PTR: Cruising Anthem in Feb 2021 with two teens in tow!

DancinDaisyDuck

Nothing left for me to do but dance
Joined
Feb 7, 2007
UPDATE: We are booked!

Hello there DIS Cruisers. DH and I are considering a President's week 2021 cruise with our two teens. We'd be on the Anthem sailing out of Bayonne. We picked this itinerary for a couple reasons: 1- the ship! Husband and I have only been on 1 cruise before a couple years ago on the Rhapsody. What a level up to the Anthem! We think the teens will have plenty to do on this ship. 2 - the location. We don't have to fly to the port and that helped me justify this trip to Husband. Imagine the savings!, I said. We won't have to fly!, I said. You can take me to dinner at Wonderland!, I said (sneakily into his ear while he slept). 3 - A balanced itinerary of Port stops and sea days. On our Rhapsody cruise in the Mediterranean we were all about the ports, and the ship, while it holds a sweet place in our hearts as our honeymoon trip, was really just our transportation. She didn't have all the bells and whistles Anthem does, and since this itinerary is 3 ports and 3 and a half sea days, I am looking forward to busy days on land (drinking at Coco Cay sounds like it takes a lot of energy) and exciting yet relaxing time on board exploring and playing.

So the couple things I wanted to get some perspective on. What is February like at sea en route to the Bahamas and then coming back? We are in central NY and know what February feels like. I expect it to be chilly so we'll probably stay mostly indoors on departure day. The first full day we are cruising, Next day we dock at Port Canaveral at noon. Next Day Coco Cay, Then Nassau, and then 2 full days at sea back to NYC. I want a balcony for Husband and me (kids will share an interior room across the hall somewhere) but he thinks we will have more cold days than warm and won't use it enough to justify the price. He'd prefer an Oceanview. How to convince him we'll use it on days 2-6? I am also wondering why it will take a day and a half to get to Florida, but I suspect that has to do with the port schedule and when we can dock there. Anyway, in February south of the Mason Dixon line, how warm will it be and is there a chance of rough-ish seas at this time of year in the Bahamas? It's not hurricane season but that doesn't mean storms don't happen. I've never been to this part of the world before except Florida so I'm trying to think about this ahead. What are temps like at this time on Coco Cay and Nassau?

This itinerary is during President's Week and Mardi Gras. Virtually all schools in the Northeast have vacation this week. I doubt folks will fly up to NYC from Louisiana just to take this cruise, but you never know. So we anticipate a nearly sold out ship. How well does RCCL manage crowd control?

I am curious about dining times. I know it can vary. We had late seating on our last cruise because we wanted to be posh and European but we quickly realized it was too late for our stubborn American habits, lol. What time is the first seating? I struggle with this because on some cruises it's 5:30 and that's too early for us, but 8 p.m. is too late. We'd do My Time for 6:30 pm but we don't want to schedule it so we can't make either the early or later main shows. We also liked having the same servers when we did the standard dining time on our last cruise and we made great friends with our table mates and loved seeing them every night.

And now the biggest question of all - when should we book this? There's a promotion now for 50% off a second guest. Since we'd have 2 staterooms on 1 reservation do we get 50% off just one person or more? It's so far into the future I am hoping we still have some time to mull it over. I know Husband wants to wait but since it's a vacation week I want to act soon and at least put a deposit down. Disney opened 2020 packages today so I don't want to overwhelm my travel agent with this booking if we're not serious about it. I mean, the worst that happens is we deposit $1000 and get it back if we have to cancel before applying any additional payments.

Thanks for all your wisdom!

TL;DR: I'm planning a cruise with my family very far in advance.
 
Last edited:

alliecat523

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 26, 2015
We did Anthem in March 2 years ago. It was cold the first day sailing and then it was fine. In the 80’s in the Bahamas and CC. Same when we did a similar trip in January on a different ship.

Crowds are intense. I will say that. I felt like there was constant jostling for everything. And you need to plan activities or you’ll never get to do anything. Most things require an advance reservation and they “sell out” quickly.

Yes there is a lot to do so the kids will never be bored.

