10 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Asia from Hong Kong

We chose this cruise as an interesting initial itinerary attracted our attention. Unfortunately Boracay was changed due to its closure but we decided to continue anyway. The alternative port was Subic Bay was did not have very much to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as an interesting initial itinerary attracted our attention. Unfortunately Boracay was changed due to its closure but we decided to continue anyway. The alternative port was Subic Bay was did not have very much to offer close by. I wouldn't really recommend Subic Bayu as a destination (nothing to do there) although the local people were very friendly. If you do go there try the Crab and Belly restaurant - excellent food at an excellent price. It was a shame that the port visits coincided with a level 1 typhoon warning which basically meant it rained heavily but giving into being wet made the excursions easier. At the completion of the cruise we took up the day tour and airport drop off option which saved considerable angst about what to do with luggage. This cruise was perhaps 85% Asian and despite some subsequent complaints I have heard about that, I found there were no problems or issues in fact it added to the adventure of the cruise. The food was primarily and understandably aimed at that demographic so I took the opportunity to explore the wider than usual food options available. The entertainment was excellent, even though the shows were the same as when we originally sailed on Ovation. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
This cruise and the two following cruises on June 1 and June 6 were booked as an offering by Cruise 1st on a back to back basis, AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN OFFERED TO UK CUSTOMERS. The whole ship, including the food, and entertainment, ... Read More
This cruise and the two following cruises on June 1 and June 6 were booked as an offering by Cruise 1st on a back to back basis, AND SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN OFFERED TO UK CUSTOMERS. The whole ship, including the food, and entertainment, was designed and set up to cater for Chinese and other Asian guests, NOT US. SIMPLY NOT UP TO STANDARD AND VERY VERY DISAPPOINTING. Noise level on board and in the Windjammer totally unacceptable from the 4000 Chinese guests. We only found out about an english menu being available at HongKong airport on the way home from other miserable UK guests who, like us had to wait for 11 hours minimum to get the flight home. This menu was never offered to us in any of the 4 restaurants and consequently we did not know of its existence. I managed to get a ships wheel chair for my partner who has limited mobility but when we got back to HongKong at the end of the first leg we were refused permission to take it off the ship to re-board in Shenzhen. THREFORE WE REFUSED TO GET OFF. So we stayed on whilst the ship was moved along with another couple. We did not need our Chinese visas at all AND ALL THE BRITISH GUESTS WHO HAD THE TRAUMA OF GETTING OFF AND ON COULD ALL HAVE STAYED ON BOARD AND NOT BE DISTURBED. SOME EVEN HAD TO CHANGE CABIN. We all had to attend three safety assemblies conducted in Chinese, get three boarding passes, and register our credit cards three times, ALL TOTALLY UNNECESSARY WITH GOOD ORGANISATION AND WE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN DISTURBED IN THIS WAY. . The trips off the ship were badly over-priced and I really object to paying USD 14.15 for a single glass of red wine. When we got to Okinawa for an overnight stay on-board the shuttle bus from the ship into the city centre was only advised as running on the evening of arrival AND NO MENTION OF THE NEXT DAY. This would have meant getting off the ship close to darkness. I managed to find out that this was not true and that the shuttle was running the next day and changed my tickets. SOME OF YOUR UK CUSTOMERS WERE REFUSED THIS CHANGE WHEN THEY ASKED TO DO SO. The two theatre performances that we attended were so poor that we walked out both times and never came back. Typical example of the poor food is that when a roast joint was made available there was only gravy, mint jelly and mashed potato available to have with it. No roast potatoes yorkshires, and cooked vegetables, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Most days any chips on offer were stone cold in seconds, and of the type offered by Macdonalds, SIMPLY NOT ACCEPTABLE. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
I normally just read reviews, but after this cruise I thought I could counter some of the previous negative reviews with a positive one. This is a bit lengthly as a warning but I hope to help others get a better underling of the Asian ... Read More
