Day 2 on our Anthem of the Seas Staycation cruise around the United Kingdom. Yesterday, we discussed how the cruising experience had been redesigned to keep you safe. During these posts, I will focus on how the cruising experience has altered rather than provide a traditional travel blog. Cruise holidays are not cheap, and the current changes will not be satisfactory for everyone. In today’s post, we will discuss what is suspended and what is available on the Anthem of the Seas.
Royal Caribbean is currently restarting cruises worldwide, and there are differences in how the different ships are being set up. The United Kingdom has some of the strictest guidelines, with only one thousand guests being allowed on this particular sailing. Due to these guidelines, suspended activities might be running on other ships in the fleet.
With only one thousand guests, unsurprisingly, not everything is currently available. However, the number of headliner shows is higher than during a regular cruise. During the five-day cruise, there will be two headliners performing on many days. One of the entertainment staff explained to us that the guest stars would be living on the ship throughout the summer, and there are more guest headliners on board than we will see. Since May, all the crew and entertainers have been on the ship, rehearsing for the ship’s return.
There will be two big production shows during our cruise. We Will Rock You, which we saw today, will be performed in the main theatre, and Spectra’s Cabaret will be performed in Two70. I’m not sure if the ship’s other production shows will be performed later in the summer.
We Will Rock You was fantastic, and it was brilliant to see some live theatre once more. Kevin Kennedy, from Coronation Street, who performed in the West End production, is one of the cast members. I’m sure the cast are delighted to perform once more but wonder how enjoyable it is to be performing to a quarter full theatre.
What is suspended on Anthem of the Seas
While there is a packed calendar of events, there are a few noticeable omissions:
- There are no parties on the ship. This includes Cown and Anchor parties, Captain’s Reception, Sailaway Events or Seventies/Eighties Nights.
- The activities in Seaplex have been massivley reduced. There are regular sessions on the Bumper Cars, but there is no Trapeze School, roller skating or archery.
- There are lots of quizzes but activites such as Sushi-Making classes do not appear to be available.
- Adventure Ocean is avaialble, but hours are reduced and kids have to be booked in advance. Due to the small number of kids on this cruise it appears that this will not be an issue, but as capacity increases it might become an issue for future cruises. On more crowded saislings eac kid will be able to be booked for a certain numer of inital sessions which will be opened up on a later date if spare capacity is availble
- We understand that there will be no singing waiters during this cruise. Apparently waiter choirs and napkin waving isn’t allowed during Covid. Howeevr, the waiters have gained a guitar and now someone is on singing duty whnever you ariive at the Windjammer or main ding room.
- Talking about the Windjammer, the buffer in no longer self service, reservations are required and is only availble for breakfast and lunch. I actually like the reservation ssytem as it gets rid of the seat fidning lottery.
- Due to low guest capacity Solarium Bistro is currently closed. However, all other Speciality Restaurants are open.
Significant operational change on the Anthem of the Seas
During sea days, Ripcord by iFLY and the North Star are no longer free. Complimentary experiences are available on port days, but an extended experience is available during sea days, resulting in a not insignificant upcharge. The free experiences were fully booked quickly after boarding, but there are numerous free slots available for the free slots. I understand this has previously been introduced for the Chinese market, but based on the number of free slots; I suspect it will not be successful for the UK market.
Our first sea day on the Anthem has been fantastic fun. It has been great to be able to relax by a pool, see a show, sing in a bar, and drink copious amounts of cocktails once again. Tomorrow is our first(only!) port when we visit Belfast.
We are currently on our Tour of the United Kingdom 2021 Staycation. To read more of our adventures, click here.