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Spectrum of the Seas Review: An Asian Cultural Cruise

Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas cruise ship

My wife, Karen, and I had the pleasure of cruising on Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas. While we cruised out of the port of Singapore, the ship will move to Shanghai, China, to cater to the Chinese market.

In this review, I will provide an overview of the Spectrum of the Seas, its maiden voyage, and how Asian cruises differ from those in the Western Hemisphere.

About The Spectrum Of The Seas 

The Spectrum of the Seas, operated by Royal Caribbean International, was launched in April 2019. Built for the Asian market, most signage throughout the ship was in English and Mandarin. 

It features unique amenities and facilities to cater to the needs of Asian passengers. For example, the ship has a private karaoke room, a Hot Pot restaurant, a huge casino, and a Sichuan Red (Chinese) restaurant.

As a Quantum-Ultra ship, it has a maximum guest capacity of 5,622 passengers. During our sailing in 2024, there were about 4,500 passengers.

The Spectrum of the Seas’ sister ship in the Quantum-Ultra class is the Odyssey of the Seas, which primarily cruises the Caribbean.

Other Quantum-class ships include the Quantum of the Seas (November 2014), Anthem of the Seas (April 2015), and Ovation of the Seas (April 2016).

Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas cruise ship, giant panda mascots and Grand Loft Suite

Staterooms And Accommodations

As a guest on the Spectrum, you will have a wide variety of accommodations to choose from. We booked a guaranteed balcony and RCI assigned us an obstructed one on deck 6. The cabin was more than what we needed, with plenty of storage. 

We were familiar with the amenities, having cruised in balconies on the Ovation and Quantum of the Seas.

Some of the things I liked best about our cabin are:

  • Clean, contemporary design.
  • Our stateroom included a kettle for making tea (or coffee) any time.
  • The comfy sofa bed is ideal if you travel with up to 2 children. It saved on the cost of an additional cabin. 
  • Plenty of storage if traveling with more than two to a stateroom.
  • Large balconies with lounge chairs and footstools.

Other cabins range from solo staterooms and virtual interiors, which live stream the views outside, to the ultimate family suite. Only one of this category is onboard. It features a two-storey cabin with your own in-suite slide and Royal Genie.

Two-storey Grand Loft Suite on the Spectrum of the Seas
Grand Loft Suite

Spectrum Of The Seas Dining

As a Royal Caribbean mega-ship, there are many places to eat throughout the day. Many are complimentary, but some are specialty, and you will incur an extra charge. 

There are 17 dining places, providing a wide range of options throughout the day. Eight are specialty venues, and two are reserved for suite guests.

As someone who enjoys good food, I was excited to explore the different dining options on this vessel. As an Asian cultural cruise, some different venues are onboard, namely the Sichuan Red and Hot Pot.

Main Dining 

As a Quantum-Ultra class ship, it has a large, single main dining room divided across Decks 3 and 4. In contrast, other RC Quantum-class ships have four main dining rooms, each with different décor but a common menu. 

Guests can choose MyTime or AnyTime dining, which starts at 6:45 p.m. each evening. While anytime dining may be more convenient, on some evenings, there is a significant wait before you can be seated.

Spectrum's main dining room
Spectrum’s main dining room

Breakfast and lunch hours vary depending on sea days and port days, but the window to eat in the dining room was very short. The dining room was filled with tables for two and four. This was a new experience for us, since tables of eight are common in the Western hemisphere where staff encourage table sharing.

Being a cultural cruise, we enjoyed a mix of Western, Indian, Japanese, and Chinese food. 

Other Dining Options

Here are some of the other popular dining venues available on the Spectrum that are at no additional cost:

  • Windjammer Marketplace is Spectrum’s casual buffet on Deck 14
  • The Café @ Two70: A café that serves Asian food and a variety of multi-cultural options. We noticed this vessel did not have a Starbucks to get your caffeine fix.
  • SeaPlex Dog House: You’ll find the dog house in the SeaPlex on Deck 15. Opening hours are 11:30 am – 6:00 pm. This fun food stop serves hot dogs at sea. Unfortunately, they don’t serve gluten-free, which we had found on the other Quantum-class ships such as Ovation and Quantum of the Seas.
  • Gold And Silver Dining: Guests in Sea-class suites have exclusive access to the silver dining room. Sky and Star-class guests can dine at both the gold and silver dining rooms. Since the larger suites have private dining rooms, they can dine in their staterooms too.
  • Sorrento’s Pizza: This venue serves basic pizza on Deck 14. It has the longest food venue hours from 11:30 am to 3:00 am, making it one of the only places to get a late snack.
  • Room Service: We tried room service for breakfast on our first port day (Vietnam). You can get a great complimentary continental breakfast for or pay USD 7.95 for an American-style breakfast. Select from 30-minute delivery time slots.

We ordered breakfast for the 6:00 – 6:30 am time slot and received it at 6:40. We had an excursion starting at 7:00 am, so we were rushed to finish our breakfast. 

Specialty Dining Venues:

The chef cooking our food in the Teppanyaki restaurant
The chef cooking our food in the Teppanyaki restaurant

One of the highlights of our Spectrum cruise was trying Teppanyaki. The food was generous and delicious, and the chef kept us laughing and entertained. Teppanyaki is unique to the Quantum-Ultra class and well worth the extra cost.

During our nine-day cruise, we tried five fine dining venues, which incurred additional fees. They included Hot Pot and Sichuan Red, where I got to try Spicy Bullfrog! 

Check out our other post for a comprehensive review of our Spectrum of the Seas dining experience.

Entertainment And Activities

Being a larger vessel, Spectrum of the Seas is the perfect ship to enjoy on itineraries with many sea days. Here are some of the best things to enjoy on board:

Casino And Gaming

For those who enjoy gambling or gaming, the Spectrum of the Seas has a huge casino, the largest we have seen. Located on deck 3 mid-ship, the Casino Royale has mostly gambling tables but a variety of slot machines.

We learned from our extended family in Singapore that Asians like two things: food and gambling! It was evident on sea days when the venue was packed, even at 9 am!

We met one cruiser from Singapore who claimed he had earned multiple FREE cruises because he gambled so much! He primarily cruised with Royal Caribbean and Genting’s Dream Cruises.

Since Singapore discourages gambling and the casino at Marina Bay Sands charges locals over SGD 100 for the right to gamble, many residents take cruises instead.

RipCord by iFly

RipCord offers a unique skydiving experience at sea. The activity lasts about an hour, but you only fly solo in the wind tunnel for one minute with an instructor.

A powerful fan blows wind at 150 miles per hour, holding you in the air. Kids as young as three and a half can join, and it’s open to families of any age.

Karen doing RipCord by iFly
Karen doing RipCord by iFly

Both Karen and I enjoyed iFly on the Spectrum of the Seas and would recommend it for ALL cruisers. It’s complimentary to fly in port, but you must pay a fee at sea. Make a reservation on the Royal app.

Interestingly, we could book more than one complimentary time slot if spots were available. On North American itineraries, we could only book one for the duration of the cruise.

North Star

The North Star is among my favorite attractions on Royal Caribbean Quantum-class ships. At 300′ (90 m) above sea level, the glass observation capsule offers some of the best vistas.

We’ve tried the North Star in Alaska and Hawaii—my only complaint is that there are no complimentary rides on port days like on its sister ships. In Asia aboard the Spectrum of the Seas, all rides cost USD 20 (Basic Experience) or USD 69 (Extended Experience).

The extended experience moves the pod to each side of the ship. If you haven’t experienced it, I recommend riding North Star at least once.

Sea Plex

The Sea Plex is a large indoor space near the front of the ship on Deck 15. One of the things we liked best was being indoors and climate controlled.

You can ride bumper cars, play air hockey, try archery, or engage in laser tag regardless of the weather. However, some activities attract a crowd, so there may be a wait to participate.

Riding the bumper cars
Riding the bumper cars

I tried archery (for the first time in 30 years!) and waited about 40 minutes. Bumper cars often have long lines, but the line moves quickly, so you should only wait up to 30 minutes.

Roller skating is offered on other Quantum-class ships, but not on the Spectrum of the Seas. However, Spectrum offers laser tag, where two teams (Robots and Aliens) battle to control Planet Z. Unfortunately, we lost to the Aliens!

FlowRider

The FlowRider surf simulator allows guests to practice surfing or boogie-boarding while the ship moves at 22 knots. Located on the upper deck of the ship’s aft, it pushes water at 30,000 gallons per minute at 30 mph (48 kph) beneath you. 

I’ve only surfed on Royal Caribbean ships, and I learn more on each cruise. I started with easy lessons on a boogie board. 

Guests must be at least 42 or 48 inches tall to join, depending on the activity. Each rider must sign a waiver in order to participate.

Be sure to use the Royal Caribbean app to sign up for sessions tailored to different skill levels. If you’re interested, you can purchase 1-hour group lessons for USD 69 to improve your skills.

Spectrum of the Seas giant panda bears
Selfie with the giant pandas

Nearby, you’ll find a climbing wall and a series of giant panda bears, which are the ship’s mascots.

Two70

The Two70 on the Spectrum of the Seas is a great place to catch some original production shows. It was named because, with the large windows, you get a 270-degree view out of the aft of the ship during the day.

In the evening, the space transforms to include incredible shows in an intimate setting. The live performances often take advantage of the panoramic screens and six 8k resolution robotic monitors, which cost almost USD 40 million. We enjoyed a unique show called The Silk Road.

Guests need to reserve ahead through the RC app on your phone when planning on attending an evening show. Since many passengers book but never show, staff will let stand-by passengers enter 10 minutes before the show starts. We’ve done this on occasion and it works every time!

Upstairs, there is a small library and games area. However, there were very few books in English, and the game selection was disappointing for most guests who stopped by.

Spectrum of the Seas Two70 venue
Two70 venue

We find the Two70 to be one of our ‘Go-To Spaces’ on the ship to work on blog posts, play group bingo, relax, or watch amazing productions. 

The Café @ Two70 is just outside of this venue and provides a nice mix of Asian food, snacks, fruit, coffee, tea, etc. We occasionally got lunch here and then enjoyed a mid-day activity in the Two70.

The Royal Theater

Royal Caribbean has a reputation for great production shows. These are complimentary and included in your base cabin fare. Shows were available most evenings except the occasional port day. 

On our cruise, one of the highlights for me was a Beatles tribute show entitled “The Fab Four.” For 45 minutes, Karen and I walked down memory lane and relived many of the classic Beatles tunes. The band was from Australia and had us standing up as they closed with a Hey Jude encore!

You can expect to see comedians, Broadway-style shows, acrobatics, and more. The Royal Theater on the Spectrum spans Decks 3-5 and holds approximately 1,000 people.

Many shows run for two evenings and twice each night so that all passengers can see them. For us, the shows add to the overall value of a vacation at sea because they don’t require an extra fee.

Solarium And Other Pools

Solarium pool area
Solarium pool area

The Spectrum has three pools, two indoor and one outdoor. The solarium on Deck 14 is one of my favorite spots on the ship. It offers a small pool and a couple of hot tubs under a large glass ceiling. 

It is available for adults only, so be sure to arrive early if you want a lounger. In contrast to our other trips in North America, the air-conditioned solarium was never crowded. Most guests preferred to lay by the Lido pool, where it was often 34C or hotter.

Adjacent to the Lido pool is a kids’ area called Splashaway Bay. It features dumb buckets, waterslides, and water sprays.

With a large TV screen, the outdoor pool area turned into a movie theater in the evening. Since the temperature never fell below 27C, we enjoyed a few shows without needing a blanket.

Nearby, I could get soft-serve ice cream or food from the Splashaway Cafe.

Bars and Night Clubs

The Music Hall is a large, multi-deck venue seating up to 200 people and is busy throughout the day. It’s used for a variety of performances, information sessions, and gathering for excursions.

It comes alive in the evening with bands and other acts performing. It has an eclectic design and hosts many activities and various entertainment throughout the day.

Vintage Bar
Vintages Bar

There are many other bars scattered throughout the Spectrum with various formats and entertainment. 

