steel cutting of Spectrum of the Seas

(1:30 p.m. EDT) -- When Spectrum of the Seas debuts in April 2019, it will sail a 51-night Global Odyssey from Barcelona to Shanghai via 13 countries. From June 2019 the new ship will then offer Royal Caribbean’s most diverse variety of Asian cruises including longer sailings, weekend sailings and winter sailings to warmer destinations.

On sale now, the 27 unique itineraries feature 23 destinations with departures from Shanghai, Tianjin, Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China. Among new ports of call are Hakodate and Niigita, Japan; Ilocos, Philippines; and Vladivostok, Russia. In winter 2019, the ship then repositions to Hong Kong to offer special holiday cruises to local festivals.

The first in Royal Caribbean’s Quantum Ultra class, the 4,246-passenger Spectrum of the Seas will be the newest, largest and most expensive ship in Asia. It will introduce the line’s first private enclave for suite passengers, as exclusively revealed by Cruise Critic last month. It will also have new cabin categories, new dining options and a karaoke venue called Star Moment.

The suites-only area, with Golden and Silver luxury accommodations spread across three upper decks at the forward end of the ship, will have a private elevator, an exclusive restaurant and lounge, The Boutique shopping area where passengers can book private shopping services, and The Balcony, an outdoor space for sunbathing and relaxing.

Another new accommodation category is a two-level, three-bedroom, 261-square-metre Ultimate Family Suite accommodating up to 11 people, with a bathroom that extends over the side of the ship, a slide that whisks kids to the living area below, and a recreation room.

New dining highlights include specialty restaurant Sichuan Red, the Leaf and Bean traditional tea room, and Wonderland’s Dadong, designed by Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang. There will be one main dining room, rather than the four separate dining rooms found on ships such as Ovation of the Seas.

Also new for the Asia-Pacific region, the ship will have Sky Pad, a bungee trampoline where passengers can look out over the ocean as they leap upwards or put on a virtual reality headset to experience it in “another time and planet”. New augmented reality walls and floors will also be revealed in the SeaPlex complex with bumper cars and roller-skating.

Spectrum of the Seas is being built for the Chinese market but we’re keeping an eye on future plans for Australia and New Zealand, where Royal Caribbean’s other China-based ship, Ovation of the Seas, is sent for the local summer season.

Meanwhile, Quantum of the Seas is set to sail its final season from Shanghai before moving to Tianjin in summer 2019. Around the same time, Voyager of the Seas will return to Hong Kong and Shenzhen for cruises to Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.

-- By Louise Goldsbury, Managing Editor, Australia