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Live From Anthem Of The Seas

17th April 2015

After years in planning and months in construction Anthem of the Seas is finally on home ground! Sailing into Southampton on Friday, she had the perfect arrival with piercing blue sky and clear waters.

Eager to get onboard, the Iglu Cruise team have been invited to spend four exclusive days exploring and finding out exactly what she has to offer.

Stay tuned to this page for live pictures...

Iglu team enjoying a welcome cocktail on the pool deck

Balcony stateroom

Pool deck

Bionic Bar

Seaplex

Gigi and the rock climbing wall

Wonderland Restaurant

North Star

Inside pool

Outdoor Whirlpool

Teen Xbox Area

 

View our Anthem of the Seas cruises


Live From Britannia

20th February 2015

The tense countdown is almost over and the world is ready to say hello to the ship everyone has been waiting for, Britannia.

Announcements, predictions and intriguing speculations have kept us wanting more but P&O Cruises have remained fairly tight-lipped. Various announcements have been made over the last year including the news of her union-jack hull, the first cookery school at sea and the revealing of numerous celebrity chefs and food personalities onboard.

Iglu Cruise were invited to an exclusive Britannia visit on Sunday and were the first to see her completed design and watch her prestigious hand-over ceremony where the shipyard officially handed over Britannia to P&O Cruises.

We were one of the first to step onboard and take a tour of Britannia, meet Captain Paul Brown, taste the new menus, meet the crew and watch the emotional changing of the flags and handover.

Here are the first exclusive pictures from our day onboard...

Meeting the Captain

The Atrium

Horizon Grill 

Brodie's Bar

Crystal Room

Limelight Club

Pool Deck 

Crows Nest

The Glass House

Spa


7 Reasons To Be Excited About Quantum Of The Seas

23rd October 2014

Named as the first 'Smart Ship', she is the most technologically advanced ship in the world. With amenities never seen before at sea including bumper cars, an indoor skydive and an elevating pod, along with futuristic entertainment, extensive dining options and innovative staterooms, she is set to be a game changer in the cruise industry.

1. You can skydive in the middle of the ocean

In true Royal Caribbean style, they had to push boundaries with the onboard activities and Ripcord by iFly is about as exhilarating as it can get. This 30-foot tall glass flight chamber will give the feeling of a real life skydive as 30mph fans are projected upwards. This thrilling experience is like no other and can be found on the sports deck towards the aft of the ship.

2. You can dine in 18 restaurants

Introducing Royal Caribbean’s new Dynamic Dining concept, Quantum of the Seas presents 18 unique restaurants to take you on a culinary journey like never before.

With no traditional dining room, set dining times or formal nights, you can choose to dine in an array of exquisite restaurants. From Mexican, oriental and steak houses to Italian, buffets and American grills – there is something to tantalise every taste bud.

Popular Chef Jamie Oliver makes his debut at sea with speciality restaurant Jamie’s Italian, serving his finest Italian flavours and popular dishes.

3. You can ride 200 feet above sea level

I do not want to have a favourite part already, but I have a feeling this may be it! As a huge fan of the London Eye, when I saw there was going to be an elevating pod on top of the ship I couldn't quite believe it.

The North Star is a jewel-shaped capsule that will take you 200 feet above the ocean’s surface while taking in 360° views of the surrounding ocean or awe-inspiring destinations.

North Star will be complimentary to ride and no reservations will be needed.

4. You can download personalised apps

Many of us practically control our life from our phone and now you will be able to plan every part of your cruise from your finger tips with the exclusive Quantum Apps.

The cruise planner allows you to make reservations before you get onboard as well as during your cruise, including spa treatments, excursions and restaurant reservations. This app will also allow you to message friends and family on the ship and track exactly where they are.

Order a drink from your phone? Why not says Royal Caribbean. There is an app that will allow you to order drinks from your phone and then have them served by a robotic bar tender in the Bionic Bar – Incredible.

The introduction of the WOWband wristband will help you navigate your way around the ship as well as track friends and act as your room key and charge card.

5. You can watch futuristic entertainment

Royal Caribbean have won many awards for their onboard entertainment, so it made sense to pull out every stop for the entertainment programme onboard Quantum of the Seas.

World class singers, actors and dancers have been selected to appear in Broadway hit musical Mama Mia which will showcase in the main theatre during numerous evenings of the cruise.

