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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The cabin had more than adequate storage space. It even had storage above the bed. Overall, you should be happy with the cabin itself. The cabin steward was very good and was able to accommodate our needs without having to remind him.