Quantum of the Seas has 2,090 cabins, and 75 percent of them -- 1,570 staterooms -- have balconies. All of the ship's 373 interior staterooms sport "virtual balconies," essentially floor-to-ceiling flat-screen HDTVs that give passengers real-time views of what those with genuine balconies see. The remaining 147 cabins are ocean-view cabins. Thirty-four cabins are wheelchair accessible, and 28 cabins are studios designed for solo passengers.
In an era where cabin sizes generally are shrinking, Quantum bucks the trend: Most cabins are larger than the industry average, and balconies are sizable and comfortable. All cabins are decorated in tones of brown and blue, with bold but tasteful geometric patterns. Wood tones are alternately light and dark, and storage space is plentiful, with most cabins including large dressers with deep drawers, small cubby-style nightstands, wardrobes for hanging clothes and large over-bed cubbies.
Most cabins have king-sized beds that can be separated into two twin beds, and small sofas, most of which can be pulled out into sleepers. This is a great configuration for the Chinese passengers, who almost always travel as a family with their parents and children all in one room. Desks, which double as vanities, are standard, as well; they have white low-backed chairs that each feature a small handle attached to the back that makes the chair easy to pull out -- a thoughtful touch we just love. Three outlets (one European, two U.S.) grace the top of the desk, joined by two USB ports; another U.S. outlet is located bedside. Hair dryers, safes and refrigerated minibars are included in all rooms. Hair dryers are the kind that require you to hold the button down during use, so if that bugs you, bring your own instead. The small safes make for a tight squeeze, especially for full-sized tablets. All cabins have digital thermostats, energy-saving lighting (put your card into a slot to keep the lights on in your room) and soft-close draws to avoid slamming. We were impressed by the large flat-screen TVs in every cabin. Programming includes several Royal Caribbean channels that provide info about the ship and the cruise lines, the Cartoon Network, ESPN Caribbean and TNT. Movies are available on demand (for about $12 each!).
Bathrooms are compact but well designed, with glass-enclosed showers, sinks, small counters and narrow shelves for storage. A bottle of combo shampoo and conditioner is hung on the shower wall; you might want to bring your own. There's a bar of soap in the sink, but no shower gel or soap is in the shower, so here too, you'll want to bring your own.
For families, Quantum of the Seas has rethought cabins. The ship certainly offers plenty of the standard interconnecting doors and balconies, but it also offers different styles of family cabins -- from Junior Family Suites to the Royal Family Suites. All have been carefully thought through and include things like extra tubs and separate rooms to make it easier for families onboard.
Interior: All inside cabins have virtual balconies. The 80-inch HD screens create a surprisingly believable balcony view, complete with sound and railings. It makes for a pleasant backdrop and a fun conversation piece. Screens and volume can be shut off, but we love the ambient noise of the waves, as well as the subtle light they cast, as inside cabins typically get really dark. Interior cabins come in at 166 square feet. There are 18 interconnected inside cabins.
Oceanview: Ocean-view cabins run from 182 square feet for those on lower decks to 302 square feet for eight corner cabins, called Superior Ocean View staterooms, on Decks 8 through 11. Additionally, 36 front-facing Large Ocean View cabins (256 square feet) are located on Decks 8 through 10. The location of the Superior and Large ocean view cabins -- below the bridge -- is ideal, with fantastic views; you'll see virtually the same thing the captain sees. This kind of cabin is unique in the cruising world. Be aware, though, that cabins here employ some funky layouts. You might have a large support pole at the foot of your bed and a large porthole on a slanted, front-facing wall, for example.
Balcony: Balcony cabins are plentiful onboard. They generally fall into one of two categories: Deluxe Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony (177 square feet with an 82-square-foot balcony) and Superior Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony (198 square feet with balconies ranging from 55 to 119 square feet). Each balcony features two mesh chairs with two small ottomans and a stool-sized table that could accommodate a couple of cocktails. Booking cabins near midship will likely get you the biggest balconies, as, architecturally, this is where you'll find what Royal Caribbean's loyal cruisers lovingly call "The Hump": a spot where the ship gets wider, creating angled and oversized balconies. Be aware that there's a strong smoke smell in the hallways on Deck 6 forward, on the starboard side, which can leak into balcony cabins in the area. (The crew smoking area is nearby.)
Minisuite: Junior Suites with Balconies are available as part of the Family Connected Suite (see below) or on their own. These cabins are a spacious 276 square feet and include 161-square-foot balconies. They also have a sitting area that includes a couch, chair and small table. Bathrooms feature combo bathtub/shower arrangements. The ship also offers 46 Spa Junior Suites with Balconies, which are the least-expensive cabins in the Junior Suite category, probably because they are slightly smaller at 267 square feet; balconies are significantly smaller, at 81 square feet. Still, these feature a split-bath arrangement: A water closet with toilet and sink is separate from the shower and bath area. The shower has a rain showerhead, and there's a separate soaking tub. There's no tie-in (via discounts or exclusive access, for example) to the ship's spa, though. All Junior Suite passengers have access to the Coastal Kitchen restaurant for dinner.
Suite: There are seven categories of suites onboard (not including those designated as family suites). All suites have living rooms with sofas that convert into double beds. All suites come with access to the Concierge Lounge, exclusive access to the Coastal Kitchen restaurant for breakfast, priority check-in, reserved seating in the main theater for shows, priority tender tickets, spa bathrobes for onboard use, free pressing service on formal nights and priority departure.
The smallest suite is the Grand Suite. At 351 square feet, this cabin features a master bedroom, living room with sofa, and one full bath with tub and two sinks. The large balcony (109 square feet) has room for two loungers and a small table with chairs for dining.
Identical, save for balcony size, is the Superior Grand Suite. The balcony in these suites is an impressive 259 square feet.
The Owner's Suite is 541 square feet and features a master bedroom with full bath, a living room with half-bath and more storage space (closets, drawers and cubbyholes) than you'll be able to fill. The master bathroom has a tub with water jets and two sinks.
The Sky Loft Suite is the smallest two-deck cabin (either 673 or 740 square feet). The master bedroom is on the upper level, along with a full bath with tub and dual sinks, and a walk-in closet; a living room with dining area and full bath with shower are on the lower level. The balcony is 183 square feet.
There are three variations of the Grand Loft Suite, all varying by size and number of balconies. All are two decks high with the master bedroom, a sitting desk area, full bath with shower and walk-in closet on the upper level. The lower level features a living room with sofa, a dining area and full bath with shower. Grand Loft Suites on Deck 8 (795 square feet) each have one balcony (216 square feet), while those on Deck 10 are either 696 square feet with three balconies totaling 361 square feet or 840 square feet with one 216-square-foot balcony.
The Owner's Loft Suite is a whopping 975 square feet and, like all loft suites, is two decks, with the master bedroom (king-sized bed) on the upper level. Also on the upper level is a writing desk area, a master bathroom with shower with dual showerheads and an enlarged walk-in closet. On the lower level, you'll find a large living room, separate dining area and split bath setup, one with toilet and sink and another with shower and sink. There's 501 square feet of balcony space spread over three balconies (one on the upper level), including one with a large table for dining alfresco.
The largest suite (there's only one) is the Royal Loft Suite. At 1,640 square feet, it dwarfs all other suite cabins. The master bedroom is on the upper level, with a master bath with oval bathtub and dual sinks; a shower with dual showerheads and a porthole looking out to sea is around the corner. The oversized walk-in closet is beyond belief. On the lower level is a living room with a large dining space. There's also a separate living room and a second bedroom with a full bath. There are three balconies, totaling 613 square feet. The largest of the three boasts a full-size hot tub and wet bar. One of the smaller balconies features a smaller two-person hot tub.
Family: To accommodate families, Royal Caribbean has introduced several options, including a few that essentially combine cabins (rather than strictly connecting them), creating suites that allow for family time, as well as some privacy.
There are 28 Family Junior Suites with Balconies coming in at 301 square feet with 81-square-foot-balconies. Slightly larger than the standard Junior Suite, Royal Caribbean claims this stateroom can sleep up to five people (two adults and three wee ones). In addition to the bed, there's a sofa that converts to a double bed, so you'd either need to squeeze three tykes in one bed or have two share with a baby in a porta-crib. Each Family Junior Suite includes a full bathroom with a tub, as well as a separate half-bath.
Each of the ship's four Royal Family Suites with Balconies comprises two bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Each master bedroom has a king bed, a private bathroom with tub and separate dressing area. The second bedroom in each has two twin beds, two beds that drop down from the ceiling and a second bathroom with shower. The living area has a sofa that converts to a double bed, a coffee table and chairs. There is a fancy marble entrance hall and a fancy entertainment center. These 543-square-foot suites each come with a 259-square-foot wraparound private balcony with seating area and private outdoor dining. The cabin sleeps up to eight, and a minimum of six is required for a booking.
Perhaps the most innovative cabin is the Family Connected Junior Suite with Balcony, which actually is three cabins combined: a junior suite, a studio cabin and an ocean view with balcony. The studio cabin is on the small side (101 square feet) but is ideal for kids. The cabins share a vestibule, thus making the whole area one big family suite; it's also suited for a large group of friends. Each cabin has its own full bath, while the balconies are also interconnecting. These types of cabins can theoretically sleep up to 10 people. Each of the 16 Family Connected Junior Suite cabins is 575 square feet (combined) with a 216-square-foot balcony (also combined). Each of the individual cabins can be booked separately or as a combination of two.
Studio: Quantum also has an impressive 28 studio cabins designed for solo travelers, including 12 with balconies -- something unheard of within the industry. Studio cabins range from 101 square feet (as part of the Family Connected Suite) to 119 square feet for a Super Studio Ocean View with Balcony; the latter feature 55-square-foot balconies. Studio cabins are a smart choice for those traveling by themselves, as cruise lines often require solo cruisers to pay a "single supplement fee," which can nearly double a cruise fare.