Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Anthem of the Seas - full review

I have previously been on two Quantum of the Seas cruises: TransAtlantic Maiden Voyage November 2, 2014 from Southampton to bayonne and 12 Nt. Southern Caribbean Cruise from Bayonne, January 11, 2015 - you can find link to the review's at the menu bar of this blog.

I was primarily interested in seeing the difference between Quantum and Anthem. Interior but also functionality and service.

 See Anthem of the Seas review at Cruise Critic

Summary:
I was not disappointed. Anthem is certainly delivering as promised - and expected. Staff was also very helpful and friendly.

A very nice 3 nights cruise. Compared to the Quantum maiden voyage  everything worked very well and service was top notch.

Anthem of the Seas is truly a sister ship to the Quantum of the Seas - it is a true copy. The only immediate difference is the art installations. Therefore, the VIA also is the place, where I have experienced the most visible difference.

Overall it was a high level of attire on this trip compared to my Quantum cruises, and people were also festive dressed for Friday's 'Royal Evening'. There was no elaboration of "Dress Your Best" in the Cruise Compass and far from everyone was formally dressed.

Embarkation: 
We did have a 12:15pm to 12:45pm arrival appointment - we did arrive close to 12:30pm . Check-in and boarding went very smoothly and efficient, and at 1pm we got access to our cabin.
Picture from Southampton departure.


Royal IQ:
For this short cruise we did have carry-on luggage only, so we did not use luggage tracking. We did not make any dinner or show reservations in advance. Once onboard we did register  at the Royal IQ App and made our reservation for dining and shows. Did work very and much better than for our Quantum cruises. Also possible to make reservation for the time we Wanted.

Cabin: 
The  cabin #8282 is a category D8 Superior Ocean View Stateroom w/ Balcony, and similar to Quantum cabins. The cabin is spacious and the bed is nearest the bathroom, while the sofa nearest the balcony. 

There are two spacious closets - one just for hangers. Unfortunately, there are two hanging rails and the bottom is firm and rather short distance between the two rails. The second cabinet is with drawers and long clothes, but limited space. Also includes safety box.

In addition, there are two spacious closets over the beds and four drawers in the closet with mini bar. 
There is a small work table that can be moved and used as a table in connection with sofa (picture). 
Bathroom is also nicely spacious. Balcony with nice space for two chairs and a small table. Over the work table, you will find two US power outlets and one European (None UK style). There are also a US style plug by the bed. There are two USB sockets to charge mobile phones and tablets.
Dining:
We have Dynamic Dining Choice, but as mentioned not booked any restaurants in advance.

At this short 3 nights cruise it is the same 'Taste of Anthem' menu in all four complimentary Dynamic Dining restaurants. The menu changed every day, and was created to showcase the best dishes from the four venues - at longer cruises they will have different menu's in the different restaurants.

The 'Taste of Anthem' is OK for this cruise, but I really do not see the reason for not having the dedicated menu's for each restaurant - even at short cruises.

Dynamic Dining Classic: Here you eat together with the same group every night but in different restaurants. The group has the same waiters every night. On this trip the order was: Chic, American Icon Grille and Grande.

The only change I have seen for restaurants until now is that Jamie's Italian is now A la Carte restaurant. We did not eat at Jamie's Italian, but based on individual prices for the dishes in the menu card, it's likely more expensive to eat in the restaurant now than with the fixed cover charge.. We were eating at Chops Grille, Chic and Silk. Nice meals and good service.

Windjammer:
The concept of Windjammer Marketplace is the same all over the Royal Caribbean fleet. We used Windjammer for breakfast and Lunch.

Wash your hands:
In windjammer they have introduced a new routine of washing hands with soap and water instead of the usual dispensers with alcohol disinfection. It gave a small queue at the wash basins at peak times. - See post below.



Shows:
We Will Rock You is a great Show. Fantastic singing.

Spectra's Cabaret is an electric multi-dimensional cabaret with a blend of live performance and cinematography together with music, sound and light. Impressive graphics on Robo and Vistarama screens, but the music was not quite my taste and difficult to follow the story line. However a impressive show.

Royal Evening and "Dress Your Best":
From 7:30 pm to 8:30 pm there were 'Royal Reception' with a glass of champagne and a short speech by Captain Claus Andersen. The dress code was "Dress Your Best"

I have not the proper definition of "Dress Your Best" but it is an invitation to attend the 'Royal Evening' at the Royal Esplanade in the 'best dress', albeit not formal because most restaurants is smart casual except Grande.

Bars:

We did use Vintage and Schooner bars. No difference from equivalent bars at other ships

Shops:
Shops are very similar to Quantum. Now there is Bobbi Brown & Tom Ford with mainly perfumes instead of  Kiehl´s at Quantum. Also Armani Jeans with clothing, accessories and purses instead of Michael Kors.

Internet:
The only internet challenge was to get the account created and we had to see customer service to get the problem solved. Professional support and then Internet worked fine.

At this cruise we could choose between 3 packets: Super Cruise Special is for the entire cruise at $20 per day for two devices ($140 for a 7 nt cruise). Cruise Special is for the entire cruise at $15 per day for one device ($105 for a 7 nt cruise). Daily Plan $30 for 24 continuous hours.

Disembarkation:
We arrived into Southampton at 6am. Gangway opened at 7:15 am and the disembarkation process went very smoothly.  We did have a coach to Heathrow at 9:45 am and left the ship at 9:00am. No queues and it took less than 15 minutes to get off the ship.

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