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.
Very nice. Plenty of room for 4 adults Room steward was SUPER NICE!
Gardens were absolutely beautiful.
Was raining off and on that day but did not cause any problems. Loved the trip and got some great pictures. Only lasted about 2 hours including transportation but I could have stayed longer. Great side tripView All 971 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
Kids took the hike. Not for older folks who have trouble walking or climbing. but kids said the views were fantastic!View All 44 Hiking Reviews
Kids took the hike and loved it. Got back in plenty of time to take the White pass Scenic Rail tour. Wouldn't have missed the train ride for the world! A MUST SEE for anyone there for the first time!!View All 1212 White Pass Scenic Railway Reviews
We decided to just take transportation into the city and walk around. Easy to visit and the history is super interesting. Toured the Gov't buildings that date back to the late 1800's. Food was great in local restraurant and ice creme shops are to die for.