Our top tips for boarding a cruise at Southampton and setting sail

Currently the newest ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet (for a few weeks anyway!), the Ovation of the Seas is the sister ship to the Anthem of the Seas. On this trip we set sail from Southampton en route to Barcelona on the first leg of its transcontinental repositioning to China.

Pre arrival

For the first time, we opted to stay a night in Southampton before the cruise. Rather than flying on the morning of the cruise, arriving a day early kicked our trip off with a day in Southampton. Staying in the Premier Inn at West Quays shopping centre, this trip began with an awesome shopping experience in this amazing shopping centre. What a lovely city Southampton turned out to be. Normally on transferring from the airport to the dock, Southampton doesn’t look appealing at all, but I recommend arriving a day early and enjoying an earlier start to your trip!


With the Ovation docked right at the end of our road, it was only a 10 minute walk from our hotel to the cruise terminal. Off we walked while pulling our cases across the road, we arrived at the terminal and from leaving our luggage off, to getting on the ship, it was only around 15 minutes. To cater for almost 5000 passengers, a 15 minute luggage to ship check-in deserves a #RoyalWow .

Tip: To help speed up the boarding process, upload as much info as you can to your booking before you print your set sail pass at home. That includes passport info and a photo.

view from  the corner at hotel

The Ship

Once on board, it was time to explore and find the differences between the Anthem and the Ovation.

The biggest immediately noticeably difference throughout the ship was the art, shops and signage which is targeted to the customers of the future home of the ship, China. 

You’ll see Panda’s scattered throughout the art and even a huge mommy and baby panda above the Seaplex at the top of the ship.

Our priorities 

We were in no rush to our cabin as the luggage hadn’t arrived yet, so getting our priorities right, we sorted out our nights of speciality dining to make the most of the 4 night speciality eating package. We definitely recommend this one. 4 speciality meals during the 7 night cruise for around £65 each. Bargain. You can of course eat in the many complimentary restaurants but we’ve learnt after 13 cruises that it’s always a lovely extra treat to go with speciality, they really are a step up from the main restaurants.

Next up was to confirm what drinks package we were on. We had opted for a wine and beer package and with that you can enjoy prosecco. It’s the only way to enjoy cruising, by drinking champagne all the way hahaha. 

Enjoying out first cruise drink
Unpacking and getting set up

With the drink sorted, speciality dining chosen for the cruise, it was time to unpack and settle in to our balcony cabin. Get your clothes hung up and let the decreasing start, get your valuables in the safe. Make sure everything is ship shape and the proper relaxing can begin.

And now the holiday can begin……

Happy cruising!! 

Follow TotallyTourists on Facebook Twitter and Instagram

Thanks to Oasis Travel for sorting the cruise out for us, and to Royal Caribbean for the wifi so we can do social media live from the ship!

Post Author: Jeff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *