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Cruise World Getting New Anthem

The newest cruise ship coming to America is, in reality, more than six months old. Among other things, that means Anthem of the Seas will have any little glitches eliminated by the time it heads off on its first Caribbean cruise a week from today.

Royal Caribbean’s newest Quantum Class ship arrives in New York (actually, across the river in New Jersey) this week to be introduced to media, travel agents and assorted VIPs on this side of the Atlantic. Our colleague Phil Reimer is among the invited guests and will be delivering his impression of the ship at Ports and Bows.

Screen Shot 2015-11-02 at 8.23.11 PMHow is Anthem of the Seas different from her sister, Quantum of the Seas, which turned a year old yesterday?

For starters, Anthem’s accessible. She will sail permanently from Bayonne’s Cape Liberty port, and Quantum is stationed — also permanently — in Singapore. And while Quantum’s Godmother is the gifted and effervescent Kristin Chenoweth, Anthem was christened by Emma Wilby, who is widely known on the other side of the Atlantic as an author and historian (and singer) but who could likely walk through Central Park without anybody knowing her.

Other than that, according to all reports, there’s not a lot to choose between the two ships except that Anthem of the Seas has the benefit of being tweaked, technologically and otherwise, following Quantum’s year of service.

Both have the North Star to take passengers out over the water in a pod. Both have RipCord and SeaPlex for passengers who want the sensation of sky diving and the grit of bumper cars, respectively. Both have virtual balconies, robots who pour drinks in a bar, a 270-degree view from the trendy multi-level entertainment room called Two70, and four dining rooms from which to choose. The dining difference is that Quantum’s rooms were all — to steal a word from Norwegian — freestyle with no set dining times, seating arrangements or formalities, while Anthem of the Seas’ dining rooms will also have the traditional options.

The new ship will carry almost 5,000 passengers, making it No. 3 in that department between big sisters Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. That and all its similarities to Quantum of the Seas will be more or less immaterial when it makes cruise headlines this week.

In the news…

• Crystal Cruises orders five yachts for 2016 launch into river cruise market
• Norwegian's Freestyle Choice offers back for November, December bookings
• Fathom to visit six U.S., two Canadian cities to market Dominican, Cuba cruises

Today at portsandbows.com: Holland America's new partners


Carnival Fascination
5 nights
November 16, 2015
Jacksonville (return): Nassau, Freeport
Inside: $249
Cost per day: $49
www.carnival.com

Godmother Kristin WOWs PBS

A few days ago, one of us was fumbling the TV remote like a running back without stickum (now you know who was doing the fumbling) when lo and behold there was Kristin Kristin ChenowethChenoweth, who has made a career of not fumbling much of anything.

A year and a half ago, we didn’t know much about Kristin Chenoweth. Then we were fortunate enough to interview her in New York, after she was introduced as the Godmother for Quantum of the Seas, the new Royal Caribbean ship that these days is sailing out of Bayonne, New Jersey, just across the Hudson from where she lives.

Fortunate…because she not only made time for us, but was personable and polite and sweet, and all the other things she is on stage, which is not what a couple of country bumpkins expect from a celebrity. But maybe that’s because she’s something of a country bumpkin herself.

Her birthplace is in Oklahoma, in the Tulsa suburb of Broken Arrow, which brings us back to seeing her on TV the other night. She was doing a 90-minute special on PBS called, appropriately enough, Coming Home. It was from Broken Arrow, it was pretty much all her, and it gave the rest of the world — or at least the PBS viewers — a chance to see what Broken Arrow has known for a long time.

Kristin Chenoweth is very talented.

With her parents and her mentor in the front row, she sang and she joked and played comfortable to an audience she said made her nervous. The most poignant moment, and there were a few of them, was when she sang a song she’d recorded about her father called Fathers and Daughters. She said it would make her cry but it didn’t and her Dad had probably heard it often enough that he didn’t have to fight back tears, either.

Maybe the people at Royal Caribbean knew exactly what they were getting when they allowed her to make Quantum of the Seas “my godchild” and maybe they didn’t. 

But as Godmothers go, what they got came straight out of the Royal Caribbean promo book:

WOW!

Today at portsandbows.com: All the latest cruise news

Norwegian Jewel
7 nights
February 7, 2015
Houston (return): CozumelBelizeTrujillo
Inside: $419
Cost per day: $59
www.ncl.com

New York: 'Hello, Quantum of the Seas'

It was just over a year ago that the world was “introduced” to Quantum of the Seas in New York. The quotation marks are because what those of us who were in Manhattan that day saw was conceptual. Drawings, artistic conceptions, videos and promises by Royal Kristin ChenowethCaribbean CEO Richard Fain that it would be the most technologically astute ship the cruise world had ever seen. Only its Godmother, the personable actress Kristin Chenoweth, was real.

