I would have given Ovation more stars but right on the docks it started badly. My husband and I both have mobility issues. This was our 50th anniversary cruise and we almost weren't allowed on the ship! When we arrived at the port ... Read More
I would have given Ovation more stars but right on the docks it started badly. My husband and I both have mobility issues. This was our 50th anniversary cruise and we almost weren't allowed on the ship! When we arrived at the port although we were scheduled for pier assistance, we had to walk a LOOOONG way to get there, you don't get to the wheelchairs till you are almost on the ramps! They checked our passports and set sail passes on the first floor of the pier and sent us up the elevator to check in. There were people just off the elevator who again looked at our set sail passes and told us to see a pier administrator. I asked why and where do I go. They did not say why but just said go straight ahead someone will help you. We went straight ahead, talked to yet another person who told us to go to the wheelchair area, who then sent us back to one of the check in desks. Long story short, after at least 6 different people who kept saying they didn't know what was going on, one lady said, "Oh, you can't get on the ship because you owe money!!!" She said we owed $179.62. Not only a strange amt but how could I have printed my set sail pass if I still owed money? Luckily, I had printed all my Paid in full receipts ...cruise, excursions and amenities After repeatedly saying we owed the money but having no idea why, they allowed us on the ship only after I signed papers that said I would settle this on the ship. They also copied all my paid in full receipts. then we went to wait for wheelchairs.
When we finally got on the ship, we went directly to guest services to get this taken care of and no one knew what the amount "owed" was for, only that we owed it. They said they'd check it out and get back to me and leave a message on my phone....never happened. This went on for three days, each day a promised call never happened...finally one person at guest services, on the third day said I guarantee you will not be charged for this ...she signed a receipt and the charge did not appear on my bill.
Not only was all this a pain, but we were unable to sign up for the escape room and Ifly on boarding because they were gone since we took so long checking in....total time checking in....we were at the pier at 1030a and rooms were open by the time we left GS...so it was after 130p.
We got to our room and it was a very nice quiet room, about 15 ft off the elevators, . After unpacking, I went to wash my hands and heard a deep gurgling sound. The hubs thought it sounded like a clogged or blocked pipe. I didn't pay much attention since the toilet and sink worked the rest of the day. The next morning while I was taking a shower I realized the water wasn't going down and before I could get out, the water level had risen to the height of the bathroom door! Luckily it did not go into the room. They sent someone up to rod out the drains, followed by a team to clean and disinfect the bathroom. After that we had no problem with the room. The balcony was large, and comfortable...with 2 chairs and footrests and a small table. The blackout shades worked well and the bed was comfortable.
Our room steward "V" (his name was very long and difficult to pronounce so he said just call me V) was great. Replaced the ice as needed, cleaned the room, even when we said don't bother and kept us supplied with towels and some towel animals.
We did not use the MDR as we ate whenever we felt hungry. We used the Windjammer and the food was actually very good. Loved the soups but they were loaded with salt! Finding a seat however was another story. We also ate at Sorrento's Pizza...which was very good. They had antipasto type dishes and pizza. Cafe Promenade was not as good as on the Oasis class ships. Desserts, pastries and cakes on the whole, were not very good. But this was expected since they were no better on any other RCI ship I have been on.
The casino was drab and smoke filled. It seemed that there were very few slot machines and the only ones paying or interesting enough to play were in the smoking section. I did hit a jackpot for $1180 and was very happy it was $20 under the taxable limit...they have signs all over the casino stating that there is a 30% tax on wins of $1200 or more!!! 30%...that's HUGE!
As far as the excursions/ports....Loved Juneau and Skagway but transportation in Skagway left a lot to be desired. Whale watching and wild life excursion in Juneau was a big disappointment ...seeing only the water blow and a whale's back was not very exciting. We saw about 5 sea lions on one bouy ...the extent of the wildlife. The captain said he saw an eagle fly by. The excursion boat was old, smelly and the stairs were so steep they were very difficult to maneuver even for able bodied persons. Skagway was beautiful and the White Mountain Pass Railway is a must do.
We used luggage valet through RCI and it was great! It was easy and free. We left our luggage outside our door on Friday night and never saw it again till we landed in Chicago.
Disembarkation and airport transport was a joke really. We bought and paid for 2 ...then got an instruction sheet very late...after 8pm with instructions for everyone but those with transfers...all it said was Transfers booked with us? Please see below...but the "below" was not there...many people were in line at GS just after 8pm on Friday for help trying to figure out what to do.
The next morning, we found our way to the wheel chair assistance area, I needed to use the restrooms and tried to go to the one near the W/C area..I was told I'd have to walk up or down one floor or take an elevator (you know how crowded they are when everyone is leaving the ship).They said the restroom was closed due to security reasons! WHY would they make the restroom close to the handicapped area unavailable?!?!?!? Stupidest thing ever!! Continuing on.....although our flight wasn't until 330pm...we were put on an early bus and had to wait at the airport for 6 hours!!!! They also, wanted to put us on a different bus but the bus driver was nowhere to be found...so they loaded us all up on yet another bus. Also there was no manifest of names for people who paid nor did anyone have a physical ticket. Honestly, anyone could have gotten in the transport line and boarded one of the buses for free. Where the buses leave you at the airport was VERY far from the check in area....a good 4 blocks...there were however, wheelchairs for those that needed them.
The ship, on the whole, is beautiful and yes, I would go on it again. The hallways are very twisty, turny and not in a straight line like the Oasis class...this makes walking thru those hallways seem very long and for the first time ever I always had difficulty figuring out which direction was the front or back. Also, when the MDR, Windjammer and 270 are closed (they all seemed to be closed at the same time) , there is only free pizza or what is available in the cafe promenade (premade shrimp salad or ham & cheese sandwiches, the same everyday) available. They really need something else. They do have a hot dog hut but it was never opened when we went there. Fish & Ships, by the outdoor pool was never busy. I only saw one or two people there the whole cruise and it was not free. We LOVED both indoor pools but the hot tubs in the solarium were very tiny...and really WHY do people traveling in Alaska open the windows??? Makes for a rather cold indoor pool. Read Less