Quantum of the Seas For China in 2015

April 19, 2014
RCL China

RCI China

Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean new build that debuts in November 2014, will homeport in Shanghai (Baoshan), China, beginning in May 2015.  The ship will sail out of Cape Liberty, in Bayonne, New Jersey, as scheduled before redeploying to China in spring 2015.

Quantum of the Seas will join fleet-mates ‘Mariner of the seas’ and ‘Voyager of the Seas’ in Asia, which Royal Caribbean says increases the line’s capacity in the region by 66 percent.

To ensure fans of the line will continue to have options from Bayonne, Royal Caribbean also announced Wednesday it would move ‘Liberty of the Seas’ to the port for summer and fall 2015.

Starting in November, Quantum Class ship ‘Anthem of the Seas’, which debuts in Southampton in April 2015, will sail out of Cape Liberty for the winter 2015-16 season. She will  offer cruises to the Bahamas and Caribbean for the winter of 2015-2016.

“We are very mindful of the importance of New York, which is why we are bringing Liberty of the Seas and then Anthem of the Seas to this market,” Goldstein said.

 (RCI/Colleen McDaniel)

Malcolm Says: Royal Caribbean clearly has a strong belief  in the growing Chinese cruise market. However some American  RCI fans are disappointed that there will be limited time in the United States to experience  ‘Quantum of the Seas’.  Some feel RCI is being a little disloyal to them!

It’s no coincidence that Clive palmer Plans to build his Titanic II in China – they love the movie and the ship. (See story above)

Emerald Waterways: ‘Emerald Sky’ Enters Service

April 13, 2014

This boat could not be more different to the likes of Quantum and Escape:

Emerald Waterways river cruises are a brand new cruise line with stylish and spacious ships, designed to ensure the most comfortable journey. They are the first new European river-cruse line for six years.

Their brand new fleet is custom-built to offer more space per guest than most other operators and to incorporate many spectacular ship innovations, unique to river cruising.

emerald-twiggy

On the 9th of April, Emerald’s first ‘Star-Ship’ – Emerald Sky – was christened by none other than British style icon, Twiggy. Think ‘Twiggy’ and words like iconic, trendsetter, chic and stylish spring to mind – the exact words we had in mind when we carefully sculpted our ships. So there really was no one better to appoint as Godmother of our revolutionary vessels, than the world’s first supermodel who set the benchmark for those who followed.

Emerald Sky is 443 foot long and carries 182 passengers. There are 82 staterooms ranging from two 130-square-foot single cabins to four 315-square-foot owner’s suites with a separate lounge area.

(Source: Emerald)

Web site: http://www.emeraldwaterways.co.uk

Malcolm Says: European River cruising seems to be growing faster than ocean cruising at present.  Emerald Waterways are a welcome addition.  Their boats have a number of features such as a heated  indoor pool, retractable roof and cinema, that are normally only found on-board ocean cruise ships. I hope to try them one day.

‘Quantum of the Seas’ is Floated

April 8, 2014
(Meyer Werft shipyard - RCI image)

(Meyer Werft shipyard – RCI image)

8th April, 2014:

Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, ‘Quantum of the Seas’, was floated in her wet-dock today at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany. (And RC have still not revealed all her secrets!)

(Two70 Lounge pre-floatout, click to enlarge – Meyer Werft image)

(Source: http://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com )

Below, slide-show:

Norwegian iConcierge Smart Phone App

April 6, 2014

MI-Iconcierge-01

Norwegian Cruise Line announced this week that the company’s smart phone application, “Norwegian iConcierge” is now available on board the line’s newest ship, Norwegian Getaway. Norwegian iConcierge has previously been activated on Norwegian Getaway’s sister ship Norwegian Breakaway, as well as on Norwegian Epic, and will roll out to additional vessels in the fleet by the end of 2014.

In partnership with Allin Interactive, Norwegian’s exclusive application allows guests to create a highly-customized vacation experience by providing interactive access to Norwegian Getaway’s on board guest information and service systems during their cruise, via the guest wifi network onboard.

“Norwegian iConcierge app has been extremely popular among guests on Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Breakaway,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian’s chief executive officer.

Android_iConcierge_v3

Guests who download the free application are able to conveniently interact with Norwegian Getaway’s systems from anywhere on board using their smart phone to make shore excursion, box office and dining reservations, view the ship’s Freestyle Daily activity guide and review their folio activity all from the palm of their hand. In addition, Norwegian iConcierge offers guests the ability to easily find and communicate with fellow cruisers. Guests who have the application installed on their SIP capable smart phones will be able to make and send unlimited calls and messages to each other while on board for a nominal fee.

