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Frugal Husband’s Anthem of the Seas Review

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We’re in northern Virginia and sailing on Anthem in the Spring. This will be our 4th sailing from Cape Liberty. We’ve never even considered taking the train (although we used to take the AutoTrain to Disney with the kids).

 

Probably because the thought of getting to Union Station in DC is not good. So we drive up the day before. We both enjoy a good road trip (driving up to RI in October with daughter and grandsons and drove solo to Connecticut last October) once in a while.

 

Looking forward to the rest of your trip! And seeing your photos!!

 

 

 

 

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Wasn’t that the home of the Fresh Prince of Bellaire?

 

As @BigHouseFootball noted, Fresh Prince of Bel Air starts:

 

"In West Philadelphia, born and raised....."

 

We once got that right at RCCL family theme song trivia. Along with 200 of our closest friends who also got the answer:p Anthem's TV show trivia was harder;)

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Alright where were we? Oh yes, we had made it to the Yotel. We chose this hotel because I was looking for a cheap, yeah I can’t even say that with a straight face, how about “reasonably” priced hotel room. Got this recommendation from a friend.

 

Now I’m not picky when it comes to hotels. I want safe, clean, affordable in that order. So I looked Yotel up on Trip Advisor and cross referenced it with Google reviews (don’t laugh I have fun doing that-aaand stop laughing at that!) and I was satisfied with what I read and saw from reviews.

 

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You walk in the lobby and there are no workers. Off to the right is a huge “Yobot” that will hold your luggage if your room isn’t ready. Off to the left are a bunch of kiosks. Checking in was a breeze. Tap the screen, pick your language, swipe your credit card to bring up your reservation, and confirm.

 

You then request the number of keys you want for your “cabin” this is what Yotel calls their rooms. The machine spits out your jets and up the elevator you go. This takes you to the 4th floor and the 4th floor only. This is where the front desk or “mission control” is located. They also have a restaurant here and an outside terrace but we didn’t use either. You then take a different t elevator to your cabin and must use your room key to activate the elevator. We were on the 17th floor.

 

The rooms are small...I think our cabin on Anthem was bigger but that’s why the price was lower than most in the area. You have an amazing bed that lays flat or sits up. You have a TV, a desk, and a bathroom. And that’s pretty much it. No door to the bathroom, just a curtain so you better be close with your person you are sharing the room with. Let’s take a look.

 

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They also had shampoo, conditioner, and body wash mounted to the shower.

 

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Here was a weird set up. There was no door for the shower. Which would up been fine if there was more of a wall but it’s just this weird quarter wall that does nothing to keep the water from hitting your body and bouncing off and onto the floor. We had to put towels on the floor and then ring them out after because they were soaked.

 

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But. Let me tell you about this shower. Oh. My. God. This is the shower of my dreams. A waterfall shower. I could of stayed under that shower for hours. It was simply wonderful.

 

Here is our standard cabin view. Not too shabby.

 

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And here are the kiosks you use to check in with.

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And the Yobot for luggage storage.

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So remember my three most important things when booking a hotel: safe, clean, price. Yotel checked all three. The total was about $770 for three nights which included all the taxes and fees. Can’t believe I just said $770 for three nights was a good deal-that makes me want to puke.

 

But. Compared to the other hotels in the same area for the same level of hotel it was the best we could find.

 

With that in mind I highly recommend Yotel if you are looking for a place to basically sleep while in NYC-man that bed was awesome.

 

Here’s a fun shot of the ground haha

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So we get settled and my wife asks “ok, where are we off to first?” Inside I am screaming “are you crazy! You want to go back out THERE?!” But what came out of my mouth was “Central Park?”

 

Oh I should of mentioned we got on the train at 8 am and made it to NYC a little after 2pm. Made it to the hotel about 3pm.

 

So off we go. Down 42nd and up to Times Square. Saw the naked cowboy and marveled at the signs and lights and general craziness of Times Square. It was my first time there so I enjoyed being at a place I had seen on tv so many times. But it’s a zoo haha

 

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We are big Disney people

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With that we were off to Central Park. We didn’t get to explore too much as it was still hot. We spent the most money in NYC on bottled water! But we did see a pond which I’m sure had a name but I don’t know it. We also went by the Balo Statue.

