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961 Bayonne (Cape Liberty) to Caribbean - Eastern Cruise Reviews

We just returned from a 9-night cruise aboard Anthem and found it to be my perfect vacation! I have so many memories to process and pictures to sort, so I am going to organize my review by category. Feel free to jump around or skip what ... Read More
We just returned from a 9-night cruise aboard Anthem and found it to be my perfect vacation! I have so many memories to process and pictures to sort, so I am going to organize my review by category. Feel free to jump around or skip what you are not interested in. I won’t be offended – heck, I won’t even know! I hope some of you will find it useful or even just enjoy re-living your own Anthem memories. Warning: this is lengthy. This was a much-anticipated trip for us. My Dad had suffered an illness through much of the fall and winter, and my husband had both a knee replacement and a spinal fusion within the past year. Now that they both seem to be on the road to recovery, we thought we would celebrate our family with a cruise. My sister’s family (sis, husband, teenage son and daughter), my family (me, husband, teenage sons), and my parents shared a wonderful week of pampering, partying, fine dining, and fun aboard Anthem. This was my 9th cruise with Royal Caribbean, but my first on Quantum class. The Anthem is one beautiful, well-appointed ship, although it is hard not to make comparisons to the other classes. The biggest challenge for me was that there were certain times and places when the ship just felt too crowded. In particular, the outdoor pool area and Windjammer just did not seem to have the best layouts to accommodate the crowds. On the other hand, I loved the artwork around the ship, the quirky posters in the elevators, and most of the public spaces around the ship. Café 270 and the Solarium were two of my favorite places; both were beautiful, well-designed, and took great advantage of their location to achieve gorgeous views of the sea. We opted out of the Voom package, as we all wanted to disconnect for a while. (Well, maybe not so much the kids, but they adapted quickly). It was so freeing to not be tied to screens through our vacation. Dining: As a large group, we decided to eat all of our dinners together. We had MTD, but reserved a 6:15 mealtime for every night, on-line, through the cruise planner. We figured we could adjust the reservation if we chose to, but we so enjoyed our service team through dinner that we decided to keep the same reservation for the whole trip. We ate in the Silk dining room every night, which was quite lovely, if a bit on the small side. We missed the grandeur of the old-style main dining rooms, but I heard others say that it felt more intimate. I suppose it’s a matter of preference. Our head waiter was Alan, who was a delight. He stopped by our table multiple times each night, and along with checking on our satisfaction, regaled us with stories and jokes. Melwin was our assistant waiter; he was a bit shy, but quite sweet. He remembered the wines we liked and our preferences for coffee/tea/cappuccino. Our waiter was Edi. What a treat he was! Attentive without being solicitous, funny, responsive, and so great with the kids. Upon seeing that the kids didn’t care for the appetizers offered, he routinely made up his own to bring them. They got chicken fingers, French fries, grilled cheese – and that was just for appetizers! Edi always brought out whatever he wanted us to try; of course he always brought out what we ordered, but often that was accompanied by 2 or 3 other entrees, if he thought we would enjoy them. After dinner, Edi always had a puzzle to show the kids, asking them to return the next night with a solution. I know there has been much discussion about MDR food. We all found most of our meals to be excellent. Many of the appetizers were creative, and all were delicious. From the entrée menu, I ordered what was new and fresh, and enjoyed most everything. Every night, about ½ of the appetizer and dessert menu and about 1/4 of the entrée menu remained the same. For my group, this was ideal because there was always a choice for them to fall back on if they didn’t care for the day’s new choices. Even for me, there were so many things I wanted to try that it was nice to see some options repeated. For breakfast and lunch, we all did our own thing. I ordered coffee from room service every day early, and drank it on my balcony. After a workout in the gym, I usually headed to the windjammer. I can’t really comment on the quality of the breakfast food. I ate a yogurt and fresh fruit every morning. My boys did report that they felt the Windjammer’s pastries were stale(ish) but the waffles were good. I got in the habit of grabbing a latte from La Patisserie after breakfast, and sipping it at the back of Café 270. What a great way to relax and take in the view. This was probably my favorite place on the ship. I ate most of my lunches in the Solarium Bistro or Café 270. I found the selections good, the food tasty, and the lack of crowds inviting. Café 270 especially served some very nice sandwiches, wraps, salads, and desserts. Bars: My sister, her husband, and I had the Deluxe Beverage Package. We took full advantage of it. The bar service was a bit lackluster around the pools, but exceptional in the bars we went to. The bartenders in the main bar at Café 270 were great! They were competing to see who could make us the best Cosmo, and WE were the winners!! We especially loved the team in the Brass and Bock. Susana was a hoot. Tell her hello from “the curly haired sisters” if you sit by her bar! This deluxe package was perfect for us, and I can honestly say that we all got our money’s worth. Entertainment: We saw the three production shows, as well as the house band, and a Journey tribute band. The Gift was disappointing, to say the least. So much hype, and so little payoff. I thought the talent of the performers was wasted on such a poorly executed story-line. Spectra’s Cabaret was a bit Avant-garde. The “Spectra” we saw was, herself, not a very strong performer, but the rest of the cast were power house performers, both vocally and physically. The acrobatics they performed obviously required great strength and discipline, and were very impressive. It was a fun show. We Will Rock You was fun. All of the Queen music we loved wrapped into a production. The plot was a bit cheesy, but the audience was on its feet at the end. It was a feel-good show with some strong vocal performances, especially by the ladies. We also saw DSB, a Journey tribute band. They were great fun, and the lead singer certainly has that Steve Perry voice. Probably our favorite entertainment was the band The Royal Swedes. They performed almost every night, in different venues. They played a variety of contemporary music, and played it well. They played very few repeats, so it was a fresh, fun show every night. Activities: We did not participate in a lot of evening activities. A few we tried to participate in were held in The Music Hall, which is a great space reminiscent of some of the old-style halls in NYC. However, for participation activities, or even viewing such activities, the Music Hall did not work well if you were seated on the upper level. After trying a few times, we just gave up and did not attend activities (other than music) in this space. We did do some daytime activities though, and found that there were so many options that we couldn’t get to them all! My favorite activity was Trapeze school. Who would have ever thought that I would swing upside down on a trapeze? And like it?!?! We also did family bumper cars (it got vicious), iFLY, and NorthStar. All were great fun with great staffing. My sons played soccer, basketball, ping pong, air hockey, and shuffle board, and loved the variety of options to keep busy. Pool: I am definitely a pool person, while some in my party were not. I am also an early riser. After an early workout and breakfast, I usually got to the outdoor pool on sea days before 8 am. By that time, most of the chairs immediately around the pool in the sun had been snagged, as had the lounger/couches. Luckily, most in my family prefer the shade, and there were always shade chairs to be found at that time. I usually wound up in the Solarium by afternoon. It was, except for the first sea day when we had some unsettled skies, mostly uncrowded and very pleasant. I love the layout and peaceful flow of the Solarium design. And I loved the multi-level pools. As a large ship, Anthem should have a better outdoor pool layout. Yes, I expected crowds, but the pool was simply too small to accommodate that volume of people. It was actually a bit unpleasant on two of the sea days. I was very thankful to be able to escape to the Solarium, and equally thankful that my kids did not care that they could not use that pool area! Ports: We did not do anything ambitious in any of the ports. Horseshoe Bay in Bermuda; shopping and exploring in St. Maartin; walking to and exploring the forts in San Juan; Columbus Cove beach in Labadee. (I will say that I noticed a profound difference in many of the locals in St. Maartin: they were much more aggressive than I have ever experienced here. I know that this was a result of the hurricane, and that these people are still hurting for business. It made me quite sad). I enjoyed each stop, and enjoyed returning to a less crowded ship on a few of those days. Overall: It had been a few years since my last cruise, so I especially enjoyed Anthem! While I experienced a few drawbacks, they did not lessen my overall experience. Anthem is a beautiful ship with a friendly and overall efficient staff. My nine-night cruise sailed by so quickly, and I am so grateful to have experienced it with my family. I welcome any questions about specifics, or perhaps any area I didn’t cover, but it looks to me like I covered a lot! I wish you all a cruise experience as pleasant as mine was! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Anthem is a big ship with lots to do. Our family of 4 + my sister and her family of 6 had a blast. There was lots of pool space (big splash pad, main pool, indoor pool, and adults only pool). I do wish they had poolside food like a french ... Read More
Anthem is a big ship with lots to do. Our family of 4 + my sister and her family of 6 had a blast. There was lots of pool space (big splash pad, main pool, indoor pool, and adults only pool). I do wish they had poolside food like a french fry or nacho station. They have a Johnny Rockets outside next to the pool but you have to pay for it. In the sports play area, they had bumper cars, roller skating, a rock wall, boogie boarding, iFly, basketball etc - tons for kids and adults. The show We Will Rock You is so good, Broadway quality and such great music (Queen songs). Ports were great, we LOVED our Haiti excursion (swimming in Paradise Cove and Haitian village tour). The beach where we swam was private and gorgeous. Walking tour of Puerto Rico that ended with kite flying was also really nice. Snorkeling in Bermuda was really fun - not a ton of fish to see but the boat and experience were high quality. Brass and Brock British pub had a great live guitar player at night and the staff was awesome - they knew my husband and brother-in-law’s names. There is a huge 2 story music hall that has an awesome band - we were there almost every night enjoying the music until 11/12 midnight. Overall I highly recommend this ship!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
5 days of cruising and four port of calls was great, the way it was done was great I would do the same trip again each and every port of call was clean easy on and off and everything was close by the ship. In my option I would skip the ... Read More
5 days of cruising and four port of calls was great, the way it was done was great I would do the same trip again each and every port of call was clean easy on and off and everything was close by the ship. In my option I would skip the buccaneer beach is was not a nice setting everything this ship offered was great but this beach was not a good one. all others were good the best of the best was Labadee this by far was the best port of call was our best day on any island all the people were great super great service Island was very clean and you used your sea pass card on the whole island which made it all very easy This island was first class all the way and was my and my wife's best part of the trip Great Beaches Great food and great service This was the best vacation I every had everything was great and the people were great only bad part of the trip was the Voom Internet service I paid 300 for the use of it for nine days and it did not work good at all when you did get a online it was very slow and most all the time lost connection. So other than the web-service this trip was Amazing do it you wont be sorry Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise because it was over a week long 9 nights and was in a local port. Although I have a long list of complaints, I think overall the cruise was very good. Pros: Crew was excellent and made sure you were taken care ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was over a week long 9 nights and was in a local port. Although I have a long list of complaints, I think overall the cruise was very good. Pros: Crew was excellent and made sure you were taken care of. Ports and the excursions I took were good. I enjoyed the Dining very much and the Waiters made the dining experience very fun. Shows were also good. We got to see a Journey Cover band on our cruise. Cons: The first 2 days there was a lot of upselling to get us to buy dining packages and drink packages. I did not like this at all. There was a lot of people, but this was to be expected on such a big ship. Some things to watch and do: Must pay close attention to your account as I had to correct the charges a lot as others in my group had drink plans but I did not and I usually got the charges instead of them. Also pay close attention to the different activities on the on board Compass paper as I missed a few things I wanted to do and see. We missed the Magician that we were hoping to see but we didn't pay close attention to show times. Definitely go to the Shows, they are great. I saw Spectra and We will Rock you. Both are worth it if you take this cruise. As always schedule everything early, I had a hard time scheduling the show because I booked late and was unable to see "The Gift". Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Previously sailed on Anthem to the same ports, when she first arrived in NJ. Not a very good experience. Poor service, long lines for elevators, mediocre food and generally not a happy ship. This trip was just the opposite. ... Read More
Previously sailed on Anthem to the same ports, when she first arrived in NJ. Not a very good experience. Poor service, long lines for elevators, mediocre food and generally not a happy ship. This trip was just the opposite. Embarkation was seamless for all 7 of us. Cape Liberty Cruise Port is well organized as far as helping you drop off your luggage and park. Very smooth operation. Took about 15 minutes from entering the terminal to boarding the ship. Service throughout the ship was excellent. Our cabin steward keep track of the whole family and did so with a smile. Never bothered us when we were in the cabin and kept everything spotless. We had the partitions opened between our 3 Jr. Suites which allowed us to sit on the balconies together and access each others cabins. Cabins were spacious and well organized. Only issue was a slippery bathtub. We were a late addition to this cruise as we switched from another cruise last minute (3 days before sailing) at RC's request so we had no assigned dining. The head waiter in MTD arranged for us to have the same table and waitstaff every night because we had several people with special food needs. They allowed us to arrive anytime within an hour of our reservation. Food was very good in all venues but sometimes a little boring in the Windjammer. Entertainment and Activities are the strong points of this ship. All of us(ages 6 - 70) had plenty to do and had a great time. The shows have been modified since my last cruise on the Anthem. "We will Rock You" is still my favorite RC show. Since there were 7 of us we did various things at the ports(Bermuda, San Juan, St. Martin and Labadee. Weather was perfect so the beach and snorkeling were popular as well as El Morro in San Juan. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We chose this cruise to try out the Quantum class ships and see what they were all about. We have previously been on The Allure, Oasis, and Navigator. We've loved all three. Well, lets start with the good: The service was ... Read More
We chose this cruise to try out the Quantum class ships and see what they were all about. We have previously been on The Allure, Oasis, and Navigator. We've loved all three. Well, lets start with the good: The service was almost universally excellent. We had one bad experience that I won't go into detail about. After we complained (our first time on 4 cruises) they more than made up for it. The ports were universally great. We've been to St. Maarten before so knew our way around the island. and knew what to do. The island is severely damaged still from the hurricane though. It was heartbreaking to see some of our favorite spots so damaged. The Solarium on the ship is the best I've been on (with caveats i'll get into later.) The pools were big and generally not crowded like that can get on the Oasis and Navigator. Having the indoor pool, and Solarium is a great combo. As always, we loved the deli and Sorrentos in the Esplanade. The coffee drinks from The Windjammer and 270 were always great. North Star is a great experience unique to the Quantum Class ships that we thoroughly enjoyed as well. Now the bad. Everything I write is in comparison to other Royal ships we have been on. We haven't done other lines yet. The food was the worst we've ever had. The buffet had only a small selection of food, and most of the time we found it hard to find good quality that would fill us up. The food in Chops was good, but I will never book a specialty restaurant instead of MDR again. Maybe for lunch. The MDR food was almost always good, but again, some days we were disappointed with quality. KIDS EVERYWHERE!!!! okay I don't have kids. When I go on a cruise I don't expect to be around kids so much. I'm sorry I may sound like a curmudgeon, I am 37 years old. I've never been a loud bar kind of person. I prefer to sit and read a book at night. Kids were everywhere including the solarium at night. No workers would be around after 10pm to kick kids out. and I'm talking like 20 of them taking over hot tubs, making noise, and just doing kid things. I've talked with people with kids on board and they said there wasn't much else for teens to do at night. This leads to my final rant. ALL POOL BARS ARE CLOSED BY 10PM! what?!? I've never heard of such a thing. Never in all my cruises has that happened. I like to sit in the hot tubs, and on pool deck every night from 11p-1am. Not cool. Not to mention after 12am the only thing open on pool deck is 2 hot tubs which again leads to 20 teenagers jumping and dancing around. Overall I did enjoy the cruise even though i had more to rant about. You know how it goes bad experiences are easier to chat about. Next time we will stay with Oasis Class. Oops, forgot about the shows The Gift: Skip it. Just plain stupid Spectra's Cabaret: Skip it unless you have nothing better to do We Will Rock You: Entertaining, and cheesy. Really liked it though Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
A very good afternoon to you, fellow cruise aficionados! We wanted to share with you a few thoughts, observations, things we liked and occasional disliked about our recent 9-night cruise onboard Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas with ... Read More
A very good afternoon to you, fellow cruise aficionados! We wanted to share with you a few thoughts, observations, things we liked and occasional disliked about our recent 9-night cruise onboard Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas with the following ports of call: • Cape Liberty, New Jersey; • Royal Navy Dockyards, Bermuda; • Philipsburg, Sin Maarten; • San Juan, Puerto Rico; and • Labadee, Haiti. First, let's take a look around this beautiful ship. Anthem of the Seas was built in 2015 and as of today she is among top 10 largest cruise ships in the world. On this journey she carried over 5000 passengers and about 1500 crew members. At the heart of the ship is an area they call The Royal Esplanade. Cannot miss it. It is a two story somewhat open space surrounded by shops, bars and a few premium and otherwise restaurants. It is located on Decks 4 and 5 right around the center of the ship. As we walk towards the front of the ship, we pass an Irish pub which has a decent selection of craft beers and some creative cocktails. Next there are more shops and a venue called Music Hall. It is a 2-story open lounge where they have concerts, gathering and, of course, dancing at night. Sitting is cozy, but a bit confusing: during a performance there is only a handful of seats from which one can see the stage. On the lower level Music Hall connects to a rather sizable casino that failed to win us any money, but we always consider casino losses whether here or in Vegas as a Air Conditioning Surcharge. At the very front of the ship, on decks 4 and 5 is a typical theater with 1300 seating capacity, which seems a bit tight considering 5,000 passengers we had on board, but more about entertainment later. From the theater we walk to the back of the ship and we are back at the Esplanade, the upper level where they have couple of premium restaurants and the Bionic Bar. This robotic bar is very cool to observe. You can order drinks from a tablet and watch them being mixed shaken or stirred by two robotic arms. Selection of spirits is rather impressive, but I have to say, it is a one-time experience to me. It is much more pleasant to have a drink at a real bar. So, for those who are thirsty or ready to party, there is Boleros just one deck down where we spent just about every night enjoying a fantastic live Latino music, crazy dancing and refreshing drinks from very attentive bartenders and waiters If we keep on moving towards the back of the ship on deck 5, there are several contemporary art pieces, some of them interactive and fun to mess with. One may think (and that was our initial impression as well) that all the cool stuff is centered around The Royal Esplanade but to me area “south” from it on deck 5 is way more interesting! As we pass through couple more art installation, few boutiques and few food venues, we arrive to our favorite part of the ship: The TWO70. Part theater, part lounge, part cozy space, this two-story place at the very back of the ship gives you gorgeous views of ship’s wake during the day and fantastic shows at night when the venue converts to high-tech theater with multiple stages, moving screens, panoramic projection setup and much more. As many have said, during the day it works as a sort of living room. And it works really well: even if they have dancing lessons or kid’s activities, there is still more than enough room to lounge around, have a drink, enjoy the view or people watch. Even though we had a gorgeous balcony stateroom that we will share in a bit, TOW70 was our hangout place for most of the days. Time to move up. Since decks 6 through 13 are mainly staterooms, we jump straight to the deck 14 through 16 and work our way forward. There are several adrenaline inducing activities at the very top: Ripcord and Flowrider. Both look very cool and challenging, but not something we dared to try even though basics of these two things are free (I believe couple minutes each). I guess they decided that the ship would be too classy without a giraffe, so there is that thing. Next stop is a Seaplex – a very roomy area that can be converted from a bumper car arena to basketball or volleyball courts or even a trapeze school. They also have an arcade, foosball, computer games, and even a food truck. Crazy, right? Anything to keep youngsters separated from elderlies! Moving on, the main pool. Well, they have it. It is on a smaller size in my opinion, but then again, we never really got any interest in swimming or lounging next to it. Most of the time it seemed and felt rather crowded. What was interesting though is the North Star – a mast that lifts a gondola to about 300 ft above the sea level or about twice the height of the ship. Looks and sounds a bit gimmicky, but it is very-very cool to see a birds-eye view of the ship as it cruises along! Puts things in a whole new perspective! NorthStar is free, but reservations need to be made in advance. There is a standby as well for those who feel lucky. NorthStar operates both in ports and while ship is cruising, but they do not launch it if the wind is above certain level. A bit closer to the front part of the ship is another pool. This one is covered. A deck above there is a jogging path and a reasonably equipped gym. It did not look too crowded on the couple occasions we were there. And finally, our favorite place to hang out when we felt like just soaking: The Solarium. Supposedly adults only (well, not really enforced), this is an enclosed area at the front of the ship with several cascading cool lounging pools and four hot tubs. The best place to chill, have a drink, read, enjoy the vistas! And, if one gets hungry, head out to the Solarium Bistro. Which takes us straight to the next section. *** Food and beverage *** Solarium Bistro is the best kept (yet obvious) secret on the ship! By far it has the tastiest food, ambiance and service (out of all non-premium dining venues).This is where we had majority of our meals. For dinner there is a buffet style set of delicious Mediterranean appetizers that we often had as a meal, there are several choices for the main course and, again, buffet style selection for deserts. We also enjoyed Café Two70 where they have rather decent selection of soups and paninis if one happens to be all the way at the back of the ship. Windjammer buffet was quite adequate for the ship of this size, the only complain we had, it closed at 9:00 PM. What do we do when we party late? Pizza place at the Esplanade just did not seem appealing to us (although very popular judging by how many folks were in line late at night). And finally. Main dining rooms. We are generally easy to please and never had an issue on any of the cruises before, but this time the bar was set particularly low with the wait staff just not caring and food being… well, mediocre, worth than the buffet (even though they cook all of it in the same kitchen, don’t they?). Tried twice, just to be sure, same experience: slow service and very much subpar food once would expect from a chain one-star diner on the mainland. Enough of a negative vibe! Switch to beverages! As if to make up for food, bars for the most part were fantastic. We had a beverage package, so we get to enjoy adult life without feeling too guilty. A lot of interesting cocktails and very creative improvisations. More than enough to satisfy taste buds no matter what deck you end up at any given part of the day or night, right? Speaking of days and nights, it is probably a good time to talk about Entertainment. Swear, the last complaint the we are filing today are the main shows, I promise, we will be back to positive vibes in a second, but have to say this is the first time in our cruising experience the shows were... well, just not there.... Between technical glitches, very poor sound engineering and overall flow, we did not find any of the shows interesting. We never have done that, but this time we walked away from all three main shows… On the flip side, comedians and magicians and all the other entertainers onboard were great: fresh, engaging, absolutely fantastic! Latino quartet in Boleros was phenomenal, I have no idea how they maintain that level of energy every night, but they were sensational. Onboard entertainment was even more important with so many days at sea and, overall, I would say we enjoyed it despite occasional glitches and disappointments, however the cruise to us is always about destinations and, of course there were a few very exciting ones this time. *** Ports of call *** We sailed away from the Cape Liberty New Jersey. Check-in and embarkation were immaculate. Fast, efficient, overall very pleasant. As we set sail we get to enjoy absolutely phenomenal view of Manhattan. View from the ship beats just about any Manhattan panorama we can think of, especially if one gets lucky with the weather, the light and overall ambience. Surprisingly fast we passed under Verrazano-Narrows Bridge with just 15 feet clearance and then we said "good bye" to the mainland for 9 nights. Our first stop was Bermuda. First time on this island for us and this was one of the reasons we picked this particular cruise. We were dreaming about visiting Bermuda for quite some time. With only one day here we wanted to make sure we get a feel for an island and get to see the historical St George (the old capital). Since tourists can not rent a car on Bermuda and scooters are not exactly our idea of fun, we opted for an excursion from Royal Caribbean that took us all the way around the island with a few short stops at Hamilton, St George, beach and the lighthouse. The tour was very informative, probably the best way to learn about the island in a short period of time we had. We loved how clean and civilized Bermuda is! Definitely sets it apart from many other islands we have been to. Hamilton was an OK place to visit, but we could not find anything special about it and surprisingly same goes for St George. We strolled through town, had a little lunch, explored a bit and yet could not figure out what is all the hype is about. Cannot say that we did not enjoy Bermuda, we did, but somehow we were expecting something special and extraordinary and that was just not the case. Maybe it is one of those places that you have to visit and explore on your own for a few days before you start truly enjoying and understanding it. I guess we may need to file it under "a follow up is required". After another day at sea we arrived to Sin Maarten. This is where we decided to stay on the ship since island is still recovering from the last year devastating hurricane and as much as we wanted to help with our tourist dollars, we could not find anything we wanted to do here especially since we have been here a few years back and the highlight of that trip: watching landing of Boeing 747 over Maho beach is hard to beat! Unfortunately, KLM no longer fly that beauty to Sin Martin, so we decided to take it easy and hang out on the ship. Next was Puerto Rico. Without a doubt our favorite destination on this trip. We docked at San Juan Cruise Port which put us straight in the old San Juan. We docked at 7:00 in the morning, the best part of the day, when stores are still closed, there is hardly anyone out and we have the entire town to ourselves. Very cool to walk these old streets, take in beautiful colorful Spanish houses and courtyards, make our way to the phenomenal Castillo San Felipe del Morro, explore this gorgeous old Spanish fort which is immaculately restored and preserved by the National Park Service. So many things to see, take pictures of and simply enjoy despite of the hot and humid tropical weather. Then make our way back to town via Passeo del Morro right by the straight that our ship followed. And get back to the city to taste Passion Fruit mojitos and mofongos for lunch at Raices, a nice little local place recommended to us by our new friends. Can this day get better? It absolutely can: the view from our stateroom as we sailed away speaks for itself. And that was one of the reasons we picked a stateroom on the right side of the ship, so that we can see this beautiful historical fort in all its glory as we sailed away. Our final stop was Labadee Haiti. It is Royal Caribbean private resort that is completely isolated from the rest of the country. They do a great job providing barbecue-style food and drinks from the ship (and yes, our premium drink package worked just fine there). Beach was a bit busy, but if one gets up early enough and makes way all the way to the end of the property (for the best view of the ship), it is possible to grab a spot under the tree and enjoy a peaceful and relaxing day. And after a hot day on the beach it is so nice to come back to your stateroom to enjoy your personal island of civilization. And what a beautiful island it is. *** The Stateroom *** We were overall very impressed with the stateroom, so we wanted to do a quick walk through to show what it looked like. As you enter the room, there is a thermostat that seemed to do a decent job maintaining cabin temperature as long as the balcony door stayed shut. On the left there is a bathroom that seemed better and larger than typical to us: Certainly, a nice touch to have a glass door rather than a flimsy curtain that still exists on some ships. Plenty of storage space around the vanity and a few useful hooks on the wall. Overall a very nice and contemporary feel... not only of the bathroom, but of the entire room. Aside from decor, a very important point is storage and surprisingly we had enough room to nicely distribute the content of our 4 suitcases. Crazy for two, right? Either way, there is a taller wardrobe on one side of the sofa and a shorter on the other side. But it does have couple of drawers underneath. This shorter wardrobe has a few shelves and a safe, which is not large enough for a laptop or even a decent size camera, then again, we were not entirely certain why we would need a safe on a ship anyway. There are couple of tiny night tables, one on either side of the bed. Unfortunately only one side has an outlet, but that's OK, we cut cord on this cruise and stayed disconnected, hence no need to recharge phones as often. There is additional storage above the bed. Handy for hats and bulky items such as snorkeling gear and what not. Opposite to the bed is a flat Samsung TV of a reasonable size. Not that we ever really watched it. Next we have another storage space with several shelves and a minifridge. Definitely better than a MiniBar! So that one can store bottled water or those two bottles of bubbly that they allow you to bring onboard. Seems that with the Drink Package came these souvenir mugs, but can't say we found them terribly useful, but to each his own. There is a table that can be moved around to have a room service breakfast or mess with the computer. Have to mention a very nice selection of outlets: two American, one European for which we brought an adapter just in case and two USB ports. All our cameras and gizmos that we had with us were well fed and super happy throughout the entire trip. One thing worth mentioning: Royal Caribbean will NOT let you bring an extension cord onboard. Probably a smart move considering that cheap ones can be a fire hazard. They also do not allow and do not provide Irons or even Steamers. Which, to be frank, is not a big deal at all considering that in this humidity everything de-wrinkle itself in no time. So, this room on Deck 11 cabin 604 was our home for nine magnificent nights this past summer. All good things eventually come to an end, so it is time for us to say good bye and toss a few coins into the ocean. Don't judge coins are completely biodegradable! More importantly, it has been our traditions for over 10 years of cruising: as long as you manage to hit the ocean with your coins on the last night of your sailing, you will be back. And I know that we will!! See you very soon Caribbean, take care and until next time… Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I choose this cruise because it was supported by the staff of Autism on the Seas for my daughter. Their volunteer staff are "Angels of the Seas" ( yes copied from another review.....love the phrase) The ability to travel with a ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it was supported by the staff of Autism on the Seas for my daughter. Their volunteer staff are "Angels of the Seas" ( yes copied from another review.....love the phrase) The ability to travel with a disabled adult "child" is a challenge. Autism on the Seas provides the assistance from start to finish and for the entire family., One needs to look beyond the title of the Organization as it is not just for folks with Autism, but a wide range of disabilities. Support for the individual and the entire family traveling is included. This was our second cruise with them. My daughter ( 31) PRESENTED HERSELF QUITE DIFFERENT THIS SECOND CRUISE. i did not expect her to be more of a challenge and needy this time. The ATOS staff were able to read through how we presented with different struggles and jumped into action with a plan of action,. They went above and beyond what I ever expected. Life with a special needs child has peaks and valleys and no two days are often alike, as I discovered no two cruises were alike. But the dynamics of our trip were not dampened, they were different and the ATOS staff were my angels to bring joys and happiness to days that were a slight struggle and different. I said on my second day to myself............never again......but by the end of the cruise.........I knew I would and will cruise again...................but only with TEAM ORANGE and Autism on the Seas......because only with them would I find some joy in each and every day on the cruise, despite the various challenges and moods of my beautiful daughter, peaks and valleys throughout life. Next time I bring more folks from my immediate family to share the whole experience with though. Thank you Royal Caribbean and Michael Shobbell for working as a team and supporting this population. Thank you for educating the general population as to our needs as well...... right down to the Cruise director mentioning ATOS in his morning shows !! The world is a more welcoming place when others support and understand! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our extended family took this celebratory family cruise for graduations & birthdays. We were thrilled to be able to depart right from NJ (much $$$ saved). Embarkation was smooth and easy which ended with an epic lunch at the ... Read More
Our extended family took this celebratory family cruise for graduations & birthdays. We were thrilled to be able to depart right from NJ (much $$$ saved). Embarkation was smooth and easy which ended with an epic lunch at the Windjammer. I love that they make everyone wash their hans before coming into the Windjammer as it is a massive ALL YOU CAN EAT buffet-style restaurant. Food is unending, everywhere, and nonstop. Dining in the more formal restaurants is defininely an experience not to be missed. Casual dining is also a wonderful option. RCCL's Anthem of the Seas is a BEAUTIFULLY DESIGNED young ship, massive in size, with cabins well-thought out design perfectly effecient for the longer tme spent on vacation. There are activities to be enjoyed by all age groups. Service is excellent by the cruise staff across the board. Port excursions are pricey if purchashed through RC, so look to buy well in advance of your departure date as they tend to be a bit less that purchasing them once of board (this also includes drink packages as purchasing drinks individually, EVEN WATER, and become very costly very quickly). You can also save more if you want to purchase excursions right from the locals who will greet you as you enter each port. Unfortunely, in Labadee, all excursions need to be purchesed through RCCL. All purchases made on board are done using your sign and sail card (the casino does NOT use the sign and sail card, but you can "withdraw" money from the card that you've registered with your sign and sail account plus a 5% proccessing fee). Also bring enough clothing for the length of your trip as there as no washers or dryer on board, but laundry service and ironing is offered for a fee, much like so many other services on RCCL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
The ship is very pretty and modern, but much narrower than Oasis class ships so therefore felt much more crowded. Impossible to get seats in the Solarium on sea days unless you were there by 7 am. Food in the Windjammer was sub par and ... Read More
The ship is very pretty and modern, but much narrower than Oasis class ships so therefore felt much more crowded. Impossible to get seats in the Solarium on sea days unless you were there by 7 am. Food in the Windjammer was sub par and also very crowded. I was unable to get turkey burgers like on Oasis and had to ask for chicken sausage, which were not on the buffet as on Oasis. As a Diamond member, I was unable to utilize the Diamond Lounge because I was not allowed a guest. I was traveling with my sister, who is a Platinum member, and did not want to go alone. I feel 1 guest should be allowed in with a member. On Labadee we went to Columbus Cove beach, which was a mistake. You have to pass by very pushy vendors wanting you to come shop at their kiosks. They were very annoying and a little frightening. The bumper cars, I fly, and Northstar were all fun. Food in the main dining room was very good as well. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
This is long – If you are in a hurry you should probably skip this one Family and Friends Cruise – Anthem of the Seas July 12, 2018 We are a group of sixteen – Ten adults and six children ages 5 – 15. We are all seasoned ... Read More
This is long – If you are in a hurry you should probably skip this one Family and Friends Cruise – Anthem of the Seas July 12, 2018 We are a group of sixteen – Ten adults and six children ages 5 – 15. We are all seasoned cruisers but this was our first RCCL cruise. We planned for eight months and I was the organizer. I booked everything I could ahead of time – dinners both MTD and Specialty. We had reservations for the three shows, I-fly and North Star. Most of the adults chose the Ultimate Drink package – but not all. The kids had either the soda or refreshment package. Only one excursion was booked (for my husband and I) – Golden Eagle Catamaran in St. Maarten. I have never had a bad vacation or a bad cruise – some have been better than others but the worst day on vacation is better than being home. The following are my impressions and opinions – some are positive and some less so. Port Liberty was a pleasure compared to other ports such as Miami or Ft. Lauderdale. I arrived at 11:15 and literally walked right on board. The Anthem is beautiful! I loved the décor throughout the ship. Although it is huge, it was easy to navigate and quite quickly we all got our sea legs. Cabins – Some of us were on deck 6 aft and our steward Kevin was fantastic! We were four in each cabin and he had our rooms cleaned twice a day every day so fast it seemed he was around a corner waiting for us to leave the room. We never wanted for towels, ice and we had lots of towel animals. Sadly, we all had door decorations and someone took my daughter’s. Dining Upon arrival we ate in Café 270 – the first of many visits during the cruise. Everything was very good. Immediately after I went to the Dining room to confirm our seating for 16. We were very happy to have the same two tables and wait staff throughout the cruise. We were asked to arrive at 5PM – we wanted to eat at 6PM and we compromised with 5:30 PM. Our meals were delicious! And the wait staff fabulous! Always smiles for the kids – and always second helpings without even asking! Aleat and I Gusti were the best waiters ever! Chefs Table – Six of us enjoyed this. My only comment is be careful of all that wine! There are six courses all paired with wine – it sneaks up on you! Great experience. (At least what I remember!) Chops Grille – The steak was delicious! Service excellent. Jamies Italian - Entrees are generous in size and very authentic. Solarium Bistro – Nice dinner – many Greek inspired dishes. Windjammer – Always seemed crowded, but not difficult to find a seat or two. Food always hot and tasty. Bars My favorite night spot was the Schooner Bar – I loved listening to the piano player. The Brass and Bock had the best bartenders – shout out to Xavier and Marshall! Entertainment The Tribute Band was the Police –Excellent!!! If you closed your eyes you would swear you were listening to Sting. The Music Hall is set up like a nightclub. Nice, but not always easy to get a seat – more on this later. The Gift – I have no idea what the story line was about, but the singing was great and I enjoyed it for that. Rock of Ages – Starts out a bit slow but the last 30 minutes are spectacular. Spectra Cabaret – Unfortunately I did not like this at all. It is very reminiscent of Cirque de Soleil – not my thing. Activities I-Fly, Northstar, Bumper Cars, and The Arcade- the kids loved all of these. We did not do Flow Rider. We also did not play Bingo. Pools – Chair hogs were out in force! One sea day we went to pool deck at 7:30AM – no chairs near the kiddie pool! We took two further outside but a pool attendant came by at 8 AM and removed towels from six chairs near where we really wanted to sit! We scrambled over and grabbed two of them! At 10 AM a family came by looking for their “stuff” – and were very annoyed that we were in their chairs. We sent them to the attendant, but they were grumbling all the way. Three hours later!! Solarium – Nice looking area but almost impossible to find a chair in the main area after lunch. Spa This was a huge disappointment. Three of us booked massages at the same time. The treatments were great – no complaints. However, we all paid for a day pass to use the facilities which include a steam room, sauna and the thermal suite – all of which are co-ed! Within the thermal suite is a lovely rain shower – we stood guard for each other! While we laid on the thermal loungers, we had three men enjoying the room with us! Also lacking in the ladies changing area were any grooming products – no lotions, q-tips, combs etc. and although there were robes, there were no spa shoes. Without a doubt the worst Spa experience at sea for me. Kids Clubs The four younger kids in our group were able to stay together and this was a great plus. The counselors took the kids to dinner between 5 – 7 PM which was a great help for the nights we ate in the Specialty Restaurants. The drop off and pick up seemed off to us. Once designated, anyone could pick up the kids – but only the parents could drop them off. The two older girls (12 – 15) did not go to the Teen Club because they were not able to stay together. Overall, the younger kids liked being in the kids club and enjoyed the activities there. PORTS Bermuda was a washout – but we walked around the Dockyard (mostly in the rain) and had a very expensive lunch at The Frog and Onion – I had to have a Rum Swizzle! St. Maarten – Some of our group took the water taxi to the beach. My husband and I did the Golden Eagle Catamaran – I highly recommend this! We had a great time. The crew was terrific and we enjoyed the snorkeling and the beach. There were endless rum punches and beer as well as soda and water. Sandwiches were served on the way back. San Juan – This port was my least favorite – There simply wasn’t enough time to really do much. Having been to Puerto Rico many times, we just walked around for a while. I stopped by my favorite ‘knock off’ purse stand on the way back to the ship. Labadee – This was our favorite stop!!! We had purchased a Beach Bungalow. Although they say it fits 6 people – all of us used it without any issues. We had extra loungers set up in front of the bungalow and the kids were either in the water or on the sand. We had a great waiter who we tipped as soon as we got there who kept us happy with fresh drinks all day! Labadoozies! The lunch was good – lots of food. We all enjoyed it. Observations: The Anthem is a beautiful ship with great amenities. The trade-off for this is you must plan every minute of every day. In order to get a decent seat at a show you have to go 45 minutes in advance. You must reserve the rides in advance. To enjoy the pool, you have to go at the crack of dawn. Lots of time was spent waiting for something to happen. I did not find this ship to be relaxing. For the most part, it did not bother me, but I think my preference is a smaller environment. As for RCCL – The Royal IQ did not work more than it did. The WOW band needs to be fixed. Removing it to pay for something defeated the purpose. They seemed a bit flimsy. My grandson’s broke 2 hours after he got it. One of the adult’s fell off in the water twice. Also, you still needed your card to get on and off the ship. The communication on board was not very good. It seemed we spent a lot of time at guest services. On a positive note, I left a jacket in the Music Hall and it was in Lost and Found! It was a great vacation and I would not hesitate to cruise on RCCL again, but probably on a smaller vessel. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
St Maarten was disappointing. A lot of damage from storms.Labadee was awesome. Zip line was great. And beaches as soon as you get off boat we’re great. Puerto Rico is nice. Just shopped. Love horseshoe bay in Bermuda. My best beach ever. ... Read More
St Maarten was disappointing. A lot of damage from storms.Labadee was awesome. Zip line was great. And beaches as soon as you get off boat we’re great. Puerto Rico is nice. Just shopped. Love horseshoe bay in Bermuda. My best beach ever. Ships promenade was ok, thought it could be nicer. Food was same as any other ship. Casino is above average. Plus I won so that helps. Haha.Solarium was awesome in front of ship, 4 hot tubs and I think 4 little pools. Very cool. Bayonne is an absolute awesome terminal. Easy on and off. Had same waiter and table throughout cruise. Kept our drinks coming and gave us extra servings of food no problem. Always would give us his recommendations. Shopping on ship I don’t recommend. Saw nice sturhling watch for 1195, haha, on sale for 250. Found it online for 225. Also booking another cruise on ship was more expensive by 400 bucks. They try to catch you in the moment, be careful. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were celebrating my 70th and our 40th anniversary. I upgraded to a Grand Suite, 1 bedroom, for this cruise ( the upsell price was right $$). The amenities that came with the suite were exactly what I wanted. My husband and I were ... Read More
We were celebrating my 70th and our 40th anniversary. I upgraded to a Grand Suite, 1 bedroom, for this cruise ( the upsell price was right $$). The amenities that came with the suite were exactly what I wanted. My husband and I were very happy and well taken care of. Priority Embarkation and Disembarkation MUSTER DRILL: ours was in Silk on 4th deck; roll call then watched video which was hard to see and hear if you were not near screen. FORGET trying to get elevator after muster; we went up steps to 12th deck. FOOD: very good: we ate almost all meals in COASTAL KITCHEN (one of the amenities). (menu could use some changes; the same lunch and dinner every day). There were some changes each day, but always the same changes. I am picky eater and wanted more variety instead of chicken. i.e., pork loin or stir fry, etc. The personal service made us feel like royalty. We did eat one lunch in CHIC, and were disappointed. We ate twice in Windjammer (off peak times) and liked the food there. DESSERTS were very good. SPECIALTY Dining For my Birthday we ate at Wonderland. Highly recommend (even though I am picky eater) there were several non fishy dishes for me to eat. It was truly a very special treat. ROOM SERVICE: almost every day for breakfast ,very good: (free, one of the amenities). Room Steward was outstanding, It was like magic, room was always made up, breakfast dishes always removed in timely manner. He, Emanuel, was always friendly and accommodating always with a smile. Never had to ask twice. SHIP'S EXCURSIONS lame, I did bus tours on St. Maarten and San Juan rain forest. My husband loved the zip line on St. Maarten (his first). We both went on rain forest drive. Most of the forest is closed due to hurricane damage. Rocky, our driver, was the only thing that made the long drive to get there interesting. Labadee, Barefoot Beach (one of the amenities) was nice but personal service is what made it relaxing and special. BIG CON: Ship's announcements are not heard in cabins or balconies (only in emergency, like ABANDON SHIP). One of us had to run to open cabin door to hear announcements in hallway. CABIN 12246 has an extra deep balcony, fantastic; this is why I book a cruise, for the balcony. The location could not have been better. SHOWS: we did not care for The Gift (husband slept through it); Spectra's Cabaret. We did enjoy We Will Rock You. All shows have great singers and dancers. My husband went to the GYM almost every day and no complaints. I would go again only if had same type of cabin with huge balcony and amenities (for $$ I paid). Would like longer and different itinerary on another ship. I am sorry that I don't know how to get pics from my phone to here. Take my word for it, Balcony was AWESOME. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We were looking for a relaxing cruise with plenty to do on the ship. In that respect, this cruise was perfect. The port stops were very short, but we were happy on this trip with exploring on our own for a few hours. The entertainment ... Read More
We were looking for a relaxing cruise with plenty to do on the ship. In that respect, this cruise was perfect. The port stops were very short, but we were happy on this trip with exploring on our own for a few hours. The entertainment on the ship was very good. The We will Rock you show was among the best I have ever seen on a cruise. It could be on Broadway without any changes as it was also longer than most cruise productions. The major issue with this ship is that lots of things were very crowded. On nice days, the pool area was packed. The main theater was always completely filled, and one needed to get there well before a show to get a decent seat. The Two70 lounge area is great, but when shows were held there you had to arrive even earlier than at the Royal Theater to get a good seat. The Music Hall was even worse in this regard, and in my opinion should not be used for anything that is expected to draw a crowd. The food was fine. One plus is the number of venues with complimentary food, and the availability of healthy choices on the ship. We had My Time dining, but were encouraged to make a standing early reservation so that we could keep the same table and waiters all week. That worked well for us, but seemed to be contrary to the flexibility that my time dining was suppose to provide. We never had to wait for a table, but were told if we wanted to eat at more popular it was likely we would have to wait. Getting off the ship was among the worst run events. They were about an hour behind the published schedule, and then after getting our luggage, there was a long wait to go through customs. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
I just got off yesterday and DO NOT recommend it. I have been on a number of cruises and this was my 1st RC cruise, so I am unsure whether the ship or the company (or both) is poorly run, but my guess (based on the interactions prior ... Read More
I just got off yesterday and DO NOT recommend it. I have been on a number of cruises and this was my 1st RC cruise, so I am unsure whether the ship or the company (or both) is poorly run, but my guess (based on the interactions prior to sailing with the website and 800 #) is that it is both. About the food - it is not overall good, But the food in the main dining room is good and the Solarium restaurant - but only for dinner. At the other meal times, the food is the same as the Windjammer (which is the buffet) - and this is nothing special at all. And, they do not have anywhere near enough seating. The lack of accommodations is an overall theme for the ship - they obviously gave up accommodations so they could jam in more cabins. They fit 4,967 guests on the ship but do not have the accommodations for that many people. they are constantly running out of supplies. On day 6 of our 9 day cruise, a woman at our table wanted ketchup for something, and was told they had run out. This was typical. They have an awful space, called two70, where they hold some shows. Unless you get there hours (literally) early to save a seat, you cannot see a thing. there are probably 20 good seats in the place. And, while they have a projection screen, they don't use it well. During the Quest show, most of the time, instead of showing what was happening on the stage, they showed the Quest logo - lots of people just walked out. They also have shows that are not announced on the Compass (their list of activities) - there were dance productions on the last day that were not listed anywhere. And, it was raining that day so a lot of people were looking for something to do. Again, very poorly run ship The staff will give you 5 different answers if you ask 5 different people - they generally do not know what they are talking about. As one example, because the ship was swaying so much, shows had to be canceled and rescheduled. They would announce the re-scheduled day and time, so if you had tickets that's when to show up. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Except, guest services told you that you had to re-book, contradicting what was announced. And, the paper Compass listing said the same thing as the announcement, but the digital versions of they Compass on the screens said the same thing as Guest Services -- confusing. Thus type of thing was typical on the cruise. And, it seems RC is nickle and diming you on everything. For example, now if one adult gets a drink package, all adults in the stateroom also have to buy a drink package. One day, they had cotton candy available in one spot on the main floor. But, you had to pay $3 for it - seriously? Their sea passes now cannot have holes punched in them, so you pretty much have to have a lanyard that has a plastic pouch, or buy it from them for $9. etc., etc. Also, I think the ship's stabilizers do not work correctly. I was speaking with a travel agent, and she said the same thing. We did hit a rough sea day, and that is fine. One cannot control the weather and, given the size and power of the Atlantic, any ship can have a rough time. But, you could feel the ship moving and swaying, noticeably, on the other days, too. And, you could feel the engines running, especially when they started and stopped on the port days. That just doesn't seem right. Our waitstaff at dinner were great as was Travis, who was our iFly instructor. But overall, I do not think the staff care too much about the passengers. Again, a reflection of how the ship is managed and run, I believe. Below, I gave the cabin an average rating b/c the room was actually nicer and larger than expected. But, the cabin attendant was awful. Given the price tag, you can find a much more enjoyable cruise - try NCL, my experiences on their ships were always good. I hope this was helpful to you. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Anthem of the Seas July 12 2018 I am a Diamond member on Royal and am writing this review as a long time cruiser. The ship is absolutely gorgeous the crew keep her spotless and she really has unique charm. That being said the ship ... Read More
Anthem of the Seas July 12 2018 I am a Diamond member on Royal and am writing this review as a long time cruiser. The ship is absolutely gorgeous the crew keep her spotless and she really has unique charm. That being said the ship IS CROWDED. Keep in mind we were sailing during peak summer vacation time. I was shocked because the Oasis class never felt remotely crowded compared to this. The windjammer was an absolute nightmare during breakfast and lunch however the great news is they offer a great breakfast in cafe 270 as well as a full buffet in the Solarium Bistro for breakfast and lunch. We thoroughly enjoyed it there and it was never crowded. The food in the main dining room for dinner was excellent. We were at my time dining and traveling with three other cabins so on the first night we asked to have a table for ten every night at 730. They were very accommodating and had top notch service every night. Table 701 in American Icon Ricardo was our waiter and Remzi was our head waiter. Ricardo brought out as much as you wanted and often brought things we never ordered just to try. Cannot say enough about the staff... excellent all around. We ate at Chops and Jaimie’s Italian as well both meals were excellent and very memorable. I highly recommend Jaimie’s for the homemade pastas and pear prosciutto and arugula salad. The cabins... I had balcony cabin 8264 and honestly it may have been the best balcony cabin I ever had. Loved the layout it was huge. Tons of storage, large tv and refrigerator. The best part was you could shower leave the bathroom door open and have a full view of the ocean from the glass enclosed shower. The entertainment was great really enjoyed “The Gift” and “Spectra’s Cabaret”. My favorite was the “Police Experience” who were amazing. If you are a music fan definitely check them out. Our cruise stopped at Bermuda, St Maarten, San Juan, and Labadee. Bermuda was great have been several times we wandered around town and did some shopping. St. Maarten was wonderful as we took a van to Divi Little Bay resort which was only $5pp and spent the day at the beautiful beach. Beach chairs were $5. It’s amazing the money we saved by doing our own excursion. San Juan I stayed onboard to use the pools as I have been numerous times and rather be on the Anthem. Labadee was great but extremely crowded 4500 people fighting for a spot at the various beaches. Fellow passengers were often downright rude to the point we witnessed many arguments throughout the sailing. It’s pretty sad when people have to fight and push over buffet food, pool chairs, and seats in the theater. When the elevators open let the people off before barging in. In general I loved the ship but it was WAY too crowded for me. I also didn’t like the pool towel policy. It became quite a pain especially waiting twenty minutes for towels as you were getting off to Labadee. NCL does this right they provide you towels in your stateroom and replace them daily and have a desk by the pool. Hopefully RC changes this policy in the future. Overall a great trip and made many memories with our traveling companions. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
My family chose this cruise for a sweet 16 alternative. Spent the entire ten days being nickel and dimed for mediocre on board entertainment. Drinks were expensive. Internet was expensive and basically a necessity if you traveled with a ... Read More
My family chose this cruise for a sweet 16 alternative. Spent the entire ten days being nickel and dimed for mediocre on board entertainment. Drinks were expensive. Internet was expensive and basically a necessity if you traveled with a group. All of the good food costed extra. Our shore excursions got cancelled because of weather in Bermuda and we had to hunt down three separate sections on the ship to get a straight answer about a refund. Which ended up being NON REFUNDABLE ON BOARD CREDIT. also getting off the boat was a joke. They lost our luggage. It took me over 45 minutes and 6 employees to find it only to wait on a line where they only had 3 customs agents and they weren't even checking bags. They glanced at your passport and sent you outside. Try a different cruise line, a lot of other guests on board recommended Norwegian!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Our daughter was invited to perform on the ship with her dance company. I felt the design of the ship could use some revamping. Quite a few of the music venues were right next to each other and you could hear 3 or 4 different songs mixed ... Read More
Our daughter was invited to perform on the ship with her dance company. I felt the design of the ship could use some revamping. Quite a few of the music venues were right next to each other and you could hear 3 or 4 different songs mixed together when you were shopping in the promenade. Also, it was very congested at the promenade shopping area which made it hard to get to the theater and other locations. The nearest restroom to the dining room was in the casino which was not ideal for our 13 year olds to have to walk through. We had one person at our table who needed a gluten free menu and for whatever reason, they never received their meal at the same time as the rest of the table so everyone was left waiting for it before starting to eat, thus resulting in cold food. The Music Hall location was where quite a few family entertainment activities took place after dinner. It was too small for such a large amount of people resulting in us sitting on the floor most nights. The shows all had to be booked ahead of time if we wanted out group of 9 to be together. When you have to schedule every activity and be somewhere at a certain time everyday, that is not much of a vacation. We booked our own tour on the island of St Maarten through Bernard's Tours and I would highly recommend it! Our driver was "Mailman" and he is wonderful! This was my second time visiting the island and the second time I requested he be our driver. He is very personable and will make your tour exactly what you want it to be! We all agreed this was our best day of the cruise along with Labadee! I will sail on Royal Caribbean again however I think a smaller ship is more my style! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Have been on 6 cruises, 5 with RCC. This being the second departing from the USA. Cape Liberty was expensive to get to by taxi from Manhatten, NCL cruises depart much closer to mid-town. Had two large interior cabins with virtual balcony, ... Read More
Have been on 6 cruises, 5 with RCC. This being the second departing from the USA. Cape Liberty was expensive to get to by taxi from Manhatten, NCL cruises depart much closer to mid-town. Had two large interior cabins with virtual balcony, trading the real balcony for more cabin room, especially with so many days at sea it seemed sensible. Both main dining rooms pretty crowded by 6pm, with tables really close together. American Icon dining room decor much nicer than the Silk restaurant, but there was no difference in the food which was fine overall.The speciality restaurants charged an extra $30/$40 a head extra which is a large increase when you've already paid for a decent restaurant meal in your cruise price. The drink packages are an absolute rip-off. Two drinks packages (which you have to buy as a pair), would have cost just over $1300! RCC, just reduce your bar prices, you'll sell more alcohol and won't appear so ruthless. On a sea day don't bother fighting the hoards at the Windjammer for breakfast after 9am and searching endlessly for a table, its best to go to the Solarium Bistro. There are less people there, more seats, and I noticed senior members of the crew eating there as well. Food in the Windjammer was fine with plenty of variety, its cakes and deserts in the evening were exceptional. We noticed that after people had eaten in the main dining room they would gravitate to the Windjammer to enjoy the deserts laid out there. Ship entertainment was ok. The music hall was always packed so get there early. The 70s night started well with classic disco sounds being played. Then the stage was occupied and the host dancers encouraged a sort of disco line dancing! The Karaoke was hilarious, every screeching amateur was wildly applauded (would have been heckled off in the UK). The Spectres cabaret was over hyped. 'We Will Rock You' ...was it really written by political satirist Ben Elton, it seemed a little over simplified in terms of the storyline? 'The Police Experience' was excellent if you are of that period. We enjoyed StMaarten which had a cheap water taxi and great beach. Didn't go to the airport experience as the amount of large jets during the week has declined due the aftermath of the hurricane, there were only two small jets due that afternoon, so saved cash not going.Make sure to load up on decently priced rum cocktails at the Mojito Lemon stand before reboarding, amazing flavours and measures, we were sorted for that evening! Next stop, old San Juan was enchanting, found the original Pina Colada bar, excellent.Labadee was great and the lunch ashore was fine. Had one trip on the Rip Cord skydiving simulator which was one minute of real fun.Flow rider seemed quite empty, on Med cruises it seemed busier. Big queues to get on the bumper cars, not helped by 'concierge' assisted passengers being allowed to cut the queue.....still it was fun targeting them to take revenge! To sum up,it was a crowded ship by design. According to staff the numbers drop onboard later into the hurricane season.As a passenger you have to be a bit savvy or your final bill will catch you out. RCC have become too greedy and are at risk of alienating their core customers. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Cruise was great, exceptionally high standards of cleanliness, lots of things to do in day and night. Food was varied and plentiful. The staff were friendly, always happy to have a chat and help with whatever you need. Boarding was easy ... Read More
Cruise was great, exceptionally high standards of cleanliness, lots of things to do in day and night. Food was varied and plentiful. The staff were friendly, always happy to have a chat and help with whatever you need. Boarding was easy and very fast, we booked to board at 11.30am so we could make the most of it. Disembarkment was a different story. Long queues, may be better to take your luggage off with you rather than have them take it off for you. Don't book any trips through the cruise as much cheaper to get off the ship and take private taxis and pay for excursions yourself. Look at excursions then contact the company direct to make a booking, we saved a fortune doing this. Cruise stops were great, would have loved to do longer at each port but there wasn't much time. Highly recommend this cruise, it was my first so was very pleasantly surprised by everything. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Overall, Anthem is a good ship. The itinerary was good. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. We were impressed that our luggage was waiting for us when we arrived at our cabin on Day 1. However, Oasis is better than Anthem in 3 ways: ... Read More
Overall, Anthem is a good ship. The itinerary was good. Embarkation was smooth and efficient. We were impressed that our luggage was waiting for us when we arrived at our cabin on Day 1. However, Oasis is better than Anthem in 3 ways: 1) Food in Windjammers - Oasis had a theme every day, whereas Anthem had pretty much the same food for 9 days. On one of the sea days, the meat was not cooked thoroughly. In general, food was bland. 2) Internet Service - connectivity was spotty and not reliable. One night, the Internet was completely down for 12 hours. 3) Guest Service - We asked for help twice over the phone and twice at the physical location on Deck 4. The staff were not very helpful. Cabin attendant did the bear minimum. We only got towel animal on our beds on the first night. (On other cruises, and Oasis, we got a different towel animal every single night.) Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I chose this cruise because my partner wanted to travel with Royal Caribbean. I have only travelled with P&O and Princess before. I was disappointed with Royal Caribbean in that their quality of food in the main restaurant was not up ... Read More
I chose this cruise because my partner wanted to travel with Royal Caribbean. I have only travelled with P&O and Princess before. I was disappointed with Royal Caribbean in that their quality of food in the main restaurant was not up to the standard of the other two cruise lines that I had cruised with. Also formal evenings were not formal at all - in fact I felt out of place in my long dress with my partner in his DJ as most other people turned up in their shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, jeans and bandanas. Was not really acceptable for a formal evening. Their staff were mostly unfriendly and under pressure and although the ship was really lovely, the overall ambience was not as it should have been on a relaxing cruise. A little disappointing, but have learnt that maybe I should stick with P&O and Princess. Shame - will probably not choose Royal Caribbean again ! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
The food was not good at all,no better than Dinner food at home.The service was good but the ship had too many guests and not enough room in the shows to fit everyone.The bingo was run very poorly a lot of issues(bad issues)Breakfast was ... Read More
The food was not good at all,no better than Dinner food at home.The service was good but the ship had too many guests and not enough room in the shows to fit everyone.The bingo was run very poorly a lot of issues(bad issues)Breakfast was not the best due to the large amount of guests on the ship(hard to find a table to eat on)The food was like dinner food,not the best quality at all.Also not enough chairs at the pools to sit on.The pools were also too small (not enough room for all the guests)Sometimes the waiting lines at the main dinning room were 1 hour,not good at all.The ships private island was not up to par as other cruise lines were.The food on the private island was bad also,and not served hot.The drink service was also not up to par.Over all this ship was a big disappointment.I would not return to this ship ever again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Sailed on 9 night cruise in two balcony cabins with DH, DS-15, DD-9 and mother who uses a combination transport wheelchair/walker to get around. I will start with the great things about this cruise. Perfect vacation for my diabled ... Read More
Sailed on 9 night cruise in two balcony cabins with DH, DS-15, DD-9 and mother who uses a combination transport wheelchair/walker to get around. I will start with the great things about this cruise. Perfect vacation for my diabled mother. Wheelchair accessible balcony cabin the perfect size and ammenities to address her mobility issues. Bathroom/curbless shower big enough to accomodate her walker. The wheelchair acomodations throughout the ship are also great (all doors open automatically, wide public spaces). Some limited wheelchair seating at shows and Windjammer but could almost always find a space to accomodate her if I spent the time to do so and planned ahead. Great activities for the whole family. The kids and I did everything on this boat but advanced planning both before we left on the website and on the IQ app on board is a must. Without advanced planning there is no way to book all the activities. The kids and I did the trapeze school and bumper cars in the Sportsplex immediately on the afternoon of boarding. No lines before everyone else finds it. Had other opportunities to do them again later but with lines (which were not really that bad). We pre-booked I-Fly andNorthstar on the website. Both were great unique opportunities. We also did the rock wall and rollerskating by getting there early when it opened. Booked a group lesson on the Flowrider for my teenager on the App about mid cruise. What a good idea that was. Scheduled for the evening of the last day. Only two teens signed up so he had almost a private lesson for a hour with two great instructors. Was unable to book the Escape Room for myself before we left or on board on the App but kept checking it and was able to book the second to last day. It was well worth the extra effort if you're a puzzle person. Before I sailed I read other reviews here of folks that did everything on the ship and I agree with them, the key is to be a hyper-planner and use the tools RCCL gives. If you do not pre-book and use the IQ App you will not be able to do everything. That type of planning is not everyone's idea of a vacation so to each his own. It worked for us. There were a ton of people on line for the activities customer service on the first day who had not booked anything ahead of time Watched and listened to them complain about not being able to book what they wanted to do on the ship while we ate lunch in the lounge. Some very loud and angry folks yelling at cruise staff. Security even had to get involved with one passenger who was causing quite a disruption in expressing his anger. The food and the staff in the MDR was great. I don't see the point of paying for upgraded dining when you have already paid for your meals in the price of the crusie. We were not disappointed even once in the MDR. Did a set dinner time of 5:30pm every night so we had the same waitstaff. The staff was excellent and we are not picky eaters so it fit our needs, might not be to everyone's standards if you are going on the cruise for the dining alone. Now for the bad. The children's program was horrible. Now, I will admit, I am comparing to the Disney cruise we took last Summer and that may be unfair to RCCL as Disney has quite an advantage, but it was just bad. My DD was in the 9-11 age range. The dedicated space was a very small room with basically nothing in it but coloring pages and puzzles. The programing consisted of 8-10 different games where the kids threw a ball at one another. That was all there was in the programming guide day after day. The staff was not trained at all to work with kids, only to sign them in and out. My daughter went the first night and said she never wanted to go back. The boys in the program just threw the ball very hard and most of the girls just sat down and colored. She did go back two more times saying she wanted to see a friend who she met in the pool who was supposed to go but came back saying the same thing about the bad programing each time. RCCL could do so much more. Bigger space. Some actual programing. I cannot comment on the program for the younger kids. The room for the pre-schoolers looked like it had some very nice ammentities for the kids to play with. The ship has a lovely science room in the kids area. Not one program for the kids in the science room unless it was for a family program where the kids stayed with the parents in the room. What a waste of a nice space that could make their program for the kids in the evening so much better. The teen program for 15-17 was non existent. No dedicated space. Limited programing. Basically no program at all. The shows were also horrible. We saw the Gift. While waiting on line to get in a man walked by and commented to his wife that the show was "no gift". He was right. No plot. No way to follow anything that was going on. The special effects and performances were actually very good but wasted on this production. Rock of Ages was the same. No plot that could be follow but good preformers doing their best with the mess of a show. We skipped Spectra's Cabinet after seeing the first two shows. The comedians and game shows were entertaining. Bingo was way overpriced and poorly run. They kept saying they were going to stop selling cards to start the game on time but keep selling and started very late. Family Karaoke was well run and fun if you arrived early to get a space. Overall, a good value for the money with lost of activties for the whole family. But a disappointment in kids programs. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this ship as it appeared there was so much for my 10, 13 and 15yr olds to do onboard. First, there were no poolside or ship activities for kids to do- no children in our group wanted to spend the days inside at “camp” playing ... Read More
We chose this ship as it appeared there was so much for my 10, 13 and 15yr olds to do onboard. First, there were no poolside or ship activities for kids to do- no children in our group wanted to spend the days inside at “camp” playing dodgeball everyday without the option to swim or experience other kids activities. This ship needs hair braiding, henna tattoos pool games, giveaways and other poolside activities that other ships and resorts have to offer. By not having these things, much time is wasted on the islands as this is the only place where these things are available. Additionally, for a ship this size, the one small outdoor pool is not enough. People were crammed in there (especially during the World Cup) and there were never enough chairs (people every day we’re on towels on the pool deck floor). If the pool was to capacity, the only other option was to pile into the indoor pool, which again, was small and mediocre at best. The Solarium (adults only pool area) was also an indoor pool which was extremely hot and stuffy. The band only played for short intervals sporadically during the day- they were fantastic, wish we could have heard more. The food (especially at Windjammer) was not impressive, though I do have to say it improved in the dining room after day 4. The service in the dining room however, was outstanding- ask for the waiter Aleat if you have anytime dining or Michael the assistant waiter- both were absolutely amazing... night. In terms of organization, we felt that this was lacking on several different occasions. First, one of our drink packages was not linked to the wristband for the entire duration of our vacation. This resulted in my wasting hours (upwards of 5) over the course of the trip at Guest Services to remove inapplicable charges to the account. The lines moved very slowly and it was extremely inconvenient and disappointing that I had to spend so much of my time resolving an issue that was promised to be rectified on Day 1 but continued through the early night hours on our last night- 8 nights later! Our favorite night spot was The Pub. Great, cheap pub food (we had to eat here a few times as the free food on the ship is extremely tiresome). They also offer a variety of beers that no other place on the ship does- inclusive of a few varieties of IPA’s. Our favorite crew member here was Myron- he was absolutely amazing and we enjoyed him immensely. In summary, Royal needs more attention to detail. The activities on board are lacking tremendously. The shows (that were unavailable to make reservations for) were impossible to get into- including the 4th of July party. This led to many unhappy and disgruntled cruisers, which is really too bad. The ship is beautiful and I really enjoyed being on the large ship. But with the large numbers, the flow and demand needs to be much better planned and accounted for. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018

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