January 23, 2022

Jan 23, 2022 - Return to Port

We are the third of at least 6 ships returning to Port Everglades today. After docking it takes about 45 minutes untilvpassengers begin to disembark. The process is painless, and much smother than in precovid times. Having passengers wait in cabins instead of common areas of the ship is a great improvement.

Pinnacle and Suite passengers are called to exit the ship. No waiting for the elevator or anywhere else in the process. Our luggage is easily found, the facial recognition system quickly passes us through customs and we walk across the driveway to the awaiting bus.  From cabin to car in less than 20 minutes.

The drive back home is exactly the way it is supposed to be. Uneventful. As we get closer to Clermont, the colder the outside temperature becomes. By the time I arrive home at noon, it is 47 degrees. Take me back to sea!

Home for a week to wash clothes and repack for 10 days of back to back cruise on the Brilliance of the Seas out of Tampa.

Days 7 & 8 - Sea Days

Temperatures are near 80, the seas about 9 feet. We are cruising at about 18 or 19 knots, The skies are partly cloudy, clouds such that they preclude a nice sunset or sunrise.

Day 7 finds a solid schedule of music and entertanment. Guitar Melodies with Jabes, the Odyssey of the seas Orchestra, Dinner in the Coastal Kitchen, and another concert with Peter Grant joining the Orchestra.

The production show is "The Effectors" a high tech production in the main theater featuring many laser lights, multiple special effects, arial performers and LED drones flying over the audience. Unfortunately the audio level was deafening, not only to me, but to many other passengers.

The audio aside, yes, the show was spectacular.

The seas began to  subside late in the day.The white caps disappear and the tiny motion imparted to the ship by the waves fades away.

The North Star was operating through the day, but now they are charging for each passsenger. Earlier in the week it was complimentary. Unlike when in port, the arm swings over the side of the ship as well.

The captain's corner was held on the last day of the cruise. He has been a captain for many years. Surprisingly, no stupid questions from the passengers. A short video of many areas of the ship including crew quarters, galley, medical facilities, engine room, control room and bridge.  It probably would have helped more passengers if they saw this at the beginning of the cruise instead of the end.

We pass several other cruise ships today. Two headed north and one headed south. I believe two holland ships, the Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady, and an NCL ship.

The music on the pool deck has become louder. The drums now reverberate in the cabin, sounds that were not heard in the cabin or cabin hallways previously. I sometimes wonder if Royal is trying to have the loudest ships in the world since they lost the title of largest to Carnival.

As we pass along the north side of Cuba the seas have become flat and the air temperature has dropped to 72. Our speed remains at about 18 or 19 knotts.

Having been here over a week I have mixed opinions of the ship. Some of the production shows are spectacular, others not so much so. Headliners are headliners, not dependant on the ship as to quality or enjoyment. Overall the audio is blasted at the highest level I have experienced on any RC ship. Not enjoyable and definitely detracts form the overall experience. To be hearing the pool DJ in the cabins is not what I expect or enjoy. The blasting music reminds me of Carnival ships.

The coastal Kitchen has been excellent overall. Excellent food. Choices similar to the dining room and chops but with much finer presentation and service. 

Public space on the Odyssey is rather limited. I really don't think I would want to be here with a full passenger compliment. Seating outside on deck 5, is limited to about 20 chairs port and starboard. There is no inside seating except within specific venues like Boleroes or the Schooner bar. Yes, there is lots of pool seating for those so inclined, but I'm not generally inclined.

Seating in general is very uncomfortable. The theater seats have a slight forward tilt to them and tight leg room. Considering my stature I don't know how a six footer would fare. Seats are awkardly spaced, and aisles narrow. Large posts block the view for many. 

Many of the seats in other venues are very deep, probably in the neighborhood of 24 inches. Much deeper than normal seating. Not comfortable for average sized people.

Passengers were often seen moving from one seat to another to find one that was more comfortable. There were few to be found.

The two70 venue is set as a theater in the round, In addition to much of the seating being too deep, many of the seats had an obstructed view and much of the performance area could not be seen. The HVAC system was particularly bad in the two70. In one spot it would be unbearably hot, and a foot away the draft of cold air would freeze anyone.

There is no atrium and its associated public seating. Of course the Diamond lounge is way too small, but that is a byproduct of the Crown and Anchor program being successful.

The seaplex provides many athletic activities. Basketball, volleyball, pickelball, bumper cars, IFly simulated sky diving, flowrider surf riding, and more.

In conclusion this ship is built for maximum passenger count, not for passenger comfort.

The menu the last night was a repeat of the first, excellent filet mignon. In eight nights we sat at 7 different tables, but did manage to keep our server count down to three.

The seas remain calm and we are expected to dock in Port Everglades about 6:30 AM.