4 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Asia from Beijing

Chose the cruise as part of a package sold by Planet Cruise. Royal Caribbean website made the cruise experience sound fantastic for 'tasting' a little of several countries in the luxury of a modern ship with up to date ... Read More
Chose the cruise as part of a package sold by Planet Cruise. Royal Caribbean website made the cruise experience sound fantastic for 'tasting' a little of several countries in the luxury of a modern ship with up to date facilities. Planet Cruise package also added 3 days in Beijing prior to sailing and followed by 5 days in Bali. Sounded wonderful. Very poor information beforehand from Planet Cruise or Roya Caribbean about immigration rules, particularly for China. Problems in Manchester airport as Cathay Pacific airline staff knew nothing about the Chinese 144 day visa free pass. It took 30 minutes before we were allowed to fly as staff trawlled their data bases and phoned for advice before letting us board. Beuracracy of the 144 day pass form filling in China meant an hour or so before we finally picked up our cases. Despite the problems we were aware of others who had paid over £250 each for visas which were not needed. We found out about the pass ourselves. No advice from Royal Catibbean or Planet Cruise. Embarkation - shambles. Arrived at the cruise terminal at midday to the sight of thousands of people queing. We were pleased that we had checked in online as advised by Royal Caribbean - wrong! It was 4.30pm before we finally boarded the ship not having had anything to eat or drink since leaving Beijing at 9.30am. We were handed a piece of paper with boarding instructions as we dropped off our cases. Very poor signage as we entered the terminal, very few staff, and those staff available had poor English. We queued like cattle with others all not knowing if this was the correct queue and didnt know what we were queueing for. After finally compketing additional forms we neared the front of the check-in desk only to find we needed 2 A4 copies of our passports. Some people knew this, the majority didnt. I have checked our information from Royal Caribbean and cannot find any reference to this. Conveniently (!!!!) Royal Caribbean had two photocopiers in the terminal for this purpose and a small coffee shop had seen a market in using their photocopier for 1 yuan for this purpose. Slight problem - the photocopier queues were horrendous and added another 45 minutes to our wait to get on the ship. Finally, after jumping through these hoops we felt we could relax as we got on an escalator with our boarding passes only to find we then had Chinese immigration to go through again. The 144 hour pass bureaucracy added another hour to our boarding experience. There is a lot I could write about the lovely, modern ship, with a wonderful balcony cabin, fantastic underpaid cabin staff, lovely restaurants with excellent food. However, our experience was spoiled by the terrible customer service experience from boarding, onboard, and disembarkation. Onboard the Guest Services desk and Excursion desks were poorly staffed. Guest services queues were an average of 30 minutes for minor issues. Eg cabin key did not work after boarding. Usually, only about 5 staff available at Guest Services for 4500 passengers. Likewise, Excursion desk and 2 or 3 staff and very poor knowledge about the excursions. Disembarkation - due to an unfortunate medical emergency the ship was 5 hours late arriving in Singapore. So many people needed information and help with changing their ongoing travel plans that Guest Services could not cope. After queuing for 30 minutes I was told that I could use the cabin phone to contact my taxi company and the cost would be reimbursed. However, the phone line didn't work. I was then told there were too many people dialling at the same time. We kept listening out for updates on arrival times, tips for ongoing travel, etc. Very, vety few announcements were made which would have been helpful as many people queued at Guest Services with the same questions. General announcements would have helped us and staff. Annoyingly, there were regular announcements about Bingo and other activities despite the common topic of conversation amongst passengers were their ongoing travel concerns. Further queuing at Guest Services gave the advice that we would disembark quicker if we took our own cases off the ship. The next morning we went to the disembarkation point only to find thousands of others had obvioysly been given the same advice! Staff were nowhere to be seen and as passengers eventually started to disembark arguments broke out as passengers tried to jump the queue or push forward. It was bedlam at the cruise terminal with evetyone ring to catch rearranged taxis. After didembarking at 11.30am oyr taxi took us to the airport at 2.45 and we checked in for our flight to Bali with 8 minutes to spare before check in closed. Royal Caribbean put profits before people. We were treated as commodities and not people. Several services on the ship involved additional charges. Cabin staff and restaurant staff were plentiful and helpful. Guest services staff were far to few for the numbers of passengers. Entertainment was ofva poor standard. More like Butlins. Audiences often walked out of shows. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
this cruise allowed us to discover part of asia with stops in japan at taiwan in hong kong vietnam 3 stops aet in singapore. the boat is huge. Lack of entertainment during the day and shows not supoer except one which was beautiful. ... Read More
