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First Time Star Class 8 night Holiday Bahamas Cruise Anthem 12/20/19


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Here are some final thoughts on our first sailing with Royal. It was a great trip and we would definitely sail with Royal again.  Maybe try an Oasis class ship next time but we would also sail on Anthem again. 

Specialty Dining  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Royal excels in specialty dining. Chops, Izumi and Jaime’s offered excellent food quality. CK was good too but it had quite limited menu selections. Johnny Rockets, Sorentos and Sea Plex Doghouse are great alternatives when looking for a faster and more casual alternative.  
In Room Dining ⭐⭐⭐
We placed orders through our genie and 2 out of 3 were incorrect so I couldn’t rate them higher. 
On board activities ⭐⭐⭐⭐
We tried North Star, I fly, Wave Rider, Bumper Cars, Escape Room. We never had a chance to try climbing wall due to limited hours and weather related closures. Activities were a lot of fun! The only criticism is that not all venues recognized star class preferred access without genie being present. It may have been due to the fact that our genie didn’t accompany us on the initial visit; who knows but eventually we were allowed access. 
Zoom WIFI ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
We were impressed with the quality of the connection. Didn’t work great on our deck but otherwise loved it! 
On board Photography ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Evening photography starts at 5 and usually goes till 10. Good selection of backgrounds.  They are set up on decks 3,4 and 5.  You can view and download pictures while on-board through RCCL photo site. It’s great for those wanting to post pictures while on board. If you purchase the unlimited digital package a photo book is 50% off.  They could do a better job of having photographers in specialty restaurants but overall it exceeded expectations.  
Thermal suite ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Our experience was a good one. Nothing fancy but it has all the basics.  It was never busy during the times we went.  
Entertainment was average. We felt it was better on DCL. 
Headliners ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Gift ⭐
Spectras Cabaret ⭐
We Will Rock You ⭐⭐⭐
Embarkation/Disembarkation ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
This process was smooth and efficient.  Star class benefits are great! Biggest perk was not having to put luggage out the night before and a personalized escort on and off the ship. 
Grand Loft Suite 10320 ⭐⭐⭐⭐
We loved the suite, particularly the AFT deck as it was not windy and offered great views. We didn’t mind the smaller suite and split bathroom on main floor as we liked the views from the additional decks. Didn’t like having to walk to and from mid ship to elevators but that was expected going in. Our suite on DCL was on deck 11 or 12 forward where the Spa was located.  The only traffic was other concierge guests. While we missed the reduced traffic and close proximity to the concierge lounge, spa and elevators we still preferred our suite on Royal over the 1 BR family on DCL.  Despite HVAC issues for our first 4 days I treated that as a one off and didn’t factor it in my review. In hindsight I should have requested a meeting with the hotel maintenance manager earlier as once he was made aware of the problem we had a team of HVAC people in our suite finding the problem. I was initially worried about protocol and how that may affect our genie. 
Concierge Lounge ⭐⭐⭐
The lounge fell short for us. The hours of concierge staff are very limited, there is no access to beverages such as pop or bottled waters outside of their happy hours. We had lunch delivered there and had to run back to our suite for our beverages. DCL concierge lounge was open from 6am-10pm daily and always staffed by 1-2 concierge staff who could take care of any requests right away. You had access to all non alcoholic beverages during opening hours.  It seemed like an under utilized space the 4 or 5 times we were there.  
Tipping in Star Class 
This was an area of confusion for us. We weren’t expecting to get zero bills on-board so when we received a zero bill from specialty restaurants it said that an 18% gratuity had been added. I asked our genie about it and he confirmed that 18% gratuity was paid out on whatever the bill would have been. So $200 = $36 tip but that we could tip over and above that for exceptional service if we wanted. In Coastal Kitchen we didn’t get a bill so we had to tip in cash which we rarely carried around with us.  Coming from DCL we assumed the gratuity process at the end of the cruise would be similar and were expecting envelopes to be left in our stateroom the night before disembarkation. It all worked out but we will be more organized next time now that we have figured this out!  
Thoughts on Star Class 
Highlights were Laundry, Specialty Dining, Embarkation/Disembarkation, WIFI, bridge tour and the on-board activities. Expectations of our genie were met in terms of the basics offered and described on the website. But having seen other genies in action we wish the program was consistent. Our itinerary change and HVAC issues consumed early interactions with our genie so under other circumstances our impressions may have been different. The genie survey now seems like a waste of time. When people invest their time to complete this, there is an expectation that it will be used in some way. Otherwise why are we doing it. We celebrated Lindsay’s 50th on DCL so in comparison my 50th on Royal was a let down. We found that specialty restaurants didn’t make the connection to our beverage package when we provided our stateroom number. On several occasions the waiters were embarrassed after asking us if we had a beverage package, only to find out we were star class. We laughed it off but you could tell the servers felt uncomfortable having asked. The process for star class priority at activities was inconsistent as not all recognized priority access without genie being with us. Our genie said this sailing had a high number of last minute changes so our experience may be a one off but on at least 3 occasions we were in the middle of an activity when our genie messaged us about a time change that required us to be somewhere in 10-15 minutes or lose out on the activity. So at times we felt we were rushing from activity to activity.  But if not for our genie we may have missed out completely! 🤷‍♀️ It would be great if the Royal app and genie schedule interfaced together as it became difficult to keep track of our schedule and changes. I think next time I would be more organized and input our itinerary in my iPhone with reminders. 
Would we do star class again? Yes, absolutely! Because of the program basics that appeal to us that you can’t purchase. Given the set up at the concierge lounge I don’t think Sky Class would be a good fit.  With missing out on our visit to Coco Cay due to the itinerary change and with the FCC it just makes sense to sail with Royal again.  It was a great family vacation and I can’t wait to book our next cruise! 
 
 

 

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We made it!! And are settled into the Conrad Downtown. We landed at JFK in the midst of a winter squall. It was kinda funny because as we landed and people started turning on their phones emergency al

Here are some final thoughts on our first sailing with Royal. It was a great trip and we would definitely sail with Royal again.  Maybe try an Oasis class ship next time but we would also sail on Anth

Today was a busy day.  We started the day off by eating NYC bagels 😋 followed by pizza, pork belly and brisket 😋😋. It seems like the food coma has already started! Lol. We started out visiting Stadium

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1 hour ago, Jax said:

CK was good too but it had quite limited menu selections.

Did you try them for dinner? Only their dinner menu changes nightly.

1 hour ago, Jax said:

The only criticism is that not all venues recognized star class preferred access without genie being present.

We found this to be the case on Harmony as well.  Royal is consistent with being inconsistent. lol

1 hour ago, Jax said:

The lounge fell short for us.

I feel like if you tried Oasis class, you would like the suite lounge much more on those ships.  The concierge still has limited hours (8am-12pm & 4:30pm-8:30pm) but with the bar in the suite lounge, you can get drinks pretty much all day until 11pm.

1 hour ago, Jax said:

We weren’t expecting to get zero bills on-board so when we received a zero bill from specialty restaurants it said that an 18% gratuity had been added. I asked our genie about it and he confirmed that 18% gratuity was paid out on whatever the bill would have been. So $200 = $36 tip but that we could tip over and above that for exceptional service if we wanted.

Wait?  What?  Did I read this the wrong way or did you have to pay 18% extra on meals in specialty restaurants?  That doesn't seem right to me if that was the case.

1 hour ago, Jax said:

It was a great family vacation and I can’t wait to book our next cruise! 

Book Oasis class.  I don't think you will be disappointed.  And Oasis class ships trump Anthem any day. #teamOAclass 😉

This was a great blog @Jax!  I thoroughly enjoyed following along over the last two weeks!  Thank you for sharing!

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3 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Wait?  What?  Did I read this the wrong way or did you have to pay 18% extra on meals in specialty restaurants?  That doesn't seem right to me if that was the case.

Think what was meant is the server got what 18% of the restaurant's cover charge would have been. Then an additional gratuity could be left.

Bill was still $0, just a theoretical cut of what the gratuity would have been was given to the server. Same logic behind the gratuity for the stateroom attendant.

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2 minutes ago, CGTLH said:

Think what was meant is the server got what 18% of the restaurant's cover charge would have been. Then an additional gratuity could be left.

Bill was still $0, just a theoretical cut of what the gratuity would have been was given to the server. Same logic behind the gratuity for the stateroom attendant.

That's what I'm hoping it meant...

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18 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Did you try them for dinner? Only their dinner menu changes nightly.

Yes we did! 2 dinners and 2 breakfasts.  

We found this to be the case on Harmony as well.  Royal is consistent with being inconsistent. lol 

So we are learning! 

I feel like if you tried Oasis class, you would like the suite lounge much more on those ships.  The concierge still has limited hours (8am-12pm & 4:30pm-8:30pm) but with the bar in the suite lounge, you can get drinks pretty much all day until 11pm.

Good to know! 

Wait?  What?  Did I read this the wrong way or did you have to pay 18% extra on meals in specialty restaurants?  That doesn't seem right to me if that was the case.

No we didn’t but when we received a zero bill we wanted to make sure that the gratuity was prepaid as stated at the bottom of the bill.  It was vague for us at least and didn’t know what was expected. There were a couple occasions where we tipped additional due to exceptional service. 

Book Oasis class.  I don't think you will be disappointed.  And Oasis class ships trump Anthem any day. #teamOAclass 😉

Already looking! 

This was a great blog @Jax!  I thoroughly enjoyed following along over the last two weeks!  Thank you for sharing!

It was fun! Thanks for following along  

 

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2 hours ago, Jax said:
Concierge Lounge ⭐⭐⭐
The lounge fell short for us. The hours of concierge staff are very limited, there is no access to beverages such as pop or bottled waters outside of their happy hours. We had lunch delivered there and had to run back to our suite for our beverages. DCL concierge lounge was open from 6am-10pm daily and always staffed by 1-2 concierge staff who could take care of any requests right away. You had access to all non alcoholic beverages during opening hours.  It seemed like an under utilized space the 4 or 5 times we were there.  

I completely agree with Sabrina on this one.  The Concierge Lounge is a really awful space on Anthem - one of the few true deficiencies of Anthem, IMO.  Frankly, I'm surprised you even gave it 3 stars.  When you try the Oasis class ship you will see a tremendous difference in convenience, proximity (if you stay on deck 17) and availability.  I think you will also like the CK better on the O class even though the menu is exactly the same.  It is just a much "happier" space on the O class - big, bright and the views are much better.  It is also much more popular and can sometimes be crowded...so there's that.  But the Star Class guests have "reserved" tables (at least we did, on Oasis at the first of the month) so there is never any real wait.

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3 minutes ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

I completely agree with Sabrina on this one.  The Concierge Lounge is a really awful space on Anthem - one of the few true deficiencies of Anthem, IMO.  Frankly, I'm surprised you even gave it 3 stars.  When you try the Oasis class ship you will see a tremendous difference in convenience, proximity (if you stay on deck 17) and availability.  I think you will also like the CK better on the O class even though the menu is exactly the same.  It is just a much "happier" space on the O class - big, bright and the views are much better.  It is also much more popular and can sometimes be crowded...so there's that.  But the Star Class guests have "reserved" tables (at least we did, on Oasis at the first of the month) so there is never any real wait.

We are 🇨🇦, so it had to be really awful to rate it any lower. 🤣

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Airport Transportation to JFK. I spent hours looking into reliable transportation so hoping this review will help others. 

We used Dial 7 on 3 of our 4 legs and they are very reliable, always early, texts you that your car is on its way and again upon arrival.  From Manhattan to JFK in SUV = $130 plus tip. Would definitely use again. 

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On 11/24/2019 at 7:55 PM, WAAAYTOOO said:

We must be the only people on the planet that did NOT care for My Pillow.  Dan likes a flat pillow and My Pillow is waaaytooo fluffy for him.  I love a fluffy pillow and My Pillow is too fluffy for me.  Both of ours were demoted to the guest bedroom.

I'm just catching up, but even though they are made in my home state of Minnesota, I can't stand the things either.

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3 days post trip and reality has set in.  The only 🧞‍♂️ around here is me. I miss the ⭐️ class perks, especially our stateroom attendant Harry and having our 🧺 done daily.  I finally broke down and went grocery shopping 🛒.  Nothing gourmet happening here...tonight was 🌭.  My free time has been spent looking for our next cruise in the hopes it helps get me through the funk of being home. Plus I have the added incentive of the FCC. I really want to get to a Coco Cay ... we missed this with the itinerary change so our next cruise will likely include a stop there.  What do you guys do to readjust to life post cruise?? 

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9 hours ago, Jax said:

3 days post trip and reality has set in.  The only 🧞‍♂️ around here is me. I miss the ⭐️ class perks, especially our stateroom attendant Harry and having our 🧺 done daily.  I finally broke down and went grocery shopping 🛒.  Nothing gourmet happening here...tonight was 🌭.  My free time has been spent looking for our next cruise in the hopes it helps get me through the funk of being home. Plus I have the added incentive of the FCC. I really want to get to a Coco Cay ... we missed this with the itinerary change so our next cruise will likely include a stop there.  What do you guys do to readjust to life post cruise?? 

Yep...and that is without star class.  We got off Adventure 3 weeks ago and for some reason, with this cruise even more so, I'm itching to go back.  We only have 71 days until our next one in March (on Anthem so same as the one you were just on), but it can't come soon enough.  (And we have others booked so it's not like there is nothing booked)

I don't do this with cruises with just DH and I, but when we have family cruises, I make a photo book when we return, and I find that helps with post cruise blues.  Also, I write a review post cruise (rather than live)....so that too helps re-live it and make the cruise last a bit.

