We were very excited when we booked the holiday, it was the first time on a cruise for us and there was soo much hype surrounding the cruise, Anthem of the seas, we couldn't wait to get on-board. However, there were soo many negative ... Read More
We were very excited when we booked the holiday, it was the first time on a cruise for us and there was soo much hype surrounding the cruise, Anthem of the seas, we couldn't wait to get on-board. However, there were soo many negative reviews on its sister cruise, Quantum of the seas, actually negative reviews on cruises in general that it was surprising. People were complaining on everything form check-in times, luggage arrival to food, service, etc. it was really off-putting especially when we were travelling with a 2yr old.
But, thankfully, from he moment we stepped in, until the time we got off the Anthem, it was an experience like no other... It one word, it was Awesome!!! It was soo good that we didn't want to get off the cruise!! Ours was a 3 nighter, so maybe longer duration ships might have issues, but our cruise, everything was as smooth as butter!! (Apart from the British/EU weather)
Check-in was super fast, we already did it online so the whole process took like 5 mins. We made it to the cruise terminal in our selected time during the online check-in so as soon as we got there, we went straight through after an immigration check.
Once one board, the first feeling was walking up to this huge chandelier and huge hall room decorated with big LCD screens depicting the fall season. It was simply overwhelming!! We were then directed to our staterooms through the many super-fast elevators.
At the door of our stateroom, our room key was waiting stored in compartment beside the sign board. They call this the sail pass, which is very important and you should carry this while debarking the ship for shore excursions.
The stateroom was spacious, sparkling clean and was maintained at the right temperature. The balcony was spacious and was the best part of the room. We spent hours in there, despite it being freezing cold, wrapped up in blankets. It was just a marvel watching the waves, watching the ship dock and un-dock, seeing it make a 180-degree turn and just lying there listening to the sound of the waves. We soo loved the balcony stateroom. As we were checking our room, we heard and knock and our luggage was waiting for us along with our stateroom attendant. We were a little worried as online reviewers complained that they did not receive their luggage until late night. so once again, RC nailed the whole service of collecting our bags from the car park, to getting them to our doors and then when we disembarked, they were waiting for us in our designated zone. Super Smooth, once again!!
We were on deck 12, room 12212 right in the middle of the ship. I really had huge concerns about deck 12 as after looking at the Anthem's design, we found out that there is an over-hang which extends from the 14th floor so the middle part is indented, then there are struts, these long poles extended from the over-hang which are placed right into the balconies! I was worried for this, thinking that it will reduce the space in the balcony and obstruct the view. I couldn't find anything online about this so hopefully this will help other cruisers.
The poles do end up in your balcony but the are merged into the side dividers in the balcony. So you hardly notice them and they do not take up any extra space in your balcony. The over-hang does block the sky-view a little when you are standing up near the edge of the balcony, but you hardly notice this whilst sitting down, so you do get a full view. Check the pictures which will give you a better understanding of this:
Plus, all thro the middle of the ship, when you look directly down from the balcony, you don't see the water, but you see the huge life-boats. The indented design of the ship in the middle was to accommodate these life-boats. These 2 are minor points, but the huge plus is that you are located close to the elevators/stairs and more importantly, it rocks lesser in the middle of the ship, so for all you guys with motion sickness, this is the ideal place. And trust me, this is soo true, when it was very windy, I did check the front and the back of the ship, it felt as if I was on a swing! I never felt motion sick in my life and on day three, it was really rough weather and I felt the ship was stirring my insides over and over in a circular motion. This really did give me a little sick feeling so had to sleep it off! So middle of the ship, very good for people who suffer with motion sickness.
Now, back to the stateroom, there is a nice huge comfy bed, a sofa-bed for the little one, ample cupboards every where, so you have enough storage, a digital safe and there is a mini fridge stacked up with snacks and drinks which cost extra if you use them. There is under bed storage as well, this is really good as we could store our huge suitcase and stroller under it. Our stateroom attendant Mailene was simply awesome. She was very friendly, gave us lots of tips/info and every time we used to leave the stateroom and return, she made sure that we felt as if we were walking into our room for the very first time!!! It was that clean, soo much that we felt bad for leaving our stuff around as she even sorted those too! We stopped doing this after the first time :)
The washroom has a capsule shower, is nice and spacious and very functional.
