When it comes to entertainment and immersive activities, Royal Caribbean’s show-stopping lineups are head and shoulders above the rest. Odyssey of the Seas, the latest of our game-changing ships to set sail, is no exception. From original, high-tech shows and live music to sky diving and bumper cars, there’s no shortage of adventures when you sail on this ship from South Florida to the turquoise waters of the Caribbean and our private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay.
We spoke to the person behind it all, Nick Weir, senior vice president of entertainment and a cruise industry veteran of 25 years. He gave the inside scoop on the boundary-pushing productions he and his team have created for Odyssey, plus the variety of activities for all types of guests, from kids to parents and grandparents.
Read on for the ins-and-outs and for a glimpse of what goes into making it all happen:
Q: What’s your background and how did you get into the maritime industry?
Nick: I got into cruise partly because my parents were in the business. They were early adopters and really saw the potential of the industry early on. Because of them, I grew up on ships, so cruising is in my blood.
I didn’t think I’d join the family business at first, so I studied science at university. Then I went into entertainment, ending up in the U.K. television industry as a game show host and working off-screen. Eventually, I went to Las Vegas to operate an entertainment firm with clients like Andre Agassi and Robin Williams.
But through it all, I still had a love for cruising. I was even a cruise director in my early years. When this opportunity with Royal Caribbean came, it was a natural fit—I knew a lot about entertainment and the technology that now pushes the boundaries time and time again.
Q: What is some of your favorite entertainment on board Odyssey?
Nick: The sheer variety of entertainment is outstanding. On Odyssey, I absolutely love the live music. There’s nothing quite like sitting at a bar with a beer (or cocktail, whichever you might fancy) and watching a great band in a place like Music Hall, where there’s a revolving setlist to dance to on a nightly basis.
The comedy shows are another favorite, thanks to the truly cutting-edge comedians who literally create new jokes on our stages all the time. And something else especially cool on Odyssey is a touring troupe and their show, Tap Factory. It’s a set of very energetic and dynamic performances that features tappers and percussionists.
And, of course, there’s SeaPlex, the largest indoor and outdoor activity space at sea. It has something for everyone, from bumper cars and roller skating to a new addition, Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.
Q: A unique signature venue on board is Two70. How does it up the ante with entertainment, and what sets it apart?
Nick: Two70 is an innovative venue with a complex format that involves robotics, live entertainment, physical scenery and blurring realities. It’s one of the most technically sophisticated theaters in the world, with all kinds of surprising elements.
For starters, traditionally, people get ready for a show backstage. However, the back of the stage is the ocean. So instead, everything comes into view on a series of lifts. Even the artists come in on these torpedo tubes.
Then the room’s windows. They transform into Vistarama, a seamless video projection system—and that’s an understatement. At 135 feet wide and 12K resolution, Vistarama completely transforms the space. And not to be missed, our famous Roboscreens—six, 100-inch screens connected to robot arms that create scenes as they twist and move in sync with the music.
Q: One singular experience at Two70 is Oceanides. Can you explain what that is and what audiences can expect from it?
Nick: Oceanides is a five-minute, mysterious fairytale about mermaids. It pays tribute to Japan’s female free divers, the Ama, in a way that is unique to Two70.
We built a tank that had the same dimensions as one of our Roboscreens and filled it with water. Then, one by one, performers (the “mermaids”) went into the tank and “danced” underwater while being turned and moved. We filmed that and added mesmerizing lighting and colors.
Now, when we press a button, those moves are recreated by the Roboscreens as they show these performers in action onscreen. It’s the most amazing illusion.
Q: What else can audiences see at Two70?
Nick: There’s a new show called The Book, and it is outstanding. It’s actually my favorite right now. It’s about a character who has one very special power—he can take individual chapters from any book he wants to create a completely new story.
He opens his new book onstage, and boom, you’re off on a crazy ride. You’ll watch six different vignettes that take you from the bottom of the ocean to the top of the mountains and beyond.
Q: There’s also a glamorous show at the Royal Theater. What is that about and who will it appeal to most?
Nick: Showgirl: Past. Present. Future. will appeal to anyone who comes to see it. This show is all about celebrating and recognizing these frequently unsung performers. You start back in time with the 19th-century cancan era, then move forward to ’50s-style Las Vegas, the Super Bowl Halftime Show and into the future.
And the lavish costumes are as fun as the performances. Think traditional feathers, sequins and tuxedos, and cool, futuristic metal components.
Q: What are the best experiences for kids and families on a ship like Odyssey?
Nick: Our dedicated kids program, Adventure Ocean, has fantastic, interactive activities brought to life by our experienced staff. Kids can let their imaginations run the show and chart their own adventures. And teens have exclusive hangout areas too. They have everything from the latest music, games and movies to their own outdoor deck.
Then there’s our lineup of sports, from rock climbing to ice skating, to surfing on the FlowRider surf simulator and sky diving. Plus, there’s fun in the form of high-speed waterslides, aqua parks and the new Virtual Adventure Zone, the first fully immersive 4D VR experience at sea.
Q: What would the adults love the most?
Nick: On Quantum Class and Quantum Ultra Class ships, and in particular Odyssey, everything has got this hip vibe to it that will really appeal to adults. They can (and will) enjoy many of the thrilling experiences I already mentioned. Additionally, there are adventurous options like North Star, a glass observation capsule from where you can take in 360-degree views as far as the eye can see.
Of course, relaxing in the Vitality Spa or hanging poolside in loungers, shady casitas and hammocks while sipping on an island cocktail are always great options too.
Q: Any insider tips on how to make the most of the entertainment lineup and the time you have on board?
Nick: Having the Royal Caribbean mobile app handy certainly helps because it puts the daily activities right in your pocket. You can easily plan out your days, and that’s always something I recommend our guests do in the morning. Whether you’re new to cruising or a veteran, there’s just so much cool stuff going on—you don’t want to miss a single thing.
I also have to mention our new matinee performances. You can watch some shows during the day to then have more flexibility at night to catch other productions, see our late-night comedians or watch your home team at Playmakers Sports Bar & Arcade.
There’s plenty more where that came from. Discover more about Odyssey and its lineup of cruises here.
For more behind-the-scenes entertainment action, follow @Nickweirshowbiz on Twitter.