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This February, my family had a great vacation aboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas! Anthem of the Seas is a fabulous ship for a family vacation, sailing great itineraries year round. I love cruising and am so excited to share my full Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas ship review with you.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line Anthem of the Seas Ship Review
Our family loves to cruise and we were so excited to finally sail on Royal Caribbean. I had sailed on Royal about twenty years ago, but had not in recent years.
Since cruising’s restart in the Summer of 2021, I sailed on Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam, Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady, the Disney Wish, but this was my family’s first cruise in two years. We loved it so much, we just booked a few upcoming cruises including on the NCL Prima in 2023, Princess to Alaska in June 2023, and the Royal Caribbean ICON of the seas, which is debuting in 2024!
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas Itinerary
We chose the Anthem of the Seas for a president’s week cruise because the ship was departing from Bayonne, New Jersey, which is only about an hour away from where we live. Not having to pay for airfare to Florida helped keep the cost of the vacation down, and enabled us to book two cabins instead of one.
In the spring, fall and winter, the Anthem of the Seas sails weekly out of Bayonne, and ports in Port Canaveral, Florida; Perfect Day at Cococay (Royal Caribbean’s private island destination) and Nassau, Bahamas. We had three sea days on this sailing.
In the summer, the Anthem heads to Europe!
Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas Deck Plan
I always like to include a deck plan on my cruise ship reviews – it’s a great way to get a feel for what’s onboard a ship. The Anthem of the Seas is an easy ship to figure out and navigate your way around. Everything you need is located on decks 3, 4, 5 and then up on decks 14, 15, and 16.
Deck 3 – this is where you will find the large casino
Deck 4 – Here you will find the restaurants for main dining, Bolero’s bar, guest services, some shops, the pub, and the Royal Theater
Deck 5 – This deck is home to Jamie’s Italian, Vintage wine bar, Café 270, the cruise next desk (PRO TIP: Always book your next Royal Caribbean sailing when onboard for a great booking bonus), Wonderland, Bionic Bar, Sushi restaurant, Schooners pub, and Chops Grille
Deck 6 – 13 are all cabins. For this sailing, our two cabins were on Deck 8
Deck 14 – This is where you will find Windjammer (the buffet), Coastal Kitchen (for suite guests) and the main pools – indoor, outdoor and the solarium for adults only.
Deck 15 – Here you can access the Sea Plex (which spans up to deck 16 as well), the sky bar (where you catch the North Star), the Flowrider, rock climbing wall, the hot dog cart, and the walking track.
Deck 16 – this is one of those decks that you can’t walk across, but in the forward, you will find the gym and spa, and in the aft is the upper deck of the SeaPlex.
Planning a cruise is tough. Which cruise line? Which ship? Which cabin? Of course, there is your budget to consider as well!
For those reasons, it’s always best to work with a travel professional to help plan a cruise vacation. I help you with EVERYTHING, And the best part? My services are free! That’s right, you pay the same price whether you book through me or directly through the cruise line.
Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas Rooms
Like I said, we booked two cabins – one balcony cabin and one inside (with a virtual balcony). Both rooms were well appointed and super comfortable. Beds can be configured in a King or two twins.
Our balcony room had a nice couch for sitting, a desk, refrigerator, two closets, plenty of drawers, and a bathroom with a stand up shower. The balcony had two chairs and a small table.
The interior room was a little smaller, only had a chair instead of a couch, but the virtual balcony added light and the illusion of space to the cabin.
Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas Activities on Board
The activities on board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas is what really shines on this ship! There is so much to do! Since we had three sea days we were able to experience almost everything.
It was a little confusing what you had to book before sailing, book on board, and what was just open to walk up and experience. And it seems like these things change. Here are some of the onboard activities we experienced on the Anthem of the Seas:
Flowrider Surf Simulator – this was a walk on activity with no extra charge. Beginners can try boogie boarding (its hard we’ve tried it) or advanced riders can try to surf. We also were able to do this at Margaritaville in Nassau, Bahamas where we bought a day pass for this resort.
I-fly Sky Dive Simulator – this is an upcharge activity and you need to make reservations when you arrive on board.
Rock climbing wall – this is a complimentary activity, which you can walk on to.
Bumper cars in the SeaPlex – this is complimentary. It’s a walk on activity during port days, but reservations are needed on sea days. Each guest can make one sea day reservation per sailing.
Ping pong, foosball, and the Xbox lounge – this is complimentary and first come, first serve.
Arcade and air hockey – pay to play.
Gym and walking track – included. You need to make reservations for fitness classes when you board the ship. Some classes do have a fee.
North Star – the observation ball that goes up 300 feet over the ocean. This is an upcharge experience and you need to reserve a time when you board the ship. We were glad we did this, short, but amazing!
Large, Vegas-style casino – check your Royal Caribbean app for various tournament times.
Scavenger Hunts – we did two of these and were so much fun for all of us. Check your RCCL app for days and times. We actually came in third place by running around the ship and snapping selfies at various locations – great fun! There were also a TON of trivia games offered on the Anthem of the Seas!
Silent DJ Party – again, another fun, family friendly activity that we all enjoyed.
Shows – We only saw one show on board. The shows are complimentary, but in 2022 you needed to reserve your space (I think mainly because of social distancing)
Kids Club – The ocean club is for kids aged 3-11. They do break it out into smaller groups by age. You MUST register the first day and, on our sailing, we had to make reservations. The Ocean Club is open at various times of the day and is complimentary until 10pm. If you leave your child from 10pm-12am there is a $7/hour fee.
Teen lounge – this is for kids aged 12-17. You do also need to register on the first day, but no reservations were required. My son could come and go to the activities as he pleased.
Of course check your RCCL app for the daily itinerary and various goings on around the ship.
Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas Dining
There were a ton of great dining options on board Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. Since I am always thinking about food, we did have to try all of the on board eateries – for research purposes of courses!
Windjammer – is the large buffet. They had many options for all meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner. This was also a nice place to run in for a snack or drink.
Sorrento’s pizza – this was my kids favorite place to eat on board the Anthem. It was quick and they had a variety of toppings.
Next to Sorrento’s was a café which was a great place to get sandwiches, a quick breakfast, dessert or a snack. I came down here every morning to get a cup of coffee.
Sea plex hot dogs – this hot dog stand was only open for lunch. Hubby tried this and said it was pretty good! This is an easy food to grab when you are lounging by the pool
Café Two 70 – this was our favorite spot for breakfast, It was nice and quiet here and they had some menu items I didn’t see elsewhere on board. Café Two 70 was open until 5pm, so another option for lunch or an afternoon snack. The fresh carved roast beef seemed to be a very popular sandwich item.
Room service is complimentary for breakfast, but not later in the day. If you want lunch, dinner or a snack, there is an $8 delivery fee.
Main Dining Room – On Royal Caribbean you have three dinner dining options – early seating (around 515PM), late seating (around 8PM) or MYTIME dining. If you choose a set time, you dine at the same table, at the same time each evening.
If you choose MYTIME, like we had, you make a reservation for each evening, at whatever time you would like. It can be different each evening. If you don’t pre-book, you can walk in although you may have to wait a few minutes.
You might dine on different sides of the main dining room, but the menu is all the same. Worth noting that the main dining room is open for breakfast and lunch as well – no reservations needed.
ROYAL CARIBBEAN PRO-TIP: There is a vegan menu in the main dining room. I enjoyed trying some items from this menu as well.
Lastly, don’t forget to grab an Ice cream by the outdoor pool!
Specialty dining on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas
Word on the street is that specialty dining on RCCL is a MUST DO. If you are interested in specialty dining, it’s worth buying a package of three meals, or even the unlimited specialty dining plan. The cost for the three meal plan is basically the same as doing two specialty restaurant ala carte. That is the plan we purchased on our recent sailing
On the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, the specialty restaurants are:
Wonderland – eclectic cuisine that is fun and inventive.
Chop’s Grill – steakhouse
Patisserie which serves Starbucks coffee and you can pay ala carte
Johnny Rockets – an ala carte restaurant located by the outdoor pool. My kids did love their milkshakes
English pub– appetizers for $4 and burgers for $8
And be sure to look for the popcorn cart available on sea days for a small charge!
Worth noting that as a vegetarian, they were able to accommodate me at Wonderland and Chops, despite not having any veg items on the published menu. Be sure to ask in advance if you have special dietary needs!
Tips for Sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas
- Put your phone, and kids’ phones on airplane mode to avoid cell charges
- Register for kids club on day one
- Buy an Arcade Card in advance for a discount
- Buy specialty dining packages in advance
- Order a case of water to be delivered to your room on embarkation day
- To be honest, the Wi-Fi sucked, and kids can’t use RCCL app. It made electronic communication with my kids a little tricky. Some families had walkie talkies!
- Pre order a bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries to be sent to your cabin upon embarkation.
- Soda cup- If you purchase a drink package, you get a refillable cup to use at the self-serve stations around the ship
- Towels- I don’t know why RCCL is so nuts-o about the pool towels. You can only check out one at a time, and you MUST return them! Also, take a towel with you to Perfect Day at Cococay. You can exchange them there for a fresh one, but you must bring them back to ship.
- The unlimited drink package is expensive, but includes so much – bottles of water, soda, specialty coffee plus alcohol.
- When you book your cruise with me, I let you know when the cruiseplanner (Pre-cruise purchases) have sales! ALWAYS BOOK YOUR CRUISE WITH A TRAVEL AGENT!
What to bring on the Anthem of the Seas
I have a full cruise packing list on my site, but specific to Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, be sure to pack:
Shampoo and conditioner – these are not provided
Sneakers for Rock climbing and SeaPlex activities
Brumate for Truly’s and Michelob Ultras – they serve these on board
Cruise Lanyard – this is a cruise where everything happens on your seapass card. A lanyard is an easy way to carry your seapass around (You can leave your wallet in the safe, you don’t need it on board)
Two bottles of wine or champagne
The Anthem is a super fun ship, with lots to do and a great deck plan. We loved sailing her and can’t wait to book some more cruises for next year! Have you been on the Anthem of the Seas? What is your favorite cruise ship?