The Quantum of the Seas was completed in late 2014 at the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg Germany coming in just shy of a billion dollars to complete. It entered service the same year based at Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne in New Jersey, plying the route to the Caribbean and the Bahamas. In the summer of 2015, it will undertake a repositioning cruise that will see it based in Shanghai, cruising to Japan and South Korea.
- Tonnage: The ship weighs a staggering 168,666 tonnes, the equivalent of nearly 25,000 elephants – and that’s before the passengers get on board
- Length: The Quantum of the Seas is 347.1m long which is the same as three football pitches placed end to end.
- Width: The width or beam of the ship is nearly 50m, about the width of one of those football pitches
- Decks: There are 18 decks on board of which 16 are accessible to passengers meaning plenty of exercise up those stairs. The decks host 2090 cabins, called ‘staterooms’ on the Quantum and these are split into 1570 having their own balconies, 147 having an ocean view from their windows and 373 inside cabins each having an 80 inch screen showing the view outside giving what Royal Caribbean calls a Virtual Balcony. The staterooms can accommodate a maximum of just over 4,900 passengers although its average passenger list is likely to be no more than around 4,400. Serving the needs of all those passengers as well as enabling the ship to complete its itinerary are over 1,500 crew members.
- Power: The Quantum’s thruster engines generate 75,000 brake horse power between them pushing it through the water at 25 mph
This is the lowest deck in the ship that passengers can access and because of that you might think that it will be gloomy cramped and claustrophobic. Instead, the ship’s design means that there are only two interior staterooms on this level whilst all other rooms have ocean views.
Three types of stateroom are available on this deck, H, I and Q. the two Q labelled staterooms are interior rooms but have the innovative ‘virtual porthole’ 80 inch displays. The only difference between H and I class staterooms is that the H class has a sofa which converts to an extra bed; great if you want to bring the kids but don’t mind them sharing. There are 66 I class rooms and 38 H class rooms. Eight staterooms on this deck have been designed with the needs of the less mobile in mind and these rooms are split evenly between H and I categories. Nineteen pairs of rooms on this deck have interconnecting doors turning them into suites for if you’re travelling with older children or friends and want ease of access yet still some privacy.
Where you might expect to find more interior cabins on a similar deck in other cruise ships, the Quantum of the Seas is different. On Deck Three you’ll find the central area contains the Royal Theatre in the bow, the ship’s Music Hall behind it and the Casino behind that. Completing the hive of activity on this deck are two restaurants: The Grande and Chic.
The Royal Theatre
There’s nothing amateur about the productions you’ll see at the Royal Theatre. The Quantum boasts a state of the art theatre capable of seating nearly 1300 people who will be treated to shows that wouldn’t be out of place on Broadway. Fully lit and with a hi-tech sound system, performances, many of which feature aerial displays a la Cirque du Soleil. On the days when the cast take a break, you’ll still get great entertainment from the 3D movies available to watch on the big screen.
If you want something a little less formal and perhaps more intimate then the Music Hall is for you. Think sultry Chicago bar style and you won’t be far out. Live musicians entertain but you don’t have to sit formally to enjoy the music, relax in the booths, sit at either of the two bars and enjoy cocktails or get a little more active by using the billiards tables. Set out on two levels and decorated in velvet, leather and mirrors, the venue is an edgy setting perfect for those in search of more adventurous entertainment.
Deck Four has no staterooms but is jam-packed with shopping, leisure and entertainment facilities. At the bow end you have access to the second tier of seating for the Royal Theatre whilst midway along this deck you’ll get onto the second level of the Music Hall. Between the two you’ll find the retail outlets of Impulse, Kiehl beauty products and Michael Kors. On the other side of the ship is the exclusive Diamond Lounge.
Moving further towards the stern you’ll access the Royal Promenade, an exclusive mall of designer and luxury retailers together with an equal number of places to take the weight off your feet and enjoy some food or a drink. Behind that you can enjoy a quiet game of cards in the Card Room or discover a taste of the east at the popular Silks restaurant or American Diner fare at the American Icon Grill.
Michael’s Genuine Pub
If you’re missing a pint at your local or fancy some simple pub grub then that idea has been taken up a notch or two at Michael’s Genuine Pub. Yes, you’ll find all your pub favourites but prepared by the renowned chef, Michael Schwartz who even serves his own craft ales there!
Sometimes just a pizza will do for lunch and for the epitome in delicious, hand-crafted pizzas, there’s nowhere like Sorrento’s. Each day they produce a special which can include Hawaiian, Seafood or Florentine but for those that like the old favourites, Margarita and Pepperoni are always on the menu and served with Peroni beer or some quality Italian wines that complement the pizzas perfectly.
Café Promenade is the place to go for your elevenses or for afternoon tea. Serving a wide selection of quality teas and coffees, you’ll be able to accompany these with a treat from a range that includes pastries, muffins and cookies, all baked fresh throughout the day.
If you’ve a fancy for a French style breakfast La patisserie is where you should be heading. Freshly baked croissants, Pain au Chocolat and more await you with an accompanying cafetière of French style coffee. The ambience of La Patisserie will sweep you away to a Parisian street café the moment you step through the doors.
When the sun goes down, enjoy a Latin-style cocktail before dinner at Boleros. If Latin passion is your style, return after your meal for more cocktails which include Mojitos, Caipirinhas and Cuba Libres which should loosen those limbs in readiness for some dancing to the music from the live Samba band.
The Quantum of the Seas proudly offers a wide range of cuisines so your taste buds will never get bored. Silk is the epitome of this philosophy offering five different cuisines under one roof. Enjoy a traditional Indian curry in a range of flavours, the sushi is divine from the Japanese menu whilst the traditional favourites plus a few delicious surprises can be experienced from the Chinese menu. For a tasty change, try out the subtleties of the Thai menu of go for something more adventurous from the world of Vietnamese cuisine.
American Icon Grill
If you were doing an American road trip and called into a roadside grill, the food you’d be treated to couldn’t be any more authentic than what you’ll eat at the American Icon Grill. All the favourites including racks of ribs, steaks, juicy burgers and more are on offer but made with the finest ingredients and served with a little creative passion. Wash your meal down with a cold beer or even a root beer then kick off your spurs and see how many of the American icons on display you recognise.
Once again, this deck has no staterooms and is dedicated to relaxing, intimate dining and leisure experiences. The bow houses the top level of the Royal Theatre whilst behind it you’ll be able to spot photographs of you and your friends in the Photo Gallery. On board there are plenty of opportunities to have a photograph taken as a memento of your cruise and here you can see the results and order copies if you wish. Use the iPads or kiosks to find and order your photos and if there’s something you need for your own photography, the gallery also sells cameras and accessories.
The Art Gallery is worth a visit and there you can view paintings, sculptures and other forms of art, some for sale and collection at the end of your cruise. If you haven’t got the space for a piece of art at home, you can still enjoy pieces by some of the world’s up and coming artists. It’s reputed that $5m was spent on the art from the giant magenta bear to the ‘Waves of Light’ glass and mirror waveform sculpture, all of it has a wow factor.
This deck is all about innovation and no more so than in the food and drink served here. Check out some of the weird and wonderful ways at Bionic Bar or see the imagination run riot at Wonderland.
As you reach the top of the elevator you’ll see Chop’s Grille on your right. If steak is your idea of a square meal then this is the place for you. Top quality steak from the finest producers are grilled to perfection before being complemented with creative sauces and then served with salads or vegetables that set off your meal to perfection. It’s not just beef here either. You can enjoy succulent pork steaks or tasty lamb too.
Just down from Chop’s is the Chef’s Table. This is truly exclusive and will allow a maximum of fourteen guests to enjoy a bespoke five course meal prepared by a top chef de cuisine. The ship’s sommelier will have prepared a list of wines for you to try with each course meaning your dinner will be one of the culinary highlights of your voyage. If you were impressed by the wines on offer, take a second look at them afterwards at Vintages which stocks top quality wines from around the world to suit all tastes and purses.
