We are Diamond members and have four future cruises booked with Royal, (the Liberty, the Serenade, and the Allure.) We have 29 cruises under our belts, having traveled on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, and NCL. We cruise for the ... Read More
We are Diamond members and have four future cruises booked with Royal, (the Liberty, the Serenade, and the Allure.) We have 29 cruises under our belts, having traveled on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, and NCL. We cruise for the dining, the entertainment, the service and the ports. I am writing as an experienced and avid cruiser to let you know that we will NEVER return on the Quantum, and why this was the ONLY bad cruise RCCL cruise we have have ever had!
I used to say every cruise is a good cruise until now. Since there was absolutely NO price deal for this ship (making the cost for eleven days much more than other ships), and with all the hype about the ship being the destination, the "dynamic dining" and the fabulous technology aboard, I guess our expectations were much higher than the sad reality- that this ship needs much improvement before it becomes the "WOW" deal Royal reports!
I want to start with a sincere positive: this ship, the Quantum, is absolutely beautiful! I loved the art, the butterfly theme, the large open decorated areas. I loved the hallway with the digital scenery overhead. There were sufficient seatings in bars, the pool and the Windjammer. The ship was gorgeous, and done in exquitely good taste!
We loved all the seating by the pool, especially all the wicker seats and couches and tables with cozy pillows! Lots of chairs and recliners on higher decks over the pool, too. Very well designed!
Our room, ( our verandah was 11580) was perfect: roomy, plenty of storage, quiet, tastefully appointed. I liked the addition of an outlet next to the bed, the two separate closets, nightlight in bathroom, and both the shower door and rain shower head! There was even overhead, over the bed storage, full dresser and roomy verandah with a child lock.
Imagine the surprise to learn that we had to specifically request tissues, shampoo and condition and lotion! This was a ship policy. I cannot speak for rooms above the verandah category, but other passengers in our stateroom class told us they found the same issue. Royal really did not treat us royally! And we are Diamond members.
Diamond Loyalty Perks:
Speaking of being treated royally, we received our Diamond reward treat delivered to our stateroom: a small plate of cookies with one Chocolate covered strawberry. ONE! There were TWO diamond members but ONE strawberry! We laughed with the two women next door to us who also got only ONE strawberry.
Diamond members get perks for their loyalty such as a free bag of wash and fold laundry. Not on Quantum!
You get a few dollars off the price to wash dirty garments!
We also usually get a set number of minutes of free internet we can use across the voyage.
Not on Quantum!
We got one free hour to be used completely within any one hour period! The Internet packages for purchase began around $200. We declined to be ripped off. We had been told this was the "fastest internet on the seas" by Royal, yet many passengers complained they used up their minutes just trying to get on! Our free hour resulted in no connections!
The Diamond Lounge:
For a huge ship, the amount of space designated for loyal repeat customers was astoundingly small! It seemed like an afterthought. We skipped going as we could not get seating in that small area for a pre-dinner get-together.
Whoever is mismanaging this beautiful ship is ruining it for loyal members. They were cheap in many aspects on this voyage.
The so-called "interactive" room tv:
The negative in any room was the "interactive" television. We would have benefited from making dinner reservations and show reservations directly from the tv. Now that would have made it truly interactive! Why didn't they place every restaurant menu on the tv!
This would really let cruisers understand what their options are! Why should we have to go downstairs, out to the wall outside the venue to see what the choices are? And the last five nights there are special changing menus that you only see if you are seated and handed a menu! Royal made all these different venues - but they also made it difficult to know which one you'd want!
Also, why did they not show a single current movie on tv? The channels were very limited, mostly ship channels for shopping, weather, cruise director talks, etc. I should not have to buy a movie to watch in my room! Sometimes we like to just kick back, sleep late or take a nap, and watch a good movie on tv on a sea day...especially if there is bad weather and you cannot go outside to the pool. We were really surprised by this. They say the devil is in the details, and there were many details where Quantum fell short.
I do understand trying out a new concept, but this was the twelfth sailing and they STILL could not get things working correctly! There was great frustration making reservations, honoring reservations and changing reservations.
We had booked our dinners at home, months before sailing. We booked "blind" as we had no idea what we would like at that early point. The sample menus on the Internet did not match the actual menus on board. We encountered lots of difficulties making those reservations. In fact, after we did, we had to call because they were not showing up when we tried to print them. Then they conflicted with our entertainment bookings. It was very time consuming and a lot of work for what should have been a care-free vacation.
We were told by Royal's representatives over the phone that once on board, we could easily change them if we wished. That was not what happened once we boarded. It was terribly frustrating.
The woman taking reservations just outside Silk quite rudely told us that EVERY restaurant was fully booked unless we wanted to eat before five or after nine! We complained to an officer who was standing by Silk. He told us only half the restaurant was booked and that the rest was for those who did not have prior arrangements there. We could just show up, and perhaps have a short wait. Well, we tried that and were told we could not be seated for at least another two hours! Had we known this before-hand, we would have cancelled our booking for this cruise.
Not-So Dynamic Dining:
Everyone has different tastes and standards when it comes to food. I understand that. What I love, someone else may hate. That said, the food should be consistently prepared and served professionally. Those were the big issues.
The service and food was extremely disappointing. We ate in Silk the first night and I got sick to my stomach for three hours! I was not nauseous. I did not have Noro virus. I had a reaction to the food in Silk - either to the oil or an unusual spice. We live in the tri-state area. We have over a dozen Chinese restaurants in a one mile radius. I have never gotten sick from any of them. The food in Silk was poorly prepared.
The evening after I got sick I asked my husband to call for room service for dinner instead of returning to Silk. Imagine my anger to discover they charged for room service during dinner hours! Really? Five dollars for a burger? Oh, we could get coffee, or chicken soup for free! Johnny Rockets sold burgers for less by the pool deck! Shame on Quantum!
We refused to go back to Silk and then had trouble getting into another venue. The attitude of all those taking reservations and seating cruisers in all the restaurants was awful. It was a too bad for you attitude - we got a "there is nothing I can do" stare and shrug. Only American Icon Grill was caring and accommodating. Now here is the part we do not understand: as "fully booked" as they all claimed to be, there were an abundance of empty tables during prime time! Made absolutely no sense to us!
We ate in twice Chic and had a poor dining experience both times...
My husband ordered prime rib, medium-well done. He was served a piece of meat that was red and bloody. He told the waiter it was too rare and got an argument back about the condition of the meat! We sent it back. It was returned, the very SAME piece of meat was returned with GRILL marks on it! Someone had placed it on a grill and seared the prime rib! Now it was tough and chewy and totally inedible!
I had a crab cake appetizer that was so very spicy I could not eat it. The lamb chops were very, very good.
We called over the manager of Chic who understood and begged us to return the next night instead of canceling the reservation. We are not unreasonable people and agreed to return to give them another chance to get it correct. My husband was promised a well done piece from the end of the prime rib. I was promised a crab cake without spice.
We sat down and ordered. I asked for my appetizer and my husband asked for soup. He got his soup but my appetizer did not appear. He would not eat until I was served. His soup got cold. I still waited. I flagged down the waiter. He asked what was wrong. I asked again for my appetizer and told them to remove my husbands soup, and not bring the new one until my appetizer was ready. Serve us together at the same time. Well, he brought the soup and appetizer, but the WRONG appetizer! I started to laugh as this was not boding well. When my crab cake arrived, it had no spice, and no crab and no sauce and no flavor. It was barely cooked and tasted like wet, moist breadcrumbs. I could not, and would not eat it. I said nothing and let the waiter remove it. He never questioned why it was still on my plate.
However, we did not laugh when the entrees came. My husband was given a fatty, gristle-laden piece of inedible meat. I ordered the mussels which was the evening special. I got eight, (yes, 8!) small shells without any potato, vegetable or pasta. This entree was really a small appetizer. I needed three of them to make a meal and I am a petite framed, small eater. We called over the manager, Manuel. Even Manuel agreed that the small portion was not enough for an entree and that my husband's meat was awful! He called over the head chef from Chic who looked at our awful dinner plates. He was nice enough to send us to Chops for a complimentary dinner.
We had paid for a meal at Chops a few nights before so we knew we would be okay there for a second time. But really, this experience in Chic was unacceptable!
Chops has fabulous meat! The petite filet was great! So was the truffled corn. Diners near us were thrilled with their veal chop. The shrimp cocktail appetizer consisted of three really jumbo shrimp that were totally devoid of flavor. I was shocked as were the couples on each side of us. My husband loved the onion soup. We were surprised that the waiter did not tell us about all the wonderful sauces we could have and I knew from previous Chops on other ships to ask for them. He replied I could have "one"! Be aware that they give you three sides for the table!
When we ordered the baked potato...we got ONE potato to share! This is a $35 fee per person PLUS expected tip dining! One potato to share? Really? DO get the chocolate pie for dessert! This place was the only place we had good meals.
The Not-Grand Grande:
We got all dressed up and ate in the Grand with the salty, mushy, teeny tiny lobster tails in white cream sauce. I could not pry the mushy fish out of the shell. I was so disheartened. My husband could not eat it and asked to be brought a steak. They had key lime pie for dessert. No lime flavor. No green color. More like lemon meringue pie. Cruisers on both sides of us agreed they must have misprinted the menu. It was good... but not key lime.
