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JLMoran

Second Anthem - NJ to Bermuda - Oct 19 to Oct 24 - LIVE(ISH)

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ūüé∂ Seven more days 'til we go on the cruise!

Seven more days 'til we gooooo!!! ūüé∂

I was going to wait until the day before we left, just to avoid joining the @Matt and @Lovetocruise2002 bandwagon, but work is nuts and nights aren't looking to be much better this week, so...

The Ship

As the title says, this is our second trip on Anthem of the Seas, having sailed her just over a year ago! I've been looking forward to this since the day we booked it, which was (amusingly) at my wife's strong request¬†a mere two weeks after we got back from that last sailing.¬†ūüėā

Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Depart Cape Liberty at 4:00 PM
  • Day 2 - Sea Day
  • Day 3 - Arrive in Bermuda at 8:00 AM, stay overnight
  • Day 4 - Depart Bermuda at 5:00 PM
  • Day 5 - Sea Day
  • Day 6 - Return to Cape Liberty and non-cruising life

Why We Booked It

Our trip last year to Bermuda left us loving this little island that's nice and close to our home state of NJ, and we knew before the first day was even over that we had to come back here. Lots of places we didn't explore last time and want to get a look at, and not enough time at Horseshoe Bay beach. I didn't think we'd be coming back just a year later, but Cathy said she really wanted to go back right away and not wait. Well, who am I to argue against a "YOLO Book It!!!" request?

 

I'm guessing I'll be a bit more live this time around, for reasons I'll get into in another post or two...

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Cabin

This time around, we're in a category 4D OV Balcony on deck 7, room 7244. This cabin is right at the aft end of the bump-out, and it's just two doors down the hall from the J4 we stayed in last year!

We would have loved to stay in a JS again and get the double points along with CK access, but the budget just didn't allow for it when I've got this other sailing coming up next August...

Dining

We're doing Traditional Dining in the MDR, late seating (8:00 PM). 5:30 is just too darned early for us to eat, and we had no problems with an 8 PM dinner time on Freedom last year, so we're sticking with what we know we liked and avoiding the MTD crowds.

No specialty dining pre-purchased, although I'm planning to go to Izumi for lunch on one of the sea days like I did last year. If Jamie's Italian offers a special for lunch we may try that, but otherwise just going to stick with what's complementary. Along those lines¬†we did make a reservation for Solarium Bistro on Night 4 to try it out and see how it compares to the MDR; we already know it's no CK. ūüėȬ†

Pre-Cruise Purchases

  • Refreshment Package for both of us, bought for a never-again-seen $17 pp/pn on Black Friday, just a few weeks after we booked the cruise
    • That's right, this time around I am¬†not¬†on #teamDX; the price never got lower than $52/night, and that's just more than I'm willing to pay
    • I'll be bringing my allowed two bottles of wine -- I haven't decided yet if I'm bringing two bottles of red or one each of red and white, but they'll be transported in this neoprene carrier I bought on Amazon
  • VOOM Surf + Stream 2-device package, also bought on Black Friday and also for a then-jaw-dropping price -- $17.99 per night!! That's a half-penny shy of $9.00¬†per device per night!
  • Reservations to see Spectra's Cabaret on Night 2 at 10:00 PM, and We Will Rock You on Night 5 at 6:30 PM
  • Ripcord by iFly on Day 2 at 3:00 PM, just for myself

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Excursions

As with last year, we bought no excursions through the Cruise Planner because it's so easy to just go out and do our own thing. But that doesn't mean we don't have any plans.

Last year we started our day going to St. George's; this time around we're thinking we'll visit Hamilton and explore the city at our leisure. We'll likely get lunch there as well, and then make our way back to the Dockyard. Depending on the timing, we may check out the dockyard itself and the historic fort or some of the other sights in the area.

