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Anthem Jan. 5, 2020 11 Nights Southern Caribbean - RECAP


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I'm writing this in the past tense because, well, the cruise is over.  I knew I would be busy on this one so in fairness I'm going to skip a lot of things about this magnificent ship.  

I've always enjoyed Anthem and Quantum class in general as evidenced by this being my fourth time on Anthem.  I wouldn't keep coming back if this wasn't a great ship.

Itinerary:

Day 1 - Bayonne embarking

Day 2 - Sea day

Day 3 - Sea day

Day 4 - San Juan

Day 5 - St. Maarten

Day 6 - Antigua

Day 7 - St Lucia

Day 8 - St Kitts

Day 9 - Sea day

Day 10 - Sea day

Day 11 - Sea day

Day 12 -  Bayonne debarking

 

I've done a couple of previous Anthem live blogs, you'll find those here:

  https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/5068-anthem-112517-712-b2b/

    and

  https://www.royalcaribbeanblog.com/boards/index.php?/topic/5387-anthem-11918-9-night-bahamas/

Spoiler alert - I still love this ship after my latest cruise.

Without further adieu, let's get this started.

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Night 1 continued... After dinner I wandered and found DSB in the Music Hall.  They are a Journey tribute band and very good. I've seen these guys before on Anthem and was pleased they

Sail away party on the Helipad. I've always called it a Winch Pad because that's what the big letters on it say but when the Captain invites you to the Helipad, I'm going with his wording.  His s

Night 1 Dinner - Coastal Kitchen Those who have eaten at CK know the drill.  Classics that never change on one side... Daily items on the other side Caesar Salad Int

Day 0 

I flew into Newark like I always do.  I had Southwest booked but then they pulled out of Newark so I relied on my tried and true airline who rarely lets me down, Delta.

As it turns out that was a blessing.  On this occasion I was able to fly the new A220 aircraft born from the Canadian Bombardier C series.  There is some background to this aircraft but that's a story for another day.  Now it's offered as an Airbus A220.

My good ole airline even upgraded me to first class so I was able to "sit up front" on this occasion.  With boarding done early I saw an opportunity to peek into the cockpit and asked permission to take a picture, granted.  It's a very modern and comfortable aircraft.

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The A220 didn't disappoint. 

Landing in Newark and reaching baggage claim I had a "things that make you go hmmm" moment when I spotted a blue container on the luggage carousel.  At least I'm not the only overpacker when it comes to cruising.

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Unfortunately my Hilton hotel booked using points let me down.  The airport shuttle wasn't running so after standing in the cold for a while for a shuttle that was promised but never came I hailed an Uber and reach my Home2 Suites hotel.  No rooms.  Apparently housekeeping walked off the job today, or so they claimed.  They set me up with the Hilton down the road so with another couple also rejected they sent us to the Hilton in a taxi they paid for and off we went. 

Finally by 2am I was in my room at the Hilton Airport.   Now there are two Hilton brands I won't stay at.  Marriot - I'm coming back...

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Day 1 - Bayonne 

IT"S CRUISE DAY!!!

I checked both Lyft and Uber and found Uber a bit cheaper.  Uber it is.


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The Uber app sent my driver all over the place on the way to pick me up.  Even my driver wasn't sure what was going on.  None the less I arrived at Cape Liberty just after 10am.

My cabin on this cruise was a Junior Suite so I took advantage of the suite line and waiting area.  Check in was quick and convenient.

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The rest of the terminal:

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Boarding commenced shortly after 10:35am.  

Later I noted the much heavier terminal traffic just before noon:

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Cabins ready at 1:30 so I grabbed a Kümmelweck in CafeTwo70 and made reservations at Coastal Kitchen for the duration of the voyage.  

Sail away shortly after muster, here is Lady Liberty with a telephoto lens from my port side balcony:

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Lower Manhattan:

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I was almost done unpacking when I made a dash for deck 15 to take in the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

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Phew, looks like we'll make it one more time.

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Cabin Tour - J4 Junior Suite 6240, Port side

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No walk in closet but ample space.

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Wow bands included with a JS.

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Ample space in the suite.

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The bathroom facilities are split with a water closet or toilet on one side:

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And the bathtub and shower on the other side. 

Bathtub on the left...

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Shower on the right.

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Rainfall shower head (not pictured) as well as shower head sprayer.

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Foot rest/shelf for shower supplies.

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L'Occitane toiletries: 

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I waited until we were under nicer skies to photograph the balcony.  It's a nice cabin with large windows and views to the sea.

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The view down.  That's the deck 5 port side public sitting area below the cabin.  No impact to the balcony, smoking side is starboard.

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The view aft.

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The view forward.

