Onboard Royal Caribbean’s new ship
By Mimi Slawoff
Quantum of the Seas (Royal Caribbean )
Your kids may feel they’ve stepped aboard a Star Wars-style craft on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Quantum of the Seas. The most technologically-advanced smart ship afloat, the Quantum features transforming entertainment venues, wristbands that unlock doors, robotic bartenders and super-fast wireless connectivity. In addition, you’ll find numerous unique dining options and creative seating areas throughout the massive ship.
“With Quantum of the Seas we are empowering our guests to customize every aspect of their journey, providing them with an unprecedented level of freedom and flexibility. It’s not just how you travel, it’s the experience from start to finish,” said Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain.
The fun begins before you board. Download the Royal IQ app on your iPhone or iPad to check in for your cruise from home and, once onboard, track your luggage, make dining reservations, book shows and more. That’s just the beginning. Strap on your RFID WOW band, a wristband that unlocks your stateroom and enables you to make dining reservation and make purchases.
We recently sailed on the massive yet easy to navigate Quantum, which is 11 times bigger than a blue whale! Quantum sails a Southern Caribbean itinerary from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ, hitting the following ports: San Juan, Puerto Rico; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; Fort De France, Martinique; Bridgetown, Barbados; and Basseterre St. Kitts. Quantum heads to China in April 2015.
First At-Sea Activities
North Star, Quantum of the Seas (Photo: Roy Riley)
Royal Caribbean is known for debuting cutting edge family-fun attractions on its ships. North Star is among our favorite features. The jewel-shaped glass capsule is attached to a mechanical arm that slowly rises more than 300 feet in the air for spectacular 360-degree views. Soar above the ship and out over the ocean. It may sound intimidating, but it’s such a gradual rotation you barely notice you’re moving. And the views are worth it!
(MORE: Great tips to organize a Caribbean cruise vacation with the kids.)
SeaPlex, Quantum of the Seas (Royal Caribbean )
The largest indoor recreational space at sea, SeaPlex transforms from a full-size basketball court to a circus school with flying trapeze and skating arena. You can also slam around in bumper cars and groove to tunes from a floating DJ booth suspended overhead. Above the main floor are four activity rooms with live global video gaming, ping pong and more.
RipCord by iFLY
Experience skydiving within a controlled environment. Following a training session, you and your instructor enter a 23-foot tall glass chamber to experience the sensation of flying. Although not new, FlowRider, a surf simulator, is located adjacent to Ripcord iFly. There’s also a rock climbing wall.
Bionic Bar, Quantum of the Seas (Royal Caribbean )
Although there are still human bartenders onboard, passengers 21 and older can order drinks on a tablet using their WOW bands at the Bionic Bar and watch robotic bartenders mix them. It’s fun, try it!
Just for Kids
Adventure Ocean for ages 3 – 11 is filled with games, science fun and crafts plus more age- appropriate themed activities in Astronaut Program, for ages 3 – 5; Explorer for ages 6 – 8; and Voyager for ages 9 – 11. Plus, DreamWorks characters Shrek, King Julien and Po drop by to play with kids. Those too young for the children’s program are coddled in Royal Babies and Royal Tots.
It can be hard to please this age group, but even teens will appreciate the comfort and private space in the Living Room. ZSPA offers a variety of facials and massages just for ages 12 – 17.
Relax in the serene Solarium pool area, where you can enjoy a drink and curl up in intimate seats to take in ocean views in peace and quiet. Work out at the fitness center (the first day is packed but crowds thin out during the week) and refresh at Vitality Spa, which offers an extensive menu including Medi-Spa cosmetic treatments.
Splashing Good Fun
Four pools include an indoor pool with retractable roof and the H2O Zone kids’ water park, featuring a wading pool, wave pool and a dedicated infant and toddler area complete with pint-sized lounge chairs. Watch movies under the stars on a giant screen.
(MORE: Find out which cruise line is the best match for your family.)
Virtual Balcony Stateroom, Quantum of the Seas (Tim Aylen)
The well-designed rooms make good use of every inch. Options include family-connected staterooms that are perfect for multi-generational families or groups of friends. The Royal Family Suite, which has two bedrooms and two bathrooms, comfortably sleeps eight. Virtual View interior rooms even get a view with large digital screens that display real time views.
At the Two70 venue, Vistarama and Roboscreens intertwine with live performers, music and special effects to create mesmerizing shows. Productions, such as MAMMA MIA, take place in the state-of-the-art Royal Theatre.
Unlike traditional cruising with assigned seating, you choose when and where you eat at 18 unique restaurants. Meals are complimentary at four main dining restaurants plus at a variety of casual eateries. Among them: Windjammer Marketplace serves an international buffet and is an ideal eatery for pleasing every palate. The Two70 café has a bagel station with loads of toppings – yum!
Mimi Slawoff, a Los Angeles-based journalist, contributed this to MiniTime.