Royal Caribbean International has made the Spectrum of the Seas a showcase of its promise in the pre-pandemic that ‘the best is yet to come” as it unveiled its Asian-themed cruise ship that features a customized Asian food experience, more entertainment on board, more multi-generational family type accommodations, and restaurant options that has fitted Asian cuisine without taking out the International offerings.
Since the cruising was officially resumed from Singapore in December 2020, Royal Caribbean restarted passenger operations from Singapore with Quantum of the Seas on voyages restricted to “seacations” only with no port of calls and for Singapore residents only. Ahead of the planned return sailing in the Asian market, Spectrum of the Seas followed in April this year.
A media trip afforded us recently, hosted by the Singapore Tourism Board and Royal Caribbean, showcased again that in a Royal Caribbean cruise, the real destination is the ship. It has the characteristics of a Metro in micro scale-restaurants, bars, theater, sports and meeting venues, wellness and spa, shops, casino, swimming pool, like bringing a city to another city.
The Spectrum of the Seas is the ultra version of the Quantum of the Seas which we were also fortunate to board in previous trip. It has a total 16 decks and can accommodate a maximum of 5,600 guests with merely 1:3 guest ratio.
It is geared towards family-friendly holidays with jam-packed activities and facilities that will keep anyone, regardless of age, find their time almost completely occupied.
In this cruise, you can indulge in a carbo-filled breakfast before undergoing sporty recreations, shop a little and opt to join a particular shore excursion, then after lunch, come back, rest and shower, go fine dining and watch a show at the theater. Next day can be a different itinerary and so with the next because you can fill your day with almost a hundred things to do. The cruise gives you a diversity worthy of a week-long land tour without the hotel and tour expense and the mundane activity of packing and unpacking every other day. The bottom line is for you to relax and be entertained, that is what a vacation is.
It becomes so much all-out at the Spectrum of the Seas as it highlights the gravity-defying sky diving simulator, Ripcord by iFly, where you can float weightlessly guided through by an expert; the jewel shaped North Star, an all-glass observation capsule takes you 300 feet above sea level, providing 360 degree view; bungee trampoline Sky Pad for adrenaline adventure on a virtual reality headset; carve like a pro with the surf simulator Flow Rider which is a head way to youngsters seeking for liters of “rushing amazingness”.
Coupled with enthusiasm, the wholesome Seaplex awaits family members on thrilling indoor activities. Touted as the largest recreation area at sea, Seaplex can be transformed from a basketball court to a skating rink to a bumper car play park with table tennis, football tables and archery corner, drawing attention for great physical actions.
Royal Caribbean has the most powerful wi-fi, comparable to a land-based wi-fi, so you can file all your adventures at your social media pages in real time.
Staterooms, suites and enclave
Spectrum of the Seas 2,137 staterooms fall in the range of 100 to 180 square feet and come with sitting areas, desks, and wardrobe space. Along with number of high-end suites (up to 2000 sq. ft.), specialty cabins include connected family staterooms.
When you really want something grand as the cruise ship operates the Royal Suite Class program, book the suite class within the luxurious Suite Enclave. Situated at the forward section of the ship, Suite guests can enjoy exclusive amenities of the enclave like private dining rooms, the Silver Dining offerings of premium buffet breakfast and lunch and made-to-order menu for dinner, dedicated lounges, access to The Balcony (observation deck), and dedicated elevators. Big party of 10 takes pleasure in staying at the two-level Ultimate Family Suite. Designed for family, it features a slide from the kids-only bedroom down to the living room below, a floor-to-ceiling LEGO, two master bedrooms with posh room amenities, and your very own personal butler and in-suite slide, among others.
Royal Caribbean offers a bucketful of dining options according to your taste from quick bites (for meals on the run) to fine dining. There are about 7 outlets that come with your cruise package and 10 specialty dinings that some are available for buy-outs if you’re on a group or if you want to arrange a private event.
