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STAR Light STAR Bright, First STAR...Class Cruise on Anthem 11/14-21


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Inspired by you all writing these fantastic live blogs, and desperately craving another cruise during the pandemic, we booked a Star Class cruise because it was on our bucket list. A week after booking the first one, I couldn't help myself and talked hubby into booking a second one in 2022.  I've yet been unsuccessful in booking a third, but it's not been due to lack of effort on my part.  We already have another cruise scheduled in 2022 (non-SC), so that brings us to three in the next year.  I'm waiting for the right moment to book the next one.  🤩🤩 Shhhh...don't tell hubby!

This will be our 8th cruise, and our first since the comeback.  I've been experiencing some major FOMO since cruises started in July and I've driven my family crazy with my obsession over it.  I've been ready for this cruise since we booked it back in January, and now that we're less than a month out I'm so excited I can hardly contain myself!  I'm a planner through and through (and a lover of Excel), so I've been building our packing list, our shopping list (much to hubby's dismay), our activities wish list (much to our genie's dismay), and our dining / food / snack wish list.  

Going on this trip:  This was going to be a cruise just for Tim and I, but our youngest daughter Kenzie just moved back home with us and her fiancé Jeremy is about to join us, so we decided to make it a family trip.  One of the deciding factors is that the last day of the cruise will be Kenzie and Jeremy's dating anniversary.  🥰🥰  Jeremy has been in Malaysia during the pandemic and they just finally opened their borders for travel; he arrives on Wednesday and Kenzie is beside herself!  It's been too long!

Ship:  Anthem of the Seas

Cabin:  Grand Loft Suite 10724

Royal Genie:  Yen Lee

Sail Dates:  November 14 - 21, 2021

Itinerary:  We sail RT from Bayonne, NJ with stops in Port Canaveral, Nassau, and Perfect Day at CocoCay 

Tim and I don't even plan to get off the ship in Orlando (used to live there) or Nassau (been there many times). The kids might, but we're hanging back and planning to chill.  The only port we're really after is CocoCay.  If Royal had an itinerary with just sea days and multiple stops at CocoCay, I think I'd book it.  

We've already booked the Beach Club at Coco Cay.  We had originally booked a Cabana at the Beach Club, but then decided it's more about the pool and restaurant for us and we probably wouldn't be in it much, so we cancelled it.  

We got our welcome letter from Yen the other day and I've already started communicating with her.  I sent her our dining preferences and activities wish list and other than a few specific requests, we're leaving the scheduling up to her.  We're pretty chill these days, so we're planning on lots of R&R and preparing for the SC food coma.

More to come as we prepare for our first Star Class cruise.  I'm excited to share our journey with all of you!  I hope I can entertain you all as much as you all have entertained me!

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

You will love Yen.  She is an excellent Genie.  It takes a little while for her to get to know you…she may seem a bit impersonal at the beginning but she’s really very sweet and extremely efficient.  She is also fearless.  She’s tiny but mighty !

You're in a really awesome suite, too.

Enjoy !

Thank you!  You were actually my inspiration for requesting her.  I read your B2B blog from a couple of years ago and decided that if she was available, we would request her.  Not that any of the Genies wouldn't be great, but of all the stories I read, Yen stuck out in my mind.  Any ideas for a nice, personalized gift for her?  

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10 hours ago, CravingaCruise said:

Any ideas for a nice, personalized gift for her?  

I know she will live up to your expectations.  She is a lovely person.

I am sooo bad at gifts.  I got her a Pashmina wrap but there was no inspiration there.  It was just something I came up with out of desperation.

She is from Malaysia if that helps.  Probably not.  She is very private so she doesn't really share anything about her personal life at all (unlike Joyce who is a chatterbox but such a HOOT !).

I am going to punt and tag @Lovetocruise2002b/c she is a much better gift-giver than I.  Not sure if you still have time or not but something personalized with her name on it (maybe Etsy ?), similar to what @Lovetocruise2002got Smitha would be really lovely.  

