Ovation of the Seas Cruise Review by PJBoy
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Transpacific
- Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
Unfortunately, after booking, we were advised by Royal Caribbean that they would have to cancel the Maui stop. Since this was to be Ovation of the Seas' first visit to the US, the US authorities apparently needed to carry out thorough inspections of the ship and it would, therefore, have to remain in port for an extra couple of days. So we would have to skip Maui and arrive in Honolulu one day early, although we could remain on the ship an extra day in the port. Consequently Royal Caribbean promised to refund passengers the equivalent of one day's fare to their onboard accounts, which we thought was fair and reasonable. So while we were a bit disappointed to miss out on Maui, we appreciated the credit in our onboard account and the extra day in Honolulu.
Anyway, after that long-winded introduction, I have to say that this was a pretty good cruise! Leaving Sydney Harbour after dark was quite memorable. We also enjoyed the three stops in Tahiti, particularly Bora Bora. The weather was kind of damp in Papeete and Morea, but we were especially lucky with the weather in Bora Bora, which is a stunning place. It's definitely somewhere I would like to return to. My wife particularly enjoyed shopping for Tahitian pearls in Vaitape, the main town in Bora Bora!
The ship itself is huge, modern and well appointed, and being less than three years old is still in very good condition. I had thought that having more than 4,000 fellow passengers might result in the ship being too crowded, but we didn't find it to be a real problem. For example, while the Windjammer Marketplace (the main buffet on Deck 14) got very busy at times, we never had a problem finding a table. Also, due to the size of the ship, there was not too much motion most of the time.
We did find the food in the main restaurant to be a bit disappointing the first few nights. However, we then started asking our waiters for recommendations on which dishes to choose and after that enjoyed almost every meal. We ate in the main restaurant most evenings and had breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer Marketplace where we found the food quite acceptable. Overall, the food on the cruise was, in our view, fairly good but not as good as we have experienced on some prior cruises.
Our balcony cabin was great. No problems there at all. Also, the level of service provided by the crew and their friendliness throughout the ship was almost always exceptional.
We went to a few of the evening shows in the Royal Theatre and were not disappointed although the sightlines from the upper audience levels were a bit restricted.
Embarkation in Sydney and disembarkation in Honolulu both went smoothly.
We found the wifi to be very good. We pre-purchased a "surf and stream" package for one device, which worked out quite well as we were able to switch between our three devices (two smartphones and a laptop) as required. The cost of pre-purchasing the package, while not cheap, turned out to be considerably less than if we had bought it on the ship.
So, overall a memorable cruise on a nice, modern ship, with the highlight for being the one-day stop at Bora Bora!
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