Vancouver to Sydney Cruise

We decided to join Jen’s parents on a 29 day cruise on Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas, from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia.  

Here are the stops that we did along the way:
First Leg (8 nights)
- Vancouver, Canada
- Seattle, USA
- 5 sea days
- Maui, USA (2 days)
- Honolulu, USA

Second Leg (20 nights)
- Honolulu, USA
- 5 sea days  - crossed the equator
- Moorea, French Polynesia (2 days)
- Papeete, French Polynesia
- 5 sea days - crossed the international dateline
- Napier, New Zealand
- Wellington, New Zealand
- Picton, New Zealand
- 2 sea days
- Sydney, Australia

Equatorial Crossing
If you have never sailed over the Equator before, you are known as a Pollywog.  Between Hawaii and French Polynesia, we crossed the equator and the cruise director performed an Equatorial baptism ceremony.    They poured some of Neptune's cold water from the Northern Hemisphere, and then hot water from the Southern Hemisphere, onto each Pollywog's head.  I guess we are now considered Shellbacks and even have some nice certificates to prove it 😂

"Equatorial baptism is an initiation ritual sometimes performed as a ship crosses the Equator, involving water baptism of passengers or crew who have never crossed the Equator before. The ceremony is sometimes explained as being an initiation into the court of King Neptune. Sailors who have already crossed the Equator are nicknamed Shellbacks. Those who have not crossed are nicknamed Pollywogs."

Dateline Crossing
Between French Polynesia and New Zealand, we crossed the international dateline.  For us, Saturday Oct. 22, 2022 was completely lost - it is an entire day in our lives that just never existed.  We went to bed on Friday Oct. 21st, and when we woke up the next morning, it was Sunday Oct 23rd 😃!


We enjoy sailing with Royal Caribbean because they have so many activities available to keep us occupied, particularly on the big Quantum or Oasis class boats.  Here are some of our highlights:

Pickleball, Old-school Rollerskating, Volleyball, Dodgeball, Ping pong, Dance Fitness
Trivia (progressive, music, dingbats, tribond, etc.), and Educational Seminars on French Polynesia and crime scene forensics
The North Star
Lounging on the deck
Let’s not forget the flowrider where Dom passed a lot of his time. Some days he would only do 3 runs every hour but he got lucky on colder days and even got the Flowrider to himself for 45 minutes once…it was a cold day. 
Some of the other activities on the boat included Soccer, Basketball, iFly, rock climbing, bumper cars, dance and sushi-making classes, origami/scapbooking/towel/napkin animal folding lessons, and movies/games on the pool deck, but we didn't participate in any of these this time.

Piano guy in the elevator.. and he was good. 
Evening shows and Silent Disco

Crown & Anchor Status
Besides spending time with Jen's parents, another reason we decided to do such a long trip was because Royal Caribbean was offering double-status-points to try to entice tourists back onto the boats post-covid.  By the time we completed both legs of the cruise, we both managed to attain Diamond status, meaning we will now be able to get our own free drinks!  Dom was SO excited about his new status (even though he doesn't drink.. go figure 🤷😂)

Food and Drinks
Since Jen's parents were already Diamond members before this cruise, we got to sample some of their free drinks every day.  We had fun trying different kinds of mocktails and cocktails.  Some of our favourites were: strawberry daiquiri, mudslide, piña colada, dark and stormy, sangria, lava flow, sexy ocean, and the painkiller.. just to name a few. 

As usual we really enjoyed the dining room food and ate way too much at the beginning.  It took us about 20 days before we learned to pace ourselves 😂

Thanks to Jen's mom, we were able to upgrade to balcony rooms for the first leg of the cruise.  For the second leg, we got to experience an inside room with a Virtual Balcony (80 inch TV of a live "balcony" view of the ship) for the first time.  Of course it's not the same as having a real balcony, but we must say we were pleasantly surprised at how effective it was at tricking us into feeling that we had a window view since you could at least see what it was like outside!

Unfortunately, Jen and her parents for COVID at the end of the trip, however, Royal Caribbean was nice enough to provide each of us with our own separate rooms, free room service, free internet, and medication for covid symptoms.  Dom had to get tested every morning, but as long as he tested negative he was allowed to continue enjoying the outside world while everyone was isolating. Overall, we felt they treated us and the situation very well.. we're sure it's not an easy thing for them to manage / deal with either.

Hiking in Picton

Picton was the last of our New Zealand stops.  

Since Jen and her parents were still in quarantine, Dom decided to go on a 12km round-trip hike out to "The Snout", to explore the peninsula.

As the boat departed Picton through the Marlborough Sounds, we saw some really great views of the coast.


Our stop in Wellington was rainy and cold.  Jen and her parents were sick, so Dom was the only one allowed to disembark.

He took it easy and visited the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, the City Gallery, and wandered along the main streets. 

The Te Papa museum had a few interesting exhibits including a section on the First World War Gallipoli Campaign, with giant wax statues that were incredibly realistic! 

The City Gallery wasn't particularly interesting, however there was one interesting exhibit where you could watch "2001 Odyssey" and the "Thriller" music video with all of the people removed from the footage, because the artist wanted to explore the backgrounds of videos without the distraction of the people them 🤷‍♂️.

Cycling in Napier

After another 5 days at sea, we arrived at our first stop in New Zealand - Napier. 

We rented a couple of bikes and headed South along the nicely maintained, coastal pathway. 

Over the 40km ride, we were rewarded with perfect riding weather and beautiful scenery.  We also saw the biggest asparagus and aloe plants ever!  😜

Napier is famous for its art deco architecture, so before heading back to the boat, we took a stroll down to main avenue and admired all the art-deco style buildings.