12 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas South Pacific Cruise Reviews

Overall our holiday was good, but there were a few things that brought down the enjoyment. Our stateroom was assigned by RC on the starboard forward part of deck 6 and was above the deck 5 smoking area. This meant when we wanted to use ... Read More
Overall our holiday was good, but there were a few things that brought down the enjoyment. Our stateroom was assigned by RC on the starboard forward part of deck 6 and was above the deck 5 smoking area. This meant when we wanted to use the balcony, we got cigarette smoke in the air. Fresh air was why we picked a balcony in the first place. We also were deluged in cigarette smoke when waiting in line for the North Star on deck 15. In the stateroom, while it was small, the bathroom was extremely functional. Having USB ports and magnetic walls was also convenient. However we would have preferred to have a curtain or room divider so that a person sleeping wouldn’t be disturbed by someone reading or coming in late. Having all the overhead lights on the same switch also contributed to this issue. Personally I was disappointed that the Solarium pool was really only for sitting, not swimming. The other two pools were so full of kids for most of the day I couldn’t really swim. We also didn’t really get any benefits from being lowly gold level Crown & Anchor members. We received a note at the start of the cruise that we would get buy one get one free soft drinks when ordered together, or 10% off a single, automatically. However this was never the case when we bought soft drinks. The photo discount was nice, except for the photo package offers made the discount irrelevant. The special waiting area in the Music Hall on debark day was also irrelevant- no one was there when we arrived and when our number was called we were further back in line than the people who waited in Two70. Our cruise superstar staff were our stateroom attendant Igede who quickly helped us with anything we needed and had our room tidied very quickly when we left. We really enjoyed the progressive trivia and game shows hosted by Prince. The entertainers we saw were really excellent - Pixels and the theatre productions had amazing set design and performers. The INXS tribute band, comedian and tropical pleasures duo were also lots of fun. We didn’t go to the other tribute concerts as we weren’t interested in the artists they covered - maybe pick some more recent artists. The cruise director was kind of extra - he needed to take it down a couple of notches. It’s likely that we’ll sail with RC again. However it’ll probably be on a smaller ship, we will cough up the extra money to pick our stateroom, and we will be careful to avoid school holidays and smoking areas. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We are frequent, loyal RCCL cruisers from Sydney, this being our 10th cruise with Royal. Firstly, the good - we thought Cruise Director Joff was outstanding, a very funny guy. Service in the public areas was generally above average. ... Read More
We are frequent, loyal RCCL cruisers from Sydney, this being our 10th cruise with Royal. Firstly, the good - we thought Cruise Director Joff was outstanding, a very funny guy. Service in the public areas was generally above average. Pizza from the Promenade cafe was constantly above par. The flown-in entertainers were great, especially the comedian, magician, Freddie Mercury act and the hypnotist, and pixels was something else. We visited three of the specialty restaurants, and had a great night at each, being a nice change from the mayhem of the main dining rooms. The ship itself is fantastic, plenty to do for all ages, with the North Star, I fly, dodgems, Flowrider, the fitness centre and all pools getting a solid workout. Secondly, the not so good - we thought the food in the main dining rooms (there are 4, two for my time dining and two for set dining) was average at best, although it did seem to improve slightly as the cruise went on. It was really nothing better than an RSL bistro most nights, and there was not much variation in the menu from night to night. Service was okay, without being great. We thought the showtime productions by the onboard cast were ordinary, Long Live Legs was pumped up to be a great night, but we found that the screeching from the lead singer detracted from the entire production. The ports were poor, one was bypassed due to choppy seas, although we booked this cruise for the ship, not the destinations. Thirdly, our biggest bugbear were our fellow passengers, many of whom behaved as if they were at Boganville RSL for 9 days. It was mullets, rats tails, singlets and tattoos as far as you could see. Even though the dress code for the dining rooms is supposed to be smart casual, to some guests this is apparently shorts, t-shirt and thongs. And the sad part is, the crew did nothing to discourage this. Instead of being on Royal Caribbean, it felt like we were on P & O or Carnival. In days gone by, there were standards that were adhered to, and people seemed to accept and respect that. Not so on RCCL anymore, and responsible service of alcohol was non-existent, and there were many, many very drunk people wandering about the ship. This review may sound as if I am a snob, but I am far from it. However, I will think long and hard about booking any more cruises out of Sydney with any company, as it is will inevitably and unfortunately be full of Australians of the worst kind. I would hate to think what overseas passengers thought of us! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
