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cft8

Anthem of the Seas - 5 Night Bermuda May 4-9

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Since I've been home for over a month, and my next cruise is less than 80 days away, I thought I'd better get this up. I wrote the draft a while ago, but some how have not gotten around to posting. I do have Compasses, but I have not had time to photograph or scan them. If there's interest, I'll try.

 

This is my first review, but I've always found them helpful, and since I didn't find many reviews specifically for the 5-night itinerary, I thought it might be helpful to others to post one.

 

Day 1

We left our hotel (Newark Airport Marriott) at about 10:30 (maybe a little later). I was on my phone, but I noticed that we were in the port area by 11:00, and we pulled in to the bus drop off at 11:15. This was our 4th time cruising with a large group, and Cape Liberty by far has the best system for greeting groups. There were two porters there to unload our luggage and someone from the port got on the bus to explain to us where to go.

 

We’d received a notice a few days beforehand that there would be a Coast Guard inspection and we should not arrive at the port until 11:30am, but since we had planned to get there about 11, and I know from reading here that sometimes boarding is not actually delayed, we decided not to change our shuttle arrangements and still plan to arrive about 11.

 

There was only a very short line for security and then we were directed into the “Gold” line for check-in. From the descriptions I’d read about port staff with iPads to do the check-in, I thought there would not really be any lines and we’d just walk up to a person who would check us in. There are actual counters, and a roped-off line. We only waited a few minutes before we were called to the counter. I honestly didn’t notice if the agent was using an iPad or a computer, but the check-in was quick, even though we had to take photos. I could have sworn the agent said we needed to go sit down, but when we met back up with my mom and her friend, who had gone to a different agent, We noticed people were already walking on, so we did. Despite our lowly Gold status, we went right through. We loved the digital screen arch with the fish!

 

Because we lead a group, our first order of business was to meet with the ship’s Group Coordinator to go over our schedule. We headed to the Conference Center with her. After our meeting, we went to the Windjammer for lunch since it was closest to the Conference Center, and we needed to head back there right after eating. Of course it was chaos, but after a lap around the whole place, and some table stalking, I secured a table for us. I had the made-to-order pasta, which I enjoyed. Other than a stop in one evening for a second dessert, though, we didn’t eat there again all cruise (we usually will do breakfast and lunch there on sea days).

 

After eating we took care of some setups in the Conference Center and then went to our cabins. We had adjoining balcony cabins on deck 10 aft. Our key cards were there for both cabins, and my drink cup was in mine. (I had the Refreshment package. My sister bought the soda package on board.) Our beds were not separated, so we left notes for the steward, and also asked for the connecting door and the balcony divider to be opened.

 

We headed for muster a little early, because I still do not do stairs super well after knee surgery, and down is much harder than up, so I wanted to be able to use the elevator. I had read, but forgotten, that on Anthem the muster stations are indoors, so I wish we’d gone even earlier, since we were in Vintages and I could have gotten a seat. I ended up sitting on one of the low tables! Elevators were terrible right after muster as usual, but we made it up to Deck 15 in time to watch the ship go under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

 

Our dinner was the early seating in the Grande on deck 3. Unfortunately the service was not up to par with our previous cruises, and we had complaints every night. We spoke to the head waiters and they were apologetic, but it never really got better. I remarked to my mom that when the waiters did their parade, I couldn’t even pick ours out. Most of the food was actually quite good. The only thing I didn’t really like was the chocolate hazelnut cake, which was dry. Some of our issues were cold escargot, bar beverages taking a long time to come (one person’s wine was delivered at the same time her entree plate was cleared), and long waits between courses. My sister’s food allergy (which she did notify Royal of in advance) wasn’t handled well, when it has been on other cruises. She said that if this had been her first one, she would never go again. Usually she gets to really relax on a cruise and not worry about what she’s going to eat.

 

After dinner, we went back to the cabins. My mom’s beds had been separated, but mine/my sister’s had not. I think this was my fault because I put my note on the dresser, and not on the bed, and so our steward might not have seen it. So, we had to call to have someone come and separate them. The steward had opened the connecting door and our balcony divider.

 

I think I like the closets on Voyager and Radiance class better, and I missed the behind-the mirror storage in the vanity, but we managed to fit all our stuff. I was afraid our toiletries would fall off the shelves in the bathroom, but it was fine. If you are separating the beds, I recommend asking them to put both bedside tables in the middle. When they separated the beds in my mom’s cabin, they put one of the tables over by the sofa, but my mom and her friend ended up moving one bed further over and putting the 2nd table between the beds as well. When ours were done they kept on table in its original position and moved the other in to the center. When we saw how much better the space worked for my mom, we thought about redoing ours, but we were too lazy.

 

My picture of our cabin is really dark, but here is one of the ship going under the bridge

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And one of the view after we passed the bridge

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Day 2, Sea Day

My sister and I went to breakfast in the MDR, which was great. Our waiter there was very nice, and he’s someone I recognized in the dinner parade! I had responsibilities for our group after that, but once I got everything started for the day, I had time to explore. I walked all around the public areas. The weather was gorgeous and I was sorry I’d already showered and done my hair because it would have been nice to swim! We had lunch from Cafe Two70. We ate in Two70 and got a sneak peak at some of the ariels for Spectra’s Cabaret, because they were rehearsing.

 

Our group had a cocktail party in Vintages and the staff did a lovely job. Then it was off to dinner. After dinner we watched Spectra’s. I was going to try and high-tail it down to the theatre to see The Gift, but I decided I was too tired. I’m sorry I missed it, because I heard good things.


Here are some pictures from around the ship:

 

I always love exploring and looking at the artwork. This one caught my eye because it combines two things I love - travel and board games!

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Ship Mascot

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Wake view from the Conference Center - this class has the best conference center we've ever had - Deck 12 aft with lots of windows! It's a long walk to there, but worth it.

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Relaxing on my balcony. Loved having footstools with the chairs!

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Posted (edited)

Day 3, Bermuda

We got the continental breakfast from room service, which is our usual practice on port days when we want to get off early. My mom, her friend, and I had a 9:00 spot on the NorthStar. We headed up there about 8:30, because we wanted to be first since our group had planned to meet & get off the ship at 9:30 in order to make the 10:15 ferry to Hamilton. We were first in line. I think the staff was a bit surprised to see us, but another family got there at the same time. The ride was a lot of fun; we did go out over the sides some. After the ride we headed down to the pub and met up with our group. The group coordinator met us to walk us off, but we didn’t really need her assistance; there was not much of a line.

 

The ferry to Hamilton was easy. I would suggest sitting outside; it was quite warm inside. Once in Hamilton, we did a self-guided walking tour based on one I’d found on the Go To Bermuda website, and climbed the tower at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity. Then we headed to the Hamilton Princess Hotel for tea. I was not impressed with our service (we had a group of about 30 and I don’t think they handled it very well), but the food was delicious and so I’d recommend it for a small group. It was the “perfume tea” and we each got a sample from Lili Bermuda. Apparently you normally have some kind of sales pitch along with that, but they just gave us the samples. I don’t know how much of a hard sell they give, but I actually would have enjoyed learning more about why they pair the scents with the specific teas.

 

We had originally planned to spend some more time in Hamilton (despite knowing I’d be full from tea, I really wanted to try the fish chowder bites from Marcus’). But, my mom said she was tired and wanted to go back to the ship and that the ferry was at 5:15. My sister and I decided to do some quick shopping and we said we’d meet them on the ferry. We got to the ferry a little before 5 and we thought we were just early, but the ferry does actually leave at 5. As it was pulling away, we saw our mom and her friend come up to the dock! They ended up on the next ferry.

 

Back on the ship, my sister and I went to the Solarium for a bit, then showered and changed. We went to Two70 for the Finish the Lyric game show, and I ran down to Cafe Promenade for some food. We also did the Silent Disco, which was a ton of fun! The virtual fireworks at the end are so cool!

 

Anthem approaching King's Wharf, with the NCL ship already in port

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Views from the top of the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity

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Edited by cft8

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Here are my photos from when we were on the North Star

 

View of the pool deck and the Dockyard

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Looking out toward the bow

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Another view of the Dockyard - I think we were over the side at this point

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Another view down on to the pool deck

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Looking over toward Hamilton

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Day 4, Bermuda

We slept in and caught the tail end of breakfast at the Solarium Bistro. We had originally planned to go to St. Georges, but we had decided after seeing the ferry schedule that it was not worth spending about 2 hours on the ferry to have about 2 hours over there. Instead we took a taxi to Horseshoe Bay. We would have done the mini bus, but they were just filling a new one and we’d have had to wait, plus for 4 the cost is not that much higher in a taxi. We walked on the beach for a while and went to some of the less crowded coves, then we went to the beach bar that’s right there to try a Rum Swizzle. We also got some fish bites and fries, which we thought were delicious. We took a taxi back to the dockyard.

 

We did some quick shopping back at the Dockyard. I wish I’d hit the Craft Market first - I could have found everything I wanted there! We went to the Jon Faulkner Gallery, where I bought some Christmas ornaments by another of the artists they carry. Then we went to the glass blowing/rum cake shop. My sister got an ornament there, and I got some rum cakes to bring back for my office. At the Craft Market I got some earrings filled with pink sand. They had ornaments by the same artist, sold individually instead of in a set of 3 like I’d bought, and also had fudge which I think would have been a better choice for my office than the cakes (it was certainly cheaper). It was nice that at Jon Faulkner they let me mix & match from a couple of sets so I could get the three ornaments I liked best.

 

Back on the ship, my sister went straight to get in line for the trapeze. They had 30-minute sessions from 4:00-6:30 and there were 12-15 people per session. My sister was first in the first group, and she said it was a lot of fun.

 

After dinner, we went to Broadway trivia (and didn’t do so well) and then to Battle of the Sexes. We were upstairs in the Music Hall, so we couldn’t really see the game, but we enjoyed just hanging out and chatting.

 

When we got back to the cabin, we had our luggage tags, and we’d been given an 8am departure when our car wasn’t coming until 9:30. I went down to Guest Services, and it was easy enough to change them, but I found it annoying that they didn’t ask for our departure plans as we’ve experienced on other cruises. I don’t know if this is just how the do it on Anthem or if it’s new fleet-wide, but I don’t like it!


Horseshoe Bay

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This was after we'd walked past the rocks that are on the far left as you are facing the ocean

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Rum swizzle

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Beautiful water on the drive back to the Dockyard

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Trapeze setup (that's my sister up on the platform!)

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Day 5, Sea Day

We did breakfast in Two70, then my sister was responsible for getting our group started. We spent the morning with the group (we’d planned to go to towel folding, but we ended up just hanging out). We had lunch in the MDR, and we lingered over that until we barely had time to go back to the cabin and drop our stuff before heading to We Will Rock You. I enjoyed the show, but we sat in the balcony on the left side, and there are several scenes that take place on the left of the stage that we could not see at all. The production isn’t staged very well for the space. The music and the performers were great, and a fun feature of sitting in the balcony is that you can see the musicians who are in boxes on either side of the stage.

 

After dinner, we pretty much just packed. I’d planned to get started at some point during the day, but that didn’t end up happening.

 

Day 6, Disembarkation

We got up, got ready, and left our carry ons in the cabins while we went to breakfast in the MDR. I never realized that the MDR is open on disembarkation day. It was so much nicer than the Windjammer! I did somewhat miss the wide selection in the WJ, but the experience was much more pleasant.

 

We got down to the Two70 area just as our number was being called, so we just joined the line. It moved quickly and all too soon we were dinging off for the last time. We grabbed a porter as we were heading in to the baggage room, and he loaded us up. The porters have a separate line leading up to customs, so we breezed past everyone waiting - this alone was worth the tip! We called our driver and he was able to pull right up and got us loaded. Then we began the long, slow drive out of the port. It ultimately took us over 2 hours to get to midtown Manhattan.

 

 


 

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Overall Thoughts

Anthem is a neat ship with a lot of great features. 5 nights, especially with my group responsibilities, was not enough time to enjoy it. We’ll pick the 9-night if we sail from Cape Liberty again. I’m even more excited for my 7-night on Ovation in September since I’ll hopefully get to do some of the things I missed. Everything was well-kept. Other than immediately after muster, I didn’t ever feel crowded, even when I was on the Royal Esplanade during sale time. I didn’t pay too much attention to the chairs right around the pool, but walking on Deck 15 mid-morning on the first sea day, I saw open chairs. There were also open chairs in the Solarium every time we went in there. I enjoyed the amazing views from the Solarium and Two70, and from the Conference Center, which is Deck 13 aft on this ship (I mistakenly said it was Deck 12 when I posted a photo earlier). It was a treat to have such a great space. We did feel a lot of motion throughout the ship, which I chalk up to a combination of the sea conditions (it was windy, so even though the sea didn’t look choppy, it probably was) and how fast we were going. I don’t recall an itinerary I’ve done where we have covered as much distance on a sea day as you do on this one.

 

The service overall was not up to what we’ve experienced on prior RC cruises. As I mentioned, we had issues with the service in the dining room, but overall the food was good. The food we had in all the other venues was good, too. We also experienced slow service in the bars. Right after trivia in the Schooner Bar, a waiter must have walked past our group of 8 half a dozen times without stopping to ask if we wanted anything and we never caught his eye to flag him down. When we decided to go to the Music Hall instead, the same thing happened. Once we got someone to wait on us, he did check back, but getting that first drink took some effort. Our cabin steward was pretty inattentive. Our cabin was neat and clean, and we got towel animals a couple of nights, but he did not go beyond. On past cruises, when we have asked for wine glasses, we’ve had new ones every time we used them, and when we’ve asked for extra towels, we’ve had extra every night. This time, we had to ask every time.

 

I have all the Compasses, and like I said if there’s interest I can post them. I forgot to take menu pictures.

 

If you have questions, feel free to ask!


 

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Thanks for the review.  My daughter and I are on the 5 night in July-we did the 4 night 2 years ago.

 

I booked the Hamilton Princess Tea after reading about it in your review- I did not know about that before.    I appreciated the info about it as we cannot do the perfume tour in St Georges due to time and she really likes the perfume.  

 

I hope you can post the Compasses.

 

Thanks again!

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Sizzlechest said:

What was your opinion of the Solarium? Was there enough sun and warmth?

I thought so. I didn't spend a ton of time in there (it's a lovely space, I was just busy!). The first sea day, when I was just exploring, it was hot outside, and so it was also hot in the Solarium. The evening we went there, it was around 6pm, which was about 2 hours before sunset. The pool closed at 7pm, so we had to get out, and I sat in one of the lounge beds for a while while my sister went in the hot tub. I was not cold at all, and I am a cold-natured person!

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On 6/19/2019 at 7:06 PM, Sizzlechest said:

What was your opinion of the Solarium? Was there enough sun and warmth?

 

Yes, absolutely enough sun and warmth. In fact, it felt like a sauna the couple times I was there. We should've sat near one of those windows that opened up to allow a breeze in, but couldn't find an open seat there.

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1 minute ago, zooma said:

 

Yes, absolutely enough sun and warmth. In fact, it felt like a sauna the couple times I was there. We should've sat near one of those windows that opened up to allow a breeze in, but couldn't find an open seat there.

 

Unfortunately, those windows in the solarium are not allowed to be opened in the solarium on Anthem. I think they try to control the climate in there with the air conditioning, which doesn’t always do a good job when it’s very sunny. 

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3 minutes ago, Croozin Soozin said:

 

Unfortunately, those windows in the solarium are not allowed to be opened in the solarium on Anthem. I think they try to control the climate in there with the air conditioning, which doesn’t always do a good job when it’s very sunny. 

 

Aha! Thanks for the info. We thought we saw a couple of open ones (this was when we were docked at a port), but maybe we were mistaken.

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The windows in the indoor pool area can be opened and they do provide a nice breeze, but the noise is sometimes what keeps me going to the solarium instead. I usually end up near one of the entrances to the solarium where I can get a breeze from the doors opening.  Plus there is more likely to be shade in that area which also results in cooler temperatures! 

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I Loved your review!  I too would love a posting of the Compasses. 🙂

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