Plus...I'm on here, reading others reports and questions until the next one.  

Have really enjoyed your review.  Glad you had such a nice time.  Seems like a wonderful experience with Star class and Anthem looks great in itself.

Keep us posted on what you book next. 😉

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10 hours ago, Jax said:

3 days post trip and reality has set in.  The only 🧞‍♂️ around here is me. I miss the ⭐️ class perks, especially our stateroom attendant Harry and having our 🧺 done daily.  I finally broke down and went grocery shopping 🛒.  Nothing gourmet happening here...tonight was 🌭.  My free time has been spent looking for our next cruise in the hopes it helps get me through the funk of being home. Plus I have the added incentive of the FCC. I really want to get to a Coco Cay ... we missed this with the itinerary change so our next cruise will likely include a stop there.  What do you guys do to readjust to life post cruise?? 

Always good to have another one booked before the current one ends. lol  

And the term is "Home Genie", that is my title and that is also why I tell my family I get to be spoiled once in a while. haha

I have a suggestion for you, check out Harmony of the Seas 12/13/2020.  There are decent prices and I think there might be a few SC rooms left available on that one.  It goes to Coco Cay and we'll get to meet!  My entire family of 14 will be on that one! 😉

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11 hours ago, Jax said:

What do you guys do to readjust to life post cruise?? 

We take an approach where "post cruise" is not a recognized state of affairs. There are only two  statespre-cruise and cruise ... when the cruise is over we move directly  back to pre-cruise  mode! 😁⚓🛳😁

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2 hours ago, Ogilthorpe said:

We take an approach where "post cruise" is not a recognized state of affairs. There are only two  statespre-cruise and cruise ... when the cruise is over we move directly  back to pre-cruise  mode! 😁⚓🛳😁

OMG!!! I love that!

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4 hours ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Always good to have another one booked before the current one ends. lol  

And the term is "Home Genie", that is my title and that is also why I tell my family I get to be spoiled once in a while. haha

I have a suggestion for you, check out Harmony of the Seas 12/13/2020.  There are decent prices and I think there might be a few SC rooms left available on that one.  It goes to Coco Cay and we'll get to meet!  My entire family of 14 will be on that one! 😉

That is a great title for us mom’s....Home Genie!! Love it!! Thanks for the Harmony tip....Looking into it now!!

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3 hours ago, Ogilthorpe said:

We take an approach where "post cruise" is not a recognized state of affairs. There are only two  statespre-cruise and cruise ... when the cruise is over we move directly  back to pre-cruise  mode! 😁⚓🛳😁

Now that’s some great advice I can totally get behind!! ❤️

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2 minutes ago, Jax said:

That is a great title for us mom’s....Home Genie!! Love it!! Thanks for the Harmony tip....Looking into it now!!

Call them.  It's a Star Loft and a Royal Loft left so the site won't let you book those.  It will show up as "not available".

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5 hours ago, WannaCruise said:

Yep...and that is without star class.  We got off Adventure 3 weeks ago and for some reason, with this cruise even more so, I'm itching to go back.  We only have 71 days until our next one in March (on Anthem so same as the one you were just on), but it can't come soon enough.  (And we have others booked so it's not like there is nothing booked)

I don't do this with cruises with just DH and I, but when we have family cruises, I make a photo book when we return, and I find that helps with post cruise blues.  Also, I write a review post cruise (rather than live)....so that too helps re-live it and make the cruise last a bit.

Plus...I'm on here, reading others reports and questions until the next one.  

Have really enjoyed your review.  Glad you had such a nice time.  Seems like a wonderful experience with Star class and Anthem looks great in itself.

Keep us posted on what you book next. 😉

Thanks for the great advice! I actually ordered the photo book on board because it was 50% off with the unlimited photo package or I totally would have done that!! Hoping to have something booked before it arrives. 

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Just now, Jax said:

Thanks for the great advice! I actually ordered the photo book on board because it was 50% off with the unlimited photo package or I totally would have done that!! Hoping to have something booked before it arrives. 

@Jax I meant to ask you, how much did the photo book come to with the discount?  And do they ship it to you?  How does that work?  Asking because we figured for Harmony, with 14 of us in the Villa, the photo package would be a fantastic deal.

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1 minute ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Call them.  It's a Star Loft and a Royal Loft left so the site won't let you book those.  It will show up as "not available".

Yes I noticed that when I checked on your sailing and others. I had no idea so thanks for telling me! Wish me luck. 

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