Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas to sail in Europe

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Royal Caribbean International’s second Quantum Ultra-class ship, Odyssey of the Seas, is to sail in Europe in 2021 after its spending first season in the Caribbean.

The line’s 27th ship, which will be similar in size to 4,800-passenger-capacity Spectrum of the Seas, will first sail out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Caribbean itineraries from November 2020.

It will sail both six- and eight-night Caribbean cruises, becoming the first Quantum Ultra-class ship to call at the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba and Curacao, which will be calling on its eight-night itinerary.

They will be in addition to the calls on its six-night sailing, which include Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; and Royal Caribbean International’s private Caribbean island, Perfect Day at CocoCay.

After Odyssey’s maiden season in the Caribbean, the ship will redeploy to Europe for summer 2021. Details of its European itineraries are yet to be confirmed and are expected to be released in November. In a previous interview with Travel Weekly, the line’s president and chief executive Michael Bayley hinted that the ship would sail out of Barcelona.

Odyssey of the Seas will feature a RipCord by iFLY sky-diving adventure, a North Star glass observation capsule that takes guests more than 300 feet above the ocean and a two-deck-high Two70 entertainment venue and SeaPlex active space with a trapeze school, basketball court, a roller-skating rink and bumper cars.

Royal said more features of the ship will be announced ahead of its launch.

The line’s first Quantum-Ultra class ship, Spectrum of the Seas, launched in April with sailings out of Shanghai, China.

Royal Caribbean takes delivery of Anthem of the Seas

A signing ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany, made the Anthem delivery official.

Meyer Werft shipyard formally turned over Anthem of the Seas to Royal Caribbean International on Friday, 10 days ahead of the ship’s naming ceremony in Southampton, England.

The 4,200-passenger Anthem, the second ship in Royal’s Quantum class, will sail from the U.K. on various European itineraries this summer and fall. In November, it will arrive in New York Harbor to dock at its permanent home port of Cape Liberty, N.J.

Unique features of the Quantum-class ships include the North Star aerial observatory, the SeaPlex bumper car arena and the RipCord by iFLY skydiving simulator.

Quantum mechanics: Robot bartenders and RFID wristbands

By Tom Stieghorst
Quantum of the SeasSOUTHAMPTON, England — Quantum of the Seas is bound for the U.S., departing on a transatlantic trip to New York following a two-night preview cruise here.

About 2,700 travel agents, vendors, media and VIPs were treated to afirst look at the ship, fresh out of the Meyer Werft shipyard where it was under construction for 20 months.

Although Meyer Werft typically delivers early, according to Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. Chairman Richard Fain, with Quantum it was just on time. Numerous items are being installed or fine-tuned on the crossing, which is expected to conclude Nov. 10.

The ship’s headline features have been publicized, but the preview cruise group got to see some of the less heralded innovations, and learned a few obscure facts from Fain and other Royal executives.

For example:

• The oversized magenta bear on Quantum’s top deck has been named Felicia by the crew. At a travel agent forum, one agent said she doesn’t know how to explain it to clients and wondered why it was there. “Why not?” Fain replied. “The bear is a little bit ridiculous and certainly unexpected, but isn’t she great?”

Quantum - Bionic Bar• More than 100 bottles of liquor are suspended from the ceiling over the two robotic bar tenders in the Bionic Bar. The robots reach skyward to access pours for the drinks they make. Bar managers believe they will have to restock only once a day. The two ’bots have been dubbed B1O and N1C by supervisors.

• Hand-washing basins have been installed at the entrances to the Windjammer buffet restaurant, and at several other restaurants around the ship. The basins are not an industry first — Princess Cruises’ Royal Princess and Regal Princess have them — but they are a first for Royal Caribbean. The idea is to keep passengers from spreading any illness, norovirus in particular.

• The poolside video screen was installed to the side after Fain concluded that its initial spot at the end of the pool was too obtrusive. One manager said Fain ordered the change. Fain says he doesn’t remember who suggested the move. “If you like it, I take credit for it,” he said.

• Two candelabras in the Wonderland restaurant feature lighted candles. Fain said Royal Caribbean banned open flames for more than 20 years but recently has made some limited exceptions approved by a panel of top executives. He said there is no Coast Guard rule on flames. “I think the candles add to the atmosphere,” he said.

• Metallic was the scent picked to add a sensory note to the North Star observation gondola. The smell is very subtle. North Star’s ascent to a position 300 feet above the ocean is smooth, gradual and silent, except for the whir of an air changer in the roof. The gondola is designed to automatically shut down and retract if sensors detect an unexpected motion.

Quantum -North Star gondola• The pool areas in the Solarium contain several feet of water, deeper than on other Royal ships. They form a series of tiers, leading to a level with hot tubs on either side. A sculpture by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa is a focal point for the cascading pools.

• Jamie’s Italian, the specialty restaurant by British culinary entrepreneur Jamie Oliver, is the first alternative restaurant on a Royal Caribbean ship to have an al fresco dining area. The glass-shielded deck space has five tables for two and six tables for four.

• The Windjammer on Quantum will be the first one fleet-wide to have a section open 24 hours a day. The decision was made in part to accommodate demand anticipated when Quantum moves to China next May.

• The Schooner Bar menu has a retro theme. It features throwback classics such as the Old Fashioned, Sidecar, Brandy Alexander and daiquiri. The printed menu includes vintage photos of memorabilia, such as a typewritten Passenger Landing Card from 1974 and a drinks list with Budweiser priced at $1.35.

• Four key cards malfunctioned. Quantum offers RFID wristbands as an alternative to key cards. “Normally, we would have hundreds of key cards with [magnetic] strips that had become de-magnetized,” Fain said.