1. Home
  2. Cruise Lines
  3. Royal Caribbean International
  4. Royal Caribbean International Cruise Reviews

466 Royal Caribbean Alaska Cruise Reviews

This is a gorgeous ship! The layout is very unlike most of the other RCCL ships because it was made for a different type of itinerary. We did Alaska in mid-September. The outdoor pool was heated, and we had no issue swimming in it. But ... Read More
This is a gorgeous ship! The layout is very unlike most of the other RCCL ships because it was made for a different type of itinerary. We did Alaska in mid-September. The outdoor pool was heated, and we had no issue swimming in it. But there is also a covered pool and an adults-only solarium with some smaller soaking-type pools. It's all very comfortable with plenty of space to watch the scenery go by. If the sun is shining, don't hesitate to try the walking/jogging track above the pool level. We saw so many whales, and all we needed was a light jacket and/or sweatshirt and we were perfectly comfortable. The food was excellent and pretty much on par with food on most RCCL ships; so if you generally like the food on RCCL cruises, the Ovation will be mostly the same. The cafe@Two70 was a welcome addition with some nice sandwiches. Pixels is the one show you need reservations for. It's an impressive show with talented performers, but it wasn't really our taste (kind of modern and weird). Plus, we sat toward the back, which made it near impossible to see anything. If you go to the show, get there early so you can find a seat up close to the action. The rest of the entertainment (production shows, singers, a magician, etc.) all seemed to be a notch above what I've seen on other cruises. The Music Hall, Boleros, and the Schooner Bar also always had wonderful musicians. The casino has the nicest layout I've seen on any cruise ship. It is very spacious, and you can walk around without bumping into a bunch of people. I would sail the Ovation of the Seas again in a heartbeat. The staff of course was wonderful, but more than that, the ship is simply spectacular. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Prior to sailing: We purchased "The Key" which was a very good investment for us both. I also pre-scheduled our excursions (2 directly from Royal Caribbean International and 2 from other vendors) and activities such as IFly and ... Read More
Prior to sailing: We purchased "The Key" which was a very good investment for us both. I also pre-scheduled our excursions (2 directly from Royal Caribbean International and 2 from other vendors) and activities such as IFly and the North Star along with pre-booking our night to see Pixels and the Escape Room. I drafted a calendar of events, activities, and dinner times and places we wanted to do from prior cruise compasses with lots of time to add more while on the ship. Months prior to cruising, I signed us up for the Meet and Mingle Roll Call, and participated on the review boards for our particular cruise and met many nice and funny people. This is a great way to meet others prior to sailing. Thursday: Seattle, Washington - We flew into Seattle a day before the cruise and arrived early and dropped our bags off at "The State Hotel" just steps away from Pike Place Market. It was our first stop and we watched the fishing sailing through the air. The booths are endless - we saw crab legs as long as our arms, an abundance of flowers and many local crafts. Prior to returning to our hotel, we enjoyed dinner at "Pike Place Bar & Grill." The Steamed Manilla Clams and the Cod Fish and Chips dinner were delicious. Best fresh cod ever! Embarkation and Day of Sailing - Seattle, Washington: Due to the time change and going to bed early, my husband and I had morning coffee at the "The State Hotel" and explore more of the area. Our Lyft picked us up at the hotel and we arrived at the ship minutes later at the Port terminal (before 10:00 a.m.). As I was a disabled veteran he made sure we were dropped off close to the entry doors - the cost $16. Upon showing our Sea Passes - we were quickly ushered in the line for "Key" members and sat in the area to await a wheelchair for me. Time quickly flew and before we knew it - the activity director took us aboard the largest ship we have ever seen. This was the fastest and easiest embarkation we have ever experienced. Ovation of the Seas - She is a very beautiful ship with plenty to do and see. It would take weeks to accomplish all on her. Our balcony cabin was mid-ship on the 11th floor - 11180. Knowing it would not be ready until 1:00 p.m.; we went to Guest Relations and purchased the Wow Bands for $4.99. These bands are surely worth it as I used it often for unlocking our cabin door throughout the cruise saving time for searching for my Sea Pass which I left often in the light switch. Not only did Glen, our room attendant, kept our cabin neat and clean each day, he left multiple towel animals for us to enjoy. I took Traveler's Ginger Candy (Gin Gin Company) with me and only had to savor two of them during the cruise. I share most of the bag with others who were experiencing seasickness even wearing the patch. Friday: Day 1 - At noon, we went to the Main Dining to eat with other Key Members and enjoyed a Chops Grille luncheon. Hubby had the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail, Everything Crusted Tuna and the New York Cheesecake. I had the Caesars Salad with their signature dressing, Petite Filet Mignon with three dipping sauces and the New York Cheesecake. This meal was scrumptious! After eating lunch, we explore the ship unto our way to the cabin. The large towel I pre-purchased was in the room, but the Polar Bear Alaska Blanket for two was missing. I spoke to the attendant and he did not know if one could be found. This was distressing for me, as I had purchased it months ago. A few days later the Deck Supervisor found a brand new blanket and gave it to me - it surely made my day that the personnel on the ship took extra lengths to ensure our cruise would be delightful. We saw our Key envelopes and entered our passwords for the VOOM and notice that we had a letter stating our special departure times for each port. Our next stop was at the Sky Bar where we met our Cruisers from our Roll Call. It was great seeing who I had been conversing with online prior to sailing. Muster was at 3:15 and we made our way down to the Schooner Bar. Go a tad bit early for Muster to obtain a seat. Muster went flawlessly. At 6:00 p.m. while hubby was relaxing and watching out our balcony, I went to see and purchase the Alaska Survival Kit. Many store vendors had their selections out and I was able to purchase gifts for our kids. I preselected our "My Time Dining" for 7:00 p.m. and we went to eat at the Silk. This dinner was disappointing after having a fantastic luncheon with Chops Grille. Although we were seated quickly, it took a while to take our orders. Hubby and I ordered the Escargot that was swimming in butter and parsley. I love eating escargot but the Silk's mostly tasted like butter and was bland. Maybe Silk could try cooking the escargot with less butter, add garlic and mushrooms to it like they used to do in the early 2000s. The rest of the meal was neither remarkable nor memorable as the prime rib was overcooked. The service was sporadic and we miss the old days of the traditional MDR days with the greeting from the Head Waiter, Waiter and Assistant Waiter all of whom worked together. I believe the seating arrangement made it more difficult and all of these restaurant venues with "My Time Dining" made it more difficult for the wait staff and guests. I highly suggest two of the venues return to the traditional MDR. After dinner, we went to Comedy Night on Decks 4/5. The show was average and was disrupted many times by guests leaving. We sat in the handicap area and the attendant was a tad bit annoyed with us sitting there. I guess she did not see my cane nor my leg brace. Her sour demeanor was quickly forgotten. After the show, we stopped in the Royal Casino and the host gave us our gold coins to try our luck at the special slot machine. While hubby played Blackjack, I tried my hand at Roulette. We both had a good night and won some. We strolled Deck 5 and found the smoking area. We made friends there that we would see often throughout the cruise. By the time we got to our room our luggage had arrived and morning came fast. Thanks to other cruise reviews, I had most of our important items in our carry-on. Saturday: Day 2 - Cruising: After having morning coffee, hubby and I went up to Deck 16 and were excited to experience the North Star. Even though I do not like heights, this was an awesome experience. Hubby took many pictures and we were able to see far off in the distance including the entire ship. Upon standing in line, the attendant escorted to the elevator to take me to the doors of the North Star so I can experience it without struggling the stairs. Just a FYI there are many times in which the North Star does not cost the guest any extra monies and as a "Key" guest we were able to experience it without lines a 2nd time. Port Shopping Show - I went to the Port Shopping Show and learned the best places to visit for shopping form multiple beautiful gems to see and possibly buy. Bingo and Blackjack Qualifying Round - Oh my - had so much fun playing bingo and won an extra bingo shirt. I came so close to winning cash. Hubby went to the Blackjack Qualifying Round and placed for the tournament. Balcony and Deck 5: - Spent the afternoon relaxing and watching for whales and Orcas and saw many. It truly was an awesome experience. Formal Night - Hubby and I dressed to the max and it was such a delight. We went to the second seating at Silk. If we thought the first dinner was disappointing, this dinner was worse. I decided to try the Seafood with Linguini. It was terrible, the shrimp tasted old, clams cold and the bay scallops were still frozen. I pushed my plate aside and the waiter came and was told I was done. Another waiter stopped and asked if I wanted to try something else. Once again I stated I was no longer hungry and this time described the meal quietly as to not disturb the other guests. We saw him walk quickly to the Supervisor as we were leaving. Hubby told me to keep going as the Chef was now running behind us. We left the area, went to Sorrento's and ate pizza. Needlessly to say we miss MDR dining. After dinner, we went to the Comedy Show and it was great! So glad to try to see another comedy show. Afterwards we strolled the deck in the moonlight then changed clothes for the Casino and played a few rounds. Sunday: Day 3 - Alaska Inside Passage/Juneau - Once again we enjoyed a light breakfast at Two70 (Deck 5) of coffee, juice and Panini. We went to our Meet and Mingle in Vintages and were greeted by others who posted prior to cruising. Tony and his wife were experienced cruisers and were very friendly. Tony gave each us beautiful bracelets. Thanks Tony! We met families with children who were bored and suggested the Adventure Ocean program. Two families sought us out later and told us they had a hard time getting their children to leave. Juneau, Alaska - Due to the Key, we went to the Music Hall (Deck 3) at noon to await our departure for Juneau. Within minutes, we were off the ship and going down the gangway. Upon hitting the boardwalk, a Pedicab took us to the Mount Roberts Tramway in which we purchased our tickets to the Tram and to AJ Mine/Gastineau Mining Tour. We took the tram to the top and we were able to see Eagles and view the authentic Alaska Native Arts and purchased items in their gift shop. We took the Tram down and were met by our guide for our mining excursion. This was a quaint excursion as it was shared with one other couple. We saw this same mining company on the Discovery Channel. Our guide was a retired miner and kept us entertain while exploring the inside of the mine. We learned the history of the mine and it was quite an experience. Once outside the mine, two young guides taught us how to pan for gold and garnets of which we each found almost entire vial worth of both. This is a must see excursion which I found online. Upon returning to Port, hubby and I went shopping and I was able to collect my charms to add to my bracelet while looking at Gold Quartz jewelry, Korite (Ammolite), Tanzanite, an array of Northern Lights jewelry the rare Alexandrite collection and the Crown of Lite jewelry collection. If you are a coffee lover like us - visit the Heritage Coffee Roasting Company. The aromas are intoxicating. While most people were