Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

My Trip Report: Quantum of the Seas 11/23 8-night Bahamas Cruise

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone. I thought I’d provide some of my pictures and my trip report from the 11/23 8-night Bahamas sailing of Quantum of the Seas. I thought I would include it here in the main RCI forum considering it is a standard trip report that might interest the group as a whole, though I guess it could be moved to the Quantum sub-topic if deemed appropriate.


For those of you who have read my trip reports before, you know what to expect (hopefully good things). For everyone else: this will be presented in a narrative form and include pre/post trip experiences as well as some costs and how I went about planning. I will present the good as well as the not-so-good. I will be biased but hopefully explain my biases. It will come in pieces because even as a fast writer, it does take me some time to collect my thoughts. I welcome questions and others from the same trip supplementing or contradicting me, but I don't want this thread to spin-off into complaints, rants, raves, etc that continue on and on. :o



Selfie with my Dad at Kennedy Space Center by cmong, on Flickr




My parents and I are both frequent cruisers and are D+ with Royal Caribbean. We have cruises mostly RCI in the recent past, though we have traveled several times on Celebrity. My parents are retired and live in Indiana while I am in my first year as an assistant professor at a southern university. Our favorite RCCL ships are RCI’s Oasis-class and Celebrity’s Solstice-class. We are not big drinkers or sun-worshipers, but we enjoy our loyalty perks (such as a few free drinks) and relaxing on the ship by reading, playing trivia, and enjoying nice meals.



Carpe Diem on Quantum by cmong, on Flickr


My parents and I like cruising over the holidays. At one point, Christmas cruises were fairly inexpensive as they did not seem popular. Those times have passed and Christmas and NYE cruises tend to have standard pricing at about double the normal going rate. At one point in September, we were looking as holiday cruise prices (as well as airfare) with a bit of despair. As an alternative, I also started looking at Thanksgiving cruises. I had noticed that the “inaugural” cruise on the Quantum over Thanksgiving had post-final payment pricing with a military rate (my dad is eligible) that brought the price down enough that it was competitive with other sailings at that time period. Throw in the excitement of a new ship and some bargains with frequent-flier miles to NYC in the proper time period and we decided to try Quantum out though not without a bit of trepidation. Would the ship be ready? Would we be happy with an absolutely terrible Bahamas itinerary (with scheduled stops in Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Coco Cay)? Would we enjoy pre and post-cruise in New York (which was not a good experience for us on our previous cruise from Bayonne)?




I had an old-style NextCruise booking that was going on about three years old that I decided to use for this trip. We decided to use an online travel agency we had had previous positive dealings with (though our agent recently left). I transferred the open booking to the agency, which was then used to book Quantum. Our agent told of some back-end arguing about the rate (taking into account the military discount, the $100 I had already paid, etc), but in the end we received what we thought was the proper pricing as well as my OBC from RCI, OBC from the agent, and a two free gratuities. This process took a few days as RCI did not seem to be in a hurry to transfer the original open booking (just letting anyone else who might want to try this know that it was not immediate).



One World Trade by cmong, on Flickr




Since we booked fairly late, we missed all of the initial waves of issues with dining and show reservations. However, as late-bookers, we had our own issues. Shows were available without problems. Dining, however, had limited reservations available at desired times. The booking site was just not very user-friendly and, unless I missed something, there was not an easy way to compare show times and available dining times … this all had to be done by the user manually. I eventually booked show times and just tried to find early dining times that would work (my dad does not like eating late so late dining was never going to be an option). This led to many compromises when trying to no-fee choose restaurants that had open times. In the end, I had no reservations for dining for the first night though we did have Mama Mia that evening, 2 reservations for American Icon, 2 reservations for The Grande, 2 reservations for Silk, and one reservation for Chic at times ranging from 5:45-7:15. A few of those reservations overlapped nightly entertainment by 15-30 minutes. There were also some times that appeared available but when selected would cause the website to throw an error. My dad tried calling C&A after lingering issues but they could not improve any of the times we did not like. We never lost all of our reservations as some people have reported, but it was something that did take some hours of planning and re-arranging.


Side rant: I have felt for a long time that RCI’s shoreside IT department has consistently remained one of the weaker parts of the company. The website generally remains a mess on both the booking side as well as the cruise planning side. The idea that this much more of a load would be rested on their shoulders was, in my opinion, doomed to work poorly from the start … ignoring the whole different complaint about how much the passenger now has plan the entire vacation from the ground up in terms of juggling restaurants (with no idea how much they will be liked), times (with no idea how long meals will last or knowing what else will be on the daily planner for that day), and show times. RCI labels this as “dynamic” for the spontaneous, but it does not feel dynamic as you are mapping out vacation days months in advance. It honestly reminded me of going to Disney World on the dining plan. You can optionally make reservations to ensure you get to eat at the venues you want at a time you choose. If you don’t, you may be seated right away, or you also run the risk of long waits or missing out on an experience. There is something I don’t quite like about this type of structure, which is odd considering before there was always an imposed structure of dining times unless you chose MyTime Dining (which even then seemed to really require reservations). I don’t have a solution necessarily, but this was something that was off-putting before even stepping foot on the ship.


The New York Experience


Due to pricing of flights (and wanting to experience a bit of the city), my plan was to spend 2 nights pre-cruise in NYC and one night post-cruise in NYC. This seemed fun to me and my mom. My dad, on the other hand, views NYC about the same way that Homer Simpson did in the classic episode “The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson.” On our past cruise out of Bayonne, we stayed at the Country Inn and Suites in Elizabeth, NJ. There were several negative experiences from that encounter (single king room for three people, cab-ride to the port that mysteriously cost $80, etc). This time, I decided we would stay in the city and at least have a few experiences we would not get biding time in NJ.



Quantum from my Plane on 11/21 by cmong, on Flickr




As the family travel agent, it was my job to find a place to stay that would comfortably sleep 3, was clean and safe, would have access to things to do in the area, and would not cost more than the cruise itself. This was an interesting challenge (much like trying to find a hotel with similar properties in London as I’ve done twice in the last couple of years). In the end, I decided to use Hotwire in order to spend our pre-cruise at the Conrad Hotel in downtown Manhattan. It was not cheap by any means, but Hotwire pricing definitely helped.


After booking the hotel, I then needed to figure out how we would be getting there from our respective airports. I booked my parents on a direct flight from Indianapolis to Newark for an 8 AM arrival. With just two of them and plenty of time, I also booked them on a shared-ride van with SuperShuttle (found a coupon online for $3 off, bringing the total to about $20 each). I was flying into Laguardia with a 10 AM arrival, so I also booked a trip on SuperShuttle for about $16. Our hope is that we’d be able to meet up at the Conrad by noon or so … well, that turned out to be wishful thinking. Both of our experiences were fairly similar. After arriving, we had to check-in at ground transportation and wait for our assigned shuttle. This took about 30-45 minutes. After that, we were loaded into a van heading to Manhattan. Most tourists in the van were staying in the Times Square area, meaning that for both of our vans, we were the very last people off and the only people heading downtown. This meant we got the nickel tour of the jammed streets and about a 2-hour tour of the city. Did we save money over a car service? Yes. Was it worth it? Depends. We did not have any obligations that day with such an early arrival.


My parents beat me to the Conrad by a few hours and had at least been able to check-in and get on the list to be notified when a room became available. Once I arrived around 1 PM we still did not have a room so I checked my bag with the bellman and we went off to find some lunch at the food court across the street. Around 1:30 we were notified our room was ready, so we headed straight back after lunch.


The room at the Conrad was huge, clean, and well-appointed. There was a bedroom and living room area separated by two sliding doors. In between these doors were the separate shower and bathroom areas as well as a sink and coffeemaker. With all of the sliding doors and opaque glass privacy was a little less than optimal, but in the end, it was a very nice room. My sofabed in the living area was decently comfortable (though it was still a sofa bed). Turn-down service was offered and every staff member we interacted was smiling, helpful, and generally seemed to be trying their best to make it a pleasant stay.


The Conrad is near the water and is across the street from the World Trade Center site. There are also several metro stops nearby as well as ferries and the train to/from NJ. There are several restaurants and a movie theater in the Conrad building including a less-busy-than-other-locations Shake Shack where I had a pretty good burger for dinner that first night. I walked about a mile across the tip of the island to the Sea Port to visit that location of TKTS for show tickets on our arrival night and, on that walk, there were quite a few interesting restaurants and a smattering of drug stores. In the end, I thought this was a pretty good location as it was away from the bustle of Times Square (which was about a 20-minute metro ride away) yet still had plenty of things to do and places to eat.



Rose at WTC Memorial by cmong, on Flickr


Next up: Getting to Bayonne, Boarding, first impressions of Quantum

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your trip report so far. Looking forward to hearing about your experience on Quantum.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great start! I really like your style of writing and the linear way you give the information. Will help me greatly in my upcoming Quantam planning!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are some pictures of room at the Conrad and the area:



Room at Conrad NYC by cmong, on Flickr



Living Room area at Conrad NYC by cmong, on Flickr



Bathroom at Conrad NYC by cmong, on Flickr



Shower at Conrad NYC by cmong, on Flickr



Shake Shack at Conrad NYC by cmong, on Flickr



NYC and Liberty by cmong, on Flickr


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Bob

We were sUpposed to be on the cruise with you but had to cancel, so I'm so looking forward to hearing all about it

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting to Bayonne


I decided early on that it would be better to use a car service to get around the area as opposed to depending on a cab and accepting a metered fare. Based on recommendations from this site, I made reservations with Carmel for the entire trip. I was a little bit leery based on online reviews, but then I noticed that every car company had nasty reviews in NYC … basically, due to traffic, sometimes drivers are late or get stuck with long waits.



This way to the ship! by cmong, on Flickr


I had made an appointment for a 10:00 AM pick-up at the Conrad and specified 3 passengers with three bags on the company’s website. I received a call at 9:40 that our driver was outside and waiting for us (we were in the process of getting checked out). When we went outside, our driver confirmed our identity and then went about trying to fit our luggage (3 large pieces into the trunk). Of course, they did not fit … which is a general irritation I have with taxis and limos in general … we always saw 3 big bags and are always told that they will fit but rarely do. The driver let my dad do most of the arranging and it became apparent it was not going to work. In the end, the three of us were crammed into the backseat while one bag was put in the front seat. Our driver said very little and just took off. There was very little traffic and we arrived at the ship by 10:20. The driver’s credit swiper was not working properly so he ended up making a carbon of my card (not making me happy at all). The cost ended up being: $47 + $16 tolls= $63 (which was cheaper than our taxi from Elizabeth to Bayonne years ago).


Side rant: Because our driver did not speak to us, would not let my mom sit up front instead of the bag, and let my dad (and then the porter) do all of the work with the bags (not to mention the credit card thing), he was not tipped well ($5). This led to whining and a sudden grasp of the English language that was not offered previously. I ended up adding another $5 based on the fact that we would be using this company two more times, but it was an irritation.


Security and Boarding


By the time I got out of the cab, a porter had already taken our bags and my parents were waiting for me to go to the terminal. We showed our SetSail Passes and passports to get into the building. At that point, there were several individuals checking in passengers with their tablets. Since these individuals had groups around them, a rep directed us to go through security and complete our check-in there. After proceeding through security, all of the agents with tablets on that side of security were busy. We were directed by another rep to head over to the check-in desks to complete our check-in as they were empty. We went over there and were checked in.


Note: During check-in, the agent accepted my dad’s picture we had previously uploaded, but insisted that my mom and I have new pictures taken. He said we were not allowed to have our glasses on (something I did not remember being a stipulation when pictures were solicited by RCI). This was not a huge hassle, but it did take time and was a minor irritation that the procedure was (maybe) not explained correctly online.



Gates are still closed by cmong, on Flickr


After checking-in, our SetSail passes were stamped and we were told to head over to the general waiting area as boarding had not yet started. The boarding area was overflowing with people and there were absolutely no chairs anywhere to be had and many were sitting on the floor. This was the most irritating part of the boarding process for me … my mom with her cane had to ask to use a chair being saved by someone because there was absolutely no place to go and she could neither stand for the proposed 30 minute wait nor would she be able to sit on the floor. While RCI may not see much use for seating since they are advertising quick boarding, they did not seem prepared for delayed boarding (started at 11:20 or so but reservations started at 10:45 and some people were there even earlier). There was also no organization based on boarding number, C&A status, or any other possible way to keep people grouped. Only suites and Pinnacles had a separate waiting and boarding area (in the back so they were not visible when they were allowed to board).


Once the magic garage door lifted in the terminal, the person on the PA tried to keep things organized by verbal directions alone. This did not work. As soon as the gate lifted, the herd let out a collective moooooo and surged towards the boarding gates, disabilities or priority numbers be darned. Even those not trying to board were afflicted with “airport gate” syndrome and crowded around the boarding area in what I can only describe as a concerted effort to make sure that absolutely no one could move within or escape the mob.



Gates open to Pandemoneum by cmong, on Flickr


Am I exaggerating this a bit? Perhaps. How long did this take? Perhaps 15-20 minutes until we navigated through the gates. However, with my mom having trouble walking and everyone surging forward, this was not a fun experience. I’m sure 20 minutes later you’d walk right on the ship … and perhaps this was partly due to so many D+ and D members onboard this particular sailing … but it was not fun at all and was the first instance where it felt like RCI had not really thought about how some of these new procedures would work in practice. No one tried to actually manage the line. No one checked boarding numbers.



