By Cherie Weinstein
An “odyssey” is defined as a long series of wanderings or adventures, especially when filled with notable experiences or hardships. I just returned from a mini-odyssey, 2 days aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest large ship, the Odyssey of the Seas. (2015 staterooms/maximum occupancy 4805.)
True to her name, the Odyssey of the Seas offers many opportunities to wander – across oceans and seas to destinations offering great beauty, culture and / or history. Hardships? The only hardship would be deciding what to do or what gustatory treat to indulge in next!
Experiences and adventures? There are myriad choices: from onboard bumper cars, basketball, rock climbing, surfing, sky-diving—to ashore where one can explore new or familiar ports of call and indulge in sightseeing and adventure.
Notable experiences? How about soaring high above the ship in the North Star for a spectacular 360° view of the ship and the ocean? How about hitting the Virtual Adventure Zone for a 4 dimensional virtual reality experience? Truly the Odyssey of the Seas will entertain a wide variety of a group’s interests, even if those interests involve relaxing with a Starbucks® or a cold drink while people watching or reading a good book.
Royal Caribbean has a solid reputation for delivering great cruises with a wide range of accommodation choices, excellent food, great service and terrific, original & exciting entertainment. While on our 2 day introduction to the Odyssey of the Seas, our sales team and I had an opportunity to sample many of the ship’s offerings.
My standard balcony stateroom was comfortable: a luxurious bed with high thread count linens, a comfortable couch facing the flat screen TV, plenty of drawer and closet space. A full length mirror and a good size desk are welcome additions. Two patio chairs with separate foot stools and a small table fit easily on the balcony.
For high end groups or groups including senior-level executives, the Odyssey of the Seas (like many of Royal Caribbean’s new ships) boasts jaw-dropping suites in their Royal Suite Class. Guests sailing in Royal Suite class accommodations receive luxe amenities, including priority access, special dining and more.
Dining aboard the Odyssey of the Seas will never be boring. With so many food venues to explore, dining can be an odyssey in its own right. As on most of their ships, eateries are a combination of included-in-the-cruise-fare or fee-based.
As guests of Royal Caribbean, we were hosted at two of the specialty restaurants. Izumi is a sushi restaurant and my sashimi dinner was surprisingly excellent! The fish was fresh-tasting, firm and delicious. The second night we enjoyed the Teppanyaki—lots of fun for our mini-group of 8 (tables can accommodate up to 12) as we watched the chef cook our dinner.
One day we created our own “progressive lunch” as we explored and sampled (small bites/servings) the many lunch options, starting with soup in The Café at Two70, pizza at Sorrentos Pizza, Mexican specialities at El Loco Fresh and a scoop of ice cream from the extravagant and extensive buffet, Windjammer.
We watched some Thursday Night Football at Playmakers sports lounge and sampled delicious onion rings. Playmakers is a great sports bar overlooking the Seaplex where guests can play Pickleball! Laser Tag or bumper cars(!). There’s even a private living room type lounge within Playmakers that is available by reservation ($) for 10-12 guests.
Stellar Entertainment Included
Entertainment was outstanding, I wish the cruise had been longer so that we could have seen more of the amazingly creative shows – all original! For fans of The Avengers and XMen, the “Effectors” is a superhero show with exciting costumes, staging and effects in the main show lounge.
Another venue that the Odyssey of the Seas uses for big shows is the Two70 lounge. By day this is a large, elegant lounge with expansive views of the sea, a lovely place to relax and converse or just read while enjoying a coffee from the Café at Two70. At night Two70 is magically transformed into a show lounge that Royal Caribbean boasts has some of the most highly advanced entertainment technology in the world! I loved the show “The Book” in Two70 including the awe-inspiring aerialists—such strength and control!
Despite cruising on a mega-ship, there are so many venues of all sizes that we never felt crowded. (As of November 2021, ships are sailing with capacity limits, so they are not fully occupied.)
For our special introductory cruise, all adults had to be vaccinated, show proof of vaccination and take a pre-cruise COVID test within 48 hours of sailing. The Royal Caribbean app was used for pre-check-in—using it was intuitive, quite easy. Royal Caribbean even provided a link to an option to purchase and conduct a home test, which I opted to use. The online testing was done with a proctor observing the testing via my computer camera. It was easy and I bought a couple of extra tests for our use at home and before my next trip.
Royal Caribbean has announced* they will continue to require all age-eligible guests to be vaccinated. Because of this, masks are not required on board—Hooray! It was wonderful to walk among people unmasked, seeing so many long-missed smiles.
*The announcement has a caveat that the policies may change as pandemic conditions change.
Royal Caribbean truly has something to offer everyone and is a terrific choice for groups as every person will find something they love on the Odyssey of the Seas. She’ll be sailing 6, 7 & 8 day cruises to the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale during the fall and winter seasons and 6 – 13 day cruises from Rome to the Mediterranean and Greek Isles in the summer of 2022.
Plan Your Group’s Next Event at Sea
Landry & Kling is your go-to resource to match your group with the ship and itinerary that will best fit your program requirements and guests’ expectations. Contact Landry & Kling, give us a call at 786-594-0732, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.