We always get a balcony because I love sitting out there relaxing on my own. You will be able to use it quite a bit.

That time of year we have had slightly rough seas between FL and the Bahamas. I get motion sick quite easily but I was fine. You may appear as if your drunk and stumbling in the halls at times but it’s nothing too terrible.

RC does these sales quite frequently so I wouldn’t stress too much about. You may be better off doing two separate reservations and linking them to get 50% off both second guests. Try it online and see what pricing works better. Then have your agent book it.
 

Frozen2014

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 12, 2014
We've been on Royal ships, and are trying Anthem for the first time in March, so just shortly after you....and seems like same itinerary. So I don't have many answers to your questions as it'll be our first time, but I expect the first and last sea day to still be cold (NY in Feb/Mar isn't exactly shorts weather) but it should warm up. Again, can't say for sure but I suspect you can use your balcony , even if you don't want to be out there too long on the first day and last day.

For dinner, we have traditional booked and its listed as 5:30pm, but if you do a mock booking you should be able to see the time (enter your info...its on the last page).

The ship looks amazing for kids your age (and same for us...kids are a bit younger). There is the sea plex, iFly, north star, etc etc, and the shows look amazing. And we love Royal ships, food, service and activities going on. Great for all ages.

CoCo Cay looks amazing too. Can't wait to try it.
Wish we were in Port Canaveral longer so could head to the parks, but not worth it for the time and ticket cost

As for booking, you can book now as refundable. It costs a bit more but you can cancel up to final payment and get your full deposit back. There is also the option of non-refundable but then if you do cancel or change date, you will lose $100 per person (and remaining deposit goes towards future cruise credit). We always start as refundable and then will change to non-refundable once we book flights if its cheaper (for our Anthem cruise, our refundable booked amount is less than current non-refundable amount so no reason so switch). For either booking type, you can keep checking prices and get it re-priced if the cost goes down...up until final payment. Then the price is locked.
 
  • dandemom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 29, 2009
    We took the same itinerary Christmas week a year and a half ago. It was our first cruise. At the time, kids were 11 and 13. We had a great time overall. But I decided I will never cruise again over Christmas and I will never cruise again in the winter out of NE USA. It seemed like Christmas was just another day and we skipped Christmas that year. Yes, partially it is what you make of it, but I felt there should have been far more kids activities that were Christmas themed. And, yes, I understand that not everyone celebrates Christmas.

    Anyway - as far as cruising in the winter from NJ...
    The first and last day we were pretty well forced to stay inside on the ship. It was just way too cold to be out on the deck. The inside pool was PACKED and I think it was being cleaned more than it was actually available for swimming because of the little ones that weren't potty trained and the parents didn't obey the rules and put their kids in the pool anyways. Kinda ruined it for everyone.
    The climbing wall was closed frequently because of the wind, as was the flow rider.
    We didn't get to ride the NorthStar because of the wind at our appointment time and it was shut down. So schedule this for a day when you are far south.
    It was very rocky for one of the sea days - to the point where they put the barf bags on the railing on every deck.
    I FLY was awesome!
    The shows were great!
    The food was phenomenal as was the service everywhere on the ship.
    And they wouldn't allow the kids to be together in the kids area because the cutoff age is 12 for the teen area and my daughter was 6 months shy. So we couldn't shake the kids off us for any time during the week and enjoy the solarium. Which BTW was always completely full, no chairs ever available the few times I was able to venture in there, just to see what was going on.
    The sportsplex things were fun but know that you have to be there about half hour before the first session of the day in order to get your wristband to be able to participate. We never did get to do the acrobatics :-(

    We did the snorkeling excursion in Nassau. This was a lot of fun.
    We did the bottom glass boat on Coco Cay. This was fun, but I think I wouldn't spend my Coco Cay time doing any excursions and just enjoying the island. I loved it there! But I know it has changed a LOT since we were there, hopefully for the better.

    This year we will be cruising again out of NJ, but we are going North in the middle of August on the Adventure. The kids are excited for the water slides and ice skating.

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do!
     

    DancinDaisyDuck

    Nothing left for me to do but dance
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    Thanks to you all! I have found some good reviews of Anthem on Cruise Critic, and it's completely sealed the deal. I like how most of the ship seems to be enclosed and that the Quantam class ships seem to have been designed for both warm/hot and cooler climates. We will just prepare ourselves for the crowds and make reservations in advance whenever possible. We aren't sure about Coco Cay and the new waterpark, many reactions have been mixed. But it may be worth splurging for a cabana if they're available.

    I agree about the port time in Canaveral being too short, but we never thought about going to the parks. I feel like we would have time for five rides and then have to leave, lol. We will likely to go to Kennedy Space Center.

    Crossing fingers I can get Husband on board - literally and figuratively - for us to have a balcony! I've been working with my travel agent for 10+ years and I know she'll find the best price for us. I just wish it wasn't so far away!
     

    dandemom

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jan 29, 2009
    I wish I had booked the Kennedy Space Center tour. We had planned to get off the boat and take the public trolley to the beach. We got off and found out that the only way out of the port was to get on the bus shuttle at the port at a cost of $15 per person. We decided that $60 to go to the beach when it was only 60 degrees outside was a silly idea so we just went back on board the ship.

    Also I would stay away from WDW in February. They are opening Star Wars this fall and it is going to be CRAZY busy there over Feb break. I can't speak for Universal as I haven't been there....yet.
     

    DancinDaisyDuck

    Nothing left for me to do but dance
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    I wish I had booked the Kennedy Space Center tour. We had planned to get off the boat and take the public trolley to the beach. We got off and found out that the only way out of the port was to get on the bus shuttle at the port at a cost of $15 per person. We decided that $60 to go to the beach when it was only 60 degrees outside was a silly idea so we just went back on board the ship.

    Also I would stay away from WDW in February. They are opening Star Wars this fall and it is going to be CRAZY busy there over Feb break. I can't speak for Universal as I haven't been there....yet.
    Oh, I know. We are staying away from WDW for a few years. While Husband and kiddos are Star Wars people, I am just not crazy about it. I also refuse to go to WDW during breaks of any kind or the summer. I can handle crowds and hot weather but not both, lol. The price point, especially with the huge AP price hikes this week, is turning me off from Disney in general, which breaks my heart. We do have one (and probably the only) Disney cruise in mind for my 40th birthday in 2023, but I think as our kids get older, move out, and we don't have to plan around school break anymore we will spend our vacation time at ski resorts and cruises. They just fit our preferences better than Disney can at this point, and our money goes farther. Once grandkids come around (if they ever do and if not we have nieces and nephews to spoil) we will probably head back the Disney way.

    BUT! Harry Potter is worth it. We did our first ever Universal visit last year, just Husband and me, and we LOVED it. As a brand loyal Disney veteran, I was completely sold. The only way I'd risk it on a cruise stop would be to book through the cruise excursion for the peace of mind that if there's traffic on the way back they will hold the ship for us. I wouldn't be comfortable risking my own transportation and not leaving the park early enough to get back to the port on time before the all aboard.

    We don't tend to book excursions through the cruise company. When we went to the Med we found independent tours much cheaper and we found other cruiser on our CC roll calls to split costs with. It worked out great and we now have some lifelong friends from those groups! My husband has been dying to go to any kind of Space Port or Center so another card I can play in the Game of Convincing!
     
  • DancinDaisyDuck

    Nothing left for me to do but dance
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    UPDATE: Guys, WE ARE BOOKED! This is NOT a drill!

    This exploratory thread has now become a PTR. WHOO HOOOO!!!! It was not difficult to convince Husband that there really isn't any reason why we couldn't make this cruise work. Thanks for the insights, everyone, your information really helped. I'm working with my agent now on the details. Stay tuned!

    Only 18 months until we set sail :headache:
     

    Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    UPDATE: Guys, WE ARE BOOKED! This is NOT a drill!

