51 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas South Pacific Cruise Reviews

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
We chose to do a b2b with locations we had already visited in order to get a real feel for the ship and what it had to offer especially as normally we sailed on smaller ships it would give us the experience a larger ship. We have to say ... Read More
We chose to do a b2b with locations we had already visited in order to get a real feel for the ship and what it had to offer especially as normally we sailed on smaller ships it would give us the experience a larger ship. We have to say the 5,000 people, it was to capacity on both cruises, with over 1,000 children on each cruise which we thought a lot considering it was not school holidays. We booked an obstructed balcony, and it was great, it allowed plenty of light in the cabins and when we were in port the tenders were in use so no obstruction to the view of the islands, we were very happy it was spacious with lots of hanging and drawer space. The fridge was great, kept our water nice and cold and the kettle was a great touch although we never used it. We loved the ship, it was so modern and an interesting piece of artwork around each corner, lots of bars and cafes and restaurants, we stuck to 270 for breakfast they had the best cofffee and with a bagel was a great breakfast, for lunch we tended to go to Sorentos for a slice of pizza and some antipasto and for dinner we went to Silk where we had amazing waiters and the food was varied and well cooked and delicious, but we did otice that the menu had less choices than we had experienced in the past but still a good choice to choose from. Bars were numerous around the ship we found we tended to use the Amber Oak more, with the live music of an evening and the great friendly bar staff it was a great place to hang out. We enjoyed Ifly and NorthStar they were terrific, unfortunately on the second cruise they were both closed due to the weather, but safety must always come first, and we count ourselves lucky that we got to experience them on the cruise before. Unfortunately no such luck with the dodgems, the queues were so very long, we didn't like our chances of getting on so didn't bother hanging around. The shows were good, we especiallly liked the Pixels show, it was excellent. Lovely legs was entertaining and we gave it a miss on the second cruise once was enough, Beautiful dreamer was a great, and the headliners were fantastic. We were a little disappointed in that there were so many children (10-16 year olds) just running riot around the ship, they were jumping over the seats, pushing people and some of the language being used was disgusting. We were very disappointed in the general activities, we felt that the CD Mike had no idea of his target audiences, he was basically invisible, not really sociable if you were able to find him, and everything was virtually identical day to day, there seemed to be no thought to entertainment, and trivia seemed to be rushed and not really very much fun at all. I think the only activity I really enjoyed was the laughing Yoga by Angelle and it was only on once on each cruise. I am used to there being a session each day of either arts or crafts on board but sadly there was not on the two cruises we just completed, there was for family in the Adventure Ocean but for anyone else we had one origami class and one making roses class which was on a port day. Overall I would love to cruse on Ovation again, but would be praying for a fun Cruise Director. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
After reading various reviews we were slightly anxious about the size of the ship and the capacity to deal with so many people - how wrong we were, thankfully. I understand everyone has a different interpretation on matters however we ... Read More
After reading various reviews we were slightly anxious about the size of the ship and the capacity to deal with so many people - how wrong we were, thankfully. I understand everyone has a different interpretation on matters however we were surprised at the ease of the entire process. Embarkation and disembarkation could not have gone any smoother which was fantastic as we had heard of delays and queues. After arrival at the pier in Sydney, we were sitting down having lunch in Windjammers within half an hour. No issues finding a dining table either. Luggage arrived with no delay which meant I could unpack and settle into our stateroom (yes, I'm one of those who has to unpack and 'move in'!) then go exploring this beautiful ship. We booked as much as possible through the cruise planner before departure and I think this is necessary to ensure you eat / do / see what you want. I know some people were disappointed as a lot of things were already booked out by the time they were onboard. We found the food excellent in the MDR and the specialty restaurants we went to and the service matched the quality of the food. We selected the 3 night dining package as we love our food, we then had to choose which 3 specialty restaurants to dine at - hard choice but we managed! Once again, plan ahead and book. No issues with either ports we went to, Noumea we were docked at the commercial port which meant shuttles to the passenger terminal and Mystery Island was accessed by tenders. The tender process was smooth sailing (in saying that, we did leave the ship early to avoid having to get tickets for tender seats in the peak times) and I only found a queue at lunch time to return to the ship for food! Absolutely adored Mystery Island but found Noumea a bit underwhelming which was disappointing as this was the main reason we chose this particular itinerary. Once again, personal preference and I'm sure others loved it - at least we can now cross Noumea off our list of Pacific Islands visited. We did not arrange any of the ship shore excursions so am not able to comment on that although they seemed quite expensive. My husband found access to the gym difficult but he is an early morning training person which is the most popular time, he did try at various other times and often found it too busy. The running / walking track was excellent. Running up and down the stairs was an alternative work out for him also! Our Balcony Stateroom was perfect and nothing but praise for our room attendant, Avelino. The only comment is the bed was a bit hard.... No words to describe Two70, loved it and the only place to go for a pre dinner drink. Onboard entertainment was the only thing I found slightly lacking, I am perhaps a theatre snob so it's probably just my personal taste. The performer I did enjoy was the variety entertainer, Danny Elliot - what a surprise package and thoroughly entertaining. A cruise is what you make of it - do as much or little as you want. We're all different and what makes me happy I'm sure does not make you all happy, accept it for what it is and enjoy the moment. I cannot wait to cruise on this beautiful ship again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
My overall rating is average. Some great gimmicks to get you on board (NorthStar, iFly, FlowRider), amazing shows, awesome rooms which are let down by a poorly designed pool deck, lack of pool atmosphere and poor pool bar service. I feel ... Read More
My overall rating is average. Some great gimmicks to get you on board (NorthStar, iFly, FlowRider), amazing shows, awesome rooms which are let down by a poorly designed pool deck, lack of pool atmosphere and poor pool bar service. I feel that once they get you on the ship with all the latest attractions and experiences you are let down by poor service and pool basics they got wrong. So, lets recap why I choose this cruise.....my first cruise was on a Carnival ship sailing from Puerto Rico to my dream islands of Barbados, St Lucia, St Maarten etc. Each port day (which was 5 out of 7) I had planned all day activities while in each port. So, this time I wanted a lot more seas days and to me the choose of cruise wasn't the destination it was all about the ship experience and lots of sea days. I wanted to experience the latest and greatest mega cruise ship and Royal Caribbean is the main cruise line that has these in Australia, hence why I choose Ovation of the Seas. Ovation of the Seas is a big ship with lots of passengers. Most of the time the extra passengers aren't a problem although it can be hard to find a quiet place, speciality restaurants and activities (iFly and NorthStar) do tend to book out early, and, the Windjammer Restaurant can be challenging to find a table free. Cabin: being new, everything is the latest design and is in a condition like I was the first passenger on board! The closet and drawers are big, so easy to pack away your mountains of clothes and I had never had to get my suitcase out while on the cruise. The Virtual Balcony (a LCD TV screen (Sharp brand), on its side, fitting floor to ceiling, with drapes) with a view of the ocean behind the ship is amazing. I never felt claustrophobic or closed in while in the room. I would highly recommend an inside room with Virtual Balcony. The room attendant was super friendly, he always said hello and was keen for a friendly conversation. This service made me feel "like at home' and my room was always clean and tidy. Shows: the shows were amazing, the quality is so high. Be prepared to have your expectations met and exceeded. The shows were the highlight of the trip. I never imagined that the quality would be this high on a ship. Pixels was a good show, although, I think it is a little over rated. Pool deck: the main pool was disappointing. The side of the ship which was the front of the ship had a bar on each level and 1 row of sun lounges, the side which was the back of the ship had a big children's water park/play area and 1-2 rows of sun lounges (the children's water park wasn't well utilised since it wasn't school holidays) and each side of the pool had 3 rows of sun lounges. So, really not many sun lounges around the pool. The video screen was to one side of the ship (not like most ships where the screen is on a side of the pool that is the front or back of the ship). This meant that watching movies was not practical (only 1 side of the pool could see it) and the sound was not loud enough. There was only 2hrs of live music each afternoon and the entertainment from the cruise entertainment team. Very disappointed. Inside pool: there is an enclosed pool with a glass roof, the roof and sides could open fully but even during our trip was fine every day with temps into the 30C it was never opened. Being indoors it was noisy. Verandahs around the pool: there is a big wide enclosed verandah on each side of the pools which is wonderful if you want somewhere shady with sun lounges and other funky lounge furniture to sit/lay on. Great concept but being enclosed makes it feel disconnected because you don't feel the lovely warm sea breezes. In one of these enclosed verandah areas, which was a main thorough fare along the side of the ship, was the smoking area. The smoking area was enclosed on one side with windows and covered with a roof, so the smoke drifted along the enclosed verandah or out into the pool area. I really can't believe on a new ship they choose this as the smoking area! Solarium: a lovely over 16yo area. The cascade pools down the front of the ship were lovely to sit in, with a drink in hand. It did tent to get noisy and at times the air felt stuffy, once again all glass roof which was closed with air con. Pool bar service: slow, staff which never smiled or entertaining, they often served the next person rather than the person who had been waiting the longest, rarely (ie. if ever) offered a waiter service in the pool deck area. Very very disappointed. There were no frozen cocktails on the last day as they had run out. My idea of a good cruise day is around the pool, with entertainment, having a few drinks.....this ship did not meet my prior experiences or my expectations. Other outdoor areas were great. Deck 15 (running track level) was awesome for finding a sun lounge. Knowing that nearly 5,000 people fit on the ship I thought finding a sun lounge would be a problem, this was never the case, there was always many to choose from. Entertainment venues: there was no nightclub per say. There was a Music Hall which was the only venue that stayed open after midnight and was called a nightclub.....for me it didn't really work. Schooner Bar was a good atmosphere with piano player. The Original English Pub was one of the best venues, with a stand up guitar/singer every night, probably the best venue of a night entertainment wise but it was very small...such a pity. Food: the main dining restaurants, 4 in total, each have different decor and are on one floor. If you like the grandeur of a big restaurant with tiers that look over the other etc....you will not get this on Ovation of the Seas. All restaurants are on one level and due to not being two levels they lack that grand feeling. The Grande was the only spectacular one, the other ones ranged from being OK to American Icon Grill which was basic and of a night looked drab. There always seems to be someone different serving you during each sitting, this resulted in a feeling where service didn't feel personal. The food was good but I wouldn't say spectacular. The prawn cocktail was minimal and a big fail. There was always people walking around your table, it did not feel quiet or intimate. Windjammer Restaurant: (think Lido on Carnival) was always full of people, hard to find a table, some food wasn't of the highest quality (honey dew melon was too hard, sweet and sour chicken had no taste). This was one area where the space was insufficient for the number of people on board. The speciality restaurants were awesome, we tried Chops Grille (think steakhouse) and Wonderland (imaginative cuisine over 13 courses) were first class and definitely worth the money. Definitely try Wonderland, it blew me away! There are restaurant packages available only on Day 1 of the tour. We choose 4 for USD 100. For the other restaurants we choose experiences: 1) bottomless (champagne) lunch with galley tour which was a great experience with lobster and a nice piece of steak for lunch and lots of champagne, and, 2) sushi making class and you take away 3-4 long sushi rolls. Formal night: I had read reviews that formal night wasn't really formal in Australia and that was my experience. For guys, I saw maybe 2 (at most) tuxedos, a few suits and ties, odd sports jacket, most in chinos/slacks, long sleeve shirt. Ladies tended to be more formal than guys. The staff dress was appalling, they wore the same clothing as any other night. In the restaurant, male restaurant staff did not have their top button done up or a neck tie. I feel if Royal Caribbean are calling it a formal night, they should set the tone for the evening, which they sadly did not. Very disappointing RC. Drinks: I really like cocktails and I think they are a classic cruise experience....colour creative decorative conceptions served in beautiful glassware and martini style glasses.....Ovation of the Seas really lack in this area. Only memorable cocktail I had was an Expresso Martini and that is because I asked for it and it wasn't on the menu! Drinks seemed to be fast to prepared, basic, and