eating at Tracy's Crabshack and eating arm length crab legs, hubby and I had a delicious dinner at the Twisted Fish Company. Their clams in wine sauce, crab cakes and calamari were scrumptious! We went back to the ship by 8:00 p.m. and took our purchases to our room. Upon leaving our cabin, we saw the telephone message light blinking and quickly learned how our Klukwan Native Culture Excursion was canceled due to "lack of participation." Although the Shore Excursion Desk stated for us to come by and book another excursion I took time to look at the Royal IQ app and saw there were none that interest us. I searched Google and learned this excursion had closed for the season the week prior. This left a bad taste as you would think the Shore Excursion would verify all excursion to ensure none closed early for the season prior to the sailing. Needless to say, we went to Deck 5, met up with friends and were invited to join them for the Jeep excursion to the Yukon. Shortly there afterwards we went up to the top deck to take photos of the ever changing sculptures on the pier and watched the sail away at 9:00 p.m. A while later we stopped in at Schooners and listen to piano music, visit the Casino, ate late night pizza at Sorrento's, met more friends on Deck 5 and had an enjoyable night. Monday: Day 4 - Skagway, Alaska - Morning came quickly and we picked up breakfast at Two70 and sat in the Deck 5 lounge. Shortly thereafter, the four of us left the ship (with our passports) and we walked to town (take the tram and ride it as it is 1/2 mile hike). Before you know it, we were in the jeep driving towards the Yukon. Our GPS (jokingly our landmark book) did not take us directly to the Yukon, as it did not account for the road closure and detour. Before we knew it, we arrived at the Yukon Suspension Bridge. We took our time, crossed the bridge and saw its beauty. Afterwards we had lunch at their cafe of bison chili that was mouthwatering. I purchase bison chips, crackers and cheese to enjoy later. After an hour out we turned around and the road was already paved, and we were on our way to Carcass and saw the smallest desert. We stopped in Carcross for drinks, snacks, and some shopping (a nice small town with plenty to see and buy including readers). The ice cream was delicious. Within minutes, we saw a bear by the side of the road and took pictures. We saw so much wildlife on our way to Emerald Lake. So cool to see and many photo ops there too. Soon we arrived at Emerald Lake and the view was spectacular. We took our time traveling back to Skagway and came upon another bear - this one was very large standing in the middle of the road. After taking a few pictures, the bear retreated into the woods nearby. The four of us went shopping and picked up trinkets, postcards and the train charms for our bracelets. We were back on the ship by 5:00 p.m. in time to relax for dinner. Tonight we had reservations for the Solarium. This is a quaint dinner spot that is included in your cruise to partake if one so desired. Many people just ate from their buffet, but Hubby and I chose from their menu and their buffet. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was very relaxing. The tables were nicely spaced and the wait staff made sure each guest was enjoying oneself. After dinner, I went to the Rossalite Gems show - these gems are beautiful!! Hubby and I watch the sunset and off to play at the Casino. Tuesday: Day 5 - Endicott Arm/Dawes Glacier - hubby and woke up early and went to Two70 for coffee and carried our breakfast to the Deck 5 lounge where we could Glacier Watch. This did not occur ,as the Captain of the Ship was wise to turn us around when he saw how big the icebergs under the water were and was smart enough to put our safety first. Many understood but there were others who were angry until other guests explain that small iceberg on top of the water is much smaller than what is not seen under the water. The Captain took his time and the entire ship went whale watching with many to see. Prior to lunch, I went to the room to pick up my bingo shirts and daubers and purchase my bingo cards. I was awarded extra free bingo cards for each shirt and dauber and was given the B3 Blue Bingo Fish (which gave me an extra bingo card on day 3 - win a cruise bingo). No wins for me but came close and had an enjoyable time. After bingo, we went and saw the Love and Marriage Show - this show is a must to see and everyone seem to enjoy themselves. Afterwards I dropped off my bingo gear and was met by the 11th Deck Supervisor who surprised me with the Polar Bear Winter Blanket! Yeah!! Escape Room - this activity was pre-booked prior to cruising. Hubby and I never experienced and it was quite intriguing. There were 12 of us working together in which you collect clues, solve puzzles to escape and only had 1 hour to do so. Hubby found most of the locked boxes and we helped solved many of the puzzles to collect clues and were able to escape. This was a very fun activity and everyone should try it. I do know not all the ships have this activity but they should as it is a very enjoyable experience and does not take up much room to play it. Windjammer - Hubby and I went exploring another part of the ship and dropped our Custom Form off at Guest Relations. Unbelievable as there is still so much to see and experienced. Dinner was upon us and we decided to try the Windjammer. We were met with "Washy Washy" which sounded delightful in her singsong manner. A table was easily found and we went to look at the array of foods. Chad made me a delicious plate of my own ingredients for Lo Mein. I thought I was full until the dumped a fresh batch of French fries at a station nearby and off I went to get a small plate of them with Malt Vinegar. Oh my - I was in heaven!! The array of desserts will make your mouth water once again. Another familiar feature was seen in the Windjammer was see fruit carvings - the fish in the watermelon was totally spectacular! After dinner, we strolled the deck to walk off dinner prior to an evening out with hubby. I missed out as I fell asleep while waiting for hubby taking a shower. He went to the Casino with friends. So nice that I was able to catch up on my sleep which is hard to do on such a fun cruise. Wednesday: Day 6 - Cruising - Yep we had coffee from Two70 and taking breakfast away to Deck 5 lounge and relaxed watching the waves. Fab Abs class - OH MY! That was surely a work out! Off to the room to shower so I can enjoy the day. It was not long until it was our time to experience the IFly on Deck 16. IFly - The crew here are very safety conscious and thoroughly enjoys assisting guests with having a fun experience. First, you are asked if you have had any neck and upper back injuries as one cannot safely participate. Next, you are weighed in - thank goodness, they do not say one's weight aloud. Hubby could not participate, as he was a few pounds too heavy for his height, which he was fine with as I think he was more excited to see if I would go through with it. Lol. We watch a short safety video, learned our four hand signals and then suited up. Soon it was our turn to go to the gravity chamber. Since all of us listened and followed their instructions, we were able to fly higher with our instructor in which we spun upward. Such an exhilarating experience!! Bingo for a free cruise - Went to the room, picked up all my bingo gear and given 21 cards to play. So close with 1 number but did not win - maybe next time. It was so nice to see the young gentleman jump up, yell bingo, and win a cruise for 2 while on his honeymoon. Dog House - even with all the variety of food - a good beef hot dog and/or bratwurst with sauerkraut fits the lunch bill easily. Relaxing afternoon - hubby took a much needed nap and I went exploring the shops (be wise and leave your sea pass in the light switch like me - it saves you money - lol). I purchase a few small items and went to relax with friends. I woke hubby for dinner and dressed for our second formal dinner. American Icon Grill - this was chosen as Hubby refused to go back to Silk and he knew I wanted to eat lobster. Dinner service was extraordinary and so unlike what we experienced in the Silk. The Wait Staff were friendly and interactive with the guests. The waiter made dinner suggestions and knew the ingredients for the dishes. Our appetizers were delicious (hubby had the Caesar Salad and I tried the Escargot again - their style of cooking grows on you). Hubby selected the beef tenderloins and asked for rare and was super shocked it was cooked the way he wanted AND very tender. He was enjoying this dinner outing. The Waiter brought me two lobster tails and brought heated butter to the table. Oh my! The lobster melted in your mouth. After dinner, the Waiter cleared the table and knife scraped the tablecloth prior to dessert (an old MDR table method this was the only time seen done). Since this was the 50th year, a special cake with swirled lollipop stick came out with the desserts we selected. Hubby had apple pie ala mode nicely heated with a side of vanilla ice cream. I had the Molten Chocolate Cake that was quite delicious. Hubby and I had another stroll on deck and met up with our friends who had a very enjoyable experience too while dining in Wonderland. We share our dining experiences and discussed what we were going to do in Victoria. We all went to the Casino and knew bed was early as the time change went forward 1 hour - morning would arrive sooner. Thursday: Day 7 - Victoria, British Columbia including the Hop On Hop Off Tour - Hubby and I took the double decker bus to Victoria ($15 roundtrip per person) and saw many sights on our way and was dropped off at the Empress Hotel in time to purchase our tickets for the Hop On Hop Off bus which had a 90 minute tour if you stayed on it. My leg was sore so we chose the tour. The tour guide, Norm was very interesting and we learned about the Gold Rush, the history of Victoria, saw the tiniest through way that Mel Gibson took for Bird on the Wire, Craigdarroch Castle, Christ Church Cathedral, etc. We even saw peacocks and many deer throughout the tour. Once back to the Empress Hotel, we walk towards Irish Pub called the "Irish Times" for lunch. I advise you to be extra hungry as we ordered the O'Hagan's Platter. This platter is huge and contained Chicken wings, loaded fries, sweet potato fries and dry ribs. Hubby and I barely put a dent into it. This platter covered almost the entire table with barely any room for our drinks. We explored some of the shops and purchased a few items to take home. We took the Double Decker bus back to the cruise ship by 4:00 p.m. Both of us took showers and went to meet up with friends to share our Victoria experiences. Later that evening we ate dinner at Windjammer which was quite filling. We took our nightly stroll, headed back to our rooms to pack our luggage, and left it in the hallway for pick up. We went to the Casino, played a few rounds and turned in our remaining Chips and Tokens. Our last stop for the evening was a quick late night pizza at Sorrento's and I went to the library and printed out our plane tickets home. Friday - Day 8 - Vancouver, British Columbia - it is a sad day that this fantastic cruise was coming to an end. Since we had the "Key," hubby and I were treated to breakfast in the American Icon on Deck 4 prior to leaving on Deck 5 near Wonderland. We disembarked in easy and quick manner and our luggage was quickly secured. Our porter took our luggage throughout the terminal and escorted us outside the terminal by the Pacific Hotel where we would meet for the Sear to Air Post Tour Excursion with Landsea Tours. This is a 6-hour tour that included a drop off to the airport. Our tour guide was very interesting and we knew it had changes to it as the Gondola to the Suspension Bridge had been sabotaged a few weeks prior to the tour. Landsea Tours emailed us 2 days after the sabotaged to verify whether we want to continue with the tour as the Suspension Bridge was exchanged for a visit to Grouse Mountain Resort. We first crossed the Lions Gate Bridge and saw the massive entry lions. We took a brief trip to Shannon Falls and it was a breathtaking sight. Next, we went to the Britannia Mine Museum and this was exciting as we had the opportunity to learn how the rocks were broken down until fine sand and then sent to San Francisco to cultivate it for gold, silver, copper. We toured the underground mine and then toured the ground floor of the building learning about the different stages, how hard mining was, and the harsh life of the miners. We panned for a bit and found more gold and copper nuggets. We then took a brief trip to Horseshoe Bay for lunch and saw Howe Sound fjord. People were so friendly throughout the tour. Lastly, we traveled to Grouse Mountain. We took the Skyride Gondola up the mountain and arrived in time to witness the Lumberjack Show that was quite funny and impressive showcasing their skills. The lumberjacks interacted with the audience throughout the show. Vancouver Airport - Once the tour was complete we were dropped at the Airport doors for Westjet and assisted with our luggage. Our flight home late that evening was uneventful except how the Canadians can teach Americans a thing or two about the ease of flying international while disabled. As I was seen struggling trying to obtain luggage tags, a gentleman with Westjet quickly assisted us. Upon seeing me struggling with walking, he secured a wheelchair with a Westjet attendant for me. She took us through security. The Canadians operation for going through security is easily done as is how one travels throughout their airport. First, they swapped out my cane for one of theirs so I can go through scanner without the fear of falling. Next, security was already ready to scan my knee brace quickly and I was whisked away by the Westjet attendant to the appropriate gate. She made sure we reached our gate in a timely manner with time to spare. Unknowingly she reserved future wheel chairs for me for the remaining two connecting flights. Our first flight went from Vancouver to Toronto. Upon arrival, a Westjet attendant whisked me away in a wheelchair and took all the shortcuts to customs. We were there within minutes and a few questions later on our way to our next flight. We were quickly through security and once again, the cane swapping occurs. This was so cool as the disabled were treated with respect and not a hindrance as what I had incurred on the flights with American Air to Seattle. Each airline took care of their own passengers while the airport staff drove the trams to the multiple terminals. Upon our arrival at La Guardia airport, the wheelchair was there and we were quickly taken to the terminal for our last flight with Delta Air. We quickly obtained our luggage and hubby had us on our way home. We had an awesome time celebrating our 34th anniversary on the Ovation of the Seas (such a romantic setting for 2) and now must go back to the real world, but already planning our next cruise for 2. Or maybe with all our adult children to enjoy too OR just plan 2 more cruises??. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Reviews are all about expectations. I read many of these reviews and it is like they were not on the Ovation. Wife and I been on over 160 separate cruises and many on RCI sailings. The ship is beautiful and the staff and crew were ... Read More
Reviews are all about expectations. I read many of these reviews and it is like they were not on the Ovation. Wife and I been on over 160 separate cruises and many on RCI sailings. The ship is beautiful and the staff and crew were very nice and very happy. In my experience a happy crew, equal a happy ship. Embarkation: My family arrived at the Port of Seattle at 1:30 pm. We actually read our documents and came when we requested. NO wait, No problems, and we were in our cabins in 30 minutes. Any immigration situations are not Royals responsibility. We are very high up in our status, but don't take or expect any special treatment. Never arrive early. You will have to wait in lines and fight for a seat in the buffet until they release the cabins. Disembarkation: Very organized and quick. Again, go when you are called. They have a system, use it. The food was as expected. Not Ruth Chris's. We found Jaimes to have the best food for our tastes. If you are a critical person, then cruising is just not for you. Did this cruise go perfect. Of course not. We had three balcony cabins together and brought our 2 year old. She had a great time, but even better, we all had a great time. Pixels is one of the best shows we have seen. The ship is so large, that during sea days, we never felt crowded. I just cannot believe some people who seem to be so critical and think because this is a " Critic " forum, they feel necessary to write that way. I do my homework in regards to the Ports of Call. No surprises there. Reviewing the ship for your bad experience in Juneau, is your fault. Not the ships. Really people. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We arrived in Seattle a day before the cruise . We visited space needle and all tourist spots stayed at Hyatt House across from the space needle so it was convenient for walking . There is a free shuttle from waterfront up to space needle. ... Read More
We arrived in Seattle a day before the cruise . We visited space needle and all tourist spots stayed at Hyatt House across from the space needle so it was convenient for walking . There is a free shuttle from waterfront up to space needle. Took a town car to port terminal it was $60 and very relaxing and Only a few dollars more than a taxi. Ovation is a beautiful ship with plenty to. Solarium is a great spot to pull up a deck chair and watch views plus it’s 16 and over so no kids running around . North Star is a must we did it on dawes glacier day so there is an extra charge ( pre-book). Didn’t get to go on I fly the sky dive simulator as the top deck was closed due to weather so watch for that . All pubs and bars were good watch for trivia nights they are fun . 270 at the aft of the ship is a great spot there is a small stop for specialty coffee and at breakfast and lunch they offer breakfast sandwiches and sandwiches for change instead of windjammer. Windjammer was good and offered a decent variety. Our cabin was 8204 a balcony room and we witnessed whales and seals etc from our balcony . Room attendants were great and as always the hardest workers on the ship . Casino was a little small but plenty of games and my only complaint is that smoking is allowed in approx half of the Casino and it bothered us sometimes and clothes smelled some of cigarettes sometimes. Itinerary was good . Took float planes to a five glacier excursion and was pretty cool . Tram was ok not great . Tracy’s crab shack is a must stop. Skagway is a neat little town . White pass rail ride is a must just to learn history of what people went through on the quest for riches . The red onion saloon tour is an absolute must and the girls working are quite funny . We were quite fortunate at Dawes glacier as the ship got closer than most of the staff could remember most said it mostly foggy and they can’t see the glacier most times so keep that in mind. Victoria is beautiful stop and downtown is a approx 20 minute walk from port . Buchart Gradens is beautiful but you cannot walk there . Royal B.C. museum is an ok stop . Had fish &chips on waterfront at a stop called blue fish red fish and was great . A bit of a lineup but most were locals so you know it’s good . All in all Ovation is a great ship with plenty to do a great itinerary and great friendly staff Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Alaska has always been on my bucket list of cruises and finally got to go for our 24th Anniversary. Weather really worked in our favor- Recommend the Safari Photo Shoot excursion which includes glacier and whale watching. About 45 min ... Read More
Alaska has always been on my bucket list of cruises and finally got to go for our 24th Anniversary. Weather really worked in our favor- Recommend the Safari Photo Shoot excursion which includes glacier and whale watching. About 45 min light hiking to glacier. Our guide was incredibly helpful with appropriate camera settings and other photography tips for outdoors and at water level for whales. Sunny and in high 60s helped! Once hiking was completed-off to a two hour whale excursion. We got to see so many whales and take great pictures. This excursion only had 11 people signed up so it was very interactive. The other excursion I recommend is the 2 hour bicycle tour in Victoria BC. I had no idea how beautiful this city was until we got the chance to tour via bike. Went to beautiful park area with abundance of flowers and greenery. Again, weather played a role in that it was cool and cloudy. We booked the excursion the morning of arrival in Victoria once we had the opportunity to see wether forecast. Apparently others did the same as the tour group had to get extra bikes and 2 additional guides - only delayed by 5 minutes. As far as the ship goes-Royal Caribbean remains at top of my list! Exemplary service top to bottom. Not a big foodie so I didn’t mind the Main Dining Room for dinner. There’s plenty to choose from and if you don’t like what you selected, just ask for something else! And late night pizza is always a treat. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We like Royal Caribbean cruise line and this specific trip included all the things we wanted to see and do. The excursions we took we fantastic especially the white water rafting in Juneau. Suspension bridge and train in Skagway was also ... Read More
We like Royal Caribbean cruise line and this specific trip included all the things we wanted to see and do. The excursions we took we fantastic especially the white water rafting in Juneau. Suspension bridge and train in Skagway was also excellent. Saw some whales on our excursion at Icy Strait and the excursion-"Lighthouse Totem Poles and Eagles" in Kitchikan was lots of fun especially when one of the crew members broke out in song-A Drunken Sailor". The evening entertainment was way above what we had seen in the past, with the shows in the theater top notch and the performers in the various venues being wonderful. A big plus for us was the offering of pickleball that we got to do three times while cruising. Seeing the Hubbard Glacier with perfect weather was a huge event for us.The land part of our trip was just as good with a most interesting tour guide(Michelle) who kept us entertained throughout our journey. She went out of her way to take my wife and some other other guests on a late night adventure to see the northern lights. We saw Mt. Danali fully which makes us 10% of those that go to see this magnificent mountain. In conclusion I will say this probably was the best ever trip we have taken. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just returned today from 7 night Alaskan cruise on Ovation. Reserved a room with a virtual balcony as did my sister and her husband. We both were very happy with the experience of this new technology. Our other sister had a balcony room ... Read More
Just returned today from 7 night Alaskan cruise on Ovation. Reserved a room with a virtual balcony as did my sister and her husband. We both were very happy with the experience of this new technology. Our other sister had a balcony room and that was very nice of course. The first time I cruised to Alaska we had a balcony but it was too cold and windy to enjoy it! This time, however, the weather was very nice and the balcony was great for them. It was so nice to be able to have the balcony views on our virtual balcony though. It worked well and had a night light if you wanted it. The night light in the bathrooms were a nice added touch too. The food was excellent and the service is great. A very nice added service this time was the luggage being checked through straight to the airport from your stateroom! WOW was that great to put your bags out the night before (as usual) and not have to see it again until you pick it up once your at your final destination! THANKS ROYAL CARIBBEAN! The beds were on the firm side and one of my sisters slept on the pull out couch bed and said it was like sleeping on concrete. The entertainment was ok but not spectacular this time. This was a very relaxing cruise for us. We have had exciting and super fun on other trips but this was more low key for us and we felt pampered and well cared for by the very friendly and caring staff. The North Star is great and my sister and her husband loved the I-Fly experience. They waited in line for an hour to ride the bumper cars for 2 or 3 minutes so that wasn't great. The Solarium is very nice and comfortable as it is enclosed in glass so the views are always enjoyable. I was not happy with having to upload our pictures in the registration process so we didn't and that is totally fine. They take your picture there and even my sisters who had already uploaded their photos had their pictures re-taken anyway so I don't know why they even bother you about trying to do it before hand. We went to Seattle 2 days before so we could spend a day at the San Juan Islands which was fantastic! We went on a whale watching trip from Seattle and had a great time doing that and exploring Friday Harbor. You see a lot of whales on the cruise too! We took the Link light rail from the airport and saved a ton of money doing that! We stayed near the Seattle Center so we took the light rail from the airport to the Westlake Station and then took an Uber to the hotel. Light rail is $3.00 for adult ($1.00 for over 65) and the Uber was about 6 dollars. We stayed at the Inn at Queen Anne. Old but clean and a good location and price. One of my sisters needed to rent a scooter and that was available for $200.00 for the entire time. (she has difficulty walking) It's too big to keep in the room so you have to have the attendant park it elsewhere at night which they are happy to do. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This cruise was started by my sister and we decided to travel with a group. My wife and I have always cruised as the two of us. On our last cruise we traveled with another couple. On this cruise about 30 friends and family. We ... Read More
