Review of Anthem of the Seas
A Royal Caribbean Cruise
Anthem of the Seas was launched in 2015 and has a capacity of 4,180 passengers with 1,500 crew on board. The ship has 16 decks full of strange but wonderful artwork and a total of 2,090 cabins. With a gross tonnage of 168,666 and a length of 1,141ft, it's a large ship. Average cruising speed is 22 knots. In Bermuda, it docks at Royal Naval Dockyard
Anthem of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Cruise)
Photo Credit: royalcaribbeanblog
The Cabins or Staterooms
In a modern cruise you will expect cabins of all types. Actually Anthem has crossed that line easily. It has more types than you can actually imagine. Out of the 2090 cabins, 1570 of them have balconies and 147 have ocean views. But the surprise is in the remaining inside-rooms which are not supposed to have any views. But! The inside rooms are all fitted with floor to ceiling HD screens simulating a virtual balcony, and you can see the same scene outside in real-time which one can see from cabins with real balconies. The real-time picture comes through the many external cameras fitted on the ship. And you can optionally turn on or off the sound depending on whether you like the sound of the waves.
Several cabins are inter-connected with doors which can cater to larger groups or families traveling together. Solo travelers can choose a studio, several of which have balconies. And there are cabins suitable for those on wheelchairs.
All cabins are modern and have almost all amenities which cruise ships of its class would have. For example twin beds which can be combined to make a king bed, pull out sofa, working desk with chair, flat screen TV, mirror fitted with lights, closets, small fridge, safe, hair dryer etc. However there are few subtle differences... you will find more power points in a cabin than usual including USB ports which are rare in other cruise ships. The inside decor of the cabin rooms are nice and done up in modern style with blue and light brown. Bathrooms too are nice and have shower cage.
Apart from balcony, ocean view, interior and studio cabins, there are different types of suites available for luxury class travelers such as Junior Suites with balconies, Grand Suites (there are several types within this), and Family Cabins with multiple rooms and inter connecting rooms to accommodate large families.
Onboard Entertainment and Activities
This is where Anthem stands apart from most others in its class. It has plethora of activities and entertainment to spoil you and many of them are made available first time in the cruise industry. You will feel as if you are in a luxury resort.
The Sea Plex is a 2-deck high sport and activity complex which has basket ball, soccer, roller skating rink, trapeze, bumper cars, table tennis (ping pong), foosball, video games and even a hot dog counter. A suspended DJ booth moves about on a mechanical arm while the DJ inside plays music.
The Two70 (deck 5 and 6) entertainment area in Anthem is special. During the day time it's a cafe and a bar with sweeping views through the windows. However during the nighttime it becomes a stage for high-tech performances by singers, dancers and acrobats. There are several giants LED screens that move and create a virtual background. The second floor of Two70 houses Internet Cafe, boardroom, library etc.
North Star is a jewel shaped capsule mounted on a mechanical arm which can rise to a height of 300ft. Once inside you can get 360 degree view of the ocean and the ship.
A Skydiving simulator (Ripcord by iFly) is located just behind the surfing simulator. You can experience flying in the sky and get the feel like a sky diver inside the large glass cylinder mounted on the deck with air feed from the bottom. The experience lasts for about a minute.
Other features include surf simulator, 30ft climbing wall, adults-only pool, indoor pool (with retractable glass roof), whirlpools, 220-ft poolside movie screen, full service Spa, state of the art fitness center, Music Hall (deck 3 and 4, live music performances), casino with many slot machines and card tables (deck 3), babies and tots programs, kids zone etc. The sundeck is located on deck 15. Jogging and walking tracks also wind around this deck. Art gallery is located at deck 5.
The Vitality Spa is located on Deck 15 and has 19 treatment rooms. But most rooms are without windows. There is a thermal suite in the spa. Passes are available for entry (discounted if combined with a treatment).
The Esplanade is full of retail stores many of which are of prominent brands. Other than cosmetics, accessories, clothes, perfumes, there lots of restaurants and bars that are spread around this place.
Restaurants, Bars and Lounges
Anthem follows 'Dynamic Dining Choices' which means there is no main dining room and there is no fixed time or table. You can choose from four main restaurants that are free (rest are not) and make reservations. Although reservation is not mandatory, it is required if you want to exercise your choice of table and time.
There are total of 18 restaurants on board the ship to ensure that you will never run out of dining choices and fancies. But the one which is worth a special mention is Wonderland. This is where the cruise line has attempted for the first time to try out Molecular Gastronomy where three dimensions of dining - social, art and technology are brought together. Even the menu is magical as it appears from a blank surface of a plate and the dishes are grouped under elements such as Sun, Fire, Ice, Sea etc. If you don't know where and how to start, ask a waiter to help.
There are of course several other options of light bites, small cafes and stands. But most of the specialty restaurants like steaks, Italian, Japanese, molecular gastronomy etc have separate charges.
There are several bars, lounges and a wine bar that are spread across different decks of the ship. But a fun bar is the Bionic Bar (deck 5) where two robotic arms (instead of human beings) make the cocktails. Once you order your drink using a tablet, one of the robots will swing into action, pick up a glass and pour drinks from few of numerous drink bottles that hang from the top and mix the drinks. Then it will keep the glass on the table and push it towards you. The bar gets crowded at night when a DJ starts playing music. Seating is limited, so be prepared to stand and drink.
Other bars include the Boleros (in deck ) which is a Latin themed bar in low lights, Schooner (in deck 5) which is a piano bar, Vintages Wine Bar (deck 5) - an upscale wine bar, Sky bar and Pool Bar (deck 14), North Star Bar (deck 15).
Cost that are outside the cruise deal
Watch out for these extra charges which are not covered in your basic cruise deal package:
$12.95 per day per person gratuity is applicable ($15.95 for suite passengers). It can be pre-paid in advance, added to shipboard account or paid in cash at the end of the cruise.
18 percent gratuity is automatically added to bar tabs.
Internet speed is high and so is the cost. The daily internet package per device is $15. You get 50% discount on the second device though.
Spa treatment costs are quite high, a facial starts at $125.
Cost for aerobics classes: TRX - $20, Body Sculpt - $30, Spinning - $12
There are no self-service launderettes and laundry charges are extra.
Our overall review and opinion
It's a great cruise for those who like to be immersed in on-board high energy activities and entertainment. There are numerous great activities and some very innovative and thrilling ones. The SeaPlex is the biggest sports complex in the entire cruise industry. This cruise is a favorite to young ones and couples who love to engage in fun and activities, and also families with children. It's perfect for a resort type experience.
All amenities are modern including staterooms. Internet speed is the fastest that you can ever find.
But almost all fun and entertainment come at a hefty additional cost. As is, the cruising package cost for Anthem is fairly high. The activities such as Sky Diving simulator, North Star etc will heavily add to the cost. 14 out of the 18 restaurants are for-fee dining and the fees are quite high.
Jogging and walking tracks on deck 15 almost brush the loungers. There should have been more space.
Service from the crew can improve, particularly when it comes to helping passengers find the places or guiding them on the dynamic dining concept as many board without knowing that there is no main dining room.
The 'Virtual Balcony' at the inside staterooms is a great addition to the innovative features.
Anthem has certainly pushed the bar higher for implementing innovative technology. Even the photo gallery is made all digital in order to reduce paper wastes. If you want your picture taken on the cruise, just swipe your card and your picture will show on a digital screen. You can then choose to take a soft copy or a print.
Overall it's a great and fun cruise, and the ship looks beautiful.
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