Not long ago, Royal Caribbean International rocked the world of cruise vacations, announcing that they would be doing away with traditional dining; where all passengers gather in one large space for culinary experience served banquet style. Gone will be fixed dining times, assigned seating and formal nights. In their place, when new Quantum of the Seas debuts so will Royal Caribbean Dynamic Dining, a landscape of 18 different restaurant concepts from which to choose.
No Need To Pack A Lunch
It’s not that Royal Caribbean was tired of complaints about the main dining room experience and said “Fine, you don’t like it? We’ll just not have it anymore!” Not by a long shot. Replacing traditional dining is an array of culinary options that are varied in style, ambiance and cuisine. To help introduce the new concept, Royal Caribbean is took it’s culinary vision on the road, on land, giving fans a chance to see what it is all about.
Taking It On The Road
No stranger to jumping in on land to introduce new concepts. In 2011, I wrote of sister-line Celebrity Cruises celebrating the arrival of newest Solstice-class ship Celebrity Silhouette by commissioning 3-D artist Kurt Werner to create an innovative art installation at the New York Stock Exchange in a Gadling article. In 2012, they hosted pop-up restaurants in a variety of locations too.
In Colorado at the 32nd Annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, Royal Caribbean Dynamic Dining is showcasing many of its next-level signature options on Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas with partner chefs Jamie Oliver, Devin Alexander and Michael Schwartz, and more. Let’s take a look:
- Jamie’s Italian, the hugely popular restaurant from Britain’s favorite food export Jamie Oliver, featuring rustic Italian favorites handmade using seasonal ingredients and Jamie’s tried-and-tested crowd pleasers
- Devinly Decadence at Solarium Bistro, Royal Caribbean’s fittest dining destination serving the foods you love all under five-hundred calories, designed by Devin Alexander, media personality, New York Times best-selling author and chef of highly-rated television show, “The Biggest Loser”
- Michael’s Genuine Pub, the first American gastropub at sea and the next evolution of Royal Caribbean’s relationship with James Beard Award-winning chef Michael Schwartz, offering simply-prepared food and drinks made from the best artisanal producers
- The Grande, a luxuriant nod to a bygone era of classic European ocean liners when dining was a time honored ritual, featuring timeless dishes, and where every night is formal night (Saturday only);
- Silk, a vibrant and exotic destination where the spices of the Far East bring new flavor to adventurous palates through a Pan-Asian menu
- American Icon Grill, a take on the classic American road trip, pulling together best-loved regional favorites into one comfort-style menu
- Chic, where the height of contemporary cuisine is realized and the freshest ingredients, such as proteins that pack a punch and sauces made from scratch, are evolved for a modern palate (Sunday only).
Other Unique Features
With each new class of ships, Royal Caribbean introduces some interesting features, never before seen as sea. 167,800-ton Quantum-class ships will introduce a new set of first-at-sea onboard experiences too, including:
- Ripcord by iFLY, a heart-pounding skydiving experience;
- North Star, a thrilling adventure that transports guests more than 300 feet in the air on a breathtaking journey;
- Transformative venues including SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever.
Quantum of the Seas will sail out of New York Harbor from her homeport of Cape Liberty for her inaugural season before departing to her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China. Sister-ship Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton, U.K. in April 2015 sailing Mediterranean itineraries.
Follow Along On The Birth Of A New Concept
Still a little nervous about having no one place to go for dinner each night? You are not alone. Other readers have echoed your thoughts and voiced concerns about Royal Caribbean Dynamic Dining with comments like “But I like sitting at a big table, meeting others and sharing our day,” or “If I have a good waiter, I know it. By the second night they know I like Iced Tea and bring it without asking. I will miss that.” and “I don’t like making decisions on vacation and this adds one more to my list.”
I wouldn’t worry too much about such matters. Royal Caribbean has been quite successful by making passengers happy, not making them mad. Often their ground-breaking ideas might seem far-fetched at first but soon become just the way things are done.
Odds are that the most popular features on Quantum class will eventually be rolled out fleet wide. That move would be consistent with their past performance and if I were a betting man, I’d put money on it.