Fear not if you have been unable to secure a cabin on Royal Caribbean’s amazing new megaship Ovation of the Seas for a cruise out of Australia during its maiden local season from 15 December this year. More opportunity appear to be on the way.
As-yet unannounced by the cruise line and according to published port schedules, the ship is now set to return for a second season next year, arriving in Sydney on 07 December 2017. After a one-night sampler cruise, the season proper will begin one day later on 08 December. Departures from Sydney are also scheduled for the 17th and 29th of December as well as 10 January 2018, 19 January, 27 January and 04 February.
Ovation‘s final departure of the season from Sydney will be on 18 February when it will return to Asia, retracing its arrival route by heading south to Hobart and around the southern and western coastlines of Australia. All in all, the 2017/18 season will be twice the length of its maiden year with eight individual departures instead of four.
Operationally, the second visit of Royal Caribbean’s sparkling new ship will be much like its first, with New Zealand likely to be the destination served on each departure, the exception of course being its repositioning voyages between Asia and Australia. While this is unconfirmed, port and harbour facilities in Vanuatu, Noumea and Fiji are inadequate to accommodate a ship of Ovation‘s size, effectively ruling out the South Pacific as an option.
Like its first year however, the ship will enter local waters via the west coast, visiting Fremantle on 29 November 2017 and Hobart on 05 December 2017, two days before it reaches Sydney. Cruise aficionados in Western Australia will have one more chance to see Ovation during its second season on its return trip to Asia when it stops once more in Fremantle on 26 February 2018. Neither Melbourne nor Adelaide will see the ship at all during its second year here.
Floating as a completed ship for the first time last weekend, Ovation of the Seas is now berthed at its German shipyard and is being fitted with its interior furnishings & decorations, including bedding for nearly 5,000 passengers. Facilities at their disposal will include the North Star viewing capsule which soars over 90 metres into the air above and to the side of the ship, the RipCord by iFly indoor skydiving tube, the SeaPlex floor which hosts basketball, roller skating and dodgem cars, bionic robot bartenders and a plethora of new dining outlets.
The ship will also be the first in Australia to offer the Dynamic Dining concept, which sees guests willing to prepay all gratuities able to exercise the option to dine in any venue included in the fare, with whomever they wish and at anytime they wish during opening hours. Specialty venues will remain at a surcharge but tables can be booked online ahead of departure or onboard via a number of interactive kiosks.