The forthcoming Quantum of the Seas, is 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, 4905 total, 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.
Best For People Who Want
A brand-new family friendly resort at sea cruise experience with fun activities and high technology, extensive sports equipment and wide variety of onboard entertainment options
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
A small destination-oriented ship with a close-to-the-sea cruise experience. Ships with few children.
Quantum of the Seas was the first in brand new class of vessels for Royal Caribbean entering service in 2014. The name for the class was originally "Project Sunshine" until the line picked the names "Quantum of the Seas" for the first ship and "Anthem of the Seas" for the second ship to follow in 2015.
The new class is a very respectable 167,800-gross tons, making it the second largest class of cruise ships in the world after the (much larger) Oasis-class also owned by Royal Caribbean at 220,000-tons per ship (two in service, a third on order). However the concept of the ship design is completely different not only from Oasis, but from many previous Royal Caribbean ships, which came as something of a surprise to industry watchers.
Quantum will not have the ice skating rink or a long horizontal atrium known as the "Royal Promenade" found on many of the larger Royal Caribbean ships built after 1999. Rather than having cabins with an actual inside-facing promenade view, the inside cabins on Quantum come with a "virtual balcony" which will actually be an 80-inch high definition television screen showing a live camera feed of the passing scenery.
Much of the ship still remains to be revealed, but many of the amenities were shown to public at an unveiling in New York on April 16, 2013. The ship was characterized by the company executives Richard Fain and Adam Goldstein as "high-tech, open and family friendly," along with plenty uses of the word "wow."
Family cruises do seem to be the focus here, with plenty of adrenalin inducing activities. Without a doubt, the amusement park-like features will be the most discussed topics about this ship, but it has other qualities as well that indicate the overall experience will be tasteful and accommodating, not a circus atmosphere at all.
Significantly, an over-arching theme of new cruise ships is to do away with "single-purpose rooms that remain dark most of the day." This means that late-night discos have been replaced with bar/lounges that serve up food and entertainment starting with casual lunch and on through dinner - meaning the space remains occupied all day, but changes character as day turns into nighttime.
Richard Fain indicated Quantum will be a "classy" ship - more like Celebrity than anything else. I expect to see a new level of opulence, even for Royal Caribbean which already builds beautiful ships in my opinion.
The décor has not been revealed to a large extent, yet, except for the staterooms and one large public room called Two70°o (that is the degree symbol, but the room will just be called "two-seventy." This room features 270-degrees of three story windows to imbue a "connection to the sea." Two70° is being described as the ship's "living room."
Until we receive further updates, the only room we know is Two70°. But at this point we are seeing glimpses that Quantum may be more notable for the public rooms it does not have that have come to be expected on Royal Caribbean ships; no Royal Promenade for example, nor do we see anything in the exterior profile that indicates a Royal Caribbean staple room, the Viking Crown Lounge, which is usually a circular shaped disk that sits atop the vessel with a wide view aft.
There will be a two-story music hall featuring a large dance floor for ballroom style dancing to swing bands, but the room will also features performances by tribute artists to ABBA and the Beatles, among others.
The remaining public room we know about so far is the "Sea-plex" - the first fully enclosed sports complex at sea. The room will feature courts for basketball, soccer, etc, but at night (and possibly during certain hours of the day) it will be given over to the first bumper cars at sea. It will also be used as a roller skating rink at times. After dark the lighting will transform it into a nightclub including a descending pod to house a live DJ spinning dance music.
We do not have any details on the dining experience onboard yet, but it is a safe bet that the proven "winners" from previous Royal Caribbean ships will be included, such as the Brazilian Churrascaria, Giovanni's Table and other favorites.
As mentioned, we do not know yet. We have never seen a ship without a Lido area, but all newer ships have done away with the "buffet" concept in favor of "action stations" where you walk up and get a specific type of food from one of several different serving spaces in the room. There is usually enough seating for over 1000 people in this area.
We also do not know what the main dining concept will include. Since many main dining rooms are largely used only during the dinner hour, since many people eat breakfast and lunch in the Lido and other areas, it is very possible that the dining room as we know it will look completely different on Anthem. Details will be included here as they are presented by the cruise line.
Service with a smile is always the Royal Caribbean way, although one should not expect the outgoing performance style found on Carnival - except with certain bartenders in certain lounges. Still, the new Royal Caribbean service can be impressive. On recent cruises if they did not know the answer every single crewmember has a walkie-talkie and they can call up anyone they need. Not once did we receive a "that is not my department" style of reply. It was always, "let me see what I can find out for you."
Royal Caribbean suggests a per person per day gratuity of $3.50 for the stateroom attendant ($5.75 if sailing in a suite); $3.50 for the waiter; $2.50 for the Assistant Waiter; .75 Head Waiter. These gratuities may be paid in cash or charged to your onboard account. For children sailing as third or fourth passenger in the stateroom, tipping is at the parents' discretion. If you want these charges added to your accounts you must tell Royal Caribbean at least two days before the cruise ends. Otherwise, be prepared to count out the cash and hand it to the people who serviced you personally.
A 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Additional gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.
We do know that Two70° will transform into a showroom at night. The huge, continuous windows that virtually surround the room will become screens for video projections. Aerial acrobats will descend from the ceiling and the room will become a "Cirque" experience. We also have the Music Hall, two stories tall and large enough to house a live swing band and various performance artists.
It has already been verified that Quantum will have the DreamWorks Experience onboard which by definition includes a 3D movie theater to show the films. However, the Two70° room could conceivably avail such a movie screen, so we actually do not know yet if the ship will even have a proscenium-style theater for typical cruise ship stage show productions. These rooms do fall into that category of "large rooms that stay dark most hours of the day," which is exactly what new cruise ships are trying to avoid.
Much of the "entertainment" in this ship will come in the form of surprising, innovative daytime activities.
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.
Royal Caribbean has known in the past for relatively smaller cabins that the industry average, so it is refreshing to hear that the staterooms on Anthem will average nine percent larger than those on the Oasis-class.
New room amenities will include USB outlets (presumably to charge your cell phone and other devices). There will be more "multi-functional furniture" such as coffee tables that rise to the level of dinner tables, and ottomans that also include storage space.
There will be 2090 cabins all together. 1570 will be outside balconies with ocean view, 147 outside stateroom will have non-opening windows. There will be 373 inside staterooms with 80-inch "virtual balconies" and 34 cabins will be wheelchair accessible.
28 Studio staterooms will be offered for solo travelers with no singles supplement charge, most will be inside rooms but 12 will have true balconies. It will be possible to connect three different cabin categories to create Family-connected cabins with the flexibility for multi-generational families, including shared space surrounded by separate bedrooms and bathrooms for each occupant.
The infamous and beautiful Loft suites first offered on the Oasis class will be the largest suites, located across the stern of the ship. Quantum will also feature three junior spa-inspired suite categories and a family junior suite with full bath.
In addition to the Sea-plex, the ship is sure to have a separate fitness center and Spa facility. Naturally, the spa will be huge since these spas have become proven money-makers for the cruise line.
There will be a jogging track although the location has yet to be revealed.
All of the usual Royal Caribbean children's facilities can be expected, with the addition of special characters from the Dreamworks experience, and, of course, Barbie.
Royal Caribbean has made a number of improvements to youth and teen programming. One new program is Adventure Theater, developed by Camp Broadway in New York City to give kids an immersion into the performing arts. On each RCI sailing, teens and kids can learn acting fundamentals, vocalization, and dance techniques during a series of three 45-minute Adventure Theater sessions.
Another innovative program is Scratch DJ101 classes, which are available to all ages, along with special two-hour sessions just for teens on Liberty of the Seas. After their lessons, teens can showcase their music mixing knowledge in a graduation performance that friends and family can attend.
RCI has added new activities for those three to five years old in conjunction with Fisher-Price. Some of the new themes include Chefs on Deck, which involves role playing for preschoolers; Dino Adventure; and Train-O-Mania.
Quantum will offer a nursery for infants and toddlers 6 months to 3 years. So far, no charge for these services has been announced and this is a great amenity for young couples who want to enjoy their vacation without baby onboard once in awhile. The minimum age for bringing a child onboard is six months.
There are two formal night "suggestions" on most seven-night cruises these days. In truth, the definition of formal has changed over the last few years and even seeing a tux is pretty rare these days. While just a few years ago the introduction of Freedom of the Seas spurred many gentlemen to dress in tuxedos, we actually saw blue jeans in the dining room on this cruise, and no one seemed to be objecting. Suffice it to say that even on formal nights you can get away with slacks, a collared shirt and a jacket, you do not need to bring the ties or especially the cummerbund if you do not want to. Women still tend to dress more elegantly and almost anything is acceptable for the ladies.
Royal Caribbean fans should expect the most ardent followers of the line to be onboard for at least the first year. I would expect active young adults as well as plenty of family groups.