Happy hump day everyone, as promised I’m back with my review of our Royal Caribbean cruise. For those of you who followed my trip and updates on social media you’ll know that we flew to Newark airport in NYC, staying over night ahead of our check in at Cape Liberty port which was just 20 minutes or so from the airport and our accommodation. The chosen ship for our epic journey was the incredible Anthem Of The Seas which boasts more state of the art technology, world class dining and spectacular entertainment than any other cruise ship in the world. The spectacular ship sails into incredible destinations including Bermuda, St.Maarten, Philipsburg, San Juan, Puerto Rico and finally Haiti. Unfortunately due to the fact it’s hurricane season at the moment the captain made a last minute decision to skip our Bermuda stop and take an alternative safer sea route. The benefit of this was smooth sailing but I must admit I was disappointed to not see Bermuda and cruise on the ship three days longer than expected. However, the captain cannot control the weather and safety is far more important for everyone on the ship. If you’re booking a cruise it’s worth looking into the forecast and choosing a time where the weather is 99% guaranteed but also accepting the fact it can be unpredictable at times.
Once our luggage was on board the ship we checked into our Ocean View room. Located on deck 3 we were just above sea level meaning we could watch our entire journey and surrounding land upon arrival. The room itself is spacious with a seating area, desk, large bed, flat screen TV and all usual mod cons. The shower in the bathroom was powerful and the mirror fit two girls getting ready. If you’re in any way claustrophobic I would suggest a room with a balcony so you can avail of fresh air throughout your journey, otherwise the ship is exposed on level 14 and 15. If you want to go all out and money is no object, the two storey loft suites are incredible and boast a stylish dining area, dedicated concierge, private whirlpool and more space than you could possible need. Our room service and maintenance throughout our stay was impeccable; each and every staff member greeted us with smiles and a warm welcome daily, our room was tidied promptly everyday and we were left cute gestures like animal shaped towels, our itinerary for the following day, and even chocolate covered strawberries, fresh fruit and Champagne. Opting for the odd healthy brekkie we also availed of the room service option and again the service and quality was outstanding and prompt.
In terms of the food and drink on the ship the options are endless. For breakfast and lunch there’s large buffet style all you can eat areas like the Windjammer that are rather dangerous in terms of portion control. They offer freshly baked breads and pastries, a wide array of meats, cheeses, fresh fruit, pasta, and pizza, basically anything and everything you could crave within a variety of cuisines. If you’re into healthy eating I would suggest the room service option where the staff can whip up something to your requirements. My plus one is a vegetarian and they also catered for this. There’s also restaurants including Wonderland, Johnny Rocket’s, Jamie’s Italian and my personal favourite Izumi which offers the most incredible sushi I’ve ever tried. Most of the food and dining areas are included within your sea pass but some places have an extra charge so if you’re on a budget simply stick to thew wide array of complimentary options. The same goes for drink; alcohol is outside of your sea pass so the likes of cocktails will be billed to your account at the end of your stay. The bar staff regularly roam the pool areas so you don’t even have to move to order from the expansive alcoholic options. The robotic arms that serve cocktails in the Bionic Bar are also definitely worth a visit and a quirky touch I’ve never seen before.
When it comes to entertainment the ship has everything from shopping to magical performances in the likes of Two70 which displays spectacular panoramic views by day and stunning shows by night. There’s also fun game shows, a casino, expansive games area, dodgems, rollar skating, basketball an XBox area and much more. The Royal Theatre and Music Hall are also vast areas with beautiful lavish decor. If you’re a fitness fanatic like me you’ll be massively impressed with the gym on level 16. Located at the front of the ship it has cardio machines which face stunning sea views and the expansive area contains every weight training machine and running facility you could require. There’s daily classes to join in on and even a large spa which offers every treatment under the sun from facials to fillers and even acupuncture. There’s a rock climbing wall, Flowrider surf simulator, Ripcord sky diving experience, Seaplex which is the equivalent of a fairground and of course the North Star which gives you a bird’s eye view of the ship 300ft above sea level for 360 views. The ship was spotless at all times and the interior design varys throughout and will suit most tastes.
St. Maarten, Philipsburg
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Although the ship is beyond amazing, my favourite part of the cruise by far was stopping off in such amazing locations. Leaving your luggage behind and simply walking off with just a sea pass card to so many amazing areas is only possible on a cruise. It’s a super stress free way to travel and see lots or areas in a short space of time without actually noticing you’re travel time. Our first stop was Philipsburg which is the main town and capitol of the country of Sint Maarten. The town is situated on a narrow stretch of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond and functions as the commercial center of Saint Martin island. We had our best weather here, the people were bubbly and friendly, the buildings were bright, the sand was white and the sea was the perfect postcard turquoise. Our second stop was Puerto Rico, which I must admit I was a little disappointed by. The weather was stormy with tropical showers which didn’t help but over all I found the beaches and streets quite dirty and lacking in aesthetic. Our final stop Haiti was by far my favourite. Labadee is a port located on the northern coast of Haiti within the arrondissement of Cap-Haïtien in the Nord department. It’s a private resort leased to Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. meaning only cruise goers are allowed on the island. The private huts and beaches were incredible and there’s fun activities like zip lining to keep you entertained.
Overall I had a brilliant time on the cruise, it was an experience I otherwise wouldn’t have booked myself which in itself was an eye opener. The majority of people who cruise are more mature couples so doing this with a group of young friends would be a great option to keep up the social element. The staff were amongst the nicest I’ve ever come across, everyone seemed to love their job, showcased passion and couldn’t do enough for us. You’ll never be bored on the ship as there’s so much to do and the vessel is so vast, but if you’re an outdoorsy person like me the stops will be your favourite part. In terms of price our cruise was £2,099 per person which covers all of the above excluding your exterior dining and drink options as mentioned. Aside from flights and transport we didn’t spend a penny throughout the 10 days, so considering the fact we stopped in three exotic places and had so much to do it would have worked out as value for money if I was a paying customer. If you have any further cruise related questions be sure to tweet me.