Anthem Of The Seas: Hi-Tech Family Fun
Family holidays can be a gamble with a 10-year-old in tow but on boarding the hugely impressive (and impressively huge) Anthem of the Seas, I was betting on a sure thing. Royal Caribbean’s state-of-the-art vessel is aimed at younger guests, with a focus on eclectic dining and adrenaline-fuelled activities. Most parents are familiar with stock holiday phrases like 'are we there yet?' and 'I’m booooored' – but on an Anthem excursion, there is every chance you could encounter a gobsmacking silence.
The plush pool deck, with bar and movie screen, hosts hot tubs, a whirlpool and a wave machine, and the indoor pool is handy. Alongside the usual poolside activities, kids can try the surf and skydiving simulators, or savour a unique view of the ocean from the North Star viewing capsule, taking you 90 metres above sea level. You can book these activities if you want to avoid a queue.
More thrills await inside, where the Seaplex centre – complete with hot dog vendor – includes a dual-purpose roller rink/bumper car track, table tennis and an Xbox One lounge, where Eliott has happily installed himself for the afternoon (this might be a problem on longer voyages). Once he tires of this solo pursuit, there are kids' clubs available for four age groups (six to 36 months, three to six years, six to eight years and eight to 11 years), plus two 'chill out' and gaming areas for 12 to 17-year-olds with flat-screen TVs, books, games and a range of comics.
Activities in the kids' clubs are organised, while the teens are left to lounge and buddy-up in peace. The most impressive news for parents is that there is no additional charge for any clubs or activities, apart from a reasonable hourly fee (around $A11) for the baby and tots club.
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Food & shows
Another crucial concern for families on a cruise is the food. On Anthem, there are 18 restaurants onboard: even the fussiest eaters should find something acceptable. Most of the eateries offer a kids' menu, and Royal Caribbean regulars will be pleased to find a Johnny Rockets diner on the pool deck. Eliott is particularly keen to dine at Jamie Oliver’s Italian, where a signature burger will set you back around $A22.
The buzz onboard the boat is as fizzy as the entertainment schedule (Eliott and I are particularly excited about an hour-long version of We Will Rock You on the Sunday night programme). The boat is exquisitely clean, shiny and hi-tech. If Eliott consumes as many hot dogs, ice creams and sodas as I expect this weekend – in-between those high-octane adventures – it might not stay that way for long. But the pleasure of seeing my boy impressed, amused and grinning from ear-to-ear is well worth it.
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This article was written by Johanna Payton from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.