1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
I had been on 3 previous cruises with Royal Caribbean before I went on a 12 day NZ cruise on Ovatiion of the Seas which is part of the Quantum class whatever that is ( maybe size). Great cruise apart from the following :- 1. Self ... Read More
I had been on 3 previous cruises with Royal Caribbean before I went on a 12 day NZ cruise on Ovatiion of the Seas which is part of the Quantum class whatever that is ( maybe size). Great cruise apart from the following :- 1. Self flushing toilets in public areas do not always flush appropriately and often flush when you are still 'ahem' seated. Should all be manual flush. 2. Limited entertainment during the day especially for older people who make up most of the passengers. In the past cruise ships have had modern and 60's music bands on pool decks from noon til mid afternoon...no more. Also interesting speakers needed on various subjects apart from sales presentations over the cruise. Many trivias held during the day are always held in cramped areas. Too much emphasis on selling and stripping as much money as possible from passengers on overpriced excursions, photos, bingo, casino promotions and speciality restaurants. This is now becoming a trend with all cruise companies now unfortunately. Restaurant staff are run off their feet due to obvious reductions in staff to save money. I have noticed this on many different cruise ships in recent times. In saying this I could not fault all cabin and waiter staff who are pleasant and do their best to please you even though they seem to have an enormous work load and are running to every task due to reduced numbers compared to cruises I have experienced over the years. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We travelled as a group of 4: my wife and I, our daughter (7 years old) and her grandma (in her 60s). This was our first cruise and it was such a great experience, we're planning another one next year. Embarkation and disembarkation ... Read More
We travelled as a group of 4: my wife and I, our daughter (7 years old) and her grandma (in her 60s). This was our first cruise and it was such a great experience, we're planning another one next year. Embarkation and disembarkation were done smoothly. We used the cruise planner extensively and so embarkation took approximately 30 minutes from port-side to deck-side. Disembarkation was even faster, taking only 15 minutes. The organisation was impressive. There were small hiccoughs but guest services were prompt in sorting them out. The cruise planner was easy to use however there were some things that took a bit of trial and error. For example, there is no option to book children in for specialty dining and it appeared initially that our 7 year old would be charged adult prices. A phone call soon resolved this - just don't book children and bring them along, they will get a reduced price on the day. We were refunded on the ship, when we had paid an adult price online for our 7 year old. The ship itself is impressive. There are plenty of public areas, for relaxation and it was hard to get lost. Signs were in English and Mandarin as the ship spends half the year in Asia. Facilities were clean and the attention taken to prevent outbreaks of gastroenteritis was impressive. The SeaPlex was a highlight for our daughter, who enjoyed roller-skating and bumper cars. My wife and I spent a lot of time in the gym. There were plenty of cardio machines (treadmills, ellipticals, stat bikes, stair masters). The selection of weights was adequate given the OH&S restraints of a ship. This means that instead of free weights there are plenty of resistance machines and 1 Smith rack. The classes (stretches, yoga, abs, etc) quickly became booked out. There is a way to book some activities with the Royal IQ app. This was a bit hit and miss, largely because the wifi struggled to cope with 5000 passengers. I bought the Voom Surf and Stream package, before the cruise. It worked well in some areas of the ship, during non peak hours. It was good for downloading music/tv episodes at night, if you want to watch them during the day. It was less reliable for streaming, although that really wasn't an issue -there was so much to do during the cruise. My wife and I also bought the SMS capability ($8 each). The service was up about 80% of the time. I think it was worth buying this as walkie talkies don't work that well on a ship this size. The upside of this is that sound insulation was excellent throughout the ship. Our stateroom was immediately above the 270 lounge. I slept through the New Years Party like a baby (old man?). Dining was a highlight. We ate most meals in the Grande restaurant - one of the 4 main dining rooms. Our waiters were top notch and really went out of their way to make the experience personalised. We do a lot of fine dining in Sydney and so are fairly tough critics. I would struggle to remember wait staff this attentive and friendly, in the past. Meals were great, without exception and our daughter was well looked after. Specialty dining is worth a try. We went to Chops Grille (twice!), Jamie's Kitchen and Wonderland. Chops Grille was excellent in every way. The service and food is good value (prebook on the cruise planner!). It's better than most steakhouses on the North Shore of Sydney. My family loved Jamie's Kitchen, as they are big fans of freshly made pasta. Again, the service was very good. Wonderland is one for the open minded. The service was great but I think the execution of the concept fell short. Were they trying for molecular gastronomy? It's no Fat Duck but that's a tall order isn't it? See what you think. I thought the dessert was wonderful. Again as we are from Sydney, I feel I have to include a little section on coffee. Australia is a hard market for any American company to crack, with us being coffee snobs of the highest order. The coffee cards (available on the cruise planner) are worth buying before the cruise. The quality of expresso coffee is not great (my wife had to explain how to make a piccolo - heavens!), but was much better than most American hotels we have stayed in, when overseas. If you order cappuccino's, you'll be fine. The activities and entertainment available were astounding. There is something for everyone. The daily cruise planner is what I wish school was like - a timetable of fun! My daughter enjoyed dance classes and napkin folding. My wife really liked the shows. These included big dance and music productions (especially Pixels - a fantastic show, book early), as well as performances by live bands. Goff, the cruise director, puts on excellent theme shows (e.g., the "Love and Marriage show") with audience and crew participation. He is exceptionally talented, and can bring the best out in everyone. The comedians at the theatre were great. I also went to some enrichment presentations by an Aussie fighter pilot ("Frawls"), which were interesting and very well done. The ports we visited were Bay of Islands, Auckland, Tauranga and Dunedin. These were well chosen. We had arranged tours privately through Viator and in most cases this worked well. The weather was wet and cool (bring a jacket/raincoat) most days. In retrospect this was a plus as apparently the temperature at home was 45 degrees, when it was 10 degrees in Dunedin. A highlight of this cruise was the day at Doubtful, Dusky and Milford sounds. We had good weather for this and I recommend bringing binoculars. It looks like I've written an essay and I could easily go on. My overwhelming feeling is that this cruise was one of the best holidays I have had. I think Royal Caribbean caters very well to families. I would recommend this for anyone who wants to put their brain in neutral gear and set their mouth to smile/eat for 12 nights. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This my first time on Royal Carribean. I was really worried about the huge amount of passengers on the ship- 4814 on our cruise. But I need not worry, other than trying to get off the ship at ports due to shuttle buses instead of walking ... Read More
This my first time on Royal Carribean. I was really worried about the huge amount of passengers on the ship- 4814 on our cruise. But I need not worry, other than trying to get off the ship at ports due to shuttle buses instead of walking off it wasn't a concern. What I love about the ship and the cruise line is the "Attention to Detail". Little improvements in the cabin and actual sinks with water and soap outside the buffet area and other buffet type of restaurants. As a health care worker and having cruised on 7 other ships I found this great and very welcoming news. Our sailing was the first after a previous gastro event. So they were cleaning everything everywhere all the time. I found this comforting as well. The ship has the biggest Adults only area I have ever seen on a cruise ship, and at the front of the ship, and it is free(some cruise lines charge for this right) It took me 3 days to actually find this massive area with small pools and spas. I was amazed to see life guards at every single pool on the ship. A first for me after 9 cruises on other lines. Like i said Attention to Detail. Lots of activities. The entertainment is a big thing for me. Only 2 big shows and Pixels- which was way way better than I had expected. The area where Pixels is 270 is just great. I seem to spend a lot of time there as it is next to a cafe where I often had my late lunch. My cabin was a Studio Interior with virtual window. A very very small cabin. Okay for 1 person but they do it sell it for 2. No way could 2 adults fit in there. I knew it was going to be small, and I loved the Virtual window- a camera on the outside of the ship. What a great idea! Attention to detail again. Food in the MDR- was a touch disappointed here. I think the food on Princess is better. But their deserts were great. What I saw of the buffet was great. But I was late for lunch on almost all sea days due to other activities i was doing. Activites- WOW, what can I say, the North Star is amazing, and the Ifly is out of this world. I didnt try the Flow rider, but looked great as well. I didn't do the rock climbing wall. But I did the bumper cars. They had trapeze and roller skating. There was always somebody walking around picking up people that had falls etc. I only found the arcade on the 2nd last day, but wish I had of spent more time there- next cruise- yep that is booked for 2019. My 3 complaints. The biggest was the shuttle bus service for getting off the ship. It took me 2 hours to get off the ship at Wellington, and then I queued for almost an hour to come back to the ship. The other ports didn't appear to be as bad, but i guess they were. My next complaint was the spending was in $US. This was terrible for us aussies. That $9 glass of house wine was really about $12 or more. Those $20 photos were I think $25 or more. My thrid complaint and this i don't think is the cruise lines fault, but possibly due to the large numbers on the ship but i actually saw 2-3 times people being aggressive. One was actually to me in person. Other passengers also commented on this. This is my 10th cruise, and have never seen nothing but happy people on a cruise ship, even if people had complaints, they were never agressive. But this cruise I did. And it wasn't due to drinking either. Im not talking about family squabbles either(see that everywhere). One incident I witnessed in a crowded lift upset me for days. hey Guys we are on holidays, relax! I have booked my next Ovation cruise for feb 2019. Same cabin as well. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We cruise 3-4 times each year. We are Crown & Anchor Members and Platinum members of Royal. I have always been a big fan of Royal Caribbean. That just changed today. We planned our cruise over a year ago. We flew from San ... Read More
We cruise 3-4 times each year. We are Crown & Anchor Members and Platinum members of Royal. I have always been a big fan of Royal Caribbean. That just changed today. We planned our cruise over a year ago. We flew from San Francisco to Sydney and were very excited to cruise. Two days before departure, we read stories in the paper about an inbound ship filled with sick passengers (over 200). As it turned out, it was Ovation of the Seas. Royal lied to the passengers and downplayed the situation. They claimed they would delay the boarding by a couple of hours to disinfect the ship. Not true, they were boarding at noon- and had thousands of passengers on board before our "priority boarding time" pushed back to 2pm. The ship crew was tight lipped. Nobody would say anything about the infectious diseases. Part of the ship was roped off with "maintenance" signs... no lemon or lime was served with drinks and the list goes on. The crew was told that they could not discuss the outbreak on the ship. Passengers got sick again. If anyone even inquired about the disease, they were tagged as "infected" and tracked down via camera and escorted by security to the medical ward. Passengers were confined to their rooms and were not allowed to get off at the port of call. It was like a horror movie. The staff pretended to be nice and friendly, but everyone knew who was infected. You could not walk around the ship without someone following you with a radio calling in your movements (even restaurants). So much for medical privacy- everyone including guest services, room service, room attendant were making comments about the infected people. I have three more cruises booked with Royal. As soon as I get home, I am going to cancel all of them and close my Crown and Anchor account. This company only cares about money and not the safety of passengers. I have already spoken with a class-action law-firm and intend on holding Royal accountable. Lesson learned: NEVER EVER speak with the medical staff on a ship unless you are prepared to have your vacation ruined. Best to keep your mouth shut and get medical assistance at a port or when home. Royal needs to be transparent; and then clean up the ship when it is infected. Dining was very poor compared to Oasis class ships. Only one show (Pixels) that you can reserve on the ship for a 10 day cruise. Pools were dirty (sorry I didn't even use one of them). Two smoking sections caused discomfort for many passengers Spa was old /outdated for a newer ship- felt like 1970's decor and felt used/worn out/small. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our third Royal cruise and chose the Ovation for both the itinerary and to experience the ship. We were a group of five in 2 cabins, Superior Balcony Rooms on Deck 7. The party was made up of 3 adults and 2 teenagers. Royal ... Read More
