Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas
When: 12-16-16 to 12-23-16
Departure: Cape Liberty
Destination: The Bahamas
This cruise was taken as an Anniversary present for my wife. Anthem of the Seas was chosen because we didn’t have to fly out in December. This was our first “Big Ship” experience.
Port Liberty is one of the easiest ports to get to. We pulled up in front of the terminal and our bags were unloaded, then we parked at the garage which is directly next to the ship. The cost is $20.00 a day. We arrived a little early around 10 am. Going through security was a breeze, then we headed over to the suite check in, they explained that boarding would start around 11 am. There was a section of comfortable chairs and couches; in addition a coffee and tea bar was set up. Close to 11am the doors opened and we were on the ship.
The temperature at departure was 25 F, so most outdoor activities were limited.
Anthem of the Seas Room Category: Sea Class – Spa Jr. Suite
At 1pm the cabins opened. Our cabin was 13640, a Spa Jr. Suite on the top deck in the middle hump right below the “OF THE” in the Anthem of the Seas sign. The cabin was wonderful. It sleeps 2 people.
The big selling point is the split bathroom. As you walk in on the left is a WC consisting of a toilet and a sink with a vanity. On the right is the bathing portions. There is a full tub and a separate shower that has a rain fall from the ceiling and a wand, there is also a bench to sit and or shave. In addition there is another Sink with a vanity so there was plenty of bathroom storage. L’Occitane toiletries were provided.
Next there is a six large drawers chest followed by a small cabinet which houses the tiny refrigerator. There is a small writing desk. On the opposite side of the room is a small closet that has more hanging space and below that are two drawers A small shelf is located next to each side of the bed, finally there is a small sitting couch.
The balcony is ample size with two comfortable reclining chairs. The view is unobstructed and a major selling point of this cabin.
Anthem of the Seas Dining:
We purchased a 4 night specialty dining package so I will break the Dining down by each venue:
How can you go wrong with a premium steak? We enjoyed Chops twice and each time the meal and service were outstanding. I always get the Onion soup, Caesar salad, 9 oz fillet. I would also recommend the Charred Beef Carpaccio as an appetizer.
The service was very good, I would recommend the cured meat plank as an appetizer, also the breads were delicious. prosciutto & pear salad, was tasty. The actual main course was prepared well but both my wife’s lasagne and my bolognese were so-so. The dessert was excellent.
The outside of the restaurant, the front desk, and also a popular sitting area.
Wonderland Dining Room
A view of the Wonderland dining room, and the unique decor.
The adventure begins with the menu which you must discover via a wet paintbrush.
From L to R: Tomato Water, Baby Vegetables in the Garden, Liquid Lobster, Crispy Crab Cones
From L to R: Buffalo Chicken Eggs, Oceanic Citrus, Branzino in Crispy Bread, Terroir Beef
Presentation is a big part of the Wonderland experience.
The dessert Menu at Wonderland.
A very unique dining experience, we chose to let our server guide us through the culinary journey. He kept bringing out food in different forms and textures. The service was outstanding and our server explained each dish to us before we tried it. We enjoyed the experience very much; if you are up for an adventure you have got to try Wonderland at least once.
Main Dining Room
American Icon Grill
My Time Dining, we only ate once in the Main dining room, It was night 2 and it was formal night, we ate at 6:30 and it was a mad house, We were positioned at a small table next to a service nook.
The service was acceptable but I felt there was room for improvement. The assistant waiter only stopped by a couple of times with water and there seemed to be a longer gap between courses. Our waiter did chit chat a little once we reached the dessert course and the room calmed a little. We did see a family roll in with their “formal swim wear” and thought that was kind of funny.
We ate dinner one night at the Windjammer because it was billed as Tex-Mex Indeed. Translation, Taco Tuesday. The Windjammer is what it is, a buffet and you make it what it is. The food is good, the service is good. It is a nice place to go for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The plus on Quantum class ships is there is an outside deck you can eat with a great view off the aft of the ship. One negative- The Coke machines were occasionally out of product and more so with Coke Zero, and the machines seemed to self service way too often putting it out of service. Perhaps an additional machine would solve this issue.
Since we stayed in a Sea Class cabin we were entitled to dine at the Coastal Kitchen. Sky class, Star class and Pinnacle can dine anytime, and those in Jr. Suites can dine for dinner. We were very much looking forward to this meal and sadly we were a little disappointed. The room is very nicely decorated, the staff was very courteous, even the captain stopped by asking us how were enjoying the cruise. Two things really spoiled the night for us. First there was a table of young teens, 13-14 y/o, who were noisy but what teens aren’t. The thing that set me off was they called to the staff from across the room for dessert, and then one of them wanted to face time on his tablet. I said something to him, but where were the parents? These children finished up and out they went like the spoiled brats they were. In my opinion a parent should be required to dine with children, or at least be in the same room outside of the quick serve venues Second, my wife ordered lobster, the waiter gave her two choices, she chose a classic lobster, and they brought the wrong dish. After a manager asked how was dinner I explained the situation, and the person who placed the order apologized, we were quickly brought the correct meal. Mistakes happen, if this was the MDR I could see how this could happen so easily but at the intimate Coastal Kitchen, I was just a little disappointed. Captain Ban was actually dining with a larger party at the table next to us, our original waiter never came to see us after that. So to sum up the Coastal Kitchen, I would say it is a nice option, the food is really good, but I would rather eat with the people in steerage.
This is an often overlooked spot for breakfast and lunch. We ate here a few times, the food is an upgrade from the Windjammer and the views are the best on the ship. I highly recommend you at least once have a breakfast and a lunch at two70.
A small space to grab breakfast or lunch. It is a basic spread but there is enough to fill you. A big plus is you have some of the best views on the ship.
A quick serve pizza joint, there are normally lines but it is nice if you want to get a quick bite or a refill of Coke. Something to hold you over till the next main meal.
Anthem of the Seas Entertainment and Activities
We booked all our shows and major activities online months before the cruise, so the only thing we had to book was the “Escape from the Future” the Escape Room on day one.
Pools and Solarium
The outside pool was usable on day three,(Day one had ice on the deck, day two the high winds) There really wasn’t a chair hog problem on any swimming venue. The inside pool was more crowded and the hot tubs sometimes over filled with youth, but all in all the regular pools were enjoyable. Now the Solarium was the go to spot. The drinks were always cold the staff friendly, the pools are shallow for sitting, the hot tubs were far less crowded and offered an outstanding view. There is also access to the decks above the bridge wings, which offer stunning views especially at sunset. Click on the Periscope icon to view the Solarium close to sunset.
The Seaplex is an amazing space. We did Bumper cars on day one, and the tech said that lines can wrap around the complex, later in the cruise we stopped by and he wasn’t kidding. This multipurpose room has bumper cars, roller skating, basketball courts, even trapeze class.
Activities rotate throughout the cruise at different times. Only complaint is they need to post the whole Seaplex activities schedule so people can plan on doing some of the activities days ahead of time. This was voiced by multiple people. There are side pods which have ping pong, and other table games and there is an Xbox lounge, This is a great place for the youth to blow of some steam, socialize or just get a good view from the ship.
We booked this for our day two at Sea. Unfortunately the winds were high and Captain banned all outer activities, and since it was booked up for the rest of the cruise our experience never happened. We did watch numerous groups go through it and it looked extremely fun.
We did not get to ride the FlowRider but it was enjoyable to watch, and plan on doing it next time on a ship that has it.
We had booked North Star on day two also, we went the morning of day three. There were a lot of not happy day two people there. The tech did his best to get everyone up. I was very impressed with the way he handled the multicultural crowds and their mutual displeasure. The North Star is a nice attraction, we saw the coast of Florida from around 20 miles away, it was an enjoyable experience and the view of the ship below is outstanding. Click on the periscope icon to play the North Star scope.
“Escape from the Future” Book it on day 1, or hang around just prior to a game as standby, the room is located in a far corner of the Seaplex. There is a max number of people and an hour to solve multiple puzzles to come up with a pass code to get free. My wife and I really enjoyed the experience, our group finished with about 20 minutes to spare. It was challenging but not too difficult. A staff member is present to answer any questions.
There were multiple games during the cruise, most are located in the Music Hall. Get there early because seats down stairs disappear quickly. We played BINGO five times during the cruise and met many people, you should do it at least once.
What is there to say about two70 other than it is the most spectacular room in cruising. During the day time it has the most spectacular views, you can grab a meal or have a drink, you can even see a class on animal towel folding. At night it turns in to something else with multimedia displays and robotic tvs, the stages rise and fall, actors come out of the ceiling or up from the floor, it is truly an amazing space.
The Royal Theatre
A rather large space where the Love and Marriage game was held along with two of the big production shows, “The Gift” and “We Will Rock You”.
“The Gift” – We enjoyed the visuals, the acting, the costumes but the actual story kind of sucks. We were glad we went but there is no need to see it again.
“We Will Rock You” The soundtrack and the energy of the show kept us occupied for this rather lengthy production.
Outside of two70 this was our favorite spot to hang out. Not only is majority of BINGO played here but the 70’s party and numerous other dancing and singing events took place here. Best thing is there are three pool tables located right next to the bar on the second level.
We played a little on 2 different nights and the machines were merciless. It was over in a blink of an eye each time. I feel the machines didn’t pay very well and definitely didn’t keep us entertained. Sure it is lady luck but normally they will at least let you play awhile before sucking all your money. I felt that was a reason the casino wasn’t as crowded as other ships I had been on.