boring. Other aspects of the cruise: Fitness centre: great but no sauna or steam room (you had to buy a pass to the spa centre which was costly). iFly (sky diving) great experience, tube was narrow so not like other commercial ones I've been in previously off ships, fully booked and not sufficient booking slots for all guests. NorthStar (glass viewing capsule that rises above the ship) great concept but when you get up there while at sea you realise there is just blue ocean as far as you can see so the only thing to look at is back down at the ship. Great concept, good gimmick in the advertising, but underwhelming once you experience. Flowrider: I didn't try it due to cost, ie $$$, but it was also busy with areas to watch those participating. Shore Excursions in Noumea: we did not book on board as the cost looked grossly inflated. Noumea is expensive but we did find a combo ticket inside the cruise terminal for the Green Train and all day hop-on hop-off bus tour for $50 (USD I think, not AUD). I think the train trip on board the cruise was $88+. We can not recommend the Green Train highly enough, great tour guide, excellent route, we got the bus back to Lemon Beach for an afternoon of food and swimming. If you have gotten this far into my review.....if you have kids, this is a great ship for you. If you like a good pool deck with good pool entertainment, outdoor movies, try another ship. If you like exotic cocktails, try another ship. If you are a multi-generational family and want things for all ages, this ship is for you. Be prepared to have all the latest attractions/activities/ride but be prepared for variable service. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We have been on both small and medium cruise ships but decided we'd like to try the big ship experience! Our boarding time at Sydney was 11.30 am and were on the ship within about 10 minutes. It was the smoothest embarkation ... Read More
We have been on both small and medium cruise ships but decided we'd like to try the big ship experience! Our boarding time at Sydney was 11.30 am and were on the ship within about 10 minutes. It was the smoothest embarkation we'd ever had! We loved our room - we spend a lot of time on the balcony on a cruise ship and the balconies on Ovation are great. Two really comfortable chairs with footstools plus a table for drinks. We went to Windjammers often and if there was a queue we'd simply come back a little later. If you ate outside of the busy times there was no trouble in getting a table. We had anytime dining and went to the Americon Icon the first night but preferred Silk next door for the rest of the cruise - it just had more atmosphere and the lighting was not so bright. Everything in the dining room was great - fast, friendly service and no issues there at all. We ate at one specialty restaurant, Chops Grille, but didn't enjoy that for various reasons (that have been expressed directly to RCI). The best find on the ship was the Solarium Bistro for breakfast. Sometimes there was a wait but once in you got your own table and a great variety of breakfast food with no crowds. This was very relaxing and became our normal breakfast spot for the entire cruise. Our favourite bar was the Schooner Bar and especially in the evenings with Lyndon Davies at the piano - that was just such fun and everyone was so friendly. I actually can't remember a cruise where I've laughed and chatted with so many strangers! Everyone seemed to be having a great time. We met up with a few people at the Cruise Critic meet and mingle (which was fun) and by the end of the cruise we seemed to know quite a few people on board! We stopped at Mystery Island which was stunning and also Noumea. We had been to Noumea before so just took the ships tour which gave us a tour then 90 mins free time at Anse Vata Beach. We'd bought this when it was on special so it worked well for us. I actually can't think of a single criticism other than we would have enjoyed more talks/presentations. I did enjoy the battle of the sexes trivia and a few other contests held all over the ship. The shows were amazing with good variety - dancing, a mentalist, comedian and broadway type shows. The staff were all extremely friendly (but very busy) and the North Star and iFly were great. I would sail on Ovation again with no hesitation for a cruise with lots of sea days but would prefer the smaller ship experience if sailing on a port intensive cruise. All in all, we had a fabulous, friendly and memorable cruise!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
Both my wife and i are first time cruisers and we embarked on the Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas, 8 night South Pacific cruise from 18 - 26 February 2018. We loved the Ovation of the Seas and the both of us had a relaxing and ... Read More
Both my wife and i are first time cruisers and we embarked on the Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas, 8 night South Pacific cruise from 18 - 26 February 2018. We loved the Ovation of the Seas and the both of us had a relaxing and an amazing time and we can't wait to we go on another cruise in the Royal Caribbean lineup. As first time cruises we were both are little overwhelmed with the size of the ship and took us a while to get into the swing of things, but once we did it was all smooth sailing. Embarkation went smooth, thanks to the online check in on the RC website and took no longer then 30 - 40 minutes. Absolutely cannot fault disembarkation, it was well organised and a seamless process. The Ovation of the Seas is amazing, lovely, very modern and clean. There is plenty to do on board during the sea days, it also certainly helped that we were blessed with perfect weather which made life on the pool decks all that more relaxing. There are some great rooms on the Ovation, with my favourite being the 270 lounge and the Solarium. Never had a problem getting a lounge chair to sit back and watch the ocean pass by whilst reading a book. We stayed in a stateroom with a balcony, the stateroom was clean and roomy and there is plenty of space and storage for your clothes and belongings. Dining on the ship in the main dining halls was very good, but the speciality restaurants onboard are amazing. We didn't get the dining package before we boarded, but i recommend on a cruise on the Ovation for this length of time , is definitely worth considerint. Izumi and Jamies Italian being the standout restaurants on board. There is plenty of entertainment and the shows are very good, my god they even had a tribute to Queen! and AC/DC. The gameshows on board was certainly helped by the cruise director Joff who was very entertaining. The service on board is excellent, treat people with kindness and they will treat you back. Mystery Island was the highlight destination, just exactly what you want when visiting an island in the south pacific, blue skies, clear water and white sandy beaches. Also enjoyed Noumea, New Caledonia, highly recommend taking the hop on /hop off bus,this gives you a little glimpse of Noumea and its sights. Both my wife an i caught the bug, the cruise bug, and we cant wait to do it all again. Until we meet again!! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
I choice Ovarian of the Seas Cruises for my birthday holiday, after watching the Tour Of The Cruises Shipes video from one of the traveling agency., on YouTube, I've set my heart on Ovation of the Seas Cruises right away.. And when i ... Read More
I choice Ovarian of the Seas Cruises for my birthday holiday, after watching the Tour Of The Cruises Shipes video from one of the traveling agency., on YouTube, I've set my heart on Ovation of the Seas Cruises right away.. And when i got on the roof top of this shipe, i felt like a free bird, just got out from her cage. I just love all the activities, it surely has made me felt like (a young girl in my teen years again) at my 50 birthday, Ijust love all the fun games, Live Performances Shows, Movies under the Stars on the roof top every day and night, so many things to do and we didn't have enough time to do everything we wanted to experiences, One week trip wasn't not long enought for us. The food Buffet was heavenly blessing for us, every day we tried and ate different kind of foods and deserts, which cooked in the same way others countries would cook, as if we traveled the world to have all of these amazing food (nternational food options ) all in one shipe, big credit to all great chels cooking for more than 5,000 customers everyday and night . We're difinetly going to try cruising on others different Royal Caribbean Cruises every year from now on, LOVING IT & I WIL LBE BACK. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
As loyalty members with RCI, we have completed a number of cruises on some of the smaller and older vessels in the fleet and enjoyed them all very much. So we were very interested to see how we would feel about our experience on this ... Read More
As loyalty members with RCI, we have completed a number of cruises on some of the smaller and older vessels in the fleet and enjoyed them all very much. So we were very interested to see how we would feel about our experience on this bigger, newer and massive ship. Honestly, we were very pleasantly surprised, despite the newness and all the bells and whistles, it just felt like coming home. I'm sure other people in a similar position having travelled on some of Royal's other fleet will agree that there is just enough modern with exactly the right amount of familiar to make it all feel like you've been here before with just a few added twists. So we'll discuss our experiences from the beginning till the end. EMBARKATION: As Crown and Anchor members, we were not afforded the usual perk of priority embarkation as our previous cruises, that left us a bit disappointed. However, we were rational enough to appreciate that with almost 5000 passengers to board we had to fall into the overall scheme. Our allotted time of embarkation was 2:30pm and we were on board before 3pm despite the huge number of people at the OPT. We were really impressed with the efficiency of the check in. INITIAL IMPRESSION: Having swiftly boarded the ship, we were pleasantly surprised and impressed by the overall aesthetics. The ship is lovely! It is everything that we could imagine that RCI have set out to achieve as a family favourite! There is truly something on board for everyone. You may not like everything but you'll definitely like something. And we can see that this is exactly what RCI have set out to achieve within the Quantum Class Fleet. We were on board for 8 days and every day we found something new! CABIN: Deck 10 Room 280 Balcony Cabin We loved the stateroom. Everything have thought about. lots of space and so much bigger than previous RCi staterooms that we have sailed in. If we had to criticized anything at all (and we would be nit picking!!) the beds were a little firm to our taste. Space, storage, design and layout are all excellent as far as we are concerned. DINING: Main Dining Restaurants: We chose My Time Dining - allotted to American Icon and Silk on Deck 4. We were concerned about the volume of people on board when we booked the cruise in respect to dinig times and how it would all come together. Especially as the ship was initially set out to accomodate Dynamic Dining concept which sadly didn't work. We were a little disappointed to see that the whole 4 restaurants scenario feels like were not enough to accomodate the volume of people on board. We salute all the dining staff for having the tenasity to deal with this situation and still able to smile, be polite and seem to enjoy what they do. Kudos to all! The dining experience wasnt always great because it was rushed, disorganised, chaotic and the food was, to be fair, below par on previous RCI cruises. The saving grace in this situation was out waitress Bernadette, who was just lovely. In the face of adversity, she delivered the best possible experience and always with a smail and a song which we thought was just lovely. In our experiences, RCI have some of the greatest team members. Windjammer Marketplace: We can definitely say, that despite other people's negative reviews, we had the best food on this trip compared to any other Windjammer Marketplace. Dont get us wrong! we're not saying that the Windjammer deserves any Mischellin stars but we had some fabulous curries, fresh salads and great variety for breakfast and lunch. Despite the fact that this is always a busy venue, we were always able to obtain a clean table upon each visit. Solarium Bistro: We only experienced one dinnner by invitation and we enjoyed it very much. Meditteranean Themed dinner menu, buffet starter and dessert with a menu choice entree. Very p[leasant environment, great wait staff and very tasty food. Cops Grille and Izumi: We didnt bother on this trip as we had experienced several times previously. Wonderland: It was a nice experience, slightly experimental cuisine with a very modern twist but dont expect Heston Blumenthal. Very well worth the money, very nice environment and ambience with great service and very delicious food. Overall, a very worthy and quirky experience. Will definitely revisit. Jamie's Italian: We booked a 3-specialty dinner package and opted for Jamie's twice and we were not disappointed at any least. It mus be noted here that we also enjoy Giovanni's Table on other RCI ships so the Italian theme was our go to on this sailing. Two very pleasant experiences and most definitely will return. Favourite dishes are Mushroom Fritti, the Meat Plank, the Baked Lasagne, Seafood Linguini and Lamp Cutlets. Again, nice casual atmosphere and service. Two70 Cafe, Sorrento, Cafe Promenade and La Pattiserrie: Sorrento offers pizza and snacks free of charge until 3am. Cafe Promenade offers Free coffee, tea and water and snacks and pastries. Open til 11pm. Two70 Cafe free of charge. Open for breakfast and lunch at certain times of the day, specifically check your cruise compas as it is per sailing. La Pettiserrie - for specialty coffees/teas and chargeable pastries and confectionary. TIP: For those suffering from Heart Burn or Acid Reflux try one of the Rooibos Teas as it is perfect for these symptoms. I was suffering from acid reflux for 3 days from drinking a lot of juice and found this remedy. It was like winning the lotto! lol Drinks Packages: My partner and i are like Chalk and Cheese! One of drinks and one of us doesn't. If this is your scenario and in the current light of the fact that Royalk expects each adult passenger in any one stateroom to have the same drinks package then all you need to do is ring RCI prior to your sailing and explain that one of the guests will not be drinking and so lopng as the non-drinking passenger purchases a minimum of Royal Refreshment package then they will be happy to oblige. Prior to sailing we purchased one Deluxed and one Royal Refreshment Package. We didnt experience any issues during our trip. For those of you who try to cheat the system - goodluck because the new POS systems on board monitor what we passengers purchase. We were informed by more than one bar staff that the system is being heavily guarded. ENTERTAINMENT AND VENUES: Royal should be commended for their entertainment offerings. Morning, noon or night there