Sail Date: March 2019
This was our second cruise on the Ovation. We had upgraded to the Grand suite and definitely worth it with all the inclusions of specialty restaurants, butler, vip dining etc and the room was amazing and spacious. Great storage for us both ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Ovation. We had upgraded to the Grand suite and definitely worth it with all the inclusions of specialty restaurants, butler, vip dining etc and the room was amazing and spacious. Great storage for us both and the view of the sounds as we sat on the balcony was wonderful. Your room receives a daily planner of activities and I wish they would update over the speakers throughout the day as a reminder as there is so many things on and spread out across the ship I found it difficult sometimes to plan properly. The food in the coastal kitchen and solarium was outstanding and recommend booking the Chefs table early as it sells out quickly. With 5 courses matched with wines including the chef who explains all about each dish and why the wine was chosen is a great experience. The only con is the constant up selling from staff, but say no once they tend to leave you alone. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We are frequent, loyal RCCL cruisers from Sydney, this being our 10th cruise with Royal. Firstly, the good - we thought Cruise Director Joff was outstanding, a very funny guy. Service in the public areas was generally above average. ... Read More
We are frequent, loyal RCCL cruisers from Sydney, this being our 10th cruise with Royal. Firstly, the good - we thought Cruise Director Joff was outstanding, a very funny guy. Service in the public areas was generally above average. Pizza from the Promenade cafe was constantly above par. The flown-in entertainers were great, especially the comedian, magician, Freddie Mercury act and the hypnotist, and pixels was something else. We visited three of the specialty restaurants, and had a great night at each, being a nice change from the mayhem of the main dining rooms. The ship itself is fantastic, plenty to do for all ages, with the North Star, I fly, dodgems, Flowrider, the fitness centre and all pools getting a solid workout. Secondly, the not so good - we thought the food in the main dining rooms (there are 4, two for my time dining and two for set dining) was average at best, although it did seem to improve slightly as the cruise went on. It was really nothing better than an RSL bistro most nights, and there was not much variation in the menu from night to night. Service was okay, without being great. We thought the showtime productions by the onboard cast were ordinary, Long Live Legs was pumped up to be a great night, but we found that the screeching from the lead singer detracted from the entire production. The ports were poor, one was bypassed due to choppy seas, although we booked this cruise for the ship, not the destinations. Thirdly, our biggest bugbear were our fellow passengers, many of whom behaved as if they were at Boganville RSL for 9 days. It was mullets, rats tails, singlets and tattoos as far as you could see. Even though the dress code for the dining rooms is supposed to be smart casual, to some guests this is apparently shorts, t-shirt and thongs. And the sad part is, the crew did nothing to discourage this. Instead of being on Royal Caribbean, it felt like we were on P & O or Carnival. In days gone by, there were standards that were adhered to, and people seemed to accept and respect that. Not so on RCCL anymore, and responsible service of alcohol was non-existent, and there were many, many very drunk people wandering about the ship. This review may sound as if I am a snob, but I am far from it. However, I will think long and hard about booking any more cruises out of Sydney with any company, as it is will inevitably and unfortunately be full of Australians of the worst kind. I would hate to think what overseas passengers thought of us! Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
What a beautiful ship! She is new and huge. No rust or shoddy paint jobs on this beauty (yet). BUT SO MANY GIMICKS. I'll start with the biggest yet under whelming gimick - bionic robot bar tenders. After 10 minutes of ... Read More