 

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Enjoying review. Often wondered about the Yotel. Been there for show. Looks interesting.

Had to chuckle at boarding train. A little more hectic and crazy boarding at Penn in NYC.

 

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Looks like the cousin of the Bionic Bar robot.

 

Yeah it’s the cousin that is doing some major steroids.

 

The technology is called the KUKA Arm and it is also the ride mechanism for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios.

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After exploring Central Park for just a little bit we headed over to The Plaza. My wife was very excited to check this out. So we looked around the lobby and then made our way down stairs to the restaurants and shops at The Plaza. We didn’t eat or buy anything but there were some bathrooms we used.

 

Making our way back towards Times Square we passed Carnage Hall

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Once back in the craziness of Times Square we headed into The Disney store. We are Disney people. My wife and I met while working at Disney World through the college program. We did buy a Disney pin-pins are our go to souvenir. They are small, we have them all on a cork board and each pin tells a story.

 

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After we had dinner at Carve. We grab sandwiches but their pizza looked really good. We would get that on another night. The sandwiches were ok. Nothing special.

 

After we went back to Yotel, spent many minutes under that amazing shower and then fell fast asleep. It was a long day.

 

 

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I wish I lived someplace where trains were a more realistic travel option. I love the practicality of the train systems in Europe. It's sometimes faster than flying (when adding in check in, baggage claim, etc.) but even when it takes longer, it's a more enjoyable ride. Looking forward to the rest of your review.

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I was on this cruise with you, so I will be interested when you get to the cruising part (spoiler alert: for the most part loved the Anthem and Bermuda *is* gorgeous. And the two days that we were there, broiling!

 

One note: Amtrak goes through the absolutely worst section of North Philly. Not garden scenery : )

 

 

 

I’m from philly. What you see is not the worst part of North Philadelphia, it’s actually Kensington.

 

 

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Thursday, August 2

 

We had nothing planned for the morning so we slept in. When I woke up though, I was pumped. Why? Because we had tickets for The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. I have been watching Colbert since college when he did the Colbert Report.

 

So I think we managed to get out of Yotel a little after 11 and we headed for Havana Central. As the name would imply it is a Cuban place. We got there right after they had opened and were quickly seated. Glad we got there when we did because 15-20 minutes later the place was packed.

 

My wife and I both got the Cuban sandwich. Oh my god you guys. I am not one for hyperbole. I hate it when people say things like “it was the best pizza I have ever had!” Or “the food was literally inedible.” But this sandwich. This Cuban sandwich was the best I have ever had. Full disclosure I have not been to Miami but I have searched many a places for a good Cuban and this place delivered. The meat was so moist and juicy and the bread was perfectly toasted. And then the black beans and rice. I could of just had that and I would of been happy. So good. Check them out. They are right off Times Square.

 

The best part? It was part of a lunch special so I think it was $11.99 each. That makes frugal husband very happy.

 

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My wife got the Cuban coffee to go. I do t drink coffee. I satisfy my caffeine addiction through coke which you all know about.

 

 

 

 

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Ok. Colbert time. My goal was to be selected for the front row where Stephen high fives you. These folks are hand picked by the crew so the wife and I went business casual and I wore my pink dress shirt to stand out in the crowd.

 

You have to register for tickets months in advanced. They release dates in blocks so keep checking the site. Some days nothing gets added but others have 3 weeks of tickets put up all at once. I registered for ours and was given “general” tickets. This means we were not guaranteed entry. Basically we were behind those who had “priority” tickets. These lovely people were guaranteed entry as long as they showed up before 4:30. Once 4:31 comes about they fill the remaining seats from the “general” line.

 

The day before we left for NYC I got an email informing me we had been upgraded to “priority”. Sweet! But I still want to get there crazy early for good seats. Besides being frugal I am also a heavy planner.

