Sea VTL? Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas arriving ahead of schedule in April 2022

Spectrum of the Seas is coming to Singapore a full six months ahead of schedule, with cruises set to start in April 2022.

Singapore already has air and land VTLs in place, but could a sea VTL be next on the cards? That’s an intriguing proposition, now that Royal Caribbean has decided to shift up the arrival of Spectrum of the Seas.

Spectrum was originally set to commence sailings from Singapore in October 2022, but as per an update from travel agency Stamford Discovery Cruise Centre, the ship will now sail from April 2022 instead.

I’ve separately confirmed with Royal Caribbean’s Singapore sales office that Spectrum is indeed coming in April, but the sail dates and itineraries have yet to be confirmed. 

Cruise to nowhere, or VTL sea?

Spectrum of the Seas

The main question at the top of my mind is whether Spectrum has been brought in to operate cruises to nowhere, or whether this heralds the start of a sea VTL arrangement. 

A sea VTL could certainly make sense. After all, Spectrum’s original sailings from October 2022 already involve Klang, Penang, and Phuket- all within the scope of VTLs with Malaysia and Thailand. 

🇻🇳 What about Vietnam?
Spectrum is also offering a 9-night itinerary that involves Thailand and Vietnam. Vietnam isn’t a VTL country yet, but the earliest departure is 23 February 2023, by which point Vietnam would almost certainly have reopened. 

Cruise passengers typically disembark for the day and spend the night on the ship, and with vaccinations and testing, I don’t see why the risk should be any different compared to an air or land VTL traveller. In fact, a sea VTL was already mooted towards the end of last year, albeit on a smaller scale, involving ferries between Desaru Coast Ferry Terminal and Singapore’s Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal.

Cruises to nowhere are great and all, but after more than a year of operations, the concept is at the risk of getting stale. It’s nice to have an actual destination to look forward to, an opportunity to get off the boat and explore the local food and shops, and for those who prefer to stay onboard- a chance to use the facilities with much smaller crowds. 

Spectrum of the Seas is currently operating cruises to nowhere out of Hong Kong, but the authorities recently suspended all sailings for two weeks due to an Omicron scare. Given Hong Kong’s zero-COVID approach, I wouldn’t be surprised if Royal Caribbean management decided to move up Spectrum’s Singapore schedule in the hope that a COVID-endemic country would provide a less disruptive space to operate in. 

Will Cruise with Confidence apply?

Another factor worth considering is when exactly Spectrum’s revised schedule will be released. 

I raise this because Royal Caribbean’s current Cruise with Confidence policy applies to any sailing booked by 31 January 2022 and set sail by 31 May 2022. Customers may cancel their sailing up to 48 hours before departure and redeem a Future Cruise Credit that can be redeemed by 31 May 2022 for any cruise departing up till 31 December 2022. 

Assuming Royal Caribbean does not further extend Cruise with Confidence, then booking Spectrum before 31 January 2022 may be the way to go. 

Overview: Spectrum of the Seas

Spectrum of the Seas

Spectrum of the Seas undertook her maiden voyage in 2019, having been designed specifically for the China and Asia market. Although she’s roughly the same size as Quantum (169,379 gross tonnage versus Quantum’s 168,666), Spectrum part of a more modern class known as the Quantum Ultra. 

The ship has capacity for 5,622 guests and 1,551 crew, spread across 16 decks. Here’s an infographic provided by Royal Caribbean.

Infographic: Royal Caribbean

A total of 2,137 staterooms are available, split into 142 suites and 1,995 regular cabins. Suites are divided into the following categories:

CategoryNameNo. of SuitesCapacity
Star ClassUltimate Family Suite111
Grand Loft Suite44
Sky ClassOwner’s Suite44
Grand Suite164
Golden Junior Suite52
Golden Balcony Suite62-4
Sea ClassJunior Suite w Large Balcony284
Junior Suite782

Regular cabins are split into:

  • 1,487 Balcony staterooms
  • 142 Oceanview staterooms
  • 366 Interior staterooms

Here’s what guests can look forward to:

  • Asia’s first Sky Pad, a virtual reality, bungee trampoline adventure where guests strap in and don a headset to transport themselves to another time and planet.
  • Royal Caribbean’s first and exclusive Suite Enclave, which features the exquisite Royal Suite Class Star, Sky and Sea accommodations in a private area supremely positioned at the forward end of the ship. Guests booked in these luxury suites have exclusive floor access, an elevator, private restaurants, and a dedicated lounge area.
  • Cutting-edge and transformative venues such as Two70. Boasting stunning 270-degree ocean views by day and transforming into a multidimensional theater by night, this transformative space flaunts six agile Roboscreens, breathtaking live performers and mind-bending aerialists to create unimaginable visuals. Meanwhile, SeaPlex, the largest indoor activity space at sea, features bumper cars, interactive gaming, roller skating, laser tag, fencing, archery, and more.
  • Star Moment, a lively and energetic karaoke venue where family and friends can belt out and sing like stars.
  • Spacious and family friendly staterooms, ranging from exterior balcony staterooms to family friendly interconnected rooms, to the signature two-level Ultimate Family Suite, an expansive, multiroom retreat complete with its own ensuite slide and cinema, which also doubles as a karaoke stage.
  • A bold lineup of signature activities, including the FlowRider surf simulator, the North Star, an all-glass capsule that ascends 300 feet above the ocean to deliver incomparable 360-degree views; and RipCord by iFly, the first sky diving experience at sea.
  • Nineteen distinct dining options serve up flavors from around the world, including Hot Pot, an authentic Chinese dining experience; Teppanyaki, a celebration of authentic oriental flavors cooked in Japan’s traditional teppanyaki style; and Sichuan Red, a new specialty dining experience tailored just for Spectrum, where diners can savour a bold tapestry of authentic spices and Sichuan flavours. Signature classics include imaginative cuisine at Wonderland, top-notch, aged beef at Chops Grille, and authentic rustic fare and handmade pasta at Jamie’s Italian.

Quantum veterans will spot familiar attractions like FlowRider, North Star, iFly, and venues such as SeaPlex and Two70. 

Spectrum of the Seas Main Dining Room

However, there are some differences to take note of. While Quantum splits the main dining room into four different venues (American Icon Grill, Chic, Silk and The Grande), Spectrum has a single large venue simply called the Main Dining Room.

Suites guests on Quantum enjoy access to the exclusive Concierge Club, but Spectrum takes that one step further by having a Suites-only area of the ship, located at the forward end of decks 13 through 16. This has a special restaurant, lounge and outdoor space, together with a shopping outlet. Solarium fans, take note: on Spectrum, this area is only accessible to suites guests. 

Star Moment

In other nods to its Asian audience, Boleros has been replaced by Star Moment (a karaoke joint hopefully more Teo Heng than lup sup KTV), Harp and Horn pub has been replaced by a tea room called Leaf and Bean, and new specialty restaurants like Teppanyaki and Sichuan Red join classics like Wonderland and Chops Grille. 

For a detailed review of the Spectrum experience (from 2019), refer to the link. Additional reviews can be found here and here. 

What am I doing?

Spectrum of the Seas

I had originally planned to sail on Quantum of the Seas in January 2022, having snagged a fantastic rate of S$1,655 for a 4-night cruise in a Grand Suite. 

But on further consideration, I decided that since I’d already sailed on Quantum twice, I’d rather preserve those good memories and not spoil them by doing it one time too many. I cancelled the sailing and took a Future Cruise Credit, which I planned to use for the inaugural 5-night Spectrum cruise in October. 

If Spectrum does indeed start overseas cruises in April, I’ll definitely be among the first to try it out. If it starts with cruises to nowhere, well, that’ll be a slightly tricker question which I’ll need to give some thought. I love a new ship as much as anyone, but Spectum is not radically different from Quantum, especially if you’re not staying in a suite. 

I’ll be keeping a close eye on the updated sailing dates for Spectrum, and post some thoughts once they go live. 

Conclusion

Royal Caribbean has decided to bring Spectrum of the Seas to Singapore a full six months ahead of schedule. While it’s still unclear whether Spectrum will do cruises to nowhere or bring with it a sea VTL, it means there’s something new and shiny to look forward to.

Cruise to nowhere or cruise to somewhere- what do you think Spectrum will start with?

Aaron Wong
Aaron Wong
Aaron founded The Milelion to help people travel better for less and impress chiobu. He was 50% successful.

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Jeremy

I believe Suites-only access to Solarium is a China-specific thing. But let’s wait for more details.

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/sgp/en/cruise-activities/solarium

Last edited 5 months ago by Jeremy
Dan

Who knows? Maybe the suite enclave would actually be open for all?

Zezima

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/sgp/en/cruise-ships/spectrum-of-the-seas/deck-plans/2170/14

Based on this deck plan, it seems that there is a path open at the starboard side for the public to access the solarium at deck 14. The suites-only area is concentrated at the middle of the front section.

Uris

The pricing for suites on Spectrum is crazy.

I paid 3k for grand suite for 4 nights in Aug 2021.

Spectrum 3 nights same grand suite is 4800+.

It is hard to stomach but I still have FCC to use…

anon

I think maybe SEA VTL is an issue.. given that we have restricted flights daily..

Martin

Thanks for the article.

What’s the tactic to be able to get a 1 bedroom
Suite for 4 nights for that price?

I paid $4k+ for our one, for 4 mind you though.

Martin

If you don’t mind me asking, how many persons was the booking for at that price? My $4k plus was the Christmas sailing admittedly.

Martin

Thank you, as always. Think that adds up to be the same as what I checked for prices for 4 for January too. Definitely great value.

JW19

RC must have been pissed with the archaic and non science based method of HK handling the pandemic and rightfully shifted their creme dela creme to the most lucrative of locations in Asia. I do hope they preserve what they ought to do with solarium, finally some recognition for sea class suites guest.

Johnny

Sadly they didn’t keep that, Sea Class Guests now get your own lounge.

Johnny

Spectrum Of The Seas is coming on April? Just booked one on May for S$1.6K, 4 Nights on Silver Junior Suite! Great deal for you to spend on your future cruise credit lol

Susan

Hi Aaron, would you know the benefits for Silver Junior Suites, as opposed to Golden Balcony ones? I note that there is a “Silver Dining” & “Silver Lounge”, on Deck 14 next to the Solarium. So does that mean it is exclusive for Silver Junior Suite guests? Not sure if these said lounges are operating for the Spore sailings…..Coastal Kitchen is obviously absent because of the Golden Dining perks. I’m also wondering if the Solarium will be open to Silver Junior Suites. Would these Silver Suites come under Sea Class (but with a separate Silver Dining area)? I have tried… Read more »

Doreen

Hi Aaron, seems like Solarium is still included for all guests according to this link below. Any idea? https://www.royalcaribbean.com/sgp/en/cruise-ships/spectrum-of-the-seas/things-to-do/solarium

Claire

Can I check which activities need to be paid in the Spectrum of the Seas?

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