FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) - Odyssey of the Seas, the first of Royal Caribbean's Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship to set sail in the US, arrived in Port Everglades on Thursday morning.
"We feel amazing, we've been waiting for it for a while now, she is a game-changer," said Irene Lezama Ameijeiras, Senior Manager of Product Development at Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.
The cruise ship is scheduled to embark from Port Everglades on its first passenger cruise on July 3 for both six and eight-night voyages through the Caribbean islands.
"We're hoping that we're returning to good times again, where we can see a robust cruising industry back here in Broward County, certainly residents who depend on this industry will be back to work," said Broward Commissioner Dale Holness.
Jonathan Daniels, the Chief Executive Director of Port Everglades, said that will happen sooner later because Odyssey of the Seas is set to sail with passengers at the beginning of July.
"What we're hearing and what we're saying is there's a significant pent-up demand and that demand is actually going forward, the bookings are incredible right now," he said.
Daniels said a big part of their focus has been making sure cruising is safe for passengers and crew members alike.
"The port itself has been working on this really since last July. Our protocols and procedures within our terminal started at that point, from the splash guards to the plexiglass to the social distancing necessary, the pharmaceutical boxes, so we've been working for almost a year in preparation," he said.
The preparations also included following Centers for Disease Control guidelines, like mask use and vaccine recommendations. COVID-19 testing will also be available
"It's an exciting time but it's one where we are still cautious about, we are making sure everything is in place so we don't end up in a situation where we have to shut down again," said Daniels.
Those who will be working on the ship are not only excited to be back at sea sailing safely but to be part of the historic debut of Odyssey of the Seas.
"Everybody is just excited to get on board the ship and start cruising. Our company did their due diligence to make sure it's very safe for the public so they can enjoy their vacations," said Nicole Stanton-Louviere, an Architectural Design Lead at Royal Caribbean.
Odyssey of the Seas boasts many innovations including the next-generation SeaPlex, it's the largest indoor active space at sea which includes a full-size basketball court and bumper cars.
In addition to a variety of dining options, including the first Giovanni's Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar, there's a vibrant, two-level pool deck, the RipCord by iFly skydiving simulator, and dedicated kids and teen spaces that offer interactive, personalized experiences.
The ship is 1,138 feet long and 135 feet wide, it can accommodate a total of 5,498 guests.
The Odyssey of the Seas plans to book cruises through 2022.
for more features.