    This exploratory thread has now become a PTR. WHOO HOOOO!!!! It was not difficult to convince Husband that there really isn't any reason why we couldn't make this cruise work. Thanks for the insights, everyone, your information really helped. I'm working with my agent now on the details. Stay tuned!

    Only 18 months until we set sail :headache:
    Yah! Very exciting!
    Did you end up going with a balcony? We are on Anthem in March. I can report back with any questions.
     

    DancinDaisyDuck

    Nothing left for me to do but dance
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    Yah! Very exciting!
    Did you end up going with a balcony? We are on Anthem in March. I can report back with any questions.
    Yes! My agent is amazing. She was able to find an interior room that is compliant with berthing regulations when minors are sharing a room (basically it has to be directly across the hall from our balcony room and NOT have the weird interior hallway some of those rooms can have). We're on Deck 8 mid-ship. One of the good things about booking so early, if we had waited 6 months who knows if we'd be able to find such an arrangement. Otherwise we'd have to get 2 connecting rooms and 2 balconies were not in the budget.
    Woo HOO! Have an awesome trip!
    Thank you!
     
  • Denise W

    Disney Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 1999
    Congrats! We board Anthem next week on the 4th for a 9 day cruise. It will be our third on Anthem and we have a 4th booked for January. We love the ship!
    Denise
     

    DancinDaisyDuck

    Nothing left for me to do but dance
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    Congrats! We board Anthem next week on the 4th for a 9 day cruise. It will be our third on Anthem and we have a 4th booked for January. We love the ship!
    Denise
    Have a fabulous cruise! The more I learn about the ship, the more excited we get! We won't tell the kids about it until it gets closer and I am so bad a secrets.
     

    DancinDaisyDuck

    Nothing left for me to do but dance
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    So now that we are booked and deposited there's only over 580 days to go! Who's ready to start packing? Just me? Well, since I can't really do that I can start poking around the Cruise Planner and look at all the fun things I can book and get our beverage packages, right? Nope. CP has virtually NOTHING available for our sailing except the spa packages (hard pass). That's it. No dining or beverages yet, no internet, no excursions, NADA. It's the curse of the over ambitious planner.

    There is almost nothing I can do at this point other than research, research, research. I work at a university so this falls into my wheelhouse. I've spent a lot of time concentrating on Coco Cay and thinking about what would make our Perfect Day perfect. Husband has requested a Cabana, and no argument from me on that one! I've found a lot of helpful info on some unofficial blogs and Cruise Critic. Knowing our kids, and knowing they will be 15 and 13 at the time, I think we should go with a Thrill Park cabana and cross my fingers I can get one booked as soon as they come available. As I had mentioned earlier we will do a Kennedy Space Center tour on our Port Canaveral day. In Nassau we will likely find a private snorkeling half day excursion in the morning and spend the rest of the time back on the ship.

    Some other things we know we want to reserve/try on this cruise:

    Beverage packages - Deluxe for Husband and me, but not sure we will get packages for the teens. One of them doesn't drink soda and sticks mainly to water, milk and lemonade, which she can get for free. The other one is a soda guy but we try to limit his sugar and junk food. It may turn out that we give both of them a 2 drink limit per day to charge to their room for things like hot chocolate, a soda or two or a smoothie.

    Internet - we learned on our last cruise that it was great to be unplugged, but it was not a good idea for us to be completely internet free on the ship. Husband needed to check in with work and family, and we realized on our last day at sea that we needed to check in for our departing flight the next day. So we paid a ridiculous amount of money while on board for internet. We will get a VOOM package for at least one device, if not two (and even better if there's a deal on the deluxe beverage package with internet). The kids will have to deal with being disconnected from their squads at home for 7 nights!

    Specialty Dining - we like the MDR and buffets so I doubt we will spend much time in the specialty places. But Jamie's Italian looks really good, maybe we can try that on a night nothing in the MDR appeals to us. Husband and I did Izumi on the Rhapsody for lunch and weren't very wow'd by the food or the service. But maybe it's better on other ships? He and one kid love sushi, so perhaps they would like to try the sushi making class.
    One thing I would be very interested in is the Galley Brunch! I had thought about trying Wonderland for just Husband and me as a special date nite, but now I'm rethinking a brunch date might be more fun. Plus, mimosas!

    Shows - we're really looking forward to the entertainment on this cruise. The shows on Rhapsody, while the performers were very talented, were so bad. I don't think one number has been updated since the early 90's. We'll definitely check out We Will Rock You, The Gift, and Spectra's and make reservations for these. I love a piano bar so I expect Husband and I will be at Schooner Bar for that and trivia (another favorite activity from our Rhapsody cruise. We even won once!).

    Other miscellaneous stuff: My balcony! I can't wait to sit out there with breakfast, beverages, and books! The kids and Husband will want to do the Flowrider as many times as possible, I'd like to do the Northstar, I have no interest in iFly but maybe the kids will do it (Husband has been skydiving before so he'll probably do this too). I'd like to go roller skating but will skip bumper cars. I'm sure the teens will be at the Sea Plex a lot. On our last cruise we just liked stumbling upon what was happening, whether it was trivia, card games in the MDR, or getting to know some of our fellow cruisers at the coffee shop on a sea day.

    All right Royal, it's your move. Open up that Cruise Planner, I beg you! Take my money!

    Thanks for reading, everyone, and for all the tips and tricks. Until next time!
     
    Last edited:

    Frozen2014

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jan 12, 2014
    Love hearing your excitement. We have a few cruises booked (including Anthem) and only up to Aug 2020 has anything in cruise planner (and that only includes drink and dining packages...very few excursions). Our Mar 2021 doesn't offer much yet either. Just keep checking. For Anthem (March 2020), it has most things but no entertainment yet.

    So yes...research and follow along with other reviews always helps with the excitement.

    We've never gotten a drink package but got lucky with the $18 "offer" on our Anthem so looking forward to that! We don't get our kids any packages for similar reason as you say. They have tons of sweets and stuff so don't need unlimited soda.

    Gallery brunch looks nice, and fun to see behind the scenes.
    Also looking forward to the shows. Have seen We Will Rock You a few times in my home city and love it. It's a fun one, and I think even my son, who doesn't love musicals , will enjoy it.

    We sound very similar in the activities...no iFly for me...but our kids will like it, but rest looks like fun. Anthem looks like a great ship!
     

    Denise W

    Disney Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 19, 1999
    We are on our Anthem cruise right now. They didn’t open up booking for shows until about 3 weeks ago, but I was able to book the 3 main shows. We Will Rock You is still fantastic. The cast right now is fabulous. Definitely buy the internet package before you go. I think I got surf and stream as low as $11.99 a day. I book it when it gets low and then keep checking for sales. It is easy to cancel and rebook at a lower price.
    Denise
     

    DancinDaisyDuck

    Nothing left for me to do but dance
    Joined
    Feb 7, 2007
    Thanks! Denise, I am following the unofficial blog's group cruise (same sailing as you) and it looks fantastic! I know I need a lot of patience before I can really book anything. I'm so bad at that! I'm glad you're having a great cruise!

    Frozen, I will really look forward to hearing about your March trip! We do seem to have similar styles :)
     

    Lynne G

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 29, 2009
    We're booked on the Harmony, with my adult kids, January 2021. We're trying to cruise more, since my kids love it. Me, eh, but I do enjoy the pampering.. We sailed from Miami on DCL mid January this year, and oooh, Nassau was hot. I'd certainly would bring some summer clothes, for the days you are in the South. January 2020, we are on a Carnival ship. Kids rather go on DCL, but hey, pricing. I will agree with you. When I booked Carnival first, months ago, it let me buy all sorts of stuff for the cruise. Continuing reminding me of small discount for ordering ahead. Royal, please wait until closer. Only thing it let me do, was order for stuff to be delivered to our cabin.

    Will be looking for this trip report when you get back. And yes, balcony for sure. We always seem to book that as a minimum. I totally enjoy having my private look out place, and on DCL years ago, was when we could enjoy some adult beverages as the kids slept in our cabin with us.
     

    Connect

    Disney News and Updates

    Daily Updates and News


    Top