688 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews

First time on Ovation ( reason we booked ), so mainly went for the ride, which strangely turned out that way. We journeyed to tip of New Zealand, turned around and came back to Sydney due to Covid 19 problems around the world. As far as ... Read More
First time on Ovation ( reason we booked ), so mainly went for the ride, which strangely turned out that way. We journeyed to tip of New Zealand, turned around and came back to Sydney due to Covid 19 problems around the world. As far as we knew no one had it on the ship, that is till we all got off and went home and 3 days later told one Canadian was infectious last 2 days. So at the moment I am stuck at home for another week and a bit. Food at the Windjammer was excellent best every at a Bistro and easy to navigate around as all in one area. Entertainment was great especially the Mercury Rising show - fantastic best show ever. Other free food outlets were great - Fish and Ships, Pizza's were good with toppings unlike most free Pizza outlets, also few more food outlets around the ship. Captain was excellent with information to passengers. Bad points were prices, everything in US Dollars so supper expensive for anything, eg beers were about $12 up and wine glass about $20 up. On board alcohol duty free was more expensive then Dan Murphy's. Diamond Lounge was a welcome place to visit in evening as could not afford to drink at the bars!! All the shops were empty except for window shoppers, staff were bored as anything. No laundries so either pay astronomical prices for washing or do it in the shower or sink and take clothes you don't need to iron. Best part is we all get our money back so cruise was free or get 125% as credit for next cruise - now that is a good reason to go with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We were booked for 11 nights, 12 days for a round trip Australia to New Zealand. We were supposed to stop along the way at Mystery Island and New Caledonia before reaching NZ. However combination of a tropical cyclone and Coronavirus ... Read More
We were booked for 11 nights, 12 days for a round trip Australia to New Zealand. We were supposed to stop along the way at Mystery Island and New Caledonia before reaching NZ. However combination of a tropical cyclone and Coronavirus meant we did a round trip from Sydney and spent 6 nights, 7 days on board. All praise to the captain and crew for looking after passengers well being, the crew were very professional, very polite and accommodating with any request (full praise to our room attendant, Teddy, no request was too much trouble and done with a smile and with a positive attitude that it would be all ready for you when you got back to your stateroom - thankyou Teddy). Loved sailing on a brand new, modern, spacious ship. The public areas made you feel like you were in a fancy upmarket shopping centre. The star rooms (we had a balcony room) were modern and spacious. Loved that the dreaded shower curtain has been replaced by a modern screen. Lots of storage and had to get used to cabin doors that open outwards into the corridor, I felt like I was walking through a fancy hotel when going back and forth to our cabin. Lots of activities as you would expect on a cruise ship, including dodgem cars, roller skating, flowrider and iflow (skydiving in a tube). The Northstar (observation pod on a stick) was a new experience, pleased I did it but once you were up in the air, Northstar was a bit of a let down, the view from Northstar when it’s in the air was no different then the view you will get if you stand on the top deck of the ship and look out to sea. You have 5 minutes up in the air, time for a quick photo but that was it (just endless ocean around you). If you go on Northstar whilst at port, maybe better, you may get more to see than just lots of ocean. Food was in the most part average for buffet and restaurants. Typical food you would get in a Buffett on a cruise ship. Menus were similar between the different specialty restaurants and the main restaurant we ate in (anytime dinning in American icon restaurant). All the restaurants had the prawn cocktail. This dish was a disaster, 4 pealed prawns with the tails on, not dressed or marinated, sitting on cut lettuce, which was undressed and not pleasant to eat. You had a tomato type sauce but this was nothing spectacular. I think they should try and improve this dish or remove it from the menu. The crab cakes were really delicious and should be top entree pick.Steaks were really nice and were cooked to order, loved the side dishes. Did not taste the Japanese restaurant. However, the biggest let down on the ship was wonderland restaurant. This restaurant is themed all around the Alice in wonderland story. Your experience in the restaurant is really terrific. You get to use the special liquid to paint in the framed menu, to make the menu visible. The waiters are dressed like “mad hatter” characters and lead you through the total experience, from explaining the food, what each dish is made from and in what order you should eat each dish. There are 9 entrees on the menu but the waiter picks only 7 of them for you to try. Again the food experience was very different and special and even fun but the food was so “exotic “ that the meal was not enjoyable, (the clear tomato juice shot, served in a test tube was a bit gross) You get to pick your mains from the menu, entree and dessert is picked for you. For mains my partner had halibut fish in a bag. The portion was small, the fish overcooked. The dishes appearance when it reached the table was un - appealing. I had the beef. (Slow cooked for several hours). The beef was not pleasant to eat, stringy, tough, not enough sauce. Dessert was very nice and a bit of a show as it was a dessert wrapped in a chocolate ball, which melted to reveal what was within when the caramel sauce was poured on it. You get two. The other called “forbidden apple” was nice. Service in wonderland was very slow. If you want more drinks or in my case extra sauce, staff response was very slow, you had to wait for your waiter to come back from “entertaining” another table with the opening wonderland spiel before the waiter comes over to serve you. Eventually we got service from the manager. They either need to put on more staff and improve the menu or scrap wonderland from their ships altogether. Wonderland restaurant is an experience you would only do once, but currently not worth the money we paid to eat in the restaurant. We got the refreshment package, that was all non alcoholic beverages. With this package we got a special ovation of the seas cup (you get to keep at the end of the cruise). The cup is waiting for you in you4 room when you arrive. The cup has a chip in the bottom of it and the cup is bottom - less for drinks. You can fill the cup endlessly at any of the self serve soda stations on the ship. There was between 20 and 30 soda flavours in the machine and you could have one flavour or mix and match. Coke Zero with raspberry flavour was nice. This service is a nice touch. It was especially handy in the windjammer Buffett, the servers there are really busy with their work, so the self serve drink station was handy to get a drink quickly each time. The 24 hr pizza station was also a welcome touch. However, the draw back on food was the Buffett and restaurants all close at 9pm, so if you go to 2 different shows in a night, you may have to forgo dinner that night. Sometimes there were two shows to see at night so , you either eat dinner really early or skip dinner and have a late night snack of pizza. Transfers on and off the ship was smooth for the most part. On disembarkation day, we chose to take our own luggage off big mistake!. All the passenger lifts were constantly full in both directions, we waited almost an hour to try and get on a lift before we decided to carry our own, heavy suitcase, down from deck 11, where our cabin was to deck 2 where the exit gangway was. As so many passengers also were carrying off their own luggage and prams and wheelchairs etc, there were long bottlenecks and wait times to get off the ship. If you don’t want to have to carry your own luggage and want to get off the ship quick, then get the crew to carry off your luggage at th3 end of your trip to avoid long delays ( with nearly 5000 passengers trip to depart all at once causes delays) The adults only area “solarium” was nice but there was only wading pools in the adults only area. If you want a deeper pool, to swim in you have swim with all the screaming, noisy kids (not very relaxing). Choosing an adults only cruise maybe an option for those bothered by a ship with screaming kids. At least two of the pools were covered, meaning that you can swim in any weather condition. But lots of strong chlorine used, in enclosed pool area, very strong smelling and overpowering. Shows at night, movies, bingo and other activities all good. Overall experience is a very positive experience. Would definitely travel on ovation of the seas again, hopefully when cruising is back to normal and the ship is able to have port days on their trips. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We chose this cruise because of the Ship as we have always wanted to sail out of beautiful Sydney Harbour and back in again. The destination wasn't as important as the Ship but we did enjoy New Zealand and the itinerary was excellent ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Ship as we have always wanted to sail out of beautiful Sydney Harbour and back in again. The destination wasn't as important as the Ship but we did enjoy New Zealand and the itinerary was excellent - enough port days and enough seas days over the 12 nights. Embarkation was extremely well done - 30 minutes from stepping out of our car with our bags and sitting on Deck 14 sipping a cocktails Disembarking was equally well executed - we left after our nominated time of 8am by 30 minutes and we were off the ship with our bags through Customs in 10 minutes. The best I have ever experienced! We chose the Ultimate Dining Package and it was well worth every cent. We dined frequently for lunch and dinner at all the specialty restaurants except for Amber and Gold. Our favourite was Jamie's Kitchen for dinner and Izume for lunch - however Wonderland was a fabulous experience and Chops Grille always maintained a high standard. We also dined at Chic one evening, Solarium Bistro (deck 14) twice and Fish & Chips one lunch time. I personally loved having all the various options for dining as it made our cruise very special and certainly not repetitive when it came to dining. Our favourite bar was Vintages but we did enjoy Boleros when the Caribbean band was playing and also Two70 of an afternoon. We did get to Pixels Show (brilliant) and were treated to a fabulous concert in Two70 with The Beatles Celebration band one evening. They did an excellent performance of the Beatles songs between 1962-1967 and even went so far as to speak and play like the lovable Liverpool lads! We didn't go to the Casino or the other 2 shows but I believed those who did enjoyed themselves. My only wish was that there were more seats next to windows to look out at the water while spending days at sea. Mainly did this by heading up to the Solarium (adults only) area or Two70 as the bars were mainly internal. I am just one of those cruisers that enjoy sitting looking at the water but it is really not a complaint. The cleanliness of this ship and the friendliness of the staff goes above and beyond one's expectation. Every staff member we met throughout our cruise was extremely helpful, smiling and kind. Our stateroom was spotless and the ship was constantly gleaming inside and out on the decks. I did however on arrival to our Stateroom follow the 12 guides to santizing our room which I downloaded from google and happy to say we got off board without a sniffle or any signs of a potential C Virus. Everyone I saw on-board was extremely diligent in washing their hands or using the santizers that were placed everywhere for everyone's use. We also carried our own small hand sanitizer gel and hand wipes. No masks were required and I don't recall seeing many people using them on board. We enjoyed room service every morning for breakfast and found their service very reliable and efficient. I loved the fact that we could make our own tea in our room but I also brought my Campos AeroPress portable coffee maker with my own Campos coffee. Being a lover of coffee it was definitely worth the $59 purchase online and will take it with me again. Having your own kettle in the Stateroom is a great idea! Wish more cruise liners did this for their guests. This cruise had only 4200 (approx) guests based on the Captains welcome talk to us all on the first night (700 less than its full capacity) and as this is the largest ship we have been on I was curious to see how it would fee living in a small city with this number of travellers. Happy to say we never felt overwhelmed or delayed in getting on or off at ports or into the Ship's restaurants or entertainment areas. We enjoyed "the eye" on day in Auckland and only had to wait 30 minutes which seem to go relatively quickly. We opted for the 4-7pm slot and it was most enjoyable. We didn't experience Seaplex area but anyone young at heart should endeavour to do the dodgems when they are on the Compass daily itinerary. All in all this was a great cruise for us and we enjoyed all that Ovations of Seas had to offer - would definitely recommend this Ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Big ship but never felt overcrowded Very friendly helpful staff couldn’t fault them Solarium great area. Adults only which is a great idea Food good not great Entertainment same Excellent entertainer one night in the ... Read More
Big ship but never felt overcrowded Very friendly helpful staff couldn’t fault them Solarium great area. Adults only which is a great idea Food good not great Entertainment same Excellent entertainer one night in the royal theatre But other nights mediocre Great singer in One of the bars every night Lacking nice lounge areas overlooking ocean although big one at back of ship but always seem to be having a show or similar on Shops good only a few but varied very clean ship everything ran smoothly Windjammer cafe was good. Great variety Sometimes hard to get a table. To be expected. Back area outside fantastic Solarium cafe great alternative peaceful area to eat. Not the hustle and bustle of windjammer Main dining room excellent service. Food either very good or not so good Cabins 10/10 best bed and shower Very roomy balcony private and great storage. Couldn’t fault Cabin Enjoyable cruise Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were worried about the size of this ship being the biggest we had been on and it had a lot of stuff that we didn't need like bumper cars, surfing, trapeze etc.but it was easy to avoid them and enjoy the rest of the ship as they ... Read More
We were worried about the size of this ship being the biggest we had been on and it had a lot of stuff that we didn't need like bumper cars, surfing, trapeze etc.but it was easy to avoid them and enjoy the rest of the ship as they were tucked away in the sportsplex. What impressed us most was the organisation. Despite having to be medically tested before we got on as we had to change planes at Bangkok and coronavirus was around it was handled efficiently and we were on the ship with few delays. We thought getting on and off the ship would take some time, especially when we needed to use tenders, but it was all handled very smoothly and quickly. There was a good variety of dining options and bars with efficient and friendly staff. Our room was spacious and well fitted with a largel double bed (better than ours at home!), wardrobes, shelves and drawers, sofa and coffee table and a small but beautifully formed shower room - none of this dangly wet curtain stuff but a proper shower with anti-slip floor and a glass door. The balcony was also very nice. We were well impressed with the cleanliness and they make sure everybody washes their hands before going into any dining venue, unlike some ships which had coronavirus problems. Hats off to Royal Caribbean. It was disappointing that we were unable to stop at Dunedin due to stormy seas and our cruise was tied in with a visit to Melboune for the Grand Prix which was cancelled at the very last minute and we were very disappointed as it was one of the main reasons for the holiday but nevertheless, despite all this we had a good holiday. I would recommend Royal Caribbean and would cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Let me just say that this has been one of the worst cruises I've been on. The whole cruise has been one disappointment after another that has made what was supposed to be a happy and enjoyable birthday and 10th anniversary holiday ... Read More
Let me just say that this has been one of the worst cruises I've been on. The whole cruise has been one disappointment after another that has made what was supposed to be a happy and enjoyable birthday and 10th anniversary holiday into a depressing and boring cruise. From the horrible staff in the kids club that drove my 3yo daughter to tears, to the overcrowding of the ship so much that you can't get into anything, to the cancellation of the iFly due to weather but because of the overcrowding there's no more room for us, even with The Key. The food has been average, the entertainment has been ok but too packed. The room attendant even broke our personal soap holder. The baristas make coffees so hot that could burn holes in hell. We turned up for roller-skating on time to be told it was full and we needed to arrive earlier. We lined up for an hour in the hot sun waiting for the north star. The bionic bar keeps losing my drink orders even after they've been sent. The constant barrage of hard sales pitches from staff is annoying also. The lack of entertainment compared to the number of passengers is rediculous meaning so many people miss out. We paid for The Key to gain access to extra benefits but have found it absolutely useless as there's just too many people on the ship, other than the internet. And finally, theres been more than one occasion where I've walked into the toilets and there's been poo on the floor. The Ovation of the Seas ship has ruined not only my birthday but our 10th anniversary that we've been looking forward to for a few years. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We have cruised many times on alot of different cruise lines but Ovation is the largest ship we have cruised on. Ovation of the Seas has been our bucket ship and it didn't disappoint. No waiting in line to embark, disembark, ... Read More
We have cruised many times on alot of different cruise lines but Ovation is the largest ship we have cruised on. Ovation of the Seas has been our bucket ship and it didn't disappoint. No waiting in line to embark, disembark, buffet or for the tenders in port. We had a virtual balcony cabin which was a good size and very quiet. We loved all the toys that were included, flowrider, Ifly, North Star & bumper cars. The best gym facilities at sea. Best production shows we have seen at sea. The adults only area was lovely. Only thing we feel let the cruise down was the food in the MDR and waiting staff could have been improved on. We found the ship very easy to get around and didn't get lost at all. Beautiful art work all around the ship. Looking forward to cruising on Ovation of the Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We wanted to go Ovation to try it and compare. We have been RCI since 2010 and are Diamond (80 pts) later this year. Maybe. We are Platinum with Princess. We first cruised though in 1970-72. I think reviews need to have 1) a valid ... Read More
We wanted to go Ovation to try it and compare. We have been RCI since 2010 and are Diamond (80 pts) later this year. Maybe. We are Platinum with Princess. We first cruised though in 1970-72. I think reviews need to have 1) a valid comparison with other ships & 2) whether they write as a family/kids, Teens or older.......... like us. But what a disappointment...........BUT We did like the Solarium Bistro (but NO menu change at all means 3 items !!) Solarium pool under glass with bar. The rear deck on the (Cafeteria>Windjammer Restaurant.) Generally, liked the staff. Food delvery to room @ $8 US is very reasonable. I'd imagine that kids and family would like the pools, air bubble, wave rider.Dodgem cars. The usual RCI and outstanding nine piece orchestra and that rare opportunity to listen to a tight band..............thought long gone =================================== What I didn't like............ * The ship is too big. * The inside Promenade feels 1/3 the size of Explorer/Voyager class. * Shops feel smaller & most less interesting. * The pub has no Promenade seating.Its inside the pub. * Captains Promenade talk/location is not a match (Voyager class & others). * Smaller rooms maybe designed so that a large ship seems more personal but it fails. * Two level Music Hall appears under utilised for music. * This is the first time I've avoided the main dining room. Flat roof and lacking in any personality compared to other ships. * Entertainment falls short of the high standard usually on other ships but has its moments in the Theatre. * Drinks (forgetting packages) $8-10 US (say $30A for two people) for wine Mixed spirits (s Comfort &coke) abt $10 ea Cocktails- $14US ea = $28Us for two......Say $45Aust for two !! Sickness on board cruise ships still an issue although the staff try hard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Overall our holiday was good, but there were a few things that brought down the enjoyment. Our stateroom was assigned by RC on the starboard forward part of deck 6 and was above the deck 5 smoking area. This meant when we wanted to use ... Read More
Overall our holiday was good, but there were a few things that brought down the enjoyment. Our stateroom was assigned by RC on the starboard forward part of deck 6 and was above the deck 5 smoking area. This meant when we wanted to use the balcony, we got cigarette smoke in the air. Fresh air was why we picked a balcony in the first place. We also were deluged in cigarette smoke when waiting in line for the North Star on deck 15. In the stateroom, while it was small, the bathroom was extremely functional. Having USB ports and magnetic walls was also convenient. However we would have preferred to have a curtain or room divider so that a person sleeping wouldn’t be disturbed by someone reading or coming in late. Having all the overhead lights on the same switch also contributed to this issue. Personally I was disappointed that the Solarium pool was really only for sitting, not swimming. The other two pools were so full of kids for most of the day I couldn’t really swim. We also didn’t really get any benefits from being lowly gold level Crown & Anchor members. We received a note at the start of the cruise that we would get buy one get one free soft drinks when ordered together, or 10% off a single, automatically. However this was never the case when we bought soft drinks. The photo discount was nice, except for the photo package offers made the discount irrelevant. The special waiting area in the Music Hall on debark day was also irrelevant- no one was there when we arrived and when our number was called we were further back in line than the people who waited in Two70. Our cruise superstar staff were our stateroom attendant Igede who quickly helped us with anything we needed and had our room tidied very quickly when we left. We really enjoyed the progressive trivia and game shows hosted by Prince. The entertainers we saw were really excellent - Pixels and the theatre productions had amazing set design and performers. The INXS tribute band, comedian and tropical pleasures duo were also lots of fun. We didn’t go to the other tribute concerts as we weren’t interested in the artists they covered - maybe pick some more recent artists. The cruise director was kind of extra - he needed to take it down a couple of notches. It’s likely that we’ll sail with RC again. However it’ll probably be on a smaller ship, we will cough up the extra money to pick our stateroom, and we will be careful to avoid school holidays and smoking areas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ship to keep them engaged and happy. Embarkation in Sydney went without a hitch, and by 11.30 we had found a table in the Windjammer and had our first cocktail. We then explored the ship, and the looks on our kids and grandkids faces was a joy to behold. Because we were a party of 11 we stuck with My Time dining in Silk, and the food for the most part was top shelf. Our wait staff (Jerrold and Jan) were fantastic, remembered everyone’s names and could not have done more for us. Nothing was too much trouble and they made our dining experience one to remember. We had four cabins on Deck 10 forward, and they were nice enough. Our cabin attendant Aldrin did a great job, keeping all our cabins immaculate, always with a smile on his face. We attended most of the shows - some hits, some misses. Pixels kept the kids entertained, but we had seen it before and knew what to expect. We had a crack at most of the activities, including ifly, North Star and dodgems. As many other reviewers have mentioned, the queues at times were horrendous, but hey, you’re on a cruise, so just enjoy the people watching! Our ports of call were Noumea, Mystery Island and Brisbane. We found Mystery Island to be the highlight, way more to do there than expected. Beautiful beaches, friendly locals and crystal clear water. Noumea was ok, we’d been there before and knew what to expect. A lot of people didn’t get off in Brisbane, the main reason being that the port was a long way from anything, and Royal had the hide to charge us $25 USD pp for a shuttle into Brisbane - a lot of cabbage when there are 11 of you. Whilst I appreciate that there is a cost involved to organise the coaches, I'm certain it wouldn’t have been $40 AUD pp, just another example of profit being put before all else, I suppose. All in all it was a great trip, and a fantastic first cruise experience for our family. We will certainly cruise again with Royal, and I’m sure our kids will as well. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I choose this cruise because it LOOKS spectacular... But don't be deceived. The service was horrible... I wanted fresh parmesan but I got the 3 year old grated parmesan cheese... If I were to be a 1st time cruiser I still would ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it LOOKS spectacular... But don't be deceived. The service was horrible... I wanted fresh parmesan but I got the 3 year old grated parmesan cheese... If I were to be a 1st time cruiser I still would think that this ship was bad... I got woken up at 9:30am ship time to the crew emergency practice... on the 6th day. Why couldn't they have used the walkie talkies... The wifi was so expensive it almost made me won't to jump off the ship... I really wanted to get up and just go on the bumper cars... I waited for 2 hours then I had these snobs who cut in front of me... This cr u ise was the worst serviced cruise... I'll say a positive... oh yeah that's right there is none... Can I just say that my 12 year old son waited in line and then I found him crying in a corner reheating lining up... Don't bring your children they will be bored there is nothing to do for them... unless you buy the key then you will skip all lines and get yelled at. If your child is younger then 12 then dont bring them Please listen I paid 4000 US dollars to get on this 9 day cruise for the worst experience of my life... And they had LGBTQ every night for choose who where. If your a sleeper then do not go o n this cruise you can't sleep it was to Rocky on the last night and don't get virgin Australia it got canceled for 2 and a half hours for maintenance and then they tell us that it has had maintenance problems. -Anymous Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Ovation of the Seas is a marvel and near faultless. The staff are amazing, and always have a smile. The itinerary for 9 days was well balanced between at-sea days and port days. Our 2 kids (Miss 5 and Miss 8) loved the kids club and the ... Read More
Ovation of the Seas is a marvel and near faultless. The staff are amazing, and always have a smile. The itinerary for 9 days was well balanced between at-sea days and port days. Our 2 kids (Miss 5 and Miss 8) loved the kids club and the pool facilities. EMBARKATION We live in Sydney and decided to use the relatively new Light Rail to get into the city. This was great as where you get off at Circular Quay is only a few hundred metres walk from the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Our embarkation was later than advised due to the delayed arrival of the ship from the previous cruise (engine trouble on the 2nd to last day). We dropped our bags off at the cruise terminal at about 11am and went to Squire's Landing (bottom of the far end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal) for a few beers and some lunch. After taking a few selfies at the front of the ship, we started the boarding process - within about 35 minutes, we were checked in, through customs, and onboard in our cabin with our bags having already been delivered!!! It was definitely advantageous to have "Expedited Arrival" status as the queues were really long as a result of the delayed arrival. FOOD AND DINING We had the deluxe beverage package which was great - coffees each day, bottles of water for the shore excursions, and cocktails / beers / wine all the rest of the time. The package generally covers all single serve beverages apart from some of the more expensive wines by the glass (which are served in the speciality restaurants and Vintages bar). For dinner, we mainly ate in one of the 4 Main Dining Rooms (American Icon) with My Time dining. We did an early reservation (5.15pm) after we boarded and ended up getting the same table each night. Our wait staff (Andreas and Bresila) were fantastic and were very accommodating of our somewhat fussy Miss 5. It is great how there are 4 or 5 appetisers and mains which are different each night. We had a couple of nights in speciality restaurants - once in Chops (the steak was delicious!) and once in Wonderland (a great dining experience which even Miss 5 and Miss 8 enjoyed!). ONBOARD ACTIVITIES The iFLY and North Star are musts! For iFLY, I've been sky diving once before but still really enjoyed this experience – as did Miss 5 and Miss 8!!! We did the North Star on one of the at sea days so didn't really get to see much beside a whole lot of ocean... but seeing the ship itself from high above was certainly a unique experience. Highly recommend booking both iFLY and North Star before you board as they can get booked out for the whole cruise. We also went to a couple of the bumper car sessions in the SeaPlex. A real novelty doing something like this while on a cruise ship at sea, and a highlight for both Miss 5 and Miss 8. Unfortunately, it was incredibly popular meaning some long queues (waiting