Richard Fain reveals Quantum of the Seas, with "Northstar Pod" overhead.
Royal Caribbean Reveals Cruise Ship Innovations
If you are not already a cruise ship fan there is a good chance you missed a pivotal cruise industry event this morning. Royal Caribbean Cruises, known for the most technically advanced cruise ships in the world, revealed the plans for its newest cruise ship today, and it includes many new features most people never imagined on a cruise ship.
The ship is the forthcoming Quantum of the Seas, set to enter service in the autumn of 2014. Sister ship Anthem of the Seas will debut one year later. Both ships will carry 4180 passenger berths, double occupancy, on what will be the second largest class of cruise ships in the world after the record-making Oasis-class, also owned by Royal Caribbean.
The New Details Revealed
Today's New York City today reveal was partially hosted by the small but dynamic film and TV-star Kristen Chenoweth, who will serve as the ships Godmother when Quantum is christened in autumn, 2014. It's unusual for a Godmother to be involved 18 months ahead of her official duty, but it seems like Chenoweth and Royal Caribbean just hit it off. Although Chenoweth has never been on a cruise she appeared genuinely enthusiastic about this new ship - and who can blame her, its features would be a thrill in a lot of places, not just in the middle of ocean.
Obviously, the world of cruise ship design has changed demonstrably since the previous generation of ships, which included the record breaking Oasis; biggest cruise ship in the world. The new generation has to be far more energy efficient. It also has to appeal to a wide group of people, and most of all, it needs to "wow" its audience, to convince them to spend their hard-earned vacation dollars. In all of those areas Quantum does not disappoint. The ship takes the cruise concept to new heights.
Here are some of the innovative new features to be introduced upon Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas:
If you know the Ferris wheel contraption called "The Eye" that towers over London you have seen it has enclosed "pods" designed to hold a dozen or more guests at once - all of them free to move around inside - rather than traditional seats. Quantum will have a the NorthStar, a similar concept but the pod is not on a Ferris wheel, it is at the end of a long, extendable arm that can lift a dozen or more people as high as 300 feet above the surface of the ocean.
The Northstar Pod
On an open aft deck is another feature brand new to cruise ships; a vertical wind tunnel that simulates free fall parachute jumps. In simple terms, a huge blower pushes enough air skyward to keep a person, clad in a special jumpsuit, suspended in mid air so the effect is like falling through open sky. This is the same apparatus that professional sky divers use to practice free fall maneuvers.
Ripcord by iFly - free fall simulation
Rumors of this next feature were also blowing in the wind and turned out to be true; Quantum will have bumper cars as just one feature of a brand-new sports complex concept - the first cruise ship sports complex to be fully enclosed - making it impervious to weather conditions. The complex is called the Sea-Plex. During the day it can accommodate basketball, soccer, roller-skating and even a "flying school" for budding "aerial acrobats."
At night the room is completely transformed into a dance party space. The bumper cars may be loosed from their "garages" for musical bumping fun, until the floor is given over to dancers and skaters. Above the melee below will be another "flying pod" to house a live DJ spinning dance music.
Sea-Plex at night with roller skating and DJ pod above
The Music Hall - is a two-story live music venue with ballroom-style dancing as well as live performances by big band musicians and tribute bands. On the top deck will be "gravity neutral" billiard tables like those first introduced on earlier Royal Caribbean ships.
Two70o - (pronounced "two-seventy"), also called the "ship's living room," is a large public space filling three decks of public space in the aft section of the inside lower decks. During the day it features amazing sea views through 270-degrees of three deck tall, uninterrupted windows The space also has cocktails bars, a library, a game room, and plenty of nook and crannies. At night, when the sky goes dark, they become high-tech staging background projection screens for live aerial circus-style performers coming "from the rafters."
Quantum Two70° by Day
Two70° by night
Virtual Balcony Staterooms - Every stateroom on the ship will have a real balcony OR a simulated one. The inside staterooms will have a "window" that is actually a 70-inch, high resolution, LCD-screen with a live camera feed of the exact scenery passing outside the ship in the same direction - just like a real window. The screens are even framed by curtains. On average, the staterooms on Quantum are 8% larger than the rest of the Royal Caribbean fleet, including Oasis. There are also "family staterooms," and loft suites similar to those found on Oasis.
Inside Stateroom with virtual balcony
No Charge for These Attractions
Best of all - all of these features are all included in the cruise fare for each guest. Just like the "Flo-Riders" (also on this ship), zip line, rock climbing and features on previous Royal Caribbean ships. However, it will be possible to book the Northstar for private events, including weddings.
It is unusual for a cruise line to unveil so many new features in one day, but with brand new ships coming from both Norwegian Cruise Line (in May) and Princess Cruise Line (in June), each with many innovative features of their own, perhaps Royal Caribbean wants to steal a little thunder, even if Quantum is still as far as 18 months from its debut.
Sale of cruises on Quantum begins on May 27 for Crown and Anchor (the line's loyalty club) members, and on June 4th for the general public.
Interestingly, while the Norwegian ship, Norwegian Breakaway, has been dubbed "New York's Ship" and is scheduled to sail solely out of New York City year round, Quantum of the Seas will also sail out of New York year round, at least for its inaugural season, home porting in Bayonne, New Jersey, in New York Harbor near the Statue of Liberty.