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Travel With Rick Year In Review 2015

It’s been an incredible year on Travel With Rick and this week, John and Rick sit down to chat about all the amazing destinations, food, and friends that they met along the way.  Plus stayed tuned for some bloopers at the end!

Hope you enjoy today’s video, be sure to leave a comment and share it with your friends!


Royal Caribbean Orders Fifth Quantum Class Cruise Ship

Royal Caribbean has entered into an agreement with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Germany to order a fifth cruise ship in its Quantum Class to be delivered in fall 2020. The announcement comes as the line’s second Quantum-class ship, Anthem of the Seas, arrives Wednesday in its permanent homeport of Bayonne, New Jersey, after sailing a short season out of the U.K.

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Highlights of Quantum-class ships are high-speed Internet; RipCord by iFly, a skydiving simulator; the North Star, a glass capsule that rises 300 feet above sea level and provides 360-degree views from high above the ship; the three-deck-high Two70 lounge and theater with its stunning daytime views and mesmerizing special effects evening shows; and the Seaplex sports and entertainment complex with bumper cars, roller skating and a circus school.

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Quantum of the Seas, the first ship in the class, launched in 2014 and sails year-round in Asia. The third ship, Ovation of the Seas, is scheduled to launch in 2016; it is being designed with the Chinese market in mind and also will sail permanently in Asia. Royal Caribbean has not said where the fourth ship, launching in 2019, and the newly announced fifth Quantum-class ship will be deployed.


Cruising On Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas

Join Rick and Leslie as they take an incredible cruise on the Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean Cruise Line‘s newest ship.

Hope you enjoy today’s video, be sure to leave a comment and share it with your friends!


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Royal Caribbean’s Harmony Of The Seas To Feature Neighborhoods, Waterslides, Bionic Bar

Royal Caribbean’s next Oasis-class ship, Harmony of the Seas, will feature a mixture of first-introduced-on-Quantum- and Oasis-class experiences, as well as brand-new additions, including the line’s first-ever waterslides.

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“We are orchestrating a medley of new exciting concepts with the best Royal Caribbean innovations to strike the perfect chord for adventurous vacationers,” said Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean International.

In a first for the line, passengers will be able to twist and slide their way down three multilevel waterslides. One of the slides will feature a Champagne bowl that swirls riders around as they approach the end of the slide.

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Neighborhoods
First introduced on Oasis of the Seas, the line’s distinct neighborhood concept will return on Harmony of the Seas. Seven neighborhoods are featured including the revolutionary Boardwalk and Central Park spaces.

Among other features yet to be announced, the Boardwalk on Harmony will feature a classic games arcade, a kids-only climbing play area and a Starbucks cafe.

Other neighborhoods include the Royal Promenade, the Pool and Sports Zone, Vitality at Sea Spa and Fitness Center, Entertainment Place and Youth Zone.

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Dining
Harmony of the Seas will offer passengers a choice of two Dynamic Dining options. Those preferring the more traditional set-time cruise dining style can select the “Classic” option, which puts passengers on a dining schedule that rotates through each of the main complimentary restaurants at an early or late seating time throughout their cruise with the same dining group and waiter each evening. For the more laissez-faire, the standard Dynamic Dining option allows passengers to make reservations in any free or for-fee restaurant, at any time on any given day.

Among other specialty restaurant concepts onboard Harmony of the Seas will be Izumi Hibachi & Sushi, which adds a teppanyaki menu to the sushi restaurant found on several other Royal ships. Sabor Modern Mexican will offer a modern take on traditional Mexican fare, while Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine (pictured above) takes diners on a kaleidoscopic culinary journey for the senses.

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Technology
Sticking to its high-tech guns, Royal Caribbean also is bringing some of its most technologically savvy experiences from Quantum of the Seas, like RFID WOWBands, to Harmony of the Seas. The RFID-enabled bracelets give passengers access to their cabins, and can be used for making onboard purchases and reservations. Harmony of the Seas also will feature Royal Caribbean’s high-speed Internet connectivity, currently only available on Quantum, Oasis and Allure of the Seas (and Anthem of the Seas later this spring).

The Bionic Bar, which debuted on Quantum of the Seas, also will make its first appearance on an Oasis-class ship. Located on the Royal Promenade it features robotic arms serving up cocktails while “dancing” to music.

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Cabins

Harmony of the Seas also is tweaking some of the Oasis-class cabin categories, expanding the size of some and bringing virtual balconies to all interior staterooms. In a move sure to please single cruisers, Harmony of the Seas also will feature several studio cabin choices.

Suite guests will have exclusive use of the Coastal Kitchen restaurant first launched on Quantum of the Seas. New to Harmony of the Seas will be a full-service Suite Sun Zone sun deck only for suite passengers.

The two Oasis-class ships continue to be among Royal Caribbean’s most popular cruise ships.

“They shatter preconceived notions of what cruising can be and continue to stand in a category by themselves,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. RCCL is the parent company of Royal Caribbean International. “With Harmony of the Seas, we are making the most exciting experience at sea even better.”

The 5,479-passenger Harmony of the Seas will span 16 decks and, at 227,000 gross registered tons, will be the largest cruise ship in the world when it launches April 2016. Itineraries for the ship will be announced next month.


Royal Caribbean Officially Receives New Ship

Royal Caribbean International took delivery of the newest addition to the cruise line’s fleet, Quantum of the Seas, from Meyer Werft Yard. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s Chairman and CEO Richard D. Fain and Meyer Werft Yard’s Managing Partner Bernard Meyer attended the official signing ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany.

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With Captain Srecko “Felix” Ban at the helm, the ship will begin her journey today to Southampton, U.K., where she will welcome her first guests on November 2, for a trans-Atlantic voyage to her home port of Cape Liberty Cruise Port, Bayonne, New Jersey.

Quantum of the Seas will sail from New York harbor to the Bahamas and the Caribbean for her inaugural season before departing for her new homeport of Shanghai (Baoshan), China, in May 2015. Sister-ship Anthem of the Seas will debut in Southampton in April 2015 and sail Mediterranean itineraries.

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Quantum-class ships are the world’s most technologically advanced in the world with “boatloads of bandwidth” which allow the cruise line to offer unprecedented connectivity – 500 times more than any other cruise ship; easy-to-use systems that expand guest choices and simplify schedules, plus, RFID technology that speeds up the boarding process and allows guest to track their luggage every step of the way.

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The ships offer new unprecedented features, such as RipCord by iFLY, the first skydiving experience at sea; the North Star, an engineering marvel that transports guests more than 300 feet above the ocean; SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; as well as the Bionic Bar powered by Makr Shakr which features the world’s first robotic bartenders.

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The ships also showcase the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever, including the industry’s first-ever staterooms with Virtual Balconies, which offer expansive, real-time views of the ocean and exciting destinations from every interior stateroom.

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Quantum-class ships span 16 guest decks; encompass 167,800 gross registered tons; carry 4,180 guests at double occupancy; and feature 2,090 staterooms.

Here’s a simple infographic to help put it in better perspective –

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Quantum of The Seas’ Amazing New Features

When Quantum of the Seas debuts this fall, it will be the most technologically advanced cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited Chairman and CEO Richard Fain revealed at a news conference Monday at the Meyer Werft shipyard where the vessel is being built.

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“This ship’s combination of ease and flexibility would make a yoga instructor proud,” Fain said.

Fain and technology expert David Pogue, speaking to a group of journalists, unveiled a range of technological advances designed to improve the passenger experience, even before people board the ship.

Among the highlights of the announced technology enhancements:

Improved check-in and boarding process. In addition to the typical online check-in process, passengers can upload photo IDs ahead of their cruises. They’ll be issued digital boarding documents, which Royal Caribbean says will help them get on the ship in less than 10 minutes, with no lines and no forms to fill out when they arrive to port. Also, suitcases will be tagged with radio-frequency ID devices at port that will allow passengers to use their mobile devices to track their luggage en route to their cabins. The same devices will be used to allow for luggage tracking when passengers disembark.

Apps for better scheduling and onboard communication. Two new apps will help passengers plan the details of their cruises. Cruise Planner is designed to be used ahead of the sailing, giving passengers the opportunity to book spa appointments, shore excursions and dinner reservations from their mobile devices ahead of their sailings. Once onboard, passengers can use Royal iQ to keep track of their schedules. The daily Cruise Compass will also be available via Royal iQ, and passengers can pick activities to try out and be alerted if there are scheduling conflicts. Royal iQ will also allow passengers to communicate with one another while onboard Quantum of the Seas. Using Royal iQ’s scheduling features is free, but it will cost passengers a yet-undetermined fee to use the communication portion of the app. Passengers will also have the option to use RFID wristbands rather than the traditional keycard to gain entry to their cabins and make purchases onboard. The wristbands will cost $2 per person.

Super-fast Internet. Partnering with Ob3 Networks, Royal Caribbean has hooked into satellites that will allow passengers to experience Internet speeds akin to what they might find on shore: Fast enough, the company says, that passengers could watch streaming video, share vacation photos via social media and video conference with loved ones at home, options almost unheard of when it comes to Internet on cruise ships, which is notoriously slow.

Tablets for the crew. Royal Caribbean is giving Microsoft tablets to every crewmember on Quantum of the Seas, theirs to keep as well as use to better track passenger preferences. Crewmembers can also use the tablets to communicate with their families at home. The line will eventually give tablets to every shipboard employee fleetwide — 40,000 total.

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Robot bartenders. While Royal Caribbean has revealed little about the bars and lounges on Quantum, today’s announcement provided a glimpse into at least one space, dubbed Bionic Bar. Here, passengers order cocktails via tablets, then watch as robots mix their drinks.

A green commitment. All lighting on Quantum of the Seas will come from LED or fluorescent lighting, and hallways will feature motion-sensitive lighting; when no one is around, the halls will dim, conserving energy. Cabins, too, will feature environmentally sound lighting systems.

Royal Caribbean‘s new ship debuts in November, when it sails from Southampton to Bayonne, New Jersey, where it will homeport for the winter before it moves to Shanghai. Fleetmate Anthem of the Seas, expected to be a near-twin, debuts in spring 2015 in Southampton and will homeport in Bayonne beginning next fall.


Royal Caribbean Reveals Entertainment Options For Quantum Of The Seas

Entertainment on Quantum of the Seas will be the “complete package deal,” similar to what you’d find in Las Vegas, said ship godmother Kristin Chenoweth during a live Google Hangout broadcast from the Bellagio hotel there. Alongside Nick Weir, vice president of entertainment for Royal Caribbean International, Chenoweth revealed some details of what entertainment cruisers can expect when Quantum launches in November of this year.

Here are highlights from the Google Hangout –

 

Entertainment will center around three main venues: Two70, the Music Hall and Royal Theater.

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Two70
Taking what Royal Caribbean calls a “futuristic” approach, the 450-seat Two70 will pair advanced technology with dancers, singers, aerialists and musicians to deliver a series of shows that Weir and Chenoweth had a difficult time describing. Instead, they showed a visual mockup that merges the vibrant animation of Avatar with the artistry of Cirque du Soleil.

The visuals will appear via a floor-to-ceiling window of digital screens over 100 feet wide and 20 feet tall that will be able to create any scene, real or imagined. Combined with these will be six moveable Roboscreens, which measure seven feet high and can twist and turn.

The 270-degree nature of the venue will enable audience members to feel like they’re part of the performance, Chenoweth said.

In addition to the special effect- laden main shows, like Starwater (which Weir admitted is still in the creation phase), that will appear in Two70, the space will also host a series of virtual concerts with “premier” musicians, groups and bands. Royal Caribbean would not elaborate on who would be performing.

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Royal Theater
In addition to the already announced Mamma Mia, Quantum of the Seas’ Royal Theater will be home to one other main show, as well as 3D movies.

Sonic Odyssey is a musical show created by 2013 America’s Got Talent contestant William Close that combines the ethereal music of his gigantic Earth Harp with a 136-drum Drum Wall, a Vocal Percussion Jacket and Violin Dress. The show also will incorporate singers, dancers, aerialists and gymnasts to tell a story through music and movement.

Royal Theater could also play host to special performances by artists like, say, Kristin Chenoweth herself. Though Chenoweth would not confirm it, she did say that Royal Theater is the venue she would choose.

She also joked, with a smirk, that there may or may not be a Kristen Chenoweth performance during the ship’s naming ceremony.

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Music Hall
An intimate space that melds the stage with the dance floor, Music Hall will be the main live music venue onboard Quantum. Here passengers will find tribute bands covering the likes of The Beatles, Bee Gees, Journey and Bon Jovi; an after-the-show Mamma Mia! cast party; and Wink, a “class and sass” adults-only late night show.

All shows will be free, though Weir said Royal Caribbean is looking at opportunities to charge for exclusive entertainment offerings in the future. Weir defended the move by saying other lines are doing the same. Carnival Cruise Lines has already begun charging for some entertainment with its Carnival Live concert series.

Quantum of the Seas is the first ship in the much-anticipated Quantum Class. It will bring to the sea innovations like a sky-diving simulator, the North Star — a jewel-shaped glass capsule that extends 300 feet above the ship for 360-degree sea views — the Seaplex sports and entertainment complex and Dynamic Dining, a concept that dispatches with the traditional main dining room in favor of multiple, more flexible options.

The ship launches November 2014, sailing seven- to 12-night itineraries to the Caribbean and Bahamas, before moving to Shanghai in June 2015.


