|Leaving Cape Liberty aboard the Anthem of the Seas.|
The trip began in Cape Liberty, NJ, a port about 20 minutes east of Newark with an expansive and memorable view of the Statue of Liberty and skyline of lower Manhattan. The week-long cruise had us puttering about the Atlantic, first to Bermuda, then Boston before returning to Jersey.
The getting from here to there was half the fun -- okay, maybe most of the fun. I did mention that the ship was big, right? It's also bright and shiny and still has that new-boat smell -- its maiden voyage was in April of 2015.
Anthem of the Seas is 1,141-feet long with a gross tonnage of 168,666 -- by comparison, the Titanic had a gross tonnage of 46,328 and the aircraft carrier Enterprise 93,284. As I said: Big -- really big!
The ship can hold 4,905 passengers and has a crew of 1,500. There are 16 passenger-accessible decks, with a total of 2,090 cabins. Wendy and I shared one of the 1,570 staterooms with balconies that had a small sleeping and sitting area, two closets and a chest of drawers.
|Anthem, docked in Bermuda, dwarfs sailboats in nearby marina.|
It's also worth noting, simply for the whiz-bang factor, that there are 373 inside staterooms featuring "Virtual Balconies" -- floor-to-ceiling 80-inch high-definition TV screens streaming live views from outside of the ship.
There's more. Lots more. Wendy and I stumbled across lots of gee-whiz stuff when we weren't sleeping or eating -- there are at least 20 or so restaurants, cafes and buffets on the ship -- including a high-tech bar serviced by two robotic bartenders, an expansive shopping mall featuring high-end retailers and a lounge, Two70°, that soars three decks high and offers up a 270-degree view on the world!
|NorthStar offers great view for those who dare.|
The cherry atop this cruising sundae, the SeaPlex, takes up a huge space neatly hidden away at the back of deck 15. The large indoor gym can be transformed easily into a wide-range of kid-friendly venues -- basketball court, roller-skating rink, a school for young trapeze wannabes and an arena for bumper cars!
Wendy and I were looking for something a little less strenuous and a bit more entertaining, in a song and dance sort of way. No problem.
The Music Hall, a 2-story lounge on decks 3 and 4, serves as a nightclub and intimate music performance venue; there's also a cozy piano bar and a number of smaller clubs and bars featuring a variety of performers.
But the most notable entertainment can be found at opposite ends of the ship in the innovative and picturesque lounge, Two70°, and the Royal Theater, a massive space on decks 4 and 5.
|Bermuda filled with world-class beaches and memorable views.|
At the other end of the ship, in The Royal Theater, there was an edgy and entertaining mix of shows, including a couple of comics and two full-blown musicals: The Gift and We Will Rock You.
The Gift, an original Royal Caribbean production, is a musical journey of fantasy and illusion that begins one stormy night with the arrival of a "Magical Gift". At least that's how the show is described on the cruise line's website. After watching the musical I had no idea what "The Gift" actually was, but enjoyed the theatrical sets, singing and dancing. The bottom line: The story was lame, but the telling was first rate!
|Fun for the kids: Rock climbing wall and a giraffe!|
Wendy and I aren't exactly rockers or big fans of Queen, but the story, performers and music -- We are the Champions, We Will Rock You, Bohemian Rhapsody -- had us tapping our aging tootsies and rocking out in a geezer sort of way!
Although we had seen the musical on day four of the cruise, we popped into the theater on the last night to catch the final 20 minutes of the show. Good move!
The musical ends, the performers take a bow and the stage goes dark. As the audience begins shuffling out, a sign lights up with the questioning message: Do you want to hear Bohemian Rhapsody?
Well, of course we do!
The memorable tune had everyone up on their feet, swaying to the music and stomping their feet. It was a grand and energetic way to end the night and a good way to end the cruise. Up next? The Big Apple yet again! Stay tuned.