8 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Gay & Lesbian Cruise Reviews

I choose this cruise because it LOOKS spectacular... But don't be deceived. The service was horrible... I wanted fresh parmesan but I got the 3 year old grated parmesan cheese... If I were to be a 1st time cruiser I still would ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it LOOKS spectacular... But don't be deceived. The service was horrible... I wanted fresh parmesan but I got the 3 year old grated parmesan cheese... If I were to be a 1st time cruiser I still would think that this ship was bad... I got woken up at 9:30am ship time to the crew emergency practice... on the 6th day. Why couldn't they have used the walkie talkies... The wifi was so expensive it almost made me won't to jump off the ship... I really wanted to get up and just go on the bumper cars... I waited for 2 hours then I had these snobs who cut in front of me... This cr u ise was the worst serviced cruise... I'll say a positive... oh yeah that's right there is none... Can I just say that my 12 year old son waited in line and then I found him crying in a corner reheating lining up... Don't bring your children they will be bored there is nothing to do for them... unless you buy the key then you will skip all lines and get yelled at. If your child is younger then 12 then dont bring them Please listen I paid 4000 US dollars to get on this 9 day cruise for the worst experience of my life... And they had LGBTQ every night for choose who where. If your a sleeper then do not go o n this cruise you can't sleep it was to Rocky on the last night and don't get virgin Australia it got canceled for 2 and a half hours for maintenance and then they tell us that it has had maintenance problems. -Anymous Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
the ship is new and has some quirky new features (bionic bar, the big arm that takes you into the air high above the ship by the way this is free) but they still allow smoking on the pool deck near the centre pools and kids area which most ... Read More
the ship is new and has some quirky new features (bionic bar, the big arm that takes you into the air high above the ship by the way this is free) but they still allow smoking on the pool deck near the centre pools and kids area which most passengers cannot believe as you have to walk through this stinking area to get to the wind jammers if you are coming from the front of the ship, RCCL should ban smoking all together or put the smoking area right down the back of the ship away from everyone especially KIDS. we stayed in a front cabin which are nice and well appionted below the bridge overlooking the helicopter pad (got to see a very smooth helicopter winch operation REALLY close up courtesy of RAC rescue WA off Bunbury and have video ) BUT these rooms get a lot of wave noise from the hull even in small swell so beware there can be a lot of booming which travels through the superstructure into these 9500, 9502 9504 etc ,etc. there was an out break of GI but you need to look at the bigger picture there were a lot of ignorant passengers who we witnessed NOT washing their hands so they only have them selves to blame, plus this ship did originate out of china and had been working the rounds there for some months so we firmly believe GI was already on the ship prior to boarding in Singapore. on a brighter note the diamond club was excellent and because there were so many D members on board they expanded the D club into the music hall which worked well. this was policed by staff so that only members were allowed to enter having to show your sea pass (stopped all the free loaders). all staff went above and beyond to make sure that all areas and passengers were constantly sanitised and could not have done a better job. we as many other passengers were not effected BECAUSE WE followed the rules and instructions. overall we had a pleasant time. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
Saw this ship all over the news last year, being the largest cruise ship to ever visit Australia and thought it would be something new and exciting to try. We booked through a local travel agent which made things easier, but there are ... Read More
Saw this ship all over the news last year, being the largest cruise ship to ever visit Australia and thought it would be something new and exciting to try. We booked through a local travel agent which made things easier, but there are caveats first time cruisers need to be aware of (and they don't let you know up front) Firstly, we discovered the cruise was split in half by the agent, this caused many issues we weren't aware of. When we logged into the RCI website to book shows and drinks/internet packages, it showed us travelling for the entire duration of the cruise. This was wrong and prevented us from booking internet/drinks packages in AUD, so we had to pay more once on board as everything is charge in USD. This cost us quite a bit more ultimately. Also shows advertised were booked out quickly as it took forever to get our login, or they weren't showing until after we departed the cruise. All very confusing and not a great start. The other issue we had going via a travel agent was when we checked in at the hotel and the cruise terminal, there were issues that took quite some time to resolve. In Singapore they had 4 people listed as checking in! Obviously the other couple were checking in the day we departed in Fremantle, but their systems can't cope with this arrangement. The hotel was nice, but didn't honour our requests. We also couldn't get exit row seats for the flight thanks to using an agent. Being 197cm tall this was a worry, but it turned out the flight wasn't full and I could find some seats with more legroom. Anyway back to the cruise ship. Once onboard, we were bombarded with people trying to sell us drinks packages. Of course you didn't have to be a genius to work out, even in USD, that this package would pay for itself after only 5 or 6 cocktails. It also included unlimited soft drink refills and a cup with a NFC chip in it you can refill at special dispenser stations (over 100 flavours!) or most bars/restaurants (in very limited flavours). Drinks package includes drinks to the value of $14, after that you pay the difference. Not many drinks were over that price. I signed up for Voom, their excellent internet at sea service. It cost us $18US per day so not cheap but the speed is reasonable (5 Mbps down and about 3 Mbps up), ping times around 200ms which is fine for Skype, FaceTime or WiFi Calling, I made several calls with no noticeable delays which is great for satellite services. The ship also has a mobile base station so your mobile can "roam" if enabled to allow calls/texts although these are at very high rates, around $5/min calling. Stick to Skype, FaceTime or WiFi Calling if you purchase the Voom package it won't cost a cent. I didn't know how to sign up for their internet but you simply connect to "royal-wifi" (no password required) - a browser should open up but it may be in Chinese, simply select English from the top corner near the Earth icon and you can sign up without anyone's help. You should even be able to do this before you get onboard as we could pick up the WifI in the passenger terminal. Also its now a good time to download the Royal IQ from your App Store. This lets you check your statement, book restaurants and check out much more. You don't need to pay for internet to access this onboard, it will work as long as you connect to "royal-wifi". I found the app had some issues, we couldn't book restaurants on it (possibly because our cruise was split in half by the agent?) - but it does keep a track of all drinks and restaurants you get, so its good to see if you are getting value from your drinks / food packages. More tech savvy people may want to invest in a cheap wifi router to create your own wifi network onboard, this means you will only need 1 Voom package but will be able to share it amongst multiple devices (we had 8 between us, including iPads, apple watches etc) - you only get the 5Mbps speeds to share amongst the devices so it isn't abusing the connection, but you may find its frowned upon by crew. It means your devices have an extra layer of protection via WPA. If you don't want to go to this level, you can simply log off and on to devices as you need. Apple's iMessage works without having a Voom subscription which is excellent making it easy to keep in contact with other iPhone users onboard. The ship itself is just majestic, we were in room 6142 on deck 6, a perfect location it was only a deck or two away from 24 hour food, drinks and entertainment. The room was very modern and clean, we had a balcony suite which although we didn't spend as much time as we thought out there, was just so relaxing to watch from the bed. I highly recommend an outside facing room. The bathroom is a little on the small size for someone as big as me, but we coped. The shower head has multiple settings and good water flow. Its detachable so you can wash all your bits with ease! The toilet was fine, although we found it blocked a couple of times (as did our friends staying next door) - looks like if you flush it multiple times it may stop flushing, not sure if this is a fault or a feature, but we learned to just flush once and wait if it needed flushing again. There is a shaver power outlet and plenty of light, a toilet brush (thank you!) and plenty of room to store/hang things considering it size. Our cabin had a king size bed, it felt a little shorter than a regular king and occasionally felt uncomfortable hanging off the edge (bear in mind I'm nearly 2 metres long), I also wish they had fitted sheets because I found in the morning the sheets had ridden up and I was laying on the mattress. There was a US 110v power socket on the right size of the bed under the lamp, I purchased a travel adapter that converted this to two x AU sockets to get around the fact they frown on power boards/strips. My partner uses CPAP so that left one socket for my phone and other USB devices. The bedroom desk has a EU 220V socket, and a couple more US 110V sockets. They suggest you use the 220V power by supplying a EU to AU adapter, which you must pay $25 for if you remove it from the ship. We advised my partner uses a CPAP machine prior to boarding and they supplied an adapter, an extension lead and distilled water, nice touch! There are also a couple of USB ports on the desk but found these to be low powered and a bit loose so you had to make sure not to bump the plug otherwise it wouldn't supply power. There is a flat screen TV which plays safety information when you first enter your room. It's done quite well and is entertaining to watch while you learn at the same time. It has plenty of channels which we didn't really watch, it also has a channel that shows you the ships position and speed, and live feeds from all over the ship. In the cabin there is PLENTY of room to hang and store your stuff, very well thought out, even the bedside tables have shelves to store heaps of stuff. Never felt cramped or like we had to live out of our suitcase. The dining was excellent. Service was far above what I expected. So many staff all smiling and only happy to help. I don't think I came across anyone that wasn't happy to help with our requests. Our cabin attendant was amazing and we left him an extra tip when we left. His towel animals always got us excited to return to our cabin each night. Food at Windjammer was great, so much choice. After eating here every day though tends to get old which is why they have more than a dozen other places to eat. Some free some you pay for. Jamies Italian was great, Wonderland was amazing, you just have to try it! They really look after any food restrictions you might have (mine was no seafood - they were great about that!) The entertainment was great, we had plenty of things to do, I got a bit seasick the day of my ship tour which I was REALLY looking forward to, but I just couldn't finish it. That's the only downside of booking in advance, if you don't you miss out, if you do, you may not be able to do it on the day. I might have been able to try to get a refund but I didn't bother, I got to the bridge and that was my highlight! The shows were fantastic, Pixels was great, those moving screens are incredible and must cost a fortune. The lighting and dancers were great too. So well choreographed. The other show I absolutely loved was called Live Love Legs. This was a show we were going to miss, but it got brought forward to the night before we departed. Just brilliant! So much work gone into this show and it showed. The artwork spread across the ship is just fantastic, it makes you want to walk down 15 flights of stairs instead of taking a lift just to see all the amazing art. I just can't describe the actual beauty when onboard, everywhere you look there was something different and exciting to look at or interact with. We spent some time in the Seaplex, geared towards kids/teenagers, went up in the North Star, and sat in some pools / spas. There is just so much to do, in 7 days we couldn't get around to all of it. We had a few issues with billing, we got a letter on our bed night after night saying our card couldn't be charged, even though they had already taken it off our credit card. This involved several visits to Customer Service but they were quick to fix the issue. I also don't recommend the NFC wrist bands, they cost $5 and we were told we could use them anywhere on the ship, but they didn't always work or were accepted, the band just fit my arm, and I wear a watch, it wasn't very comfortable in the tropics either as it became sweaty quickly. You almost always had to remove it to give it to a bar person. Just use your sea pass in a lanyard (bring your own they charge $9 on board!) It amazed me seeing such a technologically advanced ship still couldn't do everything with NFC, some places had to write down our names/room numbers and get us to sign. The bionic bar wasn't working properly, only one arm was functional, and then we got charged accidentally. Lucky we checked, they had someone there crediting peoples accounts just for that reason. and the app could use some improvement, it was buggy, even using the onboard iPads to try to book restaurants wouldn't work. I came home sick, having caught a cold onboard, and was seasick on the last day or two due to the rough waters coming down the west coast of Australia. There was a warning issued at one stage about gastro, but everyone was obsessed with cleaning hands at the plethora of dispensing machines and sinks it didn't effect us. In summary, I absolutely loved my first cruise, I really miss the ship and the people, the atmosphere (being Christmas may have helped) - but I would most certainly go on this ship again. Was an unforgettable experience! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
***AS USUAL, THIS IS A DETAILED REVIEW OF MY EXPERIENCE ON THIS SPECIFIC CRUISE: - This was a repositioning 12 day cruise around Asia, we were a party of 6 in our early 30´s, late 20´´s in 3 different balcony cabins, I got cabin ... Read More
***AS USUAL, THIS IS A DETAILED REVIEW OF MY EXPERIENCE ON THIS SPECIFIC CRUISE: - This was a repositioning 12 day cruise around Asia, we were a party of 6 in our early 30´s, late 20´´s in 3 different balcony cabins, I got cabin 12712. We arrived at Singapore a few days before we embarked and we stayed in a hotel called STUDIO M HOTEL which was a a few hundred meters from Clarke Quay, a very popular área with lots of restaurants and bars, the hotel is very nice and the rooms are very spacious for 2-3 people at most, the room was a 2 level loft, great customer service and great Wi-Fi. First I must say that Singapore is a beautiful city with lots of things to do, very modern, expensive and people is very nice, we really enjoyed our time in the city. *EMBARKATION: We took a Uber to the port, but be careful, there are 2 different port, make sure you ask the right one, in this case is called MARINA PORT, the uber took us to the other one and we almost lost the ship, we basically were the last ones to embark so we had no problema with lines or embarkation, it went smooth, fast and easy. *Port: HO CHI MINH CITY, VIETNAM: I must say that his place exceded my expectations, the city is beautiful with lots of things to do, in this place the ship stayed overnight so we decided to rent an apartment through AIRBNB and we got a beautiful apartment with great view close to downtown; in this place there are many things to do and the city is huge! Make sure you visit the parlament, the opera house (Check the website for shows, there are many, we went to a show called TEH DAR and it was beautiful and cheap, around 25 dlls per person in the 12th row, also make sure you take an uber moto, they are fun and safe! Also make sure you visit all the temples you can, each one of them is beautiful!, also don´t forget to visit the catedral, we also wen to have lunch to a very recommended vietnamese restaurant called Qhna Hang Ngon, it is very good and cheap!! Night life in this city is also very fun and cheap. *Port: DA NANG, VIETNAM: This was the second port of call, there were 2 options to visits in this place: DA NANG or HUE, we chose the first one and we really like it, nothing compared to Ho Chi Minh City but this place is nice, full of nice temples and markets, mostly to shop around for typical vientamese souvenirs, make sure you take the mountain tour, I Heard its great! *Port: HONG KONG: This was the third port of call, in this place we decided to ask for authorization of the ship to stay here and catch the ship on the next port since there was 2 sea days in between, we decided to take advantage of this time and see more of HK and Seoul and I must say it was totally worth it, Hong Kong was by far the best city in all my trip, it has many things to do for all kind of taste, make sure you visit the big budah, victorias peak, also make sure you catch the night light show on the promenade, it has a beautiful view of the skyline, also make sure you visit the observation tower which is one of the tallest in the world, the food is very good, people is nice! Make sure you go to the Wong Tai Sin Temple. I stayed in a hotel called SOHOTEL, rooms are very small but the hotel is nice and it has one of the best customer service ever! Also nightlife in here is very fun. *Port: SEOUL: This city is similar to Singapur but with less skyscrappers, the city is beautiful, the palace is nice, there is a tower that is new and is a must and is one of the tallest buildings in the world also, people here are nice and nightlife is very fun as well; in this port, the embarkation was a pain in the butt, very unorganized and the port is on construction so its hard to find the way in, make sure you take korean instructions with you to get to the port. *SHIP: The vessel is amazing, I have nothing but good things to say about it, the decoration is beautiful, the food is very good, the entertainment is excellent, casino is fun, shows are amazing, especially pixels and beautiful dream, make sure you don´t miss those 2, also live love legs.. There are several games made for adults, make sure you don´t miss them either and also the iFly was so much fun! The only thing I didn´t like about the ship is that the nightclub closes at 3am, in all the other cruises I have been, they close around 5am! One night we were lots of people and there was no music! We had to talk to several supervisors to get the music started, other tan that everything was perfect, buffet was very good, make sure you try wonderland! Its a very nice and different dinning experience, it has an extra cost but its worth it; the cabin was the best I have ever been! It was very spacious, decoration was beautiful, shower and bathroom was also very good and clean and the Stewart was great! Overall I love everything about the ship, the solárium is in the back part of the ship and its inside, I love the decoration in it and the fact that its inside so it doesn´t matter if its cold or if it rains, the solárium its always a good choice! *DINNING: Everything was excellent, I really liked the buffet, there was always something new to try, desserts are good too and the main dinning room was very good as well except for the last night which was horrible, cold and with no taste at all. Never tried the room service. *DISEMBARKATION: Here´s why I didn´t rate 5 / 5, the disembark was a nightmare, very unorganized and it took forever to get off the ship, we took almost 3 hours and a half, we lost our train and there were only a few inmigration officers on the counters, that was another minus on the disembarkation process, I know is not Royals fault but the way they organized the exit was very bad, they need to improve that asap!! Overall, I had an amazing time on the ship, great food, great people, great entretainment, great cabin and great customer service! I had a problema back in Seoul related with Royal and they couldn´t help me which made me very mad, but they gave me a very good compensation for it so at the end everything was good. I will definitely sail with royal again!! By the way, I Heard all but good things for Royals shore excursions on this ship so make sure you skip it and book independent tours!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
As soon as I knew this huge ship was coming to Australia, I was determined to sail away on her, even if it meant cruising solo Fortuneately I had the company of a very good friend and after booking a virtual balcony interior room many ... Read More
As soon as I knew this huge ship was coming to Australia, I was determined to sail away on her, even if it meant cruising solo Fortuneately I had the company of a very good friend and after booking a virtual balcony interior room many months ago, the upgrade fairy visited 2 days prior to sailing with a balcony on deck 13 This was a fabulous posltion, right opposite the lifts and one flight of stairs up to the solarium bistro and the adult only tiered pools...our room had the twin beds in the middle of the cabin with a lounge near the balcony doors, I prefer the bed to be nearer the balcony as I think it would give a more open area as we had limited area to get past but the beds were super comfy, so much cupboard space for 2 ladies and a fabulous on wall TV.... we loved the bathroom with a night light which was much appreciated by 2 older ladies We proceeded to the two70 lounge where we were lucky to get 2 comfy chairs right against the large 3-4 story windows and with a drink in hand, watched this massive beast reverse out of the overseas terminal and with the sydney harbour bridge in the background, it was full steam ahead This was an 8 night cruise to Hobart overnight in Tasmania and a visit to Adelaide, the ship is docked right in Hobart and lucky for us it was a Saturday, the famous Salamanca markets which meant lots of shopping with no worry about weight taking our purchases home Obviously over 4 sea days, we explored the ship from top to bottom but still not managing to see it all We did not like the 4 indiviual included in the fare restaurants as we felt they lacked atmosphere and seemed quite cramped so we elected to eat in the Windjammer and once at Jaimie Olivers and only twice in the American Grill....the choices in Windjammer were mind boggling, so many choices and beautifully presented but our favourite was the breakfast in the Solarium Bistro, only a small choice but we were able to get our selection and sit outside and linger in lovely surroundings We saw 2 shows, Pixels and The Dream, we regularly visit live theatre but even though the voices, sets and costumes were world class, we were left scratching our heads as to what it was all about...Pixels was very entertaining with the dancing screens and a variety of acts We pre booked some activities on board prior to sailing, this disappointed many older people, as they had no idea that this could be done and were left trying to queue for the Northstar and shows ...I didnt like this aspect but with 5000 odd passengers, I understand the reasoning but not exactly what you cruise for We loved the two70 lounge, the small deli connected to it with its wraps and soups and yummy desserts, we spent quite a bit of time in this lounge as I could stare at the seas for hours on end....this area is utilised a lot during the day with a talk by a very yummy captain, a highlight The seaplex also had us tearing around in the dodgem cars, watching young adults playing dodgeball and attempting the roller skating, so much to do for teenagers, they could never get bored....we didnt try the flow rider or ifly but had fun watching people attempt and fail on this fast moving water....so many other things to do We loved the indoor air controlled swimming pool, this was a large size with some people able to do laps, i spent some time in the very heated tiered pools at the front of the ship but for some the smell of chlorine was quite over powering at times The main negative we heard from various people was the "friendliness" of the crew....someone described them as robotic, very attentive, polite, helpful but with none of the playfulness of other family geared cruise lines....it is a large ship and trying to find out information was not always easy, when the queues were too long, we retreated to our cabin and phoned, much quicker and query resolved I would prefer the big open dining rooms, where you felt you were part of a family and it would be easy actually to get a bit lonely unless you put yourself out there to talk to people We loved the silent disco, something you need to see but all "parties" were held indoors at the two70, I missed the deck parties usually associated with cruising This was only my 2nd RCL cruise as I am platinum on Carnival but wanted to experience this ship Would I cruise again??? definitely, in fact I booked another cruise for next year, 7 days was not enough to experience all this ship has to offer...obviously its more expensive but that is to be expected when you look at the maintenance and crew necessary to keep a ship 3 football lenghts operational Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Just returned from the Tassie cruise (23 – 28 Jan) and I wanted to comment on our experience (having noted some negative feedback from others on the NZ trip) We are seasoned travellers although this is only our 2nd cruise (previously ... Read More
Just returned from the Tassie cruise (23 – 28 Jan) and I wanted to comment on our experience (having noted some negative feedback from others on the NZ trip) We are seasoned travellers although this is only our 2nd cruise (previously we sailed with Carnival Spirit to New Caledonia) We were a party of 5 and all had a great time. Plenty to do and lots of options for food and beverage. Some tips/points to be aware of: (meant as helpful advice not criticism!) All prices on board are US$ and there is an automatic 18% service charge on most items you need to pay for (speciality restaurants etc.) see below: Cabins (well at least ours) didn’t have Aus plug sockets so bring an EU or US adaptor (there were 2 USB hubs for phones, ipads etc) The voltage didn’t support an aus hair dryer (the new dyson) or a hand held steamer – there was a hair dryer in the cabin though. If you have a power board or alcohol in your check in luggage it will be held in a secure area and not delivered to your room (they x ray all items) so you’ll need to visit deck 2 to collect your bags once under way. (power boards are held and given back when you get back to Sydney) - not end of world but a hassle on day one you don't need so just be mindful? Bags are checked (X rayed) when you return from shore tours and alcohol etc is kept and delivered back to you the night before you dock. There was no option/laundry room to wash or to iron your own clothes – you can get them done by room service but there is an additional charge (as around $4US for a man’s shirt to be ironed) I had some creased clothes straight from the laundry basket at home (planning to iron them when I had more time in the planning and packing mayhem pre-trip) so they stayed in the case and I made do with what I had – 1st world problem! LOL The ship holds around 5,000 guests so some shows, dining options and attractions get booked out early and queues on day 1 were massive so book on-line in advance if you can or wait a day or so and you should be able to book/see most options. A lanyard to hold your key card (ID And all charges are via the card) is useful – we saw a few cases where people had lost them (including a young kid who’s card was then used by others to charge items). Go with a happy attitude and you’ll likely have a great time (we encountered a few who were determined to be unhappy and they were!) General feedback: A very very good operation. - the boat is super modern and has some amazing features and benefits! Check in process was prompt and efficient. Room was well presented, spacious and functional and cabin staff did a great job of keeping it clean and tidy. We tried quite a few of the food options and were happy with pretty much all:- Windjammer was the “food court” area with a wide selection of smorgasboard and made to order options (there was also a gluten free section I noticed) Plenty of healthy options and I’d be surprised if anyone left hungry or couldn’t find something they enjoyed. We had breakfast, lunch and dinner there at various stages and had no complaints – clean tables, good food, well cooked and presented and staff were friendly, efficient and cheerful. We ate at Izumi one night (Japanese) – we paid extra for this but were very happy with the food, service and experience. We chose “anytime dining” which gave us an (complimentary) option of Silks or American Icon to choose from (deck 4) – both a la carte, similar menus and again great food, service and hospitality. You can reserve tables in advance when on board but may experience a short wait on arrival during the busy dinner periods – no drama’s they’ll seat you asap and they won’t run out of food! Staff were fantastic, wine prices were reasonable (we didn’t take the drink package options) There is a free hot dog stand near the kids entertainment quarter – some options not available when we had one but still – free hot dogs!! A free pizza parlour (next to the pub on deck 4) Mmmm...Pizza! The pub staff were great – draught Heineken at $8US a pint and I like a scotch egg – theirs were fantastic! We saw both shows – Legs, live love and Pixels – both great (pre-book shows preferably if you can – we didn’t but got in on stand by as we just turned up but there was a slight wait until the reserved patrons had gotten in. Bingo was popular – mind you some were taken aback at the cost of a book of 5 for 4 games which was $49US and another session was $20 US for one game of full house for a book of 5 – we won one session though and got $500 US so happy happy happy, smiley smiley smiley!! Trivia comps were fun, pools popular with kids and adults alike and the sports courts/dodgem area popular and although there were queues they made sure they moved it along and everyone had a turn. The ifly sky dive simulator was popular and bookings essential – note there are height and weight restrictions – if you are under 6ft and weigh over 104Kilo – no go and there are also restrictions for people over 6ft so worth checking before your allotted slot if you get one? Your trip bill is automatically charged to your nominated credit card at the end of the trip (there are cash options) – be careful and check the small print as to the rate they use to convert from US $ to Aus plus they Royal Caribbean also charge a 3% fee on top (as well as an automatic gratuity of $13.50 US per person per day) We have an international currency debit card (ours is Commbank but most banks offer them) and we loaded it with US dollars at a good rate before we travelled and paid the bill in US dollars using that card which saved us a fair bit. You can check your bill by using the on-board app (check your trip booklet when you book and pay for your trip) or via the TV option in your room or at guest services - Note queues on the night before arriving back to Sydney and the morning of disembarkation were long so best to check and sort things out sooner than leave it to the end of the week if you have any queries? The spa offers some great packages and the steam/sauna option was lovely but a bit pricey at $200US a couple. To help offset the increased calorific intake (!!!!!) I used the gym each day and plenty of machines available (usual sort of stuff for most well equipped gyms) and there were a number of complimentary or pay as you go options for classes/training or seminars. We didn’t get to use the North star “eye” as it was booked solid. Plenty of on-board shopping (including Cartier and other high end stores) Bags are checked (X rayed) when you return from shore tours and alcohol etc is kept and delivered back to you the night before you dock. The boat docked in Hobart very close to Salamanca so an easy walk to some great things to see and do - there were a number of trips you can pre-book plus minibuses and private hire cars waiting to offer their services for trips to points of interest. We know the town well so did our own thing including a day trip to MONA which was great as always. In Summary – we had a great time and from the general chats we had with others they did too. Some people (only a very few) were just plain rude and grumpy but I guess a cruise can’t work miracles so read in to that what you will. A real mix of nations and everyone (most) seemed keen to have a good time and interact well with other guests. All meals were well cooked, well presented and there were plenty of options – great! – well done to the chefs and support crew – your efforts are recognised and appreciated by many. Entertainment – great – some amazing shows and plenty to keep us all amused – but still plenty of space on board to sit and relax with a book or a cocktail and people watch if you wished. Staff – excellent – not a bad word to say about any of them – each played a part in what was a great holiday experience. A big boat with a lot of people on board but very well managed and well organised – credit to the whole crew – well done and thanks! We had a 9.15am slot to assemble to leave the boat, were called at 9.20 and off the boat at around 9.30 and in a taxi - easy! Just read the info sheet they give you the night before and follow the instructions - Easy Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Ovation of the Sea- Syd/Tas/NZ/Syd 15th December 2016 Embarkation/Disembarkation Ironically Ch9 was doing a live telecast from the ship and they were heavily promoting it as the “ Love Boat” including the presenters heads in ... Read More
Ovation of the Sea- Syd/Tas/NZ/Syd 15th December 2016 Embarkation/Disembarkation Ironically Ch9 was doing a live telecast from the ship and they were heavily promoting it as the “ Love Boat” including the presenters heads in buoys !, it should have been a warning. Our experience has shown from “Allure” and now “Ovation” that RCL has this down to “pat” and all move fairly quickly and smoothly providing people stick to the RCL guidelines and time slots given with your paperwork, the hold ups ,if any, normally comes from Customs, having said that, both on and off the ship on the 15th/30th December was very fast for us. Plenty of Taxi’s were also available. Cabin etc Our balcony cabin was on deck 13 and it was a little longer than normal, however, it was not as wide, therefore the balcony was very small, having said that, it worked well for us, the shower in these smaller type rooms was very roomy and possibly one of the better we have experienced in the thousands of nights we have now spent at sea over the decades- there was no toiletries. We booked this cruise 8 months out to experience the ”premium ship” and the “bells n whistles”, we were told by RCL themselves at the time of booking that deck 13 was the only cabins ( at a premium) that were available, this we have since found out not to be true, deck 13 has above it the Pool and the Windjammer- therefore I would not recommend this even if it was the “last of the balconies” The “paperless” approach that is being taken left the room with NO information in relation to how to do anything unlike previous cruises where there was a iPad in your room to book shows etc.,( or the TV) this was not the case nor was our TV working and when it was fixed it did everything other than ROYAL IQ, ( there are 2 iPad’s at the elevators so you will need to line up at times) It appears there is at least 2 balcony cabin “layouts” a. with the bed closer to the bathroom and the divan next to the balcony door/window and b. the other way round. If you like lying in bed and looking at the ocean then make sure you have layout “b” although it is a tight squeeze between bed and window. A very common complaint from many women was that the toilet paper was rough and a thin single sheet of poor quality so you may consider bringing on your own, albeit it this is supposed to be a “premium ship and cruise” where you are paying up to 30% more for a similar itinerary on a similar “star” ship The TV in the cabin has a great picture, it has the normal channels HOWEVER it doesn’t offer the movie that was shown the day before and your only offering in movies is to purchase them at US$ 12 so a movie will end up costing you around AUD$ 15-18 ! there is no on board Show Channel because there is a total lack of this type of entertainment on the ship. The telephone has Chinese as the 1st language and English the 2nd as with much of the information on the ship. Ports The good itinerary ( only port lacking was Napier) started with our first port of call Hobart with all as expected, however we ran into very poor weather and had 3 days of the “premium bells n whistles” shut down while crossing the Tasman from Hobart to Milford Sound where we entered the sound and sat for 6 hours having being told the day before we would be not calling into Dunedin and instead going up the west side of the south island into Wellington, then onto Picton a fantastic small port that each year keeps re inventing / improving itself for cruise passengers ( much like Napier has) and certainly a port you want you to go back to then onto Tauranga ( the locations is really the port of Mount Maunganui and you can get a “express bus” into Tauranga for $10 return. (It amazes me for over a decade they have been charging / treating tourists all over NZ that a AUD$/US$/GBP has the same value as a NZ$ and in many cases will give you back a NZ$ for change, this is so petty and shows such a poor light to visitors and why the NZ Tourist Commission hasn’t put a stop to it fails me) such is the case in this port. What I found amazing is there was no port “sail away” music in any port and what you must see is this clinical uninviting ship steam out to sea, in Tauranga a perfect opportunity was lost of promoting the ship and the perception of the cruise when we had possibly 10,000 people crowded onto the beach, docks, jetty and rooftops and a fantastic flotilla of around 50 craft that stayed with us all the way out until the pilot got off and still not one single happy party Sail Away music was to be heard, really sums up the ship, not inviting, not fun, not appealing, Then it was onto Auckland and the shock was it is a tender port ! but the worse part was still to come in that the ( I will use RCL daily Compass “we will be offering a FREE return tender service- WOW FREE TENDER AYE”) was that the tenders didn’t go into Queens Warf or Princes Warf but down into Viaduct Marina some 7 blocks away from Queens street ! Downtown Queens St is all gone ( yes even the Warehouse gone!) so maybe given 12 months there will be a more visitor useful and friendly region but at the moment those who head straight to that part of town will find it a long long walk to find all has changed. The additional problems of the tenders is that both the marine and foot traffic caused mayhem for both locals and cruisers & requires RCL to be much more firmer with Auckland Council and say it is Queens or Princes Warf or nothing to be honest IMHO. There is no Map or Information relating to ANY of the ports to take ashore. If you haven’t booked a Shore Excursion your on your own so to speak. FOOD The ship is homed in China and what we saw was the Chinese Head Chef, the Sous Chefs, Chefs and Cooks are Chinese far more than normal on a RCL cruise and to be honest it trashed the RCL brand as they simply can’t do western food, the offerings were/are the same every night and bland, and as far as cakes / sweets they have no idea, the same 2cm square cake/deserts in a different color on tray after tray, meal after meal, and as for pastries there is none, other than the “Danish” for breakfast. As a example the Napoleon slice is “pastry” and filled with some water based gunk product with no cream in sight, just not worth the calories and as for the red velvet cake it is coloured sponge and very poor. If you enjoy this part of your meal give the entire ship a miss at this stage. ENTERTAINMENT RCL have at every point of entertainment gone out to break the 80/20 rule to prove you can ruin a great brand and product in one or 2 cruises. Ovation was to be a premium cruise, on a premium brand, and what they delivered was substandard offerings at almost every point. The “bells n whistles” of this ship that people were prepared to pay up to 30% more than other cruises were, when they were working, or if you could get a booking for the few, offset by poor overall entertainment. If you are a child/teenager or part of the lycra set ( the gym is well equip however ALWAYS overly crowded) then you would have had a fair sort of time with things to do, however, as for the other 4000 passengers, you were left with Trivia every hour and THAT WAS IT in general ! , the Daily Planner ( I am sure someone called it that in jest) was so sparse of things to do that they repeated in a space of one hour the same feature ( ie Flow Rider) 3 or 4 times so the 6 or 7 items made it look like there was entertainment on the ship for most of the guests day