Though Spectrum of the Seas is designed for Asian market, most food and beverage outlets feature Asian cuisine such as the most popular Teppanyaki where a Filipino chef makes his teppanyaki cooking skills entertaining throwing good quips on the spot. Other specialty restaurants (Asian themed) are the Sichuan Red for authentic spice and flavors and Izumi Japanese and Hotpot for those looking for simmering hot stock.
Pasta and Italian cuisine is offered by Jamie’s. Ultimate dining with five-course meal is hosted by Chef’s Table. If you want to indulge to a fantasy gourmet and immersive culinary journey on 3D animation, the Wonderland is for you. Never to miss is the Bionic Bar’s robotic bartenders for your customized drinks.
The Panoramic Vistaviews allows guests floor-to-ceiling views of the sea, then when it’s nighttime, it converts into panoramic floor-to-ceiling LED windows which can project amazing digital art to show the entertainment. It comes along the robotic screens that come with each performance. The Effectors show at the main theatre and The Silk Road production at Two70 are must-see for its jaw-dropping performances. These live shows, singing and dancing make up for an experiential journey.
Cameras are also placed around the perimeter of the outside of the ship so guests in the inside stateroom can see what goes on outside, thus the LED doesn’t make the price tag higher if you are not in the balcony.
While cruising is not only for adults, kids programs are available offering not only fun but education as well with Science Lab for experiments and steam-based activities, Imagination Studio and Adventure Ocean Theater are places for them to sing, dance and act.
Considering the world is just recovering from a pandemic, shore excursions are still quite limited, so it’s a work in progress for both ship and the destination. Here are the sites we visited:
Batu caves. A first -time tourist to Malaysia will always get this destination as a part of their tour. Batu caves is a series of colorful cave-temples and is a very popular Hindu shrine in the region. The standard sarong to cover legs of tourists wearing shorts and short skirts is still practiced. It hasn’t changed much, except that there are a lot more pigeons and monkeys (long-tail macaques). Devotees and tourists are the daily visitors here and it gives an interesting insight on how they interact with both pigeons and monkeys.
KL City Tour. Just 13-km away from the Batu caves is the capital, Kuala Lumpur. From what we were shown, Kuala Lumpur has not changed much. It’s sophistication, however, remains as the streets are clean, trees well-kept, and traffic well-managed. Did not get to stroll at the shopping malls for lack of time but the usual attractions like the Petronas Towers, the KL Tower were still part of the itinerary. We were also pointed to the almost finished Merdeka 118 Tower that will open next year. Merdeka 118 will take over the Petronas Towers’ position as the tallest structure in the city.
Street food enchantment in Georgetown, Penang. Even in my early travels, the last one 10 years ago, Penang has always been a multi-sensory destination for me. The art, handicrafts, the Peranakan culture, and the street food. Now there are more sights, more rehabilitated residences of yore, street paintings, Pinang Peranakan Mansion. Penang is a destination where you can easily find tourism relevance. It has beaches, heritage, artful shopping, and their street food that is popular worldwide and its capital, Georgetown, is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Short getaways and longer adventures
Now sailing 3-day and 5-day cruises to take advantage of weekends, Spectrum of the Seas bridges the generation gap by its diverse features for family.
Royal Caribbean has released recently its line-up of holidays on Spectrum of the Seas for 2023-2024. Joining the cruise line’s popular short getaways to Malaysia and Thailand are a mix of new 5- to 12-night cruises to Hong Kong, Japan, Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
The upcoming cruises that include two 12-night sailings will have guests visit as many as seven destinations across three countries, all in one holiday. These sailings can also be enjoyed back-to-back, visiting a new destination almost every day for the entire 24-night adventure. Included are 10 destinations unique to this experience, such as Hong Kong; Tokyo, Osaka and Mount Fuji, Japan; and Nha Trang and Hue or Danang, Vietnam.
Spectrum is the opportunity to showcase innovation and bring holiday makers even more incredible and memorable holidays. The combination of Asian-themed experiences and signature favorites on board with the opportunities to explore Asia’s energetic cities, traditional architecture and exotic landscapes makes for the perfect way to embark on the revenge travel vacationers are seeking today.