Lots to do (and not do...)
Anthem of the Seas Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
Anthem of the Seas is a beautiful ship. Having been on about 20 cruises, this ship was really wonderful, and very well-designed. A few points about the cruise:
* Embarkation at Bayonne was suuuper smooth! Great way to start the cruise.
* The staff were absolutely wonderful, some of the best we've had. Everyone had a smile, was more than helpful and kind.
* Big ship, with lots of cozy spots. All cruise-long, I felt like I was still finding new and different areas. I loved that! Deck 4, which was lined with shops, bars, entertainment venues, felt like I was walking along a gorgeous, upscale mall, if that makes sense. Sorrento's (really good pizza!), Cafe Promenade (coffee, sweets and sandwiches 24 hrs), the pub, several shops, Music Hall and Bolero's (both were lounges for music and dancing) were along this route. two70 in the aft of Deck 5 was a wonderful place to sit and read a book in the middle of the day, with lots of lounge-y spaces. The bistro there was a nice bonus.
* The meals were delicious. We did not eat at any of the "for-fee" restaurants, and honestly did not feel like we were missing anything. The dining style has changed, yet again. When we booked, just a few months before sailing, dining was described as somewhat "rotational", being able to eat at each of the 4 "complimentary" dining rooms, with menus based on that day's dining room. (FYI: I hate that word, because I paid good money for the cruise, so it was not complimentary, it was very much paid for. ugh!) Well, that didn't happen. Seems they are back to traditional-style dining. We were assigned to one restaurant (Grande - which was gorgeous) for the entire cruise. Each day's menu had daily entrees, as well as "classic" entrees. So if you couldn't find something interesting in the day's offerings, you could choose from salmon, grilled chicken breast, steak, etc., which was offered every day. All in all, we were very pleased with the food.
* Windjammer was huge, and had lots to offer, which was a double-edged sword. I loved the variety. But finding seating was a challenge at times. In particular, on the first day, finding seating was near impossible. We managed, primarily because we loved having a variety of foods to choose from. And the quality was always very good.
* SeaPlex was a cool place, even for adults. (we were a group of 5 adults) The venue was used for a variety of sports, basketball, volleyball, skating. My hands-down favorite was bumper cars! Sooo much fun!! The Dog House offered a variety of sausages, that were never hot, and not particularly yummy, so only used that once.
My biggest pet peeve: There were activities onboard that were not well-explained as to how to make use of them. For instance, there is the pod that takes you high above the ship and iFly, which is simulated skydiving. These items required reservations. However, when I attempted to reserve online before the trip, I was not able to do so and had to wait until we were onboard. It took 2 days just to figure out where these items were and how to reserve. By then it was completely booked for the duration of the cruise, so we could not participate. I was beyond annoyed, because those were items I most wanted to do. I even found an "escape room" activity was onboard, about halfway through the cruise, and was never able to figure out how to sign up for that. For the amount of money cruises run these days, it is more than aggravating to not be able to do all activities offered.
One last pet peeve: I am really getting tired of getting nickel and dimed for everything on a cruise. You have to make a reservation to iFly for free, but if you are a no-show, you are charged $25 (even though no one can fill that now-empty spot). Movies are shown twice each night by the pool, but they charge $3.95 for popcorn. And of course there are the for-fee restaurants, the for-fee "good" coffee, the "upcharge" for a good cut of steak in the "complimentary" (argh!!) restaurants. This cruise was not cheap, by any means, even for my inside stateroom. So all the additional charges really add up.
Overall, we had a wonderful time. But I think our next trip will be a land all-inclusive, that is truly all-inclusive.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Book as many options in advance as possible, including shows, activities, dining (if you do MyTime). To avoid crowds on embarkation day, have lunch in the two70 bistro. Much more mellow start to your trip. Make use of the solarium, as children are not allowed there (except on bad weather days).