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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.

Great trip to Alaska With Family

Ovation of the Seas Cruise Review by ebmedic

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View with Large Balcony
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.
ebmedic’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Ocean View with Large Balcony
Cabin 4C 13654
We had two balcony cabins on the 13th deck (13654 & 13656). The upper levels of the mid-ships balconies have a large overhang which obstructs your view upward in the narrow fjords. The overhang also hinders photos on level 13. Room 656 also is where the window washing platform is stored, so avoid this one. Thankfully, our attendant opened the partition between the balconies, so the width made up for lost views.

Cabins are the best laid out we've seen in terms of storage space.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Whale Watching
    Smaller boat without a big crowd. Professional crew. Good inside and outside viewing. However, we could only go to the upper deck when stopped near whales which meant some up and down. The fast boat allowed for visits to multiple locations. Crew could identify and tell stories about specific whales. Highly recommend this operator.
    View All 804 Whale Watching Reviews
  • Seattle
    Just spent one evening. Stayed at the Mediterranean Hotel. Nice place. Located within walking distance of Space Needle. $15 cab ride to pier.
    View All 802 Seattle Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Seattle Cruise Port Review
  • White Pass Scenic Railway
    Amazing views. Boarded train adjacent to pier. You can book independently, but even the operator encourages you to go directly thru the ship for convenience.
    View All 1,057 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
  • Whale Watching
    We were hesitant to book via the ship since the boat would be larger and more crowded. Ultimately though we found the boat to be very comfortable and had plenty of viewing space for all. Saw a humpback and pod of orcas. Boarded from pier near the ship, so avoided any transportation charges.
    View All 49 Whale Watching Reviews