The Good Life: Healthy Living Aboard Royal’s Quantum of the Seas
While there are a multitude of activities one can choose to partake in on Royal Caribbean’s mega-ship Quantum of the Seas, the beauty is that you have the power to choose. You can streamline your choices and make things simpler for yourself, or you can go full-throttle and experience everything the ship has to offer. I recently sailed on the Royal’s Quantum of the Seas this past November, and after some thoughtful consideration of activities — and my waistline — I decided to focus on healthy living while aboard Quantum of the Seas.
The ship launched an innovative food and beverage program called “Dynamic Dining,” in which it does away with the traditional cruise ship main dining room concept. Instead, Royal has spared no expense to offer their guests a multitude of customized dining choices — everything from famed chef Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Italian to a molecular gastronomy concept called Wonderland.
This was perfect for me, given that I’m a natural born planner and I like a true mix of fine dining cuisine and healthy eating.
Featured onboard is a healthy eating restaurant called Devinly Decadence run by Devin Alexander, the best-selling author of eight cookbooks and chef on NBC’s The Biggest Loser. Alexander’s concept provides guests with delicious meals that are all under 500 calories and do anything but sacrifice flavor. She’s also acutely aware of food intolerances and offers dishes that are vegetarian and gluten-free on all of her menus.
Facebook/Royal Caribbean International
Her meals showcase her talent as a chef and commitment to using fine ingredients. Dishes like salmon-topped arugula quinoa salad and grilled chicken enchiladas made with corn tortillas are just a few of the options guests have to choose from. And for those who have a sweet tooth but don’t want to overindulge, desserts like the chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt pie are all made without any artificial sweeteners.
I also indulged in Alexander’s smoothie bar after a grueling boot camp class offered in the gym. I spent a fast-paced 45 minutes performing high-intensity moves including squats, push-ups, and burpees. Post-class, I was, naturally, famished and looking to satisfy my hunger; however, I was cognizant of my calorie intake. I went straight to the Solarium for the smoothie bar where I sipped on a banana, peanut butter, and spinach smoothie that hit the spot.
The fitness center also offers a variety of classes for purchase along with personal training options and cruise-long workout programs to keep those who want to be engaged and physically fit on-track. For the adventurous athlete, the ship also offers Ripcord by I-Fly. After a short training session, guests can quite literally fly away with their instructor for an amazing sky diving experience that’s sure to get their blood pumping.
Continuing with my low-calorie culinary journey at sea, I also had to try Royal’s most creative dining concept, Wonderland. This molecular gastronomy restaurant looks as if you have been transported into the rabbit hole and have come out on the other side into Alice’s playground. Every moment of the dining experience is unique.
I began my meal with a paint brush and a blank menu. As I brushed the water onto the menu, it unveiled that night’s offerings. My dining companions and I tried a little bit of everything, from sampling some of the dishes that were simply bite-sized, like the liquid manzanilla olive with herb oil that combusted in your mouth, to main courses like an easily sharable Cuban pork shank. The halibut cooked in clear paper with mushrooms and bacon was another favorite of mine due to its flavor, smaller portion size, and the baby vegetables in a garden (that’s presentation was almost as good as its flavor).
While I tried a variety of dishes at Wonderland, I certainly did not overindulge. When it was time for decadent desserts, I had just a few nibbles of the molten flourless chocolate cake and the house specialty, Baked Alaska.
Beyond the culinary creations, the crisp, clean aesthetics also heavily contributed to an overall peaceful and happy experience for me. Genevieve Gorder, the host of Genevieve’s Renovation and Dear Genevieve on the HGTV cable channel, was responsible for that as Royal Caribbean’s Experience Advisor for Design. Gorder certainly knows a thing or two about creating safe and soulful living quarters to enhance the guests experience while on board.
“I’m creating pleasure and fantasies of sorts. I was tasked with creating elegance and illusion that feels fresh and light,” said Gorder, adding that she was honored to be part of the project given how much travel inspires her. “Your senses are humbled when you travel — eating something, smelling something. You can become that sponge again.”