This cruise was started by my sister and we decided to travel with a group. My wife and I have always cruised as the two of us. On our last cruise we traveled with another couple. On this cruise about 30 friends and family. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Space Needle for a couple of days prior. They offered a $10 shuttle to the port. Embarkation was pretty easy but there was no Diamond line and so waited a bit longer than usual. The Sea Pass cards and Coke cups were at the room and as we arrives around noon this was somewhat inconvenient. Swung into the Windjammer and used our Set Sail passes for drinks. Large Windjammer with some outside seating. Pretty typical Windjammer experience. Food is generally a step above an on shore buffet with more fresh options. Most of the food has this strange bent to it as chefs are not typically American. Indian foods are frequently the best on the buffets. Although always some staples like hot dogs, hamburgers and salad. There are Coke Freestyles in the Windjammer, always a plus. Ship is amazing. Clean and newish. Got to our cabin 9200. Nice sized balcony cabin. Big enough for 3 of us. Shower had great space for a cruise ship and a bar to put up a foot for ladies to shave legs. Plenty of storage although the safe is rather small and not big enough for a laptop. Internet coverage was good except on the outdoor walking track on deck 15. The walking track is 18.24 laps for a 10k (about .3 miles per lap). This was an Alaska cruise si most stuff was inside. The Schooner bar was the favorite (love trivia) followed by Music Hall. Joseph st the Schooner was the best bartender I have had. Learned my preferences by day 2 and would create drinks that were almost always great. Had dinner with the group on 2 nights in the Dining Room (first and last night when the dress code was lax. I don't take pants only shorts on a cruise) and one night at Jamie's Italian. The appetizers and desserts were amazing, my main course mixed fried seafood was ok. MDR was a step above Windjammer and they worked hard to make it a class experience. Also tried Izumi and the sushi was quite tasty. Breakfasts in the Windjammer were typical Royal. Occasional lunches there were also typical. The solarium was wonderful and spent a lot of time in the pools and hot tubs. Seattle was a fantastic city to take out of. Juneau was OK. Wish I would have done more research and found the trail to Mt. Robert's sooner. They had to cancel most of the shore excursions due to wind. We were planning to just walk around anyway so we did. Not a bad stop, but not much there. The later stop in Juneau allowed us to have lunch and dinner there. Skagway was really a neat and long stop. Went for a long hike and then around the city. Out to the graveyard and falls. Great hike and good scenery here. The long stop meant lunch and dinner on shore again. The glacier stop was quite cool from a distance. And even nicer from a hot tub. Victoria was a pretty city and very walkable. We ate lunch there and walked quite a bit. Didn't do any production shows but the rock n roll night at 270 was a lot of fun. Loved having the Deluxe rink package. Then back to reality day. We did the Port Valet, great service as we had a late flight and didn't have to lug suitcases. Cabin was well maintained throughout but make sure you don't leave the do not disturb sign out they take that very seriously. Loved the trip on Ovation. I will add we are very simple cruisers and don't so much scheduled and manage to make the trips great doing this. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Perfect all-weather ship, and therefore perfect for Alaska. Excellent range of options for both indoor and outdoor viewing, sports, entertainment, food, drinks, ... Embarkation and disembarkation went extremely fast (also thanks to ... Read More
Perfect all-weather ship, and therefore perfect for Alaska. Excellent range of options for both indoor and outdoor viewing, sports, entertainment, food, drinks, ... Embarkation and disembarkation went extremely fast (also thanks to "The Key" :-) ...). Upon arrival at the pier around 10:30 a.m., there were zero (0) passengers before me in line. (At least as a solo traveller, I can only recommend "The Key" programme!) Dining in the MDR was rather disappointing, but truly great food in the Windjammer, and plenty of (always different) options. Never a problem to find an empty table. Entertainment was of the usual high RCI quality. The perks of the Quantum class are obviously great, the Solarium is truly the highlight of the ship for an adult, particularly in Alaska, as is North Star (with premium viewing at an extra fee in some key locations, also going to the side of the ship). The fitness center was surprisingly small and rather oddly equipped (only a handful of bikes!). Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We did this same itinerary on the Legend of the Seas in 1995 and were curious to see it all again. On the 1995 cruise the weather was cloudy with a lot of rain but this time around we had blue sky days the entire week. The ship was ... Read More
We did this same itinerary on the Legend of the Seas in 1995 and were curious to see it all again. On the 1995 cruise the weather was cloudy with a lot of rain but this time around we had blue sky days the entire week. The ship was beautiful, service outstanding, food - very good - especially at the Chef's Table dinner. We also enjoyed Chop's one night and Jamie's Italian on 2 nights. The cruise through the fiord up to Dawes Glacier was a highlight for us as the scenery was spectacular.. As we got closer to the glacier we passed more and more icebergs and there was a special beauty about them. The water was a glacial green that enhanced the blue white colors in the ice. As we neared the glacier the ice pack got thicker requiring the ship to stop a mile or 2 away from where the glacier enters the water. The captain at this time put the ship through a 360 degree turn allowing everyone to get a nice view. It was a special day. We visited Skagway and Juneau and Victoria. In Victoria we did a food tour with Andy ( A Taste of Victoria ) who was just wonderful. We booked this on our own - not through the ship. Overall I would highly recommend the Ovation of the Seas and this Alaska itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
My wife started her cancer treatments on 1 August 2018. I told her that she would be done with her treatments and well enough by next year. I booked the trip with a the 2 Aug 2019 sailing (we left the house on 1 Aug 2019). We made it!! ... Read More
My wife started her cancer treatments on 1 August 2018. I told her that she would be done with her treatments and well enough by next year. I booked the trip with a the 2 Aug 2019 sailing (we left the house on 1 Aug 2019). We made it!! We flew into Anchorage with a connection through Atlanta, and straight on to ACH.The flight from from ATL made for a looooong day (7 hours to Anchorage). The hotel in Anchorage (Crown Plaza, booked through Royal) and transfer to the train (transfer through Royal) went smoothly. Having lived in Alaska many years prior, I had the opportunity to drive to Seward. I much prefer the train from Anchorage, as it is very relaxing, and the narration down to Seward was first rate. Dropped our bags, and didn't see them until the ship! We were able to check in to our ship state rooms and get our SeaPass at the train station in Anchorage!!. Thought we were home (ship) free with this. However, when we arrived at Seward, we needed to stand in a long line to get photographed. It would have been nice to get all that taken care of in Anchorage, or just do it all in Seward. Would have made it quicker in Seward. I think Royal needs an embarkation software update so they can complete the ship check in at the train depot in Anchorage. We were on the ship in time to drop our bags in the room, and get to the Windjammer for a quick bite, then to our muster station. About an hour before the drill. The ship was great. Showing her age, but all in all, we were on a cruise in Alaska!! it was great. One of the highlights onboard was the Chefs Table experience. Three hours, and the food and wine parings were excellent. Was able to get the recipe for the smoked tomato soup. Just need to make it for four, not 50 :-0. Would highly recommend that, and do it again. Were with a group of 8 who do that on every cruise they are on. I can see why. The cabin was a good choice, (8598) on the bubble, and very close to the elevators. No noise. We glacier watched, whale watched, Orca watched, Eagle watched, sea otter watched, from the balcony. The day at Hubbard Glacier was nice. The wait staff brought round spiked hot chocolate! We were able to get within a half mile of the face. Those on the $400.00 excursion were able to get about a quarter mile away. Close enough for us to hear the glacier making its groans as if calved. We booked the tram in Juneau. Nice ride and sights. O did I say, the weather was fantastic. No rain until the last sea day, and the port days were in the lower 70's. In Skagway we did the requisite YWPRR train ride, then walked the town. We bused up to Frasier, then took the Train down. That was enough. Our favorite port was was Icy Strait Point. We had booked a tour on our own with Tok River Outfitters for halibut fishing. I gave this place 5 stars, but would have liked to give them 10. We shipped two fish home! Very highly recommended (at least by us, and a lot on Trip Advisor). Off the boat at 6:30, and was fishing by 7:30 am. And back before noon. The port area was also great. Had a fantastic King and Dungeness crab lunch. This port had mostly native wares, just a few "made in china" and no Diamonds International :-) (we did get the charms in all the ports). Ketchikan was a shopping port for us. From Berth 3, the town opened up to us right off the gangway. The final sea day was spent next to the pool playing cribbage and whale and orca watching (from deck 11). We pulled into port and took the take-your-own-bags-off option. Was not too bad, but make sure your suitcase tracks true, We saw a lot of the ship just trying to wrestle one of the bags.. Off in less then 20 minutes once they started the process. We grabbed a rental car, and headed south as the next stop was a family visit just north of Portland. The entire cruise itinerary was just what we had expected; a great time, and a southern Alaska experience. We would recommend this one. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I travelled to Seattle with my family for this Alaska cruise. My daughter is in a wheelchair so we had booked an accessible cabin. Our taxi driver was waiting for us at the airport and it took about 30 minutes to reach the cruise ... Read More
