Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas Delivers

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas sails past the Statue of Liberty in New York on the evening of Wednesday, November 12, 2014. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas sails past the Statue of Liberty in New York on the evening of Wednesday, November 12, 2014. Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean.

The truth of the matter is that two days is not nearly enough to experience everything you can possibly do aboard Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas. In fact, two weeks might not be enough. She’s not just a cruise ship that takes you from Point A to Point B; she’s a destination in her own right.

After just shy of 48 hours onboard, that’s my takeaway from Quantum of the Seas: she could do circles in the Atlantic for seven days and her passengers likely wouldn’t complain. There’s too much to do and see right onboard this 168,666-gross-ton ship that is 1,141 feet long, 136 feet wide, and has 16 passenger decks. In fact, you’ll barely notice you’re sailing with 4,180 other guests.

Here’s a look at some of our favorite features onboard:

Two70

Is Two70 the best feature on Quantum of the Seas? It very well could be. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Is Two70 the best feature on Quantum of the Seas? It very well could be. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Without a doubt, this was the highlight of my Quantum of the Seas experience. By day, this is a spectacular aft-facing lounge that recalls the same kind of grand scale that Royal Caribbean has used in the past for their main dining rooms. By night, the entertainment here is innovative and imaginative, and a complete departure from cruise ship entertainment as you know it.

Original shows and high production values make for some of the most innovative entertainment at sea. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Original shows and high production values make for some of the most innovative entertainment at sea. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The production values alone are staggering, with a list of technical and creative credits that reads like a feature film. In addition to Starwater, Two70 will also offer Virtual Concert and Sonic Odyssey: original shows designed by Royal Caribbean Productions and Montreal-based Moment Factory – and I’d sail Quantum again just to see them.

NorthStar

There's no getting around it: NorthStar is just plain cool. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

There’s no getting around it: NorthStar is just plain cool. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Yes, the London Eye-esque NorthStar capsule was a winner, even if you’ll only ride it once. It gives you a perspective of your cruise ship that has, until now, been impossible to see. It will also no doubt turn heads when she sails to the Caribbean in a few weeks and Asia in 2015.

Inside NorthStar's capsule. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Inside NorthStar’s capsule. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Even better, North Star can operate while the ship is at sea – something I had my doubts about. It’s also free – unless, of course, you’d like to get married on the NorthStar. You can do that, but for a fee.

Dining Options

There are plenty of free and pay dining options onboard Quantum of the Seas. Pictured here is Jamie's Italian on Deck 5 aft. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

There are plenty of free and pay dining options onboard Quantum of the Seas. Pictured here is Jamie’s Italian on Deck 5 aft. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

I’ll be the first to admit that I thought Royal Caribbean’s main dining rooms were some of the most beautiful afloat. Grand and sprawling, the main dining room on Mariner of the Seas still stands as one of the nicest I’ve ever been in. But although these large grand rooms are gone, Quantum of the Seas has something better: a multitude of more intimate venues featuring unique menus and décor.

Enjoying lunch in the American Icon Grill, Deck 4. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Enjoying lunch in the American Icon Grill, Deck 4. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

I didn’t get to try a lot on my short two days onboard, but of the ones I ate at (American Icon Grill, The Grande, Silk, and the Windjammer Marketplace), Silk was my undisputed favorite both in terms of ambiance and cuisine.

Elegant Styling; Efficient Flow

Quantum's interior design and decor is surprisingly elegant and soothing. Shown here is The Via, Deck 5 aft. The lighting changes colours depending on the time of day. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Quantum’s interior design and decor is surprisingly elegant and soothing. Shown here is The Via, Deck 5 aft. The lighting changes colours depending on the time of day. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Quantum of the Seas absorbs her guests well; better, I feel, than the Voyager and Freedom-class ships. On a cruise aboard Mariner of the Seas a few years back, getting a seat in the Schooner Bar or the Café Promenade was damn near impossible at the best of times.

The Schooner Bar, Deck 5. Plenty of different bars and lounges ensure Quantum of the Seas doesn't feel crowded. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Schooner Bar, Deck 5. Plenty of different bars and lounges ensure Quantum of the Seas doesn’t feel crowded. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

On Quantum of the Seas – which sailed nearly full – the increased multitude of bars and lounges helps to really distribute guests better than her predecessors. Coupled with the fact that most entertainment venues are spread across Decks 3, 4 and 5, if your favorite watering hole is full, the next alternative is only steps away.

The Solarium

The Solarium on Deck 14 overlooks the bow of Quantum of the Seas. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Solarium on Deck 14 overlooks the bow of Quantum of the Seas. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

This stunning space could almost do double-duty as the “new” Viking Crown Lounge. Situated at the bow right above the navigation bridge, this area is part pool, part relaxation area, part bar and lounge. The views from here are unparalleled. My biggest concern was that Quantum of the Seas would have a lack of connection with the sea, which is critically important in my opinion.

The Solarium offers an awesome connection to the sea. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

The Solarium offers an awesome connection to the sea. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

This single public space is all about the ocean and the sights around you.

So who is Quantum of the Seas right for? As it turns out, there are plenty of people that will probably find something to enjoy about sailing aboard Royal Caribbean’s latest ship.

Climbing up to the North Star. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Climbing up to the North Star. Photo © 2014 Aaron Saunders

Our take:

Sail Quantum of the Seas if:

  • You enjoy sailing on big ships with the latest bells-and-whistles; this has them in spades.
  • You’ve sailed with Royal Caribbean before; past guests will find lots to love about Quantum of the Seas.
  • You’re not technologically-inclined; while it’s offered for those who like to stay connected, a smartphone is by no means needed to enjoy your experience onboard.
  • You enjoy ships with a multitude of different high-quality dining and entertainment options, and are willing to pay a little extra for some of them.
  • You’re looking for a one-of-a-kind cruise experience.

Avoid Quantum of the Seas if:

  • You want a small-ship cruising experience. This most certainly isn’t it.
  • You’re deeply attached to more classic Royal Caribbean features, like the Viking Crown Lounge and traditional set dining.
  • You’re put-off by additional costs; Quantum of the Seas has more onboard items that come with a surcharge, including some room service menu items.

For those who have already sailed with Royal Caribbean in the past, it won’t take long to get used to the new features and style of cruising found aboard Quantum of the Seas. Even if you’re not technologically-inclined or don’t own a smartphone, you can get by without the Royal iQ app.

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Our Live Voyage Report aboard Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas has sadly come to a close, but tune for more Live Voyage Reports by following @deckchairblog or the hashtag #LiveVoyageReport on Twitter.

 

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