Attention North America – Anthem Of The Seas Has Arrived!
Written by: Cruise News
By David Beers, Editor-in-Chief
November 10, 2015 – I have just returned from a special two-night sailing aboard Royal Caribbean International’s newest ship, Anthem Of The Seas, at her new home port of Cape Liberty, New Jersey. Anthem is the second ship of the Quantum-class, which will now include five total ships by the fall of 2020.
I arrived at the Anthem expecting a replay of my experiences of a year ago when Quantum Of The Seas debuted, when I went on a two-night inaugural sailing followed by an 8-night regular cruise.
As many readers and Royal Caribbean loyalists know, Quantum’s debut was not without some hiccups, most notably with Dynamic Dining.
My expectations were not only met, they were exceeded. I left the Anthem thinking, “How can two otherwise identical ships be so different?” The answer is that Royal Caribbean certainly was up to the challenges faced by Quantum’s shortcomings, and they fixed them. Anthem Of The Seas was as polished and smooth running as a cruise could be.
I actually came close to going to the Loyalty Ambassador desk while aboard and booking the Anthem for a spring or summer family cruise. I’m still thinking about it.
Let’s look at why I was so pleased with Anthem Of The Seas.
Yes, Anthem is pretty much a copy of Quantum Of The Seas, and that’s a good thing when it comes to the public venues. It has the wonderful SeaPlex facility with bumper cars, roller-skating, acrobats, XBox game center, and Dog Haus for hot dog snacks. Anthem has the spectacular North Star passenger pod for sweeping views of the ship from hundreds of feet in the air.
My favorite spot on this class of ship is Two70, and this venue continues to please as a seagoing living room, bistro dining area, high tech show lounge, and place for sweeping views of the sea and scenery passing by.
The iFly skydiving simulator was wildly popular on my cruise and was thrilling to watch as a spectator.
I also love the covered pool and expansive Solarium, where you’ll want to get your morning Screwdriver because the Solarium bar uses freshly squeezed orange juice in their cocktails. Actually all of their juices are freshly made, so drink healthy!
The Windjammer Marketplace has a very guest-friendly layout of food islands and is enormous. Finding a seat was never a problem. I felt the food at all three meals was good quality and most importantly, hot items were hot, cold items cold. This even includes the cookies at the dessert bars being warm.
For our very short cruise we were assigned to a restaurant where a special menu of items from each of the four “core” restaurants was offered. Thus, while I was seated in American Icon, my menu had choices from Chic, Grande, Silk, as well as those from American Icon. I had a truly excellent mushroom stuffed ravioli appetizer and surf and turf, which featured a skewer of shrimp and a cut of beef filet from roasted beef tenderloin.
Anthem has several extra-fee dining options too, from the ubiquitous Chops steakhouse (always excellent) to the playful Wonderland. Of these, Jamie’s Italian is my personal favorite. I noted the tables at Jamie’s on Anthem were more standard in design, and not the “out there” tables found on Quantum, where I felt like I was eating off of my garage workbench. I like the design on Anthem much better. A sampling of items from Jamie’s Italian was wonderful, and I recommend the planks of charcuterie as a shared appetizer for the table. The lamb chops were succulent as an entrée.
We Will Rock You is the featured production show on Anthem Of The Seas and it was certainly rousing. It lasts one hour and forty-five minutes, so plan accordingly.
Two70 offers the amazing Spectra’s Cabaret show, featuring kaleidoscopic sounds, effervescent colors and dazzling human movement. It has to be seen to be appreciated, as mere words are not enough.
Music Hall is my favorite evening hangout, where tribute bands rule! Wild Boys was the featured band on our cruise and they were great. I love that Music Hall is two decks high with two bars. Great venue!
As technologically advanced as Anthem Of The Seas is, no cruise can succeed without a fantastic crew. This is truly where Anthem shines. I’ve been on many Royal Caribbean cruises as well as cruises on every other major cruise line. I’d place the crew of Anthem at the top of my list when it comes to being motivated, helpful, friendly, and always professional with a ‘can do’ attitude. Five Star Service all the way!
I am pleased to give Anthem Of The Seas our highest rating as a 5-Star cruise experience that appeals to all ages and is especially well-suited for families looking for a vacation which offers something for everyone.