128 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We wanted to go Ovation to try it and compare. We have been RCI since 2010 and are Diamond (80 pts) later this year. Maybe. We are Platinum with Princess. We first cruised though in 1970-72. I think reviews need to have 1) a valid ... Read More
We wanted to go Ovation to try it and compare. We have been RCI since 2010 and are Diamond (80 pts) later this year. Maybe. We are Platinum with Princess. We first cruised though in 1970-72. I think reviews need to have 1) a valid comparison with other ships & 2) whether they write as a family/kids, Teens or older.......... like us. But what a disappointment...........BUT We did like the Solarium Bistro (but NO menu change at all means 3 items !!) Solarium pool under glass with bar. The rear deck on the (Cafeteria>Windjammer Restaurant.) Generally, liked the staff. Food delvery to room @ $8 US is very reasonable. I'd imagine that kids and family would like the pools, air bubble, wave rider.Dodgem cars. The usual RCI and outstanding nine piece orchestra and that rare opportunity to listen to a tight band..............thought long gone =================================== What I didn't like............ * The ship is too big. * The inside Promenade feels 1/3 the size of Explorer/Voyager class. * Shops feel smaller & most less interesting. * The pub has no Promenade seating.Its inside the pub. * Captains Promenade talk/location is not a match (Voyager class & others). * Smaller rooms maybe designed so that a large ship seems more personal but it fails. * Two level Music Hall appears under utilised for music. * This is the first time I've avoided the main dining room. Flat roof and lacking in any personality compared to other ships. * Entertainment falls short of the high standard usually on other ships but has its moments in the Theatre. * Drinks (forgetting packages) $8-10 US (say $30A for two people) for wine Mixed spirits (s Comfort &coke) abt $10 ea Cocktails- $14US ea = $28Us for two......Say $45Aust for two !! Sickness on board cruise ships still an issue although the staff try hard. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
As experienced travellers and having been on multiple cruises, we were very much looking forward to our Ovation of the Seas cruise out of Sydney (departed Dec 26, 2019), around New Zealand. Without doubt, it was the worst experience of ... Read More
As experienced travellers and having been on multiple cruises, we were very much looking forward to our Ovation of the Seas cruise out of Sydney (departed Dec 26, 2019), around New Zealand. Without doubt, it was the worst experience of cruising we’ve had. Cruising has always included a wow factor of excellent service, with staff who want to see you have a great time … that did not apply on Ovation of the Seas. The ship’s facilities just do not manage the number of passengers. You can stand in a pool, but you couldn’t swim, it’s just too crowded. Not sure who thought an adult pool 80cm deep was a great idea? Waiting 10 minutes for an elevator is normal. Waiting for the next elevator, because this one is full, is also normal. Food is lukewarm .... you just don’t ever get a hot meal. Long waits for restaurant bookings are common .... the ship just cannot manage the capacity of 5000 passengers. Bumper-cars looked like fun, but an hour wait for a ride was the norm, and that was replicated over and over on the cruise activities. With the exception of Vlad, in the Wonderland speciality dining, there were very few wow factor experiences with service. Rosemarie in Jamie’s Italian was excellent too. The staff were generally pleasant, but there was also a pervasive miserableness in the staff, that we’ve never seen on cruise ships. The structural problem of too many passengers shows in the staff culture. The staff appear to have all worked out that no matter what they do, it’s never going to a quality experience. For the number of passengers, the ship’s facilities are woefully inadequate. It’s clearly destroyed staff morale. Kaitlyn, a souvenir shop attendant epitomised it – no greeting, just an unsolicited comment “Only 29 sea days and I get to go home”. Chops Grille, another speciality restaurant has zero ambience, with the doors left open to the karaoke bar, and they resist closing the glass door. If you like paying for fine dining in a karaoke bar, it’d be excellent. Side dishes arrived after every person on our table had finished mains. Per chance, we ate at Chops three times, and on the final occasion, had Marko look after us, and he was excellent, which was totally different to the prior occasions. The cruise ship itself is at a premium price point, and everything on the ship is expensive and in US dollars, with a set 18% gratuity. A glass of Australian wine, for a cruise out of Australia, is $14US, plus 18%, so nearly $17, and that’s more than a bottle in any bottle shop. If you are paying top dollar, but getting a wow factor experience with food and service, then it’s justified, but this is c-grade experience at a-grade prices. We’ve been on Royal Caribbean ships before (and belong to their Crown and Anchor membership program) but nothing would induce us to book another trip on Ovation of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose it for our honeymoon although it was not the best decision. Lack of animations, nothing really to do although they advise some activities. The average age of passengers is 60 yers old which I don’t mind if activities will suit ... Read More
We chose it for our honeymoon although it was not the best decision. Lack of animations, nothing really to do although they advise some activities. The average age of passengers is 60 yers old which I don’t mind if activities will suit also for a little bit younger couples. For 3 last days (due to the bad weather) the activities were closed. It seems like we spend most of the time in our cabins waiting for something interesting. Please let people know in application if you change or close activities as we noted of cancellation just when came to participate. What’s important - there is nothing special to do in ports when stopped during the journey (compared to our other Cruise in Miami). We have a feeling of wasted time, closed on a cruise. Advantages: One evening show was really great so congratulations, friendly staff in dining, nice and clean cabins, well equipped gym. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
unorganized staffing, providing incorrect information and it's about up sell, up sell. Activities were the same everyday and all the restaurants although had different names had the same food. 2nd cruise and safely say my last. ... Read More
unorganized staffing, providing incorrect information and it's about up sell, up sell. Activities were the same everyday and all the restaurants although had different names had the same food. 2nd cruise and safely say my last. Thought perhaps they would have more staff that were genuinely interested. Half of them were unhelpful and really not interested in there job... Didn't appreciate the constant up sell. very pushy. We were expecting more time at our ports but we were only able to stop at 2 out of 3 ports. on the up note the ship was very clean. our room attendant very thourogh and thoughtful. The shows were very good. But i do think they need to rethink the food at the restaurants. We are not big eaters and would have liked to have an option for small portion sizes. We felt a lot of food went to waste due to large portion size. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
So far consider this one of the WORST cruises we have ever been on (out of 27) and to be honest, that includes our Carnival cruise from hell back in 1998. This one is worse because I had such high expectations for it. One thing after ... Read More
So far consider this one of the WORST cruises we have ever been on (out of 27) and to be honest, that includes our Carnival cruise from hell back in 1998. This one is worse because I had such high expectations for it. One thing after another have turned this into the cruise from hell. The worst part for me is that I am constantly disappointing my kids and grandkids. So many things we had planned to do that I had been trying to arrange for months are “not available.” Reservations I have had for months are suddenly gone. But that’s just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I guess I should begin at the beginning—getting onboard. The worst boarding experience ever. When we had filled out our boarding pass information pre-cruise, we were asked what form of identification we wished to provide for boarding. Because our passports needed renewing, we chose the Royal Caribbean listed choice of using our Nexus cards. If you are unfamiliar with the Nexus card it gives us easy entry into Canada by land, TSA Precheck at all airports, Global entry and more. We had to go through all the interviews, fingerprinting and background check to get them that you do for any Global Entry type card. And it was a choice on the RCL website that we could use to check in with. I even called RCL pre-cruise to make ABSOLUTELY sure that we could use them before I sent our passports in for renewal. I have an e-mail verifying that we can use it. Guess what? RCL forgot to tell the people at the Port of Seattle that they would accept Nexus, so our friends with passports and our kids with just birth certificates were allowed to board. But we were held outside the security area until someone came from the ship to tell them that it was OK to take Nexus cards. Are you kidding me? Were we really the first people the entire Alaska season to walk up with Nexus cards? Give me a break. Our friends from Canada had also tried boarding with their Nexus cards and the same thing happened to them but luckily they had brought their passports as well. Ours were (and are) someplace in the State Department being renewed. Once we got that screw-up fixed (it took almost an hour), we were told we could go through security and that the young man (who looked to be 12) would scan our cards and our boarding passes. Of course he messed that up because he scanned Kathleen’s boarding pass and paired it with my Nexus card and then could not figure out how to undo what he had done. So we had to wait while someone could escort us up through the security line, get us cleared through the X-ray machines and then take us to someone who could fix the young man’s screw up. All this time, our family and friends were getting further and further ahead of us. I know that may not seem like a big deal for you but I paid for the kids to go so I could see their faces when they first boarded a cruise ship. Thankfully we did get almost everything cleared up in time for us to do that, but… One of the other things the woman fixing the mistake told us was that we were now on a completely cash account. She said the credit card we had registered when we did our boarding passes had been compromised and somehow been linked to another stateroom with a family named Anderson in it and NOT Bellomo. She apologized but said that meant that we could not use that card. I told her that the Andersons were my daughter, her husband and her two grandkids and that my card was supposed to be covering the charges to their room as I was treating to this cruise as their Christmas presents. The woman could not fathom that? But she finally understood and got it straightened out. At this point they started boarding the ship in the absolute worst way I have ever experienced in 27 cruises. Even Carnival never did that back in 2001. No numbers, no lines, no priority, just everyone going for the door. Mass chaos. Total anarchy. Thankfully most of the people waiting were nice about it but I still can’t believe there was next to no supervision. From time to time someone would make a totally unintelligible announcement on the public address system but after hearing at least six of them, I have NO IDEA WHAT WAS SAID ON ANY OF THEM. Sounded like the Muppets Swedish Chef speaking Korean. I was told later that he was announcing that Crown and Anchor Diamond members (their loyalty club) and some info for Celebrity Solstice that was also boarding at the same time. So now we are with our kids going out of the terminal and up the gangplank. We get to the top to get on the ship and we get on! Yeah! But wait, the kids and grandkids who have been cleared and even have giant RCL stickers on their boarding passes that says 
