Yesterday morning whilst researching holidays for 2019, I searched for 'Anchored Cruise' (which I've just been on) to look into booking it for 2019. It turns out according to my Instagram Story Poll that a lot of you want to also go in 2019, which compelled me to write this piece to tell you a true and honest representation of what to expect onboard.
It was a whirlwind couple of days aboard the Anchored Cruise. 5 in total, taking me on an unforgettable journey around Barcelona, Cannes, Ibiza, Palma returning to Barcelona. They are currently taking bookings for the June voyage in 2019 so jump on this fast.
What can I expect when I arrive?
The check-in and check-out procedure is frictionless. The first checkpoint is a ticket check, your name will be cross-referenced against the ships manifest and any large luggage will be marked and taken from you at this point and loaded onto the ship. Expect to wait for around an hour for the luggage to arrive, but there's plenty to do in the meantime, have a much needed refreshment at the bar, do some exploring to get yourself accustomed to the ship or have a stroll along the desk. There was around a 6 hour period to check-in so the queues were minimum and certainly not the chaos that I got told there would be.
Once through you'll pass through to check-in, much like an airport, where you get your room key-card and handed over a credit-card for the purchases.
After that you have a designated boarding time, you'll then pass through a final level of security before being on board.
Is it a luxury cruise?
The ship is rated 5* and the cabins were much more spacious than I expected and there are countless pool parties.
The price certainly doesn't scream luxury as it's very accessible. £400 drink and food package was a great bargain. Actually let me touch on this in further detail as it was remarkable value, it included buffet breakfast and lunch as well as a 3-course, waiter served dinner. All the food was of good quality and the service was impeccable. The drinks were branded and you could even get cocktails and drinks mixed with RedBull...I mean I hate RedBull but I understand it's expensive and to be included in a pre-paid drinks package was actually pleasing to see.
It also makes it very accessible for the younger generation who wouldn't normally be able to afford a holiday cruise.
Is it just endless pool parties and DJ sets?
This is a cruise designed to entertain, catered to a younger demographic. The music is vibrant and the mood is infectious. My favourite night was the White Party and the favourite day was the Champagne spray party. Felt like a Formula 1 driver that day.
But it's not all mindless hedonism. In fact, the rules of the ship are dictated on arrival by the ship’s captain, no smoking in rooms, no climbing between balconies etc. Fairly perfunctory stuff and well adhered by the critical mass.
If you do need a quiet retreat, I recommend the Casino bar which was a hidden gem. You can also sneak away into the movie theatre or if you're not convalescing from excessive indulgence, there is a 24hour gym onboard. (I did think about working out, honestly).
What was the service like?
There is a service fee of $13.50 per person, per day gratuity added to the bill at the end, which is tips etc for staff and a maritime customary/mandatory charge. It’s a great way of doing it because you felt at ease with tipping as it's covered at the end and the staff were phenomenal.
I do appreciate efficient bar staff that look you in the eye when you wait at a busy bar and recognise that you're in his mental queue. They were bombarded with requests, but never lost their composure and I was more than happy to pay the gratuity.
And the checkout?
A day before checkout you were given a provisional bill, so you can check it over before leaving the next day. This saved so much time during checkout which was seamless. (You just walked off) and if everything was okay with your bill, the card that you checked-in with would just be charged.
Final thoughts and would I go again?
Absolutely, and my advice is to go for the best package available and make your life easier. The cruise can offer transport to the airport, there is unlimited on the top tier package which saves the constant topping up.