By Theresa Russell
My good impressions of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, the Anthem of the Seas started even before I walked into the terminal at Cape Liberty cruise port. An agent greeted me with a tablet to process me before I even reached the doors. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline to do online check-in and had to go inside to the regular registration desks. My compliant friends, who had pre-registered, whizzed passed me as I waited in a short line. With my registration, I received an RFID bracelet that worked as a key to my stateroom and for purchases. The bracelet is less than fashionable, but wearing it made everything much easier.
Boarding the ship, I expected Anthem of the Seas(AOS) to resemble the Oasis Class ships (yes, I know that Anthem is in the Quantum class) and was pleasantly surprised to see a totally different concept. Sure, some of the components are the same, like the outdoors deck with its FlowriderR and pools and the Royal Promenade, but on this ship, I never felt as if I were strolling through a mall. The layout flows nicely and offers a multitude of spaces to get away from the hustle and bustle.
Tech at Sea
Beyond the registration process, I encountered new tech throughout the ship. How nice to see USB ports in my stateroom. Royal is really taking its electronically inclined guests into consideration, especially with the introduction of Voom, the new high-speed Internet, which supposedly compares to the speed of DSL on land. My experience was that it worked quite well. And how smart of Royal Caribbean to provide this at a reasonable cost (~$100 pre week) to let passengers share their experiences.
Two of the most popular attractions on AOS are the RipCordSM by iFly® and NorthStarSM. I first attempted the RipCordSM , a sky-diving simulator. After a 30-minute class, we donned our special gear and heading to the giant glass tube where we would have a minute of skydiving. Although I had jumped from a plane before, I found this equally exciting, if not a workout because of the position you need to maintain throughout the session. Both my son, who also participated, and I suffered a bit from sore hamstrings after our exciting flights.
Much more relaxing was the NorthStarSM, a pod on an arm that rises to 300 ft. above sea level and offers 360° views over the ship and sea. The arm moves so slowly that it is barely noticeable, but there were a few fellow passengers on our flight who found it scary.
Two70 at the aft of the shift expands several decks with floor-to-ceiling sea views. During they day it’s a perfect spot to enjoy the view, read a book, grab a snack and/or drink and simply relax. By night the area transforms into a totally different space thanks to the wonders of Vistarama, which involves 18 projectors that bring the 100 ft wide and 20ft tall area to life with a variety of textures and special effects ideal for shows like Spectra’s Cabaret.
And what could be more entertaining than enjoying a beverage made by a robot? The Bionic Bar has two hard working robots who can make up to two drinks per minute. Their design mimics human movement. Of course, to order a drink, you use your bracelet or your keycard. Watch this video about the Bionic Bar.
There is so much to see and do on AOS. Check out this video for a brief tour of the ship. One of my favorite parts was playing ping pong with COO Adam Goldstein, who often plays with guests when onboard.
About Theresa Russell
Claiming her lust for travel began on her first journey through the birth canal, Theresa is genetically programmed to travel and to have fun doing it. She especially enjoys adventure and experiential travel and always finds something at a destination to write home about.