What a beautiful ship! She is new and huge. No rust or shoddy paint jobs on this beauty (yet). BUT SO MANY GIMICKS. I'll start with the biggest yet under whelming gimick - bionic robot bar tenders. After 10 minutes of ... Read More
What a beautiful ship! She is new and huge. No rust or shoddy paint jobs on this beauty (yet). BUT SO MANY GIMICKS. I'll start with the biggest yet under whelming gimick - bionic robot bar tenders. After 10 minutes of frustration and very poor drinks we and nearly everyone else we spoke to (and witnessed) left that waste of space bar and sought out a real bartender. on the 3rd day of the cruise the poor old robots were entertaining parents with kids and that's about it. Get rid of it RCI they must cost a fortune and your passengers would rather engage with real bartenders. The dogem cars are a novelty but most people have been there done that at Ag Shows etc, and the roller skating was ho hum and over relegulated - all sharing the same space (along with basketball, soccer etc) and therefore time restricted. We didnt waste our time. Rock climbing wall is consigned to a small side of the ship - unlike voyager etc where your at the stern of ship and have a marvelous view when you conquer the climb. the flow rider and sky diving seemed to be - under utilised and used mainly by the same people - under 30. North Star is fun for about 2 minutes and then you realise you're in a hugh fish bowl in the middle of the pacific sun! Hot hot hot and you get to see the ship from above and the sea from,,,,, well a bit higher than usual. All for about 10 minutes MAXIMUM. Cabins are nice but we noticed no dividing curtain between bed and cabin door as in other RCI so that means you need to by "covered"if your partner goes out the cabin door. Also no line in the bathroom to dry your "incidentials" + No light on the balcony??. AND the TV is fixed to the wall so that you can only watch it from the bed? Useless to try from the couch. What happended to the beautiful 2 storey dining rooms on other RCI ships with the sweeping staircase in the centre? Instead Ovation treats you to low ceilings and clostrophobia with each dining room confined. The main pool deck is jammed packed! and we mean jammed packed. No room for dancing and sail away parties, No belly flop comps or just the good old RCI dance parties on the pool deck. And the adult solarium sprawls over with staggered pools/spas and no character or friendliness like the other RCI solariums. Fitness centre is regulation and fine as per other RCI ships. The onboard entertainment we had was a bit hit and miss but as per other RCI cruises, we enjoyed them and mostly found something to keep us entertained. Staff are exceptional as per every other RCI cruise we've been on. Speciality restaurants are above average and some fun to enjoy. Windjammer accomodates the nearly 5000 guests for breaky OK and the food is of good buffet quality - but remember it's a buffet catering for THOUSANDS of people. Finally - will we pay to travel on the Ovation of the Seas again? - Not likely. Way to big,too many people and we didnt enjoy or use the "gimicks". Mostly this ship doesnt feel like a curise ship - More like a MALL. Overall the ship is fancy and very new and pretty! To us thought it doesnt feel like a Cruise ship. You have to find your own fun and as per usual on a cruise - the Staff are SELL SELL SELL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our first ever cruise, and we booked just over a year prior to sailing. The Itinerary: At that time of booking, the Itinerary was: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - Noumea 5 - Lifou 6 - Mystery Island ... Read More
This was our first ever cruise, and we booked just over a year prior to sailing. The Itinerary: At that time of booking, the Itinerary was: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - Noumea 5 - Lifou 6 - Mystery Island 7 - Isle of Pines 8 - At Sea 9 - At Sea - and back to Sydney What we ended up with was quite a lot different, and had we known at the start - we wouldn't have booked this cruise. It was A LOT of sea days to see just 2 ports, neither of which we were overly interested in (we wanted to see the small tropical islands) But we get that it's a risk with cruising so while disappointing, we didn't get hung up on it. This is what we ended up doing: 1 - Sydney 2 - At Sea 3 - At Sea 4 - At Sea 5 - Port Vila (torrential rain, we got off the ship for about 30 mins walk around town) 6 - At Sea 7 - Noumea (we did the 2 hour Tchou Tchou Train tour) 8 - At Sea 9 - At Sea - and