What I liked (and disliked) about my Odyssey of the Seas cruise

28 Nov 2022
Matt Hochberg

No matter how many times I sail on a cruise ship, there's always at least a few takeaways from the experience.

Odyssey of the Seas in Curacao

I took my family on a great 8-night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas, and it was my first time back on Odyssey since late last year.  Quite a lot has changed in the cruise world since then, and I came back with a few interesting observations from the cruise.

Due to the global health crisis, Odyssey of the Seas' launch was delayed and entering service so close to Wonder of the Seas, Odyssey was quickly overshadowed by all the attention Wonder received. Having had the chance to revisit Odyssey, I found a number of things that stood out about this ship.

Any cruise you go on will have positives and negatives, and some of these are nuances directly related to the ship itself.  This isn't meant to be an all-encompassing review of Odyssey. Rather, just some takeaways from my cruise while they are fresh in my mind.

In an effort to share my experience with our readers, here are the things I liked and disliked about my latest sailing on Odyssey of the Seas.

Likes on Odyssey of the Seas

Dance parties in Two70 & Music Hall

Usually when Royal Caribbean holds a '70s dance party or some other big celebration, they hold it right in the middle of the ship. On Odyssey of the Seas, they moved it to a specific venue and I loved this change.

On other ships, these dance parties are in the Royal Promenade and that means the main thoroughfare of the ship is inundated with music, dancing, and lots of guests. That's fine if you're there to boogie, but it also means other forms of entertainment have to temporarily stop and it also jams up the most convenient (indoor) way to get from one end of the ship to the other.

On Odyssey, these events were held in either Two70 or Music Hall.  This meant those that wanted to dance and be part of the fun could go to these spots and enjoy it.  Plus, both venues were large enough to feel like a party and not some cramped room. The energy you get from partying with a crowd was still there.

The benefit was the Royal Esplanade remained clear and musical acts in the pub or Boleros could continue unabated. Plus, navigating the ship from end-to-end was not impacted.

Best internet at sea

Sea day on Odyssey of the seas

Maybe you heard that Royal Caribbean is rolling out Starlink internet to all the ships in the fleet?

I've tried Starlink on Independence of the Seas and Allure of the Seas so far, and the internet on Odyssey of the Seas performed significantly better than either ship.  Did I mention Odyssey of the Seas is not on Starlink yet?

When I say Odyssey's internet was better, I mean the internet was responsive, fast, and rarely "disappeared" in terms of outages.

Instead of Starlink, Odyssey of the Seas still relies on internet service provided by O3b Networks, which is a subsidiary of SES. Before Royal Caribbean changed every ship's internet service to be called "Voom", this was the internet service that first coined the term Voom.

Of course, Royal Caribbean will eventually switch out Odyssey from O3b to Starlink.

Why did Odyssey's internet perform so much better? I'm not a network engineer so I don't want to pretend I know exactly why.  Part of the reason may be the Quality of Service (QoS), which is a mechanism for controlling network traffic for performance.

In any case, if I was going to do work from a cruise ship, I'd want to be on Odyssey of the Seas for it.

Best looking main dining room

While the actual food served in any restaurant is ultimately what makes it a good choice or not, I can't help but love the look of the main dining room on Odyssey of the Seas.

Spectrum of the Seas was the first cruise ship to adopt this look, but since Spectrum has been in Asia since her launch, I've only had the privilege to sail on Odyssey.

Odyssey of the Seas dining room

Royal Caribbean cut out the top of the dining room to open it up to the Via, and the overall aesthetic is lovely.

We only ate at the main dining room for Thanksgiving dinner, but I really like how the dining room looks on Odyssey of the Seas.

Effectors: Best show in the fleet?

Could Royal Caribbean's original production, The Effectors, be the best show right now across the fleet?

With all due respect to the Broadway shows, if you want to look at just the shows Royal Caribbean has created, I think Effectors might be my top choice. 

Between the music selections and very impressive technical effects, I think Effectors has the best balance of pizazz and story yet.

While I still want Royal Caribbean to develop shows with a more coherent plot, Effectors has enough of it that it clearly stands out from every other show I've seen.

Of course, I haven't seen Effectors II yet on Wonder of the Seas, so this may change when I sail on Wonder in a few weeks.

SeaPlex is fantastic

Odyssey of the Seas is the fifth Quantum Class ship, and it's clear they nailed the implementation of the SeaPlex on this ship.

First and foremost, the SeaPlex is a lot of fun for guests of all ages.  I like there's a lot of different activities offered here, and not all of it is purely for the under 18 set.

I had a great time on the first day of the cruise playing badminton with my daughter. Later, we got to ride bumper cars and that left a smile on our faces.

Then there's Zone Zero, which is an incredibly impressive virtual reality experience that everyone should do at least once.

Of course, kids love the activities in the SeaPlex and the proof is in how well-attended all the events are. 

During a recent media event, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley joked they invest millions of dollars in new spaces for teens on cruise ships but the teens always end up hanging out in the stairwells.  On Odyssey of the Seas, the teens would at least hold off from going to the staircases until the SeaPlex closed at 11pm.

Best Playmakers in the fleet

Speaking of the SeaPlex, I need to point out how good the Playmakers location is on Odyssey of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean put Playmakers on the second floor of the SeaPlex and it's a home run (a sports reference for a sports bar!).

On most ships, Playmakers is either outdoors or overcrowded from its convenient location mid-ship. The outdoor locations are too hot or humid most time of the year for my taste, and on ships where it is indoors, it gets way too crowded from guest overflow because it's a convenient place to just stop in.

On Odyssey, it's air-conditioned, has lots of space, and a giant screen to catch the game. Even when there's not a game to watch on the screen, you can watch the action below in the SeaPlex.

While I do like the Playmakers locations on Independence and Freedom of the Seas, the Playmakers on Odyssey is the only Playmakers location that is a real destination for me during the cruise.

Cafe @ Two70 is my go-to grab-and-go spot

In terms of menu, Cafe @ Two70 isn't that different from Park Cafe on other ships, but it has just enough difference that I greatly prefer it.

First, it has a full coffee menu that you usually find on Cafe Promenade on other ships.  But unlike Cafe Promenade, Cafe @ Two70 tended to be far less busy.

Plus, Cafe @ Two70 has a great selection of food for breakfast and lunch. Not only are there good options, but they are quick.  This is so helpful on port days where I want to get everyone in my family something to eat, but do so quickly.

The icing on the cake for Cafe @ Two70 is the view you can enjoy while eating. Located adjacent to Two70, I loved taking my coffee and bagel to Two70 and enjoying a view outside.

Dislikes on Odyssey of the Seas

Show schedule

There is no perfect entertainment schedule that will work for everyone's personal schedule, but I didn't understand some of the show scheduling on Odyssey of the Seas.

There were far too many showings of The Book in Two70 and not nearly enough of Effectors.

On our 8-night cruise, it seemed they showed The Book for the first two thirds of the cruise and left Effectors to just the last two nights of the cruise. I know they were swapping out casts on our cruise, so perhaps that factored into that decision. I just wish there was more opportunities to see Effectors.

Elevator logic

Maybe this is just me, but I found the elevators to be the worst in terms of wait times on Odyssey of the Seas compared to any other ship I've been on since the restart in 2021.

There's lots of factors involved with how long you'll wait for an elevator and luck definitely plays a large part.  But I truly was baffled by the "logic" the elevator system used to assign cars.

Besides just waiting a long time for an elevator, there were many times where an empty elevator would zoom past us only to have another nearly full car come to our floor for a stop.

Far from a major problem, I just found it perplexing how inefficient the elevators were on Odyssey.

Read moreWhy you should skip the elevator on your cruise

Pub singer and trivia schedule

This last dislike is super small, but I didn't understand why they scheduled trivia inbetween sets of the pub singer.

As a purveyor of pub singing entertainment across Royal Caribbean, I like to think I have a pretty good handle on how this particular form of entertainment is handled and what works well.

On Odyssey, the pub singer would start his first set, and then when it was time for a break, they'd bring a trivia team to conduct a trivia session.  Then the pub singer would resume with his next set.

Frankly, it was jarring in terms of energy. Similar to the Schooner Bar player, the pub singer experience is all about energy from the crowd coming back to the singer. So to go from singing along to trivia felt disjointed and it's not something I've seen on any other ship.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost experts on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

Get our newsletter

Stay up-to-date with cruise news & advice

    We never share your information with third parties and will protect it in accordance with our Privacy Policy