I did not have to be asked twice when I was invited to the launch and inaugural sailing of Royal Caribbean's 3rd Quantum class ship “Ovation of the Seas” in Southampton earlier this year.
Ovation is almost identical to her two sister ships – the Anthem & the Quantum - and the only Royal Caribbean class I had not experienced. So, I was particularly excited to see her. Safe to say, I was not disappointed and I could see first-hand “Where extraordinary happens”.
Standing 18 decks tall, Ovation is home to 2090 staterooms, accommodating 4900 guests and crew.Branded the most innovative ships at sea, the Quantum class really are the most technologically advanced ships in the world. And, on my brief stay on board the Ovation, I planned on experiencing as many “innovations” as possible!
There are plenty of similarities to its two sister ships, including the thrilling RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, and the North Star capsule, a glass sphere which carries guests up to 90 meters over the sea and provides an impressive 270° view. If you love bumper cars, soccer or roller skating, you will want to check out the SeaPlex - this is Royal Caribbean’s largest indoor activity at sea which offers non-stop programmes of fun and games.
I was very excited to see Two70, a hi-tech entertainment venue located at Deck 5 and 6. During the day, Two70 is a bar and cafe with an enormous 270-degree window to enjoy the panoramic sea view. During the night, Two70 turns into a stage for spectacular performances. There are 6 large robotic screens which are suspended above the stage. These large screens are programmed to move independently, or together, to create the digital visual effect for the audiences. I did not get to actually experience this, but I believe it’s absolutely amazing!
Royal Caribbean is known for the entertainment and activities they have on board for their younger passengers and Ovation was no different. Kids and teens have their own supervised clubs, tailor-made for their respective age from tots to teenagers. There is even a toy lending facility for their “royal” babies and tots. As a mother of a young child, this impressed me and I actually used this facility earlier this year on-board the Allure of the Seas.
The entire deck 15 is dedicated to sports and wellness. Here you will find the SeaPlex area, a jogging track, the climbing-wall as well as the large Vitality Spa and Fitness Centre.
Ovation of the Seas offers 18 restaurants with cuisines from all around the world. From a Hot-Dog truck to fine dining! There are five complimentary main restaurants which offer Mediterranean influences (Coastal Kitchen), Asian flavours (Silk), mouth-watering American delights (American Icon Grill), contemporary cuisines (Chic) and timeless classics (The Grande Restaurant).
There is also a very large restaurant called Windjammer Market, this buffet restaurant offers a great variety of Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. Another complimentary buffet restaurant, which is smaller compared to Windjammer Marketplace, is the Solarium Bistro. Both Windjammer and Solarium Bistro are located at Deck 14.
At the Wonderland themed restaurant, you are served imaginative cuisine! Where the food menu doesn’t make any sense at all. In fact, you are given a blank easel and brush to paint the menu. Ovation also boasts Royal Caribbean’s third Jamie Oliver restaurant, the best Italian cuisine on the high seas. Both are considered speciality restaurants and do have a cover charge together with Chops Grille & Izumi Restaurant. For something lighter you have Kung Fu Panda Noodle Shop, Starbucks, Sorrento’s or La Patisserie.
The accommodation on this ship set a whole new standard for cruising, but with so much going on you probably won’t spend much time in your stateroom at all. A huge 75% of the cabins have balconies, and inside staterooms boast “virtual balconies” where images are reflected in real time on digital screens. Guests can have a real time view of the ocean even from an interior stateroom! The rooms are well designed and spacious, with a wide range of thoughtful features. There are also cabins that can accommodate larger families and for something extra special, they offer their Royal Loft Suites.
Whist my visit on board Ovation was brief, I was wowed from bow to stern.