Sorry to do this to you, Sabrina.  Please don't hate me. 😍

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8 hours ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

She is from Malaysia if that helps.  Probably not.  She is very private so she doesn't really share anything about her personal life at all

Thank you.  That does help a little.  Our future son-in-law is from Malaysia.  He begins his journey of flights to the US tomorrow.  🙂  Our daughter is beside herself.  I googled Yen and I see that she's from Kuala Lumpur, which is where Jeremy is from.  He might be able to find something that is specific to that area for her.  I was originally thinking of a personalized tote bag, or special executive pen, or something along that line.  I just really want to get something meaningful rather than just another thing, you know?

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8 hours ago, Drewtastic86 said:

Following! We do Anthem GLS 10324 in February. Can’t wait to read about your experiences!

Thank you for following!  I am planning to get some good pics/videos of the cabin.  The center GLSs don't have any really good videos (I've looked).  You're room would be a flip flop of ours, so hoping it will help you plan.  

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28 minutes ago, Yesiamthere6 said:

Following. We are doing two bedroom Aqua suite on Allure in February!

Nice!  That's our next SC cruise.  We'll be in 9730. It was originally going to be a 2BAT on Symphony in 2022 and then Allure came out with crazy good deals and we jumped ship from Symphony to Allure to save almost half!  I'll be watching for your posts next February!  🙂 

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Tonight we officially added Kenzie and Jeremy to our reservation.  I was initially waiting because we weren't sure if Jeremy was going to be able to travel in time due to travel restrictions in Malaysia (he's in the air as I type), and then Kenzie came down with a breakthrough case of Covid last month and we were waiting for her to test negative (she did that last weekend - yay).  

A month ago, I had called and received a quote on how much it would cost to add them (and then made a note of that amount).  When calling tonight, I was hopeful that the representative would have been able to pull up that number without any assistance.  However, the amount she came back with was almost double what it should have been.  After a little nudge from me to ensure we received the same price, and a lengthy hold, she came back and honored the original price we had been quoted.  Yay!

Once I was off the phone, I got them checked in.  I'm so happy they gave us the same check-in time at the terminal!  I was a little worried their time would come back different.

Next up...SHOPPING!!  🥰🥰  Never fear - I have a paper bag on standby for Tim (to assist with the hyperventilating).  LOL!


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Following along! We're in 10324 on the March 20 sailing. As I said on FB, we have the same itinerary, but even moreso we ALSO plan to stay on the ship in PC and Nassau. This will be a repeat of a trip we took in 2019 when I was pregnant with our now-2yo. But this time, in a suite with the amenities, and an older big sister (4 back then, 7 now), it's all about the ship's activities (she brings up the missed bumper cars at least once a month) and CCC! 

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24 Days to go!!  

In the midst of my credit card working overtime during my shopping phase, we received some bad news that Kenzie and Jeremy won't be able to join us on this cruise.  We will certainly miss them on this trip, but I'm sure they will join us on a future SC cruise (because we all know this is the first of many)!

We updated Yen so she didn't plan a bunch of things for them.  Taking away some of their activities means more R&R for us.  We're pretty low key (which is to say we're getting old), so a lot less for Yen to do!

During my shopping adventures, I found some fabulous monogrammed items for her, and knowing she is from Malaysia, I had a saying translated into Malay and engraved on some items (in case she's reading this, I don't want to give away what they are).  😊  I'll share pics after we give them to her.

This weekend means luggage is being staged with several items that won't be used between now and then...and making room for all of my incoming packages! 🙄

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On 10/18/2021 at 9:38 AM, WAAAYTOOO said:

I am going to punt and tag @Lovetocruise2002b/c she is a much better gift-giver than I. 

Sorry, late to the party on this blog.  Completely swamped at work this past week.  Looking forward to following along, I have the exact cabin for Norway in July 2022!

