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Sail Date: September 2019
We chose this cruise to go to areas we have not traveled to previously. My girlfriend and myself would be considered avid cruisers at this point and love every cruise we have taken. This cruise initially tried to frustrate us due to two ... Read More
We chose this cruise to go to areas we have not traveled to previously. My girlfriend and myself would be considered avid cruisers at this point and love every cruise we have taken. This cruise initially tried to frustrate us due to two issues we encountered. The first was the cruise terminal on embarkation day. The employees that were dressed in RCCL attire had a very difficult time figuring out the proper procedures for boarding. We had a Grand Suite (Sky Level) and were not allowed to board right away because I was only Emerald and not Pinnacol, D+, or a "KEY" guest. We all know this was incorrect but this happened to us and a couple of Suite guest behind us. We were all told to proceed to a specific area and door. Later I found that this was the wrong door for suite guest but this is the one we were told to go to. Once the announcement was made to start boarding the Suite, Pinnacol, D+, and "KEY" guest, this was when two different employees told us we were Emerald or Gold so we could not board with the proper group. A third employee finally showed up and got the process straightened out after some of the other suite guest started yelling at the employees after they just shrugged off the complaints and rudely ignored us. I do not think it is our responsibility to know their job. This just started the cruise on the wrong note. This was the worst embarkation experience we have encountered over several different terminals. Once on board, the ship was fantastic. Rooms were ready on time and the Grand Suite did not disappoint. Loved having all the outlets and USB connections for charging stuff. Having the outlet by the bed for the CPAP was very convenient. The room was kept immaculate the entire cruise and towel animals were provided and kept my girlfriend very happy. The SPA area did not disappoint. The hair cut I received and the couples message that we had were great. Dining was the only letdown and this may be because of the class of ship and its layout. Our first lunch was in Costal Kitchen and was enjoyed very much. That night we tried the Silk restaurant due to having "My Time Dining". To say we were disappointed is being mild. Service was horrible and caused us to much confusion. I do seriously believe this is due to the design and layout of the dining room. Where in the traditional MDR, the Waiter, Head Waiter, and Assistant Waiter work together as a team and have line of sight communication, this class of ship was not designed for the MDR experience. It originally had four different menus at the four different dining venues. This did not go over well and now they are trying to run the four different venues on the MDR menue for all four spaces. These spaces were not designed in the MDR style conducive to these seating's and causes a bunch of confusion between the different wait staff. I would say that maybe this was the first night jitters with new guest but we tried the "American Icon " the next night and although a little better, this experience fell well shot of what we have experienced on other classes of ship that use the MDR concept. Rather than keep being disappointed, we chose to take the rest of our dining in the Costal Kitchen. I cannot say enough about the staff in the dining venue. They were terrific every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They literally saved our dining experience and was one of the biggest positive aspects to our cruise. We tried the 270 Bistro and the Windjammer and found both of these venues adequate. Another jewel if you are sky class or above, was the Concierge, and the Concierge lounge. Always a nice quiet area to hang out, grab a quick snack, drink, or coffee. The Concierge and staff for this area were great and made everyone feel at home and relaxed throughout the entire cruise. Entertainment and Activities abound on this ship. From the "North Star" to PIXELS in 270, there seemed to always be something to do. We did shore excursions at all three ports and found all to be quite interesting. We found that there wasn't enough time for everything so we will probably have to schedule another Alaska adventure further down the line. Disembarkation was the saving grace for this cruise terminal. The new program of checking your luggage through to your final destination and getting your boarding passes on the ship made the process seamless and a lot less stressful. I love this new program (probably not available at all ports) and would highly recommend its usage to future Alaska cruisers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
This is a newer ship with new technology and it has some of the best features with updated state rooms, or show rooms. Because it is a bigger ship with more passengers, they have better shows. The talent is the best I have seen on a ... Read More
This is a newer ship with new technology and it has some of the best features with updated state rooms, or show rooms. Because it is a bigger ship with more passengers, they have better shows. The talent is the best I have seen on a cruise ship. The showroom in the back of the ship has stages that go up and down and holes open in the ceiling where people come down on a wire to put on a great show. There are more lounge acts with more entertainment. But those are the good things. The bad part is the music is way too loud and they think that people like it that way. But I saw people leaving the show because they didn’t like it. I wore my ear plugs and was ok. The ship is set up for all ages and they do a good job at keeping young folks on deck 15 and gamblers in the casino on deck 3 that is away from everything else. But the folks that like to go on this ship are people that like bumper cars, rock climbing, the flow rider, etc.... I have never seen so many people with tattoos and people wearing old T-shirt’s on a cruise ship. Formal night is a joke. Only 20 percent of the people put on a jacket or wore a tie. The rest of the folks were comfortable in T-shirt’s or whatever they were wearing that day. Most of the people in the lounge or walking around the deck look like they just came from Walmart. Maybe this is what some folks like, but it is not for me. The food and service is much better on Celebrity and Princess. The people working on this ship do a great job or the best they can. But there are about 3 passengers for 1 crew member on this ship while Princess has 2.5 and Celebrity has 2 and Crystal might have 1.3. The difference can really be seen in the dining room with long delays and having to wait on your waiter. We have no regrets taking this cruise, but I think others ships in this price range are better. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
5 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I selected this ship for the activities for my grandchildren, ages 7, 8 and 10. They checked out the kids activities program and quickly left. The ship itself is nice and the fact that there is a heated, covered pool is very nice as ... Read More
I selected this ship for the activities for my grandchildren, ages 7, 8 and 10. They checked out the kids activities program and quickly left. The ship itself is nice and the fact that there is a heated, covered pool is very nice as well. All pool areas have lifeguards on duty. The itinerary was not all that it was cracked up to be as far as the scenic cruising and Dawes glacier. Never did see the glacier at all and the scenic cruising wasn't anything spectacular. I've been on 2 other Alaska cruises, where we went to much nicer areas. Take a cruise that goes to Mendenhall and Ketchikan. This ship does neither. I thought I'd try something different and was very disappointed. There are a ton of people on this ship, but I must say that check-in and getting on board was a breeze, as well as disembarkation. Very smooth. The lines at Guest Services tend to be very long, since there are only 4 positions (6 sometimes), but only 2 people working on average. The cabin was o.k. (we had a balcony on deck 12). No table though other than a tiny one on the balcony and no writing material. The one thing I absolutely disliked was the high cost of everything from additional charges for food (Halibut fish and chips was $5.00) to extremely overpriced wine with no discount for Crown and Anchor members. And speaking of food: I was very disappointed that there was no meal with Alaskan fresh fish on any night. Farm raised salmon was on the daily menu. Shore excursions prices were very much higher compared to other cruise lines as well. Activities such as IFly and Northstar need to be reserved, which wasn't easy. My grandson couldn't take my place on the iFly, because he had done it once before, but I could give my place to a stranger. Really....??? Decided to keep my spot for myself. The cruise overall was "just ok" compared to the other many cruises I've been on. My suggestion: look at other options. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Bottom line: I recommend strongly against sailing with Royal Caribbean unless you are "priority" to them. Getting off the boat was quite literally the worst process I have ever seen anywhere. I started the morning on deck 8 ... Read More
