Anthem of the Seas

Photo tour of Grand Suite on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas

In:
08Apr2017

Staying in a suite is a wonderful way to splurge and enjoy some of the finest accommodations available on a cruise ship.  The Grand Suite staterooms on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas are a popular choice with guests who want to enjoy the benefits of the Sky Class level.

Photos of this room come to us from stateroom 11242.

The Grand Suite can accommodate up to 4 guests. It features a living area that includes a sofa that converts to a double bed, entertainment center and writing desk.

The large closet near the entrance is one of many spots in the room that provides storage.

The bedroom area has two twin beds that convert to a Royal King (measures 72.5 inches wide x 82 inches long), separate dressing area and an entrance to the bathroom.

There is another desk in the bedroom area.

The Grand Suite on Anthem of the Seas has a full bathroom with tub, two sinks, and second entrance that opens to living room.

The Grand Suite measures 351 square feet in size, with a 109 square foot balcony.

Top 10 Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas hidden secrets

In:
05Apr2017

Do you have a cruise booked on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas? If so, there is so much to see and do onboard that is not to be missed.  Of course, with a ship of this size and as many activities onboard as there are, it is easy to overlook some aspects of the ship.

We present our list of the top ten hidden secrets and gems that you should not overlook if you get the chance to sail on Anthem of the Seas.

10. Secret door to the Solarium

The adults-only Solarium at the front of Anthem of the Seas is a popular destination for guests who love the enclosed windows, always warm temperatures and incredible pool.  Did you know there is a secret door that leads directly into the Solarium without having to go back out to the stairwells first?

On deck 13 forward, if you walk all the way forward past all the staterooms, there is a door that leads right out to the lower level of the Solarium.

9. Thermal spa pass

Royal Caribbean's Vitality Spa has always been the perfect place to indulge in a little, "me time," and on Anthem of the Seas, you will find one of the best ways to relax ever in the thermal spa.

Guests can purchase a pass to the thermal spa for $99 per person ($179 per couple) that gets guests access to

  • Heated stone chairs
  • Rainforest shower room
  • Infrared sauna
  • Steam room

The price quoted is for the duration of the cruise and is not just a tremendous value, but also a great way to forget all of your troubles.

8. The "Hershey kiss" chair

If you want to score points for taking a selfie in the coolest chair onboard Anthem of the Seas, check out this chair that reminds us of a Hershey Kiss.

Located in the Via, near Vintages Wine Bar, this chair is a large pear shaped chair that has an opening for one or more guests to jump in and relax.

The chair is more show than function, but we dare you not to take photos of yourself in there to share with others!

7. Open play room for kids

If you have younger children that need to get burn some energy (especially before nap time), there is an open play area in Adventure Ocean that is available for use throughout the day stocked full of toys.

On Anthem of the Seas, the open play area is available for all young children, and features a slide, building blocks, tunnels, toy kitchens and much more.

Parents will find seating around the edge of the play area to monitor the kids (and likely stream something on Netflix via Royal Caribbean's amazing Voom internet).

6. Bridge wings

Looking for the best view of Anthem of the Seas? Then you want to check out the wing viewing areas that are located all the way forward, near the Solarium.

There are wing viewing spots on both sides of the ship, and they are small platforms that extend away from the ship, giving guests amazing views every time.

These wing viewing areas are perfect for sailaways or just getting a great photo of Anthem of the Seas.

To get to the wing viewing areas, go all the way forward on deck 14, then walk through the Solarium all the way to the front and go left or right to find a door that leads to them.

5. Beer selection at Michael's Genuine Pub

If you are a beer lover, and especially enjoy craft beers, the spot onboard Anthem of the Seas for you is Michael's Genuine Pub.

Unfortunately, craft beers are a rare commodity on Royal Caribbean ships but Michael's Genuine Pub is stocked full of some wonderful microbrews.

While you are enjoying a great beer, be sure to order something off Michael's food menu.  Their burger and falafel are outstanding.

4. Planks at Jamie's Italian

Jamie's Italian specialty restaurant is a real winner with guests, who continuously report back glowing reviews of the food offered here.  If you are wondering what the best thing is on the menu: it is the meat planks.

The menu is comprised of Jamie’s Italian Famous Plank piled high with cured meats, pickles and tempting cheeses. It is perfect for sharing with everyone at the table and you will really find it is the perfect way to start any meal at Jamie's Italian.

3. Best uncrowded spot for breakfast: Cafe @ Two70

If you want to have breakfast somewhere on Anthem of the Seas without a large crowd, try Cafe @ Two70.  Royal Caribbean describes this as a "European" style breakfast, and you will find a bagel bar, yogurts, fruit, pastries and some breakfast sandwiches too.

The best part of breakfast here is the view, because you can take your food out to Two70, and enjoy a wonderful view of the ocean.

2. See through floor

It can be easy to forget just how large a ship Anthem of the Seas is, so head to deck 13 aft and walk up to deck 14, where you will get a pretty good reminder.

Royal Caribbean added this see-through floor for one of the steps, which allows guests to peer down more than 10 decks to the Royal Esplanade.  Be sure to bring your camera, especially when kids see this for the first time.

1. The best views of NYC are on the port side

If you are booking a balcony or oceanview stateroom and want to ensure you get a great view of New York City while docked in Cape Liberty (and on your way out to sea), then very likely you will want to book a room on the port side of the ship.

We should mention that Anthem of the Seas does not always dock in the same way, but most often we see the port side of the ship facing the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of Manhattan.

Regardless of which side the ship docks or where your stateroom is, be sure to go to the bridge wing that we noted in secret number 6 to get the perfect vantage point of this iconic skyline.

Did we miss any Anthem of the Seas secrets? Share them in our comments!

Restaurant Review: Jamie's Italian on Anthem of the Seas

In:
30Mar2017

The collaboration between Royal Caribbean and celebrity chef Jamie Oliver created Jamie’s Italian, which is one of the more popular specialty restaurants on Anthem of the Seas.

It seems like Jamie’s Italian has become quite popular with many Royal Caribbean guests for the tasty, original creations by the famous chef. And yet, I have to admit it never resonated much with me on my previous visits.

It is not to say I disliked Jamie’s Italian by any means, rather, I just preferred other specialty restaurants. To be honest, I felt like I was missing something by not being a bigger fan of the restaurant because so many others seemed to enjoy it. Perhaps I had previously dined there on an off-night, or what I ordered was not indicative of what makes Jamie’s so popular.

When I went back on Anthem of the Seas for a recent cruise, I wanted to start over again and pretend like I had never been there in the first place. Perhaps starting fresh from the beginning would be the right approach.

Atmosphere

Jamie’s Italian is located on deck 5 in an area of Anthem of the Seas known as The Via. It is essentially the middle ground between the Royal Esplanade and Two70. I doubt anyone ever utters the words, “oh, that is located in The Via,” but it is important to be specific.

Royal Caribbean carved out a lot of space for Jamie’s Italian, although it does not necessarily look that from merely passing by. The cruise line designed the restaurant to evoke a street cafe motif to guests passing by, with no real wall separating the restaurant from the walkway. Anyone walking by can easily peer into the restaurant and see other guests dining there, and perhaps more importantly, smell the foods being served.

Unlike a traditional Italian restaurant, there is no red and white checkerboard tablecloth, no Dean Martin songs playing in the background, and no old photos of Italy. Instead, you have a design created by Jamie Oliver that focuses on the simple, yet refined approach Oliver takes in every aspect of the dining experience.

Looking around Jamie’s Italian, one will quickly notice there is no unified design style. Rather, there are metal chairs, wooden chairs and nylon chairs mixed together across booths and tables made out of metal, granite and wood. It reminds me of someone hitting up the clearance area in IKEA, finding great deals on lots of lovely furniture that does not match. Nonetheless, Oliver’s design style somehow works across the breadth of the eatery, and the restaurant maintains its own distinct feel.

