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I got to blow this cruise ship's horn on Odyssey of the Seas. Here's how I did it.

08 May 2024
Marcy Miyar

The powerful blow of a cruise ship's horn is an unmistakable sound on any cruise vacation, but what is it like to blow the horn yourself? I got to try it on my recent cruise, and here's how.

Marcy got to blow the ship's horn

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean announced a partnership with The Make-A-Wish Foundation. Make-A-Wish—a nonprofit organization founded in 1980—grants wishes to children who have been diagnosed with critical illnesses. The wishes can be anything from a trip to Disney World to meeting their favorite celebrity, being a firefighter for a day, or, in Royal Caribbean’s case, taking a cruise.

Wishes At Sea is the name of Royal Caribbean's partnership program with Make-A-Wish, and guests can help make this partnership possible by giving donations and making select purchases onboard.

Make A Wish tshirt

Each ship is selling branded t-shirts for $25, along with hosting a “Walk for Wishes” sometime during the sailing. You can also opt to fill out a card in your stateroom specifying a donation amount, which will then be added to your onboard account.

The most unique way to contribute to the cause is by auctioning off items or experiences

Make A Wish Auction

While onboard Odyssey of the Seas for an 8-night sailing earlier this month, my husband and I decided to participate in the Make-A-Wish auction on the pool deck. Jamie, our cruise director, was great about advertising the auction and previewing some of the amazing experiences up for bid.

On the third day of our cruise, we headed to the pool deck for the auction. This turned out to be quite the event, as all the senior officers were in attendance, including Captain Marek.

Royal Caribbean's ships are all in competition with each other to raise the most money. Currently, Odyssey of the Seas is leading the way. Jamie is so determined to win the fleet-wide contest that he has committed to shaving his head if they raise over $30,000 before the end of April!

The auction items up for bid included:

  • Bingo cards
  • Surf and Stream Internet package for the entire voyage for one device
  • Dinner for two in a specialty restaurant (excluding Chef's Table and Izumi Teppanyaki)
  • Pickleball lesson with the sports staff
  • $100 credit for the arcade
  • Digital photo package of every picture your family took during the voyage
  • Private FlowRider lesson
  • A behind-the-scenes tour of the theater with the cast of the Effectors including backstage access
  • A tour of the galley with the Executive Chef
  • A tour of the engine room with the Chief Engineer
  • An All Access ship tour
Freedom of the Seas at CocoCay

In addition to all of these items, there were two additional auction items that offered the most exclusive experiences. First was the dinner at Chops Grille with the ship's captain (and up to eight guests). The other big ticket item was being invited to the bridge during sailaway from Perfect Day at CocoCay, which included a champagne toast with the captain and officers, and the opportunity to blow the ship's horn.

It was wonderful to see so many guests participating in the auction. There was something for everyone with a variety of price points for every budget. Of course, many items went for more than what you could buy them for in the Cruise Planner, but it is for charity, after all!

The competition was tough for the last two big ticket items. The dinner at Chops Grille ended up going for $1,000, and we won the auction for the CocoCay bridge experience with our $2,000 bid.

Paper saying won auction

I got completely caught up in the bidding war. My husband said he was about ready to restrain me, but I really wanted this once-in-a-lifetime experience. After Jamie pointed to me and yelled, “SOLD,” he asked the family I was bidding against if they would match my bid. They said they would and he gave them the experience too!

Following our winning bid, it was time to blow the ship's horn

Marcy blowing horn on cruise ship

On the last day of our cruise, we met in Schooner Bar at 4:15PM, just before Odyssey of the Seas was to sail away from Perfect Day at CocoCay. There, we were met by a crew member that escorted us to deck 12, where the security team cleared us to go to the bridge.

Captain Marek was the most gracious host. He gave us a tour of the bridge, introduced us to all of his officers, and personally stayed with us the entire time answering questions and pointing out every instrument. We were even invited into the communications room to watch him make the announcement welcoming everyone back to the ship.

bridge of cruise ship

We have been to the bridge on other ships before, but we have never had the captain give us such individualized attention. I cannot say enough wonderful things about him or his team.

Terrence, the Playmakers manager, offered us champagne to celebrate the sailaway. As a former sommelier for Royal, he talked to us about the differences between champagne and sparkling wine along with explaining how white and red wines are made.

three people smiling in cruise ship bridge

As soon as we departed the pier, we were each offered to blow the horn a total of three times.  We were docked with Freedom of the Seas and they would signal back to us. Because Freedom was our first Royal Caribbean cruise, as well as the ship where we renewed our vows, that was extra special for us.

We were then moved to the wings where we could watch the sailaway. It was so smooth and seamless. It was even more of a treat to have a clear, sunny day. The photos from the wings could never do it justice. It must be a view that never gets old.

two people smiling during sailaway from cruise ship

We spent an hour on the bridge, and it went by so quickly. Everyone was so gracious and generous with their time, and it was a unique experience that I will always treasure.

Overall, the ship raised $13,400 in a combination of shirt sales and auction items. Odyssey of the Seas is now a mere $4000 short of their April goal. I sure hope someone gets a picture of Jamie after he shaves his head!

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