THE ROYAL CARIBBEAN SERIES PART 1 - ANTHEM OF THE SEAS
(PHOTO PROVIDED VIA GOOGLE)
My wife and I booked our Royal Caribbean vacation a little over a year and a half ago. To her credit, my wife did all her research to find great deals. She would even call the cruise line when new deals came out and have our payments reduced to match said new deal. She wanted to get the most out of the vacation that she could and she did so with our daughter in mind. We booked Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas because it had a great reputation and because they have a deal with Dreamworks to feature their characters on their cruise ships. With my daughter's love of Shrek and the Madagascar movies, how could we go wrong? There is so much that I want to discuss in this review that I literally would do the trip a great injustice if I tried to squeeze it into one blog. With that being said,this marks the first installment of my multi-part Royal Caribbean Series. Enjoy.
We chose to have a corner room which ended up perfect for us. If you look at the photo of the ship and see the top circular window under the bridge (control room) of the ship, that was our room on Deck 10. This was a very spacious room with a couch that pulled out into a bed that was actually comfortable for my daughter (pictured above on the couch). The staff made up the room twice a day in order to both get you ready for the day ahead of you and to make up the room when you want to turn in for the night. The bed itself in my opinion was a little on the hard side and my back hurt every morning. But the steady rocking of the ship is what kept me sleeping peacefully at night. I didn't feel the tightness in my back until the next morning. The pole in front of the bed looks like it would have been an issue, but it wasn't at all. I actually forgot that it was there by the second day and stopped noticing it. It's a support beam, it needs to be there.
THE DREAMWORKS CHARACTERS
When you watch the videos on the Royal Caribbean website and you see how they say that they use the characters on the cruise ships, you feel a little let down. Don't get me wrong, my little girl is having a great time with them and loved that she was able to meet them for just a few minutes. She was truly happy and felt beyond over joyed with the experience. Each character was brought out one by one at different times throughout the trip. They were never in the same room at one time. This may be different on the other ships that Royal Caribbean has. But based on the promotional material, we thought that they would all be out at once as a group during different points of the trip. Especially during the character breakfast on the second day. I will get to the character breakfast more during one of the next installments of my reviews centering around this cruise.
Movie night was pretty cool. Each night on the ship, they showed two movies. Some of the movies they showed were Sing, Megamind and Rogue One. The outdoor screen on the Pool Deck (Deck 14) was great and the sound really played well up there. They have a self serve soft serve ice cream machine loaded with plenty of ice cream cones for your delight. If you wanted something more, there was a bar on site and the buffet only a short walk away. This was a nice feature of the trip.
The Anthem of the Seas has many forms of entertainment on board. We saw two shows while on the ship. The Gift and We Will Rock You. Both were entertaining and fun, but I will go into them more at another time as I felt that they both deserve their own reviews. There is an onboard casino for those who like to try their hands on the slots or other fun casino games. There is also what they call the Two70. This is a state of the art stage that use the latest in projector and robot technology to help produce amazing shows.
Other areas to peak your interests are the restaurants and bars for those who just want to have a calm night talking with friends. The Bionic Bar was my favorite and I will also be dedicating my own installment of this series solely on that.
Since there was so much going on in terms of food on this ship, I will only talk about the Main Dining Room. The Main Dining Room consisted of four rooms on two decks with all different themes. Again, I will be diving deeper into the food in upcoming installments but I felt I needed to discuss this a bit. The first image is of the Crispy Pork Belly. It was delicious. It was the most tasty dish I believe I had on the ship. But as you see, the food quality looks to get worse as each picture is displayed. The Shrimp Cocktail was okay, tiny but okay. I ordered my Prime Rib medium rare. That's more to the medium well/gray side. It tasted old and not good. I didn't eat it. The lobster tails were not that bad. But do you really want a "not that bad" piece of lobster. The Chicken Cordon Bleu left my wife with little to be desired. And finally the lady bug on my wife's Caesar Salad. I know, it happens from time to time. But this was right on top, how does no one see it before if left the kitchen. Enough said.
Honestly, we didn't really splurge like we would have on other vacations when it comes to activities. The vacation was mainly about making sure our daughter had a great time and she did. As you can see from the photos above, Anthem of the Seas provides fun activities for you and your family to enjoy. Northstar is a chamber that gives its passengers a 360 degree view from 300 feet above sea level. It's very exciting. The have a climbing wall, bumper cars in the sports complex (it turns into a basketball court and skating rink), sky diving simulator, wave creator and beautiful pools. There is plenty to keep you busy on the Anthem of the Seas.
When it comes to service, I have to say that many if not most of the staff of the Anthem of the Seas are top notch when it comes to hospitality. Everyone is very friendly and super accommodating. Many of the staff gave my daughter the nickname "Princess" which she loved and gave great attention to detail. I want to point out the housekeeping staff especially do a fantastic job and really deserve all the credit in the world.
From day one, we didn't have a dull moment. There were a few short comings on the trip. The food being one of them (huge one), but Bermuda made up for it. I was able to buy some duty free liquor from the shops on board which was a nice benefit. I give this cruise ship a 3.5 out of 5 stars. This was my second cruise ever. We had a lot of fun, but also some disappointments. I would recommend this cruise to others. I believe it's a great way to travel and I honestly don't blame any of my disappointments on Royal Caribbean. Happy sailing.
I hope you enjoyed this first installment of my Royal Caribbean Series. Keep your eyes open for the next posts.