Expect the unexpected on the ultimate holiday at sea. Awonderful way to spend a holiday is on the largest cruise liner in Asia and the fourth largest in the world.
Starting out from Singapore, I was to take a four-day cruise on the Ovation Of The Seas. I had never been on a cruise ship before and had no idea what to expect. As I stepped on board I was awestruck with what I found, it was huge and more like a floating five-star hotel than a ship. Not only that, unlike my previous nautical adventures, this ship did not pitch and roll; it was silky smooth gliding effortlessly through the water like a bird.
Ovation of the Seas is the 24th ship to be added to the Royal Caribbean International cruise fleet. It has a total of 18 decks of which 16 are guest decks and measures 347 meters in length and 41 meters in width. The ship provides 2,091 staterooms in several configurations; interior staterooms with virtual balconies, ocean view staterooms and balcony staterooms and suites that, all in all, can accommodate up to 4,905 guests. To provide impeccable service to such a vast number of guests, the ship has a crew of 1,500.
My stateroom had its own private balcony facing the ocean, a sitting area with a sofa bed, a private bathroom with a shower and vanity area and equipped with a TV, telephone, safe, hairdryer and a tea and coffee maker.
The beauty of going on a cruise is that the price includes your room on a twin share basis and all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), not to mention the 24-hour café, as well as the use of facilities including the swimming pool, fitness centre, bumper cars, soccer and roller skating. Guests never get boredB on the Ovation of the Seas with a casino and free world-class entertainment such as Pixels, Live Love Legs and live band performances.
Ovation of the Seas offers numerous onboard restaurants serving a broad selection of cuisine from all around the world. The main complimentary restaurants are Silk, The Grande Restaurant, American Icon Grill, Chic, Solarium Bistro and the Coastal Kitchen (for Suite Guest). Other complimentary but more laid back options are the Windjammer Marketplace (a buffet restaurant offering a great variety of Asian and Western food) the 24-hour Sorrento’s and The Café @Two70. For something more upmarket there are also signature restaurants where you will need to pay, these include Jamie’s Italian, Chops Grille, Wonderland, Michael’s Genuine Pub, Izumi Japanese Cuisine and the Chef’s Table.
While you are on board, there are two activities you should not miss: the North Star observation capsule and the RipCord by iFly. These are best enjoyed while at sea.
North Star is an observation capsule that takes you up in the air about 300 feet above sea level to admire breathtaking 360-degree views of the ocean and the ship’s surroundings. Each capsule ride lasts around 15 minutes and can accommodate 14 people and a staff member.
One of the most popular activities, the RipCord by iFly, is rather like skydiving but without being high in the sky. An instructional video is shown, and then each participant puts on a special jumpsuit complete with goggles, helmet, and earplugs. A certified instructor is beside you to keep you safe during the one-minute session which takes place inside a 23foot tall indoor vertical wind tunnel. It is an exhilarating and unforgettable experience. The RipCord is very popular, so an advance booking is advisable to make sure you get a turn.
The galley tour is well worth a look giving you an insight into what goes on behind the scenes. You are taken to the main galley where the executive chef explains the hustle and bustle of the lively kitchens. What I found amazing was that all baked items are made fresh every day so, as the chef explained, the pastry kitchen is working 24 hours a day to make sure there is a regular supply of fresh bread, cakes and pastries.
Everything is fully organised, the ship is kept in immaculate condition at all times, and the crew are well trained and very helpful. The four-day trip includes a 5-hour visit to Penang on the second day which is highly recommended. The cruise is suitable for everyone, for all tastes and all ages, and is real value for money allowing you to enjoy your holiday to the fullest without breaking the budget. I even found groups who were on board to hold planning meetings away from the work environment allowing them to relax and free up their minds for a more creative process. For those who love shopping, no worries, there is an abundance of well-known boutique brands on board such as Cartier, Omega, Kate Spade, Michael Kors and more.
I found the cruise an awesome adventure. For people who have never been on board a cruise ship I would highly recommend that you give it a try, I suspect you will be both pleasantly surprised and very impressed by the experience. (www.royalcaribbean.com)