“CHECKED IN” are told, “You haven’t checked in yet.” Please excuse my French but WHAT THE HELL! How did they get through to that point and how did they those big CHECKED IN stickers on their boarding passes. Luckily a very nice lady from the ship got them taken care of in about 10 minutes but once again, a Royal screw-up. Once the entire family was onboard (our Canadian friends were way ahead of us), I was sure that everything was going to finally get better but I was wrong. We decided to go get lunch (we had planned to do some other reservations before lunch but we were held up for so long, the kids were really hungry and you don’t mess with a five year old’s lunchtime) at the 270 Cafe, a little bistro type place that Kathleen and I had scouted out on our travel agent visit two weeks before. They served (from the looks of it when we went by on our visit) sandwiches, salads, soups and desserts. They did but it was our first introduction to Ovation food and it has proven to be true through lunch today—their food sucks. Only dinner last night was remotely passable. And we lucked into that one. Will explain what I mean by that later. The paninis were sad little things that remotely resembled a panini sandwich, a tiny slice of meat with some melted cheese that they microwaved, not pressed. Awful. After trying the sandwich I decided to try one of the salads so I ordered the “chopped salad.” The guy at the counter scooped me up a bunch of lettuce mixed with a few other ingredients, tossed it in a bowl and said, “Here you go.” I said, isn’t a “chopped salad” supposed to be chopped? He shrugged. I said, “Could I at least get some dressing on this?” His answer was that It was already dressed. Well you could have fooled me. And this was one of the better things I have eaten. For dinner we have early seating, which means we have two tables of six for us and our Canadian friends, right next to each other in the dining room. Early seating on this ship is 5:00 pm (our Brit friends Paul and Gail call that lunch) and at 5:15 they close the doors. We had not planned on eating in the dining room on our first night. For the first night we had decided that the one thing the kids really wanted to do was drive the bumper cars. And the only time they do bumper cars is 4:00 to 6:00 pm. What the heck? The only time? OMG. Talk about ridiculous. And there are more ridiculous scheduling things to talk about later. But let’s get back to dinner. We went ahead and did the bumper cars (which were tons of fun—pics below) but then thought we would head to the buffet to eat dinner. But this time it is 5:10 and the kids are getting hungry. We get to the door of the buffet and it is closed. It doesn’t open until 6:00. Again, WTH? SO we rush down to the 3rd floor and barely slide into the dining room (I think they were letting people in late because it was the first night.) We get seated and have a wonderful time service-wise. Our waiter and our assistant waiter are awesome. But the food was mediocre. Had I had any of it on a Celebrity ship, I would have sent it back. The prime rib was fatty, I ordered escargot to gross our my grandson and to dare him to try some and amazingly he did and liked them. Who would have guessed. But it was sad. Four tiny escargot swimming on a flat plate of melted butter. We did have a nice key lime pie for dessert. Breakfast and lunch on our second day were in the buffet and the place was a freaking zoo. Seriously. They make constant announcements asking people to eat and leave so others can sit down. I have NEVER heard anything like this before and hope to never hear it again. The food is some of the worst buffet food I have seen. Really bad. Even the lemonade is beyond watery. It’s yellow colored water. So sad. The burgers were cold, the pizza lukewarm, the salads mediocre to say the least. It’s not just the food. It’s the crowds. They are oppressive. And because of the poor systems for handling them on the ship, it makes it worse. What I mean by that is that everything is controlled in a really poor way. Let me give you an example. After lunch on the first day we took the kids to the outdoor pool. It was a beautiful day and the pool wasn’t as crowded as we thought it would be. There are three parts to the outdoor pool area. There is a large pool that is about 5 feet deep, a small round pool for younger kids. They can get in it and go around and around. And there is a bunch of water slides and sprinklers for kids as well. When we first went out and went to the pool, it was about 1:00 pm. The two parts for little kids were closed. When I asked a lifeguard when it was open and he said 2:00 pm. Great, we nursed the kids through an hour of swimming and ice cream cones and then went to see them open the kids area. Guess what, they only opened the round pool. We never did see the water slide area open—The one thing the kids really wanted to do. RCL—open your damn facilities. We found this to be true so often. For instance, the bumper cars which you have to strand in line for, are only open between 4:00 and 6:00 pm. And that’s when they schedule dinner. Get it together people! We can’t count the number of times we have seen people wandering around empty venues with no one to open them. The activity staff on this ship must either have very few people or they get a lot of time off. We have had a really hard time finding things for the kids to do. We took them to the “Ocean Adventures’ Royal’s highly regarded children’s program and my daughter and son-in-law were met by some of the most bored and uninterested in children people on the ship. Their answer to what the kids would be doing, is a gesture and them saying, “playing in here.” Nothing was going on. Add to that, that our granddaughter who will turn 6 next month was put in the 3-5 year old group while our grandson is in the 6-8 year old group. Our granddaughter is quite mature for her age, she reads and she is very old for her age but she did NOT want be left in a room full of three years olds while her brother had a good time with friends more her maturity level. So that program was out the window for us. Then we have the daily schedule for a ship where almost half the people onboard are under the age of 12 and practically nothing for them to do. I am going to put a copy of today’s schedule online when I get home and point out all the things that are available for kids (next to nothing). We ended up spending the entire morning in the arcade, spending grandpa’s money playing skeeball and air hockey and some free foosball. Even if the Kid’s Club had been viable for our kids, they have a limit of how many kids can participate at one time and they exceeded that as many parents just want to dump their kids for as much time as possible. Then on the second afternoon at lunch, the cherry on the top of all this. I asked Joel (my son-in-law) to make sure it showed on his daily schedule that they had reservations for the evening show that night. It was the only thing I had been able to reserve before the cruise. Nothing else had been available for reservation (even thought now that we are onboard we keep hearing crew ask us if we made reservations). I have tried on a regular basis for at least 12 weeks to reserve things like the iFly, the Northstar and other attractions and not been able to do so. The only thing I could reserve was things that cost money. If they couldn’t charge you for it, it wasn’t available to reserve. I even went so far as to call Royal’s travel agent line and discuss with them why we weren’t able to make reservations. We were told not to worry, that we would be able to make reservations once on board. Excuse my language but that was BULL! At no time could we make a reservation for any of those activities but the only thing we could make reservations for was this show, Pixels. So I did. I made the reservations for us, my kids and my grandkids. And they showed up on our reservation cruise planner right up until we came aboard. Then all of a sudden when I checked at lunch time today, my kids and grandkids no longer had reservations. I went to Customer Relations and they couldn’t figure it out and all they could do for us was offer us the show tomorrow night, immediately after we get back from a day-long excursion. The show starts at 7:00 and we don’t get back in time to eat dinner before the show. The woman who arranged it for me suggested we drop by the buffet for dinner after the show. She obviously has never had hungry 5 and 8 year olds. Just another screw up. It’s funny how the only things they have not screwed up is things we pay money for. All the shore excursions I paid big bucks for are there just fine but the reservations I made at exactly the same time, disappear. On our third morning, we had another half of a sea day as we didn’t get into Juneau until 12:30. During that time we had our Cruise Critic Meet and Mingle. The Meet and Mingle was somewhat eye-opening and interesting. The crew member hosting the event was the Groups Coordinator. Kathleen and I were two of the first people to arrive and she made the mistake of asking me how our cruise was going…I let her have it. Now, not in a nasty way, just the unvarnished truth of why I felt this was one of the worst cruises we have been on. She handled it well but offered me no solutions. She was SHOCKED about the announcements in the buffet and not surprised by my other complaints about scheduling and reservations. The Meet and Mingle itself was very nice. The Activities Director came by with a bunch of freebie stuff to give away in a door prize raffle. There were about 15 parties there and about 30 people and I think someone in every group got something. We got to meet a lot of nice people that we had been conversing with online pre-cruise and I was thanked a number of times for my Seattle expertise and recommendations. One of the people we got to meet had posted a lot on the Roll Call and she helped be understand Royal Caribbean and this cruise a little bit better. She is a long time RCL cruiser and asked me how our cruise was going. When I told her she was surprised. She said her party of more than 20 was have a great time and she asked me for specifics. When I told her about the buffet she said she wouldn’t know since they never went to the buffet…or the dining rooms. They were Diamond Plus on Royal (the second highest level in their loyalty club) and so they ate many meals in the Concierge Club (only open to those people at her level of loyalty and those in suites). She also said that she had purchased the “Ultimate Dining Package” for everyone in their group. That means that they could eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, every day in specialty restaurants. When I mentioned the fact that we couldn’t get the kids or the grandkids reservations to do many of the activities they wanted to do or had to stand in line for an hour to do something, she replied that they didn’t have to do that since they had pre-purchased what RCL calls The Key. The Key is like a Disney Fast Pass. It lets you jump the line numerous times on just about any activity or in making reservations for any activity. It costs (depending on the age of the person you are buying it for) is approximately $30 per person, per day. So that just showed me that to really enjoy this cruise, Grandpa (me) screwed up. I should have sucked it up and spent another $4,000 to get both the Ultimate Dining Package and The Key for all of us. Excuse my French again, that’s BULL! We were arriving in Juneau at 12:30 so after the Cruise Critic event, we went to get ready and to meet the kids for lunch before we got off the ship. And here is another example of RCL just not getting it. The majority of people on board have families. We were told that we needed to meet for our shore excursion at 11:45 in the Royal Theater. The only trouble was that not a single (insert my favorite expletive here) food venue was open before 11:30. Has anyone reading this ever tried to get a five year old and an eight year old to sit down and eat in less than 15 minutes? It’s NOT possible. Especially when you can’t even get into a venue to eat until 11:30. Luckily for us, the pizza place opened at 11:20 so we were able to grab a couple of slices and find someplace to sit and eat it. We then proceeded to the theater, got checked in for our excursion and were told to sit and wait for 45 minutes (we didn’t even dock until noon) in a section of the theater. I think the best thing we saw while waiting was a dad come in from the pizza place (quite a walk away from the theater) carrying six plates of pizza to feed his kids. Great scheduling RCL. BTW: I didn’t want RCL to schedule the shore excursion later, I wanted them to open the food venues earlier. If they have more than 1000 people (that’s how many were in the theater) that need to eat before they leave, then open the restaurants and the buffet at 11:00. Just don’t get it. Another huge disappointment for many onboard was our day in the glaciers. So here's what I think happened with Ovation and the glaciers. The US Government in its many entities hands out permits for the cruise lines to sail into the various glacier areas. These permits are passed out on a grandfathered-in basis. The longer the cruise line has been in Alaska, the better choice they get of where they want to go. For instance, Holland America has been in Alaska for years and years and they get Glacier Bay (the hardest one to get). Princess and a few other lines have those permits as well. Others go to Hubbard Glacier (BellKat's favorite), Tracy Arm and what we got...Dawes...the bottom of the list...because it is so hard to get into and has the most of the ice that stopped us from getting there. 
 My belief is that RCL had planned on moving Ovation to Alaska from Asia in 2020 not this year. But NCL did so well with Bliss last year, selling out and them bringing NCL Joy here this year that they pushed Ovation up. Which meant they didn't have space for berthing in Ketchikan and that they had to take the bottom of the barrel when it came to glacier views. Next year they have announced that Ovation will go to Glacier Bay but my guess is that they had the permits set up for this long ago but then when they decided to come a year early, they took what they could get. 
 I was ticked we didn't go up the fjord. I thought the captain was a wimp but on second thought, I don't think he made the decision. I think that was a corporate decision. But what really ticks me off is that this was as far as Ovation has gotten all summer long and yet they still sold Northstar Glacier Views for an additional $50 per person. If they really didn't think they were going to get up to the glacier, that was out and out fraud and shame on them. If you go back to reviews of past cruises this year, there are lots of people that have complained that they have not sent the ship up to the glacier. I spoke to one woman who paid the $50 for the Northstar at the Glacier but was NOT offered (at least as of the sixth night of the cruise) any kind of refund for that "experience." That is just wrong. 
 That's my theory. If anyone else knows differently or has a better theory, let me know. On the fourth day of our cruise we awoke in Skagway, Alaska, a tiny town that had less people than the ship we were on. Which by the way is part of the problem Ovation has. The ship had too many people on it. Not that other ships can't handle that number of people, but Ovation really can't. It just had a hard time handling the number of people we had on board. I think I already mentioned that there were (with all cabins full) almost 5,000 people on board, 1,000 of them kids. I had a thought when we were in Seattle moored next to Celebrity's Solstice, a ship we have sailed on (or one of her almost identical sister ships) many times. Sitting next to each other, the two ships (Ovation and Solstice) don't look that much bigger than each other (Ovation has two more decks). In fact when we were onboard I noticed that Ovation was built at the same shipyard as the Solstice class ships. And they are very much alike. Most of our cruises have been on RCL's sister line, Celebrity. One of the things I have always felt I didn't like about Celebrity's Solstice class was that they only had two banks of elevators—one at the front of the ship and one in the middle of the ship. On Solstice (with slightly more than 3,000 people when it is full) it just means you have to walk further to get to an elevator. On Ovation with almost 5,000 people, it means that people wait and wait and wait for an elevator on a 16 deck ship. An example: I almost always take the stairs on a cruise. I do that to fight any weight gain from all the food and drink. Kathleen with her hip replaced can't do that (one day I climbed 58 flights–yes I am nuts) so she takes the elevator. Normally I arrive after a four or five flight climb to find her waiting for me at the top of the stairs. But on this cruise, most of the time, I could climb 10 or 12 flights of stairs and then have to wait another four or five minutes for her elevator to arrive. That's nuts and just a symptom of the problems Ovation has. I heard so many complaints about the elevators, it just got old. And this is the same reason that we were hearing announcements about eating quick in the buffet. The buffet is the same physical size as Solstice (or not much larger) and feeding 2,000 more people. When we returned from our train trip excursion in Skagway, we took a short walk around the town and headed back to the ship. Because Ovation was moored at the very end of the pier, it was a really long walk in windy conditions. When we got back on the kids really wanted to go to the buffet and grandpa got outvoted so off we went. Surprise, there was an improvement in find a a place to sit. Because so many people were still in Skagway, we easily found a table but sadly, the food was just as bad as it had been before. Cold burgers, cold hot dogs, lukewarm pizza and warm plates for salads. It was just sad. How could a food program that produces pretty good food in the dining room be so bad in the buffet. After lunch the kids and grandkids wanted to try rock climbing and we hoped that there would be less of a crowd than there had been a few days before and we were right. Only trouble was that the first time they had done rock climbing a few days earlier, Maylee (who was well over the 42 inches they require to rock climb) was denied because she is only five (she turns six in three weeks). But why deny her now and not on the second night of the cruise? I don't understand. Consistency Ovation! Let's talk what I loved about our Ovation of the Seas cruise to Alaska with our kids and grandkids. So many of you have commented that every thing seems to have been horrible and now where should they take their kids on a cruise if not Royal. Well I am here to say, go ahead and take them on Royal Caribbean, just have lower expectations and a different mindset of what is important. Here are the five things I loved about our cruise. Number 1: Spending the week with my grandkids and their parents. It was a sheer joy to have my two grandkids knock on our door every day before breakfast and say, "room service," laughing the entire time. Even standing in line for hours with them was great. We had so many interesting conversations. I have never played so much foosball and loved it. Mason and I have a particular bond (I was lucky enough to get to take care of him when he was really little when his Mom was teaching and his Dad had to work) and we have always just been simpatico. He's my best buddy and I am his. So spending time with him is a joy for me. And Maylee loves me and adores her Grandma K. All the hassles we had on this cruise from start to finish are overshadowed by the incredible time we had with those two and their parents. It was a vacation we will all remember for a very long time. Number 2: Our stateroom. In 28 cruises (barring the one time we had a suite) this was the nicest room we have ever been in. It was the best designed, had the most storage, was the most comfortable as far as just being in it. Sure, the shower could have been a little bigger but at least it was an enclosure and didn't have a shower curtain. And the bed was one of the worst we have ever slept on (but that didn't detract from the great stateroom design). We should mention there are entire Cruise Critic threads out there about people bringing air mattresses because the beds are so bad. Number 3: The service team in the dining room. Res and Putu were actually better than pretty much any other serving team we have ever had. After having Richard and his team in Blu (on Reflection in Iceland) I didn't think it could get any better. But I was wrong. And the fact that I was wrong is what makes RCL the right place to take kids. You see even though the management has scheduling conflicts and the kid's club people were just ho-hum in their interactions with our kids, the real star of the ship for kids are the adults who "get" how to deal with kids. From our room steward Shetty who talked to the kids every time he saw them to the guy running the Flowrider who took time to work with kids on trying new things (he didn't have to do that) these people got kids. And above all, these two amazing people who served us each night in the dining room charmed our kids. Especially Res who just knew how to deal with kids so well. Number 4: The gym. It was spiffy! That's the best word I can give it. I went every morning for an hour and as usual it was packed on day one and almost empty on day six. But all the equipment is still like new. Best stationary bike I have ridden that I didn't own. The place was kept VERY clean. Number 5: The ship itself. Ovation is new and beautiful. It has been quite a while since we have been on a ship this new. Everything is still clean and sparkly compared to many other, older ships we have sailed on—even though Ovation is almost three years old. She has been well taken care of and if you are considering a cruise on her you will love the ship itself. I especially loved the artwork in all the stairwells. Of course you have to take the stairs to see it all, but the elevators are so slow, you can take your time on the stairs. That about does it. Not perfection but not horrible either. And I can say this unequivocally—if I had to do it again, and I could avoid a few of the bigger problems (like having a passport—that we just got back from renewal today) I would. Just avoid the buffet, eat in the dining room and take your grandkids. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We chose this ship for the destination and because our group of 13 had 3 children who we thought would enjoy the variety of activities. I was disappointed in the Ovation and will not likely use RCI again. This was our second cruise and ... Read More
We chose this ship for the destination and because our group of 13 had 3 children who we thought would enjoy the variety of activities. I was disappointed in the Ovation and will not likely use RCI again. This was our second cruise and if it had been our first, it likely would have been our last. Embarkation was a mess to put it bluntly, just throngs of people milling around with no clear direction. There wasn’t enough room on the decks/buffet to find 2 seats together while waiting for our cabins to be ready. Once we got to our cabin, it was very nice. It was spacious with lots of storage. Later that night, we discovered that the bed is awful! It was very hard and uncomfortable, the pillow were like rocks. We did ask for extra pillows the next day but found those just as uncomfortable. The amount of hooks in the bathroom was great! Disembarkation was no better. We were assigned to report to the Theater at 9:20, we headed that way at 9:00 only to be stopped by a crew member and yelled at ( yes voice was raised) that we had missed our number being called and to hurry and get off the ship! Dining in the dining room was great. The food was tasty and service impeccable. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room most days. The buffet seemed to have a wide variety of food but it was always difficult to find a table. In addition, being told over the PA to eat quickly so others can sit is not conducive to a pleasant meal. No lingering over a cup of tea and enjoying the view! Sorrentos pizza was very good and became a late night stop every night for our group for the yummy pizza. The availability of popular activities like bumper cars, iFly etc needs to be expanded. The wait times are ridiculous. I was extremely disappointed that I was only able to book Pixels online before the cruise. We never got to do iFly which I was really looking forward to. I’m not sure how a passenger is supposed to register online for these things by 11 as suggested when my boarding time is 12:30? AFTER the cruise, I learned that there is an escape room. There was nothing about this on the website; my group would have lived to do this. Clearly there is not a large enough activities staff to cover the amount of activities on board. I was very disappointed in the IQ app as a messaging tool. To use it I had to constantly reconnect to WiFi to send or check messages as did my entire group. This made communication and planning in a group difficult. It is ridiculous that they charge 7.95 for this. A trip to guest services and the answer was that’s the way it works and showing me how to connect to WiFi on my phone like I’m dumb. 270 is an amazing venue, but it is small especially for some of the activities that they literally cram in there. Loved the indoor pool and solarium; the kids in my group are too old for the kid section but I did wonder about it as it never seemed to be open. The constant up selling was ridiculous and aggravating. Despite our disappointment with the ship, an Alaskan Cruise is amazing and a wonderful way to see some of the majestic beauty of the United States. Juneau was spectacular, we did a whale watching tour and Mendenhall Glacier. Skagway also had stunning beauty, we took a ferry to Haines and did a walk through the state park. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We choose RC Ovation to experience the highly touted Alaska glacier cruise highlights, especially glacier calving touted as spectacular due to global warming. H/E all we got was a ROYAL disappointment. THEY CANCELLED THE DAWES GLACIER ... Read More