Bottom line: I recommend strongly against sailing with Royal Caribbean unless you are "priority" to them. Getting off the boat was quite literally the worst process I have ever seen anywhere. I started the morning on deck 8 trying to go down to deck 5 to get off the boat Due to priority service needed, I was kicked off the elevator I was on (originally going down), on deck 10. Almost 2 hours later and I'm finally able to get off the boat due to full elevators, other passengers not moving or respectful of lines. Furthermore, I ran into the assistant front desk manager who was unable to assist in anyway and kept saying they did not have the manpower to assist as they have now put me further away from the exit. His inability to assist with the problem the boat/company had created makes me wonder about the quality of their customer service. While the rest of the cruise was enjoyable to include the cabin being well kept (thanks to our great stateroom attendant), entertainment as expected on a cruise ship and dining on par, should the first place runner of a race trip before the finish line they would not win. As such, the experience at the end of this trip was absolutely terrible that as of now, I strongly recommend against Royal Caribbean and do not expect to sail with them again (even if given the free cruise offered by their survey where my sentiments were also noted). Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We chose this ship for the destination and because our group of 13 had 3 children who we thought would enjoy the variety of activities. I was disappointed in the Ovation and will not likely use RCI again. This was our second cruise and ... Read More
We chose this ship for the destination and because our group of 13 had 3 children who we thought would enjoy the variety of activities. I was disappointed in the Ovation and will not likely use RCI again. This was our second cruise and if it had been our first, it likely would have been our last. Embarkation was a mess to put it bluntly, just throngs of people milling around with no clear direction. There wasn’t enough room on the decks/buffet to find 2 seats together while waiting for our cabins to be ready. Once we got to our cabin, it was very nice. It was spacious with lots of storage. Later that night, we discovered that the bed is awful! It was very hard and uncomfortable, the pillow were like rocks. We did ask for extra pillows the next day but found those just as uncomfortable. The amount of hooks in the bathroom was great! Disembarkation was no better. We were assigned to report to the Theater at 9:20, we headed that way at 9:00 only to be stopped by a crew member and yelled at ( yes voice was raised) that we had missed our number being called and to hurry and get off the ship! Dining in the dining room was great. The food was tasty and service impeccable. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room most days. The buffet seemed to have a wide variety of food but it was always difficult to find a table. In addition, being told over the PA to eat quickly so others can sit is not conducive to a pleasant meal. No lingering over a cup of tea and enjoying the view! Sorrentos pizza was very good and became a late night stop every night for our group for the yummy pizza. The availability of popular activities like bumper cars, iFly etc needs to be expanded. The wait times are ridiculous. I was extremely disappointed that I was only able to book Pixels online before the cruise. We never got to do iFly which I was really looking forward to. I’m not sure how a passenger is supposed to register online for these things by 11 as suggested when my boarding time is 12:30? AFTER the cruise, I learned that there is an escape room. There was nothing about this on the website; my group would have lived to do this. Clearly there is not a large enough activities staff to cover the amount of activities on board. I was very disappointed in the IQ app as a messaging tool. To use it I had to constantly reconnect to WiFi to send or check messages as did my entire group. This made communication and planning in a group difficult. It is ridiculous that they charge 7.95 for this. A trip to guest services and the answer was that’s the way it works and showing me how to connect to WiFi on my phone like I’m dumb. 270 is an amazing venue, but it is small especially for some of the activities that they literally cram in there. Loved the indoor pool and solarium; the kids in my group are too old for the kid section but I did wonder about it as it never seemed to be open. The constant up selling was ridiculous and aggravating. Despite our disappointment with the ship, an Alaskan Cruise is amazing and a wonderful way to see some of the majestic beauty of the United States. Juneau was spectacular, we did a whale watching tour and Mendenhall Glacier. Skagway also had stunning beauty, we took a ferry to Haines and did a walk through the state park. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
So far consider this one of the WORST cruises we have ever been on (out of 27) and to be honest, that includes our Carnival cruise from hell back in 1998. This one is worse because I had such high expectations for it. One thing after ... Read More
So far consider this one of the WORST cruises we have ever been on (out of 27) and to be honest, that includes our Carnival cruise from hell back in 1998. This one is worse because I had such high expectations for it. One thing after another have turned this into the cruise from hell. The worst part for me is that I am constantly disappointing my kids and grandkids. So many things we had planned to do that I had been trying to arrange for months are “not available.” Reservations I have had for months are suddenly gone. But that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I guess I should begin at the beginning—getting onboard. The worst boarding experience ever. When we had filled out our boarding pass information pre-cruise, we were asked what form of identification we wished to provide for boarding. Because our passports needed renewing, we chose the Royal Caribbean listed choice of using our Nexus cards. If you are unfamiliar with the Nexus card it gives us easy entry into Canada by land, TSA Precheck at all airports, Global entry and more. We had to go through all the interviews, fingerprinting and background check to get them that you do for any Global Entry type card. And it was a choice on the RCL website that we could use to check in with. I even called RCL pre-cruise to make ABSOLUTELY sure that we could use them before I sent our passports in for renewal. I have an e-mail verifying that we can use it. Guess what? RCL forgot to tell the people at the Port of Seattle that they would accept Nexus, so our friends with passports and our kids with just birth certificates were allowed to board. But we were held outside the security area until someone came from the ship to tell them that it was OK to take Nexus cards. Are you kidding me? Were we really the first people the entire Alaska season to walk up with Nexus cards? Give me a break. Our friends from Canada had also tried boarding with their Nexus cards and the same thing happened to them but luckily they had brought their passports as well. Ours were (and are) someplace in the State Department being renewed. Once we got that screw-up fixed (it took almost an hour), we were told we could go through security and that the young man (who looked to be 12) would scan our cards and our boarding passes. Of course he messed that up because he scanned Kathleen’s boarding pass and paired it with my Nexus card and then could not figure out how to undo what he had done. So we had to wait while someone could escort us up through the security line, get us cleared through