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


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I didn't have an excursion booked for today.  My plans were to wander into town and along the black sand beach.  

 

Every time I got ready to leave the ship another passing rain cloud washed more salt off the ship and sent be back inside.  

 

I really didn't feel like getting my camera wet so I used the opportunity  to grab some more pictures around a more empty ship.  

 

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The VIA.

 

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Jamie's Italian in the VIA.

 

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Vintages on this ship is one of my favorite Vintages.  It is the bar used by Jamie's to fulfil dinner drink orders so it's a more of a full service bar unlike some ships where Vintages only has wine.  It's more open to the VIA so you don't feel like you stuck in a box and there are some truly knowledgeable bartenders who have taken care of me on this and previous Anthem cruises. 

 

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Some leisure seating across from Vintages in the VIA.


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Sail away party on the Helipad.

 

I've always called it a Winch Pad because that's what the big letters on it say but when the Captain invites you to the Helipad, I'm going with his wording.  His ship, his rules.

 

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Like Oasis class, the Quantum class Helipad is not open to the public.  Oasis class has often held special sail away events for Suites and Pinnacles but they are much less common on Quantum class ships.

 

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The Hotel Director mentioned this was only the second time he has put on this event using the Helipad so it was truly special enjoying the sail away and a fabulous sunset from here.

 

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Loyalty pays.  #Loyal2Royal

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Dinner tonight - not Coastal Kitchen.  Shocker, I know.

 

My TA had given me a specialty dinner for two so I invited a new solo friend I met at Diamond happy hour in the Music Hall to Jamie's Italian for dinner.

 

Having dinner with a new friend I decided to switch off trip report mode and enjoy the moment.  No pictures.

 

I have a collection of menu pictures from various restaurants including Jamie's I'll post at the end.  

 

It occurs to me that had I been able access to the CL I probably wouldn't have met my new Diamond friend so while access to the CL for D+ is a hot topic these days, the Music Hall Diamond Lounge overflow approach worked in my favor this trip.

 

For those following along with the Coastal Kitchen menus, tonight we repeated day 5

 

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Day 8 Late

 

Getting up from dinner I questioned if I had truly only had one glass of wine at dinner.  Either I was rocking or the ship was.  Turns out it was the ship.

 

All that weather that was causing trouble in the Bahamas and putting CocoCay calls in jeopardy was also impacting us.  A strong area of high pressure and a strong area of low pressure caused a wind tunnel effect between them and that's right where we were as well as a number of other ships give or take several hundred miles.  

 

This sort of thing doesn't bother me, it wasn't that bad but it certainly made everyone look like they were walking funny.

 

We went up to the Schooner Bar to listen to some piano tunes and even the entertainer was commenting on it.  

 

Fortunately this motion makes me sleep like a baby and that's exactly what I did.    

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Day 9 - Sea Day

 

Now we begin our return to Bayonne consisting of three sea days.  Morning found us still in the rougher weather but I noted we had put on speed.  Looking at the Windy app I think I knew what the Captain was up to.

 

By going faster this morning he would get us through this rougher stuff faster and by afternoon it should be getting better.  Sure enough during his noon update that is exactly what the plan was.  

 

My nice clean balcony was a layer of salt.  Down on deck 6 the wind driven waves were causing a lot of sea spray.  Outer areas on deck 5 were closed as was deck 15.  The Captain reported gale force winds across the decks.  

 

Despite the winds I thought the ship handled it quite well.  There was some rolling at times but I used the stairs without using the hand railing so it wasn't that bad.  

 

I had run into the Digital Entertainment Manager a few days ago and talked to him about the new game.  He mentioned it's better on calm sea days as the motion of the ocean can impact the gyros in a phone and cause unpredictable behavior in the game.  Being the inquisitive type I wanted to see how the game would handle these rougher seas.  

 

Sure enough the virtual mountain was all over the place.


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The game was impossible to play so if you want to try the game, don't wait until a rough sea day to play.

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As morning turned to afternoon the sea conditions improved and there was less motion in the ocean.  The wind was still up and sea spray was still coating my balcony but it looked like a nice enough day out there.

 

By early evening it was even better and we slowed down to a more economical cruising speed.

 

For reference the temperature was 23°C or 73°F.  Not hot but also not humid, quit pleasant. 

 

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After a happy hour drink in the Music Hall overflow for the Diamond Lounge my new friend and I went to Coastal Kitchen for dinner.  Earlier I had asked the CK manager if it would be okay to bring someone who isn't eligible and since I was occupying a table for two by myself he had no problem allowing it.  The CK on Anthem is a much friendlier experience for JS guests compared to Oasis class CK as a JS guest.

 

 No dinner pictures when dining with friends.

 

 

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Day 10 - Sea Day

 

Morning finds us in much the same conditions as last night albeit down one degree in temperature.  We are roughly parallel with the central Florida area (Orlando).

 

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Last night my cabin attendant washed down my balcony so it was useable again.

 

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Good time to mention two70°.

 

This is a multi use venue that can anything from rock shows to theater entertainment at night, to trivia to quiet reading time with incredible wake views.

 

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The bar in two70° has great sea views during the day.

 

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Upstairs.

 

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8 minutes ago, Jimbo said:

Do they still have the fireworks shows on those window areas screens?

 

 

Yes.  Night one has a show in two70° that highlights all the tech this venue has available.  During at least that show and possibly other nights is a fireworks spectacular on the Vistarama screen.

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Since @Jimbo mentioned it, there is a show on night one only called Two70 Tonight.  It runs through many things that this high tech venue can accomplish.  It's only offered on night one.

 

Back in 2018 I was on Anthem for her inaugural call into Miami.   Since we were within walking distance of Royal HQ they used the opportunity to bring a number of shore side HQ employees on board since many had not seen a Quantum class ship before.  

 

Nick Weir, VP of Royal Entertainment came on and hosted a demonstration for employees in two70°.  Graciously he allowed guests to attend as well.   

 

Here is a write up I did back in 2018:

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I stayed on the ship today and that decision would pay dividends for me.  In my last live blog I talked about a venue that is unique to Quantum class ships - Two70°. 

 

Here is the Two70° venue on Anthem of the Seas during its first ever visit to the Port of Miami with Miami as a backdrop:

 

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With Royal Caribbean's Headquarters right here they took an opportunity to introduce this Quantum class ship to many HQ employees and local travel agents who may not have had an opportunity to set foot on board one before since the other two in this class, Quantum and Ovation, are not based in North America.   Walking around the ship I saw numerous employees taking it all in.  Just before noon our cruise director announced that none other than Nick Weir would be doing a presentation in

Two70° and guests were welcome to attend.  

 

For those that don't know Nick Weir, he is the Vice President of Entertainment for Royal Caribbean.  If you've seen a show on a Royal ship lately, you've likely experienced the work of Nick Weir and his team.  I follow him on twitter @NickWeirShowbiz where he occasionally leaks tidbits about the new entertainment coming to Symphony of the Seas.  For those that saw Project Atlantis, the RCTV production about the last time Allure went to the Freeport dry dock - that was Nick Weir hosting it.

 

Walking into Two70° today the room was rotating through some background scenes.  The room was filling up, my daily KümmelWeck from Café270 would have to wait. 

 

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Have you noticed how the color of the house lights change based on the content that is being displayed?  Also note this was at noon during full daylight outside.  Consider my first photo above and how this room has transformed since, in the middle of the day.  Cool stuff here.

 

Nick took the stage and began his presentation.

 

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Today Nick would be showcasing the incredible Two70° venue to an audience that consisted mostly of Miami employees and local agents - there were only a handful of ship guests other than myself in attendance.  The room cost an estimated $27M per ship plus the cost of content.  He discussed not only the evolution of these Quantum class venues but the need to create content for them. 

 

With eighteen individual projectors synchronized to produce the 'Vista Display' as it's called, it amounts to a 12k screen with a 5:1 aspect ratio (if you thought 4k was impressive, ha!).  The problem is no one has content for this screen size or resolution so Royal Caribbean Entertainment had to create it from scratch.        

 

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During Top Tier events I've seen the virtual fleet presented before.  Nick explained this was created for a Royal Caribbean Board of Directors meeting that took place on Ovation a few years ago.  Since it was such a hit, they have kept using it and made it part of the Crown and Anchor Society Top Tier event.

 

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During the presentation more and more of the fleet, old and new are brought to life on the screen sailing virtually behind us. 

 

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Nick stepped us through various pieces that were produced for this venue some of which simply don't photograph well since they combine both the Vista Display and six robotic screens that move and are choreographed with content on the Vista Display.

 

One piece that stands out is called 'Dance In A Box'.

 

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They literally made two boxes the size of two robot screens and recorded dancers in a studio constrained to dance within those dimensions.  The robot screens move and rotate, separate and come together in three dimensions all choreographed to music.  This had never been done before.  It's one thing to make a robot that can build a car on an assembly line but Nick explained frankly it's quite boring watching a robot repeat the same move over and over all day long.  They needed to make the robotic screens performers themselves and that is what they have done. 

 

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I've seen many of these productions before on previous Anthem cruises but hearing their origins and how Nick and his team produced them brought new respect for each show.

 

I'm really not doing the entire presentation justice in this blog.  It's something you have to experience which is the magic of this room.  It's not just a video played on a big screen, it's the manner in which the technology of the room is used to immerse the audience into the production.  In the interest of brevity I'm skipping several pieces of great entertainment but Nick brought it to a close with a virtual fireworks show his team created for New Years Eve one year that was so popular they play it on all Quantum class cruises now.  Watch your cruise compass for it when you sail on one.

 

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Our Miami visitors had a lunch to get to in the dining room so the few guests like myself that attended then saw the virtual symphony orchestra on the Vista Display.