Two70 is where entertainment and technology come face to face in a revolutionary new venue. In the day a modern open aired space to enjoy panoramic views of the outside, however when the sun goes down it completely transforms. Turning into an enchanted wonderland of rotating digital scenery, you will be able to experience aerialists, moving scenery and mind-blowing light shows as you sip on your favourite cocktail.

6. You can still enjoy your old favourites

As well as these new innovations, Royal Caribbean know what people have grown to love about their brand and do not want to take this away from their loyal guests. Quantum of the Seas boasts a number of original Royal Caribbean favourites such as the Flowrider surf simulator, the DreamWorks experience, Vitality Spa, and popular dining areas such as Windjammer Marketplace, Sorrento’s and Johnny Rockets.

The much-loved Royal Promenade will be the Royal Esplanade, however you will still get to feature an interior style promenade lined with shops, bars and other venues.

7. You can share all of this with your friends and family back at home

What is the point of making memories, if you can’t share them? This has proven to be hard on a cruise due to the slow and expensive WiFi at sea. However, Quantum of the Seas changes everything.

Quantum’s WiFi will be the fastest at sea and allow you to stream video, make Skype calls and post on social media to your hearts content. No buffering and expensive WiFi bills puts this ship way ahead of any others in the technology field.

Kids and teens (and adults if you wish) will also be able to link their Xbox live account to people all over the world in the Seaplex pod.

With innovation, technology and style set to dominate the oceans, Quantum of the Seas and her sister ships Ovation of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas are a class you won't want to miss.

By Sally Grimes


Farewell Indy - Will Anthem Of The Seas Be Southampton's New Sensation?

19th February 2014

1,112 feet long, 15 passenger decks high and bursting with the most innovate features at sea, Independence of the Seas raised every industry bar when she made her grand entrance in 2008.

This floating master-piece by Royal Caribbean has dominated the Mediterranean since her arrival. Gaining the title of Southampton’s most popular ship she has docked with pride in this busy UK port. Boasting a host of industry firsts she gives British cruisers the chance to experience one of the most innovative ships afloat - right from their doorstep.

With various cruise line’s bringing ships to Southampton to take advantage of the fascinating cities that line the sun-drenched Mediterranean during the summer, she has helped cater to the rapidly growing UK cruising market. Independence of the Seas, commonly known as Indy, has been the largest ship to sail from here and docked alongside other popular ships including Celebrity Eclipse, P&O Cruises Azura and Emerald Princess.

With British holiday-makers craving to cruise and experience new ships, it was no surprise that when the largest ship in the world Oasis of the Seas announced a one off sailing from Southampton, it sold out in record time. Did this spark an idea in Royal Caribbean’s head - Do we need a newer ship in Southampton?

A couple of months ago the big announcement was made - new ship Anthem of the Seas will call Southampton her home. It did not take long for speculation to start – will she replace the much loved Indy?

With no 2015 itineraries being released for Independence of the Seas and calling the 13th October 2013 sailing her 'farewell' cruise, we know Anthem is set to be the new 'cool kid' of Southampton.

With this in mind, I wanted to make a short comparison for you to see the changes you can expect in Southampton for 2015…

Stats

Independence of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 154,407 GRT

Length: 1,112 feet

Width: 185 feet

Passenger Decks: 15

Guest Capacity: 4,375

Anthem of the Seas

Gross tonnage: 167,800 GRT

Length: 1,141 feet

Width: 136 feet

Passenger Decks: 16

Guest Capacity: 4,905

Entertainment

Independence of the Seas – Home to one of the largest entertainment programmes at sea, Independence of the Seas has you covered from morning to night. The Alhambra Theatre seats 1,200 guests and showcases the best in musicals, Broadway style shows, comedians and other exciting productions. Studio B, the innovative ice-rink boasts spectacular ice-shows from a world-class international cast. The Olive or Twist Jazz Club enables guests to simply sit back and take in the idyllic sounds of a live pianist. As-well as a large casino, pub with live music, karaoke, nightclub and intimate champagne bar, the entertainment programme caters for every single taste.

My entertainment rating – 9/10

Anthem of the Seas – Set to raise every bar in cruise ship entertainment, Anthem of the Seas is expected to boast the most exciting array of entertainment at sea.  The main theatre will showcase the smash hit musical, MAMMIA MIA! Making its debut at sea it is set to unveil the best singers and dancers the fleet has had. Music Hall will be a bold, spacious venue with an electric atmosphere. This will be the place to experience great bands, fantastic solo acts, party nights and world-class Dj’s. The place I am most excited about it Two70. A venue like this has never been built on land, let alone at sea. A panoramic venue to admire 270° ocean views during the day, then turn into a spectacular entertainment venue in the evening. As the sun goes down the walls will transform into hi-tech digital projection screens with breath-taking performances from gymnasts, aerialists and dancers. As-well as these new venues, she will boast Royal Caribbean favourites such as the nightclub, casino, cocktail bars and more.

My entertainment predicted rating - 10/10

Synopsis - Whilst Independence of the Seas offered a feast of entertaining options, Anthem of the Seas will utilise the very latest in entertainment technology to bring onboard experiences like you've never seen before. Balancing innovative developments with classic favourites are sure to strike the right chord with passengers.

Dining

Independence of the Seas – One of the first ships in the fleet to feature such a large dining selection, she sends guests on an exciting culinary journey. The three-tier main dining room with its deep red and gold décor is the perfect place for cherished family meal times. For alternative dining the options are endless, from a casual burger in Johnny Rockets to a juicy steak in Chops Grille. After her upgrade in April 2013 she gained my favourite onboard restaurant, Italian bistro - Giovanni’s.

My dining rating – 10/10

Anthem of the Seas – Royal Caribbean appear to remain tight-lipped about the dining onboard Anthem of the Seas, which makes me think they have something amazing up their sleeve. I wonder if she will boast more of a British cuisine experience as she will be sailing from Southampton? I am sure she will offer a host of restaurants, cafes and dining rooms to stun us once again.

My dining predicted rating – Hard to predict at the moment.

Things to do

Independence of the Seas – The Freedom class ships really changed things in the cruising industry, making the impossible possible. From wave machines, ice rinks and water parks, so much adventure can be had. The first ships to introduce the H2O Water Park, she allows children to have as much fun as adults. The rock climbing wall, mini golf, Flowrider and ice-skating are great for adventure-seeking families, couples and singles. For the more relaxing cruiser, she is home to a large spa, whirlpools, cupcake classes and the adult-only Solarium.

My activity rating – 9.5/10

Anthem of the Seas – Anthem of the Seas will completely redefine what there is to do on a cruise ship. Boasting a whole range of industry firsts, guests are sure to be impressed when they see what they can do onboard. Fly onboard? Why not! In true Royal Caribbean style, they just had to push boundaries even further by adding an indoor skydive onboard. RipCord by iFly will allow guests to experience a once in a lifetime skydive simulator. If that has not excited you enough, on top of the ship will be North Star, a pod like capsule that will slowly lift you 300 feet above sea level to enjoy 360° panoramic views of the ocean and surrounding areas. Become a kid again in SeaPlex, the biggest sports and entertainment complex at sea. This ground-breaking venue will home a full sized basketball court, circus school, roller-skating, floating DJ and bumper cars.

My activity predicted rating – 10/10

Synopsis - As industry leaders in onboard innovations it's no surprise that the newest member of the family offers even more unique experiences never attempted at sea before. With so much in one place the ship shall be a new destination in herself.

Staterooms

Independence of the seas – The accommodation on Independence of the Seas offers the perfect selection of stateroom types for every cruiser. From interior, outside, balcony and suite there is something for every taste and budget.

My stateroom rating – 8/10

Anthem of the Seas – As expected, Anthem of the Seas will even spice up the staterooms. Offering the well-known outside, balcony and suite rooms, as-well as a range of new room categories. Interior staterooms will feature virtual balconies that project real-time video footage of the ocean onto an LED screen – a truly innovative design, I cannot wait to see what these look like. Set to have more family accommodation than any other ship, she will be home to the ground-breaking family connected staterooms that allow families the option to be together, as well as take some alone time when needed. The suites are set to raise the bar even further with the hugely spacious two-storey loft suites that give sensational views with their floor-to-ceiling windows.

My stateroom predicted rating – 10/10

Synopsis - Anthem of the Seas is set to offer innovations in stateroom design to cater for all budgets and party arrangements and pays particular attention to families.

