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7 Night Alaska Cruise from Seattle

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Ovation of the Seas
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Seattle
  • Day 2
    Cruising
  • Day 3
    Juneau
  • Day 3
    Inside Passage
  • Day 4
    Skagway
  • Day 5
    Endicott Arm
  • Day 6
    Cruising
  • Day 7
    Victoria
  • Day 8
    Seattle

Ovation of the Seas

Ovation of the Seas - Royal Caribbean International

Pros

An amazing mega-liner filled with high-tech entertainment and attractions

Cons

Drinking, dining and entertainment venues struggle at peak times

Bottom line

Never a dull moment on a ship that has something to please everyone


Cruise Reviews

14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We are RCI Captains Club members and have cruised many times around the world with RCI and Celebrity ( as well as other companies). We have been staunch advocates of RCI up until now. We were a group of 11 passengers in 5 balcony rooms, ... Read More
We are RCI Captains Club members and have cruised many times around the world with RCI and Celebrity ( as well as other companies). We have been staunch advocates of RCI up until now. We were a group of 11 passengers in 5 balcony rooms, gathered together from around the world to celebrate a family milestone. This is not a discount booze cruise, but a mid to upper range luxury ship that can accommodate family groups of various ages. I tried to prebook and organise as much as I could prior to cruising, as we were a large group. Unfortunately, RCI allowed only one show to be booked ( Pixels) and our dining option which I did. I found this surprising as when I made our group cabin bookings, the RCI agent advised me to pre-book the I-Fly, North Star and various other activities. Ovation is a beautiful ship but a ship that is overloaded with too many passengers. RCI has forgotten that it's our holiday and not about their staff. Clearly RCI have failed to train staff in ALL AREAS about guests being made to feel happy and welcome - training now is just hard sell marketing. What a shame !!! There are almost 5000 passengers with very little open space to move. We overheard one passenger comparing it to Mumbai. Everything (dining, entertainment, activities)are akin to standing in lines Disneyland style.Staff are rude, unhappy and untrained and seem to feel the paid passengers are inconveniencing them if they require some service. Most responses are to be as rude or unhelpful as possible - usually there is NOTHING they can do, laugh or jeer at you or make rude comments ( eg. this is a ship, not a boat.)The security staff ( alcohol police)are the worst of all. Food cleanliness is good but quality in the main dining room has definitely deteriorated. Service in the speciality restaurants is better but food quality and offer is no better than the dining rooms. Our cruise documentation specifically allow 2 bottles of wine per stateroom for use in your cabin. We packed these in our luggage. At 7.30pm, after the ship had departed we still had no luggage, no notification where our luggage might be and staff very unhelpful. Eventually we worked out that our luggage had been DETAINED by security ( actually alcohol police - not really concerned with security). No apologies, just rude and arrogant jeering by staff at passengers and clearly 100's of other passengers also didn't have their bags as there were 100's of bags there. Seems RCI policy is to see how many passengers they can inconvenience by not giving clear instructions about how they wish this alcohol to be brought on board. Really seems, they will allow you to bring wine, but punish you if you do. In our cabin we were 2 adults and 1 teenager. We received 1 piece of soap and no other amenities. For $600 a night, you might expect at least 1 soap per person and toilet paper that is so thin it has holes in it. After chatting to the room attendant we were told this is the standard and nothing else was available. After clearly stating my dissatisfaction, 2 more soaps and 2 shampoos and conditioners magically arrived. However, this was a one off for us, 3 other staterooms did NOT receive any and had to' steal' a couple of extra soaps off the trolley. The cabins were well attended and towels changed twice daily but the towels are so small my daughter who is 5ft tall and weighs 40kgs could barely get it around her. the rest of us ( who are not large people just about managed) Whatever I had booked turned out to be a fiasco. I had an e.mail confirmation from RCI that we had a table together at 8pm main dining for our party of 11. However, I booked 4 staterooms and our friends had made their own booking, so the email was clearly overlooked and when we got to dinner ( after eventually getting our luggage), there was only a table for 9, ( in the kitchen doorway - after booking many months in advance and advising RCI of the special occasion)Of course there was NOTHING that could be done to fix the problem. After making a seen for some time, miraculously a table was found to accommodate us. As soon as we boarded, after much misinformation and running around the ship, I booked the I-Fly for our group of 10. Although not able to book prior to boarding, the Northstar was fully booked and the I Fly only had a few spots on port day in Hobart, one of which I believed I had booked for my party of 10. After being told by the box office attendant to find an ipad on the ship to book this activity, I suggested to him that he could do it for me ( he is the box office attendant - it's his job)as we were a party of 10. Of course he said it was done, didn't need any of the other cabin numbers and of course when we went to the ifly on port day it was another fiasco and only 3 spaces had been booked. The staff also not too keen to help out but after some more ranting from my part