 

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You forgot to show the nice handicap ramp in the back of the 270 lounge I used it many times to take my grandson down to the area behind the stage in his stroller where you can look out the windows real close. Also easy access to the fancy chairs without using the stairs.

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Back to 2020 and day 10 of the cruise.

 

Anthem has a Bionic bar featuring two robots named Shaken and Stirred.


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Covered by the drink package or pay as go you use your sea pass card to order a drink from a tablet then sit back and watch Shaken or stirred make your drink for you.

 

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I saw another display from the food and beverage team on Anthem in the Esplanade.

 

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When I first saw the Bionic bar being replenished I thought... "they are making the robots so lifelike these days"

 

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Yes, even Bionic Bar drinks are subject to 18% gratuity.  I guess this is why.  🙂 

 

Don't shoot the messenger.

 

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On 1/18/2020 at 11:47 PM, twangster said:

Day 2 - Sea Day

 

Departing from Bayonne in the winter means the first and last day of the cruise are what I call "long pant days".  Fortunately Anthem is a perfect ship for cold weather and there is a lot going on around the ship.

 

The adult only solarium is 16+.

 

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In this cabin the TV is mounted against the wall and it doesn't hinge like some other ships or cabins.  There is no way to access the HDMI inputs and with a border surrounding the TV you really can't do anything with this TV but watch the Royal channel lineup.

 

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Dinner in Coastal Kitchen.

 

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Maine Lobster Salad.

 

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Roasted Veal Tenderloin.

 

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Valrhona Chocolate Bar.

 

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On this cruise there were high numbers of upper top tier Crown and Anchor so the Concierge Lounge was off limits to D+.  The expanded Diamond Lounge using the upper floor of the Music Hall works quite well for this purpose and I met many new friends on this cruise.  Here is a wide angle picture to aid in obscuring individuals for privacy purposes.  This is the Music Hall upstairs bar area during Diamond happy hour,

 

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Tonight was a performance of The Gift.  I decided to leave the cameras in my cabin and take in this show with my eyes.  Luckily I scored a front row seat.  Just a quick smartphone pic before the show begins.

 

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Pay attention for the first 30 seconds of the show since the storyline is revealed.  If you are talking or distracted it will be hard to figure out the plot of the show if you miss that brief introduction.

 

Sorry, but I've tried a dozen times to delete pics from this quote,  get about half way through, and one of the pics opens up instead of deletes, and I have to start over, so I give up.

 

I wanted to address your TV. On Harmony,  the GS TV's mount inside a recessed box, and if you grab the sides, you can lift it up, pull it off the bracket and access the ports. 😉

 

See you in a few weeks

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Day 11 - Sea Day

 

Our final day is upon us.

 

Curious.  Anthem goes into dry dock in April yet they are replacing the Windjammer carpet on this sailing.  Over several nights they've been tackling various sections of the WJ and now it appears complete.  Their stash of carpet in a corner of the SeaPlex has been dwindling night after night.


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For reference the temperature is down to 61°F.  Out here away from land a big influencer on air temperature is the sea.  Absent of any land mass to heat up and change temperatures, the temperature of the sea is the most significant factor in the air temperature. 

 

Many people always ask what will weather be like when sailing from Bayonne?  Absent of a weather system the temperature of the sea will likely determine how it feels on board.  Search for ocean temperatures and you'll get a baseline of what to expect.   

 

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Beautiful conditions again today.

 

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Captain's Corner in two70° to a full house.

 

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Several guests made comments related to Captain Srecko and his presence around the ship.  He frequently walked through Coastal Kitchen during dinner and apparently did the same in the MDR.  Not only is he a great mariner but he is also a great host around the ship.

 

The topic of his Flowrider and iFly skills came up and Mitch our CD noted the Captain doesn't simply use the Flowrider or iFly, he must inspect them from time to time.

 

One guest made the mistake of calling Anthem "a boat".  The Captain stopped Mitch from answering the question.  "If there was just one person on a ship who would that be?" he asked - The Captain.  "If there was just one person on a boat?" he then asked - A frustrated husband.   It was all in good fun.  

 

At any rate Captain Srecko is well liked by the guests.   

 

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The Pub.  

 

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Live music or the place to see some sports, the Brass & Bock is conveniently found in the center of the Royal Esplanade.

 

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Dan Davis from the UK was on board for this sailing.

 

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Another terrific photo journal, thank you Twangster for these beautiful pictures of Anthem and the Southern Caribbean. We're heading off on our 5th Anthem cruise in three weeks. Your crystal clear, vivid pictures remind me again what a special ship Anthem is. 

 

Jonathan

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Where has the time gone?

 

As I get ready for my last visit to the Music Hall Diamond overflow happy hour, it's hard to pull myself away from this stunning final sunset.

 

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Just loving this deck 6 balcony.  Close to the water, stunning sunsets.  Should have booked a B2B.  I'm not ready to go home.

 

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