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We had an amazing time on the Anthem! My husband and I (mid-late-30's), our three daughters (13-11-6), and my parents traveled in three staterooms (two balconies and one interior virtual balcony for the older two children). The activities offered on the ship and ports on this sailing truly made for a perfect cruise vacation! Embarkation in Bayonne was quick and simple. We drove in from the Philly suburbs the morning of the cruise, parked our car in the garage at 10:30am, and were onboard by 11. There were lots of people waiting in the terminal, though, so I can only assume they did not do the online check in. With online check-in, there was absolutely no waiting, so that is a must! Once onboard, we were told that our rooms and key cards would be ready by 1pm and that until then, we could use our set sail pass that we'd printed at home to utilize our deluxe beverage package. We headed to Two70 for drinks and lunch while we waited. It was a pleasant, scenic place to hang out and get into vacation mode! Cabins and luggage were all ready in a timely fashion, so we unpacked and headed to the required muster drill before dinner. We had the early seating in the Grande dining room, which was beautiful (though we miss the enormous 3-story dining rooms of older ships). Our servers (Sachin & Carmi) were top notch and the food was generally very good! With our large group, we opted to dine in the main dining room every night rather than spend hundreds more trying the specialty restaurants. The Anthem is beautifully decorated and impeccably clean. There are So. Many. Activities. onboard for kids and adventurous adults to enjoy: iFly, Flowrider, NorthStar, bumper cars, and the trapeze were all fantastic. (Our tall six year old was too short for Flowrider, even though she has done it before on land, so be sure to check out the height requirements beforehand to avoid disappointment.) One small complaint I have about the ship is that there is not nearly enough space on the pool deck and there is only one very small outdoor pool. There is an indoor pool with a retractable glass roof that was never opened despite 8 out of 9 days of beautiful weather. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the Schooner Bar for piano entertainment (the lavender daiquiri was my favorite there!) in the evening, while our older two girls enjoyed the Living Room for teens (Note: it's 12 and up but 11 year olds can hang out there as long as their parents signs off), and our 6 year old was absolutely obsessed with the Adventure Ocean 6-8 year olds club. We loved being able to have a nice evening out while the children were happy and entertained and making friends! We did miss having a Viking Crown Lounge on this ship, which is usually our go-to place for quiet drinks and views. Of the 4 ports of call on this cruise, we had only been to Bermuda previously. We did the Horseshoe Bay Beach transport through Royal Caribbean, and although we arrived early, the beach was FAR more crowded than it was 13 years ago during our last visit. If you walk allllllll the way down to the left past the rocks, it is less crowded but still pretty packed with daredevils jumping off the rocky cliffs and Instagrammers trying to get the perfect shot. Absolutely beautiful, just more crowded than I like. At the next port, Sint Maarten, we did Royal Caribbean's Maho Beach excursion because we really wanted to see the planes taking off from Princess Juliana airport. After getting off the ship, we waited in line for a very long time waiting to get onto a bus to take us to the beach; I didn't love all the waiting so I would probably look into a private tour the next time. Once we arrived, though, we easily found a table at the little outdoor bar/restaurant there, ordered a few CHEAP buckets of Coronas (I think it was $20 for six) and some reasonably priced food, and enjoyed watching the planes land and take off (as well as tourists get blown down the beach). We ventured down into the water to get the full sand-blown experience, which was great! (Be warned that there are pretty aggressive hair-braiding vendors, little to no sand to relax on, lots of litter on the rocks unfortunately, & the sand really does hurt when a big plane takes off). Still, fun for big kids and plane enthusiasts! We had no planned excursions for San Juan, except that we wanted to check out Barrachina, the bar/restaurant that created the pina colada. Old San Juan is a beautiful, charming place for a stroll, and the Barrachina pina coladas (available with or without rum) and the Plaza de las Palomas (a little square with a colonial gate and hundreds of pigeons, plus a guy with pigeon feed and Purell, yay!) were highlights. Our final stop, Labadee, was heaven for us. I HIGHLY recommend booking an over-the-water cabana on Nellie's Beach for the day. Yeah, it's pricey, but having a private area to store your stuff, someone to bring you drinks, and towels & water waiting for you is invaluable if you hate crowds like I do. Maybe not for a couple, but for a group of 7 it's totally worth it. Our cabana, #3, shared access with just one other cabana to a rocky outcropping with a ladder that led right into 6-7ft deep water. Since all three of our girls are swimmers, it was awesome for them to be able to jump in or float on the included floating mats away from the throngs. We also did the Arawak Water Park for an hour, which was too long for me but very fun for the kids! Disembarkation back in Bayonne was as quick and efficient as embarkation. Our number was called early (despite an insane number of self-depart guests queueing up with all their luggage in tow) and we were back in our car within 20 minutes. Unfortunately, breakfast options and crew members were few and far between that last morning. Overall, it was a wonderful cruise! Port days and sea days were equally enjoyable and there was definitely something for everyone. Service was awesome all around and the ship was spotless. Highly recommended! (Sad to see her go in April!)

Awesome itinerary and ship for the whole family!

Anthem of the Seas Cruise Review by katieraesmith

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2019
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
We had an amazing time on the Anthem! My husband and I (mid-late-30's), our three daughters (13-11-6), and my parents traveled in three staterooms (two balconies and one interior virtual balcony for the older two children). The activities offered on the ship and ports on this sailing truly made for a perfect cruise vacation!

Embarkation in Bayonne was quick and simple. We drove in from the Philly suburbs the morning of the cruise, parked our car in the garage at 10:30am, and were onboard by 11. There were lots of people waiting in the terminal, though, so I can only assume they did not do the online check in. With online check-in, there was absolutely no waiting, so that is a must!

Once onboard, we were told that our rooms and key cards would be ready by 1pm and that until then, we could use our set sail pass that we'd printed at home to utilize our deluxe beverage package. We headed to Two70 for drinks and lunch while we waited. It was a pleasant, scenic place to hang out and get into vacation mode! Cabins and luggage were all ready in a timely fashion, so we unpacked and headed to the required muster drill before dinner. We had the early seating in the Grande dining room, which was beautiful (though we miss the enormous 3-story dining rooms of older ships). Our servers (Sachin & Carmi) were top notch and the food was generally very good! With our large group, we opted to dine in the main dining room every night rather than spend hundreds more trying the specialty restaurants.

The Anthem is beautifully decorated and impeccably clean. There are So. Many. Activities. onboard for kids and adventurous adults to enjoy: iFly, Flowrider, NorthStar, bumper cars, and the trapeze were all fantastic. (Our tall six year old was too short for Flowrider, even though she has done it before on land, so be sure to check out the height requirements beforehand to avoid disappointment.) One small complaint I have about the ship is that there is not nearly enough space on the pool deck and there is only one very small outdoor pool. There is an indoor pool with a retractable glass roof that was never opened despite 8 out of 9 days of beautiful weather. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed the Schooner Bar for piano entertainment (the lavender daiquiri was my favorite there!) in the evening, while our older two girls enjoyed the Living Room for teens (Note: it's 12 and up but 11 year olds can hang out there as long as their parents signs off), and our 6 year old was absolutely obsessed with the Adventure Ocean 6-8 year olds club. We loved being able to have a nice evening out while the children were happy and entertained and making friends! We did miss having a Viking Crown Lounge on this ship, which is usually our go-to place for quiet drinks and views.

Of the 4 ports of call on this cruise, we had only been to Bermuda previously. We did the Horseshoe Bay Beach transport through Royal Caribbean, and although we arrived early, the beach was FAR more crowded than it was 13 years ago during our last visit. If you walk allllllll the way down to the left past the rocks, it is less crowded but still pretty packed with daredevils jumping off the rocky cliffs and Instagrammers trying to get the perfect shot. Absolutely beautiful, just more crowded than I like.

At the next port, Sint Maarten, we did Royal Caribbean's Maho Beach excursion because we really wanted to see the planes taking off from Princess Juliana airport. After getting off the ship, we waited in line for a very long time waiting to get onto a bus to take us to the beach; I didn't love all the waiting so I would probably look into a private tour the next time. Once we arrived, though, we easily found a table at the little outdoor bar/restaurant there, ordered a few CHEAP buckets of Coronas (I think it was $20 for six) and some reasonably priced food, and enjoyed watching the planes land and take off (as well as tourists get blown down the beach). We ventured down into the water to get the full sand-blown experience, which was great! (Be warned that there are pretty aggressive hair-braiding vendors, little to no sand to relax on, lots of litter on the rocks unfortunately, & the sand really does hurt when a big plane takes off). Still, fun for big kids and plane enthusiasts!

We had no planned excursions for San Juan, except that we wanted to check out Barrachina, the bar/restaurant that created the pina colada. Old San Juan is a beautiful, charming place for a stroll, and the Barrachina pina coladas (available with or without rum) and the Plaza de las Palomas (a little square with a colonial gate and hundreds of pigeons, plus a guy with pigeon feed and Purell, yay!) were highlights.

Our final stop, Labadee, was heaven for us. I HIGHLY recommend booking an over-the-water cabana on Nellie's Beach for the day. Yeah, it's pricey, but having a private area to store your stuff, someone to bring you drinks, and towels & water waiting for you is invaluable if you hate crowds like I do. Maybe not for a couple, but for a group of 7 it's totally worth it. Our cabana, #3, shared access with just one other cabana to a rocky outcropping with a ladder that led right into 6-7ft deep water. Since all three of our girls are swimmers, it was awesome for them to be able to jump in or float on the included floating mats away from the throngs. We also did the Arawak Water Park for an hour, which was too long for me but very fun for the kids!

Disembarkation back in Bayonne was as quick and efficient as embarkation. Our number was called early (despite an insane number of self-depart guests queueing up with all their luggage in tow) and we were back in our car within 20 minutes. Unfortunately, breakfast options and crew members were few and far between that last morning.

Overall, it was a wonderful cruise! Port days and sea days were equally enjoyable and there was definitely something for everyone. Service was awesome all around and the ship was spotless. Highly recommended! (Sad to see her go in April!)
katieraesmith’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 1D 12606
Very efficient use of the space. Great storage, good lighting and outlet placement, and just the right amount of space for two adults and one child! The bed was a little on the uncomfortably firm side, and I like a firm bed.
Deck 13 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Horseshoe Bay Beach
    Love this beach, it's so beautiful, but it was SO crowded this time around. Also, we were there very early and got an awesome spot facing the ocean, but over an hour later the lifeguards told us we had to move (not sure why they waited to say something even though they were there when we got there). I get it, but just tell people right away so they don't have to move after all the good spots are taken!
    View All 155 Horseshoe Bay Beach Reviews
  • Labadee
    Worth every penny!
    View All 12,802 Labadee Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Labadee Cruise Port Review
  • Arawak Aqua Park
    Very fun for the kids! An hour was a little long as an adult, but there was no tearing them away.
    View All 61 Arawak Aqua Park Reviews
  • San Juan
    Surprised by how much we enjoyed this port! Just walked around Old San Juan, had some pina coladas, shopped, and enjoyed the pigeons in the park. I was a little sad that the umbrellas weren't up during our visit due to political unrest, but it was a beautiful place anyway!
    View All 3,767 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review
  • Beach
    Not much "beach" at Maho Beach (we had to set up shop on the rocks) but it was still beautiful and so fun! Seeing the airplanes land and take off so close is an unforgettable experience, and the bars here were reasonably priced and not too crowded. Beware the agressive hair braiding offers and the litter.
    View All 234 Beach Reviews