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We booked this cruise after we thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to the far east at the end of 2015, we booked an inside state room 12311 with a virtual balcony. It was our first trip on a Quantum Class ship & we were excited to check out the new features on this year old ship. We spent 2 days revisiting Singapore before the cruise, it feels like an old friend, familiar & comfortable. Embarkation was OK, fairly swift & pain free, in total it took about an hour to get on board from arrival at the cruise terminal. The room was as expected, a reasonable size, plenty of storage, we found the virtual view a bit gimmicky & thought it didn’t really add anything to the room. Some nice touches were the addition of 2 USB charging sockets & a night light in the toilet. There was tea making facilities in the room, but no coffee provided, US & EU power sockets in the room. Beds were comfortable, but very little room to get out down the right hand side of the bed at the end, as it was blocked by a cabinet & I ended up skinning my shins a couple of times. Also, during the night we were regularly woken by a loud thumping, which I think was caused by people flushing their toilets. This may have been just a problem with our cabin as we were right at the back of the ship. The 4 main restaurants décor was of a high standard, the food was reasonably good, new menus each night, with a good choice, but was mostly delivered tepid, not hot. We have never experienced this as a problem on any of our previous cruises. We didn’t really use the Windjammer, it seems quite small for this size of ship & when we did visit, it was packed & we struggled to get anywhere to sit. Also I was quite offended when entering the restaurant, a crew member constantly singing ‘Washy, washy, washy!’ at us. I am a grown adult who understands the need to wash my hands regularly to help stop the spread of disease on cruise ships & I don’t need someone constantly singing ‘Washy, washy, washy!’ as I queue to get in, to remind me. Sorrento’s pizza was good when it was busy as the turnover was high, but when it was quiet, they could be a little on the cool side. The wraps & rolls they did were very tasty & a good alternative to a full blown lunch, especially one from the packed, “Washy, washy, washy” Windjammer! Room service is still currently free, but if you want anything hot (e.g. eggs, bacon, sausages), there is now a $3.95 charge. The internet on ship was much improved over previous cruises we had been on with better coverage & speeds. The bars were generally understaffed, which led to long wait times when they were busy, for example, in the two 70 when there was an event on they had 2 staff & about 30-40 people queuing which took about 15 mins to get served. The Bionic bar had 2 stations & was generally available to mix cocktails, we found it quite mesmerising watching the robots. The Theatre entertainment was variable, some fantastic shows, lots of dancers & great vocals, but also some very mediocre entertainers that we ended up walking out of after wasting 10 mins seeing if it got any better. The Two 70 is an impressive venue, but again a bit gimmicky after the novelty of 6 screens being moved by robot arms wears off. The screens are indeed impressive, but when there are live dancers & singers on the stage with the screens moving about behind them, I found myself unable to concentrate on either, ended up just watching the dancers. The Music hall, Boleros & the pub all had live music going on in the evenings, mostly of a high standard. The staff were all very professional, friendly, willing to help & go the extra mile, but we found that sometimes, they had a manager hovering around in the background ready to move them on. The new onboard activities were great, we booked them pre-cruise on the website & others that didn’t, struggled to get a slot. The ifly was great, the feeling of freefalling without the danger of splatting into the ground at 120 mph, but the ‘flight’ only lasts a minute, still, it was great fun & free. The North Star is interesting, but no adrenaline on this ride, just up & then down, but the views of the ship from up there are great & from an unusual perspective. The flowrider is also great fun, surfing or boogie boarding in a safe, controlled environment. We also tried the bumper cars in the Seaplex and sampled the hotdogs there at the hotdog van, they also had roller skating in the same venue at other times. The solarium was great, but there did not appear to be enough loungers for the amount of people & lots empty, but ‘reserved’ with towels. Nobody was policing the empty loungers. However, the main pool side & upper decks had plenty of spare lounger spaces. This was the first ship we have ever seen lifeguards on, they were at all the poolsides at all times during the day. There was an outside movie screen, but only 25 – 40 loungers able to see & hear the films, this seems very limited for the size of ship & meant we didn’t get to see any films. The promenade was always busy, often with sales table's and crowds blocking it so nobody could get past. It doesn’t seem quite so well laid out as some of the older ships. The casino was huge & Non smoking, the minimum stakes were higher than previous cruises, so we ended up losing more than normal. However, we did see someone win $2800 on a slot machine, it made a lot of noise. Most of the ports were a long way from where everyone wanted to visit, e.g. 1-3 hours drive away & this made for some long days with limited time at the destinations. RCL also made no attempt to inform passengers that in some of the destinations, there were free shuttle buses available to the local shopping area until we reached the port. At one of the ports, there was only the option of 2 RCL shore excursions, with the result of 1500 passengers all going on the same excursion in 40 or so coaches, consequently, it was incredibly busy. If we came back to the area, I would definitely consider doing more research for our own excursions. Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was a trial of our patience, badly mismanaged by RCL. We were misinformed & misled, told to go to our allocated waiting areas, then told to go back to wait in our cabins because there were too many people in the waiting area. It then took us almost 3 hours from our allocated time to get off the ship, through immigration & to our coach for transfer, then another 2 hours to wait for the rest of the coach party before we could leave. This was very badly mismanaged with people pushing in & frayed tempers. Overall we enjoyed our cruise, we enjoyed talking with all the other passengers & staff. We are glad we experienced this new class of ship, but we would only book it again if the itinerary was right for us.

