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twangster

Ovation Goes North, Way North to Alaska! 11 Nights, May 13, 2019

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Thanks so much @twangster for sharing your experiences and amazing photos. It's been a wonderful ride. 

Can I ask you how you get the space between your photos to separate them from each other and to caption them? Whenever I have uploaded more than one photo they post all stuck together which detracts from viewing and means all the text has to come at the start or at the end. (Sorry if I'm missing something really basic and  it's a dumb question).

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1 hour ago, FionaMG said:

Thanks so much @twangster for sharing your experiences and amazing photos. It's been a wonderful ride. 

Can I ask you how you get the space between your photos to separate them from each other and to caption them? Whenever I have uploaded more than one photo they post all stuck together which detracts from viewing and means all the text has to come at the start or at the end. (Sorry if I'm missing something really basic and  it's a dumb question).

Blog tricks :)

Positioning the cursor to the left of an image and hitting enter will insert a space between images.  It's easier to do on a laptop versus a phone/tablet.  I do most of my posting using a laptop so it's easier to visualize and arrange images. 

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8 minutes ago, twangster said:

Blog tricks :)

Positioning the cursor to the left of an image and hitting enter will insert a space between images.  It's easier to do on a laptop versus a phone/tablet.  I do most of my posting using a laptop so it's easier to visualize and arrange images. 

Haha, so simple. Thanks a lot. Appreciate it. ☺️

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For those interested in Alaska you can check out my previous trip reports here at RoyalCaribbeanBlog,com:

Celebrity Millennium June 2017 Southbound Seward to Vancouver

Explorer of the Seas June 2018 Seattle RoyalCaribbeanBlog Group Cruise!

Radiance of the Seas August 2018 Southbound Seward to Vancouver

For anyone new to Alaska cruising my best advice is to book it!  You won't regret it.  Don't spend too much time over analyzing which ship, which itinerary or which side of the ship.  If you can, budget some extra money for excursions.  Go and experience Alaska, it's a pretty amazing destination.

 

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Thanks so much for this blog, @twangster!  Even though my itinerary is different, I feel so much more prepared for our turn on Ovation this September!  We're on Deck 13, so it'll be a quick jaunt in the morning out to the wings on the side of the Solarium... looks like one of many great spots for viewing.  I absolutely cannot wait!  Thanks again.

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12 minutes ago, firebuck said:

 We're on Deck 13, so it'll be a quick jaunt in the morning out to the wings on the side of the Solarium... looks like one of many great spots for viewing.  

The doors from the passenger hallways to the Solarium on deck 13 are marked "Crew Only".  I checked this out for a future booking.   In theory you are supposed to go up to 14, into the Solarium and back down to 13 within the Solarium to access the bridge wings.  Still a quick trip, just didn't want you thinking you can go straight from deck 13 into the Solarium.

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

The doors from the passenger hallways to the Solarium on deck 13 are marked "Crew Only".  

Ahh got it.  I know you could do this on the Anthem, but I guess the rules aren't the same for her sister.  Up the steps it is!

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19 hours ago, twangster said:

The doors from the passenger hallways to the Solarium on deck 13 are marked "Crew Only".  I checked this out for a future booking.   In theory you are supposed to go up to 14, into the Solarium and back down to 13 within the Solarium to access the bridge wings.  Still a quick trip, just didn't want you thinking you can go straight from deck 13 into the Solarium.

Since I was up  by 4:30 most mornings, I  was often up and out of the room.  A number of times deck 15 was not an option due to the pressure washing and  I went up to the solarium only to find that inaccessible also.  It was possible to sit in the indoor pool even though it was earlier than the pool hours stated in the cruise compass.  When I would return later, usually around 7, it would be open but i never found a specific time that they opened the doors.  The cruise compass stated the solarium hot tubs opened at 6:30, did you find that is when they opened the area for public access.  

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4 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

@twangster help! Mr. SpeedNoodles and I are having a disagreement.  Is the hull of the Ovation baby (powder puff) blue, or is it white, like every other Royal Caribbean ship?

The lower hull is baby blue, same as Anthem.

In these photos you can the white side of the ship deck 5 and higher and the blue color of the hull down low by the waterline, deck 4 and lower.

Ovation Day 0 -38.jpg

c8D1aVY.jpg

7fmXTVM.jpg

SiqFjbe.jpg

 

When I was on Anthem at Captain's Corner this topic came up.  

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/5068-anthem-112517-712-b2b/&do=findComment&comment=51116

  •   The blue color of the lower hull was a marketing decision.  In the Captain's words "they wanted to make the ship look more white so they painted it blue".  He said it's a challenge because the sun causes paint to fade and trying to touch up various shades of blue over time is very difficult.  It was much more simple when the lower hull was white - they just painted it with more white.

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47 minutes ago, ScooterScott22 said:

 The cruise compass stated the solarium hot tubs opened at 6:30, did you find that is when they opened the area for public access.  

I was all over when they were pressure washing waiting for my 6am room service breakfast window.  I found the Solarium fire doors closed on deck 14.  Some passengers ignored them and went through.  The bridge wings have signs that state the hours are 6am to 6pm yet at 6am the Solarium fire doors were closed.  I'm hoping the marine maintenance department that does all the pressure washing figures out they need to set their alarms an hour or so earlier in Alaska.   I noted it in my survey comments.

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On 5/21/2019 at 1:50 AM, twangster said:

I was growing thirsty so I found a solution to the problem. 

7I66wzF.jpg

At a local bar...  

FuvRXMh.jpg

That solved my thirst issue but with a growing hunger I needed to find some food.

aYZDLR9.jpg

This was solved at the Sitka Hotel.

j6EosFp.jpg

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Fish and Chips.

pgThtvs.jpg

Plus a local porter to wash it down.

WhSAneS.jpg

From here I set out to self explore Sitka on my own.

BZRTzsh.jpg

It's a very nice town with a population of 8,900 making it the 5th largest town in Alaska.

mZwDbLM.jpg

It's very easy to walk with numerous sign posts such as this one to help you find your way around.

VCVv1UK.jpg

The airport is on an island accessed by this bridge.  

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The site of Baranof castle that has long since been lost but this was also the site where the purchase of Alaska was concluded when America bought it from Russia. 

J4JzCDT.jpg

Finally back to the visitor's center downtown to queue up for the shuttle back to the ship.

urUeyz0.jpg

The line moved quickly with a number of buses ready and waiting to bring us to the ship.  

Sitka is only accessible by air or sea.  The total road available is 14 miles.  

Crap!! You just cost me thousands of dollars.  haven't even gone on my first Alaskan cruise (Radiance in 2020) and now already know i need to book a second so i can see Sitka (really want to go to Raptor Center)

 

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4 hours ago, twangster said:

The lower hull is baby blue, same as Anthem.

In these photos you can the white side of the ship deck 5 and higher and the blue color of the hull down low by the waterline, deck 4 and lower.

Ovation Day 0 -38.jpg

c8D1aVY.jpg

7fmXTVM.jpg

SiqFjbe.jpg

 

When I was on Anthem at Captain's Corner this topic came up.  

https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/5068-anthem-112517-712-b2b/&do=findComment&comment=51116

  •   The blue color of the lower hull was a marketing decision.  In the Captain's words "they wanted to make the ship look more white so they painted it blue".  He said it's a challenge because the sun causes paint to fade and trying to touch up various shades of blue over time is very difficult.  It was much more simple when the lower hull was white - they just painted it with more white.

Thanks.  He's right, I was wrong (although I still don't see it, but I'll take your word for it).  I'm actually glad that I don't see it because that sounds really ugly, lol.

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On 5/28/2019 at 11:59 PM, twangster said:

Update:  My custom creation from the Skagway Glass Blowing Experience arrived in the mail today!

And to think... that's my hot air trapped inside the globe.  

vel2cJ6.jpg

My other purchases from their shop arrived yesterday but since many are gifts for family and friends no pics.

I opted for the flat base so I could put it on a table.  As dorky as this sounds, whenever I look at this I'll be brought right back to Skagway and this awesome Alaskan cruise experience on Ovation of the Seas.

Might i ask...How big is it?

 

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19 hours ago, SpeedNoodles said:

Thanks.  He's right, I was wrong (although I still don't see it, but I'll take your word for it).  I'm actually glad that I don't see it because that sounds really ugly, lol.

It's so funny that your brought up the baby/powder blue hull color! When we were in the souvenir shop on Allure, I was looking at the ship model and I was complaining to my wife that it was not accurate because the hull was blue on the model.

