Tom Stieghorst
Tom Stieghorst

Having taken my family on summer cruises on both the Anthem of the Seas and the Celebrity Silhouette, I asked them to rate the two ships and lines, each operated by Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.

Bearing in mind that my daughters are 16 and 18, it might be expected that the more active program on the Anthem would win out. But on the whole they preferred the older, smaller Celebrity ship to the newer, larger Anthem.

Not that they disliked either cruise. But their impressions in some cases surprised me.

For example, although they both talked about the Anthem’s iFly skydiving simulator, neither one actually did it. I was particularly surprised that my more adventurous, outdoorsy teen skipped the chance. In an iFly class I monitored one afternoon, all nine participants were middle-aged or older.

My teens did do the bumper cars in the SeaPlex, which were pronounced “quality.” Not so some of the art on the Anthem, which got labeled cheesy, or worse. They made no mention of the giant giraffe sculpture, one way or another.

My older daughter could not imagine why the Anthem needed three swimming pools and thought the two on the Silhouette were enough. The “always on” Internet access on the Anthem was a mark in the plus column, but seemed to be taken for granted by the end of the cruise.

In the cabin, the girls found a closet on the Silhouette that they could scrunch into to change clothes. The Anthem’s closets were not walk-in capable.

My oldest had aged out of the teen club, but a social gathering for ages 18-plus at the Bionic Bar drew an older crowd. She played basketball in the SeaPlex but lamented that it was only a part-time activity, unlike on the Silhouette where there is a dedicated court.

When they had to tender guests to shore, both ships had problems with long lines for a return tender.

The Anthem’s experiment with complimentary alternative dining produced one clear winner, Chic, and no consensus on the other three venues. What cinched the deal for the Silhouette with my teens were the multitude of niche areas where they could hang out with new friends and the luxury of having a real lawn at sea.

In this very limited sample audience, Celebrity wins.

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