For so long, Australia has been forgotten by the major cruise lines. But over the past 10 years, the great southern land has become the world’s premier cruise country, percentage wise. We now have a great selection of ships here for both our cruise season and year round. Australians love to cruise and soon we will raise the bar even higher, when Ovation graces our shores, writes John Pond, editor at sea.
Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas is to be based in Australia for 2016-17 season. Royal Caribbean International, the world’s largest cruise brand, have announced that Australia will welcome its very own brand new cruise ship for the first time when Ovation of the Seas arrives in Sydney for the peak summer season from December 2016.
This is not just another cruise ship – it will be state of the art, with more attractions and things to do on board than any other ship based here.
Currently under construction in Germany and with a price tag of USD$1 billion, the Quantum Class megaliner will not only claim the title of the largest cruise ship to ever call Australia home – carrying almost 5,000 guests and 1,500 crew – but will be the most technologically advanced ship to visit our shore.
“While we’ve introduced many firsts to Australia, including the newest, largest and most modern megaliners with features like ice skating and surfing at sea, this is the very first time any cruise line in the world has home ported a brand new ship in Australia,” Royal Caribbean’s Asia Pacific regional vice president Gavin Smith says.
“Ovation of the Seas will completely redefine the idea of cruising in Australia, taking the industry to the next level by offering a host of incredible never-before- seen features and technologies.
“Currently under construction in Germany and with a price tag of USD$1 billion, the Quantum Class megaliner will not only claim the title of the largest cruiseship to ever call Australia home.”
“This demonstrates our belief in, and long term commitment to, the Australian cruising market … Australians shouldn’t need to travel overseas to experience the kind of cruise holiday we stand for; the most innovative and amazing ships anywhere in the world are available right here on your doorstep.”
The North Star aerial observatory offers breathtaking 360 degree views more than 90 metres above the sea. In a jewel-like capsule, a robotic arm elevates guests high into the sky, taking in the sights from a bird’s eye view wherever in the world the ship happens to be.
The Bionic Bar lets guests place an order for their favourite cocktail via a computer tablet, before two incredible bionic arms create the perfect mix in tune to the resident DJ, shaking and stirring great cocktails without any human assistance.
Guests onboard the SmartShip will be more connected than on any other cruise ship in the world, with high speed wi-fi allowing them to stay in touch and share more of their experiences with friends and family onshore. Radio frequency wristband technology does away with the need to carry a cabin key, and a dedicated app, Royal iQ, lets guests book onboard experiences from their own device, including making a booking at any of the 18 distinct restaurants.
Quantum Class ships feature cuisine as vast and varied as the world itself. These dining destinations range from fun to formal settings, including partnerships with world renowned chefs, such as the much-loved “Jamie’s Italian” from Jamie Oliver at sea.
Jamie Oliver says, “I’m super-excited that Ovation of the Seas will be sailing out of Australia, and with a Jamie’s Italian on board! This will be our third restaurant with Royal Caribbean, and it’s been a real honour to work with their team. The response we’ve had to Quantum of the Seas – our first restaurant at sea – has been brilliant, so it just makes me even more excited for this one to open”.
SeaPlex will be the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, offering bumper cars, a basketball court, roller skating, circus school and more.
Ovation of the Seas is the third ship in the ground-breaking Quantum Class and will be the fifth ship in the Royal Caribbean Australian fleet for summer 2016-17, joining four other superliners – Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas in Sydney and Legend of the Seas in Brisbane, offering an expansive range of the newest, most modern and exciting style of cruising Australians have ever experienced.
More about the cruise
Just how much will all this cost? I am told cruise fares will start from $199 a day. Bookings for Ovation of the Seas’ maiden Australian season can now be made, but guests are encouraged to register their interest at www.royalcaribbean.com.au Ovation to receive information on her sailings down under.
This ship is bound to be a winner and cabins are sure to be snapped up. I look forward to cruising on her.