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  1. We will be going on Anthem of the Seas Fjord cruise in June and it will be our honeymoon. Does anyone have suggestions for extras to make the cruise a little more special?
  2. Due to a family obligation, my children (15M/17F) and I will be in the UK next July, so, of course, I started cruise shopping in an effort to double dip and fit our vacation into this trip. I need to work within a two-week window and have narrowed my choices down to two itineraries, and they couldn't be more different. Option 1: Oasis out of Barcelona, with port stops in Palma de Mallorca (undecided), La Spezia (sightseeing tour of Florence), Civitavecchia (Rome food tour), and Naples (explore Capri). Option 2: Anthem out of Southampton, with port stops in Bergen (Bryggen Harbour and cable car), Olden (Briksdal Glacier/troll car), Flam (zipline, bike ride, and railway), and Bruges (explore a bit and canal boat tour). For some additional context, this past summer, we had a fantastic time on Odyssey out of Civitavecchia - our first trip to the Mediterranean. Our excursions included Rome, Positano, Sorrento, Pompeii, Ephesus, Santorini, and Mykonos with a morning in Delos. I see pros and cons of the Mediterranean and the Norway cruise. What gives me pause about option 1 is the heat. This summer, we sailed in late June and just missed a pretty bad heatwave. From what I have read, Spain can be brutal in the summer. We would also be visiting Rome and Naples two years in a row, though doing different activities. What gives me pause about option 2 is that we sailed on Ovation last summer (2022) to Alaska out of Seattle and really enjoyed it. I am concerned that Norway may offer a very similar experience. However, it does look amazing (I can thank Matt for the Norway bug)! I've been to Bruges before, but my kids haven't, and our only experience in Norway was a brief layover in Oslo this summer, so that doesn't really count. Both trips cost pretty much the same for a mid-ship balcony, with Norway coming out a few hundred dollars more. I put refundable deposits on both to hold the rooms while I make up my mind. I would love any and all feedback! Since I will be paying this off for the next year or so, I want to be sure I am carefully considering my options. I am of course Googling, reading blogs, and watching YouTube videos like crazy, but most of what I have learned about cruising I have learned here.
  3. Hello everyone! So in 13 days, my wife and I and 4 other couples are embarking on Anthem of Seas for a fun week! This is our first cruise and I would love to hear some tips and tricks and advice on how to maximize our Cruising Experience. I've been watching all of Matt's videos and have been reading as many of your posts as I can and already feel like you all have been an amazing resource. One thing I've been wondering is, we have the Ultimate Beverage Package, so how early can you acquire a Bloody Mary or an Irish Coffee or Mimosa and where can we get such a thing? The UBP works at all the bars, including Brass and Bock and Boleros? Does is also work in Vintages or is it different because it's a wine bar? My wife is nervous about being sea sick, we have an interior stateroom, Aft....should we be ok with movement of the boat? The dress code for MDR, I have seen so many different opinions on what "formal" means...are jeans and a collared shirt for me, and capris or shorts and a nice top for the wife acceptable or will be scolded? I'm sure I have a million other questions, but maybe just reading your answers will help. TIA everyone and Happy Cruising!!!
  4. Hi everyone and happy holidays! We just signed up for this blog! My name is Drew. My husband Rob and I are big cruising fans and are doing more RCCL cruises as of late. We are big Celebrity fans but it is always fun to try different things! It’s still far out, but we are booked on the Anthem 9 Night February 11th cruise out of Cape Liberty. I am dying to know what blogger’s experiences are with star class. We booked a grand loft. What is the best part of a royal genie? How can that person make an anniversary celebration extra special? Any insider tips with Star Class? Thanks! Drew and Rob
  5. To everyone from the UK, these are the sailings of Anthem of the Seas this summer from Southampton starting July 7th, they go on sale 7th April 2021 3:00pm BST. • 7 July 2021 | 4 nights | Southampton Ocean Getaway • 11 July 2021 | 4 nights | Southampton Ocean Getaway • 15 July 2021 | 5 nights | Southampton - Day at Sea - – Belfast – Kirkwall – Day at Sea - Southampton • 20 July 2021 | 5 nights | Southampton – Day at Sea – Glasgow (Greenock) – Kirkwall – Day at Sea - Southampton • 25 July 2021 | 7 nights | Southampton – Day at Sea – Belfast – Day at Sea – Day at Sea – Kirkwall – Day at Sea - Southampton • 1 August 2021 | 6 nights | Southampton - Day at Sea - Day at Sea - Belfast - Liverpool - Day at Sea - Southampton • 7 August 2021 | 8 nights | Southampton - Day at Sea - Kirkwall - Day at Sea - Liverpool - Belfast - Glasgow (Greenock) - Day at Sea - Southampton • 15 August 2021 | 8 nights | Southampton - Day at Sea - Inverness - Kirkwall - Day at Sea - Liverpool - Glasgow (Greenock) - Day at Sea - Southampton • 23 August 2021 | 6 nights | Southampton - Day at Sea - Day at Sea - Liverpool - Belfast - Day at Sea - Southampton • 29 August 2021 | 7 nights | Southampton - Day at Sea - Belfast - Day at Sea - Day at Sea - Liverpool - Day at sea - Southampton
  6. This morning the UK government confirmed that international cruising out of the UK will be treated exactly the same as all international travel as so will therefore be allowed to resume at the same time as international travel which could be as early as May 17th. They will make an announcement on exactly when international travel can resume on April 12th and so international cruising will be allowed resume from whatever date they announce then. They will be adopting a traffic light system, whereby each country will have different requirements based on their vaccine rollout, covid numbers, etc and international cruising will follow the same traffic light system. I wonder if Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines regret announcing UK only cruises as there is now a good chance they would have been able to offer some form of international cruises this summer. Very good news though nonetheless.
