We chose this cruise because of the Ship as we have always wanted to sail out of beautiful Sydney Harbour and back in again. The destination wasn't as important as the Ship but we did enjoy New Zealand and the itinerary was excellent - enough port days and enough seas days over the 12 nights.
Embarkation was extremely well done - 30 minutes from stepping out of our car with our bags and sitting on Deck 14 sipping a cocktails Disembarking was equally well executed - we left after our nominated time of 8am by 30 minutes and we were off the ship with our bags through Customs in 10 minutes. The best I have ever experienced!
We chose the Ultimate Dining Package and it was well worth every cent. We dined frequently for lunch and dinner at all the specialty restaurants except for Amber and Gold. Our favourite was Jamie's Kitchen for dinner and Izume for lunch - however Wonderland was a fabulous experience and Chops Grille always maintained a high standard.
We also dined at Chic one evening, Solarium Bistro (deck 14) twice and Fish & Chips one lunch time. I personally loved having all the various options for dining as it made our cruise very special and certainly not repetitive when it came to dining.
Our favourite bar was Vintages but we did enjoy Boleros when the Caribbean band was playing and also Two70 of an afternoon.
We did get to Pixels Show (brilliant) and were treated to a fabulous concert in Two70 with The Beatles Celebration band one evening. They did an excellent performance of the Beatles songs between 1962-1967 and even went so far as to speak and play like the lovable Liverpool lads!
We didn't go to the Casino or the other 2 shows but I believed those who did enjoyed themselves.
My only wish was that there were more seats next to windows to look out at the water while spending days at sea. Mainly did this by heading up to the Solarium (adults only) area or Two70 as the bars were mainly internal. I am just one of those cruisers that enjoy sitting looking at the water but it is really not a complaint.
The cleanliness of this ship and the friendliness of the staff goes above and beyond one's expectation. Every staff member we met throughout our cruise was extremely helpful, smiling and kind.
Our stateroom was spotless and the ship was constantly gleaming inside and out on the decks.
I did however on arrival to our Stateroom follow the 12 guides to santizing our room which I downloaded from google and happy to say we got off board without a sniffle or any signs of a potential C Virus. Everyone I saw on-board was extremely diligent in washing their hands or using the santizers that were placed everywhere for everyone's use. We also carried our own small hand sanitizer gel and hand wipes. No masks were required and I don't recall seeing many people using them on board.
We enjoyed room service every morning for breakfast and found their service very reliable and efficient. I loved the fact that we could make our own tea in our room but I also brought my Campos AeroPress portable coffee maker with my own Campos coffee. Being a lover of coffee it was definitely worth the $59 purchase online and will take it with me again. Having your own kettle in the Stateroom is a great idea! Wish more cruise liners did this for their guests.
This cruise had only 4200 (approx) guests based on the Captains welcome talk to us all on the first night (700 less than its full capacity) and as this is the largest ship we have been on I was curious to see how it would fee living in a small city with this number of travellers. Happy to say we never felt overwhelmed or delayed in getting on or off at ports or into the Ship's restaurants or entertainment areas.
We enjoyed "the eye" on day in Auckland and only had to wait 30 minutes which seem to go relatively quickly. We opted for the 4-7pm slot and it was most enjoyable. We didn't experience Seaplex area but anyone young at heart should endeavour to do the dodgems when they are on the Compass daily itinerary.
All in all this was a great cruise for us and we enjoyed all that Ovations of Seas had to offer - would definitely recommend this Ship.
Loved our extended balcony on Deck 7 - definitely one of the largest balcony Stateroom's I have ever been in (this was our 10th cruise). Plenty of space to store our clothes' and travel items. Loved the kettle and opportunity to make our own tea (no coffee satchets provided). We brought our own dettol handwash for the bathroom and shampoo + conditioner. Body wash provided in the shower but recommend bringing your own.
Lovely fresh Egyptian cotton towels provided daily and soft white sheets for the bed.
Unfortunately I found Wellington a very boring city and surprised that it was their Capital. I thought Canberra was dull but Wellington was worse. Apart from an excellent coffee at Mojo's and lunch at David Jones this City didn't really excite me at all.
We walked around the Mt Maunganui and found it a delightful spot and well worth getting off the boat for - including their coffee.
Enjoyed Auckland and did their $1 bus ride around the town and then walked around the America's Cup foreshore area.
We live in Sydney so did not take an excursion. Sydney Harbour is always so beautiful and it was wonderful to spend the first afternoon onboard Ovations soaking up the magnificent view. Definitely the best harbour in the world.!