I recently joined Royal Caribbean’s newest fleet member, Ovation of the Seas, for a 1-night ‘shakedown’ visit during her recent stay in Southampton and it went a bit like this…
Thanks to Royal’s excellent smart check-in, I was through the terminal door, onboard the ship and in my stateroom all within 20-minutes! I had a balcony cabin on Deck 11 and it was beautiful – I love the stateroom décor on the Quantum-class vessels and Ovation certainly did not disappoint. I spent a few days aboard Anthem of the Seas last year and I had the exact same grade of cabin, they were virtually identical, with the exception of the bed on Ovation being closest to the balcony doors -as opposed to the vanity and sitting areas. I know many people would prefer the vanity area to be nearer the balcony doors, but sometimes I like to sleep with the balcony door open (in warmer climates, obviously) and if the bed is closer to the door that means my ears are closer to the soothing sound of the ocean, so I much preferred this layout.
I explored as much of the huge ship as I physically could in the short time that I was onboard – it really was, in many ways, just like being on Anthem of the Seas, but there were one or two differences: you won’t find Johnny Rockets on Ovation of the Seas, but in its place on deck 14 you will find the rather tasty Kung-Fu Panda Noodle Bar. Some of the stores onboard Ovation were also different, Kate Spade has made an appearance as has the largest Cartier store at sea! Jamie’s Italian, Chops Grille, Bionic Bar, Schooner Bar, SeaPlex, FlowRider and many more are all still present. The Music Hall could also be found onboard, which was my favourite of all the entertainment venues on Anthem of the Seas.
The Royal Loft and the Virtual Balcony
During my exploration of the ship, I had a look around a few other staterooms, including the Royal Loft Suite and a Virtual Balcony cabin. The Royal Loft Suite was incredible! It was right at the aft of the ship and offered stunning views and two balconies – one with a hot tub! Guests booked into such a suite can now also enjoy a new introduction to Royal Class accommodations, the Royal Genie. Basically, your Royal Genie is on hand for any need or desire you may have during your time onboard and they all attended the British Butler Institute, the world’s most exclusive butler and front of house school, so you know the service is going to be second to none.
The Virtual Balcony cabin was quite interesting. I’d never seen one before and I really do like the concept of it. I would be tempted to book one of those if my only option of stateroom was an inside cabin. Apparently, you can change the screen to various different images from webcams around the ship, the view when I entered was of a car park, but I’m sure more exotic locations await!
A floating Art Gallery
One thing that did grab my attention on Ovation of the Seas was the art work, all 11,000 pieces! I often feel like some of the art onboard cruise ships can be a little drab and boring, but Ovation had surprises around every corner! I particularly liked the below piece, which I spotted on the wall outside of the Music Hall. It fits the style of the venue very well indeed!
After my epic exploration it was time to freshen up for dinner, and that evening I was dining in Chops Grille – my favourite of all the dining venues aboard Royal Caribbean ships. We didn’t have the offerings of the full menu, but the 9oz filet mignon made an appearance and that’s exactly what I ordered. It was cooked to absolute perfection! I like my steak well done, although sometimes that can mean it goes quite dry, but the steak in Chops was juicy and accompanied by fries and creamed corn, it was simply perfect.
Following dinner, I went along to Two70 and watched the comedian for a little while before heading up to SeaPlex to check out the roller skating, well, there were people in roller skates but most of them were falling instead of skating – it was quite funny to watch. I’m sorry if that makes me sound like an awful person, but it is the truth!
Ovation of the Seas has a few cruises operating out of the UK before she heads for her home in China – it’s sad to think that UK shores may never see her again once she leaves, but Royal Caribbean has said that they hope to bring a Quantum-class vessel back to the UK, they just can’t say when. Ovation of the Seas will be open for bookings to UK residents when she is homeported in China, but you have to remember that the majority of her guests will obviously be Chinese – there could be a language barrier there, so if you quite like the idea of a cruise aboard a Quantum-class vessel, why not check out her sister, Anthem of the Seas, as she is currently sailing a selection of Caribbean and Bermuda itineraries from the port of New Jersey in America.
Image credits: Cruise Miss