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Like so many others we were very apprehensive about this cruise following so many negative reviews here on CC and other review sites. However we are so pleased that we resisted the urge to cancel and re-book on a different ship. Anthem was a fantastic experience from start to finish! This was our 8th cruise, all with RCI on Vision, Radiance, Voyager classes and our first at Diamond level. Just the two of us travelling without family or children. The ship was fully booked with over 4200 passengers. Embarkation at Southampton was fine but not really any quicker than the conventional queuing system. We had completed all the pre cruise on line check-in requirements, photos, charge cards etc but still found ourselves waiting while the roving (and slightly random) check-in person took photos and entered charge card details of the family ahead of us that had not gone to the trouble of doing it all in advance. This is about the only niggle we had for the entire cruise and we were still "car to Promenade Café" in about 20 mins. The ship was pretty jaw-dropping. At first, the promenade area seemed more like a high end shopping mall but we soon realised what a sociable area this was with numerous bar, café, snack area options both day and night. Yes there were the usual on-board shopping special functions set up here most days but there was plenty of room and none of the crowding problems we'd read about. As you walk aft on deck 4, the ship seems to stretch further and further with some incredible open spaces before you then enter the amazing Two70 space. The Two70 area at the rear of the ship spans 3 deck levels (4,5 and 6) and is a brilliant space with a glass wall spanning floor to ceiling across the stern and around the stern quarters. It's a vast light, airy space with lots of seating options and the glass windows can be transformed into a huge projection area for some great special effects. The ship has almost endless food and bar options, we had no chance of trying them all. The main theatre also doubled as a 3D cinema complete with 3D specs. We wanted to try one of the "Virtual Balcony" inside cabins (8185). The cabin itself was spacious, well laid out (but different to our previous ships so had to find new places for things), full length hanging space was a bit limited but not an issue. The bathroom was excellent with a large GLASS door shower with proper (not aerated) shower flow. The virtual balcony screen was fantastic, so realistic that both of us bumped our heads trying to "see around the corner" as you would with a real window. No more trying to guess the weather before leaving the cabin. A kettle/coffee maker was provided (but we never used it). There seemed to be plenty of entertainment options, we had nowhere near enough time to try them all. The We Will Rock You stage show was excellent, I had expected a shortened version of the stage show, but it was the full length show and really well done. Spectre's Cabaret was entertaining and spectacular but not really our thing, the same goes for The Gift. However, these represent just a fraction of the entertainment on offer, I'd be amazed if there wasn't something for everyone. The Dynamic Dining (DD) worked just fine and was in fact quite flexible. We were more than fashionably late for our (pre cruise booked) reservation several times without a problem and often with impromptu dining partners from the Diamond lounge which the restaurant took in their stride. They coped with my wife's gluten free requirement just fine, passing the information from venue to venue very smoothly throughout the cruise. The menus in each complimentary restaurant changed every 4 days but there was plenty of choice anyway. True, they were sometimes the same core ingredients prepared in different ways but we found plenty of variety and loved it. Tip: American Icon's surf and turf is to die for. Think filet mignon with skewered giant prawns........! Dress Code for the Grande (formal restaurant) was sensibly enforced with jacket and collared shirt the minimum standard, but many male diners wore black tie every night in the Grande. The mix of dining (and drinking) venues gave rise to plenty of varied apparel but rest assured those that like to "dress up" would never feel out of place on any evening A few very minor negatives such as the main outdoor pool area was small without enough surrounding sun lounger space (there were plenty of other areas away from the pool), the gym/fitness suite no longer includes a free sauna/ steam room (you now have to pay for these as part of the spa). These were minor things and were far outweighed by the many positives. It was really something to sail on an almost new ship (Anthem's 16th voyage). The ship was immaculate, little things like the perfectly smooth high gloss handrails around the outer decks I loved. I'm no computer geek, but even I loved the technology, so many great features. I went on the iFly free fall simulator, great experience. We rode the North Star capsule shortly after sunrise on our anniversary, brilliant, 300ft high and about 100ft to the side of the ship while underway at about 20knots, great photo opportunity. Bumper cars, Flowrider, we had a blast! Disembarkation went very smoothly, we were going to self-carry but in the end thought why struggle? So left it to the crew and after a very civilised coffee and pastries we sauntered ashore to collect our luggage and were away no problem. She is a very different ship to the others we've sailed on. The layout does not suit everyone and does not really lend itself to having that central area where everyone gathers for the party type events that we were used to. As a result of this, plus having different table waiters most evenings, you do not quite develop the same sense of "belonging" as on previous ships, however all the crew were fantastic and there are many really great features that we absolutely loved. None of the above is to say that we would, for a second, abandon the other classes of ships that we have loved so much, but we would not hesitate to book a Quantum class again if the price and itinerary were right. It has to be said, there were only about 100 children on our cruise, there had been 1000+ on the previous cruises that received such poor reviews and a couple of the crew we spoke to confirmed that the high numbers of children had put the ship under a strain. So avoid school vacation periods if you can.

Anthem Was Playing Our Tune

Anthem of the Seas Cruise Review by juniper01

Trip Details
Like so many others we were very apprehensive about this cruise following so many negative reviews here on CC and other review sites. However we are so pleased that we resisted the urge to cancel and re-book on a different ship. Anthem was a fantastic experience from start to finish!

This was our 8th cruise, all with RCI on Vision, Radiance, Voyager classes and our first at Diamond level. Just the two of us travelling without family or children. The ship was fully booked with over 4200 passengers.

Embarkation at Southampton was fine but not really any quicker than the conventional queuing system. We had completed all the pre cruise on line check-in requirements, photos, charge cards etc but still found ourselves waiting while the roving (and slightly random) check-in person took photos and entered charge card details of the family ahead of us that had not gone to the trouble of doing it all in advance. This is about the only niggle we had for the entire cruise and we were still "car to Promenade Café" in about 20 mins.

The ship was pretty jaw-dropping. At first, the promenade area seemed more like a high end shopping mall but we soon realised what a sociable area this was with numerous bar, café, snack area options both day and night. Yes there were the usual on-board shopping special functions set up here most days but there was plenty of room and none of the crowding problems we'd read about. As you walk aft on deck 4, the ship seems to stretch further and further with some incredible open spaces before you then enter the amazing Two70 space.

The Two70 area at the rear of the ship spans 3 deck levels (4,5 and 6) and is a brilliant space with a glass wall spanning floor to ceiling across the stern and around the stern quarters. It's a vast light, airy space with lots of seating options and the glass windows can be transformed into a huge projection area for some great special effects.

The ship has almost endless food and bar options, we had no chance of trying them all. The main theatre also doubled as a 3D cinema complete with 3D specs.

We wanted to try one of the "Virtual Balcony" inside cabins (8185). The cabin itself was spacious, well laid out (but different to our previous ships so had to find new places for things), full length hanging space was a bit limited but not an issue. The bathroom was excellent with a large GLASS door shower with proper (not aerated) shower flow. The virtual balcony screen was fantastic, so realistic that both of us bumped our heads trying to "see around the corner" as you would with a real window. No more trying to guess the weather before leaving the cabin. A kettle/coffee maker was provided (but we never used it).

There seemed to be plenty of entertainment options, we had nowhere near enough time to try them all. The We Will Rock You stage show was excellent, I had expected a shortened version of the stage show, but it was the full length show and really well done. Spectre's Cabaret was entertaining and spectacular but not really our thing, the same goes for The Gift. However, these represent just a fraction of the entertainment on offer, I'd be amazed if there wasn't something for everyone.

The Dynamic Dining (DD) worked just fine and was in fact quite flexible. We were more than fashionably late for our (pre cruise booked) reservation several times without a problem and often with impromptu dining partners from the Diamond lounge which the restaurant took in their stride. They coped with my wife's gluten free requirement just fine, passing the information from venue to venue very smoothly throughout the cruise. The menus in each complimentary restaurant changed every 4 days but there was plenty of choice anyway. True, they were sometimes the same core ingredients prepared in different ways but we found plenty of variety and loved it. Tip: American Icon's surf and turf is to die for. Think filet mignon with skewered giant prawns........! Dress Code for the Grande (formal restaurant) was sensibly enforced with jacket and collared shirt the minimum standard, but many male diners wore black tie every night in the Grande. The mix of dining (and drinking) venues gave rise to plenty of varied apparel but rest assured those that like to "dress up" would never feel out of place on any evening

A few very minor negatives such as the main outdoor pool area was small without enough surrounding sun lounger space (there were plenty of other areas away from the pool), the gym/fitness suite no longer includes a free sauna/ steam room (you now have to pay for these as part of the spa). These were minor things and were far outweighed by the many positives.

It was really something to sail on an almost new ship (Anthem's 16th voyage). The ship was immaculate, little things like the perfectly smooth high gloss handrails around the outer decks I loved. I'm no computer geek, but even I loved the technology, so many great features. I went on the iFly free fall simulator, great experience. We rode the North Star capsule shortly after sunrise on our anniversary, brilliant, 300ft high and about 100ft to the side of the ship while underway at about 20knots, great photo opportunity. Bumper cars, Flowrider, we had a blast!

Disembarkation went very smoothly, we were going to self-carry but in the end thought why struggle? So left it to the crew and after a very civilised coffee and pastries we sauntered ashore to collect our luggage and were away no problem.

She is a very different ship to the others we've sailed on. The layout does not suit everyone and does not really lend itself to having that central area where everyone gathers for the party type events that we were used to. As a result of this, plus having different table waiters most evenings, you do not quite develop the same sense of "belonging" as on previous ships, however all the crew were fantastic and there are many really great features that we absolutely loved.

None of the above is to say that we would, for a second, abandon the other classes of ships that we have loved so much, but we would not hesitate to book a Quantum class again if the price and itinerary were right. It has to be said, there were only about 100 children on our cruise, there had been 1000+ on the previous cruises that received such poor reviews and a couple of the crew we spoke to confirmed that the high numbers of children had put the ship under a strain. So avoid school vacation periods if you can.
juniper01’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Cabin 8185
The cabin itself was spacious, well laid out (but different to our previous ships so had to find new places for things), full length hanging space was a bit limited but not an issue. The bathroom was excellent with a large GLASS door shower with proper (not aerated) shower flow. The virtual balcony screen was fantastic, so realistic that both of us bumped our heads trying to "see around the corner" as you would with a real window. No more trying to guess the weather before leaving the cabin. A kettle/coffee maker was provided (but we never used it). Cabin location worked great for us, only a few decks up or down to the public areas, a short walk from the forward lifts, no noise at all from anywhere. Would definitely book it again.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews