You’ve heard the big news by now – Sydney is to be the first home port for Royal Caribbean’s third Quantum class ship, Ovation of the Seas, when it launches in 2016. With 4,905 passenger and 1,500 crew the $1 billion megaliner will be the largest ship ever based in Australia.

Royal Caribbean hasn’t announced itineraries for Australia yet, but has given starting rates from $199 per person per night, higher than other ships in its fleet. This might sound like a lot, but Carl Frier from Cruise1st thinks it’s still great value when you consider the quality of the ship and the updated amenities, like the North Star viewing pod, iFly skydiving and Broadway shows.

But the new arrival could also mean that there will be some great deals to be had – just not on Ovation itself. Ovation will be the fifth Royal Caribbean based in Australia, joining sister ships Radiance, Explorer, Voyager and Legend. During the wave season this means that on any one night there are 17,125 Royal Caribbean beds cruising in the region. Allowing for an average seven-day turnaround over a six-month season, that’s a whopping 445,250 beds to fill!

In other parts of the world, when Royal Caribbean has launched a new ship the older ships operating on similar routes offer much better value for money. For example:

*A seven-night Caribbean cruise in November 2016 onboard the Navigator of the Seas (launched in 2002) is priced from $864. The same cruise onboard the Harmony of the Seas (launching early 2016) starts at $1,207.

*An eight-night cruise to the Bahamas in February 2016 onboard the Grandeur of the Seas (launched in 1996) is priced from $979. The same cruise onboard Anthem of the Seas (launched in April 2015) starts from $1,619.

Keep an eye out for deals in the 2016-2017 season as Royal Caribbean works hard to keep all those beds full.

But, if it’s Ovation or nothing here are
4 ways to be one of the first onboard Ovation

  1. Register with Royal Caribbean. The line will send out the first details of the Ovation’s Australian season to those who have registered, so you can get in before everyone else.
  2. Buy from Cruiseco. The Australian cruise agent has chartered the first voyage that will reach Australia, the final part of the repositioning cruise that will travel from Singapore to Sydney. This is the only way to get tickets for this voyage and to be the first to cruise through Sydney Harbour on the new ship.
  3. Fly to the UK. We’re all excited about Ovation being homeported Down Under, but her journey doesn’t start here. There will be three European voyages departing from Southampton in April and May 2016 and tickets are on sale now.
  4. Join the Crown & Anchor Society, Royal Caribbean’s loyalty program. We can’t guarantee this one, but Crown & Anchor members received special offers to prepurchase tickets for Harmony of the Seas before they were released to the general public, so there’s a good chance the same thing will happen with Ovation. If you’ve cruised with Royal Cab just once before you can join for free.