This cruise on Quantum of the Seas was my 17th cruise in total, and my 13th cruise on Royal Caribbean. Traveling was myself (43), my husband (42), my daughter (15), and in an adjoining cabin was my mother (63) and father (74). I am a Diamond member. We sailed on Quantum from Dec 1-12, 2014, Southern Caribbean route, with stops at San Juan, St. Maarten, Martinique, Barbados, and St. Kitts. As a point of reference, to date my favorite ship is Explorer of the Seas, with Liberty of the Seas RIGHT behind it. We’ve also been on Enchantment, Freedom, and Oasis, and now defunct Nordic Empress, but that is irrelevant these days, lol.
The number one thing we noticed on this cruise: WOW do people LOVE to complain! The biggest bunch of negative-minded humans we have ever experienced. On the very first night in American Icon, a table of four “Diamond Plus” members were reaming out the poor waiter and called over the Head Waiter over ridiculous things. And I should know, as our tables were close enough so that we might have all been together, so I heard every last word. What a table of crotchety, picky, nasty people. Little did I know that would only be the beginning. Sheesh. I feel bad for the cruise employees, having to deal with people’s EVERY complaint over ridiculous things. (So what if someone’s food came out 30 seconds later than someone else’s at the table! Do you have nothing going on in your life that this is what you have to make a big deal about? I wish that was all I had to complain about!!) Believe me, I did encounter complaining people onboard that did have valid complaints, no doubt. (Including us! More later….) But the level which people were taking things to was ludicrous.
Embarkation was fine. We got to the port, checked in our luggage, got our luggage tickets scanned, and proceeded to check-in. We didn’t get in a line, we went to a mobile person who held a tablet in their hands. She checked us in, went to get our SeaPass cards, and we were on our way to board the ship. Painless, and took about 15 minutes. It’s great not having to ride the busses to the ship, although that never really bothered me anyway.
Stepping onto Quantum for the first time, I knew I was going to love it. It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!!! What a gorgeous design to this ship. (In most areas, not all, as I’ll get into later.) Everything was shiny and new. We entered on Deck 5 and of course we were starving, so we went up to the Windjammer, as per our usual cruise routine. The Windjammer was only ok, I actually think Explorer’s WJ offers much more. But the outside dining available at the back of the WJ on Quantum was a huge plus! Bravo to RCI for finally adding that. I love all the of the things there are to do on Quantum, especially during the chilly weather sailaways. The SeaPlex is genius….there’s foosball, ping pong, XBox, bumber cars, trapeze, basketball, and a host of other activities available at various times throughout the day. Awesome area!
I also loved Two70. This venue is great! Gorgeous views of the wake of the ship during the day from the huge windows, and it transforms toward the night, as shades come down over the windows and turns into a huge screen with views of landscapes, underwater scenes, and other entertaining sights. And the shows in Two70 are awesome! Take advantage of the giant swing on the left side of the theater as you walk in - a lot of fun!
Another bravo goes out to RCI for a couple covered pool areas, as sailing out of NJ here can lead to many changes in the weather. The Solarium is gorgeous! And covered, with pools and hot tubs. And a great row of chairs right up against the glass in the very front of the ship, to kind of lead to a “Jack on Titanic” view of flying out over the water in the front of the ship. What a gorgeous area!
Then heading aft, there’s another pool with a retractable roof, which made it great to sit out by even though the weather outside was cold at one point. Once we hit the Caribbean, the roof was retracted and it was open-air. Then heading aft again, there’s the typical pool area (uncovered). This is where the band played, and where the kid’s area also was. It looked like there was a lazy river-type pool for the kids as well as a wave pool. Or maybe it was just because the ship was rocking, lol. The kid’s pool area had statues of the Dreamworks characters, making it a really fun area!
There is so much public space on this ship! Little nooks and cool couches to sit in and on throughout the ship. You never felt crowded except for the first and last days. Other than that, you would never know so many people were on that ship.
Not really impressed by the gym. Different from the rest of the ships, and no locker room, sauna, steam room, or showers. Definite bummer. But it still serves the purpose.
The Music Hall on the ship was the place to be! The Beatlemaniacs played four nights on our cruise, and they were absolutely out of this world!!! Wow! They got everyone up and dancing and having a blast, almost like being at a real Beatles concert. What a fun time! It seemed the Music Hall, on deck 4, was packed all the time.
My daughter loved the teen area, The Living Room on Deck 14 between the Windjammer and pool deck. She loved the games and wall of books and lounge couches right up against the windows. There were only 30 teens on our cruise, so most of the time it was empty, so the employees of RCI running the teen area really gave a lot of personal attention to the kids that did go, and they were a ton of fun, according to my daughter. They had Teens Only Bumper Cars one night, and it seemed like all the teens on board showed up for that, and they had a blast.
ROYAL IQ APP: Great, great idea, except where there's technology, there are issues. The app told me that my luggage was still on the pier after we had sailed away from New Jersey. Temporary panic attack. So the luggage tracking wasn't really working too well, as my luggage made it to my cabin. However my daughter also downloaded the app so that we could text and call each other over the ship's own wifi. Brilliant idea to keep in touch with those onboard. But it only worked here and there. Allegedly it was supposed to cost in order to use the app for communication, however when I purchased the app it said $0.00. Even better! But, you get what you pay for. When it worked, it was great! But sometimes the texts and calls didn't go through. If that technology gets better, it'll be awesome to be able to communicate onboard.
CABIN: This part was not so great. We had cabin 6216 and my parents had adjoining 6218. We never had the adjoining door unlocked, however we did have the partition removed from between our balconies. But what a terrible cabin location! First off, we booked this cruise when it was first opened only to Crown & Anchor members. We were never told at the time of booking that this was an obstructed view cabin, and deck plans weren’t available at that time. We spent 11 nights looking at the yellow lifeboats right outside our balcony. (Or, as my father called them, The School Buses.) We would have gladly payed more to have an UNobstructed view of the ocean, had we been told. Whatever. That wasn’t even the biggest issue of this cabin location. Right below us was the Bionic Bar. Which one would think there would be no issue about. However, each night, the Bionic Bar had a DJ and the music would start at 10:00 and go until “late”. Believe me, I loved the music he played, however hearing it loud and clear in my cabin that late every night got to be extremely bothersome. My husband especially disliked it, and I can’t blame him. We come on vacation to catch up on sleep we don’t get in real life, and for music and bass to be blasting and vibrating our cabin is really poor design. Maybe RCI didn’t intend to have a DJ there at night in the first place, however they have to take into consideration that it is not a dancing venue, and that there are cabins directly above it and can hear every last music note. Calls to Guest Services went unanswered for upwards of 20 minutes. Finally when we did get someone to try to resolve our issue, the solution was to move us up to deck 13, completely aft. However, my mother has mobility issues, and the hike to the aft of the ship, even from the aft elevators, took a while for a quick-moving person. And there was also the fact that we took this vacation as a family, and we purposely wanted cabins next to each other to share a balcony. So, that solution didn’t work. We stuck it out for the rest of the cruise. And to be totally honest, we used TWO iPads on full volume with white noise, and earplugs, and when I laid my head down on my pillow, I heard the music THROUGH the bedding, loud and clear. That is totally inexcusable. Steer clear of deck 6 above the Bionic Bar, unless you are a late-night person. Lesson learned.
FOOD/DINING: I’m not going to comment much on food, because I am not picky in the least, and as long as I don’t have to cook it, I’ll eat it! But I honestly found the food good, and the desserts were awesome! We tried to book dining reservations THREE times before our cruise, before I gave up. Every last one of my dining reservations kept getting deleted. It was completely annoying, and it’s the type of stress you don’t want to deal with when planning a fun vacation. Now as for Dynamic Dining…..I have to say that I was in love with this concept. Eat whenever you want, wherever you want. Now, I have to say I’m not exactly a fan. I don’t hate it, but I’m not loving it. Since our reservations got cancelled, we would just appear at a restaurant whenever we wanted to eat. We always got in, no problem. No wait. The times we went were anywhere between 6:00-7:00. We ate at American Icon twice, Silk, and Chic. Food was good at them all, however the dining experience was painful. Service was VERY slow in general. Waiting for drinks or condiments - what used to be done by an assistant waiter - bordered on torturous. We had some very sweet waiters, however you can tell they were overwhelmed. They take orders on tablets, and it just seems that they still don’t have their ‘groove’ down pat in working these restaurants. It seems to me also that the wait staff really missed getting to know the passengers, as we had a few that asked us to specifically ask for them when we returned to that restaurant. I had to agree with them, as I also missed the getting-to-know the wait staff like we used to when we had the same ones every night. I missed traditional dining MUCH more than I thought I would!! To me, traditional dining is a HUGE part of the cruising tradition, and in my opinion, if RCI does away with it completely, it would be a darn shame. Please keep traditional dining as an option on some ships, RCI!!! Many, many, many people feel the same.
We had a character breakfast with the Dreamworks characters one morning, for $10 per person. Definitely worth it. 3 of the characters show up, and give personal attention. Dreamworks is our Disney, and we thoroughly enjoyed taking pics with the characters, as well as going to their appearances throughout the entire cruise. A lot of fun! Great parades and performances as well. I like’ em big…..I like ‘em chunky………
I was very disappointed in Cafe Promenade. Soooo tiny!!!! This is one of my very favorite spots on the other ships. On Quantum, there are no tables inside the cafe, and just a few outside in the Esplanade. If you want to sit, you have to go next door into Sorrento’s and sit. However, when I get a cup of coffee and a cookie, I don’t want to sit and smell pizza! Big fail on that design. Cafe Promenade is supposed to be a place to sit and enjoy coffee and a snack, and it’s just not that on this ship.
Cafe Two70 was very nice! And it was nice to sit in Two70 enjoying the food. Hot and cold sandwiches, and pastry, coffee, etc, this is a very nice place to have a snack.
Chops ($35 pp): PHENOMENAL!!!!!! Holy moly! Everything - from start to finish - was absolutely incredible! Kudos to the chef of Chops!!
Wonderland ($45 pp): I didn’t go, but my father took my daughter. They loved it! You’re not only paying for the food, which they loved every bite, but you go for the experience. My daughter was in heaven! And my father said it was worth every penny.
Chic was good, and I got a good prime rib type meal there. I forgot exactly what it was called, but it was good. My father and husband went to Silk, where my husband said food had come out cold, but my father said his was great.
PORTS: Had a DELICIOUS dinner at Cafe Puerto Rico in San Juan, and walked around a little. It was great to view Quantum at night from land. We were in SJ from 4:00pm-10:00pm. St. Maarten is always nice. Martinique stunk. No available taxis for at least a half an hour for a family of 5. Seriously?? Our lunch, which we all split because we weren’t that hungry, consisted of two club sandwiches, 5 Pina Coladas, and a side of fries, for $95.00 USD. But wait, even though we SPECIFICALLY asked them if they took Visa, MasterCard, or AMEX as we entered the restaurant and were told ‘yes’, lo and behold when it came time to pay, they didn’t accept that. So after we were told that, we asked how much it came to in American dollars. Well, guess what, we were told they don’t accept that either. Our awesome taxi driver had to get involved and got mad at the restaurant staff because we specifically asked if they took credit cards and were told yes, so they ended up saying they would accept American money. Then we were told it came to $95.00. For what??? Whatever. We paid and got out of there. We would have gladly exchanged for Euros BEFORE we ate if they told us they wouldn’t accept credit cards. But man, that is one expensive island. We also heard similar stories from others in the hot tubs that night and the next few days. Be prepared!
Barbados was AMAZING!! We went to Harbor Lights. Gorgeous from start to finish!!
St. Kitts...well, I couldn’t get off the ship. But my husband and father went to Cockleshell and my husband said it was absolutely paradise.
The night before St. Kitts, my daughter started vomiting. That sent my family into a downward spiral, as then my mother got it, my father got it, and then I got it. We were all quarantined to our rooms. The medical staff was WONDERFUL. We visited the Medical Center numerous times, for IV fluids and injections, and they also visited us in our rooms when we couldn’t make it down there. We knew it wasn’t a widespread virus thing, as each time we went to the Medical Center, we were the only ones in it! But RCI was great, they give free room service and free movies all day when you are quarantined. It sucked to be stuck in the cabin, BUT if others were sick, that’s where I would want them to stay! lol So we literally lost the last 5 days of the cruise. Good thing it was an 11-night cruise! At least we had 6 great days!
SHOWS: Outstanding!!! Mamma Mia was pure Broadway quality, for sure. Sonic Odyssey was genius, and Starwater was cool. They had an Elton John impersonator/comedian which was hilarious. Great entertainment.
My daughter did rock climbing and the RipChord by iFly, and had a total blast!!!! We never got to do the NorthStar because we got sick. Boooooo!!!!! And by the way, the NorthStar reservation lines are only for THAT day. I waited in line for a half hour before getting to the front of the line, when I wanted to make a reservation for the next day. Only to be told that the lines for at 9:00am for THAT day only. Thanks.
Debarkation was awful, as my father was very ill. Getting off the ship wasn’t a problem, it was customs in the building after that which were backed up insanely. We ended up having to take my father to the hospital (because he didn’t drink enough fluids while sick and became severely dehydrated) so the customs agents moved us right to the front of the line. Thankfully my parents only live about 30-40 mins from the port and we got him taken care of. But the backup of the customs lines was awful!!! But that’s not RCI’s deal.
All in all, with the exception of 4 out of the 5 of us getting sick and quarantined, this was an amazing cruise! We did our typical stuff like trivia in the Schooner, and participated in some of the game shows in Boleros. Get involved, it makes it 10x more fun!!! I really, really loved Quantum but there’s something inside me aching to go back on Liberty from here out of NJ instead of Anthem next year. Decisions! There’s a lot I missed about the old school cruising (mostly the main dining room!!), but then again Quantum had things to offer that were amazing! I guess we will just have to wait and see…...