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Anthem of the Seas 4-20-15
Publication Date: April 30, 2015

Anthem of the Seas, 4-20-2015

Pre-inaugural, Port of Southampton London England

Ship stats:

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Anthem of the Seas is 168,667 Gross tons, 1,141 feet long, with 4,180 guests (double occupancy), 2090 total staterooms.

Out of the 2090 staterooms, 16 family connected, 34 wheell chair accessible, 1,571 balcony, 148 outside, and 375 with

virtual balconies. Cost to build this ship, right around one billion dollars.

[img]http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/members/donna-albums-anthem-seas-4-20-15-picture6492-balcony-cabin.html[/img]

Balcony stateroom.

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bathroom

Staterooms:

Cabins feel well equipped, with your closet and bathroom as you enter, followed by couch and desk, then your bed. You

will need to insert your sign/sail card into a slot by the door, in order to operate your lights. These ships are smart,

and want to save on costs, so you will also notice there are motion detectors in the hallways to dim lights, if there is no

motion, but as soon as you open your door and walk in the hall, the lights go back up. The first time you enter your cabin,

you will have wrist bands waiting for you, simply wear and use them instead of your card. You can open your door, make on board

purchases with them, they are also waterproof.

When you first get to

the pier, you will be greeted by staff with i-pads that will be able to check you in. In case you didn't

already upload your picture, they can do that. Getting checked in and on board just takes a few minutes. After this, you are ready

to board. Your sign/sail cards will be in your mail box, next to your door, and once inside you will find your wrist bands. Just

be sure to put your card into slot to operate your lights.

Restaurants:

There are 4 dynamic dinning rooms, all located on decks 3 & 4, Silk, Chic, Americn Icon Grill and The Grande. The specialty

restaurants located on deck 14 are, Coastal Kitchen, Devinly Decadence and on deck 5 you will find Jamie's Italian, Wonderland,

Izumi, and Chops Grill. For these restaurants, allow 2 hours for dinner. The Windjammer Marketplace is up on deck 14, by the pool.

I absolutely love this food option, especially the different sections instead one section, where you wait in line with everyone

else. It is simple and quick, with numerous dishes in one section, both sides have the same dishes. Noticed, that in the morning,

they have a coffee pot on each table, with plenty of hot coffee.

Public spaces:

Up on deck 16 you will find the Flowrider, ripcord by "Ifly". Deck 15 is the sports deck, Seaplex Doghouse and Challenger's arcade, fuel,

and the vitality fitness center. The running track and North Star is also on deck 15.

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Deck 13, 14 and 15 is home to the Solarium. Pool deck is where you will find the h2ozone, seatrek, Johnny Rockets, and the Windjammer

Marketplace. Adventure Ocean is located on decks 11 and 12.

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The conference center is on deck 13 and directly below, on deck 12 is the consierce club. You will find 2 banks of elevators and

stairs onboard, one forward and aft.

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Two70 is aft and covers 2 decks, 5 and 6. During the day it is a space used for meetings/talks, etc. and the evening it turns

into a sparkling showcase, with a show that dazzles the eyes and ears, something not to be missed. Deck 5 has the various specialty

restaurants along the art gallery, Vintages, The Via, the shore excursion desk, and the bionic bar.

[img]http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/albumthumbs/6/0d9046209905f24d36a16bfa536d760a_6494.jpg?dl=1429882869[/img]

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The Music Hall on deck 3 and 4 is also a great multi use space. On the other side of a bank of elevators/stairs, you will find

Diamond club and The Royal Theater which covers two decks, 3 and 4. The show, "We will Rock you" is performed here and very

hi-tech, with use of sound and lights. The naming ceremony was held here and, to me, really special. Upon entering and sitting

in your seat, was another wrist band, had no idea what it was for, but during the ceremony they magically starting lighting up,

in different colors to the music. It also depended on where you sat, to determine the color your band flashed. This theater is your

typical Royal Caribbean venue, not a bad seat in the house.

[img]http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/albumthumbs/6/90d266bf314c0cbd26beef04b820a4e6_6517.jpg?dl=1429883331[/img]

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The Godmother of the ship is, a lovely lady, Emma Wilby. She can sing, OMG, what a voice. After the ceremony in the Royal Theater,

a cocktail party afterwards, was in the Music Hall.

[img]http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/albumthumbs/6/204fb97332cc3ab6939f53260f9ba8ff_6510.jpg?dl=1429883100[/img]

I also signed up for a bridge tour, where the captain, Claus Andersen, was answering questions, etc.

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Casino Royale is down on deck 3. Unfortunately, for this cruise, it was not open, nor were they able to sell liquor or tobacco

products, some London law?

Entertainment:

I was only able to see two shows, Spectra's Cabaret in Two70, and the production of "We Will Rock You", held in the Royal Theater.

Both were outstanding, and not to be missed. Be sure to stop up and see the Bionic Bar, amazing to say the least. There will

also be Vistarama, a Virtual Concert Series, along with a Virtual Symphony, and something called, The Gift, which sounds very

interesting. The High C'S Horns is another show to see. While there is no just "Disco", they will have Groovy Town, where a DJ

and a live band will keep you entertained, held in the Music Hall. This is the place to show off your dance moves,

even a dance competition will be held there. If you love Rock and Roll, the show Anthem Rocks is another production where

you will hear boogie, jam and rock. You can also see a free form jam in the Music Hall, with the players from all the bands

on board. A tribute band will also preform in the Music Hall and will play music from every era. Something unique to Anthem, there

a stowaway piano player who will show up all over the ship, even in an elevator. I think he was still stowed away somewhere when

we were there, I did keep an eye out for him, but no dice. While this class of ship does not have the Dreamworks characters, there

seems to be many forms of entertainment for the whole family. Also missing from this class, is the huge boardwalk you see on the

Oasis/Allure of the Seas ship, but there is ample space for the shops/bars, etc. on deck 4, Royal Esplanade, next to Guest Services.

You will also be able to keep your schedule on your smart phone, so you will not miss anything. The Royal Wi-Fi is totally amazing

and will be added to other ships in the near future. It is supposed to be 3 times faster than anything at sea prior to Anthem of the

Seas. Truthfully, I would of been lost without it, you can get the app. when you board and be able to keep in touch

with everyone in your party.

Food:

This is always a touchy subject, but overall, the food was better than expected. Had one dinner in Jamie Olivers, which is one

of the specialty options on board Anthem of the Seas. Food and service were top notch. They now serve it ala cart, so it's cost can

add up quickly, but if you already booked this restaurant with just a service charge, they will honor it. Most of the time, we

ate in the Windjammer Marketplace and there was a huge selection of dishes, all served hot and or cold. There seemed to be ample

tables to eat at, with plenty of drink options. They offer an amazing array of breads/rolls, baked fresh and daily. I think most passengers

will find the food and selections to be better than the past. Staff and service is an A plus. Just be sure to save room for

desserts, they have an amazing selection.

Overall Experience:

I can see Anthem of the Seas to be hugely popular, for the typical Royal Caribbean cruiser, and a first timer. You will get all the

things you are used to when on board on of their ships, plus it is turned up a notch, with their production shows and all around

entertainment. Then throw in, the I-fly and the NorthStar and even bumper cars in Seaplex. While this class of ship, caters

to families/kids, I feel it is geared for families with older kids, but still plenty to keep the younger ones active.

Again, this ship is a good fit for just about anyone, still a big ship, but not overly huge. Easy to navigate between decks,

and from front to back. I only was lost once or twice before getting my bearings. Royal Caribbean has always been a head above

others with their hi-tech and Anthem will not disappoint in that respect. They lead the way with their availability of their high speed

internet/social media.

I just wish I had, more time to see the ship and all the different shows they offer, guess I will just have to book a longer cruise

in the future.

There are two picture galleries here at Cruisemates, one of Anthem of the Seas, and another taken while touring around London for

a day:

Anthem of the Seas photos:

http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/members/donna-albums-anthem-seas-4-20-15.html

London Photos:

http://www.cruisemates.com/forum/members/donna-albums-london-england-4-22-15.html

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Eastern Caribbean Cruise
Publication Date: April 23, 2015

Our recent (April 6, 2015) cruise on NCL was not a pleasant experience. I will lay out the pros and cons of this cruise.

Pros

3 out of 5 of the islands we visited were nice. St Kitts, St Thomas and Antigua were nice stops and offered some very pretty beaches and interesting historical sites.

The bathroom of the mini suite that we stayed in was very generous and had nice amenities.