Itineraries

Independence of the Seas – Based in Southampton for almost eight years, she has spent many summer months in the UK. Sailing to the fascinating cities that line the charming Mediterranean sea, she has continuously proved to be a popular choice for those wanting a sun-drenched getaway without having to fly. The Norwegian Fjords itineraries have also proven popular with the British market.

My itinerary rating – 10/10

Anthem of the Seas – Much anticipation was circulating about Anthem of the Sea’s itineraries and when they were released last week, everyone was delighted by her sailings. Her schedule includes a range of 2 to 14 night cruises to the popular Mediterranean cities and Canaries. No Norwegian Fjords itineraries will be offered, but Adventure of the Seas is set to return to Southampton in 2015 and offer a range of Mediterranean and Fjord itineraries.

My itinerary predicted rating – 9/10

Synopsis - Whilst Anthem will offer more of the Med, those looking to view the heights of the Fjords from the North Star will have to wait for another season.

Will Anthem of the Seas Fill Indy’s Shoes?

From my comparisons it is clear to see both ships are a floating resort of fun, adventure and new experiences. With both ships carrying almost the same amount of passengers, it will not affect the amount of people that can cruise on Royal Caribbean from Southampton during the summer.

Independence of the Seas has become such a popular ship with the British market that I do wonder if Anthem can match the strong opinion.

I think British cruises will love the fact we are finally getting a new ship debut here, instead of having to fly to experience a new ship. It will be great for us to experience amazing Europe itineraries on a new and innovate ship.

It will be an extremely exciting time to have the most innovative ship right on our doorstep. With the British cruising market rapidly growing I expect Anthem of the Seas to be very successful here and open even more eyes for those new to cruising. Royal Caribbean predict 80,000 will holiday on Anthem of the Seas from Southampton during 2015 alone and expect this will contribute around £50 million to the local economy.

Anthem of the Seas will be an excellent ship for families. To sail from Southampton during the school summer holiday months is a huge advantage for family holiday-makers that prefer not to fly. Independence of the Seas is already a family favourite, so I expect Anthem to easily live up to this with her fantastic array of activities.

I think those who sail on Independence of the Seas that have grown to love her size and onboard amenities may now opt for Adevnture of the Seas from Southampton or some may even fly to reunite with their much-loved Indy. One thing is for sure, I think it will hard for anyone to be disappointed by any Royal Caribbean ship they choose.

With Anthem of the Seas pre-registration proving hugely popular, it appears the whole of England are eagerly waiting to welcome the new sister to their home.

Bring on 2015....


By Sally Grimes


First Glimpse Of Britannia - An Impressive Launch Evening

14th February 2014

Updated July 2019

There is nothing that excites us more than a new ship, and when P&O Cruises brought their incredible ship, Britannia, to the game, we couldn't wait to discover everything she'd be offering onboard. Combining classic P&O features along with a host of innovative concepts, this stunning vessel was always going to rock the boat when it comes to cruising choices!

At the time she was the biggest ship ever built for Britain, giving a sense of patriotic flare and love for the country which absolutely shone at the Britannia launch evening night.

 

 

Not only did she have our iconic flag spread proudly across her hull, every inch raised the bar in British cruising. Designed with the future in mind, while celebrating P&O Cruises' much loved past, she is sure to wow every single person that sails on her.

We all knew Britannia was launching in Spring 2015, but that was all we knew. Design, itineraries and other information remained tightly guarded. With P&O Cruises' lip’s firmly sealed for some time, the night of the launch finally saw them open with all the details we had all been waiting for.

The press release event was held by P&O Cruises at London’s prestigious Forman’s Fish Island. Advised to be an 'interactive event' we were slightly unsure of what to expect - but none the less could not wait. With so much hype and anticipation around this ship, expectations were high.

 

 

A British Welcome

Arriving in East London, we were greeted by two handsome Captains (well, dressed up Captains!) who proudly held the door open and greeted us with a typical P&O 'Welcome Aboard'.

If the 90 mile per hour gusts of wind were not sweeping us inside it would have felt like we were boarding a ship, although you could say the unsatisfying weather added to the quintessentially 'British' evening we were about to experience. Behind these doors P&O Cruises had created a mini version of feature venues to star on the new ship - a perfect sample of things to come.

Welcome to The Limelight Club

After a warm welcome from P&O officials and a glass of Champagne, we were guided to a restaurant. With a bold 'The Limelight Club' sign positioned at the entrance, it felt like walking into a restaurant on a ship. We were given a signature cocktail on the way to our table, which was refreshing and delicious.

Still in awe of everything around us, we did not even check the menu before a waitress presented plates of food that looked too good to eat. A duck pate to start, followed by Braised Daube of Beef with truffle mash and a truly divine raspberry chocolate basket to finish. This amazing meal certainly whet all the taste buds in the room for other dishes that will be served in this remarkable restaurant. Onboard Britannia, The Limelight Club offers a traditional supper club experience for adults-only, with spectacular food matched by smooth entertainment.

 

 

Show Time

In true cruise style, after our meal we hoped to see a show and that's just what we got. Ushered to our seats we were treated to a performance from the extremely talented P&O Cruises singers and dancers along with stars from the BBC show Strictly Come Dancing.

The ten minute performance gave us a taste of how much effort and planning has gone into the Britannia entertainment programme. Featuring love-him or hate-him judge Craig Revel Horward, the show was a huge hit with everyone present.

After Show Wine

In high spirits from the show, we strolled into The Glasshouse for some wine and tapas. On a quaint table in the corner we sat examining the wine menu, accompanied perfectly by the intimate atmosphere. Just as we were choosing a wine to order, we looked up to see Saturday Kitchen wine specialist Olly Smith asking if we needed any assistance in choosing! Was this really happening? Not only did we feel like we were on a cruise ship, but this famous sommelier has casually strolled over and joined us. He explained the wines and tapas that were on offer and engaged with us in a very down to earth manner. What a perfect way to enjoy an evening 'onboard'.

 

 

The Cookery Club

One of the major announcements made about Britannia was about the P&O 'Food Heroes'. Britannia is set to have three famous faces working alongside each other to create the very best dining experiences on the ship. With food being a significant focus on cruises, P&O Cruises wish Britannia to represent the varied, cultural and unique food that our country loves.

The celebrity chef 'Food Heroes' are well-loved chef Marco Pierre White, wine expert Olly Smith, and skilled patissier Eric Lanlard.

In keeping with this attention to food, The Cookery Club is the first of its kind on a British ship. The spacious open kitchen will be home to a range of different cookery lessons from the renowned chefs, giving passengers the opportunity to cook alongside their heros and learn the secrets behind their signature creations.

 

 

No one expected these personalities to be at this event, but as we were sat down in a mock-up cookery school, out strolled Marco Pierre White in his typical noble manor. It felt like sitting in a live TV cookery show audience as he demonstrated how to make salted sea bass. What an experience to be able to cook alongside a famous chef onboard a cruise ship.

Anyone for a cake?

Just when we thought we had seen it all, we were drawn to the tempting scent of The Market Café. A foodie’s heaven, this café is home to just about every cake you can think of.

Made by famous patisserie Eric Lanlard, each cake has been thoroughly prepared to bring the most heavenly selection of treats at sea.

One a few of us sampled was the Gluten-free orange and almond cake with white chocolate. To say it was delicious would be an understatement!

 

 

Eric happily took us through each creation with the knowledge and enthusiasm of a true master. In fact, we spoke to all three of the food heros, and were pleased with how sociable and happy they were to answer any questions we had. They appeared just as excited as being part of Britannia as we are.

You’re saying we are not a ship?

Sitting laughing with friends, enjoying a drink and talking about our evening was pure enjoyment, and it was not until a colleague mentioned that our car was here that reality hit and we remembered where we really were. The way P&O Cruises had set up the event gave a true feeling of being onboard. Strolling from one venue to another, choosing to do what you want, having a constant flow of food and drink and genuinely enjoying your time with friends. It was a truly unique event, and one that gave a real insight into how life onboard the ship will be.

After receiving a Britannia goody bag (which included some glittery macaroons by Eric Lanyard, delicious!) we began our journey south. With big smiles on our faces and an excited buzz in the air, it was like we had just had a mini-break on the real Britannia.

The Real Thing

Our Head of Global Supply, Simone, was lucky enough to fly to Venice for the Britannia float-out ceremony when it occured, and was honoured to be part of the celebration that enabled her to get a first glimpse of the ship.

 

 

Take a look at P&O's very special ship yourself, on a fabulous Britannia cruise.


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