What a beautiful ship! She is new and huge. No rust or shoddy paint jobs on this beauty (yet). BUT SO MANY GIMICKS. I'll start with the biggest yet under whelming gimick - bionic robot bar tenders. After 10 minutes of frustration and very poor drinks we and nearly everyone else we spoke to (and witnessed) left that waste of space bar and sought out a real bartender. on the 3rd day of the cruise the poor old robots were entertaining parents with kids and that's about it. Get rid of it RCI they must cost a fortune and your passengers would rather engage with real bartenders. The dogem cars are a novelty but most people have been there done that at Ag Shows etc, and the roller skating was ho hum and over relegulated - all sharing the same space (along with basketball, soccer etc) and therefore time restricted. We didnt waste our time. Rock climbing wall is consigned to a small side of the ship - unlike voyager etc where your at the stern of ship and have a marvelous view when you conquer the climb. the flow rider and sky diving seemed to be - under utilised and used mainly by the same people - under 30. North Star is fun for about 2 minutes and then you realise you're in a hugh fish bowl in the middle of the pacific sun! Hot hot hot and you get to see the ship from above and the sea from,,,,, well a bit higher than usual. All for about 10 minutes MAXIMUM. Cabins are nice but we noticed no dividing curtain between bed and cabin door as in other RCI so that means you need to by "covered"if your partner goes out the cabin door. Also no line in the bathroom to dry your "incidentials" + No light on the balcony??. AND the TV is fixed to the wall so that you can only watch it from the bed? Useless to try from the couch. What happended to the beautiful 2 storey dining rooms on other RCI ships with the sweeping staircase in the centre? Instead Ovation treats you to low ceilings and clostrophobia with each dining room confined. The main pool deck is jammed packed! and we mean jammed packed. No room for dancing and sail away parties, No belly flop comps or just the good old RCI dance parties on the pool deck. And the adult solarium sprawls over with staggered pools/spas and no character or friendliness like the other RCI solariums. Fitness centre is regulation and fine as per other RCI ships. The onboard entertainment we had was a bit hit and miss but as per other RCI cruises, we enjoyed them and mostly found something to keep us entertained. Staff are exceptional as per every other RCI cruise we've been on. Speciality restaurants are above average and some fun to enjoy. Windjammer accomodates the nearly 5000 guests for breaky OK and the food is of good buffet quality - but remember it's a buffet catering for THOUSANDS of people. Finally - will we pay to travel on the Ovation of the Seas again? - Not likely. Way to big,too many people and we didnt enjoy or use the "gimicks". Mostly this ship doesnt feel like a curise ship - More like a MALL. Overall the ship is fancy and very new and pretty! To us thought it doesnt feel like a Cruise ship. You have to find your own fun and as per usual on a cruise - the Staff are SELL SELL SELL. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our second cruise with RCI. Previously we sailed on Allure of the seas so we knew what sailing with a large amount of passengers is like. Ovation was sailing at almost full capacity on our sailing. This was not an issue until you ... Read More
This was our second cruise with RCI. Previously we sailed on Allure of the seas so we knew what sailing with a large amount of passengers is like. Ovation was sailing at almost full capacity on our sailing. This was not an issue until you wanted to get a lounge chair near the pool or do any activity. If you want to do or see anything on the ship be prepared to get there at least 30 minutes early to be able to get a seat. We travelled as a party of 2 and found trying to even get 2 seats together was a challenge. Pool chairs were virtually non existent after 9am on sea days due to people leaving their belongings on the chairs and not returning for hours, with no help from the staff. We booked this cruise for March as we thought there would be less children on board due to it not being school vacation at the time, boy were we wrong! The ship was over run with children, who’s parents usually weren’t supervising them and they also ventured into the adults only area quite a bit with no staff kicking them out, so keep this in mind! Joff the cruise director was fantastic as was his team, with plenty of activities for a range of travellers on board. Our cabin steward was also good, keeping our cabin looking great throughout the whole trip. The cabin itself was spacious and even though we had an overhang on our balcony on deck 13 it actually provided more shade which was nice. We did 3 specialty restaurants while on board. Chops was amazing as was wonderland but Jamie’s Italian fell short. The main dining room food was good but the menu barely changed each night and was a bit repetitive. The windjammer also had the issue of being repetitive but had special nights such as an Italian night and Mexican night. Overall the food was great. We unfortunately did need to skip mystery island due to strong winds but this was handled very well. Overall the ship was great just a few small issues! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
This was our first ever cruise, and we booked just over a year prior to sailing. The Itinerary: At that time of booking, the Itinerary was: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - Noumea 5 - Lifou 6 - Mystery Island ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, and we booked just over a year prior to sailing. The Itinerary: At that time of booking, the Itinerary was: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - Noumea 5 - Lifou 6 - Mystery Island 7 - Isle of Pines 8 - At Sea 9 - At Sea - and back to Sydney What we ended up with was quite a lot different, and had we known at the start - we wouldn't have booked this cruise. It was A LOT of sea days to see just 2 ports, neither of which we were overly interested in (we wanted to see the small tropical islands) But we get that it's a risk with cruising so while disappointing, we didn't get hung up on it. This is what we ended up doing: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - At Sea 5 - Port Vila (torrential rain, we got off the ship for about 30 mins walk around town) 6 - At Sea 7 - Noumea (we did the 2 hour Tchou Tchou Train tour) 8 - At Sea 9 - At Sea - and back to Sydney The Embarkation: was great, or at least WE thought it was - we arrived around 11:30am and were on the ship eating lunch in Windjammer by 12:30pm. Many were complaining about the time it took, but normally when we travel internationally we have to check in at the airport 2 hours before and wait MUCH longer before we get on the plane, so no complaints from us! It was all very easy and ran smoothly. Getting a table at Windjammer was fine, and we didn't have to wander around for more than a 5 mins or so (at any time during the cruise) to find a table. We live in the city so are used to having to wait sometimes for a table, and had no problem with it. Rooms were ready around 1pm, and we saw our luggage in the hallway so grabbed it ourselves. Nice and easy! The Room: We were REALLY impressed with our room. We had cabin 10134, port side, forward. It was close enough to the elevators and convenient to the Solarium which was good as with no kids we planned to enjoy this adult only area. There is plenty of storage space, and coat-hangers - surprisingly I didn't need to ask for more. The bathroom is good, with excellent shower pressure. The bed was by the window, maybe a bit hard for our liking but we managed to sleep well so it wasn't too bad. It was definitely more rocky at the front of the ship so next time we'll go for something more midship. The Included Dining: We chose to do My Time dining, and dined in the MDR 4 times on the cruise. We were lucky enough that we managed to dine once in each of the 4 MDR's. We liked the atmosphere better in Grande and Chic - which are typically for traditional dining, it seemed a bit more friendly and personal? The food was ok. Very classic/old school dishes - probably a safe bet I guess. Some were great (loved the lobster bisque and creme brulee), but some were pretty terrible - e.g. a scallop appetizer special one evening was teeny tiny pieces of scallop swimming in butter that had partly clarified and some garlic, served in the dishes used for escargot. And one random piece of bread in the basket was literally like rock - we couldn't even break it. I'm not normally a buffet person, but was quite impressed with Windjammer - plenty of variety and pretty good quality - especially for breakfast. Service in there was good too - you don't have to go looking for drinks, there is table service. Solarium Bistro was our favourite for breakfast, a little bit quieter and just as good a selection. Cafe 270 was good for a salad or sandwich during the day. Seaplex hotdogs were great! The Sorrentos Pizza was ok - not the best pizza I've ever had but not the worst either. Very convenient though to grab whenever you like. The Specialty Dining: We tried Wonderland on the first night, which is the one we were most excited about, but we were really disappointed with it. We were there for 30 mins before anyone came to even offer us a drink, and service was similar for the whole evening. I am a self confessed foodie - and love this type of dining, but this truly was theatrics over flavour. The food was bland and boring, and even the theatrics were nothing special. The egg was exposed by lifting a glass dish with smoke (so 10 years ago) it tasted nice, but was really just a cold stuffed egg like my grandma used to make. The chocolate ball for dessert that collapsed when they poured the sauce over it (this theatric has also been done to death) resulted in an overly sugary sickly mess. Barely edible - I ate 1-2 mouthfuls and couldn't finish it. The garden thing with soil was really bland and boring. Chops Grille on the other hand, was fantastic! I would love to have eaten there again but it was booked out for the whole cruise. NOTE: IT PAYS TO BOOK EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU GO OR AT LEAST AS SOON AS YOU GET ON BOARD AS YOU MIGHT MISS OUT OTHERWISE! Jamies