38 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Asia

This ship is probably the most beautiful ship we've ever sailed on (we've done about 15 cruises)! Of course, being new helps, but it's much more than that. They've really gone out of their way to make it visually ... Read More
This ship is probably the most beautiful ship we've ever sailed on (we've done about 15 cruises)! Of course, being new helps, but it's much more than that. They've really gone out of their way to make it visually appealing, from the artwork to the architecture. The restaurants area all beautiful too. The public areas are amazing! The ship left from Hong Kong, where we stayed for a few days. Interesting city, though we hit much rain. We learned that November/December is the rainy season in Asia. Our cabin, 13634 was amazing! It is a huge cabin with a sitting room and separate bedroom. The bathroom is about double the size of what we're used to (of course, this is a superior grand suite). We had a wrap-around balcony (about 3X the size of the others). It had space for two sets of lounge chairs and a table and chairs. The only problem with the cabin was that it is right below the pool deck and one morning we were awakened at 4:00 a.m. by the sound of the crew dragging pool furniture above us and using high powered hoses to clean the deck. Once we let them know, they ensured that it didn't happen again. Being a suite guest had its perks. We had access to a special lounge with snacks and free drinks between 5:30 and 8:00 p.m. There was a concierge in the lounge that helped schedule activities for us. He was a great help. He scheduled us for iFly, and bridge, galley and back stage tours. This was a huge perk of booking a suite! In addition, there is a restaurant just for suite guests, Coastal Kitchen. We really enjoyed the intimacy of this restaurant. We had some issues with a couple of the wait staff, but the manager ensured that things were corrected. Chen was the best waitress we ever had and we requested her, whenever possible. We learned that the ship does not offer a lobster night, rather, you can pay an additional fee for lobster; however, there was one night in the Coastal Kitchen that they did offer lobster for suite guests. The biggest con on the ship is one that has already been mentioned . . . the Windjammer buffet. The food was not always up to the quality we've come to expect of Royal Caribbean and we found that it was very crowded often, turning people away because there wasn't enough space. Luckily, most of the time we were able to go to Coastal Kitchen, because we were in a suite. The other con was the shows. They were absolutely NOT up to the Royal Caribbean standards. Some were not well-written and seemed like they were just trying to show off songs and costumes with no real theme tying them all together. The singer on the last night was probably the best show of the cruise. We have always enjoyed the big production shows, but this sailing was the exception. We booked all of our own excursions so I cannot comment on the ships' tours. Our private tours worked out great! Check out toursbylocals.com, if you're looking to book your own. The cruise ended in Singapore, where we also spent some time. I highly recommend spending time in Singapore. What a great city! Very clean and beautiful architecture! Be sure to visit Gardens by the Bay at night. The Christmas light show was an added bonus! All-in-all we really enjoyed our cruise and this beautiful ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
By far the worst cruise I have been on. Finding a table and a place to eat is a battle . I even prefer to be working home than being on holiday on this ship . Too many people . The crew is overwhelmed. Food is poor. ... Read More
By far the worst cruise I have been on. Finding a table and a place to eat is a battle . I even prefer to be working home than being on holiday on this ship . Too many people . The crew is overwhelmed. Food is poor. Entertainment is not very good. Decoration looks cheap .Guest service is overcrowded. Each thing you want to do on the ship implies a battle and a queue. And a credit card. Service is poor. Every thing on board is made to make you spend more money . This is definitely the last time I have having a cruise with this company. I have cruising in Asia a lot of times ans this my worst experience by all mean. I would have preferred to stay home if I had known the truth about this boat . I have been cruising for thirty years and this is my worst cruise. So believe me ,better not using this ship . Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
By far this was the WORST ASIA CRUISE WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINE (RCCL) my family & I have gone on! If you're planning to go on this ship - OVATION OF THE SEAS, I would HIGHLY recommend you to reconsider or CANCEL your ... Read More
By far this was the WORST ASIA CRUISE WITH ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISE LINE (RCCL) my family & I have gone on! If you're planning to go on this ship - OVATION OF THE SEAS, I would HIGHLY recommend you to reconsider or CANCEL your reservation! We felt like we were guinea pigs for this brand new ship! We've cruised over 15 cruises with RCCL(yes...this was NOT our first cruise with RCCL), Celebrity, Princess, Crystal & Norwegian Cruise Lines. We have NEVER had any issues/complaints with the other 15+ cruises we have gone on. The crew on this ship, OVATION OF THE SEAS - RCCL were the most rude, undertrained, least helpful, not knowledgeable and least experienced employees! It's obvious that RCCL rushed in sailing this brand new ship ASAP after spending several millions of dollars in building this beautiful cruise ship & filled it with the WORST crew & employees & worst customer service staff! We purchased our cruise, transportation, airfare, & RCCL Travel Protection Program all through our 3rd party travel agency, From day one, this cruise was a horrible experience for our family - group of 7 cruise passengers. The transportation crew that met us at the Singapore airport, made us miss our embarkation to the ship because they had to wait for over 1 hour for 2 other cruise passengers that were late (and never showed up) despite the fact we had TWO large vans & TWO drivers! Thank goodness we purchased the RCCL Travel Protection Program....RCCL had to place us at the Swissotel hotel in Singapore & rebook our 7 flights to Vietnam to catch the ship at the 2nd port to embark. Despite asking RCCL staff multiple times which foreign countries required visas (for USA citizens), & getting different answers each time, I was left to research everything on my own! By pure luck & chance, a fellow cruiser that had also missed the embarkation at Singapore with us found out we needed visas to enter Vietnam. RCCL Emergency Travel Team FAILED to relay this VERY important information to us & never assisted me in obtaining the Vietnam visas for my family! At this day & age of advanced computer systems, RCCL really need to improve on informing their passengers which countries require visas & other documents. We actually saw a few cruise passengers having to disembark this ship because they were not aware they needed visas for China!! Crazy!! The Swissotel staff were very knowledgeable & helpful in assisting me & my family to obtain our RUSH/URGENT Vietnam visas...not RCCL Emergency Travel Team! Every time I asked a question to a RCCL crew member, I kept getting 5 different answers to the SAME QUESTION I was asking!! What was also a HUGE disappointment was the food...it was AWFUL! The food was tasteless! They failed to season it with simple salt & pepper. Our previous experiences with most of the food in cruises have either been excellent or EXCEEDED our expectations! They had the same EXACT menu several nights in a row in several of the dining restaurants! The crew also CANCELLED ALL of my advanced online dinner reservations & despite being taken OFF the WAITLIST for the 8 PM dining time, we were actually then placed on a "CLASSIC 8 PM" dining time...only to find out on our first day on the ship we NEEDED reservations for ALL of the dinners! So what does the "CLASSIC 8 PM" dining category mean? From previous cruises, it meant our dinner will be ALWAYS at 8 PM at the main dining venue. Apparently, not so! RCCL never informed me in writing or on their website. By the time I discovered this was NOT the case, our preferred dining time were all booked & my 3 children missed several dinners because they were either falling asleep, or were actually sleeping at the dining table! To make things even worse, the crew also CANCELLED & RESCHEDULED WITHOUT OUR CONSENT OR KNOWLEDGE our advanced online North Star booking, which we ended up MISSING the experience as a family! I've NEVER been so disappointed with RCCL!! We have cruised with RCCL multiple times in the past...their quality to focus on customer service, quality on excellent food services, & hiring knowledgeable staff have REALLY gone down!! At this point, I would look into other major luxury cruise lines before considering RCCL again! I complained to both RCCL (which I have NEVER complained in writing about any of my past vacation travels, cruises, etc) & I have NOT received a resolution or compensation for my horrible cruise experience! I was stressed out a week prior & throughout the entire cruise because I was SOOOOO FRUSTRATED with the online RCCL/ system & crew not being knowledgeable in assisting me in giving accurate information! I would rate this cruise as a 0/10! This is NOT what a cruise should be like! Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas. I hope this review is helpful to other travellers planning their cruise on this ship. Embarkation in Singapore was a cluster fail, disorganized and inefficient. Even though we pre checked in, we ... Read More
Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas. I hope this review is helpful to other travellers planning their cruise on this ship. Embarkation in Singapore was a cluster fail, disorganized and inefficient. Even though we pre checked in, we still had several long lines to wait in and it took over an hour. Waiting area did not have good AC. You had to wait in sections based on your boarding time /color, some with sun coming through the glass and it was hot. Once in the waiting area there were no cafes or shops. On the ship it was very crowded getting to the elevators, most didn't seem to be operating. We gave up and carried our carry on bags up the stairs to our deck. Lifeboat drill was great, in A/C and no need to wear your life jacket. The decor and art work is very nice. The gym is also nice, one of the few bright spots on a ship with a very frustrating layout. The designer lost the plot somewhere. The sports area with bumper cars, skating, and basketball is indoors and air conditioned, takes up a couple decks in height. Maybe a dozen or so people use the area, catering to the basketball crowd. They would have been better served with some golf bays and racquet courts and double the amount of table sports. The arrangement wasted a lot of space on the boat that is much needed to spread out the over crowding. The room to get wristbands for the flow rider was the same as the iFly. The desk is extremely slow and you could easily wait an hour behind people making iFly reservations just to get a wristband for the flow rider. Then you wait in a long slow line for the flow rider. Really now, they have these grandiose activities that are not suited for large numbers of people and take up large areas that should have been better utilized. The activities take so much time per person that most people will either not be able to enjoy them or spend hours for one go at it. Food buffet areas are poorly laid out, and extremely crowded. This is a huge ship, and there are far too many people for how the food areas are designed. Total chaos in the Windjammer Marketplace - literally like a crowded marketplace. Though the food there is one of the better options for cafeteria style dining. Good selection and decent quality. The other alternate food areas have minimal selections. For breakfast go early to beat the masses. If you get back to the ship between 3 and 5:30 only the panini bar 270 is open. For dining, the four free main dining restaurants are supposed to take walkins and reservations. Don't believe it, you need a reservation or you could be waiting over an hour. Pro tip: book reservations weeks in advance. Anytime dining is only the buffets which are not always open. They don't tell you but those four complimentary restaurants basically have two sittings only, 6:30 and 8:30. We could only get into one of the four without waiting an hour. This almost forces you to go to the premium restaurants. Unfortunately we struggled to get reservations at both the ones you pay extra for, as well as the complimentary ones. They were all practically booked solid for the entire cruise. We had to scramble checking all the restaurants and if we found one with availability for a particular day, we had to take any time slot they might have left. Forget about trying to coordinate shows with your dinner time. Oh, and you don't know show schedules until the Cruise Compass comes the evening before. So if you decide to cancel a reservation to make the show tomorrow night, there is a $10 cancellation within 24 hours and a $10 no show fee. We had a lot of trouble with the reservation system. Dinner reservations we did not make would keep showing up on our calendar, and ones we had made were cancelled. The restaurants are hit and miss. One night the NY Sirloin was 1/3 gristle and fat, while another was a nice tenderloin. Even in Chops, one of 5 filets mingons our table ordered was half gristle and inedible. The other four were great. Silk was the worst and we never went back. The restaurants did a good job with variations in the menus. It was odd that when we did get into a restaurant, walkins were being turned away, yet the restaurant was half empty. My guess is they are severely under staffed and could only seat half the dining areas causing the reservation problems. On port days the only complimentary lunch restaurant open is the Windjammer buffet. There is a restaurant on board that only suite guests and Pinnacle members are allowed to use. We rarely saw anyone in there. I find this offensive on a ship of this type (it's not Crystal or Seaborn) that either doesn't have enough restaurant seats or staff to accommodate the over 4000 passengers on our sold out cruise. Forget the formal wear, there are no formal nights. The Grand restaurant is the formal restaurant, and you can dress up for the premier restaurants. But there are no nights where the whole ship dresses up. Good luck finding this information out from their Web site or on board. We wouldn't have wasted the extra luggage space on formal wear had we known. Dress codes were not enforced, a few people wore shorts to the formal restaurants. But then again, no where is this information being distributed - people that aren't accustomed to cruising just do not know. Unfortunately they did not keep children out of the Music Hall Bar area. They were allowed to play pool all evening so adults could not use the tables, which looked like they hadn't been brushed in ages, full of marks from the cues hitting the tables. And I have to mention the rude people who at lunch let one child run round and round their table laughing while the other one stood on her chair screaming. All the patrons were glaring at them, the parents were indifferent and the staff did nothing. Then there were the young children playing video games at high volume in the Schooner Bar disturbing the people trying to listen to the piano player. Ho Chi Minh port was a wasted stop. You port in Phu My two hours from Saigon, depending on traffic. There is nothing at the cruise terminal at all, it's a container port. You can't just grab a cab as they aren't allowed in the port area. Though you can walk outside to get one. This makes it difficult to go anywhere unless you're on a ship tour. If you planned a private tour you had to books weeks in advance so the tour company can get a permit and your passport info ahead of time for clearance. You spend most of your tour time on a bus, in traffic. During summer Saigon is miserably hot and humid. If you're prone to heat stroke take note, it's bad. Smaller ships can port closer, big ships get screwed. It would have been better to port at Vang Tao at the mouth of the Saigon river and spend the day there. One thing a bit unnerving were the local gill net boats coming right alongside and setting their nets. In this day and age you would think for security reasons there would be a buffer zone or some Harbor security. I'm sure most people clearly understand why. The sundry shop is tiny, 2/3 of it is cigarettes and alcohol. Bring what you need, because it's very slim pickings if you need toiletries, etc. The staterooms have bar soap and shampoo. No conditioner is provided or other amenities. If you drink bottled water Evian is the only choice. It's impossible to find a quiet space to read. Every area is an open design. The Two70 and library area has a cafe and bar. So there are always people eating, drinking and talking. Only a few games and no puzzles in the library. A lot of books though. Part of the time they are prepping equipment, doing sound checks and practicing for shows so the shades may be down so you no longer have ocean or port views. Very poor layout as it's one of the few places that had the potential to be a quiet zone to watch the water, relax and read. Don't watch the practices if you plan on seeing the shows. Spoils it. No, wait, you will want to watch the practices because there's a slim chance you can get a reservation. My wife is a dancer and really wanted to see the shows but finding out when they will be on is difficult. There is no cruise schedule and we found many times shows and events were listed on the Chinese version of the "Cruise Compass" and not the English one. More on that later. Most ships have a nice indoor observation deck to enjoy the cruise, read a book and have drinks - usually in the bow area on an upper deck. Instead there is an air conditioned pool area. Great for mid day sunning in a bathing suit. But they badly need a proper observation room. It just spoils the cruising experience. The classical musicians are in an open area bar with crowds walking by so you can't even enjoy a glass of wine and listen to them play with all the noise. For drinks, our group ordered different mixed drinks and signature cocktails at all the bars, and only the robot at the Bionic bar could make a proper drink. It was appalling watching the wrong ingredients being muddled or added and even wrong spirits. I swear one drink had a shot of bitters instead of a dash. Best bet is beer or wine, or the hard drinks straight up or with only one or two additions. After day four we gave up, sticking with beer, wine or the robot. They do have a nice selection of wines and most are at least four years old which was a pleasant surprise. But you have to watch as they will pour the wrong wine. As far as general information about the ship itself and tours, it's best to bring your own info from the Internet or RC website. This is by far the worst ship I have ever been on as far as a lack of general ship or port information. There is no ship map or card distributed. You have to use the posted directories, large wall mounted Ipads or their ship model display by the elevators to find out where everything is. You do not receive a port map or any daily port information you may be used to getting on other cruises. The TV information videos do not do a good job explaining things and are difficult to follow. The banter and constant interruptions of the main speaker by the cruise director is part of the issue. For example on the port info channel they said a particular port would have a shuttle into the local town, but when speaking to someone at the excursion desk we were told there wasn't one. The channel also said they could arrange private tours, then was told they could not provide that service. But later a different person was able to book a private tour. The TV which doubles as your information center kept locking up and needed rebooting - turning on and off doesn't reset, there is a reboot procedure. On that subject the WiFi service is glitchy and slow, and frequently goes out, which unfortunately is to be expected. Even though you'll spend a few hundred dollars for it. The RC app to make reservations and manage your trip info is poorly designed and still has issues. We made a reservation for one of the shows, and had to reschedule a dinner reservation to make the time. The day of the show, the reservation was on our calendar on the app and TV. When we went to the show we were turned away and told we had no reservation. Checking the app, our reservation had disappeared. We reported what happened, but there is speculation on board that certain passengers pay for favors - or reservations. And that since this ship is geared for Asia and is being heavily promoted when in Port, they are catering to a specific ethnic group granting special privileges. We're certain someone had changed our reservation for another night without our authorization. The same thing happened to others. And you cannot get into a show without a reservation. The venue is, surprise, far too small for the number of people on this ship even with multiple showings. The ship appears nice and it's new, but it is not a relaxing ship. Unless you like always being in large crowds and constantly bombarded by noise. More like a Carnival Cruise. The public areas are far too small for the amount of people on this ship. This was the ship's first full cruise, the previous ones were bringing it over and not full - keep that in mind while reading earlier reviews of the ship. Ours was a 12 day cruise and a couple people in our group were considering disembarking in Hong Kong, only 5 days in. Being a veteran of many cruises and cruise lines for over 30 years, every ship and route has pros and cons. You expect things don't always go smoothly, and I'm not picky, giving people the benefit of the doubt. With only a couple exceptions the crew and staff were great. But overall this was my worst cruise experience by far, I would never cruise on this ship again even if it was free. There was a lot of misinformation and confusion on port terminal locations, port services and transportation, and shore excursions. Guest services always had a long wait. This ship was obviously not ready for passengers and in my opinion severely understaffed with way too many passengers for the design. RC, what were you thinking? Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I was very excited to board the world's newest mega super liner, only to be disappointed by countless failures by Royal Caribbean. Embarkation in Singapore - Total nightmare. Disorganized, slow, no one had a clue what was going ... Read More
I was very excited to board the world's newest mega super liner, only to be disappointed by countless failures by Royal Caribbean. Embarkation in Singapore - Total nightmare. Disorganized, slow, no one had a clue what was going on. Royal Caribbean claims if you use their new "app" and arrive at your designated time you can board in 15 to 30 minutes. Well 3 hours later we were on the ship! Immigration was slow, no one had any useful information on wait times, the staff was clueless, no snacks, no working wi-fi! FAIL! The Ship - Amazing Ship! The $1 Billion+ mega ship is truly stunning. HUGE. Many dining options. Northstar observatory, SeaPlex was amazing (bumper cars, sports deck, xbox lounge). The ship truly made the cruise, however the crew and corporate was the failure (more on that later...). If you want to be stunned by a ship, this is the one to board. That being said there are a few issues with the ship: 1. Not much in the way of toiletries other than some body wash. 2. The ship store is a joke, smallest of any ship I have EVER been on 3. There is NO outdoor grilling or outside food ANYWHERE 4. Eating between 11am and 12pm is virtually impossible on the ship The Ports & Excursions - HORRIBLE Stop #1 - Ho Chi Minh Vietnam Tour guide had no clue where they were going, rude, dropped us off in an alley behind a dumpster. VERY disorganized Stop #2 - Hong Kong China Tour was pretty bad took us to a shopping / dining area that was unfit for foreigners, filled with cock roaches and disgusting. I can not believe I paid for this tour. Stop #3 - Xiamen China This location is NOT suitable for westerners. Very dirty, very disorganized, very