Royal Caribbean International has announced that its newest Quantum Ultra class ship, Odyssey of the Seas, will homeport in Rome, Italy, and sail through the eastern Mediterranean for the Summer 2021 season.
The ship, which will debut in November 2020, will first sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to the Caribbean but will then continue her inaugural year in Europe with sailings to the eastern Mediterranean beginning in May 2021.
Odyssey will take guests on seven-, nine- and 12-night itineraries to Santorini, Mykonos, Athens and Rhodes, Greece; Ephesus, Turkey; Naples, Italy; Heraklion, Crete; and Haifa and Jerusalem, Israel. Holidaymakers will have more time to explore local cultures with longer shore excursions – up to 15 hours at every port.
“Odyssey will set the standard for delivering unforgettable European adventures, on which holidaymakers will cruise to an exceptional combination of destinations that are in a league of their own as well as the most popular ports in the Eastern Mediterranean,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “With extended stays and overnights, Royal Caribbean is combining amazing itineraries with our game-changing ship to create a truly one-of-a-kind Europe vacation.”
Royal Caribbean International says the line-up of local experiences available to guests goes beyond the historic attractions, delving into the culture and communities of the destinations.
When visiting Naples, guests can explore the Amalfi Coast, shop for majolica pottery, sample southern Italian cuisine and explore the streets of Sorrento. In Athens, foodies can take a traditional cooking class for a taste of the local culture. Escorted by a local chef, the day begins with ingredient shopping in the Central Food Market before heading to the restaurant to prepare local dishes. A beach day is offered on Mykonos. In Crete, guests can visit Boutari on the Fantaxometocho Estate, a modern winery, where they can sample a selection of homegrown wines produced onsite. The neighbouring, recently restored, village of Archanes offers opportunities for leisure while exploring the colourful backstreets, blooming flowers and fruit trees.
A stop in the historic cities of Jerusalem and Bethlehem offers opportunities to see storied landmarks including The Wailing Wall, Church of the Nativity and Mount of Olives. By way of Haifa, holidaymakers will travel the region of Galilee to explore Nazareth and its churches, including the Church of Annunciation and the Church of St. Gabriel.
When Odyssey of the Seas makes her North American debut in November 2020, the new ship will visit Curaçao, Aruba, Grand Cayman and Mexico on eight- and six-night itineraries from Fort Lauderdale. Odyssey will return to Fort Lauderdale in November 2021 for a second winter, sailing the same combination of itineraries.
Standout features of the Quantum Ultra class ship will include the next-generation SeaPlex, a large indoor space for recreational activities, which will introduce the Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade with club-level views of the competition below; a reimagined Adventure Ocean kids programme and a redesigned teen lounge with gaming consoles, music and movies.
Images: Royal Caribbean International