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

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children (16 & 8). We have taken many, many cruises and have sailed on Royal Caribbean in the past, including a two week cruise from Sydney to the South Pacific the previous year on the Voyager. We ... Read More
We are a family of 2 adults and 2 children (16 & 8). We have taken many, many cruises and have sailed on Royal Caribbean in the past, including a two week cruise from Sydney to the South Pacific the previous year on the Voyager. We selected a Family Junior Suite (Rm #10204) which was the perfect size for us. It was also less expensive then two connecting balcony rooms. A major plus was the extra half bathroom, especially when you are travelling with three females 555 ! The room was very modern, spacious, large ocean-view balcony, lots and lots of closets and storage space, and finally a room with lots of electrical outlets for charging our mobile devices. There was a over sized King bed and a Queen size sofa bed for the children. Even with the sofa bed fully extended the entire trip, the room still had lots of space to move around. Pluses about this cruise; excellent entertainment & Broadway style production shows (2), friendly staff, great service, modern decor, very good children programs - wave rider, rock climbing, zero gravity dome, bumper cars, sky crane, multi-purpose court - all free, nice pools & water park with slides. The internet and WiFi coverage was very good and stable the entire cruise. Before I get into the negatives, I should explain some background information. The Ovation is based 6 months of the year in Australia and 6 months in Asia with Beijing being its home port. There were over 5,000 passengers on this cruise, 4,500 + of which were from the country of the new home port city. The remaining passengers were mostly Western. During the 6 months the ship is based in Asia, the ship is totally revamped to accommodate the majority of its Asian guests. Negatives; Both in the 4 main dining rooms and the international buffet restaurant, there was only one main Western item on the menu each lunch and dinner. The vast majority was always Asian food. The non-Western guests lack manners and knowledge of proper travel etiquette. They were constantly pushing and cutting in lines, over loading the lifts, shouting for normal conversation, letting their children run around the main dining room and theater like it was a playground and basically disregarding most posted regulations (both in English and Mandarin) such as no eating areas, no smoking, no running, etc. Finding seating for 4 people in the buffet was next to impossible unless you went at an odd hour. Then you had to protect your table from chairs being taken away or your food being removed by other guests. Everyone at the table had to eat in shifts. God help you if you were anywhere near the section when fresh whole fruit was put out. It was like a swarm of locust descending on the area. We ate most of our dinner meals in specialty restaurants which were much more pleasant. The casino has mostly Asian card and table games. Smoking was allowed, so the atmosphere was pretty dense. No Bingo offered on the ship, even though there were 4 sea days. The lines to get on and off the ship were extremely long (hours). Luckily we had priority boarding and disembarkation with our room category. If you had cruised before, you would be highly disappointed over the meal situation. I do not think many of the Western guests onboard found the cruise enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
The ship is too big. I have sailed about 26 times on Celebrity and 3 times on Royal Caribbean. It took us WAY too long to embark. It was unorganized and mismanaged. We have a balcony cabin. First, we always have room service for ... Read More
The ship is too big. I have sailed about 26 times on Celebrity and 3 times on Royal Caribbean. It took us WAY too long to embark. It was unorganized and mismanaged. We have a balcony cabin. First, we always have room service for breakfast. Now they will charge $8, so I guess we have to get dressed, etc. and go to breakfast rather than relaxing in our cabin if you want anything more than a continental breakfast. We did order the continental breakfast several times and some of the orders were incorrect. The couch is rock hard, so the only other seat is the tiny computer chair. There is no instant coffee provided in the room, but there is tea. For dining, although we made the early dining, after waiting over 1/2 hour to find a table, they informed us that they only had one table for 8, instead of the nine in our family. They finally got us a good table. The food was less than average in quality and portions. Very bland and many of the selections were duplicates. We made a private tour in a Vietnam city several months ago. This morning, our son received an email from the tour company that the ship is no longer docking there, but another city. No word from RC until we happened to see a notice when checking in, and it said that they JUST found out (even though the tour company knew earlier this a.m. The staff is pleasant but not trained as well as those on Celebrity. In general, there are way too many people on board; very disappointed in RC and the Ovation. We will go on another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
Food in Buffet was the same every day. Did not like the fact that people served themselves and food was not covered. Saw many people handling food and putting it back. Other ships have their buffets enclosed with staff serving food, surely ... Read More
