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Hoopster95

QUANTUM Dec 1-11, 2014 REVIEW w/lots of photos

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Hey CC family!

 

As promised, I'll be posting a gazillion photos and review of my Q sailing. I see LoutheGlue already has a bunch of photos and specifically all the compasses in a really nice order for everyone, so I am going to save my Photobucket bandwidth for many more incredible photos to share with you.

 

Here's a few teasers of my "home-made" pics and what you can look forward to if you book Q... or Anthem next year. The first photo is quite rare as the bow of the ship is not accessible to the public... I am there via the "All Access Tour", the only tour that will allow access through the crew quarters and onto the front of the ship.

 

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Bottom Line... I had a AWESOME time on this unreal ship. I have almost 3000 pics and about 100 videos I have to go through, so bear with me over the next few weeks as I go through the 11 day sailing.... I hope you'll enjoy following along :D

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5-6 months ago I had been looking at options to sail a short getaway in late Nov or Dec, and had been originally looking at the Allure, Grandeur, Brilliance & Vision itineraries.... then BAM! the announcement that Q was redeployed to China. The very next day after the announcement, and as I was searching through the other itineraries/ships/prices, I crazily looked up the Q sailings. Out of all itineraries from Nov-Jan, there were only 2 SI solo cabins available, luckily for this Southern Caribbean sailing as I was not going to spend this kind of money for a Cape Canaveral/Nassau itinerary! I put the cabin on hold... within 2 hours the other final SI was also gone and I did not see one come up available again at all for this sailing.

 

Q didn't interest me at first, like Oasis, the $ needed to book was to overpriced for my liking. I waited 4 years for Oasis and could do the same again for Q.... but the chances of her coming back from China in the same condition as when she left North America anytime soon will likely not happen. Many of the public spaces will already be changed for the Asian market in only 6 months (ie. the entire Music Hall, both up and down, is to supposedly be converted to more Casino and shops). I thought this was my only chance to sail her and really see what all the hype was about, so I booked.

 

As a pre-summary of my cruise, here are some basic thoughts;

 

  • Dynamic Dining is a hit for me. It worked seamlessly. I was able to change appointments any time and link with others who invited me to sit with them. As a solo, I was able to sit with others every night that I wished. Not only that, I give the free venues (except American Icon for me) a nod over most all other MDRs on all the ships I've been on the past few years.
  • The crew works their a$$es off. The wait staff in all venues did not treat me any differently because I did not know them from the night before. Excellent personal service and attention everywhere. The activity staff (ie. FloRider, Circus School, RipCord, etc) were the best ever on any ship, the absolute most attentive to on hands helping participants instead of just watching on the side and waving the next sucker to go through on their own. Reyno and Mario were constantly busy in the CL, and always with a smile and eager to help whoever had an issue in front of them.
  • Like when I met him on Vision, Capt Srecko made a point of visiting the DL and CL every morning and evening, and being seen around the ship. It was commented by several in the CL that they had never seen a Capt so much in all their sailings. Well done Capt. Srecko!
  • The ship itself it outrageously beautiful, sleek modern lines, the interior spaces knock the socks off all other classes.
  • NorthStar, RipCord, The Seaplex with bumper cars, roller skating,etc were extremely well attended with heavy line-ups at times... these are not fads folks, fantastic activities and so much fun.
  • Imo Two70 is a HUGE improvement over any Viking Crown
  • Entertainment (Mama Mia, Starwater, Beatlemania, Horizons, the Latin band in Boleros....) all top notch, collectively better than any other of my sailings so far

Ok, was everything perfect? Of course not. Is every single other ship perfect? Of course not. Have we heard about issues on other ships like bad service at guest relations, a bad meal at Chops, a disgruntled stateroom attendant, etc etc etc.... YES, tons, seemingly daily on various ships on this forum!!! Happens on all ships, and it did here on Q as well. The issues I personally encountered and heard first hand from other D+'s and Pinnacles had absolutely no bearing on Dynamic Dining, the flow of the ship, the lack of training, etc.... they were all issues that already happen on other ships as well.

 

As a final thought, the activity manager (Zach) quoted the higher ups right at the beginning of our Meet&Mingle in front of over 300 CC'ers in saying that the inspiration of this ship came from Radiance Class in combination with Solstice Class, of course with several new enhancements/amenities such as North Star. Several of us on these boards months ago before Q even came out of the dockyard equated Q class to an "cold" weather ship and perhaps somewhat of the "new" Radiance Class offering. Couldn't be more true in my eyes, and was proven very well to be the case on this sailing with not the greatest weather (cold) for a good portion of the sailing. And I was guessing a few months ago that Q could be incredible for the Alaska itinerary.. imo this is absolutely true, Q would be a sell-out weekly at huge prices in Alaska

 

Now on to the full review :D

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5-6 months ago I had been looking at options to sail a short getaway in late Nov or Dec, and had been originally looking at the Allure, Grandeur, Brilliance & Vision itineraries.... then BAM! the announcement that Q was redeployed to China. The very next day after the announcement, and as I was searching through the other itineraries/ships/prices, I crazily looked up the Q sailings. Out of all itineraries from Nov-Jan, there were only 2 SI solo cabins available, luckily for this Southern Caribbean sailing as I was not going to spend this kind of money for a Cape Canaveral/Nassau itinerary! I put the cabin on hold... within 2 hours the other final SI was also gone and I did not see one come up available again at all for this sailing.

 

Q didn't interest me at first, like Oasis, the $ needed to book was to overpriced for my liking. I waited 4 years for Oasis and could do the same again for Q.... but the chances of her coming back from China in the same condition as when she left North America anytime soon will likely not happen. Many of the public spaces will already be changed for the Asian market in only 6 months (ie. the entire Music Hall, both up and down, is to supposedly be converted to more Casino and shops). I thought this was my only chance to sail her and really see what all the hype was about, so I booked.

 

As a pre-summary of my cruise, here are some basic thoughts;

 

  • Dynamic Dining is a hit for me. It worked seamlessly. I was able to change appointments any time and link with others who invited me to sit with them. As a solo, I was able to sit with others every night that I wished. Not only that, I give the free venues (except American Icon for me) a nod over most all other MDRs on all the ships I've been on the past few years.
  • The crew works their a$$es off. The wait staff in all venues did not treat me any differently because I did not know them from the night before. Excellent personal service and attention everywhere. The activity staff (ie. FloRider, Circus School, RipCord, etc) were the best ever on any ship, the absolute most attentive to on hands helping participants instead of just watching on the side and waving the next sucker to go through on their own. Reyno and Mario were constantly busy in the CL, and always with a smile and eager to help whoever had an issue in front of them.
  • Like when I met him on Vision, Capt Srecko made a point of visiting the DL and CL every morning and evening, and being seen around the ship. It was commented by several in the CL that they had never seen a Capt so much in all their sailings. Well done Capt. Srecko!
  • The ship itself it outrageously beautiful, sleek modern lines, the interior spaces knock the socks off all other classes.
  • NorthStar, RipCord, The Seaplex with bumper cars, roller skating,etc were extremely well attended with heavy line-ups at times... these are not fads folks, fantastic activities and so much fun.
  • Imo Two70 is a HUGE improvement over any Viking Crown
  • Entertainment (Mama Mia, Starwater, Beatlemania, Horizons, the Latin band in Boleros....) all top notch, collectively better than any other of my sailings so far

Ok, was everything perfect? Of course not. Is every single other ship perfect? Of course not. Have we heard about issues on other ships like bad service at guest relations, a bad meal at Chops, a disgruntled stateroom attendant, etc etc etc.... YES, tons, seemingly daily on various ships on this forum!!! Happens on all ships, and it did here on Q as well. The issues I personally encountered and heard first hand from other D+'s and Pinnacles had absolutely no bearing on Dynamic Dining, the flow of the ship, the lack of training, etc.... they were all issues that already happen on other ships as well.

 

As a final thought, the activity manager (Zach) quoted the higher ups right at the beginning of our Meet&Mingle in front of over 300 CC'ers in saying that the inspiration of this ship came from Radiance Class in combination with Solstice Class, of course with several new enhancements/amenities such as North Star. Several of us on these boards months ago before Q even came out of the dockyard equated Q class to an "cold" weather ship and perhaps somewhat of the "new" Radiance Class offering. Couldn't be more true in my eyes, and was proven very well to be the case on this sailing with not the greatest weather (cold) for a good portion of the sailing. And I was guessing a few months ago that Q could be incredible for the Alaska itinerary.. imo this is absolutely true, Q would be a sell-out weekly at huge prices in Alaska

 

Now on to the full review :D

can't wait for your pics and review!....K.O.:)

 

t

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I always try to spend a day pre or post cruise at whatever the embarkation city is, and there's no better city than NYC to visit! I flew Red Eye non-stop from Vancouver to JFK on Cathay Pacific (superb carrier buy the way) with excellent leg room even in economy class and was able to sleep pretty much the whole way.

 

The customs line was long at JFK as we were the first jet in the international terminal 7, and of course with the many Asians on board from the originating city (Hong Kong) and only 2 TSA officers to start the day (6am on a Sunday on Thanksgiving weekend no less... well, you guessed it, a very long line and delays getting out of the airport. I was out of the TSA line-up and luggage in hand about 7:10am (about an hour)

 

I had planned to get the NYCAirporter, and it worked perfectly both pre and post cruise. For $16 it leaves every half hour from JFK dropping off an hour later at Grand Central Station, Bryant Park and Penn. With my hotel just a block from Grand Central, that's where I got off.

 

I've stayed at the Roosevelt on Madison & 45th twice before and will never go to another hotel unless there's a deal I can't refuse... beautiful place, great rooms, excellent staff, super convenient 1 block from Grand Central. Less than a 7-8 block walk to Times Square, Empire, Central Park, etc etc. They had my room ready fro me when I arrived at front desk at about 8:45, so I was able to drop off and lock up all my bags and valuables rather than leave them with the bell hops. I also got to chill out a bit in the room before site seeing for the day.

 

At 9:15am I headed out to Grand Central. For those of you who have never been to Manhattan, the Subway is so very easy and the only way to go when getting around. Having been to NYC only twice before, it was easy for me to remember exactly where to go and what to do, it's not at all difficult. I was heading for the Statue of Liberty Ferries in Battery Park and normally the #5 or #6 is a direct line, but because of track maintenance in Lower Manhattan I had to get off at 14th Street and transfer to the R line which dropped me off right in front of the Staten Island Ferry Building. I walked along the promnade, taking photos along the way, and I made my 10:30am scheduled appointment arrival at the Ferries with plenty of time (in fact, they let me on early at about 10:15am) and away I went!!!

