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Found 185 results

  1. Does anyone know if Diamond+ cruisers are allowed to use the Concierge lounge on the Ovation?
  2. TL/DR - we enjoyed the ship, itinerary, crew and fellow passengers. No major complaints, mostly nit-picking. It was a good trip. Ship Our fourth ship (Allure, Freedom, Harmony) This ship felt a bit narrow and cramped, though I think we’re spoiled after being on Allure and Harmony. The promenade feels like it has more space dedicated to stores and less to walk or enjoy. The outside pool area and running track also felt crowded. While at sea the weather was 50’s & 60's and rainy, so we spent little time outside, which just made the inside seem all the more enclosed. It does have two adult attractions – Northstar and Ripcord. Northstar was nice – about 8 or 9 minutes up with a pleasant view and an attendant making wisecracks. When we were at Dawes Glacier they charged for the ride. Northstar was not working for the first 2 ½ days of the cruise. Ripcord was like a popular ride at a theme park – an hour waiting in-line for a minute long ride. I was disappointed, because it needs a bit of skill, which means more than one trip, and there’s not enough availability. It was fully booked as the cruise began. It’s similar to FlowRider in that a passenger mastering the basics will be allowed more time, while someone wiping out early is just moved out. There was a large multipurpose indoor court / area where there were bumper cars, skating, and ball games, with volleyball and a dodge ball contest. This area was always in use and quite popular. We felt the ship moved / rocked more than Oasis class. Others probably complained, as the captain made an announcement regarding currents and ship stabilizers toward the end of the cruise. We overheard someone say “top heavy”. Certainly the sea did not appear choppy enough to cause the excessive and never ending movement, but it was substantially more than we have experienced on other trips. The gym was well equipped (for our needs). No vitality cafe, which we missed. Royal Theater was large and the seats comfortable. We saw two headliner shows that we really enjoyed, more so than any other cruise so far. There were also two live bands, one was the worst we’ve heard on any cruise. I guess it averages out. Two70 is a nice area with great views, we caught part of the show, which was entertaining. That food option is fine, (assembly salads and sandwiches) but could be so much more with some better training and logistics. Both the theater and the food are nice options not available on the Oasis class. No smell of smoking anywhere, and this was the first time we've been able to walk through a casino. Not sure where the smoking area was, we only saw smokers twice, both times a couple of jerks secretly smoking in public areas. I think we would have found this ship more enjoyable if we hadn’t cruised first on Allure and Harmony. Still, More nits than real complaints. Itinerary We didn’t care for a sea / land combination, so the Seattle round trip appealed to us. We were nonetheless left with a feeling of too many sea days (4) and not enough port visits (3). The ports we did visit were very good, with a nice variety of both RCI and locally based excursions, plenty of time to visit. We saw lots of marine life, including two Orca pods that were kind enough to spend over an hour with us and put on quite a display. It’s still a good option for people looking for a simple Alaska visit and not interested in ship / land combinations. Crew Crew was just as good as ever - hard working, trying to please. Fellow passengers Different from Caribbean cruises. Not as much drinking, partying or at the pool. Also not as many families with young children. Not as much yelling. On formal nights there seemed to be fewer passengers with formal dress. Overall, dress was not as relaxed as we’ve seen with Caribbean itineraries. We were in a grand suite (second time), breakfast and dinner in CK, lunch in WJ. No complaints about the food. Lots of variety. Some people just don't know basic hygiene and etiquette in a buffet, but this was definitely less of an issue than we've seen in the Caribbean cruises. CK staff was top notch, Nadia in the lounge was perfect. The lounge was fine, with a nice view. Sometimes crowded and often noisy but always a place to sit and never unpleasant. There were 5 Pinnacles, we met them and had some pleasant conversations. Surprising, it turns out they are real people and just like everyone else. (based on comments here I expected horns, tails and pitchforks) Seattle port terminal is a zoo, makes us appreciate Port Everglades all the more. Both priority check-in and departure is quite limited – almost non-existent. We queued for 40 minutes to check in, with many RCI people around but none particularly helpful. For disembarkation we used Seattle Port Valet, which was very helpful. There was an immigration / customs check, but they didn’t really do much except smile and glance at the passports. The terminal is very small and a full ship overwhelms it. In and out early is best, and better to allow plenty of time for the crowds. I went down for coffee at 6 and saw lots of passengers queued for early self-departure. Good binoculars and a rain jacket are a must for this cruise.
  3. Anyone know day, time and venue for Top Tier C &A event on Ovation 7 nights Alaska cruise? I am trying to plan my on board activities. Found a Cruise Compass for this season’s 7 night cruises on line but that is not listed.
