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Cruising with Theme Park Review! Quantum of the Seas!


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PART TWO POSTED! Click!

PART THREE POSTED! Click!

PART FOUR POSTED! Click!

 

Hey everyone! If you've been following along with our Twitter of Facebook page, you'll know that we have been on Royal Caribbean's latest ship, Quantum of the Seas on it's inaugural sailing! If you want to know all the details about the ship, there are plenty to be found here: http://www.royalcaribbean.com/quantumoftheseas/meet-the-ship/

 

Now that I've been on the ship for three days, I'll post a few of my thoughts and the first set of photos, but follow along on Twitter and Facebook for more!

 

There are some things about this ship that are just outstanding. That SeaPlex area is one of the coolest things I've seen on any ship; some of the food, like Jamie's Italian was just stellar; and the tech used in the "Starwater" show in Two70 is just phenomenal.

 

Aside from the areas you'd typically find on most ships (Pool deck, restaurants, theater, shopping, etc...) there are three "themed" areas - The Esplanade (this ships answer to the Promenade on other RCCL ships), SeaPlex, and Two70.

 

I feel like each of them have their own features that really set them apart. I'm really happy to see the Esplanade on this ship as I really like the promenade areas on the other bigger RCCL ships, but this one is very different. It's much smaller but that doesn't make it any less interesting. There is a pub at one end of it, shopping in the middle, and lots of places to get snacks and other food items all around it. There is Sorrentos and Cafe Promenade here, which are both nice, and familiar if you've been on any of the other RCCL ships.

 

Two70 is a really interesting venue. It's like part theater, part bar, part quick service eating area, part lounge. Some of the tech that it's in this area is some of the most insane I've seen on any ship! Projection mapping on the window area, kuka arms with giant plasma screens, and sectional stage areas that raise and lower. It's just nuts. I watched a bit of the Starwater show tonight and while the content of the show itself was typical "cruise ship fare" (I'm sure you know what I mean), the tech was just CRAZY. I mean, they could have been singing "The wheels on the bus" with some of that tech and it would still blow you away!

 

SeaPlex is probably my favorite new area on the ship. Take your typical sports and recreation area (basketball, ping pong tables, etc) bring it all indoors in a super cool, high tech recreation area with some never-before-seen on a cruise ship activities. Bumper Cars, Trapeze Circus School, Roller Skating, etc, along with your traditional basketball, volleyball, etc. There are ping pong tables, foozball, and an Xbox lounge along with the Hot Dog House all in this two story area. So far I think it's my favorite part of the ship.

 

Overall, this is a REALLY REALLY nice ship. It's ridiculously nice! Everything about it just seems to have a really high-end "classy" feel to it. Even the "fun" areas are all sleek and well designed with a more upper scale touch.

 

In many ways this a total departure from what we've seen from Royal Caribbean recent offerings on ships like Allure or Freedom. The ship feels a lot more like a spiritual successor to the Radiance class ships and even almost like a Royal Caribbean/Celebrity cross over concept.

 

Tomorrow is the first of three port days. We aren't really getting off the ship at any of them, so it will be fun to explore during those days!

 

I'll post more soon! On to some photos and videos!

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There it is! Royal Caribbean's latest ship! That think sticking off the top? That's the "North Star." We'll get to that later! =)

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Thing about this ship is that it has a LOT of indoor sections. The ship is designed to port out of colder climates year around, like New York, where you need more indoor space of things to do until you get down to the warmer weather.

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There it is! North Star! Quite possibly the most funky attraction that I've seen on a cruise ship! It's an observation ride that goes 300 feet above the ship!

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We got on the ship and we've got our WOW Bands! Yes, it's basically the "Magic Band" for Royal Caribbean! It's our room key, our sea pass card, how we charge things, our photopass, etc. I love it!

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Rules and stuff for North Star.

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We figured we'd come and do this first for two reasons: 1. We heard the lines could get long, and 2. an awesome view of NYC!

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Here's the arm that brings up in the air!

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Another look at the capsule. It's a lot like something you'd see from the London Eye.

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Up we go!

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Looking down at the ship!

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And there is NYC from 300 feet in the air!

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Looking at the back of the ship.

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And there is Quantum of the Seas in all her glory!

