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First time on a cruise and booked on the Ovation of the Seas based on all the hype surrounding the largest cruise ship. In summary, these are my impressions: A basic flaw was sending a ship built specifically for Chinese tourists to Australia. It is not set up for Westerners and the staff seem to have been a last minute recruitment. Check-In was a disaster. Elderly people almost collapsing asking for wheel chair assistance. Found out it was all because of fumigation of the ship. Cruise that ended on that day had a gastro out break. Room was spotless and comfortable. I like a hard bed but the pillows were paper thin. Had to sleep with two to mildly get comfortable. Our room attendant Jose was excellent. Toilet paper like sand-paper, just soap and a shower gel dispenser. Not what I expected in a "luxury liner". Food, probably the biggest let down. Dining room meals pre-prepared, often delivered to the table cold. Poor variety, small portions and not very tasty. However, the dining room staff were excellent. The windjammer buffet was difficult to get a seat and when you did the food disappointed. A minimum 20 minute wait for a cappucino. We had prepaid drink packages so were spared the variances in prices that others endured. The pool bar staff were hopeless and rude. Basic courtesy of serving whoever is first, seemed beyond their capabilities. Basically a ship full of Aussies with no bitters to make a non-alcoholic drink. Do you homework about what Aussie preferences are! Entertainment was hit and miss. The brought in acts were quite good, however the 3 on board productions were boring. If you are not a fan of Triva or Music Quiz then I recommend you bring a deck of cards or a good book. Bingo was played on all sea days and you'd have to mortgage your house to buy a ticket, in US$. Why on earth are we charged US$ when sailing from an AUD$ port? Huge ripoff. The TV channels were the same shows on repetition with movies US$12. The cruise director and his side-kick had a daily show that was barely tolerable. Internet was also grossly over-priced at US$18 per day. I have stayed in $30/night hotels in Thailand and received free wi-fi! The duty free shop ran out of most stock. Their were no basics on board for purchase, like deodorants or tooth paste, however you could buy a Cartier watch. I did not see anyone in the high end shops during the whole cruise. Michaels Pub was a good venue with fantastic bar staff, especially the only lady in the team Gorgana. The pizza bar was a great lat night stop and very popular with guests. The pools were ok when they were open, but mostly we stayed indoors and suffered the old lay the towel down 1st thing in the morning to reserve a chair. Pool staff did nothing about this and I witnessed quite a few arguments among guests re deck chairs. The features like the North Star quickly booked out and when we finally got on all it did was go up and down. The Wave Rider, Bumper Cars etc was not interested in. I could go on forever, but in summing up I have booked my next cruise that is on a ship half the size and not Royal Caribbean. Like everything in life, we live and learn.

Big is not always better.

Ovation of the Seas Cruise Review by jdistef

10 people found this helpful
Trip Details
First time on a cruise and booked on the Ovation of the Seas based on all the hype surrounding the largest cruise ship.

In summary, these are my impressions:

A basic flaw was sending a ship built specifically for Chinese tourists to Australia. It is not set up for Westerners and the staff seem to have been a last minute recruitment.

Check-In was a disaster. Elderly people almost collapsing asking for wheel chair assistance. Found out it was all because of fumigation of the ship. Cruise that ended on that day had a gastro out break.

Room was spotless and comfortable. I like a hard bed but the pillows were paper thin. Had to sleep with two to mildly get comfortable. Our room attendant Jose was excellent.

Toilet paper like sand-paper, just soap and a shower gel dispenser. Not what I expected in a "luxury liner".

Food, probably the biggest let down. Dining room meals pre-prepared, often delivered to the table cold. Poor variety, small portions and not very tasty. However, the dining room staff were excellent. The windjammer buffet was difficult to get a seat and when you did the food disappointed. A minimum 20 minute wait for a cappucino.

We had prepaid drink packages so were spared the variances in prices that others endured. The pool bar staff were hopeless and rude. Basic courtesy of serving whoever is first, seemed beyond their capabilities. Basically a ship full of Aussies with no bitters to make a non-alcoholic drink. Do you homework about what Aussie preferences are!

Entertainment was hit and miss. The brought in acts were quite good, however the 3 on board productions were boring. If you are not a fan of Triva or Music Quiz then I recommend you bring a deck of cards or a good book. Bingo was played on all sea days and you'd have to mortgage your house to buy a ticket, in US$.

Why on earth are we charged US$ when sailing from an AUD$ port? Huge ripoff.

The TV channels were the same shows on repetition with movies US$12. The cruise director and his side-kick had a daily show that was barely tolerable.

Internet was also grossly over-priced at US$18 per day. I have stayed in $30/night hotels in Thailand and received free wi-fi!

The duty free shop ran out of most stock. Their were no basics on board for purchase, like deodorants or tooth paste, however you could buy a Cartier watch. I did not see anyone in the high end shops during the whole cruise.

Michaels Pub was a good venue with fantastic bar staff, especially the only lady in the team Gorgana.

The pizza bar was a great lat night stop and very popular with guests.

The pools were ok when they were open, but mostly we stayed indoors and suffered the old lay the towel down 1st thing in the morning to reserve a chair. Pool staff did nothing about this and I witnessed quite a few arguments among guests re deck chairs.

The features like the North Star quickly booked out and when we finally got on all it did was go up and down. The Wave Rider, Bumper Cars etc was not interested in.

I could go on forever, but in summing up I have booked my next cruise that is on a ship half the size and not Royal Caribbean. Like everything in life, we live and learn.
jdistef’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin
Overall the room was nice and comfortable, Probably the best thing about the ship.
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