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An 11 day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas leaving the frigid cold temperatures for the sunny eastern Caribbean, what could be better? Well, while the ship is amazing, the crew friendly and exceptionally hard working (except for one of the bartenders in the Bionic Bar...more on that later) there are definitely some pros and cons to this experience. First the good stuff. As I said before, the ship is beautiful. While not the largest of the fleet, Anthem is big (4,180 passengers) and has some unique features such as the North Star observation ride which takes you up 300 feet for a 360 degree panoramic view, the Rip Cord I-Fly Sky diving simulator, Flow Rider surfing experience, and the Bionic Bar. The food was good, not as good as on past RCI cruises, but overall very tasty. Our waiter and his assistant made sure that every need was met and that our glasses were constantly filled. Our balcony cabin on Deck 10 was small but very functional. Two of us slept in the king sized bed and the third on the pull out couch. There were two built in storage closets, a vanity/desk, and a dresser with five drawers and a small refrigerator. Our cabin steward was amazing...twice a day he cleaned up, made (or turned down) the beds, and replaced any used towels. He even folded our blankets that we brought from home. The entertainment on this ship was good, especially the We Will Rock You show. As a wise fellow cruiser once told me, any morning that you wake up on a cruise ship is a good morning. I wholeheartedly agree with a few exceptions. We are Platinum loyalty members having cruised frequently and almost exclusively on Royal Caribbean. As the years go by however, I feel like I’m getting less for my cruise dollar and that more and more “experiences” are not included in the base or are not a good value. They are really pushing the specialty restaurants which of course cost extra, sometimes LOTS more extra. My thrifty alter ego cannot justify paying for food and then paying again for a “specialty” meal. This was the first time in 8 cruises that my husband (a drinker) did not purchase a beverage package. They insisted that I buy one too. I am not a drinker. I am also diabetic so the “refreshment” package with juices and smoothies that they tried to steer me to was not an option. I offered to provide a note from my doctor but they wouldn’t hear of it. So my husband carried on two bottles of wine and we saved almost $500. There could have been a few more free activities on this ship. For example, we were excited to attend a robot vs. bartender competition at the Bionic Bar. When we got there, a not so friendly employee informed us it will cost $15 for the experience. Very disappointing. We purchased internet packages. Again, I felt that it was pricey ($15-$19 per day) and not a good value. The service was slow and frequently needed to be rebooted. This was also the first time that we did not book any excursions with Royal Caribbean. In my experience, the excursion prices keep increasing in price with fewer options. On this cruise, we overheard a couple saying that they spent $30 for a beach excursion only to get there and have to pay extra for an umbrella and chairs. We took our chances and either walked to the shopping near the pier or too a cheap cab ride to the beach. There was no shortage of locals carrying maps and offering us island tours (despite the company’s warning not to utilize third party vendors). Despite these criticisms, we had a lovely vacation and respite from the winter chill. Will we cruise again?...Definitely. Will we cruise on Royal Caribbean again?...Maybe.

Definitely Maybe

Anthem of the Seas Cruise Review by Ellen Wasco

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2018
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
An 11 day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas leaving the frigid cold temperatures for the sunny eastern Caribbean, what could be better? Well, while the ship is amazing, the crew friendly and exceptionally hard working (except for one of the bartenders in the Bionic Bar...more on that later) there are definitely some pros and cons to this experience.

First the good stuff. As I said before, the ship is beautiful. While not the largest of the fleet, Anthem is big (4,180 passengers) and has some unique features such as the North Star observation ride which takes you up 300 feet for a 360 degree panoramic view, the Rip Cord I-Fly Sky diving simulator, Flow Rider surfing experience, and the Bionic Bar. The food was good, not as good as on past RCI cruises, but overall very tasty. Our waiter and his assistant made sure that every need was met and that our glasses were constantly filled. Our balcony cabin on Deck 10 was small but very functional. Two of us slept in the king sized bed and the third on the pull out couch. There were two built in storage closets, a vanity/desk, and a dresser with five drawers and a small refrigerator. Our cabin steward was amazing...twice a day he cleaned up, made (or turned down) the beds, and replaced any used towels. He even folded our blankets that we brought from home. The entertainment on this ship was good, especially the We Will Rock You show.

As a wise fellow cruiser once told me, any morning that you wake up on a cruise ship is a good morning. I wholeheartedly agree with a few exceptions. We are Platinum loyalty members having cruised frequently and almost exclusively on Royal Caribbean. As the years go by however, I feel like I’m getting less for my cruise dollar and that more and more “experiences” are not included in the base or are not a good value. They are really pushing the specialty restaurants which of course cost extra, sometimes LOTS more extra. My thrifty alter ego cannot justify paying for food and then paying again for a “specialty” meal. This was the first time in 8 cruises that my husband (a drinker) did not purchase a beverage package. They insisted that I buy one too. I am not a drinker. I am also diabetic so the “refreshment” package with juices and smoothies that they tried to steer me to was not an option. I offered to provide a note from my doctor but they wouldn’t hear of it. So my husband carried on two bottles of wine and we saved almost $500.

There could have been a few more free activities on this ship. For example, we were excited to attend a robot vs. bartender competition at the Bionic Bar. When we got there, a not so friendly employee informed us it will cost $15 for the experience. Very disappointing. We purchased internet packages. Again, I felt that it was pricey ($15-$19 per day) and not a good value. The service was slow and frequently needed to be rebooted.

This was also the first time that we did not book any excursions with Royal Caribbean. In my experience, the excursion prices keep increasing in price with fewer options. On this cruise, we overheard a couple saying that they spent $30 for a beach excursion only to get there and have to pay extra for an umbrella and chairs. We took our chances and either walked to the shopping near the pier or too a cheap cab ride to the beach. There was no shortage of locals carrying maps and offering us island tours (despite the company’s warning not to utilize third party vendors).

Despite these criticisms, we had a lovely vacation and respite from the winter chill. Will we cruise again?...Definitely. Will we cruise on Royal Caribbean again?...Maybe.
Ellen Wasco’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 3D 10530
The cabin was small but very functional. There were 3 of us. There was lots of storage space and a fold out couch (although it wasn’t as comfortable as the king sized bed). On this ship, they have eliminated the coffee table and any cabin chairs. Flat screen wall TVs increase the cabin’s floor space. Our cabin steward was fabulous!
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews