CRUISE REVIEW + 24 PHOTOS + VIDEO: Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas inspires bold experiences. The 4,198-passenger ship packs all the thrills and chills that Royal is famous for – from surfing to skydiving – but also has extra frills to surprise and delight you. The enhancements take it from being classified as a Quantum class ship, to the Quantum “Ultra” category instead. Here are highlights.
- Two open-air, resort-style pools with glass wall hot tubs
- Large SeaPlex activity space with bumper cars, sports court (and laser tag and trapeze when protocols permit)
- Playmakers Sports Bar and Arcade with 60 TV screens moved to SeaPlex
- Zone Zero full-body virtual reality experience
- Specialty restaurant Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine Bar
- High-tech superhero show “Effectors” with a large fleet of dancing drones and “The Book” show featured in the $37 million Two70 theatre
Odyssey has exciting adrenaline-rush venues such as FlowRider surfing; RipCord by iFly skydiving (a vertical wind tunnel); Sky Pad bungee trampolines with virtual reality; 12m rock climbing wall and 91m-tall North Star glass observation capsule as seen on other ships.
However, the SeaPlex activity area is currently the largest at sea and features activities such as bumper cars, laser tag, sports court and more. But here you’ll also find the new Zone Zero virtual reality (VR) experience that’s wowing guests since it’s a full-body immersive activity rather than just a headset. You wear VR components with sensors for your hands, legs and feet so you can fight off pirates as you walk around the room.
Since these activities are the most popular on board, be sure to make reservations on Royal’s free app pre-cruise, or soon after getting on board. These options book fast, some are free when in port, and some are for vaccinated guests only such as North Star. Changing health protocols may also affect the availability of the activity.
Chills (Aquapark and pools)
Odyssey has three pools for chillin’ and fun. The main pool is a bold space featuring bright orange, red, pink, sky blue, lime green and yellow decor with a Caribbean theme. It’s surrounded by cabanas (for a fee), loungers, Adirondack chairs, daybeds, in-pool loungers, as well as glass-wall hot tubs.
Splashaway Bay right next to it is for young children and has sprinklers and two small waterslides (there are no big waterslides on Odyssey). Live bands play in this area making it the loudest, busiest space on the ship.
For a quieter area, there’s a smaller pool on the other side of the Lime and Coconut Bar and underneath the North Star that also provides some welcome shade. Its location here also improves traffic flow by dispersing the crowds between those who have young children and those who don’t.
The quietest pool is the adults-only Solarium pool that’s also in an air-conditioned space. While it’s the most serene, it still has fairly loud white noise, such as the sound of operating hot tubs. But it’s still a relaxing area with panoramic sea views through the floor-to-ceiling windows and glass roof.
Odyssey’s esplanade has some of the most popular bars (as well as shops and eateries). Here you’ll find the Crown and Compass pub, Boleros, classic Schooner Bar and robot-bartending Bionic Bar that is entertaining to watch even if you’re not ordering.
Other bars include the Solarium Bar at the adult pool, Lime and Coconut by the outdoor pool and Playmakers Bar and Arcade at SeaPlex area which is getting rave reviews for its excellent location near other indoor action. The Diamond Club and Suite Lounge are quiet private lounges for loyalty and suite guests.
Many of the bars have live music and dancing, and the Esplanade also features pop-up live entertainment such as a pianist.
There are about eight complimentary restaurants and nine fee-based specialty restaurants and eateries (including Starbucks).
The two-deck main dining room food is above average, but not the level of the specialty restaurants, so advise clients to budget for specialty restaurants if they have high expectations. They can generally save about 40 per cent with a full specialty restaurant package that may also include wine discounts.
The enormous Windjammer buffet has better-than-average American favourites. Café at Two70 has fresh soups and sandwiches. El Loco is poolside with Mexican fare. Sorrento’s pizza has a very thin crust and will likely be disappointing for those who like something more substantial. Café Promenade usually has lineups for the coffee and tea and offers snacks such as pastries and cookies.
The Solarium Bistro is the quietest and most under-utilized restaurant since it’s in the adults-only area. It offers soups, stews and salads. Coastal Kitchen has California and Mediterranean cuisine for loyalty and suite guests.
Specialty restaurants are more intimate, upscale or unique venues with seating for 14 to 90 guests and the food is well above average so there’s a fee.
Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen and Wine bar is a huge hit on Odyssey. Chef’s Table is the most epicurean and expensive for just 14 guests. Chops Grill, Teppanyaki and Izumi sushi are fan favourites.
Wonderland is as much entertainment as it is a dining venue for its creative atmosphere and unusual food presentation that has an Alice in Wonderland theme. Food and furnishings are basically backwards, reversed or upside down as if you went down the rabbit hole. Playmakers is ever-popular for its game-day type fare such as wings. There’s also a Starbucks on the Esplanade.
Two main theatres on Odyssey offer exciting shows, high-quality performers such as truly amazing illusionists and talented comedians in the Royal Theater. The “Effectors” show gets standing ovations for its action-packed, high tech, superhero theme, as well as a spectacular lasers and large fleet of drones that fly over the audience.
Two70, is a $37 million, multi-use venue space that has floor-to-ceiling windows and 270-degree sea views during the day and transforms into a theatre at night. This space features high-tech Vistarama screens including six robo-screens that move around and tilt with impressive precision.
The venue features the award-winning show “Oceanides” which pays tribute to Japanese female free divers. “The Book” show is a rather confusing, but highly entertaining performance about a librarian who explores different stories that are enacted by high-flying acrobats, musicians and singers who appear from the floor or drop from the ceiling. A weak plot line hardly matters.
Music Hall is a 394-seat venue that’s extremely popular for the live rock bands, karaoke, silent disco and dancing.
Also use the Royal app to book shows, but even if you don’t get the time slot you want, go to the venue anyway five minutes before it starts. Many people change their minds and forget to cancel their reservation.
There are about 2,105 staterooms including 1,482 with balconies, 132 ocean view and 125 suites. Stateroom feature attractive navy blue, light blue, beige and cream colour themes and light woods. They have well-designed storage including cupboards above the headboard which is rare.
Beds, linens and pillows are blissfully soft – and with so many exciting things to see and do on Odyssey, you are sure to get a fantastic night’s sleep as well.
A version of this story by Cruiseguru appeared in PAX News in January 2022.