20 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to South Pacific

We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ship to keep them engaged and happy. Embarkation in Sydney went without a hitch, and by 11.30 we had found a table in the Windjammer and had our first cocktail. We then explored the ship, and the looks on our kids and grandkids faces was a joy to behold. Because we were a party of 11 we stuck with My Time dining in Silk, and the food for the most part was top shelf. Our wait staff (Jerrold and Jan) were fantastic, remembered everyone’s names and could not have done more for us. Nothing was too much trouble and they made our dining experience one to remember. We had four cabins on Deck 10 forward, and they were nice enough. Our cabin attendant Aldrin did a great job, keeping all our cabins immaculate, always with a smile on his face. We attended most of the shows - some hits, some misses. Pixels kept the kids entertained, but we had seen it before and knew what to expect. We had a crack at most of the activities, including ifly, North Star and dodgems. As many other reviewers have mentioned, the queues at times were horrendous, but hey, you’re on a cruise, so just enjoy the people watching! Our ports of call were Noumea, Mystery Island and Brisbane. We found Mystery Island to be the highlight, way more to do there than expected. Beautiful beaches, friendly locals and crystal clear water. Noumea was ok, we’d been there before and knew what to expect. A lot of people didn’t get off in Brisbane, the main reason being that the port was a long way from anything, and Royal had the hide to charge us $25 USD pp for a shuttle into Brisbane - a lot of cabbage when there are 11 of you. Whilst I appreciate that there is a cost involved to organise the coaches, I'm certain it wouldn’t have been $40 AUD pp, just another example of profit being put before all else, I suppose. All in all it was a great trip, and a fantastic first cruise experience for our family. We will certainly cruise again with Royal, and I’m sure our kids will as well. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our first cruise ever with one teenager. We decided to do a cruise because I don't like flying and it was recommended by someone. The ship is relatively new - launched in 2016 and looks amazing. We had a stateroom with a ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever with one teenager. We decided to do a cruise because I don't like flying and it was recommended by someone. The ship is relatively new - launched in 2016 and looks amazing. We had a stateroom with a balcony which was small but perfectly formed. Our stateroom attendant was unfailingly cheerful even though he never seemed to get a break. We decided to purchase the Key, a priority program and skip the line pass that included the Zoom internet package. We mainly bought this mainly to skip the line with activities, which it was not very useful for (see below) but it was useful for onboarding and disembarking. Not sure if it was worth the cost. The activities such as FlowRider, NorthStar, IFly, bumper cars and roller skating were pretty amazing given this is all on a ship, but the lines are long if you did not have the Key and even with the Key we could only skip the line once a session. There are 5000 passengers on board. Sometimes this is not apparent but sometimes it did get very crowded. There were countless attempts to separate your money from your wallet, ranging from art auctions to high end shops to lots of sales and "opening specials" on thousand dollar jewelry which did get a little tedious at times. The price point for the beauty and massage service, Vitality Spa, I thought was rather high as it is easy to find a Thai style or hot stone massage in Australia for 60 AUD, as opposed to the 190 USD being charged onboard. The gym was enormous but even so could get very crowded. There were free stretch and core classes, although again these could get crowded and occasionally started early which I found a little irritating. I thought that the shows were quite good, with professional dancers and singers and the Cruise Director was very amusing. We found the complimentary dining more than adequate with US style service. The Windjammer was the biggest buffet I had ever seen. Cant comment on the alcohol as I don't drink. This ship is full of Aussie passengers - the construction business must be good as there was a preponderance of cashed up tradies and their families. Some kids ran around like they were in a caravan (trailer) park and would press all the elevator buttons. There were a couple of craft activities that simply consisted of a staff member handing out a craft kit. No real instructions to speak of which I found disappointing and again this often started early and was often crowded. Our main problem was the teen clubs called The Living Room for 12 to 14 and Fuel for 15 to 17. There seems to be this expectation that teens were simply let loose until up to the curfew at 1 am, to roam around at will, which I thought was highly unsafe given the population was equivalent to a small town. There were scheduled activities for teens aged 12 to 14, but after about 8 pm there were a few gangs of boys that roamed around checking out the young girls, some of whom were allowed to dress with long fake nails, low cut crop tops and false eyelashes. As I had a 14 year old daughter, I was not impressed. She loved meeting the other kids though and it was difficult to drag her away. We did our own shore excursions. Noumea was not that exciting although we did a bus tour which was interesting. Mystery Island was beautiful, but suddenly overcrowded by 5000 passengers! We ended up taking a village tour to Aneityum Island which was very interesting and much less cramped. We did the Hop On and Hop Off bus at Auckland and spent most of our time at the Auckland museum. Overall my impression was that was a surprisingly good holiday. This cruise liner catered for all types of passengers, although with a strange combination of high end exclusive marketing trying to persuade a somewhat downmarket customer base to spend up big on their vacation. The ship is quite spectacular and the service from the international crew was excellent. The teen area was our major concern and may be a deal breaker for us in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were family group of 23 on this cruise, ages ranging from 79 to 5. There were many large family groups, which was great, as it was Australian school holidays. This was our 5th cruise with RC. The check-in and bag drop in Sydney on ... Read More
We were family group of 23 on this cruise, ages ranging from 79 to 5. There were many large family groups, which was great, as it was Australian school holidays. This was our 5th cruise with RC. The check-in and bag drop in Sydney on embarkation was seamless and easy. The ship is huge! Our cabins were spacious and very clean. We had a lovely balcony which added to the spaciousness of the cabin. The cabin was serviced twice daily and our attendant went out of his way to make our stay memorable. Its a pity we didn't realise how large the was before booking cabins, I would definately book cabins closer to the elavators especially for older people. I enjoyed the long walks on the ship as I managed to get plenty steps in! The Windjammer, where we went to for breakfast and lunch was busy, but you could get tables within a few minutes. The variety of food offered was extensive and chef Joseph was wonderful in accommodating special dietary needs. The staff were friendly and the service incredibly efficient. We had dinner at Chic restaurant and there our waiters and the head waiters were outstanding in the service they provided. All the staff went out of their way to attend to our every request. All the staff were polite and helpful and RC should be proud of having such good staff. There is such a wide variety of food offerings on the ship that you would never go hungry. Pizzas at Sorrentos always went down well! With such a large number of passengers it is only expected that the teenagers were going to queue for activities such as the Flowrider, bumper cars, roller skating etc. The queues for these activities were quite long. The iFly and North Star should be booked immediately on boarding. The adults enjoyed the relative peace of the Solarium. The Pixel and I love legs shows were really good. We enjoyed all the shows and parties at 360. The resident band......well it could be improved, everything they sang sounded the same. The two comedians were average at best. I think that this 10 night itinerary should have had one extra port. One sea day too many. Noumea was really nice and the beaches and swimming good. Please note South African cruise passengers did not require visas for New Caledonia. We spent weeks trying to ascertian this before our departure and could not get an answer from RC, the French Embassy, South African International Relations department, the Government of New Caledonia and various other sources. I wish that we had know that Mystery Island did not offer any foods except barbecued crayfish. No cool drinks, no bottle water, snacks were available at all. There was not very clean looking boiled tea offered by the locals. The island is beautiful, snorkelling and swimming excellent. I would suggest that when you stop in Nomea, visit the supermarket and buy snacks to take to Mystery Island. Definately take your bottled water. Auckland was a lovely quiet, clean city which were toured using Auckland Scenic Tours who provided us with private mini buses for our group. Knowledgeable and informative tour guides. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and there were activities for all ages. My biggest gripe was the cost of wi-fi. Buying wi-fi for 23 people was not feasible and we had great difficulty trying to find each other and the kids. We generally met at meal times. RC should should seriously think about how to make communication amongst the passengers easier. I kept complaining that it was as if we were on parallel holidays because we could not find each other outside of meal times! The app should include What's App for passengers or cheaper wi fi. In 2020, it can't be a problem to have connectivity for cruise passengers. I would definately go again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This is a great cruise liner, very new, excellent staterooms, and mostly excellent service. Our room attendant was the best, always excellent service and always smiling. Give him a raise! Many activities on board including IFly (!) bumper ... Read More
This is a great cruise liner, very new, excellent staterooms, and mostly excellent service. Our room attendant was the best, always excellent service and always smiling. Give him a raise! Many activities on board including IFly (!) bumper cars, rock climbing, video games, ping pong, sports court, free Zumba and stretch classes, craft (could do better with the craft classes, just gave out kits), lectures, many pools etc. Teen club was good but too many boys hanging around outside. Entertainment was first class. Some of the other passengers let their kids run around without any supervision which I did not like but not much that RC can do about it. Complementary meals and service was good, ranging from fine dining to the massive Windjammer buffet restaurant which has to be seen to be believed. I cannot understand all the whinging in other comments. I mean really, someone got the wrong parmesan? Seriously? Overall very good and highly recommended. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Initially we were very excited about our Christmas cruise but became concerned after reading many reviews. We have cruised on three different cruise lines in a Europe and South Pacific and the second time on RCL. The ovation is amazing, ... Read More
Initially we were very excited about our Christmas cruise but became concerned after reading many reviews. We have cruised on three different cruise lines in a Europe and South Pacific and the second time on RCL. The ovation is amazing, from the very quick seamless embarkation, clean stateroom, service, activities and food choices amazing! We had 2 balcony staterooms one for us and one for our 4 kids. One kid ended up in our room on the fold out sofa. Kids ages 9, 12, 14,16 and not one complaint of boredom even though they had no WIFI for 10 days. When I was researching I couldn’t find a review of Christmas, RCL do an amazing job, there are Christmas decorations, activities, Christmas movies, craft, Christmas food including cookies and milk leading up to a big day of celebration, Santa’s arrival, free gifts for kids under 18. These were very thoughtful and useful. In terms of drinks, we bought the deluxe package, I’m not a big drinker but it definitely works out, bottled water, fresh juices, specialty coffee and wine and cocktails, book on cruise planner prior when it goes on sale. Lots of sales of jewellery and watches, don’t buy in first few days, as they go up to 75 percent off! My sister in law was seasick, they sell tablets in the merchant store but give them away for free at reception. On Christmas Day we booked a specialty restaurant “chops Grille”, food 9/10 but they didn’t have the same Christmas frivolity as the other restaurants, they offered us this for 49 usd adults and kids above 12 and 10 for kids, they said no charge for kids at the end. No Christmas pudding or turkey on menu but apple pie was to die for. They work so hard to make sure everything leads to a great holiday, free ice cream all day on the pooldeck, blankets for watching movies under the stars on the pooldeck. We bought a paradise lotto ticket, $2.00 a game and won $100 usd which we used to credit our account. The activities director is a crack up and there are so many family friendly activities and challenges you can join in or just watch. Caribbean music on the pool deck really makes for a great atmosphere, there is the main pool, a second undercover pool and the adult solarium. The food in main dining is great, the buffet has a theme section each night and the variety for gluten intolerant, vegans and vegetarians is great, not that this was us! Oh and the gym was huge and free, we used it most days. Overall a great experience, would love to do it again next year! Everyone had a great time, I couldn’t fault it, and we are well travelled. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Ship : it was a bit overwhelming at first , as I have not yet been on such a big Ship. However once we found and navigated our way round it was easy to find places .American dollars was a bit annoying and having to buy aust sockets was ... Read More
Ship : it was a bit overwhelming at first , as I have not yet been on such a big Ship. However once we found and navigated our way round it was easy to find places .American dollars was a bit annoying and having to buy aust sockets was too . Cabin : our Cabin wasn't sorted out for 2 single beds , however as soon as we requested them to be separated . It was not too long after we returned that night it was done. Our cabin was lovely , the heating/cooling was a bit difficult to get used to , however room steward came and showed how it worked . the Fahrenheit took a bit getting used to. Entertainment and Activities : my favorite was the Ifly and bumper cars . I highly recommend " the key" program as that will get you passed the huge line ups (if they become an issue) My mum enjoyed the shows as I did . Service : was brilliant - always smiles and ready to assist . Our room steward was friendly and willing to assist when we needed . Guest services were also amazing - especially in assisting my elderly mum. Ports and shore excursions: the team to assist us to disembark and embark back onto the ship were ultra helpful - again especially with my mum - they went out their way to assist and listened when I needed help with mum. My mum loved it and we will be cruising again on her in Nov 2020 . Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I know why I choose Princess cruises! The ship is ok although the layout is confusing the staff were just ok nothing to rave about. There so called alcohol package is truly unlimited and the staff clearly don’t abide by a responsible ... Read More
I know why I choose Princess cruises! The ship is ok although the layout is confusing the staff were just ok nothing to rave about. There so called alcohol package is truly unlimited and the staff clearly don’t abide by a responsible service of alcohol this is a huge concern one that could backfire quite easily. Our cabin was nice kept clean we didn’t really see our guy that much but was pleasant and there to help if you needed. The outside pool on deck 14 was tiny for a ship it’s size. The adults only area only had spas and a shallow pool to sit in There was an inside pool also quite small. The entertainment day and night was very average. Unfortunately we missed 1 port to bad weather and there was no programme arranged until lunchtime We made our own fun but overall I wouldn’t recommend this ship . Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We are frequent, loyal RCCL cruisers from Sydney, this being our 10th cruise with Royal. Firstly, the good - we thought Cruise Director Joff was outstanding, a very funny guy. Service in the public areas was generally above average. ... Read More
We are frequent, loyal RCCL cruisers from Sydney, this being our 10th cruise with Royal. Firstly, the good - we thought Cruise Director Joff was outstanding, a very funny guy. Service in the public areas was generally above average. Pizza from the Promenade cafe was constantly above par. The flown-in entertainers were great, especially the comedian, magician, Freddie Mercury act and the hypnotist, and pixels was something else. We visited three of the specialty restaurants, and had a great night at each, being a nice change from the mayhem of the main dining rooms. The ship itself is fantastic, plenty to do for all ages, with the North Star, I fly, dodgems, Flowrider, the fitness centre and all pools getting a solid workout. Secondly, the not so good - we thought the food in the main dining rooms (there are 4, two for my time dining and two for set dining) was average at best, although it did seem to improve slightly as the cruise went on. It was really nothing better than an RSL bistro most nights, and there was not much variation in the menu from night to night. Service was okay, without being great. We thought the showtime productions by the onboard cast were ordinary, Long Live Legs was pumped up to be a great night, but we found that the screeching from the lead singer detracted from the entire production. The ports were poor, one was bypassed due to choppy seas, although we booked this cruise for the ship, not the destinations. Thirdly, our biggest bugbear were our fellow passengers, many of whom behaved as if they were at Boganville RSL for 9 days. It was mullets, rats tails, singlets and tattoos as far as you could see. Even though the dress code for the dining rooms is supposed to be smart casual, to some guests this is apparently shorts, t-shirt and thongs. And the sad part is, the crew did nothing to discourage this. Instead of being on Royal Caribbean, it felt like we were on P & O or Carnival. In days gone by, there were standards that were adhered to, and people seemed to accept and respect that. Not so on RCCL anymore, and responsible service of alcohol was non-existent, and there were many, many very drunk people wandering about the ship. This review may sound as if I am a snob, but I am far from it. However, I will think long and hard about booking any more cruises out of Sydney with any company, as it is will inevitably and unfortunately be full of Australians of the worst kind. I would hate to think what overseas passengers thought of us! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose Ovation Of The Seas as it was one of the newest cruise ships sailing from Sydney . This was our first time cruising and with two young children so we did not know what to expect. We opted for the Owners suite as we needed ... Read More
We chose Ovation Of The Seas as it was one of the newest cruise ships sailing from Sydney . This was our first time cruising and with two young children so we did not know what to expect. We opted for the Owners suite as we needed the extra room with the kids and was well worth the extra $$ spent. Stateroom was very spacious. Loved the huge balcony and the dining table in room so we had the option to have brekkie or dine in anytime we wanted. It had one and a half bathrooms, with a spa tub and double sink. With the suite we were able to get some extras with our stay. We had priority check in and check out which was a relief with two young children. We had access to the concierge lounge 24 hours. We also had a lot of help from our concierge Bing who made a lot of our bookings for onboard activities and specialty restaurants . My husband had the deluxe beverage package which was unlimited alcohol and beverages and for myself I had the refreshment package. My husband enjoyed his unlimited drinks very much so and I am surely made the most of it. We had brekkie almost everyday at Windjammers as it was easier with kids and there were plenty of options. We enjoyed most of our meals at the Windjammers. We only dined in the other dining room once - Grand which we received amazing service from Jean. With specialty restaurants, we had Chops twice and Jamie Oliver. Chops was disappointing for myself as I asked for my Ribye to be medium rare but came out well done and was very tough. My husband and his friend on the other hand ordered the same and their steaks were perfect. So good that my husband wanted to go back again. Second time was even more disappointing for me. We made sure we asked for medium rare again and surely it did come medium rare but the meat did not taste fresh and was very bland and was very hard to cut through. Both my husband and I only managed to eat half our steaks. It was unfortunate we didn’t enjoy our steaks but service was amazing though. Jamie Oliver was great . Food was very tasty! We had lots of starters and portions were very big so we got full before our mains even came out. I had the prawn linguine which was amazing and my husband had the truffle pasta which he absolutely loved also. We were not able to finish our mains as we were both too full. We had a great experience at Jamie’s but next time we will not order too many starters. We only tried the coastal restaurant once for dinner . Coastal is for suites guests only. The service was again amazing but the food was a little disappointing. We had a steak again asking for medium rare but came out almost well done. We never had brekkie or lunch there so I cannot comment. We really enjoyed Sorrentos pizzas. It is very convenient to have a quick bite to eat and tastes yummy also. Next door is cafe promenade which I had cookies and carrot cake for afternoon tea and they were both very good. The hot dogs at sea Plex was also enjoyable. Great to grab and quick when you are feeling peckish. The only dissapointment for us was there was not much entertainment for the kids. Our kids are 2 and 3. My two year old is not yet toilet trained and still has to wear the nappy swim pants. She was not allowed into any of the pools. There was only a very small toddler splash zone which she spent most of her time. My 3 year old was too little to go on the big splash zone and he was looking forward to it so much. There were dodgem cars which was a minimum age of 5 to ride with an adult so no good for us either. We did not put the kids into the kids club at all. We had 3 days at shore. The first day was at Port Vila. It was pouring for most of the day so there was not much to do in town. 2nd day we received an announcement early in the morning for Mystery island that it was too windy so they did not let us get off the cruise. The last day was at Noumea. We booked a shore excursion the Amedee Island. Getting off was quick as we had priority departure also. We had a great day and the weather was perfect. Included was a lunch buffet on the island which was nice. Overall, we had an amazing experience and we cannot fault the service at all. Everyone was so attentive and actually looked genuinely happy to be there. This was our first cruise and we are looking forward to our next one! Definitely will not consider cruising with any other cruiseline other than Royal Caribbean!! Take me back!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because it was going to a few places that we hadn't cruised to before in the North Island of NZ, not because it was on Ovation of the Seas. We found the ship to be very clean and modern, elegant but personally I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to a few places that we hadn't cruised to before in the North Island of NZ, not because it was on Ovation of the Seas. We found the ship to be very clean and modern, elegant but personally I prefer Radiance, Voyager and Explorer, they are a bit more personal and have more atmosphere. Ovation is a great ship for families with lots for kids and teens to do but we didn't need all those things. In saying that the service was really, really good and the food similar standard to the other ships. We didn't try any of the Specialty Restaurants as we find the food in Windjammer and the MDR quite good enough for us and the staff very helpful and obliging. this was our first cruise as Diamond Level passengers and did enjoy our time in the Diamond Lounge every evening. Because of our Dining Time and the Diamond Lounge we didn't get to see many shows but the two Bon Jobi Experience shows that we saw were fantastic. Would we cruise on Ovation again? Probably not unless it was going to somewhere we particularly wanted to go, just too big for me personally. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
1. Confirmed On-Shore Booking got Rejected by an On-Shore Staff We booked a snorkelling excursion for Mystery Island using their computer device. The booking was confirmed and paid for but when one of the On-Shore Staff member went to ... Read More
1. Confirmed On-Shore Booking got Rejected by an On-Shore Staff We booked a snorkelling excursion for Mystery Island using their computer device. The booking was confirmed and paid for but when one of the On-Shore Staff member went to print our tickets, she was told by another On-Shore staff member not to print our tickets as she was about to book the excursion for another family and that there were no spots left. Our On-Shore staff then told us that our tickets won't print as there's no vacancy. We thought that was strange and logged back on the RC computer system which still allow us to book the tickets. We were about to repeat the booking process but the other On-Shore Staff told us that if we book the last few available tickets then she'll just cancel them and we won't get the tickets. I was totally devastated. Our cruise accounts showed that the money was deducted from our account but was subsequently refunded when the staff refused to print our tickets and cancelled our booking. Excursions are suppose to be booked on a first come first serve basis but it seems that RC staff is able to cancel our booking to accommodate someone else. 2. Don't be fooled into thinking that On-Shore activities are only available through RC at Mystery Island (or Noumea) We were totally devastated at not being able to book snorkelling excursions as "spots were not available" but was pleasantly surprised to find out that there were lots of snorkelling excursions offered by the locals. In fact, all the excursions RC had, we were able to book once we landed on Mystery Island and Noumea. 3. RC On Shore Excursions can get cancelled at the last minute We booked a kayak tour in Noumea through RC only to get a note the night before arriving in Noumea that the excursion got cancelled. They did offer 20% off their "Day Trip to Paradise: Amazing Amedee Island" excursion (this was one of their most expensive excursion costing USD199 per person) and 10% any other excursion. The only problem was that we had to go to the shore excursions desk to book them and it was closed. Also all other water based excursions were already booked out by then. After our experience at Mystery Island, we were not worried about missing out as we know that the local will offer us plenty of options for less cost, which was exactly what happened. 4. On Shore Excursions are more expensive when booking through RC RC's snorkelling excursion for 1.5 hour costs just over AUD117. Booking a 2 hour snorkelling excursion locally on Mystery Island cost AUD70. Upon arrival at Noumea, we booked a shuttle bus + boat ride to go snorkelling at Duck Island. It ended up costing AUD38 per person. If you had booked this excursion through RC you would have to pay about twice the amount. 5. Despite what they say, RC Excursions are not necessarily better Our locally booked snorkelling excursion was absolutely wonderful. We were grateful that our RC snorkelling excursions were cancelled by a RC staff as we were told afterwards by another passenger that everyone in his RC snorkelling excursion were stung by blue bottles and their snorkelling excursion was cut short. He got stung in a few places and told us that he realised that RC do not run the on-shore excursions themselves but RC does have a responsibility to its passengers to ensure that they are properly looked after by RC's vendor. He demanded RC gives him a refund for the excursion but I'm not sure whether he got it. Overall I'm glad that we didn't end up going with an RC excursion. If you want to book shore excursions, I would highly recommend booking them when you land for about half the cost. Ignore RC's sale pitch that you are looked after better if you booked through RC as that was certainly not true in my case. An upside with booking an excursion with RC is that you can use your cabin credit to pay for the excursion. Booking locally means that you have to fork out additional money. Other stuff - Shows were really good. - There were lots of food and you can get something to eat anytime throughout the day. Quality of the food was ok. - Public bathrooms have an automatic flushing system, so every time you lean over to grab some toilet paper your butt gets sucked back into the toilet - Staff were very friendly (except for the On-Shore staff who cancelled my on shore excursion but I'm subsequently grateful to her as I had a great time on the excursions run by the locals and for less cost). - Rooms and Bathrooms were clean - Activities were fun, but queues were very, very long Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
My family and I took our third cruise in Jan to the South Pacific. This was a shorter 8 day cruise with only two port stops. We would have preferred more but thought that since it's a big ship, there would be lots to do so on that ... Read More
My family and I took our third cruise in Jan to the South Pacific. This was a shorter 8 day cruise with only two port stops. We would have preferred more but thought that since it's a big ship, there would be lots to do so on that basis we thought that the limited stops should be a worthwhile trade off. Unfortunately, trying to get onto any of the activities on the boat was a real challenge. Luckily we'd booked ahead for the activities we could. We saw others on the boat who didn't do this and missed out altogether. So out of the 8 days we got 2 minutes of iFly and 2.5 minutes on the Bumper cars (after wating 1.5hours, and giving up after half an hour wait the day before).It was a similar wait for roller skating so we didn't manage to try that at all. We booked the Northstar and also lined up over an hour to get a 2nd go on the day we were at Mystery Island. The of ping pong tables and video game machines were always buys (one gaming station was out of order the whole time) so we only managed on game of table tennis and no video games. The pools are small and overly crowded including the adults-only pool. There were 2 days when the main pool was shut down due to accidents (e.g. kids soiling themselves in the pool). The evening shows were all quite entertaining except for one comedian/magician who seemed to have no energy and couldn't really engage the crowd. The musical shows were great. Getting a seat is the biggest problem. You had to wait in the theater at least half an hour early in order to get a seat. We didn't play bingo, which was also held in the theatres, however we did see the were huge crowds and that there was not enough room for everyone who wanted to go. Again and the lines started stretching out well before the start time. On to dining, again the crowds spoiled what should have been a relaxing holiday. Lining up for the restaurants (even with a booking) or having to keep eagle eyes peeled to see who was vacating a table in Wind Jammers was just a drag. On previous cruises, we enjoyed the restaurants over the buffet. On the Ovation, we ended up going to Wind Jammers more as the cruise progressed as the food in the restaurants were no better and had a smaller range to chose from. We purchased a 3 night dining package and thought it was reasonable value. Wonderland was nice visually and was an interesting experience more than simply good food. Compared to our previous cruises on the Radiance and on a P&O, I found the food on the previous cruises better and with more snack options even though they were much smaller ships. The tendering experience for Mystery Island went pretty smoothly. The cruise director had been explaining the expected delays etc the night before so our expectations were not great, but we were one