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Another shot of NYC.

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Having an awesome time on North Star!

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There's a better look at the capsule up in the air.

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This gives you some perspective on just how tall it is!

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Yes, it's giant pink bear, and yes it's fun! Love it!

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They have one of those indoor skydiving things on the ship...

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along with Bumper Cars at sea! Check out the video!

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Nice to see the "Dog House" make a return on this ship.

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Here's the Schooner Bar. Another familiar name if you've been on any RCCL ships.

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A look at the Esplanade, this ships answer to the Promenade.

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Bionic Bar! Yes! Robots actually DO make your drinks!

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It's super cool! They have funny little things they put up on the walls while your drink is being made!

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Plenty of choices for the robots to choose from.

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Time to shake it up!

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Watch the video below! It's awesome!

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Time to pour!

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The ship has a really "high end" feel to it all over.

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Jamie's Italian is one of the upcharge restaurants.

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Some of the best pasta we've had!

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And love that the kids menu is on a Viewmaster! lol

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Another look at the Esplanade.

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There is a pub at one end of it. That's always a good thing, right?

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It's getting darker and time to set sail!

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Passing under Verrazano bridge with only 19 feet of clearance!

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That was CLOSE!

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Just hanging out in a bumper car while it's charging up!

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Seriously, SeaPlex is really cool! What a great idea and use of space!

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Want some Xbox action? Here you go!

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And of course there is also a Flowrider on board!

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Here's a shot of the iFly! (I don't know this guy - he just happened to be in the air at the time!)

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Kristen trying out some roller skates in SeaPlex.

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Our first dinner was at Chic, one of the four "included" dining rooms. As a departure from the other ships, instead of one large dining room, you can choose from four different ones. You can do several nights at one, break them up how ever you want, etc.

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Here we are in Chic!

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What would you like off the menu?

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Hey look! Kids menu!

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Just a little bit of food porn for you...

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and more more...

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...and some dessert food porn!

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Yup, the DreamWorks characters are all on board Quantum!

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Two70 is a super awesome venue! It's a little bit of everything! Check out the highlights from this "Starwater" show. The tech used in it was amazing!

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Esplanade in the evening.

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Our bionic buddies!

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Another look at the Esplanade.

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Yes, there is some funktacular artwork on the ship!

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There really is quite a bit of high-end shopping. But hey, if you want some nice jewelry or an expensive dress, you can find one here!

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Of course we'd get back to the pub!

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The hipsters have won! PBR appears on the menu first under "Craft Beer!" =)

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More awesome shots of Esplanade.

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This ship seems empty on the first night! I guess everyone is still jetlagged.

 

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More high-end sections of the ship. For some reason, this area reminds me a lot of Mall of Millennia in Orlando! Not sure why...

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I think this shop was brand new and opening the next day!

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Here's the deck layout. You can get an idea of what is on each deck.

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The Solarium was really nice! Kind of an expanded version of the one on Allure of the Seas.

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Night time in the indoor pool area.

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Check out part two of this report on page three!

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Is that a drop tower....or an adult toy?!?!?

Edited by robbalvey
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Wow, that looks great! Im a big cruise fan, but have only ever sailed Disney out of fear of the rumors that some of the lesser-priced cruises are a little less pleasant...I'm curious as to what your opinion is on Royal Caribbean vs Disney as far as cruising goes.

I personally love both RCCL and Disney equally but for different reasons. If you've only ever done Disney and are willing to give RCCL a shot, I'd say go for either an Oasis or Freedom class ship. I don't think you'd be disappointed at all!

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I don't think Allure is my wish-it ship for an upcoming cruise any more, we might actually go for this one when we go!

I'll be honest, I prefer Allure. This is a REALLY REALLY REALLY nice ship. But it's not an Oasis-killer in terms of variety. I would absolutely sail this ship again, but not over an Oasis and possibly even Freedom class ship given the choice.

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Wow, that looks great! Im a big cruise fan, but have only ever sailed Disney out of fear of the rumors that some of the lesser-priced cruises are a little less pleasant...I'm curious as to what your opinion is on Royal Caribbean vs Disney as far as cruising goes.

