168 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews

First time on Ovation ( reason we booked ), so mainly went for the ride, which strangely turned out that way. We journeyed to tip of New Zealand, turned around and came back to Sydney due to Covid 19 problems around the world. As far as ... Read More
First time on Ovation ( reason we booked ), so mainly went for the ride, which strangely turned out that way. We journeyed to tip of New Zealand, turned around and came back to Sydney due to Covid 19 problems around the world. As far as we knew no one had it on the ship, that is till we all got off and went home and 3 days later told one Canadian was infectious last 2 days. So at the moment I am stuck at home for another week and a bit. Food at the Windjammer was excellent best every at a Bistro and easy to navigate around as all in one area. Entertainment was great especially the Mercury Rising show - fantastic best show ever. Other free food outlets were great - Fish and Ships, Pizza's were good with toppings unlike most free Pizza outlets, also few more food outlets around the ship. Captain was excellent with information to passengers. Bad points were prices, everything in US Dollars so supper expensive for anything, eg beers were about $12 up and wine glass about $20 up. On board alcohol duty free was more expensive then Dan Murphy's. Diamond Lounge was a welcome place to visit in evening as could not afford to drink at the bars!! All the shops were empty except for window shoppers, staff were bored as anything. No laundries so either pay astronomical prices for washing or do it in the shower or sink and take clothes you don't need to iron. Best part is we all get our money back so cruise was free or get 125% as credit for next cruise - now that is a good reason to go with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
We were booked for 11 nights, 12 days for a round trip Australia to New Zealand. We were supposed to stop along the way at Mystery Island and New Caledonia before reaching NZ. However combination of a tropical cyclone and Coronavirus ... Read More
We were booked for 11 nights, 12 days for a round trip Australia to New Zealand. We were supposed to stop along the way at Mystery Island and New Caledonia before reaching NZ. However combination of a tropical cyclone and Coronavirus meant we did a round trip from Sydney and spent 6 nights, 7 days on board. All praise to the captain and crew for looking after passengers well being, the crew were very professional, very polite and accommodating with any request (full praise to our room attendant, Teddy, no request was too much trouble and done with a smile and with a positive attitude that it would be all ready for you when you got back to your stateroom - thankyou Teddy). Loved sailing on a brand new, modern, spacious ship. The public areas made you feel like you were in a fancy upmarket shopping centre. The star rooms (we had a balcony room) were modern and spacious. Loved that the dreaded shower curtain has been replaced by a modern screen. Lots of storage and had to get used to cabin doors that open outwards into the corridor, I felt like I was walking through a fancy hotel when going back and forth to our cabin. Lots of activities as you would expect on a cruise ship, including dodgem cars, roller skating, flowrider and iflow (skydiving in a tube). The Northstar (observation pod on a stick) was a new experience, pleased I did it but once you were up in the air, Northstar was a bit of a let down, the view from Northstar when it’s in the air was no different then the view you will get if you stand on the top deck of the ship and look out to sea. You have 5 minutes up in the air, time for a quick photo but that was it (just endless ocean around you). If you go on Northstar whilst at port, maybe better, you may get more to see than just lots of ocean. Food was in the most part average for buffet and restaurants. Typical food you would get in a Buffett on a cruise ship. Menus were similar between the different specialty restaurants and the main restaurant we ate in (anytime dinning in American icon restaurant). All the restaurants had the prawn cocktail. This dish was a disaster, 4 pealed prawns with the tails on, not dressed or marinated, sitting on cut lettuce, which was undressed and not pleasant to eat. You had a tomato type sauce but this was nothing spectacular. I think they should try and improve this dish or remove it from the menu. The crab cakes were really delicious and should be top entree pick.Steaks were really nice and were cooked to order, loved the side dishes. Did not taste the Japanese restaurant. However, the biggest let down on the ship was wonderland restaurant. This restaurant is themed all around the Alice in wonderland story. Your experience in the restaurant is really terrific. You get to use the special liquid to paint in the framed menu, to make the menu visible. The waiters are dressed like “mad hatter” characters and lead you through the total experience, from explaining the food, what each dish is made from and in what order you should eat each dish. There are 9 entrees on the menu but the waiter picks only 7 of them for you to try. Again the food experience was very different and special and even fun but the food was so “exotic “ that the meal was not enjoyable, (the clear tomato juice shot, served in a test tube was a bit gross) You get to pick your mains from the menu, entree and dessert is picked for you. For mains my partner had halibut fish in a bag. The portion was small, the fish overcooked. The dishes appearance when it reached the table was un - appealing. I had the beef. (Slow cooked for several hours). The beef was not pleasant to eat, stringy, tough, not enough sauce. Dessert was very nice and a bit of a show as it was a dessert wrapped in a chocolate ball, which melted to reveal what was within when the caramel sauce was poured on it. You get two. The other called “forbidden apple” was nice. Service in wonderland was very slow. If you want more drinks or in my case extra sauce, staff response was very slow, you had to wait for your waiter to come back from “entertaining” another table with the opening wonderland spiel before the waiter comes over to serve you. Eventually we got service from the manager. They either need to put on more staff and improve the menu or scrap wonderland from their ships altogether. Wonderland restaurant is an experience you would only do once, but currently not worth the money we paid to eat in the restaurant. We got the refreshment package, that was all non alcoholic beverages. With this package we got a special ovation of the seas cup (you get to keep at the end of the cruise). The cup is waiting for you in you4 room when you arrive. The cup has a chip in the bottom of it and the cup is bottom - less for drinks. You can fill the cup endlessly at any of the self serve soda stations on the ship. There was between 20 and 30 soda flavours in the machine and you could have one flavour or mix and match. Coke Zero with raspberry flavour was nice. This service is a nice touch. It was especially handy in the windjammer Buffett, the servers there are really busy with their work, so the self serve drink station was handy to get a drink quickly each time. The 24 hr pizza station was also a welcome touch. However, the draw back on food was the Buffett and restaurants all close at 9pm, so if you go to 2 different shows in a night, you may have to forgo dinner that night. Sometimes there were two shows to see at night so , you either eat dinner really early or skip dinner and have a late night snack of pizza. Transfers on and off the ship was smooth for the most part. On disembarkation day, we chose to take our own luggage off big mistake!. All the passenger lifts were constantly full in both directions, we waited almost an hour to try and get on a lift before we decided to carry our own, heavy suitcase, down from deck 11, where our cabin was to deck 2 where the exit gangway was. As so many passengers also were carrying off their own luggage and prams and wheelchairs etc, there were long bottlenecks and wait times to get off the ship. If you don’t want to have to carry your own luggage and want to get off the ship quick, then get the crew to carry off your luggage at th3 end of your trip to avoid long delays ( with nearly 5000 passengers trip to depart all at once causes delays) The adults only area “solarium” was nice but there was only wading pools in the adults only area. If you want a deeper pool, to swim in you have swim with all the screaming, noisy kids (not very relaxing). Choosing an adults only cruise maybe an option for those bothered by a ship with screaming kids. At least two of the pools were covered, meaning that you can swim in any weather condition. But lots of strong chlorine used, in enclosed pool area, very strong smelling and overpowering. Shows at night, movies, bingo and other activities all good. Overall experience is a very positive experience. Would definitely travel on ovation of the seas again, hopefully when cruising is back to normal and the ship is able to have port days on their trips. Read Less
Sail Date March 2020
Big ship but never felt overcrowded Very friendly helpful staff couldn’t fault them Solarium great area. Adults only which is a great idea Food good not great Entertainment same Excellent entertainer one night in the ... Read More
Big ship but never felt overcrowded Very friendly helpful staff couldn’t fault them Solarium great area. Adults only which is a great idea Food good not great Entertainment same Excellent entertainer one night in the royal theatre But other nights mediocre Great singer in One of the bars every night Lacking nice lounge areas overlooking ocean although big one at back of ship but always seem to be having a show or similar on Shops good only a few but varied very clean ship everything ran smoothly Windjammer cafe was good. Great variety Sometimes hard to get a table. To be expected. Back area outside fantastic Solarium cafe great alternative peaceful area to eat. Not the hustle and bustle of windjammer Main dining room excellent service. Food either very good or not so good Cabins 10/10 best bed and shower Very roomy balcony private and great storage. Couldn’t fault Cabin Enjoyable cruise Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ship to keep them engaged and happy. Embarkation in Sydney went without a hitch, and by 11.30 we had found a table in the Windjammer and had our first cocktail. We then explored the ship, and the looks on our kids and grandkids faces was a joy to behold. Because we were a party of 11 we stuck with My Time dining in Silk, and the food for the most part was top shelf. Our wait staff (Jerrold and Jan) were fantastic, remembered everyone’s names and could not have done more for us. Nothing was too much trouble and they made our dining experience one to remember. We had four cabins on Deck 10 forward, and they were nice enough. Our cabin attendant Aldrin did a great job, keeping all our cabins immaculate, always with a smile on his face. We attended most of the shows - some hits, some misses. Pixels kept the kids entertained, but we had seen it before and knew what to expect. We had a crack at most of the activities, including ifly, North Star and dodgems. As many other reviewers have mentioned, the queues at times were horrendous, but hey, you’re on a cruise, so just enjoy the people watching! Our ports of call were Noumea, Mystery Island and Brisbane. We found Mystery Island to be the highlight, way more to do there than expected. Beautiful beaches, friendly locals and crystal clear water. Noumea was ok, we’d been there before and knew what to expect. A lot of people didn’t get off in Brisbane, the main reason being that the port was a long way from anything, and Royal had the hide to charge us $25 USD pp for a shuttle into Brisbane - a lot of cabbage when there are 11 of you. Whilst I appreciate that there is a cost involved to organise the coaches, I'm certain it wouldn’t have been $40 AUD pp, just another example of profit being put before all else, I suppose. All in all it was a great trip, and a fantastic first cruise experience for our family. We will certainly cruise again with Royal, and I’m sure our kids will as well. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I went for the 10 night cruise to the South Pacific Islands and NZ on the ovation of the seas and it was a great trip. We had the oceanview balcony stateroom on Deck 8, this stateroom was a great size for the two of us with my partner ... Read More
I went for the 10 night cruise to the South Pacific Islands and NZ on the ovation of the seas and it was a great trip. We had the oceanview balcony stateroom on Deck 8, this stateroom was a great size for the two of us with my partner and my-self. The queen bed was very comfortable, TV size was great that sits on the wall in front of the bed, a couch to sit on, good size balcony with the lounge chairs. The bathroom was a little bit small and tight, the shower was a great size but the size of the bathroom didn't bother us as much. The housekeeping team had always ensured the tidiness of our room which is great, the only thing that lacked a little was that they only made the beds and picked up the dirty towels and replaced with new ones, they did not vacuum the room unless need-be and they don't wipe after tables or pick up dirt off the couch. I had to call in the housekeeping service to make the special request to vacuum the floor and the couch as there were sand from our Island ports. Otherwise they did a great job with the cleanliness of the room. The ship it-self is a huge ship, we were on the starboard aft side so it was a bit of a walk going here and there which we didn't mind at all as we enjoy exploring the ship. There were a lot of different dining venues, activities, bars, shops, chill out areas, pools, theatres, you name it! this ship has everything. With the activities, they have the north star capsule, rip cord by ifly, flowrider surfing simulator - these things needed to be booked prior, as soon as itinerary details come out. We had not known about booking these through the app until we got onboard when the staff were explaining about this feature. We unfortunately had missed out on the rip cord and flowrider because when we wanted to book it through the app, everything had been booked out and that it was only a matter of lining up for the hours where reservations weren't required. We hadn't booked the North Star either as it was fully booked and came to find that there were so many people who are going on the ride twice or even more as they had booked themselves a few times. This is where Royal Caribbean need to limit guests to 1-2 rides per the cruise as it isn't fair to those that didn't get to try on the activity. My partner and I had to line up for over an hour during the no reservations hour that they offered this activity, whilst others had already gone on it 4 times which was not fair at all. The pool areas were pretty good but for a big ship, I found that it needed some improvements. Both main pool areas are constantly infested with kids and teenagers and it's difficult for the adults and elderly to want to have a swim or relaxation other than in the solarium, but the solarium is only about sitting around and not much of a swim, I found there were a fair bit of kids in the solarium still running about. I thought this needed some kind of an improvement to limit one pool area to children only and others to those over 18. The water park was also lacking as this catered for children under 12 only. There weren't much of any slides for older guests like carnival cruises offer, being a big ship I felt that this one should have catered more activities for water parks. The food on this ship was excellent, couldn't find any faults except for the dry bacons in the mornings but otherwise it's really good. I went on the P&O before and the food was horrible, this cruise line had definitely topped them and I enjoyed every bit of food that I had on board, it was great. The customer service from the windjammer market place and the main dining areas were excellent, couldn't find any faults as they were very attentive and very friendly, always met your needs. The downside for overseas passengers are that this ship charges with $USD, the conversion with their currency can be very pricey. $8 bionic bar drink meant almost $15 in $AUD each which is quite costly. My partner and I took out the deluxe beverage package with all inclusive except for alcohol, it was $35pp/day, quite pricey but if you think about it, they charge $8 USD per drink and by the time you get yourself a juice, a coffee, a milkshake, glass of coke, you'll be paying more than $35 anyway. The $35pp/day we paid via their website and in $AUD, do not pay this package on the cruise as they will charge in $USD, pay prior to boarding online. Shops are pretty good as there were a range of variety, still pricey but catered to passenger's needs and wants. Ports were Noumea - New Caledonia, Mystery Island - Vanuatu & Auckland - NZ. These ports were great. Noumea is the most expensive place I've ever been to in my entire life. 2 plates of burgers and chips with 2 drinks costed $80AUD later, a 1 hour jet ski ride costs $270AUD (which we did not pay for because it was way too expensive). We couldn't justify why this was. We ended up getting the hop on/hop off $10 tour to take us around town and had a swim at the beach. Mystery Island was amazing, loved every bit of the island and the people were friendly. Amazing grilled fish, wonderful massage, great atmosphere, cleanest beach. Auckland was also terrific, we went on the quad bike rides ($400pp later). It was surreal. The experience was amazing and the scenic tours were beautiful, went through the farm, the bush, the mountains, the beach, it was great. I highly recommend this Ovation of the Seas, I had a fantastic time. Please don't hesitate to message me if you need anymore specific information about my experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our first cruise ever with one teenager. We decided to do a cruise because I don't like flying and it was recommended by someone. The ship is relatively new - launched in 2016 and looks amazing. We had a stateroom with a ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever with one teenager. We decided to do a cruise because I don't like flying and it was recommended by someone. The ship is relatively new - launched in 2016 and looks amazing. We had a stateroom with a balcony which was small but perfectly formed. Our stateroom attendant was unfailingly cheerful even though he never seemed to get a break. We decided to purchase the Key, a priority program and skip the line pass that included the Zoom internet package. We mainly bought this mainly to skip the line with activities, which it was not very useful for (see below) but it was useful for onboarding and disembarking. Not sure if it was worth the cost. The activities such as FlowRider, NorthStar, IFly, bumper cars and roller skating were pretty amazing given this is all on a ship, but the lines are long if you did not have the Key and even with the Key we could only skip the line once a session. There are 5000 passengers on board. Sometimes this is not apparent but sometimes it did get very crowded. There were countless attempts to separate your money from your wallet, ranging from art auctions to high end shops to lots of sales and "opening specials" on thousand dollar jewelry which did get a little tedious at times. The price point for the beauty and massage service, Vitality Spa, I thought was rather high as it is easy to find a Thai style or hot stone massage in Australia for 60 AUD, as opposed to the 190 USD being charged onboard. The gym was enormous but even so could get very crowded. There were free stretch and core classes, although again these could get crowded and occasionally started early which I found a little irritating. I thought that the shows were quite good, with professional dancers and singers and the Cruise Director was very amusing. We found the complimentary dining more than adequate with US style service. The Windjammer was the biggest buffet I had ever seen. Cant comment on the alcohol as I don't drink. This ship is full of Aussie passengers - the construction business must be good as there was a preponderance of cashed up tradies and their families. Some kids ran around like they were in a caravan (trailer) park and would press all the elevator buttons. There were a couple of craft activities that simply consisted of a staff member handing out a craft kit. No real instructions to speak of which I found disappointing and again this often started early and was often crowded. Our main problem was the teen clubs called The Living Room for 12 to 14 and Fuel for 15 to 17. There seems to be this expectation that teens were simply let loose until up to the curfew at 1 am, to roam around at will, which I thought was highly unsafe given the population was equivalent to a small town. There were scheduled activities for teens aged 12 to 14, but after about 8 pm there were a few gangs of boys that roamed around checking out the young girls, some of whom were allowed to dress with long fake nails, low cut crop tops and false eyelashes. As I had a 14 year old daughter, I was not impressed. She loved meeting the other kids though and it was difficult to drag her away. We did our own shore excursions. Noumea was not that exciting although we did a bus tour which was interesting. Mystery Island was beautiful, but suddenly overcrowded by 5000 passengers! We ended up taking a village tour to Aneityum Island which was very interesting and much less cramped. We did the Hop On and Hop Off bus at Auckland and spent most of our time at the Auckland museum. Overall my impression was that was a surprisingly good holiday. This cruise liner catered for all types of passengers, although with a strange combination of high end exclusive marketing trying to persuade a somewhat downmarket customer base to spend up big on their vacation. The ship is quite spectacular and the service from the international crew was excellent. The teen area was our major concern and may be a deal breaker for us in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were family group of 23 on this cruise, ages ranging from 79 to 5. There were many large family groups, which was great, as it was Australian school holidays. This was our 5th cruise with RC. The check-in and bag drop in Sydney on ... Read More