We choose RC Ovation to experience the highly touted Alaska glacier cruise highlights, especially glacier calving touted as spectacular due to global warming. H/E all we got was a ROYAL disappointment. THEY CANCELLED THE DAWES GLACIER HIGHLIGHT WITHOUT SUBSTITUTING ANYTHING SIMILAR OR OFFERING ANY COMPENSATION FOR THIS HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT! "SO, YOU WENT ON ALASKA CRUISE AND DIDN'T SEE A SINGLE GLACIER?!?" "YEP." OVATION OF THE SEAS ADVERTISES YOU'LL SEE THE SPECTACLER DAWES GLACIER BUT HAS NEVER ACTUALLY CRUISED WITHIN SIGHT OF DAWES OR ANY OTHER GLACIER (could dent the boat, per the Captain). DON'T LET ROYAL CARIBBEAN RUIN YOUR ALASKA CRUISE. Also, there we're NO ANNOUNCED SUNDAY CHRISTIAN SERVICES while lesbian/homo hookup opportunities were announced everyday. The last day we discovered a large Christian group aboard holding daily services which they stated RC refused to announce. Maybe next time they'll cancel a port visit (it's in your contract, the Captain reserves to right to cancel anything he wants WITHOUT COMPENSATION). The food and service were good. We liked our little stateroom - nicely organized and comfortable. But the staff tried to pass off the few small pieces of sea ice as "glaciers." To the Filipino staff any ice in the water is hugely remarkable. The comedian Nivi, the first night was great! But those who missed it just lost out as he never returned to the stage. We experienced a few elevator glitches (both up and down arrow indicators illuminated) and had to hike down five decks to make a show when all the elevators were full, but this was the expeception not the rule. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly ... Read More
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly had to make excuses and apologize for numerous situations they had difficulty dealing with. AVOID this ship......while the ship itself is marvelous and a great asset, poor management both in Miami and on board make this ship one to avoid. Guest after guest had unfavorable comments......we just had difficulty grasping why all the problems occurred. The ship board officer crew were a lot of talk but offered few solutions to correct and overcome problems. The entertainment staff couldn’t start many of their activities on time because they didn’t have watches. The buffet management staff daily made “sales pitches” how wonderful everything is in the Windjammer market......while at the same time telling you to hurry and get out. Disembarking for tenders required Hour plus long waits. The evening dinners in the main dining room were interrupted nightly with a wait staff member singing. The disembarking procedure was a most painful experience.....utter chaos. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day ... Read More
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day 4&5 Maui 9am to 5pm next days 6-10 cruising day 11 Victoria BC 9:00am to 8:00pm 12 Vancouver 6:00am. What we got Days 1&2 Honolulu (left Honolulu at 5:00pm on 2nd day day 3 Napali coast 4&5 Maui 6-10 cruising Day 11 Victoria BC 7:00am to 2:00pm (Left 6 hours early arrived in Vancouver at 8pm on day 11 Day 12 Vancouver disembark. Did not see the volcano and did do see the big island. We feel we were ripped off by RCI. You plan for a once in lifetime trip to Hawaii and get cheated out of half the stops. RCI did refund one day, Big deal. Embarkation, late but went smooth. Ports of Call, In Maui the water was too rough for the tenders for most of the first day, on the second day we went ashore, be back time was at 7:00pm we got in line to board the tenders at 4:00pm and it took us over an hour to get back, those that stayed later took from 2-2 1/2 hours to get back on the boat. Dining- Windjammer food was basically good but always very crowded, no place to sit, long lines to get food, lines for the omelets and pasta were always in the way of others. Hamburger line was messed up people were always coming from two directions. Drinks were often empty. Dining- Main dining, food was often cold, stale or misstated. Seafood often smelled, steak was tough or dry, bread was sometimes hard or stale, coffee was occasionally cold, Etc. Dining-Service was excellent Entertainment-shows were good for the most part. There were a number of things to do on the boat and the staff was good at helping you find where things were. Public areas-CROWDED. Hard to get an elevator, other public areas crowded when something was going on. Disembarkation- NIGHTMARE. We arrived in Vancouver the night before the cruise ended so the Ovation of the seas was basically a hotel parked on the water. Some people got off every but most elected to disembark the regular way, ie tag luggage and put outside cabin before 10:00pm the night before disembarking, pick up luggage after it is removed from the ship. BIG MISTAKE. We had luggage tag number 14 with an estimated departure time of 8:20am. At 9:00am, almost nobody had been allowed to leave the boat(at this time we had been docked for 13 hours). A little after 9 they started to allow the Express Departures to leave, we weren't Express but we jumped in line anyway. When we got off of the boat and went to pick up our luggage it was not lined up by number as it usually was but all the numbers were thrown together. RCI was just bringing it out and dumping it on the floor. What RCI didn't tell us was that there was another luggage drop area about 100 yards away and around the corner where they were doing the same thing, just dumping the luggage. I heard someone say something and followed them over. There was approximately 10 people here looking for luggage and at the first area there were hundreds and more getting off the boat all the time. We were lucky to find ours and make our 12:20pm departure time to DEN. While waiting we were talking to other couples who had been on the Ovation and they said that when we got on the plane to Denver, there were people still on the Ovation who had not been able to get off. We have cruised about a dozen times and I have never seen such a mess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to go back to Hawaii to visit the Arizona Memorial and visit the islands again. However, before this cruise even started there were problems. The Arizona Memorial is closed and will be for some an undisclosed amount of time. They ... Read More
We wanted to go back to Hawaii to visit the Arizona Memorial and visit the islands again. However, before this cruise even started there were problems. The Arizona Memorial is closed and will be for some an undisclosed amount of time. They are doing construction around the memorial that will keep it closed for awhile. But that wasn't the main reason for this review. This was our 35th cruise and the most disappointing one. We started getting e-mails from RCCL that because of "Coast Guard inspections that had to be done", there was a change in the itinerary that will cause the ship to remain in Honolulu for two days. Then one of the island would be bypassed and we would spend two days in Maui. So that meant we would only visit two islands. We tried to cancel the cruise but e-mails started to come AFTER the 90 day period for getting a full refund. This is unacceptable. You can't tell us that they didn't know about these inspections before hand. I guess RCCL feared people would cancel the cruise. They did refund the passengers one full day to make up for the island that was missed. Then we received another e-mail stating that because the ship had to pass under the "Lions Gate Bridge" as a certain time we had to arrive and leave Victoria BC because the ship was the largest to sail under the bridge and had to pass under it at a certain time. Again, you mean to tell the passengers you didn't know about that ahead of time ? We arrived in Vancouver a day earlier. There were a lot of passengers who got off the ship either because they lived there or made travel plan changes. Most felt they rather be home then to spend another night on the ship. EMBARKATION: The problem started before we even got to the ship. The person who greeted us in the airport terminal had no clue what was going on. She said to wait outside for our bus to arrive but what she didn't know was that there was confusion because there were other passengers waiting for buses and there didn't seem to be any logical order. We waited for over an hour for the bus to arrive. In addition, because certain areas needed to be shut down, we couldn't board the ship until after 2:00 PM. There was no food service available until dinner time. RCCL refunded you $30 per person for a food allowance. This was not comforting especially traveling for over 12 hours and the airlines don't provide food service. Once we arrived, picture thousands of passengers trying to get thru security. I must say that if you checked in on-line the process went very smooth. After you passed thru security a RCCL person took your picture on a tablet and as long as you printed your boarding pass ahead of time you boarded the ship. Your Seapass card was waiting at your cabin. Disembarkation: As for disembarking, what a nightmare that was. The baggage was scattered all over the terminal. The areas were completely screwed up as far as numbering. None of the areas were next to each other, # 7 baggage was completely on the opposite end of the terminal then #8, and the other numbers were just as bad. A lot of tempers were flaring. We had a late tour of Vancouver but we were over an hour late boarding the buses because of the luggage situation. Entertainment: As for the North Star, Ripcord, SeaPlex, Waverider and especially "Pixlas" they provided the most interesting entertainment. Pixals was very innovative. As for the shows, they were boring at best. A very interesting one was they had a professional pickpocket that was funny but very informative on how easy it was for him and the professionals to lift your valuables. It was funny how people started to watch their wallets after the show. There was an indoor pool area that came in handy when the weather started to cool down. For four days you could sit outside. In addition, it got quite noisy with all the children running around. Food: At best, average. We ate at Chops Grille and had to send back the Rib Eye steak because it had more fat than meat. We never had this problem before with Chops Grille. This also happened in the Silk dining room when we order a beef related meal. I ordered roast beef dish in the dining room and it only came with ONE slice of meat. I said to the waiter "are you kidding me ?". If you order coffee with your dessert, they gave you a half a cup of coffee. You would think they were rationing the food and drinks. The Windjammer was very crowed as usual and at times you couldn't find a table. There was an outdoor section behind the Windjammer but after we left Hawaii, the temperatures starting dropping into the 50's and it was very windy and cold to sit outside. If you drink an non-diary creamer with your coffee, you waited three days for them to make it available. This was after people were complaining that there were none available. They had three omelette stations and one in the back of the Windjammer which they only opened once. For Mother's Day they had a very nice variety of cakes to choose from. Cabins: We had a balcony cabin that had plenty of storage space so you should run out of space to store your clothing. The cabin was very clean and pleasant. Service: Spotty at times depending on the waiter you had. We had My Time dining so we were seated at different tables. One waiter even forgot to bring our salads. We requested several times that we wanted a table by the window. Despite our requests, we were seated at a table next to a window table even thought the window table was unoccupied. One night the Head Waiter heard our complaints, apologized and said he would take care of the problem. The next night, we encountered the same problem with the person who assigns the seating. This time a manager came over to apologize. We noticed a pattern that they would seat people not next to the window but to the tables next to them. I don't know what the person assigning the tables had against people sitting at a table next to the window. Excursions: Because of rough seas in Maui, all excursions before 4:30pm had to be cancelled. We heard that it took over 1 1/2 hours for people to get with the tender service for those who decided to go ashore. If you have a late night flight, we would recommend the tour of Vancouver and a visit the water fall and Gondala ride. Overall remarks: We have noticed that over the past couple of years, parents don't seem to be using the Adventure Ocean program for their children. This became apparent in the indoor pool area, It seems the foreign passengers are the ones that either don't know about the program or don't use it. The Ovation is a very nice ship and kept clean but they could have improved on the design. One area in particular is getting in/out of the theater. They is only one passage way on deck four and when there are at least a thousand passengers getting out, it makes for a very slow process. The other side was blocked by a shop, the Music Hall and a bar. I would not recommend a Hawaii cruise if you have to sail back from Hawaii. This was our second Hawaiian cruise where we experienced less than desirable weather for four days which forced you inside the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At ... Read More
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At the Lahaina, Maui stop, tendering was delayed due to rough sea. Everybody got up early wanted to get off the ship but was not able to so that's why all the public area, especially the buffet, was packed with people waiting for the captain's ok. When the captain finally gave the ok, they wanted us to go to a bar on deck 5 to get tender tickets so everybody just literally ran there to get tickets. It was chaos. I was lucky as I was already on deck 5 at the time so we got to get off "early". We origianlly planned on getting off at around 9 but still didn't get off until noon. The tender was just one of their bigger lifeboats which was very uncomfortable even if the sea was calm. We got back to the port at 9:50pm. They only had one tender running. At least if was a big local boat. Not their own lifeboat. When we got back, the line was very long. The tender left at 10pm. The line kept growing. At 10:30pm, I could still see the tender was still unloading people to the cruise ship. They finally deployed another tender which was the same lifeboat. We finally got back to the cruise ship at 11pm. Most people were hungry and the only restaurant still open was the pizza place and a cafe which only serves dessert and some basic sandwiches. It was packed with hungry people. Since everybody got off the ship late, we all got back late. However, their restaurants and buffet still closed at 9pm. To me, that is WAY too early. Not much food option after 9pm. A lot of people eat late especially with an Hawaii cruise. Lots of people are from the mainland which is several hours ahead. Should've at least open the buffet until 10pm or something. Food in the main dining room is terrible. Service is not good either. We always spend more than an hour in a dining room with 45 minutes of it waiting for our food. Buffet surprising has better tasting food and service was good. RCI wanted to do freestyle dining like Norwegian but RCI is not doing it well. Still always try to make us to share table with strangers. Food and service in specialty restaurants are good. We tried the Chops Grill steak house and Wonderland's. Both good. However, I still think Norwegian does dining much better. Disbarkation was a nightmare. We were an hour late than the origin set time. There was no signage to point you to where your luggage is. Everybody was running around the terminal like crazy trying to find their luggage. The ship itself is beautiful and I love it. Stateroom attendant was attentive. But there's not much show to watch. I do like that they have a smokeless casino. I find it very annoying when a cruise line put the casino in the very middle of the ship and allow smoking. My 4-year-old went to their kids club a lot. While there wasn't any issue, I do feel that the staffs there are not as warm as those on my Norwegian cruises. This poor expericnece is more about the sudden itinerary change and the management. I think I'll still cruise with RCI again but might just go with a shorter cruise with a more ordinary route. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI for probably ten years during which we have favoured Princess and after this cruise with RCI I believe we made the right decision. We are not fussy eaters nor do we base our cruise experience on the quality of the food but it must be said that the eating experience on this ship was extremely disappointing and the quality poor. Apart from our wait staff in the dining room (Chic), I found the staff attitude to be less than attentive and pleasurable. The headliner entertainment was, for the most part, good although Pixels and the production shows were just o.k. In general I felt that the ship lacked a feeling of warmth - hard to put into words but I just didn’t feel like I was being pampered and well taken care of the way I feel when cruising with Princess. Also disliked all the extra charges which showed up way too often. The nicest place to sit during the day (when weather drove us inside) was the 270 lounge but we were often driven out by the daily Bingo session. The smoking areas were too close to the non-smoking areas - they need to be isolated more or eliminated entirely! On the plus side, the cabin was excellent with tons of storage, well laid out and the kettle and tea supplies in the room were a very pleasant surprise. Finally, a big shout out to the Captain who was extremely informative. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a while (5 years) and was disappointed with this service. I wanted to "fly" and was super excited to go on the iFLY attraction - which was why we chose this ship. This ... Read More
I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a while (5 years) and was disappointed with this service. I wanted to "fly" and was super excited to go on the iFLY attraction - which was why we chose this ship. This allowed me to float in a wind tunnel, which was a great experience. However be advised that you need to book this attraction ASAP or else risk not being able to try it at all. You also can only go once per trip. So if you want to take your own photo, have someone stand outside (don't book all family/friends at the same timeslot). The best part of the cruise was the activities and entertainment. The dancing excerise class was good (and packed), the music was good (they actually have hit music in Windjammer). The pool was fun when it was rocky (but can be crowded with people just standing around - so I like to do laps in the morning). The gym was decent sized, some classes (stretch, abs) were free but yoga and TRX would cost money. This ship doesn't have shower facilities by the gym so prepare to walk around in your swim suit if you want to go swimming/hot tub. This was kinda annoying because I had no where to put my room card. I also liked the washrooms. This ship had good flushing toilets. I've been to other cruises which... had weaker toilets and things don't quite flush properly. HVAC system in the showers were good. Doesn't take long for the humidity to go down (or smell to go away). The bad parts: food. The (formal) main dining room was slow so food was constantly cold. The bread was soggy. The menu didn't have a lot of variety either. Typically this venue is supposed to have the best tasting cuisine, but I found it lacking. However mid cruise it got better. The food was hotter (could be as a result of the mid cruise survey). So we mostly ate buffet (Windjammer). The food was warmer, had more variety and the servers were faster (cleaning and giving drinks). I stayed away from the meat (which were often over cooked/dry). Steamed fish was good. Salads were good. Pastries were so dry - I'd rather eat from a grocery store. The best food on the cruise was the pizza. Food quality increased mid cruise but I still find it disappointing. Also if you have a wheel chair be prepared to wait. We met people that had to wait for 2 hours to get on board because they didn't have enough wheelchair or staff. This was on a day when we were docked the whole day and had a large window to check in - so it was poorly organized. Tendering in Maui was a nightmare. The rough seas, limited ports (with competing and sheer quantities of passengers made the waits very long. We docked in Maui overnight and the 2nd day lined up to leave the boat at 8:30 am. They didn't begin to issue tender tickets until after 9am so the waiting area was over crowded... we stood in line for 1.5 hours. The day before we barely waited because they warned us about the shore excursions (who have tendering priorty) and the rough ocean... and we waited 2 hours before lining up. Returning to the ship 5 hours prior to departure was a good idea. People had to wait for 2 hours outside in the heat, waiting for the tender. I think I'd have to find a really good deal or itinerary to go on another Royal Caribbean Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
There were 5 of us and the cruise was to celebrate a 70 birthday .We are all experienced cruisers whilst every thing was very clean and the food was ok ,the ship has no soul we could have been in a large department store with a pool on the ... Read More
There were 5 of us and the cruise was to celebrate a 70 birthday .We are all experienced cruisers whilst every thing was very clean and the food was ok ,the ship has no soul we could have been in a large department store with a pool on the roof ,cruise ships have lots of areas to sit listen to soft music catch up with friends for a coffee sit quietly to read the Atrium is the hart of the ship where you gather ,catch up ,listen to the piano whilst have a coffee on this ship there was virtually no where to sit. on level 4 from one end to the other virtually no seating any where ,this ship had no tables ,every cruise i have been on you could go to the pool deck "14 on ovation," and sit at tables with chairs play cards eat your meals whatever , what do you find on ovation hundreds of lounges every where go up more lounges ,50% unused ,want a table don't have any ,every thing on this ship was geared to seperate you from your money you felt like it was a definite strategy to gently keep moving you in to some where to spend .this was our 3rd RCI cruise . Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
To meet friends from New Zealand to Vancouver. It was spring break in Australia so you can guess how many children were traveling free on board. It was a zoo. II was assigned to cabin 8292 which is located where the decks are aligned to ... Read More
To meet friends from New Zealand to Vancouver. It was spring break in Australia so you can guess how many children were traveling free on board. It was a zoo. II was assigned to cabin 8292 which is located where the decks are aligned to the exterior outline of lower decks of the ship. Embarkation went smoothly, but we were parked in a lobby area near the Schooner's lounge until the rooms were ready. The room seemed small as the queen bed was at the balcony door. Only about 6 inches from the closed curtain. All night long the wind howled. This noise was generated by the wind flowing past the door that separated the 2 balconies. Not the balcony door of the cabin. I reported this problem to guest services at least on 3 different occasions and finally a maintenance man was sent to my room to inspect the problem. He wanted to have the seal on the cabin-balcony door cleaned. Once I demonstrated that the problem was outside the room and there was no way to fix the problem, He agreed. The balcony was unusable due this noise. We were unable to use it for the entire trip except when at port. Royal Caribbean wanted to give use a $588 credit for a future cruise which is not going to happen. They gave me $150 on-board credit. Dining: I only ate 2 lunches in the dining rooms. All other meals were taken in the Windjammer buffet. I found the meals in the buffet much better quality and variety. The service in the buffet was just okay. Other cruise line buffets have been much better. Embarkation: Was excellent. My wife needed a wheel chair and the terminal got us on board without any hang ups. Enrichment Activities: The 2 speakers were very good. They knew their topics and were interesting and entertaining. Entertainment: Not great. Only saw 2 productions shows and the Pixels twice. Fitness and Recreation: A lot of activities available, but not utilized. On Board Experience: On board with 5000 other passengers not very good. Always a crowd. Public Rooms: Always crowded! Service: The stewards, wait staff in dining rooms were good. The guest service staff were knowledgeable, polite and helpful. Shore Excursions: Took a bus tour of Moorea which was interesting, reasonably price and worth the visit. Value for Money: I felt that my cabin says it all. Charged for a balcony room which was not much better that an inside cabin due to the wind noise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
This was our 6th cruise (2nd with RCL) and our longest by 4 days (relocation) and most sea days. Embarkation ran smoothly and we were on this gorgeous, huge ship by 11.30 and in our cabin by 1pm. We met Amri, our cabin attendant, who ... Read More
This was our 6th cruise (2nd with RCL) and our longest by 4 days (relocation) and most sea days. Embarkation ran smoothly and we were on this gorgeous, huge ship by 11.30 and in our cabin by 1pm. We met Amri, our cabin attendant, who immediately answered my request for a robe and could not have been more helpful, best attendant we've ever had :) This ship is new (only 3 years old) and was kept very clean. It functions well, apart from the waste of space with all the high end shops (almost always empty with super bored staff) and the general store selling ship merchandise and souvenirs stuck in a tiny corner shop which was hot and impossible to navigate by more than one person at a time! Lifts ran smoothly and we never had to wait very lon considering the amount of passengers! Art work is dotted all over, rather than in a "gallery" as such and we saw some different and interesting pieces! Entertainment was standard ship-type, which we've seen before, nothing outstanding. We missed the INXS tribute band both times due to poor choice of venue (270 lounge) which was too small and consequently overcrowded leaving us unable get in!! Unsure why they didn't appear in the theatre which would have been a better venue. Enrichment talks were interesting and other activities well attended although they were not our cup of tea. Food was pretty good! We ate mostly at Windjammer as we'd heard not so good reports about the dining room/s and it suited us to eat only 2 meals a day when we felt like it - food at the WJ was excellent generally, tasty, hot and fresh. with plenty of choice from antipasto, to salads or hot meals, however the desserts were average and repetitive and strangely tasteless. We did the Tastes of Ovation specialty lunch which at the start seemed very disorganised, but ended on a high note with delicious food. Solarium food was also fresh and tasty, as were the salads/sandwiches on offer at Cafe 270. Coffee was surprisingly good too and pizza at Sorrento's was excellent! We used room service twice and both times the food was good and on time. Bar and general staff were great and friendly, some more engaging than others, and they work so hard! Overall, we loved this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I had heard Royal Caribbean (RC) was highly regarded so I had always wanted to try them and booked the New Zealand cruise as part of our Aussie vacation. So far, only day 2, I am underwhelmed. The ship looks great but soon reminded me ... Read More
I had heard Royal Caribbean (RC) was highly regarded so I had always wanted to try them and booked the New Zealand cruise as part of our Aussie vacation. So far, only day 2, I am underwhelmed. The ship looks great but soon reminded me of the song, “She ain’t pretty, she just looks that way”. It is new, big and impressive looking and unfortunately, not designed for the passengers - at least for the usual amenities. Check-in went reasonably smooth. We arrived on time for our scheduled boarding time and were on the ship within about 40 minutes. The only confusion was in realizing we did not receive the usual ship credit card that opens your stateroom door but soon discovered it was left on the stateroom message slot. Despite dropping our luggage of a few hours before our boarding time it was not in our stateroom but no big deal. It was only returning to our stateroom an hour or so later I happened to notice one of our bags in amongst a large number of luggage about 20 rooms away from ours. All of it was there. I guess RC doesn’t bother delivering luggage they just put it on the correct floor and let their guests figure it out for themselves - a bonus game we didn’t have to pay for! Our holiday was a 35-day trip with the cruise starting after 6 days in Sydney. Having been on 5 different ships with 4 different cruise companies we were not worried about laundry as all previous ships had guest laundromats so we were utterly astonished to discover RC doesn’t bother with such things - what better way to increase revenue than to have guests have to use their much higher priced cleaning service. Despite talking to guest services, they weren’t prepared to offer any kind of deal so we bit the bullet and had the bare minimum cleaned to keep us in clean underwear and shirts. The same day it was returned, with a $40 price tag guests got an offer to have their clothes cleaned - all they could fit into an attached bag, with no restrictions on numbers - for the price of $25. Talk about adding insult to injury! It would have been nice to know about that ahead of time. I mentioned the ship was not designed with usual amenities in mind. It has some incredible attractions- more about that later - but those come at a price, like dining areas. The main cafeteria area is about 1/2 the size then those on the “older” ships only carrying about 2/3 to 3/4 of the same number of passengers. Needless to say, this meant listening to numerous announcements to please vacate your seat so other passengers can eat and wandering to and fro trying to find a table. The food itself was barely adequate. On other cruises I was always surprised but pleased to always find the food hot and fresh - not so on RC. I seldom could find anything I wanted that was both hot and fresh. Luke warm to cool seems to be the norm temperature-wise and nothing seems to be removed if it is not eaten in a timely manner. I saw what I thought was a fresh tray of eggs Benedict only to find it had been there a while and were rock hard and cold. The only exception to this was the team responsible for soups and sauces. Soups were hot and delicious and the sauces tasty. There were other options for dining, but I found little difference between the various locations, except for the pizza. It was fresh, hot and good so of course there was always a big line up. The main dining for dinner, the food was better and usually toward the warmer side but there were still glitches. If you recall my soup compliment earlier, you can imagine my surprise to find the one exception was French onion soup. The first try was cold with the cheese-like substance on top congealed into an almost impenetrable glob. The second attempt was better, but not by a huge margin and I think I found an actual onion amongst the sodden mess of some sort of bread beneath the glob of cheese that soaked up most of the liquid. The other thing lacking in food was variety - at least as part of the regular fare. On other cruises I always enjoyed searching out where they placed the various treat spots like Sushi, pasta bars and the like. RC had those - but they all were an extra cost. On other cruises the crew was usually a treat. On RC, I found a mixed bag. Some were great - friendly and helpful while others were sullen, and while not quite rude, not what I would consider helpful. This ship has bumper cars, a surf machine, faux skydiving and the North Star that lifts you up 25-30 meters above the ship giving you a good view. It was here I learned of RC’s caste system. You had to stand in line and wait your turn which is fair - unless you are one RC’s Star class or something like that. Then you got to cut the line and go in front of those mere peons who had waited patiently for their turn. The angry responses of those still in line might explain the staff’s sullenness. Going into the theatre one evening we were told we couldn’t sit in an empty section of seats as they were reserved for the same elite caste. I pointed out to the staff member the irony as the notice posted on all screens in the theatre that stated clearly that there was no reserving of seats for any reason - she could only shrug helplessly. Was the cruise a complete disaster? No, we still had fun and once we figured out what to eat - soups, fruits, salads, baking and surprisingly good coffee and when the crowds weren’t too bad, we didn’t starve. However, would I cruise RC again? No, not unless there was no other option for where I wanted to go. TLDR - give RC a miss. There are far better cruise lines out there. I felt my only purpose on board was to be held upside down to see how much they could pry out of my pockets. 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
Sail Date March 2019
Chose this cruise since it fit into schedule while in Australia to travel to New Zealand Realized the ship is large and almost 5000 passengers but we wanted to go to New Zealand . We tried it and will never sail again ! Too many ... Read More
Chose this cruise since it fit into schedule while in Australia to travel to New Zealand Realized the ship is large and almost 5000 passengers but we wanted to go to New Zealand . We tried it and will never sail again ! Too many long lines for everything ! We chose to eat in Specialty Resturants every evening and stayed away from Windjammer. Loved the food and staff in Specialty Resturants. Felt like just a floating city with little opportunity to dine outside Shore excursions were very expensive & not better than average. Entertainment was mixed but enjoyed Cruise Director - many shows were standing room since kids taking seats in adult shows Very annoying and many passengers were not pleased when comedian could not do his entire show due to kids in audience at 10 pm! Believe the Captain is concerned about overall view of this ship but there is something missing including bring nickel and dimed for everything which is the Royal Caribbean way ! Too big a ship to find coffee or just water during the day as well as an ice cream cone - The ship is beautiful however much space is devoted to high end retail and the main promenade is always shoulder to shoulder people in peak hours and the shops may have one person or be empty Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose this cruise because we love cruising and being the newest, biggest ship we thought it would be the ship our family would enjoy the most with the fun activities on board. We travelled with two Teenage children ages 15 & 17. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we love cruising and being the newest, biggest ship we thought it would be the ship our family would enjoy the most with the fun activities on board. We travelled with two Teenage children ages 15 & 17. Embarkation went surprisingly smoothly having 5000 ppl on board. We chose not to be in a hurry to avoid disappointment. Cabin was 7706 & 7708 and was modern and new. Our cabin wasn’t the cleanest it could of been when we boarded but we Blame the quick turn around time and pressure on staff for this. There was hair all over the sofa lounge and grubby finger marks on the stainless steel light switches above queen bed. Dinning was the most disappointing. Food was dry, tasteless some too salty and not enough variety. Windjammer was the best to dine at for its variety but after 12 days we were eager to have decent food. Entertainment was good but daily activities wernt fresh and exciting. Got boring and old with it being the same activities, different day. We found other cruise liners had 5 star dinning and organised activities compared to the Ovation. When asking our teenage children should we rebook they begged us to do Carnival cruise again as they had much more fun. Ovation lacked atmosphere especially with no sail away party and the staff lacked that personal attention we have received on other liners. All in all for the money spent we would recommend going on a Carnival Cruise Liner especially with Teenagers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise for the destinations and timing, it just happened that the Royal Caribbean cruise happened to fit with the dates we had available. However, we will NEVER cruise with this line again. After you have paid for your ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the destinations and timing, it just happened that the Royal Caribbean cruise happened to fit with the dates we had available. However, we will NEVER cruise with this line again. After you have paid for your passage and boarded the ship, everything you do is a profit opportunity for the cruise line. Firstly, there is a charge for EVERY service, including, would you believe, ice-cream (USD$3.50 and only one scoop allowed)! Also, the profit margins on the items and services you pay for on-board are outrageous. Such as fast internet at USD$20 per day; laundry services; wine per bottle; room service (USD$17.50 per service). The staff were fabulous, the service was impeccable and the food in the main restaurant and the Windjammer cafe was excellent. Our stateroom steward was very attentive and provided excellent service. However, trying to get a good night's sleep proved almost impossible. Consistent with Royal Caribbean's policy of building the BIGGEST ships afloat, the 'Ovation' is so big that it's torsional rigidity is strongly suspect. In a big seas, you not only get creaking sounds in the cabin, from the construction process of the cabin, but when you are in the atrium, you can also hear the ship creaking. Also, the prices of the shore excursions are exhorbitant. We normally travel with Holland America Line, and we are very happy to return to travelling with HAL - much classier line. Sharing the ship with 4300 other passengers is unacceptable, it's just too big. The nightly entertainment was very poor quality, most of the performers were second-rate. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We are RCI Captains Club members and have cruised many times around the world with RCI and Celebrity ( as well as other companies). We have been staunch advocates of RCI up until now. We were a group of 11 passengers in 5 balcony rooms, ... Read More
We are RCI Captains Club members and have cruised many times around the world with RCI and Celebrity ( as well as other companies). We have been staunch advocates of RCI up until now. We were a group of 11 passengers in 5 balcony rooms, gathered together from around the world to celebrate a family milestone. This is not a discount booze cruise, but a mid to upper range luxury ship that can accommodate family groups of various ages. I tried to prebook and organise as much as I could prior to cruising, as we were a large group. Unfortunately, RCI allowed only one show to be booked ( Pixels) and our dining option which I did. I found this surprising as when I made our group cabin bookings, the RCI agent advised me to pre-book the I-Fly, North Star and various other activities. Ovation is a beautiful ship but a ship that is overloaded with too many passengers. RCI has forgotten that it's our holiday and not about their staff. Clearly RCI have failed to train staff in ALL AREAS about guests being made to feel happy and welcome - training now is just hard sell marketing. What a shame !!! There are almost 5000 passengers with very little open space to move. We overheard one passenger comparing it to Mumbai. Everything (dining, entertainment, activities)are akin to standing in lines Disneyland style.Staff are rude, unhappy and untrained and seem to feel the paid passengers are inconveniencing them if they require some service. Most responses are to be as rude or unhelpful as possible - usually there is NOTHING they can do, laugh or jeer at you or make rude comments ( eg. this is a ship, not a boat.)The security staff ( alcohol police)are the worst of all. Food cleanliness is good but quality in the main dining room has definitely deteriorated. Service in the speciality restaurants is better but food quality and offer is no better than the dining rooms. Our cruise documentation specifically allow 2 bottles of wine per stateroom for use in your cabin. We packed these in our luggage. At 7.30pm, after the ship had departed we still had no luggage, no notification where our luggage might be and staff very unhelpful. Eventually we worked out that our luggage had been DETAINED by security ( actually alcohol police - not really concerned with security). No apologies, just rude and arrogant jeering by staff at passengers and clearly 100's of other passengers also didn't have their bags as there were 100's of bags there. Seems RCI policy is to see how many passengers they can inconvenience by not giving clear instructions about how they wish this alcohol to be brought on board. Really seems, they will allow you to bring wine, but punish you if you do. In our cabin we were 2 adults and 1 teenager. We received 1 piece of soap and no other amenities. For $600 a night, you might expect at least 1 soap per person and toilet paper that is so thin it has holes in it. After chatting to the room attendant we were told this is the standard and nothing else was available. After clearly stating my dissatisfaction, 2 more soaps and 2 shampoos and conditioners magically arrived. However, this was a one off for us, 3 other staterooms did NOT receive any and had to' steal' a couple of extra soaps off the trolley. The cabins were well attended and towels changed twice daily but the towels are so small my daughter who is 5ft tall and weighs 40kgs could barely get it around her. the rest of us ( who are not large people just about managed) Whatever I had booked turned out to be a fiasco. I had an e.mail confirmation from RCI that we had a table together at 8pm main dining for our party of 11. However, I booked 4 staterooms and our friends had made their own booking, so the email was clearly overlooked and when we got to dinner ( after eventually getting our luggage), there was only a table for 9, ( in the kitchen doorway - after booking many months in advance and advising RCI of the special occasion)Of course there was NOTHING that could be done to fix the problem. After making a seen for some time, miraculously a table was found to accommodate us. As soon as we boarded, after much misinformation and running around the ship, I booked the I-Fly for our group of 10. Although not able to book prior to boarding, the Northstar was fully booked and the I Fly only had a few spots on port day in Hobart, one of which I believed I had booked for my party of 10. After being told by the box office attendant to find an ipad on the ship to book this activity, I suggested to him that he could do it for me ( he is the box office attendant - it's his job)as we were a party of 10. Of course he said it was done, didn't need any of the other cabin numbers and of course when we went to the ifly on port day it was another fiasco and only 3 spaces had been booked. The staff also not too keen to help out but after some more ranting from my part managed to find us some spots. Almost none of the sessions we viewed were full but no effort is made to be helpful and some in our group did not get to go. It seems the ifly team and surf team spend more time "playing" themselves than the guests get to go. And don't even bother with roller blading unless you have hours to stand in line. No information is given about booking any of these activities, so sure most people miss out. The entertainment is really below par. Live music is minimal and even the 'prizes' for games are pathetic. They even ran out of pens ( regular pens, not even branded) to give away. Not even a free drink for game winners, Even the staff ( who are not fun or entertaining) were embarrassed. This was so disappointing and our family party was clearly impacted by all the many issues that took away from our holiday spirit. There is no fun VIBE on this ship and it is NOT value for money. I doubt any in our party ( who are all Captains Club members) will ever cruise RCI again. Tripadvisor - Travelover501011 Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
