Posts Tagged ‘RCI’

Royal Caribbean’s ‘Sky Pad’

July 31, 2018

“Hop into the Sky Pad for an out-of-this-world bungee trampoline experience. Strap in, put on your virtual reality headset and get transported to another time, place, or planet. Whether you’re smashing candies in a sugar-coated world or travelling light years into the future, your virtual adventure will launch you high into the stratosphere and let your imagination soar”. (Royal Caribbean)

Sky Pads are being retro-fitted to some of RCI’s existing tonnage. ‘Spectrum of the Seas’, Royal Caribbean’s  first “Quantum Ultra” class of ship,  which will enter service in spring 2019, will also have one.


Spectrum of the Seas, Revealed

June 13, 2018


‘Spectrum of the Seas’ is Royal Caribbean’s  first “Quantum Ultra” class of ship and will enter service in spring 2019.

She will be the first of the line’s ships to have a private suite area. She will also get new features and dining concepts and more for its 4,246 guests. The ship debuts in Shanghai next June.

The exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the exquisite Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave at the forward end of the ship on decks 13 through 16.

Vacationers booked in these luxury suites will have special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge. In addition to a range of exclusive amenities, guests will have access to The Balcony – a private outdoor space.

The ship will get a three-level main dining room with 1,844 seats to serve a variety of Chinese and Western a la carte options rotating each day of the sailing. For guests looking for a more casual venue, the Windjammer Marketplace – 20 percent larger than those on other Quantum Class ships – will offer a wide buffet selection of Chinese and Western dishes, including noodles, pizza, Japanese teppanyaki and mini hot pot.

Other specialty venues include Wonderland’s Dadong, a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck dish; Jamie’s Italian by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; Izumi Japanese cuisine; and Chops Grille will join the lineup as well. In addition, the new Leaf and Bean traditional tea room and café parlor will debut on the Royal Esplanade. The spot will offer a range of authentic Chinese teas, classic coffee drinks as well as freshly baked Chinese and Western desserts and pastries. Also for the local market there will be an energetic karaoke.

Royal Caribbean will enhance SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea where families can enjoy bumper cars, roller skating and basketball – with new augmented reality walls and floors. Spectrum of the Seas will feature new experiences, including the iconic Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests will strap in and don their VR headset to transport them to another time and planet. (The Sky Pad will be added to nine additional ships.)

Spectrum of the Seas will also feature the Ultimate Family Suite, which debuted on Symphony of the Seas.

(Royal Caribbean)


(Courtesy RCI)

Malcolm says: An all-suites complex has of course been pioneered by the likes of NCL (The Haven) and MCS (The Yacht Club) and have proved to be very popular with guests and of course command a premium fare.

As for ‘one large main dining room’, this confirms the death of ‘Dynamic Dining’, RCI’s attempt to copy NCL’s ‘Freestyle’ dining system. However if RCI fans wanted an NCL experience they would have booked a cruise with NCL, NOT RCI.  I always felt that the ‘Quantum’ class felt more like an NCL ship than an RCI one, see my review:

Windjammer Marketplace (the buffet) will be 20% bigger,  which might suggest the other ‘Quantum’ Class ships have a buffet that are too small!  However the dining have been completely revamped in the move away form ‘Dynamic Dining’.

‘Anthem of the Seas’ review: HERE

RCI’s Project ‘Icon’ Mystery

May 3, 2018

Secret Ship

Royal Caribbean’s Project ‘Icon’ ships are still a bit of a mystery.

There was a time in the past, when a cruise line would announce the construction of a new ship and within a few months, we would have the renderings to look at and most of the details.

Today the cruise lines are so much more secretive. The details are kept under wraps for months, even years,  then slowly leaked to the media, drip by drip,  as the construction nears completion. We may not get the full specification of the new vessels until just before the ship enters service.  If fact booking may well open before all of the public rooms and on-board facilities are revealed. For a very impatient person like me, this is VERY annoying.

What makes it even more annoying is that Royal Caribbean have designed some of the most breathtaking ship afloat. I feel like a child who wants to have  his Christmas present is September, rather than wait until December.

I appreciate that big mass-market ships are not every cruisers ‘cup of tea’, but RCI have certainly pushed the boundaries in terms of on-board facilities and size.  The ‘Oasis’ class, for example, is a remarkable design.

Royal Caribbean first announced ‘Project Icon’ in October 2016. It is now May 2018 and we know nothing more than we did in 2016. For example: we still have no idea what the ship will look like or anything about the facilities on-board. Even people in the cruise industry,  have probably forgotten that that the  ship is even coming!


Icon: Low greenhouse gas emissions.

What We Do Know:

RCI  signed a memorandum of understanding with shipbuilder Meyer Turku in 2016 for the new class of vessel under the project name “Icon.” Two vessels will be delivered in the second quarters of 2022 and 2024.

Royal Caribbean later filed an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office for “Icon of the Seas”.

‘Icon’ is the first new ship class announced by RCI since Celebrity Cruises’ new ‘Edge’ class, which debuts later in 2018. (Also shrouded in much secrecy, for months.)

Icon  will carry 5,000 passengers  and will be around 200,000 gross tonnes. This suggests that the 5,000 passenger figure look like a lower-berth statistic. 

Icon  will be powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and will introduce the use of fuel cell technology, as used in spacecraft.  These innovations will dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

ABB fuel cell being piloted on a RCI ships. (Courtesy ABB)

RCI expect to also be able to operate using conventional maritime fuel as a well, for ports without the necessary LNG infrastructure.

RCI began testing fuel cell technology on an existing Oasis-class ship in 2017, and will also run progressively larger fuel cell projects on new Quantum-class vessels.

(Play within Youtube for larger images/text)

200,000 gt should give RCI plenty of room for innovative public rooms and facillities.

In contrast, the ‘Quantum’ class is  approximately 168,00 gt., carrying 4,905 passengers – all berths. The Oasis class is around 227,000 gt carrying 6, 780 – all berths. Icon will sit in-between the two, in terms of gross tonnage.

However, the arrival of these new ships may well see the departure of  RCI’s older tonnage.

Majesty has now been in the fleet for 26 years, Grandeur 22 years, Enchantment and Rhapsody 21 years and Vision 20 years. Although the life expectancy of a cruise ship can be 30+ years, in 4-6 years time, when the ‘Icons’ arrive, RCI’s older tonnage will look even smaller and even more dated.


So what is an LNG powered Ship? See Here

Update – The RCI unofficial blog says: The final concept for the first (Icon) vessel is currently being discussed, and the concept design phase is expected to start this spring. The initial building phase of the first ship will begin next year, with keel laying planned for October 2019.

RCI’s Passion & Pulse To be LNG Powered

March 24, 2017

(Courtesy RCI)

Royal Caribbean’s fourth ‘Quantum’ class ship (actually called ‘Quantum-Plus’ class) will be named ‘Passion of the Seas’ and will be delivered by Meyer Werft, Germany, in 2019.

Their fifth ‘Quantum-Plus’ class ship, to be named ‘Pulse of the Seas’, will be deliver in 2020.

It has been strongly rumored that both ships will be LNG powered, in keeping with many newbuilds form other major cruise lines, such as Carnival and MSC.

Royal Caribbean’s next class of ship, currently shrouded in secrecy, know as ‘Project Icon’ will also be LNG powered.

Quantum Class: Anthem of the Seas review HERE

What is LNG?

Using LNG to power ships is not a completely new idea. However to date, LNG use has been restricted to smaller vessels operating rather short runs. This is due to the large size of fuel tanks required and the few bunkering facilities available. However it is a new idea for cruise ships and certainly for a megaship design.

LNG is superior to pipeline gas in quality. This is because LNG is purer, has more methane as well as other energy content, and also because of its chemical structure since it has a stable composition. Its combustion generates no unburned residues, particulates or soot, and releases less greenhouse gas than traditional marine gas oil (MGO). Future maritime emissions regulations, especially in sensitive environments are likely to demand this. Perhaps the most appealing aspect about LNG is that under the right operating conditions it can reduce fuel costs.

In addition, using  LNG can double the maintenance intervals, because the gas is so clean,  ship owners may get  25,000 hours between maintenance intervals, maybe more, opposed to 12,500 hours with standard fuel.

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Viking Grace, LNG Ferry

Here is an interesting example: VIKING GRACE is a European passenger ferry (2013, 57,000gt, STX, Finland) powered by LNG. Gas take up more space than fuel-oil. In fact six times more space. Therefore large tanks for the gas are located on deck, of the ferry, to save space in the hull (See image above).

However the renderings of  Carnival’s newbuilds do not appear to have LNG storage tanks on the deck.

(Source unknown)

(Source unknown)

LNG cruise ship ‘concepts’ have been around a long time. The renderings below are a design by Wärtsilä, the marine engine company.

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

(Image courtesy of Wärtsilä)

Interestingly the concept ship uses drive shaft technology, rather than pods. The LNG tans are located internally, below the funnel area.


( Wärtsilä)

The engines on-board the new Carnival ships will not exclusively be powered by LNG, but will be ‘dual fuel’ being capable of burring both LNG and liquid fuel, and combinations of both at the same time. burning exclusively LNG could be saved for environmentally sensitive areas. This would reduce the fuel storage space required.


Beauty & The Beast

December 12, 2015

Many of my readers enjoy smaller ships. They enjoy their  intimacy and often prefer the aesthetics of smaller (often older) ships to todays floating apartment blocks.

I found this picture below, of two lovely ship models, to illustrate the point:


The apartment block in question is ‘Oasis of the seas’.  The smaller ship is the legendary ‘SS United States’ Ocean Liner.

Now I don’t doubt the achievement and facilities that Oasis represents. However in terms of aesthetics the SS United States wins hands down. She is a machine of beauty and the fastest Ocean Liner ever built.

‘Oasis of the seas’ is of course extremely successful, while the ‘SS United States’ is in lay-up, slowly rusting away. Over the years, she has regularly faced the prospects of being scrapped.

I love both ships.

You can find my review of  ‘Oasis’ and material about the ‘SS united States,’ on this site, if you want to know more about either ship.