New York Harbor was aflutter recently with the permanent arrival of the third largest cruise ship in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. Anthem bid farewell to her homeport in the UK, dropping anchor at Cape Liberty Cruise Port after plying the seas throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. Like its characteristically diverse staff, those who turned out for the pre-inaugural sailing last November represented virtually every corner of the world. Even the “Good Morning America” crew tilted their hats to Anthem, whose onboard surprises—including “Dancing with the Stars” heartthrobs Carlos PenaVega and Alek Skarlatos—added some excitement and (dare we say) heat to the chilly Atlantic sailing.
“Anthem of the Seas will be the newest ship in the world sailing from the Northeast part of the country,” says Lori Cassidy, associate VP of global corporate, incentive and charter sales for Royal Caribbean International. “The ship was purposely built for cold weather climates, [offering] five-night Bermuda cruises May thru October for the MICE market, while touting some of the most unique event spaces at sea.”
As Royal Caribbean’s second Quantum Class ship, Anthem possesses all of the at-sea “firsts” unveiled last year in Quantum of the Seas. Our biggest takeaway from the two-day sailing, however, was not only the intrigue of innovations like indoor skydiving, surf simulations and robotic bartenders, but the feeling of being adrift in a sea of possibility.
She’s a Lady (whoa whoa whoa)
Like Quantum, the 2,090-room Anthem of the Seas is an interesting blend of artful and hi-tech wonder. Bespoke art installations—from anthropomorphist elevator art and cherry blossom ceilings to 12k resolution performances in Two70, where video projection and robotics collide. We settled in for “Spectra’s Cabaret” at Two70 and a tribute to legendary rock band Queen in “We Will Rock You” at the Royal Theatre later on. The sound quality was right up there with the venue’s fantastic visual effects.
For some returning back to their staterooms, virtual “balconies” awaited, with 80-inch LED screens revealing real-time views of the ocean and passing cities. After being greeted by a “stowaway” elevator piano player, we returned to the real deal in our room—sea-swept air and the Statue of Liberty passing by with torch held high in the moonlight. A multitude of late-night parties, including an interactive Name That Tune session, keep the night young for night owls. Or, voyagers could book an Escape from the Future session, a live-action experience where teams are locked in a room and must solve hidden clues and puzzles to escape. Adventurers will also likely be interested in SeaPlex, where trapeze classes, bumper cars and Xbox gaming take place.
Anthem’s techy side also connects with nature throughout the ship. The sun rose to meet us in the North Star, a panoramic observation capsule near the main pool deck stretching 300 feet above sea level (as high as London’s Big Ben). And, during a behind-the-scenes environmental tour amid what seemed like a field of plastic bales and other recyclables (including cooking oil, which is used as a fuel source elsewhere), VP of Safety and Environmental Stewardship, Richard Pruitt, explained the intricacies of the ship’s technology and vendor relationships that decrease environmental impact and allow 100 percent repurposing of all material waste.
“There are impacts to the environment for everything we try to do for the environment,” Pruitt said, adding that in five years he expects most ships will be built with dual fuel systems, with some, if not all, using liquid nitrogen gas.