14 Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas South Pacific Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we had been on Ovation previously, and knew it would provide enough entertainment for our kids and grandkids. Although the grandkids (five of them, aged 4 to 15) did not go to the kids club, there was enough on the ship to keep them engaged and happy. Embarkation in Sydney went without a hitch, and by 11.30 we had found a table in the Windjammer and had our first cocktail. We then explored the ship, and the looks on our kids and grandkids faces was a joy to behold. Because we were a party of 11 we stuck with My Time dining in Silk, and the food for the most part was top shelf. Our wait staff (Jerrold and Jan) were fantastic, remembered everyone’s names and could not have done more for us. Nothing was too much trouble and they made our dining experience one to remember. We had four cabins on Deck 10 forward, and they were nice enough. Our cabin attendant Aldrin did a great job, keeping all our cabins immaculate, always with a smile on his face. We attended most of the shows - some hits, some misses. Pixels kept the kids entertained, but we had seen it before and knew what to expect. We had a crack at most of the activities, including ifly, North Star and dodgems. As many other reviewers have mentioned, the queues at times were horrendous, but hey, you’re on a cruise, so just enjoy the people watching! Our ports of call were Noumea, Mystery Island and Brisbane. We found Mystery Island to be the highlight, way more to do there than expected. Beautiful beaches, friendly locals and crystal clear water. Noumea was ok, we’d been there before and knew what to expect. A lot of people didn’t get off in Brisbane, the main reason being that the port was a long way from anything, and Royal had the hide to charge us $25 USD pp for a shuttle into Brisbane - a lot of cabbage when there are 11 of you. Whilst I appreciate that there is a cost involved to organise the coaches, I'm certain it wouldn’t have been $40 AUD pp, just another example of profit being put before all else, I suppose. All in all it was a great trip, and a fantastic first cruise experience for our family. We will certainly cruise again with Royal, and I’m sure our kids will as well. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I went for the 10 night cruise to the South Pacific Islands and NZ on the ovation of the seas and it was a great trip. We had the oceanview balcony stateroom on Deck 8, this stateroom was a great size for the two of us with my partner ... Read More
I went for the 10 night cruise to the South Pacific Islands and NZ on the ovation of the seas and it was a great trip. We had the oceanview balcony stateroom on Deck 8, this stateroom was a great size for the two of us with my partner and my-self. The queen bed was very comfortable, TV size was great that sits on the wall in front of the bed, a couch to sit on, good size balcony with the lounge chairs. The bathroom was a little bit small and tight, the shower was a great size but the size of the bathroom didn't bother us as much. The housekeeping team had always ensured the tidiness of our room which is great, the only thing that lacked a little was that they only made the beds and picked up the dirty towels and replaced with new ones, they did not vacuum the room unless need-be and they don't wipe after tables or pick up dirt off the couch. I had to call in the housekeeping service to make the special request to vacuum the floor and the couch as there were sand from our Island ports. Otherwise they did a great job with the cleanliness of the room. The ship it-self is a huge ship, we were on the starboard aft side so it was a bit of a walk going here and there which we didn't mind at all as we enjoy exploring the ship. There were a lot of different dining venues, activities, bars, shops, chill out areas, pools, theatres, you name it! this ship has everything. With the activities, they have the north star capsule, rip cord by ifly, flowrider surfing simulator - these things needed to be booked prior, as soon as itinerary details come out. We had not known about booking these through the app until we got onboard when the staff were explaining about this feature. We unfortunately had missed out on the rip cord and flowrider because when we wanted to book it through the app, everything had been booked out and that it was only a matter of lining up for the hours where reservations weren't required. We hadn't booked the North Star either as it was fully booked and came to find that there were so many people who are going on the ride twice or even more as they had booked themselves a few times. This is where Royal Caribbean need to limit guests to 1-2 rides per the cruise as it isn't fair to those that didn't get to try on the activity. My partner and I had to line up for over an hour during the no reservations hour that they offered this activity, whilst others had already gone on it 4 times which was not fair at all. The pool areas were pretty good but for a big ship, I found that it needed some improvements. Both main pool areas are constantly infested with kids and teenagers and it's difficult for the adults and elderly to want to have a swim or relaxation other than in the solarium, but the solarium is only about sitting around and not much of a swim, I found there were a fair bit of kids in the solarium still running about. I thought this needed some kind of an improvement to limit one pool area to children only and others to those over 18. The water park was also lacking as this catered for children under 12 only. There weren't much of any slides for older guests like carnival cruises offer, being a big ship I felt that this one should have catered more activities for water parks. The food on this ship was excellent, couldn't find any faults except