Quantum of the Seas is a state-of-the-art Royal Caribbean cruise ship packed with family activities. A family of four reviews their recent Asia cruise (and how Sassy Mamas can earn $200 in onboard credits!)
Wondering whether a cruise is right for your family holiday? This December my family and I went on a Royal Caribbean cruise on Quantum of the Seas and discovered a vacation that’s a perfect fit for the entire family.
I traveled with my husband and our two daughters (ages 7 and 9), and with heaps of family-friendly activities geared toward kids ages 6 and above, Quantum of the Seas has got to be one of the best cruise ships for families on Earth! Our ports of call for the 6-day/5-night Asia cruise included Port Klang (Kuala Lumpur) and Penang in Malaysia, and Phuket in Thailand. Read on for my full review, and find out how you can get $200 in onboard credits on Quantum of the Seas!
Getting on board Quantum of the Seas
Forget about rising at the crack of dawn to catch an early-morning flight! We arrived at Marina Bay Cruise Centre at the leisurely time of 10:30am ready for our cruise vacation onboard the Quantum of the Seas. Even though we wouldn’t be departing for a few more hours, judging by the crowd, we weren’t the only ones looking to board earlier to make the most of our time onboard the amazing ship. Who wouldn’t want to when you enjoy lunch onboard and have first dibs at checking out its extensive facilities?
Once we cleared customs and made our way towards the ship’s gangway, we looked up in awe. The Quantum of the Seas is massive, weighing 168,666 tonnes with 16 decks that can carry up to 4,905 passengers in its 2,090 staterooms and suites.
Staterooms on Quantum of the Seas
Our rooms were ready by the time we finished lunch. When we entered the first of our two staterooms, we all gasped.
The room was huge and had a balcony with stunning views! I nearly fell to my knees crying tears of joy! I’m exaggerating only slightly, but on our last cruise when our girls were just 2 and 4, we had opted for basic interior staterooms sans balconies because this paranoid mama was afraid they might somehow find their way out then tumble over the balcony panel. Since then, I had always hoped when our kids were older, we’d all go for a cruise while staying in a balcony stateroom. So here I was with our kids at 7 and 9, with a dream come true.
In reality, the balcony door can be tightly locked. The lock handle is too high for little hands to reach, and same goes for the balcony panel, which reached eye-level of our youngest who is about 1.25m-tall.
Most staterooms are twin-sharing but some can accommodate up to four persons. We were booked for two staterooms but our spacious balcony stateroom included a sofa bed and felt big enough to comfortably sleep four. Our bathrooms came with very basic amenities like towels, soap and two-in-one hair and body shampoo, so it was good that we brought our own toiletries. Our rooms also came with TVs loaded with cable channels, but trust us, you’re unlikely to be using it much with the many, many things to do onboard (more on that later!).
Select staterooms can be connected for families, and Royal Caribbean can also supply a crib and other supplies to ensure staterooms are baby-friendly, too. Click the link to see the full range of Quantum of the Seas deck plans.
If you’ve been on a Royal Caribbean cruise before, you’d know one of the highlights is the food. And on Quantum of the Seas, the choices are seemingly endless. We counted eighteen dining venues and of these, eleven are complimentary, meaning it’s included in your cruise package and you dine with no extra charges! The quality and selection at the ones we dined at were top-notch, too.
One of our favourites was Windjammer Marketplace, arguably the most popular complimentary dining venues on the liner and a huge buffet-style restaurant that’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner on the 14th deck. At Windjammer Marketplace you can eat to your heart’s content while enjoying superb views. The selection is plentiful and scrumptious. Here, we had some of the best thosai and most tender pork loin, and died and went to dessert heaven sampling cakes, mousses and pies.
Because of its wide variety ranging from international to Asian flavours, even our kids – who are picky eaters – could always find something they liked. There is even a dedicated kids’ corner with food particularly appealing to children – fries, burgers, fried chicken, sausages – so you can avoid stressful food situations and hopefully dine in peace, mamas.
Another one of our favourite complimentary restaurants was Café Two70, which is quieter in comparison to Windjammer and a fantastic escape from the hustle and bustle. The food variety is less extensive than Windjammer, but it still boasts around ten daily selections each of gourmet sandwiches, salads and fancy desserts.
The café’s name comes from its plum location right next to Two70°, a stunning performance venue by night and chic dining area by day with a 270-degree sea view.
For dinner, we all looked forward to dining at the ship’s complimentary main dining rooms – Chic, Grande, Silk and American Icon – on the Quantum of the Seas, and we highly recommend you do so for the fine dining experience. We were booked at Chic, whose three-course menu changes every day.
