Orlando Sentinel (TNS)
ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida will finally be home to Royal Caribbean’s Quantum-class of ships when Odyssey of the Seas debuts in slightly more than a year, and the cruise line has revealed some of the details for when the new cruise ship arrives.
Just like the other Quantum ships, Odyssey of the Seas will have its iconic North Star ride, which is like a London Eye at sea that sends riders aboard a glass capsule attached to a rotating, pivoting crane-arm that can rise to more than 300 feet above the ocean as well as jut out over the side of the ship while offering 360-degree views.
Odyssey will also feature the indoor sky-diving attraction that was developed by former Orlando-based company iFly, bumper cars at sea and a massive gathering venue offering 270-degree views from the aft of the ship.
Another recent feature on several Royal ships is SkyPad, the top-deck, bungee-trampoline-virtual-reality attraction. It will join cruise line staples like the FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing wall and the indoor sports and entertainment venue called SeaPlex.
SeaPlex on Odyssey will be the largest indoor activity space at sea, according to the cruise line. This multi-deck venue is home to the bumper cars, but also virtual reality games in an interactive arcade, augmented reality walls and floors, a trapeze school, the pop-up glow-in-the-dark laser tag arena as well as the line’s popular Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade, which will allow for people-watching from above to the lower-deck play space.
The majority of these announced features have already debuted on other ships, but at least one new restaurant will make its North America debut on board. That’s Teppanyaki, which will feature Japanese style cuisine cooked over a hot surface hibachis.
Also coming on board is Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, an enhanced version of the Italian venue that can be found on other vessels. Those two restaurants will complement the modern cuisine offering Wonderland, which first debuted on Quantum of the Seas, as well as sushi and sashimi at Izumi, steakhouse Chop’s Grill and a ship’s Chef’s Table venue.
The Caribbean-feel pool-deck concept the line has been rolling to other ships such as Navigator of the Seas with lots of hammocks, shade casitas and the two-deck version of The Lime & Coconut bar will also be found on Odyssey of the Seas with two resort-style pools and four whirlpools. More quick service food will accompany the pool decks with the recently debuted El Loco Fresh venue.
The Two70 space features 270-degree panoramic views during the day with lots of indoor lounge space, and then transforms after sunset to show digital world views with a massive 135-foot-wide, 22-foot-tall digital screen. It’s also home for evening productions with live performers such as aerialists married to music and special effects.
Other entertainment venues on board include the Music Hall with live cover bands and the Bionic Bar for robotically prepared drinks.
The ship will feature a reimagined Adventure Ocean space for younger guests, a Splashaway Bay aqua park also aimed at the younger set and a new teen lounge.
For those avoiding children, there’s always the Solarium, an adults-only space with its own swimming pools, whirpools, bar and daybeds.
Actually a souped-up version of the original Quantum-class ships, the 168,000-gross-ton Quantum Ultra-class ship can hold more than 4,200 passengers at double capacity when it arrives in November 2020 to sail six- and eight-night Caribbean voyages from Fort Lauderdale’s Port Everglades.
It’s the second Quantum Ultra ship following this year’s Spectrum of the Seas that headed to Asia, and follows on the heels of the original Quantum of the Seas and its two sister ships Anthem of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas. None of the ships have ever home ported from Florida, although some have sailed to Florida from New York.
The Quantum Ultra class features the line’s first ship-within-a-ship concept, something cruise lines like MSC and Norwegian Cruise Line have championed on their latest builds.
Odyssey of the Seas is currently under construction at Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, having had its first steel cut in February.
The ship will sail the winter months out of Port Everglades sailing the Western and Southern Caribbean including stops in Aruba and Curacao and the line’s revamped private Bahamas island CocoCay, and then spend summer in Europe sailing from Rome beginning in May 2021.
“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,” said cruise line President and CEO Michael Bayley. “This Quantum Ultra Class ship introduces a new way to see the world as she becomes our first purposefully built vessel for island hopping on both sides of the Atlantic.”
The Florida-based cruise itineraries are now open for booking, while the Europe itineraries will open this November.