a tender quick smart. Our previous cruise to one the small islands took about an hour and a half of waiting in the ship corridors to get onto a tender. At Noumea, the city became very crowded with the Ovation as well as a P&O ship docking the same day. This meant getting on the popular hop-on hop-off bus was difficult. Some passengers said they'd waited over an hour to get bus back. We had wanted to get off at one more bus stop but was not game to get off when we saw the bus situation. On board internet was surprisingly good (compared with what was available a few years back). RC have an app that lets you message each other and the internet speed was pretty good for being in the middle of the ocean. Unfortunately, the app didn't always work and IT issues at the end of the cruise meant we could not contact each other or see our final account, This is the first cruise review I've written. One reason for this is that it's been a month since our cruise and we still have not post-cruise survey which RC said they would send out. I had also contacted them asking for the survey but have not had any answer after a week. So overall I still enjoyed the holiday and still like cruising. However I felt that RC had gone downhill since the last time we cruised and the Ovation was way too crowded. Next cruise will be back on a smaller ship and probably not with Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
First time cruiser. Stayed in grand suite 6234. Do not have one bad thing to report. Our concierge Bing was fabulous and looked after our every need on the ship. Disembarked before everyone else at Noumea which was pretty good. Room ... Read More
First time cruiser. Stayed in grand suite 6234. Do not have one bad thing to report. Our concierge Bing was fabulous and looked after our every need on the ship. Disembarked before everyone else at Noumea which was pretty good. Room amenities fabulous. Bed nice and soft (not too soft). Shower fabulous, robes a nice touch. Lots of room on the balcony. Definitely didn't get cabin fever in this room! Highly recommend stretching to a grand suite if you can save up or have the funds. Coastal kitchen is FABULOUS! Head there if you have a suite. We didnt eat in the main buffet area the entire cruise. We had two deliveries of special treats to our room whilst we sailed. Nice touch. Please note, if you don't want to sail with one thousand kids, book outside school holiday time. That's the only negative thing I have to say about this cruise - lots of kids running around. Oue fault for booking during school holidays though so we just escaped to coastal kitchen and our suite deck area on top for peace and quiet. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Really impressed. The cruise was amazing. So action packed and busy. a full ship but the only time it felt busy was at the end of show times or when queuing for north star and flow rider. We had a ball and want to book again. Boarding ... Read More
Really impressed. The cruise was amazing. So action packed and busy. a full ship but the only time it felt busy was at the end of show times or when queuing for north star and flow rider. We had a ball and want to book again. Boarding was very chaotic with all boarding slots between 1200 and 1330 being called at 1130. Disembarkation and tendering on ports was fast and efficient. Dining. The grande restaurant was amazing and food and service were exceptional. our servers, monsa, jan and kim. Were amazing always on top of our orders and dietary requirements. Icon grill and silk the food was average and the service was lets say... Lacking. Windjammer was great however the selections at lunch seemed very repetitive by the end of the cruise.in windjammer we had chef manoj and chef joshue. Both amazing men who took care of my daughters allergies requirements exceptionally well. Facilities were exceptional and well maintained. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We six of use in total sailed out of Sydney for 9 nights, before we sailed one of the Islands The Island Pines was taken off the itinerary claimed they was not allowed due to ship size That left use with just two islands to visit no ... Read More
We six of use in total sailed out of Sydney for 9 nights, before we sailed one of the Islands The Island Pines was taken off the itinerary claimed they was not allowed due to ship size That left use with just two islands to visit no replacement Island "not off to a good start". At the cruise terminal chaos! far to many people wanting to get on the ship in one go Second problem, just as we were about to hand over our cases we was asked to remove any drink from them and put in carry on luggage or in bag, people were having to open their cases whilst in a queue, no prior warning was given about this. On board ship which was full there was a very high percentage of young children to school levers, some being unsupervised became unruly nothing was done about it. If you did not book onto any of the activity's you would find it very difficult to get on any of the rides/activities/Pixels. These we feel was badly organized. Shopping on board poor, expected better. Restaurant staff very good and friendly, food hit and miss, don't expect Lobster on gala nights as part of your meal- pay $45 instead, other cruises we have been on lobster was part of the menu and did not have to pay extra, Gala nights were a joke. Drinks are expensive so are drinks packages. Summary, this is a large ship which we feel is much catered for the younger end all round we got the impression it was a money making penny pinched none luxury ship. We had no problems with the staff in fact Officers were helping in the restaurant and on deck to tidy up, this we feel was due to lack of staff. There was a lot of security onboard but none effective. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose to do a b2b with locations we had already visited in order to get a real feel for the ship and what it had to offer especially as normally we sailed on smaller ships it would give us the experience a larger ship. We have to say ... Read More
We chose to do a b2b with locations we had already visited in order to get a real feel for the ship and what it had to offer especially as normally we sailed on smaller ships it would give us the experience a larger ship. We have to say the 5,000 people, it was to capacity on both cruises, with over 1,000 children on each cruise which we thought a lot considering it was not school holidays. We booked an obstructed balcony, and it was great, it allowed plenty of light in the cabins and when we were in port the tenders were in use so no obstruction to the view of the islands, we were very happy it was spacious with lots of hanging and drawer space. The fridge was great, kept our water nice and cold and the kettle was a great touch although we never used it. We loved the ship, it was so modern and an interesting piece of artwork around each corner, lots of bars and cafes and restaurants, we stuck to 270 for breakfast they had the best cofffee and with a bagel was a great breakfast, for lunch we tended to go to Sorentos for a slice of pizza and some antipasto and for dinner we went to Silk where we had amazing waiters and the food was varied and well cooked and delicious, but we did otice that the menu had less choices than we had experienced in the past but still a good choice to choose from. Bars were numerous around the ship we found we tended to use the Amber Oak more, with the live music of an evening and the great friendly bar staff it was a great place to hang out. We enjoyed Ifly and NorthStar they were terrific, unfortunately on the second cruise they were both closed due to the weather, but safety must always come first, and we count ourselves lucky that we got to experience them on the cruise before. Unfortunately no such luck with the dodgems, the queues were so very long, we didn't like our chances of getting on so didn't bother hanging around. The shows were good, we especiallly liked the Pixels show, it was excellent. Lovely legs was entertaining and we gave it a miss on the second cruise once was enough, Beautiful dreamer was a great, and the headliners were fantastic. We were a little disappointed in that there were so many children (10-16 year olds) just running riot around the ship, they were jumping over the seats, pushing people and some of the language being used was disgusting. We were very disappointed in the general activities, we felt that the CD Mike had no idea of his target audiences, he was basically invisible, not really sociable if you were able to find him, and everything was virtually identical day to day, there seemed to be no thought to entertainment, and trivia seemed to be rushed and not really very much fun at all. I think the only activity I really enjoyed was the laughing Yoga by Angelle and it was only on once on each cruise. I am used to there being a session each day of either arts or crafts on board but sadly there was not on the two cruises we just completed, there was for family in the Adventure Ocean but for anyone else we had one origami class and one making roses class which was on a port day. Overall I would love to cruse on Ovation again, but would be praying for a fun Cruise Director. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We chose this cruise for the variety of activities for our family of 2 adults, 1 adult child and a 17 and 15 year old. The cruise did not disappoint. There were many highlights however the live entertainment was outstanding. The number of ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the variety of activities for our family of 2 adults, 1 adult child and a 17 and 15 year old. The cruise did not disappoint. There were many highlights however the live entertainment was outstanding. The number of bands, live theatre, music and trivia/game shows on offer each night was pleasantly surprising. Lots of choice. You did however have to be at the venue generally 30 minutes prior to the entertainment to secure seating. All venues and dining offerred comfort. Service of dining, cabin and general staff was 10 out of 10. You never had to wait for anything. Dining options were varied and offered choice. Restaurants and cafes were extremely clean. We experienced two specialist restaurants. The Wonderland dining experience was disappointing. Flavours were extremly strong, overbearing and tasteless which leaves you reaching for your drink. Not for young children. Presentation of the food was great, however not of good quality at all. Jaime Oliver was lovely. Ports and shore excursions were easy as was embarkation and disembarkation. The crew and staff were very helpful and the process very smooth which was surprising considering the amount of guests. Our children would have liked to see more organised sporting activities. An overall pleasant and relaxing holiday that we would love to do again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My overall rating is average. Some great gimmicks to get you on board (NorthStar, iFly, FlowRider), amazing shows, awesome rooms which are let down by a poorly designed pool deck, lack of pool atmosphere and poor pool bar service. I feel ... Read More
My overall rating is average. Some great gimmicks to get you on board (NorthStar, iFly, FlowRider), amazing shows, awesome rooms which are let down by a poorly designed pool deck, lack of pool atmosphere and poor pool bar service. I feel that once they get you on the ship with all the latest attractions and experiences you are let down by poor service and pool basics they got wrong. So, lets recap why I choose this cruise.....my first cruise was on a Carnival ship sailing from Puerto Rico to my dream islands of Barbados, St Lucia, St Maarten etc. Each port day (which was 5 out of 7) I had planned all day activities while in each port. So, this time I wanted a lot more seas days and to me the choose of cruise wasn't the destination it was all about the ship experience and lots of sea days. I wanted to experience the latest and greatest mega cruise ship and Royal Caribbean is the main cruise line that has these in Australia, hence why I choose Ovation of the Seas. Ovation of the Seas is a big ship with lots of passengers. Most of the time the extra passengers aren't a problem although it can be hard to find a quiet place, speciality restaurants and activities (iFly and NorthStar) do tend to book out early, and, the Windjammer Restaurant can be challenging to find a table free. Cabin: being new, everything is the latest design and is in a condition like I was the first passenger on board! The closet and drawers are big, so easy to pack away your mountains of clothes and I had never had to get my suitcase out while on the cruise. The Virtual Balcony (a LCD TV screen (Sharp brand), on its side, fitting floor to ceiling, with drapes) with a view of the ocean behind the ship is amazing. I never felt claustrophobic or closed in while in the room. I would highly recommend an inside room with Virtual Balcony. The room attendant was super friendly, he always said hello and was keen for a friendly conversation. This service made me feel "like at home' and my room was always clean and tidy. Shows: the shows were amazing, the quality is so high. Be prepared to have your expectations met and exceeded. The shows were the highlight of the trip. I never imagined that the quality would be this high on a ship. Pixels was a good show, although, I think it is a little over rated. Pool deck: the main pool was disappointing. The side of the ship which was the front of the ship had a bar on each level and 1 row of sun lounges, the side which was the back of the ship had a big children's water park/play area and 1-2 rows of sun lounges (the children's water park wasn't well utilised since it wasn't school holidays) and each side of the pool had 3 rows of sun lounges. So, really not many sun lounges around the pool. The video screen was to one side of the ship (not like most ships where the screen is on a side of the pool that is the front or back of the ship). This meant that watching movies was not practical (only 1 side of the pool could see it) and the sound was not loud enough. There was only 2hrs of live music each afternoon and the entertainment from the cruise entertainment team. Very disappointed. Inside pool: there is an enclosed pool with a glass roof, the roof and sides could open fully but even during our trip was fine every day with temps into the 30C it was never opened. Being indoors it was noisy. Verandahs around the pool: there is a big wide enclosed verandah on each side of the pools which is wonderful if you want somewhere shady with sun lounges and other funky lounge furniture to sit/lay on. Great concept but being enclosed makes it feel disconnected because you don't feel the lovely warm sea breezes. In one of these enclosed verandah areas, which was a main thorough fare along the side of the ship, was the smoking area. The smoking area was enclosed on one side with windows and covered with a roof, so the smoke drifted along the enclosed verandah or out into the pool area. I really can't believe on a new ship they choose this as the smoking area! Solarium: a lovely over 16yo area. The cascade pools down the front of the ship were lovely to sit in, with a drink in hand. It did tent to get noisy and at times the air felt stuffy, once again all glass roof which was closed with air con. Pool bar service: slow, staff which never smiled or entertaining, they often served the next person rather than the person who had been waiting the longest, rarely (ie. if ever) offered a waiter service in the pool deck area. Very very disappointed. There were no frozen cocktails on the last day as they had run out. My idea of a good cruise day is around the pool, with entertainment, having a few drinks.....this ship did not meet my prior experiences or my expectations. Other outdoor areas were great. Deck 15 (running track level) was awesome for finding a sun lounge. Knowing that nearly 5,000 people fit on the ship I thought finding a sun lounge would be a problem, this was never the case, there was always many to choose from. Entertainment venues: there was no nightclub per say. There was a Music Hall which was the only venue that stayed open after midnight and was called a nightclub.....for me it didn't really work. Schooner Bar was a good atmosphere with piano player. The Original English Pub was one of the best venues, with a stand up guitar/singer every night, probably the best venue of a night entertainment wise but it was very small...such a pity. Food: the main dining restaurants, 4 in total, each have different decor and are on one floor. If you like the grandeur of a big restaurant with tiers that look over the other etc....you will not get this on Ovation of the Seas. All restaurants are on one level and due to not being two