|Richard Fain, chairman, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., takes the controls at a Quantum of the Seas' bumper car // Photos on this page by Ana Figueroa or Royal Caribbean|
By Ana Figueroa
Last week, Travel Agent magazine toured the new Quantum of the Seas in a Papenburg, Germany, shipyard. While the ship is still a work in progress, we've created our own list of "Top 10 Things to Love" about the new Royal Caribbean International ship. Here are our favorites.
1. North Star
This first-of-a-kind attraction will feature a 15-passenger enclosed glass pod, which resembles those on the London Eye. The pod will gently lift passengers 300 feet over the sea. Depending on the ship's position, they'll enjoy ocean or port views.
|Richard Fain gives a Quantum of the Seas tour -- showing how North Star will tower over the ship.|
North Star is a complimentary experience in many cases. For a price, though, it can be reserved for private events or celebrations.
For example, the romantic at heart might consider reserving the gondola as a setting to pop the question or even exchange vows.
The North Star platform -- minus North Star itself, which is yet to be installed -- is shown in the photo at right; this was taken at Meyer Werft the last week of August.
2. Bionic Bar
Touted as the first “smart ship” at sea, Quantum boasts the first robotic wait staff as well.
Shown in the rendering at left, the Bionic Bar will feature bartending robots that take orders and special requests via smart tablets.
3. RipCord by iFly
The Sports Deck skydiving simulator offers an exhilarating wind tunnel free fall. Passengers receive “flight training” instructions before suiting up. The daring can sign up for advanced lessons and maneuvers.
|RipCord by iFly is a simulator that will allow guests to feel as though they're skydiving.|
4. Dynamic Dining
No main dining room, no set dining times and no formal nights means complete dining flexibility for Quantum of the Seas guests. Five separate “main restaurants” offer their own unique experience.
Old World classics will be on the menu in The Grande. Pan-Asian fusion will be offered in Silk, while Coastal Kitchen will offer a fusion of Mediterranean meets California.
Guests seeking classic American comfort food will find it at American Icon Grill. And for those who enjoy upscale contemporary cuisine, they'll find it in the aptly named Chic.
5. Virtual Balconies
The interior stateroom becomes a room with a view on Quantum of the Seas. Virtual Balconies display a high-definition live video feed of the outside view, as shown in the photo at left.
The virtual balcony's "sea view" (as shown in the photo at left) is displayed on a floor-to-ceiling wall screen that can be open or closed.
6. Bumper Cars
Not everything onboard Quantum of the Seas is high-tech and futuristic. There’s good old fashioned fun at Seaplex, the largest indoor activity space at sea.
Bumper cars (as shown in the photo at right) are expected to be a popular option for passengers of all ages.
The wall of windows more than two stories high is the center point of Two70. The immense lounge, café, performance space is part living room, part high-tech theater.
|Vistarama's windows and high-technology both will offer stunning views.|
Vistarama’s panoramic ocean views are impressive for sure. But when projection screens in front of it unfold, the windows become a stunning digital backdrop.
Quantum of the Seas' take on molecular cuisine is inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Inventive fantasy selections are based on five elements: wind, ice, fire, earth and dreams.
Passengers should prepare for flash-frozen ice cream, spicy tuna cones, sriracha eggs and elixirs that appear in plumes of smoke, such as in the photo at right.
9. Circus School
Another Seaplex feature is the cruise industry's first "circus school at sea."
Professional acrobats will teach passengers the art of trapeze. With just a bit of instruction, guests will learn to soar through the air with the greatest of ease.
Key cards are a thing of the past for passengers who’d rather not be bothered.
They can simply snap on their WowBand (shown in the photo at left) instead.
The royal blue rubber wrist band features a digital chip that opens doors and records guest purchases.