YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Cruise Views

A New Star on the High Seas

August 21, 1994|SHIRLEY SLATER and HARRY BASCH | Slater and Basch travel as guests of the cruise lines

The gleaming Star Odyssey from Royal Cruise Line is the newest reincarnation of the classic Royal Viking Star, a favorite ship for many frequent cruisers since 1972 when it was built for Royal Viking Line. The 750-passenger ship replaces the vintage 450-passenger Golden Odyssey in the RCL fleet.

We thought we knew the Royal Viking Star well, but when we went aboard the Star Odyssey in the Port of Los Angeles to spend an afternoon and evening, it was almost as if we were boarding a whole new ship.

The carpeting and upholstery has a muted palate of beiges and pastels instead of the bright greens, blues and corals previously used. The expansive dining room, always big enough to accommodate all the passengers at a single seating, still has its view windows along two walls, but seemed even more spacious with pale furniture and sunny Italian frescoes on the walls.

In the Panorama Lounge, pale blue carpeting and chairs replace the large brown leather loungers. The show lounge, never one of the strong points of the old Royal Viking ships, has been improved with a new sloping floor plan.

The gathering spot for pre-dinner cocktails is the new Dionysi's Bar adjacent to the show lounge with rose tapestry sofas and tub chairs, oval marble tables and a long bar with leather swivel stools.

One of Royal's particular appeals is the wide range of lunch and snack service venues aboard, from a full menu in the dining room to a soup and salad bar convenient to the card rooms for bridge players. Near the pool buffet is Yianni's Hearth, serving hot cinnamon buns in the morning.

An outdoor splash pool with two whirlpool spas has been added to the Penthouse deck, while the Horizon deck has an attractive spa with big windows looking out to the sea and an array of exercise equipment, including stair climbers, stationary bicycles, rowing machines, a treadmill and weights.

A casino, several large duty-free shops, library and reading room, card rooms, a movie theater and beauty salon are also on board.

Passengers may appreciate such extras as the Heart's Content menus, special meals featured on all menus that follow the American Heart Assn. guidelines for a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet; a motivational lecture series called New Beginnings, tailored especially for Royal's mostly senior audience, and a folk music and dance performance given by the Greek crew once during each cruise.

Cabins have been refurbished and range from penthouse suites with private verandas to standard but comfortable inside (windowless) quarters with twin beds.

Brochure prices for the 10-day Alaska cruise range from $249 per person per day, double occupancy, for a standard inside, to $819 per person per day, double occupancy, for the top penthouse apartment with separate bedroom and sitting room, bath with tub and shower, private veranda, refrigerator and butler service.

Some of the best buys aboard are the 240-square-foot category H cabins on Marina deck with picture window, sitting area, bath with tub and shower and refrigerator.

After a Panama Canal transit from San Francisco on Sept. 3 ending in Nassau, the Star Odyssey will offer two eight-day Colonial America sailings (Sept. 17 and Oct. 24) calling in Charleston, Savannah, Williamsburg and Baltimore, the latter for Washington, D.C., tours. Prices range from $1,719 to $4,799 per person, double occupancy, including air fare from Los Angeles.

In Canada and New England, a series of seven-day cruises in late September and October between New York and Montreal will visit Bar Harbor, Halifax, Quebec and cruise Saguenay Fjord, priced from $2,039-$6,389 per person, double occupancy, including air fare.

Ten-day Caribbean cruises from Ft. Lauderdale in December ($2,379-$6,459 per person, double occupancy) will be followed by Panama Canal cruises between Ft. Lauderdale and Acapulco.

For a free color brochure, see a travel agent or call Royal Cruise Line at (800) 622-0538. Cruise Views appears the first and third week of every month.

Los Angeles Times Articles