We were family group of 23 on this cruise, ages ranging from 79 to 5. There were many large family groups, which was great, as it was Australian school holidays. This was our 5th cruise with RC. The check-in and bag drop in Sydney on embarkation was seamless and easy. The ship is huge! Our cabins were spacious and very clean. We had a lovely balcony which added to the spaciousness of the cabin. The cabin was serviced twice daily and our attendant went out of his way to make our stay memorable. Its a pity we didn't realise how large the was before booking cabins, I would definately book cabins closer to the elavators especially for older people. I enjoyed the long walks on the ship as I managed to get plenty steps in! The Windjammer, where we went to for breakfast and lunch was busy, but you could get tables within a few minutes. The variety of food offered was extensive and chef Joseph was wonderful in accommodating special dietary needs. The staff were friendly and the service incredibly efficient. We had dinner at Chic restaurant and there our waiters and the head waiters were outstanding in the service they provided. All the staff went out of their way to attend to our every request. All the staff were polite and helpful and RC should be proud of having such good staff. There is such a wide variety of food offerings on the ship that you would never go hungry. Pizzas at Sorrentos always went down well! With such a large number of passengers it is only expected that the teenagers were going to queue for activities such as the Flowrider, bumper cars, roller skating etc. The queues for these activities were quite long. The iFly and North Star should be booked immediately on boarding. The adults enjoyed the relative peace of the Solarium. The Pixel and I love legs shows were really good. We enjoyed all the shows and parties at 360. The resident band......well it could be improved, everything they sang sounded the same. The two comedians were average at best. I think that this 10 night itinerary should have had one extra port. One sea day too many. Noumea was really nice and the beaches and swimming good. Please note South African cruise passengers did not require visas for New Caledonia. We spent weeks trying to ascertian this before our departure and could not get an answer from RC, the French Embassy, South African International Relations department, the Government of New Caledonia and various other sources. I wish that we had know that Mystery Island did not offer any foods except barbecued crayfish. No cool drinks, no bottle water, snacks were available at all. There was not very clean looking boiled tea offered by the locals. The island is beautiful, snorkelling and swimming excellent. I would suggest that when you stop in Nomea, visit the supermarket and buy snacks to take to Mystery Island. Definately take your bottled water. Auckland was a lovely quiet, clean city which were toured using Auckland Scenic Tours who provided us with private mini buses for our group. Knowledgeable and informative tour guides. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and there were activities for all ages. My biggest gripe was the cost of wi-fi. Buying wi-fi for 23 people was not feasible and we had great difficulty trying to find each other and the kids. We generally met at meal times. RC should should seriously think about how to make communication amongst the passengers easier. I kept complaining that it was as if we were on parallel holidays because we could not find each other outside of meal times! The app should include What's App for passengers or cheaper wi fi. In 2020, it can't be a problem to have connectivity for cruise passengers. I would definately go again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before a couple of years ago - to the South Pacific for 7 nights - and really enjoyed it. That cruise was on the Explorer of the Seas, a ship I really liked. This time was a 10 night cruise to New ... Read More
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before a couple of years ago - to the South Pacific for 7 nights - and really enjoyed it. That cruise was on the Explorer of the Seas, a ship I really liked. This time was a 10 night cruise to New Zealand on the very large Ovation of the Seas. I believe it's currently the largest ship in the Southern hemisphere. We were very lucky that the crossing to and from NZ from Australia was very smooth indeed and we had perfect weather the whole cruise - with the exception of Dunedin which was shrouded in a haze from the Australian bushfires. The ship was full, with close to 5000 passengers and 1600 crew. The ship is very big but didn't feel particularly crowded except in certain areas like the pool deck. I found the decor onboard a bit confusing. There seemed to be no particular consistent style or elegance to it, and many different styles onboard, which didn't seem to work. The Windjammer cafe was not particularly attractive or very light, and it seemed to me to be smaller than on Explorer, but I may be wrong. We ate in the Grande dining room at dinner, which was attractive however.. I did not find it as attractive a ship as Explorer of the Seas. There is lots to do onboard. Each night the "Cruise Compass" is delivered to your stateroom, with details of what is on offer each day. It would be hard to be bored. I particularly enjoyed learning the "Thriller" dance, for the ship's guest talent show on the last day, and joining the ship's guest choir for the talent show.. My Mother enjoyed listening to the onboard pianist. This ship also has roller skating and bumper cars. You could even learn to trapeze too! No ice-rink however, which was something I loved about Explorer of the Seas both going ice-skating myself and seeing the ice-shows.. One of the best places on the ship was the Two70 entertainment area at the back of the ship on deck 5. It had a full wall of windows so had a fantastic view out to sea,and there was a lot of good shows laid on there including the very good Pixels show )for which bookings were required in advance). The main Theatre was comfortable and large, and the shows onboard were mostly very good, especially the headline shows. The shows are a real feature of Royal Caribbean. I did not think the shows were quite as good as the shows on my previous cruise, on Explorer of the Seas, however. The food onboard was very mixed. Windjammer food was pretty average, the food was often lukewarm and the quality went downhill towards the end of the cruise. The main dining room food at dinner was considerably better with a large selection of choices. The pizza in the boardwalk cafe was good. The service on board was absolutely amazing. Staff were so friendly and helpful and could not do enough for you. Despite the ship being full, every staff member went out of their way to make the cruise memorable. The Solarium is lovely, and the two other main pools were enjoyed by many. I thought the shops on board were not very interesting at all. It would also have been useful to have had a shop on board where one could buy things like suncream, moisturiser, other toiletries, if needed. The onboard sales, of jewellery,, handbags, watches and so on were very good. Shore excursions booked with Royal Caribbean are very expensive. Particularly so was the steam train in Picton. Not really worth the money. I thought there would be more wine tasting included in the price. I enjoyed the Dunedin Wildlife cruise, and a tour of Wellington including Mount Victoria and the botanical gardens. We booked a vintage car ride in Napier with the local operator and really it's probably best to book with tour operators direct to avoid unnecessarily high costs booking with the ship. Wifi on board was patchy and slow, and expensive. Drinks packages also outrageously overpriced so we didn't buy one. Overall a very fun cruise.10 nights is a very good cruise length. I don't particularly favour the Ovation of the Seas ship though and would probably chose to cruise on Explorer or Vayager another time, if cruising with Royal Caribbean from Australia but a lot of people liked the Ovation ship New Zealand is a lovely destination to cruise to. It would be great if Royal would cruise from Melbourne though (like Princess and Celebrity for example), as having to fly to Sydney is another expense. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My wife and I travelled on this cruise as a new year's break; it was out fourth cruise but the first we had done without kids and friends. Being a peak season cruise, the ship was very full with lots of family groups. Ship ... Read More
My wife and I travelled on this cruise as a new year's break; it was out fourth cruise but the first we had done without kids and friends. Being a peak season cruise, the ship was very full with lots of family groups. Ship After reading a number of reviews, we were a bit leery about what we could expect but overall the ship handles the numbers onboard pretty well. The Windjammer was a problem during the breakfast peak but otherwise OK. Likewise, the solarium could get a bit crowded on sea days particularly if the temperature on the outside decks was low. Fortunately we had pretty good weather with only 2 coolish seadays out of 4 which is good for NZ. Moving around the ship is pretty easy and we used the stairs as much as the lifts. The only crowded area is the Royal Esplanade and that is mainly because there are always tables set up selling crap jewellery and watches. Cabin We had a balcony cabin near aft on Level 12 and were very happy wth it. There is definitely less ship movement aft rather than at the bow if that is important to you. The bed is comfortable and there is plenty of storage. Our cabin attendant was quiet but very pleasant and did a great job keeping the room clean though, admittedly, we always left it fairly tidy anyway. It was a fair walk to the midship lifts however as the aft lifts are for the crew only and service the kitchens etc. Dining We did MyTime dining and our experience was mixed. On the first few days, the queues for dinner were ridiculous even though we had booked a time. Carnival do this much better than RCI. RCI should either make everyone book or no-one. Currently there are 4 queues for the 2 MyTime restaurants with no particular preference given to booked guests over walk-ups. They really only need 2 queues given the 2 restaurants are identical apart from decor. We dined at the Solarium restaurant one night and found the Greek style menu really good with great service. It was hard to get in to though even though it was often nearly empty when we walked past it; maybe they hold it for suite guests. We had lunch on the second last sea day in Jamie's and loved it, fantastic service and great food. We usually had breakfast in Windjammer (fine of you get there early) and lunch in Solarium which is basically a cut-down version of the Windjammer buffet offerings. Both were fine though I was always puzzled why there were so many kids let into the supposedly 16+ area in the Solarium. We didn't take the premium drinks package as my wife rarely drinks and you have to buy a package for every adult in a cabin. We did pre-purchase the soda package as well as a coffee card which gave me 15 premium coffees over the course of the cruise. Alcohol isn't outrageously priced providing you ignore that it is all in USD. We probably spent around $35 per day which is much less than the $75 pp per day for the premium drinks. Some people made full use of the package however and there were some fairly loud drunks around the ship at various times. Entertainment and Activities Compared with Carnival and P&O, RCI were pretty low-key. There were comedians and a few performances in the theatre and a very good performer in the piano bar but other than that we didn't get too involved. There was a couple of fairly lacklustre formal nights and no dress-up nights apart from a 70's night only late one night in the 270 area that only the crew seemed to dress for. For new year, there were a couple of parties but nothing amazing. There was a balloon drop in the Royal Esplanade at midnight that was fun. The cruise director, Joffa, wasn't very visible around the ship apart from the daily TV show as well as introducing performers in the theatre. Service Generally the service was very good with everyone eager to please. Apart from the issue of kids being let into the Solarium and the Adults-only comedy shows, I had no criticism. Ports We organised our tours with our travel agent before we left and probably saved over $150 on what RCI would've charged for the same tours. We didn't do a tour in Picton but just caught the shuttle into town and went for a walk to a nearby lookout which was lovely on a great day. We did organised tours in Napier, Wellington and Dunedin and all were good though the Napier tour was probably a bit too long (there is only so much art deco you can look at) and too short in Dunedin but that was more because we were only in port for 5 hours. All ports were in cargo ports and required a bus transfer to get to the town which was free everywhere except Port Chalmers (Dunedin). Fjordand is a real highlight and we had great weather as we cruised though Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds. As well as the spectacular scenery, we also had dolphins playing in our wake at some times. Embarkation and Disembarkation There were well organised. We dropped our bags off at 11:30 and walked onto the ship at 2PM and were able to access our cabin immediately. Disembarkation was fine also with our luggage being available so soon as we walked off the ship when our group was called at 8AM. If we had known it was so easy, we would've booked an earlier flight home. I'd definitely consider another RCI cruise though definitely have no interest in a ship any bigger than this. I imagine Ovation is chaotic in tender ports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
we are not cruising travellers but when that short trip to New Zealand came with a good price we booked it , just to have a look before we go for a serious trip.... the ship is too big and the time in port is too short ,the price of ... Read More
we are not cruising travellers but when that short trip to New Zealand came with a good price we booked it , just to have a look before we go for a serious trip.... the ship is too big and the time in port is too short ,the price of drinks are too expensive 5 stars for organisation , in & out, for service, for infos ,for cleanness ,safety ,activities, 4 stars for food...it was very enjoyable ,but we will not do it again ,or though this cruise is very good for seniors , disable, the crew really looks after these people...for the dining SILK was top.the food and service was good ,we tried the windjammer , plenty of food, good variety but taste less and it's a very busy place...the music on that ship apart the live band and singers is pretty bad..cheap well if you want to go cruising go for it Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Ovation of the Seas is truly a fantastic family ship. There are so many onboard venues for kids & adults alike that it's hard to find one place that stands out. I will summise the things I loved & didn't love. ... Read More
Ovation of the Seas is truly a fantastic family ship. There are so many onboard venues for kids & adults alike that it's hard to find one place that stands out. I will summise the things I loved & didn't love. Didn't Love * The wait times - 5,000 passengers can cause some extensive wait times and the poor staff are run off their feet with Aussies at the bar. This 3-night cruise to nowhere is all about the party, so they were pooling staff from other areas to serve but they really did struggle with sometimes a 30 minute wait for service. * Menu choices in the main dining room - for 3 nights straight the chicken & steak dishes were EXACTLY THE SAME... Not slightly varied - it was the same thing 3 nights in a row. Meat & 3 veg. They mixed up the pasta, but I warily saw some people return theirs so I didn't feel like trying. * Dining times - At 4pm one day we decided to do a wine & cheese afternoon. We had the wine and headed to the buffet to put together our cheese plate only to be informed it was closed. We questioned other dining venues on the ship and were told the only place open was Fish & Chips, which really didn't appeal. We then found out their times 6pm-9pm... Not good enough, 5pm-10.30pm would be far more suitable. People were queuing not because they wanted first come first serve, but because they were being restricted on eating. Also, a $7.95USD charge on room service?? I just can't comprehend. Also in the main dining room the constant announcements every night was horrible. * Lifts - this was crazy busy & it was sad to see the queues and also lifts full of guests Did Love * Cabin - We cruise alot, often with Princess and my biggest gripe with their ships is the shower curtain so I loved that our balcony had a glass shower. The bathroom was also ample sized & I was pleased with the bedding and layout of the cabin. The balcony was small, but to be honest since we couldn't get some cheese to go with our wine for the sunset, we simply didn't use it. * Staff onboard - They might have been busy, but they were all really friendly & really sweet. You could see they were stressed but they just got on with the job. * Design of the ship - it really was amazing and beautiful. The artwork was colourful, the amount of activities was fantastic. The spa's were huge. Everything was just enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I was really surprised at how easy embarkation was, after having stood in long lines with other cruise lines, this was really easy if you had done the electronic "pre-check in". Great idea RCCL, keep it up. The cruise itself ... Read More
I was really surprised at how easy embarkation was, after having stood in long lines with other cruise lines, this was really easy if you had done the electronic "pre-check in". Great idea RCCL, keep it up. The cruise itself was good, but as it was a relocation cruise, there were a lot of sea days. I have done such a cruise before (with a different cruise line), so I knew that it was very different from the type of cruise where you stopped every day, or almost every day. BUT the activities did get a little repetitive. There is only so much trivia/card games/dancing you can do. A little more variety would have been great. Even something as simple as more movies available on the big screen, not necessarily just for kids either. The lines for the dodgem cars were very long, but it was fun anyway. I didn't brave the roller skating, not being confident enough to do it on a moving ship! The food was great, although the Windjammer did get a bit repetitive. Perhaps varying the food by having theme days (ie:, Italian, Mexican etc...) instead of having the same two or three things on rotation all the time would have been good. I can't praise the executive chef highly enough though, having a coeliac hubby can often mean sitting opposite a grumpy face as there isn't enough variety, but the Coeliac One was usually satisfied. The main dining rooms were of course lovely, although we didn't try any of the specialty restaurants. The shopping on board was just as expected, same old same old kept getting trotted out, and after seeing the same things "for sale" for about the fourth time, I was constantly surprised at how many people were showing interest, although that may have been due to the boredom some people were feeling after the fifth sea day in a row. My cabin (10316) was excellent and kept clean (how I would love a stateroom attendant at home). The internet was expensive and often slow, so don't buy it unless you really need it. Some of the shows were a bit "meh" but some were great. As an Australian, I really enjoyed the INXS tribute, the band was very energetic and got the room pumping. Lucky things got to stay on the ship for the next cruise too, so even more people would have had a great time! Now, here comes my BIG gripe. Disembarkation was a disaster. Every other line I have been on (including a previous experience with RCCL) you are given a questionnaire with a choice of times you would like to leave, and preference is given to people who have to catch planes after getting off the ship. Not this time, oh no. We were TOLD when we would be getting off the ship, unless we wanted to walk off when the ship docked. So that's what we decided to do. Unfortunately, so did about 3,000 other people, luggage included. Deck 5 was a nightmare, people and bags everywhere. Had there been an emergency at that time, it would have been disastrous. To RCCL, YES I know there was a delay getting clearance, but that only made the problem worse, there wouldn't have been a problem with better management. There was no facility for people catching flights to be getting priority. When we finally got off, we found ourselves on the train platform (obviously there weren't enough cabs in Sydney to cope with the instant demand) with people who were just catching the train home. Getting off then, or a few minutes later, would not have mattered to them, but to us, it meant missing our flight. We were not the only ones, Mascot airport was inundated with frantic people that day. Friends of ours couldn't get another flight until after 8pm. Of course, these flight changes cost money, and when RCCL was asked for assistance as they had caused the problem, nothing was forthcoming, not even the offer of a stateroom credit on a forthcoming cruise. Well, as much as I enjoyed my holiday, I did not enjoy the stress afterwards, so for me, it will not be a Royal Caribbean ship next time. Hubby and I are already looking forward to our next cruise, but RCCL have put us off their brand by their mismanagement and misinformation. If you live near the port and don't have any time pressures to get home, give them a go. If you don't, I wouldn't risk it, even though it is a fun ship. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Overall the Ovation of the Ship is a beautiful large passenger ship. It had 4600 passengers but didn't seem crowded except on deck when it was warm and sunny as all of the people came out of hiding to get a deck chair. I had a solo ... Read More
Overall the Ovation of the Ship is a beautiful large passenger ship. It had 4600 passengers but didn't seem crowded except on deck when it was warm and sunny as all of the people came out of hiding to get a deck chair. I had a solo interior cabin which while small was good at has a normal double bed and the same bathroom as regular rooms. it had the virtual balcony which I liked. The food in Solarium café and American Icon was very good, but Windjammer was repetitive food (too much Asian and Indian food) and not enough veggies. Windjammer was busy at breakfast but pretty empty at night for dinner. I liked the take 2 café for lunch. I did the North Star twice but not the I-fly or surfing. You had to wait a long time if you wanted bumper cars and then you were on for five minutes. The Hawaii enrichment lectures were very good. I would definitely sail on it again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Vancouver the day before and stayed at the Mariott which is within walking distance to the pier, Embarkation was easyas we did everything on-line beforehand, just scaned us in, drop off luggage and we on boarded. We did US customs in ... Read More
