Sky-diving and dodgem cars – on a cruise ship! Sounds ridiculous, impossible even. But those are just two of the first-time-at-sea features planned for the next generation of cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean promised that their new Quantum-class vessels would have innovations never seen before on a cruise ship, and boy, have they delivered!
There’s even a thrill ride to whisk passengers 300 feet above the sea – it looks like a single capsule from the London Eye, on the end of a giant cherrypicker (below).
The rock-climbing walls, ice rinks and surfing simulators – all Royal Caribbean firsts in their time – appear tame by comparison.
The two new ships will carry 4,180 passengers each; at 167,800 gross registered tons, they are about three-quarters the size of the biggest cruise ships in the world, Oasis and Allure of the Seas.
Quantum of the Seas will be launched in autumn 2014, and will be followed by Anthem of the Seas in spring 2015.
The vessels are being built in a high-tech shipyard in Papenburg, Germany which recently completed construction of Norwegian Breakaway for rival cruise line NCL.
Only the barest of details about the ships have been released to the media in the months since Royal Caribbean announced they had started work on the project. That all changed today when Hollywood actress Kristin Chenoweth, who will be godmother to Quantum, appeared at the press conference alongside cruise director Ken Rush at the suitably futuristic InterActiveCorp HQ building in New York.
Quantum’s innovations borrow from attractions familiar at land-based resorts and theme parks, and are adapted from rival cruise lines.
SeaPlex, claimed to be the largest indoor active space at sea, will be a sporting and entertainment venue with an arena that will accommodate bumper cars and roller skating – though not, presumably, at the same time.
North Star is “an engineering marvel,
There’s also a circus school with flying trapeze, which if I remember rightly was a feature of Ocean Village’s ships and also appeared, albeit briefly, on P&O’s Ventura.
Royal Caribbean say Two70°, a threedeck-high room at the stern is a “revolutionary concept with magnificent 270-degree panoramic sea views through vast, floor-to-ceiling glass walls. The perfect setting to connect with the sea during the day, Two70° will provide a modern and comfortable living room space for guests to sit back and relax.
“As the sun sets and the lights go down, the space will transform into its evening persona, with spectacular, mysterious and unexpected entertainment, a combination of live performers, including aerialists, as well as breathtaking video and digital scenery.”
A performance hall and the hottest live music venue on Quantum class, Music Hall is the place for guests to enjoy intimate and exclusive access to live performances, Djs and theme night parties.
The ships’ cabins will be an average nine per cent bigger than those on the Oasis class. Even the inside accommodation will have rooms with a view. Borrowing from Disney Cruise Line’s virtual portholes, Royal is introducing virtual balconies with real-time views of the sea outside.
Also promised are studio staterooms for solo travellers, three junior suite categories, and more spacious loft suites similar to the two-level apartments on Oasis.
All this plus familiar features such as an adults-only Solarium, along with an outdoor pool, a new indoor pool with opening roof and a H2O Zone kids’ aqua park on the top deck. Not to mention the award-winning Adventure Ocean children’s program; the Royal Babies and Tots Nursery; and the DreamWorks entertainment and events featuring the characters from animated movies: Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and Madagascar.
And they haven’t even started talking about the restaurants yet!
Quantum of the Seas will be sailing from Cape Liberty, New York Harbour, on seven and 12-night cruises to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Bookings open to members of Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor loyalty programme on May 27 and to the general public on June 4.