Italian was also excellent, but booked out the rest of the cruise too. We didn't try Izumi, it looked a bit canteen/sushi-train-ish and didn't seem so popular. The Bars: There is a great selection of bars. We had the drinks package, which was great and we got our moneys worth - but we might not do that again as it did encourage us to drink more than we normally would, so our plans to go to the gym every day and be semi healthy went out the window very early on! The bars were all very crowded (see my comments on "The Crowd" later on) but the staff were working relentlessly and very fast at making the drinks, so it wasn't too much of a wait most of the time. There is also table service almost everywhere, which we found frequent enough to not even have to go to the bar most of the time. The Entertainment: We saw Pixels (my favourite), Live Love Legs and Beautiful Dream. If you go 30-45 mins before, you'll be fine to get a decent seat, if you go 10-15 mins before you might struggle. There was trivia, karaoke, all that sort of thing, plenty to do - but we did feel that during the day the activities were mostly for kids. At night there were parties - I particularly loved the Disco Inferno party, but they don't start until after 10pm which is quite late for us, especially since we'd booked some early morning activities. You don't find out what's on each day until the night before, so it's impossible to plan these nights out accordingly. I wish we could know when the parties were on - I really wanted to go to the Silent Disco but didn't manage to because I was already tired and had an early morning activity the next day. The Activities: We booked the iFly, and the booking went smoothly - happened on time. It was fun! We also booked North Star - also went smoothly. There are times you can go without reservation but you'll line up for a long time. It definitely pays to book before the cruise as early as possible. My husband did the flow-rider once, but lined up for an hour and a half to do it! So we never bothered again. It did get a bit quieter later in the cruise, and on port days (we only had two of those!) but we didn't bother as planning timing for things was a challenge - as I've noted earlier: you don't know what's on each day until the night before. We did bumper cars once, also a long line so didn't bother again. The Pools: Nice pools, the main pool is 1.5m deep. However they were FULL of children. One had to be emptied twice one day - because someone had an accident in it. I'm not sure any adult would be game to get in those pools unless their own children were in it. This was disappointing for me because my favourite thing to do on holiday is to have a relaxing day by the pool and a couple of cocktails. I didn't get to do this at all, except for about 1 hour on a port day before it started raining. The solarium pools are adults only but aren't really proper pools, and it was VERY hot in there and VERY crowded, impossible to find a spot to sit after 9am. Chair hogs in full force! The Service: All the staff on the ship were amazing. They were incredibly hard working, always smiling, and couldn't do enough to help you in any way. Guest Services were fine, although I think RC could do a lot more to be proactive with their communication. e.g. I checked in online and entered my credit card details - and checked, checked, rechecked MULTIPLE times. Then on the cruise I went to check again (lucky I did!) and turns out it hadn't registered so I had to go back again to get it sorted. There was nothing anywhere, no email, nothing on 'my account' that would indicate this needed to be sorted. The Internet: We had the Surf and Stream internet with our drinks package which was SO worthwhile getting. We procrastinated for a long time about whether to get internet or not, but I can't imagine not having it and will not hesitate again in future. The Royal IQ app isn't great - My Calendar never worked for the whole cruise, and guest services said "we'll log a ticket with IT" and I never heard from them again. We also couldn't make or check restaurant reservations from the app. This was a bit annoying as it's a very handy feature to have - if it's working! The Crowd: So this is were we were majorly disappointed. We had looked at doing this cruise in either January or March - and chose March thinking there would be less kids on board because it's not school holidays. Boy were we mistaken! The ship was incredibly crowded at full capacity - and felt like a giant shopping mall a week before Christmas, and apparently (we heard) there were about 1,400 kids on board! Don't get me wrong - I don't dislike children, but there was no respite anywhere! They were out of control all over the ship. Running around under the feet of staff carrying trays of drinks, climbing around the stage during show setup (security told them off twice and parents still