Anthem of the Seas

Royal Caribbean International

Ship information

Anthem of the Seas

About Anthem of the Seas

The 4,180-passsenger Anthem of the Seas is the second vessel in Royal Caribbean's Quantum Class. It is a bold, beautiful ship, with more restaurants, bars and entertainment onboard than you can hope to experience in a week. It's entertaining and flashy, and it reminds us of being in a Las Vegas hotel. The atmosphere is equal parts modern sophistication and straight-up fun.

The Anthem of the Seas Deck Plan is Easy to Navigate

Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas is a big ship. It features 2,090 cabins – which include several cabin categories that debuted on sister

Quantum of the Seas

– 18 restaurants, and tons of fun things for passengers of all ages, including numerous pools, a splash zone, a gym, a spa, kids’ and teens’ clubs, a casino, and an indoor sports and entertainment center. While the ship’s high-passenger capacity means you’ll be sharing public spaces with tons of other people, the adult-only Anthem of the Seas Solarium is a great respite from the crowds and the kids, complete with a pool, a couple of whirlpools, sun loungers, and a bistro.

Anthem of the Seas deck plans are well thought out. There are eight cabin-only decks, six of which are sandwiched between other cabin-only decks, which makes for quiet nights for a large percentage of passengers. Decks 7 through 10 are the best for light sleepers. The Anthem of the Seas deck 11 isn’t bad either, but it’s shared with the Adventure Ocean kids’ club – if a mid-afternoon nap is high on your priority list, you’re better off picking a room on a lower level.

Having launched in 2015, many may wonder, what was the Anthem of the Seas last refurbishment? Well, it hasn’t had one yet. The ship was scheduled to receive some upgrades in 2020, but they were cancelled due to the COVID-19 global pandemic and the ship only underwent dry dock maintenance that year. Anthem is still in good shape, however, and with its great amenities, few will find it dated. In fact, technology-wise, this vessel raises the bar for the cruise industry. Not only does it offer superfast Internet, but it also uses iPad check-in, RFID bracelets, online bookings for restaurants and activities, and robot bartenders – and the good news is that it all seems to work.

Art throughout the ship is whimsical, fun and beautiful. It's epitomized by Gigi, a two-deck giraffe wearing an inner tube. Another fun piece on the Anthem of the Seas cruise ship is an interactive work that allows passengers to place their hands on a podium. Plates on the podium measure your heartbeat, which is then "shown" on a huge chandelier that beats in time. It stores 200 heartbeats, so when someone doesn't have their hands on the podium, the 200 lights blink to reflect each one.

In general, our one gripe about Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas is that you could spend a lot of money onboard, and the cruise fares are already pretty expensive. But if you're looking to have a blast on your cruise, and you like a choice of dining, bars and mind-blowing entertainment, this is the ship for you.

Anthem of the Seas Activities Offer Fun for All Ages

Anthem of the Seas is great option for solo travelers, couples and families alike. Some of the coolest innovations aboard the ship are the

RipCord by iFly, a skydiving simulator

;

North Star

, a jewel-shaped glass capsule that rises 300 feet above sea level, providing 360-degree views from high above the ship; and the SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea, with attractions ranging from bumper cars, roller skating and video gaming to a circus school, complete with flying trapeze classes. Daily activities on Anthem of the Seas include salsa lessons, workshops, trivia games, and table tennis competitions, among many others.

The ship's Esplanade and its adjacent area, called The Via, are the ship's hub of nighttime activity, with bars and restaurants throughout. (The two areas are separated by a stairwell and bank of elevators, and The Via houses high-end shops, as well as bars and restaurants.)

Onboard entertainment is exceptional, highlighted by West End musical "We Will Rock You." At night, the ship's innovative Two70 venue blends technology with live performance, including aerialists, singers and dancers.

Anthem of the Seas Restaurants are Varied and Tasty

In total, the ship features 18 dining venues, including one --

Jamie's Italian

-- created in association with a celebrity chef. Also onboard is a restaurant called

Wonderland

, which is the cruise line's first real foray into molecular gastronomy. You'll pay for a number of the restaurants, but the extra-fee venues by far offer the best food onboard.

Allure of the Seas vs Anthem of the Seas

Cruisers often struggle to decide between Allure and the Seas and Anthem of the Seas. While European itineraries are available on both, each ship has its own vibe and unique offerings that cater to different demographics.

