41 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas South Pacific Cruise Reviews

I went for the 10 night cruise to the South Pacific Islands and NZ on the ovation of the seas and it was a great trip. We had the oceanview balcony stateroom on Deck 8, this stateroom was a great size for the two of us with my partner ... Read More
I went for the 10 night cruise to the South Pacific Islands and NZ on the ovation of the seas and it was a great trip. We had the oceanview balcony stateroom on Deck 8, this stateroom was a great size for the two of us with my partner and my-self. The queen bed was very comfortable, TV size was great that sits on the wall in front of the bed, a couch to sit on, good size balcony with the lounge chairs. The bathroom was a little bit small and tight, the shower was a great size but the size of the bathroom didn't bother us as much. The housekeeping team had always ensured the tidiness of our room which is great, the only thing that lacked a little was that they only made the beds and picked up the dirty towels and replaced with new ones, they did not vacuum the room unless need-be and they don't wipe after tables or pick up dirt off the couch. I had to call in the housekeeping service to make the special request to vacuum the floor and the couch as there were sand from our Island ports. Otherwise they did a great job with the cleanliness of the room. The ship it-self is a huge ship, we were on the starboard aft side so it was a bit of a walk going here and there which we didn't mind at all as we enjoy exploring the ship. There were a lot of different dining venues, activities, bars, shops, chill out areas, pools, theatres, you name it! this ship has everything. With the activities, they have the north star capsule, rip cord by ifly, flowrider surfing simulator - these things needed to be booked prior, as soon as itinerary details come out. We had not known about booking these through the app until we got onboard when the staff were explaining about this feature. We unfortunately had missed out on the rip cord and flowrider because when we wanted to book it through the app, everything had been booked out and that it was only a matter of lining up for the hours where reservations weren't required. We hadn't booked the North Star either as it was fully booked and came to find that there were so many people who are going on the ride twice or even more as they had booked themselves a few times. This is where Royal Caribbean need to limit guests to 1-2 rides per the cruise as it isn't fair to those that didn't get to try on the activity. My partner and I had to line up for over an hour during the no reservations hour that they offered this activity, whilst others had already gone on it 4 times which was not fair at all. The pool areas were pretty good but for a big ship, I found that it needed some improvements. Both main pool areas are constantly infested with kids and teenagers and it's difficult for the adults and elderly to want to have a swim or relaxation other than in the solarium, but the solarium is only about sitting around and not much of a swim, I found there were a fair bit of kids in the solarium still running about. I thought this needed some kind of an improvement to limit one pool area to children only and others to those over 18. The water park was also lacking as this catered for children under 12 only. There weren't much of any slides for older guests like carnival cruises offer, being a big ship I felt that this one should have catered more activities for water parks. The food on this ship was excellent, couldn't find any faults except for the dry bacons in the mornings but otherwise it's really good. I went on the P&O before and the food was horrible, this cruise line had definitely topped them and I enjoyed every bit of food that I had on board, it was great. The customer service from the windjammer market place and the main dining areas were excellent, couldn't find any faults as they were very attentive and very friendly, always met your needs. The downside for overseas passengers are that this ship charges with $USD, the conversion with their currency can be very pricey. $8 bionic bar drink meant almost $15 in $AUD each which is quite costly. My partner and I took out the deluxe beverage package with all inclusive except for alcohol, it was $35pp/day, quite pricey but if you think about it, they charge $8 USD per drink and by the time you get yourself a juice, a coffee, a milkshake, glass of coke, you'll be paying more than $35 anyway. The $35pp/day we paid via their website and in $AUD, do not pay this package on the cruise as they will charge in $USD, pay prior to boarding online. Shops are pretty good as there were a range of variety, still pricey but catered to passenger's needs and wants. Ports were Noumea - New Caledonia, Mystery Island - Vanuatu & Auckland - NZ. These ports were great. Noumea is the most expensive place I've ever been to in my entire life. 2 plates of burgers and chips with 2 drinks costed $80AUD later, a 1 hour jet ski ride costs $270AUD (which we did not pay for because it was way too expensive). We couldn't justify why this was. We ended up getting the hop on/hop off $10 tour to take us around town and had a swim at the beach. Mystery Island was amazing, loved every bit of the island and the people were friendly. Amazing grilled fish, wonderful massage, great atmosphere, cleanest beach. Auckland was also terrific, we went on the quad bike rides ($400pp later). It was surreal. The experience was amazing and the scenic tours were beautiful, went through the farm, the bush, the mountains, the beach, it was great. I highly recommend this Ovation of the Seas, I had a fantastic time. Please don't hesitate to message me if you need anymore specific information about my experience. 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
