My 10 night cruise on Ovation of the Seas ( Sydney to NZ and return) was my 8th cruise so I know what I like by now and what I expect. Mainly I want a comfortable room for my friend and I. am in my 60s and my friend is early 70s. I go on cruises to relax and love to be in the water so a good pools and jacuzzis and thermal suite is what I want.
Disembarkation was not so good, We keep our bags and go off when we like which was about 9am. The queue went for a long way winding around past the elvavtor area where people are trying to access. Not good.
One thing unsettling on this cruise was the first ship ever that we did not have our life jackets in the room. At the muster station practice, we were told, in an emergency they would be handed out to us here. There must have been 200-300 in our area, crammed in like sardines in a hallway/walkway. TVs popped out of the walls but with so many people I could not see it. Can you imagine how long this would take to bring over 4000 life jackets and distribute them? I shudder to think. Panic and chaos. I believe I have the right to my own life jacket 24 hours a day and that is in my room.
Our Cabin- was on DECK 6 starboard. Paid for a balcony and got a view of the tender boat. Did not even sit out there once. Also there is the smoking tent on Deck 5 starboard side.Disgusting! Why can they not have an exhaust fan instead of it blowing up on to balconies above. Also party people down there at night, They should not be doing bar service to here. Let them suck on their cig and go back inside, not sit out their for hours. Room has so much mysterious noises. I had no sleep even with ear plugs. Maintenance man was called and he could hear one of the noises from the window area and he said I am hearing this from many rooms. I said I have never heard noise like this on any other cruise ship. Neither had he and he had worked on many. I will be making a you tube clip on this noise problem in the future.
FOOD- was not so good, I like unpretentious food but on a cruise I expect a bit special. Irish Stew is not special. 4/10 nights I got food from buffet and took it to my room. Walked out of a dining room after no service apart from water for over 15 minutes. The gluten free section is helpful but everyone uses it and this can lead to cross-contamination which voids the whole concept. Only one meal is GF on menu in dining room or sometimes the same as what you had last night- very poor. I had salmon- not special have this at home once a week. Boring. Staff on cruise ships need to dining ettiquette. Leaving your cutlery on the side means you are still eating. Placing them straight up and close in front of you means I am finished. Stop taking peoples plates!
Thermal suite is a few heated tile beds, I think 6? with 2 sauna and 1 shower at either end of the beds looking at the door, No view of the sea. NO SPAS to sit in and have a chat to others, so I didn't pay. for that Cramped tiny room. SO disappointed! The solarium is great but kids wander in here all the time which is annoying.
There is nothing to do during sea days. Limited activities Library is upstairs from TWO70 so noisy and mostly Christian books. We went to a kids 3D movie as there was nothing else to do. The Music Hall is a great venue but it is far too small. Cramped seating areas and access to dance floor in front of where everyone stands as no-where to sit.
SHIP AREAS -TWO 70 is the best part of the ship. It is at the aft with huge glass windows and great views. This room is full of high tech and the massive robotic TV screens are the stars of the cruise. One day when I sat in their with nothing to do sewing the hem on my trousers, a short animated film came on using these screens. It was amazing! They should get more cinema like this. It was not even advertised on the program. The TWO &) space is usually full of people as if you don't want to hang about the pool or a bar this is the only place to go. Hence the tiny cafe next to it is overflowing. At one of the entrances of the Cafe TWO 70, they have a tall table with stools right in front of the entry, so people have to walk around it carrying their coffee and balancing a plate. Do people who design these spaces actually use them? They should provide small trays to carry food or someone is going to get hurt or burned. I had to get our coffee while my friend minds the seats in TWO 70 lounge, as if you see a spot you have to grab it. Then I have to go back, queue and get some food. On the first day they had GF bagels here,but never again on the whole cruise. At one point when they said no GF bread here for a sandwich I asked them to call and find some. They did not think to do this. So I had to wait 20 minutes or more for a sandwich. Not good enough. This also happened every time I went to the Cafe Promenade for a snack. No GF sandwiches or cookies. So I said please go get some. This annoyed them as they were busy, but as the cruise went on things improved here. This tiny cafe is always full. This overcrowding could be avoided by doing a high tea at some of the bars. Most of them sit there idle during the day and are under utilised. Put some food in there and the people will use these empty spaces. The theatre is another huge space that is under used. They could put more on here- perhaps a movie EVERY DAY. The movie we saw was Indredibles 2 which is rather old now. There were movies up on deck but it was rather cold. They had blankets there to use, Went to see a move one night at 10.30 pm so they are aimed at youths I suppose. We were the only older people there.
On the whole the ship is very crammed. Shops are very ordinary with bad service. My friend wanted to buy a watch and the service was so bad. The attendant went to talk to someone else and after 10 minutes waiting we left. There is no grand atrium. At the captains welcome good luck trying to get a glimpse of the proceedings. The whole ship is just a huge hotel block with a few amusements on top, a theatre that is no bigger than mid size ships. GO 30 minutes earlier to shows to get a seat.
