Anthem of the Seas Cruise Review by deedeela
- Sail Date: March 2018
- Destination: Bahamas
I'm amazed that people can have such different perspectives of the same or similar experiences, so the main thing I learned is I had to sail on Anthem of the Seas to really judge for myself.
My main fear was the size of the ship and the number of passengers. So many reviews I read complained about excessive crowds, long waits, and sold-out activities. While all of that is certainly possible, it's also completely avoidable with careful planning.
The ship itself is lovely. It is large, and requires some stamina to move around on, but overall, it's a very pleasant environment, with lots of fun activities.
I'd read so much about the crowds on the ship, but other than the first day when the entire ship went to drill presentations, and not getting tickets for things early enough, we didn't really notice a big problem. We didn't have overly long waits for elevators, food, or much else. It certainly didn't feel like we were with 4000+ people, which is largely due to the crew and their hard work at keeping things moving.
The cabins are also great. We had two adjoining superior staterooms with balconies, and they were perfectly adequate and comfortable
The food was also pretty good. We ate almost exclusively at the Windjammer cafe (mainly a huge buffet) because it gave us flexiblity since my daughter is a picky eater. We tried the main dining room on the first night and while the atmosphere was nice, the food wasn't great. Most of it seemed as though it has been frozen and microwaved back to life. Service took forever as well, so not the best first impression. The whole My Time dining thing is confusing, so we kind of avoided it, and had much better luck at Windjammer. There was always a huge variety to choose from, most of which was pretty good. The servers were also incredibly helpful. We generally sat in the same section, and after a few days, would find drinks on our tables without even asking for them. The other bonus was Sorrentos for pizza, and Cafe Promenade for sandwiches and cookies, which were all pretty tasty. They always seemed to be open and serving, so my 12yo daughter and her friend thought it was pretty cool to eat pizza at 1a.
The girls seemed to have a blast at all the activities. They spent a lot of time at the SeaPlex and the Lounge for teens, and always had plenty to do, especially in the evening. I felt comfortable letting them go around on their own as long as they checked in every once in awhile. We all enjoyed the shows, especially Spectra's Cabaret, which was really fun. My mom and I went to an art auction, played bingo, and tried our luck in the casino. Sadly, I had a work for some of the time, so I missed a lot of activities, but if you check the Compass, you can always find something to do.
For excursions, we did Seaworld in Orlando, Cococay in the Bahamas, and Atlantis in Nassau. Overall, the ship's shuttles to each place went smoothly. Our one goof was not getting tickets for the tinder boats to Cococay early enough (see my tips below).
Tips from a First-Time Cruiser
A few things I learned that would have helped me a lot if I'd known them in advance:
• Read the Cruise Compass newsletter every single night. Note any activities you're interested in and book them ASAP. We missed out on rollerskating, the one thing we really wanted to do, because we didn't get bands early enough. Send someone to wherever they're handing out tickets, bands, etc. as soon as it's open. This is especially true for tinder tickets to Cococay. We waited much too long, and wound up on the LAST tinder to the island. By the time we got there, it was packed, and we had to hunt for chairs, umbrellas, etc., and actually missed lunch service.
• None of the drink packages are necessary unless you have specific needs and preferences. My daughter only drinks water, and I considered getting the bottled water package, but it turns out the free water was perfectly fine. It tasted great, and it was easy enough to access in restaurants and at the the Cafe Promenade. The free lemonade, flavored waters, and unsweetened iced tea were fine as well. The one challenge was wine, which I could have gotten around if I'd brought my own onboard. I also bought Starbucks coffee at La Patisserie a few times, and that was okay, too.
• Check reviews for the best decks, and then try to get a cabin as close to midship as possible. We were forward on deck 12 and walking to venues at the back of the ship became annoying after awhile because it would mean walking the entire length of the ship over and over again.
• Book as much as you can online before you sail, but keep an eye out for new deals. I booked excursions, and then got an email for 25% off, so I called and got a refund for the difference.
• If your family doesn't mind, try to eat during less busy times. We're not morning people, so we often ate towards the end of service, which was great because it was much less crowded.
• If Nassau is on your itinerary, and you haven't been to Atlantis, it's worth the splurge. It's a gorgeous property with lots to do.
Overall, it was a lovely trip. Anthem of the Seas is a huge ship, which might not be for everyone, but if you have kids, it's great.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Atlantis ResortWe had a blast at Altantis. My girls loved the water rides, and the property is gorgeous. We set up at one of the pools, but you can also go to the beach. Food and drinks are expensive but tasty ... overall vibe is relaxed, and tranquil. Totally worth the splurge.View All 686 Atlantis Resort Reviews
Perfect Day at CocoCayCocoCay is beautiful and a nice break from the ship. It's very crowded though so if you don't get an early tinder boat, you'll need to hunt for lounge chairs. For some reason, they stop serving food at 1:30, but the last boat is at 4:45p, so you're kind of just stuck with nothing to eat until you get back on the ship. Plan to eat early, and bring snacks if you can.View All 13,765 Perfect Day at CocoCay Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Perfect Day at CocoCay Cruise Port Review
Sea WorldWe went to Seaworld mainly for the dolphin experience, which was disappointing. It was very short, and other than touching the dolphins a few times, it was pretty uneventful. There isn't a lot to do there. The rides try to make up for what the park lacks, but overall, it's not especially impressive.View All 16 Sea World Reviews