I have never had Yen as a Genie so I don't really know her.  Cash is always best, crew cabins are not very large at all, so if you do get her something, make sure it's something small.  Another suggestion is to get something that might use onboard like soaps, amazon gift cards, cologne/perfume (if you know what they like) etc.

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7 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Sorry, late to the party on this blog.  Completely swamped at work this past week.  Looking forward to following along, I have the exact cabin for Norway in July 2022!

I have never had Yen as a Genie so I don't really know her.  Cash is always best, crew cabins are not very large at all, so if you do get her something, make sure it's something small.  Another suggestion is to get something that might use onboard like soaps, amazon gift cards, cologne/perfume (if you know what they like) etc.

Thanks for the follow!  And thanks for the tips on gifts.  Cash is a definite, but also wanted to do something tangible specifically for Yen.  I got her some things I think she'll use that aren't big, and had them personalized.  My daughter went to college in Alabama, and she told me that everyone down there monograms EVERYTHING, so she said I was channeling my inner-southern woman.  LOL!

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On 10/24/2021 at 8:16 PM, CravingaCruise said:

We spent the afternoon making our thank you cards for the crew.  Tim was so happy that Kenzie volunteered to help so he didn't have to.  Shout out to my mom for spending an afternoon playing with her Cricut die cutting machine to cut out a million red anchors.  Lol!


So cute and creative!  

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Well...my shopping phase is finally coming to a close.  

You all thought I was going to have fun with the shopping, huh?  Well, some of it was fun, like getting gifts for Yen, and planning for things in our cabin, but the rest has been rough!  Clothes shopping on Amazon is brutal!!  

My routine for the last two weeks has gone something like this:  Alexa telling us all day long that new packages have arrived; someone from our household picking them up from the concierge's office; sitting at the dining table acting like it's Christmas opening up the new packages; me fighting with clothes and having to have my daughter help me out of some of them; sitting in front of the fan for 10 minutes because I've overheated from trying on clothes that were too small; sadly admitting that working from home during a pandemic not ever going to the gym wasn't super great for my figure; then spending the rest of the night trying to figure out which bags the items belonged to so they could go back.  Ugh!  My hubby and daughter started a pool for which items I would keep each time I placed an order.  

After the multitude of packages, I think I finally have a few things that can work for the cruise, along with a huge pile of bags ready to be dropped off at Kohl's to return.  I think I'm calling it for the shopping. Whew!

We got a few things for Yen for the trip, and the last one arrived today - way ahead of the scheduled date which made me so happy!  It was engraved in her native language and we are all so excited to see it.  The only problem is that the concierge's office closed early tonight so I can't pick it up until tomorrow.  I wonder if they're trying to get back to me over all the packages.  

Since I didn't have any packages to try on tonight, I booked our COVID tests!  It's getting real!  We have the at home tests as well, but I didn't want to take any chances and not have something booked just in case we have a failure on our hands.

I've been emailing with Yen almost daily.  She's so sweet!!  I can't wait to meet her in person.  They're coming across the Atlantic right now and they had bad weather for the first couple of days out.  She said it's better now, but was pretty rough at first. 

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.  My staging table for all cruise-related items is piled high in the corner of my home office.  I've had to adjust my camera (for all my Zoom calls) so it doesn't capture my cruise pile.  I figured non-cruisers might not get it.  LOL!  

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Okay - I had a little more shopping in me.  😂😂

One of our gifts for Yen arrived and it was a little smaller than I had expected.  I was out this afternoon dropping off my multitude of returns, so I swung by the Coach store and got the same thing, just a little bigger.  Which means I just added a cute little wristlet to my collection. 🥰  Oops - I hope she's not reading this.  Shhh, don't tell.

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When our story began, Tim and I were booking a long overdue vacation and it was just going to be us.  Then Kenzie moved back home with us and Jeremy was going to be visiting, so we invited them to join us.  His trip got cancelled at the last minute and Kenzie was super sad, so when we took Jeremy off of the reservation, she asked to be removed as well.  

Since Kenzie had already gotten that week off, and was just going to be hanging at home alone, we couldn't stand the thought of us having all the fun without her so we talked her into going.  I already called Royal and updated Yen.  

So, I think I can honestly say that being spontaneous isn't an issue in our family.  The word "pivot" came to mind, and now all I can think of is the scene from Friends when Ross is trying to get the sofa up the stairs... 😂😂😂


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HAPPY VETERANS' DAY!  If you have served or have supported someone who has served, a huge THANK YOU from us to you !!

We officially have "cruise brains" !!  I had today off for the holiday, but I have one more work day to go before I can completely devote my brain to the cruise.  I'm sure I'll be worthless tomorrow.  😂😂

Our last week has included multiple conversations with Yen as we prepare for the cruise IN 3 DAYS!!!  We have officially switched our conversations over to WhatsApp and have our embarkation day instructions.  We were informed today that regardless of our check-in time, we are allowed to arrive as early as 11:00am, and can board as early as 11:30am.  We confirmed we would be ready and waiting for her at 11:30am.  Yay !!!

Got my nails done today, and Kenzie and I get our toes done on Saturday!  Kenzie quickly got caught up on the shopping to make sure she was ready for the cruise, and our concierge (where all of our packages are delivered) gets a visit from our family each evening to gather the daily deliveries.  It's like Christmas!  I think I'll miss that after the cruise.  

Tomorrow we get to clean the bank out of their stash of cash for our tips.  I read a really good Facebook Star Class 101 post a while ago about tipping with $2.00 bills, so we decided to adopt that same philosophy.  Hoping the bank has enough of them.  LOL !

We just learned tonight that the We Will Rock You and Spectra shows have both been cancelled for the current sailing due to "staff shortages".  Yen confirmed it for us.  Those announcing it for others are speculating that it is Covid-related (I didn't ask if it was Covid - figured it probably isn't allowed to be shared).  Covid would make sense considering the ship is at level yellow on the CDC website right now (which updated with the data from before the ship launched with US passengers).  I hope all are okay and get well soon.  I'll be very sad if we miss those two shows as they were the two shows we wanted to see most.  However, if they are missed during our sailing, I'm sure we'll catch them on a future sailing since we live in NJ and I'm sure we'll be on her again.  We all know that the shows last a while so not much risk in waiting.

Yen shared today that room service won't be able to deliver meals into the room, but will instead leave them at the door due to the current health protocols.  I asked if there would be any way they could deliver them with the tablecloth into the room if we all went upstairs.  Hoping that one works out as that was something we were really looking forward to.  I had heard from many others that this was the case, but it wasn't really followed.  I'm thinking that since Anthem is newly in US waters, it may be more strictly enforced.  Hoping not though.

One more thing she shared is that the North Star will no longer operate on embarkation day out of NY/NJ.  I knew it couldn't be launched prior to passing the Verrazzano Bridge, but thought we could do it afterwards.  This one isn't super disappointing, but I was kind of hoping to see the NY skyline at night from the North Star.  Oh well, we will have to enjoy it from our AMAZING cabin balcony instead - oh darn!  

Nothing is taking this girl down!  WE'RE CRUISING IN 3 DAYS !!  

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On 11/12/2021 at 4:35 PM, wannabecruiseexpert said:

Enjoy your pedis tomorrow!

Thank you !! 😊😊

Quick update - We all took the eMed home Covid tests that were proctored and we're all negative !!  It was super simple, and none of us had to wait once we got online to connect with eMed.  I also cancelled our backup rapid tests with CVS.  The health questionnaire in the RC app opened up for us today as well.  We'll do that shortly!  

Next up - packing and pedicures!  

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️  WE CRUISE TOMORROW!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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