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
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
What a beautiful ship! She is new and huge. No rust or shoddy paint jobs on this beauty (yet). BUT SO MANY GIMICKS. I'll start with the biggest yet under whelming gimick - bionic robot bar tenders. After 10 minutes of ... Read More
What a beautiful ship! She is new and huge. No rust or shoddy paint jobs on this beauty (yet). BUT SO MANY GIMICKS. I'll start with the biggest yet under whelming gimick - bionic robot bar tenders. After 10 minutes of frustration and very poor drinks we and nearly everyone else we spoke to (and witnessed) left that waste of space bar and sought out a real bartender. on the 3rd day of the cruise the poor old robots were entertaining parents with kids and that's about it. Get rid of it RCI they must cost a fortune and your passengers would rather engage with real bartenders. The dogem cars are a novelty but most people have been there done that at Ag Shows etc, and the roller skating was ho hum and over relegulated - all sharing the same space (along with basketball, soccer etc) and therefore time restricted. We didnt waste our time. Rock climbing wall is consigned to a small side of the ship - unlike voyager etc where your at the stern of ship and have a marvelous view when you conquer the climb. the flow rider and sky diving seemed to be - under utilised and used mainly by the same people - under 30. North Star is fun for about 2 minutes and then you realise you're in a hugh fish bowl in the middle of the pacific sun! Hot hot hot and you get to see the ship from above and the sea from,,,,, well a bit higher than usual. All for about 10 minutes MAXIMUM. Cabins are nice but we noticed no dividing curtain between bed and cabin door as in other RCI so that means you need to by "covered"if your partner goes out the cabin door. Also no line in the bathroom to dry your "incidentials" + No light on the balcony??. AND the TV is fixed to the wall so that you can only watch it from the bed? Useless to try from the couch. What happended to the beautiful 2 storey dining rooms on other RCI ships with the sweeping staircase in the centre? Instead Ovation treats you to low ceilings and clostrophobia with each dining room confined. The main pool deck is jammed packed! and we mean jammed packed. No room for dancing and sail away parties, No belly flop comps or just the good old RCI dance parties on the pool deck. And the adult solarium sprawls over with staggered pools/spas and no character or friendliness like the other RCI solariums. Fitness centre is regulation and fine as per other RCI ships. The onboard entertainment we had was a bit hit and miss but as per other RCI cruises, we enjoyed them and mostly found something to keep us entertained. Staff are exceptional as per every other RCI cruise we've been on. Speciality restaurants are above average and some fun to enjoy. Windjammer accomodates the nearly 5000 guests for breaky OK and the food is of good buffet quality - but remember it's a buffet catering for THOUSANDS of people. Finally - will we pay to travel on the Ovation of the Seas again? - Not likely. Way to big,too many people and we didnt enjoy or use the "gimicks". Mostly this ship doesnt feel like a curise ship - More like a MALL. Overall the ship is fancy and very new and pretty! To us thought it doesnt feel like a Cruise ship. You have to find your own fun and as per usual on a cruise - the Staff are SELL SELL SELL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our second cruise with RCI. Previously we sailed on Allure of the seas so we knew what sailing with a large amount of passengers is like. Ovation was sailing at almost full capacity on our sailing. This was not an issue until you ... Read More
This was our second cruise with RCI. Previously we sailed on Allure of the seas so we knew what sailing with a large amount of passengers is like. Ovation was sailing at almost full capacity on our sailing. This was not an issue until you wanted to get a lounge chair near the pool or do any activity. If you want to do or see anything on the ship be prepared to get there at least 30 minutes early to be able to get a seat. We travelled as a party of 2 and found trying to even get 2 seats together was a challenge. Pool chairs were virtually non existent after 9am on sea days due to people leaving their belongings on the chairs and not returning for hours, with no help from the staff. We booked this cruise for March as we thought there would be less children on board due to it not being school vacation at the time, boy were we wrong! The ship was over run with children, who’s parents usually weren’t supervising them and they also ventured into the adults only area quite a bit with no staff kicking them out, so keep this in mind! Joff the cruise director was fantastic as was his team, with plenty of activities for a range of travellers on board. Our cabin steward was also good, keeping our cabin looking great throughout the whole trip. The cabin itself was spacious and even though we had an overhang on our balcony on deck 13 it actually provided more shade which was nice. We did 3 specialty restaurants while on board. Chops was amazing as was wonderland but Jamie’s Italian fell short. The main dining room food was good but the menu barely changed each night and was a bit repetitive. The windjammer also had the issue of being repetitive but had special nights such as an Italian night and Mexican night. Overall the food was great. We unfortunately did need to skip mystery island due to strong winds but this was handled very well. Overall the ship was great just a few small issues! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our first ever cruise, and we booked just over a year prior to sailing. The Itinerary: At that time of booking, the Itinerary was: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - Noumea 5 - Lifou 6 - Mystery Island ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, and we booked just over a year prior to sailing. The Itinerary: At that time of booking, the Itinerary was: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - Noumea 5 - Lifou 6 - Mystery Island 7 - Isle of Pines 8 - At Sea 9 - At Sea - and back to Sydney What we ended up with was quite a lot different, and had we known at the start - we wouldn't have booked this cruise. It was A LOT of sea days to see just 2 ports, neither of which we were overly interested in (we wanted to see the small tropical islands) But we get that it's a risk with cruising so while disappointing, we didn't get hung up on it. This is what we ended up doing: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - At Sea 5 - Port Vila (torrential rain, we got off the ship for about 30 mins walk around town) 6 - At Sea 7 - Noumea (we did the 2 hour Tchou Tchou Train tour) 8 - At Sea 9 - At Sea - and back to Sydney The Embarkation: was great, or at least WE thought it was - we arrived around 11:30am and were on the ship eating lunch in Windjammer by 12:30pm. Many were complaining about the time it took, but normally when we travel internationally we have to check in at the airport 2 hours before and wait MUCH longer before we get on the plane, so no complaints from us! It was all very easy and ran smoothly. Getting a table at Windjammer was fine, and we didn't have to wander around for more than a 5 mins or so (at any time during the cruise) to find a table. We live in the city so are used to having to wait sometimes for a table, and had no problem with it. Rooms were ready around 1pm, and we saw our luggage in the hallway so grabbed it ourselves. Nice and easy! The Room: We were REALLY impressed with our room. We had cabin 10134, port side, forward. It was close enough to the elevators and convenient to the Solarium which was good as with no kids we planned to enjoy this adult only area. There is plenty of storage space, and coat-hangers - surprisingly I didn't need to ask for more. The bathroom is good, with excellent shower pressure. The bed was by the window, maybe a bit hard for our liking but we managed to sleep well so it wasn't too bad. It was definitely more rocky at the front of the ship so next time we'll go for something more midship. The Included Dining: We chose to do My Time dining, and dined in the MDR 4 times on the cruise. We were lucky enough that we managed to dine once in each of the 4 MDR's. We liked the atmosphere better in Grande and Chic - which are typically for traditional dining, it seemed a bit more friendly and personal? The food was ok. Very classic/old school dishes - probably a safe bet I guess. Some were great (loved the lobster bisque and creme brulee), but some were pretty terrible - e.g. a scallop appetizer special one evening was teeny tiny pieces of scallop swimming in butter that had partly clarified and some garlic, served in the dishes used for escargot. And one random piece of bread in the basket was literally like rock - we couldn't even break it. I'm not normally a buffet person, but was quite impressed with Windjammer - plenty of variety and pretty good quality - especially for breakfast. Service in there was good too - you don't have to go looking for drinks, there is table service. Solarium Bistro was our favourite for breakfast, a little bit quieter and just as good a selection. Cafe 270 was good for a salad or sandwich during the day. Seaplex hotdogs were great! The Sorrentos Pizza was ok - not the best pizza I've ever had but not the worst either. Very convenient though to grab whenever you like. The Specialty Dining: We tried Wonderland on the first night, which is the one we were most excited about, but we were really disappointed with it. We were there for 30 mins before anyone came to even offer us a drink, and service was similar for the whole evening. I am a self confessed foodie - and love this type of dining, but this truly was theatrics over flavour. The food was bland and boring, and even the theatrics were nothing special. The egg was exposed by lifting a glass dish with smoke (so 10 years ago) it tasted nice, but was really just a cold stuffed egg like my grandma used to make. The chocolate ball for dessert that collapsed when they poured the sauce over it (this theatric has also been done to death) resulted in an overly sugary sickly mess. Barely edible - I ate 1-2 mouthfuls and couldn't finish it. The garden thing with soil was really bland and boring. Chops Grille on the other hand, was fantastic! I would love to have eaten there again but it was booked out for the whole cruise. NOTE: IT PAYS TO BOOK EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU GO OR AT LEAST AS SOON AS YOU GET ON BOARD AS YOU MIGHT MISS OUT OTHERWISE! Jamies Italian was also excellent, but booked out the rest of the cruise too. We didn't try Izumi, it looked a bit canteen/sushi-train-ish and didn't seem so popular. The Bars: There is a great selection of bars. We had the drinks package, which was great and we got our moneys worth - but we might not do that again as it did encourage us to drink more than we normally would, so our plans to go to the gym every day and be semi healthy went out the window very early on! The bars were all very crowded (see my comments on "The Crowd" later on) but the staff were working relentlessly and very fast at making the drinks, so it wasn't too much of a wait most of the time. There is also table service almost everywhere, which we found frequent enough to not even have to go to the bar most of the time. The Entertainment: We saw Pixels (my favourite), Live Love Legs and Beautiful Dream. If you go 30-45 mins before, you'll be fine to get a decent seat, if you go 10-15 mins before you might struggle. There was trivia, karaoke, all that sort of thing, plenty to do - but we did feel that during the day the activities were mostly for kids. At night there were parties - I particularly loved the Disco Inferno party, but they don't start until after 10pm which is quite late for us, especially since we'd booked some early morning activities. You don't find out what's on each day until the night before, so it's impossible to plan these nights out accordingly. I wish we could know when the parties were on - I really wanted to go to the Silent Disco but didn't manage to because I was already tired and had an early morning activity the next day. The Activities: We booked the iFly, and the booking went smoothly - happened on time. It was fun! We also booked North Star - also went smoothly. There are times you can go without reservation but you'll line up for a long time. It definitely pays to book before the cruise as early as possible. My husband did the flow-rider once, but lined up for an hour and a half to do it! So we never bothered again. It did get a bit quieter later in the cruise, and on port days (we only had two of those!) but we didn't bother as planning timing for things was a challenge - as I've noted earlier: you don't know what's on each day until the night before. We did bumper cars once, also a long line so didn't bother again. The Pools: Nice pools, the main pool is 1.5m deep. However they were FULL of children. One had to be emptied twice one day - because someone had an accident in it. I'm not sure any adult would be game to get in those pools unless their own children were in it. This was disappointing for me because my favourite thing to do on holiday is to have a relaxing day by the pool and a couple of cocktails. I didn't get to do this at all, except for about 1 hour on a port day before it started raining. The solarium pools are adults only but aren't really proper pools, and it was VERY hot in there and VERY crowded, impossible to find a spot to sit after 9am. Chair hogs in full force! The Service: All the staff on the ship were amazing. They were incredibly hard working, always smiling, and couldn't do enough to help you in any way. Guest Services were fine, although I think RC could do a lot more to be proactive with their communication. e.g. I checked in online and entered my credit card details - and checked, checked, rechecked MULTIPLE times. Then on the cruise I went to check again (lucky I did!) and turns out it hadn't registered so I had to go back again to get it sorted. There was nothing anywhere, no email, nothing on 'my account' that would indicate this needed to be sorted. The Internet: We had the Surf and Stream internet with our drinks package which was SO worthwhile getting. We procrastinated for a long time about whether to get internet or not, but I can't imagine not having it and will not hesitate again in future. The Royal IQ app isn't great - My Calendar never worked for the whole cruise, and guest services said "we'll log a ticket with IT" and I never heard from them again. We also couldn't make or check restaurant reservations from the app. This was a bit annoying as it's a very handy feature to have - if it's working! The Crowd: So this is were we were majorly disappointed. We had looked at doing this cruise in either January or March - and chose March thinking there would be less kids on board because it's not school holidays. Boy were we mistaken! The ship was incredibly crowded at full capacity - and felt like a giant shopping mall a week before Christmas, and apparently (we heard) there were about 1,400 kids on board! Don't get me wrong - I don't dislike children, but there was no respite anywhere! They were out of control all over the ship. Running around under the feet of staff carrying trays of drinks, climbing around the stage during show setup (security told them off twice and parents still did nothing), one I saw in a romper suit crawling up the casino stairs around 10pm, and one adult party I thought about going to where the dance-floor was 100% children - after 10pm! It was insanity. Many of the parents were on the bourbons from as early as 9am, and there were plenty walking around smashed all day - and we heard medical emergencies in bars a few times that woke us up at night (maybe genuine, but we suspect probably someone too drunk fell over!) This was not at all a relaxing cruise. Even the solarium was just way too full. The only respite was in our room, so the second half of our cruise we spent most of the day there. There are also some seats outside on deck 5 that were nice and quiet. But to pay the $$ we paid, and with so many sea days (6, on a 9 night cruise!) it would have been nice to have somewhere to relax other than our room and the few seats outside on deck 5. In Summary: The ship itself is amazing, and the staff are amazing. I think as first time cruisers we have discovered that perhaps just Royal Caribbean isn't for us? The crowd, and lack of ability to truly relax except in our room was what spoiled it for us - other than that I think we would really like this cruising thing. So after talking to others on board (we did meet some really lovely people!) we have decided to give cruising one more go - but this time with Celebrity, the very first week that kids go back to school - hopefully at that time parents will be less inclined to take them out of school for a cruise holiday :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose Ovation Of The Seas as it was one of the newest cruise ships sailing from Sydney . This was our first time cruising and with two young children so we did not know what to expect. We opted for the Owners suite as we needed ... Read More
We chose Ovation Of The Seas as it was one of the newest cruise ships sailing from Sydney . This was our first time cruising and with two young children so we did not know what to expect. We opted for the Owners suite as we needed the extra room with the kids and was well worth the extra $$ 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
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 enjoyed our second cruise on Ovation, but found the food in the main dining room this time very underwhelming and overcooked. We went 3 nights and the result was the same. We went elsewhere for the rest of the cruise. Bring our second ... Read More
We enjoyed our second cruise on Ovation, but found the food in the main dining room this time very underwhelming and overcooked. We went 3 nights and the result was the same. We went elsewhere for the rest of the cruise. Bring our second cruise we also found the entertainment ok but was the same as the previous cruise 12 months ago. When we booked this cruise it was originally 4 ports of call, one of which was why I booked this one, they then revised the itinerary taking out 2 islands then replacing those 2 with one, we lost quite a few fellow travelers that had booked with us. Whilst on the ship we then missed another port of call due to bad weather, which I understand, safety is definitely paramount, but still disappointing non the less. After 7/9 sea days I was ready to get off. We have another booked for next year with Royal Caribbean on the Radiance. I have heard wonderful reviews about Radiance so going to see for myself. Ovation in my opinion for 2 middle aged cruisers is too big with too many passengers. We booked in late March also hoping there wouldn’t be as many children, unfortunately I was mistaken. I love kids, but too many on this trip we’re left unsupervised a lot of the time. Embarkation was great, disembarkation was great. Well organized, staff were wonderful and always smiling and happy. Shore excursions booked through the ship are recommended. When you miss a stop, the money you paid for the excursion was deposited back into your seapass card. If you booked privately, I’m not sure what would happen. Overall another great cruise with Royal. We enjoyed ourselves but have experienced better on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Always interested to cruise on a new mega ship ,seen Ovaction in the harbor decided to review a cruise package next day and chose this one . All staff very friendly always acknoweded us and asked if any help required . Excellent ... Read More
Always interested to cruise on a new mega ship ,seen Ovaction in the harbor decided to review a cruise package next day and chose this one . All staff very friendly always acknoweded us and asked if any help required . Excellent service in the Grande Dining room you can order bottle of wine and they will store for you each night if not fully drank . Did order the Maine Full Lobster first night out at addition $35 only to told it was not avaiable as was all other nights and it was not taken off the menu pity but no big deal . I found the drink package a bit expensive as you have to purchase two for full trip so then you tend to drink for the sake of it plus you do have on board credits and drink prices were resonable compared to onshore. Although it was full with over 4000 passengers the crew manage you all well including boarding and embarkation considering we required assistance for disabled partner at times The windjammer dining area was busy at all meal times but a good selection of food was available . Water ,iced tea and cordial drinks are free together with brewed coffee ,tips only to main dining room crew and cabin attendent was suitable unless you wished to tip for good service but not pushed on you . Plenty of attractions bars and deck areas to relax .would recommend book the Wonderland restaurant as its different and good service . Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Had heard great things about this ship so thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately it has no atmosphere. It's like a shopping mall in both looks and feel and there's always someone wanting to sell you something. I ... Read More
Had heard great things about this ship so thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately it has no atmosphere. It's like a shopping mall in both looks and feel and there's always someone wanting to sell you something. I didn't expect it to be a party style ship. Enjoy a drink sure...but to excess, why. For such a huge ship there are no peaceful corners. Not even the Adults Only Solarium which is a complete misnomer . It's just as noisy and rowdy as the general areas. Lots of drinking, yelling across the pools, loud music. Sorry missed the mark here. Food is OK. However the same thing is served every day. Very little variety. Don't come back from a shore excursion hungry because there is very little choice available. Buffet closes at 3pm, there's pizza available, some dried out sandwiches and very little else. As has always been my experience, the staff are exceptional. How they go about their day dealing with what can be some really obnoxious and rude passengers and keep smiling is amazing. They're there to do a job not be servants to idiots who think they're better. The production shows were excellent; the tribute bands - great; but some of the other entertainment put on in the theatre was the sort of thing I'd expect to see at my local club. Good performers but very run of the mill. Overall it's a lovely ship but it lacks heart. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
Had to queue every night for dinner in Silk even though we had made reservations each day. Struggled to find a table in Windjammer every day for breakfast and lunch and then were constantly bombarded with announcements asking us to ... Read More