If non-stop fun and entertainment is what you’re after, Allure might be a better option for you. It is a bigger ship and features a few great amenities that are not available on Anthem of the Seas, including ice skating, water slides, a zipline, an Aqua Theater, and an escape room. The Anthem, however, offers bigger and better kids’ and teens’ clubs, as well as indoor areas, including family and adult-only pools, and the SeaPlex — which is a huge perk for those visiting colder regions.

Allure also has more restaurants than Anthem, more entertainment options, and an Oasis-class favorite: the neighborhood concept. This means that, unfortunately, Anthem of the Seas has no Central Park, which is one of our favorite sports on Allure.

Both ships, however, have Broadway-class shows: ‘We Will Rock You’ on Anthem; ‘Mamma Mia’ on Allure.

Royal Caribbean COVID-19 Rules

For the most up-to-date testing, masking, and vaccination requirements aboard Anthem of the Seas, please refer to 

Royal Caribbean's Health and Safety protocols

. You can also use 

Cruise Critic's guide to health requirements

 on the world’s major cruise lines as we know them.

Cabins

Anthem of the Seas has 40 cabin types available

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Inside Cabins

8 Inside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

7 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

7 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

7 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

7 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

7 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

7 Outside types to choose from

Outside Cabins

7 Outside types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Balcony Cabins

12 Balcony types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Suite Cabins

13 Suite types to choose from

Deck Plans

14 deck images available

Activities and Entertainment

Theater and Shows on Anthem of the Seas

Anthem of the Seas' Royal Theater hosts the ship's major production show, "We Will Rock You." The nearly two-hour musical -- which debuted in London's West End and has toured around the world -- sets Queen's biggest hits to a story set 300 years in the future, on Earth (renamed iPlanet), where rock and roll doesn't exist. A group of "Bohemians" is seeking a rhapsody. The result is an exceptionally performed show, with a plot that can drag at times. (For a taste, catch just the last half hour, which has the most show-stopping numbers of the performance.) The singers are definitely Broadway-caliber and the price (free) can't be beat.

hen "We Will Rock You" isn't rocking you, various other acts are performed at the theater. They include a fantastical Royal Caribbean original production called "The Gift," the three-act "In Concert" set to songs of the '70s, '80s and '90s and "Name That Tune."

The SeaPlex and Things to Do Onboard Anthem of the Seas

The SeaPlex is the one-stop spot for all things fun during the day. The splashiest option is probably the bumper cars, which will have you mercilessly crashing into fellow passengers in no time. When the bumper cars aren't in use, though, the space can be used as a roller rink for actual roller skating. (Bring socks.) It's also where the "circus school" takes place. There, passengers (who must sign waivers) are taught to swing through the air on a flying trapeze -- over a huge, air-filled mat. It's open to passengers 6 and older.

Four SeaPods (small rooms for socializing) are located on the second deck of the SeaPlex. Passengers can play air hockey or table tennis there or try out games in the Xbox video game lounge in one of the Pods. The second level is also a great spot to watch the DJ booth float -- with the assistance of a mechanical arm -- over the roller rink below during skating sessions.

Passengers looking for a mental challenge can try out Puzzle Break, a game that has teams digging for clues, cracking codes and trying to "escape" from a room using only their brains and cooperation. Puzzle Break takes place in Fuel, the teen center, but it's open to adults. (It will be too challenging for young participants.) Check your daily cruise program to see when Puzzle Break is offered; it runs multiple times on sea days.

Trivia, bingo, "name that tune" and pool games (think belly flop contests) are held throughout the cruise, and crafters can head up to The Workshop in Two70 for things like scrapbooking sessions.

Nightlife on Anthem of the Seas

There's no shortage of activities at night on Anthem of the Seas. In addition to the entertainment venues and casino, keep an eye out for the "Stowaway Piano Player," who moves around the ship with his piano, "evading" the ship's officers and entertaining passengers in odd spots like elevators and stairwells.

Casino Royale is fairly large, with a variety of slot machines and table games that include craps, roulette and blackjack. It's a bit off the beaten path; you actually have to look for it, rather than just stumble into it. It's one of the few indoor venues that allows smoking, which permeates even the small nonsmoking section of the casino.

