Sushi, robot bartenders and 80s rock - onboard Royal Caribbean's Anthem of the Seas
World of Cruising has been sailing again! Given the date, it might have been more appropriate to be boarding Independence of the Seas but on July 4 we joined her cousin, Anthem of the Seas.
The cruise was the first of Royal Caribbean’s sailings in the UK since lockdown started in 2020 and, despite the grey overcast skies, there was a real sense of excitement and anticipation amongst the 700 or so passengers and 1,300 crew onboard.
We travelled to Southampton to join the cruise ship and were greeted and ushered through check-in by a superbly efficient team. Safety protocols of masks and distancing were impeccably followed and never did we feel at all unsafe.
Royal Caribbean place a lot of emphasis on their very good app which you are required to download before your cruise to run through safety questionnaires and check-in online, which worked very well.
The mandatory safety briefing was duly completed and, armed with our double-vaccination certificates (the NHS app) and negative PCR tests, we were ushered through and towards the ship.
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Anthem of the Seas Review
The first thing you notice about Anthem of the Seas from the outside is that she is big.
However, when you're onboard, she doesn’t feel that way; the ship's decks are easy to navigate and the flow is excellent, so you never feel far from one of the many onboard destination attractions. (That said, my phone’s step-count suggested otherwise at the end of each day as we regularly made our way between deck 3 and deck 14 where the indoor passenger facilities are to be found!)
Onboard safety protocols are well monitored and enforced with masks mandatory in all public areas when not seated to eat or drink and there were plenty of hand sanitiser stations located throughout.
Anthem of the Seas is blessed with a whole array of restaurants and eateries.
While our trip was far too short to try them all, we did manage to eat in the My Time Dining Room, Izumi Japanese restaurant and Chops Grille.
The food in the main dining room was plentiful and served by a very attentive team and accompanied by decent white and red wines.
A choice of starters, including crab cakes, escargots, shrimp salad and beef carpaccio, lead you into the entrée selection which boasts such tasty dishes as Rib of Beef, lamb rogan josh, baked cod in lemon butter and chicken and asparagus pie. Sweet desserts include crème brûlée, apple tart with toffee sauce, ice creams and chocolate cake and cheesecake.
DO go to Izumi if you get a chance; this great restaurant offers first-class Japanese food and is well worth the supplement necessary. Another speciality restaurant is Chops Grille where the menu features filet mignon, whole lobster and a very filling surf and turf (filet mignon and whole lobster) which was an additional $34.95.
If Japanese and chops are not your thing then there are other choices including Jamie’s Italian, Wonderland (a gastronomic experience not to miss!), American Icon for burgers and much more.
You’re also blessed with a number of bars and lounges for a beer or a cocktail onboard - and even some made by robots!
Watching these machines make cocktails chosen by guests is fascinating and we almost felt sorry for one robot when the drink spilt - it sat there motionless like a puppy that’s been recently told off.
Nevertheless, the drinks that weren't spilt looked great and guests were proudly sat with their Long Island iced teas and Sex on the Beaches. Prices are okay – but I recommend buying a drinks package if you do intend on enjoying a few cocktails each day.
The entertainment is non-stop and you can see how Anthem of the Seas can cater for a wide range of holidaymakers. Whether it’s a family cruise or a romantic voyage for two, there’s somewhere for you to go and something to do all the time.
Unfortunately for us, the weather was not kind, but all the swimming pools were open and supervised by a lifeguard team who diligently watched over each one despite very few people being in them.
From the kids’ pools and whirlpool to adult jacuzzis and the adults-only indoor solarium area, there’s a great selection of spots to take a dip. The flow-rider was also in full swing for anyone who fancied learning to surf.
Other areas include a big casino with tables and slot machines, the North Star which elevates a viewing globe above the ship, an arcade and an indoor sports area with bumper cars – you’re never short on something to do.
Two70 is a brilliant room used for cabaret and daytime shows as well as having a massive set of screens onto which is projected all manner of spectacles from cartoons to orchestral recitals and fireworks!
The main show onboard was We Will Rock You which was shown in the afternoon and then again in the evening. It lasts nearly two hours and is well worth watching and of excellent quality.
Our favourite was the 80s mixtape by live band Coyote. Led by singer Laura Broad, who was a runner-up in Britain's Got Talent, they produced an excellent evening of 80s rock music and, again, it was great quality entertainment. There’s always so much going on that you’re only really limited by time and what you fancy doing!
It would be wrong not to mention the amazing crew. They’ve had a long time out and are all genuinely pleased to be sailing again and back at sea. Nothing was too much trouble for anyone, from the cabin steward and the bar teams to the restaurant staff. We found the Guest Services team to be really efficient and cleared any questions and issues immediately to our satisfaction.
Who should go? Anyone really; Royal Caribbean caters for all different budgets and holiday needs. Multi-generational families will have a great time as the ship caters for each group individually, allowing you to come together for family time as you wish.
Couples can find a hideaway in the spa or solarium or on their private balcony and be waited on hand and foot by the onboard team. Of course, there are also suites if you really want to splash out...
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