(10:30 a.m. EDT) -- Though Quantum of the Seas will be smaller than the line's more recent blockbuster ships, Oasis and Allure of the Seas, it will still deliver the same eye-popping "wow" factor.
The 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger ship, set to launch from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, in autumn 2014, will include features such as indoor skydiving, bumper cars, trapeze lessons, studios with balconies and inside cabins with "virtual balconies."
"This new generation of ships gave us an opportunity to make another leap in vessel design," Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd., said during a ritzy affair Tuesday in New York City. "Innovation has always been a part of our DNA, and we have taken advantage of all that creativity to design Quantum cruising."
The announcements of new features came fast and furious as Kristin Chenoweth, godmother to Quantum of the Seas, took the stage at the exclusive event attended by media, travel agents and some of Royal Caribbean's elite-level past passengers.
New Features on Quantum of the Seas
First up, the London Eye-inspired North Star, a jewel-shaped glass capsule on the top deck that rises to 300 feet above sea level, then rotates out over the sides of the ship to provide 360-degree views. Each ride on North Star lasts about 15 minutes and will be available at sea and in port for up to 13 passengers (and one staff member). North Star is free, but passengers will be able to prepurchase three premium packages for sunrise and sunset "flights," or a private flight, which the line anticipates will be used for marriage proposals and weddings. Packages include a preflight reception, in-flight champagne toast and a postflight brunch or dinner.
North Star wasn't the only free, funky, airborne activity revealed. RipCord by iFly will be the first simulated skydiving experience at sea. It's basically a 23-foot tall indoor vertical wind tunnel that creates a true feeling of freefall as participants float several feet in the air above four powerful fans. Located on the outdoor Sports Court at the back of the ship, it will be part of an adrenaline-packed trifecta that also includes the FlowRider surf simulator and rock climbing wall. Each turn in the apparatus consists of a training course where participants are taught flight positions and hand signals, and two one-minute long flights. RipCord will also be available for semi-private rental.
Adrenaline also will be the name of the game at SeaPlex, Royal Caribbean's largest indoor activity space at sea. Here, activities range from bumper cars, to circus school with juggling and a flying trapeze, to roller skating. During daylight hours, the circus school will be available, along with a traditional basketball court. At night, the disco lights and DJ music come out and the area transforms into a bumper car arena and roller skating dance rink. All that fun can make a person hungry, so an on-site food truck will offer a variety of treats.
The line also announced studio cabins with balconies, as well as without, and "virtual balcony" inside rooms.
A first for Royal Caribbean, the 28 studio cabins will include 12 with balconies and 16 interior rooms. As with all the 373 interior cabins on Quantum, the studio inside rooms, will feature "virtual balconies" with wall-length digital projections of real-time views of what's happening outside the ship -- whether you're at sea or in port. The good news is, you can turn the projections on and off any time you wish. The virtual balconies will debut first on Navigator of the Seas, after its upcoming dry dock.
On average, Quantum's rooms will be nine percent larger than those on the Oasis-class ships, and new family-connected rooms will help families or groups stay closer together. Suite options will include three junior suite categories, a family junior suite with a full bath and a half, and loft suites located across the stern of the ship.
SeaPlex won't be the only day-to-night space debuting on Quantum. Two70° will feature 270-degree panoramic sea views thanks to soaring floor-to-ceiling glass walls. It will span three decks at the back of the ship and function as a place to relax during the day in terraces spaced at varying elevations. The library and side rooms for lectures, demonstrations and craft classes will be located here as well.
But when the sun sets, it's all about the night life with a three-story ice bar, live aerialists, massive scenic video projections, music performers and an illuminated dance floor.
Quantum's Music Hall also will span more than one deck and will be the focal point for everything music on the ship. Live performances, DJs and theme night parties will be showcased in the two-tiered room, which will include two full-service bars with seating and self-leveling billiard tables.
Royal Caribbean currently has Quantum scheduled to sail Caribbean and Bahamas cruises through 2015. Specific itineraries for Quantum of the Seas will be announced in coming months, but the line has marked November 2014 for the inaugural sail date. Cruises on Quantum will go on sale on June 4.
Read more about RipCord and North Star.
--by Dori Saltzman, News Editor