If you had asked me two years ago whether I would pay good money to go on a ship that went around Singapore waters for 3 days, did not dock anywhere, and then came back to Singapore, I would have told you not a chance in hell.
Oh well, Covid-19 happened and I ate my words. After one full year of house arrest, I decided enough was enough and my poor passport deserved to come out of the closet too. So RC's Quantum of the Seas was booked and like all my holidays, I researched the hell out of it. Thank god I did, because if you don't know these tips and tricks, you can possibly end up having a very blah experience. So, if you are thinking of, or have booked a cruise on this ship, here's my list of tips to help make it WOW for you.
Choosing a Room
So many options, what to choose? Here's the lowdown. They say that the lower decks are more stable and have lesser motion when the ship is moving but honestly, Singapore waters are so docile that it just doesn't matter. Pick between decks 8-10 and you're all set. The only time I felt the ship move was when I was in the Solarium, which is on the edge of the ship on the top deck, never in my room. The balcony rooms are lovely and the balcony is ideal for having wine while watching the sea. Though the sofa-beds open up to accommodate children, book two connecting balcony rooms if you can afford it. It's a blessing to have children near enough but in their own space. You can always lock their balcony if that's a cause of concern. Between mid-ship, forward and aft, choose a room mid-ship. Lesser walking that way, and there's a LOT of walking during your cruise. See deck maps before booking to make sure that there isn't an adventure area or recreation area above your room - that can make it noisy. Choose a room which has rooms below and above it.
The first thing you need to do after booking is check-in. This is so that you get the earliest boarding time of 2pm, which allows you two things - 1) To enjoy an extra day on the ship 2) To book all the facilities and shows, which can only be booked when you board the ship and get on it's WiFi. I know people who did not know this, or did not bother, and ended up with no shows, bumper cars or anything bookable to show for it.
I was quite apprehensive about the PCR test but it was fine. Make sure you book your PCR test and get there on time. It's a 1-minute process, not pleasurable but definitely not too bad. Make sure you don't tense up, and breathe through your mouth the whole time. It will be over before you know it.
Before you board, make sure you mark the mails from RC as 'safe' so they don't end up in your junk folder. You will receive some discounts and offers and it is a good idea to avail these as the pricing on-board the ship is higher. I took WiFi (surf only, not stream) and it worked just fine. I skipped the drinks package as we are not big drinkers, plus the ship allows you to carry certain beverages (see point below). The bars are decently priced, well in comparison to Singapore, with cocktails at USD 12 and beer less than that.
You are allowed to carry 2 bottles of wine (only wine and champagne) per stateroom, plus 6 cans/bottles/Tetra Paks of non-alcoholic drinks (not many people know this). Use the latter wisely, as this can include water too. The tap water on the ship is drinkable, and though some people complain of it being too chlorinated, I thought it was just fine. There is a mini-bar in the room to keep your drinks cool, and wine glasses can be requested via housekeeping.
Should you book the extra restaurants or is the free food good enough? If you have booked a suite, you will have access to The Coastal Kitchen for all your meals, in addition to the other restaurants. If not, then you can pre-book a speciality restaurant before you board. In my opinion, the free options are pretty decent and you can skip the paid ones. The buffet at Windjammer is excellent and you will find yourself gravitating there for breakfast and lunches. The main dining room is a hit and a miss but the menu changes daily and you can order whatever you want, as much as you want. I found some decent dishes there, including incredible Indian options. Pizzas are available for free morning until late night at Sorrento's and Dog House does yum hot dogs (check timings when you board on Day 1). There are bars everywhere for a cocktail or two, and room service too. Not many people know but the room service menu is free to order from. You only need to pay a service charge for delivery (waived off for breakfast) and can order as many dishes as you wish.
What made the cruise all the more exciting for us were the numerous activities we could partake in. I personally loved the Harry Potter trivia, the general knowledge trivia, the line dancing session, bumper cars, Flowrider and sky diving (iFly). All except the last one are free. The only ones you need to book are bumper cars and sky diving, everything else is a walk-in or queue-up. If you board early on Day 1, make sure you do Flowrider around 4pm before everyone else comes in...there won't be any queues then. If you wish to do it again, the first thing in the morning is a great idea, just when it opens - just line up 15 mins before it opens. iFly is paid but one of the most exciting 60 seconds of your life. Do it. And yes, my 10-year old daughter loved it too!
I can't tell you much about shows because when we sailed, only suites were allowed show access. However, one show of Beatles Mania was open to us, which we missed as it was full when we went to queue up 15 mins before showtime. Make sure you queue up 45 mins before, and you should be able to catch that one. There are some lovely performances you can just walk into and enjoy, every day. Piano, violin, etc. My daughter loved those and we would sit for 15-20 minutes and quietly walk out, no need to sit through the one-hour performance.
If you have children, it's a great idea to put them into the play area 'Adventure Cove' for an hour or two each morning after breakfast. They can meet other kids there, and you can meanwhile enjoy Solarium, the adults-only pool area which has indulgent hot tubs. I would suggest planning your morning thus - wake up early and go for a walk on Deck 15. Head to breakfast then. Go to your room, change and go do rock climbing and then Flowrider. Kids change their clothes and head to Adventure Cove and you go to Solarium to find the hot tubs free.
What will make or break your cruise is what you do the moment you board. As soon as you board, log into the ship's WiFi and start booking on the app. Take bumper car slots for each day, and then iFly if you plan to do it. If you have access to the shows, this is when you book those too. Once you've done that, you can simply add items into your calendar that don't need booking and you'll get a reminder whenever something is coming up. Also, walk up to Adventure Cove and book slots for each day for your kids to spend there. You get a total number of hours, so plan your time in Solarium well, to coincide with these. Also, make sure you buy and carry one lanyard each per person, so that you can put your key card in it. You need to swipe it everywhere you go, including payments. Put your token in it too, and that will save you the trouble of looking for these two things 40 times a day.
I hope this helps you and that you have a fabulous Cruise to Nowhere. If you have a question, feel free to write it in the comments and I will be sure to answer. Enjoy!