Could Anthem of the Seas Wow me anymore than the Quantum of the Seas did last November? Quantum had already turned my head and made me realise what Royal Caribbean now have to offer, so now it was time to check out Anthem of the Seas. Surely it was just going to be identical to Quantum of the seas? Wrong!
Both Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas come from the same footprint, and whilst the similarities are obvious, there have been a few tweaks here and there.
The first difference hits you from the car park alongside the ship. Its GiGi the Giraffe! The bright pink polar bear has been replaced by a giant giraffe in a bright yellow swimsuit and wearing a life ring. Why? Well why not was Royal Caribbean’s response when questioned at open Q&A session on board. I like his style. Gigi is great to look at, she is a talking point, a photo opportunity, a great piece of art and she is fun.
So what else is new and different about Anthem of the Seas. The on board artwork for one thing. The Pulse Spiral is infectious and you can’t help but place your hands on it every time you pass. Why? Because it is a spiral paraboloid made up off 200 light bulbs. The rhythmic light sequence is generated by the heartbeat and pulsates above your head. Fascinating! Or the bright light switches of the “Believe Love Live Dream Inspire”. Opposite the Guest Services is something that played with my head. It looks like a wall of wooden blocks, but stand in front of you and they move to mimic your actions. Even the stairwells had their distractions with the different themes of artwork. I loved the donuts! Sadly there is no iconic car which seems to have become a bit of a trademark of Royal Caribbean over recent times, but I did like the Where is the Centre of the Sea bubbles – they managed to distract me even from the shops.
Speaking of shops on board, Royal Caribbean have taken this to another level with a designer names such as Bvlgari and Hublot luxury jewellery and timepieces, Armani, Prince & Green, Bobbi Brown, Tom Ford, Sundials, MAC makeup to name but a few. If I had more time I would have investigated further but time was not on my side this trip.
Our balcony stateroom was on deck 7. We had a slightly deeper balcony as we were just on the angle of the hump and had a couple of reclining chairs and a small table. The stateroom itself was nicely furnished, with one wall being a deep sea blue, which is different to the usual beige standard walls of a cabin. The dressing table was functional, nice big round mirror above it and fridge and drawer space below. Opposite was a sofa bed, with a pull out mattress below. Not quite sure how that worked in reality but guess it can be utilised for two or one person. We also have a tea tray which I’m sure will please some, but for me tea trays just take up my valuable space. Hanging space in the stateroom was limited to each side of the bed. One side had shelves and the safe behind the door, and the opposite side was hanging space. Many have commented that they wouldn’t house a long evening dress, but Royal Caribbean don’t really focus on formal nights so it may not be too much of an issue. More storage space is over the bed in the overhead cupboards. The bathroom is very well appointed and nice shower cubicle behind a glass screen.
We investigated every type of stateroom that Anthem had to offer. Good family staterooms that are a combination of virtual balcony, balcony staterooms and larger suites.
But the Wow for me was the Royal Loft Suite!! Wow, wow and wow again. Dear Mr Royal Caribbean I need one of these suites in my holiday life. The royal loft suite spans two floors with panoramic views over the stern of the ship. On the upper level is the large master bedroom and the amazing bathroom is neatly packed in a crescent shape behind the bedroom area and that lead out onto a balcony with hanging chair. Oh I would be in heaven! Downstairs there was a huge living dining area and separate media room. The sofa converted to another bed and for that reason they put in another bathroom consisting of a wet room with massive porthole looking out to sea. The two deck drop of windows flooded light into both levels of the suite and the two floors were joined by a sweeping staircase. Just wow!
We were fortunate to try the dining experience that is Wonderland on Anthem of the Seas. It’s fair to say I am not over adventurous when it comes to food and this tested my palate. Wonderland is what it says on the tin, imaginative cuisine. The chefs invent fantasy gourmet dishes, magical elixirs and never seen before fare. They tease you with a blank menu, then invite you to reveal the words with some magic water and a paintbrush, and then tell you to sit back and enjoy the food journey ahead. You don’t know what’s coming and even when it arrives you are not sure what it is. Its all about taste. As I have said I am not that adventurous with my food and if the experience has taught me one thing it is don’t put stuff in your mouth which you are unsure off. It was an interesting experience. I’m not convinced I left there feeling like I had actually eaten anything, but even to this day I can still taste some of the stuff that went in my mouth! If Wonderland isn’t your kind of dining there are a further 19 dining venues, so it’s fair to say that you will find more than enough to suit your taste on board.
The bars, oh they are much more of a specialty of mine. I investigated most and sampled their specialty cocktails where possible. None of them disappointed me. A drinks package would be the way forward for me on Royal Caribbean. Each bar seems to offer something different. Speaking of drinks, one afternoon we stopped by La Patisserie on deck 4 where Lizy sampled the most amazing hot chocolate she has ever had. At first she was convinced the server had forgotten to put the chocolate in and had instead produced a cup of white frothy milk with marshmallows on. But no, this was white hot chocolate and Lizy declared it the best hot chocolate ever. High praise indeed for someone with such hot chocolate expectations!
Entertainment and entertainment venues on Anthem of the Seas is on another level. I’m usually happy to sit in a bar and watch the world of passengers come and go, but on Anthem I’m struggling to fit in all that we want to see during our short time on board. “We will Rock You” Queen show in the Royal theatre is an absolute must. I couldn’t afford the full amount of time to see the entire show this time around, but maybe next time I will see the full production. The 30 minutes or so that we did see were fabulous. The set and production was superb, and even I could follow the story.
But if you only see one show whilst on board Anthem or the Seas or Quantum of the Seas make sure it’s one of the shows on offer in the stunning Two70 at the stern of the ship. Even without the show the venue is absolutely stunning and the sheer drop of the 270 deg windows at the aft are just spellbinding. But the shows they produce in this place during the evening are like nothing I have ever seen before. It doesn’t matter where you are in the room the views are great and the entire show just spell binding with robotic screens in perfect timing with the singers and dancers and the entire backdrop giving it a third dimension.
The two tier Music Hall provided the entertainment in the form of The wild Boys 80’s tribute band. I was lucky enough to see these on Quantum too and oh boy do they know how to entertain a party. How come I appreciate the music of the 80’s in 2015 much more than I did in the 1980’s? Not sure about that ne myself. Oh the SeaPlex and the controversial dodgem cars. Well, they were controversial to me because if you had have asked me prior to Quantum I would have said they had no place on a cruise ship. Ridiculous idea in my eyes! So much so that I never ventured onto them on Quantum of the Seas, but on Anthem of the Seas I couldn’t get enough of them. Oh my days, I’ve not had so much fun since I was 15 at the local fair. Only thing was, are they dodgems or bumper cars? Do you dodge or bump? I found bumping to be way more fun that dodging lol.
We had tried the North Star on Quantum of the Seas, and Lizy had tried the iFly on Quantum too, so there was no real urgency to sample again, although I would do again on a longer cruise. Again, these two things would have previously fitted into my thoughts as being gimmicks that shouldn’t be on a cruise ship. All I would say now is “why not?” They are great fun and offer an alternative to a ‘normal’ sea day. Lizy loved her chance to fly, and I thought rising above a ship, in a pod, was the most amazing thing ever. So don’t knock them until you have tried them.
One of my favourite areas of the ship is the Solarium. As Solariums at sea go this is one of the best tranquil areas I have ever come across. Built over three tiers of pools that flow into one another, surrounded by hot steaming hot tubs and green lush plants, this is exactly what it says on the tin – a Sanctuary. Either side also has access to two outside deck wings that give spectacular views along the full length of the ship.
I could just keep writing about Anthem of the Seas, but there is just too much to tell you, and I don’t know where to start, or stop. Quantum class ships are just something that you need to experience for yourself. I had been looking at the brochure and reading all the preview reports about Quantum class ships prior to their launch and dismissed them instantly as ‘not my kind of ship’ How wrong was I?! Nothing will stop me favouring my traditional, formal dress code type cruises, but ask me if I would cruise on Anthem of the Seas, or Quantum of the Seas, and too right I would. It may be a different type of cruise experience but an equally fantastic one! Royal Caribbean really have raised the bar with these new ships and succeeded to ‘change everything’ just as they set out to do.