is always something to see or do. The thing that stands out about this ship is the technological advancement. It really is wonderful. If like us you enjoy shows, music and entertainment then there really is something for everybody. Two70, the venue at the back of the ship is a real expectacle and the Pixel show and all other entertainment that took there was trully enhanced by the remarkable technology onboard. Similarly, the Production shows at the theater were spectacular with natural talent and technology coming together beautifully. We also like to mention that the live artists both in Boleros and MusiC Hall Tavern were great entertainment and a mainstay of our cruise. Michael's Genuine Pub is always busy and the singer did sound great however, because it was always busy, we didnt spend any time in this venue. Special commendation to our cruise director, Joff Eaton who we enjoyed along with his team of staff onboard. North Star, iFly, Flowrider, SeaPlex, etc this is a ship full of activity and options if you want it to be. We feel that this is truly a family experience, there is something for everyone onboard. Whether you choose to take advantage of it all is entirely up to you. But this is the beauty of RCI, the choice is yours. Compare to previous cruises, the one thing that we could not dispute is that there are so many facilities and options on baord for erveryone in the family that it would be difficult not to please everyone. Quantum Class fleet are definitely crowd pleasing vessels. My Partner also wishes to add, the Adult Only Solarium at the front of the ship is just superb and a space like this should be created on every other cruisehsip on the seven seas. Overall, we knew that Ovation would be different, it is marketed as a game changer and it turns out that it is a game changer. Thouroughly enjoyed our holiday and will definitely return to Ovation. VOYAGER NEXT IN MAY! YEHEY! Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
We booked this cruise as a party of 6, and were so excited about the big new ship! Embarkation was a nightmare. Sailing out of Sydney, the ship was docked at OPT. Both the terminal and ship staff couldn't communicate to save our ... Read More
We booked this cruise as a party of 6, and were so excited about the big new ship! Embarkation was a nightmare. Sailing out of Sydney, the ship was docked at OPT. Both the terminal and ship staff couldn't communicate to save our lives, the experience was woeful. The check-in time selected is useless, as we noticed people boarding who were booked at a later time. Very annoying. The food in the dining rooms was excellent and the staff were absolutely wonderful. We enjoyed every minute we spent there. All other eateries (not including specialty restaurants) were not so good. I don't understand the opening times for the buffet - why so restricted? Food ran out every single time we ate there so we eventually gave up on going. The entertainment was great, a decent mix of genres that appealed to everyone. WHAT IS UP WITH THE BAR STAFF THOUGH?! Everyone was so miserable! I understand some days you don't want to be at work, but you cannot take that out on customers. Sorry, it completely put me off approaching any bars. There were two other things I disliked on this ship. The first being the mobile app available to message/call your fellow cruise companions for a one of charge of $7.95 upon boarding. On face value, this was great! But after the first few days I realised that on every other cruise, I didn't have this available and it was totally fine - and I actually missed being disconnected from everything! My phone is usually stashed in the safe as soon as we board. Going forward, I absolutely won't partake in such nonsense. If I bump into someone great, if not, oh well (I acknowledge RCI did not force this feature down my throat, just saying I really wasn't fond of it upon use). The second thing - more than any other line I have cruised with - RCI really try to get you to spend up on board. It seemed like everything came with a catch, a sales gimmick, or some sort of trickery to make you spend money. Every line does it, but this was a next level experience. All in all, I can't say I had an awful time. I did enjoy myself and make the most of it, but I don't think I will be returning to RCI. It's a shame, there is so much potential but the Ovation needs better management in my opinion. Read Less
Sail Date February 2018
The size of the thing is what gets you. Embarkation was smooth as silk. We went from baggage check in to on board in less than half an hour. All services were then available prior to our departure. The cabins (12528/12530 ... Read More
The size of the thing is what gets you. Embarkation was smooth as silk. We went from baggage check in to on board in less than half an hour. All services were then available prior to our departure. The cabins (12528/12530 Interconnecting) were spacious and could be mistaken for a hotel room. The shower was great and surprisingly good pressure. Luggage space was more than enough. Over head compartments weren't even needed. The balcony was huge and because we were interconnecting we had a double balcony. Plenty of room outside to lay down and watch the world sail by. Bed and pillows were great. TV entertainment was more than expected. Watched Premier League live in the morning as well as the Australian Open tennis live when in the room. The dining options were varied and all were top class. Would have liked the Hot Dog place to be opened longer. Sorrentos pizza was a great option for the kids late at night, as were the cakes and sandwiches at Cafe Promenade. All complimentary of course. The MDR with my time dining was faultless. We alternated between Americon Icon and Silk. Also ate at Grande one night. Were going to try a couple of the Specialty restaurants but couldn't get the reservations on the app and because we were satisfied with the main dining options we didn't bother. Only negative I could find was that you got the impression they wanted you out as quickas possible so that the table would be free for others. The meals really came on top of each other. Dinner would be finished in 45 minutes. Windjammer was Ok. Thought the breakfast options were pretty good. However their meats (Bacon and sausages) were not great. Lunch was more varied than Breakfast and each day was different. Entertainment was a highlight. There was something for everyone. Cruise Director Joff was a very funny. Clever guy. Kids and I tried trivia each day as well as the bingo when it was on. Surprisingly more fun than they expected. Also because it was in the 270 theatre it was very comfortable and had great views. All the shows were brilliantly done. We enjoyed the two comedic performances the most. The fact they had two shows each night meant you never missed a seat to watch. They also had a matinee the following day for the productions. Seaplex was great for the kids however this would have to be the area where the RCI let themselves down. Supervision and organisation was quite poor. It was very hard for the kids to get a go on Roller Skating and Dodgem cars. The Table Tennis tables were always being used and there was no system as to who was next to play. Never any staff watching the area. There was not enough communication from RCI as to how all the activities were organised in the SeaPlex. Its a greay arena for a ship but it needs more organisation and staff. Would definately cruise on it again, but may try and experience it outside of the School Holiday period. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Overall good trip but a few hiccups. Boarding was a little slow because despite our advanced status with Royal Carib, they do not honor it in Sydney. You just line up with everyone else no matter your status. I asked about it and they ... Read More
Overall good trip but a few hiccups. Boarding was a little slow because despite our advanced status with Royal Carib, they do not honor it in Sydney. You just line up with everyone else no matter your status. I asked about it and they said the line was not too long today, (It was a block long). SO they could honor that. But still not intolerable. The room was great. Nice balcony. Plenty of space. Clean, cool, quiet. The ship is of course massive. Lots to do and see. This cruise has 2 days at sea to start. Its a long way to New Zealand. The restaurant staff was nice and actually honored our pre arranged table for two without too much of an argument. We had it in writing this time from a RC rep, so it was pretty iron clad. This is usually a big problem, so we make it pretty hard to tell us no. We are not in port for very long at these cities. Very briefly. Biggest opportunity for improvement. Enforce your rules! The Solarium is supposed to be for “Over 16”. Then why do I have have breakfast every day with a bum]nch of screaming 2 year olds? Enforce your rules!!!! Allow us one room where I dont have to listen to the screaming. The dock in Wellington was destroyed in a hurricane too so they bus you to the city. Its on a lottery so you all ine up all the way down the ship for a bus ticket, and then line up for another two blocks to get on a bus for a very short Stacy in Wellington.. Unnacceptable. Storm in the Tasmin Sea, so we got off in Wellington ands flew back to Sydney 4 days later. I did not want to spend another 3 days on board, two of which promised to be really rough. All in all nice, but lots of at sea and short visits at the ports. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We booked through Cruiseabout on 21/06/2016 for our January 19th 2018 sailing to the South Pacific. We initially booked for a party of 2 adults and 2 children (one 15 years old, the other 11- both girls). As it turned out my sister and ... Read More
We booked through Cruiseabout on 21/06/2016 for our January 19th 2018 sailing to the South Pacific. We initially booked for a party of 2 adults and 2 children (one 15 years old, the other 11- both girls). As it turned out my sister and brother in law also booked shortly afterward to make our trip extra special. The Ovation came to Adelaide in December 2017 for a stopover, so we were able to view her from the dock and witness firsthand her immense size and beauty. We decided to travel from our home in Adelaide to Sydney 2 days prior so as to show our 11 year old around who had never been. We booked at the Swissotel in Market Street, right down the road from the Pitt Street Mall- great location!! Swissotel was wonderful- room spacious, staff excellent, facilities awesome. My girls especially loved the gym, pool and large spa. We all shared a Swiss Advantage room (booked on Booking.com) featuring 2 queen beds. There is a funky bar in the lobby, which we didn't actually get to as our days proved so full we were exhausted later at night! Sydney was fantastic- we had earlier booked a BridgeClimb online, which we scheduled for the day prior to sailing, and I had cashed in my flybuys points on a reward that gave us tickets to The Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum and the Sydney Aquarium. We also visited Bondi for a swim and my youngest daughter met a Bondi Rescue Lifeguard and had her photo taken with him! EMBARKATION Couldn't believe how well organised and smooth the process was- we were on in no time and drinking our first pina colada on our balcony! There is lots of assistance in directing passengers to the right area and what documentation to be holding ready. Customs was swift also. Remember to always remove hat and sunglasses at checkpoints! CABIN We were in 9168- a Superior Oceanview Stateroom. The bedding configuration consisted of 2 single beds put together and a sofa bed for the girls. Every night our stateroom attendant Dewa would prepare the sofa bed (with a towel animal left on the "master" bed) and every morning pack it back up again. There was lots of storage- above the master bed was two hinged cupboards (where I kept my clothes in my Kathmandu storage cubes), 2 small wardrobes (with hangers) either side of the master bed, a room safe and a desk with drawers. The bathroom was great- a proper shower screen and excellent water pressure. There was a hairdryer in the drawer, a kettle and tea bags and long life milk capsules. Nothing in the mini-bar. Please note- don't request any water from your stateroom attendant - we found Evian water (large bottles) in our fridge and $14 went on our bill! Oops - unnecessary expense. It didn't matter that we all had deluxe drink packages- this wasn't covered in those. Get your water at the bars yourself. We brought with us a mini whiteboard, that we wrote messages to our attendant if we required anything. My daughter needed a latex pillow and the sofa bed was a bit hard, so we requested some more mattress padding- which were supplied. The other beds were very comfortable. DINING We got into a routine of breakfast in the 270 lounge cafe - lovely bagels and oatmeal, then lunch at the Windjammer main dining room (try the cappuccino cheesecake) and dinner was initially at Silk, but then chose every night from then on the American Icon Grille, due to the wonderful service of Flory and Jason. They honestly could not do enough for us and made our dining experience a most memorable one. The menus were lovely - my eldest daughter and I tasted escargot for the first time and my husband got hooked on the prawn cocktails and steak dishes. We always walked out at the end of the meal thoroughly satisfied and feeling pampered. We had booked times for My Time Dining, but were sometimes late due to the wealth of activities onboard, but they would always manage to get us a table within 5 minutes or so, so no "hangry" teenagers! There was a line-up for those with no reservations on My Time Dining. We had booked all of our times online before we left. Mainly 6pm and 7.45pm. We had arranged the Deluxe beverage packages from ourselves and the refreshment for our 2 teens, and are so glad we did- we didn't have to worry about a big bill at the end. We bought ours online for $63 for the adult beverage in October 2017. ENTERTAINMENT We saw: "Pixels" - a futuristic dance, high energy show- was excellent- book online before you go. "Live, Love, Legs" - a Vegas style song and dance show with the ladies wearing feathers. Was lots of fun. "A Beautiful Dream" - probably the best show - beautiful story- made my sister and I cry. The soprano and singing (and dancing) overall is just magic. Costumes and staging are highly professional and outstanding. We went to the 1pm matinee and scored front row centre seats. "The Australian Beatles Show" - awesome. There were patrons from 5 years old to 75 in attendance- all boogying on down. Also saw 2 comedians, and every morning at 10.45am attended Joff's Progressive Quiz, to win the coveted keyring! He was hilarious and made every sea day morning a laugh. There were bands on the pool decks - the reggae band was great with the steel drums, and you could sit in the pool and watch the tennis as you relaxed. Sounds great, hey? We spent many an hour sitting in the spa being served margaritas and beer by our friendly waiter Marvin, who was very attentive. We all did the iFly- a MUST do!!! Not scary, just fun- my husband is 59 and I am 51, and we managed it perfectly. It totally WOWED my teens! Book online before you go - gets booked out very quickly. A complimentary activity. Northstar is wonderful too- got some great photos and video footage on our journey- just wasn't long enough! Again- gets booked out quickly, and is another complimentary activity. We didn't get to the Rock Climbing Wall or the Flowrider, as there was so much else to do, but the kids went on the Bumper Cars, hung around in the teens area "The Living Room" and had a wonderful time planning their days. They cried the day we left, and we were so depressed also. What!- we actually have to cook and clean and fend for ourselves again at home?? :-(( PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS We visited Mystery Island and Noumea. MYSTERY ISLAND Well organised tender to shore (using their own motorised lifeboats). We were on the first boat off. Is a small island, but we were entranced by the hermit crabs, snorkelling in the clear water (we brought our own sets to avoid hire charge and stuffing about trying to organise), the massages by the ni-Vanuatu women in the little hut, and my youngest daughter had her hair braided. A great family memory. We had booked a shore excursion (not through the ship-via Facebook), but abandoned the idea when we were told by a travel agent and others who had tried to use this provider, that he was a bit of a conman and may or may not turn up. We wished we had booked snorkelling through the ship, as we could have gone further afield to view more in the Giant Aquarium. NOUMEA The entry to the port is pretty non, as you sail past a dirty nickel mine, then dock at a container loading depot, so it wasn't a great start. One is struck by the amount of graffiti in the city too. We had booked a tour (also through Facebook, but this time legit) but had to wait for about a hour before we even took the ferry on tour to Escapade Island. The tour guide stated that Ovation was too big a ship for the port and there weren't enough buses to accommodate the number of passengers. Don't bother with the "market" at the port- it's just crappy cheap souvenirs, and rude French stall holders who bark "Don't Touch" if you want to inspect anything with a view to purchase. Our tour guide stated that he was planning to move his operations back to Vanuatu as he was getting nowhere trying to deal with the French- and he was on the Board of Directors for the New Caledonian Tourist Commission! The highlight of Escapade Island was swimming with the turtles in the lagoon- the snorkelling there was sublime and we enjoyed it immensely. We had a great lunch of prawns, mussels, lovely salads, a carvery, lovely patisseries. Just be mindful of drink prices - 2 cocktails, 2 cocktails and a beer cost $84 dollars AUS. Ouch! Patrons staying at Escapade Island were complaining about the poor quality of food, no air-conditioning in their overwater bures and the very poor service. We swam in the pool and it was grubby around the sides and a poisonous sea snake was found in the pool where children were swimming. I saw one little fellow virtually walk on water to exit! A fellow passenger told me at Noumea she disembarks, goes to a shop called "Maxine's" I think, where she gets her half price Chanel makeup and cheap booze. Then she gets back on the ship. FINAL WORDS: We spent the $7.95 (per device) on the Royal IQ app to be able to communicate with each other, as we didn't buy the internet package. It worked very well in text messaging, but not phone calls. Still, would buy again. Arrange at Guest Services if you aren't tech savvy or via the Royal IQ app. Loved our family time together- everyone had a ball and we are planning our next cruise soon. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
My family and I are frequent cruisers and have sailed in the past with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity. When we saw that the brand new Ovation of the Seas was coming to Australia, we jumped at the opportunity to travel on the ... Read More
My family and I are frequent cruisers and have sailed in the past with Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebrity. When we saw that the brand new Ovation of the Seas was coming to Australia, we jumped at the opportunity to travel on the biggest cruise ship to ever sail in Australia/New Zealand. We booked the 12 night South Pacific and New Zealand cruise which would depart from Sydney on January 28. Our initial excitement for this cruise soon turned to apprehension as we began reading the hundreds of negative reviews for the cruise online. We were assured by our travel agent that we would have a great holiday and that these overwhelmingly negative reviews are written by people who experienced a one off issue on board and in turn started pointing out all the other minor and very trivial ‘negatives’ of the cruise (one fellow online critic was displeased with a fingerprint they found on a wine glass…gosh that fingerprint ruined the whole cruise for them). Now lets get to the actual review…. Embarkation: Before boarding the cruise every passenger pre-booked a time slot that suited them to embark on the ship. This meant that there was an even flow of people boarding the ship at all times and thus resulted in a very smooth embarkation process. We experienced no waiting time to check in as there was plenty of staff on duty. However, there was quite a long line for customs but it moved very quickly and much better than we expected considering over 4000 people were boarding the ship in just a few hours. Cabins: The cabins were beautiful and spacious, with a lot of cupboard space and a nice big tv. The balcony was a great size with two lounge chairs and two foot rests. Yes, as many people have mentioned the number of in-room tv channels are very limited, however, who comes on board one of the biggest and most entertainment filled ships to just sit in their cabin and watch tv? Word of advice, if you plan on just watching tv in your room all day you’re better off booking a 5-star hotel room in Bali for half the price. Public areas: The entire ship is absolutely stunning, from the decor, to the layout, to the art work. Royal Caribbean has thought of absolutely everything. A lot of people have been complaining about how the iPads in the public areas don't work. We used them on many occasions and had no issues with them... it was really not that hard. Activities: The activities on Ovation of the Seas are amazing and cater to all age groups. You have the more mellow bingo and trivia type activities to the more thrill seeking activities like iFly, Flowrider, rollerskating, bumper cars and much much more. Yes the lines for bumper cars may look big but they go very quickly, it's worth the wait. Dining: Main Dining Room: The dining onboard was the one aspect of the cruise that let us down a little bit. There are four main dining rooms all serving the same food with each person being allocated to one of the dining rooms (as printed on your sea pass card). On the first night myself and the rest of my family did not enjoy dinner in the dining room as the food was not fresh and just bland. However after the first few nights the food improved significantly and we ended up looking forward to dinner every night. We concluded that the first few nights sub-standard dinner was probably because the chefs were trying to use up all the left over produce from the previous cruise before serving the new stuff. The menu in the main dining room changes every night, however, we fell in the love with a pie we had one night for dinner, so every night the chefs would keep on making the pie for us even though it was no longer on the menu. Windjammer Buffet: The Windjammer buffet has every cuisine