2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Just returned home from a 5 day Bermuda cruise on Anthem. Overall, with only a few hiccups, Anthem is my new favorite ship. By way of context, I have sailed on close to a dozen ships from RCL's Allure to Vision, Princess' Regal to Star, ... Read More
Just returned home from a 5 day Bermuda cruise on Anthem. Overall, with only a few hiccups, Anthem is my new favorite ship. By way of context, I have sailed on close to a dozen ships from RCL's Allure to Vision, Princess' Regal to Star, HAL's Rotterdam(don't ask), and Carnival's from Breeze to Destiny. Embarkation went smoothly as my wife(who uses a rollator/4 wheel walker), and another couple arrived at the port at 10:45 and were in the 275 Cafe by 11:15. To our surprise, they were serving those wonderful carved roast beef sandwiches which we loved on the Allure. Rooms were available at 1:00. We had the inside, virtual screen cabin. The virtual screen was fantastic, as it was hard to tell that we did not have an outside cabin. The only glitch was that after the third day there was no way to turn it off. However, the curtains adequately covered it when desired. The room had a couch, desk, fridge, two twins made into a queen bed, the typical ship cabin with the shower and the glass like enclosure. There was shampoo in the shower. The television had about 7or 8 stations that were not RCL related (including 2 ESPN channels, MSNBC, Fox, BBC). As usual the only movies were expensive paid on demand choices. The only glitch in the room was the internet was not available in the room the first two days (though available everywhere else on the ship). The speeds were adequate. One suggestion regarding internet, make sure you pre buy during sales as the on ship price is about 2-4 dollars per day more. The food was some of the best we have ever had on a ship, better than Allure. We had 4 meals in the main dining room (pre reserved anytime dining). We particularly loved the lamb and gnocchi main courses. The french onion soup was fantastic! We had one meal in Chops and it was excellent(love those tater tots). We had breakfast in the Windjammer and it was quite good, especially the made to order omelettes and french toast. The highlights of the entertainment was We Will Rock You and the "Special Guest" show in the main theater. The only issue was the rudeness of the some of the audience who arrogantly talked during the performance and/or surreptitiously used their cell phones to text or video the performances. Due to weather, most of the other main shows were either cancelled or curiously rescheduled at times that made it almost impossible to see. I did catch a glimpse of Spectre and thought it was a minor league version of a Cirque Soleil show. The "virtual" fireworks was just sad. There was an "oldies" rock entertainer in the casino who was quite entertaining. Just a minor criticism of the RCL orchestra. We saw them in a lounge and at the shows. They could use a personality transplant as most if not all the members looked like they had been "sentenced" to perform. While their performing was fine, they rarely if ever showed any emotion or joy. I absolutely loved the solarium, It's too bad all RCL ships do not have a similar indoors pool set up. I would have liked some time to be reserved for adults for the indoor"swimming pool". There were little ones in both the inside and outside pools. Took advantage of the treadmills in the fitness room There never seemed to be a problem with availability. Also, did laps on the walking course. Except for high winds and some rude people who just decided to clog the lanes, it was fine. We were able to pre reserve the North Star and thought it was fun. Be sure to pre reserve as there was extremely limited walk up availability. The staff was uniformly excellent. Our room steward, Mohammed, could not have been more efficient or nicer. We had Victoriano in the Main Dining Room for most of the evenings and he was one of the best I have ever encountered. Every staff member we encountered on the ship appeared efficient and friendly. Even though it was a short cruise, we saw a number of people hugging and thanking crew members on departure. Speaking of departure, the lines to leave the ship were quite large as were the lines in the port. Nevertheless, things went relatively smoothly and we left the ship around 9:45 and were in our Uber by 10:20. As I wrote in the beginning of this review, this is now my favorite ship... Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We went for a destination wedding. I was very disappointed our stay in Bermuda was cut short by 3 hours. We had to leave at 2 instead of 5 because of the weather, and our glass bottomed boat excursion was cancelled. I was very ... Read More
We went for a destination wedding. I was very disappointed our stay in Bermuda was cut short by 3 hours. We had to leave at 2 instead of 5 because of the weather, and our glass bottomed boat excursion was cancelled. I was very disappointed. Our housekeeper was friendly and very amiable. It annoyed me that they only gave a small sliver of soap and a terrible shampoo/conditioner mix in a pump on the wall (you can't take it w you) unlike other Cruise lines where they give you shampoo, conditioner, lotion, body wash, etc. Getting ahold of guest services was a nightmare... I had to call over and over again. Getting ahold of a restaurant to make reservations was similarly difficult. The first day, I ordered the complimentary continental breakfast delivered to the room. It never showed. So I called room service, and the lady got very nasty with me... Apparently I didn't get my food because I neglected to put the deck number in front of my room number. I didn't know! I didn't deserve to be yelled at by the room service lady, I was really taken aback. They sent my food, but it was wrong... At least I got my coffee. I might add, this cruise had the worst coffee I've ever had. It tasted like dirt. Another person in our wedding party had bed bugs in her room. It was pretty horrifying. They moved her to the room next to ours, which was disconcerting. The drinks were absolutely delicious, kudos to the bar crew. Jamie's Italian Restaurant was one of the best meals we have ever had and our waiter Sophiene from Tunisia was fantastic. The hamburger bar by the pool was pretty good too, Dominador took good care of us. French fries were hot and tasty and my son loved his milkshake. The Windjammer was our go-to restaurant and it had a good selection of food. The Solarium Bistro is where my brother had his rehearsal dinner on Sun and wedding dinner after the reception on Monday. The food was pretty good, but the service was abdominable. The first night was alright, but the second was just awful... We had to wait an hour and a half for our main course, they seemed to give us roadblocks at every request... My husband had to wait 30 min for a red wine! Entertainment was eh. We just hung out by the pool. Was bored by the end. Would never go on Royal Caribbean again. I had heard negative things about the cruise line, but didn't have a choice bc it was my brother's wedding. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We choose this area as we thought a great time to see the changing leaves. Only a few seen! Our travel agent recommended this ship. The ports were great and we were exhausted at the end of the day!! Getting on and off went smoothly a ... Read More
We choose this area as we thought a great time to see the changing leaves. Only a few seen! Our travel agent recommended this ship. The ports were great and we were exhausted at the end of the day!! Getting on and off went smoothly a little more congested on last day but not a huge problem. The ship is huge!! I thought 4100 passengers we had to be nuts going on this cruise, but there were very few long lines, the buffet went smoothly the food is delicious, the dining room was wonderful, the pizza at Sorentos was so so. We have Chicago thin crust and the best we think!! The boat is clean and the staff are great. A few we had a hard time understanding with the language not a big deal though. The pools are great! 2 inside, 1 outside. One of the inside is adult only! We did two excursions from Royal Caribean, the lobster boat in Bar Harbour...very interesting and very cold and windy, would we do again? Definetly! And we did the St. Martin Bay of Fundy. Went to the reversing falls and into St. Martin. Very long day. If we did this again, we would do the Bay of Fundy Express. The town of St. John has alot to do if you want to go on your own They have a trolley tour which we should of thought about. Each evening they have entertainment in each of the bar areas and theater, very good. Couple of shows, great singing and dancing, story line was strange.Karoche, trivia, piano bar all excellent!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
Embarkation was smooth and easy in Bayonne. Once our lyft driver dropped us off, we walked right up to an Ipad wielding staff person who retook our pictures (even though the ones we submitted were according to instructions) and then we ... Read More
Embarkation was smooth and easy in Bayonne. Once our lyft driver dropped us off, we walked right up to an Ipad wielding staff person who retook our pictures (even though the ones we submitted were according to instructions) and then we waited behind 4-5 others in a short security line and within 10 min of walking in the door, we were on our way onto the ship at 11am! One note I noticed -- there was a sign that said you could not only bring 2 bottles of wine on per cabin, but also a 6 pack of water, soda or other non-alcoholic beverage. Wish I would have known that, would have brought on some Coke Zero or Fiji water. The ship was super clean and well decorated. We had read ahead of time to head to 270 for lunch rather than the super crowded buffet, so we did. Had a great brie and apple and turkey sandwich with pasta salad. We had already reserved all three major shows online as well as a massage and Northstar and Ifly ahead of time. Do yourself a favor and don't wait till you get on the ship to do this. People whined a lot about the reservations being sold out - but it only takes about 10 min online 3 months before you sail. Our luggage didn't show up right away, so we went looking near the elevators for it and found it. We unpacked (plenty of space! See cabin review) and went topside for sail away. There was no proper sail away party but we enjoyed a few drinks and found our family and friends. The biggest misstep we experienced was on the first night at dinner on deck four. We had made reservations for our party of 8 each night at 6pm for my time dining. We got in line about 5:40 and had to wait over 30 min to get to the front. The hosts looked distressed. They told us all the tables had been sat and we wouldn't be able to have dinner for another hour. I guess that defeats the concept of a reservation (We felt like we were in a Seinfeld episode!) We were told if we come at 5:15 we can have any table we want but if we come at 6 we will always have to wait. What?!? That seems to defeat the idea of 'my time' In hindsight we wish we would have signed up for a 5:30 seating in the traditional dining rooms. Everyone downstairs looked happy and organized and no chaos. By midweek we just started going down there and asking for a table that someone didn't show up for. The dining rooms on three were nicer too. Despite that misstep with dining room reservations, the food in the main dining rooms was good. The staff was exceptional. We especially enjoyed the Jamaican jerk chicken they had one night - -so nice to have something with some spice! The plantains were amazing. The food is the same no matter which floor you eat on (3 or 4) but the rooms are nicer on 3 and easier to get seated. I would highly encourage folks to choose traditional dining room seating on this ship rather than my time. Traditional is on 3, my time on 4. If you see info online about how you rotate dining rooms or how the grand is for formal only - that is outdated and no longer the case. We didn't see any info about formal nights on our ship, and thought we wouldn't have any, but in fact there were two - which luckily we were prepared for. Most people seemed to skip them and head to windjammer on those nights, but we enjoyed dressing up and taking pictures. We really enjoyed the solarium, and the hot tubs on that level. You can visit to just relax in regular clothes, or wear swim suit and get in the hot tub - since there's no real pool in the solarium it works either way - it's not too wet there. Even though crowded on sea days, you can usually still find a place if you are patient. People come and go all day and saving seats isn't allowed - and we didn't see much of that. The big entertainment was really impressive. The cruise director Dennis Charles was excellent. He showed up to all the big events and had a great on stage presence. He brought in top line comedians and performers - we really enjoyed Andy Woodhall and Landry as late night adult comedians. They also had a brazillian drum/dance act called IMPACT which was my favorite. All three of these acts performed to only maybe 1/10 of the boat passengers, and surely cost RCCL money to bring on board, but they really found excellent performers, which I appreciated. The three shows were very good and the performers very talented. My only entertainment complaint is around the smaller crew-led activities you usually see on sea days. Those were few and far between and mostly just trivia. We wish they'd be more creative with crew-led activities. Maybe look into having some of the crew share their home-country cultures with the passengers through cooking or art or music. We also had reserved the puzzle room on the app, but the app didn't tell us where the room was located, so we had issues finding it. We ended up being 5 min late and had issues getting in, but eventually did. That was well run and fun, despite the location issues. As far as activities, we did the north star (fun!) and the iFLY and the bumper cars and really enjoyed all three. One suggestion for iFLY - they need to design the flight suits to fit women's bodies. I was under the weight limit by quite a bit, but the hips in the suit barely fit me because they are made for men. Despite that, it was a super exhilarating experience! Only one minute of flying, but that was enough to get a feel for it! My arms were sore the next day! Service was stellar all over the ship. The staff try very hard and are very personable. Shout out to Goose who remembered us in the pub all week and always had a Newcastle ready for us! Wish they had better beer selection in other places other than the Pub (which changed names apparently right before our sailing!) Would love to see some other brown ales and red ales, rather than the mass market crap they mostly serve. Is it too much to ask them to carry Smithwicks in a bottle in all the bars? We made due with the one keg of Newcastle and an occasional Stella. Ports: Bar Harbor - -It was very cold and windy as we debarked onto tenders. They had to discontinue the tenders twice, but we eventually got off and got to our pre-purchased trolly tour with Ollie's trolley. We had to line up about 90 min before we needed to be at Ollies and we were glad we did - they were giving priority to the ship bought excursions and we nearly missed our tour. The tour was great and totally worth the $40 we paid. Much cheaper than the ship. Had a great lobster roll at the side street cafe, trip adviser never lets me down! Boston -- we've been to Boston a few times already, so we decided to rent a car at the Westin and drive to Salem to check out the town. We knew the witch museum would be delightfully cheesy, and we enjoyed that and had some great pizza at a local wood fired place in the town. Car rental was only $60 for the day and so we saved quite a bit over going on one of the ships tours (which we usually try to avoid). Portland -- We booked well ahead for this stop and found a local operator - A Real Local Tour (or something like that). The guy was young and had lots of tour expeirence, but had just started his own company with his own van that seated 14. It was great! Really enjoyed this tour for $25! He took us all around Portland and out to three lighthouses with time to get out - so worth the money and the booking ahead! Halifax - we took a ships tour for this stop, because everything local was sold out. There were two huge ships in port at the same time. Our hop on hop off was super crowded, but they did a good job and it was well run and informative. The peggys cove tour was a waste of time. We were on a giant bus and the passengers were super complainy - the tour guide seemed frazzled and we essentially rode for 90 min on a bus to get to a gift shop and light house, so we could turn around after 45 min and drive an hour back. Total waste of time and money. People in peggys cove were nice, but its just a diversion place to bring tourists to get them to spend money. Skip it! St John - we didn't do an excursion here and we were glad we didn't. We walked around town and then got back on the ship to enjoy the solarium with no one around. Our friends did a trolly tour and thought it was a waste of time. The reversing rapids were a disappointment they said - which I had read similar things on cruise critic so we were happy to borrow some wifi from a local bank and check mail and then get back on the ship :) Debarking -- a bit more chaotic than embarking -- we waited a while to self carry off the ship - big lines at customs because there were only four agents processing 5000 people. Maybe because it was a Saturday morning. Still, we were off by about 10 and headed to NYC to enjoy one last day of vacation in the city before heading back to Nashville. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was going to ports that we have enjoyed in the past and the 9 days was perfect for us. We had been on many Holland America and Celebrity Cruises in the past and thought we'd give RC a try. For us, the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was going to ports that we have enjoyed in the past and the 9 days was perfect for us. We had been on many Holland America and Celebrity Cruises in the past and thought we'd give RC a try. For us, the ship was too large and we felt that everything you wanted to do had to be programmed before you boarded the ship. For us, vacation means spur of the moment and not regimented. Tried to play bingo on first sea day and when we got to venue (10 minutes before start of game)there were no available seats, so we left. Being in a Jr. Suite, we got to eat in the Coastal Kitchen for dinner. While the food was good, the selections were limited and many menus were repeated over the 9 days. We ate in the Chops Grille and were disappointed with both the service and the quality of the food. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
EMBARKATION: I stayed at a Hilton the night before the cruise and took the hotel shuttle to the cruise port in Bayonne. We arrived at the port around 10:45 to sit in a 45 minute line, 3 lanes wide. When the bus finally find a place to ... Read More
EMBARKATION: I stayed at a Hilton the night before the cruise and took the hotel shuttle to the cruise port in Bayonne. We arrived at the port around 10:45 to sit in a 45 minute line, 3 lanes wide. When the bus finally find a place to park, we had to sit another 30 minutes until enough port staff was available to unload the baggage. Once all the luggage was unloaded onto carts, we were allowed to leave the bus, and were told to now FIND our luggage on the numerous carts and check to see that they were properly tagged. This seemed very strange. If a bag was not tagged properly, why wasn't it set aside during the unloading process? It was onerous to try and find your luggage under mounds of other bags, and many had to have the luggage handlers pull bags off the cart in order to see if their tags were still on, since they were turned around and hidden from view. Finally, we were allowed to enter the hall for security. This was another enormous line (unless you had one of the suites, which had a much smaller line). There were no allowances for emerald or diamond members to get in a shorter line. Once through security, there were numerous, and confusing lines in order to check in which was required, even if you checked in on line. Finally nearly an hour later, you boarded the ship. The rooms would not be ready until 1, which was no problem since there was so much time spent during the check in process. The Windjammer Cafe on 14 is very crowded, and there are crowds at the elevator, so it is better to go to Two70 on Deck 5 and get something to eat, and look at the view from the large windows on the aft of the ship. CABIN: My cabin was 7278. Do NOT book this cabin. Move higher. When I booked the cruise, I was assured that this was an "unobstructed" view cabin on the 7th floor. I like being closer to water in order to sit on my deck and view and listen to the waves as the ship cruises. I knew that the lifeboats were on deck 6, but I was NOT told that they jutted out, over the deck of 6, so that when you are sitting on Deck 7 all you can see beneath your balcony rail is a giant orange lifeboat, and to your right, and huge metal post blocking your view and ruining sail away pictures. Any and all pictures must be taken above the deck railing, and/or be able to crop out anything below and to the side of the deck railing view. No views of the running water along the side of the ship...everything is ruined by the giant orange blob within your deck view. This room is an "ocean view balcony", 7 D, and is small. There are 2 slivers of an end table on either side of the bed, a small couch, and no table near the couch to put your drink. The mattress on the bed is rock hard. I mean, NO bounce. After 9 days, my lower back is killing me. One person I met own the cruise, who actually had a nice large suite, said her bed was so hard, she took the cushion off the lounge chair and placed it under her sheets, with little relief. Unfortunately, there are no lounge chair cushions on the regular balcony rooms. There are 2 small cupboards to hang clothes. I was traveling solo, so I was able to use both cupboards. There would be real clothing space issues for the 2 adults this room was supposed to hold. The welcoming "gift" for an Emerald/(now Diamond) member was a few cookies. No fruit, no champagne,..... The cabin stewards are lovely; always smiling, always friendly. A robe was not provided, but you can ask for one from the steward. Ice is not provided either unless you ask for it. There is a generic shampoo in the tiny shower, but no lotions or conditioners provided. DINING: I chose My Time Dining. Never ever again. I had reservations for 6 pm. I arrived at 5 45, to find myself in a huge line...all the way back to the elevator. There are 4 lines. The right side is for those with "reservations", and the left side for those who just want to go into dinner. It didn't matter. There was chaos...people with reservations were lumped with those making reservations, or without reservations, and even when you were finally through the line, you had to "wait" to be escorted to your table, which could take over 10 minutes (after waiting 30 to get through the long line). By the end of the cruise, at least there was less chaos, but the lines were still enormous, and there was still the wait time after you made it past the checkpoint. The first day is the worst. As one passenger complained "this may be OUR first day here, so we are in chaos, but this is not Anthem's first day dealing with this.". There should have been more staff to guide the passengers through that first day. I didn't go back to My Time Dining until the last day. Wonderland: Wonderland is a uncharge restaurant, of $45 with 18% gratuity. The food is delicious. The staff is wonderful. My waiter, Iljer, was amazing. But the place was nearly empty. If RC would lower the price to match "Chops", and perhaps add some plants, or interesting decor, instead of the dark purple shears on the walls, they might get more interest. I can't imagine how it will survive. Solarium Bistro on 14 is a lovely little restaurant, no fees, but you need to make reservations. It specializes in Middle eastern cuisine, but that should not scare anyone. You can get steak, or fish, or lobster, and the appetizers are wonderful. The Windjammer on 14 is typical of other ships...the food is lukewarm, to cold. Staff is very nice, but it seemed short staffed, especially for those who wanted a glass of wine. Each passenger has to go through a "washy washy" process before entering, but really, I wondered if that "washy" sink room was EVER washed itself. I think the use of hand sanitizers probably would be better at germ prevention. Lines were everywhere.Lines to get off the ship, lines to get to dinner, lines to get an elevator, lines for activities.... There are 4800 people on this ship. It is a city. Some ships, like the Oasis or Allure have just as many, but for some reason, there seemed to be less lines and claustrophobia on those ships. Waiting for the elevators was a constant line. It is better to get your exercise and walk up the 7 or 8 flights when necessary. Service was the staff was always friendly however this is the first cruise I've had on Royal Caribbean where I heard so much grumbling from so many people. Many times I heard people say "I'll never come on this ship again" or worse: "I'll never cruise with Royal Caribbean again". It seems as if the Cruise Line has tried to cut corners on just about everything on the ship. EXCURSIONS. I usually love taking excursions and my memories from previous New England Excursions were of informative trips, that usually included amazing lobster meals. Not so this time. It seems as if Royal Caribbean has upped the charges for excursions, but downgraded the experiences. For Bar Harbor I chose a bus tour that included a lunch at a seafood restaurant. I'd had lobster at this restaurant before (Gaylans) and it was delicious on my last cruise. However, with this cruise we were limited to a couple choices; haddock or a lobster roll. I should have chosen the haddock. For the Boston port, I chose the Cape Cod trip. I've seen Boston on other cruises, and have never experienced Cape Cod. The excursion advertised that the trip included a cruise around the Bay of Cape Cod, as well as 2 stops in quaint towns: Sandwich and Chatham. It was an 8 hour tour (which lasted 10 hours--more later...). This excursion is a complete rip off. You do NOT see Cape Cod. Not in the least. You are herded off the bus after 3 1/2 hours with a 10 minute pit stop in "scenic Sandwich" --which allowed you to see the scenic public bathroom and that is ALL! No pictures, no shops, no touring...just get off the bus and back on as fast as possible. By the time we arrived in Cape Cod, we were all hungry. It was 11 am. We left at 8 am. No snacks or water provided. We we put on the "cruise" around the harbor...which included a short drive into the center of the harbor (about 5 minutes) where we stopped for 30 minutes to "look" at the various "houses" along the coast--that looked like ants. If you had a binocular, you can perhaps see windows, and the color of the houses...otherwise, they were dots on the landscape. We turned around, "cruised" back to the bus, and were loaded on. no lunch, no shops, and no idea what Cape Cod looks like... Then it was to be another 1 1/2 hours to Chatham for lunch. EXCEPT, the bus driver had a great idea, he wanted to "avoid" highways, so we were driven down neighborhood roads, ran into a roadblock, and since apparently neither the driver nor the guide was using GPS, we ended up on a dead end street in a tiny, quiet neighborhood. This necessitated, backing out, and retracing the entire way, to ultimately get on the highway anyway. Meanwhile, no apologies, no "interesting" tidbits of where the heck we were.... In fact, the guide was completely unprepared and unaware of what to tell us, and the driver was so erratic, speeding through lights, slamming breaks in the middle of an intersection when he missed the red light, that I was very worried about our safety. Finally, we get to Chatham for "lunch". The guide gave us NO history of Chatham, no tips, no recommendations for restaurants or shops. Considering that it was a Sunday, this would have helped, since most of the good restaurants were closed. The only thing she said was to ORDER us to be back on the bus in an hour. The town was a good 10 minute walk from the bus. There was a mild mutiny as many yelled this wasn't fair, the driver already cost us 45 minutes in lost time...and her response was not only unapologetic, but angry "I said be back here by 3 PM!" Wow. It looked like a tv scavenger hunt as we all sprinted off the bus, without a clue where we were going to find a meal in order to eat, use the restrooms and get back on the bus. Shopping in this "quaint town" was of course, out of the question. We got back at 6 Pm that evening. Most did not tip either the driver or the guide. A few of us went straight to the Excursion Desk to demand our money back. There was a wonderful and sympathetic man, "David" who promised to try and help us get a refund, but of course, he is just an employee and could not change policy. I got a phone call later saying that since we "stopped in Sandwich, Chatham and Cape Cod" the tour fulfilled it's promise. I said I would rather have had 3 free meals on board ship that day, and thrown in a massage, than sit on that bus possibly risking my life to "see" stops that I could not enjoy. I looked up the tour bus on Yelp: It is "Peter Pan" lines...and has numerous one star ratings, with a few curse words thrown in. Royal Caribbean should consider hiring higher quality tours. Another tour, in St. John's promised a tour of the Bay of Fundy and a lunch at a famous restaurants, The Caves. The tour was nice, the area is beautiful, but "lunch"???? Again we were herded into a back room of the restaurant...passing the lobsters, and seeing the diners feasting on fresh lobster and fish and chips. After the staff passed out cans of pop, we were asked if we wanted chowder or chicken fingers. I chose chowder, and got a small cup of chowder. That was lunch. Should have gone with the frozen chicken fingers and fries. At least that would be more filling. For dessert we got 2 chocolate chip cookies. I added them to the free cookies I got in my room for being an Emerald member. ENTERTAINMENT: The entertainment consisted of 3 shows. I saw 2 of them: The Gift and We Will Rock You. The Gift is short, about 45 minutes, and at first very strange as most of us were confused by the plot, but the message at the end was nice, and the singing was very good. We Will Rock is about 2 hours long. The talent of the musicians and dancers is very very good. This show lasted a little long