did nothing), one I saw in a romper suit crawling up the casino stairs around 10pm, and one adult party I thought about going to where the dance-floor was 100% children - after 10pm! It was insanity. Many of the parents were on the bourbons from as early as 9am, and there were plenty walking around smashed all day - and we heard medical emergencies in bars a few times that woke us up at night (maybe genuine, but we suspect probably someone too drunk fell over!) This was not at all a relaxing cruise. Even the solarium was just way too full. The only respite was in our room, so the second half of our cruise we spent most of the day there. There are also some seats outside on deck 5 that were nice and quiet. But to pay the $$ we paid, and with so many sea days (6, on a 9 night cruise!) it would have been nice to have somewhere to relax other than our room and the few seats outside on deck 5. In Summary: The ship itself is amazing, and the staff are amazing. I think as first time cruisers we have discovered that perhaps just Royal Caribbean isn't for us? The crowd, and lack of ability to truly relax except in our room was what spoiled it for us - other than that I think we would really like this cruising thing. So after talking to others on board (we did meet some really lovely people!) we have decided to give cruising one more go - but this time with Celebrity, the very first week that kids go back to school - hopefully at that time parents will be less inclined to take them out of school for a cruise holiday :) Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose Ovation Of The Seas as it was one of the newest cruise ships sailing from Sydney . This was our first time cruising and with two young children so we did not know what to expect. We opted for the Owners suite as we needed ... Read More
We chose Ovation Of The Seas as it was one of the newest cruise ships sailing from Sydney . This was our first time cruising and with two young children so we did not know what to expect. We opted for the Owners suite as we needed the extra room with the kids and was well worth the extra $$ spent. Stateroom was very spacious. Loved the huge balcony and the dining table in room so we had the option to have brekkie or dine in anytime we wanted. It had one and a half bathrooms, with a spa tub and double sink. With the suite we were able to get some extras with our stay. We had priority check in and check out which was a relief with two young children. We had access to the concierge lounge 24 hours. We also had a lot of help from our concierge Bing who made a lot of our bookings for onboard activities and specialty restaurants . My husband had the deluxe beverage package which was unlimited alcohol and beverages and for myself I had the refreshment package. My husband enjoyed his unlimited drinks very much so and I am surely made the most of it. We had brekkie almost everyday at Windjammers as it was easier with kids and there were plenty of options. We enjoyed most of our meals at the Windjammers. We only dined in the other dining room once - Grand which we received amazing service from Jean. With specialty restaurants, we had Chops twice and Jamie Oliver. Chops was disappointing for myself as I asked for my Ribye to be medium rare but came out well done and was very tough. My husband and his friend on the other hand ordered the same and their steaks were perfect. So good that my husband wanted to go back again. Second time was even more disappointing for me. We made sure we asked for medium rare again and surely it did come medium rare but the meat did not taste fresh and was very bland and was very hard to cut through. Both my husband and I only managed to eat half our steaks. It was unfortunate we didn’t enjoy our steaks but service was amazing though. Jamie Oliver was great . Food was very tasty! We had lots of starters and portions were very big so we got full before our mains even came out. I had the prawn linguine which was amazing and my husband had the truffle pasta which he absolutely loved also. We were not able to finish our mains as we were both too full. We had a great experience at Jamie’s but next time we will not order too many starters. We only tried the coastal restaurant once for dinner . Coastal is for suites guests only. The service was again amazing but the food was a little disappointing. We had a steak again asking for medium rare but came out almost well done. We never had brekkie or lunch there so I cannot comment. We really enjoyed Sorrentos pizzas. It is very convenient to have a quick bite to eat and tastes yummy also. Next door is cafe promenade which I had cookies and carrot cake for afternoon tea and they were both very good. The hot dogs at sea Plex was also enjoyable. Great to grab and quick when you are feeling peckish. The only dissapointment for us was there was not much entertainment for the