Ovation of the Seas Cruise Review by johnmcq1
- Sail Date: October 2018
- Destination: Asia
- Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
What was planned as a “special birthday” celebration on one of the largest and prestigious cruise ships from Royal Caribbean (RC) according to their advertisements, visiting wonderful countries plus an exciting itenary, including one of the ancient wonders of the world, sadly became a bit of a damp squib.
Amateurish - LIMITED PRESENCE of - RC organisational staff and Chinese security staff, at Tianjin Xi’an Gang Port, to advise, guide or direct proceedings resulted in “information” being transmitted by word of mouth between passengers as they continued to join an unprecedented number of queues, which were gathering to provide duplicate passport photocopies, plus additional security information to be completed on security forms, this was despite many passengers having registered the required security details pre-cruise at home, TO (quote) “AVOID UNECESSARY QUEUES”.
In addition “crucial signage” to advise passengers where to queue, I.e. by their “deck level” or “priority boarding” categories, only became apparent at the security check in point, after approximately - a very frustrating - hour or so of waiting, which resulted in customers becoming even more impatient and experiencing further resentment, anger and frustration at people jumping queues etc. These details could so easily have been made more visible at entry point to the building.
The “QUEUING” theme did not end here unfortunately, as the scene, having already been established, sadly continued with the RC trips ashore (which were diabolical and over priced) to say the least, guides with very little spoken “English” or at best difficult to understand, could not always find their “coach” after the various stops. Invariably there are lots of taxis with English speaking drivers available at a fraction of the ships price.
A pre-cruise trip to the Terracota Warriors resulted in Scary health and safety concerns as we became part of 100,000 visitors. We were later informed the first week in October is called the “Golden Week” when almost the whole of the Chinese community join their families for a holiday break, so beware of visiting this part of the world at this time.
We chose “My Time Dining” but we still encountered the dreaded queues here and sadly the service of the waiting staff was not always the most efficient resulting in us as missing the start of several shows. In hind site this might have been a blessing as there has been a dramatic fall in the standard of the entertainment in our experience from previous cruises. Large numbers of passengers actually walked out during several shows we attended, due to the poor quality of the acts, I don’t know if this because of the Asian itenary but there was a strong (Z list Australian contingency performing) and I personally did’nt quite get their humour, it was either crude jokes or blowing balloons, even the singing was well off key.
I must comment also on the lack of comfortable lounges and comfortable seating availability aboard this ship, I feel this is an area of severe decline compared to other RC ships we have sailed on
Disembarking from the ship can only be described as diabolically horrendous, with a repeat of NO organisational skills and NO presence of RC staff. Due to unfortunate circumstances admittedly, the ship arrived in Singapore 5 hours later than planned, resulting in two large cruise ships with over 8000 people wanting to disembark and find taxis, coaches, hotels, airports etc etc.
I must say though that the staff looking after our cabin (which was kept spotlessly clean) were the salt of the earth and earned there gratuity, a “mention” and “big shout out” also to the staff at customer service who were extremely helpful and freindly with all our enquiries including sorting out a luggage issue we experienced. The staff where the watches are for sale were remarkable helping me in my our of need with a manual for my citizens watch. All of these mentioned were the stars during our stay.
The Ovation of the seas claims to accommodate 4905 occupancy? but I wonder if they have put profit ahead of “quality” customer experience. Estimated income (not audited or verified) for a two week Asian cruise of this order,excluding shore excursions would bring in a guesstimated £13 or so million.
According to “Statistica 2018” their figures shows the revenue of RC Cruises worldwide generated approximately 8.78 billion U.S. dollars in 2017 from 0.52 billion U.S. dollars in 1988
We also know that Royal Caribbean Cruises is a U.S.-based cruise operator owning and operating five cruise operations Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Pullmantur Cruises, Azamara Club Cruise Croisières de France. Royal Caribbean also own a 50% stake in TUI Cruises.
According to “cruisemarketwatch.com” 2018 Worldwide Cruise Line Passenger Capacity
Total at the end of 2018 will be 537,000 passengers and 314 ships. Annualized total passengers carried worldwide will be 26.0 million (a 3.3% increase over 2017)
So the capacities and profits increase but the standard of service delivered in RC case anyway appears to be heading in the opposite direction.
Apparently “according to some passengers” who have travelled on this capacity of ship before “The “Ovation of the Seas” they have never experienced a trauma like this before. Interestingly it was claimed an additional 100 staff had been recruited for the cruise after ours.
Signed; a 12 times cruise passenger never to use ROYAL CARIBBEAN ever again.
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