The Music Hall is the ship's two-deck live music venue, where you can listen to tribute bands, have a late-night drink, dance the night away and even partake in karaoke. It's a huge space, reminiscent of a nightclub, rather than what its name suggests (an old-fashioned music hall). There's a large square bar on the upper floor and plenty of seating, including less noisy options. There are also seats around the upper level so you can watch the band perform and passengers gyrate on the dance floor below. Between bands, a DJ plays, and you might even stumble upon the odd variety performance; we saw a ventriloquist. Downstairs, you'll find another large bar, a dance floor, the stage and more seating. If you like your music loud (there's a strong emphasis on rock), then this is the venue for you. If you enjoy a more sedate post-dinner drink, you might be better off in the Schooner Bar.

During the day, Music Hall is given over to dance classes and comedy improv workshops. Or just relax with a beer and a game of pool.

Two70 s a visual feast for the eyes and ears. Vistarama comes into full play, with geometric shapes and jellyfish beamed onto the HD screens that cover all the windows. On most nights, you can watch the show "Spectra's Cabaret," which is offered twice per night on certain evenings. There's no real storyline or acting; it's really a vehicle to show off the amazing technology. Two70 also has six huge TVs mounted on robot arms that dance in tune with the performers, displaying shapes and bright colors along with digital performers. Meanwhile, the human performers dance, sing and execute extraordinary acrobatics. It's fun, exuberant and generally engrossing, but it's 50 minutes long, and certain sections sag a bit.

**Tip: **Show up early so you can get the best seats -- the first row of the balcony level or the bench seating on the lower level. Unlike those in a typical theater, the higher seats are better, as you get to take in the entire spectacle and the sheer scale of Vistarama. Also, if you sit on the lower level, you might well end up face to face with a staring singer or dancing with an acrobat.

Two70 also hosts comedians on occasion; check your daily newsletter.

Anthem of the Seas Bars & Lounges

While it's possible to get a drink virtually anywhere onboard Anthem of the Seas, there are only a few bars that don't double as entertainment spaces or restaurants. The vibe of each venue is slightly different, and we found passengers tended to find their favorites and stick with them. During the day, the hot spot is the North Star Bar, while, at night, Schooner Bar is hopping.

Boleros (Deck 4): If you fancy a tucked-away Latin-themed night spot, Boleros is a great choice. It's deliberately dark, with plush seating and themed decor, and it's an ideal spot for a pre- or post-dinner cocktail or two. There's a dance floor to bust some Latin moves, though we never saw it being used, as well as a small stage for musical performances at night.

Schooner Bar (Deck 5): Decorated in dark wood and marble, the Schooner Bar is the ship's piano bar. A piano player takes requests from passengers who sit at a bar that surrounds the piano. It makes for a fun time. It's also a nice spot to grab a drink before having dinner at nearby Chops Grille.

**Bionic Bar (Deck 5): **Swing by the Bionic Bar to watch the two Makr Shakr bartending "robots" mix up your creations, which you order via tablet. This one is pretty gimmicky, but it's worth trying at least once. After you've ordered, the robotic arms will grab a shaker, mix up your concoction and pour it into your cup. Then, it will set the drink down into a slot atop the bar and push it toward you. Screens on either side of the bar will show you how long until your drink is made and which robot is making it. You can create your own cocktail from a list of ingredients, or choose from the bar's menu; the signature drinks are definitely on the sweet side. The space itself isn't really a bar -- it's more of a walkway -- and seating is limited. Still, it gets crowed -- especially at night, when a DJ starts spinning tunes -- and drink wait times can be fairly long.

Only passengers 21 or older can order drinks. RFID bracelets or SeaPass cards, which are linked to your profile, are required to order.

Vintages Wine Bar (Deck 5): Vintages is an upscale wine bar that's in a prime spot at the top of The Via, the fancier end of the Esplanade, with seating and tables along the walkway. It has a large bar, as well as wine-dispensing machines that allow you to serve yourself with the swipe of your key card. The vibe in Vintages is refined and relaxed; it's a place to make conversation and perhaps discuss different types of wine. If you're hungry, choose from nine tapas-style small plates that run $3 to $5 apiece.

Sky Bar and Pool Bar (Deck 14): The Sky Bar serves as the main pool bar, while the Pool Bar is the main bar for the adjacent covered pool.

