Trip Day 6: Last Sea Day – Cruise Day 4

Trip Day 6: Last Sea Day – Cruise Day 4

The last day of a cruise is always a weird one, because the whole “getting off the ship” is just around the corner. Tomorrow I will get off this beautiful ship which I’d just gotten on on Thursday for what was a truly incredible long weekend cruise. Still, the day was a great one, and very eye-opening. I’ve found the best vacations are the kind where you get to experience something that’s not a part of your daily routine, and to shake things up a bit.

I had to get up early since my first scheduled activity was moved from Friday to this morning, so I had to be up by the pool for 8:00am. I did a “Try Dive” – which basically gave me the chance to experience what it’s like to scuba dive without expensive gear or a multi-day class. This was a little glimpse into the underwater experience of donning all of the gear and breathing underwater.

It was myself and one other gentleman and the instructor, so it was almost like a private lesson. The instructor showed us the basics of setting up the vest, weight belt, regulator, and air tank. He showed us how controlling our buoyancy helps make it easy to just float underwater without rising to the top. I had no idea how any of this worked until today, and it’s piqued my interest into what it takes to become certified as a scuba diver. It sounds like a fun hobby, for sure.

Right after that was one of my “cruise traditions” – the behind the scenes tour. I always love seeing how stuff works, and seeing what it takes for a ship to run seamlessly. Though many of the facilities and their operations are similar, or exactly the same from ship to ship, there are plenty of differences that make each tour all the more interesting for me. We saw the engine control room (not the actual engine room, which honestly wouldn’t be as interesting), the laundry facilities, food storage, food preparation area (galley), and of course my personal favorite, the bridge.

 

I highly recommend taking this tour if your cruise allows it!

After the bridge tour, I headed to the Windjammer for lunch, and found that they had baked a massive “farewell cake” for all the guests, thanking them for eating in the Windjammer. What was even better, was that this was the best, moist and flavorful chocolate cake I’d ever had; it was made exactly the way I like it. I was half-expecting it to be some exotic crazy cake with flavors I’d never even heard of, but it was my personal favorite and made perfectly.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful and relaxing, exactly the way a vacation should be, but I couldn’t pass up my opportunity to have my picture taken with Gigi: Anthem of the Seas’ very own big giraffe.

Gigi evidently weighs the same as 4 Mini Coopers, and is sporting a pink polka-dotted inner tube. Who doesn’t want their picture taken with an inner tube-wearing giraffe?

For dinner tonight I decided to head back to Izumi once again. The food was so good last night, and was just as good again tonight. The food, the service, a fine example of quality and consistency that I’ve come to expect from cruising with Royal Caribbean.

After dinner I picked up some of my pictures that were taken; being a professional photographer I don’t often get a chance to take good pictures of myself without setting up all of my studio lighting and gear. I like getting shots done while on cruises since the pictures usually come out fairly well and don’t take that long.

The last event I attended was another cruise tradition called The Quest, which is an adult game show where the audience is split into a number of teams, and the host requests actions or items to be brought up in order to get points. These items can range from a shoe, to a sock with a hole in it, etc. Occasionally the host will ask teams to bring members of the team up and act out a certain scene… like “re-creating natural childbirth” for example. Needless to say, with a room full of adults and plenty of booze, it sure made for a fun evening.

Looking back on this cruise, let’s take a look at a few of the highlights and lowlights:

Highlights:

  • The Royal IQ app really helped me stay on top of what activities were going on around the ship, and the ability to plan stuff in that day really helped me with attending everything I wanted to do. That being said, having notifications appearing when certain things would start, or possibly a companion Apple Watch app would be a nice addition. The app itself does need some work, but I’m sure improvements are coming our way.
  • Bermuda was so incredibly beautiful.
  • Two70 is, by far, my favorite venue on this ship. Technologically speaking, it’s chock full of innovative features to give live shows new dimension and wow-factor.
  • Izumi & Jamie’s Italian – Two excellent speciality restaurants which helped me really open my eyes to responsibly treating myself  to a nice meal.
  • The Flowrider & Try Dive experiences were a lot of fun, and something I can’t say I’d ever have been able to try if I hadn’t come on a cruise.

Lowlights:

  • Wikipedia indicates that Anthem of the Seas’ passenger occupancy listed as 4,180 at double occupancy, and 4,905 passengers at maximum capacity. That means that, in theory, there are 4,905 people on this ship because it’s completely full and sold out. The ship feels way too crowded, especially in high traffic areas– Windjammer buffet, Elevators, Poolside, Theaters/etc.   If the maximum capacity was reduced I think it would improve everyone’s experiences onboard.
  • The layout of the ship is very different compared to others I’ve been on. It doesn’t feel as open as other ones, which may be a contributing factor to it feeling overcrowded. The ship is designed to sail in both cold and warm weather climates, so maybe it’s all related.
  • The layout of the Windjammer needs an update; it doesn’t seem to make much sense, and the signage doesn’t always correspond to what’s being served there.
  • This one is more specific to cruises in general:   Waiters should be better trained to be more sensitive to those who do not clear their plate.  This is a topic I’ve been meaning to cover in detail. but on this voyage I noticed it most. Rather than go into it now, I’ll just say to stay tuned and watch for either a blog post or video (or both) on this topic in the coming weeks.
  • Cruising solo has its benefits, namely the freedom to do what I want when I want to do so, and having my own room; it’s just not the same as traveling with someone I know. Even if its just one person… I mentioned in another post, I don’t regret taking this trip solo, but I don’t think solo cruising is for me, at least not now.  Perhaps I’ll try another solo cruise on a different ship to see if my opinion changes? We’ll see, but in the meantime I’ve got cruises coming up where I’m not going solo and I’m definitely looking forward to those. It was nice to be able to stay connected with people via social media, but it isn’t the same in the end.

All in all, I greatly enjoyed my trip and do want to sail on Anthem again in the future.  I appreciate everyone who followed along and commented, and watched my live streams on Periscope. You all definitely made my solo cruise feel a little less “solo” and I’m grateful.

I’m going to head to bed, and let the gentle motion of the ship rock me to sleep one last time.

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