  7. Royal Caribbean will have at least 6 cruise ships definitely sailing this summer. I am very interested to see how many people have booked the different cruise options available for this summer.
  8. I have never stayed in a suite before (usually just balcony rooms), however because of the pandemic and several cancelled cruises we are considering combining them and go for a suite on one of the new Anthem sailings from the UK. It would probably be one of the smaller suites so I am wondering what the differences are between Junior Suites and a Grand Suite one bedroom as they seem fairly similarly priced from what I can tell. Also what perks do you get through booking a suite as apposed to a standard balcony and is it worth it? Thanks
  9. We are counting down until our first star class cruise on Anthem of the Seas. We are new to Royal Caribbean; previous DCL concierge cruises so we can’t wait to experience Royal Caribbean. I really enjoy following along on as many star class blogs as I can and thought it may be fun to give it a try! So, I am Jacquie and my husband Lindsay and 14 year old son Reyd are counting down (34 days). We are from Calgary, Alberta. ?? So what made us pick Royal Caribbean....honestly New York was on our bucket list and we love to cruise so we thought why not! Once we narrowed it down to New York, the royal genie and visit to Coco Cay helped us choose Royal Caribbean. So far the experience has been good. The one notable difference is DCL offered a dedicated team to deal with Pre Cruise needs/questions for their concierge guests 120 days out which I really liked. I haven’t been super impressed with Royal’s main customer service team but I am hopeful that the Genie will make up for any shortfalls! We received the royal genie questionnaire 45 days out followed by our luggage tags a couple days later. From what I have read I should be hearing from our genie soon. Cruise Itinerary: 8 nights with stops in Port Canaveral, Coco Cay and Nassau. Stateroom: Grand loft suite #10320 Shore Excursions: Reserved Chill Island Cabana at Coco Cay back in January. Had hoped to get an overwater cabana but opening was delayed to January 2020. ? Cruise Planner: With the Royal Genie, there is not much to plan but I have ordered the unlimited photo package. Will finalize specialty dining, entertainment and on-board activities with our genie. Thinking about reserving the thermal suite but have read mixed reviews. Any feedback on Anthem’s thermal package would be appreciated! We always reserved this on DCL so will likely book it on Anthem. Flights: Flying direct from Calgary to JFK a couple days before our cruise. Pre Cruise we are staying in lower Manhattan as we want to visit the 911 Memorial. Post cruise we are staying at Central Park. I am in the process of finalizing transportation to Cruise terminal and would be interested to hear any recommendations on reliable limo companies. We do not pack light so an SUV will be needed! The Four Seasons Downtown uses Empire CLS Transportation but I am pretty sure I can arrange something for cheaper. Planning to arrive at cruise terminal around 10:30am. Royal Genie Questionnaire: Have read mixed reviews on whether the genie uses the information provided but I am keeping an open mind. We had fun completing it and have no expectations. I have attached a copy of the questionnaire for those that are interested. Royal Up : Received a Royal Up offer email about a month ago for the Royal loft suite. I put in a lower end bid and expect it to be declined which I am totally fine with. We really don’t need the additional space but the hot tub would be nice. Well I think that’s all for now. Look forward to answering any of your questions and having you follow along!
  10. Good day everyone! First time cruise on Anthem of the seas in July sailing from Southampton, UK for 8 nights. A party of 4 of us are going so have booked two inside staterooms. Having booked the cruise over the phone direct with royal Caribbean I soon realised following email confirmation that each stateroom has been placed under a different booking reference. After looking on the email receipt it shows that neither stateroom had the other linked to the same booking. I went to my online account and linked the bookings manually however I noticed that neither stateroom is linked to use the same cruise planner and instead extras need to be booked/paid for separately for each stateroom!? Is there a way to link the booking references to the same cruise planner so we can all book activities/dining together? Also having linked the staterooms to the same booking via my online account, will RCI recognise this as the same booking and therefore group all parties together in the same dining room to eat together? Sorry for the confusion. Novice cruiser here ?
  11. Okay, crazy question I think. Can anyone here remember the type of car on the promenade of the Mariner? Anthem? Are they the same as on the Harmony? Curious minds want to know. Any additional ships cars identified will also be greatly Appreciated. We love this random stuff! Thanks in advance ? I resort to anything I can to lure my husband into booking new sailings?
  12. Hi everyone, I have searched high and low and can't seem to get an answer. Has anyone taken the Anthem or similar from Cape Liberty to Orlando? Based on the distance, I am guessing it's travelling about 12 knots which is half what it's capable of. I just want to know how to pack. Where abouts is the ship on the second day midday and when does it start to get warmer? Also, are the outdoor pools and water slides open when in cold weather? I live in Canada (Vancouver) and in October, the Norwegian Bliss water slides were open in port even though it was cold (around 60-65ish)). I've been on many ships as my husband works as a port agent but we've only ever cruised on one other ship, and that's the Symphony of the Seas back in May, which had an endless array of things to see and do. we were never bored and actually didn't even want to leave the ship! We're anxiously hoping this cruise will be just as well. Anyone know the age range? Is it all older folks, or a good mix like the other modern ships tend to be? We're in our mid 30's and got the booze packages just in case we get bored. Crazy to fly to NYC just to sail south, but the flights were way cheaper than to Florida, and non-stop, and I mean, it's NY, which is fun any time of year, so thought we'd go for it! Any insight?
  13. Going on my first solo cruise next year and was wondering if there's anything specific I need to know about solo cruising? so excited but nervous. Will be on Anthem of the Seas November 29, 2020 to December 7, 2020. Going to the Bahamas. Leaving from New Jersey, I live in New York so I won't have to fly to port, I'll be taking a cab to and from port. Any advice will be appreciated.
  14. Hello All, we just got back from a 5-day Bermuda cruise on the Anthem of the Seas and I wanted to share my "lessons learned" as a "pay it forward" for all the great forum members who provided advice to me for several questions I posted. We are a 4 person family (42M, 39F, 13M, and 10F) and we had 2 balcony rooms booked on Deck 13 forward. I hope I can help some newbie cruisers with the info below! 1. Do Show Up Early on Embarkation Day: Our ship was schedule to leave from Bayonne, NJ cruise port at 4:30pm. Coming from NH, we drove to Danbury, CT the night before and stayed at a hotel (Did you know Ethan Allen owns a hotel?). That put us about 1.5 hours from the port. We got there right at 10:30am when the terminal opened and there was already a good number of cars in front of us. I dropped off the family and our bags and the porters quickly put our checked bags on the carts. I parked the car in the garage, met up with the family and headed inside to check-in. Check-in was painless, and we were literally stepping onto the ship at 11am exactly. They told us our rooms would not be ready until 1:30pm, so we mainly stayed in the outdoor pool until we could drop off our bags. We hit Windjammers at 1pm and they announced that all rooms were ready at 1:15pm. 2. Windjammers is great, but watch out for peak times if you hate crowds: As you probably know by now, Windjammers is a (extremely large) buffet that serves breakfast and lunch. I think 99% of all passengers can easily find several things they like on their diverse and plentiful buffet stations (vegetarian, vegan and GF too). However, it can get VERY crowded at peak times. One of those peak times is lunch on embarkation day. I think it was the only place open for that meal since not all passengers had boarded yet. While we were able to get our food fairly easily. finding an open table was tough! You really just need to hang out near a family that looks like they are wrapping up and pounce as soon as they get up. Hail one of the Windjammers employees to clean the table for you. The only times I would say Windjammers wasn't moderately to severely crowded was during lunch on the 2 days in port. 3. Prepare to be STUFFED: RCL should just partner with medication companies that have drugs for blood pressure, cholesterol, etc... cause I can guarantee you will come back at least 5 lbs heavier. We purchased a 3-night specialty dining package and got an extra night free from our Cruise travel agent (CruiseOne). We ate at Izumi (2 times), Wonderland, and Jamie's Italian. If you like sushi, Izumi is wonderful! At Izumi, you get a $35 credit per person... so we had $140 to use each night. We got at least 6 specialty rolls, a few makimono rolls and the sushi deluxe and easily stayed under. I think we had everything on the menu after the 2 visits. Wonderland is almost a dinner and a show... the dinner IS your show! Here, you don't order... they just bring you just about everything on the menu. It was pretty amazing. Jamies was great as well... they bring you samples of all their apps (charcuterie, fried rice & cheese balls, calamari, cheeses, olives, etc..) and then you choose a main and a dessert. I got the truffle noodles and they were amazing! We only ate at the main dining room once and it was OK. My wife's fish (Barramundi) was a little "fishy", but my fish (can't remember the name) was good. The shrimp cocktail were very small... but the birthday cake (RCL is celebrating 50 years) and the cheese cake was very good. FYI, all the specialty dining and main dining room have kids menus. I highly recommend visiting Solarium Bistro for breakfast (also a buffet, but much smaller than Windjammers... but WAY less crowded). You'll find all the common staples for breakfast. Café 270 is great for lunch and dinner/late night snacks (only certain nights is it open). Great paninis on pita bread, wraps, salads and dessert. Sorrento's pizza was great for late night craving, but they also serve breakfast (no, not pizza... mostly breakfast sandwiches). Room Service for breakfast is free as long as you order from the "Continental Breakfast" section. All other times its a flat $7.95 per order (regardless of how much you order... so ahead, get one of everything if you like... it will still cost $7.95 total) 4. To deluxe beverage package, or not to deluxe beverage package... that is the question: I was on the fence on this one up until a week before the cruise. I do like to drink, but I try to stay clear of everything with sugar. I'm not a big wine drinker, so just bringing 4 bottles on board with me was not that enticing. I pulled the trigger and paid the $50/day. My wife doesn't drink, but I was in a stateroom with my son... so I only had to pay for me. I knew from other posts that knowing that the drinks average about $10-13... just having 5 would be my break even point. Yeah, I ended up get my money's worth and then some. No, I didn't go on a bender and forget most of the hours of my cruise and end up naked in the engine room! It really wasn't that hard. They have mimosa and bloody mary carts setup for breakfast. Sir, would you like a Mimosa... why, yes please! Can I make you a spicy bloody mary with bacon and horseradish? Of course. How about a vodka, club soda and extra lime while you hang out by the pool? Sure! Can I get you a Jack and Diet Coke while you wait for the show to start? Yes please! As long as you pace yourself, be sure to eat and stay hydrated, stay away from sugar drinks (I never once ordered a pina colada or strawberry daiquiri, which were so prevalent I couldn't open my eyes without seeing someone having one), and keep any minor "overindulging" until after dinner (so you can sleep it off), take some precautionary Advil or Tylenol before bed... you'll do fine. Never had an signs of a hangover (mostly from following the rules above). I probably averaged 8-12 drinks/day. I know that sounds like a lot (and probably is according to my doctor!), but I did find that their drinks are a little "light" compared to your average bar. They do jigger pour every drink which means you are only getting 1.5 oz of booze per drink. Sometimes they would pour a little more. They also tend to give you a tall glass for your standard "spirit & mixer". So, if you order a "rum & coke" you are getting 1 shot of rum... and then like 10oz of coke. Of course, they are doing this to get you to take longer and therefore, order less drinks. Be sure to ask for a lowball glass. I also got my money's worth by ordering a few Patron Reposados tequila (which are like over $15/shot in most bars). Be sure to ask for a bottle of water with each drink. Even if you don't want it now, you can put it in your fridge and bring ashore when you visit a beach or go shopping. 