 

Some lesser-priced cruises ARE less pleasant... which is why friends really question friends who book Carnival cruises! My family has done 5 or 6 different cruise lines, and although Disney is likely the best (and most expensive) Royal Caribbean really does stand up in most categories, especially overall service.

 

It definitely depends which ships too... the Oasis/Allure are just something else in terms of bringing a theme park to the ocean, and Quantum looks like a nice complement to that idea.

 

Robb, please keep the pics coming and thanks for making me jealous!

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Man, the interior of the boat looks like a Celebrity ship. Which is good, BTW, because I kind of love Celebrity. Not gonna lie though, I did LOL a little at Pabst being a craft brew. I'm still pretty impressed by what they've done. It looks really sleek.

 

(not that anyone cares about my opinion here but also if you are a couple without kids, Disney is nowhere near the best line for your buck. not even in the conversation. I don't hate it, but seriously, you can take like 3 RCCL cruises for the same price.)

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^ It's like I said, I feel the ship is closer to being a Celebrity/RCCL crossover rather than a more upscale Oasis or Freedom. And as much as I love the bumper cars and the iFly being on this ship, I do wonder if they might be more suited for Oasis 3? They do help break up the high-end feel of the ship.

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The 'bionic' robot bar looks cool and interesting, can you shoot a of video of them in action and post it? And do you think a TPR Cruise Crew could wear those robots out? Thanks for sharing all the pictures of the new area's and features. But as a trip report for my personal entertainment value I wish it was more of a 'Klassy' cruise......and I'm sure your glad it's not.

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Only 17 feet of clearance under the Verrazano bridge is insane.

This is exactly what I was thinking! Must've been nerve wracking for anyone watching, on the ship and off.

 

I always enjoy the cruise ship reports. Always amazing to see the amount of activities that can be crammed on ship.

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Robb, Aside from the one restaurant, what upcharge items are there on this ship?

Are all of the activities (iFly, NorthStar, etc) included free?

Does the robot bar do any free non-alcoholic drinks?

The last time I was on a cruise, the only free drink was iced tea.

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And on to day two! (and some of day three)

 

One thing to note about this ship - While it's awesome and all that Quantum is here, and will be sailing out of NYC until May, it's probably important to note that in May this ship leaves for China, and from what we understand, probably will not be coming back to the US market again. It's kind of a bummer, yes, but Asia is becoming a HUGE cruise ship market and apparently they really want a newer RCCL ship pretty badly.

 

Having said that though, Quantum's sister ship, Anthem of the Seas will be porting out of NYC starting next fall. So you won't have too much longer to wait if you miss this short 6-month run of Quantum sailings.

 

What I find interesting though are some of the drastic changes that are going to be made to this ship for the Asian market. When it leaves NYC, it goes on a 56-day repositioning/re-construction sailing before it gets to China. At that point some of the following transformations will take place:

 

- Mamma Mia will leave the ship and move to Allure of the Seas

- Quite a few of the restaurants will be totally changed into something for the Chinese market

- The "Music Hall" two-story venue will be totally removed, expanding the casino on the bottom floor and making way for more shopping on the top floor.

- Johnny Rockets is being converted into a Chinese/American take-out

- And quite a few other changes that will allow the ship to focus more on shopping and less on bars and dining.

 

I'm pretty sure this is some of the most drastic retrofits being made to a ship in such a short amount of time after it has set sail.

 

Anyway, onto more pics!

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We are going to start a theme of "Kristen in random, strange chairs on Quantum!"

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Does sitting in a bumper car count as a chair?

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The weather outside is frightful, so North Star is not delightful. :( Closed today, but that's okay, we have plenty more days on the ship!

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Those skies do not look too friendly!

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Waves today were AWESOME!

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Thankfully, Quantum is designed to be a ship for colder weather and there is plenty to do indoors.

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Hung out in the arcade a bit today...

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Spent more time on the Esplanade.

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Circus Trapeze School started today! Elissa and Kristen will do this soon so they can show off their skillz!

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Tonight's dinner was a Grande, the "formal dress" restaurant.

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More menu items.

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And they gave us some sort of sparkling juice in a glass! Yay!

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Yay! First towel animal of the cruise! And he came with the box of tissues! BONUS!

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Funny thing is, with so much stuff to do on the ship, we almost didn't even notice that we hadn't been outside for two days!

