Anthem of the Seas – a visit

On Monday May 4th Royal Caribbean‘s newest smart-ship Anthem of the Seas visited Zeebrugge (Belgium). Anthem of the Seas is the second ship in the Quantum Class of ships that was introduced by Royal Caribbean at the end of 2014.

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First view upon arrival at the Zeebrugge cruise port. The North Star is towering high above Anthem of the Seas.

Quantum-class ships have 16 passenger-accessible decks, 8 of which feature balcony staterooms overlooking the ocean. There are a total of 2,090 staterooms: 1,571 balcony staterooms, 148 ocean-view staterooms, and 375 inside staterooms offering real-time views of the outside through virtual balconies. At double occupancy 4,180 guests can cruise on Anthem of the Seas, while her maximum occupancy stands at 4,905. With a width of 136 feet (41.4m) and a length of 1,141 feet (348m) these ships are the second largest passenger ships behind Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class ships.

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Visitors pass in hand, we are ready to explore.

We boarded the ship right in the middle on deck five with the Royal Esplanade on one side and The Via on the other.

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Royal Caribbean’s modern version of a chandelier onboard Anthem of the Seas is actually an artwork called Pulse Spiral by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. It records and responds to the heart rate of guests who hold a sensor underneath.

Our first stop was on deck 15, the SeaPlex. The largest indoor active space where guests can experience a circus school with flying trapeze, or play basketball on a full-size regulation basketball court. The first-ever bumper cars and roller skating at sea deliver fun and excitement.

If you don’t like getting active inside you can try surfing on the Flowrider or skydiving in the RipCord by iFly.20150504_114354

“Staying down there or getting up here?” Gigi the giraffe standing next to the rock climbing wall.

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One of the other spectacular innovations is North Star, taking guests to new heights with a jewel-shaped, glass capsule, transporting them on a journey more than 90 meter above the ocean and over the sides of the ship to deliver 360-degree views.

Unfortunately due to its popularity we were not able to get onboard the North Star. Even on port days it can take over one hour before you can board the North Star to enjoy the view of the ship and the surroundings.

With the introduction of the Quantum Class ships Royal Caribbean introduced it’s new dining concept “Dynamic Dining“. The traditional main dining room has been reimagined as five complimentary, full service restaurants, each with its own distinctive cuisine and ambience. These distinctive venues feature rotating menus that deliver new selections nightly, as well as guest favorites. On Anthem of the Seas, guests can choose from two Dynamic Dining options to best suit their preferences:  Dynamic Dining Choice, which allows guests to decide when, where, and with whom to dine each evening, and Dynamic Dining Classic, which is designed for those who prefer a more traditional experience. Classic accommodates diners in a choice of early or late seating, and rotates passengers through a preset lineup of the complimentary main dining restaurants along with the same companions and wait staff throughout their cruise. There are five Complimentary Dining Restaurants:

    • American Icon Grill, inspired on the classic American road trip, offering American favorites into one comfort-style menu.
    • Chic, offering contemporary cuisine.
    • Silk, a vibrant and exotic setting inspired by the Far East bringing a Pan-Asian menu.
    • The Grande, a luxurious setting inspired by a bygone era of classic European ocean liners when dining was a time honored ritual, and where every night is formal night.
    • Devinly Decadence, Royal Caribbean’s fittest dining destination, serving foods all less than 500 calories.
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      American Icon Grill

      The entrance to ‘CHIC’ looks … chic
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Silk
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The Grande restaurant

Laid Back Complimentary Options include:

  • Windjammer Marketplace, the Windjammer is reimagined as a global culinary pavilion that invites guests to explore the world, dish by dish through various food islands, interactive stations, made-to-order specialties, an on-site bakery and a 24-hour station called The Grill.
  • The Café @ Two70, a gourmet marketplace serving savory hot-pressed sandwiches, salads made to order, handmade soups and more.
  • SeaPlex Dog House, the first food truck at sea offering gourmet hot dogs for all to enjoy in SeaPlex, the largest indoor active space at sea.

These venues join returning casual-feel favorites including Sorrento’s, Café Promenade and Johnny Rockets.

The Café @ two70

Specialty Dining restaurants include:

  • Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine, promises an elaborate feast for the senses with a menu of culinary curiosities.
  • Jamie’s Italian, featuring rustic Italian handmade favorites, using seasonal ingredients.
  • Michael’s Genuine Pub, an American gastropub at sea offering simply-prepared food and drinks made with quality ingredients from the best artisanal producers.

Additionally, guests can enjoy a number of Royal Caribbean favorite specialty dining restaurants, such as Chops Grille steakhouse, Izumi Japanese Cuisine andPrime Table @ Chop’s Grille.

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Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine
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Wonderland interior
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Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver interior
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Jamie’s Italian menu

As any other ship Anthem of the Seas has plenty of bars, lounges and other entertainment places.

Music Hall is one of those places. Located on decks 3 and 4 Music Hall serves as a nightclub and small music performance venue. On the upper floor there is a large square bar, plenty of seating and self-levelling pool tables. You can look down and watch the band perform or see your fellow cruisers doing their best dance moves on the dance floor. Downstairs, there is another large bar, a dance floor, the stage and more seating.

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The 4th floor entrance to Music Hall
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Looking down on the dance floor in Music Hall

Introduced on Quantum of the Seas the Bionic Bar is not like any other “normal” bar. You order your drink on a tablet before watching a bartending “robot” mix up your desired creation. The two mechanic bartenders can make two drinks per minute each, delivered in plastic cups via six conveyor belts. Though the robots should be able to make endless combinations of drinks they do have some limitations, or did you really want an olive in your martini?

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The bionic bartenders will mix any drink you order

Also introduced on the Quantum class ships is Two70°,  the lounge on decks 5, 6 and 7 at the back of the ship featuring three-story-high 270-degree panoramic ocean views, a café, and an ice bar. Two70° is also the stage for Royal caribbean’s new and futuristic approach to entertainment that pairs the most advanced technology with dancers, singers, aerialists and musicians. At the forefront of Two70° is Vistarama which transforms its expansive floor-to-ceiling windows into any scene, real or imagined, by combining 18 projectors to create an ambient surface over 100 feet (30 meter) wide and over 20 feet (6 meter) tall. In addition, Two70° features six robotically controlled 100-inch television screens, Roboscreens, that provide digital backdrops and dance in tune with the performers.

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Two70° lounge by day, futuristic entertainment centre by night
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The artwork in front of Two70° reveals a clue to the entertainment ahead

The Royal Theatre is Anthem of the Seas’ broadway-style theatre. It is home to We Will Rock You and The Gift. We Will Rock You, the musical based on the classic Queen hits, tells the story of a group of Bohemians who struggle to restore the free exchange of thought, fashion and live music in a distant future where everyone dresses, thinks and does the same.  Musical instruments and composers are forbidden, and rock music is all but unknown. The Gift, a production show created specifically for Anthem of the Seas, is a musical journey of fantasy and illusion that begins one stormy night with the arrival of a “Magical Gift”.

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The Royal Theatre
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Art is a big thing onboard Anthem of the Seas, and some of the art is pretty big! Pictured is “Eve”, a work in polished mirrored steel created by Richard Hudson
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Sometimes you have to take a step back to get the message
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Colourful art next to the children’s swimming pool. Notice the plaque with the ship’s construction number

We ended our visit with a trip to the Windjammer Marketplace. The familiar Windjammer has been reimagined as a global culinary pavilion inviting guests to explore the world through different food islands, made-to-order specialties, interactive stations, an on-site bakery and a 24-hour station called The Grill offering rotisserie chicken, Philly cheese steaks, all-day breakfast and more.

As we have seen on other new ships before entering the self-service restaurant guests are led through a wash room to wash their hands, instead of using the alcohol disinfectant.

Read more about washing your hands here: Wash your hands!

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Remember to wash your hands!
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Fresh bread baked on-site
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The Windjammer, a 860-seat space, has been transformed into an international bistro-style marketplace
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Not your typical buffet offering global flair and integrated food islands
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The outdoor terrace at the back of the Windjammer marketplace
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One of the dessert stations offering gluten free and dairy free desserts
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Windjammer Marketplace offers a wide variety of desserts

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We found the perfect ending to every breakfast, lunch, diner or like in our case a visit to a new cruise ship.

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