After a year that has seen Odyssey of the Seas reposition several times, delayed, and changed itineraries more than Royal Caribbean would have wanted, it’s positive news for the company’s newest cruise ship as she completed her first two ports of call. Odyssey of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, visited the Dutch Antilles in the last two days.
With calls in the Southern Caribbean to Curacao and Aruba, Odyssey of the Seas plays its part in reactivating the Islands tourism sectors that have suffered heavily during the pandemic like many other islands in the Caribbean.
Odyssey of the Seas departed Fort Lauderdale on July 31, and after two full days at sea, the vessel arrived in the Dutch Caribbean Island of Aruba on August 3. The 168,666 gross ton Odyssey of the Seas set sail with only 1414 passengers and 1427 crew members. The number is considerably lower to ensure the vessel can comply with the strict health measures in place onboard.
Odyssey of the Seas is not the first cruise ship to call at Oranjestad (Celebrity Millennium had that honor back in July), the capital of Aruba. Still, she is undoubtedly one of the biggest to call so far.
Odyssey of the Seas’ call to Aruba marked the first official port of call for Royal Caribbean’s newest vessel. She was welcomed into the port by two fireboats spraying water cannons in a traditional welcome.
Aruba is one of the most treasured destinations in the Dutch Antilles, with more than 70km of pristine white sand beaches such as the world-famous Palm Beach, Eagle Beach, and Instagram favorite Flamingo beach. Guests had the opportunity to explore the island from early morning to late evening, after which the ship set sail to Curacao, the neighboring island in the Southern Caribbean.
In August, Aruba expects another seven calls from Cruise ships; this includes more calls from Odyssey of the Seas and calls from Celebrity Summit, Carnival Horizon, Star Breeze, and Celebrity Equinox.
After she visited Aruba, the Quantum-Ultra ship set sail to the neighboring island of Curacao, where she arrived at 7 AM and docked in the island’s capital of Willemstad. As is customary for a maiden call, a plaque ceremony took place involving the Captain, Minister of Economic Development Ruthmilda Larmonie, Curaçao Ports Authority managing director Humberto de Castro, and other dignitaries.
Odyssey of the Seas is scheduled to call at Curacao multiple times this year as the ship sails on Western Caribbean and Southern Caribbean itineraries for her maiden season. After two more days at sea, where guests can enjoy everything the ship has to offer, the ship will make a final call at the always popular Perfect Day at CocoCay before returning to Fort Lauderdale on August 8.
It’s been a rocky start for Odyssey of the Seas in the run-up to her inaugural cruise and her first ports of call in Aruba and Curacao. Initially scheduled for a maiden season in the Mediterranean, this was later altered to Israel, where she would sail with Israeli guests only.
This changed when unrest in the middle east caused Royal Caribbean to pull out again and changed to Fort Lauderdale. After this, the cruise ship’s first cruise was postponed when several crew members tested positive for COVID-19 onboard.
Odyssey of the Seas completed her test sailing on July 19 and now seems to be, finally, well underway. Her next cruise will see the ship sailing the Caribbean with calls in Labadee, Haiti; Falmouth, Jamaica; and Nassau, Bahamas