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Review of Anthem: Thanksgiving week, Nov 23-Dec 1, 2019


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Hi everyone.  We (2) have cruised Anthem 5x now,  and this week we were joined by family and friends for a total of 8 of us—5 adults, two 10 year olds and one 13 year old.

  

We arrived at the port around 10:45am.   Short line to drop our luggage and then parked in the deck.  Take your ticket with you and pay as soon as the ship gets back; you need the paid receipt to exit the parking deck.   Inside the port upon arrival it was different from our last time there (2018) as now the check-in people are beyond the Security area only.  If you had checked in on the Royal app, you could go to the very short expedited line for security.  Found a check-in person after security and the people in front of us had not printed their boarding pass and there were some wifi issues, so their check-in was delayed as a paper boarding pass had to be printed.  We had paper copies as a backup and it worked fine.  Keep it handy as you will be asked to show it several times before you’re on the ship.   Still, it is a quick and painless process at this port for the most part.   

 

Headed to the Windjammer and it wasn’t too crowded yet.  Found a nice spot at the back of the room and all of us found food we enjoyed.   Wandered around the ship to wait for our cabins to be ready.   Some signed up for iFly.  Cabins were ready around 1:15 I think and we dropped our bags off.   Love the balcony cabin design and its ample storage space.  We had the larger, angled balcony which was very nice although a bit tunnel-like.   I didn’t like that there was a crew door across from us and it was quite noisy in the mornings with room service deliveries all coming through that door, and luggage the last night.   Cabin is still in good condition and everything worked well.  Love that the one light in the bathroom stays on to act as a nightlight.    

 

We did sailaway from the bar area in Two70 since it was cold outside.  We love this spot on this ship, in fact, Two70 is so beautiful.  Note there is a library on the top level.

 

CC M&M was in Music Hall at 10am first sea day.   There was a raffle for a few RC items and I brought a few donated CC items I handed out upon arrival, and also two CC tote bags to raffle off but it seems the host gave both to one person.  Then bingo was setting up before our 30 min M&M was over so there wasn’t any time left for us to mingle.  I believe a slot pull was done after this.  

 

We ate at the WJ for breakfast, lunch and dinner several times, a few times in the MDR with mytime dining although we had reservations for 2 of the 3 nights we ate there.   Lobster night was on day 7, and our request for an oval or round table for our group of 8 was not honored and we ended up again at two 4-tops which is not the most sociable way to enjoy eating together.  That was disappointing, even though I recognized that it was a request that may not be honored.  Our dinner for eight that night took way too long—we were there for over two hours.  We watched other people arrive, eat and leave in that amount of time.  Not sure what took so long but even when we sat down it had to be 10 minutes till servers came over to us.   Was not a great impression for those with us who were new to RC.  And the talk about the survey. . .I wish DR staff would stop telling us how to rate them.  This seems to happen every RC cruise.   The last night we all ate at the Solarium Bistro which is much faster since appy and side dishes are buffet style with your main course off a menu.   We all enjoyed the food for the most part.  I think if you don’t find something you like onboard, you are too picky!

 

When my bro and SIL tried to use one of their drink BOGO in the dining room it seemed to cause a tremendous amount of confusion to the point where they said forget it.  One server said they had used it, another said they had not.  I told them to go to GS to straighten out, but the next day when they ordered wine in the Solarium, the server brought the 2 wines and told them he used their BOGO.  So clearly it was there but DR staff could not figure that out.

 

Shows we went to were We Will Rock You which is excellent, although a bit too long in our opinion.   Performers and musicians are fabulous.   Spectra’s Cabaret I see every time on Anthem, if not twice.  Just a great show and I love the songs.   We skipped the Gift.   There is a new kind of show called Red in Two70 which is dancers and a dj, and guest dancing as well.   Resurrection, the Journey tribute band, was onboard and they were great.   The guitarist Alex is excellent too.  There were people performing in Bolero’s when we walked by a few times and they seemed very good for the short time we heard them.

