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260 Perth (Fremantle) to Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

When one contracts for a cruise we expect, at a minimum, two important things. First we expect a reasonable level of safety be provided throughout the cruise, and second we expect professionally run tours to enhance the experience of ... Read More
When one contracts for a cruise we expect, at a minimum, two important things. First we expect a reasonable level of safety be provided throughout the cruise, and second we expect professionally run tours to enhance the experience of visiting new places. My wife and I recently returned from two back to back cruises on Royal Caribbean, around Australia and New Zealand and we experienced neither. My entire professional life was spent in the area of public safety, 45 years in the fire service, fifteen of these with the New York State Fire Marshall’s Office of the Fire Protection and the final 7 years as Director of Building Codes and Enforcement for the State of New York. I believe my experience quantifies me to comment on the lack of safety of the tenders, small boats, contracted for passenger shuttle in Bali, Indonesia. Our ship, Radiance of the Seas, did not dock in Bali, these tenders were used to ferry us to the dock and back to the ship, on what should have been a thirty minute trip. These enclosed boats held 90 passengers, had one exit, were powered by up to eight 300 Hp. Gasoline powered out board engines, they reeked of gasoline fumes. Some of us spent an hour circling waiting to get back on the ship, one spark and we would have been incinerated. Indonesia has one of the worst records in the third world countries. I considered this to be one of the most dangerous environments have ever been in. When I complained about the lack of safety of these tenders to Philip Ashcroft, the Hotel Director of the Radiance, he said both he and the Captain Severre Ryan did not like the tenders also and were going to make their feelings known to management. Even though I left my business card I never heard another thing about it. On over half of our tour busses the PA systems did not work so we could not hear the tour guides comments. On our overnight tour from Milford Sound to Queenstown, New Zealand we spent over twenty hours on the bus in two days and were only allowed 6 hours sleep in the hotel in Queenstown. Another example of poor planning, we could have rejoined the ship in Akaroa instead of Dunedin and had a pleasant 3 day trip instead of the two day ordeal we experienced. The food in the dinning room was good and above average. Our servers were attentive and personable. We enjoyed our meals because of the servers who were always watching to see if we needed anything and we even got extra servings without asking or sometimes we got samples to taste. Our cabin person was average although when I was quarantined he was always there to see to my needs. We think that the center atrium of the ship where on the bottom they had entertainment every day/evening made it difficult to rest/veg out in the library, sitting area, card playing, etc... Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose it for the itinerary. We have done over 30 cruises but only two with Royal Caribbean in 1999 and 2001 which were excellent. Unfortunately this ship was very disappointing. We had just stepped on board in Fremantle and were ... Read More
We chose it for the itinerary. We have done over 30 cruises but only two with Royal Caribbean in 1999 and 2001 which were excellent. Unfortunately this ship was very disappointing. We had just stepped on board in Fremantle and were bombarded by people trying to sell the different restaurants drink packages etc - they were really overpowering. We had anytime dining And really enjoyed the food and the company of different people every night . All the staff n the ship were excellent especially in the restaurant. Our cabin steward (Michael) was fantastic. We were told by a lot of people who had been on the ship in Sydney that the drink prices all increased when they got to Freemantle! We enjoyed all the trips which were well organised but really overpriced and going through Millford sounds was fantastic. The entertainment was the worst we have ever encountered on a ship apart from line excellent lady singer and an Irish comic. Some shows were more suitable for children. Entertainment during the day on sea days was pathetic. The lectures were on memory loss etc. It was like being in an old peoples home! Apart from all this we had a lovely holiday - but won't be going with Royal Caribbean again Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We chose this cruise because we were told seeing the NZ fiords by ship was an experience not to be missed and they weren't wrong. Truly wonderful and do it if you can. Absolutely breathtaking and better than those in Norway. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we were told seeing the NZ fiords by ship was an experience not to be missed and they weren't wrong. Truly wonderful and do it if you can. Absolutely breathtaking and better than those in Norway. Wonderful outdoor weather helped of course. We r two Australians in our mid 60s. One comedian onboard said he was 55 and the eldest of 7 children on the ship. Correct!. Most of the Australians had done the first part of the cruise in extreme heat over the top of Aus. We got on where they got off in Perth and headed down round the bottom of Aus to NZ where weather and seas are open to the extreme changes from the Antartic. We did have that cold breeze out at sea most of the time which kept people away from the pool and top deck but in ports we were very lucky. Note Feb. 2500 passengers on board mostly Americans and Europeans seeing the world and generally happy little vegemites considering they were very lucky able to do so. Always always in life there are those that just find fault in all but we find love in experiences. We enjoyed the variance and hearing about their homelands for a change. Someone told me they only write reviews if they are unhappy about something. Relate that this is a few reviewers opinion and we are all very different. Yes the ship is not new and yes in places is showing wear but she is kept spotless by incredibly hard working crew. There are discreet cleaners carrying little blue bags waving their disinfectant and polish everywhere. If people get sick it's because generally a passenger not wanting to miss out on his planned cruise has alighted with a bug and like planes they spread it no fault of the ship. There were people coughing and men particularly without using covering cloths. We managed to get off without a bug. As per most older ships yep showers are smaller with only curtains and no they don't supply condiments only liquid shower soap. I prefer my own. Our last cruise on this lovely size ship not too big not too small she had tea and kettles in room. I miss that soo much. I am one who just hates asking room service to walk a mile for a cuppa and also hate making myself look decent to find one. Every morning we chose to have breakfast room service such a luxury for me. We ordered tea and coffee same time which stayed nice and hot in their warmers. I am not sure what people expect food wise when I hear complaints. Truly. Blows me away. Service and food in Cascades was very good and varied. I was even asked if I was unwell the following night after they noted I didn't have sweets or was there something else they could get me. They as usual kept my bottle of wine nightly until finished for me. It was placed on table after I arrived. Love this service. We had lunches in Windjammer and a couple of dinners. Yes they do try to keep similar foods for those who prefer that. Lovely salads as condiments. The hoards at the daily burger pizza and chips bar. There is premade or make your own sandwiches with all types of bread. Always two soups and varied pasta or pie type foods. Wonderful varied steamed veg. For me I have a love for curries. Every day different and so tasty. Nightly they provided the cheese platter we always went inacquired at five and grabbed some on a plate to have with our wine on the deck. The grilled steak lamb salmon was incredible at night in there. Top quality and tender and done to your request. We found seafood prawns and mussels and most nights they seemed to have something as a theme. They had make your own pasta one night we were there and waffles to die for. Yes we also did the three specialty diners. For US75 each. Giovanies and Chops provided us a two table next to window lower lighting and rolling seas so ambiance yes. Izzumi no ambiance but Japanese food was a nice change. If you are on a budget in my opinion unless you want either of above don't bother. Spend the money on drinks. Drinks yes again in my experience always expensive on cruise lines unless you pay more for the all inclusive cruises. They do allow two bottles of wine only at your boarding port. All bags checked each other port just like getting on a plane so it will be confiscated until departure if you try it. I must admit. RCL this trip related how little people were using their bars and for some less enjoyment. Long cruise for as lot. About 8 days into our 17 day cruise they offered 10 drinks for US75 card. We purchased 2. Meaning for me I could enjoy a couple of usually 14US ea coctails daily for half price. My husband a beer drinker just used his normal seapass card for the cheaper option. Lager some bars only US5. I'm pretty sure people wary of the sell thing on these ships missed out because they weren't prepared to look or listen. I would suggest these excellent offers put there for our benefit be advertised in daily news letter. We found the nightly entertainment wonderful. From someone who has a husband who renegs at home on taking me for coffee! I Thankyou for the wonderful cruise happy entertaining staff and the ability to get taken out for Coctails dinner a show and oee the world. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
THE CONS: There were some weird odours from time to time which were unexplained The free pizzeria which was a favourite of ours, has been replaced by Share restaurant. The cost is $39 and the menu was quite limited; we didn't ... Read More
THE CONS: There were some weird odours from time to time which were unexplained The free pizzeria which was a favourite of ours, has been replaced by Share restaurant. The cost is $39 and the menu was quite limited; we didn't try it. With the demise of the pizzeria, the only place to get an excellent (mini) pizza is at the Terrace Grill although pizzas are available with room service for a $3 surcharge The Kai Seafood Bar's prices were expensive and also a limited menu. The New Zealand Ice-cream Bar now charges. Not cheap and it replaced a free ice-cream bar. No Anytime Dining, but I believe this will change form April 2017. Overpriced shore excursions some of which did not offer even a light lunch even though the the excursion spanned lunch time THE PROS: Considering Sun Princess was built in 1995, the upkeep of this ship has been excellent. Yes it's not the whiz-bang new mega ship, but for us it is the ideal size and great for traditional cruisers. ENTERTAINMENT The entertainment was probably the best we have experienced in 8 cruises. Great production shows with first rate performers. DINING The food was on the whole very good/excellent particularly in the dining room (formal dining). Very consistent throughout the ship. Dining Room service was par excellence with a magnificent waiter and head waiter. Great sense of humour and attention to detail. My idiosyncrasies were catered for brilliantly. Breakfast in the Dining Room is different with an excellent menu The Horizon Court informal (buffet) dining was very good with few examples of substandard food. I cannot for the life of me understand some reviewers who complain about a lack of variety. THE MAGNIFICENT INTERNATIONAL CAFE HAS SURVIVED THE LAST REFURB OF THIS SHIP This is contrary to some posts and various deck-plans including those from Princess and Cruise Critic. PLEASE NOTE CRUISE CRITIC: The International Cafe is on deck 5, located in place of the Explorer's Bar. The International Cafe is a great alternative in informal dining with a very good but limited light meal menu. The Terrace Grill is great with choices of food changing from time to time. Great burgers, including vegie burgers, excellent fries, pies and mini-pizzas. Room service is free except for pizzas, but with a limited menu. SERVICE Was generally excellent with few exceptions. I have to remark on the excellence of staff under trying conditions. Two cruises previous, there had been an outbreak of Norovirus. This resulted in 2 deep cleans including right before our cruise. This resulted in a quite late embarkation which was handled really well. But most praise must be given to the staff in the Horizon Court Buffet. For the first 2 days ALL food was served by staff to make sure hygiene was addressed the best way possible. This put enormous pressure on the staff. As a result there were no reports of more than a few instances of illness. Well done crew and all passengers, ACTIVITIES No shortage of activities for all age groups PORTS AND SHORE EXCURSIONS See CONS A very good range of shore excursions with very good attention to detail and arranging GERALDTON: A very pretty town with an excellent W.A. Museum BROOME: Fascinating town with a Chinese and Japanese heritage. The Willy Creek Pearl Farm was intriguing. KIMBERLEY FJORD SCENIC CRUISING: Spectacular! DARWIN: The jumping Crocodile adventure is not to be missed. PORT DOUGLAS: Wow what a mariner! Oh to be rich! The Sky Rail above the canopy of the Daintree and the Scenic Train underneath the canopy was breathtaking and excellently arranged. AIRLIE BEACH: Beautiful waterfront and views WARNING: If you hate humidity don't take this itinerary during the wet season. (November-February). The humidity is extreme. THE CREW The Captain was most friendly and not distant like most other Captains we have met. He thanked us for arranging the best weather ever. We had smooth seas, no storms or cyclones and the weather was brilliant....no rain during day-light hours The other crew were most helpful with a only couple of exceptions DEMOGRAPHIC There was a good mix of age groups although most would have been over 50. However, there were young families with children Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Started from Perth, delayed due to extra ship cleaning (no problem with that) and had a pleasant cruise to Brisbane. The ship is looking old but the crew are doing a good job in keeping her running. We had some flooding problems, but they ... Read More
Started from Perth, delayed due to extra ship cleaning (no problem with that) and had a pleasant cruise to Brisbane. The ship is looking old but the crew are doing a good job in keeping her running. We had some flooding problems, but they were solved quickly and we were given a complementary dinner at "Share" and a bottle of wine. good customer service Geraldton was a tender port and if you waited until the tours had gone you were off the boat within 1/2 hour. having been to Geraldton a number of times we walked around, ably assisted by the friendly local reviews. Broome was a berth but we had to be bussed of, this for some reason went very slowly and we had to wait 1 1/2 hours to get into town. the pick up was at the Roebuck hotel so we enjoyed a beer and waited for the line to go down and walked straight on to a bus. some who queued complained about the wait. Darwin was excellent, We caught a taxi and went out to the military museum, it was well worth a visit, catching the taxi made it a lot cheaper than the ship tour and you could spend as much time as you liked. We then taxied back to down, walked back to the ship via the tunnels and Darwin waterfront. If you do a ships tour treat yourself to the short walk back to the waterfront, they have done it well. Port Douglas and Airlie Beach we just walked ashore, visited some sights. We took our bathers ashore at Airlie Beach and spent an hour in the man made lagoon. On the boat we found the staff to be helpful and any issues we raised was dealt with in a quick and efficient manner. We have booked 3 more cruises with Princess but I may hesitate to sail on the Sun, simply due to her age. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
240 dollars each and a 2 hour drive to a waterfall that we weren't allowed to swim in due to crocodiles in the 'wet season' and we were only told this an hour into the trip. The scenery was great and lunch was OK but the ... Read More
240 dollars each and a 2 hour drive to a waterfall that we weren't allowed to swim in due to crocodiles in the 'wet season' and we were only told this an hour into the trip. The scenery was great and lunch was OK but the main aim was to go swimming, if this was off the cards from the onset, I would not have considered booking it. Cabin was brilliant as was all the food on board. Could not fault any of the food in the buffet, designated dining rooms or the cafes, everything was of such high quality. All the staff on board the ship were very polite, immaculately dressed and very attentive. Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes were carried out with efficiency, as were all the shore tours. I could not fault the ship or staff in any way, although the entertainment on board could have been better. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
Chose this cruise for the experience and to visit places in southern WA not seen before. After cruises on the QM2, was a bit concerned that I might not like this smaller vessel. Happy to say I liked it a lot. Seemed more a real naval ... Read More
Chose this cruise for the experience and to visit places in southern WA not seen before. After cruises on the QM2, was a bit concerned that I might not like this smaller vessel. Happy to say I liked it a lot. Seemed more a real naval vessel than larger ships. The lack of glamour was no problem - no space wasted on grand atriums, sweeping staircases and wide passageways. Not that such luxuries as these are not enjoyable - they are - but the Astor is such value for money, and everything necessary was provided, and more. Scrupulously clean everywhere. Excellent dining facilities and food. Comfy bed, with the best pillows. Contained within the cabin is a cupboard holding extra pillows, blankets and pool towels, - nice to not have to ask for these. Liked the fact that dining companions were seen about the ship, and greetings exchanged. Disappointing that a number of shore excursions were cancelled, due to lack of bookings. Prices were at the top end, so this could perhaps be reviewed to attract more passengers. Nothing is perfect: it was impossible to understand the tannoy....including during lifeboat drill. The library was seldom open, including during advertised hours. The 'quiet zone' in the Wellness centre is not quiet: during a massage, lots of noise from a crew room on one side and noisy children in the pool on the other. School holidays added to the pool noise, but perhaps a larger notice advising that only accompanied children may use this pool would help. Users of this centre should be confident that the 'quiet' part is honoured. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
.We boarded the Sun Princess after 5-00pm in 38C heat in an building without aircon because of a ship sanitisation caused by the norovirus. Third cruise in a row as it turned out that the virus was on board and the third ship sanitisation. ... Read More
.We boarded the Sun Princess after 5-00pm in 38C heat in an building without aircon because of a ship sanitisation caused by the norovirus. Third cruise in a row as it turned out that the virus was on board and the third ship sanitisation. Sometimes 70 plus cabins reported illness overnight and so it went for the entire cruise. A challenging time for guests and crew. But when no-one was checking that guests washed their hands on day one so perhaps no surprise. The virus struck 2 days after embarkation and cases were reported on the last day of the cruise at sea. Questions have to be asked about food hygiene and cleaning procedures as the same cloth was used to wipe down seats and the tables in the buffet as well as clean up food spills by serving staff. Also the buffet offered almost warm and sometime cool food and the servers could be seen scaping cold food from near empty platters onto fresh food. The ship itself was in good condition and our cabin A352 cramped with a small TV and was just below the pool deck which made the cabin noisy early in the morning while crew set up tables and chairs above. So much for an unrequested upgrade given to us less than two weeks before the cruise so we could not ask that no change be made as we selected our cabin 7 months ago after checking Cruise Critic cabin reviews. Dining has fallen dramatically on the Sun P since our last cruise. No pizza bar, no pizza restaurant, no free ice ream. It was ironic that PL was launching the Curtis Stone Share Restaurant in the old Pizza free restaurant space during a norovirus crises where the spin was pushing the charm of passing around and sharing plates of food. The dining room food was uninspiring with small portions. The buffet. Well one had to be particularly ravenous to even contemplate many dishes presented. Cold, poorly presented, repetitive dull food with little taste and sometimes undercooked. Couldn't really spot much difference between lunch and dinner menus.Our airline food on the flight back home was gourmet in comparison. If the buffet was competing for business at our local shopping mall they would fail miserably. A vegetarian would go without on occasion and vegans would starve,healthy choice diners and low carb enthusiasts would suffer despair at what they saw. The entertainment was patchy but the PC dancers and singers were good. Maurizio in the atrium was a breath of fresh air and pleased everyone, what a cruise treasure he is.Good cabin TV programmes. Good to see deck chairs on the prom deck although the cruise staff failed in enforcing the smoking guidelines as smokers were smoking all around the prom deck unchallenged. Service was inconsistent as all crew were busy fighting the invisible norovirus which meant some crew had two jobs at peak times in the buffet and others were filling in for ill crew. Not many smiles and friendly service on this cruise nor a Captains cocktail party for past cruisers due the norovirus. Cruse director staff were invisible as none wanted to be in contact with the infected passengers. Many past guests expressed the view that they would now look to another cruise line. We enjoyed the Indonesian itinerary and the Komodo Island tour . The other tours were overpriced and we did our own thing on shore, a wonderful experience being shown around by the locals.. Would we go again? We are thinking hard about PL now as they appear to have made so many cuts the enjoyment on board is fast evaporating. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
We wanted to try a big ship and were delighted to get a last-minute discounted booking sailing from Perth to Adelaide. Embarkation was a nightmare. The online cruise planner offered departure times by deck and the option to select ... Read More
We wanted to try a big ship and were delighted to get a last-minute discounted booking sailing from Perth to Adelaide. Embarkation was a nightmare. The online cruise planner offered departure times by deck and the option to select another time. We arrived just before our booked time of 2 pm to find about 1,000 people waiting. Sat for about 90 minutes than queued for another hour, finally arriving at our stateroom at 5 pm. Many locals blamed Fremantle Port rather than RCI. My feeling is that it was a combination of both. Freo terminal is a dump, one sad “café” which was just about out of food by 3 pm. That said, RCI offered no information about the length of the wait or reasons for delay. Elite cruisers and people with disabilities were able to skip the big queue but still waited about an hour. Fortunately, our superior balcony stateroom (11670) was wonderful - the best we’ve ever had. Though it looked narrow it had two cupboards and many drawers plus room for suitcases under the bed. The table also served as a desk and the couch was big enough to stretch out & snooze. Bed was just right. The balcony had two chairs, footstools & a small table. The bathroom had extra shelves for toiletries, a glass shower enclosure, handheld shower and a nightlight. Venues/entertainment: Two70 is incredible. During the day it’s a large comfortable lounging space at the stern, with glass walls several stories high and at night it morphs into a high-tech entertainment venue offering live shows, virtual concerts and a night club. The glass walls become a gigantic digital screen and there are 6 digital panels that act independently. The Pixels show is an energetic mix of music, dance, acrobatics and robotics. Bookings essential. Be warned the show is very loud. Tip: on show nights there’s a sound check & rehearsal about 3:30 pm. Two70 is a public space so you can watch the performers warm up as the tech crew checks the stage mechanics, etc. Royal theatre: large traditional theatre space for production shows. I felt the shows were a bit lacking in narrative but there was glitz and glamour on a Las Vegas scale. Bookings advised. Music hall: smaller venue which featured excellent cover band Rock the Boat making it baby boomer heaven. There were other events as well but I didn't attend any. Activities: Bumper cars. Great fun, highly recommended. North Star - really enjoyed this but it can be a long wait for the 10-minute ride. More below in comments. Bookings essential. iFly – was unable to get a booking. Flowrider – looked like fun but not for me. I felt the daily schedule was a bit light on other activities though there were about 6 different trivia sessions. CD Joff Eaton was very low profile –a shame because I think he’d be very good. Maybe because this was a repositioning cruise? Not sure. Tip: there are almost no board or card games available – bring your own. The only pool I used was the Solarium: right at the bow, this adults-only space also has floor to ceiling windows. Filled with comfortable lounges grouped around a waterfall of shallow pools, there are also 4 spa pools and a café offering healthy snacks. Can get very crowded. Now for the bad news! My Time dining was an epic fail. Due to the last-minute fare I was unable to book more than one night online. OK, but on the night there were huge queues for Silk and American Icon. Where’s my booking? “Oh just pick the shorter queue, the menu is the same.” People w/o bookings had their own queue and were being seated BEFORE booked guests. Wait staff were trying hard but were clearly inexperienced. We only ate there one night so it’s hard to rate the food – better than P&O, not as good as Sea Princess. There are two other dining rooms with the same menu but not available on My Time. Why?? Windjammer had a hand washing room before entry. Great idea and much better than sanitiser (which was also available). The buffet is set up with different stations which can be confusing at first. Food varied from ok to pretty good. Though it got crowded we never had a problem getting seats. Debarkation was delayed an hour with no explanation. There was another 30 minute queue to collect luggage. Overall: the ship is brilliant, high-tech, clean, comfortable with lots of different spaces and few queues considering the number of passengers. However many crew members are inexperienced. There also seems to be a lack of standard procedures – for example the North Star can’t operate on rough or windy days so all bookings are cancelled. Fair enough, but some people are rebooked automatically and notified, others are given priority tickets and still others (us!) ignored. There were lots of angry passengers –I felt sorry for the crew members operating the North Star. The dining mess was a major disappointment as dinner in the MDR is usually a highlight of the day. Would we sail on her again? Yes, but only if the price and itinerary was right. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We had a buy one get one free with a bulk-booking company in Perth and have sailed with RCL 3 times before but this made us wonder why they even bothered. We heard from other passengers there was a problem with 150 employees from the very ... Read More
We had a buy one get one free with a bulk-booking company in Perth and have sailed with RCL 3 times before but this made us wonder why they even bothered. We heard from other passengers there was a problem with 150 employees from the very beginning who were unsuited when it came to employing them, so it was always going to be short staffed but people sailing from Singapore got the brunt of it. The staff worked very hard in difficult circumstances and you have to applaud that, however some were also still learning on the job. This was not up to RCL's usual standard and any first-timers will not be sailing with them again - unless you have kids perhaps. We had a good time but would agree with the following: 1. Check in was appalling - they ran out of seapass cards. 2. Cabin door to balcony creaked all the time ship was moving, woke you up. 3. Eating at your requested time was an impossibility. 4. Most activities were geared towards children/selling RCL products (such as at the spa). Very little was free and the public areas were set up so that you couldn't even move through the thoroughfares easily at peak times to encourage purchases. Everywhere you went adults were just sitting around because there was little for them to do - unless you were athletic. No cinema and only children's movies being shown anyway. 5. Shows were a very high standard - if you could get a seat. Why have pillars in the theatre that actually block the view from 2 seats - who designed that? Only those who pre-booked ahead could get a seat. 6. Menu choices at main restaurants were limited. Passengers were told where and at what time they could eat; we formed a group of 6, were told we would have to eat at 6.30 to keep the reservation only to find there was never a reservation anyway! I am sorry for all the hard-working staff who now have to read these disparaging reviews and put up with abuse from frustrated passengers - some of whom would have disembarked early if the ship had put into port more frequently! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We decided to try a larger ship and seeing this was Ovations inaugural cruise to Australia it was a good chance to experience this brand new ship. As we have travel with Royal Caribbean before we looked forward to the experience. We ... Read More
We decided to try a larger ship and seeing this was Ovations inaugural cruise to Australia it was a good chance to experience this brand new ship. As we have travel with Royal Caribbean before we looked forward to the experience. We embarked from Fremantle but although we were assigned a boarding time it appeared that it was a a first come first served fiasco (we have had a similar problem there before so I cannot totally blame Royal Caribbean as other ports things have moved reasonably smoothly before ) 1 Hour sitting waiting for your number to be called then another 90 minutes in a zig zag waiting to reach the desk. That behind us we again looked forward to the days ahead. The ship is magnificent and a technological marvel , very impressed. The dining experience did not do Royal Caribbean justice. staff did not know where tables were located having to ask directions from other staff every night. We were unable to dine in the main dining room as were unable to access "my time dining" and were directed to Silk and American Icon rooms as our designated options. Food was nothing to write home about (cafeteria style) Menu was a standard fare with a couple of options each night. Table setting was second rate staff slow and uninterested. The evening shows were very good thoroughly enjoyable when you could get into see the most requiring reservations. We later were told that quite a number of people were booking every show on a particular night and doing the same for every night and then picking and choosing what time they decided to turn up. The ipads around the ship did not all complete booking sequences requiring to find staff to do a face to face booking. The cruise director Joff Eaton was one of the best we have encountered and thoroughly enjoyed his quizzes unfortunately the same could not be said for most of the other crew members very second or third rate Guest Services were a chore for them unlike most other ships. Shopping we usually enjoy our onboard shopping experience, but shops did not have basic health requirement for everyday items. Duty free liquor shop was very disappointing unless you wanted $400 Johnny Walker whisky. The stall that were set in the promenade totally stopped movement throughout the area, and this occasionally done with dreamworks characters doing photo opportunities in the same area total chaos. Shops were catering for a high end market (maybe USA) not your average Aussie. (Royal Caribbean please cater to the market your serving.) We were told that 500 staff were removed in Singapore prior to arrival in Australia and replaced with 500 brand new green staff straight from training which appears to tie in with what we experienced, given a lot of time they should improve, but they should be up to speed well before they set foot on a Royal Caribbean ship. Our future with Royal Caribbean is now in a considerable amount of doubt. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I wanted to sail on Ovation of the Seas because of her size and the fact I could sail from Fremantle to Sydney. So I needed to book through the charter company's agent. We had chosen a balcony cabin but misinterpreted the 2 or 1 ... Read More
I wanted to sail on Ovation of the Seas because of her size and the fact I could sail from Fremantle to Sydney. So I needed to book through the charter company's agent. We had chosen a balcony cabin but misinterpreted the 2 or 1 cabin pricing and had to go down to an interior cabin price. We decided to wait a while as usually the price drops towards the sailing date if there are a lot of cabins left to sell. However on ringing the travel agent a few weeks later, we were told that there were only a few cabins left and the charter company wouldn't be reducing the price and therefore we shouldn't wait any longer to guarantee a cabin. So we booked. A week and a half later, the charter company reduced the price of a Balcony Cabin to $100/person less than we paid for an inside. We were annoyed and tried to get the deal, but they did not respond. We did eventually get un upgrade to a balcony cabin after speaking to the charter rep on board but at a cost. We later discovered someone had been upgraded to a balcony for nothing and that as a Diamond Plus member of RCC, I was entitled to an upgrade for free if a cabin was available. RCC's comment on these issues was that they had no control over the cabins on this charter. The charter company's reps comment was that they weren't obliged to meet RCC's Crown and Anchor privileges, however 2 people we spoke to had in writing from them that all privileges would be met. Will NEVER book a charter again. I've read lots of comments about the food and people were certainly talking about it on board. I sincerely hope that the standard of the food in the free restaurants and Windjammer was the result of the charter because it was definately not up to RCC's usual standard. I also hope that the expansion of restaurants you need to pay for is not the reason for this. The majority of people want to cruise because everything is included. The booking system for My Time Dining, the North Star, the flight simulator and some of the shows was frustrating. We tried to book online before we left but it kept coming up saying "book on board". I thought the idea of My Time Dining was to allow you to dine whenever you wanted and for me, if a table isn't available, I either wait or go to the buffet. All dining times were booked when we tried so initially we thought we would have to eat in the buffet the whole time, but it turns out you can go down without a booking and they will fit you in, even if you have to wait a bit or share a table. As it turned out, we missed out on the North Star because at our booked time, the wind was too strong to run it and at out catch-up time, the same thing happened. I've never had to book a show before either (unless it was an Ice Show) so the spontaneity of deciding on the night what you want to do was disappointing. The staff and service were also below par on this cruise except for the Cruise Director who I think is the best I've ever come across. I also heard (and rumours abound on cruise ships) that RCC had intended to bring the ship from Singapore to Sydney without passengers to train the new staff (over 300 I heard). I believe it has damaged RCC's reputation for new time cruisers and those of us who regularly sail with them. The ship itself is magnificent and I like the layout. There are always lounge hoggers at ship's pools and I don't know how RCC can fix that without upsetting guests. I have generally always been able to find a seat. Queuing happens on all ships - it just seems magnified when there are 4500 passengers. It would have to be an itinerary I couldn't resist and a price to match before I would go on Ovation or a ship of similar size. As for embarkation - if people turned up at their chosen times, perhaps it wouldn't have been such a debacle in Fremantle but you're always going to get those who rock up earlier than said and the system of giving a boarding number as you queue, means those who do show up at the right time are still behind all those others who didnt. However, that being said, you need more staff checking in 3000 people compared to smaller ships, so something needs to be done about that. One thing that really irked me was how RCC built up the arrival of the ship into Sydney, ignoring the fact it was calling in to Fremantle, Adelaide and Hobart as well. When the ship came into Fremantle, there were people everywhere and when she left just a little less. One of the tugs when we left came out of the harbour and gave a long water spray send-off. Perhaps I blinked and missed them, but I didn't see such a welcome in Sydney. Actually it was a wet and misty morning and Sydney-siders are so used to seeing ships come in, they are probably ho-hum about it. Now Fremantle (Perth), we know how to put on a show! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
I chose this cruise as it was a 5 nighter from Fremantle (home port) to Adelaide and a good opportunity for my husband to experience 1st time cruising. Also coincided with Birthday and anniversary so dates fitted. NOT happy about the ... Read More
I chose this cruise as it was a 5 nighter from Fremantle (home port) to Adelaide and a good opportunity for my husband to experience 1st time cruising. Also coincided with Birthday and anniversary so dates fitted. NOT happy about the last minute 'deals' offered by Cruiseco to fill empty cabins - a request for an upgrade in lei of cabin credit was ignored. I will NOT be doing another Charter cruise for a number of reasons - this being one of them. But good on anyone who could make a last minute decision (1 week beforehand) to cruise and got an exceptional deal! I have previously cruised with Explorer (repositioning) as a suite guest and the difference between suite and 'pleb' class was evident. Took 2 hours to board in Fremantle which all seemed a little chaotic (compared to Singapore). However once on board we were able to head straight to our cabin which was a bonus. Balcony cabin was beautiful - back of ship which turned out to be something of a bonus as 'forced' walking exercise. Especially loved the shower cubicle (no shower screen). Bathroom small but very functional and plenty of room to unpack 2 x toilet bags with room to spare. Did not get the opportunity to meet our cabin attendant however our cabin was spic and span and loved the nightly 'animals' left on our bed. Lots of comments about long waiting lines and terrible bland food. This was not our experience, other than a 90 minute wait one day for quest services (RCI need to do something about that). I pre booked all our dinner reservations (MTD) and the shows and North Star etc. No problems with getting into our restaurants for dinner - though will say they did seem to rush us through our courses. Staff were friendly and attentive - we did get wrong orders a couple of times but this was soon rectified with apologies. Food - variety and presentation and quality was not on a par with Explorer last year - not sure if that was due to this being a Charter??? However we enjoyed our meals (only 1 complaint one evening when my Sticky toffee pudding appeared to be mostly raw!) Hope the food experience was a once off as we are cruising on Voyager in March and I am expecting a return to my 'food' experience of Explorer. Plenty of pool lounges about the ship - shame so many people 'hogged' those in Solarium taking prize positions (almost all lounges actually) with towels books etc for 2 hours or longer before they arrived to use them. The shows were amazing - we did not see the comedian though. Would be happy to see them all again. All in all a good relaxing holiday before Xmas chaos hits. Would do Ovation again - but not via a Charter. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Spur of the moment decision to join this ship from Perth to Sydney on maiden voyage to Australia. This would make it our 14th ocean cruise. A balcony as always. We had previously traveled on her larger brother, (Allure of the Seas) ... Read More
Spur of the moment decision to join this ship from Perth to Sydney on maiden voyage to Australia. This would make it our 14th ocean cruise. A balcony as always. We had previously traveled on her larger brother, (Allure of the Seas) and enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately, this was not the case with the Ovation of the Seas. Just to name a few things. Food Stale bread rolls at dinner the first night. A steak that their steak knife could not cut through! Pepperoni Pizza, now that was a real surprise. If there was actually one piece of pepperoni on the pizza slice, it was a huge surprise! Each pepperoni piece appeared to be shared across two pizza slices. Buffet dining fare was basically the same every day. With only minor variations. Largest line usually occurred at the hot chips/fries line. They ran out of bacon at one breakfast station, the staff person said that the chef was cooking some new bacon, I waited a minute and a large new bowl of bacon came from the kitchen - covered in glad-wrap. However, this was colder than if it had come out of a refrigerator! Extra charges for everything, including a US$5 charge for orange juice at breakfast in the dining rooms! A bottle of cheap NZ wine (costing AU$14) is charged at ...wait for it... AU$69 !!! Don't even ask me about the three lots of the same ('specialty coffees') bougth on 3 successive days -for three different prices! The fabled arm that should traverse the ship for 360 degrees, does not. Due to the number of people that booked it, they only went up and down with a 10 degree swing either side. Oh, too bad if the time you booked was cancelled, you had to attempt to be in the standby line -along with hundreds of others that missed out! Entertainment. Yes, the shows we went to see were good. Dodgem cars? Yes, they worked, mostly. Always a few that broke down. Not well policed in the queue either, as I saw many kids race around towards the front of the queue time and time again -pushing in successfully. The robot bar tender? Apart from giving no lip to the standard bar fly, it is only a gimmick that people soon tired of. And the 18% tip for the robot made drink????? Does it require extra oil/grease to warrant this rip off? Trivia? They had nearly 1 trivia per hour on sea days, that was good. 95% of the staff running the trivia segments were not. It is very difficult to answer the question -when non-English speaking Chinese or other nationality staff are attempting to pronounce words they have zero idea of!! Oh, and attempting to cancel the unfair but mandatory gratuities? Have you any idea how long the queue is when nearly 5,000 people are trying to get satisfaction at the (non) Service Desk? Perhaps it should be renamed the Disaster of the Seas? Sorry Royal Caribbean, its Sayonara time from us after many years of cruising. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
This would be cruise number 8 each being with a different cruise line. Read the reviews and hoped it would be different for us. The embarkation took a ridiculous two and a half hours, not a good start to any cruise. Went to our balcony ... Read More
This would be cruise number 8 each being with a different cruise line. Read the reviews and hoped it would be different for us. The embarkation took a ridiculous two and a half hours, not a good start to any cruise. Went to our balcony cabin, which being a new ship was fine, nothing special however. Checked out the Windjammer buffet a huge area with poor quality food, when compared with other ships costing half the price. The free restaurants were beautifully appointed but once again food offered was nothing special, given the price paid. Paid $50 each for Wonderland restaurant where the meal was very good, but when you are already paying $500 per night for your stateroom so it should be. Drinks throughout the ship were expensive wine by the glass particularly so, after being converted to Aus Dollars. Also first ship we have sailed on with no happy hour offered anywhere, the only deal being 5 selected beers for the price of 4 in a bucket. Entertainment I thought was poor, apart from the Rock the Boat band who I thought were truly excellent. Excursions were the normal ripoff that they all are, we took a tour of Hobart in a people mover located outside the dock. The cost being around a third of what the ship offered. The ship was new and beautifully appointed as one would expect, but in terms of value compared to previous cruises it didn't stack up. As a consequence I would not use this cruise company again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this to experience a new ship with all the bells and whistles. Embarking on Freo was a nightmare taking 2 hours but once on board that was forgotten. The crew were fabulous and couldn't do enough for us, always smiling and ... Read More
