Review of Ovation Of The Seas deck 16 (NorthStar-RipCord-FlowRider)
Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center (upper level 2) is the Fitness (ShipShape Center, open between 6 am - 10 pm). It consists of Gymnasium (complimentary, with Technogym equipment), Aerobics Studio (for classes- Yoga, Pilates, TRX, spinning, stretching), adjacent stretching area, Cycling Studio (FlyWheel classes, spin bikes racing), private training rooms, locker rooms (men/women, each with sauna and steam room). The Gym room (with floor-ceiling windows) has modern bodybuilding and training exercise equipment (free weights, weight machines, treadmills, steppers, ellipticals, stationary bikes, Kinesis wall). In the mornings/afternoons are scheduled health and wellness seminars (free of charge).
SeaPlex (sports complex upper level with Xbox / multiplayer gaming consoles)
North Star (here is the pod’s loading area, with a handicap elevator).
The aft-located FlowRider is the Royal Caribbean’s surf simulator. Pumps project high-speed water (20-30 mph / 30-50 kph) across a small area creating sheet waves (stationary waves) to simulate ocean surfing. FlowRiders were first created as land-based facilities and were implemented by Royal Caribbean for guests to enjoy traditional surfing and skimboarding on cruise ships. The Royal Caribbean FlowRider is a complimentary (cruise fare inclusive) facility and reservations are not required. Equipment (bodyboards, flowboards) is provided. Private surfing lessons are available for booking at an additional cost per person. Groups are 6 to 8 guests. The FlowRider’s restrictions include min-height (52-inches/132 cm to use bodyboard, 58-inches/147 cm to use flowboard). Not allowed are footwear, goggles, go-pro cams. Guests can surf at the simulator until they fall off the board. The facility is supervised by sports staff (safety, assistance, advice).
RipCord by iFly (skydiving simulator)
“RipCord by iFly” is the RCI’s indoor skydiving simulator. This is a freefall simulator implementing wind tunnel technology. The facility consists of a recreational wind tunnel (vertical) enabling the experience of a flight (freefall) without a parachute. The wind is generated vertically, moving upwards at ~120 mph / 195 kph. This allows the body to float in midair (belly-downwards). The RipCord simulator was initially complimentary, operated with 2 x 1 min sessions.
Royal Caribbean prices RipCord at US$26 (per passenger per-minute fee). Equipment is provided (flight-suit, crash helmet, goggles, pre-watching a short video with instructions). Professional photo/video services are provided at extra charge. Reservations are required and can be made also online (in advance). The simulator’s rules and restrictions mirror the land-based guidelines – min age 3+ years old (no upper age limit), good health/physical condition. Passengers with height less than 6 ft / 1,80 m must weigh under 230 lbs (104 kg). Those with height over 6 ft must weigh under 250 lbs (113 kg). Children under 18 yo need a parent/guardian to sign the waivers. The flight simulator is not recommended for passengers with back/neck problems or prior shoulder dislocation.
iFly hours vary by cruise length and depend on weather conditions. Opening hours are as follows - up to 9-night itineraries (8 am – 10 pm on sea days, 9 am - 1 pm and 4-10 pm on port days, and between 1-2:45 pm. and 4-10 pm on embarkation day), 9-night and longer itineraries (9 am - 10 pm on sea days, 9 am - 12-noon, and 5-9 pm on port days, and between 1-2:45 pm. and 4-9 pm on embarkation day).
North Star (observation pod)
North Star is a Royal Caribbean Quantum- and Quantum Ultra-class ship exclusive facility consisting of an observation pod (jewel-shaped capsule) mounted on a rotating hydraulic arm (length 135 ft / 41 m). The capsule’s capacity is 15 persons (incl 13 passengers, 1 operator, 1 wheelchair /no seats available). The pod is sized 12×15 ft (3,6 x 4,5 m) and operated in 15 min sessions. North Star was initially complimentary, with up to 2 hours long queues (especially on seadays).
Royal Caribbean prices North Star at US$20 (per person per ride fee). Available packages (at surcharge) are named “Sunrise”, “Sunset” and “Private Flight”. Booking is not required (first-come-first-served basis), excepting for special events - weddings, group visits, etc. The rotational capsule offers stunning views above the ship, approx 300 ft / 90 m above the ocean. The hydraulic arm moves slowly around, extending up to an 80-degree angle. Operations could be suspended due to bad weather (strong winds). While the ship is docked in port, sessions are 10 min and the arm moves only up and down (not over the ship’s side). Bringing photo/video equipment is allowed. Curiously, in 2016, the RCI's "North Star" observational pod was entered into "Guinness Book of World Records" as "Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship".
North Star hours vary by cruise length and depend on weather conditions. Opening hours are as follows - up to 9-night itineraries (8 am - 10 pm on sea days, 9 am - 1 pm and 4-10 pm on port days, and between 1-2:45 pm, and 4-10 pm on embarkation day), 9-night and longer itineraries (9 am - 10 pm on sea days, 9 am - 12-noon, and 5-9 pm on port days, and between 1-2:45 pm, and 4-9 pm on embarkation day).