, good although Pixels and the production shows were just o.k. In general I felt that the ship lacked a feeling of warmth - hard to put into words but I just didn’t feel like I was being pampered and well taken care of the way I feel when cruising with Princess. Also disliked all the extra charges which showed up way too often. The nicest place to sit during the day (when weather drove us inside) was the 270 lounge but we were often driven out by the daily Bingo session. The smoking areas were too close to the non-smoking areas - they need to be isolated more or eliminated entirely! On the plus side, the cabin was excellent with tons of storage, well laid out and the kettle and tea supplies in the room were a very pleasant surprise. Finally, a big shout out to the Captain who was extremely informative. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This was meant to be an aniversary present for my husband. We expected to see some of Hawaii but the itinary was changed several times before the sailing. We sat in Oahu for a survey instead of cruising. They cancelled all our prebooked ... Read More
This was meant to be an aniversary present for my husband. We expected to see some of Hawaii but the itinary was changed several times before the sailing. We sat in Oahu for a survey instead of cruising. They cancelled all our prebooked shore excursions leaving us with a breif stop in Maui. If you wanted to shop great if not disapointing. It was just a really long boat trip from Hawaii to Vancouvre via Maui. Our time in Victoria was cut short due to the tide. We sat in Vancouvre overnight in port. Dissembarkation was a nightmare. Locating bags was like a really sick idea of a scavenger hunt. Close to 3 hours to get off, find your bag and wait in the longest line ever for a taxi. Of course the taxis were busy bringing people for embarkation so it was a mess. We were told when we complained that everyone received the same compensation. We received refunds for our shore excursions and refunds for 2 nights we spent in port instead of cruising. We received a credit to buy lunch because they couldnt one day. That certainly is not compensation its reimbursment! Royal Caribean do not care. They changed everything about our holiday, we did not get what we paid for or what we expected. If we had wanted to do a long boat ride from Hawaii to Vancouvre then we would have booked one. We didnt but thats what we got. Wouldnt travel with them again. The cruise was a comedy of errors and changes. Appauling customer service. MSC gave us a better cruising experience at a far better price. The activities onboard were sometimes hard to get onto and into. You certainly needed to be everywhere very early and not mind waiting in line at times. The artists were of a high standard. The food was nice in the restaurant but it did get a little boring after 10 Days as several meals were repeated. The buffet had a large range but again the choices got boring as they seemed to be the same each day. We dinned at Wonderland on one occasion and really enjoyed the quirky nature of the food. It was fun and a nice break from the main eating areas. The robot bar is fun the first time but the novelty soon wears off. Unfortunatley there were a large amount of people who had very small children in the bars even as late as midnight. We had the drinks package and found it was a good idea as the prices on board were expensive. There were multiple shopping events. Its such a shame that this cruise was spoilt by poor planning. We complained to our travel agent who passed our concerns onto Royal guest services who said that all passengers were given the same compensation. We were refunded the cost of shore excursions and 2 nights that we sat in port as well as the cost of lunch on a day they could not provide it. That certainly does not qualify as compensation. Perhaps they need a dictionary to understand the difference. At the end of the day they just did not care about our experience it was all about the money. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a while (5 years) and was disappointed with this service. I wanted to "fly" and was super excited to go on the iFLY attraction - which was why we chose this ship. This ... Read More
I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a while (5 years) and was disappointed with this service. I wanted to "fly" and was super excited to go on the iFLY attraction - which was why we chose this ship. This allowed me to float in a wind tunnel, which was a great experience. However be advised that you need to book this attraction ASAP or else risk not being able to try it at all. You also can only go once per trip. So if you want to take your own photo, have someone stand outside (don't book all family/friends at the same timeslot). The best part of the cruise was the activities and entertainment. The dancing excerise class was good (and packed), the music was good (they actually have hit music in Windjammer). The pool was fun when it was rocky (but can be crowded with people just standing around - so I like to do laps in the morning). The gym was decent sized, some classes (stretch, abs) were free but yoga and TRX would cost money. This ship doesn't have shower facilities by the gym so prepare to walk around in your swim suit if you want to go swimming/hot tub. This was kinda annoying because I had no where to put my room card. I also liked the washrooms. This ship had good flushing toilets. I've been to other cruises which... had weaker toilets and things don't quite flush properly. HVAC system in the showers were good. Doesn't take long for the humidity to go down (or smell to go away). The bad parts: food. The (formal) main dining room was slow so food was constantly cold. The bread was soggy. The menu didn't have a lot of variety either. Typically this venue is supposed to have the best tasting cuisine, but I found it lacking. However mid cruise it got better. The food was hotter (could be as a result of the mid cruise survey). So we mostly ate buffet (Windjammer). The food was warmer, had more variety and the servers were faster (cleaning and giving drinks). I stayed away from the meat (which were often over cooked/dry). Steamed fish was good. Salads were good. Pastries were so dry - I'd rather eat from a grocery store. The best food on the cruise was the pizza. Food quality increased mid cruise but I still find it disappointing. Also if you have a wheel chair be prepared to wait. We met people that had to wait for 2 hours to get on board because they didn't have enough wheelchair or staff. This was on a day when we were docked the whole day and had a large window to check in - so it was poorly organized. Tendering in Maui was a nightmare. The rough seas, limited ports (with competing and sheer quantities of passengers made the waits very long. We docked in Maui overnight and the 2nd day lined up to leave the boat at 8:30 am. They didn't begin to issue tender tickets until after 9am so the waiting area was over crowded... we stood in line for 1.5 hours. The day before we barely waited because they warned us about the shore excursions (who have tendering priorty) and the rough ocean... and we waited 2 hours before lining up. Returning to the ship 5 hours prior to departure was a good idea. People had to wait for 2 hours outside in the heat, waiting for the tender. I think I'd have to find a really good deal or itinerary to go on another Royal Caribbean Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Ovation is a spectacular ship with friendly accommodating crew who work extremely hard and diligently, except for one crew member who managed to spoil our cruise experience for us to the extent that we are now canceling 3 more booked ... Read More
Ovation is a spectacular ship with friendly accommodating crew who work extremely hard and diligently, except for one crew member who managed to spoil our cruise experience for us to the extent that we are now canceling 3 more booked cruises aboard the same ship even though it means we will lose a $1200 non refundable deposit. We are so upset by our experience that we have chosen to lose our money rather than cruise with Royal Caribbean again! The specialty dining at Wonderland and Jamies is a true delight but Chops Grille is now trading on their reputation from years ago, as for the dining room....I've had better food in a hospital. Entertainment was creative and visually pleasing on all levels, but did find queuing for shows hours ahead of time a tiring experience. Our cabin was well appointed and spacious, more storage than you could dream of, tea was provided but no coffee. Getting on and off was easy and efficient. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
There were 5 of us and the cruise was to celebrate a 70 birthday .We are all experienced cruisers whilst every thing was very clean and the food was ok ,the ship has no soul we could have been in a large department store with a pool on the ... Read More
There were 5 of us and the cruise was to celebrate a 70 birthday .We are all experienced cruisers whilst every thing was very clean and the food was ok ,the ship has no soul we could have been in a large department store with a pool on the roof ,cruise ships have lots of areas to sit listen to soft music catch up with friends for a coffee sit quietly to read the Atrium is the hart of the ship where you gather ,catch up ,listen to the piano whilst have a coffee on this ship there was virtually no where to sit. on level 4 from one end to the other virtually no seating any where ,this ship had no tables ,every cruise i have been on you could go to the pool deck "14 on ovation," and sit at tables with chairs play cards eat your meals whatever , what do you find on ovation hundreds of lounges every where go up more lounges ,50% unused ,want a table don't have any ,every thing on this ship was geared to seperate you from your money you felt like it was a definite strategy to gently keep moving you in to some where to spend .this was our 3rd RCI cruise . Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was a cruise of a lifetime celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on the magnificent Ovation of the Seas. We were lucky enough to stay at the Four Seasons Sydney and had a fabulous view of the arrival of this beautiful ship into ... Read More
This was a cruise of a lifetime celebrating our 40th wedding anniversary on the magnificent Ovation of the Seas. We were lucky enough to stay at the Four Seasons Sydney and had a fabulous view of the arrival of this beautiful ship into the OPT terminal right in front of us. We just love the Four Seasons and its proximity to Circular Quay and all the buzz and excitement of Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. As this was a first cruise on a Quantum Class ship we were nervously excited ! Embarkation was a breeze and we were in our cabin 11596 just after 1pm where we found our luggage waiting for us in the corridor. Amazing as we only boarded at 12.30pm! After unpacking we set off to explore and find our allocated MDR table. It was not quite right for us but was easily changed to something that we were more comfortable with. Our table was in the Grande MDR and the service and food was outstanding every night. We also enjoyed the company of our neighbours immensely ! Our Head waiter was Shasshank and his assistant Agus and both were simply awesome! There is so much to do on the Ovation. There is the I Fly, North Star ,Flow Rider, walking tracks, dodgem cars ,bingo, trivia, dance lessons, The Morning Show etc etc. The evening shows were fantastic with the highlight for us the INXS tribute band. Also every night the pub Amber and Oak was literally pumping with Steven and all the other musos who came and jammed with him until late! We met some fantastic party people there and we were all well looked after by Nelson and his team! The whole crew provided excellent service every day1Our room was beautifully clean and cared for by Nilde! So spoilt! We did day excursions on Papeete Moorea and Bora Bora and all were amazing! Tendering was a breeze and we were well looked after by all our guides. Disembarkation in Honolulu was also so easy and Anthony of Direct Shuttles Honolulu had us at our accommodation by 8.00am. He also took us to the airport 5 days later at the crazy early time of 3.30am Overall our trip way exceeded our expectations! The weather was cool wet and windy as most days so when the sun did come out it made everything even better! The ship is stunning! The crew were awesome and our fellow pax were the best! Thanks everyone! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.9
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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