We chose this to experience a new ship with all the bells and whistles. Embarking on Freo was a nightmare taking 2 hours but once on board that was forgotten. The crew were fabulous and couldn't do enough for us, always smiling and happy and breaking into song and dance in the Windjammer, Stateroom was always tended to twice or three times each day. We ate breakfast in the dining room, sometimes a la carte and sometimes buffet. Buffet was my preference. Food was hot and the choice was We lunched in the Windjammer on most days plenty of choice including gluten free, again no complaints about the food. My Time dining was our choice for dinner. There was two dining rooms for fixed dinner at 6.30 and 830 plus two dining rooms for My Time. All had the exact same menu, just different decor. For My Time it was certainly better to reserve asap. I reserved as soon as we had our booking number weeks before we left Sydney. If you didn't have a reservation you may have to queue for 15-30 minutes. You also need to book early for some of the shows all of which were well worth seeing. The band in the Music Hall were brilliant as was the singer in the pub.We were entertained until after midnight every single night. So much to see and do, 270 was fabulous, a quiet spot to sit and read with a cocktail by day and a night club by night, probably my favourite spot. Slightly annoying were the people who hogged the deck chairs and lounges all day and the number of watch/jewellery/leather and tatty bits and pieces sales every day, at times it was difficult to walk through the esplanade for the rabble. Sorrento pizza restaurant was very popular but the pizzas were a bit bland for My taste. If you board with a sense of humour and a little patience with the wait time for a lift at certain times, you will be happy. Fabulous gym facilities, first class! Brilliant for kids that we saw having a ball. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Great Expectation but turned out to be a disappointment. Been on Legend, Rhapsody, Radiance and Voyager. Guest Services is a thumbs down. Meals average, alcoholic beverages pricey. Activities lacking - no ice carving, deck ... Read More
Great Expectation but turned out to be a disappointment. Been on Legend, Rhapsody, Radiance and Voyager. Guest Services is a thumbs down. Meals average, alcoholic beverages pricey. Activities lacking - no ice carving, deck parties, formal nights, pool competitions with guest participation, movies outdoors and only 2 in the Royal Theatre. Not constant music venues between dinner and main show. Promised 30 Bumper cars but only counted 18 and some broken down. Passenger participation minimal. Poor Organisation. Reserved dining chaotic with long queues. Sales Sales Sale on the Royal Esplanade turning it into a flea market. With the above mention RCCL Ships and Princess Sun, Dawn, Diamond & Sapphire not forgetting P&O Oriana and Volendam of the Holland American Line, I do not classify myself as a novice cruiser. Have been loyal and Diamond member of Crown and Anchor club. Similar opinion expressed by other frequent cruisers. My Stateroom Steward Imake is however WOWS me, helpful and friendly. 8 of my Family and friends are going with me on the Radiance in April 2017 on my recommendation. Hopefully not the same experience. Otherwise back to the Princess for me. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
The buffet food was better than most cruises and the manager of the Windjammer came on and announced some things, told us to have a great day and always had an amusing saying to finish with. Having to wash your hands on entering the ... Read More
The buffet food was better than most cruises and the manager of the Windjammer came on and announced some things, told us to have a great day and always had an amusing saying to finish with. Having to wash your hands on entering the buffet was terrific and meant I did not see a sick person on the ship. Also, there were a lot of hand sanitizers which is great. The food quality in the restaurant was not as good as other ships. We don't usually do the ship's shows, preferring comedy or guest artists. However on this ship you had to prebook a couple of show and they were impressive with the quality of singers, dancers, sets and general entertainment value. Photos lacked variety in terms of 'poses' and backgrounds. The photos are quite expensive especially seeing as they don't have to print them all out anymore. We only bought some because they were on special immediately after doing the IFly (at the IFly). About pricing, we found the bottles of wine in the restaurant had all increased in price significantly since our last cruise earlier in the year. The Royal Carribean App, whilst a great concept, didn't really work. We tried several times to book Ifly and never knew whether it worked. We were advised to go and speak directly with the Ifly staff to ensure a booking, which we did and which worked. The point is though, that the tablet didn't really achieve what I imagine was its purpose, which was to reduce the burden on staff and to enhance passengers ability to book events. The activities were amazing and great for young and old although it was difficult to book for some of the more popular things like IFly and Northstar. Try to book before the cruise or go hang around the activity in port or early/late in their daily opening times. It's great that we didn't have to pay for the activities, unlike when this ship was in Asia I believe. Another activity we loved was the 'Back to the Future escape room' but hard to book as no one seemed to know about it. I personally don't like having to pre-book some events, but I do acknowledge with a ship that size that perhaps it is the easiest way to ensure fairness to all, which I do appreciate. We did encounter an issue with our pre-booked Northstar. We had allowed ourselves 90 minutes gap between the Northstar and a pre-booked show; believing that would be ample time. However, what we had not anticipated, and never experienced before on any previous cruises both with RCI and other lines, was a time change in the middle of the day. Ordinarily our time changes have occurred over-night, from recollection at 2am, and caused minimal interruption. We find the activities staff can make or break a cruise for us. The sports staff were polite, but rarely smiled or had any enthusiasm. Unlike Voyager of the Seas, they did not help any passengers with hints on how to ride the Flowrider, unless asked directly, so we started to help beginners that were constantly wiping out just so they could have a turn. Their lack of energy/enthusiasm and efficiency impacts on how passengers feel. We found some of the staff were quite nice if you spoke to them one on one. Some of the other Cruise Director's staff were good and some were really not so good, but we heard it was a fairly new staff. The Cruise Director, Joffe, was great. As Platinum members, the wait to board the ship was shortened, which was great as I believe some waited hours to board. If you are Platinum or above, it's worth mentioning to an official when in line to board. We are not usually interested much in art but what was on this ship was really stunning and worth going for a wander to check it all out. The automatic toilets which should have been amazing, were actually frustrating. They would often not flush while you were in the cubicle. One of the cleaning staff explained that they are meant to flush upon exiting so we should simply leave, even if it hadn't flushed. Personally, I found this horrifying but at least we knew. However, the cabins were lovely and modern, great bathrooms and very well laid out. We have young children and they were very happy the whole cruise. The Seaplex was excellent with everything for kids and the young at heart all in one place. The table tennis, basketball, bumper cars, trapeze, roller skating and games were all together and utilized that area very well. Kids Club staff were really lovely, great with the kids and they did fun activities. Our 6 year old boy loved kids club. He couldn't get enough and he thoroughly enjoyed the Science Lab. I also thought the family kids club activities were wonderful. Thumbs up to all. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Thought it would be good to experience a short duration cruise on a new mega-ship after previous cruises on older and smaller ships. Cruise Director Joff Eaton was superb and the technology used throughout the ship was amazing. We had ... Read More
