Australia has never before seen anything like Ovation of the Seas.
Last year, Royal Caribbean brought Australia right back up to speed in 21st century cruising when it committed to bring one of its brand new ships to local waters. For years, cruise lines viewed Australia as an emerging market, preferring to send its newest cabins to established markets in Europe and North America. Sure, it was a gamble but it has paid off, with local cruisers virtually climbing over themselves to secure a cabin. Ovation of the Seas‘ maiden season was 90% sold before such demand saw the brand add four more sailings this week.
When Aussies hop onboard Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, they will be greeted by a world of entertainment and dining options, all crawling with state-of-the-art technology designed to tattoo an eternal memory into each passenger’s mind. With so many highlights across the length and breadth of this ship, choosing just five was a challenge, but here we go.
Securing a table at one of the world’s most exclusive restaurant brands on land can be difficult enough – so you will need to book well ahead to do so at Jamie’s Italian on Ovation of the Seas. Boasting menus designed by its celebrity namesake – British chef Jamie Oliver – guests will enjoy Oliver’s unique twist on traditional Italian cooking.
Rustic Italian dishes will be prepared using high-quality ingredients, beginning with antipasti plates featuring cured meats and cheeses. A range of dishes using freshly made pasta will be on offer such as Spaghetti Vongole or Prawn Linguine, peacefully ended with decadent desserts. For those seeking a simpler option, a number of classic favourites will also be open for selection including Spiced Chicken Wings, Arancini and Crispy Squid.
No less than six different activities are possible at SeaPlex – a huge multi-purpose venue which can have things going on all day and night. At any one time, as many as 30 dodgem cars can be bumping their way around, or if they are packed away, the venue can become a roller skating rink. High above, trapeze equipment is in place for guests to safely learn a few circus skills, while a basketball hoop will also hang on the walls for a game of hoops.
On the second level, one side will feature an XBox Arena where kids of all ages can engage in some video games and on the other side, a number of table tennis tables will be set up. SexPlex will be a classic example of making the absolute most out of a very limited space.
If ever a venue could be classified as having multiple personalities, Two70 would be it. A panoramic theatre spanning almost three decks in height, glass wraparound windows are used to provide a comfortable living room space for guests to enjoy during the day. At night though is when this venue is set to come alive as it delivers an immersive light and music entertainment concept with those same windows doubling as screens to heighten the senses.
Even those with the wildest of imaginations are likely to be surprised at what can be served up at Wonderland. If you had a blank sheet of paper, all the ingredients in the world and were limited only by what can fit on a plate, you might be getting close. Described as “a feast for the senses”, chefs work their expertise to present platters of dreamscape fare.
Featuring a menu with titles such as Sun, Ice, Fire, Water, Earth and Dreams, guests might not be so sure just what is coming their way, a mystery only heightened by potion-like beverages served up with labels reading “Drink Me”. Items will be served at different temperatures, in different portion sizes and reflecting different flavours, guests will be able to choose from items such as Liquid Lobster, Vanishing Noodles and Boston Cream Pie Maze. If you aren’t still tasting it the next morning, you’ll probably still be talking about it.
At first glance, the North Star is one of those things where you wonder why somebody had thought to do something like this before? To the casual observer, it seems like such a simple idea. Basically, it is a London Eye-style capsule attached to a giant robotic arm which extends over 90 metres above and over the side of the ship to provide a brand new view of the ship below. Simple right?
However because indeed nobody had done it before, the attraction will be popular most times of the day – don’t worry, you can make reservations for a timeslot to turn up for a ride. Depending on weather conditions and whether or not the ship is in port, The North Star may not be operational, so set aside time for it during a fine day at sea.
All eyes will be on Sydney Harbour on 15 December when Ovation of the Seas provides Sydney port authorities with, quite literally, their biggest challenge ever. Despite having been extended recently, her stay will be brief at just over two months but in this time, tens of thousands of Aussies will be welcomed onboard for her journeys to New Zealand. The countdown is on, and the anticipation is sure to continue to build until it reaches zero.