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2,164 Royal Caribbean Southampton Cruise Reviews

The Anthem of the seas is a beautiful modern ship its spotlessly clean and has the wow factor the dinning options are brilliant and you eat in a different restaurant every night, don't bother with the supplement restaurants, ... Read More
The Anthem of the seas is a beautiful modern ship its spotlessly clean and has the wow factor the dinning options are brilliant and you eat in a different restaurant every night, don't bother with the supplement restaurants, Wonderland is lovely to look at but its a rather expensive gimmick chops grille very nice but no better than the complimentary restaurants. Also why has rci decided to put Johnny rockets outside? with no singing or dancing very disappointed. The bars and entertainment are good especially 270 the windjammer has the right name jammer it is like feeding time at the zoo crowded with not enough seats. Overall had a good holiday went with friends and met some really nice people who enhanced our experience, BUT found the staff in the Bolaros bar very rude with no manners at all tried couple of times same treatment so was put off, staff in Michaels pub rude didn't make any eye contact when we ordered our drinks the lady in the perfume shop rude, and a few of the staff serving in the many many sales all rude, also went up to hairdressers to buy some hairspray they looked at me as if they'd never heard of it said they didn't sell it and stared at me, this ship is geared up for you to spend money at every turn, sales of rubbish and watches after watches sales bingo at %0 dollars plus most things are at an extra cost. I feel this ship hasn't enough staff queuing and waiting is the norm also the rooms are narrow very nice but small. I've been on lots of cruises and wouldn't go back on this ship if you like crowded decks no where to sit on top deck if the sun comes out and enjoy jostling and queuing this ship is for you Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
When we arrived at Southampton the Embarkment process was brilliant , very fast and efficient especially if you had printed off e ticket. We were on the ship within 10-15 minutes. Once on ship could get drinks and food straight away. ... Read More
When we arrived at Southampton the Embarkment process was brilliant , very fast and efficient especially if you had printed off e ticket. We were on the ship within 10-15 minutes. Once on ship could get drinks and food straight away. Balcony room was great and wow bands and sea pass cards on bed ready for use. We choose classic dining at 6 pm and started in the American Diner where we were greeting with the waitress and barman who would follow us round the ship, this was great as the were full of useful information about goings on on the ship.then Chic, The grande which is where you dressed up (formal) then Silk. All restaurants were great. Food wonderful and if you have any special requests they dealt with it. I'm vegetarian and they sorted me out. Ask for the daily shot they come in a Royal Car shot glass that you can buy for 3 dollars. Poolside was good but sun beds were cramped up and was awkward to get on and off due to small space. Also sun beds were saved in the morning and left most of the day with towels on as guests off ship on trips. I did approach the towel man as Royal Caribean have a policy that if beds left for 30 mins unattended the towels would be removed. This didn't happen and towel man said management didn't enforce this. Very unfair as on sea days people searching for beds to sit on. We Will Rock You was amazing. Make sure you pre book these tickets as its ticket only. The comedians were both very entertaining. The only problem was that not many bar staff walking round to order drinks, which was disappointing. The North Star was amazing we did it at sea at it went over the ship and views were brill. long queues between 3/4 - 1 hour wait but well worth it. I-fly great fun. The shops are very expensive. The ports that we went to- most had a shuttle service rangeing from 8 dollars to 10 dollars. Lanzarote or as we named it Lanzagrotty not much there and shops were shut when we got there. Madeira brilliant lovely place to visit we used the shuttle bus that drops you in the town and then did a taxi tour which was great as he took us all around and waited for us at each stop. a must is the baskets that speed down roads. Als t he cable cars. Gran Canaria was mostly shut and sleepy so not much to do. Lisbon was great good shops and bars. Bilbao was the best port. Beautiful place and do the open top bus as you get to see the sights. Staff on ship very helpful, didn't see many officers walking around. My husband wanted to send me flowers so went to guest relations to be told they don't do them Health and Safety. Perhaps they should buy artificial ones as its very romantic to have flowers. The staff who looked after us were the best Ruchal the waitress and Dorata the Maitre Dee and Ellisson the barman and Brian Hamilton who attended the state room. The ship is very impressive but it did have a lot of movement but the weather was against us. The ship is very busy due to lots of guest. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We had a very positive embarkation experience. Pretty seamless and well organised. On board in less than 20 minutes, as a result of online check-in. Highly recommend this method. Very pleased with our cabin....until stepping out on the ... Read More
We had a very positive embarkation experience. Pretty seamless and well organised. On board in less than 20 minutes, as a result of online check-in. Highly recommend this method. Very pleased with our cabin....until stepping out on the balcony on deck 6 to find we were overlooking the smoking area. Having taken a lot of time and trouble looking at the deck plans before booking, nowhere was this shown on the deck plan, and there is no way we would have chosen this particular cabin. However, we spoke to Jose in guest services immediately and he asked if we would be patient and wait till Monday morning when he could speak to the booking agents of no show passengers. True to his word at 10 am the following morning he secured us a comparable cabin on deck 9 with no extra cost incurred. So,thank you RC your service was exemplary, and we had no further problems. We like the dynamic dining experience, choosing to dine in a different restaurant each evening, sometimes booking, sometimes just turning up at a time to suit us, depending on what we chose to do each evening.The food was good and we found the choices very adequate. Service was sometimes a bit hit and miss but we were never kept waiting long. On the whole no real complaints. We enjoyed the shows, Spectras Cabaret was excellent and we managed to see it twice. We Will Rock You was okay, just not our taste. The Gift was very well performed and the scene changes were amazing. With the exception of comedian Steve Womack, who was appalling, all the evening headliner entertainment was most enjoyable. The IFlY experience was excellent and we also managed that twice. The solarium is a lovely place to relax and we enjoyed that facility on cruising days. There were a variety of activities on board so so something for everyone. We are social ballroom/Latin dancers and we had some really good classes taken by Sunny and David. Lovely people, instructive, lively and fun. There was also social dancing from 6-7.30 each evening, but the music was dictated by RC and was not entirely easy tempos to dance to. RC should really consult ballroom instructors in order to ensure a good selection of music. Several times the relevant people were approached but it was only on the last evening did we actually have a good selection of music which was downloaded from a laptop. I appreciate us dancers were in the minority but we're sure future dancing cruisers would benefit. We were disappointed with Tenerife, docking in Santa Cruz and having our beach transfer cancelled due to adverse weather conditions we decided to go walkabout on our own. Open top bus trip was pretty boring and took forever as this is a big city. It rained heavily in Madeira but it did not stop us enjoying the basket toboggan and the cable car. However not enough free time to enjoy Funchal itself. We loved Gran Canaria and did an organised trip to Puerto Mogan and return along the coastal road calling in at Maspalomas to see the sand dunes. Plenty of free time in Las Plamas upon our return. Very enjoyable, lovely beach, cafes, bars and restaurants etc...Lanzarote not to our taster either , very touristy beach resorts. However our stops in Vigo, Lisbon and Bilbao were super. Lovely to just find your own way around and explore all the amazing sights, stopping for wine or coffee breaks in the numerous cafes and bars. Overall we really enjoyed our cruise. The Anthem is a lovely ship and you can fill your days admirably with all the activities, eateries, shows etc..... It is after all your cruising experience and you just have to embrace it. People keep comparing the Anthem to the Independence. if you want that same experience then choose the same ship each time. Each one should be taken on its own merits and the Anthem has that in abundance. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Recently returned from canary cruise, this was our 8th cruise with royal caribbean but first on anthem of the seas. The embarkation was excellent, fast and stress free. This is quite a new ship and is very big but easy to navigate ... Read More
Recently returned from canary cruise, this was our 8th cruise with royal caribbean but first on anthem of the seas. The embarkation was excellent, fast and stress free. This is quite a new ship and is very big but easy to navigate your way around. The big plus about this ship (and every other royal caribbean ship we've been on) is the staff, all staff from bar staff, stateroom attendants, waiters & waitresses, entertainment staff, cleaners, customer sevices and the especially man who assists with internet & technology issues are very polite, helpful and will do everything they can to help. The quality of the food in the restaurants is very good,- we ate in the grande, devinly decadence, silk & chic.- (the windjammer was the best buffet food we've had on a royal caribbean ship) The cabin was spacious, clean and had all you would need, including a kettle. The public areas were very clean and well maintained The entertainment was excellent. All R.C. shows are well choreographed and entertainig, the comedians and comedian/juggler were brilliant, and guest singers were very good. Our favourite place was the music hall with the excellent live bands. The only negatives were- deckchairs - packed very tight together & all full, this was an issue especially as the best places were taken early the different drinks packages could confuse as prices weren't always available, but the staff would always help you if you asked. The excursions we done were- Madeira where we went on the cable car & toboggan, Gran Canaria - camel ride in maspalomas Lisbon by land and water all these excursions i would recommend as all tour guides are helpful, informative, professional and good fun Overall this is an excellent ship with brilliant staff and very good entertainment I would have rated this ship 5 stars if not for the deckchairs Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was our second cruise, the first having been 6 years ago onboard the Independence of the Seas. We booked with great excitement way back at the beginning of the year before the Anthem was even finished being built and then found as ... Read More
This was our second cruise, the first having been 6 years ago onboard the Independence of the Seas. We booked with great excitement way back at the beginning of the year before the Anthem was even finished being built and then found as the months went by all the negative whingey reviews posted about this ship gradually eroded our excitement and happiness until early this summer we were on the point of cancelling! Well what I can say is that I am so very glad we didn't listen and instead decided to follow our first instincts and judge for ourselves. I can safely say the 2 weeks on Anthem of the Seas to the Canaries, Spain and Portugal has been the best holiday I've ever had. The ship is wonderful, beautifully fitted out, a great selection of bars and restaurants, awe inspiring areas such as 270 which had to be seen to be believed and was one of my favourite parts of the ship. spacious extremely comfortable staterooms, a great friendly, helpful and attentive crew. First class service with a smile all the way from the cleaning crew (they are clearly very proud of the new ship and are constantly cleaning, hovering, dusting, washing the Windows (inside and out) all to keep it sparkling and new and looking as vibrant and attractive, through to them stateroom attendants, bar staff, waiting staff, entertainment staff and cruise director, the ships officers and everyone else onboard.. Truly a gorgeous place to be. Unlike some reviewers we didn't have any problems getting a drink a in bar or finding a sunny sheltered corner to sit and enjoy the views with a book or simply soak up the sunshine. On most ports we took advantage of the shuttle bus service which was a very cost effective and convienent way to explore the destinations on your own which is our preference over organised excursions. We tried most of the wide selection of restaurants on board (including the Windjammer) and enjoyed a varied selection of food all of which was cooked well, arrived hot and was very enjoyable. We especially enjoyed eating breakfast in the outside area at the back of the Windjammer and never had a difficulty finding a table. The entertainment was first class, we especially enjoyed We will Rock You and Spectra's Cabaret which really showcased the flexibility of 270. Also we liked the small almost ad hoc shows out on by the bar Staff and kitchen staff too great fun. All in all I would say please don't only listen to the negative reviews, don't let them put you off taking a chance of exploring and enjoying the beautiful Anthem of the Seas. Go with a positive attitude, be friendly and polite to the crew and your fellow passengers, enjoy all the amenities and joy of the spaces that the ship offers, don't worry about being 'squashed' as even on sea days we found it to feel mush less crowded than certainly the Independance was as its a bigger ship and they've designed so you really don't feel hemmed in or as if you're at sea with 4000 other people. Please just go and enjoy all it has to offer and you'll have a fabulous time! Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Wife and I (in our sixties) just got back from canaries cruise on Anthem of the Seas had a midship balcony stateroom on deck 10 which was lovely inside BUT had constant noise outside our door from toilets flushing from what I think were ... Read More
Wife and I (in our sixties) just got back from canaries cruise on Anthem of the Seas had a midship balcony stateroom on deck 10 which was lovely inside BUT had constant noise outside our door from toilets flushing from what I think were toilets on deck 11, this was through daytime and very annoying during all hours of the night. Bars were ok, we thought Boleros the best, Michaels pub was usually practically empty and you couldn't get a seat in the Music Hall downstairs unless you were in there for 7.30pm 'ish!! We are Diamond members and found a lack of waiters serving drinks especially on the upper pool decks and generally found that the staff were not as accommodating as on other RCI ships. Dining in restaurants didn't suit us, we prefer the traditional dining in the main dining rooms as opposed to different restaurant venues. Although loyal RCI cruisers we wouldn't go on this ship again too much technology not always a good thing and we think the technology has resulted in less staff on board, we prefer the Oasis class and smaller ships. Anyway try it see what you think. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Evidently, they were more interested in getting into port to celebrate their first docking in America than their existing passengers that made the transatlantic voyage. It took us 4 hours of waiting before we desinbarked. When they did get ... Read More
Evidently, they were more interested in getting into port to celebrate their first docking in America than their existing passengers that made the transatlantic voyage. It took us 4 hours of waiting before we desinbarked. When they did get us off, a lady was very rude and asked us to hurry-hurry up! At that time I had a bad ankle and had a problem standing in line for a long period of time. We were herded like cattle and waited a very long time before we got off. Was this any way to treat existing passengers? We are Diamond Club members and do much cruising, however we will think twice about another trip with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. We liked the idea of more restaurants to choose from rather than one large dining room. The ships people were great, except for the rude lady at debarkation. The excursions were o.k., but nothing exceptional. The cabin with balcony was nice, but nothing exceptional. We did enjoy the Diamond club; the desk guy there was very helpful. Entertainment was o.k., but at times a little boring with hard to understand plots. Our room Stewart was very nice and helpful. No daily newspaper to keep us updated on our home country activities. Ship was very large ( we think too large for us older people - walking, etc.). Beautiful ship and great room Stewart. Food at restaurants was very good. Like I said before, 4 hours of waiting plus standing in line to get off the ship was a real drawback and disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We have cruised a lot and this one we cruised for 32 days from Southampton to Singapore, however it was broken down to three separate cruises from Southampton to Barcelona, Barcelona to Dubai and Dubai to Singapore We paid way in ... Read More
We have cruised a lot and this one we cruised for 32 days from Southampton to Singapore, however it was broken down to three separate cruises from Southampton to Barcelona, Barcelona to Dubai and Dubai to Singapore We paid way in advance and it turns out we paid way too much as the rates were slashed as the cruises got closer --we appealed for a better rate without success, you would think there would be some consideration for early bookings. Oh well Firstly, lets be fair, this is a very nice ship, lovely cabins, and very friendly staff The food was pretty good , without being spectacular Now for the downsides and there were quite a few Consecutive cruises were a major problem Because there were 3 cruises, the same shows and movies were repeated over and over again "Antman " the movie was shown about 6 times along with other choices like ' Cinderella ", " Breakfast at Tiffanys " and other old or D grade movies-- you would think a billion dollar company could arrange a few modern movies. The ship had a large outdoor movie screen under the stars but because the movie selection was so poor, no one bothered to go . They also played the same movies inside at the Palace theatre but you couldn't see them as there was something wrong with the projection or screen production as they all came out in black tones--Basically a waste of time We ( along with many others ) complained but you got a different response, depending on who you asked. Answers like " we are unable to do anything because its to do with the satellite " ?? or " its to do with the copyright laws " ? which was ridiculous as they were showing the same shows in your cabin TV -- but of course you had to pay for these. The gym had quite a number of machines and cycles that were marked " under repair " or temporarily out of order " but there was never any attempt to fix them and they stayed that way for the duration of the cruises.--No one capable in maintenance ? they said they hoped to get new ones next year ?? or they would get parts in Adelaide--unbelievable really The entertainment ( apart from a few exceptions ) was pretty average and of course they repeated quite a number of them each cruise-- the ice shows the exception as they were brilliant. The timing of dinner and shows were way out of whack and there was little chance of seeing the early show unless you were to eat at 5pm for dinner.( not open ) Most entertainment activities were very late To cover the the lack of activities, they had endless trivia ( again just repeated every cruise ) and even such wonderful activities such as " making greeting cards " or " napkin folding " !! Seriously ??-- I think even the cruise director flinched with embarrassment when he announced those were on the program. Any ship tours were outrageously expensive and the couple we went on in India were poor to say the least . Finally a noro virus broke out on the last 2 cruises, but you can't blame the cruise line for that and they made every attempt to get it right As I said the ship was beautiful , it was a pity the activity selection was so poor as the cruise could have been so much better we learnt a lesson -- never go Consecutive cruising -- just do one in its entirety Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Boarding in Southampton was smooth, and cabins opened shortly after 1pm. Didn't see my cabin attendant until the 3rd day, which was unusual. Due to having too much fun, I missed out on all the shows, but others spoke highly of the ... Read More
Boarding in Southampton was smooth, and cabins opened shortly after 1pm. Didn't see my cabin attendant until the 3rd day, which was unusual. Due to having too much fun, I missed out on all the shows, but others spoke highly of the ice show in particular. Dining service was a little hit and miss at times, but the food was of good quality with plenty of choice. I tried the "Chops fillet steak" in the dining room one night and wasn't very impressed. The steak was slightly overcooked (probably from heat lamps?) so you might want to order 1 step rarer than you usually do. I'd heard so many good things about the Chops' steaks, I was a bit disappointed. The flavour of the steak was not as good as you get from supermarkets in Ireland, though it looked like a nice piece of meat. Similarly I wasn't very impressed with Sabor on a previous sailing, so I think the meat is more like what Americans are used to. Took the Galician Wine Cellar Tour in Vigo, which was excellent, despite a power outage at the winery. Disembarkation in Barcelona was very good, but even though I had a transfer booked through RCI, I received the wrong luggage tags initially. Check your tags when they arrive - it's easy to get them changed if you notice on time. The Explorer is looking well after her refurb earlier this year - the new carpets and curtains in the stateroom are particularly nice. They removed the poker slot machines during the refurb, and didn't replace them. Overall, staff were pleasant, if sometimes a bit invisible - I'd sail the Explorer again if the itinerary was right. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Was somewhat disappointed with this first cruise with RCI. However there were good points. I loved the ship and the cabin looking out onto the promenade was excellent. Staff were fabulous especially the stateroom attendant Jose. Boarding ... Read More
Was somewhat disappointed with this first cruise with RCI. However there were good points. I loved the ship and the cabin looking out onto the promenade was excellent. Staff were fabulous especially the stateroom attendant Jose. Boarding and disembarking were excellent. The itinerary was also good. However one of m my joys of previous cruises has been the food which has always been fantastic. This time it was very ordinary. Presentation was nowhere near the standards of previous experiences and of poor quality on a number of occasions. Bar prices were also on the expensive side with an 18% gratuity being added. They also add local vat when in port or up to 10 miles out. Have not noticed that with their cruise lines. I enjoyed the cruise but would have to think hard to choose RCI again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
We flew down from Newcastle and checked in smoothly and quickly. We found the ship to be very big and luxurious. The cabin was spacious even though it was an inside one, the bed was big and comfortable and our cabin attendant was very ... Read More
We flew down from Newcastle and checked in smoothly and quickly. We found the ship to be very big and luxurious. The cabin was spacious even though it was an inside one, the bed was big and comfortable and our cabin attendant was very good. The dining was excellent, both the free time dining and the three extra restaurants we paid for. The meals were all presented promptly and were hot and very tasty. The bars were all very good with lots of different drinks and cocktails. The evening entertainment was brilliant and the ice show was outstanding, you would never think you were on a ship to have this sort of entertainment. The shore excursion we took was very good, Lisbon for Seville. The coach journey was very good and we had plenty of time in Seville to have a look around. All in all a very good cruise which we really enjoyed. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
we enjoyed it again and of course compared with Adv.of the seas and Brilliance of the seas and the others we were on. We thought that this time there was no stress at all with finding seats on deck, and also we always found a good place to ... Read More
we enjoyed it again and of course compared with Adv.of the seas and Brilliance of the seas and the others we were on. We thought that this time there was no stress at all with finding seats on deck, and also we always found a good place to sit and enjoy breakfast.The choice was almsot too much .The service was exellent.The iceshow was probably the best I haveseen. The theatre performances did not meet really my wishes and favourites but only for me it was not the right . The cruise director for me was the star as he was absolutely fantastic in everything, especially on stage on the Promonade deck night when he rocked......His humour was that when I couldlaugh about everything although I never watch or listen to comedians, however, for me he was the star. What went wrong again and unfortunately on all other cruises was our request to be seated together with Americans, or English (since I am German and my step daughter English ) Where did we finally sit ? Together with Germans ........ Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Sailed this beauty on 2nd of October. Such a lovely ship it is clean looks great inside and out. Embarkation was so smooth and cabin was ready at 1pm. 1st time we have had an inside cabin we always have a balcony but I have to say we ... Read More
Sailed this beauty on 2nd of October. Such a lovely ship it is clean looks great inside and out. Embarkation was so smooth and cabin was ready at 1pm. 1st time we have had an inside cabin we always have a balcony but I have to say we wouldn't hesitate to have an inside again it was lovely. Information on board was easy to access from the tv in the cabin and all around the ship on each deck there are easy to use information boards. Lots of activities we never had time to get bored. The service was outstanding from every single person on board they always smiled said hello when passing you we never ever came across anyone miserable. The pools were lovely and there were plenty of sunbeds for everyone and the ship was full to capacity. (I can't understand some of the reviews about beds on this site not having enough) Entertainment was good a couple of shows I wasn't keen on but then that's personal taste. Cruise director was so funny 3rd time I have come across him and he is excellent. Thanks RCI for a wonderful cruise and Explorer of the Seas your crew members are a credit to you, only wish I could have stayed on till Australia. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
Explorer of the Seas Review We went on the repositioning trip consisting of four cruises from Southampton to Fremantle. This was a 42 day cruise from October 2, 2015 to November 13, 2015. Explorer has a lot going for it. The ship ... Read More
Explorer of the Seas Review We went on the repositioning trip consisting of four cruises from Southampton to Fremantle. This was a 42 day cruise from October 2, 2015 to November 13, 2015. Explorer has a lot going for it. The ship looks great, the décor and finish is good quality. Our stateroom 2292, although at the lowest level, was of a good standard with ample room and the bed was good. The evening shows were a real highlight with class acts including the song and dance team, the Explorer Orchestra and various individual artists of a high quality. Two comedians early in the cruise were of poor quality. The food was of a high standard although the menus were repeated and the formal nights did not feature different menus. Another highlight was the ice show. Explorer has a large ice rink with about 700 seats to watch the show. There were several Olympic standard skaters and the show was outstanding. The Cruise Director, Graham Seymour, was absolutely brilliant. He added a level of humour and great organisation to all the events and programmes. The rest of his team were also exceptional. There were several areas where the ship could have performed better. Gastro: The outbreaks just got more and more serious until at a changeover port passengers were asked to leave so the whole ship could be fumigated. Unfortunately the staff did not police the use of the sanitation stations at the entries to the dining facilities so it was always going to be a problem. Also the staff should have taken over the dispensing of food as passengers handling the same serving spoons etc. allowed the transmission of bugs. Library: The ship was advertised as having a library. It was very limited to start with and within a few days there were almost no English novels to read. This was a great disappointment to those who did not bring books. Excursions: The excursions representatives were not to be believed when questioned on the details of proposed excursions. They were either poorly trained or disinterested. Card Room: This was combined with the library and was quite inadequate for a ship of this size. Those wanting to play card games had to use other areas which were not always suitable. Suez Canal: it was so disappointing that there was no prior briefing nor was there any commentary during the transit. This was supposed to be one of the highlights of the trip and the lack of information was very poor. Generally we had a good cruise. The age group was mainly in the sixties and seventies and the facilities were more designed for a younger age group. Examples were the flow rider and the rock climbing wall. Read Less
Sail Date October 2015
This was my third cruise with Royal Caribbean so my holiday on this new ship came with high expectations. Cabins are greatly improved better décor with much more space and storage. Service as always with RCCL was excellent although staff ... Read More
This was my third cruise with Royal Caribbean so my holiday on this new ship came with high expectations. Cabins are greatly improved better décor with much more space and storage. Service as always with RCCL was excellent although staff shortages were noticed by myself and others, Entertainment on the ship was exceptional and the 270 theatre was out of this world and highly recommended. Staff around the ship are very pleasant and extremely helpful. All the swimming pools are now heated so no more ice cold salt water pools. Outdoor Sunbeds are as usual first come first serve so be quick. Be advised there is a $25 dollar charge to your sea pass account should you not return any of the pool towels. Dining is very good although remember to book early due to high demand. Shopping on the ship is varied although a lot of the shops seem to cater to the more wealthier passengers. The port merchant did not seem to stock as much as they have on other ships I have been on. Also noticeable among the passengers was the lack of parades or theme nights have been on offer in the promenade areas on other ships. On the Anthem it is non existent. The Seaplex centre offers a variety of activities such as roller skating and dodgem cars which are very good. if travelling with youngsters or teens this ship is ideal. The North Star viewing pod is a definite must for all passengers. Smoking areas are reduced to a small section by the jumbo screen on deck 14 and a glass shelter outside on deck 5, Wi-Fi is available with good speed and coverage but at nearly $200 for the duration of the cruise its a little overpriced, changes are noticeable from other ships for example café promenade is no longer open 24 hours and Breakfast delivered to your stateroom is no longer free nor are most of the items on the rooms service menu plus the additional charge that is added if you order is now after 11pm not midnight as on previous ships, it is also worth noting that prices for all shore excursions are considerably more expensive than advertised in RCCLs online brochure. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
My wife and I have done several previous cruises with RCL and other operators. Like so many other people, our favourite RCL ship is "Indy" and we were interested to see how Anthem compared. Embarkation and disembarkation at ... Read More
My wife and I have done several previous cruises with RCL and other operators. Like so many other people, our favourite RCL ship is "Indy" and we were interested to see how Anthem compared. Embarkation and disembarkation at Southampton were quick and easy as we have come to expect from RCL so no complaints there. The ship's appearance is lovely. Indeed, it is very elegant in places and everywhere looks new and is kept spotlessly clean. The passenger/space ratio is generally good and we never felt crowded except on the sun decks on fine days and, sometimes, in the popular show venues and some of the bars. Some have complained that the layout is confusing but, really, it's not that much different from more traditional ships in that the spa, fitness, pools and main buffet restaurant are all on the upper decks; shops, bars cafes, Guest Relations and casino on decks 3, 4 and 5 and staterooms on the other decks with most of the complimentary restaurants being towards the stern on decks 3 and 4. The speciality restaurants are scattered around the ship. Signage is good and we never got lost. The crew and staff were invariably friendly and helpful My wife is disabled so uses a mobility scooter and this caused a problem in our stateroom which was a superior balcony on Deck 13. We have had this type of room on RCL ships before and never had a problem storing the scooter, usually parking it next to the sofa. However, our cabin was configured so that the bed was nearest the door with the sofa and dressing table beyond, nearest the balcony. Unfortunately, the gap between the end of the bed and the wall was too narrow to get the scooter through to our 'normal' parking position next to the sofa and the only place we could put it was just inside the door. This made access into and out of of the room quite difficult and was a considerable inconvenience. We spoke to Guest Relations as soon as we discovered the problem and asked if we could have a more suitable room, paying for an upgrade if necessary but we were told that this was not possible because the ship was full, a statement which we took with a pinch of salt. We were told that if another stateroom became available during the cruise we would be moved immediately but, needless to say, that never happened so we just had to live with the situation. Ironically, we later discovered that some staterooms have the reverse configuration i.e, with the sofa nearest the door so if we'd had one of those there wouldn't have been a problem. I guess we were just unlucky. Incidentally, information regarding facilities for the disabled was sparse (unusual with RCL) and catering for disabled passengers on tour buses and shuttles was very limited. Apart from the above, the room and balcony were fine except that the bed was extremely hard and uncomfortable to each of us and no foam mattress toppers were available to soften it as there are on other RCL ships. Also, there was a shortage of hanging space in the wardrobes for long garments (my wife had to leave a large proportion of her dresses in her suitcase). The Dynamic Dining concept was disliked by almost everyone we spoke to (although I myself didn't mind it) and most people much preferred the traditional way of dinner in a Main Restaurant at set times, at the same table and with the same waiters. The four main complimentary restaurants (Chic, the Grande, American Icon and Silk) were laid out and done up very nicely but the food quality was inconsistent, ranging from (sometimes) good to mediocre and occasionally poor. The main complaints were the repetitive menus which, as far as we could tell, never changed throughout the cruise, tough steaks and food being served cold or lukewarm. In our view, the best of them was the Grande but even in there the dress code (formal) was not enforced so was abused by some. We didn't try any of the speciality restaurants because, to us, there wasn't anything on the menu to warrant paying the supplement which, in some cases, was very steep. And in that regard we knew that RCL had abandoned the singing and dancing wait staff in Johnny Rockets because, they say, people didn't like it (really?) but what is left on Anthem is a draughty burger bar on a par with MacDonalds. And RCL have the nerve to charge a supplement for eating there! Similarly, the equivalent of the very popular Dog & Badger pub on Indy is Michael's Genuine American Pub. It's a gloomy place lacking atmosphere and it never seemed to be very busy. And they charge a supplement for things like fish and chips and cottage pie! It didn't seem to make any difference whether or not you made a restaurant reservation because you still had to queue although usually not for more than ten minutes The other casual eateries (Sorrento's, Cafe Promenade, Cafe 270 etc) were fine. In particular, the notorious Windjammer is a vast inprovement on the Indy. It's more spacious, better laid out and has a good selection of dishes of excellent quality. In fact, for the first time ever, we ate there in the evenings as many times as in the more formal restaurants. Getting a table was never a problem except at peak times and we particularly liked eating al fresco on a fine day or evening in the open area overlooking the stern. Magic! We didn't go to many shows but we enjoyed those that we did, particularly the Spectra Cabaret and We Will Rock You. The rest of the entertainment seemed to be on a par with other ships. The shops were the usual boutiques selling overpriced designer clothes, watches and jewellery. The one general shop was quite small and had only a limited stock range. The North Star was good but the much vaunted Bionic Bar is, in our view, a total gimmick. We watched it in action once and never bothered again. Beware of the shuttle in Lisbon! RCL's mooring used to be next to the suspension bridge which is quite a distance from the city centre so using the shuttle bus was essential. However, Anthem docks much further upstream closer to the city centre and we didn't realise how much closer until we had taken the bus which made a slow and tortuous journey through busy streets to cover a distance of about half a mile as the crow flies. But it was the return journey that was a fiasco. For some reason which was never explained, the bus (which was exclusively for Anthem passengers) dropped us at the Celebrity Eclipse which was moored next to us. We were told that another bus would take us to the Anthem but there was no sign of it and, anyway, we didn't relish the hassle of loading/unloading the scooter on and off a second bus. So we made our own way back. We complained about this and, in fairness, RCL refunded our shuttle fares without argument. The moral of this is don't take the shuttle unless the ship docks next to the bridge because it's quicker, easier and cheaper to walk. Drinks are, as usual, expensive, particularly when the ship is in Spanish waters, because by the time the 18% gratuity and Spanish VAT is added a small glass of mediocre wine cost about £8.50. Fortunately, we didn't have to pay for too many drinks because we are Diamond Members which gave us a number of daily free drinks. It also gave us use of the Diamond Lounge which is a very nice relaxing venue. And the pre-dinner nibbles are very good too. RCL boast that Anthem is highly technologically advanced and so it is, too much so in our opinion and some features either didn't work properly or are a retrogade step. For example, on other ships there's an A4 booklet in your room listing all the available tours in order of the itinerary. You decde which ones you want, book them via your TV and the tickets are delivered to your room. Not so on Anthem because there's no booklet and no facility for booking a tour via the TV. You have to go to Guest Relations, sign in at one of the iPad stations, scroll through every tour available throughout the fleet (or so it seemed to me) and print your own tickets all of which is very laborious. It may be that it's possible to do this with RCL's IQ App but I want to get away from my phone when on holiday and, moreover, not everyone has a Smartphone or is IT literate. Also,you can no longer have breakfast in the room by ticking boxes on a card and hanging it outside you door. You now have to do it all via your TV which takes much longer, plus the fact that only items such as cereals and rolls are free. Cooked items are chargeable. And you're supposed to receive a printout of your onboard account on the last night of your cruise. We didn't get one. I'm sorry that this review has gone on for much longer than I intended but I wanted to try to give an objective view of as many aspects as possible. In summary we say, "Nice ship but we're looking forward to Indy coming back." Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
I've waited almost a year for this cruise, with very high expectations. After seeing the negative reviews of Quantum, I've lowered them quite a bit. My DH was with me, and a couple of friends - first time cruisers, coming with us ... Read More
I've waited almost a year for this cruise, with very high expectations. After seeing the negative reviews of Quantum, I've lowered them quite a bit. My DH was with me, and a couple of friends - first time cruisers, coming with us based on our recommendation. Our cruise was marred by a very big group (almost a quarter of the total pax), which I'll call "The group". I've waited quite some time to write this review, since I've written first to C&A (being platinum). To make it very short, it told them that I was very disappointed to find out that public spaces like the Solarium and 270 were closed, mainly on sea days, in order to accommodate "The group", that I felt that RC's first priority was the well being of "The group", and that I'll greatly appreciate being advised before hand if such a big group will travel on a specific cruise. RC took their time in replying. In the end, it was along the lines of "we value the privacy of our customers and we cannot advise of them being present in a certain cruise...". It made me laugh. As if I asked names, addresses and SS # .... I wrote again, saying that I'd like the choice of deciding whether or not to join "The group" .... After waiting more than 2 weeks, I decided the write my review anyhow. Besides taking over public spaces, as mentioned above, "The group" has been reserved prime location tables on all the complimentary restaurants, along with a special "direct" line, without having to queue like us, mere mortals. Also, on the only for fee restaurant we decided to try, Jaimie's, there was also a representative for "The group", making sure that every one of them could get in immediately. The "best" part was being in Loro Park (Tenerife), finding no places to sit for a show, but guess what ... the central aisle, with the choice views, was also reserved for "The group" !!! Now to the good part. The ship is beautiful, sparkling clean, the staff very helpful, we enjoyed the North Star (only in port), i-Fly,bumper cars, puzzle room. We could have enjoyed more all the shows which could be reserved before hand (Spectra, the Gift and We will rock you), if the sound was not so loud. We've seen Wicked while in London, and found it also very loud, so may be it is us.... I've spent a lot of time reserving the 4 "complimentary" restaurants and then, when the entertainment could be booked, changing the hours again. BUT, after trying every one of them once, and waiting for a lot time (in Chic - 2 hours!!!) for average food, we cancelled all the remaining reservations, and opted for WJ, which was quiet and had a very nice variety of food. Jaimie's we tried once and were not impressed. One star minus because of "The group", and one star for the average food and service in the 4 "complimentary" restaurants. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
After reading several mixed reviews about the Anthem of the Seas, we didn't know what to expect. However, everything about this new ship is spot on. Boarding was very quick (about 10 minutes). Our balcony stateroom was on deck 12 had ... Read More
After reading several mixed reviews about the Anthem of the Seas, we didn't know what to expect. However, everything about this new ship is spot on. Boarding was very quick (about 10 minutes). Our balcony stateroom was on deck 12 had plenty of room for the two of us and the balcony was also quite large, too. The entertainment was first class throughout the cruise with the highlight being the 'We will rock you' show which was delivered to a West End standard. The two 70 area at the back of the ship delivers stunning views of the sea during the day and then at night transforms into an amazing technology entertainment area. We went on the ships 'North Star' which delivers panoramic views of both the ship and the sea. We opted for the dynamic dining having pre-booked restaurants and times and everything worked liked clockwork. The food in all of our four chosen restaurants was of exceptional quality with a large choice daily menu. The service of every member of staff on board was excellent at all times and nothing was ever too much trouble. Would we travel on this ship and with Royal Caribbean again? Yes, without a doubt! We had fantastic weather throughout our cruise with very calm sea conditions. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
We've just returned from a 13 night Canary Island Cruise on Anthem Of the Seas. Our favourite cruise line is Celebrity but we have also sailed on Royal Caribbean on The Independence and Adventure and several times with the British ... Read More
We've just returned from a 13 night Canary Island Cruise on Anthem Of the Seas. Our favourite cruise line is Celebrity but we have also sailed on Royal Caribbean on The Independence and Adventure and several times with the British cruise line P&O.. We wanted to try Anthem on her maiden Southampton season before she becomes based year round in New Jersey. Embarkation We reserved a check in slot of 11.15 to 11.45 but arrived early at 10.30. We walked straight up to a person with a tablet, they scanned our seapass papers and checked our passports and that was it, we were onboard within 5 minutes of arrival. Superbly smooth and hassle free. Cabin The cabins were released at 1pm with the doors to the corridors kept shut until then. We had a standard balcony on Deck 6 (Obstructed). The cabin is probably the best designed of any we have stayed in. It had a feeling of space and has plenty of room to move around. There are two separate wardrobes, 1 each side of each bed with storage above the bed. There is a desk with a large light up mirror above and the desk is freestanding and can be moved say in front of the couch if you want to eat meals from the (mostly chargeable) room service menu. Then there is a unit with 6 drawers and the mini fridge, the top drawer containing the hairdryer. The couch is a good size if somewhat firm. Above the desk area are three sockets plus two USB outlets for charging devices which is a nice touch. We liked the lighting options including lights above the curtains and a large table lamp on the drawer unit however the bedside lights are a touch too bright. There is a 40” flat screen TV neatly sat against the wall which can be pulled out at an angle. The bathroom is very similar to those on Celebrity S class ships but with open shelves rather than cabinets. The shower has a glass screen and is a good size. Like Celebrity, there is a courtesy light in the bathroom making it easy to find and see at night without waking others in the room. The cabin was kept spotless by our attendant. The air con worked very well and is quiet and unobtrusive as its outlet is built into the cupboards over the bed. The cabin probably surpassed the design of Celebrity's S class cabins which we thought could not be beaten and the midships location on Deck 6 was really convenient to access the decks below by stairs. Food We were on dynamic dining choice. We pre-booked all our evenings across the 4 free main dining rooms. We did check out Devinly Decadence on embarkation which is great if you like salad but has limited main meals at lunch and very little for vegetarians (OH is a veggie) as none of the cheese used is suitable for vegetarians (animal rennet). Their evening menu offered no mains for vegetarians so it wasn't an option for us. We thought that there were much better dining options elsewhere and don't cruise to count our calories but I'm sure many will enjoy the relative peace of this venue. Out of the other 4 main dining rooms we rated them in this order: 1) The Grande 2) American Icon/Chic (neck and neck) 3) Silk We loved The Grande. The ambience and decor are superb and we enjoyed the food options the most here. We wore blazers without ties and it was nice to see the majority adhering to the dress code with very few having to be given a jacket to walk in with. There was little to choose between American Icon and Chic and we thought the options quite similarly good.. We tried Silk on one menu and we both left during our mains. We thought the food was quite poor. It all sounded nice but the execution wasn't good, onion bhaji was cold and soggy and stir fry broccoli and beef was gloopy. We decided to try it on the alternate menu and this confirmed it wasn't the place for us (Shrimp Korma was insipid and not creamy, just gravy like). Others liked Silk but we’ve eaten better Asian food from local takeaways. The menus in the 4 restaurants switched every 4 days and the choice of options was superb. The food was well prepared and presented and the portions were large. Service in all restaurants was excellent without exception. Just a note about the reservation system for Dynamic Dining Choice. Our reservations made from home were all transferred to the ship and appeared on the Cabin TV and the Royal IQ App. When you turn up for dinner, if there is a queue in front of you there appears to be no differentiation between those who have reserved and those who have not. Everyone is dealt with in turn. Therefore after around night 3 we ignored our reservations and just turned up at our restaurant of choice. They don't keep a table open for those who have reserved so the suggestion to reserve restaurants is probably more to do with Royal trying to spread the load across restaurants and times. We ate usually between 7-7.30 and never encountered a queue or wait time. Meals were served briskly but you could ask to take it slower if you preferred. We've previously said the the food on Celebrity was the best included food we've had. However, the food on Anthem in the main dining rooms topped it. We also preferred the smaller dining rooms to a large single dining room which can get quite noisy and bustling and it was nice to eat in different venues. Quality, portions, presentation and choice all tipped the balance from Celebrity to Anthem. I should point out that the Anthem food was way ahead of the food served on Adventure 2 years ago. The only speciality dining we tried was Jamie’s Italian. We got a 30% discount by asking onboard. The service was superb and the food was extremely good. Make sure you are hungry as the portions are very large. It was great value with the discount and highly recommended. For breakfast we ate in either American Icon or the Windjammer. American Icon was very good. Good service and a nice choice of food. We asked for and always got a table for 2. The eggs benedict was excellent and my OH enjoyed the Beignet. The Windjammer has a great selection but is of course busier. Interestingly American Icon is a la carte for breakfast with not help yourself options but next door in Silk they offer a buffet selection which is a good option if you want to help yourself in a quieter location than the Windjammer. Lunch was usually the Windjammer too but a couple of times we ate in Two70 where the roast beef sandwiches are superb. They also have paninis, sandwiches and cakes and a large gluten free selection. The salads are a 'point and select' type and though the ingredients are limited they are very nice. We snacked on pizza at Sorrentos a couple of times and this was always busy (beware the cheese is not Vegetarian but after a discussion they obtained some veggie cheese for my OH). I tried a hot dog from the Seaplex Doghouse and it was very good. We didn't try Johnny Rockets as we did not feel the need to pay for fast food with all the other free options. We had snacks from Cafe Promenade a few times. Opposite is a chargeable Patisserie. We didn't see a single person buy food from there and the space as a result is wasted. We had the free included Select drinks packages but I upgraded to the Premium Package and my OH downgraded (doesn't drink alcohol) to the Royal Replenish Package to access the sparkling waters and Mocktails. We both had lots of choice and had no issue getting a drink and the choice was excellent. We liked that every bar had its own unique cocktail menu in addition to any other cocktail you might choose. Entertainment Of course the big show is We Will Rock You. We booked in advance and they scan your card or Wow band on entry to ensure you have booked. 10 minutes before the start they allow people who haven't booked to fill any empty seats. The theatre has some obstructed views so it's best to arrive early. Doors open 45 mins before the show. It was great fun, very professional with good sets and of course all those well known Queen songs. For UK cruisers it was interesting to see Kevin Kennedy, aka Curly Watts from Coronation Street, in one of the main roles and he was good. It got a great reaction and standing ovation at the end. Another show to book was Spectra's Cabaret in Two70. Whilst mentioning Two70 I have to say it's possibly the best single venue on any ship we have been on. The design of it allows it to switch from library to cafe seating, to bar to general lounging area and at night it becomes a showbar. The surrounding 50ft high windows become projection screens at night and the roboscreens are amazing and superbly flexible. We loved Spectra's Cabaret. The singing and dancing were superb and the show had amazing energy. The final bookable show was The Gift. We missed our booked performance as I was under the weather however almost universally everyone we met said it was technically impressive but they had no idea what it was about. The next night we popped in and watched for 5 mins and we could see that a lot of design had gone into the production but we didn't stay given the feedback from others. Onboard Activities Of course you have the rock wall and the flowrider. But on Quantum Class the headline activities are the Ripcord by I-Fly and the Seaplex. We prebooked the skydiving simulation in advance and took part on day 3. All I Can say is it was superb. Exhilarating and exciting. After day 7 you could book another go one day at a time. We did it 5 times in total and loved every one. We saw a 3 year old and a 70 year old take part and most we talked to thought it was excellent too. If you have done it previously you can skip the video instruction at the start but still have to wait for the rest of your group to see the video. The seaplex is multipurpose and hosts roller skating, trapeze, basketball and of course the bumper cars. The latter looked a little tame but after we gave it a go we loved it and took part about 8 times. It was great fun and well organised and by the end of the 2 weeks there were some seriously competitive bumper car drivers. The daily compass was full of activities, lots of quizzes, fitness, Zumba, port talks etc. We didn't care for the cruise director (Luke Aerosmith) whose specialist ability seemed to be reading out the activities in the daily compass both on the TV channel and on the tannoy announcements. The Ship in general. The decor is very smart and modern certainly more Celebrity than Royal. Classy and with some modern high tech touches. The Bionic Bar is interesting briefly but had several mishaps and was pretty quiet mostly. Vintages is a lovely large wine bar with a lot of options within the premium package price point. The other bars are a touch small for the amount of passengers (Beleros and Schooner) and Michael's Genuine Pub is like no UK pub I've frequented, dark and a tad depressing with barmen wearing braces and flat caps. However they had a wide beer selection and it proved popular though we thought the food options a little on the expensive side. So did most others as we never saw anyone eating in there. Music Hall is a superb area. Two floors, each with a bar and the top level has pool tables. There is always something going on here and in the evening it was always busy. Rock The Boat were the house band and were excellent. On deck the outside pool areas are smaller than Independence however she has the indoor pool plus the Solarium area for cooler/wetter days. Both of the latter two are lovely areas. We've been on Independance on cool and wet days out of Southampton and there is nowhere to go apart from inside a packed ship with limited seating so it was nice to have other options on the first and last cooler days. A lot of the UK cruisers had previously been on the Independance as she has been based in Southampton most summers since her launch. Many made the comparison between her and Anthem. Some missed the 3 level MDR and some missed the larger Royal Promenade. Not sure why they chose Anthem knowing she had neither but we like that the venues on Anthem were more spread out as it made it feel less busy and the separate dining rooms kept that division of passengers possible such that you never thought you were on a ship with this volume of passengers. Ok, so overall. We loved Anthem. If she was going to be based in Southampton each summer she would be our Go To cruise ship of choice but that's not to be unfortunately. We loved the cabins, food, entertainment, decor and service. We liked the flexibility, and quality, of the dining options and interestingly there were a lot of new cruisers onboard so Royal must be doing something right in their marketing to entice people to try cruising for the first time. Clearly she is designed for mixed climate cruising and would not work in a solely caribbean itinerary but for her Southampton maiden season and her New Jersey home I'm sure she is expertly suited. Overall, a 9 out of 10 for us. Interestingly we have sailed on 3 ships out of Southampton this year, the new P&O Britannia, Celebrity Eclipse and Anthem Of The Seas. Anthem was the best of the 3 in our opinion. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Like so many others we were very apprehensive about this cruise following so many negative reviews here on CC and other review sites. However we are so pleased that we resisted the urge to cancel and re-book on a different ship. Anthem ... Read More
Like so many others we were very apprehensive about this cruise following so many negative reviews here on CC and other review sites. However we are so pleased that we resisted the urge to cancel and re-book on a different ship. Anthem was a fantastic experience from start to finish! This was our 8th cruise, all with RCI on Vision, Radiance, Voyager classes and our first at Diamond level. Just the two of us travelling without family or children. The ship was fully booked with over 4200 passengers. Embarkation at Southampton was fine but not really any quicker than the conventional queuing system. We had completed all the pre cruise on line check-in requirements, photos, charge cards etc but still found ourselves waiting while the roving (and slightly random) check-in person took photos and entered charge card details of the family ahead of us that had not gone to the trouble of doing it all in advance. This is about the only niggle we had for the entire cruise and we were still "car to Promenade Café" in about 20 mins. The ship was pretty jaw-dropping. At first, the promenade area seemed more like a high end shopping mall but we soon realised what a sociable area this was with numerous bar, café, snack area options both day and night. Yes there were the usual on-board shopping special functions set up here most days but there was plenty of room and none of the crowding problems we'd read about. As you walk aft on deck 4, the ship seems to stretch further and further with some incredible open spaces before you then enter the amazing Two70 space. The Two70 area at the rear of the ship spans 3 deck levels (4,5 and 6) and is a brilliant space with a glass wall spanning floor to ceiling across the stern and around the stern quarters. It's a vast light, airy space with lots of seating options and the glass windows can be transformed into a huge projection area for some great special effects. The ship has almost endless food and bar options, we had no chance of trying them all. The main theatre also doubled as a 3D cinema complete with 3D specs. We wanted to try one of the "Virtual Balcony" inside cabins (8185). The cabin itself was spacious, well laid out (but different to our previous ships so had to find new places for things), full length hanging space was a bit limited but not an issue. The bathroom was excellent with a large GLASS door shower with proper (not aerated) shower flow. The virtual balcony screen was fantastic, so realistic that both of us bumped our heads trying to "see around the corner" as you would with a real window. No more trying to guess the weather before leaving the cabin. A kettle/coffee maker was provided (but we never used it). There seemed to be plenty of entertainment options, we had nowhere near enough time to try them all. The We Will Rock You stage show was excellent, I had expected a shortened version of the stage show, but it was the full length show and really well done. Spectre's Cabaret was entertaining and spectacular but not really our thing, the same goes for The Gift. However, these represent just a fraction of the entertainment on offer, I'd be amazed if there wasn't something for everyone. The Dynamic Dining (DD) worked just fine and was in fact quite flexible. We were more than fashionably late for our (pre cruise booked) reservation several times without a problem and often with impromptu dining partners from the Diamond lounge which the restaurant took in their stride. They coped with my wife's gluten free requirement just fine, passing the information from venue to venue very smoothly throughout the cruise. The menus in each complimentary restaurant changed every 4 days but there was plenty of choice anyway. True, they were sometimes the same core ingredients prepared in different ways but we found plenty of variety and loved it. Tip: American Icon's surf and turf is to die for. Think filet mignon with skewered giant prawns........! Dress Code for the Grande (formal restaurant) was sensibly enforced with jacket and collared shirt the minimum standard, but many male diners wore black tie every night in the Grande. The mix of dining (and drinking) venues gave rise to plenty of varied apparel but rest assured those that like to "dress up" would never feel out of place on any evening A few very minor negatives such as the main outdoor pool area was small without enough surrounding sun lounger space (there were plenty of other areas away from the pool), the gym/fitness suite no longer includes a free sauna/ steam room (you now have to pay for these as part of the spa). These were minor things and were far outweighed by the many positives. It was really something to sail on an almost new ship (Anthem's 16th voyage). The ship was immaculate, little things like the perfectly smooth high gloss handrails around the outer decks I loved. I'm no computer geek, but even I loved the technology, so many great features. I went on the iFly free fall simulator, great experience. We rode the North Star capsule shortly after sunrise on our anniversary, brilliant, 300ft high and about 100ft to the side of the ship while underway at about 20knots, great photo opportunity. Bumper cars, Flowrider, we had a blast! Disembarkation went very smoothly, we were going to self-carry but in the end thought why struggle? So left it to the crew and after a very civilised coffee and pastries we sauntered ashore to collect our luggage and were away no problem. She is a very different ship to the others we've sailed on. The layout does not suit everyone and does not really lend itself to having that central area where everyone gathers for the party type events that we were used to. As a result of this, plus having different table waiters most evenings, you do not quite develop the same sense of "belonging" as on previous ships, however all the crew were fantastic and there are many really great features that we absolutely loved. None of the above is to say that we would, for a second, abandon the other classes of ships that we have loved so much, but we would not hesitate to book a Quantum class again if the price and itinerary were right. It has to be said, there were only about 100 children on our cruise, there had been 1000+ on the previous cruises that received such poor reviews and a couple of the crew we spoke to confirmed that the high numbers of children had put the ship under a strain. So avoid school vacation periods if you can. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was one of the best cruises we have ever been on and we have done quite a few. The embarkation process was slick and first class. Some of this was due to the fact that we had completed all the necessary information online before we ... Read More
This was one of the best cruises we have ever been on and we have done quite a few. The embarkation process was slick and first class. Some of this was due to the fact that we had completed all the necessary information online before we sailed. From the minute we arrived at the port, we were on the ship in less than 15 minutes. The North Star experience was excellent but sometimes there was a bit of a queue to this attraction. We experienced Ripcord iFly, what a fantastic experience. The seaplex complex was fantastic too especially the dodgems. All bars were easily accessible with great service. The entertainment on board was first class. We found Luke the cruise director to be very helpful and informative. Booking all the shows and restaurants online before we sailed was definitely the thing to do as some people were complaining they couldn't get into some of the shows and restaurants. We tried all the restaurants with a cover charge. Wonderland and Jamie's Italian were our favourites. We also had the drinks package which offered a great selection of beer, wine, spirits and cocktails. Some people complained about the Windjammer being very busy. This was the biggest self serve buffet we have ever encountered and we never struggled to get a seat. The selection and variety of food was excellent probably too much choice. The food was always fresh and hot. We had been previously to most of the ports of call. We booked this cruise mainly for the ship experience and we were not disappointed. The staff throughout the ship were fantastic and nothing was too much of a problem for them. The WOW wristbands did tend to come off quite easily so we referred back to the sea pass. Overall the ship was first class, very clean with plenty of things to do during the day and at night but the one thing that was missing was things like barbecues on the deck, ice carving etc. We would definitely go on this ship again. It did have the WOW factor. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
First off as we drove in to the port the site of the ship was impressive. embarkation went smoothly as did disembarkation. I had a room on deck 8 with a balcony right on the bulge so I had a great unobstructed view the room was clean and ... Read More
First off as we drove in to the port the site of the ship was impressive. embarkation went smoothly as did disembarkation. I had a room on deck 8 with a balcony right on the bulge so I had a great unobstructed view the room was clean and well laid out. the food on the ship was second to none. the was plenty of bar to cater for all. the casino was well stocked with a good selection of games and machines. swimming pool could be a bit bigger but ideal for families with kids the 4 hot tubs great as the end of the day wind down with a cold drink. the staff was very polite and helpful and always smiling. if you want to go on any trips when in port i suggest you book them early. I went to Rome and the Colosseum Great day out but a long hot day but well worth it. But do a bit of research before you book as some trip go to the same places but dont stop for long or you have to meet the coach in a different place from where it dropped you off. I choose to travel on the local Hop on Hop off buses gos to a lot of the same places as the tours but is a lot cheaper and you spend the day doing what you want to do. I travelled on my own so I had to pay double occupancy. overall it was a lovely holiday you can do as much or as little as you like the only holiday where I came back completely relaxed. If you fancy going on a cruise book a room with a balcony the extra cost is well worth it and you wont be disappointed. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Having been with Royal Caribbean several times before we were very keen to travel with them again, on Explorer of the Seas as a new Itinerary for this cruise included the Azores. First of all I must mention the Price it appear that ... Read More
Having been with Royal Caribbean several times before we were very keen to travel with them again, on Explorer of the Seas as a new Itinerary for this cruise included the Azores. First of all I must mention the Price it appear that Royal Caribbean on this cruise was charging the UK market far more than in the US and Canada and the difference was excessive. This ship has had troubled times in the past and has been referred to as Royal Caribbean's training ship, we though given other not so flattering reviews that RC would have sorted this out by now, however we were soon to realise that these reviews were justified. A lot of passengers had flu like symptoms plainly evident at boarding there were no RC checks on health needless to say we boarded the ship well but soon came down with the flu like symptoms. The Cabin and the requirements we had booked were not fulfilled by RC, and we were left without a suitable bed in our cabin for the first night, the cabin itself was old and run down with fixtures and fittings missing, a travel lodge room in the UK would have been better. They are also advertising a lot a cabins as mid ship as this one was but ship signs clearly place it aft. We were told to Contact Guest Services to explain the problem, this was an absolute waste of time fobbed off and lied to time and time again whist standing in the queue and later speaking to other guests were soon realised we were not the only ones. The problem was simple to fix but they chose not to do it, stating there were no other beds on board, to replace the problem one in our cabin after the first night we had enough, went to customer services and stood our ground refusing to leave the desk. There was a faceless manager in the back room who refused to speak to us. They stated there was no solution for us. Given our personal circumstances this was unacceptable for more than a fortnight. We reluctantly decided to leave the ship at the next port of Call We asked for RC to help us to return to the UK only to be told we would be left on the dockside after we had filled out the paperwork to clear immigration. Fuming we return to our cabin, the Stateroom attendant seeing my mother was visibly upset asked us what had happened we told him and his deck supervisor attended the cabin with in an hour the solution that guest services was not on the ship had arrived in our cabin and was in place. In the mean time Guest Services had tried Charging us an extra $1000 dollars for another cabin at entry level. The guest services constantly lied to guests and fobbed everyone off . Guest services was an absolute disgrace and completely useless on this ship. The food in the restaurants especially in the windjammer was served blue or rare, when we asked for well done due to our dietary needs, we were told there wasn't any. The main dining room was very good given our two waiters the saving grace of RC food. We had pre-booked two nights in the speciality restaurants only to find theses were undercut on the ship. There were relentless sales drives even by the captain it just felt like RC was fleecing you for every penny and this wasn't an enjoyable experience, this went on day after day. Entertainment was generally good although all venues lacked capacity. Access to the Ice Shows was complete chaos nobody seamed to know what they were doing or who was in control. There also appeared to be a policy of moving waiting staff around the ship to busy areas this left no waiting staff in the other bars. The waiters and waitress worked very hard and long hours and were a credit to RC but they simply did not have enough people on duty nor the tools to do there jobs properly We also noticed that some of the toilets constantly were overflowing as to speak, especially the Male pool side toilets, this was not appetising as the phone needed to report the problems was near the lifts for the windjammer. The shore excursions again were very expensive and again were relentless in the sales drive, they appeared to play on the fear of missing the ship as a main sales tactic, shameful. We also had problems as we docked twice on Sundays, places were all closed nothing to do apart from going for a walk. Portuguese Ports Madeira and the Azores appeared better prepared to handle a ship of this size. In Bilbao the docking experience leaving and returning to the ship fell apart and had significant delays of two hours before we got off, no taxis and the buses couldn't cope with the numbers of people. We left on our last leg arriving in the channel around 12 hours before we were to go into port. My honest opinion is that the back room function of this ship was mismanaged corners had been cut and it was in complete chaos at the expense of the passenger. Cruises are suppose to be carefree and relaxing, but the passenger ram and cram attitude of RC is unacceptable. This company was at the forefront of the industry years ago but failed miserably on this cruise. Reported our problems to customers services in UK and America, got the impression no-one gave a hoot and that this was now the accepted level of service after all they had my money. I had a battle with them for months given there poor communication to get answers but these were inconclusive and I guess given the reviews for our cruise and after that nothing has been done. The only thing we can doo is make people aware of what went on so they can avoid the same experiences, hence this review. My advise, don't bother travelling with RC or Explorer of the Seas, they need to respect the customer again until then I will not travel with. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
14 Night Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas September 2015 A little apprehension kicked in when for ecological reasons you print your own luggage tags, forgive me but to get four it took four sheets of paper instead of the eight you ... Read More
14 Night Cruise on the Explorer of the Seas September 2015 A little apprehension kicked in when for ecological reasons you print your own luggage tags, forgive me but to get four it took four sheets of paper instead of the eight you used to get on a single A4 sheet, methinks that it is for economical not ecological reasons. The last time we sailed with Royal Caribbean was in 2011, and then these were printed for you We looked forward to this cruise and on first impressions the ship is beautiful. Sailing out of Southampton, Royal Caribbean seem to have tailored thing to the European style with tea and coffee making facilities in your cabins. The food service on the first night was acceptable, but the drinks service was well below standard, at the end of the meal when the head waiter came round asking if everything was OK he was told in no uncertain terms that it was not, after this we were served expertly by the food and beverage staff. Unlike most cruise ships on the pool deck the beverage staff are not continually trying to get you to purchase a drink but seem reluctant to circulate, it appears to save money staff have been reduced, as well as the chocolates on you pillow. The ship is acceptable and the staff are friendly and approachable, very professional. Royal Caribbean have a couple of policies, these must have been introduced since 2011, which step back to the last century, firstly the smoking areas externally state pool deck starboard side, however some people smoke in non smoking areas, and when questioned suggest you move. People who partake of e-cigarettes are informed that they can only Vape in designated smoking areas,THIS IS WHOLLY IGNORED AND NOT POLICED AT ALL The second ancient policy is regarding bringing alcohol on board, all alcohol has to be surrendered on returning to the ship, even if you have a drinks package why, because you have already paid for any alcohol why would I buy more other than to take it home. On board there is a connoisseur cigar club as a designated smoking area, and 50 meters away the biggest mistake, the casino, which has a smoking and non smoking section, the smoking section is allegedly for gamers only, it says so in the daily literature, in reality this is the gathering area for those who smoke, they chose to ignore the non smoking area and put ashtrays over the no smoking signs. Due to the design of the ship this opens the whole of the Royal promenade to getting anything from zephyrs of smoke to full range smog, making the whole central area smell like an old ashtray. We were offered complimentary laundry for some items of clothing, and the manager of the casino promised his staff would be more vigilant, this was not obvious to us. Complaining to the Crown and Anchor loyalty ambassador was a complete waste of time, I realised why, after she admitted to being a smoker herself. Complaint to future cruise sales team asking to cancel an earlier booking, received possibly the worse customer service we have ever had, with fierce pro smoking and the comment "the majority of Royal Caribbean cruisers smoke" talking to her manager sorted things out and hopefully she will be on a putting the customer first course. The daily newspapers were only produced for the first week and when asked something had gone wrong but no further information was supplied, not good on a ship that had a major refit earlier this year. The entertainment staff were very professional and great fun, always ensuring that the events they ran were as enjoyable as they could be. Some of the shows were acceptable, some amateur and some very poor obvious cost cutting here. There are four ‘Speciality Restaurants’ on board Jonny Rockets a 50’s style burger joint, this was acceptable, worth the $6.95pp cover charge, it was empty most of the time as people are reluctant to pay. Uzumi A Japanese style restaurant with a very confusing pricing structure, we decided to avoid this. Giovanni’s Table- This was the pick of the bunch with a one off cover charge, however even with RCI’s ultimate drinks package it was impossible to get a glass of red wine in the pricing policy, this was due to it being out of stock, and us having to dig our heels in and insisting the staff to go and get one. Again we feel this is due to cost cutting taking effect. Chopp’s Grill A cover charge to eat here, but if you require the best air dried steak or the lobster then you are asked to pay again on top of the cover charge, DISGUSTING RIP OFF and even more evidence of cost cutting. Royal Caribbean have also removed lobster as a main in the Sapphire Dining room unless you are prepared to pay over $30, again the cost cutting is showing through. It appears that Royal Caribbean have a new sponsor in British American Tobacco and should rename the ships the Ashtrays of the seas, and as this policy is fleet wide, and not widely printed on their glossy website, people should be made well aware of this. The cost cutting has taken such an effect that quality on board has dropped to an unacceptable level, the coffee is the most disgusting I have ever tasted. We will not sail with them until they make the interior of the ship non smoking, apart from the cigar lounge, which you can choose to avoid. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Our cruise out of Southampton was below my expectations. Fortunately, the Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores balanced out a somewhat lackluster Vigo, Spain and Bilbao, Spain. The problem was not the ports however but rather the Explorer ... Read More
Our cruise out of Southampton was below my expectations. Fortunately, the Canary Islands, Madeira and Azores balanced out a somewhat lackluster Vigo, Spain and Bilbao, Spain. The problem was not the ports however but rather the Explorer itself. It was overcrowded with nary a seat to be had during evening hours at any of the lounges. And, because there was such an overcrowding, the Schooner was used for trivia and other games during cocktail time, which eliminated any attempts to have conversation. During the day it was impossible to find a seat at a table on the promenade. Forget about getting a chair on any of the sun decks. Passengers claimed their chair for the day and staked it out with towels or friends saving them. I didn't use Windjammer, but imagine it was a madhouse most days. The main dining room was quite pleasant, although the food selection was boring on some days. As a non-meat eater, selections were limited by my choice, but some of the fish was awful. Very chewy and obviously frozen. The cod was especially horrible. Whoever writes the menus are creative in their descriptions, but not accurate. Luckily, the staff were wonderful and always had vegetables for me. The entertainment was second rate other than the ice show and Livewire. Karaoke was popular and well attended. The smoking in the casino was totally out of control. In order to get to the Palace Theater, one has to go through the casino. For non-smokers, it is so smoky that you can choke. And, instead of adhering to their own rules, the casino workers allowed smoking throughout the casino, instead of a designated area. It was so bad that if you were near the steps on the promenade it wafted up and was annoying. I was in a junior suite and when I came onboard, I didn't have any shampoos or excursions tickets. There was no information greeting me as I expected. I shouldn't have to complain about something so basic. Shopping was lackluster. I have traveled on other cruise lines such as Princess and they have always had local crafts and items available when traveling to a specific port. When we went to St. Petersberg we had icons and nesting dolls, Poland we were able to purchase amber. When traveling though the Greek Islands we were offered packaged local delicacies. The selections were not creative and the same throughout the cruise. HoHum. Boring. Didn't make me want to spend any money, how much perfume or Invicta watches can one person use? The selection of excursions was limited. When an excursion at Vigo was canceled, it was impossible to choose another one. When cruising through the Caribbean one expects to have limited selection beyond the beaches, but not in Europe. There should be more of an effort to offer some variety in every port. The meeting place for all excursions was the ice skating rink. It was miserable cold and we had to wait for sometimes half an hour or more. Why not meet in Palace Theater? It was very disorganized and ill-run. The guides were not able to control some of the groups and some of us didn't even know what to do because of lack of clear direction. My husband and I have never experienced these problems on any other Royal ship. In fact, we sailed Radiance through Alaska in June and had a wonderful experience and have been on other ships through the fleet without this level of complaint. I am returning to Celebrity for the next two cruises. Hopefully they won't disappoint inasmuch as it is the same umbrella fleet. It will take a really interesting itinerary for me to return to Royal any time soon. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
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