of food you could ever wish for. They also do special themed nights where they still have a vast array of different food but they specialise in one cuisine for that night (Eg. Chinese, Italian, Mexican etc). Yes, it can be hard to find seats close to the actual food area, however, if you walk to the back of the Windjammer there are always seats. And on the plus side you are burning calories while walking back and fourth to fill up your plate each time. Chops Grille: Chops is a beautiful speciality streak restaurant onboard. We paid about $45 (AUD) extra to dine there and wow it was worth it. The steaks are some of the best steaks we have ever eaten and there are so many different sides you can choose from. Definitely worth the extra money. Jamie’s Italian: Jamie’s is a lovely Italian restaurant onboard and we paid about $40 (AUD) extra to dine there. The pastas are made fresh every day and they use great quality ingredients and healthier alternatives. The food was delicious and the deserts were amazing. If you only wanted to go to one specialty restaurant I think Chops is more worth the price, however, Jamie’s is a great option too. Two-70 cafe: Amazing place for a healthier option to the buffet. They make delicious salads and sandwiches and this is the place to get your barista made morning coffee. Highly recommend. Sorrento pizzeria: Pretty average. But you can get them to make you your own whole pizza which would probably be nicer and fresher. Seaplex hot dogs: Stay away. Made me want to vomit after one bite. You will find it interesting to see that there is never anyone lining up at that place and once you taste it you’ll know why… I WARNED YOU. Shows: The night shows in the Royal Theatre were amazing. There were two big production shows, Live Love Legs and The Beautiful Dream which were phenomenal. There is also Pixels which is not in the Royal Theatre but is still worth a watch. The headliner shows were great as well and really cater for all types of audiences. Staff: The staff on board Ovation of the Seas were absolutely excellent. Our staff in the Chic dining room were so accomodating and the waitress remembered our drink orders so every night at 8pm when we walked into the dining room our favourite drinks would be waiting for us already on the table. The cruise director Katie was phenomenal and bloody hilarious, she really made the cruise so entertaining. 5 Helpful Tips: 1. Pre-book restaurants and production shows- it makes it so much easier and stress free and means you don’t need to wait in long queues 2. Take the stairs (if possible)- with so many passengers on board the lifts can take a bloody long time so take the stairs wherever possible because not only is it a lot quicker but you also burn all the food that you have been eating off 3. Don’t bring extension cords- apparently extension cords are a prohibited item on ships so ours was confiscated as soon as we got on board. We were meant to have it returned to our room before disembarkation but that never happened so now we will probably never get it back. 4. Make the most of the cheap alcohol in the retail shop- the alcohol shop has some amazing deals on alcohol brands which are usually pretty pricey on mainland. For instance we bought two 1 litre bottles of Absolute Vodka for $30 and there was another deal for two 1 litre bottles of Smirnoff Vodka for $22. But get in quick because they sell out super fast. 5. On disembarkation do ‘Self-carry’ option (if possible)- usually at 10pm the night before disembarking a ship everyone has to put their luggage outside their doors and can only pick it up again once they are off the ship the next morning. However, Ovation had a ‘self-carry’ option which meant that you didn’t need to put your luggage outside your door but rather you just carry it off yourself (hence the name ‘self-carry’) in the morning when you want to depart. This makes the process so much quicker and also means you don’t need to be fully packed 12 hours before you actually leave the ship. Would we travel again on Ovation of the Seas? Yes for sure! Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
This was our first ever cruise with any company and it has put me off any future sailing with RC. I went on board with an open mind after reading many poor reviews about this ship. Unfortunately, most negatives were confirmed. Too ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise with any company and it has put me off any future sailing with RC. I went on board with an open mind after reading many poor reviews about this ship. Unfortunately, most negatives were confirmed. Too crowded. Too long to wait for any activities if they were not already booked out. Very short times on activities due to the number of guests they are trying to accomodate. (1 hr wait per activity the norm) Think your getting something special with the drinks package including premium coffee but there are so few places to get a decent coffee expect a 30-40 min wait at peak times. No real dramas with other beverage availability but some venues need more bar staff to reduce wait times. Food quality was quite inconsistent. Some was good and some was poor. Most was pub grub at best. Even in the 'extra fee' restaurants we were disappointed. Felt like RC is out to bleed your wallet at every opportunity. We had a travelling companion that needed some antibiotics from the medical centre. A consultation and a few pills later... a bill for $400 US? Trying to get off for the day at a port, now that's an experience. Expect delays after delays and total chaos trying to get 5000 people through one gangway and everyone wanting to be the first ashore. Ovation gangway rage was brewing. Trying to get a decent seat near a pool... Set your alarm for 6 am. Want a decent seat at a show you've booked.... Get there an hour early or you'll end up trying to look around a 400mm column in the Royal Theatre or be stuck up the back of Two70 with a huge designer lamp blocking your view to the upper level stages. Forget about seeing the performers on the lower stages unless your in the front 2 rows. The robot bar is the ultimate gimmick. It doesn't create drinks anywhere near the standard of a decent bartender and spills 15% of your selection trying to get it in the plastic cup. Most times I walked past, it was being re-stocked or had broken down. And the one that most people don't expect... This ship looks like a tsunami couldn't influence it's bulk. Wrong! Ovation is quite influenced by a swell as low as 3-4 metres. It's just too damn top heavy so be prepared for some extra rock 'n roll. With the huge amount of guests on board and the chaos we experienced in calm controlled conditions, one might question their ability to efficiently handle an emergency situation. On the positive side, If you do get a decent seat for any entertainment you should enjoy the talented performers. The band 'Rock The Boat' is one of the tightest and most talented covers bands you'll find anywhere. The Dream and Legs were also great. Pixels... well, got a crap seat so couldn't see much of that. Most of the staff are very friendly and efficient and will bend over backwards to try and please you. The accomodation is spacious, modern and comfortable but any announcements can't be heard inside the well insulated cabins. Dumb! Dumb! Dumb! Should be a speaker and volume control or TV override so you don't have open your cabin door to hear any announcements. Most people I spoke to on the ship about their experience had similar opinions to us and most said they won't sail again on Ovation. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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