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.
Seattle was fun..we self-toured for 1 1/2 days prior to cruise.
Tourist spot...eh...shopping & lunch
Relaxing train ride...pretty views...View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews