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10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Just returned from a short 3 night cruise from Sydney staying in a Balcony cabin Deck 9. Firstly would like to say the ship is lovely and the entertainment was great. However...if you are intending on purchasing a drink package on this ... Read More
Just returned from a short 3 night cruise from Sydney staying in a Balcony cabin Deck 9. Firstly would like to say the ship is lovely and the entertainment was great. However...if you are intending on purchasing a drink package on this ship I would think again. We purchased the Ultimate drink package which included top shelf liquor and premium coffees and juices. We spend a fair bit of time at the Solarium bar (adults only pool area) where there were always very long queues to get a drink. I noticed a drink waiter coming around for a couple of hours on one of the days but he was no where to be seen by the 2nd day. Many people I observed were very annoyed at having to queue up constantly to get a drink. The bar service was very slow and they didn't have enough people on duty. Someone mentioned that this is common on short cruises from Sydney as they allow some of their staff to take leave during this time which results in minimal staff on duty. If you decide to purchase the drink package I would go inside and down in the lifts to the schooner bar, order drinks and bring them back up in the lift. This is much quicker than standing in line. I have cruised many times and have found the service on the RC ships through the Caribbean to be much better than what I have experienced cruising from Sydney. Perhaps it has something to do with the 'tipping' in America. I even had trouble trying to get a freshly squeezed orange juice, the wait time was very long. The water went off the first morning of the cruise so we couldn't get coffee from the cafe. We found the first night at dinner in the restaurant they were very unorganised and we seemed to have trouble ordering drinks from our drink package. The staff on the Explorer did not look happy, and the service was average. The best service I encountered was on the morning we docked. We were having breakfast in the Windjammer and the service was exceptional but I think it was because they were trying to get us to have breakfast and move on fairly quickly to disembark. Very disappointed with the service on this cruise and for that reason would not cruise on this ship again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
I was a bit wary of cruising mainly due to seasickness experienced on car ferries from UK to France. I decided to take the plunge with my experienced cruiser family. To my delight, I didn't feel nauseous at all. We had a great cabin on ... Read More
I was a bit wary of cruising mainly due to seasickness experienced on car ferries from UK to France. I decided to take the plunge with my experienced cruiser family. To my delight, I didn't feel nauseous at all. We had a great cabin on deck 6 which was quiet and well appointed with a cheerful steward looking after us. The ship was very clean and hand sanitizer is used in every food area. The crew members are helpful and enthusiastic. We lounged in the adult only pool with the cocktail of the day, ate tasty meals in the dining room and the Windjammer cafe. We enjoyed the dance show and the ice show was fantastic. I tried ice skating and rock climbing and danced the night away poolside. It was a brilliant introduction to cruising and I will definite be back for more. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2015
I'm a travel agent so my experience will be different than yours but I wanted you to see what we see. First I was picked up by Motor Coach at Newark. It was a long drive to Bayonne but it's free so beggars right? Once I arrived I was ... Read More
I'm a travel agent so my experience will be different than yours but I wanted you to see what we see. First I was picked up by Motor Coach at Newark. It was a long drive to Bayonne but it's free so beggars right? Once I arrived I was quickly through the check in process and on to the ship. There were no porters to take bags but the flip side.... the ship was only about 25 - 33% full. Food - EXCELLENT. Now, I'm a meat and potatoes guy.... but all the food I had was very good. My only complaint would be late night..... They only had pizza and a little sandwich shop open late when people were partying. I was especially disappointed that there were no sweets or ice cream open late. Drinks - Well.... I don't drink anymore. I know... BOO.... but The Bionic Bar is VERY COOL..... watching the robot arms make your drink..... seeing the time left until it's prepared and the man I spoke with said it's the best Long Island Iced Tea he'd ever tasted.... so Kudos for the cool new way to market a drink. Lots of opportunities to partake in the restaurants, bars and everywhere. Unfortunately the Specialty Restaurants were invitation only so I couldn't test them out.... They do offer aged steaks and an Italian restaurant..... sushi.... They have Starbucks coffee and pastries. Oh and the Wayfarer Market Buffet..... they bake bread there..... so many different types.... I could live there. Shows..... "We Will Rock You" was Very Good. The two female cast leaders Ozzy and Scaramouche were top notch. "Cabaret".... Also Very Good..... lots of excellent costumes and dancing.... The acrobat aerialists added something special to the spectacle..... and the cast was just generally beautiful which is always a plus. Bands - Both bands were outstanding.... I've heard cover bands before. I'm a musician and play in cover bands..... both Phoenix and The Wild Boys were way above average! The crowds LOVED THEM and danced their butts off. Cabin - Balcony. Good not great. The bed was hard.... now I like a hard mattress but I was a bit surprised at how hard this one was. And, as you know, they push two beds together to make a queen. I could feel the point where they come together. I recommend a mattress pad to alleviate that problem. I still slept well for what it's worth. SO MUCH SPACE to put away all my clothes..... good Lord..... however no outlet in the bathroom for my electric toothbrush???? The hair dryer is sub par. Nice flat screen with easy controls. Balcony spacious but I didn't partake as it was pretty cold.... could easily have breakfast out there in the Caribbean. Activities - VERY GOOD.... I pretty much did it all. That was a big thing for me because I wanted to be able to tell other potential clients what to expect. Rip Cord is fun but it's somewhat demanding..... to hold your body in that position with the wind blowing hard on you. TOTALLY FUN! Flow Rider..... much harder than I thought it would be.... I couldn't control the board and fell a few times before finally managing to stay up for about a minute or so.... very difficult to master. Rock Climbing.... I climbed straight to the top no problem. I'm in decent shape but it's demanding. I roller skated.... had to help the DJ find appropriate 70's dance music to make the scene work. I did not try the bumper cars but it's standard bumpers. NOTE: Due to the total number of passengers you should expect long wait times on ALL of these activities. With thousands of people on the ship there will be lines. Still.... it was lots of fun. NO WATERSLIDE????? I was extremely surprised to find just normal pools and jacuzzi tubs.... and the hot tubs did not have jets blasting on your back or neck to sooth tired muscles.... just a hot tub with bubbles. Overall - This is a HUGE ship with a ton of passengers. The crew is exceptional as is their service.... beautiful and charming.... I only wish I had more time to experience the cruise. I would have liked to schedule a massage..... facility looked gorgeous as did the staff. ;) My experience will simply be very different than yours because when you sail the ship will be full. I would expect great food and service..... some lines..... great entertainment and an overall wonderful trip. For the money you're not going to see much better on the high seas. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
I was part of a select group of people who had an opportunity to take a 2 day cruise to nowhere to preview the ship. I've never taken a cruise before but was very impressed with the experience. Here's my thoughts: 1) The ship: it was ... Read More
I was part of a select group of people who had an opportunity to take a 2 day cruise to nowhere to preview the ship. I've never taken a cruise before but was very impressed with the experience. Here's my thoughts: 1) The ship: it was beautifully decorated and easy to understand the layout. It's huge, so there's a lot of walking. The water was pretty choppy so we could feel a little movement below us. There was a few times we turned green. 2) Food: there's a lot of specialty restaurants and a huge buffet called the Windjammer. The windjammer was great for breakfast and offered a great variety so everyone could find something the liked. 3) Shows: we saw We Will Rock you and although the plot is cheesy, the singing was fantastic. We're talking better than Broadway. Very talented cast. We also saw Spectra's Cabaret which had great singers too. The show was interesting... Definitely more edgy and an acquired taste. 4) Activities: everything was awesome! I recommend doing the North Star sightseeing bubble while near a port. We did it in the middle of the ocean and so we just looked at clouds. Also, the bumper cars were much rougher than I expected. Plenty for kids to do though, including a room for teenagers to watch TV and lots of X-boxes, ping pong tables, roller skating, etc. 5) Rooms: the room was nice and pretty spacious as far as cruises go, I'm told. The bathroom and shower were pretty tight/claustrophobic. Plenty of storage though and great closets. We had a deck which was great too. We had a king size bed and there was also a couch which you could sleep on if necessary. 6) The Staff: Amazing. They could not have been any nicer! Every time I turned around someone asked if they could help me. They were beyond attentive! 7) Getting There: I took a car service (Carmel) to get to Port Liberty in Bayonne, NJ from Manhattan/NYC. The price was $49 + tolls and tip. Be warned: Tolls were $18! As far as timing, I got there with no traffic in 50 minutes. Once I arrived, the boarding process was very quick. Have your 'Set Sail' ready and it will go even faster. Overall, we had an awesome time and I would recommend this ship! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2015
At first, I was weary about embarkation. When we first walked through the door there was a large jumble of people in (somewhat) lines in front of Royal Caribbean representatives holding ipads for check-in. After getting in line, it ... Read More
At first, I was weary about embarkation. When we first walked through the door there was a large jumble of people in (somewhat) lines in front of Royal Caribbean representatives holding ipads for check-in. After getting in line, it exceeded my expectation and went very quickly, we gave the reps our set sail pass, they asked a few simple questions, snapped our pic and sent us on our way to Security. This was also a breeze! The lines were sorted out, some for general boarding and others for suites and high tier Crown and Anchor members. After a short walk through the metal detector we were on our way up the escalator onto the gangway, where we were greeted with a red carpet walk way and beautiful floral arrangements, when we boarded the ship we entered directly into the Royal Esplanade on Deck 5, which is of course where everyone was gathered and was a little hectic at first, but after everyone was settled in you would’ve never known how many people were on the ship. When leaving port in Cape Liberty, Bayonne, NJ, we had the best view of New York City. The first place we ate was Café two70, which had hot/cold sandwiches, salads, soup and fresh carved meat, all in different stations where you would pick out what you wanted, and get it in seconds. I had the BLTA (Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado) Salad which was delicious and the 4 cheese melt, again, delicious! Our first dinner we had was at ‘Devinly Decadent’ which is a low calorie, heath conscious complimentary restaurant which was originally a specialty restaurant on board and was later converted to complimentary. The starters and desert was self-serve buffet style, while the menu items were separated out by 500 and 700 calorie options. I had the lemon glazed prawns and filet mignon, which was served with steamed carrots, broccoli, asparagus and a portion of mashed potatoes. Everyone at the table had the filet mignon and all had the same reaction “WOW!” It was incredible! It was cooked to perfection and full of flavor. You would never guess this was only 500 calories! At desert they had small portions of carrot and pumpkin cake, as well as flourless cakes and dark chocolate brownies. I particularly loved the pumpkin cake. We ate at Windjammers café for breakfast which had all kinds of great breakfast options including fresh fruit, fresh baked pastries and bread, hot and cold cereal, pancakes, waffles, meats, egg and omelet stations and so much more all in buffet style. Lunch we had at Johnny Rockets, which was a great little burger place, but it had a long wait time. And finally, our last dinner, we had at Wonderland. One of the specialty restaurants on board which was unbelievable! First off, the décor was incredible; it was based from Alice in Wonderland so it had a very funky and fun element to it. There were mismatched chairs at each table with formal table settings that were oddly shaped or colored to go along with the ‘wonderland’ theme. The menu was Magical! It started out as blank white paper in a large gaudy frame, they provide you with a paint brush and a “magic potion” to dip it in, and you pant away to find your menu appear! As your menu dries, the paper turns blank again. We gave the waiter free range because we just had no idea where to start. After we counted I believe he provided us with a total of 17 dishes! Almost all were placed in the center of the table and we picked away at it family style. My favorite dish was the Short Rib, which was busy cooking 36 hours before we arrived for dinner; it fell right off the bone and melted in your mouth. All the dishes had an imaginative element, such as the eggs were served with a bowl of smoke over them so they seemed to catch fire when you removed it. The appetizers were served in curved spoons or wire whisk. The halibut cooked in a clear bag which had to be cut open to reveal a powerful aroma of rosemary and the veggies served in a rye bread and truffle oil combo that looked like a bed of dirt. All around fun experience! Royal Caribbean is big on activities, so needless to say, on our 2 night cruise we didn’t get to see them all! The ones we did get to experience were great! I was able to watch as some of our party experience the Ripcord by iFly indoor skydiving which looked like a blast. I chose not to partake in the North Star due to long wait in line, we chose to check out the Seaplex instead, but the North Star sure did look cool when we saw it in action! The Seaplex is a convertible venue that could be for bumper cards, roller skating, ping-pong tournaments, sports and a number of other things. On the top level of the Seaplex is an Xbox live gaming room and ping pong tables, on the bottom is the arena and arcade. Perfect place for Tweens and Teens! On the last night we saw “We Will Rock You” a Broadway style show exclusive to Royal Caribbean which was entertaining and funny! Great acting and singing voices showed they did a great job with auditioning the cast. The special effects and well-made props made you feel immersed in the show. Afterwards, we experienced some of the night life the “Music Hall,” a two story night club, bar, and entertainment area. Great venue, live music and DJ were both crowd pleasers! Top deck had an indoor pool and outdoor pool, a few hot tubs and kids area, all of which looked like a blast, the kids pool also had a “lazy river” which was just a small circular pool that the water went around in but looked great for kids. I was able to experience the adults only solarium, which had a relaxing atmosphere, and gorgeous 3 level pool. There were 4 hot tubs in the solarium, I was able to relax in one while looking out the forward of the ship while the sun was setting, absolutely best spot to relax. The ship’s gym was state of the art, on the very top deck with a gorgeous view all around. Any exercise equipment you could imagine was up there, and they also were doing sign up for a variety of different classes. On deck 4 and 5 were a variety of shops and restaurants and also the “Bionic Bar” which was 2 robotic arms that you ordered your drink from an ipad, and then waiting in the queue for your drink to be made. There were large screens on either side of the bar that explained what it was doing and which guest the drink was being made for. When your drink was ready the screens would let you know, and then you can simply scan your bracelet and the drink slid down the bar for pick up. Although this novelty was very interesting it was a very long wait time before your drink was ready. Even with shorter lines. The children’s area was separated out into 5 different rooms for 5 different age groups including a nursery. Bright and colorful décor and low ceilings made it a bright and inviting place for children to be in. On the day of disembarkation we packed up and rolled out! We met up and started to funnel out, we walked through representatives who scanned out bracelets and thanked us by name for sailing, we walked the red carpet again back off the ship and down the escalators to customs, where we waited in line for merely 5-10 minutes for a quick and easy entrance back into the US. We exited the building to find representatives pointing guests to the direction of shuttles, taxis and parking. We were quickly put onto our correct shuttle bus and back to the airport in no time at all. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
We have just returned from a 3-day ‘taster cruise’ on the brand new Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas! If you’ve seen any of the advertising, the word ‘WOW’ features heavily. We can honestly report that it is ... Read More
We have just returned from a 3-day ‘taster cruise’ on the brand new Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas! If you’ve seen any of the advertising, the word ‘WOW’ features heavily. We can honestly report that it is an apt description of the incredible ship, its features and the service onboard. We had completed the online checkin process at home (including ‘uploading’ a photo) and printed our SetSail Passes before arriving at Southampton. At the dock, someone with a tablet computer completed the process in under 3 minutes and we proceeded to Security, from where we were asked to sit for a few minutes (after being informed the disembarking guests had all gone and the ship would be ready for boarding shortly – this was 10:30am). We boarded at about 10:45 and were immediately handed a glass of ‘bubbly’. We boarded straight into the Royal Esplanade where we first went down to Guest Services to set up our internet account. We are considered Platinum in Royal Caribbean’s loyalty programme due to our frequent sailings on Celebrity, so received a discount on our internet package. It therefore cost us $15.15 for unlimited high speed access for the entire 3-day cruise!! WOW! We used the Royal iQ app to check (and change) our restaurant reservations when we discovered that for this cruise only the four MainDiningRoom options (Silk / Chic / American Icon and Grande) would all be serving exactly the same menu of an evening … although a different version was created for each of the three evenings. Our cabin was lovely, the bed extremely comfortable, the balcony huge (with two chairs, two footstools and a table). The cabin furniture did not include a coffee table – however, we discovered that the dressing table was movable and was designed to be used as a breakfast/dinner table in the cabin. Excellent idea. There is a kettle with ample supplies of tea and biscuits, and on the last day a plate of macaroons magically appeared. The bathroom is quite large with an excellent shower. The toiletries are very pleasant. We soon discovered the lounge at the back of the ship called Two70! It became our favourite place. There is also a café there with excellent breakfast and lunch choices. For dinner, we ate in American Icon (as the menus were identical, we chose not to wait in the Silk queue where we had been booked). The décor is wonderful and the food and service were both excellent. The other two evenings we ate in Wonderland and in Chops Grille – they were both outstanding, but in Wonderland we probably had our best meal ever on a ship. UNIQUE and FABULOUS!! (We have completed about 40 cruises, and our preferred lines are Seabourn and Azamara, so that is saying something.) We were more than a little apprehensive about the size of Anthem of the Seas (considering we prefer 200 – 600 passenger ships), however, the ship handled the number of passengers extremely well. This is partly due to the fact that there are two main shows each evening – one at the front of the ship in the Royal Theater (We Will Rock You which lasts 2 hours and is excellent) and another at the back of the ship in Two70 (Spectra’s Cabaret which is PHENOMENAL!!!). Between those two venues there are three others with live music, as well as numerous other bars and restaurants (and of course, the obligatory casino). Charging onboard is done with your SeaPass card or your WOW bands (rubberised watch-like straps with an embedded chip). These bands can be used anywhere you can use a SeaPass card. There is a FlowRider, the NorthStar aerial adventure, the SeaPlex (which can either be rollerskating, dodgems, a basketball court, a DJ booth or a circus school). Overlooking that are Xbox rooms and table tennis areas. There is a rock climbing wall as well as RipCord where you can experience skydiving while at sea. The Bionic bar is interesting and the selection of eateries incredible. Everywhere there are smiling and helpful crewmembers – all very well trained and beautifully groomed. We were truly WOWED! It was an incredible introduction to Royal Caribbean and we will certainly be back. If you have a chance to experience this – DO! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Anthem of the Seas Review 3nts 3rd – 6th May 2015 Let me start by saying that these are our thoughts & observations – mine, Hub’s & our 18yr old Son ! We parked in Blue Car Park, walked across the road into ... Read More
Anthem of the Seas Review 3nts 3rd – 6th May 2015 Let me start by saying that these are our thoughts & observations – mine, Hub’s & our 18yr old Son ! We parked in Blue Car Park, walked across the road into the Terminal and were met by rows of check-in staff in Blue tops all holding tablets and we were checked in, through Security & Onboard all in 10 mins ! First impression ? WOW – Just WOW !!! Met with a glass of Champers & chance to have a wander and a first look along the Royal Esplanade. Very similar to the Royal Promenade, just smaller. As we boarded just after 11am (we were in Group A) we decided to take as many photos & film as much as we could straightaway, so we started at the top on Deck 16 and worked our way down... After lunch the Staterooms were open so we went down to our D2 Superior Balcony #11692 on Deck 11. Found a sealed envelope outside with 1 x Seapass card in, the other 2 x plus our 3 x RFID wowbands were on our bed. Very happy with our stateroom & pleased to see it did have the ‘Double’ Sofabed we had specifically requested for our 6ft 2” Son who does not sleep easily on a single sofabed. Our case arrived, so we unpacked then headed out to explore some more. Had a go on the Bumper Cars in SeaPlex then made our way up to Deck 16 Aft for Sailaway as we wanted to get some good shots and filming of the 3 x Queens that followed us out of Southampton – Victoria, Queen Mary 2 & Elizabeth as well as Fred Olsen’s Balmoral & P&O’s Azura. At 5pm, Hub & Son went to sign in for their iFly appt. Safety briefing etc took about 40 mins, then they arrived suited up in blue overalls with helmet, up at the iFly and had their go first in their big group of about 12 people – they loved it ! After all of the Group had finished the instructor did a Demo of how it should be done – WOW ! We had booked our Dinner & Show reservations pre-cruise and Day 1 we had We Will Rock You at 7pm so we went to have dinner in the Windjammer - lots of choice & a great relaxed atmosphere ! We Will Rock You was Fantastic – NB. Do Not Leave Until the Very End, lots of people left before the wonderful ending... Day 2 – We did the ‘Bruges & Belgian Chocolate’ RCI Tour and very glad we did. Quick half hour coach trip from the Port of Zeebrugge and we then had a walking tour around Bruges (our Guide Frank, retired Teacher, was very good and so funny !) including the Chocolate Museum with a lesson on how to make all types of chocolate plus tastings !! We had about 45 mins Free-time for shopping before returning to Anthem. Tonight it was Dinner in Chic in which both food & service were also very good then down to Two70 to watch Spectre’s Cabaret – I don’t want to spoil this for anyone, so I’m just going to say that it is Unique & Must be seen !!! Day 3 – We caught the Port Shuttle bus out of Le Havre port into the town & ‘The Docks’ a Mall built in the old dock buildings. We have been to Paris before so we were happy to just have a laid back morning and after a pleasant couple of hours shopping, we caught the bus back to Anthem and spent a relaxing afternoon in the Solarium. Tonight we had Dinner in American Icon Grill and again food & service was very good. We saw the Headliner Show in the Royal Theatre tonight with Paul Zerdin – Ventriloquist. We had seen him before on Indy, but he is very good and very funny ! One slight gripe is that there was nothing arranged for 18-21yr olds to meet-up & introduce themselves – in my opinion, this should have happened on Day 1 after the 15-17yrs 411 !!! Obviously they are not allowed in the Teen Club (as we were told by one of the crew outside) so I do wonder how this age group are meant to meet others their same age onboard ? We are hoping that this will be rectified before our 14 nights cruise on Anthem in July... We booked this 3 nighter to a) get us up to Diamond C&A and b) to try out Anthem before our 14 nights around the Med on her with 7 friends, in July... It is our opinion that RCI has taken the very best of their ships and mixed them with the very best of Celebrity ships – then raised the bar considerably - to produce Anthem of the Seas... Anthem is a stunning ship... Every single member of Crew spoke to us as we passed them - before we had chance to speak to them first... N.B... Special Mention to Roxana Oros who we met whilst she was working in the Windjammer on Oasis in April 2010 (and we haven’t seen her since then) but she saw us walking along the Royal Esplanade on Sunday night (3rd May) and she recognised us and hugged us all – now THAT is a proper WOW Moment !!! We purchased the Soda package for myself and Hub (Our Son doesn’t drink soda so is happy with the included juice & water drinks) and we were very impressed with the Freestyle Coke machines, lots of different choice, however you have to carry your cups around with you to use them, so here is a suggestion... Couldn’t the WOW bands be programmed to include drinks packages? Then plastic throwaway cups could be stored near the Machines, where you just swipe your Wow band at the Machine to get a drink ??? Could also save RCI some $$$ by not having to provide the thick tall plastic glasses that they do at the mo ?? As this was only a 3 nighter, we had the ‘Taste of Anthem’ Menu’s in the restaurants which included a couple of choices from each of the Complimentary Restaurants. Although this was not a problem to us, we are looking forward to experiencing the full Dynamic Dining choices in July !! We really, really like Anthem of the Seas and we are looking forward to cruising on her again for 14 nights in July 2015 !!! Well Done RCI, you have produced another Fantastic Ship with Wonderful Crew & Amazing Shows !!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
We were very excited when we booked the holiday, it was the first time on a cruise for us and there was soo much hype surrounding the cruise, Anthem of the seas, we couldn't wait to get on-board. However, there were soo many negative ... Read More
We were very excited when we booked the holiday, it was the first time on a cruise for us and there was soo much hype surrounding the cruise, Anthem of the seas, we couldn't wait to get on-board. However, there were soo many negative reviews on its sister cruise, Quantum of the seas, actually negative reviews on cruises in general that it was surprising. People were complaining on everything form check-in times, luggage arrival to food, service, etc. it was really off-putting especially when we were travelling with a 2yr old. But, thankfully, from he moment we stepped in, until the time we got off the Anthem, it was an experience like no other... It one word, it was Awesome!!! It was soo good that we didn't want to get off the cruise!! Ours was a 3 nighter, so maybe longer duration ships might have issues, but our cruise, everything was as smooth as butter!! (Apart from the British/EU weather) Check-in was super fast, we already did it online so the whole process took like 5 mins. We made it to the cruise terminal in our selected time during the online check-in so as soon as we got there, we went straight through after an immigration check. Once one board, the first feeling was walking up to this huge chandelier and huge hall room decorated with big LCD screens depicting the fall season. It was simply overwhelming!! We were then directed to our staterooms through the many super-fast elevators. At the door of our stateroom, our room key was waiting stored in compartment beside the sign board. They call this the sail pass, which is very important and you should carry this while debarking the ship for shore excursions. The stateroom was spacious, sparkling clean and was maintained at the right temperature. The balcony was spacious and was the best part of the room. We spent hours in there, despite it being freezing cold, wrapped up in blankets. It was just a marvel watching the waves, watching the ship dock and un-dock, seeing it make a 180-degree turn and just lying there listening to the sound of the waves. We soo loved the balcony stateroom. As we were checking our room, we heard and knock and our luggage was waiting for us along with our stateroom attendant. We were a little worried as online reviewers complained that they did not receive their luggage until late night. so once again, RC nailed the whole service of collecting our bags from the car park, to getting them to our doors and then when we disembarked, they were waiting for us in our designated zone. Super Smooth, once again!! We were on deck 12, room 12212 right in the middle of the ship. I really had huge concerns about deck 12 as after looking at the Anthem's design, we found out that there is an over-hang which extends from the 14th floor so the middle part is indented, then there are struts, these long poles extended from the over-hang which are placed right into the balconies! I was worried for this, thinking that it will reduce the space in the balcony and obstruct the view. I couldn't find anything online about this so hopefully this will help other cruisers. The poles do end up in your balcony but the are merged into the side dividers in the balcony. So you hardly notice them and they do not take up any extra space in your balcony. The over-hang does block the sky-view a little when you are standing up near the edge of the balcony, but you hardly notice this whilst sitting down, so you do get a full view. Check the pictures which will give you a better understanding of this: http://i60.tinypic.com/uv7us.jpg http://i60.tinypic.com/334i1ef.jpg http://i61.tinypic.com/mlsduc.jpg Plus, all thro the middle of the ship, when you look directly down from the balcony, you don't see the water, but you see the huge life-boats. The indented design of the ship in the middle was to accommodate these life-boats. These 2 are minor points, but the huge plus is that you are located close to the elevators/stairs and more importantly, it rocks lesser in the middle of the ship, so for all you guys with motion sickness, this is the ideal place. And trust me, this is soo true, when it was very windy, I did check the front and the back of the ship, it felt as if I was on a swing! I never felt motion sick in my life and on day three, it was really rough weather and I felt the ship was stirring my insides over and over in a circular motion. This really did give me a little sick feeling so had to sleep it off! So middle of the ship, very good for people who suffer with motion sickness. Now, back to the stateroom, there is a nice huge comfy bed, a sofa-bed for the little one, ample cupboards every where, so you have enough storage, a digital safe and there is a mini fridge stacked up with snacks and drinks which cost extra if you use them. There is under bed storage as well, this is really good as we could store our huge suitcase and stroller under it. Our stateroom attendant Mailene was simply awesome. She was very friendly, gave us lots of tips/info and every time we used to leave the stateroom and return, she made sure that we felt as if we were walking into our room for the very first time!!! It was that clean, soo much that we felt bad for leaving our stuff around as she even sorted those too! We stopped doing this after the first time :) The washroom has a capsule shower, is nice and spacious and very functional. Coming back to the ship, not sure where to start...everything is soo good, actually Grande is the word!! Since it is new, the ship is sparkling clean, with really a huge staff, looking after each and every section! Every part felt like it was a 7 star hotel. The top decks were excellent, a huge jogging/walking strip that spans the entire ship, then there are outdoor/indoor pools. The main star attraction, the North Star, a London eye shaped capsule that takes 14 at a time and lifts high up in the sky giving you an awesome areal overview of the ship! Note though on shorter cruises, it doesn't move-out 90 degree into the ocean, this one is reserved for the larger ones as the attendant said, it will take more than 30 mins and not sufficient time for all passengers on short cruises. Also note, there was heavy wind when I took the capsule so besides up and down, we also had rocking motion :)) again something to consider for the motion-sick/vertigo sufferers. Then there is the Solarium, an adult only retreat zone. This was really calm and peaceful, you can retreat here quietly with a nice book and a drink... Very relaxing! Then the giant giraffe, our little one loved this and played with it for a long time :) Then there are the flow-rider, virtual flight simulator and rock climbing. Guess on longer cruises all this is plenty of activity to keep guest entertained. On the shows/movie front, there is a royal theater, 3D cinema plus the Two70 which has these huge robotic screen as it transforms from a cafe into entertainment center. Coming to the other main aspect, the food...one word again "Awesome".., it's clean, hygiene, tasty and loads of variety...especially for a short cruise, there was ample choice.. So much that we couldn't find time to eat in all of them. On the first day, we tried Sorrento for a quick bite and the pizza which they served was hot and fresh! In the evening, we reserved for a fine dining experience at the Silk and the food was decent. Next day, we went to the Wind Jammer for breakfast and it was brilliant...lots of choice and the dishes were tasty... It's such a shame, that we pay almost £20 per head at our local garden center and the food is not half good as in the Wind Jammer!!! Really sad when you pay premium price in Britain and its no where nearly as good as on the RC!! For lunch, we went back to the wind jammer and once again there was ample choice and really tasty food. No wonder it was always soo packed with guests! Dinner was at Chic and the ambiance was really posh!! For the third night, we were supposed to go to the Grande, the only restaurant where you need to wear a jacket but the menu at Wind Jammer was soo tempting that we skipped the grande!! We felt that two nights to fine dining was enough and wanted to enjoy the more casual approach at WJ :) Main thing regarding food is, round the clock, you will find someplace open serving food...even in the wee hours...there is still plenty choice to grab a quick bite! So all in all, this was a wonderful trip and we became huge fans of the Anthem and Royal Caribbean that we will surely return and try longer duration!! There is absolutely no negative points which I can think of, it's such a brilliant experience and I think here in UK, we will have to wait for few months as the Ship is heading for America for summer... So all you guys in the US, you will really have a great time!! Here are a few tips for first timers and cruisers in general that might help: - Check in online and print off the sail passes, this saves soo much time and makes the whole process quicker - upload pictures of all those who are travelling with you when you complete the online check-in, this will speed up the process even further - setting a credit card on your account is helpful, you can buy stuff directly with the smart band, this sports strap wristband which they provide for you and all your guests, including children - Wind Jammer is the place to go for food, they serve this round the clock, but they do follow timing correctly, so check breakfast, lunch and dinner times and make sure you fit into the correct slot so you can enjoy the food thoroughly! - Drinks and water are expensive if you buy them on board, so I do suggest buying these packages before hand. We got the suvernor Coca-cola cup which costed £6 per day (per person) and this gave access to soda machines which are located at various places on the cruise. You can use that to fill up with water at these thirst stations at Wind Jammer, alternatively, you can drink water from normal tap in your room. - Make reservation before hand if you wish to enjoy fine-dining experience. There are several complimentary restaurants plus a few which you have to pay extra. - Same goes to on-board activity like flow-rider and rip-cord flight. Pre-book them as they are popular and fill up quickly - You need to carry the sail passes (not just the bands) of all your passengers if you wish to disembark the ship and go for shore vacation - There are several photo points where they take pictures for you, you can buy them at the information points on the cruise. You can buy digital prints or order them printed off but make sure you do this before the last night as we thought they would offer online service to purchase these later on, but turns out they do not offer this facility! - Finally, children who are not totally potty trained will not be allowed into the swimming pools. Also, those who are under 1mt will not be allowed in the North Star. I do apologise for the rather long review, but hope you all find this useful! This cruise was definitely one of the best vacations which we took and the quality, level of service and care which Royal Caribbean provided was unbeatable! Thank you RC for providing such an amazing experience!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
Embarkation on the Anthem was really quick. Very impressed with the size of the ship. Cabin was lovely and spacious, plenty of cupboard space. We had a balcony which was great. Room attendant was excellent. Food and service was ... Read More
Embarkation on the Anthem was really quick. Very impressed with the size of the ship. Cabin was lovely and spacious, plenty of cupboard space. We had a balcony which was great. Room attendant was excellent. Food and service was excellent. All the entertainment onboard was fantastic. Spectra show, We Will Rock You. Rock the Boat excellent music rock group. Plenty to do onboard Northstar, roller skating, bumper cars etc. Disembarkation was the only problem. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
If you know the difference between Machiavelli and McDonalds, between France Soir and Hog's Breath, between the Park Hyatt and the Holiday Inn....... then this is NOT the cruise for you. Booked a year in advance. Dreamed and planned of ... Read More
If you know the difference between Machiavelli and McDonalds, between France Soir and Hog's Breath, between the Park Hyatt and the Holiday Inn....... then this is NOT the cruise for you. Booked a year in advance. Dreamed and planned of each minute of the 3 days, not only my first true holiday in 15 years but also my 40th birthday, and the reality was in truth more like a nightmare. Men in their 40s, who got tattoos in the 20s when they had 6 packs, now have kegs and sttttttttrrrrrrrrreeeeettttttccccchhhhhhhed out dragons, tweety birds and naked ladies, consider it acceptable to wander around topless with 2 to 4 drinks in hand throughout the ship. Put a shirt on boys, we don't want to see it and you shouldn't be showing it anywhere outside of the pool or your bedroom, not in public drinking, shopping and dining areas. Crowds and queues, substandard bidvest type food, none of the luxury gourmet experience detailed and promised. The one half way decent meal required an additional payment as it was a specialty restaurant. Given the amount paid for this cruise in a top suite, to not have this included just ended up being insult to injury. Having as mentioned, booking a year in advance, I think we paid the highest rate on the entire ship as we had booked the very first suites (below the single royal suite) on this cruise and had therefore paid absolutely the highest price with no discounts or OBC inclusions or the like that were offered over the next 11 months prior to the cruise. We got NO discernible special treatment despite having booked in an Owner's Suite and in fact had our first nights restaurant reservation cancelled due to a private party despite having booked some weeks (basically when bookings opened) in advance. Given that this booking was to celebrate my 40th birthday, this was not a good start. Cancelled our drink package after day one having not actually been able to get to a bar to order an inclusive drink. Did eventually get a refund. Room service, despite the poor quality, was efficient and crowd free. Room attendance was good. Cabin was very nice and ended up being our sole refuge and one enjoyable aspect of the trip. Expected to spend 20% of our time in there but probably ended up closer to 70% to avoid the incessant crowds. Fortunately it was lovely if a little dated, and requiring better maintenance and cleaning - found a pair of brand new Gucci socks in the packet in the drawer, didn't quite compensate us for the rest of the issues. Binoculars were a nice touch. Basically the cabins are a little like being at the Windsor or the old Hilton on the Park (pre renovation) in Melbourne. You are not getting a Langham, Crown or Park Hyatt Experience here. They are comfortable and functional - but given this was a top suite seemed a little underwhelming. Concierge club was worse than the worst hotel lounge or airport lounge anywhere in the world. The canapes for the evening cocktail hour were put out at the start and were either all taken and not replaced or left to develop bacteria over the next few hours. No replacements no health standards or safety just a plate of nibbles unwrapped and dumped on a counter. Basically if you want to go for a total piss up for 3 days with people that don't have tastebuds and you really like crowds then this is for you. If like us, this sounds like HELL then AVOID and don't waste your money. I know if you can't say something nice you shouldn't say anything at all but I really don't want anyone else who envisaged the romantic and luxurious version of cruising to be fooled/duped/conned/tricked into believing this is it! PS Booked through RACV and not worth the bother, if you really are a sadist or just have to attend a bucks/hens weekend which is all this cruise is good for, then book direct with RC. Read Less
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