Forget trying to top the other cruise ships. Royal Caribbean International (RCI) broke the mold with Quantum of the Seas, the first of the cruise line’s three Quantum-class ships.
Fittingly, Quantum of the Seas boasts several firsts for the cruise industry: a skydiving simulator, trapeze circus school, roller-skating rink and the NorthStar — an enclosed jewel-shaped capsule that rises 300-feet above the deck, giving passengers sweeping ocean views. Truth be told, the idea of the NorthStar is cool but it's not that impressive. Splurge on the skydiving if you have to choose.
She also leads the way as the first “smart ship” at sea, with a myriad of features that make cruising easier for both staff and guests. Think waterproof wristband that’s both a stateroom key and your method of payment — order drinks from the robot arms at the Bionic Bar, flash your wristband and never worry about it getting demagnetized like a typical room key. There’s also high-speed Internet access throughout the ship that allows you to stream videos, browse social media or even Skype with family back home (additional rates apply).
Servers also get a hand from technology, as each is given his or her own tablet to record any food allergies, dining requests or any events you’re celebrating. Royal Caribbean loyalists will still find some RCI favorites here, too, like the FlowRider surf simulator and the rock wall, which has a 30-foot magenta bear named Felicia, standing next to it. But you can’t climb her.
For Quantum of the Seas, RCI did away with a main dining room and designed five separate, complimentary restaurants with completely unique themes, décor and menus.
There’s American Icon Grill, an Americana-themed eatery serving classic regional dishes such as New England clam chowder and Southern fried chicken. Chic, a trendy restaurant seemingly plucked from Miami Beach, Silk, where pan-Asian cuisine reigns, the Mediterranean-inspired Coastal Kitchen (for suite guests only) and The Grande, where every night is formal night and lobster is always on the menu — and it’s complimentary.
The specialty restaurants are completely unique to cruising. Among the most distinctive is Wonderland, with its whimsical Alice-in-Wonderland-like feel, where the touch of your paintbrush brings the menu to life. If you plan to sail on Quantum, you should make your specialty dining reservations as soon as you book your cruise.
Staterooms on Quantum of the Seas are larger than those in the Oasis-class. The family connected staterooms are ideal for large groups as are the two-story loft suites, which feel more like an apartment than a stateroom on a ship. Virtual balconies with real-time views of the ocean have been added to 375 inside staterooms.