Quantum of the Seas First Impressions

Quantum of the Seas cruise ship

Quantum of the Seas

This week I had the opportunity to go aboard Royal Caribbean’s new ship Quantum of the Seas. My reaction was that this is a bold and complex ship.

Quantum is bold because she is such a departure from previous Royal Caribbean ships. Royal is a very popular cruise line and the safe course for a business that is on a winning streak is to just keep doing what it has been doing in the past. But Royal has never been one for playing it safe. Just consider the giant investment it made in the Oasis class ships which were a significant departure from what Royal had done with the popular Freedom and Voyage class ships.

With Quantum, Royal has gone even further, jettisoning such popular signature features as the Viking Crown Lounge, the Royal Promenade, the ice skating rink and even the main dining room. Other popular features including the rock climbing wall and Johnny Rockets are different than on earlier ships. In place of the old are new features and new concepts, which Royal is betting will interest customers even more.

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how there are at least three versions of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience, which roughly correspond to the various classes of ships in the Royal fleet. Because Quantum is so different than her predecessors, there is now a fourth version of the Royal Caribbean cruise experience. This comes in an industry, where in the name of branding, most of the cruise lines are attempting to make their fleets as homogenous as possible. As someone who believes that ships should be different from one another, I find Royal’s approach much to my liking.

Quantum is complex because she has a multi-facted personality. Features such as bumper cars and the sky diving simulator may give the impression that this is a frivolous ship, just a floating amusement park. The giant red bear on the port side of the ship also appears to convey this impression as it looks like an even bigger version of the big red dinosaur in the children’s playground on Norwegian Dawn.

However, when you go inside the ship, you find that the public areas are sleek and sophisticated. They have the atmosphere of Celebrity Cruises’ Solstice class ships (see, e.g., Celebrity Eclipse). Decidedly up-market with stores such as Cartier and Bvlgari and elegant dining rooms to host Royal’s new Dynamic Dining concept, there is nothing frivolous here.

Even the giant bear turns out not to be part of a playground but rather a work of art by British sculptor Lawrence Argent. The concept is that by making a polar bear 30 feet high and coloring it magenta, an intimidating creature is transformed into something whimsical. Apparently overlooked is the fact that a giant red bear has a rather intimidating symbolism to those who remember the not-so-good old days of the Soviet Union. In any event, the bear grows on you after awhile.

Thus, Quantum’s personality has an element of whimsy and playfulness but primarily it is an intelligent and serious ship. She can casual and she can be elegant. For example, her complimentary dining venues and her specialty restaurants offer a range of food extending from hot dogs to healthy choices to grand fine dining. The entertainment offerings are similarly broad. Throughout the ship is the quality and attention to detail that I have come to expect in ships built by Meyer Werft.

Overall, I was quite impressed by Quantum. Whether this view will be shared by long-time Royal Caribbean fans remains to be seen as the ship is so different than what has gone before. I tend to think they will like it. However, those fans in Royal’s home market will only have a short opportunity to see for themselves since when Spring comes the ship is off to blaze a new trail in China.

This week Beyondships begins its coverage of Quantum with four items: a video showing the ship sailing from the Port of New York-New Jersey http://www.beyondships2.com/quantum-of-the-seas-video.html ; a review of the North Star experience on Quantum http://www.beyondships2.com/quantum-of-the-seas-north-star.html ; a Quantum of the Seas menus page with menus from some of the dining venues on Quantum http://www.beyondships2.com/quantum-of-the-seas-menus.html ; and a Quantum of the Seas deck plans page http://www.beyondships2.com/quantum-of-the-seas-deck-plans.html. More about Quantum next week.

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