(Warning friends: this is a long one!)
As you know by now, traveling is my passion. I have a constant case of wanderlust I cannot break, so exploring new destinations is my thrill. Though I am always up for trying new resorts, one type of travel I had never considered was a cruise. Yes, I had always heard people rave about their experiences on a cruise, but for me, it never seemed like an avenue I wanted to pursue – That being said, let me tell you about my recent vacation that completely changed my outlook on cruises, and why I recommend YOU do the same!
Spontaneity kicked in over Thanksgiving when I had the opportunity to hop aboard the new Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas cruise leaving from NYC the next week. Adventure was awaiting, so why not see what the hype was all about!
Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas is one of the newest ships in the Royal Caribbean family. With luxurious amenities, modern design, and countless activities on board, the ship is an experience in itself.
- Cape Liberty, New Jersey
- Labadee, Haiti
- Falmouth, Jamaica
- George Town, Grand Cayman
- Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico
- Roatan, Honduras
- Cozumel, Mexico
** Though the cruise set sail for a 12-day adventure, we flew back to the states after 6 days from Grand Cayman to get back to work (thumbs down) **
Cape Liberty, New Jersey
Getting to the port was super easy from a travel standpoint. We flew from Dallas to NYC the night before departure, grabbed a DELICIOUS breakfast in the morning at the St. Regis Hotel, then hopped in a car for the quick drive from the city to Cape Liberty.
Though I visited Haiti a while ago, it was fun to visit the island again for a new experience. If you’ve never heard of Labadee, it’s most likely because it’s a city developed in Haiti by Royal Caribbean – interesting fact. Since it was our first day off of the ship (day 4), we were thrilled to get our feet in the sand and explore.
We started the day off with a Cultural Tour where a small boat toured us around the island, and we learned all about the history of Haiti and Labadee. We were then dropped off on a picturesque beach for a little island time in the water + a unique walking tour of the Haitian culture.
Following the Cultural Tour, we packed in a little adventure by zip lining on the longest course over the water in the Caribbean. Though I’m absolutely terrified of heights, this experience (and a bit of rum punch) helped me face my fears!
Click here for other excursions available on the island.
Keeping along with the adventure theme of the trip, we enjoyed a full day of activities in Jamaica with the Ultimate Thrill Seeker’s Pass. We de-boarded the ship and hopped into a small van that took us deep into Falmouth and dropped us off at the Good Hope Plantation Estate – a lush, 18th century sugar plantation. After exploring the plantation by ATV and soaring through the trees on (another) zipline, we enjoyed rum tasting at Appleton Estate – one of Jamaica’s finest rums. We finished our day floating down the historic Martha Brae River, which quickly turned into a race to the finish line with our crew.
This excursion was definitely my favorite of the trip, not only because of the adventure, but also because the staff at the plantation was incredibly friendly, personable, and absolutely hilarious.
If you’re looking for a less adventurous excursion in Jamaica, I recommend climbing Dunes Waterfalls. My family and I climbed this when I was younger, and it was such a unique experience!
George Town, Grand Cayman
Grand Cayman was our final destination of the journey. Though the ship offered a variety of excursions on the island, we checked into the Westin for a day of relaxation and sunbathing – more on that later.
Aboard the Ship:
As you can imagine, the rooms are a bit smaller than those of a traditional hotel. That being said, our room was absolutely perfect for the stay. We had a State Room with a patio overlooking the sea, which offered incredible views to wake up to every morning. Though not every room features a patio or window, the interior rooms feature a unique screen that simulates the sea.
Packing tip: Since the rooms are a bit small, packing less than normal will help prevent overflowing closets and drawers (lesson learned)
For anyone who has traveled with my family, you know that there’s nothing we enjoy more than a day packed with activities. Why not take advantage of all of the fitness classes, workshops, wine tastings, etc? It’s the best way to experience as much as you can on any vacation.
Royal Caribbean offers an incredible selection of activities aboard the ship for any type of interest. From fitness to food to history and more, there’s something for everyone to explore. Best of all, your personal concierge delivers a full itinerary for the next day every night with turn-down service (which also involves an adorable towel animal).
A few favorites:
Ripcord by iFly – This is by far the most fun activity aboard the ship in my opinion. Gear up in a wind suit and hop in the air tunnel for an exhilarating experience of indoor skydiving.
Flowrider – For those of you who would like to see what surfing is all about, sign up for a go at the Flowrider for a challenging and exciting round of simulated surfing. Warning: guests love gathering around and watching, so laughing off your wipeout is key.
NorthStar – Hop inside the NorthStar for a ride 300 feet above sea level to soak in 360 degree views of the ship and the sea!
We Will Rock You – Sing along to the classic tunes of Queen during this Broadway musical on one of your sailing days.
Click here to see a list of all of the activities offered.
Calling all foodies: you will not be disappointed by the incredible and delicious array of cuisine. With 14 restaurants on board from casual to five-course gourmet, your palate will indulge in a culinary experience designed to leave you satisfied.
One of my favorite meals was our dinner at Wonderland. An imaginative and creative menu featuring unique eats from six elements – sun, ice, fire, water, earth, and dreams – your dinner becomes an experience like none other. Take a tip from us: order one of everything on the menu.
Of course, your experience on the cruise is based solely on what you make of it. Since I traveled with five twenty-somethings, we took full advantage of the nightlife scene aboard the ship. From a variety of different themed bars to a roaring casino, the nightlife options never left us disappointed. The disco was my favorite spot for capping off the day, and every night brought about a new experience: a U2 cover band, a silent disco, and a killer dance party.
Whether you forgot to pack something or simply love to indulge in a little retail therapy, the shopping aboard the ship has something for everyone: luxury items like diamonds and Rolexes, our favorite beauty must-haves, or classic souvenirs for the trinket-loving travelers.
There’s one thing I’ve learned over the years: who you travel with will greatly weigh in on your entire experience. Taking a leap and traveling alone may sound scary, but I guarantee you will meet some of the most interesting and intriguing travel buddies that will make your vacation absolutely phenomenal.
Though I didn’t travel completely alone on this journey, I sailed the seas with one of the MOST fun groups I’ve met yet. I’ll never forget these five crazy and creative personalities, and I hope someday we can explore another destination together again!
Want more? Check out this incredible video one of my favorite travel buddies, Lauren of PR Blonde, created of our trip!
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Until Next Time!