November 2015 - Anthem of the Seas to Caribbean - Southern
The ship is beautiful, new and pristine. Royal Carribean is trying to set this one apart from the other ships. They have "dynamic dining", this is not clearly explained and there were many complaints on the ship. You MUST make reservations for every night at each restaurant you choose before you board or you risk being shut out of the restaurant of your choice. There is NO longer any "main" dining room, all dining is done either at the buffet, the complimentary dining rooms or the "specialty" fee based restaurants. There is limited availibility to do "casual" dining where you will rotate through each of the complimentary restaurants with the same waitstaff and dining party, I was not offered this as a choice and was not aware of it. They try to tell you that you can do standby if someone doesn't show for the reservation, but this is not always the case. I witnessed couples being turned away and being told they are completely booked. You can only make 1 reservation for the Ifly, and northstar, they will open limited reservations on the cruise, it is hard to get a time that you desire. You MUST make reservations for the shows, I also witnessed people being shut out of the entertainment because they did not pre-book thier shows. There is a line for standby. If you do not participate in the "active" activities, I found that the days at sea had limited activities. They should have more demonstrations, trivia games, tours ect... The bionic bar is a novelty and was frequently empty (around $12 a drink). The royal carribean shop had a few $10 sales, the area is small and it was like wild animals grabbing everything in sight, It was not a way to shop, very uncivilized. If they had the sale going all day, they would have made the money anyway. The food was good, I wish they would label on the menu if the fish is farmed or wild caught, I did ask and the salmon is farmed as well as the chilean bass. They ran out of lettuce and bananas, they said the produce did not meet the standard of the ship and was refused. This was not good for the vegetarians. Rock the boat band found in the music hall was great, played some 50's mostly 60's,70's, great to sing along to. Fosters oil can beer was the great value at 6.50 a can but you had to ask for it, it was not on all the menu's. Only a few 1 hour 2 for 1 drink specials and the drinks were repeated so if you do not drink marguarita's, cosmopolitains, mojito's or long island ice tea's, you are out of luck. Drink in port, the drinks are cheaper and more potent.
We had a balcony on the 8th floor, I found it spacious and just fine for the 12 days. Staff is very curteous and helpful. The cruise directors staff are very energetic, always look like they are having fun and seek to engage the audience. Martinique is the only port I did not like, there is a LOT of construction going on, we walked around the town for a little bit, saw some homeless people and went back by the ship. Took the ferry over to the resort areas.
The ship itself is very high tech, they have some things to work out, but overall a very nice cruise.