Good ship, bad RCL

Ovation of the Seas Cruise Review by NemoWilts

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: April 2017
  • Destination: Asia
We booked this cruise after we thoroughly enjoyed our first visit to the far east at the end of 2015, we booked an inside state room 12311 with a virtual balcony. It was our first trip on a Quantum Class ship & we were excited to check out the new features on this year old ship.

We spent 2 days revisiting Singapore before the cruise, it feels like an old friend, familiar & comfortable.

Embarkation was OK, fairly swift & pain free, in total it took about an hour to get on board from arrival at the cruise terminal.

The room was as expected, a reasonable size, plenty of storage, we found the virtual view a bit gimmicky & thought it didn’t really add anything to the room. Some nice touches were the addition of 2 USB charging sockets & a night light in the toilet. There was tea making facilities in the room, but no coffee provided, US & EU power sockets in the room. Beds were comfortable, but very little room to get out down the right hand side of the bed at the end, as it was blocked by a cabinet & I ended up skinning my shins a couple of times. Also, during the night we were regularly woken by a loud thumping, which I think was caused by people flushing their toilets. This may have been just a problem with our cabin as we were right at the back of the ship.

The 4 main restaurants décor was of a high standard, the food was reasonably good, new menus each night, with a good choice, but was mostly delivered tepid, not hot. We have never experienced this as a problem on any of our previous cruises.

We didn’t really use the Windjammer, it seems quite small for this size of ship & when we did visit, it was packed & we struggled to get anywhere to sit. Also I was quite offended when entering the restaurant, a crew member constantly singing ‘Washy, washy, washy!’ at us. I am a grown adult who understands the need to wash my hands regularly to help stop the spread of disease on cruise ships & I don’t need someone constantly singing ‘Washy, washy, washy!’ as I queue to get in, to remind me.

Sorrento’s pizza was good when it was busy as the turnover was high, but when it was quiet, they could be a little on the cool side. The wraps & rolls they did were very tasty & a good alternative to a full blown lunch, especially one from the packed, “Washy, washy, washy” Windjammer!

Room service is still currently free, but if you want anything hot (e.g. eggs, bacon, sausages), there is now a $3.95 charge.

The internet on ship was much improved over previous cruises we had been on with better coverage & speeds.

The bars were generally understaffed, which led to long wait times when they were busy, for example, in the two 70 when there was an event on they had 2 staff & about 30-40 people queuing which took about 15 mins to get served. The Bionic bar had 2 stations & was generally available to mix cocktails, we found it quite mesmerising watching the robots.

The Theatre entertainment was variable, some fantastic shows, lots of dancers & great vocals, but also some very mediocre entertainers that we ended up walking out of after wasting 10 mins seeing if it got any better.

The Two 70 is an impressive venue, but again a bit gimmicky after the novelty of 6 screens being moved by robot arms wears off. The screens are indeed impressive, but when there are live dancers & singers on the stage with the screens moving about behind them, I found myself unable to concentrate on either, ended up just watching the dancers.

The Music hall, Boleros & the pub all had live music going on in the evenings, mostly of a high standard.

The staff were all very professional, friendly, willing to help & go the extra mile, but we found that sometimes, they had a manager hovering around in the background ready to move them on.

The new onboard activities were great, we booked them pre-cruise on the website & others that didn’t, struggled to get a slot.

The ifly was great, the feeling of freefalling without the danger of splatting into the ground at 120 mph, but the ‘flight’ only lasts a minute, still, it was great fun & free.

The North Star is interesting, but no adrenaline on this ride, just up & then down, but the views of the ship from up there are great & from an unusual perspective.

The flowrider is also great fun, surfing or boogie boarding in a safe, controlled environment.

We also tried the bumper cars in the Seaplex and sampled the hotdogs there at the hotdog van, they also had roller skating in the same venue at other times.

The solarium was great, but there did not appear to be enough loungers for the amount of people & lots empty, but ‘reserved’ with towels. Nobody was policing the empty loungers. However, the main pool side & upper decks had plenty of spare lounger spaces. This was the first ship we have ever seen lifeguards on, they were at all the poolsides at all times during the day.

There was an outside movie screen, but only 25 – 40 loungers able to see & hear the films, this seems very limited for the size of ship & meant we didn’t get to see any films.

The promenade was always busy, often with sales table's and crowds blocking it so nobody could get past. It doesn’t seem quite so well laid out as some of the older ships.

The casino was huge & Non smoking, the minimum stakes were higher than previous cruises, so we ended up losing more than normal. However, we did see someone win $2800 on a slot machine, it made a lot of noise.

Most of the ports were a long way from where everyone wanted to visit, e.g. 1-3 hours drive away & this made for some long days with limited time at the destinations. RCL also made no attempt to inform passengers that in some of the destinations, there were free shuttle buses available to the local shopping area until we reached the port. At one of the ports, there was only the option of 2 RCL shore excursions, with the result of 1500 passengers all going on the same excursion in 40 or so coaches, consequently, it was incredibly busy. If we came back to the area, I would definitely consider doing more research for our own excursions.

Disembarkation at the end of the cruise was a trial of our patience, badly mismanaged by RCL. We were misinformed & misled, told to go to our allocated waiting areas, then told to go back to wait in our cabins because there were too many people in the waiting area. It then took us almost 3 hours from our allocated time to get off the ship, through immigration & to our coach for transfer, then another 2 hours to wait for the rest of the coach party before we could leave. This was very badly mismanaged with people pushing in & frayed tempers.

Overall we enjoyed our cruise, we enjoyed talking with all the other passengers & staff. We are glad we experienced this new class of ship, but we would only book it again if the itinerary was right for us.
NemoWilts’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin 12311
The room was as expected, a reasonable size, plenty of storage, we found the virtual view a bit gimmicky & thought it didn’t really add anything to the room. Some nice touches were the addition of 2 USB charging sockets & a night light in the toilet. There was tea making facilities in the room, but no coffee provided, US & EU power sockets in the room. Beds were comfortable, but very little room to get out down the right hand side of the bed at the end, as it was blocked by a cabinet & I ended up skinning my shins a couple of times. Also, during the night we were regularly woken by a loud thumping, which I think was caused by people flushing their toilets. This may have been just a problem with our cabin as we were right at the back of the ship.
  Ovation of the Seas Deck Plans

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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    Ride to the Hutong by rickshaw, escorted tour walking through with the tour guide explaining everything as we went, then lunch in a locals house. Ride back to the coach by rickshaw. Interesting & fascinating history, good to see the Chinese recognising the importance of the history of this area of the modern city.
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    Wow, words cannot begin to describe the wall. It is a must to see for yourself. Trip was to take us their, on the way given the history. When we arrived we were escorted in & then left for 90 mins to explore for ourselves. It was busy, but spectacular.
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  • Hong Kong
    Once off the ship, queued for 30 mins for a 45 min transfer to the quay for the Bus departure area. The buses start at 09:30 & run until 18:00, but the transfers back to the ship were at 14:30, 15:00 & 15:30 only, so you don't get the full time on the bus in Honk Kong. The buses themselves are meant to run every 30 mins, but we waited at one stop for 60 mins for the next bus to turn up. For these reasons, it curtailed our time on the buses severely. The buses themselves were clean & the routes very interesting, but not enough time to do much at the stops.
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  • Seoul (Incheon)
    45 couches all going on the same tour, it was very busy. The Imperial palace was very interesting, worth the visit for 75 mins, the presidential palace not at all, just walked past & said 'there it is'. Then 45 mins visit to the duty free shops which held no interest at all to 95% of the coach, who all crossed the road & went into Starbucks to catch up on their emails. A waste of a stop. Then 90 mins in the central shopping area, fascinating street food vendors.
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  • Singapore
    We visited the port previously, so did our own thing. Visited the Gardens by the bay late afternoon & early evening the see the gardens in daylight & lit up at night, stunning, well worth the visit. The outside gardens are free, if you have flown in with Singapore airlines, show them your boarding pass for a 10% discount to visit the domes.
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