April 2016 - 5 Night Belgium & France (Southampton Roundtrip) Cruise on Ovation of the Seas
Wow Wow Wow! Ovation of the Seas has just become my all time favourite ship! This was its very first outing, and apart from a few minor teething problems, it was absolutely exceptional! The facilities are superb - indoor sky diving, flow rider, North Star Ride, Dodgems, Escape Room, Roller Disco, Circus Skills and so much more. The shows including Spectra, Dreamworks, The Tenors of Rock and Pete Matthews were amongst some of the best shows I have ever seen on a ship. It was also great to have the indoor pool solarium area, so you could still use the pool and sit out whatever the weather. There weren't really too many down sides, but if I had to pick some, the visibility in Two70 (270 degree stage) was very poor from seemingly every angle. The seating does not seem to have been thought out at all, with high seats in front of low seats?? and some huge lampshades that seem to do little except obscure people's view. Shame as the venue is great but the audience seating area definitely needs re-thinking. Also there was only tea making in the rooms, but no coffee! Coffee was complementary with room service, but sachets in the room would have been easier. Our cruise was only 3 days, so it meant that everyone was trying to book everything at the same time which made availability scarce, but with so much to do I don't think that would happen on a longer cruise. There was a great choice of places to eat, including lots of complementary restaurants. Rather than one big Dining room there was a choice of The Grande, Chic, American Idol and Silk (Indian), all of which were smaller complementary restaurants as well as cafe Two70, pizza and various other complementary eateries. The 4 main dining rooms also always offered the classic menu (salmon, steak etc), along side their daily menu, so there was always a safe "go to" option! The various menus could also be seen on any of the interactive "Wayfinder" screens throughout the ship. The introduction of the WOWBand was great, and effectively allows you to wear your keycard on your wrist - well worth $4.99. Also be sure to check out the interactive butterfly picture, if you touch the butterflies on the screen they will fly. It took us 3 days but my Husband and I eventually managed to get all the butterflies flying at once! The decor on the Ovation is pretty quirky and quite different to other RCI ships. I absolutely loved it but it may not be to everyone's taste. The Robotic Bar was interesting to watch for a short while, and quite quirky but a bit gimmicky. It was fun, but I wouldn't necessarily rush back there. The Seaplex was great and changed from a basket ball court, to Dodgems, to a Roller Disco and loads more. Indoor Sky-diving at Ripcord was great and a must-do experience as was the Flow-rider. The North Star Ride offered great views and was a slow interesting experience that I'm glad I did but wouldn't rush back to. Two70 was also host to "A Royal Mystery" which was like a multi-player Escape Room on a huge scale. It wasn't well advertised and we just happened upon it, but it was great, and well worth seeking out. As was "Escape from the Future" which was a smaller Classic type escape room game which is definitely worth booking early for. The service throughout the whole ship was very good, and apart from having no handles on all our cupboards and drawers (despite asking 3 times), and having to open them with a spoon (!), all the rest of the service was exceptional. The cabins are really spacious (we had a balcony and an outside cabin). The balcony was more than adequate to sit out on, and the window in the outside cabin was large and square with a window sill big enough to sit on! Certainly some of the biggest cabins I've known, and even included 2 separate wardrobes! Nice hot showers, extra comfy pillows, comfy beds, top marks all round. I have to say the Ovation of the Seas ticks all the boxes. Brilliant brilliant ship that I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to anyone!