Anthem sails out of Bayonne and we live in NJ so it was an easy ride. After exploring parking optons to try to control costs, we parked at the port which was an excessive $22 a day. (Other local parking lots seem cheaper until you add in Bayonne City taxes, etc. Then the difference is minimal.)
Embrakation was pretty fast and well organized though we did not notice the Diamond line which would have been faster had we seen it. Our agent was a bit chatty and I was anxious to get o the ship, but she was nice and helpful.
The ship has a Promenade called the Eplanade. Unlike other 'streets' in RCCL ships, this one feels less open and spacious, in part due to a midline pub and other features, which my traveling companion did not like. A level above the Esplanade olong the sides are more restuarants and facilities such as the shore excursions desk, Izumi, etc. The shops and cafes are typical of RCCL. But at each end of the Esplanade the ship continues , not with cabins, but with more walking areas and facilites, with the theater at one end and 270 at theother.
270 is a high tech lounge which, we were told, cost RCCL $37 million. It features an acrobatic/light/sound show but also hosts activities, concerts and a wonderful silent party for those with sensory issues or those just wanting a new experience. Guests are given headphones and the lights are low. You control the sound of the music as you dance. Wonderful!!
Our cabin was on Deck 12. That particular deck has some interior cabins which are more square than long, and we were in one of them. We were very comfortable for the entire 12 days. We did miss the clothes line in the shower, but the square shape felt big and we had ample room for all of our things. Because of the layout, we each had our own closet, which was great.
The virtual window was a real bonus. We were able to see live feed from outside of the ship without paying for a window, and we were able to shot it off to keep the sunrise from waking us....best of both worlds.
All other features, food, facilities, guest services, staff attentiveness, etc. were typical for what we expect from RCCL, and add up to the reason this was our 17th RCCL cruise.
One highlight was a specialty resturant called Wonderland. We are on a budget and rarely visit specialty restaurants. We did go to Izumi once on another ship, but other then that, we enjoy the included food well enough. I had seen information about Wonderland and decided to treat us. By booking and paying online well before boarding we saved quite a bit of money, but it was still not inexpensive. I am so glad we splurged! What a geat experience. Wonderland is not for the picky eater, and I wouldn't take children or meat-and-potatoes friends. Each course is unique and some are spicy. But the experience was fascinating and delightful to me. There are lots of reviews about it online if you want details. It was a one time event for me but I am very happy to have had the experience.
The shows, Spectra's Cabaret and The Gift, were a bit quirkey for me, and people seem to either love them or walk out confused, as I did...except for WE WILL ROCK YOU which we loved!
Anthem is big, and we liked it, but we prefer Allure. Anthem lacks features we likem such as an ice skating rink and show, which was replaced by a roller rink with bumper cars, and there are no parades on the Esplanade. But it has many unique features that make exploring it fun such as it's interactive and fluid art and many robotic features. We are looking forward to sailing on her sister ship, Odyssey, in 2021 through the Mediterranean.
The virtual balcony turns this from an inside to an ocean view cabin. What a nice feature. We had a cabin that was more square than long, and the square shape meant a chair instead of a sofa, but the cabin felt bigger than many long ones we've had. Because of the layout, we each had our own closet. There was a closet on each side of the bed, and two overhead bins over the bed, and we had ample room for all of our things. We did miss the clothes line in the shower, which is quite helpful, especially on a 12 night cruise, but the shower was bigger than on other ships. It was more of a square shape, not the half circles with rounded doors. From what we've seen, this squarer cabin is rare, and only ona small area of deck 12.
We've been here many times so we just wander around and try to spend somemoney to support the local economy.
The lines are long to get in because the ship holds so many people. Be patient. It's worth it.
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