 

At this point it’s 1pm and I want to be in line by 2:30. So we take a walk and check one Rockefeller Center. My lovely wife is one of the most clumsy people I know. And she was taking a picture of Radio City Music Hall and she spilled her coffee all over my nice pink shirt. Of course she did. All my dreams of high giving Stephen were dashed.

 

Luckily she had a Tide pen and she feverishly set to work cleaning my arm and chest. Those suckers are a life saver. We were able to make me look presentable again.

 

This is the picture that spelt doom for my shirt.

 

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To the OP

Paying a total of $770 for three nights ‘accommodations ,including taxes and fees for a safe,clean hotel in NYC is a bargain !

You said that you and your wife are Disney fans.

Have you looked at the extremely expensive Disneyworld resort rates recently ?

As a former resident of NYC, I hope you enjoyed your stay . It is a great city !

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Loving this review. And coming from fellow Wolverine fans, makes it even better. GO BLUE!!!

Edited by Tillie43
Misspelled wording

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We still have a little bit of time to kill so we stepped into the M&M store. The AC was nice but nothing in the store compelled me to buy anything. We then stepped into one of the many cheesy NYC gift stores. Again, nice AC but you’re not getting my money with your little trinkets.

 

Ok it’s 2:15 and I’m getting antsy. Time to line up for Stephen!

 

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We got to the Ed Sullivan theater about 2:20 and were maybe the 10th people in line. Oh we are in and we are going to be close!

 

I will say this. I am an introvert. I have my small number of friends that I’m close with and I’m good with that. I dont strike up convos with those around me. I like to people watch and take everything in. Well on this trip the extroverts adopted me as their friend everywhere I went! The couple behind us started talking and talked right up until show time. They told me all about how the subway is impossible to navigate and how no one will talk to them when they start a conversation. (I’m thinking yes, I too am one of those people but I’m too polite to tell you I don’t want to talk.)

 

At 3:00 the staff came out and checked your tickets and put wristbands on you. They said feel free to go get food or drinks or use the bathroom as long as one member of your party stays in line you can come back. Happy day! Because I must have spent $12 on 4 bottles of water from the guy at the cart on the corner. We were on a first name basis. Luckily we were under the marquee so we were out of the sun.

 

4:00 comes around and they moved us into the lobby of the theater. They have TVs showing the greatest hits of Colbert. They also allow us to use the bathroom.

 

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5:00 comes around and they start to let us into the actual studio. Ok this is it. Stand up straight, smile, and look as attractive as you can be to get picked for the front row! We walk up to the woman directing everyone, make eye contact aaaaaaaand she sends us to row 3. Ugh. No high five for me. But, we are dead center so we were close and had good seats.

 

About 5:30 a comedian comes out to warm up the crowd. He’s pretty good. His whole act is bring big people up on stage and asking questions to get to know them and having a little fun gently picking on them.

 

Then about 6:00 Jon Baptist and Stay Human come out and play a song or two then out runs Stephen.

 

He does a Q & A and then we start taping. Because we are there on a Thursday he tapes two monologues, one for Thursday and one for Friday since he doesn’t film on Fridays. His monologues are my favorite part of the show so I’m in heaven.

 

The guests were not amazing. Some actress I had never heard of and then Bobcat Goldthwait. he was way more entertaining than the actress.

 

Then just as quickly as it started we were done. At the very end the camera boom swung over the crowd and stayed right in front of me for what seemed like forever. It was about 7:20 when we left the theater. They had filmed 2 nights of shows in a little over an hour. They had some Colbert merchandise on sale but it was generic stuff like a mug, winter hat, things I could buy online.

 

All in all if you are a Colbert fan it is an awesome day. It is a long day of standing around and waiting but worth it. Sorry for no pics of the studio. They made it very clear that if they saw your cell phone out for any reason they would remove you from the studio. I told my wife if she does that and they ask her to leave she’s on her own-I’m not leaving!

 

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We started heading back towards Times Square and decided tonight was the night for that famous NYC pizza. We ended up back at Carve because the pizza looked so good last night and we were tired and knew where it was.

