Odyssey of the Seas: The Incredible Journey of Conveyance

Why a new ship must travel 20 miles backward on the Ems River to the open sea.
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Odyssey of the Seas is one of the largest ships built at Meyer Werft shipyard, making conveyance no mean feat.

Credit: Meyer Werft Shipyard

Royal Caribbean’s highly anticipated ship, Odyssey of the Seas, is almost here. The innovative architectural marvel, currently in the final stages of construction, is inching closer to its debut.

But first, Odyssey must embark on what is known as “conveyance.” To put it simply, the process, which takes more than 10 hours, requires new ships to travel about 20 miles (32 kilometers) down the Ems River to the open sea. Bridges are opened or removed for the ships, and they must cross under power lines and even over a highway with very little room to spare. The timing is everything – the stars, or in this case the moon, has to “align.”

Watch how conveyance is done and get all the nerve-wracking details about the close calls the experts flawlessly plan for each time:


Conveyance is a complex but exciting milestone that takes months of precise planning, and it’s a unique one because of the shipyard’s unconventional location inland. Fun fact: It was built inland to avoid the impact of storms in the North Sea back in 1795.

The Ems River is also both narrow and shallow, which makes the event even more of a spectacle because ships must be slowly pulled backward by two tugboats the entire way. The goal is to avoid making any waves, literally. In Odyssey’s case, that helps keep the few centimeters it needs between it and the riverbed to travel safely.

Now, Odyssey is ready for final touches, and there’s plenty the ship will have to offer every traveler. The game-changing ship will tout an adventure-packed lineup of onboard experiences, from the next-generation SeaPlex, the indoor and outdoor activity complex for all ages, to Royal Caribbean favorites like the iconic North Star glass observation capsule that offers 360-degree views from 300 feet above sea level.

Can’t wait to experience Odyssey yourself? You can start to plan your cruise here.