Brought to you by: Nicole Stojic, Senior Sales Manager, Royal Caribbean

Ship: Royal Caribbean, Ovation of the Seas
Sailing Dates: 1 December 2022 x 12 Nights
Destination: New Zealand
Itinerary: Sydney, Doubful Sound, Dusky Sound, Milford Sound, Dunedin, Christchurch (Lyttelton), Napier, Mt Maunganui, Auckland, Bay of Islands, Sydney


1. The Flowrider. After many cruises onboard Royal ships, I finally worked up the courage to try the Flowrider and, it was amazing fun. First, I mastered the body boarding which is included in the cruise fare (as are all activities) and then I gave the Stand-up surfing a go in a private lesson. The only downfall was I couldn’t take the Flowrider home with me at the end of the cruise when I became a professional. Looks like I’ll have to book another cruise!

2. Wonderland. What a wonderful creative and interactive experience. Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine is all about pushing the culinary envelope. Dishes are designed to tantalise your taste buds and present a visual feast. Find crispy crab cones topped with fluffy avocado mousse, gazpacho served with pepper spheres and bread foam, and dreamy desserts that will take your breath away. Pair your meal with cocktails described as “magical” elixirs crafted to deliver full-sensory experiences.

3. Milford Sound. Doubtful, Dusky and Milford Sound – Magical! We were very fortunate to have perfect weather conditions and it was beautiful and warm (considering it’s in the South). We booked the North Star on embarkation day for our day in Milford Sound. We had perfect views of the sounds from 90 metres above sea level and the perfect birds eye view of the ship.

4. Mt Maunganui. This was our favourite port of call. We disembarked the ship and made our way to the hike up Mt Maunganui. It was a beautiful day as we climbed all the way to the summit for incredible views including the ship. We took our time making our way back down and then went for a swim in the beautiful beach followed by lunch in this beach side town.

5. Live Love Legs & Pixels . It was hard to pick which show we liked best, so I had to include them both. From the costumes to the music and the amazing and very talented singers and dancer on board, we were engaged and energised throughout both shows. Tip – we got to two70 nice and early and enjoyed a few cocktails, so we had front row seats right on the stage! It was amazing to see these talented performers up close and personal.

6. Thermal Suite. We booked the thermal suite in the vitality spa on embarkation day for the full 12 nights. We used this perfect quiet tranquil place almost every day to unwind and relax. I would start off on the heated tile beds listening to a meditation followed by a sauna and then a rain shower. It was perfect for reenergising ourselves before our busy evening of dinner, drinks, and the entertainment around the ship.

7. Balcony Stateroom. Some say it’s just a room to sleep however, we loved our balcony stateroom. We made use of the fresh sea air and would sleep with our balcony doors open so we could enjoy the ocean breeze and sound of the waves. We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony and sometimes would bring a bottle of wine back to our room and enjoy while looking out into my favourite view, the deep blue sea.

Top Tips

1. Pack for all seasons. While we cruised in December/January, it was still very fresh in the South of NZ. I packed a warm rain jacket which was perfect for a few of the days. By the time we reached the North Island though, it was all about the swimmers around the pool with a cocktail in hand.

2. Pre-book your shore tours. With so many amazing things to do in New Zealand, I suggest booking your tours early to avoid disappointment as they book out fast on the pre cruise planner.

3. Download the Royal Caribbean App. You can book dining, tours and activities in the app along with viewing the cruise compass online and add activities to your calendar, so you get a reminder and don’t miss a beat. You can also get a Royal phone number so you can chat to your fellow passengers and keep in touch while onboard.

4. Check out Café Two70. Make sure you give café Two70 a try for breakfast, especially if you love bagels like I do. It’s a beautiful place to eat breakfast in the morning and a lot slower pace than the Windjammer.

5. Take advantage of the express pressing service on day 1. You can press up to 10 items for a very reasonable price. This was perfect for me with all my dresses and my husbands dress shirts for formal night. The best part is I didn’t have to pre iron before we came or hang clothes in the bathroom.

6. Early dining on day 1. If you’re dining early, pack your outfit and toiletries for the first night in your hand luggage. This way, you won’t have to keep checking your room for your bags to arrive and can get ready for dinner and drinks early and enjoy your sail away.

7. Plan early arrival to show. Get to the shows nice and early so you get the best seat in the house! We enjoyed some cocktails and even made friends with our neighbours while waiting for the entertainment to begin.