Travelers have a love/hate relationship with inaugural sailings. On the one hand, there is something so exciting and romantic about being among the first to board a new ship and experience its maiden voyage. Cruise lines are known to pull out all the stops when introducing new ships to the public. Yet, inaugural sailings can also be a bit of a gamble since the crew may still be working out any last-minute kinks aboard the ship. That being said, phone lines for Royal Caribbean reservations lit up like crazy when Quantum of the Seas' first transatlantic voyage went on sale.
The 8-night voyage departs Southampton, UK on November 2, 2014, and arrives at Cape Liberty Port in Bayonne, New Jersey—right outside of New York City—on November 10. With seven sea days, this itinerary gives travelers the ideal opportunity to really get to know the 16-deck, 4,180-passenger Quantum of the Seas.
If you think you'll be bored with so few ports of call, think again. Royal Caribbean is promising many "firsts at sea" aboard Quantum of the Seas, which encompasses both the journey and destination. This ship was designed for adrenaline junkies. Daredevils set their sights on the RipCord by iFLY skydiving adventure. Yes, you read that correctly. This mega-ship is complete with a skydiving program in a safe, controlled, and simulated environment. First-timers and seasoned skydivers are invited to give it a go.
The North Star—a jewel-shaped glass capsule that transports guest on a journey more than 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship for gorgeous 360-degree views—gets the heart bumping without the physical exertion of skydiving.
You can still experience exhilarating views from the ship without hoping into the North Star glass capsule. Instead, visit Two70, a great room that offers floor-to-ceiling glass walls across three decks at the stern of the ship.
For more activities that can accommodate all ages, head to SeaPlex—a huge indoor sports and entertainment complex—where you're bound to find a few new favorite pastimes. Here you'll climb into bumper cars, strap on a pair of roller skates, or learn to fly on a trapeze at "circus school."
Cabins aboard Quantum of the Seas were designed with families in mind and makes reunion trips a snap with Family-Connected staterooms that uses three different stateroom categories that connect form a layout that offers separate bedroom and bathrooms. Studio staterooms, some with balconies, are ideal for the single travelers in your group. The ship's interior staterooms are employing new technology to offer "Virtual Balconies," so every room has a "view." And, of course, Quantum offers junior suites, lofts, and larger suites.
Cruise fares for Quantum of the Seas' inaugural transatlantic voyage start at $1,149.
Andrea M. Rotondo is a freelance writer based in New York City. She covers cruise news and luxury travel trends for Fodors.com and writes for a variety of outlets, including her website Luxury Travel Mavens. Follow her on Twitter: @luxtravelmavens.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean