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jacketwatch Jan 1st, 2018 07:59 AM

10 days on the Ovation of the Seas out of Sydney to NZ
We chose this cruise for both the destination as we have never been to Oz or NZ and we have family in OZ and to see the ship itself.

Embarkation was easy. Royal uses iPads now to check in so no paper work has to be done, no filling out forms about any health issues, etc. That makes it faster.

The ship itself is massive making it hard to believe there are ships bigger like the Oasis class which is about 40 feet longer and quite a bit heavier. However despite the size and its nearly full capacity it didn't seem crowded except when people were lining up for the junk jewelry sale to begin in the promenade. Then it was rather crazy to get $10.00 items. Sometimes the lines in guest services were long too.

The ship was very well maintained and our overall service was excellent from our cabin attendant to the wait staff. They treated us very well.

I had a few problems on a previous cruise and with another issue in getting an air refund for a cruise that Royal cancelled so we received $150.00 OBC, 4 bottles of wine, 4 plates of chocolate covered strawberries and a fruit basket. Thank you very Royal! That is being pound wise and penny foolish and i do appreciate it.

Food is always a subjective issue. I don't expect fine dining as this is basically banquet food. What we had was generally very good and the staff went out of their way to make special Indian food for my wife above and beyond the Indian items on the daily menu including special breads, mango lassis and deserts. Again bravo! Well done! we chose not to use any of the speciality e.g. extra fee restaurants.

The shows were quite good too, that is the two done by the Royal troupe. There were other headliners too, some good, some so so. I would have liked to have seen more shows from the Royal Troupe, a very talented bunch. And don't miss Pixels! We saw it twice. Outstanding! We really liked 270 where this was performed and went to a few other shows there too. The group Rock the Boat was very good as well.

We did two Royal excursions, one private and one HOHO in Dunedin. By far the best tour was the train to the Peter Jackson owned museum of WW I aircraft in Picton. The ride was quaint and the museum was amazing.

We purchased a Royal tour for Wellington and went to a museum but decided to go on our own vs. following the appointed guide who seemed to be trying to hard to be funny and he was rather tiring actually.

We bought a private tour in Napier and that was quite nice. we stopped at a vineyard and I was able to get a NZ Cabernet Sauvignon which is hard to find here (Chicago) area and my local liquor store people said NZ doesn't have much of this type due to its cooler climate. However the whites there are excellent.

Disembarkation was a breeze too. One bag was not where it was supposed to be so I asked a worker ad she knew immediately where it was and somehow the tag came off so those are kept in a special location.

I did have one issue as we were being charged for two towels which they said were not returned. Your card is scanned upon getting them and returning them and at all times for the returns the attendants acknowledged me by name after scanning my card so I know they were returned and properly scanned back. I told this to guest services and mentioned they could even search my room if they wanted to. No problems, they emailed the pool office to not charge us for the towels.

One note is that we were late embarking as the previous cruise had the dreaded noro outbreak so more time was needed to sanitize the ship. We were fine and I did not hear of anyone becoming ill. I have been on a ship that had noro and word spreads fast. That doesn't mean no one got sick but it seems we were ok.

We did miss cruising thru NZ sounds as the Capt. said we had to avoid them to miss a storm. We ended up going into Dunedin a day early and staying two days so when we left we were back on schedule. Of note when we heard this announcement we were in the Windjammer and by the time we got back to our stateroom as promised the Capt. was on Royal tv explaining his decision, showing the alternative route and showing the storm path. We barely felt a ripple on our new course to Dunedin.

Overall this was a great time away, the ship is a marvel and I hope someday to cruise her again.

jacketwatch Jan 1st, 2018 08:49 AM

One more thing. Formal night attire was all over the map. We dressed up but I saw some people admitted it T-shirts and one gal 14 yrs. old admitted with short shorts that were nearly scandalous and a top which looked like fish net over a bra. Something else.

Others wore evening gowns and tuxedos.

Just the way it is these days. :S-.

Sassafrass Jan 1st, 2018 11:01 AM

Fun report. Thanks.
I still like dressing up a bit, shows some respect for others and sets a different mood and behavior. We took DD and GD out for dinner yesterday. The first thing she asked was, "Oh, what should I wear?" Loved that!

jacketwatch Jan 1st, 2018 01:14 PM

Yes, I agree. It doesn't hurt but apparently formal night wear is merely a paper tiger these days. I think either stick to the guide lines or drop them all together.

jacketwatch Jan 3rd, 2018 09:32 AM

No one hit the link above. It’s a link to porn and then you are redirected to a fake virus protection site.

jacketwatch Jan 3rd, 2018 09:34 AM

Actually it’s a fake Apple support site. AVOID.

Treesa Jan 3rd, 2018 02:26 PM

Thanks for the trip report, jacketwatch. Can you tell me the demographics on your particular sailing?

jacketwatch Jan 4th, 2018 08:11 AM

If you mean age I saw all ranges as this cruise out of Sydney was during their school holiday. My best guess is young to middle age adults and a fair number of seniors too.

As for nationality it was mostly Aussies of course as in embarked from there.

Does that cover it or is there anything else you are referring to?


Treesa Jan 4th, 2018 09:19 AM

Yes, Larry. Thank you so much.

jacketwatch Jan 4th, 2018 09:49 AM

No problem or no worries. :D.

tch912 Jan 4th, 2018 03:00 PM

As usual, an excellent trip report and another cruise I can dream about. How long was your flight from Chicago?

jacketwatch Jan 4th, 2018 04:28 PM

Thank you. The flight is a long story. UAL had a NS Chicago-SYD about 14 hrs. However I could not get a biz upgrade for the return and it would have cost 6k and 80k miles. We got two biz saver awards on Asiana from LAX to SYD via Seoul for $240.00 so we got our own flight to LA and stayed overnight. LAX to Seoul was about 11 hrs. with a 14 hr. layover so another hotel, then 10 yrs. to SYD.

It added a day but even with the added RT to LAX and the two hotel stays we saved about 4K.

jacketwatch Jan 10th, 2018 01:35 PM

Testing photo function

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