Quantum of the Seas

Best places to party on Quantum of the Seas

In:
18Nov2014

If I may quote an under-appreciated Dutch eurodance group from the late 1990s, "We like, we like to party".  If those lyrics strike a chord with you, then this blog post is for you.

Finding a good party on Royal Caribbean is something a lot of people look to do and hey, who doesn't want to have a good time while at sea? 

Perhaps you want to meet someone special or just get your groove on (do people actually say that still?) and get down and the good news is, there are places on Quantum of the Seas to dance, sing and just plain party on this brand new cruise ship.

Best place for club dancing and music: Music Hall

If you want to jump into a crowd of people and raise your hands into the air like you just don't care, then Music Hall is for you.

This hip spot features live music in the evenings to get things started and that gets a crowd in of itself.  But after the band is done, the DJ comes out and then Music Hall really comes alive.

We've seen crowds on Royal Caribbean cruise ships before at various dance locations but Music Hall really gets the people going.  So if you want to dance to your favorite dance hits, Music Hall is the place to go.

Honorable mention: Bionic Bar & SeaPlex

Best place to sing along to music: Schooner Bar

If you love great bar music and you even like joining in singing from time to time, then check out the Schooner Bar on Quantum of the Seas.

The Schooner Bar has been a staple of Royal Caribbean cruise ships for a while and on Quantum of the Seas, there's a prominent piano where live music is played and it always draws a good crowd.

Unlike the Music Hall, people are usually sitting at the tables, booths and the bar and it's calmer but there's still a great time to be had here.  We loved hearing "Piano Man", "Sweet Caroline" and other classics and after a few drinks, who doesn't feel like singing along too?

Best place for live lounge music: Boleros

Like the Schnooner Bar, Boleros has become a fan favorite on Royal Caribbean ships. This latin-themed lounge is the perfect place for a live band to play some toe-tapping tunes.

There's something about latin music that just appeals to everyone.  Maybe it's the smooth melodies or the intoxicating will to dance but Boleros is always full and always a good spot for an evening drink while you enjoy the band play.

Yo amo Boleros!

Photo tour of D8 Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony on Quantum of the Seas

In:
17Nov2014

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas has a lot to offer, including a number of staterooms.  Today, we will look at the category D8 balcony stateroom and take you through the cabin to give you an idea of what to expect if you book this category.

On Quantum of the Seas, we reviewed stateroom 6244, which is located on Deck 6 just outside the aft elevator bank.  Entry to the room is by RFID scanner, which is above the door handle.

Walking into the room, you will immediately see the light from the balcony shining ahead of you.  The stateroom is rather long and narrow.

The bed is joined together but can be split apart if need be.  There's a large, flat screen television across from it and two night stands on opposite sides of the bed.  Access to the balcony is also on the other side of the bed.

The bathroom features a stand up shower, toilet and sink.  One thing we noticed immediately with this bathroom is there is far less of the white plastic you typically find on other Royal Caribbean ship restrooms.  Instead, there's far more glass and tile, which we found a welcome change.

Another change to the restroom is the shampoo and soap options.  On older Royal Caribbean ships, passengers would find a shampoo dispenser on the wall.  On Quantum of the Seas, the dispenser has been removed and instead small bottles of shampoo, soap and conditioner are available.  

Back out to the stateroom, you will find two armoires that allow you to hang clothing as well as store other clothing.  These seem larger to us than closets on other ships.

Of course, the reason to book this stateroom is the balcony.  At 55 square feet, the balcony is on the small side but it has enough room for two chairs and a table.  It's enough space for two people to comfortably enjoy the view and ocean air.

This stateroom does also include a sofa that opens into a bed.  Frankly, any more than two passengers in this stateroom would feel confined quickly. For a couple looking for the a balcony stateroom, the D8 category is perfect for them.

Full video of Quantum of the Seas naming and christening ceremony

In:
16Nov2014

Royal Caribbean formally christened Quantum of the Seas just a few days ago and we have the full video of the ceremony so you don't miss a minute of it.

Nine things I loved, hated and was surprised by on Quantum of the Seas

In:
15Nov2014

I'm just back from a quick 2-night pre-inaugural cruise on Royal Caribbean's newest ship, Quantum of the Seas and I wanted to share what really stood out to me on this cruise.

Like all cruise experiences, we go in with certain expectations and we find some things were better than we thought, some not as good and others completely surprise us.  Here's a quick few that stood out just a few hours after leaving this amazing new ship

What I liked

Royal Esplanade

The center of activity and where I was consistently drawn to was the Royal Esplanade.  It just seemed to be the place to be at any given time of day.

Perhaps the colder weather forced more people inside that would have otherwise been on the pool deck, but the combination of food, drinks, shopping and entertainment really made the Royal Esplanade into a hub of activity.

The Royal Esplanade benefits from is its design and feels more like a neighborhood than its Royal Promenade cousin.  Rather than ceilings three decks tall, this whole area felt a lot warmer.

The Via area on the Royal Esplanade is also a big hit and I really liked the serenity of the area. Calming music, a dozen giant high definition TVs (the same exact TVs as in the virtual balconies) and beautiful art really made this area flow.  I don't think it was a coincidence why Vintages was always full here.

SeaPlex

I almost put this in the surprise category but I think SeaPlex was always a big push by Royal Caribbean so I'll include it here.  I'll be honest, the sports deck was never an area I spent a lot of time at before.  But SeaPlex changes all of that.

What I love about SeaPlex is it combines a lot of options in one space without feeling like it's being squeezed in.  Remember the ice skating rinks on other ships? They were great but tiny and the basketball courts on other ships were always in the hardest to find areas.  

In SeaPlex, you have a sprawling part of the ship on Deck 12 that seems to have everything. Bumper cars, roller skating, Xbox, air hockey, table tennis, iFly and more.  I always found lots of people here and it really made a big impact.  On a week-long cruise, I could see many visits here to check it all out.  Heck, I never even saw the circus school, basketball court (deployed, that is) or challenged any kids half my age to air hockey.  

And the other big win of SeaPlex? Xbox. Seriously.  This isn't a console they tossed in a corner like it was with the Nintendo Wiis. A dedicated gaming area with uplink to Xbox Live on beautiful TVs.  The only thing missing was Mountain Dew Code Red and Funyuns.  

North Star

I never really thought North Star would be as fun and impressive as it was when I tried it.  The views are amazing and it's the way to see where you are.  I think I would force myself to get back to the ship earlier than normal in a port so I could see the island from that perspective.

The view never ceases to be "old hat" when you're in that observation pod.  Everyone in there always was quoting Royal Caribbean's marketing slogan of "Wow" and after experiencing it myself, I have to think why didn't they do this sooner?

In a bit of trivia, Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain said prior to the North Star idea, the company considered a blimp that was tethered to the ship.  I like the observation pod idea a whole lot more.

WOWbands

I had such high hopes for the WOWbands and it hit that mark easily.  From announcing they would be complimentary to every way I used them, they made the cruise easier.

At its core, what made the WOWbands so great were they just worked.  And they worked easily.  No fuss and everything from the shops to the restaurants to guest relations were able to use them.  After perhaps 3 hours I put my SeaPass card back in the stateroom for good.

Two70 visuals

I don't care how into performance art you are or are not, but there's no denying the visual element presented in Two70 is stunning.  When you see what they can do with the back screens and the roboscreens, it's something to marvel at.

Having seen Starwater performed here as well as photos of what they did for the christening event, the technology behind Two70 is really quite impressive.  

The video projections and roboscreens offer visuals that are many times more advanced than the high-definition television you have at home and it shows.  There's so much potential with what they can do with these screens that I kept waiting to see what would they try next anytime a show was on.

What I didn't like

Wi-Fi not working all the time

Royal Caribbean promised super fast internet onboard thanks to new satellite technology and that worked exactly as promised. I used Facetime with my family multiple times and saw others streaming HBO go and Netflix.  However, the problem was getting to the connection.

The issue was the Wi-Fi networking that delivers the satellite connection to your devices.  In some areas, it worked really well (Royal Esplanade, Two70) but other places you would see a good connection but never be able to connect to anything.  

I believe this is just a "working out the bugs" kind of thing and by the time Quantum is in service regularly in a month or two, it will all be fine.  But not being able to use the Wi-Fi at all in my stateroom was annoying.

SeaPass cards to keep the lights on

I know we should all do our part to be more environmentally friendly but this little change was more annoying than anything.  When you're in your stateroom, you cannot turn the lights or air conditioning on unless you place your SeaPass card in a little slot near the door.

After a day, everyone figured out you could put any card in there and all it did was annoy people.  

Like I said, I know why they did it and it makes sense on paper but it didn't fly with me from a real-world perspective.

What surprised me

Music Hall

When you read about Music Hall on Royal Caribbean's promotional material, it sounds like a nice little area where bands will play.  Sounds cute, right?  The reality is this area was always the place to be every night.

First and foremost, the tribute bands found in Music Hall were phenomenal.  We had a Journey and Led Zeppelin tribute band onboard and they absolutely sounded like the real thing.  

After the bands were done playing, the DJ came on and it became a dance party.  I never saw so many people dancing and into the whole experience like I did in Music Hall.  I was really impressed by what I saw.

How small the ship felt

Quantum of the Seas is the second largest class of cruise ship Royal Caribbean has made and yet walking around the ship, it never really felt like "a big ship".

I noticed pretty quickly as I was making my around the ship that it did not feel like I was trekking through the Ardennes to get somewhere.  Rather, wherever I was, it was relatively simple and quick to get to where I wanted.

In fact, navigating the ship was also very simple.  Royal Caribbean added digital signage all around the ship to help guests find their way around the ship but the truth is after an hour or two, I had a pretty good sense of where everything was. 

When you can produce a cruise ship that is 11 times longer than a blue whale, it says something when people can easily get around.

Royal Caribbean christens Quantum of the Seas cruise ship

In:
14Nov2014

At a ceremony today aboard Royal Caribbean's brand new cruise ship, godmother Kristin Chenoweth took part in a ceremony christening the new ship.

Quantum of the Seas was named earlier this evening while docked in Cape Liberty, New Jersey, marking the official arrival of arguably the most anticipated new cruise ship of the year.

Royal Caribbean chairman Richard Fain spoke to those in attendance about what makes Quantum of the Seas special, "Our ships are built to be 1/3 traditional, 1/3 evolutionary and 1/3 revolutionary."

During the ceremony, Chenoweth used a tablet on the main stage to launch the champagne bottle against Quantum's hull.

Also part of the event were performances by the New York Police Department bagpipes and drums as well as a performance by singer-songwriter Clint Holmes.

Quantum of the Seas is the first Quantum-class cruise ship and marks the next evolution in cruise ships for Royal Caribbean.  It's the first ship in the fleet to not be based on the Voyager-class lineage since the Voyager class debuted and is full of new technological innovations, entertainment advances and impressive decor.

Quantum of the Seas also marks the introduction to Royal Caribbean of Dynamic Dining, which is the company's complete reboot of what dining is on a cruise ship.  The main dining room as well as dress codes have been relaxed in an effort to simplify dinner for guests while expanding the choices passengers have.

Royal Caribbean will have float in 2014 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

In:
14Nov2014

As part of Royal Caribbean's continuing promotional efforts surrounding Quantum of the Seas, the company will have a float in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

No word yet on what we can expect but there will be a float and Royal Caribbean will invite select travel partners and frequent cruise guests to attend the parade, much like they did last year.

Macy's parade website does feature Royal Caribbean's float, entitled "A World At Sea" and has a photo of last year's float.

Royal Caribbean had a float in the parade last year to announce that Mamma Mia would be the Broadway show on Quantum of the Seas and it even featured Quantum of the Seas godmother Kristin Chenoweth.

The 88th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs nationwide on NBC, on Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014.

UPDATE (11/15): Royal Caribbean has confirmed that pop star Nick Jonas will be performing on Royal Caribbean's parade float

Quantum of the Seas at night photos

In:
13Nov2014

We think Royal Caribbean ships really look their best at night with the lighting and reflections and so we walked around Quantum of the Seas long after everyone went to bed to snap some great photos of this ship after the sun set.

Photos of Quantum of the Seas in New York Harbor

In:
11Nov2014

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas arrived in New York yesterday for her homecoming ceremony.  

We've got a number of great photos of this brand new ship with the greatest city in the world as her backdrop.  Even the Statue of Liberty welcomes this new vessel home.

Photos by Royal Caribbean.

Royal Caribbean activates new high speed internet on Quantum of the Seas

In:
11Nov2014

Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas will get her first taste of high speed internet tomorrow, when the brand new satellite internet service is put to the test.

The new service by O3b has gone live and Royal Caribbean is promising the ship will have more bandwidth “than all other cruise ships in the world put together.”

The first real test for the internet will come on November 12, when Quantum of the Seas takes her first cruise with the satellite service activated.  The two-night cruise will be a good test for how well it works.

“We are delighted to support the launch of the world’s first smart ship with Royal Caribbean,” said Simon Maher, VP Enterprise for O3b.

“Quantum of the Seas uses O3b’s maritime offering O3bMaritime to provide lightning fast download speeds and performance for both passengers and crew at one fourth the response time of traditional satellite systems.”

“O3bMaritime is the only satellite system capable of enabling cruise line guests and crew broadband services on par with onshore telecommunication standards.”

Photos: Quantum of the Seas docked in New York

In:
10Nov2014

Quantum of the Seas arrived in New York earlier today and blog reader Tom Krychkowski was able to snap a few photos of this beautiful new ship docked in Cape Liberty, New Jersey.

Big thanks to Tom for providing these great photos!

Don't forget we will have LIVE coverage of Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship this week, beginning on November 12.

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