the X-ray machines and then take us to someone who could fix the young man’s screw up. All this time, our family and friends were getting further and further ahead of us. I know that may not seem like a big deal for you but I paid for the kids to go so I could see their faces when they first boarded a cruise ship. Thankfully we did get almost everything cleared up in time for us to do that, but… One of the other things the woman fixing the mistake told us was that we were now on a completely cash account. She said the credit card we had registered when we did our boarding passes had been compromised and somehow been linked to another stateroom with a family named Anderson in it and NOT Bellomo. She apologized but said that meant that we could not use that card. I told her that the Andersons were my daughter, her husband and her two grandkids and that my card was supposed to be covering the charges to their room as I was treating to this cruise as their Christmas presents. The woman could not fathom that? But she finally understood and got it straightened out. At this point they started boarding the ship in the absolute worst way I have ever experienced in 27 cruises. Even Carnival never did that back in 2001. No numbers, no lines, no priority, just everyone going for the door. Mass chaos. Total anarchy. Thankfully most of the people waiting were nice about it but I still can’t believe there was next to no supervision. From time to time someone would make a totally unintelligible announcement on the public address system but after hearing at least six of them, I have NO IDEA WHAT WAS SAID ON ANY OF THEM. Sounded like the Muppets Swedish Chef speaking Korean. I was told later that he was announcing that Crown and Anchor Diamond members (their loyalty club) and some info for Celebrity Solstice that was also boarding at the same time. So now we are with our kids going out of the terminal and up the gangplank. We get to the top to get on the ship and we get on! Yeah! But wait, the kids and grandkids who have been cleared and even have giant RCL stickers on their boarding passes that says 
“CHECKED IN” are told, “You haven’t checked in yet.” Please excuse my French but WHAT THE HELL! How did they get through to that point and how did they those big CHECKED IN stickers on their boarding passes. Luckily a very nice lady from the ship got them taken care of in about 10 minutes but once again, a Royal screw-up. Once the entire family was onboard (our Canadian friends were way ahead of us), I was sure that everything was going to finally get better but I was wrong. We decided to go get lunch (we had planned to do some other reservations before lunch but we were held up for so long, the kids were really hungry and you don’t mess with a five year old’s lunchtime) at the 270 Cafe, a little bistro type place that Kathleen and I had scouted out on our travel agent visit two weeks before. They served (from the looks of it when we went by on our visit) sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. They did but it was our first introduction to Ovation food and it has proven to be true through lunch today—their food sucks. Only dinner last night was remotely passable. And we lucked into that one. Will explain what I mean by that later. The paninis were sad little things that remotely resembled a panini sandwich, a tiny slice of meat with some melted cheese that they microwaved, not pressed. Awful. After trying the sandwich I decided to try one of the salads so I ordered the “chopped salad.” The guy at the counter scooped me up a bunch of lettuce mixed with a few other ingredients, tossed it in a bowl and said, “Here you go.” I said, isn’t a “chopped salad” supposed to be chopped? He shrugged. I said, “Could I at least get some dressing on this?” His answer was that It was already dressed. Well you could have fooled me. And this was one of the better things I have eaten. For dinner we have early seating, which means we have two tables of six for us and our Canadian friends, right next to each other in the dining room. Early seating on this ship is 5:00 pm (our Brit friends Paul and Gail call that lunch) and at 5:15 they close the doors. We had not planned on eating in the dining room on our first night. For the first night we had decided that the one thing the kids really wanted to do was drive the bumper cars. And the only time they do bumper cars is 4:00 to 6:00 pm. What the heck? The only time? OMG. Talk about ridiculous. And there are more ridiculous scheduling things to talk about later. But let’s get back to dinner. We went ahead and did the bumper cars (which were tons of fun—pics below) but then thought we would head to the buffet to eat dinner. But this time it is 5:10 and the kids are getting hungry. We get to the door of the buffet and it is closed. It doesn’t open until 6:00. Again, WTH? SO we rush down to the 3rd floor and barely slide into the dining room (I think they were letting people in late because it was the first night.) We get seated and have a wonderful time service-wise. Our waiter and our assistant waiter are awesome. But the food was mediocre. Had I had any of it on a Celebrity ship, I would have sent it back. The prime rib was fatty, I ordered escargot to gross our my grandson and to dare him to try some and amazingly he did and liked them. Who would have guessed. But it was sad. Four tiny escargot swimming on a flat plate of melted butter. We did have a nice key lime pie for dessert. Breakfast and lunch on our second day were in the buffet and the place was a freaking zoo. Seriously. They make constant announcements asking people to eat and leave so others can sit down. I have NEVER heard anything like this before and hope to never hear it again. The food is some of the worst buffet food I have seen. Really bad. Even the lemonade is beyond watery. It’s yellow colored water. So sad. The burgers were cold, the pizza lukewarm, the salads mediocre to say the least. It’s not just the food. It’s the crowds. They are oppressive. And because of the poor systems for handling them on the ship, it makes it worse. What I mean by that is that everything is controlled in a really poor way. Let me give you an example. After lunch on the first day we took the kids to the outdoor pool. It was a beautiful day and the pool wasn’t as crowded as we thought it would be. There are three parts to the outdoor pool area. There is a large pool that is about 5 feet deep, a small round pool for younger kids. They can get in it and go around and around. And there is a bunch of water slides and sprinklers for kids as well. When we first went out and went to the pool, it was about 1:00 pm. The two parts for little kids were closed. When I asked a lifeguard when it was open and he said 2:00 pm. Great, we nursed the kids through an hour of swimming and ice cream cones and then went to see them open the kids area. Guess what, they only opened the round pool. We never did see the water slide area open—The one thing the kids really wanted to do. RCL—open your damn facilities. We found this to be true so often. For instance, the bumper cars which you have to strand in line for, are only open between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. And that’s when they schedule dinner. Get it together people! We can’t count the number of times we have seen people wandering around empty venues with no one to open them. The activity staff on this ship must either have very few people or they get a lot of time off. We have had a really hard time finding things for the kids to do. We took them to the “Ocean Adventures’ Royal’s highly regarded children’s program and my daughter and son-in-law were met by some of the most bored and uninterested in children people on the ship. Their answer to what the kids would be doing, is a gesture and them saying, “playing in here.” Nothing was going on. Add to that, that our granddaughter who will turn 6 next month was put in the 3-5 year old group while our grandson is in the 6-8 year old group. Our granddaughter is quite mature for her age, she reads and she is very old for her age but she did NOT want be left in a room full of three years olds while her brother had a good time with friends more her maturity level. So that program was out the window for us. Then we have the daily schedule for a ship where almost half the people onboard are under the age of 12 and practically nothing for them to do. I am going to put a copy of today’s schedule online when I get home and point out all the things that are available for kids (next to nothing). We ended up spending the entire morning in the arcade, spending grandpa’s money playing skeeball and air hockey and some free foosball. Even if the Kid’s Club had been viable for our kids, they have a limit of how many kids can participate at one time and they exceeded that as many parents just want to dump their kids for as much time as possible. Then on the second afternoon at lunch, the cherry on the top of all this. I asked Joel (my son-in-law) to make sure it showed on his daily schedule that they had reservations for the evening show that night. It was the only thing I had been able to reserve before the cruise. Nothing else had been available for reservation (even thought now that we are onboard we keep hearing crew ask us if we made reservations). I have tried on a regular basis for at least 12 weeks to reserve things like the iFly, the Northstar and other attractions and not been able to do so. The only thing I could reserve was things that cost money. If they couldn’t charge you for it, it wasn’t available to reserve. I even went so far as to call Royal’s travel agent line and discuss with them why we weren’t able to make reservations. We were told not to worry, that we would be able to make reservations once on board. Excuse my language but that was BULL! At no time could we make a reservation for any of those activities but the only thing we could make reservations for was this show, Pixels. So I did. I made the reservations for us, my kids and my grandkids. And they showed up on our reservation cruise planner right up until we came aboard. Then all of a sudden when I checked at lunch time today, my kids and grandkids no longer had reservations. I went to Customer Relations and they couldn’t figure it out and all they could do for us was offer us the show tomorrow night, immediately after we get back from a day-long excursion. The show starts at 7:00 and we don’t get back in time to eat dinner before the show. The woman who arranged it for me suggested we drop by the buffet for dinner after the show. She obviously has never had hungry 5 and 8 year olds. Just another screw up. It’s funny how the only things they have not screwed up is things we pay money for. All the shore excursions I paid big bucks for are there just fine but the reservations I made at exactly the same time, disappear. On our third morning, we had another half of a sea day as we didn’t get into Juneau until 12:30. During that time we had our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle. The Meet and Mingle was somewhat eye-opening and interesting. The crew member hosting the event was the Groups Coordinator. Kathleen and I were two of the first people to arrive and she made the mistake of asking me how our cruise was going…I let her have it. Now, not in a nasty way, just the unvarnished truth of why I felt this was one of the worst cruises we have been on. She handled it well but offered me no solutions. She was SHOCKED about the announcements in the buffet and not surprised by my other complaints about scheduling and reservations. The Meet and Mingle itself was very nice. The Activities Director came by with a bunch of freebie stuff to give away in a door prize raffle. There were about 15 parties there and about 30 people and I think someone in every group got something. We got to meet a lot of nice people that we had been conversing with online pre-cruise and I was thanked a number of times for my Seattle expertise and recommendations. One of the people we got to meet had posted a lot on the Roll Call and she helped be understand Royal Caribbean and this cruise a little bit better. She is a long time RCL cruiser and asked me how our cruise was going. When I told her she was surprised. She said her party of more than 20 was have a great time and she asked me for specifics. When I told her about the buffet she said she wouldn’t know since they never went to the buffet…or the dining rooms. They were Diamond Plus on Royal (the second highest level in their loyalty club) and so they ate many meals in the Concierge Club (only open to those people at her level of loyalty and those in suites). She also said that she had purchased the “Ultimate Dining Package” for everyone in their group. That means that they could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day in specialty restaurants. When I mentioned the fact that we couldn’t get the kids or the grandkids reservations to do many of the activities they wanted to do or had to stand in line for an hour to do something, she replied that they didn’t have to do that since they had pre-purchased what RCL calls The Key. The Key is like a Disney Fast Pass. It lets you jump the line numerous times on just about any activity or in making reservations for any activity. It costs (depending on the age of the person you are buying it for) is approximately $30 per person, per day. So that just showed me that to really enjoy this cruise, Grandpa (me) screwed up. I should have sucked it up and spent another $4,000 to get both the Ultimate Dining Package and The Key for all of us. Excuse my French again, that’s BULL! We were arriving in Juneau at 12:30 so after the Cruise Critic event, we went to get ready and to meet the kids for lunch before we got off the ship. And here is another example of RCL just not getting it. The majority of people on board have families. We were told that we needed to meet for our shore excursion at 11:45 in the Royal Theater. The only trouble was that not a single (insert my favorite expletive here) food venue was open before 11:30. Has anyone reading this ever tried to get a five year old and an eight year old to sit down and eat in less than 15 minutes? It’s NOT possible. Especially when you can’t even get into a venue to eat until 11:30. Luckily for us, the pizza place opened at 11:20 so we were able to grab a couple of slices and find someplace to sit and eat it. We then proceeded to the theater, got checked in for our excursion and were told to sit and wait for 45 minutes (we didn’t even dock until noon) in a section of the theater. I think the best thing we saw while waiting was a dad come in from the pizza place (quite a walk away from the theater) carrying six plates of pizza to feed his kids. Great scheduling RCL. BTW: I didn’t want RCL to schedule the shore excursion later, I wanted them to open the food venues earlier. If they have more than 1000 people (that’s how many were in the theater) that need to eat before they leave, then open the restaurants and the buffet at 11:00. Just don’t get it. Another huge disappointment for many onboard was our day in the glaciers. So here's what I think happened with Ovation and the glaciers. The US Government in its many entities hands out permits for the cruise lines to sail into the various glacier areas. These permits are passed out on a grandfathered-in basis. The longer the cruise line has been in Alaska, the better choice they get of where they want to go. For instance, Holland America has been in Alaska for years and years and they get Glacier Bay (the hardest one to get). Princess and a few other lines have those permits as well. Others go to Hubbard Glacier (BellKat's favorite), Tracy Arm and what we got...Dawes...the bottom of the list...because it is so hard to get into and has the most of the ice that stopped us from getting there. 
 My belief is that RCL had planned on moving Ovation to Alaska from Asia in 2020 not this year. But NCL did so well with Bliss last year, selling out and them bringing NCL Joy here this year that they pushed Ovation up. Which meant they didn't have space for berthing in Ketchikan and that they had to take the bottom of the barrel when it came to glacier views. Next year they have announced that Ovation will go to Glacier Bay but my guess is that they had the permits set up for this long ago but then when they decided to come a year early, they took what they could get. 
 I was ticked we didn't go up the fjord. I thought the captain was a wimp but on second thought, I don't think he made the decision. I think that was a corporate decision. But what really ticks me off is that this was as far as Ovation has gotten all summer long and yet they still sold Northstar Glacier Views for an additional $50 per person. If they really didn't think they were going to get up to the glacier, that was out and out fraud and shame on them. If you go back to reviews of past cruises this year, there are lots of people that have complained that they have not sent the ship up to the glacier. I spoke to one woman who paid the $50 for the Northstar at the Glacier but was NOT offered (at least as of the sixth night of the cruise) any kind of refund for that "experience." That is just wrong. 
