How Odyssey of the Seas is the ‘next evolution’ of the Quantum-class vessels
A series of firsts – not all of them originally planned – have heralded the debut of Royal Caribbean International’s eagerly anticipated new flagship Odyssey of the Seas.
Construction of the 4,198-passenger vessel, the line’s second Quantum Ultra-class unit and one of the largest cruise ships ever built at Germany’s Meyer Werft shipyard, was delayed due to the global pandemic and the 169,000-gt ship was delivered in April 2021, six months after the scheduled date.
Originally slated to be the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to sail in North America, due to ongoing travel restrictions the maiden season was rearranged. Odyssey of the Seas will now be the newest and largest ship to homeport in Israel – which has implemented one of world’s fastest vaccine roll out programmes – with a series of summer sailings starting in May for fully vaccinated Israeli passengers.
In conjunction with Israel’s health and tourism authorities, Royal Caribbean is the first line to offer fully vaccinated sailings, with both crew and guests above the age of 16 immunised against Covid-19. After the inaugural sailings, Odyssey of the Seas will cross the Atlantic to become the first ship of its class to homeport in Florida where it will sail on Caribbean itineraries out of Fort Lauderdale.
The delivery of Odyssey of the Seas marks the completion of five Quantum-class vessels constructed by Meyer Werft, which began in 2013 with the launch of Quantum of the Seas. Launched in 2019, the line’s first Ultra Quantum-class vessel Spectrum of the Seas was custom built specifically for the Asian market and deployed to Shanghai. The construction of the quintet of sister ships comprises a total of 840,000 gt, including 11,000 km of cable lines, 2,000 km of piping from Meyer Werft’s pipe centre and 10,500 passenger cabins from EMS PreCab.
Described by Royal Caribbean as the ’next evolution’ of its high-tech Quantum-class vessels, Odyssey of the Seas is slightly larger than the trio of 168,666-gt Quantum ships, while carrying the same number of guests. It has 16 decks; 14 of them passengers decks.
The vessel has an overall length of 347.1 m, width of 41.4 m and 8.53 m draft. Odyssey of the Seas is powered by six main engines; two Wärtsilä 12V46F, two Wärtsilä 16V46F and a pair of Cat 3516C HD. Propulsion power is provided by two ABB Azipod XO thrusters and four Brunvoll FU115 bow thrusters. With a total engine power of 67,200 kW and propulsion power of 41 MW, the vessel has a maximum speed of 22 knots.
The line’s 27th vessel features the latest version of the under-hull air lubrication system developed by Royal Caribbean in collaboration with Meyer Werft and the Finnish companies Foreship and Process Flow solution. Debuted on Quantum of the Seas, and incorporated in all subsequent Quantum vessels, the hydrodynamic feature pumps out air bubbles from the hull to reduce friction with the water surface and cut fuel consumption by up to 8%. Additional benefits from the air layer include reducing propeller shaft excitation and decreasing noise and vibration levels.
As a further development of the Quantum class, Odyssey of the Seas, like four sister ships, has state-of-the-art exhaust gas purification systems such as hybrid scrubbers and SCR catalytic converters. The energy-efficient technical systems, optimised hydrodynamics, intelligent heat recovery and numerous other facilities lead to considerable energy savings. A diesel-electric pod drive, extensive alarm and security systems, interactive communication systems as well as state-of-the-art stage technology guarantee safety and entertainment according to the highest technical standards. As a ’smart ship’, the vessel is also fitted with its own satellite to guarantee online connectivity around the clock.
Meyer Werft executive board member project management ships, Stephan Schmees comments “Royal Caribbean Group commissioned us in 2011 to build the first two units of the Quantum class, which have been very popular with passengers since day one. We have continuously improved and developed these ships and have built five ships since 2014.”
Odyssey of the Seas was the third ship delivered by Meyer Werft during the pandemic and managing director Jan Meyer adds “This is an important sign of the strength of our shipyard and for the industry as a whole.”
The vessel has 2,137 passenger cabins which can accommodate 4,198 guests at double occupancy and 5,498 at full capacity. Cabins, across 35 categories, lead in with 15-m2 interior rooms, some with Royal Caribbean’s virtual balcony; a high-definition screen featuring real-time views of the ocean and destinations. The largest stateroom on the ship is the Royal Loft Suite. The two bedroom duplex-style accommodation, for up to eight guests, is an expansive 152-m2, with a 58-m2 wraparound balcony. It includes a slide from the children’s bedroom to the living area, a separate TV room, pool table and hot tub. The Royal Suite Class is the exclusive ‘ship-within-a-ship’ all-suite complex with key-card access via a private elevator and with its own swimming pool and dining room for suite-class passengers. Odyssey of the Seas also has 41 ADA-certified wheelchair accessible cabins.
The ship showcases the next generation of Royal Caribbean’s signature SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity space at sea. Spanning two decks, the upper level includes what the line describes as the “most interactive arcade to ever sail” with VR games for individual and group play, augmented reality walls, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade and areas for high-tech competitions and family experiences. SeaPlex also features a full-size basketball court, roller-skating rink and the only bumper cars at sea.
Other familiar features with new updates include the FlowRider surf simulator, RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, rock climbing wall and SkyPad, the bungee trampoline experience that transports travellers to another time, place or planet using a VR headset. Odyssey of the Seas also has the North Star, a glass gondola hanging on an extendible and pivoting arm that offers expansive views from a height of up to 90 m, plus spectacular stern architecture with large, glazed areas that offer 270° views.
Royal Caribbean International president and chief executive Michael Bayley says “Odyssey of the Seas will set an all-new standard created to deliver the most memorable vacations by combining immersive experiences, the best of Royal Caribbean’s trendsetting innovations and the signature ‘Royal Way’ service of our dedicated crew members. This Quantum Ultra-class ship introduces a new way to see the world as it becomes our first purpose-built vessel for island hopping on both sides of the Atlantic.”
Elsewhere, the 16 dining outlets will include Teppanyaki, which is new to North American passengers. The menu at the Japanese-style restaurant includes steak and seafood dishes served sizzling at the table. Also joining the dining line-up is the all-new Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Royal Caribbean’s new take on an Italian trattoria including hand-tossed pizzas fresh from the oven and a ’Sunday supper’ experience with wines from Italy’s best-known regions. Passengers can also expect to find Royal Caribbean favourites, including sushi and sashimi at Izumi, hand-cut steaks at Chop’s Grille, the Chef’s Table epicurean intimate experience and imaginative fantasy cuisine at Wonderland.
The ship’s Caribbean-inspired pool area sports a whole new look across two decks. The area, with two open-air pools, four whirlpools and Splashaway Bay aqua park, will also include a Quantum Ultra-class first, The Lime & Coconut daytime and evening bar.
Odyssey of the Sea’s full-scale theatrical productions will be staged in venues such as the Royal Theater and Two70, where immersive technology and special effects come to the fore as performers and aerialists take the stage alongside six RoboScreens. Mounted on robotic arm, the screens descend from the ceiling during shows to display video and imagery while executing choreographed movements in shows that will be unique to Odyssey of the Seas.
For now, Israeli guests will be the first to experience the flagship on the series of three- to seven-night round-trip sailings out of Haifa to the Greek islands and Cyprus, including ports of call. Royal Caribbean’s debut in Israel is also significant as it marks the second Royal Caribbean ship to restart operations. Quantum of the Seas has been successfully sailing on exclusive cruises for Singaporeans since last December.
Mr Bayley concludes “Receiving Odyssey of the Seas into the Royal Caribbean family is a welcome breath of fresh air. The ingenuity, passion and hard work our dedicated crew, teams on land and partners at Meyer Werft put into building a new ship always deliver, and to pull it off so well, during a time unlike any other, is incredible.
“We are looking forward to delivering the memorable vacations we’re known for today on a ship that will mark several firsts for us, from making Israel a first-time homeport to introducing Quantum Ultra class to North America. Every new ship is a blank slate to go bolder and be different, and Odyssey is bringing the very best of the new and guest-favourites across two continents for the years to come.”
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