A Quantum Day at Sea

Come with us as we spend a day at sea exploring Royal Caribbean's new Quantum of the Seas! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Come with us as we spend a day at sea exploring Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas! Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

November 13, 2014

Our first full day aboard Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas was jam-packed with activities. There’s so much to see and do aboard this massive new ship and, with the clock ticking down, I armed myself with a deck plan and set out on a whirlwind day to cram as much as I possibly could into my day.

As it turns out, I managed to do a lot. I explored nearly every nook and cranny, walked every deck, and climbed every staircase. Over the course of 15 hours of activities, both scheduled and unscheduled, I ended up with over 600 photographs of the ship to sort through – yet I still have barely scratched the surface.

Elevators all feature individual artwork - and it became a bit of a task to see if you could "collect them all." Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Elevators all feature individual artwork – and it became a bit of a task to see if you could “collect them all.” Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Because there is so much to talk about onboard Quantum of the Seas, we’re going to do a broad overview of some of the public spaces and technological features of the ship today and delve into more in-depth articles on the ship’s technological achievements and dining options in more detail later this coming week.

What has truly surprised me, however, is that many of the most heavily-promoted features of Quantum of the Seas are really very well-designed footnotes. What I mean by that is that, as a ship, Quantum of the Seas would have still been a winner without the SeaPlex. Or the Bionic Bar. Or perhaps even the RipCord by iFly. These are things that are very cool, but that you’ll probably do once in your voyage, tick it off your list, and move on.

The forward promenade area of Deck 4 (seen from Deck 5) is reminiscent of Celebrity's Solstice class. Throughout the ship, there is a surprising amount of natural light and ocean views. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The forward promenade area of Deck 4 (seen from Deck 5) is reminiscent of Celebrity’s Solstice class. Throughout the ship, there is a surprising amount of natural light and ocean views. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

More significant, I think, is how well she’s designed. Quantum of the Seas isn’t a direct evolution of the Voyager and Freedom class; she’s a radically different vessel. In many ways, she shares more similarities with Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice-Class. This is particularly apparent when traveling down the forward section of Deck 4, which features ceilings that extend to Deck 5 and windows that fill the promenade with natural light. It’s a far more elegant ship than Royal Caribbean has built in the past, with the possible exception of the still-gorgeous Radiance Class.

Lifejackets are now provided at individual Muster Stations, and not in staterooms. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Lifejackets are now provided at individual Muster Stations, and not in staterooms. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Quantum of the Seas also does a number of things differently. For example, you won’t find lifejackets in your stateroom closet. Standard-issue on nearly every cruise ship, the thought here is that it makes far more sense to provide lifejackets at your muster station. After much thinking and a lively debate with some of my fellow writers onboard, we like the idea: in the event of an emergency, you’re heading to your muster station anyway, and this could eliminate confusion from guests as to whether they need to return to their rooms – and possibly traverse five or six decks to do so.

The Music Hall spans Decks 3 and 4, and is situated just aft of the Royal Theater. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Music Hall spans Decks 3 and 4, and is situated just aft of the Royal Theater. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

At a press conference held in the Music Hall first thing in the morning, Royal Caribbean’s Executive Vice President of Operations, Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, revealed that the Bionic Bar was an idea that only really came to fruition this past April. They had seen a robot demoed at a technology conference in Las Vegas, discussed the idea amongst themselves, then flew to Italy to meet with the manufacturer. Fast-forward six months and the two robots were installed in their new home in the Bionic Bar. Featuring a DJ at nights, the Bar works far better than we had expected it to in terms of how well it fits with the flow and design of the ship.

The Bionic Bar was actually a late addition to Quantum of the Seas. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Bionic Bar was actually a late addition to Quantum of the Seas. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

It also features a DJ with live music by night, and opens up attractively to the Royal Esplanade just off-screen. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

It also features a DJ with live music by night, and opens up attractively to the Royal Esplanade just off-screen. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

I liked and appreciated the frankness with which Lutoff-Perlo, Chairman Richard D. Fain, and Executive Vice President, Marine, Harri Kulovarra spoke with journalists. When asked about the inclusion of wi-fi onboard and why it was so critical to offer that kind of connectivity, Fain had a fantastic answer: twenty or thirty years ago, ATM machines were scarce. If you wanted to get cash out, you had to go to your bank. Of course, nowadays we couldn’t live without an ATM. He views shipboard internet connectivity in that same light: controversial at first, de-facto within a few years.

The Royal iQ app is handy for seeing what you've got booked...but I still don't like having to rely on it. However, many guests will no doubt love this.

The Royal iQ app is handy for seeing what you’ve got booked…but I still don’t like having to rely on it. However, many guests will no doubt love this.

I have to admit that the Royal iQ app is handy for making reservations without having to queue up. In that respect, it’s a home-run. The downside, though, is that I’ve been clipped by four people today who were walking down the corridor, staring like a zombie at their iPhone. I’ve never had that happen on a cruise ship before. Yet, I still caught myself checking my email –but more often than not, I had fun posting photos of my journey to Twitter. Maybe that’s a good way for people to share their vacations? Time will tell.

The beautiful decor of The Grande, Deck 3. Waiters use digital technology that transmits orders instantly to the galley. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The beautiful decor of The Grande, Deck 3. Waiters use digital technology that transmits orders instantly to the galley. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Click here to continue reading!

Our Live Voyage Report aboard Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas has sadly come to a close, but tune in this week for more in-depth articles on her accommodations, dining and technical features! Be sure to follow along on twitter by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport.

 

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