Smart ship gets an Ovation
You won't run out of things to do on Royal Caribbean International's latest cruise ship
For those who are not fond of flying, going on a cruise provides an excellent alternative.
As big cruise ships go, Royal Caribbean International cruise line has been a popular choice with travellers.
Almost every year, it unveils a new ship packed with more impressive features.
Ovation of the Seas is the third in the Quantum Class, and this latest "smart ship" is also the cruise line's most technologically advanced.
Built last year, it can accommodate up to 4,819 passengers.
Cutting-edge innovation greets guests at the Bionic Bar, where drinks are mixed with acute precision and served by robot bartenders. It is so impressive that there is always a crowd standing there to marvel at the robots in action.
Another technologically-enhanced feature is its radio-frequency identification (RFID) wristbands which can replace its Sea Pass cards, allowing stateroom access and on-board purchases.
Non-fans of cruises tend to feel that there is nothing much one can do on a vessel for more than a day. Ovation of the Seas has certainly changed my mindset in this regard.
Throughout my three-night getaway cruise to Penang earlier this month, I found myself spoilt for choice with the number of facilities available.
The ship features some unprecedented first-at-sea experiences such as the Ripcord by iFly, an adrenaline-inducing skydiving simulation for thrill-seekers; North Star, a mechanical observation capsule that transports guests about 100m above sea level for a 360-degree view of the ocean; a huge entertainment and indoor sports complex complete with bumper cars, roller-skating and more.
You can even try your hand at rock climbing or learn surfing on board.
For those who prefer to relax or swim, dip pools and jacuzzies are aplenty, and strategically located to give you breathtaking views of the sea.
If the sun is not your friend, then head to the indoor pool.
In the evenings, guests can catch a movie under the stars, or dance the night away at the outdoor pool deck.
Ovation also boasts Royal Caribbean's largest and most advanced staterooms.
There are unique loft suites and ground-breaking virtual balcony staterooms, bringing an exterior view to interior rooms through huge digital displays.
The Ovation has 16 restaurant concepts and signature dining venues, as varied as what you may find in most cities. At Cafe@Two70, you get a panoramic view of the sea.
The luxurious dining space transforms into a technologically-advanced entertainment arena in the evening, equipped with 18 projectors and floor-to-ceiling windows that can be transformed into any scene, creating an immersive experience for passengers.
The awe-inspiring talent showcased on board are testament to Royal Caribbean's high entertainment standards that combine technology and special effects - make sure you pre-book your seat for the shows as they run out early.
Travellers on the Ovation can also enjoy what is reportedly the fastest Internet at sea for a reasonable fee.
BOOK YOuR CRuiSe
Ovation of the Seas will have a Hong Kong season in October. It will sail round-trip from Hong Kong on fivenight cruises to destinations such as Okinawa (overnight), Hue/Danang (Chan May) and Nha Trang (Cam Ranh) in Vietnam.
There’s also a nine-night repositioning cruise from Hong Kong to Singapore in November with stopovers at Sanya, Hue/Danang (Chan May), Nha Trang (Cam Ranh) and an overnight in Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My).
The ship will be back in Singapore in April 2018, with a five-night round-trip cruise to Penang and Phuket and a 12-night reposition cruise to Tianjin with stopovers at Hue/Danang (Chan May), Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Hong Kong (overnight) and Seoul (Incheon).