Above: Royal Caribbean International's CEO and President Adam Goldstein unveils Dynamic Dining for the first time to a group of Crown and Anchor Society members in New York. Quantum of the Seas will be based in the Port of New York at the Cape Liberty cruise terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey.
On March 26, 2014, Royal Caribbean International unveiled a revolutionary dinning program called Dynamic Dining, which will premiere when Quantum of the Seas enters service in November 2014. While some of the concepts that make up this new system may have roots in ideas seen on other ships and/or at other lines, they have been developed beyond anything that it being done today and have been merged with other new ideas. Thus, Dynamic Dining promises to take dining at sea to a new level.
“Quantum class cruising [is] something so powerful that it will change the way guests experience cruising. The guest experience has been what we have been about for 44 years. Talking with the guests, understanding what their interests are, what they would like to have happen aboard ship, is a constant undertaking. It drives what we create for our guests in terms of vacations. When we talk to guests, a key thing that constantly comes up is, along with the destinations, the dining opportunities. It was time to re-imasgine the culinary offerings that we will be delivering to you on our new generation of ships. The degree of flexibility is unprecedented in the cruise category. The range of culinary offerings is unprecedented in the cruise category. And it is going to ba a lot of fun,” commented Adam Goldstein, CEO and President of Royal Caribbean International.
A new approach
Quantum of the Seas will have 18 dining venues. However, it is not the number of venues that makes Dynamic Dining a landmark innovation in cruise ship dining. Rather, what makes Dynamic Dining revolutionary is that it is a new approach to cruise ship dining.
Traditionally, guests on passenger ships were assigned to a specific table in the ship's main dining room at either the early or the late dinner seating. In the early years of this century, Norwegian Cruise Line implemented Freestyle dining, underwhich it is up to the guest to decide when and where to have dinner. Since then, most of the cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, have implemented systems in which the guest can elect the traditional system or an option that gives the guest more flexibility in deciding when to have dinner.
“The premise by which we built Dynamic Dining is control and choice. It is up to you. We are not going to tell you when and where to eat. It is all in your control,” explained Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, RCI's Executive Vice President of Operations.
Therefore, Dynamic Dining completely sweeps away the traditional cruise ship dining system. There are no early or late seatings in the main dining room. Indeed, there is no main dining room.
Instead, guests have the option of dining in five different complimentary dining rooms as well as in the ship's specialty restaurants and casual dining venues. A guest can dine in a different complimentary dining room each night or dine in the same one each night. It is up to the guest to decide where to dine as well as when to dine.
Many cruise ships have multiple dining rooms. However, what differentiates the Quantum class is that each of the dining rooms will be different, not just in their décor but in their concept. “Each restaurant has its own unique menu. Other companies have the same menu, you just go to a different room,” pointed out Ms. Lutoff-Perlo.
The menus in each of the dining rooms will offer more items per dinner than the menus in Royal Caribbean's existing main dining rooms. Thus, even though the menus in each of the dining rooms will remain the same throughout the cruise, overall there will be as many choices as the dining rooms on the existing ships where the menu changes each night.
The dress code will not be the same in all the restaurants. While most will be smart casual, one restaurant will be formal each night. “ All of the research with our guests [indicates] they would like the option of formal night. I really believe it is more choice.”
None of the five dining rooms will be as large as the grand dining rooms on Royal Caribbean's Oasis or Freedom class ships. Four of them will have a capacity of about 400 guests each while the other will be about 100 guests. Not only does this make for more intimate dining but it allows the chefs to produce food that is well beyond banquet-quality food.
Above: RCI President and CEO Adam Goldstein.
Below: Executive Vice President of Operations Lisa Lutoff-Perlo.
Vice President of Food and Beverage Operations Brian Abel.
“They all have their own galleys. I believe that one of the things that smaller dining rooms allow you to do is to prepare a better product because you are doing it for less people over a longer time period. They are not trying to feed 3,000 people all at once. The smaller restaurants and staggered seating really enables you to maximize the quality of the execution of what you are putting on the table.”
Although the individual dining rooms will be smaller, there will be enough room for everyone in the complimentary venues. “our restaurants will be able to accommodate 100 percent of our guests. Everyone has a seat if they want one of these dining rooms.”
Of course, if all of the guests on Quantum decided to eat at one particular restaurant at the same time, it would be impossible to accommodate everyone. To prevent such situations, a key part of Dynamic Dining is a reservation system. Royal Caribbean has developed an app for reservations. Guests can make reservations on line before the cruise. Once onboard, will be able to make reservations digitally, by traditional telephone or by going to see the maitre'd.
“When you make your reservations [the system] is going to offer up every single opportunity that you can have for dinner. You'll see how other guests have rated it. You will see the dining times that are available. It will cross-reference to different people that you want to dine with. It will show you what time the shows are.” Thus, guests will be able to plan their dining so that it does not conflict with the shows or with what their friends are doing.
“This is really about choice and selection, completely in the [guests'] hands.”
Cruise ship feature article - - Quantum of the Seas - - Royal Caribbean - Talking Quantum of the Seas Dining