in line up to an hour for a 5 minute ride). We saw a couple of the shows in the Royal Theatre as well as the PIXELS show in the Two70 venue - all really high quality with some talented performers. SERVICE AND STAFF Very impressive. No matter where you went, the staff would always offer a cheerful greeting and an offer of assistance. Our cabin attendant Sebby was ever attentive, promptly making our beds in the morning while we were out at breakfast and then turning down our room when we were at dinner. High praise for our American Icon waitstaff – Andreas promptly taking our food orders when we arrived and delivering each course promptly, and then Bresila taking our drinks orders and bringing new glasses of wine when we finished what we had. SHIP QUALITY Ovation of the Seas is coming up to 4 years old, but isn't showing any signs of age. The staff do a brilliant job of keeping everything spotless, included constantly mopping water around the pools on the main deck. When we hit some rough seas between New Zealand and Australia on the return leg, the ‘sick’ bags were promptly put out at each of the stairwells for those in need. CABIN / STATEROOM Given we were a family of 4, it was pretty cosy with the couch being turned into a bed for Miss 5 and Miss 8. However, there was plenty of storage (multiple drawers as well as hanging space), and room under the bed to keep the bags. If you do run out of storage space, remember you can keep some clothes in your bag and just slide the bag out from under the bed when you need it. The bathroom was cosy but serviceable - toilet, sink, and shower. Water pressure in the shower wasn't great - but the shower head does have different settings which helped. DEBARKATION We were not in a rush to get off and were lucky enough to have once of the last assigned times (9.30am). This meant we were able to have a last breakfast in the Windjammer, and then have a bit of leisure time before our time was called. The luggage collection was a bit chaotic, and there was a bit of a queue to get through customs... but it really didn't take more than about 30 minutes to end up outside the terminal with our bags on our way home. SHIP TIP Do the full online check-in prior to your cruise (including uploading your photo). We did this and had "Expedited Arrival" on our SetSail passes. This meant we were able to skip the normal queue and get onboard really quickly. --- SHORE EXCURSIONS --- SOUNDS Breathtaking! Arriving into Milford Sound as the sun was rising was spectacular. The ship did a double spin at the end of Milford Sound meaning everyone had a good look no matter where they would have been on the ship. DUNEDIN We did the Otagos Wild Wonders. The bus trip wasn't great - almost an hour and 40kms driving from Port Chalmers all the way around to the opposite side of the harbour (about 1km as the crow flies). However, arriving at Natures Wonders we were warmly welcomed by Perry and his team. Riding on the Argo 8 wheel drive vehicles was huge fun, with a driving trek down to the ocean front of the Otago Peninsula. It was the end of the breeding season for the New Zealand Fur Seals, and we got to see a few dozen (at least) pups lazing around. The tour also included getting to see a penguin chick in a special nesting box. WELLINGTON Unfortunately due to earthquake damage to the cruise ship pier, Ovation docked at a commercial wharf which meant it wasn’t possible to walk directly onshore and away from the dock. However, we had booked ourselves on the Wellington Panorama shore excursion which means we boarded the bus right off the ship (a complimentary shuttle service was available for anyone who wanted to go ashore on their own). The tour was excellent, with our driving providing some great history of Wellington including many humorous anecdotes. Stops included the Wellington Botanical Gardens (so many different colours of roses!), Mt Victoria (a great way to see Wellington from on high), and then the Wellington foreshore (the Gallipoli exhibition in the Te Papa museum is brilliant). PICTON While the ship was again at a commercial wharf, a complimentary shuttle was also provided. Our shore excursion this time was the "Marlborough Train Tour". After a short bus ride to the Picton train station, we boarded Passchendaele, a WW1 memorial steam locomotive for a ride to Blenheim - this took about 30 minutes. Getting off at the Blenheim station, we had a chance to check out the locomotive and have a chat to the engineers. There was a great souvenir shop nearby where we picked up a couple of things, and then walked about 20 minutes to have lunch at Dodson Street Beer Garden (http://www.dodsonstreet.co.nz/). Just as much as the Marlborough region is known for its wines, there are also some great local breweries - and we got to try a number of the local brews at Dodson Street. Definitely worth going to if you like your beers! The afternoon saw us ride the train from Blenheim back to Picton, and then the bus back to the wharf to board Ovation. The queues for the bus in Picton were pretty long, so would suggest not hanging around in Picton for too long. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I went for the 10 night cruise to the South Pacific Islands and NZ on the ovation of the seas and it was a great trip. We had the oceanview balcony stateroom on Deck 8, this stateroom was a great size for the two of us with my partner ... Read More
I went for the 10 night cruise to the South Pacific Islands and NZ on the ovation of the seas and it was a great trip. We had the oceanview balcony stateroom on Deck 8, this stateroom was a great size for the two of us with my partner and my-self. The queen bed was very comfortable, TV size was great that sits on the wall in front of the bed, a couch to sit on, good size balcony with the lounge chairs. The bathroom was a little bit small and tight, the shower was a great size but the size of the bathroom didn't bother us as much. The housekeeping team had always ensured the tidiness of our room which is great, the only thing that lacked a little was that they only made the beds and picked up the dirty towels and replaced with new ones, they did not vacuum the room unless need-be and they don't wipe after tables or pick up dirt off the couch. I had to call in the housekeeping service to make the special request to vacuum the floor and the couch as there were sand from our Island ports. Otherwise they did a great job with the cleanliness of the room. The ship it-self is a huge ship, we were on the starboard aft side so it was a bit of a walk going here and there which we didn't mind at all as we enjoy exploring the ship. There were a lot of different dining venues, activities, bars, shops, chill out areas, pools, theatres, you name it! this ship has everything. With the activities, they have the north star capsule, rip cord by ifly, flowrider surfing simulator - these things needed to be booked prior, as soon as itinerary details come out. We had not known about booking these through the app until we got onboard when the staff were explaining about this feature. We unfortunately had missed out on the rip cord and flowrider because when we wanted to book it through the app, everything had been booked out and that it was only a matter of lining up for the hours where reservations weren't required. We hadn't booked the North Star either as it was fully booked and came to find that there were so many people who are going on the ride twice or even more as they had booked themselves a few times. This is where Royal Caribbean need to limit guests to 1-2 rides per the cruise as it isn't fair to those that didn't get to try on the activity. My partner and I had to line up for over an hour during the no reservations hour that they offered this activity, whilst others had already gone on it 4 times which was not fair at all. The pool areas were pretty good but for a big ship, I found that it needed some improvements. Both main pool areas are constantly infested with kids and teenagers and it's difficult for the adults and elderly to want to have a swim or relaxation other than in the solarium, but the solarium is only about sitting around and not much of a swim, I found there were a fair bit of kids in the solarium still running about. I thought this needed some kind of an improvement to limit one pool area to children only and others to those over 18. The water park was also lacking as this catered for children under 12 only. There weren't much of any slides for older guests like carnival cruises offer, being a big ship I felt that this one should have catered more activities for water parks. The food on this ship was excellent, couldn't find any faults except for the dry bacons in the mornings but otherwise it's really good. I went on the P&O before and the food was horrible, this cruise line had definitely topped them and I enjoyed every bit of food that I had on board, it was great. The customer service from the windjammer market place and the main dining areas were excellent, couldn't find any faults as they were very attentive and very friendly, always met your needs. The downside for overseas passengers are that this ship charges with $USD, the conversion with their currency can be very pricey. $8 bionic bar drink meant almost $15 in $AUD each which is quite costly. My partner and I took out the deluxe beverage package with all inclusive except for alcohol, it was $35pp/day, quite pricey but if you think about it, they charge $8 USD per drink and by the time you get yourself a juice, a coffee, a milkshake, glass of coke, you'll be paying more than $35 anyway. The $35pp/day we paid via their website and in $AUD, do not pay this package on the cruise as they will charge in $USD, pay prior to boarding online. Shops are pretty good as there were a range of variety, still pricey but catered to passenger's needs and wants. Ports were Noumea - New Caledonia, Mystery Island - Vanuatu & Auckland - NZ. These ports were great. Noumea is the most expensive place I've ever been to in my entire life. 2 plates of burgers and chips with 2 drinks costed $80AUD later, a 1 hour jet ski ride costs $270AUD (which we did not pay for because it was way too expensive). We couldn't justify why this was. We ended up getting the hop on/hop off $10 tour to take us around town and had a swim at the beach. Mystery Island was amazing, loved every bit of the island and the people were friendly. Amazing grilled fish, wonderful massage, great atmosphere, cleanest beach. Auckland was also terrific, we went on the quad bike rides ($400pp later). It was surreal. The experience was amazing and the scenic tours were beautiful, went through the farm, the bush, the mountains, the beach, it was great. I highly recommend this Ovation of the Seas, I had a fantastic time. Please don't hesitate to message me if you need anymore specific information about my experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our first cruise ever with one teenager. We decided to do a cruise because I don't like flying and it was recommended by someone. The ship is relatively new - launched in 2016 and looks amazing. We had a stateroom with a ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever with one teenager. We decided to do a cruise because I don't like flying and it was recommended by someone. The ship is relatively new - launched in 2016 and looks amazing. We had a stateroom with a balcony which was small but perfectly formed. Our stateroom attendant was unfailingly cheerful even though he never seemed to get a break. We decided to purchase the Key, a priority program and skip the line pass that included the Zoom internet package. We mainly bought this mainly to skip the line with activities, which it was not very useful for (see below) but it was useful for onboarding and disembarking. Not sure if it was worth the cost. The activities such as FlowRider, NorthStar, IFly, bumper cars and roller skating were pretty amazing given this is all on a ship, but the lines are long if you did not have the Key and even with the Key we could only skip the line once a session. There are 5000 passengers on board. Sometimes this is not apparent but sometimes it did get very crowded. There were countless attempts to separate your money from your wallet, ranging from art auctions to high end shops to lots of sales and "opening specials" on thousand dollar jewelry which did get a little tedious at times. The price point for the beauty and massage service, Vitality Spa, I thought was rather high as it is easy to find a Thai style or hot stone massage in Australia for 60 AUD, as opposed to the 190 USD being charged onboard. The gym was enormous but even so could get very crowded. There were free stretch and core classes, although again these could get crowded and occasionally started early which I found a little irritating. I thought that the shows were quite good, with professional dancers and singers and the Cruise Director was very amusing. We found the complimentary dining more than adequate with US style service. The Windjammer was the biggest buffet I had ever seen. Cant comment on the alcohol as I don't drink. This ship is full of Aussie passengers - the construction business must be good as there was a preponderance of cashed up tradies and their families. Some kids ran around like they were in a caravan (trailer) park and would press all the elevator buttons. There were a couple of craft activities that simply consisted of a staff member handing out a craft kit. No real instructions to speak of which I found disappointing and again this often started early and was often crowded. Our main problem was the teen clubs called The Living Room for 12 to 14 and Fuel for 15 to 17. There seems to be this expectation that teens were simply let loose until up to the curfew at 1 am, to roam around at will, which I thought was highly unsafe given the population was equivalent to a small town. There were scheduled activities for teens aged 12 to 14, but after about 8 pm there were a few gangs of boys that roamed around checking out the young girls, some of whom were allowed to dress with long fake nails, low cut crop tops and false eyelashes. As I had a 14 year old daughter, I was not impressed. She loved meeting the other kids though and it was difficult to drag her away. We did our own shore excursions. Noumea was not that exciting although we did a bus tour which was interesting. Mystery Island was beautiful, but suddenly overcrowded by 5000 passengers! We ended up taking a village tour to Aneityum Island which was very interesting and much less cramped. We did the Hop On and Hop Off bus at Auckland and spent most of our time at the Auckland museum. Overall my impression was that was a surprisingly good holiday. This cruise liner catered for all types of passengers, although with a strange combination of high end exclusive marketing trying to persuade a somewhat downmarket customer base to spend up big on their vacation. The ship is quite spectacular and the service from the international crew was excellent. The teen area was our major concern and may be a deal breaker for us in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were family group of 23 on this cruise, ages ranging from 79 to 5. There were many large family groups, which was great, as it was Australian school holidays. This was our 5th cruise with RC. The check-in and bag drop in Sydney on ... Read More
We were family group of 23 on this cruise, ages ranging from 79 to 5. There were many large family groups, which was great, as it was Australian school holidays. This was our 5th cruise with RC. The check-in and bag drop in Sydney on embarkation was seamless and easy. The ship is huge! Our cabins were spacious and very clean. We had a lovely balcony which added to the spaciousness of the cabin. The cabin was serviced twice daily and our attendant went out of his way to make our stay memorable. Its a pity we didn't realise how large the was before booking cabins, I would definately book cabins closer to the elavators especially for older people. I enjoyed the long walks on the ship as I managed to get plenty steps in! The Windjammer, where we went to for breakfast and lunch was busy, but you could get tables within a few minutes. The variety of food offered was extensive and chef Joseph was wonderful in accommodating special dietary needs. The staff were friendly and the service incredibly efficient. We had dinner at Chic restaurant and there our waiters and the head waiters were outstanding in the service they provided. All the staff went out of their way to attend to our every request. All the staff were polite and helpful and RC should be proud of having such good staff. There is such a wide variety of food offerings on the ship that you would never go hungry. Pizzas at Sorrentos always went down well! With such a large number of passengers it is only expected that the teenagers were going to queue for activities such as the Flowrider, bumper cars, roller skating etc. The queues for these activities were quite long. The iFly and North Star should be booked immediately on boarding. The adults enjoyed the relative peace of the Solarium. The Pixel and I love legs shows were really good. We enjoyed all the shows and parties at 360. The resident band......well it could be improved, everything they sang sounded the same. The two comedians were average at best. I think that this 10 night itinerary should have had one extra port. One sea day too many. Noumea was really nice and the beaches and swimming good. Please note South African cruise passengers did not require visas for New Caledonia. We spent weeks trying to ascertian this before our departure and could not get an answer from RC, the French Embassy, South African International Relations department, the Government of New Caledonia and various other sources. I wish that we had know that Mystery Island did not offer any foods except barbecued crayfish. No cool drinks, no bottle water, snacks were available at all. There was not very clean looking boiled tea offered by the locals. The island is beautiful, snorkelling and swimming excellent. I would suggest that when you stop in Nomea, visit the supermarket and buy snacks to take to Mystery Island. Definately take your bottled water. Auckland was a lovely quiet, clean city which were toured using Auckland Scenic Tours who provided us with private mini buses for our group. Knowledgeable and informative tour guides. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and there were activities for all ages. My biggest gripe was the cost of wi-fi. Buying wi-fi for 23 people was not feasible and we had great difficulty trying to find each other and the kids. We generally met at meal times. RC should should seriously think about how to make communication amongst the passengers easier. I kept complaining that it was as if we were on parallel holidays because we could not find each other outside of meal times! The app should include What's App for passengers or cheaper wi fi. In 2020, it can't be a problem to have connectivity for cruise passengers. I would definately go again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This is a great cruise liner, very new, excellent staterooms, and mostly excellent service. Our room attendant was the best, always excellent service and always smiling. Give him a raise! Many activities on board including IFly (!) bumper ... Read More
This is a great cruise liner, very new, excellent staterooms, and mostly excellent service. Our room attendant was the best, always excellent service and always smiling. Give him a raise! Many activities on board including IFly (!) bumper cars, rock climbing, video games, ping pong, sports court, free Zumba and stretch classes, craft (could do better with the craft classes, just gave out kits), lectures, many pools etc. Teen club was good but too many boys hanging around outside. Entertainment was first class. Some of the other passengers let their kids run around without any supervision which I did not like but not much that RC can do about it. Complementary meals and service was good, ranging from fine dining to the massive Windjammer buffet restaurant which has to be seen to be believed. I cannot understand all the whinging in other comments. I mean really, someone got the wrong parmesan? Seriously? Overall very good and highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before a couple of years ago - to the South Pacific for 7 nights - and really enjoyed it. That cruise was on the Explorer of the Seas, a ship I really liked. This time was a 10 night cruise to New ... Read More
