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Periscopes & Pictures: Anthem of the Seas June 11-16, 2016

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Periscopes & Pictures: Anthem of the Seas June 11-16, 2016

AKA Our “Bermuda Before Boot Camp†Cruise


Welcome to my live Periscope and picture journal for our cruise to Bermuda on the Anthem of the Seas, June 11 – 16, 2016. I hope you will enjoy sailing along with me as I head back to one of my favorite places :)  


Along with me on this cruise are my twin 18-year-old nephews Steven & Sean. This cruise is a combination high school graduation present for both boys as well as a going away to boot camp present for Steven, who leaves for Parris Island, SC to enter the Marines in a couple weeks, and Sean, who will enter boot camp later this year. This will be their first cruise or big vacation trip. 


A sad side note to our trip…My husband was originally supposed to be cruising with us, in fact this cruise was his idea. He has to stay home for work at the last minute so we have cancelled his cruise and were able to change things around :( . This may make for an even more interesting report as I cruise alone with two 18yr olds for the first time :o . As my brother said, “Good thing you bought a drink package!†Actually they are great guys who have great manners and I'm really looking forward to it now that the disappointment of my DH not being able to come has worn off a bit.


We live in southeastern Massachusetts. I will pick Steven & Sean up at T.F. Greene airport in Providence, RI on Thursday, two days before the cruise. The boys live in Merritt Island, Florida, just a couple miles from Port Canaveral. When we booked this cruise it didn’t work out for my DH & I to go to Florida for a cruise right now so they are coming north to us…just a bit more travel to get on their first cruise ship then they had thought when watching the cruise ships go in and out at Jetty Park near their home  :P 


Friday morning we will drive down to Bayonne, NJ from our home in Massachusetts at about 11am, a 3.5-hour drive, and stay at the Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport hotel near the airport in Newark. In the past my husband and I have driven down the morning of the cruise but I didn’t want to push my luck with traffic. It will be nice not to have to get up so early the morning of the cruise, although I never sleep much the night before anyway for some reason...


I thought I’d start this review a few days early in case there is anything that anyone would like me to find out or photograph for them on the cruise. I also plan, Voom willing, to do a lot of scopes from the ship. My username is SeaSetter. Just be warned that some scopes may be late at night or very early morning sunrises (I don’t sleep much on cruises, LOL) so adjust your notifications or sound accordingly.


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I have a busy day planned today as this is the last day I have to run errands, tidy up the house, pick up any last minute items for our trip, and most importantly pick out which cameras to take, make sure batteries are charged, and that I have the charger and lots of SD cards packed.


Later this afternoon I will meet with the vet intern who will be coming to my house twice a day to give one of my cats his insulin shot. I was really fortunate to find her so I don’t need to have the cat stay at the veterinary hospital while we are gone. Even though Frank is now staying home for work he just can’t bring himself to give the injections so I didn’t cancel her.


TIP: Have a pad of paper and a pen, or cell phone with notes app, on your nightstand table when you go to sleep the nights before the cruise. It is amazing what you remember that you forgot to pack (like underwear ) or put on your list of things that you have to do before leaving (like heading to the bank for $1 bills for tips) when you can’t sleep due to excitement! 

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Can't wait to follow along, Sue! 


TIP: Have a pad of paper and a pen, or cell phone with notes app, on your nightstand table when you go to sleep the nights before the cruise. It is amazing what you remember that you forgot to pack (like underwear ) or put on your list of things that you have to do before leaving (like heading to the bank for $1 bills for tips) when you can’t sleep due to excitement! 

This is a great tip. I keep a note on my phone, but I agree that it is a good idea a couple days before you leave to start jotting down things you may not remember later.

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All errands and shopping now finished...at least until I remember some other "must have" item. I absolutely can't wait until tomorrow morning to pick up my nephews from the airport! I only see them once a year at best so I'm really looking forward to seeing them and then experiencing the cruise through their eyes. Tonight is probably not a good night to count on much sleep.


For our 4pm sail away on Saturday we have requested that PTZtv zoom in on the starboard side near the North Star bar so we can wave to family and friends as we sail out of New York Harbor. The boys and I along with some of our roll call members will be waving and will be holding this poster board sign I made yesterday. The letters are metallic so it was hard to get a good picture. The blue letters are all actually the same color and the letters for Bermuda are dark red, not orange. I haven't done anything like this since elementary school and I enjoyed cutting some of the pieces out and putting it all together. Usually when I put together a poster or sign it is on the computer for work, this was much more fun! 


If someone could get a screenshot or two of the sail away for us that would be awesome! 



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Can't wait to follow along, Sue! 



This is a great tip. I keep a note on my phone, but I agree that it is a good idea a couple days before you leave to start jotting down things you may not remember later.

Yes, and the older I get the more the thought decides to head for the hills when I try to remember what it was, LOL

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TIP: Always leave a day early whether you are flying in or driving to the cruise port.


Yesterday was an adventure driving down from my house in southeastern MA to the Courtyard By Marriott hotel at the Newark Airport in NJ.


We started off a few hours later then I had wanted but since it is not a long ride that was no bother other then meaning we will be stuck in rush hour traffic. The reason we had a late start was due to my Town & Country van being in the garage for routine maintenance, top off fluids, and to make sure it was fine for the trip. The garage had a few emergencies so the van took a bit longer for them to check out.


So we finally got the call that it was ready, loaded it up and hit the road. Just before New Haven we were following an old beat up truck and smelled something burning. We figured that it was the truck, no reason to think it was the van, we could see no smoke, it was driving fine, etc. Less then a mile later I noticed that it was starting to have some trouble like a tire was going down so I was able to get off an exit and into a Park & Ride. As soon as I stopped we knew we had a bigger issue then a possible flat. Smoke and red hot rim & brakes with a caliper completely stuck. All my tools were in our truck, I always have them with me but had forgotten them this time - ARGH! After about 15 minutes trying to work on it with the cheap tire jack Chrysler gives you we saw a pickup truck towing a small trailer pull in next to us and as I looked at the trailer I knew help had arrived. It was a Boy Scout Troop! They are always prepared! They have to have tools! and they did :)  45 minutes hour later we had unstuck the caliper and it was rolling/coasting free. Back on the road - YAY!


We stopped at a rest area to check on it, rolled down windows checking for smoke as we were driving. All was great...for 20 miles. Started smelling the smoke and it was getting hard to roll. Luckily we were right at the exit for Exit 40 (I-95 CT) and owning a trucking company I know there are truck stops there. It took so long to get across the road to the Pilot I was almost in tears. Not one person would let us cross over to the entrance of the Pilot, just kept their front bumper on the rear bumper of the car ahead of them so we were sitting there in the road trying to get across, smoking away and by now the van was filling up with smoke since we were sitting, not moving. I finally said enough and played chicken, making my own way through with people actually having the nerve to honk at me trying to get into a truck stop with a tire billowing smoke - You know their lives are so much more important then anyone else, they couldn't stand having to wait 5 seconds for me to pass? Idiots


So we get parked on a flat spot and get out to look at the tire that had given us trouble and it is cool. The bad tire is now on the other side and the caliper is really froze up hard once again. We bought tools this time and an hour later we were back on the road.


We had 85 miles more to go and since the van was having problems I wasn't going to go on the Merritt Parkway since there aren't as many exits and facilities. That meant that I was going to go through the Cross Bronx at the end of rush hour, which usually means being on the brakes. I ran in 1st & 2nd gear, used the emergency brake (with hand on release so it wouldn't lock up) and only had to hit the brakes once! Finally we made it to our hotel without further incident. We were hot, greasy, and tired but we made it to Newark and only have 8 more miles to go to get on the Anthem - HOORAY!!!!!!!!


Our 3.5 hour drive turned into an 8.5 hour. If we had left in the morning as we normally do we would have missed the cruise. Always give yourself time for emergencies or unexpected issues and leave at least the day before. We had done everything we could to insure a smooth trip but even the best laid plans can go astray.



Steven removing the first tire. Luckily my nephews were with me so Steven did the work, Sean was our runner getting anything we needed and I was letting them know what to do.2016-06-10%2015.35.20-1.jpg



Steven now working on the 2nd tire. Luckily he had his workout gloves. Everything was red hot!



Traffic through the Cross Bronx without trying to hit the brakes was interesting



We finally made it to the GWB - WOOHOO!!! Only 18 more miles to the hotel and then 8 more miles in the morning to the cruiseport.


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Glad y'all/youse/youns made it safely!


Now I hope you're kneed deep in fun!


I'm from originally Michigan's Thumb area.  We would say "you'se guy'ses".  As in "I ain't got nothin' to do tonight, wah'tch youse guy'ses doing?"


I'm amazed people can understand us at all.

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Glad y'all/youse/youns made it safely!


Now I hope you're kneed deep in fun!


I have lived in Massachusetts for years it should be youse...but I grew up in Virginia & Florida, so if any it is y'all  :)


I'm from originally Michigan's Thumb area.  We would say "you'se guy'ses".  As in "I ain't got nothin' to do tonight, wah'tch youse guy'ses doing?"


I'm amazed people can understand us at all.


youse guys (as they use in MA) drives me crazy, LOL

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Hi Everyone! 


So sorry for the lag in posting. I did not take into account how busy I would be traveling with two 18yr old boys on their first vacation when I thought to do a LIVE review instead of my regular photo reviews of the past. I have no idea where the time went! We had a wonderfully amazing time, but then had the same brake caliper issues on the way home and again it was an 8 hour ride instead of the 3.5 we had hoped for. The good news is that I made it home without a huge emergency service bill, tow bill or hotel bill...and I am now really good at using only the emergency brake to stop, LOL!


I have 34 videos and 2290 pictures to sort. Needless to say I will be posting a lot of photos, LOL. I just need to get some things for work taken care of today, then the photos will start coming, along with our thoughts and impressions of the ship, crew, food, etc. 


My nephews have never read a cruise review, here on RCLBlog or otherwise. Their honest observations, without any preconceived notions on food, crew, beds, activities, etc was interesting to hear, and also see through their eyes. I will include them for you all.


I'll be back soon  Again, sorry for not posting LIVE! Hope you were able to view the Periscopes I did from the ship. If not you can see them here - https://www.periscope.tv/SeaSetter/1gqxvMeYnrQJB

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We had booked a room at the Courtyard Newark Liberty International Airport hotel for the night before our cruise. The room was clean and fairly large, with 2 double beds and a large chair & ottoman along with a small table and chair and large dresser cabinet. To my surprise the rooms have small balconies, ours overlooked the back parking lot. It was very quiet and the parking lots were not even half full. There are no restaurants that I could find local to the area, however there was a full restaurant in the hotel. We had planned to eat there but due to arriving later then we had expected we had grabbed a bite to eat on the road.

NOTE: If you are driving in and planning to park there is a $13.00/per night charge. The room only cost $132.00/night so even with the additional parking fee it was a great price for the area. The hotel is an easy 8 miles from the cruise port which took us 20 minutes to drive. 

I did a short Periscope video of the room when we finally arrived. Due to the brake issues we had driving down we were beat and were showered and in bed quickly. I realized afterward that I hadn't even taken one picture of the hotel. This is so not like me...I'll chalk it up to being tired, dirty & stressed a bit.


Here is the link to the Courtyard Periscope https://youtu.be/YIU5sjYRt8U


Heading to the Port & Checking In smile.gif

We left our hotel at 9:30am and drove the 8 miles to the cruise port, an easy 15 minute drive that morning.



There was not any traffic as we drove towards the ship (sorry for the dirty windshield). 
I told Steven to take a picture of the ship as soon as he saw it for the first time.
It wasn't until we were right at the terminal to drop off our luggage that we encountered any congestion, that being due to both departing and arriving passengers using the same area. It was not bad at all however, and we quickly had our bags on their way with the baggage handlers. 

The parking garage is located pretty much as you leave the baggage drop off area. We paid the $100.00 parking fee for our 5 night cruise ($20/per day) and parked in the nearly empty 2nd floor of the garage. Upon exiting the garage we saw a number of Royal Caribbean check-in agents holding their iPads to check people in.
We were checked in and heading for the ship in no time, probably 2 minutes for each of us. The agent checked the photos that we had previously uploaded through the cruise planner on RCL's website, checking to make sure they matched our passports, and ourselves. He then placed an orange sticker on each Sea Pass, initialing nearby, and sent us on our way.

Around the corner we went, into the terminal and right over to the waiting area. It was now 10:10am.



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They started boarding at 10:45. Big shout out to all the previous cruisers who disembarked quickly so we didn't have to wait long at all smile.gif

It was so nice not to have to leave the terminal to board a bus and travel the 1/4 mile to the ship as had been the case in the past, before the new terminal. 




Our row of seats was called to board and before we knew it we were on the beautiful Anthem of the Seas! We had previously discussed what options were available on boarding and what we wanted to do. The boys & I had decided to go to the Windjammer for a bite to eat before exploring the ship, while waiting for our cabin to become available at about 1pm.

Since I know that the Windjammer can be very crowded at times I suggested that we go the 9 flights up the stairs instead of waiting for elevators, hopefully bypassing others heading to the same place. So we, along with our carryons and backpacks, made haste up, up, up the stairs...and it worked, there were not many people there yet, plenty of window-side tables available and no lines at the serving stations.

Sean needs a gluten-free and dairy free diet. He easily found a variety of food that he could eat. This would continue throughout all the dining and food venues we tried on the ship. I'll post more on his diet choices and the accommodations that the dining room staff made for him later on in the review.

Along for the cruise with my nephew's and I are a couple of my best friends,





  • Top Left: Canon PowerShot SX10 IS
  • Top Right: Nikon CoolPix 8800VR
  • Bottom Left: Olympus Tough TG-3
  • Bottom Middle: Windproof Microphone for iPhone (homemade, works excellent)
  • Bottom Right: iPhone 6S plus

To make the windproof microphone:

  • Use old iPhone earbuds that include the integrated microphone.
  • Cut off ear buds so you only have the microphone at the end of the cord - or - twist earbuds closely together along with built-in microphone. I did it this way since my ear buds were new.
  • Purchase a car washing sponge or similar and using a sharp knife hollow out an area big enough to insert microphone (make a larger hole if including the earbuds).
  • Insert microphone or earbuds & microphone into opening in sponge.
  • Plug into the iPhone.
  • No more wind noisesmile.gif

I'll be back soon with lots more. My 2300+ pics have been narrowed down to about 1300 that I can't decide between for posting, LOL. Still uploading some videos. 

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Crossing onto the ship



After eating in the windjammer we went to explore the ship, leaving through the aft section of the buffet on Deck 14. As we rounded the corner towards the bow on the starboard side of the ship we came upon Gigi, the Anthem's mascot, looking down on us.




Gotta love Gigi feet  :D 




The Anthem was docked with the starboard side against the port. As we walked along we could see the "Tear Drop" memorial.


"To the Struggle Against World Terrorism (also known as the Tear of Grief and the Tear Drop Memorial) is a 10–story sculpture by Zurab Tsereteli that was given to the United States as an official gift of the Russian government as a memorial to the victims of the September 11 attacks and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. It stands at the end of the former Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne, New Jersey, and was dedicated on September 11, 2006." - Wikipedia




After walking around the whole ship on Deck 14 we decided to go out onto the port side bridge wing. As we approached the glass door leading onto the bridge wing we saw people try to get out the door to no avail and then walk away, they could not figure out how to open it. The secret is to put your hand over the round "door key" that is illuminated in LED lights. This will trigger the door to open automatically. To leave the bridge wing you do the same to the round "door key" that is near the door. You can view this, and also the "secret" entrance to the Solarium via Deck 13, in the Periscope - https://youtu.be/oUgv0V8Q61s


Our cabin, 13140, a D1 located on Deck 13 forward, was ready at 1pm. We arrived to the door to find our luggage already waiting for us, and an envelope at the door that contained one of our sea pass cards. We opened the cabin door and found our other 2 sea pass cards, wifi package pass code, Day 1 cruise compass, and drink package soda cups all neatly organized on the bed and dresser top. A bit later in the review I will post the Periscope cabin tour I did (editing & uploading videos takes longer then photos, it is in the queue now).

Since it was early and we already had our luggage we quickly unpacked, putting our belongings in the two wardrobes, dresser cabinet drawers and other storage areas. As you will see in the Periscope video there is a lot of storage space in the cabin, certainly enough space for the 3 of us...we even had a few drawers and overhead areas that we didn't use at all.

TIP: An easy way to tell which side is Port and which is Starboard...Port and left both have 4 letters; Starboard & right both have more then 4 letters.


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Being that our cabin was forward on Deck 13, our muster station was in the theater on Deck 4. Muster drill consisted of us watching a video on washing hands (washy, washy smile.gif), safety info on mustering, and a talk from the Captain over the intercom, where we learned that the seas would become a bit rough during the night. 




After muster we ran up the 10 decks of stairs to the North Star Bar on Deck 14, where we met up with folks from our Roll Call for Sail Away. The meteorologist on tv had mentioned a chance of thunderstorms but we had nice weather as we sailed out of New York Harbor heading to Bermuda.

I always love sailing under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, drink in hand and everyone whooping it up, cameras raised  smile.gif

Watch video here: https://youtu.be/6lNVWzsy4N0ht
Just outside the bridge a pilot boat comes to pick up the pilot who guided Anthem out of the harbor and towards open water. I'm adding this picture to give you an idea of the sea conditions.
The pilot exits Anthem by way of a rope ladder from the ship onto the pilot boat. 
Watch video here: https://youtu.be/KTtbd5fb0q8
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Great report and I am impressed by your homemade mic!


Thanks! I thought it might work but was really pleased with how well the sound quality was when I played back the Periscope I was shooting when I first plugged it in (bridge wing scope linked too above in review), much better then I anticipated :) 


One thing I just realized I forgot to mention regarding the mic...when you cut the sponge down to size make sure to round the edges so the wind will deflect away around the sponge. Straight edges will result in the sponge absorbing the wind more.

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Thanks for sharing your journey. I just booked a 5-day Bermuda Cruise out of Baltimore on Grandeur in July!  If you want to watch my LIVE SCOPES, FOLLOW ME @Rich_Triplett


I'll definitely be following along on your Grandeur to Bermuda cruise! A very good friend of our family just did that cruise the end of May and had a wonderful time.


I'll be sharing a lot of photos & video or scopes from Bermuda last week...work just keeps getting in the way of my resizing and sorting them  :rolleyes:

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