Packed with bells and whistles, Ovation of the Seas is the third ground-breaking ship to join Royal Caribbean's Quantum class. There are plenty of similarities with its two sister ships -- Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas -- including the thrilling RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, the North Star capsule that transports passengers 90 metres (300 feet) above sea level for bird's-eye views, bumper cars, trapeze classes, world-class entertainment and -- in short -- nonstop fun.
The Ovation of the Seas deck plan does a great job separating the louder public areas from the sleeping quarters. Cabins to avoid on Ovation of the Seas are few, but include those on decks 4 and 6, as they are directly adjacent, above and/or below public areas that remain open until the wee hours, including the casino and the Two70º lounge. Those looking to enjoy the view from their balcony may also want to avoid Obstructed View Cabins, most of which are on decks 6 and 7. As a general rule of thumb, for those looking to get a good night’s sleep the best decks on Ovation of the Seas are 8, 9 and 10.
Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas is a massive ship with a total capacity of 4,905 passengers. Since 2019, it is based between Alaska, Sydney, Singapore and Honolulu, but its decor and design reflect the ship's original deployment in China. A symbol of good luck and a national treasure of China, a 10-metre tall (32-feet tall) panda and cub were designed with Chinese passengers in mind (joining Felicia the Pink polar bear on Quantum and Gigi the giraffe on Anthem). There is also an enlarged casino, and shops in the Royal Esplanade have been stocked with more high-end designer goods and Asian cosmetic brands.
Royal Caribbean offers several options for those planning a trip to Alaska, including Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, two very similar ships in the Quantum Class. While entertainment options may vary slightly between them, these ships are virtually carbon copies of each other – same size, same passenger to crew ratio, same number of restaurants, very similar cabin types – which makes it hard for many to pick one. With indoor sports complexes and covered adults-only pools and sun decks, they’re both excellent options for trips to the north. However, while Ovation of the Seas' Alaska trips are always seven nights long, Quantum of the Seas also offers five-night itineraries.
There is no shortage of things to do on Ovation of the Seas. The ship packs in some of Royal Caribbean’s family favorite amenities, including the RipCord by iFly wind tunnel, the North Star observation pod, a rock-climbing wall, and the FlowRider surfing simulator. The Ovation of the Seas pool deck (Deck 14) is ample and fun, with several hot tubs, a family pool and a splash area for kids. These features can get busy, so prepare for queues. However, despite the large number of passengers onboard, staff go out of their way to get to know passengers and make their cruise holiday memorable. Friendly passengers who stand out (in a good way) are treated especially well. Those seeking some R&R can retreat to the Ovation of the Seas’ adult-only areas, which include an indoor-outdoor solarium with a pool.
The ship's entertainment scene is outstanding, with Broadway-style theatre shows and cabarets that combine human talent with technical wizardry. All-singing, all-dancing gadgets are not just confined to the stage. Ovation has myriad high-tech features including Royal IQ, a free interactive scheduling service that lets passengers make reservations for dining, entertainment and activities; it's available as an app for mobile devices or can be used via kiosks and tablets throughout the ship. Thanks to a huge investment in satellite Internet, Ovation of the Seas offers fast and efficient Wi-Fi (for a fee). It's good to see USB ports for in-cabin charging and the option for RFID WOWband wristbands, which can be used instead of key cards.
Another exceptional feature is the artwork: An A$5.8 million (US$4.5 million) collection of 11,000 pieces. Much more than just space fillers to adorn blank walls, the installations, paintings and sculptures wouldn't be out of place in the world's top galleries. Sky Wave, over the Royal Esplanade, is the first moving sculpture at sea, and the Flutter Wall, on the way to the Royal Theatre, is a three-metre (120-inch) screen filled with interactive butterflies. Elsewhere are smaller surprises: a retro petrol pump beneath a stairwell; panda and koala faces on human shoulders; and boxed pictures with tiny people inside. It's worth doing a top-to-bottom walking tour of the ship to discover the artwork alone.
With so much to see, do and discover, Ovation delights and excites in equal measure and is ideal for longer itineraries, which give passengers time to enjoy the many onboard attractions to the full.
For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Ovation of the Seas, please refer to Royal Caribbean's Health and Safety protocols. You can also use Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.
With its age-appropriate children's clubs and huge SeaPlex sports and entertainment complex, Ovation of the Seas is a magnet for families, so expect to see plenty of kids during school holidays. It also attracts pleasure-seeking, fun-loving singles, couples and groups of friends across the age spectrum. With the ship sailing from the US, Singapore and Sydney, the onboard demographic sees a shift from the US and UK passengers that make up the majority of cruisers on Royal Caribbean's other ships.
The dress code on Ovation of the Seas is casual during the day and a little bit smarter in the evening. Passengers are not required to wear formal attire for dinner, but those who enjoy dressing up will probably not feel overdressed on formal nights.
Daytime: Cruise casual is the way to go during the day, with shorts, cropped trousers, jeans, T-shirts, vest tops, swimsuits, cover-ups and sundresses for women; for men, think swimwear, shorts, jeans, polo shirts and T-shirts.
Evening: At dinner, the dress code is smart casual for women, which Royal Caribbean sets out as skirt or trousers (no holes, rips or tears) with a blouse. While jeans are perfectly acceptable, many women do opt for dresses and a smarter look. For men, the code is trousers (no holes, rips or tears) with a collared shirt. For passengers who prefer to dress up in the evening, feel free to wear a cocktail dress or trouser suit for ladies and dress shirts, ties and jackets for men. Ovation of the Seas formal nights are, well, formal, but passengers who don’t want to pack their suit or cocktail dress can choose to dine in any of the more casual venues.
Not permitted: T-shirts, shorts and flip-flops/thongs are acceptable for lunch, but swimsuits, robes, bare feet, vest tops, baseball caps and pool wear are not allowed in the main restaurants or speciality restaurants.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Royal Caribbean.
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