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First Time in Bayonne, NJ - Anthem - 11/05 to 11/12/23


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Its been 21 years since our last RCL cruise, sounds like an introduction at the start of a meeting..lol. Looking forward to the new generation since her Majesty of the Seas.Thanks everyone, including Matt for all the insight and packing advice. We live 5 hours away, so we drove down yesterday and staying at the Marriott Courtyard by the Newark Airport, very nice, clean, and 15 min from port. We'll park in the parking garage at the ship. Great YouTube videos on arrival and embarkation. Away bags are amazing..thanks everyone for your insight. We board at 10:30a and the extra hour is killing me, just want to get on and explore. Just my wife (Trish) and myself. Both boys Bman and Cman are in college, so we thought we would try it out just the two of us. We have Oasis booked for all of us in Jan during their break. Jenn @ MEI has been awesome..let me count the ways its been helpful with a TA. First time in a Balcony room, always had a ocean view in the 90s..CANT WAIT! Before I die I gotta try out this Genie thing you speak about..lol

Thanks for listening..not much of a writer and education, but I thought I would give it a try. I'm an early riser and enjoy my coffee typing..

7 Days - Port Canaveral and CocoCay - Nassau cancelled.

Its a beautiful sunrise and suppose to be 65F and sunny. I'll take that for NJ...Grateful for this site, everyone's insight and being able to cruise again!

Thanks KB


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Traveling to Pier 4 was easy 15 min and 4 lines of cars for baggage drop off was flowing well. We packed pretty heavy to see how it goes. We’re not expert packers yet like all of you carry on professionals. We drop of. Our two full size bags. Parking garage is right next door and went smooth as well. I was worried about limited parking because I have a truck, so we took my wife’s car plenty of room for either. Tons of trucks. Looks like $200 something for a 7 day cruise.
Security and check in was smooth. I had printed, Apple wallet, and the app as a backup for SeaPass. The printed came in handy. We had a 10:30a and wow a lot of people were in time out who had showed up too early. We were on the ship in 20 minutes.  

We explored and only had 1 hand bag which was priceless navigating around all the lost souls..lol

We found the MDR and asked for a nice table for two and they were very accommodating  and showed us a new table, it wasn’t by the window, but along a nice wall. We don’t feel comfortable being out in the middle of everyone, unless you have a big crowd for a full size table. We wanted to stick with MDR and try out for the week and didn’t book any specialty dining. Old school in us, but we might move on like the rest.

Next stop FOOD! We checked out Windjammer and walked through. Everything I read and listened to from Matt was spot on. Totally crowded, but some seats. Trish got some freshly sliced roast beef w/real mashed potatoes and I had a great salad with chic peas! I’m so simple..lol They have outside seating which would have been nice w/sunny and 65F, but they choked and only had two tables set up.

Next stop Solarium Cafe. Less crowded and wonderful area the videos don’t do it justice..all hot tubs and pools were empty. Trish wanted to try some Dai and rice and I got a coffee with some carrot cake. I could see us coming back, it was relaxing.

Next stop Flow Rider and iFly. Flowrider was empty all afternoon and running. I grew up surfing, so can’t wait to try it out. I got my waiver signed, but was too chicken to dive right in..Everyones advice I wore my Hybrid shorts. Trish signed up for Ifly and booked a complimentary session at 2pm.

We explored more and signs were up that our cabins would be ready at 1pm.

Deck 9 Cabin was on the port side, which gave us a great view of NYC and the Statue of Liberty. The Capt. took us right by the Statue of Liberty and did a 180 right off of Battery park. Then we headed towards the Verazzano. Go Jenn! Room was great, I always expect the worse and thought it would show signs of wear as I’ve seen in videos, but it was clean and nicely decorated with no signs of wear.
Our bags were already in the hallway, as we came down. Plenty of storage and started hanging my magnet hooks and setting up charging stations with our Anker power cords.

Trish got in at 2 @ iFLY with about 6 others..I got plenty of pics and she loved it. You stand right next to the “windtunnel” great videos. It was total age range from 7yo to probably 70yo.














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Day 2 - Should have taken the advice of Mattress Topper, beds are a little hard for me but Trish is okay with it. Got extra blankets and softened it up for this side sleeper..lol
Room service in the Am is the bomb..love having coffee on the balcony and in bed. Ordering everyday..I went down to royal promenade and the lines for coffee were insane..free coffee in room why doesn’t everyone do it..lol Hopefully not then my coffee will be delayed.
Hit the Gym at 6a wow crowded Day 1 all universals and most treadmills were taken but I got a good 45 min workout.
Breakfast in the MDR around 8:15 no crowds and right in..Trisha has been looking forward to Salmon and Lox and I had a breakfast burrito with grits.lived in Georgia for a while..lol
Both meals excellent and plenty of juice and coffee.
Lounged on the balcony and enjoyed the sun and the sound of the ocean…I’m not going to say never, but balcony or suite is the future for us..wow amazing sounds, smell and view. Definitely once in a while can hear the neighbors on one side..

This is the biggest surprise of the trip so far. I booked this week cause its my birthday and picked a week cause I “Assumed” yes you know when you assume..that kids would be in school. Disclamier..I have kids and know how they can be. Well this happens to be Jersey Week for kids and in NJ the kids and parents take off this week, cause I’m assuming Election and Veterans Day. Tons of kids! So Thankful for the Solarium!

I booked a Hot Rock Massage prior for day 2 at 12, figured I could use a nice settle in and relax visit. I don’t get massages normally, but it was amazing and staff was great. Only downside its under the gym noisey..bad planning on location, but will probably do another by Friday. Can’t talk Trish into it.
Trish went to the Flash Mob rehearsal and had a good time.
I hit the Windjammer for lunch w/some pasta and ate on the balcony..
Took an awesome nap with the sliding door open..while Trish tapped away on her phone. We decided to hit the Solarium before Formal night pretty crowded but found two chairs and tried the pools. A little chilly and the hot tubs were packed, but we still had a nice time people watching with a beer and redBull for Trisha. She is loving the Redbull under the refreshment package.

Formal Dinner at the MDR, I went full suit and Trish with a newly purchased gown..she looks amazing and lots of compliments. Got some photos and selfie stick purchase was so worth it for the two of us on the balcony..no shortage of Christmas card photos this year..lol









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Day 3 - Another sunny beautiful day all we have planned is North Star and Solarium for a couple of hours..relaxing on the balcony. We miss the midnight buffet, so tried the Windjammer its okay but not the same. The once a day room cleaning is okay we are getting it done during dinner love coming back and its all set..Couple of layers of blankets under the sheets makes the mattress much better..Dinner MDR, Italian night. Trish had the lasagne and I had the mushroom risotto..I didn’t like the truffle oil and the lasagna was all beef very little cheese and pasta. Now I can see the interest in specialty dining.

North Star is amazing under way is the only time I recommend especially over both sides of the ship…very cool!









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Day 4- Port Caneveral at 6:30 very cool to watch the pilot come aboard and again kudos to Jenn putting us on the port side to see the docking. We are shore side. Staying on the ship and hope most get off, so I can try some Flowrider and enjoy some deck sunning. We have tons of relatives in Florida, so we’ve done cocoa beach and the space center. Coffee delivered in room every morning is a must! Plus it stays hot all day in the pot.
Going lunch today from Windjammer and Trisha is loving the healthy food in the solarium cafe…really good curry!

Gotta have a PinaColada on deck and pretty quiet today...









