Cruise lines want our business; no secret there. Retaining our interest means they have to keep launching new ships that have even more exciting new amenities, services, and programs than their last one. Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Anthem of the Seas, is one to beat. I took my 15-year old son on a media sailing this month to check it out, and we were both impressed.
Anthem of the Seas Overview
This is one BIG cruise ship; in fact, it’s the third largest in the world. One of Royal Caribbean’s Quantum class ships, Anthem has 18 decks, carries 4,180 guests, and features 2,090 staterooms. She’s longer than five Boeing 747’s, so you’ll easily reach your daily step target walking back and forth during your days on board. Anthem homeports in Cape Liberty Cruise Port in Bayonne, N.J., just south of the Statue of Liberty. Upcoming itineraries include the Bahamas and the Caribbean, Bermuda, New England and Canada.
Entertainment on Anthem of the Seas
What sets this ship above any other I’ve ever experienced is the state-of-the-art entertainment venues, shows, and attractions, with several being “firsts” at sea. Our favorites included:
● The North Star glass observation capsule that raises you more than 300 feet above the ocean. (tip: try this out while the ship is in port for more interesting views)
● SeaPlex, a huge indoor recreation space with a court in the middle that holds several activities throughout the day, including a circus school (what fun!), roller skating, and the first bumper cars at sea, made by Ferrari. There are additional spaces on top floor for ping pong and other game tables, as well as an Xbox lounge.
● The two live shows, “We Will Rock You” in the Royal Theater and “Spectra’s Cabaret” in Two70 were high-quality, professional productions. The Two70 lounge has a one-of-a-kind, 100-foot-long high definition screen, and six smaller elevated screens that move in tandem on robotic arms.
● Although we didn’t try them ourselves, other passengers were raving about the RipCord by iFLY sky diving experience, the SurfRider simulated surfing water ride, and the rock climbing wall. The indoor and outdoor pools also looked like fun, especially the circular pool with a current, like an infinity lazy river. In the adults-only Solarium, the multi-layered pool looks like a waterfall.
The “We Will Rock You” show is really for adults, as is the casino, the Vitality at Sea spa, and the Bionic Bar with its two robot bartenders. But for the most part, we found this to be a family-friendly ship, especially for tweens and teens. The Adventure Ocean kids clubs offer hours of supervised activities for ages 3-17.
You’ll have to plan your day carefully to experience everything. Check the daily planner for the hours of operation, especially the North Star and the SeaPlex bumper cars, and get there at least a half-hour before to get on line.
Accommodations on Anthem of the Seas
Like most cruise ships, there’s a wide range of cabin configurations in order to accommodate traveling parties of different sizes. Pricing varies depending on the deck, and whether your room has a window or balcony. A modern twist on this ship is the “virtual balcony” LED screen found in 375 interior rooms that simulates the sea view out of a balcony door. Another bonus is the “Voom” WiFi service, touted as the fastest on the sea. It costs extra, but works well.
For larger families or multigenerational travelers, there are several options for combining standard cabins and suites that have sofa beds to maximize sleeping arrangements.
Dining Onboard Anthem of the Seas
There are 18 restaurants onboard Anthem, including six complimentary main dining restaurants, and other specialty eateries that charge extra, like Johnny Rockets and Jamie Oliver’s Italian. The Dynamic Dining Choice meal plan gives you the freedom to dine wherever and whenever you want (great for families), while the Dynamic Dining Classic option is for people who want the same seating time every night.
You’ll see many of the same dishes offered on the dinner menus at all the complimentary restaurants, and a children’s menu is always available. The food quality was “hit or miss” for me. I liked the variety of options available at the Windjammer buffet, but the American Icon meal was disappointing, overcooked lobster.
Despite the issues with dining, Anthem of the Seas is very promising, and we look forward to seeing the ship’s itinerary expansion and likely success.
Traci L. Suppa drags her small-town family to see a quirky array of the world’s largest, longest, or tallest things, and blogs about it at Go BIG or Go Home.