Quantum Of The Seas: The World’s First Smart Ship

Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas Cruise Ship Review


A question posed by anyone having knowledge of Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships was always “How are they going to top this?”  The largest passenger cruise ships in the world had become cities at sea, so where could they go to top this?  The Sunshine Class as it was known left a lot of speculation and many people were saying these ships would be more ‘indoors’ suitable for colder climates.
 
When Royal Caribbean first announced the new innovations onboard Quantum of the Seas they told us that they would have the North Star taking people 300ft above sea level for stunning ocean and port views.  With the installation of iFly by Ripcord you would be able to experience skydiving while looking out at the ocean.  Bumper cars, roller skating, circus school and basketball court were introduced into an indoor space call the SeaPlex.  This was incredible and you could see that Royal Caribbean really had taken the next step in on board activities for it’s guests.
 
However, as the ship neared it’s completion Royal Caribbean announced that Quantum of the Seas would be the first ‘Smart Ship’ in the World.  Not satisfied with being able to skydive or be lifted 300ft in the air, they wanted to ‘give the guest the first day of their vacation back’ by being able to pre book everything.   They wanted to eliminate lines at check in and guest services.  How have they done this?  By giving every crew member their very own tablet, taking away the desks and having staff standing around ready to assist the guest.  Next generation check-in or “no check-in, check-in” as Richard Fain refers to it, is designed to enable the guest to get from sidewalk to ship in 10 minutes, and it works!

When I arrived a City Cruise Terminal, Southampton with my set sail pass and photo already uploaded (see previous blog), I sheepishly approached a staff member standing with a tablet and asked her where I needed to go.  She zapped the barcode on my set sail pass and went through a series of steps on the screen, asked a couple of questions and then pointed me in the direction of security.  No sea pass card, no health questionnaire to fill out, nothing.  I thought that would be coming later, so carried on through security, again straight through, no queues and into the departure lounge.  As I entered there had been an announcement for people to board so I carried straight through to the ship.  No time to check my bag, go to the bathroom, get a coffee, get bored and restless, just straight onto the ship.  It felt very strange, I couldn’t figure out how they would let me on board, I didn’t have my sea pass card.  I thought there had been a mistake!  But sure enough, as I walked through the ship security they scanned the barcode on my set sail pass and let me on.

I stood in what appeared to be an atrium wondering what to do.  Do I need to go somewhere now?  Is that it?  and how the hell do I get into my room?  I looked around me thinking “this does not feel like a Royal Caribbean ship”.  To be honest I didn’t feel like I was on a ship at all!  It was light, sophisticated, arty and just downright cool.  I must have looked out of place because ‘cool’ places are where other people go, not me.  But with a quick glance around, I saw the familiar sight of Sorrento’s and new I was in the right place.  It was just different.  The Royal Promenade was no longer and instead there is a Royal Esplanade.

 
So I went to find my room in the hope that I would somehow be able to get into it.  On arrival I was please to find an envelope waiting for me with a sea pass card inside.  I waved the card in front of the door lock and it opened.  There before me was a brand spanking new balcony stateroom and my wow band awaiting me on the bed.  I loved the design of the room with a flat screen television, cool decor and the addition of two usb charger ports.

I went to the Windjammer to get some lunch to find, again, no queues.  If you have cruised on Celebrity Solstice class ships you will be familiar with the Oceanview Cafe layout.  This has been adopted on the Quantum class and eliminated queuing.

 
The lunch was delicious as expected on Royal Caribbean, so once I had finished I set off to explore the ship.
Wandering round it really was a case of wow, wow, wow.   Seeing the iFly and the North Star in action was like stepping into the future.  I took photos of everything and tried to take it all in.  It was clear by the reaction of other trade and press onboard that I was not the only person stunned into silence by the awesomeness of this ship of the future.  The full photo album can be viewed here.
 
So after a good walk of the decks, it was time for a cocktail.  I went to the Sky Bar and was instantly greeted by a friendly bartender.  This was the Royal Caribbean that I know and loved.  How they do it is beyond me, but the bar staff and waiting staff are always happy to see you and make you feel special.  No matter how much Royal Caribbean spend on their hardware, they know that it is all for nothing if the service isn’t there, and I am pleased to say it was.

Having introduced Dynamic Dining I was unsure how I would feel about the absence of the main dining room.  The reason for Royal Caribbean moving away from the traditional dining structure of a cruise is to encourage and appeal to the ‘new to cruise’ market.  As a big fan of the main dining room and formal night, we opted to dine in The Grand where every night is formal night.  The 1920’s theme and white glove service gave it a truly ‘Grand’ experience. Having 12 complimentary dining restaurants options include the American Icon Grill which speaks for itself, a Pan Asian restaurant, Silk, contemporary dining in Chic as well as the Solarium Bistro, Sorrentos, Windjammer and Two70 Cafe there is a restaurant to suit most palettes and preferences.

 

After a lovely meal it was time to check out the entertainment.  The one of a kind Two70 is an iconic venue that fuses technology with entertainment.  The production of Starwater was enchanting and edgy, mixed with the incredibly talented singer and a cellist performing on aerial wires.

For lovers of musicals and fun Mamma Mia is a must.  Superb acting, singing and dancing that was equalled to that of Broadway and the West End.  

It seemed the the Music Hall was a favourite with most passengers.  The dance floor was nearly always packed and as the evening turned into the early hours, you could see this really was the ‘place to be’.  I wonder if Royal Caribbean have anticipated exactly how popular it will be with guests.

Having amazing additions such as the Bionic Bar, Wonderland, Two70, Music Hall and a fabulous array of unique and quirky art features, this new ‘Smart Ship’ really does offer the WOW that Royal Caribbean have promised.  It’s also added a touch of class for the more discerning traveller.

So after two nights on this incredible ship, I can put my hand on my heart and say Royal Caribbean have once again delivered the WOW.  Congratulations to everyone involved as you have changed the face of holidays let alone cruising, for the future.  

For more information feel free to contact me directly or go to www.royalcaribbean.co.uk or your local travel agent.

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