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Sailing Alaska the Royal Way

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

It's time to pack your bags and set sail on the high seas because CRUISING IS BACK!

With cruising kicking off again, we know everyone wants to know what to expect. Well, you're in luck! One of our agents just returned from the Ovation of the Seas' Simulation Voyage, which sailed from Seattle to Alaska on July 30th and she's got all the details for you.



On Friday, July 30th my husband and I boarded Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas for a simulation cruise. Prior to arriving at the port, we checked in online using the Royal Caribbean app and were assigned a port arrival time. We arrived at the assigned time and had to provide proof of vaccination. Since this was a simulation cruise, at this point, they divided everyone into "vaccinated passengers" or "unvaccinated passengers" groups, even though everyone on board this sailing was vaccinated. We were assigned the vaccinated group and received a white wristband we had to wear the entire cruise. This wristband let the crew members know we were, in fact, vaccinated.


The ship had approximately 450 passengers onboard, plus the crew. Once onboard we were able to make reservations for dining and shows. For our cruise only the Flow Rider and the bumper cars were operational.

We did bumper cars several times on our sailing, riding it multiple times in a row in many cases. My husband also tried out the Flow Rider surfing experience. He had never done anything like this before and the crew was great, putting him at ease by teaching him how to use the boogie board to start.

We dined in the main dining room for three nights. For breakfast, we enjoyed Café Two 70 most mornings but also had room service and ate in the main dining room and buffet. The buffet however is set up differently at this time and the staff serves you your food. We found Amber and Oak Pub a great place to enjoy appetizers (nachos, fried pickles, pretzel bites, etc). Sorrento’s Pizzeria is a good place to have a quick lunch or afternoon snack. Café Promenade had sandwiches and fantastic desserts. YOU CAN NEVER EAT TOO MUCH ON A CRUISE! Most restaurants had a QR code to scan to download the menu.

One tip I would give: take the time to get to know the crew. We learned how well Royal Caribbean treated the crew during Covid. Our first night the entire waitstaff was standing and welcoming all the guests as we walked into the dining room. Every place we went the crew was friendly and you could tell how happy they were to be back.

We enjoyed the hot tubs and pool in the solarium, this was a place only the vaccinated guests could go. There were plenty of chairs to sit in and the bar staff was always asking if you wanted anything. It was cold on our sea days so we did not use the outdoor pool, but the lifeguards were standing out there all day!


Our one port was Ketchikan, Alaska. We took a Royal Caribbean shore excursion called Misty Fjords and Wilderness Explorer. This excursion did sell out but we had purchased it the first day onboard. This was a 5-hour excursion onboard the Melinda Leigh to see the Fjords near Ketchikan. We walked from the ship to the dock where we boarded the boat. There is a naturalist on board who talks about the area and what you are seeing. There is indoor seating and you can stand on the back deck or the lower and upper deck. There is a snack bar on board that offers complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and tea and sells soft drinks, water, and snacks. We did get a complimentary snack of either clam chowder or vegetarian chili. Towards the end of the trip, they offered smoked salmon which my husband enjoyed as I'm not fond of seafood. We saw bald eagles and the fjords are breathtaking. After the excursion, we were able to tour Ketchikan on our own.


The entertainment onboard was outstanding. Reservations were required for the shows. The first night we went to Pixels-The Two 70 Experience. This is in the front of the ship and projections are displayed. That night a fantastic violinist played while the projections were shown. In the main theatre, we saw The Las Vegas Tenors and Mario and Daniel (comedians) on two other evenings. In the theatre the vaccinated guests were on level 4 and could remove masks during the show, the unvaccinated guests were on level 5 and had to wear their masks. On days we were at sea there was plenty to do. We attended a morning trivia session at Schooners Bar and a Friends trivia one afternoon.


For Debarkation, two nights prior to our return to Seattle, we had to fill out a form and were assigned a debarkation time as they were doing staggered debarkation for social distancing. We were also given luggage tags with a number on them. On the morning of debarkation, we had breakfast and then everyone waited in their cabin for their group to be called. Our time was estimated to be 8:30 am and things ran on time with us debarking right about 8:30 am!


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