>  Cruising   >  Quantum or Ovation of the Seas: Which ship should I choose?

With just two years between them, these two Royal Caribbean Quantum class ships are reminiscent of sisters who share a friendly rivalry. One is slightly older and seems more exotic as she hasn’t been seen in Australia before. Ovation of the Seas, the fun loving younger sibling, is already well known to Australian cruisers and is returning for another season sailing out of Sydney. Both ships are terrific in their own way but like most potential suitors, you will probably favour one over the other. Once you’ve chosen your preferred ship, check out our tips and tricks for Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas.

Destinations and departure ports

When it comes to destinations nothing really separates these two ships but they are based in different states. Quantum of the Seas is based out of Brisbane while Ovation of the Seas is sailing out of Sydney, the same port she has always been based at when the ship comes to Australia. Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas both offer Australian, South Pacific and New Zealand itineraries with an appealing mix of Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Island ports. If you would like to head down to the southern parts of Australia and time is short, it may make more sense to opt for Ovation as this ship’s home port is closer to Australia’s southern states. If you’re planning on cruising around Queensland, the same goes for Quantum of the Seas which is based in Brisbane.

Ovation of the Seas in Sydney
Ovation of the Seas sails from Sydney

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Size and sleeping

There is a difference in the number of decks with Quantum of the Seas having 16 decks in total while Ovation has 18 but both ships have an almost identical number of staterooms. There is just a three cabin difference between each of them. Quantum of the Seas accommodates 2,094 cabins spread over 14 decks while Ovation of the Seas has 2,091 cabins spread over 16 decks. When it comes to staterooms, balconies are a major feature with both ships devoting around 75 percent of their accommodation options to veranda or outside cabins. Both ships offer a choice of inside (all of which have Virtual Balcony screens), outside, veranda, and suite staterooms. Ovation of the Seas has one additional Studio cabin for solo travellers: 28 vs 27 on Quantum of the Seas.  

Studio cabin on Quantum of the Seas
Both ships offer Studio Staterooms for solo travellers

Dining and bars

Prior to Quantum of the Seas’ refurbishment in 2019, the ship was firmly aimed at the Asian market with a limited number of Western dining options compared to Ovation of the Seas. This has since changed and the restaurants and bars are now similar on both ships. Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas both have the following drinking and dining venues: Wonderland, Jamie’s Italian, Coastal Kitchen, Izumi Japanese Cuisine, Chef’s Table, Chops Grille, SeaPlex Dog House, Sorrento’s, Café Promenade, La Patisserie, Solarium Bistro, Windjammer, and The Café @ Two70.  Both ships also have the Chic, Silk , American Icon Grill, and The Grande Main Dining Rooms. There are also some different drinking and dining venues depending on which ship you are on.

Each ship has a pub and both of them are virtually identical. You’ll find the Harp and Horn on Quantum of the Seas and the Amber and Oak on Ovation of the Seas. Quantum of the Seas has an Asian cafe near the kid’s pool area. Not to be outdone, Ovation of the Seas also has Fish & Ships, a casual seafood café. However, there’s a major difference between these two venues. Some dishes are free at the Asian cafe on Quantum but Fish and Ships costs extra. If you’re travelling with kids or your holiday budget is tight, the fact one of these family friendly venues is chargeable gives Quantum an edge over Ovation of the Seas.

Fish & Ships on Ovation of the SEas
Fish & Ships on Ovation of the Seas

Activities and entertainment

Both ships offer impressive and slightly different entertainment. Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas both have the following entertainment options and activities: North Star, FlowRider, SeaPlex, iFly, Bionic Bar, Music Hall, sports court, rock climbing wall, outdoor movie screen, two outdoor pools, two indoor pools, four whirlpools, Casino Royale, Royal Theatre, Bolero’s, Schooner Bar, Adventure Ocean, Video Arcade, Vitality at Sea Spa, and Fitness Centre. Quantum of the Seas also has two additional activity options: the Royal Escape Room and Laser Tag. Laser tag and the Escape Room are both complimentary. Another major point of difference is both ships have different shows. Ovation of the Seas has Pixels, Live Love Legs, and The Dream. On Quantum of the Seas, the two productions are Tuned to the Room and Starwater.

Starwater on Quantum of the Seas
Starwater on Quantum of the Seas

The Verdict: Quantum or Ovation of the Seas

If you’re seeking an action packed cruise on a modern mega ship, it’s hard to go past either of these big Royal Caribbean beauties. Which one you choose essentially comes down to what you’re looking for and who you’re travelling with. If you’re travelling as a family, Quantum of the Seas possibly has a slight edge due to the complimentary Laser Tag. However, it also has the Escape Room, a fast moving puzzle focussed team activity with a 12 year old age limit. Beware if you’re onboard with kids of varying ages as under 12s aren’t permitted to join the fun and could get upset about being left out. Escape Room is best suited to adults making Quantum an equally good ship for grown ups as well as people travelling with kids. When it comes to drinking, dining and activities, it’s a tough choice and comes down to what types of things you enjoy doing on a cruise and your favourite things to eat and drink.

If you live in or within driving distance of Brisbane, Quantum of the Seas is an obvious choice. The same goes for Ovation of the Seas for those who live in Sydney or within driving distance of the New South Wales capital. After all, not having to pay for airfares leaves more money to spend on drinks, spa treatments, and other onboard extras. Ovation of the Seas is a newer ship which gives it a slight edge over the older Quantum of the Seas. However, none of the productions on Quantum of the Seas have been seen in Australia before, making this ship a winner for those who have already seen Ovation of the Seas’ shows. Whichever ship you choose, you’re sure to have an action packed and enjoyable cruise holiday.

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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Dr Tiana Templeman is an award-winning food and travel journalist, travel author and media industry academic. She is the creator of The Travel Temple, writes for Australian and international media outlets and appears on radio talking about where to go, what to see and travel industry trends.