Sail Away with me

A cruise in Southampton with Quantum of the Seas.

A cruise in Southampton with Quantum of the Seas. (photo credit: Courtesy)
A cruise in Southampton with Quantum of the Seas.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Cruises often get a bad rep. From “it’s for old people” to “I’ll get seasick,” I’ve heard all kinds of reasons why a cruise vacation is lame. Up until three weeks ago, I was one of those people. But, little did I know, I would soon end up being on a cruise. I was invited to cover The Royal Caribbean’s latest launch of a new ship – Quantum of the Seas, which felt more like a chic hotel on water than a ship. And I had a great time. So from now on, I won’t knock it till I try it. Yup, lesson learned.
Though, in this case, I’d be more than happy to learn it again (wink, wink). If you’re into sipping wine while taking in amazing views, a cruise could be perfect for you. Where else would you find a vacation place that serves different styles of food, stops at several locations and offers a bionic bar? The trip began with a flight to Heathrow, London, and then a bus to Southampton. After checking in and enjoying a relaxing bath, we sailed away on Southampton’s waters. And so the journey began…
In a nutshell
The Quantum of the Seas is the world’s first smart ship, or at least that’s how it’s promoted.
Well, I can’t say much about that, as I don’t have anything to compare it to - it was my first open seas experience. But I will say this – there are virtual balconies (decks 6 to 8 have flat screens which give a real-time view of the sea outside), radio frequency ID wristbands (enable passengers to make cashless payments, and open their cabin door, of course), a bionic bar (mechanical cocktail shakers), all those cool rides (from bumper cars to RipCord by iFLY – a skydiving simulator), an amazing music hall, late night discos, and a living room (kids only) which I LOVED, but as I said, no adults allowed, so who am I to argue? Smart ship, indeed!
Onto the REALLY interesting thing… the food
No more fixed dining times! Instead, there’s the new concept – Dynamic Dining in four restaurants (American Icon Grill, Silk, Chic and the formal one, The Grande). I first tried Silk, the Asian style restaurant. The food was very good, especially the Chicken Tikka Masala. The second one I tried was Chic, which wasn’t as good as the others. There was also the Windjammer Marketplace, where you go if you’re on a hunt for a quick bite. In fact, it’s open 24-hours. Yay, lots of food around the clock. As for the extra fee specialty restaurants, you might want to know that among them is one by Chef Jamie Oliver. And it’s his first at sea.
Let me entertain you
If you get sick of all that food, booze and special gadgets, consider going to the theater to watch the musical Mama Mia. Confession: I hate Abba, but I enjoyed every minute of it. Amazing show, really.
The verdict
We all know that vacations are expensive, no matter what the location. This cruise may not be the cheapest vacation you can find, but at least it offers an all in one package – good food, attractions, a cabin and some great views. You parents, above all, should know that the cost of activities on dry land can be much higher. So, I say, great for families, groups and honeymooners. Grab a seat, ya’ll.
For more information go to, 073-2248999.