Royal Caribbean say the phones are ringing off the hook at its customer-service centre – and what everyone wants is a berth on Ovation of the Seas.
The line claimed it received more than 200 per cent more calls on the day bookings opened.
But when the highly anticipated vessel – the largest to be homeported in Australia – gets to our shores, she’ll have to face off two other popular ships: P&O’s Pacific Dawn and Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess.
So how does the Ovation stack up?
Ovation of the Seas
Currently being built at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, the third ship in the Quantum class will make her debut in 2016.
Guest capacity: 4180
Bars: Schooner Bar, Viking Crown Lounge, Vintages
Eateries: 24-hour room service; American Icon Grill (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Dog House (lunch, dinner); Café @ Two70 (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Café Latte-tudes; Chef’s Table (dinner); Chic (dinner); Chops Grille (dinner); Coastal Kitchen (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Coco-Cola Freestyle, Devinly Decadence (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Izumi (lunch, dinner); Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver (lunch, dinner); Johnny Rockets (lunch, dinner); Michael’s Genuine Pub (lunch, dinner), Silk (dinner); Sorrento’s; The Grande Restaurant (dinner); Windjammer Marketplace (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine (dinner)
Included activities: FlowRider surf simulator; ice-skating; in-line roller skating; mini-golf; rock-climbing; zipline
Highlights: Adults-only Comedy Live comedy club, robotic bartenders at Bionic Bar, the steaks at Chops Grille, Vitality Spa
Deal: Depart Sydney on December 30, 2016, to receive US$50 onboard credit per stateroom and have your onboard gratuities covered. From $1899 per person, the 10-night cruise will make calls at New Zealand’s Doubtful Sound, Dusky Sound, Dunedin, Wellington, Napier and Picton.
Sailing the waters of Australia and the South Pacific since 1991, Pacific Dawn was once known as Regal Princess. With the 2007 name change came a complete renovation, with interiors designed by world-renowned Italian architect Renzo Piano. Soon, the ship will be made over again to include The Pantry, a new food-court-like eatery.
Guest capacity: 2020
Bars: Charlie’s Bar; Lido Pool Bar; Marquee Bar; MIX; Players Bar & Casino; Promenade Bar; The Café; The Dome; The Oasis Bar; The Orient
Eateries: Chef’s Table (dinner); Luna (dinner); Plantation Restaurant (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Salt grill by Luke Mangan (lunch, dinner); The Café; Waterfront Restaurant (breakfast, lunch, dinner)
Included activities: Adults-only Sit Down Comedy Club; board games; cinema; cooking demonstrations; dance classes; karaoke; live music and performances; party nights; trivia and game shows
Highlights: Scavenger hunts (for the kids), late-night child minding (from 10.30pm to 1am), hot-stone massage; yoga class on the top deck
Deal: Departing Brisbane on December 27, welcome the new year on an 11-night round trip through the beauty of the South Pacific islands, including Vila, Port Denarau, Suva and Mare. Priced from $1899 per person quad share. Book by September 16, 2015, to receive half-price deposits, up to $200 onboard credit, a free ocean-view room upgrade, a saving of up to $1000 per room, and a free soft-drink package.
One of the largest ships in Princess Cruises’ fleet, Emerald Princess is a popular ship in the Mediterranean, cruising through Spain, France, Italy, Greece and Turkey – to name a few.
Guest capacity: 3092
Bars: Adagio Bar; Crooners Bar; Vines Bar; Wheelhouse Bar
Eateries: 24-hour room service; Botticelli Dining Room (dinner); Café Caribe (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Crown Grill (dinner); Da Vinci Dining Room (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Horizon Court Buffet and Bistro; International Café (breakfast, lunch, dinner); Michelangelo Dining Room (dinner); pizza and ice-cream bar; Sabatini’s (dinner); Trident Grill
Included activities: Speakeasy cigar lounge; Skywalkers Nightclub; Princess Theatre; Movies Under The Stars outdoor theatre
Highlights: Gatsby’s Casino, Lotus Spa
Deal: Emerald Princess will be keeping her itineraries local when she’s Down Under. Take a seven-day round trip from Sydney to Tasmania via Melbourne from $649 per person quad share.