Anthem of the Seas Reviews

Introduced: 2015
Prices/Day: $799 USD
Passengers: 4,905
Crew Members: 1398
Decks: 17
Length: 1083 ft
Width: 160 ft
Tonnage: 167,800

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  • Editor's Rating

    Excellent
    • Cuisine

      4.0
    • Service Level

      2.0
    • Value for Money

      2.0
    • Ship Décor

      3.0
    • Public Rooms

      3.0
    • Staterooms

      4.0
    • Kid's Programs

      4.0
    • Daytime Activities

      5.0
    • Nightlife

      4.0
    • Shore Tours

      3.0
    • Itinerary

      3.0
    • Alternative Dining

      5.0
  • Average User Ratings

    1 User Reviews

Anthem of the Seas Editor's Review

Overview

Anthem of the Seas sails from Southampton UK in 2015. Sister ship Quantum of the Seas debuted in November 2014. 4180 passenger berths, double occupancy.

Onboard Experience

Anthem of the Seas was the second in a brand new class of vessels for Royal Caribbean originally named "Project Sunshine" until the line picked the names "Quantum of the Seas" and "Anthem of the Seas" for the second ship debuted in 2015.

Quantum of the Seas was the first sister ship, but Royal Caribbean decided just before its launch to send Quantum to the China market, a first for brand new ships from any major cruise line. Anthem replaces Quantum as Royal Caribbean's "New York" ship effective in November 2015, after an initial stint sailing from Southampton, UK.

Anthem is a very respectable 167,800-gross tons, making it the second largest class of cruise ships in the world after the (much larger) Oasis-class also owned by Royal Caribbean at 220,000-tons per ship (two in service, a third on order). However the concept of the ship design is completely different not only from Oasis, but from many previous Royal Caribbean ships, which came as something of a surprise to industry watchers.

Anthem does not have the ice skating rink or a long horizontal atrium known as the "Royal Promenade" found on many of the larger Royal Caribbean ships built after 1999. Rather than having cabins with an actual inside-facing promenade view, the inside cabins on Anthem come with a "virtual balcony" which is actually an 80-inch high definition television screen showing a live camera feed of the passing scenery.

Family cruises do seem to be the focus here, with plenty of adrenalin inducing activities. Without a doubt, the amusement park-like features will be the most discussed topics about this ship, but it has other qualities as well that indicate the overall experience will be tasteful and accommodating, not a circus atmosphere at all.

Another standout feature is "Dynamic Dining" which changes the main dining room concept into a series of separate themed restaurants which the quest should reserve in advance. In other words, instead of having one big dining room where the menu changes every night, now there are smaller restaurants with non-changing menues, and it is up to the guests to choose what and where they want to eat each night of the cruise.

Decor

Anthem is a "classy" ship - more like Celebrity than anything else, with a new level of opulence for Royal Caribbean which already builds beautiful ships in my opinion.

Most beautiful is the large aft-facing day room called "270" (originally 270-degrees for its view through the massive panoramic windows). This room is open to beautful ocean and sky views during the day. At night it changes into and entertainment venue with modular staging and video effects.

Otherwise the ship is classy but short on public space and entertainment options, which makes the ship somewhat boring during the day, unless you enjoy trivia games or playing sports like basketball or bumper cars.

Public Rooms

Anthem may be more notable for the public rooms it does not have that have come to be expected on Royal Caribbean ships; no Royal Promenade for example, nor do we see anything in the exterior profile that indicates a Royal Caribbean staple room, the Viking Crown Lounge, which is usually a circular shaped disk that sits atop the vessel with a wide view aft.

There is a a two-story Music Hall featuring a large dance floor for dancing to rock tribute bands, but the room will also features performances by tribute artists from the 80s such as Bon Jovi and Journey. Another nightclub is the Latin-themed "Boleros" which features Salsa music and dancing nightly.

The remaining public room we know about so far is the "Sea-plex" - the first fully enclosed sports complex at sea. The room will feature courts for basketball, soccer, etc, but at night (and possibly during certain hours of the day) it will be given over to the first bumper cars at sea. It will also be used as a roller skating rink at times. After dark the lighting will transform it into a nightclub including a descending pod to house a live DJ spinning dance music.

Restaurants
 

Without a doubt, dining is the most positive aspect of Quantum. The added surcharge dining rooms, especially Jamie's Italian ($25) and Wonderland ($45) were both phenomenally good in their own way. Jamie's has delectable gourmet Italian - not lasagna or veal, but bucatini noodles with thick black truffle shavings in olive oil, pork belly or brick baked lamb chops. Highly recommended.

Wonderland has an "Alice in Wonderland" feel that would be perfect on Disney. The smoked eggs with caviar and foie gras are brought to you under a glass dome infused with applewood smoke. When the waitress lifts the lid the fragrant smoke pours into the room. Each dish was enough for two people, which seemed like a big waste of food, especially when it is all so delicious. The lamb and beef cuts were so tender they literally fell off the bones.

Divinely Decadent is another tasty restaurant with somewhat low-calorie food (500 calories per serving), but after three courses you will feel stuffed. The beef is all grass fed, and there is very little gluten or carbohydrate of any kind. The chicken pizza is outstanding as well as the chicken enchiladas. Only the hamburger lacked appeal - looking like a double-deck Big Mac with cheese. It was just announced that Divinly Decadent is now the fifth free "Dynamic Dining" room. It was crowded for lunch, but near empty at dinnertime when it was an extra-fee restaurant.  It remains to be seen if making Devinly Decadent one of the core Dynamic Dining venues will increase its patronage and alleviate lines at the other free restaurants at the peak dinner hour of 7pm.  

Another improvement is Sorrento's Pizza on the Promenade where you can now order any pizza to specification to be served on the spot (not for room service).  The pizza was very tasty too.  Another big daytime eatery hit is the "270 Cafe" which replaces the "Park Cafe" on Oasis. The beef sandwiches are amazing, as well as the salads - all at no cost. This is another food highlight of the ship.

 

Tipping

Royal Caribbean suggests a per person per day gratuity of $3.50 for the stateroom attendant ($5.75 if sailing in a suite); $3.50 for the waiter; $2.50 for the Assistant Waiter; .75 Head Waiter. These gratuities may be paid in cash or charged to your onboard account. For children sailing as third or fourth passenger in the stateroom, tipping is at the parents' discretion. If you want these charges added to your accounts you must tell Royal Caribbean at least two days before the cruise ends. Otherwise, be prepared to count out the cash and hand it to the people who serviced you personally.

A 18 percent gratuity is automatically added to all beverage tabs. Additional gratuities for room service, spa, casino and other staff are at your discretion.

Cabins

The staterooms have a large balcony and are well designed with plenty of storage space. The seating area has a couch and a handy desk and chair that are easy to move. The bathroom has a nightlight and a foot bar in the shower.

The 32-inch LED television programming had Pay Per View movies for $11.99 (available for 24-hours). Free channels included ESPN1, ESPN2, TMC, TNT, CNN and a few Royal Caribbean promotional channels.  There were no free movie channels, no Fox or MSNBC.  There was a TV channel called "Primetime" which had mostly cooking shows, shopping talk and chit-chat recorded by the cruise director.

But there is also a stealthy "interlocking stateroom" design practice where the bed area is a wider, but beyond the bed the room's seating area is narrower by about 16-inches. Then the adjoining staterooms next door have the bed and seating areas reversed. You cannot see where the room narrows because the diagonal is cleverly hidden inside a closet. 

Fitness/Spa

All of the usual Royal Caribbean children's facilities can be expected, with the addition of special characters from the Dreamworks experience, and, of course, Barbie.

Royal Caribbean has made a number of improvements to youth and teen programming. One new program is Adventure Theater, developed by Camp Broadway in New York City to give kids an immersion into the performing arts. On each RCI sailing, teens and kids can learn acting fundamentals, vocalization, and dance techniques during a series of three 45-minute Adventure Theater sessions.

Another innovative program is Scratch DJ101 classes, which are available to all ages, along with special two-hour sessions just for teens on Liberty of the Seas. After their lessons, teens can showcase their music mixing knowledge in a graduation performance that friends and family can attend.

RCI has added new activities for those three to five years old in conjunction with Fisher-Price. Some of the new themes include Chefs on Deck, which involves role playing for preschoolers; Dino Adventure; and Train-O-Mania.

Quantum will offer a nursery for infants and toddlers 6 months to 3 years. So far, no charge for these services has been announced and this is a great amenity for young couples who want to enjoy their vacation without baby onboard once in awhile. The minimum age for bringing a child onboard is six months.

Attire

There are two formal night "suggestions" on most seven-night cruises these days. In truth, the definition of formal has changed over the last few years and even seeing a tux is pretty rare these days. While just a few years ago the introduction of Freedom of the Seas spurred many gentlemen to dress in tuxedos, we actually saw blue jeans in the dining room on this cruise, and no one seemed to be objecting. Suffice it to say that even on formal nights you can get away with slacks, a collared shirt and a jacket, you do not need to bring the ties or especially the cummerbund if you do not want to. Women still tend to dress more elegantly and almost anything is acceptable for the ladies.

Best For People Who Want

A brand-new family friendly resort at sea cruise experience with fun activities and high technology, extensive sports equipment and wide variety of onboard entertainment options

Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer

A small destination-oriented ship with a close-to-the-sea cruise experience. Ships with few children.

Cuisine

The Windjammer Food Court is up to par with Royal Caribbean and the service there was very friendly. My coffee was refreshed often. One nice addition is a cookie maker where several types of hot, freshly baked cookies are available all day. It is just too bad they didn't think to combine this with fresh ice cream by the scoop such as Holland America offers.

But the food in the included "Dynamic Dining" rooms varied; Silk was a mishmash of Asian cuisine where some items were good, but others were served cold or undercooked. Great American and Chic were average to awful. One meal marked "tenderloin steak" resembled pink prime rib without the dark edges, but it tasted and had the texture of processed bologna.   The formal "Grande" was probably the best "included" dining room with langostino “Lobster” and lamb shank and decent desserts nightly.

The specialty restaurants are the standout venues on the ship. In fact, dining seems to be more than a nicety on these two ships, it is a pre-occupation.

 
Service

Service with a smile is always the Royal Caribbean way, although one should not expect the outgoing performance style found on Carnival - except with certain bartenders in certain lounges. Still, the new Royal Caribbean service can be impressive. On recent cruises if they did not know the answer every single crewmember has a walkie-talkie and they can call up anyone they need. Not once did we receive a "that is not my department" style of reply. It was always, "let me see what I can find out for you."

When we asked, the Food & Beverage manager admitted Dynamic Dining needed help and that they planned to add 30% more service people. There were few busboys anywhere, and tables sat dirty in all restaurants for long periods while people waiting to be seated stood in line outside. Many guests did not make any reservations, so the cruise line made reservations for them for the first two nights.

The bars were also largely devoid of waiters, so only the bartenders served drinks. They also had to go out and clean tables on a regular basis.

Entertainment

The biggest entertainment on Quantum is the full Broadway production of Mamma Mia, but the Broadway show for Anthem is "We Will Rock You" featuring music recorded by the British rock group "Queen." Their hits include "We Will Rock You," "Big Bottom Girl" and the epic rock song "Bohemian Rhapsody."

Reservations are highly recommended to see all major shows on Anthem, and for the restaurants as well. Even with reservations be sure to  arrive early, before the room has been opened to the public so all seats are taken. 

Another entertainment venue, the Music Hall, is next to the Casino. On our press preview cruise it featured two different tribute bands, one for Journey and one for Bon Jovi on the same night. On our 8-day cruise only one tribute band played and they left after day four. On days 5, 6, 7 and 8 the Music Hall mostly featured  Karaoke, trivia games and dance lessons, even at night. The Princess house band "Horizon" did play a one -hour set on two of those final nights, but word is out that this room will become the "high-roller" casino when the ship goes to Shanghai.

Boleros has live Latin music and dancing every night - basically dedicated to those who speak Spanish. Quantum is the first cruise ship I have seen where the entire cruise staff spoke native English. The cruise staff hosts were from Mexico, Brazil or the Philippines and their English was sprinkled with their home tongues. here is a rough example of how they sounded conducting their many trivia games; "Here is group one, group dos and grupo tres. Si, I mean group three, es bueno."

The last entertainment venue is "270" (formerly called 270-degrees but that became too difficult to manage) with 540 seats. The main feature there is an array of six robotic arms each holding a rectangular video screen. Each can rotate and arrange the screens in a variety of ways within a certain range. These Robo-show screens were included in the ethereal show "Starwater" which repeated every night until the last two nights. The show, with acrobats and music is entertaining, but certainly is not anything new in cruise ship entertainment, except for the Robo-screens.

Children's Facilities

All of the usual Royal Caribbean children's facilities can be expected, with the addition of special characters from the Dreamworks experience, and, of course, Barbie.

Royal Caribbean has made a number of improvements to youth and teen programming. One new program is Adventure Theater, developed by Camp Broadway in New York City to give kids an immersion into the performing arts. On each RCI sailing, teens and kids can learn acting fundamentals, vocalization, and dance techniques during a series of three 45-minute Adventure Theater sessions.

Another innovative program is Scratch DJ101 classes, which are available to all ages, along with special two-hour sessions just for teens on Liberty of the Seas. After their lessons, teens can showcase their music mixing knowledge in a graduation performance that friends and family can attend.

RCI has added new activities for those three to five years old in conjunction with Fisher-Price. Some of the new themes include Chefs on Deck, which involves role playing for preschoolers; Dino Adventure; and Train-O-Mania.

Anthem offers a nursery for infants and toddlers 6 months to 3 years. This is a great amenity for young couples who want to enjoy their vacation without baby onboard once in awhile. The minimum age for bringing a child onboard is six months.

Fellow Passengers

Royal Caribbean fans should expect the most ardent followers of the line to be onboard for at least the first year. I would expect active young adults as well as plenty of family groups.

Anthem of the Seas Ratings

  • EDITORS
  • 4.0
  • USERS
  • 0.0
from 1 reviews
DETAILED RATINGS
  •  
    EDITORS
    USERS
  • Cuisine
    4.0
    0.0
  • Service Level
    2.0
    0.0
  • Value for Money
    2.0
    0.0
  • Ship Décor
    3.0
    0.0
  • Public Rooms
    3.0
    0.0
  • Staterooms
    4.0
    0.0
  • Kid's Programs
    4.0
    0.0
  • Daytime Activities
    5.0
    0.0
  • Nightlife
    4.0
    0.0
  • Shore Tours
    3.0
    0.0
  • Itinerary
    3.0
    0.0
  • Alternative Dining
    5.0
    0.0