After much waiting and speculation about its new itineraries, Royal Caribbean opened bookings for the maiden season of Ovation of the Seas in Australia and New Zealand.
As the first newbuild to be deployed down under, the local summer cruises of Ovation have seen over 20,000 travelers pre-register their interest for 30,000 spots up for grabs, and cabins are anticipated to sell quickly.
The four 2016-2017 sailings from Sydney released to the public include:
- a 15-day New Zealand voyage including an overnight stay in Sydney on December 15, 2016 followed by port calls at Hobart, Milford Sound region, Wellington, Dunedin, Picton, Tauranga, Auckland;
- a 10-day New Year cruise around New Zealand, departing December 30, 2016 visiting the Milford Sound region, Wellington, Dunedin, Napier, Picton;
- a 14-day voyage during school holidays, departing January 9, 2017 and stopping at Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Auckland, Wellington, Picton, Dunedin, Milford Sounds;
- a 14-day Sydney to Singapore repositioning cruise departing January 23, 2017, calling at Brisbane, Darwin, Kuala Lumpur.
Fares start at AU$2,000 per person for the New Year's voyage, including launch savings of AU$750. Much cheaper is the ship's maiden voyage to Australia, chartered by travel company Cruiseco. It is also for sale through 300 registered agents of Cruiseco. The 15-night cruise from Singapore to Sydney can be cut into shorter segments to Adelaide, Fremantle, Hobart and Melbourne, priced from AU$980 per person.
Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean is still in talks with Ports of Auckland concerning a berth long enough for the 348-metre 6,500-guest “engineering marvel”, presently under construction in Germany.
According to the commercial director RCI Australia & South East Asia, Sean Treacy, the US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas represented the "single largest investment in Australia and New Zealand by any cruise line".
He added that the ship truly ignited the imagination about what was possible on a cruise holiday – from robot bartenders and skydiving in the middle of the ocean, to North Star, an observation capsule transporting passengers more than 90 metres above the sea with stunning 360-degree views.
Other onboard features include the highest speed internet at sea, a circus school, bumper cars, high-tech shows in Two70, Broadway shows and 18 dining options.
Ovation of the Seas is the third ship after Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas in the ground-breaking Quantum Class. She will be the largest to ever call Australia home as well as the fifth ship in the Australian fleet of Royal Caribbean for summer 2016-2017, joining Explorer of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas in Sydney and Legend of the Seas in Brisbane.
Ovation of the Seas is expected to inject over AU$20 million into Australian economy in her first season, with 14 ports of call across the country.