Apologies for the short break – The Mum Blog has been having a little makeover to make it slightly more sophisticated *cough*. I hope you like it 😉
So, I’ve told you about our visits to Nagasaki and Fukuoka on our Quantum of the Seas Asia cruise from Shanghai China to Japan, but we also spent three days at sea, which gave us plenty of time to check out everything that Quantum of the Seas has to offer for a family cruise.
For me it was really interesting to see how much the ship had changed since I first sailed on the inaugural on Quantum of the Seas from Southampton, and I’m pleased to say the answer is not very much at all. Although signs around the ship had been translated into Chinese and some of the complimentary restaurants (notably American Icon) now feature a lot of Chinese dishes, it’s pretty much the same experience, with one notable exception which I’ll come to in a bit.
And after the craziness of Shanghai it felt good to be in the familiar, serene, contemporary spaces of Quantum, with their amazing artwork.
One of the things I couldn’t wait for No 1 Son to experience was of course the iFly, because it’s hands down one of the best experiences I’ve had at sea.
And I was filled with pride when he took to it like a total natural – it was wonderful to see him flying like Peter Pan, and he actually SMILED; I’m so happy he got to experience that incredible feeling.
We didn’t make it on to the bumper cars (that’s dodgems if you’re from the US) but we did check them out – it was amusing watching the Chinese passengers (we were practically the only non-Chinese passengers on board) on the bumper cars because instead of bumping into each other as often as possible like the British would do, they were all driving very carefully and avoiding each other; still it looked like they were having lots of fun.
No 1 Son is far too old for the kids’ clubs now but there is so much to do on board for young adults and actual grown-ups; we both loved going up in the North Star.
The incredible views of the ship from the North Star…
…and the sunset over the East China Sea was absolutely stunning.
We also both had lots of fun dreaming up cocktails for the robot bartenders to mix (the Chinese guests don’t really drink cocktails so there was never any difficulty getting served, anywhere on board).
And of course we both said hello to Felicia, the giant pink polar bear. Isn’t she gorgeous?
Dining on board Quantum of the Seas
A big part of any cruise is always going to be the food, and we were very lucky to be booked into the speciality dining restaurants every night.
Our favourite by far was the Alice in Wonderland-inspired Wonderland ($45 cover charge, the most expensive on board Quantum of the Seas but totally worth it) where we ate every single dish offered to us…
…however weird it looked (these are Korean Kim Chee leaves and they’re actually delicious)…
…closely followed by Jamie’s Italian, which is the same high standard you’d expect at land-based Jamie’s Italian. My crab spaghettini was superb, as was my son’s penne carbonara (he even ate the wilted leeks)…
…and of course the Japanese restaurant Izumi, where the sushi was fresh and immaculately presented.
But the biggest and most positive change on board Quantum of the Seas for the Chinese market is that it now has a Kung Fu Panda dim sum restaurant.
It’s very simple but the food is authentic and delicious. You pay a small charge for whatever you order (roughly $2 to $5) but the char siu buns are as good as any I’ve had in Asia. (Royal Caribbean has a partnership with Dreamworks which means you see the characters from the movies, including Shrek and the penguins of Madagascar, on the ship, and you can also have character breakfasts).
I was very excited for No 1 Son to experience a Quantum of the Seas Asia cruise – not only because it’s one of my favourite cruise ships but because it was the chance to give him a taste of Japan, a country I love so much and he was desperate to visit, and for us both to experience China for the first time, together. It was totally worth the 12-hour flight there and back (although admittedly as these were with Virgin they were no great hardship at all, in fact they were fantastic) and I can’t recommend it highly enough, either as a family holiday or if you’re travelling as a couple.
We were made to feel so welcome by the crew the whole time we were on board, and apart from the slight chaos and confusion at embarkation and disembarkation, where very few people spoke English and we ended up in the wrong queue several times, our trip went very smoothly. It really was a wonderful adventure and I’m so glad we got to share this experience together, it’s one we’ll remember always. A huge thank you to Royal Caribbean for helping to make our Quantum of the Seas Asia cruise happen.