Aboard the ‘smart’ ship

On the maiden voy­age of this hi-tech ves­sel, Jeff Michaels sees the fu­ture – and a mar­tini mixed by a ro­bot

Sunday Mail - Travel/Escape - - CRUISE SPECIAL -

HERE’S sky­div­ing, a London Eye-style ride, ro­bot bar­tenders and Jamie Oliver for din­ner. On its maiden voy­age out of New York this month, the new Quantum of the Seas lived up to its prom­ise of “wow” fac­tor.

Billed as a “smart” ship, Royal Caribbean In­ter­na­tional’s first Quantum-class ves­sel is the world’s third-largest cruise ship. While size mat­ters – at 168,666 gross tonnes Quantum can ac­com­mo­date 4180 guests – it is the tech-savvy fea­tures that will make this a popular choice in a com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

The first new ship for RCI since it launched Allure of the Seas in 2010, Quantum stands out as much for its in­no­va­tive use of tech­nol­ogy as its new fun ac­tiv­i­ties. With wire­less speeds to match land-based broad­band con­nec­tions, smart­phones are likely to be a ubiq­ui­tous on­board ac­ces­sory.

A smart­phone app al­lows guests to eas­ily man­age all their cruis­ing de­tails, in­clud­ing track­ing lug­gage in real time so its ar­rival in cabin is clear. You can also plan shore ex­cur­sions, make restau­rant reser­va­tions and book spa ap­point­ments while re­lax­ing by a pool. On my cruise, the Wi-Fi is re­li­able and fast and I was able to chat on FaceTime with fam­ily at home with per­fect clar­ity.

Another handy app fea­ture is the abil­ity to stay in touch with fam­ily and friends on­board, which will end the frus­tra­tion of try­ing to find one another around the ship or co­or­di­nat­ing sched­ules.

A dig­i­tal wrist­band al­lows on­board pur­chases and ac­cess to cab­ins. There’s plenty of other in­no­va­tive uses of tech­nol­ogy, no­tably the Bionic Bar, which has ro­botic bar­tenders to make cock­tails by the book.

There is also an amaz­ing ro­botic show in the Two70 the­atre. Three-storey high win­dows trans­form into pro­jec­tor screens, the “ro­bo­screens” mov­ing as one to a catchy beat, in­ter­twin­ing with live per­form­ers and spe­cial ef­fects.

If that sounds too over­whelm­ing, take a seat at the Royal The­atre for the hit Broad­way mu­si­cal Mamma Mia. There is also the ro­bot-free Mu­sic Hall fea­tur­ing live mu­sic.

Built at Meyer Werft ship­yard in Papen­burg, Ger­many, Quantum of the Seas is 348m long, has 18 decks and cost a cool $1 bil­lion. There are 2090 state­rooms, in­clud­ing 28 fairly large solo cab­ins. Want an ocean view, but can only af­ford an in­te­rior cabin? No prob­lem – there are 375 cab­ins with “vir­tual bal­conies”, which is bet­ter than star­ing at a win­dow­less wall.

For fam­i­lies, Quantum of­fers up to three in­ter­con­nected cab­ins to ac­com­mo­date

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.