Well, yes, there were a lot of hoops to jump through for this post-covid sail. The rules are new–all adults must be vaccinated, and you must present a negative covid test 48 hours prior to boarding. This could be a deterrent to a lot of people because the ship was only 1/3 full. What a delight!
This is my first time on the Royal Caribbean ship Ovation of the Seas. In some ways I felt like I’d never sailed before; with the covid protocols and the experiencing of a newer and extremely large ship I was a little overwhelmed the first couple of days.
Here is my good and not so good list of this Alaska trip and the Ovation ship:
The layout of the ship is very easy to get around for a ship this size.
Food was very good. On lobster night waiters circled around the dining room with platters of lobster tails asking guests if they want more. The servers handed them out like candy. Dining rooms were divided into “E” for everyone, or “V” for vaccinated. It didn’t matter to us, but most people like the idea of dining with only vaccinated people. We purposely ate in the “E” dining rooms because they were so empty. The only unvaccinated were the kids and there were very few.
We purchased a specialty dining package. For $109 pp we could dine in 3 of the specialty restaurants. We chose Jamie Oliver’s Italian (my favorite), Izumi Sushi, and Chops Steakhouse. These restaurants are normally $35-$45 per person. Excellent Food!
Shows and music venues were top-notch. The main attraction shows were also segregated. “E” on the upper level of the auditorium, and “V” on the lower level. The vaccinated level didn’t have to wear a mask during the show.
Not so good
Embarkation felt confusing. Royal Caribbean really encouraged downloading their app. This was supposed to make all things easier. The only thing was we had trouble getting our phones to work at the pier, since we were only getting 1 bar on our phones. Next time I will make printed copies of documents.
We had a balcony cabin, which was fine, but there were no bathrobes in the closet, or drinking water. In my memory most ships we’ve been on have had these. Not having a robe for the pool or even just a pitcher of potable water to drink irked me.
We only went into maybe two of the shops on the royal esplanade decks. They have many high-end purse and jewelry stores that were usually empty. We couldn’t find a shop that sold simple things like candy, chips, gum, Ibuprofen, and those types of items.
I was disappointed with the ship activities. They were mostly trivia games, relationship game shows, bingo, and casino specials. I’ve been on ships before that had cooking demonstrations, computer classes, and destination lectures. Again, maybe things were trimmed down because of covid.
We enjoyed the ports. Something to remember if you are a first timer to Alaska is that fall season can be rainy, cold, and dreary. I cancelled some of my outdoor port excursion because of that.
The morning we pulled into Endicott Arm and Dawes Glacier, I opened the curtains in our stateroom to a beautiful day and icebergs floating by.
I love these types of quiet relaxing cruises–lots of reading, eating, and napping. I was surprised at how much motion the ship had, mostly the first day out of Seattle in open ocean, and the last day before arriving in back in Seattle. We were taking our Dramamine.
We only had to wear a mask in hallways, shops, and walking around in the buffet area. Lounge areas had seats blocked off for social distancing.
We were really spoiled with the ship being so empty and loved every minute of it.