” The Norwegian iConcierge app also features new ship-to-shore and shore-to-ship calling capabilities using a dedicated 1-800-number. For a low per minute rate, guests can now make and receive calls while on-board via the app.

Norwegian iConcierge is a free download and available through Apple, Android and Windows7 smart phone application stores. Norwegian is the first cruise line to implement this innovative technology across multiple ships, continuing the line’s history of innovation and elevating the guest experience.

(Image/Text Source: NCL)

 iConcierge  Downloads Here:

http://www.ncl.com/downloads/iconcierge

Norwegian Getaway Review: http://wp.me/PfRKD-2i7

 

Quantum: Still More to Come

April 5, 2014
(Meyer Werft Image)

(Meyer Werft Image)

Like many ship aficionados, I had hoped that Royal Caribbean’s ‘reveal’ about their new ship, ‘Quantum of the Seas’ on the 26th March would finally answer all of the unsolved mysteries. Unfortunately this was not the case.

This level of secrecy has been quite unprecedented, given the fact that RCL are already taking bookings for Quantum (October 2014) and sister Anthem (Spring 2015). Many RCL fans are so loyal they were prepared to book even before then knew about many of the on-board features and facilities.

RCL did reveal that Quantum will have ‘Dynamic Dining’ which is a system of multiple restaurants not unlike the Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) ‘Freestyle’ system. There will be no main dining room, but multiple dining rooms, with flexible hours. Now in fairness this was a VERY BIG reveal and a major change of direction for RCL, who have always favoured the one big ‘main dining Room’, with some alternatives.

If we look at the Quantum deck plans, it appears that there are still FIVE retail spaces and SIX public spaces labelled “More To Come”.  Now we can probably be pretty sure that these will not be more dining rooms. I think there are already enough of those.

Adam Goldstein has suggested that their will be a ‘Schooner Bar':

“Relax and enjoy the warm smell of teak oil in this charming nautical-themed bar. Signature to all of Royal Caribbean’s ships”

…and ‘Bolero’s’:

“Dance the night away to today’s hottest Latin rhythms in Boleros dance club. Sip a delicious and refreshing mojito or caipirina, or simply mix and mingle with all of your new found friends.”

This still leaves at least  four other public rooms. If we look at the design of NCL’s new ships, ‘Norwegian Breakaway’ and ‘Norwegian Getaway’ there are also multiple dining rooms, and multiple entertainment venues.

We already know about Quantum’s there venues: The Theatre, The Music Hall and Two70 Degree lounge. However they will probably will not accommodate the ships 4,000+ passengers. I think we can expect another major venue and maybe another minor one or two.

There have been rumours about a New York style Art Deco ‘Rainbow Room’ being on-board. I assume that this might be a dancing/cabaret room. However many of the rumours so far have turned out to been wrong.

NY's Rainbow Room

NY’s Rainbow Room

We are pretty sure that Quantum will not have a ‘Royal Promenade’ (internal street) as we know it, from the ‘Voyager’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Oasis’ class ships. However we have yet to see any rendering of what it will have. There are more rumours of a ‘Royal Esplanade’, whatever that is? Maybe it will have a water feature?

(RCI Movie grab - The Royal Esplanade?)

(RCI Movie grab – The Royal Esplanade?)

All we can do now is wait for the next reveal or two? Unfortunately I am not a very patient man.

Malcolm

‘Dynamic Dining’  The Dog House: http://wp.me/pfRKD-2vu

Cats Comes to Oasis of the Seas

Royal Caribbean announced today Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Broadway musical CATS is coming to Oasis of the Seas following the ship’s refurbishment in the fall of 2014.

cats-photo-for-web

CATS will replace Hairspray on the ship, the Broadway show that has played on Oasis of the Seas since the ship launched.

Oasis of the Seas will be going into drydock in while in Europe on October 2014.

Adventure Swaps With Explorer

Next April, Adventure of the Seas is being replaced on its Southampton sailings by Explorer of the Seas.  They are identical Voyager-class vessels, each carrying 3,000+ passengers.

Before arriving in the UK, Explorer will spend a month in dry dock during which she will be fitted with a Flowrider (surf machine) and a 3D cinema.

Explorer’s inside cabins will be equipped with ‘virtual balconies’ (a large LCD screens to simulate a sea view) and some of the restaurants popular on other RCL ship will be added.

(Source: RCI)

Beer Drunk By Doomed Titanic Passegers Served on Titanic II?

April 4, 2014

A beer served on the Titanic could be on draught aboard a £300million replica of the ill-fated cruise ship.

banner

Makers of Wrexham Lager hope to slake the thirst of passengers on Titanic II, set to be launched in 2016 – the brewery shut in 2000, but was re-opened in 2011.

Wrexham director Mark Roberts said: “We’ve been in touch with the owners and they’ve been positive.
“They have signed up the original brandy and champagne houses and we thought it was only right they should have the original lager suppliers too.

Wrexham lager is Britain’s oldest lager brew. The brewery was originally founded in 1882 by German immigrants(Ivan Levinstein & Otto Isler) trying to recreate the lager taste that they missed from their homeland.

“Wrexham Lager was popular aboard ships because it travelled well and kept its flavour.
“It was served aboard the White Star liners of which the Titanic was the flagship.
More than 1,500 died when the vessel sank in 1912.

Jonathan Gammond, of Wrexham Museum, said: “Some people say that Wrexham Lager was stocked in the bar on Titanic.

“Wrexham Lager produced a huge range of lagers under different labels and one source told me the lager on the Titanic was a ‘Munich-style lager’ that was brewed by the Wrexham lager brewery.
“Some of the last alcohol drunk on Titanic in the classiest last chance saloon ever was probably made just up the road.”

(Source: Daily Mirror)

Malcolm Says: Hmm…it’s a strange boast that it was the lager preferred by the ‘doomed’.  However, I do enjoy the occasional pint on-board a ship!

Virgin confirms launch of two-ship cruise line

April 3, 2014

April 2014: Virgin boss Richard Branson has confirmed the launch of a cruise line after claiming in a newspaper interview that he has already secured most of the US$1.7 billion funding needed for two ships.

CRUISE_1

Speaking to The National newspaper in Abu Dhabi, Branson said some of the investment has come from investors in the Arabian Gulf. Branson is believed to have hired Allen & Co, a small New York-based investment bank that specialises in media and leisure projects, to assist him in his search for partners.

He told the paper: “We will start by building two big ships from scratch and feel the Virgin brand will work very well in cruises.”

Branson said Virgin Cruises will be headquartered in Miami and the ships will cruise in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean markets. His aim, he said, was to “create a very different kind of cruise company” to attract those who would not normally consider taking a cruise.

“We have airlines, holiday companies that send a lot of people on cruises, we have a concept which is very sexy and hopefully it will be the kind of cruise ship I’d like to go on and the type my children will go on,” he added.

(Source: Travelmole)

 

In The Dog House

March 31, 2014
(RCI Image)

(RCI Image)

Royal Caribbean were not joking when they said their newbuild ‘Quantum of the Seas’ would have a Hot Dog ‘food truck’.

As part of their ne ‘Dynamic Dining’ initiative, The SeaPlex ‘Dog House’ will serve Hot Dogs and sausage in the ships sports complex, the SeasPlex.

The SeaPlex will feature the first bumper-car arena at sea, a circus school, enclosed basketball court, and a roller skating rink.

(Source: RCI)

Malcolm Says: It’s ironic that cruising used to mean the finest dining, yet ‘food trucks’ are as far away from that as you can possibly get! However it’s not a real food truck, it just looks like one. Anyway I guess the kids using the SeaPlex will not require fine dining. It’s certainly a bit of design-fun.

More about RCL’s ‘Dynamic Dining': http://wp.me/pfRKD-2ur

Britannia Breaks Sales Record

March 30, 2014
(P&O Image)

(P&O Image – click to enlarge)

28/03/2014:  Technical issues did not stop P&O Cruises achieving a record increase in bookings on Thursday, the first day of sales for its new ship Britannia.

(P&O Image - Atrium)

(P&O Image – Atrium)

The company saw an 81% rise in bookings compared to the on sale day of Azura in 2009, and an increase of 24% compared to Ventura in 2007, which was the company’s most successful launch to date.

The cruise line blamed the technical failure,  on “unprecedented demand”, which led to the “unusual” failure of all three booking engines.