North Star Bar (Deck 15): As the name suggests, this bar is set just below the entrance to the North Star and is an ideal spot to look out over the entire pool deck and out to sea. It has a selection of cocktails starting at $12, as well as Champagne, wine and beer. There's bar seating, and cushioned seats and loungers in a small area in front of the bar.

Pools and Hot Tubs on Anthem of the Seas

Anthem's three main pools all are located on Deck 14. For sun-seekers, there's the main pool deck, surrounded by lots of lounge chairs and wicker couches that feature padded seating. There, you'll find two whirlpools -- one on either side of the pool -- and a giant movie screen. There's also a self-service soft-serve ice cream machine, popular on any warm-weather cruise, and the required poolside bar.

Also outdoors near the main pool, you'll find the H2O Zone, dedicated to families with young children. It's not completely separate; it's more an adjunct to the main pools, with a wave pool for youngsters in the center. On one side, there's a little splash pool for babies (where swim diapers are OK to use) and on the other, a very cool "lazy river" pool. There are also kid-size deck chairs. How thoughtful is that?

If you forgot your sunscreen, you can pick it up at Sea Trek, by the main pool, which offers a choice of sun-related products.

A second pool is located under a retractable roof, just adjacent to the main pool. It is quieter than the outdoor pool and is self-contained; it has its own bar, two whirlpools and a wading pool with loungers in the water.

The adults-only Solarium pool is just next door. This is our favorite pool. It's just beautiful, with three tiers of pools (each spilling over into the next), panoramic forward-facing ocean views, plenty of hot tub space and an air of serenity. On the lowest level, sun loungers sit in the water for those who want to take a dip without making the full commitment to swim. The Solarium also has its own juice/smoothie bar ($9 for smoothies) and a fabulously fun tiled swing that seats two.

Skydiving, North Star and FlowRider on Anthem of the Seas

All Quantum-class ships have skydiving simulation. For anyone who loves adventure, RipCord by iFly is not to be missed. You'll need reservations to ensure your spot, but one "flight" is free for every passenger. Signup is at the back of the ship on Deck 15. There, you'll have to sign a waiver (if you plan to do multiple activities onboard, you can sign all waivers at once) and watch a short instructional video before getting dressed in your jumpsuit, helmet and goggles. (You will need to bring lace-up shoes or socks to complete your ensemble.) Next, you'll pose for pictures and head up to Deck 16 with your group for your flight. Flights last 60 seconds; prepare to be pushed and pulled around by the instructor who is in the simulator with you. You'll also probably be a little sore the next day after working muscles in brand-new ways. Have a friend outside to take photos, or you can buy pictures from the ship's photographer. If you're hooked, seek out a Ripcord experience on land; the activity is so popular onboard, there isn't enough time for people to do it twice. The minimum age for trying out Ripcord is 3.

The FlowRider surf simulator is also is on Deck 16 and free of charge. Private, for-fee instruction is available, as well. Height restrictions are in place for anyone trying it out: 58 inches is the minimum for standup surfers; 52 inches is the minimum for those trying boogie boards. A rock climbing wall is located on Deck 15. Just look for the big giraffe statue, which is placed next to it. Her name is Gigi, and she's there just for aesthetics, so no climbing the giraffe.

Those who don't want to work so hard for their fun might enjoy the North Star, a glass-enclosed capsule attached to a mechanical arm that rises 300 feet above sea level, providing amazing 360-degree views. For the best experience, try it out at sea, where the capsule will both rise and extend over the side of the ship; in port, restrictions might be in place that prevent the capsule from going over the side. Riding the North Star takes 15 to 20 minutes and is free, though you'll want to make reservations. It can be booked for special events, such as weddings, for a fee.

Sun Decks on Anthem of the Seas

There's really just one sun deck, located on Deck 15. Be aware that the jogging track runs around the entire deck, and space between the track and lounge chairs is quite tight. An exclusive sun deck for suite passengers is located on Deck 16, just forward of the SeaPlex's upper level.

Anthem of the Seas Services and WiFi

Guest services is located on Deck 4. There, passengers can book restaurant, show and activity (circus school or iFly, for example) reservations, either directly through the ship's Royal IQ tablets or with the help of a crew member. (The area is always staffed.) This is also where passengers can report problems or leave feedback.

Passengers can book future cruises on Deck 5, near the midship elevator bank, at the Next Cruise desk. The shore excursions space is nearby, so passengers can use tablets or computer stations to research and book ship-sponsored shore excursions. If technology trips you up, you can get assistance from crew members there, too.

Retail space -- including Bulgari, Hublot, Armani Jeans and Prince & Greene -- can be found on the Esplanade on decks 4 and 5. Port Merchants is the ship's duty-free store. Kiosks set out in the main Deck 4 thoroughfare host sales and highlighted merchandise.

Two70 isn't just an entertainment space; its second floor is home to a craft workshop, decent-sized library, board game room and Internet cafe. Internet onboard truly is lightning fast, even allowing for video streaming. Anthem of the Seas has VOOM, one of the best Internet services at sea. Packages come in prices according to strength -- if you want to stream, that will cost you the most.

To eliminate paper waste, the Photo Gallery on Anthem of the Seas, located on Deck 5, is completely digital. Ship photographers take your picture and then pop the images into the photo computer system. When you scan your wristband or SeaPass card at a photo kiosk, your photos will show up on the screen, thanks to face-recognition software. You can purchase digital copies, prints or both; an 8 x 10 is $20.

An art gallery is located next to Two70 along The Via on Deck 5.

A conference center, equipped with AV technology, is at the back of the ship on Deck 13.

Smokers have their own dedicated areas throughout the ship, including a portion of the pool deck and a sun deck on Deck 5 aft, outside Vintages.

Dining

Anthem of the Seas dining is varied, with 18 restaurants spread over five decks. It’s possible to spend a week-long cruise eating only at included eateries, but we found that for-fee restaurants were worth the splurge. For the best deals, we recommend purchasing one of the two dining packages available on Anthem of the Seas.

You may be wondering if there's a Starbucks on Anthem of the Seas. While there is no proper Starbucks kiosk on Anthem (those are only available on all Oasis-class ships as well as on Navigator and Mariner of the Seas) La Patisserie (Deck 4) serves a selection of Starbucks coffees for an extra fee.

Anthem of the Seas Free Restaurants

Passengers on Anthem of the Seas have plenty to choose from when it comes to complimentary dining, with multiple options for light bites, as well as sit-down meals in the evening. Reservations for all restaurants -- fee or free -- can be made ahead of your cruise online.

Though reservations aren't required, they're definitely recommended to ensure you get to eat where you want, when you want. If you don't make reservations before you sail, you can always do so onboard at Guest Services or via the ship's free app, Royal IQ. Within the first two days of your cruise, you can make a permanent reservation for each night (i.e. 8 p.m. at Silk at Table 555). For one-off nights check with Guest Services for available dinner reservations.

Food and service at the Anthem of the Seas dining rooms -- Silk, Chic, The Grande Restaurant and American Icon -- are the same and include options for appetizers, soups and salads, main courses and desserts. Appetizers might include a soup of the day, salad and shrimp cocktail. Grilled chicken breast, oven-roasted salmon, strip steak and pasta dishes are featured as entrees. Each restaurant also offers "Signature" dishes -- two appetizers and two entrees -- that are available the entire week and represent greatest hits. Kids' menus are available in all restaurants.

Anthem of the Seas features Royal Caribbean's My Time Dining concept, where guests can choose to dine in one of four dining rooms each night. There are designated lines on Decks 3 & 4 for guests with and without reservations. In our experience, guests without reservations never had to wait longer than 5 minutes for a table. Depending on your preference, you can choose the same dining room (and table and servers) each night or switch it up throughout your cruise.

Breakfast and lunch are served in The Grande; for set seating you'll need to dine at Chic or The Grande, while My Time Dining is available in Silk and American Icon. 

Vegetarian dishes and healthy options are indicated on the menus. Waiters also ask about allergies and special requests at the start of every cruise. Information is added to your profile (via tablets), and all waiters will subsequently have that information so they can help passengers select appropriate meals.

Our favorite meals of the free variety came at Cafe Two70, where grab-and-go sandwiches and paninis hit the spot.

The Grande Restaurant (Deck 3): Passengers who simply love formal night will adore The Grande, where formal dress is required every night. The space is large but feels luxe, with lots of gold and mirrors, and waiters in white gloves make every course feel special. Piano music (though no actual piano) plays as diners enjoy European-inspired food. 

Chic (Deck 3): Chic is billed as the hip restaurant when compared with the formal atmosphere of The Grande, located just opposite. It has a cosmopolitan, stylish and contemporary feel, with lots of gold, silver and glass decor. There's a wide mixture of seating options, from tables for two to large banquette-style seating. 

Silk (Deck 4): The decor at Silk on Anthem of the Seas is lots of red and gold, with sheer curtains used to divide spaces and give the impression that this is a far smaller space than it is.

American Icon Grill (Deck 4): The decor in American Icon Grill on Anthem of the Seas has a South Beach vibe, with funky room dividers depicting iconic U.S. sights. 

Solarium Bistro (Deck 14): Located within the Anthem of the Seas adults-only area known as the Solarium, this casual eatery serves light fare, such as yogurt and fruit in the morning and a variety of mixed salads at lunch.

**Windjammer Marketplace (Deck 14): **

Windjammer Marketplace

 is the Anthem of the Seas buffet. It's extensive, but the space is broken up into stations, such as "Bread" and "Mediterranean Specialties." Seating options include many tables for two or four, as well as larger tables that encourage socializing. A small hand-washing area greets passengers at the entrance, and a crew member reminds diners to use it. Breakfast includes virtually everything you can imagine, from pastries and yogurt to eggs. A made-to-order station allows passengers to order items like omelets and crepes. Lunch is a solid combination of sandwiches and burgers, as well as items like pork loin or broiled fish. Dinner has a broader array of hot entrees and often includes specialties like a prime rib carving station. While we loved the variety of hot and fresh breads at the bread station, we were disappointed by the small selection at the salad bar.

Coastal Kitchen (Deck 14): The Anthem of the Seas

Coastal Kitchen

 is a Mediterranean "fusion" restaurant; the menu items are a blend of both classic Mediterranean food and cool California-style cuisine. This restaurant is open only to suite passengers. Those booked in Grand Suites and above can dine there for breakfast and lunch, while passengers in Junior Suites and higher can enjoy dinner there. The room is light and airy, though there's a rather unusual set of high tables connected to those at normal height. You end up looking down on your fellow diners, which makes for slightly uncomfortable conversation. For breakfast, passengers can choose from made-to-order omelets, frittatas, eggs Benedict and smoked salmon, as well as a Mediterranean Plate that includes hummus, prosciutto and cheese. Pancakes, French toast and a variety of cereals also are available. Lunch includes a selection of sandwiches (smoked mozzarella or grilled chicken, for example) and salads (such as antipasti or wedge). At dinner, don't miss the flatbread options -- something of a blend between pizza and pita, where personal-sized thin-crusted breads are topped with sauces (barbecue or marinara, for example), veggies and/or cheese. Try the standard margherita or salmon variations.

Sorrento's (Deck 4): 

Sorrento's

, which is in a great spot right on the main promenade (Royal Caribbean calls it the Esplanade), is a perfect place to grab a quick bite if you're feeling peckish. There is no menu, just four different pizzas and plenty of tables. Two types of pizza -- margherita and pepperoni -- are available every day; the other two change daily. You can also have them whip up a custom-ordered pie, including gluten-free pizza. (The pizza is not great, and tastes much better when hot than when it's been sitting under the lights.) Two soda vending machines offer a bewildering number of soda types, and you can order beers from behind the bar. You'll need to pay extra for both drink types. Sorrento's opens at lunchtime and serves food until the wee hours.

Cafe Promenade (Deck 4): Located right beside Sorrento's (a door connects them), this is the place to grab a free freshly brewed coffee, pastry or small sandwich. Do not miss the chocolate chip cookies. 

Cafe Promenade

 is open almost 24 hours a day.

The Cafe @ Two70 (Deck 5): The Cafe @ Two70 serves casual bites all day -- including a variety of vegetarian and gluten-free options. It's designed to look like a bistro, and the food reflects that. Counters serve ready-made (but warmed on the spot) sandwiches, desserts, and made-to-order fare, such as salads. There's no seating in the cafe itself. Instead, passengers order food in the cafe and carry it out to Two70 -- which has tall tables, standard tables and booth seating -- or outside the venue, where you'll find a couple of farm tables and cozy seating nooks. Open for Continental breakfast, this was our favorite spot to grab a bite before starting the day. Items include bagels (made on the ship), pastries, oatmeal and parfaits -- a number of which catered to special dietary needs. Lunch and dinner options are salads, soups and sandwiches. It's a refreshing change from more formal or buffet options, and while components are premade, food is served hot (if it's a hot item). There's also an extensive beverage bar in the cafe that includes tea, coffee, flavored water (like strawberry, kiwi and mango) and juice.

