The second time round, I booked a regular Balcony stateroom to get a feel of what a more “typical” Royal Caribbean experience would be like. While the quarters are certainly more cramped, it’s still comfortable enough for the amount of time you’ll spend inside.
|🚢 Cruise to Nowhere: Royal Caribbean|
Balcony Stateroom: Overview
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas has more than 2,000 staterooms, split into the following categories:
|Studio Interior||101 ft2||N/A||1|
|Interior w Virtual Balcony||166 ft2||N/A||2|
|Ocean View Rooms|
|Ocean View||182 ft2||N/A||4|
|Spacious Ocean View||302 ft2||N/A||4|
|Studio Ocean View Balcony||119 ft2||55 ft2||1|
|Ocean View Balcony||198 ft2||55 ft2||4|
|Ocean View w Large Balcony||177 ft2||65 ft2||4|
|Junior Suite||267 ft2||81 ft2||4|
|Junior Suite w Large Balcony||276 ft2||161 ft2||4|
|Grand Suite||351 ft2||109 ft2||4|
|Grand Suite w Large Balcony||351 ft2||259 ft2||4|
|Grand Suite (2BR)||543 ft2||259 ft2||4|
|Owner’s Loft Suite w Balcony||975 ft2||501 ft2||4|
|Grand Loft Suite w Balcony||696 ft2||216 ft2||4|
|Royal Loft Suite w Balcony||1,640 ft2||553 ft2||4|
|Sky Loft Suite w Balcony||673 ft2||183 ft2||4|
Balcony staterooms measure in at 198 ft2, with the balcony itself adding a further 55 ft2. A balcony may not seem essential on a four-night cruise which doesn’t sail past anywhere particularly scenic, but it provides a private patch of open air to have a drink or read a book.
I’d chosen to stay on Deck 8, and selected cabin 8154 during the booking process. I could have sworn this was supposed to be located at the middle of the ship, but ended up being more towards the bow. This forward area is supposed to experience the most movement, but remember it’s all relative- modern cruise ships are remarkably stable. It never got uncomfortably choppy throughout.
First-timer cruisers might be surprised to learn that Royal Caribbean operates in a rather high-trust environment. Your SeaPass (which is needed to open the stateroom, pay for purchases, enter venues and rent towels) is left in an envelope outside the door. You simply show up and let yourself into the room. Keep an eye out for your check-in luggage, because it’ll similarly be left outside the door later.
Quantum of the Seas was launched in 2014, so the cabins are just about seven years old by now. They’ve been relatively well-maintained, but don’t expect luxurious interiors or high tech gadgetry.
While there aren’t many frills, it’s still got everything you’d need. The queen-sized bed in the Balcony Stateroom was just as comfortable as the one in the Grand Suite, and additional pillows were available in the cabinet above the bedframe.
There’s only one power outlet by the bedside (Type B plug), so it might be a good idea to bring an adapter plus a USB charging hub for your devices.
The TV opposite the bed has satellite TV and a decent selection of movies, but be warned- the movies aren’t free. They cost US$11.99 each, and you’re only renting them for a 24-hour period (free movies are screened elsewhere on the ship during the day; check the Cruise Compass for details).
Here’s a protip: bring a HDMI cable to connect your personal media device to the TV. Housekeeping will tell you this is “impossible” as the TV is “locked down”, but that’s totally untrue. Feel around the bottom right of the TV for a button, and keep pressing it until you change the input to HDMI. Done!
Diagonally opposite the bed is a dressing table with a large circular vanity mirror.
While there are 2x USB ports and sockets to fit Type A, B and C plugs (bring an adaptor, because we use Type G in Singapore), it’s not great for getting work done. The chair has little to no back support, and you’re better off heading down to the main promenade on Deck 4 and snagging a table near Harp and Horn pub where there’s a few outlets to plugin to.
Wi-Fi coverage in the room was spotty, and speeds were miserable. Although I was on the faster VOOM Surf + Stream package, I barely got download speeds above 2 Mbps, and I had to move elsewhere on the ship to get a steady connection.
On the dressing table were a small bottle of hand sanitizer and two masks. During the previous voyage, the masks were presented unwrapped (!), but thankfully they came in their own plastic wrapper this time.
A small hairdryer can be found in one of the drawers. It’s not particularly powerful, so bring your own if you’re particular about this (hairdryers aren’t on the list of prohibited items, but note that extension cords are)
On boarding day, you’ll be provided with 2x 500ml bottles of drinking water. That’s all you get- unless you’re in suites, water isn’t replenished daily. Fortunately, tap water on the ship is perfectly drinkable, and every restaurant, cafe and bar will give you free iced water on request.
The vacant mini-fridge provides storage for your own drinks (remember, Royal allows you to bring 2 x 750ml bottles of wine or champagne per stateroom). The sticker on the outside says “cool not cold”, but trust me, it’s cold enough. I imagine the label exists so litigation-happy cruisegoers don’t plonk their medication inside.
While the stateroom is small, there’s ample wardrobe space. One section is next to the bed…
…and the other is next to the bathroom entrance. Between the both of them, you’ll have more than enough room for a four-night cruise. We were able to fully unload our bag and park it under the bed.
The bathroom is extremely compact, with a narrow shower cubicle and not a lot of space to maneuver. The ventilation isn’t great either, which may be the source of marital friction.
On the plus side, the shower’s water pressure is decent, and I didn’t notice any temperature fluctuations. Bathroom amenities aren’t nearly as glamorous as the L’Occitane ones given in suites. Instead, you have a YMCA-style wall-mounted dispenser with 2-in-1 hair and body wash. You’re going to want to bring your own.
The cozy balcony allows you to take in some sea air, but you’re only separated from your neighbours by a thin partition (that has gaps at the bottom), so keep it down lovebirds.
Royal Caribbean clearly demarcates (and discounts) balcony rooms with obstructed views during the booking process, so you shouldn’t encounter any nasty surprises upon boarding. I had a completely unobstructed view.
It’s certainly a big step down from a suite, but if you plan to be out and about most of the day, a balcony stateroom offers a good compromise between price and performance. You’ll still have a little private space to get some fresh air, and the noise insulation is good enough for a solid night’s rest.
If you ask me, there really isn’t a whole lot to separate this stateroom from its equivalent on World Dream (except perhaps Royal’s balcony is notably more spacious). What I’d be really interested to see is one of Royal’s virtual balcony interior rooms though…