 

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I had booked way ahead of time (due to selling out months in advance) the Crown Access ticket to the very top of the Statue of Liberty. This was a bucket list thing to do for me... I was not disappointed! Up I went to the pedestal level which is open to everyone who visits Lady Liberty

 

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At the entrance to go to the crown I had to give up my audio tour equipment before entering the very very thin, high, revolving/rotating staircase that winds it's way up to the crown. Note that there are plenty of lockers to store handbags and belongings at ground level as the guards there absolutely do not let you through to the top with anything extra. Getting to the top for those of you with mobility issues is impossible unfortunately as there is just no space for wheelchairs etc.

 

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From what I could tell, tickets for the crown access sold out approx 3 1/2 months prior to the date, you just cannot fit enough people up there to support huge crowds as you will see in the photos coming up, so access is truly limited... yet the cost isn't that much more than the regular ticket. I totally recommend this as a must do activity.

 

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Here's the Verazzano Bridge off in the distance looking past Lady Liberty's arm

 

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As mentioned, there's no way for non-mobile people to get up there. There is an emergency elevator on the side that gets you close to the top but not all the way. Note how high the steps are and how tight the turns around the stairs. There's a total of 377 steps to get up to the crown.

 

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From the crown, the pedestal, the base and all over the park I took a ton of photos. The museum is interesting and you should go through it to see the history of the Statue. I spent some time admiring the view and then headed off to Ellis Island. The Crown ticket, as it did at Lady Liberty, provided a free audio tour here as well so it's great value in my opinion rather than paying as you go. I had been here before so I spent1 1/2 hours here (you can spend easily a whole day at both Liberty & Ellis combined) before heading back to Manhattan.

 

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Once off the Ferries I walked up to the World Trade Center, passing by the infamous Ladder Co.10 Firehall to the Memorial fountains. I did not have time to visit the newly opened 9/11 Museum and memorial but will 110% make time for it the next time. I had time to reflect at the Memorial and pay my moment of respect as I had done the last couple of times I had been at the site.

 

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I finished the afternoon with a visit to St. Paul's chapel and Trinity Church, through Wall Street, and out all the way to the South Street Seaport. I also made my way up to the Brooklyn Bridge to find my way back to the subway (that's a long walk!!!). Finding the subway, I headed back to the hotel in order to rest for a bit before I headed out for the evening.

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I had tickets to the Knicks vs. Heat, my very first visit to MSG ever!!! I was stoked... Carmelo was back in the line-up and hopefully I would see a decent game. But first, what is a visit to NYC without at least a walk through Times Square??? So from my hotel is a direct 5 block walk down 45th Street to 7th Ave and all the bright lights.

 

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After about a 1/2 hour walking around, watching the street entertainers and people watching big time, I walked down 7th Ave to get to MSG. I had pre-purchased seats on-line, 3rd row 200 level as I did not feel like spending the $300-$700 per seat needed to be in the lower levels in decent seats! Here is my view of the game. Cindy Lauper sang the anthem and she was incredibly (and surprisingly to me) excellent.

 

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The game was utterly horrible! LOL!! As per my screen name, I'm an ex hoops player & coach. Check out the final stats below, specifically the Knick's FG% and 3PT%... unbelievable. Horrible horrible game, but I tell you I still had fun talking with a few New Yoika's around me, eating MSG food and just plain having a good time.

 

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After the game my intention was to walk back directly to the hotel to get to bed by strolling up 33rd Street to the Empire State Building and taking a few photos from street level, then heading directly up 5th Ave to get to my hotel to get to bed. Approaching the entrance to Empire at about 11pm I noticed there were still a few people milling about, so I entered. I asked the guard attendant if the observation decks were open and he said "Yes, until 2am"... WOW! What the hell, I took out my wallet and up I went. I had been to both Empire and The Rock in daylight, but I had never seen Manhattan before in the darkness of night with all the lights so now I was catching a second wind and getting very excited. There was maybe 15-20 people alongside me going up. Zero line-up at floor 80 where the museum is and the normally huge "Disneyland style" winding line-ups. I did read and look through a few of the exhibits that caught my eye. I also head the audio tour headset which is also very good here, and then went up the 2nd elevator to the 86th floor on the observation deck. NYC is gorgeous at night, and without professional equipment my photos just do not do the view justice.

 

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If you decide to visit Empire this late at night in December, bring lots of warm clothing! I was prepared with toque & scarf anyways, wearing layered clothing during the day as it was very cold. The wind up cold up there was chilling, you had to go inside a couple of times to get warm, and then brave the wind again when stepping out. Totally worth the cost and cold... a superb end to a great 1st day visiting this awesome city. It was time to go and get some sleep. I got back to the hotel just after 12:30am and went straight to bed... It's Quantum time tomorrow!!

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Love your first photo - can't wait for more :)

 

Lol :D Ya, I have that exact same photo on several helipads. The gentleman who took it did it in one take! I don't know how he managed that one... Awesome

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Interesting reading. I can't wait until you start reviewing the Quantum in detail. I'm so glad that you liked dd.

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I slept like a rock!!! After a super busy day I really needed that sleep. So I prepared for a very exciting day ahead of me. After a quick small breakfast, I headed out of the hotel to find my driver from Carmel Limo who had also just arrived curbside at 9:30am... perfect timing. It wasn't a limo but a 4-door Nissan Altima, no matter a private car to get me there easily was all I wanted so no worries.

 

We made it to Bayonne in just over 1/2 an hour so I was early for my appointment time (10:45-11:15). This was my first view of the new Terminal and Q hiding behind!

 

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I was also able to snap off a shot inside the terminal just before one of the reps quickly said "no photos". Basically you see the people with luggage directly in front of me, they are speaking to RCL reps with hand held devices checking us in, you then proceed directly to the security screening just ahead. Once you pass that, you sit and wait to get on!... unless of course you come right at your boarding time and you just go right through to the gangway. Seriously, from entering the building, to snapping the photo, to waiting 30sec for the next rep, for her to check me in and confirm my photo/details/"no ebola" questions were all done, and get through the screening maybe took 10 minutes tops. Very very easy and smooth.

 

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They ushered me to a seating area to the left labelled as "suite guests", but I wasn't in a suite. I questioned another rep and she said don't worry about it. I sat down beside another single gentleman with his laptop open working away. Turns out he was one of the IT guys on-board who had been on since the TA. He was getting off finally. I had a very nice chat with this guy... bottom line from him that the issues compared from the TA to now were like night and day, so many issues were resolved. I was really glad to hear that. I chatted with a few other cruisers until they asked us to gather our things and head through the doors... it was a little after 11am so they started a little later than the 10:45am appt time. I met several other D+'ers in line and saw them throughout the cruise, and up the escalator we went. Entering on deck 5 we came right through the the main central elevator shaft on deck 5 right by the Loyalty Ambassador area... look one way and you see the Via, the other right in front you get your first view of the Esplanade. I snapped this pic right away as my very 1st pic inside Q

 

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I didn't have much of a plan to view the ship, but I knew once I started I just would not stop! So since my breakfast was small today, I decided to get up to the Windjammer right away to have a bite to eat so I can spend the entire afternoon exploring the ship. So up the elevators I went to deck 14 (I had to look on the list which deck Windjammer was!). Out on 14 you can see an inteteresting one-of set of stairs leading from 13 to 14 that juts out over the "centrum-like" shaft of the elevators looking down onto the Via below... it has a glass floor so it's a little creepy to be standing on there. Everytime I used the stairs I tried to use these as it's kind of cool looking down.

 

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So off to the Windjammer I go.....

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I wish to offer some strongly worded advice:

If you go on Quantum expecting the exact same experience as you have had on every other class of ship, think again and don't book. I suspect many of the early complaints were partially because of the stress of this. This ship is totally different! You will likely feel lost and I did not feel at home at all...

 

However I was ready for this! This was a positive for me and extremely exciting. I tell you what, this ship is utterly beautiful, amazing lines and design. Just the idea of being able to explore everything new, finally see NorthStar and IFly in the flesh, etc was awesome for me.

 

So up I went the half staircase to deck 14, around the corner by the elevators and through to the Windjammer, I see this is also where Coastal Kitchen is located (entry just to the left of this picture) with Windjammer up ahead. I did not dine at Coastal Kitchen although I had heard many D+ got in there during the cruise either with other P's/suite guests or other ways.

 

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As I approached the Windjammer, I can see right away this was not at all like all the other classes. To the left and right were hand washing stations... a major MAJOR ovation for RCL on this one. Shame on the 9 out of 10 (and this is being generous) cruisers who walked right by this area as the poor Windjammer hostess tried to direct everyone through... disgusting cruisers. Please everyone who reads this and goes on Q, Anthem or Ovation in the years to come, please don't be disgusting and please wash your hands every time in this area to help keep Noro and whatever else away from these ships.

 

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The Windjammer itself is gorgeous, nicer than any other Windjammer in the fleet with masssive amounts of nice seating furniture and design, clearly labelled stations, a superb flow to get your food and it's also the largest Windjammer in the fleet imo!

(I took these shots during a late evening as my first couple of pics were blurred, so you obviously you see the food trays empty with the only people around at the back by the drinks section)

 

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Having filled my plate with some great looking (and tasting it turned out!) Indian/Asian, a salad with all the fixings, etc I headed to the ever popular rear of open/aft seating area as is popular with the Radiance Class... and as I experienced on the Serenade just 3 months ago, this is what I found as I sat down.... yep, empty as usual even though so many cruisers supposedly claim this to be their favorite area especially on Radiance Class ships. And while this area did get used during the vacay, whenever I was there it was never truly full with standing-room only type of mentality nor people waiting in line for seating here. Excellent spot for breakfast and lunch for sure!

 

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I had just begun to eat and I realized I should see if my Royal IQ ap works right off the bat. My phone had already picked up the Royal Wifi so I clicked the ap, it opened to a login/signin type of page asking my room number, name etc and came to this screen

 

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You swipe the screen from left to right and you get this

 

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You touch the "calendar" icon, top of page, 2nd from right, and you get this:

 

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Not exaggerating this took me all of about 30 seconds to figure out. I picked up my fork with a smile to continue eating, and kept playing with the ap to see how it worked. It worked perfectly throughout the trip. Note the icon top right is the "chat" icon so that you can text others on board with you (no need for walkie-talkies anymore for example). During the trip I had booked, cancelled and re-booked the All Access Tour as well as changed 2 dining appointments with my ap and that worked no problem.

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While I was the first one out to the aft area for lunch, it actually quickly started to get used by other cruisers. I snapped this shot before going up those stairs in this photo... remember these stairs as they can help you later

 

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Up these stairs you find this... gorgeous seating area behind the Florider with unobstructed views, perfect for sailaways, sunsets, lunch when the seating below is full (hint hint), and easy access up to Seaplex. Gotta love that Manhattan skyline in the background!

 

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Turning towards the front of the ship, there was a line forming of about 15 people at IFly/Ripcord. They were all from the previous cruise and knew that you had to pre-book time slots else you won't get on! I know of many who waited until the last 3 sea days to book and didn't end up experiencing this. For the record I did it 3 times over the course of this cruise, IFly is a 110% MUST-DO activity. I got in line right away and waited for them to open, spot on right at 12 noon as promised. I was booked for the next day after our M&M and cabin crawl... all good! But before taking any pics of IFly I was drawn forward by the iconic "Felicia" the Pink Bear... actually this art pieced is called "From Afar"

 

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And it's pretty damn big, bigger than I thought! (I'm 5'11")

 

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I tell you, after reading reviews, seeing pictures, etc over the last few months I was like a little kid in a candy store... I just had to see everything, and right now! Lol... kinda like a dog with a bone on his right and his favorite chew toy to the left, not able to decide hehe.

 

So I had to double back from Felicia to get my first glimpse of IFly. A few of the instructors were in there training. There are so many photos of these areas from previous cruisers and bloggers (and better quality than mine) I will try to limit them, you will get the idea as you follow me around the ship. I'll also have a few photos later in the review on the other days where I actually flew to share with you.

 

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And here's a shot inside the dressing area, pre-opening and before anyone was every in there.

 

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I have a photo of every RCL ship I have ever been on on embarkation day exactly like this... Quantum was no exception! So this was my chance with no one around at the back of the ship :D

 

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Fantastic reading! Thanks for all the fun and informative info. I've read several times that the traffic at the port is absolutely nuts. Did you find that to be the case?

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Fantastic reading! Thanks for all the fun and informative info. I've read several times that the traffic at the port is absolutely nuts. Did you find that to be the case?

 

Actually no, didn't seem bad at all. My driver made it around the loop and dropped me off curb side pretty much where I posted that first picture of the terminal. Maybe at different times of the day it's worse, but not for me that day

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My original thought of the ship and seeing pictures was that Seaplex may likely not be a well used area nor a favorite place of mine.... wrong! I used Seaplex daily whether it was for the bumper cars, basketball, Trapeze/circus school, roller skating, etc. For families, you just could not wish for anything better.

 

For now, I had come from the IFly area and walking towards the front of the ship. I discovered the door that leads in from the jogging track and into Seaplex. Lo and behold they had just put put the bumper cars at 12pm. No brainer... no lines and just a bunch of us cruisers there were were able to go over and over again without getting back in line. I did three rounds

 

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By the way, mega smiles on everyone young and old as we slammed into each other! The bumper cars were a hit throughout the cruise with lines forming on peak sea days. Unlike the negativity within this forum leading up to deployment of Quantum, I did not hear a single person at dinner, in the concierge, no where... not one person say that the bumper cars were a waste of time. They were a blast and most mentioned that they needed to get up there again on another day. So be forewarned, maybe get up there on embarkation day as you tour the ship if you want a preview ahead of everyone else without any line-ups

 

The Dog House is also here in this area. They have 4 types: Bratwurst, Coney Island, I can't remember the other 2. I only had a "Coney Island" once during the cruise... it was nothing special to me. There's so much good food elsewhere that I never tried any of the other dogs another time

 

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The furniture around the the main Seaplex floor is interesting too with various benches and seating to put skates and equipment off/on, etc.

 

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I also had to check out the upstairs area of Seaplex and snapped this shot before looking at everything else that was offered

 

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The upper area of Seaplex is a dream for kids young and old... I saw that the table tennis area was always busy. Note some of the amenities below, especially the XBox area for teens and kids. Air hockey, Foosball, table tennis, funky furniture... very cool area.

 

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And below is the view down the side of the ship from this area. There are large windows everywhere.

 

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XBox room. Note the size/height of the windows, truly floor to ceiling throughout the entire span of Seaplex. No matter where you are within Seaplex, you can see outside

 

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Lastly, the table tennis area. And note the view outside to the NYC skyline from those very windows. You do not feel at all closed in within Seaplex. Extremely well designed and bright.

 

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From Seaplex I continued my ship tour out on deck 15 towards the pool deck and my first close up view of NorthStar. The pool deck was much larger than I thought, even with the division of the adult and kids pool. I also believe they made an excellent decision to move the big screen as I think it would've looked horrible in the middle.

 

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Ah the NorthStar... finally!!

 

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Wait a minute... there's people there in line. Are they starting up NorthStar?? Yes they are! Awesome! I quickly made my way and they had been taking names/cabin numbers. I was now booked to go up for my very first Northstar ride in about an hour. They take 14 people and the ride is every 8 minutes. Note that 4 of the days Northstar was shut down due to weather... including the final 2 sea days which prevented many procrastinators who waited until the final days from getting a chance to do this. Like IFly, this is a must do experience and not at all a gimmick... I could have gone up and down all afternoon. Note, while in port Northstar does not swing out to the side so sea days are your best bet for this.

 

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Continuing past Northstar I went into the indoor pool. I hadn't realized that the indoor pool was as big (if not bigger) than the outdoor pool area. I can see more and more RCL had really planned this as an "cold weather" indoor ship. Personally I never sat in this area once during the entire 11 days. I much preferred the Solarium (pics to come later).

 

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Furthest forward on deck 15 is the Vitality Spa. I was given a quick tour but did not snap any photos. Like the rest of the ship so far, the spa looked beautiful and modern. I'm not at all a spa person, never having used the facilities, but I do use the gym daily so I was really interested to see that. Up I went to deck 16.

 

The gym is awesome with excellent state of the art equipment. The signature fitness class is TRX suspension training.

 

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At this point it was getting close to time to find my cabin. I had originally thought that all cabins would be available when you embarked but that wasn't the case. Various decks looked to be available at different times. Having checked my deck right away when I got on board just before heading up to the Windjammer, it had said 12:30pm. So I headed for the forward elevators just outside the gym. These elevators have very interesting art inside of them, check them all out... here's one of them

 

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Also note that RCL brought back this tradition

 

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I am booked into a solo occupancy SI cabin with virtual balcony. It is supposedly listed at just over 100sf and is comprised within the family cluster of a JS and balcony. In the rendering below, my room is the very small room at the bottom right corner with the bed jammed into the corner. Note the hallway with multiple door access to connect all rooms if needed

 

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I made my way to deck 7 mid-ship. The doors to the hallways were now open.

 

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I found my room! As I look straight ahead, just like the rendering above, you see the JS 7632. The white door to the left is the connector door to the balcony cabin. My room is 7630 on the right. I share this small hallway to the door with my neighbors.

 

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SHOCKER... Welcome to my closet!!!! I truly didn't realize how small this SI interior would be, smaller than the interiors on the Majesty for example. I measured it later in the cruise... a little under 9 feet long by a little over 8 feet wide. The bathroom was full size to make up the approx 100sf. Here's what I saw when I opened my door... note the door at the foreground left of the picture. I am standing right at the edge of the door.

 

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As a positive, I really liked the virtual view right away and the cabin was very well appointed. There's CD Jimmy Rhodes on the big screen on the left.

 

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Storage space is at a major premium in this cabin. The closet is only 24" wide. You can see here the safe itself is about half the width of the entire closet.

 

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The bathroom and shower were great! Note I was provided the shampoo/conditioner (top right on the shelves) without asking right off the bat and during the whole cruise. The shower is an excellent size, larger than interior cabins on all classes with excellent water pressure and controls. RCL did a great job here.

 

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And here's the room looking back from the bathroom. Note my Royal wrist band waiting on the bed, as well as the storage closet above the headboard. Also within the wall just past the virtual balcony next to the pillow is a small shelf with power, excellent spot for an iphone charger or any other need. By the way, that's a double bed (not a queen). I'm 5'11" and my toes were at the very end of the bed! It's hilarious that RCL is supposedly allowing double occupancy in this room when it gets to China.

 

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Lastly I'll mention the D+ benefits preloaded on our writstbands/seapass cards. I was unaware that the D+ specialty dining BOGO was available on the first and second night, but it clearly spells it out here

 

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This is amazing. Thank You so much.

 

You said you did ifly multiple times. Did you pay each time after or was it more free minutes. My dare devil child can not wait to do it and I am sure she will like to do it as many times a possible.

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This is amazing. Thank You so much.

 

You said you did ifly multiple times. Did you pay each time after or was it more free minutes. My dare devil child can not wait to do it and I am sure she will like to do it as many times a possible.

 

There were no pay packages available. They were telling people early on that they were only allowed to book once as they wish everyone to get a chance, but as soon as I got off my first flight day 2, I booked again (no pay). And then after my second flight I booked my third. There were many open bookings avail a day in advance until the last port day where it seemed everyone tried to cram in everything they missed on the last 3 sea days.

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So now that I dropped off my backpack and cleaned up a little bit, I strapped on my Royal wrist band and tried it on my door. I had to fiddle with it a bit... you don't swipe it like a credit card, you basically tap it straight on and off right away. I can tell you that by day 6 or 7 I felt comfortable enough to leave my seapass inside my room the rest of the cruise and use only the wristband... it worked everywhere.

 

Now my allotted time for NortStar was quickly approaching and they asked everyone to be there about 10 minutes early. I arrived on time. In a couple of minutes the Northstar descended with the previous group and began unloading to let us on

 

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What a rush!!! This was going to be awesome. Obviously couldn't resist taking a bazillion photos and videos, but here's my very first view out towards the pool deck.

 

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Like IFly I was able to experience the Northstar multiple times, 4 in fact. I'll have other pictures on other days as well and while in port so I won't post too many here now. In port, the arm does not swing out to the side. I was told this would only happen strictly on sea days. However I will show you later that in fact in St Kitts after the ship next to us left port, the Capt. allowed the arm to go to the side while in port (this was the only time in 5 ports that I witnessed). Anyhow, because we're still in Bayonne obviously we weren't going out to the side on this particular trip up. Here's a couple of shots from above

 

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The above pictures do not do this experience justice whatsoever. You have to give is a shot, yet another MUST-DO activity for anyone who sails on Q or Anthem. So after this great preview ride I took the shot below with Northstar at it's highest level from below

 

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Just below Northstar is the outdoor pool deck. On the few real sunny days we had it was overflowed. 80% of the tanning loungers are on deck 15 around the jogging track and to the back of the ship, so the pool is quite small for the number of passengers (it's just like Radiance Class). I thought the placement of the big screen was great, and much better than the original plan (would've looked horrible imho)

 

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The kids pool was pretty cool actually. We were told there were 60 kids on board... that's it! Barely saw them anywhere. This area would be perfect for both kids and adults.

 

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I forget on which thread (maybe Lloyd's thread as the ship was being built) he had a picture of this very raw and unfinished area the her rear end of this character face up ready to be placed at the pool!

