Upon arriving at the Pier in Fort Lauderdale, I was in total shock of the sheer size of Odyssey. I have sailed many times on the smaller Seabourn ships, so this was a huge surprise. Although she accommodates 450 guests, she is 3 times larger than the smaller yachts. The styling of the ship is Seabourn all the way. Parking at the pier can be a bit of a hassle, as you must take a shuttle to the mid garage to park. Most people do not drive to the Port, so its no big deal for most. We arrived at 1PM and were seated in the terminal awaiting check-in. We were greeted with a spiked punch in Champagne glasses. A very nice touch, as we weren't even on the ship yet!
Embarkation was very smooth.
We were led to the Observation Lounge until the suites were ready to be occupied. I saw several crew members that I have sailed with in the past. The feeling of "family" is not lost on Odyssey. We were led to our suite which was suite 421. We had booked a category A1 guarantee in hopes of an upgrade. The ship was completely full, so we ended up with exactly what we paid for, which was fine by me. All of the suites (except for the owners suites etc) are identical. The only thing our suite category lacked was a balcony. We were greeted by our lovely stewardess with champagne and salmon canapes. We were also given a choice of soaps. I read on CruiseCritic that the location of the safe was very convenient and easy to use. For the life of me, I couldn't find it! I asked our stewardess where the safe was, and she explained that our safe had been removed and had been moved to another suite that had a faulty safe. I asked what the solution would be, and she indicated that she would make every effort to find out. I also noticed that a door over the flat screen TV was also not operational. It would not close, causing the light to stay on. This needed to be addressed as well. When our stewardess came back, she explained that the only solution to the safe issue was to put our valuables in a safe deposit box at the pursers office. I thought that this would be a pain, but knew that it would be temporary. The door issue would be addressed the next day.
The lifeboat drill was held in the dining room. This is a huge plus, as the drill on the smaller ships are held outside, and in hot weather it can be a bit uncomfortable. We had planned to meet other CC members at the SkyBar after the drill. Only one couple showed up, but that was OK as we became fast friends!
Dinner in the dining room was incredible. The food and service was perfection. After a nightcap at the Club, the first evening was coming to a close. Upon returning to our suite, we were greeted to a newly installed safe.
After a wonderful breakfast in the indoor/outdoor venue, The Colonnade, (known as The Verandah on the 3 little sister ships) we made our way to the area known as the Patio grill on deck 8. We were greeted by the Hotel Manager, Guenter Steinbrunner, whom we have sailed many times. He mentioned that he knew about our safe and door issue, and that he would like to possibly move us to another suite. I explained that the safe issue had been resolved. Guenter insisted. He moved us to the Owners Suite 801! This was a huge shock and a wonderful surprise. Later in the review I will expand on the suite. A few days later we had a party for 28, completely catered by the ship to include a huge amount of caviar, shrimp cocktail, quiche, sashimi tuna canapes, and the favorite hot pigs in a blanket! A fully stocked bar with spirits, wine, beer and soda was available. 2 white gloved servers as well. Ian, whom I had sailed with before, was one of the professional servers at the event. The cocktail party was a huge success! I'd like to touch on the different aspects of the ship.
The Ship: Strikingly beautiful. Lovely lines, beautiful atrium and sleek design. The ship boasts 2 medium sized pools, several dining areas, state of the art spa, and a full service sports marina with all the toys. Odyssey can accommodate 450 guests.
The Dining Venues: The main dining room serves breakfast lunch and dinner and is simply elegant with 5+ star service. The Colonnade is an indoor / outdoor venue at the stern of the ship. Breakfast and lunch is served with a full buffet and table service. In the evening The Colonnade offers themed dinners. The Patio Grill on deck 8 offers outdoor, casual dining for lunch and dinner. Restaurant "2" is the only reservation only dining venue. It is a set tasting menu, featuring fine gourmet fare. The back lit menus are a wonderful touch, and the service is that of a chick N.Y. restaurant or a swanky L.A. hot spot. As in all dining venues, red and white wine is continuously being served.
The Spa: Seabourn Odyssey offers one of the largest, most comprehensive spas on the high seas. The facilities offer private retreat areas, thermal pool, men's and women's steam and sauna, treatment rooms and more. A fully equipped gym, with plenty of space and headroom. I had the pleasure of taking a full tour of the spa, and can honestly say that I was blown away by its vastness and beauty!
