Cruise to Canada & New England

Sept 8 to Sept 17, 2016

(RCCL - Anthem: Cabin 8674 balcony - H/C)


Port of Calls


Bayonne, NJ


At sea


Boston, MA


Portland, ME


Bar Harbor, ME


Saint John, NB


At Sea


Halifax, NS


At Sea


Bayonne, NJ


Final Thoughts





Sept 7 - our drive down to New Jersey

We left this morning at 7AM.  We had a nice drive, customs were not busy so we just flew through.  We stopped at Plattsburg for breakfast then off for our drive to NJ.  We had sunny all morning until we hit the I-87 then we got some clouds but nothing to bother us.  One strange thing happened the I-87 is a toll road, we picked up our ticket.  When we exited at exit 15 we were off and on the I-287 and never came to the toll booths.  We arrived at the Best Western in Pompton Plains, NJ on route 23 around 3PM.  We have 56km to do in the morning to arrive at the Port of Bayonne to board our ship.

Sept 8 - Boarding the ship in Bayonne, NJ

We left the hotel in Pompton Plains, NJ around 9:20AM which should have taken us half an hour turned out to almost 2 hours.  We had lots of traffic being a Thursday.  Arriving at the terminal, we dropped off our luggage with the porters and proceeded to the multilevel garage.  This is the first time we would be using this facility.  We got our ticket and were guided to the handicap parking level which is on the first level.  The parking is $20/day and we pay on our way out.

Once we arrived at the terminal, we went through security and then the check-in process.  This took about 20 minutes.  At this time they just started boarding.

We had arrange to meet Vicki and Bob in the Two70 where they do serve sandwiches, salads and some dessert.  Once Vicki arrived we both went to check our reservations for our specialty restaurants.  I had bought a BOGO which means buy one and get one free but it had to be used on the two first nights.  Vicki is a Diamond + and she gets buy one and get one free, also to be used on the first two nights.  Since they were all booked on the second night because of these specials we were moved to the third night instead and kept the same special.

We went to the Diamond Event which has free cocktails from 5PM to 8:30PM.  On this cruise there are over 900 Diamond, Diamond+ and Pinacle so they have to overflow into the Music Hall.  We had one drink and off for dinner.

Our restaurant for tonight was Chops.  We had fillet mignon with all kinds of sides.  The meat was cooked to our liking.  We hade a nice relaxing dinner.

Showtime: the show tonight was Welcome Aboard starring Darrell Joyce, a comedian.  He was so funning, he had us all in stitches.  His jokes centered around married couples on a cruise.  We could all relate to this.  Also starring The McCartney Years which was a band playing Paul McCartney's songs which spanned over two decades from The Beatles to Wings.  This part was just so-so.  But first our Cruise Director, Abe Hughes welcomed us on this cruise, sold us a little of what to expect during the next 9 nights.  We are just over 4,200 passengers and 1,700 crews on this ship.

Sept 9 - At Sea

Today the seas are very calm, we don't feel the ship moving.  This is a new ship for us so still trying to get oriented.  It is about 25C and sunny.

We ordered breakfast in our room as we had a Cruise Critic Meet & Mingle at 9:30AM in the Music Hall located on Deck 3.  The Activity Manager did the raffle, lots of little prizes to be won, nothing expensive but fun.

After the meeting we went exploring on the ship, we only got as far as all the swimming pools as we wanted to attend a lecture at 11AM.

Enrichment Lecture: Boston: Walking on Water with guest lecturer Dominique Lavigueur.  She was very interesting, showing us lots of maps going back to the 16 hundreds of what Boston was like to present time.  When and how they filled in the water to make Boston what it is today.

We met Vicki and Bob for the Diamond Event before going to dinner.  Our reservations was at 5:30PM.  Tonight we were in the American Icon Grill.  There are complementary 4 dinning rooms that we will be rotating with our wait staff.  The other dinning rooms are Chic, Silk and The Grande (which is formal meaning that men need to wear a jacket.  If you don't have one they will provide one for you).  Each dinning room has a different flair to is, menus are all different.

Showtime: The Gift (you need reservations and the show will be repeated at other days and times) was a musical journey of fantasy and illusion that began one stormy night with the arrival of a "Magical Gift".  We enjoyed the show, music, signers, dancers were great and so were all the costumes.  The only thing was we could not figure out what the story was about.

Sept 10 - Boston, MA

Beautiful hot day in Boston 26C/77F.  We ordered breakfast in our room as we were meeting Vicki and Bob at 11AM.

Vicki found this tour called Harpoon Brewery that gave tours of their establishment for $5/pp.  We walked from the port to the Brewery and was able to get the 12:20PM tour.  We arrived around Noon.  We browsed the gift shop, had a pretzel that they cook there.  Outside of the Brewery is a huge bar where they sell all their beers and pretzels, you can even ask for a sample before buying a beer.  At 12:20PM our group was called.  We were given safety goggles to be warn during the tour.  The tour lasted about 20 minutes and then you end up in a sampling room and you can sample all their kinds of beers during the 15 minutes.  At the end of the sampling we went to the bottling place as it was Saturday, no workers were there so our guide showed us a video of the bottling process and explained it all to us.  After we were finished we took more photos on our way out of the bar area.  It was a nice tour that we all enjoyed.

About a block or so from the Harpoon Brewery is the Yankee Lobster Fish Market where Vicki and Bob enjoyed a lobster roll.  We were not hungry so we waited outside and watched people go by.  Once they were finished we walked back to the ship.  It was a nice day organized by Vicki.

After that long walk, we are resting in our room, on the balcony, just perfect weather, not too hot and not too cold with a very mild wind.

Tonight we ate in Wonderland specialty restaurant, this was part of our BOGO that we were granted on the 3rd night.

Showtime:  Tonight we had no shows reserved.

At 10:30PM there was the Love and Marriage Game Show in the Royal Theatre.  This is always a fun event.  We had a couple who were married 6 days, one in the 20s, one married for 65 years.

Sept 11 - Portland, ME

The weather was still holding though we had rain in the morning but luckily our tour was at 12:30PM and the sun came out.  It was 25C/78F. We had breakfast in the Windjammers as we had plenty of time.

Our tour was with Royal Caribbean called Lighthouses of Maine.  We saw 4 lighthouses, toured some of Portland and surroundings.  We were able to get out to visit 3 lighthouses, the first one was Bug Light, a lighthouse build of brick-lined cast iron and we saw the impressive sculpture tribute Liberty Ship Memorial that was dedicated to 266 ships built there during WWII.  We then travelled to sparkplug-style Spring Point Ledge Lighthouse then onto Fort William and Maine's oldest lighthouse, Portland Head Light there we visited the museum which had interesting navigational aids.

Tonight we dined in La Grande which is a formal dining room (one of the four rotating dining rooms).  We have the same waiter as we had in American iCON.

Showtime: Headliner show starring Jonathan Clark - he is a great comedian and vocal impressionist.  We enjoyed the comedic part of the show, the vocal impressionist, some were spot on and others so so.

So far the cruise has been very smooth, we don't realize we are cruising until we look outside and see the sea go by.

Sept 12 - Bar Harbour, ME

Forecast for today was partly cloudy 22C/72F.  We ordered room service for breakfast as we had a tour today.

We have another tour from Royal Caribbean - Best of Acadia National Park and Cadillac Mountain - this is a tender port but it was easy to access the tender for the scooter.  We explored Bar Harbor and toured the wilds of Acadia National Park, soaking up the ambiance of Maine's Northeast Harbor.  We began our scenic drive through the magnificent coastal landscape along Park Loop Road.  We then made our way to the Northeast Harbor, home to a colony of seals and some of the wealthiest families in America, including the Rockefellers and Fords.  After a mouth watering lobster lunch, we continued to a series of scenic stops along the coast.

Tonight we dined in Silk (which is also one of the four rotating dining room, our waiter and assistant waiter rotate with us).

Showtime: Headliner show starring "Showman" Jonathan Clark - he is a great comedian and vocal impressionist - he is an American showman and concert pianist.  By the age of twenty, in addition to performing with Liberace.  Craig had also done the audience warm-up for the taping of a Lawrence Welk television show.  Since 1988, Craig has headlined the showrooms of Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, Cunard's QM2 with tributes to Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis, Winifred Atwell, Liberace and Lady Gaga and his newest arrangement of the Great Divas of the World.  He uses his own compositions, he took us on a musical journey through Classical, Dixieland, Jazz and Boogie Woogie Styles.

Sept 13 - Saint Johns, NB

We are really lucking out on the weather, today it was 25C/77F.  We ordered in again for breakfast, just faster this way.

We did not have any tours for today so we walked up to the Market by going through the overpasses plus three elevators to get there.  We were glad for the air conditioning in the mall.  Once we were finished we walked back outside as it was downhill to get back to the ship.  There was an outdoor small flea market where all the vendors make their own to sell.  Once we get back to the terminal, there was a tent outside the terminal with more vendors selling their goods or souvenirs of Saint John or Canada.

Tonight we dined in American Icon Grill which was the second time.  As I have said we rotate restaurants every night and by day 5 we start the rotation over.

Showtime: We have reservations for Spectra's Cabaret which is held in the Two70.  This is an electrical multi-dimensional cabaret where we were transported into mysterious realms that are normally invisible to mortal eyes.  Spectra's Cabaret blends live performance and experiential cinematography together with music from worldwide cultures.

Headliners Showtime starring Al Ducharme who is a comedian as he performs his adult only late night show not for the faint of heart.  He is based in Los Angeles and New York, he performs at all major Manhattan comedy clubs.  He has also received rave reviews internationally.

Sept 14 - At Sea

We had nice weather again today but was quite breezy on the open decks with temps at 25C/77F.  Today we had brunch in the Bistro in the Solarium.  I had an 11AM reservation for the North Star.

The North Star is an enclose space that raises above the ship and over the sea.  Today the winds were 40 knots and it is good up to 70 knots.  They allow 14 people at a time.  The ride is slow and smooth.  Very similar as the Eye of Orlando that we did last winter.

Afternoon Showtime: We Will Rock this was a spectacular Olivier Award-winning musical phenomenon.  We Will Rock You rocked over 6.5 million people in a record breaking 12 years at London's Dominion Theatre.  It was written by Ben Elton and with a score of killer Queen Tunes such as Radio Ga Ga, Want to Break Free, Bohemian Rhapsody and of course We Will Rock you.  This is one of the shows that required reservation which we did before boarding.  It was a great show, we all loved it.

We did go to the Diamond Event and met Vicki and Bob there.  We have been doing that most nights.

Tonight we dined in the Chic Restaurant.  It was our first time there as we missed it on day 3 where we were at Wonderland.

Showtime: There was no shows tonight.

Sept 15 - Halifax

We have a nice cool day in Halifax with temps 17C/64F.  We were here from 7AM to 5PM and must be back on board by 4:30PM.  We ordered room service again for breakfast.  We had a good long sleep last night which was greatly needed.

We met Vicki and Bob at noon and walked a little on the boardwalk to the next building where they sell all kinds of goods, little restaurants and fruits.  We had a Montreal smoked meat, it was like home but not as thick.  Both of us were having pain so we decided to come back to the ship.  At the pier there are lots of vendors which we looked at then boarded the ship.  Vicki and Bob did not venture out too far on the boardwalk as it was too cold and windy.

Tonight we dined in The Grande restaurant which meant it is formal for us tonight.  This will be our last night on the rotation as we have reserved again at The Grande for tomorrow night but because it is our final night no formal wear will be required.

Showtime: Headliner starring Savannah Jack a high energy crowd interactive experience, featuring music from all genres, tight harmonies, and incredible musicianship.  We both enjoyed this show very much.

Sept 16 - At Sea

Beautiful sea day today with temps in the mid 20C/70Fs.  We skipped breakfast and went to the American Icon restaurant for lunch.  We usually only do one or the other.

After lunch we went back to our room to start packing.  Always sad when the cruise is nearing the end.  While we were packing we watched the Captain's Corner that was being held in the Two70 at the same time.

We had reservation for the Escape to the Future where you are closed in a room with 6 people and you have to solve a puzzle.  We were only 4 so we will reserve it for next year.

As our Escape to the Future was cancelled we went to the Diamond Lounge for cocktails before diner.

Tonight Vicki arranged for us to dine in The Grande for our last night.  We did not have to dress up formal as we are all packed.

Showtime: Farewell Show starring Dan Bennett who is a comedian/juggler.  We did not like this show.  We saw the last 20 minutes of the early show and decided that we would not wait around for the late show.

Thriller Showcase:  some of the guest practice during the cruise the choreography of Thriller by Michael Jackson and performed it for us.  It was pretty cool.

Sept 17 - Bayonne, NJ

We left our cabin at 8AM, met Vicki and Bob and went down to Deck 5 to wait for our number 3 to be called.  It wasn't long we were off.  Mass confusion at the luggage but we manage to find all our luggage.  Bob got in line to get a porter and the rest of us stood guard over our luggage.  Once we were back at the van and loaded, paid the parking and we were off at 9:02AM.  We had a nice drive home, all pavement dry, sunny temperatures between 20 to 25C all the way and once out of the area there was not much traffic.  We were concerned that the customs at the Canadian Boarder would be back-up but to our surprise we had 3 cars ahead of us.  All in all a great day for our return home.

Final Thoughts

We enjoyed our cruise, this was the first time on the Anthem of The Seas which was a little different from what we are use to as far as our dinners but that will change on November 27, where they will go back to traditional and My Time Dining.  Instead of mixing both styles in the same restaurant, the guests will be assigned one of two restaurants for the traditional with two dining times.  The other two restaurants will be reserved for My Time Dining.  The meals we had were good, there were plenty of choice.

We did not get to see everything on this ship as we were very busy but we are going back next September so we will visit the rest of the ship that we missed at that time.

Our cabin was great and very quiet.  Our steward fulfilled all our requests.  Jose was great

We enjoyed the Diamond Lounge that we went to every evening before diner.  There were plenty of waiters to serve us.  We could get free cocktails from 5PM to 8:30PM in the Lounge and our card was also loaded with 3 drinks that could be used during that time in most of the other bars around the ship. 

All the shows and Headliners we enjoyed except for the last Headliner.  The show not to be missed We Will Rock You.

The seas were so calm, we did not feel any movement during the whole cruise.  We had to look outside to see that we were actually moving.

Anytime we met a staff member they always said hello to us no matter what they were doing.  What was lacking was the senior officers where no where to be seen.

The weather was great every day just Halifax where it was cool and windy.

We always enjoy cruising with our good friends Vicki and Bob which always makes our cruise that extra special.  A special thank you to Vicki for organizing our excursions.

Until next time...

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