Had to queue every night for dinner in Silk even though we had made reservations each day. Struggled to find a table in Windjammer every day for breakfast and lunch and then were constantly bombarded with announcements asking us to hurry up and leave. Often could not get sun lounges in Solarium. Bars kept running out of our favourite drinks. Had to get to Royal Theatre 30 minutes before most shows in order to get decent seats. Clearly, they have overcrowded the ship to make more profit at the cost of guest enjoyment. The infrastructure cannot cope with the number of guests. Photos are overpriced. $150 for 10 digital prints on a flash drive. Seriously? Food and service for dinner in American Icon on day 2 was lousy. Food in Silk on other nights was average, nowhere near as good as we had previously on Voyager and Oasis. But service in Silk was excellent. Suspect they have dropped the standards in main dining room so that we pay extra to eat in specialty restaurants. Based on our experience on Ovation, we are now concerned that the standards across the fleet have probably dropped, again, as stated above, for RCI to make more money at the expense of our enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
This was to be our 15th cruise and since we had never been to the South Pacific and the Ovation of the Seas was the newest ship cruising Australia and New Zealand, we decided this was a great opportunity to see the land Down Under. A ... Read More
This was to be our 15th cruise and since we had never been to the South Pacific and the Ovation of the Seas was the newest ship cruising Australia and New Zealand, we decided this was a great opportunity to see the land Down Under. A great feature of cruising out of Sydney, NSW, is the port facility. WOW! 14 cruises before this one, and every single port facility (Seattle, Long Beach, New Jersey, Miami, Ft Lauderdale, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Honolulu, and a few others) was situated in some hard to reach industrial area, far from the city centers, hotels and airports. Not Sydney. The Ovation of the Seas was docked in an area known as Circular Quay. It is literally a few blocks from major hotels, including ours, the Amora Jamison Sydney. This was such a refreshing change. Embarkation was quick and painless; from dropping off our luggage to stepping onto the ship was 30 minutes maximum, but we were Platinum status and this enabled us to skip ahead of a queue of probably another 15 minutes or so. The Ovation of the Seas is a very pretty ship. It was launched about 20 months before we sailed on it, and it still looked brand new. It was nicely appointed and immaculately clean. Our first impressions were of a top-notch beautiful ship. We were on the ship by noon, but our cabins weren't ready yet, so we headed to the Windjammer Cafe, the ship's main buffet. And this was where my primary disappointment with Ovation of the seas began. I mentioned that we have been on 15 cruises. I must say that throughout these past 15 cruises, starting in 2004, there has been a slow decline in the overall quality of the food. Not just in the buffets, but also in the main dining rooms and the specialty restaurants. The six of us who almost always cruise together all agree on this, and it's across all of the cruise lines we've been on, RCL, Norwegian, Disney, and Carnival. Obviously, the cruise lines are constantly seeking ways to improve the bottom line, and lowering the cost of food is a great way to cut costs. So we've not been surprised by the reduced selections, shorter hours of buffet operations, fewer "included" food choices and increasing number of "for fee" options, as well as overall lower quality of dining in general. But we were all shocked by the quality of dining on Ovation. In EVERY food venue the quality of the food was significantly worse than when we last cruised with RCL, on Allure of the Seas in 2013. Let's begin with the Windjammer Cafe. The selection was poor to begin with, but what was available was sub-par compared to every cruise buffet we've ever experienced. Starting with the Carving Stations (there were two). The selection of meats was awful; the best thing served were pork ribs; these were juicy and flavorful. Other than the ribs, there were selections of meats that I would not serve in my home. Dry, tasteless cuts of beef, turkey, sausages, and lamb. The Burger station was terrible; the hamburgers were jokes; every single patty well done; dry and tasteless. The hot dogs were the kind you buy at the supermarket in 8-packs, definitely nothing special. The condiment selection was very good, but that doesn't help much when the meats are so bad. It was hard to find anything is the buffet that was tasty; and the selection varied very little day to day. The desserts were good however. We found several that became the highlight of our meals in the buffet. Oh, and we also really enjoyed the french fries (our Aussie friends call them 'chips'), and the fact that they had a dedicated Gluten Free section. The main dining rooms were somewhat better. We had the anytime dining option, so our MDRs were The American Icon Grill and Silk. We preferred the former, for it's lighter decor and more modern appearance. Overall the food here was somewhat better than in the Windjammer, but the selections were fewer, compared to previous experiences on RCL. Overall, the quality of the MDR was average. Off all of the food venues, the biggest disappointments of all were the specialty restaurants. We purchased the five night dining package, and ate at Wonderland, Chops and Jamie's Italian. Our first specialty meal was at Wonderland. Given the glowing reviews we read on Cruise Critic and saw on Youtube, we were expecting terrific meals, and had reserved two dinners there. For creativity and presentation, I would give Wonderland top marks; the food LOOKED great. Unfortunately, it came up short when it came to delivering on taste. Except for the desserts, few items on the menu were enjoyed by any of our party. Even their signature beef dish, the Terroir Beef, was a chunk of chuck meat in gravy, nothing special at all. So high marks for presentation (e.g. Baby Vegetables in the Garden looked fabulous but tasted awful) low