Often, at the end of meals, I ordered tea with dessert and they would bring the hot water long after dessert was done, even if requested together. Sometimes they brought the main entree to the table while we were still in the middle of eating the appetizer and we had to send it back because we were not up to it yet.
Quantum. - Please train your staff? This has never happened to us in main dining rooms in traditional dining - neither with fixed seating or with My Time Dining.
Skip the salmon...skip it on every menu everywhere..they cook it until it is white! (Unless you like it like that.)
American Icon Grill:
In American Icon I ordered a salad that was described as having romaine lettuce. It came with wild lettuce, which I do not like. I asked the waiter if I had miss-read the menu. He told me I was correct but they ran out of romaine! He should have informed me of this when I ordered it!
American Icon had the best prepared dinners overall. That is not a great leap. Great Thanksgiving turkey dinner, yummy bread basket with cheese rolls and corn muffins and sweet honeyed butter on the table. Nice warm chocolate chip cookie with ice cream for dessert. Okay ribs. Appetizers sounded better than they tasted. Coconut fried shrimp with shoestring potatoes turned out to be three pinkie-sized shrimp, no coconut flavoring, and the shoestrings were waffle potato chips! Why the disconnect between menu and platter? Items like pretzel rolled hot dogs that were on the Internet for reservations were no longer on the menu on our sailing.
The ship ran out of cottage cheese, romaine lettuce, vanilla ice cream (!) and bananas, etcetera. I got tired hearing it said over and over. In the Windjammer, at the beginning of the cruise they put out egg salad and tuna salad; by the middle it changed to egg spread and tuna spread, which were really mayonnaise- flavored tubs! Ran out of tuna and eggs too? Or just pinching pennies? Or bad chefs?
We chatted with people on each side of our tables in all the restaurants and in the bars and they were also experiencing similar frustrations. In fact, throughout the cruise, the major conversation was the common unhappiness of fellow cruisers about the food and dining experiences! We have never had this on any other RCCL ship! I will never EVER repeat this dining experience!
Quantum's chefs need schooling. We have never had such poorly prepared food on any of your other ships. If we had, we would not be at the Diamond Level. Their staff needs communication education and training! There was huge ignorance about meals, food preparation and knowledge of the ships venues.
Royal touted that this ship was a technological wonder; well the technology does not work. We were emailed several times to download the app for this ship. Quantum boasted we could watch our luggage move from the time we boarded until delivery. Want to know the reality? My app told us that "there is no luggage associated with this passenger". Not a very calming statement to see after you gave up your luggage and had the tracking sticker to prove it!
I tried to call Guest Relations on our room phone. First of all, there is NO button labeled Guest Relation on that phone! Had to guess, dial "0" and wait for a menu. Guest Relations message was, "Your call is very important to us. Please hold on and we will be with you shortly." That "shortly" grew into twenty minutes! There was no speaker mode, so I had to sit and listen. Finally got disgusted and hung up. Went downstairs to Guest Relations where their people told us the apps were not working and my luggage would certainly arrive. It did.
On those useless apps you could not change reservations. They tell you the times you choose are no good but do not tell you when they are good, so you wind up trying every restaurant at every half hour period. What a colossal waste of time! What is on the app is on the tv. Why bother downloading?
Even show times on the tv were wrong. The interactive menus on the ship walls were not user friendly and crowds were laughing and complaining that they could not touch a restaurants name and easily pull up a complete menu.
Not much was working well either with the dining reservation system in general. Although we were rebooked mid -cruise into different dining venues, they did not seem to appear in the system, and when we went for dinner we were told we had no reservation. We would have to wait two hours. They admitted their system was broken. The staffs iPads with table arrangements and bookings were not working either. This entire system is a flawed mess! From start to finish masses of passengers were unhappy. This was the common theme everywhere we went and when we chatted with other cruisers.
The positive: Mama Mia was fabulous! The entertainer/ comedian and piano player duo were great! Starwater was a good production show. So was the other ships production show with the Earth Harp. The impersonator was also very good.
The negative: For an eleven night cruise, we only had FIVE nights of entertainment and that is just not acceptable. We were expecting more shows that did not need reservations. We were shocked to find nothing was offered! There was not even a singer or musician in the lobby to entertain us. For adults looking for evening entertainment they failed! Everyone we met agreed about how disappointed they were. Karaoke, and ship games like the out-dated Not So Newly Wed Game with cruisers and staff does not replace nightly professional entertainment!
Be aware of the theatre seating arrangement. There are thick poles running from ceiling to floor that obstruct your view if you sit behind them, and the lower rows are not elevated so seeing the stage up above is difficult. Second tier seats are on risers and you can see better. There are very long rows without aisles breaking up the seats so people had to climb over many filled seats to fill in the rows. Go early. We saw people sitting on the stairs as they could not find a seat.
Outside the theatre a long line formed before showtime. Rude passengers who felt they were above getting on the back of the line, stood right next to the doors beside those at the front of the line. When the doors opened, the staff member who had to scan our wristbands for entrance took them anyway. He should have directed them to the back of the line! Never said a word, but the line-waiters did! It was just a lack of keeping order and crowd control and training.
When booking the entertainment at home Quantum lists guest performers as Entertainer 1 and Entertainer 2. Once onboard, because they were never given names online, we had no idea who they were! Which one was the first? Very confusing!
This is a beautiful space! Arrive really early for a decent seat up front as there are very few if you expect to actually see what the performers are doing. Starwaters is a good production show, but no one could quite figure out the strange pre-show where performers stood and stared for long periods at the cruisers. On other nights, they had virtual performances on screens. Not live performances.
They have some good sandwiches and light food choices there too. You can buy specialty coffee there also.
With the single exceptions of our room steward, Kelon Phillip, and Manuel the manager in Chic, the service fell far short of every other ship we have sailed. Examples are in the Windjammer where one morning I was looking for some cottage cheese. It was 10:30 and the tray was gone from its place. I asked for some and everybody in the area just shrugged, said "finished" and walked away. On other ships I would have been brought a bowlful.
On sea days when we had significant ocean swelling and the seas were rough, and walking difficult, they placed barriers all over the Windjammer making it really tough to maneuver. I had a badly sprained ankle and I was limping and swaying and had to beg them to let me go across! Limping with a plate of food I asked a waiter there to help me find a table and instead of offering to carry my plate or help me - he told me to try looking on the other side of the room.
We had one young lady who was clearing tables (on a stormy day with high swells) who bent down and told us she was nauseous and wanted to throw up (during our lunch!) Another wacky staff member asked us if she should marry some elderly passenger who was teasing her at a nearby table. She was in earnest and we were stunned.
We never saw staff cleaning bathrooms or wiping down railings and elevator buttons. The ship appeared very clean, but we wondered about noro virus germs brewing.
In the bars, each bar has a limited, select number of alcohol choices. For example, if you like piña coladas, you could ONLY have them made in the ONLY bar that had the ingredients for it! Not only that, but several of the listed liquors on their menus were NOT actually available! The bartenders were very frustrated. They would make you anything you wanted...as long as they had the bottles for it! Overall, not only was the staff indifferent but many of them were unhappy and wanted off the ship. They were being inundated with unhappy passenger complaints.
The robotic bar was amusing for a few minutes. Just remember that there is no human to tell if you wanted it sweeter, or with more ice, etc. You pay, you pick ingredients on an iPad, you watch it made, and you are stuck if it isn't good.
The North Star experience was okay. Not worth standing on line for an hour and a half in the hot sun for ten minutes to look through glass over the top of the ship. Tip: Go on a sea day just before starting time, ... you cannot go side to side but it doesn't make much difference. Less waiting time then. Half the time the thing was broken and could not lift. Half the time the weather was too stormy and windy to operate. Be aware that the elevator lift up to the pod is very uncomfortably warm inside.
We watched people "skydiving" in the hot air tube. Everyone who did it, who we spoke to, loved it. It is by the SeaPlex where kids had a blast ! They had bumper cars and video games and basketball, etc. all inside. There was hot dog/ bratwurst cart that people seemed to enjoy there too. They also have a teen only clubhouse.
There were at least four mornings when we were awakened from deep sleep to hear crew member announcements over the loud speaker blaring into our rooms. They did not affect guests so why did they do that? They kept repeating them. Did I have to hear that crew had to meet in a managers office after a drill? Then another group meet with the announcer somewhere else? This was very annoying when we were trying to sleep in! These announcements should have been only in hallways and public rooms.
Embarkation and Disembarking:
Coming on, we loved the new terminal! Embarkation was a breeze. We had uploaded our photos at home and we breezed right inside the terminal. The room in the terminal was kept warm and we were given coffee while we waited. Having an early arrival (8:30 a.m.) with a 12:30 boarding time was no issue as we were Diamond and allowed to board at about 11:30 with the first group.
However, after the cruise, once we got outside after customs, it was zero degrees with a windchill of minus 4 and we were not allowed to stand inside where it was warm and safe!
There was a small heated tented area but it was so filled with passengers waiting for pick ups that we were forced to stand in the brutal cold for nearly an hour waiting for our ride! This was just unacceptable and unsafe! I dare Royal officials to try it! They built in New Jersey. The weather here is not the same as Florida. There should be a better, more sheltered, indoor waiting area for those who are leaving the ship on future winter sailings.