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Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas with Kids

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From the minute we boarded Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas, we knew we were in for an extraordinary time. After our sailing I asked my shipmate 7-year-old son, Leo, what was his favorite part of our cruise. His answer? “Meeting Joey.” Yep, a humongous ship stocked with bumper cars, a climbing wall, swimming pools, the tallest ride at sea, Dreamworks characters and more…and my sweet boy's best memory was making a friend in the super fun Adventure Ocean Club. Here's what's so incredible about Adventure Ocean Club and the rest of Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas with kids.

Anthem Sail Away Party fun with a balloon drop, champagne toast and glowing glasses ~ Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas with Kids

Anthem of the Seas Sail Away Party fun with a balloon drop, champagne toast and glowing glasses (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Kids Camp, Teen Club and Babysitting Options

Leo met his friend, Joey, in Royal Caribbean's Adventure Ocean Club. Leo, Joey and the other kid cruisers played board games and video games, made arts and crafts, and watched movies at the kids club. Puss in Boots from the Dreamworks movies even stopped by for a few rounds of freeze dance and dodgeball. At lunchtime or dinnertime while in camp, the counselors led the kids to the the Windjammer Marketplace cafeteria, where they had their pick of pizzas by the slice, pastas, salads, desserts and pretty much any type of food their little mouths could desire. Adventure Ocean is for children ages 3 to 11 who are fully potty trained. There's no extra charge to participate, either.

While aboard Anthem, you just might run into Dreamworks characters, like Fiona from the Shrek movies ~ Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas with Kids

While aboard Anthem, you just might run into Dreamworks characters, like Fiona from the Shrek movies (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

The Royal Babies & Tots Nursery caters to wee ones. Children ages 6 to 36 months are cared for in a fun space with a slide, plenty of toys, and cribs for naps. Parents pay an hourly fee for nursery care.

Teens (ages 12 to 17) have their own spaces at Teen-Only Hang Outs at sea – a lounge, a laid-back hideaway and even a teen-only nightclub. Expect Wii video games, karaoke, talent shows, dance competitions and more.

Make sure to bring your children to camp the very first night you set sail. Kids form friendships quickly and won't want to be feel left out if they join the fun mid-cruise.

Royal Caribbean is one of the only cruise lines that also offers in-room babysitting for children aged 1 year and older. For a fairly hefty hourly fee, Sitters at Sea bring along toys and games to entertain your kiddos right in your state room. Staffers (besides camp counselors) can sign up for this extra duty to make a little extra cash.

Childcare at sea with Royal Caribbean ~ Anthem with Kid

Childcare at sea with Royal Caribbean (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

SeaPlex 

When sailing Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas with kids, you're probably going to spend a lot of your time at SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea. Here, my son and I played foosball, air hockey, XBox and ping pong…all at no extra charge. A skating rink is used at different times of the day for various activities: roller skating, basketball, trapeze (with special padding added) and bumper cars. Buckle up because those bumper cars are the bumpiest I've ever experienced! Children ages 7 and under must ride with an adult. All of these activities are available at no extra charge.

Bumper cars at sea! Royal Caribbean Anthem with Kids

Bumper cars at sea! (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Arcade

If your children are anything like mine, the arcade will be an Anthem favorite as well. Located right next door to SeaPlex, you'll find ride-on motorcycle and car-driving games, traditional video games and a few prize-dispensing options available for nominal fees.

Royal Caribbean Anthem's Arcade

Royal Caribbean Anthem's Arcade (Photo credit: Simon Brook-Webb Photography)

We Will Rock You

My son laughed out loud at the corny jokes and clapped along to the music at the We Will Rock You Broadway-style show in the Royal Theater on Anthem. Based on the music of legendary rock band, Queen, this live performance keeps kids rocking with upbeat music and parents singing along (if only in their heads) to familiar anthems. The lead woman's voice was so powerful it nearly knocked me out of my cushy seat. Beware, however, there is some adult language (most of which flew over my son's head). One other live show, “The Gift,” is available in the Royal Theater. Two70 and the Music Hall also offer live musical performances on a smaller scale.

"We Will Rock You" Broadway-style performance

“We Will Rock You” Broadway-style performance (Photo credit: Simon Brook-Webb Photography)

Ripcord by iFLY

Feeling a little daring? Sign up for a complimentary simulated sky diving experience on Anthem. Participants suit up and get instructions before floating in a tunnel of air. This would be a great test-run opportunity for people considering real sky diving but not quite ready to take the leap. Kids as young as 3 can participate. There is no additional fee for this exhilarating activity.

Get a taste of skydiving with Ripcord by iFLY on Anthem

Get a taste of skydiving with Ripcord by iFLY on Anthem (Photo credit: Royal Caribbean)

Surfing and Climbing at Sea

Adventurous folks will also want to try surfing at sea with the Flowrider surf simulator. Royal Caribbean coaches are at the ready to steady surfers. From talking to those who've given it a try (both surfing experts and non-surfers), it's harder than it looks…and it looks plenty hard to me! Cruisers must be at least 52″/132 cm tall to use the bodyboard and 58″/147 cm tall to use the flowboard.

For those who prefer dryer adventures, a 40-foot climbing wall is available. Cruisers must be age 6 or older to climb and those under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

Flowrider on Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas

Flowrider on Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Swimming Pools

Unbelievably, my son and I never made it into the pools, which is crazy for two pool lovers like us! There was just too much else on board to explore. The pools did look tempting, though. With two outdoor pools, two indoor pools and four whirlpools, there are plenty of splashy choices, no matter the weather. Children must be fully potty trained to enter the pools for health reasons. The Solarium is an adults-only pool for when you want a little quiet time away from the kiddies (for those aged 14+) .

Go for a dip on a Royal Caribbean Anthem

Go for a dip on a Royal Caribbean Anthem (Photo credit: Simon Brook-Webb Photography)

Shopping

The shopping area on Anthem is more expansive than what I've experienced with other cruise lines and is set up to feel like a mall. Mostly, you'll find jewelry, sunglasses, fragrances and some Royal Caribbean logo items. And watches. Lots and lots of watches. A high-end makeup store on board means ladies need not worry if they forgot their favorite lip liner or mascara. 

If traveling with a baby or toddler, take advantage of Anthem's Babies 2 Go program, a convenient service that lets you pre-order diapers, wipes and cream, and organic baby food to be delivered right to your stateroom, when you arrive and throughout your cruise.

This gluten-free traveler was thrilled to find a whole case of gluten-free goodies at Cafe Two70 ~ Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas

This gluten-free traveler was thrilled to find a whole case of gluten-free goodies at Cafe @ Two70 (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Dynamic Dining on Anthem of the Seas with Kids

Seventy to 80 percent of Royal Caribbean cruisers choose Dynamic Dining Choice, allowing them to select the restaurants and times that work best for them. The rest go with Dynamic Dining Classic, where they eat at the same restaurant with the same server and the same people each night. If going the Choice route, be sure to make your reservations in advance since popular times and and locales fill up, just like they do back home on dry land.

There are 25 dining options on Anthem (14 of which are complimentary). Sample restaurants include the Cafe @ Two70 (with 270 degree views, salads, sandwiches, and a whole case of gluten free options), Johnny Rockets (the famous burgers, shakes and fries), and specialty restaurants like Jamie's Italian (by Jamie Oliver) and Wonderland (inspired by Alice in Wonderland and featuring out of this reality molecular gastronomy). Specialty restaurants have an upcharge, with lower fees for kids 6 to 12, and children five and under dining for free. Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult to dine at specialty restaurants.

Grown-Up Stuff

The nice thing about my son loving Adventure Ocean Club so much was that it enabled me to explore the ship's grown-up offerings guilt-free.

For an at sea splurge, the Vitality Spa is home to 19 treatment rooms, including two for couple's treatments. Book in advance or after you board for massages, facials and body treatments. Next door is the salon for hair and nail services.

Work off those cruise calories at the ship's huge fitness center, or by jogging or walking along the two-lane jogging track.

"Believe Love Live Dream Inspire" - Light-up art work made from light switches on Royal Caribbean Anthem

“Believe Love Live Dream Inspire” – My son loved this light-up art work made from light switches (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Anthem's Casino Royale offers black jack, roulette, and poker tables as well as slots and my favorite, video poker. (I actually left 20 bucks up!) The only problem? The casino is one of the few spaces where smoking is allowed on the ship. (Blech!)

Adults can purchase wine, beer and cocktails from seemingly anywhere on board Anthem. The most impressive spot has got to be the Bionic Bar, though, where two robots shake up drinkies for cruisers, no human bartenders needed. Place your order via an iPad for a concoction like a Cosmopolitan or a Galactic Melon Cocktail and then go grab your libation once prepared. (Watch the brief video demonstration above!) Vintages upscale wine bar with serve-yourself pours was also tempting. Schooner Bar is where to go for live piano music while Boleros is where to get your Latin groove on.

Royal Caribbean Anthem's room configurations range in size and price to meet your family's needs

Our stateroom with balcony ~ room configurations range in size and price to meet your family's needs (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

North Star

The tallest ride on any ship in the world, North Star is a Royal Caribbean first. It's a spherical room that takes up to 14 people at a time high in the sky via a giant mechanical arm of sorts. My son and I waited in a long line to get the thrill of ascending above the world during our sail away party. A fellow passenger announced it was his wife's birthday and asked us all to join in singing “Happy Birthday” to her. What a joyous moment that was…singing in unison with a group of happy strangers, staring out at the New York City skyline, hugging my son next to me, and thanking my lucky stars in the inky night sky for giving me the good fortune to sail Anthem with my sweet kid.

North Star, the tallest ride at sea ~ Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas with Kids

View of the New York City skyline from North Star, the tallest ride at sea (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Anthem Itineraries

Docked at Cape Liberty in New Jersey, Anthem of the Seas sets sail to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and Canada/New England. View Royal Caribbean itineraries.

Sound fun? Learn more about cruising with kids now!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Royal Caribbean invited me and my son to experience Anthem of the Seas on a two-night media sailing.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Lyla G - Globetrotting Mommy says:

    Wow, just wow!!! What an incredible ship. I just can’t believe how many activities are onboard. Looks like you two had a great time.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      It really was pretty amazing. With Anthem in your backyard, Lyla, I highly recommend booking a cruise!

  2. Looks far swankier than any cruise ship I’ve been on! It’s amazing how much better they get for families over time.

  3. Looks like an awesome trip. Love that you can go out of NYC.

  4. That looks like an incredible ship — one that could get me to reconsider cruising! Since I have an only child I also love that your son found a playmate and made a friend.

  5. Amy Whitley says:

    I’m not a big cruising fan, but these pics look very appealing! I like how much there seems to be to do on the ship!

  6. Lisa Goodmurphy says:

    I’ve always thought that the Royal Caribbean ships were too large for my taste but when I see how many activities there are I find myself wavering. My kids would love this ship and my younger daughter would be thrilled to learn that there’s a Jamie’s Italian on board!!

  7. This is SOOO awesome. We’d love to go – thanks for the inspiration!

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