bobgimbel

bobgimbel
Second Mate

Joined: 06/28/2014
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bobgimbel's Past Cruises

Anthem of the Seas

July 2016 - Anthem of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern

Hi tech ship

The Anthem is a perfect mix of activities for both adults and kids.  The Seaplex is a multi use facility which changes hourly.  There is roller skating, bumper cars, trapeze lessons, basketball, soccer and more.  The second level of the Seaplex has ping pong, XBox stations, air hockey, foosball tables and a full arcade.  On the topside aft are the Flow Rider (surfing)and I Fly (simulated skydiving).  They are truly unique experiences for everyone.  Also, the Northstar is a glass enclosed room that goes 300 feet above the ship for a truly unique view.

Dining is a unique experience on the Anthem.  Instead of a large dining room they have created 4 smaller themed restaurants.  American Icon, Silk (Asian), Chic and Grande.  Reservations are required, which you can do online before sailing.  The specialty restaurants are amazing. Wonderland is ideal for adventurous foodies. Chops is a more formal steakhouse. But best of all was Jamies Italian. Be sure to order the black truffle pasta.The Windjammer was among the best buffets we have experienced. The solarium cafe, for adults, has a menu of healthy foods. 

The shows are awesome.  We Will Rock You was magnificent, but geared to adults.  The Gift and Spectras Cabaret are great high tech, although the kids found the sound to be too loud most of the time.

Don't miss the robot bartenders in the bionic bar.

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Anthem of the Seas

November 2015 - Anthem of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern

Inaugural sailing on the Anthem of the Seas

This was a special 12 night Caribbean cruise, leaving from Cape Liberty, NJ. The cruise port was a great surprise.  The new parking lot is finished and boarding is a snap.  We parked the car and were met, in the garage, by a RCI employee who was holding a tablet.  He scanned our passports and stamped our boarding pass.  We entered the terminal and were sent right to the ship.  Wow, only 10 minutes after we parked and we were aboard.  The ship is beautiful and extremely easy to navigate.  The elevators are plentiful and there are plenty of restrooms available.

The shows were as good as any we have ever seen.  Previously, we have sailed on Royal Caribbean (Allure and Oasis), Holland America, Carnival (once was enough) and Norwegian.  There are lots of venues open all of the time, with plenty of activities for whatever you enjoy.

The Sea Plex (deck 15) is a multi use facility.  A schedule is always posted.  They have basketball, football (teens), trapeze lessons, roller skating and bumper cars.  Up a flight of stairs overlooking the arena, there are X-Box stations, foosball, ping pong, air hockey and an arcade.  Since this was mid-November, there were very few children.  We are sailing on the Anthem again in July, with our kids and grandkids and expect lots of kids on that one.

On the top deck, they have the FlowRider, the Northern Star and a rock wall.  The I Fly (skydiving) requires reservations.

The 2 Seventy theater is awesome.  It is in the aft part of the ship and is always open.  There is a Cabaret Show (fantastic) and lots of activities all week.  There are trivia contests, cooking demos, meets with the crew among other things.  There is a cafe there, as well.  Don't miss the roast beef sandwiches or the tuna wraps.

The only "downer" was the dynamic dining, that has been instituted on the Anthem.  There are 4 dining rooms, each with a different theme and menu.  American ICON was our first meal and a total disappointment, although others we spoke to enjoyed it.  It seems that the staff is not fully aware of the menu, yet.  The wine steward only takes wine orders and is not there to make recommendations.  The CHIC restaurant was wonderful, as were SILK (Asian) and Grande.  

The specialty restaurants were awesome, especially Jamie's Italian and Chops.  If you eat at Jamie's, you MUST get the black truffle pasta. If you are a foodie and are adventurous, DO NOT miss Wonderland.  I won't ruin it for you by telling you the menu. There is also a great British pub, with lots of beers available and a Sushi restaurant.  Of course, there is Sorrentos, which is on every RCI ship and a wonderful coffe shop/bakery.  The robot bartenders are really fun and there was never a big crowd there.

There seem to be adequate deck chairs available on decks 14 and 15; we never had a problem finding chairs.

The WiFi is expensive, if you need to be online all of the time.  In the library, there are 4 computers avaliable and you can use a pay-as-you-go (24 continuous hours from login) as well.

There are lots of places to just "veg out" inside the ship or to get togther with a group and play cards.

We expected more formality, but the passengers were totally laid back and very friendly.  The Grande restaurant has sign stating "Gentlemen must wear jackets", but less than half of the men had jackets on.

All-in-all we had a winderful cruise.  The Captain, who will be moving to another ship, kept us informed throughout the week.

 

 

 

 

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Norwegian Breakaway

May 2015 - Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda

A nice week

To celebrate our 49th anniversary, we booked the Norwegian Breakaway for a 3-day stay in Bermuda.  We had a balcony mini-suite, which was similar to rooms we have had on Royal Caribbean Oasis and Allure, except that the Norwegian bathroom had a walk-in shower.  Leaving from NYC is very different than we are used to.  We drove to the pier (we live in MD, only 3 hours away), paid $40/day in advance and schlepped our luggage across the parking lot to a freight elevator, where we met the porters.  Back on the elevator, we went up to the check-in area, which was totally satisfactory.  We boarded around noon.

Lunch was being served so we tried the buffet.  Not bad at all, actually better than the Oasis and Allure.  We had purchased the Ultimate Dining Package, so we only had breakfast at the buffet.   The specialty restaurants are excellent - Le Bistro, La Cucina, Cagney's didn't disappoint.  However, Ocean Blue (where we paid an additional fee) was very good, but somewhat disappointing.  This was the restaurant where we planned to have our special anniversary dinner.  The wine list (yes, we're wine snobs) was smaller than we had hoped for, although every wine was available by-the-glass as well as the bottle.  The biggest rub came when we were looking over the wonderful dessert menu.  Our waiter brought over a 6-inch cake as an anniversary gift and proceeded to cut a small slice and serve it to us.  So much for dessert.  We did leave there somewhat disappointed, believing that we would be "wowed" by the Geoffrey Zakarian restaurant.  There is also a Brazilian Steakhouse, a habachi restaurant and a raw bar.  O'Sheeans pub has excellent food, but doesn't have Guiness on tap.  Plenty of beers are available, though.  We booked the Chef's Table - worth every dollar!  3 hours of eating and drinking in a wonderful setting, in The Haven.

The ship itself is pretty easy to navigate and has tons of activities for kids and adults.  The biggest minus was the lack of swimming pools and availability of deck chairs.  Since we were at sea for 5 days, we wanted to spend leisure time lounging in the sun.  If we got to the adult area after 10:30, or so, we were shut out of deck chairs.

The shows are among the best we have seen.  The Cirque dinner show was great as was Burn the Floor (a history of dance).  Rock of Ages was brilliant, but DO NOT bring children to this adult-themed show, as some people did.  The theater is very comfortable with good views from almost any place in the theater.

If you are going to play slots, do it on the first night.  Everyone seemed to be winning big (we did).  But after the second day, they "tightened up" the slots and tried to get back most of what they gave away the first night.  We stopped after the third day.  We also went on the Behind the Scenes tour.  It was just so-so after we had done this on the Allure the year before.

The staff, as on most cruise ships, were friendly and helpful.  The disembarkation was without incident and really fast.  We will probably go on Norwegian again in the future.

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Allure of the Seas

June 2014 - Allure of the Seas to Caribbean - Western

In spite of Cruises Only we had a great time

Our party of 10 booked 5 staterooms 18 months prior to sailing.  The grandparents would be in the middle with 2 grand daughters on one side, 2 grand sons on the other side and the parents on the 2 outside rooms.  Perfect.  The rooms were paid for and we were counting the days until sailing.  Then, we discovered that the middle room was taken away from us and Cruises Only failed to notify us.  After much hassle and screaming, the problem was solved by Royal Caribbean.

We left port on June 15 and began the "trip of a lifetime".  We, the grandparents, had cruised 4 times prior to this cruise, including the Allure, but for the rest of our group, it was their first.  Upon boarding, we rented the ship board phones.  Each chilld had one and each set of parents had one.  These phones work only on the ship and allow you to call, text or locate any of the other phones.  It was fantastic and really gave us peace-of-mind.  Be sure to rent these as soon as you board, because they arae extremely limited at this time.  Our grandkids, ages 14, 12, 11 and 9 were able to go about their activities without the parents.  The ship is easy to navigate and there are so many age related activites for the kids.

We thought that dining might be a problem for our party because we have so many picky eaters.  But, this turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip.  Our dining room server catered to each person and everyone was thrilled with the dining experience.  We attended all of the shows - Vegas qua;lity - and many of the smaller venues.  

Our off-ship excursions were amazing.  The kids had a ball in Labadee, 5 of them even did the giant zip line. In Jamaica, we went to Hilton's Rose Hall water park.  It included lunch at the restarant or buffet.  In Cozumel, we went to the Dolphin push-pull.  Indescribable!!  It was a once-in-a-lifetime thrill for all of us.

Although the Allure of the Seas holds over 6,200 passengers, you never see crowds or stand in lines for an inordinate amount of time.  So much to see and do on this ship.  We highly recommend this cruise for people of all ages.  But, don't book it through Cruise Only.

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bobgimbel's Tips

Anthem of the Seas Anthem of the Seas - be sure to make reservations online before the cruise for all activities.
Royal Princess Royal Princess - Princess caters to an older, very loyal group of cruisers. Acitivities are geared to this audience.
Fort-De-France, Martinique - We took what was supposed to be a 3 hour tour, but spent about 6 hours driving on a narrow and very curvy mountain road.
New York, New York - If you drive yourself, it's expensive and you have to carry your own luggage from the parking lot.
Cozumel, Mexico - The dolphin push-pull is worth the money - unforgetible experience
Allure of the Seas Allure of the Seas - Get ship board phones early, if you are travelling with kids from ages 8 to 16.

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received a helpful vote on their Anthem of the Seas cruise review - Hi tech ship

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shared a quick tip for Anthem of the Seas"be sure to make reservations online before the cruise for all activities. "

reviewed their Caribbean - Eastern cruise on Anthem of the Seas and gave it 5 stars!

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