Royal Caribbean, Anthem of the Seas - April 2015
Ian Warren – 27-04-2015 – Royal Caribbean – Anthem of the Seas
The first ship in the Quantum class, which was Quantum of the Seas, was launched in 2014, so I have wanted to get on Anthem of the Seas since I knew she would be based in Southampton. We were lucky and had been offered a cabin for a 2 night pre-inaugural cruise, so couldn’t wait to get onboard. Look at my review, videos and photos, and then call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850.
Check-in was amazing!! This started with the online check-in, which I did from the comfort of my own home. Although the system could be made clearer in a couple of places, overall it was a straight-forward process. Where it varied from other check-ins I have done in the past, was that I also had to upload photos of both of us, to save time having them taken at the terminal. I also registered my credit card details, to cover my onboard account. They do boarding in half hour slots, and I was able to choose the one which suited me best. I then printed our SetSail passes.
On arrival at the terminal the porters take your cases and fit them RFID luggage tags, similar to those used by airlines, and give you a receipt for it. Using an app on your IPhone or Android phone, your cases can then be tracked onboard so you know where they are.
You then enter the terminal, show your SetSail pass and passport, proceed through security, and straight onto the ship. When you arrive at your cabin, you will find a sealed envelope with your name on it. In the envelope will be your SeaPass card, which will open the cabin door, and will also be used for onboard purchases, and to disembark and embark in the various ports of call. Another recent innovation, currently only available on the Quantum class ships, is that inside your cabin you will find a WOWband each, which you can wear on your wrist. It does everything that the card does, but you don’t have to worry about where it is all the time, and is a great innovation.
From arrival at the dock gates for the City Terminal, to the moment when we entered our cabin, it was just 27 minutes. Amazing!
We had a category D superior ocean view stateroom with balcony, which was a really good size. The bathroom had a good size shower, with a glass door, although the water pressure wasn’t great. As the ship is operating out of the UK there was even tea making facilities provided. Note that I said ‘tea making’ and not ‘tea and coffee making’, as there are no coffee sachets. I was impressed by the size of the bed, and by how much storage space there was. The balcony was a really good size with much more space than the balcony on the last new ship I visited.
Having sorted out our things I grabbed the camera and camcorder, and we headed off up to the top deck to start work. By work, I mean that I had a very long list of dozens of places I needed to visit to take photos and video clips, to enable me to put together this review and videos. This took us through until the lifeboat drill at 4.30pm. There are so many amazing ‘firsts’ on the Quantum Class ships, that it was difficult to take it all in. The North Star, the Dodgems, the RipCord by IFLY, the list is endless.
After the lifeboat drill it was time to get changed for the evening ahead, and to sample the food in the diverse range of dining venues, before a relatively early night for us.
The next day started with a more leisurely wander round the ship, with a couple of coffee stops, before we attended a trade presentation, to hear more about the ship from the top executives at Royal Caribbean. It was then back to my list to continue visiting all the other cabins and venues which I hadn’t managed to get around yesterday, with a break for lunch on the way.
Early evening it was time to go and watch ‘We Will Rock You’, which is the main show being performed onboard Anthem of the Seas. Some of the cast had actually come from the London production, including Kevin Kennedy (aka Curly Watts from Coronation Street). This was the first full dress rehearsal for the public, and the producers etc were in the audience. The show lasted just under two hours and went without a hitch, to rapturous applause from the audience. I can see this being one of things every passenger will want to watch while they are onboard. Then it was time for dinner, and back to the cabin to pack as we were disembarking early the next morning.
Anthem of the Seas is a great new addition to the fleet, with an enormous range of things to do onboard. Anyone who likes large ships, with plenty of action, and a big choice of dining venues, will surely have a fantastic time. If you like smaller ships, with a more traditional cruise experience, then it might be a bit too busy for you, but there are smaller ships in the fleet.
There is a ship to suit everyone, so whatever sort of cruise experience you are looking for, let me help you find the ideal holiday. after all, that is why I visit the ships, write the reviews and make the videos.
