Anthem of the Seas Cruise Review by Hari88
- Sail Date: February 2019
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
Embarkation itself went very smoothly and in around 15 min we were able to be on the ship. What didn't work that well was that the suitcases were put "somewhere" into the hallway and not delivered to the correct cabin, everyone had to search for them. Our suitcases seemed to be the last ones anyway and I was lucky to spot them in the crew-area when a door was open... European cruise lines are doing a better job in this regard!
The layout of the cabin and bathroom was quite good actually. Also the balcony was decent enough, although tables for room service seem to become smaller each cruise. (PS: this is my 3rd cruise). The biggest problem was that the cabin was disgusting and merely cleaned. Most edges and not completely obvious spots were filthy. We had to use around 30 (!) lysol wipes, which were black afterwards. The cabin steward just commented that the last cruise had problems with the A/C and so the occupants left the balcony doors open. Great excuse for a lot of dust...
Our dining experience was better than expected. The Windjammer marketplace (buffet restaurant) stood out as extremely well designed with redundant counters and good seating opportunities (better that my previous cruise experiences). Only thing I found strange was that it was very very difficult to find proper bread in the morning. Nearly only sweet stuff at the bread station. At noon the "real bread" came out; i just guess this is the American way of breakfast. The main restaurant for seated dining was quick, and flexible MyTime Dining worked well. After nearly 2 weeks, dinner choices somehow became repeatable but it was still above average.
Servers and dining staff sometimes looked very sad somehow, but I guess it is a difficult job. They were never unfriendly to guests as far as I can tell.
- Wonderland is cool with its imaginative cuisine. Some really interesting dishes. But: at the beginning you get an invisible menu with the dishes. Then the waiter comes and tells you, this is just for show, asks some questions regarding allergies and wants you to forget the "dislikes" because: he brings you what he wants anyway. He said we should order 2 main dishes. He brought all 3. Bit of a waste to be honest. it was really good, but you went out stuffed.
- Jamie's Italian: Dinner quality was very good but I still left the venue completely disappointed. They have a wine menu where around half of the wines - of course ALL the cheapest ones - are NOT available. NO house wine either. the only Rosé? You guessed it: Nope. I mean this is a complete and utter joke. When I asked about this idiocy because I was furious by then, they said, this has been this way for 2 years (!!!!) but a change is planned for March. Very comforting. They got some wine out of the adjacent wine bar afterwards, but whoever thinks there was anything complementary about it: negative again. This venue alone cost this cruise -1 point for dining.
- Chops Grille: great steakhouse, nothing to add!
- Izumis: sushi venue, we haven't tried that. Looked cool, but the restaurant is "open", so everyone passing by is quite close, I wouldn't have felt too comfy there.
Room service costs around 8$ per order: you can take what you want and our first order went out of control, because we thought it would be small portions :D.
Breakfast in the room was a horrible experience to be honest: we ordered for 08:30 to 09:00 am, it came at 08:15 (naturally, we were woken up...). The order was COMPLETELY mixed up. Every tea other than the one I ordered, wrong juices, missing eggs (which cost extra btw!), hash browns instead of bacon, oatmeal missing, but cinnamon and raisins (???). I was extremely disappointed.
PS: between 3 and 5 pm, it is rather difficult to find something to eat. The restaurants are closed (preparing for dinner and probably the staff is eating something too) and only 3 venues on the Royal Esplanade offer some bites (Pizza, Sweets, small appetizers).
Drinks packages are really pricy. For the first time, we didnt take the big one because we didnt want to get wasted everyday, just to make the package worth it. It took some time to find the best spots for water bottles, because at 0.5 liters per bottle you are going to look for water quite often. Beer and other drinks are all around 9-15 $ each, which seems overpriced in my opinion. However, when you find yourself talking to other guests, it is possible to find someone with a package and they often "buy" you a drink.
The WiFi package was certainly worth the price and the best I have ever experienced on a ship. The huge downside was that I found myself having A LOT of disconnects (around 10 sec every 4 minutes), this was really a pattern. I have no idea what the reason was, no one could help or solve this. also the Royal-IQ-App had its problems, on 6 days the cruise planner didn't work. Still: Best WiFi so far, when it was up, it was really nice.
Entertainment was okay. Lawrence from Canada was the coolest guy on the entertainment team with a lot of dry humor under our Cruise Director Hannah (who was very annoying, because she made speaker announcements all the time...). Sadly, a lot of trivia staff was bored and not making a lot of fun or anything.
We saw 2 shows, We will rock you was cancelled due to rough seas on the first days and they left the ship early in our cruise:
- "Spectra's Carbaret", which is visually fascinating using robotic screens and making great use of the Cafe 270, but this is the only positive thing to say. It was way too loud, I could not really understand "what" was going on (story?) and the drag queen moderator was also mediocre fun at best (and I am gay, so I am not against drag queens...).
- However, the second show "The Gift", was great and I couldnt understand why the theater was only half occupied. Great actors, a nice storyline, breathtaking music... I am still delighted when I think back.
We did 3 excursions, action packed only (speed boat, ATV, segway), and we were very happy with our experience. Professionally executed, fun guides and the schedules were kept perfectly (no delays or anything). High prices, but high promises were fulfilled too.
Annoying was, that the ports were always filled with diamond shops and other stuff. You couldn't save yourself from coupons in the cruise program and "deals" everywhere.
The ship itself was good, overall. I like big ships so this was my biggest so far. Here a list of plus and minus:
+ Multi-Purpose venues like music hall, Cafe 270 and most notably SeaPlex are extremely intelligent in their use. This is still fascinating when I think back. Like a gym, where the court could be used for volleyball, basketball, football, trapeze exercises, bumper cars (!!!) and much more. the upper level has table tennis (although tables were not the best anymore, some people seem to treat them horribly), xBox lounge, and some other stuff.
+ enough sun chairs
+ fun and unique experiences like the sky-diving simulator
+ 16+ area without kids
+ I really enjoy the "self-checkout", packing the suitcase the night before is just so much more of a hurry.
- Spa experience (grooming) was also underwhelming. First of all, it was bait and switch, since I reserved a time slot with explicit reference to an offer in the daily program. After the treatment the Indian guy just said: "Well i did much more and you liked it". Also, the spa was less comfy than on other ships. A light spot directly overhead nearly blinded me.
- only 2 staircases and elevator areas. I was used to 3 staircases (aft, midship, bow) even on smaller ships but not here here. Naturally, waiting times for elevators at rush hour are huge. American guests, which were about 80% on this cruise, are less likely to use the stairs too, and I saw A LOT of those "cars" driving around for people who were not good at their feet. So every other elevator ride was with carts and 2 of those nearly fill up an elevator.
- no loud speakers for crew announcements in the cabins. even the "alarm" is nearly inaudible in the cabin. So, in case of emergency I think this is worrying. In case of a cruise director constantly babbling from 7 or 8 am onwards it was a relief.
around 100 german speaking
All-in-all it was a decent cruise, not too bad but I had higher expectations to be honest. Probably the last Royal Caribbean cruise in a while. I was fascinated by the huge ships but somehow the "magic" is gone now.
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