‘Ovation of the Seas’ arrived in Australia just before Christmas with high expectations. So how did Royal Caribbean’s mega-liner shape up after her debut Downunder voyage to New Zealand and back?
Continuing our series of articles reviewing what it’s like to cruise with more than 4000 others – you can read about first impressions here – this time we take a look at the Staterooms.
And the Superior Balcony staterooms are our pick.
They’re a mid-tier pricepoint but having that balcony makes a massive difference to the overall cruise experience particularly if your trip is any longer than five days.
The Superior cabins come in twin or double configurations with trundle beds an additional option for young families wanting to accommodate the kids.
Staterooms on this 2016 launched vessel are well appointed and by cruise line standards, generous in size.
Adjacent to the very comfortable bed is a large couch which didn’t get much use. With the bed located just inside the balcony door on most room configurations, it’s much nicer to while away the hours lying back watching the open ocean rather than sit mid cabin on a sofa.
Service is twice daily as is typically the case and yes, the evening turndown does usually come with a cleverly folded towel that often sports a pair of your spectacles. I’m still not sure what type of animal the below was meant to be but it did look cute in my sunnies.
The bathrooms are well designed and the shower cubicle is larger than most I recall from other cruises.
A laundry service is available with a bag of smalls costing $25USD. Many ships offer a retractable stringline across the bathroom to hang out your hand washing – this one doesn’t so it might be worth bringing one. They are available in most airport travel accessory stores.
Being an American owned cruise line, Ovation’s power sockets are the US-type so bring an adaptor for your Australian devices. For phone charging, there’s a handy powered USB port available. As a footnote on power, whatever you do, don’t pack a powerboard thinking you will be able to charge multiple devices at once. Passengers who did pack one on my trip had their bags confiscated and spent a significant amount of time on day-one trying to recover them. Incidentally, if this happens to you, you will find your bags for collection on deck 2. Suffice to say many passengers were more than riled starting out their trip having to locate their luggage.
One point we found curious and a little frustrating is that important ship announcements are not ‘piped’ into the staterooms, just the public areas. It’s easy to miss out on a significant amount of information – like changes to disembarkation times in port for example – if you opt to spend a lot of time in your cabin.
On the Sydney voyages to New Zealand, if I had to pick, I’d recommend a stateroom on the port side of the ship for the pick of the views at port and the afternoon sunshine. Naturally, the starboard side is better in some ports like Auckland (arrival) for example.
And a warning to make sure you triple check about obstructed views when you book. Some passengers checked in to find they had a lifeboat or tender vessel obscuring their view but were not told about this at the time of booking.
As far as ‘ideal’ stateroom numbers go, it’s worth trying to request a cabin centrally located near one of the two main lift points. If you find yourself stationed at either end of the ship, be prepared to do a lot of walking. Ovation is four football fields long!
Suites aside (deck 13), the best (outside) stateroom numbers to shoot for are even numbers between 160-170 and 230-240 on the port side and 560-570 and 630-640 on the starboard side. And decks 7, 8 , 9 , 10 and 11 all provide terrific viewing from the balcony.
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