1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Ovation of the Seas
As experienced travellers and having been on multiple cruises, we were very much looking forward to our Ovation of the Seas cruise out of Sydney (departed Dec 26, 2019), around New Zealand. Without doubt, it was the worst experience of cruising we’ve had. Cruising has always included a wow factor of excellent service, with staff who want to see you have a great time … that did not apply on Ovation of the Seas. The ship’s facilities just do not manage the number of passengers. You can stand in a pool, but you couldn’t swim, it’s just too crowded. Not sure who thought an adult pool 80cm deep was a great idea? Waiting 10 minutes for an elevator is normal. Waiting for the next elevator, because this one is full, is also normal. Food is lukewarm .... you just don’t ever get a hot meal. Long waits for restaurant bookings are common .... the ship just cannot manage the capacity of 5000 passengers. Bumper-cars looked like fun, but an hour wait for a ride was the norm, and that was replicated over and over on the cruise activities. With the exception of Vlad, in the Wonderland speciality dining, there were very few wow factor experiences with service. Rosemarie in Jamie’s Italian was excellent too. The staff were generally pleasant, but there was also a pervasive miserableness in the staff, that we’ve never seen on cruise ships. The structural problem of too many passengers shows in the staff culture. The staff appear to have all worked out that no matter what they do, it’s never going to a quality experience. For the number of passengers, the ship’s facilities are woefully inadequate. It’s clearly destroyed staff morale. Kaitlyn, a souvenir shop attendant epitomised it – no greeting, just an unsolicited comment “Only 29 sea days and I get to go home”. Chops Grille, another speciality restaurant has zero ambience, with the doors left open to the karaoke bar, and they resist closing the glass door. If you like paying for fine dining in a karaoke bar, it’d be excellent. Side dishes arrived after every person on our table had finished mains. Per chance, we ate at Chops three times, and on the final occasion, had Marko look after us, and he was excellent, which was totally different to the prior occasions. The cruise ship itself is at a premium price point, and everything on the ship is expensive and in US dollars, with a set 18% gratuity. A glass of Australian wine, for a cruise out of Australia, is $14US, plus 18%, so nearly $17, and that’s more than a bottle in any bottle shop. If you are paying top dollar, but getting a wow factor experience with food and service, then it’s justified, but this is c-grade experience at a-grade prices. We’ve been on Royal Caribbean ships before (and belong to their Crown and Anchor membership program) but nothing would induce us to book another trip on Ovation of the Seas.

If we'd read the reviews, we would not have booked Ovation of the Seas

Ovation of the Seas Cruise Review by 06012020

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
As experienced travellers and having been on multiple cruises, we were very much looking forward to our Ovation of the Seas cruise out of Sydney (departed Dec 26, 2019), around New Zealand.

Without doubt, it was the worst experience of cruising we’ve had. Cruising has always included a wow factor of excellent service, with staff who want to see you have a great time … that did not apply on Ovation of the Seas.

The ship’s facilities just do not manage the number of passengers. You can stand in a pool, but you couldn’t swim, it’s just too crowded. Not sure who thought an adult pool 80cm deep was a great idea?

Waiting 10 minutes for an elevator is normal. Waiting for the next elevator, because this one is full, is also normal. Food is lukewarm .... you just don’t ever get a hot meal. Long waits for restaurant bookings are common .... the ship just cannot manage the capacity of 5000 passengers. Bumper-cars looked like fun, but an hour wait for a ride was the norm, and that was replicated over and over on the cruise activities.

With the exception of Vlad, in the Wonderland speciality dining, there were very few wow factor experiences with service. Rosemarie in Jamie’s Italian was excellent too. The staff were generally pleasant, but there was also a pervasive miserableness in the staff, that we’ve never seen on cruise ships. The structural problem of too many passengers shows in the staff culture. The staff appear to have all worked out that no matter what they do, it’s never going to a quality experience. For the number of passengers, the ship’s facilities are woefully inadequate. It’s clearly destroyed staff morale. Kaitlyn, a souvenir shop attendant epitomised it – no greeting, just an unsolicited comment “Only 29 sea days and I get to go home”.

Chops Grille, another speciality restaurant has zero ambience, with the doors left open to the karaoke bar, and they resist closing the glass door. If you like paying for fine dining in a karaoke bar, it’d be excellent. Side dishes arrived after every person on our table had finished mains. Per chance, we ate at Chops three times, and on the final occasion, had Marko look after us, and he was excellent, which was totally different to the prior occasions.

The cruise ship itself is at a premium price point, and everything on the ship is expensive and in US dollars, with a set 18% gratuity. A glass of Australian wine, for a cruise out of Australia, is $14US, plus 18%, so nearly $17, and that’s more than a bottle in any bottle shop. If you are paying top dollar, but getting a wow factor experience with food and service, then it’s justified, but this is c-grade experience at a-grade prices.

We’ve been on Royal Caribbean ships before (and belong to their Crown and Anchor membership program) but nothing would induce us to book another trip on Ovation of the Seas.
06012020’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 1D
Beautiful cabin with exceptionally good storage space, best of any ship we've been on.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins