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12 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise from Bayonne

12 Night Southern Caribbean Cruise from Bayonne (Cape Liberty)

Anthem of the Seas
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Anthem of the Seas

Cruise Critic Editor Rating:
2,490 reviews
Why Choose Anthem of the Seas?


Cruisers are spoiled for choice when it comes to activities, restaurants


For-fee dining, additional activities can come with hefty price tag

Bottom Line

Ship is fun, beautiful and perfect for families and those looking for a resort experience

Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: October 2018
My husband and I sailed on Anthem Halloween Week with our four children. We picked this cruise because it was an excellent price (with a % off of the second passengers and kids sail free promos combined) and because we wanted a warm ... Read More
My husband and I sailed on Anthem Halloween Week with our four children. We picked this cruise because it was an excellent price (with a % off of the second passengers and kids sail free promos combined) and because we wanted a warm weather get away when the weather was turning in NY. Embarkation Disastrous. We drove from our home to the port area in around an hour and then sat in traffic for over an hour. The lines were totally disorganized- cars speeding up and down shoulders in either direction. Weather was windy and raining that day, so we heard that they limited the loading area to about 1/3 of its normal capacity. Once we got the car parked, everything went smoothly. The ship left behind schedule and the muster drill was pushed back for about an hour because of the delays. Ship She looked good. Most areas were in good repair- especially our cabins. The one exception being the seaplex area where the chairs were falling apart. Anthem is the largest ship we have been on, but easy to navigate, and you usually did not feel the crowds. Cabin We had adjoining balcony staterooms 12164 and 12166. Great location- near the elevators and the kids' club. 12164 has an expanded balcony because of the design of the ship. Plenty of storage was found. Although the balcony rooms were on the small side, they were very well appointed and clean. Dining Food in the main dining room was good to excellent- most being very good. The one "bad" item I had was the lobster on lobster night- such a disappointment because the staff talked it up all week. I never expect the lobster tails to be amazing, but these were awful- mushy as though they weren't properly defrosted or something. Kids' meals were the same every night. The kids' burgers were large and enjoyed by my children, as was the steak. My one son loved pasta marinara and ordered it every night. Anthem did a good job with chocolate desserts, which I normally find lackluster on cruise ships. The windjammer was hit or miss. The stations for omelettes, make your own pasta, and crepes, were great. Embarkation lunch had especially good options. However, finding a seat became an issue more and more as the cruise progressed. We found that after day one, a lot of dirty place settings were left out for long periods (understaffing). They could have used a couple less employees selling bottled water and a couple more cleaning tables. We liked having morning pastries, but they got more and more stale by the end of the cruise. We also enjoyed Cafe 270. The roast beef sandwich was so good on day two (freshly sliced) and lacked the same juiciness later in the week as the pieces were presliced and left under the heat lamp. The hot dog stand had tasty food, but only one employee most of the time. We wanted to get one for our son, but he walked away for a full 15 minutes while the line grew behind me. Entertainment/Activities The most popular things onboard require reservations- ifly, northstar and the escape room. All were highlights of our cruise, especially ifly. We would have loved to do bumper cars or trapese, but the times were limited and the lines were too long. You should be able to preschedule these options as well- since otherwise the things you book in advance negate your opportunity to do the things you need to line up for. Trivia was fun, but there wasn't much to do otherwise, especially if you had children with you. Luckily, my kids loved the swimming pools, because after dinner, they didn't have much to do. They did not like the Adventure Ocean club, as they were kept in small rooms and only did one scheduled activity at a time. This was billed as a "Dreamworks Experience" cruise, but they had VERY few character interactions. 4 characters were onboard in total, and we paid extra for the character breakfast when two of those four were available for photos. There was no parade like we saw on Freedom, no character dance party, etc. This certainly would have been a good option for 7 or 8 pm. Dru was our cruise director- we didn't see him much. He scheduled Love and Marriage and the Quest on the last night of the itinerary. Disappointing, since I couldn't stay up late when we had to get off the ship bright and early. He did not do a great job at communicating what was going on (ie Halloween activities, disembarkation procedures, etc). The cruise compass had quite a few errors. Live entertainment was very good, especially We Will Rock You and Spectras (amazing casts!) Service This is tough to rate. Our waitress and our room steward were very good and efficient. We barely saw the steward, but he was like a cleaning ninja and did a great job keeping our room clean. Our waitress wasn't friendly, but was quick. Our assistant waiter- not so much. He missed our requests quite a bit. Overall, the staff's friendliness varied, and a lot of them seemed less than enthused to be there. We found many areas understaffed (ie the buffet, hot dog vendor, gift shops). Port Canaveral Not a bad stop, but the time here is very limited. Since we didn't arrive until the afternoon, it wasn't worth it to spend money on theme park tickets or Kennedy Space Center, especially with some locations closing at 5-6 pm. We rented a car and went to Orlando for a bit and still felt rushed to get back for 8:30. CocoCay We had a rough start. We rented a bungalow on CocoCay and the "ticket" we were provided said to meet at 9:45, but under location said "at your leisure." We wound up having breakfast and walking onto the tender line around 9:30. Employees said the excursion did not give any priority in leaving the ship. Then, the tender line did not move. No announcements were made as we stood around with our kids in the smoky casino area. Finally, we boarded a tender around 10:20 and were on the island by 10:30. It's a long drive to the bungalow area, but the spot was perfect. The water was smooth and great for kids. The bungalow provided some much needed shade. Lunch was delivered to us. It was great. I was surprised there weren't employees around providing bar service and that pina coladas weren't available, but my drink was large and strong anyway. Our day at CocoCay was a huge highlight of the trip. Nassau We stayed on the ship this day, went to the pool, played trivia. I wish there were a few more activities to do, but a relaxing day nonetheless. Shopping They totally missed the mark with shopping on this ship. A lot of the esplanade is made up of expensive store that no one even walks into. The spot for RCCL merchandise is tiny, and the day they ran the $10 tee shirt sale, the line was 30-60 minutes long to squeeze into a tiny space where they were only running one cash register. Very silly. Photography We purchased the unlimited package for photographs ($300). The photographers do a very good job onboard- they must have good training. We wound up with around 100 photos, but could have gotten more if they kids would have allowed us to take more. I was disappointed that they have you pick up the USB on the last night of the cruise at 6 pm since it meant we didn't get any photos from night 7. Overall I probably complained a bit in this review, but we really did have a great time and it was a good value for us with the stacked promotions and the onboard credit we received. I'm more likely to sail RCCL again with just adults since I was disappointed in the children's programming, or lack thereof- at least on Anthem. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This review is for the Halloween sailing the wife and I were on. This is the 3rd we have taken together, although I have been on others previously. I chose this ship based on a family member recommendation, as well as the proximity of the ... Read More
This review is for the Halloween sailing the wife and I were on. This is the 3rd we have taken together, although I have been on others previously. I chose this ship based on a family member recommendation, as well as the proximity of the ship being very close to home. We arrived at Bayonne early, and good thing we did as we heard there was a massive traffic delay shortly after we arrived that had people jumping out of cars and wheeling their luggage to the terminal. This was also the day when a nor'easter came into the area with high winds and flooding. Boarding did not commence until 11:30, which was late. Once aboard, we were hassled by staff trying to sell specialty restaurant packages. I had already purchased pre sailing, and asked where I could reserve my nights. I was directed to Jaimie's, and good thing I went as i was booked for that night and the next, even though my calendar only showed the next day. Terrible miscommunication, as we did not plan on going sailaway day. This would foreshadow the following week, as pros and conned below: PROS: CABIN: Was very nice. A little tight but with lots of storage. CRUISE DIRECTOR: We liked the Cruise Director, Dru. We saw him alot at shows and events, and he was engaging with a good presence. SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS: We did all but Izumi. Particulalry enjoyed Chops twice, which was fantastic. Jaimie's was good, and Wonderland surprised us with how much we liked it. One minus was a snafu at Wonderland where we were charged full price even though we had the 3 night package. The fact we went to Jaimie's off plan confused the system and it thought we fulfilled our 3 nights. Our waiter diligently took care of it, even at the expense of other tables. SHOWS: The production of the 3 main shows were very good. The stories were a little less impressive. I have yet to talk with anyone who had any understanding of The Gift. I didn't get until about 5 minutes left, and then was left wondering what the heck anything I saw had to do with the point. The storyline is a little too deep for what should be a fun week. We Will Rock You had a cheesy plot, but the performances were great. Spectra, the wife liked better than I did. Really no rhyme or reason other to showcase what the 270 Lounge can do. Still, the performers were very good. We also saw the comic and Savannah Jack. SJ was really really good. Also, The Quest gameshow was really good and entertaining. Very funny. Overall best shows I've seen on a ship. SORRENTO'S: Really good for what it was, and we liked the ample seating. 270: A really great lounge. Alot of money was spent here and it shows. The view during the day is awesome, and a nice place to have a sandwich and drink. Only disappointment here was they never had the 3D dancer on the screens. The screens should have been utilized all day and not just for shows. HALLOWEEN: The Music Hall was converted into a haunted attraction and was really cool. The Halloween party in 270 was really good. More passengers that I imagined came in costume, and Dru did a great job emceeing the event. Very enjoyable. Unfortunately, that is all I can consider for Pros. CONS: MDR: Was shocked at how plain and ordinary they are. We had My Time Dining, which was for American Icon and Silk. American Icon was very plain, like a glorified cafeteria, and Silk was too dark with the red decor. The menu was disappointing in size, and the food was underwhelming at best. Also, forget about going here for breakfast, as the breakfast hours are from 8:00 to 9:30, or thereabouts. Really? Only an hour and a half? A staff member told us this was because they redploy staff elsewhere, and they want most to go to Windjammer. Just as well, as the breakfast here was not better than WJ or even room service. One morning Ihad to ask for hot tea 4 times, and when I asked for toast, I was given one cold slice. We enjoyed much better on other cruise lines. Very forgettable experience. ANNOUNCEMENTS: I never heard any announcements as promised when disembarking at ports. At Port Canveral, I saw people getting off ship from my balcony, that's how I knew. For CocoCay and Nassau, never heard anything. Maybe we missed them, if so, they should be more vocal. TENDERING: CocoCay was a tender port. No problem with that, but why do you have people lined up through the casino with the stale, cigarette smoke filled air? We waited about an hour on line, and the family behind us was upset as they had excursions to catch. I feel bad for any asthmatcis that had to wait on that line. I myself had trouble breathing because the air was so stale and smoking contaminated air. ELEVATORS: Super slow and not enough of them. Poor planning is to blame. A midship bank would have been great, but of course, that would cut into shop space. The elevators were so slow, that people were taking available elevators in opposite directions just to be on one. ROYAL ESPLANADE: Nothing more than a shopping mall, and for some reason they think it's a good idea to hold special sales right in the middle, where mobs form and it is impossible to get through if you are trying to pass. Much prefer a nice atrium to this nonsense. Also, this setup takes away from actually seeing the ocean when traversing the deck. And the one deck you can go out on other that uptop has views blocked by lifeboats. PUB - After boarding, we saw it was empty and thought to go there for lunch. The menu consists of about 4 appetizers and one burger. That's it for food. Didn't matter anyway as after sitting there for 10 minutes we left without even being visited by a waiter. The next day, I went there to watch a little footbal while the wife went shopping, and again, I was there for 20 minutes before being asked if I wanted a beer. How does this place make money? POPCORN, WATER, ICE CREAM: Twice during the cruise, a station was set up outside the pub serving popcorn and cotton candy. There was a line and we though it was cool, until we saw people getting CHARGED $2.50 for a small bag of popcorn! SERIOUSLY? How petty. Show some good will and just give them out until it's all gone. How much does it really cost? People were getting clipped for $3 a bottle for water if you didn't have the package, and the self serve ice cream was terrible. It's not available 24 hours like other lines (saw a sign that said 12-6), and a clump fell off the cone while eating it. Good self serve doesn't clump. SOLARIUM: Forget about going here unless you are someone who drops towels on chairs then leaves. The room has nice views, but what good is it if you're not committed to getting up early just to reserve seats? UNDERSTAFFING: This was quite obvious, and was even said not so half jokingly by the moderator during an event. This really affects the cruise. As a point, the row of chairs by the panoramic windows in 270 had garbage sitting on the tables FOR HOURS. We spent Port Canaver day here and it was a real turnoff to see this area be neglected. MISCELLANEOUS: The mattress was horrible and we never got a good night's sleep. I actually had pains on both hips in the same exact spots because of the mattress. While we don't cruise to watch TV, some more, better channels would have been nice to watch instead of what was available. Also, I won a trivia contest and the prize was a pen. Can't they make it more fun like other cruise lines? Something more momentous woud be nice. The ship really doesn't have alot of atmosphere. I never really felt like I was on a cruise ship. More like being in a floating hotel. Not sure if that's what they went for, or is what's popular these days, but I like feeling like I'm on a ship. We spoke with several other people who were disappointed in the ship, and said they would never take it again, even an RCI cruiser. We feel the same and it will be a long time before we see this ship again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
