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Quantum & Anthem Photo Review - Food Focus - All Specialty and Dynamic Dining

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When I originally booked my 11-night Caribbean cruise, Quantum of the Seas was slated to sail year-round from its homeport of Cape Liberty in New Jersey. Meantime, during the construction process, demand for cruising amongst the burgeoning Chinese middle class was exploding and Royal Caribbean set their sights on garnering a lead in that potentially huge market by deploying new-builds in addition to the older vessels that both they and other Western cruise lines had hitherto relied upon. So after a short winter season sailing from Bayonne, Quantum is now repositioning to China; and alterations are being made to increase the gambling facilities on board, so essential to maximise profitability in that lucrative market.

 

 

After a maiden summer-season sailing from the UK, Anthem of the Seas is now scheduled to fulfil the role originally intended for Quantum. I am booked on a 13-night Canary Islands cruise on Anthem at the end of September and I intend to extend this review to incorporate that too. This double review will hopefully serve as a useful panning tool for those considering sailing on Anthem once it has crossed the Atlantic to its new year-round home.

 

 

Prior to joining Quantum on February 2nd 2015, I had spent a week on NCL’s Getaway out of Miami, also in a Studio. If you want to know about that sailing, and the reasons why Royal Caribbean should be worried about the competition, you can read it here.

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=2171334

 

 

Seems crazy, I know, to fly from sunny Miami to New York’s biting winter weather, only to sail back down to where I had just cruised; but such was my eagerness to experience Royal Caribbean’s latest class of ship, especially after my recent mind-blowing experience of Oasis. I have always felt that Royal Caribbean have the most innovative and amazing ship designs; right from my first experience with them in 1997 on Splendour of the Seas, through the various Voyager and Freedom Class ships and not forgetting the charm of the Radiance Class, that offers possibly the optimum balance between onboard facilities and a more intimate and traditional style of cruising without any sense of crowding.

 

 

Then of course along came Oasis Class. Beyond amazing; and certainly still in a league of its own when it comes to the ship-itself being the destination. You can read my review here:

 

http://boards.cruisecritic.co.uk/showthread.php?t=1992376

 

 

Pre-Cruise Stay in New York

 

From time to time when the East Coast is hit by severe winter weather, scenes of heavy snowfalls appear on our UK news programmes. So I knew that New York could have harsh winter weather but I had been in New York at the same time of year once before when sailing on the NCL Dawn but the weather had been fine. What I had been unprepared for on this visit was just how piercingly cold it can be. I have never felt cold like it; and we supposedly have some cold winters here in Scotland. So for anyone planning a winter trip that includes a stay in New York, here are the essential items I lacked: a hat; gloves; and something to keep your ears warm, like a hood, scarf or earmuffs. I would never travel there in the winter again without these.

 

I had two nights in Manhattan before Quantum sailed. I intended to make my own way to Bayonne from Manhattan by rail. So I chose a hotel close to the 33rd Street PATH station, which provides easy access to Hoboken and onward connection to Bayonne, and I will illustrate the route for those considering this interesting and inexpensive option.

 

As always, I used Tripadvisor to weigh up the options for my accommodation. I settled on the Eventi, a Kimpton Hotel, located on Sixth Avenue at 30th Street. I paid for a Deluxe Corner Room and requested a high floor with a view along Sixth Ave. I was more than delighted with the room allocated. Four-star hotels in Manhattan are expensive but, as this was low season, the price was within my reach and almost half the rate it sells for at peak times.

 

 

Eventi%20exterior-9154_zpswb1ejalj.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20exterior%20front-9160_zpsmmmzfjjk.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20room%20entrance-_zpsdc122oam.jpg

 

Eventi%20Room%20outward-_zpszduvwgcd.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20Room%20inward%20from%20corner-_zps1phhk3ny.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20%20Room%20inward-9045_zpsxzmeckjz.jpg

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View along Sixth Ave...

Eventi%20%20sixth%20ave-7419_zpsxws8wi2c.jpg

 

 

View from room forward and right...

Eventi%20Room%20with%20a%20%20view-7437_zpsrq2aycon.jpg

 

 

Empire State Building illuminated by sinking sun...

Eventi%20Sun%20view-9049_zpsifndvsis.jpg

 

 

Empire State Building after dark...

Eventi%20night%20view-2_zpsonip96ta.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20Bathroom%20in-9080_zpsijtz70ih.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20Bathroom%20out-_zps2jcnf7nf.jpg

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Looking forward to reading through your review. Your hotel room was very nice so I may check into that when I cruise out of there next March.

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Hi Megacruiser,

 

Following and looking forward to September. :):):)

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Great pics! Looking forward to the rest of your review for a side-by-side comparison.

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Prior to joining Quantum on February 2nd 2015, I had spent a week on NCL’s Getaway out of Miami, also in a Studio. If you want to know about that sailing, and the reasons why Royal Caribbean should be worried about the competition, you can read it here.

 

Looking forward to a fellow solo traveller's review on Q! :D I stayed in a studio on Q as well so we'll see what cabin you had and how you rank Q with Getaway.

I just clicked on your NCL review link you provided... WOW!... I'm definitely going to go through that review. I'm now opening up my options by learning more about the other lines, and I was intrigued by your comment above in bold. Thank you Megacruiser

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Many thanks to all for commenting. It's nice to know that people are reading; and if they will be following the review.

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An internet search for local breakfast options threw up Friedman’s, a block away on 31st St. I arrived 5 minutes before the 10am opening time and already a dozen-or-so hungry diners were huddled together, shivering outside a ramshackle, makeshift mini-porch; seen widely-in-use during my stay in the city, I assume they are deployed only in the depths of winter. Unsightly for sure, but they act as an effective buffer against a severe chill-blast that would otherwise freeze the restaurant interior in milliseconds.

 

To be kept waiting in the perishing cold for almost ten minutes after opening-time was almost unforgivable; but my need for warmth and food overrode my principles on this occasion, so I waited and bit my tongue…

 

 

Friedmans%20Tables-9149_zpsfgzj2inm.jpg

 

 

Friedmans%20coffee%201-9148_zpsnm1lq45a.jpg

 

 

Friedmans%20coffee-9144_zpszxpzzmsd.jpg

 

 

Reviews had recommended the buttermilk pancakes, a favourite of mine, and they were even better than my beloved Perkins version; but only just, and with a much heftier price to match. Never had chicken sausage patties before and they were amazingly flavoursome and not at all bland, as one might imagine.

 

 

Buttermilk Pancakes with Chicken Patties...

Friedmans%2031st%20st%20breakfast-9152_zpskqywwwqo.jpg

 

 

Friedmans%20Maple%20Syrup-9147_zpsltptfulr.jpg

 

 

A glance at my check reminded me of just how much of a bargain cruising truly is...:)

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Although there is a Trader Joe’s within a fifteen minute walk of the Eventi on Sixth Avenue, it doesn’t stock wine (although it did have some nice bottled ale). So I was now headed to the branch in Union Square to buy two bottles of Estancia Pinot Noir as my permitted allowance to take on board. I quite liked that neighbourhood.

 

 

Flat%20Iron%20View%20to%20ESB-7460_zpskfyyyl91.jpg

 

 

Union%20Square%20street%20view-7459_zpseyd2zonn.jpg

 

 

Think Big...

Union%20%20Sq%20Statue-9170_zpsdxlikunq.jpg

 

 

Think%20Big-_zpseenbjy2b.jpg

 

 

 

From there I sought out, and to see in person, that iconic and much photographed landmark...

 

 

The Flatiron Building on extreme left, approaching from behind...

Flat%20Iron%20View%20to%20ESB-_zpsxjqfiggt.jpg

 

 

The acute angle seen straight on...

Flat%20Iron%20Bldg-9181_zpspu2crdbw.jpg

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I then headed on towards Central Station and the Chrysler Building. En route I passed Bryant Park where ice skaters were taking advantage of the recent snowfalls.

 

 

Bryant Park Ice Skating...

Flat%20Iron%20Bldg-_zpsl4ew8c8t.jpg

 

 

Approaching Grand Central Station...

GRAND%20CENTRAL%20CHRYSLER-7491_zpsakbnfo95.jpg

 

 

Grand%20Central%20Station-_zpsdnprfylb.jpg

 

 

Grand Central Interiors...