 

Speaking of Bolero’s, no 2for1 drink happy hour was offered on this cruise as we’ve enjoyed on past Anthem cruises.   

 

Booked NorthStar onboard and even went up a second time the second to last day since there was hardly anyone for the next trip up.   This is why I tell people on CC not to panic if you can't make a reservation before you board.   We always get to go on NorthStar without a reservation.   

 

We did use the Royal app onboard w/o paying for internet.   Came in handy to see what was going on and also what our balance $ was.

 

The kids all enjoyed spending time in the SeaPlex which is such a wonderful area of the ship.  They didn’t go to the kids club at all.  Games, bumper cars, skating, soccer, and basketball were all held there at scheduled times. 

 

Yes, the out pool areas are very crowded on sunny, warm days.   Wish this ship had water slides.  

 

Fitness center is great.  Lots of nice machines.  One of us did the Thermal spa: Not once did another person enter the smallish dry sauna during the many visits (at least once each day, usually 8 AM & 8 PM) with temperatures ranging from 104 in the AM to 140 in the PM. The wet sauna was preferred by the guests and the tropical/cooling mist shower was also very nice but watch the tropical setting as it overheats slightly shortly after startup before settling into a more manageable temperature. The heated loungers are nice; the room is on the cool side, so bring a robe/towel. No one uses the laughably oversized complimentary men’s shorts. Plenty of towels available in the locker rooms and sauna area and plain and fruited cold water in a gathering area on the right before the locker rooms. Bring footwear as well as the wet sauna floor is hot, hot, hot.

 

No Captains/Officer Q&A this cruise.  

 

Went to scarf tying class in Bvlgari which was cool—learned a new way to tie an oblong scarf. 

 

We went to the Top Tier party—in the theater this time—but same old boring drinks being passed—cheap sparkling wine, red wine, chardonnay or rum punch.   I remember when I could get a cocktail made easily.   Alex the guitarist was playing on the stage. 

 

We adults enjoyed some of the trivia (name that tune) and won some of the RC keychains.  Always fun to participate, but it seems RC is really getting cheap with the prizes.  I liked the NorthStar bag in a bag as that’s useful.  Or some variety.  Seemed keychains were given out for everything.   Host of the 70s disco tunes trivia guy, Raz, was entertaining, but among his “rules” was his song names were right.  While I realize he probably was not yet born when disco was out, if you’re going to say we have to play by your rules, at least have the song titles accurately.  We also noticed that some of the games we watched were not fair to all players—some ended up getting more than one chance and some were not given that chance.  So don't take the games too seriously.   The prizes are surely not worth it!  Karaoke is always fun to watch and some singers are so good—even little kids surprised us with songs they knew. 

 

Port Canaveral we rented a car and went to Kennedy Space Center.

 

Nassau we went to the beach at Atlantis.  Bought the beach pass online from Atlantis ahead of time and took a taxi there for $4pp each way. 

 

CocoCay.  Was our first visit there and we like it better than Labadee.   It really was a perfect day.   There were some areas of sea grass and a stingray was swimming near us.  The food they served was a better variety than other cruiselines do at their private islands.  Even had ice cream there!   Enjoyed swimming out to the docks.  There are some vendors selling local wares too.  We look forward to going there again sometime.  The family did the waterpark passes and had a fun time.  Why do they scan our bags when we come back onboard from CocoCay—it is THEIR island!  

 

We had 2 sea days to FL and 2 back and we always found fun things to do.  It was disappointing that no one but us showed for the Martini clinic so they wouldn’t do it.   Later in the week we went to a Mojito “demonstration” at Bolero’s that did not show a “$” next to it as other events with additional cost do, and when the hostess told the maybe 12 who had shown up for it that it was $25, most left.  They won’t do the sampling unless they have 5 people, and 5 did not stay so I had a mojito anyway.   But it was disappointing that they made that error in the Compass as to cost causing them to have insufficient attendance.   We did the Wines From Around the World which we had pre-purchased, and it was good and fun.   Tried out our 3 free (Emerald C&A) spins in the casino but didn’t win.

 

Sadly the return home day arrived.  Ship was along the dock with lines tied by 6:30.  We were in line to leave at 6:50, and in our car to head home at 7:10am.  Everyone went through the facial recognition screening at customs/immigration and it was super quick.    Cape Liberty has their act together which is great. 

 

Other random thoughts:   I heard people complaining about the mattresses but we slept just fine.   Carpet is coming up in various places and that will need attention so people don’t trip.   When you arrive at CocoCay, wait about 30 minutes until the rush is over and walk right off the ship.  Plenty of space from which to choose to sit on the island.  Get to Two70 early for any event there if you want good seat.   Please speak quietly on your balcony especially at night and early in the morning.  And please—no yelling and fighting! 

 

Was a fun trip on a fabulous ship.      

 

 

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We were on this cruise also and loved being back on Anthem.  I agree that you do not need reservations for North Star.  Also, reservations for iFly are handy but if you really want to fly they always have room within a short period of time. Did not know about the 3 free spins in casino for emerald but we do not really read the compass.  Went to the WJ once for breakfast and enjoyed the variety, we were in a suite so ate all meals in CK or specialty restaurants, and they were good.  Also had fun in Wonderland again.  Food is so unusual there but we left full.  I was surprised that there were 1300 kids on board, it did not seem like that many, we contributed 1 to that total, and we never ran into a group of unruly ones.  We enjoyed the Thanksgiving cruise so much that we just booked that time frame in 2021 on Anthem. 

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1 hour ago, lovescats5 said:

 Did not know about the 3 free spins in casino for emerald but we do not really read the compass.  

 

It wasn't in the Compass; it's a C&A perk listed on the paper left in our cabin.  

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Forgot to mention, as we were packing up Saturday night we had the tv on and it was showing one of the comedian's shows in the Theatre.  He was very funny.  Was nice to have a comedian do a performance that wasn't just picking on people in the audience.   I had to laugh when he asked how many people knew who Barry White was. . . many did not!   Loved his music. 

 

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Shame they got rid of the 2-for-1 happy hour. When I was on the Anthem last January, it was very popular. What entertainment do they have on the ship now? mostly in terms of who's playing in the Music Hall. I'll her sailing her next month and would like to know.

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2 minutes ago, toad455 said:

Shame they got rid of the 2-for-1 happy hour. When I was on the Anthem last January, it was very popular. What entertainment do they have on the ship now? mostly in terms of who's playing in the Music Hall. I'll her sailing her next month and would like to know.

 

Another way to get entertainment info is from web_reservations@rccl.com.

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2 minutes ago, toad455 said:

Shame they got rid of the 2-for-1 happy hour. When I was on the Anthem last January, it was very popular. What entertainment do they have on the ship now? mostly in terms of who's playing in the Music Hall. I'll her sailing her next month and would like to know.

 

Nevermind, just re-read your review and saw its the Journey tribute band.

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22 minutes ago, toad455 said:

 

Nevermind, just re-read your review and saw its the Journey tribute band.

 

They were AWESOME!  You can check their website (notjourney is the site) to see if they'll be on the ship.  It does show some other events they're doing non-cruise.

 

As far as tribute bands go, I also LOVED Atomic, the Van Halen tribute band that was on Quantum and Anthem short cruises when they were new.   

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Guess that is a paper I neglected to read also.  We get so much information in the room (an excuse I know) that we really do not look at it all.  I will make a note to see what it says when we board Liberty in March.  The comedian was very funny and not politically correct.  You are right, not many people knew who Barry White was.  My granddaughter (age 12) was not excited to go to that last show but she enjoyed that more than anything else she saw. 

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18 minutes ago, toad455 said:

Just checked their website and they're scheduled elsewhere. 😭 I'm on the January 27 sailing and have been coming up empty with trying to find out want band(s) will be on.

 

You may get another awesome band on your glorious 11 nighter!    And you're going to Antigua I see in your sig--LOVE those beautiful beaches there.  

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1 hour ago, franncos said:

On the Anthem can you walk indoors from the WJ to the indoor pool area? We are trying not to go out doors  while we are on the cruise in the winter.

 

WJ is right next to the outdoor pool so unless you go downstairs first, walk across and come back up where the indoor pool is I don't think you can walk to it on the same deck and avoid being outside for a few seconds.

 

https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-ships/anthem-of-the-seas/deck-plans/1876/14

Edited by Danijela
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On ‎12‎/‎6‎/‎2019 at 9:28 AM, mizLORInj said:

Hi everyone.  We (2) have cruised Anthem 5x now,  and this week we were joined by family and friends for a total of 8 of us—5 adults, two 10 year olds and one 13 year old.

  

We arrived at the port around 10:45am.   Short line to drop our luggage and then parked in the deck.  Take your ticket with you and pay as soon as the ship gets back; you need the paid receipt to exit the parking deck.   Inside the port upon arrival it was different from our last time there (2018) as now the check-in people are beyond the Security area only.  If you had checked in on the Royal app, you could go to the very short expedited line for security.  Found a check-in person after security and the people in front of us had not printed their boarding pass and there were some wifi issues, so their check-in was delayed as a paper boarding pass had to be printed.  We had paper copies as a backup and it worked fine.  Keep it handy as you will be asked to show it several times before you’re on the ship.   Still, it is a quick and painless process at this port for the most part.   

 

Headed to the Windjammer and it wasn’t too crowded yet.  Found a nice spot at the back of the room and all of us found food we enjoyed.   Wandered around the ship to wait for our cabins to be ready.   Some signed up for iFly.  Cabins were ready around 1:15 I think and we dropped our bags off.   Love the balcony cabin design and its ample storage space.  We had the larger, angled balcony which was very nice although a bit tunnel-like.   I didn’t like that there was a crew door across from us and it was quite noisy in the mornings with room service deliveries all coming through that door, and luggage the last night.   Cabin is still in good condition and everything worked well.  Love that the one light in the bathroom stays on to act as a nightlight.      

 

We did sailaway from the bar area in Two70 since it was cold outside.  We love this spot on this ship, in fact, Two70 is so beautiful.  Note there is a library on the top level.

 

CC M&M was in Music Hall at 10am first sea day.   There was a raffle for a few RC items and I brought a few donated CC items I handed out upon arrival, and also two CC tote bags to raffle off but it seems the host gave both to one person.  Then bingo was setting up before our 30 min M&M was over so there wasn’t any time left for us to mingle.  I believe a slot pull was done after this.  

 

We ate at the WJ for breakfast, lunch and dinner several times, a few times in the MDR with mytime dining although we had reservations for 2 of the 3 nights we ate there.   Lobster night was on day 7, and our request for an oval or round table for our group of 8 was not honored and we ended up again at two 4-tops which is not the most sociable way to enjoy eating together.  That was disappointing, even though I recognized that it was a request that may not be honored.  Our dinner for eight that night took way too long—we were there for over two hours.  We watched other people arrive, eat and leave in that amount of time.  Not sure what took so long but even when we sat down it had to be 10 minutes till servers came over to us.   Was not a great impression for those with us who were new to RC.  And the talk about the survey. . .I wish DR staff would stop telling us how to rate them.  This seems to happen every RC cruise.   The last night we all ate at the Solarium Bistro which is much faster since appy and side dishes are buffet style with your main course off a menu.   We all enjoyed the food for the most part.  I think if you don’t find something you like onboard, you are too picky!

 

When my bro and SIL tried to use one of their drink BOGO in the dining room it seemed to cause a tremendous amount of confusion to the point where they said forget it.  One server said they had used it, another said they had not.  I told them to go to GS to straighten out, but the next day when they ordered wine in the Solarium, the server brought the 2 wines and told them he used their BOGO.  So clearly it was there but DR staff could not figure that out.

 

Shows we went to were We Will Rock You which is excellent, although a bit too long in our opinion.   Performers and musicians are fabulous.   Spectra’s Cabaret I see every time on Anthem, if not twice.  Just a great show and I love the songs.   We skipped the Gift.   There is a new kind of show called Red in Two70 which is dancers and a dj, and guest dancing as well.   Resurrection, the Journey tribute band, was onboard and they were great.   The guitarist Alex is excellent too.  There were people performing in Bolero’s when we walked by a few times and they seemed very good for the short time we heard them.

 

Speaking of Bolero’s, no 2for1 drink happy hour was offered on this cruise as we’ve enjoyed on past Anthem cruises.   

 

Booked NorthStar onboard and even went up a second time the second to last day since there was hardly anyone for the next trip up.   This is why I tell people on CC not to panic if you can't make a reservation before you board.   We always get to go on NorthStar without a reservation.   

 

We did use the Royal app onboard w/o paying for internet.   Came in handy to see what was going on and also what our balance $ was.

 

The kids all enjoyed spending time in the SeaPlex which is such a wonderful area of the ship.  They didn’t go to the kids club at all.  Games, bumper cars, skating, soccer, and basketball were all held there at scheduled times. 

 

Yes, the out pool areas are very crowded on sunny, warm days.   Wish this ship had water slides.  

 

Fitness center is great.  Lots of nice machines.  One of us did the Thermal spa: Not once did another person enter the smallish dry sauna during the many visits (at least once each day, usually 8 AM & 8 PM) with temperatures ranging from 104 in the AM to 140 in the PM. The wet sauna was preferred by the guests and the tropical/cooling mist shower was also very nice but watch the tropical setting as it overheats slightly shortly after startup before settling into a more manageable temperature. The heated loungers are nice; the room is on the cool side, so bring a robe/towel. No one uses the laughably oversized complimentary men’s shorts. Plenty of towels available in the locker rooms and sauna area and plain and fruited cold water in a gathering area on the right before the locker rooms. Bring footwear as well as the wet sauna floor is hot, hot, hot.

 

No Captains/Officer Q&A this cruise.  

 

Went to scarf tying class in Bvlgari which was cool—learned a new way to tie an oblong scarf. 

 

We went to the Top Tier party—in the theater this time—but same old boring drinks being passed—cheap sparkling wine, red wine, chardonnay or rum punch.   I remember when I could get a cocktail made easily.   Alex the guitarist was playing on the stage. 

 

We adults enjoyed some of the trivia (name that tune) and won some of the RC keychains.  Always fun to participate, but it seems RC is really getting cheap with the prizes.  I liked the NorthStar bag in a bag as that’s useful.  Or some variety.  Seemed keychains were given out for everything.   Host of the 70s disco tunes trivia guy, Raz, was entertaining, but among his “rules” was his song names were right.  While I realize he probably was not yet born when disco was out, if you’re going to say we have to play by your rules, at least have the song titles accurately.  We also noticed that some of the games we watched were not fair to all players—some ended up getting more than one chance and some were not given that chance.  So don't take the games too seriously.   The prizes are surely not worth it!  Karaoke is always fun to watch and some singers are so good—even little kids surprised us with songs they knew. 

 

Port Canaveral we rented a car and went to Kennedy Space Center.

 

Nassau we went to the beach at Atlantis.  Bought the beach pass online from Atlantis ahead of time and took a taxi there for $4pp each way. 

 

CocoCay.  Was our first visit there and we like it better than Labadee.   It really was a perfect day.   There were some areas of sea grass and a stingray was swimming near us.  The food they served was a better variety than other cruiselines do at their private islands.  Even had ice cream there!   Enjoyed swimming out to the docks.  There are some vendors selling local wares too.  We look forward to going there again sometime.  The family did the waterpark passes and had a fun time.  Why do they scan our bags when we come back onboard from CocoCay—it is THEIR island!  

 

We had 2 sea days to FL and 2 back and we always found fun things to do.  It was disappointing that no one but us showed for the Martini clinic so they wouldn’t do it.   Later in the week we went to a Mojito “demonstration” at Bolero’s that did not show a “$” next to it as other events with additional cost do, and when the hostess told the maybe 12 who had shown up for it that it was $25, most left.  They won’t do the sampling unless they have 5 people, and 5 did not stay so I had a mojito anyway.   But it was disappointing that they made that error in the Compass as to cost causing them to have insufficient attendance.   We did the Wines From Around the World which we had pre-purchased, and it was good and fun.   Tried out our 3 free (Emerald C&A) spins in the casino but didn’t win.

 

Sadly the return home day arrived.  Ship was along the dock with lines tied by 6:30.  We were in line to leave at 6:50, and in our car to head home at 7:10am.  Everyone went through the facial recognition screening at customs/immigration and it was super quick.    Cape Liberty has their act together which is great. 

 

Other random thoughts:   I heard people complaining about the mattresses but we slept just fine.   Carpet is coming up in various places and that will need attention so people don’t trip.   When you arrive at CocoCay, wait about 30 minutes until the rush is over and walk right off the ship.  Plenty of space from which to choose to sit on the island.  Get to Two70 early for any event there if you want good seat.   Please speak quietly on your balcony especially at night and early in the morning.  And please—no yelling and fighting! 

 

Was a fun trip on a fabulous ship.      

 

 

    we were also on the cruise  on the Anthem for Thanksgiving This was our 2nd time and we did book for next year same time Both my sister and I really enjoyed the week . For us no real issues except we had early seating and for Thanksgiving the serving staff was a bit overwhelmed it was almost an hour and a half before we were served We had a table for four and both of us ordered the turkey. Aside from that day we really had no issues with the main dining room. I do want to thank you for doing  the meet and greet and getting some. items from cruise critic to be donated. There were 2 cruise critic bags but not given to the same person in the raffle . I had the winning number for one bag and some one else had the winning number for the 2nd bag .If you thought I got both I did not  the other bag you saw me with was mine which I had bought from the cruise critic store about 4 years ago.

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No problem. FYI Johnny Rockets is also located outside next to the outdoor pool, so if you ever feel like having something from there I recommend doing so on a warm day. When we were on board their burgers, fries etc. were made to order, so we had to wait quite a bit and then bring our food inside because it was too chilly to sit at their tables/booths.

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6 hours ago, franncos said:

On the Anthem can you walk indoors from the WJ to the indoor pool area? We are trying not to go out doors  while we are on the cruise in the winter.

When we needed to walk from the Solarium area toward the stern after our dinner the last night, we went downstairs and walked in a cabin corridor, then back up at the aft stairwell.   😁

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/6/2019 at 9:28 AM, mizLORInj said:

One of us did the Thermal spa: Not once did another person enter the smallish dry sauna during the many visits (at least once each day, usually 8 AM & 8 PM) with temperatures ranging from 104 in the AM to 140 in the PM. The wet sauna was preferred by the guests and the tropical/cooling mist shower was also very nice but watch the tropical setting as it overheats slightly shortly after startup before settling into a more manageable temperature. The heated loungers are nice; the room is on the cool side, so bring a robe/towel. No one uses the laughably oversized complimentary men’s shorts. Plenty of towels available in the locker rooms and sauna area and plain and fruited cold water in a gathering area on the right before the locker rooms. Bring footwear as well as the wet sauna floor is hot, hot, hot.

 

I was looking at booking the Thermal Suite on the Anthem for our cruise next year.  What all is included with it and how long is the sessions?  I see on the cruise planner it says 15 minutes.

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1 hour ago, rcrdale said:

 

I was looking at booking the Thermal Suite on the Anthem for our cruise next year.  What all is included with it and how long is the sessions?  I see on the cruise planner it says 15 minutes.

that's is what  is suggested ...you can spend as long as you would like there.

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