Royal Caribbean’s brand new $US1 billion supercruiser, Ovation of the Seas, makes it debut in Australia this summer, the largest cruise ship ever seen on our shores.
At 168,66 tonnes, the Quantum class liner is the equal 4th biggest passenger ship in the world – and around 20,000 tonnes bigger than Cunard’s Queen Mary 2. She 347-metres long, with 18 decks and capacity for up to 4,905 guests (4,180 at double occupancy) plus 1,500 crew.
This floating city launched in April this year and is now cruising in China during the northern summer. She’ll then call Sydney her home port, arriving on 15 December 2016 for her maiden Australian season. There are several cruises from three to 14 nights.
Business Insider went to have a look at this impressive ship as she took on her first passengers in her base in Tianjin (Beijing).
Here’s what we found:
China's rising middle class is a huge market for Royal Caribbean. However, more Australians head to China to cruise than vice versa.
A little video jingle about 'Wash your hands' was on loop. It reminded me of Victoria's 'Dumb ways to die' ad - catchy and funny. But norovirus is a big problem on cruise ships, so this is message is important
The cabin's mini bar doesn't have much and remember everything's in US dollars, with a 18% service charge on top, so a can of coke will cost you about $A4.40.
The trick, if you like a drink, is to buy a beverage package - even if you're teetotal, it's $US29 a day. Add alcohol and prices start at $US44 pp for basic wines and beers.
But in my view, some of the offerings are pretty basic. Wolf Blass Yellow Label is a $10 quaffer at Dan Murphy's.
But the prices had me going woah! That's about $A54 for that $10 bottle, not including service. A 150ml (5oz) glass of Thomas Hyland shiraz is $A16 - about $A80 a bottle, duty free. You can buy it at Dan Murphy's for $13.25 inc. GST.
These are special 'liquid' olives at Wonderland, which are like the ones Ferran Adria served at Spain's El Bulli.
To stop the spread of germs, you're funneled past the basins to wash your hands before heading to the buffet dining area.
Or the Ocean Adventure kids program, which is broken down into a bunch of age groups from about 3 to 17 years.
Art is a huge part of the ship's design, with around 11,000 words on board. This mother and baby panda by British artist Jo Smith weighs 6.5 tonnes and is 10 metres high
Rowena Martinich is among several Australian artists commissioned. This is her work Paradiso near the solarium bistro
The Seaplex area is dodgem cars, roller skating rink and basketball court at various times during the day.
They cost around $20,000 per person a cruise, but Royal Caribbean is now wondering if they're too cheap.
* Business Insider traveled to China as a guest of Royal Caribbean.
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