Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas made her first visit to Port Canaveral today as part of its Bahamas cruise.
The ship arrived early this morning and will leave Cape Canaveral at 10pm.
Many thanks to blog reader Mike Eads for providing these photos.
Our newest podcast episode is out to help give you a quick "audio escape" to a Royal Caribbean cruise!
This week, Bill Martin returns to talk about how the technology on Quantum of the Seas is working so far and what's next for the company.
Take a listen and as always, let us know what you think! Please rate and review the podcast on iTunes and leave your comments below!
Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas has finished her month-long $80 million refurbishment that has upgraded much of the ship from stem to stern.
Voyager of the Seas received a number of upgrades including
- FlowRider surf simulator
- Virtual balcony staterooms
- 3D movie theater
- Wayfinder digital signage
- New Diamond Club
- New Restaurants
The work done to Voyager of the Seas was completed by Sembawang Shipyard in Singapore and was the largest revitalization project ever completed in Singapore.
Voyager of the Seas is now sailing to Sydney, where she will begin her 2014/2015 winter-spring season. She will then return to Singapore next April to feature a 10-night cruise to Tokyo calling at Nha Trang, Hong Kong, Taipei (Keelung) and Nagasaki. The ship also will homeport in Hong Kong from June to October 2015 with 22 roundtrip sailings ranging from three- to 10-nights and visit ports-of-call including Okinawa, Nagasaki, Japan; Jeju, South Korea; Sanya, China; Ho Chi Minh and Hue/Danang (Chan May), Vietnam.
One of Royal Caribbean's biggest competitors is Carnival Cruise Line and they recently kicked off a multi-brand promotion that is taking aim at Royal Caribbean.
Carnival is asking its web site visitors to view some new TV commercials, one of which is entitled, "No Robots", where the video talks about how robots aren't something you want on your cruise vacation.
The robots on a cruise they the ad alludes to is a pretty clear reference to Quantum of the Seas, which recently launched with a number of new innovations, including robot bartenders and robot screens.
November is almost over and that means time is running out of 2014, but that also means that we're close to 2015 and already next year is shaping up to be a big year for Royal Caribbean.
If you're considering booking a Royal Caribbean cruise for 2015 and want to be a part of Royal Caribbean taking a step forward, then consider these cruises (assuming there's still availability).
5. Explorer of the Seas refurbishment
Explorer of the Seas will be the last of the Voyager class ships to get a ship-wide refurbishment next year and when she emerges from her month-long dry dock session, she will be a brand new ship.
Changes coming include a new FlowRider surf simulator, 3D movie theatre and a new range of onboard restaurants. There will also be refurbished staterooms and suites, plus virtual balcony staterooms.
In late April 2015, Explorer of the Seas will offer three- to 16-night roundtrip itineraries from Southampton, England to the Mediterranena, Canary Islands and Northern Europe.
4. Allure of the Seas goes to Europe - May 2015
Allure of the Seas is heading to the Mediterranean in May 2015 to spend the summer season in Europe instead of the Caribbean.
This will be the first time an Oasis-class ship has left Florida to spend an entire season in a different region.
Allure of the Seas will offer seven-night cruises from Barcelona to Palma de Mallorca, Spain; Marseilles, France; and La Spezia, Civitavecchia (near Rome) and Naples, Italy. Passengers can join the ship either in Barcelona or Civitavecchia.
3. Liberty of the Seas comes to New York - May 2015
A little lost in all the excitement over the Quantum class is the fact Liberty of the Seas is coming to the Big Apple in 2015.
Having a Freedom-class ship based in New York is a big deal and while she may not be as new as Quantum of the Seas or Anthem of the Seas, she is a rather large ship that offers quite a bit. Broadway shows, great onboard dining, FlowRider and so much more.
Liberty of the Seas tends to "fly under the radar" when it comes to Royal Caribbean hype but she's a wonderful ship and for a New York market that has been used to Explorer of the Seas for the most part, Liberty will be a big deal.
2. Quantum of the Seas begins epic journey to China - May 2015
As we all know, Quantum of the Seas is heading to China but her journey there is a cruise experience in of itself.
Royal Caribbean has organized a 53-night cruise around the world for Quantum as she makes her way to the far east. Epic is the least of the adjectives to use for this kind of a cruise.
Starting on May 2, 2015, Quantum of the Seas will depart the New York City area and head to Shanghai (Baoshan), China and stop at some of the most cosmopolitan cities along the way.
If 53-nights is a bit too much, you can also choose from five other mini-sailings built into the 53-night affair, ranging from three to 16 nights.
An 11-night Ocean Voyage – Cape Liberty to Spain cruise, departing May 2, 2015, from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., to Barcelona, Spain, with calls at Ponta Delgada, Azores; and Cartagena and Palma De Mallorca, Spain,
A 16-night Suez Canal – Barcelona to Dubai itinerary, departing May 13, with calls at Rome (Civitavecchia) and Naples/Capri, Italy; Athens (Piraeus), Greece; and Aqaba, Jordan,
A 14-night India & Southeast Asia itinerary, departing May 29, which features overnights in Dubai, UAE; Cochin, India; and Singapore, as well as calls at Muscat, Oman; and Penang, Malaysia,
A 3-night Short Malaysia itinerary, departing roundtrip from Singapore on June 12 , calling at Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang), Malaysia,
And a nine-night Exotic Asia itinerary that departs June 15 from Singapore to Shanghai (Baoshan), China, with calls at Ho Chi Minh City (Phu My), Vietnam; Xiamen, China; and an overnight in Hong Kong.
1. Anthem of the Seas inaugural cruise - April 2015
In 2015, it will be all about Anthem of the Seas, as she debuts in Southampton, England to the public. Like sister ship Quantum of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas will offer a brand new cruise ship experience. Unlike Quantum, this ship will stick around England and North America for a while longer so there's more opportunity to see her.
Inaugural cruises are always a big celebration and if Quantum of the Seas' inaugural was any indication, there will be a lot of hype coming with Anthem's first official cruise.
Thanksgiving is a major holiday in the United States and it begins this Thursday.
Like many of you, we like to incorporate a little Royal Caribbean in everything we do, so here are some great recipes from Royal Caribbean's kitchen that ought to remind your of being at sea if a holiday cruise isn't in the cards this year.
Andoulle Sausage & Pumpkin Soup
- 1lb Andouille sausage, diced
- 1/2 cup butter
- 3 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tsp thyme, picked
- 3 lb pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup praline liqueur
- 16 cup chicken stock
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tsp powdered sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Cook diced sausage in skillet with butter for 5 minutes (remove 2 oz of sausage for the garnish)
- Add onion and cook until soft
- Add liqueur and flame to burn out the alcohol
- Add thyme and pumpkin and cook 5 minutes
- Add chicken stock and brown sugar. Cover and simmer over low heat for 45 minutes.
- In blender, puree soup in batches. Return to pan and stir in cream. Warm but do not boil. Serve immediately.
Combine and whip to soft peak consistency and chill. Put in a squeeze bottle for service.
Place the cooked sausage in a heated bowl. Add the soup. Swirl the cream on top.
Winter Chestnut and Brussels Sprouts Casserole with Applewood Smoked Bacon
This recipe comes from sister company Celebrity Cruises.
- 1 cup smoked applewood bacon (julienned)
- 1 white onion (finely chopped)
- 4 tablespoons garlic (finely chopped)
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 2 cups chestnuts (peeled)
- 2 pounds Brussels sprouts(blanched, cut in half)
- 2 lemons (juiced)
- 1/4 cup clover honey
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 1 teaspoon white truffle oil (optional)
- To start, cut Brussels sprouts in half and blanch in boiling salted water, shock in ice bath and set aside.
- Once cold, drain, excess water and set aside.
- In a large saute pan on medium heat slowly render the fat from the bacon and cook until bacon is slightly brown.
- Add garlic and brown.
- While cooking, add butter and chestnuts and cook on medium heat for another 5 minutes.
- Add blanched Brussels sprouts, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes or until Brussels sprouts are glazed.
- Remove from heat, add truffle oil, mix until well incorporated and serve hot.
Warm Apple Parcel
- 2 egg yolks
- ¼ cup (60 g) sugar
- 1 cup (250 ml) milk
- 1 vanilla pod, split lengthwise
- 2 cups (465 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 (5 g) teaspoon salt
- ½ pound (250 g) unsalted butter, cold, cut in large
- ⅓ cup (90 ml) water
- 2 cups (465 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 (5 g) teaspoon salt
- ½ pound (250 g) unsalted butter, cold, cut in large
- ⅓ cup (90 ml) water
- Powdered sugar
- ½ pound (250 g) almond paste, purchased
- 3 green apples, peeled, cored and halved
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon (5 g) cinnamon powder
- 1 egg yolk, beaten with 1 teaspoon (5 ml) water
- Preheat oven to 390°F or 200°C.
- To make dough, combine flour, salt and butter and gradually add enough water to hold the dough together.
- Transfer dough on a lightly floured surface and roll into a rectangle shape of about 8 x 12-inches (20 x 30 cm).
- Starting with the closest short end, fold dough into thirds as you would a letter.
- Rotate the dough so the open side is at your right.
- Repeat the same procedure once more.
- Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface with the open side at your right.
- Roll dough into a rectangle as before.
- Bring the two short ends together to meet in the center of the dough, then fold the dough in half again toward you.
- Rotate a ¼ turn, so the open side is again at your right.
- Repeat the same procedure once more.
- Wrap the dough and chill again for at least 1 hour.
- Place dough on a lightly floured surface with the open side at your right, roll into a rectangle and divide in two.
- Place first half on a baking sheet lined with greased parchment paper, spread with almond paste, top with halved apples and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon.
- Brush borders with egg mixture and place second sheet on top of filled pastry, lining up the edges.
- And firmly press sides with your fingers.
- Brush the top with egg mixture and cut a few slits to allow steam to escape while cooking.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.
- Transfer on a wire rack and allow to cool.
- Prepare crème anglaise by creaming egg yolks with sugar.
- Bring milk and vanilla pods to a boil and slowly stir into egg mixture.
- Gently simmer for about 10 minutes or until cream coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Do not allow sauce to boil.
- Remove from heat, pour into a glass bowl and stir to cool. Discard vanilla pod, cover and refrigerate.
- Serve parcel on a dessert plate garnished with crème anglaise and finish with a dusting of powdered sugar.
If you're going on Royal Caribbean's brand new Quantum of the Seas, there's a lot to see and do but we found our list of the best hidden secrets that can be easily overlooked on Quantum of the Seas.
10. Roast beef sandwich from Cafe @ Two70
I love eating on a Royal Caribbean cruise and I'd be remiss if I did not mention a Royal Caribbean classic food, the roast beef sandwich.
The roast beef sandwich originated in Park Cafe on Oasis of the Seas and has spread to other ships too. On Quantum of the Seas, you can get a Roast Beef sandwich from Cafe @ Two70 and it's well worth your time. And it's free!
9. Swing in Two70
Anyone can sit in a chair or bench in the amazing new Two70 but swings are where it's at!
Off on the side of Two70, you can find these special little swings that you can sit, rock and enjoy the view or a show. After you find the swing, no other form of sitting will suffice!
8. Wing viewing area
Quantum of the Seas features a lot of access to seeing the ocean from all over the ship, but by far the best place to see the ocean and the outside of Quantum of the Seas is found just outside the Solarium.
If you walk into the Solarium and then proceed all the way forward, you will find doors on opposite sides of the ship that offer small wings for guests to go outside and get unobstructed views of the ocean and even the ship herself. Great photo opportunities here!
7. "Glass" floor
Sometimes it's easy to forget Quantum of the Seas is a pretty tall ship in addition to being large in other respects. If you want a good reminder, check out the "glass floor" view.
Okay, it's not really made of glass (it's plastic) but this small panel allows you look down about 10 decks to the Royal Esplanade. Bring your camera with you!
6. Elevator and stairway artwork
I'm no art critic but it's my understanding art is meant to evoke a reaction to the person looking at it and on Quantum of the Seas, there's a lot of art onboard. I really found the art in the stairways and elevators to really be interesting to see.
It's not to say the art is amazing or the best I've seen, but everytime I found a new one, I would look at it to get the idea. Some are pretty, some have a message and some are just funny (don't miss the money with lipstick).
5. Fresh baked cookies from Windjammer
It's probably not surprising to find another food related entry in this list, but if you tried one of the the freshly baked cookies from the Windjammer, you'd know why it makes this list.
I'm probably not breaking any new ground by telling you freshly baked cookies taste really, really good. But I can't ever recall finding freshly baked cookies available on a Royal Caribbean ship. Until now!