after day. On a ship with 4600 guests the Morning Show has a following where maybe as many as six (6) people will do a shout out, or answer the riddle of the day, and that starts the Cruise Directors day with more trivia with his side kick the “Activities Manger” and I use that term very loosely, taking part and promoting her Zumba class in between the commercials to spend more money on everything you can think of. While both seem like nice people, the cruise director apart from self-promotion and a narcissistic self indulged plugging his DVD you can buy on boardwalk and what Trivia he is taking on the day is about it as there is nothing else on. The manager of the Windjammer has daily jokes & thoughts and had everyone up doing the twist so he was offering more entertainment that the Cruise Director. The entertainers and what shows there are on a 2nd or 3rd rate and not what RCL is renowned for, I guess that is because of the large Chinese numbers. Because of the lack of entertainment when there is something on the rooms are far too small to seat a ship of 4600 people, therefore you are asked to stand ( even in a 90 min movie!)if you can cram in BELLS N WHISTLES Most of these were all shut down with 3 days of bad weather and the results were disastrous. SEAPLEX-huge open floor capable of hosting everything from basketball, soccer & cricket etc and often around 200-300 people would gather to watch or participate CIRCUS SCHOOL- on Seaplex and you would have maybe up to 50 people involved DOGGEM CARS- on Seaplex and averaged the same group of people however too many breakdowns spoilt it for many. Flow Rider- fantastic ride however with only 2-20 at any given time wanting to use it again its also for a select few- you can pay for private lessens. IFLY- another fantastic experience HOWEVER on the 5th day of the entire cruise, it was totally booked out ( for your 58 second fly) and you had to really fight to even get in the hope of being so grateful to be considered as a standby- disgraceful- having said that, on the final day some had been able to get as many as 3 or 4 flys in, so the management of this was sloppy, poor & possibly not Kosher ?. NORTH STAR- again this was totally booked out and what was decided was that the 30min ride and 360 degree would be cut back to 10 mins and a up and down experience only, not the promised 360 degree experience- shabby and nothing more than a very basic outdoor experience. The problem is the ship has too many passengers with too few timeslots available for some of these experiences and I would be wary of paying such a premium cruise price to maybe get on these. BIONIC BAR – primitive robotic arms and primitive software driving it ( my wife has a “Scan n Cut” that has far more clever software) and is really below the standard of some of the other “B n W” offered on the vessel –still it is on board revenue for RCL SUMMARY Despite my poor review of Ovation, we love the RCL brand and product, however this ship is not for those that like what you normally get from RCL. The ship is not the best in “southerly” winds and is terrible in swells, the lack of entertainment is the worst we have experienced and certainly not up to a premium cruise. There was a gastro outbreak on board however little wonder when you consider the poor hygiene some of those passengers had. A excellent format was when entering Windjammer you were sent to a washing room with maybe 10 taps and soap to wash your hands, however the failure here is the staff is more interested in saying washi washi than having someone ( or video) in the room to make sure that passengers DID wash their hands or simply walk through it as many did as was the case with certain groups, and on several occasion I watched as people took the USED paper towels out of the rubbish bin and wiped their hands with them-RCL need to understand that if you have charged a premium price for a cruise then you need to offer some entertainment for the masses and not keep trying to squeeze the lemon to the point where people on principle do not want to spend any more money to go to seminars or additional charges for entertainment. The sooner Ovation gets back to her home port in China the better and let RCL Australia recover from this terribly planned season on a substandard cruise experience. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise as it was its first time in Australia they over emphasised the fact because when we got on our interpretation from the advertising was different the services were appauling. When we embarked we waited 3 hrs just to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was its first time in Australia they over emphasised the fact because when we got on our interpretation from the advertising was different the services were appauling. When we embarked we waited 3 hrs just to embark the line was huge and there was no effort to keep the line moving. We eventually got on and on one of the nights the ship movement was bad mostly everyone was sick, a ship like this isn't designed for Australian waters, during the night of a couple of the nights the noise from the ocean was bad as the walls and windows aren't sound resistent. Our stateroom attendant was very helpful all the way through and was very assitive. The food was appauling as they all had similar or same menus , windjammer was just basic and waiting for resturants was dissapointing. The cruise was good for those injured on crutches or in a wheeelchair as they would get priority. Entertainment for kids was good but to line up for activities was rediculous we waited 1 and a half hrs for bumper cars , had to book for Ifly, limited availability for roller skating sessions. Being on deck 3 was terrible as you could here everything. I would never travel on this ship again and it was my children's first time so we were dissapointed and unsure whether we would cruise again with royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.9
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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