We fondly recall savouring bay scallop gratin bathed in decadent garlic-herb butter, and Steak Diane drizzled with truffle sauce at the elegant restaurant.
Kids can order from the same menu but a separate kids’ menu is available as well. Our girls particularly loved the minute steaks and ice-cream sundae.
There are five specialty restaurants onboard Quantum of the Seas. These are not complimentary, but provide an even wider choice of food and dining environment. We dined at American steakhouse, Chops Grille, and my husband and I could not agree on whose steak was more tender: my 9-ounce filet mignon or his 16-ounce (!) prime bone-in ribeye. But we agreed both were equally flavourful while our girls rated their grilled Atlantic salmon one of the best they’ve ever eaten.
Being rather picky eaters, our girls sometimes tend to get hungry in-between meals. If your kids like to snack, you’ll be glad to know there are also a number of complimentary places for the in-between meal munchies like SeaPlex Doghouse which serves hot dogs with a variety of sausages and toppings to choose.
Sorrentos, serving pizza and antipasto, was another one of our go-to snack places. And no fear if you have a snack attack at night, Café Promenade which serves café fare like sandwiches, is open 24 hours! We also helped ourselves to free soft serve ice cream near the pool area – this is the one time when we let our kids indulge in ice cream every day!
On days when you feel like avoiding the crowds and taking it slow in your room, you can also opt for in-room dining. Continental breakfast with basics like toast and jam is deliverable to your room for free. But if you prefer choices like eggs and sausages you can opt for American breakfast at US$7.95.
That said, we highly recommend trying in-room dining especially if you are staying in a balcony stateroom — there is nothing like relaxing in your balcony chair with your coffee and egg and sausage breakfast while enjoying the ocean breeze with a front row view of the sunrise.
Things to Do on Quantum of the Seas
There are activities galore (many of them free!) for children and adults every day on Quantum of the Seas. Take it from me, there is absolutely no time for boredom. Here were the highlights we enjoyed most:
- Swim rain or shine: Our children love swimming, so it was no surprise that we spent quite a bit of time in the indoor and outdoor pools, and dipping in the nice and warm jacuzzis. There is even a small wave pool for kids in the outdoor area, with movie screenings taking place at the outdoor pool at scheduled timings.
- Ride in the North Star: The North Star is a jewel-shaped capsule that elevates you 90-metres above sea level for a 360-degree view. We rode the North Star when the ship was docked at Phuket and we had a breathtaking bird’s-eye view of Patong Beach! There is a height restriction of 42 inches to ride the North Star, and you’ll need to be 48 inches tall to ride alone. Charges of US$8 per person apply
- Surf on the FlowRider: Another free activity onboard Quantum of the Seas is the FlowRider, a 12-metre-long surf simulator. There is, however, a height requirement of 1.32 metres, and to stand up on the boogie board, you need to be at least 1.47m tall. Our youngest couldn’t make the height requirements while her elder sister decided not to go at the last minute. But we did see other tweens gamely manoeuvre themselves over the waves.Instructors are on hand to teach you how to surf, and are nearby during your try but I couldn’t help having butterflies in my stomach watching the fast-moving water. At the end of it, I’m pleased to say I left FlowRider with a sense of achievement, having managed to stand and balance on the boogie board.
- Climb a 12-metre rock wall: Our girls love rock climbing and because this activity is free and the queue for it short and fast-moving, they went on the wall no less than ten times each during the cruise! Husband and I took our turns too and I must say climbing a wall on a moving ship is nothing like climbing on ground as the view and wind make it so much more exhilarating! You’ll need to be at least six years old to climb.
- Fly in RipCord by iFly: Our two girls tried out this skydiving simulator and found it very exciting! We felt very safe and confident as pre-flight instructions were clear and simple, and the instructor was in the simulator with us all the time. We saw many young kids try this one out and it’s definitely a fun one for both kids and adults. There is an age restriction of three years old for this. Charges of US$29 per person apply.
- Play Laser Tag: Laser Tag takes place at the SeaPlex indoor sports space at specified hours. Each round lasts 10-15 minutes (including pre-game instructions) and accommodates 16 people who will then be randomly divided into two teams before the showdown. This activity is free but is very popular, so the queue for it can get rather long if you don’t make reservations. We queued without reservations and thought it was worth the wait, however! You need to be at least five years old and 1.12 metres tall to play, and closed-toe shoes are required.
- Adventure Ocean is a kids’ club for children ages 3-11. Parents can drop their kids at the club and staff will keep them entertained with games, crafts and other age-appropriate activities. There are heaps of family activities scheduled, too. We joined in for a family BINGO game and science experiment demonstration. The service and activities are free, but post-closing late pick-up fees may apply.
Entertainment on Quantum of the Seas
You can find dozens of world-class performances on Quantum of the Seas during your cruise. I remember in our last cruise, my two girls could barely sit through performances. But this time, we looked forward to the world-class shows every night and everyone was thoroughly entertained. Our favourites were StarWater – a highly visual song and dance spectacular – and Sonic Odyssey, another impressive song-and-dance masterpiece that incorporates unique instruments. The performances are free (StarWater requires reservations), but do go slightly earlier before the show starts to snag a good seat!
There are also lots of free movie screenings taking place at various timings throughout the day at the Royal Theatre, including many relatively new releases. A number of them are even 3D movies, much to our kids’ delight!
Royal Caribbean Cruise Excursions
Be sure to disembark for excursions; after all, the beauty of a cruise is that you can visit multiple destinations in one family holiday. There are a variety of excursions you can pre-enrol for for each ports of call, e.g. in Penang, there were tours of hills and temples, and heritage attractions. If you prefer to explore the destinations on your own, you can also feel free to disembark and go free-and-easy.
Alternatively, you can choose to remain onboard when the ship docks and enjoy the facilities with thinner crowds, which was what we did at Port Klang and Penang. But we disembarked at Phuket as the kids had never been. Initially we were concerned the disembarkation process would be troublesome – given the size of the ship, it cannot dock at the Patong Beach pier and tenders had to pick up passengers from the ship to ferry them to the beach. But to our surprise, the process turned out to be a breeze.
We hopped onto one of the tenders, which came every 10-15 minutes, and we were at Patong Beach in about 10 minutes! Carrying photocopies of our passports and Sea Passes (they function like hotel room key cards, except they also serve as identification and for logging charges onboard), there wasn’t even a need to stand in custom queues! We spent a couple of hours at the famous beach and the kids had a ball building sandcastles and playing in the sea. The journey back was equally easy with tenders coming regularly to ferry us back to the ship. We were superbly impressed by the efficient, hassle-free process!
Cruise tips for families
Believe it or not, the above is really just skimming the surface. On Quantum of the Seas there is no lack of activities to keep everyone occupied. We haven’t even touched on bumper cars and sports like basketball and badminton at its SeaPlex indoor sports space. You can also try your hand at arcade games, the floating casino, trivia and quizzes, dance classes, scavenger hunts, karaoke singing, shopping at the promenade, and nightly dance parties.
There are plenty of activities for both the young and old but given that some of the highlights like iFLY and rock climbing have height and age requirements, families with very young children might not be able to experience the full suite of activities. But for families with children aged 7 and up like ours, our Royal Caribbean cruise turned out to be a perfect fit for a family holiday.
Other things to keep in mind:
- Specialty restaurants (excluding a la carte restaurants) collect cover charges, which cover one full course meal e.g. the cover charge at Chops Grille is at US$42 per person. Alternatively, one can purchase dining packages which are pretty worthwhile at US$98 per person or US$118 per person for three or four dining experiences, respectively. Children five and under dine for free, while those at 6-12 dine at US$10 per child. Gratuities apply.
- Smart casual attire is required for dining in the Main Dining Room and specialty restaurants. In other words, no slippers, shorts and vest tops. We enjoyed dressing up for fine dining during our cruise – it’s really part of the fun!
- A balcony stateroom costs more than an interior stateroom without a view, but having experienced staterooms with and without balconies, we think if your budget allows, do opt for a balcony stateroom to fully enjoy the cruise experience.
- Wi-Fi is not complimentary onboard. There are a few Wi-Fi packages you can purchase and the cost depends on the number of days and devices. Packages start from US$12.99 per day, per device.
- Activities and shows which require and/or take reservations can be booked prior to sailing and/or onboard using the Royal Caribbean mobile app.
Sassy Mamas who book a Royal Caribbean cruise by 31 January 2020 can earn a $200 onboard credit per stateroom! Enter promo code RCISASSY upon phone or email booking. Valid for Quantum of the Seas – Balcony Staterooms and above; applicable to departures on 22, 27 and 31 March and 4, 9, 13, 17, 22 and 26 April 2020. Non-combination with other promotions.
Our 6-day/5-night Asia cruise was the perfect length for a family cruise, although we were pretty sad to disembark at the end of it! Be sure to visit www.royalcaribbean.com.sg, call (+65) 6675 0414 or email [email protected] to discover your perfect family holiday!
All images by Vivian Teo