When we docked in Labadee and we were walking down the pier I first realized the hull is baby/powder blue on Allure! When we boarded the ship on embarkation day, I had never looked at the hull to notice it!  It is harder to see the color in bright sunlight and from a distance. I like a nice bright white hull too!

 

42ADDEC5-494C-45D1-9FDA-3354630BDDA8.thumb.jpeg.a1a5257b3e7aa35322ec239dcc60ca72.jpeg

2511A5C2-7892-4EC6-B464-2E7092E42F03.thumb.jpeg.dd0541e98848cd1981d9b4b6dfc9d624.jpeg

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Awesome blog and pictures, twangster!  Thank you very much for doing it. I have most definitely been taking notes. 😀

Due to other obligations, it will be a year or so before we get to Alaska, but I’m convinced that for us, Ovation will be the way to go. I know it’s going to be amazing! 

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On 5/31/2019 at 10:01 PM, twangster said:

Found a video that got lost for a bit.

Day 4 before our arrival into Icy Strait Point.  Having breakfast on my balcony when this happens...

Dall's Porpoises.  

Watching your videos I am beginning to think I might have made a mistake....Alaska is #1 on my bucket list, so when it came time to finally book my own Alaska cruise I pulled out all the stops and splurged, spending the extra bucks to get the corner aft balcony room.....now perhaps I am overthinking this but it seems to me there would be a greater chance of seeing aquatic activity from a normal "side" balcony than from the aft as off to the sides is seas relatively undisturbed by the ship while to the aft is water being actively disturbed by the ship and therefore may be lacking in aquatic activity....hopefully I am wrong as everything else about the aft balcony seems to be a plus (room for 4 chairs!!)

 

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6 minutes ago, jce2 said:

Watching your videos I am beginning to think I might have made a mistake....Alaska is #1 on my bucket list, so when it came time to finally book my own Alaska cruise I pulled out all the stops and splurged, spending the extra bucks to get the corner aft balcony room.....now perhaps I am overthinking this but it seems to me there would be a greater chance of seeing aquatic activity from a normal "side" balcony than from the aft as off to the sides is seas relatively undisturbed by the ship while to the aft is water being actively disturbed by the ship and therefore may be lacking in aquatic activity....hopefully I am wrong as everything else about the aft balcony seems to be a plus (room for 4 chairs!!)

 

There is marine life all over.  Who knows what someone on the other side or on the aft was able to see that I missed.  

This is one of the reasons why on an Alaskan cruise I often spend time on the top decks or down low on outer decks like deck 4 or 5 (depending on ship) moving around the ship.  Even then some of these sightings require luck and for you to be in the right place at the right time.

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23 hours ago, jce2 said:

Watching your videos I am beginning to think I might have made a mistake....Alaska is #1 on my bucket list, so when it came time to finally book my own Alaska cruise I pulled out all the stops and splurged, spending the extra bucks to get the corner aft balcony room.....now perhaps I am overthinking this but it seems to me there would be a greater chance of seeing aquatic activity from a normal "side" balcony than from the aft as off to the sides is seas relatively undisturbed by the ship while to the aft is water being actively disturbed by the ship and therefore may be lacking in aquatic activity....hopefully I am wrong as everything else about the aft balcony seems to be a plus (room for 4 chairs!!)

 

Not sure which ship or room you are referring to but as Twangster mentions there is no bad view.  Wanted to share  that we sailed with him but had the starboard/aft.  There were opportunities to see whales, seals, eagles, etc.  It doesn’t seem to be as specific to location but more being in the right place at the right time.  As for the landscape views it is pretty constant so you just have to be looking.  

Based on our room and everting we were able to see I think you will be fine.  Just take the time to enjoy.  

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@twangster

I just wanted to send you a big "thank you!!" for this thread.  Seriously - comments and photos are AMAZING!

After traveling extensively elsewhere, we finally said - why have we never done a cruise??  LOL.  We will be taking the plunge on Ovation later in July for our maiden voyage.

Your blog here (and others' comments) answered tons of our silly "first timer" questions.   We feel like there are many little unknowns about cruising (how long until our bags get to our room on day 1, what's the MDR like, should we grab a North Star slot during Endicott Arms/Dawes, etc etc etc...) - so we feel a bit more prepared.

I know this took a lot of your time - so thank you again - you got us very excited about cruising.  😁

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