Food in Buffet was the same every day. Did not like the fact that people served themselves and food was not covered. Saw many people handling food and putting it back. Other ships have their buffets enclosed with staff serving food, surely this is much more hygienic. Ate at Chops Grille (nothing special), Jamie's (completely underwhelming) and Wonderland (worth trying). The nightly shows were average. The pool areas were lovely and so were the staterooms. Areas were clean BUT restrooms around the ship were left without toilet paper and in an untidy state as the day wore on. By far the worst experience I have ever had was the disembarkation. Firstly we were TOLD by Royal Caribbean what time we were getting off (even though their online check in asked us what arrangements we had made to leave the ship and what time). The allocated time was 2.15 hrs after when we were being picked up for private transfer to Beijing. This resulted in a 2 hour queue with people all trying to change their times. Then on the day it was TOTAL CHAOS with no-one overseeing anything. We even witnessed a fight when someone pushed into the queue. Our disembarkation time was 9.15 and we finally left the ship at 11.45. We were praying our 2 hour ride to Beijing would still be waiting for us. Be aware that the ports in Vietnam, Sth Korea and Beijing are a long way from the actual towns (1.5-2 hours) which resulted in needing to take ship tours or arrange private transfers and this added quite a bit of money to the trip. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
We booked this cruise after cruising on Quantum 2 years ago so we knew what to expect. Our check in time was 4pm and we were soaking wet after being caught in the rain in Singapore. As soon as we got on we had to do the safety drill which ... Read More
We booked this cruise after cruising on Quantum 2 years ago so we knew what to expect. Our check in time was 4pm and we were soaking wet after being caught in the rain in Singapore. As soon as we got on we had to do the safety drill which finished at 5 and then we had a notice saying that our dinner was 5.30 for that night. We were wet and our luggage was not delivered (even though we dripped it of at 10am) so we had to run around trying to find the bags and then have showers in half an hour. We also had to chase towels as we were only given 2 (there were 3 of us). The food was ok but did notice a decline from the last cruise. They also charged for lobster which was free on Quantum. Windjammers was always packed.We didn't do the specialty restaurants as we had done them all before. On the first night we were allocated the solarium for dinner which was a nice meal but as we arrived they were telling other people that they couldn't dine there as they didn't have reservations. They were not happy seeing that the restaurant was empty.The whole time we were eating the restaurant was half empty. Our 12 year old son loved the living room and would most nights get in after us. He lived on the flow rider and in the seaplex. The cabin was kept quite clean. My only suggestion would be that they turn the sofa bed into a sofa for the day so that there would be more room in the cabin. The sofa bed was left as a bed for the entire duration of the trip. Our first stop was Ho Chi Minh city which we had organised to stay in a hotel to save on travelling. We did a tour of the Cu Chi tunnels by boat and then did a night food street eats tour on the back of bikes. This was a highlight of the trip. Scary but fun being in that traffic! The next day we did the war museum which was very confronting then headed back to the boat. Our next stop was Danang where we booked the Hoi Ann cooking class which was quite enjoyable. We checked out the market (yuk) and then had free time to wander around. Hong Kong was alot of waiting around for the bus to take us to the starting point of the hop on hop of bus. We only had time to do 1.5 circuits and not the 3. We did the sampan ride and then had a nice lunch in the centre but that was all we had time for. We cancelled our tour for Seoul as it sounded boring. I'm glad we did because friends that took the tour said it was a waste of money. We decided to do our own thing. We got through customs fairly quickly but then had to wait over an hour to wait for the shuttle buses to come and get us. We went to China town in Incheon and there was plenty to see and then we had a traditional Korean lunch. Disembarkation was a nightmare. The previous day we received our tags and ours was at 1pm so I went to customer service and changed them to 8.45 as we had a driver picking us up at 10am. The next day we arrived at the lounge at 8 had breakfast and was waiting for our tag (No 6) to be called. They had already called 1 to 5. We noticed that the line was getting longer and longer and noticed that there were people in the line with numbers 15 and above. We asked the staff what was going on and all they said was that they must have transfers booked. That was annoying because that was why we had ours changed. The staff did nothing to police the lines. We ended up getting through customs at 12pm!! RCL knew that there was going to be a delay in Tianjin they should have let us know months before so people could book there transfers appropriately. The same way that they staggered the embarkation they should have let us request our disembarkation time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
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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