‘Ovation of the Seas’ is a ship like no other but it does have one thing in common with all cruise liners, it takes a few days to get into the swing of things.
Understanding the nuances of the restaurant booking protocol, what onboard costs are included for what services and activities (and what’s not), how to book the evening shows and shore excursions, how to deal with gratuities etc is all fairly standard stuff when you’re acclimatising to a new ship.
So it’s day-three on the largest cruise ship ever to sail in Australian waters and I can say I’ve settled in.
This is still different though, very different. It’s already apparent the overwhelming size of Royal Caribbean’s newest member of the family has actually created a new genre of cruising.
For starters, just navigating the 15 decks, each spanning the length of four football fields – yes, that’s 15 decks TIMES four football fields – means you cover kilometres every day just getting around for meals, pools, shore visits etc. Already, this is not for everyone.
What’s also new is the type of cruise traveller on board this ship. With more than 4000 guests (and 1500+ crew), it’s impossible to describe in a few words the typical passenger profile. With a capacity larger than the population of many of the towns passengers left behind, of course, there’s all types of people aboard from all walks of life.
So it’s a multi-generational cruise, a young family cruise, a mature traveller’s cruise, a solo traveller’s cruise, a honeymooners’ cruise … it’s everyone’s.
Well Travelled will bring you a thorough review of the food, entertainment, facilities and more over the next two weeks but to get things going as we prepare to depart Hobart for two days’ ocean sailing to New Zealand, here’s a snapshot of initial observations of the maiden voyage of Australia’s home-ported megaliner.
Ovation of the Seas Pros…
- The vast majority of staterooms have balconies.
- The ship is absolutely state of the art, super clean and tastefully decorated.
- The entertainment is first class. The evenings come alive with all sorts of live music playing in multiple venues.
- The staff are very pleasant and always smiling and willing to help.
- The food is generous and given 300,000 meals will have been served by journey’s end, the timing, quality and taste is not compromised by the sheer volume of output.
Ovation of the Seas Cons…
- It is almost impossible to book anything without using the Royal IQ app. People who are not tech savvy would not only find this very difficult but potentially find all restaurants and shows booked out because others used the tech to book well ahead. Apple Royal IQ app – Google Play Royal IQ app.
- Because the vast majority of staterooms have balconies, there’s very little open deck space on any other deck but the top two.
- Be prepared to pay for a lot of extras when you board.
- Passengers who had power boards in their luggage had their bags ‘held’ when they boarded with little information about where or how to retrieve them.
- Staterooms at either end of the ship (we’ll provide a thorough analysis of the premium stateroom numbers to request in an upcoming article) means guests have a long, long way to walk for most activities.
- The ‘MyTime’ dining hours system is confusing (more in another article a little later).
- Alcoholic beverage packages are $65USD per day.
- Wifi access starts at $17.99 USD per day.
Stay tuned for more articles as we drill down on what it’s like to cruise on a super ship – and how you can make the most of it when you book (with Well Travelled of course!).