Anthem of the Seas – where do I even begin? I have just spent 2-nights aboard and I want to tell you everything! The rambling may kick-in, but stay with me!
As soon as I boarded, I began exploring, I didn’t even take my case to my cabin – I just dragged it along behind me. My first stop was the Royal Esplanade area on Deck 4. Boleros, La Patisserie, Michael’s Genuine Pub, Sorrentos, Café Promenade and a few shops were all at home here. It was a great area, you could go from the pub, to the café and straight into the shop – perfect! I made a stop at Café Promenade on Tuesday afternoon for a chicken roti and it was incredibly good, absolutely bursting with flavour and filling.
From Deck 4, I made my way up to Deck 5 where I found the Bionic Bar (which was AWESOME!), Wonderland, Izumi, Prime Table, Chops Grille, Schooner Bar, Jamie’s Italian, Café Two70 and more. I was totally hooked on the Bionic Bar, I couldn’t stop watching it! It had been one of the things I was most looking forward to seeing on the ship and I was not disappointed. Eventually I dragged myself away (only to return a short while later) and made my way to Wonderland. I wasn’t going to be dining in this restaurant, but I was desperate to check it out. It was smaller than I had expected, much more intimate, and the furniture and décor were fabulous! I loved the chairs that sported the large keyhole – I wouldn’t mind a few of those myself! The room really did have that Alice in Wonderland feel, but with a dark and interesting twist. I absolutely loved it!
Eventually, I made my way to my cabin and dumped my baggage – I had more exploring to do and the case was starting to slow me down. I had a balcony cabin on Deck 10 which was spacious, beautifully decorated and had a rather nice bathroom. I was very pleased with my onboard accommodations, although I had a small issue with the air conditioning. I like my cabin cool, I hate being too hot, especially when I am trying to sleep and the air conditioning is something I check the second I walk through the door – I don’t care what else may be of issue, the air-con comes first. I mentioned that I didn’t think the air was coming through properly and that I couldn’t get the temperature any lower than 20 degrees Celsius, which is 68 degrees fahrenheit. I was told that it was locked at 20 degrees Celsius and couldn’t be lowered. I was quite puzzled by this as on other ships they will alter the locked temperature. At the end of the day it’s down to the passengers preference, and let’s be honest, 20 degrees Celsius is not exactly cool, but the guys on Anthem point blank refused to alter it, so I slept with the balcony door open for both nights. Sleeping with the door open was actually quite nice, I could drift to the sound of the ocean and it didn’t get too cold because of the lovely spring weather we are having at the moment.
I left my cabin and made my way up to Deck 14 – I wanted to start exploring all the gadgets and technology! My first stop was Deck 14 mid-ships where I found the Sky Bar, NorthStar, Pool Bar, Pool, H20 Zone, Johnny Rockets, Windjammer Marketplace, Solarium, Devinly Decadence and Coastal Kitchen. I really liked the mid-ships pool area and thanks to Mother Nature and her warm sunshine, many other people were also enjoying the space, and the bar! You had a great view of the NorthStar from here too.
The Solarium was enchanting and it was even more hypnotising in the evening. In the middle was a tiered pool going from top to bottom, and at the bottom was a huge swing that was fixed to the ceiling. There was also a bar in the Solarium, several Jacuzzi’s and various lounging/ seating options. The entire area is enclosed in glass, so you can imagine what the views are like. Had I been wearing something lighter than jeans I would have stayed here a lot longer than I did. If you are onboard then definitely add this to your list for areas to relax!
My next stop was going to be Deck 15, I had a mission – to find Gigi! I made my way up and along through SeaPlex, another incredible space – which I will come back to later – and out through the starboard side door. I walked right into Gigi. A selfie or two later and I made my way aft to check out the FlowRider and RipCord. I wasn’t brave enough to actually go on the RipCord, I just watched everyone else, but that suited me fine and I was enjoying watching the professionals show us how the FlowRider was supposed to be done. The sun was shining and I was quite content watching the world go by.
The time had come for some food, exploring is hungry business, and decided I would try Johnny Rockets. I ordered a Route 66 with Fries and a Cherry Fountain Soda. I have to admit that the service at Johnny Rockets was pretty slow, they clearly couldn’t cope with the amount of people that wanted burgers. I think I waited about 15-minutes for my order and to be honest I wasn’t that impressed when it came. The burger was quite greasy and the bottom bun a tad soggy because of it – it was tasty, but it just didn’t have the WOW factor I was hoping for. I gave it a second chance on Tuesday afternoon and the food was a lot better, I went for the onion rings and chicken burger, both of which were more along the lines of what I had expected. Again though, I waited an age, so eventually asked how long it would be and was told it was coming. 10-minutes later I asked again and it turned out they had actually lost my order, in all it took nearly 30-minutes for me to receive my food. During my wait, another passenger returned to complain about his order. They had not put his fries in the bag and he had no bread for his burger! In the burger paper he had a chicken breast, lettuce, mayo and cheese – no bun!!!
Moving on from Johnny Rockets I continued with my ship exploration before it was time to change and take our seats for the muster drill and then Anthem’s naming ceremony. It was fantastic to be a part of such an important event. It was very different to the norm and inside the ship as opposed to on the dock, but it was certainly amazing to be part of it. There was a great atmosphere and the musical performances were wonderful, Anthem’s Godmother, Emma Wilby smashed her performance of Firework – she owned the stage and she has certainly made the North East of England very proud!! It was also great to see Bernard Meyer in the flesh!
After the naming came dinner, and Monday evening for me would be a steak experience at Chops Grille. To start I went with the pan roasted jumbo scallops and they were heavenly!!! For main course, I opted for the 9oz Filet Mignon, which was cooked to absolute and total perfection, it was so juicy, I am salivating just thinking about it, it really was delicious. We chose all 6 side dishes too so we could try a bit of everything – the creamed spinach, grilled asparagus and truffle fries were my favourite – and for dessert I reluctantly (I was so full) picked the Red Velvet Cake. I could have melted away beneath the table after one mouthful – it was the nicest Red Velvet Cake I have ever tasted!
Following dinner I enjoyed a few drinks in the Schooner Bar before heading down to the Music Hall. The Music Hall was absolutely jam packed with people and I loved it. It is on 2 floors, with the upper level overlooking the dance floor beneath.There was a live band for a while and then the DJ took over. It was certainly the heart and soul of the ship that night and I stayed there until the early hours of the morning enjoying the atmosphere. I think the Music Hall was probably my favourite area onboard. It had a Rock n Roll feel to it, skulls coming out of the mirrors, leather bound chairs, some chairs that were covered in black feathers, and a winding staircase that led to a whole other floor of intrigue. It was my kind of place.
Day two began with more exploration and a visit to the bridge. I had to have my favourite place fix, it was inevitable it would happen at some point. It wasn’t disappointing – the bridge never is – and it even offered a few new experiences. Behind the bridge central console area was a Control Centre. It had small rooms either side which displayed images from the security cameras onboard (of which there are over 1,200) and right in the middle a long thin table which housed detailed plans of every single deck onboard the ship. The officer telling us about this particular area joked that it made a great air hockey table. I could totally see where he was coming from!
After my bridge visit I enjoyed a few lazy hours before my NorthStar slot at 4:45pm. I am not great with heights, but I was desperate to try it. I had watched it go up and down all day and finally it was my turn, and at the windiest point of the day! WOW is all I can say. It was incredible! It felt a lot higher than it looks from Deck 14, but the birds-eye view of the ship was fantastic. Once I plucked up the courage to actually leave go of the railing, I had a look out across the front of the ship from the other side of the pod. I can’t recommend this experience enough, it was something completely different and it offered some pretty spectacular photo opportunities. I was so glad that I tried it and given the chance to do it again, I would be at the front of the queue – clammy palms and all!
SeaPlex and a turn on the dodgems was next on the itinerary – another first at sea experience for me. I used to love the bumper cars as a kid and it brought back so many memories of amusement park visits and fun times, it was also surreal to be doing it at sea. The space used for the dodgems also transforms into a rollerskating rink and basketball court. The cars were full size and I think there were maybe 15 or 16 in use – that should give you an idea of the size of the area. It was a lot of fun, so much so that I went back for more. On the upper level there is an Xbox zone and a selection of table top games.
The Grande was the dining option on evening two. The menu looked delicious, but once seated we were given a menu that actually contained a little bit of everything from the specialty dining restaurants, I thought it was a nice idea, but I was a little disappointed to be honest. I struggled with a choice of starter, so in the end opted for the baked artichoke hearts, which I didn’t particularly like. There was nothing wrong with them, they were something I had never tried before and I just didn’t like them. Surf and turf was the main course selection. The prawns and asparagus were delicious, but I asked for my meat well done and it was a rather light shade of pink. It wasn’t to the point where I wouldn’t eat it, but it definitely wasn’t well done. It was OK, but Chops was a far better experience. Dessert, however, was delicious, a flourless chocolate cake with cream and a sprinkle of broken pistachio nuts.
I retired early for the evening and tried the Windjammer Marketplace on Wednesday morning for breakfast. The choice was incredible! Even the choice of breads was astonishing! I had a long journey home, so decided to have a cooked breakfast. I had a spoonful of scrambled egg, beans, some bacon and a few hash browns. I also picked up what I thought was eggy bread, but it turned out to be quite sweet, I have no idea what it was but it was very moreish! I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast, the scrambled egg was perfect! The best by far that I have had on any ship.
Anthem of the Seas was my first Royal Caribbean experience and I have to say that although I had a few issues here and there, I was totally hooked by that ship. I enjoyed so many things about her, including the wristbands! I would love to see something like that on all ships. Convenient, waterproof and it saved me so much time rummaging in my bag for the card when trying to get in the cabin, all I had to do was put my wrist on the sensor and voila, the door opened! You can use it to pay for purchases in the shop, to cover your bills in the restaurants, and to order your drinks at the bar.
I have said many times that I am not a massive fan of ships that are bursting at the seams with gadgets and technology, but I really did enjoy Anthem, she may have swayed me just a little bit, but I do wonder if after a few days I would be ready to have some peace and quiet and leave all the technology behind? I suppose time will tell – here’s to my next Royal Caribbean adventure, one that I am already looking forward to!
I hope you enjoyed my Anthem of the Seas review!