THE HOWARD– Travelogue
Travel Review-Anthem of the Seas
Reviewer: Howard Steven Frydman
August 1, 2019
Today is Friday – time 9:09 sea time. Position: 36*45.26N, 069*24.23 w. Speed 20.6 kts, Course: 138. Present air temperature: 81 f. Cruise Distance sailed 322 nautical miles. Sea Depth: 4450. At this very moment in time, As I now put pen to paper – I am at sea – aboard the luxury cruise line RCCL’s Anthem of the Seas. Visually, I am transfixed at the back of my suite just watching the ship travel through the churning emerald green waves – oh so relaxing, so still, just a gentle sway of the ship. I could just do this all the Sea day long – I could but there is so much to do! As mentioned our RCCL family is calling…..ahh our sea family!
“Just like a member of the family- just like Aunt Jane and Cousin Joe, just like a member of the family, a part of the love, the laughs, those greetings at the peer – RCCL a part of our lives for so many years”.
One of my most frequent inquiries from readers and repeat passengers, besides asking about the onboard activities and restaurants are the staff – “So? Who’s aboard your ship? Did you have so and so? Is this or that Captain or Cruise Director still there? – if so you’ll just love them!” Some staff are like “Rock Stars” – celebrities within the cruise community with passengers scheduling their cruise just to be reacquainted with them. Families are important especially for when you are far from home – so it is my honor for you to meet some of my RCCL Anthem of the Seas Family (at least for this cruise).
A time for introductions, a time to meet some of the royal family…
Our Genie – Miss Yen.
Passengers in Star Class suites are provided Genie service, one for approximately three suites.
Yes, as I have mentioned in the past, and for the last several cruises I do in deed have a genie- no she does not live in a bottle, or appear in a blaze of blue smoke. The RCCL “Genies” are a first in the cruising community- think of them as professional daily assistants – planning out your entire day of activities on board the ship, knowing your likes and dislikes. In my case, fresh fruit delivered in the am, peanut butter sandwich in the pm, to setting up a meeting with the Cruise director at the Chops Grille at 10am, scheduling your weekly entertainment with front row seats at the “Spectra” show, to assistance in negotiating a purchase in the shops – This Gal Friday does it all.
Our Genie, – Miss Yen, who we met on our past cruise, hails from the Southeast Asia country of Malaysia where before joining RCCL was employed in Hotel Sales Marketing and Hospitality. In preparation for her position as an official “RCCL Genie” she did extensive training at the “British Butler Institute” where she was first in her class. She speaks 5 languages including Mandarin and Cantonese. When asked what she most enjoys about being a Genie, Miss Yen remarked, “I so enjoy making my guests happy, and planning a customized experience for each guest”. Thank you Miss Yen – you are indeed magical!
Our Cruise Director:
Mr. Dan Whitney aka “Dan Dan the Man”.
Let me tell you this man is so quick witted and funny, a pleasure to just talk with, and I just liked him the minute I met him and so will you! – no wonder he has been a RCCL family member for close to 30 years starting off as a nightclub DJ on October 13th, 1990 on the Song of America.
“In my youth, all I ever wanted to do was be a DJ – I loved it. I started off on college radio and then was a local radio personality on KEWC radio in Spokane, Washington. RCCL staff so happily saw in me that I was destined for a bigger career in entertainment at sea – as a Cruise Director- and yes I love what I do, meeting and entertaining folks from around the world, it brings me great joy” states Dan.
In fact, Cruise Director Dan has been around the world on over 20 different RCCL cruise ships, working on every class in the fleet and many within each class and a few that are no longer with RCCL. Indeed, Dan is a true world traveler, akin to the likes of Phileas Fogg, Dr. Who, and even Santa Claus – but to those who know him – a dear part of the RCCL worldwide family.
Dan currently oversees a team of close to 160 activities members who provide everything from daily bingo, trivia contests, teen activities, dance nights, men’s belly flop contest, nightly productions, and he even edits and publishes the daily “Cruise Compass” which list the entire daily activities. As host of the classic “Name that Tune” at sea game show, from the contestants, backed up by the RCCL singers and dancers – this is a clever, inspired, and oh-so funny production – and I blame Dan for the entire show! As you may surmise – Dan is absolutely PHENOMENAL as the host – I laughed till I cried – let me tell you! I was so proud that I not only had an opportunity to meet Dan but to see him perform on stage. One last thought- Dan, some day when you least expect it – someone will come up to you and say – “we’re starring you – Dan Whitney in your own television series” – we need to share Dan’s laughter with the world. Bravo!
Our Executive Chef:
Chef Anand Vijayakumar
According to Chef Anand, “If you really want to make a friend, go to someone’s house and eat with him – the people who give you their food give you their heart.”
Indeed Chef Anand aboard the Anthem of the Seas has made a friend in me – Howard Steven Frydman. Chef Anand who is from India, started his career at India’s famed Hotel President as Chef De Partie, with his culinary training taking place at the American Culinary Federation and the Royal Culinary Academy. Chef Anand states, “My desire to be a chef started earlier as a child, where my mother taught me to prepare vegetarian dishes and gave me inspiration to create so many innovative and original food-fare”. Chef Anand started his career with RCCL in 2008 where he was quickly promoted from Senior Sous Chef, to Executive Sous Chef to Executive Chef now aboard the Anthem of the Seas which he states is his “dream job”. We are now proud to present one of Chef Anand’s recipes so you at home can also sample his delicious culinary vision. Bon Appetite- enjoy!
Chef Anand’s Recipe: JERK CHICKEN
ANTHEM OF THE SEAS FAMILY:
Lastly, let me also send out BIG HUGS to one of the dearest RCCL friends I know – Miss Megan Barbe. Megan – thank you for all your kindnesses to me over the years – you are one special lady!
Special thanks to everyone at RCCL and Anthem of the Seas!!