levels they lack that grand feeling. The Grande was the only spectacular one, the other ones ranged from being OK to American Icon Grill which was basic and of a night looked drab. There always seems to be someone different serving you during each sitting, this resulted in a feeling where service didn't feel personal. The food was good but I wouldn't say spectacular. The prawn cocktail was minimal and a big fail. There was always people walking around your table, it did not feel quiet or intimate. Windjammer Restaurant: (think Lido on Carnival) was always full of people, hard to find a table, some food wasn't of the highest quality (honey dew melon was too hard, sweet and sour chicken had no taste). This was one area where the space was insufficient for the number of people on board. The speciality restaurants were awesome, we tried Chops Grille (think steakhouse) and Wonderland (imaginative cuisine over 13 courses) were first class and definitely worth the money. Definitely try Wonderland, it blew me away! There are restaurant packages available only on Day 1 of the tour. We choose 4 for USD 100. For the other restaurants we choose experiences: 1) bottomless (champagne) lunch with galley tour which was a great experience with lobster and a nice piece of steak for lunch and lots of champagne, and, 2) sushi making class and you take away 3-4 long sushi rolls. Formal night: I had read reviews that formal night wasn't really formal in Australia and that was my experience. For guys, I saw maybe 2 (at most) tuxedos, a few suits and ties, odd sports jacket, most in chinos/slacks, long sleeve shirt. Ladies tended to be more formal than guys. The staff dress was appalling, they wore the same clothing as any other night. In the restaurant, male restaurant staff did not have their top button done up or a neck tie. I feel if Royal Caribbean are calling it a formal night, they should set the tone for the evening, which they sadly did not. Very disappointing RC. Drinks: I really like cocktails and I think they are a classic cruise experience....colour creative decorative conceptions served in beautiful glassware and martini style glasses.....Ovation of the Seas really lack in this area. Only memorable cocktail I had was an Expresso Martini and that is because I asked for it and it wasn't on the menu! Drinks seemed to be fast to prepared, basic, and boring. Other aspects of the cruise: Fitness centre: great but no sauna or steam room (you had to buy a pass to the spa centre which was costly). iFly (sky diving) great experience, tube was narrow so not like other commercial ones I've been in previously off ships, fully booked and not sufficient booking slots for all guests. NorthStar (glass viewing capsule that rises above the ship) great concept but when you get up there while at sea you realise there is just blue ocean as far as you can see so the only thing to look at is back down at the ship. Great concept, good gimmick in the advertising, but underwhelming once you experience. Flowrider: I didn't try it due to cost, ie $$$, but it was also busy with areas to watch those participating. Shore Excursions in Noumea: we did not book on board as the cost looked grossly inflated. Noumea is expensive but we did find a combo ticket inside the cruise terminal for the Green Train and all day hop-on hop-off bus tour for $50 (USD I think, not AUD). I think the train trip on board the cruise was $88+. We can not recommend the Green Train highly enough, great tour guide, excellent route, we got the bus back to Lemon Beach for an afternoon of food and swimming. If you have gotten this far into my review.....if you have kids, this is a great ship for you. If you like a good pool deck with good pool entertainment, outdoor movies, try another ship. If you like exotic cocktails, try another ship. If you are a multi-generational family and want things for all ages, this ship is for you. Be prepared to have all the latest attractions/activities/ride but be prepared for variable service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The size of the thing is what gets you. Embarkation was smooth as silk. We went from baggage check in to on board in less than half an hour. All services were then available prior to our departure. The cabins (12528/12530 ... Read More
The size of the thing is what gets you. Embarkation was smooth as silk. We went from baggage check in to on board in less than half an hour. All services were then available prior to our departure. The cabins (12528/12530 Interconnecting) were spacious and could be mistaken for a hotel room. The shower was great and surprisingly good pressure. Luggage space was more than enough. Over head compartments weren't even needed. The balcony was huge and because we were interconnecting we had a double balcony. Plenty of room outside to lay down and watch the world sail by. Bed and pillows were great. TV entertainment was more than expected. Watched Premier League live in the morning as well as the Australian Open tennis live when in the room. The dining options were varied and all were top class. Would have liked the Hot Dog place to be opened longer. Sorrentos pizza was a great option for the kids late at night, as were the cakes and sandwiches at Cafe Promenade. All complimentary of course. The MDR with my time dining was faultless. We alternated between Americon Icon and Silk. Also ate at Grande one night. Were going to try a couple of the Specialty restaurants but couldn't get the reservations on the app and because we were satisfied with the main dining options we didn't bother. Only negative I could find was that you got the impression they wanted you out as quickas possible so that the table would be free for others. The meals really came on top of each other. Dinner would be finished in 45 minutes. Windjammer was Ok. Thought the breakfast options were pretty good. However their meats (Bacon and sausages) were not great. Lunch was more varied than Breakfast and each day was different. Entertainment was a highlight. There was something for everyone. Cruise Director Joff was a very funny. Clever guy. Kids and I tried trivia each day as well as the bingo when it was on. Surprisingly more fun than they expected. Also because it was in the 270 theatre it was very comfortable and had great views. All the shows were brilliantly done. We enjoyed the two comedic performances the most. The fact they had two shows each night meant you never missed a seat to watch. They also had a matinee the following day for the productions. Seaplex was great for the kids however this would have to be the area where the RCI let themselves down. Supervision and organisation was quite poor. It was very hard for the kids to get a go on Roller Skating and Dodgem cars. The Table Tennis tables were always being used and there was no system as to who was next to play. Never any staff watching the area. There was not enough communication from RCI as to how all the activities were organised in the SeaPlex. Its a greay arena for a ship but it needs more organisation and staff. Would definately cruise on it again, but may try and experience it outside of the School Holiday period. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We booked through Cruiseabout on 21/06/2016 for our January 19th 2018 sailing to the South Pacific. We initially booked for a party of 2 adults and 2 children (one 15 years old, the other 11- both girls). As it turned out my sister and ... Read More
We booked through Cruiseabout on 21/06/2016 for our January 19th 2018 sailing to the South Pacific. We initially booked for a party of 2 adults and 2 children (one 15 years old, the other 11- both girls). As it turned out my sister and brother in law also booked shortly afterward to make our trip extra special. The Ovation came to Adelaide in December 2017 for a stopover, so we were able to view her from the dock and witness firsthand her immense size and beauty. We decided to travel from our home in Adelaide to Sydney 2 days prior so as to show our 11 year old around who had never been. We booked at the Swissotel in Market Street, right down the road from the Pitt Street Mall- great location!! Swissotel was wonderful- room spacious, staff excellent, facilities awesome. My girls especially loved the gym, pool and large spa. We all shared a Swiss Advantage room (booked on Booking.com) featuring 2 queen beds. There is a funky bar in the lobby, which we didn't actually get to as our days proved so full we were exhausted later at night! Sydney was fantastic- we had earlier booked a BridgeClimb online, which we scheduled for the day prior to sailing, and I had cashed in my flybuys points on a reward that gave us tickets to The Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and the Sydney Aquarium. We also visited Bondi for a swim and my youngest daughter met a Bondi Rescue Lifeguard and had her photo taken with him! EMBARKATION Couldn't believe how well organised and smooth the process was- we were on in no time and drinking our first pina colada on our balcony! There is lots of assistance in directing passengers to the right area and what documentation to be holding ready. Customs was swift also. Remember to always remove hat and sunglasses at checkpoints! CABIN We were in 9168- a Superior Oceanview Stateroom. The bedding configuration consisted of 2 single beds put together and a sofa bed for the girls. Every night our stateroom attendant Dewa would prepare the sofa bed (with a towel animal left on the "master" bed) and every morning pack it back up again. There was lots of storage- above the master bed was two hinged cupboards (where I kept my clothes in my Kathmandu storage cubes), 2 small wardrobes (with hangers) either side of the master bed, a room safe and a desk with drawers. The bathroom was great- a proper shower screen and excellent water pressure. There was a hairdryer in the drawer, a kettle and tea bags and long life milk capsules. Nothing in the mini-bar. Please note- don't request any water from your stateroom attendant - we found Evian water (large bottles) in our fridge and $14 went on our bill! Oops - unnecessary expense. It didn't matter that we all had deluxe drink packages- this wasn't covered in those. Get your water at the bars yourself. We brought with us a mini whiteboard, that we wrote messages to our attendant if we required anything. My daughter needed a latex pillow and the sofa bed was a bit hard, so we requested some more mattress padding- which were supplied. The other beds were very comfortable. DINING We got into a routine of breakfast in the 270 lounge cafe - lovely bagels and oatmeal, then lunch at the Windjammer main dining room (try the cappuccino cheesecake) and dinner was initially at Silk, but then chose every night from then on the American Icon Grille, due to the wonderful service of Flory and Jason. They honestly could not do enough for us and made our dining experience a most memorable one. The menus were lovely - my eldest daughter and I tasted escargot for the first time and my husband got hooked on the prawn cocktails and steak dishes. We always walked out at the end of the meal thoroughly satisfied and feeling pampered. We had booked times for My Time Dining, but were sometimes late due to the wealth of activities onboard, but they would always manage to get us a table within 5 minutes or so, so no "hangry" teenagers! There was a line-up for those with no reservations on My Time Dining. We had booked all of our times online before we left. Mainly 6pm and 7.45pm. We had arranged the Deluxe beverage packages from ourselves and the refreshment for our 2 teens, and are so glad we did- we didn't have to worry about a big bill at the end. We bought ours online for $63 for the adult beverage in October 2017. ENTERTAINMENT We saw: "Pixels" - a futuristic dance, high energy show- was excellent- book online before you go. "Live, Love, Legs" - a Vegas style song and dance show with the ladies wearing feathers. Was lots of fun. "A Beautiful Dream" - probably the best show - beautiful story- made my sister and I cry. The soprano and singing (and dancing) overall is just magic. Costumes and staging are highly professional and outstanding. We went to the 1pm matinee and scored front row centre seats. "The Australian Beatles Show" - awesome. There were patrons from 5 years old to 75 in attendance- all boogying on down. Also saw 2 comedians, and every morning at 10.45am attended Joff's Progressive Quiz, to win the coveted keyring! He was hilarious and made every sea day morning a laugh. There were bands on the pool decks - the reggae band was great with the steel drums, and you could sit in the pool and watch the tennis as you relaxed. Sounds great, hey? We spent many an hour sitting in the spa being served margaritas and beer by our friendly waiter Marvin, who was very attentive. We all did the iFly- a MUST do!!! Not scary, just fun- my husband is 59 and I am 51, and we managed it perfectly. It totally WOWED my teens! Book online before you go - gets booked out very quickly. A complimentary activity. Northstar is wonderful too- got some great photos and video footage on our journey- just wasn't long enough! Again- gets booked out quickly, and is another complimentary activity. We didn't get to the Rock Climbing Wall or the Flowrider, as there was so much else to do, but the kids went on the Bumper Cars, hung around in the teens area "The Living Room" and had a wonderful time planning their days. They cried the day we left, and we were so depressed also. What!- we actually have to cook and clean and fend for ourselves again at home?? :-(( PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS We visited Mystery Island and Noumea. MYSTERY ISLAND Well organised tender to shore (using their own motorised lifeboats). We were on the first boat off. Is a small island, but we were entranced by the hermit crabs, snorkelling in the clear water (we brought our own sets to avoid hire charge and stuffing about trying to organise), the massages by the ni-Vanuatu women in the little hut, and my youngest daughter had her hair braided. A great family memory. We had booked a shore excursion (not through the ship-via Facebook), but abandoned the idea when we were told by a travel agent and others who had tried to use this provider, that he was a bit of a conman and may or may not turn up. We wished we had booked snorkelling through the ship, as we could have gone further afield to view more in the Giant Aquarium. NOUMEA The entry to the port is pretty non, as you sail past a dirty nickel mine, then dock at a container loading depot, so it wasn't a great start. One is struck by the amount of graffiti in the city too. We had booked a tour (also through Facebook, but this time legit) but had to wait for about a hour before we even took the ferry on tour to Escapade Island. The tour guide stated that Ovation was too big a ship for the port and there weren't enough buses to accommodate the number of passengers. Don't bother with the "market" at the port- it's just crappy cheap souvenirs, and rude French stall holders who bark "Don't Touch" if you want to inspect anything with a view to purchase. Our tour guide stated that he was planning to move his operations back to Vanuatu as he was getting nowhere trying to deal with the French- and he was on the Board of Directors for the New Caledonian Tourist Commission! The highlight of Escapade Island was swimming with the turtles in the lagoon- the snorkelling there was sublime and we enjoyed it immensely. We had a great lunch of prawns, mussels, lovely salads, a carvery, lovely patisseries. Just be mindful of drink prices - 2 cocktails, 2 cocktails and a beer cost $84 dollars AUS. Ouch! Patrons staying at Escapade Island were complaining about the poor quality of food, no air-conditioning in their overwater bures and the very poor service. We swam in the pool and it was grubby around the sides and a poisonous sea snake was found in the pool where children were swimming. I saw one little fellow virtually walk on water to exit! A fellow passenger told me at Noumea she disembarks, goes to a shop called "Maxine's" I think, where she gets her half price Chanel makeup and cheap booze. Then she gets back on the ship. FINAL WORDS: We spent the $7.95 (per device) on the Royal IQ app to be able to communicate with each other, as we didn't buy the internet package. It worked very well in text messaging, but not phone calls. Still, would buy again. Arrange at Guest Services if you aren't tech savvy or via the Royal IQ app. Loved our family time together- everyone had a ball and we are planning our next cruise soon. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
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 3.9
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 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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