Sunday, 26 April 2015

Family Cruise on the Anthem of the Seas


Last weekend we were invited by Royal Caribbean to their Pre-Inaugural Sailing Event to have a taster of what a cruise would be like as a young family. We were really excited but like a lot of people I had my preconceived ideas about what a cruise is actually like, would it be suitable for a young family? Would there be enough to do on board to keep all of our family entertained? Would the rooms be big enough or cramped with an excitable toddler? Would there be any down time for myself and The Mister? Would there be child friendly food on board? And how would it compare to travelling by plane? Also isn't cruising really for old pensioner types? So these were the question I had in the back of my mind on our mini cruise on the Anthem of the Seas.



Would there be enough Entertainment on board the Anthem of the Seas? In a nut shell - YES! In 48 hours as a family we raced around on Dodgems, went on the iFly a sky dive simulator, played on arcade games, played classics like ping pong and air hockey, splashed around in the heated pools and played the latest Xbox games. If we had more time we would have also liked to go to the Roller Disco, seen the west end production of We Will Rock You and ride on the North Star. Beaux at two years old obviously couldn't join us on some of these activities so spent some time in Kid Clubs which he loved but I will get to that part later. I never felt like we were stuck for things to do. If we had been cruising for a week we would have gone at a much slower pace, enjoying more time lounging by the pool while the kids played in the whirl pool or jumping in the wave simulator, something we could all enjoy as a whole family. But as it was only a weekend we wanted to cram in and experience as much as we could. The kids all slept well each night!


Would the Room be big enough on the Anthem of the Seas? We stayed in two interlinking Staterooms with balcony sea views. The rooms were bright, spacious and contemporary with a splash of quirkiness which was reflected throughout the whole ship. The Staterooms were the size of a standard hotel room, with plenty of wardrobe space (also big enough to store all of our suitcases in) it also had all the amenities you would expect from a hotel room, it was very comfortable. The en-suites was also quite roomy, no bath but large showers, when we normally choose a hotel room we usually choose en-suites with a bath as we find it easier throwing the little lads in a bath together but it wasn't a real problem. Beaux was quite happy splashing around in the shower with me and it was big enough to do that quite easily.



Would there be any down time for us adults on the Anthem of the Seas? The first night after dinner the kids having visited the Kids Club earlier that day were really keen to go, they had made friends with some of the other blogger's children and wanted to meet and play with their new friends there. We agreed they could play for an hour or so as we were on holiday after all. They all happily skipped off, Tiger and Violet in one room for children aged 3-11 years old and Beaux in a nursery for under 3yrs. The main difference was all of the age appropriate toys for the under 3yrs and being able to cater for nappy changes and nap times. Earlier that day we had registered them as you would for a nursery and we were then given dect phones that we could be contacted on if there were any problems or if we needed to check in on them. Surprisingly for a family that never uses Kid Clubs facilities when on holiday we felt relaxed and at ease. We then headed back to the restaurant to enjoy our deserts, a few drinks and a catch up with blogger friends. We left to collect the kids after an hour as I was worried that after a day of sheer excitement they would be tired and grouchy but how wrong could I be. They were having a great time playing, creating and making new friends (including Beaux) I was secretly kicking myself that we didn't stay for another drink! The next day we didn't make that same mistake!! We dropped all the kids off at Kid Club nice and early! Well in time for dinner, the Kids Club took the older children out to a kid friendly restaurant and ordered room service for Beaux. Myself and The Mister then enjoyed cocktails at the Sky Bar and had a posh grown up meal, which was beyond belief! So good! We drank plenty of good wine, this time we both felt comfortable that all the kids were having a good time and that Beaux would be put in a little bed if he was feeling tired. We also had our trusty dect phones that I called in on a couple of times. We are simple creatures although there was loads of evening entertainment (even a club!) all we really want for down time on holiday is good food and drink, a chance to enjoy our food, eat slowly and have a conversation without interruption, it was a perfect night.




Would there be child friendly food on the Anthem of the Seas? We all ate so much while on board! There was always so much choice that even the fussiest eaters found something the loved at each meal time. All the restaurants we visited had gorgeous sea views which made meal times just that bit more special. One of our favorite restaurants to eat at as a family was Jamie's Italian, antipasta boards, the tastiest calamari and divine deserts (my stomach is growling while reminiscing!) I was really impressed with the children's menu healthy and fun selections, firstly their menus came in cool retro toy slide shows, clear photos of what their meals would look like and when it arrived it invited the kids to try things they wouldn't even touch normally like their shake it salad. The salad came in a little pot which they could dress themselves and shake which was enough to get them to at least try a few new salad leaves.


How does a Cruise Compare to travelling by Plane? This is one of my favorite points about cruising, one of Royal Carribean selling points is that you get from check in to your room in 15 minutes! That includes going through customs! which is my biggest pet hate about airports, it all takes so long and even longer when you've got children complaining and a toddler running off! I don't mind the actual flying part and we've been lucky to only had good experiences of this but being able to get to your room, dump your bag, change into your swimming costume and be beside the pool with a cocktail in your hand and happy kids splashing in a pool in less than 30 minutes is huge for me! No airports, no long transfers, no baggage control! bliss! Your holiday can begin the minute you get on board.

Are cruises just for old pensioner types? I really felt that the Anthem of the Seas certainly had young families in mind when designing the ship. The decor from the moment we stepped on board had a feeling of luxury and glamour but then had splashes of quirkiness in pieces of art which instantly injected youth and fun. While I am sure there was plenty to do for older cruisers these weren't really in the areas we were spending most of our time, the ship has been cleverly designed so that there are decks where children can be children and decks which have a more relaxing atmosphere. I would say that the Anthem of the Seas is a ship for all.

Would I recommend the Anthem of the Seas to my friends with young  families? Yes, totally! We had such an amazing time on board the Anthem of the Seas, we were never stuck for things to do, every where we ate was amazing quality and lovely, the staterooms were roomy and comfortable. We as parents had time to be a couple and Anthem of the Seas feels very glam, cool and quirky. The service we received was second to none, everyone was welcoming and we never felt like any request was too much trouble. We had an amazing couple of days!


Disclosure: We were invited on board the Anthem of the Seas in exchange for a review. As always opinion and photography are my own

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2 comments

  1. This is the best review I have read about the cruise weekend! Sounds like you had an amazing time and made some great points - as I had never considered a cruise as a holiday destination either! The check-in, rooms, food and entertainment all sound top notch - so glad you had a lovely weekend. And, gorgeous picts hon and even more gorgeous family xxx

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  2. It was a great weekend wasn't it?! So good to catch up and meet your family. Beautiful photos! x

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