Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has always had a taste for adventure, and never more so than in his latest venture which sees his restaurant Jamie's Italian take to the high seas. "I never dreamt that I'd do it but we're doing it and I'm really buzzed up about it," said 39-year-old Jamie as his restaurant welcomes diners to his first venture at sea on board Quantum of the Seas, which on Friday had its officially naming ceremony in New York.
Jamie told HELLO!: "Opening a restaurant on a ship wasn't something we'd thought of doing before Royal Caribbean approached us. When they showed us the plans for Quantum we were really interested. Like us they're really pushing the boundaries of what they do."The decision to step aboard has brought back many childhood memories for the successful chef: "Throughout my childhood every three years dad would save up and we'd go on a Royal Caribbean cruise."As a child the highlight was being at sea, getting to visit different countries, getting to meet people from all round the world. In actual fact I'm still friends with some kids we met. I got a Facebook message just the other week."
Father of four Jamie adds: "I never thought I'd be able to put my little baby on this incredible ship."When you're on a cruise it's nice to mix it up to have memories, in different corners, in different seats, in different restaurants. It is a new wave of giving people so many different experiences."In a concept called Dynamic Dining, the cruise ship's traditional main dining room is no more, so there are no set dining times and no assigned seats.
Instead up to 18 restaurants are on board - including Jamie's Italian and Devinly Decadence (the first restaurant by Devin Alexander, chef on NBC's The Biggest Loser) where every delicious dish is under 500 calories, and Wonderland, which offers an experimental dining ‘experience’ in a quirky setting.Jamie's Italian is the only restaurant to give alfresco dining: "So I've got my little bit of outside, my little bit of inside."It is those experiences that are at the heart of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, and also sister ship Anthem of the Seas which will be making its debut in the UK in April next year.The third largest cruise ship in the world – the length of 41 London buses to give you some idea - with 2,090 staterooms, Quantum has palatial suites in line with the grand penthouses of a luxury hotel.Our favourite is the two-storey royal loft suite with private balcony, its own dining room, and whirlpool.
As Jamie has always had an astute taste for the next big thing, his decision to go on the world's first ‘Smartship’ is nothing short of...well, smart.Quantum of the Seas is being called the most futuristic high-tech cruise ship in the world. You can book restaurants, plan excursions and set up spa treatments via a smartphone app.A visit to the ship’s Bionic Bar will deliver cocktails courtesy of two robot 'bartenders' and there is a "Flow Rider" surfing platform, and a skydiving simulator, a favourite of Jamie’s who told us: "I think the RipCord by iFLY sky diving experience is brilliant. I had a go when I was on board and it's completely mad but great fun."
Nor is Jamie the only ‘star’ on board.The ship has its own "North Star" jewel-shaped capsule which resembles a pod on the London Eye, and rises over 300 feet in the air to give a 360-degree view of the sea, and an eye level view with the Statue of Liberty as it arrived in New York ahead of its naming ceremony with godmother, Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth.