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Found 11 results

  1. Time to bring you all up to speed, or at least up to date. It's Day 3 here on Ovation but now that we've entered into our sea day phase I have some time to play catch up. Unlike some other users who post in this section of the forum, I chose not to start this thread one year before sailing. Ten nights Vancouver, BC, Canada to Honolulu, HI. Day 1 - Vancouver Day 2 - Seattle Day 3 - 6 - Sea Day Day 7 - Cruising Napali Coast Day 8/9 - Overnight in Maui Day 10 - Kona Day 11 - Debark in Honolulu I flew into Vancouver the day before on September 19 and stayed at the Hilton Vancouver Airport. It's significantly cheaper staying out by the airport compared to downtown. I thought about going over to the Lions Gate Bridge for Ovation's arrival into Vancouver but low tide was around 4am when it would pass under the bridge so I stayed in bed. I'm not going to post everything in real time for this cruise but will drop in from time to time to post or show some pictures if anything interesting comes up.
  2. The Alaskan Cruise Experience Last year while on Symphony, we used NextCruise to book a vacation for this summer and decided on skipping the beach again and enjoying the cold temperatures (oh, and the views) of Alaska. There's also dog sledding and puppies in Alaska so that's a big plus too! I plan to get lots of pictures and videos of the Alaskan scenery, and will also be live streaming parts of my adventure on Periscope (if possible, Alaska is too far north for VOOM). I will be traveling with my parents again and we are all excited for our fourth cruise together. This cruise will be a Back-to-Back like the past two cruises have been, but with one small twist... I'll mention that later. This cruise will have many firsts for us, one of which includes a new class of ship! We have never sailed on a Quantum Class ship and I am excited to explore the new class, and use the different activities and spaces that Quantum Class offers. I will go more in depth about the ship later as well. The Itinerary Like I stated before, this cruise has many firsts for me. One first includes that we will be doing our origin port activities after the cruise, and will arrive in Seattle the day before the cruise. We don't have as much on board activities planned like we have on previous cruises, and will be going more day-by-day and booking things once on board. [ I find it ironic that for July 4th, we are in British Columbia! It will be a busy but fun few weeks for vacation in Alaska. The Ship This will be the first time for all of us to cruise on a Quantum Class ship, and I am excited to explore Ovation of the Seas. I'm especially excited to use the North Star and 270, which will hopefully give great views of glaciers and the Alaskan views. I am also excited to use the activities offered at the Sea Plex. We were lucky to sail on Ovation during its inaugural season sailing to Alaska. This is the first time a Quantum Class ship is sailing in Alaska, making it the largest cruise ship to ever sail in Alaska. This is also the farthest north that Ovation has gone, making this a first time season for Ovation. We are excited to be apart of this special season for Ovation! The Cabin We will again be staying in a Grand Suite (GS) for this cruise, but the twist is that we will be switching cabins between weeks. This will be a little annoying, but hopefully Royal Caribbean will make the process smooth and easy. If anyone has any insight on how this works, please post below! Being in a suite, this will give us access to the Sky Class exclusive features, amenities, and experiences. We have enjoyed these perks on our last two cruises (especially Coastal Kitchen) and hope that our experience will be the same as on other Royal ships! For the first week, we have a cabin on the 8th deck port side, while the second week is a cabin on the 11th deck starboard side. This will give us different views for each week while on our balcony. It will also be interesting to compare the deck levels, as we usually stay on a lower deck than we will be on the second week. I will provide a room tour on both Periscope and a tour on this blog. Shore Excursions, Dining, and Entertainment Because of Alaska being so scenic and beautiful, we have booked many shore excursions for the two weeks. We hope to experience and see many different things while in Alaska, and have booked excursions for every port that are different than the last. You can see the excursions we have booked above. We do plan to do self exploration while in Victoria the second week, as we couldn't find another excursion that peaked our interest. I hope that on the ship we can book the North Star Alaskan Experience, as I couldn't find that on my pre cruise planner anywhere. Since the excursions are plentiful and expensive, we plan to limit our onboard expenditures. This includes specialty dining. We plan to optimise our suite perks, and use the included dining offered to suite guests at the Coastal Kitchen. We find that the food is delicious at Coastal Kitchen on the Oasis Class, and hope that this will continue on Ovation of the Seas. We have planned to eat at Chops and Jamies, because we have previously eaten at and enjoyed the food at both of these restaurants. I'm excited to enjoy the Grilled Bacon at Chops and the Planks at Jamies again! There is only one show that requires reservations on Ovation: Pixels. Because of our Sky Class status, we don't need to book reservations for shows (at least on our last two sailings) so we hope we can just show up, or book on the Royal iQ app. It does seem like the shows on Allure and Symphony were longer and more robust, but this shouldn't matter as Alaska is our entertainment! Technology I am a major tech nerd, and this continues while on a cruise. Ovation doesn't use the new Royal app, but uses the older Royal iQ system. This should provide some of the same features, but the app hasn't been updated since 2016, so it might not be accurate and buggy. Ovation does WOW Bands though, and we found these useful while on Symphony, limiting the amount of pocket shuffling needed with our Sea Pass. Reading Twangster's blog, I imagine the internet will be slow and spotty being north in Alaska. This might lead to gaps in blog posts and make things harder for me. Luckily, I won't have to pay to post this blog, as we get complimentary VOOM because of our Sky Class status. I'm excited to see and use the tech that is built into Ovation, and compare it to Symphony and Allure. Pre and Post Cruise Plans We will fly into Seattle on Thursday, leaving a day for any flight or baggage screw-ups. We found a nice but semi-budget friendly hotel close to Terminal 91 for the night near downtown Seattle. We plan to use the hotel shuttle to the terminal, but if that doesn't work out we will use Uber or a taxi. When we get back we will spend 4 nights in Seattle to see things such as the Boeing factory, Pikes Market, and the Space Needle. We haven't booked anything yet, and that's the plan after I post this blog. On the 16th, we will fly back home and enjoy the rest of the summer at home! Miscellaneous Periscope: CraftyCat05 Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/155580610@N05/albums/72157709255492608 We didn't get any drink, specialty dining, or spa packages, as we find we never get our money's worth on these. Unlike last year, I plan to bring my DSLR to take pictures of glaciers, wildlife, and Alaska in general! This is only my second blog, so hopefully this will be more polished than last years... Hopefully I'll finish it too! The days of cruising will hopefully make it easier to blog than it was last year. There was only one sea day in the Mediterranean! I will be leaving my 21 pound Schnoodle at the Pet Resort in town. He will also be staying in 5 paw accommodations, which include a webcam for us to view him while traveling. After the cruise I will post the cruise planner and other documents that we received throughout the week. Don't be afraid to ask questions! Hope you enjoy the SemiLive blog! More to come....
  3. Finally the 2019 Alaska cruise season is beginning and so has the single digit dance! Looking back I always put off an Alaska cruise despite all the good things I heard over and again. Now I can't get enough. This will be my fourth cruise to Alaska and hopefully it will not be my last. Why did I wait so long to cruise to Alaska? Itinerary Day Port of Call Arrive Depart 1 Vancouver 5pm 2 At Sea 3 At Sea 4 Icy Strait Point (ISP) 9am 8pm 5 Sitka 7am 6pm 6 Hubbard Glacier 8am 11am 7 Juneau 7am 9pm 8 Skagway 7am 8:30pm 9 Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier 7am 12pm 10 At Sea 11 At Sea 12 Seattle 6am source: CruiseCharts.com The Ship This is a special cruise in many ways. This will be Ovation's first cruise to Alaska and the first time a Quantum class ship visits Alaska. It will be the largest cruise ship ever to visit Alaska edging out the NCL Bliss by a small margin. It's a repositioning itinerary unique for this season, starting in Vancouver and ending in Seattle. There are two glaciers on the itinerary, Hubbard and Dawes. The itinerary includes two ports not normally on Royal itineraries from the South - Sitka and Icy Straight Point. It's eleven nights compared to the normal 7 night Alaska cruise. This will be the earliest in the Alaska cruise season for me, beating out my previous early Alaska season cruise by several weeks. Hubbard Glacier is pretty far North and it's not normally on Seattle based itineraries. Sitka is infrequently on Royal itineraries. Icy Strait Point is a favorite port for me and usually only found on Royal's North or South one-way Alaska itineraries. When considering any Alaska cruise paying attention to the times in port is important and Royal has planned some awesome times in each port on this itinerary. Ovation is a "cold weather" ship which should pair very well with Alaska. The ample sized indoor pool will be great for families leaving the beautiful Solarium for adults to enjoy the sweeping views forward as we sail the Alaskan inside passages. Combined with the sweeping views aft from Two70° and this is shaping up to be a fantastic Alaska cruise experience. Pre-Cruise Plans I fly to Vancouver with a connection in Salt Lake City arriving noon the day before the cruise departs Vancouver. I found a nice but inexpensive hotel near the airport with a free airport shuttle. Vancouver features a train system that will allow me to reach downtown pretty easily while saving substantially by not staying downtown. Once settled I plan to visit downtown and may even head out to the Lion's Gate Bridge Sunday evening to watch Ovation arrive being the largest cruise ship ever to visit Vancouver harbor. Cabin I normally scale back my cabin to Alaska so I can splurge on excursions but Ovation changes the math. Quantum class ships have a much higher balcony cabin count relative to interior or ocean view cabins. Because of the balcony cabin ratio on Ovation the marginal price difference to book a balcony was small enough to motivate me to spend a few extra hundred dollars and book a balcony plus it's eleven nights. In years past an interior cabin was less than half the price of a balcony so the savings basically paid for the excursions. Consequently this year I am in a 2D ocean view balcony on deck 11 forward port side. On these ships I like being close to the pool deck so I can take the stairs and my cabin is a few steps to the elevator lobby. Specialty Dining None planned. My travel agent did throw in one specialty dinner so I'll probably visit Jamie's based on an Anthem cruise where I really enjoyed Jamie's over all the other options. Excursions To experience Alaska you need to get out of the ports and see Alaska. To this end I always plan a healthy Alaska excursion budget and this year's excursion budget approaches $900 per person. When I booked this cruise I grabbed a bunch of Royal excursions as place holders while I looked at all options. Several cruise planner sales occurred and I was able to save hundreds by cancelling and rebooking my excursions. With those price drops I couldn't find many cheaper options and all things being equal I always prefer booking excursion through Royal in case of itinerary changes. I did find one Viator excursion in Sitka that looked interesting so I booked it outside of Royal. Icy Strait Point (ISP) With Royal gaining access to Glacier Bay in future years I thought a fly over Glacier Bay National Park would be a great way to look forward to a future visit by ship. Going on a bear hunt to shoot pictures has always appealed to me in ISP so these are my two excursions for this day leaving lots of time to explore ISP on my own. Sitka The raptor center in Sitka sounded like a great way to see some birds including (hopefully) some Eagles. Throw in a nature walk and it sounded like a winner. Having hopefully seen bears by this point, I thought beers and bears sounded pretty good so I found this Viator option in Sitka. Juneau Visiting Juneau I have always watched the float planes coming and going but always found something else to do. So this year I am going to continue my small plane obsession and see some glaciers from the air in a SeaPlane. Skagway Glass blowing has always fascinated me and having done many of the other must do Skagway activities this year is going to blow. I figure what better way to find a keepsake memento from an Alaska cruise than on a glassblowing activity leaving me a lot of daylight to explore Skagway on my own. Internet I bought Voom Surf and Stream on sale for $11.99 per day. Given the 11 night duration this was more economical compared to buying it on board with my Crown and Anchor discount and waiting until day two. While Ovation uses the newest O3b satellite platform I'm not sure that is going to help North in Alaska where O3b has "limited services". source: www.ses.com/our-coverage A Royal O3b enabled ship has never ventured this far North into the limited services area so I'm not sure what to expect from Voom. If the ship switches to conventional satellite internet I know from past experiences that can be hit or miss at times while cruising Alaska. Consequently this may not be a live blog and I might have to finish and post pictures once home. With that the count down continues... more to come.
  4. So Ive been hearing rumors of Johnny Rockets replacing Kung Fu Panda noodle shop on Ovation of the Seas. And this, http://www.ovationoftheseas.com.au/dining/restaurant/johnny-rockets/ Also heard on facebook of a fish and chip restaurant opening? Make sense tho, With the transition to Alaska-Australia sailings.
  5. First Alaskian 7 day cruise from Seattle is booked. We have two 18 yr olds and a 15 yr old. Share your experiences on the Ovation.
  6. As well as Caribbean, also pricing up Japan cruises with Royal Caribbean. There’s two cruises that we looked up, both going to 3 ports. One is on the Quantum from Shanghai, and the other is on the Ovation from Tianjin. Which ship is better? Is there a difference? Does one have something the other one doesn’t? Thanks in advance.
  7. Hi, i collect ship models from all of the ships that I have been on but I am desperately chasing the ovation of the seas ship model! I was unable to get it on my cruise so really hoping that someone who is booked on an upcoming cruise can grab one for me! I’ll pay for postage as well of course 😊 let me know if you can help! forgot to mention - I’m in Brisbane, Australia so would need to be posted to here unless local. Thanks again 😊
  8. Hi. Anybody on the Ovation in March from Sydney, the cost of the refreshments package and shore excursions are all cheaper today than they have been for last few weeks. Refreshment package down to £15.96 ($20.85 US based on currency rate) which includes the drinks gratuities. Bargain IMO - but will still check back every day as you never know what deal they have hidden away!! Having picked up tips on this great site I have cancelled everything I had already booked and now re-purchased on the lower rates - even if only to save around $60 (every little helps!)....not bad for 5 minutes work.
  9. Good morning/afternoon/evening wherever you are reading this... "Only" 151 days until we set of on the Ovation from Sydney for our very first cruise - a 3 cruise back-to-back combo ending up in Singapore 27 days later. Excited is an understatement! I have so many questions and if I had not spent many hours looking through this wonderful site I would have many more! I hope somebody can help on the ones I still have and apologies if they are 'easy to find' elsewhere! 1 – How do we find where/when ‘formal’ dining nights will be? Wife starting to worry about what she needs to pack as we are limited to just 30kg each with Singapore Air! 2– Really struggling with decision on the drinks and wi-fi packages!! RC had a sale on last week BUT it stopped the day before our cruise!! They have some new bundles but still not sure if cost-effective for us. I am teetotal so refreshment package is most likely for me (but 27 x $30 is still a lot!). Wife likes a drink but looks like we may be best taking on 6 bottles of wine (2 per cruise) so she can have a few drinks that way, have the same refreshment package as me then just 'pay as she goes' for the drinks each day/night? What would experts say?! The new bundles are with dining or WiFi but they do not offer those add-ons to the refreshment package so no benefit for me! 3– Regarding the Voom Wi-fi packages, where they say ‘1 device’ or “2 devices” etc is it a case of just 1 or 2 devices at a time (e.g. login on cell but then log out and login on iPad etc) or is it restricted to a particular device? Basically if I pay for 1 device can i swap between gadgets?! 4– When we wake up in Sydney on the ‘change over’ days (23rd March and 26th March) do we HAVE to disembark or can we stay on board? I saw one post saying yes you have to but elsewhere saw different opinion. 5 - Balcony is 'obscured view' (top of a lifeboat) - anybody had that experience and did it spoil anything? 6 - Offshore excursions - not much choice on the RC lists - looking at some of theirs but also using Tripadvisor to find my own - anybody got advice/experience/tips for tours in Dunedin/Wellington/Napier/Picton in New Zealand, Brisbane/Darwin in Australia or Kuala Lumpur please?? Appreciate anybody taking the time to reply. Happy to have personal inbox chat with somebody if that is allowed on the blog! Thanks all. Barrie (Wales, UK)
  10. Hi I'm embarking on Ovation in January, and have dynamic dining with no waiting lists selected. If we decide that we prefer classic midway through the ship is it possible to change?
  11. What does RCCL consider to be a big enough Group for a Group booking discount. We have 9 Balcony cabins with 21 Adult Family Guests booked for sailing on Ovation of the Seas 30th December 2016. I have been advised by the Travel Agent that we are not eligible for any discount or benefit? Would this be based on the fare paid?
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