FAMILIES AND KIDS- this cruise finished a few days before Christmas and there was lots of big family groups and kids and many teens. Groups of teens were hanging around elevator foyers and kids running up and down hallways and stairs and slamming their room doors. One kid actually ran right into me as I was holding the stair hand rail. I could have taken a tumble down. The ship was crammed to capacity, which I read is to 4,905. I think there must have been this many on board as when I walked down the corridor I could see kids beds made up everywhere crammed in all over the floor. That's another design fault- there seems to be no bunk beds. So a family in one room paying for 4 is only getting 2 real beds. Kids have to sleep on the very hard sofa, which is long but not wide, and a cot on the floor. Good luck moving around your cabin with all that set up. Kids love bunks and it gives them their own space, BRING BACK BUNKS> The program for kids and families was good however. They had some silent discos and Dreamworks characters and photos sessions. Families I talked to seem to be having a good time.
LEAKING BATHROOM- Down our hallway there was 2 or 3 fans blowing continuously in a vain attempt to remove the smell on our deck. A bathroom had broken plumbing and it was leaking all over the carpet. I read about this on the internet weeks before and it was still not fixed. I complained and they got a manager out to see the problem. I saw him standing there telling staff to take away the fans. A day or so later I walked by in my sandals and sqwelch my feet and shoes were soaked in someones bathroom waste. I had to go back to my room, wash my feet and the rest of the trip use the hall on far side and walk all the way around the back to avoid it. You could smell the odor from when getting off the elevator. Not good enough, In 10 days they did nothing to repair this. I was assured it was just water, not toilet. Hmmm, water does not smell like that. It is grey water and that is bad, Make sure you wash your hands continuously! The poor people in these rooms had the noise from the fans all day and night.
DECOR- my friend had a phrase he repeated everywhere on the ship. When I remarked on the fake laminate tiles in the bathroom to the plastic Buddhas in the shelf in the dining room- cheap as chips, he would say.
To sum up, Ovation is nothing special. It is not the grand and luxury ship I was expecting. It sure looks grand and impressive on the outside- but inside it falls terribly short. With crammed dining and public spaces and there is nothing grand about Ovation. Its decor is cheap and the food is basic and no frills, obviously pushing you toward something decent in the pay restaurants. I didn't not bother with these, so cannot comment on them. A huge amount of decor money has gone into a million dollars of art works which are lovely but I feel largely go un-noticed. They could be used to run art tours which would make a fun activity of this wonderful resource. There are things on, that are not advertised so passengers do not know, such as chocolate dessert night in the buffet.
My bed was hard, the noises in my room made it intolerable. It was in total the worst ship I have ever been on.The queues for food have been alleviate somewhat as they have set up a buffet breakfast in one of the dining rooms. But you never know when things are open, they change everyday. There is just not enough space to go anywhere or do anything. I will never go on a large ship again and probably back to other companies after this awful cruise and no service or regard for my membership.. I went home and stayed the week in bed and even missed Christmas I was so exhausted.
I did not chose this room as I am a Crown and Anchor member I expected a better cabin to be allocated to me. Turns out RCI had no record of my membership and it took 3 days for them to sort it out. They agreed I probably would have got a better room but they would not change it. I would rather have had an interior than pay extra for a balcony I could not use due to a tender boat stuck in front of it and smokers below. Balcony in this room is bigger than others due to bend in the ship. Such a shame we could not use it.
The rooms on Ovation seem deeper and narrower than other ships. The design is awful. The bed should be closer to the bathroom instead of down mere inches from the balcony door. For two friends who want twin single beds it is an bad use of space.. Due to the fake wood bedhead and fixed bed lamps you only have about 8 inched separating the beds as they cannot be moved further apart. So we had a huge amount of free space in front of the sofa. I do not recommend this ship for friends in single beds.
The noises in this room are annoying. A strange noise came on at about 3am. like a camera zooming or a robot moving. An investigation needs to be done in this rom to find out what this noise is. Could still hear it with earplugs. Noises coming from cupboards and a continual creaking sound like an olden days sailing ship. from around windows. I was awake for hours in the night.
The cupboards are useless. My long formal dress hung out of the space. The rack not high enough. Items, such as trousers and skirts on a hanger placed on one rack would hit and get crumpled on the ones below. For 2 people we managed to squeeze it all in and the bags went in the locker space above the bed alcove. For families they would have no space to put their luggage away or all their clothes. Very bad room design.
Bathroom OK with curved glass door so no water everywhere. Kettle and frig in room very handy. Kettle is there, as Asians expect it and as this ship is based in Asia. All ships should have this. TV is fixed on the wall in front of beds. Would be better to have it in front of sofa so at least kids could watch it. And near the balcony. Never going on this ship again and this is the worst room I have ever seen on a cruise ship. The designer of this room should be made to take a trip in this cabin and then be asked would you pay $4,500 AU for this?