back to Sydney The Embarkation: was great, or at least WE thought it was - we arrived around 11:30am and were on the ship eating lunch in Windjammer by 12:30pm. Many were complaining about the time it took, but normally when we travel internationally we have to check in at the airport 2 hours before and wait MUCH longer before we get on the plane, so no complaints from us! It was all very easy and ran smoothly. Getting a table at Windjammer was fine, and we didn't have to wander around for more than a 5 mins or so (at any time during the cruise) to find a table. We live in the city so are used to having to wait sometimes for a table, and had no problem with it. Rooms were ready around 1pm, and we saw our luggage in the hallway so grabbed it ourselves. Nice and easy! The Room: We were REALLY impressed with our room. We had cabin 10134, port side, forward. It was close enough to the elevators and convenient to the Solarium which was good as with no kids we planned to enjoy this adult only area. There is plenty of storage space, and coat-hangers - surprisingly I didn't need to ask for more. The bathroom is good, with excellent shower pressure. The bed was by the window, maybe a bit hard for our liking but we managed to sleep well so it wasn't too bad. It was definitely more rocky at the front of the ship so next time we'll go for something more midship. The Included Dining: We chose to do My Time dining, and dined in the MDR 4 times on the cruise. We were lucky enough that we managed to dine once in each of the 4 MDR's. We liked the atmosphere better in Grande and Chic - which are typically for traditional dining, it seemed a bit more friendly and personal? The food was ok. Very classic/old school dishes - probably a safe bet I guess. Some were great (loved the lobster bisque and creme brulee), but some were pretty terrible - e.g. a scallop appetizer special one evening was teeny tiny pieces of scallop swimming in butter that had partly clarified and some garlic, served in the dishes used for escargot. And one random piece of bread in the basket was literally like rock - we couldn't even break it. I'm not normally a buffet person, but was quite impressed with Windjammer - plenty of variety and pretty good quality - especially for breakfast. Service in there was good too - you don't have to go looking for drinks, there is table service. Solarium Bistro was our favourite for breakfast, a little bit quieter and just as good a selection. Cafe 270 was good for a salad or sandwich during the day. Seaplex hotdogs were great! The Sorrentos Pizza was ok - not the best pizza I've ever had but not the worst either. Very convenient though to grab whenever you like. The Specialty Dining: We tried Wonderland on the first night, which is the one we were most excited about, but we were really disappointed with it. We were there for 30 mins before anyone came to even offer us a drink, and service was similar for the whole evening. I am a self confessed foodie - and love this type of dining, but this truly was theatrics over flavour. The food was bland and boring, and even the theatrics were nothing special. The egg was exposed by lifting a glass dish with smoke (so 10 years ago) it tasted nice, but was really just a cold stuffed egg like my grandma used to make. The chocolate ball for dessert that collapsed when they poured the sauce over it (this theatric has also been done to death) resulted in an overly sugary sickly mess. Barely edible - I ate 1-2 mouthfuls and couldn't finish it. The garden thing with soil was really bland and boring. Chops Grille on the other hand, was fantastic! I would love to have eaten there again but it was booked out for the whole cruise. NOTE: IT PAYS TO BOOK EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU GO OR AT LEAST AS SOON AS YOU GET ON BOARD AS YOU MIGHT MISS OUT OTHERWISE! Jamies Italian was also excellent, but booked out the rest of the cruise too. We didn't try Izumi, it looked a bit canteen/sushi-train-ish and didn't seem so popular. The Bars: There is a great selection of bars. We had the drinks package, which was great and we got our moneys worth - but we might not do that again as it did encourage us to drink more than we normally would, so our plans to go to the gym every day and be semi healthy went out the window very early on! The bars were all very crowded (see my comments on "The Crowd" later on) but the staff were working relentlessly and very fast at making the drinks, so it wasn't too much of a wait most of the time. There is also table service almost everywhere, which we found frequent enough to not even have to go to the bar most of the time. The Entertainment: We saw Pixels (my favourite), Live Love Legs and Beautiful Dream. If you go 30-45 mins before, you'll be fine to get a decent seat, if you go 10-15 mins before you might struggle. There was trivia, karaoke, all that sort of thing, plenty to do - but we did feel that during the day the activities were mostly for kids. At night there were parties - I particularly loved the Disco Inferno party, but they don't start until after 10pm