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Sizzlechest

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  1. Bionic Bar This novelty act needs upgrades. It was broken more than it was working and it couldn’t make a lot of different drinks. It’s being added to the Oasis, so I hope RCL will incorporate some improvements. Maybe they should hire this guy to help them figure out how to expand their drink menu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AamubW0wnNo
  2. RCL should do what Carnival does with comedians and singers: rotate them off the ship when it docks in port in the middle of the trip. That way you get lots of different entertainment on every cruise. I was looking for transatlantic cruises and noticed a 14 day one in 2020. It was on the Anthem. I can't imagine a 14 day cruise on the Anthem. An Oasis class ship, sure. There's just not that many things to do on the Anthem that you'd want to do more than 2-3 times.
  3. There are two big issues with The Key on the Anthem: It didn’t provide any tangible benefit and the staff were mostly unaware how it worked exactly. There was signage before we got on that told us to go to the theater to drop off our luggage. So far, so good. We get on board and attempt to verify if the theater is the right place to go and which deck it’s on. Nobody is quite sure. We go past Wonderland to the theater and get a wristband and drop our luggage off. We ask about Chops lunch and we told it will be ready soon, but we have to go to the Bionic Bar to get the rest of our Key registration information including the internet access codes. I’ll never understand why we had to go to two different places. By the time we backtrack to the Bionic Bar area it’s packed with people waiting. We finally get our packet of stuff and are told to go to Jamie’s because Chops is full. We’re assured it’s the same menu. We get to Jamie’s and there’s a long line, but it’s not Key guests. It’s people with questions and wanting to make reservations. It takes about 20 minutes to get in. We got the abridged Chops lunch menu and it was really good. I had to send my steak back because it was overdone, but it was otherwise a pleasant experience. I didn’t see the schedule for the private hours and neither did anyone else we spoke to. I figured it would be in our room. Our luggage was inside the room, but no schedule. I called to guest services and they told me it was in the packet. I told them it wasn’t and asked for another copy. They said they would send it up. It never came. I went to guest services later that day and asked for it in person. They saw I had asked for it previously and told me that someone was hand delivering it to the room as we speak. Nope. Nothing ever showed. I went down to guest services the next day and demanded they give me a printout while I wait. Here’s what I got: Is this some kind of a joke? Almost all the private hours are when we’re in port and off the ship! Even still, it’s hardly any exclusive time at all. I suspect it’s because there were a few groups on board that I think had arranged exclusive use throughout the cruise. Regardless, these times are useless. We go to see “The Gift” in the Royal Theater. We go to deck 5 and show the person at the door our card and ask where the special seating is located. He says go down the steps and there will be someone to direct you. We go down and there’s nobody there. We seat ourselves and are unhappy with these seats. I can’t believe these are the ones for Diamond (or whatever class) cruisers they’re for. This must be a mistake. I go down a level to deck 4 and go in there. The person at the door says the same thing. This time there’s someone near the stairs. I ask them where The Key seats are and she says it’s “open seating.” Huh? I decide to go down further to find seats, but I’m utterly confused and irritated at this whole process. I go back up to get clarification. Apparently 10 minutes before the start of the show, they open the reserved seats to everyone. The show is now about to start and I don’t have time to discuss this anymore. The theater did have open seats down below so I was able to grab two. Why didn’t the person on deck 5 tell me to go down to deck 4? Why didn’t the person by the steps on deck 4 explain herself a little better? The next show was “Spectra’s Cabaret.” We make sure to get there real early just in case. I ask the person checking cards for reservations where The Key seats are. He tells me they’re on an upper level and they’re really not good. He suggests I just seat myself somewhere on the main level. What?! I go to find a seat and notice there are a bunch of seats reserved for “star guests.” I go back and ask about those seats since they are great seats. Those were reserved in advance by a genie. ***** IS A GENIE?! There are open seats near those, so I just sit in one of those rather than complain. What is the point of getting The Key if your seats are inferior? By the time we went to “We Will Rock You,” we knew where to go and where to sit. The seats were fine, but quite frankly, there was plenty of space throughout the theater. There was no real benefit. Also, there were seats reserved again for the same group as before. What is the point of paying for The Key if you have no chance of getting the best seats? I was never planning on getting off at Bermuda as soon as we docked. Still, it would be nice to get ahead of the line. It made no difference. We got off immediately along with a couple who did not have The Key. I did want to get off at St. Maarten as soon as possible. I got down to the music hall and got off the ship right away. I can’t say if it would have been hectic without The Key, but I’m not sure it would have been much of a hassle without it. Got off Labadee first, went straight to Nelle beach and got a chair under a tree. Finally! As more people show up, the workers are taking loungers and moving them in front of me. I’m now so far back that I can’t even see my chair when I’m in the water! I end up buying an umbrella and leapfrog everyone else. Going to Labadee first was actually worse! On the last day I ask where breakfast was served for Key guests and was told to go to Chic on deck 3. Guess what? It’s empty. I go up to deck 4 and find out it was there at Silk. American Icon did not look crowded, so no advantage to The Key people, but hey, we get the enhanced menu. So yes, I did have steak and eggs, but quite frankly it was an underwhelming experience. We go to the Shore Excursion desk to be escorted off as Key guests. Other people are asking questions, but the person there isn’t sure how to answer. We get off ASAP and are brought right to our luggage. I will admit that part was really nice. I really am disappointed in The Key. There is no way I would buy it again. Thankfully it was only $19.99 and I was already intending on getting 3 VOOM Internet packages.
  4. Cleanliness Every part of this ship was clean. Used glasses and plates were never left hanging around for long. Public bathrooms were kept immaculate. I’ve seen problems on older ships where a public toilet got clogged and was out of commission far too often. I never saw any issues on the Anthem. I applaud their aggressive hand washing at the Windjammer and hand sanitizer at the MDRs. Even if only 1% of passengers have poor hygiene, that means there are about 50 people every cruise who can potentially spread germs each day.
  5. Like everything...it depends more on the ship than the cruise line. On the NCL Breakaway, there are lots of places the staff takes photos that do not involve backgrounds. There is a curved wall with a rocky finish that made for some really nice pictures. The level above the casino is a perfect area by the railing for a shot with the multicolor chandelier directly in the background. Also, they don't just use a background. There will be seating, or a set piece, too. The Carnival Horizon cruise I took, for example, had not just a background of the water, but a railing in the front you can lean on. They set up a ship's wheel for some pictures. One area had a piano you can sit by. RCL has a photographer for the Ripcord/iFly, but nothing for Northstar or the bumper cars. The pictures I saw of the people are the zipline look terrible and unflattering. I don't mean to be overly critical. I really loved this cruise and I know it may seem I write more on the negatives than the positives. I do this because the negatives can be fixed REALLY easily with a little bit of creativity or a minor policy change. They're more frustrating than devastating.
  6. I am aware of how the watermarks work. It's SO aggressive that it makes little difference when selecting the alternate watermark placement. If they can't figure out better spots to take pictures on the ship, then they're admitting the ship just isn't photogenic, which I do not believe is true.
  7. The Room I stayed in a “Category 7D - Ocean View Stateroom with Balcony” at the front of the ship near the elevators. I LOVED this room. There was ample space and storage. The balcony was big enough to actually enjoy sitting there. I strongly recommend getting a room near the front bank of elevators on the Anthem. Decks 4 and 5 at that location are where most of the action takes place. Main Theater, Casino (deck 3), Schooner’s Bar (Trivia), Music Hall, Starbucks, Sorrento’s, the 24-hour pastry and sandwich shop, the stores, and guest services are conveniently located near there. The glass elevators are split into two sets, which means longer wait times. Also, they were often hot in there. I would try to avoid them if I could.
  8. Makes sense. Check out Shanghai Disney...or not: https://www.elitereaders.com/disney-dwayne-exposes-rude-nature-chinese-tourists-shanghai-disneyland-photos/
  9. Don't panic. I was not able to book anything other than the main shows prior to boarding. As soon as you get on, go directly to the Music Hall on deck 3 or 4. They have people there to make whatever reservations you want. The only thing that filled up super fast was the escape room. I was lucky to get it on the LAST day. My first Northstar reservation was a bust due to issues with the mechanics. There were plenty of slots open on the app, but I couldn't reserve it since it only allows one reservation per customer. I had to go to customer service to get another appointment. BTW, Northstar has a standby line, too. You'd be surprised how many times people are no-shows.
  10. BTW, I saw some information on a certain RCL blog that may one day pertain to the Anthem of the Seas: Guests sailing on Royal Caribbean roundtrip sailings from Singapore beginning November 16, 2019 will find fees for some signature attractions onboard. Ripcord by iFly: $29 pp USD North Star: $12 adults pp USD / $8 child pp USD (up to 11 years) Bumper Cars: Complimentary (with option to upgrade to Express Lane for $5 pp USD) I would not pay for any of that. In fact, without those attractions, I simply wouldn't sail on that ship.
  11. I had the deluxe package and got a shake on two different occasions at JR without any other purchase.
  12. Just curious... Is there something specific you're looking to do where time will be an issue?
  13. Skyscraper (2018) BTW, my wife went to bingo twice. They held it in the Music Hall which really wasn't big enough to hold all the people. The theater could have been used for those events. Two70 also seems under-utilized. Love and Marriage show was good and Name that Tune was really entertaining! Karaoke in the Music Hall was really popular.
  14. "Rock of Ages" is a similar show that's silly and fun with lots of energy. "We Will Rock You" betrays its theme. It's a sanitized bubble gum story about rock and roll being replaced by sanitized bubble gum music. The jokes are lame and there's no edge to it. The whole script is incoherent, whereas "The Gift" is just completely inscrutable. The other shows were good, but I didn't bother reviewing them since it's doubtful those same performers will be on the next cruise. One thing that I appreciated (even though I didn't attend) was a 3D movie in the Royal Theater. Carnival has an IMAX theater that they charge for in their Vista class ships. The Anthem showed a feature length movie in 3D for free. I wish they offered more of them throughout the cruise.
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