Vancouver the day before and stayed at the Mariott which is within walking distance to the pier, Embarkation was easyas we did everything on-line beforehand, just scaned us in, drop off luggage and we on boarded. We did US customs in Vancouver so there was not an expedited embarkation for repeat gusets. We were familiar with the ship as we had sailed on its sister ship, Anthem of the Seas. Once on board we took the stairs to the next floor and walked all the way down to the second bank of elevators. Thus we bypassed the crowd. Ship was clean and beautiful. Even though it was a big ship it didn't seem crowded excWe chose this cruise as it was on our bucket list and we enjoy sea days. We flew to ept when they were selling stuff on the promenade. Dining - We did 2nd seating table for 2. Our waiter and assistance were excellent, making sure everything was to our liking. The food overall was very good. Some items I didn't care for but the staff would accomodate with another entry that was very good. Staff was attentive and when they noticed we always came to dinner with a glass of wine, they had the cheese tray waiting for us. Speciality restaurants - we didn't do any as in the past we have not found them that special. We thought $40 surcharge for Chops on the high side and have experienced high end steak houses on land which these are not. Did check out the Italian Restaurant menu and wasn't impressed. Just run of the mill offerings that seemed like Olive Garden. Entertainment - the shows we saw were very good and overall there was good variety. Enjoyed the piano player at the schooner lounge and small venue bands. Activities - Since we had 5 sea days there seemed to be all kind of activities available. They had enrichment programs, movies,bridge lessons, shows during the day time. We did the bumper cars and waited a long time but had fun watch everyone while we waited. Service - The service was excellent. Our room attendent was always available and very accomodating. All staff we encountered we warm and engaging from bartenders to maitre. Ports Vancouver - We had been there before so we just went to dinner in the revolving restaurant. Food was good and views are spectacular. Seattle - The ship does not dock in downtown,so you need transportation to get to the city. We have been to Seattle a few times and just decided to go to Pike Place, famous fish market. We took taxi and it cost about $12 each way which is cheaper than the ship's offering which was $22 per person plus you can be on your own schedule. Vans were available for $7 per person but we elected not to do this as usually you had to wait until the van is full before they leave. Maui - We took a ship's tour to the volcano. We went 10,000 ft above sea level and we were in the clouds and never got to see the crater. No issue as no one has control over the weather but the ride was exciting, curves climbing etc. The worst part was the guide didn't stop talking the entire time and it was a long day. Kono - We took ship's tour to coffee plantation, strenous hike through the natural habitant and visit to a former native enclave by the sea. It was excellent but the tour description was somewhat lacking. Description said had to walk 4 tenths of a mile over uneven ground. It was at least 3/4 of a mile and we needed walking sticks, as it was steep, had to climb over tree roots, fallen trees and slippery rocks. The guide was excellent, had water and snacks for us. We really enjoyed it. Honolulu We departed and didn't take any ship tours as we were staying there for a few days. Only negative is that no free movies were offered in stateroom. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I am currantly on day seven of a ten night cruise aboard Ovation of the Seas. I embarked in Vancouver and will end up in Hawaii. Here are my obsevations so far: First of all I love Royal Caribbean and have sailed twice before with ... Read More
I am currantly on day seven of a ten night cruise aboard Ovation of the Seas. I embarked in Vancouver and will end up in Hawaii. Here are my obsevations so far: First of all I love Royal Caribbean and have sailed twice before with them, most recently on the Allure of the Seas, see my review here…….https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=652523 I do love the big ships with the Oasis class being the largest. Let me start with the negatives as it relates to this Quantum class Ovation of the Seas… When I first boarded her in Vancouver the process was somewhat confusing as there was no separate area for Crown and Anchor guests or for people who may have purchased the ‘Key” as I did on Allure. No biggie. It took about 20 minutes to get on board beginning at 11am. The instant I stepped foot on board I felt that I had made a huge mistake in booking this ship. It was jammed to the max right at 11:30 am and we were herded through what I would discribe as an airport high end shopping mall filled with glitzy expensive jewlery shops….Bulvgari, Cartiere etc etc..what seemed like dozens of them…It was shoulder to shoulder jammed as if I were in the Bangkok airport between gates. Yuk! The Promenade is tiny in my opinion for a ship that has this many people on it! Its as if RCI felt that shopping for a diamond watch was way more important than the common areas where normally one would find the bars and food venues sepatate from the occaisonal guest who needs to buy a Gucci handbag on a cruise. The central common area is all about shopping and not about complimentary needs for Ovations' passengers..They are after thoughts just stuck into deck four and five….so consequently you NEVER have the feeling that you are at Schooner's Bar, The Pub, Jamies Italian etc…you are in a mall and you are always facing a high end shop, always…while you eat your upcharged meal or have a pint in the pub. On the Oasis class Central Park and to a great extent the Royal Promenade allow separtaion and the actual feeling that you are in a venue catering to you. Even Vintages wine bar on Ovation is an after thought stuck right in the open of the mall. I hated this whole concept and felt totally let down compared to my previous experiences on Allue and Independence. As the days went by the ship did open up and I was relieved that my first impressions wore off but overtime if you want to go from one end of the ship to the other you go tru the mall unless you go tru deck 14 which I tried to do most of the time. There are way too many people on this ship for the overall design which I’m told was originally for the Asian market. On Oasis class ships I never once felt crammed in and crowded and they have even more people on them. The four main dining rooms allow pasengers to eat either Mytime or fixed seating.. I chose The Grand dining room and requested a table before boarding and once again Royal came through. Very happy with my table and I like the Grand dining room much better than Silk, American Icon or Chic. The food on Ovation so far has been hit or miss. I’m not one to complain about food on a cruise ship, there is a ton of it everywhere and you should be able to satisfy your hunger 24 hours as you can do on Ovation. I have noticed that compared to Allure last December the food on Ovation particularly in Windjammer leans toward the lower end of quality. Not a carving station in sight offering up a huge roast or ham..nope they actually have a tiny canned ham being carved for breakfast. Not a strawberry or blueberry to be found anywhere. Basically the exact same breakfast every day. The main dining room food so far has been hit or miss. I have eggs benedict in the main dinig room everyday and it comes out fast and cooked to perfection. You can find some good stuff at Cafe Two70 and its towards the aft of the ship and is generally quiet…good sandwiches, soups etc.. The Solarium Bistro has some good stuff for dinner and is quiet as well. The usual faire is out and about throughout the ship and like I said you won't go hungry. I just feel that the bean counters at Royal like at Disneyworld are cutting it close with the lower quality food and pushing one towards the uncharge venues. I purchased the unlimited dining package and for $20 a day I can eat at Chops for lunch (sea days) and dinner and at Jamie’s Italian and at Wonderland and Izzumi’s. Izzumi’s is always empty and Wonderland doesn’t interest me so I found myself at Jamie’s and Chops looking for the better quality food since I paid the price. Unfortunately both have disappointed so far. Jamie’s is nothing special and the service leaves much to be desired. Its chaotic and the seats are hard as a rock as they are basically metal uncushioned chairs. And you look out at the shoping mall jewerly stores. Yuk. Chops is pretty basic with much better service..its tucked in the corner of Schonner's Bar. Lots of Aussies and international passengers and more African Americans than I’ve ever seen before on this cruise. Many folks can be found smoking in the smoking area on deck 14 next to the pool. I never once had a free hand cocktail poured for me. They measure each drink and I found this to be a bummer too whereas my previous cruises they freehand poured…not sure if this is fleet wide but it hasn't ruined my cruise as I dont drink that much anyway. There are hardly any kids on this cruise for what thats worth. There are two formal nights and I find that most people dress up and enjoy looking their best with many of the older folks still in black tie. Its a huge mix of traditional cruisers and the run of the mill riff raff… I did witness a family siting at Vintages and the adult son in his 30s was siting there with his shoes off with his dirty feet UP ON THE table where people are going to be spending $100 to drink champagne. It really bothered me and I asked the bartender to tell him to put his feet down off the table. She was hesitant to do so but obliged me. Unfortunately this is the world we live in today. And he was with his parents. What does that tell ya? Now on to the good stuff. The crew is fabulous and again its amazing how they all maintain their attitudes. Its the best part about cruising, the amazing service everywhere. Bravo to Royal. My stateroom attendant is fabulous and my dining room waiter is excellent. The ship itself is beautiful and sparking clean. The venues for entertainment and the entertainment itself is great.. Lots to do. Lots of music and high tech stuff especially the venue in the aft of the ship. Seaplex is great, Ifly and Northstar etc. Plenty to do, good food, great crew, beautiful ship. I doubt I’d sail on this class of ship again but I love Royal Caribbean and am having a great cruise so far. The little things I’d like to see changed are not going to change as long as the bottom line and increased profits for shareholders take precidant over everything else. Oh yeah the wifi is fantastic…full streaming the whole way across the Pacific no problem which allowed me to watch my Xifinity account as there isn’t much on the TV they provide. My interior stateroom with a virtual balcony is well appointed and very comfortable. First time with an interior. There is some noise from adjacent rooms and toilets flushing but its no big deal. Looking forward to my next cruise onboard the newly revamped Oasis of the Seas in two months. Hope this review helps others to decide about Ovation of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Just came back from final Alaska run before it re-positioned to Australia and pretty much loved it all. Our group booked the ultimate drinks and dining packages before the cruise to have freedom on board and we're all glad we did. ... Read More
Just came back from final Alaska run before it re-positioned to Australia and pretty much loved it all. Our group booked the ultimate drinks and dining packages before the cruise to have freedom on board and we're all glad we did. Drink package was definitely a deal if you drink water, coffee, juice, soda and 4+ drinks over the course of a day. All the restaurants very good but standouts were Wonderland and Chopt. Absolutely delicious. Tip: when you get on the ship, book all your dinners for the week with Guest Services or Restaurant Services. Lunches are pretty easy to nab there when you want to. Windjammer buffet is fine but pretty crazy, so we opted for sit down breakfast in dining room after day 3. We never ate in dining room but hear it was good. Overall, thumbs up on food and drinks, with lots of options. Our cabin with large balcony (11690) was very clean and well organized for storage. More than enough for two people and plenty of hangars. Glad we brought a power strip and our own shampoo/conditioner, lotion etc., since that wasn't supplied (although someone said you could ask for it). The bathroom is really small but not surprising and always clean. Lots to do on the ship or lots of places to chill and do nothing. We loved the adult solarium and used the warm pools and hot tubs several times. We enjoyed Bingo, which was fun and very popular. The Disco dance party was a lot of fun, thanks to the Cruise Director and team kicking it off, and the bar trivia and musicians kept us all entertained. Of special note is the Spa. We all gave it five stars. Our massages and facials were absolutely terrific and the staff backed off quickly after their obligatory product sell. Highly recommend. Since we had our cards on file, we never had to "check out," and all tips were handled for us. For disembarking, we opted to carry the bags off ourselves and were completely off the ship and in a taxi in 20 minutes. DO THIS. Finally, every staff member we met was friendly and professional and helped make the trip extra special. We had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Like most things, one can make it great, which is what we did after adjusting our expectations. All the good... Blazing fast embarkation. 10/10 on the new method RCL. The staff, aside from one waiter, is probably the best staff ... Read More
Like most things, one can make it great, which is what we did after adjusting our expectations. All the good... Blazing fast embarkation. 10/10 on the new method RCL. The staff, aside from one waiter, is probably the best staff we have ever had. In the past I have felt the staff were urged to make their presence known. As in “look what I am doing for you right now.” This staff you knew they were there as things just magically happened. I swear one waiter would walk by our table, without stopping, and fill our water goblet and never miss a step. Austin in Wonderland was incredIble! Our cabin steward always had our cabin picture perfect and only saw him 2X the entire trip. The bar staff knew I liked the fresh OJ mixed with sparkling water in the morning and had it waiting for me when I stepped up to the bar. Popped over a few times over to guest services and they we all kind, helpful, and communicated effectively. Best staff ever! We tipped many with additional cash at the end of the trip. The showers in the bathroom were slightly large and much more comfortable to bath in than other ships. The cruise director made even the most bland show entertaining, honestly some shows we would attend just to enjoy him as MC. Areas that came up short from previous experiences. HATED the new compass layout!!! In past we would do an activity, then check the time and find another activity to hop over to the next event. The new Cruise Compass is broken up into “interests”. So you have to check every single block, find if there is something going on, then check the neck block to see if something else is more interesting. I did about 1/3 the activities I would normally do because it would take 15 minutes to figure this all out and it was frustrating. I actually was excited when we were in port purely for the fact I didn’t have to deal with the stupid new Compass layout. After a few days, every morning we would “plan” our day. For us, that is not how we cruised in the past and enjoyed the spontaneous of the day. But, it is the reason I only gave the cruise a 4 and not a 5. WARNING! There are no locker rooms available in the fitness center. Zero. Nada. This was disappointing. So much nicer to workout, hop in the sauna, shower, then going about the day. This had been a “ritual” on every cruise. They offered us to purchase Thermal suite access to have access to lockers and Sauna. Thankfully this time are cabin was close to the fitness center. Things that I didn’t notice until they were gone... Silly as this may sound, but I missed the art. There are pictures, and I LOVED the walkway to the Two70, but overall lacking interesting artwork compared to Freedom and Voyager class ships. We made adjustments, and enjoyed our time. The staff truly made the trip. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this cruise to go to areas we have not traveled to previously. My girlfriend and myself would be considered avid cruisers at this point and love every cruise we have taken. This cruise initially tried to frustrate us due to two ... Read More
We chose this cruise to go to areas we have not traveled to previously. My girlfriend and myself would be considered avid cruisers at this point and love every cruise we have taken. This cruise initially tried to frustrate us due to two issues we encountered. The first was the cruise terminal on embarkation day. The employees that were dressed in RCCL attire had a very difficult time figuring out the proper procedures for boarding. We had a Grand Suite (Sky Level) and were not allowed to board right away because I was only Emerald and not Pinnacol, D+, or a "KEY" guest. We all know this was incorrect but this happened to us and a couple of Suite guest behind us. We were all told to proceed to a specific area and door. Later I found that this was the wrong door for suite guest but this is the one we were told to go to. Once the announcement was made to start boarding the Suite, Pinnacol, D+, and "KEY" guest, this was when two different employees told us we were Emerald or Gold so we could not board with the proper group. A third employee finally showed up and got the process straightened out after some of the other suite guest started yelling at the employees after they just shrugged off the complaints and rudely ignored us. I do not think it is our responsibility to know their job. This just started the cruise on the wrong note. This was the worst embarkation experience we have encountered over several different terminals. Once on board, the ship was fantastic. Rooms were ready on time and the Grand Suite did not disappoint. Loved having all the outlets and USB connections for charging stuff. Having the outlet by the bed for the CPAP was very convenient. The room was kept immaculate the entire cruise and towel animals were provided and kept my girlfriend very happy. The SPA area did not disappoint. The hair cut I received and the couples message that we had were great. Dining was the only letdown and this may be because of the class of ship and its layout. Our first lunch was in Costal Kitchen and was enjoyed very much. That night we tried the Silk restaurant due to having "My Time Dining". To say we were disappointed is being mild. Service was horrible and caused us to much confusion. I do seriously believe this is due to the design and layout of the dining room. Where in the traditional MDR, the Waiter, Head Waiter, and Assistant Waiter work together as a team and have line of sight communication, this class of ship was not designed for the MDR experience. It originally had four different menus at the four different dining venues. This did not go over well and now they are trying to run the four different venues on the MDR menue for all four spaces. These spaces were not designed in the MDR style conducive to these seating's and causes a bunch of confusion between the different wait staff. I would say that maybe this was the first night jitters with new guest but we tried the "American Icon " the next night and although a little better, this experience fell well shot of what we have experienced on other classes of ship that use the MDR concept. Rather than keep being disappointed, we chose to take the rest of our dining in the Costal Kitchen. I cannot say enough about the staff in the dining venue. They were terrific every breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They literally saved our dining experience and was one of the biggest positive aspects to our cruise. We tried the 270 Bistro and the Windjammer and found both of these venues adequate. Another jewel if you are sky class or above, was the Concierge, and the Concierge lounge. Always a nice quiet area to hang out, grab a quick snack, drink, or coffee. The Concierge and staff for this area were great and made everyone feel at home and relaxed throughout the entire cruise. Entertainment and Activities abound on this ship. From the "North Star" to PIXELS in 270, there seemed to always be something to do. We did shore excursions at all three ports and found all to be quite interesting. We found that there wasn't enough time for everything so we will probably have to schedule another Alaska adventure further down the line. Disembarkation was the saving grace for this cruise terminal. The new program of checking your luggage through to your final destination and getting your boarding passes on the ship made the process seamless and a lot less stressful. I love this new program (probably not available at all ports) and would highly recommend its usage to future Alaska cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I will start by explaining my title. This is one of the best ships in the world but the smaller, ships stop at more ports and do 1 way trips all the way up to Anchorage. So if you want to see some pretty scenery and be an an amazing ship, ... Read More
I will start by explaining my title. This is one of the best ships in the world but the smaller, ships stop at more ports and do 1 way trips all the way up to Anchorage. So if you want to see some pretty scenery and be an an amazing ship, this is the one. If you want to see the most of Alaska and get all the real Alaska experience, not so much. The Ovation of The Seas is the most impressive ship that I have ever been on! While I did not feel crowded in general, you can tell that you are on a VERY FULL ship at times. We had "The Key" which did come with some perks but might not be enough to justify it. *** Embarkation *** Boarding was great although we got there too early and had to battle off going traffic in addition to new passengers boarding. I have been on many cruise ships that will allow you to board a bit early if ready but this one was very strict to the times listed on your boarding pass. - "The Key" people did get on first right at 1130 so there really was no need to come early. "The Key" allowed us to schedule RipCord, The North Star, and Pixels as soon as we boarded via an activities team member that greeted us. (There was a line to see him consisting of all "The Key" people so I am not sure if it would be faster to just connect to the ships internet and do it alone or wait for him... I did wait for him and it was about 5-7 min per family in front of me. *** First Impressions *** This ship is MASSIVE! but we had some things we wanted to do before everyone arrived. We went right to the North Star with no line and got a great view of Seattle. RipCord was not open yet so we climbed the rockwall, got Ice cream, went on the Flow Rider and went to one of the dinning halls for our "Chops" lunch. (There is no Main Dinning Hall on this class but you are divided into one of 3 large halls for MD, I am not sure why we weren't actually in Chops.) *** Activities *** I obsessed over the activities so I checked the cruise planner at least 3-4 times a day and booked RipCord and a special version of the North Star in advance. They were only open for a few hours and then filled up. (the staff on ship said that everyone would be able to ride but appointments were the only real guarantee. North Star did have several "walk up hours" but lines were very long. The "premier" experience for the North Star was around $50 USD per person and not worth it at all. 1) The North Star is cool but i can take it or leave it, it got very warm inside. 2) RipCord by iFly is so much fun! you are only permitted to do it once on each sailing :( 3) Flow Rider was nearly empty the whole time.. I think because Alaska was less children but the water was high 80's low 90's in all the pools and Flow Rider. 4) Bumper cars was a long line but "The Key" had 1 or 2 hours of special use time. 5) Rock Wall was only open a few days because of wind and a small amount of rain. Again long lines but "The Key" had 1 or 2 hours of special use time. 6) Trapeze was only once and limited to 20 or 25 people. we waited for almost an hour before it started with no real direction as to where the line would form so it was kind of stressful. the whole thing lasted about 70 seconds per person... good videos though. 7) The show were so great! Mo5aic was by far the best, Pixels was good, the Two70 theater was a great venue but small (related to the ship size) so unless you made an appointment you weren't going to get a seat. (this was the only time i saw a real value to "The Key", they had a reserved section in the balcony and guaranteed you a good seat as long as you had a reservation for that night". The Music Hall looks like an old school rock show venue and has pool tables upstairs. 8) Puzzle Break is an escape room that was free and like the paid ones on other ships (it was next to SeaPlex) you can only book it once you get on ship through the App so make sure you have an idea of when you have a free hour and book right away. 9) SeaPlex was like a high school gymnasium that always had activities going on. 10) The Arcade was small and really not worth spending any time. there are games like air hockey upstairs in the seaplex that charge so if you do like that, it is a good idea to purchase an arcade card before the cruise on cruise planner at a discount. 11) The gym was clean and full of top notch workout equipment... not that I used it, but i totally walked past. All in all, the activities were a 10 out of 10 but the large amount of people made me feel like they should've added more session to everything *** Food and Drink *** I highly recommend the deluxe drink package on this trip because there is so much time on board. Even if you added up the non-alcoholic drinks that we had (bottles of water, specialty coffee, fresh juice, soda, mocktails for the kids...) it was worth it. plus they were able to order non-alcoholic drinks from the Bionic Bar with was a lot of fun. We ended up getting it for 30% off so around $50-60 a day plus gratuities. The food was average as per usual on Royal Caribbean but we really enjoyed eating at Two70! The food at the Two70 cafe was different from the norm on any Royal Caribbean ship and more like a local deli with soups and carving stations. We actually through that it was better than Chops or Wonderland. Wonderland was a very fun experience but just average in taste. I still say it is a must do at least once because it is so unique. we had an 11 year old and 13 year old with us that did not want to eat so they did let them sit with us for no charge. They even brought extra desserts for them at the end. *** Ports of Call *** 1) Juneau - Took the gondola up to the top of the mountain. AMAZING view and great pictures but it is essentially just a place to hike through the mountains. Bring rain gear and a camera. The town is just full of tourist junk souvenir shops. We had some local chocolate and pastry but there wasn't even a great deal of places to eat... mostly key chains, t-shirt, and coffee mugs. (We couldn't even find a place that offered salmon). We did run into a black bear though, literally, walked up a flight of stairs between 2 buildings and he was sitting there eating garbage! so cool, but scary. 2) Skagway - We did a jet boat tour and saw eagles, seal, and another bear. It was a lot of fun. the town looks very cool (all sidewalks are elevated boardwalks, but again, almost all tourist junk... and no salmon but good crab legs. 3) Victoria - probably the most beautiful city I have ever seen. flowers and gardens everywhere. lots of people & great food! We did a Bites and Sites tour that walked us around the city to get a really good feel for the local life and history. (best stop, but not Alaska) 4) The rest of the time was spent on ship, they circled a glacier but it really just looks like land. Being on this ship was so amazing and fun that I would take this trip again just for the ship! *** Cabin *** We had a balcony cabin that was about average size... the layout was nice and we never felt cramp with 2 adults and 2 kids. *** Embark *** Getting off was easy at every port because we were docked. Getting off when we got back to Seattle was quick too because of the facial recognition program we didn't even stop at customs. We got an Uber in about 3 min and got the airport in no time at all. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was our first Alaska cruise and we selected RCCL for the price and ship. Ovation is a beautiful ship, one of the most beautiful I have been on. (15+ cruises on different lines) It is huge but there was never a point that it felt too ... Read More
This was our first Alaska cruise and we selected RCCL for the price and ship. Ovation is a beautiful ship, one of the most beautiful I have been on. (15+ cruises on different lines) It is huge but there was never a point that it felt too crowded. Loved the three ports but wanted to see so much more. Here are some thoughts: 1)we did whale watching/Mendenhall glacier and it was great! So glad since we didn’t get to the other glacier. We also did White pass train, salmon camp and saloon. Great but didn’t care for the saloon. 2) Balcony cabin deck 10-perfect but crowded for 4 people-great room steward! 3) the teens with us did ifly and we all did Northstar twice! Reservations obtained on board with no problems. End of cruise, it is easy to get on Northstar 4)Teen club great! Great activities 5)Love Paul Shea on piano and Amber and oak guitar player. Also went to Marriage game, majority rules and R-rate comedian-all great. Pixels was confusing but great dancing. Casino only has 1$10 blackjack table-difficult to get on but an empty $500 table??? Stupid Loved two70-loved food and atmosphere! Hush dance party was super fun!! 6) Food was average and always the same. We did My time dining, had reservations and always had to wait while people were seated without reservations?? Service was slow but food was warm. They should try harder on the food creativity. Windjammers was not good at all especially breakfast. We ate at Jamie’s for lunch and it was just average 7) I thought the crew was good but random on enthusiasm. They weren’t as engaging as other cruises we have been on. Next time, we will select itinerary over ship next time. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
This is my 2nd Alaskan cruise. I’m not a big fan of cruises to Alaska because of the cold, cloudy weather, but I agreed to go as long as we cruised Royal Caribbean. Embarkation went smoothly and cabins are available at 1:00. The ship is ... Read More
This is my 2nd Alaskan cruise. I’m not a big fan of cruises to Alaska because of the cold, cloudy weather, but I agreed to go as long as we cruised Royal Caribbean. Embarkation went smoothly and cabins are available at 1:00. The ship is huge and beautiful. Balcony cabin was great and had reclining chairs on the balcony, a huge plus. Service was great for the most part. Everyone was friendly and seemed to enjoy their jobs. Another highlight were the shows. They were top notch. Really enjoyed the Las Vegas Tenors and all their broadway style shows including Pixels. Other than Pixels, no reservations are required for the shows. The hush dance party inTwo70 was a blast. Excursions were great especially the wildlife adventure in Skagway. It’s a high speed boat that does doughnuts through the fjord stopping to see the wildlife along the way. Saw tons of seals, bald eagles and gorgeous waterfalls. My all time favorite port is Victoria. It’s a beautiful city. Since it was my 3rd time there I didn’t do any excursions and opted for high tea instead. The only reason for 4 stars is the food which was just so so. The food in the Windjammer got better as the week went on. We had My time dining which limits you to 2 of the main dining rooms. Most days we opted for Silk because the service was better than The American Icon. By the last night we were pretty tired of the food which was often the same. We didn’t eat in any of the specialty restaurants except The Solarium. Even though it’s a huge ship the only time it felt crowded was on the 4th floor around the shops. It’s a beautiful ship and I would love to sail it again. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our family of 4, 2 kids aged 10 and 12, recently returned from our 1 week Alaskan cruise. We found "The Key" package worth the extra money. The one issue at the start of the cruise was rectified the first day. The original ... Read More
