Ovation of the Seas
The 4,180-passenger Ovation of the Seas became the third in Royal Caribbean's Quantum class when it launched in April 2016, joining its two sisters, Anthem of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. Like those ships, Ovation of the Seas has the high-energy and tech-focused amenities that the line has become known for, including robot bartenders, RipCord by iFly skydiving simulators, and bumper cars.
Along with Quantum of the Seas, this ship spends most of its time in Asia, cruising primarily from China with a passenger list that is as much as 95 percent Chinese. Ovation of the Seas repositions to Australia and New Zealand during China's winter, when it's summer in the Southern Hemisphere.
What We Love
Chinese Influence on Menus: Gone is the Royal Caribbean staple Johnny Rockets. In its place is the Kung Fu Panda Noodle Shop. A tasty variety of Chinese dishes is predominant at every meal in every restaurant, including Michael’s Genuine American gastropub, which offers a whole fish in a pepper sauce for $35 at lunchtime.
Best Known For
This Ship Is a Chameleon: Whereas the North Star thrill ride high above the vessel and appearances by "Kung Fu Panda" can be found on all sailings, Ovation of the Seas adapts its menus, shows, and some of its public spaces when cruising in mainland China and Hong Kong versus Australia and New Zealand. For instance, a private casino (in addition to the main casino) appears for high rollers in China but becomes a club lounge farther south. A tiny buffet counter for hamburgers expands with more choices in Australia.
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Who It's Best For
Experienced Worldly Travelers: This ship is for those of all ages who want diversity on the passenger list, with opportunities for cultural exchanges.
Don't Say We Didn't Warn You
Expect Crowds and Waiting: In China, passengers tend to hurry to be first in line for restaurants, as much as 30 minutes before opening, and to get off the ship at ports. And, depending on passport and visa requirements for your itinerary, getting on and off the ship will be much more cumbersome than the smooth operation for Royal Caribbean in North America.
Know Where to Find Familiar Food: Trying traditional dishes is great, but if you're looking for a taste of home, you'll find options at the Windjammer Marketplace buffet, as well as at specialty restaurants such as Jamie's Italian, Wonderland, and Chops Grille.
Nightlife Can Be Limited: When the ship is in China, bars are quiet, and staff moves to the casino, which is full. Shows are also shortened to 45 minutes or less.
David G. Molyneaux is a Cleveland-based cruise writer.
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Ovation of the Seas at a Glance
- Line: Royal Caribbean
- Number of Passengers: 4180
- Ship Size: Mega
- Launch Date: 2016