Cruise on the Odyssey of the Sea, 9/11/21
On Saturday, 9/11/21, we flew into Ft. Lauderdale on Delta, arriving at 9:15 AM. Our boarding time was not until 12:30 PM so we sat in the Delta terminal until 11:30 AM and then took a taxi to the port arriving around noon. Taxi ride was $16 plus tip. It was not very crowded at checkin and we had to stop at several stations and they looked at our passports, sea pass on our phone, COVID shot record and our COVID test results which we did on Wednesday prior to our Saturday sailing. Rooms were ready about 1:30 PM. This is basically a brand new ship with its first sailing on 7/31/21. It is a beautiful ship. We went to our room about 2PM. We did a ROYAL UP and bid $55 ($110 in total) for a room with a bigger balcony and got it. This balcony is probably 12 feet x 8 feet. We were on deck 8. I am glad we ended up on deck 8 as the balconies on deck 6 look out at the life boats and deck 7 they are also obstructed but not as bad as deck 6. If you have ever been on the Voyager, Freedom, or Oasis class ships the balconies on deck 6 are fine and on the Oasis class ships I prefer deck 6 as it is close the the Broadwalk and only one deck up from the promenade. On this cruise you have to wear your mask most of the time if you go out of your room. They make you wash your hands before going into the buffet on deck 14. They have implemented a lot of protocols in addition to what I have mentioned to keep people save. It is a little inconvenient but not a problem. We were told that there are only 1014 guests on the ship so it is not a problem. If this was a full ship I think it would be very cumbersome. If you are a Diamond Plus or higher they load 5 drinks a day (maybe 6 per day for Pinnacle, not sure) on your sea pass card which you can use for specialty coffee (not at Starbucks) or any other drinks up to $13 which covers frozen drinks like mudslide, BBC etc. Our first stop was Nassau and we did not get off the ship as we were there last month. Our other two stops, Aruba and Curacao we did get off the ship and walked into town. We had been there in March 2019 just before COVID and it was busy. A lot has changed because of COVID as some of the stores have closed and there were not nearly the number of people around. On that day they were doing crew drills and on our side of the ship they actually had 5 life boats in the water checking them out. They also had a small boat with a rubber nose which they used to get the life boat in position to hoist back on to the ship. Docked along side of us was the Edge on one side and the Freedom of the Sea on the other side. We have not been on the Edge but I am not sure I would be a big fan of the infinite balcony but I will withhold judgement until we try it. As we walked around the ship on day 2 we saw that the Solarium Bistro restaurant served all 3 meals with a somewhat limited menu. The Solarium pool is nice. As you come into the regular pool area from the Windjammer on the starboard side is a complementary taco snack bar which was fairly busy on sea days. Getting off the ship was easy. We put our luggage out the night before. After picking up our luggage in the terminal, going thru immigration was easy as they were using a facial recognition system.
The entertainment was good with a different show every night. The first night they had a comedian, Cary Long who was fine. The second night the headliner was Jennifer Singer who did a medley of songs by some of the top female singers, ie Celene Dion, Barbara Striesdand, etc..she had a nice voice and did a good job. Also on night 2 we went to the Two70 lounge to get a preview of the high tech equipment that is in there and will be used for the production of the show called The Book which we saw later in the week. They said that it cost 37 million for that lounge. It is really unique, high tech. RC still has a 9 piece orchestra and they were great. On the third day they had a top tier gathering in the Two70 lounge for Diamond Plus and Pinnacle passengers which was followed by a gathering to honor veterans, both nice events. The entertainment in the theater that night was a production show called Tap Factory. I wasn’t sure what we were going to see. What we saw was 4 talented guys tap dancing along with a couple of other guys and an aerial gymnast. We really liked the show. Right after that show we went to the Music Hall and listened to a Beatles tribute band for an hour who were also very good. On day 4 we saw The Book, Seven Chapters, One Adventure. It was held in the Two70 lounge. The show was singing , dancing and guys coming out of the ceiling on ropes. While I am not sure I followed the story it sure did highlight the high tech features of that lounge. After that show we went to the theater and saw a juggler, Francois Boris, who was good. On day 5 the Beatles tribute band played in the theater with a different set of songs. On day 6 Peter Grant, a singer, preformed in the theater that night and was very good. On day 7 we saw a production show in the theater, Show Girls, Past, Present and Future. It was a high energy dancing and singing show with a cast of 20, very good. On the last night the show in the theater was the same singers and dancers that we had seen earlier in the week.
Our cabin was the typically balcony cabin with a bigger balcony. Since the main elevators are slightly rear of mid-ship our cabin was about 6 cabins towards the rear of the main elevators and it was great. We prefer a cabin towards the back on a big ship as we typically use the rear elevators for dining since the buffet and main dining room is in the back of the ship. Having a cabin with a bigger balcony was also nice. The shower was bigger than a lot of the Royal Caribbean ships.