Australian cruisers are laying siege to Royal Caribbean’s Australian offices for cabins aboard the Ovation of the Seas – and the vessel’s 11 ultra-luxe suites are a prime target.
Despite a price tag of as much as US$6,300 for the Royal Loft on a three-night sampler, the new Suite Class aboard Royal Caribbean has proved such a hit many sailings are already sold out, according to Australia and New Zealand head Adam Armstrong.
They come with a concierge called a “Royal Genie”, exclusive dining room and access to the best activities, many of which quickly gain queues. Suite Class has a new set of inclusions, including drinks packages that put it on par with luxury ships and their all-inclusive offerings.
“If anything, they were under-priced because they sold out very quickly,” he told Cruise Passenger. “There was a big demand from Australian passengers.
“They are the big draw cards. They were quick to sell on our sailings and I don’t think there are any left on next year’s sailings. They are so unique and on an unprecedented scale.”
The Royal Loft Suite is 840 square feet on two levels, with enormous picture windows running up two floors at the back of the ship.
Cruise Passenger visited the suite in Asia. It had been occupied by a family of six. It has a huge balcony, a private open-air spa pool, facilities to eat on the main back balcony and a generous dining table for six.
There is a walk in wardrobe in the master bedroom, special mattress and a private media room which converts to a double bedroom.
A family could happily spend most of their cruise in the suite.
Suite class gives guests the inclusions of a luxury ship – and the benefits of a big ship, like shows and many dining venues.
Sitting aboard the Ovation on a three-day sailing out of Singapore last week, Mr Armstrong said he believed the ship would change the face of Australian cruising, with its strong appeal to young couples with children.
The company was already seeing young new-to-cruise families calling up for information.
Australia could look forward to bigger but better ships in the future as the cruise industry’s way of dealing with growing demand but ports that couldn’t cope with more vessels.
Mr Armstrong described Ovation as “a whole new class of cruising”.
And after sailing on her in Asia last week, Cruise Passenger agrees. She is fresh, with great food offerings, terrific activities and entertainment.
The triple-tiered huge dining room has been made into four separate venues, with dynamic dining
Mr Armstrong maintains Ovation, as the newest and biggest ship every to come to Australia, raises the bar with activities like the iFly, Flowrider, bumper cars, robot bar men and 18 eating venues.
While many are on other Royal Caribbean ships, the all-new Ovation will become the new benchmark.
“We would like to keep it as long as possible. We put a toe in the water, a trial for six cruises in total. We’ve added an extra four. And now we’ve announced she is coming back for a longer season (in 2016/7).
“She is going to be a regular feature.”
“The second season has been on sale for a month, and it’s in line with where we’d want to be at this point – 18 months away.
“It’s helped raise the Royal Caribbean brand in Australia as the brand that brings the best ships to the market. We’ve got Voyager, Explorer and Radiance.
“I think the younger age group, younger families and couples who would previously have dismissed cruising would, be attracted to the modernity of this ship.”
He said that he had just come from the Harmony of the Seas – the world’s biggest ship – and he said “I loved it”.