I travelled to Seattle with my family for this Alaska cruise. My daughter is in a wheelchair so we had booked an accessible cabin. Our taxi driver was waiting for us at the airport and it took about 30 minutes to reach the cruise terminal. Embarkation was smooth and problem-free. Our cabin, an accessible oceanview on Deck 3, was spacious and comfortable. Dining in both the restaurant and Windjammer buffet was a great experience, with plenty of choices and great service. We had anytime dining and we rotated between the two restaurants (Silk and American Icon) for dinner. We ate breakfast in the Solarium Bistro, which was lovely as it is smaller and not so busy as the Windjammer. Entertainment was generally good with a variety of shows in the theatre and musicians for all tastes in the various bars and lounges. We loved the bumper cars, but were disappointed that we were unable to experience the North Star as it was fully booked for the entire cruise. The port stops (Juneau, Skagway and Victoria BC) were great. We were able to walk off the ship and straight into each port without needing to use any shuttles. The only slight disappointment was the glacier stop. Although the scenery was breathtaking we were not able to actually see the glacier itself. All in all this was a very enjoyable cruise on a great ship, with plenty to do onboard and excellent service all round. Disembarkation was easy and problem-free. Our taxi arrived to pick us up just after we disembarked. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Just left Ovation on August 2. I cruised with my three teens in 2 balcony rooms connected at the balcony. This was our 9th cruise with Royal, and it was the best. Embarkation was a breeze. Got to the port at 10:30, boarding started at ... Read More
Just left Ovation on August 2. I cruised with my three teens in 2 balcony rooms connected at the balcony. This was our 9th cruise with Royal, and it was the best. Embarkation was a breeze. Got to the port at 10:30, boarding started at 11:03 and we were aboard by 11:15. It looked crowded, but staff moved us right along. The rooms had plenty of space and storage. Room attendant was fantastic. Itinerary was breathtaking. We did Mendenhall Glacier /whale watching / Orca Point Lodge in Juneau. Wish we had more time at Mendenhall to hike to Nugget Falls, but still saw salmon running and got close enough to falls and glacier for good photos. Saw plenty of whales, seals and sea lions. In Scagway we did the Liarsville gold rush camp, Red Onion Saloon and a drive into Canada and the train ride back. It was all incredible. The kids loved that they could tour a historic “house of ill repute” and really enjoyed the train ride. They stayed on the back balcony of the train 80% of the time! We “missed” Dawes Glacier due to excessive ice in the channel, but stayed in the Endicott Arm area longer, among the beautiful blue ice floes. Honestly, I didn’t mind, because we had already seen three glaciers and saw more wildlife, like whales and Dalls Porpoise, in the Arm. In Victoria, Butchart Gardens were nice, but a walk through town was actually more enjoyable for this non-flower guy. As far as the ship, it was wonderful. We have been spoiled on Oasis class, but Ovation was less crowded, so easier to get into shows. Yes, you trade in the broadway shows and diving shows for that, but a fair trade. Ifly and Northstar were easy to reserve when boarding early. We got Northstar at 1 pm on Dawes and Endicott day (well after the paid slots ended). I’d recommend that time, because you see whales at that point. The kids loved the teen club, and had a group of friends by day 1. I managed to get together with them every day at dinner and for excursions. Otherwise, the parent just isn’t cool enough I suppose. Food...I’ve never had an issue with main dining room food and I’d read here that many didn’t enjoy Ovation MDR. Apologies to the naysayers, but Ovation scored big for us at the MDR. We ate at Solarium day one, but the MDR was at its best every other night. Attentive and friendly staff. Food was awesome. I even asked the servers for spicy food and they came up with some incredible Indian chicken and fish dishes and were right on target. It wasn’t the Four Seasons, so no artsy displays of tiny food, but it was a great meal every time. Breakfast was best at Solarium Bistro. We tried Windjammer once, but way too crowded and nearly impossible to find a table. We did 270 on the last morning, and sad we waited! Good quick breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Lunch at the hot dog, fish&chips or Sorrentos pizza was good. I tried the deluxe beverage package for the first time and it was borderline worth it. Considering all the soda, mixed drinks and specialty coffee I “purchased”, the math tells me I about broke even each day, but only because I drank a bit more with the package. So I would get it again, simply for the convenience of having it all “covered” ahead of time. Was it perfect? Of course not. We could have waited more at the elevators, many did wait too long, but we took the stairs often. Sometimes even just going up or down one level meant a quicker elevator arrival. This could have been an issue if we had young children or someone who had difficulty with stairs. Also, it took a few hours the first day to connect to the WiFi. Signal was spotty and slow in certain spots on the ship, but not in our stateroom. This may be an issue with satellites and high latitudes, though. So our bottom line was stellar cruise, great ship and an amazing cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our party of four 60-somethings, including my husband and I and my sister and her husband, chose this sailing because we wanted the new, state-of-the-art Ovation and a shorter (one week) itinerary. I am our group's unofficial ... Read More
Our party of four 60-somethings, including my husband and I and my sister and her husband, chose this sailing because we wanted the new, state-of-the-art Ovation and a shorter (one week) itinerary. I am our group's unofficial "travel agent," making all of our plans. We all live in Central Florida. After booking, I noticed an avalanche of bad reviews for Ovation on Cruise Critic. We were expecting a lot less than this gorgeous ship actually provided. Food: We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room, Coastal Kitchen, Charlie's and Jamie's. Only Jamie's disappointed--menu is not health-oriented, and decor is very plain. Others were awesome. I never had a problem getting a table at the Windjammer, and food there was pretty standard (and good) RCCL. Crew: I saw only one unsmiling crewman the whole week--he was out of place, probably very homesick. Steward Virgie, waiters, etc., were as pleasant and helpful as they could be. The New Ship Bells and Whistles: Okay, there is no Oasis-class Central Park, and there is less emphasis on Broadway style shows. But.........the Play Deck, as I call Deck 15, is stunning. The bumper cars, the running track, the (surprisingly busy) climbing wall, the Flow Rider, the heated pools, the Solarium, etc.--this is where my sister and I logged a lot of miles while enjoying stunning views. The 270 amphitheater on Deck 5 is also a technological step up--great venue for talks and shows and just hanging out. Best of all is North Star! We went up into this observation crane in the Inside Passage--we paid for this specific time, but you can go up for free so long as you sign up as soon as you get on board. Do this! The Itinerary: I would call our 7-Day Itinerary "Alaska Light"--and knew this up front. The Port of Seattle is a direct flight away from Orlando, but limits how much you can see in one week. Our week weather-wise was mostly overcast, a little windy, with highs in the 60s. Juneau and Skagway are beautiful gems, of course. We enjoyed the unspoiled, tree-covered, uninhabited islands that rise so steeply along the entire Alaskan coastline. We saw whales frolicking every day--no need to book an excursion for that. Victoria, British Columbia is also a wonderful and gorgeous, walkable city--I think it is a destination in its own right. We booked a decent walking tour, but I think that we did not need it--the layout is easy and a leisurely walk on our own would have been just as good. Final Thought: I liked Ovation so much that I just booked today a 9-night cruise from Sydney, Australia to New Zealand in February 2021! I could become an Ovation groupie. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We were first time cruisers looking forward to this cruise for many months - and it did not disappoint. We had an amazing time. We had The Key (which I recommend for those who don’t have loyalty perks) so embarkation was smooth. We loved ... Read More
We were first time cruisers looking forward to this cruise for many months - and it did not disappoint. We had an amazing time. We had The Key (which I recommend for those who don’t have loyalty perks) so embarkation was smooth. We loved the ship, the rooms, the staff and the activities. The scenery was stunning but we did not get close enough to see Dawes Glacier because there was too much ice, which was disappointing. Still Endicott Arm is spectacular. We saw lots of whales from the ship and tons of bald eagles in Juneau. Every single service person we encountered was friendly and professional. We were beyond thrilled with our room attendant Habibie. We heard a lot of experienced cruisers griping about the elevators and the food. But we loved the Windjammer service and food - in fact we ate most of our meals there. MDRs were hit or miss. The ports are fun - recommend excursions that get you out of the Main Street tangles of gift and jewelry shops. Overall we give the cruise an A grade and recommend it, especially for new cruisers and families. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose RC Ovation of the Seas because we thought if the weather was bad in Alaska we wanted a ship with a lot of activities. We’re an active family who enjoys the outdoors & our millennial kids & other family members wanted to ... Read More
We chose RC Ovation of the Seas because we thought if the weather was bad in Alaska we wanted a ship with a lot of activities. We’re an active family who enjoys the outdoors & our millennial kids & other family members wanted to experience walking on a glacier and hiking in Alaska. We were able to walk on Mendenhall and Laughton Glaciers and view Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier from our ship. It was an awe-inspiring and beautiful. We’ve sailed on many large and small ships and Ovation of the Seas was wonderful in every way. We never had to wait in any lines and always found a table at breakfast and lunch. We had My Time Dining and never waited. The staff in the American Icon restaurant were outstanding and made our cruise memorable. The crew was the most friendly, hardworking, and funny we’ve ever had on any of our cruises. We had to laugh and wondered how the crew were always so cheery and constantly willing to help. To our surprise the Windjammer was a fun place to eat. There was a crew member who would crack jokes over the PA which made everyone laugh and all the bus people were always smiling. I’m a clean freak and the crew were constantly cleaning everything and everywhere. There is a hand washing station before you can enter the Windjammer and you can’t bypass it. Which is great...they’ll be no illness on this ship! There are so many activities you can’t do them all. If you love dancing this is the ship for you. Every evening there was dancing activities from the 70’s, Disco, Rock n’ Roll, and Hush Party/Silent Disco with headphones. The shows were excellent & very entertaining. We enjoyed the SeaPlex which is an indoor sports arena and perfect for an Alaska cruise. Every cruise ship should have a SeaPlex. There is roller skating, bumper cars, volleyball, basketball, trapeze, and hockey. You play ping pong and air hockey. There’s also a rock climbing wall, the super fun RipCord IFly, and North Star. Our cabin was spotless and well appointed with lots of storage. The shower was larger because of the rounded door. If you’re considering a cruise to Alaska take Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas. You’ll have a fabulous time. It’s a “Once in a Life Time Cruise”...the ship and Alaska!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We enjoyed this cruise. As a reference point, we've been on Harmony, Allure, and Navigator and 12 other cruises on Disney & Princess . I think this ship was made for Alaska. We traveled with our 16 year old daughter and 12 ... Read More
We enjoyed this cruise. As a reference point, we've been on Harmony, Allure, and Navigator and 12 other cruises on Disney & Princess . I think this ship was made for Alaska. We traveled with our 16 year old daughter and 12 year old son. They loved Sea Plex. It was nice having the Solarium and the indoor pool. We had pretty good weather for Alaska. We took advantage of tons of activities on the ship: roller skating, iFly, trapeze class, bumper cars, rock wall, and the flow rider. We also had lots of fun playing trivia, doing scavenger hunts, and playing The Royal Mystery. We ate in the dining room and had reservations at the Solarium Bistro two nights for dinner. I highly recommend the Bistro. I loved Cafe 270 for lunch. They have a specific gluten free line at the Windjammer and there are desserts identified as gluten free. This was nice, but the variety of foods didn't change much. Our cabin was a verandah room on deck 7. The only thing I wish the room had was a curtain that you could pull to divide the seating area from the king (Princess & Disney have this). We were very pleased with the service. All the ship workers were friendly and pleasant. We booked two excursions through Royal Caribbean. We did the Helicopter Glacier Trek in Juneau. This was worth every penny. After landing on the glacier, we hiked for two hours on the glacier. In Skagway, we did a speed boat ride. Everyone enjoyed it, but it was hard to compare to the glacier trek! We were able to see so much wildlife from the ship. We saw whales, bald eagles, porpoises, and harbor seals! It was so much fun watching the sea life from our verandah! As for disembarkation, we took advantage of the valet luggage to the airport, and took an Uber to downtown Seattle when we got off the ship. The taxi line was very, very long. It took about 5 minutes to get an Uber at 9:00 am. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Really like Royal Caribean, only natural to go with what you know. From the moment we entered the ship we were showered with attention, service, courtesy to say the least, our luggage were taken to our cabins right away, we felt like we ... Read More
Really like Royal Caribean, only natural to go with what you know. From the moment we entered the ship we were showered with attention, service, courtesy to say the least, our luggage were taken to our cabins right away, we felt like we owned the ship. Food was amazing as well as service throughout, you were greated with a very cute frase WASHI WASHI, quite cute, it became my grandsons favorite the entire cruise. An amaizing experience throughout the whole cruise. Alaska breathtaking place to say the least, all the places we visited were so historic, pleasant lots of stores scenery was gorgeous a must do again cruise in the future. The glaciers were so incredibly beautiful hard to explain, whale watching awesome experience. Overall an incredible time , would do it again as soon as we can. If you have not done it, plan it you will be glad you did. Be Blessed. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Great trip. Weather was beautiful don't make the mistake we did and pack a bunch of winter clothes! Temperature was in the 50's or above the entire trip. A hoodie is all you need for a jacket trust me. You will wear shorts and ... Read More
Great trip. Weather was beautiful don't make the mistake we did and pack a bunch of winter clothes! Temperature was in the 50's or above the entire trip. A hoodie is all you need for a jacket trust me. You will wear shorts and t-shirts on the boat, hoodie and long pants when you get off. A lightweight rain jacket just in case is also a good idea. We only used this once because it rained about 30 minutes in Skagway but that was the only time it was needed. Good walking shoes or hiking boots is also a good idea. We arrived in Seattle early and stayed two nights at the Maxwell Hotel. Highly recommend this hotel it was excellent and a great location. The shuttle service they provide will take you to most places free of charge. You should buy the Seattle City Pass because it has all the main attractions in it. We saw the Space Needle and it was awesome! Your ticket allows you to see it both during the day and at night. Arrive early to beat the crowds. We also went to the Science Museum and it was very good. The Argosy harbor tour was nice and we really enjoyed the Aquarium. Walk thru the Pike Place Market it's really neat. We didn't do any RC excursions because we like to pick our own from reviews. In Juneau we did a Whale Watching Tour with Alaska Galore. They were super nice and they only allow about 10-14 people so everyone can see and you aren't packed in like other boats we saw. They pick you up at the pier so it was very easy. We then went to Mendenhall Glacier and it was nice. Transportation there is easy to get so we didn't book a tour for that. At Skagway we rented a jeep for the day thru Alaska Green Jeep (DIY). This was awesome. They had such great reviews and they lived up to everyone of them! It was so easy. You get your jeep, follow the Klondike Hwy and stop whenever you want to hike for awhile or just to take pictures. They have a book that tells you the main attractions on the way and which mile marker to look for. You definitely want to stop and see the William Moore Suspension Bridge. This was a super nice area and walking that bridge was something you will never forget! Also stop and pet the puppies at the Tutshi Sled Dog Tours operated by Michelle Phillips. For only $5 you can pet a bunch of puppies and adult sled dogs. This was so cool. My granddaughter had so much fun she wanted to bring a puppy home with her. You can also go on a sled ride if you want. Don't miss what has to be the most beautiful place in the world Emerald Lake. Pictures do not do it justice it is absolutely gorgeous. This is usually were you turn around and go back down the Hwy. After you return your jeep (6:00) go eat at the Red Onion Saloon. We had a blast there and the food is excellent! At Victoria we went on a walking tour on our own that we found on a google search. We went to Beacon Hill Park and saw the tallest totem pole in the world. We then saw the Royal BC Museum and the Parliament building. We finished at Fisherman's Wharf and had a wonderful dinner there at Barb's Fish and Chips. Our room was a large balcony #10562 and it was very nice. The art work on board the ship is beautiful! We did the I-Fly and also went up in the North Star. Get reservations for I-fly when they are offered on your cruise planner. The only time they offered North Star before we left was on port days. We went "stand by" while sailing in the Endicott arm and it was really cool. Stand by was less then a 10 minute wait. The ship was unable to go to the Dawes Glacier but we kinda expected this from reading other reviews. To us it was not that big of a deal because everything else was fantastic. The main dining room was okay but I agree with some other reviews that stated other RC ships were a little better menu wise. Thanks RC for the beautiful table by the window we truly enjoyed the view while eating. We had excellent service from Ramon and Kudmal, they took very good care of us! We enjoyed the Windjammer and thought the buffet was better then the other RC ships we have sailed on. Entertainment-we really enjoyed Live, love, legs and The Dream. Pixels was okay but rather disappointing. Pixels is the only show you can pre-register for. We loved our time on Ovation and the service was superb. Highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Was on the June 21 Ovation Alaska cruise. In just about all aspects, it was a top-notch experience that is worth every penny. While the summer-like weather helped with navigating the waters, the large ship was able to get very close to the ... Read More
Was on the June 21 Ovation Alaska cruise. In just about all aspects, it was a top-notch experience that is worth every penny. While the summer-like weather helped with navigating the waters, the large ship was able to get very close to the Dawes glacier and did multiple 360s for all to have good views. The venues on either end of the ship --- Cafe270 and Serenity --- provided gorgeous views of the landscape with the multi-level, full length windows. Cafe270 itself would be considered an upscale entertainment venue with windows becoming projection screens for nighttime events. This was an ideal ship for Alaska especially. The captain (Henrik) is a standout. In his Q&A session, he was engaging and he provided good insight into what it takes to run the ship especially in the waters around Alaska. He also described the logistics of an unfortunate emergency helicopter situation we experienced for one of the guests. Many were concerned/curious about that. The service was high quality, from room stewards to dining service. Never experienced anything that wasn’t attentive and professional. We had anytime dining and never waited after making reservations after the first night, and even when we missed our reservations we were seated quickly, and a window table like we had other nights. The second formal night offered lobster, and there seemed to be the biggest crowds in line for that. Getting on and off in the ports all went smoothly. Never a backup either way. The itinerary seemed to be just right, with stops in Juneau and Skagway after one day at sea, then the highlight through the channel to view the Dawes glacier up close. (If you get that close, look for the second glacier between the hills up on the left side.) Then, a day at sea before Victoria B.C. The days at sea were needed to see/do all that there is to offer. The North Star offered several complimentary opportunities if you didn’t pay for a reserved time, although I was a bit jealous of those who were in it at the Dawes glacier; it goes out to either side of the ship there, not just up. The bumper cars were popular with long lines. There seemed to be a lot of sports activities in that area, and were interesting to watch at least. Spent time in the casino. Saw people winning good amounts every night, slots were modern machines, and the bar team was quick and made good drinks. Sometimes the casino bar can be lighter staffed, but not here. Food quality wise, not the highest but certainly good overall. My biggest suggestion is Cafe270 --- breakfast and lunch has various offerings including pressed sandwiches and soups and full salad bar, all served. Coffee and drinks and dessert in there as well, connects to the 270 venue where you can sit in nice seats to eat and enjoy the views. The café part looks like a Panera or similar, modern look and feel. Also, Fish and Ships on deck 14 near the buffet had some complimentary choices (fish and chips, chicken fingers, and a fish sandwich, Haddock or Pollock, can't remember) in addition to some with small charges. Shows were decent, varied from a vocal performer who sang in different styles of singers (impersonation, but not too silly) to the singers and dancers in a production with aerials and high quality vocals. Karaoke was decent, guests had skills and some were featured on stage in the theater later in the cruise. Overall, wonderful experience. I was with my Dad, and it made the perfect father-son trip. TIP: Outside deck 5 on either side of the ship are really nice viewing areas that didn’t have a lot of people. Certainly see everything from the higher floors, but check out deck 5 to be closer to the water when you can. There is a nice “Ovation of the Seas” life preserver that makes a good “Kodak Picture Spot.” Also, the Alaska merchandise is stylish and good quality, first day at sea has a combo offer that is not offered again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
This was my 17th trip with RC, 3rd to Alaska, 1st on Ovation. Embarkation was fast, being able to board at 11:00. Rooms weren't available until 1:00, which is pretty standard. Crew was extremely polite and helpful. Rommel and ... Read More
