Going on a Royal Caribbean cruise from Southampton, UK, was something I’d been looking forward to for ages. As someone who loves to travel and has been on a few cruises, I had high hopes for this trip. Here’s a rundown of how it went, the good parts, and where they could improve.

Sitting at my desk writing notes on a cruise ship

Booking and Pre-Departure Experience

Booking Process

Booking was super easy. I couldn’t be bothered using the Royal Caribbean website, sometimes it’s just so much easier to use a specialised cruise travel agent for this. They know all the ships and what would suit me best. Much quicker.

Pre-Departure Communication

I got plenty of updates and reminders before the trip, including tips for packing, the itinerary, and excursion details. But, honestly, they sent a few too many promotional emails.

Packing tips for a cruise ship

Getting on the ship at Southampton

Check-In Process

The check-in at the Port of Southampton was well-organised. Even with lots of people, the lines moved quickly, and the staff were friendly. I was on the ship and exploring within an hour.

First Impressions of the Ship

The Anthem of the Seas is a gorgeous ship. Everything was clean, modern, and luxurious. The staterooms were comfy, and the public areas like the pool deck and dining rooms were stunning.

🛳️ Pro Tip: DreamWorks Character Meal

If you’re cruising with kids, don’t miss the DreamWorks character meal. My kids had a blast eating with characters like Kung Fu Panda and Shrek. It’s a fun and unique dining experience, and we got some awesome photos too​.

Us dining at the restaurant on a cruise ship

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Onboard Experience


I had a balcony stateroom, which was spacious and had lots of storage. The bed was super comfortable, and the daily housekeeping was excellent. The balcony had beautiful views, perfect for my morning coffee.


My dining in the various restaurants had its ups and downs. The main dining room served a variety of good dishes, and specialty restaurants like Jamie’s Italian and Chops Grille were outstanding. However, the buffet at Windjammer Café was often crowded, and the food quality there was a bit patchy.

Entertainment and Activities

Royal Caribbean nailed it with entertainment and activities. The shows at the Royal Theater were amazing, especially the Broadway-style productions.

Activities like rock climbing, surfing on the FlowRider, and skydiving at RipCord by iFly added fun twists to the trip. However, some activities needed early reservations, and those slots filled up quickly, which was a bit annoying.

Getting on a sightseeing tour in Italy

Ports of Call


The itinerary included stops at exciting ports like Bruges, Copenhagen, and Oslo. The shore excursions were well-planned and a great way to explore these destinations. My favourite was the guided tour of Bruges’ historic sites. I booked these beforehand with my cruise agent, it was much cheaper.

Getting off at Ports

Sometimes it was very slow to get on land, depending on what time I got ready to leave. There were a couple of delays that cut into my time ashore.

🛳️ Pro Tip: Escape Room

One of the coolest hidden gems I’ve found on some Royal Caribbean ships is the escape room. It’s such a fun and challenging experience where you solve puzzles and find clues to “escape” the room. Not many people know about it, so it’s a great way to do something different and exciting without the usual crowds​.

Customer Service

The crew on the Anthem of the Seas were fantastic. Everyone, from the waitstaff to the housekeeping team, was friendly and helpful. However, the guest services desk was often crowded, leading to long wait times, especially on sea days.

Pros and cons of our cruise

Pros and Cons


  • Smooth Embarkation and Disembarkation: Generally efficient processes at Southampton and the ports.
  • Luxurious Ship: The Anthem of the Seas is clean, modern, and well-equipped.
  • Great Entertainment: A variety of shows and activities keep things exciting.
  • Friendly Crew: The staff were courteous and helpful


  • Inconsistent Food Quality: While specialty dining was great, the buffet was hit-an-miss.
  • Crowded Areas: Popular spots like the Windjammer Café and guest services desk were often crowded.
  • Limited Activity Availability: Some activities required early reservations, which were hard to get.

Let us wade through the 1000’s of cruises for you!

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Sitting at a desk writing notes on a cruise ship

My Final Thoughts

Overall, my Royal Caribbean cruise from Southampton was really awesome. My luxurious balcony cabin, fantastic entertainment, and friendly service made it worth the trip. Despite a few minor hiccups, I’d definitely consider sailing with Royal Caribbean again and recommend it to others looking for a fun and adventurous cruise holiday.

🛳️ Pro Tip: Secret Sun Decks

I discovered that many Royal Caribbean ships have secret sun decks that aren’t on the main maps. These hidden spots are usually at the front or back of the ship and offer a quiet place to sunbathe and enjoy the view without the usual crowds. Just ask a crew member to point you in the right direction.