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Ovation Goes South to Hawaii Sept. 20, 2019


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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.    

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Hilton Vancouver Airport

Free shuttle from the airport. I don't recall booking a Junior King Suite but that's what they gave me.   Separate sitting area from the bedroom.










I walked over the the Richmond Center shopping mall and their food court for dinner.  

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The last time I boarded Ovation in Vancouver I arrived at Canada Place to board at 9am.  I had a long wait inside a small waiting area so this time I left my hotel around 10:15am and took the Skytrain to Waterfront station for all of $3.12 USD.   From Waterfront station I walked over to Canada Place.  I knew the routine from last time, down to the P2 parking deck to drop luggage, back up to Hall C to check in (agent with tablet for a 30 second check in), down one level to security and US Customs to pre-clear back into the US.  This time my timing was perfect, they were just beginning to board as I reached the waiting area. 

First stop on board was to re-code my previous Wow band to my account and into the Diamond Lounge to finish some work.  Entering the DL requires the use of a SeaPass card which I wouldn't get until cabins were ready later but with a Wow band on my account I used it to enter the DL which I had to myself for over 30 minutes until someone else with a Wow band joined me.    

I saw a blog post about Ovation starting to use the new Royal app  so I tried the old Royal IQ app and found it still working.  Then I tried the new Royal app and sure enough it worked too. 

Shortly after 1pm the announcement came that cabins were ready.

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Vancouver is a great embarkation port and a beautiful city.





The last time I was on Ovation they were building the Fish and Ships restaurant on deck 14 by the pool.  This time it was open so I tried the basic fish and chips that included in the cruise fare.  It's small but a good snack size.  If you want a full meal I'd order two.  


I didn't know Vancouver had dry dock facilities for smaller ships.


As sail away approached the upper decks grew more crowded.


With that our sail away commenced and we headed towards the Lions Gate Bridge.






As if there was any doubt we cleared with ease and made our way into Burrard Inlet.





It's a very pretty sail away leaving Vancouver.




I enjoyed some balcony time taking in the scenery.


These pictures don't do the majesty of it all any justice.


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The end of day one turned into night.


North Star was running on a walk up basis so why not?

I didn't realize it until later but I caught the reflection of the monitor with the North Star logo in this shot.



Hard to see in this photo but the night sky was full of stars.



The North Star Bar remains a favorite with incredible views and it's lightly used at night.   

Earlier on my way to muster a crew member stopped me in the hall and said he recognized me. I had to do a double take but saw it was Monaj from the North Star bar. He remembered me from May as I was often at or near this bar taking in the majesty of Alaska.  So happy he is still on!  That's him facing the other way taking care of another guest.  Really nice guy and great bartender.


Unfortunately it's nearing the end of the Milky Way season in the Northern hemisphere but I did catch the dipper from my balcony.  


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Day Two - Seattle

We arrived early at around 5am. A low cloud cover hung over the city like a fog.


They had a lot to load onto the ship.  While we loaded passengers and luggage in Vancouver we didn't load any other supplies or fuel in Vancouver.  Instead that would be done today.  The cruise goes on past Hawaii to Sydney.  I suspect they have loaded as much frozen and non-perishables as they could to minimize having to re-supply everything in Hawaii.  Instead they'll take on perishables and fresh fruit there but much of the frozen supplies and beer/wine/alcohol would be brought on in Seattle.

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Future of Flight and Boeing Factory Tour

Meeting in the theater we eventually led out to our bus for the ~45 minute drive North to Everett, WA.  

They don't allow cameras or phones on the factory tour but you can use them in the tour entrance building and outdoor observation deck.  


Historic Paine field where many wide body Boeing jets have taken their first flight after leaving the factory assembling building to the left and the paint building near center across the runway. 


There are over 30 finished planes waiting for delivery to their future airlines.


The gray planes are refueling tankers for the Air Force.  The white planes with their wing tips turned up are early 777X test planes.  The 777X will release next year, it's currently in development.  The plane uses extra long composite wings for increased lift but to fit in at existing airports the last 11 feet of the wing turn upward on the ground so they can fit at normal gates.


