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SweetPea

Keepin' It (Star) Classy: Anthem Edition

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21 hours ago, SweetPea said:

 

Disembarkation is easy, but you still must leave your luggage out the night before. Many a time, we've lost track of when that is supposed to be and the Haven staff flags us down and helps. Oops. When you're ready to disembark, the concierge escorts you off via service elevator and then hands you off to someone ashore who continues your escort where your luggage is waiting in a priority area. 

 

Yeah, sounds like royal gives you the best of all worlds. All the advantages of self carry off.  But you don’t need to schelp all your bags off yourself.  It works like it would if you ask bell services for help at a hotel.  Nice!

Enjoyed your posts for this trip. Thanks for taking the time to share your experience with us. 

I don’t have any immediate plans to cruise in haven or star class anytime soon.  Kids traveling with us + multiple cruises per year + saving for things like college necessitate other priorities, but it’s certainly fun to see what sorts of experiences are available. 

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Sweet Pea we are NCL cruisers. Always stayed in haven 2 Br family suite. Since the new ship Bliss is doing Alaska now decided to try Royal. Staying in 2 BR aquatheatre. Couple of questions......Did u miss the Haven Courtyard? We spent a lot of time on upper deck longe area. Not worried about the pool but a little worried about getting a chair on sea days in Solarium or suite deck. What about Coastal kitchen? I did like the haven restaurant that u didn’t need a reservation? Any tips would be helpful thanks

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42 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Room service for disembarkation is a great way to end the cruise.

Thanks for the great posts all week.  Glad you made it home safe.  The time flies by, doesn’t it ?

I honestly wasn't expecting breakfast. It was over WAY TOO quickly. Is that where you get your screen name?! 

28 minutes ago, Sharon Busch said:

Sweet Pea we are NCL cruisers. Always stayed in haven 2 Br family suite. Since the new ship Bliss is doing Alaska now decided to try Royal. Staying in 2 BR aquatheatre. Couple of questions......Did u miss the Haven Courtyard? We spent a lot of time on upper deck longe area. Not worried about the pool but a little worried about getting a chair on sea days in Solarium or suite deck. What about Coastal kitchen? I did like the haven restaurant that u didn’t need a reservation? Any tips would be helpful thanks

We are doing a 2BR on Bliss in December. Can't wait! 

 

I will say that yes, we did miss the Courtyard. The suite sundeck was pretty lacking, but it sounds like you're doing Oasis class and I hear those class ships have amped up the suite sundeck amenities. @Lovetocruise2002 might be able to tell you about that. 😊

You shouldn't have an issue getting seats, I would think. 

What we missed most was the Haven bar. We always, always meet new folks and make friends there. There were lovely folks at the Pub, but not the same as running into the same people night after night. 

 

You will love Coastal Kitchen. Your Genie will make your reservations. We liked that the menu changed. 

 

I'm getting ready to do a sum up, as soon as I drink my detox tea and nap! 

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1 hour ago, SweetPea said:

The suite sundeck was pretty lacking, but it sounds like you're doing Oasis class and I hear those class ships have amped up the suite sundeck amenities. @Lovetocruise2002 might be able to tell you about that. 😊

You shouldn't have an issue getting seats, I would think. 

The suite sundeck on Oasis class is better than the one on Anthem in that there is a bit more seating and there is a bar.  Also there are a few cabanas (except SY) that you might be able to grab if you don't like the sun.  I don't those are on Anthem?  You should have no issues getting seats.  I have never found the suite sundeck to be crowded on a sea day or port day.  I have never sailed NCL Haven class but the Yacht Club on MSC had the best suite sundeck, IMO.  They had cabanas, ample seating, a pool, and a bar/restaurant.  You literally could stay there all day.  So convenient. 

2 hours ago, 3shar said:

What about Coastal kitchen? I did like the haven restaurant that u didn’t need a reservation?

You normally need a reservation for CK but if you are SC, I found that they could squeeze you in, even last minute.  Just let your Genie know. Don't miss the filet on Night 1!  Best one, better than Chops!

Our experience on HM was that we did not even need our Genie.  They seemed to know on embarkation day already that we were SC.  One time they were completely packed for breakfast and I told the kids to go to the WJ.  Right away they offered to send the food to our suite.  It was delivered in less than 10 min. 

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27 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

@SweetPea Thank you for such an entertaining blog!  Glad to hear that you enjoyed your experience.  Hopefully it does not take you too long to get back into those jeans. 🤣

My ratio is currently 8:1. Meaning 8 weeks of recovery for every one week of cruising. I'll try on those jeans again at the end of June.... Maybe July to be safe. 

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6 hours ago, karl_nj said:

Agree about the bathrooms in those mini suites on breakaway (and similar ships). Especially the showers. Amazing showers. You forget you are on a ship.

But the balcony is so tiny for most cabins. That was a bad design decision. I much prefer the direction Royal went in.

It’s interesting that the same shipyard made Quantum class and Breakaway class.  In some ways they are so different in regards to design decisions. 

The balconies on Deck 8 of the Breakaway ships have a larger balcony. It’s a great setup.  

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2 hours ago, SweetPea said:

I honestly wasn't expecting breakfast. It was over WAY TOO quickly. Is that where you get your screen name?! 

We are doing a 2BR on Bliss in December. Can't wait! 

 

I will say that yes, we did miss the Courtyard. The suite sundeck was pretty lacking, but it sounds like you're doing Oasis class and I hear those class ships have amped up the suite sundeck amenities. @Lovetocruise2002 might be able to tell you about that. 😊

You shouldn't have an issue getting seats, I would think. 