Eats

Getting past the décor, I really wanted to give Jamie’s Italian a solid second try by picking some winning dishes. Jamie’s Italian menu is anything but petite, with lots of choices. I mean, there is a lot one can order between the appetizers, small plates, soups, pastas and entrées.

Without a doubt, there is one type of dish Jamie’s Italian is best known for and that is the planks. There are two plank varieties: meat and vegetable. Both come with an array of cheeses that compliment the meaty/vegetarian goodness.

Arguably, the planks could easily be a meal in and of themselves, but our waiter suggested we order a combo plank, that offered the best of each option. We thought it was a great choice, not only because we would be able to sample the best of the best, but because we would not load up too much, too early.

Without a doubt, the plank lives up to its reputation for being a must-order. This antipasto serving is not just a great starter, it sets the tone for the meal to come. Ample servings of salami, prosciutto, mozzarella, olives and more are yours for the picking. We picked that plank to the wood surface extremely quickly.

We also tried the ultimate garlic bread from the starters.  At first, we did not realize the bread served to our table was this dish, but what they lack in presentation, they make up for in flavor.  Without a doubt, there is a good amount of garlic provided in these bad boys.

Choosing among the entrées is where I believe the greatest difficulty arises. In short, there is a lot to choose from and many dishes sounds really good.

It is worth noting that Jamie’s Italian prides itself on the fact it creates handmade pasta everyday at the restaurant. That is a giant indication that you should probably order something with pasta. I certainly felt I could not leave Jamie’s Italian without trying something of a noodle variety.

On the other hand, I am an absolute sucker for eggplant Parmesan (or pretty much any Parmesan dish). It is one of those dishes that I can never get enough of, and it is my Italian food staple. Much like when my kids are complaining about the other having something they do not, I just decided to get both the eggplant and a pasta dish. I mean, I would totally walk off those calories skipping the elevators, rights?

The eggplant Parmesan was terrific, and not overloaded with cheese or deep fried to the point any hint of eggplant is removed.  

The texture of the homemade pasta was wonderful, and I think everyone at our table remarked they could absolutely tell the difference between this freshly made pasta, and the boxed stuff.  

My wife opted for the truffle tagliatelle, with the simple logic that anything with black truffles must be amazing.  Indeed, that logic holds up at Jamie's Italian as well.

If you manage to leave room for dessert, the epic homemade brownie is always a great choice.  

My wife also reported the Italian limoncello is superb, although she consumed it before I could even snap a photo of it.  So you will have to take that as proof that it is quite good.

Overall

After eating at Jamie's Italian on Anthem of the Seas, I am completely onboard the bandwagon of fans that enjoy the restaurant.  The freshness of everything here really stands out, even more than Jamie Oliver's excellent recipes.

If you choose to dine at Jamie's Italian, there is no question you need to order at least one of the planks and something with pasta.  It is without a doubt, the dishes the restaurant does the best.

Cost: The price of Jamie's Italian on Anthem of the Seas is $30 per guest for dinner and $25 per guest for lunch.

Propulsion problem on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas forces itinerary change

In:
28Mar2017

Guests aboard Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas received a letter in their stateroom yesterday from the Captain, indicating a propulsion problem has caused an itinerary change for its current sailing.

Captain Srecko Ban sent a letter to guests, in which he states "Anthem of the Seas experienced a technical issue on one of its propulsion motors."  He indicated that the engineering team is working on the issue, but in the meantime, the ship will be sailing at a reduced speed.

Anthem of the Seas' itinerary has been revised as follows:

  • March 26: Cape Liberty
  • March 27: At Sea
  • March 28: At Sea
  • March 29: CocoCay 8:00am - 5:00pm
  • March 29: Nassau arrive at 9:00pm
  • March 30: Nassau depart at 6:00pm
  • March 31: Port Canaveral, Florida 9:00am - 4:00pm
  • April 1: Sea Day
  • April 2: Cape Liberty arrive at 6:00am

Thanks to Bill Bartman for providing this letter

Captain Ban made it clear all remaining motors are fully operational, and there is no impact on the maneuverability of the ship or the safety of guests and crew.