Thought it would be good to experience a short duration cruise on a new mega-ship after previous cruises on older and smaller ships. Cruise Director Joff Eaton was superb and the technology used throughout the ship was amazing. We had an excellent inside cabin and room steward and the virtual balcony TV screen was excellent. We were not travelling with children but the children we saw on ship were well catered for with some really excellent activities. Most of the entertainment was good, some not so. The remainder of the staff were trying but not achieving, English as a second language was the worst problem. Meals were rarely delivered correctly and most meals were well below expected standard. The on-board computer system had all sorts of issues and a lot of passengers were frustrated by not being able to book activities, while room account information on cabin TV screens was sometimes inaccurate. Some of the staff actively encouraged unfair queue jumping for obviously able bodied people for events and activities, which we found very annoying. No on board laundry facilities for passengers unless you pay for the service provided. No shop on board for simple items such as toothpaste or bottled water. Embarkation at Fremantle was fairly disorganised, Disembarkation at Adelaide was slightly better. Did not do any shore excursions as this was a straight transit from port to port. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We decided to do a week getaway before Xmas on the Ovation Of The Seas which offered sector cruising between Singapore & Sydney - too good to pass up. My husband and 17yr old son flew to Perth on Sunday 4th and had 2 days staying ... Read More
We decided to do a week getaway before Xmas on the Ovation Of The Seas which offered sector cruising between Singapore & Sydney - too good to pass up. My husband and 17yr old son flew to Perth on Sunday 4th and had 2 days staying at the Crown Metripol which was lovely beautiful room with pool view and nice big bath :). We embarked the Ovation on Tuesday 6th our allocated time was 12:00 - 12:30, unfortunately the process didn't follow anything that they planned our allocated boarding time was irrelevant as we were given a number which we had to wait to be called - numbers were being handed out randomly as you walked in, we were given an 8 people behind us got a 6 and boarded 45 mins before us. After waiting 1 1/2 hrs we questioned the process as they were still hadn't called for 7. Lady apologised and told us to go straight through. Once embarkation was complete we had to go to the Music Hall as we had pre purchased our drinks package on line pre cruise, which gave us a 20% discount considering the ship was in US$ that helped when that was sorted we started to have a look around. We have never sailed with RCCL only NCL so I was interested to see how different the experience was going to be. We started by checking out the SeaPlex - as the cruise had initiated in Singapore things were well underway indoor soccer, indoor basketball, dodgeball, dodgem cars X-Box games - plenty for teenagers to do - over the week we hardly saw our son - he was gone after breakfast, met us if we had a scheduled activity eg: Escape Room, I-Fly, or NorthStar met up to get ready for dinner - we had the first 2 nights as my time dining once on Tuesday night in Silk Wednesday night in American Icon - as they had the same menu it was just the decor that changed. I had pre-purchased Jamie's & Chops pre-cruise on line as it was discounted but after 2 nights in the main dining rooms preferred to change to the 3 specialty dining package which they happily did. we were very lucky to have Wonderland in the package as it was booked out between Perth & Adelaide. We weren't sure what to expect but were very happy with the whole Wonderland experience and all 3 were very full. I wont get into detail as it would spoil it if you haven't done it before. :) The boys loved Chops although we all purchased the more expensive meals boys had steak and I had the lobster which I could only eat half, much to my sons happiness. Dessert each night was a must although I only had a bit each time and son polished of the rest. The main dining rooms for breakfast were very slow so we only went once as others were saying the same, plenty of places for breakfast and lunch, restaurants at the Solarium and Two 70 also out the back of the Windjammer overlooking the back of the ship just have to find your favourite place. We all had a turn on the I-Fly and although it was only a minute complimentary it felt like longer, looking back on the video it was a lot of fun to experience and we even lucked in free t-shirts. The North Star was good - gave a great view of the ship and as it was a nice day it all looked beautiful although even though we had an 11:30 booking, it was nearly 1:00pm before we got on as the day before was cancelled due to rough weather they were trying to catch up the people who missed out. The Solarium was definitely my favourite place on the ship it was adult only although over 16's were allowed - multiple pools and spas and a bar right at the front off the ship which enabled plenty of relaxing - if you could get a seat/lounge. The ship had plenty of undercover pool areas which would suit different weather - we had a few cool windy days so that helped a lot. We only went to 1 show which was Pixels in the Two Seventy - all 3 of us went and enjoyed it amazing area that you can sit in and relax looking out to seathrough the floor to ceiling windows during the day and at night it transforms into a beautiful stage area with live performances. One place we frequent a lot was the Bionic Bar - once we got the hang of it we created our own drinks tweaked just the way we liked them. When the weren't being used both robots would dance in time to the music together. Mitsy our cabin attendant was great always kept things tidy and stocked. As we were only on for 5 days with no ports for us it was all about the ship we had a lovely time short but sweet then disembarking at home in Adelaide which made it really easy. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
spur of the moment ,very good value,never sailed before.thought to many people,also lots of kids ,although very well catered for.embarkation at fremantle was two and a half hours disembarkation at adelaide one and a half ... Read More
spur of the moment ,very good value,never sailed before.thought to many people,also lots of kids ,although very well catered for.embarkation at fremantle was two and a half hours disembarkation at adelaide one and a half hours.entertainment great ,most of the time booked out .restaurants that are free ie windjammer market place,solarium bistro,silk,the cafe @two 70,food tasted much the same although you could eat as much as you like.this was our first cruise ,next we would prefer a smaller ship ,and a less elderly group.the ovation of the seas is a magnificent ship ,with every activity to suit everbody.joff the activities manager is great also his manager caroline is very good.their channel 14 in the morning is worth watching.you have to book very early to secure a ride on the north star on the 15th deck its very popular.free hotdogs all day at seaplex dog house on the 15th deck .10 am to 6pm. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Background info, we are seasoned cruisers, opened minded people and don't let the little things get in the way of a great holiday as life is too short! We jumped on the Ovation of the Seas from Fremantle - Adelaide just before ... Read More
Background info, we are seasoned cruisers, opened minded people and don't let the little things get in the way of a great holiday as life is too short! We jumped on the Ovation of the Seas from Fremantle - Adelaide just before christmas. We were able to handball our 3 children to our in-laws (thank-you!) so we could have a 5 night break from a busy year and be a couple again. Our children were not happy that we did not bring them along.... Embarkation at Freo was a complete shambles and took 2.5 hours from the time we arrived to get on to the ship. I won't go into too much detail other than dissapointing start.(We have embarked here before on the QM2, no issues at all) D Prior to arrival, at home, we completed online check in, including photos for ID, booked all our specialty restaurants and shows. I was very impressed with this as I had not encountered this before. Once in our stateroom, on the TV was a rundown of what we had booked, on what day and time. A+ Although at check in, at Freo, we had to do it all again??? I did ask the staff why are we doing this again if I have already completed it but to no reply..... Once on board, we made our own way to our stateroom and was overwhelmed by the size of the ship and all it's ammenaties. It is really beautiful, clean, shinny and new. We had a outside porthole cabin, 3550, great location, well designed, glass shower screen was excellent. A We enjoyed our dining experience overall, and food is very subjective on whats hot or not ( no pun intended!) Plenty of places to eat, and you won't go hungry. Windjammer's Marketplace is well designed for the amount of people it caters for at peak times. Service times were acceptable, we have had much worse on other lines. B The main production shows were of a very high standard, probably the best we have seen. Two Seventy was my favourite venue hands down. It really is a beautiful place. A The kids are catered for extremely well, hands down. No other line can compete with what is available to them. A On reflection of our small break, RCI have really turned cruising on it's head especially with this class of ship. It's target market is families with children. If you prefer traditional cruising, don't go on it as you will be disappointed. I was really surprised how many older people were on the ship, and I did ask a few if they were enjoying there time on the ship. Every answer I received was NO. After a little bit more probing, they could not grasp with the technology, the size of the ship or the amount of people on board. This was not there fault, but more the travel agent they were booking with who should explain what to expect. I did feel however, this was the most removed ship I have been on with the sea/ocean, Let me explain. Because it is so big I feel you don't get that romance or connection to the sea. It's hard to even look out at the sea because of the way the ship is designed. No real promenade deck other than deck 5 which is designed only to enter the lifeboats. No real deal breaker for me but just something I did notice. All in all we had a great time and would go back on with our children. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We started with a virtual balcony stateroom, the technology for this live stream "balcony" is amazing but the room felt claustrophobic and it doesnt replace the fresh air and personal space we value in a real balcony so we ... Read More
We started with a virtual balcony stateroom, the technology for this live stream "balcony" is amazing but the room felt claustrophobic and it doesnt replace the fresh air and personal space we value in a real balcony so we upgraded the next morning. The staterooms and ensuites are well designed and seemed more spacious than on some other cruise ships. We thought the ship was well designed in that we found it easier to find restaurants and theatres etc than on some smaller cruise ships we have sailed on. The large number of lifts meant short waiting times and easy access to all floors. The production shows were very modern, the dancers and singers were excellent. The ship is designed for the Chinese market with attractions aimed to appeal to a much younger generation than the usual cruise market. We were extremely disappointed with the poor service, my bag was missing for hours, after dinner I eventually discovered it myself standing in a hallway, it had been delivered to the wrong room. My husbands bag was located on deck 2, it took many questions over many hours for someone to eventually tell him where to collect it. Following is an example of the quality of the service in the restaurants, in fact service anywhere on the ship - Went to the breakfast in one of the restaurants on the first morning at sea, what an experience. A fellow passenger who seems to know everything, said the ship took on new staff in Singapore and he said he saw them being trained on the job. The problems we had with our waiter reminded me of Manuel in Fawlty Towers. He took orders for Oatmeal for and Frosted Flakes for my husband - both on the menu. After 15-20mins, something resembling watery half cooked porridge was placed in front of me - this is after it was first served to the woman at the next table who said she hadnt ordered it. I had also asked for cold soy milk when I ordered the porridge, he forgot the milk and eventually came back with a weird silver vessel larger than a gravy boat. Have never seen anything like this vessel but it happened too quick to get a photo. He quickly poured too much soy milk milk on the watery oats for me. My husband was still waiting for his Frosted Flakes when I finished the oatmeal, eventually this waiter came back to our table and told my husband "I am sorry sir but you have ordered something that is not on the menu" My husband said it is on the menu otherwise I wouldnt have ordered it, then giving up on this, he said I'll have corn flakes instead. Luckily someone else overheard this and quickly grabbed a packet of corn flakes and served Dad within a couple of minutes otherwise he would have undoubtedly waited another 20 minutes. . His milk was also poured from a large silver vessel. My husband then ordered Eggs Benedict with a side of sausage and mushroom, I ordered an omlette with tomato, onion, cheese - everything listed except for the salmon also listed. I also ordered the same sides as my husband.The waiter appeared to write everything down. After 30 minutes wait, my omlette arrived with sides of tomato and hash browns. I asked if it was mine because I ordered sausage and mushrooms sides, the waiter said it was mine and he would get the right sides. The waiter told Dad that he was sorry the eggs benedict were taking too long to cook. Eventually the eggs benedict arrived, they were almost floating on something that looked like melted butter - they also looked like they had been made by someone who had never seen eggs benedict before. The waiter apologised when my husband said the eggs did not look right. Instead of sausages as sides my husband got salmon and and hash browns, at least he got the mushrooms he ordered. This waiter then arrived with another omlette for me, I said I had already started eating the first one and did not want another one. This second plate also had the wrong sides on it. This was the first of many such incidents. Just asking for a glass of water without ice at meals was a problem, I was usually told "you will have to wait for it" and they would eventually bring a different jug with water and no ice - yet other cruise line staff have no problem pouring water from the same iced water jug without getting ice in the glass. Sometimes I never did get the no ice water. Today I asked 3 different waiters for some soy milk, it took over an hour for me to finally get it after saying the next person I asked would be the supervisor. One night I ordered chicken parmigiana and after a 30 minute wait was given roast chicken, when I questioned if this was my order because I had ordered the Parmigiana, the waitress said " yes it is yours, sorry I make mistake" - with an attitude of "whats your problem its chicken anyway" I didnt want to wait another 30 minutes so accepted the roast. There is a story for every meal we had on board, I wont continue telling them because these are enough examples to prove the service is poor. Maybe the attitude of service being "near enough is good enough" is acceptable to the Chinese market but if Royal want to compete with the service provided by cruise lines like Princess in Australia they will need to improve the standard of service very quickly. We heard a lot of complaints about poor service from other passengers. On other disappointments - the same two episodes from a few TV shows such as Big Bang Theory were repeated over and over again every day of the cruise. $US12 is too expensive for most families to pay per movie to watch it in their room. Surely they can cater for adults, especially the ones with health or mobility problems, who like to rest in their rooms occasionally during the day and provide a free movie channel which isn't just for kids and show at least entire series of TV shows rather then just repeat the same two episodes of some shows? Booking for restaurants was a frustrating procedure. The fellow at the Silk booking table caused delays and confusion every night, someone in authority must be able to see he isn't suitable for that position by now. Cruising on the Ovation of the Seas was a mixed experience. We're booking with Princess for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We chose this cruise as it was its first time in Australia they over emphasised the fact because when we got on our interpretation from the advertising was different the services were appauling. When we embarked we waited 3 hrs just to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was its first time in Australia they over emphasised the fact because when we got on our interpretation from the advertising was different the services were appauling. When we embarked we waited 3 hrs just to embark the line was huge and there was no effort to keep the line moving. We eventually got on and on one of the nights the ship movement was bad mostly everyone was sick, a ship like this isn't designed for Australian waters, during the night of a couple of the nights the noise from the ocean was bad as the walls and windows aren't sound resistent. Our stateroom attendant was very helpful all the way through and was very assitive. The food was appauling as they all had similar or same menus , windjammer was just basic and waiting for resturants was dissapointing. The cruise was good for those injured on crutches or in a wheeelchair as they would get priority. Entertainment for kids was good but to line up for activities was rediculous we waited 1 and a half hrs for bumper cars , had to book for Ifly, limited availability for roller skating sessions. Being on deck 3 was terrible as you could here everything. I would never travel on this ship again and it was my children's first time so we were dissapointed and unsure whether we would cruise again with royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016

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