Royal Caribbean Reveals New Ships for 2015 Europe Itineraries

Royal Caribbean International announced that the second ship in the Quantum class, Anthem of the Seas, will be joined by Adventure of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas in the U.K. as part of the 2015 Europe season.

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Anthem of the Seas will homeport at Southampton, U.K., when it launches in April 2015. The ship will mark its inaugural Europe season with 19 cruises to the Spanish, French and Italian rivieras, and the Canary Islands on three- to 16-night itineraries, and then reposition in late-October 2015 to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and sail five-night short Caribbean, six-night Western Caribbean and eight-night Eastern Caribbean itineraries through April 2016 for its first winter season.

Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society

Royal Caribbean’s Crown & Anchor Society loyalty members will have the exclusive privilege to reserve their staterooms earlier than the general public on Anthem of the Seas inaugural year sailings. Anthem of the Seas’ summer 2015 Europe cruises will be available for member bookings starting February 26, 2014 and the ship’s winter 2015-16 Caribbean cruises will be open for members starting March 12, 2014. Bookings for the general public on Anthem of the Seas’ summer 2015 Europe cruises and winter 2015-16 Caribbean sailings will be open on March 3 and March 20, 2014, respectively.

Serenade of the Seas also will join Anthem of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas and Brilliance of the Seas in the North Sea in summer 2015, and offer a range of Scandinavia and Russia, as well as Norwegian Fjords, sailings from Copenhagen, Denmark, and Stockholm, Sweden. Adventure of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas will open for booking on February 26, 2014.

Adventure of the Seas

Adventure of the Seas will sail three- to 16-night, roundtrip itineraries to Northern Europe, the Mediterranean, or Madeira, Azores and Canary Islands. The ship also will sail two trans-Atlantic Ocean Voyages – a 12-night itinerary from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Southampton on May 3, 2015, and from Southampton to Port Canaveral, Fla., on a 15-night return itinerary on October 16.

Offering vacationers a second British port to embark on an unforgettable Royal Caribbean Europe vacation, Brilliance of the Seas will reposition from Tampa, Fla. to its homeport of Harwich, England, on a 14-night trans-Atlantic Ocean Voyage on May 4, 2015, and continue with 12-night roundtrip Scandinavia and Russia sailings from mid-May through August. A July 29 sailing will take guests on a special 12-night Norwegian Fjords and Iceland itinerary, with an overnight call at Reykjavik, Iceland.

For its part, Serenade of the Seas also will offer vacationers seven- to 13-night Scandinavia, Russia and Norwegian Fjord itineraries from May through August. The ship will sail from Copenhagen from May through June and in the month of August, bookending sailings from Stockholm from mid-June through July.

Serenade of the Seas

Vacationers also can choose four repositioning cruises on Serenade of the Seas. The April 11, 2015, sailing will take guests on a 13-night Caribbean itinerary from New Orleans, La., to Boston, Mass., followed by a 15-night trans-Atlantic Ocean Voyage to Copenhagen via the North Sea. Finally, a 16-night westbound trans-Atlantic Ocean Voyage from Copenhagen to Cape Liberty via Iceland will depart on August 30.

Along with its sister-ship Quantum of the Seas, the 4,180-guest, 167,800 gross tonnage Anthem of the Seas – both currently under construction at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany – will introduce more “firsts at sea” such as a skydiving experience call RipCord by iFLY, and the North Star, which has a jewel like capsule that extends 300 feet above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver 360-degree views for guests.

Serenade of the Seas

Transformative venues include SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and more; and the cruise line’s largest and most advanced staterooms ever. These new, larger staterooms enable innovation in design, storage and comfort including the industry’s first virtual balconies.


Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas is Most Anticipated Ship of 2014

Royal Caribbean International’s upcoming ship, the Quantum of the Seas, is the most highly anticipated ship of 2014 according to USA Today.

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The 4,180-passenger ship is the first in a new class of vessel for Royal Caribbean that will boast several groundbreaking features, including the North Star, a giant mechanical arm that will transport passengers high above the vessel in a glass capsule.

The Quantum will homeport in Bayonne, New Jersey, and offer 7-12 night cruises to the Bahamas, the Eastern Caribbean and the Southern Caribbean beginning in late 2014.

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Next year will also see the debut of Norwegian Cruise Line’s 4,028-passenger Norwegian Getaway, Princess Cruises‘ 3,560-passenger Regal Princess, Pearl Seas Cruises’ 210-passenger Pearl Mist, and Costa Cruises’ 3,700-passenger Costa Diadema, the line’s largest ship ever.

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