6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Have never sailed on a large vessel and read about the Ovation of the sea and the five star rating. I was extremely interested in the standard of the vessel however was very disappointed in all respects Restaurants - Food average, long ... Read More
Have never sailed on a large vessel and read about the Ovation of the sea and the five star rating. I was extremely interested in the standard of the vessel however was very disappointed in all respects Restaurants - Food average, long waits to get into restaurants the speciality restaurants where food was a reasonable standard an extra payment was required about $35 US Per Person Shops - Average and the pop up sales stands provide a very poor reflection of the vessel General theming and Decor - Poor standard with respect to design and use of material no class Acoustics - No consideration was given to sound reduction Passengers - The vessel can not handle the number of passanger 4,500 approx it is a battle to get food a seat etc. I work on the basis of a cruise vessel tonnage being 70 to 80 t / passanger based upon 4500 passenger as such the Ovation should weigh 315,000 t and not 168,000 t in other words there are too many passengers and that is obvious when you go on board. Cost - we paid $416.00 / PP / Day based upon 3 days really only 2.5 days, recently when on an Alaskan Cruise Cruise Six star $480.00/PP/ Day large cabin beautiful decor. So far ahead of the ovation their is no comparison (Seabourn Vessel ) Beverages - very expensive poor quality wine $13 US per glass Gratuities - Did not pay them added up to $100 US approx what a rip off Language - English language poor with many of service staff Vessel Layout - Poor facilities that have been added for wow value have taken away the comfort level. Advice - Don't go on the Ovation of the sea unless you like drinking and gambling and have plenty of money and don't mind roughing it. I have been on many cruises approx 3 per year min 14 days and this by far stands out as the worst by far and I hope I never have such an experience again. Well one positive now I have visited hell I will have a greater desire to go to the other destination. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
I booked this ship 6 months before it came to Australia as our biggest ship,the staff went above and beyond. Fantastic service in the dining room every night by our waiters and drink waiter ,our waiter entertained us every night with a ... Read More
I booked this ship 6 months before it came to Australia as our biggest ship,the staff went above and beyond. Fantastic service in the dining room every night by our waiters and drink waiter ,our waiter entertained us every night with a magic card trick. It was never any trouble to suggest something to us and tell us the specials every night. great service and awesome choice of food in the windjammer . Every bar we attended had great staff.They suggested drinks for us. The pool deck was awesome,the adult only area is a must do,it has whirl pools that cascade right down the back of the boat.Along with another main pool and in a separate section a kids activity area and a main pool. On our 3 day trip we watched 2 shows and night time one was pixcels. It was amazing the performers were just fabulous.We also watched lovely legs that too was a great show. The bionic bar was great as you watched robots make your drink. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
My wife love the large ships. Ovation still smells brand now, our balcony room on level 13 was perfect. We will be sailing in Ovation for 41 days 1. SERVICE EVERYWHERE was excellent, steward, restaurants you name it. 2. FUN ... Read More
My wife love the large ships. Ovation still smells brand now, our balcony room on level 13 was perfect. We will be sailing in Ovation for 41 days 1. SERVICE EVERYWHERE was excellent, steward, restaurants you name it. 2. FUN INTERESTING and WELL organized shore excursions. We would never think of going on anything but RCCL sponsored shore excursions. We also found prices very reasonable. 3. GOOD FOOD. We love the complimentary and pay restaurants. I certainly don't eat like this at home 4. AWESOME ITINERARY..RCCL goes out to give us a great intinerary. My God how beautiful New Zealand.. 5. EXPEDITED BOARDING PROCESS..We are at Platinum level and had no long huge waits..Room was ready with a short waut. 6. DRINK PACKAGE.. I have soft drink package, easy to get refills at machines or bars 7. ENTERTAINMENT..spacious theater ..Two70 had amazing special effects 8. FITNESS. Gee what a nice new fitness center with an amazing view 9. SPA.. Wife and I both went to the Spa, girl was profession and excellent .. 10. BIG SHIP= ROOMY, PLENTY OF VARIETY, CAN HANDLE THE WAVES BETTER. ...CONCLUSION... We have no problems... It is not easy to travel for my wife, she can on there large ships. . Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Having cruised many times with RCI we have always been impressed with the high level of service, cleanliness and hygiene, unfortunately these three important basic needs were sadly lacking on this cruise. If you like queuing for just ... Read More
