Ovation of the Seas was built at the famous Meyer Werft shipyards in Germany before commencing official service in Southampton in 2016. Since then the ship has embarked on a Global Odyssey for 52 nights and homeported in China for several months. Australians have the opportunity to experience the brand new vessel from stern to bow during the coming months, and there is a lot to explore on this mega cruise ship.
Ovation of the Seas Features
Ovation has the expected similarities to sister ships Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas. The North Star capsule is a Royal Caribbean Quantum class signature attraction, transporting passengers beyond the ship and 90 metres above sea level. The RipCord skydiving simulator is another enduring favourite, along with bumper car action, huge waterparks and top-class entertainments.
During its Australian sojourn, Ovation of the Seas is tailoring activities, drinks and meals to suit local tastes. Australians love adrenaline action so the FlowRider surfing simulator and three swimming pools are bound to be a hit. Everything is big on Ovation of the seas, and it needs to be on a vessel accommodating up to 4,905 passengers. This self contained floating city has all the comforts of home, and a whole lot more.
Although similarities with sister Quantum class ships are evident, there have been additions to Ovation, providing a character of its own. The Chinese visit by Ovation resulted in a 10 metre tall panda and cub being installed as a stand-out feature. Additional new inclusions serving the growing Asian trend are the Kung Fu Panda Noodle Shop and increased Asian selections at the Windjammer Marketplace buffet. High-rollers are in for a treat at the enlarged casino, and shoppers are spoilt for choice with high-end designer clothing and cosmetics on offer.
Entertainments are buzzing all around Ovation, and night time is the right time for enjoying big production Broadway-style shows and cabaret performances. Ovation of the Seas is also a progressive high-tech cruise ship, and extensive investments in satellite internet are paying dividends with fast and reliable internet connections.
Although huge, Ovation of the Seas isn’t impersonal. In fact, US$4.5 million was spent on the 11,000 artworks, sculptures and installations that adorn the vessel. The ship is a floating gallery providing a cultural extravaganza, exciting diversions and access to exotic destinations.
Outdoor Ovation of the Seas Attractions
The three pools located on deck 14 are the place to enjoy sunny days. The midship main pool is the busiest, incorporating two whirlpools and located next to the giant film screen used for movies under the stars. The main pool is a little under 2 metres deep and suitable for adults and older children who can frolic all day to the sounds of live and recorded music. The Kung Fu Panda Noodle shop is right next door, as is the family orientated H2O Zone that includes slides and a wave pool. Even toddlers get in on the action in the small and safe splash pool.
The indoor pool toward the bow of the ship comes complete with a retractable roof for swimming in all weather. Also containing two whirlpools, the indoor pool is a more relaxed option. Further forward is the adults-only Solarium featuring three tiered pools that are ideal for cooling off and relaxation. There are even submerged stone lounges set in shallow water for the ultimate soak. The entire Solarium pool area resembles an oasis containing palm trees, flower beds and sculptures. Loungers are comfortable, cushioned and some are large enough for two people to repose together.
The RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator is a complimentary attraction open for several sessions every day. Onboard attractions are quite safe and supervised but passengers are expected to sign a waiver prior to some activities, including the skydiving simulator. The FlowRider surf simulator is another extremely popular complimentary activity. Crowds are sure to gather as you showcase your surfing prowess on a wave that never ends.
For a more relaxed pace, passengers take a ride on the North Star, where a mechanical arm raises the viewing capsule beyond the ship and into the air. The capsule rotates from side to side for amazing 360-degree views.
Ovation of the Seas Dining
The move toward family-friendly cruising includes culinary choices from cuisines around the world. Complimentary offerings popular with families and large groups include the Windjammer Marketplace buffet restaurant, a la carte restaurants, a traditional hot-dog truck, snacks, a pizzeria and a cafe that opens 24/7.
My Time dining is another nod to the change from formal cruise dining. With My Time, cruisers can choose early or late seatings in one of the four main restaurants and mix with new table companions at every meal. The diversity of food on offer showcases progressive cruise dining. Grilled fish and chicken are always popular, and passengers are increasingly selecting delicious vegetarian and alternative preferences. Deserts such as gelato and baked Alaska round the meal off admirably and children’s options are always available. Free dining options include:
- The Grande: An everyday dining restaurant on deck 3, adorned with sumptuous furnishings and elegant table settings. Tables sit from two to eight people, and larger groups can also be accommodated. The Grande opens from 5:30 pm to 9 pm daily.
- Chic: Also on deck 3, Chic hosts intimate couples, large groups and everyone in between. Chic opens for dinner from 5:30 pm to 9 pm.
- Silk: Located on deck 4, Silk has cast off its Asian trappings. It has become an extremely popular breakfast buffet, where fruit, pastries, hot dishes and even bacon and eggs are on offer. Breakfast at Silk is between 8 am and 10 am and dinner runs from 5:30 pm until 9:30 pm.
- Cafe Promenade: This is the place for people-watching on deck 4. Cafe Promenade is a feature of the Royal Esplanade, and provides outdoor tables for enjoying snacks, pastries, sandwiches and cookies. It’s open 24/7 so there is no excuse for feeling hunger pangs on Ovation of the Seas.
- American Icon Grill: Located across from Silk on deck 4, this American style restaurant opens for breakfast from 8 am to 10 am, lunch on cruising days from 12 noon to 1:30 pm, and dinner from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
- Sorrento’s: Italian pizza is always a cruise ship favourite and Sorrento’s, also accessed via the Royal Esplanade, is no exception. Four different pizzas are featured every day and passengers can also custom order for special toppings or dietary requirements. Sorrento’s is open from late morning until around 3 am the next day.
- The Cafe @ Two70: Open almost all day from 7:30 am until 5 pm, this eatery is great for catching a quick bite for breakfast, salad dishes, wraps, or a complimentary juice, coffee or tea.
- Windjammer Marketplace: This major buffet restaurant takes advantage of size by providing several food stations with varying themes as an alternative to one large and crowded servery area. Choosing between Mediterranean cuisine, Asian food, salads, fruits and a whole lot more is the difficult part, but finding something for everyone shouldn’t be a problem. The Windjammer Marketplace, on deck 14, opens for breakfast from 6:30 am to 11 am, lunch from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm and dinner from 6 pm until 9 pm.
- Solarium Bistro: Also located on deck 14, is a smaller and more intimate dining venue. However, the other passengers are bound to discover it sooner or later. This is a healthy choices restaurant where fresh fruits, yoghurt and Bircher muesli rule, although hot and nourishing dishes are also available. A salad and desert bar opens up in the evenings.
- Coastal Kitchen (deck 14); SeaPlex Dog House (deck 15) and Room Service (24/7) round out the free dining options. The choice is yours to work off the calories with Ovation of the Seas activities, or bring a second (larger) pair of pants along for the voyage.
A huge range of paid dining options are also available, including Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, La Patisserie on deck 4, Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine on deck 5, and Izumi Japanese Cuisine, also on deck 5.
Ovation of the Seas Cabins
This mega-ship is designed for mixing, mingling and having fun, but everyone needs a little time out on occasion. Ovation of the Seas caters to modern cruise trends by providing balconies on 75 percent of cabins for the indoor-outdoor feel. The indoor cabins come with ‘virtual balconies’ that project real-time outside views on a simulated window. The result is realistic and a far better alternative to staring at a blank wall.
Other innovations that signal a sign of the times include 28 studio cabins for singles plus 34 staterooms designed for wheelchair accessibility. Royal Caribbean International have used pastel shades of blue and beige for soft furnishings, complemented by wood tones that create a nautical feel. Some cabins can be reconfigured or connected to host larger families and tour groups, and plenty of storage space is provided. USB ports are also included for computer use.
The majority of rooms have a king-sized bed that can be divided into twin beds. All the mod-cons are easily accessed, including telephone, mini bar, safe, hair dryer and a kettle for passengers who can’t wait for a room service cup of tea. Staterooms include:
- Interior: Although fairly small, the interior cabins are well appointed and some can be interconnected. The 80-inch HD screen displaying a virtual balcony is a novel and convincing addition.
- Oceanview: These cabins come in various sizes and configurations. Choices range from lower deck cabins to Superior Oceanview cabins that offer forward facing views from just below the captain’s bridge.
- Balcony: Several variations on the balcony cabin theme exist on Ovation, with some passengers opting for midship balcony cabins where the vessel is at its widest for enjoying a little extra outdoor space.
- Suites: There are seven suite categories on Ovation (discounting family suites) and all of them come with additional sleeping space courtesy of a sofa that transforms into a double bed. Suite guests enjoy additional benefits including Concierge Lounge access, Coastal Kitchen breakfasts and priority seating at shows.
- Large Suites: These accommodations include the Superior Grand Suite, Owners Suite, Sky Loft Suite and the Royal Loft Suite, an enormous onboard playground spanning two levels, with two large bedrooms and lots of entertaining space.
Ovation of the Seas highlights
Variety is the spice of life, and Ovation of the Seas provides plenty of variety for every cruising style. The transformative Seaplex venue morphs into different identities during the day, from basketball court to roller skating rink and then into a bumper car circuit. At night a spectacular aerial acrobatic show is held at Seaplex.
Working off the kilos is made easy with a state-of-the-art Fitness Centre and a full service Vitality Spa. Kids and kids at heart appreciate the circus school while the almost 10 metre rock climbing wall is a challenge that’s hard to resist. Kids zones, youth programs and the Royal Babies and Royal Tots program all provide fun diversions and an opportunity for parents or guardians to slip away for some private time. Nightclubs, shows and music venues draw the evening crowds, and Casino Royale is a place for high-rollers and interested spectators when the sun goes down.
A journey of two weeks on Ovation of the Seas can include different activities, meals and amazing destinations on a daily basis.
Ovation of the Seas Stats
|4,180 passengers (double occupancy)
4,905 passengers (maximum occupancy)
|18 (16 passenger-accessible)
|22 knots (41 km/h; 25 mph)
|348 m (1,142 ft)
|41.2 m (135 ft)
|8.5 m (28 ft)
|2 × Wärtsilä 12V46F (2 × 14,400 kW)
2 × Wärtsilä 16V46F (2 × 19,200 kW)
2 × Cat 3516C HD (2 × 2,500 kW)