Now, Royal Caribbean has gone a step further with the introduction of an all-new stateroom category that will feature Virtual Balconies on their newest ships, Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.
However you won't have to wait for the newest ships to launch in order to experience one because starting this November, Navigator of the Seas, sailing year round from Galveston, will be the first ship in the Royal Caribbean fleet to have a Virtual Balcony added to select staterooms when the ship is revitalized in February 2014. In order to better understand the concept, Royal Caribbean has compiled the following list of questions and answers to help their travel agent partners and passengers better understand how this industry-first feature will work.
Navigator of the Seas Virtual Balcony FAQs
• What is a Virtual Balcony stateroom? This new inside stateroom category features an 80-inch, high definition screen that spans nearly floor to ceiling. It offers expansive real time views, bringing guests closer to the sights and sounds of the sea and destinations on their itinerary.
• When is this feature coming to the fleet? The Virtual Balcony stateroom will make its debut onboard Navigator of the Seas after it is revitalized in February 2014.
• Is there sound? can the sound level be adjusted? The Virtual Balcony features real time, ambient sounds happening outside. The guest can adjust the volume level.
• Is there an “on/off” switch? Yes.
• Where is the screen in the room? How is the room laid out? The location of the Virtual Balcony differs according to the layout of each stateroom.
• Does the Virtual Balcony give off heat? The screens are extremely energy efficient and give off almost no heat.
AVAILABILITY AND PRICING
• How many Virtual Balcony staterooms are on Navigator of the Seas? 98 total.
• What categories are they? Category J.
• Do all interior rooms have them? No; on Navigator, only the select 98 interior staterooms will feature Virtual Balconies.
• Are they in any staterooms that accommodate 3 to 4 guests? There are 17 quad staterooms included in this category as well as 81 double occupancy staterooms.
• Will there always be a premium added that makes them more expensive than some ocean View staterooms? Royal Caribbean prices accommodations at market level, however, it would be considered unusual to find a Virtual Balcony stateroom priced higher than an Ocean View stateroom.
• Are Virtual Balconies going fleet wide or on any other ships? At this time, there are plans for 98 Virtual Balcony staterooms on Navigator of the Seas as of February 2014, and Virtual Balconies in every interior stateroom onboard the new Quantum of the Seas debuting in Fall 2014.
• Will every Virtual Balcony show the same view? With this new innovation, Royal Caribbean plans to deliver a balcony experience that is as authentic and true-to-life as the real thing. With that in mind, the view from each Virtual Balcony will be relative to the position of the screen in the room. For example, a Virtual Balcony on the port side of the room will feature a live view from the port side of the ship.
• Is it actually the view outside? The view is being captured live via a camera mounted to the ship. It is the actual, real-time view of the world outside.
• Are the cameras on day and night? The cameras will operate 24/7, with the exception of very limited occasions when they are cleaned or otherwise maintained.
• What is the quality of the picture? The quality is full high definition.
• Can you switch between cameras and views? Not at this time.
• Can the view be blocked/obstructed? The Virtual Balcony staterooms will be as true to life as a real balcony view as possible. As such, there will be times (such as in port) when the view may be obstructed by a building or another docked ship, for example.
• What else can the Virtual Balcony be used for? At this time, real-time, scenic views will be featured.
WHY BOOK A VIRTUAL BALCONY
• It instantly connects you to the sea, destinations, and real-time weather without leaving your stateroom
• Great value featuring an authentically simulated balcony experience for just a fraction of the price of an actual balcony
• Good value option for multi-generational families, with triples and quads available
• Adds ambiance, openness and a relaxing vibe to interior accommodations
• Overall, it creates a richer, more satisfying stateroom experience when compared to a typical interior stateroom.
Image Courtesy of Royal Caribbean International