North Star

Royal Caribbean's North Star makes it into Guiness Book of World Records

In:
01Dec2016

Royal Caribbean's North Star observational pod on its Quantum class ships has made it into the Guinness Book of World Records. 

The North Star is a one-of-a-kind and intimate experience that takes guests on an exhilarating journey high above the sea. This glass observation capsule gently rises more than 300 feet in the air and rotates upwards and over the sides of the ship to provide the most breathtaking, 360-degree views imaginable. These views helped the North Star break the record for “Highest Viewing Deck on a Cruise Ship.”

North Star is available on three Royal Caribbean ships Quantum of the Seas from Beijing (Tianjin), China and Ovation of the Seas from Shanghai (Baoshan), China; Sydney, Australia; and Singapore. The third, Anthem of the Seas, cruises from Cape Liberty Cruise Port in New York Harbor to Bermuda, The Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean expanding hours for iFly and North Star on Anthem of the Seas

In:
12Sep2016

Royal Caribbean is adding additional time for guests to enjoy two of the premier attractions on Anthem of the Seas.

In an effort to enhance the overall guest experience, Royal Caribbean is adding support staff onboard to accommodate expanded hours of operation at Ripcord by iFly and North Star attractions.  This will allow more guests to experience these popular attractions than ever before.

The expanded hours for these attractions will be in place for sailings beginning November 27, 2016.

Royal Caribbean is also adding more convenient line-up of show times that complement the evening dining options. For guests in the early dinner seating at 6:00pm, their evening show will be at 8:30pm.  For guests in the late dinner seating (8:30pm), their show time will be at 10:30pm.

The additional hours are part of the changes Royal Caribbean is making to Anthem of the Seas that were announced this week, including a notable change to dinner.

4 Royal Caribbean features inspired by something else

In:
13Jan2016

When Royal Caribbean designed its cruise ships, they built these ships from the keel up to offer guests amazing experiences, and in some cases, the inspiration for new features or areas was from something outside the company.

In business, once a concept or idea is proven to be succesful, it is not unusual for companies to start adopting it into their products to improve their offerings. With Royal Caribbean, they are not afraid to branch out and try new ideas that have the potential to attract new customers.

Today, we look at a few different aspects of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience that were borrowed, adopted or inspired by something outside the company.

Virtual balcony

One of the most impressive innovations that Royal Caribbean has rolled out in the last few years are its virtual balcony staterooms, where inside staterooms offer real-time high definition views of the ocean.  It is essentially a balcony experience for an inside stateroom price.

The idea to display live outdoor views in inside rooms was first done by Disney Cruise Line with their virtual portholes when they debuted on the Disney Dream in 2011.

Photo by atlassb

Royal Caribbean took that concept and made it significantly larger.  Virtual balconies are 80-inch LED screens recessed into the wall, complete with curtains and faux balcony imagery.

Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain mentioned Royal Caribbean saw what Disney was doing and decided to improve upon it. 

"We actually had looked at the idea, and we didn't think that the technology and the receptivity from the public was there," Fain says. Disney "proved that the public does value something like this."

North Star

One of the signature features on Royal Caribbean's Quantum class cruise ships is the 300-foot observational pod known as North Star, which gives guests 360-degress views of everything around.

The idea for North Star was inspired by the London Eye, but instead of placing it on a ferris wheel, there is just one pod and it is attached to a giant robotic arm.

Photo by Khalid M.

Royal Caribbean chairman and CEO Richard Fain said in an interview, "Quite frankly, the success of the London Eye had a lot to do with this."

The Grande

When Royal Caribbean designed its formal night, all the time restaurant, The Grande, on Quantum of the Seas, it went back in time for inspiration.

The design for The Grande is evoked, "by the grandness and classic detailing of European ocean liners."

Photo by Retronaut

Essentially, The Grande is a throwback to the kind of dining rooms the golden age of ocean liners featured. It's when dining was not just a task, but a time-honored ritual.

Boardwalk

On Royal Caribbean's Oasis class ships, the Boardwalk neighborhood is always popular with guests because of the pleasing aesthetics, fun activities and great views of the sea.

The Boardwalk neighborhood was inspired by both the seaside piers that dot the coast of England and the nostalgic boardwalks of yesteryear such as Coney Island.

Photo by Martin Nicolaus

The focal point of the Boardwalk is the traditional, hand crafted carousel, which would be common on many boardwalks.  There is also hot dog stands, ice cream, and even a candy shop called, "Candy Beach" (get it?).

Royal Caribbean begins charging for North Star and Ripcord on Quantum of the Seas

In:
24Dec2015

It appears that Royal Caribbean is beginning to charge guests for rides on some of its signature attractions onboard Quantum of the Seas.

Guests on Quantum of the Seas will now be charged $20 for a ride on North Star or $26 for a 1 minute Ripcord by iFly flight.

Quantum of the Seas, the cruise line's first Quantum class cruise ship, is offering cruises in Asia and Australia and is now charging for rides made in advance via the Cruise Planner web site.

Rides on North Star and Ripcord had been complimentary until now on all Quantum class ships.

There is no indication of a pricing change for these experiences on sister ship Anthem of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean's North Star takes guests in an observation pod 300 feet above sea level for amazing views of the area around the ship.  RipCord by iFly is a skydiving simulator that allows guests to get the sensation of skydiving without the incredible risk of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.

It is not clear yet if the change to charge for these experiences is a test or a permanent change.  In addition, it is unknown if guests that opt to skip advanced reservations and wait in a standby line will also be charged for the experience.

Would you pay extra to reserve a spot on North Star or Ripcord? Share your thoughts in the comments!

5 secrets to Royal Caribbean's North Star

In:
19Nov2015

Few innovations on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas are as impressive to look at and take part in, as the North Star.

North Star is an observation pod that is attached to a giant arm on top of Quantum class ships, such as Anthem of the Seas.

North Star takes guests 300 feet above sea level and gives them views that have never been available until now.

Understandably, North Star is quite popular and long lines have been known to develop.  Luckily, we have five secrets to share with you for the best possible experience!

5. Shortest lines for North Star

In general, you will find the shortest lines for North Star on days when your ship is docked in port.

Since most guests are off the ship and exploring the port of call, there are far less guests to compete with.  This means shorter lines compared to sea days.

Lines may still exist on port days, but there tends to be ideal in the morning hours before many guests start returning to the ship after their shore excursions are complete.

4. Second shortest lines for North Star

If you need the absolute, positively best time to go for a ride on North Star with short lines, go for the first ride of the day.

Check your Cruise Compass for what time the first North Star ride will be, and then plan on arriving 10-15 minutes before that time to get in line.  

By arriving a little early, you will ensure a minimal wait.  In fact, you will likely be in the first ride given most guests start arriving after the North Star star rides begin.

3. Voom works in North Star

While you are enjoying the amazing views from North Star, you can use Royal Caribbean's Voom high speed internet to share the experience with friends and family onboard.

Just like anywhere else on your ship, Voom works throughout the entire experience, so feel free to post photos or video on your favorite social media networks or call someone on Facetime and share the experience live.

2. North Star is limited while in port

Remember our first tip about there being shorter lines while your Royal Caribbean ship is in port?  There is a small catch.

While your ship is in port, North Star is restricted in how far it can go over the side of the ship.

Experiencing North Star while in port is still a very fun experience, but keep in mind you will not move all the way over the side of the ship like you would while at sea.

1. You can prebook North Star online

Recently, Royal Caribbean started allowing guests to book North Star rides online via the Cruise Planner.

Once you have Anthem of the Seas (or any Quantum class ship) booked, log into your My Cruises section of Royal Caribbean's web site and head to the Cruise Planner.

Look for activities under the Cruise Planner and you will spot North Star.

With this option, you can assure yourself of a front-of-the-line spot to experience North Star.

Are you excited to try North Star?  Tell us about why in the comments!

Video: Working the North Star on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas

In:
16Jun2015

Explore Anthem of the Seas’ North Star from a new angle. Go behind the scenes with the North Star Operator on Anthem of the Seas as she takes guests on a 300 feet above sea level adventure.

North Star review on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas

In:
Category: 
26Jan2015

One of the highly touted experience on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas is the jewel-like capsule that takes passengers more than 300 feet above sea level for stunning views of the area around you. Today we review this new onboard activity and look at why you might want to try it too.

North Star is available on Quantum-class cruise ships.

Experience

Checking in

To ride North Star, you just have to get in line for it. Unlike some other onboard experiences, Royal Caribbean offers no means of pre-arranging North Star time, unless you happen to book it as part of a special event (like a wedding).

The line for North Star begins on deck 15 and there is an extended queue that can be used if the line gets long enough. Royal Caribbean provides signs at different intervals in the line to let you know about how long your wait is from that point.

Getting onto North Star is a first come, first served basis.  You will climb a set of spiral stairs to the loading area on deck 16 (there is a handicap elevator as well) where the doors to North Star open and you may enter.

Going up

Once inside the 3.6 meters x 4.5 meters space, you can move around to any vantage point you can find.  There are no seats and you will stand the entire time.  

North Star accommodates 13 guests, plus there will be room to accommodate a wheelchair passenger as well, for a total of 14 guests, and one operator.

It's North Star time! #QuantumoftheSeas

A photo posted by Royal Caribbean Blog.com (@royalcaribbeanblog) on

Once the doors close, North Star will begin to ascend, giving you a wide view of your ship as well as the area around you.  The North Star pod is attached to a 135 foot arm that can extend up to an 80-degree angle and move around.  When the ship is in port, the arm only goes up and down due to local laws and will not move over the side of the ship.  While this limits the views somewhat, it does make for quicker ride experiences, which is good if you are waiting in line.

North Star going up! #QuantumfotheSeas

A video posted by Royal Caribbean Blog.com (@royalcaribbeanblog) on

Hyper lapse of North Star #QuantumoftheSeas

A video posted by Royal Caribbean Blog.com (@royalcaribbeanblog) on

At its apex, North Star delivers some really amazing views of the area around you.  You're free to bring cameras to take photos or video and there's enough room in the pod to move around to get a view of everything.

The entire ride lasts about 10 to 15 minutes.

Comments

North Star is one of the highlights of any Quantum of the Seas cruise and it seems like it's a must-do experience given how popular it is. We think Royal Caribbean delivers a really cool opportunity to see not just your ship but the area around you in a way that could only be replicated by taking an airplane or helicopter.

Considering North Star is complimentary, it's something we recommend doing at least once for the fun.  North Star moves quite slowly and despite the 300 plus foot statistic, it's hardly a thrill ride.  Unless you have a crippling fear of heights, this should be a great bit of fun for all.

The issue many guests run into are the lines for North Star.  Long lines will develop for North Star, especially on sea days.  It's a testament to its popularity and we've seen lines for upwards of two or three hours. 

Our tip for avoiding these lines is to see North Star right as it opens in the morning or try for port days when there are less passengers onboard to compete with.  The line will also move faster on port days because North Star is restricted to only go up and down while in port.

Video: North Star offers a one-of-a-kind experience

In:
09Nov2014

Unlike anything on land or at sea, Quantum of the Seas' North Star offers guests the ability to view the world from over 300 feet above sea level providing unparalleled 360-degree views.

 

99 days of Quantum: Installing Quantum of the Seas' North Star

In:
15Oct2014

There's less than 99 days until Royal Caribbean's brand new Quantum of the Seas debuts and we're counting down each day with a brand new blog post all about this amazing ship. Check into the blog every day for something new to read about Quantum of the Seas.

Installing Quantum of the Seas' North Star

We've got a brand new video to show off all about what it took to install the North Star on Quantum of the Seas.

The video focuses on the engineering process of constructing such an amazing piece of equipment onboard Quantum of the Seas as she gets ready to make her world debut.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we celebrate 99 days of Quantum!

99 days of Quantum: North Star installation photos

In:
07Oct2014

With Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship, Quantum of the Seas, launching very soon, we're counting down each day with a brand new blog post all about this amazing cruise ship.

North Star installation photos

We discussed North Star all the way back on day 99 of our blog series, as it was our first post all about this innovative new feature on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas.

Just the other day, Meyer Werft installed the North Star feature onto the ship and Ingrid Fiebak took some really great photos of North Star being installed.  She was kind enough to share the photos with us so big thank you to Ingrid!

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post as we celebrate 99 days of Quantum!

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