Having been blown away by the most extravagant accommodation on the ship, it was time to return to our own stateroom and get ready for an evening of entertainment. Our assigned restaurant for the first night was The Grande; a dining venue that usually serves classic dishes from around the world. However, for this special pre-inauguration event, the menu was made up of a few dishes from four of the main dining areas, which also included Chic, Silk and The American Icon Grill.
These, along with Divinely Decadence - the ‘500 calorie or less’ restaurant - and Coastal Kitchen (only available to Pinnacle members and guests staying in a Grande Suite and above) make up the six main dining venues on board Anthem of the Seas. An evening at any of these is included in your cruise fare, but there are also a number of speciality options you can choose for a small surcharge. These include the first ever Jamie’s Italian at sea, Japanese restaurant Izumi and Wonderland. The latter offers a feast for all the senses in the form of molecular gastronomy.
After a pleasant evening in the Grande Restaurant, it was onto the Music Hall for some 80s style entertainment. This two-tiered venue features a bar and dancefloor downstairs and a relaxed seating area with pool tables on the upper floor. Live acts and DJs provide a backing track to your evening well into the early hours of the morning, but we decided to check-out what was happening in the SeaPlex for the second half of the night.
The SeaPlex is the largest indoor entertainment and leisure venue at sea, and witnessing it during the day and at night will make you realise just how flexible it is. Whilst we had seen people racing around in bumper cars here during the day, these had been removed for the evening to leave us with a giant dancefloor on which to practice our moves. It is here where another one of Royal Caribbean’s technical advancements is also showcased. A DJ booth, which is suspended from the ceiling via a mechanic arm, can be lowered down and moved above the baying revellers’ heads as they dance.
A Show-Stopping Second Day
The next morning, we enjoyed a European style breakfast from the Café @ Two70. This dining area is a gourmet marketplace which offers a choice of hot and cold food throughout the day in close proximity to arguably Anthem of the Seas’ most remarkable public space. We got a small taste of what Two70 can offer during a Royal Caribbean presentation after breakfast, but we would get a true sense of how impressive it is later that evening.
The rest of the second day was spent testing out a few more of the never-ending facilities available on this fantastic ship. We played some table tennis and air hockey in the SeaPlex (which also has Xboxes for children and bigger kids too); relaxed in the solarium, where you will find a main swimming pool, two Jacuzzis and plenty of loungers; and dined in the Windjammer Marketplace for lunch. This buffet restaurant has options from all over the world to cater to every taste imaginable. There’s even a self-serve drinks dispenser with over a hundred different options for those who also like to mix it up when it comes to beverages.
With a range of different shows and entertainment options, it’s easy to organise your evening around when you would like to eat. As we weren’t dining until 8pm, we took the opportunity to watch the early performance of We Will Rock You. Far from being a cheap imitation, this spectacular production is the same as that which has appeared on the West End, written by Ben Elton in collaboration with Roger Taylor and Brian May, and is not to be missed.
Our dinner that evening was amidst the warm and welcoming atmosphere of Silk, although the menu featured a selection of different dishes from the four main restaurants, just like the night before. Another sumptuous dining experience finished as we headed off to see what Two70 had up its sleeve when in full flow. This entertainment facility is the most expensive public space on a cruise ship and was designed so that each and every seat in the house offers a unique perspective and unobstructed views.
By day, it is a relaxed lounge area with stunning 270° vistas of the ship’s wake but it is in the evening when it really comes to life. Large blinds are pulled down over the floor-to-ceiling windows so that projections can be cast onto them, six LED screens mounted on robotic arms twist and turn as they work in tandem and separately from one another; and various parts of the staging area rise and fall to create a performance on a range of different level. The show we saw, Spectra’s Cabaret, will be a mainstay on Anthem of the Seas and was definitely a highlight of our time on board. By fusing dance, music, circus performances and a liberal dose of showmanship, the quirky production takes you to a secret dimension ruled by light and sound. On a high from what we had just witnessed, we headed off to the Music Hall once again where we danced into the night.
The next morning, there was just enough time to grab a buffet breakfast from the Windjammer Marketplace before we had to leave. Again, there was something for everyone, regardless of whether you prefer a healthy breakfast, a fried feast or a meal made up entirely of pancakes and syrup. Sadly, disembarkation came all too soon and so we all trudged off the ship in begrudged fashion.
Overall, Anthem of the Seas really is a ship for everyone. If you enjoy the excitement of cutting-edge facilities like the North Star, Flowrider, Two70 and Bionic Bar as well as ‘first at sea’ experiences like bumper cars and Ripcord then there is something for every minute of the day. However, if you prefer the more relaxed areas of a cruise ship, it is easy to look beyond these headline acts to find many more excellent public areas. Places such as Bolero’s, Michael’s Genuine Pub, Vintages, the solarium, the stylish restaurants and the well-appointed, spacious cabins help to create a feeling close to that which you would find in a boutique hotel. And that’s without even mentioning the extensive spa and gym facilities.
For all the bravado and brashness of the hi-tech areas and WOW moments (which are all undeniably amazing), it is the smaller, more understated touches that make the ship what it is. Whether it’s a quirky sculpture, an interactive art installation, or an unexpected mural found in the lift; there is so much to put a smile on your face. The futuristic bartenders, robo-screens, floating DJ booths and exciting activities simply provide a welcomed, if rather extravagant, cherry on the top of an extraordinary cake.
If you would like to see the ship for yourself then we can offer a range of Anthem of the Seas cruises which sail right out of Southampton in the summer of 2015. Call us today to embark on a holiday you’ll never forget.