6 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Hawaii Cruise Reviews

From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly ... Read More
From the time ROyal Caribbean changed the itinerary conveniently 59 days before sailing, to the chaos created in baggage claim at disembarking, the most common words from ships staff was “We apologize”. The ship board staff constantly had to make excuses and apologize for numerous situations they had difficulty dealing with. AVOID this ship......while the ship itself is marvelous and a great asset, poor management both in Miami and on board make this ship one to avoid. Guest after guest had unfavorable comments......we just had difficulty grasping why all the problems occurred. The ship board officer crew were a lot of talk but offered few solutions to correct and overcome problems. The entertainment staff couldn’t start many of their activities on time because they didn’t have watches. The buffet management staff daily made “sales pitches” how wonderful everything is in the Windjammer market......while at the same time telling you to hurry and get out. Disembarking for tenders required Hour plus long waits. The evening dinners in the main dining room were interrupted nightly with a wait staff member singing. The disembarking procedure was a most painful experience.....utter chaos. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day ... Read More
We have cruised on RCI before and have had very few problems. This one however was a nightmare. Booked day 1 Honolulu depart at 11:00pm 2 Kailua Kona 9am to 6pm 3 Kilaeua Volcano 12:01 to 1:00am 3Napoli coast 12:00pm to 4:00pm day 4&5 Maui 9am to 5pm next days 6-10 cruising day 11 Victoria BC 9:00am to 8:00pm 12 Vancouver 6:00am. What we got Days 1&2 Honolulu (left Honolulu at 5:00pm on 2nd day day 3 Napali coast 4&5 Maui 6-10 cruising Day 11 Victoria BC 7:00am to 2:00pm (Left 6 hours early arrived in Vancouver at 8pm on day 11 Day 12 Vancouver disembark. Did not see the volcano and did do see the big island. We feel we were ripped off by RCI. You plan for a once in lifetime trip to Hawaii and get cheated out of half the stops. RCI did refund one day, Big deal. Embarkation, late but went smooth. Ports of Call, In Maui the water was too rough for the tenders for most of the first day, on the second day we went ashore, be back time was at 7:00pm we got in line to board the tenders at 4:00pm and it took us over an hour to get back, those that stayed later took from 2-2 1/2 hours to get back on the boat. Dining- Windjammer food was basically good but always very crowded, no place to sit, long lines to get food, lines for the omelets and pasta were always in the way of others. Hamburger line was messed up people were always coming from two directions. Drinks were often empty. Dining- Main dining, food was often cold, stale or misstated. Seafood often smelled, steak was tough or dry, bread was sometimes hard or stale, coffee was occasionally cold, Etc. Dining-Service was excellent Entertainment-shows were good for the most part. There were a number of things to do on the boat and the staff was good at helping you find where things were. Public areas-CROWDED. Hard to get an elevator, other public areas crowded when something was going on. Disembarkation- NIGHTMARE. We arrived in Vancouver the night before the cruise ended so the Ovation of the seas was basically a hotel parked on the water. Some people got off every but most elected to disembark the regular way, ie tag luggage and put outside cabin before 10:00pm the night before disembarking, pick up luggage after it is removed from the ship. BIG MISTAKE. We had luggage tag number 14 with an estimated departure time of 8:20am. At 9:00am, almost nobody had been allowed to leave the boat(at this time we had been docked for 13 hours). A little after 9 they started to allow the Express Departures to leave, we weren't Express but we jumped in line anyway. When we got off of the boat and went to pick up our luggage it was not lined up by number as it usually was but all the numbers were thrown together. RCI was just bringing it out and dumping it on the floor. What RCI didn't tell us was that there was another luggage drop area about 100 yards away and around the corner where they were doing the same thing, just dumping the luggage. I heard someone say something and followed them over. There was approximately 10 people here looking for luggage and at the first area there were hundreds and more getting off the boat all the time. We were lucky to find ours and make our 12:20pm departure time to DEN. While waiting we were talking to other couples who had been on the Ovation and they said that when we got on the plane to Denver, there were people still on the Ovation who had not been able to get off. We have cruised about a dozen times and I have never seen such a mess. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We wanted to go back to Hawaii to visit the Arizona Memorial and visit the islands again. However, before this cruise even started there were problems. The Arizona Memorial is closed and will be for some an undisclosed amount of time. They ... Read More
We wanted to go back to Hawaii to visit the Arizona Memorial and visit the islands again. However, before this cruise even started there were problems. The Arizona Memorial is closed and will be for some an undisclosed amount of time. They are doing construction around the memorial that will keep it closed for awhile. But that wasn't the main reason for this review. This was our 35th cruise and the most disappointing one. We started getting e-mails from RCCL that because of "Coast Guard inspections that had to be done", there was a change in the itinerary that will cause the ship to remain in Honolulu for two days. Then one of the island would be bypassed and we would spend two days in Maui. So that meant we would only visit two islands. We tried to cancel the cruise but e-mails started to come AFTER the 90 day period for getting a full refund. This is unacceptable. You can't tell us that they didn't know about these inspections before hand. I guess RCCL feared people would cancel the cruise. They did refund the passengers one full day to make up for the island that was missed. Then we received another e-mail stating that because the ship had to pass under the "Lions Gate Bridge" as a certain time we had to arrive and leave Victoria BC because the ship was the largest to sail under the bridge and had to pass under it at a certain time. Again, you mean to tell the passengers you didn't know about that ahead of time ? We arrived in Vancouver a day earlier. There were a lot of passengers who got off the ship either because they lived there or made travel plan changes. Most felt they rather be home then to spend another night on the ship. EMBARKATION: The problem started before we even got to the ship. The person who greeted us in the airport terminal had no clue what was going on. She said to wait outside for our bus to arrive but what she didn't know was that there was confusion because there were other passengers waiting for buses and there didn't seem to be any logical order. We waited for over an hour for the bus to arrive. In addition, because certain areas needed to be shut down, we couldn't board the ship until after 2:00 PM. There was no food service available until dinner time. RCCL refunded you $30 per person for a food allowance. This was not comforting especially traveling for over 12 hours and the airlines don't provide food service. Once we arrived, picture thousands of passengers trying to get thru security. I must say that if you checked in on-line the process went very smooth. After you passed thru security a RCCL person took your picture on a tablet and as long as you printed your boarding pass ahead of time you boarded the ship. Your Seapass card was waiting at your cabin. Disembarkation: As for disembarking, what a nightmare that was. The baggage was scattered all over the terminal. The areas were completely screwed up as far as numbering. None of the areas were next to each other, # 7 baggage was completely on the opposite end of the terminal then #8, and the other numbers were just as bad. A lot of tempers were flaring. We had a late tour of Vancouver but we were over an hour late boarding the buses because of the luggage situation. Entertainment: As for the North Star, Ripcord, SeaPlex, Waverider and especially "Pixlas" they provided the most interesting entertainment. Pixals was very innovative. As for the shows, they were boring at best. A very interesting one was they had a professional pickpocket that was funny but very informative on how easy it was for him and the professionals to lift your valuables. It was funny how people started to watch their wallets after the show. There was an indoor pool area that came in handy when the weather started to cool down. For four days you could sit outside. In addition, it got quite noisy with all the children running around. Food: At best, average. We ate at Chops Grille and had to send back the Rib Eye steak because it had more fat than meat. We never had this problem before with Chops Grille. This also happened in the Silk dining room when we order a beef related meal. I ordered roast beef dish in the dining room and it only came with ONE slice of meat. I said to the waiter "are you kidding me ?". If you order coffee with your dessert, they gave you a half a cup of coffee. You would think they were rationing the food and drinks. The Windjammer was very crowed as usual and at times you couldn't find a table. There was an outdoor section behind the Windjammer but after we left Hawaii, the temperatures starting dropping into the 50's and it was very windy and cold to sit outside. If you drink an non-diary creamer with your coffee, you waited three days for them to make it available. This was after people were complaining that there were none available. They had three omelette stations and one in the back of the Windjammer which they only opened once. For Mother's Day they had a very nice variety of cakes to choose from. Cabins: We had a balcony cabin that had plenty of storage space so you should run out of space to store your clothing. The cabin was very clean and pleasant. Service: Spotty at times depending on the waiter you had. We had My Time dining so