The cabin had some nice appointments and very generous storage.

The weather was very nice, high 70’s to mid 80’s everyday.

Cons

When we arrived at the ship we were given a letter that indicated that 5.78% of the passengers on the previous sailing had come down with acute gastroenteritis (about 125 people) and if we didn't want to travel on this cruise we would be given a credit on a future cruise (we flew in from California so that meant we would forfeit our airfare and have to buy another airfare if we were going to take their credit).

Because of this problem we were allowed to board the ship about 2:00 PM, but no one was able to go to their cabins

until they were thoroughly cleaned. We got in our cabin at 5:00 PM. I assume this means they disinfected all the cabins. Over 2,000 people were on the ship and could not go to their cabins and were trying to get lunch. You can only imagine the chaos.

Due to the need for sterilization throughout the entire cruise you couldn't touch anything when you were getting your food at any of the cafeteria style restaurants. You were handed a plate and utensils and you had to stand in line while waiting for the staff to dish up your food. As an example if you wanted catsup on your fries or burger you had to stand in line so the person manning the catsup bottle could squirt catsup on your food. If you were in one of the sit down restaurants and wanted salt you had to wait for your waiter to bring a salt mill over and they put the salt on your food. I can understand the need for sanitation but this was carried to the extreme.

While the cabin was roomy and clean the couch was one of the most uncomfortable things I ever sat on. It had about 2” of foam on top of a board and when you sat down you would always hit the board.

The glass on the veranda was very dirty and was never cleaned. (I’m sure that the person who was supposed to clean the glass was handing out catsup in the cafeteria!)

The service in the restaurants was OK at times and very poor at other times.

It seemed like the entire focus of the cruise was SHOPPING. There were presentations on how to buy precious gems, watches and art but not ONE presentation about the islands we were visiting or any information about the Caribbean. Our last cruise was to Alaska on Holland America and we had many presentations on the wildlife of the area along with presentations on the locations we visited and glaciers etc. The only thing we could find out on this cruise was where we could buy diamonds and watches on the islands we visited.

The NCL shore excursions we booked were spilt 50/50 we had one fairly good on and one fairly bad one. The excursion to the Virgin Gorda Baths on Tortola was a real bust. The rocks were neat but the snorkeling was terrible. No coral, no fish and the boat was a joke. Their idea of refreshments was to throw a case of bottled water on the counter on the way back to the ship. The two stop snorkel in St Thomas was nice but too short for my liking. We only had about 25 - 30 minutes to snorkel at each stop. The excursion cat was very nice and good refreshments but as we were coming back to port the captain informed us that the crew worked for tips and the recommended tip was $15 to $20 per person!!!

The Shore excursion we booked ourselves in Antigua was with Scenic Tours Antigua and I would highly recommend them. Very informative and pleasant. It was a great tour of the island.

As for the other islands Tortola was hard to get on and off of because you had to use tenders. It was a long and uncomfortable experience. Martinique is an island they could very easily skip. You are docked in what has to be the ghetto part of the island. We asked for directions to a grocery store from a port official and the last thing he said to us was “BE VERY CAREFUL” and I know why. While nothing happened to us the surroundings made you very nervous. It was not nice.

Tipping. You are assessed a $12 per person gratuity per day on the cruise, that was $240 for us for the cruise. We had the Ultimate drink package and an 18% tip was included in the package for every drink BUT there was still another place on the bill for an additional tip. Every up charge for a restaurant had a place for an additional tip. I think that gratuities have their place but this cruise took it to a new level.

In summary Freestyle cruising is not necessarily free, informative or fun. The focus of the cruise was buy buy buy and tip, tip, tip! Buy your duty free liquor, watches, diamonds, tanzanite, and art at prices that are not that good and if you don’t buy on the ship, we will tell you where to buy them on shore (the same vendor that was on the ship). I happen to be in the market for a watch and most of the watches I looked at could be purchased cheaper at Costco even including taxes.

My recommendation is to stay away from NCL and go with a cruise line like Holland America that caters to educating you about the places you are going not trying to pull more money out of your wallet.

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Magic happens on the Magic!!!!
Publication Date: April 21, 2015

October 2015 will be my 4th time on this ship. I love it!!

I got engaged on this ship! Married 7 months later and I could be more pleased with this ship and it's staff!!!

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