managed to find us some spots. Almost none of the sessions we viewed were full but no effort is made to be helpful and some in our group did not get to go. It seems the ifly team and surf team spend more time "playing" themselves than the guests get to go. And don't even bother with roller blading unless you have hours to stand in line. No information is given about booking any of these activities, so sure most people miss out. The entertainment is really below par. Live music is minimal and even the 'prizes' for games are pathetic. They even ran out of pens ( regular pens, not even branded) to give away. Not even a free drink for game winners, Even the staff ( who are not fun or entertaining) were embarrassed. This was so disappointing and our family party was clearly impacted by all the many issues that took away from our holiday spirit. There is no fun VIBE on this ship and it is NOT value for money. I doubt any in our party ( who are all Captains Club members) will ever cruise RCI again. Tripadvisor - Travelover501011 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2018
The ship was nice and new and very clean but had a weird layout, it was huge but felt cramped and small in some places, it was almost like RCCL have forgotten the basics and added to many things you need to pay for so they can make extra ... Read More
The ship was nice and new and very clean but had a weird layout, it was huge but felt cramped and small in some places, it was almost like RCCL have forgotten the basics and added to many things you need to pay for so they can make extra profit. In general service was great however in some places like the shops staff were grumpy and unhelpful. There were no sizes in the shops for larger people which was disappointing. Food in Izumi, wonderland and Jamie’s was amazing and the service was great however the one time we went to the standard restaurant service was slow and food was cold and average. I had a very disappointing precruise where all my my time dining had been cancelled by RCCL due to overbooking and they put me and my wife on 8pm dinners, I had prebooked 4 months , to get around this I had to pay $250 extra for a dining package which in some ways was lucky because we had great food in the speciality restaurant however it was still bad form of RCCL to cancel my time dinners without any warning, this wouldn’t of been such an issue if I hadn’t booked other activities in the evening. The cabin was very nice and the cabin staff was very friendly and helpful. Shows on the ship were average, although they were visually stunning the content lacked and had a lot of songs no one knew. The shore tours in tassie were amazing but the night tour we went on was very unorganised with no one directing people to the bus. Overall an ok cruise but the voyager of the seas and oasis of the seas were much better Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
We had been on the Qantum before so we kinda knew what to expect from the Ovation, both the good and the bad. The inlaws wanted to go on this particular trip so we figured a shot cruise to Tasmania will be alright on this vessel. First the ... Read More
We had been on the Qantum before so we kinda knew what to expect from the Ovation, both the good and the bad. The inlaws wanted to go on this particular trip so we figured a shot cruise to Tasmania will be alright on this vessel. First the positive: The ship is just a year old and even though it was close to sold out, the ship mostly does a good job controlling the crowds- with the exception of crunch times around dinner/shows and the elevators which were pretty much always overcrowded unless during port days. But we were generally amazed how much space was available at most times in bars and restaurants etc. Check in and boarding also was a breeze in Sydney as per usual so really no complaints in this respect. Likewise, the general areas and décor is pretty amazing throughout the ship and even our Balcony cabin appeared significantly more modern than on many other ships (albeit the same smallish size). We particularly loved the various artwork throughout the ship and the look and feel of the four different mini-main dining rooms. All pretty impressive! The super fancy entertainment options like the Ifly and Surf simulator are all geared at teens and twens who thankfully were mostly absent on this trip to the old peoples’ paradise of Tasmania. Unfortunately, people somehow still managed to bring enough of their screaming toddlers on board so that the pool turned into a pee fest as soon as the sun came out. The layout of the ship doesn’t help in this respect as both the indoor and outdoor pools are full of babies while the Adult only area consists of a couple of shallow, chlorine-smelling tubs only which simply doesn’t do it. RCCL’s very own Celebrity Cruises does this much better with their proper adult pool in the Solarium so we’ll stick to them from now on for that reason alone. We didn’t watch any of the shows (meh) or went on the fancy looking “North Star” Observation thingy either as we had already queued up for it once during that previous cruise on the Qantum and found that there’s nothing more boring than a show ride that, well, doesn’t really do a show ride but rather moves up and down at a glacial pace. La-hame! What we DID utilize though were the bars and restaurants where our feedback would be so so: First off, many of the bar menus you find online won’t apply to Australian cruises as they get massively “amended” to please the more simple crowds here. Think Crownies instead of Beck’s and VB instead of Grolsch. Arg. While we kind of expected this for the beers, we were quite disappointed to also see many of the usual nice American and European wines not to be available by the glass and being replaced by the cheapest of the cheap Aussie selections you can find: Think commercial brands