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Complete guide to Odyssey of the Seas

In:
04 Oct 2021
By: 
Matt Hochberg

Odyssey of the Seas may be Royal Caribbean's fifth Quantum Class cruise ship, but she is packed with many features and offerings not found on other ships, making her a compelling choice to book.

Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas begins inaugural sailing | Royal Caribbean Blog

Launched in 2021, Odyssey of the Seas is designed to offer passengers a ton of things to do, from swimming to live shows to bumper cars, there is a lot to see and do onboard.

As one of Royal Caribbean's largest cruise ships, Odyssey of the Seas has plenty of space for fun things to and with a ship this large, you may want to a heads up on what to expect onboard.

Here is a comprehensive look at everything you should know about Odyssey of the Seas.

Odyssey of the Seas overview

Top 10 Odyssey of the Seas hidden secrets | Royal Caribbean Blog

Odyssey of the Seas debuted in 2021 after a few delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but her arrival was met with a great deal of enthusiasm as the ship brought with it some really exciting new offerings onboard.

Royal Caribbean designed Odyssey of the Seas with different areas of focus, and unlike other Quantum Class ships, she has some noticeable additions. If you have been on Anthem of the Seas or Ovation of the Seas, you may notice changes the cruise line made to the layout of the ship.

Let's focus on the major areas of the ship to get a better sense of what is onboard:

  • Royal Esplanade
  • Resort-style pool deck
  • Two70
  • SeaPlex

First look around Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

If you are concerned about crowds, Royal Caribbean designed the ship with enough to do so that there will be enough going on to draw guests away from always wanting to be in the same area. Odyssey has many of her best things to do in the front or aft of the ship, which helps with crowd management.

As with any cruise ship, it is a good idea to walk around the ship once you get onboard to get a better sense of where everything is located. By exploring the ship early, you can get your bearings and be able to navigate the ship better later on.

Odyssey of the Seas dining and restaurants

There are 17 different dining options on Odyssey of the Seas, along with multiple bars and lounges. Royal Caribbean was certain to include many options so guests had plenty of choice and no single venue became too overcrowded.

The variety of dining venues (paid and complimentary) gives passengers a choice of cuisines, cooking styles, and price.

The complimentary dining venues are included with your cruise fare, and you will be able to find plenty of food at no additional cost for every meal and snacks inbetween. In fact, the complimentary dining is quite good, and should not be overlooked because the food included with your cruise fare is cooked fresh every day and covers a great deal of tastes.

Odyssey of the Seas Live Blog - Day 3 - Sea Day | Royal Caribbean Blog

Specialty dining has an additional cost to it, and allows guests to opt into dining at these venues if they prefer. Most venues have a cover charge, where each guest pays a flat fee and all the food is included. A couple of venues have an a la carte menu, where you pay for each item individually.

The reason to go to a specialty restaurant is for a cooking style or cuisine not otherwise available on the ship. Specialty dining is a splurge, and is akin to choosing to go to  a restaurant at home instead of having something in your house: there's nothing wrong with the food you have at home, but sometimes it is nice to pay for a meal out.

Specialty dining is not cheap, but there are dining packages you can purchase before the cruise to get a discount on multiple restaurants. 

Everything I ate on Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Here is a list of complimentary and specialty dining options on Odyssey of the Seas:

Complimentary dining

  1. Main dining room
  2. Windjammer Cafe
  3. The Cafe @ Two70
  4. Coastal Kitchen (suite guests only)
  5. Sorrento's
  6. El Loco Fresh
  7. Cafe Promenade
  8. Solarium Bistro
  9. Sprinkles ice cream station

Specialty dining

  1. Chef's Table
  2. Wonderland
  3. Giovanni's Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar
  4. Chops Grille
  5. Izumi
  6. Teppanyaki
  7. Starbucks
  8. Playmakers
  9. Room service

Should you eat at the included restaurants or try a specialty restaurant? It depends on your budget and tastes, but it is nice to mix in a specialty restaurant or two.

Most passengers focus primarily on the complimentary restaurants, such as the Main dining room and Windjammer. The ample snacks and between meal bites at El Loco Fresh and Sorrento's. In short, there is a good variety of food between these venues that will leave you satisfied.

If you are staying in a suite, you should also consider going to Coastal Kitchen, which is only for suite guests and offers a completely different menu from the main dining room. Royal Caribbean fans that cruise a lot in suites swear by how good Coastal Kitchen is, and since it is included with the cost of your suite, you should plan to dine there if you can.

If you would like to dip your toe into specialty dining, consider purchasing a 3-night dining package as a way to get a good deal on a few restaurants. Some of my favorites include Teppanyaki, Giovanni's Italian Kitchen, and Playmakers.

Things to do on Odyssey of the Seas

Royal Caribbean offers passengers as much to do on Odyssey of the Seas as any cruise ship, and you will quickly find there are lots of really fun things to try.

In fact, it can feel like a floating city with all the activities to consider. Your best bet to keep track of what is offered and when is to read the daily Cruise Compass. Think of the Cruise Compass as a TV Guide for everything planned that day, including hours for all the activities, dining, shows, and live performances.

A copy of the Cruise Compass will be delivered to your stateroom each evening by your stateroom attendant, and you can also view it on the Royal Caribbean app.

Signature activities

First look photos around newly delivered Odyssey of the Seas | Royal Caribbean Blog

Odyssey of the Seas stands out from other cruise ship with a few notable attractions onboard that are sure to get anyone's attention.

While there are traditional cruise ship activities onboard, such as bingo, trivia, and demonstrations, there are also lots of whiz-bang things to do as well:

  • FlowRider surf simulator
  • Rock climbing wall
  • Ripcord by iFly skydiving simulator
  • NorthStar observational pod
  • Sky Pad virtual realty bungee experience
  • Zone Zero fully immersive virtual reality experience
  • SeaPlex activity center
  • Bumper cars
  • Music Hall
  • Splashaway Bay aqua park for kids

Most of these activities are complimentary, although Royal Caribbean does charge for some. 

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You can book certain signature activities ahead of time, either before your cruise on the Royal Caribbean cruise planner website, or via the Royal Caribbean app once you are onboard the ship.

Hours for all activities will be published daily in the Cruise Compass.

Something completely different you should try is Zone Zero, which is an immersive virtual reality experience. At a cost of $18.00 per person, you put on a full VR suit and literally walk around a VR world.  That is not to say you sit and explore like a video game; Rather, you physically walk in the real world while seeing a virtual one, where you battle pirates. Incredible stuff.

The North Star is another really fun thing to try out, where the observational pod will take you over 300 feet above sea level to see your ship and whatever is around you. Currently, North Star costs extra if you are on a sea day, but it is complimentary for port day. Schedule it on port days right when they open in the morning or late afternoon before the ship departs to get a free ride at a convenient time.

Ripcord by iFly is another popular activity, where you put on a special suit and enter a wind tunnel to get a sense of what it is like to sky dive. 

North Star, Ripcord, and Zone Zero are all bookable via the Royal Caribbean app, but book them as soon as you can because space is very limited.

The SeaPlex is a hub of activity, where you will find lots of different things to do throughout the day and cruise. Bumper cars, pickleball, soccer, basketball, dancing and more will be available. Check your Cruise Compass for times.

Something else different about the SeaPlex is the fact Playmakers sports bar is located inside. Not only can you have a drink or meal while watching the action in the SeaPlex, there are 56 televisions around the bar to catch your favorite team. It is easily the best Playmakers location on any Royal Caribbean ship.

Shows

There are two main shows on Odyssey of the Seas, with plenty of other performances to check out.

All shows are under an hour in duration, which means the performances are all at a good length to not leave you overwhelmed.

"Showgirl: Past. Present. Future." is a tribute to the dance style Las Vegas showgirls have made famous for decades. It looks at the style of dance from different eras and presents it in a fast-paced original production that has a lot of energy behind it.

Spotted: New Royal Caribbean show celebrating showgirls | Royal Caribbean Blog

You can find Showgirl performed in the Royal Theater.