hot. Worst excursion EVER. As our tour started, our guide immediately left us stranded in a small village on an island off the coast. We literally had to run around and find another tour guide who finally tracked down our original guide to come and get us - they had FULL intentions of leaving us stranded. Even another passenger in the group asked our guide what about the family with three children where did they go? The guide could care less... We finally rejoined our group for lunch (late) and notified the lead guide (Michael), he could care less. We continued our tour and at the next stop (museum) one of our fellow passengers passed out (heat was extreme). Our guides literally left her on the ground and said "we must continue the tour". I refused to leave a passenger on the ground. We were also the only persons on the tour that also spoke Chinese - should be noted. After finally securing emergency help (literally screaming at our guides) we proceeded to the next stop - by this point I was irate with these people and Royal Caribbean. Next stop was a puppet show, they put us in the room that was overcrowded, and a fire hazard, with NO air conditioning over 100 degrees! I refused to stay in this room, also had a one hour wait for the "puppet show". I demanded to return to the ship as did about 40 other passengers. Our tour guide refused to take us to the ship but eventually said "whoever wants to go back early follow me" . We literally walked half of the island, we get to the dock and our guide leaves us once again - and says he will return when the original tour is over in 2 hours! Our guide Michael also grabbed my arm twice, while not assault was very inappropriate and he has no business grabbing other passengers. I reported the above incident to the cruise ship and said I do not wish to make a big deal over this - just refund my money and let's move on. The ship refused. Guest services on this ship is HORRIBLE. Huge lines. 100% Chinese customer service, with horrible English skills (again we speak Chinese, I can not imagine with not speaking Chinese...). Guest services always has a long line and they are useless they NEVER help at all. We finally met with the excursion manager, who again did NOTHING. Only after my email to the CEO did RCCL agree to an insulting 50% refund of my Xiamen excursion! What a joke, I want my other 50% back... Stop #4 - Seoul Korea This is yet another disaster. The ship was late (as usual) to port. Korea requires a face to face interview and they scanned EVERY passengers passport! We did not get off the ship until 1pm! The line at times was over 2 hours! The ship blamed immigration and our cruise director had the audacity to make jokes about it.. Not funny this is no one's fault but RCCL. The ship had free shuttles to an outlet mall. I returned at 2pm to see if my wife wanted to go ashore and guess what? Immigration LEFT THE SHIP and she was not permitted to leave at all! Are you kidding me? What a joke... Staff on the Ship - There are many hardworking good people on the Ovation. Our room attendant was great. Most of the dining staff was great (although extremely slow), casino most workers were good, but the officers on this ship are rude and horrible. Guest services is the worst. No one has the authority to do anything and no one cares. The biggest issues is RCCL has NO ability to move this many passengers on and off the ship. It is a total failure. RCCL can blame the ports and immigration all they want but this is nonsense, it is RCCL. RCCL had TWO people scanning cards on disembarkation in China - TWO people for a 4000+ passenger ship! This was by far the worst experience ever trying to get off this ship. FOOD - Food was hands down the best dining experience I have had on ANY ship, ever however My son and myself both received food poisoning from the ship. My son had to be quarantined for two days (one day reported and documented). I was so sick I could not report it to the ship because it was the day of deportation I was worried of a potential quarantine entering China. I almost passed out waiting 2 hours to get off the ship, and the port in Tianjin is a joke - total disorganized mess, luggage in wrong areas, lines, lines, and more lines - just waves of people. If you love people and long lines this is the ship for you. Restaurants Broken Down - Windjammer - This is the buffet. Looks great but is a disorganized mess how it is setup. In 12 days of cruising I could not get an omelet made one time due to crowds of people. The ship staff was great in the windjammer except as usual the officers, they were clueless. Twice I questioned something marked wrong was actually pork / beef and twice it was not corrected. The staff will help you, the officers will not. Italian - Outstanding. Best olives ever. Great food, worth the money. PAID Chops steak house - Underwhelming at best, I would skip. PAID Wonderland - Weird menu, the main course was good the rest was terrible and your kids will hate you for taking you there. Not appropriate for children ironically even the waiter said most kids do not like our food - can I order you something from the kids menu? Seriously? I also am 99% convinced this restaurant gave me serious food poisoning. PAID Bistro - Awesome quality, really enjoyed the Bistro. FREE American Icon - Not great, not bad. One tip this is a FREE restaurant and they do have a surf and turf on the menu for FREE. Silk - Really good... FREE Chic - Really good, my wife's favorite. FREE OTHER NOTES FROM AROUND THE SHIP... 1. You will NOT find Friends of Dorothy or any GBLT, maybe it is the ports were not GBLT friendly I do not know - did not apply to me but just a FYI. 2. No art auctions, kind of a nice break I suppose. 3. Casino has Asian games. Mainly Baccarat, Sic Bo, do not expect LIVE Texas Hold em or even Texas Holdem tournaments. They did have slot and black jack tournaments. 4. The Entertainment is OUTSTANDING do NOT miss ANY shows TIPS AND ADVICE - 1. Book EVERYTHING in advanced or you will be in trouble. When I say everything I mean every meal, every show, every excursion - sorry but you must do this PRIOR to boarding. I booked everything but the sushi restaurant, and had ZERO chance of booking it on board, no way possible. Shows are also 100% booked in advance for the three main shows: The Dream, Spectre, and Live, Love, Legs. There are other shows with NO reservation required you can use as filler on the off days. Again book everything in advance this includes the northstar, and spa appointments! 2. Download the Royal IQ app, which is a royal pain. Very slow app, has many issues, such as spa appointments do not show on the app! However that being said the app has potential and I wonder how I did other cruises without the app? 3. Buy picture packages before boarding. We purchased a package that was NOT available on the ship. It was $309, included UNLIMITED photos to download to USB and unlimited prints! We ended up with 120 prints plus USB, for $309 that is a pretty good price per picture. The photographers on the ship were outstanding! This ship also uses digital viewing so they do not waste time and kill the environment printing pictures you never buy. 4. Be prepared for crowds and be prepared to push and shove your way like most of Asia. This ship is a bit rude, the staff, the other passengers - do not expect to be given any special treatment and have a very low expectation of the customer service. 5. If you live in a major city try to exchange a small amount of currency in advance. The currency lines were terrible at every port. I exchanged most money in advance, it saved a lot of time. 6. Link a credit card or do not go. The days of paying cash are long gone, unless you want to wait in 3 hour guest service lines - please get a credit card, or skip the cruise. 7. Bring medication. The ship has nothing other than children tylenol. Bring allergy medicine, tylenol, immodium, or whatever you need. If you end up going to the nurse they will quarantine you! Also this ship nurse is CLOSED from 11am to 4pm daily, on a ship with 6000 people including staff this is unacceptable. 