Having cruised many times with RCI we have always been impressed with the high level of service, cleanliness and hygiene, unfortunately these three important basic needs were sadly lacking on this cruise. If you like queuing for just about anything from food, drinks, rides, theater and getting off at ports then this is for you. It seemed to us that whilst at sea RCI are of the opinion that you can wait just as long as they want you to as there is nowhere else to go. Staffing levels on all areas have been drastically reduced compared to their other ships leading to dirty, smelly toilets which have run out of paper and have overflowing paper towels across the floor, tables in the main areas are littered with empty plates and glasses and if you want a waiter to bring you a drink, well good luck on that one as they are virtually non -existent. We will sail with RCI in the future but will avoid Ovation as it is just too big and obviously aimed at a particular clientele, nothing wrong with that of course, we just happen to not be that particular clientele. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
Pre cruise – A must know for upcoming cruisers, you complete all your check in onine including photo ID. HUGE tip – Book your onboard activities such as Ifly or North Star and Pixels way in advance and I am talking about 6 ... Read More
Pre cruise – A must know for upcoming cruisers, you complete all your check in onine including photo ID. HUGE tip – Book your onboard activities such as Ifly or North Star and Pixels way in advance and I am talking about 6 months out from your cruise. Once fully booked is near on impossible to get on Ifly onboard and North Star queues for those not booked are approx. 1 hr in the full sun. There are limited spots for the thousands of guests. It is NOT the fault of staff who I saw being abused by passengers who didn’t book and who missed out. Its up to the individual guests to do their homework. Hence my tip. Ifly was so much fun as was North Star. I am scared of heights and had no hesitation on these activities definitely one for the bucket list. Embarkation – Not a problem at Sydney from beginning to end took me approx. 20 mins. You arrive bag drop to the left enter the terminal are allocated a RCL member who checks you in. You then proceed up the gangway, get scanned onboard and that’s it. Guest services located on Deck 5 are fully manned on day one so if you have anything you need best get there early. Again many guests were rude to staff, I call them the entitled brigade, be polite the staff go out of their way to help. Cabin Access – you stateroom key is located outside your cabin on the wall. We waited till around 1pm before heading to the cabin as the stewards are turning the cabin around and need time to do that. Once inside the cabin everything was there from a welcome letter to robes etc. Depending on your status, letter or invites to certain onboard events. Ship presentation – overall immaculate. Well maintained clean easy to find your way around. Food – exceptional. There are always tables available just you need to walk to the rear of the windjammer. Never had a n issue with seating lots of selection for all palates. Shops – the promenade snakes around so I found that different, there are however so many options for shopping. Shows – Other than pixels for us, they were great. Pixels we left to the last night, which was fabulous. Royal IQ – Works well onboard, you can book in for activities see what’s happening in real time. Download before you go and log on onboard Voom – I had issues with signing in and out. Was a major pain in the proverbial. However RCL staff were on hand to help. It seems as soon as you go offshore then switch to your own data, then get back onboard cause issues. Just see staff they will help. Shore excursions – You get a letter in your stateroom telling you where to go and when to meet. For us it was the theatre and disembarkation was not an issue. Very well handled and was a smooth transition to the coaches and off to our destination which for us was Port Arthur. Well worth the tour money, organised and so glad we went. For those not able bodied don’t do this tour there is a lot of walking on unstable ground. Size – was a massive ship but easy to navigate. Lots of areas so never felt crowded my favorite was the adults only solarium. There are lifeguards on duty but parents need to monitor their own kids. Bar service – never an issue. I read heaps of negative comments but a holiday is what you make it. Staff again do an awesome job and work very hard always smiling. Photos – I found the service easy to operate and staff willing to lend a hand if you can’t work the onboard photo machines. Just don’t leave your pick-ups to the last minute as then you are fighting the crowd. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We travelled with two young girls, aged 2 and 3. Our review is also tempered by the fact it was our first cruise and we have no others to compare it to. We decided to try cruising because travelling with very young children can be ... Read More
