Vicki Freed’s voice vibrates with excitement when she talks about her job. It’s no wonder – as Royal Caribbean International’s Senior Vice President, Sales, Trade Support and Service, she gets to share the good news about her company’s new Quantum class ships – Quantum of the Seas, launching in November 2014 and its sister ship, Anthem of the Seas, slated for arrival in 2015. Vicki barely pauses for a breath as she enthuses about her company, its achievements and all the improvements guests will soon be enjoying!
Q: What’s the most exciting new element being introduced on the Quantum class ships?
A:We’re the first to have inner rooms with large floor-to-ceiling screens on which we project an accurate ocean view. With these screens, guests enjoy a greater sense of openness and seasickness is no longer a problem. When you’re ready to sleep, you simply close a curtain to control what you see.
Q: Can you tell us more about the newly introduced concept of ‘Dynamic Dining’ and how it’s going to revolutionize the culinary experience for guests?
A: With Dynamic Dining, we want to give our clients more options, complete flexibility and full control over their dining experience. Guests can choose where they want to eat and whether or not they want to dress-up or down each night. With 18 restaurants onboard, 11 of which are complimentary, there are a variety of options for them to choose from each night. The five main restaurants that are included as our complimentary options are American Icon Grill, Silk, Chic, The Grande Restaurant and Coastal Kitchen. They each offer a delicious culinary journey that only Royal Caribbean International can deliver.
Q: What excites you most about your Next-Level Specialty Dining? What is it like to collaborate with Jamie Oliver and Michael Schwartz, recently named a Culinary Advisor?
A: I’m really excited to be a part of this culinary journey that Royal Caribbean is bringing to our guests. Our Next-Level Specialty Dining venues are designed to wow… and will certainly wow our guests! At Wonderland, we give them a feast for their senses by bringing imagination into their culinary experience. Jamie’s Italian will be absolutely delicious as he has designed a menu based on using seasonal ingredients that are sure to be crowd-pleasers. Michael’s Genuine Pub will be the first American gastropub at sea and Michael Schwartz has done a fantastic job as our Culinary Advisor. We are so happy to be working with him as he’s really taken a deep-dive and immersed himself in his new culinary advisor role. I cannot wait to see what he has in store for us!
Q: The Quantum class ships have some really innovative entertainment options. Can you tell us about those?
A : Absolutely! There’s the Ripcord by I-Fly, a really exciting skydiving simulator – it’s incredible. And I think the North Star is fabulous – an industry first. It’s a pod that extends above the ship and over the water – and it’s big enough that it can be used for a small wedding – just beautiful. What everyone’s talking about is Seaplex, our multi-use facility that houses a circus school, full-size basketball courts, bumper cars and more. It will be perfect for cooler weather sailings, and it has a real edu-entertainment emphasis.
Q: Having activities for guests of all ages is so important. What’s available for teenagers?
A: Royal Caribbean is really good with teenagers – all of our ships are crafted to keep kids loving cruising. As I said, the bumper cars will be a big hit but so will our zipline, our FlowRider® surf simulator, and the spa program for teen girls. We’ll have special teen facilities – not like a club for children but more like a hangout with couches, and play stations.
Q: Royal Caribbean is introducing stunning technology in Two70°SM. Can you give us a preview?
A: We have new concepts so innovative and so new they’re something no other cruise line will have. The technology we’re using allows us to change the appearance of the Two70°SM area so greatly that you’ll feel you’re in an entirely different place if you visit at different times of the day and night. It’s a lounge, a theater…it’s just stunning.
Q: Are there other stateroom enhancements guests will be excited by?
A: Our suites are particularly beautiful and I know guests will be very impressed with their size and ambiance. We have loft suites that are quite spacious as well as modular family suites that interconnect and work really well for multigenerational travel.
Q: What else will have that ‘wow’ factor for guests?
A: Our shopping! Guests will find brand new shops they’ll love. Then, there’s our entertainment, of course. We’ll have “Mama Mia”, “Broadway Musical”, great comedy shows, a jazz club – we’ll even have daily parades by Dreamworks characters. And the Music Hall – it’s all fantastic.
Q: From which ports will the two Quantum class ships sail?
A: Quantum of the Seas will be sailing from New York in the fall of 2014 and her sister ship Anthem of the Seas will sail from Cape Liberty, New Jersey in November 2015 on longer cruises to the Caribbean and then from Southampton in the spring of 2015. And we’ll have another Oasis class ship in 2016! There’s so much happening with Royal Caribbean that we can honestly say: “Every ship is our best ship.”
If you’re keen to sail on Quantum of the Seas, book now! She’ll be heading to China to homeport there as of May 2015.
Written by Liz Fleming
First published in Cruise and Travel Lifestyles Spring/Summer 2014