January 17, 2022

Day 2 - Nasssu

The passage to Nassau is smooth and quiet. The temperatures are expected to be in the mid 70's with increasing winds and a chance of a shower.

As the day progresses the winds change, and the waves outside the protection of the harbor grow to 5 or 6 feet or more with a constant spray coming off the crest to the waves before they crash into the rock retaining walls. Eventually they subside some as the wind moves further to the south.

At times the ship seems very empty. There are rumors as to what the passenger count is. Not surprisingly, they vary widely. I will wait until I have more accurate information.

One inovation on this ship is the hallway lighting. It starts out at a low level, and then as someone is detected in the hallway increases to full brightness.

I am sure this will save fuel. How much may be in question, there is often at least one person in the hallway, which will keep the lights at a bright level.

The cabin is very typical. A tiny desk, sofa, two closets and a chest of drawers which also hold a mini fridge. Two large cabinets over the headboard will store several of the extra pillows.  My need for the shoe hanger does not exist on this ship, nor most other modern ships of the past 5 years or so.

I-Fly, bumper cars, flow rider, rock climbing, bungee bounce pad, basketball, pool and a large sports bar complex are just a few of the activites/areas. Definitely designed for a younger crowd.

The Odyssey of the seas has several music venues. The Music Hall, Boleros, The schooner bar, and the Crown & Anchor pub, along with the main theater and  the Two70 complex which is a high tech multipurpose venue.

We are one of 4 ships in Nassau, and definitely the largest. The Freedom of the Seas is next to us, a Carnival ship and a Disney ship fill most of the berths.

This is only a wild guess, but I suspect only 30% of the passengers venture off the ship. We are  not  among them.

The Windjammer is typical of modern Royal ships, with various themed food stations. Plenty of variety, and as expected the staff is serving everything. Well everthing except coffee, juice and water which you can serve yourself sometimes.

The Diamond lounge is on a lower deck, but at least has a few outside windows.

Dinner in the coastal kitchen is again superb. Very close to the experience of Chops. When we arrive at 5:30 I think there was 1 or 2 tables occupied. As dinner progressed more table began to fill in.  Since they are practicing social distancing, even full they are only at half capacity.

I quickly that the majority of passengers in the coastal kitchen are Pinnacle members. Now whether they are also suite passengers is a separate question. This is of significance as the coastal kitchen is only available to suite passengers and Crown & Anchor Pinnacle members. With 125 suites on the ship and 51 Pinnacle passengers you would expect just the opposite.

Vocalist Peter Grant is the headliner entertainer for tonight. He is good, but his performance is degraded by the audio tech that amplifies the drums and some other instruments so much that the piano and his voice can not be heard or understood.  Just for kicks I measure the audio level with my uncalibrated audio app and the peak level is 110 Dba, and the average 100 Dba. Way over amplified.

I own ear plugs for a reason even though I did forget to take them to the show. I won't forget again.

Jabes plays instrumental guitar in the Schooner bar. A pleasant relief from the main theater. With limited seating, the Schooner bar quicky fills to capacity. Even if all seats were open, I feel it is smaller than on many other ships.

The regular piano bar player each evening is Daniel Marks. A young gentleman from England. Very animated and a good entertainer. In contrast to many, he almost entirely plays requests.

As we leave Nassau and head south to Aruba the seas are expected to increase to 9 feet or so with 35 mph winds. The trailing edge of a storm that hammered much of the eastern atlantic region of the US and produced tornadoes a few miles from my home in Clermont.

Being so large, motion in the ship is barely noticeable. The bubble app in my phone indicates a roll of less than +/- .8 degrees. Yes that is eight tenths of one degree.

Tomorrow will be the first of two sea days needed to reach Aruba. We are cruising at a comfortble 18 knots just behind the front moving south.