General Information about Anthem of the Seas
She is 162,800 gross tons, which is bigger than the Freedom Class ships, but quite a bit smaller than the Oasis Class ships, which are 220,000 gross tons. With 2,090 cabins, she can carry 4,180 passengers at standard occupancy. This number would increase in holiday time though, when the 3rd and 4th berths in cabins are used. There is a crew of 1,300 to look after everyone.
The Quantum class ships have a host of new innovations, many having never been seen at sea before; or even seen anywhere on land.
There are over 30 grades of accommodation, ranging from an S1, which is a Studio inside cabin for one person, up to the RL Royal Loft Suite with Balcony. Around 75% of the cabins have a balcony, and they have really introduced something new for the inside cabins. These have a ‘virtual balcony’, which is a wall mounted 80” LED screen, and live video footage of the ocean is shown on it. They also offer a number of family suites and connected cabins, to enable larger families to be together.
All cabins come complete with high quality bed, luxurious bedding, television, phone and safe, a private bathroom with shower, vanity area and hair dryer. As you move up through the various accommodation grades, then the inclusions increase.
Two70° – during the day natural light comes in through two and a half decks of glass, which covers 270 degrees of the back of the ship, and is a great place to sit for a coffee and watch the world go by. At night the views of the ocean are replaced by Vistorama, state-of-the-art video projections, Roboshow, and virtual concerts
Royal Theatre – the main theatre onboard, where you will be able to watch premium performances of West End productions, such as ‘We Will Rock You’, and a host of other shows
Music Hall – this intimate venue has great acoustics, and is the setting for tribute bands and other music genres, as well as themed events
3D Movies – with several showings each day, settle down in the comfy seats with surround sound, put on the 3D glasses provided, and enjoy a great film
Poolside Movie Screen – watch a film under the stars, or from the comfort of your poolside lounger, on a giant 220 sq ft outdoor screen
Food & Drink
There are a host of dining options available, and I have split them down into 4 groups.
Complimentary Full Service Restaurants – American Icon Grill, Chic, Silk, The Grande, and Coastal Kitchen (all have a smart casual dress code except The Grande which offers formal dining in the evening). Coastal Kitchen is exclusive to guests in Junior Suites and above.
Next Level Speciality Dining (cover charge applies) – Wonderland, Jamie’s Italian, Michael’s Genuine Pub and Devinly Decadence at Solarium Bistro (all have a smart casual dress code, apart from Michael’s Genuine Pub which is casual)
Established Speciality Dining (cover charge applies) – Chops Grille, Izumi, Chef’s Table and Johnny Rockets (the dress code is smart casual for Chops Grille and Izumi, formal for Chef’s Table, and casual for Sorrento’s and Johnny Rockets)
Laid Back Options Around the Clock – Windjammer Marketplace, The Café @ Two70, SeaPlex Dog House, Sorrento’s and Café Promenade (the dress code is casual and, with the exception of some items in Café promenade, they are complimentary venues)
When booking your cruise you can opt for ‘Classic Dining’, which is either first or second sitting in the complimentary full service restaurants The Grande, Chic, Silk and American Icon Grill. You will move to a different one each evening but keep your table and waiters.
Alternatively, you can opt for ‘Dynamic Dining’, which means that you can book your evening dining in the complementary restaurants at a time slot to suit you, and this can be done online ahead of your cruise.
When it comes to finding somewhere to have a drink, there are numerous venues around the ship, but why not try the Bionic Bar, complete with robotic bartenders.
North Star – enter the glass pod and rise 300 feet above the sea, giving you a 360° view
RipCord by iFly – a skydiving simulator which will give you the opportunity to experience the thrill of being weightless
SeaPlex – during the day the area will be used for sports and games, with a circus school, dodgems, roller-skating, and other sports such as basketball and football. Then in the evening it is transformed into a dance venue, complete with disco lighting
FlowRider – a great opportunity to have a go at surfing on this surf simulator
H2O Zone – an outdoor water play park with water jets and fountains
Rock Wall – buckle up and climb the wall 40 feet above deck, and ring the bell when you reach the top
Golf – enjoy a few holes on the mini-golf, or even the golf simulator
Pool Tables – these high-tech gyroscopic pool tables enable you to play pool even when you are at sea
Running Track – take a leisurely walk, or something a bit faster, and make room for the next amazing meal
Solarium – this is an adult only venue where you can relax with a book, or enjoy a dip in the Jacuzzi
Gym – make use of the treadmills, or the cardio and weight machines, to keep yourself in shape
Spa – a number of treatments are available, at a charge, such as hot stone therapy, acupuncture, facials, hair styling and much more
The above facilities are complimentary with the exception of any lessons you book on the FlowRider, RipCord by iFly, classes booked in the Gym, and of course any treatments you book in the Spa.
There are plenty of things to keep children occupied, and they will be so happy to be at the clubs, you might not see them too often.
Royal Babies (6-18 months) – a parent needs to accompany these younger children, with baby gymnastics, musical inspiration and a supply of toys, they will have a great time
Royal Tots (18-36 months) – there are 45 minute sessions which turn playtime into learning time, and again a parent needs to accompany these youngsters. Activities include Pirates & Princesses, Fun on the Farm and Learning Fundamentals
Adventure Ocean Youth Programme – this is split into 3 ages groups, Aquanauts (3-5 years), Explorers (6-8 years) and Voyagers (9-11 years), and activities include Adventure Science and Adventure Theatre, as well as Pyjama-Rama Movie Night, Ice-Cream Party, scavenger hunts, and talent shows
Teen Programme – this is split into 2 age groups, Younger Teens (12-14 years) and Older Teens (15-17 years), and activities include Dive-In Movie and Pool Party, FlowRider, Scratch DJ Academy, Open Mic Night and Karaoke
Finding your way around the ship – some people are wary of ‘getting lost’ on large ships, but don’t worry. There are digital ‘wayfinders’ in many locations around the ship, which can easily tell you the best way to get to where you want, whether it is your cabin or a particular restaurant
Onboard currency – everything onboard is priced in US$, but all purchases are charged to your onboard account by using your SeaPass card, and you then settle your account at the end of the cruise. The easiest way to do this is to pre-register a credit card when you check-in, or even online from home
Gratuities – gratuities, or tips, for your cabin and dining room stewards can either be prepaid when booking your cruise, or they will be added to your onboard account. At the time of posting this review the costs are £7.35 per person per night when you prepay, or $12.00 per person per night if added to your onboard account
Dress Code – in the section above regarding restaurants, I have indicated the dress codes, and this is an indication of what each are. Casual refers to polo shirt and trousers for men, with sundresses or trousers for women, Smart Casual would mean jacket and shirt for men, and dresses or trouser suits for women, and formal means suit & tie or tuxedo for men, and cocktail dresses for women
Dietary Requirements – most diets can be catered for, including gluten-free, kosher, low-fat and low-sodium, and those involving allergies. Vegetarian food is always available at the Windjammer Marketplace, but other dining venues might need some advance warning. If you have any specific dietary requirements please let me know when booking, so that I can ensure I advise Royal Caribbean in advance
Internet Access – Wi-Fi access is available all over the ship, and various internet packages can be purchased onboard. To access with your own device you will need a laptop operating Windows, with 802.11b wireless networking capability. You can also access it with Wi-Fi enabled tablets and smartphones.
Destinations – until October 2015 Anthem of the Seas will be operating a number of itineraries from Southampton to the Mediterranean, France & Spain and the Canaries. She will then relocate to New York, from where she will be operating Caribbean itineraries
Other Ships in the Royal Caribbean Fleet
I list below the various ship classes, together with the average size and number of passengers (based on standard occupancy), and the ships within each class.
Oasis Class (220,000 tons with 5,402 passengers) – Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas (plus Harmony of the Seas from April 2016, and TBA from 2018))
Quantum Class (167,800 tons with 4,180 passengers) – Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas (plus Ovation of the Seas from Autumn 2016)
Freedom Class (154,407 tons with 3,634 passengers) – Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas
Voyager Class (137,276 tons with 3,114 passengers) – Voyager of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Mariner of the Seas
Radiance Class 90,090 tons with 2,139 passengers) – Radiance of the Seas Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas
Vision Class (70,000 tons with 2,076 passengers) – Vision of the Seas, Enchantment of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Legend of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Splendour of the Seas (until April 2016)
If you have any questions on Anthem of the Seas, or on any of the other ships in the Royal Caribbean Fleet, call GoCruise with Ian on 01455821770 or 08002922850.