kids. Our kids are 2 and 3. My two year old is not yet toilet trained and still has to wear the nappy swim pants. She was not allowed into any of the pools. There was only a very small toddler splash zone which she spent most of her time. My 3 year old was too little to go on the big splash zone and he was looking forward to it so much. There were dodgem cars which was a minimum age of 5 to ride with an adult so no good for us either. We did not put the kids into the kids club at all. We had 3 days at shore. The first day was at Port Vila. It was pouring for most of the day so there was not much to do in town. 2nd day we received an announcement early in the morning for Mystery island that it was too windy so they did not let us get off the cruise. The last day was at Noumea. We booked a shore excursion the Amedee Island. Getting off was quick as we had priority departure also. We had a great day and the weather was perfect. Included was a lunch buffet on the island which was nice. Overall, we had an amazing experience and we cannot fault the service at all. Everyone was so attentive and actually looked genuinely happy to be there. This was our first cruise and we are looking forward to our next one! Definitely will not consider cruising with any other cruiseline other than Royal Caribbean!! Take me back!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I know why I choose Princess cruises! The ship is ok although the layout is confusing the staff were just ok nothing to rave about. There so called alcohol package is truly unlimited and the staff clearly don’t abide by a responsible ... Read More
I know why I choose Princess cruises! The ship is ok although the layout is confusing the staff were just ok nothing to rave about. There so called alcohol package is truly unlimited and the staff clearly don’t abide by a responsible service of alcohol this is a huge concern one that could backfire quite easily. Our cabin was nice kept clean we didn’t really see our guy that much but was pleasant and there to help if you needed. The outside pool on deck 14 was tiny for a ship it’s size. The adults only area only had spas and a shallow pool to sit in There was an inside pool also quite small. The entertainment day and night was very average. Unfortunately we missed 1 port to bad weather and there was no programme arranged until lunchtime We made our own fun but overall I wouldn’t recommend this ship . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We enjoyed our second cruise on Ovation, but found the food in the main dining room this time very underwhelming and overcooked. We went 3 nights and the result was the same. We went elsewhere for the rest of the cruise. Bring our second ... Read More
We enjoyed our second cruise on Ovation, but found the food in the main dining room this time very underwhelming and overcooked. We went 3 nights and the result was the same. We went elsewhere for the rest of the cruise. Bring our second cruise we also found the entertainment ok but was the same as the previous cruise 12 months ago. When we booked this cruise it was originally 4 ports of call, one of which was why I booked this one, they then revised the itinerary taking out 2 islands then replacing those 2 with one, we lost quite a few fellow travelers that had booked with us. Whilst on the ship we then missed another port of call due to bad weather, which I understand, safety is definitely paramount, but still disappointing non the less. After 7/9 sea days I was ready to get off. We have another booked for next year with Royal Caribbean on the Radiance. I have heard wonderful reviews about Radiance so going to see for myself. Ovation in my opinion for 2 middle aged cruisers is too big with too many passengers. We booked in late March also hoping there wouldn’t be as many children, unfortunately I was mistaken. I love kids, but too many on this trip we’re left unsupervised a lot of the time. Embarkation was great, disembarkation was great. Well organized, staff were wonderful and always smiling and happy. Shore excursions booked through the ship are recommended. When you miss a stop, the money you paid for the excursion was deposited back into your seapass card. If you booked privately, I’m not sure what would happen. Overall another great cruise with Royal. We enjoyed ourselves but have experienced better on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Always interested to cruise on a new mega ship ,seen Ovaction in the harbor decided to review a cruise package next day and chose this one . All staff very friendly always acknoweded us and asked if any help required . Excellent ... Read More
