On December 20th, 2014, my family and I sailed aboard Royal Caribbean’s brand new Quantum of The Seas. Two years of anticipation had finally come to pass. My brother and I worked in the terminal the same day we sailed. Mom and dad boarded a few hours earlier. Finally the end of the day had come. It was time to board the vessel. It was time to experience this brand new ship for real. Of course the Quantum of The Seas is a gorgeous ship, but there were still a few negative aspects which arose as the cruise progressed. These weren’t just little things. They were negatives which “took the wind out of our sail”.
Every cruise begins with the check-in process. Seriously, the check-in process for the Quantum is an absolute joke. For the amount of planning and work it took to build the ship and a brand new terminal in Bayonne, NJ, I was hoping the check-in process would be just as efficient. Seeing 4,800 passengers waiting in long lines to be checked in by a roaming check-in agent, as opposed to waiting in a long switchback line, was just the beginning. As the day progressed, the crowds came in heavier than ever. No one knew where to go. Passengers are all supposed to have their own Set Sail cruise ticket. Passengers who show up with no Set Sail ticket are then directed to the check-in counter. Unfortunately, the counter had long lines of its own. At the time of the ship’s inaugural arrival, they said that the embarkation process from curbside to the ship would take ten minutes or less. Some passengers were forced to wait thirty minutes to an hour. Some fast embarkation process! There was absolutely no sense of direction, especially when passengers aren’t used to a new check-in process. Passengers will definitely be happier when the Liberty of The Seas arrives in May. Passengers prefer a check-in process which they are used to, not a process which is ASSUMED TO WORK.
On board the vessel, my brother and I finally got into our cabin. All we could do was let out a sigh of relief. As we looked around the cabin, we noticed some improvements….but we then noticed some disappointments right off the bat. We could not find an electrical outlet in the bathroom. We looked all over the place. We couldn’t seem to find anything that looked like one. We didn’t find it until the end of the cruise. It was cut into the ceiling of the bathroom, above the top shelf. Worst of all, it was the color brown, blending in with the shelves. Who would even think of looking in such an unlikely spot??? Oh well! At least neither one of us had to shave our legs. The most disappointing part was that there were no lights on the balconies. How are passengers supposed to enjoy their reading at night? Many enjoy reading at night. No lights on the balconies? I’d deduct some major points for that. What’s the purpose of a balcony when you cannot use it both day and night? It’s a no-brainer.
On day 2 of the cruise, we attended the Cruise Critic meet and greet reception. The emcee, Zach, the ship’s activity manager, shared with us some of the new events on board. Aboard the Quantum of The Seas, there was no “Men’s International Belly-flop Competition”. Of all of Royal Caribbean’s signature on-board events, no “Men’s International Belly-flop Competition”? Further, no “World’s Sexiest Man”? Even more disappointing, “The Quest Game Show” was not aboard the Quantum of The Seas. I started thinking, “This cruise is going to be a dud.” I was happy to at hear Zach say that the “Love & Marriage Game Show” was still being held. We were told that the ship’s staff was ordered not to have the show. But, when guests love a certain show such as the “Love & Marriage Game Show”, might as well do it. Like all shows on board, the “Love & Marriage Game Show” is a true classic. If anyone wants to see three married couples from newly wed to thirty years share their funniest of insights on stage, it’s a show to see. Keeping that show on sure saved the cruise.
Getting to the thick of things, the dining was an absolute horror show. Royal Caribbean introduced a new dining concept aboard the Quantum of The Seas, called Dynamic Dining. Dynamic Dining is supposed to replace the main dining room. Frankly, passengers are truly upset at the absence of the main dining room. I personally despise it. It was by far the most chaotic experience ever. Instead of walking into the main dining room at the time your assigned seating begins, you have to wait on a never-ending line outside the entrance. There were nights when the lines for all four restaurants stretched down the hallway and around the corner. There were passengers including my family who had reservations and had to wait over an hour to be seated. Also, the cutback in dining staff is part of the reason why the service is so poor. The promptness of service was not there. My family and I had to wait a long time for each of our three courses. It was truly a horrific experience. Royal Caribbean needs to seriously re-engineer or reconsider Dynamic Dining. It’s an utter disgrace, and a disservice to the loyal passengers who pay good money to sail on Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean cruisers do not deserve mediocre service at dinner time. Further, they don’t deserve to be treated like cattle and be badly neglected. Dynamic Dining, to be honest, is a tragedy waiting to happen. Royal Caribbean better be planning how to fix this debacle. Dynamic Dining is a monster undermining for such an incredible vessel that took 1.5 billion dollars to construct.
Every Royal Caribbean cruise is supposed to be fun. Every Royal Caribbean cruise is supposed to be memorable. Further, every Royal Caribbean cruise is supposed to be filled with experiences to share with friends and family back home. No “Men’s International Belly-flop Competition”! Not even “The Quest Game Show” is on board the Quantum. The ship wasn’t built for neither one of the two events. Ok, you have to cut Royal Caribbean some slack there. However, the one aspect where no slack is to be cut is the Dynamic Dining. It is the biggest mistake Royal Caribbean has ever made in its entire forty-six year history. If no changes are made anytime soon, this dining concept is going to hurt Royal Caribbean’s reputation big-time. Further, if they don’t properly respond to the passengers’ wishes, Royal Caribbean could very well lose its most valued of loyal cruisers. The ship is nifty…new things to enjoy…new shows to write home about…but the Dynamic Dining is candidly not worth the hype or the money. The cruise was great for the most part, but the dining was a “Dynamic” disappointment.