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CRUISE NEWS: QUANTUM FIRST REVIEW
High: The Two70 lounge works really well,
changing from a great space to relax by day
into a hip entertainment venue at night.
Low: Having to plan so much in advance and
book all your meals online. You can make
changes when you board and I expect the
system will settle down but I prefer a bit of
spontaneity on a cruise.
Best suited to: Families and younger cruisers
who will make the most of all the activities.
out where you’ve having dinner does rather
destroy the notion of a digital detox.
What I loved about this ship was the
connection with the ocean, something I felt
was lost on Oasis and Allure, where a lot of the
action is indoors. My favourite feature was
Two70, a stunning, three-deck-high tiered
space with an aqua, silver and pale gold colour
scheme at the aft of the ship, referred to by
Royal Caribbean as its “lounge room”. And
it really is; by day, you can read, chat, drink
coffee, graze from the all-day cafe, listen to
chillout music and gaze at the ship’s wake
through floor-to-ceiling windows. There’s
even a giant swing in one corner.
Everything changes at night, when giant
screens, the Vistarama, descend from the
ceiling, covering the windows. Super-high-
definition video of underwater scenes, clouds
and forests, so sharp and dramatic that it
would blow an IMAX cinema out of the
water, forms a backdrop for 16 performers
who pirouette on ropes and dangle from
trapezes. Yet more robots perform their
own show; six 2.5m “Roboscreens” dance
hypnotically to rock-concert-volume music,
with dazzling images shooting from one to
the next. At the end of the show, everybody
rushes down to the dance floor to dance with
There are more breathtaking views from
the North Star, a capsule that hangs from a
giant arm and lifts you 100m above the ship,
and 90 degrees out to the side. It sounds
simple but the views are stunning and the
adrenaline rush incredible.
Even the inside cabins have a view of the
sea and are the talk of the ship, with virtual
balconies, HD TV screens which really do
look like a normal balcony, with real-time
images relayed from a series of video cameras
around the ship.
There’s no main dining room on
Quantum; instead, in a new feature called
Dynamic Dining, you choose between 18
restaurants, some of which are free and
some of which come with a supplement.
Of the free dining rooms, I particularly like
Chic, very Celebrity Cruises, very bling; and
Silk, the Asian-themed restaurant. I have a
superb piece of sea bass in Chops Grille, a
Royal Caribbean classic, and some amazing,
gooey desserts as tasters from Jamie’s Italian,
the first seagoing venture from the British
celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.
At night, the ship buzzes. The Bionic Bar
attracts big crowds and comes with its own
DJ (human, not robot), while we like Boleros,
featured on other ships in the fleet, for its
Latin music and cocktails. Everybody should
see Mamma Mia! in the theatre; it’s the full-
length production, same songs, set, costumes
and script as the shows running in London
and New York, and is superb. The Music Hall,
a dance venue, is packed late at night (and
too noisy for my taste – that’s one of my few
criticisms, that there isn’t really anywhere
soothing to have an after-dinner drink).
Quantum will sail from New York for
the next few months before repositioning
to Shanghai, its new home. A few changes
will be made for the Asian market; Chic
will switch to regional Chinese cuisine,
while a dim sum corner will be added to
the casual Windjammer Cafe. There’s talk
of turning the Music Hall into an extension
of the casino. If you prefer the idea of the
original version, sister ship Anthem of the Seas
launches in April and will sail a European
summer season from Southampton.
Either way, these ships genuinely are
revolutionary, although I was amused to see
that I was expected to pay N1-C the robot
an “auto-gratuity” when I signed for my
cocktail. Some things never change.
‘Heaps of fun – but some
things never change. I had
to tip the robot barman!’
Royal Loft Suite
Jamie & Gennaro
Welcome to cruising 2015, a time
when robot bartenders serve the
cocktails, formal nights are making
a comeback and the buffet is giving way to
something much more exciting.
It is expected to be the year Australian
cruising reaches an industry milestone of
1 million cruisers.
Nine new ocean ships will be launched,
introducing 13,898 extra berths at sea.
Viking will become the first river cruise
line to enter the ocean cruising market when
it launches its own big ship.
Ponant is introducing some of the largest
suites aboard a luxur y adventure vessel.
And the Canary Islands is leaping into the
forefront as the ideal island cruising getaway.
These are just a few of the headlines
you can expect to see in the year ahead.
It ’s time to say farewell to a few old
cruising traditions and to welcome some
exciting innovations. For a start, cruise lines
have reinvented onboard dining.
On Quantum of the Seas and Oasis of
the Seas, Royal Caribbean has adopted
Norwegian Cruise Line’s diverse dining
concept by removing the main dining
hall from the two ships in favour of three
different venues with individual menus.
Multiple restaurants give guests more choice
and, by allowing them to make their own
bookings, no set dining times.
This “Dynamic Dining” concept will also
feature on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the
Seas and Anthem of the Seas (the latter to be
launched in April).
P&O Cruises is scrapping the buffet on
its two new vessels, Pacific Eden and Pacific
Aria. Instead they will have The Pantry, a
food-court-style venue. The two ships are
also getting a new specialty restaurant called
Dragon Lady, where the focus will be Pan-
Asian cuisine served in a sultry setting of
dark timber and midnight blue tones.
Once-popular traditions like formal
nights are making a comeback. Royal
Caribbean is bringing the classic night back
in the luxurious The Grande Restaurant
aboard Quantum and Oasis.
And don’t forget Cunard’s three
Queens are always up for a classical
evening. Formal nights are regular events
on all itineraries.
While 2014 was all about sushi and
Asian fusion restaurants, 2015 will have
a more Mexican flavour on some ships.
During Carnival Spirit’s $44 million
makeover, she will receive two Mexican-
inspired venues – the Blue Iguana Cantina
and the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar.
Meanwhile P&O’s Britannia, which
launches in March, will turn cruisers into
culinary experts by offering cookery classes.
(Turn to Page 78 to read our interview with
celebrity chef James Martin, the brains
behind Britannia’s Cookery Club).
P&O Cruises’ new
‘It’s time to say farewell
to a few old cruising
traditions and to
welcome some exciting
inno vations. ’
As 2014 draws to a close, Nahrain John gets out the crystal ball to look at the trends
and destinations expected to make waves in the coming year.
Cruise: the new cool
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