Ovation of the Seas Cruise Review by LeftcoastBC
- Sail Date: July 2019
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Interior with Virtual Balcony
3 Ports No glacier (see comment below) Very little inside Passage. Big Ship over 1000 kids. Lots for kids to try and do. Big lines. Crowded slow elevators. Great shows, Main Dining service great, Food a bit down in my humble estimation but lots of it. (unfortunately for the waist line) Buffet crowded while at sea. (Actually asked to leave the buffet via pa broadcast if you were finished on sea days) Not cool. Too many people.
That’s the lowdown. Still had a PRETTY GOOD cruise with friends family but the experience was not what I would call a holiday anymore. I won't be on this vessel again unless the new Flow Rider King my grandson pays at least half. lol Bit of a grind and RCI has got themselves in a bit of a pickle with the size of the ship and the staff they wish to pay number wise in scheduling activities on their Flow rider/Bumper car/Wall climbing/North Star etc. etc. Same guys do all of these sites and more as activities staff, and they can not be at all locations at once obviously. Two banks of elevators times two sides just not enough and the walking from one end to other seemed longer this year. But of course I’m getting on too. So it may not be an issue for you. The elevator frequency is another issue however. I do not remember coming to an elevator so often and found them all UP or All down from where I was at. I was roomed on deck 7 and all the restaurants as usual down several floors or the buffet on 14/topish. Pools on top and the shops and guest services on 4 and 5. They just seemed out of sync and or not enough for the mass of people on board. Wait times were long compared to any ship I have been on. Passengers... 5 G I was told .... and 1000 kids..did I mention that. The lines to activities of course can be defeated with a pay extra benefit called “The Key”. My teenage GS was not impressed by the privileged kids that budged. He learned another life lesson.
Rooms on this ship really workable. I didn’t manage a suite but if the space in the regular rooms out side/window and Balcony … Inside with Virtual window any indication I’m sure they would be fine. Storage is better than the M and S class on Celebrity for sure. (No life jackets in the room helps). Although I think maybe the showers are a bit smaller. Or was it me again. Somebody else thought that too so I think I’m right. Room attendant very pleasant and did her job really really well. (Thanks Mardol.)
Note: Do not pay extra for a virtual Balcony. I asked them to check mine and it was no better after they did. Lots of breakup and the picture was just OK when in bright sunlight and close to objects. Shore and dock area’s only and not great at that. Pretty useless at sea. The fake balcony rail on screen was nice and bright though. Just not worth it at all as far as I’m concerned.
The ship is big and beautiful for sure.
Dining was early for us and main seating was early//Seated by 5:15. We did this because we wanted to be with kids and friends who had kids as we thought that it would be better to feed the bears and then turn them loose. In hind-site it may have been better to go anytime somewhere and book a fixed time a bit later with a maitre D. for all week. Early dining conflicted with a lot of open times for activities. Late would have also. Avoided upcharged restaurants. No charge items at Fish and Ships. were great for lunch. Believe it or not didn't get to the doghouse . Saw it but I was never ready for lunch when I was there. 270 Lunch was sad. (although the roast beef on embarkation day was great). Solarium Breakfast and Lunch OK. Windjammer was and always is the Windjammer.
As I mentioned the shows were great. Pixels … Is a great show in 270, with dancers etc. Interacting with great music and 4 robotic screens with pixels and the entire back half of the stern viewing windows that also turn into screens. Separate venue from the main theatre. You need reservations and you can get them online before you cruise sometime. Main shows were very Vegas Like and better than I remember onboard as I have not been doing shows for a while on X as they tended to be all the same. Maybe the girls just looked better. Juggler and Comedian (not the same guy) were super. Juggler was a comic too. Had no problem getting great seats by arriving 10-20 mins early . A Mountie was aboard and gave three great lectures about "The Force." The Old, New and training. Young fellow…. trained 10 yrs after me. Made a few rookie mistakes lol. There was a Wildlife guy too..missed him. Oh and they had a “Real” Orchestra/Band onboard and THEY COULD PLAY.