The Bars: There are several bars on Odyssey, so there is no reason to ever go thirsty. The Observation Lounge on Deck 10 offers stunning views of the ocean, a bar situated at the center of the room, and plenty of seating. The decor is absolutely stunning. A perfect room for die-hard trivia players. The Sky Bar on deck 9 offers covered outdoor seating and is a favorite area by many passengers. The Sky Bar is a staple on all Seabourn ships. The Patio Bar is on deck 8 and is across from the Patio Grill. Mostly uncovered seating, with a view of the pool area. The Club on deck 5 is a pre and post dinner favorite. It boasts a large marble bar with 8 bar stools. Nightly entertainment, dance floor and plenty of seating. The Casino, with its friendly dealers and staff, is located at the entrance to The Club. Hot hors d'oeuveres and canapes are served at all bars every evening before dinner.
The Entertainment: Seabourn Odyssey relies on separate entertainers, instead of the Cruise Director staff to entertain the guests. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to see any of the shows, but heard that they were quite good.
The Cruise Director Staff: I had the immense pleasure of sailing with 3 of the most talented and personable CD staff on the high seas. John Barron, formerly with Regent was our Cruise Director, assisted by Marla Sanders and David E. Greene. They all are talented, funny and completely approachable. They were constantly mingling to the delight of all the guests.
The Officers: I had the immense pleasure of sailing with Captain Karlo Bauer, and Hotel Manager Guenter Steinbrunner again. I also had the pleasure of meeting the Staff Captain. The officers on Seabourn are extremely professional, and approachable at the same time. Seabourn officers are truly first class.
The Service: Our suite Stewardess, Bernadette, was amazing. We felt that we were stepping into our suite for the first time after she left each morning and evening. Her upbeat personality and dedication to her job is obvious. The bar staff anticipated your every need with a smile. Dominick, Ian and Gary at the Sky bar were stand-outs. The servers at the dining venues were absolutely outstanding. I had wondered with a ship so much bigger than the little sisters, would they be able to pull off the same level of service? The answer is an astounding YES! I still shake my head wondering how in the world can every member of the staff call me by name?
The Food: On Odyssey, the food is truly outstanding. From the tasty pizza and incredible burgers at the Patio Grill to the elegant gourmet fare at "2". No matter what venue you dine at, you will only be eating the best prepared and tasting food you will ever have on a cruise. Truly excellent! The only criticism I would have is that they put processed cheese on the best burgers in the world. (not a proper match) Also, Thanksgiving dinner was disappointing. I don't think the chef anticipated everyone ordering turkey and dressing!
The Suite: Having been moved to the Owners Suite, I can only say "wow"! Upon entering the suite, you are greeted by a lovely marble entrance-way with powder room to your right, and full kitchen to your left. The kitchen boasts a refrigerator, sink, storage and electronic espresso machine with a variety of espresso flavors. Beautiful living-room with a large flat screen TV on the wall, dining room with a beautiful floral display, separate bedroom (with flat screen TV)and bathroom featuring dramatic Italian marble sinks and European fixtures. The wrap around deck includes a table, chairs and Balinese beds for outdoor napping. I have never had the pleasure of staying in such beautiful accommodation. I felt like I was the luckiest man alive!
Special Events: Dancing under the stars is always a fun event for guests and staff. Trivia is always a "must", and my team (with many CC members) had the pleasure of winning the whole thing this cruise! The Marina was not used on my cruise as it was cancelled due to choppy waters. (although it cleared up, the marina takes too long to set up, so a decision has to be made in the morning) The Beach Bar-b-Que was simply amazing! Caviar in the surf, champagne and fresh live lobster were the stand-outs. The Seabourn Club party was well attended, and we received our beautiful 200 day pins. Made by Tiffany and Company, they are sterling silver with a small amethyst. The Galley Lunch was too crowded. This was the only time I had to stand in line. I would suggest that the Galley Lunch event stay on the little ships, and not navigate to the large ships. It loses its charm.
The Ports: We only disembarked the ship for the Beach Bar-b-Que and St. Barts. This trip was to truly relax and experience Odyssey.
This cruise was truly memorable. I met some of the nicest people I have ever met on a cruise. Even though there are over twice as many passengers on Odyssey than on the 3 triplets, the feeling of "family" abounds. I was extremely sad to disembark, but everything comes to an end. We placed a deposit for an "Open booking". I would recommend Odyssey to anyone who expects first class food and service with a smile.