 

Now I’m not going to say it was the best pizza Ive ever had but it checked all the boxes of what I was looking for: big slice, greasy, and $4 a slice. It was awesome. I much prefer NY pizza to Chicago. Dont get me wrong, Chicago pizza is good but if I have to choose I’m going NY every time. So Carve for sandwiches-just ok. Carve for pizza-awesome.

 

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Edited by BigHouseFootball

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To the OP

 

Paying a total of $770 for three nights ‘accommodations ,including taxes and fees for a safe,clean hotel in NYC is a bargain !

 

You said that you and your wife are Disney fans.

 

Have you looked at the extremely expensive Disneyworld resort rates recently ?

 

As a former resident of NYC, I hope you enjoyed your stay . It is a great city !

 

 

 

Yeah after looking around $770 was a great value for the area. NYC is just an expensive city. And oh yes, we cringe at the Disney resort prices. But, we love it. I dont even want to calculate all the money I have given to Mickey in my life time.

 

 

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Edited by BigHouseFootball

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I’m from philly. What you see is not the worst part of North Philadelphia, it’s actually Kensington.

 

 

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I am also a native Philadelphian and lived at 46th & Springfield til love and marriage brought me to the Christmas City. #FlyEaglesFly :DWe'll just have to agree to disagree about the Amtrak scenery

But I don't want to derail the thread too much before we actually board the Anthem....

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First, I need to apologize for all the spelling errors! Sheesh. I have gone back and fixed them and I will be more careful from now on. My thumb is just typing away too fast.

 

Ok so we had our pizza and we are slowing walking back to Yotel. We go via Times Square again. I know it’s a giant tourist trap but I love lights. Disney’s Spectro Magic (RIP) was my favorite parade and my love of lights and fireworks comes from all those family trips to Disney World.

 

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So off we go back to Yotel but not before stopping at Carlo’s Bake Shop.

 

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I got the strawberry eclair and it was simply wonderful. The filling was light and sweet and pieces of strawberry were inside. My wife got the normal eclair and she was happy with it because of the chocolate.

 

So as we are getting ready to leave here comes the lightning and the thunder and the sheets of rain! I check the radar and it’s not going to let up any time soon. Ok. Umbrellas out and let’s gooooooo.

 

We might as well not have even brought the umbrellas out. Haha it was raining so hard and it was so windy we were both drenched by the time we walked out our handful of blocks back to the hotel. So in the hotel we are using the hair dryer to dry out my dress shoes and hanging up my shirts and pants to dry. I know some people might get upset but we just laugh. Makes a great story. “Remember that time we got soaked in NYC in our dress clothes after Colbert because we just haaaad to stop for pastry?”

 

Anyways, hot shower, and then we watched Colbert that night on TV and there we were on national TV in the audience. That pink shirt came in handy. It was an easy market to tell our friends to look for.

 

Off to bed because tomorrow was a busy day. 9/11 museum, Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island, and a broadway show!

 

 

 

 

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Loving this review. And coming from fellow Wolverine fans, makes it even better. GO BLUE!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Just stopped in to read about Anthem, as I’ll be aboard her for the first time next fall, but am LOVING THIS REVIEW!!!

 

More, more, can’t wait for more (I actually CAN wait). Gotta love a wonderful sense of humor.

 

Ellen

 

p.s. You and your wife are just so stinkin’ cute!😉

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We’ve never even considered taking the train (although we used to take the AutoTrain to Disney with the kids)

I once priced Amtrak instead of flying from ATL to FLL, and it was outrageous. It's not a "non-stop" trip and goes through DC, costs more than flying, and takes 2 days each way.

No, thank you.

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Just stopped in to read about Anthem, as I’ll be aboard her for the first time next fall, but am LOVING THIS REVIEW!!!

 

 

 

More, more, can’t wait for more (I actually CAN wait). Gotta love a wonderful sense of humor.

 

 

 

Ellen

 

 

 

p.s. You and your wife are just so stinkin’ cute!

 

 

 

Thank you for the nice words! I’m glad you are having fun coming along on our adventure. I am enjoying reliving our trip.

 

 

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