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Anthem Jan. 5, 2020 11 Nights Southern Caribbean - RECAP


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Day 5 - St. Maarten

 

Not a bad view to wake up to...


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Pilot boat approaching.

 

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I told a client I would sit in on a conference call for them.  I just didn't mention where I'd join the call from...

 

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As mentioned in the last post, we are sharing the pier with Oasis again today.

 

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Fortunately we pulled straight in so my port side balcony had a perfect view of Great Bay.

 

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At one point I looked up from my balcony and saw something I did a few years back here in St. Maarten.   The America's Cup 12 metre Regatta boats "Stars and Stripes" and "True North IV".

 

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They do somewhat simulate a race but I'd use that term loosely.  True North IV "won" this one.  It's more about just having fun and experiencing what these boats can do.  They are very agile.

 

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It's a lot of fun 

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I ended up never leaving the ship and before I knew it there was a sunset happening.

 

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Soon it was happy hour so on my way to the Diamond Lounge I checked out the pier.  Oasis had a number of officers greeting returning guests.  Nice touch.

 

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Guess where dinner was.  Yep, Coastal Kitchen.


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I went for the French Onion Soup from the Classics menu.

 

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Braised Short Rib

 

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Bittersweet Chocolate Tart Praline

 

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Another great dinner and perfect sized portions.

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Those racing sailboats must be fantastic to be in.  I don’t know much about those vessels specifically, but they must have full keels to heel like that with control and speed.   It would be so exciting to tack.

 

As always, your photos are amazing, and you are really making me want to book on Anthem.

Edited by DancerMama25
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Day 6 - Antigua

 

Or at least that was the plan...

 

When I woke I noted an NCL ship sailing close but in the opposite direction.    If we are sailing into Antigua, why is that ship sailing away from Antigua?  Things that make you go hmmm.

 

I went up for breakfast as we did a normal approach.  Sitting outdoors behind the WJ it was a beautiful morning.  Then we started to turn.  Then the wind that I wasn't aware of started coming across the outdoor seating area.  The wind was so strong it was blowing my almost empty glass of orange juice across the table.   Then my plate started to slide.  It was getting really windy.   We had been sailing directly into the wind so on the aft WJ seating area it had been completely sheltered.

 

Finished with my breakfast I carried my stuff to a sheltered food cleaning station because if I left it on the table, it was going flying.

 

St. John's is to the left in this picture, we had almost completed out turn back towards the sea.

 

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That little spec to the right near an island is the pilot boat that came back and retrieved the local pilot.  Yep, we were skipping Antigua today.

 

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The Captain came over the PA right at 8am to inform us it was too windy.  An NCL and a Princess ship both had skipped as well.  On to our next stop but at a more leisurely pace.  This was now another sea day.  This was the first time he has had to skip Antigua.

 

Originally my excursion was supposed to be a helicopter ride over to the Montserrat Volcano.  Several months ago that was cancelled due to the tour operator cancelling.  That was a moot point because in these winds it would have been cancelled anyways and now that we skipped Antigua it really wouldn't have mattered.

 

None the less as we sailed South towards St. Lucia the Montserrat Volcano was on starboard. 

 

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We are quite far from the volcano but with my telephoto lens I was able to get a pretty good picture of it.

 

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You can really see the flows from the past several eruptions and where they reached the sea.

 

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Still active you can see how this island is growing taller with each eruption.

 

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Our CD advised us to refresh the app and that a new Cruise Compass would be distributed by noon.  New activities were planned.  Lot's to do.

 

They set up a waffle station in the Esplanade with all the fixings.  

 

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20 minutes ago, allisonb22 said:

following along! i was also on this sailing and am loving your pictures! they're awesome. 

 

twangster is already a legend on Cruise Critic!  😉 

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One of the things I did today was try the new Expedition 270 game in the Royal Caribbean app.


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It's an augmented reality game that uses your device's camera and motion sensors.  After finding the symbols found within the Two70° venue and scanning them in the game it presented a series of challenges.  In this one you control light that you aim through different gems to deflect the light to the next gem and so on until you use the light to destroy an object.  By moving your device and walking around the virtual mountain and I was able to send the light where it needed to go and complete this series of challenges.

 

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At another station I had to shoot moving targets that floated around the room (virtually).

 

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By completing all four stations you collect all the masks and finish the game.

 

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One of the stations requires you to point your phone and move around a particular seating area in Two70°.  On my first attempt there was a couple sitting and reading right where I needed to point my phone.  It felt super awkward pointing my phone at them so I left to return later hoping the seats would be unoccupied (they were).

 

Later on RCTV I watched the Captain's explanation of why we had to skip Antigua. 

 

As we approached the channel the ship had to sail at at angle to compensate for the wind.  In open seas that isn't a problem.  In a narrow channel the ship can only use the channel in a straight line staying within the center of the channel.  With the ship at an angle due to the wind, we would use too much of the channel's width leaving no margin for safety.  Nearing the start of the channel the Captain made the call to abort so that is when we turned and our local pilot got off the ship.

 

The Captain provided a great overview and detailed explanation of the situation.  I love that he took the time to keep us informed of why he had to make this unfortunate decision.

 

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Edited by twangster
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Day 6 Dinner

 

You guessed it, Coastal Kitchen.

 

I met up with a fellow Cruise Critic user at the Diamond happy hour and since we were both eligible for CK we shared a table tonight.  It was kind of entertaining.  Our table wasn't my usual table so not my regular waiter.  My waiter still came over even though it wasn't his table, greeted me and brought me my regular glass of wine that he knew I liked.  Excellent service!


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Another Caesar Salad but I've shown that a few times so no picture.

 

Braised Lamb Shank

 

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For dessert I kept it simple with some no sugar added ice cream.  It's ice cream, served in a martini glass.  No picture needed.

 

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21 hours ago, Merion_Mom said:

 

Only some of the JS cabins on Anthem have the split bathroom.

 

I believe (and it's only an educated guess, since the ship hasn't been launched yet) that Odyssey's JS will not have it.

 

18 hours ago, twangster said:

 

That's why I specified the J4 cabin type.  Seek another JS cabin type.

 

Personally I like this approach so that the toilet is available when someone else is showering or taking a bath.  To each their own.  

 

Thanks for the explanation. It never occurred to me that different categories of JS would have different bathroom types. I’ll keep that in mind for future bookings. 

 

I’d really love two bathrooms even though it’s just DH and I in the cabin. I just want each bathroom to have a toilet. For us, that would greatly increase functionality. 

 

@twangster, I’m loving your pictures, as usual! The night shots in San Juan are beautiful, the America’s Cup yacht shots in St Maarten brought back some great memories, and the pictures of the volcano in Antigua, even though you didn’t get to make Port there are breathtaking! Great review! Thank you.

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Day 7 - St. Lucia

 

I was concerned with the winds still up a bit that our stop in St. Lucia would be in jeopardy but the Captain turned the ship and backed us in like a boss.  The direction of the wind and channel into the harbor worked in our favor today.  

 

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Today's excursion would be a Coastal Cruise to the Pitons booked through Royal on sale.  When booking excursions through Royal check prices often because excursions routinely change in price irrespective of an any announced cruise planner sales.

 

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It was a pleasant sail down the coast.  This catamaran type sailboat featured a covered section and open seating on top with mesh netting at the bow. 

 

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After an hour or so our destination started to appear over the coastal hills.

 

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Along the way our guide pointed out various communities and spoke about their history.

 

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Then as we approached our destination and namesake for the tour the rains came.  Short lived but enough to send everyone under cover.

 

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Cruise to the Pitons - 

 

To be honest it was rather anticlimactic but it was nice to get out on the water and see the coast.

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On the way back up the coast we hugged the shore a little closer.  

 

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The tour also included a 30 minute swimming break.

 

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Waves and surf were up from the winds so we couldn't beach.  Instead they tied off at a buoy and we were given the choice to go swimming or start into the rum punch.  They wouldn't serve the punch before swimming for safety reasons but those who chose not to swim were given a head start on the punch.

 

Noodles and/or life jackets were available for swimming for anyone who wanted them.

 

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Feeling good from the choice to not go swimming we gathered everyone back on board and continued back up the coast.

 

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Along the way we sailed past some beautiful beaches and resort areas.

 

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Back to the port area.

 

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Very enjoyable as a catamaran sailboat experience.  The crew were good and very friendly.  

 

Notes: 

  • The catamaran featured separate mens and ladies facilities although small and a marine pump action toilet.
  • The total tour length on the water was around 4 1/2 hours.
  • No food offered but bottled water and some soda like ginger ale were available the whole tour while rum punch was only available after the swimming activity.
  • No other adult beverages, just rum punch.
  • Music was played during the tour and paused during the guide's announcements.
  • The vessel was mostly under power with the aid of a partial jib for effect
Edited by twangster
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Anthem used the Pointe Seraphine side of the harbor on this day.  The port was recently upgraded to allow larger vessels like Anthem to port here.  

 

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There is some shopping and food in the port area.  Absent of any pushy vendors it's a pleasant experience.

 

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Edited by twangster
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Day 7 Dinner

 

You betcha - Coastal Kitchen.


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Spinach Salad

 

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I was hoping the fillet would return to the menu because I felt like having steak so instead I had the Grilled NY Strip.  As strip steaks go it was good with nice flavors but nothing like the fillet.

 

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More ice cream for dessert.  #boring

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Arriving back to my cabin I discovered an invitation to a sail away party.

 

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Having sailed in full suites on Oasis class I have enjoyed these events because like Quantum class the helipad is not open to the public. The only opportunity is visit the helipad is by invitation to an event.  Normally on Quantum class there is no suite sail away party on the helipad so this is indeed an uncommon and unexpected event.  

 

I've always wanted to visit the Anthem helipad (winch pad) so I was hoping for good weather tomorrow.

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Day 8 - St. Kitts

 

Arriving in St. Kitts it seems my streak continues.  It always seem to rain in St. Kitts in the morning.

 

The heavy rain even knocked Voom offline for a spell.  Fortunately these were isolated showers so 10 minutes later it was sunny.

 

The new pier (in the distance) at St. Kitts is nearly complete.  In fact it looks complete but along the shore you can see signs of ongoing construction activity so it's got to be very close.


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Through the rain and morning mist I could a see a ship approaching but it seemed to have this large array above it.  In my morning haze I thought maybe it was a glitch in the matrix but my telephoto lens proved it be one of those small ships that can sail under wind power as well.

 

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Breakfast this morning at the café @ two70°

 

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This is a somewhat lesser known gem on Anthem both for breakfast and lunch and it's included. 

 

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Not going to lie.  I have a hard time not inserting "Mc" when ordering the Egg Muffin.  The salads are part of the lunch offering.

 

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Lunch sandwiches.  It's probably not good for me but the B & B is heavenly.  This is also where I get my Kümmelweck fix at lunch.

 

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The coffee bar has an additional charge.

 

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Edited by twangster
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5 hours ago, sellwingri said:

Thanks for the great review!

 

We’re thinking of going to two70 when we board in 18 days.  Do you know if they make the grilled cheese sandwiches to order?  

 

Sorry, I do not.  Never tried.

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5 hours ago, sellwingri said:

We’re thinking of going to two70 when we board in 18 days.  Do you know if they make the grilled cheese sandwiches to order?

Yes they are made to order! We went to two70 as soon as we boarded to avoid the WJ crowd and it was a great idea!

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Thank you for your review.  We've not tried the Quantum class ships.  We'll be on the Ovation in Alaska late summer 2020.  Your information is most helpful.

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Shortly after breakfast and a little more rain it dawned on me another ship was attempting to make the pier.

 

I hadn't appreciated the wind today because I was on the sheltered side of the ship.  This other ship was starting straight behind us and letting the wind push them into position to slide into the berth beside us.  

 

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The angles made it look like it was headed straight for the mooring point and I was thinking the tug boat was on the wrong side but the strong wind prevailed and the ship aligned with the pier as it moved forward.

 

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For a few moments I had visions of the Glory-Oasis miss a few weeks ago but as it turns out this approach was just about perfect despite it looking like it was heading into the pier earlier on.

 

That's how strong the wind was acting on this much smaller ship compared to Anthem.  

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6 minutes ago, Captain Billy Bob said:

Thanks for the review, we sail on Anthem in six days.

Beautiful photos. What camera are you using?

 

Mostly a Sony A7III, some Sony RX100M6 and iPhone11.

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