Other bars include:

  • Schooner bar
  • North Star Bar
  • Sunshine Bar
  • Bionic Bar®
  • Vintages
  • Pool Bar
  • Two70 Bar

On the Spectrum there are various drink packages available depending on your tastes and needs. Karen and I have never signed up for a drink package because as non-drinkers, they aren’t of value to us.

The Classic Soda Package is about USD 15 USD pp per day with the Deluxe Package at USD 80 USD daily. Any package you purchase will have 18% gratuity added to your bill.

Note that for a couple traveling, BOTH passengers must sign up for the drink package if one person wants it. As a result, for a 7-day cruise, a deluxe drink package would be an additional USD 1321 USD ($80 x 2 people x 7 days + 18%) on your bill!

Karaoke

Asians love karaoke and you could see the difference on the Spectrum of the Seas. The space for karaoke is in the Royal Esplanade on Deck 4, midship and named Star Moment.

On sister ships, this area is used for the art auctions. Note, you won’t find an art auction on the Spectrum. Can I do a happy dance?

Star Moment karaoke
Star Moment karaoke

This is in contrast to other RC ships with Western itineraries, where the karaoke space is often on an upper deck and hard-to-find. 

The Spectrum of the Seas knows its market and takes karaoke seriously! You can even have a private karaoke event for your friends and family. The cost is USD 25.

Adventure Ocean – For Kids

Royal Caribbean is well prepared to accommodate your children. They have different programs set up for different age groups. In Asia, kids can enjoy the water park called Splashaway Bay on the Lido deck.

On our cruise, there were only 328 kids onboard. However, when kids are typically out of school, expect over 1,000 onboard. 

For teens, some activities take advantage of the SeaPlex, the Rock Climbing wall, or FlowRider to have friendly competitions. Even though our kids are all grown, I think Royal Caribbean has one of the best kids programs at sea.

Stowaway Piano Player

One of the fun things we loved about cruising on RC Quantum-class ships is finding a piano playing in the elevator. We found the stowaway piano player throughout the ship.

You can make requests and he will play the song for you. If you know the words, you can sing-along while he plays. Such fun!

Fitness Center And Spa

Spectrum of the Seas fitness center
Half of the gym equipment

I was very disappointed with the fitness center. The Spectrum of the Seas had the smallest gym I’ve seen, with only 6 treadmill machines for 5,000 passengers! The gym was divided into three small areas, two containing equipment and one for free weights and stretches.

As a person recovering from heart bypass surgery, exercise is critical to my long-term recovery.

On all other cruise ships, including other cruise lines, there would be 20-30 treadmills due to the demand. On most days, it was impossible for me to get an available treadmill, use the weights, or find available exercise equipment.

Since the Spectrum is intended for an Asian market, Royal Caribbean staff claimed that exercise space is less in demand than it is for Western itineraries. I found this strange.

There is a large running track on Deck 15 that I used for walking and running since the treadmills were unavailable. I was training for a 10k and half-marathon, so it was great to know the distance I was running according to the following table:

Distance# of Laps
460 mOne Lap
¼ Mile.87 Laps
1 KM2.17 Laps
1 Mile3.49 Laps
5 KM10.86 Laps
10 KM21.73 Laps

The Body & Mind Spa and Fitness Center was not as well equipped as you would find on other Royal Caribbean ships. 

The spa area is also limited compared to other Western itinerary cruise ships, with no thermal suite, saunas, or steam rooms.

Other area onboard that might interest you include:

  • Bionic Bar: This high-tech robotic bartender can make a variety of drinks. You order on an iPad, and the drink is made without a human bartender. 
  • Royal Esplanade: For me, this open area resembles a shopping mall at sea. Lots of shops, bars, and cafes for shopping and entertainment.

Other Services And Amenities

The Spectrum of the Seas has the typical services you expect on all cruise ships for your convenience and safety. Here are a few for your information. 

Smoking Areas

There is a large spoking area on Deck 5. It was not far from our balcony cabin on Deck 6 but downwind, so no smoke was noticeable to us. 

