Port Everglades welcomed Royal Caribbean’s first Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship to sail in the United States on Thursday morning as the company continues to prepare for the resumption of cruising from Florida ports.
Odyssey of the Seas is scheduled to depart the port for its first passenger cruise on July 3 and will sail on six- and eight-night Caribbean cruises through 2022.
It’s one of five ships Royal Caribbean plans to begin sailing from Florida ports in either July or August after each gets its conditional sailing certificate from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Unlike Royal’s sister brand, Celebrity Cruises, the cruise line decided not to sail with vaccination requirements and will instead conduct CDC-required test sailings to demonstrate the effectiveness of safety protocols developed to prevent onboard spread of COVID-19.
Celebrity’s Edge is scheduled to depart Port Everglades with fully vaccinated guests and crew on June 26 unless it’s stopped by Gov. Ron DeSantis, who contends that cruise ships are subject to his executive order and a new state law barring businesses from requiring proof of vaccinations.
Odyssey is the fifth in Royal’s Quantum class, and the first to be based at a Florida port. Construction of the 169,00-gross-ton vessel began in Germany in 2019. It’s the 25th ship in Royal Caribbean’s fleet.
The 16-deck vessel is 1,138 feet long — or longer than three football fields — and can hold 4,198 guests at double capacity, or a maximum of 5,498.
Odyssey will feature the indoor sky diving attraction that was developed by former Orlando-based company iFly, bumper cars at sea and a massive gathering venue offering 270-degree views from the aft of the ship.
Another recent feature on several Royal ships is SkyPad, the top-deck, bungee-trampoline-virtual-reality attraction. It will join cruise line staples like the FlowRider surf simulator, rock climbing wall and the indoor sports and entertainment venue called SeaPlex.
Guests can access seven restaurants included in their admission price, while those willing to pay extra for a higher-level dining experience can visit several specialty eateries, including Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, Chop’s Grill steakhouse and the Japanese-style hibachi restaurant Teppanyaki.
Orlando Sentinel writer Richard Tribou contributed to this report.