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Ovation of the Seas Review

Ovation of the Seas
Ovation of the Seas

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Ovation of the Seas
4.5 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
to book


An amazing mega-liner filled with high-tech entertainment and attractions


Drinking, dining and entertainment venues struggle at peak times

Bottom line

Never a dull moment on a ship that has something to please everyone


Passengers 4,180 (maximum capacity 4,905)
Crew 1,500
Passenger to Crew 2.79:1
Launched 2016
Shore Excursions 399
Tiana Templeman
Cruise Critic Contributor

Ovation of the Seas Overview

Packed with bells and whistles, Ovation of the Seas is the third ground-breaking ship to join Royal Caribbean's Quantum class. There are plenty of similarities with its two sister ships -- Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas -- including the thrilling RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, the North Star capsule that transports passengers 90 metres (300 feet) above sea level for bird's-eye views, bumper cars, trapeze classes, world-class entertainment and -- in short -- nonstop fun.

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Ovation's decor and design reflects the ship's original deployment in China, although the ship will cease sailing here and move to Alaska from 2019. A symbol of good luck and a national treasure of China, a 10-metre tall (32-feet tall) panda and cub were designed with Chinese passengers in mind (joining Felicia the Pink polar bear on Quantum and Gigi the giraffe on Anthem). There is dual-language signage throughout the ship, and the majority of staff in guest services can speak Mandarin, with a high proportion of Mandarin speakers in the shops, casino, restaurants and housekeeping departments as well.

Making its debut on Ovation is the colourful Kung Fu Panda Noodle Shop (replacing Johnny Rockets), plus a new Asian food station in the Windjammer Marketplace buffet restaurant. There is also an enlarged casino, and shops in the Royal Esplanade have been stocked with more high-end designer goods and Asian cosmetic brands.

The ship spends the Australian summer based in Sydney from about December to April. During this brief spell, some of the food, drinks and activities are tailored to local tastes and everything is in English. All of the bars, specialty restaurants, cafes (or anywhere serving coffee), the three pools and FlowRider surfing simulator are much busier than during the Asian sailings, so prepare for queues. However, despite the large number of passengers onboard, staff go out of their way to get to know passengers and make their cruise holiday memorable. Friendly passengers who stand out (in a good way) are treated especially well. 

The ship's entertainment scene is outstanding, with Broadway-style theatre shows and cabarets that combine human talent with technical wizardry. All-singing, all-dancing gadgets are not just confined to the stage. Ovation has myriad high-tech features including Royal IQ, a free interactive scheduling service that lets passengers make reservations for dining, entertainment and activities; it's available as an app for mobile devices or can be used via kiosks and tablets throughout the ship. Thanks to a huge investment in satellite Internet, connectivity is fast and efficient. It's good to see USB ports for in-cabin charging and the option for RFID WOWband wristbands, which can be used instead of key cards.

Another exceptional feature is the artwork: An A$5.8 million (US$4.5 million) collection of 11,000 pieces. Much more than just space fillers to adorn blank walls, the installations, paintings and sculptures wouldn't be out of place in the world's top galleries. Sky Wave, over the Royal Esplanade, is the first moving sculpture at sea, and the Flutter Wall, on the way to the Royal Theatre, is a three-metre (120-inch) screen filled with interactive butterflies. Elsewhere are smaller surprises: a retro petrol pump beneath a stairwell; panda and koala faces on human shoulders; and boxed pictures with tiny people inside. It's worth doing a top-to-bottom walking tour of the ship to discover the artwork alone.

With so much to see, do and discover, Ovation delights and excites in equal measure and is ideal for longer itineraries, which give passengers time to enjoy the many onboard attractions to the full. 

Keep Reading: For more information, see below or click on the menu at the top right of this page.

Fellow Passengers

With its age-appropriate children's clubs and huge SeaPlex sports and entertainment complex, Ovation is a magnet for families, so expect to see plenty of kids during school holidays. It also attracts pleasure-seeking, fun-loving singles, couples and groups of friends across the age spectrum. With the ship sailing from China and Australia (and Alaska from 2019), the onboard demographic sees a shift from the US and UK passengers that make up the majority of cruisers on Royal Caribbean's other ships. Chinese travellers fill the ship in China, while Australians and New Zealanders dominate Down Under.

Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Dress Code

Daytime: Cruise casual is the way to go during the day, with shorts, cropped trousers, jeans, T-shirts, vest tops, swimsuits, cover-ups and sundresses for women; for men, think swimwear, shorts, jeans, polo shirts and T-shirts.

Evening: At dinner, the dress code is smart casual for women, which Royal Caribbean sets out as skirt or trousers (no holes, rips or tears) with a blouse. While jeans are perfectly acceptable, many women do opt for dresses and a smarter look. For men, the code is trousers (no holes, rips or tears) with a collared shirt. For passengers who prefer to dress up in the evening, feel free to wear a cocktail dress or trouser suit for ladies and dress shirts, ties and jackets for men.

Not permitted: T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops/thongs are acceptable for lunch, but swimsuits, robes, bare feet, vest tops, baseball caps and pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurants or speciality restaurants.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Gratuity

Gratuities can be prepaid, or a daily gratuity of US$14.50 per person, per day or US$17.50 for those staying in suites is automatically billed to passenger's SeaPass accounts on a daily basis. Cruises booked on the Australian/NZ Royal Caribbean site have gratuities automatically included in the cruise fare. An 18 percent gratuity is added to drinks purchased at the bar (unless passengers have a beverage package, in which case this additional amount is already included in the purchase price). An 18 percent gratuity is added to all spa bills. Passengers can also pay additional tips direct to individual crew members for exceptional service and, if required, envelopes are available from the guest relations desk. The onboard currency is the US dollar when sailing in all countries.


Keep Reading: For more information about dining, activities and cabins, please click on the menu at the top right of this page.

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Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Member Reviews

Ovation of the Seas
Sail Date: Jul 2019
We chose RC Ovation of the Seas because we thought if the weather was bad in Alaska we wanted a ship with a lot of activities. We’re an active family who enjoys the outdoors & our millennial kids & other...Read More
Ovation of the Seas
Sir Tim
Sail Date: Aug 2019
We booked this on our own - not through the ship. Overall I would highly recommend the Ovation of the Seas and this Alaska itinerary....Read More
Ovation of the Seas
Sail Date: May 2019
landscaping. A NOT to be missed sight in Victoria. As for the ship, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas. It’s the largest cruise ship we’ve ever sailed on. First impression is that we’d get lost...Read More
Ovation of the Seas
Sail Date: Sep 2019
spacious, and you can walk around without bumping into a bunch of people. I would sail the Ovation of the Seas again in a heartbeat. The staff of course was wonderful, but more than that, the ship is simply...Read More

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