GRAND%20CENTRAL%20INTERIOR-7506_zps5n3sw9fo.jpg

 

 

GRAND%20CENTRAL%20INTERIOR%20CLOCK-7510_zpsbaovcclx.jpg

 

 

Chrysler Building...

Chrysler%20Bldg%20only-_zpshlgfctd6.jpg

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The off to Times Square to snap the illuminations...

 

 

Paramount Hotel and Hard Rock Cafe...

Grand%20Central%20Station-9264_zpswozlx3to.jpg

 

 

Chrysler%20Bldg%20Long-9265_zps7g1t3p7p.jpg

 

 

Times%20Sq%20Victorias%20%20Secret-9290_zpskxmrzx4h.jpg

 

 

Times%20Sq%20Lion%20King-9292_zpsdsq31td6.jpg

 

 

Times%20Sq%20Steam-9282_zpspduqfbia.jpg

 

 

Times%20Sq%20Google%20Play-9276_zpsa3pgz2o1.jpg

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Tomorrow I intend to explain how to easily make your own way by train to Bayonne, followed by a short taxi ride to the ship.

 

Then we get into the actual cruise review proper. Your patience is appreciated as I am working on this day-by-day after work. Even after all my reviews, I am sorry but I don't seem to get any quicker at editing, uploading and linking photos. Please bear with me. If you do decide to follow along, please do let me know.

 

Many thanks

megacruiser

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Megacruiser, I've been following your pictorial reviews since I found the Oasis one. (We're booked on Oasis next Feb.) Beautiful pictures! I'm loving all the detail you're putting in the reviews.

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Did you ever make it ti Rockefeller Center or down town to the WTC Memorial, the new Freedom Tower or into the Empire State Building?

There's so much to see in NYC. As a New Yorker, I get to pick and choose when I'd like to go. I can honestly say that I've lived here all of my life and I still haven't seen everything that The city has to offer.

My excuse for not seeing everything lies somewhere between the historic features that exist for centuries and the ever changing landscape which distract people like me, making it nearly impossible to get to everything else that Is on my list :-).

Edited by Overtyme

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Looking forward to a fellow solo traveller's review on Q! :D I stayed in a studio on Q as well so we'll see what cabin you had and how you rank Q with Getaway.

I just clicked on your NCL review link you provided... WOW!... I'm definitely going to go through that review. I'm now opening up my options by learning more about the other lines, and I was intrigued by your comment above in bold. Thank you Megacruiser

 

Hello and thanks for commenting. I think it's good to experience what various cruise lines offer. Otherwise you just can't know what you might be missing. It was NCL's Studios that attracted me back after losing interest in NCL in the mid-noughties. I found their ships rather bland and the food below par.

 

Although the ships themselves don't surpass Oasis or Quantum Class, their new builds are much more stimulating, but not without shortcomings. The entertainment on the Epic was however the best ever, even beating my favourite ship, Oasis.

 

Getaway has addressed some of Epic's shortcomings, particularly the lack of connection to the sea. However the main pool area is totally inadequate, so purchasing a Vibe Beach Club pass is an absolute necessity for me; as is the Ultimate Dining Package which, for $120, allows you to dine entirely in the amazing variety of specialty restaurants and thus avoiding the mediocre MDR food. Getaway has an amazing buzz about it in the evening.

 

As this review progresses I hope to clearly articulate why Quantum Class falls short of Oasis Class, whilst of course also focusing on the aspects that make it special. I will also expand on my assertion that Royal Caribbean need to be concerned about the competition now being offered by NCL. In any case I think a lot of solo cruisers like me now feel that NCL values us more than others.

 

Kind regards

megacruiser

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Did you ever make it ti Rockefeller Center or down town to the WTC Memorial, the new Freedom Tower or into the ?

There's so much to see in NYC. As a New Yorker, I get to pick and choose when I'd like to go. I can honestly say that I've lived here all of my life and I still haven't seen everything that The city has to offer.

My excuse for not seeing everything lies somewhere between the historic features that exist for centuries and the ever changing landscape which distract people like me, making it nearly impossible to get to everything else that Is on my list :-).