Spectrum of the Seas smoking area
Spectrum of the Seas smoking area

One on occasion, smokers were loud until 2:00 am, making it hard for Karen to sleep. Note that you cannot smoke on your balcony or in your cabin.

RC App

These days, it is difficult to cruise without having a smartphone. This is very true on the Spectrum of the Seas.

In the old days (2-3 years ago!), your room attendant would deliver a printed daily planner. This would let you see what activities or ship news you may be interested in.

Nowadays, this has moved completely online with the Royal Caribbean app. For older cruisers who may not be comfortable with technology, this can be a problem.

We had to check with Guest Services just to find out where the daily planner was on the RC app. It’s under Internet – Free Sites, in case you’re looking for it.

Overall, the RC app is a great tool to make your life onboard better, and there are some things that can only be done through the app.

VOOM Wi-Fi

As more cruisers prefer to stay connected while away, access to the internet has become essential when cruising. Royal Caribbean has updated most of its ships to Starlink by SpaceX.

For Karen and I, we had purchased a low-cost Simba sim-card in Singapore that cost us just SGD 10 for our entire trip of 30 days. We had internet access during our time in Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand.

However, if you’re cruising with teens, or you simply MUST be online throughout your cruise, here’s what you can expect to pay:

  • USD 28.99 for a single device for one day.
  • More than one device – can be as low as USD 19.99 per device per day.
VOOM Wi-Fi cost
VOOM Wi-Fi cost

If you are a certain level in their loyalty program, you will save 15% on the overall cost. Purchasing for the whole cruise is cheaper than buying single days. Note that a couple can use a One-Device account but must share with only one person accessing at a time. 

We purchased Wi-Fi for 24 hours and found it fast. I had to log out when Karen wanted to use it.

Medical Services

Medical Services are on Deck 2, but their hours vary during the cruise. You can access emergency help anytime using a house phone. 

Basic services, like motion sickness pills, are free. However, getting injured and needing medical care can be costly. Always purchase travel insurance to cover you onboard.

Besides regular “Washy-washy” reminders to wash hands at the Windjammer buffet and numerous hand sanitizer stations, there were no obvious COVID protocols. Still, about 5-10% of passengers chose to wear face masks throughout our cruise for safety.

Photos

In the past, professional photo-taking appeared to be an important source of business for cruise ships. However, on the Spectrum, there was less pressure to have our picture taken compared to other past cruises.

There are still frequent opportunities throughout your cruise to have your picture taken by one of the ship’s photographers. 

The Photo Centre is on the forward section of Deck 5. These days, many cruisers simply use a good selfie-stick or ask another passenger to take photos with their smartphone. 

| Tip

Ready to book on the Spectrum of the Seas? Find more info on Cruise Direct. Choose from mini cruises to extended itineraries on this Royal Caribbean vessel.

Guest Services

We found crew members at guest services very accommodating. During our cruise, we had a few issues, which maintenance staff fixed quickly. Our in-cabin phone didn’t work for the first four days, and our toilet and AC stopped working.

For a newish ship, I was surprised to have so many things not working. On our last day, the hotel director let us see some of the suites and other cabins onboard so we could take pictures to share with our readers.

Final Thoughts

This was my 4th cruise aboard a Royal Caribbean ship and the Spectrum of the Seas was impressive. Although, overall, I preferred the slightly smaller Quantum-class ships such as the Quantum and Ovation of the Seas.

I enjoyed the limited Asian itinerary including Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand on a massive ship with many amenities. The service was good throughout our cruise and we will cruise Royal Caribbean again.

In fact, we made a deposit on board for a future cruise. One of the perks of cruising in Asia is that you get one year to book that cruise compared to 60 days in North America.

One of the negatives of this cruise was that servers reminded us to “Give them a 10” on the survey after our cruise. We were asked at least six times. We found this off-putting because while the service was good throughout our cruise, we resented being told how to rate them!

All that said, we enjoyed our cruise and time in Singapore, but the 18-1/2-hour flight to get there, not so much!

Royal Caribbean Spectrum of the Seas, main dining room, giant panda mascots and solarium pool