Anthem of the Seas is bringing the noise back to Southampton and we couldn’t be happier to see her North Star back on the horizon. We were first in the queue to get back aboard one of our favourite ships at sea, with Bolsover’s own Helen Moore boarding for the first time in over a year. Now back on dry land, with her feet on the ground and her head still in the clouds, Helen shared her thoughts on how it felt to finally get back to sea, what the new COVID protocols really look and feel like, and what you can expect if you’ve booked a staycation cruise with Royal Caribbean in the UK this summer...

An effortless return to sea with Royal Caribbean

I was excited to travel on my two-night break aboard Anthem of the Seas, but before travelling I did have some reservations on how social distancing with the COVID situation would work.

Well, I don’t know why I was worried as everything was so well organised from beginning to end.

I booked ABP parking, which is right next to the ship, so we only needed to walk over the road to the terminal for check-in. We all arrived at our allocated times given to us before departure date and we had to social distance to check in; the whole process didn’t take too long at all.

The ship was spotless and the staff were amazing. Masks were provided in the cabin and the muster drill was done by watching the safety talk demonstration on the app, which is the same one that you download before travel to complete check-in. Again, this makes things so much quicker on the day of embarkation, watching in your own space, followed by a quick visit to your muster station so the staff are happy you have watched the demonstration. A sticker is added to your cruise card to confirm this.

The app is really useful, easy to use, and as you download it before you leave for the port, you have plenty of time to familiarise yourself with it. It includes the following:

  • Profile creation
  • Photo recognition
  • Passport information
  • COVID information
  • Insurance details
  • Health questionnaire
  • Dining options
  • E-ticket (QR Code generated once all details completed)
  • Embarkation time

You can book shows and dinning on the app, again to control the amount of people in one area; it worked amazingly.

The North Star, FlowRider surf simulator, bumper cars and RipCord by iFLY skydiving is all booked and paid for on the app too. Your booking will then show on your calendar; it’s all so efficient.

Social distancing on Anthem of the Seas

In terms of social distancing around Anthem, it was very thorough. When watching a show in the theatre there were at least four seats in between people, with nobody sat behind you. These seats were all marked to be left free.

When going into the bars, again chairs were spaced out and table service is given so, once again, there are no worries there.

In Windjammer, which is the buffet restaurant on Anthem of the Seas, staff will direct you to your table, again spread apart from others, and take your order for drinks. When you are ready, you can go up to the stations to get your choice of food, which is served by the staff so no passengers touch the utensils.

Everything ran so smoothly and my concerns prior to boarding turned out to be entirely unfounded. It was so good to be back on board a cruise ship.

Overall I now have no reservations at all about booking another cruise despite to the COVID situation.

Booked your Anthem of the Seas holiday this summer? Perfect – we’ll see you there! Don’t worry if you haven’t; there’s still time. Click here to discover Anthem’s summer sailings.