Quantum of the Seas, the first of three 167,800-ton, 4,180-passenger next-generation Royal Caribbean cruise ships, will launch November 2014 with 2,090 cabins including 373 virtual balconies -- inside cabins featuring real-time views of the ocean and destinations. Quantum Class fleetmates Anthem of the Seas will sail spring 2015, and a third, yet unnamed ship will debut in mid-2016.
The Quantum Class represents a significant reduction in size compared with Royal Caribbean's Oasis Class ships, which measure 225,282 tons and carry 5,400 passengers at double occupancy. The Quantum Class is more similar in tonnage to RCI's 154,407-ton Freedom Class trio.
Quantum of the Seas is bringing with it a number of firsts at sea, including a skydiving simulator and North Star, a jewel-shaped glass capsule that rises 300 feet above sea level and provides 360-degree views from high above the ship. Seaplex will become the largest sports and entertainment complex at sea, with attractions including bumper cars, roller skating and a circus school complete with a flying trapeze. The adults-only solarium and outdoor pool will return featuring a brand-new indoor pool with retractable roof. Several new cabin categories debut on the class: virtual balconies will dispel the traditional idea of an inside cabin, family-connected staterooms will prove more accommodating and studio staterooms with balconies will spoil the single traveler.
In March 2014, Royal Caribbean unveiled a new concept called Dynamic Dining, which eliminates set dining times and main dining rooms, replacing them with 18 restaurant options, flexible dining times and dining spaces that limit capacity to no more than 500 passengers. This will be rolled out on the Quantum Class.
Other features announced so far include:
Cabins will be nine percent larger, on average, than those of the Oasis Class ships.
Standard amenities will include modern touches such as USB outlets, larger storage solutions and multifunctional furniture.
Of 2,090 cabins, 1,570 will be balconies, 147 will be outside cabins, 373 will have virtual balconies (inside) and 34 cabins will be wheelchair accessible.
Family-connected cabins will offer flexibility for multigenerational families, connecting three cabin categories to create layouts that provide separate bedrooms and bathrooms for each occupant. The layouts provide shared space with the benefit of added individual privacy.
Studio cabins will allow solo travelers to enjoy their spaces, inside and out, with 12 of the 28 cabins including balconies.
Loft suites will be the largest suite class, located across the stern of the ship. Quantum will also feature three junior suite categories with spa-inspired amenities and a family junior suite featuring a full bath.
Broadway, TV and film star Kristin Chenoweth will serve as Quantum's godmother, leading to speculation about the ship's onstage offerings. One thing is for certain: Hit stage production Mamma Mia will be part of the entertainment.
New multilevel venue space Two70 promises an interactive experience day or night with 270-degree panoramic views of the sea scaling almost three decks of floor-to-ceiling windows. Meanwhile, Music Hall will channel a "rebellious and edgy" aesthetic and will feature live performances, DJs and theme nights.
Two70 will be home to The Cafe @ Two70, a gourmet marketplace providing passengers with casual dining in an enveloping atmosphere. A library and workshop is located on the second level and will feature guest lecturers, demos, and arts and crafts activities. By night, look for the spiraling staircase that will encircle Royal Caribbean's first ice bar. A combination of live performers (including aerialists) and audiovisual elements will transformTwo70 into a feast for the senses. Top to bottom, this event space will be outfitted with digital projections, 100-inch LED TV screens on robotic arms that descend from the ceiling and illuminating floor lights.
Music Hall, a rock-and-roll inspired space, will be outfitted with a distinctive design including leather, chains and mirrors. Spanning decks three and four, Music Hall will host dance classes and improv workshops, along with bars and billiards. A raised main stage will feature live music with unobstructed views.
Billed as the largest indoor active space at sea, Seaplex will be a sporting and entertainment venue with everything from a full-sized regulation basketball court to the first flying trapeze at sea. Did we mention roller skating and a bumper car space that grooves to the sounds of a floating DJ booth above? Four activity rooms, each with a view and a custom theme, will be located on the mezzanine level. Also on that level you will find the first food truck at sea, serving up snacks to the masses at play. Seaplex, along with the outdoor sports court, will be located on deck 15 on all three Quantum Class ships.
Skydiving at sea will be made possible with the simulator RipCord by iFly onboard all three Quantum Class ships. Feel like you're flying with ocean views as far as the eye can see inside a 23-foot tall glass chamber for two one-minute simulations. A viewing platform allows family and friends (along with curious spectators) to observe your flight. Located on the outdoor sports court at the stern of the ship, you will be close to other signature Royal Caribbean activities, overlooking the FlowRider surf simulator and nestled by the rock climbing wall.
Rise well above the sea in a gem-like transparent pod called the North Star, for 360-degree views 300 feet above sea level. Available at sea and in port, this 15-minute experience will be located on the top deck toward the bow. While complimentary, three North Star premium packages will also be available for advance purchase, including private flights and flights during the most sought-after viewing times, expected to be sunrise and sunset. All packages will include a preflight reception, in-flight Champagne toast, commemorative certificate and a postflight brunch or dinner.
Dynamic Dining makes its debut on Quantum of the Seas, giving passengers more flexibility and eliminating the main dining room. Instead, passengers will have 18 restaurants, comprising complimentary and for-fee options, from which to choose.
The change is a radical one for a line long steeped in tradition when it comes to dining. An innovator in entertainment -- in part because of its brand partnerships with companies such as Fisher-Price, Coca-Cola and DreamWorks -- Royal Caribbean is taking a new tact and bringing on some familiar names from the world of dining. Celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver (Jamie's Italian), Michael Schwartz (Michael's Genuine Pub) and Devin Alexander (Devinly Decadence at Solarium Bistro) shape the menus at three of the for-fee restaurant options.
The ship's complimentary dining options include:
American Icon Grill:
Specializing in American classics -- with a modern touch. Dishes include items such as New England clam chowder and Reuben turnovers.
Modern dishes with big flavors. Menu items include mint-crusted lamb chops and Mediterranean sea bass.
Pan-Asian food with bold-yet-familiar options like crispy Beijing Duck and Saigon style shrimp.
The ship's true formal restaurant. (Rather than having formal nights, Quantum will have only one formal restaurant.) The menu is inspired by classic dishes once served on European liners. Options include chateaubriand wellington and chicken a l'orange.
Coastal Kitchen (open to suite passengers only):
California-Mediterranean fare, with dishes like sea bass ceviche and flatbread pizzas.
The Cafe @ Two70:
Soups, salads and sandwiches.
SeaPlex Dog House:
A genuine food truck at sea, offering gourmet dogs.
A casual Italian joint offering pizza, paninnis and pasta.
Royal Caribbean's signature buffet option, the line is proclaiming this version will be the "Best Windjammer at sea," in part because of the addition of a bakery onsite.
The ship's for-fee options include:
An Italian menu created by celeb chef Jamie Oliver. Dishes will feature seasonal ingredients.
Michael's Genuine Pub:
The pub will offer simply prepared gastropub fare including pulled pork sliders and deviled eggs.
A sit-down restaurant designed by the chef for television show The Biggest Loser
. All dishes, such as chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce, will have fewer than 500 calories.
A journey in molecular gastronomy with dishes like disappearing noodles and wasabi and apple crisps.
The line's classic steakhouse.
Izumi Japanese Cuisine:
An a la carte sushi option.
Available to only a small group per sailing, it's an upscale dining experience.
Serving sandwiches and quick bites.
A classic burger joint famous for its milkshakes.
Most menus also will feature traditional "everyday" favorites such as salmon, pasta and chicken.
Many of Royal's signature family features return on the Quantum class including its Adventure Ocean children's program, Royal Babies and Tots Nursery, and DreamWorks entertainment and events with live character appearances from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar.
An H2O Zone kids' water park will be featured on the top deck.
Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from its homeport of Cape Liberty in Bayonne, New Jersey, sailing seven- to 12-night itineraries to destinations in the Caribbean and the Bahamas through spring 2015. It will then head to China and three- to eight-night itineraries from Shanghai to Japan and Korea starting in June 2015.