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North Star? RipCord? Go now!

If you’re booked on Anthem of the Seas, the newest Royal Caribbean ship on the sea, make sure you take a ride on the North Star. That’s the pod at the end of an arm that North Startakes you on a ride over the water while the ship is cruising. And after you’ve done it, do it again. And again. And again.

If you are a cruise aficionado who can’t wait to see Harmony of the Seas, the next new Royal Caribbean ship that’s due in 2016, go on its North Star, too. Then go again. And again. And again.

If you think you might like simulated sky diving, RipCord by iFly is available (or will be) on RipCordboth those Quantum Class ships, so don’t miss a chance to give it a shot. Then do it again. And again.

Both those thrill features are free.

For now.

The flagship for this class is Quantum of the Seas. It is cruising in Asia, home-ported in Singapore. If you go on that North Star, it costs $20. If you go on that RipCord, it costs $26 for the one-minute ride.

Isn’t it just a matter of time?

In the news…

• Eight-year-old boy drowns in pool on Liberty of the Seas
• Crystal Cruises announces plans to add two jets and double air fleet
• Pier 66 cruise terminal improvements project approved in Seattle

Today at portsandbows.com: Hurtigruten expanding operations

Holland America Nieuw Amsterdam
7 nights
January 24, 2016
Fort Lauderdale (return): Half Moon Cay, Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Key West
Inside: $539
Cost per day: $77

New Ship, New Look For New Jersey

From our one visit to Bayonne, New Jersey, the best thing you can say about this cruise port is the view.

Of New York, on the other side of the harbor.

Of the Verrazano Bridge.

Of whatever ship it is you’re boarding.

But not of Bayonne.

Now, that’s changing. When Quantum of the Seas arrives in a couple of weeks, its passengers will disembark into a new, state-of-the-art terminal, the start of a $55-million port expansion that’s going to, well, dress up this part of New Jersey.

This is industrial property, more or less, and it has all the attractions that come with industrial property. Faceless warehouses. Cranes to move freight. If you see people, Cape Liberty-2they’re either ship workers or taxi drivers or cruise employees, and nobody seems to stay there long. If you see a store or shop, it likely has limited hours because at the port, that’s really all there is.

If ever a cruise port was in need of an upgrade, that port is Cape Liberty, its sexier name. At this point, it’s a good start for “your closest point to sea” to become more attractive, or even just a little attractive. The fact that Royal Caribbean contributed to the Port Authority’s cause tells you how important this was for the Quantum Class ships that are going to call it home.

It starts with the flagship on November 10. Quantum of the Seas, replacing Explorer of the Seas, will only stay until spring before heading off to its Asian home, Singapore. Next up Quantumwill be its class sibling, Anthem of the Seas. Both ships are capable of carrying almost 5,000 passengers, so it’s important for new, state-of-the-art, classy ships to live in upscale neighborhoods.

And not just look at them across the harbor.

Today at portsandbows.com: Bermuda cruises on the rise

Carnival Inspiration
4 nights
November 10, 2014
Los Angeles (return): Catalina, Ensenada
Inside: $129
Cost per day: $32

New Ship: Quantum of the Seas

After quietly disposing of the Monarch of the Seas, its oldest (22 years) ship, Royal Caribbean filled the space in the stable with the much-heralded Quantum of the Seas. When it hits the water, Quantum will kick-start the seventh class of ships for the cruise line and be followed a year later by a sister called Anthem. Quantum's permanent home port will be Bayonne, NJ, to serve the growing New York market.

Launch date: November 2

Capacity: 4,905

Sister ships: None (yet)

Maiden Voyage: Southampton to Bayonne

Home Port: Bayonne, New Jersey

Ships in Royal Caribbean fleet: 22

Interesting: This new ship is being called revolutionary for its North Star, a pod at the end of a mechanical arm that extends — with up to 14 thrill-seekers in it — over the ocean at a height of 300 feet. Also unique is the chance to "sky dive" inside the RipCord by iFly, a simulator with vertical wind to keep you airborne. Quantum's not as big as the Oasis Class ships, and will carry between (according to reports) 4,180 and 4,905 passengers, who will also be introduced to a first-of-its-kind sports and entertainment complex that Royal Caribbean has branded SeaPlex. Also new, rooms with balconies for singles.

Holland America Eurodam
14 nights
March 30, 2014
Fort LauderdalePonta DelgadaCadizAlmeriaCartagenaRome
Inside: $699
Cost per day: $49

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