276 Sydney (Australia) to Australia & New Zealand Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because of the Ship as we have always wanted to sail out of beautiful Sydney Harbour and back in again. The destination wasn't as important as the Ship but we did enjoy New Zealand and the itinerary was excellent ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the Ship as we have always wanted to sail out of beautiful Sydney Harbour and back in again. The destination wasn't as important as the Ship but we did enjoy New Zealand and the itinerary was excellent - enough port days and enough seas days over the 12 nights. Embarkation was extremely well done - 30 minutes from stepping out of our car with our bags and sitting on Deck 14 sipping a cocktails Disembarking was equally well executed - we left after our nominated time of 8am by 30 minutes and we were off the ship with our bags through Customs in 10 minutes. The best I have ever experienced! We chose the Ultimate Dining Package and it was well worth every cent. We dined frequently for lunch and dinner at all the specialty restaurants except for Amber and Gold. Our favourite was Jamie's Kitchen for dinner and Izume for lunch - however Wonderland was a fabulous experience and Chops Grille always maintained a high standard. We also dined at Chic one evening, Solarium Bistro (deck 14) twice and Fish & Chips one lunch time. I personally loved having all the various options for dining as it made our cruise very special and certainly not repetitive when it came to dining. Our favourite bar was Vintages but we did enjoy Boleros when the Caribbean band was playing and also Two70 of an afternoon. We did get to Pixels Show (brilliant) and were treated to a fabulous concert in Two70 with The Beatles Celebration band one evening. They did an excellent performance of the Beatles songs between 1962-1967 and even went so far as to speak and play like the lovable Liverpool lads! We didn't go to the Casino or the other 2 shows but I believed those who did enjoyed themselves. My only wish was that there were more seats next to windows to look out at the water while spending days at sea. Mainly did this by heading up to the Solarium (adults only) area or Two70 as the bars were mainly internal. I am just one of those cruisers that enjoy sitting looking at the water but it is really not a complaint. The cleanliness of this ship and the friendliness of the staff goes above and beyond one's expectation. Every staff member we met throughout our cruise was extremely helpful, smiling and kind. Our stateroom was spotless and the ship was constantly gleaming inside and out on the decks. I did however on arrival to our Stateroom follow the 12 guides to santizing our room which I downloaded from google and happy to say we got off board without a sniffle or any signs of a potential C Virus. Everyone I saw on-board was extremely diligent in washing their hands or using the santizers that were placed everywhere for everyone's use. We also carried our own small hand sanitizer gel and hand wipes. No masks were required and I don't recall seeing many people using them on board. We enjoyed room service every morning for breakfast and found their service very reliable and efficient. I loved the fact that we could make our own tea in our room but I also brought my Campos AeroPress portable coffee maker with my own Campos coffee. Being a lover of coffee it was definitely worth the $59 purchase online and will take it with me again. Having your own kettle in the Stateroom is a great idea! Wish more cruise liners did this for their guests. This cruise had only 4200 (approx) guests based on the Captains welcome talk to us all on the first night (700 less than its full capacity) and as this is the largest ship we have been on I was curious to see how it would fee living in a small city with this number of travellers. Happy to say we never felt overwhelmed or delayed in getting on or off at ports or into the Ship's restaurants or entertainment areas. We enjoyed "the eye" on day in Auckland and only had to wait 30 minutes which seem to go relatively quickly. We opted for the 4-7pm slot and it was most enjoyable. We didn't experience Seaplex area but anyone young at heart should endeavour to do the dodgems when they are on the Compass daily itinerary. All in all this was a great cruise for us and we enjoyed all that Ovations of Seas had to offer - would definitely recommend this Ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Big ship but never felt overcrowded Very friendly helpful staff couldn’t fault them Solarium great area. Adults only which is a great idea Food good not great Entertainment same Excellent entertainer one night in the ... Read More
Big ship but never felt overcrowded Very friendly helpful staff couldn’t fault them Solarium great area. Adults only which is a great idea Food good not great Entertainment same Excellent entertainer one night in the royal theatre But other nights mediocre Great singer in One of the bars every night Lacking nice lounge areas overlooking ocean although big one at back of ship but always seem to be having a show or similar on Shops good only a few but varied very clean ship everything ran smoothly Windjammer cafe was good. Great variety Sometimes hard to get a table. To be expected. Back area outside fantastic Solarium cafe great alternative peaceful area to eat. Not the hustle and bustle of windjammer Main dining room excellent service. Food either very good or not so good Cabins 10/10 best bed and shower Very roomy balcony private and great storage. Couldn’t fault Cabin Enjoyable cruise Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We were worried about the size of this ship being the biggest we had been on and it had a lot of stuff that we didn't need like bumper cars, surfing, trapeze etc.but it was easy to avoid them and enjoy the rest of the ship as they ... Read More
We were worried about the size of this ship being the biggest we had been on and it had a lot of stuff that we didn't need like bumper cars, surfing, trapeze etc.but it was easy to avoid them and enjoy the rest of the ship as they were tucked away in the sportsplex. What impressed us most was the organisation. Despite having to be medically tested before we got on as we had to change planes at Bangkok and coronavirus was around it was handled efficiently and we were on the ship with few delays. We thought getting on and off the ship would take some time, especially when we needed to use tenders, but it was all handled very smoothly and quickly. There was a good variety of dining options and bars with efficient and friendly staff. Our room was spacious and well fitted with a largel double bed (better than ours at home!), wardrobes, shelves and drawers, sofa and coffee table and a small but beautifully formed shower room - none of this dangly wet curtain stuff but a proper shower with anti-slip floor and a glass door. The balcony was also very nice. We were well impressed with the cleanliness and they make sure everybody washes their hands before going into any dining venue, unlike some ships which had coronavirus problems. Hats off to Royal Caribbean. It was disappointing that we were unable to stop at Dunedin due to stormy seas and our cruise was tied in with a visit to Melboune for the Grand Prix which was cancelled at the very last minute and we were very disappointed as it was one of the main reasons for the holiday but nevertheless, despite all this we had a good holiday. I would recommend Royal Caribbean and would cruise with them again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I choose this cruise because it LOOKS spectacular... But don't be deceived. The service was horrible... I wanted fresh parmesan but I got the 3 year old grated parmesan cheese... If I were to be a 1st time cruiser I still would ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it LOOKS spectacular... But don't be deceived. The service was horrible... I wanted fresh parmesan but I got the 3 year old grated parmesan cheese... If I were to be a 1st time cruiser I still would think that this ship was bad... I got woken up at 9:30am ship time to the crew emergency practice... on the 6th day. Why couldn't they have used the walkie talkies... The wifi was so expensive it almost made me won't to jump off the ship... I really wanted to get up and just go on the bumper cars... I waited for 2 hours then I had these snobs who cut in front of me... This cr u ise was the worst serviced cruise... I'll say a positive... oh yeah that's right there is none... Can I just say that my 12 year old son waited in line and then I found him crying in a corner reheating lining up... Don't bring your children they will be bored there is nothing to do for them... unless you buy the key then you will skip all lines and get yelled at. If your child is younger then 12 then dont bring them Please listen I paid 4000 US dollars to get on this 9 day cruise for the worst experience of my life... And they had LGBTQ every night for choose who where. If your a sleeper then do not go o n this cruise you can't sleep it was to Rocky on the last night and don't get virgin Australia it got canceled for 2 and a half hours for maintenance and then they tell us that it has had maintenance problems. -Anymous Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Ovation of the Seas is a marvel and near faultless. The staff are amazing, and always have a smile. The itinerary for 9 days was well balanced between at-sea days and port days. Our 2 kids (Miss 5 and Miss 8) loved the kids club and the ... Read More
Ovation of the Seas is a marvel and near faultless. The staff are amazing, and always have a smile. The itinerary for 9 days was well balanced between at-sea days and port days. Our 2 kids (Miss 5 and Miss 8) loved the kids club and the pool facilities. EMBARKATION We live in Sydney and decided to use the relatively new Light Rail to get into the city. This was great as where you get off at Circular Quay is only a few hundred metres walk from the Overseas Passenger Terminal. Our embarkation was later than advised due to the delayed arrival of the ship from the previous cruise (engine trouble on the 2nd to last day). We dropped our bags off at the cruise terminal at about 11am and went to Squire's Landing (bottom of the far end of the Overseas Passenger Terminal) for a few beers and some lunch. After taking a few selfies at the front of the ship, we started the boarding process - within about 35 minutes, we were checked in, through customs, and onboard in our cabin with our bags having already been delivered!!! It was definitely advantageous to have "Expedited Arrival" status as the queues were really long as a result of the delayed arrival. FOOD AND DINING We had the deluxe beverage package which was great - coffees each day, bottles of water for the shore excursions, and cocktails / beers / wine all the rest of the time. The package generally covers all single serve beverages apart from some of the more expensive wines by the glass (which are served in the speciality restaurants and Vintages bar). For dinner, we mainly ate in one of the 4 Main Dining Rooms (American Icon) with My Time dining. We did an early reservation (5.15pm) after we boarded and ended up getting the same table each night. Our wait staff (Andreas and Bresila) were fantastic and were very accommodating of our somewhat fussy Miss 5. It is great how there are 4 or 5 appetisers and mains which are different each night. We had a couple of nights in speciality restaurants - once in Chops (the steak was delicious!) and once in Wonderland (a great dining experience which even Miss 5 and Miss 8 enjoyed!). ONBOARD ACTIVITIES The iFLY and North Star are musts! For iFLY, I've been sky diving once before but still really enjoyed this experience – as did Miss 5 and Miss 8!!! We did the North Star on one of the at sea days so didn't really get to see much beside a whole lot of ocean... but seeing the ship itself from high above was certainly a unique experience. Highly recommend booking both iFLY and North Star before you board as they can get booked out for the whole cruise. We also went to a couple of the bumper car sessions in the SeaPlex. A real novelty doing something like this while on a cruise ship at sea, and a highlight for both Miss 5 and Miss 8. Unfortunately, it was incredibly popular meaning some long queues (waiting in line up to an hour for a 5 minute ride). We saw a couple of the shows in the Royal Theatre as well as the PIXELS show in the Two70 venue - all really high quality with some talented performers. SERVICE AND STAFF Very impressive. No matter where you went, the staff would always offer a cheerful greeting and an offer of assistance. Our cabin attendant Sebby was ever attentive, promptly making our beds in the morning while we were out at breakfast and then turning down our room when we were at dinner. High praise for our American Icon waitstaff – Andreas promptly taking our food orders when we arrived and delivering each course promptly, and then Bresila taking our drinks orders and bringing new glasses of wine when we finished what we had. SHIP QUALITY Ovation of the Seas is coming up to 4 years old, but isn't showing any signs of age. The staff do a brilliant job of keeping everything spotless, included constantly mopping water around the pools on the main deck. When we hit some rough seas between New Zealand and Australia on the return leg, the ‘sick’ bags were promptly put out at each of the stairwells for those in need. CABIN / STATEROOM Given we were a family of 4, it was pretty cosy with the couch being turned into a bed for Miss 5 and Miss 8. However, there was plenty of storage (multiple drawers as well as hanging space), and room under the bed to keep the bags. If you do run out of storage space, remember you can keep some clothes in your bag and just slide the bag out from under the bed when you need it. The bathroom was cosy but serviceable - toilet, sink, and shower. Water pressure in the shower wasn't great - but the shower head does have different settings which helped. DEBARKATION We were not in a rush to get off and were lucky enough to have once of the last assigned times (9.30am). This meant we were able to have a last breakfast in the Windjammer, and then have a bit of leisure time before our time was called. The luggage collection was a bit chaotic, and there was a bit of a queue to get through customs... but it really didn't take more than about 30 minutes to end up outside the terminal with our bags on our way home. SHIP TIP Do the full online check-in prior to your cruise (including uploading your photo). We did this and had "Expedited Arrival" on our SetSail passes. This meant we were able to skip the normal queue and get onboard really quickly. --- SHORE EXCURSIONS --- SOUNDS Breathtaking! Arriving into Milford Sound as the sun was rising was spectacular. The ship did a double spin at the end of Milford Sound meaning everyone had a good look no matter where they would have been on the ship. DUNEDIN We did the Otagos Wild Wonders. The bus trip wasn't great - almost an hour and 40kms driving from Port Chalmers all the way around to the opposite side of the harbour (about 1km as the crow flies). However, arriving at Natures Wonders we were warmly welcomed by Perry and his team. Riding on the Argo 8 wheel drive vehicles was huge fun, with a driving trek down to the ocean front of the Otago Peninsula. It was the end of the breeding season for the New Zealand Fur Seals, and we got to see a few dozen (at least) pups lazing around. The tour also included getting to see a penguin chick in a special nesting box. WELLINGTON Unfortunately due to earthquake damage to the cruise ship pier, Ovation docked at a commercial wharf which meant it wasn’t possible to walk directly onshore and away from the dock. However, we had booked ourselves on the Wellington Panorama shore excursion which means we boarded the bus right off the ship (a complimentary shuttle service was available for anyone who wanted to go ashore on their own). The tour was excellent, with our driving providing some great history of Wellington including many humorous anecdotes. Stops included the Wellington Botanical Gardens (so many different colours of roses!), Mt Victoria (a great way to see Wellington from on high), and then the Wellington foreshore (the Gallipoli exhibition in the Te Papa museum is brilliant). PICTON While the ship was again at a commercial wharf, a complimentary shuttle was also provided. Our shore excursion this time was the "Marlborough Train Tour". After a short bus ride to the Picton train station, we boarded Passchendaele, a WW1 memorial steam locomotive for a ride to Blenheim - this took about 30 minutes. Getting off at the Blenheim station, we had a chance to check out the locomotive and have a chat to the engineers. There was a great souvenir shop nearby where we picked up a couple of things, and then walked about 20 minutes to have lunch at Dodson Street Beer Garden (http://www.dodsonstreet.co.nz/). Just as much as the Marlborough region is known for its wines, there are also some great local breweries - and we got to try a number of the local brews at Dodson Street. Definitely worth going to if you like your beers! The afternoon saw us ride the train from Blenheim back to Picton, and then the bus back to the wharf to board Ovation. The queues for the bus in Picton were pretty long, so would suggest not hanging around in Picton for too long. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before a couple of years ago - to the South Pacific for 7 nights - and really enjoyed it. That cruise was on the Explorer of the Seas, a ship I really liked. This time was a 10 night cruise to New ... Read More
I have cruised with Royal Caribbean before a couple of years ago - to the South Pacific for 7 nights - and really enjoyed it. That cruise was on the Explorer of the Seas, a ship I really liked. This time was a 10 night cruise to New Zealand on the very large Ovation of the Seas. I believe it's currently the largest ship in the Southern hemisphere. We were very lucky that the crossing to and from NZ from Australia was very smooth indeed and we had perfect weather the whole cruise - with the exception of Dunedin which was shrouded in a haze from the Australian bushfires. The ship was full, with close to 5000 passengers and 1600 crew. The ship is very big but didn't feel particularly crowded except in certain areas like the pool deck. I found the decor onboard a bit confusing. There seemed to be no particular consistent style or elegance to it, and many different styles onboard, which didn't seem to work. The Windjammer cafe was not particularly attractive or very light, and it seemed to me to be smaller than on Explorer, but I may be wrong. We ate in the Grande dining room at dinner, which was attractive however.. I did not find it as attractive a ship as Explorer of the Seas. There is lots to do onboard. Each night the "Cruise Compass" is delivered to your stateroom, with details of what is on offer each day. It would be hard to be bored. I particularly enjoyed learning the "Thriller" dance, for the ship's guest talent show on the last day, and joining the ship's guest choir for the talent show.. My Mother enjoyed listening to the onboard pianist. This ship also has roller skating and bumper cars. You could even learn to trapeze too! No ice-rink however, which was something I loved about Explorer of the Seas both going ice-skating myself and seeing the ice-shows.. One of the best places on the ship was the Two70 entertainment area at the back of the ship on deck 5. It had a full wall of windows so had a fantastic view out to sea,and there was a lot of good shows laid on there including the very good Pixels show )for which bookings were required in advance). The main Theatre was comfortable and large, and the shows onboard were mostly very good, especially the headline shows. The shows are a real feature of Royal Caribbean. I did not think the shows were quite as good as the shows on my previous cruise, on Explorer of the Seas, however. The food onboard was very mixed. Windjammer food was pretty average, the food was often lukewarm and the quality went downhill towards the end of the cruise. The main dining room food at dinner was considerably better with a large selection of choices. The pizza in the boardwalk cafe was good. The service on board was absolutely amazing. Staff were so friendly and helpful and could not do enough for you. Despite the ship being full, every staff member went out of their way to make the cruise memorable. The Solarium is lovely, and the two other main pools were enjoyed by many. I thought the shops on board were not very interesting at all. It would also have been useful to have had a shop on board where one could buy things like suncream, moisturiser, other toiletries, if needed. The onboard sales, of jewellery,, handbags, watches and so on were very good. Shore excursions booked with Royal Caribbean are very expensive. Particularly so was the steam train in Picton. Not really worth the money. I thought there would be more wine tasting included in the price. I enjoyed the Dunedin Wildlife cruise, and a tour of Wellington including Mount Victoria and the botanical gardens. We booked a vintage car ride in Napier with the local operator and really it's probably best to book with tour operators direct to avoid unnecessarily high costs booking with the ship. Wifi on board was patchy and slow, and expensive. Drinks packages also outrageously overpriced so we didn't buy one. Overall a very fun cruise.10 nights is a very good cruise length. I don't particularly favour the Ovation of the Seas ship though and would probably chose to cruise on Explorer or Vayager another time, if cruising with Royal Caribbean from Australia but a lot of people liked the Ovation ship New Zealand is a lovely destination to cruise to. It would be great if Royal would cruise from Melbourne though (like Princess and Celebrity for example), as having to fly to Sydney is another expense. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
My wife and I travelled on this cruise as a new year's break; it was out fourth cruise but the first we had done without kids and friends. Being a peak season cruise, the ship was very full with lots of family groups. Ship ... Read More
My wife and I travelled on this cruise as a new year's break; it was out fourth cruise but the first we had done without kids and friends. Being a peak season cruise, the ship was very full with lots of family groups. Ship After reading a number of reviews, we were a bit leery about what we could expect but overall the ship handles the numbers onboard pretty well. The Windjammer was a problem during the breakfast peak but otherwise OK. Likewise, the solarium could get a bit crowded on sea days particularly if the temperature on the outside decks was low. Fortunately we had pretty good weather with only 2 coolish seadays out of 4 which is good for NZ. Moving around the ship is pretty easy and we used the stairs as much as the lifts. The only crowded area is the Royal Esplanade and that is mainly because there are always tables set up selling crap jewellery and watches. Cabin We had a balcony cabin near aft on Level 12 and were very happy wth it. There is definitely less ship movement aft rather than at the bow if that is important to you. The bed is comfortable and there is plenty of storage. Our cabin attendant was quiet but very pleasant and did a great job keeping the room clean though, admittedly, we always left it fairly tidy anyway. It was a fair walk to the midship lifts however as the aft lifts are for the crew only and service the kitchens etc. Dining We did MyTime dining and our experience was mixed. On the first few days, the queues for dinner were ridiculous even though we had booked a time. Carnival do this much better than RCI. RCI should either make everyone book or no-one. Currently there are 4 queues for the 2 MyTime restaurants with no particular preference given to booked guests over walk-ups. They really only need 2 queues given the 2 restaurants are identical apart from decor. We dined at the Solarium restaurant one night and found the Greek style menu really good with great service. It was hard to get in to though even though it was often nearly empty when we walked past it; maybe they hold it for suite guests. We had lunch on the second last sea day in Jamie's and loved it, fantastic service and great food. We usually had breakfast in Windjammer (fine of you get there early) and lunch in Solarium which is basically a cut-down version of the Windjammer buffet offerings. Both were fine though I was always puzzled why there were so many kids let into the supposedly 16+ area in the Solarium. We didn't take the premium drinks package as my wife rarely drinks and you have to buy a package for every adult in a cabin. We did pre-purchase the soda package as well as a coffee card which gave me 15 premium coffees over the course of the cruise. Alcohol isn't outrageously priced providing you ignore that it is all in USD. We probably spent around $35 per day which is much less than the $75 pp per day for the premium drinks. Some people made full use of the package however and there were some fairly loud drunks around the ship at various times. Entertainment and Activities Compared with Carnival and P&O, RCI were pretty low-key. There were comedians and a few performances in the theatre and a very good performer in the piano bar but other than that we didn't get too involved. There was a couple of fairly lacklustre formal nights and no dress-up nights apart from a 70's night only late one night in the 270 area that only the crew seemed to dress for. For new year, there were a couple of parties but nothing amazing. There was a balloon drop in the Royal Esplanade at midnight that was fun. The cruise director, Joffa, wasn't very visible around the ship apart from the daily TV show as well as introducing performers in the theatre. Service Generally the service was very good with everyone eager to please. Apart from the issue of kids being let into the Solarium and the Adults-only comedy shows, I had no criticism. Ports We organised our tours with our travel agent before we left and probably saved over $150 on what RCI would've charged for the same tours. We didn't do a tour in Picton but just caught the shuttle into town and went for a walk to a nearby lookout which was lovely on a great day. We did organised tours in Napier, Wellington and Dunedin and all were good though the Napier tour was probably a bit too long (there is only so much art deco you can look at) and too short in Dunedin but that was more because we were only in port for 5 hours. All ports were in cargo ports and required a bus transfer to get to the town which was free everywhere except Port Chalmers (Dunedin). Fjordand is a real highlight and we had great weather as we cruised though Dusky, Doubtful and Milford Sounds. As well as the spectacular scenery, we also had dolphins playing in our wake at some times. Embarkation and Disembarkation There were well organised. We dropped our bags off at 11:30 and walked onto the ship at 2PM and were able to access our cabin immediately. Disembarkation was fine also with our luggage being available so soon as we walked off the ship when our group was called at 8AM. If we had known it was so easy, we would've booked an earlier flight home. I'd definitely consider another RCI cruise though definitely have no interest in a ship any bigger than this. I imagine Ovation is chaotic in tender ports. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Service was excellent in all venues. Cabin was roomy with good hanging space and shower had glass door which was good. We found the cabin to be very noisy though with thumping on the walls and a lot of noise coming from level 13 above ... Read More
Service was excellent in all venues. Cabin was roomy with good hanging space and shower had glass door which was good. We found the cabin to be very noisy though with thumping on the walls and a lot of noise coming from level 13 above us. Food very basic and repetitive in dining rooms although our Waiter Pattima was excellent. Even though the ship was fully booked, it never felt crowded. Easy to find your way around. We had the deluxe drinks package with internet which was really good and the service there was excellent. We found the activities were more suited to families than Senior couples. Entertainment was good in Main Theatre. Paul O'Shea in Schooners was always good but you had to get there early to get a seat. Overall a relaxing cruise but not a lot of activities for 60+ agegroup especially if you are a couple travelling alone. After 3 RCCL cruises we will probably try Princess for next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
As experienced travellers and having been on multiple cruises, we were very much looking forward to our Ovation of the Seas cruise out of Sydney (departed Dec 26, 2019), around New Zealand. Without doubt, it was the worst experience of ... Read More