Our family of 4, 2 kids aged 10 and 12, recently returned from our 1 week Alaskan cruise. We found "The Key" package worth the extra money. The one issue at the start of the cruise was rectified the first day. The original tickets we printed had "the Key" insignia on it, but we had a cabin upgrade and the new tickets did not have them on. The ticket agent wrote "Key customers" by hand. It got us into the embarkation line. We were on the ship at 11:15 where we were greeted by an assistant cruise director who directed us to the dining room for lunch. Before we entered we received the envelope with a sheet outlining "the Key" special activities for the week and wifi password, but only for my son. I then registered my family for iFly, and North Star, all by 11:50. If my kids were older than 13, we could have registered for the "escape room". Our carryons were checked and were in our rooms at 1. We ate a "Chops Menu Lunch" in the dining room, which was good but similar to dinner in the dining room. The key cards were in our rooms at one, but again, only my son's card had "the Key" insignia on it. I went to the Guest Services desk where a staff member quickly took my key cards, and returned them with a "key" sticker on them. She called IT and by 4:30 we all had our wifi passwords. We used "the Key" for all the shows where we sat in a designated area in the balcony. We went to the one "the Key" designated times for rock wall, Flow Rider, and bumper cars. Our kids went over and over again, really the lineups consisted of a dozen other kids with "the Key". Each time the bumper cars ran, "the Key" members were able to go on 1 ride by skipping the line that wrapped around the SeaPlex. The second or third night at 10 pm room service came to deliver a fruit plate from "the Key". Nice gesture, but we were all in bed. We used the early departure option once at port and it worked well. On the final morning breakfast in the dining room was unhurried. In summary, "the Key" is worth it if you have people who would use the activities. "The Key" allows you sign up for iFly and North Star before others, participate in the rock wall, bumper cars and Flow Rider without a line once or twice during the week, have great seats in shows without going very early. If you are part of a rewards level or suite level, these perks may not be worth it. We also bought the "wow" band, that replaced your room key. I would not get the if I had "the Key" again, as you had to bring your key card anyways to show "the Key" insignia. "The Key" definitely improved our cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Embarkation was a breeze- Their use of iPads to check people in expedited the process. The port of Seattle is in our view one of the best embarkation points we have sailed from. Cabin and attendant were of the quality of service ... Read More
Embarkation was a breeze- Their use of iPads to check people in expedited the process. The port of Seattle is in our view one of the best embarkation points we have sailed from. Cabin and attendant were of the quality of service throughout the cruise that we've experienced on other cruises. Nothing spectacular here just very consistent. Dining: Menu's in the dining rooms similar to other cruises. BUT - we felt the quality was slightly higher than we experienced on other RCL cruises - especially better than on the Oasis Class. The food arrived hot, good flavor. The Windjammer had a greater variety of choices than we had scene on any other RCL cruise. The quality was good. Wait staff were always kind, helpful and cheery. If you asked for something the reply was always "Why Not". Entertainment and Activities: This is a high tech ship. 270 is a geeky persons dream. The entertainment is geared more for Millennial and Gen Zers. The Las Vegas style show, while clean, is high in sexual innuendo and is NOT for children. Pixels is more along the lines of a very high tech Cirque de soilel. Our daughter very much admired the music and skill of the guitar player in the bar and went almost every night. Ship Layout: Very different than other RCL ships and took a day or two to reorient to the design. We overheard a few negative comments concerning the layout from older baby boomers - who obviously couldn't deal with the change. Itinerary - This is why we gave the cruise a 4. RCL sold a cruise including "scenic cruising" in the inside passage. The ship is too large for this. Apparently, the week before our cruise the inside passage was attempted but the ship almost grounded twice. This is an RCL issue. They should have known this before hand. Itinerary continued: We were able to get close to Dawes Glacier. The weather was perfect. In close, the Captain rotated the ship thru 1,080 degrees before heading out. in doing so, the ship was so close to bottoming out that a large amount of silt was kicked up. Many seals with seal pups on the ice. Juneau - Whale watch - spectacular - Many whales and sea lions. Witnessed a whale breech 2x right next to another boat. And a mother whale and baby breech 3x each. Too many bald eagles to count and Dall sheep on the mountain side. Bring good binoculars. Skagway - Took the train ride. Breath taking views. Victoria - ok - nothing spectacular In our view, there was plenty of time that RCL could have added in Sitka or Ketchikan. Excitement: On the way back from Dawes Glacier, we were visited by a Coast Guard helicopter. Apparently someone had fallen ill and needed to be evacuated. The BlackHawk helicopter was too large to land so they had to perform the evacuation while hovering. Disembarkation - Very fast and ahead of schedule. If you use Uber, the pick-up location is quite a long walk. Oh - we arranged for Uber and were dropped 6 times. They wanted the airport fare and we were only going into Seattle. Special note: We had the opportunity to live and work in the Philippines in the late 90's. We always engage the Filipinos and ask them about where they are from etc. Well - we discovered that Ed who is the next cruise manager worked at the Shang ri la Makati while we were there. Then we discovered that Irene in Coastal Kitchen and Darcie in Chops had worked in the New World Hotel Makati when we were there. Most special was that the Manager (Oliver) over Sorrentos had been a waiteer in Bocarinnos Restaurant (our favorite restaurant in Manila) in the New World Hotel. We were able to connect with him and shared some fond memories. Summary - while we throughly enjoyed this cruise -with the only disappointment in the failure to sail the inside passage - knowing this up front we most likely would not have taken this sailing. Alaska to us is about seeing and enjoying nature. Also, this is also not the ship for cruisers expecting a layout and flow similar to the Oasis Class. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
Embarkation wasn’t bad. Wife had wheel chair assistance. The problem we ran into was that there wasn’t a dedicated lane for wheel chairs to board the ship so the limited number of pushers they had got stuck in long lines on the ... Read More
Embarkation wasn’t bad. Wife had wheel chair assistance. The problem we ran into was that there wasn’t a dedicated lane for wheel chairs to board the ship so the limited number of pushers they had got stuck in long lines on the gangway. They need to have dedicated ramp for handicap. The ship is beautiful. Loved the solarium the best. Seeing alaska scenery from pool / jacuzzi was nice. The cabin was13642 a jr suite. It was spacious and perfect for a scooter. Located under coastal kitchen but not a lot of noise. The dual bathrooms were a nice touch. Bumper cars was fun roller skating would have been fun if I could find right size safety equipment. Silent Hush party great. Pixels was great. Love and marriage was hilarious. The illusionist / comedian was good. Would have like to see him do some tricks that weren’t table tricks. Service was excellent. Did not notice any over pushy sales reps. Food was warm and good despite being a little bland. There was some confusion on the 2nd formal night as the cruise schedule had smart casual incorrectly marked. Soft serve ice cream was served by an attendant on the pool deck only on some days and only during afternoon hours / not 24 hours. Would like to have seen a candy shop on the main floors. One other negative was the windjammer only open 6;30 -10 for breakfast and 12;00-3;00 for lunch and 6;00 till 9;00 for dinner. Would have liked to see longer hours. Also when it was closed no one could enter the area and sit at tables, enjoy scenery, access coke free style. You had to go to hot dog truck or pizza shop during closed hours to get coke free style. Wish we could have made it to see Dawes glacier. Train in Skagway was a highlight for us. Loved it. North Star was neat. Casino was nice environment. Also seen whales on at least 4 occasions from the ship and got video from our balcony. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
This cruise line and dates were chosen were based on starting/ending port, and season. First, let me start by saying that after 23 cruises, we FINALLY made it to Alaska. Just never found the right time, price, port, ship; well, just a ... Read More
This cruise line and dates were chosen were based on starting/ending port, and season. First, let me start by saying that after 23 cruises, we FINALLY made it to Alaska. Just never found the right time, price, port, ship; well, just a combination of things. Yes, an Alaskan cruise is everything we were told it would be. Great sights, wildlife, hiking, glaciers, whales, educational, entertaining, and on and on. We will definitely be going back. Our ONLY disappointment is that the ship couldn’t make it all the way up Endicott Arm to to the face of the glacier as there was too much ice in the fiord. Safety first and the Captain made the decision to turn around. Did we miss seeing Dawes Glacier, yes. Did me miss having our trip interrupted by damage to the ship, no. Smart decision. Out cruise started and ended in Seattle with a day early arrival for sight seeing. Ports of call included Juneau where we enjoyed an excursion which included whale watching boat ride, Mendenhall Glacier, and nature hiking. Skagway where we took a tour bus up to BC, Canada and rode down on the White Pass railway. Learning about the Yukon gold rush. The actual trail size came as quite a surprise. Again, some disappointment at not seeing Dawes Glacier up close. Then it was Victoria, BC. What a beautiful city, and Butchard Gardens is not to be missed. We’ve never seen so many flowers or such detailed landscaping. A NOT to be missed sight in Victoria. As for the ship, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas. It’s the largest cruise ship we’ve ever sailed on. First impression is that we’d get lost. Yes, even after 23 prior cruises on many different ships, Ovation is impressive. Took a day or two to figure it all out. Dined at two of the three specialty restaurants, and thoroughly enjoyed them both. Regular dining room service was exceptional with a nice selection of entree options. Windjammer (self service) dining area was well staffed, well maintained, with tasty choices. Late night options were not available. We did appreciate the mandatory hand washing station at the Windjammer entrance. Sports and children activities make sea days very entertaining, even if just watching. Of note, the show “Pixcels” is shown every night. It’s the name of the show, not the venue. We had booked reservations for each night thinking a different type show each night. Lesson learned. Only one late night comedian on a 7 night cruise? The main show was entertaining, but LOUD. Luckily we had seats near the back of the theatre at the edge of a row and were able to leave. Overall impression, we would book on the Ovation of the Seas again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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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