Given Australia is the fastest growing cruise market in the world and among the most popular cruising destinations for international guests, the ship will spend the southern hemisphere 2016-17 cruising season home ported in Australia, completing five separate cruises around Australia and New Zealand between January and April 2017.
Under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard at Papenburg in Germany for Royal Caribbean, the Ovation of the Seas will measure 348m long and 168,666 gross registered tonnes. The biggest cruise ship to sail Australian waters so far is the Queen Mary 2 at 148,528 gross tonnes and 345m in length. Another Royal Caribbean ship, the Voyager of the Seas regularly calls here and is 311m and 137,276 tonnes although has to date been the biggest by the number of passengers.
The Ovation of the Seas will carry up to 5,000 passengers and will have a glass observation capsule that rises 91m above the deck, bumper cars, a circus school, a sky diving experience and 18 restaurants including a Jamie Oliver-branded one.
The Ovation of the Seas announcement puts the New South Wales government under more pressure to address its long running dispute with the lucrative cruise industry and provide more opportunities for ships to berth in Sydney. It’s widely acknowledged by all players that Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay and White Bay cannot cope with the rapidly increasing demand; other solutions - including the use of Garden Island or the construction of a new port at Port Botany - need to be found.
The Miami-headquartered company operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Azamara Club Cruises and has a combined total of 41 ships in service -- including the two biggest cruise ships in the world -- and four under construction, including the “Ovation”.