|Quantum of the Seas outside Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany // Photo by Ana Figueroa|
On Monday, Royal Caribbean International gave top travel trade executives and cruise journalists a sneak peek at Anthem of the Seas, the second Quantum-class ship, now in drydock construction at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany. The group also viewed Quantum of the Seas and will be touring that ship during a multi-day trip.
TravelAgentCentral.com has a reporter, Ana Figueroa, on site. Stay tuned for her coverage this week. Above is a shot she took of Quantum of the Seas (floated out last week) at Meyer Werft, and below are photos of Anthem of the Seas in the yard's drydock.
New SMART Technology Features
Royal Caribbean's Cruises Ltd's Chairman Richard Fain conducted a presentation at the drydock site, in which he revealed upcoming technology enhancements to the Quantum-class ships.
In a press release, Fain said: "Cruise vacations have a romantic past – but they also have a lively, adventurous, state-of-the-art future. We were determined to take the best advances in modern technology, turn them into shipboard 'wows,' and take the frustration out of the vacation. This ship's combination of ease and flexibility would make a yoga instructor proud."
For example, the new Quantum-class ships will have much more bandwidth to keep guests connected; systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules; and RFID technology to speed the boarding process and track their luggage.
|Anthem of the Seas in Drydock at Meyer Werft // Photo by Ana Figueroa|
SMART Check-In: At home before they leave for the ship, guests will generate boarding documents online, upload their own ID photo, and receive digital boarding confirmation. By the time they arrive at the cruise terminal for departure, guests will navigate from "sidewalk to ship" in 10 minutes with no check-in counter, no forms to fill out and no lines to stand in.
Most notably, guests will be able to track luggage in real time on their smartphones. Luggage will be tagged curbside with RFID technology at drop-off, and guests can monitor their bags' progress through key points en route to the stateroom. On departure, the process is reversed.
SMART Concierge: Quantum of the Seas will offer new RFID WOWband wristbands, which require only a simple tap to quickly navigate the ship, make onboard purchases, serve as the room key and more. Two new apps will also put guests in charge of their cruise choices
- Cruise Planner: Passengers may use this app to research and book dining reservations, shore excursions, spa appointments and other services prior to their vacation.
- Royal iQ: This app will be available as a downloadable app and provided at freestanding iQ stations around the ship. Royal iQ allows guests to manage details during the cruise, includes a convenient calendar that provides at-a-glance views of the cruise program. They'll also be able to keep in touch with one another and home via phone and text capabilities.
"Every vacation minute counts, especially on Quantum of the Seas where there is so much to see and do," said Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, executive vice president, operations, Royal Caribbean International. "Guests can now tailor everything about their cruise in advance, so they can start enjoying their vacation the minute they step onboard. In essence, they get back the first day of their cruise.
|Anthem of the Seas // By Ana Figueroa|
"Taken together, these features take the company's time-saving efforts to a new level," Lutoff-Perlo said. "Every minute we can save our guests is another minute of their vacation they have to enjoy."
SMART Connect: One of the most challenging facets of life on a cruise vacation is getting good WiFi or Internet service. Royal Caribbean has taken notice. Quantum of the Seas will operate with unprecedented bandwidth using satellites launched by tech partner O3b Networks.
With speeds that match fast broadband connections onshore, guests can be online 24/7, no matter what personal device they bring onboard. Guests can watch streaming video, check email, share images on social media and enjoy face-to-face video conversations – even in the middle of the ocean.
"Even when they are getting away from it all on vacation, people want to be able to connect," said Lutoff-Perlo. "Our satellite network will make things possible at sea that could never have been done before, and will make all the difference in the way guests share their Royal Caribbean experience."
In addition, Quantum's connectivity makes it possible for one of the SeaPods in SeaPlex to become a live global video gaming suite where guests can enjoy Xbox Live and compete with other gamers worldwide.
SMART Experiences: Shaking martinis and spinning screens Technology also powers surprise-and-delight elements on Quantum of the Seas. A brand new venue, Bionic Bar, is set to make waves with robots at center stage. Guests place orders via tablets and then have fun watching robotic bartenders hard at work mixing cocktails.
Robots drive another entertaining feature on Quantum of the Seas. Two70 is home to a playful and agile troupe of six Roboscreens that stage surprise performances during every cruise, creating scenes while soaring and twisting solo, or uniting as one.
Guests will also experience Vistarama, floor-to-ceiling glass walls that transform into an expansive ambient surface that projects any scene, real or imagined, including the multidimensional performance spectacle, Starwater.
Quantum of the Seas' staterooms are equipped with device-charging USB outlets, as well as energy efficient and environmentally friendly lighting systems. Interior accommodations are outfitted with Virtual Balconies that display real-time sights and sounds of the sea through 80-inch LED screens, ensuring every stateroom has a view.
SMART Service: Crew can connect better with guests – and with home The technology benefits of Quantum of the Seas extend to the ship's crew. Custom apps will allow crew members to keep better track of guests' tastes and preferences, allowing staff to tailor their already remarkably personalized service to an even higher degree.
Whether a guest prefers gluten-free dining, early show seating, or shiatsu massage, the features of the smart ship allow crew members to anticipate every need.
In addition, every crew member on Quantum of the Seas will receive a free, personal Microsoft Windows tablet with a suite of services and apps; they may keep the tablet. As technology upgrades are made across the company's fleet, every shipboard employee in the entire Royal Caribbean International fleet will also receive their own electronic tablet – more than 40,000 tablets.
"The Royal Caribbean men and women who provide such great vacations are the real heroes of our fleet and these gifts demonstrate our appreciation in a tangible way," Fain said. "This technology isn't only about giving our guests a better vacation – it's also about giving our crew and their families a closer connection than we've ever been able to"
SMART Sustainability: Cleaner and greener technology has played a part in making the ship more environmentally friendly, Fain said at the trade/press briefing. For example, sophisticated computer modeling was used to reduce the vessel's energy consumption with efficient hull configuration, engine design and energy saving devices.
The ship has eliminated the use of incandescent bulbs. All lighting will be provided by low-energy LED or fluorescents. Motion sensors dim hallway lighting when no one is present.
The 167,800-ton Quantum-class ships have 18 decks, carry 4,180 guests double occupancy and offer 2,090 staterooms. Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China.
Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries.
More information on Quantum-class ships is at www.royalcaribbean.com/quantumoftheseas.