Trip Day 4: First Sea Day – Cruise Day 2

Trip Day 4: First Sea Day – Cruise Day 2

One of my many favorite things about cruising is the sea days. It’s one of the times you get to enjoy the ship and all of its amenities, and believe me Anthem does not disappoint in any way.

I started out with a leisurely breakfast in the Windjammer buffet, and then decided to walk around since I had some time to kill before my first planned event. I’m going to deviate for just a moment, and call out something totally new to me in the way of cruising: An App that Royal Caribbean calls Royal IQ.  For me being the “planner type” this app is a godsend. It’s not the greatest app, but it really helps. It’s in dire need of an update, but it does what it does nicely. It allows me to view the Cruise Compass from my phone, and add things to my calendar!  I’m definitely not the “get on the boat and figure it out type” – I need stuff planned in advance.  I even spoke to people who had missed out on certain activities because they didn’t plan in advance. As much as it sucks, for those who don’t like to plan, you may want to open your minds! Anyway, the moral of the story:  Royal IQ is great and I wish it was available on more ships. It seems to only be on Quantum class ships (Anthem, Ovation, Quantum of the Seas) and Harmony/Symphony of the Seas… but I’ll throw a party when they bring Wow Bands and Royal IQ to Majesty. It’s probably not going to happen, but one can dream, right?

So after breakfast I walked around and did a morning Periscope while looking out over the wake. I’m a firm believer in that the wake view truly is the best view:

I then spent some time checking out the Flowrider, which is something I’d been interested in trying but never got up the courage to do so when I was on Freedom last August. They were doing stand-up surfing, and most of the folks who were doing so were quite good. A few were obvious first-timers, but none with any overly hilarious wipeouts. I chatted with a few nice people there, which is another great benefit of cruising. It’s very easy to strike up a conversation with just about anyone. I mentioned thinking about trying it, and one of the guys encouraged me to do so. More on that later.

It had come time for my North Star experience, and this was really neat. The North Star is an observation pod that extends up about 300 feet above the top of the ship, and gives you panoramic views all around.

The experience was neat, but not something I feel the need to have to do again right away.

When the pod is fully raised, being so high up, the movement of the ship causes the capsule to shimmy quite a bit and it can feel strange. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to sit this one out, or ride it on a port day when the ship is docked. Plus, the ride only goes up for about 10 minutes then back down, and doesn’t lower down over the side of the ship. Royal had to cut the rides shorter since so many people wanted to do them. They took the ride length from 30 down to 10 minutes; I think it’d be interesting to be hanging off the side of the ship, that would be very cool. Perhaps some day they’ll offer different options for longer ride experiences.

After the North Star, I decided it was time to try the Flowrider.

Let me just say… I am glad that I did.

What a blast.

Granted, the bodyboarding is the easier of the two options (the other being stand-up surfing). I figured it best to start easy and go from there. After my flow riding experience, I headed to the pool and Solarium for a quick few dips, and had lunch in the Windjammer.

I then headed up to the pool area for the belly flop competition. Even though this is a standard activity on all of the cruises I’ve been on, it’s still fun to see how different cruise directors host the event. There are similarities, of course, but every single time it’s been different, all of them equally enjoyable in their own way. I’ll gladly ride the Flow Rider all day, but don’t think you’d ever catch me belly flopping, especially on purpose.

At this point I’d been outside for most of my day so far, so I wanted to get out of the sun for a bit and decided to partake in the “Battle of the Sexes Trivia” which, I’m told, is a toned down version of a more full-on game show of men vs. women. Evidently things had gotten fairly raunchy on past cruises, so they’ve turned it into a trivia event instead. It was still fun, and the ladies definitely had the dirtier minds on this cruise. Needless to say, while their minds were in the gutter, us gentlemen actually pulled through with the win, and we all received our obligatory Royal Caribbean gold medal.

This cruise marks my first as a Platinum level member in the Crown & Anchor Society, so I was invited to a special “Top Tier” event over in Two70, so I headed there right after trivia. I couldn’t miss this, since Two70 is one of my favorite rooms on the ship. If you are looking for a cruise, be sure to give Anthem (or any other Quantum class ship for that matter (Quantum of the Seas, Ovation of the Seas, or Anthem of the Seas)) a good look, if nothing else for the experience of the entertainment in Two70. Trust me on this.

The Top Tier event included a cocktail hour with a little meet & greet with the captain and his officers. They also recognized the top cruisers on this particular voyage. There was a guy who looked to be around my age who had done, I believe, around 130 cruises with Royal so far.

Not 130 nights, 130 cruises. All I have to say, is “hashtag goals.”

In reality, I don’t know if I’ll ever take 130 cruises in my lifetime, because as I’m realizing it I don’t love the idea of cruising solo. Cruises are definitely better with at least one person along with you. I have absolutely no regrets about my current trip, and am having a fabulous time, but I now know from my firsthand experience that cruising definitely is better with friends.

After the top tier event, I realized I was running late for dinner and needed to get back to my room to get changed. Tonight’s dinner, was at Jamie’s Italian. It was delicious, and I really enjoyed it.  After a few quick professional photos taken, since tonight was formal night I was dressed up some of my new duds I had to take part, I headed to the Schooner Bar for some music trivia.  I met two sisters who were traveling together, and we did pretty well as a team scoring a 17/20.

I finished out my night by catching the headliner comedienne, Michele Balan. This was her first performance of the night, which on cruises is usually the “family friendly” version. I enjoyed her set, but it consisted mostly of humor about/geared toward middle-aged women. She didn’t say anything that got the crowd in a wild uproar, but she kept us chuckling for sure.  Her late night performance is coming up in about half an hour, but I don’t think I’m going to make it since I’m getting all the telltale signs that my body is saying “Dude, go to bed.”  I’m an early riser, and thus an early sleeper as well.

Tomorrow, we arrive in Bermuda, and I’m definitely excited to get off the ship and explore one of my favorite places which I haven’t visited in at least 15 years. We’re only in port for half a day, so I’m planning to make the most of the day.

On that note: So long 35, it’s been real.  Here’s to another year and new experiences. What better way to turn 36 than on a cruise visiting an island paradise?

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