(Source: Travel Mole)

Malcolm Says:See Britannia’s interiors below:

Norwegian of the Seas? (Quantum)

March 27, 2014
'Chic' (RCI Image)

‘Chic’ (RCI Image)

“Oasis of the Seas” was always going to be  a very difficult act to follow. Not only is the scale of this ‘floating city’ amazing, unique spaces such as ‘Central Park’, ‘The Boardwalk’ and the ‘Aqua-Theatre’ were combined with Royal Caribbean’s  innovations that have been tried and tested on the ‘Voyager’ and ‘Freedom’ classes.: the ‘Royal Promenade’ and the ‘Studio B’ Ice rink.  Royal Caribbean may have set the bar too high with Oasis.

Opinions about Quantum seems to be divided firmly down the middle: some are saying “RC have done it again” others are not so impressed.  I must admit that I feel a little bit disappointed with what I know about the Quantum class. (At the time of writing the entertainment on-board Quantum is still largely a mystery, so I cannot compare it with Oasis).

In fairness Royal Caribbean  have not set out to make the ‘Quantum’ class a mini-version of Oasis. The design is loosely based on the ‘Radiance’ class, but bigger.  Most of the features revealed, apart from the Flo-rider and Climbing wall are very different. For example: Quantum is designed for cooler climates and has an indoor pool , Oasis does not.

The big difference between Quantum and all of the Royal Caribbean ships that have come before her is “Dynamic Dining”. This means the one-big-main dining room has gone and is replaced by multiple dining rooms, with flexible times.

‘Dynamic Dining’ looks (is) remarkably similar to the Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCL) “Third Generation freestyle” system. NCL must be must be very flattered.  NCL invented it several decades ago and called it ‘Freestyle’.

The latest upgrade, “Third Generation Freestyle” is featured on-board Norwegian Epic, Breakaway and Getaway (with Escape and Bliss to follow). These are remarkable ships and I think their design finally convinced RC that a ‘freestyle’ system is the future of mass-market cruising.

(Norwegian Getaway review: http://wp.me/PfRKD-2i7 )

Any flexible dining system can of course benefit the passengers, although it does have it’s down side. It also allows the cruise line to introduce more surcharges for alternative dining. In fact I have always found myself with a bigger on-board account total at the end of an NCL cruise than at the end of an  RC one.

Having 18+ dining options on-board Quantum, unfortunately leaves little room for the ship to have many big “Wow” spaces, the sort  that we have come to love  from RC.  Every inch of the ship is full of restaurants, galleys and entertainment spaces. Double height rooms, tall atriums and big internal promenades become too much of a luxury in terms of space – and more importantly, they do not generate income.

You will notice that most of Quantum’s innovations (Seaplex, I-Fly and the North Star) are sitting on the deck and do not take-up any internal space.

I guess RC believe that have shifted the “Wow” factor on-baord the Quantum class, from large pubic spaces to the dining (although Two70 does look very impressive).

Curiously Quantum’s four main/large dining rooms (decks 3-4) do not appear to have many  windows. I do not see any big picture windows, for example.  This came as a bit of a surprise as the ship was coded-named “Project Sunshine”.

I have enjoyed both NCL and RC cruises because they were different. Now they are looking very similar.

AS for comparing NCL and RC’s newest ships: the big advantage of cruising on-board Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, over Quantum, is their lovely ‘Waterfront’ feature. Many of NCL’s alternative dining venues and some bars are located on a wide external promenade – so you get unobstructed seas views, with real fresh-air, while eating and drinking. (Designed for warmer climates of course).

(The Waterfront - NCL Image)

(The Waterfront – NCL Image)

In contrast Quantum looks to be a rather ‘internal’ ship, unless it has external features that have not yet been revealed.

I’m not suggesting Quantum is a bad ship. In fact she will probably be a great ship, but so is the ‘Breakaway’ class. I think the factor that would make passengers book Quantum over Breakaway will be how important the ‘gimmicks’ like I-Fly, Bumper-Cars and the North Star are to them. I can see these features being very popular with families, but they might leave us grown-ups less impressed. (Take a look at the poll below and see if the readers are impressed).

Don’t you think Two70 Degree lounge would have made a lovely main dining room?

Malcolm

If you disagree with me, please write and tell me!

*(At the time of writing Quantum has not been built/entered service. Not even all of the features have been revealed.  My comments  are purely based on what information has been released by March 2014. If I get to cruise on Quantum, I retain the right to completely change my mind and contradict everything that I have written!)


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