First Impressions of the NEW Quantum of the Seas
By Rosalind Smith, The Cruise Web, Inc.
I recently had the privilege to sail aboard the Quantum of the Seas’ pre-inaugural voyage along with Royal Caribbean’s most loyal passengers, executives, travel industry professionals and the media. It was a joy to witness the christening ceremony of the Quantum of the Seas by her Godmother, Kristin Chenoweth. After a live performance exclusively for us, Ms. Chenoweth began the traditional ceremony with a blessing for the ship, her passengers and crew. She put the smart ship’s improved internet service to the test and with a simple touch of the tablet released the elegantly suspended champagne bottle to smash precisely over the vessel’s name.
With Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean is proud to claim the most technologically advanced ship in the world, touching nearly every aspect of the traditional cruise experience – even check-in. You can upload your own photo in advance with the online cruise personalizer and save steps during check-in. I boarded at 1 pm with NO LINES. Yes, it is possible!!!
Keyless cruising has finally arrived (traditional key cards are still provided) and the Quantum’s internet service is faster, reportedly offering more bandwidth than all other cruise ships in the world combined. It’s not going to compare to a high-speed land line, but the most experienced cruisers will certainly appreciate the improvement. And while there may be periods of slower service, it’s still a marked improvement – and quite remarkable when you remember that you are cruising at sea, after all!
Internet packages are designed to fit everyone from the casual email user to social media masters. While onboard for the festivities, we stayed in touch on smart phones and tablets with texts, status updates and emails. With a little patience, cocktails are delivered (more on this later), tweets are sent and guests are “checked-in” for dinner reservations. If you lose your signal, perhaps it’s time to take a soak in the hot tub! Just remember to leave your devices behind and turn off the roaming feature to manage your bill.
Speaking of technology, the Quantum’s Conference Center is fully equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment to conduct business at sea. Tucked away on deck 13 and “off the beaten path,” delegates will stay focused as long as their backs are to the floor to ceiling windows until the meeting is adjourned.
ONBOARD ACTIVITIES & ENTERTAINMENT
A cheerful crew delivers outstanding service with a smile and there is something for everyone, true to Royal Caribbean’s style. In fact, there’s so much to see and do, that you’d be wise to bring some comfy walking shoes (comfort trumps style any day).
The Solarium is your adults-only escape from your escape and arguably the closest thing to heaven onboard (sorry kids!). It’s like a convertible with a glass rooftop that can retract in tropical destinations or shut in chillier climates to keep quality pool time on the schedule.
The Royal Esplanade is the ship’s runway, where all the action takes place. When the sun goes down, this is where you’ll want to be. Deck four is lined with casual eateries, various entertainment venues and lounges, as well as ample shopping. The duty-free shopping experience covers everything from basic sundries to upscale boutiques for clothing, accessories and fine jewelry.
The ship’s onboard entertainment is nothing short of top-notch. Take in a performance of the full musical production of MAMMA MIA!, a must for every theatergoer. The revolutionary Two70 space hosts Starwater, a show where a creative mix of talented performers, technology and athleticism come together to form the perfect warm-up to the evening ahead. Take in a live band in the Music Hall or put on your dancing shoes and stay out to the wee hours of the morning – after all, you are “off the clock.”
Cocktails and technology collide at the Bionic Bar, the first of its kind at sea. Here you’ll take a seat at the bar and place your drink order on a tablet. Before you know it, your order is in queue and a robot will prepare your drink, shaken to the DJ’s beat for your entertaining pleasure.
Late nights generally lead to sleeping in, but not on the Quantum of the Seas. You must rise and shine to tap into your adventurous side and make the most of your time aboard this magnificent ship. After surfing lessons on the FlowRider surf simulator, take flight in the skydiving simulator, iFly by RipCord. It will blow your socks off! The whole family will enjoy bumper cars in the SeaPlex, which will bring out the kid in everyone! And make time to take in the most breathtaking ocean view at sea in the North Star capsule which climbs over 300 feet above sea level. One suggestion – skip the photos and just be in the moment!
Welcome to Dynamic Dining – a culinary adventure at sea (CLICK HERE to learn more about Dynamic Dining)! You set the pace with reservations to fit your schedule, just be sure to make your reservations early. Step back in time to the bygone era of formal dining in The Grande Restaurant, or enjoy some of the best sushi at sea at Izumi. I highly recommend delighting your taste buds at Jamie’s Italian (a MUST!!!) and Michael’s Genuine Pub, the outlets of renowned chefs Jamie Oliver and Michael Schwartz, respectively.
If you like being surprised and prefer involving all of your senses during the dining experience, the unique Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine is for you. This unique specialty dining venue uses themes of Sun, Sea, Ice, Earth and Fire to present unique dishes in imaginative new ways. True to form, Chops Grille serves your steak with well-executed consistency. Anytime you desire a little fruit of the vine, visit Vintages for a glass of wine. The inviting wine list features excellent selections – like Duckhorn, Caymus and Conundrum – as well as Royal Caribbean’s private label, Quantum.
THE “WOW” FACTOR
With the Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean continues to deliver the WOW. With so much to do and experience onboard, you may even consider ports of call optional. Through the spring of 2015, the Quantum of the Seas will sail from Bayonne, NJ visiting the Bahamas and the Caribbean. To learn more about Royal Caribbean and the brand new Quantum of the Seas, contact us today at 1-800-377-9383.
For those of you that have already experienced the Quantum of the Seas, what were your impressions?