SeaPlex Dog House (Deck 15): SeaPlex Dog House is basically a food truck at sea, located in the SeaPlex complex on Anthem. The selection is fairly limited, in that only hot dogs are served there. Still, they're good hot dogs, and passengers who don't eat red meat will be happy to see chicken options. The SeaPlex Dog House is open daily for lunch and dinner.

Room Service: Room service is available 24 hours a day, but only continental breakfast is free; all other orders carry a flat delivery surcharge per order. Tipping for room service is not required, but delivery people always appreciate it when you fork over a buck or two for the service.

Anthem of the Seas Specialty Restaurants and other For-Fee Options

If you're looking for more attentive service, intimate surroundings or just want to try something completely different, you'll find a good variety in the for-fee restaurants, including Italian, Japanese, steaks and molecular gastronomy.

Overall, the quality of food at the upcharge restaurants is better than you'll get at the included restaurants, but a for-fee sit-down venue on Anthem is as much about the overall ambiance and quality of service as it is about the cuisine.

The for-fee restaurants have been well considered, and all are pitched at a reasonable price point.

If you expect to dine at a number of the sit-down alternative restaurants, you can save some money by booking online ahead of your cruise. If you book three restaurants, you get a 20 percent discount, four gets you a 25 percent break, and five reservations will save you 30 percent. Reservations are recommended for all sit-down fee dining.

Children 5 and younger dine for free at these restaurants, while those ages 6 to 12 order off a special menu at each restaurant at a set cost per child. Children 13 and older will be charged the full adult price.

Jamie's Italian by Jamie Oliver (Deck 5); prix fixe: Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver is known for promoting family-style Italian dining, and the Anthem of the Seas Jamie’s Italian menu offers exactly that, with items like "planks": boards filled with cured meats, cheeses, olives and capers or vegetables, designed to be shared as a starter. Oliver says his food onboard is held to the same quality standards as that in his land restaurants (sustainable produce and high animal welfare, for example). The decor, designed by Oliver's team, is rustic Italian with pops of color and a modern twist. Dried peppers and sausages hang from the walls, and cans of tomatoes are strewn throughout. They're also used to prop up the planks when they're brought tableside. Menu highlights include the planks, burger, lasagna and the slow-cooked pork belly. 

Jamie's Italian

 is open for lunch (with a similar but more limited menu) and dinner.

**Wonderland (Deck 5); prix fixe: **

Wonderland

 is Anthem’s most innovative restaurant, using a molecular gastronomy style of cooking -- dry ice, unexpected flavors and aromas, tiny portions, dishes that aren't what they appear to be -- in a setting that's meant to be reminiscent of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. From the decor and the seating to the waiters (who aren't really waiters, more "guides") and the menu itself, Wonderland is designed to be fun, imaginative and quirky. The physical Wonderland menu on Anthem of the Seas starts off blank (we won't give away how it's revealed) and is divided by six elements: sun, sea, ice, earth, fire and dreams. You can opt to pick for yourself, or let your waiters do it for you. It's also, incidentally, the only venue on the ship where you'll find candles with real flames.

The food isn't to everyone's taste, so prepare to be challenged: Chicken liver balls were tasty but slightly oily; Japanese breadcrumbs, designed to represent soil, were dry; and the spicy Korean battered kimchi was a bit like cardboard. Some of the playful starters included a wood-smoked egg (complete with wood smoke emanating from a glass lid) and a "liquid" olive. Some of our party described this as "nonsense food"; others were entranced. For us, the tiny portions dragged on (it's a long meal), but they were redeemed by a quartet of some of the tastiest large dishes we have had on a ship: 12-hour braised beef on the bone, succulent chicken, slow-cooked halibut in the bag and pan-fried sea bass. Desserts were similarly out of this world: Arctic Equator Chocolate (a riff on the traditional baked Alaska) and The English Box (an unusual version of traditional sticky toffee pudding) were outstanding.

