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5 Night Anthem of the Seas - Bermuda Cruise Review


averbeck
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I recently got back from a 5 night Bermuda cruise on Anthem of the Seas out of Cape Liberty over Labor Day Weekend.  Although we are Diamond Plus members, this was our first Quantum class ship. 

Nursery - We've had mixed results with the Nursery on the 3 sailings we tried to use it. Our experience on Anthem  was closer to the first one.  We got to the nursery early on the first day and were given 10 hours to split over the 5 night cruise.  Later in the week we stopped by to ask what other kind of availability there was and I believe there was a 2 hour opening in the middle of the day on the final sea day.  Now I will say that we didn’t rush down to the Nursery the first morning the additional time became available to request it, so it’s good advice that if there are people who really want those extra hours that they may want to show up right away that day or at least ask beforehand how many kids signed up on the first day to gauge how much availability there will be.

As for some other unique experiences on Anthem.

I was interested to see that Johnny Rocket’s was A la carte.  I looked it up when I got home and I did see a post on the blog when someone asked about how much JR’s costs and there was a mention of this fact, but I figured I’d mention it as it is specific to this ship.

My wife and I felt like the kids activities on the ship were more geared for 7-15 year olds with the Bumper cars, trapeze, and iFly type activities, whereas Oasis class has carousel and board walk area that our 2-4 year olds love.  We also felt that once you experience Splash Away Bay on some of the other ships, it leaves you wanting when you go back to ships without them.  Anthem had a zero entry pool for kids who are potty trained, and then a little pool with a half inch of water and a little mushroom shaped water feature in it for kids who weren’t.   There was a small pool in the enclosed pool area which was not technically for all kids, but there was no lifeguard so nobody was policing it.  That pool was a life saver as we have 2 kids, 4 and 2 who otherwise couldn’t be in the same pool, so both parents would have to watch the kids in the different pools and we could only wave at each other from a distance. Regardless, I’m looking forward to when both kids can be in the same pool all the time.

 

We thought that it was the best Solarium we’ve seen on a ship yet. We loved the cascading pool and lots of hot tubs, and a great view.

 

I found the Escape room based on a comment made during the podcast from a listener email, but I never saw it listed in the Cruise Planner ahead of time or in the Cruise Compass during so I’m not sure if it filled up super early or if they just weren’t running it that cruise.

 

Two70 is what I feel like all of the Viking Crowns should be like. We loved going there and letting the kids run around on the stage floor, and I loved the view out the back windows.

 

I’m not sure if it was typical or not, but on Day 1 and 2 they did not seem to have the AC turned on in the public areas/hallways of the ship.  It was only uncomfortable on Night 2 when I was wearing a button up shirt/tie/vest.  The instant that pictures were done, I took the tie off and rolled up my sleeves.  Once we arrived in Bermuda it seemed to be working again, so I’m not certain if they were trying save electricity when in “the north”, or if it was broken or down for maintenance. Not sure if anyone else ever experienced that or not.

 

When we cruise we typically either stay in an Interior room or if the price is right, we will do a balcony with our Diamond Balcony Discount.  On this cruise, we had a Deck 6 Partially Obstructed Balcony.  I’d say that about 85% of view below the railing was obstructed with lifeboats, and maybe 25% above the railing. So I wouldn’t recommend it for any first time balconiers or someone who wants to sit out there and enjoy the view.  For us, it was some extra space for the kids to play or to drape a wet swimsuit. So it was fine for us given that the price was pretty much the same as an interior room.  Also, at night we could hear the bass playing from what we assume was Music Hall a floor below us.  For us, it wasn’t a big deal, but if there was a guest who would be upset by hearing any sort of ambient noise, then I wouldn’t recommend deck 6.  (Or really any of the lower decks on any ship)     We realized when we got home that we never took a picture of the balcony to share.

 

We ate at Jamie’s Italian 1 night. And I will start by saying we are not very fancy eaters so we generally avoid the specialty dining options.  The only other specialty dining option we’ve tried was the Samba Grill.  We tried to get into Chops but they didn’t have any availability the night we tried.  Our opinion of Jamie’s was that the Appetizers were good, but the main course pastas we tried weren’t anything to write home about..  We both felt the build your own pastas in the Windjammer were far superior.  The service was okay, but wasn’t anything better than we get at a local restaurant. (In fact they forgot some of the food I ordered)

We ate dinner in the Windjammer two times and the place was packed almost as busy as breakfast.

 

As an IT person, I found that the IQ app worked quite well.  I was able to use the Cruise Compass on it and it had some good filtering options. You could add items to your “My Calendar” from it.  Also, I was able to check my statement on it. I know they are rolling out the other app to all of the ships, so hopefully, some of these features make it into that app. The biggest surprise to me was that when connected to the Wifi, even without an internet plan, messaging that used data plans worked.  So I could send and receive iMessages and Group Me messages.  I’m not sure if that’s something new or not.

 

The shows.  I believe I heard you say on the podcast that if you don’t see the first 5 minutes of The Gift, the story line will make no sense, and if you do see the first 5 minutes, then the story line makes only a little sense.  So True. I thought the set design was nice and the show was good, singing was ok.

I watched the first half of We Will Rock You and thought it was good, we left because my kids started getting restless (see above where we couldn’t drop off our youngest at the Nursery)  Although I think I heard that the better songs are near the end, so I missed those.

We enjoyed the smaller venue of Spectre’s Caberet. We sat near the front and there was stuff happening all around us. I kind of thought it was Tron meets 5th Element.  (The main guy reminded me of Chris Tucker’s character. )

Bermuda

We were in Bermuda for 2 days. On the first day we went to the Crystal Caves. We ended up taking a taxi because we didn’t want to sit around waiting for a mini-bus to fill up, and I wasn’t sure how long/where we’d have to wait for the public bus on our return trip.  Unfortunately it was Labor Day and taxis have a 25% surcharge on holidays and Sundays so our taxi ride ended up being about $80 each way, which made my cost/benefit calculation wrong. The caves were neat, although my opinion is that you should try to plan other things to see on that side of the island at the same time as it does take about an hour each way to get over there.

 

On the second day we debated going to Horseshoe Bay, but in the end we walked around the Dockyard and visited Snorkel Park.  It was a $5 cover charge for me and my wife and there is a small beach with lots of broken shells that you have to be careful about. Having the fort wall on one side made it an interesting view.  It’s a good alternative if all you want to do is do a quick swim or put your feet in the ocean without having to drive a fair distance, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who really loves hanging out on the beach all afternoon.

Included picture of Windjammer at night..

 

tucker.jpg

dinner.jpg

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Thanks for the review, @averbeck! I'm on this exact sailing in just 19 more days, so the timing is great!

How was the food quality in the Windjammer? I've read so many mixed reviews about both WJ and MDR on Anthem now (food is nice and hot / is only lukewarm, food is bland / has great flavor, service in MDR was great / awful,...) that I'm not entirely sure what to expect. I know food is the most subjective topic out of all, but the most-consistent complaints I've seen are about the service in the MDR (slow, inattentive) and the food quality in the WJ (sub-par, lukewarm at best, etc). If you could expand on either at all, would be much appreciated! We'll be having dinner in CK (minus one night for Wonderland) as we've booked a Jr. Suite and plan to take advantage, but my wife just wants to eat in the WJ for lunch each day; it would be good to know if I should give her a heads-up.

I'm also looking to convince her to try Jamie's and Izumi for lunch on the sea days, but there's no ulterior motive there or anything... ?

Thanks again!

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@JLMoran  I would highly recommend any of the build your own stations assuming you have time to wait in the Windjammer....that's the best way to guarantee your food is fresh/hot with all of the complimentary options.    I'm pretty boring in that I basically eat Pasta, Burgers, Chicken every day.    I will say that the Windjammer Pizza was in my opinion better than the pizza I've tried in other Windjammers.  Maybe there's a new recipe or just a guy who knows what he's doing. :)  (It's still not the best pizza ever...)

I wasn't a fan that there didn't seem to be a bar in the Windjammer.   They had a couple carts with some beers. But if I wanted a mixed drink, I had to bring it from outside.

 

Nothing really stands out about the MDR, other than our kids lost patience waiting for food.  Which then makes it seem like the service is slow to us.  But I know they say, plan on it taking 2 hours, so it probably was average.   We didn't have a lot of good service related to beverages in the MDR though.  

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1 hour ago, averbeck said:

The biggest surprise to me was that when connected to the Wifi, even without an internet plan, messaging that used data plans worked.  So I could send and receive iMessages and Group Me messages.  I’m not sure if that’s something new or not.

It's a known bug that works to the advantage of Apple users but not everyone else.  Something to do with Apple using the same port numbers for iMessage as Royal's app so they can't block Apple users without breaking their own software.

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5 hours ago, averbeck said:

found the Escape room based on a comment made during the podcast from a listener email, but I never saw it listed in the Cruise Planner ahead of time or in the Cruise Compass during so I’m not sure if it filled up super early or if they just weren’t running it that cruise.

  I signed up for it through the Royal IQ app in April while eating lunch on embarkation day.

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19 hours ago, averbeck said:

Nursery - We've had mixed results with the Nursery on the 3 sailings we tried to use it. Our experience on Anthem  was closer to the first one.  We got to the nursery early on the first day and were given 10 hours to split over the 5 night cruise.  Later in the week we stopped by to ask what other kind of availability there was and I believe there was a 2 hour opening in the middle of the day on the final sea day.  Now I will say that we didn’t rush down to the Nursery the first morning the additional time became available to request it, so it’s good advice that if there are people who really want those extra hours that they may want to show up right away that day or at least ask beforehand how many kids signed up on the first day to gauge how much availability there will be.

Just a heads up for anyone using the nursery, on all sailings they limit the hours you can book at the beginning of the cruise. But by day 3, they open up bookings with no limits (other than availability, of course).  I used to worry about not getting all the time I wanted, but the reality is there's always availability once that initial time period is over.

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