Less than a week after announcing a few days’ delay to the launch of its new ship Odyssey, Villa Vie Residences has delayed the ship’s debut yet again. This leaves passengers scrambling as the ship is now not expected to set sail until June 15. This adds up to nearly a month of delays for Odyssey‘s launch.

The latest delay for the much-anticipated Odyssey is apparently due to a the rudder stocks requiring replacement before the ship can be certified to sail. Rudder stocks are a critical component that facilitates the movement of the rudder for navigation. If the stocks fail, the ship would be unable to turn efficiently.

Now, the ship is scheduled to depart from the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast on June 15. In the meantime, Villa Vie Residences is searching for alternatives for passengers, arranging accommodations, meals, and even tours to ensure their comfort and enjoyment before they are able to board their cruise.

Villa Vie Odyssey Cruise Ship (Photo Courtesy: Villa Vie Residences)

Reactions are mixed to this delay. Committed passengers are both pleased that the cruise line is ensuring the ship’s peak condition before setting sail on such a lengthy voyage but are also growing concerned about the vessel’s overall seaworthiness as more issues are discovered.

While new to the cruise line and the residential cruise concept, Odyssey is not a new ship by any means. The vessel was initially built in 1993 for the now-defunct Crown Cruise Line, and has changed ownership many times over the past 31 years. She has been operated by Cunard Line, Majesty Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Commodore Cruise Line, and most recently, by Fred Olsen Cruises.

Odyssey has not welcomed guests since March 2020, when she was evacuated for the industry-wide pandemic shutdown. Fred Olsen Cruises put the ship up for sale in November 2022, and she was purchased by Villa Vie Residences in December 2023.

The ship has been undergoing a massive renovation and refit to return her luxury and prepare for this unprecedented world cruise residence concept. The multi-million dollar transformation officially began on April 28, 2024, and was initially scheduled to leave dry dock on May 21.

That debut date was pushed back to May 30, however, when the refurbishment took longer than expected. The cruise line is taking great care to ensure that passengers have the ultimate in luxury experiences from day one, and prefers to ensure the readiness of the vessel rather than potentially rushing upgrades.

Villa Vie Odyssey During Dry Dock (Photo Courtesy: Villa Vie Residences)

At the end of May, another short delay was announced. That delay was due to “issues with the steelwork in one of our grey water tanks” that affects how the ship is able to process wastewater. Only a few days were needed to correct that issue, and the ship was to have left dry dock on June 3.

Delays of a new ship are not uncommon, whether for new-build vessels or extensive renovations. Because safety is always the top priority for any cruise line, it is certainly best if any issues are discovered before guests are onboard.

This can be especially critical for the 24,344-gross-ton Odyssey, which is scheduled for a 3.5 year voyage that will be visiting many remote ports of call. While these destinations can be phenomenal, they are also far from dry dock or shipyard facilities that might be able to quickly accommodate the vessel for unexpected repairs.

In this case, it is certainly best for Villa Vie Residences to ensure Odyssey is in tip-top shape, even if this means some initial delays or rearranging of the ship’s early schedule. With guests about to embark on such a phenomenal journey, delays at the beginning are far preferable over potentially returning to dry dock after setting sail.

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