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SweetPea

Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition

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I'm doing the Single Digit dance now, baby, and we all know that's when the pregaming starts. 🤣

Hello! And welcome to Dipping our Toes in Royal Waters, Part Deux.


Part Deux, you ask? Where is Part Un?!


Briefly, Part Un was in August 2008, aboard Mariner of the Seas. We were in a Grand suite. We didn’t know why we booked a suite; there was no priority anything and practically no suite perks because the number of eligible Crown & Anchor members on that sailing who had the same access to the lounges completely overwhelmed the services and offerings as well as the concierge team.

 
Not that I begrudge anyone their loyalty benefits but combining loyalty perks and suite perks into one pool just meant completely watered-down benefits for everyone. 


Lines were everywhere. Free drink? Wait in line. Want a seat in the lounge to eat your appies? Wait for a seat to open. Need something from the concierge? Carve about an hour out of your day to get help. It took me practically that long to ask the concierge to book us the single thing we wanted (Ice Show tickets). I should’ve just gone to Guest Services or wherever, but I was chatting with people in line. For forking out suite $$, it was completely unremarkable and unimpressive in every other way I won’t bore you further with here. (This is a fan site after all!) However, due to that completely lackluster cruise, we haven’t sailed with Royal since.


In the interim, we became Platinum Plus on Norwegian (all Haven or suites), Platinum on Disney (all Concierge), and 3* Mariners on Holland America (all Neptune Suites). I don’t like to say we’re suite snobs, but rather we have “Super FOMO.” Fear of Missing Out. What is not available to us if we don’t book a suite?! What will we be missing out on?! Not that we are “do it all” peeps. But we like to know we can, if we want to. Most of the time we don’t want to, but what if we do? (This makes sense in my head.)


Plus, the secret to a happy, successful marriage? Separate bathrooms. We don't share a bathroom at home. If we can help it, we don't like to share while on vacation either; hence our suite life propensity.


Fast forward to mid-March 2019 when our original vacation plans fell through while still being locked in to a specific vacation week at work. We scrambled to find a substitute vacay. What to do, where to go? WHAT. TO. DO??! (Heaven forbid we stay home and work on the house. YOLO, baby!)


We of course checked the Norwegian Escape Haven first (one of our faves). This ship is approximately the same size as Anthem of the Seas, departs from NYC, and spends 2 overnights in Bermuda. In other words, about as apples-to-apples on paper as you can get. The lowest priced (and rather small in comparison) Haven room was 2K$ more than SC on the Anthem. 

I’m crazy, but not that crazy. 

The Anthem for the same week had a single SC room left for the week we needed: one Grand Loft suite. I called my TA who immediately held the suite for me for 24-hours while the hubs and I chatted over our new last-minute vacation plans.


Spoiler alert: we did not need 24 hours to decide.


Stateroom nerd warning: before jumping any guns, I needed to know if we were going to be stuck with everyone’s last choice room. My crack whip research showed that Anthem 10324 is a great room and has no negative factors. In fact, we thought we were totally lucky to get it (last minute cancellation perhaps?). A quick review of Star Class Service Perks (which was the real game changer), and I was sold. It took the hubs a couple more hours to come around. But come around he did.

Mariner OTS, bygones are bygones. We’re ready to come back to Royal! Let’s do this!


Juicy Deets: Me (SweetPea) and the Hubs (Batman) sailing on the Anthem of the Seas, 4/27, Grand Loft Suite 10324 (SC), departing Cape Liberty, NJ for an overnight in Bermuda and then up to Boston for a full day before heading back to the armpit of my great state on 5/4. (NJ born & bred here. I’m allowed to say this. My accent only comes out when I’m annoyed, thankfully, though CA born & bred Batman argues differently. However, it’s not an accent; we all know Newark, NJ is pronounced “Nork.” End of. Do not argue this with me. I’m 100% right.)

So, if you’ve indulged me this long (and God bless you for that), stick around for my quasi-live review from a born-again Royal to see if it measures up to our usual haunting grounds. Will it? I can hardly wait to see myself!


Hopefully, I don’t get frustrated blogging from my phone (I'm not finding uploading and captioning pics here and inserting them between text intuitive at all. Any hints are appreciated. Not having any "preview post" functionality isn't helping me either. 🤪) If i figure it out, be forewarned: there may be an episode or five of PUI. For those unfamiliar with that term, that is Posting Under the Influence [of the drink package] … I should probably test the edit/delete functions of this message board first. After all, #TeamSuperFOMO’s motto is “It seemed like a good idea at the time.” Who knows, at the rate I'm not figuring this out, you may just get random pictures with separate posts of me trying to explain them to you later. Out of order. What fun!


Up next: submitting your DNA test results, current blood pressure and cholesterol levels, your Superhero and Soap Opera names, and the last time you cried at a movie to your Genie. And why you should never let Batman submit said Genie survey on your behalf.

Stay tuned.

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42 minutes ago, Ogalthorpe Haywood said:

I’ll be on this sailing also!!! No suite for us, we get ready for dinner and sleep in our room so it’s not worth the money for us.

 

I totally hear you. We are quite lazy cruisers who spend lots of time in the room. My parents who are cruising Anthem for their 3rd time in June are disgusted. "We can book 3 cruises with what you paid for that!" Says the retired couple with unlimited vacation time....

See you onboard! 

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I held my breath until I read your room number.  I was so afraid that you had booked one of the corner CLS on Deck 10....but it seems (from the You Tube tour that I watched) that 10324 does not suffer from any of the misfortunes of 10720.  You are going to love that suite.  The long walk aft is the only down sideto those suites and you get used to it quickly.  

Who is your Genie ?  We had Yen Lee in Feb but I think she is probably still on vacation.

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53 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I held my breath until I read your room number.  I was so afraid that you had booked one of the corner CLS on Deck 10....but it seems (from the You Tube tour that I watched) that 10324 does not suffer from any of the misfortunes of 10720.  You are going to love that suite.  The long walk aft is the only down sideto those suites and you get used to it quickly.  

Who is your Genie ?  We had Yen Lee in Feb but I think she is probably still on vacation.

Hi Raye, I've read your B2B Anthem Star blog too. 😊❤️

I You Tubed some of the corner suites. They seem way smaller and I am not a fan of the split bath downstairs at all. Were they sky suites that got reclassified? (You probably mentioned that in your blog!) 

I've heard Yen Lee is on vacation now. We have Derick and I heard Agostina is there also. Can't remember the third, but I will surely let you know! 

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1 minute ago, AshleyDillo said:

They were giving away the corner suite that was down the hall from ours at BINGO.  They had it opened up for tours so I got to see it.  I wouldn't pick it over the normal loft layout, but I would sail it if it was heavily discounted, of course!

Totally! If that were the only suite left, I'd still take Star Class in that over a Sky Loft, but still. Trying to figure out why folks choose those corner rooms when they have options. I'm guessing that 3rd balcony is the selling point? 

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1 hour ago, SweetPea said:

 I'm guessing that 3rd balcony is the selling point? 

This is the only thing I can think of.  ...and those other 2 small balconies are absolutely USELESS !  I am always amazed that often those huge suites 8724 and 8324 are the ones that are left until the end.  It boggles the mind.  I even looked at the Owner's Loft Suite (which is a corner) on You Tube and it looks smaller than the middle CLS on either deck 8 or 10.  Why would ANYone pay more money for that OLS ?  It's not even as big as the CLS.

Anyway....SweetPea, you have a beautiful suite.  You are going to love, love, love Star Class.  I don't know Derick but I'm sure he'll be great.  I don't know if he was on Anthem in Feb. or not.  There was 1 male Genie and 2 females.  Yen never introduced us to the other 2 Genies, which I thought was odd.  On all of our other SC cruises our Genie has always introduced us to the other Genies just in case we needed anything....and we actually did once.  If Agostina is the other female Genie that was with us on Anthem in Feb (and I think she is) I did like her.  She was very funny and seemed to be very personable.

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3 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

@SweetPea, as promised, definitely following! Derrick was on when we sailed Anthem last March.  We were not Star class that sailing but there was a couple in the RL that we met who had Derrick as their Genie. They loved him!

Everyone is so nice and supportive here! ❤️

Derick has been great so far via email. I'm sure we'll get along famously! 

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We did our first SC on Oasis in 2017 and were completely spoiled.  So much so, that our kids started to complain when we talked about not doing our next cruise as a SC with the genie.  Well, here we go in 2019 in an Owner's Loft (8720) on Anthem in June - 48 days to go ... and getting our document of 'notes' together to send to our genie.  We have requested Derick, as he has come highly recommended. 

I saw earlier that@SweetPea stated her parents could book multiple cruises for what the SC costs - I'm right there with you.  I get harassed from my parents about it - but then, i'm not supposed to say anything about them staying in a JS for 3-4 B2B cruises?  haha. oh, and they booked like a 4 week cruise for next year - yeah, I only get to cruise once a year (for now).

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22 minutes ago, TheHobbys said:

I saw earlier that@SweetPea stated her parents could book multiple cruises for what the SC costs - I'm right there with you.  I get harassed from my parents about it - but then, i'm not supposed to say anything about them staying in a JS for 3-4 B2B cruises?  haha. oh, and they booked like a 4 week cruise for next year - yeah, I only get to cruise once a year (for now).

+1 add me to the list of the “parents getting mad if they found out how much we paid”.  They are veteran cruisers and inside cabin people all the way. 

So what is the solution?  Take them on a SC cruise to show them what they are missing!  Next year, December 2020 😉 

 

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56 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

+1 add me to the list of the “parents getting mad if they found out how much we paid”.  They are veteran cruisers and inside cabin people all the way. 

So what is the solution?  Take them on a SC cruise to show them what they are missing!  Next year, December 2020 😉 

 

Can I just tell you.... That Mariner cruise was for my folks' 60th birthdays. They booked a Junior Suite, so Batman and I upgraded them to a GS so I didn't feel bad about taking advantage of our perks without them. 😂

Their 50th Anniversary is next year. Star Class and Oasis out of NJ is totally in play! (If I can get my non-cruising brother to agree.) I don't even care about the crummy itinerary. That would be more about the ship. Prices seem pretty high for the NJ sailings at the moment, and the SC suites are wide open for pretty much all dates. We'll see! 

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1 hour ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

+1 add me to the list of the “parents getting mad if they found out how much we paid”.  They are veteran cruisers and inside cabin people all the way. 

So what is the solution?  Take them on a SC cruise to show them what they are missing!  Next year, December 2020 😉 

 

We get harassed by EVERYone for being suite snobs.

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4 minutes ago, SweetPea said:

I don't even care about the crummy itinerary.

We did the crummy itinerary on Anthem B2B in February !  ...but as you say, it has nothing to do with the itin for us.  It's all about enjoying the ship and enjoying the SC amenities.  I truly enjoyed doing SC on Anthem.  There is a lot to do - even for those of us who are not interested in swinging on the trapeze.  Certainly enjoyed Harmony and Allure too but I do believe that the Genie is more valuable on the Q class since there are so many more activities that can be reserved.

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The Survey Debacle

Not too long after booking (I believe we booked the weekend of 3/15 or thereabouts for our 4/27 departure) we received the infamous Genie survey for all Star Class guests.

For some reason, known only to the cruising gods, they chose to send said survey to Batman, not me.

Bad idea. Horrible, in fact.

It probably seemed like a good idea at the time.

Why Batman would be the lead on any vacation is mind blowing. 

Batman has never booked a vacation in his life. Batman is Mr. Just-Tell-Me-Where-and-When-to-Show-Up-and-What-to-Bring.

Must.

Be.

Nice.

(I kid.)

(Sort of)

Surely, he is going to grasp the magnitude the survey responses carry. I can trust him with this. Batman knows what’s at stake, right?

Right?!

Um…..

Let’s hope they do not read the surveys at all… That they are merely a means to entertain yourself while counting down to your cruise.  (Humor me this.)

 

Survey: Complete this sentence: “The hardest I ever laughed was when …”

Batman: When SweetPea began speaking in text. “Dub Tea Eff” (WTF), Bee Tea Dub (BTW), Eye Dee Kay (IDK), etc

Really, Batman?  Really?!  Dude, that was literally 10 years ago. That was the last time I made you laugh like that? 

"It was classic."

Let's be clear. Not Audrey Hepburn in an LBD classic. Blue eye shadow and leg warmer classic.

You at least could’ve made it relevant. Like when I insisted my skin looked pulled tighter lying down, looking face up, and I tried to take a selfie in that position for the required security photo for online check-in “to speed up the embarkation process.”

Fun fact: my skin did not look pulled tighter. I just looked like a mannequin.

 

Survey: If you could invite 3 people – famous or infamous – throughout history for a dinner party, whom would you invite?

Batman: Carol Burnett, Tim Conway, Harvey Korman

One) Great. Not to diminish the comedic genius of the Carol Burnett Show, but now Royal also thinks we’re “dinner at 4pm” people. Two) If I get a Blu-Ray edition of Harvey Korman’s Greatest Hits as a random gift …

 

Dub Tea Eff would I do with that? Batman, you know I do not have an eBay account, right?

 

Survey: If you could only bring three things with you to a deserted island, what would they be?

Batman: SweetPea, Satellite Service, a SMART TV.

First, I mean, hey. Priorities.

Second, it’s sweet that he wanted me with him on the island. Honestly. I mean that. I do. But that should’ve been a GIVEN, no? Clearly Royal assumes your stateroom party will be stranded TOGETHER.  I was a wasted pick!! You get 3 items, Batman, and you just wasted 33.33% on me! Besides, every chick knows that if you’re going to be stranded on a deserted island, you need a high-quality lip balm with no menthol and an SPF of at least 15. And iodine for drinking water. Please.

 

Survey: Are you more of a morning person or “night owl?”

Batman: Midnight Mongoose.

 

Succinct. I like it. “Mongoose” though??

 

Survey: What are your culinary delights and loves – for meals, snacks, and “comfort food?”

Batman: If SweetPea asks for breakfast, she means a Bloody Mary. Spicy. With a slice of bacon.

 

Credit where credit is due: #NailedIt

 

Survey: Over half our guests onboard are celebrating something – are you celebrating anything?

Batman: Me, making it to 50! Oh, and SweetPea has a birthday on the ship (Wednesday)

 

Batman has declared 2019 as the Year of Batman: he gets one vacation for every decade he’s “made it” to. This is vacation #2, with 3 planned and 4 and 5 TBD (that’s Tea Bee Dee, if you’re keeping up). So yes, although it's my birthday on the ship, he's commandeered this vacation as 1/5th of the Year of Batman. 

 

Survey: Are there any morning rules we should know about?
Batman: What is this “morning” you speak of?

#Truth. Even a broken clock ….

 

(Both Batman and I work shifts; never 9a-5p. The older we get, the harder it is to adjust to a normal schedule when we’re not working. If you read live blogs for breakfast food pics, you should stop reading now to avoid future disappointment).

 

Survey: Is there anything else we need to know?
Batman: We are leaving two black cats at home who we will miss horribly.

 

If our beautiful stateroom is made into a quasi-cat sanctuary for our cruise so we “don’t miss our cats so much,” please call the Coast Guard in advance as there will be a man overboard. I will allow him to dress warmly and put on a life jacket first. I’m not completely inhumane.

Perhaps though we won't need to miss one of them at all, if this guy has anything to say about it. I've heard there may be a dog called Tommy onboard. Maybe he'd like a playmate? 🤔

 

 20190419_111915.thumb.jpg.82205674274a6a46dbb3bb10f7157fbd.jpg

 

I digress. Of course, those are not all the survey questions. @Lovetocruise2002 has them all listed in her brilliant "I Dream of Genie" blog. I only note these here to see how (if? God, I hope it’s “if” and not “how), these in particular are interpreted onboard.

I can't even stand the suspense. 

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