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LUXURY CRUISE: Ovation of the seas

Quivering with excitement The Luxury Travel Bible’s cruise columnist abandoned her quill and hit Send to share the biggest news in Australia’s cruise industry to date.  In an historic first, Royal Caribbean International will home port the brand new megaliner Ovation of the Seas in Sydney, the largest cruise ship ever to sail from Australia.  Ovation of the Seas is the third ship in the revolutionary new Quantum Class vessels and is being built in Germany as we speak. She is scheduled to arrive in Sydney in December 2016 in readiness for the peak summer cruise season. 

Her vital statistics are: 168,000 GRT; 348m long; over 50m tall; 41m wide; 16 guest decks; a cruising speed of 22 knots, and will carry almost 5,000 passengers and 1500 crew.According to Gavin Smith, regional vice president, Royal Caribbean, Asia Pacific, “Royal Caribbean has been breaking the boundaries in Australian cruising since we arrived in 2007, but today we have completely changed the face of the cruise industry, making the single largest investment in Australia by any cruise line.‘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. 

‘We dream big at Royal Caribbean. We create the world’s most imaginative holidays and this has never been truer than for Quantum Class ships’, Mr Smith said. Quantum of the Seas made her debut in 2014 to much fanfare, and TLTB’s sources who were on board for the launch said the ship provided the best fun they ever had.

Many of the attributes and amenities on Quantum of the Seas will be repeated on Ovation of the Seas such as: The North Star aerial observatory which offers breathtaking 360 degree views more than 90 metres above the sea; then there is RipCord by iFly - the first skydiving experience at sea which allows everyone from first-time flyers to seasoned skydivers to experience the sheer thrill and exhilaration of skydiving in a safe, controlled environment.Whether you prefer you martini shaken not stirred, at The Bionic Bar, guests can order their favourite cocktail via a tablet before two bionic arms create the perfect mix in tune to the resident DJ,  shaking and stirring without spilling a drop and without human assistance.

But wait, there’s more.  SeaPlex is the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea. There’s all the fun of the fair with  bumper cars, a full-size basketball court, rollerskating, a circus school and more. And then there is the radio frequency wristband technology that does away with the need to carry a cabin key, and a dedicated app which lets guests book onboard experiences with their own device such as restaurant bookings.

There are 18 restaurants in all each offering their own distinctive culinary journeys. Five  complimentary full-service restaurants replace the traditional , common main dining room, while the variety of specialty restaurants will wow even the savviest foodies.  And foodie megastar Jamie Oliver’s restaurant Jamie’s Italian will be a big attraction.

But where to sleep? Ovation of the Seas’s staterooms will have 1571 balcony, 148 outside, 375 virtual, plus 34 wheelchair accessible, 16 family connected for multi-generational use, 12 studio with balconies and 16 interior staterooms.By now, the Savvy Sailor would be in need of some serious retail therapy, so she would head straight for The Via on the Royal Esplanade to peruse the merchandise at Cartier, Kiehl’s, Bulgari and Hublot.    

RCL Cruises Ltd Australia  offers three cruise brands in Australia and New Zealand: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises. In the 2015/2016 local cruise season Royal Caribbean International will increase the local fleet to four ships: Legend of the Seas home porting in Brisbane; along with Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas home porting in Sydney.  Celebrity Solstice will also sail her fourth local season in 2015/16. 

Luxury Cruise Link: www.royalcaribbean.com 
  Maggy Oehlbeck 15/4/15
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