 

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Well... she's still a$$ up! Lol

 

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For those parents reading this review, here's the pool rules for you and your kids

 

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To finish off the pool deck, here's a few more characters for you

 

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From the above picture facing Northstar, if you were to look to your right you would see Johnny Rockets. As advertised, it has become an a la carte order restaurant and you pick up your food at the counter when it's ready. I ate there once for lunch and there was a line-up (3pm open time in Martinique). The Smokehouse, O Rings and 2 for 1 shakes were all excellent.

 

*** Note!!!! I am NOT exaggerating... the shakes are now $5 each and about 50% smaller than what they used to be 2 years ago. Alas, all the 2 for 1's being sold to the huge numbers of Crown & Anchors have to be dealt with somehow :rolleyes:

 

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I thought to myself I had been on board maybe 2 hours. I had already booked for IFly, I already did the bumper cars, already did the NorthStar, already got to see the whole upper part of the ship pretty much, but I haven't even seen the Promena.... er ..... Esplanade yet nor the Via, so off the the central elevators I went to go down to deck 5.

 

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Here's the main view of the Esplanade looking ahead at the XMas tree and Michael's pub straight ahead on deck 4. Also deck 4 to the immediate far right of Michael's is Sorrento's. To the immediate near left deck 4 is Boleros (not in the picture).

 

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Staying on deck 5 and walking to the left, I got to see my first glimpse of the Bionic Bar. Pretty cool. I watched them serve many times. They also run these robots on a "dance" routine to Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" lol. I have video, very cool. You can see in the picture the DJ sitting there, providing club music each night.

 

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Through the Bionic Bar you get to this spot looking down the Esplanade further to more shops. If you were to go up those stairs you would find the Schooner Bar. I spent zero time there (no windows, a very enclosed area). ON the lower level ahead is the entrance to the Diamond Club, the Music Hall and the Theatre at the front of the ship.

 

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Staying on deck 5, and moving to the right from this picture, is Izumi's Being blessed living in the NorthWest with a huge Asian culture and massive amounts of food/restaurant options, I have never felt the need to even try Izumi's. It's much smaller than the Izumi's on Navigator for example which took over a good portion of the Viking Crown. It was not a hugely attended restaurant anytime I ever walked by. I would guess half full at most was the busiest I ever saw it.

 

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On deck 5, directly opposite to the Bionic Bar, is Wonderland. Many of you I am sure have already seen the front entrance iconic "hand" picture. I did not eat there, but many that I had hung out with and spoke to did. I would have to say it was an even 50/50 split... 1/2 said waste of many, the other 1/2 said neat experience with the very interesting food presentation.

 

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Before quickly being drawn to the Bionic Bar, I had missed the Shore excursion desk which is located right beside the Bar. Note you don't sit at a desk anymore... you log into to an Ipad with the help of a rep whomever is available at the time, or on your own. You can also book excursion from your iphone or ipad. I did just that for the All Access Tour, and later was easily able to cancel and rebook for another date. There were always a ton of people milling around, but there were always seemingly a good flow of people in and out. Seriously, if I saw this amount of people on a Voyager Class ship looking for help, the line-up would've been an hour down the Promenade to the English Pub. I rarely saw anyone standing there too long waiting for help. I think this system worked beautifully. Now, if these ipads were to ever crash... OY VEY!!!!!!!

 

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And finally my lone picture of the Schooner Bar, a disappointment to me compared to all the other classes... then again as I explained from the very first post, this ship so totally different and not typical to any other RCL ship.

 

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Staying on Deck 5, I continued moving away from the Schooner Bar, past the photo shop and into the balcony level of the theatre. I must admit my first site of this theatre was a little disappointing. My first impressions of walking into the Voyager or Oasis Class Theatre is one of opulence, large majestic old-time multi-leveled theatre on a grand scale. This theatre didn't give me that feeling. I felt it was a little bland. Nevertheless, I can tell you the entertainment was A1 top notch... that's all that matters

 

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I knew the Diamond Lounge was somewhere down here by the theatre, but for the life of me I couldn't find it easily! lol. It's hidden somewhat around the corner from the main hallway on deck 4. Unfortunately I maybe entered the DL only 3 times on this cruise as I spent quite a bit of time in the CL visiting many people. I wish I could have met more of you had I spent time down there

 

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Immediately next door to the DL is the Music Hall. I feel this is an absolutely brilliant space! The lower level is the stage and dance floor, with a great bar and excellent seating area. The "Groovy Town' (70s party), live bands, bingo, nightclub,etc etc were all held here during the week. It's an excellent gathering place to meet friends.

 

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Above is a huge lounge with 4 pool tables, another large bar and again a ton of seating. You can easily have a gathering and play pool while listening to all the events, live bands, music, whatever from up here.

 

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Edited by Hoopster95

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There are plenty of photos on-line of the restaurants on board, and much better quality than what I took, so I won't bore you with many pictures at all. I'll review my dinners each day as I go through my day with you. As a summary I had dinner once each in Chic & Silk, twice in American Icon, 4 in Grande, 2 at Windjammer.

 

The Grande (I rate this #1 out of the 4 free venues)

 

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Silk (#2)

 

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American Icon (#3)

 

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Chic (#4)

 

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For the record, those that ate in Coastal Kitchen for Dinner raved about it!

On to the Casino on deck 3... I spent almost no time here other than to walk through the very rare time. On deck 3 there is no reason to go there other than to gamble as it's not a part of the flow of the ship like the other classes.... bravo RCL! And even so, there is a large clearly defined walkway that traverses through the Casino rather than hoards of people having to doge and bump people on there way through from the Theatre to the Centrum like on other ships. It was smoky in there, but seemingly not as much as some other ships.

