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.
Cruise News: Cruise ship with skydiving simulator to be based in China. Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas will also contain dodgems and an observation pod - and will carry over 4,000 passengers.
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 arrives into Hong Kong
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:
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.
Kung Fu Panda Noodle Shop onboard Ovation of the Seas
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:
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.
Casino Royale onboard Ovation of the Seas
You can download the deck plan PDF here or visit the official RCI website for an interactive version of the latest deck plan.
Ovation of the Seas Stats
That's how I found myself waiting in line to try Ripcord by iFly on an Anthem of the Seas cruise. The activity is free for every passenger to try once, so even if you chicken out at the last second, all you lose is time.Sessions are done in small groups of 10 or so people. We began our adventure in a not-so-exciting way, by watching instructional videos on hand signals (you can't really have a conversation in a wind machine) and proper form (the goal is to fly horizontally and steadily and not go careening out of control around the tunnel). Our instructor then came in to go over what we learned and to crush the dreams of all the daredevils who thought they'd be doing flips and dives like in the Royal Caribbean ads. Sorry, folks, not only is the wind speed used not strong enough for fancy tricks, you can't learn cool moves in a 60-second flight attempt.Next it was time to suit up. We all put on very attractive blue one-piece suits (with handles for your instructor to grab), tight-fitting goggles and helmets.
I wasn't wearing lace-up shoes, so the instructors gave me a pair to wear, and I had to stow all my jewelry (except that wedding ring that never ever comes off - even in high winds) in a locker. The dress-up part of the event was prime selfie time - partly because we had to wait until the group before us finished, and partly because you can't take your cell phone into the tunnel to take flying photos. (You can't take anything into the simulator, even GoPro video cameras or jewelry, because any object that could become loose becomes a danger to the object, the tunnel or the people inside.). When our turn came, we trooped from the Deck 15 office/classroom/locker room up to Deck 16 where the simulator stands and entered a glassed-in cage attached to the tall glass tube that's the flight zone. This is when I realized that there's a viewing area next to the tunnel (it also overlooks the FlowRider surf simulator) so friends and strangers can have a jolly old time, watching shipmates on either side do crazy things and make fools of themselves. Eek!I hate sitting with butterflies in my stomach, so I was one of the brave souls to fly first. To enter the tunnel, I braced myself against the entrance and then fell forward inside, keeping my body in a line.
The instructor positioned me, so I was Superman-style, arms extended but elbows bent, face up. I realized there was a ship photographer outside, capturing the moment for posterity, so I focused on smiling – only to discover that an open mouth in a wind tunnel causes you to start drooling. Lovely.It's loud in the tunnel and while you feel the force of the wind, it's not hard to breathe like on a roller coaster. I had no sense of how high off the ground I was or whether I was horizontal or at an angle, but the instructor seemed satisfied, so I just tried to enjoy what I was doing. I can't imagine how you'd gain control of your limbs enough to do flips and tricks - the whole event felt a bit out-of-body.
Sixty seconds is exactly enough time - it doesn't go by in a flash, so you can take in the experience, but you also don't tire out so you lose control. At the end of each session, the instructors up the wind speed and do a bit of showboating themselves; I watched in awe as our instructor did backflips, twisty turns and huge jumps and dives. I'm not sure that level of aerial gymnastics is for me, but it's nice to know that if you catch the indoor skydiving bug, you can always find an iFly location near you after your cruise.