I don’t even know where to begin. Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas is the fourth cruise I’ve sailed on and it is hands down my absolute favorite ship by RCI (sorry Oasis and Allure).
When I sailed, Anthem left out of Cape Liberty, New Jersey. In my opinion, this is the best port you can leave out of if you live in New York. The drive out to the pier was about an hour and a half and the parking cost was $20 a day. Our cruise was 7 nights long so I paid a total of $140 for transportation. This is a big difference compared to the couple hundred dollars I normally spend on a plane ticket to Florida and the bus transfer fees from the Florida airport to the pier!
(Anthem is so large she only had a clearance of a couple feet to pass under the bridge)
The porters were friendly and took care of our luggage right away. The trip through security and the check in process went smoothly. I felt extra special going through the check in process because I was able to go through the expedited line using my Gold Member Status in the Crown and Anchor Society. I wonder how much more amazing I’ll feel after my next cruise in March 2018 when I finally reach Platinum status!
The inside of the ship was absolutely breathtaking. The decor was simply magnificent and some of the decor was quite interactive. When you first get on the ship, there is a humongous chandelier hanging from the ceiling. If you place your hands on a tablet in front of the chandelier, it determines your heart rate and then the lights begin to flicker to the same beat as your heart!
(All the elevators had different pictures of animals dressed up – this dude was my favorite! I could just hear his goat voice saying “surfs up dude”)
We grabbed lunch at the Windjammer, the all you can eat free buffet on RCI cruises. I know everyone says never head straight to the buffet when you first board a cruise because it will be sooooo crowded, but I love food way too much to not hop at any opportunity to eat it. Besides, I haven’t ran into this issue yet with RCI. There were plenty of seats and plenty of food. The staff was outstanding and the food gave us the boost of energy we needed to roam around the ship before our rooms were ready at 1:30.
The itinerary was composed of stops at Port Canaveral, Florida, Cococay (cruiseline’s private island), and Nassau, Bahamas. I vacation in Florida often so I did not get off the ship at this port. It was amazing to have the ship basically to ourselves for the day. Cococay was a beautiful island. We got off the ship to do some shopping and go to the beach. I rented snorkeling equipment for $20 and went snorkeling for the first time. It was awesome! We did some more shopping and sight seeing in Nassau along with a glass bottom boat tour. We booked the glass bottom boat tour through RCI (not through a third party) for $35 per person. The price included the tour and two cocktails (you could also opt for 2 non-alcoholic beverages as well). It was a great deal and the tour was amazing!
(Atlantis in Nassau, Bahamas)
(Tender Boats took us from the ship to port Coco Cay – Anthem is so big that the water near the island is too shallow for her)
(Views from the Boat Tour)
Sea days were filled with just as much adventure as the days in port. The entertainment on board was very enjoyable. I went to all the trivia, soduko, and crossword puzzle games that the cruise staff hosted and surprisingly won a few rounds! Winners got prizes such as RCI pens, highlighters, hats, backpacks, and cups. I even went to one of the dance classes (I went to a salsa class with a complete stranger – sadly he didn’t turn out to be my future husband). The Quest Game Show, Name That Tune, World’s Sexiest Man Competition, Belly Flop Competition, Karaoke (yes I sang AND won a RCI hi lighter – I know you’re jealous), and the Love and Marriage Game Show are just a handful of the other shows that I went to that made me laugh until my sides hurt.
(Bumper Cars at Sea (they also used this space for trapeze classes and roller blading!)
(Name that Tune Game Show Set up)
(Bionic Bar – where actual robots mix your drinks for you)
The 2 shows I had reservations for were Spectra’s Cabaret and We Will Rock You. Spectra’s Cabaret was my FAVORITE show on the ship. I actually think it’s the best show I’ve seen performed at sea. Terry LaVel plays the lead role of Spectra and he keeps the audience engaged throughout the whole show. If you don’t know who he is, go on my Facebook and add him from my friends list. He’s the best! We Will Rock You was also a great show. I loved all the songs and the storyline was great.
The last show we went to (no reservations required, but get there early for seats!) were the virtual fireworks. It was a 10 minute firework show and here’s a fun fact: if they were to actually produce the show with real fireworks it would cost $2 million! Hence the reason why it’s virtual. Nonetheless, still was very cool. Fireworks went off along with music and it was so cool.
The food (yes I’m talking about food again) was delicious as usual. RCI never disappoints in that department! The Windjammer is my favorite place (obviously since it is the all you can eat buffet). They always had the usual food options, but every day for lunch there was always a section with new food options and it was great to be able to try new foods, but have comfort foods to fall back on just in case I didn’t like it. The Hot Dog Shop (complimentary) near the bumper cars and the arcade was a hidden gem. I never knew there were so many different types of hot dogs until this sailing.
Anthem, I can’t wait to sail on you again!