At 5:45 PM that day, we'll be taking a sunset catamaran cocktail sailing that I booked through TripAdvisor / Viator. This was very highly rated and looked to be more enjoyable than the sunset offerings the ship had, along with being appreciably less expensive. I won't be surprised to find, however, that there are some people from the ship with us who actually booked it through the ship. Because it's 90 minutes and leaves right from the Dockyard, we'll be back in plenty of time for our 8 PM dinner slot.

On our second day in Bermuda, we'll take the shuttle vans to Horseshoe Bay for a re-visit. This time around, we know we want to stay for a longer while so we'll be properly "geared up". But, I mentioned something about a complication...

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As many here know, my feet are... pretty messed up. They've both had multiple surgeries that literally started when I was a baby, and that's led to some chronic annoyances over the years. In this case, the primary scar on the inside of my left foot has once again decided now was the perfect time to cry "uncle" and re-open for what I think is now the fourth or maybe fifth time. I've taken care of it like always, and it's not at all infected or anything bad; but it's also not really healing or filling back in.

So yesterday I finally got myself to the local wound care center to get it dealt with yet again. But this means I'm going to be wearing bandages for weeks, and that obviously means absolutely NO going into any of the ship's pools. I'd be grossed out if I saw someone with a big bandage go into the pool with me, and no way am I going to make someone else feel that way.

Never mind what might already be floating around in the water that's bad for me.

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Most likely not going to be able to enjoy the ocean at Horseshoe Bay, either.

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So my time in Bermuda is going to be carefully considered; the massive amounts of walking I did last year will probably have to be scaled back a fair bit, with more time spent on buses, ferries, or in taxis. That's a real unknown at this point, just depends on how much I heal and what kind of clearance the doctor gives me. And a lot of my time on Anthem is going to be spent sitting in loungers, soaking up the sun outside (when it's warm enough), hanging out at places like the Pub or Schooner Bar or Two70 Lounge, and making the most of it with everything else there is to do on board...

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...which is a pretty massive list!

Anthem is finally included in the new Royal app, and one of the benefits of that is that I've been able to preview the on-board activities that will be offered on this sailing. And boy howdy are there a lot of things I'd like to check out!

  • Day 1 has the RED nightclub experience in Two70 -- Even though it's at 10:45, I am¬†definitely¬†going to¬†check this out since they didn't have it last year; it also gives me a reason to check out the Two70 Bar and their specialty options ūüėȬ†
  • On Day 2, they are having an Oktoberfest beer tasting in the pub --¬†sign me up!!
  • Vintages is doing a series of wine flight tastings -- Since I'm already buying alcoholic drinks a la carte, I may do one or two of these in addition to the Oktoberfest tasting
    • Italian reds on Day 2
    • Chardonnay on Day 3
    • "International" whites on Day 4 (this is¬†not¬†the "Wines around the World" available in the cruise planner; found that listed separately)
    • Finally, "your choice"¬†on Day 5
  • Unlike last year, Two70 is doing a pair of¬†virtual concerts , one of which is Santa Fe & the Fat City Horns on night 3
    • This was something we had¬†really¬†hoped to see after watching a sample of them in the "Two70 Experience" show the first night of our last cruise
    • But the show starts at 8 PM, which conflicts with dinner; maybe we'll just eat in the Wind-jah-mehr that night
  • We have a silent disco this trip! Also on¬†Night 3 in Two70, a couple hours after the virtual concert
  • Night 4 has a "Colors of Israel" art exhibition in the gallery (it's Yom Kippur that day, and I'm guessing this is the main reason for the timing of this¬†particular exhibit)
  • Days 4 and 5 see an Augmented Reality game come to Anthem -- "Expedition Two70"; people can use their phones to play¬†four different games where you find artifacts placed in the Two70 space, scan them, and trigger a challenge to get a different mask for each game.
  • The pub is doing an international (not just Oktoberfest) beer tasting on Day 5; if I had to guess, it's just samples of the beer they already have in stock and not likely to be worth it for me
  • Finally, there's a Vistarama fireworks party on Night 5