We had the Ultimate Drink Package and visited most of the bars and lounges, Bar service overall was excellent. We did the Robotic bar, it is nice and entertaining but I prefer a human touch. Favorite place to get a drink was the Solarium bar, great views and mostly children free.
Click on the Periscope icon to view the bionic bar in action
Customer Service Desk: There were normally lines, they moved fairly quickly. We had a minor disputed charge from the MDR whereas we were charged for an alcoholic beverage, it was cleared up and they apologized.
Housekeeping: We had Dan “The Man”, he kept the room clean, greeted us every chance we saw him, he also asked us how our day was. No issues with him, he even softened up our bed after we mentioned it was a little hard.
VOOM: The internet was pretty reliable, I’d give it a 4.5 out of 5. I do a lot of Periscoping and VOOM could handle most of the demands through most of the ship to include being fully extended on NorthStar.
If this was your first time to Florida and you just had to go to the theme park then maybe Port Canaveral would be a good stop for you. The day we were there included a rocket launch of the EchoStar XIX on an Atlas V rocket so that was exciting to see from our balcony. Click on the Periscope icon to view the scope.
Anthem was docked all the way down by the jetty, Oasis was in the prime spot by the shops and bars. We walked to the bars a mile and half from the ship. Going back we took a $6 Uber ride. Grills was a hopping spot and it offered excellent views of the aft of Oasis. Otherwise there is very little to do in Port Canaveral except eat and drink. It was nice to watch Oasis leave along with a couple of Carnival ships while sitting on the balcony of our cabin. Click on the Periscope icon to see Oasis of the Seas departing Port Canaveral as viewed from Deck 13 on Anthem of the Seas.
CoCoCay, Bahamas- We had an absolute perfect day at CoCoCay. The tendering process is kind of flawed. We played by the rules and waited till after breakfast to get a tender ticket. Mistake. Ignore the staff message about getting an early tender ticket. If you got tender ticket 10 and showed up at tender 20 calling they still let you on board so why play by the rules. Lesson learned.
The temperature on CoCoCay was around 80 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. The only frozen drink you can have on the island is a CoCo LoCo which is fairly good fruity drink. After taking some photos of the ship, we headed to the floating bar area. It was a fairly adult section. The actual bar was fun, limited to beers and simple mixed drinks. The water was a little chilly but very tolerable. We enjoyed a buffet lunch, sun bathed and swam a little before heading back to the ship. There was a small line to the tender we returned about 2pm, a very enjoyable day.
I am not crazy about Nassau but we did enjoy the Seahorse Sailing and Snorkeling excursion. It was around three hours. The catamaran left the dock and sailed for around 45 minutes. You were allowed to snorkel around a decent reef. Then on the way back we were given a rum beverage. The ship made a stop at Margaritaville on Paradise Island where some passengers got off, later we had a great view of the five ships in port and then we were dropped off on the main drag in town.
We also visited Pirates Republic Brewing Company, only a very short walk to the ship. They have a decent assortment of beers that rotate throughout the brewing seasons. The barman Marco and was fun to be around, very entertaining.
Anthem of the Seas – CHRISTMAS
We sailed during the Christmas season, we even brought a little USB Christmas tree for our cabin. The ship itself was very nicely decked out. There was a formal tree lighting ceremony, also there was a little surprise in the tree. A tiny Tim Hortons ornament put on by the Cruise Director Dru Pavlov. Another night Santa made the trek from Deck fourteen to the tree on deck four. These little touches made it definitely feel like the holiday season. Click on the Periscope icons to view some Christmas activities.
Anthem of the Seas Artwork
Anthem has artwork throughout the ship, some is abstract some is simply stunning. If you ever get onboard her don’t forget to check it out.
Even the Forward elevators have artwork
Anthem of the Seas Disembarkation
We chose to not check our bags. The ship arrived around 0530. We ate breakfast around 0630 at the Windjammer then went back to the cabin and grabbed our bags and walked off the ship. Customs took 5 minutes. We were in the car driving home at 0725. The easiest disembarkation I have ever experienced.
Overall we enjoyed our seven night Bahamas cruise. Anthem of the Seas is a large ship with a variety of activities for all ages. She rocks a little due to her height but nothing I would call excessive. December cruising from Port Liberty is hit or miss. You are definitely losing one day of outside water activities but the ship does truly make up for it. Unfortunately if you have a second bad weather day it can spoil part of your trip. Definitely don’t schedule iFly and North Star on the same day, and try to do them on a port day if possible. Schedule as much of dining and shows as possible online before the trip and don’t be afraid to use the Royal IQ app. Try the specialty restaurants, even if it is just Chops and WONDERLAND. Eat, Drink and be Merry. Anthem of the Seas is a large ship with lots to explore, we can’t wait to go back on her again.
Anthem of the Seas Daily Planners
Anthem of the Seas Cruise Compass
The Officers and Staff Onboard – Anthem of the Seas