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before a couple of years ago - to the South Pacific for 7 nights - and really enjoyed it. That cruise was on the Explorer of the Seas, a ship I really liked. This time was a 10 night cruise to New Zealand on the very large Ovation of the Seas. I believe it's currently the largest ship in the Southern hemisphere. We were very lucky that the crossing to and from NZ from Australia was very smooth indeed and we had perfect weather the whole cruise - with the exception of Dunedin which was shrouded in a haze from the Australian bushfires. The ship was full, with close to 5000 passengers and 1600 crew. The ship is very big but didn't feel particularly crowded except in certain areas like the pool deck. I found the decor onboard a bit confusing. There seemed to be no particular consistent style or elegance to it, and many different styles onboard, which didn't seem to work. The Windjammer cafe was not particularly attractive or very light, and it seemed to me to be smaller than on Explorer, but I may be wrong. We ate in the Grande dining room at dinner, which was attractive however.. I did not find it as attractive a ship as Explorer of the Seas. There is lots to do onboard. Each night the "Cruise Compass" is delivered to your stateroom, with details of what is on offer each day. It would be hard to be bored. I particularly enjoyed learning the "Thriller" dance, for the ship's guest talent show on the last day, and joining the ship's guest choir for the talent show.. My Mother enjoyed listening to the onboard pianist. This ship also has roller skating and bumper cars. You could even learn to trapeze too! No ice-rink however, which was something I loved about Explorer of the Seas both going ice-skating myself and seeing the ice-shows.. One of the best places on the ship was the Two70 entertainment area at the back of the ship on deck 5. It had a full wall of windows so had a fantastic view out to sea,and there was a lot of good shows laid on there including the very good Pixels show )for which bookings were required in advance). The main Theatre was comfortable and large, and the shows onboard were mostly very good, especially the headline shows. The shows are a real feature of Royal Caribbean. I did not think the shows were quite as good as the shows on my previous cruise, on Explorer of the Seas, however. The food onboard was very mixed. Windjammer food was pretty average, the food was often lukewarm and the quality went downhill towards the end of the cruise. The main dining room food at dinner was considerably better with a large selection of choices. The pizza in the boardwalk cafe was good. The service on board was absolutely amazing. Staff were so friendly and helpful and could not do enough for you. Despite the ship being full, every staff member went out of their way to make the cruise memorable. The Solarium is lovely, and the two other main pools were enjoyed by many. I thought the shops on board were not very interesting at all. It would also have been useful to have had a shop on board where one could buy things like suncream, moisturiser, other toiletries, if needed. The onboard sales, of jewellery,, handbags, watches and so on were very good. Shore excursions booked with Royal Caribbean are very expensive. Particularly so was the steam train in Picton. Not really worth the money. I thought there would be more wine tasting included in the price. I enjoyed the Dunedin Wildlife cruise, and a tour of Wellington including Mount Victoria and the botanical gardens. We booked a vintage car ride in Napier with the local operator and really it's probably best to book with tour operators direct to avoid unnecessarily high costs booking with the ship. Wifi on board was patchy and slow, and expensive. Drinks packages also outrageously overpriced so we didn't buy one. Overall a very fun cruise.10 nights is a very good cruise length. I don't particularly favour the Ovation of the Seas ship though and would probably chose to cruise on Explorer or Vayager another time, if cruising with Royal Caribbean from Australia but a lot of people liked the Ovation ship New Zealand is a lovely destination to cruise to. It would be great if Royal would cruise from Melbourne though (like Princess and Celebrity for example), as having to fly to Sydney is another expense. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My wife and I travelled on this cruise as a new year's break; it was out fourth cruise but the first we had done without kids and friends. Being a peak season cruise, the ship was very full with lots of family groups. Ship ... Read More
My wife and I travelled on this cruise as a new year's break; it was out fourth cruise but the first we had done without kids and friends. Being a peak season cruise, the ship was very full with lots of family groups. Ship After reading a number of reviews, we were a bit leery about what we could expect but overall the ship handles the numbers onboard pretty well. The Windjammer was a problem during the breakfast peak but otherwise OK. Likewise, the solarium could get a bit crowded on sea days particularly if the temperature on the outside decks was low. Fortunately we had pretty good weather with only 2 coolish seadays out of 4 which is good for NZ. Moving around the ship is pretty easy and we used the stairs as much as the lifts. The only crowded area is the Royal Esplanade and that is mainly because there are always tables set up selling crap jewellery and watches. Cabin We had a balcony cabin near aft on Level 12 and were very happy wth it. There is definitely less ship movement aft rather than at the bow if that is important to you. The bed is comfortable and there is plenty of storage. Our cabin attendant was quiet but very pleasant and did a great job keeping the room clean though, admittedly, we always left it fairly tidy anyway. It was a fair walk to the midship lifts however as the aft lifts are for the crew only and service the kitchens etc. Dining We did MyTime dining and our experience was mixed. On the first few days, the queues for dinner were ridiculous even though we had booked a time. Carnival do this much better than RCI. RCI should either make everyone book or no-one. Currently there are 4 queues for the 2 MyTime restaurants with no particular preference given to booked guests over walk-ups. They really only need 2 queues given the 2 restaurants are identical apart from decor. We dined at the Solarium restaurant one night and found the Greek style menu really good with great service. It was hard to get in to though even though it was often nearly empty when we walked past it; maybe they hold it for suite guests. We had lunch on the second last sea day in Jamie's and loved it, fantastic service and great food. We usually had breakfast in Windjammer (fine of you get there early) and lunch in Solarium which is basically a cut-down version of the Windjammer buffet offerings. Both were fine though I was always puzzled why there were so many kids let into the supposedly 16+ area in the Solarium. We didn't take the premium drinks package as my wife rarely drinks and you have to buy a package for every adult in a cabin. We did pre-purchase the soda package as well as a coffee card which gave me 15 premium coffees over the course of the cruise. Alcohol isn't outrageously priced providing you ignore that it is all in USD. We probably spent around $35 per day which is much less than the $75 pp per day for the premium drinks. Some people made full use of the package however and there were some fairly loud drunks around the ship at various times. Entertainment and Activities Compared with Carnival and P&O, RCI were pretty low-key. There were comedians and a few performances in the theatre and a very good performer in the piano bar but other than that we didn't get too involved. There was a couple of fairly lacklustre formal nights and no dress-up nights apart from a 70's night only late one night in the 270 area that only the crew seemed to dress for. For new year, there were a couple of parties but nothing amazing. There was a balloon drop in the Royal Esplanade at midnight that was fun. The cruise director, Joffa, wasn't very visible around the ship apart from the daily TV show as well as introducing performers in the theatre. Service Generally the service was very good with everyone eager to please. Apart from the issue of kids being let into the Solarium and the Adults-only comedy shows, I had no criticism. Ports We organised our tours with our travel agent before we left and probably saved over $150 on what RCI would've charged for the same tours. We didn't do a tour in Picton but just caught the shuttle into town and went for a walk to a nearby lookout which was lovely on a great day. We did organised tours in Napier, Wellington and Dunedin and all were good though the Napier tour was probably a bit too long (there is only so much art deco you can look at) and too short in Dunedin but that was more because we were only in port for 5 hours. All ports were in cargo ports and required a bus transfer to get to the town which was free everywhere except Port Chalmers (Dunedin). Fjordand is a real highlight and we had great weather as we cruised though Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds. As well as the spectacular scenery, we also had dolphins playing in our wake at some times. Embarkation and Disembarkation There were well organised. We dropped our bags off at 11:30 and walked onto the ship at 2PM and were able to access our cabin immediately. Disembarkation was fine also with our luggage being available so soon as we walked off the ship when our group was called at 8AM. If we had known it was so easy, we would've booked an earlier flight home. I'd definitely consider another RCI cruise though definitely have no interest in a ship any bigger than this. I imagine Ovation is chaotic in tender ports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Service was excellent in all venues. Cabin was roomy with good hanging space and shower had glass door which was good. We found the cabin to be very noisy though with thumping on the walls and a lot of noise coming from level 13 above ... Read More
Service was excellent in all venues. Cabin was roomy with good hanging space and shower had glass door which was good. We found the cabin to be very noisy though with thumping on the walls and a lot of noise coming from level 13 above us. Food very basic and repetitive in dining rooms although our Waiter Pattima was excellent. Even though the ship was fully booked, it never felt crowded. Easy to find your way around. We had the deluxe drinks package with internet which was really good and the service there was excellent. We found the activities were more suited to families than Senior couples. Entertainment was good in Main Theatre. Paul O'Shea in Schooners was always good but you had to get there early to get a seat. Overall a relaxing cruise but not a lot of activities for 60+ agegroup especially if you are a couple travelling alone. After 3 RCCL cruises we will probably try Princess for next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
As experienced travellers and having been on multiple cruises, we were very much looking forward to our Ovation of the Seas cruise out of Sydney (departed Dec 26, 2019), around New Zealand. Without doubt, it was the worst experience of ... Read More
As experienced travellers and having been on multiple cruises, we were very much looking forward to our Ovation of the Seas cruise out of Sydney (departed Dec 26, 2019), around New Zealand. Without doubt, it was the worst experience of cruising we’ve had. Cruising has always included a wow factor of excellent service, with staff who want to see you have a great time … that did not apply on Ovation of the Seas. The ship’s facilities just do not manage the number of passengers. You can stand in a pool, but you couldn’t swim, it’s just too crowded. Not sure who thought an adult pool 80cm deep was a great idea? Waiting 10 minutes for an elevator is normal. Waiting for the next elevator, because this one is full, is also normal. Food is lukewarm .... you just don’t ever get a hot meal. Long waits for restaurant bookings are common .... the ship just cannot manage the capacity of 5000 passengers. Bumper-cars looked like fun, but an hour wait for a ride was the norm, and that was replicated over and over on the cruise activities. With the exception of Vlad, in the Wonderland speciality dining, there were very few wow factor experiences with service. Rosemarie in Jamie’s Italian was excellent too. The staff were generally pleasant, but there was also a pervasive miserableness in the staff, that we’ve never seen on cruise ships. The structural problem of too many passengers shows in the staff culture. The staff appear to have all worked out that no matter what they do, it’s never going to a quality experience. For the number of passengers, the ship’s facilities are woefully inadequate. It’s clearly destroyed staff morale. Kaitlyn, a souvenir shop attendant epitomised it – no greeting, just an unsolicited comment “Only 29 sea days and I get to go home”. Chops Grille, another speciality restaurant has zero ambience, with the doors left open to the karaoke bar, and they resist closing the glass door. If you like paying for fine dining in a karaoke bar, it’d be excellent. Side dishes arrived after every person on our table had finished mains. Per chance, we ate at Chops three times, and on the final occasion, had Marko look after us, and he was excellent, which was totally different to the prior occasions. The cruise ship itself is at a premium price point, and everything on the ship is expensive and in US dollars, with a set 18% gratuity. A glass of Australian wine, for a cruise out of Australia, is $14US, plus 18%, so nearly $17, and that’s more than a bottle in any bottle shop. If you are paying top dollar, but getting a wow factor experience with food and service, then it’s justified, but this is c-grade experience at a-grade prices. We’ve been on Royal Caribbean ships before (and belong to their Crown and Anchor membership program) but nothing would induce us to book another trip on Ovation of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Initially we were very excited about our Christmas cruise but became concerned after reading many reviews. We have cruised on three different cruise lines in a Europe and South Pacific and the second time on RCL. The ovation is amazing, ... Read More
Initially we were very excited about our Christmas cruise but became concerned after reading many reviews. We have cruised on three different cruise lines in a Europe and South Pacific and the second time on RCL. The ovation is amazing, from the very quick seamless embarkation, clean stateroom, service, activities and food choices amazing! We had 2 balcony staterooms one for us and one for our 4 kids. One kid ended up in our room on the fold out sofa. Kids ages 9, 12, 14,16 and not one complaint of boredom even though they had no WIFI for 10 days. When I was researching I couldn’t find a review of Christmas, RCL do an amazing job, there are Christmas decorations, activities, Christmas movies, craft, Christmas food including cookies and milk leading up to a big day of celebration, Santa’s arrival, free gifts for kids under 18. These were very thoughtful and useful. In terms of drinks, we bought the deluxe package, I’m not a big drinker but it definitely works out, bottled water, fresh juices, specialty coffee and wine and cocktails, book on cruise planner prior when it goes on sale. Lots of sales of jewellery and watches, don’t buy in first few days, as they go up to 75 percent off! My sister in law was seasick, they sell tablets in the merchant store but give them away for free at reception. On Christmas Day we booked a specialty restaurant “chops Grille”, food 9/10 but they didn’t have the same Christmas frivolity as the other restaurants, they offered us this for 49 usd adults and kids above 12 and 10 for kids, they said no charge for kids at the end. No Christmas pudding or turkey on menu but apple pie was to die for. They work so hard to make sure everything leads to a great holiday, free ice cream all day on the pooldeck, blankets for watching movies under the stars on the pooldeck. We bought a paradise lotto ticket, $2.00 a game and won $100 usd which we used to credit our account. The activities director is a crack up and there are so many family friendly activities and challenges you can join in or just watch. Caribbean music on the pool deck really makes for a great atmosphere, there is the main pool, a second undercover pool and the adult solarium. The food in main dining is great, the buffet has a theme section each night and the variety for gluten intolerant, vegans and vegetarians is great, not that this was us! Oh and the gym was huge and free, we used it most days. Overall a great experience, would love to do it again next year! Everyone had a great time, I couldn’t fault it, and we are well travelled. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
MOST REVIEWS ARE FROM UNHAPPY PASSENGERS HAPPY PASSENGERS DON'T TEND TO REVIEW Before we boarded our cruise on the Ovation of the Seas I did a lot of research. I read all the reviews. Unfortunately I had booked the cruise ... Read More
MOST REVIEWS ARE FROM UNHAPPY PASSENGERS HAPPY PASSENGERS DON'T TEND TO REVIEW Before we boarded our cruise on the Ovation of the Seas I did a lot of research. I read all the reviews. Unfortunately I had booked the cruise before reading the reviews and I was starting to think I had made a mistake picking Ovation due to these reviews. From the moment I saw Ovation I was in awe. There was so much to do and see that really you didn't need to get off at ports. Our family was on Ovation when the volcano erupted and this totally devastated not just the passengers but crew and Captain. I have read another reviews from fellow passengers and totally disagree and am disappointed and I must admit disgusted. We were informed as much as the Captain could communicate. Unlike the news and media it is not the Captains responsibility to update passengers on information they are not 100% sure of. Not to mention releasing information before family members back home were informed. Yes we stayed in port longer than expected but this was to help with investigations into the incident. We were able to get off the ship so we weren't held prisoner as one passenger said. We still had access to all the facilities of the ship. Yes activities and shows were postponed and new ones introduced. The Crew and Captain did the best they could to revise the activities and shows to put some life back into the cruise . From our longer than planned stay in port we missed out on going to Dunedin and the Sounds but got to go to Picton. We lost lives and passengers were complaining about missing Dunedin and the Sounds. We still got our 12 nights on the beautiful Ovations of the Seas and were refunded 1 day. Yes we missed a port and the Sounds but we still got the 12 nights on board with all the amazing activities and shows. I have read a review from this same cruise and if I was a first time cruiser with Ovations of the Sea or Royal Caribbean I would be put off. Please know that people only seem to put up reviews if they have way too high expectations and find negatives in everything. Very few people that have amazing experiences leave reviews. My tip is to make sure you do as much on the ship as it offers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Cruise from Sydney to New Zealand on the 4th Dec 2019. Food was terrible, bulky food with no love or effort. Bought a drink package but coffee shop close by 11am, ???? on a cruise ship and you pay US$35 a night for the soft drink package. ... Read More
Cruise from Sydney to New Zealand on the 4th Dec 2019. Food was terrible, bulky food with no love or effort. Bought a drink package but coffee shop close by 11am, ???? on a cruise ship and you pay US$35 a night for the soft drink package. After the volcano eruption incident, we were stuck in Tauranga for 2 extra days without much information. Not much effort in softening the sad situation with coffee shop close at the same time again. They even cancelled the highlight of the tour, they cancelled the trip to sounds and compensate one days of the cruise for the two days we lost, go figure on the math. They even accuse us being not human for not showing any sympathy on the people involve in the volcano incident. What a blow and insult, we were as badly affected as everyone but the cruise team did not provide any support; physiology, emotional or any at all. Food department was the worst I had experience, by the third days I could identify and memories they food location.....no changes for the whole 12 days. Occasionally, they will open a noddle sections but only two stations with the other two stations close and the queue on these stations was shocking. You would thought that they will open more stations in the next cycles....what a disappointment, same old story. My advise is DO NOT TRAVEL WITH OVATION OFTHE SEAS......total waste of my time. Use your leave with someone else... Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Well to start with too many people not enough shops, lines to get on the dodgem cars and the free flying we couldn't even use.it was totally booked out.the food was good. The desserts not. Joffe the mc was funny, but gave out wrong ... Read More