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Day 5 - Perfect Day at CocoCay - first timers.What a great day to spend my birthday!  Room service breakfast which has been great..I like they call before delivering it. This way you can get your clothes on prior..lol. Coffee on the balcony has been the bomb.  We didn’t rush and ended getting off around 8:15a. No lines and and getting off on Deck 2 was easy. Allure had also just docked, so I was a little worried about sharing the island. I forgot Allure was an Oasis class, cause at first it looked smaller than us. The Balconies looked like the same size, but the have full-size round tables and we have little lower 12” tables, which are just fine, but the full size would be nice to eat lunch on. Cool see all the workers leave the ship and scatter around the island working at different venues. I recommend some breakfast before disembarking, cause the only food area close to us was Chill Grill and it opened at 11:30. Getting off I wanted to go full left to check out Chill Island/Beach. I reserved a Cabana for all of us in January and wanted to check it out. I gotta say Chill was the way to go…right off the bat. We settled down right away facing the ships and ocean This is a rocky area and no entrance to ocean, so kept crowds away and sound of waves on the rocks put you to sleep. We had our own 2 person bar, which never got to crowded. Just a short ways away we could wade into the water to enjoy the ocean. We swam quite a ways out to the floating docks. Everyone was snorkeling around and water was a bit chilly getting in but was okay that you could stay in for a while. They have snorkels and masks you can rent or buy a set for $45 from the market shops. Loved that it was RCL’s market, so no hassling or loitering. We had a wedding going on next to us, which was entertaining and nice and low key. That reminds me the “Love and Marriage” show was great and hilarious..must see if your married a while..27 years.
The sand on our feet feels so good. Went to the Chill Grill a little early for lunch, big mistake. People trying to take food that was still being prepared and they weren’t even open yet. I saw people taking plates full of just Taco toppings..ugh. They need to just rope it off like cattle, until they are ready. Once open and crowd died down, food was really tasty and the Tacos and Barbecue chicken were the best! They were making homemade flour tortillas..yum. Chicken or Pork. Plenty of seating and we shared a picnic table with a solo cruiser. They have employees watching unattended food due to the seagulls, but they weren’t as bad as some had reported online. I booked us for the private resort/eating..can’t think of the name off hand, but after looking at the price and Matt’s reviews I decided to cancel.  
After relaxing we decided to walk around and see everything. Zipline looks cool, will do that with boys in Jan. Wow..spot on about the Oasis Pool and DJ. If I were in my 20s again I’d live at that pool all day. Loved the music but exactly like Matt puts it “Spring Break”. Lasted a few minutes, but it was like going by an accident, you couldn’t keep your eyes off of it..haha
Looking forward to see how the new adult section/beach will be and you can see the sand piles during the construction.
Carribean night at the MDR. Went with Surf and Turf and Trish went with the Tiger shrimp. Both were very good. Pineapple Sunshine cake was really good and Trish went with the default chocolate cake w/ Ice Cream.
We have a credit for a Specialty Dining dinner, so we book Jamies Italian for the last night..looks good.

The Rock/Queen show looked good but was packed and no seats. Spectrum Cabernet was good and better than I thought..really just went along for Trish..haha

Trish has the Internet package and no complaints..the boys have had no trouble getting a hold of us.













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4 hours ago, InmyElement said:

This is the biggest surprise of the trip so far. I booked this week cause its my birthday and picked a week cause I “Assumed” yes you know when you assume..that kids would be in school. Disclamier..I have kids and know how they can be. Well this happens to be Jersey Week for kids and in NJ the kids and parents take off this week, cause I’m assuming Election and Veterans Day. Tons of kids! So Thankful for the Solarium!

Yep - Jersey week... It is also the annual teachers' convention so schools get the whole week off. I used to teach in NJ and we did Disney one year during that week. It was PACKED, absolutely insane. So much so, that I was happy to do our second trip at the end of August to avoid crowds, even with the intense heat. 

I love Trish's floral dresses!!

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Day 6 - Sea Day - Got up for a run during the sunrise and hit the gym. Cafe Promenade is open 24 hrs with coffee, so nice at 6am. Coffee in the room and relaxing. Love the breeze and sound of the waves in the room. Nice salad to go from the Windjimere..They have hand washing stations as you enter and singers with guitars singing “Wash your hands, Wash your hands thoroughly” Very entertaining and the tune will be with me for a while..

Haven’t been back to Flowrider got a pretty good scrape on my shoulder from surfing and line is crazy long with kids for the boogie board. 75F and Sunny. Pool deck is packed and could here the sexiest man completion going on. I keep forgetting to download the cruise compass of the QR code from the TV so I can forward it. We’ve been getting paper ones every night…really nice for planning the next day. We do like the location of the ship TV channel with speed and course pretty cool. Lobster night at MDR, I love French Onion soup but I couldn’t do it a third night so, I went with Tortellinis. Lobster was great.

In our RCL account it has my birthday listed, but everywhere we went MDR, Bar, CocoCay they would congratulate me on my birthday but never on the actual day..lol It was hysterical. They sang to me in the MDR on the 6th and you can’t say right during the candle and singing its the wrong day so we just went with birthday week. Yesterday the Bartender said happy birthday and the whole bar was singing..lol. On my real birthday the table next to us at the MDR had a birthday, but I couldn’t say me too, cause we already had mine..haha 😂


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Day 7 - at sea

Reality, cloudy, and colder temps are setting in as a woke up this morning with the sliding door open. After coffee in the room we headed to the Windjammer, not a bad crowd...washy, washy, washy. I found the slices/samples of cheese and everything omelettes, so you can get a taste but not commit to the whole omelette. Sausage, biscuits and gravy appeared which was nice with some nice freshly made over easy eggs at the kids station.

We had a medical evacuation from Deck 15 by the USCG Helicopter right above our cabin. What a coincidence that i was in the USCG, its Veterans Day, and literally right over us. Hope the person is doing well..

We napped and listened to the neighbors yell at their kids until late lunch at the MDR. I like that they have different themes. We were assigned the "Chic" for dinner but had lunch in the American Icon Grill MDR.

Dressed for Dinner at Jamie's. Sun finally came out just for sunset..still 53 degrees..ugh.

Very impressed with Jamie's really felt the love behind the food. Trish had a special of Lobster, clams, scungilli, and shrimp w/pasta. I had the braised ribs with Penne Cabonara..really amazing. I can see the attraction to specialty dining. It does get a little old every waiter we encountered today asked to give them a 10 on the rating/review.

Going to the "Battle of the Sexes" and getting some sleep. Suppose to be going under the Verrazano around 5:30a and then a 8:30a disembark time.

Thanks for all your comments and what an amazing trip for the both of us..This trip will put us into Platinum..on our way!

Take care






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Day -8 saying goodbye

Got up in the dark and cold..ouch 40 degrees to see the Verazzano..very cool. Went down to get a coffee and wow big line already on deck 5 waiting to get off. We chose 8:30 thinking we'll enjoy a less stressful and people disembarkation. Had breakfast in the Windjammer, probably would have been better in MDR. Sun was out so beautiful view of NYC. Luiz our room steward was awesome, gave us extra pillows and blankets, so we said goodbye to him. We chose bag assist and left them out the night before. I'm such a procrastinator I don't want to pack till last minute and can't commit to one outfit for the next day..lol. So, I might try carrying the bags next time..thoughts?

Exit was smooth and called us earlier than 8:30a, we hung out in the Schooner Bar on 5. All we needed was our SeaPasses and had the facial recognition at customs (again no line), so no passports. Bags were there and wheeled them next door to the garage. That garage is the best..pay first (remember to bring your ticket and take a pic of your car location when you leave) load up the bags and your off. 20 minutes from ship to NJ Turnpike. Home by 2:30p Trish and I sat at the dining room table waiting for menus, but nothing..🤤 lol

The only thing we noticed that had changed was the food in the MDR. The quality and selection was better 20 years ago, but so much has changed worldwide, so it is what it is. The service was the same or better, waiters still everywhere making sure we didn't go thirsty. Trish doesn't drink, so she really enjoyed the no guilt treats utilizing the refreshment package. We were going to try the casino, but couldn't get past the smoking. The one thing I'll put in the survey that bothered me was when the cabins were available at 1 we took our time and let the crowds settle. As we went down the hallway looking for our cabin it was very discouraging that numerous trays w/food and drinks were still outside rooms on the floor from the last cruise..wow I was floored. I've worked my way up from stock boy when I was 15..I could have cleaned those up with a cart or large plastic dish bin within 10 minutes. You would think a supervisor would make the rounds before opening the doors.   

Happy Cruising everyone and look forward to joining you on your next adventure..maybe someday our wakes will cross and meet up.


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17 hours ago, InmyElement said:

I'm such a procrastinator I don't want to pack till last minute and can't commit to one outfit for the next day..lol. So, I might try carrying the bags next time..thoughts?

I hate dragging my bags behind me.  As far as committing to one outfit - you will only be in that one outfit for a few hours.  If the outfit is really uncomfortable, you will be reunited with your bags by 9am.  Then you can change in the car. Been there, done that.

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as someone who self carries — we do it for peace of mind so our bags never leave our sight; we’ve had a few close calls 😳

it is a pain, and i don’t recommend it if you’re not willing to be a pack mule all over the ship, depending on how you’re routed upon exit. 

also whatever time you THINK you need to leave, factor in at least another 20-30 mins just to catch an elevator. 

best tip: if you want to go down, catch an elevator going UP and then ride that train all the way around 😂

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16 hours ago, asquared17 said:

best tip: if you want to go down, catch an elevator going UP and then ride that train all the way around 😂

That's my trick ALL week. We always just jump in and go up to get down if the elevator lobby is crowded and everyone is going the same way. 

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