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I will start by explaining my title. This is one of the best ships in the world but the smaller, ships stop at more ports and do 1 way trips all the way up to Anchorage. So if you want to see some pretty scenery and be an an amazing ship, this is the one. If you want to see the most of Alaska and get all the real Alaska experience, not so much. The Ovation of The Seas is the most impressive ship that I have ever been on! While I did not feel crowded in general, you can tell that you are on a VERY FULL ship at times. We had "The Key" which did come with some perks but might not be enough to justify it. *** Embarkation *** Boarding was great although we got there too early and had to battle off going traffic in addition to new passengers boarding. I have been on many cruise ships that will allow you to board a bit early if ready but this one was very strict to the times listed on your boarding pass. - "The Key" people did get on first right at 1130 so there really was no need to come early. "The Key" allowed us to schedule RipCord, The North Star, and Pixels as soon as we boarded via an activities team member that greeted us. (There was a line to see him consisting of all "The Key" people so I am not sure if it would be faster to just connect to the ships internet and do it alone or wait for him... I did wait for him and it was about 5-7 min per family in front of me. *** First Impressions *** This ship is MASSIVE! but we had some things we wanted to do before everyone arrived. We went right to the North Star with no line and got a great view of Seattle. RipCord was not open yet so we climbed the rockwall, got Ice cream, went on the Flow Rider and went to one of the dinning halls for our "Chops" lunch. (There is no Main Dinning Hall on this class but you are divided into one of 3 large halls for MD, I am not sure why we weren't actually in Chops.) *** Activities *** I obsessed over the activities so I checked the cruise planner at least 3-4 times a day and booked RipCord and a special version of the North Star in advance. They were only open for a few hours and then filled up. (the staff on ship said that everyone would be able to ride but appointments were the only real guarantee. North Star did have several "walk up hours" but lines were very long. The "premier" experience for the North Star was around $50 USD per person and not worth it at all. 1) The North Star is cool but i can take it or leave it, it got very warm inside. 2) RipCord by iFly is so much fun! you are only permitted to do it once on each sailing :( 3) Flow Rider was nearly empty the whole time.. I think because Alaska was less children but the water was high 80's low 90's in all the pools and Flow Rider. 4) Bumper cars was a long line but "The Key" had 1 or 2 hours of special use time. 5) Rock Wall was only open a few days because of wind and a small amount of rain. Again long lines but "The Key" had 1 or 2 hours of special use time. 6) Trapeze was only once and limited to 20 or 25 people. we waited for almost an hour before it started with no real direction as to where the line would form so it was kind of stressful. the whole thing lasted about 70 seconds per person... good videos though. 7) The show were so great! Mo5aic was by far the best, Pixels was good, the Two70 theater was a great venue but small (related to the ship size) so unless you made an appointment you weren't going to get a seat. (this was the only time i saw a real value to "The Key", they had a reserved section in the balcony and guaranteed you a good seat as long as you had a reservation for that night". The Music Hall looks like an old school rock show venue and has pool tables upstairs. 8) Puzzle Break is an escape room that was free and like the paid ones on other ships (it was next to SeaPlex) you can only book it once you get on ship through the App so make sure you have an idea of when you have a free hour and book right away. 9) SeaPlex was like a high school gymnasium that always had activities going on. 10) The Arcade was small and really not worth spending any time. there are games like air hockey upstairs in the seaplex that charge so if you do like that, it is a good idea to purchase an arcade card before the cruise on cruise planner at a discount. 11) The gym was clean and full of top notch workout equipment... not that I used it, but i totally walked past. All in all, the activities were a 10 out of 10 but the large amount of people made me feel like they should've added more session to everything *** Food and Drink *** I highly recommend the deluxe drink package on this trip because there is so much time on board. Even if you added up the non-alcoholic drinks that we had (bottles of water, specialty coffee, fresh juice, soda, mocktails for the kids...) it was worth it. plus they were able to order non-alcoholic drinks from the Bionic Bar with was a lot of fun. We ended up getting it for 30% off so around $50-60 a day plus gratuities. The food was average as per usual on Royal Caribbean but we really enjoyed eating at Two70! The food at the Two70 cafe was different from the norm on any Royal Caribbean ship and more like a local deli with soups and carving stations. We actually through that it was better than Chops or Wonderland. Wonderland was a very fun experience but just average in taste. I still say it is a must do at least once because it is so unique. we had an 11 year old and 13 year old with us that did not want to eat so they did let them sit with us for no charge. They even brought extra desserts for them at the end. *** Ports of Call *** 1) Juneau - Took the gondola up to the top of the mountain. AMAZING view and great pictures but it is essentially just a place to hike through the mountains. Bring rain gear and a camera. The town is just full of tourist junk souvenir shops. We had some local chocolate and pastry but there wasn't even a great deal of places to eat... mostly key chains, t-shirt, and coffee mugs. (We couldn't even find a place that offered salmon). We did run into a black bear though, literally, walked up a flight of stairs between 2 buildings and he was sitting there eating garbage! so cool, but scary. 2) Skagway - We did a jet boat tour and saw eagles, seal, and another bear. It was a lot of fun. the town looks very cool (all sidewalks are elevated boardwalks, but again, almost all tourist junk... and no salmon but good crab legs. 3) Victoria - probably the most beautiful city I have ever seen. flowers and gardens everywhere. lots of people & great food! We did a Bites and Sites tour that walked us around the city to get a really good feel for the local life and history. (best stop, but not Alaska) 4) The rest of the time was spent on ship, they circled a glacier but it really just looks like land. Being on this ship was so amazing and fun that I would take this trip again just for the ship! *** Cabin *** We had a balcony cabin that was about average size... the layout was nice and we never felt cramp with 2 adults and 2 kids. *** Embark *** Getting off was easy at every port because we were docked. Getting off when we got back to Seattle was quick too because of the facial recognition program we didn't even stop at customs. We got an Uber in about 3 min and got the airport in no time at all.

