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twangster

Anthem 11/25/17 - 7+12 B2B

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Our arrival back to Bayonne:

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Now I know how Super Mario felt when he told me on Freedom "Get Off My Ship!". 

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B2B process:

We were asked to be in Boleros at 9:15am.  At 9:45am they escorted us off.  They collected our SeaPass cards as we scanned them to leave the ship.  As a group they held us in the terminal waiting for our new SeaPass cards before seeing customs.  After 20 minutes we formed a single file line for a separate customs officer and then a u-turn back in the direction we came.  We never did enter the terminal where I waited to board the first cruise.  We were now in the area where you would get your luggage and queue up for customs.  The doors to customs area now closed we were in a vast mostly empty section of the building where they set up rows of seats and escorted Sky Class to sit.  It was like we were on display with a crowd of zoo visitors curiously looking at us from their seats.  I'm sure they were wondering 'who are these people?'.  Right around 11am they allowed us to re-board.   That makes it 1h 15m off ship.  

I immediately went to Guest Services to get my Wow band re-coded to my new room.  Since I had the same muster station I was able to re-use mine from the first cruise.  I knew that was the case and why I paid the $5 to buy one.  For my Anthem cruise in January I'm far forward on port.  I suspect I'll be A2 so my E2 Wow band won't be re-useable.

It didn't take long for the crowds to build and with folks pushing, pulling or dragging their carry on luggage it felt very crowded and very slow to get around.  

Originally the signs said cabins would be ready by 1pm but at 1pm the same signs now said 2pm.  

Consecutive cruisers were treated to a sit down lunch in The Chic restaurant ay noon.  Quite tasty.

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Muster drill didn't use scanners to record guest presence like it did on cruise 1 for some reason.  Instead they were writing down everyone's cabin number on paper.  This slowed it down a lot.  At least I was in Two70 sitting down.  It was about 25m long and immediately after releasing us we began to push away from the pier.

Anthem muster locations:

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It took roughly 30 minutes to reach the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.  It was much colder this time, 49 degrees and our cruise director staff were absent from the pool deck doing the bridge countdown.

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Cabin tour!  I changed cabins on this B2B mostly on account of booking on short notice and booking each leg a few weeks apart.  

Inside Virtual Balcony on deck 9.  Cabin 9301, muster station E2.  I booked this as an inside guarantee so technically this is an upgrade over a standard inside cabin.  Thanks RCI!

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The bathroom is identical.

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As I was writing this the virtual balcony is in my desk mirror and I saw this boat approaching us very close. I turned around and realized it's the pilot boat. Clearly it's not the same as having a real balcony but I saved $400-$500 compared to booking a balcony cabin so I am impressed so far.   

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In other news...  as I was walking around earlier the bar keep at Vintages flagged me down and asked if I lost my lens cap.  Phew! He knew I was doing a B2B so he didn't take it guest services.  The lens cap and sun shade on a fisheye lens isn't like a regular or common lens cap.  I had been calculating in my head what they might charge me for a replacement and trying to figure out how to protect this lens for the next 12 nights.    What great service!

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Earlier I discussed my Emerald C&A status and that I would make Diamond on the 1st leg of my B2B. After muster I visited the loyalty desk and Luara took care of me.  A new Diamond SeaPass was printed and I am now enjoying a glass of wine in the Diamond lounge.  My old Emerald card is back in my cabin keeping the A/C going.  

Many thanks to those that replied to my post a few months ago asking what happens if you achieve a level on the 1st leg of a B2B.  It worked exactly as you said it would.  

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1 hour ago, mpoole3_361 said:

Amazing review, and WOW you take some great pictures!   I'm sure you are happy Ron finally got off the ship! hhahaah

It's funny.  With Ron on board and his frequent scopes combined with so much going on it was kind of nice.  A few... "What?  That's going on right now?!?!" moments.  Although my liver needs some rest, so...

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As I sit here writing this it dawns on me this feels like a completely different cruise.   You might be thing thinking, DUH!  it is a different cruise!  

We have different entertainment acts on board.  I saw some folks with instruments in the terminal waiting to board so I knew we would be getting some different acts.  From the comedian in the Welcome Aboard Show to the band in the Music Hall. 

Something I missed the last cruise was a Two70 show at 9:45pm on day 1 to illustrate what the venue can do.  The show is called 'Two70 Tonight' and it's a sampler of different types of Two70 entertainment .  It's quite an amazing venue that cost $37M.

Eighteen individual projectors that need to be synched.

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Throw in some aerial artists...

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Then some awesome projected effects...

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Plus a Symphony.  Hmmm,  Symphony... sounds familiar for some reason.

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Then some singers and a band...

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More aerial artistry.

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Then Dance In a Box.  Too hard to explain but it really shows what the robotic flat panels can do.

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Some aquarium time...

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You have to see this live to get it.  Quite impressive to a geek like me.

Off to the Music Hall.  The Journey cover band has been replaced by a Led Zeppelin cover band.  Cool!

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I thought I would be able to skip some stuff assuming it would just be repeats from last week.  Yeah, that's not going to work.   I better get some sleep.

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14 hours ago, twangster said:

And in even more unrelated news I booked the Symphony TA in October as soon as I re-boarded at the Next Cruise desk.  Symphony, here I come!  Somebody stop me!

Brilliant! Now Symphony's TA will not only be represented by my shoddy pictures :4_joy:  Keep the Anthem pictures coming and my hubby will have to succumb to the pressure of me wanting to book Spectrum asap. 

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Tonight is the first formal night.  The Captain addressed the Esplanade at 7:15pm.  He is very sociable and cracked many jokes such as when introducing the Staff Captain and remarking "He takes over when I get seasick".  Yeah, somehow I don't think that happens...

After dinner I attended the late seating of 'The Gift' in the Royal Theater.  I missed my reservation on the 1st cruise because... I have no idea why, I was doing something else in the moment.  It's a story of a tugboat Captain in merry old England.  I enjoyed it.

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There is some 'tech' in the show with projection to augment the theater production.

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Day 3 - Sea Day

Finally the long pants returned to the closet for use only later in the cruise on the sea days heading back to Bayonne.  Up early this morning and I noticed some pretty clouds on my virtual balcony display so I grabbed my camera and found the ship mostly empty.

The moon barely visible with my fisheye lens was quite prominent in the sky this morning.

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They placed poinsettias around the ship yesterday.  I wonder if they pick these up for day 1 of future cruises because this area was packed on day 1 with many carry on luggage being dragged around.  

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Last night at the 'Meet the Captain' event they officially lit the Christmas tree.  I had noticed the lights on the tree were off after seeing them on last week. 

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This morning the Esplanade was nearly empty.  It was packed last night with free sparkling wine for the Captain's toast. 

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While very pretty and festive, the Christmas tree is a magnet for selfies and ad-hoc family photos on top of the ship photographers blocking off one side for pro pictures.  It creates quite a choke point in the Esplanade traffic flow.  

 

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On 12/2/2017 at 4:38 PM, twangster said:

I immediately went to Guest Services to get my Wow band re-coded to my new room.  Since I had the same muster station I was able to re-use mine from the first cruise.  I knew that was the case and why I paid the $5 to buy one.  For my Anthem cruise in January I'm far forward on port.  I suspect I'll be A2 so my E2 Wow band won't be re-useable.

Not sure if you knew this, but you can exchange WOWbands for a new one on subsequent sailings.  So as long as you bring it with you, you can exchange at guest services for no additional cost.

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2 minutes ago, Matt said:

Not sure if you knew this, but you can exchange WOWbands for a new one on subsequent sailings.  So as long as you bring it with you, you can exchange at guest services for no additional cost.

I had heard that but sadly not any more.  I brought an E1 Wow band with me that they refused to exchange.  If I was in an E1 muster cabin I would be okay, but since I am in E2 muster cabins I had to buy one.  Your choices are re-code an existing Wow band if it has the correct muster station printed on it OR buy a new one.

I suppose you can try to doctor a Wow band to make it look like the current muster station and then they might re-code it.  

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25 minutes ago, twangster said:

I had heard that but sadly not any more.  I brought an E1 Wow band with me that they refused to exchange.  If I was in an E1 muster cabin I would be okay, but since I am in E2 muster cabins I had to buy one.  Your choices are re-code an existing Wow band if it has the correct muster station printed on it OR buy a new one.

I suppose you can try to doctor a Wow band to make it look like the current muster station and then they might re-code it.  

Hmm, based on my experience I'd have to say that crew member is misinformed.  I've gone on Anthem, Quantum and Harmony often enough to have them exchanged without issue. While it's possible they updated the rule, my gut tells me I'm hungry that crew member isn't aware of the option.  I'd have either asked to speak to a manager or come back later to speak to someone else.

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In my quest to capture the best Northstar image I could I've come to realize that my big DSLR with it's enormous bulbous ultra wide lens is more of a liability in Northstar.  The curved glass of the gondola reflects so much that a small lens is actually better.  A nice small lens such as the one on an iPhone 7 Plus is ideal because you can get it closer to the windows in Northstar and since it's tiny compared to my big UWA DSLR lens it doesn't capture so much reflection.

Promise - last Northstar photo.  This one is a vertical panorama   With the sun directly in front of the ship you see the shadow of Northstar on the pool deck.

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4 minutes ago, twangster said:

In my quest to capture the best Northstar image I could I've come to realize that my big DSLR with it's enormous bulbous ultra wide lens is more of a liability in Northstar.  The curved glass of the gondola reflects so much that a small lens is actually better.  A nice small lens such as the one on an iPhone 7 Plus is ideal because you can get it closer to the windows in Northstar and since it's tiny compared to my big UWA DSLR lens it doesn't capture so much reflection.

Promise - last Northstar photo.  This one is a vertical panorama   With the sun directly in front of the ship you see the shadow of Northstar on the pool deck.

 

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Magnifique !

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1 hour ago, twangster said:

In my quest to capture the best Northstar image I could I've come to realize that my big DSLR with it's enormous bulbous ultra wide lens is more of a liability in Northstar.  The curved glass of the gondola reflects so much that a small lens is actually better.  A nice small lens such as the one on an iPhone 7 Plus is ideal because you can get it closer to the windows in Northstar and since it's tiny compared to my big UWA DSLR lens it doesn't capture so much reflection.

Promise - last Northstar photo.  This one is a vertical panorama   With the sun directly in front of the ship you see the shadow of Northstar on the pool deck.

 

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@Matt, c'mon, where's that LOVE reaction option? "Like" just isn't enough! :17_heart_eyes:

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