This was our third Royal cruise and chose the Ovation for both the itinerary and to experience the ship. We were a group of five in 2 cabins, Superior Balcony Rooms on Deck 7. The party was made up of 3 adults and 2 teenagers. Royal advised us in the days leading up there would be a delay to check in time due to the post, previous cruise clean. Embarkation went smoothly at the allotted time, with the longest delay customs. We found the ship to be fantastic, great range of facilities and options. The ship was extremely clean and we could not fault their efforts in terms of sanitising the ship. We have cruised on three different lines and have found Royal to be the most proactive in terms of sanitisation and the Ovation the best of them. I understand there was a small break out on the previous cruise but this would not have been through anything Royal did from our observations. Our room was very comfortable, our son was on the third berth (couch by day) and we had enough room. The crew were extremely friendly and could not fault the service. Predominantly we dined in Silks for dinner on my time dinning. Our longest wait was 10 minutes but that was our choice as we wanted a particular section. Our son has a food allergy and we found the perfect head waiter and his staff made our party feel like we were VIPs. We had breakfast in the windjammer once, but buffets are not our go, so we stayed away. The food in Silks was great. Breakfast was usually in the 270 or American Icon and were very consistent. Of the 2 my time dinning rooms, American Icon and Silks, although we only went to Icon for breakfast, we found Silks was quieter, Icon seems to have a lot of open areas, where Silk never made us feel we were on a large boat. The 270 is a great place to have breakfast in the morning or laze about over a coffee. We did go to Jamie's for one dinner and found the food to be on par with a land based Jamie's. Servings were huge and enjoyed by all. We found all the activities on the ship to be enjoyable. The North Star was a worthwhile experience, whilst the I-fly smiles made great photos. Joff and his team were great, although some of the shows were hit and miss. Enjoyed the technical side of Pixels but thought the show was average. In terms of New Zealand, we were disappointed to have missed Milford Sound, but due to a weather front, the Captain made the decision to stay ahead of it. I have been in bad sea conditions a few times, it is not enjoyable, so were understanding of the decision. The extra day in Dunedin was worthwhile. Dunedin was an enjoyable stop, Wellington was beautiful, Napier a place I could retire to and Picton although very small, lots of options to do things. Aside from the bus transfer on the bonus day in Dunedin, we organised all our own private tours. The e-bike tour in Napier was a huge hit with all party members. We understand that not everyone may have enjoyed the ship and cruise as much as we did. You over hear people complaining about various things, we are glass half full people and found the cruise and ship to be fantastic. So much so we unexpectedly booked another cruise on Ovation in 2019. With the exception of Dunedin, at all other ports, we docked at commercial ports due to the size of the ship and the earthquake damage in previous years to the port in Wellington. You had to line up to get shuttle passes, there was no easy solution to do this process. From our understanding if you organised tours through Royal you were off early, otherwise you would need to queue for a shuttle number, one of us would queue around 30min prior to the time and had no issue, always off in the first few shuttles. This seemed to be where the most complaints were. There is never a quick way to move 5000 people. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Boarded Ovations in Sydney for a 10 trip to New Zealand. Had read a lot of review before hand and was quite skeptical about the trip. Two days before we were due to board a e-mail was sent out by RCI to advise that boarding time had been ... Read More
Boarded Ovations in Sydney for a 10 trip to New Zealand. Had read a lot of review before hand and was quite skeptical about the trip. Two days before we were due to board a e-mail was sent out by RCI to advise that boarding time had been changed due to an outbreak of gastro and extra time was needed to sanitize the ship. Arrived at Circular Quay for my boarding at 2.00 pm and had luggage checked, and straight onto ship and directed up to Windjammer to wait for notification that room were ready : all this in the space of 30 minutes. While at Windjammer we had lunch & waited till 3.00 pm so we proceeded down to deck 9 ( had a balcony ) the cabin was ideal. So much space, good size double bed and great shower. The ship does have that wow factor, everything new , very high tech and set out well, so it doesn't take long to find your way around. i decided to purchase a 4 day dining package which meant that I could dine at any of the theme restaurants of my choosing over 4 nights. Really, I wasn't that impressed with the theme restaurants - the food might have been a little better quality than the normal restaurants but for what you pay for these upgrades it really not worth the extra. I found the food to be quite good... plenty of variety , so your could always find something that you liked. With My time dining and the buffet at Windjammers there was plenty of choose from . Being such a large ship i was worried about the size ( 4,800 ) passenger but on our cruise I don't think the ship was full. If I had to count the number of passengers I would guess at around 1,000 ; just didn't see that many people on board. Some morning would hardy see anyone & when I asked the staff as to the number of board was told there was over 4,000 ??? Staff went out of their way to be helpful & the wait staff in the restaurants away had time to have a chatter and answer any questions. Entertainment was first class, love the shows and the entertainment director ( Joff ) was hilarious. the only thing that I was disappointed is that due to weather we missed out of Milford , Dusty Sound. These were the main reason that i chose this cruise but had to spend an extra day in Dunedin. Also, there was a earthquake in Wellington so that at both ports extra shuttles had to be arranged with little inconvenience. Disembarkation went smoothly, only about another 30 minutes and being a Sunday morning no crowds at the Rocks Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We have previously sailed on Quantum and Ovation so we already new what to expect. But this time we sailed from Sydney to NZ ports in the luxury of a Grand Suite and all its perks. It was amazing! We spent a lot of time in our room and the ... Read More
We have previously sailed on Quantum and Ovation so we already new what to expect. But this time we sailed from Sydney to NZ ports in the luxury of a Grand Suite and all its perks. It was amazing! We spent a lot of time in our room and the extra space, comfort and amenities made it feel like home. When we weren't in our room you could have found us in the fantastic Solarium, the Concierge lounge with the great wake views or the splendid coastal Kitchen for dinner, etc. The Ovation is a really good looking ship with brilliant facilities. All the crew we came across were very friendly and polite and willing to please. The production shows were good, but felt the two main singers were not as good as I have seen previously. Best tip, grab some healthy food options from the 270 café and grab a seat in the 270 lounge enjoying the view as you eat. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Our cruising background since 2012 when we started. HAL x 2, Princess x 1, Carnival x 1, RCI x 3, Celebrity x 4. This cruise was a 60th birthday celebration of one of our two cruising companions. Our first impression on arrival at ... Read More
Our cruising background since 2012 when we started. HAL x 2, Princess x 1, Carnival x 1, RCI x 3, Celebrity x 4. This cruise was a 60th birthday celebration of one of our two cruising companions. Our first impression on arrival at OPT was "this ship is huge". Daunting? Possibly. Apprehensive? Yes. At luggage drop off everyone was being asked if they had any alcohol in their luggage and, if they had, it was to be removed and carried on board through check in. We had a couple of bottles of wine in our bags so we had to take them out. This was a procedure new to us. As expected there were long queues at boarding. We had priority boarding status but that didn't matter as our 'birthday girl' has a mobility problem and we were able to skip the queues anyway. Check-in was quick as we had completed this beforehand including logging our i/d photos. These were checked by roving staff using tablets, seperate from the check-in counters. A quick stop at immigration and we were on our way with the birthday girl being rolled aboard in a wheelchair. Our Sea Pass cards were ready for us when we reached our room and they already had a hole punched for lanyard use. There seemed to be a much younger crowd on this cruise, many, many families. Lots of kids but they were never a problem at all, didn't notice them most of the time On arriving at our cabins we found our Sea Pass cards waiting for us and we dumped our hand held stuff and went to have a look around. First impressions were positive. Nice decor without being over the top or too drab. Our feeling was that we were almost totally seperated from the outside world. For the next ten days it was like living in a huge shopping mall - and I hate shopping malls. This doesn't mean that I hated being there, I just accepted it as being it is what it is. There were a lot of people on board this cruise, I did hear mention of 4800+. The previous sailing had the dreaded noro but it did not, from what we saw and experienced, raise its ugly head on this cruise. All food stations in Windjammer were open for self service from the get go. The Windjammer had hand washing stations to be used before entering - new to us - as did the Solarium. All other eateries had the usual hand sanitisers. Getting back to noro, the staff were consistantly cleaning the accomodation areas, walls doors, door handles etc, sometimes doing it several times a day. All tables in the Windjammer were being wiped and sanitised after diners left them. All staff were, without exception, friendly and welcoming. Almost all said Hi or hello even if just passing in a passageway. We are not greatly into shipboard activities. Our friends like trivia and there was plenty of that. We (wife and I) just prefer to find a quiet spot somewhere and read a book. the Solarium was a great place to chill out with a drink and a book. We did use the pools a few times and were surprised to find that they had chlorinated water. We had been used to salt water pools on Radiance which really stung our eyes. We brought goggles this time but didn't need them. The Solarium was where we went for breakfast most days and sometimes lunch, but food selection was limited compared to the Windjammer. The MDR food was excellent. Between the four of use we had only two complaints. One was a steak ordered medium rare and was served almost raw. It was quickly taken away and replaced with one just right. The other complaint was the fish, barramundi, dry and overcooked which seems to be the norm for any fish we've ordered on any ship with the possible exception being salmon. We only used the MDR for dinner except for one night when we had a birthday dinner in Jamies. Jamies was great but let down by poor seating. We, wife and myself, were sat on cold hard steel chairs with no cushion. We asked for upholstered chairs and these were quickly brought. Not good enough Jamie. The food was excellent with the exception being Jamie's take on pavlova, really messed that one up. The long ante plank appetiser was delicious. The experience was worth the money. We did My Time dining in American grill at about 6.15 without booking ahead and rarely had to wait more than a few minutes before getting a table for four. The MDR setup is a little different to what we are used to. There are four seperate dining rooms. Two for My Time and two for set time. The menu is the same for all. We had different tables each night and also different wait staff who were all great. On the night of our fourth bottle of (brought on board) wine (two cabins = four bottles) we were told by the waiter that corkage of USD15 would apply. This had never been mentioned by the waiters on the previous three nights and never applied earlier this year on Radiance. We protested (on principle not on cost) thatit was never mentioned before and the waiter brought his supervisor who confirmed that this is new RCI policy. First we've heard of it. We were allowed to drink our wine free - this time, but warned we would be charged in future. We went to a couple of movies in the main theatre and most nights we went to the main theatre after dinner. Saw the best ship production show ever, Live Love Legs. Costumes, choreography, set design, sound, band, singers and dancers were all first class. Strings Alive is a great act, a couple playing guitar, piano and violin that we had seen before but just as entertaining second time around. Also a fantastic magician, one of the best we've seen. Never had a problem getting a good seat somewhere as we usually arrived about 15-20 minutes before showtime. As a few of the port docks were commercial we had to be bussed off them. The biggest headache for those not booked on ship tours was getting a bus ticket. There were looooong queues. The stop at Napier had only one staff person giving out tickets which meant a really slow process. Subsequent days they had two staff doing the handing out which improved things. With a lot of people getting off it meant a long wait but with so many people on board it was not unexpected. Most people were accepting but there were the usual moaners too. We didn't book any ships tours. I should mention the experience of the ladies using the public toilet stalls. Initially they couldn't work out how to flush them. These toilets flushed when you opened the stall door to leave, very interesting, and not a little disconcerting at first. All in all we very much enjoyed the cruise, about our third or fourth to NZ. We would, generally, choose to cruise on a smaller ship but would not count this one out if the itinerary suited. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise for both the destination as we have never been to Oz or NZ and we have family in OZ and to see the ship itself. Embarkation was easy. Royal used iPads now to check in so no paper work has to be done, no filling out ... Read More
We chose this cruise for both the destination as we have never been to Oz or NZ and we have family in OZ and to see the ship itself. Embarkation was easy. Royal used iPads now to check in so no paper work has to be done, no filling out forms about any health issues, etc. That makes it faster. The ship itself is massive making it hard to believe there are ships bigger like the Oasis class which is about 40 feet longer and quite a bit heavier. However despite the size and it nearly full capacity it didn't seem crowded except when people were lining up for the junk jewelry sale to begin in the promenade. Then it was rather crazy to get $10.00 items. The ship was very well maintained and our overall service was excellent from our cabin attendant to the wait staff. They treated us very well. I had a few problems on a previous cruise and with another issue in getting an air refund for a cruise that Royal cancelled