This was our 13 or 14th cruise but only our 2nd on RCCL. We mostly sail with Princess as we are platinum members there. On our first cruise on RCCL I was not impressed at all! It was on the Explorer of the Seas. But I must say, the Anthem ... Read More
This was our 13 or 14th cruise but only our 2nd on RCCL. We mostly sail with Princess as we are platinum members there. On our first cruise on RCCL I was not impressed at all! It was on the Explorer of the Seas. But I must say, the Anthem was great! We are 60 and 62 years old and traveled with our best friends. Starting with embarkation...it was the fastest we've ever had. Got there about 10:30am and only waited a short time. They told us we would board about 11am and I thought, ya right, but sure enough right on time 11am!! Then they told us our bags would be arriving starting at 1pm and again I thought, ya right, but sure enough..again on time. All our bags were there at 1pm. This has NEVER happened on any of our other cruises! Very impressed!! We did not go to the dining room not one time. We ate at the Windjammer every time because the food was SO good!! Again, we never had food this good on a cruise ship before! Usually the deserts look good but don't taste as good as they look but this time, they were delicious! The cheesecake tasted like New York style cheesecake!! LOVED all the FREE activities...North Star, bumper cars, roller skating, ifly, corn hole, xbox, ping pong, escape room, trapeze, just to name a few. I felt like a kid again enjoying the bumper cars! So fun!! The north star was enjoyable viewing Bar Habor. It goes 300 feet above the sea. So many free things to enjoy! The shows were great! Not your typical cruise ship shows. These were shows like you would see in Vegas. The only one I didn't care for was Spectra's Cabaret. Just not our style. The Gift and We Will Rock You were good. We made reservations for these shows before boarding the ship. The guest entertainers were very good. Travis LeDoyt, Elvis tribute was excellent! The magician was great! Our balcony cabin, 9708 was comfortable. A sofa and King size bed. The bed was a little on the firm side but still comfy. Quit a bit of storage and it was nice that our suitcases fit underneath the bed. A must!! Shower was big enough. Curved shower door instead of shower curtain. A lower bar for shaving legs was nice! Nice adjustable shower head. Two 110 outlets on one side of the bed and then one more at the desk. Also two USB chargers at desk. Balcony was rather small but big enough for two chairs and small table. I wish they would have had a few more TV channels. Not a whole lot to choose from. Our room steward, Jimbo from Nicaragua, was great and has been with RCCL for 25 years. Says they really take care of their employees. LOVED the adult only Solarium area. Deck 14, forward. Enclosed with several hot tubs and smaller pools. Seemed to have plenty of lounge chairs. Not sure if it would be hot in there in warm climates but the windows in there do open so it may be ok. Nice that they have the Solarium cafe in that area as well. It's smaller but nice that you don't have to go far to get a bite to eat. The pizza at Sorrento's was AMAZING!! Best pizza I have ever had on a cruise ship and maybe even anywhere! So good!! We had it almost every day! One day I even asked for a whole one and took it up to the Solarium. Perfect sea day! Enjoyed watching the robo bartender. Very cool but very expensive! But a must to at least watch! I bought the internet only for the last two days for $28 I think. Surprisingly it was pretty fast. A few things I was disappointed in...so many restaurants that cost extra. We didn't eat at any of them. Also, they had popcorn one day on deck 4, but it cost $2.50 for a small bag!! Ridiculous!! The emergency drill was a joke!! Seriously it was just a video and it was stupid. If you were a first time cruiser, you would not have learned anything from that video. I actually saw several people asleep!! Life jackets are not in your room anymore they are at your muster station. I really think they need to change their emergency drill. I know it's never fun to have to go to the emergency drill, but at least you would learn what to do in the event of an emergency. They no longer have lotion in your room. They do have shampoo dispensers though in the shower. Also they only give you two bath towels. Also it seemed their shops were more high end. They did have cheaper stuff laid out as vendors though. The ice cream cones on deck 14 underneath the North Star are really good but they are only open til 6pm which I don't understand. I remember that on the last RCCL cruise too. That just doesn't make sense. Overall I was impressed. I would definitely book again on this ship. In fact, I already did for next year. And even though there are 4200 passengers on this ship, we didn't feel over crowded at all. Not sure if our sailing was sold out or not but no complaints this time! Read Less
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