This weekend saw 5 members of Bolsover Cruise Club head to Southampton for the inaugural voyage of Quantum of the Seas. Full of intrigue, excitement and a McDonald’s breakfast, we arrived in Southampton to see the North Star elegantly perched high above the ship.
Quantum of the Seas has been three years in the making and though she may not be the largest ship in the Royal Caribbean International fleet, her revolutionary features make her one of the most exciting.
Here are our thoughts about a ship that promises to change the future of cruising…
A Smart Ship Indeed
Quantum of the Seas has been labelled as a ‘Smart Ship’ and the whole technological experience began before we even set foot on board…
Our photo ID was uploaded, our digital boarding documents printed and a night a the Royal Theatre booked – our SMART Check-In was complete, all within a few minutes.
This easy prep work made for a simple and smooth check-in at Southampton, with Royal Caribbean International’s ‘sidewalk to ship in ten minutes’ promise turning out to be pretty accurate; we managed to go from sidewalk to ship and get a cheeky photo with Jamie Oliver, all in less than 10 minutes!
Once on board we headed to the staterooms where our WOWbands were waiting. Replacing the traditional room card, WOWbands are a one tap way to access your room, make on board purchases and utilise Royal iQ services. Quantum of the Seas is the most technologically advanced ship in the world and WOWbands are just the beginning of the game changing technology.
When the ship docks in New York on Monday 10th November 2014, it will make contact with mid-Earth orbit satellites and activate unique O3B technology. Once this happens, the Quantum of the Seas will offer faster Wi-Fi than all other cruise ships put together; pretty impressive and great for keeping envious friends and family at home updated as you make the most of the awesome facilities on board!
In the many restaurants onboard, waiters took our food orders on iPads so the kitchen staff could begin preparing our food almost immediately. The system worked very well and food was delivered to our table hot and in record time.
Finding our staterooms and locating attractions around the ship was made incredibly easy, thanks to the touchscreens on every floor, and once in our staterooms we were also impressed to find USB sockets as well as standard plug sockets; all that Wi-Fi isn’t much good without fully charged gadgets!
Perhaps the most exciting and novel technology on board came courtesy of the Bionic Bar, with the mechanical arms of ‘bartenders’ B1-O and N1-C keeping us entranced by making cocktail drinks. Thirty spirits and 21 mixers line up above the bar, waiting for the mechanical mixologists to work their magic.
You order your cocktail via an app, with screens either side of the bar showing the most popular cocktails of the day. Next, they’ll collect your spirits and mixers, before icing, shaking, swirling and stirring everything together. Once they’ve delivered your drink they will clean themselves up and start all over again – the whole process taking around 30 seconds.
With 18 restaurants on board there is never going to be shortage of dining options and after meeting the man himself earlier in the day it seemed fitting to eat in the very first Jamie’s Italian at sea.
The restaurant and service was excellent, with a relaxed atmosphere and delicious rustic food we were all impressed. This restaurant also has the only outdoor seating area of any of the restaurants on board. Italian fare with a sea breeze and ocean view!
Jamie’s Italian will undoubtedly be a popular venue on board both Quantum of the Seas and sister ship Anthem of the Seas when she launches next year.
Dynamic Dining is a new concept and one that gives a real sense of freedom. Making restaurant reservations was quick and easy, both in person and via the Royal iQ service.
Over the course of the weekend we were lucky enough to experience several restaurants, from the authentic American Icon Grill, to the fully-loaded hot dogs in the SeaPlex Dog House; the first ever food truck at sea.
Our final night on board was spent at The Grande Restaurant, a complimentary venue where every night is formal night. The atmosphere was very refined and it’s easy to see why the venue is suggested as one of the most formal on board.
Wonderland Restaurant garnered rave reviews from many of those on board, as too did Chic, which was sampled by our Director Julie Straw who was also on board.
The American Chops Grill was beautifully decorated and had a very elegant ambience, whilst the familiar Royal Caribbean International favourites of Johnny Rockets and the Windjammer buffet were all present too.