I have an embarrassing admission to make. I have long harbored a secret (note I did not say laudatory) desire to be widely recognized by my associates as “the smartest person in the room.” It has taken quite some time, intensive therapy and, it goes without saying, a mountain of irrefutable evidence for me to arrive at last to a place of serene acceptance. I now freely acknowledge that the only time that phrase can be applied to me with complete veracity are those occasions when I step into a my hall closet to retrieve my wind breaker.
By way of stark contrast, Quantum of the Seas is indisputably “the smartest ship on the seas” six ways to Sunday. If you are unfamiliar with that idiom, basically it means “every way possible, thoroughly, completely.” (If you are a linguistic junkie like me, click here for a full explanation of why there are six ways to get to Sunday.)
As mentioned in my previous post, I was an eyewitness to the Quantum of the Seas reveal held in the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany on Monday, August 25th. If you would like to view the full-blown (full-blown as in the one-hour, twelve plus minute) version, pop some popcorn, pour yourself a giant root beer float, fully extend the Lazy Boy recliner and click here. It is very entertaining, actually. If, however, you prefer the Denton abridged version, succinctly summarized and meticulously hyperlinked, read away.
SIX WAYS TO SUNDAY
1) SMART Check-In
The process begins with entering all your documentation online at home before you even begin your trip (but after you have booked it with a travel professional). You can even take a selfie and upload your own picture. You will then receive digital boarding confirmation. When you get to the ship, you print out a boarding pass and a crew member simply swipes your passport and scans your bar code as you board the ship. The goal is “sidewalk to shipboard” in ten minutes.
Would you like to know more about the RFID (radio frequency identification) luggage tracking system that allows you to know when your luggage has been delivered to your room? Are you eager to learn about RFID WOW bands, i.e., wristbands that facilitate navigation of the ship and onboard purchases? Read More
2) SMART Concierge
Again, this process begins at home with Royal Caribbean’s newly updated Cruise Planner. Some people are spontaneous free-spirits that like to be blown along like a leaf on a blustery fall day. OK, that would not be me. I am more the type that gets very anxious just after lunch if I don’t have a clear plan for dinner.
Cruise Planner was designed for type-A’s like me who want to scope out the many dining options within “Dynamic Dining” (more about that next post), evaluate options for shore excursions and book my pedicure (just kidding, I am more of the full body massage type). But what about when you get on the ship? Someone should come up with an app for that. Oops, RCCL just did. It is called Royal IQ and it does amazing things. How amazing? Read More
3) SMART Connect
Anyone who has ever cruised knows just how frustrating an issue connectivity has always been on every cruise line, including Royal Caribbean. You could spend a nice down payment on a Harvard education just trying to connect. Of all these six ways to Sunday innovations, the one I am about to describe will undoubtedly be the biggest game changer of all.
Royal Caribbean has partnered with O3b, a fascinating company in its own right, to deliver connectivity that is several times faster with hundreds of times the bandwidth than has been possible in the past. This is done by means of a satellite directed beam that literally follows the ship along its route. This means you will be be able to stream videos, Skype, Facetime and perform all the other functions you are used to on land.
Before we leave the subject of technology, by way of an insight into the soul of Royal Caribbean and not just bits and bytes, Richard Fain announced that RCCL is giving every crew member on every ship in the fleet a Windows tablet amounting to over 40,000 free tablets! These hard-working folks spend months away from their families and these tablets, combined with the improved connectivity, will mean the world to them in terms of staying in touch.
If you want to be blown away (figuratively, of course), just watch this video. View More
4) SMART Experience
OK, fair warning. It is not going to be possible to treat this subject in any detail here. We are talking Two70, robotic entertainment, virtual balconies, North Star, RipCord by iFly, SeaPlex, bumper cars, roller skating, Bionic Bar and much, much more. But if you come back soon . . . I have always longed to have a repeat visitor . . . I promise we will explore both entertainment and dining in great detail.
For now I will simply mention that Two70 is one of the most amazing venues ever created on land or sea. The name comes from the floor to ceiling glass windows that offer a 270 degree panoramic view of the surroundings; windows that can transform themselves into giant screens. Eighteen 8k hi-def projectors will be able to create an amazing ambiance turning the room in a matter of seconds into a rain forest or a famous cityscape.
Are you ready to view another amazing video? View More
5) SMART Service
Royal Caribbean has always been renowned for their service but they are adding custom apps that will permit crew members to better accommodate guests’ preferences and peccadillos. Do you prefer gluten-free dining or your dry martini shaken not stirred (in which case you are having severe James Bond delusions)? Crew members are now equipped to cater to your every whim.
6) SMART Sustainability
One of the more interesting aspects of this category was the reveal that this will be the first cruise ship to fully use an air lubrication system where the ship literally floats on a tiny layer of microscopic bubbles which coat the hull and reduce friction. There are 66,000, give or take, light bulbs on the ship and not one is incandescent. They even freeze the garbage so it can be recycled upon reaching port versus going into a landfill.
Time has overtaken us. As I mentioned last time, all the pictures I took on my adventure can be viewed here. Until next time, travel safe. Your addiction to these spellbinding posts can be our little secret. Hey, you’re only human.