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Shanenz84

Ovation to the South Pacific! - February 22-29, 2020

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Hi all!

My first live blog! This upcoming cruise is for 7 nights from Sydney, Australia visiting Noumea, New Caledonia & Mystery Island, Vanuatu. My first time on a Quantum-Class ship and will be staying in a "Family" Junior Suite on Deck 10. Itinerary is as below, we are docked in Noumea and will tender at Mystery Island. More details to come. 

Accommodation:
Junior Suite (Family) on Deck 10 - Sea Class

Activities/Entertainment:
Rip Cord by I-fly (Day 2) 
Northstar (Day 3)
Pixels (Day 6) 

Excursions
Noumea: Noumea city tour + Wine & Cheese Tasting (RCI excursion)

Dining:  
Solarium Bistro (Day 1)

Wonderland (Day 3)
Jamies Italian (Day 5) 
Coastal Kitchen (hopefully!!) 

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Pre-Cruise stay

3 nights in Sydney - staying close to Circular Quay - Harbour and within walking distance of the Cruise Terminal. 

Pre-Cruise observations

On our specific cruise forum (on facebook) there is lots of speculation about itinerary changes. The current Voyager cruise has had to change out Vanuatu and some of the islands in New Caledonia for an overnight stay in Tauranga, New Zealand. However we will just have to wait until closer to the cruise as no changes have been communicated as yet so until then we assume no changes and everything as planned.  

RoyalUp Bid

Chances are pretty slim (with Suites) but have submitted RoyalUp bids on the following:

  • Grand Suite - 1 bedroom
  • Grand Suite - 1 bedroom (large balcony)
  • Grand Suite - 2 bedroom
  • Owners Suite

 

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Day 1 - Pre-cruise 

Finally...Here we go! Work all done and time to pack! Flight is tommorow from Auckland, New Zealand (my home) to Sydney, Australia at around 4pm NZ time. It’s about a 3 hour flight. 

Just like RoyalUp, Air New Zealand have OneUp so Premium Economy upgrade approved! A great start to the holiday. Will be in Sydney for 3 nights pre-cruise. 

Further Day 1 updates to come. 

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6 hours ago, Shanenz84 said:

Day 1 - Pre-cruise 

Finally...Here we go! Work all done and time to pack! Flight is tommorow from Auckland, New Zealand (my home) to Sydney, Australia at around 4pm NZ time. It’s about a 3 hour flight. 

Just like RoyalUp, Air New Zealand have OneUp so Premium Economy upgrade approved! A great start to the holiday. Will be in Sydney for 3 nights pre-cruise. 

Further Day 1 updates to come. 

Have a great trip !

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Day 1 continued - Pre-Cruise 

After packing completed, off to Auckland International Airport. With Premium Check-in it’s a fast transit through into the departure area. A great flight of just on 3 hours. A 3 course meal for dinner and managed to watch a movie. (Menu attached) 
 

Once in Sydney took the train to Central (Sydney has an excellent Airport Line!) then transferred to the new Light Rail Line to the hotel close to Circular Quay (Cruise terminal) Good weather and about 28 degrees celcius. 

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Day 2 - Pre-Cruise (Sydney)

The first full day in Sydney, managed to explore a lot of the City Centre. Did some shopping at Myer & David Jones department stores and also lunch at the Gateway Sydney which is basically a more upmarket food court.

Explored around Circular Quay seeing the Harbour bridge and of course the Sydney Opera House.

Also got a good look at the ship in port today which was the (rather rusty looking?!) P&O Arcadia on it’s world cruise of 99 days!! A relaxed afternoon and evening followed. 

 

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Day 4 - Cruise Day!!! 

After a leisurely start to the day, checked out of accommodation at 11am. Then proceeded to the cruise terminal via the light rail. Boarding times were being enforced, but managed to get on after 12.30pm. Expedited arrival made the process quick and barely 15 min later was on board Ovation!! We set sail at 5pm. 
 

First impressions

Of course you notice the size to start with! Also being barely 4 years old everything is relatively new. I’ve found the ship very well laid out and each space flows into the other really well. You also definitely know there is somewhere around 4,500 people on board but haven’t had any big issues as yet. 
 

The Room 

Very impressive. The Family Junior Suite is a great room. Well laid out and plenty of storage. Also is generous size of around 300sqft. One unique feature is there is 2 bathrooms in this category one is just a toilet and basin the other has a bath and shower combo. 
 

Solarium Bistro - Dinner 

Had dinner booked at 8pm, the space is lovely but unfortunately was not so impressed with the dinner. Ordered the pasta of the day which was Spaghetti Bolonaise which came barely warm and very bland and tasteless. 

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Day 2 & 3 - At Sea 

After a few port stops I’ve finally got some time to come back to update. There was a bit of swell on day 2 so a bit of movement on the ship. Spent Day 2 mainly relaxing on deck and around the pool not a lot of sunshine but still very warm. 

Fish & Ships (Day 2) 

Enjoyed fish & chips for lunch. Half of the menu is complimentary which is great. Tasty fish and chips! 

Sorrentos (Day 2) 

Went for casual dinner on Day 2 instead of Main Dining. Pizza was very good! 

Wonderland (Day 3) 

Dinner here was fantastic and whimsical. What a fabulous experience and I’d most recommend! 
 

Headliner show: Steve Larkins (Day 3) 

Show on Day 3 was “A tribute to Freddie Mercury” which was both a energetic and entertaining show! 
 

70s Disco Party (Day 3) 

This was quite the party that shook Two70. The dancers, singers and overall atmosphere was awesome the place was packed and the sound system was amazing! 

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Day 4 - Noumeá, New Caledonia 

Our first port stop was Noumeá the main city of New Caledonia. Which is a French outpost. Arrived into the container port on time around 7.30am due to our size. There was in that case a bus shuttle to the City Centre (only about 5 minutes). 

Our Shore excursion wasn’t until 1pm so got off around 9.00am and had a walk around the centre and waterfront. It ain’t the prettiest city centre that’s for sure but managed to get a French pastry and enjoy an hour or so and take in the local sights. 

Returned to ship after that and then got off for the excursion at 1pm. This was the Noumeá sights and wine & cheese tasting tour (2hr 30). We started on a bus journey and went through various points of interest and local spots and lookouts. Let’s say out of the city Centre it’s a completely different place and quite beautiful. 

Sail away was 5pm and we left right on time. Beautiful views exiting the harbour. 

Dinner at Coastal Kitchen

Managed to get a booking for dinner here firstly i noticed how serene the space was and how nicely decorated it was as well. Service was definitely superb and the food a step up from the main dining room. 

Show - A Beautiful Dream 

One of the headline shows on Ovation which used the spectacular sets, lighting and choreography that the ship has and despite a slightly confused beginning ended up being a throughly enjoyable show. 

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On 2/26/2020 at 4:50 PM, Shanenz84 said:

Fish & Ships (Day 2) 

Enjoyed fish & chips for lunch. Half of the menu is complimentary which is great. Tasty fish and chips! 

Really?! I had no idea they had complimentary items at Fish &s Ships, I didn't see that on the menu posted online. I wonder if it's ship specific? We're sailing on Independence in May and if that's another place for some snackage to score for the Faa-Reeee that would be awesome!

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16 minutes ago, CruzOnBye said:

Really?! I had no idea they had complimentary items at Fish &s Ships, I didn't see that on the menu posted online. I wonder if it's ship specific? We're sailing on Independence in May and if that's another place for some snackage to score for the Faa-Reeee that would be awesome!

Sadly it is ship dependent.  Indy hasn't included free items, Ovation does, at least so far.  

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Day 5 - Mystery Island, Vanuatu 

The last port stop. Arrived into Mystery Island, Vanuatu at around 7.30am. This is a tender port and is only inhabited when a cruise ship visits. There is a local village which comes over for the day by sea and no one lives on the island. 

Weather wasn’t the greatest as showers off and on but proceeded to the island around 11am. A short 5 min tender ride. The island is beautiful lots of lush palm trees and vegetation and some clear waters. There is also market stalls like hair braiding, souvenirs etc. 

We left at 5pm later than the originally proposed 3.30pm on the itinerary this gave extra time on the island which was great. It also meant a bit more speed on the way back to Sydney. Almost 23 knots at one point! 

Bionic Bar 

You have to give it a go once! A fun experience and seeing all the stats of the drinks was interesting on the screens. 

Dinner at Jamies Italian 

A throughly enjoyable experience! Top notch Italian! 

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Day 6 & 7 - At Sea

As we left the islands the clouds cleared and we had relatively calm seas and sunshine! Two full sea days allowed a lot of time to explore the ship and do some of the activities on board. Attended the Captains Corner in the morning which was both informative and interesting, the chief engineer was particularly funny! Also he seemed to mention about “Wonder of the Seas” being based half year in China and half year in Australia in 2021. First time I’ve heard that rumour.. The captain was sailing his last cruise before a much deserved break.

Day 6 there was the signature ‘Vegas style’ show called “Live, Love & Legs” this was a spectacular show in the main theatre with excellent lighting, music and costumes – a real highlight show. After this was the “Ovation Rocks” party which was in Two70 and was involving some of the dancers with commentary from the cruise director. Another enjoyable night. Day 7 was a relatively low key day being the last one and making sure to do everything before disembarkation tomorrow. Went to see the signature Two70 show (the only one requiring a reservation) "Pixels" in the early evening, this was technologically advanced show and utilised all elements of the space, people from the ceiling, the rear screen and the robotic screens. Very much enjoyed this show.

Went to the “Farewell Showtime” show after that on Day 7 which was a variety of acts.

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Day 8 - The last day!! 😞 

What was unique in returning to Sydney was "Spectrum of the Seas" anchored in the harbour and we passed it on the way into the cruise port. First time these two ships have met. The view back into port is stunning with all the city lights, harbour bridge and opera house in view. We were quickly off the ship (as always) by around 8.30am with the last guests basically gone before 9! Then the return back home to New Zealand with the flight in the afternoon. 

Coming soon - Overall cruise review and observations. 

 

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On 2/9/2020 at 4:29 PM, Shanenz84 said:

3 nights in Sydney - staying close to Circular Quay - Harbour and within walking distance of the Cruise Terminal. 

 

On 2/19/2020 at 3:49 PM, Shanenz84 said:

Once in Sydney took the train to Central (Sydney has an excellent Airport Line!) then transferred to the new Light Rail Line to the hotel close to Circular Quay (Cruise terminal) Good weather and about 28 degrees celcius. 

Quick question.  Why didn't you just stay on the train and get off at Circular Quay?  I was under the impression (admittedly with only minimal research) that all trains from the airport went to Circular Quay.

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2 hours ago, StayFrosty said:

 

Quick question.  Why didn't you just stay on the train and get off at Circular Quay?  I was under the impression (admittedly with only minimal research) that all trains from the airport went to Circular Quay.

Hi there, yes you are right all trains to go to Circular Quay. We were staying near Bridge Street which is about 3 blocks south of Circular Quay which has a light rail stop right outside the hotel so much easier with luggage! 🙂

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