marks for taste. After our first meal in Wonderland, we canceled our second visit. Then there were our two visits to Chops, and these unfortunately were huge disappointments. On the positive side, the starters, the sides and desserts at Chops were uniformly very good. Our servers were exceIlent on both visits. The problem was with the feature items at a steak house the meat. On my first visit, I had the boneless 12 ounce New York steak. I ordered medium rare and it arrived cooked medium. Not necessarily a problem, but unfortunately the steak was dry and rather tough. My second steak at Chops was a 16 ounce bone-in Rib steak. My wife also had the Rib steak, and while eating, we both were surprised that our steak knives were so dull! We had to exert considerable effort to cut our steaks, and we finally realized that it wasn't the cutlery, it was the steaks; the meat was tough and stringy. In hindsight, we should have complained about the quality of the meat, but it really didn't occur to us at the time. But given that Chops has a listed price of $45 for dinner, the quality of the meat at Chops was shockingly poor. None of our party felt the steaks were of true 'steak house' quality; I've had uniformly better steaks purchased at our local supermarkets at home. There's not much reason to pay for poor quality meat in an expensive specialty restaurant on a cruise ship. What a disappointment. Finally, that brings us to Jamie's Italian. Thank god for Jamie's! This was the one food establishment on the Ovation that really 'wowed' us. Good from start to finish. Starting with the excellent garlic bread, followed by the terrific cured meat platter, and the wonderful crispy squid, the meals at Jamie's definitely delivered; great food, fun atmosphere, excellent experiences overall. We ate at Jamie's Italian twice, and it at least partially made up for the huge disappointments of Wonderland and Chops. Our servers were also very good, especially the petite Asian woman the first night, whose name unfortunately none of us can remember. My final comments on food on the Ovation are on the Dog House, Cafe 270, the Promenade Cafe and Sorrento's. The Dog House was pretty much for the dogs. Located near the Sports court, it was only open for lunch, and had a selection of three or four hot dogs. We tried three of the four, and weren't impressed with any; all thin, dry and pretty tasteless. Of the other three, all were nice alternative food venues for a quick bite. Cafe 270 had a nice selection of sandwiches, including nice, hot paninis, and well as croissants. danishes, and other snacks. It was always crowded however, and seating was sometimes very hard to find. The Promenade Cafe was open always, and had small sandwiches, desserts, tea and coffee. Sorrento's deserves special mention; they had very nice pizzas! Thin crust, crunchy, with lots of cheese. Hands down our favorite snack spot on the ship when we wanted a quick bite to eat, especially given it's convenient location. I know I've made very extensive comments on the food on Ovation, but I readily admit that to me one of the primary attractions of traveling on cruise ships has always been the food. And unfortunately, Ovation of the Seas, to a very large degree really disappointed. Briefly, on other aspects of the ship, the cabin was very nice. We were in balcony cabin 8146. It was large, and had a roomy balcony, with a port view. Our cabin steward, Habebi, from Indonesia, was excellent; he had a bright, cheery attitude, and did a wonderful job of keeping our cabin neat and clean. The entertainment on the Ovation was good overall. The Beautiful Dream, Live, Love, Legs, were production shows that were very entertaining. There were also a Ventriloquist/Comedian, Strings duo, a Freddy Mercury impersonator, and Belinda Marks a vocalist. Although none of them would have been headliners in Las Vegas, they were all good performers and we enjoyed them. The one featured show in the 270 Theatre was "Pixels". It was a technology-featuring singing and dancing production, which I didn't really enjoy, but others in our party liked a lot. The one awful show in my opinion was a hypnotist who had twenty passengers on stage who were clearly all exhibitionists who literally ran to get on the stage so they could be silly in public. On the other hand, the woman who sat next to my wife clearly loved the show and laughed until she fell out of her seat! As many people have noted, the Flow-Rider is a great activity if you're into water sports; the bumper cars are fun, but the wait is typically about 45 minutes. Unlike others, we found there was no problem at all getting onto the roller skating rink, and there was almost no crowd at all. Rock climbing was fun, and the wait never more than 10 minutes. I never got onto i-Fly because it was cancelled due to wind on the day of my reservation. The ping-pong tables were constantly in use and we never got to play. The air-hockey was fun, but overpriced at $2.50 for three minutes. We never tried the North Star observation platform. Our shore excursions were arranged privately, and saved us a minimum of 35% versus RCL arranged trips (I think the average savings were closer to 50%). We went on excursions in Noumea, Auckland, Tauranga, and Bay of Islands, and had wonderful tour guides for the latter two, Colin, and Felicity (both retired police officers from New Zealand) through Shore Trips and Tours. We all agreed, we can't recommend them highly enough. Both were friendly, knowledgeable, and just really nice people. Oh, one more thing - Hokey Pokey ice cream is wonderful, even better than Rocky Road! By the way, we spent two more days in Sydney after the conclusion of our cruise, and we had two FABULOUS meals at a little place called Ribs and Burgers on George Street. Wow - after our disappointment with the food on Ovation, we had some of the best burgers, ribs and fries we've tasted ANYWHERE. I'd say their Aussie Burger is now my favorite burger of all time (well, at least tied with the Johnny Cash burger at Broderick's in Walnut Creek, California). Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise vacation. We loved New Zealand (although New Caledonia less so), and Sydney is now my personal favorite city in the world (displacing San Francisco). The Ovation was a beautiful ship, with good facilities, cabins, and entertainment, which unfortunately had very disappointing food. Not sure if we'd sail on Ovation again. Read Less
Sail Date February 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
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
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
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
We previously went on a cruise on Ovation to NZ approx 2 years ago, and I was pleased to see the ship has aged well. The cabins are spotless, and still look new. All other areas have stood the test of time and we were glad to be back on ... Read More
We previously went on a cruise on Ovation to NZ approx 2 years ago, and I was pleased to see the ship has aged well. The cabins are spotless, and still look new. All other areas have stood the test of time and we were glad to be back on board for our trip to Nouméa and Mystery Island. We had perfect weather which certainly adds to the enjoyment of a cruise, but once again we found the food, entertainment and staff all of good to high standard and the staff really do go over and above to make sure you enjoy your experience. We did the all access tour and got an inside look into the running of the ship and it’s an eye opener to see how much works goes on behind the scenes. On a ship this size, there are over 1500 staff working to ensure you have a great experience...all these people living away from their homes for months. We really couldn’t fault any of the staff from guest services, bar staff, restaurant waiters, housekeeping etc. It somewhat amazes me to read and hear what people complain about, so don’t sweat the small stuff, embrace activities you wouldn’t usually do, enjoy the ease of travelling on a cruise, look out at the endless blue of the deep ocean and you will have a fantastic time. We have 2 children aged 9 &12 and we enjoyed the flow rider, dodgem cars, I fly, dance classes, and laughing yoga, and the silent disco to name a few thingsThe pixel show is amazing too. You need to pre- book some of these activities so get online prior to cruising and book. Jamie’s restaurant was also a standout and Rixson our waiter was fantastic..great service without being intrusive and good fun! Yes there were times when not everything went according to expectation, but usually it was other passengers who were the issue.. nothing to do with the ship or their staff. I would highly recommend Ovation of the seas Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
First day there was a lot of Encouragement for us to purchase WiFi so we could use their Royal IQ app however it hardly ever works. Great example cancelled a shore activity on the app last night for an activity in 2 days but still showing ... Read More
First day there was a lot of Encouragement for us to purchase WiFi so we could use their Royal IQ app however it hardly ever works. Great example cancelled a shore activity on the app last night for an activity in 2 days but still showing today. Go & see them in person & they say too bad still have to pay as need to give 48 hours notice. If app worked last night it would be ok so not fair & clearly all about money. Just a number on this very big ship! There is very little focus on adults traveling without children & has many conversations with other passengers that are also finding it difficult to find quiet areas for adults. Pool allocation for adults is poor. There are no free movies other than a few children’s one so purchased one for $20 Australian thinking you could watch it again in a few days & you only have it for 24 hours. If you don’t mind just being a number & or not really fussed on genuine customer care then this is the cruise for you. We won’t be doing it again - too much focus on money with little service. 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
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
As a first time cruiser the first thing that hits you about Ovation of the Seas is how big it is. It is huge and can be overwhelming for a first timer. Staff however made embarkation as easy as they could ( I was travelling with a person ... Read More
As a first time cruiser the first thing that hits you about Ovation of the Seas is how big it is. It is huge and can be overwhelming for a first timer. Staff however made embarkation as easy as they could ( I was travelling with a person with a disability so that did mean skipping some of the queues) We had an internal room 10221, a disability room, and the room was fantastic with automatic doors that gave plenty of time to get in and out. Virtual Balcony was actually pretty cool too. Food & Drink Really good in all venues. Maybe too many people at breakfast where it was not uncommon for announcements asking people to move on after they had eaten so there would be enough seating. The only specialty restaurant we tried was Chops Grille and that was certainty worth the extra cost if you enjoy your steak! Gluten free pizza in the Italian cafe was brilliant and worth actually waiting a little extra time for. The Bionic Bar became a regular in the afternoon with robot mixed cocktails . Shows Not normally a show person but PIXELS was excellent and the comedy with Dave Callan also good. A good family holiday. Couples might find this ship a bit busy. I think there were over 900 kids on this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 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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