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1 New York (Brooklyn, Red Hook) to World Cruise Reviews

We spent 29 nights in Quantum, sailing from New York to Dubai on the first two legs of her repositioning from the US to China. I’ve waited a month to write this review, in order to try and give as balanced a view as possible. ... Read More
We spent 29 nights in Quantum, sailing from New York to Dubai on the first two legs of her repositioning from the US to China. I’ve waited a month to write this review, in order to try and give as balanced a view as possible. Embarkation: Embarkation in New York was particularly well handled. Queues were short, and the staff handling the throng were helpful and friendly. Cabin: Our balcony stateroom on deck 7 (7682) was excellent. Storage space was massive by the standards we’ve experienced on other ships, and we didn’t come close to filling it. The glass shower cubicle was particularly appreciated (no wet, flapping shower curtain), as was the bathroom night light – ingenious. The sound proofing was awesome – in our 29 nights onboard we never heard a sound from adjoining cabins. The sliding door to the balcony was a wonder of engineering – light to operate, and once closed there was zero external noise. Our only quibble was that ship’s announcements could not be heard in the cabin, and there was no way to receive them on the otherwise very comprehensive in-cabin entertainment system – this seemed a very odd omission in a virtually new ship. Itinerary: We thoroughly enjoyed the combination of sea days and fascinating ports. The two ship’s tours that we did (Pompeii and Petra) were very well organized and coordinated, and were highlights of the trip for us. Entertainment: We saw Mama Mia on Broadway 3 days before joining Quantum, and then again on board 2 days after sailing. Without reservation, it was the best show we’ve ever seen on a cruise – and, the Quantum version was, in our view, superior to the Broadway version. We loved it, and it appeared that the cast were enjoying every moment of their time entertaining us. In fact, all of the shows we attended were good to very good. The onboard lecturers who joined the ship for the Barcelona to Dubai leg were also very good, as witnessed by the ever-growing number of attendees as the lecture series progressed. Dining: It would be interesting to go back in time to the concept meeting that decided to use RCI’s newest ship to conduct a bold radical experiment in dining. Maybe it was the work experience kid who put up their hand and suggested ‘let’s do away with a main dining room’ – given that it’s proving to be a horrible and probably very costly mistake its unlikely that anyone more senior will be prepared to wear the heat. We booked this cruise fully aware of the Dynamic Dining onboard. Our first indication of how bad an idea it is was came when we sat down, 41 days before embarking in New York, to book our dining times and places. For the first leg of the cruise (New York to Barcelona) we were able to book exactly 2 dinners in total in the 4 complimentary restaurants – every other day showed the restaurants as being fully booked, for all time slots. So, instead of the days leading to our cruise being filled with a growing sense of excitement at the adventure we were about to embark on, we spent each day worrying about not having bookings, and concerned that we’d end up eating each evening in the Windjammer. I haven’t seen this particular problem discussed in other postings about Quantum, so I don’t know how common our experience is. I have seen suggestions that by logging on 100 plus days before your cruise, then haunting the online booking system to pounce on cancellations; you can end up with the bookings you want. Even if it’s true – why on earth would you want to spend time doing that, in the lead up to what’s supposed to be a holiday? A more selfish possibility, that we heard about from a fellow cruiser who claimed to have done it, is that some cruisers made bookings for every restaurant for every meal – to then decide on the day which one to attend. Whatever the truth – the online booking system didn’t work. Once onboard, it very quickly became clear that despite the booking system, there was plenty of space in the complimentary restaurants – in fact we ended up eating where we wanted, when we wanted, and none of the venues was more that 2/3s full when we were there. Being onboard for 29 nights quickly raised another issue with the restaurants – each had two menus, which were swapped each week. So, within a quite short time, the novelty was gone, and it became an issue of ‘from this menu which I’ve selected from 4 or 5 or 6 times before, which of the limited choices will I repeat this time?’ The food was overall good to very good. Service was patchy at best. Plenty of other commentators have said lots about it – suffice to say that the setup is not conducive to the standards other ships have as the norm, and never will be. A final note on dining; we had noted that the Grande maintained a dress standard, and as we quite like going a little formal occasionally we’d packed appropriately. So, when men showing up to dine in the Grande turned up in collared t-shirts, jeans and sandals, we expected they’d be asked to go and change into something more appropriate. Sadly, no – they were loaned ill fitting waiters jackets, and shown to their seats. Really? The ship: I preface the remarks that follow by recalling our cruise in Oasis of the Seas 2 years ago. On that cruise, even on disembarkation day we were wandering the ship, blown away by the ambience, by the daring imagination that went into her design, and by the sheer wonder of all those things that make her fabulous. Sadly, Quantum is cut from different cloth – there was, for us, no wow. The walking/ running track on deck 15 is basically unusable for most of the day, because sun lounges and heavy strolling traffic make it almost impossible to walk with purpose. The Royal Esplanade is particularly disappointing: we likened it to a poorly designed strip mall lined by top end stores that nobody went into. Because it’s only two decks high the scale is all wrong, and the limited strolling space was further restricted by the tables of all the usual tat being sold at ‘super discount’ prices. The North Star was a nice gimmick, as were the bumper cars, and the iFly, but once was enough. The Robot Bartender on the other hand was a piece of tedious nonsense that blocked an already crowded passageway – perhaps suggested by the same genius who thought Dynamic Dining was a good idea. So – an odd conundrum: we really enjoyed the cruise, but will not cruise in Quantum again. The bizarre experiment with Dynamic Dining and the ordinariness of the ship will ensure our time and money are spent on other ships. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015

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