I normally just read reviews, but after this cruise I thought I could counter some of the previous negative reviews with a positive one. This is a bit lengthly as a warning but I hope to help others get a better underling of the Asian market. After reading previous reviews on here about Ovation of the Seas, my wife and I came onboard with a lower expectation. We were pleasantly surprised. The biggest disclaimer of those thinking about Ovation of the Seas. If you are going to the Asian theater, you need to be prepared for the cultural differences you will likely see. Royal Caribbean does announce the cruises as a cultural tour, so you will have an idea when selecting your cruise. We had an amazing cruise and Ovation of the Seas is now our favorite ship. Can't wait to go on her again when she goes to the North American market. EMBARKATION Was a breeze. Make sure you have done all of your pre-cruise paperwork filled out on RCL's cruise planner, and you'll have no problems. Also, showing up early will definitely help! Once onboard they directed passengers to the MDR, but we went directly to Windjammer. Since we arrived to the ship at 1000, we were one of the first onboard (boarded around 1115) so we didn't have to wait. If you get onboard after 1130-1200, strongly do not recommend the windjammer, as it fills up quickly and you'll be waiting a long time. Promenade cafe and Solarium are some great second options to avoid the initial rush to eat. SHIP This was our 5th cruise. We have previously been onboard several of the Oasis and Freedom class ships. The ship is huge, with many activities and experiences onboard that will be mentioned later. What we liked about the ship is the modern touches, from the ease of embarkation, to the decor throughout the ship, the ease of going through the photo galley (it's simply all upload to monitors where you can select your photos and pick either prints or digital, and pick up at a later time), we found the modern touches to be quite pleasing. CABIN We had a Junior Suite 9632, starboard side, and the beginning of "the hump". Great cabin and if you are looking for a JS, strongly recommend this cabin, as the layout is quite different from other JS. We had a single cabin passenger stateroom next to our cabin, which made our cabin and have "elbow" layout, vice just the straight walk-in view as is typical for JS. Very modern looking, right down to the telephone, and we had a HUGE balcony that included 2 chairs that you can lay down on. Had dimming lights that you could control from one knob, including right next to your bed, very convenient. Also had the best bathroom we've ever had on RCL as of now. DINING Here, we came onboard with a low expectation due to so many negative reviews on Cruise Critic. Within 30 minutes onboard, I was talking directly with the Sous Chef and maître d' of the Ship about the most recent Cruise Critic Reviews. They assured me they have been reading these and have taken action on some of the complaints, in particular the lack of western food options. It is true! The Windjammer had several "Western style options" throughout the cruise, including for breakfast scrambled eggs, omelets, hash browns, bacon and sausage. For lunch, standard options included hamburgers, hot dogs, french fries, and even spaghetti or Alfredo. Yes, there were several Asian options at the windjammer and MDR, but this was an Asian cruise! 75% of the passengers were Asian, so I was happy to experience some of the Asian cuisine, but pleased to have a few Western options to cater to me as well. Yes, the MDR had the same menu at all four restaurants (American Icon Grill and Silk are on deck 4, Grande and Chic are on Deck 3), but I thought it was fine. Towards the end of the cruise I did shift to more classic dishes, but I was happy to at least have the options for an Asian cruise! In the MDR, they do try to seat the international passengers in the same section. This was also RCL's way of addressing the critics. Smart move for sure! Once again, please realize this is a Cultural cruise, so you will need some order of patience, but it can get quite loud in the "local sections" which is why I definitely understand some of the separation that takes place. In addition, the Chinese liked to be served quickly, so the separation gives the international guests the chance to enjoy their meal without feeling rushed by the staff or other passengers. You do have the option to sit wherever you want, as a point I loved the MDR staff that served me, so we picked the same restaurant at Grande for a majority of the time. Did not eat at the speciality restaurants because we had family onboard with a budget, but we did have dinner one night at Coastal Kitchen and the food was outstanding! The staff were even kind enough to my request and brought my favorite dessert to the MDR each night because I couldn't go there for dinner (parents were not suite members). ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES Several previous negative reviews mentioned the lack of entertainment or activities, this is NOT TRUE! I also keep my compass' so if you would like to see them just message me, I'd be more than happy to show you an average day. There is plenty to do onboard, you just have to take the time to look at your compass or ask the staff. We spent most of our time at the Solarium (better layout than even Oasis or Allure) , the IFly and North Star are a must do, and we were really impressed with the Seaplex. There were more older people riding the bumper cars than the teens, very fun! Another note: Many previous reviews said bars were lacking or closed, but every bar that was onboard was open and available, with little to no waiting. HUGE PLUS: The best part of the cruise was going to the Solarium. You can easily find deck chairs all day long! There is no need to worry or rush about finding a chair while on an Asian cruise. 8am, or 1pm, it's easy getting chairs and enjoying all the pools anywhere onboard. Must see shows are Pixels, and Live, Love, Legs (wish they had this how on all the ships). SERVICES When I went to Guest Services, they were very helpful and friendly, stressed for sure, but mainly due to the cultural types of people onboard. Once again, patience by everyone is required here, but the staff went out of there way to help me. MDR service was good, get in line onetime per your sea pass card and you won't have any problems. In fact, the staff is there to greet you if you are one of the first ones in line. Within 20 minutes of the first seating, the line was always cleared out, so you never have to wait for long, once again showing up on time is key here. PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS This was the one disappointment on the cruise, and hence the 4 stars. Our ports were Danang and Nha Trang Vietnam. For the Danang port, we did RCL's Past and Present Danag shore excursion. Overall, it was a decent excursion: You start by getting on an air conditioned bus with a guide, then they take you a museum that talks about the ancient kingdom in this particular area, some really need artifacts are there to check out. But you only have about 10 minutes to look around. Then they take you on a Vietnamese Tuk Tuk for a ride around the city, which was alot of fun. After that you get to stroll through a local market. However, you have zero time to do any shopping, because you're then moving to go back on the bus where you drive to marble mountain to see a ton of marble statues and stop at their marble store to pick up souvenirs) You then drive to a local resort for lunch. The buffet was VERY good and included wifi (lunch is about 30-40 min). We then drove to see a huge Buddha and Chinese Pagoda. Here again, you only have about 15 minutes. I literally had to leave my older family behind in order to run around like a madman grabbing photos as fast as I could in order to see everything and get back on the bus. After this sweat fest to say the least we cooled off on the bus as we drove back to the ship, with a quick (less than 5 minutes) stop at a local market. This was a good way to see Danang, but the whole tour was way too rushed and stressful to really enjoy. We definitely needed a few more hours overall to enjoy some of the sights, particularly the Buddha and Pagoda which was AMAZING. After that experience, we were quite exhausted, so the next day at Nha Trang we decided to stay onboard. RCL has to tender at Nha Trang, and the passengers booked with RCL for shore excursions had first priority off the ship. Most passengers didn't get off the ship until 10-11am, and all aboard was at 4pm, so there wasn't much time there. But people did like the port more than Danang, so there was a tradeoff. However, we had a great time being onboard, most of the facilities were still open so I took advantage of that, plus my all-inclusive drink package. All in all a very nice relaxing day. I know this review is long, but I wanted to counter some of the negative reviews. The ship is great, the staff is helpful and friendly (Challenged by the theater/area of the passengers), and easy to relax and be busy with activities. Ovation of the Seas is now our favorite ship in the RCL fleet, and if you want an outstanding coffee, just see Viraj from Mauritius in the Windjammer coffee bar, he can whip up a mean cappuccino! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Tours very expensive with nothing to be seen Charged 20$ for local transfers when docked and then faced over 1 hour wait to get on a bus both ways Only had anytime dining, no set dining although we had booked for a table of 8. Again ... Read More
