7 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Europe - British Isles & Western

Outstanding cruise members were our stateroom attendant 11162 and 11170 All the staff were excellent but especially - Pablo the Brazilian bar waiter in silk, Rahman in the grande, Sebastian the polish chef, Kamel the Turkish head ... Read More
Outstanding cruise members were our stateroom attendant 11162 and 11170 All the staff were excellent but especially - Pablo the Brazilian bar waiter in silk, Rahman in the grande, Sebastian the polish chef, Kamel the Turkish head waiter and also the Albanian headwaiter in Chic I can't remember his name though. The breakfast egg chef with the Caribbean accent at the station on the left was the fastest and friendliest of the 3 and the Romanian head waiter in Windjammer Spectra cabaret was fantastic Darren day was really good The dream was excellent Great fun on top deck with rip cord, I fly and roller skating. There was something for everyone to do In All 3 of the comp restaurants the fish was very over cooked but everything else was great. Two 70 cafe food and service was exceptional especially the beef sandwich and the cream scones and salad bar Windjammer food and service was best of all the RC ships I've had so far I wish it would stay open till 10pm. A couple of suggestions in sorrentos the pizza was either raw or hard. In the cafe next door it would be better to do the order of the hot beverages as cups then tea bags then hot water and then coffee and milk and sugar as English people always put tea bag in the cup first then the hot water and milk last so it gets brewed. The ladies toilets always had issues with the doors and knowing if it was occupied or not as the red and white on the outside lock was so small and I saw everyone just trying a them all as it wasn't clear, also the toilet flush it takes a few goes to know how and when it flushes. We mainly chose this cruise as it was a new ship but The shuttle service and port destinations were not as good as other excursions I've been on with RC and at Le Havre the shuttle service was shocking and we waited ages for the bus to pick us up from the docks and people were getting crushed on the packed up buses. The photography was very expensive and at least the download option could have been a lot cheaper. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We went first time on Royal Caribbean,having previously been on Pand O and celebrity on several other cruises.The Ovation is a massive ship.The check in service was very efficient the staff were very friendly and helpful,and we got on ... Read More
We went first time on Royal Caribbean,having previously been on Pand O and celebrity on several other cruises.The Ovation is a massive ship.The check in service was very efficient the staff were very friendly and helpful,and we got on board two and a half hours before our allotted time due to arriving early which was great.The choice of dynamic dinning was very good,we eat at a different restaurant each night after booking in on the onboard booking system on our cabin t.vThe food was very good as was the service. The only problem we had initially was in the Windjammer breakfast buffet,we found it hard to get a table to sit,so avoided it for the rest of the cruise.We instead went to the Solarium bistro much more less stressful, and pleasant.Also the queues for toast and eggs were long in Windjammers,I could not understand why only one girl doing toast for hundreds of people. Our balcony stateroom was very clean and obviously brand new and the bed was the most comfortable I have slept on in any cruise ship I've been on.The ship entertainment was very good and of a high standard we enjoyed the highlight shows.But you must make sure you book your place on these to ensure you see them. Overall we really enjoyed our cruise,the only things we didn't like we're the shore transfers.On previous cruises these were organised by the cruise line free of charge.On Royal Carribean they are run by local coach companies and chargeable. On two of our four ports of call we had trouble getting from the ship into the town due to severe congestion caused by lack of adequate coaches being provided.Next time we will take a taxi from port to town more expensive but less stressful.Overall the ship has something for everyone and we would go again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
My wife and I were on the third cruise for this new ship. We heard some bad stories from the first two cruises, but this one was amazing! From the check in, being taken through security by our Royal Genie, yes we had a Royal Genie before ... Read More
