I want to like Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas. I really do. I even wrote about her float-out recently in The Province. I have had several enjoyable cruises aboard the line’s other ships, like Grandeur of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas. I love their existing ships for their unique blend of new and traditional features, and I think they provide an incredible product at a good price. Although I haven’t personally sailed aboard them, I can even get behind Allure and Oasis of the Seas for what they are and what they offer to cruisers.
Every time I read about the forthcoming Quantum of the Seas, though, a small piece of me runs away screaming, heading off into the distance, never to be heard of again. Clearly, I’m not Royal Caribbean’s ideal passenger for this ship. The trouble is: who is the ideal guest for this technological marvel?
The latest news on CruiseCritic appeared like an April Fools Joke: Quantum of the Seas to Feature Lineless Embarkation and Robot Bartenders.
That’s right, kidlets: despite the fact my Windows 8 laptop has restarted itself twice today to perform “necessary system updates”, Royal Caribbean is entrusting a robot running similar technology to mix your drinks for you. Simply go up to the tablet PC’s in the Bionic Bar (note: I’m not making that up) and order your drink, and the robot will make it for you. No word, though, on what you’ll do if the robot breaks down and makes you a root beer float instead of a G&T.
Incidentally, you’re also going to pay for that drink like never before. Aboard Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean will be largely doing away with the tried-and-tested keycard entry system that is used to access your stateroom and pay for onboard purchases on nearly every other cruise ship afloat. Instead, you’ll wear a bracelet equipped with a Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) chip that will allow you to gain access to your stateroom.
It’s not terribly discreet – it’s big, blue, and emblazoned with the Royal Caribbean logo. I can’t imagine how the bracelet can be used to accessorize Formal Night portraits.
On a more serious note, I’m critical of the above because it’s actually going to cost you money, too – something Royal Caribbean calls a “nominal fee.” Traditional SeaPass keycards will also be available, which begs the question: did Royal Caribbean figure out how to charge you to access your own stateroom?
What’s more, Royal Caribbean is even developing an app to let you wring every last ounce of mercurial joy from your vacation. With Royal iQ, guests can communicate with each other while onboard Quantum of the Seas. That communication feature will carry an additional surcharge, but the ability to schedule things like spa appointments, shore excursions and dinner reservations will be free of charge – sort of. Those things, after all, also carry additional charges. You can even pick the activities you want to see each day and have your phone program a reminder for you, or let you know if you have scheduling conflicts. That way, you can bring all the excitement and pulse-pounding adrenaline of scheduling your work day to your cruise vacation experience.
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