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7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
We have just returned from a short sector cruise with Ovation of the Seas. This was my 14th cruise-I have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Princess, Star cruises, Carnival and P&O before. I desperately wanted to go on this ship ... Read More
We have just returned from a short sector cruise with Ovation of the Seas. This was my 14th cruise-I have cruised with Royal Caribbean, Cunard, Princess, Star cruises, Carnival and P&O before. I desperately wanted to go on this ship when it was released but couldn't convince my husband as it was minimum of 6 nights and involved travelling to Singapore with two young kids which he didn't want to do. So I was so excited when I saw a very limited offer of a two night cruise from Hobart to Sydney. I almost obsessively researched this ship before we went on as we had less than 48 hours to experience it and wanted to pack in as much as possible. So I booked the North Star, iFly, pixels show and dinner reservations. I read numerous reviews on this ship and the sister ships and wrote down every bit of useful knowledge I could find to maximise our time on it. I am so glad I did as we experienced a lot in the time we were on there and met many unhappy people saying they couldn't get on anything as they didn't pre-book. So I totally recommend book everything you can and research the ship layout and features before leaving to get the most out of it and have a great experience otherwise I would have been very disappointed in this ship if I hadn't done that. Embarkation:we got on at Hobart with only 150 people which was good but was only two people checking in so was still super slow and took about 45 minutes to get on. Walked as much of the ship as possible to get orientated, did paperwork for kids club and changed our dining reservation from Anytime dining to Late seating as the Late seating used the restaurants Chic and The Grande which were the restaurants we wanted to dine at. Cabin:we were in 9108 right on the front of the ship which I had never done before. Maybe a bit more ship movement than usual but had a great outlook. We had an outside cabin due to cost (usually do balcony) which had a much bigger window than other ships I've been on. The room was lovely, modern, new and fine for the little time we spent in there. Ship:the ship is beautiful. It's huge but never felt that crowded. The artwork everywhere is stunning. All the main rooms felt spacious, luxurious and beautiful to look at. I'm not sure if any other ship will compare after been on this one-I have been on Queen Mary 2 when it was first built which was lovely but this ship had a lot more to do and options available for dining, bars, cafe's etc and a younger demographic. Dining:I'm glad I changed our booking to the late seating as there was no queues and could get a table for two easily. From reading the reviews it looks like the Anytime dining had huge queues. One thing that was annoying was there was lots of tables that were reserved but no one ever turned up to them. The food was nothing special but I wasn't on there for the food. The dining rooms were beautiful and plush. For lunch and breakfast I wouldn't bother with the buffet as it was fairly basic and repetitive. We found cafe 270 had a much smaller selection but was made to order and much more appetizing. Coffee very average all over the ship. Entertainment; Pixels was great in cafe 270-like a cirque de soleil show. Saw different bands around the ship-were all good. Activities: North Star-great to do. Our time slot was cancelled as it was too windy so you get a priority slip to come back later. When it was finally running again there was huge queues of people in the priority queue and even bigger queues for stand by people. So had to wait for about 45 minutes which felt worth it once we were on. Felt totally disorganised though. Although in some ways I was glad they were so unorganised as they didn't measure my 4 year old son (he was under the height limit), just asked me if he was the right height so I said "yes" and they didn't question it. Would have been so disappointing to have waited all that time and then him and one of us adults couldn't do it. iFLY-really fun experience. Must book for it-had no problems doing it Roller skating-huge queues to get a ticket to get a slot for later in the session. The guy kept telling my son he wouldn't get on as all the slots would be taken by the time we got to the front of the queue-my son wanted to persevere and luckily there were 7 extra spots when we got to the front of the queue. Was my 6 year old son's favourite acitivity on the cruise. Other activities-we couldn't do any of the other activities as we had a 4 year old with us and there were age restrictions on the other things-was okay though as we couldn't have fit anything else in the time anyway. If I was to go on this cruise again I would wait until both kids were at least 6 to do almost all the activities on board. Kids activities: kids club was enjoyed by both our kids despite them being in different rooms due to age differences. We only put them in the 7-10pm slot so they wouldn't get sick of it. We loved having 3hrs child free to have dinner, see a show and go to a bar. The kids waterpark was closed most of our cruise due to wind-looked great if it had been running. The boys loved all the pools/spas around the ship-they have life jackets for younger kids to wear which was great. There were hardly any other young kids on this ship. The 3-5yo kids club had about 8 kids and the 6-8yo kids club had about 12 kids on the nights we were there. The last cruise we did was on Carnival and there were literally hundreds of kids-this was much better. Shops-shopping on this ship is very disappointing. All the shops are upmarket, super expensive. There is one shop called Port Traders that sell general merchandise but the selection is so small. I wanted a memento to take home of this cruise and got a little model ship you can hang on the xmas tree but this was about the only option apart from stickers, pens, fridge magnets etc. Bars:we loved Vintages bar-was plush and quiet. Service:we found the staff mostly friendly and helpful. Ports: we didn't have any port stops but can highly recommend the Royal Botannical gardens in Hobart and the new Barangaroo reserve/dining precinct in Sydney. We did the fabulous walk you can now do from Barangaroo to the opera house-lots of dining/cafes on the way and amazing views of the harbour all the way. So in a nutshell if you can plan and book everything before you go you'll maximise your enjoyment while on board, if you don't do this it will be long queues and lots of frustration all the way. This is not a cruise for relaxation-it's action packed and lots of fun, but you'll need a rest when you get home. Read Less
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