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Night 1 Dinner - Coastal Kitchen

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Those who have eaten at CK know the drill.  Classics that never change on one side...

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Daily items on the other side

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Caesar Salad

Interesting presentation and very tasty.

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Fillet Mignon - Yum.

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The fillet remains to be the best steak in the fleet. 

Dessert menu

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Chocolate Praline Tart

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Coastal Kitchen remains a fantastic experience.

Back to my cabin my Crown and Anchor amenities have arrived.  Loyalty pays.  Who needs a drink package?

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Night 1 continued...

After dinner I wandered and found DSB in the Music Hall.  They are a Journey tribute band and very good.

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I've seen these guys before on Anthem and was pleased they would be back.

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It wasn't long before the audience was on the dance floor.

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Meanwhile in Boleros The Royal Swedes were also rocking it out.

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Getting late The VIA was empty.

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Aft or midship elevator bank. 

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Anthem really is a pretty ship.

Enough for day 1, more to come...

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Day 2 - Sea Day

Departing from Bayonne in the winter means the first and last day of the cruise are what I call "long pant days".  Fortunately Anthem is a perfect ship for cold weather and there is a lot going on around the ship.

The adult only solarium is 16+.

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In this cabin the TV is mounted against the wall and it doesn't hinge like some other ships or cabins.  There is no way to access the HDMI inputs and with a border surrounding the TV you really can't do anything with this TV but watch the Royal channel lineup.

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Dinner in Coastal Kitchen.

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Maine Lobster Salad.

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Roasted Veal Tenderloin.

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Valrhona Chocolate Bar.

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On this cruise there were high numbers of upper top tier Crown and Anchor so the Concierge Lounge was off limits to D+.  The expanded Diamond Lounge using the upper floor of the Music Hall works quite well for this purpose and I met many new friends on this cruise.  Here is a wide angle picture to aid in obscuring individuals for privacy purposes.  This is the Music Hall upstairs bar area during Diamond happy hour,

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Tonight was a performance of The Gift.  I decided to leave the cameras in my cabin and take in this show with my eyes.  Luckily I scored a front row seat.  Just a quick smartphone pic before the show begins.

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Pay attention for the first 30 seconds of the show since the storyline is revealed.  If you are talking or distracted it will be hard to figure out the plot of the show if you miss that brief introduction.

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Day 3 - Sea Day

I'll use this lazy sea day to show the Esplanade.  As an early riser it's nice to find the Esplanade mostly empty of guests.  The Esplanade is similar in concept to the Promenade found on many previous Royal ships in the fleet as the heart of the ship.

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The Loyalty Ambassador's desk is beside guest services.

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The pub.  More on that later.

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The Esplanade has a dog leg around the pub heading forward to additional shops and the Music Hall.

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Calm seas today and a nice day to enjoy a balcony with no humidity.

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We changed time last night.

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Top tier event in the main theater starts with guitar music from a band member in the Royal orchestra.

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2782 total CAS

988 Gold, 352 moving to Platinum
520 Platinum, 175 moving to Emerald
272 Emerald, 86 moving to Diamond
598 Diamond, 35 moving to Diamond Plus
354 Diamond Plus, 5 moving to Pinnacle
50 Pinnacle

A feature I really enjoy is the outdoor seating for the Windjammer.  I eat many meals out here.

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Day 4 - San Juan

With a 3pm arrival day 4 starts like any other sea day.  The SeaPlex is a great way to pass some time on such a day.

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I like to take a picture of the SeaPlex schedule displayed on the monitors so I can plan my days accordingly.  On this sailing these were the SeaPlex activities for the cruise.

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Back to the ship for a break.  With a 3pm arrival we have an 11pm departure so lots of time to come back out later.

Dinner in Coastal Kitchen.

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I like the Caesar Salad so I decided to enjoy this classic again.

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Cheese Tortellini.  Great flavors.

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I decided to skip dessert tonight so I wouldn't be too full.

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After dinner I ventured back out to try my hand at some night photography.  I also ran to the CVS to pickup up supplies I neglected to pack. 

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Paseo de la Princesa was still lit up in Christmas colors.

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Oasis started the Aqua show but her aft was out too far to get a good view of it from Anthem.  Not long later she started away from the pier.

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Not long after it was our turn.

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Once out at sea Oasis was off our port side but too far for a decent picture.  We share St. Maarten tomorrow she we'll sail together through the night.

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Day 5 - St. Maarten

Not a bad view to wake up to...

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Pilot boat approaching.

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I told a client I would sit in on a conference call for them.  I just didn't mention where I'd join the call from...

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As mentioned in the last post, we are sharing the pier with Oasis again today.

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Fortunately we pulled straight in so my port side balcony had a perfect view of Great Bay.

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