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Sail Date: January 2018
We chose such a large ship as we were advised there would be plenty for our teenagers to do on board. We were keen to see the south island of New Zealand and really enjoyed our RC shore excursions in Dunedin and Wellington and travelling ... Read More
We chose such a large ship as we were advised there would be plenty for our teenagers to do on board. We were keen to see the south island of New Zealand and really enjoyed our RC shore excursions in Dunedin and Wellington and travelling through Milford Sound and the other Sounds. Unfortunately a storm meant we didn't stop in Picton and the ship took a different route back to avoid very choppy seas. We enjoyed having a balcony and managed to survive 4 of us sharing a small room. People on cruise critic have suggested bringing power boards. Ours got confiscated before we got on board as it hadn't been tested. It was returned when we disembarked. I don't know how you are supposed to get them tested beforehand. We didn't need it because there were two USB ports in the room and we had some converters for a few power points so we could charge our devices. Ovation is an amazing ship with so many different spaces in which to relax, do activities and see performances. Cruise Director Joff is incredible, as are many but not all of his staff. We mainly dined in the dining rooms and Windjammer and didn't feel the need to pay extra for fancier food. It was great to have food available in Two70 and other places just about whenever we wanted and we made use of free breakfast room service too. My 19 year old daughter meet people her age at the 18 to 20s meet ups and spent lots of time hanging out with her new friends. My 16 year old son didn't want to go to the 15 to 17 year old club. We found plenty of other things for him to do, like an escape room, simulated skydiving and air hockey. There was a great demand on activities he would have liked to do like table tennis and Xbox. My husband enjoyed relaxing in the adult only pool area called Solarium and we ate in the restaurant there a few times. My husband loved the huge Windjammer buffet. I wanted to do lots of activities and enjoyed a yoga class, napkin folding, trivia and music quizzes, health information sessions and more. Unfortunately there were long queues for some of the activities like trapeze which I never got to do as I wasn't willing to queue for an hour before opening time. It was fantastic to have live music of different styles in different venues around the ship. The shows were amazing, though targeted for an older audience. The comedy acts were old style. It's a pity they didn't have any of the great Australian young comedians with current humour. Our room attendant was fantastic, the ship was meticulously clean with a high emphasis on washing hands to limit infection. Embarkation and disembarkation ran very smoothly. We stayed in Sydney for a few days after our cruise and had a wonderful time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
Old but correct ship partially renovated. Service on board was a little bit to festive or let's say relax even if attendants where nice. No touch of class compare to other ships. We had an excellent room attendant on our 10 th deck. We ... Read More
Old but correct ship partially renovated. Service on board was a little bit to festive or let's say relax even if attendants where nice. No touch of class compare to other ships. We had an excellent room attendant on our 10 th deck. We are not young people even if in good shape and we were travelling with our grand daughter that dreamed on this cruise and overall enjoyed. Stateroom for three but the sofa bed was a great discomfort. When open at night there was practically no place to move. Trying to get up was for an athlete as the bed was almost on floor level with a hard matrass. After the first nights my bone were getting out of my body and I requested a solution. The room attendant went all the way calling his Senior housekeeper and I suggested them not to open the sofa bed or just a little and to add a mattress which they did and it became a magician trick . I slept like a baby. Thank you Mr Sookressen Mahadoo you have been grate as cabin attendant . We were assigned a table on the Cascade restaurant attended by Raghu Chowdhur. A very nice man with a great smile. At times just a little bit to friendly perhaps but it looks that was the service attendance in general that I say had sympathy but were polite. Keeping some distance and not to overdo would still be beneficial for them. The food in general was nothing exceptional but good and the specialities restaurants where correct to good particularly the Grill. The Windjammer had always a correct buffet display but few things were not good. and mainly that slippery granit floor that could have cost a much worst