Grit and fortitude in the face of great odds.
It’s what Royal Caribbean and travel advisors had to show during the global pandemic. And it’s what Odyssey of the Seas’ newly named godmother, Erin Brown, has displayed throughout her life after losing her leg to cancer in college. Today, she’s a 41-year-old mother of two and paratriathlete competing at the international level.
Brown will mark a number of firsts for Royal Caribbean when she names Odyssey of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale on November 13. She’s the first Bahamian godmother for RCI, the first amputee to serve as a godmother for the line, and the first para-athlete godmother for Royal Caribbean.
“From the moment we heard Erin’s story, how her courage and determination inspired others and led to a more inclusive consciousness about succeeding with disabilities, we were moved and knew she was a natural choice for Godmother of our newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, president, and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.
A collegiate track and field athlete, Brown’s life was upended when she was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called osteosarcoma. More than a year of chemotherapy had no effect and her tumor showed no signs of shrinking. She made the difficult decision to amputate her leg above the knee. Having previously watched her mother struggle for five years before losing her battle with lupus linked to cancer, Brown knew she had to keep going.
Putting the mantra “mind over matter” into practice, she reinvented herself.
“A sudden change like the one I experienced is just an opportunity to rebrand yourself to yourself and to society,” Brown said. “All those skills you had before – you still have them.”
Brown cycles, runs, and swims in triathlons around the world and is the first Bahamian paratriathlete to have competed in the Paralympic Game Qualifiers.
Brown has also gone on to become an advocate for rights for the disabled. She works at the University of The Bahamas as the compliance officer and counselor for those living with physical disabilities.
A Bahamian Tribute
Royal Caribbean’s choice of Brown as godmother to the ship does more than put a face to the determination it takes to get through hard times. It’s also a tribute to the line’s close relationship with The Bahamas.
“Having Erin as our Godmother is a fitting way for us to pay tribute to The Bahamas as well,” said Bayley. “Royal Caribbean’s very first international destination was The Bahamas more than 50 years ago. To this day, Nassau remains one of our most popular ports of call, and our private island destination – Perfect Day at CocoCay – remains a top pick for our guests.”
Odyssey of the Seas is flagged in The Bahamas, as well.
Odyssey of the Seas
Originally due to set sail in the fall of 2020, Odyssey of the Seas had its debut in late July of this year. It’s the second in Royal Caribbean’s Ultra Quantum Class of ships. The first, Spectrum of the Seas, has only sailed in Asia since its debut.
Highlights of the ship include surf simulators, vertical tunnel skydiving, VR/bungee trampolining, bumper cars, the North Star observation capsule, and more than a dozen restaurants and eateries.
It’s also one of the most technologically immersive. Cruisers can strap on a VR headset and bounce their way to a high score on SkyPad. Or they can gear up with backpack and helmet in Zone Zero and embark on a series of adventures in a completely virtual world. In the main theater and Two70, technology also is used to immerse showgoers in the action on stage.
“Technology-driven experiences are becoming, from an immersion perspective, are becoming things people do more and more of,” Jay Schneider, Chief Product Innovation Officer at Royal Caribbean Group, told Travel Market Report during a walkthrough of SeaPlex.
But Schneider added that all the technology is only a part of the onboard experience, but it’s not the experience.
“We don’t want your vacation to ever feel like technology is in the forefront. We want you to feel like it’s there to help you, but not the reason you go.”
Odyssey of the Seas is also the most energy-efficient ship in the fleet, but only for a little while. When Wonder of the Seas comes out next year it will be even more energy-efficient. Royal Caribbean aims to make every newbuild 25% more efficient than the previous new ship.
Find out more about what travel advisors should know about Odyssey of the Seas.