In the breads section of the Windjammer, you will find crew members putting out their latest creations but you really need to ask them for some fresh cookies because they are absolutely amazing. Like beat your own grandmother to get one amazing.
4. Art drawing art
At one point in my cruise, my friends asked, "Hey, did you see the muppets drawing stuff?" and I had no idea what they were talking about.
Located on Deck 5 near the Schooner Bar, are three screens that have characters that do bear a resemblence to Muppets and will draw things on the screen you're looking at, erase it, and then draw something else. It's pretty neat to watch even if I have no idea what the message is behind them.
3. Kids' Wave pool
Royal Caribbean says this is the first wave pool at sea and for kids (heck, I'm going in once the weather warms up) there's a fun time waiting for them up on the pool deck.
The wave pool features Dreamworks characters from the Madagascar films and it's just another really cool aspect of this new ship that you have to see. I know my daughter will never want to leave!
2. The guy driving the car
The first two times I walked by this display I didn't really pay much attention but when I saw people watching it and laughing, I stopped to check it out and I'm glad I did.
You'll find a large plastic yellow car on the wall with the driver's window a LCD screen that shows a guy just driving around. What makes it amusing is what you will see as this guy drives. Elephants, dinosaurs, fish, chickens, sideways driving and more. There's always something happening in the background and it's worth a minute or two to catch it all.
1. Solarium chairs in the pool
If you're looking for the best place to relax on Quantum of the Seas, how about these chairs in the Solarium that are in the pool?
You know how it's great at the ocean to drag your chair to the edge of the ocean surf so you can stay cooled down but remain sitting? Royal Caribbean has done that with the pool and I can only imagine how tough it will be to grab one of these chairs on a regular cruise when the weather is warmer but I cannot think of a better place to sit back, have a drink and enjoy the experience.
The first episode of "Royal Crush", a YouTube series produced by AwesomenessTV, is now available.
In this episode, Desi and her cousin settle into their Mediterranean Cruise they each have a run in with a guy that will definitely make their trip a little more interesting.
AwesomenessTV promises a new episode every Sunday.
For the first time ever, two Royal Caribbean cruise ships were docked at the Port of Tampa, which local officials were celebrating as a "historic day".
Vision of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas were both in port yesterday, which port executives marked as a first for Royal Caribbean.
Paul Anderson, president and CEO of the Port of Tampa port authority, commented on the news, "This is absolutely a beautiful day, a historic day for our port. We are so proud to be partners with Royal Caribbean."
To celebrate this occasion, a plaque was given to Vision of the Seas' captain, Lis Lauritzen, in a ceremony that took place onboard the ship.
“I’m very proud that we were able to welcome her,” Anderson said afterward.
Vision of the Seas will depart every Saturday through April 11 on seven-day cruises to the western Caribbean. Brilliance of the Seas offers four- and five-day cruises to Cozumel and Costa Maya, Mexico.
Hope you had a great week (maybe one week closer to your next Royal Caribbean cruise?) and you had a chance to keep up with what's new with Royal Caribbean this week. But if not, here's a roundup of this week's news.
Royal Caribbean announced this week that its oldest ship in the fleet, Majesty of the Seas, will be transferred out by April 2016.
Majesty of the Seas' final voyage will be on April 29, 2016 and afterwards, will undergo a dry dock session before heading to join Pullmantur cruises.
Here's the other Royal Caribbean news you might have missed this week
- Royal Caribbean was named best cruise line for the money.
- Quantum of the Seas was named best new cruise ship of 2014.
- We posted a full review of Wonderland restaurant.
- Royal Caribbean kicked off a new cruise deal, with discount on the second guest, onboard credit and reduced deposit.
- What you need to know about WOWbands.
- Here are the best places to party on Quantum of the Seas.
- Our review of American Icon Grill restaurant.
Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast
In this episode, Matt and a few friends that recently sailed on Quantum of the Seas share their collective thoughts on this brand new ship and review what Quantum of the Seas offers and if Royal Caribbean hit a home run with her.
Royal Caribbean Around the Internet
Conde Nast Treveler reviewed Quantum of the Seas, focusing on the tech.
The Verge declared Quantum of the Seas is the ship of tomorrow.
Cruise Critic posted their full Quantum of the Seas review.
In The Loop Travel wrote about seven things you'll enjoy on Quantum of the Seas.
From the Deck Chair has their full Quantum of the Seas recap.