We have recently returned from a fantastic weekend aboard Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. This is a Quantum Class Ship and, as such, has a different vibe and innovations than Royal Caribbeans Oasis Class Ships, such as Allure and Oasis of the Seas. Check out our review, Cruising with Children on Anthem of the Seas
We had a fantastic 48 hours as a family, but a short cruise isn’t wasn’t long enough to try everything they have onboard (there are 23 cafes and restaurants alone!), and it has left us dreaming of cruising from port to port whilst sipping cocktails in the evening sun. The kids haven’t stopped talking about the weekend and have gone to bed every night since, which is a testament to the fun we had onboard.
Cruising with Children on Anthem of the Seas
In the run-up to the weekend, I was worried about cruising with my children. I didn’t know what to expect. I worried about what we would wear. Would we need formal wear for a formal night on Royal Caribbean?
Would we get seasick? Could the children fall off the ship (I know, I know!) Is there food that the children would like? Would the rooms work for us as a family? Could the girls stay up late enough for us to enjoy all the ship had to offer? What would I wear (that one again!)
I need not have worried, Royal Caribbean has planned a fantastic itinerary for us, and I’ll attempt to give you a flavour of all the family activities we got to try.
Our Review Sailing from Southampton on Anthem of the Seas
We arrived at Southampton Docks just before 11 am on Saturday in time for check-in, and by 11.30, we were sat in The Cafe@Two70 with fresh orange for the kids and taster cocktails for us, marvelling at the size of the ship. Boarding a cruise ship with kids is easy, and families and suite guests are prioritised; thus, getting checked in and on the ship is easy and smooth.
Ensure you have an embarkation bag packed and ready with all the essentials. It may be a while until you get access to your cabin, so be prepared with a bag of essentials, especially swimwear and suncream.
Snacks for Kids Onboard Anthem of the Seas
Our staterooms weren’t ready until midday, so we took the opportunity to feed the kids the first of their many snacks/meals of the trip. In hindsight, The Cafe @ Two 70 was beautiful and perfect for me and my hubby. He had gorgeous sandwiches, and I had a beautiful Caesar salad; the food was possibly too fancy for my three girls, who just like plain sandwiches.
The staff behind the counter were accommodating and made them plain wraps, but we probably should have located Windjammer for that first meal, for all-you-could-eat jelly!
Another little boy we met told the girls about the fantastic jelly selection! The cakes and the coffee in The Cafe @ Two 70 were fabulous, though, and I, for one, am glad we found it!
Where Else can you get Snacks and Meals on Anthem of the Seas
The choice of meals and snacks that are included in your cruise fare is huge on Anthem of the Seas; it’s impossible to go hungry with options of;
- Main Dining Room: The ship features multiple main dining rooms, offering traditional cruise dining with a multi-course menu that changes daily.
- The Windjammer, This buffet-style restaurant offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, including international cuisines and various stations for different types of food.
- Café Promenade: Open 24/7, this café serves snacks, sandwiches, pastries, and speciality coffees.
- Sorrento’s is the best pizza ever and is open all day with a choice of toppings plus sweet treats.
- Dog House, hot dogs from classic American beef; German Thuringer made from finely minced pork; the Big Apple, a chicken sausage cooked with apple for a subtle burst of sweetness or The Smoke House, a pork Bratwurst seasoned with traditional spices for just a hint of heat.
- Solarium Bistro: Located in the adults-only Solarium area, this restaurant serves healthy options for breakfast and lunch. (Great if the kids are in a club; the minimum age is 16, so it’s always chilled. But older teens can go in with their parents.
- Coastal Kitchen: Exclusively available to guests staying in Suite Class accommodations or Pinnacle Crown & Anchor Society members, Coastal Kitchen offers Mediterranean-inspired cuisine.
- Room Service: Room service is available around the clock, offering a limited menu of snacks, sandwiches, and other quick bites. There is a small cover charge, although breakfast is complimentary.
The Cabins on Anthem of the Seas
After our lunch, and the girl’s impromptu dancing show on the stage in Two 70 (Frozen, naturally), we made our way to our staterooms. This was my primary concern. As there are 5 of us, we needed two rooms, as all the rooms on board hold four people maximum, thankfully since our sailing Royal Caribbean has introduced cabins for families of 5 on a selection of their ships.
Hubby and I had been allocated a room each as the kids obviously couldn’t have a room. The rooms were interconnecting staterooms, each with a balcony. I had wondered how that would work and what we would do in the evening as I didn’t think I would want the girls to be in one room and us in the other.
I didn’t need to worry as the way the doors connected the rooms allowed us to use the rooms as one room effectively; this is perfect for travelling families and gives you much more space. The ‘interconnecting’ door folded back on itself with a catch so you could leave it completely open. This allowed the three girls to sleep in one room and us in the other without us having to sit in the dark once they had gone to sleep. Perfect.
However, if you are concerned, you can book a virtual balcony cabin with a screen with real-time sea and port views without the balcony.
Are Balcony Cabins Safe for Children and Toddlers?
One of my other ‘worries’ was whether the girls would fall off the ship’s side. Now I know that sounds a bit daft, but we have stayed in villas and hotels with patio doors that are easy to open from the inside. I didn’t want the girls to be able to open the patio doors that led straight onto the balcony, which led directly to the sea.
Thankfully Royal Caribbean have considered this possibility, and all doors are fitted with child safety locks, which mine certainly didn’t work out how to use.
I could imagine sitting out on the balcony of one of the rooms whilst the ship went around the med/Caribbean, watching the sunset whilst they slept soundly in the other room.
Activities on Anthem of the Seas
After we had settled into our rooms, we met Heledd (from Running in Lavender) and her family at Sea Plex so we could look after their children whilst she and her husband tried out the IFly skydiving. It was a bit chilly on deck whilst we were waiting for them to have their lessons, so I took them all for more food, this time hot dogs at the Sea Plex Dog House. These went down very, very well! It’s also reassuring to know you can always get a selection of food; there’s so much choice.
We also made time to see Gigi the Giraffe! We did try to go on the bumper cars too. Yes, that’s right, they have dodgems. However, the girls were a little too young; they needed to be 5 to go on. So we spent our afternoon enjoying the sunshine, sipping cocktails and dipping in and out of the pool with the kiddies.
Other Activities and Entertainment
There are many activities for families on Anthem of the Seas; you could fill every day of your cruise and still need not have done it all by the end of your cruise vacation. And that without fitting in the port days.
- Swimming pools
- Kids splash pool
- Outdoor Movie Screen
- Rock Climbing, Climbing Wall
- Arcades and Video Games
- Flowrider Surf Simulator
- Seaplex with Dogems, a Sports Court that also holds Roller Skating, Football and Basketball Tournaments
- The Royal Theater
- North Star
Kids Clubs on Anthem of the Seas
Royal Caribbean Cruises separates the kid’s clubs into six age groups, each with activities. This is great as activities are tailored to each age group, and qualified and experienced staff members lead the Adventure Ocean.
- Royal Babies & Royal Tots: 6- 36 months
- Aquanauts: 3-5 years
- Explorers: 6-8 years
- Voyagers 9-12 years:
- Youngers Teens: 13-14 years
- Older Teens: 15-17 years
A quick note on Adventure Ocean which is the onboard kids club. My three seemed to enjoy it, although I found it sad that the room had no windows. I wondered if this was because of the heat through the windows once at sea, but it did mean I didn’t like the girls being there quite as much as they did. Things like that, don’t worry, kids! The staff at the club were lovely, and they publish a daily list of activities so you can see what they will be doing. The girls did loads of colouring, glueing and sticking, which they love, and they also told me the REAL Rapunzel had visited them!
Our First Evening On Anthem of the Seas
6 pm meant Dinner at The Grande for all the family. The itinerary put together by Royal Caribbean had thoughtfully timed dinner early enough for the children to join us. We ate with Heledd and family, so there were four adults and five tired, hungry children.
