By Alan Haig-Brown
There are many fine and elegant places to dine in Washington DC, but few offer the comfort and opulence to match the M/V Odyssey III. Her sleek, low profile superstructure designed to pass under the Potomac River bridges contains enough space to provide all the essentials of a grand evening. Cocktails, dinner, dancing and perhaps most importantly, the beauty and romance of watching the city lights from the deck of a boat on the serene river surface.

At 240 by 63-feet the Odyssey III’s deck provides ample space for a large group of people and a range of entertaining activities on her single deck configuration. Built in 1995 the steel-hulled vessel has entertained thousands of people while serving Washingtonians and their guests well. For 2019, her owners, decided to give her a spectacular $2.2 million renovation.

The renovation included upgraded amenities such as the remodeled dance floor and bar space, new carpets, new fixtures and finishes. These are the all important public face of a dinner cruise boat, but the owners went well beyond the cosmetic. A pair of tired 540 HP Cat 3412TAs were pulled out and replaced with a pair of electronic-controlled Tier 3 compliant Cummins QSK19 mains delivering 600 HP at 1800 RPM into Twindisc MGX-5170DC gears with 4.5:1 reduction.

At the same time, the original two generator sets, one 537 kW and one 350 kW, were replaced with two Cummins QSK19-powered 530 kW generators. With generator power equal to main propulsion power, this is clearly a luxurious dinner cruise boat. She has ample power for moving on the river and ample power for entertaining the guests whether they be dinning, dancing or just relaxing.

The repower of the Odyssey III was carried out at the 1875-founded Colonna’s Shipyard in Norfolk, Virginia. With both travel lifts and a floating dry dock, the full-service yard can handle vessels up to 875 feet in length.

When in DC, cruising the Potomac takes on a whole new dimension thanks to Entertainment Cruises, North America’s largest dining and sightseeing cruise company.