AMAZING ship, not the best way to see Alaska though

Ovation of the Seas Cruise Review by jcopas123

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
I will start by explaining my title. This is one of the best ships in the world but the smaller, ships stop at more ports and do 1 way trips all the way up to Anchorage. So if you want to see some pretty scenery and be an an amazing ship, this is the one. If you want to see the most of Alaska and get all the real Alaska experience, not so much.

The Ovation of The Seas is the most impressive ship that I have ever been on! While I did not feel crowded in general, you can tell that you are on a VERY FULL ship at times.

We had "The Key" which did come with some perks but might not be enough to justify it.

*** Embarkation ***

Boarding was great although we got there too early and had to battle off going traffic in addition to new passengers boarding. I have been on many cruise ships that will allow you to board a bit early if ready but this one was very strict to the times listed on your boarding pass. - "The Key" people did get on first right at 1130 so there really was no need to come early.

"The Key" allowed us to schedule RipCord, The North Star, and Pixels as soon as we boarded via an activities team member that greeted us. (There was a line to see him consisting of all "The Key" people so I am not sure if it would be faster to just connect to the ships internet and do it alone or wait for him... I did wait for him and it was about 5-7 min per family in front of me.

*** First Impressions ***

This ship is MASSIVE! but we had some things we wanted to do before everyone arrived. We went right to the North Star with no line and got a great view of Seattle. RipCord was not open yet so we climbed the rockwall, got Ice cream, went on the Flow Rider and went to one of the dinning halls for our "Chops" lunch. (There is no Main Dinning Hall on this class but you are divided into one of 3 large halls for MD, I am not sure why we weren't actually in Chops.)

*** Activities ***

I obsessed over the activities so I checked the cruise planner at least 3-4 times a day and booked RipCord and a special version of the North Star in advance. They were only open for a few hours and then filled up. (the staff on ship said that everyone would be able to ride but appointments were the only real guarantee. North Star did have several "walk up hours" but lines were very long. The "premier" experience for the North Star was around $50 USD per person and not worth it at all.

1) The North Star is cool but i can take it or leave it, it got very warm inside.

2) RipCord by iFly is so much fun! you are only permitted to do it once on each sailing :(

3) Flow Rider was nearly empty the whole time.. I think because Alaska was less children but the water was high 80's low 90's in all the pools and Flow Rider.

4) Bumper cars was a long line but "The Key" had 1 or 2 hours of special use time.

5) Rock Wall was only open a few days because of wind and a small amount of rain. Again long lines but "The Key" had 1 or 2 hours of special use time.

6) Trapeze was only once and limited to 20 or 25 people. we waited for almost an hour before it started with no real direction as to where the line would form so it was kind of stressful. the whole thing lasted about 70 seconds per person... good videos though.

7) The show were so great! Mo5aic was by far the best, Pixels was good, the Two70 theater was a great venue but small (related to the ship size) so unless you made an appointment you weren't going to get a seat. (this was the only time i saw a real value to "The Key", they had a reserved section in the balcony and guaranteed you a good seat as long as you had a reservation for that night". The Music Hall looks like an old school rock show venue and has pool tables upstairs.

8) Puzzle Break is an escape room that was free and like the paid ones on other ships (it was next to SeaPlex) you can only book it once you get on ship through the App so make sure you have an idea of when you have a free hour and book right away.

9) SeaPlex was like a high school gymnasium that always had activities going on.

10) The Arcade was small and really not worth spending any time. there are games like air hockey upstairs in the seaplex that charge so if you do like that, it is a good idea to purchase an arcade card before the cruise on cruise planner at a discount.

11) The gym was clean and full of top notch workout equipment... not that I used it, but i totally walked past.

All in all, the activities were a 10 out of 10 but the large amount of people made me feel like they should've added more session to everything

*** Food and Drink ***

I highly recommend the deluxe drink package on this trip because there is so much time on board. Even if you added up the non-alcoholic drinks that we had (bottles of water, specialty coffee, fresh juice, soda, mocktails for the kids...) it was worth it. plus they were able to order non-alcoholic drinks from the Bionic Bar with was a lot of fun. We ended up getting it for 30% off so around $50-60 a day plus gratuities.

The food was average as per usual on Royal Caribbean but we really enjoyed eating at Two70! The food at the Two70 cafe was different from the norm on any Royal Caribbean ship and more like a local deli with soups and carving stations. We actually through that it was better than Chops or Wonderland.

Wonderland was a very fun experience but just average in taste. I still say it is a must do at least once because it is so unique. we had an 11 year old and 13 year old with us that did not want to eat so they did let them sit with us for no charge. They even brought extra desserts for them at the end.

*** Ports of Call ***

1) Juneau - Took the gondola up to the top of the mountain. AMAZING view and great pictures but it is essentially just a place to hike through the mountains. Bring rain gear and a camera. The town is just full of tourist junk souvenir shops. We had some local chocolate and pastry but there wasn't even a great deal of places to eat... mostly key chains, t-shirt, and coffee mugs. (We couldn't even find a place that offered salmon). We did run into a black bear though, literally, walked up a flight of stairs between 2 buildings and he was sitting there eating garbage! so cool, but scary.

2) Skagway - We did a jet boat tour and saw eagles, seal, and another bear. It was a lot of fun. the town looks very cool (all sidewalks are elevated boardwalks, but again, almost all tourist junk... and no salmon but good crab legs.

3) Victoria - probably the most beautiful city I have ever seen. flowers and gardens everywhere. lots of people & great food! We did a Bites and Sites tour that walked us around the city to get a really good feel for the local life and history. (best stop, but not Alaska)

4) The rest of the time was spent on ship, they circled a glacier but it really just looks like land. Being on this ship was so amazing and fun that I would take this trip again just for the ship!

*** Cabin ***

We had a balcony cabin that was about average size... the layout was nice and we never felt cramp with 2 adults and 2 kids.

*** Embark ***

Getting off was easy at every port because we were docked. Getting off when we got back to Seattle was quick too because of the facial recognition program we didn't even stop at customs.

We got an Uber in about 3 min and got the airport in no time at all.
jcopas123’s Full Rating Summary
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