Royally Disappointed Diamond
I just got off of the Quantum today and really felt the need to write a review for this ship. Just a bit of my cruising history first….I am Diamond Plus member sailing RCCL for the last 23 years with 29 cruises behind me. In addition, 15 cruises on various other lines. That being said, my family was chomping at the bit to go on this new innovative and technologically advanced ship!
First the positives, the ship was truly spectacular! The whole ship was very tastefully decorated with beautiful common areas and hallways. The lounges were perfect and not overdone as many often are. The new Royal Esplanade (comparable to the Promenade on other ships) was a bit narrow but the shops, some higher end than most ships, and eateries were well placed and appointed. Certain areas gave the feeling of being in a fine Las Vegas hotel.
The cabins were FANTASTIC! The best I have seen thus far on any ship on any cruise line. The cabin felt more like a small hotel room than a standard run of the mill cabin. The storage space was more than adequate providing my husband and I each with a closet, a very nice dresser to share with beautiful drawer pulls, a full sized interactive TV and a very spacious shower and bathroom. The furniture on the balcony was nice as well with a comfortable foot stool for each chair.
Now for the not so good…prior to boarding the ship, I had all of my restaurant reservations in place. This is an absolute must with the (NOT SO) Dynamic Dining! The system in place is absolutely horrible! The first night we (a party of 8) had a reservation at American Icon for 8pm. When we arrived at the restaurant expecting to be seated close to the reservation time much to our surprise there was a tremendous line with complete chaos and disorganization. There was a podium far from where we stood on the line and no one ever came through the line to check us in. It took about 45 minutes to be seated and then 2 hours to eat our not so great meal. The waiters do not have assistant waiters making all meals much longer than necessary. This was a constant issue with all of the free restaurants for the entire cruise. A 45 minute wait, nobody to answer questions and frankly an attitude that no one really cared. The reservations in the paid restaurants (Chop’s and Jamie Oliver’s) were honored on time and the service was exceptionally good. Dinnertime was dreaded and made our always stress-free cruise vacation into a VERY stressful experience. Many people we encountered who were hoping to get reservations on board by themselves or the Diamond Plus Concierge were disappointed as they were no reservations available. These people were eating dinner in the Windjammer most nights.
Lunch was a huge problem as well…because of the lack of a dining room, lines for lunch were long and inconvenient. All lunch eateries are a first come first serve basis. So, getting into Izumi’s or Jamie’s was impossible unless you were willing to line up an hour before the restaurant opened. One day we did decide to line up at 12:30 (Izumi’s closes at 1:30 and we were turned away as they could not accommodate us.) American Icon was the only other place to have a sit down meal and because it is one-eighth the size of a conventional dining room there were long waits there too. This ship cut out the much loved Brasserie 30 (salads in 30 minutes) and the Park Café (replaced with Two70, with fewer choices.) My children (22, 19 and 13) all missed the conventional dining room with family favorites such as lobster night, Grand Marnier soufflé and Baked Alaska.
I must also quickly mention that some of the new activities on board were a lot of fun like the Ifly and the Northstar but in general we did feel that the activities were fewer than normal with nothing special in the evening like a pool party. The pool was missing the afternoon calypso band and all and all this cruise did not have the feel that we have come to love. The ship felt very much understaffed even the bathrooms always had wet sinks, not enough soap and the hand sanitizer stands were found empty in many locations. The photo kiosks were a nice idea in theory but created a bunch of new problems. On the last day, we ordered 6 photos and only received 4 with not a record of the last 2.
I am hoping that RCCL can find a solution to the many problems encountered on this ship. And we are hoping that they do not institute these changes on the older and new to be built ships. My family is generally so sad at the end of a cruise vacation always wanting more time…but this sailing we could not wait to get off of the ship!