Anthem of the Seas Cruise Review by boomerone
- Sail Date: October 2015
- Destination: Transatlantic
On the positive side, embarkation was a breeze. Our cabin, D5 superior balcony category, was wonderful with lots of storage space, a really nice bed, a big bathroom with a shower door instead of a curtain and a cabin attendant Waverney Lovelace, who was aces across the board. Some of the bells and whistles were good as well and I am referring to the North Star and the I-Fly skydiving simulator. We booked rides on the front end of the sailing and were glad we did as those venues were closed for 4 days due to heavy seas and high winds. When they finally opened up again the lines to get in were quite long. The North Star and I-Fly were fun but these are one time activities so the novelty wears off quickly. Due to the weather cancellations the North Star experience was limited to the introductory mode (8-10 minutes basically up and down with maybe a 15 degree swing) and nobody got a full demonstration mode (22 minute) ride with the gondola going perpendicular to the ships course. We did not do the flowrider surfing simulator as it was shut down a lot for weather and we had no desire to wait on a line. Skipped the notion of going on the bumper cars as well.
The production shows "We Will Rock You" and "Spectra's Caberet" were well done and entertaining. "The Gift" was a tad confusing and about halfway through it we figured it out. It was difficult to understand some of the lyrics in all 3 shows as the volume of the performances was quite loud. Headliner shows in the Royal Theatre were good with the hypnotist, Chris Caress, and the juggler/comic, Pete Matthews being the most memorable. Another comic whose name escapes me gave a good clean show with some familiar old gags reminiscent of Rodney Dangerfield. Two70, a 27 million dollar entertainment venue was spectacular with its two deck screen covering 270 degrees at the aft end of the ship. The virtual symphony made me feel as if we were in Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Other shows throughout the ship were often in crowded venues or run at times when we were doing other things.
On the not so positive side, dining was by and large ho-hum with a few exceptions. We chose to dine early and had no difficulty getting a table but we saw waiting lines later in the evening. The Windjammer served up many breakfast options but it sure was crowded and a lot of passengers were not very polite. The wait staff looked to be a bit understaffed. We picked up some lunch items and took them to our balcony. For dinners, the surf and turf entrée choices in Devinly Decadence were good and Chic provided two good meals. Jaime's Italian was the best but it cost $39 each. American Icon and The Grande were not so good and Silk had some tasty food but was crowded and loud. In fact, all of the dining venues were loud and tables were placed too close together. It was generally impossible to have a quiet conversation with my wife while we dined. We actually moved our table in one restaurant when we were seated next to a very objectionable woman. Had we stayed where we were initially seated our meal would have been ruined by her constant loud and complaining chatter filled with too much personal information. Also, piped in music was very annoying and excessively loud. Why was "Disco Inferno" and "This Girl is on Fire" playing everywhere we went?
The shops onboard were all very high end (shirts $209) so we strolled through and never purchased anything. I thought the watches and jewelry were quite expensive but the clerks were friendly (probably glad they had someone to talk to). We noted very few people inside looking at items for sale. The daily flash sales in the center of the ship were mob scenes and the merchandise was pretty much junk. People were like buzzards on a carcass so I suppose it appealed to some bargain hunters.
A big detractor I had with RCCL was their reneging on our "Wine and Dine" promotion that supposedly was included in our booking. We had it in writing but Guest Services stood firm in their statement that the promotion was no longer offered. After 3 hours on the phone over a three day period with our travel agent RCCL coughed up $175 cabin credit to offset the loss of the wine package. That was some consolation but it did not cover what 5 bottles of wine would have cost in the restaurants and we may have lost a $25 onboard credit from our booking in the process. The shipboard guest services people and RCCL stateside were on two different sheets of music. Drinks onboard were very expensive. The mark up on bottles of wine approached 600% over what we can purchase them for in our hometown. We wanted to take refuge in our cabin from the crowds and the noise and watch movies on TV but RCCL was charging for movies and the selection was not good. We had a nice TV but most of the stations were merely advertising for RCCL or cartoons for kids. CNN was out for most of the crossing so we had the BBC as our only outlet to the world. Some stations had American TV shows but they were dubbed into Spanish, French, Portuguese and perhaps German. Saw some NFL football games on a Sunday. Internet packages were expensive and we heard the service was quite slow so we shied away from that.
With over 4100 passengers onboard perhaps 600-900 more that we've ever sailed with we thought the ship was overcrowded and there was an overall lack of quiet space. Also a lot of folks chose to camp out in areas like the Solarium and the pool decks and sleep in public places making the ship look like a giant flop-house. Not very classy.
Disembarkation was a disaster as the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing. We were directed to meet a group that had chosen to take a "Manhattan Highlights" excursion (to kill some time before our flight left at 5:30pm) at 7:30am. We did not get off the ship until close to 9:30am and didn't leave the pier on our bus until close to 10:30am. US Customs and Immigration was understaffed and backed up and we heard some folks did not make it through the long lines until noon. The excursion was a waste of time and money as we spent most of the time stuck in traffic and we didn't get to see more than a glimpse of the sights in the city.
Sadly, this was not a good overall introduction to RCCL. We'll stick with our favorite cruise line and try to coordinate our trans-Atlantic sailings with them when we travel to Europe in the future.
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