8. Bring toilet paper (from the room) - yes I said it. This is Asia. Bring toilet paper for when nature calls off the ship. 9. Bring a small backpack, walkie talkies are helpful, swim cap (not needed for the ship but if you stay in Asia ANYWHERE you will need one). TOP GOOD ITEMS: 1. Ship is ultra modern and very amazing 2. Food was outstanding (other than two cases of food poisoning) 3. Gym was great (very large) 4. Indoor pools were amazing (although no food) 5. SeaPlex is truly great for kids 6. Escape Room was great for the family, very hard but very fun! 7. Norhstar best selfie stick on earth! 8. Spectre show was UNBELIEVABLE 9. Casino was fun although smoky at times 10. The worker staff (servers, room attendants) were all great. TOP NEGATIVE ITEMS 1. Shore Excursions were terrible RCCL left us at risk and in bad hands at every port. Getting on and off the ship is virtually impossible, ruined the entire vacation. 2. Guest Services is frustrating and useless. Long lines. No help. 3. Ship officers are rude and do nothing to assist. They look angry. 4. Xbox lounge had broken items, as did video arcade had 1/3 of machines not functioning, several stole money from me which the ship refused to refund. 5. Dining is VERY slow, average dinner was 2 hours! Food quality was great other than 2 food poisonings. 6. RCCL just does not care, do NOT expect anyone on the ship to do anything for you when things go wrong, they have a strict message from corporate to do nothing - trust me you are just a number. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
On June 12-24, 2016, my wife, 10 year old daughter, 7 year old son and I sailed on the brand new RCCL "Ovation of the Seas" our of Singapore. This was my 18th cruise, and I have sailed on RCCL, Princess, Disney, and NCL ... Read More
On June 12-24, 2016, my wife, 10 year old daughter, 7 year old son and I sailed on the brand new RCCL "Ovation of the Seas" our of Singapore. This was my 18th cruise, and I have sailed on RCCL, Princess, Disney, and NCL previously. Most of the people on this cruise were from Asia, although there were a fair number of Americans onboard. We are now Platinum on RCCL. Singapore- We arrived 2 days early so we could enjoy the city with our children. This was our first time here. Since there were 4 of us we needed a larger cab which cost $60 Singapore dollars one way from the airport for the 20 minute ride into town. If we had less luggage with could have traveled for less than half that sum. We stayed in 2 rooms at the Intercontinental Hotel, which was very nice with American sized rooms although as seems to be a general hotel rule they will NOT put you and your 2 children in 1 room. This hotel is in a great location, right next door to one mall. 2 other malls are within walking distance. The staff was very helpful and kind. They have 2 free computers in the lobby for your use. The cab ride to the Marina Bay cruise terminal to board the ship was short, and we all fit into one regular cab so the cost was only $15 Singapore dollars. Embarkation: We arrived around noon and while there were lines, we were on the ship around 1 pm. They seemed organized although there was a slight delay. We were not allowed to our rooms right away so when we boarded around 1pm we went straight to the buffet. Disembarkation: Organized with luggage set up by section number. Immigration was very easy. Line was long but it moved. We purchased the bus transfer from RCCL for the 4 of us to Beijing. This took us to the Great Wall, and then dropped everyone off at 4 different designated hotels. We were staying at the Park Plaza which was right next door to the RCCL tour designated drop off hotel The Regent. Very easy. The Great wall at Juyongguan visit was our favorite! Dropped off around 6 pm, this made for a long day but worth it. Ship: Our first time on a brand new ship. Ovation of the Seas is beautiful! We last sailed on RCCL on the Allure, and we have always felt that the Allure was the gold standard. Many of the features of the Allure we have found in the Ovation. We loved the central mall area with shops and restaurants. The general layout and decor was great. There are banks of elevators in the front, rear and middle sections of the ship. Waits seemed to be longer than we expected, and were longer than we had on the Allure. The lines at guest services and shore excursions were too long. Smoking in designated areas only but there were violators in the bathroom. The Northern Star is very popular, and fills up quickly so book this immediately. Great views of the ship and sea! RCCL took our passports from the beginning of the cruise so if you need say a credit card ID plan accordingly and bring an extra ID. The buffet has a hand washing room you enter before the buffet- basically multiple faucets and soap dispensers with a common trough/sink everyone shares. For the first time, I hardly noticed the ships movement, although we had calm seas. I never had the typical “feels like I am still moving” sensation after disembarking. Cabins: We are family of 4, with 2 people in each of 2 balcony staterooms. Larger than we expected, plus we had the balcony which was covered. Couch in the room. Beds were very very comfortable. Quieter than I expected. Refrigerator helped store some snacks. Hair dryer in room. There are 2 closets in the room although the second one is small. We had more space to store stuff than we needed. The bathroom was typical in size, and we had more storage room in there than we needed. Soap in the shower provided but NO conditioner. Just the right number of hangers. Finally a clock in the room on the phone! There were two 110 outlets (3 prong) and one 220 outlet in the room. I could not get my standard sized American 3 prong computer plug into either of the 3 prong 110 outlets without using the 2 prong adapter I just happened to bring from home. I am not sure why it would not go into any of the 110 outlet's on the ship. There is a 3rd multipurpose plug next to the bed in our Balcony cabin. There was a multipurpose shaver plug in the bath. It was great to be able to charge all our stuff. Food- We concluded that it was good, but not of the caliber we experienced on the Allure in the past. The food here was more on par with what we experienced with NCL. Also you MUST book dinner reservations ahead or you will be at the buffet every night- we learned the hard way! Pools- The pool areas were segmented for the kids and the adults. We loved the circular pool with flowing current. There is soft serve on the deck served by a worker. No other food is served outside. There are covered pools for the adults and that area is air conditioned too. There are many lounge chairs all over the decks- in both covered and uncovered locations. We never had a problem getting one. One huge difference with this ship was the large number of not just the typical chaise lounges but the amount of outdoor furniture with cushions. They were outside in covered locations everywhere, and so comfortable. This was something we have never seen on previous cruises. Also I loved the lounges installed in the water on the side of the pool. Sports with the kids: The SeaPlex sports arena is IMPRESSIVE! This multipurpose arena has basketball, volleyball, soccer, roller skating, dance lessons, bumper cars and gymnastics being performed during scheduled times during the day. They also have ping pong tables/foosball and X box playing upstairs in separate areas. This entire area is air conditioned so unlike most other sports venue's we have had on other ships, this one is all weather! Rip Cord was an awesome experience for those of us who will never skydive. We enjoyed the flowrider. The rock climbing wall was popular even for our kids. As a family we loved the bumper cars, and enjoyed ping pong. My son loved basketball and soccer. We enjoyed the roller skating. Internet: We were sent an offer from RCCL pre cruise for unlimited internet usage on one device for $10 USD a day. Waiting to pay on board increases cost to $12.99/day. We brought our laptop and found this wireless service excellent throughout the trip. Kids Club- similar to our experiences on other ships. They divide the kids by age. The kids club is very flexible- their hours are not the same every day so check the schedule. You have to sign up for the club to take your children to a meal if they are there during mealtime, but unlike other cruise lines, there is no additional charge for this service. Sometimes we dropped our kids off before we went to dinner, and other times they took them to dinner because we were returning to the ship later because of an excursion. Photos- We purchased the cruzer which contains all your cruise photos for $259. What to do with the kids when you go ashore- You can leave your kids at the kids club while you go ashore. Some days our children went with us, and some days they stayed on the ship. Everyone could be happy! Entertainment- We enjoyed the show in the Royal theater, and the singers. We didn't find the Spectra's Cabaret show in the Two 70 theatre entertaining as there is too much going on with the electronics in addition to the performers. We simply prefer listening to a singer, or watching a production performance. We don't need electronic entertainment to complicate what we enjoy. Tianjin transfer to Beijing-We purchased from the RCCL the "China Spirit transfer" from the port to our hotel in Beijing, with a stop at the Great Wall. Cost was each adults $129, kids $80 each. Total for the 4 of us was $418. Took about 3 hours to bus to Beijing, then another hour or so to get to The Great Wall at Juyongguan. Great experience here! Weather- We were very fortunate to have mostly sunny weather our entire cruise. Very hot and humid. We came prepared this time of year for daily rain showers. As we got further north we encountered fog and the air was cooler but not cold. Overall - We enjoyed our cruise and would certainly recommend Ovation. The Seaplex is an impressive facility! Once again, RCCL has done an excellent job with this ship's design, and we look forward to returning. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We had a starboard side balcony cabin on deck 13. the overhang was great to keep the sun and rain off of us. however it did have a drawback of blocking your view to look up. another problem with deck 13 is at about 5 a.m. the workers must ... Read More
We had a starboard side balcony cabin on deck 13. the overhang was great to keep the sun and rain off of us. however it did have a drawback of blocking your view to look up. another problem with deck 13 is at about 5 a.m. the workers must clean or straighten the pool chairs on deck 14. It was noisy and we could hear the banging of things moving around above the ceiling. The storage above the bed is a great improvement over the older, smaller ships we have been on. the room had 22 hangers! and the Frig worked very well keeping things cold (not typical on our other 13 ships). I heard so many complaints about the elevators/lifts. A couple never left deck 2 for several days after embarkation. don't know if they were undergoing maintenance or what. the elevators seemed slow to get to the floors. Don't know if there are too few for the amount of people or if the complex programming needed to optimize operations still needed adjustment. The ship is beautiful and the art work is progressive and colorful. The i-pads they have throughout the ship for you to search or schedule activities with didn't work too well. They were slow, froze up, etc. We were impressed with Windjammer although we didn't like washing our hands every time to get in. The food seemed better and a wider selection than in past RCCL cruises. they were prepared for the amount of people who go there embarkation day. They didn't clean up the wash area often enough; paper towels ended up in the sink and on the floor. plus, this activity on the starboard side took up too much room to have smooth egress/exit flow of people during peak times. We also liked the self dispensers for soda and other cold drinks. They worked well and tasted good. Bumper cars often had up to 7 out of service leaving only 11 operational. Heard a few complaints about 40 minute wait times for this. i-fly was fun. Book this before you board or you might not get a time slot. At least on this ship they must have found someone capable to make scrambled eggs. They were not runny or mushy. RCCL didn't provide port maps at the stops so seeing the talks about the ports were beneficial to us. We did not like the ship's musical shows. But others might like the loud music with contemporary dance. The professional entertainers were above average. We only had one shore excursion thru the ship and it was terrible. so don't judge my rating of them by our one bad experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
STUNNING SHIP, simply stunning. IMPRESSIVE technology throughout the ship. CABINS: lovely, with lots of storage space DINING: Dynamic dining 18 restaurants choice. Best gourmet experience in our lives (lobster, scallops, quality ... Read More
STUNNING SHIP, simply stunning. IMPRESSIVE technology throughout the ship. CABINS: lovely, with lots of storage space DINING: Dynamic dining 18 restaurants choice. Best gourmet experience in our lives (lobster, scallops, quality beef, truffles, truffles and more truffles). We indulged in special experiences such as Wonderland (a must to try), and Chef's Table. Non chargeable The Grande was excellent, the others are good. We only had one experience where the wait staff were not attentive and efficient (American Icon Grill) at one breakfast plus the cappuccino maker at WindJammer was slow slow slow every time. But given 12 days and many mealtimes thats not bad at all:-) ENTERTAINMENT: Shows shows and more shows massive variety. The usual bard entertainers, piano, violin, bands, formal shows (3) plus seemed to collect new shows each port, PLUS the amazing impressive technology on board at 270 degrees meant additional virtual shows (virtual symphony, and concerts). The formal shows were mostly too loud for our ears BUT still impressive. RECREATION: What can you say ifly, wave rider, north star unique experience, rock wall climbing,roller skating, table tennis, multiple swimming pools outdoor, undercover and the solarium and many more recreational activities (super teen club our daughter was activity engaged and happy the entire trip)..... TECHNOLOGY: massively impressive. High speed continual wifi access - we were even able to tune into netflix while on board!! the ship included 3D shows, animated art works, visual displays with delightful surprises - e.g. butterflies that fly when touched, images that move with your motion movement. An on board app that makes information and booking simple, and the 270 degrees stage is always worth checking out late afternoon to see what is on display there - e.g. an animate library screen with moving parts, the galaxy in motion etc. oh and the bionic bar of course is fun to observe and order from. PUBLIC ROOMS: Many many gorgeously designed break out areas where you can extra chill and relax. THE THINGS THAT NEED SOME SORTING TO MAKE IT PERFECT: Embarkation was a mess at Singapore and took far longer than any one expected. Some port shore excursion departures were big issues - e.g. Vietnam and South Korea were painful. Apparently RCI are usually far better than what happened on this tour and there were immigration issues - (this was our first RCI cruise). The port excursions were mostly not great - surprisingly Xiamen in China was great and Hong Kong however the others it maybe better to organise your own private tours. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Arrived in Singapore 2 days before the cruise with my wife and 3 year old daughter, Stayed at the Hotel Jen Orchardgateway, great location. We stayed in a Club Room for A$300 per night which gave us access to the Club lounge each day. I ... Read More
Arrived in Singapore 2 days before the cruise with my wife and 3 year old daughter, Stayed at the Hotel Jen Orchardgateway, great location. We stayed in a Club Room for A$300 per night which gave us access to the Club lounge each day. I think this is also one of the only club lounges that allows children in after 6pm. Singapore was very hot, hotter than I expected even after growing up in Darwin, in fact the whole holiday was very hot and we have decided not to travel to Asia at this time of the year again. Arrived at Ship at 11:30am and bordered about 1:30pm, everyone seemed confused but eventually we got onboard. Our room was a balcony suite 10116 on deck 10. We met up with our friends at the pool bar for some drinks before heading down to their Grand Loft Suite for a sail away party with Champagne and canapés, courtesy of Royal Caribbean. I pre booked every restaurant, show and activity weeks before the cruise so didnt have to worry about booking anything on board. Having our friends in the Grand Loft Suite had its advantages. We were sort of attached to they're booking which allowed us to eat in the Coastal Kitchen with them (Restaurant for Suite Guests). We were first for Disembarkation at each port including Tianjin which took 20mins from Lounge to our private mini van. You could feel the knives in your back as you pushed passed passengers who had been lined up for hours to leave the ship at the various ports of call particularly South Korea, where some people say it took 4 hours to get off and some giving up and staying on board. We also managed to get reserved seating at all the shows so arrived at theatre 2 mins before shows started. A big thank you to our friends butler Genie who looked after us and made our cruise so enjoyable. She got a nice tip & gift at the end of the cruise. We pre booked internet for two devices so we could stay in touch using Facebook messenger for calls. I did pay for the onboard app to stay in contact and make calls but it failed after the first day and we were refunded the cost so stuck with Facebook which worked just as well, made it very easy to keep track of each other on such a large ship. We also had 2 x Premium drink packages which was great. I guess the beauty of pre booking and pre paying for everything up front there wouldn't be a large surprise bill at the end. You could check your online account anytime on your television. The free app was good for keeping track of your bookings for each day so you knew where you were eating and at what time, this also included any onboard activities. Food was fantastic throughout the cruise and couldn't complain about anything. Chops Restaurant (My favourite) dry aged steak (Extra $19) was one of the best steaks I've eaten. Chefs Table was excellent with a great food, company and a large variety of wines. Wonderland was an adventure and we were very full when we finished. Izumi's was good but didn't realise you are charged for this restaurant as it depends on what you order, and cant be pre charged. The Noodle Bar on the pool deck was way too hot as its all enclosed and there was no breeze, try eating a spicy noodle soup in what feels like a sauna, you also had to pay to eat here. I dont understand why the whole lower pool deck is enclosed in glass which made even lying on a deck chair in the shade extremely uncomfortable in the heat, without any breeze at all. I thought kids club looked a little dark and gloomy I dont know why they dont have big windows to let in the natural light like at the Seaplex entertainment area. My daughter was hard to drop off on the few times she went but always said she had a good time after we picked her up. She was vey upset when she was told she was too young for the dodgem cars (must be 5 years or older) but was allowed to skydive (Which she did) go figure? Also she was too short by a few centimetres to go on the children's slides in the kids pool area. Hardly ate at Wind Jammers perhaps a breakfast or two no lunches or dinners, so cant really comment on the range or quality. We booked 4 days of Tours with China Highlights. They picked us up from the Ship and we drove for 3.5 hours to the Summer Palace, followed with lunch at a nice restaurant, then dropped at hotel about 3pm. to do what we wanted each afternoon. Much the same schedule each day with a drop off at the Airport on the last day at 10:30pm. Couldn't fault this company at all. All in all it was a great way to be introduced to cruising, and am already looking at Sydney to Singapore in March 2018 on the same ship, I might have to book a suite as I think I we've been spoilt now and enjoyed all the benefits they came with. Cruise never felt over crowded, and It didnt feel like we were moving 99% of the time it was very stable. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
We chose this ship as it was advertised as having all the exciting new features like indoor skydiving, bumper cars, etc. To our MASSIVE DISAPPOINTMENT, the moment we boarded the ship and tried to make on online reservations for ... Read More
We chose this ship as it was advertised as having all the exciting new features like indoor skydiving, bumper cars, etc. To our MASSIVE DISAPPOINTMENT, the moment we boarded the ship and tried to make on online reservations for skydiving, it was ALREADY FULL. How is this possible? Obviously, the ship is not equipped to handle the very capacity it advertises. Worse, they had a standby queue for people who wanted to try to queue for a slot in case someone who booked didn't turn up, I waited for one and a half hours in the hot sun, and the queue didn't even move ONE DAMN PERSON. To rub salt on our wounds, my almost 5 year old son had been looking forward to playing the bumper cars. Only after we have paid for the cruise and boarded the ship, did we find out that Royal Carribean has some totally inflexible rule, that the rider must be 5 years old TO THE DAY, before being allowed to ride. My son went home extremely disappointed. We feel misled, and cheated by Royal Carribbean. Don't advertise, if you are not transparent, UPFRONT, with guests, that they may not be able to enjoy certain activities due to your inability and poor planning, to accommodate every passenger. Don't even try to throw that famous sentence "It's on our website in the fine print" or some shit like that. We've had much better service and staff attitude on Mariner of the Seas. Luxury cruises are ALL about GUEST EXPERIENCE. We felt like refugees instead of a guest on a luxurious cruise, with many of the activities on a first-come-first-served basis. I stress again, BE TRANSPARENT. LET THE GUEST KNOW BEFORE THEY BOOK THE CRUISE WHETHER THE ACTIVITIES ARE AVAILABLE OR NOT, so they can make an informed decision. To top it all off, Royal Carribbean gave the guests $200 credit per person, which me and my husband checked via their television when we were on board on the second day. We happily spent itt , only to return and realise there was a $100 charge back which they did on the third day. Royal Carribbean admitted it was a technical error on their part, but DID NOT take responsibility for their error and absorb the cost. So we had to pay up. Is this ethical? Guests trust your internal system, that's the whole point of being able to check via the television what's their existing credits. And worse, the team did not have the courtesy to inform us before doing the charge back. We feel completely disrespected. I won't even bother to go into details of how the food onboard was horrible ( the pasta station guy served me aglio olio pasta with NO GARLIC NO SALT!!!) Worse pasta I've tasted in my life. And a Serbian waitress at the SILK fine dining restaurant, walked away without even informing me, when she was waiting for me to make my decision on what to order. No point having a beautiful spanking new ship, that is infected with viruses of poor service, poor crowdhandling and planning of activities. No point positioning yourself as premium, and stinge on essentials like toothbrushes and toothpaste (Yes guys, bring your own or be prepared to pay a lot for them). Our experience from the get-go, starting from delayed boarding which resulted in the crowd starving and rushing to the Windjammer cafe all at once, to not getting to use the services we thought we paid for and are included in the cruise, just makes the whole cruise SUCK BIG TIME. The only people who left a good impression on me were: My spa therapist from Vitality, who was very professional. And Hartley the Finance manager, who paid attention to our feedback and made us feel respected. But overall, the staff onboard tend to give us the vibe of "Oh too bad, that's just the way it is." If you want a luxurious cruise, AVOID OVATION OF THE SEAS. Staying at home eating instant noodles is a much more pampering experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Entertainment and Services -- Extremely poor management of on board activities. Signed up for this cruise to enjoy the much advertised front page banner activities such as iFLY and Northstar. But when i boarded the ship on departure day ... Read More
Entertainment and Services -- Extremely poor management of on board activities. Signed up for this cruise to enjoy the much advertised front page banner activities such as iFLY and Northstar. But when i boarded the ship on departure day was told that no more slots left. ALL had been fully booked before my scheduled boarding time. This is the same as buying a handphone but not being able to use the handphone to call after purchase. Very truly disappointed. And i was not alone too, many many other fellow cruise goers got the same experience as they could not enjoy such activities as well. Service -- On day 1, I personally queued to talk to guest services to check my on board credits. Was told it was US$200 per person. Went back to stateroom to check the TV to double confirm and indeed i was US$200 per person. Only reason i did this was i did not bring my paperwork to cruise and hence relied on the Royal Carribean system to tell me how much credits I had. Believe a reasonable man would have done the same and a reasonable person would have relied on the same as well as the system is live and cant go wrong and its Royal Carribean's system after all. As such i budgeted my cruise around the allocated credits. ONLY on day 3 in the late evening, the day before the end of the 4 day cruise did i find out MYSELF that US$100 credit were taken back from me citing system error. I was totally shocked. Queued an hour at front desk to ask what is going on and they said sorry no choice you have to pay up. I thought at least since it was Royal Carribean OVATION OF THE SEAS's mistake they would waive this or at the very LEAST offer a 50% waiver but they said none will be given at all. So ends up i have to pay for their mistake. Not sure what kind of service is this. Can only conclude that Royal Carribean comes first before its cruise goers. Totally bad experience. And i was not the only one experiencing this. Happened to many on board. With the above not sure if this is the right strategy for royal carribean given its strategy is to expand its presence in Asia. I note that Asia travellers account for more than 10% of total yearly cruise goers. This number has grown by a CAGR of ~20+% over 2011 to 2015. Dont think will travel anymore with Royal Carribean. Absolutely disappointing.... Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
This cruise did not deliver what was promised. The star attractions (i.e. North Star and iFly) were fully booked by the time we boarded. There was no transparent reservations system notified to us before boarding. To quote guest services: ... Read More
This cruise did not deliver what was promised. The star attractions (i.e. North Star and iFly) were fully booked by the time we boarded. There was no transparent reservations system notified to us before boarding. To quote guest services: only 10% of the guests onboard will have their turn on these attractions. This was not mentioned in the advertisements. We were misrepresented by the advertisements. We had booked this cruise precisely for these attractions. This cruise also misrepresented to us the amount of onboard credits we had when we called and then later enquired personally at the guest services counter. We were told on day 1 we each had $200 to spend. We budgeted our cruise accordingly only to find out on day 3 that they had deducted $100 from our onboard credit balance. When we enquired about this deduction, we were told we were overpaid onboard credits due to a system error and now we had to pay the $100 we had spent. To top it off, the staff told us we should have known from our travel documents the correct amount i.e. we should have verified what was presented to us on their system and spotted their system error. This attitude is shocking. We are on holiday. We booked this cruise many months ago. I do not think it is wrong for us to rely on the system to tell us the correct onboard credits to us. And if the system made an error, I fail to understand why the guests have to pay up after having budgeted their cruise spend based on what was presented to them. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I wrote a review on Ovation of the Seas at the end of the inaugural Singapore-Beijing route in June. On that occasion it was already a less than impressive cruise compared to Quantum of the Seas from Singapore to Shanghai in June a year ... Read More
I wrote a review on Ovation of the Seas at the end of the inaugural Singapore-Beijing route in June. On that occasion it was already a less than impressive cruise compared to Quantum of the Seas from Singapore to Shanghai in June a year before. My wife and I saw the opportunity to sail on her again only this time it was a round trip from Hong Kong to Japan and Korea and back from November 4th to November 13th. Based on previous cruises I highly recommended this one to my close friends and four couples chose to come along. I am compelled to write this review as I felt entirely responsible for them to have listened to me and came away with an appalling experience. Where do I begin... The Booking: acting on behalf on my group I asked immediately for suite accommodation when it was first advertised four months ago and I was informed by my TA that I had to wait for confirmation from the Shanghai HO. Incredibly, three months checking with my TA he told me Shanghai was not responding . Worry there might not be any staterooms left I had no choice but opted for four balcony staterooms three weeks before sailing. On-board check-ins came through just four days remaining I quickly logged on to the Cruise Planner to book dinner seatings in the complimentary restaurants, the shows, iFly, North Star etc. At the website complimentary dinner seating was locked out as I was told the Shanghai outfit unlike its predecessor did not believe in pre-bookings but rather have passengers cramping in long queues outside the four restaurants at dinner hours. The lines (three-deep at times) was frustrating. This was in complete contrast to the relaxed system at earlier sailings. The Food: well used to proper menus and smooth seating arrangements as previous time, the "menu" was a one-page printout itemizing only a handful of familiar items from previous restaurant menus and a ubiquitous section catered by a Hong Kong restaurant (four choices only). Needless to say, the food and the rushed service left a lot to be desired. The Solarium on Deck 14 now only operates entirely as a Hot Pot eatery for both lunch and dinner, costing $34 per head (gratuity included) and no surprise that place saw only a few tables of paying customers. Elsewhere other reviews have commented on how far the Windjammer has deteriorated but safe to say more passengers have learnt to give up their seats after completing their meals given there was nothing interesting to try Specialty Restaurants: Issumi was a total disaster while the standard at Jamie's had dropped. Wonderland with its unchanged menu had lost its charm and mystique with only Chops managed to hold its place. The Shows: perhaps it is the depressing mood of the whole ship generating a lack of passion for the entertainers, none of the shows was really up to par except for the Funny Bones duo despite identical routines. Shore Excursion: RCL is famous for its rip-off excursions and no surprise the tours for Japan and Korea were managed by totally incompetent guides showing zero knowledge on the places visited. . Picture this: at least two thousand passengers were forced to stand in pouring rain trying to board two hours before sailing at the Kochi port. No explanation or apologies were extended by the ship management, so typical of RCL in Asia. Conclusion: This will be the last time I will be cruising on a RCL vessel in Asia and if Shanghai HO thinks passengers in the rest of Asia enjoys being herded like sheep, think again as other cruise lines are coming over to Asia to tap this lucative market. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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