 

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Wow, I've done a lot already! I was a little bagged and with muster fast approaching I headed down to my cabin to see if my luggage had arrived. The ap was not working with regards to keeping track of my luggage, so I shrugged my shoulders and trusted all was good as a coupe of others had said the same. Sure enough, my bag was at my door. With a half hour to kill I hung all my clothes, went through my paperwork and things in my room, then went to muster. Muster Station D1 was in American Icon. Very easy with a decent video it was over in about 1/2 an hour

 

It was now getting close to sailaway so I wanted to head up to top deck to watch and also follow the ship under the Verazzano. I went back to my room to prepare for the colder evening weather. Heading up to deck 15 forward I wanted to see where the best place to watch sailaway was from the front of the ship.

 

THIS was my personal biggest fail for the design of this ship. I have unreal video and photos of sail-ins and sailaways all over the world on RCL ships from top deck, the helipad, the forward wings of Oasis, etc.... Quantum has NOTHING that is decent outside. The two wings extending out from the Solarium are glass covered to above your head with small 4 inch slats you can look through. Top deck there is barely a view as the Solarium Glass and running track takes everything away (pictures to come in future posts) and there is absolutely no access anywhere to the helipad/front of ship. The best place forward is in the Solarium itself which is utterly gorgeous (but it's inside)

 

As I headed through past the indoor pool on deck 14 and into the Solarium, you first see Devinly Decadence in the center

 

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Heading past Devinly Decadence you get the first view of the Solarium as darkness was falling

 

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And there is the forward view over the front bow of the ship. Note there are about 25 loungers... ALL YOU 11 DAY CHAIR HOGS ARE RIDICULOUS! Get a life. Same people everyday with clips on their towels, the towels sitting there empty for hours, from early in the morning to late in the day. Just needed to say that. The RCL pool guy did nothing. Not that I wanted one of those chairs as I spent little time in the Solarium, but for Christ's sakes are you really that entitled? Just my humble opinion. So as a word of advice, if you want one of those chairs be absolutely sure to bring your iphone or a watch, take a picture which is time stamped and patiently enjoy another lounger. At exactly a half hour go over to a chair hogged lounger and remove everything. I was very tempted just for the hell of it :D

 

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Bearing the bitter cold, I stood out on the wings of the ship for a while but realized it wasn't worth it out there as the views from there are cut off quite a bit. I did watch Q pull away and took a few pics of the 9/11 memorial teardrop as we pulled away, then I quickly decided to head back up to deck 15 mid-ship above the pools so that I can have a view of the NYC skyline.

 

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I figure within about 20 minutes we were closing in on the Verazzano.

 

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This would be interesting... Q supposedly has only about a 5m (15 foot) clearance to get under the bridge without using it's retractable funnel feature. Sure enough, it was really really tight as we passed under, with all the ooohs and aaahs from other passengers beside me. Note how truly close the smoke is from the smoke stack. Wow!

 

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I headed back to my room to warm up and get ready for dinner and my first try at Dynamic Dining. I was booked for Chic at 6pm. I arrived at the front desk and told them I was booked solo and wanted to be seated with others. I think the Maitre'D miss heard me and brought me to a table for two so that I could eat solo. I went back and told her I wanted a group table... no problem, she did in fact miss hear me. I was sat at a table for 6, another solo gentleman (Mr. Mike) was already there and within 2 minutes two other couples had sat down. We were ready for dinner, easy peasy, just like MTD on all the other ships. The place was half empty, anyone could've easily walked up and asked to be seated. When we left, the place was still about 1/2 empty. Maybe with all the D+ & Pinnacles on board they were all using their BOGO specialty dining coupons this evening. I thought Chic was nice but felt a little 'cold' in there. The dinner was MDR'ish and not memorable (For the life of me I can't remember what I ate). In the end I rate this as my least favorite of the 4 free venues... and not because of a bad meal at all, but because the other 3 were memorable and better imho. I had one other booking there later in the cruise which I cancelled in order to eat at the Grande with new friends. I never went back to Chic after night 1.

 

After dinner I was booked for the highly anticipated Mama Mia! I got there about 1/2 hour early and sat front row to the left of the left aisle by three seats. Great unobstructed view! For those of you who have never sat close up front you should try it at least once, and especially for a production show. For the quality of MamaMia, this was excellent seating and worth big money if you had to pay on Broadway for example.

 

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The MamaMia cast is not supported by RCL. IN fact, all the actors, the sets, the music, the costumes... everything... is licensed from MamaMia and RCL had to buy the rights. These are not RCL actors, dancers and singers. They are Broadway professionals. It is a fantastic quality show, deserved of the long standing ovation they received.

 

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After the show I checked out the Music Hall where Beatlemania was performing in full force. They sounded great and the venue was packed. Looked like a lot of people having a great time to me.

 

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I looked around to see if I can find any cruisers or people I had met in the past but I hadn't this evening. After hanging out at the Music Hall for a short time I realized I was bagged, so off to bed I went. What an excellent start to my vacation on the first day aboard Q!

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Thanks for this review...love it. Just went online and booked the Crown Tour for Statue of Liberty....wouldn't have known about it without your review! Now I have to go see if RCL has bookings on line for our sailing to do the IFly. You mentioned reservations are required so I take it you got them on line at RCCL ....or did you wait till you got on the ship to book? Thanks

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