5. Bring your Cruise Compass with you wherever you go!: The Cruise compass is a printout brochure of the next day's open times, activities, shows, etc.. You stateroom attendant will put it in your room every late afternoon. Review it, highlight it, and do some planning. I was kinda disappointed to see that RCL hasn't created a digital version of this yet. They do have the iQ app, but it only shows you your dinner reservations and the shows that require reservations. I'm hoping they enhance this soon as it could be a real value-add to their guests. We attended some great trivia sessions, info sessions on the ship and Bermuda pier and shopping, listened to some great small musical groups, super funny comedians, and attended some great onboard shopping sales. While it's great that RCL offers so much to do everyday, the hardest thing was making the schedule work! Many times we came up with a plan, only to realize we couldn't do it because we had a dinner or show reservation that conflicted. We found compromises and made it work the best we could. We definitely weren't disappointed or had any FOMO! 6. You kids will love the Adventure Ocean Club or the Teens Club: Both of our kids were excited about the kids and teens club. For those under 13, parents needs to check the kids in and out (for the kids 10-12, you can give consent to allow them to check themselves out). There is a morning, afternoon, and night programs they can join... all are included. The only exception is after 10pm its $7/hr per child (very reasonable) and they can stay until 1am. The counselors are excellent and they do fun and educational activities with the kids. The Teens club is free to come and go and my son made a some friends and they often went swimming and played in the Seaplex together. 7. Make your show reservations in advance for the ones you can... and make the other activity and dining reservations as soon as you get on board!: I made reservations for "The Gift" and "We will Rock you" a few weeks in advance on the RCL website. The only thing I couldn't make reservations for in advance for shows was "Spectra", but I was able on the second day of the cruise. We also made all of our dining reservations as soon as we got onboard. On the second day, we tried to make reservations for the iFly (indoor skydiving) but they were already booked up for the whole cruise! :( Lesson learned! Also, if you are like me and like to sit up front at the shows... show up about 30-40 mins early and you will have your pick of any seat you wish. They have waiters taking drink orders and usually have popcorn and snacks/candy available for purchase... so the waiting isn't so bad. We had front row middle for "We will Rock you" and it was awesome! Spectra was a great cabaret style show, but I think they had some technical difficulties with their vistavision (these are the 19 projectors that can make the 270 degree backdrop appear as just about anything you can imagine!) The robots with the flatscreens were working fine and are amazing! 8. Bermuda is great, but not a lot to do in the port: This doesn't mean we didn't have fun! We took people's advice and waited until the 2nd day to go to the famous "Horseshoe Bay Beach". Luckily, it was overcast and a little showery on the first day, and the second day was mostly sunny and 83 degrees! Of course, many other guests followed the same plan. Anyways, on the first day we decided to stay in the port area (Royal Navy Dockyard, aka King's Wharf) and check out the shops. We went to the clocktower mall and explored the shops. We also went into the "Diamonds International" store which was heavily marketed by the Anthem's Shopping Director (Paige). While seeing all the very beautiful jewelry and rare gemstones is great, the customer service is horrible if you aren't looking to spend a few thousand dollars. After seeing pieces that were $5k-$20k, I asked one of them what is the cheapest jewelry they had for sale... she said they had an earring set that was $1000. When I said you are still way above what I'm looking to spend... she didn't say "I'm so sorry, we don't have anything under that pricepoint".... Nope, she just turned around and walked away. How f'n rude! We ended up finding a much better service at a jeweler in the clocktower mall and my wife got a great sterling silver ring made with a stone made from the pink famous sands for a much more reasonable price. After about 2 hours, we pretty much saw everything in the port area. We went back on the ship (which can take about 10-15 mins as you have to go thru security), had some lunch, and then put our bathing suits on an went swimming at Calico Jacks. This is the black pirate ship that is literally the first thing you reach after getting off the dock area. It's a bar/grill that has its own swimming area. There's no beach... they have a ladder into the water and have plenty of foam noodles you can borrow so you can just float and relax. They also have a plank on the second level that you can jump or dive off of... as well as a giant inflatable slide. Unfortunately, they don't keep the slide wet... so almost everyone came to a halt before hitting the end of the slide. They charge $10/pp to get a wristband to use their water access. Rum swizzles were $10. We also checked out the "Frog & Onion Pub" for a quick snack and a "Frog Grog" and bought some swag. The second day we took a shuttle to Horseshoe Bay Beach. I wouldn't recommend paying the $35/pp shore excursion to the beach through RCL. They have public shuttles for $7/pp that are continuously headed to the beach. It's about a 20-25 min beautiful drive. Our driver the way out to the beach was great, he pointed out all the landmarks and gave details about the homes, resorts and golf courses. You can rent loungers, beach