  4. Hey everyone... it's been a while! But I'm back, and ready for another review. I have been waiting for this sailing with anticipation more so than any other sailing since Quantum's first ever Caribbean sailing Dec 1, 2014. In fact, I had Anthem booked 3 years ago and had to move my deposit over to another ship as the timing did not work for me, and never re-booked Anthem. I've been yearning to get on another Quantum Class sailing as I really loved Quantum. I shared my Quantum review above with my roll call as many cruisers on this sailing have never been on a Q Class ship. That first photo is epic! Hardly anyone has been on the front bow area of the ship since Quantum, not even on Anthem. And now with the All Access Tour scaled down in half, it's no longer offered. If you've never been on Q CLass and would like a trip down memory lane, have a look at Quantum above. Back to Ovation and Alaska... I've been party to many "Q Class in Alaska" threads over the last 5 years here in CC. I was a HUGE fan since day one that a Q Class ship would be a great hit and best seller for Alaskan itineraries. I just couldn't believe it when they sent a totally inner focused ship with a fully exposed top deck (in Alaskan weather) the Explorer to the Pacific Northwest. Totally stupid in my opinion. But alas, 5 years in the making and Ovation is finally here... in my own home town no less! Vancouver is beautiful and consistently voted in the top 20 cities to visit and/or live in in the world. Those cruisers who are too lazy to hang around a day pre or post cruise are doing themselves an injustice. Above you see the downtown core of Vancouver, with Canada Place Pier in the lower right (the "Sails"). To get their, Ovation has to transit under the Lion's Gate Bridge through a small pass in the upper right before reaching open ocean. The bridge is 198 feet mid span... Q Class is 198 feet tall on a good day. Uhm.... ok.... so there's an issue here. Above is the 178 foot tall Radiance going under the bridge with only 20 feet clearance. So how will Ovation get under?? Well, the current Transpacific from Hawaii will be arriving early to Vancouver the night before debarkation at 8pm in order to get the lowest tide level possible. Not only that, I suspect we'll witness the rare event of the funnels being retracted. And even with all that, there's supposedly about a 5 foot clearance of the Lion's Gate Bridge. I've also been involved in many Panama Canal threads regarding size of ships, and which ships may or may not pass under the Bridge of Americas on the Pacific side of the Panama Canal... this sailing re-enforces the best answers given by BillH48 and ChengP on those threads, that likely only perfect conditions would allow for a Q Class ship to get under the BoA as it is a sister bridge with same span height as the Lion's Gate. We are currently experiencing summer weather this week in Vancouver. Today it was 25 degree Celcius/about 75 degrees F. On Sunday and Monday it cools a bit to 65F/18C... still great weather for a beautiful sail-in and sail-away from the port of Vancouver. If anyone is around Stanley Park on Monday night, they should definitely get to a view point somewhere to watch the ship leave. According to slack tide charts found by AlanF on our role call (Thx Alan!) we are estimating Ovation to leave Canada Place around 6:45-7 and get to the bridge somewhere between 7:10-7:30 to hit that low tide. So why this itinerary? It's one of a kind and is not being repeated. 4 port stops, 2 glacier viewings, and basically (for me anyways) a round trip Vancouver-to-Seattle sailing which is a simple bus trip back up from Seattle when the cruise is finished. The itinerary is outstanding with a ton of extended time at the ports. Date Port Arrive Depart Monday, May 13 Vancouver, BC, Canada 5:00pm Tuesday, May 14 At Sea Wednesday, May 15 At Sea Thursday, May 16 Icy Strait Point, AK 9:00am 8:00pm Friday, May 17 Sitka, AK 7:00am 6:00pm Saturday, May 18 Hubbard Glacier, AK (Cruising) Sunday, May 19 Juneau, AK 7:00am 9:00pm Monday, May 20 Skagway, AK 7:00am 8:30pm Tuesday, May 21 Endicott Arm, AK (Cruising) Wednesday, May 22 At Sea Thursday, May 23 At Sea Friday, May 24 Seattle, WA 6:00am I'll have VOOM on this cruise, so we'll see the O3b satellite network works for Alaska, especially for all the negative internet reviews on radiance the last few years. I have a few more posts to add before cruise day on Monday. This is going to be an AWESOME cruise! 😁
  5. I know there has been quite a bit of chatter about Ovation in Alaska and folks sailing later in the season have had a lot of questions, so I thought I would post some of my thoughts and experiences from our 7 day cruise that left on 5/31/19. Please feel free to ask any questions! Who was sailing: Our group had 14 people sailing together (not in one Stateroom 😉 ) from infant all the way up to senior. We had planned this for quite a while to celebrate a milestone birthday and most of the group has sailed RCCL a few times with about 1/2 the group being Diamond or above. My wife and I are in our early 40s and this is our second time sailing Alaska but our first time on a Quantum class ship. We will be Diamond on our next cruise this summer and have now sailed on every class of RCCL ship and have sailed on most major cruise lines. Most of our group (including us) live in the Orlando area. The Itinerary: This was a R/T sailing our of Seattle and after having done our last Alaskan cruise on a one way Vancouver to Seward itin, you can't help but