As experienced travellers and having been on multiple cruises, we were very much looking forward to our Ovation of the Seas cruise out of Sydney (departed Dec 26, 2019), around New Zealand. Without doubt, it was the worst experience of cruising we’ve had. Cruising has always included a wow factor of excellent service, with staff who want to see you have a great time … that did not apply on Ovation of the Seas. The ship’s facilities just do not manage the number of passengers. You can stand in a pool, but you couldn’t swim, it’s just too crowded. Not sure who thought an adult pool 80cm deep was a great idea? Waiting 10 minutes for an elevator is normal. Waiting for the next elevator, because this one is full, is also normal. Food is lukewarm .... you just don’t ever get a hot meal. Long waits for restaurant bookings are common .... the ship just cannot manage the capacity of 5000 passengers. Bumper-cars looked like fun, but an hour wait for a ride was the norm, and that was replicated over and over on the cruise activities. With the exception of Vlad, in the Wonderland speciality dining, there were very few wow factor experiences with service. Rosemarie in Jamie’s Italian was excellent too. The staff were generally pleasant, but there was also a pervasive miserableness in the staff, that we’ve never seen on cruise ships. The structural problem of too many passengers shows in the staff culture. The staff appear to have all worked out that no matter what they do, it’s never going to a quality experience. For the number of passengers, the ship’s facilities are woefully inadequate. It’s clearly destroyed staff morale. Kaitlyn, a souvenir shop attendant epitomised it – no greeting, just an unsolicited comment “Only 29 sea days and I get to go home”. Chops Grille, another speciality restaurant has zero ambience, with the doors left open to the karaoke bar, and they resist closing the glass door. If you like paying for fine dining in a karaoke bar, it’d be excellent. Side dishes arrived after every person on our table had finished mains. Per chance, we ate at Chops three times, and on the final occasion, had Marko look after us, and he was excellent, which was totally different to the prior occasions. The cruise ship itself is at a premium price point, and everything on the ship is expensive and in US dollars, with a set 18% gratuity. A glass of Australian wine, for a cruise out of Australia, is $14US, plus 18%, so nearly $17, and that’s more than a bottle in any bottle shop. If you are paying top dollar, but getting a wow factor experience with food and service, then it’s justified, but this is c-grade experience at a-grade prices. We’ve been on Royal Caribbean ships before (and belong to their Crown and Anchor membership program) but nothing would induce us to book another trip on Ovation of the Seas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
MOST REVIEWS ARE FROM UNHAPPY PASSENGERS HAPPY PASSENGERS DON'T TEND TO REVIEW Before we boarded our cruise on the Ovation of the Seas I did a lot of research. I read all the reviews. Unfortunately I had booked the cruise ... Read More
MOST REVIEWS ARE FROM UNHAPPY PASSENGERS HAPPY PASSENGERS DON'T TEND TO REVIEW Before we boarded our cruise on the Ovation of the Seas I did a lot of research. I read all the reviews. Unfortunately I had booked the cruise before reading the reviews and I was starting to think I had made a mistake picking Ovation due to these reviews. From the moment I saw Ovation I was in awe. There was so much to do and see that really you didn't need to get off at ports. Our family was on Ovation when the volcano erupted and this totally devastated not just the passengers but crew and Captain. I have read another reviews from fellow passengers and totally disagree and am disappointed and I must admit disgusted. We were informed as much as the Captain could communicate. Unlike the news and media it is not the Captains responsibility to update passengers on information they are not 100% sure of. Not to mention releasing information before family members back home were informed. Yes we stayed in port longer than expected but this was to help with investigations into the incident. We were able to get off the ship so we weren't held prisoner as one passenger said. We still had access to all the facilities of the ship. Yes activities and shows were postponed and new ones introduced. The Crew and Captain did the best they could to revise the activities and shows to put some life back into the cruise . From our longer than planned stay in port we missed out on going to Dunedin and the Sounds but got to go to Picton. We lost lives and passengers were complaining about missing Dunedin and the Sounds. We still got our 12 nights on the beautiful Ovations of the Seas and were refunded 1 day. Yes we missed a port and the Sounds but we still got the 12 nights on board with all the amazing activities and shows. I have read a review from this same cruise and if I was a first time cruiser with Ovations of the Sea or Royal Caribbean I would be put off. Please know that people only seem to put up reviews if they have way too high expectations and find negatives in everything. Very few people that have amazing experiences leave reviews. My tip is to make sure you do as much on the ship as it offers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Cruise from Sydney to New Zealand on the 4th Dec 2019. Food was terrible, bulky food with no love or effort. Bought a drink package but coffee shop close by 11am, ???? on a cruise ship and you pay US$35 a night for the soft drink package. ... Read More
Cruise from Sydney to New Zealand on the 4th Dec 2019. Food was terrible, bulky food with no love or effort. Bought a drink package but coffee shop close by 11am, ???? on a cruise ship and you pay US$35 a night for the soft drink package. After the volcano eruption incident, we were stuck in Tauranga for 2 extra days without much information. Not much effort in softening the sad situation with coffee shop close at the same time again. They even cancelled the highlight of the tour, they cancelled the trip to sounds and compensate one days of the cruise for the two days we lost, go figure on the math. They even accuse us being not human for not showing any sympathy on the people involve in the volcano incident. What a blow and insult, we were as badly affected as everyone but the cruise team did not provide any support; physiology, emotional or any at all. Food department was the worst I had experience, by the third days I could identify and memories they food location.....no changes for the whole 12 days. Occasionally, they will open a noddle sections but only two stations with the other two stations close and the queue on these stations was shocking. You would thought that they will open more stations in the next cycles....what a disappointment, same old story. My advise is DO NOT TRAVEL WITH OVATION OFTHE SEAS......total waste of my time. Use your leave with someone else... Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Well to start with too many people not enough shops, lines to get on the dodgem cars and the free flying we couldn't even use.it was totally booked out.the food was good. The desserts not. Joffe the mc was funny, but gave out wrong ... Read More
Well to start with too many people not enough shops, lines to get on the dodgem cars and the free flying we couldn't even use.it was totally booked out.the food was good. The desserts not. Joffe the mc was funny, but gave out wrong times to get to eg.breakfast on the last day as he announced it will open at 5 a.m. so we get there at 5 a.m. and there's a sign saying 6:30 opens fantastic. Found when we were freezing when on the tender, when we asked the officer to pleaze shut the plastic doors a flat no was given.but the nice crew member pulled it at least more than half way for us.very disorganised when it came to getting events right.the popular bar near the photo shop should have more setting and made bigger as whenever we went it was always full.found the Romania girl in the guess shop,sour and not happy at all. The only person on the shop that helped everyone and was very customer focused was the Canadian lady Cassandra she was fantastic. When I asked one of the crew members at the pursers office who was Caribbean or Jamaican he was in an officers dark blue suit but I didn't take note of his name for some help didn't want to help virtually Shrugged me away and had the attitude, don't ask me. very bad customer service that one. The crew members in the dining were wonderful they are always happy and bubbly but the thing that annoyed me was they wouldn't stop asking you consistently how the food was, you were consistently bothered while you're trying to have dinner at the dining table.I had to talk to my partner all the time so that the head maitre d wouldn't bother us. and asking us at least three times in a row on three nights in a row if we wanted to buy a 5 course meal it was ridiculous we told them already no. and being asked every single night to buy the dinners, as on the menu there are free dinners but there's also dinners that you can purchase we had to consistently say no that we don't want to do that I never found this on any of the P&O cruise ships because we like fine dining and never had that problem .Also with the cruise I had an incident that happened to me when I was in the theatre on our 3rd last night. I was hit on the head by a person behind me because he wasn't happy that I was taking shots with my phone and as you're allowed to take photos with your iPhone there's no reason for him to strike me which I put in incident report and don't even know what happened after that it was like 3 days to go on the cruise and believe you me it took away everything from even attending to any theatres or anywhere I didn't feel safe the crew members did not come to find out about me to see if I was ok I was actually traumatised by that. As it's a salt it's abuse and this person should have been removed and put in the brig for what he did. There was no feedback to me on what he had said and why he did this but I reported this because I was worried that he would do this to someone else he also screamed at me by telling me to put my phone down were there was a lady next to me and her husband was scared and made her put her phone down I couldn't sit in my chair after that so I said to her no I'm not taking this I'm going to report him but they did not get back to me with his name nothing nothing was given to me and there was no apology written at all I wasn't given the option to follow this up as they did not come to my cabin to see if I was ok, on top of that we were all traumatised by The White Island incident which the captain did not even let us know any information hardly anything was said so we had to go to our cabin to find out all the issues with this from Sky News they told us everything. There was no service on board for any of the people that died and of course we didn't go to Dunedin or the sounds which as being a very expensive cruise we were only given back compensation of $100 each some people only got $30 back in Australian currency the other thing I found everything was in American currency and when you take your 35% off for example your bags guess you gotta add 30% on with the Australian dollars. And being not leather I can actually get cheaper in Australia when I go to the sales and buy leather so I didn't buy any of the goods. Some of the staff didn't want to help u with this. With being the majority of people on this cruise were all Australian as they did say there was only 395 Americans on board I can't remember how many Chinese or others' minority was on board but if it's going to be based in Australia they should start to think about the Australian currency. The lifts were a nightmare you found that majority of the time you had to wait so long for the lift to come so we actually use the stairs a lot especially running down as we were on the 12th floor. Also we weren't given any information of what was going to be on the criteria for certain nights as we only found out when we were on there that there was a Hawaiian night I actually rang the cruise line before we sailed they told me there was going to be a white night but there wasn't but they didn't tell me that there was going to be a Hawaiian night which there was so heads up on that also I've cruised all my life I've done at least 30 cruises and can I say this was the worst cruise I've ever been on and won't be going back on ovation of the Seas at all very disappointed with the treatment the organisation the non supportiveness of me with an incident such as being hit on my head by somebody that I don't even know, who does that very dangerous and very unacceptable, he should have been put in the brig shows me that this person has violent Tendencies that's for sure if he has the guts to do that to a woman that he doesn't even know while she's sitting in the chair in front of him he also waited for my partner to leave before he did that as my partner left to go and get seating in another venue as you had to get there early to get seats as there's 5000 people on this cruise at this time very very disappointed also we found that with the announcements of what the chefs where cooking as they made a cake for the last night they announced it was a cheesecake massive cake but no it wasn't it was a sponge and butter cream cake quite funny actually but these are things that happened consistently. the only best desserts that we had was the ones that we bought from a coffee shop on the promenade deck. There is a part of the ship which you won't hear the announcements by the way it is the solarium area. We called that the quiet zone so you didn't have anybody in there under the age of 18. I also found that the toilet doors near the theatre the show areas they wouldn't lock so used to just go to one toilet as was the only one that had a lock that worked that was a bit funny as well for such an incredible ship I thought it was refurbished but looks like they missed the door handles on the toilets in the public areas. We were told that we would get a survey to fill in it's been a month and we still haven't received one this is why I'm writting it here. No matter what, if you choose to go on this ship good luck as I've given you a heads up,we certainly won't be going back on it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
we are not cruising travellers but when that short trip to New Zealand came with a good price we booked it , just to have a look before we go for a serious trip.... the ship is too big and the time in port is too short ,the price of ... Read More
we are not cruising travellers but when that short trip to New Zealand came with a good price we booked it , just to have a look before we go for a serious trip.... the ship is too big and the time in port is too short ,the price of drinks are too expensive 5 stars for organisation , in & out, for service, for infos ,for cleanness ,safety ,activities, 4 stars for food...it was very enjoyable ,but we will not do it again ,or though this cruise is very good for seniors , disable, the crew really looks after these people...for the dining SILK was top.the food and service was good ,we tried the windjammer , plenty of food, good variety but taste less and it's a very busy place...the music on that ship apart the live band and singers is pretty bad..cheap well if you want to go cruising go for it Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Where do you start trying to describe this incredible ship although there a lot of passengers she is a very big vessel and there are a enough spaces and venues to accommodate everyone. Embarkation was the quickest we have ever had ... Read More
Where do you start trying to describe this incredible ship although there a lot of passengers she is a very big vessel and there are a enough spaces and venues to accommodate everyone. Embarkation was the quickest we have ever had arrived at pier @11:00 on by 11:20 so efficient. We had an obstructed view balcony cabin on deck 6 port side quite roomy plenty of storage and hanging space and we were looked after extremely well by our wonderful cabin steward Henri. All of the entertainment venues were well attended and packed out most nights in particular the Two70 at the rear of the ship absolutely mind blowing venue. A big shout out to the following bar staff who went above and beyond and are a credit to Royal Caribbean Trystan,Crispin and Allan in the Schooner Bar and Alwin and Marina in one of our favourites The Bolero. All dining staff throughout the ship amazing as always first class cant do enough for you. We did our own thing at port stops so cant comment on shore excursions. To Captain Henrik and his crew thank you all for taking us on this wonderful journey on this fantastic ship. Would we cruise on this ship again yes in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Ovation of the Seas is truly a fantastic family ship. There are so many onboard venues for kids & adults alike that it's hard to find one place that stands out. I will summise the things I loved & didn't love. ... Read More
Ovation of the Seas is truly a fantastic family ship. There are so many onboard venues for kids & adults alike that it's hard to find one place that stands out. I will summise the things I loved & didn't love. Didn't Love * The wait times - 5,000 passengers can cause some extensive wait times and the poor staff are run off their feet with Aussies at the bar. This 3-night cruise to nowhere is all about the party, so they were pooling staff from other areas to serve but they really did struggle with sometimes a 30 minute wait for service. * Menu choices in the main dining room - for 3 nights straight the chicken & steak dishes were EXACTLY THE SAME... Not slightly varied - it was the same thing 3 nights in a row. Meat & 3 veg. They mixed up the pasta, but I warily saw some people return theirs so I didn't feel like trying. * Dining times - At 4pm one day we decided to do a wine & cheese afternoon. We had the wine and headed to the buffet to put together our cheese plate only to be informed it was closed. We questioned other dining venues on the ship and were told the only place open was Fish & Chips, which really didn't appeal. We then found out their times 6pm-9pm... Not good enough, 5pm-10.30pm would be far more suitable. People were queuing not because they wanted first come first serve, but because they were being restricted on eating. Also, a $7.95USD charge on room service?? I just can't comprehend. Also in the main dining room the constant announcements every night was horrible. * Lifts - this was crazy busy & it was sad to see the queues and also lifts full of guests Did Love * Cabin - We cruise alot, often with Princess and my biggest gripe with their ships is the shower curtain so I loved that our balcony had a glass shower. The bathroom was also ample sized & I was pleased with the bedding and layout of the cabin. The balcony was small, but to be honest since we couldn't get some cheese to go with our wine for the sunset, we simply didn't use it. * Staff onboard - They might have been busy, but they were all really friendly & really sweet. You could see they were stressed but they just got on with the job. * Design of the ship - it really was amazing and beautiful. The artwork was colourful, the amount of activities was fantastic. The spa's were huge. Everything was just enjoyable. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We wanted to cruise for my wife's 40th Birthday. Family of 4 with 2 kids (5,3). The boat was one of the largest and had alot that could be done. There were many good things on the boat. Staff were mostly great with a few exceptions. ... Read More
We wanted to cruise for my wife's 40th Birthday. Family of 4 with 2 kids (5,3). The boat was one of the largest and had alot that could be done. There were many good things on the boat. Staff were mostly great with a few exceptions. Facilities were also good but with the number of people on the boat that there were we ran into many long lines. Many restaurants, and activities booked out before the boat even left the dock. We tried to confirm that our kids could use the kids club before we boarded or booked but we could not. So we did not know if we would have child free time or not until we were on the boat, which was the reason we had chosen the cruise in the first place. Buffet Food was no as good as MSC or P&O that we had been on. But once we moved to main dining it was better. Still not "fine dining", but at least RSL/Pub standard for meals. (Compared to Truck Stop level for buffet). We picked a room in the back corner of the boat and certainly felt the extra walking time to get back there as the lifts/stairs were more centrally located than I have had before. (helped burn off desert though). The app was a great idea but lacking in some functions. You could ask what restaurants were open now, but it did not display all of the options always. Not all events were easy to find in the daily newsletter (poor layout) and the app was missing many as well (as well as some like bingo with the wrong times on it) North Star was not bad but there was a pointless restriction on the height of people on it, and the measure for this 42" was slightly off meaning our son was not able to ride, where as he could go on the water slides that also had the same 42" restriction. The safety on the North Star was such that it would have been difficult for someone to get hurt on it I cant see the reason for the restriction. Drinks package left room for improvement. You had a ugly large cup that you were expected to lug about with you to use the drink vending machines around the boat, with no way to fill a regular cup. But there were juice and water (and sometimes lemonade) available free with meals in the buffet (and breakfast in main dining) so it was not really used by us. Key Membership: We elected for Key membership but with the changes to the check in facility it was not needed for that. Onboard there was little to no benefit in membership. Yes it had the internet so if you were getting that it was not that pricey but still it could have been skipped. Things booked out with the membership just as much and it was not clear when things could only be accessed with Key. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We sailed on Ovation of the Seas in November 2019 and whilst the ship is impressive, the overall experience that Royal Caribbean provides is so very disappointing. We knew that our young son was too young for kids club before going and ... Read More
We sailed on Ovation of the Seas in November 2019 and whilst the ship is impressive, the overall experience that Royal Caribbean provides is so very disappointing. We knew that our young son was too young for kids club before going and we were fine with that - we wanted a holiday where he would be with us. BUT nowhere in any paperwork prior to boarding did it say that he would not be allowed in any of the pools because he's not toilet trained. Not even swimmer nappies were allowed. He so badly wanted me to take him in the water and I couldn't because they would not let him in anywhere. It was heartbreaking. Because of that, there was literally nothing for him to do on board apart from run around the ship. Post-cruise the most disappointing thing is the fact that we paid Royal Caribbeans absolutely ridiculous prices for photos, only because they managed to get some very spontaneous, amazing shots of our son. BUT after paying around $249 Australian dollars for 10 photos - that's right, only 10 - they didn't send us the link to them as they said they would 4-7 days after the cruise ended. It took a couple of weeks of back and forth emailing to get them to find the link for us so that we could download the photos. AND THEN once we downloaded them, I noticed that they are only supplied in extremely compressed files sizes. Most were about 500kb in size which means if we even tried to blow them up any bigger than a normal size photo in an album they would look terrible and blurry. For $249 AUD Royal Caribbean really skimp on the end product. So far I've been on P&O and Carnival and I'm very surprised to say that I'd pick them over Royal Caribbean in the future. Yes, I know RC own Carnival but the experiences on board are vastly different in my opinon and RC really is no where near worth the extra money you pay. TLDR; Royal Caribbean are terrible for kids and their overpriced photos are not worth buying because the file sizes they deliver electronically are way too small to blow up to hang on a wall for example. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We chose it for our honeymoon although it was not the best decision. Lack of animations, nothing really to do although they advise some activities. The average age of passengers is 60 yers old which I don’t mind if activities will suit ... Read More
We chose it for our honeymoon although it was not the best decision. Lack of animations, nothing really to do although they advise some activities. The average age of passengers is 60 yers old which I don’t mind if activities will suit also for a little bit younger couples. For 3 last days (due to the bad weather) the activities were closed. It seems like we spend most of the time in our cabins waiting for something interesting. Please let people know in application if you change or close activities as we noted of cancellation just when came to participate. What’s important - there is nothing special to do in ports when stopped during the journey (compared to our other Cruise in Miami). We have a feeling of wasted time, closed on a cruise. Advantages: One evening show was really great so congratulations, friendly staff in dining, nice and clean cabins, well equipped gym. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
11th cruise so yes...I love cruising and this was by far the worst of all due to entertainment...actually lack there of, I’ve ever experienced with RCCL. My 2017 Harmony (US-Texas) and 2018 Symphony (Barcelona Spain) cruises both had ... Read More
11th cruise so yes...I love cruising and this was by far the worst of all due to entertainment...actually lack there of, I’ve ever experienced with RCCL. My 2017 Harmony (US-Texas) and 2018 Symphony (Barcelona Spain) cruises both had AMAZING shows and entertainment (Grease, Hairspray, Flight: Dare to Dream, Ice Skating Shows, Aqua Shows etc.) The Ovation does not even compare AT ALL! Entertainment needs some serious help. The Voom internet was down an entire day so we received a day credit. Due to high winds and ruff seas several activities had to be canceled, which I understand but they never updated the onboard app of the changes. You would head to an event only to get there and be told it’s canceled. Updating the app event calendar would have helped with that issue. Other than that..I have no complaints...enjoyed the cruise. I do think I’ll ever cruise the RC Quantum class again but I will definitely cruise there Oasis class ships. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
unorganized staffing, providing incorrect information and it's about up sell, up sell. Activities were the same everyday and all the restaurants although had different names had the same food. 2nd cruise and safely say my last. ... Read More
unorganized staffing, providing incorrect information and it's about up sell, up sell. Activities were the same everyday and all the restaurants although had different names had the same food. 2nd cruise and safely say my last. Thought perhaps they would have more staff that were genuinely interested. Half of them were unhelpful and really not interested in there job... Didn't appreciate the constant up sell. very pushy. We were expecting more time at our ports but we were only able to stop at 2 out of 3 ports. on the up note the ship was very clean. our room attendant very thourogh and thoughtful. The shows were very good. But i do think they need to rethink the food at the restaurants. We are not big eaters and would have liked to have an option for small portion sizes. We felt a lot of food went to waste due to large portion size. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We had heard fabulous things about this cruise line so we’re keen to experience it. We have travelled on two other cruise lines- Carnival and Holland America. So we aren’t inexperienced cruisers. We had also heard how beautiful the ... Read More
We had heard fabulous things about this cruise line so we’re keen to experience it. We have travelled on two other cruise lines- Carnival and Holland America. So we aren’t inexperienced cruisers. We had also heard how beautiful the cruise to this part of New Zealand is and were looking forward to the trip. On departure day we received a text to say the ship had arrived late so our embarkation time had changed. There were long lines to board the ship as a result. It was not clearly indicated where to drop your bag. The process to board was long but moved fairly well. You weren’t allowed into your cabin before 2pm. Many people were already on board enjoying their drinking package! The ship itself is very large. At times you have a lengthy wait for a lift and they are full. Of course you can use the stairs. The main dining area prefers you to book every night. Actually you need to book at all the restaurants. In terms of the drinking package each guest has to buy the same package so if you buy the deluxe package and your partner doesn’t drink alcohol too bad they have to buy it also. For the package to be of value you have to consume a lot of alcohol every day. There is no wine package. We did however purchase the coffee / tea package which was great. We found the food on board to be disappointing. We ate in Windjammer, main dining room, Jamie’s Italian and Chops Grille. Jamie’s Italian and Chops Grille were fantastic. Excellent food and service. Would recommend purchasing the specialty dining package as it reperesents good value for money. Entertainment was disappointing except for an INXS cover band who were fantastic. Get to the entertainment in plenty of time otherwise you won’t get a seat due to the number of guests. Can’t really comment on the pool area as it was too cold to use the one and only outdoor pool. There are 2 indoor pools, one being for adults only. This are was nice but seats are reserved early with no one using them. If the cruise had of been to the South Pacific then the main pool area would be too small for so many guests. Disembarkation is a nightmare! Lots of guests were getting very cranky the day we left. Very disorganised. Communication was poor Our cabin was a balcony cabin. They are quite long but not wide. Plenty of storage space and the bed was comfortable. We had very rough seas on the way to NZ and our door way to the balcony squeaked all night on our first night. We did get that fixed the next day and everything was fine after that. In terms of the ports we didn’t make it into Dunedin. The fiords are stunning. In Wellington we wasted half the day waiting to get off the ship for our tour. We would’ve preferred to hop off and have a look around and then do our shore excursion. Picton is fabulous- take the time to walk around the town and if you get the chance do the wine trip to Marlborough. I’d definitely go back to New Zealand but would do a self drive trip. In terms of Royal Caribbean I won’t cruise with them again. There were too many boxes not ticked especially when compared to the other lines we’ve travelled with eg Food is better in Carnival & Holland America, Entertainment better in Carnival. Getting in and off the ship is better on both the other lines also. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I had heard Royal Caribbean (RC) was highly regarded so I had always wanted to try them and booked the New Zealand cruise as part of our Aussie vacation. So far, only day 2, I am underwhelmed. The ship looks great but soon reminded me ... Read More
I had heard Royal Caribbean (RC) was highly regarded so I had always wanted to try them and booked the New Zealand cruise as part of our Aussie vacation. So far, only day 2, I am underwhelmed. The ship looks great but soon reminded me of the song, “She ain’t pretty, she just looks that way”. It is new, big and impressive looking and unfortunately, not designed for the passengers - at least for the usual amenities. Check-in went reasonably smooth. We arrived on time for our scheduled boarding time and were on the ship within about 40 minutes. The only confusion was in realizing we did not receive the usual ship credit card that opens your stateroom door but soon discovered it was left on the stateroom message slot. Despite dropping our luggage of a few hours before our boarding time it was not in our stateroom but no big deal. It was only returning to our stateroom an hour or so later I happened to notice one of our bags in amongst a large number of luggage about 20 rooms away from ours. All of it was there. I guess RC doesn’t bother delivering luggage they just put it on the correct floor and let their guests figure it out for themselves - a bonus game we didn’t have to pay for! Our holiday was a 35-day trip with the cruise starting after 6 days in Sydney. Having been on 5 different ships with 4 different cruise companies we were not worried about laundry as all previous ships had guest laundromats so we were utterly astonished to discover RC doesn’t bother with such things - what better way to increase revenue than to have guests have to use their much higher priced cleaning service. Despite talking to guest services, they weren’t prepared to offer any kind of deal so we bit the bullet and had the bare minimum cleaned to keep us in clean underwear and shirts. The same day it was returned, with a $40 price tag guests got an offer to have their clothes cleaned - all they could fit into an attached bag, with no restrictions on numbers - for the price of $25. Talk about adding insult to injury! It would have been nice to know about that ahead of time. I mentioned the ship was not designed with usual amenities in mind. It has some incredible attractions- more about that later - but those come at a price, like dining areas. The main cafeteria area is about 1/2 the size then those on the “older” ships only carrying about 2/3 to 3/4 of the same number of passengers. Needless to say, this meant listening to numerous announcements to please vacate your seat so other passengers can eat and wandering to and fro trying to find a table. The food itself was barely adequate. On other cruises I was always surprised but pleased to always find the food hot and fresh - not so on RC. I seldom could find anything I wanted that was both hot and fresh. Luke warm to cool seems to be the norm temperature-wise and nothing seems to be removed if it is not eaten in a timely manner. I saw what I thought was a fresh tray of eggs Benedict only to find it had been there a while and were rock hard and cold. The only exception to this was the team responsible for soups and sauces. Soups were hot and delicious and the sauces tasty. There were other options for dining, but I found little difference between the various locations, except for the pizza. It was fresh, hot and good so of course there was always a big line up. The main dining for dinner, the food was better and usually toward the warmer side but there were still glitches. If you recall my soup compliment earlier, you can imagine my surprise to find the one exception was French onion soup. The first try was cold with the cheese-like substance on top congealed into an almost impenetrable glob. The second attempt was better, but not by a huge margin and I think I found an actual onion amongst the sodden mess of some sort of bread beneath the glob of cheese that soaked up most of the liquid. The other thing lacking in food was variety - at least as part of the regular fare. On other cruises I always enjoyed searching out where they placed the various treat spots like Sushi, pasta bars and the like. RC had those - but they all were an extra cost. On other cruises the crew was usually a treat. On RC, I found a mixed bag. Some were great - friendly and helpful while others were sullen, and while not quite rude, not what I would consider helpful. This ship has bumper cars, a surf machine, faux skydiving and the North Star that lifts you up 25-30 meters above the ship giving you a good view. It was here I learned of RC’s caste system. You had to stand in line and wait your turn which is fair - unless you are one RC’s Star class or something like that. Then you got to cut the line and go in front of those mere peons who had waited patiently for their turn. The angry responses of those still in line might explain the staff’s sullenness. Going into the theatre one evening we were told we couldn’t sit in an empty section of seats as they were reserved for the same elite caste. I pointed out to the staff member the irony as the notice posted on all screens in the theatre that stated clearly that there was no reserving of seats for any reason - she could only shrug helplessly. Was the cruise a complete disaster? No, we still had fun and once we figured out what to eat - soups, fruits, salads, baking and surprisingly good coffee and when the crowds weren’t too bad, we didn’t starve. However, would I cruise RC again? No, not unless there was no other option for where I wanted to go. TLDR - give RC a miss. There are far better cruise lines out there. I felt my only purpose on board was to be held upside down to see how much they could pry out of my pockets. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our second cruise on the Ovation. We had upgraded to the Grand suite and definitely worth it with all the inclusions of specialty restaurants, butler, vip dining etc and the room was amazing and spacious. Great storage for us both ... Read More
This was our second cruise on the Ovation. We had upgraded to the Grand suite and definitely worth it with all the inclusions of specialty restaurants, butler, vip dining etc and the room was amazing and spacious. Great storage for us both and the view of the sounds as we sat on the balcony was wonderful. Your room receives a daily planner of activities and I wish they would update over the speakers throughout the day as a reminder as there is so many things on and spread out across the ship I found it difficult sometimes to plan properly. The food in the coastal kitchen and solarium was outstanding and recommend booking the Chefs table early as it sells out quickly. With 5 courses matched with wines including the chef who explains all about each dish and why the wine was chosen is a great experience. The only con is the constant up selling from staff, but say no once they tend to leave you alone. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Suite Cabin 11234 - Owner's Suite - Sky Class:- * Coastal Kitchen - amazing service, management and staff * Concierge Lounge - amazing service and great staff * Main Dining Rooms - American and Silk - barely acceptable - very ... Read More