This was my 17th trip with RC, 3rd to Alaska, 1st on Ovation. Embarkation was fast, being able to board at 11:00. Rooms weren't available until 1:00, which is pretty standard. Crew was extremely polite and helpful. Rommel and Nino in My Time Dining were awesome. Main dining food was best we've had in a long time on RC. My wife can't eat gluten, so every night she was approached to pre-order for the next evening. She even received a nightly plate of special rolls. My 7 year old son ate off the adult menu and got all the extra portions he wanted. Windjammer fare was good. There were some crowds in the Windjammer, but the ship has many free dining options as well as several fee venues. Bars could be found around every corner. Diamond Lounge wasn't as crowded as most ships. My only complaint related to food service is that early morning coffee can only be found in one place (deck 4). Many of us were up at 6:00 to take in the views. It would have been nice to have an upper deck option. We had two balcony cabins on the 13th deck (13654 & 13656). See my cabin review for some specifics on those. Our attendant opened the partition between the two balconies, which gave us a great space as well as ability to come and go between rooms. Cabins are the best laid out we've seen in terms of storage space. I-fly and North Star were great features. Warning---book these online early as shipboard openings are very limited. Many excursions were also booked up quickly. Great port visits with plenty of time ashore. I recommend the White Pass Railway in Skagway. I did have one concern in Juneau. The disembarkation from lower pier to the road level was via a long ramp that got very steep at low tide. Folks with mobility issues were challenged to climb it. Give yourself plenty of time to walk long distances to reach excursion points. It can also be crowded when the gangway first opens, so avoid excursions that start immediately upon arrival if you want to avoid long lines. Like some other reviewers, I missed the longer Inside Passage portion done on other trips. That said, we still had plenty of scenery, including loads of wildlife visible from the ship. I lost count of whale sightings, including one that breached 5 times in a row off our stern. Dawes Glacier was beautiful. My son enjoyed Adventure Ocean as usual. This sailing had many more families than I had seen on Radiance for other Alaska trips. While a number of folks used the outdoor pool and kid's splash area, the air was a bit cool for us. Ovation has a heated indoor pool for families as well as the traditional adult only Solarium area. The indoor pool area was great. Debarkation was a breeze. You can sign up to have your bags checked directly to the airline at no extra charge. Airline baggage fees are simply applied to your seapass card. Using this meant we didn't have to search for bags on the pier. We simply left our room at 8:30 and walked off the ship. My advice--do your homework on activities you can reserve in advance. Also, take some time to look at all the dining options. Lastly, sit back and enjoy the view and service. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
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 ... Read More
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. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Ship was super clean and was a perfect fit for Alaska. With all the indoor activities, there is little need to be outside. Now with that being said, the outdoor spaces where great and we had really good weather. I had a Family Jr Suite ... Read More
Ship was super clean and was a perfect fit for Alaska. With all the indoor activities, there is little need to be outside. Now with that being said, the outdoor spaces where great and we had really good weather. I had a Family Jr Suite and it worked out just fine. The balcony was awesome, as we did not have to go up top to take in the breath taking views. MDR was OK, but everything else was outstanding. We did not go hungry at all. Great selection of entertainment and activities ( we barely saw our teenage boys, they were so busy with all there stuff. The staff was over the tops in service and making us all feel special. Ports were good, easy to navigate. Saw lots of wildlife from the ship ( whales, seals, otters). I would totally recommend this ship for an Alaskan cruise, you will not regret it. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
We sailed on Ovation of the Seas out of Seattle, Washington in May of 2019 and visited the ports of Juneau and Skagway, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. FLIGHT: Okay, I had to fly this time instead of just driving or ... Read More
We sailed on Ovation of the Seas out of Seattle, Washington in May of 2019 and visited the ports of Juneau and Skagway, Alaska and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. FLIGHT: Okay, I had to fly this time instead of just driving or taking the train. So, I’ll be up front, I don’t like flying because all of the checks make it inconvenient. Understandably so, but still not a relaxing part of my vacation. We flew on American Airlines (American). I booked directly with American months in advance. But, if I had waited about 4-3 months in advance, I could have gotten a slightly better hotel and flight deal on Expedia. However, I’m a planner, so that’s cutting it close for me. We flew out of Philadelphia Airport (Philly) and I liked the fact that restaurants were right there where the terminals are. No need to purchase food on the flight. Also, airport staff at Philly were very helpful, Seattle Airport staff not so much. Seattle Airport restaurants also weren’t as conveniently located and were even pricier than Philly. It also took me awhile to find my luggage at the Seattle Airport. I got baggage information such as how many bags I can carry on the airplane, dimensions, weights and costs for bags from Americans website. The website link was in the confirmation e-mail that American sent me. I went to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website for information on what I could pack in which bags. My Mom uses a motorized scooter, so I had to call American’s Special Assistance Desk to let them know about the scooter and her need for assistance since she can’t take any stairs. I also had to give them information on the scooter such as weight, total weight with rider, type of battery, dimensions and whether it was collapsible. Note that for lithium batteries there may be some special instructions that you have to follow. You’ll also have to get to the airport about 90 minutes early. (I have to put some additional information here. I saw where a man’s scooter was denied for flight and he had to drag his self around his entire vacation. Even though this should never happen in my opinion, there are companies that rent scooters. Scootaround (www.scootaround.com) is one of those companies. We also saw rental scooters during embarkation to the ship right outside the port. They seemed really friendly and even approached us to ask about my mother’s scooter, which is a fancy collapsible one.) Again, American treated my Mom and Dad (her companion) very well and Philly airport staff were awesome. As for the flight itself, there were no monitors in the headrests. Food was available for purchase beforehand, but I suggest just eating at the airport or ahead of time. You’ll have more of a selection and about the same cost. Soda, water and a snack, such as peanuts were included. Alcohol was available for purchase. I’m glad I had my Kindle and headphones since there were no monitors for a non-stop, cross-country flight. I loved how our luggage was handled upon departure from the ship. The cruise line partnered with the airlines so that before departure you could complete paperwork for your luggage to be delivered directly from the ship to the airport. You pick-up your luggage at your destination airport, so don’t pack anything in your checked baggage that you’ll need for your flight. Except for getting the name on one of our flight tickets wrong, the process worked fantastically. HOTEL: We stayed at the Country Inn & Suites SEATAC (by the airport). The hotel has an updated, contemporary look. The hotel was undergoing renovations, but the work occurred during the day and never bothered us. (By the time you are reading this, the renovations may be completed.) There’s a complimentary hot breakfast every morning. Coffee, hot water, tea bags, iced tea and cookies are available throughout the day. I highly recommend this hotel. The planned renovations look great. They’re adding an indoor pool, patio with fire pit, suites and a green roof among other updates. There’s also a complimentary airport shuttle that we picked up upon arrival at the airport. Just check with the hotel ahead of time to ensure the shuttle is running at the time you arrive at the airport and where to meet the shuttle. The hotel also offered shuttle service to the pier for a fee (approximately $18 per person in August of 2019). I can’t remember if that was roundtrip, but the price was on par with Uber. I suggest taking the shuttle service from the hotel because these shuttles drop you and your luggage off near the entrance to the pier. My brother took a group Uber and they were told they had to be dropped off at the road that leads to the pier entrance. We were at Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91 and it was a long walk from the road to the pier entrance. TOUR OF SEATTLE: For the first time I booked an excursion through TripAdvisor. Royal Caribbean didn’t have a tour of Seattle before the cruise, just after. We flew in two days early in order to be able to tour Seattle. I booked the Premier 3-Hour Seattle City Tour. The tour operator was Tours Northwest. I chose the tour that would pick-up at our hotel near the airport. I called the tour company to ensure they picked-up at our hotel. (Also, let the tour company know in advance if you need a handicap accessible tour bus. The tour company needs to know in advance if you need a tour bus that can fit a mobility device on it.) The tour was great. We stopped at the Freemont Troll (for pictures), Pioneer Square, Commodore Park (where Chittenden Locks are) and Kerry Park Viewpoint. The tour guide also gave us the option to be dropped off at the Space Needle or back at our hotels. We chose to be dropped off at the Space Needle. The stop at the Fremont Troll was short, just long enough to get a picture with the troll. The stop at Pioneer Square was a nice rest stop and allowed me to get a nitro at Caffe Umbria, a coffee shop recommended by our tour guide (Yum!). The locks were amazing, a must see especially for the wildlife, and Kerry Park provided the best views of the city. The Space Needle was nice, but, again, the best views of the city were at Kerry Park. I liked that the Space Needle ticket included free online photos that you could choose a background for and down-load. (Other attractions that charge extra for pictures should take a cue from the Space Needle.) From there we went to Chihuly Garden & Glass, which was included in our Space Needle ticket. The glass art was absolutely beautiful and left me wondering how they did all of that with glass. Then we were off to Pike Place Public Market where we visited the famous fish market. We watched them throw fish and went to the near by Spice Market where I bought some spices and coffee. (Note that Seattle Airport had me open my luggage so they could test my spices and coffee.) We took an Uber back to our hotel and ordered in-room food delivery. It was a jam-packed day and we were exhausted. EMBARKATION: We got a good night’s sleep and caught the shuttle to the pier in the morning after eating the complimentary hot breakfast provided by the hotel. The shuttle dropped us off not too far from the building entrance and helped us with our luggage. Luggage drop-off was right where the shuttle dropped off as well. The check-in process was relatively fast and easy since we checked-in online ahead of time and have priority boarding. (There’s also a separate line for the handicapped.) Once on the ship, we were directed to The Café @ Two70 (The Café), which is included in the price of the cruise fare and is considered a deli that has hot sandwiches, salads and soups. The Windjammer Buffet (Windjammer) was apparently full. But The Café was too small to redirect all the people coming onboard to. So, we were redirected to the Windjammer, which is also complimentary. This is the first time I felt like I was being herded once on the ship during embarkation. Normally, I find a lounge to sit and relax at while sipping the drink of the day. Then, I go to the Solarium Bistro Restaurant for the complimentary lunch buffet there to avoid the crowds. But, since we were being directed where to go, we went to the Windjammer, which was packed. I didn’t like the herding. The food at the Windjammer was good, as usual though. CRUISE CABIN: We stayed in an oceanview balcony, which was decorated very chicly and used a design that utilized the space well. There were two separate closets, so two people could get to their clothes at the same time. The desk pulled away from the wall, so it could be used as a table. The bathroom had plenty of shelving, pegs on the back of the door and a good-sized capsule shower. The sofa bed was very comfortable and could be converted to fit one or two people. (When the sofa bed is converted to fit one person, then there’s plenty of room to get to the balcony and my Mom’s collapsible scooter could fit in the corner in front of the desk and balcony window.) The balcony was a good size with two chairs that could recline, two foot-stools and a small table. We still had room to maneuver around and take amazing pictures of the Alaskan scenery from our balcony. AROUND OVATION DINING: 1. MAIN DINING ROOM – We were assigned to the Chic Main Dining Room for dinner, but all the main dining rooms have basically the same menu each night. Meaning the menu in the main dining rooms changes every night, but each night all of the main dining rooms have basically the same menu between them. Dinner was always good in the main dining room and the atmosphere was nice and occasionally festive. We shared a table with another couple and their friend. The staff sometimes danced and sang which made it fun and once they know the drink you like they automatically bring it to you every night. (Mine was lemonade. Iced tea, lemonade, coffee and water are included in your cruise fare. Alcoholic beverages and specialty coffees are not included.) For breakfast, one of the dining rooms was for buffet and another was designated for ordering off the menu. However, we could still order off the menu after being seated in the one designated for buffet. So, that’s what we did every morning. (Breakfast in one of the main dining rooms is less crowded than in the Windjammer.) The breakfast was excellent. I don’t think I tried anything I didn’t like and the French toast was awesome. (Juices, like orange juice, tea, coffee and water are complimentary. I’ve heard something about fresh squeezed orange juice costing extra, but the regular orange juice is normally great.) We occasionally ate lunch in the main dining room, but we preferred the Windjammer for lunch. We liked being able to get smaller portions, the varied selection and the taste of the lunch food in the Windjammer. 