 That's my theory. If anyone else knows differently or has a better theory, let me know. On the fourth day of our cruise we awoke in Skagway, Alaska, a tiny town that had less people than the ship we were on. Which by the way is part of the problem Ovation has. The ship had too many people on it. Not that other ships can't handle that number of people, but Ovation really can't. It just had a hard time handling the number of people we had on board. I think I already mentioned that there were (with all cabins full) almost 5,000 people on board, 1,000 of them kids. I had a thought when we were in Seattle moored next to Celebrity's Solstice, a ship we have sailed on (or one of her almost identical sister ships) many times. Sitting next to each other, the two ships (Ovation and Solstice) don't look that much bigger than each other (Ovation has two more decks). In fact when we were onboard I noticed that Ovation was built at the same shipyard as the Solstice class ships. And they are very much alike. Most of our cruises have been on RCL's sister line, Celebrity. One of the things I have always felt I didn't like about Celebrity's Solstice class was that they only had two banks of elevators—one at the front of the ship and one in the middle of the ship. On Solstice (with slightly more than 3,000 people when it is full) it just means you have to walk further to get to an elevator. On Ovation with almost 5,000 people, it means that people wait and wait and wait for an elevator on a 16 deck ship. An example: I almost always take the stairs on a cruise. I do that to fight any weight gain from all the food and drink. Kathleen with her hip replaced can't do that (one day I climbed 58 flights–yes I am nuts) so she takes the elevator. Normally I arrive after a four or five flight climb to find her waiting for me at the top of the stairs. But on this cruise, most of the time, I could climb 10 or 12 flights of stairs and then have to wait another four or five minutes for her elevator to arrive. That's nuts and just a symptom of the problems Ovation has. I heard so many complaints about the elevators, it just got old. And this is the same reason that we were hearing announcements about eating quick in the buffet. The buffet is the same physical size as Solstice (or not much larger) and feeding 2,000 more people. When we returned from our train trip excursion in Skagway, we took a short walk around the town and headed back to the ship. Because Ovation was moored at the very end of the pier, it was a really long walk in windy conditions. When we got back on the kids really wanted to go to the buffet and grandpa got outvoted so off we went. Surprise, there was an improvement in find a a place to sit. Because so many people were still in Skagway, we easily found a table but sadly, the food was just as bad as it had been before. Cold burgers, cold hot dogs, lukewarm pizza and warm plates for salads. It was just sad. How could a food program that produces pretty good food in the dining room be so bad in the buffet. After lunch the kids and grandkids wanted to try rock climbing and we hoped that there would be less of a crowd than there had been a few days before and we were right. Only trouble was that the first time they had done rock climbing a few days earlier, Maylee (who was well over the 42 inches they require to rock climb) was denied because she is only five (she turns six in three weeks). But why deny her now and not on the second night of the cruise? I don't understand. Consistency Ovation! Let's talk what I loved about our Ovation of the Seas cruise to Alaska with our kids and grandkids. So many of you have commented that every thing seems to have been horrible and now where should they take their kids on a cruise if not Royal. Well I am here to say, go ahead and take them on Royal Caribbean, just have lower expectations and a different mindset of what is important. Here are the five things I loved about our cruise. Number 1: Spending the week with my grandkids and their parents. It was a sheer joy to have my two grandkids knock on our door every day before breakfast and say, "room service," laughing the entire time. Even standing in line for hours with them was great. We had so many interesting conversations. I have never played so much foosball and loved it. Mason and I have a particular bond (I was lucky enough to get to take care of him when he was really little when his Mom was teaching and his Dad had to work) and we have always just been simpatico. He's my best buddy and I am his. So spending time with him is a joy for me. And Maylee loves me and adores her Grandma K. All the hassles we had on this cruise from start to finish are overshadowed by the incredible time we had with those two and their parents. It was a vacation we will all remember for a very long time. Number 2: Our stateroom. In 28 cruises (barring the one time we had a suite) this was the nicest room we have ever been in. It was the best designed, had the most storage, was the most comfortable as far as just being in it. Sure, the shower could have been a little bigger but at least it was an enclosure and didn't have a shower curtain. And the bed was one of the worst we have ever slept on (but that didn't detract from the great stateroom design). We should mention there are entire Cruise Critic threads out there about people bringing air mattresses because the beds are so bad. Number 3: The service team in the dining room. Res and Putu were actually better than pretty much any other serving team we have ever had. After having Richard and his team in Blu (on Reflection in Iceland) I didn't think it could get any better. But I was wrong. And the fact that I was wrong is what makes RCL the right place to take kids. You see even though the management has scheduling conflicts and the kid's club people were just ho-hum in their interactions with our kids, the real star of the ship for kids are the adults who "get" how to deal with kids. From our room steward Shetty who talked to the kids every time he saw them to the guy running the Flowrider who took time to work with kids on trying new things (he didn't have to do that) these people got kids. And above all, these two amazing people who served us each night in the dining room charmed our kids. Especially Res who just knew how to deal with kids so well. Number 4: The gym. It was spiffy! That's the best word I can give it. I went every morning for an hour and as usual it was packed on day one and almost empty on day six. But all the equipment is still like new. Best stationary bike I have ridden that I didn't own. The place was kept VERY clean. Number 5: The ship itself. Ovation is new and beautiful. It has been quite a while since we have been on a ship this new. Everything is still clean and sparkly compared to many other, older ships we have sailed on—even though Ovation is almost three years old. She has been well taken care of and if you are considering a cruise on her you will love the ship itself. I especially loved the artwork in all the stairwells. Of course you have to take the stairs to see it all, but the elevators are so slow, you can take your time on the stairs. That about does it. Not perfection but not horrible either. And I can say this unequivocally—if I had to do it again, and I could avoid a few of the bigger problems (like having a passport—that we just got back from renewal today) I would. Just avoid the buffet, eat in the dining room and take your grandkids. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Ovation of the Sea JULY 26 2019 7 Days 3 Ports No glacier (see comment below) Very little inside Passage. Big Ship over 1000 kids. Lots for kids to try and do. Big lines. Crowded slow elevators. Great shows, Main Dining ... Read More
Ovation of the Sea JULY 26 2019 7 Days 3 Ports No glacier (see comment below) Very little inside Passage. Big Ship over 1000 kids. Lots for kids to try and do. Big lines. Crowded slow elevators. Great shows, Main Dining service great, Food a bit down in my humble estimation but lots of it. (unfortunately for the waist line) Buffet crowded while at sea. (Actually asked to leave the buffet via pa broadcast if you were finished on sea days) Not cool. Too many people. That’s the lowdown. Still had a PRETTY GOOD cruise with friends family but the experience was not what I would call a holiday anymore. I won't be on this vessel again unless the new Flow Rider King my grandson pays at least half. lol Bit of a grind and RCI has got themselves in a bit of a pickle with the size of the ship and the staff they wish to pay number wise in scheduling activities on their Flow rider/Bumper car/Wall climbing/North Star etc. etc. Same guys do all of these sites and more as activities staff, and they can not be at all locations at once obviously. Two banks of elevators times two sides just not enough and the walking from one end to other seemed longer this year. But of course I’m getting on too. So it may not be an issue for you. The elevator frequency is another issue however. I do not remember coming to an elevator so often and found them all UP or All down from where I was at. I was roomed on deck 7 and all the restaurants as usual down several floors or the buffet on 14/topish. Pools on top and the shops and guest services on 4 and 5. They just seemed out of sync and or not enough for the mass of people on board. Wait times were long compared to any ship I have been on. Passengers... 5 G I was told .... and 1000 kids..did I mention that. The lines to activities of course can be defeated with a pay extra benefit called “The Key”. My teenage GS was not impressed by the privileged kids that budged. He learned another life lesson. Rooms on this ship really workable. I didn’t manage a suite but if the space in the regular rooms out side/window and Balcony … Inside with Virtual window any indication I’m sure they would be fine. Storage is better than the M and S class on Celebrity for sure. (No life jackets in the room helps). Although I think maybe the showers are a bit smaller. Or was it me again. Somebody else thought that too so I think I’m right. Room attendant very pleasant and did her job really really well. (Thanks Mardol.) Note: Do not pay extra for a virtual Balcony. I asked them to check mine and it was no better after they did. Lots of breakup and the picture was just OK when in bright sunlight and close to objects. Shore and dock area’s only and not great at that. Pretty useless at sea. The fake balcony rail on screen was nice and bright though. Just not worth it at all as far as I’m concerned. The ship is big and beautiful for sure. Dining was early for us and main seating was early//Seated by 5:15. We did this because we wanted to be with kids and friends who had kids as we thought that it would be better to feed the bears and then turn them loose. In hind-site it may have been better to go anytime somewhere and book a fixed time a bit later with a maitre D. for all week. Early dining conflicted with a lot of open times for activities. Late would have also. Avoided upcharged restaurants. No charge items at Fish and Ships. were great for lunch. Believe it or not didn't get to the doghouse . Saw it but I was never ready for lunch when I was there. 270 Lunch was sad. (although the roast beef on embarkation day was great). Solarium Breakfast and Lunch OK. Windjammer was and always is the Windjammer. As I mentioned the shows were great. Pixels … Is a great show in 270, with dancers etc. Interacting with great music and 4 robotic screens with pixels and the entire back half of the stern viewing windows that also turn into screens. Separate venue from the main theatre. You need reservations and you can get them online before you cruise sometime. Main shows were very Vegas Like and better than I remember onboard as I have not been doing shows for a while on X as they tended to be all the same. Maybe the girls just looked better. Juggler and Comedian (not the same guy) were super. Juggler was a comic too. Had no problem getting great seats by arriving 10-20 mins early . A Mountie was aboard and gave three great lectures about "The Force." The Old, New and training. Young fellow…. trained 10 yrs after me. Made a few rookie mistakes lol. There was a Wildlife guy too..missed him. Oh and they had a “Real” Orchestra/Band onboard and THEY COULD PLAY. Seattle : Embarkation was a zoo . Two things. One we had been assured that we could use our Nexus cards to board. But this was not going to work so as we did have our passports with us we were only held up for a bit while we fished them out. Friends who had checked on this and had sent their passports in to be renewed were shunted around until the shore people actually had a Ship’s Person come down and put them straight. Believe it or not. The shore staff didn’t know they could use a Nexus card. There was another issue with friends that had actually paid for two parties when the paid for party checked in and claimed the credit card on account and then the Person that actually paid arrived and were told their card had been compromised as it was used already. Really this SHIP happens. But by far was the zoo on the pre-board floor. I understand that departure and ship clearing was held up. Really not all that unusual right, it happens all the time. But when there was no (not enough) seating, organization or persons that cared about telling us what was happening you can imagine the mess. Not enough area for us all. Announcements could not be heard over the crowd and the announcements for the other ship in port going on for half the same floor we were all on. I think/hope that this was unusual and that normally the flow worked. But it sure didn’t for us and when the doors opened in was a minor, Plus ok ok major stampede . They needed to have some plan to keep control with temp barricades. Not a great way to meet your 4998 other guests. Ok not that many but there were lots cause we all want to be there a bit early..right? Go later if you board this big vessel. But you will find getting a place to be comfortable and get food a bit hard to find. Getting off went smoothly for everyone as far as I could see. We were at our shuttle a half hour earlier than we were timed for. Bet that didn’t happen the week before when we boarded. Now the glacier...Dawes was on the schedule. Some folks had paid for a special view from the “North Star” a observation pod hoisted high up on an imitation Nasa like Canada Arm. I had been there before and it’s quite a sight. We didn’t make it for an ice issue and I understand that this ship hasn’t made it all season. I have been disappointed in this area before but still charging folks to see no glacier seemed harsh. The issue with the glacier is the narrowness of the “Arm” and there is little flow to take the ice away from the front of the glacier. Want to see a glacier with way better odds take a ship that goes to Hubbard or Glacier Bay. But understand it’s no guarantee either. Ports: Juneau has all the tourista stuff right at your gangway. You can stumble to the Red Dog saloon right across the street. Lots of tours to be had and a gondola right up the dock a bit. City bus... the best priced tour of the valley. Even get to see the State prison. Victoria : Some nice tours of the city. Whale watching usually for the 3 local Orca pods (which this year have gone outside (out west of Vancouver Island) a lot looking for food warming is an issue. And of course Butchart Gardens . A must see for any gardener at least once..... even I have done it twice and I’m no gardener. Because of the Ovation’s schedule (two ports) you get a full day stop here vs. the few hours normal on a return 7 day from Seattle.... a stop needed to comply with US law to eliminate steep tax issues and way higher cruise fares. Skagway: The White Pass and Yukon Railway. There are other tours of course but this is the reason to go to Alaska beside the obvious scenery and glaciers. More than a few ways to do the ride but it’s a must for history and the sites. Those gold rushers did some wild things. The town itself has kept to an old school feel and the locals rule the stores mostly and the “Park” regulations keep the buildings in check also. The diamonds and Caribbean stuff is there but not so noticeable. Lol. I even found a shop where the resident artist owner winters in South Eastern BC as she paints while hubby ski’s So I think that’s it. For this ship and my whatever # cruise to Alaska. The key to this ship is…. got kids or grandkids over the age of say 10-13 this ship is for you but do your homework in what they can and can’t do without paying extra. There is a great area called the solarium with a restaurant for Adults only. It also has big relaxing hot tubs and quite a bit of viewing area with lounges. Small pools actually. Open Buffet for breakfast and Lunch but need reservations for supper. Contact me at BSeaBob at gmail com if you have comments, suggestions or any question you may have. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our first Alaska cruise and we selected RCCL for the price and ship. Ovation is a beautiful ship, one of the most beautiful I have been on. (15+ cruises on different lines) It is huge but there was never a point that it felt too ... Read More
This was our first Alaska cruise and we selected RCCL for the price and ship. Ovation is a beautiful ship, one of the most beautiful I have been on. (15+ cruises on different lines) It is huge but there was never a point that it felt too crowded. Loved the three ports but wanted to see so much more. Here are some thoughts: 1)we did whale watching/Mendenhall glacier and it was great! So glad since we didn’t get to the other glacier. We also did White pass train, salmon camp and saloon. Great but didn’t care for the saloon. 2) Balcony cabin deck 10-perfect but crowded for 4 people-great room steward! 3) the teens with us did ifly and we all did Northstar twice! Reservations obtained on board with no problems. End of cruise, it is easy to get on Northstar 4)Teen club great! Great activities 5)Love Paul Shea on piano and Amber and oak guitar player. Also went to Marriage game, majority rules and R-rate comedian-all great. Pixels was confusing but great dancing. Casino only has 1$10 blackjack table-difficult to get on but an empty $500 table??? Stupid Loved two70-loved food and atmosphere! Hush dance party was super fun!! 6) Food was average and always the same. We did My time dining, had reservations and always had to wait while people were seated without reservations?? Service was slow but food was warm. They should try harder on the food creativity. Windjammers was not good at all especially breakfast. We ate at Jamie’s for lunch and it was just average 7) I thought the crew was good but random on enthusiasm. They weren’t as engaging as other cruises we have been on. Next time, we will select itinerary over ship next time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Our family of 4, 2 kids aged 10 and 12, recently returned from our 1 week Alaskan cruise. We found "The Key" package worth the extra money. The one issue at the start of the cruise was rectified the first day. The original ... Read More
Our family of 4, 2 kids aged 10 and 12, recently returned from our 1 week Alaskan cruise. We found "The Key" package worth the extra money. The one issue at the start of the cruise was rectified the first day. The original tickets we printed had "the Key" insignia on it, but we had a cabin upgrade and the new tickets did not have them on. The ticket agent wrote "Key customers" by hand. It got us into the embarkation line. We were on the ship at 11:15 where we were greeted by an assistant cruise director who directed us to the dining room for lunch. Before we entered we received the envelope with a sheet outlining "the Key" special activities for the week and wifi password, but only for my son. I then registered my family for iFly, and North Star, all by 11:50. If my kids were older than 13, we could have registered for the "escape room". Our carryons were checked and were in our rooms at 1. We ate a "Chops Menu Lunch" in the dining room, which was good but similar to dinner in the dining room. The key cards were in our rooms at one, but again, only my son's card had "the Key" insignia on it. I went to the Guest Services desk where a staff member quickly took my key cards, and returned them with a "key" sticker on them. She called IT and by 4:30 we all had our wifi passwords. We used "the Key" for all the shows where we sat in a designated area in the balcony. We went to the one "the Key" designated times for rock wall, Flow Rider, and bumper cars. Our kids went over and over again, really the lineups consisted of a dozen other kids with "the Key". Each time the bumper cars ran, "the Key" members were able to go on 1 ride by skipping the line that wrapped around the SeaPlex. The second or third night at 10 pm room service came to deliver a fruit plate from "the Key". Nice gesture, but we were all in bed. We used the early departure option once at port and it worked well. On the final morning breakfast in the dining room was unhurried. In summary, "the Key" is worth it if you have people who would use the activities. "The Key" allows you sign up for iFly and North Star before others, participate in the rock wall, bumper cars and Flow Rider without a line once or twice during the week, have great seats in shows without going very early. If you are part of a rewards level or suite level, these perks may not be worth it. We also bought the "wow" band, that replaced your room key. I would not get the if I had "the Key" again, as you had to bring your key card anyways to show "the Key" insignia. "The Key" definitely improved our cruise experience. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
This is my 2nd Alaskan cruise. I’m not a big fan of cruises to Alaska because of the cold, cloudy weather, but I agreed to go as long as we cruised Royal Caribbean. Embarkation went smoothly and cabins are available at 1:00. The ship is ... Read More
This is my 2nd Alaskan cruise. I’m not a big fan of cruises to Alaska because of the cold, cloudy weather, but I agreed to go as long as we cruised Royal Caribbean. Embarkation went smoothly and cabins are available at 1:00. The ship is huge and beautiful. Balcony cabin was great and had reclining chairs on the balcony, a huge plus. Service was great for the most part. Everyone was friendly and seemed to enjoy their jobs. Another highlight were the shows. They were top notch. Really enjoyed the Las Vegas Tenors and all their broadway style shows including Pixels. Other than Pixels, no reservations are required for the shows. The hush dance party inTwo70 was a blast. Excursions were great especially the wildlife adventure in Skagway. It’s a high speed boat that does doughnuts through the fjord stopping to see the wildlife along the way. Saw tons of seals, bald eagles and gorgeous waterfalls. My all time favorite port is Victoria. It’s a beautiful city. Since it was my 3rd time there I didn’t do any excursions and opted for high tea instead. The only reason for 4 stars is the food which was just so so. The food in the Windjammer got better as the week went on. We had My time dining which limits you to 2 of the main dining rooms. Most days we opted for Silk because the service was better than The American Icon. By the last night we were pretty tired of the food which was often the same. We didn’t eat in any of the specialty restaurants except The Solarium. Even though it’s a huge ship the only time it felt crowded was on the 4th floor around the shops. It’s a beautiful ship and I would love to sail it again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
7 Helpful Votes
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
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We choose RC Ovation to experience the highly touted Alaska glacier cruise highlights, especially glacier calving touted as spectacular due to global warming. H/E all we got was a ROYAL disappointment. THEY CANCELLED THE DAWES GLACIER ... Read More
We choose RC Ovation to experience the highly touted Alaska glacier cruise highlights, especially glacier calving touted as spectacular due to global warming. H/E all we got was a ROYAL disappointment. THEY CANCELLED THE DAWES GLACIER HIGHLIGHT WITHOUT SUBSTITUTING ANYTHING SIMILAR OR OFFERING ANY COMPENSATION FOR THIS HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! "SO, YOU WENT ON ALASKA CRUISE AND DIDN'T SEE A SINGLE GLACIER?!?" "YEP." OVATION OF THE SEAS ADVERTISES YOU'LL SEE THE SPECTACLER DAWES GLACIER BUT HAS NEVER ACTUALLY CRUISED WITHIN SIGHT OF DAWES OR ANY OTHER GLACIER (could dent the boat, per the Captain). DON'T LET ROYAL CARIBBEAN RUIN YOUR ALASKA CRUISE. Also, there we're NO ANNOUNCED SUNDAY CHRISTIAN SERVICES while lesbian/homo hookup opportunities were announced everyday. The last day we discovered a large Christian group aboard holding daily services which they stated RC refused to announce. Maybe next time they'll cancel a port visit (it's in your contract, the Captain reserves to right to cancel anything he wants WITHOUT COMPENSATION). The food and service were good. We liked our little stateroom - nicely organized and comfortable. But the staff tried to pass off the few small pieces of sea ice as "glaciers." To the Filipino staff any ice in the water is hugely remarkable. The comedian Nivi, the first night was great! But those who missed it just lost out as he never returned to the stage. We experienced a few elevator glitches (both up and down arrow indicators illuminated) and had to hike down five decks to make a show when all the elevators were full, but this was the expeception not the rule. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Our group of 20 (ages 22- 68) chose this cruise to celebrate a milestone anniversary. The ship was beautiful, well appointed, and very clean. We worked very hard to connect our reservations so that we would have meals together in the ... Read More
Our group of 20 (ages 22- 68) chose this cruise to celebrate a milestone anniversary. The ship was beautiful, well appointed, and very clean. We worked very hard to connect our reservations so that we would have meals together in the main dining rooms. The first night, we were spread all over. We spoke to the Head waiter and he took care if it for the following evenings. We were grateful for the change, but feel like it shouldn’t have been wrong to begin with. Meals were very good except for the first night, when the food was poor. I wonder if they do that to encourage specialty dining or if the first night is always iffy?? I haven’t noticed it on other cruises. Our servers Malou and Lula were wonderful!! We loved our shore excursions (purchased from TripAdvisior). In Juneau we did the Mendenhall Glacier and Whale Watching. In Skagway, we went dogsledding. In Victoria, we had tea at The Empress. One thing we noticed about this ship is that there weren’t very many areas where we could sit and play cards. We did like to sit at the large table in Vintages, but they made it clear that they didn’t like it. One day, they asked us to move because they were having wine tasting there- in 2.5 hours!! We questioned the request, even asked an officer and were told they would rather we not sit there and play cards. We were still buying drinks, not disruptive. I thought that was unacceptable but even the supervisor didn’t seem to care! I would say that service everywhere else was adequate, nothing to get excited over. We spoke to our room steward twice the whole 7 days. The best thing about this shop was the musical entertainment. At every venue, the music was terrific. Thank you for that! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
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
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Beautiful ship but too crowded and too big to maximize cruising Alaska. We had a later embarkation time (1:30) and we had no issues - walked quickly onboard and had immediate access to our cabins (although our luggage arrived several ... Read More
Beautiful ship but too crowded and too big to maximize cruising Alaska. We had a later embarkation time (1:30) and we had no issues - walked quickly onboard and had immediate access to our cabins (although our luggage arrived several hours later). We were a large group with several teenagers so we chose Ovation of the Seas for our Alaska trip as we thought it would provide a better range of activities while at sea. In past cruises our teenagers have really taken full advantage of the on board activities. Unfortunately, the activities on the Ovation had really long lines or reservations were all booked (we even tried to make them before the cruise, on-line, but were not available). My guess is that the suites and those that purchased the "Key Pass" had priority, leaving little availability. We waited in a very long line trying to make reservations on the first day but had no success. We were told to keep checking the RC app for cancellations but the system kept crashing and was unusable. The biggest issue with the Ovation, though, is that the size of the ship limits where it can sail in Alaska. It cannot cruise the entire length of the inside passage, and we couldn't get close to Dawe's glacier. We were unable to see it. We arrived early in the morning and we couldn't get close, plus it was very foggy that early in the morning. We only had two ports of call in Alaska - Juneau (1/2 a day) and Skagway (full day). Alaska is beautiful but I felt like we didn't get to see enough of it. If I have the opportunity to do this trip again I would choose a smaller ship with additional stops and one that can cruise through the entire inside passage. The ship was beautiful - clean and very well maintained. The cabins were nice and surprisingly had plenty of storage. We had a balcony room which was great on an Alaskan cruise. Our cabin attendant was excellent as were our dinner dining attendants, some of the best we've had. Breakfast and lunch at the Windjammer, however, were not pleasant experiences. It was very crowded and tables were hard to come by. The maitre'd had to often encourage (in rather loud volume) to eat and vacate the premises so that others could also eat. The gym area is nice but smaller than some of the other ships we've been on. We also found the shows subpar compared to other RC ships, although we did enjoy the Juggler Mike Price. Pixels was a disappointment and some of us left after the first few acts. In Juneau we went on a tour with Gastineau Guiding Company (we booked through RC). We went whale watching, hiked a short trail through the rainforest, and went to view Mendenhall glacier. It was an outstanding tour - a highlight of our trip. It was a small group so enjoyable, and our tour guide was fantastic. Highly recommend! In Skagway we took the White Pass Train Ride - very beautiful scenery. We also did a Musher Camp in the afternoon which we found entertaining. In summary, a beautiful ship but too crowded to thoroughly enjoy and not the best itinerary for Alaska. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
My travel agent sold us on this cruise. The ship was nice and beautifully appointed. Food was just alright. Everything was extra money and we were nickeled and and dimed the whole time. Husband bought the soda package and had to carry ... Read More
My travel agent sold us on this cruise. The ship was nice and beautifully appointed. Food was just alright. Everything was extra money and we were nickeled and and dimed the whole time. Husband bought the soda package and had to carry around a plastic cup like he was at an amusement park. Tacky! I felt like I was at a flea market , there was constant junk being sold on tables throughout the cruise. The shows were very good but time overlap of dinner, other shows, and activities forced us to miss many. Since the ship was very large we were not able to get up close to see the large wall of ice glacier that I hoped to see. I was so disappointed. I wish my travel agent, royal caribbean , or a review would tell me about this. I did enjoy myself because I went with great friends but the trip was not work the almost $6000 we paid. While I had a great time I don't think I'd do another cruise. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
Embarkation was a breeze- Their use of iPads to check people in expedited the process. The port of Seattle is in our view one of the best embarkation points we have sailed from. Cabin and attendant were of the quality of service ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze- Their use of iPads to check people in expedited the process. The port of Seattle is in our view one of the best embarkation points we have sailed from. Cabin and attendant were of the quality of service throughout the cruise that we've experienced on other cruises. Nothing spectacular here just very consistent. Dining: Menu's in the dining rooms similar to other cruises. BUT - we felt the quality was slightly higher than we experienced on other RCL cruises - especially better than on the Oasis Class. The food arrived hot, good flavor. The Windjammer had a greater variety of choices than we had scene on any other RCL cruise. The quality was good. Wait staff were always kind, helpful and cheery. If you asked for something the reply was always "Why Not". Entertainment and Activities: This is a high tech ship. 270 is a geeky persons dream. The entertainment is geared more for Millennial and Gen Zers. The Las Vegas style show, while clean, is high in sexual innuendo and is NOT for children. Pixels is more along the lines of a very high tech Cirque de soilel. Our daughter very much admired the music and skill of the guitar player in the bar and went almost every night. Ship Layout: Very different than other RCL ships and took a day or two to reorient to the design. We overheard a few negative comments concerning the layout from older baby boomers - who obviously couldn't deal with the change. Itinerary - This is why we gave the cruise a 4. RCL sold a cruise including "scenic cruising" in the inside passage. The ship is too large for this. Apparently, the week before our cruise the inside passage was attempted but the ship almost grounded twice. This is an RCL issue. They should have known this before hand. Itinerary continued: We were able to get close to Dawes Glacier. The weather was perfect. In close, the Captain rotated the ship thru 1,080 degrees before heading out. in doing so, the ship was so close to bottoming out that a large amount of silt was kicked up. Many seals with seal pups on the ice. Juneau - Whale watch - spectacular - Many whales and sea lions. Witnessed a whale breech 2x right next to another boat. And a mother whale and baby breech 3x each. Too many bald eagles to count and Dall sheep on the mountain side. Bring good binoculars. Skagway - Took the train ride. Breath taking views. Victoria - ok - nothing spectacular In our view, there was plenty of time that RCL could have added in Sitka or Ketchikan. Excitement: On the way back from Dawes Glacier, we were visited by a Coast Guard helicopter. Apparently someone had fallen ill and needed to be evacuated. The BlackHawk helicopter was too large to land so they had to perform the evacuation while hovering. Disembarkation - Very fast and ahead of schedule. If you use Uber, the pick-up location is quite a long walk. Oh - we arranged for Uber and were dropped 6 times. They wanted the airport fare and we were only going into Seattle. Special note: We had the opportunity to live and work in the Philippines in the late 90's. We always engage the Filipinos and ask them about where they are from etc. Well - we discovered that Ed who is the next cruise manager worked at the Shang ri la Makati while we were there. Then we discovered that Irene in Coastal Kitchen and Darcie in Chops had worked in the New World Hotel Makati when we were there. Most special was that the Manager (Oliver) over Sorrentos had been a waiteer in Bocarinnos Restaurant (our favorite restaurant in Manila) in the New World Hotel. We were able to connect with him and shared some fond memories. Summary - while we throughly enjoyed this cruise -with the only disappointment in the failure to sail the inside passage - knowing this up front we most likely would not have taken this sailing. Alaska to us is about seeing and enjoying nature. Also, this is also not the ship for cruisers expecting a layout and flow similar to the Oasis Class. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
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
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