We travelled with two young girls, aged 2 and 3. Our review is also tempered by the fact it was our first cruise and we have no others to compare it to. We decided to try cruising because travelling with very young children can be challenging and we thought that having the convenience of meals and cleaning done for you, not having to arrange multiple accommodations and travel ourselves, etc. From this perspective the cruise was great. Overall the cruise was a lovely getaway. My general feeling is though, that we paid for all the bells and whistles and didn't really get the benefit of them with the children our age. Pros: We took a pram which turned out to a good choice for us - it's a large ship and there are often crowds that two young children may have been overwhelmed by. It was also helpful when getting off at port and were always accommodated by the transporting shuttle buses. We had an interconnecting room, so it just sat folded up next to the bed in one of the rooms. I found the cabin attendants amazing. They work several months straight with no days off, away from their families and work very long hours. You would never know though. Our wonderful attendant, Amri, always had a smile on his face, was giving our kids high-five's, and nothing was too much trouble. I would say his service was better than any five star hotel I've ever stayed in. Similarly with out head waiter - Stephen. If something is not to your liking, all you need do is ask. They are very eager to make sure your dining experience is pleasant. For parents trying to minimise the sugar intake of their kids, the main a la carte dining room offered an ice cream for dessert that was "no added sugar" and it was awesome! The Dreamworks breakfast with the Dreamworks characters and dance appearances were enjoyed by my 3 year old. My 2 year old was petrified and would run in the opposite direction. It was curious that there is a contract with Dreamworks, but I didn't really see the Madagascar movies ever being played? Perhaps we missed them. If would have been great to project the movies onto the screen in the 270 venue. The kids splash zone was outdoors but there was another pool that was fully enclosed by glass between the outdoor pool and the adults only solarium. Even on chilly days, it was warm enough in there for the kids to swim. They also provided children's floatation vests. You could also obtain boxes of toys for children that parents could take away to their rooms and then return later which was a great idea. They offered for our children, aged 2 and 3 to eat free at Chops Grille, I wonder if they do that for all speciality restaurants? We didn't get any drinks packages other than the Evian water package that worked out well. When we got to New Zealand ports you are not allowed to take any food or drink off the ship other than bottled water, so we didn't have to go looking for bottled water when we got off the ship or buy it like a captive market from the vendors near the exits as we got off. Our kids loved the bionic bar and you can, in fact, order mocktails that are just juices without soft drink. Con's: Due to the ages of our children, Royal Caribbean required for us to have two cots. This meant we had to get two rooms :-( Only one of our children actually slept in a cot and so we had cot taking up space in the other room that became a place to launch clothes. We also found it tricky that the kids club separated our children which they didn't much like. Our two year old was placed in with babies and the experience didn't appear to be very interactive. She was often plonked in front of the television where she stayed for the duration of her kids club. We also had to pay for the Royal Tots room - $6/hour before 5pm and $8.00 thereafter, which significantly reduced the amount of time that we booked her in for. The older kids club for 3-5 year olds seemed much more lively and interactive. My older daughter appeared to enjoy this, although only went there for three evenings. There was another play area that parents could use with their kids, but it wasn't very inspired. There was a small slide and some Fisher Price toys, but it wasn't very large, there was no climbing, ball pits, trampolines, etc. I felt that the space looked like not much thought had gone into it. We picked this cruise thinking that there would be heaps of novel things for our children to do... BUT.... so many of the options had a height restriction, including the kids splash zone. Whilst it looks like it's designed for babies and children aged 2 and 3 you had to be at least 42 inches and they would literally measure each child. You also had to be 42 inches for the dodgem cars and the