like Wolf Bass Yellow label- pretty much the stuff that goes on special on the lower shelves of your local Liquor Land. I felt sad for the many Asian passengers on board- if THAT is the first Aussie wine you ever try, then you’ll go back to French Bordeaux or Italian Chianti straight away and never turn back. Which is a shame as Australia produces some of the most amazing wines on this planet, albeit that selection doesn’t go by the glass on RCCL. Back to the bars and restaurants- the robot bar is a nice gimmick but you realize very quickly why there’s still work for “traditional” bar tenders out of flesh and blood. These you get at other bars like Boleros (that one actually had the worst of the entire ship- drinks happened to be either entirely tasteless or overly strong), the English pub (our favorite place prior to when the annoying live music starts and the whole place turns into a rowdy puke-place) that did amazing decent “beer cockt-ales” or the Casino-bar which as on many ships, turned out the be the best place on the ship to grab a decent drink (and be thankfully left alone by those ever-present families with their noisy babies). Unfortunately, as on most cruise ships, the options for nightlife and music taste on board was geared at an older generation and the awful oversized rock music hall on the Qantum-class ships only make it worse. The only decent electronic sounds on the entire ship could be heard at the robot bar which unfortunately otherwise is not a very inviting place to sit down for a drink. Otherwise, it’s oldies’ music like rock, country and really awful chart kinda pop- all nothing for our ears. In terms of restaurants, we were strangely positively surprised by the main dining room (which is a quarter of a Main Dining room times four, actually, but with fixed dining you end up in only one of them and get randomly assigned by the crew so you can’t chose). Service was not to mention as always on RCCL but the food was surprisingly good quality for the most of it. We also went for two of the specialty restaurants and were a bit disappointed by both of them: Chop’s Grille, our favorite on other Royal Caribbean vessels, seemed strangely sterile in atmosphere while the steaks were indeed excellent. The biggest disappointment, however, must have been “Wonderland” which is totally oversold by the cruise line. The hard product (like everywhere on this ship) looks great at first but the space is cramped with tables and doesn’t feel very atmospheric at all. Worst was the Indian waiter who not only had a bad command of the English language (so we couldn’t understand half of what he was saying) but also wasn’t the most engaged staff member in his role. Unfortunately I cannot eat fish or seafood due to allergy which didn’t fit the restaurant well so while my partner had a huge bowl full of delicious looking deep-fried Kiamichi that was, to my chagrin, dusted in prawn, I was given a tiny little ball of duck liver parfait which was delicious but, well, not enough and some ultra boring vegetarian choices. When I asked the waiter what he recommends as a main, he told me to get the beef over the pork or chicken only to then later be totally surprised and outraged that I couldn’t eat the squid which comes with it (but isn’t mentioned in the oh so ‘magical’ menu). All in all, a disappointing waste of money for which in theory, sounded like such a cool idea. Finally, that Indian waiter gets me to talk about the staff which is probably the biggest issue here on this ex Sydney cruise. Coming from China, the staff on this boat stemmed almost entirely from four nations, China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. If that sounds like you’d receive the same quality of service than from a bad call center, then this is because it is spot on! Zero empathy for their guests, bad command of English, robotic work directly from a training hand book, you name it. The usual Eastern European, Caribbean or South American crew members were almost entirely absent, the one great exception being the superb Romanian waitress in the English pub. Unfortunately, even the upcharge specialty dining suffered from this issue and, worst of it all, our stateroom attendant. We thought the lady on our recent Celebrity cruise out of Sydney couldn’t be topped but no- our Indian attendant, was the slackest employee I’ve ever met on any cruise ship. I wish I could put it into friendlier words but that guy was simply useless. Inquired months before to get a medical assistance set up in the room which had been confirmed but no, on arrival nothing done. Asked if we could get proper bathroom toiletries instead of only that awful dispenser stuff in the shower but got told that this is “3 in One shampoo, conditioner and shower gel”. Yep, sure, nice try! After insisting, we finally at least got two tubs of separate conditioner but that was it. Safe didn’t work on arrival and it took him 2 whole days and several reminders until he finally “called someone” who could fix it in the end. Worst was the toilet which stank like old dried urine from the moment you opened the lid. Our attendant pretended he couldn’t smell anything and then, on day 3 and after several complains, he finally sprayed something under the rim of the toilet that overpowered the stench for a day. Needless to say, on days 4 and 5 it came back and was hardly bearable. Any attempt to actually fix the problem (our guess is that the issue actually lies somewhere in the plumbing or sewage system) or to tell someone who could? Nope, not a chance. I bet all the staff will be super engaged and obedient once the ship relocates to Alaska after the Aussie season ends because there are valuable US$ in tip money waiting. Meanwhile, on the “Gratuity Included” Aussie cruises, staff can relax and slack out. Not good enough, at all! Read Less
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