It appears that Royal Caribbean International’s new Quantum-class cruise ships will be the gift that keeps on giving! Apart from the prolific number of new ‘at sea’ attractions these cruise ships will feature, the cruise line has also now revealed a number of technological feats that will make these the most advanced cruise ships built to date.
Due to undertake her first cruise on the 2nd of November this year from Southamton, UK to New York, the first of three planned Quantum Class cruise ships, Quantum of the Seas, will be a pioneer of new technologies being phased into the cruise industry.
“This ship’s combination of ease and flexibility would make a yoga instructor proud,” says Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited Chairman and CEO Richard Fain, speaking to journalists at a news conference at the Meyer Werft shipyard where the vessel is being built in Germany.
Highlights aboard Quantum of the Seas will include an entirely re-vamped check-in and boarding process with passengers able to check-in online (which is standard in the cruise industry) but also upload a photo ID ahead of the cruise. They’ll then be issued digital boarding passes that can be presented in port, cutting the boarding time to less than ten minutes. In addition, luggage will be tagged with new radio-frequency devices that will enable passengers to track their luggage from shore to their cabin using their mobile phone.
With the delivery of Quantum of the Seas in November, Royal Caribbean will also introduce two new apps to help passengers plan their cruise. Cruise Planner can be installed on smartphones and used to book spa appointments, shore excursions and dinner reservations, while Royal iQ can be used to schedule activities onboard and avoid any timing conflicts. Royal iQ can also be used by passengers to communicate with one another onboard, although this feature will come with a yet-to-be-announced fee. Quantum Class passengers will also have the option of purchasing a US $2 RFID wristband to use for cabin access and onboard payments rather than the traditional cruise keycard.
The internet improvements introduced aboard Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, the two largest cruise ships in the world, will also be featured aboard Quantum of the Seas and her sister ships. Partnering with Ob3 Networks, Royal Caribbean will have access to satellites that will allow it to provide super-fast Internet commensurate with that found on land. Internet aboard cruise ships is notoriously slow and expensive, so this feature is bound to be popular with passengers.
Aboard Quantum of the Seas, all crew members will also be issued with their own Microsoft tablet computer, which they will be able to use for work and personal use. The tablets will help crew members track passenger preferences and will also make it easier for them to communicate with loved ones on shore. While Royal Caribbean has not indicated how many of the features aboard Quantum of the Seas will be introduced to the rest of the fleet, Richard Fain did confirm that eventually all 40,000 of Royal Caribbean’s shipboard employees will be issued with a tablet computer for work and personal use.
Quantum of the Seas will also be one of the most environmentally-friendly cruise ships at sea, with LED or fluorescent lighting throughout, which uses significantly less electricity than incandescent light bulbs. Cabins hallways will also be fitted with motion-sensitive lighting, so that when there are no passengers using them they will be dimly lit.
A more playful feature aboard Quantum of the Seas will be her robot bar tenders in Bionic Bar. Little has been revealed about the cruise ship’s vast number of public spaces, but in Bionic Bar at least, Cruise Arabia & Africa can confirm that passengers will order their drinks via a tablet computer and will be able to watch as robots mix their cocktail for them. There is so much about this bar that Cruise Arabia & Africa would like to know more about, will the robots walk and talk? Will they be more similar to R2D2 from Star Wars, or Robin Williams in Bicentennial man? (Artwork supplied by Royal Caribbean suggests neither, but we live in hope). Quantum of the Seas will arrive in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates on the 29th of May next year, so we wont have long to wait to find out first hand!