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Ovation of the Seas Review

4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating
672 reviews
5 Awards

Worth the Wait!

Review for Ovation of the Seas to Alaska
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raspberry ridge
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Cabin
Family
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Additional details

Sail Date: Sep 2021
Cabin:

We are veteran cruisers but have previously been on only one other RCCL ship, the Oasis of the Seas. Most often we sail Celebrity.Because of having earned Elite+ status on Captain's Club we were fortunate to utilize Diamond level Crown & Anchor perks on this voyage. Like so many others we had cruises cancelled due to COVID and we were very eager to sail again.My husband had never visited Alaska and the deal offered was a fantastic price SO....we went for it! Now I know it is not a fair comparison to stack this voyage up against all our others because passenger level was only about 1/3 capacity but it was AMAZING! Boarding was very quick despite the additional COVID related requirements.Staterooms were ready by 1:30 by which time we had already been aboard long enough to eat lunch and explore the ship.Every single crew member throughout the trip greeted us warmly and expressed appreciation to have us sailing with them. Our verandah stateroom looked new and had the best storage of any (non-suite) cabin we have had on any line.We were very comfortable there. We were able to sign up for the Ripcord I-fly indoor skydiving through the app and experience that before we even left the harbor!!! The small number of passengers on board (around 1600)meant no waiting for anything. I loved that everyone washed their hands with soap and water when entering the buffet and that all food was served.I feel this is a safer and neater system and hope it continues after COVID is in our rear view. Definitely it cut down on food waste as well and that is also a big plus IMO. We were very pleased with the quality of food in every location we ate in(Windjammers, anytime main dining room,Dog House,Solarium, Sorrentos, and most especially 270) The short ribs at dinner one night literally melted in your mouth. Yum! We had steak, lobster,lamb,etc and all were good to excellent.Yes, the roast beef sandwiches (270) are as good as you have heard! The made- to- order salads there and coffee beverages were also wonderful.Bar service throughout was quick.The only negative regarding beverages for me is perhaps not the norm on RCCL but COVID- related? There were no servers in the theater so if you wanted a drink for the production you needed to fetch it yourself. That was inconvenient for sure. The only place on the ship where we ever felt the number of people gathered exceeded prudence during a pandemic was in the Solarium. It was wall-to-wall humans (but all vaccinated) so be aware of that if you are concerned about crowds.We had one early evening in 270 where there were two bartenders and four passengers in the entire huge venue by comparison! Entertainment is definitely a matter of personal taste. Normally I love the large production shows but really did not care for the first one to such a degree that we skipped the second one entirely.I felt like the singers were screaming. It also missed the age demographic of those on board.As another passenger asked in the elevator after the show,"Did anyone else know more than two songs in the whole thing?".We saw two comedians that were okay, a very enthusiastic singer, and the Las Vegas Tenors (twice) .They were definitely the entertainment highlight for me.The live orchestra was great also. We also enjoyed the virtual orchestra performance, the daVinci Code speaker and we we went to trivia 3 times. That was fun.I can't imagine how RCCL missed having a naturalist onboard to speak on all things Alaskan or to narrate the passage to the glacier.Someone like Brett Nixon (Celebrity)would have greatly added to the experience. We did three shore excursions. In Juneau we went to Mendenhall and to a botanical garden. It was fine.Others in our group saw a bear in the parking lot at the glacier and we missed him by about two minutes.In Skagway we took the White Pass RR. I was worried that it might not be worthwhile since the trip is abbreviated this year due to maintenance and to Canadian border closure but it was still excellent. The scenery was breathtaking.We enjoyed walking &shopping in Skagway. The cinnamon sugar fry bread we ate there was a nice treat and big enough to share. I recommend it.Everyone was very appreciative of our business.End of season bargains were amazing deals.I live in FL but was quite tempted by a lot of cold weather clothing-jackets for $10-20. Anyone from colder climes was able to really stock up! I had not visited Sitka before. I liked it very much.We went on a nature hike, saw totem poles, watched a carver constructing a canoe, visited the Raptor Center where we saw Spirit the eagle , and the Russian Orthodox Cathedral. We also shopped in Sitka. I especially liked the Christmas store next to the church.A shuttle ran every 15 minutes from the visitor center to return to the ship as you wished. It was very efficient. I would like to return to Sitka.I wish more cruise itineraries stopped there instead of Ketchikan.If you are hoping to spot wildlife I will mention that we saw orca and sea otters from the ship and a mountain goat from the train. We were told the day before the cruise ended that disembarking would be delayed. We were in the first group off and I believe that was not until 8:45. For us that was a pleasure.Our flight was not until 1:30 so we still had plenty of time to take a cab to Sea-Tac and get through security. We were able to have a leisurely breakfast and wait in the comfort of our stateroom until the TV announced our boarding group.It was by far the best departure experience of any voyage we have taken. This trip was such a positive experience overall that we are considering booking another cruise with Royal in 2022. First though we will sail with Disney in Dec and on Celebrity Apex in January. It will be nice to be able to compare how these three lines handle COVID era cruising. Thank you to our stateroom attendant, waitors, bartenders, guest services, activity staff, and all on Ovation who made this a trip worth waiting for. We loved every minute!

Cabin Review

Port Reviews

very pleasant but I understand rough seas caused several people distress

Endicott Arm was wild and ethereally lovely. We so enjoyed sitting on our verandah cozily wrapped in blankets with a cup of hot tea watching the icebergs float by. The captain pivoted the ship after we were proximal to Dawes glacier so everyone had a chance for a great view.I believe this was the highlight of the voyage for both of us.

Juneau

Getting in to port later in the day decreases the opportunity to experience more than one event. It is pretty much impossible to combine a whale watching excursion and a second outing to visit the glacier for instance.

Seattle

Seattle has so much to see and do. Pike Place Market, Chihuly Glass, trendy restaurants and shopping, waterfront, the Space Needle etc. It is a very walkable city. I felt safe there but like many urban areas it has become a bit "run down" looking in places tourists frequent and homelessness and visible drug use has increased.

Sitka

Sitka is small but mighty. I felt there was something for everyone to enjoy there. We had an excellent tour guide. Don't miss the raptor center.

Skagway

When I was a little kid the TV show "Bonanza" was big. Like Tombstone,AZ Skagway is a real place but one where if Hoss and Little Joe rode into town you wouldn't even be surprised! LOL. It is like an old west town with boardwalks and a saloon and I love it!

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