Tours very expensive with nothing to be seen Charged 20$ for local transfers when docked and then faced over 1 hour wait to get on a bus both ways Only had anytime dining, no set dining although we had booked for a table of 8. Again long queues to get into dining rooms. Specifically aimed at Asian customers, although the majority non Asian and staff confirmed this was the case. Dining room English menu managed to offer Shepherds Pie and all was lukewarm. Restricted Windjammer opening hours. Closed at 10.30 am had to go to another cafe with much less choice. Entertainment almost non existent No port maps supplied unless queued for ages at Guest Relations to get one. Everyone was complaining about this cruise so the queues were horrendous. TV choices terrible only American Weather Service in English Disembarkation was a joke, the queues went all round the ship to get off they seemed to just get everyone off in one go. Have had several conversations with Royal Caribbean and all they can say is sorry but having done many Royal Caribbean cruises there was just so much wrong with this one and just saying sorry does not quite cut it. One lady I spoke to in Miami said that this cruise was "culturally enriched"her words,and that this is in their description in the brochures and we were sold this cruise as a "miscommunication from the travel agent" again her words, we have spoken to both our travel agent and also others and no one has ever heard of this before.and it is certainly not in any of the brochures. I would advise anyone cruising to the Far East to check this out. We have just had such awful treatment from this Company since our return which is so sad as the previous cruises were such wonderful experiences. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
From beginning to end the cruise experience came across to me as being all about the money. We booked a 9 day cruise on the Ovation of the Seas sailing from Hong Kong to Japan with four shore excursions in Japan. The dining experience, ... Read More
From beginning to end the cruise experience came across to me as being all about the money. We booked a 9 day cruise on the Ovation of the Seas sailing from Hong Kong to Japan with four shore excursions in Japan. The dining experience, in all bar the restaurants for which reservations had to be made and paid for by the guests, was passable at best. The "free" restaurants on board offered a very poor range and quality of food when compared to other cruise companies. I heard numerous complaints from fellow guests regarding food and restaurant quality. A word to the wise - please drop that silly continuity announcement in Windjammers where your MC implores the guests to vacate our tables as soon as possible so others might enjoy the Windjammer experience. Such announcements only add insult to injury. The shore excursions are another area where value for money was nonexistent. The overpriced excursion to Fukuoka included a memorable queuing experience of approximately 1 hour while we all waited with baited breath to ascent the Fukuoka Tower. Who ever thought that going up in an elevator to a viewing area overlooking the sea on one side and skyscrapers on the other would constitute good value for money. This tower is not exactly the Eiffel Tower or the Empire of State. Just when we thought that that the shore excursions could not be surpassed in terms of money wasted we embarked on a tour of Kumamoto. The guide droned on in very poor English for the duration of the trip to the extent that most people on the bus fell asleep on the outward journey to Kumamoto. When we arrived at our destination the guide insisted that we line up like school children in rows of two before embarking on our visit to the castle. The visit, if it could even be called a visit, was carried out by the guide without explanation. The only crumb of information made available related to the destruction wrought on the castle in a recent earthquake. Having walked around the castle perimeter without the aid of any explanation from the guide we eventually arrived at a quadrangle that contained toilets and a temple of some sort. The guide pointed out where the toilets were and by way of explanation said "here is a temple". When he was pressed for more information we were informed that our time was up and we needed to get back to the bus. In summary - 1 - Shore Excursions - Seriously over priced and badly guided 2 - On board food experience - Very poor in the "free" restaurants - Food quality in the restaurants for which a booking fee applied was of a good standard and typical of other cruise companies. However having to pay an additional €360 to gain entry to the good restaurants for 6 nights was excessive in the extreme. 3 - Staff - With very very few exceptions all staff encountered on board were top quality and a credit to their employer. 4 - Stateroom - We had a balcony stateroom - Again, as with the staff, the stateroom accommodation was of a very high standard. Overall Royal Caribbean’s attitude would appear to be driven by a desire to squeeze as much money out of their on board “guests” as possible. A fellow disgruntled guest described Royal Caribbean as the Ryanair of the Seas. Unfortunately in our experience and on this occasion that sentiment has the ring of truth. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Would highly recommend cruising on this ship. We were a family of 4 travelling, 2 adults and 2 young children (2yrs & nearly 4yrs). Our balcony stateroom was larger than expected and housed us sufficiently. The food all around the ... Read More
Would highly recommend cruising on this ship. We were a family of 4 travelling, 2 adults and 2 young children (2yrs & nearly 4yrs). Our balcony stateroom was larger than expected and housed us sufficiently. The food all around the boat was more than expected. We did not find the boat over crowded, yes at times there were lots of people around, but never felt over crowded, even with our little ones at toe. Getting on and off the boat was a breeze for us, on check-in, check-out and on shore excursions, so I really do not understand where these negative reviews come from for this. Yes sometimes there were lines, but nothing our 2yr old and 4yr old could not handle. (I think some times people need to learn manners and have patients!) Adventure Ocean the kids club was great for my kids, my 4yr old always had a great time when there with the fun activities they did. My 2yr old didn't enjoy it as much, but the girls put in effort to make his time enjoyable, he did go 3 times to give my husband and I some much needed and appreciated time, kid free. All the activities on the boat are fantastic, so many things to do and all the staff worked very hard to make sure we had a great holiday. We were never bored, actually, there were a few things we didn't do as we couldn't fit it all in. My only complaint would be the cocktails are too sweet and not enjoyable and the staff did not know how to make half of them. Overall – our holiday was more than we could have imagined because Royal Caribbean have produced and amazing ship with out of this world activities and facilities on board! At the end of the day, remember you are on a boat on the middle of the ocean!! :) Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Having only been on 1 cruise prior a short 3 day one, we chose this cruise purely for the ship. The location was then selected and as it had a number of stops to break up the trip and went for this one with stops in Vietnam and Thailand ... Read More
Having only been on 1 cruise prior a short 3 day one, we chose this cruise purely for the ship. The location was then selected and as it had a number of stops to break up the trip and went for this one with stops in Vietnam and Thailand before arriving in Singapore. We also had not visited HK before so that was an added bonus to fly in a few days prior to look around. Despite the stops, we could have done with more days at sea as there was so much to do on the ship. The ocean was flat all the way and was perfect. The weather had a few overcast days but only rained once or twice. We expected for the size of the ship it would be overcrowded and embarkation and disembarkation at the Ports and pre/post cruise would be a nightmaree but it was a painless experience. Some of the prior reviews rated this negatively and I guess they have put more focus on this as the wait times were minimal and we got on and off the boat easily. For the number of people (around 4300 guests) it did not feel crowded at all, there was always plenty of space. We had an interior stateroom with a virtual balcony (9185) and it was excellent. We have stayed in a balcony room before so wasn't sure what to expect but I was more than happy with the room. Friends stayed in a balcony room and the size and layout was exactly the same except for the balcony. The virtual screen provided a good look at what was going on outside the ship but we hardly noticed as we were never in our room. Once we left in the morning we didn't return until night before getting ready for dinner or to go out. We did the most of the activities on board, Eye in the Sky, I-Fly (sky diving), roller staking, bumper cars, rock climbing, basketball, ping pong etc. There was a lot to keep you occupied. All of which was great fun. I travelled with a group of 10 (5 couples, no children). There were not many young kids on board that we saw, and same for teenagers. However, there were specific kid and teenage activities arranged and the sporting area (ping pong, roller skating, basketball, volleyball, bumper cars, xbox lounges, foozball etc.) as well as the arcade would be awesome for them, it was pretty impressive. My teenage son was a bit envious he didn't come! We saw the Love Legs show (may have the name wrong) which was excellent. Great singers and performers. Entertainment was generally high quality. The ship has a huge lounge called the 270 which has screens that cover all windows. One of the shows Pixels that you had to book for showcased the facility with moving screens, light show etc. The show was a bit out there but it was good to see the full capability of the facility which is pretty amazing. The food was excellent in most of the facilities. Fine Dining was a bit disappointing and the standard was ok, but not great. We had better meals in the Windjammer (buffet) and ate there on most occasions. I think this was consistent with most travellers as we tried fine dining again on day 4 or so and there was hardly anyone there and they were so grateful we went back. Again, meal was ok and we didn't return again. The buffet at Windjammer was very good quality, could not fault it. So much variety and suffice to say we ate a lot! We also pre-booked Jamie Oliver and Chops Steakhouse both of which were very good as well. The food was unlimited and we paid around $35-40 pp pre-booked and it was well worth it. Plenty of other places to eat but we did not try them all. Also did room service breakfast before tours in Port and this was also good. A few in our group smoked and there was a good area on the pool deck with nice lounges and you could open the windows. A few commented this was a lot better than other cruises where you can be stuck in a tiny, crappy area. We booked our own tours rather than go with the boats which was perfect for a group. We used a Company called "Shore Excursions" in both Vietnam and Thailand. It was much better as we did not have to wait for other people and could adjust the itinerary on the day. The itineraries and tour guides were great and would highly recommend this as well. As you can see by my novel - we loved our time on Ovation!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
This ship is probably the most beautiful ship we've ever sailed on (we've done about 15 cruises)! Of course, being new helps, but it's much more than that. They've really gone out of their way to make it visually ... Read More
This ship is probably the most beautiful ship we've ever sailed on (we've done about 15 cruises)! Of course, being new helps, but it's much more than that. They've really gone out of their way to make it visually appealing, from the artwork to the architecture. The restaurants area all beautiful too. The public areas are amazing! The ship left from Hong Kong, where we stayed for a few days. Interesting city, though we hit much rain. We learned that November/December is the rainy season in Asia. Our cabin, 13634 was amazing! It is a huge cabin with a sitting room and separate bedroom. The bathroom is about double the size of what we're used to (of course, this is a superior grand suite). We had a wrap-around balcony (about 3X the size of the others). It had space for two sets of lounge chairs and a table and chairs. The only problem with the cabin was that it is right below the pool deck and one morning we were awakened at 4:00 a.m. by the sound of the crew dragging pool furniture above us and using high powered hoses to clean the deck. Once we let them know, they ensured that it didn't happen again. Being a suite guest had its perks. We had access to a special lounge with snacks and free drinks between 5:30 and 8:00 p.m. There was a concierge in the lounge that helped schedule activities for us. He was a great help. He scheduled us for iFly, and bridge, galley and back stage tours. This was a huge perk of booking a suite! In addition, there is a restaurant just for suite guests, Coastal Kitchen. We really enjoyed the intimacy of this restaurant. We had some issues with a couple of the wait staff, but the manager ensured that things were corrected. Chen was the best waitress we ever had and we requested her, whenever possible. We learned that the ship does not offer a lobster night, rather, you can pay an additional fee for lobster; however, there was one night in the Coastal Kitchen that they did offer lobster for suite guests. The biggest con on the ship is one that has already been mentioned . . . the Windjammer buffet. The food was not always up to the quality we've come to expect of Royal Caribbean and we found that it was very crowded often, turning people away because there wasn't enough space. Luckily, most of the time we were able to go to Coastal Kitchen, because we were in a suite. The other con was the shows. They were absolutely NOT up to the Royal Caribbean standards. Some were not well-written and seemed like they were just trying to show off songs and costumes with no real theme tying them all together. The singer on the last night was probably the best show of the cruise. We have always enjoyed the big production shows, but this sailing was the exception. We booked all of our own excursions so I cannot comment on the ships' tours. Our private tours worked out great! Check out toursbylocals.com, if you're looking to book your own. The cruise ended in Singapore, where we also spent some time. I highly recommend spending time in Singapore. What a great city! Very clean and beautiful architecture! Be sure to visit Gardens by the Bay at night. The Christmas light show was an added bonus! All-in-all we really enjoyed our cruise and this beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
By far the worst cruise I have been on. Finding a table and a place to eat is a battle . I even prefer to be working home than being on holiday on this ship . Too many people . The crew is overwhelmed. Food is poor. ... Read More
By far the worst cruise I have been on. Finding a table and a place to eat is a battle . I even prefer to be working home than being on holiday on this ship . Too many people . The crew is overwhelmed. Food is poor. Entertainment is not very good. Decoration looks cheap .Guest service is overcrowded. Each thing you want to do on the ship implies a battle and a queue. And a credit card. Service is poor. Every thing on board is made to make you spend more money . This is definitely the last time I have having a cruise with this company. I have cruising in Asia a lot of times ans this my worst experience by all mean. I would have preferred to stay home if I had known the truth about this boat . I have been cruising for thirty years and this is my worst cruise. So believe me ,better not using this ship . Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
I wrote a review on Ovation of the Seas at the end of the inaugural Singapore-Beijing route in June. On that occasion it was already a less than impressive cruise compared to Quantum of the Seas from Singapore to Shanghai in June a year ... Read More
I wrote a review on Ovation of the Seas at the end of the inaugural Singapore-Beijing route in June. On that occasion it was already a less than impressive cruise compared to Quantum of the Seas from Singapore to Shanghai in June a year before. My wife and I saw the opportunity to sail on her again only this time it was a round trip from Hong Kong to Japan and Korea and back from November 4th to November 13th. Based on previous cruises I highly recommended this one to my close friends and four couples chose to come along. I am compelled to write this review as I felt entirely responsible for them to have listened to me and came away with an appalling experience. Where do I begin... The Booking: acting on behalf on my group I asked immediately for suite accommodation when it was first advertised four months ago and I was informed by my TA that I had to wait for confirmation from the Shanghai HO. Incredibly, three months checking with my TA he told me Shanghai was not responding . Worry there might not be any staterooms left I had no choice but opted for four balcony staterooms three weeks before sailing. On-board check-ins came through just four days remaining I quickly logged on to the Cruise Planner to book dinner seatings in the complimentary restaurants, the shows, iFly, North Star etc. At the website complimentary dinner seating was locked out as I was told the Shanghai outfit unlike its predecessor did not believe in pre-bookings but rather have passengers cramping in long queues outside the four restaurants at dinner hours. The lines (three-deep at times) was frustrating. This was in complete contrast to the relaxed system at earlier sailings. The Food: well used to proper menus and smooth seating arrangements as previous time, the "menu" was a one-page printout itemizing only a handful of familiar items from previous restaurant menus and a ubiquitous section catered by a Hong Kong restaurant (four choices only). Needless to say, the food and the rushed service left a lot to be desired. The Solarium on Deck 14 now only operates entirely as a Hot Pot eatery for both lunch and dinner, costing $34 per head (gratuity included) and no surprise that place saw only a few tables of paying customers. Elsewhere other reviews have commented on how far the Windjammer has deteriorated but safe to say more passengers have learnt to give up their seats after completing their meals given there was nothing interesting to try Specialty Restaurants: Issumi was a total disaster while the standard at Jamie's had dropped. Wonderland with its unchanged menu had lost its charm and mystique with only Chops managed to hold its place. The Shows: perhaps it is the depressing mood of the whole ship generating a lack of passion for the entertainers, none of the shows was really up to par except for the Funny Bones duo despite identical routines. Shore Excursion: RCL is famous for its rip-off excursions and no surprise the tours for Japan and Korea were managed by totally incompetent guides showing zero knowledge on the places visited. . Picture this: at least two thousand passengers were forced to stand in pouring rain trying to board two hours before sailing at the Kochi port. No explanation or apologies were extended by the ship management, so typical of RCL in Asia. Conclusion: This will be the last time I will be cruising on a RCL vessel in Asia and if Shanghai HO thinks passengers in the rest of Asia enjoys being herded like sheep, think again as other cruise lines are coming over to Asia to tap this lucative market. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
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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