 

Hello Overtyme,

 

I took the ship's Manhattan Tour and transfer to JFK at the end of the cruise which did take us to Rockefeller Centre where we had a short stop. Unfortunately we did not stop at Freedom Tower as I had hoped. I went up the Empire State Building many years ago but Burg Khalifa in Dubai has since spoiled me.

 

Yes it's funny how we ignore some amazing sights locally but travel all over the world seeking others. I know that only too well as regards Scotland and other parts of the British Isles that I have overlooked.

 

Many thanks for contributing.

 

Kind regards

megacruiser

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After a brief return to the hotel to have a relaxing shower and get changed I headed out for dinner. As many fellow Brits will understand, I was eager to have a good curry at this the halfway point of my trip. Spice Symphony on Lexington offers Southern Indian cuisine which I like; it gets good reviews and is located on Lexington within 15 minutes walk of the Eventi.

 

The restaurant was quiet, perhaps folk want to watch the Superbowl at home. Most of the staff were glued to the television. To my way of thinking, restaurants should not even have such screens as they are a distraction from the food.

 

 

Spice%20Symphony%20Superbowl-9298_zpsadacfbpx.jpg

 

 

Piri Piri Shrimp starter...

Spice%20Symphony%20Shrimp%20Piri%20Piri-_zps7brnz7m5.jpg

 

 

Goan Fish Curry and Madras vegetables...

Spice%20Symphony%20Goan%20Fish%20%20Madras%20vegetables-9302_zpsvamc6ggh.jpg

 

 

My verdict was that this was a safe choice. The starter was delicious and raised expectations. The other dishes were very good but unexceptional. The price, for New York, seemed reasonable.

 

 

Heavy snow overnight had been forecast and on my walk back to the hotel it started to fall.

Snow%20Herald%20Sq%20Hotel-9304_zpsiezactkb.jpg

 

 

O’Reilly’s Irish Pub close to the Eventi...

Snow%20OReillys%20Pub-9305_zpswcq78sxl.jpg

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I wakened to find that snow was still falling heavily. The streets and pavements (sidewalks) were inches deep in slushy snow. I had intended to venture out for breakfast but a brief exploratory look out the front door and along to the nearest corner, showed that progress would be at a snail’s pace. Aside from the slipperiness of the slush, the melting snow at the intersections was ankle-deep with no obvious route to avoid it. How the locals coped I don’t know, but my footwear could not... I returned to check out the hotel breakfast options. Very overpriced, as four-star hotel breakfasts usually are, I asked what was on offer. “ A World Class Buffet in addition to an a la carte menu” was the answer. I justified the cost, as one so often does, thus: “oh well, I am on holiday so what the heck”.

 

One of my pet peeves is when the only hot eggs on offer are scrambled, and have been kept hot for an eternity losing all freshness and drying out. I asked if eggs made-to-order were available. No, only a la carte. I spoke to the manager who had beckoned me in with the “World Class Buffet” claim. A sort exchange in which I gave my definition of “World Class“ as it relates to buffet breakfasts, resulted in me being offered an omelette of my choice at no extra charge; not too much to ask I would suggest when paying $30 for breakfast. To be fair, I will say that the actual quality of all the ingredients was very high...

 

 

Eventi%20Conservatory%20Breakfast%20Buffet-7541_zpsutpgekxd.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20Breakfast%20Buffet%205-7539_zpsew2vsbfi.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20Breakfast%20Buffet%201-7529_zpsynmrbhow.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20Breakfast%20Buffet%203-7534_zpsycxkzpta.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20Breakfast%20Buffet%204-7537_zpsaefymqah.jpg

 

 

Eventi%20Breakfast%20Buffet%202-7530_zps0861rpbc.jpg

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I love your review so far. I went back and read your NCL reviews because of the solo cabins. I have not tried them yet and found a good deal on the new Escape, they even offer AARP discounts. I think I found my next cruise. I like RCI, but the single supplement is getting a bit much.

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Hello and thanks for commenting. I think it's good to experience what various cruise lines offer. Otherwise you just can't know what you might be missing. It was NCL's Studios that attracted me back after losing interest in NCL in the mid-noughties. I found their ships rather bland and the food below par.

 

 

 

Although the ships themselves don't surpass Oasis or Quantum Class, their new builds are much more stimulating, but not without shortcomings. The entertainment on the Epic was however the best ever, even beating my favourite ship, Oasis.

 

 

 

Getaway has addressed some of Epic's shortcomings, particularly the lack of connection to the sea. However the main pool area is totally inadequate, so purchasing a Vibe Beach Club pass is an absolute necessity for me; as is the Ultimate Dining Package which, for $120, allows you to dine entirely in the amazing variety of specialty restaurants and thus avoiding the mediocre MDR food. Getaway has an amazing buzz about it in the evening.

 

 

 

As this review progresses I hope to clearly articulate why Quantum Class falls short of Oasis Class, whilst of course also focusing on the aspects that make it special. I will also expand on my assertion that Royal Caribbean need to be concerned about the competition now being offered by NCL. In any case I think a lot of solo cruisers like me now feel that NCL values us more than others.

 

 

 

Kind regards

 

megacruiser

 

 

MegaCruiser,

Thanks for your wonderful and objective perspective.

I'm particularly interested in this review as we may have some second time cruisers in our party, who's first cruise was on Epic.

They're a family of four with two children.

 

I did find it interesting that you noted the lack of connection to the Sea on Epic.

 

I did also find this in Allure as well. It was by far, my favorite cruise to date, but I did miss the connection with the sea.

I loved the entertainment on Allure as well, but in fairness to Oasis, they did call Allure the Entertainment Ship (paraphrasing).

We loved Chicago, but it's my understanding that it leaving/left Allure now.

 

Anyway- I digress and don't meat to detract from your review.

I'm really looking forward to the rest of it.

Thank you for taking us along on your journey!

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The previous day I checked the location of and access to the 33rd St PATH station, only a few minutes’ walk from the Eventi.

 

 

 

JC Penney at the Manhattan Mall on 6th Ave...

Sixth%20Ave%20%20JCP-7474_zps54imgn8e.jpg

 

 

 

JCP%20PATH%20entrance-9033_zpst3hrubal.jpg

 

 

Sixth%20Ave%20%20Manhattan%20Mall%20Station%20entrances-7485_zpspahorsj4.jpg

 

 

The approach coming from Eventi Hotel...

PATH%20station%20approach%20from%20Eventi-_zps7qwefrku.jpg

 

 

PATH%20station%20closer%20approach%20from%20Eventi-7455_zps02teddcg.jpg

 

 

On right - elevator to platform level...

PATH%20entrance%20elevator%2034%20st%20Subway-9041_zpskk5x8e1o.jpg

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From there a 15 minute journey whisks you across the river to Hoboken where the train terminates.

 

 

PATH%20Map%20in%20concourse-_zpsmsbmyjrq.jpg

 

 

PATH%20Train%20map-9313_zpsbchbaksm.jpg

 

 

 

Then you change to the Hudson Bergen Line, way over to the extreme left of the station. An elevator is available to take you up to street level and the main concourse.

 

Hudson%20Bergen%20Map-_zpsrwkwbq7n.jpg

 

 

Take the train to 34th St station in Bayonne. This is a light rail service not dissimilar to a tram and it weaves its way round some tight curves. The journey is just under 30 minutes. Please remember that you have to validate your ticket at a machine in the station before boarding the train.

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Hudson%20Bergen%20Harborside-9330_zpsqv9h3bsm.jpg

 

 

Hudson%20Bergen%20Weaving-9331_zpsddryb7bp.jpg

 

 

Book one of the Bayonne taxis from your cell phone for your arrival at 34th St station at Bayonne and they will ask whether you want picked up on the street or in the car park. I found the car park to be a straightforward option with little chance of confusion over the pick-up point. There is a walkway and then an elevator that takes you right there. I used Archie’s Taxis and it worked well for me. It was under $10 for the 10 minute drive in dreadful weather and some heavy traffic latterly.

 

 

Hudson%20Bergen%20Car%20Park-9340_zpsbjztexxa.jpg

 

 

Hudson%20Bergen%20Shelters-9339_zps5cx0st7r.jpg

 

 

First glimpse of Quantum from the taxi...

Quantum%20from%20taxi-9342_zpsm4jhyw4h.jpg

 

 

Drop–off area...

Quantum%20Terminal%20drop%20off-9344_zps9szkwywi.jpg

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