Royal Caribbean International welcomed 650 agents on its newest ship Ovation of the Seas last week, writes Angela Cronin.

The agents enjoyed an overnight stay on the line’s latest addition to its Quantum-class fleet before it set sail on its inaugural three-night round-trip sailing to the Netherlands on April 14.

The line's president and CEO, Michael Bayley, said that while Ovation’s homeport will be in Tanjin, China, having the ship's inaugural sailing out of Southampton presented the cruise line with an opportunity to showcase its latest Quantum class ship to the trade (more than 70% on board had not experienced a Quantum ship). He said: “There are many agents who are not familiar with Royal Caribbean so this was a great opportunity to introduce them to our brand and to our Quantum class ships as we don’t currently have any sailing out of the UK.”

The 4,180-passenger Ovation has two more European taster sailings later this month (to France and Belgium from April 17-22 and to France and Spain from April 22-20), before it embarks on its 52-day Global Odyssey tour to its homeport of Tianjin on May 3.

New additions to Ovation of the Seas are the Royal Suite Class, which includes 24/7 butler-style services from the new Royal Genies, who aim to “anticipate what the guests want and surprise and delight them” with personalised experiences tailored to each guest.

Ovation also features new DreamWorks experience including character dining, appearances and photo opportunities with characters from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar.

Other features on Ovation – Royal Caribbean’s 24th ship – include the North Star observation capsule, Ripcord by iFly, SeaPlex leisure space, 18 restaurants and an increase in space for retail and health and beauty products.

The ship also has an eclectic art collection on board totalling £3.1 million which includes a feature that will have particular significance for the Chinese market – a 33ft tall panda and her 10ft tall cub that will perch on top of the SeaPlex on deck 15.

Stuart Leven, managing director, Royal Caribbean International, UK and Ireland, said he hoped to see a Quantum class ship back in the UK in the coming years.

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