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A Tale of Two Alaskan Cruises

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

Ovation or Quantum of the Seas?

Two of my clients, Becky and Colleen, are friends with each other; their husbands went to high school together. They’ve traveled together as adult friends for years. This year, Becky and Colleen each contacted me separately about wanting to take their adult and almost-adult kids on Alaskan cruises. They ended up booking cruises that departed about three days from each other, each with Royal Caribbean. Colleen sailed on the Ovation of the Seas and Becky sailed on the Quantum of the Seas.

I loved talking to both ladies at the same time and getting an idea of their favorite things on their cruises, what they did, and their tips for future Alaskan cruisers. I also thought it would be interesting to compare the two itineraries and ships a little bit. Click here to listen; click here to watch our conversation.

Here is a short recap of some of the highlights:

Cabin types

Both sets of families chose balcony-type cabins. Colleen’s family was all in balconies, and Becky and her husband were in a balcony cabin and put their kids in virtual balconies. Both ladies agreed that balconies were definitely the way to go in Alaska. Becky’s kids loved the real-time views from the virtual balconies; they said that was a great way to go. And of course, actual balconies are always amazing.

Photos courtesy of Royal Caribbean

How Do the Ships Compare?

The Ovation and the Quantum of the Seas are sister ships. The Ovation has a Diamond Lounge and the Quantum has the Golden Lounge; the Ovation has a restaurant called Fish & Ships, and the Quantum has the Noodle Shop on the upper deck. Other than that, they are identical. Both have an amazing glass observation capsule called the North Star on top of the ship; both have 18 restaurants & bars (including a Bionic Bar with 2 robotic arm bartenders); and both have FlowRiders, bumper cars, a full-size basketball court, an amazing theater, and a roller-skating rink.

The itineraries are very similar. Both ships started and ended in Seattle and visited Juneau and Victoria, BC. Becky’s cruise on the Quantum stopped in Ketchikan and Sitka. Colleen’s cruise on the Ovation stopped in Skagway and had an extra cruising day through the Endicott Arm & Dawes Glacier. Both cruises went through the Inside Passage and saw the glaciers there.

Cruise Ships Activities They Loved

Becky’s family loved the North Star and I-Fly. Colleen’s family loved the FlowRider; for them, the I-Fly and North Star were completely booked on the first day of the cruise. Becky’s family’s favorite show was an Elton John impersonator; Colleen’s family loved a comedian onboard.

Both families loved experiencing ziplines. Becky’s family went on the largest zipline in the world at Icy Strait Point outside of Juneau. Colleen’s family enjoyed ziplines in the little town of Skagway.

Alaska Wildlife

Both families saw wildlife; in Skagway Becky’s family rented scooters and they saw bears and went horseback riding. In Sitka, Colleen’s family went to Fortress of the Bears and saw black and grizzly bears, which was fascinating. The families saw eagles, whales, and sea lions.


Colleen’s family loved the room service. Becky’s loved a restaurant called 270, which features salads, soups, and sandwiches. Both families enjoyed dinner together every evening, and said that was a highlight. Colleen’s family had some that needed gluten-free options; she said that the main dining room offered exceptional choices and service for gluten-free!

What They Wished

If they could have had everything perfect, both ladies would have wished for more perfect internet service; both commented that it was pretty spotty. Just before Becky’s ship sailed, one of the glaciers had calved, so they couldn’t sail very close to the glaciers on her day. Colleen also mentioned wishing that she could have seen the glaciers more up close and personal, possibly sailing on a smaller ship.

Both sets of families had an amazing Alaska cruise. Let me know if you’re interested in booking a cruise to Alaska. Alaska cruises only operate from May through September, and they are the perfect way to see this beautiful state!


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