In case you haven’t heard, Spectrum of the Seas, the Royal Caribbean International’s biggest, newest ship in Asia, sets sail on its inaugural 2022 cruise from Singapore today. If you have already been on its sister ship Quantum of the Seas (which debuted cruises to nowhere during the pandemic) you may find Spectrum of the Seas somewhat similar.
Unless of course you’re talking about the new suite accommodations and the exclusive suite enclave… And the jaw-dropping Ultimate Family Suite… Or the Sky Pad bungee trampoline… And the sumptuous Asian dining options…
Oh all right. Spectrum of the Seas is bigger (in size), brighter (in looks), bolder (in amenities), and hands down more dazzling in all ways, as we discovered during the Shakedown preview cruise that we attended last weekend.
(See also: Royal Caribbean Cruise Review: From Ocean Getaway to COVID Scare)
Spectrum of the Seas (SOTS): First glance
The first thing you notice when you step on board is how fresh it is. Built in 2019, Spectrum is younger and newer than Quantum of the Seas (QOTS). Everything shines, from the robot bartenders at Bionic Bar, to the designer hardware in our junior suite bathroom. SOTS is Royal Caribbean’s first Quantum Ultra-class (a level above QOTS) ship, and it shows in every gleaming detail. Amenities-wise, it’s also a leap above its sister ship. There are:
- Asian-inspired dining: Including Teppanyaki, Hot Pot, Izumi Japanese cuisine, and Sichuan Red
- More amenities and activities: Like Asia’s first Sky Pad, a Broadway show, and an adult-only Solarium with an exclusive section for suite class guests
- Luxury accommodation: new suite categories (Royal Suite Class Star, Sky and Sea) with special keycard access, a private elevator and a dedicated restaurant and lounge
- VIP treatment: the first exclusive suites-only area aboard a Royal Caribbean ship
- An Ultimate Family Suite (more on this later!)
Ready to cruise on Spectrum of the Seas? Read these tips first:
1. Do a Tele-ART test
All guests above 12 years of age are required to be fully vaccinated. This means they must have completed all doses of their COVID-19 vaccine no less than 14 days prior to sailing.
In addition, all guests must do a professionally supervised antigen rapid test ART test on the day of their cruise. You have to arrange for this on your own, and at your own expense. The pre-departure ART test can be done via the following options:
- Fullerton Health Testing Centre at Raffles City: Call +65 63333636 to schedule your ART test. Walk-ins are not accepted.
- Quick Test Centres (QTCs) or Combined Test Centres (CTCs): Book online for your ART test at one of these centres located across the island.
- A supervised COVID-19 antigen rapid test (ART): Take your ART test over video consultation with one of these approved private healthcare providers (Tele-ART).
Pro Tip: For families, especially those with young children, the third option of Tele-ART is the easiest and the most convenient as it can be done at home. This was what Angie Stephen, Vice President & Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean International, and her family opted for. They did theirs on the morning of the cruise, and received their test results in under 30 minutes.
2. Download the Royal app
This was extremely handy and useful during our three days on Spectrum of the Seas. Use the calendar on the app to find out what activities are happening onboard the ship, and where, and also to make reservations for shows. We had fun at quiz sessions, tried archery, had fun dance classes, and
You can also use the app to book slots for the ever-popular Bumper Cars at Seaplex, the biggest entertainment arena at sea. And if you’ve lost your bearings (understandable as the ship is huge) you can use the in-built deck plans to find your way around.
Pro Tip: Use the app to do your online check-in, and health declaration before the cruise. This lets you breeze through check-in at the cruise centre, cutting down the time you’ll spend waiting.
3. Live the suite life
SOTS has 142 suites (more than on QOTS) so if you’ve already stayed in a balcony stateroom, why not consider an upgrade when sailing on Spectrum? There are four new suite categories and they all come with braggable privileges.
Suite guests enjoy special keycard access, a dedicated lift, and their own restaurant, lounge and outdoor space. There’s even an exclusive shopping area, The Boutique, where you can book private shopping experiences.
Then there’s the one and only Ultimate Family Suite. With two levels and three bedrooms over a whopping 260 sqm, it sleeps up to 11 — perfect for that extended multi-generational family getaway.
Every inch of this space is designed to enable maximum fun for all ages, from the in-suite slide (the fastest way to get from second to first storey) to the keyboard stairs that make music as you step on them, the karaoke/movie/gaming room, uber luxe spa bathroom with skylight, and more.
We love the little details too: how the parents’ room has a door-within-a door for little ones to crawl through, how the cot tucks in perfectly under a cabinet, the popcorn making machine, and even an air hockey table.
The cost? Just a jaw dropping $30,000 (approximate) per trip, we’re told. But wait. Take into consideration the extras provided (such as your very own Royal Genie concierge), and you’ll have to admit that this definitely gives you bang for the buck. Many certainly think so; we hear the suite is already fully booked till end-June 2022!
Pro Tip: Want more space than a balcony stateroom but don’t need an Ultimate Family Suite? With a living area and a sofa that pulls out into a bed, the Silver Junior Suite has ample space for a family of four. There’s a bathtub too, and a balcony large enough for four deck chairs! Though this is the most basic suite level, it still offers access to the ship’s exclusive Suite ‘neighbourhood’, as well as upscaled meal options at the Silver Dining Lounge. If you are cruising with older kids, we’d recommend the Grand Loft Suite. With an airy loft bedroom and expansive balcony that opens out to the skies, this is a gorgeous space they’ll love to hang out in when they’re not busy playing somewhere else on the ship.
4. Defy gravity at sea
Like Quantum, Spectrum of the Seas is a paradise for thrill seekers of all ages. Get high on the rock climbing structure (we love how the kids’ climbing route uses cute panda and dinosaur holds), skydive with Ripcord by iFly, rise above the ocean for 360 degree views in the North Star, and challenge the waves on the 12m-long FlowRider surf simulator.
In addition to all that, you can also experience Asia’s first Sky Pad. This is a virtual reality, bungee trampoline where you strap in, don a headset, and jump into another time and planet. We did not get to try out the VR version (which a previous guest said made her dizzy so we’d advise sticking to the non-VR one if you are prone to motion sickness).
This is a great way for kids to bounce off all that excess energy so they’ll go to sleep more easily at night. They can join in as long as they are at least 7 years old, and weigh 9kg. Each Sky Pad session lasts three minutes and looks easy, but we adults were exhausted after our session. The kids were fine though!
Pro Tip: Bring sports shoes, and socks. You’ll need them for the Sky Pad, and for rock climbing (shoes provided, but not socks) as well. And don’t forget to head up the stairs by the side of the Sky Pad. There’s a glass floor viewing deck where you can ‘walk’ on water and get some cool Insta-worthy shots.
5. Pack the kids’ swimwear and sunscreen
If your little ones are water babies, prepare to spend most of your time at Splashaway Bay. This water playground is larger than the one on QOTS, and has cannons, slides, and fountains to keep youngsters occupied. Kid-sized life vests are available, even for infants! Ask any of the friendly lifeguards for help if you want to borrow one for your child.
Pro Tip: After a morning (or afternoon) of fun, beat the heat with an ice cold soft serve. The stand (at the side of the pool deck) is usually open in the afternoon.
6. Feast on Asian specialities and more
Signature culinary offerings such as Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, Wonderland, and Chops Grille (the best steaks!) remain. However SOTS was designed for the Asian market, and hence has new specialty restaurants that cater to these palates. All are family-friendly, but we think the kids will be most entertained at Teppanyaki where performing chefs disobey every mum’s “don’t play with your food!” order.
Pro Tip: If you’re not sure whether the food at a certain restaurant is suitable for your child, check the app, where you can view restaurant menus as well as kids’ menus.
(See also: Kitchen Not-So-Confidential: 11 Things We Learnt on a Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas Kitchen Tour)
7. Pack the kids’ school uniforms
On the last day, Spectrum of the Seas makes its way back to Marina Bay Cruise Centre at dawn. While this is probably way too early for those of us who’d prefer to sleep in, it has its advantages.
For instance, you can head to work immediately instead of having to take leave for the day. Your child can still make it to school in time. As a matter of fact, we saw several students in their uniforms, waiting in the line to disembark!
Pro Tip: If you’re in less of a hurry, head up to the pool deck to watch the sunrise over the city, do a lap or two around the jogging track, and savour a leisurely breakfast before saying goodbye to your resort on the sea.
Should I cruise on Spectrum of the Seas?
If you’ve already sailed on Quantum of the Seas, you may be wondering if you should book a cruise on Spectrum of the Seas. True, there are many similarities, but if you’ve read everything before this, you’ll know that SOTS offers A LOT MORE, especially for families and kids. To be honest, we can’t wait to get on board again!
Book your sea-cation on Spectrum of the Seas here.
@singaporemotherhood Wish we were still cruising 🥺 Let us know if you have any questions! #royalcaribbean #spectrumoftheseas #cruisetonowhere ♬ You Don’t Know Me – Ofenbach
Featured image: Royal Caribbean International
(See also: We Love this Family Photoshoot on a Cruise by AndroidsinBoots)