I was really lucky to be invited to travel on the inaugural sailing of Royal Caribbean’s amazing ship - ‘Quantum of the Seas’. We flew direct from Dublin to Southampton and had a short transfer to the cruise port. Check-in was quite the spectacle; hundreds of people seamlessly checked through by friendly staff with iPads and once we boarded, our luggage awaited us in our superb balcony stateroom.
On the desk in our room were our ‘WOW Bands’ which are bracelets with a microchip which serves as your stateroom key and ‘Seapass’ card. Having the balcony is a real bonus – it’s your own private outside space where you can enjoy amazing views as you arrive and depart at each port of call - or just chill out while at sea! Quantum of the Seas is a fantastic ship. But it's not just big-ticket items or the new concepts that make it so special. Royal Caribbean really thought about the small touches which are evident everywhere, from the staterooms to the bars and the relaxation areas.
On arrival, food was foremost on my agenda so I took myself off to Chops Grill for an amazing steak dinner and I was set for the day! Without a doubt, for me, one of the best things about going on holiday is the opportunity to indulge in lots of delicious meals and discovering brand new foods along the way. On Quantum of the Seas, there are 18 different dining venues to choose from, including the hugely popular Jamie’s Italian – you usually need advance reservations…which of course we didn’t have!
There are so many novel activities to choose from on board and I was really looking forward to the ‘North Star’ – which promises to ‘elevate you both physically and emotionally’. It’s a jewel-shaped capsule and once you step inside you gently ascend over 300 feet above sea level, where you can enjoy breath-taking views of the ocean and the ship, with a 360-degree view of the world - a big wow!
Back on terra-firma I headed for the ‘SeaPlex’ a bright and futuristic space that transforms from sports and games by day, to music and dancing by night. I was offered a spin on the first ever bumper cars at sea, which I declined - my head still spinning from the North Star!
Another first on-board ‘Quantum’ is the “RipCord by iFly” a skydiving simulator which allows guests experience first-hand the sheer thrill and exhilaration of actually flying.
Onwards to the ‘FlowRider’ a surf simulator where you can hang-loose and make like you’re right there with the best surfers on Bondi Beach. There are lessons available for total beginners, or you can just surf away like a pro, or body-board and enjoy the thrills and spills of the water rushing past you on all sides.
After a snooze, we booked tickets for ‘The Roboshow’. Six super-hi-tech screens moving gracefully alongside live dancers. It has to be seen to be believed. Each over seven feet high, the screens twist and spin with astonishing agility, and even dance with the live performers. From interactive dancing robots, to West-End calibre shows, (‘Mamma Mia’ was showing) there’s bundles of ground-breaking technology to take entertainment as you know it, to a whole new level! …Check out the Bionic Bar. A massive, 100% robotic arm which mixes cocktails for you, which you order on an iPad …obviously!
Next morning, after a delicious breakfast - time for more exploring. For families and kids of all ages looking for fun in the sun, the newly reimagined ‘H20 Zone’ is super. Splash around with Alex the Lion in the first ever wave pool at sea. And when it's time to unwind, the action doesn't have to stop. Enjoy animated hits in the 3D THEATRE or kick-back with special DreamWorks programming in your own stateroom. Older children and teenagers have the option of the X-Box lounge and award-winning Teens Clubs (12-14yrs & 15-17yrs) and Kids Clubs for the younger ones.
As the trip was ‘work-related’, we were taken on a guided tour of the various cabin/stateroom types available on board, including a two-story Loft Suite with double-height windows allowing for the most breath-taking, expansive views of the seas. It has its own dining area, a dedicated concierge, plus more space and more pampering to make you feel right at home… it even comes with its own private whirlpool….now you’re talking my kind of room!
That evening we headed for the ‘Royal Esplanade’ - lots of the action at night takes place here. It’s Royal Caribbean's name for Quantum's two-deck promenade, featuring most of the ship's alternative restaurants, shops and bars. Adjacent to the Esplanade is ‘The Via’, a small area that has funky cone-shaped pods for seating, watercolour art and a contemporary vibe.
‘Quantum of the Seas’ and its sister-ship ‘Ovation of the Seas’ are truly amazing ships and if you are considering a cruise holiday I would definitely recommend them – who can resist amazing food, beautiful surroundings and an endless array of fun activities. Oh and by the way, did I mention waking up in a different beautiful destination each and every day? Yeah Baby.