Quantum Awaits by cmong, on Flickr


Up Next: First things First, Cabins, Impressions



270 Roast Beef by cmong, on Flickr

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not sure why some of the pics stopped working in the first post ... if you click on the link you can see them. Sorry about that but it's too late for me to edit and try to fix.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites




Quantum Awaits by cmong, on Flickr[/center


Does anyone know where those bowed cabins it looks like in the picture are located. Seems they have a little larger balcony. Almost resembles the Sweet 16 cabins on celebrity's M Class ships.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Loving the report so far and looking forward to more.

Nice to know too that I'm not the only who takes takes an older parent cruising.



Sent from iPhone using Cruise Critic App

Edited by DM_KidAtHeart

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent so far, on edge of my seat waiting for more!!!


George in NY - sailing Quantum 12/20/14 Holiday sailing

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm enjoying reading your review. Did you end up seeing a show in NYC?


Yes ... ended up seeing Avenue Q slightly off Broadway.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

First things first


As I mentioned earlier, we did not have dinner reservations for the first night. Not only was the first night mostly booked solid online, but I also wanted to use my D+ BOGO coupon. My first goal once onboard was to head to a restaurant and try to get an early reservation. I had gone back and forth between Wonderland and Jamie’s … in the end, I put the priority on Jamie’s because the day before we had eaten at Bouley in Tribecca and that very nice, very strange menu was fresh in our minds. When we boarded on deck 5, I immediately headed aft and got into the 3-person line at Jamie’s. The long-and-short of it was that they were taking reservations for 5:30 that first night. I went ahead and made the reservation (they were not using computers … just writing down times and room numbers).



Jamie's Italian on the Via by cmong, on Flickr


After completing the reservation, it was time to head to our cabin. Announcements in the waiting area had mentioned that some decks would be complete at 11:30 while others would be staggered after that. Our cabin on deck 6 was ready at 11:30, but many of the top suite decks would not be ready until 1 (which did not make a lot of sense to me).


Upon arrival at our cabin, we found an envelope with a key placed in the door number slot. I believe (not 100% sure) that the door was still propped open anyway. Upon entering, we found all of our welcome aboard materials as well as WOW bands wrapped around the rest of the cabin’s SeaPasses with one extra band also in the holder. This was how you could tell which band was designated for which passenger.



WOW bands by cmong, on Flickr


Note: Many people have voiced concern about having their SeaPass left out in the open. While I guess I understand this concern, in reality, I don’t think it’s a huge deal. First of all, there are all kind of cameras everywhere … from the hallway to the bars and shops. Secondly, any time you use your card or band, a picture pops up. If someone were to “steal” another person’s card, not only would the act be recorded, but if they tried to use it, that would be recorded to. It’s a very confined situation where the perpetrator has no where to go.


After dropping stuff off in the room, we headed to Café 270 for lunch for the famous beef sandwiches. The lines for beef and other hot sandwiches were a bit muddled, but we got it figured out, grabbed our food, and found tables out in the main room. The café featured flavored water/lemonade dispensers I had not seen before. If you pulled forward on the handle, you received the flavor you expected. If you pushed back, you got plain water (with a small bit of flavoring of whatever was in the line). There was no indication of how to work these machines, so it took me a few tries to figure out why I was getting very weak flavored drinks. These same machines were in the WindJammer as well.


270 Panoramic by cmong, on Flickr


After our lunch, it was time to explore the ship. We headed up to the top. There was already a large line to sign up for iFly (my dad made a reservation for a later date he eventually cancelled). While he waited in line, my mom and I rode the bumper cars. We did not head over to NorthStar because we had heard it was having difficulties in cold weather and thought we would try it once the ship got a bit further south … which ended up not working for us, but oh well.


First impressions of the ship were that it was large, clean, and had lots of big spaces … about everything you’d expect from a new RCI ship. There are many impressive indoor spaces on the top of the ship (SeaPlex, Pool, Solarium). We found ourselves using the WOW bands over our SeaPass simply because it was easy to strap them on and forget about them until needing to open the door.


Bumper Cars on Quantum by cmong, on Flickr


Oh … and the RoyalIQ app was completely non-functioning for this first day. I would try to login once on Royal Wifi and was constantly given “unknown error” issues. This made tracking the bags, of course, impossible. It became obvious that the entire system was probably down as we could not access the main menu on the TV either. We received one bag fairly quickly, though the other two took until closer to the muster drill.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the review it's great. I'm excited to hear the rest as have the same room as you in June.



Sent from my iPad using Forums

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on this cruise also and it amazes me how different people are told different things! Did your Set Sail Pass show that you were D+?


We are D+ and we were directed over to the priority boarding area. I started to head for General Boarding and the Check In person ran after me and pointed me to the Priority area. It did not do a lot of good since the scanners for Priority were not working and we stood there watching the General Boarding people go up the escalator. There were other D+ and D's in that area...a few chairs that were occupied quickly. The Cow Herd scenario was felt in the priority area also since there were no times/groups called. People behind us had 12:45 and it was 11:30... Yes, after the initial rush, things settled down and those arriving later were either 10 minutes curb to ship or very close to that time frame.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

your manner of reporting is so factual and enjoyable. love your photographs as well. we are hoping by April when we sail some of these issues will be resolved, but again thank you for sharing your experience!

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Great review, I appreciate the balance. Looking forward to the rest!



Sent from my iPhone using Cruise Critic Forums mobile app

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites




Quantum Awaits by cmong, on Flickr[/center


Does anyone know where those bowed cabins it looks like in the picture are located. Seems they have a little larger balcony. Almost resembles the Sweet 16 cabins on celebrity's M Class ships.


Those are Deck 6 (CAT D8) staterooms. Port: 6118-6128 and Starboard: 6518-6528. Friends of mine had 6528 on Quantum's 11/2 Transatlantic and loved it! (I don't believe that the balcony is any larger, but feel free to correct me).

silentBob, I love your photo of One World Trade Center, beautiful! Enjoying your review and look forward to more. :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

At this point, I am going to shift from a narrative review to focused areas of the trip (basically because my days onboard, I’m sure, are less than interesting to anyone else).




We booked late and were looking for something resembling a deal. At that point, three people in an obstructed balcony was the cheapest booking option. After looking at all of the obstructed balconies available, we chose 6570 as it was on the side of the hump and appeared to have a bigger balcony on the floor plan.



Welcome to 6570 by cmong, on Flickr


Upon entering the cabin, it definitely felt a little longer than a standard cabin on other ships though perhaps a little narrower. There is a pinch point between the wall and the beds. Our cabin had a sofa bed, which was hard but decently comfortable to me (who prefers hard mattresses). When the sofa bed is made up, there is almost no room at the desk or to slip by to the balcony.



Home for a while by cmong, on Flickr


The cabin featured plenty of storage. There were two different closest options as well as drawers and large cabinets above the beds and the sofa (similar to Solstice-class cabins). There was a mini-fridge in the desk area and it, surprisingly, seemed to keep things cool and included booze (not just wine). The balcony did seem substantially bigger than a standard balcony, though it still only had two chairs, two foot stools, and one small table. For those with romantic notions of eating breakfast on the balcony (disregarding the new fees for hot breakfast from room service), keep in mind that the “table” is basically a low piece of furniture about the height of your knee … not the best thing to eat off of by any means. Our balcony door had a horrible squeal when shutting it. Our room steward showed us that we had to shut it with the handle in the middle position (pointing to the right instead of up or down) to not have it wail like a banshee.



6570 obstruction by cmong, on Flickr


The bathroom was cruise-small but not horrible. The shower was a tad bigger than recent RCI designs and had a swinging door I much preferred to the torpedo tube design. There was not a facial tissue dispenser in the bathroom. We eventually found a box of it in one of the dresser drawers with the hair dryer.



Quantum bathroom 6570 by cmong, on Flickr


The TV featured fairly standard RCI programming including a few broadcast channels though unfortunately still international versions of ESPN. It was near impossible to watch an NFL game and, the one game that was actually televised, was shown without any commentator audio. Weird. As mentioned earlier, the menu on the TV did not work the first day, but after that you could look at account information and order items as with other RCI ships.


The placement of this cabin was forward, but still inside the forward elevator lobby. It was quite convenient for elevators and stairs. It was nice to be a quick hop from the Schooner Bar and the Royal Theater. You could also walk all of the way to the back of deck 6 and go through the unmarked metal double doors to be in the top floor of 270. We did not use that too much, but it made it better when escaping from shows in 270 or if trying to get from that room more quickly to our cabin. I imagine that use of these doors may be more of an issue when people try to get in to skirt reservations for Starwater, so shhhhhh.

Edited by silentbob007

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
  • Create New...