Day of Cruise
Philly to Port Liberty
Left home at about 7:45 AM and headed up the NJ turnpike to I-95 N towards NY. Following the car's GPS, got off at the Bayonne exit. After a short drive with just a few turns, arrived at ... Read More
Day of Cruise
Philly to Port Liberty
Left home at about 7:45 AM and headed up the NJ turnpike to I-95 N towards NY. Following the car's GPS, got off at the Bayonne exit. After a short drive with just a few turns, arrived at the terminal at around 10 AM. After dropping off our one large bag, parked inside the main parking garage right next to the terminal. It was just a very short walk to the terminal with our two wheeled carry on bags. Check in was the easiest of all cruises we've ever taken! Check in, from start to finish, took only about 15 minutes. Since it was still rather early, we sat in chairs till it was announced we could board. Boarding started at about 10:45. Everything was so organized! One row of seats was called at a time. Therefore, there was no pushing, shoving, or bumping into others. Naturally, everyone made a bee line towards the Windjammer for a bite to eat so the elevators were rather crowded. That’s just the nature of Day 1. Muster drill was at 3:30 and just as soon as it ended, the lines were cast off and away we went. I have to mention that the skyline of NYC was awesome and seeing the Statue of Liberty was breathtaking. It was way cool passing under the VN Bridge! Lots of applause after we “barely” made it safely through. My wife and I started to explore the ship but it was set up a lot differently than every other Royal ship we've sailed on. The Allure was like that when we first sailed her but we got to be good friends after a few days. As time goes on, we will have seen a great deal of what this ship offers but by then, it will be time to end our vacation.
Dinner on Day 1 was at Chops. What else is there to say except that the food was simply the best. Tomorrow night's dinner will be at Jaimie's Italian and we're really looking forward to that.
Day 2- sea day
After breakfast, hung out at the Solarium for most of the day. It's such a restful and beautiful place. We explored more of the ship and what we saw was amazing. Bumper cars at sea? Who would have thought? Although we didn’t go on them, it was fun watching everyone else really enjoying themselves!
Dinner was at Jaimie's Italian. Could it top Chops? A very tough comparison, but they were both really great! We had a meat AND a veggie plank for starters and they were delicious. Our main dishes were crab fettuccini and another equally yummy pasta dish but the name escapes me. The lemon meringue cheesecake, for dessert, was out of this world.
Day 3: Arrival at Bermuda. After breakfast, left the ship and grabbed a shuttle to Horseshoe Bay. It was only $7 per person which I thought was very reasonable. It was a very scenic drive of about 25 minutes from the pier. Upon entering the beach area, we took a right turn and stayed at the rock protected area where the water was like glass and only about waist high. Although slathered with sunscreen, the sun, in a cloudless sky, was extremely hot. After about an hour, we decided to leave before being burnt to a crisp. Our shuttle driver said the water temp was 83 degrees which sort of felt like being in a hot tub
Tues. Day 4: Bermuda
Spent most of the morning exploring the Royal Naval Dockyard. In particular, we concentrated on The Keep, a place steeped in so much of Bermuda's history. The Commissioner's House offered probably the best view of the port. There were old cannons pointing directly at the Anthem which was kind of scary even though they were inoperative. After that, off to the Dolphin Quest. Although we didn't participate, it was awesome to watch these magnificent animals perform for, and with the tourists. The hot sun had been beating down on us for a few hours now and was beginning to take its toll. Naturally, I forgot to put on sun block and didn't think to wear my baseball cap. Before we burnt to a crisp, we headed back towards the ship before noon. First, we stopped at a little pub for some ice cold beer (me) and bottled water for my wife. The A/C on the ship was very welcomed!
Tuesday's dinner was probably the best of any cruise we've ever taken! It was prime rib and lobster night! First of all our six tablemates were the greatest and funniest people we've ever sat with! Nothing but jokes, laughs, and good conservation all night. But the best part was that after we began eating our entree, our server brought out a huge plate with three extra lobster tails per person! To say we were in heaven would be an understatement! It's tough to decide which was better- the specialty dining at Chops and Jaimie's or the MDR with the prime rib/ lobster combo.
Day 5: Wed. Sea day
Calm seas and smooth sailing on the way back to Bayonne. A bittersweet day knowing all this is coming to an end.
We had breakfast at the Solarium and have decided that it's much better than fighting the lines at the Windjammer. At about 9:14, the captain came on the PA system and announced if we would all observe a moment of silence to commemorate the 18th anniversary of 9/11. You could hear a pin drop during the minute everyone thought back to that tragic day on a beautiful September morning. When the captain came back on the PA to thank everyone for their cooperation, there was still silence and people were still quiet as they reflected on the darkest day in our history. A very poignant moment aboard the Anthem.
Back to our cabin where we saw those dreaded green luggage tags for Thursday’s debarkation. The reality that a great cruise was about to come to an end.
We sat at a table for eight with some really great people! I remarked that Royal threw “all the bad apples in the same barrel!” Every night, we laughed so hard while sharing all kinds of stories. On Tuesday night, prime rib and lobster tails were on the menu. We all got the surf and turf. Our waiter, without being asked, brought out a huge plate with three extra lobster tails for each person! To say we left stuffed would be an understatement! All of us had so much fun that we were always the last to leave the 5:30 PM seating.
Day 6: Debarkation.
We opted for self-carry off since we were parked at the garage next to the terminal. So, at about 8:00 AM, we sadly walked down the gangway to the customs area. There wasn’t much of a line at customs, but we used a porter to save a little time. Customs was such a breeze! They used facial recognition which took all of .001 seconds and we were out of the terminal! I didn’t notice if there were agents or the facial recognition for those waiting in line, but it was sure a pleasant ending for a fantastic cruise.
Final Thoughts and Observations:
Port Liberty has things down to a science. It was the easiest and fastest boarding process I’ve ever had in my 16 cruises. Everyone who works there deserves a round of applause! All the other ports should use Bayonne’s model. Leaving the ship was just as easy with no stress at all.
Most of the people I encountered were from PA (like us), NJ, NY, and other nearby states. Everyone, without exception, was fun, pleasant, helpful, and mannerly. For instance, people held the elevator doors for others, always had a “good morning” or “how are you?” for their fellow cruisers, and on and on. The September 7th sailing of the Anthem wasn’t just a good cruise. It was a GREAT cruise! Can’t wait to leave from Bayonne again! Read Less