chairs, umbrellas and tents at the beach... but they are a little pricey. We got 2 loungers and it cost $44. They do have guys who will drag your lounges/chairs to wherever you want, but be sure to give them a tip (we gave him $5). The water was stunningly beautiful. Perfect temp! Some pretty good waves due to the weather over the past day, but nothing too bad. The grotto area to the right as you enter the beach was really neat. I would recommend water shoes/socks as it can be a little rocky in that area. While you aren't supposed to climb up the massive rock cliffs... there were dozens on the top of the bigger ones. Some of the smaller ones teens were jumping into the water. There is a bar/grill at the beach, but the prices are a little inflated (Burger & Fries for about $12). Recommend bringing waters with you... and if you can, pack some snacks (Café 270 will pack food to go). Be sure to leave the beach by 3pm to ensure you get back with enough time for any "unexpected" happenings. The shuttle drivers guarantee that if you get on one of their shuttles at 4pm... they will get you on the ship without issue, but I'm not willing to play with those odds! 9. Adults can take naps too! With shows/activities often scheduled to 1am, I strongly recommend trying to find a time for a quick siesta in the late afternoon before dinner. It will keep you fully charged to enjoy the nighttime events! Also, try to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night if you can. No reason to go to Windjammers at 6am just because it's open! 10. Be sure to keep an eye on your account! Your Seapass card can be used to purchase ANYTHING on board.. and I mean anything! Be sure to keep an eye on your account (you can use the iQ app, but send you an email at the end of the cruise). You'll automatically be charged for gratuities $14.50/pp per day, but you'll also see all your other charges. Remember, things add up quick! 11. Keep an eye out for flash sales and good buys on the ship: I ended up buying my wife and gorgeous diamond tennis bracelet on the ship. It is stunning, very sparkly and she was smitten as soon as she saw it. The regular price was $195, but we ended up getting it for $99 during a sale. OK, of course at that price.. it's not a lot of diamonds, but lemme tell you.. it really sparkles and she has already gotten tons of compliments on it. They also have 2 for $20 T-shirts which make a great souvenir. They also have duty/tax free booze for purchase, but coming from NH where liquor is state-controlled, the prices were already comparable. If you buy bottles on the ship, they hold it until you disembark (except on the last full day, where you can take it to your room). 12. Most importantly, have fun!: It's your vacation! Try something new... or stick to your favorite activities... it's all up to you! I hope this has helped you. Please feel free to leave feedback and any questions that I might be able to help with. If I can't, I'm sure another forum user will!
  15. I have been hearing lots of rumors and speculation about this, but wanted to know what you have heard. What are your opinions about which ship will prospectively replace Anthem of the Seas in Bayonne, NJ when she sails to the UK in 2020?
  16. Pre-cruise report: Sailing: March 9-17, 2018, Anthem of the Seas, 8 Night Bahamas cruise Sailing with: Hubby and daughters, ages 11 and 9, who I will refer to as D1 and D2 from this point onward. Flying from: DTW to EWR via Delta. Pre-cruise hotel: Embassy Suites in Elizabeth, NJ. We chose this hotel based on several factors. When travelling with the kids, I like to look for hotels that provide a complimentary breakfast. It is one less thing to worry about. Also, this hotel came highly recommended by another site that I like, EatSleepCruise.com for value, space, and ease of getting to the port. Also, being the hotel/cruise snob that I am, this was one of the few in the area that looked relatively clean and modern. The itinerary is as follows: Day 1 – Cape Liberty, NJ Day 2 and 3 – At Sea Day 4 – Port Canaveral Day 5 – Coco Cay Day 6 – Nassau Day 7 & 8 – At Sea Day 9 – Cape Liberty, NJ We booked the Kennedy Space Center guided tour through RC shore excursions. Got a great rate on it during the Cruise planner Christmas sale. At Coco Cay, we have the Aqua Park and Slide combo purchased for the kids. And Hubby and D2 are going to do the Blue Lagoon Dolphin Encounter in Nassau. We are lazy cruisers. The ship is often our destination. So, going on 3 excursions (only two for D1 and I) is actually quite the splurge for us. Cabin: Unless the last-minute upgrade fairy strikes it’s going to be a Family Junior Suite (FJ) this time around. Initially, we went with 2 connecting balconies, but then KSF came up in November and we switched it to the FJ so that I could get my dinners in CK. Picking a cabin with our kids is a bit more difficult. No one sleeps well when the girls share a bed so we needed a room that has a Pullman or can accommodate a rollaway. Also, with 2 girls and myself, a 2nd bathroom is becoming a necessity. So, the FJ fit those requirements as it has 1 ½ baths, and we have one on Deck 9 that has an additional Pullman. Our plan was to book the FJ and then wait for the 45-60 day price drop (as I have seen on many sailings) and upgrade to a full suite. However, this was one of the few times that this did not work out. The price did drop around the 60 day mark, however, KSF ended by then so it was not worth it to upgrade. Random Pre-cruise thoughts: - It’s our first time: • Bringing our kids on RC. We have sailed DCL with them 3 times in the past. • In a Junior suite. We’ve done interiors, ocean view, regular balconies, and full suites but never Sea class. • Sailing Quantum Class. As many of you know, I am a huge Oasis class fan. I also tend to favour the newer and bigger ships. However, Hubby does not like to sail the same ship twice in a short time span. That’s where Anthem fit the bill. It also worked out nicely that this sailing just made the cut off date for KSF. I must admit that I do feel some apprehension about this sailing. As a creature of habit, I will miss my morning coffee and nightly strolls in Central Park and the amazing shows in the Aqua Theater. In addition, sailing out of NJ in March makes me a bit nervous. The weather and seas are always up in the air and sailing out of cold weather (and snow now, thanks to Nor'easter) doesn't quite sit well with me. • Doing a Live Blog! I can’t say enough how much I love this RC Blog community and how much I have learned and benefited from all of you. I see this as a way of contributing back. - We plan to eat most of our dinners in Coastal Kitchen. We were able to make reservations in the Cruise Planner this time. This option became available in the Cruise Planner around 170 days out. Disappeared for a while and then came back again. When we sailed on Harmony, we had to wait until we got the Concierge email or book on board. Going from what others have reported on other boards, it seems that you can make reservations ahead of time on Quantum class ships but not Oasis class. We also made reservations for dinner at Jamie’s for one night. The pasta was calling, and we could not turn away. - We purchased VOOM for 2 devices. Too bad for the kids but @twangster saved the day for them. - All other entertainment reservations (shows, iFly, North Star) have been made. These all showed up in the Cruise Planner about 160 days out. - This cruise sold out over a month ago. It reached the ¾ lifeboat capacity back in November! It’s March break in Ontario and according CC roll call and FB pages for this sailing there will be lots of kids and many Toronto Maple Leafs fans! Hubby will be in good company! - The teacher in me is hoping that this can be an interactive live blog. Meaning, if there is anything you would like me to find out please do not hesitate to ask away. I will do my best to check back regularly and find out for you. - Lastly, I will likely be doing most of my blogging from my phone, so if you are replying to something that has pics attached, please do not include the pics in your reply. Thanks! ?
  17. Welp, it's happened. 2 days out from our Anthem NE/Canada cruise and we have a Tropical Storm headed to the NorthEast. Will have my eye on Tropical Storm Florence. It doesn't sound like it'll be too strong, and will hopefully turn north of us. But I imagine this would be a hard cruise to divert, unlike the Eastern vs Western Caribbean? I know Anthem is a bit infamous for getting caught in storms, so I really hope we aren't one of them! ? https://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-news/where-is-tropical-storm-florence-headed-in-the-atlantic/70005957
  18. OK, this is bugging me. I've been watching the winter "Southern" (c'mon Royal, no ABC islands = Eastern) Caribbean trips on Anthem since early last year, and I noticed something very small but odd: For 2018, all the offerings were 12 nights, 6 port stops For 2019, all the offerings are still 12 nights, 6 port stops But in 2020, this cruise is suddenly 11 nights and only 5 port stops Seems they took a day in Barbados off the itinerary for 2020. Anyone have any ideas why? I'm still seriously eyeing this trip as a 2020 50th birthday option (mainly because I have to seriously scale back the budget for that trip, and this is the only real option that will fit that bill), but why on earth would they randomly take Barbados off the port list? Especially when it was a solid two years until sailing at the time these were announced? I did a search and confirmed that Barbados completely escaped all of last year's hurricanes, so there's no damage to the island to recover from. I can't imagine the port there has changed as far as being able to accommodate Anthem; was it a tender port, and Anthem is no longer doing tenders? Web searches aren't showing anything, either as far as other news or announcements around Royal Caribbean and Barbados. I'm totally stumped over this, seems utterly random and I've never heard of Barbados being a bad place to visit by any measure. Why would Royal do this? Having that extra island in the list would have meant that taking this cruise would give me 3 new islands (Antigua, St. Lucia, and Barbados) plus 3 repeats (San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts), which would be really nice. Now it'll be 3 repeats (only two of which I actually want) and only 2 new places.
  19. Hi all - the rep at RCCL could only share that there would be 2 formal nights but could not tell me which days specifically would be dedicated formal nights on our 9 day cruise on Anthem (Sept 2018). I'm a little type A. Ok, well, a LOT type A and I like to know these things in advance :) I'm betting I'm not the only one and I am also betting that one of you knows typically which nights end up being the 2 formal nights on a 9 day cruise. Help a (anal retentive) sister out! Thanks!
  20. Hello, all! We just booked our 5th cruise, a 9-nighter on the Anthem of the Seas at the end of June, woohoo! This will be our first time on the Anthem (the previous were Majesty, 2 Allure and Liberty). Does anyone have any tips or tricks about the ship and what’s fun about it? Restaurants, trivia, other activities? We’re getting excited!
  21. Greetings all. I'm writing to you from my pre-cruise hotel listening to the dulcet tones of airbuses and boeings flying overhead as I await the arrival of the Anthem tomorrow morning. Travelling with me is my wife, 3 year old daughter and a friend of ours who has NEVER CRUISED BEFORE. We are staying in a grand loft suite (I feel she may be screwed for any subsequent cruise if she likes...) I'll do my best to post here daily but copious amounts of watered down American beer (if you can call it that) may get in the way. Feel free to ask any questions. I'll do my best to answer them. Oh. Before I forget.. The Lids store located within the Jersey Garden mall had paw patrol hats on for 50% off. I know you'll sleep better knowing that. Cheers.
  22. We are going on Anthem in September for our 5 year anniversary, up the northern coast. We are starting to plan out the trip and need suggestions on what to do at the port stops. Some of them we have plans for: Boston we are going to catch a Red Sox game (probably won't get to see the whole thing, but have to mark that park off our MLB list), Halifax we've booked an RC beer tour, and I've found a Beer Bus in Portland that I think we're going to sign up for. However, the last two ports, Bar Harbor and Saint John New Brunswick, what are the must dos there? Bar Harbor I know is known for lobster, so gimme all the food recs. Saint John I know absolutely nothing about! Also, if anyone has been up that coast or lives there, what is the weather in early September? Trying to figure out the clothing situation, assuming light layers?
  23. We are set to sail in September a week after my twins turn 3. The camp that is for 3 and up requires your child to be potty trained. I am hopeful my daughter will be ready but I have concerns about my son because he has development delays. Since he will only 3 yrs 1 week, do you think it is possible to have him go to the daycare with documentation from his dr or therapists? Any advice on the childcare for 3yo's would be appreciated, I have never traveled with children before and would like some adult time besides having a sitter in our cabin. Thanks
  24. Hey fellow cruisers! Good news and Bad news, in the good column, 9 days from now I will be getting ready to board for our upcoming Anthem Cruise! Very excited! On the Bad side, my lovely wife had a meeting with her doc, her Gal Bladder needs to be removed, not critical, so it's not until Feb 2018, BUT he immediately instituted even more restrictions on her diet... Being only 9 days out, I had to throw a "Hail Mary" email to RCCL to see if there is much we can do. We had added "Low Fat Diet required" To her profile, but only a few weeks ago (Not the 45 days recommended, as we didn't know until recently) NOW her Doc has advised that she can have NO FRIED FOODS, NO RED MEAT, and NO DAIRY. We tend to be "rule followers" especially when it comes to our health, as we have both had health issues in the past. But this is EXTREMELY difficult! We are cruising with family, and already have prepaid for 3 specialty restaurant dinners (the BOGO package and one included with our package from our agent) and to be honest, the specialty restaurants have very little she can eat if she follows the restrictions. AND she has a allergy to Soy, so no Japanese.. After a little crisis management we tracked down a few menus online and tried to find stuff she could easily eat. I think Windjammer would be easiest, but she does enjoy the sit down meals and the wait staff! She had already dedicated herself to lower fat options, but was looking forward to a lean steak as a treat... and now no red meat until FEBUARY! I am showing solidarity and not eating *much* that is off her diet, If I need a burger it will be on my own, but this makes the cruise really difficult for her. She doesn't want to deprive me of my enjoyment, but I will feel HORRIBLE sitting across from her in the steakhouse, eating a wonderful steak dinner, and dessert, while she eats a salad with no cheese, dressing on the side, a shrimp cocktail, and chicken breast with steamed asparagus. We can't even just make it a "Booze Cruise" since she has to keep her alcohol intake down as well I am hoping my email to RCCL lets them get enough notice to have a couple of items for her. I don't *EXPECT* it, since we are way late to the party notice-wise. Just keeping my fingers crossed for the time being.
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