for the dry bacons in the mornings but otherwise it's really good. I went on the P&O before and the food was horrible, this cruise line had definitely topped them and I enjoyed every bit of food that I had on board, it was great. The customer service from the windjammer market place and the main dining areas were excellent, couldn't find any faults as they were very attentive and very friendly, always met your needs. The downside for overseas passengers are that this ship charges with $USD, the conversion with their currency can be very pricey. $8 bionic bar drink meant almost $15 in $AUD each which is quite costly. My partner and I took out the deluxe beverage package with all inclusive except for alcohol, it was $35pp/day, quite pricey but if you think about it, they charge $8 USD per drink and by the time you get yourself a juice, a coffee, a milkshake, glass of coke, you'll be paying more than $35 anyway. The $35pp/day we paid via their website and in $AUD, do not pay this package on the cruise as they will charge in $USD, pay prior to boarding online. Shops are pretty good as there were a range of variety, still pricey but catered to passenger's needs and wants. Ports were Noumea - New Caledonia, Mystery Island - Vanuatu & Auckland - NZ. These ports were great. Noumea is the most expensive place I've ever been to in my entire life. 2 plates of burgers and chips with 2 drinks costed $80AUD later, a 1 hour jet ski ride costs $270AUD (which we did not pay for because it was way too expensive). We couldn't justify why this was. We ended up getting the hop on/hop off $10 tour to take us around town and had a swim at the beach. Mystery Island was amazing, loved every bit of the island and the people were friendly. Amazing grilled fish, wonderful massage, great atmosphere, cleanest beach. Auckland was also terrific, we went on the quad bike rides ($400pp later). It was surreal. The experience was amazing and the scenic tours were beautiful, went through the farm, the bush, the mountains, the beach, it was great. I highly recommend this Ovation of the Seas, I had a fantastic time. Please don't hesitate to message me if you need anymore specific information about my experience. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our first cruise ever with one teenager. We decided to do a cruise because I don't like flying and it was recommended by someone. The ship is relatively new - launched in 2016 and looks amazing. We had a stateroom with a ... Read More
This was our first cruise ever with one teenager. We decided to do a cruise because I don't like flying and it was recommended by someone. The ship is relatively new - launched in 2016 and looks amazing. We had a stateroom with a balcony which was small but perfectly formed. Our stateroom attendant was unfailingly cheerful even though he never seemed to get a break. We decided to purchase the Key, a priority program and skip the line pass that included the Zoom internet package. We mainly bought this mainly to skip the line with activities, which it was not very useful for (see below) but it was useful for onboarding and disembarking. Not sure if it was worth the cost. The activities such as FlowRider, NorthStar, IFly, bumper cars and roller skating were pretty amazing given this is all on a ship, but the lines are long if you did not have the Key and even with the Key we could only skip the line once a session. There are 5000 passengers on board. Sometimes this is not apparent but sometimes it did get very crowded. There were countless attempts to separate your money from your wallet, ranging from art auctions to high end shops to lots of sales and "opening specials" on thousand dollar jewelry which did get a little tedious at times. The price point for the beauty and massage service, Vitality Spa, I thought was rather high as it is easy to find a Thai style or hot stone massage in Australia for 60 AUD, as opposed to the 190 USD being charged onboard. The gym was enormous but even so could get very crowded. There were free stretch and core classes, although again these could get crowded and occasionally started early which I found a little irritating. I thought that the shows were quite good, with professional dancers and singers and the Cruise Director was very amusing. We found the complimentary dining more than adequate with US style service. The Windjammer was the biggest buffet I had ever seen. Cant comment on the alcohol as I don't drink. This ship is full of Aussie passengers - the construction business must be good as there was a preponderance of cashed up tradies and their families. Some kids ran around like they were in a caravan (trailer) park and would press all the elevator buttons. There were a couple of craft activities that simply consisted of a staff member handing out a craft kit. No real instructions to speak of which I found disappointing and again this often started early and was often crowded. Our main problem was the teen clubs called The Living Room for 12 to 14 and Fuel for 15 to 17. There seems to be this expectation that teens were simply let loose until up to the curfew at 1 am, to roam around at will, which I thought was highly unsafe given the population was equivalent to a small town. There were scheduled activities for teens aged 12 to 14, but after about 8 pm there were a few gangs of boys that roamed around checking out the young girls, some of whom were allowed to dress with long fake nails, low cut crop tops and false eyelashes. As I had a 14 year old daughter, I was not impressed. She loved meeting the other kids though and it was difficult to drag her away. We did our own shore excursions. Noumea was not that exciting although we did a bus tour which was interesting. Mystery Island was beautiful, but suddenly overcrowded by 5000 passengers! We ended up taking a village tour to Aneityum Island which was very interesting and much less cramped. We did the Hop On and Hop Off bus at Auckland and spent most of our time at the Auckland museum. Overall my impression was that was a surprisingly good holiday. This cruise liner catered for all types of passengers, although with a strange combination of high end exclusive marketing trying to persuade a somewhat downmarket customer base to spend up big on their vacation. The ship is quite spectacular and the service from the international crew was excellent. The teen area was our major concern and may be a deal breaker for us in the future. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We were family group of 23 on this cruise, ages ranging from 79 to 5. There were many large family groups, which was great, as it was Australian school holidays. This was our 5th cruise with RC. The check-in and bag drop in Sydney on ... Read More
