I'll be first to admit that cruising is not my forté but when Royal Caribbean came knocking on my door for an opportunity to scope out their new super ship Quantum of the Seas, I was willing to give it another shot. Coming in with no expectations at all, I got more than I bargained for. I got my socks knocked off, or more accurately, I got the drool sucked right out of my mouth while skydiving.
Here's my Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas review from a preview event I got to attend when the cruise ship first launched. While I know it's been a number of years and some age might be showing through but this should give a good idea of what to expect and where it excels.
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Quantum of the Seas Review
At this point, there's got to be some serious jaws dropped all around the cruising industry because Royal Caribbean has done it again with a ship so high-tech, innovative, entertaining, classy and just down-right fun that I'm sure the other cruise companies are scrambling to figure out how they can top it. I'm not even sure how Royal Caribbean's going to top themselves.
Days after its launch, Cruise Critic already named it the “Best New Ship” for their 2014 Editors' Picks.
The first of its name, the Quantum class ticks off all the things you'd expect a cruise to have: luxurious, gorgeous and well appointed decor; friendly and helpful crew, extremely spacious staterooms; tons of shopping options; endless number of food choices. With the basics covered, they then throw in all the high-tech goodies that will delight you to no end. You will honestly go “I never thought I'd be doing that on a cruise ship”.
I don't want to bombard you with everything that's on the ship but here's my Quantum of the Seas review with a focus on the impressive activities that I got to explore over 2 days at sea.
With one look at the cruise ship's exterior, you'll notice that peculiar little pod attached to a giant pivoting arm on the top of the ship.
This glass enclosed pod takes passengers up 300 feet above the ship to give you unprecedented views that was never possible before. At sea, you get brilliant aerial views of the ship from all sorts of angles and where I can picture this being truly epic is when it's docked at a port and you get sweeping views of the nearby city.
Ripcord by iFly
For me this was the star attraction to the cruise ship. Skydiving at sea and floating above the ground on a cruise ship? Are you kidding me?
As a cruise first, I got to suit up in a jumpsuit, strap on my helmet and goggles and experience simulated free fall in this glass cylindrical chamber. As my first time, I flailed and crash but our instructor Tiffany always made sure I was balanced and centered while giving me visual hand signals to adjust what I was doing wrong. The experience itself is only a minute but boy it felt way longer than that. Chin up, mouth open and looking out the glass, the sensation of flight put me in a state of delirium.
I then proceeded to feel my saliva literally being sucked out of my mouth in this huge vertical wind tunnel. There was nothing else to do other than to smile and float it off.
The cost of iFly on the Quantum of the Seas is $40 USD.
Rock climbing's been done on ships before but for me it was a first time experience. With the giant pink bear spotting me, I made it to the top to ring the bell with my not-so-elegant technique. It's near the top that the adrenaline really kicks in because you realize not only are you tackling a pretty challenging climb but you look out and you're greeted with the open expanse of the ocean. It's quite the thrill.
After that, repelling down was the next best thing. I haven't seen this at any climbing gyms or other cruise ships but they have an automatic belayer that slows your descent when you let go of the wall. That's brilliant because you don't need a buddy to belay you while climbing. Fancy!
Trapeze at SeaPlex
This really is part of the natural evolution of cruise ships. Royal Caribbean's already done skating rinks so why not a crazy all-purpose gym that does just about everything else. It was amazing to see the crew be able to transform this space with ease.
What I was excited to try out was their trapeze set up. I'm not much for high flying tricks but having watched a few Cirque du Soleil in my day, I thought, hey why the heck not?
Things looked promising to start as there were a bunch of little girls crushing it out there. Their swings were elegant like a bird in flight and their flips a perfect 360 degrees. I got this.
Once I was at the top however, my confidence slowly slipped away as I realized I was really doing this and had to also process all these instructions they were throwing at me. Long story short, it took awhile for me to get out of the gate but once I was swinging things were a lot easier. The final kick forward, let go and flip wasn't executed to perfection but I'll let it slide this time.
Am I really doing this on a cruise ship?
Bumper Cars at SeaPlex
After trapeze you throw in ping pong, basketball, foosball, the arcade, Xbox and roller skating. The natural progression of course is bumper cars right?
I never thought I'd see bumper cars on a cruise ship but Royal Caribbean's been able to make it work with SeaPlex.
The line up moved quickly and when it was my turn to hit the drivers seat, it was like I turned back the clock to when I was 10 years old and was just exhilarated to drive my own car and crash it into people.
These robotic bartenders were an attraction in itself. As another big game changer aboard cruise ships, Bionic Bar is run by two mechanical, assembly line type robots that will shake, mix, stir and pour your drink of choice all with the tap of your wrist band on tablets placed all throughout the bar.
There's a beautifully designed mirror display that shows what drink each robot is working on, its progress and also leaves you a nice little message when it's all done.
To receive your drink, all you have to do is tap your wrist band again and the drink comes sliding up towards you.
It's a little gimmicky but still oh-so-cool. I was fascinated just watching the robots twist, turn and shake. Again, how is this on a cruise ship?
Other times Quantum of the Seas impressed
- The check in process was seamless. Since we did all the check-in stuff online by uploading a photo and filling out some basic details, we flew through check-in at port. We were on the gangway in 15 minutes. You couldn't do that at an airport. No sir!
- The smart wrist bands (they call it WOWbands) they give us to wear made everything so easy. With the tap of the wrist, you can make purchases, open your stateroom, sign up for activities and get photos taken by the roaming professional photographers to get tagged to your account for easy access viewing.
- The Starwater show was a dramatic mix of interpretive dance, amazing singing, class and acrobatics that just further proved that Royal Caribbean isn't scared of pushing the envelope and really delivering high tech and game changing experiences. That Two70 theatre with its 8K projectors and set of 6 robotically controlled displays blew me away.
- Sitting first row for Mamma Mia aboard the ship was absolutely magical. 1) Broadway on a cruise ship was a first and 2) I could see more detail and emotion from the actors on stage than anything else I've seen before.
- The Music Hall turned into a happening club at night and was very impressed with how many people were out there partying it up.
- Food was fabulous of course. We had the chance to try both Silk and Grande for dinner and both had their own stars of the show. The cafes and
- Solarium was a great place for adults to kick back and either soak it up in a hot tub, pool or just lay out on a beach chair. After grabbing some drinks we had a great time sitting in one of their comfy little huts to watch the sunset.
Where is Quantum of the Seas now?
Currently, Quantum of the Seas is in Singapore. If you're curious about its exact position, check out Cruise Mapper.
Quantum of the Seas gallery – from check-in to wow moments
If you're looking for a modern cruise ship with all the fixings, you're looking at it.
What impressed me about cruising with Royal Caribbean was just how not boring it was. Quantum of the Seas was as far as it can be from being a dreary drag. I was entertained through and through and gave me just the right amount of adrenaline I was looking for in a vacation.
I'm sure a few things have changed since the ship was launched but I'd love to hear from you – have you been on recently and if so, what is your Quantum of the Seas review?
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