Yesterday, the real Quantum of the Seas arrived in New York.

On board was the Godmother, of course. On board was the North Star, extending 300 feet vertically once the ship cleared the Verrazano Bridge to show off its most visual technology advance to the folks in The Big Apple as Quantum of the Seas detoured around New York Harbor and past the Statue of Liberty before heading back to the “other” Liberty (Cape Liberty), its New Jersey home. On board were dignitaries and media types and, yes, real passengers for Quantum’s authentic maiden cruise, from Southampton.

This is the third-largest cruise ship in the world — behind its sisters Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas. It can carry close to 5,000 passengers, or about 1,000 fewer than the North Starsiblings. It has innovations that include a chance for its passengers to go sky diving (simulated), to ride bumper cars, to board it in 10 minutes using digital technology and to buy drinks from a robot at one of its bars.

The irony in all of this is that New Yorkers needn’t get too attached to Quantum of the Seas. After the christening ceremony on Friday, she’ll only be with them for six months before heading to her “permanent” home in Singapore, to be replaced on the shores of New Jersey by a reasonable facsimile, Anthem of the Seas.

That, it’s said, will not be a “quantum” leap.

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Norwegian Sun
7 nights
November 30, 2014
Tampa (return): Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel
Inside: $269
Cost per day: $38
www.ncl.com

A Quantum Leap From April 2014

It was just one year ago. In New York City, home to Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean unveiled its newest and greatest ship at a press conference. The head honchos from the cruise line, Richard Fain and Adam Goldstein, were there. So was Kristin Chenoweth, the new ship's Godmother-to-be.

There was one word on everyone's lips or, for the writers among us, in everyone's vocabulary.

Wow.

Fast track 12 months. It's April again. Quantum of the Seas, still several months from leaving the shipyard, is making news again. And there's that word again.

Wow.

The newest and greatest ship from this mainstream cruise line is going to leave North America almost as soon as she arrives. Okay, Quantum will be in New York from November to May, not even long enough to consummate the relationship. Then she'll be leaving New York a jilted lover, and running off to Shanghai.

Talk about a Shanghai surprise!

To be fair, she'll be sending her almost-twin sister as a stand-in. The Anthem of the Seas will become New York's Royal Caribbean new ship later in 2015, with all the same curves and attributes and flash.

When Quantum arrives in Shanghai, will Kristin Chenoweth be on deck? If she is…

Wow!

Today at portsandbows.com: The latest in cruise news

Holland America Rotterdam
14 nights
May 24, 2014
Rotterdam (return): CopenhagenBerlinTallinnSt.PetersburgHelsinkiStockholmAarhus
Inside: $999
Cost per day: $71
www.hollandamerica.com

Show Goes on for Quantum of the Seas

NEW YORK — It was sunny yesterday in Lower Manhattan, just like it was on that fateful Tuesday more than 11 years ago, when the landscape of not just Manhattan but the world changed.

Yesterday was another sunny Tuesday when nobody in America had much to cheer about, and Royal Caribbean had little choice but to try. It had a new ship to show off, or at least the concept of a new ship. In the midst of increased security in this city and gripping news reports from the bombing in Boston, Royal Caribbean brought Quantum of the Seas to life on a big screen in a modern-looking building called IAC.

Outside was a sky-diving simulator, where guests were invited to experience what cruisers on Quantum of the Seas will experience – what it feels like to skydive, only on a cruise ship.

Inside was the ship's Godmother, Kristin Chenoweth. The tiny entertainer played a huge role while introducing "my godchild." She narrated an eight-minute movie in which she participated as a skydiver, a basketball player, a bumping car driver, a table tennis player and a passenger in a pod that goes over the side of the ship when it isn't sitting high above the ship.

"I deserve an Oscar for this!" she laughed.

Royal Caribbean's new ship won't go live until a year from November. When it does, she'll be on board and passengers will be doing all the things she did, if they choose. The fact that they can choose to do them without paying a nickel more than they paid to be on Quantum of the Seas gives new meaning to all-inclusivity on a cruise ship.

Both company CEO Richard Fain and President Adam Goldstein, who accompanied the Godmother on stage and on screen, say the two attractions are do-able for just about anybody. No age restrictions for people who collect pensions. Fain and Goldstein have tested North Star and Rip Cord, as they're called, and yesterday they arrived by driving bumping cars onto the stage.

They addressed any issues the assembled media wanted them to, even the matter of increased cruise-ship security because of Boston. It was mostly party-line stuff because, really, nobody knows what the latest terrorist event is going to impact getting on and off cruise ships.

On any other day, on a better day, nobody would likely have asked.


Costa Favolosa
7 nights
May 27, 2013
Savona (return): Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Valletta, Catania, Naples
Inside: $399
Cost per day: $57
www.costa.com

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