which is quite late for us, especially since we'd booked some early morning activities. You don't find out what's on each day until the night before, so it's impossible to plan these nights out accordingly. I wish we could know when the parties were on - I really wanted to go to the Silent Disco but didn't manage to because I was already tired and had an early morning activity the next day. The Activities: We booked the iFly, and the booking went smoothly - happened on time. It was fun! We also booked North Star - also went smoothly. There are times you can go without reservation but you'll line up for a long time. It definitely pays to book before the cruise as early as possible. My husband did the flow-rider once, but lined up for an hour and a half to do it! So we never bothered again. It did get a bit quieter later in the cruise, and on port days (we only had two of those!) but we didn't bother as planning timing for things was a challenge - as I've noted earlier: you don't know what's on each day until the night before. We did bumper cars once, also a long line so didn't bother again. The Pools: Nice pools, the main pool is 1.5m deep. However they were FULL of children. One had to be emptied twice one day - because someone had an accident in it. I'm not sure any adult would be game to get in those pools unless their own children were in it. This was disappointing for me because my favourite thing to do on holiday is to have a relaxing day by the pool and a couple of cocktails. I didn't get to do this at all, except for about 1 hour on a port day before it started raining. The solarium pools are adults only but aren't really proper pools, and it was VERY hot in there and VERY crowded, impossible to find a spot to sit after 9am. Chair hogs in full force! The Service: All the staff on the ship were amazing. They were incredibly hard working, always smiling, and couldn't do enough to help you in any way. Guest Services were fine, although I think RC could do a lot more to be proactive with their communication. e.g. I checked in online and entered my credit card details - and checked, checked, rechecked MULTIPLE times. Then on the cruise I went to check again (lucky I did!) and turns out it hadn't registered so I had to go back again to get it sorted. There was nothing anywhere, no email, nothing on 'my account' that would indicate this needed to be sorted. The Internet: We had the Surf and Stream internet with our drinks package which was SO worthwhile getting. We procrastinated for a long time about whether to get internet or not, but I can't imagine not having it and will not hesitate again in future. The Royal IQ app isn't great - My Calendar never worked for the whole cruise, and guest services said "we'll log a ticket with IT" and I never heard from them again. We also couldn't make or check restaurant reservations from the app. This was a bit annoying as it's a very handy feature to have - if it's working! The Crowd: So this is were we were majorly disappointed. We had looked at doing this cruise in either January or March - and chose March thinking there would be less kids on board because it's not school holidays. Boy were we mistaken! The ship was incredibly crowded at full capacity - and felt like a giant shopping mall a week before Christmas, and apparently (we heard) there were about 1,400 kids on board! Don't get me wrong - I don't dislike children, but there was no respite anywhere! They were out of control all over the ship. Running around under the feet of staff carrying trays of drinks, climbing around the stage during show setup (security told them off twice and parents still did nothing), one I saw in a romper suit crawling up the casino stairs around 10pm, and one adult party I thought about going to where the dance-floor was 100% children - after 10pm! It was insanity. Many of the parents were on the bourbons from as early as 9am, and there were plenty walking around smashed all day - and we heard medical emergencies in bars a few times that woke us up at night (maybe genuine, but we suspect probably someone too drunk fell over!) This was not at all a relaxing cruise. Even the solarium was just way too full. The only respite was in our room, so the second half of our cruise we spent most of the day there. There are also some seats outside on deck 5 that were nice and quiet. But to pay the $$ we paid, and with so many sea days (6, on a 9 night cruise!) it would have been nice to have somewhere to relax other than our room and the few seats outside on deck 5. In Summary: The ship itself is amazing, and the staff are amazing. I think as first time cruisers we have discovered that perhaps just Royal Caribbean isn't for us? The crowd, and lack of ability to truly relax except in our room was what spoiled it for us - other than that I think we would really like this cruising thing. So after talking to others on board (we did meet some really lovely people!) we have decided to give cruising one more go - but this time with Celebrity, the very first week that kids go back to school - hopefully at that time parents will be less inclined to take them out of school for a cruise holiday :) Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Had heard great things about this ship so thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately it has no atmosphere. It's like a shopping mall in both looks and feel and there's always someone wanting to sell you something. I ... Read More
Had heard great things about this ship so thought I would give it a try. Unfortunately it has no atmosphere. It's like a shopping mall in both looks and feel and there's always someone wanting to sell you something. I didn't expect it to be a party style ship. Enjoy a drink sure...but to excess, why. For such a huge ship there are no peaceful corners. Not even the Adults Only Solarium which is a complete misnomer . It's just as noisy and rowdy as the general areas. Lots of drinking, yelling across the pools, loud music. Sorry missed the mark here. Food is OK. However the same thing is served every day. Very little variety. Don't come back from a shore excursion hungry because there is very little choice available. Buffet closes at 3pm, there's pizza available, some dried out sandwiches and very little else. As has always been my experience, the staff are exceptional. How they go about their day dealing with what can be some really obnoxious and rude passengers and keep smiling is amazing. They're there to do a job not be servants to idiots who think they're better. The production shows were excellent; the tribute bands - great; but some of the other entertainment put on in the theatre was the sort of thing I'd expect to see at my local club. Good performers but very run of the mill. Overall it's a lovely ship but it lacks heart. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
We chose this cruise because it was going to a few places that we hadn't cruised to before in the North Island of NZ, not because it was on Ovation of the Seas. We found the ship to be very clean and modern, elegant but personally I ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to a few places that we hadn't cruised to before in the North Island of NZ, not because it was on Ovation of the Seas. We found the ship to be very clean and modern, elegant but personally I prefer Radiance, Voyager and Explorer, they are a bit more personal and have more atmosphere. Ovation is a great ship for families with lots for kids and teens to do but we didn't need all those things. In saying that the service was really, really good and the food similar standard to the other ships. We didn't try any of the Specialty Restaurants as we find the food in Windjammer and the MDR quite good enough for us and the staff very helpful and obliging. this was our first cruise as Diamond Level passengers and did enjoy our time in the Diamond Lounge every evening. Because of our Dining Time and the Diamond Lounge we didn't get to see many shows but the two Bon Jobi Experience shows that we saw were fantastic. Would we cruise on Ovation again? Probably not unless it was going to somewhere we particularly wanted to go, just too big for me personally. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
Had to queue every night for dinner in Silk even though we had made reservations each day. Struggled to find a table in Windjammer every day for breakfast and lunch and then were constantly bombarded with announcements asking us to ... Read More
Had to queue every night for dinner in Silk even though we had made reservations each day. Struggled to find a table in Windjammer every day for breakfast and lunch and then were constantly bombarded with announcements asking us to hurry up and leave. Often could not get sun lounges in Solarium. Bars kept running out of our favourite drinks. Had to get to Royal Theatre 30 minutes before most shows in order to get decent seats. Clearly, they have overcrowded the ship to make more profit at the cost of guest enjoyment. The infrastructure cannot cope with the number of guests. Photos are overpriced. $150 for 10 digital prints on a flash drive. Seriously? Food and service for dinner in American Icon on day 2 was lousy. Food in Silk on other nights was average, nowhere near as good as we had previously on Voyager and Oasis. But service in Silk was excellent. Suspect they have dropped the standards in main dining room so that we pay extra to eat in specialty restaurants. Based on our experience on Ovation, we are now concerned that the standards across the fleet have probably dropped, again, as stated above, for RCI to make more money at the expense of our enjoyment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
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
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
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 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
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.4
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 3.9
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 4.0 3.8
Value For Money 4.0 3.3

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