Always interested to cruise on a new mega ship ,seen Ovaction in the harbor decided to review a cruise package next day and chose this one . All staff very friendly always acknoweded us and asked if any help required . Excellent service in the Grande Dining room you can order bottle of wine and they will store for you each night if not fully drank . Did order the Maine Full Lobster first night out at addition $35 only to told it was not avaiable as was all other nights and it was not taken off the menu pity but no big deal . I found the drink package a bit expensive as you have to purchase two for full trip so then you tend to drink for the sake of it plus you do have on board credits and drink prices were resonable compared to onshore. Although it was full with over 4000 passengers the crew manage you all well including boarding and embarkation considering we required assistance for disabled partner at times The windjammer dining area was busy at all meal times but a good selection of food was available . Water ,iced tea and cordial drinks are free together with brewed coffee ,tips only to main dining room crew and cabin attendent was suitable unless you wished to tip for good service but not pushed on you . Plenty of attractions bars and deck areas to relax .would recommend book the Wonderland restaurant as its different and good service . Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
I average 2-3 cruises a year on RCCL for the past 18 years. It seems that as the ships get bigger, the quality gets worse. I loved the two-week itinerary from Sydney around both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It's an ... Read More
I average 2-3 cruises a year on RCCL for the past 18 years. It seems that as the ships get bigger, the quality gets worse. I loved the two-week itinerary from Sydney around both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It's an amazing itinerary with great ports of call, so I can't fault that even a little. We had a balcony cabin. It was roomy with plenty of storage space and a nicely sized balcony. Our cabin steward was excellent. First, a tiny thing: The Cruise critic meet and greet was set for the first morning at 8 a.m. Really crappy time to have a meet and greet when many of the passengers flew 20+ hours and (in my case) 17 time zones to get there. Especially as launch time the night before wasn't until 9pm. I'm afraid to say I slept right through the meet and greet and I hate that! The ship itself is impressively huge. I'll give it that. But with very few exceptions, the artwork was very mundane. I usually love the stairwell art but other than maybe two or three pieces, they were similarly boring. Additionally, having artwork up and down those endless hallways keeps me entertained on most ships, but this one didn't have anything other than the same metal piece repeated a gazillion times up and down the hallways...put me to sleep by the time I got to my cabin! There were two interactive screens that were pretty cool...one that had butterflies on it that moved when you touched them and one set of screens that changed as you walked past. Someone working on the set of screens said that they stay broken most of the time because people pound on them and kick them. Unlike most boats that have fabulous views from most of the bars and venues, there is little of that on this boat. I get that this is due to the huge percentage of outside rooms and balcony rooms. I just miss being able to see outside. It reminded me of being inside a casino where you don't know if it's day or night. And that gives me a great segue into the staff: The bar staff at Vintages was comatose most nights. A group of us would meet there almost every evening to play cards or a game. We all had drink packages...but we had to practically beg for service. NOT ONCE did a waiter approach the table. Every single night we had to go up to the bar and ask to be served. There were three or four waiters standing around looking bored, but even after they'd serve us the drink we ordered at the bar, they'd ignore us the rest of the night. It wasn't ever crowded...never more than 20 people in there, but they just didn't care. The casino staff was even worse. The guy on the roulette table was rude and looked like he would rather eat his own hair than crack a smile or be nice to anyone. He didn't even bother to wave his hand over the wheel for last bets, he just mumbled something and then snapped at anyone who hadnt heard him. He kept looking around like he was embarrassed to even be there. The table dealers weren't much better...not a personality to be found among any of them. The food is getting worse on every cruise. I eat exclusively in the dining room at night. We were second seating and I'd say the dining room was only 30-50% full any particular night. The menu was almost identical every night. They'd have a different meat dish, pasta dish and fish dish each night and everything else was essentially the same. The steaks were small and tough, the chicken was identical regardless of what they called it, the desserts were boring. This is a tiny thing, but they