We were family group of 23 on this cruise, ages ranging from 79 to 5. There were many large family groups, which was great, as it was Australian school holidays. This was our 5th cruise with RC. The check-in and bag drop in Sydney on embarkation was seamless and easy. The ship is huge! Our cabins were spacious and very clean. We had a lovely balcony which added to the spaciousness of the cabin. The cabin was serviced twice daily and our attendant went out of his way to make our stay memorable. Its a pity we didn't realise how large the was before booking cabins, I would definately book cabins closer to the elavators especially for older people. I enjoyed the long walks on the ship as I managed to get plenty steps in! The Windjammer, where we went to for breakfast and lunch was busy, but you could get tables within a few minutes. The variety of food offered was extensive and chef Joseph was wonderful in accommodating special dietary needs. The staff were friendly and the service incredibly efficient. We had dinner at Chic restaurant and there our waiters and the head waiters were outstanding in the service they provided. All the staff went out of their way to attend to our every request. All the staff were polite and helpful and RC should be proud of having such good staff. There is such a wide variety of food offerings on the ship that you would never go hungry. Pizzas at Sorrentos always went down well! With such a large number of passengers it is only expected that the teenagers were going to queue for activities such as the Flowrider, bumper cars, roller skating etc. The queues for these activities were quite long. The iFly and North Star should be booked immediately on boarding. The adults enjoyed the relative peace of the Solarium. The Pixel and I love legs shows were really good. We enjoyed all the shows and parties at 360. The resident band......well it could be improved, everything they sang sounded the same. The two comedians were average at best. I think that this 10 night itinerary should have had one extra port. One sea day too many. Noumea was really nice and the beaches and swimming good. Please note South African cruise passengers did not require visas for New Caledonia. We spent weeks trying to ascertian this before our departure and could not get an answer from RC, the French Embassy, South African International Relations department, the Government of New Caledonia and various other sources. I wish that we had know that Mystery Island did not offer any foods except barbecued crayfish. No cool drinks, no bottle water, snacks were available at all. There was not very clean looking boiled tea offered by the locals. The island is beautiful, snorkelling and swimming excellent. I would suggest that when you stop in Nomea, visit the supermarket and buy snacks to take to Mystery Island. Definately take your bottled water. Auckland was a lovely quiet, clean city which were toured using Auckland Scenic Tours who provided us with private mini buses for our group. Knowledgeable and informative tour guides. All of us thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and there were activities for all ages. My biggest gripe was the cost of wi-fi. Buying wi-fi for 23 people was not feasible and we had great difficulty trying to find each other and the kids. We generally met at meal times. RC should should seriously think about how to make communication amongst the passengers easier. I kept complaining that it was as if we were on parallel holidays because we could not find each other outside of meal times! The app should include What's App for passengers or cheaper wi fi. In 2020, it can't be a problem to have connectivity for cruise passengers. I would definately go again. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was our second cruise with RCI. Previously we sailed on Allure of the seas so we knew what sailing with a large amount of passengers is like. Ovation was sailing at almost full capacity on our sailing. This was not an issue until you ... Read More
This was our second cruise with RCI. Previously we sailed on Allure of the seas so we knew what sailing with a large amount of passengers is like. Ovation was sailing at almost full capacity on our sailing. This was not an issue until you wanted to get a lounge chair near the pool or do any activity. If you want to do or see anything on the ship be prepared to get there at least 30 minutes early to be able to get a seat. We travelled as a party of 2 and found trying to even get 2 seats together was a challenge. Pool chairs were virtually non existent after 9am on sea days due to people leaving their belongings on the chairs and not returning for hours, with no help from the staff. We booked this cruise for March as we thought there would be less children on board due to it not being school vacation at the time, boy were we wrong! The ship was over run with children, who’s parents usually weren’t supervising them and they also ventured into the adults only area quite