Suite Cabin 11234 - Owner's Suite - Sky Class:- * Coastal Kitchen - amazing service, management and staff * Concierge Lounge - amazing service and great staff * Main Dining Rooms - American and Silk - barely acceptable - very basic * Windjammer Restaurant - nothing more than disgusting, overcrowded, never find a seat * Wonderland Restaurant - plays on gimmicks - food disgusting and certainly not worth the money - service was terrible and took over 40 minutes to get starters * Jamie Olivers - plain and very ordinary and service to match * Chops - simply amazing service (great staff) and amazing food We had kids running around the ship pressing door bells at all hours of the night. Security onboard did nothing the first time we complained until the follow day when we got a little louder when woken up at 1.30am in the morning. Plenty of activities onboard such as rock climbing, ifly, northern star, bumper cars, surf rider and great staff to look after you. Expect long queues for everything - some people we spoke to waiting over 2 hours to get on the Norther Star (always try to pre-book). Entertainment onboard such as pixels, broadway productions, singers, comedians was ok - i've had better on other ships. If you have priority disembarkation then you will get off the ship very fast, otherwise you will end up in a queue a mile long. Overall felt like a cash cow with everyone trying to get a slice of your money - staff told by Miami office (so i was told) to hard sell to meet their targets - you get a little tired of this behaviour especially when your their to relax and enjoy a holiday. Would i ever do Ovation of the Seas again - NO - found it over crowded with far too many people with queues everywhere. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
I average 2-3 cruises a year on RCCL for the past 18 years. It seems that as the ships get bigger, the quality gets worse. I loved the two-week itinerary from Sydney around both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It's an ... Read More
I average 2-3 cruises a year on RCCL for the past 18 years. It seems that as the ships get bigger, the quality gets worse. I loved the two-week itinerary from Sydney around both the North and South Islands of New Zealand. It's an amazing itinerary with great ports of call, so I can't fault that even a little. We had a balcony cabin. It was roomy with plenty of storage space and a nicely sized balcony. Our cabin steward was excellent. First, a tiny thing: The Cruise critic meet and greet was set for the first morning at 8 a.m. Really crappy time to have a meet and greet when many of the passengers flew 20+ hours and (in my case) 17 time zones to get there. Especially as launch time the night before wasn't until 9pm. I'm afraid to say I slept right through the meet and greet and I hate that! The ship itself is impressively huge. I'll give it that. But with very few exceptions, the artwork was very mundane. I usually love the stairwell art but other than maybe two or three pieces, they were similarly boring. Additionally, having artwork up and down those endless hallways keeps me entertained on most ships, but this one didn't have anything other than the same metal piece repeated a gazillion times up and down the hallways...put me to sleep by the time I got to my cabin! There were two interactive screens that were pretty cool...one that had butterflies on it that moved when you touched them and one set of screens that changed as you walked past. Someone working on the set of screens said that they stay broken most of the time because people pound on them and kick them. Unlike most boats that have fabulous views from most of the bars and venues, there is little of that on this boat. I get that this is due to the huge percentage of outside rooms and balcony rooms. I just miss being able to see outside. It reminded me of being inside a casino where you don't know if it's day or night. And that gives me a great segue into the staff: The bar staff at Vintages was comatose most nights. A group of us would meet there almost every evening to play cards or a game. We all had drink packages...but we had to practically beg for service. NOT ONCE did a waiter approach the table. Every single night we had to go up to the bar and ask to be served. There were three or four waiters standing around looking bored, but even after they'd serve us the drink we ordered at the bar, they'd ignore us the rest of the night. It wasn't ever crowded...never more than 20 people in there, but they just didn't care. The casino staff was even worse. The guy on the roulette table was rude and looked like he would rather eat his own hair than crack a smile or be nice to anyone. He didn't even bother to wave his hand over the wheel for last bets, he just mumbled something and then snapped at anyone who hadnt heard him. He kept looking around like he was embarrassed to even be there. The table dealers weren't much better...not a personality to be found among any of them. The food is getting worse on every cruise. I eat exclusively in the dining room at night. We were second seating and I'd say the dining room was only 30-50% full any particular night. The menu was almost identical every night. They'd have a different meat dish, pasta dish and fish dish each night and everything else was essentially the same. The steaks were small and tough, the chicken was identical regardless of what they called it, the desserts were boring. This is a tiny thing, but they don't even bother to change the flavor of the creme brulee each night...used to be one night was mango, one was Bailey's, etc...now it's vanilla creme brulee every night. And they had Mahi Mahi on the menu four or five different times, yet when we tried to order it we were told they didn't actually have it on board. Here's a suggestion: TAKE IT OFF THE MENU. Dining room staff was decent, but not great. It felt like maybe they were depressed at not having very many people to wait on. It was just a weird vibe all around. Another reviewer mentioned that no dress code standards were applied in the dining room. One formal night we watched a woman in a lovely dress arrive with a gentleman wearing raggy cutoff shorts, a sleeveless tee shirt and flip flops. I thought that was pretty bad until I saw another woman arrive on the other formal night wearing (I am NOT kidding): a bikini, flip flops and a very short, very sheer bathing suit cover-up. I am not a snob, but holy cow people, why why WHY? Windjammer: gets worse and worse all the time. It's not even worth the time it takes to type more about it than to say that it's standard cafeteria fare at best. Thank goodness for the pizza place. Entertainment: Pixels was the only show you could get reservations for. So we made reservations. I'm not sure why, because we got there (15 minutes before showtime) and they were letting anyone in, with or without a reservation. It was already standing room only, so we ended up standing in the back of the room. The Two-Seventy Lounge is obviously where RCCL put all their money, but it's a crappy venue for anything bigger than a few hundred people. There are huge lamps sporadically spaced through the room and huge pillars that block the view. The accoustics aren't great either. I've seen some excellent shows on board, but Pixels wasn't one of them. It was technically really cool...would love to know how much they paid for those huge articulated screens. But the show didn't make a lot of sense, there was no central theme to it, just a hodgepodge of music and an inexplicable video of an African rap group that made absolutely no sense and added nothing to the show. The tribute bands were good, but again, the venue was way too small and not conducive to good musical listening. What is with the "virtual symphony?" Seriously? I paid to be entertained...I can watch a symphony any day of the week on my own television with a better view and better sound quality. That was really cheesy. Would have loved more cultural talks about, for example, the history of Australia and NZ, or about the Aborigines of Aus or the Maori of NZ. There was one lady who talked about three Kiwi women, and it was okay, but I wanted more in depth inforrmation. The comedian was pretty funny...I saw the late night adult show. Was pretty shocked at the number of (unattended) children in the audience. Speaking of unattended children: People, why do you turn your children loose on a boat with 7000 strangers as if nothing bad could possibly happen to them? 7000 strangers who have access to private rooms and the ocean? What could possibly go wrong? Do people just completely lose their minds when they cross the gangway getting onto the ship? I have just one more complaint, and then I'll shut up: Dear Royal Caribbean: please stop wasting precious floor space for designer stores such as Cartier....during the entire cruise, I never saw anyone in there. What a supreme waste of real estate. People who shop at Cartier don't cruise on Royal Caribbean...they cruise on Seven Seas or one of the other upscale lines. How about opening a shop that carries sundries, convenience items and snacks? My roommate bought one of the three Snickers bars available in the liquor store on board and it had expired two years ago. I never book shore excursions through RCCL, so I didn't rate that. I will say, however, that at Bay of Islands, the docking area for the tenders was a half hour walk to anywhere. They had buses to take us from the dock to the town but those buses were used as school buses in the afternoon. So many people had to walk back to the tenders. And once we got there, there was a mammoth line of about an hour and a half to wait for the tenders. Somebody dropped the ball on that whole operation. It's a small town and with that many people descending on it, they need to plan better. I hate to be so negative...I had a great time on this cruise. But that was no thanks to Royal Caribbean. I hate to start back at zero status on another cruise line, but I think I just might. RCCL doesn't really give you anything worthwhile for high status anyway, so I probably won't miss my "status." Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
Ovation of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 5.0 N/A
Dining 4.0 3.4
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 5.0 4.0
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 5.0 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 3.0 N/A
Service 4.0 3.9
Value for Money 4.0 N/A

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