Cruise Ship Review: Spectrum of the Seas Introduces the Royal Range
Typically, sister ships within a class are built in close succession, making it difficult to impose significant changes throughout the class. This is the reality Royal Caribbean understood, coupled with the knowledge that a new Quantum-class ship would also have quite a lot to live up to with standout older sisters like Quantum of the Seas (2014), Anthem of the Seas (2015), and Ovation of the Seas (2016) still fresh on cruisers’ minds.
So to make the right splash, Royal Caribbean just waited a few years and added a subtle “Ultra” to the class name. Three years after Ovation’s debut, the wait has allowed the company to incorporate the latest technology as well as introduce numerous improvements in what is now known as the Quantum Ultra class. In an outstanding family, this generation’s newest ship — let’s call her “cruise cousin” — truly stands out.
Meet Spectrum of the Seas
Fully redesigned with the Chinese market in mind, the entire extravagant ship is decked with signage in both Chinese and English, making it friendly and accessible to all 4,216 passengers.
New on Spectrum of the Seas is the private suite area, located between Decks 13 and 16. It is an exclusive neighborhood, only accessible with a special keycard. Guests of the 36 Golden suites or 106 Silver suites will enjoy a dedicated lounge and restaurant. Golden suite guests are treated to The Balcony, an exclusive private outdoor terrace offering outstanding panoramic views from the most forward part of the ship. A must-visit is The Boutique, a high-end shopping area where you can reserve your own private shopping experience, wine tasting, or small gathering. The private suite travelers are also provided a team of concierges dedicated to enhancing the Spectrum experience, with exclusive room service, Royal embarkation, and access to additional food and beverage benefits.
Also new on Spectrum is the Ultimate Family Suite, with three bedrooms, two stories, and over 2,000-square-feet of mind-blowing design and amenities. Kids even have their own indoor slide to get from their room to the main living area! The entire family will enjoy the recreation room equipped with a giant screen TV, surround-sound audio, video games, karaoke, and movies.
Guests of the new private suites experience the best of all boating worlds: the amenities and the service of a yacht with the space, stability, and variety of choices and entertainment that can only be found on a large vessel.
Dining venues have evolved over the years. Long gone is the era of choosing between first- or second-seating in the main dining room. Every modern cruise ship offers numerous restaurants, but Spectrum of the Seas has raised the bar even higher. Guests are challenged to decide between 33 fabulous dining options.
Sichuan Red is a new dining concept with authentic cuisine from the Sichuan Province of China. The Noodle Bar, part of the Windjammer Market Place, features freshly made noodles and live chef demonstrations. The Teppanyaki restaurant has been taken to another level with an expanded space and many more tables.
While clearly serving the Asian market, Spectrum still has something to offer everyone’s palate. Chops Grille offers steaks cooked to perfection, and Jamie’s Italian by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver consistently impresses any connoisseur of Italian cuisine.
If you want the VIP treatment, don’t miss The Chef’s Table experience. A gourmet five-course dinner is presented and described by the chef himself, while the sommelier pairs each course with the finest wine for a truly amazing epicurean adventure.
The main dining room has seating on three levels, and serves a variety of Chinese and western cuisine à la carte with a menu that changes daily.
For a more casual atmosphere, Windjammer Market Place is a wonderful buffet open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. About 20 percent larger on Spectrum than the sister ships, the buffet offers a diverse choice of eastern and western foods, even a pizza section
And for those with packed schedules or simply not interested in anything but a quick bite, Royal Caribbean thought about you as well. Stop by Sorrento’s for an authentic New York Pizzeria slice, the Dog House for a gourmet hot dog, or one of the coffee shops on board for a pastry.
Let Us Entertain You
Entertainment is where sailing on a large ship pays off. There is an overwhelming selection of things to do, see, and hear. For a perfect Spectrum evening, head to the Royal Theater for new productions and amazing talent. You can also go aft on the ship to the Two70 lounge where the floor-to-ceiling windows are transformed to a seamless video projection wall behind the performers and their cutting-edge acts. If you prefer open air, watch a first-run movie by the pool on the massive 220-square-foot movie screen.
The SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, is a multipurpose room with activities ranging from basketball, fencing, archery, table tennis, roller skating, and even bumper cars.
Want to showcase your own talents? Look no further than the Star Moment lounge, an oversized karaoke venue. There’s even a private room you can reserve if you prefer to keep your singing skills secret to strictly your closest circle of friends.
For those who want to try their hand with lady luck, Spectrum has what it takes to handle the casino aficionados. In addition to the Casino Royale, more private venues such as the Golden Room and a VIP room are available for serious players.
Spectrum has a full contingent of exceptional professional artists on board. The quality of the musicians, singers, and dancers is top notch, and beyond that they have specially invited guest entertainers joining every voyage. Comedians, magicians, jugglers — the choice and diversity are tremendous. If you are in party mode, head to Music Hall where the DJ will keep you dancing until the wee hours.
One of the unique encounters offered on the Quantum-class ships is the sky diving simulator. It is amazing and exhilarating to experience such high-end activities on a ship. Spectrum welcomes several new fantastic experiences as well. Try the cutting-edge Sky Pad, a virtual reality bungee-trampoline experience that allows you to travel to another planet and time. Without the VR headset, you can fly high while enjoying the view of the ocean.
Riding the wave on the FlowRider surfing simulator is not necessarily new, but it still holds a great deal of excitement for passengers. As the crowds would attest, just watching the daring enthusiast is as much fun as trying it yourself. For those who are not “surfers,” you can ride the wave on a belly board.
While on the upper deck, do not miss a ride in the North Star, a glass capsule taking you up to 300 feet in the air with a giant arm for breathtaking views. Completing the portfolio of outdoor fun are pools, whirlpools, and rock climbing walls.
Worth Circling The Planet For
Spectrum of the Seas is an amazing vessel, certainly one of the most technologically advanced cruise ships at sea today with an enormous number of amenities to offer guests looking for an unforgettable vacation experience. You may have to fly to Asia, but if you are hungry for something exotic, Spectrum of the Seas is the way to experience this exciting part of the world in style.
By Michel Verdure
Photo: Royal Caribbean International