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3 Night Alaska Cruise from Vancouver

3 Night Alaska Cruise from Vancouver

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Ovation of the Seas
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Itinerary

  • Day 1
    Vancouver
  • Day 2
    Victoria
  • Day 3
    Cruising
  • Day 4
    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

3 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
2 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
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
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