The Grande was very swanky and very traditional. When the menu came, I panicked a little bit. My girls were not going to eat Papaya Salad or Lobster tails. Again I panicked without need. Whilst on this inaugural trip, there was no children’s menu. As such, the waiter set out the children’s options, and thankfully, chicken strips and tomato pasta were available! Crisis averted.
Well, one crisis was averted. The children were still tired and grumpy and didn’t want to sit in a nice restaurant to sit quietly. I’m sure we had only eaten the bread (before the starter) when we decided to feed them at five the next night, drop them at the kids club, and then eat ourselves later!
After dinner, Heledd and I were lucky enough that our husbands took the kids back to their rooms for well-needed sleep, and we explored. Our first stop was Spectra’s Cabaret, where we had the first of quite a few cocktails. We only caught the last half hour, but the costumes and the light show were just as described as an electric multi-dimensional cabaret. It was fun to watch and quite a treat to the senses.
A Day At Sea
The following day I dropped the kids off at Adventure Ocean and made my way to the North Star. I ended up chatting with another friend Rainy Day, Mum, who kindly took this photo of me up in the sky!
The experience was similar to the London Eye, and you would get some great town views if you were near a port.
Next was the IFly, an incredible but challenging experience I thoroughly recommend.
Top tip book the Ifly and North Star as soon as you board. They are free on a port day, but have a free on sea says, but these spaces fill up quickly.
After a delicious family lunch at Jamie Oliver’s Italian, I was due to go for a fabulous massage but realised my cheeky husband had pinched my slot earlier in the day to see if it would relieve a spot of back pain. Thankfully I didn’t have a massage, and I did go back to the cabin as I found my husband very, very ill when I got back. I have posted another review here on the amazing response to our 911 moment. The care he received was impressive, and thankfully he is absolutely fine.
Evenings Onboard Anthem of the Seas With Children
So after an afternoon spent on deck 2 of the ship, and realising hubby was going to be OK, I went to pick the girls up from Adventure Ocean to take them to see We Will Rock You. The girls had pizza in Sorrento’s first, as you could grab pre-cooked slices quickly, and then had cookies for dessert. Then grabbed virgin cocktails from the Bionic Bar, which is crazy and so novel to have cocktails made and served by robots. For me watching We Will Rock You was the highlight of the weekend.
Dinner at Silk (without the Mini Travellers) followed the musical extravaganza, and thankfully hubby was well enough to join me. We had a lovely dinner with Heledd and her husband Dom, and without the little ones’ tiredness, we loved the more relaxed setting and the Asian food. For me, Steak and ginger rice followed by wild mushroom ravioli.
Specialty Restaurants on Anthem of the Seas
If Specialty dining is your thing then there is a whole host of restaurants to try out a a supplement. And we are never disappointed.
- Chefs Table
- Johnny Rockets ( A super fun burger Joint)
- Chops Grille
- Jamies’s Italian
- La Patisserie (Cakes and Snacks)
Another cocktail (we were on a mini holiday) followed by some red wine ended the evening. We collected the kids rather a little late for them at 10 pm (oops) and took three tired but happy little girls back to our staterooms, where we all went to bed!
Time to Say Goodbye
We awoke on Monday morning to find ourselves back in Southampton; we took our time getting dressed and went for one last breakfast aboard the ship. My eldest sobbed at the prospect of leaving the ship and asked if we could “come back soon, as being on a ship that is like a hotel was good fun, Mummy, and we still have lots of swimming pools to try!” She was right; we did have loads left still to try!
If you are cruising on Royal Caribbean and want to know which ship to book check out Royal Caribbeans New Ships, and if you plan to get a Royal Caribbean Drinks Package this guide with tell you everything you need to know
NB: I travelled on Anthem of the Seas as a guest of Royal Caribbean in 2015 and as part of Mumsnet Bloggers Network Research Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. All views and opinions are my own.
Karen Beddow founded Mini Travellers in 2014 while doing what she loves most...going on holiday!
Mini Travellers is for parents looking for holiday ideas, destination reviews, days out and things to do with the kids. We also have family travel tips, activity ideas and all other things family holiday related. Take a look at some of our latest reviews for holidays and day trips in the UK.