2. WINDJAMMER – We only ate dinner once in the Windjammer. It was very good and it was the night we returned from exploring Skagway. There was sushi on the buffet that was so good, yes, on the buffet! We only ate breakfast in the Windjammer about twice. It could be really crowded in the morning for some reason so crowded that it was hard to maneuver around to see what was on the buffet. (People would walk around aimlessly and just stop in the middle of the aisles for no reason. So, I think there needs to be a map and larger signage, especially when all you want is some scrambled eggs, waffles and turkey sausage. LOL) Lunch in the Windjammer was good. Just find a table before getting your food and have someone in your party hold it. That will prevent your food from getting cold while you’re looking for a table. I really loved being able to order a soda from my seat and having it brought to me in the Windjammer. 3. SPECIALTY DINING, WONDERLAND – I purchased specialty dining at Wonderland in advance through Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner, which was less than purchasing it onboard. The food was delicious and the experience was fun and unique. It’s not as out there as you may think, so definitely try it. Your “guide” will try to get a feel for what you like and choose your courses based on that. There were three courses (and there was three of us so the number of items per course may change): three appetizers, three entrees and some desserts. Everything was shared by the table. I don’t want to give too much away because you really need to experience Wonderland for yourself. ACTIVITIES: I was worried that the top deck activities wouldn’t be open since it was an Alaskan cruise. No worries, the top deck attractions were only closed when there was rough seas and high winds, which was one day. Try to schedule as many activities as you can before you get on the ship through Royal Caribbean’s Cruise Planner. Activities showed up in the Cruise Planner to reserve sporadically. I would find out a new activity was available to book through word of mouth from family and friends I was sailing with or through the Cruise Critic message board for the particular sailing I was on. (Cruise Critic is good site to use and normally you can sign-up for a Cruise Critic reception held onboard the ship.) Note that most activities are included in your cruise fare. Unfortunately, my iFly session was scheduled the day the entire top deck was closed. I heard that you can get in-line and maybe take a no-show spot, but I don’t like lines, so I didn’t do iFly. Note that there’s no extra charge for iFly. One day we put on our wetsuits and hit the Flowrider, which was so nice. The Flowrider is no extra charge as well. Now, even if you filled out your activity waivers online (which I highly recommend that you do), you will still have to get wristbands (that remain on) before you can do the Flowrider. It probably works the same for the Rock-Climbing Wall, but I didn’t rock climb this time. I believe the place to get the wristbands was near the entrance to the iFly. Don’t worry about having to keep the wristbands on, they’re waterproof. But you’ll have to do some strategic posing so it doesn’t show up in your photos. Hahaha Next, we went on the NorthStar. The views from NorthStar were amazing. The only times available when I reserved online were during port days. I’ve heard that the best views are when the ship is sailing. But I loved the views in port at Skagway. We brought binoculars, but they also had binoculars available in the NorthStar pod. You can also stand in-line and wait for openings if you didn’t get a chance to reserve it online before sailing. There were definitely more activities such as bumper cars and skating in the SeaPlex, but I didn’t get a chance to do them. I heard the line for the bumper cars was long, but I didn’t experience it myself. SPA: I went on a tour of the spa on the first day of the cruise, entered the spa giveaway and didn’t win. Hahaha. One of my Platinum Crown & Anchor loyalty member perks was a 15% discount at the spa, so I scheduled a bamboo massage. I was massaged from head to toe. That massage was so good. I highly recommend a bamboo massage if a regular Swedish massage is not enough to relax your muscles. Some say that the spas on cruise ships are overpriced and maybe some treatments are, but I compared the massage prices to Hand and Stone non-member prices and they’re on par. GYM: The gym had weight machines, weights, plenty of treadmills, stationary bikes, elliptical machines and a SoulCycle studio. I went jogging on one of the treadmills, used the free weights and did some yoga from memory in the small open area that they have. I also brought The Essential Guide to Yoga magazine by Yoga World, which had poses in it as well. I think of it as a way to have a wellness cruise without booking a wellness cruise. They also have yoga mats for use and, of course, plenty of wipes to wipe down the mats and equipment. Unfortunately, no punching bags, so no need to pack the gloves. ENTERTAINMENT: The shows I saw in the theater were: The Beautiful Dream, Live. Love. Legs. and Two Funny Guys comedy show. I really enjoyed The Beautiful Dream and Two Funny Guys. The Beautiful Dream had a story behind it and was so imaginative. Two Funny Guys was hilarious (and pretty clean, which I like) and the brothers headlining the show were very talented beyond being hilarious. Live. Love. Legs. was a dancing, singing and feathers old time Vegas show, which was good. I just prefer plays, Cirque du Soleil or alternative dance type shows. There were also movies shown under the stars on the pool deck. They provided blankets and hot chocolate or you can get the drink of your choice from the bar. I saw Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse in the theater and Bumblebee out on the pool deck. Of course, Into the Spider-Verse was awesome! Bumblebee wasn’t bad either. (Bumblebee happens to be my favorite Transformer.) Also, all of the entertainment I’ve mentioned is included in the cruise fare. EXCURSIONS: 1. JUNEAU - I booked all of our excursions through the ship ahead of time online through the Cruise Planner, which saved us some money. We booked Mount Roberts Tramway in Juneau. Mount Roberts Tramway was just a short walk from the ship and the cruise line’s price was about the same as I would have paid at the Tramway. How far a walk you have to the Tramway depends on the pier your ship docks at. Mount Roberts had a lot of activities at the top of the mountain. I really liked the video they showed about the native people. I learned about the other activities at Mount Roberts from a free Alaska travel guide I had mailed to me from Alaska’s official travel website www.travelalaska.com. 2. SKAGWAY - In Skagway, we didn’t schedule an excursion. We walked into town, which was a nice not short, but not too long walk. We passed a small trail, the Pullen Creek Trail, on our way into town, which I walked a little of on the way back to the ship. I bought the best coffee I’ve ever tasted at one of the shops, Raven’s Brew Coffee Double Dead Dark Roast Coffee. Don’t let the name fool you. It’s really smooth. We visited a few gift shops and then returned to the ship for a late dinner in the Windjammer where they had sushi on the buffet! The weather was great, really warm for the end of May and I saw some ducks in the water near the boat piers. 3. VICTORIA - We went on the Butchart Gardens Tea and City Highlights excursion in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The tea was at Butchart Gardens and was so filling and tasty. (Don’t eat before going because there’s plenty of food.) Butchart Gardens is beautiful and huge. You probably won’t be able to see it all, so pick the top spots you really want to see. You’ll be provided a map upon arrival. Try to remember how to get back to where you started and to get back early enough to check-out the gift shop. Note that all of the excursions were handicap accessible for individuals that use a collapsible, power scooter and can walk short distances. Definitely contact the cruise line to discuss your handicap needs and if a particular excursion can accommodate your needs. DEBARKATION: I loved that the cruise line partnered with the airports so we could check our bags right on the ship. Now, this means you will not have access or even see those bags again until you arrive at your destination airport and retrieve your checked bags. We didn’t have any issues with this and had no lost bags. However, we should have left the ship early with those carrying their bags since we were carrying our bags. But we went to breakfast in the dining room and left at our designated time. The port was a mess. If it wasn’t for some lovely people letting is in front of them, we would still be there. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but the lines were long. Especially so when we didn’t have to worry about getting bags. However, by the time you read this, the Port will probably have worked it out. We had roundtrip shuttle service back to the hotel, which worked perfectly. We caught a nap at the hotel and then took the hotel shuttle to the airport. Awesome, once in a lifetime vacation over. (I always say once in a lifetime vacation and then we do another once in a lifetime vacation, so stay tuned to PhoenixBlue Designs & Travel on YouTube for some of my video vacation reviews. LOL) Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
YES....This cruise should be on everyone's bucket list. Whether a suite or just a balcony it's a must the views are breathtaking. Dining_ The Wait staff in the my time dining which we did for the 1st time was so attentive . ... Read More
YES....This cruise should be on everyone's bucket list. Whether a suite or just a balcony it's a must the views are breathtaking. Dining_ The Wait staff in the my time dining which we did for the 1st time was so attentive . The choice of meals were for all tastes. Portions were were good Cabin- We stayed in a balcony room and purchased the key totally recommend it. Ports and Excursions... We used RCL for all our excursions I felt comfortable and secure knowing my cruise line endorsed these companies. Juneau we did the whale watching / photo excursion Of course the whales didn't corporate. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly when we got to Mendenhall I did however expect more wildlife to photograph but none was seen. Skagway we did the best of excursion absolutely the highlight of the trip. Victoria we did on our own I highly recommended the History museum nothing like that in the states. All in all I can stress enough how beautiful this trip was and the weather was also amazing. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Already Booked?

Get to know who you’ll be sailing with

Find a Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click