Five things you can do on Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas (and no other cruise line)

In:
03Mar2017

When Royal Caribbean built Anthem of the Seas, they called her a "smart ship", because she offers so many innovations that distinguishes her from not just Royal Caribbean's fleet, but the entire cruise industry. There is a lot to love about Anthem of the Seas, but here are five things that stand out to us as exceptionally fun and cool experiences that cannot be duplicated on other cruise lines.

Live stream anywhere, anytime

Internet connectivity on cruise ships is not new, but having internet speeds fast enough to be able to use Facebook Live, watch Netflix, play XBox Live or Skype friends and family at home is something Anthem of the Seas offers.

Royal Caribbean offers the same kind of high-speed internet service on Anthem of the Seas that you would expect to find on land. It works whether you are docked in port, or somewhere in the Caribbean.  Royal Caribbean calls this service, Voom, and it is perfect for (not-so) humbly bragging about how much fun you are having onboard.

If you are thinking high-speed internet at sea must come with high-costs, you would be mistaken.  Royal Caribbean offers a variety of internet plans that a cost between $10-$20 per day (with online discounts that bring the price down as much as 30%).

Sky dive at sea

I am certain sky diving is quite exhilarating, but jumping out of an airplane does not sit well with me.  The good news is tepid thrill-seekers, such as myself, can experience what it is like to fall gracefully through the sky without fear of ending up like a Wile E. Coyote cartoon on Anthem of the Seas. Ripcord by iFly offers guests of all ages the thrill of skydiving out on the deep blue ocean.

Ripcord is situated on the aft (rear) of the ship and is a large wind tunnel that is 10 feet in diameter and 23 feet tall.  Guests don a special suit and enter the wind tunnel, where an instructor assists in achieving the perfect position for optimal "flight".

Did we mention that Ripcord by iFly is included in your cruise fare? 

Ride bumper cars

Regardless of age, bumper cars (or dodgems in the UK) are a whimsical ride that highlights the many activities found in the SeaPlex on Anthem of the Seas.

In addition to roller skating and sports throughout the day, bumper cars are available to all passengers who want to try their hand at navigating the bumper car course, while avoiding being bumped and inflicting maximum bumping on others.

Try to escape the Escape room

A great way to challenge yourself, make friends and get a little competitive is to try out the escape room on Anthem of the Seas.  The "Escape from the Future" game is a complimentary activity on Anthem of the Seas, where a team of guests try to solve riddles and puzzles to find the key to "escaping" the room.

The challenge of the Escape room is you have just 60 minutes to figure it all out, which forces you and your teammates to consider all options when trying to figure it all out. There are word searches, patterns and other challenges designed to get you thinking in a lot of different directions.

This is different kind of onboard activity that was pioneered by a group called Puzzle Break, which have created similar experiences on in a few cities.

Dine at Jamie Oliver's restaurant

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver is known around the world for his incredible culinary offerings, and on Anthem of the Seas, guests can enjoy dinner at a restaurant that Chef Jamie created just for Royal Caribbean.

Jamie's Italian was created by Jamie Oliver because of all the types of food to choose from, he loves Italian the most. Jamie designed the menu to strip food down to its essence, working with simple, quality ingredients with no pretense or ego.

You will find an antipasti plank that's piled high with cured meats, pickles and tempting cheeses, pumpkin panzerotti, Prawn linguine. Plus there is a whole array of antipasti, small plates, a gorgeous selection of grills and tempting desserts that are not to be missed.

Your thoughts

Have you been on Anthem of the Seas yet? What is your favorite "I can't believe they put that on a cruise ship" offering?  If you have not been on Anthem of the Seas yet, which activity are you most excited to try? Share the answers in our comments!

Video: A Day in the Life on Anthem of the Seas

In:
07Feb2017

A never-before-seen look at the unique features on Anthem of the Seas. Besides lounging by the pool, guests can get a bird's eye view in the North Star or be dazzled by the blend of entertainment and technology in Two70 and many more.

Royal Caribbean is inviting fans to join Crown and Anchor team on Anthem of the Seas

In:
03Feb2017

Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program, the Crown and Anchor Society, is inviting anyone that enjoys taking a Royal Caribbean cruise to sail on Anthem of the Seas for a fun celebration at sea.

The special event is taking place on the March 26, 2017 Anthem of the Seas sailing out of Bayonne, New Jersey.  Crown and Anchor Society made the announcement on its Facebook page, and describes the event, "Join our Crown & Anchor Society Member Director Millie for a Bahamas getaway onboard Anthem of the Seas on March 26th! We'll have great activities going on, so stay tuned for more details."

Guests can book the cruise through their usual travel agent or directly with Royal Caribbean, although they are encouraged to register in order to participate in onboard events.

Video: Retractable Roof on Royal Caribbean's High-Tech Ship Ensures Fun for Guests

In:
17Jan2017

From Asia to the Caribbean, in the summer or in the winter, guests on Royal Caribbean's Quantum class ships can luxuriate by the pool no matter the weather. The smart ships fully retractable roof can open or close to suit all climates.

Harmony of the Seas versus Anthem of the Seas

In:
04Jan2017

Two of Royal Caribbean's newest cruise ship that offers cruises from the United States, and have garnered a tremendous amount of interest from guests, is Harmony of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.  Today, we compare both cruise ships in a head-to-head comparison.

In comparing both ships, we break down each ship's offerings and summarize what the strengths and weaknesses of both ships to see how each ship stacks up. As objective as we may try to be, the reality is we are talking about opinions, and as such, personal preferences will vary from person to person. We will certainly try to convey why we liked or disliked something, but understand some may disagree (and that is okay). This should be a fun contrast.

Shows: Anthem of the Seas

Both ships offer a variety of productions for guests to enjoy, comprising original productions and Broadway shows. Let us be very clear: the shows on both ships are wonderful, so we are about do the cruise ship equivalent of argue about which cut of steak tastes better.

The Broadway show on Anthem of the Seas is, "We Will Rock You", which is a West End musical that uses the music of rock band Queen in the performance to tell its story.  On Harmony of the Seas, guests can enjoy, "Grease", the Broadway musical all about summer love in the 1950s. Both shows are identical to the original productions and we will call it a tie between the two of them.

Both ships also offer a slew of original productions to enjoy.  Anthem of the Seas offers shows such as "The Gift" and "Spectra's Cabaret", which are a mix of music, dance and special effects.  They represent the latest in Las Vegas-style entertainment and are anything but ordinary. Harmony of the Seas has Royal Caribbean's first original musical, "Columbus: The Musical", as well as two different ice skating shows. In fact, 1887 might be the best ice skating show we have seen on any Royal Caribbean ship to date.

The real X-factor for both ships are their specialized entertainment venues.  Anthem of the Seas puts its best shows in Two70, a massive theater on the aft of the ship that can be transformed digitally in a number of ways. In fact, the Vistarama and Roboshows in Two70 are absolutely stunning to watch.  Harmony of the Seas follows up with two shows in the AquaTheater, both of which are centered around eye-popping stunts and acrobatics. 

While Harmony of the Seas has a greater array of entertainment offerings, we feel the quality of Anthem of the Seas' shows gives it the edge.  Two70 alone is filled with a great variety of entertainment that has to be seen to be appreciated. 

Onboard activities: Harmony of the Seas

When we talk about onboard activities, there is a lot of options across each ship. Simply put, you will not run out of things to do onboard.

Guests on Anthem of the Seas will have their choice of a number of Royal Caribbean innovations that make the Quantum class ships quite different from other ships in the fleet.  North Star, the observational pod that takes guests 300 feet above see level for a 360-degree view of the ocean and area around them is very popular and equally impressive.  Ripcord by iFly allows all anyone who's mother forbid them from ever contemplating sky diving to give it a shot in a much safer environment.  Then you have the SeaPlex, an immense area of the ship dedicated to being active at sea. In fact, it is the largest indoor active space at sea, where guests can play on a full-size basketball court, go roller skating and even ride bumper cars.

Harmony of the Seas answers back with a ton of firsts of its own.  Harmony of the Seas features the three water slides that are sure to get everyone in the family asking to ride it one more time.  Speaking of slides, the Ultimate Abyss is the kind of slide experience that words cannot do justice.  It is large, intense and a lot of fun while descending the 10 stories down.  Harmony of the Seas has double the amount of FlowRiders that Anthem of the Seas has and a brand new aqua park for kids, Splashaway Bay.  If you prefer your activities a bit more sedate, Harmony of the Seas also has a very fun escape room experience, rides and games in the Boardwalk and more.

One advantage Oasis class ships have always enjoyed is that they offer much more than any other ship, and in this case, the staggering amount of activities on Harmony of the Seas gives it the win for things to do.

Specialty Dining: Harmony of the Seas

Perhaps no other area of the cruise ship experience has changed in the last few years as dramatically as specialty dining on Royal Caribbean ships. These additional cost options offer guests additional dining choices to consider, and the array of choices between both ships is impressive.

Anthem of the Seas boasts quite a number of specialty restaurants that stand out.  Jamie's Italian, Izumi, Chops Grille and Wonderland top the list of popular places guests enjoy on Anthem.  We also like the easy grab-and-go nature of Johnny Rockets, which is a la carte instead of a more formal sit down experience on Harmony. 

Harmony of the Seas is equal to the task when it comes to specialty dining.  One big difference on Harmony of the Seas, compared to her Oasis class sisters, is the inclusion of Jamie's Italian.  Harmony also boasts its own version of Wonderland, which is significantly larger and encompasses two decks.  Even Izumi on Harmony of the Seas is larger, with an exclusive hibachi dining area. You will also find the ever-popular Sabor Taqueria & Tequila Bar on Harmony of the Seas, which heavily sways our vote.

Given the fact Harmony matches and exceeds Anthem's specialty dining offerings (and Anthem lacks a Sabor), we have to give Harmony of the Seas the edge once again.

Complimentary Dining: Harmony of the Seas

Of course, complimentary dining is at the heart of any cruise experience and both ships have a lot of great choices. In comparing the complimentary options, this is a war of attrition, where each ship offers very similar options. Both ships have a Cafe Promenade, Sorrentos, Solarium Bistro, Windjammer, Park Cafe/Cafe @ Two70, Dog House and room service.

The key differences here are in the details. First and foremost, Anthem of the Seas is handicapped by the fact it has recently undergone a change from Dynamic Dining back to traditional dining, although it still retains smaller dining rooms in lieu of a larger main dining room.  The hours of operations and size of the Windjammer are superior on Anthem of the Seas, but once again, size proves to be the benefit for Harmony.  There is a wider selection of choices at Cafe Promenade on Harmony, and the entire main dining room experience is far superior.  For that alone, Harmony of the Seas wins this battle.

Itineraries: Anthem of the Seas

This could be among the least subjective points to consider between the two ships: where they sail to.  

Harmony of the Seas only offers cruises to the eastern and western Caribbean throughout the year.  Essentially the same six to seven ports, no matter when you choose to sail on her.  

On the other hand, Anthem of the Seas varies her offerings on the time of year.  Depending on the season, she offers cruises to the Bahamas, Caribbean, Bermuda, New England and Canada.  In addition, Anthem of the Seas is capable of visiting CocoCay, whereas Harmony of the Seas is not. Given the options between the two ships, this is a slam-dunk for Anthem of the Seas.

Pools: Anthem of the Seas

The pool deck experience is arguably one of the most important because it seems this is where guests will spend the most time aggregately during their cruise.  After all, when booking a cruise, isn't everyone envisioning sitting by the pool on a deck chair with a drink in hand?