so we received $150.00 OBC, 4 bottles of wine, 4 plates of chocolate covered strawberries and a fruit basket. Thank you very Royal! That is being pound wise and penny foolish and i do appreciate it. Food is always a subjective issue. I don't expect fine dining as this is basically banquet food. What we had was generally very good and the staff went out of their way to make special Indian food for my wife above and beyond the Indian items on the daily menu including special breads, mango lassis and deserts. Again bravo! Well done! we chose not to use any of the speciality e.g. extra fee restaurants. The shows were quite good too, that is the two done by the Royal troupe. There were other headliners too, some good, some so so. I would have liked to have seen more shows from the Royal Troupe, a very talented bunch. And don't miss Pixels! We saw it twice. Outstanding! We really liked 270 where this was performed and went to a few other shows there too. The group Rock the Boat was very good as well. We did two Royal excursions, one private and one HOHO in Dunedin. By far the best tour was the train to the Peter Jackson owned museum of WW I aircraft in Picton. The ride was quaint and the museum was amazing. We purchased and Royal tour for Wellington and went to a museum but decided to go on our own vs. following guide who seemed to be trying to hard to be funny and he was rather tiring actually. We bought a private tour in Napier and that was quite nice. we stopped at a vineyard and I was able to get a NZ Cabernet Sauvignon which is hard to find here (Chicago) area and my local liquor store people said NZ doesn't have much of this type due to its cooler climate. However the whites there are excellent. Disembarkation was a breeze too. One bag was not where it was supposed to be so I asked a worker ad she knew immediately where it was and somehow the tag came off so those are kept in a special location. One note is that we were late embarking as the previous cruise had the dreaded noro outbreak so more time was needed to sanitize the ship. We were fine and I did not hear of anyone becoming ill. Overall this was a great time away, the ship is a marvel and I hope someday to cruise her again. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
November 20 2017 our first RC cruise....and our last! From the moment you board their hands are out. We boarded in Singapore for a 6 night cruise to Fremantle, Western Australia, our 7th cruise, so I speak in Aus dollars. To be fair, ... Read More
November 20 2017 our first RC cruise....and our last! From the moment you board their hands are out. We boarded in Singapore for a 6 night cruise to Fremantle, Western Australia, our 7th cruise, so I speak in Aus dollars. To be fair, the cabins are well laid out but don't expect anything resembling normal hotel fair - no bottled water, no shampoo, no conditioner and no coffee. Even though they provide a kettle it seems only tea bags are permissible...? Oh and if you accidentally take the $4 international plug, that will cost you US$25. Smoke inside or outside (we had a balcony stateroom), if they suspect you offended, a US$250 "clean up" bill. Our cabin steward(ess) was always willing to assist where possible - to the extent she was allowed. The ship itself is reasonably well laid out, most places are where you expect them to be and you will be well protected from the elements even on the upper decks. Formal dining is pleasurable and the menus are good enough but be prepared for long and I do mean long waits for a table. The staff/guest ratio, despite their published numbers is not evidenced in reality. Long waits are common but the staff do their best and are most pleasant. Informal dining - the Windjammer buffet being the largest - is like the 5pm rush at the Kowloon ferry terminal but that's not unlike most large ships. The onboard nightly entertainment was very good and quite varied. The Australian Beatles being a standout. At this point a warning is justified. If you're an Australian or a Kiwi please consider your willingness to spend on drinks. RC offers 3 beverage packages, two are soda and coffee at US$10 and 25 per day respectively. Alcohol comes in one package only and costs approx. AU$100 per day, so you'd better be thirsty. For example an average restaurant wine will set you back US$12 plus 18% service charge converted to AU$ = $18.60 and that's cask standard, so think carefully. Have six drinks per day and you've covered your outlay, you choose. All in all you get what you pay for (hopefully). Our impression and those in our party, was that everything was designed to get you onboard for an attractive price then charge like wounded bulls for everything apart from meals and your bed. We've cruised with many lines, inc Cunard QM2 Fremantle to NYC but this was a genuine disappointment. Read Less
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 3.2
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 3.0
Enrichment 3.0 3.2
Service 4.0 3.6
Value For Money 4.0 3.1

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