don't even bother to change the flavor of the creme brulee each night...used to be one night was mango, one was Bailey's, etc...now it's vanilla creme brulee every night. And they had Mahi Mahi on the menu four or five different times, yet when we tried to order it we were told they didn't actually have it on board. Here's a suggestion: TAKE IT OFF THE MENU. Dining room staff was decent, but not great. It felt like maybe they were depressed at not having very many people to wait on. It was just a weird vibe all around. Another reviewer mentioned that no dress code standards were applied in the dining room. One formal night we watched a woman in a lovely dress arrive with a gentleman wearing raggy cutoff shorts, a sleeveless tee shirt and flip flops. I thought that was pretty bad until I saw another woman arrive on the other formal night wearing (I am NOT kidding): a bikini, flip flops and a very short, very sheer bathing suit cover-up. I am not a snob, but holy cow people, why why WHY? Windjammer: gets worse and worse all the time. It's not even worth the time it takes to type more about it than to say that it's standard cafeteria fare at best. Thank goodness for the pizza place. Entertainment: Pixels was the only show you could get reservations for. So we made reservations. I'm not sure why, because we got there (15 minutes before showtime) and they were letting anyone in, with or without a reservation. It was already standing room only, so we ended up standing in the back of the room. The Two-Seventy Lounge is obviously where RCCL put all their money, but it's a crappy venue for anything bigger than a few hundred people. There are huge lamps sporadically spaced through the room and huge pillars that block the view. The accoustics aren't great either. I've seen some excellent shows on board, but Pixels wasn't one of them. It was technically really cool...would love to know how much they paid for those huge articulated screens. But the show didn't make a lot of sense, there was no central theme to it, just a hodgepodge of music and an inexplicable video of an African rap group that made absolutely no sense and added nothing to the show. The tribute bands were good, but again, the venue was way too small and not conducive to good musical listening. What is with the "virtual symphony?" Seriously? I paid to be entertained...I can watch a symphony any day of the week on my own television with a better view and better sound quality. That was really cheesy. Would have loved more cultural talks about, for example, the history of Australia and NZ, or about the Aborigines of Aus or the Maori of NZ. There was one lady who talked about three Kiwi women, and it was okay, but I wanted more in depth inforrmation. The comedian was pretty funny...I saw the late night adult show. Was pretty shocked at the number of (unattended) children in the audience. Speaking of unattended children: People, why do you turn your children loose on a boat with 7000 strangers as if nothing bad could possibly happen to them? 7000 strangers who have access to private rooms and the ocean? What could possibly go wrong? Do people just completely lose their minds when they cross the gangway getting onto the ship? I have just one more complaint, and then I'll shut up: Dear Royal Caribbean: please stop wasting precious floor space for designer stores such as Cartier....during the entire cruise, I never saw anyone in there. What a supreme waste of real estate. People who shop at Cartier don't cruise on Royal Caribbean...they cruise on Seven Seas or one of the other upscale lines. How about opening a shop that carries sundries, convenience items and snacks? My roommate bought one of the three Snickers bars available in the liquor store on board and it had expired two years ago. I never book shore excursions through RCCL, so I didn't rate that. I will say, however, that at Bay of Islands, the docking area for the tenders was a half hour walk to anywhere. They had buses to take us from the dock to the town but those buses were used as school buses in the afternoon. So many people had to walk back to the tenders. And once we got there, there was a mammoth line of about an hour and a half to wait for the tenders. Somebody dropped the ball on that whole operation. It's a small town and with that many people descending on it, they need to plan better. I hate to be so negative...I had a great time on this cruise. But that was no thanks to Royal Caribbean. I hate to start back at zero status on another cruise line, but I think I just might. RCCL doesn't really give you anything worthwhile for high status anyway, so I probably won't miss my "status." Read Less
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 5.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 3.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0

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