In addition to Dynamic Dining, the Quantum class ships were designed to be able to offer more in the way of specialty restaurants. Some of the specialty restaurants were Royal Caribbean favorites and some were new concepts. With one exception, the line-up of specialty restaurants on Anthem remains the same as originally planned.
One of the new concepts was Wonderland, a restaurant inspired by the Alice in Wonderland story and with a menu unlike any other. “It is imaginative cuisine. The concept is so beautiful. The décor amazing. It is invigorating. The menu is very imaginative. Not many hotel chains shoreside have ventured into [molecular gastronomy] just because every dish has to be treated like you are preparing a compound in a chemical lab. An amazingly important part [of the concept] is how well we present [the food] to the guests. The whole concept right from the menu to the décor to the uniform of the crew to the very final product, there is an element of mystery that makes it exciting and enticing to go to Wonderland.”
A very successful new concept has been Jamie's Italian, created in conjunction with British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. “It is all about simple cooking. He has taken grandma's recipes and given it a twist to modern gastro-dining. The secret is the freshness of the ingredients and the casual, friendly service that you have there. It is a very modern, contemporary Italian cuisine.”
Jamie's should not be confused with the Giovanni's Kitchen, the Italian specialty restaurant on several of the other Royal Caribbean ships. “Giovanni's and Jame's have a lot of differences. Giovanni's is more tradition Italian cuisine. There is a lot of emphasis on the main courses, about the meat and the preparation time Giovanni's is in many respects more formal. Jamie's is more casual with emphasis on the antipasto that they put on the table to the different pastas that we have. It is simple Italian cuisine. It is more like a very casual Italian eatery. This is more fun cuisine.”
One of the new concepts did not catch on with guests. Devonly Decadence utilized recipes developed by celebrity chef Devon Alexander that were attuned to healthy eating. While this venue achieved some critical success, the general public was not attracted and so the venue has been discontinued on Anthem.
A familiar concept to those who have traveled with Royal Caribbean is Chops Grille. “Chops is our signature steakhouse. It is the feather in the cap for Royal Caribbean. Our Crown and Anchor guests love it. It is one of the biggest restaurants that we have onboard. The décor is beautiful, it is very elegant. We have the finest cuts of meat cooked to perfection.”
Immediately adjacent to the Chops Grille on Anthem is a room where the Chef's Table experience is presented. “Its a six course meal paired with wines. It is run by a sommelier and a chef. Every course, the chef will explain what he designed and what he has cooked for you on that particular day. The sommelier will come with the wine and explain how it will complement the food that is being offered.”
The Chef's Table is a small group experience with a dozen or so guests all sitting around the same table. Sometimes the attendees are all people traveling together but often they are people who did not know each other beforehand. “You can actually build relationships, connect to people. The food is the medium of communication. A great way to spend a fine evening.”
Another familiar concept on Anthem is Izumi, which features Japanese and Asian cuisine “with a bit of a twist of Los Angles cuisine.” This concept, developed in partnership with developed by Travis Kamiyama. premiered on Oasis of the Seas and has since spread through most of the Royal Caribbean fleet. “Right from the time that we had an Izumi on an Oasis class ship, it has been a huge hit. We offer the shasumi, the sushi, and the various sushi rolls, all prepared right in front of the guests. The quality of the sushi that you see in Izumi is of a much, much higher class than anywhere else. The menus are updated very often so that we can have something more and new for our guests.”
Casual Dining Alternatives
The specialty restaurants are not the only dining alternatives on Anthem. The ship also has an array of casual dining venues.
The most popular of the casual venues is the Windjammer, the ship's buffet restaurant. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“We have one of the finest Windjammers in the fleet. ”
“These days there has been more and more emphasis on allergy free. We have dedicated one counter entirely to gluten and allergy free things.”
“We offer more variety. Every day we have pancakes and crepes made for the guests. We have our live stir fry stations, steak stations and burger stations on a daily basis. Also the varieties of bread and desserts that we offer is much wider.
“Even in desserts, we try to bring in a theme on a daily basis. One day is all about pies. One day is all about different cakes.”
“Every evening, we have a theme. One evening it might be South American cuisine, one evening it might be Indian cuisine. We have one whole section of Windjammer that is dedicated to cuisine from that region. We want to create excitement in the Windjammer every time you go in.”
Cafe Two 70 is unique to the Quantum class. It is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon snacks. “If you want to have a quick bite or a salad that is the best place. Early in the morning you have make your own bagel.”
Royal Caribbean has long had a relationship with Johnny Rockets, the 1950s style burger restaurants. However, the one on Anthem is different than those elsewhere in the Royal Caribbean fleet.
“The Johnny Rockets we have onboard is more of a Johnny Rockets express kind of venue. It is not the complete Johnny Rockets experience where you sit down and have the waiters dancing. This is more of a cash and carry counter concept. But it is still the same product, the same quality It is really working well because of the positioning of Johnny Rockets right up on the pool deck. It is very open and so the kids who want to have a good milkshake, it is right there.“
Located in the Seaplex amusement park area is The Dog House. “We have five varieties of sausages that we offer on a daily basis to create your own hot dog We have American to German to Austrian kinds available for our guests to choose from. The best thing is that you have freshly made hot dogs. It is an in and out concept with fast delivery. So even if the Seaplex is full, we will be able to deliver the product with one or two minutes wait time.
Part bar and part dining venue, Michael's Genuine Pub is decorated in dark woods reminiscent of English pubs. “It gives you the real feel of a pub somewhere back in the UK. You can have a pint of Guinness with some good fish and chips with malt vinegar. The cuisine that we have there is simple pub food. The chicken wings are amazing.” This venue has television screens for watching sports events and a live singer entertaining in the evenings.
Sorrento's is a larger, enhanced version of the pizza parlors on the other Royal Caribbean ships. In addition to several varieties of pizza guests can have individual size pizzas made to order as well as specialty items such as calzone. In the mornings there is breakfast pizza.
“There are a variety of things that we have done in Sorrento's. We try to play around. We want to be more creative, trying new things. Once we have seen the happiness in our guest's face that means we have done something right that day.”
“Cafe Promenade, we have some breakfast offerings [Later in the day] we have sandwiches and open face sandwiches and pastries. Three varieties of cookies are available. We used to have one standard menu. Now we have a three day menu cycle. So it is very surprising and alluring for the guests to check out what we have at Cafe Promenade.”
“La Patiisserie is something that we have only on the Quantum class ships. It is just amazing pastry that we offer on a daily basis.” Also, available are a variety of specialty coffees.
“Every venue that we have has been designed keeping in mind the demographics that we have, the expectation levels that our guests have and at the same time [our desire] to ensure that they have a wholesome food and beverage experience.”
Cruise ship inside interviews - Royal Caribbean International - Anthem of the Seas - Food and Beverage - page two