Britannia vs. Anthem

April 27, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

Britannia v Anthem

The U.K. has enjoyed two giant ship launches in the space of just over six weeks: P&O Cruises’ Britannia and Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas.

Together the ships have increased passenger capacity out of Southampton by almost 8,000.

That’s a lot of cabins to fill.

While Britannia will be based here permanently, Anthem will be with us for just the summer. But while they are here, they’ll be going head to head in a bid to attract that most elusive of traveler onboard — the new cruiser.

The big question is: Who will succeed? We weigh up the two new ships on the dock.

Anthem vs. Britannia Breakdown

    If It Were Up to Me… Specialty Dining

    April 27, 2015 | By | 6 Comments

    middle eastern spread

    Cruise lines spend countless hours making sure their passengers have the best cruise vacation out there. But sometimes cruisers know what cruisers want. In our new series “If It Were Up to Me,” we ask ourselves — and the Cruise Critic community — what we would do differently if we were in charge.

    This week, a topic courtesy of Cruise Critic member bangzoom6877: What specialty restaurant venue would you like to see onboard?

    Bangzoom6877’s suggestions for new cuisine on Norwegian Cruise Line included Belgian – “pots of mussels, Belgian beer, waffles for dessert” – German (sauerbraten, various schnitzels, German sausages, apple strudel, German beer), and Greek (moussaka, souvlaki, spinach pie, baklava, Greek wine and ouzo).

    Other members quickly chimed in.

    More wishlists and dream menus.

      What Not to Pack for a Cruise: An Updated List of Things You Should Not Bring Onboard

      April 24, 2015 | By | 1 Comment

      banned items

      We don’t know why, but Carnival’s FAQ on “Are there restrictions on what we can bring aboard?” tends to spark either controversy or hilarity. Five years ago, an attempt to ban high-wattage hair dryers had female cruisers up in arms. A more recent perusal of the list shows that the Beards at Carnival, as the line’s own blogger John Heald calls them, have left no stone unturned when it comes to being clear about what you cannot bring onto a Fun Ship.

      Here are some of our favorites:

      Electrical and household appliances, i.e. coffee makers, hot plates, toasters, etc. (See Exceptions)

      Nope, sorry, toasters and hot plates are not an exception to this rule. If you balk at room service’s continental breakfast options, you cannot cook toast or fry up an egg in your cabin. Remember, you came on this cruise so someone else would do the cooking.


      When smokers refuse to pack light, Carnival will step in. Not sure whether this applies to souvenirs purchased at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.

      Read on for more

        Hot on the Forums: Are Cruise Ship Showers Turning to a Trickle?

        April 24, 2015 | By | 7 Comments

        shower head

        Clingy curtains aside — and happily they are now becoming a thing of the past — nothing beats a nice shower after a long day’s sightseeing.

        However, it seems high-pressured soaks aren’t what they used to be and a number of Carnival cruisers are no longer singing in the shower. They have taken to the Cruise Critic forums with a touch of the bathroom blues to report that showers have become sprinkles due to the installation of water-saving shower heads.

        The thread was started by member crazyfrazee who writes: “On our last cruise I had the worst shower I’ve ever had in my life… The shower head wasn’t the metal one they normally had, it was a Walmart looking el cheapo plastic one with a plastic hose. I checked our other two rooms and they had the same. One had the water-saver washer removed so it was a great shower. I’ve always loved their abundance of water in their showers until now. Anyone else notice the change?”

        Read on for more.

          My First Cruise: Independence of the Seas

          April 23, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

          Heidi Jones

          In the My First Cruise series, Cruise Critic reaches out to first-time cruisers who recently returned from their very first cruise to find out why they chose a cruise, how they liked it and how it compared to what they expected and where they want to cruise to next.

          Want to be featured? Contact

          Name: Heidi Jones
          Age: 49
          Cruised with: Husband and two other couples
          Ship & itinerary: Six-night Western Caribbean itinerary on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas

          Q: Why did you decide to take a cruise?

          A: It was an economical option to see a number of different places. So rather than going to an all-inclusive and only being in one place, it was a way to see multiple places and then not having to worry about traveling all around.

          Full first time cruiser interview

            Steal of the Week: Free Upgrades on Anthem of the Seas

            April 23, 2015 | By | No Comments

            piggy bank sailing worldwide
            Everyone is looking for the deal of the century. So how do you choose the one that’s right for you? Check the Lido Deck each week to get the scoop on our favorite deals — then grab the phone and pack your bags.
            THE DEAL: Royal Caribbean International is offering you the chance to sail its newest ship, Anthem of the Seas, with free upgrades and half off deposits when you book your sailing by May 31.
            WHAT WE LOVE: While Anthem is much like its predecessor, Quantum of the Seas, it will ultimately sail from Bayonne, NJ, while Quantum will migrate overseas to Shanghai. Book an Anthem sailing between November 10, 2015 through April 18, 2016 and sail in a balcony cabin for the price of an oceanview, along with 50 percent-reduced deposits (just book by the end of May). From weekend getaways to weeklong stints in the Bahamas and 12-night vacations across the Caribbean (including holiday sailings), see what Royal Caribbean’s newest ship is all about firsthand — including the ship’s most famous passenger, Gigi, the 32-foot-tall giraffe.
            What’s unique to Anthem of the Seas? We sailed onboard to find out.
            WHAT GIVES US PAUSE: New Jersey doesn’t offer T-shirt weather in the winter, so many of these cruises will take a day or two to defrost as the ship sails toward warmer waters; meaning that balcony may be a bit nippy at first. The upgrade offer only applies to outside cabins, so if you’re looking to get a window from an inside cabin or upgrade to a suite, it will have to be out of pocket. As a brand-new ship, pricing is pretty high — starting at $1,149 per person (not including about $148 in taxes and fees). The upgrade is a nice offer, but a discount would probably be a better value.
            HOW TO BOOK IT: For all the nitty-gritty on these deals (including that pesky fine print), click here.
            Compare flight prices with our sister site TripAdvisor’s meta-search tool.
            Looking for cruises for under $75 or even $50 a day? We’ve got ’em listed on our Cheap Cruises page.
            Get great cruise deals — and exclusive member offers — delivered weekly to your inbox.

              Five Awesome Features on Anthem of the Seas — and Nowhere Else

              April 22, 2015 | By | 12 Comments

              Decor on Anthem of the Seas

              Royal Caribbean’s new cruise ship, Anthem of the Seas, debuted this week in Southampton in a whirlwind of two-night sailings that saw the ship christened in a music-filled celebration.

              Coming just six months after Quantum of the Seas debuted, Anthem is a near twin to its fleetmate, with only a few changes made either in design or philosophy. If you’ve cruised Quantum before, the experience will feel a bit like deja vu.

              But look closely, and you’ll notice some subtle and not-so-subtle changes: art is completely different and totally fun, and there are 200 more seats among the four main dining rooms (Chic, American Icon, The Grande and Silk). But that’s not all.

              Here are five awesome things you’ll find on Anthem of the Seas — and no other cruise ship (at least for now).

              5 things that set Anthem of the Seas apart.

                Member Review of the Week: A Spa-Goer’s Southern Caribbean Cruise

                April 21, 2015 | By | No Comments

                Persian Garden Spa and Pool on Celebrity Summit

                Cruise Ship: Celebrity Summit

                Itinerary: Southern Caribbean

                Member: Jupiter567

                Background: Two weeks of pampering, two different cabins and endless Caribbean sun were a few of the many highlights on Jupiter567 and her husband’s back-to-back Celebrity cruise. While she enjoyed hours in the spa and downtime with a good book in the Persian Garden, her husband kept busy playing trivia. Read on for her favorite experiences on and off the ship.

                Onboard Highlight: The Persian Garden, spa and pools — in particular the Thalassotherapy pool for cruisers 16 and older, which made for a nice escape.

                Port Highlight: Dominica, where a snorkeling trip to Champagne Reef turned out to be the best excursion they ever purchased.

                Don’t Miss: Trying out salt scrubs in the Turkish bath — one of Jupiter567’s favorite features in the spa.

                Watch Out For: The distance between the new Aqua Class cabins and Persian Garden. Jupiter567 warns it’s a far walk.

                More: Read Jupiter567’s full review for a full recap of the two-week sailing.

                For their efforts, Jupiter567, BSinPNS, mearsfaninboise, Abmin9 and kasowell2 receive Cruise Critic logo items.

                Each week, we choose five cruise reviews written by our members, and showcase one as the Member Review of the Week.

                Read more reviews or write your own cruise review.

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