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So let’s do it.

Eh? I hear you say… Well, a bit of background might be in order. I posted a while ago about the range of ships that will be operating out of Southampton in 2015. Not only will there be all the P&O and Cunard regulars, there will be some newcomers. P&O will have Britannia, Princess will have Royal Princess, and crucially (for this post) Royal Caribbean will be replacing Independence of the Seas with Anthem of the Seas. At 167,000 tons Anthem will be the largest ship regularly sailing in and out of Southampton.

Ok, I now hear you say – so that’s a third ugly-as-sin top-heavy floating apartment block that I’ll have to get used to seeing. What’s the big deal about her? Well, the big deal (it seems to me) are the planned dining arrangements on the Quantum class, of which this ship will be the second – the class leader, Quantum of the Seas, will go into service this year. With this class Royal Caribbean are making flexibility and variety the centre of dining on board. They are launching a concept that they are calling ‘Dynamic Dining’, which (on Anthem) will feature 18 restaurants, and complete flexibility in where and when you eat.

Gone altogether is the main dining room. Instead, it will be replaced by four large complimentary restaurants, all with different menus: Icon American Grill (or that could be American Icon Grill, I’m not sure); Silk (asian/asian-fusion, I suspect); Chic (continental?) and the Grande Restaurant. All of these will be low down in the hull – they take the place of the traditional MDR. There’s also a fifth complimentary restaurant, Coastal Kitchen, which from its position (Lido deck) I take to be the buffet.

Next up are some speciality restaurants, developed in-house, and presumably extra cost: Chops Grill, Giovanni’s (I think), and something called ‘Wonderland Imaginative Cuisine’. Think of dishes turned into mousses and you’re probably there… There’s also a spot on the deck plans for a Chef’s Table.

Then there are their partnership restaurants: something called Michaels; another one by another american chef that I really didn’t get the name of; and finally, Jamie’s Italian! All of these will be extra cost, of course.

Finally, there are what they refer to as their regulars, and I think these will include Johnny Rocket’s (burgers and fast food); Sorrento’s (a pizza bar?); and possibly a Ben & Jerry’s. I don’t know whether these are extra cost or not – surely the burger bar and pizza joint would be free?

How is all this going to work? – well, I gather you can book a table in some (or all?) of the restaurants before you embark, or of course while you’re on the cruise. And they have to operate a ‘walk up and eat’ in a number of them. There’s a teaser in the video showing a passenger booking a table with a smartphone – so “there’s an app for that”.

Here’s a link to a seriously over-the-top video about it all, on their website.

6 Responses to “Let's talk about Anthem of the Seas”

  1. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Hi Tom, the Norwegian cruise Line invented ‘Dynamic Dining’ a few decades ago and called it ‘Freestyle’.

    This is quite a major shift for RCL who have always be believed in the one-big-main-dining room, with some smaller alternative options.

    My main issue is that NCL and RCL offered two quite different products, now Quantum is not looking so very different form Breakaway and Getaway, although they both have the lovely ‘Waterfront’ feature.

    I’ve written a lot about it on my blog

    • Tom says:

      Well, I have been on an NCL ship – Norwegian Jewel, in 2005. It was in fact her first revenue-earning voyage – just two nights from Dover to Amsterdam. We enjoyed the cruise and the ship but weren’t too impressed with the Freestyle Dining, possibly because it was the crew members’ first experience of the on-board systems as well as the passengers’.

      But my recollection is that there were still two ‘main restaurants’ on her: Azura and Tsar’s Palace, and I also think that they offered the same menu. All the other eateries – and there were quite a few, even on that ship – were seen as ‘alternatives to the MDR’. I think that’s the change that Royal Caribbean are making here – there’s no MDR.

  2. Malcolm Oliver says:

    Tom said: “All the other eateries – and there were quite a few, even on that ship – were seen as ‘alternatives to the MDR’. I think that’s the change that Royal Caribbean are making here – there’s no MDR.”

    Yes, NCL’s MDR’s are the biggest on-board and the free options. Quantum will have 5 MDR’s which i believe are “free”. There are also many surcharge options.

    The numbers may vary but the concept is almost identical..

    • Tom says:

      I think we’re going to agree to disagree here, Malcolm. I can see a distinct difference in emphasis between what RCI are doing on Quantum and NCL do on their ships (I believe). I’m finding it hard to express this myself, but I think it’s to do with perception. As long as you have a ‘Main Dining Room’, or rooms (all with the same menu), then they remain the default choice – all other restaurants are alternatives; and I think that’s where NCL are. On the other hand, if you no lounger label any restaurant as the main dining room – if the restaurants that have taken the pace of the MDR have different menus – then there’s no longer a default choice. And if that’s the case, then there are no longer any alternatives – there’s no default choice for them to be alternatives to. That’s where I think RCI are getting to with the Dynamic Dining.

      I do recognise that in terms of the actual restaurants on the ship there may be little difference between the latest NCL and RCI ships, but as I say, I think there is a difference in perception.

      • Malcolm Oliver says:

        Hi Tom, I think I understand what you mean! Never the less, both ships have a vast range of dining g options, some with surcharges some without.

        perhaps the main difference is that one of Quantum will always be formal, none of NCL’s are.

        I wonder if P&O will ever go down this road?

  3. […] a month ago I did a post about Anthem of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s ‘Quantum’ class ship which will be based in Southampton in […]

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