we were seated at different tables. One waiter even forgot to bring our salads. We requested several times that we wanted a table by the window. Despite our requests, we were seated at a table next to a window table even thought the window table was unoccupied. One night the Head Waiter heard our complaints, apologized and said he would take care of the problem. The next night, we encountered the same problem with the person who assigns the seating. This time a manager came over to apologize. We noticed a pattern that they would seat people not next to the window but to the tables next to them. I don't know what the person assigning the tables had against people sitting at a table next to the window. Excursions: Because of rough seas in Maui, all excursions before 4:30pm had to be cancelled. We heard that it took over 1 1/2 hours for people to get with the tender service for those who decided to go ashore. If you have a late night flight, we would recommend the tour of Vancouver and a visit the water fall and Gondala ride. Overall remarks: We have noticed that over the past couple of years, parents don't seem to be using the Adventure Ocean program for their children. This became apparent in the indoor pool area, It seems the foreign passengers are the ones that either don't know about the program or don't use it. The Ovation is a very nice ship and kept clean but they could have improved on the design. One area in particular is getting in/out of the theater. They is only one passage way on deck four and when there are at least a thousand passengers getting out, it makes for a very slow process. The other side was blocked by a shop, the Music Hall and a bar. I would not recommend a Hawaii cruise if you have to sail back from Hawaii. This was our second Hawaiian cruise where we experienced less than desirable weather for four days which forced you inside the ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At ... Read More
The other reviewers of this cruise have basically said it all. The itinerary change was super disappointing. We were so looking forward to going to the big island and seeing the volcano. Then RCI just axed the stop completely. At the Lahaina, Maui stop, tendering was delayed due to rough sea. Everybody got up early wanted to get off the ship but was not able to so that's why all the public area, especially the buffet, was packed with people waiting for the captain's ok. When the captain finally gave the ok, they wanted us to go to a bar on deck 5 to get tender tickets so everybody just literally ran there to get tickets. It was chaos. I was lucky as I was already on deck 5 at the time so we got to get off "early". We origianlly planned on getting off at around 9 but still didn't get off until noon. The tender was just one of their bigger lifeboats which was very uncomfortable even if the sea was calm. We got back to the port at 9:50pm. They only had one tender running. At least if was a big local boat. Not their own lifeboat. When we got back, the line was very long. The tender left at 10pm. The line kept growing. At 10:30pm, I could still see the tender was still unloading people to the cruise ship. They finally deployed another tender which was the same lifeboat. We finally got back to the cruise ship at 11pm. Most people were hungry and the only restaurant still open was the pizza place and a cafe which only serves dessert and some basic sandwiches. It was packed with hungry people. Since everybody got off the ship late, we all got back late. However, their restaurants and buffet still closed at 9pm. To me, that is WAY too early. Not much food option after 9pm. A lot of people eat late especially with an Hawaii cruise. Lots of people are from the mainland which is several hours ahead. Should've at least open the buffet until 10pm or something. Food in the main dining room is terrible. Service is not good either. We always spend more than an hour in a dining room with 45 minutes of it waiting for our food. Buffet surprising has better tasting food and service was good. RCI wanted to do freestyle dining like Norwegian but RCI is not doing it well. Still always try to make us to share table with strangers. Food and service in specialty restaurants are good. We tried the Chops Grill steak house and Wonderland's. Both good. However, I still think Norwegian does dining much better. Disbarkation was a nightmare. We were an hour late than the origin set time. There was no signage to point you to where your luggage is. Everybody was running around the terminal like crazy trying to find their luggage. The ship itself is beautiful and I love it. Stateroom attendant was attentive. But there's not much show to watch. I do like that they have a smokeless casino. I find it very annoying when a cruise line put the casino in the very middle of the ship and allow smoking. My 4-year-old went to their kids club a lot. While there wasn't any issue, I do feel that the staffs there are not as warm as those on my Norwegian cruises. This poor expericnece is more about the sudden itinerary change and the management. I think I'll still cruise with RCI again but might just go with a shorter cruise with a more ordinary route. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of the itinerary but that didn’t work out so well. Bad planning on behalf of RCI resulted in multiple itinerary changes and just too much confusion for passengers and crew alike. We haven’t cruised with RCI for probably ten years during which we have favoured Princess and after this cruise with RCI I believe we made the right decision. We are not fussy eaters nor do we base our cruise experience on the quality of the food but it must be said that the eating experience on this ship was extremely disappointing and the quality poor. Apart from our wait staff in the dining room (Chic), I found the staff attitude to be less than attentive and pleasurable. The headliner entertainment was, for the most part, good although Pixels and the production shows were just o.k. In general I felt that the ship lacked a feeling of warmth - hard to put into words but I just didn’t feel like I was being pampered and well taken care of the way I feel when cruising with Princess. Also disliked all the extra charges which showed up way too often. The nicest place to sit during the day (when weather drove us inside) was the 270 lounge but we were often driven out by the daily Bingo session. The smoking areas were too close to the non-smoking areas - they need to be isolated more or eliminated entirely! On the plus side, the cabin was excellent with tons of storage, well laid out and the kettle and tea supplies in the room were a very pleasant surprise. Finally, a big shout out to the Captain who was extremely informative. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a while (5 years) and was disappointed with this service. I wanted to "fly" and was super excited to go on the iFLY attraction - which was why we chose this ship. This ... Read More
I haven't been on a Royal Caribbean cruise for a while (5 years) and was disappointed with this service. I wanted to "fly" and was super excited to go on the iFLY attraction - which was why we chose this ship. This allowed me to float in a wind tunnel, which was a great experience. However be advised that you need to book this attraction ASAP or else risk not being able to try it at all. You also can only go once per trip. So if you want to take your own photo, have someone stand outside (don't book all family/friends at the same timeslot). The best part of the cruise was the activities and entertainment. The dancing excerise class was good (and packed), the music was good (they actually have hit music in Windjammer). The pool was fun when it was rocky (but can be crowded with people just standing around - so I like to do laps in the morning). The gym was decent sized, some classes (stretch, abs) were free but yoga and TRX would cost money. This ship doesn't have shower facilities by the gym so prepare to walk around in your swim suit if you want to go swimming/hot tub. This was kinda annoying because I had no where to put my room card. I also liked the washrooms. This ship had good flushing toilets. I've been to other cruises which... had weaker toilets and things don't quite flush properly. HVAC system in the showers were good. Doesn't take long for the humidity to go down (or smell to go away). The bad parts: food. The (formal) main dining room was slow so food was constantly cold. The bread was soggy. The menu didn't have a lot of variety either. Typically this venue is supposed to have the best tasting cuisine, but I found it lacking. However mid cruise it got better. The food was hotter (could be as a result of the mid cruise survey). So we mostly ate buffet (Windjammer). The food was warmer, had more variety and the servers were faster (cleaning and giving drinks). I stayed away from the meat (which were often over cooked/dry). Steamed fish was good. Salads were good. Pastries were so dry - I'd rather eat from a grocery store. The best food on the cruise was the pizza. Food quality increased mid cruise but I still find it disappointing. Also if you have a wheel chair be prepared to wait. We met people that had to wait for 2 hours to get on board because they didn't have enough wheelchair or staff. This was on a day when we were docked the whole day and had a large window to check in - so it was poorly organized. Tendering in Maui was a nightmare. The rough seas, limited ports (with competing and sheer quantities of passengers made the waits very long. We docked in Maui overnight and the 2nd day lined up to leave the boat at 8:30 am. They didn't begin to issue tender tickets until after 9am so the waiting area was over crowded... we stood in line for 1.5 hours. The day before we barely waited because they warned us about the shore excursions (who have tendering priorty) and the rough ocean... and we waited 2 hours before lining up. Returning to the ship 5 hours prior to departure was a good idea. People had to wait for 2 hours outside in the heat, waiting for the tender. I think I'd have to find a really good deal or itinerary to go on another Royal Caribbean Cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
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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