My wife and I were on the third cruise for this new ship. We heard some bad stories from the first two cruises, but this one was amazing! From the check in, being taken through security by our Royal Genie, yes we had a Royal Genie before they started the program on May 1st. Had our bags in our Sky Loft Suite within three hours of hitting the dock. Free unlimited drink package for both, free VOOM for both, tips included, and no charge for any of the restaurants on board, including chops, and free Chef's dinner with the cast of Spectra's Cabaret! Sunil, our Royal Genie, took care of all our requests, and even had our mini bar stocked daily with free wine and beer. Chops was fantastic. Had a dry aged bone in rib eye, and it was heaven. Just don't order wine without your glasses. Ordered a bottle of Opus One from Mondavi for $160.00, and now its one of our favorite red wines. Just very hard to find in Ca. Looking forward to our next RCCL cruise on OASIS III or IV!!! in 2018. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Check in was extremely easy. I was expecting a much slower experience due to passenger numbers. We first made our way to 270 which gives panoramic views to the rear of the ship and doubles as an entertainment venue. There was a pleasant ... Read More
Check in was extremely easy. I was expecting a much slower experience due to passenger numbers. We first made our way to 270 which gives panoramic views to the rear of the ship and doubles as an entertainment venue. There was a pleasant cafe with complimentary hot rolls, sandwiches and pastries. Very nice. Our cabin was ready at 1300 hrs and was nice with a large double bed, flat screen TV which was interactive for on board account amongst other things. A small settee and outside balcony. Bathroom was pleasant and the shower quite large and reasonably powerful. There are two lift areas, forward and mid ships. None aft. Queue times for theses were resonable at all times but you don't get much time to get into them, the doors close rapidly. We explored the ship which on the face of it was impressive. A nice central mall area with the theatre at one end and 270 at the other. VERY high end shops which were empty 99% of the time. There is a genuine?? Pub which sold pub food for a charge, Starbucks coffee and patisserie which also charged and a free pizza and pastry/ coffee restaurant opposite called Sorrentos. The onboard free coffee for me was good in comparison to standard UK coffee, I can't imagine why anyone would want to pay 30 yards away at Starbucks. Downstairs from the lower mall is a large casino, more of which later. Upper Mall area had Wonderland restaurant which one of our party ate at and said was the best food on the ship. There is also a Japanese restaurant, schooners bar and photo area here. We had several photos taken on the cruise which were supposed to link to your cruise card for perusal and purchase. None did. We had no professional photos to view. Going aft from Guest Services the mall opened into two of the four dynamic dining restaurants, American Icon and Silk. Beneath them on deck 3 aft of the Casino was the other two, Chic and Grande. On deck 5 the mall continued aft past the midship lifts to further shops, Jamie's Italian and vintage wine bar. I was surprised to find that self service wine dispensing using your cruise card still carried an 18% service charge. I paid a service charge to serve myself! Further aft took you past future cruise to 270. 270 is an interesting venue with interactive robotic TV screens and there is on Caberet show (Spectre) and several 270 degree films. You have to book to see Spectre and my first impression is that 270 isn't big enough to meet demand. At the other end of the ship the Theatre is large but the middle tier is not good for unrestricted views. There are pillars everywhere and a low ceiling so that much of the aerial action in productions is above your eyeline. There were headline acts most nights but also another book able show called the dream. This show was excellent and as near a full west end production that you will ever see at sea. Outside on deck 5 there are outside walking areas and loungers but you cannot complete a circuit. At the top of the ship is the Seaplex area where number cars, roller skating and trapeze classes locate, the area also doubles as a sports area. There is an arcade area and hot dog facility. Underneath Seaplex was the Windjammer market place food hall. The food here outside of breakfast was very disappointing and poorly cooked. Dried up and shrivelled dishes jockeyed for position with Luke warm fare. The open pool area had a large video wall which showed films at times through the day. There was also a free ice cream bar there. The next closed pool area and bar led to Solarium which was an adult only pool and jacuzzi area which also held the Solarium Bistro. Others in our party ate there and were impressed. The area is way too small though and securing lounger proved impossible most days. The cruise ship had dynamic dining. We were dynamic choice which meant booking restaurants each evening for dinner. You either pay premium or choose one of Grande, Chic, Silk or American Icon. Pre cruise most availability showed as nil on our cruise planner you could however book on board and even turn up and take your chance. I have to say though that I didn't like this system. The food in these restaurants was simply appalling. From the first day in American Icon there were unavailable appetisers and the one vegetarian main course available ( always one vegetarian entree course only in every restaurant) was served completely raw and inedible. When this was pointed out to staff we were told that the chef had to come out of the kitchen and the complaint made directly to him in front of the other diners. Awkward. Each and every dinner had items unavailable or missing ( cheesecake without the coulis) or raw or overcooked food. It was incredible to see waiting staff and head waiters firefighting right left and centre with returned dishes. I have never seen anything like it. The Casino is huge and here is the first clue as to why those in our party who had cruised with RCI before found Ovation so confusing and different. Ovation will be mainly used for the Chinese market and really is a floating casino. There are already high stake gambling areas ready and waiting for life in Asia. Bar staff say that they don't expect to be busy in Asia so the bars are small by comparison. Gambling is the key. The roll out staff on Ovation has a huge Chinese contingent. As the ship settles in Asia current non Chinese staff will be moved elsewhere. At the moment there is training left right and centre and there is a LONG way to go to get a fully functioning ship. We were left feeling that we had had one of the most disappointing holidays at sea from our last 15 years of experience. Sad but Royal Caribbean have lost us as customers. As a final point future cruises were selling cruises advertised as second guest 50% and $500 on board credit. My son and his wife were with us and as a professional couple early 30's who were happy to use the casino RCI should have been fighting for their future patronage. They went to book a Caribbean cruise later this year and were quoted a special price that was £300 more than that on the RCI website for the same cruise. No explanation of the price difference Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Maiden Voyage - if you don't count the 3 night one last week! We stayed on from the 'not the maiden voyage cruise' and this was our first back-to-back cruise. Unfortunately RC didn't have us noted as consecutive ... Read More
Maiden Voyage - if you don't count the 3 night one last week! We stayed on from the 'not the maiden voyage cruise' and this was our first back-to-back cruise. Unfortunately RC didn't have us noted as consecutive cruisers despite me completing this on the online booking. Another 20 minutes with guest services trying to sort. The verdict is a wasted day really hanging around and not being able to get back to the cabin to avoid the influx of new guests. Unfortunately we had to change cabins from the last cruise - never again! When we booked an inside cabin (SI category) for this cruise whilst onboard Anthem last year, we were not told it was the size of a broom cupboard! Nor that it had a vestibule door (shared initial opening door with next door). As doors slam shut, this was very noisy. The virtual balconies were broken. After several visits to guest relations and failed promised callbacks, eventually we were moved to bigger inside cabins with working virtual balconies. I have to say I was very impressed with these. We purchased a soda package but the drinks were flat and most were not available - surprise! We got a refund which took days and more visits to guest relations. I was told my water package would be refunded after my complaint but it still hasn't been. They seemed to have re-stocked this cruise so at least we were able to get drinks most of the time and they had apple and orange juice for breakfast every morning this time. Day 4 they had a broken line which left us without water in the sink, shower and toilets. Not expected on a brand new ship, and especially annoying for my Dad who was in the shower at the time! XBOX never worked - guest services said a guest had plugged something in they shouldn't have. Another couple were told the cable to convert it wasn't long enough so who knows. Other staff told us there were lots of workmen still onboard fixing things. Excellent onboard facilities such as North Star, I-fly, rock climbing. Plenty to do day and night. Staff try to please but still some issues to resolve. Restaurant manager Deepak was excellent. Customer relations team should take note from him on how to provide excellent customer service. Received some lovely maiden voyage gifts. Did seem odd we didn't get these on the cruise before it though. Cherbourg Docked on the right hand side. Nice view of harbour too. View to the left was sea and hills. Free wifi in terminal building. Just opposite is the submarine and aquarium. Nice shop selling lots of souvenirs. Local funny train ride €6.50 but goes from town so a good 20 minute walk or queue for the shuttle bus. Le Havre Docked on right hand side again. Free wifi in building opposite car park. Also small souvenir shop. €4 return shuttle into town. Not many shuttles either. Did the train ride tour last time so this time just looked around. Not worth going to Paris from here when live in UK, it's quicker and cheaper to fly. Bruges €12 euros to get the shuttle out of the port of Zeebrugge seemed a lot considering how much money us tourists bring to the country. Entertainment - some of these may have been on last week - I can't remember Darren Day far exceeded my expectations and indeed he received a standing ovation. The female singer Clare V was also excellent - fantastic voice Spectre was excellent and well rehearsed. The Dream was also very good. The magnets group were very talented - did think they could have made more of an effort rather than wearing jeans! Cruise director Joff was very funny and visible Just as we were leaving, I collected the bills from the door and discovered we had been charged for a mini bar item we had not had. £6 for a bottle of water! The funny thing about this, is that we had loads of bottles of water from the Evian package we purchased on the first cruise! Overcharging is common on RC! Departure was smooth. We ignored the instructions to go to the allocated lounge and instead walked straight off with our own luggage. We did have to queue for 15 minutes for a taxi so worth booking next time. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
3 stars seems mean, 4 stars too many, so read this as 3 and a half stars! Firstly, this is an amazing ship, well, it is brand new! The cabins are fab, more closet space but maybe at the expense of the bed size and how close the cupboard ... Read More
3 stars seems mean, 4 stars too many, so read this as 3 and a half stars! Firstly, this is an amazing ship, well, it is brand new! The cabins are fab, more closet space but maybe at the expense of the bed size and how close the cupboard doors are to the beds. Bathroom is lovely with a good shower. Balcony very good, much improved furniture - although it was bit nippy to sit out on the balcony! Food - well, this was hit and miss. On the whole the quality was excellent, the beef and lamb were the best I have tasted. But I would say that 50% of the meals were bordering on tepid. There was very little choice for vegetarians, only one choice on each menu in the four main restaurants. We used the Grande (good) Chic (very good) and Silk (ok). We ate at Jaimie's twice as there was more choice for vegetarian food and it was generally hotter. Windjammer was the usual bun fight, a much better option was the Solarium Bistro, much quieter with much the same choice. You could get speciality coffee at a few venues, mostly ok, although they don't seem to know how to make a decent liqueur coffee. Bars - well again, the service was hit and miss. In the Music Hall bar the service was quick and efficient, very well organised bar staff. Up in the solarium (Sunshine bar??) I was all too often ignored as others were served who had just arrived. I noticed a few other people also waiting to be served, also being overlooked. Should be better than this. It was not easy to spot a waiter to order a drink from your table or sun lounger. And don't get me started on sun loungers! The usual problems, people putting towels on and leaving them empty for most of the day, not one member of staff dealt with this (they need to take a leaf out Of Celebrity's book, they know how to deal with this). The entertainment was good, Joff is an excellent Cruise director, very funny. Lots to choose from, we enjoyed the quizzes especially, and the 80's band, The Wild Ones. My main bug bare on this holiday was (as usual) the billing issues. We were told on day 1 that we had the premium drinks package, so to upgrade to Ultimate would be 5 dollars a day, brilliant we thought and opted or this. 4 days later - 4 DAYS - we were then told they had made a mistake and we now owed $147! I think not. It took some sorting and numerous visits to Guest Relations and calling the bar manager to get this sorted. Why does this always happen on Royal Caribbean? Just puts a damper on your holiday. I have just received an invoice by email and it looks like they are going to take more from me! For this reason we think we will give Royal Caribbean a miss in future and try another cruise line. Fed up of spending my holiday at Guest relations! Oh, one more thing, I smoke, but allowing smoking in the Casino is just mad! Felt so sorry for people walking through ad the poor croupiers. OK, rant over! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Not quite the maiden voyage! Interestingly this 3 night cruise was the pre inaugural cruise (not the maiden voyage - that followed directly after). We booked the 5 night 'maiden voyage' ages ago and was offered the chance to ... Read More
Not quite the maiden voyage! Interestingly this 3 night cruise was the pre inaugural cruise (not the maiden voyage - that followed directly after). We booked the 5 night 'maiden voyage' ages ago and was offered the chance to also book the 3 night cruise which was added in very late. Eventually after a lot of hassle we added the 3 night cruise too. Took the train instead of driving and arrived at 1.30pm. Plenty of taxis at the station, no queues. Only a five minute drive. Surprisingly there was no queue and we were onboard within 5 minutes. The brand new ship is beautiful. There is loads to do for all ages. North Star, I-fly, flow rider, rock climbing etc. All fantastic. You won't ever be bored. What spoiled this cruise for me was the bad planning by RC. It appears the supplies were ordered for delivery for the 5 night 'maiden voyage' departure after this 3 night one as they ran out of orange juice on day 2 and apple juice never arrived until late evening the 2nd night. Then it was warm as were all drinks. No juice for breakfast is poor planning. The staff said the only option was to purchase the $4 freshly squeezed orange juice. The 'lemonade' RC have on all ships was not lemonade in the Windjammer but lemon and lime. I argued my point every day and was told it was lemonade then it was the sugar free version and eventually they admitted there was an issue with supplies. There is no excuse as Anthem is the same ship so they should know what stock they need. As I do not drink tea or coffee, the lack of drinks was a real issue for me. I purchased the Evian water package the second morning so I didn't have to hunt the ship every time I wanted a drink. However, that was easier said than done. Guest services sent me to the coffee shop to purchase it but they said it wasn't possible to buy a package, only individual bottles. Eventually they said I could purchase a package but only 12 or 24 bottles not 8. Bearing in mind this was a 3 night cruise! Luckily we stopped on for the 5 night one so was able to use it. But just to top things off, they charged me twice! Cabin do not disturb signs were unpacked on day 2. Room service menus were just photocopies as were breakfast order forms. No milk cartons so milk was delivered by room service in a giant wine glass. A good way to ruin the new carpets! There was a lot of communication problems with staff not understanding. They didn't understand the crown & anchor programme and rewards you get such as Bogof drinks so we gave us trying to spend our money with them and ended up buying drinks in Rotterdam to drink onboard. Guest services said there were a lot of new staff and different nationalities. Fair enough, but that is your problem RC to train them. Having paid a lot of money I expected far better service. Cabins - beautiful when new. The balcony was so large it was bigger than the room I'm sure. Was so disappointed I had to change cabins next cruise. Nice large screen TV and I do like to watch channel 40 - Ovation views. Nice beds, very comfy. Loads of space. Inadequate table space and a stool instead of a chair is very uncomfortable. Had to utilise the table and footstool from outside. Room service menu very poor - anything decent was chargeable. Anthem had Jonny Rockets - Ovation has the Kung Foo noodle bar. Also selling fish and chips and beef curry! Wow wristbands now $4.99 - they were free on Anthem last October. Day 3 I had the pleasure of a cold shower. Guest services advised there was a problem with the water temperature - really I'd never have guessed. Spent too long at guest services as they never called me back as promised. As many of the other reviews suggest, the food was indeed nothing more than warm in the windjammer. It was not hot at all. No weetabix for breakfast. People were complaining about slow bar service and restaurant service taking 3 hours. Drinks took an hour to get. Windjammer manager Deepak was excellent but sadly he put guest services to shame. The communication (or lack of) between guest services and other areas was terrible. Smoking is still allowed in the Casino in designated areas which basically fills the whole casino. We refused to stay in there. Future cruise bookings - They quoted far more than what I could get online booking direct for all but 1 cruise we looked at, even with the 50% off second guest. One person told us that didn't apply for single occupancy and another said it still did and quoted us lower prices. When once price was around £1000 more I pointed out the price I got online and suddenly he could get a cheaper price. In terms of onboard entertainment, RC cannot be beaten. Bumper cars, trapeze, roller skating, i-fly, etc. Were all excellent. Beautiful Ship, overall friendly staff trying to please. Minor issues to resolve and some training then I'm sure in a few weeks all areas will be superb. Rotterdam - expensive place. Took the free shuttle to town and had a good look around. Last year we went on the Spido boat tour - bit dull! Wanted to go up the Euromast tower but was wet and cloudy, maybe next month on Harmony. Maritime museum over the bridge to the right. Lots of water taxis. Shops - now if you want an incredibly expensive watch, this Ship is the place to be! Every shop, every stall has them. Never saw anyone in them nor the expensive Jewelry shop. A decent general shop would have been handy for things people forget. Near the end I spotted a tiny corner behind the alcohol and cigarettes that sold a few general things. And as for the Ship souvenir products , these were simply cheap (but expensive to buy) items. So overall a lovely ship but this 3 night cruise should not have been added so late. It felt more like a test cruise for the staff. Departure - we stayed on for the proper maiden voyage. It was that next cruise where we were given several maiden voyage gifts. Very nice, but seems odd not to have received these last week. Those who didn't stop on missed out and that seems unfair. Back to back cruse - inconvenient changing cabins as RC have no customer service people with any common sense who can just move things around. The same cabins were available online but they refused to move us unless we paid again. Also we were kicked out between 7-8.30 and were not allowed back in cabins until after 1pm. Read Less
Sail Date April 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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