What we missed most was the Haven bar. We always, always meet new folks and make friends there. There were lovely folks at the Pub, but not the same as running into the same people night after night. 

 

You will love Coastal Kitchen. Your Genie will make your reservations. We liked that the menu changed. 

 

I'm getting ready to do a sum up, as soon as I drink my detox tea and nap! 

Thank you. I am sure I will miss the haven bar for my pre dinner glass of wine every night too....Hoping things will all balance out in the end between two lines. Bliss is our next ship too....Waiting for itinerary to change down the line

 

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7 minutes ago, 3shar said:

I am sure I will miss the haven bar for my pre dinner glass of wine every night too

The Suite Lounge on Oasis class ships is a nice space for those pre-dinner beverages. Nice thing about the SL it isn't limited to just a few selections like the Concierge Lounge would be on Quantum class, SL has a full service bar. Plus it isn't a trek to reach the SL on Oasis class.

Plus the bar in the SL is generally open 11am to 11pm.

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29 minutes ago, 3shar said:

Thank you. I am sure I will miss the haven bar for my pre dinner glass of wine every night too....Hoping things will all balance out in the end between two lines. Bliss is our next ship too....Waiting for itinerary to change down the line

 

Yes, like the @CGTLH already mentioned, the suite lounge (connected to CK) has a pretty full bar. Love that atmosphere there.

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49 minutes ago, 3shar said:

I am sure I will miss the haven bar for my pre dinner glass of wine every night too.

Another thought being Star Class you could get a glass or two of wine delivered for enjoyment on your balcony prior to dinner.

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This was so much fun to read @SweetPea!!   I’m not sure I will ever get into a junior suite much less a star class so I’m loving reading about everyone’s trip in the suite life!  I have only done 5 cruises and they were all on royal so I enjoyed the comparisons with ncl.  Hope the jeans fit in July lol!  Jane

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Again, big thank you to everyone who followed along! I feel the love! 

Now that I've decompressed and begun the detox process (barely, I have about 8 more weeks to go...), I wanted to do a debrief. My review was a bit scattered, and I wanted to put the comparisons all in one place for those interested. 

As I mentioned, we are also platinum on Disney, but I'm not going to bother to do much of a comparison there. I'll sum it up here: the perks of booking concierge on Disney are pretty much the privilege of getting a Cabana on the Family Beach at Castaway Cay. Be prepared to email that request for a Cabana on the family beach to the shoreside concierge team at exactly midnight on 125 days out. 

I'm never sure if Disney creates neurotics or attracts them.

You do get priority check in that is shared with Platinum guests. If you're concierge, you'll get an escort on the ship. 

You'll have access to the concierge lounge, where drinks are served 5p-10p. Disney has no drink package, 1-2 specialty restaurants which you will pay for like everyone else. No reserved seating for shows. No special disembarkation, unless you ask for an escort off the ship, which may or may not be available. 

Essentially, you're paying obnoxious prices to score the Cabana, a bigger room, access to the lounge, and the concierge team who acts as your guest services. 

After our fill, we're done with Disney and won't be back. 

Now to sum up Royal Star Class v. Haven, I've created a table I'm hoping I can upload in a way that you'll be able to view. 

Seeing it on paper, it's clear who the winner is. But for us, our cruising decisions will always be based on ship, itinerary, and price. I can safely say we are no longer loyal to the Haven and will always consider Royal SC. We have no intention of canceling our 12-night Southern Caribbean 2BR/2 bath Haven room on the Bliss in December. I feel we got a good deal, and no SC rooms are available on the Anthem during the same time frame, and I remain hesitant to book us outside of SC. We're still really looking forward to the Bliss. We love the courtyard concept. 

After this, I still need to get bridge tour pics from Batman. I haven't even seen them yet myself. It'll be a surprise for all of us! 

Royal Port of Cape Liberty.docx

 

 

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21 minutes ago, SweetPea said:

Essentially, you're paying obnoxious prices to score the Cabana, a bigger room, access to the lounge, and the concierge team who acts as your guest services. 

After our fill, we're done with Disney and won't be back. 

Now to sum up Royal Star Class v. Haven, I've created a table I'm hoping I can upload in a way that you'll be able to view. 

Seeing it on paper, it's clear who the winner is. But for us, our cruising decisions will always be based on ship, itinerary, and price. I can safely say we are no longer loyal to the Haven and will always consider Royal SC. We have no intention of canceling our 12-night Southern Caribbean 2BR/2 bath Haven room on the Bliss in December. I feel we got a good deal, and no SC rooms are available on the Anthem during the same time frame, and I remain hesitant to book us outside of SC. We're still really looking forward to the Bliss. We love the courtyard concept. 

After this, I still need to get bridge tour pics from Batman. I haven't even seen them yet myself. It'll be a surprise for all of us! 

Royal Port of Cape Liberty.docx 15.07 kB · 1 download

 

 

Those Castaway Cay cabana's are really nice though... my mother-in-law booked a suite on our last Disney cruise and rented the cabana for all of us to enjoy. It was certainly something.

Not planning on checking out the new Disney ships when they come out?  Since you are Platinum it seems like you already get many of the Concierge-class perks.  Perhaps you could slum it in a regular balcony cabin for a 4 nighter 🙂

You also forgot to mention that Bayonne is way easier to get to compared to Manhattan, for us New Jersey-ites.  🙂  (and don't even get me started on the Brooklyn cruise terminal...)

Have you thought about any of the more luxury cruise lines?  Oceania, Seabourn, Silversea, etc?  Or do you prefer the ship-within-a-ship concept, where you get luxury on a mega cruise ship?

 

 

 

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