Your first day on Ovation of the Seas can be somewhat daunting as you tour the ship and try to decide where to start. If you have been wondering what to do first and what can be left until later, find the answers here.
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1. Do book an early embarkation slot
Keep an eye on your cruise planner and be one of the first to register when online check-in opens approximately 90 days before your cruise. Unlike some other ships which allocate embarkation times by deck (the higher the deck, the earlier you get onboard), Ovation of the Seas operates on a first-in best-dressed basis. Register early to get first pick of the embarkation times as this is more important than you think (see tip six).
2. Do follow the deck plan
Most people like to look around the ship on their first day. Get a head start on your do-it-yourself ship tour by exploring the deck plans online before you get onboard. Time saved on getting lost can be used for activities like dodgem cars or the North Star.
3. Don't delay the activities
No bookings are required for activities such as the North Star and dodgem cars on embarkation day. While everyone else is getting lost exploring the ship, you can take advantage of shorter queues for these popular attractions and enjoy them to the full. We walked straight up to the North Star and rode the dodgems multiple times as no other passengers were waiting; on sea days the wait for a dodgem car was up to 40 minutes.
4. Do pack a day bag
Staterooms on Ovation of the Seas are typically available around 1pm but, with so many bags to deliver, luggage may not arrive until late in the evening. Pack a change of clothes plus a swimsuit and sunscreen so you can enjoy the onboard facilities and shower and freshen up before dinner.
5. Do download the Royal IQ app
Before you leave home, download the free Royal IQ app, which only works on the ship. Then as soon as you get onboard, connect to the ship's free intranet ("royal-wifi") and use the app to book restaurants, iFly, North Star, shows and shore excursions -- without queuing up in person. The queues are very long on embarkation day so it's a big time-drainer and you may miss out on time slots for your activities if you're at the back of the line. But here's a sneaky tip to beat everyone else: It's worth trying the app from the wharf or terminal before you board. In Singapore we could get onto the "royal-wifi" intranet while we were waiting to embark and did our bookings then.
6. Do sign the waiver forms
Don't line up for activities like the FlowRider and roller skating without signing the relevant waiver forms first. The quickest and easiest way to do this is by signing the forms electronically using the in-room television. These activities also require a wrist band to show you have signed the waiver. After you have one of these, you can go straight to the activity whenever it is scheduled in the daily planner.
7. Don't let your kids skip the first night at Adventure Ocean
Even if your kids aren't sure if they will join the kids program on Ovation of the Seas, encourage them to attend on the first evening. This is when friendships are formed, particularly amongst the tweens and teens. If your child skips this session but decides to join in later, it can be harder for them to make friends on such a large ship.
8. Do book specialty restaurants
If you haven't booked specialty restaurants via the cruise planner, check out each venue when you get onboard and make reservations using the Royal IQ app or at the reservations desk outside the main restaurants. Wonderland frequently books out and seating times can be limited, especially on shorter cruises. Don't wait until later in the cruise to book or you could miss out.
9. Don't go to guest services
With more than 4,500 passengers onboard, the queue at guest services can be long on the first day. If your query isn't urgent, it is best to wait until the following day (or later that night when everyone is at dinner) to resolve any issues.