You’ve probably never been to a bar like this before.
Located on Deck 5 midship, the Bionic Bar on Royal Caribbean International’s Anthem of the Seas is tucked just off a hallway. You could almost miss it, if it weren’t for the crowds and the DJ. But you wouldn’t want that to happen: Instead of sidling up to the counter and ordering from a harried bartender who makes his or her way up and down the crowd, at the Bionic Bar, you type your order into a tablet on a nearby table. Your “WOWband” — which also gets you into your cabin — gives the system your name, and your request goes into a queue, listed on the wall, so you know when your drink is being made.
When it’s your turn, the bartenders — two custom-made robots developed by Makr Shakr for a whopping $6 million, or so we hear — pull a bottle down from the ceiling and start to whip up your concoction. They add sodas from a fountain when they need them, spinning back and forth and shaking when necessary. When they’re done, the industrial robotic arms pour the metal canisters into a cup, and your drink slides down a little runway to you.
We Loved: The showmanship is a lot of fun — this feels more like live entertainment than just a bar.
Don’t Say We Didn’t Warn You: Even though this bar first launched on Quantum of the Seas in November 2014 and on Anthem of the Seas itself in April 2015, the “bartenders” still struggle sometimes to make tasty cocktails that get the ratio just right.
Our Advice: Come and see the spectacle. But if you really like a perfectly executed drink, head up to the juice bar in the Solarium on Deck 13, where the juices are freshly squeezed and the cocktails themselves — kale and jalapeno margarita, anyone? — steal the show.