January 2016 - Anthem of the Seas to Caribbean - Eastern
Would never take the QUANTUM Series of ships from Royal Caribbean again. In fact this cruise soured us from taking a cruise for our next vacation which would be our 50th Wedding Anniversary.
We expected to have a nice, relaxing vacation which, since my husband still works full time at age 71, was much needed.
First hassle was in the terminal to sign us in. Chaos everywhere. No clean lines and people in lines scattered throughout the terminal. Good luck in picking the right line where someone before you may have an issue and that line becomes an additional wait line. Of course, cabins were not ready because these ships don't take the time to accommodate disembarkment as well as embarkment. All about the $$$ - jam them out and jam them back in.
did not seem to have knowledge that for this cruise style, reservations for dinners and shows should have been made before the cruise, so we find out as we want to know where we are to go for dinner. It was assumed by us, and that it would be set up as other cruises are, in a beautiful grand ballroom with assigned seating. Not so. Each night of the cruise needs reservations for a restaurant of your choice. No opportunity to meet new people because reservations are made ahead by passengers with their own group or two alone. We, fortunately, had met some nice people we started talking to while we waited for our cabins to be ready. However, that did not solve the problem of us not having made reservations for dinners and shows ahead of time. Fortunately, I had downloaded the Royal Caribbean app but unfortunately everything was already booked, except for some 9:30 P.M. time slots. No shows were available. I proceeded to Guest Services, where of course, the lines were long. When I told them I was unaware of the new way of cruising this ship adopted, I was given a yes, reservations must be made ahead and I told them all I could get for dinner was on the third night at 9:30, I was told, I am sorry. Yes, reservations are to be made. Alrighty then. We proceeded to grab some pizza in the shop in the atrium. First night dinner on a cruise ship.
Next day as I checked the schedule for dinner, still no reservations available. We decided on room service, which was very limited. Next day I go back to Guest Services and am told the same thing as my previous visit. I asked if I was supposed to eat pizza every night because I had no reservations and they said he buffet is open until 9:00 each night, or I could go to any restaurant and wait in line to see if anyone cancelled or did not show up for their reservation and I could get in that restaurant for that night. Really. At this point I see my $$$ spent not affording me a decent meal for 10 days and burst into tears. At that point a guest services employee who was outside of the lines approached me and I proceeded to tell her my story, while my husband went to different restaurants to see if we cold get in that night. By this time it is about 4:30. As the guest service rep is trying to finally solve my problem, my husband comes back and says one restaurant said we could come in now if we wanted to. So now, plans for a shower and changing into some dinner clothes is not an option, but we get to eat. The guest services rep told me to go to my room tonite and select restaurants from the TV channel that would show the menus as well as the shows we wanted to book and meet her back at guest services in the morning before 11 and she would handle it. I feel some relief but still not happy that I do not yet feel settled or relaxed. We go to dinner and find the food less than stellar, but ok. Spend the night figuring out our schedule and restaurants for the week. We are now going into Day 3 before we finally have some sense of what we are doing for the remainder of the cruise.
This ship is so huge and it seems to have been built to squeeze in as many cabins as they could, while providing a small crowded main area for guest services, shopping etc. No beautiful grand atrium to be found. People all over the place and it was not pleasant. Very limited places where you could even get a free glass of water. They were pushing the drinks and the drink programs. $$$ instead of starlight in our eyes. There was water available in the pizza/coffee shop area where lines were long. Also on the 7th floor restaurant area and the buffet on the 14th floor which was open select hours. If it was closed for changeover to the next meal. What a hassle just for a drink of water.
Forget trying to recharge any of your devices - no outlets to be found. you would think there would be at least a designated area that would have recharge stands, though I am sure you would have to wait for those as well.
Let's get to the Casino - very small - VERY TIGHT SLOTS and wait in line at the bar for a water and you are told you must buy a bottle of water. WHAT!!!!
Smoking area takes up a bigger part of the Casino and is right in the middle of everything. All tables are smoking, as well as slots outside of the tables. I felt I was getting lung cancer just being in the Casino. The casino is long and narrow and the machines are louder than the payouts. Bet MAX, you might get a ding ding ding and fancy lights for a payback of 50 cents out of the $2.50 you bet. Then the casino puts in the newsletter that they paid out $50,000 thus far, but not what they pulled in. Two machines were paying pretty good and when gamblers realized this, forget getting those machines. One machine was consumed from first thing in the morning until dinner time by one elderly gentleman who had a cabin down the hall. If he had to get more money, go to the bathroom or change his clothes for dinner, he left his money in the machine and had his wife watch it for him. I, fortunately, am a night person and finally got to sit at that machine late after dinner and shows. Max bet, however was $8.88. I took a chance and came out a winner the first time I used it. That is the cost of gambling, I understand, but I am sure the ship could give out a little bit to make the passengers happy. By the end people were playing minimum just for the entertainment of it. Ridiculous.
The shows, however, were very good. A bit strange, but good and enjoyable.
In conclusion, I would never go on this type cruise again, and because of this trip, not sure we even want to cruise at all any more. Perhaps it is time for a land trip.
Thanks also to the Captain who led us around the storm and had the foresight to extend a day in order to do that.
P.S. My husband broke out in hives and face swelled after eating at Silks, an Asian style restaurant.
Also beware if you want to play Bingo - very expensive and the last day they offer a large cover all Bingo, but it cost $50 to get all the boards, and they have a very stupid rule that you must have the last number called if you call Bingo. The first lady on our cruise who yelled bingo did not - she really had bingo from the number before and they disqualified her - $7500 winner and they disqualified her. A Bingo is a Bingo. Why add that rule. Even if they would have accepted another Bingo from the next number called and split the jackpot. But to disqualify someone who actually had Bingo is crazy.
Poolside is very crowded and chairs are squeezed in tight. Good luck getting a chair that is not being held by someone for the day with their clothes or towels. Charged for towels until you return them. No food poolside - Johnny Rockets available for a cost. No self-serve water, lemonade, etc. Go to a bar and ask for water.
Now I ask what happened to the midnight buffets? Or food all day, even fruit or snack foods? by 9 PM everything closed except pizza, coffee and cookies on 4th floor. No fruits, etc. except for buffet on 15th floor which closes at 9. And if it is time to close, believe me, they are cleaning it up half hour before hand. So get your food early!