accident to my wife than a broken arm. How could you have such a floor ! ..It is an Ice skating ring badly washed or far to humid due as I was explained by being under the tropics and rainy weather outside. A "Wet sign" is not enough. No floor carpets or more indications. Next day they were lot of them but still your floor was slippery and it is a Indoor restaurant. Really difficult to understand your security policy on this respect and casualties do cause you certainly a high cost in claims. Perhaps you will react once somebody will have nock his head ! My wife was quickly and well attended by the Restaurant staff while lying on the floor with the arm out of the elbow. Good for her she was waring proper shoes otherwise ! Security staff came quickly such as medical attendance with Nurse and Doctor. A passenger nurse took care till there arrival. Treatment performed was quick and therefore congratulations to your on board medical facilities. Your Safety & s Security Mgr a young Canadian Officer was nice and he did a personal follow up which is to be thanked such as young Portuguese Guest Relation by the name of Cardoso and fullstop. WE never received a call from you hotel manager or F & B Mgr both very aware but I found your Croatian Chief Engineer that attended my remake in situ while going for his lunch next day. As I said it ended badly but it could have be worst by a clear omission of a floor treatment or bad floor cleanliness maintenance. Petty, we have use a lot Celebrity and we like but due to this incident we have been highly disappointed by the Radiance of the Sea and we had to short cut our leaves by three weeks after flying back home after visiting the Medical Center in Sydney. Spoiled vacations due to a negligent and dangerous poor maintenance of an indoor restaurant. Not to believe ! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We were looking forward to a fun, party type atmosphere like we have had recently on Explorer, Rhapsody and Celebrity Solstice. Those ships had dancing almost every night to a really uptempo band playing great dance music and there was ... Read More
We were looking forward to a fun, party type atmosphere like we have had recently on Explorer, Rhapsody and Celebrity Solstice. Those ships had dancing almost every night to a really uptempo band playing great dance music and there was either a party in the public area or the nightclub was pumping. This voyage had a largely young to youngish age group looking to have fun at night but the Radiance only had four fun parties over the 14 night trip. The Phillipino band continually played boring, old fashioned music which only one or two couples would dance to so everyone would melt off early to bed. I have never spent so many cruise evenings watching movies! Loved Zumba with Sophie on sea days but I wish that the gym instructors taking Fab Abs and Total Body Conditioning would not push everyone do endless repetitions of the same movement using the same bodypart over 1 to 2 minutes. I ended up with painful inflammation of the shoulders and upper arms which gradually subsided with rest - my gym Les Mills in Auckland never make you overuse one area and they change to a different exercise far more frequently. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Travelled on this 12 day NZ new year cruise with my wife & extended family group of 4 to sample both Ovation & NZ.Ports visited were in order Bay Of Islands,Auckland,Tauranga,Dunedin & scenic cruising through Fiordland before ... Read More
Travelled on this 12 day NZ new year cruise with my wife & extended family group of 4 to sample both Ovation & NZ.Ports visited were in order Bay Of Islands,Auckland,Tauranga,Dunedin & scenic cruising through Fiordland before returning to Sydney.Embarkation went reasonably well with us in our stateroom just after 1pm. Our stateroom was a twin balcony cabin(D4) on deck 13 between forward & midship lifts.The cabin was more than adequate for 2 with plenty of storage space, bags can be stored under bed after unpacking.Balcony view was slightly obstructed by pool deck above struts & was almost always wet due to weather conditions & condensation.Night light in bathroom is a handy addition & plenty of charging options in cabin for phones/camera batteries etc. Ovation Of The Seas is impressive from bow to stern with lots of options & activities throughout.My favourite areas were the solarium adults only area at the bow & two70 at the stern.Throughout this cruise I found myself alternating between the two.The major entertainment /shopping area in the centre of the ship-Royal Esplanade is always a buzz of activity although the high end shops & lack of feel/view of the ocean left me feeling like I was in a major shopping centre. Dining options used on cruise: Windjammer casual/buffet-large area located on deck 14 stern, always seemed busy especially at peak times. Main Dining rooms on deck 3&4-decent meals from all venues, menu the same ,only decor is different,well staffed, if not overstaffed.Menu was a little predictable,with little change over the week. Solarium Bistro-On deck 14 at the bow, hidden gem away from the crowds.A buffet for breakfast/lunch & reservation only for mediterranean style dining menu for dinner. Michaels Geninue Pub-great venue for a beer & quality pub lunch-burger was great. Wonderland-A unique dining experience where the menu is arranged according to your likes /dislikes.I enjoyed this experience overall, if you are slightly adventurous you may enjoy wonderland.If your prefer plain dining do not bother. Jamies Italian-Favourite dining spot, fresh pasta & meat planks, well worth the additional cost. Chops Grille-Same as other RCI ships, good quality, well cooked steaks, chops is worth the cost. Kung Fu Panda-noodles & more, open limited hours which vary from day to day, pay per dish ,I think around $5 per dish, ok but service was really slow. I like the RCI style of entertainment & Ovation added to the experience with 3 classy production shows throughout the cruise.Pixels in Two70 is the only show which requires a reservation best booked via the planner pre cruise.The doors open 45min prior to show, best seats gone soon after.RCI's use of a 9 piece orchestra were brilliant as usual & a variety of guest entertainers suited different tastes & interests. Overall this was a very good cruise although the balance of 8 sea days to 4 shore days isn't ideal for an NZ cruise.A port day in Wellington instead of 2 sea days travelling to Dunedin would have balanced it up better.Ovation to me is better suited to longer cruises with more sea days to fully utilise it's facilities.Even after 12 days some areas remained uncharted.It handles reasonable sized sized swells without any noticeable movement, we had only minor side to side rocking in our deck 13 cabin, ship seemed to be well insulated staying quite for the majority of the cruise. Ovation is impressive with artwork on every level, you can spend hours wandering around checking it out.Smart ideas like night lights in stateroom bathrooms, auto doors & auto taps in public bathrooms, hand washing basins in windjammer & solarium bistro appreciated. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I had been on 3 previous cruises with Royal Caribbean before I went on a 12 day NZ cruise on Ovatiion of the Seas which is part of the Quantum class whatever that is ( maybe size). Great cruise apart from the following :- 1. Self ... Read More
I had been on 3 previous cruises with Royal Caribbean before I went on a 12 day NZ cruise on Ovatiion of the Seas which is part of the Quantum class whatever that is ( maybe size). Great cruise apart from the following :- 1. Self flushing toilets in public areas do not always flush appropriately and often flush when you are still 'ahem' seated. Should all be manual flush. 2. Limited entertainment during the day especially for older people who make up most of the passengers. In the past cruise ships have had modern and 60's music bands on pool decks from noon til mid afternoon...no more. Also interesting speakers needed on various subjects apart from sales presentations over the cruise. Many trivias held during the day are always held in cramped areas. Too much emphasis on selling and stripping as much money as possible from passengers on overpriced excursions, photos, bingo, casino promotions and speciality restaurants. This is now becoming a trend with all cruise companies now unfortunately. Restaurant staff are run off their feet due to obvious reductions in staff to save money. I have noticed this on many different cruise ships in recent times. In saying this I could not fault all cabin and waiter staff who are pleasant and do their best to please you even though they seem to have an enormous work load and are running to every task due to reduced numbers compared to cruises I have experienced over the years. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We went as a group of 8 and each of us loved the cruise. I organised the cruise for the group as it was a trip for my 30th birthday. EMBARKATION Best yet. Embarkation was so easy. 4 of us in the group had completed the on-line check ... Read More
We went as a group of 8 and each of us loved the cruise. I organised the cruise for the group as it was a trip for my 30th birthday. EMBARKATION Best yet. Embarkation was so easy. 4 of us in the group had completed the on-line check in with photo and credit card details, while 4 others needed to complete a couple of things. We were all on board in under 10 minutes from start to finish. ROOM We stayed in a D4 Balcony Room on Deck 13. It was a well set out room. Plenty of storage for a 12 day cruise. The moveable dressing table is an excellent idea for room service or just having a drink back in your room. The bed was a bit firm but nothing like some of the firm beds I have had in parts of Asia. The air conditioning was fantastic - and we like our room to be very cold. Bathroom was smartly laid out and the shower had a tiled floor and glass shower door - which was very nice. FOOD We usually ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer. I found the selection to be very good. There were plenty of wait staff walking around who were happy to take your drink orders. We ate dinner in the Main Dining Room, which for us was Silk. The food was excellent and the service was outstanding. It was the best food I have had on Royal and I could not fault our wait staff. Highlights included the beef wellington and the lobster (which was on a special menu for new year's eve). The other complimentary venue we enjoyed was the Cafe at Two70. They have a couple of soups, a roast beef roll with gravy and horseradish, a selection of other wraps and croissants and also a salad bar for a lighter lunch. They also had an excellent breakfast selection including bagels with cream cheese and salmon. We often went here as the coffee was also very good. We also ate in Jamie's Italian, Chops Grille and Izumi. Jamie's was so good we went twice. I thoroughly enjoyed Chops Grille and Izumi as well, although I would be more keen on going to Izumi if they could set a fixed price rather than A La Carte. It was the only time I had to think about what my order was costing while I was on the ship! We did have a late night snack from Kung Fu Panda one night, and going from previous reviews it doesn't seem like many people have tried it. My wife and I enjoyed the spring rolls and the dumplings, and the fried rice was very good. This was a la carte but the pricing was fairly reasonable. NIGHTLIFE During our nights we spent quite a bit of time in Michael's Genuine Pub, the Schooner Bar or the music hall. We found that if one venue was busy, it was easy to find another venue to get a table. We thought the cocktails and beer selection was excellent. They could increase the number of wines by the glass (especially those included in the drinks package) but this is a minor complaint. We did have a drink in every bar and can say that all the bar staff on the cruise were excellent. They had to deal with issues out of their control (running out of certain drinks and running out of straws) but did very well with a festive crowd. We enjoyed the shows in the Music Hall, and this is where we rang in the new year. We had a great time on New Year's eve and the cruise director staff made sure it was a big day. ENTERTAINMENT The shows were good but the changes to the scheduling and bookings that occurred through the cruise planner were disappointing. I had schedule dinner bookings around shows but the changes meant that we weren't often able to make them. I didn't get a chance to see Pixels or either of the stage shows but my wife said they were all excellent. The live music in the Pub and also in the Music Hall was very good each night. Joff was an entertaining cruise director without being "too much". I thought all the cruise staff were excellent and enjoyed the hosts of trivia each day. North Star and iFly were enjoyed by all that did it. ITINERARY I have to say the itinerary probably could have done with an extra port or two. Bay of Islands I can't really say too much about as it was a struggle to even get off the ship on New Year's Day but it was nice to get some free wi-fi and check emails and that sort of thing. Auckland coincided with the best weather we had, and we went up to the Sky Tower and enjoyed the view. I've been to Auckland before and consequently just enjoyed a bit of shopping. Tauranga was our biggest planned day off the ship as 5 of us went to Rotorua for lunch and then to Hobbiton in a rental car. Enjoyed the drive to Rotorua as we went the back way and through this stunning gorge. Hobbiton was fantastic, recommend it to anyone considering it. The drive back was also fantastic and we stopped at this wonderful scenic lookout. Perfectly captured the scenic location. Port Chalmers (Dunedin) involved us going to the super market for some supplies and having a couple of lover craft beers in an old style pub. Lovely little town - really couldn't be bothered going into Dunedin though. Milford Sound was one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been to. It was simply sensational. DISEMBARKATION This was very easy as well as we always self carry our bags and we were off the ship in under 20 minutes. All in all a great cruise and I hope to sail on Ovation again! Tips: Use Cruise Planner and book everything you possibly can! It makes life so much easier on the ship. Complete the on-line check in process. With the Quantum class of ships it just makes boarding an absolute breeze. For the information of those considering purchasing the drinks package: we both purchased the drinks package and considered that we saved plenty. We also enjoyed that paying for the drinks package turned the cruise into more of an all-inclusive feeling. We both thought it was the right choice. If you want to spend money on one dinner - it has to be Jamie's Italian. It was just brilliant and worth the price ($44.10 AUD booked before the cruise). Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We travelled as a group of 4: my wife and I, our daughter (7 years old) and her grandma (in her 60s). This was our first cruise and it was such a great experience, we're planning another one next year. Embarkation and disembarkation ... Read More