this cruise allowed us to discover part of asia with stops in japan at taiwan in hong kong vietnam 3 stops aet in singapore. the boat is huge. Lack of entertainment during the day and shows not supoer except one which was beautiful. the staff was great though. Liliana, Alex at the reception desk and Marjen one of the restaurant managers were very professional and knowledgeable. we avouns take advantage of all the activities on the boat namely bumper car, simulation of parachute jump, surfing wave against the current and climbing in a bubble at 100 meters from the ground with panoramic view of the boat from above and on the sea ​​. all these activities are free but ask to register not to queue and it was great . so we recommand to cruoise with royal carribean . this ship must be very great for alaska trip since a glass panorama is offfered in the front ot the ship in the adult pool corner . Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Chose this cruisebas wanted to experience Asian ports. Have experienced different cruise lines all being very good but Royal Caribbean on this cruise completely dropped their standard and did not cater for the Australian passengers at all. ... Read More
Chose this cruisebas wanted to experience Asian ports. Have experienced different cruise lines all being very good but Royal Caribbean on this cruise completely dropped their standard and did not cater for the Australian passengers at all. Boarding of ship was a shambles. Understaffed and with little direction. The food on board was all aimed at the large contingent of Asian passengers . No consideration was given to the Australian and other international travellers. The usual wide variety of international dishes was not provided. Food was repetitive and bland. even in the dining rooms.. I was amazed that Royal Caribbean did not enforce their own rules when they allowed Asian passengers to smoke in non smoking areas. It was difficult to enjoy shows with Asian guests talking and showing very little respect for performers and fellow passengers. People pushing and squashing into lifts was dangerous and not needed. I was aware that many of the Australian passengers went and complained about the sub standard cruise that they were experiencing. I would prefer to travel on smaller ships then Ovation of the Sea. Yes big but was over crowded and definitely could not cater for crowds in the buffet area. Staff were excellent, cabins fine. Beware of booking Royal Caribbean cruises from Asian ports . We found that by being a minority we were not catered for at all. Many of the Australian passengers that we spoke with were very unhappy about this cruise. It was a shocker. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children (16 & 8). We have taken many, many cruises and have sailed on Royal Caribbean in the past, including a two week cruise from Sydney to the South Pacific the previous year on the Voyager. We ... Read More
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children (16 & 8). We have taken many, many cruises and have sailed on Royal Caribbean in the past, including a two week cruise from Sydney to the South Pacific the previous year on the Voyager. We selected a Family Junior Suite (Rm #10204) which was the perfect size for us. It was also less expensive then two connecting balcony rooms. A major plus was the extra half bathroom, especially when you are travelling with three females 555 ! The room was very modern, spacious, large ocean-view balcony, lots and lots of closets and storage space, and finally a room with lots of electrical outlets for charging our mobile devices. There was a over sized King bed and a Queen size sofa bed for the children. Even with the sofa bed fully extended the entire trip, the room still had lots of space to move around. Pluses about this cruise; excellent entertainment & Broadway style production shows (2), friendly staff, great service, modern decor, very good children programs - wave rider, rock climbing, zero gravity dome, bumper cars, sky crane, multi-purpose court - all free, nice pools & water park with slides. The internet and WiFi coverage was very good and stable the entire cruise. Before I get into the negatives, I should explain some background information. The Ovation is based 6 months of the year in Australia and 6 months in Asia with Beijing being its home port. There were over 5,000 passengers on this cruise, 4,500 + of which were from the country of the new home port city. The remaining passengers were mostly Western. During the 6 months the ship is based in Asia, the ship is totally revamped to accommodate the majority of its Asian guests. Negatives; Both in the 4 main dining rooms and the international buffet restaurant, there was only one main Western item on the menu each lunch and dinner. The vast majority was always Asian food. The non-Western guests lack manners and knowledge of proper travel etiquette. They were constantly pushing and cutting in lines, over loading the lifts, shouting for normal conversation, letting their children run around the main dining room and theater like it was a playground and basically disregarding most posted regulations (both in English and Mandarin) such as no eating areas, no smoking, no running, etc. Finding seating for 4 people in the buffet was next to impossible unless you went at an odd hour. Then you had to protect your table from chairs being taken away or your food being removed by other guests. Everyone at the table had to eat in shifts. God help you if you were anywhere near the section when fresh whole fruit was put out. It was like a swarm of locust descending on the area. We ate most of our dinner meals in specialty restaurants which were much more pleasant. The casino has mostly Asian card and table games. Smoking was allowed, so the atmosphere was pretty dense. No Bingo offered on the ship, even though there were 4 sea days. The lines to get on and off the ship were extremely long (hours). Luckily we had priority boarding and disembarkation with our room category. If you had cruised before, you would be highly disappointed over the meal situation. I do not think many of the Western guests onboard found the cruise enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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