miss doing Alaska that way. I'm not particularly a "nature" person, so Alaska once every 5 years or so is enough for me. That being said, if I was to do it again - it would have to be a one way itinerary... you just get so much more bang for your buck. Embarkation: Sailing out of a seasonal port is always hit or miss and this embarkation was a bit of a "miss". The ride share drop off and pick up area being 1/3 of a mile away from bag drop isn't great when a huge percentage of your guests are using that. Bag drop off was a complete hot mess - they were boarding a Celebrity ship at the same time and I would be shocked if there weren't quite a few bags dropped off in the wrong place. The main bag area was basically just a huge pile of luggage with no one around... no one to tip, no one to watch the bags... no one at all! This was just before noon - slightly earlier than we usually arrive. Then the line to get in the terminal was also complete chaos stretching way back into the bus loading area but since we dropped off our bags the person manning the line waved us into the line near the front... not one to argue but that shouldn't have happened. Once we got to the front of this line we realized it was just the passport and boarding pass check by the 3rd party security company which usually takes 2 seconds in Florida ports. Regular security and check in were fast enough since the line was all outside. Stateroom: We were originally in an inside stateroom, but I had done a minimum bid on an obstructed balcony ($200pp) and we won it about 5 days before the cruise! We were a little worried because our stateroom (6296) had some reviews that mentioned it being noisy. I even bought a white noise machine before the cruise because I am such a light sleeper. That being said we were VERY happy with our stateroom and had no noise issues at all! Love the layout of these quantum class cabins - so much storage, lots of plugs and plenty of room in the large bathroom. Our last few cruises were on older RCCL ships and this was a very nice surprise! We aren't picky with views - yeah it was obstructed but just having a balcony was really nice and when you are looking at mountains a lifeboat partially in the way doesn't really matter. The proximity to the hidden entrance of Two70 was HUGE. We used that tons to grab a snack at the cafe in Two70, get to Jamie's quicker, etc. I would book a stateroom in that area again in a heartbeat. Our stateroom attendant was fine - no issues but also really didn't see him at all. Kept the room clean and made an impressive towel animal of a cat, which was a first for me! Internet: OMG it was bad. We went into this cruise having read all of the reviews and expected it to not be great, but really had no idea how unusable it would be. With the surf and stream expect 1mbs-2mbs for the majority of your cruise with less than 1mbs upload. Twitter, basic email and messaging apps work, Facebook will kinda work unless you want to upload something or watch a video, Instagram really doesn't work at all for anything - even uploading a basic photo or watching stories. Want to stream something... HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA... good luck! This was by far the worst internet experience we have had in the last 10 (or so ) years of buying internet on cruises including the last time in Alaska. The Internet manger was *beyond* horrible to anyone in our group who went and complained, told people in our group that they were lying about speeds, refused to give any type of credit at all and it took 4 days of going to guest services to get a small credit back. With this all being said, I am not sure I would recommend just buying the "surf" package - it might throttle you even below the surf and stream people. Service In General: This is the first RCCL cruise where I felt almost the entire staff just didn't care. With the exception of the specialty dining rooms, everyone you encountered seemed apathetic to downright unhelpful. Everyone in my group felt this way and kept encountering different examples of it throughout the ship. It was really bizarre - not sure if many are at the end of their contract, if there were different expectations in Australia and Asia or if it is just the leadership of the ship not caring - but it was the first time I rated service on the ship as a 3 on the 10 point scale. Dining: We did the unlimited dining package and it was worth every penny. We got it during the Cyber Monday sale and it worked out to around $15pp per day which is awesome for the quality increase in the food. Service was great in all dining rooms (except Amber & Oak and when the manager of Izumi gave away our reserved table to another party and shrugged her shoulders), food was good everywhere as well. There was some confusion on if we could use it at the Amber & Oak pub for food (and a manager had to get involved) but they let us. Some in our party used it for "second dinner" sushi at Izumi each night after eating in a specialty dining room, so it really was "unlimited". Windjammer continues to go downhill, very few items for lunch (or second dinner) that were even remotely decent. I was hoping this was going to be slightly better than our last few cruises since it is a newer ship.. but nope. Entertainment: I enjoyed the Two70 show, Pixels and the other times the robo screens were used. The "Legs" show was also a bit above a normal cruise ship show and was entertaining (and not even remotely risque). I was bummed there was no Quest on this ship however. Trivia hosts were fine and the cover bands were really not good at all. Sports and Activities: I don't say this lightly, but some of the worst crew I have ever encountered on any ship on any line. The NorthStar was a complete cluster every time they ran it with tons of missinformation, closing early and then lying about it and crew that wouldn't even greet you or look at you when you boarded/rode. Anything going on in SeaPlex was a disaster with no attempt at crowd control, not even remotely enough times scheduled for demand and no attempt to be helpful or friendly. Really put a bad taste in our mouth every day we tried to do one of these activities. The Ship In General: I'll be honest... I am not sure I am a big fan of this class of ships. While it was in great repair, very clean and very "new", everything felt more like a high end hotel in Vegas and less like an RCCL ship. I would put it below Oasis and Freedom class if I was ranking them based on my personal preference. I really dislike that the ship seems to "close up shop" so early and there are venues that would be accessible on other ships 24hrs a day that are inaccessible on this ship. Want to play ping pong at after 11? SeaPlex is closed. Want to hang in the beautiful solarium and chat or play cards after 11? Solarium is closed. So many of the activities are also only accessible to a small portion of guests. iFly, SeaPlex activities like Bumper Cars, North Star, etc are tough to get into and/or get reservations for or are only offered a few times on your cruise. Think about the Oasis class where you have the zipline, mini golf, ice skating, carousel, etc - which everyone can easily do. It also really was frustrating how underutilized Two70 was - it is an amazing venue and it hardly ever gets used. How is there not a DJ dance party there every night using the lights, robo screens, etc? Juneau: We had great luck using Uber/Lyft to get to Mendenhall Glacier and back. It was about $45 each way for an XL which if you have 4-6 people will save you a ton of money. Walking out to nugget falls was just as fun as last time and the view is amazing. Was sad to see it continue to recede and significantly less chunks of ice in the surrounding water. I flew my drone around by the waterfall with no issues. Skagway: Last time we did the whole emerald lake, carcross yukon private excursion thing and had a good time, but we wanted to try the train this time. While it is a bit overpriced, if you enjoy train rides it is must do. The views are a bit repetitive but the narration was good and make sure you sit on the left side for the best chance to see the "sights". Victoria: This was our first time in Victoria and we absolutely loved it. We don't like to do ship excursions whenever possible, so we saved some money and rented a car from Budget for $45 CAD and drove to the castle and the gardens on our own. Saved about $130 for just us doing it that way and had a much better time than being herded in a shuttle bus. Taxis were $10 from the port to downtown and they take USD or CAD. You can also easily walk or take the shuttle bus which ends up being more money than a taxi if you have two or more in your party. Debarkation: We do the opposite of many and try and stay on as long as possible! Even though we had a low number we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in Two70 and walked off around 10:15 with no lines at all. No lines for baggage and customs at that point either. There were still a ton of people on the ship so we were by no means the last ones off. Big cluster at ride share area with tons of guests arriving and departing at the same time. Overall we had a great time, but I would drastically adjust your expectations for service on the ship and internet speed.
  6. Hello all, My family and I are booked on Ovation next month to AK. We have all been to AK about 4x before and always love it. I now have a chance to stay for a 2nd week and have a friend join me while the rest of my family flies home, lol. Would I be bored staying on the same ship for 2 weeks doing the same itiniary? Or is the ship large and fun enough for 2 weeks on it? Celebrity's Solstice is in port that same weekend so I am wondering if I should just switch ships and book on the Solstice for week 2 or just stay on Ovation (more convenient)? I would appreciate any help!
  7. I know that I have read that this is ONE ship where you do not want to book a balcony guarantee. For those who have booked a guarantee for THIS year, did you find out at last minute what your assignment was? I would think with royals bid feature that it works in their favor to NOT assign guarantees until last minute.
  8. We set sail tomorrow, and it was so helpful to have so many questions answered and get an insiders view that I will do my absolute best to do the same while we are cruising. Please note - Our sailing is a chartered sailing, so we do not have access to certain things (ie: The Key, Upgrades etc). Also, we are lowly on the RCL totem pole, so we will not have any perks. My husband and I did not purchase any dining or drink packages, but others in our group of 6 did, so I can try to help. We have 2 excursions booked - Juneau we will be fishing, Skagway - Green Jeep tour. All 6 of us are on the 10th level - we are room 716, and the other two rooms are in the same hall. All outside balcony doubles. I've already been asked to get info/comment about embarkation tomorrow, and plan to do that. If there is anything else you'd like to know, feel free to comment!