as it took a good 45 minutes before the recognizable Queen songs were sung. DISEMBARKATION MORNING was a Nightmare.! The Windjammer opened at 6:30 am, but good luck getting in there. The lines wrapped all the way around past both elevators to the other side. It is easier to go down to the Cafe and grab a coffee and roll. We landed in port around 7 am, and disembarkation began for the walk offs at 7:45. There was an enormous line on the ship waiting disembark with your own luggage. I thought at first I was glad I was not doing that....until my number was called around 8:45 am. When I got to the hall to claim my luggage and get in line for Customs, it was a sea of thousands of people. TIP: Get a porter. It is well worth the tip fees to go through the expedited "porter" line, otherwise, you will spend an hour lugging your luggage through line after line, while others are cutting in around you. When you get to Customs, you see that while there are 20 kiosks for Customs, there were only FOUR open to serve 4800 people. Cell phone service did not work in the hall, so you had to wait to get outside to call Uber or Lyft. But then, it was another mess of buses, and cabs both disembarking and embarking. It took about 30 minutes for the uber drivers to get to you. If you waited on the ship to disembark to avoid the long lines, it would be even worse considering that embarkation was heating up, causing delays for cabs to enter the port. FINAL NOTES ON THE SHIP. The ship is huge and filled with things to do, especially for young adults and teens. From the iFly, to bumper cars, to the Xbox room, and so much more. Grandparents can bring their children and grandchildren and be assured the kids will love it. The decor is modern, minimalist. There are plenty of dining options. The only difficulty is the lines for so many things...excursions, getting off the ship, meal times..... It seemed to me that Oasis of the Seas, and Allure of the Seas, while also huge ships, did not have so many lines. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Embarkation went quickly and smoothly. I drove from South Jersey, pulled right up to the curb where they took our luggage and then drove right into the parking lot. Once we entered the building we went thru security and were met with a ... Read More
Embarkation went quickly and smoothly. I drove from South Jersey, pulled right up to the curb where they took our luggage and then drove right into the parking lot. Once we entered the building we went thru security and were met with a RCCL rep with an IPad who signed us in and we proceeded to board. We went directly to Cafe Two70 where we signed up for IFly and NorthStar. There were plenty of people there to help. Tried to sign up for other activities but they were already full (we were a party of 5). We boarded around 11 am. I got the feeling that those boarding later were going to be out of luck on all activities that you need to sign up for. We then explored the ship for a little bit and went to the Windjammer for lunch. By the time lunch was finished, our cabins were ready. We had a Deluxe Veranda Cabin which was standard sized. Bathroom was small but certainly usable. Cabin service was outstanding. Our cabin attendant always had a smile on his face, remembered our names and took the time to chat with us. Our room was always clean, towels were changed a few times each day. We ate in the Windjammer for most meals. Food was good but not outstanding. It was always crowded but we always managed to find a table for 5 after walking around a time or two. My advice would be to avoid eating there for breakfast when it was most crowded. Cafe Two70 and the Solarium Cafe served much of what was being served in the Windjammer and there were always plenty of seats. We ate in the dining room (My Time Dining) three nights. Food was very good, service excellent. My only complaint really is that there were never enough activities for the 4000 plus people on board, especially on sea days. Pools were very crowded and good luck finding a seat anywhere near the pool. Unfortunately for us, it rained for at least half the time we were on the ship which made the lack of activities even more highlighted. We saw The Gift which was wonderful and Spectra which was plain weird (three of of our party actually fell asleep). Missed the We Will Rock You show which was cancelled because of stormy seas. If the Royal Swedes are playing anywhere on the ship while you are there, go see them as they are excellent. Overall I had a good time. I'm not sure that I would ever sail on this class of ship again as it was way too big for my taste. I can say that all of the walking that we did helped keep us from gaining too much weight! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
After 5 previous cruises with Carnival, my family & I decided to try Royal Caribbean. We were extremely pleased with our vacation. ( The only drawback was that it was too short !). Embarkation in Bayonne NJ ( Port Liberty ) was ... Read More
After 5 previous cruises with Carnival, my family & I decided to try Royal Caribbean. We were extremely pleased with our vacation. ( The only drawback was that it was too short !). Embarkation in Bayonne NJ ( Port Liberty ) was easy ( no waiting ). This was the same with disembarkation ( and there was no problem with our Uber driver picking us up ). Our cabin (10578) was forward. We were a few feet from the lobby. We could take an elevator straight to deck 14 ( WE ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE SOLARIUM & THE SOLARIUM BISTRO !). The food ( all over the ship ) was delicious. Our cabin was big enough for 3 ( my mom, aunt and me ). Our steward kept in very clean and whatever we needed, he made sure that we received it ( such as extra towels ). Dinner was in The Grande ( late dinner-8pm ). Roel ( our waiter ) and Riski ( our assistant waiter ) tended to our every need from extra pumpernickle bread to iced tea, water, lemonade and wine etc. The Anthem really ( to our pleasant surprise ) is an easy ship to learn. Once you walk through The Promenade ( deck 4 ...stop, sit & have pizza, pastries, coffee or shop ), you will see the spiral staircases...you can walk down to deck 3 ( Casino Royale ) or upstairs to deck 5 ( robotic bar among other things ).....just consider this as the middle of the ship & then the other ends are either forward or aft. There were a few children aboard. The ship wasn't overly noisy ( all ships have noise ). It never appeared crowded. ( If it seemed that too many people were in the Windjammer, you could go to Cafe Two Seventy; deck 4to eat, the seadog, Johnny Rockets ( you have to pay there ) etc. Finally ( and can go on for a while ) .....we loved Bermuda! We walked around Hamilton and KIngs Wharf and did a little shopping.too! YES I am already planning the next cruise to Bermuda and we will be travelling on Royal Caribbean again!! This is the first time that I've every written a cruise review! I'm happy to have written it!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Our friends were doing this cruise, and I love lighthouses, so we joined them. The Anthem is a beautiful, very clean ship. Our cabin was nice sized(#8578) with a balcony. There was an unbelievable amount of storage space—my husband ... Read More
Our friends were doing this cruise, and I love lighthouses, so we joined them. The Anthem is a beautiful, very clean ship. Our cabin was nice sized(#8578) with a balcony. There was an unbelievable amount of storage space—my husband and I unpacked everything and still had empty drawers,etc. We ate breakfast and lunch in the Windjammer and the food was excellent. We had dinner most nights in the regular dining room called Chic.One server was new to the ship and it took him almost the whole cruise to get things right but he tried really hard. The most disappointing aspect of the cruise were two ship sanctioned excursions. The first was the Old Town Trolley Tour of Boston. Our friends, my husband,& I were the last 4 to get on the trolley. Our friends found 2 seats together, but there was only 1 and 1/4 seats left for my husband and I and they were not even close together. An extremely obese man was taking up 2 seats and his significant other was taking up 1and 3/4 seats. I said something to the Royal Caribbean rep who was checking us in that there were no seats together. The trolley driver got impatient and rudely said, “ well, I hate to break up a marriage but a seat is a seat, so sit down!” We wouldn’t have minded if this was just a short ride, but this was an hour and 45 minute excursion. My husband had 1/4 of a seat, could not get any air or see past this huge woman, so his tour of Boston was ruined. I was jammed between strangers on the last seat of the bus. I’m not sure how this could have been remedied but I’m sure those two only paid for 2 seats but took up 3 and 3/4 seats. Maybe a notation if you require more than 1 seat, you should pay for 2! The Best of Portland and Kennebunkport was excellent! The Top 10 best of Halifax was not so good. The trip to Peggy’s Cove was long but the lighthouse and little village were really nice. It would have been much nicer if we would have had time to eat lunch there. Instead, we drove back to Halifax and were dropped off to find lunch in what did not seem like a great part of town! We only had a short time, so we ended up at a McDonalds. It was filthy! Seemed to be full of some homeless men. Inside was too dirty to sit so we sat outside. The man sitting next to me was extremely dirty and after about 5 min. I started getting bug bites all down the side next to him! I think it was flea bites. I threw my food away and left. We met at some park, and walked through it to meet the bus. The park was pretty but a waste of time! I did enjoy the trip to the cemetery where the Titanic victims were buried. Obviously, we should have picked the excursion that just went to Peggy’s Cove and Titanic cemetery. After that excursion, we decided to cancel the Top 10 St John & Bay of Fundy. We took the Pink Bus hop on hop off instead and that was good. The Manhattan Highlights and drop off at Newark Airport worked well. It might have worked better to give us our stickers the night before and tell us where to meet the buses after we got our luggage instead of trying to gather all those people in a bar, have us walk up the stairs, disembark together, find our luggage, and go through customs as a large group. That was insane! People pushing and shoving, etc.. The WeWill Rock You show on board ship was excellent. Spectra’s Cabaret was loud and weird. The Gift was difficult to understand because the first speaker was difficult to hear and understand. I’m not sure these shows were ideal for the age of most guests on the ship. The comedian was excellent, the hynotist just so so. If I were doing this cruise again, I would probably go a little later in Sept. to take advantage of the fall foliage. And I would choose my excursions more carefully! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We travelled with my folks who have been on over 20 cruises, across a wide range of cruise lines. This was the third cruise for my husband and I, both prior ones were with Royal Caribbean and they were FANTASTIC...real 5 star experiences. ... Read More
We travelled with my folks who have been on over 20 cruises, across a wide range of cruise lines. This was the third cruise for my husband and I, both prior ones were with Royal Caribbean and they were FANTASTIC...real 5 star experiences. Those were on smaller ships, Seranade and Brilliance of the Seas to Alaska and the Mediterranean respectively. We wanted to try a larger ship and visit Canada so this seemed like a great choice. This ship has some exceptional attributes, but unfortunately it also had some real disappointments. Since different folks prioritize differently this may be an absolutely wonderful ship for you, but for us, we won't choose it again. Here are the Pros/Cons: PROS- Cabin- HUGE amount of storage. My folks said it's the best cabin they have had in regards to storage and they have even been in suites. Absolutely no complaints. Love that they took out the coffee table which made it much easier to move in the room. Lots of hooks, two closets, giant overhead space over the bed. Really terrific. Also the cabin steward was exceptional. Ports of Call- We loved all the ports and plan to return to Saint John with our teen boys for a longer road trip. We used a private tour in Bar Harbor (At Your Service Taxi- Driver was Kelly) and she was amazing. Also used private driver in Saint John, but looking back, may have been better off renting a car and doing more on our own as we really enjoy just rock climbing and exploring nature... Sports Area- FANTASTIC for on board activities. Loved the bumper cars,iFly, Northstar, all the contests (ping pong, dodgeball, basketball) and roller skating. I was stunned to have the entire rink to myself the first time I went to check out the roller skating rink. This area is much bigger than expected and the staff was all fun and great. The iFly was amazing and I highly recommend it for just about all ages. We had some folks who appeared to be well into their 70's and they did it too. If you want to try it...go for it! :) SHOWS- We either LOVED their shows or we honestly hated them and would have walked out if we were on an end seat. Yeah, it was that bad. (For reference- my hubby and I are in our 50's, I like a wide range of music, my folks are in their mid 80's) The ones we really enjoyed were: the comedian, the hypnotist, an acapella group and We Will Rock You production. My husband couldn't go to the We Will Rock You show so my dad took his place. Dad is not a a rocker at all, had no idea who Queen was, but he loved the show. Highly recommend! Unfortunately, we hated The Gift and Spectra's Caberet. The Gift had some very cool special effects, but all four of us were lost for the first half of the story. It was really frustrating, had no idea what it was trying to say or what the point was. Spectra's Caberet also had some cool techno effects, but the music was all original (I think) and none of us could connect. They had to end it early due to rougher waters and as I looked around, no one seemed particularly disappointed by that news. Feel bad for the performers, they tried hard and were clearly talented but the "script" itself was just not working. Now the CONS Overall Ship Design- This is a MASSIVE ship, but I was shocked to find myself feeling quite cramped in the main areas. There isn't a big open atrium like on the other ships we've seen and the main shopping area was particularly cramped as they kept it stuffed with sales tables whenever we were at sea. On the other ships I felt like I was in a 5 star resort that I wouldn't splurge for on land, but in this ship I felt it was just a mid-level hotel. It just didn't have any "Wow" factor. :( The Dining areas were SUPER cramped...more on that. DINING- This is where the ship really failed us and the primary reason we will not return. For perspective, at home we eat at pretty casual/cheap places like Panera, Five Guys, local sandwich shops. We don't spend a lot on pricey restaurants regularly. When we were on the first two RC ships we felt it was a 5 star restaurant . We loved getting to know the waitstaff, they truly seemed like good friends during the trip and going to the main dining room was special every night. This time, it was totally different. Food was very plain, with almost no spice, minimal sauce (as in a tablespoon or two at a time), and the choices were much lower end. I used to have trouble choosing from all the great options, and my kids and husband often ordered two different dishes. This trip, my husband and I had trouble finding a single dish that looked appealing. (No shrimp or filet, unless you paid extra.) The steak was flavorless and tough, after eating a 1/3, I gave up. The Caesar salad was actually fantastic, but they only gave me about 1/2 of a cup! The final night we all returned to the main dining room (Silk) because usually that's a special night where you get better food. Not the case here. I ordered a fried fish dish, that looked like a very tasty fish and chips type dinner. Turns out it wasn't crispy at all, in fact I couldn't cut it...had to tear the "crust" off because it must have gotten soggy. My mom had the same trouble. Then I noticed the table next door, where all 4 diners had ordered this dish, had also left it on their plates. So, guess their's wasn't good either. There was never an offer of fresh pepper or parmesan cheese as on other cruises. The waitstaff was running around like crazy...it was very stressful feeling. They seemed totally overwhelmed. Forget getting to know anyone. After 3 nights, we gave up and switched to the Windjammer. Windjammer was actually quite good, much better than main dining room offerings. Also the dining rooms were overcrowded. I felt uncomfortable several nights because our table was literally just a few inches from two others...I felt like I had to watch my conversation because it was as if I was seated with 10 other folks. Just very different than the nice big round tables we had before. Also, it took a full hour for us to get most of our main dishes. At first we thought it was just first night adjustments, but this continued to be the case every night. Just took way too long. And, we had reservations, but there was usually a line each night as well, for about 10-20 minutes. Not sure if that's just a "big ship" thing though, and I could let that pass. There were other issues, but bottom line is that I consider the cost of our ticket to have a good portion allocated to food and on this cruise we didn't get our money's worth, at all. It was very disappointing. I will give RC another chance as we like to earn the loyalty points/rewards and we love the sports activities, but if the food has dropped to this level overall, we will be switching cruise lines. One exception- we dined one night at Wonderland and that was FANTASTIC! I thought it was going to be tiny portions of some pretty odd flavors, but there was just one item we didn't care for and the portions ended up being way more than we could eat. It was a very special night. Would dine here again! Read Less
Anthem of the Seas Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.5
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 5.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Enrichment 3.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.0
Value For Money 3.0 3.5

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