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Here's another look at the deck plans.

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More stuff...

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And even more...

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This was a really funky trivia game that was a lot of fun...

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Jenga trivia. You were asked a question, and if you got it wrong, you had to pull out a number of blocks based on how many points you were going for. The girls got this question wrong, but they ended up winning overall!

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Walking around more of the ship. This area is just really nice.

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Here's a panoramic of Two70. You can see it's just a really interesting venue at the back of the ship.

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Yes, the roast beef sandwiches are back! Not sure what makes these so good, but they are were at Cafe Two70.

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Another pano of Two70, this time for the upper level.

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Yessss! The wine machines are BACK on Quantum in Vintages!

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There really is just lots and lots of high-end shopping on this ship.

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But I guess if it's going to China, that's what they like.

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The robot bartenders just hanging out tonight.

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Here's some of the seating area around the Bionic Bar.

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More shopping around the Esplanade.

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This isn't really my thing...

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but I guess where this ship is going it should probe to be pretty popular.

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I believe they have this shop on Allure as well.

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Soooo much shopping!

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I should just do all my clothes shopping for theme park travels in here!

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Time to stock up!

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Here is where you can buy a new body. I need one!

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Crap, I just remembered that I need to pick up Elissa a few more diamonds.

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Kristen has decided to make a Baymax during arts & crafts! "Are you satisfied with your clay model?"

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Lunch today is at Jamie's Kitchen, an upcharge restaurant and so far some of the BEST pasta we've had!

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Arancini mozzarella rice balls! Sooooo good!

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Next they brought us a plank of meats and cheese! OMG!

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This bread basket soaked in olive oil was like sex on a plate. WOW!

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And for those of you who know Elissa, you know she NEVER orders pasta "normal" and she LOVED this!

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Pasta bolognese at Jamie's Italian Kitchen is FANTASTIC!

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STOP RIGHT THERE! It is simply NOT FAIR to put this many amazing looking desserts on one menu!

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The homemade brownie was indeed...EPIC!

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Around round of bumper cars? Sure! Why not?

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The whole indoor SeaPlex area is just so amazing. Seriously, we haven't been outside in two days, and it just didn't matter.

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The way SeaPlex transforms is awesome. There's all the trapeze stuff folded up.

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This is a platform used for DJs when they turn the SeaPlex into a party!

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And up in that area you can see where the basketball hoops come down. It's just so "smart."

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Here's a panoramic of the bumper cars in SeaPlex.

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And here's a panoramic of the bumper cars where someone is using their magical teleportation powers.

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Here's where the bumper cars go to re-charge.

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They have built a mini-parking garage for them! It looks like something out of NYC!

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And that's how they charge up and get ready for the next session. And yes, things like the bumper cars, iFly, and North Star are all FREE!

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Here's a look at Windjammer in case you were hungry.

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Here we are back to Kristen in random chairs!

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And yet another one! lol

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Tonight's dinner was at Silk, another one of the "included" four main restaurants. I think this was actually my favorite so far. (We've been to three of the four now.)

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It's an Asian themed restaurant and that's a type of food I can't get enough of!

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Here's some of the menu...

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...and some more...

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...and the kids menu!

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Hibachi Steak. LOVE!!!

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Elissa got tofu stir fry. Seriously, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH ELISSA?!?!?

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You guys are killing me with these desserts!

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Yes, that is Thai Peanut Cheesecake and yes it was absolutely DELICIOUS!

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For those of you robotics nerds out there...

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Yes, they are legit Kuka arms! (note they only make alcoholic drinks. If you want a Coke, you gotta go to the Freestyle machines!)

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The "self-balancing pool tables" are back on this ship in the Music Hall! (At least until the ship goes to China?)

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Playing in the Music Hall tonight was the Bon Jovi tribute band "Slippery Wen Wet." I'm told they are good if you like this sort of thing.

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The Starwater show was just amazing!

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Some of the tech used was so impressive!

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And you know how they say it's not over until the fat lady sings? Well, there she is, and we'll end this part of the report! =)

 

Check out part three of this report on page five!

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This is what we called the "Ghetto Wild West Show." Yep, that's a quality show right there...fold-up chairs in the grass in front of the make-shift stage! =)

Edited by robbalvey
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