If you like the traditional on your cruise then spend your evenings at the Schooner Bar. Nautically themed and resplendent in polished wood, this opulent but homely bar serves traditional cocktails in a relaxing maritime atmosphere. To complement the occasion, relaxing piano music wafts through the bar as you sip your Gin Sling or Black Russian. If Silk got you into the idea of eastern cuisine, you should try out Izumi, the Japanese restaurant on Deck Five. Here, freshly prepares sushi and maki awaits your taste buds. If raw fish isn’t your style, try the Hot Rock plates where you can sizzle your marinated fish or steak.
Head towards the stern and either side of you now you’ll find two of the innovations that make Quantum of the Seas truly a cruise ship of the future. Marvel at the robotic Bionic Bar where no human hand touches the drinks – not so good if you want to offload your troubles onto the barman though! Creativity abounds opposite at Wonderland
where the chefs’ creativity is stretched to the level of endurance in creating what the ship calls ‘fantasy cuisine’ accompanied by drinks that would look more at home in a science laboratory.
The Wonderland theme is perfectly expounded by their creations which you struggle to decide whether to eat or put on display as art! If you want to get ashore and see some of the sights, book last minute shore excursions on this deck and if you’re enjoying the cruise so much you’d like to do it all again, you can book another at Next Cruise and benefit from low deposits and extra credit on board your next Royal Caribbean voyage.
If you need some jewellery or a timepiece for a special gift, Hublot and Bulgari outlets can be found on this level. After you’ve completed your purchases, why not try out some food from one of Britain’s best loved chefs; Jamie Oliver. His Italian restaurant on board sizzles with the delicious recipes he gleaned from his time learning the craft in Italy, all brought to you in an Italian themed restaurant.
The stern of the ship houses one of the highlights of the cruise; the Two70. This is a huge venue replete with floor to ceiling glass walls allowing you to enjoy the beauty of the 270 degree view by day and at night turn into the highest screen resolution in the world video displays all enjoyed from the comfort of an air conditioned venue. You can grab a take away meal from the Café Two70 or simply sit and enjoy a drink. Designed to be somewhere you can while away the day, you’ll never be bored. Marvel at the Ice Bar, enjoy the unique meals on offer and wait in anticipation for the entertainment which changes several times through the day to please and excite. As the sun goes down, the atmosphere changes as the stars come out the venue becomes a huge interactive entertainment complex with robotic screens that dance and the audience in certain areas are encouraged to join in and become part of the show whether it’s acting or singing along with a cast member After a day spent in Two70, you’ll leave for your bed wondering just where the day went to. It’s the perfect place to relax on days at sea and a great alternative for night time entertainment.
This is an accommodation deck with all staterooms having their own private balconies. If you can afford it, splash out on a Superior Grand Suite which has a huge Royal King bed, a dressing area leading to a full bathroom with bath and two sinks. A second door leads to a living room which can convert into another bedroom. There you’ll find a complete entertainment facility as well as access to a wraparound balcony where you can sit in privacy and enjoy the view. Private dining is also available in this stateroom.
The deck’s configurations allow for rooms for all needs whether travelling alone or with a large group. You’ll find compact yet comfortable studio suites, interlinked suites for groups or friends that want privacy yet easy access during the day, spa suites with facilities that allow you to enjoy a Jacuzzi or whirlpool baths in the privacy of your own cabin and plenty of standard balcony staterooms many of which can be interlinked.
Also from this deck, you can access the second tier of Two70 and perhaps choose a book or two from the ship’s library to enjoy as long as the view doesn’t prove too distracting!
Decks Seven to Ten
You’ll only find yourself on these decks if your stateroom is here as they are accommodation only decks. Most staterooms here have balconies although there are 33 interior staterooms on Deck Seven, sixty on Deck Eight, 65 on Deck Nine and 74 on Deck Ten which benefit from the ‘virtual porthole’ innovation where you’ll see all that’s going on outside, night and day, from the comfort of your cabin allowing you to forget that you’re in an interior stateroom. Some even have ‘virtual balconies with a floor to ceiling screen allowing you to believe you’re outside. Almost all types of stateroom are available on these deck and passengers preferring more privacy should consider them as there’ll be fewer passers-by on their way to meals or entertainment.
Deck Seven has four easy access staterooms for the less mobile, all of which have exterior balconies. Deck Eight has six external balconied staterooms suitable for the less mobile plus one interior stateroom. Deck Nine has two internal staterooms and four with external balconies. Deck Ten has four interior staterooms for the less mobile and no exterior staterooms.
For the ultimate in luxury, consider the forward facing staterooms near the bow which include the loft suites, some on two levels with all the facilities you could possibly want, almost a luxury home from home.
Having a similar array of staterooms to the decks below, the higher you get, the better the view unless you have one of the 56 interior staterooms on this deck. Don’t worry though for they all have the virtual porthole or virtual balcony feature so you’ll never feel claustrophobic. There are only two rooms on this deck which have easy access for less mobile cruise clients, both of which are interior staterooms.
This deck is one to avoid if you are not fond of kids running around during the day for on this deck you’ll find Adventure Ocean. Another innovation on Quantum of the Seas, it’s a way for kids to expand their knowledge through a series of age appropriate programmes that allow them to experience interactive learning in a variety of environments and disciplines. The company calls it edu-taining but most of those who’ve experiences it simply call it great fun. The courses are certificated under the Kids and Teen Compass schemes, details of which can be found in the cruise programme. There’s a good chance that if you’re travelling with kids, you may not see them for some while once they discover Adventure Ocean.
This deck is fitted out mainly as staterooms but has the top level of Adventure Ocean so, if you want a bit of peace and quiet, avoid this deck. Alternatively, if you’re staying in a stateroom graded Grand or higher or are members of the Royal Caribbean clubs Diamond Plus, Pinnacle Club or the Crown and Anchor Society, you’ll have access to the Concierge Club located at the stern end of this deck. It’s a haven of tranquillity and allows you to enjoy fabulous ocean views whilst served a varied continental breakfast or you can head there before dinner in the evening and partake of complimentary pre-dinner drinks and soothing, low-key entertainment.
Many staterooms on this deck have interconnecting doors whilst some have the facility of a sofa bed allowing extra guests within the ample space of the stateroom. Disabled cruisers will find that this deck is not suitable for them as there are no cabins with easy access.
As you move higher up the ship’s decks, the staterooms become more opulent and more expensive. The staterooms here are spacious and the minimum level of accommodation for the exterior staterooms is the Junior Suite. You’ll find cheaper accommodation in the interior staterooms, all of which have the virtual porthole or balcony to make you feel as if you are on the exterior of the ship. Those in need of more accessible rooms will find they are restricted to just one interior room on this deck so it’s best to look elsewhere on the ship for accommodation.
There are two public areas on this deck level, one is the Solarium whilst the other is the Conference Centre. The Conference Centre is often quiet despite being available for meetings and lectures. It might seem a strange thing to do but it’s not unknown for a company to reward its employees with a conference on board the ship. Often these are shorter than the voyage with delegates joining and leaving at one of the ports of call in the itinerary. It’s expected that this facility will be used more frequently when the ship’s itinerary changes to the Far East.
If you want to enjoy the sun but in a more relaxing environment than the sun deck, then try the Solarium. Here you have the chance to enjoy the sunshine in the fresh air or instead retreat inside the glass atrium for some extra warmth. There too you’ll find welcome shade if needed amongst cascading waterfall, luxuriant vegetation and a well-stocked bar. If you need further cooling down then consider a dip in the pool which can be open air in warmer climes or covered with a retractable glass roof when the ship passes through cooler ones.
Step out onto this deck and you leave all the accommodation behind and instead come face to face with daytime fun and entertainment. This is where the ship’s main pool is found. It can get crowded and with crowded comes noisy but this is where most people spend the days at sea.
Arrive on deck at the bow end and you’ll see the top level of the Solarium as you exit the stairs or elevators located behind a superb eatery; Devinly Decadence. If you’re worried about your figure or even if your figure will expand during your time on board, then head for this haven of low calorie but delicious delights. Best-selling author and celebrity chef Devlin Alexander’s signature restaurant promises that no meal mas more than 500 calories yet will leave you satisfied and wowed by the taste. The atmosphere is chic, bright and welcoming whilst the food will leave you wondering why you ever thought that great taste meant calories.
Turn towards the stern and surrounded by four whirlpool spas and the infamous H2O Zone, you’ll find an indoor and outdoor pool. Camp out in the sun or shade on the luxuriously comfortable sunbeds and enjoy the occasional dip in the heated pools. Not really a place to relax and sleep off the excesses of the previous night, you’ll find plenty happening here from organised activities to fun games organised by the crew. A word of warning is to avoid relaxing near the H2O Zone for it’s there that the mischievous and downright wicked lay in wait to use water cannon, sprinklers and other watery weapons to soak unsuspecting guests as they pass by. It’s safest at night when the danger zone turns into a beautifully illuminated sculpture garden enhanced by the water displays.
At night, the poolside is transformed into an outdoor cinema as a giant screen is pulled down over the pool to showcase latest movies and big sports events. Pull up a chair or relax on a lounger and just enjoy the action under the stars with waiter service from the pool bars.
If you’re a teenager and don’t want to hang around with parents or younger siblings, meet others of a similar disposition in The Living Room, a space dedicated to all things teen. Here you can join in any one of dozens of teen oriented daytime activities including scavenger hunts and a video games arcade or just sit and enjoy the endless pizza parties where you can eat what you like without adults reminding you about the vegetables! At night you can also leave the adults to their embarrassing disco and instead hang out with your friends at the teen night club that The Living Room evolves into after dark.
Opposite, supposedly designed for the adults but popularised by the teens is Johnny Rockets, a 50s style American diner with a teens’ favourite treats – burgers, milk shakes and fries. What more could you want?
Whilst the kids are in Johnny Rockets, you’ll find the adults in Coastal Kitchen where you’ll find Californian healthy foods fused with ideas from the Mediterranean kitchen. It’s a tasty alternative to Devinly Decadence, perhaps a calorie or two more but still fabulously healthy yet tasty food.
Heading further to stern you’ll find a foodie mecca with the Windjammer Marketplace. This is no cheap and cheerful souvenir emporium but instead it’s a truly global food experience where you can travel from island to island enjoying tastes of food from every continent on earth (nearly!). You’ll still find plenty of favourites on offer from paninis to the heady scent of freshly baking bread right along to a juice station serving the regulars but also exciting new blends of exotic juices from around the world. Tucked away in this culinary extravaganza you’ll find ‘The Grill’ serving all-day breakfasts as well as many other treats fresh from the gridiron on a regularly changing menu.
Stepping out onto Deck Fifteen, watch you don’t get run over by fitness enthusiasts for it’s on this deck that you’ll find the jogging track. You won’t find many with such atmosphere – or views, if you jog whilst the ship is in port! The track laps the entire circumference of this deck so pedestrians need to keep off it for their safety!
If less energetic exercise is more your style, try the equipment on offer at Vitality, the Sea Spa and Fitness Centre. You’ll have access to a full range of the most modern equipment supplied by Technogym, one of the industry’s top manufacturers. With fitness consultants and instructors on hand to ensure you can safely make the most of the facilities, you’ll be able to enjoy all those treats on board AND stay trim.
Stepping it down a notch further you can get toned up in the Spa where, as well as getting hair and nails fixed, you’ll be able to enjoy wraps and massages, both relaxing and for body tone.
The ship has its own version of the London Eye in the North Star Experience. Enjoy a cocktail or two whilst waiting your turn to ascend in the glass bubbles to a hundred metres above sea level. At sea you’ll have amazing views of the ocean and the ship below you whilst in port, you’ll see your destination from a hitherto unimagined perspective.
There’s plenty for the young adults on this deck too. Go back in time to enjoy the games of your youth in the Arcade where you can practise your driving skills, play table hockey or use the mini cranes to win prizes. This deck also sees the top level of Fuel, the on board teen disco. If you don’t want to hang around with your parents or parents, if you don’t want the kids to cramp your style, send them here for an evening of dance and non-alcoholic drinks in the club.
This really is the sports deck on board and you’ll see why when you enter SeaPlex, a huge sports facility where you can play basketball, drive bumper cars, play table tennis, learn how to be a circus clown, roller skate and more, all to the beats belted out from a floating DJ booth. When you’ve had enough of the excitement, chill out looking at the panoramic view from SeaPlex with waiter service thrown in on top.
All that energetic activity is bound to make you hungry and to satisfy your hunger, check out the SeaPlex Doghouse which serves fast food including all kinds of hotdog with a host of toppings to tempt the taste buds.
Finally, for a vertigo-inducing experience, be brave and scale the Rock Climbing Wall. There are faces for all levels of expertise and, if you start early in the cruise, the instructors will help you progress through the levels. All equipment is provided to make sure you are perfectly safe; all you need to do is to take along your head for heights.
This is the top deck and from here you can look down, all around you to the lower decks or the ocean far below. It won’t be just for sight-seeing that you find yourself on this deck. Here you’ll have access to the upper level of the Sea Spa and Fitness Centre as well as the upper reaches of North Star, the ship’s own on board viewing pod.
Towards the stern, you’ll pass the upper level of the giant sports facility; SeaPlex. On this level are the activity rooms with all kinds of sports and fitness activities as well as those which are exciting but which don’t require much effort. Try table tennis as well as other small space sports or simply sit in the rooms and enjoy the view from on high.
Two of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever find at sea are located near the stern. The first is Ripcord, a first for cruisers. Don a protective suit and helmet then lay down on the nets inside this virtual skydiving pod. For the duration of the experience, you can rise and dive down, turn somersaults and try various other tricks in the weightlessness afforded by the jets of air that keep you afloat. Don’t forget to get your photo taken for friends and family at home to show them just what an amazing experience can be had on the Quantum of the Seas.
If you think that was fun, slip off the jumpsuit and grab a board for the Flow Rider wave machine in the stern. Here, depending on your ability to balance, you can ride a variety of waves of different height and power, honing your surfing skills into the bargain. It’s another one for the photo album.
The ship is billed as a hi-tech adventure and it no doubt represents what cruise ships of the near future will be expected to offer. No expense has been spared to make this a holiday to remember but as with all things new and untried, there are often little glitches. Main gripes centre on the breakdown of the robotics in the bionic bar and with the North Star. The Dynamic Dining option whilst great in theory is said to be insufficiently staffed to be able to work properly and many diners say that the best food and staff are directed towards the restaurants where a supplement is payable so the standard isn’t uniform across the ship. This is a luxury cruise ship and will attract high paying travellers. You’ll need to budget probably the same amount again as the cruise cost in order to pay for drinks, restaurant supplements, spa treatments, tips etc but many guests accept this as all being part of the cruise experience. The activities such as Ripcord, FlowRider and Two70 all add to the value for money experiences.
Hygiene is excellent on the ship with a low percentage of guests coming down with any form of sickness. Most guests report not hearing of any illness whilst on board. The crew are suitably obsequious in order to get extra individual tips whilst the managers in various parts of the ship are sometimes reported to be a little arrogant over their positions.
There are many cruise ships aiming at this category of cruisers but none have attained the standard of facilities that the Quantum offers yet. No doubt it will come but for those who want a variety of experiences to suit all age groups, food that would suit all and a peek at the future of cruising, the Quantum is hard to beat. For now, most westerners will miss the chance as it will open the 2015 season plying the route from Shanghai to Japan and Korea making the trip potentially prohibitively expensive as well as less accessible for Europeans and Americans as the ship’s focus and language turns oriental.