Well to start with too many people not enough shops, lines to get on the dodgem cars and the free flying we couldn't even use.it was totally booked out.the food was good. The desserts not. Joffe the mc was funny, but gave out wrong times to get to eg.breakfast on the last day as he announced it will open at 5 a.m. so we get there at 5 a.m. and there's a sign saying 6:30 opens fantastic. Found when we were freezing when on the tender, when we asked the officer to pleaze shut the plastic doors a flat no was given.but the nice crew member pulled it at least more than half way for us.very disorganised when it came to getting events right.the popular bar near the photo shop should have more setting and made bigger as whenever we went it was always full.found the Romania girl in the guess shop,sour and not happy at all. The only person on the shop that helped everyone and was very customer focused was the Canadian lady Cassandra she was fantastic. When I asked one of the crew members at the pursers office who was Caribbean or Jamaican he was in an officers dark blue suit but I didn't take note of his name for some help didn't want to help virtually Shrugged me away and had the attitude, don't ask me. very bad customer service that one. The crew members in the dining were wonderful they are always happy and bubbly but the thing that annoyed me was they wouldn't stop asking you consistently how the food was, you were consistently bothered while you're trying to have dinner at the dining table.I had to talk to my partner all the time so that the head maitre d wouldn't bother us. and asking us at least three times in a row on three nights in a row if we wanted to buy a 5 course meal it was ridiculous we told them already no. and being asked every single night to buy the dinners, as on the menu there are free dinners but there's also dinners that you can purchase we had to consistently say no that we don't want to do that I never found this on any of the P&O cruise ships because we like fine dining and never had that problem .Also with the cruise I had an incident that happened to me when I was in the theatre on our 3rd last night. I was hit on the head by a person behind me because he wasn't happy that I was taking shots with my phone and as you're allowed to take photos with your iPhone there's no reason for him to strike me which I put in incident report and don't even know what happened after that it was like 3 days to go on the cruise and believe you me it took away everything from even attending to any theatres or anywhere I didn't feel safe the crew members did not come to find out about me to see if I was ok I was actually traumatised by that. As it's a salt it's abuse and this person should have been removed and put in the brig for what he did. There was no feedback to me on what he had said and why he did this but I reported this because I was worried that he would do this to someone else he also screamed at me by telling me to put my phone down were there was a lady next to me and her husband was scared and made her put her phone down I couldn't sit in my chair after that so I said to her no I'm not taking this I'm going to report him but they did not get back to me with his name nothing nothing was given to me and there was no apology written at all I wasn't given the option to follow this up as they did not come to my cabin to see if I was ok, on top of that we were all traumatised by The White Island incident which the captain did not even let us know any information hardly anything was said so we had to go to our cabin to find out all the issues with this from Sky News they told us everything. There was no service on board for any of the people that died and of course we didn't go to Dunedin or the sounds which as being a very expensive cruise we were only given back compensation of $100 each some people only got $30 back in Australian currency the other thing I found everything was in American currency and when you take your 35% off for example your bags guess you gotta add 30% on with the Australian dollars. And being not leather I can actually get cheaper in Australia when I go to the sales and buy leather so I didn't buy any of the goods. Some of the staff didn't want to help u with this. With being the majority of people on this cruise were all Australian as they did say there was only 395 Americans on board I can't remember how many Chinese or others' minority was on board but if it's going to be based in Australia they should start to think about the Australian currency. The lifts were a nightmare you found that majority of the time you had to wait so long for the lift to come so we actually use the stairs a lot especially running down as we were on the 12th floor. Also we weren't given any information of what was going to be on the criteria for certain nights as we only found out when we were on there that there was a Hawaiian night I actually rang the cruise line before we sailed they told me there was going to be a white night but there wasn't but they didn't tell me that there was going to be a Hawaiian night which there was so heads up on that also I've cruised all my life I've done at least 30 cruises and can I say this was the worst cruise I've ever been on and won't be going back on ovation of the Seas at all very disappointed with the treatment the organisation the non supportiveness of me with an incident such as being hit on my head by somebody that I don't even know, who does that very dangerous and very unacceptable, he should have been put in the brig shows me that this person has violent Tendencies that's for sure if he has the guts to do that to a woman that he doesn't even know while she's sitting in the chair in front of him he also waited for my partner to leave before he did that as my partner left to go and get seating in another venue as you had to get there early to get seats as there's 5000 people on this cruise at this time very very disappointed also we found that with the announcements of what the chefs where cooking as they made a cake for the last night they announced it was a cheesecake massive cake but no it wasn't it was a sponge and butter cream cake quite funny actually but these are things that happened consistently. the only best desserts that we had was the ones that we bought from a coffee shop on the promenade deck. There is a part of the ship which you won't hear the announcements by the way it is the solarium area. We called that the quiet zone so you didn't have anybody in there under the age of 18. I also found that the toilet doors near the theatre the show areas they wouldn't lock so used to just go to one toilet as was the only one that had a lock that worked that was a bit funny as well for such an incredible ship I thought it was refurbished but looks like they missed the door handles on the toilets in the public areas. We were told that we would get a survey to fill in it's been a month and we still haven't received one this is why I'm writting it here. No matter what, if you choose to go on this ship good luck as I've given you a heads up,we certainly won't be going back on it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This holiday took a great deal of difficulty to put together due to my mobility, getting from Perth to Sydney etc. We had travelled with Royal Caribbean before and on this ship but never before on any ship, and we have been on 11 cruises, ... Read More
This holiday took a great deal of difficulty to put together due to my mobility, getting from Perth to Sydney etc. We had travelled with Royal Caribbean before and on this ship but never before on any ship, and we have been on 11 cruises, have we had trouble sleeping because of noisy neighbours. We thought that on the first night when our neighbours came in at 3.30 ish making a great deal of noise that it would be a one off but no. It happened every night. Everyone said that we were too nice not complaining about it sooner but we didn't want the aggravation. After 5 nights we did complain and were moved to another cabin which allowed us at least a good nights sleep. Royal Caribbean offered us compensation for our inconvenience as they call it. The offer was a percentage of this cruise cost off our next cruise with them. It was the worst holiday we have ever had. Would we ever travel with them again, I very much doubt it. We had cruised with Royal Caribbean before and thought they were ideal for what we required. As well as our noisy neighbours there were many drunken teenagers on board many who seemed very young. I would go as far as to say underage for drinking. I thought that people under 18 were not supposed to be served alcohol. Is it that the drinks packages are not monitored and underaged people are allowed to have them? Is this the cause of the diobolical behaviour? There were small children crawling about on the dance floor. Very dangerous. Where were the security staff to stop such things? We hear that 3 boys were put off the ship in Noumea for being drunk and urinating off their balcony. Also that 2 families were locked in their cabin for fighting and put off at Auckland. We were also faced with a drunken yob in the theatre at 20.00hrs as drunk as a lord shouting out to the artist from the back of the auditorium. Again no security. It was all such a shame as the staff were good and the food and service in the restaurants was excellent. Unfortunately as we had been on this ship just a few months earlier we had experienced most of the shows before although they were very good. Our feeling is, big ships, more people doesn't add up to a cosy, friendly cruise. We have complained since to Royal Caribbean but have not had a satisfactory answer, hence the delay in putting in this review. This is surprising as until now this was our cruise line of choice because they seemed to respect the feelings and complaints of passengers. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
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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