When Royal Caribbean first announced innovations for Quantum of the Seas we heard about the North Star. A glass pod which takes people 300ft above sea level for the 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 onboard activities for its guests.
The First Smart Ship
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 do I get into my room? I looked around 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. 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.
New Ship Smell
New Look Buffet
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.
We opted to dine in The Grand. The 1920’s theme and white-glove service gave it a truly ‘Grand’ experience. The twelve complimentary dining restaurants, offer restaurants to suit all palettes.
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 incredibly talented singer and aerialist-cellist gave an enchanting production of Starwater.
For lovers of musicals and fun Mamma Mia is a must. The performance and production equalled that of Broadway and West End standard.
It seemed the the Music Hall was a favourite with most passengers. 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.
After two nights onboard, I can honestly say Royal Caribbean has once again delivered the WOW. Congratulations to everyone involved as you have changed the face of holidays let alone cruising, for the future.