Day 1 - Odyssey of The Seas

The last few weeks have been problematic in the cruise world. Some ships have had increased numbers of covid cases. The CDC has advised everyone to avoid cruise ships. the Omicron variant of the virus is rampant in many areas of the country, but fortunately most cases are mild and existing vaccines are very effective.

NCL cancelled several sailings for severlal ships. Royal is using three of their ships to quarantine crew members. Some ships, including this one on a previous sailing have been denied dockage  in some ports due to covid infection level.

My perspective is a little more analytical. I am fully vaccinated and boostered. Nearly every passenger is vaccinated before they are allowed on a cruise ship. Every passenger must test negative prior to boarding. Crew is tested twice per week.  My risk on a ship is less than shopping in Publix or Target.

Packing is very easy, thanks to a very detailed packing list that I have developed over the past years. Much more reliable than my memory. Now don't misunderstand this. I don't necessarily take everything on my list.  For example there is a chance or showers in Aruba but the wind is expected to be about 25 knots. Too high for an umbrella. I'll take my chances on just getting wet.

I leave the house at 8:00 on Saturday morning. the traffic on the turnpike is lite and I  make good time to Ft Pierce, my usual spot for restroom, fuel, and a bite for breakfast.  Construction at the exit ramp and probably a missed sign and I have to travel an extra 2000 feet to reach my favorite Pilot gas station.

Back on the road, and the temperature has risen to 75. We take a few minutes to listen to our safety drill. A much more pleasant way than standing packed shoulder to shoulder on deck with thousands of other passengers.

I arrive at the Park-N-Go parking lot just before my 12:00 PM expected arrival time. There are only 4 of us on the shuttle bus. Maybe an indicator of things to come. 

About a 3 minute wait outside the terminal and then the process begins. Do you have all your paper work? The check of passport and negative covid test report. Nearly everyone I see is showing paper forms. I guess the word has spread that paper is easier to find and scan than forms buried somewhere deep in the memory cells of a mobile phone. Luggage scans, picture ID verification, body patdown or pass thru metal detectors. Within 30 minutes we are entering the ship.

My first stop is The Coastal Kitchen. An attempt to make dinner reservations at 5:30 everynight. I'm rebuked, the earliest time available is 7:45, but we may be able to switch later if there is a cancellation.  We go for it.

While there we decide to spend the hour waiting for cabins to open and enjoying lunch. Properly set tables with an attentive waiter is sure a change from the usual crowds in the buffet.

Lunch was delicious.  A quick stop to check in at our muster station. By now the cabins are open.

A typical standard balcony with a few modern features. You are supposed to put your sea pass card in a slot to activate all the stuff in the cabin.  Not going to happen. I want the AC on so when I return to the cabin it is comfortable.  A carefully folded card works fine in the slot to keep things operating.

A head stop is first. Pushing the button does not activate a flushing cycle.  A call to maintenance and it is quickly fixed with the explanation that this is a new ship.

Often there is fruit and cookies in my cabin. Always a surprise as to what it will be. This time 3 cookies, 4 bottles of water and 18 cans of diet coke. Not going to be thirsty this week.

There is a knock at the door. There is a crowd outside. Two people are here to fix the safe. I haven't even tried to use it yet. They check a list to confirm they are at the correct cabin. I check the safe and it works fine.

Next in line my cabin steward is here to introduce himself and to check that the plumbing has been fixed. We try, it is is still working even if a little hesitantly.

The last person in the group is a gal from the galley. She delivers 4 more cans of water and 4 cans of diet sprite.  I later hear they can't get bottled water and are reverting to canned water. Why so much, I have no clue.

The ship of course is nearly brand new, having been launched in 2020. Packed with technology and lots of activities. More on that later.

Dinner in The coastal kitchen was excellent. As Lynn and I were finishing dinner we were asked if we would like to switch our reservations to 5:30 for the rest of the cruise. Absolutely.

A short stint at the piano bar and it was the end of the day. Seas were less than 5 feet as we cruised from Ft Lauderdale on our way to Nassau.