LAST month saw the launch of Royal Caribbean International’s (RCI) newest member of the fleet — the all new Quantum Ultra Class, Spectrum of the Seas. The ship has been designed specifically for the Asian market and will be homeported out of Shanghai for most of the year with a stint out of Hong Kong. Itineraries will be shorter with 3, 5 and 7 day voyages on offer, visiting Korea and Japan.

RCI sees China as a huge market with untapped potential, with only 1% of Chinese having ever cruised. The addition of Spectrum out of Asia gives added capacity for the region. travelBulletin was lucky enough to was luck

y enough to be on board for the inaugural sailing official naming ceremony with travel agent partners from around the world.

The Ultra version of the Quantum class sees quite a few changes specifically for the Asian market. The introduction of the “Suite Club” is one of the many great new features. This private enclave on the ship offers a variety of exclusive suites in either the Silver or Gold category. There are separate Silver and Gold dining rooms and lounge areas along with a completely private pool and outdoor area called ‘The Balcony’ for suite club guests only. For the extended family the Ultimate Family suite accommodates up to 11 guests. The two-storey suite includes a slippery slide, private cinema and jacuzzi on a massive private balcony. The Loft suites extend over two levels with dining and living areas as well as a large private balcony.

As for entertainment and activities RCI have gone all out. As with other Quantum class ships there is the FlowRider, Northstar and RipCord by iFly (skydiving simulator) as well as the Seaplex area. This area includes arcade games, a full size basketball court which is used for bumper cars or laser tag at various times of the day. But what is really new is the Sky Pad — a bungee trampoline experience where uses wear virtual reality headsets to have a virtual adventure.

The entertainment program is comprehensive with great new shows which have plenty of wow factor in the costumes and special effects. Silk Road showcases the famous trade route with dance and music from the different cultures along this ancient road and was created just for Spectrum. Also only on the ship is Star Moment karaoke lounge for all those aspiring singers!

Many changes have also been made to the dining options, with a greater focus on Asian cuisine. Spectrum sees the introduction of specialty restaurants Sichuan Red — offering a Sichuan feast, Wonderland by DaDong, The Hot Pot, Izumi Japanese and Teppanyaki, alongside favourites Jamie’s Italian and Chops Grille. There is also a new caf — Leaf and Bean, offering a variety of teas.

The ship also has all the other great RCI features — pools indoor and outdoor, kids waterpark play area, several bars including the Bionic Bar, Body and Mind Spa and fitness centre, rock climbing, retail outlets and a casino. There is something for everyone to enjoy.

Although primarily catering for the Asian market, with capacity for over 4,500 guests, the appeal for Australian travellers is likely be as part of a package tour to mainland China.

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