Harmony of the Seas has a number of smaller pools, which helps with crowds, and its Splashaway Bay option for kids is the best kids pool area we have seen yet. However, Harmony of the Seas lacks a pool in the Solarium (it has hot tubs and a mister instead), which has bothered many adults who enjoyed having a pool of their own.

Meanwhile, Anthem of the Seas not only has a pool in the Solarium, but an additional indoor pool that is perfect for any kind of weather.  Combined with the main outdoor pool, pool days on Anthem are quite lovely. Admittedly, the "wave pool" on Anthem of the Seas for kids is less than stellar, so the kids might be better off in the regular pool.  Nonetheless, Anthem of the Seas wins the contest of aquatic adventure.

Kids & Teens: Push

Both ships offer the most activities and programming for kids that we have seen across any Royal Caribbean ship.  In general, Royal Caribbean has been consistently increasing the amount of space and variety of programming for kids on its ships, and your children will have a blast on either.

Adventure Ocean is Royal Caribbean's supervised child program, and both ships have a large dedicated space onboard for kids ranging in ages from 6 months through 17 years old. Harmony of the Seas does have a larger footprint for its Adventure Ocean program, but the quality of offerings on both ships is nearly identical. Harmony of the Seas does have a few dedicated spaces that Anthem does not, such as the art and science labs.

There is a definite advantage for older kids (tweens and teens) on Anthem of the Seas because of SeaPlex.  SeaPlex offers so much for this age group, that it is undeniably fun for them and because it is indoors, there is rarely any excuse to miss out on it. Bumper cars, Xbox gaming, ping pong, roller skating, dancing, circus school and more are part of the SeaPlex offerings. I am not certain how much Royal Caribbean was targeting teens when they developed the SeaPlex, but it is a homerun with these adolescents.

Of course, Harmony of the Seas has water slides and the Ultimate Abyss slide, which provides plenty of thrills for teens.  There is also the zip line, mini golf course and the rest of the sports deck.  You are just as likely to find plenty of teens hanging out here, as anywhere else. As we mentioned earlier, Splashway Bay is far superior a kids pool area than Anthem's H2O water zone.

The nursery facility on both ships is excellent and quite large. Parents of children under three years old will do well with either option.

In the end, we might give a slight edge to Anthem of the Seas for older children and Harmony of the Seas for younger children, but the differences are too minute to pick a clear winner.

Value: Push

When comparing these ships, they represent the two newest cruise ships in the United States cruise market and also come with a premium price tag because of that distinction. While rates will vary from sailing to sailing and month to month, you can expect to pay more for either ship compared to other ships in the fleet. These ships offer the best that Royal Caribbean has to offer, and it comes with the price tag to match.

Even with their premium price tags, both ships offer guests a lot to see, do and eat onboard. Royal Caribbean designed these ships to be destinations in and of themselves, and that means a lot of return on the money paid to cruise on them. Until further notice, we declare the value proposition for either ship a tie.

Verdict: Harmony of the Seas

Picking a winner was a lot like picking a favorite child: it depends on the day, but we are giving a slight edge to Harmony of the Seas.  It is the newest, shiniest and down right most enjoyable ship we have cruised on to date.  In most cases, Harmony of the Seas matches what Anthem of the Seas offers and gives back even more.

Harmony of the Seas also benefited greatly from the fact Royal Caribbean added a number of Quantum class features to the ship, such as a Bionic Bar, stateroom design and upgraded technology. If this were a comparison between Oasis or Allure of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas might have done considerably better.

Once again, it is worth noting that we really like Anthem of the Seas. Her entertainment is quite impressive and there is nothing like Two70.  Moreover, North Star, Ripcord and the entire SeaPlex is tons of fun, especially if you have older kids with you.

However, we are here to declare a winner and the "face that runs the place", the stylin', profilin', limousine riding to the port and wheelin' n' dealin' cruise ship is Harmony of the Seas!

In the spirit of fairness, we also posed this question to the public, with a twitter poll and Harmony of the Seas also seems to win the popular vote.

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