Cruise International Contributing Editor Deborah Stone reports from the Quantum of the Seas launch in New York
Royal Caribbean International WOWED the cruise ship industry when it revealed the stunning facilities on board its newest ship Quantum Of The Seas today, including a skydiving simulator and the opportunity to hang 300ft above the sea in its North Star pod – inspired by the London Eye.
“The North Star is amazing,” said the 4,180-passenger ship’s Godmother, American actress Kristin Chenoweth. “If I ever get married I’m doing it in that.”
The petite actress and singer introduced the ship to journalists in New York, saying: “On Broadway I played a famous fairy godmother in Wicked, that comes and goes in a bubble, but this time I get to go by sea!”
She will christen Quantum Of The Seas when it launches next autumn from its New York home port, Cape Liberty, but today she starred in a video of the ship created by incredible computer graphics, which Royal Caribbean Cruises Chairman and CEO Richard Fain said had helped them to dream up and test some of the ship’s fantastic features.
These include “the most spacious and luxurious staterooms in the fleet”, according to RCI President and CEO Adam Goldstein, and Royal Lofts that Chenoweth declared: “These are the kind of rooms a godmother deserves.”
They will be even bigger than on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships – currently the largest cruise ships at sea – with virtual balconies for inside cabins, and more studio staterooms for singles.
“There has been a lot of interest in these and some will have balconies, which is a first in the industry,” said Goldstein.
The ship, still being built at the Meyer Weft shipyard in Germany, will also have staterooms with their own private corridor as well as inter-connecting doors to make cruising easier for families.
“Multi-generation family travel is something we take very seriously,” said Goldstein.
However, the ship’s biggest wow factor will be its entertainment facilities, including an enclosed sports area for basketball, football, table tennis and golf, that is transformed in the evening into a bumper car rink and children’s roller disco. It will also be the venue for the circus school.
The 270 Lounge will have three storey-high windows to create a light-filled area with panoramic views for relaxing during the day, but in the evening the windows will become video walls to create an exciting background for the bar and backdrop for acrobatic performances. “World-class entertainment will be just another day on Quantum Of The Sea,” said Goldstein, who added: “The Music Hall is one of my favourite places. There will be two floors of cutting edge entertainment.” These will include live bands and a dance floor.
Details of the spa, gym and children’s clubs will be announced over the next few months, but Goldstein confirmed that Shrek and Barbie would be among the Dreamworks characters, and there would be two FlowRiders for surfboarding, at the back of the ship near the Ripcord by iFly skydiving cage.
“I have tried the skydiving and it is fun,” confessed Fain. “It is challenging, but if I can do it everybody can.”
But he admitted the Millennium Eye-inspired North Star was his favourite feature on the ship.
“I went on the Eye in London a few years ago,” he told me in an exclusive interview, “it dominates the skyline and that was something we were hoping to achieve on the ship. Everybody loves it, everybody feels comfortable and we were inspired by that and hope we do it justice.”
The Quantum Of The Seas will sail around the Caribbean and Bahamas from November 2014, with bookings available from May 27 for Crown and Anchor loyalty scheme customers, and from June 4 for the general public.
But if you want to get a look at the ship right now you can download an app for iPads and laptops from the Royal Caribbean website: royalcaribbean.com