I chose this cruise due to the great price I got on a Studio Balcony and the fact that it was a 4 hour drive to port rather than a flight to Florida. The multitude of indoor venues/pools was also inviting considering it was a winter sailing out of New Jersey. This was my first Royal Caribbean cruise as I had only sailed on Norwegian prior. Both cruise lines have their pros and cons. The number of pools/whirlpools both indoor and outdoor was a definitely plus for me and is the main reason I am giving Royal another chance despite some negative aspects.
Room Quality: As a solo traveler, I love that Quantum class ships have Studio Balconies. It was great having the balcony and the room/bathroom was perfect size for just me. The bed was very hard though (common complaint) which led to lack of sleep. I will make sure to ask for more padding next time. My room attendant was great and always visible during the daytime.
Service: Some of the service level was lacking compared to Norwegian. While my room attendant and MDR waiters were fantastic, many of the bartenders across the ship acted like they did not want to be there. Exceptions where Schooner bar staff and Susie in Boleros. Also, the method RCCL l uses to ring up drinks really slows things down. This isn't the staff's fault but RCCL needs to streamline this better.
Food: The food on Anthem is what made me really consider whether I wanted to give RCCL another try. While the MDR food was decent and mostly good, some of the staple MDR dishes were lacking. For example, the French Onion soup should have been called "French Bread Soup" as there was only one tiny piece of onion and a big chunk of bread. The biggest disappointment however was the Windjammer. What a mess. Poor daily variety, lukewarm to cold food, and much of the food was bland, hard, or overcooked. Also ,the way it is organized is a mess. I gave it a couple tries and it was the same every time. Bad. I ate lunch and breakfast at Solarium Bistro a couple times and despite being described at having "better" options, it has literally the same things as Windjammer but downscaled (since when are hot dogs and hamburgers a "better" option???) Cafe 270 was good for a quick lunch and Sorrentos had very good, hot pizza.
Drinks; I had the Ultimate Beverage Package and it was worth it. It is so easy to get your money's worth, especially pre-booking during a sale. And since the free coffee was not too good aboard, it was nice being able to get specialty coffees anytime. Drink quality was good but I felt the variety of specialty cocktails was limited compared to NCL.
Entertainment: I thought entertainment was great and there was always something going on. This ship has a lot of large venues to use for different shows which was great. We Will Rock You was fantastic and I loved every minute of it. Spectra's Cabaret was really weird and made no sense to me. Hated it, but others I was with really enjoyed it. I didn't see The Gift. As for the comedians, Stephen (lastname?) was terrible. I walked out during his adult show. Not funny at all. The ventriloquist was absolutely hilarious. I would watch him again any day. The other comedian Rondell was also great. I missed his adult show though which made me sad. Finally, Matt Yee's shows were not to be missed. While each one was a bit repetitive, you didn't care because his audience interaction was absolutely hilarious. Hope to see him again one day.
Pools/decks: I loved the different pool options onboard. Laying on the sun decks during warm port days was great, despite some people not understanding basic decency and boundaries. Get to the solarium/indoor pool early on sea days otherwise no seats.
Ports: I only got off the ship at CoCoCay. I went to the Oasis pool and found a lounger close to the swimup bar. It was the most relaxing day. Great drink selections at the bar. The only complaint was that the pool was a bit cold but it still felt nice after laying in the hot Caribbean sun. FInally, the buffet on CoCoCay was OUTSTANDING. Awesome burgers, sandwiches, and an epic taco station. I am still thinking about it. Why can't the Windjammer be anywhere as good?
Plenty to do, relaxing environment, awesome food.