We had the pleasure of sailing on board Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas from Cape Liberty as part of a special travel agent event introducing the ship to her public. Sophisticated, Elegant, Classy, High-Tech are just a few words to describe this amazing ship. I have always been a big fan of Royal Caribbean for myself and my clients and have enjoyed the familiarity I developed with her signature locations on each of her ships. Quantum is a totally new and different product which, I believe, will enable RCCL to entice an entire new demographic of cruiser. Quantum Class will appeal to upwardly mobile and affluent people who demand the latest in technology and overall experiences. We will no longer be able to pigeon-hole the typical RCCL client as the cruise line has definitely raised the bar and is ready to compete in a more upscale market.
I loved the Quantum and found her colors and décor to be relaxing, soothing and peaceful. Public spaces appeared large and uncluttered which is a definite plus for those of us using mobility devices. Speaking of access, RCCL continues to lead the way in providing a truly accessible cruise vacation experience for all. Pool lifts are available in the Solarium (my favorite place), indoor pool, indoor hot tub and outdoor pool. My observation is that there may be an issue for a person wanting to use the lift when the pool area is crowded as the chaise lounges don’t allow a lot of access to it. These need to be pushed back so that the person in the wheelchair or scooter does not feel like he/she is intruding on anyone. The very popular Northstar has a dedicated elevator to get to it and there is also an elevator in the main theater for access to the lower level. Unfortunately, both of these were not working so I did not have an opportunity to experience either of them.
The Windjammer Buffet is spaciously designed and appears easy to get around. Tables were easily accessed as well. One of the more crowded venues was the Bionic Bar as everyone wants to see a robot make their drink! The walkway in this area always seemed busy so getting through a large group of people with drinks in hand may be a challenge. Can’t get through? Have a robot make a drink for you and join in the fun! The ever present Schooner Bar was alive and well; more spacious and a little more subdued than on Quantum’s predecessors. Café at Two70 offers a wonderful alternative to the buffet and features the mouth-watering French Dip sandwiches which are so popular in the Park Café on Oasis and Allure. Soups, paninis, salads and desserts round out the menu. This area serves as the extremely high-tech entertainment venue in the evenings and will stimulate all your senses. Wheelchair seating is not abundant but the entertainment goes on all around you as well as being projected onto large screens so I think your enjoyment will not be diminished by where you are seating. I recommend entering on Deck 6 for the best viewing. Entertainment on board Quantum truly rocks the boat from the previously mentioned eclectic shows in Two70 to the unbelievable production of Mamma Mia. Not one word or lyric is omitted, the cast is Broadway caliber and there is even a 15 minute intermission. The Music Hall features great cover bands and is definitely a happening place. Don’t forget Boleros for music with a Latin beat.
Another new innovation is Sea-Plex, a multi-purpose area with everything from bumper cars to roller skating and a flying trapeze for those of you who dare to be adventurous. Speaking of adventure, you even have an opportunity to simulate sky diving at Rip Cord, an IFly experience. Back to Sea-Plex for a Coney Island hot dog or bratwurst. Teens get to enjoy this area with Xbox or lounge in the bumper cars and on bean bags for late night movie viewing.
Accessible Cabin count on Quantum is 34 (quite respectable) and available in several categories. Electrical outlets have been increased with two at the desk and one bedside (great for C-Pap machines and power chairs). Cabins even have USB ports so nothing goes uncharged. Cabins are quite spacious and storage space is abundant. Be careful if both people in cabin use wheelchairs as much of the storage is overhead but you will still have plenty of drawers. As always, balconies can accommodate wheelchairs and scooters with ease. Bathrooms are standard protocol and shower seats are small so be sure to request a larger free standing one if needed. My only negatives were the low lighting in the room especially over the desk and I found there were no longer audible alerts saying which floor you were on in the elevators. This is a problem as most people in wheelchairs and scooters are facing the back wall and cannot see the visual signage. I personally had a problem with both of these issues.
Embarkation was a breeze! Very little waiting in lines as long as you did your due diligence and completed your on board check-in prior to arriving at the port. Agents were abundant and walking around with tablets ready to check you in on the spot. You are given an electronic bracelet that replaces your previous key cards (although you still get a key card) and all doors are automatic including your stateroom and public bathrooms. How cool is that? Need to speak to someone at Guest Services or Shore Explorations? Just wander up to one of the many kiosks with a computer screen and enter your needs. Want to see your photos and order prints? Same concept….go to a computer screen, view your pics, order your prints and come back in a couple of hours and your order will be ready! Love it! Now the cruise line will have less waste by not printing every picture and you will enjoy the benefit of lower prices on your purchase. Let’s talk a little about this new concept called Dynamic Dining. Quantum Class has done away with the traditional main dining room. There is a total of 18 dining establishments, 11 of which are complimentary. You should make reservations in order to avoid long waits. Each restaurant has the same menu each night but every restaurant offers different cuisine. All are Country Club Casual except Grande which is formal. Sport Coats are required for men and ties are appreciated. All of the restaurants are beautiful and seem to have adequate clearance for wheelchairs. We dined at American Icon and Grande and enjoyed the service and food in both. As expected, the food in the specialty restaurants (service fee) seem to be getting the better reviews.
All in all, I was definitely WOW’d by Quantum of the Seas and think that those of you who get an opportunity to sail on her will be very satisfied. She is only here till May when she departs for China where she will stay. Her sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, will arrive late 2015 and homeport in Cape Liberty (Bayonne, NJ).