My wonderful wife invited me to the inaugural cruise of the Quantum of the Seas, which sailed from New York (actually, New Jersey, across the river) and into the Atlantic Ocean, November 18-21.

I love those “inaugurals”. Although their official destination is “nowhere”, I get to enjoy the ship, with its restaurants, and entertainment, in just 3 days. Of course I prefer full cruises (and next April we are taking a very awesome one), but right now I can’t be away from cell coverage and internet for more than 3 days, so this is perfect.

Besides, she gets to be the invited VIP and I get to be the guest, where nobody knows me, and there are no “industry insiders” (at least “my” industry) which is fun. She was even given presented with an 8″ Hexa tablet as welcome gift. Nice!

While this brand new ship is geared towards the “mass market”, it is truly spectacular, with technology playing an integral part. Let me list some of the highlights for you:

  • Robot bartenders. Yes: ROBOTS. With a cool screen that tells you which cocktail are they preparing now, its recipe, the average age of the people in the bar, what they are ordering, etc.
  • Bumper cars
  • Roller skating
  • The “North Star”, a giant glass sphere that hangs several feet above the ship, held by a giant crane arm
  • The full cast, production and show of the Broadway musical “Mamma Mia” (yes, the full two and a half hours of it)
  • The largest HD screen in the world, on the back side of the ship, in a room that transformed to hold concerts, shows, and special events
  • Several specialty restaurants, like Jamie Olivier’s, a Japanese restaurant with great rolls, Silk (Asian Fusion), Grand, American Icon, or the most anticipated one: Wonderland, full of creative and surprising dishes like the disappearing foie noodles.
  • A balcony stateroom that was quite large, with a very nice bathroom with a shower large enough to fit two people!

All this besides some other “more common features” in ships like this such as rock climbing, video-game arcade, library, a band that did excellent versions of U2 classics, a standup comedian, etc.

But, surprisingly the most refreshingly novelty of the ship was its art, valued at over $5 million. 2,980 original pieces by some well known artists decorated the whole ship. While it was not a daring, risky or even exciting collection (it was curated by a company that puts together commissioned “corporate collections”), it was a very welcomed feature, quite an improvement over the bland prints and lousy reproductions of other ships. I hope the industry takes note and makes this a regular feature.

So it was a wonderful experience, for which I am truly grateful to my wife, her travel agency and Royal Caribbean. Invite me again any time you want! 😉