ON BOARD THE ODYSSEY OF THE SEAS – It seems fitting that an athlete facing life-changing challenges becomes the godmother of a cruise ship that also faced her own struggles during the pandemic.
And on November 13, that’s what happened aboard Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, the Odyssey of the Seas, when Bahamian paratriathlete Erin Brown received the honor. Brown was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer and made the decision to have one of her legs amputated above the knee.
âWhen we sought out a sponsor for the Odyssey of the Seas, the ship whose name and journey represents the perseverance we have all shown, Erin Brown was a natural fit,â said Michael Bayley, CEO of Royal Caribbean , during the christening ceremony of the ship. at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale.
The pandemic changed the launch of the Odyssey, initially planned in Italy, then moved to Israel, and then again to Fort Lauderdale. Once there, the ship’s inaugural navigation was delayed by nearly a month after eight crew members tested positive for Covid-19 in June.
âOver the past year the word ‘odyssey’ has grown to become more than the name of this ship,â said Bayley. “This represents the odyssey we have experienced as a cruise line and as an industry.”
From left to right: Richard Fain, CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, Erin Brown, Godmother of Odyssey of the Seas, Michael Bayley, CEO of Royal Caribbean International and Captain Sindre Borsheim of Odyssey. Photo credit: Omar Perez
The Quantum Ultra experiment
The Odyssey of the Seas is Royal Caribbean International’s second Quantum Ultra Class ship, following the 2019 Spectrum of the Seas. Built by German shipbuilder Meyer Werft, it took three and a half years to design and complete the ship. While not as large as Royal’s Oasis-class ships, the Odyssey is slightly larger than other Quantum-class ships (Quantum, Anthem, and Ovation of the Seas) but slightly smaller than the other ship in the Quantum Ultra class, the Spectrum.
The 4,198 passenger Odyssey has more than 25 restaurants and bars, including seven specialty restaurants ranging from Asian (Izumi, Teppanyaki) to upscale (Chops Grille, Coastal Kitchen). The Windjammer Marketplace, a Royal Caribbean dining staple, continues to serve its free buffet. For the moment, as a precautionary measure, the guests are not self-service but are rather served by the crew.
On the Odyssey, the Playmakers Sportsbar & Arcade is, for the first time, inside the SeaPlex on the second level, allowing guests to overlook the activities below. Photo credit: Omar Perez
Although the term “ultra” may be misleading in terms of the size of the vessel, it does correspond to on-board activities and the latest technology.
Some experiences unique to the Odyssey are the Virtual Adventure Zone reality experience inside the SeaPlex. And on the Odyssey, the Playmakers Sportsbar & Arcade is, for the first time, inside the SeaPlex on the second level, allowing guests to view the activities below.
Loyal Royal cruisers will enjoy familiar Odyssey amenities such as the bungee Sky Pad, RipCord by iFLY skydiving simulator, and the SeaPlex area, which includes a basketball court, bumper cars, reality games virtual, pingpong, roller skating and more. Also on the ship is a climbing wall and the North Star Elevator which takes guests up to 300 feet for 360 degree aerial views.
Hot tubs inside the solarium on the Odyssey of the Seas. Photo credit: Omar Perez
The Odyssey, like other Quantum-class ships, showcases cutting-edge technology in its Two70 theater, which includes six high-definition screens rotated by robotic arms. Behind the eight-foot-tall monitors is a 135-foot-wide two-story video display with a 270-degree viewing angle via 18 12K resolution projectors. (The screen is actually the aft windows of the ship covered with a projector during shows.)
As robotic arms move screens, robotic bartenders serve and mix cocktails on the two-story Royal Esplanade, home to a variety of shopping, dining, and entertainment options. Among them is the Music Hall, a venue that features live bands, karaoke, and DJs spinning music.
The nearby Boleros serves Cuban and Brazilian drinks while hosting concerts of Latin, jazz and other music. A short walk away, the Crown & Compass pub offers bar bites and acoustic performances. The nautical-themed Schooner Bar hosts piano shows and singing. The menu of the Wonderland specialty restaurant, which alludes to Alice in Wonderland, is not oriented towards individual dishes but rather towards culinary themes (Earth, Sea, Fire, Ice and Sun).
For guests 16 and over, the Solarium, at the front of the Odyssey, is a glass-walled rooftop terrace with hot tubs and a two-foot-deep multi-level swimming pool intended for longer use. to refresh than to swim. Overall the Solarium is a place to relax.
The Odyssey will be on six- and eight-day cruises across the Caribbean until early summer, when it will move to Civitavecchia (Rome) to begin a series of Mediterranean crossings until fall 2022.