 

All of that is before factoring in the live entertainment we'll have on board. So far, our regular performers will be:

  • Joyce Kuo playing guitar early evenings in the Schooner Bar
  • Jafar Curry, Marc McBride, and Pavel Boev will be taking turns playing piano in the Schooner Bar after the late dinner hour
  • William Millar will be our nightly¬†guitar player¬†performing in the pub
  • Mellow Mood will be playing Caribbean music in Boleros each afternoon...
  • ...while Marakas will be¬†playing their "Latin Fiesta" show¬†nightly in Boleros
  • And finally,¬†the Royal Swedes will be returning to perform in The Music Hall

I've already seen The Royal Swedes -- they were on our sailing last year, and I'm starting to wonder if they're just the band they bring on board for shoulder season or at least these shorter sailings. No one else is performing in the Music Hall and, honestly, I'm both bummed and annoyed. They're OK, and play a decent variety of music from multiple decades, but I never found myself wanting to stay and watch them for more than a few minutes.

If anyone has seen any of the other performers and can comment on how they are, let me know!

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Photography

This year is going to be a bit different on the photography front. In addition to my now-rapidly-aging iPhone 6s Plus with Moment add-on lenses that I've used on the last two cruises, I'm going to be bringing a new camera with me. It's a first-generation Sony Cybershot DSC-RX100. Even though the camera was introduced about 4 years prior to my phone, this is still a big upgrade from my phone's camera, even though it's "just" a compact model that can easily fit in my pocket.

  • 1" equivalent 20 megapixel sensor -- way larger than the sensor on my phone
  • 3.6x optical zoom (28-100mm equivalent), vs the phone's fixed 28mm lens
  • ∆í/1.8-4.9 variable aperture, vs. phone's fixed aperture
  • Full manual mode along with Aperture and Shutter priority modes

This camera is something special for me. It was a gift from @twangster, given to me just before last year's trip on Anthem; apparently he really¬†wants me to get off the phone and step up my photography game!¬†ūüėā¬†I've been learning how to use it for the last year, but I still have a ways to go before I feel like I've mastered it. Most likely for this trip I'll be sticking with the automatic mode for most of my shots, but when I'm able I'll also tinker around with one or two of the controls to see if I can get something better after taking an initial auto-mode pic.

Now, here's the rub -- I don't have a laptop or large-storage iPad; all I'll be bringing on that front is a 2013 first-gen iPad Air with only 16 GB of space, most of which is already used up. I'm mainly using that to read the eBooks I've purchased for this trip. But I will try and find my USB dongle for the thing so that I can at least try to offload the pictures from the camera so they can be edited and posted here. If that works without any friction, great! Otherwise, pictures will end up posted in two separate groups: Anything posted during the cruise will have been taken with my phone, while pictures taken with the new camera won't be posted until after I've gotten home and had time to transfer and edit them on my iMac.

Just to show what a difference this new camera makes for me, here are some pictures I took with it last fall, not long after I got home from the previous Bermuda trip. Chose these ones because of the depth of field that I can never get with my phone, plus the much-improved color, contrast and shadow detail:

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Sooo excited to follow along as we'll be on Anthem in March.  Great that you get a preview of all entertainment to come.  Lots of great stuff!

P.S. Doesn't Schooner Bar have a piano player (vs guitar)?  It's my favorite live music venue on Royal, but I'm pro-piano over guitar.

Fun to count down with you. 

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16 minutes ago, WannaCruise said:

P.S. Doesn't Schooner Bar have a piano player (vs guitar)?  It's my favorite live music venue on Royal, but I'm pro-piano over guitar.

For evening performances after 8:00 PM, you're 100% right. But, you see, I just discovered this isn't just any guitarist. I finally tapped on the calendar item and read the description.

Quote

Create lasting memories as you have a drink and hum along to timeless guitar melodies played by the featured guitarist from "We Will Rock You"

This just went from "I could take it or leave it" to "There is no way on God's green earth that I am going to miss this!!" Yeah, she's that good!

And now I'm wondering if the rest of the cast will be joining her at one of the four performances she's doing. She's scheduled for just Night 1 and Night 2, at 6:30 and 8:00 PM for a 45-minute set. WWRY is being performed on nights 4 and 5, so not sure if there will be a surprise pub performance or other impromptu gathering of the cast somewhere on night 3.

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5 hours ago, JLMoran said:

 

  • Ripcord by iFly on Day 2 at 3:00 PM, just for myself

I loved IFly.¬† I was all set to sign up again before I even got my suit off but they said on the 5 day cruise you could only sign up once ‚ėĻÔłŹ.¬† If I had known I would have given someone my phone to video me.¬† Oh well next time.

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3 hours ago, MaryS said:

I loved IFly.¬† I was all set to sign up again before I even got my suit off but they said on the 5 day cruise you could only sign up once ‚ėĻÔłŹ.¬† If I had known I would have given someone my phone to video me.¬† Oh well next time.

I missed my session last year, so this will be my first chance to experience it. Not making the same mistake twice!

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8 hours ago, Sweety said:

I will be following. Love Looking forward to the pictures.

I totally agree with Sweety!  We're all looking forward to your pictures from this new camera!  Take it easy and pace yourself and just live in the moment!  I love, love the Anthem also!  Michelle

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ūüé∂ Only six days 'til we go on the cruise, only six days 'til we go...!! ūüé∂

giphy.gif

Awesome news for me -- I'm not allergic to these bandages!!! Did the first change and there is no redness, swelling, or anything else where the bandage was located.

You have no idea how huge this is. Along with everything else, I have a fairly serious latex allergy; I haven't been able to use Band Aid bandages or any other brand, even when they're labeled as 100% latex free, for decades. I don't know if it's actually the adhesive they use or that the bandage material is still close enough to latex to trigger the reaction, but every over-the-counter bandage I've ever tried has caused a severe reaction within a day.

The nurse at the wound center told me CVS also sells these same bandages under a different brand name, possibly generic;¬†I just need to match up the manufacturer --¬†M√∂lnlycke. Imma going over there right now and buying up their entire inventory!¬†ūüė≠

I can use bandages again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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On 10/12/2019 at 12:21 PM, JLMoran said:
  • Refreshment
    • I'll be bringing my allowed two bottles of wine -- I haven't decided yet if I'm bringing two bottles of red or one each of red and white, but they'll be transported in this neoprene carrier I bought on Amazon
  • Ripcord by iFly on Day 2 at 3:00 PM, just for myself

Did iFly twice on Anthem, it was a lot of fun. 

I like the bottle holder, way better than what I used for me wife's bottle of sangria (that she never opened ... not enough room time & drink package .. so we brought it home).

 

IMG_20190920_211528.jpg

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On 10/12/2019 at 11:52 AM, JLMoran said:

ūüé∂ Seven more days 'til we go on the cruise!

Seven more days 'til we gooooo!!! ūüé∂

I was going to wait until the day before we left, just to avoid joining the @Matt and @Lovetocruise2002 bandwagon, but work is nuts and nights aren't looking to be much better this week, so...

The Ship

As the title says, this is our second trip on Anthem of the Seas, having sailed her just over a year ago! I've been looking forward to this since the day we booked it, which was (amusingly) at my wife's strong request¬†a mere two weeks after we got back from that last sailing.¬†ūüėā

Itinerary

  • Day 1 - Depart Cape Liberty at 4:00 PM
  • Day 2 - Sea Day
  • Day 3 - Arrive in Bermuda at 8:00 AM, stay overnight
  • Day 4 - Depart Bermuda at 5:00 PM
  • Day 5 - Sea Day
  • Day 6 - Return to Cape Liberty and non-cruising life

Why We Booked It

Our trip last year to Bermuda left us loving this little island that's nice and close to our home state of NJ, and we knew before the first day was even over that we had to come back here. Lots of places we didn't explore last time and want to get a look at, and not enough time at Horseshoe Bay beach. I didn't think we'd be coming back just a year later, but Cathy said she really wanted to go back right away and not wait. Well, who am I to argue against a "YOLO Book It!!!" request?

 

I'm guessing I'll be a bit more live this time around, for reasons I'll get into in another post or two...

Following because I think I am rebooking Anthem Thanksgiving week ( since we are not on it as planned right now! ).  You get on on our 21st anniversary on Saturday!

 

 

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On 10/12/2019 at 2:05 PM, JLMoran said:

...which is a pretty massive list!

Anthem is finally included in the new Royal app, and one of the benefits of that is that I've been able to preview the on-board activities that will be offered on this sailing. And boy howdy are there a lot of things I'd like to check out!

  • Day 1 has the RED nightclub experience in Two70 -- Even though it's at 10:45, I am¬†definitely¬†going to¬†check this out since they didn't have it last year; it also gives me a reason to check out the Two70 Bar and their specialty options ūüėȬ†
  • On Day 2, they are having an Oktoberfest beer tasting in the pub --¬†sign me up!!
  • Vintages is doing a series of wine flight tastings -- Since I'm already buying alcoholic drinks a la carte, I may do one or two of these in addition to the Oktoberfest tasting
    • Italian reds on Day 2
    • Chardonnay on Day 3
    • "International" whites on Day 4 (this is¬†not¬†the "Wines around the World" available in the cruise planner; found that listed separately)
    • Finally, "your choice"¬†on Day 5
  • Unlike last year, Two70 is doing a pair of¬†virtual concerts , one of which is Santa Fe & the Fat City Horns on night 3
    • This was something we had¬†really¬†hoped to see after watching a sample of them in the "Two70 Experience" show the first night of our last cruise
    • But the show starts at 8 PM, which conflicts with dinner; maybe we'll just eat in the Wind-jah-mehr that night
  • We have a silent disco this trip! Also on¬†Night 3 in Two70, a couple hours after the virtual concert
  • Night 4 has a "Colors of Israel" art exhibition in the gallery (it's Yom Kippur that day, and I'm guessing this is the main reason for the timing of this¬†particular exhibit)
  • Days 4 and 5 see an Augmented Reality game come to Anthem -- "Expedition Two70"; people can use their phones to play¬†four different games where you find artifacts placed in the Two70 space, scan them, and trigger a challenge to get a different mask for each game.
  • The pub is doing an international (not just Oktoberfest) beer tasting on Day 5; if I had to guess, it's just samples of the beer they already have in stock and not likely to be worth it for me
  • Finally, there's a Vistarama fireworks party on Night 5

 

All of that is before factoring in the live entertainment we'll have on board. So far, our regular performers will be:

  • Joyce Kuo playing guitar early evenings in the Schooner Bar
  • Jafar Curry, Marc McBride, and Pavel Boev will be taking turns playing piano in the Schooner Bar after the late dinner hour
  • William Millar will be our nightly¬†guitar player¬†performing in the pub
  • Mellow Mood will be playing Caribbean music in Boleros each afternoon...
  • ...while Marakas will be¬†playing their "Latin Fiesta" show¬†nightly in Boleros
  • And finally,¬†the Royal Swedes will be returning to perform in The Music Hall

I've already seen The Royal Swedes -- they were on our sailing last year, and I'm starting to wonder if they're just the band they bring on board for shoulder season or at least these shorter sailings. No one else is performing in the Music Hall and, honestly, I'm both bummed and annoyed. They're OK, and play a decent variety of music from multiple decades, but I never found myself wanting to stay and watch them for more than a few minutes.

If anyone has seen any of the other performers and can comment on how they are, let me know!

The special tastings is actually something I enjoy doing again when I don't get the drink package!

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