April 2016 - Anthem of the Seas to Bermuda
Have you ever gone to your favorite place and had an experience that wasn’t up to standard? This is how we felt on our recent April 30, five day, cruise on the Anthem of the Seas. We are loyal platinum turned emerald Royal Caribbean members on this cruise so we’ve been extremely Wowed previously but unfortunately not on the Anthem.
Previously I had looked up parking on the pier and it was $20.00 a day. We drove to Bayonne but when we got to the dock, I had no idea where the parking was. I pulled into any empty spot in front of the terminal and ran up to a staff member and they directed me where to park. If you’re facing the terminal, the multiply level parking garage is to the left just steps away from the terminal. It was easy to drop the bags off at the terminal and park in the garage and walk to the terminal, just a matter of minutes. A suggestion is to have a diagram where the parking garage is in location to the terminal would avoid this confusion for the next customer and possibly interest them to use the facility if they knew how close it was. The terminal is beautiful and getting on board the ship is a breeze.
I like tradition. When cruising, I like dinner at 8:30, seeing people dressed up at formal nights and eating in a formal dining room which was a tradition on the Royal Caribbean. When I signed up for the cruise, they had talked about the eating arrangements but I didn’t really understand the concept but instead of one dining room, they now have four. For the classic dining, you have a freer time to enter into the restaurant but what happens is each night you go into a different restaurant but you will have the same wait staff. On the fifth night it starts from the beginning again. Each restaurant has a different menu. The Grande Restaurant is the only one that requires a sport coat for the gentlemen and has the best menu. I think this dining experience concept bothered me the most. The food wasn’t that good. I remember the first night I had order warm donuts for dessert. I tried to take a bite and physically couldn’t chew through it and had to pull it out of my mouth. By the way, the first day of the cruise was my wife’s birthday and the following day was our anniversary. Both events were noted on our cruise paperwork. From previous cruises I noticed the staff would announce your birthday or anniversary when they brought your dessert. So the first night, nothing happened for my wife. The second night, nothing happened for our anniversary and I thought possibly would happen on the third night which was the Grande Restaurant and still nothing happened. A day or two latter I happened to turn on to hear the cruise director and he happened to mention someone’s birthday so I’m not sure if that is where it is announced or it just so happened it was someone on the staff’s birthday.
No recognition party for previous cruisers but did have a recognition party for platinum and above. They use to have drinks and hors d’oeuvre at this event but now they just offer the drinks. As a platinum member robes are supposed to be available in your room but I haven’t seen that for several cruises.
I felt the evening entertainment was lacking. There were several private functions going on with music so that cut down where you could go. No 70’s night disco party like they had on other cruises. I preregistered for the three evening shows. The Spectra was great but we walked out on the Rock of Ages. The Gift was beautifully done but I think they could have done something else with this time.
Also I found out that people preregistered for the North Star and the Rip Cord so when I wanted to go, it was all booked. Another disappointment! Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that great sailing back and it was early in the morning. The people who had registered didn’t show so I was able to go on as a stand by on the North Star.
The art work on the boat was strange. In the lobby they have an oriental theme but on the wall it looks like a deer appearing through a window. On the thirteen floor where we stayed, they had posters of people in 1950 era. Just strange. Our room was good size but you could hear creaking going on and Wednesday night it was raining out and by my side of the bed it sounded like water running down pipes.
We still had a great vacation but felt the food which is a big draw, just wasn’t there. I hope Royal Caribbean doesn’t give up on their loyal customers and still supply the standards they had been known for in the past.