a bit with no staff kicking them out, so keep this in mind! Joff the cruise director was fantastic as was his team, with plenty of activities for a range of travellers on board. Our cabin steward was also good, keeping our cabin looking great throughout the whole trip. The cabin itself was spacious and even though we had an overhang on our balcony on deck 13 it actually provided more shade which was nice. We did 3 specialty restaurants while on board. Chops was amazing as was wonderland but Jamie’s Italian fell short. The main dining room food was good but the menu barely changed each night and was a bit repetitive. The windjammer also had the issue of being repetitive but had special nights such as an Italian night and Mexican night. Overall the food was great. We unfortunately did need to skip mystery island due to strong winds but this was handled very well. Overall the ship was great just a few small issues! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We enjoyed our second cruise on Ovation, but found the food in the main dining room this time very underwhelming and overcooked. We went 3 nights and the result was the same. We went elsewhere for the rest of the cruise. Bring our second ... Read More
We enjoyed our second cruise on Ovation, but found the food in the main dining room this time very underwhelming and overcooked. We went 3 nights and the result was the same. We went elsewhere for the rest of the cruise. Bring our second cruise we also found the entertainment ok but was the same as the previous cruise 12 months ago. When we booked this cruise it was originally 4 ports of call, one of which was why I booked this one, they then revised the itinerary taking out 2 islands then replacing those 2 with one, we lost quite a few fellow travelers that had booked with us. Whilst on the ship we then missed another port of call due to bad weather, which I understand, safety is definitely paramount, but still disappointing non the less. After 7/9 sea days I was ready to get off. We have another booked for next year with Royal Caribbean on the Radiance. I have heard wonderful reviews about Radiance so going to see for myself. Ovation in my opinion for 2 middle aged cruisers is too big with too many passengers. We booked in late March also hoping there wouldn’t be as many children, unfortunately I was mistaken. I love kids, but too many on this trip we’re left unsupervised a lot of the time. Embarkation was great, disembarkation was great. Well organized, staff were wonderful and always smiling and happy. Shore excursions booked through the ship are recommended. When you miss a stop, the money you paid for the excursion was deposited back into your seapass card. If you booked privately, I’m not sure what would happen. Overall another great cruise with Royal. We enjoyed ourselves but have experienced better on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
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
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
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
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
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
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
My wife and i took the a cruise from Sydney to Hobart and around new Zealand on the 15th of December 2016 we found the staff willing to go above and beyond to do what ever they could for you food was fine,on the last day breakfast was very ... Read More
My wife and i took the a cruise from Sydney to Hobart and around new Zealand on the 15th of December 2016 we found the staff willing to go above and beyond to do what ever they could for you food was fine,on the last day breakfast was very average.Christmas day we thought they would have gone all out but after leaving it to late to book our anytime dinning was told it would be 9pm before we could eat we desided to pay $75 a head to eat in chops restaurant were we were told it was a Christmas feed witch turned out to be the same old feed they would normally serve but with half a lobster tail on the side.Late that night we were told that in windjammers buffet they had put on a big spread of prawns turkey ham ect . It would have been nice to know that was on dont know if we missed the announcement but still would have been good to know. The so called adult area in the solarium is a joke theirs more kids in there than in the outside pools kids ran the ship running up and down hallways at 11pm and that the 6 to 10 year olds some parents have a lot to answer for after 6 days a Castro outbreak went thru the ship and it was no wonder as you go to dinner a lovely young lady try to gets you to wash your hands parents would wash there hands and not both with the kids and then kids would be serving themselves handling the food it could really turn you off a good meal. On board activities were booked up in the first day or so and you couldn't get to do half the activities we tried to book things on the first day but the system crashed with 4500 people trying to book thing to do we were told to leave it for a day or so for system to reboot once we left it for a day it was then to late just think they need to have a good look at the system.Our travel agent could have told us we could book somethings before you sail butt thats there fault not the ships.All in all we had a reasonable cruise the downer for us were there kids and the lack of respect.The entertainment was ok the lack of adult comedian shows was a bit disappointing other cruises weve been on they have an early show for kids and late show for over 18s but not on this ship the kids were in the comedy shows at 11pm so the comedians had to do kids material very boring. 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 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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