We have just returned from a 3-day ‘taster cruise’ on the brand new Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas! If you’ve seen any of the advertising, the word ‘WOW’ features heavily. We can honestly report that it is an apt description of the incredible ship, its features and the service onboard.
We had completed the online checkin process at home (including ‘uploading’ a photo) and printed our SetSail Passes before arriving at Southampton. At the dock, someone with a tablet computer completed the process in under 3 minutes and we proceeded to Security, from where we were asked to sit for a few minutes (after being informed the disembarking guests had all gone and the ship would be ready for boarding shortly – this was 10:30am). We boarded at about 10:45 and were immediately handed a glass of ‘bubbly’. We boarded straight into the Royal Esplanade where we first went down to Guest Services to set up our internet account. We are considered Platinum in Royal Caribbean’s loyalty programme due to our frequent sailings on Celebrity, so received a discount on our internet package. It therefore cost us $15.15 for unlimited high speed access for the entire 3-day cruise!! WOW!
We used the Royal iQ app to check (and change) our restaurant reservations when we discovered that for this cruise only the four MainDiningRoom options (Silk / Chic / American Icon and Grande) would all be serving exactly the same menu of an evening … although a different version was created for each of the three evenings.
Our cabin was lovely, the bed extremely comfortable, the balcony huge (with two chairs, two footstools and a table). The cabin furniture did not include a coffee table – however, we discovered that the dressing table was movable and was designed to be used as a breakfast/dinner table in the cabin. Excellent idea.
There is a kettle with ample supplies of tea and biscuits, and on the last day a plate of macaroons magically appeared. The bathroom is quite large with an excellent shower. The toiletries are very pleasant.
We soon discovered the lounge at the back of the ship called Two70! It became our favourite place. There is also a café there with excellent breakfast and lunch choices. For dinner, we ate in American Icon (as the menus were identical, we chose not to wait in the Silk queue where we had been booked). The décor is wonderful and the food and service were both excellent. The other two evenings we ate in Wonderland and in Chops Grille – they were both outstanding, but in Wonderland we probably had our best meal ever on a ship. UNIQUE and FABULOUS!! (We have completed about 40 cruises, and our preferred lines are Seabourn and Azamara, so that is saying something.)
We were more than a little apprehensive about the size of Anthem of the Seas (considering we prefer 200 – 600 passenger ships), however, the ship handled the number of passengers extremely well. This is partly due to the fact that there are two main shows each evening – one at the front of the ship in the Royal Theater (We Will Rock You which lasts 2 hours and is excellent) and another at the back of the ship in Two70 (Spectra’s Cabaret which is PHENOMENAL!!!). Between those two venues there are three others with live music, as well as numerous other bars and restaurants (and of course, the obligatory casino).
Charging onboard is done with your SeaPass card or your WOW bands (rubberised watch-like straps with an embedded chip). These bands can be used anywhere you can use a SeaPass card.
There is a FlowRider, the NorthStar aerial adventure, the SeaPlex (which can either be rollerskating, dodgems, a basketball court, a DJ booth or a circus school). Overlooking that are Xbox rooms and table tennis areas. There is a rock climbing wall as well as RipCord where you can experience skydiving while at sea.
The Bionic bar is interesting and the selection of eateries incredible.
Everywhere there are smiling and helpful crewmembers – all very well trained and beautifully groomed.
We were truly WOWED! It was an incredible introduction to Royal Caribbean and we will certainly be back. If you have a chance to experience this – DO!
First impression was that it was slightly narrower (it is) and that the ceiling is slightly lower (it is) than we are used to. However, after a few hours experiencing it you discover it is extremely well designed, that the dressing table moves in the room as a breakfast/dinner table, that the closet/drawer space is huge, that the couch is enormous, that the balcony is large and that the balcony furniture is not only comfortable but includes a footstool for each chair, and that the bathroom is large with a powerful and well-designed shower.