north star. Other children's options just weren't great for children of this age, e.g., Ifly or the xbox room, table tennis, etc. Whilst we thought the fixed dining time 5.15pm was probably better for us, it meant we never had to wait for a dinner vacancy, it also became tricky on certain port days. (E.g., Wellington all aboard was 6pm'ish and you'd want to make the most of your port time), or with the clocks going forward three times from Sydney to New Zealand. This effectively meant that a 5.15pm dinner was really a 2.15pm dinner. You could easily go to the Windjammer or book later elsewhere if that was a concern. We found that there wasn't much for kids to do after dinner time other than kids club. Talking to other parents, quite a few said that their kids didn't necessarily want or enjoy kids club so it would have been great to have another option. It was also a shame that the Dreamworks Family Dance Party was held on the last night!? Several other families thought it would have been great to have this on the second night so that the kids and parents could meet each other. It would have made the transition to leaving kids at kids club easier and it was on at a great time too (4.30pm). Another New Zealand cruise peculiarity was that due to New Zealand quarantine regulations, the cruise was unable to provide whole fruit from, say, day three until the last few days of the cruise. It doesn't really explain why they continued serving the same four fruits (rockmelon, watermelon, honeydew melon and pineapple) only? Nevertheless, if you enjoy fruit variety, I would recommend grabbing your fruit on the second or third day of the cruise and putting it in the bar fridge for later days. We opted for buffet for breakfast, as my partner didn't want to wait for his breakfast, and having two young children, felt it was more suitable for their energy levels first thing in the morning. It's hell. It was so over-crowded that I hadn't even realised until the third last day that there were freshly made crapes in the middle. Particularly on port days, it was so difficult to find a free table, so we were walking around and around with two small children stalking tables that looked close to finishing. On one occasion I couldn't even work out where the start and the end of the line was for one of the buffet stands. The line up for the omelette and eggs to order was horrendous, and a lot of the food offered seemed a curious choice for breakfast. I do understand though, that they are catering to various cultures and tastes. Also, in fairness, there are also other options for breakfast too - one of the a la carte venues offers a breakfast buffet (The Grande I think?) as does the Solarium bistro which is not adults only for breakfast. The latter has less variety than the windjammer, but seems to offer the main western diet options and it was a much nicer dining experience first thing in the morning. I spoke to one lady who was loyal to Royal Caribbean and had sailed on "30 cruises". She mentioned that the Windjammer on the Ovation of the Seas was the worst she had ever seen. We didn't book any excursions through the cruise line, they were often three to four times the price. We didn't have any difficulties booking excursions through Trip Advisor. In Dunedin they were waiting as soon as we got off the ship and it was quite easy. The only difficult port we found was Wellington - you had to line up for a disembarkation number which were called out in order when disembarkation commenced. In the main a la carte dining room, the kids menu remained the same for the whole 10 days!? We ended up ordering main sizes from the adults menu for variety. I know this may also sound picky but on the adult menu they offered carrot and broccoli repetitively with every meat and veg option every night until we asked our waiter if they could change it up a bit. Overall I would say that I got the impression that the rather large sum paid to get on the cruise in the first place gets you the basics. If you want nicer food options, nicer hot chocolates, nicer patisserie's, etc, you need to pay more once on board. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Embarkation was a bit of a shamozzle and took a good deal longer than it ought to have - about 1 hour 30 minutes from arrival at the port to on the vessel. Cabin, obstructed balcony on level 6, was very well appointed with tonnes of ... Read More
Embarkation was a bit of a shamozzle and took a good deal longer than it ought to have - about 1 hour 30 minutes from arrival at the port to on the vessel. Cabin, obstructed balcony on level 6, was very well appointed with tonnes of cupboard space and a good bathroom. Cabin design is one of the best we have seen. Issues with this particular cabin (6690) are the heavily obstructed view (over a lifeboat) and the smoke drifting in from the smoking are on level 5 just below. Would not recommend this cabin. Main dining room was good, food good, service excellent. Windjammer buffet was just ok. Food there was good but limited selection. Surprisingly not too difficult to find a table even at peak times. Entertainment is of a universally high standard. The production "song and dance" shows were polished but lacked any semblance of a viable story line - perhaps that's just the way of "musicals".The headliners acts, singers and comedians were all great. La Forza (Australia's answer to Il Divo) deserve special mention - they were great. The Cruise Director, Joff Eaton, is a first class act in his own right. He, and his entire staff are delightful. Disembarkation was smooth at all the ports. Overall a great 10 days - hard to fault. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I have been on 7 cruises before ,this one being the most "upmarket".& largest. All the negatives are what I expected lots of people & long queues. but the positives far outway the negs .Restuarant food & service ... Read More
I have been on 7 cruises before ,this one being the most "upmarket".& largest. All the negatives are what I expected lots of people & long queues. but the positives far outway the negs .Restuarant food & service was excellent & the windjammer food & variety was just as good.We learnt to go up early to miss the crowds otherwise the little cafes were there , with not as much variety but less people &still fine We had a few room service breakfasts & dinner on the balcony both of which were fine. On a large ship you have to be flexible & not expect everything to go perfect as some seem to expect. We lined up for 1 1/2 hours tp go on the north star while still at port, got a couple of drinks talked to the others , a nice way to spend time. Bought a drink package which was well worth it , easy to get a drink & the waiters were generous with the drinks ( not watered down as on some other cruises) The cleanlinest & overall service could not be faulted Some shows were not to our liking but others loved them One show I thought was great & some others did not like it but thats life in general. The music in the bars while good got a bit of the sameness after a week or so. My only dissapointment was the coffee Was looking forward to sitting in the cafe with a nice cup of coffee but all you can get is very average coffee in a paper cup. Also they have a dress code in the restuarants which is never enforced If you went to a restuarant in Sydney dressed like some were they would not let you in Plenty of casual places to eat if you don,t want to tidy yourself up. Would I cruise again on this ship,probably not unless a special deal came up I personally found it a bit overwhelming at times with so many people, but as mentioned could not fault & overall a great experience Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We booked a last minute deal (2 weeks before sailing) at a great price. We are Diamond travellers with RCI (8th cruise with RCI and 12th cruise in total) and this was our second cruise on Ovation. We picked up a last minute bargain on ... Read More
We booked a last minute deal (2 weeks before sailing) at a great price. We are Diamond travellers with RCI (8th cruise with RCI and 12th cruise in total) and this was our second cruise on Ovation. We picked up a last minute bargain on Ovation in January this year, and had such a wonderful experience, that we did it all again 6 weeks later! EMBARKATION We arrived at the pier around 12pm, and were on board in around 45 minutes. There was a computer glitch whilst we were waiting in line, which shut down all the terminals for around 10 minutes. Apparently, there were huge queues later in the day, but we were lucky. CABIN (Balcony 9658) We had a mid-ship balcony cabin on Deck 9 (Room 9658). The standard balcony cabins on Ovation are the most spacious that we have had on any cruise. The amount of storage space available is fantastic. Luggage can be stored under the bed as usual. Plus, there is a HUGE double storage hub above the bed, plus 2 x separate wardrobes with hanging space, shelving and drawers. More drawer space is provide near the fridge. Bathroom is modern and sleek with quality fittings and fixtures. Shower has good pressure and is quite spacious for a ship cabin. The fridge does not contain a mini bar, so can be used for your own drinks. Ice was provided by our room attendant morning and night. A special mention must go to our outstanding room attendant Mauwin. He did an excellent job - efficient, friendly and always smiling! A+ NOISE PROBLEM IN ROOM We experienced excessive “creaking and groaning” noises emanating from the wall and balcony door area in our cabin. This was exacerbated in heavy swells. We reported the issue on 2 occasions, and the maintenance guys did their best to address it. When it was unable to be fixed, we were given a 15% future cruise credit based on our cruise cost, which can be put towards our next cruise. (Noise cancelling headphones came in VERY handy a few nights!) DINING We were on “My Time”dining (our preferred style). We turned up each night without reservations (2 people), but never needed to wait more than 5 minutes for a table. Food and service was excellent. Special mention must go to Wayan in the American Icon restaurant for his great service – very much appreciated! The food in the MDR was consistently very good. Steaks were absolutely delicious and most soups and desserts were very tasty. Desserts in Promenade Café and Windjammers were a big disappointment. Only 6 weeks prior (on our previous Ovation cruise), I would have rated them a 9/10, but I don’t understand what has happened since. They are now just homogenised, tasteless mush that would barely rate a 5/10! (except for the lamingtons and cookies– they were the saving grace!) Windjammers was quite congested during peak times and the range of food was limited (unless you want hamburgers, pizza and chips).We chose to dine at the full service restaurants for breakfasts and lunch on sea days. Service was generally very quick, and the atmosphere was far less hectic than at Windjammer. DAILY ACTIVITIES There were so many activities that there was no chance to get bored during the day. If you enjoy trivia, quizzes and games, you will find a multitude each day. And of course, heaps of high action activities like those on the Sports Deck and Seaplex. ENTERTAINMENT **Live, Love Legs** A Las Vegas showgirl theme. Excellent production standards, costume and sets. **PIXELS** Shown in 270. Techno animatronic screens with a cast of singers, dancers and acrobatics. Very good production standards also. **A Beautiful Dream** Absolutely LOVED this performance. We went to the matinee session and there were plenty of seats. Excellent production standards and visually an amazing show. Definitely my favourite show. SEAPLEX Bumper Cars – Heaps of fun. The maximum time that we queued up was around 15 minutes. The trick is to do it on embarkation day, as there was NO QUEUE! We had multiple turns without having to wait. Definitely worth a ride. Roller Skating – Nothing has changed here since our last cruise, and the organisation of this activity needs a major overhaul! (At least this cruise, we didn’t have to contend with line ups beginning 1 hour before the start of the session in order to secure a wristband) The staff need to inform guests that the waiver must be signed online before lining up. This would increase the speed of the queue by around 80%. Mandatory safety equipment is left saturated with sweat from the previous session, then thrown into random tubs with no staff intervention. The next round of participants then have a “free for all” trying to find their correct size in right and left elbow, knee and wrist guards! (Think Myer Boxing Day sale scenario) I took my own safety gear this time, in order to avoid the disgusting, sweaty, germ-fest that you are forced to endure. I am at a loss to understand how the hygiene practices here are tolerated. NORTH STAR We pre-booked one session via the app for the morning in Milford Sound. We also lined up in Sydney on embarkation day. Took about 20 minutes in the queue, but the view of Sydney was terrific! Went up twice more when there were no reservations required whilst in port. Nice views. iFLY ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!!! WORDS ESCAPE ME! An absolute must do! Book this in via the app. Flight time is only 60 secs, and prep time is about 30 minutes. But this is SO MUCH FUN!!!! (We were fortunate enough to do this twice!!!) FLOWRIDER TIP: Do this on embarkation day. There was absolutely no-one lined up for this activity the first day. The staff were sitting chatting, and honing their own surfing skills whilst nobody was participating! On the cooler days, there was only a line-up of around 6-7 people. When it warmed up, this increased to around 20+ people. ADULT’S POOL (SOLARIUM) Visually appealing array of pools and spas for 16+. Nice, calm and quiet atmosphere. The only annoying thing was when they shut down the spas at 7pm, when the rest of the pool area was open until 9 or 10pm. DIAMOND LOUNGE This was VERY crowded with limited seating space (vastly different to our previous experience). On 2 nights, there were no seats available and eventually staff had to open into an adjoining bar. The selection of food and canapes seemed to have declined since our previous Ovation cruise, and the lounge was understaffed. Overall, our experience on board the ship was very good. Staff, service, facilities and entertainment were all first rate. Being such a large ship, the downside is that there will always be queues, and a necessity to get to venues early in order to secure desired seating. If your desire is to experience a fresh, new, innovative ship, with loads of entertainment and fantastic food and service, I would highly recommend the Ovation of the Seas. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
My overall rating is average. Some great gimmicks to get you on board (NorthStar, iFly, FlowRider), amazing shows, awesome rooms which are let down by a poorly designed pool deck, lack of pool atmosphere and poor pool bar service. I feel ... Read More
My overall rating is average. Some great gimmicks to get you on board (NorthStar, iFly, FlowRider), amazing shows, awesome rooms which are let down by a poorly designed pool deck, lack of pool atmosphere and poor pool bar service. I feel that once they get you on the ship with all the latest attractions and experiences you are let down by poor service and pool basics they got wrong. So, lets recap why I choose this cruise.....my first cruise was on a Carnival ship sailing from Puerto Rico to my dream islands of Barbados, St Lucia, St Maarten etc. Each port day (which was 5 out of 7) I had planned all day activities while in each port. So, this time I wanted a lot more seas days and to me the choose of cruise wasn't the destination it was all about the ship experience and lots of sea days. I wanted to experience the latest and greatest mega cruise ship and Royal Caribbean is the main cruise line that has these in Australia, hence why I choose Ovation of the Seas. Ovation of the Seas is a big ship with lots of passengers. Most of the time the extra passengers aren't a problem although it can be hard to find a quiet place, speciality restaurants and activities (iFly and NorthStar) do tend to book out early, and, the Windjammer Restaurant can be challenging to find a table free. Cabin: being new, everything is the latest design and is in a condition like I was the first passenger on board! The closet and drawers are big, so easy to pack away your mountains of clothes and I had never had to get my suitcase out while on the cruise. The Virtual Balcony (a LCD TV screen (Sharp brand), on its side, fitting floor to ceiling, with drapes) with a view of the ocean behind the ship is amazing. I never felt claustrophobic or closed in while in the room. I would highly recommend an inside room with Virtual Balcony. The room attendant was super friendly, he always said hello and was keen for a friendly conversation. This service made me feel "like at home' and my room was always clean and tidy. Shows: the shows were amazing, the quality is so high. Be prepared to have your expectations met and exceeded. The shows were the highlight of the trip. I never imagined that the quality would be this high on a ship. Pixels was a good show, although, I think it is a little over rated. Pool deck: the main pool was disappointing. The side of the ship which was the front of the ship had a bar on each level and 1 row of sun lounges, the side which was the back of the ship had a big children's water park/play area and 1-2 rows of sun lounges (the children's water park wasn't well utilised since it wasn't school holidays) and each side of the pool had 3 rows of sun lounges. So, really not many sun lounges around the pool. The video screen was to one side of the ship (not like most ships where the screen is on a side of the pool that is the front or back of the ship). This meant that watching movies was not practical (only 1 side of the pool could see it) and the sound was not loud enough. There was only 2hrs of live music each afternoon and the entertainment from the cruise entertainment team. Very disappointed. Inside pool: there is an enclosed pool with a glass roof, the roof and sides could open fully but even during our trip was fine every day with temps into the 30C it was never opened. Being indoors it was noisy. Verandahs around the pool: there is a big wide enclosed verandah on each side of the pools which is wonderful if you want somewhere shady with sun lounges and other funky lounge furniture to sit/lay on. Great concept but being enclosed makes it feel disconnected because you don't feel the lovely warm sea breezes. In one of these enclosed verandah areas, which was a main thorough fare along the side of the ship, was the smoking area. The smoking area was enclosed on one side with windows and covered with a roof, so the smoke drifted along the enclosed verandah or out into the pool area. I really can't believe on a new ship they choose this as the smoking area! Solarium: a lovely over 16yo area. The cascade pools down the front of the ship were lovely to sit in, with a drink in hand. It did tent to get noisy and at times the air felt stuffy, once again all glass roof which was closed with air con. Pool bar service: slow, staff which never smiled or entertaining, they often served the next person rather than the person who had been waiting the longest, rarely (ie. if ever) offered a waiter service in the pool deck area. Very very disappointed. There were no frozen cocktails on the last day as they had run out. My idea of a good cruise day is around the pool, with entertainment, having a few drinks.....this ship did not meet my prior experiences or my expectations. Other outdoor areas were great. Deck 15 (running track level) was awesome for finding a sun lounge. Knowing that nearly 5,000 people fit on the ship I thought finding a sun lounge would be a problem, this was never the case, there was always many to choose from. Entertainment venues: there was no nightclub per say. There was a Music Hall which was the only venue that stayed open after midnight and was called a nightclub.....for me it didn't really work. Schooner Bar was a good atmosphere with piano player. The Original English Pub was one of the best venues, with a stand up guitar/singer every night, probably the best venue of a night entertainment wise but it was very small...such a pity. Food: the main dining restaurants, 4 in total, each have different decor and are on one floor. If you like the grandeur of a big restaurant with tiers that look over the other etc....you will not get this on Ovation of the Seas. All restaurants are on one level and due to not being two levels they lack that grand feeling. The Grande was the only spectacular one, the other ones ranged from being OK to American Icon Grill which was basic and of a night looked drab. There always seems to be someone different serving you during each sitting, this resulted in a feeling where service didn't feel personal. The food was good but I wouldn't say spectacular. The prawn cocktail was minimal and a big fail. There was always people walking around your table, it did not feel quiet or intimate. Windjammer Restaurant: (think Lido on Carnival) was always full of people, hard to find a table, some food wasn't of the highest quality (honey dew melon was too hard, sweet and sour chicken had no taste). This was one area where the space was insufficient for the number of people on board. The speciality restaurants were awesome, we tried Chops Grille (think steakhouse) and Wonderland (imaginative cuisine over 13 courses) were first class and definitely worth the money. Definitely try Wonderland, it blew me away! There are restaurant packages available only on Day 1 of the tour. We choose 4 for USD 100. For the other restaurants we choose experiences: 1) bottomless (champagne) lunch with galley tour which was a great experience with lobster and a nice piece of steak for lunch and lots of champagne, and, 2) sushi making class and you take away 3-4 long sushi rolls. Formal night: I had read reviews that formal night wasn't really formal in Australia and that was my experience. For guys, I saw maybe 2 (at most) tuxedos, a few suits and ties, odd sports jacket, most in chinos/slacks, long sleeve shirt. Ladies tended to be more formal than guys. The staff dress was appalling, they wore the same clothing as any other night. In the restaurant, male restaurant staff did not have their top button done up or a neck tie. I feel if Royal Caribbean are calling it a formal night, they should set the tone for the evening, which they sadly did not. Very disappointing RC. Drinks: I really like cocktails and I think they are a classic cruise experience....colour creative decorative conceptions served in beautiful glassware and martini style glasses.....Ovation of the Seas really lack in this area. Only memorable cocktail I had was an Expresso Martini and that is because I asked for it and it wasn't on the menu! Drinks seemed to be fast to prepared, basic, and boring. Other aspects of the cruise: Fitness centre: great but no sauna or steam room (you had to buy a pass to the spa centre which was costly). iFly (sky diving) great experience, tube was narrow so not like other commercial ones I've been in previously off ships, fully booked and not sufficient booking slots for all guests. NorthStar (glass viewing capsule that rises above the ship) great concept but when you get up there while at sea you realise there is just blue ocean as far as you can see so the only thing to look at is back down at the ship. Great concept, good gimmick in the advertising, but underwhelming once you experience. Flowrider: I didn't try it due to cost, ie $$$, but it was also busy with areas to watch those participating. Shore Excursions in Noumea: we did not book on board as the cost looked grossly inflated. Noumea is expensive but we did find a combo ticket inside the cruise terminal for the Green Train and all day hop-on hop-off bus tour for $50 (USD I think, not AUD). I think the train trip on board the cruise was $88+. We can not recommend the Green Train highly enough, great tour guide, excellent route, we got the bus back to Lemon Beach for an afternoon of food and swimming. If you have gotten this far into my review.....if you have kids, this is a great ship for you. If you like a good pool deck with good pool entertainment, outdoor movies, try another ship. If you like exotic cocktails, try another ship. If you are a multi-generational family and want things for all ages, this ship is for you. Be prepared to have all the latest attractions/activities/ride but be prepared for variable service. Read Less
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.3
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 3.7
Value For Money 4.0 3.2

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