|Brad Anderson from Avoya Travel enjoyed dining in Chic with the line's Dynamic Dining concept. // Photo by Royal Caribbean International|
The new 168,555-grt Anthem of the Seas is now sailing year-round from Cape Liberty in Bayonne, NJ; it's home ported just across the river from New York City. It’s the second Quantum-class ship built for Royal Caribbean International. The first, Quantum of the Seas, is now sailing year-round in China.
Accommodating 4,180 passengers in double occupancy, Anthem of the Seas boasts many thrilling adventures, including SeaPlex, the largest indoor active space at sea with bumper cars, roller skating and a circus school. This hot new ship also has restaurants from chefs Jamie Oliver, Michael Schwartz and Devin Alexander, plus techno-fun including robotic bartenders at the Bionic Bar and VOOM, the fastest Internet at sea.
Travel agents only: Have you sailed on the new ship? If so, tell us your "top personal pick" on our Facebook page or in the comments below for favorite spot or feature of the new ship. Here's a sampling of the personal feedback we've recently received from other cruise experts.
|Travel agent Andrea Campbell loved the views from The North Star. // Photo by Royal Caribbean International|
Andrea Campbell, franchise owner of Cruise Planners, an American Express Travel Representative, Indian Shores, FL, enjoyed The North Star. “Compared to the many activities offered on Anthem of the Seas, The North Star may not look as interesting as it’s a glass pod lifting you up for views of the ship and the ocean...but The North Star is truly a unique experience at sea,” Campbell says.
“You and 10-11 others will enjoy a lift up in a ‘pod’ for 360-degree views like no others at sea, which make for great selfies,” she quips. And once guests are in the air, "The North Star takes you from one side of the ship to the other – providing ship views from a completely different perspective than those who are walking around onboard.
“The ship is amazing from eye level as you explore the various venues, but from The North Star -- for approximately five minutes -- you are able to see the pure magnitude of this floating resort and the sea that surrounds it,” Campbell emphasizes.
|Doug Parker, cruise journalist, CruiseRadio.net|
She felt that seeing the deck areas, the pool and the sports complex from above with all the bustling activity that goes with them was definitely worth the wait in line.
Campbell acknowledges it’s akin to “childlike excitement that comes with experiencing something for the first time.”
Doug Parker, a cruise journalist for CruiseRadio.net and a big music and concert fan, Jacksonville, FL, cites the “We Will Rock You” production show as his top pick for a favorite feature of Anthem of the Seas.
“You won't typically find me catching a cruise ship show because to me all the shows seem like the same Vegas act,” acknowledges Parker. But he says his impression definitely changed after seeing this show.
“I'm a huge Queen fan and decided to give it a chance,” he says. “I was blown away. After all, Queen's lead guitarist, Brian May, gave it his approval on the first performance aboard Anthem of the Seas.”
Parker says the two-hour jukebox musical includes 20 Queen songs that range from popular tunes like “Bohemian Rhapsody” to “Seven Seas of Rhye,” “Somebody to Love” and “We are the Champions.”
The musical extravaganza also parallels a storyline taking place on a planet where rock music is unknown.
|The "We Will Rock You" show on Anthem of the Seas. // Photo used courtesy of Doug Parker|
His take? “The cast, stage set up, props, and musical talent were all phenomenal,” Parker stresses. “In a cruise ship world where bands have been replaced with musical tracks, it was refreshing seeing a live band playing through all the Queen hits [akin to] the Live Aid concert back in '85.”
|Debbie Fiorino gets ready to fly on Anthem of the Seas. // Photo courtesy of Debbie Fiorino|
The iFly is the ship’s simulated skydiving experience, offered only on Royal Caribbean's Quantum-class vessels.
At left, you can see Fiorino getting ready to "fly" on this unusual attraction. “I can’t believe I did it,” she quips, noting that her husband and nine-year-old son also enjoyed the skydiving simulator.
“It was such a great experience, Fiorino says. "I couldn’t stop smiling."
Teijo Niemela, publisher and managing director, Cruise Business Review, Lambertville, NJ, and Kerava, Finland, also recently sailed on Anthem of the Seas.
He points to the ship’s year-round service from the New York area and its many well-designed features that will allow guests to enjoy pools and other activity spaces regardless of weather.
In the winter months, “what is better than start the vacation with tropical warm in the beginning,” asks Niemela?
|Teijo Niemela (right) and Chef Devin Alexander // Photo courtesy of Teijo Niemela|
“Anthem of the Seas is most versatile when it comes to the enclosed pool areas — and its Solarium is by far the best Royal Caribbean has ever created,” he tells Travel Agent.
“Coupled with the SeaPlex sports area, the sea days would not be boring for guests of any age even in cold or rainy weather,” Niemela believes.
In addition, while Niemela personally misses the Viking Crown Lounge, a Royal Caribbean hallmark since the Song of Norway era, he describes the aft Two70 as “a stunning replacement" and cites it as the most versatile lounge area aboard any ship in the cruise industry.
Brad Anderson, president, Avoya Travel, Vista, CA, particularly enjoyed the Dynamic Dining concept on the new ship as it offers guests several, smaller more intimate dining venues instead of just one large traditional dining room.
“I had a chance to try Chic, one of the four main restaurants, and really liked how it worked and the variety it will provide guests.”
He describes Chic's food and service as excellent. He also says others he spoke with on the ship really enjoyed the different dining options.
|The Robotic Bar was fascinating to Brad Anderson. // Photo by Royal Caribbean International|
“Another fascinating feature of the ship was the robotic bar,” adds Anderson. “It’s not every day you can watch a robot make your drink. With excellent entertainment and shows, the bumper cars, The North Star – there were so many fun things onboard that I felt I was at a theme park. It was just a really fun place to be.”
If you're a travel agent and have experienced Anthem of the Seas on a sailing this fall, what's your favorite space or feature and why? Any tips for other agents? Tell us on our Facebook page or in the comments below and we'll publish a follow-up with a sampling of comments.