Another early model 777X clad in the green protective vinyl coating that is applied during the assembly process to prevent dings and scratches on the factory floor. 


The two paint buildings where all wide body jets made here are painted.


Inside the tour building they have some displays including a full size 747-8 tail.  


Up close you realize just how massive it is.


The next generation of the popular wide body 777 will be the 777X. 


Tail section of fuselage from the inside.


What the wall of the plane looks like without the decorative panels we all see when we fly. 


This 787X has been clad with a body wrap graphics instead of using paint.  Paint adds significant weight that is carried like cargo.  By reducing weight over the lifecycle of a plane airlines can save money. 


Free lockers are provided for personal items since nothing is allowed on the tour.  The factory tour consisted of a bus ride over to the factory assembly buildings  We walked through a tunnel to a freight elevator where we went up to an observation floor overlooking the factory floor.  It's amazing to see so many very large wide body jets being built.  First up was the 747 and 767 assembly lines.  Next we went to the 777 assembly line.  Pretty mind blowing.  Unfortunately no pictures.  The tour lasted 90 minutes before we were bussed back to the tour entrance building.  

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Back to the ship around 1:30pm in time for lunch and a picture of the ongoing loading of supplies for the long repositioning cruise.


With no luggage to load they could devote the entire day to loading cargo and supplies.

Some sail away drama as four returning guests were missing.  You know what that means... pier runners!

As it turns out some of these guests are a few doors down from me.  I saw security knock and then enter their cabin looking for them.  They were documenting everything with their body cameras.  On a another cruise I learned the process they follow that most of us never see when guests are late returning to the ship.   The security officers stayed outside the cabin waiting for instructions to retrieve passports and wallets from the safe.  Those would be left with the port agent at the pier should the ship leave without the guests.


We waited for them and left 70 minutes late. 

A dock worker played the Sax as we pulled away from the pier.



Finally underway now following the NCL Joy that should have been long after us.



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Dinner in the Solarium Bistro. 


Dinner is part buffet style and part full service for entrees.  Order your main entree then grab your own appetizers from the buffet.  I was able to use a Diamond happy hour drink for a glass of wine. 

There are two items, Lobster Tails and Lamb Chops that cost extra.  Other than those extra cost items the meal is included in your base cruise fare.


The New York Strip is not of my favorite cuts of meat but in the name of the blog I thought I'd sample one here.  Not bad as New York Strip steaks go.  


All in all a nice "free" dinner experience as an alternative to the MDR.

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Housekeeping items...

  • O3b internet is back!  While in Alaska Ovation used the old legacy satellites.  Now that we are staying within range we are using the newer O3b satellites.  Yay!
  • I asked the hostess at Coastal Kitchen about Junior Suite access for dinner.  It's accommodated on a space available basis.
  • NFL coverage.  Two stations added to the channel line up.  Channel 40 and 41 have East/West games.  Channel 40 is labeled Sunday/Monday/Thursday.  Channel 41 is Sunday only.  Early games Jets/Patriots and Ravens/Chiefs.  Late games Texans/Chargers and Saints/Seattle.  
  • We changed time last night.  Current time is 4 hours off Eastern time.  We change time again tonight.  

By the numbers (of guests):

  • Australian 367
  • Brazil 27
  • Canada 860
  • China 41
  • Germany 91 
  • Great Britain 41
  • Ireland 18
  • Israel 15
  • Mexico 70
  • New Zealand 55
  • United States 2,588 
  • Children on board 238
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1 hour ago, Matt said:

That Boeing tour is a bucket list thing for me to do

The tour is $25 booked directly.  I paid $82 on sale through Royal, regular price was $109 but that includes transportation both ways.

I looked at Uber while there and it was $87 one way.  For me solo it made sense booking it through Royal as I couldn't get there and back for the $57 difference. 

For a family a rental car for the day might make more sense combined with buying the tour directly.  They do have a height requirement though so small kids wouldn't be able to go and would probably be bored.      

It was popular enough to warrant two excursion times.  There were 50 guests on the 8am time slot.  Unsure about the later time.  

No traffic on the way there on a Saturday morning but we hit traffic on the way back.  It's Seattle, so traffic is a thing even on weekends.  

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