I am currantly on day seven of a ten night cruise aboard Ovation of the Seas. I embarked in Vancouver and will end up in Hawaii.
Here are my obsevations so far:
First of all I love Royal Caribbean and have sailed twice before with them, most recently on the Allure of the Seas, see my review here…….https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=652523
I do love the big ships with the Oasis class being the largest.
Let me start with the negatives as it relates to this Quantum class Ovation of the Seas…
When I first boarded her in Vancouver the process was somewhat confusing as there was no separate area for Crown and Anchor guests or for people who may have purchased the ‘Key” as I did on Allure. No biggie. It took about 20 minutes to get on board beginning at 11am.
The instant I stepped foot on board I felt that I had made a huge mistake in booking this ship. It was jammed to the max right at 11:30 am and we were herded through what I would discribe as an airport high end shopping mall filled with glitzy expensive jewlery shops….Bulvgari, Cartiere etc etc..what seemed like dozens of them…It was shoulder to shoulder jammed as if I were in the Bangkok airport between gates. Yuk! The Promenade is tiny in my opinion for a ship that has this many people on it! Its as if RCI felt that shopping for a diamond watch was way more important than the common areas where normally one would find the bars and food venues sepatate from the occaisonal guest who needs to buy a Gucci handbag on a cruise.
The central common area is all about shopping and not about complimentary needs for Ovations' passengers..They are after thoughts just stuck into deck four and five….so consequently you NEVER have the feeling that you are at Schooner's Bar, The Pub, Jamies Italian etc…you are in a mall and you are always facing a high end shop, always…while you eat your upcharged meal or have a pint in the pub. On the Oasis class Central Park and to a great extent the Royal Promenade allow separtaion and the actual feeling that you are in a venue catering to you. Even Vintages wine bar on Ovation is an after thought stuck right in the open of the mall. I hated this whole concept and felt totally let down compared to my previous experiences on Allue and Independence.
As the days went by the ship did open up and I was relieved that my first impressions wore off but overtime if you want to go from one end of the ship to the other you go tru the mall unless you go tru deck 14 which I tried to do most of the time. There are way too many people on this ship for the overall design which I’m told was originally for the Asian market. On Oasis class ships I never once felt crammed in and crowded and they have even more people on them.
The four main dining rooms allow pasengers to eat either Mytime or fixed seating.. I chose The Grand dining room and requested a table before boarding and once again Royal came through. Very happy with my table and I like the Grand dining room much better than Silk, American Icon or Chic.
The food on Ovation so far has been hit or miss. I’m not one to complain about food on a cruise ship, there is a ton of it everywhere and you should be able to satisfy your hunger 24 hours as you can do on Ovation. I have noticed that compared to Allure last December the food on Ovation particularly in Windjammer leans toward the lower end of quality. Not a carving station in sight offering up a huge roast or ham..nope they actually have a tiny canned ham being carved for breakfast. Not a strawberry or blueberry to be found anywhere. Basically the exact same breakfast every day.
The main dining room food so far has been hit or miss. I have eggs benedict in the main dinig room everyday and it comes out fast and cooked to perfection. You can find some good stuff at Cafe Two70 and its towards the aft of the ship and is generally quiet…good sandwiches, soups etc.. The Solarium Bistro has some good stuff for dinner and is quiet as well. The usual faire is out and about throughout the ship and like I said you won't go hungry. I just feel that the bean counters at Royal like at Disneyworld are cutting it close with the lower quality food and pushing one towards the uncharge venues.
I purchased the unlimited dining package and for $20 a day I can eat at Chops for lunch (sea days) and dinner and at Jamie’s Italian and at Wonderland and Izzumi’s. Izzumi’s is always empty and Wonderland doesn’t interest me so I found myself at Jamie’s and Chops looking for the better quality food since I paid the price. Unfortunately both have disappointed so far. Jamie’s is nothing special and the service leaves much to be desired. Its chaotic and the seats are hard as a rock as they are basically metal uncushioned chairs. And you look out at the shoping mall jewerly stores. Yuk. Chops is pretty basic with much better service..its tucked in the corner of Schonner's Bar.
Lots of Aussies and international passengers and more African Americans than I’ve ever seen before on this cruise. Many folks can be found smoking in the smoking area on deck 14 next to the pool.
I never once had a free hand cocktail poured for me. They measure each drink and I found this to be a bummer too whereas my previous cruises they freehand poured…not sure if this is fleet wide but it hasn't ruined my cruise as I dont drink that much anyway.
There are hardly any kids on this cruise for what thats worth. There are two formal nights and I find that most people dress up and enjoy looking their best with many of the older folks still in black tie. Its a huge mix of traditional cruisers and the run of the mill riff raff…
I did witness a family siting at Vintages and the adult son in his 30s was siting there with his shoes off with his dirty feet UP ON THE table where people are going to be spending $100 to drink champagne. It really bothered me and I asked the bartender to tell him to put his feet down off the table. She was hesitant to do so but obliged me. Unfortunately this is the world we live in today. And he was with his parents. What does that tell ya?
Now on to the good stuff.
The crew is fabulous and again its amazing how they all maintain their attitudes. Its the best part about cruising, the amazing service everywhere. Bravo to Royal. My stateroom attendant is fabulous and my dining room waiter is excellent.
The ship itself is beautiful and sparking clean.
The venues for entertainment and the entertainment itself is great.. Lots to do. Lots of music and high tech stuff especially the venue in the aft of the ship.
Seaplex is great, Ifly and Northstar etc. Plenty to do, good food, great crew, beautiful ship.
I doubt I’d sail on this class of ship again but I love Royal Caribbean and am having a great cruise so far. The little things I’d like to see changed are not going to change as long as the bottom line and increased profits for shareholders take precidant over everything else.
Oh yeah the wifi is fantastic…full streaming the whole way across the Pacific no problem which allowed me to watch my Xifinity account as there isn’t much on the TV they provide.
My interior stateroom with a virtual balcony is well appointed and very comfortable. First time with an interior. There is some noise from adjacent rooms and toilets flushing but its no big deal.
Looking forward to my next cruise onboard the newly revamped Oasis of the Seas in two months.
Hope this review helps others to decide about Ovation of the Seas.
beautiful and well appointed cabin. plenty of room, comfy bed. no complaints