  9. Ovation of the Seas Review I have not seen a lot of Reviews on the Ovation of the Seas since it moved to Australia and I know a lot of folks are anxiously awaiting its arrival in Seattle for Alaskan cruises so I thought I would provide a summary of my 21 Jan -2 Feb Sydney/NZ cruise on the Ovation of the Seas. For informational purposes I am in my early 60’s and my wife mid 50’s and consider ourselves very active people. I do not plan on writing about the ports but we visited Dunedin, Picton, Tauranga, Auckland and Bay of Islands NZ. This was our first trip out that way and we loved Australia and especially New Zealand and will definitely try to go back some day. I am sure I will leave out lots of things that folks are interested in but will do my best. I will be happy to answer any questions. Bottom-line Up Front: Due to a large number of negative reviews we had a lot of concerns before the cruise but our experience was nothing but positive and we would sail on the Ovation again in a heartbeat. This is a fantastic family ship but it is great for anyone. If you will be sailing on the Alaska cruises you will love this ship and should have a great time Positives: - Crew was incredible; from our Stateroom steward (Iwan) to our waiters to the bar staff, deck folks, etc. Everyone went out of their way to be helpful. - Food was above (cruise ship) average in all of the Dining facilities especially in the main Dining room (Silk in our case) in the evenings. Windjammer was the Windjammer. Lots of venues and different atmospheres. - Entertainment was varied and was good to excellent. Most nights you had more than one big event occurring. Fantastic entertainment staff. Joff was our cruise Director and he was great (sadly for future cruisers he was on our plane back to LA and on his way to RCCL HQ for a bit) - Ship is beautiful and with the exception of a few of the entertainment venues it rarely seemed crowded despite over 4500 passengers. - There were less than 500 Americans on our cruise with mostly Australians and small number of Chinese and Indian. Cruising with Australians is a lot of fun. Great attitudes, always friendly and there was little to no chair hogging at the pool, around the pool or in the Solarium. We were fortunate enough to be onboard during Australia Day (similar to US 4th of Jul). What a blast! Negatives (minor): - Main entertainment venues are too small. The Theater, the Music Hall and the Two 70 are way too small and have a lot of obstructed/restricted views. Most nights if you wanted to see a show you had to be in place at least 30 minutes early and on AC-DC tribute band night 45 minutes was barely enough. It is amazing how many obstructed/restricted views there are in the main theater from both the upper and lower levels. - No Martini/Champagne Bar. This is one of our usual favorites before dinner and we missed it. Bionic bar was neat the first time you used it but not a replacement for a good Martini Bar - Pool side dining venue formerly a Noodle shop (Johnny Rockets ?) was a waste of space. More on this later Embarkation: The ship docked right in the middle of the downtown port with an amazing view of the Sydney Opera house. The ship was departing at 6:30 PM and we wanted to maximize our tourist time in Sydney so we did not board until after 3:00. By far the easiest embarkation we have ever had. We had walked by the ship earlier while sightseeing and there was a pretty large crowd so waiting seemed to pay off. Stateroom: We stayed in Cabin 8718 which is a starboard side balcony cabin in the far aft part of the ship. Our room was the last one before entering the loft suite area. It was a long walk to the elevator but it was very quiet and peaceful. The cabin seemed a bit bigger to me because my legs did not hit the bed every time I walked by it, but the bathroom was tiny. Cabin had plenty of storage, nice TV and desk (wife had to work a bit), and very comfortable bed. Balcony was good size and had two nice chairs and each had a small piece of furniture to prop our legs. Our steward, Iwan from Indonesia was the best we have had in our 15 or so cruises. He met us on our arrival and ensured we had everything we needed throughout our cruise. Ship: Overall this is a beautiful ship. There is art everywhere. The majority of the public places were on decks 3-5 (restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, bars etc and decks 14-16 (pools, windjammer, spa/gym, recreational facilities (courts, bumper cars, climbing wall etc.). I liked that it had an outdoor pool and indoor pool area and the adults-only solarium. This will be ideal during the Alaska cruises (except for the chair hogging that is bound to happen). The ship is well laid out and it did not appear to have any hard to find venues that you sometimes find on other ships. There are just so many activity spaces especially if you are a kid. The Promenade could be a bit crowded at times and did not have that big open feeling you have on the Allure or on the Freedom. That said I think I liked the central park and boardwalk on the Allure a bit better but the Ovation was much easier to navigate. Food: We ate in most of the venues. For breakfast we ate in the Grand, buffet in the Chic, Windjammer many times (crowds after 9:00 AM), Solarium Bistro, and Two 70 Café. Food was good but the menu was just about the same every day and in every location. Two 70 Café was a bit different and had more of a fast food flair but was very good. For lunch while onboard we ate in the Solarium most days (very good), Windjammer a few times (good) and had pizza one day at Sorrento’s (pizza is better than it looks) and hot dogs from the hot dog stand (good variety of hot dogs and bratwurst). For dinner we had My Time dining and did not make any reservations (to me it defeats the purpose of my time dining). We usually ate during the same time period (6:45-8:00) but at different times every night. Most nights arriving at the lines for the two My Time restaurants it appeared chaotic trying to get a table and a few times we had to wait while folks with reservations were taken care of but it usually did not take long. One night we were asked to come back in 20 minutes so they could give us a table with the servers we had had previously (not our request but appreciated) so we went and got a drink and our table was ready 20 minutes later. I would recommend that if you do not have a reservation that you arrive at the MDRs before or sometime after the early main show because it is a zoo immediately after the show. Apparently after the first night they try to give you the same servers/table as before and although we tried American Icon and even Chic (apparently some folks did not show up for their dinner in Chic so we were moved to the traditional dining venue), we settled on Silk most nights. Overall the food was very good. I learned a long time ago not to eat the steaks and a few other things in the main dining rooms (MDRs) so we did not have a bad meal. There was a great variety of food in the MDR. In addition to the usual fare there were usually a few Indian Dishes on the menu as well as some sort of Australian Pie of the day (meal pie not sweet). Our servers (Shari from Belize and Gretchen from Philippines) were second to none. Their service was great and their personalities were even better. My wife does not like to waste food and does not eat big portions so they were more than willing to serve her smaller portions. One weird thing that I had not seen before is that there were head waiters watching over/lurking in their areas of the restaurant to ensure everything was OK. Frankly we found it a bit creepy (or maybe it was just particular head waiter) but perhaps that is why the MDR experience was so good. That said there were a few nights where everyone arrived at the same time and he did help out. We also ate at the Windjammer one night (so-so) and the Solarium Bistro later in the cruise. We really liked the Solarium Bistro for dinner which has a completely different menu from the main dining rooms for dinner. There is no additional charge but you had to have reservations; the second time we tried to eat there they were unable to accommodate us. We ate in Chops and Jamie’s (for the first time). I love my Ribeye in Chops but they overcooked my wife’s Filet Mignon. I am sure they would have cooked another but she did not want to bother. We liked everything at Jamie’s. Also on Australian day they had a cook-out with among other things ribs and jerk chicken on the pool deck. This was very well done. Kudos to the chefs. I mentioned the Poolside dining venue earlier in my negative comments. This venue was an additional charge restaurant open for lunch and dinner on the starboard side aft of the pool (14th deck) and its menu consisted of Fish and Chips, wings, calamari and some sort of a breaded sausage, etc. I do not think that I ever saw anyone eating in there other than a few folks that may have brought something from somewhere else. What a complete waste of a great space. I assume the ship will change the menu on the Alaskan cruises but unless they have a repair period I doubt it will be a Johnny Rockets. Entertainment: There is no Broadway show on this ship. There was Pixels (reservation required) in Two 70 and two stage productions in the main theater. Pixels was good and although we did not see the other two shows we heard good reviews. The Theater headliners ranged from your typical cruise ship entertainment (singers, piano, mediocre comedians) to a few outstanding comedians and magicians. During our cruise they also had the Australian Eagles and an ACDC tribute bands that each played one night in the Music Hall and one night in Two 70. The Eagles guys were really good but the AC DC tribute band was awesome (my new favorite cruise entertainment). I am only familiar with a few ACDC songs but this band brought down the house. We sat at the bar the night they were in the music hall and I can only assume this was their first time because even the bartenders were taking pictures. This band is probably only for Australian cruises only but if anyone from RCCL reads this post then they should be on every cruise. There were a few entertainment staff sponsored events including a great party on Australian Day, a 70’s night and an end of cruise party. They were a lot of fun but held in Two 70 which is just not set up to handle big crowds especially since there were a lot of kids on the cruise. Almost all the bars had some sort of entertainment which usually moved around to include an acoustic singer, two piano players a few bands and the Ovation Orchestra played a few times outside of the theater. Depending on your mood you could find almost any kind of music you were looking for. Most of the music was good. The band Pulse was the closest to a house band andhad an incredible range of songs and genres. They were especially good following/as part of the 70’s party. We really liked the music hall which is a two floor venue. The upper deck also had some pool tables. Activities: There was something going on all the time to include Bingo, trivia, tastings, etc. I would have loved this ship as a kid. Rock climbing wall, basketball/soccer courts, bumper cars etc. We used the gym on several occasions. It is very well equipped but a bit small for the number of passengers. You really have to figure out what time works best for you. Mornings were very crowded and early evenings were not too bad. The ship also offer a wide array of classes for $20 each (7 for $100 if you pay ahead). We did one class but did not like