Coming back to the ship, not sure where to start...everything is soo good, actually Grande is the word!! Since it is new, the ship is sparkling clean, with really a huge staff, looking after each and every section! Every part felt like it was a 7 star hotel. The top decks were excellent, a huge jogging/walking strip that spans the entire ship, then there are outdoor/indoor pools. The main star attraction, the North Star, a London eye shaped capsule that takes 14 at a time and lifts high up in the sky giving you an awesome areal overview of the ship! Note though on shorter cruises, it doesn't move-out 90 degree into the ocean, this one is reserved for the larger ones as the attendant said, it will take more than 30 mins and not sufficient time for all passengers on short cruises. Also note, there was heavy wind when I took the capsule so besides up and down, we also had rocking motion :)) again something to consider for the motion-sick/vertigo sufferers.
Then there is the Solarium, an adult only retreat zone. This was really calm and peaceful, you can retreat here quietly with a nice book and a drink... Very relaxing!
Then the giant giraffe, our little one loved this and played with it for a long time :) Then there are the flow-rider, virtual flight simulator and rock climbing. Guess on longer cruises all this is plenty of activity to keep guest entertained.
On the shows/movie front, there is a royal theater, 3D cinema plus the Two70 which has these huge robotic screen as it transforms from a cafe into entertainment center.
Coming to the other main aspect, the food...one word again "Awesome".., it's clean, hygiene, tasty and loads of variety...especially for a short cruise, there was ample choice.. So much that we couldn't find time to eat in all of them. On the first day, we tried Sorrento for a quick bite and the pizza which they served was hot and fresh! In the evening, we reserved for a fine dining experience at the Silk and the food was decent.
Next day, we went to the Wind Jammer for breakfast and it was brilliant...lots of choice and the dishes were tasty... It's such a shame, that we pay almost £20 per head at our local garden center and the food is not half good as in the Wind Jammer!!! Really sad when you pay premium price in Britain and its no where nearly as good as on the RC!!
For lunch, we went back to the wind jammer and once again there was ample choice and really tasty food. No wonder it was always soo packed with guests! Dinner was at Chic and the ambiance was really posh!! For the third night, we were supposed to go to the Grande, the only restaurant where you need to wear a jacket but the menu at Wind Jammer was soo tempting that we skipped the grande!! We felt that two nights to fine dining was enough and wanted to enjoy the more casual approach at WJ :)
Main thing regarding food is, round the clock, you will find someplace open serving food...even in the wee hours...there is still plenty choice to grab a quick bite!
So all in all, this was a wonderful trip and we became huge fans of the Anthem and Royal Caribbean that we will surely return and try longer duration!! There is absolutely no negative points which I can think of, it's such a brilliant experience and I think here in UK, we will have to wait for few months as the Ship is heading for America for summer... So all you guys in the US, you will really have a great time!!
Here are a few tips for first timers and cruisers in general that might help:
- Check in online and print off the sail passes, this saves soo much time and makes the whole process quicker
- upload pictures of all those who are travelling with you when you complete the online check-in, this will speed up the process even further
- setting a credit card on your account is helpful, you can buy stuff directly with the smart band, this sports strap wristband which they provide for you and all your guests, including children
- Wind Jammer is the place to go for food, they serve this round the clock, but they do follow timing correctly, so check breakfast, lunch and dinner times and make sure you fit into the correct slot so you can enjoy the food thoroughly!
- Drinks and water are expensive if you buy them on board, so I do suggest buying these packages before hand. We got the suvernor Coca-cola cup which costed £6 per day (per person) and this gave access to soda machines which are located at various places on the cruise. You can use that to fill up with water at these thirst stations at Wind Jammer, alternatively, you can drink water from normal tap in your room.
- Make reservation before hand if you wish to enjoy fine-dining experience. There are several complimentary restaurants plus a few which you have to pay extra.
- Same goes to on-board activity like flow-rider and rip-cord flight. Pre-book them as they are popular and fill up quickly
- You need to carry the sail passes (not just the bands) of all your passengers if you wish to disembark the ship and go for shore vacation
- There are several photo points where they take pictures for you, you can buy them at the information points on the cruise. You can buy digital prints or order them printed off but make sure you do this before the last night as we thought they would offer online service to purchase these later on, but turns out they do not offer this facility!
- Finally, children who are not totally potty trained will not be allowed into the swimming pools. Also, those who are under 1mt will not be allowed in the North Star.
I do apologise for the rather long review, but hope you all find this useful! This cruise was definitely one of the best vacations which we took and the quality, level of service and care which Royal Caribbean provided was unbeatable! Thank you RC for providing such an amazing experience!! Read Less