Quantum of the Seas’ new home port at the Queensland capital’s cruise terminal is a popular choice, with plenty of first-time cruisers and seasoned sailors setting off on Quantum of the Seas from Brisbane. With 2,090 staterooms and 16 decks, Quantum of the Seas has plenty of space for adventures, entertainment and dining that will keep you happy, well fed and entertained. The upside of such a big ship is the number of choices, but this can also be a downside, so it’s important to be well-prepared and well-informed before you board. Here are our tips for a great cruise from Brisbane on Royal Caribbean’s mega-ship, Quantum of the Seas.
1. Royal Caribbean App
The Royal Caribbean App is your passport for a much easier cruise experience and, unlike some other cruise apps, it works perfectly! Having the App had us from the carpark to our stateroom in 30 minutes, a record even for seasoned cruisers. With the App, you upload all your documents, complete your check-in, get your boarding pass with a bar code, do your mandatory safety briefings in advance, and you’re good to go. We dropped our bags at the cabin (keys are next to your door) and went straight to our muster station to be checked off, then we were free to enjoy the ship.
2. Pre-book all Quantum of the Seas dining and activities
With more than 4,000 passengers onboard at full capacity, this ship gets busy, so it’s important to pre-book your Quantum of the Seas activities, dining and shows before you board. For the free iFly or North Star rides on port days, slots are opened for bookings 24 hours prior but these can disappear in minutes – so be quick! If you do end up having to pay, you get value for money as the paid experiences offer extras like an extended ride on the North Star and an additional turn in the iFly tunnel.
3. Everything is priced in US$
Royal Caribbean charges in US dollars onboard their ships worldwide, regardless of where they’re sailing. This can come as a surprise at bill time for unsuspecting local cruisers. It’s important when planning or prebooking dining and activities to take the exchange rate into consideration when you’re deciding what to do. Look out for special deals like dining and drinks packages, as they can save you lots of money, especially if you buy them when they’re on sale. Check the website regularly for specials before your sailing.
4. Pack a day bag with your swimmers
Your luggage will normally arrive a few hours after boarding, so it’s important to pack a day bag with all your necessities, like a change of clothes, medications, charging cables for your phone or tablet, and your swimmers. I forgot my swimmers on my most recent trip and almost wept as the Flowrider only had three people taking turns on embarkation day. You can also bring two bottles of wine on board per stateroom, packed in your carry-on (but no spirits).
5. Pace yourself and don’t go too crazy.
It is always a sideshow on departure day, with many cruisers enjoying themselves to the full (and beyond) with lots of drinks, eats and partying. The next morning the same party crowd are often nowhere to be seen or asleep on a deckchair with very sore heads. Take it easy and enjoy every day, not just the first one, and you’ll have more fun with all the fun activities and entertainment onboard.
6. Stay up late and mix it up or get up early
Quantum of the Seas normally gets going around 9am or 10am and finishes in the early hours, so you have loads of choices when it comes to how to spend your time, both day and night. If you’re a morning person, there are no queues for coffee and breakfast, free stretch classes in the gym, no one in the pools and lots of choices for deckchairs, lounges and quiet places to cocoon. Night owls have lots of shows, bars and entertainment to enjoy, so mix it up and have the best of both.
7. Be patient and be kind
With 4,000 passengers and some glitches here and there, some things won’t go to plan. Be patient and kind, and remember that the staff who are trying to help you aren’t on holiday like you. Most of them work seven days a week, so treat them with kindness and respect. Tips may be included in your fare, but a little extra is always appreciated and well-deserved.
8. Time your Quantum of the Seas activities
Time your rides for maximum fun, and minimum waits. For example, it doesn’t cost any extra to ride the North Star at sunset and the iFly is quieter early in the morning. It’s cooler then too. Preplan and book early for all your activities, especially on shorter cruises. There are free rides available on port days for the iFly and the North Star but you’ll need to pre-book.
9. Quantum of the Seas cabins
As is the case on all cruise ships, be careful picking your cabin and avoid areas above or below the pool deck, theatres, smoking areas and kids club. Opt for a cabin midship for the smoothest ride. For budget conscious cruisers, an inside cabin on Quantum of the Seas is great value as there’s a floor to ceiling screen that brings the outside inside, making it feel like you’re looking out a window.
10. Live the suite life
Suites on Quantum of the Seas get a lot of benefits that make for good value if you can afford a splurge. These vary by suite category but can include a private suite-only restaurant called Coastal Kitchen, a concierge to help with bookings, unlimited specialty dining and internet access, complimentary drinks and VIP access to shows and activities. Based on our cruise, the latter would be particularly useful, as getting activity and restaurant bookings were tricky on our short itinerary.
11. Cabins are only serviced once a day
For regular cruises on Royal Caribbean (and many other lines), a morning and evening cabin service was the norm, but cruise line management teams have made some changes post-COVID. Cabins are now serviced once a day, but if you require fresh towels or anything extra, just call your steward.
12. Specialty dining
There are multiple choices available, ranging from casual to silver service and a show. Starting with Jamie’s Italian, you’ve got pleasant, casual pleasant dining with pasta being your best option. Wonderland is dining with a culinary show, and is a great choice for those who enjoy a bit of fun. Chops Grill is a winner, with its elegant ambience and fine dining vibe. Other for-a-fee options include Izumi for Japanese cuisine and the café on the pool deck for Asian dishes (a few of the dishes at this cafe are free so check it out!).
13. Starwater in Two70 is a must-see
I had read a few negative reviews of the Starwater show in the Two70 theatre prior to going on Quantum of the Seas and went in with low expectations. However, we ended up going to see this show three times as we enjoyed it so much. And we weren’t the only ones. Simply put, the music, singing, choreography and staging are simply amazing, and using different feature dancers each night makes each show a little different and definitely worth seeing more than once.
14. Shop smart for the best experience
If you want to get a good deal on this cruise, keep an eye on the Royal Caribbean website or sign up to the mailing list and look for deals that include a free drinks package, or other bonuses like discounted or free fares for the third person in the cabin. The money you save can be spent on activities, excursions or specialty dining for an extra special cruise experience.
15. Caffeine lovers can buy a coffee card
If you don’t have a drinks package, purchase a coffee card that gets you multiple pre-paid coffees for a reduced rate. These are available at guest services and the coffee shops onboard and are good value.
Disclosure: The writers travelled as guests of Royal Caribbean.
Want more great cruise advice? Check out our tips for choosing the perfect cruise, cruising with grandchildren, cruising with tweens and cruising with kids of all ages, solo cruising, Celebrity Edge, Quantum of the Seas and Ovation of the Seas plus the best activities on Ovation of the Seas, doing a Transatlantic cruise with kids, cruising in Australia or Papua New Guinea, cruising on a megaship, scoring a bargain cruise fare, cruising the Mediterranean, making the most of a cruise ship kids club, luxury cruising with kids, and the Byron Beach Club onboard P&O Cruises. We have also reviewed Pacific Adventure, Pacific Encounter, Carnival Splendor, Voyager of the Seas, Nieuw Statendam, Viking Helgrim, Pride of America, Coral Expeditions in Tasmania and the Great Barrier Reef, Celebrity Solstice, and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth.