My wife and I were on a late September Alaska sailing for the Ovation of the Seas which started in Seattle. We are experienced cruisers, this is our 22nd voyage, 8th to Alaska, and 3rd on Royal Caribbean. We previously sailed on the Quantum of the Seas and the Spectrum of the Seas both out of Asia, and this was our first American RCL vacation.
Embarkation: Without question, the check in procedure on RCL using its app was the easiest and fastest we have every experienced in Seattle. For our 1 pm check-in, we went from Uber to stateroom in less than 15 minutes with no lines including at security. After arriving on the ship we stopped at our muster station which completed all of the safety requirements before proceeding to our waiting cabin. Our luggage was delivered to our cabin at 4 pm.
Cabin: We stayed in one of the Ovation’s Owners Suite. Several years ago on the Quantum of the Seas, we stayed in a gorgeous two story sky suite – with its two story rear facing window and very stylish interior, it should make the cruise ship version of Architectural Digest. However, it was very inconvenient to have to go up and down the stairs so often – in general we thought it was definitely style over function. On the Spectrum of the Seas we were introduced to the RCL Owner’s suites on the Quantum class ships and loved them – for the two of us, these are our favorite cabins of any of our cruises on any line. Our cabin had a separate bedroom and master bath although only a fabric curtain closed off the bedroom from the living area. The bathroom includes separate shower and jetted bathtub, dual sinks, and ample storage space. The shower had gel, shampoo and conditioner pumps, although no soap pump for the sinks. The bedroom includes a very comfortable Queen sized bed, choice of pillows, dual closets on each side of the bed, and numerous drawers on both sides of the bed and underneath the TV mounted on the wall facing the bed. A single safe is found in one closet. Power outlets are in very short supply in the bedroom area – one for shavers in the bath, and a single outlet on the right side of the bed. The separate living area is very spacious with a six person dining table (but only 5 chairs), a comfortable L-shaped couch, and a sitting chair that could be brought to the table for a 6th seat. Multifunctional TV with a fairly good selection of channels, usual promotional / ship information, access to your account, is mounted on the wall. Even though ESPN and ESPN2 are channels on the TVs, the Monday night football game (Seattle vs NY Giants) was not shown and we had to stream it. A very ample supply of storage drawers, a double door closet, and shelving is found in the living area. A Lavazza coffee maker and pods sits on the counter. A half bath is located next to the door and was very convenient, although it also would have benefited from a soap pump. We had a long and narrow balcony with 4 chairs – two for sitting at a round table, two mini loungers with foot stools. I found the styling and maintenance of our cabin to be excellent. Digital lighting and climate controls were easy to use, the temperature was maintained well and we had no problems with water temperature. In addition to our cruise cards (which were waiting at our room), RCL provided two wristbands which were handy to wear instead of carrying your cruise card. The doors were magnetic, the do not disturb signal is a magnetic sign you put on your door – many people also decorated their doors with other magnets. Our steward Aby was very accommodating with our schedule, we asked her to just service the room in the evenings instead of twice a day. I liked having a room on the 12th floor where the Suite Lounge is located. Our concierge, Carlington was very helpful in making reservations and was readily available. Free alcohol was served 5-8 pm in the suite lounge. Negatives I noticed were not providing slippers which are pretty ubiquitous in other ships suites and luxury hotels, and the afternoon treats we were used to getting in other lines’ suites were lacking. Also, no utensils were stocked in the cabin despite the nice dining table.