Royal Caribbean Reveals China-Bound Spectrum of the Seas

Spectrum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International has announced details of the China-bound Spectrum of the Seas.

It will be the first of the line’s ships to have a private suite area, as the Quantum-class ship will also get new features, dining concepts and more for its 4,246 guests. The ship debuts in Shanghai next June.

“When Quantum of the Seas made her debut in Shanghai three years ago, it changed the face of cruising in China. Fast forward to today, and we are revealing just how we’ll transform the cruise vacation market, yet again, with the debut of Spectrum of the Seas,” said Michael Bayley, President and CEO, Royal Caribbean International. “The introduction of our highly anticipated Quantum Ultra Class will represent a quantum leap forward in ship design and experiences specifically tailored to Chinese guests.”

SkyPad

Custom built for the Chinese market, the Spectrum of the Seas will feature new experiences, including the iconic Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline experience located on the aft of the ship. Guests will strap in and don their VR headset to transport them to another time and planet.

The first Quantum Ultra ship will debut Royal Caribbean’s first exclusive suites-only area, which will feature the exquisite Golden and Silver suite accommodations in a private enclave at the forward end of the ship on decks 13 through 16, the company said.

Vacationers booked in these luxury suites will have special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge. In addition to a range of exclusive amenities, guests will have access to The Balcony – a private outdoor space.

The ship will get a three-level main dining room with 1,844 seats to serve a variety of Chinese and Western a la carte options rotating each day of the sailing. For guests looking for a more casual venue, the Windjammer Marketplace – 20 per cent larger than those on Quantum Class ships – will offer a wide buffet selection of Chinese and Western dishes, including noodles, pizza, Japanese teppanyaki and mini hot pot.

Other speciality venues include Wonderland’s Dadong, a new outpost of Chinese chef Dong Zhenxiang, renowned for his much-coveted roast duck dish; Jamie’s Italian by British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver; Izumi Japanese cuisine; and Chops Grille will join the lineup as well. In addition, the new Leaf and Bean traditional tea room and café parlour will debut on the Royal Esplanade. The spot will offer a range of authentic Chinese teas, classic coffee drinks as well as freshly baked Chinese and Western desserts and pastries.

Also for the local market will be Star Moment, a lively and energetic karaoke, the company said.

The cruise line also will enhance SeaPlex – the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea where families can enjoy bumper cars, roller skating and basketball – with new augmented reality walls and floors.

When Spectrum of the Seas debuts in April 2019, she will sail a 51-night transit voyage from Barcelona, Spain to Shanghai.

Meanwhile, the iconic and widely popular Quantum of the Seas will sail her farewell season from Shanghai before moving to Tianjin in summer 2019. The Voyager of the Seas is set to return to Hong Kong and Shenzhen for the summer and will sail a variety of itineraries calling on Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines.

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Royal Caribbean unveils overhauled Independence of the Seas

The Observatorium, an escape room game, is part of the Royal Amplified package that was added to Independence of the Seas. Photo Credit: Tom StieghorstABOARD THE INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS — In a two-day preview cruise for British, Irish and European travel agents, Royal Caribbean International unveiled changes from a 30-day, $110 million renovations of the Independence of the Seas that eliminated a half dozen venues and functions.

Among the venues that were axed, moved or drastically altered were the ship’s chapel, mini-golf course, photo gallery, a juice bar, the disco and the Sabor restaurant.

The Independence is the first ship to gain Royal Caribbean’s new Royal Amplified package of amenities, the most prominent of which is the bungee trampoline attraction Sky Pad.

The overhaul, which included $16 million in marine and technical work, is believed to be the most Royal Caribbean has ever spent in a single ship renovation.

The Sky Pad, a bungee trampoline apparatus used with virtual reality goggles, adds a new dimension to the profile of the Independence of the Seas. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
The Sky Pad, a bungee trampoline apparatus used with virtual reality goggles, adds a new dimension to the profile of the Independence of the Seas. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

A favourite in the U.K. market, the 10-year-old Independence will sail summers from Southampton and winters in the Caribbean.

The biggest change to the 152,000-gross-ton ship is the addition of a package of activities on the upper rear deck, including the Sky Pad, two tubular water slides and some lesser items, such as the Sky Climber apparatus and some hammocks and swings. The ship’s FlowRider is also in the area.

To make room, the mini-golf course was relocated to the upper deck on the bow, and a bar and some storage lockers for sports equipment were eliminated.

The multi-coloured perforated dome of the Sky Pad alters the profile of the Independence and gives guests a chance to bounce on one of four personal-sized trampolines while watching programs on virtual-reality goggles. It cost roughly $5 million to develop and install.

Royal Caribbean officials aboard were excited about the reception for the Playmakers Bar & Arcade, an expansive sports bar that attracted an overflow crowd for a soccer match. Playmakers were built out of the old photo gallery on Deck 4, which has been relocated and downsized as a digital outlet.

High atop the ship on Deck 15, in a hidden space where the chapel used to be, Royal Caribbean has created a puzzle room attraction called the Observatorium, in which game players have a limited time to figure out how to escape from the room.

A new casual restaurant, Fish & Ships, serving deep-fried seafood, was added where a juice bar used to be on the pool deck. Another new restaurant, the sushi and teppanyaki concept Izumi, has been added, replacing Sabor, a Mexican restaurant that wasn’t doing very well, said Royal Caribbean president Michael Bayley. Izumi was carved out of the top floor of a two-level disco, while the bottom floor was rebuilt as new accommodations.

The children’s water play area on the Independence, formerly the H20 Zone, has been enlarged and improved as the Splashaway Bay.

A former cigar lounge outside the Star Lounge has been repurposed as the library, which was formerly located near the Atrium Bar.

Another component of Royal Amplified will be the Sugar Beach candy store, launched on the Symphony of the Seas last month and now open on the Independence.

New swing chairs on the Independence of the Seas were part of a $110 million overhaul. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst
New swing chairs on the Independence of the Seas were part of a $110 million overhaul. Photo Credit: Tom Stieghorst

Bayley said a total of 107 new cabins have been added to the Independence, mostly by building a new cabin block at the front of the ship above the gym, but also from squeezing space in the refurbishment to add a cabin or two here and there.

Royal Caribbean’s next ship to receive the Royal Amplified treatment, the Mariner of the Seas, is already in drydock and will emerge to serve the short-cruise market from South Florida this summer. It will be followed by Navigator of the Seas.

Bayley said Royal Amplified will touch 10 Voyager-, Freedom- and Oasis-class ships over the next three years at a budgeted cost of $900 million.

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Royal Caribbean International renders Mariner of the Seas' upper aft deck additions
PHOTO: Royal Caribbean International renders Mariner of the Seas’ upper aft deck additions. (photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)