We travelled as a group of 4: my wife and I, our daughter (7 years old) and her grandma (in her 60s). This was our first cruise and it was such a great experience, we're planning another one next year. Embarkation and disembarkation were done smoothly. We used the cruise planner extensively and so embarkation took approximately 30 minutes from port-side to deck-side. Disembarkation was even faster, taking only 15 minutes. The organisation was impressive. There were small hiccoughs but guest services were prompt in sorting them out. The cruise planner was easy to use however there were some things that took a bit of trial and error. For example, there is no option to book children in for specialty dining and it appeared initially that our 7 year old would be charged adult prices. A phone call soon resolved this - just don't book children and bring them along, they will get a reduced price on the day. We were refunded on the ship, when we had paid an adult price online for our 7 year old. The ship itself is impressive. There are plenty of public areas, for relaxation and it was hard to get lost. Signs were in English and Mandarin as the ship spends half the year in Asia. Facilities were clean and the attention taken to prevent outbreaks of gastroenteritis was impressive. The SeaPlex was a highlight for our daughter, who enjoyed roller-skating and bumper cars. My wife and I spent a lot of time in the gym. There were plenty of cardio machines (treadmills, ellipticals, stat bikes, stair masters). The selection of weights was adequate given the OH&S restraints of a ship. This means that instead of free weights there are plenty of resistance machines and 1 Smith rack. The classes (stretches, yoga, abs, etc) quickly became booked out. There is a way to book some activities with the Royal IQ app. This was a bit hit and miss, largely because the wifi struggled to cope with 5000 passengers. I bought the Voom Surf and Stream package, before the cruise. It worked well in some areas of the ship, during non peak hours. It was good for downloading music/tv episodes at night, if you want to watch them during the day. It was less reliable for streaming, although that really wasn't an issue -there was so much to do during the cruise. My wife and I also bought the SMS capability ($8 each). The service was up about 80% of the time. I think it was worth buying this as walkie talkies don't work that well on a ship this size. The upside of this is that sound insulation was excellent throughout the ship. Our stateroom was immediately above the 270 lounge. I slept through the New Years Party like a baby (old man?). Dining was a highlight. We ate most meals in the Grande restaurant - one of the 4 main dining rooms. Our waiters were top notch and really went out of their way to make the experience personalised. We do a lot of fine dining in Sydney and so are fairly tough critics. I would struggle to remember wait staff this attentive and friendly, in the past. Meals were great, without exception and our daughter was well looked after. Specialty dining is worth a try. We went to Chops Grille (twice!), Jamie's Kitchen and Wonderland. Chops Grille was excellent in every way. The service and food is good value (prebook on the cruise planner!). It's better than most steakhouses on the North Shore of Sydney. My family loved Jamie's Kitchen, as they are big fans of freshly made pasta. Again, the service was very good. Wonderland is one for the open minded. The service was great but I think the execution of the concept fell short. Were they trying for molecular gastronomy? It's no Fat Duck but that's a tall order isn't it? See what you think. I thought the dessert was wonderful. Again as we are from Sydney, I feel I have to include a little section on coffee. Australia is a hard market for any American company to crack, with us being coffee snobs of the highest order. The coffee cards (available on the cruise planner) are worth buying before the cruise. The quality of expresso coffee is not great (my wife had to explain how to make a piccolo - heavens!), but was much better than most American hotels we have stayed in, when overseas. If you order cappuccino's, you'll be