First day there was a lot of Encouragement for us to purchase WiFi so we could use their Royal IQ app however it hardly ever works. Great example cancelled a shore activity on the app last night for an activity in 2 days but still showing ... Read More
First day there was a lot of Encouragement for us to purchase WiFi so we could use their Royal IQ app however it hardly ever works. Great example cancelled a shore activity on the app last night for an activity in 2 days but still showing today. Go & see them in person & they say too bad still have to pay as need to give 48 hours notice. If app worked last night it would be ok so not fair & clearly all about money. Just a number on this very big ship! There is very little focus on adults traveling without children & has many conversations with other passengers that are also finding it difficult to find quiet areas for adults. Pool allocation for adults is poor. There are no free movies other than a few children’s one so purchased one for $20 Australian thinking you could watch it again in a few days & you only have it for 24 hours. If you don’t mind just being a number & or not really fussed on genuine customer care then this is the cruise for you. We won’t be doing it again - too much focus on money with little service. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I boarded the Ovation in Singapore as the 2nd half of a land and sea package - Nepal then onto Singapore for a cruise back to Australia. I actually got off the ship in Adelaide yesterday instead of continuing onto Sydney. In addition ... Read More
I boarded the Ovation in Singapore as the 2nd half of a land and sea package - Nepal then onto Singapore for a cruise back to Australia. I actually got off the ship in Adelaide yesterday instead of continuing onto Sydney. In addition two lots of people near my cabin got off in Perth, they had paid to cruise to Sydney, I think this says a lot. This was my fourth trip with RCCL and it will be my last. Despite the best efforts of the serving staff ( the administrative staff were worse the hopeless and seemed to specialise in disinformation and rudeness ) no-one can make a silk purse out of a pigs ear. Embarkation in Singapore was chaotic, no signage, no water or refreshments were available to elderly people who were obviously distressed in the heat and once I reached a security gate I was told to go away as they were only boarding decks 9 to 13. Really, we were already hours behind of schedule due to a medical emergency and they were not just boarding people so we could get away !! After nearly 30 cruise I know what one can or can not bring onboard and what will be confiscated. All my luggage was in two cases - a decorative Nepalese knife and Nepalese vodka in one separate lot but the rest was confiscated for no reason ( I put all “prohibited “ items in one suitcase ) but they kept all my luggage - I found this out after I received a message on my TV. They then X Rayed my big suitcase (3 times) and said no problem - so I said why wasn’t it in my cabin ? Also they didn’t know about the vodka ( next to the knife ) until I told them - more fool me. This was after 8.00pm and all I wanted was a change of clothes and a shower. One poor woman didn’t get her luggage until 11.30pm because they claimed they couldn’t find it and when she insisted on searching the area she discovered her suitcases behind a low wall. The attendant ( in front of her ) then ripped of her luggage label and said it had no name on it that is why it wasn’t delivered. One chap got into the lift with me after I got my luggage and he had been accused of having 11 bottles of alcohol in his small suitcase. I jokingly remarked “ nice try “ unfortunately there wasn’t even one bottle in his bag - go figure. Other issues : - room service was terrible, didn’t turn up one day, no utensils the next and stale cereal ?? - Gave up on room service to find out the restaurant had run out of such a simple thing as corn flakes - really !! - because of the speciality high end shops the main promenade is actually more crowded on the smaller ships. - activities such as trivia were repeated over and over again and was run in small bars that were packed up to an hour before the actual event - Charging $11.95 for a movie in your cabin is sheer rip off territory and the movies in the theatre were B Grade at best. - some of the stage shows were excellent but the rest were, except for Pixels, mediocre at best. - normally at night I like to read my Cruise Compass and select things to do the next day but basically it was a cut and paste job from the previous day and I was stumped to find something to do. - as I was travelling solo I turned up outsideTWO70, near the cafe as instructed after a briefing only to have the young chap in charge turn his back on me and the others and walk away, talking on his phone - no excuse me for a moment, nothing. The speciality restaurants ( Chops, Wonderland, Izumi and Jamie’s ) were amazing but if I had not bought the speciality dining package and the high speed internet (allowing me to watch movies ) , I would have got off in Fremantle. But even then I would have lost money as a medical emergency made Fremantle a waste of time. In addition, because of weight restrictions on my flight from Adelaide to Newcastle, I had to cancel my duty free purchases- it took three visits to the store but my account still showed a $60 debit until my 4th and final visit. The final insult was getting off the ship - I asked two different people at the Adelaide disembarkation talk where would I get my confiscated items. Both said I would get them before immigration. You guessed it - no items and, despite having a receipt, it took them 45 minutes to find them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
The cruise could also be called 'the queue that never moved' cruise. The ship felt very enclosed at times as the main routes around the ship were internal and often led to dead ends - perhaps they wanted to funnel us all through ... Read More
The cruise could also be called 'the queue that never moved' cruise. The ship felt very enclosed at times as the main routes around the ship were internal and often led to dead ends - perhaps they wanted to funnel us all through the shopping area regularly. To get from the Deck 3 main dining room to the theatre you had to walk through the cabin corridor. The embarkation was dreadful with no information and even when we asked the few staff visible they didn't know what all the queues were for. We had upgraded to a suite as a big retirement treat but only got a small advantage to boarding once we asked someone whether we were queuing in the right place (we weren't). The luggage arrived at our room at 7.30pm - too late to change for evening meal. We feel our cabin was very good (bearing in kind we had paid a lot extra) but we didn't get the service we would normally expect, having to ask for shampoo, etc. to be replenished, no ice in the room. The Concierge lounge was good but again we got very little extra service. The Coastal Kitchen suite-only dining room was excellent and made the main dining room seem even poorer in comparison. We wanted to eat our evening meal in the main dining room to be with friends we had made on the trip. The second night in the main Chic dining room was appalling for service and meal quality - the only lamb shank I've ever had that wouldn't fall off the bone for 3 people over an hour after sitting down. We all complained and saw the chef and dining room manager. It did improve the next night and onwards, but no real explanation for that bad night. We decided it was either understaffing or illness on board that was never fully (openly) acknowledged. The Windjammer was always full and finding a table was very difficult. This is the first cruise we have been on where you needed to keep the daily planner on us to find out where and when you could eat (only one small café was 24 hours). Trip organisation was very poor with yet more interminable queuing, first to get into the Theatre, then for stickers and then usually an hour wait to disembark. Most of the trips were over-priced and poor itineraries. Okinawa should NOT be used as a port stop. Entertainment was poor other than the main cast shows and some resident musicians. In general there were less than usual activities. Some positives are included in the fur coat reference, the robot bar, the North star viewing sphere, the bumper cars (if you were prepared to queue) and individuals like Virgil and his cocktail classes. There did seem to be a lot more extra payment dining rooms. It felt as if there were too few staff for too many clients. There was also a problem with sickness on board that was not admitted. We are aware of 1 cabin needing to be put ashore, another with 7 days of sickness and 2 medical emergencies on the last sea day meaning the ship turned round to the last port and we arrived 5 hours late. There were several cabins with Do Not Disturb signs for many hours and deep cleans being done. The captain's daily reminders to wash our hands might also have been a clue. Overall we would not want to use this ship again, and feel the extra glitz did not equate to glamour and certainly not luxury. After our cruise the ship was repositioning to Australia but we felt they had started to change over during our cruise and we had not had the advantage of lower repositioning prices. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.9
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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