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Back 2 Back Star Class Cruises - The Short Version


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4 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Did Araceli send you The Loop app ?  TBH, that one time is the only time I have ever used The Loop for any of our SC cruises but I was damn glad I had it when we needed it.

No. No mention of the loop app. There was a discussion about this on FB. Seems like many Genies are doing away with the loop.

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4 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

No. No mention of the loop app. There was a discussion about this on FB. Seems like many Genies are doing away with the loop.

That doesn't surprise me.  The Loop is fairly useless (until it isn't....as we found out !) b/c the Genie has to be at a computer to receive the message.  I had assumed that Yen was not going to use The Loop until we did receive it at the very last minute before we left for the cruise.  In retrospect, I was very damn glad that I had it on my cell phone when I had to use it to contact her on the ship.

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This is a Grand Loft Suite and it was our home for the first leg of our B2B.  It is generally equivalent to the Star Loft Suite on the Oasis class ships but I will say (having stayed in both now) that the SLS on the O class ships is just a tad all-around larger than the GLS on the Q class.  I loved this room though...it was spacious, had the loft bedroom with lots of storage, double closets, big dressing table, queen sized bed with Duxiana mattress (heavenly !!!!).  The suite has 2 nice, big bathrooms with walk-in showers (1 upstairs and 1 downstairs).  There is a nice dining table inside with 4 chairs (PLENTY of room for a nice sit-down meal) and a reasonably large table out on the balcony for outside dining (only 2 dining style chairs outside though).  I think the balcony on the O class SLS is also a bit larger (particularly the version that looks "aft" on the O class ships).  The balcony on 8724 has 2 loungers, 2 regular chairs with footstools and of course the table and 2 chairs for dining.   It is very nice but not particularly expansive.  Certainly big enough for the 2 of us !  There are floor-to-ceiling windows which gives a very impressive view of the fantail and the wake from anywhere in the suite and provided LOTS of natural light.  We were very, very, very comfortable in this suite.

You can control the lighting for the entire suite from wall control panels both upstairs and downstairs, which was nice. Unfortunately, you could only open the big drapes (downstairs) from a control panel downstairs.  So when we were upstairs (most notably in the morning) you could not open the big drapes from upstairs which was kind of a nuisance.  There are also a set of heavy drapes that will close off the bedroom from the downstairs view.  I suspect this is particularly nice when you have folks living/sleeping downstairs.  We never used them as it made the bedroom loft seem much smaller and closed-in.

There were only 2 "negatives" to this suite, both of which were quickly forgiven, as it is such a lovely room.  #1, it is directly above 270...so there is most definitely bleed-through noise/music from the venue below.  We were almost never in our room in the evenings so it wasn't a particular problem for us but my guess is that on evenings when they had performances in 270 (most notably, Spectra), I imagine it was quite loud. #2 is the same issue that I have with the Aqua Theater Suites on the O class ships.  It's a long walk all the way aft to get to your room.  This is an unfortunate and unavoidable issue for ships with big suites on the fantail.  They are on the fantail.  It's a long F'N way back there !

As I mentioned before, we had lots of beverages waiting for us, which remained stocked throughout the cruise.  The "beverage guy" - named Chris, came by twice a day to make sure we had all of the water, sodas, beer or whatever else we wanted/needed.  We are not big wine drinkers so we did not have any wine in our suite but if we HAD wanted wine, it would have been at an additional charge.  They will not deliver liquor to your suite with the single exception of the packages that they offer on all of the cruises.  We never had any liquor brought to our suite.  Why would we ?  We could go into any bar or restaurant and get any kind of drink that we wanted at any time.  As I have made mention of previously, there were always some kind of treat being delivered...some of them were a function of being in a suite, some were a function of being Star Class, some of them were a function of being D+ and some of them came from the Casino so I never really knew the original of much of what was being delivered...but truly, most of it went to waste.  We never eat most of what is delivered to our room on ANY cruise.

We had several meals in our suite, mostly in the form of breakfast.  This is my FAVORITE meal to eat in...b/c I don't have to get dressed and run to the restaurant before it closes.  On my first few SC cruises I was always very hesitant to ask my Genie to order my food for me.  It seemed like such a ridiculous waste of the Genie's time to place my room service order.  HOWEVER, after trying to do it myself and getting NO ANSWER on the room service number enough times, I decided that I had better get over that little phobia and let the Genie do their job.  So, we had a pretty much standing order for breakfast most mornings and they were always prompt (sometimes early, AAMoF) and it worked very well.  Only once, in this suite, did we have dinner delivered.  Never lunch. We had no "standing" orders for any kind of recurring food delivery (outside of breakfast) and I went to Starbucks and got my own damn cappuccinos in the morning.

I've mentioned Brian (Jamaica), our primary room attendant.  We had 2 attendants, but TBH, I never even learned the name for #2.  Brian was a big personality !  He was funny, engaging, very very helpful and just a really fun guy. I know EXACTLY how he got to be a room attendant for the biggest suites - he is just a natural at it.  We seemed to see him everywhere.  I think he is very popular among the crew, for obvious reasons and he was everpresent.  He was always making jokes about having a party in our suite when we weren't there (and it would have been a-ok with us if he had !).  We enjoyed him so much.

One of the really lesser-known but SOOO important amenities for being Star Class is that you can have your laundry done as often as you want.  They will do it twice a day if you want.  Since this was a 16 day cruise for us and we knew we could have our laundry done, we packed light....and it was really nice.  We used the laundry option more on these cruises than we ever did on any of our other SC cruises. Mostly b/c we truly NEEDED to and also just b/c we could !  One day, I had intended to get our laundry together to send out so I had placed the laundry bag on top of our collapsible hamper that was sitting out in the bedroom upstairs (there was nowhere for us to put the laundry basket inside a closet which is another indication that this room is just a LITTLE bit smaller than the other big suites on the O class).  Ship happened and I never got around to putting the dirty clothes into the laundry bag.  We left the suite for whatever thing we were doing and when we got back, we noticed that Brian had taken everything out of the laundry basket, put it in to the laundry bag and sent it off to the laundry.  WOW.  Now THAT is special service !

Next to the Star Loft Suite on Allure and Harmony, this Grand Loft Suite (8724) on Anthem is our favorite Star Class Suite.  I highly recommend this particular room to anyone.

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This is also a Grand Loft Suite and was our home for the second leg of our B2B.  So here comes the bad news - the only real disappointment of our entire journey.  It was absolutely 1/3 the size of 8724 despite being the same suite category.  It was small, cramped, had almost no storage and closet space (Dan and I weren't even able to put all of our clothes into the 1 tiny closet in the bedroom, upstairs), had a tiny little dressing table behind the bed.  The downstairs bathroom was "split" with the toilet and a sink on one side and a walk-in shower and a sink on the other side.  The upstairs bathroom was, at best, 1/2 the size of the one in 8724.  The balcony was tiny although there were 3 of them.  There was a small balcony with a hanging "teardrop" chair upstairs, the main balcony and a small side balcony downstairs. Trust me, these useless 2 additional balconies did not make up for the other shortfalls of this suite.

IMO, this suite should  NOT even be in the Star Class category.  It is, at BEST, a Crown Loft Suite size...probably even smaller than most CLS.  I let it be known - loud and clear - about our disappointment with this suite in the post cruise comments and have so far gotten 2 phone calls from RCI in response.  This would be a fine Sky Class room but it is NOT up to Star Class standards and if this room was my only Star Class experience, I would be sorely disappointed with Star Class.

The reason that this room is so small is a simple matter of geometry and had I been thinking objectively about this, I should have realized that this room would be significantly smaller. It is the same reason that the ATS on the O class are biggest on deck 8 and get progressively smaller as they go up.  The matter is made worse by the fact that this suite is on the corner and is "cut off" by the curvature of the ship.  I understand WHY it is smaller, I just don't accept that it is good enough.

All of that aside, we continued to have a lovely cruise.  When Yen visited us in 10720 I could see that she could see our disappointment and did her best to cheer us up.  She certainly realizes that this suite is subpar for Star Class.  She calls it "cozy".  We laughed.  We continued with our established schedules from the previous week.  We had breakfast in the room many mornings and we had 1 meal in our suite (on the last night of the cruise - Dan's favorite, lamb shank !!!).

The good news...there was no noise bleed whatsoever in this suite so we were far enough away from 270 to avoid that noise.  It's still a long walk back there, though.  No relief there.

Our room attendant was Jesus and was great.  He is no Brian, but we truly appreciated his service and consideration.  Jesus was, by FAR the most talented towel animal artist that we have ever had.  His creatures were AMAZING.  He mentioned that he started the whole towel animal program with Royal Caribbean back in the 1990's, so he has been doing this for a while !  He was a lovely, lovely attendant and I am so happy that he was ours.

If you are going to be cruising in Star Class on any of the Q ships, I cannot recommend this suite.  Avoid it.  It should be downgraded from a Star Class suite. Period.

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25 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:


Agree so much with your comments about the corner Grands. Happened to tour one when on Anthem back in 2017 and had many of the same options about it. I know many clamor over the idea having the three balconies but so much space seems to be wasted. The entryway is about a third of the space the room has. Moving to the living room they tried to cram all the furniture into a smaller space.

No wonder why it was being offered as a BINGO prize.

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45 minutes ago, twangster said:

You mean this cabin 10720?


Behind the artwork in the living room I wrote with a sharpie "twangster wuz here".  Did you see it?

Wow....you make it look waaay better than it really is !

I can’t believe that a bot of your stature would be caught deactivated in a dump like that !


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What did we do on the ship ?

So I had a bit of a break as I was on a biz trip last week but I have one more installment to complete this very short cruise blog. ?

We were on B2B cruises on Anthem with almost identical itineraries.  The only difference between the 2 was that on the first leg we went to Nassau first and Coco Cay second and on the second leg we went to Coco Cay first and Nassau second.  Our other stop was at Port Canaveral.  I will make the descriptions of what we did at our ports of call very simple.  Other than getting off at Port Canaveral to conduct some quick business, I did not leave the ship. Dan got off briefly on the first leg at Coco Cay but that was it.  Nothing to see here...

While on the ship, we thoroughly enjoyed the shows, specialty dining, dining in our suites and of course, the casino.  We skipped many of the headliner shows, only seeing 2 comedians and a juggling/magic act which was pretty lame.  We saw The Gift once.  Once was enough.  Also pretty lame.  But we LOVED We Will Rock You.  We went to see that twice - once on each leg. The first time Yen sat us right up front, which is where Dan usually wants to be.  The second time I asked her to move us back some and I enjoyed that location much more than being right up front.  I think Dan still prefers to be up front.  We each got what we wanted.  Always a good thing.

There were 2 tribute bands - 1 on each of the legs.  The first one was a Journey Tribute band (can't remember their name) and we saw them at 270.  I thought they were ok but I wasn't overly impressed. I was in a constant panic that the lead singer was going to lose his trou.  They were so low and so loose that every time he would hop about, he would have to grab them to keep them from going to his ankles.  He once jumped from the floor to an raised area on the stage and I thought it was all over for sure.  He barely caught them in time !  The second tribute band was Wanted, which was a Bon Jovi cover band.  I enjoyed that one much more, which is odd b/c I am much more of a Journey fan than I am a BJ fan but I just thought the second show was better.  We saw that show in the Music Hall.  Of course, Yen reserved prime viewing seats for us for both of these events (recalling that she was hesitant to do so at the Music Hall, but did anyway, in the end).

We went to see the Spectra Cabaret twice (once on each leg).  That was a very interesting and different kind of show.  We thoroughly enjoyed it.  We really liked 270, period.  I think it is a GREAT venue and we liked going there during the day, at night and during shows.

We ate at every specialty restaurant except for Wonderland, which we detest.  Next time, however, I AM going to get one of those World things !!!  The food was consistently good at Chops and when I finally found something that I really liked at Jamie's (mushroom fettuccine) I enjoyed going there, too.  It shouldn't be a big surprise to anyone that I enjoyed the mushroom fettuccine....it is nothing more than a thickened version of the cream of mushroom soup, poured over fettuccine noodles.  LOL  It is good though !  I also liked Jamie's tiramisu.  I think it is much better than Giovanni's...and it is the ONLY thing that I think Jamie's does better than Giovanni's.  One really cold and rainy day on our way back on the final leg, I wanted Johnny Rocket's but since the JR on Anthem is a store front only it was much too cold to eat there.  So we ordered our food and then asked Yen to have it delivered to our suite - which she did, joyfully.  I visited Starbuck's every day in the AM before they divested themselves of the yummy chocolate croissants and even had Dan drinking hot chocolate with me there before the end. Neither of us are coffee drinkers but I do enjoy a good cappuccino.  I even broke "the cappuccino rule" and had one after 10:00AM a few times.  I found out, from my many trips to Italy over the years, that it is considered very bad form (especially for MEN !) to drink cappuccino after 10AM. Who cares.  I'm not Italian !  We ate at Izumi a LOT b/c that is probably  Dan's fave restaurant.  I will say....after 16 days of eating at the same 4-5 restaurants, it was getting a bit tiresome.  I never thought I would say that out loud...but I do think it's true.  We never went to the MDR but we did go to the WJ twice (both times for lunch) !  We had room service most mornings for breakfast and had room service for dinner a couple of times.  On the last night, Dan had the lamb shank and I had a Maine lobster - delivered to the suite.  It was kind of like a "last supper".  Very somber affair....

We did the bumper cars once on the first leg.  Once was enough for them.  Yen took us to the front of the line, we got in, bounced around for a while and got out.  'Nuff said.  We did North Star 3 times.  Once in the open ocean (boring), once in Port Canaveral (better) and once in Coco Cay, which was the best, IMO.  We really enjoyed going up in the NS.  I am really not that brave and I thought I might be afraid but it was so smooth that you hardly even notice that it's rising.  The last time we caused something of a stir, I guess.  I didn't know this until it was over but apparently they were running a bit behind schedule and there were some people who had been waiting over 30 minutes for their "reserved" ride on NS.  Of course, Yen just walked us up to the front and put us on the next evolution and apparently there were some who were not too happy about that.  I had no idea.  I certainly wouldn't have minded waiting if I had known that they had been waiting for a while.  Dan did not do the iFly even though he is a very experienced sky diver.  I don't know why he didn't do it...he just didn't.  Maybe it's for the same reason that he had no interest in doing the flight simulator in Nassau.  I guess once you do the "real thing" a simulator just doesn't do it for ya.  Whatevs...

As a gift, Yen gave us a sushi making class on the last day.  We didn't have the heart to tell her that we had already done this once on Grandeur so we went.  I was much better at it the second time than I was the first time so maybe doing a second time wasn't a complete waste of time !  I absolutely hate that dried seaweed (YUK!) so I decided that this time I was NOT going to use it.  My rolls were a bit - um - flaccid - because of the lack of the seaweed wrap but they sure tasted better !

The casino was the casino.  Not much more to say there.  The staff was very good...we made good friends with all of the pit bosses and a few of the dealers.  We lost money - as we always do but much less than normal, especially considering that it was a 16 day mega gambling spree. These were the final 2 casino events for this casino year.  We will not be on another cruise until after the new casino year starts on 1 April.  We both qualified for Prime several cruises back but never even came close to qualifying for the next higher tier, which is Signature.

It was a great B2B Star Class cruise.  We enjoyed it so much that we are doing nearly the exact same itinerary next year.  We are starting 1 week earlier than we did this year but will still be doing 2 Grand Loft Suites on 2 consecutive weeks in February 2020.  YIPPEE !!!!

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Glad that you had a great time on Anthem, especially since it was your first time on her! Really glad that you enjoyed We Will Rock You and Spectra; for me, these are what define Anthem, especially Spectra. And totally agree about Two70 -- that space is fantastic.

Very curious why you didn't try out CK any night since that's included with your SC level. I know you said in earlier posts that you're really not a fan, but I would have thought that if you were getting tired of the specialty dining venues that CK would have been at least a half-decent fallback option.

Fingers crossed that after 16 straight days of gambling you finally crossed the line from Prime to Signature!

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On 3/16/2019 at 6:19 PM, JLMoran said:

Very curious why you didn't try out CK any night since that's included with your SC level. I know you said in earlier posts that you're really not a fan, but I would have thought that if you were getting tired of the specialty dining venues that CK would have been at least a half-decent fallback option

I guess I left that out !  We did eat at CK -twice. It was the first night on both legs - filet night.  I really don’t mind the CK.  I guess when you get specialty restaurants complimentary, you just tend to visit those first.  Quite honestly, I kinda forget about the CK as a dinner spot since we almost exclusively use it primarily for breakfast. You’re right, of course.  It certainly is a good option as their menu changes nightly rather than being static. 

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  • 1 month later...
3 hours ago, SweetPea said:

You know I read your blog twice before creating a user name here. :17_heart_eyes:


But I did find this. I don't know how accurate it is, but if it is, the corner rooms are sizeably smaller. You dropped about 100sq ft of living space going between your Deck 8 room to that Deck 10 corner. 



UGH.  Live and learn.  UUUUGE disappointment but we managed to survive. What IS a surprise to me (from above) is that the deck 10 non-corners are actually the biggest of the bunch !  I have never been in one of the deck 10 CLS (non-corner) so I don't know, first hand, but if the numbers you provided above are correct, they are the biggest ones.  Who knew ?

I do NOT believe that the deck 10 corner main balcony is 20 sq ft bigger than the deck 8 balcony.  NO WAY

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  • 8 months later...
1 hour ago, Lryoon said:

@WAAAYTOOO did you find that Yen was good at thinking out of the box and being creative? Basically going above and beyond what you ask.

Sadly, no.  The most spontaneous thing she did for us on our 16 days with her was to book a sushi-making class for us.  It turns out that we had done the class before on Grandeur and really had no interest in doing it again....but we did anyway b/c we didn’t want to hurt her feelings.

She’s really a very nice person and she was a wonderful Genie but if you are looking for someone who will anticipate and go above and beyond, she may disappoint. She will give you exactly what you ask for but nothing more.

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