the instructor so did not take any more classes. The ship has a great jogging/walking track on the 15th deck that is around 4/10 of a mile. Like any ship track it was best to use before 10:00 in the morning or after 5:00. One funny thing about the track is that the Australians keep to the left and Americans keep to the right when walking/jogging so it was anyone’s guess who would move when walking in opposite directions. Final Observations - Had the drink package (studied this for a long time (prices ranged from $49 (what we paid)-$62 prior to sailing were $71 on board) – still not sure if it was worth it but when you add in the fresh squeezed juice, specialty coffee and water it was probably worth it. Most frozen drinks were listed as $14 and they were always covered. There was also a good selection of wines covered. I was a little disappointed in the beer selection but that is because I like IPAs and if they had them on the ship I could not find them. They will probably fix this when the ship sails in the U.S. - Had the Voom and streaming package as part of the beverage combo. First time we had a Wi-Fi package on a ship and the internet was surprisingly good. There were a few places in Southern NZ where the coverage was sporadic but overall it was much better than expected. - Maybe I missed them but did not see a big push on the specialty restaurants and spa services that are overwhelming sometimes. - Since it was summer in Australia there were a lot of kids of all ages but overall they were great. - Ship seemed to do a pretty good job of getting folks on an off the ship and onto their lifeboats acting as tenders. There was a glitch one day in port with the ship’s passenger check off/check in system which led to ship’s security personnel checking folks out manually. It caused an hour delay resulting in the ship departing 30 minutes later. If the system had not come up early in the delay there would be folks still trying to get off the ship. Need a better back up system. - Do not worry if you cannot get a reservation on the Northstar prior to your cruise. On our cruise there were no appointments in the afternoon and one of the operators said that by the end of the cruise there will be no lines and he was correct. If you want a particular time and location during your cruise then it may be an issue but if like us you were just curious then you should be able to get on. The experience was different but it is not something I would go out of my way to do in the future. - Two laundry specials: First/second day – fill a bag (good size) of items to be pressed for about $14 (sorry do not remember exact amount) and washing special about the 4th day for about $35. This was great for us because we had been on the road for over a week before we got to the ship. This was mainly for underwear, socks, t-shirts, shorts, etc. and did not include shirts with collars and pants (specifically stated on info sheet that they would charge full price for these items). Thanks to the cruise critic board where I learned you can get more in a bag if you roll the items. Well I guess I have droned on and it is time to wrap it up. I will do my best to answer any questions and like most reviews there are plenty of others standing by to answer specific questions.
  10. When I booked our rooms, 7135 and 7137, they showed as connecting rooms. The current deck plans today do not show them as connecting. Can anyone advise if there is a connecting door between them? We want to have our 5 & 9 year old boys in one room with us in the other, but need it connected.
  11. Set to set to Hawaii via Vancouver on a 10 day cruise sailing September 20, 2019. I have several question that I know my fellow cruisers can answer: (1) how many formal days on a 10 day cruise; (2) this will be my first sailing on the Pacific Ocean so I’m a little concern about sea sickness. Is it common for the ocean to be rough. I’ve only sailed the Caribbean & have been fortunate to have only encountered 1 rough sailing. (3) how’s the entertainment on the Ovation? With 5 days cruising my significant other loves to be entertained (give me a good book & lounge chair & I’m happy). (4) we’ve booked an obstructed balcony, 7628. If anyone has stayed in this cabin I would love to know the extent of the obstruction. Thank you.
  12. We will be sailing June 21st to Alaska with my brother and his three kids, 8, 10 and 11. I have been reviewing most of the current threads regarding the start of Ovations Alaska sailings but there isn't much as far as the kids clubs. I have only sailed Carnival when my children were small so I wanted to know if some of the things are similar. These kids are very outgoing and very much into sports and activities so I am not thinking they will balk at participating. I already have them signed up for IFly, Northstar and Pixels. The two older already know how to surf so they keep thinking they will spend all their time at the wave pool. 🙄 I keep telling them there is a lot to do. So here are my questions. On the first night is there a "Kids Club Sign Up"? and if so what time should we expect this? Do the kids stay a short time or come back later for an activity? Are there planned night activities so the parents can eat a meal out? If so what are the usual times? We have offered to keep an eye on them one or two nights but it would be nice to have an evening out with all of the adults. The activities, such as bumper cars and skating, do any of the older kids clubs have a set time that they take the kids to these? Are there Kid activities that cost extra? Such as design a tshirt or make a bear? Ok I think that is it. Any help would be appreciated. I'll look at some of the other reviews for other ships but trying to get as close an idea with the Ovation to share with him as possible.
  13. Going on Ovation out of Seattle in Aug to Alaska. I've been waiting for the entertainment to open up and make reservation. Can anyone tell give me a rough estimate of when they open the reservations? So far they only have Pixel, and we are 73 days out. I do check everyday and thank goodness I do because they had the north star open to book, and now its full.
  14. Sailing on Ovation on 6/14 and looking for recent cruise compass from 5/24 sailing. Have only been able to find the 5/13 11 night sailing... Yes, I know it just ended 3 days ago, but seems like the 5/13 sailing was posted almost immediately....
  15. This video will get you in the mood for your Alaska cruise on the Ovation of the Seas departing from pier 91 in Seattle. Ovation of the Seas leaving Pier 91 in Seattle
  16. Anyone have pix or descriptions for a J-3 on Ovation ? Thanks
  17. Fairly new to RCCL but not cruising. Have cruised on Vision of the Seas and Liberty of the Sea a number of years ago. The Ovation is definitely larger :-) Any suggestions as to what we need to reserve once we get on board? Shows? Activities? We have any time dining and will be Diamond based on our Celebrity status. Any hints, suggestions so we aren't completely lost BTW - this will be a seven day round trip Seattle Alaskan cruise in July.
  18. Sailing to Alaska on Ovation May 24. I’m not the most descriptive writer but plan to photograph lots of details like menus and daily activity schedule. Anyone looking for specific details beyond those so that I can photograph and investigate? I know few on these boards have details about this ship and definitely about this cruise to Alaska. I will be in a grand suite with concierge access so I will have free Voom so I plan to post during the cruise.
  19. Any feedback on J-3 Junior Suites on Ovation, in specific, cabin 9622 ??
  20. Hello, This question is for anyone who has just came back from or is presently on a cruise on Ovation of the sea. How did you find the beds in your cabin (balcony/ocean view or interior cabins)? I hear the suites have better mattresses then the above listed cabins. I am booked into a balcony cabin. Would like to know if the mattress is extremely firm, firm or soft.
  21. So I was lucky to reserve Northstar for both of my Anthem cruises as well as on the first one, the ship was doing both sides. Was wonderful while it lasted. And that trip was 9 days so plenty of time for all to get on. I understand Northstar is different for Ovation but any one having lucky making reservations for Alaska trips?? Anyone with any information? Or is is a secret that RCI will let us in on when we board. Do they really want long lines queing up to get on it? I am hoping over 11 days it won't be an issues. But still I would like to get on it. Wondering why no reservation allowed yet on line.?
  22. The majority of reviews of this new and technology-packed ship are very negative, and the reviews are not on par with other ships. Much of the criticism is focused on ineptitude of the staff. We are booked for July 26 sailing to Alaska. I have set my expectations accordingly low. Does anyone know what is going on? Is the leadership on the ship just plain bad? Or is the ship disconnected from Royal Caribbean standards because its sailings have been in Asia/Australia/Alaska? Anyone with tips on how to enjoy this ship that most reviewers have panned?
  23. Our last cruise was a GS, and we enjoyed priority disembarkation (Harmony in Ft Lauderdale) . We met in the suite lounge, and the concierge team organized three group departures, (IIRC) 8:00, 8:30, and 9:15. Not 100% sure about the times, but do remember the three groups and roughly that time in-between. We’re headed to Seattle soon and will also have a GS on the Ovation, and am wondering if the priority disembarkation will be the generally the same, if it differs in some way, or if each cruise unique in this. The reason for asking is thinking about getting to the airport, transportation, wanting to make plans. Thanks in advance for any insights.
  24. Hello, I will be sailing Ovation of the Seas from June 21-28. We have an 11:55 AM flight on Soutjwest airlines to Chicago. I was wondering if we will be eligible to use the luggage valet service on disembarkation?
  25. Just wondered if anyone has been to Jamie's Italian and asked for a gluten free meal? If so what was available or what could be modified? We are sailing on Ovation in a couple of weeks and I would like to book lunch , but my wife has celiac disease so I would need to make sure there is something she could eat before I boom for both of us.
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