Quantum Entertainment - My First Impression

| Friday, 13 Jun. 2014

Royal Caribbean Reveals Quantum Entertainment

We react to the live streaming online event detailing on Quantum of the Seas entertainment

To start, here is the just released video on the Quantum Entertainment:

Royal Caribbean just concluded a live streaming event on Google featuring television and movie star Kirsten Chenoweth to give us the final "reveal" regarding the forthcoming cruise ship Quantum of the Seas scheduled to debut next November.

There were a few surprises, and mostly a number of verbal slips by Kirsten herself on things that she was supposedly "not supposed to be talking about yet." Otherwise the presentation showed us the names of the shows and their entertainment styles. We also learned about the specific entertainment venues that the ship will feature.


One of the spaces we have already heard a great deal about is 270°, a large lounge-like show room at the aft end of the ship in  area of the ship that is normally occupy by a large dining room. Similar in size, 270° will have three decks of open lines with floor-to-ceiling windows encompassing the side and rear views, hence the name 270°. To convert the room to a show room the windows become video screens capable of projecting moving images to create backgrounds and scenery upon demand. Although this stage area for this venue is a very big the room only seats about 450 people.


This room will contain the most special effects. Entertainers will not enter from the sides and there is no backstage area on the floor level. All entrances and exits must be made through the floor or the ceiling for aerobatic displays. The host of the video event along with Kirsten Chenoweth, Nick Weir, Royal Caribbean's vice president of entertainment, described the method for introducing characters to the set as being similar to vacuum tubes.

One of the features newly revealed today that will be a part of the 270° entertainment platform is called Roboscreens -six large hydraulic motion controlled robotic arms, each holding a large rectangular video screen, that will create dance motions robotically to create ever-changing video displays of various shapes and sizes. This is something that has never been done anywhere before, so it is a true first four Quantum of the Seas and stagecraft in general. Here is a video since it is easier to see than to describe:

The shows that will be presented in this room include Starwater said to be a "highly visual, theatrical spectacle of the deal mapping, special effects and human artistry that combined to create an awe- inspiring experience designed to appeal to universal human emotions." The other show is called "Virtual Concert" described as a world-class concert experience featuring premier musicians groups and bands masterfully captured and projected across this to Rhonda and all six Roboscreens."

The Music Hall

The next venue introduced, somewhat confusingly by the hosts, is the Music Hall which Royal Caribbean describes online as "Rebellious and edgy, the two-story design is inspired by the spirit of rock and roll." Somehow that edgy feeling did not exactly come across in the pictures presented, it seems the venue will be more of a party dance hall than a rock 'n roll club. The venue is designed to bring entertainment directly to the guests, for example for an after-hours cast party featuring players from the onboard show Mama Mia. Some of the musical acts who will perform here will include classic rock "cover bands" and tribute bands to emulate the Beatles, Bon Jovi, the Bee Gees and Journey.

The Royal Theater

The largest entertainment venue onboard is the Royal Theater, as it is called on most Royal Caribbean ships. This is a standard proscenium theater capable of seating 1300 guests and will be the venue for the Broadway show Mama Mia, and a new show which the hosts discussed in great deal called "Sonic Odyssey" which features musical artist William Close playing an instrument he supposedly invented, according to Kirsten, called the Earth Harp, which consists of several very long strands of metallic material that create eerie and haunting musical frequencies when massaged. The show also includes a Drum Wall of 136 drums and players wearing musical costumes such as the "Vocal Percussion Jacket" and the "Violin Dress." There is also a nine piece life orchestra and a cast of singers, dancers, aerialists and gymnasts. Royal Caribbean characterizes this show as "a theatrical masterpiece that must be heard as well as seen to be believed."


Slips of the Tongue


Among the things that we heard Kirsten allude to which she quickly followed by saying, "oh but we can talk about that yet," include something she referred to as "a robotic costar that doesn't have to be there." Later on we heard references to holograms which somewhat mysteriously Nick Weir was heard to say, "We aren't quite sure how we’re going to do it yet but we will get it done."


Another awkward moment occurred when an online guest asked the hosts whether there would be any charges for any entertainment. Rumors have been circulating the last week that Quantum of the Seas will have surcharges for certain shows. Weir replied at some length that, "Royal Caribbean will always remain committed to free entertainment," but he then went on to say that the line is thinking about having surcharges for certain entertainment events. At that point Kirsten mentioned something about "late-night adult parties with some consumables included." It doesn't take much to see she was referring to a show called "Wink – a premium late-night show with class and sass, featuring the Royal theater cast in an adults only showcase," according to Royal Caribbean.


Quantum Entertainment

Quantum of the Seas is an 18 deck, 167,800 gross ton ship containing 4180 guest berths. The line recently announced a new concept in cruise dining which they call "dynamic dining" where there are no main dining rooms but rather a number of large, independently themed restaurants which passengers can choose to attend on any given night.


The entertainment on Quantum of the Seas is designed to work in tandem with dynamic dining and recently many people in cruise forums online have been complaining about getting reservations for the dining, especially at hours that apparently will not conflict with the entertainment. Chenoweth and Weir were very careful to state that the entertainment onboard will be ongoing and that each show will be presented several times, night and day.


But what is most compelling about the future of Quantum of the Seas is the question of how well a mostly Chinese audience will respond to shows like Mama Mia and Bee Gees tribute bands. This ship was originally scheduled to sail exclusively out of New York City but just two months ago Royal Caribbean announced that the ship will be relocated indefinitely to Shanghai, China in May 2015, after only five months of serving American audiences.

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