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When you’re looking at a ship like Ovation of the Seas, it can be hard to get your head around just how big it is. With a capacity of 4180 passengers and more than 14 decks plus multiple dining and entertainment options, there is almost too much to do. This is especially true if you’re on one of the shorter sailings. To make the most of your time on board, you need a well-organised plan and some insider Ovation of the Seas tips and tricks to help you have a fantastic cruise. Here are our top 10 Ovation of the Seas tips for your next cruise on Royal Caribbean’s mega ship.

Ovation of the Seas

1. Take care with your cabin choice

As with all ships, there are good, bad and downright terrible cabins. When you’re travelling on a megaship, it’s important to choose the right cabin. Avoid cabins directly under or above the restaurants and pool decks as these can be noisy, especially with so many passengers onboard. Your ideal placement is in the centre of the ship on the lower decks for the calmest cruise experience with minimal motion from the ocean. Do some research and try to choose your own cabin instead of letting the cruise line choose for you. Opting for a cheaper Guarantee cabin on Ovation of the Seas is a decision you could come to regret as it’s the equivalent of Russian Roulette.

2. Book as much as possible in advance using the Cruise Planner

When you log into the Royal Caribbean website, simply go to the ‘Already Booked’ option with your details and start pre-booking as much as you can before getting on board to avoid disappointments. This also gives you a check-in boarding time and the earlier you cheek in, the earlier time slot for boarding you’ll be able to select. If you do miss out in the first instance, don’t get too stressed as slots are also saved for “walk-ups”.  Another great option on the first day of your cruise is to go directly to the restaurant or activity venues as soon as you board and book one of the available times you would prefer.

Sky Loft Suite

3. Come prepared and study the deck plan

It might seem obvious but I can guarantee most passengers on board will go with the flow and wander aimlessly for days and still not see all of the ship. By spending a little bit of time with the deck plan, especially with your room in mind, you will not only save time but lots of energy with stairs and waiting for lifts. You will also get orientated early in relation to restaurants, activities and shows which believe me will save your legs a lot. If you’re a senior traveller, these megaship tips for seniors are a big help. With a length of 348m over 14 decks, simply walking back and forth a few times to venues will have you racking up thousands of steps each day. If you are taking the stairs rather than the elevator, your thighs are probably going to hurt a lot if you aren’t sure where you’re going, something I learned the hard way.

4. Download the Royal IQ app

From checking in to planning your onboard activities, you can do it all with the Royal Caribbean app. This app lets you scan your passport and take your security photo so you can get processed and onto the ship in a super quick time. The app lets you jump the queues at Guest Services for booking and reservations for dining, shows and activities when you’re onboard – a must when you’re competing for space with so many other passengers. There is also a daily guide of activities and opening times for all the ship’s facilities plus any highlights for the day available on the app. Download it for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and once you’re onboard, you’ll be able to use it for free by connecting to the Guest Wi-Fi network without purchasing an internet package.

Download the Royal IQ app
Download the Royal IQ app

5. Bring a day bag on embarkation day

On embarkation day, bring a day bag with all the essentials you might want while waiting for your luggage to arrive at your room. With so many passengers boarding the ship, it can take a while for your luggage to be delivered on Ovation of the Seas. Things like a change of clothes and swimmers, hats, sunscreen, iPad, charging cables, medications, and basic toiletries are very handy to have. All the pools will be open so take advantage of them on the first day when crowds are low.

6. Try the Ovation of the Seas activities

Look at trying all the Ovation of the Seas activities on offer and get out of your comfort zone. I had a 70-year-old grandmother on my cruise who did the FlowRider each day before her bingo/bridge games. Another near 80-year-old gentleman was able to do 360 spins on the FlowRider by the end of our trip, a trick that the majority of use failed at mastering. The iFly indoor sky diving is a definite must-do and you don’t need to be super fit to enjoy it. There are also bumper cars, roller skating and rock climbing and an Escape Room to keep you from getting bored.

7. Buy a dining package

For foodies or those after a higher degree of dining pleasure, then a dining package is the way to go. This is a pre-purchased package of either a 3 restaurant package or the unlimited package that lets you do specialty dining every day. This will save you around 40 percent off the price of the specialty restaurant cover charges. With a great choice of restaurants like Chops Grille, Wonderland, and Jamie’s Italian, you might have a tough time choosing what’s best to try first or to save for a special night.

Enjoy the Flowrider and iFly

8. Take advantage of the shore days

If the ship is visiting a port that’s not that interesting for you or you’ve been there before, consider staying onboard and planning a ship day. Most of the onboard activities like the FlowRider and iFly operate on port days when most of the other passengers are onshore. You’ll also have the pools and other common areas pretty much to yourself. There are also spa specials of up to 50 percent off sometimes plus you won’t encounter any queues for dining or spots like the coffee shop.

Wonderland Restaurant

9. There are no Australian power points

You will need an adapter for your electrical equipment if you are cruising in Australia, so come prepared. The desk has two USB ports so you will be able to charge devices, such as iPhones and iPads, without a plug. Pack a travel adapter for US or EU plugs for charging non-USB devices. Do not bring power boards or irons as they will be confiscated as a fire risk during boarding. You do get them back at the end of the cruise but you won’t be able to use them onboard.

10. Budget for the pricing in US dollars

All costs on board are in US dollars so you’ll need to budget accordingly as the exchange rate adds around 30 percent to everything if you’re in Australia and not earning US dollars. When you pay your bill, opt to pay in US dollars. If you pay in Australian currency, you will use the ship’s exchange rate which is not as good as the one offered by your financial institution.

Want more great cruise advice? Check out our tips for choosing the perfect cruise, cruising with grandchildren, cruising with tweens and cruising with kids of all ages, solo cruising, the best activities on Ovation of the Seas, doing a Transatlantic cruise with kids, cruising in Australia or Papua New Guinea, Iceland cruise tips, cruising on a megaship, scoring a bargain cruise fare, cruising the Mediterranean, making the most of a cruise ship kids club, luxury cruising with kids, and the Byron Beach Club onboard P&O Cruises. We have also reviewed Disney Wonder, Pacific Adventure, Celebrity Edge, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas, Pacific Encounter, Carnival Splendor, Voyager of the Seas, Nieuw Statendam, Viking Helgrim, Pride of America, Coral Expeditions in Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef, Celebrity Solstice, and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.

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Trevor Templeman is a photographer and writer who travels the world capturing the essence of locations through their landscape, architecture and people. His words and photographs are published in magazines, newspapers and online around the world.