Ovation of the Seas Live Blog – Day 1 – Embarkation
Now is the time to board Ovation of the Seas and begin an adventure from Seattle to Alaska! Over the next seven days, I’ll be blogging from the Pacific Ocean about Royal Caribbean’s latest Alaska cruise of the 2021 season.
Luckily, I didn’t have a jet lag to adapt to, so I spent the morning exploring downtown Seattle with my dad. He will join me on this navigation for his very first cruise! We enjoyed walking around the famous Pike Place market before returning to the hotel.
Our hotel arranged a shuttle service to the pier at noon, so we arrived at Pier 91 approximately forty-five minutes before the scheduled check-in time. As expected, we were not able to board early, but the weather was perfect and it was nice to watch the ship before boarding.
The terminal was certainly much busier than my previous crossings this year. There are approximately 3,000 guests aboard the Ovation of the Seas this week, making it the ship’s highest capacity this season. With a capacity of 4,180 guests, the vessel has a capacity of approximately 75%.
Check-in went well and we were on board at 1:15 am. After completing exercise eMuster, we headed to our cabins. I was delighted to see red velvet cupcakes and room decor waiting for us, courtesy of our travel agents at MEI Travel! It was a fantastic welcome gift to start a great adventure. And yes, the cupcakes were delicious.
After a quick lunch at the Windjammer, I took advantage of today’s sunny and warm Seattle afternoon to explore the pool deck. I love the blue colors incorporated throughout the pool deck, which helps bring a sea-themed design to the ship. Ovation of the Seas also has a large indoor pool which will be really nice in the cold weather that we are sure to encounter this week.
We ended up not exploring a ton of the ship this afternoon because we couldn’t stop looking at the beautiful views around us. Seattle has a beautiful skyline and it was peaceful to watch the sailboats and ships heading towards the city.
The best view, however, was when Mount Rainer emerged from the clouds. At 14,411 feet the mountain is mesmerizing and this was the best view I have seen from a cruise ship so far! Therefore, we decided to pull up a few chairs on the running platform and take in the beautiful Seattle scenery.
Sailaway was at six o’clock. We got ready for the sailaway in the best possible way… having a drink, of course! We walked over to the indoor pool bar, where I ordered a Mai Tai and my dad ordered a Manhattan.
While waiting for our drinks, an announcement from the bridge came in and we discovered that our navigation had a change of route. We were initially going to visit Juneau, Skagway and Sitka, Alaska. Due to high seas and wind we will now visit Ketchikan, Juneau and Skagway. I don’t mind the change and can’t wait to see what Ketchikan has to offer!
Drinks in hand, we climbed back up to Deck 15 just as the ship began to pull away from Seattle. Coming out of the harbor at sunset with amazing scenery around us made it my favorite sailboat to date.
As the sun was setting behind the mountains it was quite chilly outside and we decided to head to the “main dining room” for dinner. I say “main dining room” because on Ovation of the Seas there are four different “restaurants” that make up what would typically be one large main dining room.
When Ovation of the Seas was built in 2016, Royal Caribbean was testing a concept called Dynamic Dining. Instead of a main dining room, they built four separate restaurants in its place, each with its own menu and atmosphere. However, this concept was eventually scrapped and Royal Caribbean resumed building its ships with a single main dining area.
Nowadays, as there is no longer a vibrant dining room, all four locations have the same standard menu offered in the main dining room on all ships. We ate at the place called Silk which was very colorful with Asian inspired decor.
On my two previous cruises, I mainly ate at specialty restaurants on board. Therefore, on this navigation, I wanted to get a better idea of what is available in the main dining room.
We started our meal with butternut squash soup and a plate of artisan cheeses. I found the soup under “Vegan Options” on the digital version of the main dining room menu. So if you are looking for more options for dinner, be sure to also check the vegan options listed (as they don’t show up on the regular paper menu).
For the main course, I ordered the herb crusted salmon and my dad tried the spaghetti bolognese. And for dessert, we shared the crème brûlée and a banana tahini cake.
We lucked out with a table right by a window so enjoyed our meal with a great view of Puget Sound.
After dinner, I was pretty exhausted after a long day of exploring Seattle and taking videos around the ship for the Royal Caribbean blog’s YouTube channel, so I decided to call it a night.
Overall the trip has started well and I am delighted to continue exploring the ship tomorrow on a day at sea on the way to Ketchikan.
The Windjammer on Ovation of the Seas has an outdoor seating area, and I love it! While I’m not sure how much I will be eating out on this particular sail, it is a great option when cruising during the warmer months.
Speaking of the Windjammer, it looks like it’s open for dinner on this sailing! The Windjammer has been closed for dinner on my previous cruises this year due to low capacity. It will be nice to have another dinner option.
This cruise certainly seems more crowded than my other cruises, which had around 25% capacity, but it is also busier due to the number of guests on board.
The queue for the shore excursions desk today was crazy! I was glad we booked our excursions in advance.