"The Book: Seven Chapters, One Adventure" is another original production that loosely tells a story of a librarian who explores the chapters of a book through song, dance, and music. It is difficult to describe this show in writing, but it is certainly a visually impressive production with lots of different elements and performing styles intertwined to create an act you have never seen before.

You can find The Book performed in Two70.

You should absolutely book reservations for Showgirl or The Book to ensure you have a spot for it, as seating is very limited (especially in Two70). There is no cost to make show reservations, and you can book it via the Royal Caribbean app once onboard the ship.

Be sure to also allocate time to see the live music on Odyssey of the Seas. Music Hall has a live band most nights, and it is as close as you can get to a rock concert on a cruise ship. 

You will also find live music in other lounges onboard, including Boleros, Schooner Bar, and the Pub. Royal Caribbean puts a lot of pride in their live music onboard, so check out as much as you can.

Pools

Odyssey of the Seas has resort-style pool deck that is not otherwise available on other Quantum Class ships, and it is a great layout.

There are two main pools for all guests on Odyssey of the Seas, along with the adults-only Solarium.

The two pools are separated by a structure in the middle, but it helps break up crowding.  You will find in-pool loungers, and lots of seating all around the pool deck. 

Odyssey of the Seas Live Blog - Day 1 - Embarkation | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean integrated the entire pool deck with the Lime and Coconut, which is a multilevel bar venue that evokes a certain level of fun with your pool day. 

On the second pool deck, you will find casitas that you can rent for an additional fee, along with hot tubs that overlook the lower pool deck. There are hot tubs on the lower pool deck too.

Pools will be closed occasionally when they need to be cleaned as well if weather or sea conditions make the pools unsafe for swimming. Otherwise, there is usually a pool and hot tub open for use.

The adults-only (age 16 and over) Solarium is a beautiful space, and it is enclosed which means the temperature is far more manageable on hot summer days.

Kids will find Splashaway Bay a fun place to get as wet as possible without actually jumping in a pool. There are water slides, drench buckets, geysers, and just about every other possible way to get soaked.

Kids programming

If you have children under the age of 18, there is an entire area of the ship reserved just for them at Adventure Ocean.

Odyssey of the Seas features the revamped Adventure Ocean that brings a new focus on activities for kids to do together, along with an infusion of some fun technology.

If you are unfamiliar with Adventure Ocean, programming is divided up into age-appropriate groups:

  • AO Junior (ages 3 to 5)
  • Hangout (ages 6 to 12)
  • Social180 (ages 13 to 17)

Adventure Ocean is complimentary during the day and evening, up until 10pm. After 10pm, there is an hourly cost per child.

Adventure Ocean is open most of the day, but their hours vary depending on if it is a port day or sea day.  On sea days, Adventure Ocean typically opens at 9:00am.  It then closes at noon and re-opens at 2pm and remains open until 5pm.  The evening session then runs from 7pm to 10pm.

In addition, there is a Nursery for toddlers ages 6 to 36 months. The Nursery always has an hourly charge, but is designed for babies and toddlers.

The teen club is known as Social180, and it is like a clubhouse where teens meet before they participate in an activity there or elsewhere on the ship. Often there are teens-only events, such as bumper cars or FlowRider time.

How to plan your Odyssey of the Seas cruise

Odyssey of the Seas to begin her first test cruise today | Royal Caribbean Blog

As with any Royal Caribbean ship, planning ahead of time is very important to ensure you get to do everything you want.

At some point in the future, you will be able to book entertainment and shows ahead of time via Royal Caribbean's Cruise Planner website. 

For now, you can only book these activities once onboard the ship via the Royal Caribbean app. So be sure to have the app downloaded and ready to go before you get onboard. You can download the Royal Caribbean app from either the iTunes App Store or Google Play Store.

Odyssey of the Seas scheduled for delivery to Royal Caribbean on March 24 | Royal Caribbean Blog

The app is capable of providing a digital SetSail pass once you complete online check-in. Just like a boarding pass for an airline, you can show the pier agents your SetSail Pass via the app and get onboard.

Make sure you complete the online check-in for your cruise as early as possible to get an early check-in time. Royal Caribbean enforces their check-in times (they didn't use to care about arrival times), so getting an early time is important.