Seattle : Embarkation was a zoo . Two things. One we had been assured that we could use our Nexus cards to board. But this was not going to work so as we did have our passports with us we were only held up for a bit while we fished them out. Friends who had checked on this and had sent their passports in to be renewed were shunted around until the shore people actually had a Ship’s Person come down and put them straight. Believe it or not. The shore staff didn’t know they could use a Nexus card. There was another issue with friends that had actually paid for two parties when the paid for party checked in and claimed the credit card on account and then the Person that actually paid arrived and were told their card had been compromised as it was used already. Really this SHIP happens. But by far was the zoo on the pre-board floor. I understand that departure and ship clearing was held up. Really not all that unusual right, it happens all the time. But when there was no (not enough) seating, organization or persons that cared about telling us what was happening you can imagine the mess. Not enough area for us all. Announcements could not be heard over the crowd and the announcements for the other ship in port going on for half the same floor we were all on. I think/hope that this was unusual and that normally the flow worked. But it sure didn’t for us and when the doors opened in was a minor, Plus ok ok major stampede . They needed to have some plan to keep control with temp barricades. Not a great way to meet your 4998 other guests. Ok not that many but there were lots cause we all want to be there a bit early..right? Go later if you board this big vessel. But you will find getting a place to be comfortable and get food a bit hard to find. Getting off went smoothly for everyone as far as I could see. We were at our shuttle a half hour earlier than we were timed for. Bet that didn’t happen the week before when we boarded.
Now the glacier...Dawes was on the schedule. Some folks had paid for a special view from the “North Star” a observation pod hoisted high up on an imitation Nasa like Canada Arm. I had been there before and it’s quite a sight. We didn’t make it for an ice issue and I understand that this ship hasn’t made it all season. I have been disappointed in this area before but still charging folks to see no glacier seemed harsh. The issue with the glacier is the narrowness of the “Arm” and there is little flow to take the ice away from the front of the glacier. Want to see a glacier with way better odds take a ship that goes to Hubbard or Glacier Bay. But understand it’s no guarantee either.
Juneau has all the tourista stuff right at your gangway. You can stumble to the Red Dog saloon right across the street. Lots of tours to be had and a gondola right up the dock a bit. City bus... the best priced tour of the valley. Even get to see the State prison.
Some nice tours of the city. Whale watching usually for the 3 local Orca pods (which this year have gone outside (out west of Vancouver Island) a lot looking for food warming is an issue. And of course Butchart Gardens . A must see for any gardener at least once..... even I have done it twice and I’m no gardener.
Because of the Ovation’s schedule (two ports) you get a full day stop here vs. the few hours normal on a return 7 day from Seattle.... a stop needed to comply with US law to eliminate steep tax issues and way higher cruise fares.
The White Pass and Yukon Railway. There are other tours of course but this is the reason to go to Alaska beside the obvious scenery and glaciers. More than a few ways to do the ride but it’s a must for history and the sites. Those gold rushers did some wild things.
The town itself has kept to an old school feel and the locals rule the stores mostly and the “Park” regulations keep the buildings in check also. The diamonds and Caribbean stuff is there but not so noticeable. Lol. I even found a shop where the resident artist owner winters in South Eastern BC as she paints while hubby ski’s
So I think that’s it. For this ship and my whatever # cruise to Alaska. The key to this ship is…. got kids or grandkids over the age of say 10-13 this ship is for you but do your homework in what they can and can’t do without paying extra. There is a great area called the solarium with a restaurant for Adults only. It also has big relaxing hot tubs and quite a bit of viewing area with lounges. Small pools actually. Open Buffet for breakfast and Lunch but need reservations for supper.
Contact me at BSeaBob at gmail com if you have comments, suggestions or any question you may have.
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Virtual screen is not worth ANY extra money. Picture quality poor. I had it checked by staff and it is what it is.