Wonderland is open for dinner only.

Izumi (Deck 5); a la carte pricing: Decor at 

Izumi

 on Anthem of the Seas is similar to what you might find at any high-end sushi restaurant on land -- sleek and modern, with Asian art and a huge open sushi bar in the middle. Located on Deck 5, it overlooks the Esplanade and is separated from foot traffic only by a series of red glass screens. Cuisine, of course, leans heavily toward sushi and sashimi, which tastes fresh. Specialty rolls include an innovative truffle creamy lobster tempura roll with asparagus, salmon and tempura lobster, as well as the Izumi Ryu Futomaki roll with assorted sashimi, cream cheese and wakame salad. The menu is fairly limited for those who don't eat seafood or sushi, with only a couple of noodle dishes (udon or ramen, for example) and salads. Pricing is less than you'd pay on land for sushi. Izumi serves lunch and dinner.

**Chops Grille (Deck 5); prix fixe: **

Chops Grille

 is a steak house located just off of the Schooner Bar. It's a staple -- and a favorite -- on many of the cruise line's ships, and it is decked out as you might expect: low lighting and chunky, dark wood furniture. Don't even think about going there if you're a vegetarian; the Anthem of the Seas Chops Grille menu is all meat, meat and more meat. However, there is a number of delicious fish dishes, such as grilled branzino (sea bass), snapper Veracruz, crusted tuna and spicy jumbo shrimp. Cuts available are filet mignon, N.Y. strip and slow-braised short rib of beef.

There are also some excellent sides, such as mushrooms, grilled asparagus, creamed or steamed spinach and truffle-coated fries (you can ask for no truffle), served family-style. For those who really want to splurge, Anthem offers dry-aged steaks at sea and Maine lobster (both for an additional charge). Service is highly attentive and accommodating, and it's great value for the money. Chops is open only for dinner.

Johnny Rockets (Deck 14); a la carte pricing: 

Johnny Rockets

 is a mainstay on the Royal Caribbean fleet. On Anthem of the Seas, Johnny Rockets is right beside the pool area, so you can just turn up in any attire and order a burger, fries, sodas and shakes. Unlike on other Royal Caribbean ships, rather than a flat fee (only charging extra for shakes or malts), you get charged by the item. You place your order at the counter and are notified via a ticketing system when your food is ready for pickup. There's limited seating in the restaurant (and only two of the famous red booths), but it feels more like a carryout joint. The food is acceptable -- nothing special -- and its proximity to the free Windjammer does make you question why you'd spend money there at all. Johnny Rockets is open daily from for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Chef’s Table (in Chops Grille, Deck 5); prix fixe: Save your appetite for this experience. It's offered every night on Anthem of the Seas and gives passengers a chance to try a five-course meal, complete with specially selected wine pairings. It's held in a private area of Chops Grille. Food options are reflective of a high-end steakhouse, so items like lamb cutlets and premium cuts of beef might be served. The dinner accommodates 12 to 16 people; if it doesn't hit the minimum, it could be canceled.

English Pub (Deck 4); a la carte pricing: This is a true pub, complete with dark wood, great beer and some serious snacks. It has TVs for sports viewing and a diverse selection of craft beers like Brooklyn Lager, Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, Bear Republic Raver 5 India Pale Ale and of course, Michael's Genuine Home Brew. Beer aficionados can order any beer with a branded souvenir glass for an additional charge. The pub also offers a number of unusual cocktails for non-beer-drinkers. Starters are a highlight of the menu at Michael's. They're mostly finger foods, but they aren't your typical bar bites. Try the deviled eggs and polenta fries (even if you don't like polenta).  Available items include "pub boards" of meats, cheeses and pickled vegetables, and pub meals like fish 'n' chips and bangers 'n' mash, as well as a few desserts (we recommend the peanut butter cup). The English Pub opens daily at lunchtime and closes late at night.

La Patisserie (Deck 4); a la carte pricing: Set on the main promenade in a bright, open space, this cafe serves genuine Starbucks coffee -- but at a higher price than on land. It also serves divine hot chocolates and a lovely selection of pastries, cupcakes, truffles, macarons (called "stackarons") and chocolate bars. La Patisserie opens from early in the morning until late in the evening.