fine. The activities and entertainment available were astounding. There is something for everyone. The daily cruise planner is what I wish school was like - a timetable of fun! My daughter enjoyed dance classes and napkin folding. My wife really liked the shows. These included big dance and music productions (especially Pixels - a fantastic show, book early), as well as performances by live bands. Goff, the cruise director, puts on excellent theme shows (e.g., the "Love and Marriage show") with audience and crew participation. He is exceptionally talented, and can bring the best out in everyone. The comedians at the theatre were great. I also went to some enrichment presentations by an Aussie fighter pilot ("Frawls"), which were interesting and very well done. The ports we visited were Bay of Islands, Auckland, Tauranga and Dunedin. These were well chosen. We had arranged tours privately through Viator and in most cases this worked well. The weather was wet and cool (bring a jacket/raincoat) most days. In retrospect this was a plus as apparently the temperature at home was 45 degrees, when it was 10 degrees in Dunedin. A highlight of this cruise was the day at Doubtful, Dusky and Milford sounds. We had good weather for this and I recommend bringing binoculars. It looks like I've written an essay and I could easily go on. My overwhelming feeling is that this cruise was one of the best holidays I have had. I think Royal Caribbean caters very well to families. I would recommend this for anyone who wants to put their brain in neutral gear and set their mouth to smile/eat for 12 nights. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The ship is getting a little old, so they say, and some of the activities on newer, larger ships are just not here. There was not a decent water slide, except a tiny one for the kiddies' pool. On Carnival, by contrast, I had a great ... Read More
The ship is getting a little old, so they say, and some of the activities on newer, larger ships are just not here. There was not a decent water slide, except a tiny one for the kiddies' pool. On Carnival, by contrast, I had a great time as a 47-year-old on the Green Thunder. That's the kind of inclusion that RCI needs on more of its ships. Embarkation and disembarkation were very easy. Being on Deck 10, we were among the first passengers on the ship. Getting off, it took about 10 minutes. The entertainment on board ranged from the average (the old guy singing in the English pub each night) to the outstanding (the "Real Time Band" who played in the central bar most nights and were just great). Dining: The MDR was fantastic for food and service. The buffet ("Windjammers") was average - food bland, always hard to get a table, often not cleaned adequately. I'm told by the wife that Izumi Sushi was the best ever. Our experience in Chops Grille was disappointing, considering that we had paid the cover charge ($35 each) and then $20 for the seafood tower. The service was slow, the food ordinary and a promised discount not honoured until we insisted. Cabin (sorry - "Stateroom"): small, but we kind of expected this. (See below). There was only 'body wash' in the shower dispenser. I was told by some regular RCI customers that they used to provide shampoo and conditioner in little vials (you know, the kind you would expect in a hotel/motel) but had stopped doing it recently. Our stateroom attendant was very helpful, turning down our sofa-bed each day and night without grumbling. In fact, the service on the ship, for the most part, was very good. The activities and 'extras' on board were often greatly over-priced: $42 to play bingo; $120 for my daughter to get a facial treatment. It was even $35 to get a small bag of laundry done on the ship. RCI have decided to remove guest laundries, so they profiteer relentlessly on this. Everything but the essentials involved an extra fee. Shore excursions arranged through the ship were sometimes prohibitively expensive, so we didn't bother. The tender vessels, when needed, were generally okay (I mean, it is what it is). Ports: Dunedin - pleasantly surprising; Akaroa - similar; Tauranga - beautiful, had some drinks in the Astrolabe Brewbar, one of the nicest and most unusual bars I've ever seen; Auckland - not nearly enough time on an 8-hour stopover; Bay of Islands - also very nice. Plenty of places to come back to on an actual holiday with time to see some things. Travelled with one wife and one 12-year-old child. The daughter had a great time and made lots of friends in the "teens club". Some days we hardly saw her. On other days, she grumbled a bit that there wasn't much to do. The weather was good; hardly any motion in the boat at all (much to my displeasure - I like some rocking and rolling at sea!). Overall, just okay. Nothing great. Next time: another line. Read Less
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