Royal Caribbean Introduces Another Winner
I had my doubts about Royal Caribbean’s new Quantum of the Seas. I really did. When someone promises they’re going serve the moon up to you on a platter – even if it’s one of the most successful cruise lines on the planet – I tend to be skeptical. And there were promises aplenty: ten-minute check-in. The fastest internet at sea. Revolutionary new amenities. Plugged-in components.
Amazingly, in Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean has designed a ship that makes their existing fleet look positively frumpy. If there’s a single downside to Quantum, it’s that she’s so innovative she’s prematurely aged the Royal Caribbean fleet by ten years.
I arrived at the new Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal just after Noon. It’s a colossal improvement over the old “tent-and-building structure” that was just horrifying. If you hated the shuttle bus ride as much as I did, good news: it’s ancient history now, replaced with a modern terminal that has – gasp! – tide-sensing gangways.
While check-in wasn’t quite the ten-minute-wonder Royal Caribbean had promised, it was among the fastest I’ve experienced on any large mainstream ship, clocking in at 26.5 minutes from start to finish. Which is darn good. I should point out that I had problems checking in online, and that the time listed includes the time for the pierside staff to check me in. Your mileage may vary.
Once onboard – oh my. This is one very gorgeous ship. Quantum of the Seas is a colossal improvement over the Voyager and Freedom-class vessels. She is representative of the new Royal Caribbean, and almost no trace of the ‘old’ Royal Caribbean is present. The entire styling and décor of this ship is unlike anything that has come before her. The Royal Caribbean trademarks of the 1980’s and 1990’s – the curved staircases, Viking Crown Lounge, marble surfaces – are all gone, replaced instead with an elegant, modern look that wouldn’t be out of place in a fine hotel.